Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Is this clericalism?

Or is true clericalism?

Some people say the the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is clericalism at its worst because everything during the Mass centers on what the priest does and the laity are reduced to observers or worse yet, preoccupying themselves with other things that are not a part of the Mass, such as daydreaming, praying the Rosary, looking at the artwork in the church, etc.

However, it seems to this humble priest that the EF Mass exalts Jesus Christ the High Priest for which the sacramental ordained priest is merely a meager sign. It exalts Jesus Christ and subdues the sacramental priest precisely by giving explicit rubrics for the priest to follow which are not made up by him or neglected by him and by having the priest face ad orientem or joining the congregation in facing the same way, thus situating the ordained priest in the same position as the laity. In a sense we see in the sacramental sign of ad orientem the two natures of Jesus Christ who is Divine. His two natures are human and divine.

Whereas in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, much is left to the personality and quirks of the priest to "make or break" the Mass. Some laity today prefer priests who are good looking, dynamic and easily engage the audience, I mean, the congregation and pull them in to the actions of the liturgy as a good talk show host might do. I think this could certainly be called clericalism for all that I describe does not come from the explicit rubrics of the Mass which places all priests on the same plane, but rather comes from the gifts, talents, looks and creativity of the individual priest thus separating him from the pack. That's clericalism to the nth degree.

So one could easily say that the embedded "clericalism" of the EF Mass, which in reality is not clericalism at all, leads to the exaltation of the High Priest Jesus Chrsit who is the center of the Liturgy, whereas the true clericalism of the OF Mass leads to the exaltation of the ordained priest and his gifts and talents, his acting abilities.

Give me the "clericalism" of the EF Mass any day! Give me Jesus Christ the High Priest.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in an interview states the following: You can read the short entire interview HERE!

The Congregation in which the Pope has called me to act as Prefect does not oppose the use of the old liturgy, although the task of our dicastery is to enhance the meaning of liturgical renewal according to the directives of the Sacrosanctum Concilium constitution and follow in the footsteps of the Second Vatican Council. In relation to this it must be said that the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite must draw inspiration from the conciliar Constitution which in the first ten paragraphs focuses on the true spirit of the liturgy and so is relevant to all rites.”

I presume these are the first 10 paragraphs of Sacrosanctum Concilium that apply to the Extraordinary Form Mass:


1. This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church. The Council therefore sees particularly cogent reasons for undertaking the reform and promotion of the liturgy.

2. For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," [1] most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek [2]. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit [3], to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ [4], at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations [5] under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together [6], until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd [7].

3. Wherefore the sacred Council judges that the following principles concerning the promotion and reform of the liturgy should be called to mind, and that practical norms should be established.

Among these principles and norms there are some which can and should be applied both to the Roman rite and also to all the other rites. The practical norms which follow, however, should be taken as applying only to the Roman rite, except for those which, in the very nature of things, affect other rites as well.

4. Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times.



1. The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church's Life

5. God who "wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4), "who in many and various ways spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets" (Heb. 1:1), when the fullness of time had come sent His Son, the Word made flesh, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to preach the the gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart [8], to be a "bodily and spiritual medicine" [9], the Mediator between God and man [10]. For His humanity, united with the person of the Word, was the instrument of our salvation. Therefore in Christ "the perfect achievement of our reconciliation came forth, and the fullness of divine worship was given to us" [11].

The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved His task principally by the paschal mystery of His blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension, whereby "dying, he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life" [12]. For it was from the side of Christ as He slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth "the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church" [13].

6. Just as Christ was sent by the Father, so also He sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This He did that, by preaching the gospel to every creature [14], they might proclaim that the Son of God, by His death and resurrection, had freed us from the power of Satan [15] and from death, and brought us into the kingdom of His Father. His purpose also was that they might accomplish the work of salvation which they had proclaimed, by means of sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves. Thus by baptism men are plunged into the paschal mystery of Christ: they die with Him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him [16]; they receive the spirit of adoption as sons "in which we cry: Abba, Father" ( Rom. 8 :15), and thus become true adorers whom the Father seeks [17]. In like manner, as often as they eat the supper of the Lord they proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes [18]. For that reason, on the very day of Pentecost, when the Church appeared before the world, "those who received the word" of Peter "were baptized." And "they continued steadfastly in the teaching of the apostles and in the communion of the breaking of bread and in prayers . . . praising God and being in favor with all the people" (Acts 2:41-47). From that time onwards the Church has never failed to come together to celebrate the paschal mystery: reading those things "which were in all the scriptures concerning him" (Luke 24:27), celebrating the eucharist in which "the victory and triumph of his death are again made present" [19], and at the same time giving thanks "to God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Cor. 9:15) in Christ Jesus, "in praise of his glory" (Eph. 1:12), through the power of the Holy Spirit.

7. To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" [20], but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes [21]. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) .

Christ indeed always associates the Church with Himself in this great work wherein God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. The Church is His beloved Bride who calls to her Lord, and through Him offers worship to the Eternal Father.

Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.

8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle [22]; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory [23].

9. The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: "How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15).

Therefore the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance [24]. To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded [25], and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ's faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men.

10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness" [26]; it prays that "they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith" [27]; the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.


The Pontifical College Josephinum, a major seminary training candidates for the priesthood from various dioceses and religious orders recently installed their new rector, a priest of our diocese, Monsignor Christopher Schreck.

Although only the first picture below shows Monsignor Schreck at his recent installation where our own Bishop Hartmayer (in Franciscan habit) attended, the others are of the papal nuncio celebrating Mass there last year.

Please note the Benedictine Altar arrangement.


I would say that for the most part, the problem with authentic reform or renewal today is not so much from the ultra-traditionalists, although they can be quite vocal and well organized, but from the progressives who have ruled and continue to rule the day.

So I would agree with the Holy Father and Cardinal Koch on this one:

ZENIT: In regard to Vatican Council II, the discussion is very timely today on the concept of the “hermeneutics of continuity.” Is it not the case that the two “political” extremes of the Church, that is traditionalists and progressives, are both committing the same error, in the sense that they consider the Council a “break”?

Cardinal Koch: Yes, but precisely for this reason the Pope calls his interpretation of the Council not “hermeneutics of continuity” but “hermeneutics of reform.” It is a question of renewal in continuity. This is the difference: the progressives profess a hermeneutics of discontinuity and break. The traditionalists profess a hermeneutics of pure continuity: only that which is already noticeable in the Tradition can be Catholic doctrine, therefore, practically, there cannot be a renewal. Both see the Council equally as a break, even if in a very different way. The Holy Father has questioned this understanding of the conciliar hermeneutics of the break and proposed the hermeneutics of reform, which unites continuity and renewal. The Holy Father presented this hermeneutics already in his first Christmas address in 2005 and thus gave precise indications on how to interpret the Council and make it fruitful for the future.

Monday, October 29, 2012


Since we now believe that the Council Father's didn't want to turn the Liturgy upside down but simply continue the liturgical renewal of the 20th century especially what had been officially accomplished in the 1950's by Pope Pius XII. We nonetheless got a liturgy that was manufactured by the committee Pope Paul VI established. So it is the normative liturgy of the Church.

Although there is foment to revise the revised liturgy and make or more like the 1962 missal, what can be done within the liturgical norms of the normative Mass apart from a total revision and making the 1962 missal the true template of that revision?

1. Seriousness and precision in ritual must be the starting point. Say or sing the black and observe the red is the foundation. The problem here is that there isn't enough red, the rubrics of the Mass are lacking or seem to presume some of the rubrics of its predecessor the 1962 missal.

2. With that said, then we need to choreograph the Mass as the 1962 missal made clear apart from the revised specifics in the revised GIRM and rubrics.

3. Ad Orientem is allowed and was never abrogated. The recovery of this will go a long way in showing forth the continuity of the 1962 missal and its revision.

4. The recovery of the official chants of the Mass at the Entrance, offertory and Communion and in chant fashion, based upon Gregorian chant will also be fruitful.

5. Proper liturgical formation of the laity is critical also. They should know that their actual participation demands that they be attentive to the actions of the Mass, that of what is happening at the altar and that which is required of them given their gifts and disposition. I personally feel that a lay person who consciously decides not to be vocal in spoken and sung responses in protest to these commits at least a venial sin in doing so and perhaps mortal.

6. One of the greatest mistakes and crimes against the continuity of the Liturgy was the iconoclasm of the Catholic sanctuary and magnificent sanctuaries after Vatican II all of which was completely unnecessary and done so only at the behest of progressive liturgists and companies that could profit off of all the rearrangement of things and the destruction of traditional art and altars. The revised liturgy could just as well have been celebrated in traditional sanctuaries with altar railings and kneeling to receive Holy Communion.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Yes, Virginia, this is the Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated in an extraordinary way:

The following post is copied from the blog of Dom Mark Daniel Kirby who is Prior of Silverstream Benedictine Priory, under the patronage of Our Lady of the Cenacle, in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland.

The ecclesial mandate of the fledgling Benedictine community is to intercede for the sanctification of priests by "persevering with one mind in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus" (Acts 1.14) and in adoration and reparation before the Eucharistic Face of Christ. The community celebrates the Sacred Liturgy (Mass and Divine Office) according to the traditional rites in Latin and with Gregorian Chant. You can press these sentences to go directly to his blog.

Much of what Dom Daniel writes below echoes what I've written on this blog, PRESS HERE for a post I had on August 31st!

And more importantly, this is the Ordinary Form Mass we celebrated at St. Joseph on March 19th our Patron's Solemnity, but doing everything at the altar except the Liturgy of the Word:

The Ordinary Form after "Summorum Pontificum"
Father Mark
on October 25, 2012 11:45 AM

I returned from France last evening. Ah, the beauty of France, the intelligence and wit of the French, the grace of so many friendships rooted in the faith, the reverent approach to food, drink, and the shared table! While in France, given the circumstances of my séjour, and for compelling pastoral reasons, I celebrated Holy Mass in the so-called Ordinary Form, something I have rarely been obliged to do since the gift of Summorum Pontificum.

Dignity and Loveliness

Let it be said, straightway, that in both places where I offered the Holy Sacrifice in the Ordinary Form, the setting was impeccable: worthy sacred vessels, exquisite chasubles in wool with hand-embroidered adornment, immaculate altar linens, beautifully arranged flowers, etc. The singing too was lovely -- all in French (even the Ordinary of the Mass) -- but executed with reverence, attention, and artistry.

Introductory Rites

I thought that I might, however, share with my readers and, especially, with my brother priests, some reflections on the experience of the Ordinary Form, given that I have celebrated daily in the Usus Antiquior since 2007. The first thing that struck me was the inappropriateness of beginning the Holy Sacrifice from the chair facing the congregation, rather than at the foot of the altar facing the liturgical east. Beginnings, introductory rites, and the crossing of thresholds are hugely important, precisely because they have such an impact on all that follows. Nowhere is this more true than in the sacred liturgy.

Introibo Ad Altare Dei

It is more than curious that the verse from Psalm 42 traditionally recited at the foot of the altar before the Confiteor was eliminated from the Missal of Paul VI: Introibo ad altare Dei; "I shall go unto the altar of God." I find it strange that in a Missal characterized by a multiplicity of options, the traditional use of Psalm 42 was conceded no place. Instead, other options were invented, adapted, or otherwise introduced into the introductory rites.

Toward the Holy Sacrifice

Upon leaving the sacristy and the entering the church, the heart of the priest is set upon the altar, not the chair, nor the ambo. All that precedes the heart of the Holy Sacrifice (that is, the Canon of the Mass) is ordered to it. Even the proclamation and hearing of the Word of God, culminating in the Holy Gospel, is ordered to the Great Thanksgiving, to the Sursum Corda, and to the mystic actualization of the Sacrifice of the Cross.

Chair and Altar

The priest enters the sanctuary in order to approach the altar, conscious that he will stand before it to offer the Holy Sacrifice. By going directly to the chair, albeit after having venerated the altar, the direction of the liturgical action is skewed. The priest himself becomes the focus of attention. His sign of the cross, and his greeting; his introduction to the Act of Penitence, all tend to deflect the attention of the faithful away from the latreutic finality of the Mass, latria being, of course, the technical term for the worship and adoration due to God alone.

At the Foot of the Altar

By placing the introductory rites, including the Act of Penitence, at the chair, the Mass begins in the configuration of a self-contained, closed horizontality. Even though the Confiteor is addressed to Almighty God, the impact of it is substantially diluted by praying it (a) from the chair, facing the people; (b) while standing erect rather than while inclining profoundly; and (c) into no particular direction, if not into some vague space around one's own feet or above the heads of the people. This particular element of the New Order of the Mass is not a success. It does not do what it is supposed to do. It needs to be corrected. Is it not time to rediscover the significance of praying, and of bowing low at the foot of the altar?

Dominus Vobiscum

The correction of the Introductory Rite and Act of Penitence in reference to the Usus Antiquior and the replacement of the first salutation of the congregation (Dominus vobiscum) after the Gloria (or Kyrie) and before the Collect, will go a long way toward the recovery of a sense of the Godward direction of every liturgical action and, in particular, of the significance of approaching the altar with a view to offering the Holy Sacrifice.

The Poor New Offertory

The second thing that struck me was the paucity of the reformed Offertory rites and prayers. Others have commented on this matter at length. It would seem to me necessary to restore the Offertory Antiphon to the New Order of the Mass and to restore the Offertory prayers and gestures of the Missal of Saint Pius V as well.

Ad Orientem

It goes without saying that the rubric of the New Order of the Mass that assumes the eastward position from the Offertory until Holy Communion needs to become always and everywhere normative. Nothing has done more to distort the ars celebrandi than the habit of offering the Holy Sacrifice facing the people. It is, in many instances, an affront to the Divine Majesty. It is, moreover, a tedious distraction to both priest and people, and a symbolic and, alas, subliminal, but all too effective, devalorization of the sacrificial character of Holy Mass. No amount of catechesis, however well-intentioned, will be able to restore to the ars celebrandi of the New Order of the Mass what the position ad orientem will bring about of and by itself. Here, more than anywhere else, actions do speak louder than words.

The Roman Canon

It was when I came to the Eucharistic Prayer, using the Roman Canon as adapted -- I rather think mutilated -- in the New Order of the Mass, that I found myself most deeply disturbed. The elimination of the traditional signs of the cross and genuflexions is redolent of a puritanical rationalism that either fears the participation of the body in worship or sneers at it; it is, in effect, the divorce of word from action, a kind of disincarnation of the text.

There is absolutely no reason to have altered the age-old and venerable words of consecration in the Roman Canon. Nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium authorizes or justifies so barbaric an assault on a text universally regarded as sacrosanct and fixed by tradition. Fifty years after the Second Vatican Council, has not the moment at last come to repair the damage done by an erroneous interpretation and brash disregard of the letter of the Conciliar text and the intentions of the Council Fathers?

The Words of Consecration and Mysterium Fidei

I would propose, then, that the words of consecration in the Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV of the New Order of the Mass be brought into conformity with the traditional text of the Roman Canon as found in the Missal of 1962, and as used at the Second Vatican Council and in the years immediately following it. This would entail the replacement of the mysterium fidei within the words of consecration of the chalice and the suppression of the acclamation introduced in the Missal of Paul VI, which, to be honest, would be, to my mind at least, no great loss. Its inorganic insertion into the Canon has the effect of an interruption of the flow and movement of the prayer itself.

Eucharistic Prayers?

Of course, one needs to ask if four Eucharistic Prayers are, in fact, necessary in the New Rite of the Mass. Of the four, Eucharistic Prayer II is the one most widely used, not because of any intrinsic sublimity, but because of its brevity. It is a routinely rattled text that has longed passed its expiration date. It should be given an honourable burial alongside the breviary of Cardinal Quignonez. Eucharistic Prayer IV is used very rarely, if at all, in most places. Eucharistic Prayer III, the so-called Canon of Paul VI is the second most widely used. Has the time not come to reduce the Eucharistic Prayers of the New Order of the Mass from four to two, keeping only the venerable Roman Canon and what is now called Eucharistic Prayer III? It should, I think be legislated that the use of Roman Canon be obligatory on all Sundays, solemnities, feasts of the Apostles and of the saints named in the Communicantes and in the Nobis Quoque.

Domine, non sum dignus

The threefold Domine, non sum dignus needs to be restored to the New Order of the Mass. The single recitation of the centurion's heartfelt prayer sounds pathetically and artificially truncated. The threefold Domine, non sum dignus is no vain repetition; it is a trirhythmic grace of compunction that batters the door of even the most hardened heart.

Holy Communion

The manner of distributing Holy Communion to the faithful has been addressed by the example of the Holy Father, but his example has not garnered the support it deserves in the episcopate. It would seem that most bishops are insensitive to the persuasive language of example and, thus, must be compelled by legislation. Holy Communion in the hand and the scandalously abusive proliferation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are matters that must be addressed by clear and binding legislation. The grave scandal among the Eastern Orthodox Churches that these practices cause is, of itself, sufficient to warrant their immediate suppression.

The Last Gospel

Finally, it is, I think, a good thing to close the Holy Sacrifice en douceur with the reading of the Prologue of Saint John. It is, in effect, a kind of final blessing over the heads and hearts of the faithful, a thanksgiving after Holy Communion, and a bridge from the Holy Mysteries into the world that they alone can redeem, heal, sanctify, and elevate. I would argue, then, for the addition of the Prologue of Saint John to the New Order of the Mass, except on those occasions when the Mass itself is immediately followed by another liturgical function.

Reform of the Reform?

These are but a few thoughts on my experience of returning -- out of pastoral necessity -- to the New Order of the Mass for less than a week. I could not wait to resume the Usus Antiquior. The New Order of the Mass is in dire need of correction, enrichment, and consolidation. The "reform of the reform" is the single most urgent task of the New Evangelisation. Is it not time to place clear and binding liturgical law at the service of life? The example of the Holy Father, however edifying and consoling it may be, is not sufficient to curb the liturgical abuses rampant in the Church and to "fix" the New Order of the Mass. Something more is required.

Friday, October 26, 2012


We have five Sunday Masses. Our 12:10 PM Mass will now be the "reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass." What this means is the Liturgy of the Eucharist will be celebrated Ad Orientem, but everything else will be as in all our other Masses, in terms of the music, the Introductory Rite at the chair, the Liturgy of the Word as usual and the Concluding Rite as usual.

This particular Mass is also the weekend of the kick-off our our Stewardship renewal. Dr. Richard and Mrs. Suzanne Rowe speak after my very brief homily on their journey of Stewardship. I'm very grateful to them as they spoke at all our weekend Masses making it a marathon for them.

Unfortunately our chanted official Introit was not included at the beginning which is a prelude to the processional hymn. Tell me what ye thinks!


There has been a citywide effort in Augusta, Georgia in an almost popular uprising to get the name of Augusta into our newly consolidated colleges and universities.

Let's set the stage once again. In Augusta there are two state universities. The first is the Medical College of Georgia that goes back to the early 1800's. The second is Augusta State University, a liberal arts institution.

About 10 years ago, Augusta State University became the new moniker for the former Augusta College. About three years ago, the Medical College of Georgia became "Georgia Health Sciences University. Last year the state Board of Regents decided to consolidate the two state universities and they came up with the name "Georgia Regents University."

Augustans wanted the name of Augusta in the name of the school. And now after months of strident protest they seem to have won the day or have they?

What the consolidated president says below is interesting, in all merchandise sold with the school's name on it, it will now be "Georgia Regents University, Augusta" a mouthful to say the least. However, the official name of the school remains Georgia Regents University.

Dr. Azziz who is at the center of this storm and not one bit liked in Augusta because he is a steamroller, does not indicate in the video that the signage will have the Augusta name in it and the Board of Regents will not meet to approve the Augusta name because officially the Augusta name is still not in it, it will only be on merchandise the school sells to appease Augustans.

Is this a good solution, or is Augusta being yanked around by the "A?"

I report, you decide. Just in case you are wondering, I could care less if the Augusta name is in it or not. What I care about is that this consolidated university become a nationally recognized one, grow to the stature of the University of Georgia or Georgia Tech and bring more jobs and prestige to the Augusta area, where one day I hope to retire. Except for Georgians, who else knows where the University of Georgia is located? Athens of course, or Georgia Tech? Atlanta of course. Or Georgia Southern University, Statesboro of course.

So I guess it will be called by Augustans "GRUA"?

Thursday, October 25, 2012


I nominate him for the next pope:



Vatican City, 25 October 2012 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Secretariat of State.

"The sentence in the trial of Paolo Gabriele, which has now become final, puts a full stop to the end of a sad affair which has had very painful consequences.

"A personal offense was done to the Holy Father; the right to privacy of the many people who, by virtue of their office, addressed themselves to him was violated; the Holy See and a number of her institutions suffered prejudice; communications between the bishops of the world and the Holy See were hindered, and scandal was caused among the community of the faithful. Finally, for a period of many months the serenity of the working community which daily serves the Successor of Peter was disturbed.

"The accused admitted his guilt at the end of a judicial process which took place transparently and justly, and with full respect for the rights of the defence. The trial was able to ascertain the facts, showing that Mr Gabriele had carried our his criminal plans not at the instigation or incitement of third parties, but on the basis of his own personal convictions, which can in no way be shared. Various conjectures about the existence of plots or the involvement of other people have, in the light of the sentence, been shown to be false.

"Now that the sentence is final, Mr Gabriele will have to serve the prison term imposed upon him. He also faces a procedure for dismissal, as laid down in the Regulations of the Roman Curia.

"As regards the term of imprisonment, the possibility of pardon still remains which, as has been reiterated on a number of occasions, is a sovereign act on the part of the Holy Father. It does, however, reasonably presuppose repentance on the part of the accused, and a sincere request for pardon to the Supreme Pontiff and those who have been unjustly offended.

"In relation to the harm caused, the term inflicted appears both lenient and just, a fact due to the the specific nature of the legislative system from which it arises".


These are pictures from last year's Fauré Requiem Mass celebrated as a Solemn Sung Mass with deacon and sub-deacon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


You can read the full text of Musicam Sacram by pressing this sentence. Evidently this instruction is still in force, but I don't know about that but it certainly makes good sense except for number 36 below which corrupted the whole thing and from which we have yet to recover!


28. The distinction between solemn, sung and read Mass, sanctioned by the Instruction of 1958 (n. 3), is retained, according to the traditional liturgical laws at present in force. However, for the sung Mass (Missa cantata), different degrees of participation are put forward here for reasons of pastoral usefulness, so that it may become easier to make the celebration of Mass more beautiful by singing, according to the capabilities of each congregation.

These degrees are so arranged that the first may be used even by itself, but the second and third, wholly or partially, may never be used without the first. In this way the faithful will be continually led toward an ever greater participation in the singing.

29. The following belong to the first degree:

(a) In the entrance rites: the greeting of the priest together with the reply of the people; the prayer.

(b) In the Liturgy of the Word: the acclamations at the Gospel.

(c) In the Eucharistic Liturgy: the prayer over the offerings; the preface with its dialogue and the Sanctus; the final doxology of the Canon, the Lord's Prayer with its introduction and embolism; the Pax Domini; the prayer after the Communion; the formulas of dismissal.

30. The following belong to the second degree:

(a) the Kyrie, Gloria and Agnus Dei;

(b) the Creed;

(c) the prayer of the faithful.

31. The following belong to the third degree:

(a) the songs at the Entrance and Communion processions;

(b) the songs after the Lesson or Epistle;

(c) the Alleluia before the Gospel;

(d) the song at the Offertory;

(e) the readings of Sacred Scripture, unless it seems more suitable to proclaim them without singing.

32. The custom legitimately in use in certain places and widely confirmed by indults, of substituting other songs for the songs given in the Graduale for the Entrance, Offertory and Communion, can be retained according to the judgment of the competent territorial authority, as long as songs of this sort are in keeping with the parts of the Mass, with the feast or with the liturgical season. It is for the same territorial authority to approve the texts of these songs.

33. It is desirable that the assembly of the faithful should participate in the songs of the Proper as much as possible, especially through simple responses and other suitable settings.

The song after the lessons, be it in the form of gradual or responsorial psalm, has a special importance among the songs of the Proper. By its very nature, it forms part of the Liturgy, of the Word. It should be performed with all seated and listening to it -- and, what is more, participating in it as far as possible.

34. The songs which are called the "Ordinary of the Mass", if they are sung by musical settings written for several voices may be performed by the choir according to the customary norms, either a capella, or with instrumental accompaniment, as long as the people are not completely excluded from taking part in the singing.

In other cases, the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass can be divided between the choir and the people or even between two sections of the people themselves: one can alternate by verses, or one can follow other suitable divisions which divide the text into larger sections. In these cases, the following points are to be noted: it is preferable that the Creed, since it is a formula of profession of faith, should be sung by all, or in such a way as to permit a fitting participation by the faithful; it is preferable that the Sanctus, as the concluding acclamation of the Preface, should normally be sung by the whole congregation together with the priest; the Agnus Dei may be repeated as often as necessary, especially in concelebrations, where it accompanies the Fraction; it is desirable that the people should participate in this song, as least by the final invocation.

35. The Lord's Prayer is best performed by the people together with the priest.22

If it is sung in Latin, the melodies already legitimately existing should be used; if, however, it is sung in the vernacular, the settings are to be approved by the competent territorial authority.

36. There is no reason why some of the Proper or Ordinary should not be sung in said Masses. Moreover, some other song can also, on occasions, be sung at the beginning, at the Offertory, at the Communion and at the end of Mass. It is not sufficient, however, that these songs be merely "Eucharistic" -- they must be in keeping with the parts of the Mass, with the feast, or with the liturgical season.


His Eminence Cardinal Godfried Danneels gave the following lecture in the Amigo Hall, Saint George’s Cathedral, SE1 on Thursday, 18 October 2012. You can read the entire text by pressing this sentence

My Comments first: What you can see in reading Cardinal Danneels' reflections on the Second Vatican Council is the great enthusiasm that his generation who experienced the Council first hand had for it and continue to do so. He is so optimistic and triumphantly so with only a few cautions on the Liturgical reform, but very few but these cautions are in line with what Pope Benedict desire. These cautions are at the end of the quotes I have below.

What we see in his presentation is what I call the triumphalism of Vatican II or at least of its spirit. This triumphalism is a carry-over from the pre-Vatican II Church and the apex of the pre-Vatican II triumphalism applied to dogmatism but now and unfortunately applied not to dogma but to Vatican II's pastoral theology which is anything but solid and easily victimized by the interpretations and whims of people, places and cultures.

We also see in his remarks a move from a "masculine" ethos as it concerns the Church and her liturgy to a more feminine ethos as it concerns both. Danneels sums this up in a way that I had never considered before but he makes explicit: "Furthermore, there is the new style and the new language of the Council: pastoral, positive, and not legal and juridical. It is empathetic speaking, emotive, inviting, and not commanding. The style is more than a detail. It flows from a particular new way of thinking. The spirit of the Council is certainly more incarnational than Augustinian."

I do not mean to denigrate the feminine in this regard but to acknowledge that perhaps one of the flaws of the council is moving the Church from one extreme of entirely masculine concepts to the other extreme of the feminine and the deleterious effect this will have on vocations to the priesthood as even the priesthood and its pastoral ministry is feminized thus alienating a good percentage of men who might otherwise consider a more masculine ethos in the priesthood and Church. Danneels perhaps has unwittingly placed his finger here on the crisis of vocations brought about by Vatican II's feminine pastoral nature?

Cardinal Danneels: End of an era. A new breakthrough?

Vatican II was a council unlike any preceding one. It was a special event for many reasons. Even though it stands in a long line of councils: it was in many respects a new kind of council.

The harvest of Vatican II is impressive. Often people have forgotten what happened and how much was achieved in practice. So many things are now just taken for granted as common that the faithful are not even aware that such a sensitive change was due to the council.

But if one would make a list of all the fruits of Vatican II, one would see how greatly the Council has changed and renewed the Church.

Liturgy and rituals were thoroughly reformed. Eucharist is the main focus; and Baptism is strongly emphasized as the foundation for the priesthood of the faithful and the fundamental equality of all. Eucharist and all the sacraments have a word service in the vernacular and the reading schedule for Scriptural texts has a two‐ or three‐year cycle. Scripture is called the soul of theology. The Eucharistic prayers were expanded. Christ is presented as a servant and friend of all people. The Council underlines the dignity of every human person; there is a new arrangement in the hierarchy of the ends of marriage. The dignity and mission of the laity and co‐responsibility are stressed. The ideal of the bishop as a servant and shepherd is stressed. The ministry of the Church to the world, the role of the young churches, the problem of a just war, and nuclear armament are more issues addressed by the Council. The value of democracy and the relationship between church and state, freedom of religion ..... And much more.

Furthermore, there is the new style and the new language of the Council: pastoral, positive, and not legal and juridical. It is empathetic speaking, emotive, inviting, and not commanding. The style is more than a detail. It flows from a particular new way of thinking. The spirit of the Council is certainly more incarnational than Augustinian. The collegiality of the bishops was confirmed; but there was no agreed‐ upon framework on how to achieve this. Once the council closed, the trend towards greater centralization began again. Power shifted back to the centre. The contribution of the periphery ‐ bishops and people ‐ was not always strongly supported from the centre.

The liturgy. Sacrosanctum Concilium

The spirit of the Constitution on the Liturgy is clear: the baptized are not passive spectators in the liturgy: they take part in the liturgy and have their own role in the celebration. The term "active participation" was born. The idea was not new: it was already found in the liturgical movement: active participation, both inwardly and outwardly.

Already in the preliminary draft, presented to the council, by A. Bugnini, there was a clear formulation of the fundamental principles of liturgical reform. One could read in this presentation the fruits of decades of the. pre‐Vatican II liturgical movement, especially since the Congress of Malines in 1909 and the contribution of Lambert Beauduin. Liturgy was not primarily a matter of rubrics and regulations. It was a full‐fledged discipline with a doctrinal basis. The main emphases of Bugnini's draft were: deep respect for the great liturgical tradition and a solid foundation of the liturgical action on the data of faith and doctrine. Great importance was attached to liturgical formation, especially of the clergy, and on a stronger participation of the assembly celebrating the liturgical action. Liturgy was not purely a canonical textbook for the "doing" of the celebrant, but the making present of Christ's paschal mystery in its fullness: passion, death, resurrection, and ascension. No.7 of the subsequent Constitution would later become the key text for understanding of Christ's broad presence in the liturgy: in the praying people, in the person of the celebrant, in the proclamation of the Word, and in the communal praying of the psalms. Finally and above all in.the Eucharistic bread and wine. It was the rediscovery of the patristic vision of the liturgy.

The deep divide between celebrant and celebrating community was closed. The marginalization of the people but also of the celebrant. Liturgy was also a relational happening: between God, the priest, and the. people. Very soon, the vernacular was introduced everywhere. And so the tradition of the unchangeableness of the liturgical practice and use was overcome. Changing the liturgical language was the breakthrough for making changes in other areas.

The liturgy

Without a doubt, the Constitution on the Liturgy is the best followed‐up on and put into practice of all conciliar documents. The reform of the cult has had a profound impact on the lives of the baptized. Everywhere there was a good reception of the liturgical reform. Yes there were some wild experiments in some countries; but the positive fruits of this conciliar text are evident everywhere. The liturgical books have been renewed; and around the world, there has been a general introduction of the vernacular. Attention to the Word of God has increased and contact with the Bible expanded more fully. Yet there remains much to do to make that Bible more accessible to the people of God: more Bible study and greater familiarity with modern exegesis are required but raise new problems as well.

The language used for the liturgical texts and prayers is often not up to par. It's not enough to just translate texts into the vernacular. Liturgy demands more than the home, garden, and kitchen language. Liturgical language is always something sacred and transcending popular language. For the "mystery of our faith," we need a loftier way of speaking then just the language of daily conversation. And there are words that belong to the language of Christianity and deserve interpretation that is reverent and deep. Liturgical language cannot simply coincide with the ordinary language.

It is also true that rites and rituals are present and practiced in all religions. Often today there is resistance to repetitive and stereotyped repetition of the same words and gestures. Moreover, they are not always immediately understandable and they are not productive and efficient. The ritual, on the other hand, is not utilitarian, but it's goal is itself. The Eucharist, for example, is a meal but a cultic and sacrificial meal not intended to satisfy our physical hunger. Trivialization or omitting certain ritual aspects, deprives the celebration of its reference to the underlying mystery. Besides, symbols are always meagre: just think of "symbolic" punishment.

Furthermore, the "active participation" of which the liturgy document so often speaks has to be understood as an overall participation. It is not limited to the outer do, talk, sing, and move. It concerns as well the inner part of the soul. The Bible is full of texts that talk about believing or praying with the heart and not merely with the mouth and lips. Silence is an essential component in this active participation: it links the way from outside to inside. The language of the heart is more than that of the mouth and lips. Another challenge is to find a balance between word and sacrament. The council has returned the Word to its rightful place. But here and there, the care and great attention paid to the Word has led to an underestimation of the sacrament. In terms of its duration and the attention given to it, the word service in the Eucharist is often celebrated at the at the expense of the table service. Balance is needed.

A similar problem is that of balance between horizontality and verticality. There is sometimes a danger that the Eucharist gets reduced to just the meal dimension. But it is also a sacrificial meal. Of this there are no more examples in our current culture. The celebration facing the people suggests in the first place the local community and puts less focus on God. But the Eucharist is both: a convivial meal and an act of worship and sacrifice. Much depends on the attitude of the celebrant. Eye contact should be there for the celebrating community, but first to God.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I was the first to post this AP photo which AP put up one minute before I saw it and posted it on my blog!

I was first in the world wide web to place on my blog the image of Pope Benedict wearing the fannon at the canonization Mass this past Sunday. The Hermeneutic of Continuity blog out of England got is from me! And then everyone else from him through me! How cool is that!


The Extraordinary Form of the Mass has three basic styles of celebration:

1. The Low Mass (which allowed for vernacular hymns on Sundays in Pre-Vatican II times, but purely optional)

2. The High Mass or Missa Cantata (Sung Mass) which required the entire Mass to be sung including the official Introit, offertory and Communion antiphons--most pre-Vatican II parishes knew how to do this with simple Gregorian chant in Latin, those with good choirs did more complex sorts of chants allowed.

3. The Solemn high required deacon and sub-deacon, although priests could take these parts, but very few parishes celebrated this form of the Mass as it is complex.

After Vatican II and with the revised 1970 missal, these designations were dropped and choir directors and liturgy committees made things up as they went creating hybrids of the Mass, singing some parts some times and other parts at other times. Then they made the required norm the 4-hymn sandwich even if only some of the actual parts of the Mass were sung and they rid themselves altogether of the official Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons.

But in most parishes well into the late 60's and the 1970's simply did a skewed version of the low Mass with four hymns and then insisted on the folk genre to the exclusion of traditional hymns either Catholic or Protestant.

The allowance of Protestant hymns is another example of the breach in the sung Mass as well, but usually a version of the low Mass with some of the Mass sung but not all as required in a true High or Sung Mass.

So, my recommendation is that if one has a low Mass, it is a low Mass, but maybe hymns can be sung a the beginning and end and at communion time and as the collection is taken but the spoken Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons cannot be removed.

The High Mass is the Sung Mass, no hymns, but the Official Introit, all the priest's parts and other parts and a motet in addition to the Offertory antiphon as well the Communion Antiphon may be sung.

Then state clearly what instruments are to be admitted, starting with no instrumentation, then the organ and certain brass, string and woodwind instruments, out law guitar, banjo, tambourines and piano.


Rorate Caeli reports that a little more than 34 years ago, on the day after his election to the See of Peter, Pope John Paul II gave his first radio message Urbi et Orbi, which most probably qualifies as one of his least-known and most neglected major speeches.

This is most likely the first time that a pope makes explicit the hermeneutic of continuity in interpreting the Council recognizing that there are both explicit and implicit realities contained in the documents of Vatican II that must be deciphered by the Magisterium, the pope and those bishops in union with him.

Here is Pope John Paul II's Urbi et Orbi a single day after his election to the See of Peter:

We wish, therefore, to clarify some basic points which we consider to be of special importance. Hence—as we propose and as, with the help of God, we confidently trust—we shall continue these not merely with earnestness and attention but we shall also further them with constant pressure, so that ecclesial life, truly lived, may correspond to them. First of all, we wish to point out the unceasing importance of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, and we accept the definite duty of assiduously bringing it into affect. Indeed, is not that universal Council a kind of milestone as it were, an event of the utmost importance in the almost two thousand year history of the Church, and consequently in the religious and cultural history of the world?

However, as the Council is not limited to the documents alone, neither is it completed by the ways applying it which were devised in these post-conciliar years. Therefore we rightly consider that we are bound by the primary duty of most diligently furthering the implementation of the decrees and directive norms of that same Universal Synod. This indeed we shall do in a way that is at once prudent and stimulating. We shall strive, in particular, that first of all an appropriate mentality may flourish. Namely, it is necessary that, above all, outlooks must be at one with the Council so that in practice those things may be done that were ordered by it, and that those things which lie hidden in it or—as is usually said—are "implicit" may become explicit in the light of the experiments made since then and the demands of changing circumstances. Briefly, it is necessary that the fertile seeds which the Fathers of the Ecumenical Synod, nourished by the word of God, sowed in good ground (cf. Mt 13: 8, 23)—that is, the important teachings and pastoral deliberations should be brought to maturity in that way which is characteristic of movement and life.

This general purpose of fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and express will, in so far as we are concerned, of bringing it into effect, can cover various sections: missionary and ecumenical affairs, discipline, and suitable administration. But there is one section to which greater attention will have to be given, and that is the ecclesiological section. Venerable Brethren and beloved sons of the Catholic world, it is necessary for us to take once again into our hands the "Magna Charta" of the Council, that is, the Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium", so that with renewed and invigorating zeal we may meditate on the nature and function of the Church, its way of being and acting. This should be done not merely in order that the vital communion in Christ of all who believe and hope in him should be accomplished, but also in order to contribute to bringing about a fuller and closer unity of the whole human family. John XXIII was accustomed to repeat the following words: "The Church of Christ is the light of the nations." For the Church—his words were repeated by the Council—is the universal sacrament of salvation and unity for the human race. (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1; 48; Ad Gentes, 1).

The mystery of salvation which finds its centre in the Church and is actualized through the Church; the dynamism which on account of that same mystery animates the People of God; the special bond, that is, collegiality, which "with Peter and under Peter" binds together the sacred Pastors; all these are major elements on which we have not yet sufficiently reflected. We must do so in order to decide in face of human needs, whether these be permanent or passing, what the Church should adopt as its mode of presence and its course of action. Wherefore, the assent to be given to this document of the Council, seen in the light of Tradition and embodying the dogmatic formulae issued over a century ago by the First Vatican Council, will be to us Pastors and to the faithful a decisive indication and a rousing stimulus, so that—we say it again—we may walk in the paths of life and of history.


Beloved brothers in the Episcopate and dear children, fidelity, as is clear, implies not a wavering obedience to the Magisterium of Peter especially in what pertains to doctrine. The "objective" importance of this Magisterium must always be kept in mind and even safeguarded because of the attacks which in our time are being levelled here and there against certain truths of the Catholic faith. Fidelity too implies the observance of the liturgical norms laid down by ecclesiastical Authority and therefore has nothing to do with the practice either of introducing innovations of one's own accord and without approval or of obstinately refusing to carry out what has been lawfully laid down and introduced into the sacred rites. Fidelity also concerns the great discipline of the Church of which our immediate predecessor spoke. This discipline is not of such a kind that it depresses or, as they say, degrades. It seeks to safeguard the right ordering of the mystical body of Christ with the result that all the members of which it is composed united together perform their duties in a normal and natural way.

MY COMMENT: Clearly those who push the theology of rupture in the Church and to this very day need to get with the program of Vatican clearly made known since the days of Vatican II and in accord with the best Tradition of the Church!

Monday, October 22, 2012


The Glory of the recovery of Catholic identity and unity!

I've Got a Secret was a wonderful panel show on prime time television in the 1950's through the mid '70's. A guest would whisper a secret into the ear of the host and a panel of celebrities had to figure what it was by asking the guest questions.

My secret which I whisper in your ear here is that when I was a teenager in the post-Vatican II 1960's and early 70's, I felt the Catholic Church through a misguided reform at the time (which I have come to know now as the false "spirit" of Vatican II) was making me into a Protestant against my will although I did conform my will to those pushing this unfortunate agenda, being the obedient pre-Vatican II Catholic that I was. Those pushing the "spirit" of Vatican II and even from the hierarchy were doing so, not in the spirit of Vatican II, but in the most dogmatic and authoritarian way.

Of course well into the 70's utter confusion reigned in the Church and infighting amongst the various divisive factions that developed because of this authoritarian faux spirit of Vatican II has yet to relent to this day, although it is a new century and we are well into the teens of the 21st century.

Kathleen Pluth from the Chant Cafe makes an astute observation of what is going on now in many exclusively Ordinary Form parishes which have become nothing more than post-Catholicism, although I hate being so judgmental:

Of Course Not
Posted by Kathleen Pluth

It seemed for a week or so that someone writing for the Pray Tell blog was actually giving the Reform of the Reform the benefit of a fair hearing, and a charitable reading. James Frazier, while not Catholic himself, seemed to be thoughtfully considering the contributions of three recent non-mainstream Catholic hymnals.

The epilogue explains that this pretense of a fair hearing was actually a sham.

Frazier makes two resoundingly stupid claims:

Liturgy's validity (yes, he actually uses this technical word) can only be measured "by the extent to which the congregation succeeds at evangelism, outreach and justice."
In practice, communities that "lean towards the EF" are turned inward and are not evangelistic. They do not work for justice.

Now, everyone who has been paying attention to liturgical mullarkey (an Irish term) for any length of time has heard this kind of characterization before. And it must be asked: huh? What is the #1 civil rights violation of our time? Abortion. And which congregations are most likely to be working to end it? Those that "lean towards the EF."

Of course, if we're talking about the likelihood of more traditionalist parishes marching to the beat of the progressivist causes du jour--bottled water, gender blur, nuns on a bus--then no, traditionalist parishes are not likely to be taken in by things like that. Good music is not about hype. Good theology is not about hype. And true faith sees through nonsense.

MY FINAL COMMENTS: I've got another secret: Since Pope Benedict has become pope and we've had all this talk and theology of the hermeneutic of continuity and the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the Church, exemplified by the generous recovery of the EF Mass, but also by the papal fanon at the canonization Mass in Rome on October 21 and the recovery of the Epistle and Gospel side of the altar at the same Mass and also the opening Mass of the Year of Faith a week earlier, I feel more Catholic than I have in a long time, since my teenage years. No it is not just the fanon that I should thank, but God Himself and the course of true renewal He is bringing about in the Ordinary Form of the Church that will make us once again Extraordinary! And when I compare this to what I experienced in the 1960's and 70's, I must say that it is presented in the most non-dogmatic and non-authoritarian way possible, it is proposed by example not by fiat like the progressives are loathe to do in the 1960's and now today. Their authority though is faux and oppressive to be charitable and post-Catholic to be truthful.

Sunday, October 21, 2012



As well, the Old Testament Lesson, Responsorial Psalm and Epistle are proclaimed from the Epistle side of the altar and the Gospel from the Gospel side of the altar. What will happen next?

Will this be next? Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Every year we have our parishioners make a renewed commitment to Jesus Christ and His Church through Catholic Stewardship. Actual participation in the Mass is meant to be a sign of our actual participation in the various ministries, apostolates and Catholic witness we give to our parish, the Church at large, our family, our co-workers and anywhere we find ourselves. It is part of the "new evangelization."

This video, produced and edited by our parishioner, Mr. Stacey Lumley is being shown at our our Sunday Masses this weekend (October 21/22) during the time of the homily. Enjoy!


This post is a companion to the one below and should be read in tandem.
You can read this very good article on the renewal of the Liturgy in the Eastern Rite and the concern about the Latin Rite Fad of facing the people in prayer by pressing this sentence. Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches

107. Prayer facing the east

Ever since ancient times, it has been customary in the prayer of the Eastern Churches to prostrate oneself to the ground, turning toward the east; the buildings themselves were constructed such that the altar would face the east. Saint John of Damascus explains the

meaning of this tradition: "It is not for simplicity nor by chance that we pray turned toward the regions of the east (...). Since God is intelligible light (1 Jn. 1:5), and in the Scripture, Christ is called the Sun of justice (Mal. 3:20) and the East (Zec. 3:8 of the LXX), it is necessary to dedicate the east to him in order to render him worship. The Scripture says: 'Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and he placed there the man whom he had formed' (Gen. 2:8). (...) In search of the ancient homeland and tending toward it, we worship God. Even the tent of Moses had its curtain veil and propitiatory facing the east. And the tribe of Judah, in as much as it was the most notable, encamped on the east side (cf. Nm. 2:3). In the temple of Solomon, the Lord's gate was facing the east (cf. Ez. 44:1). Finally, the Lord placed on the cross looked toward the west, and so we prostrate ourselves in his direction, facing him. When he ascended to heaven, he was raised toward the east, and thus his disciples adored him, and thus he will return, in the same way as they saw him go to heaven (cf. Acts 1:11), as the Lord himself said: 'For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be' (Mt. 24:27). Waiting for him, we prostrate ourselves toward the east. It is an unwritten tradition, deriving from the Apostles."85

This rich and fascinating interpretation also explains the reason for which the celebrant who presides in the liturgical celebration prays facing the east, just as the people who participate. It is not a question, as is often claimed, of presiding the celebration with the back turned to the people, but rather of guiding the people in pilgrimage toward the Kingdom, invoked in prayer until the return of the Lord.

Such practice, threatened in numerous Eastern Catholic Churches by a new and recent Latin influence, is thus of profound value and should be safeguarded as truly coherent with the Eastern liturgical spirituality.


Powerful excerpts from the Saturday 29 September, 2012, Saint Mary of Victories Church. St Louis MO Public Lecture:
By Most Rev. Peter J. Elliott (Full text follows these important excerpts):

HIS ACTION “Turning Towards the Lord”

However, the hermeneutic of continuity is proclaimed by the actions of Pope Benedict XVI. On the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, 2008, he celebrated Solemn Mass in the Sistine Chapel “facing the altar”. In some circles there were cries of surprise. People had forgotten that the first Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II at the time of his election in 1978 was celebrated facing that same altar! But, as Benedict XVI would remind those with ears to hear, this is not simply a matter of where one faces, rather of “turning towards the Lord”, a spiritual insight we might all ponder when we complain about the “loss of mystery” in the Mass.

His cosmological vision of the Eucharist explains the Pope’s appreciation for celebrating the Eucharist ad orientem, that is, towards the East. Led by the priest, we all turn towards the Light of the risen Lord, reigning in his cosmos and coming again in his parousia. As cardinal he was well aware of the cultural difficulty of appreciating this symbolism today in the secularized Western World. But he did not even consider that ignorant expression we often hear, the priest celebrating Mass “back to the people”. As a cardinal he was not popular for putting that view. He partly challenged the most obvious and prevalent post-conciliar change, one that was also very costly, the almost universal practice of moving altars and celebrating Mass facing the people.

However, he indicates a way to help us “turn to the Lord” whenever Mass is celebrated facing the people. This involves a simple rearrangement of the altar, what some call “Benedictine Altar”. At all papal Masses, the crucifix now stands at the centre, no longer to one side.

It is flanked by candles, of a significant size. In Feast of Faith and The Spirit of the Liturgy he argued that the altar is not a setting to display a man (Pope, bishop or priest). Rather, during the action of the liturgy, the altar itself should draw us around Jesus Christ crucified and risen. This also breaks down that self-centric community trend.Having made this change in the parish where I live, I discovered that once you place the crucifix at the centre of the altar, it becomes visually “an altar”, not just a fine table adorned with some candles and flowers. His advocacy of placing the crucifix at the centre of the altar is also linked to the recovery of the pontifical altar at his Masses in St Peter’s Basilica and elsewhere, that is, using the seven candles of Roman tradition whenever the Diocesan Bishop solemnly celebrates the Eucharist.

Kneeling to Receive the Lord

At Corpus Christi in 2008, at the Papal Mass celebrated before the façade of St John Lateran, the communicants came to the Pope and received the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue. That is now standard practice at papal Masses. This is the Holy Father’s concrete response, not only to a campaign by some liturgists to eliminate kneeling altogether, but also to correct an abuse of power on the part of some priests. Lay faithful have been rebuked, even refused Communion, for presuming to kneel or not receive in the hand. By affirming the first option, the Pontiff gently corrects those who misuse their authority by taking from people the options the Church allows them.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Disintegration is not a pretty word, but Benedict XVI uses it to capture the liturgical crisis in the Church today

Rebuilding Catholic Culture: Church Music and the Fad of ‘Folk’ Style
By Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, C.S.J.

I will never forget that moment! Flinging off his eyeglasses, he glared at me, “Sister, what have you done to our music!” I froze.

It was my first year at NYU as a graduate student of musicology, and I was enrolled in Professor Gustave Reese’s course, Medieval and Renaissance Music. He was the world’s leading authority on these two musical periods. An American Jew, a Renaissance Man, he loved the sacred music of the pre-conciliar Church. In a sense, he was its custodian. For him, musical analysis was de rigueur except for the Ave maris stella, “a honey of a piece.” When Reese blurted out his question to me, it seemed as if he had been storing it up for years. How could we have banished its musical culture, the most consequential result of the post-conciliar Church?

Effect of Music on the Human Spirit

From ancient times, people of every race and color have held that music, more than any other art form, is the most intimate expression of human feeling. According to the Ancients, music imitates the states of the soul and has the mysterious, even magical power, to influence a person’s behavior and to form moral character. We are affected by the kinds of music we experience. On the day of John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963, Beethoven’s second movement of the “Eroica” Symphony accompanied the cortege on its way to Washington’s St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Beethoven had dedicated the symphony “to the memory of a fallen hero.”

The Fathers of the Church agree with the Ancients. Sacred music proposes to lift up the the whole person to Christ likeness. Throughout the centuries, men and women have become converts through the beauty of liturgical music.

The Decline of Quality

Common sense dictates that not all music qualifies as suitable for divine worship, for the chosen music sets the atmosphere for the liturgy. The music expresses, reflects, and mediates the saving mysteries of Jesus in symbolic ways. It is the locus where the human and sensory realities meet the divine and spiritual. According to Sing to the Lord, the musical judgment of sacred music requires musical competence, (and) only artistically sound music will be effective and endure over time. To admit to the Liturgy the cheap, trite, or the musical cliché often found in secular popular songs is to cheapen the Liturgy, to expose it to ridicule, and to invite failure (USCCB, Sing to the Lord, #135).

The deciding factor about sacred music is its quality. Quality has two meanings: (1) Quality as the essential and objective character of something, and quality in man-made things, the condition for excellence; we value quality of life, quality time with family and friends, and quality of character; (2) Quality in man-made things, the condition for excellence; we choose quality in food and in clothing. In a long but important comment by Barbara Tuchman,
Quality is the investment of the best skill and effort to produce the finest and most admirable result possible. Its presence of absence in some degree characterizes every man-made object, service, skilled or unskilled–laying bricks, painting a picture, ironing shirts, practicing medicine, shoe making, scholarship, writing a book. You do it well or you do it half-well. Materials are sound and durable or they are sleazy. The presence or absence of quality characterizes every man-made object and service, skilled or unskilled. Quality is achieving or reaching for the highest standard as against the sloppy or fraudulent. It is honesty of purpose as against catering to cheap or sentiment. It does not allow compromise with the second-rate but reaches for the highest standards. Quality can be attained without genius (Barbara Tuchman, “The Decline of Quality,” New York Times Magazine (November 2, 1980, 38-39).

Benedict XVI and the Decline of Quality

Of all the prominent church figures to comment on the state of today’s church music, Benedict XVI stands out as the most articulate. Describing a philistine mentality toward sacred music, he writes: “It is strange that the postconciliar pluralism has created uniformity in one respect at least: it will not tolerate a high standard of expression” (Benedict XVI, A New Song for the Lord, 123).

Musicam Sacram (MS)

In 1967, Karl Rahner, S.J. and Herbert Vorgrimler, S.J. jointly published a commentary on “Sacred Music,” chapter six of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. For them, the normal musical component of liturgy is not art music but functional music, accessible to a large public. Benedict disagrees:

1) Sacred music can never be seen as primarily functional, “conceived in purely pragmatic terms; it grind(s) musica sacra down to dust” (Lecture to the Church Music Department of the State Conservatory of Music at Stuttgart in 1977);

2) “A Church which only makes use of functional music has fallen for what is, in fact, useless. She too becomes ineffectual.” The craze for function over goodness of form “leaves nothing but schmaltz for the general public” (Benedict XVI, The Feast of Faith, 124). Summarizing his response to the utilitarian approach to sacred music, he cites four translations of Psalm 48 (47), verse eight exhorting the Israelites to sing skillfully in their praise of the Lord:

(1) Sing an art song; play for God with all your art (with all your skill);

(2) Sing artistically;

(3) Sing with understanding,

(4) Sing the way the ars musicae teaches (A New Song for the Lord, 123-24).

Functional Church Music: the "Folk" Style

"Folk" style in church music is amply represented in The Music Missal (OCP), a flimsy, unattractive, and disposable handbook, which enjoys widespread use and influence. It contains other music like Ordinaries of the Mass, Reformed Protestant hymnody, and Gregorian chants. In no way does this ‘folk’ style, a misnomer, resemble authentic folk music. Whereas genuine folk songs were written by the community and were transmitted by the oral tradition, this material has been written by individuals. Genuine folk songs have a simple, limited melodic range as well as simple rhythm with little or no accompaniment.

A Closer Look at the ‘Folk’ Style from Music Missal, OCP (2011)

Below is a sampling of songs from the OCP:

1) Trite music to accompany texts with little or no theological import: #332, Let Us Break Bread Together; #449, How Can I Keep from Singing; #376, Here I Am, Lord; #616, They’ll Know We Are Christians.

2) Romanticized, saccharine melodies: #476, You Are Mine; #331, Taste and See; #359, I Receive the Living God; #438, Be Not Afraid; #442, On Eagle’s Wings; #522, Earthen Vessels.

3) Songs with jerky, heavy, frenzied rhythms, or dance rhythms found in popular culture: #302, Gather Us In; #374, City of God; #447, Though the Mountains May Fall; #452, Blest Be the Lord; #495, Let There Be Peace on Earth, the perfect song for Bette Midler; #548, Sing to the Mountains, Sing to the Sea; #578, Sing a New Song Unto the Lord; #548 and #578 are cast in the style of a brindisi, a drinking song similar to that sung in Verdi’s La Traviata.

The ‘folk’ style used in the liturgy is written for guitar or non-organ accompaniment, and free style, off-the cuff improvisation is to be expected.
The guitar needs to be defended. It is a serious instrument, not to be trivialized. Belonging to the lute family, the guitar is first and foremost a solitary, gentle, soft-spoken plucked instrument with limited sonority. The lute and the lyra, the kithara and the harp are all related to the guitar (chitarra). These string families were used in ancient and biblical times to sooth and console their listeners. They can foster meditation and can even mesmerize audiences, but they were not meant to rev them up to a frenzy, whether in a concert hall or in church. Whereas classical guitar is difficult to master, elementary guitar requires a minimum of formal training, and it thrives on basic chords, strumming, thumping, and pounding.

In many parishes, the modern piano has supplanted the pipe organ. As a secular keyboard instrument, the piano delivers such an idiosyncratic tone that it is excluded from the symphony orchestra because it overpowers the sounds of other instruments. The modern piano succeeded the harpsichord and clavichord to support the heavy touch created by nineteenth-century compositions. With its percussive and sensual tone, sustained by the pedal, the piano functions best in a secular ambiance and has no place in the liturgy.
Is all this sung prayer?

Prayerlessness in the Liturgy

According to Franz Josef van Beeck, S.J.:

The single most dangerous threat to the new liturgy is prayerlessness (whether of the authorized or the experimental) variety. This is not a theoretical observation but a practical one. Prayerlessness in the liturgy, in fact, is so widespread as to be almost taken for granted (Catholic Identity after Vatican II, 67).

Prayerlessness harms one’s faith, and the music under discussion is one factor responsible for this prayerlessness.

Evaluation of the Fad of ‘Folk’ Style

The ‘folk’ music in the Music Missal has many inherent deficiencies. First, it lacks skilled workmanship. In fact, many of its ‘composers’ do not read music; some even rejected the offer of formal lessons in composition. This “tripe” should disturb our musical taste, to quote Thomas Merton. This is precisely the kind of music which Sing to the Lord cites as cheap, trite or worn-out, found in secular popular songs. They invite ridicule from many sectors of society (Sing to the Lord, #135).

Cacophony, whether from electric keyboard, piano, guitar, or anything that is struck, de-sacralizes, secularizes, trivializes, and even vulgarizes the service while at the same time creates the illusion of a renewed and sophisticated Church.

Noise, which differs from joy, agitates the spirit and creates a restless liturgy–a prayerless liturgy. This material belongs at a hootenanny, a song-fest or a camp fire. It should be allowed to die a peaceful death and gently rubbed out of the American Church’s collective memory. Still, it holds a firm grip on many whose allegiance to it remains entrenched. In fact, with few exceptions, this material is a failed, worn-out project. The faithful deserve better.

The Poor-Banished Pipe Organ

Known as king of the instruments, the pipe organ is a veritable orchestra and functions as a solo and accompanying instrument. Having been consistently used in the Church since the ninth century, the organ supports the classic hymn tradition which needs the strength of Baroque four-part harmony, perfected by J.S. Bach.

An unintended consequence of the post-conciliar liturgy minimized the role of the organist. Many organists lost their positions to pastoral musicians. This drastic, tragic change has deprived the faithful of experiencing a rich organ repertory despite official documents singling out the pipe organ as adding “a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies, powerfully lift(ing) up men's hearts and minds to God and to higher things” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #120).

Disintegration: What the ‘Folk’ Style Hath Wrought

Benedict XVI makes a startling observation in suggesting that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has produced an attitude of opposition within the Church–a partisan and opposing church tearing herself apart (A New Song for the Lord, 142). The Matthean verse, “where two or three are gathered together in my name" (Mt 18:20) is used to oppose the institution and every official program of the Church. This verse becomes the place of origin for the liturgy. The group arises on the spot from the creativity of those gathered (Ibid, 145). The institution and the clerical Orders represent a negative image of bondage, opposed to genuine freedom. This new attitude is expressed through the new music by the people of God, and it is the music which gives identity to the group.

The new music is the characteristic of the group’s identity, the emergence of another church. For this group, the content of Pope St. Pius X’s motu proprio on church music is called a “culturally shortsighted and theologically worthless ideology of sacred music” (Ibid., 144). Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony symbolize the power of the institution and the clergy–the other church, which curtails the group’s freedom. The pontiff writes that the “treasury of musica sacra, the universality of Gregorian chant handed down through the ages, now appears as an outmoded and quaint practice of the pre-conciliar Church for the purpose of preserving a certain form of power” (Ibid).

Disintegration is not a pretty word, but Benedict XVI uses it to capture the liturgical crisis in the Church today. A thing deteriorates when its natural form is so disfigured that the purpose for which it was intended is no longer recognizable. It is not simply irreverent music. At issue is that the faithful have become the Church, and they are celebrating themselves through the folly of faddism.

Sr. Joan L. Roccasalvo, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY, holds degrees in philosophy (Ph.L), musicology (Ph.D.), theology (M.A.), and liturgical studies (Ph.D). She has taught at all levels of Catholic education and writes with a particular focus on a theology of beauty and the sacred arts.