Friday, November 30, 2012


I just found this article written in 2007. It makes perfectly good sense and should be mandatory reading for all bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians and laity:

Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius
Copyright © 2007. Biretta Books, Ltd. Chicago. All Rights Reserved.

Jesus Christ has chosen the Church for his Bride. In nuptial love, the Bride of Christ
looks into the eyes of the Bridegroom and calls out: “Splendor and majesty are in his
presence; power and beauty are in his sanctuary.”1

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb described in the Book of Revelation actually
describes the Sacred Liturgy of the Church.2 In the climax of her heavenly worship,
the Bride reflects the image of the Bridegroom – the image of the Word-Made-Flesh,
who is Beauty-Incarnate.

For the world, the maxim, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,”3 is a subjective
statement. For the Bride of Christ, this is a concrete reality of the Incarnation!
Sadly in our own times, the banal and vulgar have invaded our sanctuaries, following
“a misguided sense of creativity.”4 Nothing, therefore, is more important today than
the restoration of the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy, the restoration of the sacred.
Hans Urs von Balthasar, the 20th century's most notable writer on the theology of
beauty, said: "We can be sure that whoever sneers at Beauty's name…can no longer
pray and soon will no longer be able to love."5

In order celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with due reverence and beauty, the Church must
be able to “distinguish between the sacred and the profane.”6 When false types of
“inculturation” pollute liturgical worship we must be mindful that “all is not valid; all is not licit; all is not good.”7 The secular, the cheap, the inferior and the inartistic “are not meant to cross the threshold of God’s temple.”8

In order to “restore the sacred” we must, first and foremost, contemplate the beauty
of Christ in the Sacred Liturgy – “a sacred action surpassing all others.”9 This begins with external fidelity to the rubrics, but leads to internal union with Christ, for “those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”10 The spiritual beauty of the 1 Ps 96:6. 2 Rev. 1:10-13; 4:4-8; 5:14; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4. 3 Anon. Greece. 3rd Century B.C. 4 Pope John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 52. 5 Preface to The Glory of the Lord. 6 Ez 44:23. 7 Address of Pope Paul VI to the Italian Society of St. Cecilia, Rome, April 15, 1971, Sacred Music, Vol. 98, No. 2 (Summer 1971), p. 3-5. 8 Ibid. 9 Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7. 10 Jn 4:24.

Sacred Liturgy transforms the lives of Catholics. Indeed, “the encounter with the
beautiful can become the wound of the arrow that strikes the heart and in this way
opens our eyes.”11 This spiritual beauty forms the Christ-like heart in moral beauty.
And when the spiritual beauty of the Sacred Liturgy has transformed a soul, man can
then create things of beauty, such as art, architecture, poetry, and music.
This manmade beauty, formed by the beauty of Christ in the Sacred Liturgy, imitates
the creative genius of God who gave this world an inherent natural beauty. When the
beautiful and radiant face of Christ our Savior becomes the center of sacred worship,
all creation longs to cry out with the psalmist: “every work that He does is full of
splendor and beauty.”12

If the beauty of Holy Mass does not, in essence, rely upon the splendid beauty of
iconography, ornate vestments, Gregorian chant or Baroque architecture, why then
has the Church invested so much of its patrimony in fostering these sacred arts? God
has placed a legitimate desire in the human soul to create beautiful things because he
wants man to share in his masterpiece of creation, a creation that is good and

Beauty in the Liturgy results from order. This is why the Liturgy, by its very nature,
demands order, and so Liturgy cannot exist without rubrics or ceremony. Beauty
shines through the gestures of the Sacred Liturgy. Thus, the external acts of worship,
such as making the Sign of the Cross, genuflecting, kneeling and bowing, become
ways to internalize reverence and beauty in our human lives.
“Every liturgical gesture, being a gesture of Christ, is called to express beauty.”13

And so the transcendent beauty of the Liturgy permeates the hearts of men, and forms us to have proper relationships, not only with God, but also with our neighbor, and
therefore empowers us to transform human culture. This is the genuine meaning of
“inculturation.” If we Catholics want the inherent beauty of the liturgy to convert the “culture of death,” we must permit the Sacred Liturgy to form us by its spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ.

This means that, in humility, we must, renounce any desire to make the Liturgy
conform to changing whims. Consequently, let us renounce unauthorized
innovations, rubrical improvisation, banality, and misguided-creativity.
11 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Message to Communion and Liberation, August 2002, Rimini, Italy, made available May 2, 2005,

Hence, "…the Old Rite becomes a living treasure of the Church and also should
provide a standard of worship, of mystery, and of catechesis toward which the
celebrations of the Novus Ordo must move. In other words, the Tridentine Mass is the
missing link. And unless it be re-discovered in all its faithful truth and beauty, the Novus Ordo will not respond to the organic growth and change that has characterized the liturgy from its beginning."14

12 Ps. 111:3. 13 Liturgy and Beauty, by Most Rev. Piero Marini, Titular Archbishop of Martirano, Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. March 15, 2006. 14 Rev. Michael John Zielinski O.S.B. Oliv., Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.


I don't think that it is on a grand scale, but it is happening here and there and being reported on the blogs. What is it? It is the rediscovery of our historic Catholicism that dates well before the Council of Trent and remained in place until approximately 1965.

After the Second Vatican Council and for many academics, clerics and religious, the interpretation of the documents went far beyond a literal reading of these to what was called the "spirit of the council." Even as a teenager I remember hearing about the spirit of the council and that even when we thought we had implemented what the Council wanted, that we had only scratched the surface. I often wondered what the heck else was going to change if after all the changes we had already made, we had only scratched the surface.

In the short span of less than five years, from about 1965 to 1970, we saw the following culture of Catholicism dismantled.

1. From an all Latin Mass to an all vernacular Mass
2. From Ad Orientem to facing the congregation
3. From a good translation of the Tridentine Mass into English from a dumbed now new order of Mass into very poorly translated Latin Mass into English
4. The discarding of habits and collars by priests and religious
5. The mass exodus of priests and religious from supposed life-long vows and promises and the marriage of many of them
6. Wholesale scandal in the priesthood and religious life with those in authority not knowing what to do or worse yet looking the other way
7. The discarding of the musical treasury of the Church especially of chant in all forms but also exquisite other forms of music for cheap, trendy fads associated with popular culture
8. The closing of Catholic schools, hospitals, convents and houses of formation and seminaries as the dramatic drop in vocations developed very clearly after the dismantling of traditional Catholic culture and prayer.
9. The loss of popular devotions as the Mass in all kinds of creative and dumbed down forms became the only prayer experience for a new and future generations of Catholics
10. The loss of Catholic authority in the areas of faith, morals and Church law
11. The loss of Catholic identity as ecumenism and interfaith dialogue seem to indicate that it really didn't matter what religion you joined as all are equal and all will get you to God
12. The decline in Mass attendance from a peak of about 90% prior to the Council to about 25% today

When looking at the recovery of Catholic tradition as it concerns the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in its various solemnities, one commenter, YTC, summed it all up:

"The liturgy in those videos is so deliciously Catholic I can hardly stand it!"

Now I have a confession to make. As a pre-teen and teenager, I felt in that period following the Council from about 1965 to 1970 that I was being turned into a Protestant by the Catholic Church as all the changes and the forays into ecumenism seem to indicate that the Protestants had it right and we Catholics had it wrong and the only way to Church Unity was by the Catholic Church becoming Protestant.

Obedient Catholic that I was and the fact that the Tridentine Mass was suppressed after 1970 and there was no option for Catholics who wanted to remain thoroughly Catholic during that period, we all went along with what we were told was the Holy Spirit, like a new Pentecost, causing all of this to happen to the Catholic Church.

The clearest sign to me of the triumph of Protestantism over Catholicism in the very Catholic Church that I belonged, as a poor dumb Catholic at the time, was the charismatic movement that took off like wild-fire in the late 1960's and well into the late 1970's, although it began to wain, thanks be to God, in the 1980's. In my opinion, the worst form of Protestantism had infected millions of Catholics in the form of the charismatic movement, which too was called what the Holy Spirit wanted for the entire Church.

Many were embarrassed by their Catholic heritage as are way too many today when they see the resurgence of the Tridentine Mass or even the Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in a Tridentine Way.

What the hell happened to us Catholics in the last 50 years and why did we abandon so much that was of our Catholic identity, not only in externals, which are important too, but more importantly in areas of real substance?

Were we duped?

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Catholic News Service is reporting that the new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29: "Reading Vatican II as break with tradition is heresy, prefect says."[!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Traditionalist and progressive camps that see the Second Vatican Council as breaking with the truth both espouse a "heretical interpretation" of the council and its aims, said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

What Pope Benedict XVI has termed "the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity" is the "only possible interpretation according to the principles of Catholic theology," Archbishop Gerhard Muller said in remarks published Nov. 29.

"Outside this sole orthodox interpretation unfortunately exists a heretical interpretation, that is, a hermeneutic of rupture, (found) both on the progressive front and on the traditionalist" side, the archbishop said.

What the two camps have in common, he said, is their rejection of the council: "the progressives in their wanting to leave it behind, as if it were a season to abandon in order to get to another church, and the traditionalists in their not wanting to get there," seeing the council as a Catholic "winter."

A "council presided over by the successor of Peter as head of the visible church" is the "highest expression" of the Magisterium, he said, to be regarded as part of "an indissoluble whole," along with Scripture and 2,000 years of tradition.

The doctrinal chief's remarks were published in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, to present the seventh volume of "The Complete Works of Joseph Ratzinger." The volume collects both published and unpublished notes, speeches, interviews and texts written or given by the future pope in the period shortly before, during and just after Vatican II.

Archbishop Muller specified that by "continuity" Pope Benedict meant a "permanent correspondence with the origin, not an adaption of whatever has been, which also can lead the wrong way."

The term "aggiornamento" or updating -- one of the watchwords of the council -- "does not mean the secularization of the faith, which would lead to its dissolution," but a "making present" of the message of Jesus Christ, he said.

This "making present" is the "reform necessary for every era in constant fidelity to the whole Christ," he said.

"The tradition of apostolic origin continues in the church with help from the Holy Spirit," he said, and leads to greater understanding through contemplation and study, intelligence garnered from a deeper experience of the spiritual, and preaching by those who through the "apostolic succession have received an assured charism of truth."


From the Diocese of Trenton's newspaper, The Monitor: The beauty, reverence, splendor and awe of a traditional Latin Mass was reflected in its highest form in the Diocese of Trenton Nov. 27 as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass in St. Hedwig Church, Trenton.

You can view the photo gallery from the Diocese of Trenton's Diocesan Newspaper, THE MONITOR, by pressing HERE!

The Cappa Magna will really drive some to tears! God is good!


Go to minute 2:50 of this video which needs restoration to say the least, both in style of papal Mass and quality of video, and watch what could have been rather elegant and quite moving in terms of ceremony and pageantry even at the consecration and see how the Master of Ceremonies messes it up with his movements and his barking of orders at the Holy Father picked up on the television mikes--this is what needed to be cleaned up and I can see why Sacrosanctum Concilium recommended noble simplicity! As John Nolan writes, "In the old days, you would see MCs move ministers around and snap their fingers at servers. This did nothing for the dignity of the Rite. Then, as now, the key word is rehearsal."

And this is the Rite of Holy Communion with the wonderful Sign of Peace in its normal place which so many seem to despise! But note how the Holy Father receives Holy Communion, not at the altar by his hands but at the Throne at the hands of others!

Because of the complexity of this Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass for the Holy Father, I doubt seriously that Pope Benedict will celebrate this form of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form ever, not that I am clairvoyant. But could you hear the utter outcry from all the usual places?

At the same time, I can see a need for reform here, but of course I was trained in a liberal seminary! :)


I predicted well before the start of the First Sunday of Advent last year that the new translation would be well received by the majority of rank and file Catholics. I also predicted that the only ones that would bitterly complain about it would be the clericalists in the Church which goes beyond the ordained to include academics, some of whom are the most "clericalist" in the world. Usually they whine about it because of authority issues and of course academics get all bent out of shape if their academic abilities or suggestions are called into question. Just watch "The Big Bang Theory" to learn that--art imitating life!

George Weigel pretty much sums up my sentiments when he writes, "It was just about a year ago that U.S. parishes began using the new translations of the third edition of the Roman Missal—an implementation process that seems to have gone far more smoothly than some anticipated. Wrinkles remain to be ironed out: There are precious few decent musical settings for the revised Ordinary of the Mass; the occasional celebrant (not infrequently with “S.J.” after his name) feels compelled to share his winsome personality with the congregation by ad-libbing the priestly greetings and prayers of the Mass. Some of the new texts themselves could have used another editorial rinsing, in my judgment. But in the main, the new translations are an immense improvement and seem to have been received as such."

One example of wording that I found interesting was last Sunday's Christ the King preface, which actually sounds better chanted than spoken "...the immensity of your majesty..." Is there a better way to say that in English? Or is that just fine? One could use this in a pejorative way in which to not so delicately call some one fat and in a derogatory way in the USA as it concerns "your majesty."

We learn from another survey by CARA that overall the new translation has been very well received by the majority of Catholics, even those who don't practice the faith regularly! Of course I could have told you that from my experience at St. Joseph Church, which is an eclectic group of parishioners--they've done marvelously well with the new translation and I haven't heard one complaint from an unusual source!

The most important paragraph of the CARA study is: "Catholics who attend Mass weekly are among the most likely to agree that the new translation of the Mass is a good thing. Eighty-four percent responded as such (47 percent “strongly” agree with this statement). By comparison, 63 percent of those who rarely or never attend Mass agree with this statement (only 4 percent “strongly” agree).

It shows that the majority of those who rarely or never attend Mass even think the new translation is a good thing. But if the majority of those who don't attend Mass thought it was a bad thing, should we give a flip? Folks, they don't attend Mass--they are not in full communion with the Church because of their mortal sin! If they die unrepentant, they go to hell and have the worst translation of their vernacular every day!

You can read the CARA survey results HERE.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This could be a publicity stunt to get more people to watch this soft porn show, with hard porn themes. So I don't know, but somehow I feel sorry for this child actor that was exposed to the pornography of this show from the age of six.

“If you watch Two And A Half Men, please stop watching Two And A Half Men,” the religious teenager says in a testimonial for Forerunner Christian Church (see the video below). “I’m on Two And A Half Men, and I don’t want to be on it. Please stop watching it, and filling your head with filth…. If I am doing any harm, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be contributing to the (Satan’s) plan,” says Jones, who has become very serious about his faith in the past several months. “You cannot be a true God-fearing person and be on a television show like that. I know I can’t. I’m not OK with what I’m learning, what the Bible says and being on that television show.”

But now this child actor who has been exposed through the entertainment industry to the worst kind of soft pornography since the age of six, recants, kind of:

I have been the subject of much discussion, speculation and commentary over the past 24 hours. While I cannot address everything that has been said or right every misstatement or misunderstanding, there is one thing I want to make clear.

Without qualification, I am grateful to and have the highest regard and respect for all of the wonderful people on Two and Half Men with whom I have worked over the past ten years and who have become an extension of my family.

Chuck Lorre, Peter Roth and many others at Warner Bros. and CBS are responsible for what has been one of the most significant experiences in my life to date. I thank them for the opportunity they have given and continue to give me and the help and guidance I have and expect to continue to receive from them.

I also want all of the crew and cast on our show to know how much I personally care for them and appreciate their support, guidance and love over the years. I grew up around them and know that the time they spent with me was in many instances more than with their own families. I learned life lessons from so many of them and will never forget how much positive impact they have had on my life.

I apologize if my remarks reflect me showing indifference to and disrespect of my colleagues and a lack of appreciation of the extraordinary opportunity of which I have been blessed. I never intended that.

Where are the sex abuse advocates who simply focus on the Church's despicable record while ignoring the real areas of sexual abuse in our country in the entertainment industry and public schools and elsewhere? Why doesn't the media do an expose on Two and a Half Men and the situations this child star was placed in with this so-called comedy that is very popular? Where is the Boston Globe when they are needed? Oh, yes, they are in the back pocked of the liberal media and entertainment.


For last night's EF Mass, the free standing altar was removed and the original altar was magnificent and looked more accessible to the congregation than the faux one that was removed.

Don't have any images of last night's Mass yet, but this one gives you an idea:

“Ritus nobili simplicitate fulgeant” is the complete expression found in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 34). It means, “Let the rites radiate a noble simplicity”. I firmly believe that this concept was misapplied in the reform of the Mass and was brought to an unneeded extreme leading to ignoble simplicity for the most part.

Last night I watched most of the Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form with Most Reverend David M. O'Connell, C.M., Bishop of Trenton.

The church that was used was quite beautiful and appropriate for either form of the one Latin Rite Mass.

However, as I watched the Mass, I couldn't help but think that all the bishops that gathered for the Second Vatican Council more than likely would have been quite open to the "simplification" of the Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass and that the words of Sacrosanctum Concilium, #34 were more than likely aimed at this type of Mass and not the normal Mass as it was celebrated in most Catholic parishes prior to the Council. The Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form exudes the radiation of noble simplicty as does the normal Missa Cantata without deacon and sub deacon and even the normal parish Solemn Sung parish Mass with deacon and sub deacon has a nobleness of simplicity.

However the Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass is another question altogether and yes, I think it would be wise to clean it up a bit!

However I agree with Father Uwe Michael Lang, C.O. when he writes, "...the fifth chapter on "Decorum of the Liturgical Celebration" in the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" -- of Pope John Paul II (April 17, 2003), where he affirms that Christ himself wanted a fitting a decorous environment for the Last Supper, asking his disciples to prepare it in the house of a friend who had a "large upper room furnished" (Luke 22:12; cf. Mark 14:15). In face of Judas' protest that the anointing with precious oil was an unacceptable "waste," given the need of the poor, Jesus, without diminishing the obligation of concrete charity towards the needy, declared his great appreciation for the woman's action, because her anointing anticipated "that honor of which his body will continue to be worthy also after his death, indissolubly linked as it is to the mystery of his Person" ("Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 47). John Paul II concludes that the Church, as the woman of Bethany, "does not fear to 'waste,' investing the best of her resources to express her adoring wonder in the face of the incommensurable gift of the Eucharist" (ibid., No. 48). The liturgy calls for the best of our possibilities, to glorify God the Creator and Redeemer."

So I'm not speaking of vesture. I'm am speaking of ceremony and too much of it that obfuscates what is happening and the total disconnect between what the choir representing the congregation does and what is happening in the sanctuary.

I don't mean for this to come across as implying anything, but it does appear that in the pontifical Solemn Sung Mass the bishop is treated as though he is a "queen bee" and that all the other worker bees are too many in number and in the way.

I have to confess that I haven't ever attended an EF Mass with a bishop in any form let alone the Pontifical Solemn High Mass. So there were things done that I simply did not understand why these were being done, for example, the bishop's miter being placed on his head for the incensation and washing of the hands. It all seem just too complicated.

In addition the use of the MC to tell the bishop what to do and at every moment struck me as too over-played. It made the bishop look like he didn't have a clue as to what to do for himself.

So, how to make the EF Mass radiate noble simplicity, I would say, get rid of some of the court of ministers. There are way to many and make the Pontifical Solemn Sung Mass more like the normal Solemn Sung Mass with deacon, sub deacon and Master of ceremonies. Get all the other ministers out of the way and make them less prominant and seen only when needed.

Finally, I really feel that there needs to be a connection between what is sung and that what is sung is what everyone sings whether they actually sing it or simply join quietly in following the singing and that should go for the celebrant too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


The blog, The New Liturgical Movement is reporting that the Patriarch of Venice, Archbishop Francesco Moraglia, recently celebrated Mass in the Ordinary Form at the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute on November 21st, the feast of Madonna della Salute, at the famous high altar of the same. That means that the Mass was also celebrated ad orientem -- which is always a welcome development.

My comments: This would have been unheard of just five years ago or shorter. The Ad Orientem recovery toothpaste is out of the tube and it won't be able to be put back into the tube and it will continue to slink out everywhere.

This will certainly displease the obstructionists who believe Ad Orientem was suppressed by Vatican II reforms of the Mass which made facing the people mandatory in their progressive dreams only.

The Mass that is pictured will certainly displease those who think we're heading back to only the EF Mass and private Masses as this Mass as an Ordinary Form Mass was concelebrated in the post-Vatican II way.

Some days you just can't please everyone nor should the Church even try!

Monday, November 26, 2012


The Missa Bossa Nova was written for the vernacular Tridentine Mass of the 1965 missal by Father Peter Sholtes. If you forget the tempo and instruments and focus on the English words, you will find that the first translation of the Latin Mass into English was very faithful to the Latin whereas what we got in 1973 was anything but faithful. Listen closely, the translation is very similar with only minor differences with the revised translation that we've had for the past glorious year.

I think the single worst thing that happened to the Catholic Mass was not its vernacularization, although the second revised English translation was an absolute disaster, now corrected thanks be to God and not to liturgists.

The single worst thing that happened to the Catholic Mass was the total abandonment of Gregorian Chant, or polyphony or other chants based upon these. But worse yet was the abandonment of no instrumentation when singing and the organ for instruments that are best left to the secular venue, such as those used in the Missa Bossa Nova. Even its name tells you that Catholic spirituality and chant are seriously compromised by the melody, beat and instrumentation used.

Keep in mind it was my generation, the baby-boomers, onto whom this was first foisted and in the Tridentine Mass, not the reformed Mass, as the wave of the future and that to hate this or want what we had in pre-Vatican II times was so out of date, so pre-Vatican II and so not with it! You would be marginalized for finding this distasteful and not in keeping with our Catholic heritage! It is this type of tripe, not the words, but the melody, instrumentation and beat that compromised our Catholic identity as it regards our Catholic liturgical heritage, spirituality and connectedness with our past. It seriously compromised our Catholic culture (i.e. cult, worship). We have yet to recover from this and in fact are now foisting it upon a new generation with contemporary beats, melodies and instruments, praise and worship music primary amongst this deconstruction of Catholic identity when it comes to chant and instrumentation.

But when you listen to this below, and keep in mind, written and performed for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, I wonder if it would have been okay without the folk instruments and 1960's bee bop sound. Without instrumentation, the melody might work very well or accompanied only by organ. What do you think? But let's thank God, that in His mercy, the Missa Bossa Nova was not set to the Credo!


The nine-fold Kyrie

The Gloria

The Sanctus:

The Pater Noster

The Angus Dei

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The Reform of the Reformed Extraordinary Form Mass must say NO, No, NO, ABSOLUTELY NO to the following:

There are three most important things that Abbot Dom Michael John Zielinski, OSB Oliv. offers us in a talk he gave in 2009 which you can read HERE. Let me state these in a nutshell.

These three things are summoned up suscintly in the following:

"Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI himself, as Cardinal Ratzinger, expressed on a number of occasions his profound concern for the crisis in the cultus of the Church that we have experienced in the decades following the Second Vatican Council, from the (#1) “fabrication” of new rites, (#2)to the banalization of ecclesiastical music and (#3)the unprecedented re-ordering of the spatial arrangements of churches (see The Ratzinger Report [Ignatius, 1985], The Feast of Faith [Ignatius, 1986], The Spirit of the Liturgy [Ignatius, 2000])."

#1. (Fabrication of new rites) "In a simple yet undoubtedly crucial restoration – that of distributing Holy Communion to communicants kneeling at papal Masses – Pope Benedict has said once and for that all traditional ritual gestures and postures retain their value." (My comment: This obviously means also celebrating the Vatican II Ordinary Form Mass facing Ad Orientem or at least having the "Benedictine Altar Arrangement" where the priest and the congregation together face the crucifix as the loci for focusing prayer in public worship.

#2. (banalization of ecclesiastical music) Which means the constant new things that are thrown at us in disposable hymnals and manufactured hymns of questionable quality becoming the focus of the rites rather than the words of the rites themselves, especially the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. But tied into this is the setting of sacred words of the Mass and other rites to secular, happy clappy sounds more suited to the top 50 or Broadway!

#3. (Church architecture and the unprecedented reordering of such) We all know of the iconoclasm that occurred in traditional Gothic and Romanesque Churches and the various takes on this style after Vatican II where traditional high altars and accompanying artwork and accoutrements for Mass were ripped out and junked or sold in to trade slavery. This has been the most visual scandal, with table like altars placed in the middle of the nave with seating angled around it, the tabernacle hidden and the table so low that only the first two rows in a large church can even see it. Then this iconoclasm has been imposed upon newer churches that are built that have no artistic merit whatsoever and resemble fast food joints more so than Catholic Churches.



The Holy Father has named as Capo Ufficio [Head of the Office, or Office Manager] of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments Reverend Father Abbot Dom Michael John Zielinski, OSB Oliv.

He gave a lecture on the Classical Roman Rite in 2009 entitled The Culture and Heritage of the
Classical Roman Rite
which you can read HERE.

Sometimes we miss the meaning of our English words although its meaning is right in front of our eyes. For me this is especially true of the word "culture." Abbot Dom Michael puts that word into its proper root meaning:

"Whilst in English the word “cult” has taken on a predominantly pejorative meaning, we must remember that “culture” finds its source in the Latin cultus, that
is, in the life of cult, of worship. Culture and cultus are inseparable.
It is above all in the worship of a people that their culture can be
found. Contemporary society knows this fact only too well. In the
cult of the film star, of the politician, and most clearly in that of the
sports team (with its attendant chant, vesture and ritual acts), we
see the sometimes questionable values and beliefs of secular society clearly enunciated, if not indeed worshiped. Secular culture relies on these acts of worship."

The following are more excerpts from his talk:

Similarly, though in a distinct manner, as Catholics, we too rely
on our cultus, our worship. Our dependence upon it is not only to
enunciate our belief in an educative or formative sense, but it is in
fact essential to our Christian life in order to join us sacramentally
with him whom we worship and to nourish the life of grace in the
soul. The life of the Christian is marked by worship, it is immersed in
the divine cultus. This is precisely the point made by Pope St Pius X
in his seminal Motu Proprio Tra le sollecitudini of 22 November 1903
when he spoke of the “active participation in the holy mysteries and
in the public and solemn prayer of the Church” being the “indispensable
fount” of “the true Christian spirit.”


Yet today, we are acutely conscious of the fact that all has not
been well in recent decades in respect of the cultural life of the Latin
rite of the Catholic Church. Western society has been suffering from
a profound cultural crisis for some time and this has impacted on
the Church. Indeed, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI himself, as
Cardinal Ratzinger, expressed on a number of occasions his profound
concern for the crisis in the cultus of the Church that we have experienced
in the decades following the Second Vatican Council, from the
“fabrication” of new rites, to the banalization of ecclesiastical music
and the unprecedented re-ordering of the spatial arrangements of
(see The Ratzinger Report [Ignatius, 1985], The Feast of Faith
[Ignatius, 1986], The Spirit of the Liturgy [Ignatius, 2000]).

It is possible to say that, in recent decades, much of the cultural
heritage of the Church – from venerable rites to the many goods
employed in their service – has been endangered by an ideology of
novelty that has misunderstood if not rejected the profound respect
for the tradition that genuine creativity in continuity with tradition
had always understood. This of course, has not simply left us with
an impoverished cultural experience in our churches. Most crucially,
any impoverishment of the sacramentals themselves carries with it
the danger of weakening the very encounter with the incarnate Lord
which these rites and ritual things facilitate.
We creatures of flesh
and blood ordinarily require these cultural goods in order to enter
into the life of grace and to persevere in it until the end. They serve
to raise our minds and hearts to Almighty God, and to lead us into
that encounter from which we receive grace. Devaluing or dismissing them may have – indeed has had – an adverse effect on the life of
faith of many in recent times.

MY COMMENT FIRST: Haven't I been writing this all along?:

The modern liturgy should stand in that same tradition and should
be celebrated accordingly. But we know only too well, that in recent
decades the modern liturgy has often not been offered as something
in continuity with tradition, but as something radically new, different
from “what we did before Vatican II,” as the saying goes. And this
explains why today young people who have never known the older
rites, and priests who have never celebrated them, discover something
radically new and fresh in the older form of the Roman Rite. Where
they have persevered in tilling the arid ground of rupture, they come
to rejoice in the fertile soil of continuity.

This is why it is not only good that the classical liturgy may freely
be celebrated, but that it is important that it should be celebrated
widely. As the former Prefect of the Pontifi cal Commission “Ecclesia
Dei,” Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, himself said, “the Holy Father
wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in
the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young
and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from
their tangible beauty and transcendence” (Address to the Latin Mass
Society of England and Wales, 14 June 2008). For these rites, as well
as themselves drawing people closer to Christ, also act as a prophetic
witness to Catholic culture in a way that, to use Holy Father’s words,
can be “mutually enriching” for the modern rites.

MY COMMENT FIRST: The following is the bombshell that will guide the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass which is in process now but a bit too slow for some, like me:

The Holy Father teaches by his personal example. As
the celebrant of the liturgy it is clear that – in spite of the personal
attention that people afford him due to his office – he strives to be
the servant of the liturgy and not its proprietor. And in a simple yet
undoubtedly crucial restoration – that of distributing Holy Communion
to communicants kneeling at papal Masses – Pope Benedict has said once and for that all traditional ritual gestures and postures retain their value.

The same principle can be applied to the Church’s treasury of
sacred music and indeed of sacred architecture. This rich heritage
which has lifted up countless hearts and minds to the contemplation
of Almighty God over centuries has validity today, and whilst it is
certainly living and capable of development through authentic enrichment,
it is by no means to be jettisoned because it originated before
a particular date. One only needs to recall the explicit but widely
ignored call of the Second Vatican Council for Gregorian chant to “be
given pride of place in liturgical services” to understand how much
work needs to be done in reconnecting much modern practice with
the Church’s heritage (see the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Sacrosanctum concilium [4 December 1963] §116).

Saturday, November 24, 2012


At this morning's consistory, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI exclaimed in his homily some musical direction for the Church in recovering her Catholic universality and unity:

"Situated within the context and the perspective of the Church’s unity and universality is the College of Cardinals: it presents a variety of faces, because it expresses the face of the universal Church. In this Consistory, I want to highlight in particular the fact that the Church is the Church of all peoples, and so she speaks in the various cultures of the different continents. She is the Church of Pentecost: amid the polyphony of the various voices, she raises a single harmonious song to the living God".

All you need to do is listen to the first song and tell me how Catholic it is from the spiritual point of view and that here the Church is not raising a "a single harmonious song to the living God":

This could well be a Catholic Mass for youth, but fortunately this one is Lutheran which would cause even Martin Luther to turn in his grave! Let's keep this crap in Protestant Churches and cleanse the Catholic temple of anything that resembles this tripe!

Vincent Ambrosetti gave our clergy conference this past year. He lamented the use of Worship and Praise music by Catholics especially at Mass because what it does is to prepare young people to leave the Catholic Church and join the non-denominational Protestant communities that use this style of music and style of worship exclusively. I tend to agree with him--this stuff has nothing to do with our Catholic patrimony in terms of worship or music. It is very sad, but used to get young people into our parish and eventually out of them into the non-denominationals.

Scotland evidently has abysmal Catholic music on Sunday, if one wants to call it Catholic. This is an article from a secular newspaper in Scotland:

From Friday's 23 November 2012 Herald Scotland by Cate Devine

Lay Catholic says 'lousy music' puts the young off church

Joan Dillon, a Masters graduate of RSAMD (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), also claimed music at Mass was "more rooted in pop music than in sacred traditions" and was often "so bad it distracted people from the true purpose of worship".

She said 25 pupils from state schools currently learning Latin through the study of sacred music were the future lifeblood of the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Speaking prior to the launch of Scotland's first Academy of Sacred Music (AOSM) in Glasgow tonight, Ms Dillon, its founder, told The Herald: "There has been some pretty lousy music sung in Catholic churches and that is where things have gone wrong, why congregations are shrinking.

"It need not be so. As a parent myself it seems to me young people are being brought up immersed in the negative messages of modern music via MTV, a lot of which is demeaning.

"They need the transformative power of sacred music to balance that, but instead they are getting banal, happy-clappy stuff at Mass. Sacred music can lift young people up and help them embrace more noble ideas, yet it is not sung in many Catholic churches in Scotland."

Ms Dillon said the poor standard of church music stemmed from Vatican II, the Second Vatican Council convened in 1962 by Pope John XXIII which led to Mass being said in English rather than Latin. Her support for sacred music echoes that of leading Scots composer James MacMillan, who Ms Dillon has invited to be patron of the new academy.

Mr MacMillan was commissioned to write new sacred music for masses in Glasgow and Birmingham during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britian in 2010 and caused controversy within the Catholic church when he claimed, in a letter to The Herald, the trend for "touchy-feely-smiley-dancey folk" worship had "repulsed" young people and "put them off going to church in their droves".

In his address tonight at St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow, Mr MacMillan will repeat Pope Benedict's message that "the world needs beauty in order not to sink into despair" and that music is the most spiritual of the arts.

Asked by The Herald if he hoped the AOSM would improve the standard of sung music at Mass, Mr MacMillan said: "I have no doubt the initiative will have a practical impact. The AOSM is a wonderful development in liturgical music in Glasgow."

The AOSM, which is open to all religions and none, is based at Renfield St Stephen's Centre in Bath Street and runs choral classes for young people from the age of five to 18. It already has 25 students from state schools, including Glasgow's Holyrood Secondary and Uddingston Grammar.

Holyrood pupil Rosie Lavery, 14, said she would like her own church in King's Park to start a choir so she and her friends could influence what was sung. She added: "At the moment the music is sung by the congregation and it's pretty dull."

My Final Comments:

At St. Joseph Church and I suspect for some it is controversial, each Mass every Sunday provides the same music as a point of unity between the Masses and our one congregation. In other words, we don't cater each Mass to targeted groups, but rather teach them a singing repretorie from our hymnal. We are trying to create a parish tradition of music that will remain with the parish and our parishioners for the long-run.

But what is sad about this is that there isn't the same concern to do this on a diocesan or universal level, yet at least. The best thing about the pre-Vatican II era was the Sung Mass, although I'm told that the low Mass was the norm and that sung Masses weren't often very well done. I don't need to believe that rewriting of history.

In pre-Vatican II times, choirs were essential and every parish tried to have one in order to sing the High Mass. As now, the quality of choirs varied from parish to parish in pre-VAtican II times. Some choirs could sing very difficult Gregorian Chant others had to settle for plain chant, but chant they did. Some choirs did the more difficult choir Masses but not every Sunday.

The common thread in all of this was the universality of the style of music for the High Mass. You knew what was Catholic and you knew what wasn't.

For the most part, every parish that had a sung Mass on Sunday and that was most parishes, knew Gregorian chant either in its solemn or simple form for the Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Gradual, Credo, Offertory Antiphon, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and Communion Antiphon. Of course there are a variety of settings for the Latin version of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei some of which are complex but others quite simple. But all of them were based upon the same principle.

Apart from Latin, although Latin certainly figures into the equation, music united Catholic congregations worldwide into a specifically Catholic style and ethos of singing.

This is no longer the case and worship and praise music has disintegrated Catholic unity even further into oblivion and protestant nonsensicalness as it concerns this type of singing.

What will it take for the Pope and each bishop in every diocese to mandate Gregorian Chant once again as the norm for the Sung Mass whether in Latin or the vernacular. Do we need more deconstruction of the Catholic Mass's spirituality and musical identity as tripe like what is in the video above is foisted on young people who will then take it and leave for the place where it properly belongs, non-denominational Protestant Churches?

Friday, November 23, 2012


Here is an Anglican religious reporter Giles Fraser that you can compare to the Catholic Robert Mickens one below it. Oddly it is the same recrimination toward the Church of England and its implosion begun by progressive policies put in place by democratic processes, the same democratic processes that traditionalists are using to their advantage to overturn, but of course, with politics, that could all change tomorrow and the non-traditionalists can accelerate the Church of England's implosion creating more debris, but not just of scandal but of the faith itself which is in pieces as it is as it tries to be faithful to relevancy rather than Jesus Christ.

Robert Mickens writes for the Tablet out of London, but it is the National Catholic Reporter's counterpart there, radical and with outdated progressiveness. So this gives you context for his agenda and vision for the Church and what he describes as the monarchical implosion of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church which obviously will be saved by the democratic processes the Church of England has adopted, all the more absurd:

Which debris do you prefer? Faith debris of the Anglican Communion or temporary scandal debris of the Catholic Church at this time? Just wondering!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


My first cousin Archibald Duncan in "Sandyfied" Long Island sent these scanned pictures yesterday and a brief family tree of my father's side of his family.

The first picture is my grandfather, my father's father, who died in 1937--I can see where I get my rugged, handsome good looks! (Actually he resembles my first cousin Duncan when he was young.) I don't recall ever seeing this photo of him so young. Also, I had no idea that my grandfather died on the same day and date of my mother's birthday party in Livorno, Italy on October 18, 1937 when she turned 18 years old but my father didn't marry her until December 1,1945 !

The second image is of me taken yesterday, so that you can compare it to my grandfather and my father below it; the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree? I don't know.

The third image is of my father and his father on the Empire State Building around 1933. My father had moved to New York from Detroit, by way of Judique, Cape Breton (Nova Scotia) around 1930 or shortly after the Great Depression began, which closed down Ford Motor's Aircraft division in Detroit (where my father shook hands with Amelia Earhart who was at the factory to look at a plane to buy!)

The fourth image is a basic family tree of my grandfather and his children (all from Cape Breton). Another tidbit of information, and I believe this is correct, my stepgrandmother, Mary McMaster is related to Buddy McMaster the famous fiddle player from Judique, Nova Scotia. His family continues his grand tradition. I can remember as a teenager visiting Judique with my dad Buddy McMaster playing the fiddle with his daughter accompanying him on the piano at their home in Judique!

The Fifth image is of Buddy McMaster.

The sixth image is my mother and me on the Amalfi Coast south of Napoli!


Mulberry Street United Methodist Church

Saint Joseph Catholic Church

Temple Beth Israel


The following is the opening paragraph and closing paragraph of my homily for our annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday. It was my turn to preach at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church. Temple Beth Israel and Saint Joseph Church have been doing this since about 1966! Thanksgiving is America's ability to acknowledge our thankfulness to God and transcends the divisions in belief in our country. It is secular religion at its best!

In Judaism, a benediction (expression of praise or thanks directed to God) that is recited at specific points of the synagogue liturgy, during private prayer, or on other occasions (e.g., before performing a commandment or for being spared from harm in the face of danger). Most berakoth begin with the words Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam ("Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe"). Those of us in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church would say in Latin as we prepare the bread and wine for the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, that we call the Holy Eucharist, “Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi!” Our great prayer of Thanksgiving in the Most Holy Eucharist begins our BERAKAH, as we remember God’s intervention in our human, salvation history to save us from the harm of sin and death. In fact during our Christian Berakah, as the wonders of God are told, we cannot hold back our joy and we sing aloud, “Wow, wow, wow! What a wonderful God we have!” But rather than in the colloquialism of Wow, Wow, Wow, we use our actual ritual language of the Mass, which in Latin is Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth, or in English, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts.”

...I would like to make Rev. Paul Griffin’s final words in his talk on Thanksgiving my own:
[On Thanksgiving Day] “We Americans will once again gather around tables of food with family and friends to recall the tremendous blessings that God has freely bestowed upon us and our country. This is a beautiful tradition of which we are justly proud. However, the[ mature people of faith] know that every day of our lives is a gift from God worthy of thanks, and that each passing day provides us with the opportunity to thank Him with grateful hearts which reflect His love within our world.”

Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha-Olam!

Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi!

Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Blogger Father Pablo said...

There is a rich history of sacred music in Latin America, in particular in Mexico and Bolivia. Throughout the Spanish colonial era local composers wrote some of the most beautiful sacred works such as Manuel de Zumaya.

What tends to happen in the United States is that those in charge of the music ministry at Masses in Spanish are from the Caribbean and they have a very particular style of music which in my country (Peru) you would NEVER hear at Mass.

This is a constant problem within Hispanic communities in the USA, that the music at Mass does not match what folks are used to back in their home country (unless they're from the Caribbean).

Attempts to have song books like "Flor y Canto" are not very effective since they cannot capture the musical variety from Latin America. These books also have songs translated from English into Spanish which are awkward to sing.

I don't know if this link below will work, but it's an example of Zumaya's work, composed in Mexico by a Mexican musician with text in Spanish:

November 20, 2012 11:26 PM

Blogger Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Pablo, that is my biggest concern if I ever am assigned to a parish with a significant number of Spanish speaking Catholics. What I have experienced in our diocese in both Anglo and Hispanic communities in terms of so-called liturgical music is simply abysmal and its seems that Anglo's have won the day in terms of imposing our godawful tradition of poor liturgical music that we invented after Vatican II upon the multi-cultural expressions of Latinos in our country. I would not know where to start in terms of leading Hispanic congregations, in terms of the Holy Mass, back to a more traditional model of Catholic chant and liturgical music.

Is there a move within the Hispanic community to recover chant both in Latin and Spanish and a higher quality of liturgical music and choral singing led by organ or no instrumentation. And with the Hispanic's love of more lively types of contemporary Catholic music, can't that be shifted to popular devotions and prayer services apart from the Holy Mass???? Just wondering!

Here is one such solution offered at the CHANT CAFE, PRESS HERE!

November 21, 2012 7:05 AM


My comments first: Religion and politics don't mix and shouldn't be discussed in polite company. Yet the Church is, as the post-Vatican II saying goes, the people of God, the mystical Body of Christ, human and divine. So if the Church is people, the Church is, well, faithful, unfaithful, saintly, and sinnerly. And the Church is involved in politics, Democrat, Republican and Independent politics. And since the Church's clergy are not from Mars, aren't plucked from trees and aren't robots or Stepford wives (younger generation look that up), they are a part of those from whom they came--the laity and formed by them in the bosom of their upbringing.

So, I like what this United Methodist from Georgia has to write in his editorial in the Macon Telegraph. I just wish he would have said that perhaps in both the clergy and laity there is also a loss of faith, discipline and willingness to acknowledge that the Church lives in the midst of the world and is also afflicted as Jesus Christ was in His public ministry where He was misunderstood, but more often fully understood, and that is why so many left His company and eventually many of them conspired to kill Him. But He came back and remains, but the cycle of understanding and misunderstanding Jesus continues and still people depart because they don't understand or worst yet do understand and simply don't believe it!

We are all to blame for church membership decline

By DICK YARBROUGH - Special to The Macon Telegraph, November 20, 2012

A recent study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Life reveals that for the first time in our history, fewer than half of American adults say they are Protestant (48 percent). This marks the first time in Pew Research Center surveys that the Protestant share of the population has dipped significantly below 50 percent.

There are now more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6 percent of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation. Why is that?

Overwhelmingly, the unaffiliated say they think religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics. For that, we -- Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians and you-name-it – can all take the blame. We are the church. If people are getting turned off by organized religion, we are the ones doing the turning. At least those of us who think our way is the only way. When I hear people ranting about prayer in schools, I wonder if they pray at home. When people demand the Ten Commandments be placed in government buildings, I wonder if those same people faithfully live the Commandments. (MY COMMENT here: I like the above paragraph because the reasons the 33 million give for not going to church or being unaffiliated precisely describes who they are in their own lives--it is a serious case of projecting onto the institutional Church their own disposition, which evidently they don't like, it is called self-loathing, but they are in psychological denial about it!)

Religion is under attack and we have no one to blame but ourselves. Most of us don’t walk our religious talk and it shows in a younger generation that seems to want no part of us for that reason.

While mulling these developments over in my mind, I have been involved in a work assignment with some outstanding Methodists ministers -- male and female, black and white -- from across North Georgia sprinkled with an impressive array of lay people for good measure. A finer bunch you won’t find.

What we were doing was some important work for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church regarding our next generation of leadership. I don’t need to go into a lot of detail but I am honored to be a part of the group, and I think I got more out of the assignment than I put into it.

After I left the meetings, I understand better that the ministry is a calling. Just as is education, medicine and public safety. What makes these professions unique is that each touches some part of our lives. Ministry deals with the soul, medicine with the body, education with the mind and public safety with our whole being. Be half-hearted in any of the above and you will fail miserably and hurt a lot of people in the process. You do these jobs because you are called to do it.

I learned a lot about what it takes to be a Methodist minister during my time with them. Even after two days of close contact, I still don’t know how they do it. Ministers are human beings like you and me, and yet the expectations on them seem unreal at times. They see the very best and very worst of us.

On Sunday, they have to keep us engaged during worship services while they try to pound a bit of love and grace into our hard heads and be sure not to offend anyone in the process. When we leave the sanctuary, store our haloes and get back to business as usual, their work is just beginning. It could be anything from consoling the bereaved to counseling the confused to uniting a pair of lovebirds to feeding and clothing the poor to getting us off our duffs and out in the community to serve others to listening to whiny members complain about hymn selection last week.

And their leaders don’t make it any easier. The United Methodist Church’s Council of Bishops were part of a letter to Congress -- along with leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- accusing the Israeli government of human rights violations. I don’t know much about the thought processes of the Council of Bishops but I know a bit about politics. That letter won’t amount to a hill of beans.

Maybe that crowd didn’t get the memo about people being turned off by religious organizations that get involved in politics. Maybe they need to read the Pew Study again.

Mainline churches are experiencing membership losses. That is a fact. I can’t lay the problem at the feet of the good and decent ministers I have come to know and appreciate in my work with them. They are doing the best they can. The problem lies with the rest of us. After all, we are all the church. This is our fault.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Of the Liturgy:

There has been much discussion about our current Roman Catholic Mass and what it has done to the Church, for better or worse, since the heady days of the Second Vatican Council. Two high ranking prelates, Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who seem to be on the opposite ends of the liturgical spectrum, have offered some analysis that may help the Church in its future liturgical development.

In an article titled “Liturgy and Common Ground” in America magazine (1999), Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland critiques the various factions who are concerned about our Holy Mass. He writes, “Something that should be a point of unity in the church, the Eucharist, has now become the most conspicuous point of disagreement and tension.” But he adds reason for hope, “that people—from prelates and scholars to worshiping faithful—are genuinely concerned about the quality of the prayer life of the Church.”

To those who desire the Pre-Vatican II liturgy as a remedy for what they perceive as a loss of dignity and the sacred in the current Mass, Archbishop Weakland wonders if they disagree with the Second Vatican Council altogether? We cannot ignore the Second Vatican Council. Should the bishops cater to retrograde reactionaries whose mission in fact is divisive? Local bishops should rightly be concerned about reactionary groups in any given diocese who wish to undo the Second Vatican Council, not only in Liturgy but also in the inclusion of the laity in areas of ministry and liturgy once forbidden to them. In addition, are these groups opposed to the revised Mass when it is properly celebrated highlighting dignity, solemnity and the sacred? The revised Mass can be as solemn, dignified and sacred if done by the book and with care.

At the opposite extreme, to those who want to continue with the direction of the current reform and go much further, Archbishop Weakland challenges the theology that has caused our Liturgy to drift “into a more horizontal and purely human activity.” He then asks the most startling question of this group: “Has the reform at times led to a diminution of respect for and belief in the real presence in the Eucharist?” He goes on to ask this disturbing question: “In seeking to make the liturgical symbols more true and clear, has the renewal made the symbol more important than what is symbolized?” He notes the use of “real bread” where “ministers” become sloppy about the crumbs and thus diminish belief in the real presence. He asks, “Has the kiss of peace ceased to be a symbolic gesture of reconciliation with one’s neighbor and become a moment for greeting everyone in the church—to the detriment of the symbol and breaking the liturgical moment of preparation for Holy Communion? In the desire to emphasize the nature of the community, has one introduced rites of dubious origin, e.g., holding hands?”

For the more progressive Catholic, Archbishop Weakland’s observations and critiques must be taken seriously for these abuses can in fact force people who desire “sacred and dignified” celebrations of the Mass to reject the current Mass as “flawed in principle” and not just in isolated, illicit, non-rubrical applications of its celebration.

At the other end of the theological debate we have Cardinal Joseph Ratizinger. In an address to “traditionalists” in Rome on October 24, 1998, the Cardinal made some interesting points. A fine reading of his presentation will show that the Cardinal’s remarks are as critical of some “traditionalists” as they are of those whose celebrations of the reformed Mass diminish its sacred character.

One of the more controversial assertions the Cardinal makes is, “The Church has never abolished Orthodox Liturgies.” Within this context Cardinal Ratzinger is sympathetic to those who desire the Tridentine Mass but also acknowledges that many claim that having two “Roman Rites” can harm the unity of the Church. Local bishops definitely need to be concerned about this. He points out, however, in the pre-Vatican II Roman Church, there were many variations of the Liturgy that existed alongside the Roman Rite, e.g. the Ambrosian rite, the Mozarabic rite of Toledo, the rite of Braga, the rite of the Cistercians and of the Carmelites as well as the Dominicans. He states that in that era of diversity, no one was scandalized by the variations but “we were proud of this richness in having many different traditions.”

Then the Cardinal makes his most important theological or doctrinal point. The Second Vatican Council Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy “itself does not say a word about celebrating Mass facing the altar or facing the people. And on the subject of language, it says Latin ought to be preserved while giving greater space to the vernacular...As for the participation of lay people, the Council insists first in general that the Liturgy concerns the entire Body of Christ, head and members, and that for this reason, it belongs to the entire Body of the Church and consequently the liturgy is to be celebrated in community with the active participation of the faithful.” And the text specifies: “In the liturgical celebrations, each person, whether as a minister or as one of the faithful, should perform his role by doing solely and totally what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him. By way of promoting active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamation, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures and bodily attitudes. And at the proper time all should observe a reverent silence.”

In other words, what the Second Vatican Council teaches applies to those who wish the Pre-Vatican II Mass as well as those who maintain the revised Liturgy. The Cardinal has some scathing remarks for those who corrupt the revised Liturgy according to the very same critiques as Archbishop Weakland. But Cardinal Ratzinger also criticizes those who desire an aberrant form of the Pre-Vatican II Mass which slipped too much into the domain of the individual and the private, and that the communion between priests and faithful was insufficient. Cardinal Ratizinger insists that if the Old Latin Mass is celebrated, it should be with the full, conscious and active participation of the people, a development that was occurring already in the late 1950’s prior to the council. This came to be known at the “Dialog Mass.” Even then, the “Dialog Mass” foresaw the use of lay lectors and commentators as an application of the principle of the laity performing “what the nature of things and liturgical norms require of him.”

The difference of attitudes between Archbishop Weakland and Cardinal Ratzinger are not that dramatic. In one sense Cardinal Ratzinger is actually more liberal. He believes that the Tridentine Mass and the Revised Mass can coexist side by side if the principles of the Second Vatican Council regarding active participation are observed in both. He sees the allowance of the Tridentine Mass as a way to preserve the sacred character of the revised Mass, since it is there that the two should converge and show continuity between the old and the new.

It would seem that if the Old Latin Mass is allowed in any diocese or parish, then the local bishop has a grave responsibility to make sure that the principles of active participation of the faithful should be guaranteed, as the Second Vatican Council makes clear! It should not be too much for local bishops to request from Rome or mandate by their own legitimate authority that lay-lectors be used for the reading of Scripture, the use of Extra-ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as needed, and leaders of song to encourage active participation. The question of the use of the full array of Scriptures from the current three-year cycle lectionary as a point of convergence between the two liturgies should rightly be explored. And obviously the Scriptures and sermon should be allowed in the vernacular as they were in the late 1950’s.

Celebrating the Post-Vatican II liturgy as it is prescribed and not allowing it to be diminished through banalities or super-creativity imposed upon it by priests, liturgy committees or congregations could enhance the Revised Liturgy as well. Doing it by the book and making sure the principles of active participation are observed would show the unity and continuity between the two masses. If the pre-Vatican II liturgy needs to recapture its human horizontal dimensions, so too the revised Mass must recapture its vertical, sacred dimensions as well!

When those who desire the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass are denied this permission while others who celebrate charismatic Masses, inculturated Masses and a whole variety of approved and disapproved expressions of the current Mass go unchallenged, it is no wonder they become reactionary and obstinate.

Finally, many would argue that the two liturgies could co-exist side by side and creating respect and unity among the advocates of both. At the heart of both is the real presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ and His One Sacrifice that brings salvation to the world. And at the heart of both is “The Body of Christ” the Church who celebrates and journeys toward the heavenly Liturgy of which the earthly liturgy is but a foretaste!

Monday, November 19, 2012


I think one of the things that has created more disunity in the Church and more babel is inculturation being brought into the Mass as it regards music, dance, exuberance and the like.

One of the worst things for the Church's unity and peace has been the vernacular because everyone has his or her own opinion of which vernacular should be used, how high or low, formal or pedestrian. Just think of the liturgical and cultural wars that are taking place in the Church and only for the past 50 years because of the allowance of the vernacular and inculturation. Think of all the useless energy spent of complaining about the English translation of the Mass in its older equivalent model and now in its more stringent literal translation that eschews the pedestrian approach.

Was there all this angst about language and culture prior to Vatican II-no,no,no!

So I would suggest to the powers that be that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass recover its universal appeal by reverting to Latin as the official language of the Mass everywhere for the parts of the Mass that don't change and the vernacular of a very literal translation of the Latin for that which does change.

However, for popular devotions such as the rich variety that our Mexican and other Hispanic brothers and sisters have, more power to them! Let it all hang out. I think of outdoor processions that are loud and boisterous. I think of those who make pilgrimages on their knees. I think of the authentic religious dance of Africans.

I think of the use of the vernacular for the Sacraments of Holy Matrimony, and Holy Baptism. I think there can be legitimate cultural adaptions here and I especially like the ones of the Mexican and Filipino cultures.

THE HOLY FATHER IS THE ONE WHO CALLS FOR MUTUAL ENRICHMENT, NOT I, AND SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM STATES THE READINGS MAY BE IN THE 1962 MISSAL AND WITHOUT DISTINCTION BETWEEN LOW, HIGH AND SOLEMN HIGH MASS; I'M FOLLOWING THIS MOST AUTHORITATIVE DIRECTIVE AND NOTHING THAT SOMES FROM A LESSER AUTHORITY AT THE VATICAN! SP STATES EMPHATICALLY: The fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the use of English in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is to be found in Article 6 of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio: Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.

The Holy Father called for "mutual enrichment." If I understand my English correctly, that mean that both influence the other, mutual enrichment does not mean a one way enrichment, from the EF to the OF only!
As I understand it from high sources in the Vatican a new Missal that is neither totally EF or totally OF will result from the "organic development" the recovery of the EF will provide and I suspect it will evolve from what is experimented on the grassroots level, such as vernacular for the Liturgy of the Word, facing the congregation; Latin for the unchanging parts of the Mass or at least what Pope Benedict now models, and noble simplicity, which means the Communion Rite of the OF rather than the EF. In other words, the new missal of the future will be very much in continuity with the EF but will organically produce what Vatican II actually anticipated, not what iconoclasts gave us.

In the letter of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, which accompanies the motu proprio, Summroum Pontifcum, which you can read here, he states the following and even gives some examples of this "mutual enrichemnt" a term His Holiness uses, not I:

"It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. (my comment: this could describe some exaggerated opinions of my EF adherents! But I try to follow this next sentence!) Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal."

And Summorum Pontificum states that the Scriptures may be read in the vernacular and this trumps other opinions even in high places. The fundamental basis for the legitimacy of the use of English in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is to be found in Article 6 of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio and this authoritative decree from the Holy Father himself trumps any subsequent pulling back from this from lesser authorities even in the Vatican:

SP,Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognized by the Apostolic See.