Monday, December 10, 2012


The reenactment of the One Sacrifice of Christ in an unbloody was in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at Saint Peter's Basilica a couple of months ago and the reenactment of a Civil War battle in an unbloody way in Aiken, South Carolina in February of 2012. Which image is play acting and which one isn't and which one is deleterious to the Catholic Faith of the participant?

Actually this article in what WDTPRS description of it as Fishwrap or also known as the NATIONAL cATHOLIC REPORTER, and soon to be challenged to drop the word Catholic, or make it a little "c" cATHOLIC rEPORTER, is actually kind of good and tries to make some valid points, at least on the pastoral theology level. But that is where it also derails and veers off the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in any form that it is celebrated validly in the world. It is written by a Father Ron Schmit who is a pastor in California. Now I know a Father Ron Schmit who was my parishioner at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, who was a widower with children, who sang in our very traditional choir and who became a Jesuit priest in the 1990's in the California province. I wonder if this is the one and the same Father Ron Schmit who was my parishioner in Augusta in the 1990's????????? You can read his article by pressing this paragraph.

Here are some excerpts from his article. This first paragraph makes me think that he did live in Augusta, because 16 miles away in Aiken, South Carolina, they do what he says about Civil War (I mean War Between the States) reenactments and it makes me wonder if he reads "southern orders?":

"Some people like to spend weekends reenacting the Civil War. They dress in period costume. They stage mock battles of Union and Confederate soldiers. It's a harmless hobby. I just figured that the people attached to this "extraordinary form" were the liturgical version of societies for anachronistic re-enactment."

Then Father Ron makes this incredible statement with a broad brush of paint:

"But, I have come to change my opinion. Those attached to the extraordinary form are not like Civil War re-enactment societies. At least those people know they are play-acting about a time that can never return. The people attached to the extraordinary form are seriously trying to enact a particular worldview and understanding of church. And it is an understanding that we left behind at the Second Vatican Council. It is a worldview that is incompatible with the council."

The above is rather incredible! All I can write is "REALLY?"

Now this is where a pastoral truth elevated to a dogma hijacks the Liturgy, which is precisely what has happened to the post Vatican II Mass or at least progressive Catholics perception of the post Vatican II Mass:

"The definition of who we are as church comes alive in the liturgy. Vatican II described the church as a priestly people called on a mission...The council's vision of a priestly people on mission necessitated a liturgy that could prepare disciples ready to take up their responsibilities. The council looked to the church's distant past to recover ritual elements that were instrumental in preparing the baptized to take active responsibility for Christ's priestly, prophetic and royal mission."

I would have thought, and this is in continuity with more than 1900 years of Scripture and Tradition, that the Mass is first and foremost the reenactment of the One Sacrifice of Christ in an "unbloody" way for us and our eternal salvation. And that our Communion in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, is a share in that redemption wrought by the One Sacrifice of Christ when we receive Him worthily and in a state of grace! And this is true in the EF and OF forms of the one Roman Rite!

To say that the liturgy is first and foremost makes alive the horizontal aspect of the Church as a priestly people on a mission, really makes me want to puke. Let me join the Knights of Columbus for that! I would say that placing this emphasis and imposing it on the Mass is the single worst corruption of the theology of the Mass by post Vatican II Catholics!


Robert Kumpel said...

As ridiculous as Fr. Ron's statements about the EF are, perhaps we should consider what the actual circulation and online readership is for the National Catholic Reporter. My guess is that their readership and subscriptions are low. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the majority of their readers were members of the news media looking for some new thing to slam Catholics with and orthodox people like ourselves, who are scanning to examine their latest adventures in heresy.

Gene said...

Fr. Ron is clearly an unbeliever. Literally, to Hell with him...

Hammer of Fascists said...

I don't even know where to begin with this one.

In the first place, I find his statements about re-enactors engaging in "play-acting" to be highly offensive. Regardless of the morality of the slavery issue, Southerners are the only Americans to have experienced a major invasion, military conquest, and destruction of their society and culture (and blacks experienced this as well as whites, being abandoned by northerners at a critical moment in Reconstruction). Re-enactors are re-enacting, not play-acting. They are, as the Passover berakh prayer emphasizes, engaging in not the remembrance of something that happened, but the recalling that the attendees are part of the story, the product of a culture that came out of that war. For that very reason, in RCIA, I quote the famous passage from Faulkner's _Intruder in the Dust_ to communicate to them the idea that the Mass makes the sacrifice on Calvary present to the world today instead of just stating that it is something that happened once upon a time. (For those of you who want to read the extended quotation, it begins with the sentence "It's all now you see. Yesterday won't be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago." Google will bring it up.) To call either Civil War re-enactment or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass "play-acting" is to offer insult to both. At the very least it fails to understand the essential nature of the Mass and the Eucharist.

Next: Again with this modernist-heretical mantra about recovering early Christian liturgical practices. In the first place, that's flat-out Protestant. The whole point of the Baptists and many other Protestant groups was to throw out all the historical development and get back to some idealized original Church, refusing to recognize the true Church for what she is. If that's whatthese people want, why not just go to a Protestant church? But as if that isn't bad enough, the Catholic version they have foisted upon us is deliberately disingenuous about what those early practices were, thus passing off innovations as somehow historically legitimate.

I won't dignify his groovy "We are Church" take on the social justice-influenced purpose of the Mass with a comment since I believe that Fr. McD has answered him sufficiently.

Changing the subject slightly, though, I will, however, offer a meditation on this quotation of Fr. McD's: "Now this is where a pastoral truth elevated to a dogma hijacks the Liturgy, which is precisely what has happened to the post Vatican II Mass . . ." This is similar to arguments I, and others here, have been putting forward as a possible explanation of VII, viz., is it possible that some VII documents contain some pastoral truths that don't rise to the level of doctrine, but which have been erroneously elevated to doctrinal status?

Henry Edwards said...

It occurs to me that TLM devotees, who live in dioceses whose leadership does not share their own enthusiasm for the usus antiquor, can at least be reassured by articles like this, that ours is the winning side of history, and the other side knows it, indeed, is getting pretty frenetic about the handwriting they see on the wall.

Anonymous 2 said...

It is an interesting article and the author arguably does make some good points. At the very least the telling quote from Pope Paul VI regarding the risk of the TLM “becom[ing] the symbol of the condemnation of the council” deserves our attention and warrants further exploration. It suggests that what the author is really concerned about is rejection of Vatican II. And isn’t he right to be concerned about that? And isn’t he also right to suggest that for some the TLM may today still be seen as a “symbol for the rejection of the council?” Tell me it ain’t so, as the expression goes.

That said, doesn’t he ultimately overstate his case? Although it might be such a symbol for some, for others (including, I am sure, Father McDonald and many readers of this Blog), it is not viewed as a symbol for rejecting Vatican II but as a way of returning to the true intent of Vatican II (a point the author seems to miss entirely).

So, isn’t Vatican II, then, the proper measure of how matters are to be properly understood and of what is and is not appropriate in the liturgy of the Mass? To the extent diversity of liturgical form is permitted/envisaged by the Council, then why not have such diversity, including the EF TLM (but not exclusively)? And to the extent the Mass is envisaged by Vatican II as both the reenactment of Christ’s sacrifice for our eternal salvation _ and _ as preparing a priestly people for mission, then shouldn’t we see it that way too?

Can’t we overcome this tendency to extremism and divisiveness, on both sides, by submitting to Vatican II as properly understood? That way, the TLM would not be viewed as a symbol for the rejection of the Council, and people like the author would not over-react because they feel threatened by those who do see it that way?

Although people may quibble about the details (is a reverently celebrated OF folk mass permissible or not, for example?), Father McDonald’s attempt to take the via media aligned with the true intent of Vatican II is surely correct.

And, Gene, surely you don’t mean what you say. . . . literally!

Unknown said...

I think that what enrages me most is that this view is so mainstream. Not only with regard to the TLM, but also the Novus Ordo. (Just look at an ongoing debate I've been having with another.)

The Mass, is not a re-enactment, it is a re-presentation. It IS the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary commemorating that day when Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice. Regardless of form, regardless of politic, regardless of mentality, the Truth of the Sacrament remains. The Truth of the liturgical action remains.

The TLM is not, nor has it ever been anything remotely close to what goes on on the historic battlefields of the War of Northern Aggression (Whilst I live in the North now, my roots are in Tennessee).

ytc said...

Anon 2, silly goose! Paul VI HIMSELF authorized the first post-Novus Ordo indult to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal! It was for England and Wales. Then JPII expanded it to the entire Latin Church. Then Benedict XVI, reigning gloriously, said you don't have to have your bishop's permission anymore.

Anonymous 2 said...

Ytc, Thanks for the clarification. However, I don’t_think_ I was gobbling the point uncritically, although I may have garbled it when reporting. So perhaps garbled but not gobbled =)? Arguably, read in context of the entire relevant passage in the article, the point about the TLM being used by some as a symbol for the rejection of Vatican II, and being perceived by others as being so used, is still valid. Thus the author was not writing about the TLM in general, or its permissibility in England and Wales, but about the risks incurred in “conced[ing] the 1962 missal to breakaway Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers.” And that concern would seem generalizable beyond Archbishop Lefebre.

Take a look at the quote in the article and let us know what you think. Also, perhaps the author has misquoted Pope Paul or the source from which he derives that quote, or perhaps the quote is taken out of context.

ytc said...

I'd say the vast majority of Catholics have never even heard of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Perhaps a minority of interested people in the in-communion Traditionalist community have. It strikes me that the people who are most fabulously aware of His Excellency are, other than SSPX-ers, ironically, NCReporter types!

I do not think people normally think of the EF as a rejection of Vatican II when they are given a rational five minute catechesis.

I personally do not reject Vatican II; I think that's a bit stupid. I reject what is becoming increasingly clear as a false interpretation and hypebeast application of it. Furthermore, I believe some of the pastoral issues of the Council no longer apply or apply in a very different way and so some of the Council's pastoral solutions no longer work.

John Nolan said...


The 1971 Indult for England and Wales actually specified the missal as revised in 1967. This differs in many important respects from the Tridentine Mass - for example the Communion Rite and the Dismissal are as per the Novus Ordo, the priest kisses the altar only twice, the Host remains on the paten throughout, and all the rubrics for the Canon are scrapped save for two genuflections and one sign of the cross.

I don't know if anyone actually celebrated an Indult Mass in this form; the few I went to in the
1970s were certainly 1962.

WSquared said...

As regards your question, Fr. McDonald, I think I will posit that it's both at once.

"Literally, to Hell with him..."

Gene, for the love of God: surely you don't mean that.

And here's why I will venture to say that it's both: the Mass really is a sign of our eternal redemption when we worthily participate in it. And we can be no "priestly people" without it: sure, there's a priesthood of all believers from which the Sacramental priesthood is and should be seen as set aside for a specific purpose, but here's the catch-- can we really be a "priestly people on a mission" without (Communion with) the High Priest Himself? Do we really presume that any mission to "make disciples of all nations" will succeed without Him?

...does anybody, for that matter (and this does seem to be a constant problem with the "Spirit of Vatican II"), presume that we can share the love of Christ and Christ's love with others if we don't even know who He is? There is no Body of Christ without the Mass.

Gene said...

I do mean it, and here is how and why. Statements such as this, and the theology (if you can call it that) behind them, are representative of unbelief.

Unbelief is not the same thing as nonbelief; unbelief is the mindset of theologically educated Priests, clergy, seminary and divinity school professors, and parishioners who have lost their faith. They do not believe in the Divinity of Christ, His bodily Resurrection, or His coming again to establish His Kingdom. Jesus of Nazareth, the bastard son of a delusional Jewish girl, lived the Truly Good Life; he was the Truly Good Man. Therefore, we should build an ethic based upon his teachings and try to be "like" him. Of course, since there is no basis for a Christian Ethic to be found in Scripture (I mean a systematic, philosophical ethic),we have to use other ethical systems to incorporate Jesus' teachings in a rationalist ethic. But, that is another story...
The only thing left for unbelief is to try to create a good society here on earth because this is all there is. That is why these people are constantly vomiting up nostrums about "social justice," "political action," and egalitarian (read socialist) social policy. It is there eschatology...their only hope.
They hate the TLM and traditional Catholic identity because it calls what they are doing a lie. The TLM and traditional Catholicism believes in what the Creed says...literally. If these people do not believe in that literally, then they are already in Hell...literally. The Church and the seminaries are full of unbelievers like this Jesuit. They cannot be honest abhout their true belief...witness the agony of old Millies who was on the blog for a while spouting all kinds of social justice theory until I asked him if he believed in the literal Resurrection of Christ. He told me I had insulted him by asking such a question, said I was baiting him, and said it was beneath him to ask such a question. Even old Anon2, in a rare moment of confrontational behavior for him, insisted that he answer the question. Millie left the blog. Praise God from whom all blessings flow... So much for the "academic expression of faith."
So, there you have it. The Church is full of Modernist, post-Christian Bishops and Priests who are lying to their parishioners. You can only identify them by reading between their lines and observing their behavior. This is difficult, for "the Serpent was more subtle than any other creature the Lord God had made...."
Watch them, though. It is axiomatic in personality theory that, ultimately, people behave the way they really feel.