Tuesday, December 25, 2012


The Holy Father once again resurrected the fannon, the cape like garment placed over the chasuble and worn by popes at Mass for centuries until the reforms of the 1962 missal. You can clearly see it in the video below:

Raw: Midnight Mass at the Vatican by associatedpress
And I had a brainstorm during my meditations yesterday and it concerned the new and more elegant translation of the English Missal. As you know the more progressive camp in the Church, my age group, doesn't like it. I finally realized why. They now see the disconnect between the words of the Mass which are very formal and elegant, majestic and the manner in which they celebrate the Mass, which in keeping with the casualness of the previous translation, is a Mass that is quite casual, sloppy and folksy.

They haven't realized that the new translation needs a formal style of celebrating the Mass and that you can't put the new wine of this superb translation into the old wine skins of the happy clappy Mass of the recent past.

Now you know the real reason for the dislike of the new translation--it forces them to bring up the quality of their own celebrations of the Mass and make it more formal.

And, by the way, our Midnight Mass's Liturgy of the Eucharist was celebrated ad orientem. It was splendid, but unfortunately no video or pictures, unless someone took them behind my back! :)



Henry Edwards said...

From Jeffrey Tucker:

"If you understand this, it needs no explaining. If you do not, you just have to take it on faith that this is an absolutely outstanding sign of things to come."

I'm inclined to think this more significant than the fanon, emphasizing as it does active prayerful participation by receptivity. Someone remarked that the silence prompted by this gradual suggested the contemplation that such elaborate Gregorian chant is intended to inspire

The gradual I recall previously in St. Peters's was essentially a solo by cantor. Now, a real gradual in the prescribed Gregorian chant by schola. This gradual was followed by "solo" allelulia by the cantor shown standing at ambo during the gradual.

Templar said...

The lady in front of me was video recording it on her iPhone like it was a new Broadway play. Her responses were per-revised translation though, and she believed Mass ended after Communion, so perhaps this was all starling and new to her.

Midnight Mass was beautiful though, thank you for the special touches Father (ad orientem, and the Latin Gloria)and thank you even more so for the things which we begged for as special just a year ago and now are routine (kneelers and intinction). You could almost make a guy happy to attend an OF Mass. LOL

Saddened so many didn't get a chance to read or hear the Pope's Homily before attending your Mass, as we lost 15% of the congregation after doubt had to rush home to get ready for Christmas Morning.

All kidding aside, Merry Christmas to all.

Rood Screen said...

Is anyone else surprised bishops, or at least cardinals, are not generally following the Holy Father's liturgical examples? The fannon, of course, is a unique case, but one would think the Holy Father's use of a centralized altar cross, Communion to kneeling communicants, and Latin at multi-lingual gatherings, would gather some steam among them.
I've just offered five Christmas Masses ("quination"?), with three O.F. English, one OF Spanish, and one E.F. (midnight). The only one that did not tire me was the E.F., because there were no distracting variables. There are neither modern nor traditional choices to make in the E.F., and the E.F. congregation is consistent in its participation. The E.F. is just sacrificial worship, and that's all, and I prefer it for myself and for my "sheep".
What, precisely, does the Holy Father hope to accomplish by his traditional liturgical choices? What are his successes beyond his own celebrations?

Henry Edwards said...

Might our Holy Father's more pragmatic objective be to influence younger priests and seminarians who in due course will be moving into positions of influence, rather than the bishops and senior priests of a certain generation, who largely beyond being influenced favorably? If so, it seems to me that he is both sensible and effective. Because most every young priest and seminarian I know well wants do it like Benedict, even if he's not yet in a position to do so.

rcg said...

I'm gonna see if I can make FrAJM spray eggnog on his omputer: LITURGICAL DANCE! Yep, had 'em at one of the local parishes. My daughter and her husband came back to visit for Christmas and they spent a lot of time at his parent's house. The son-in-law's Mom is a very nice and sweet lady who was veery excited about the afternoon Mass at her parish and they went together. There were Liturgical Dancers. Yhe Mom-in-Law was thrilled. Son-in-Law thought it was pretty strange and commented under his breath to my daughter that if they wanted cute they could have tied a banner to their dog that read Merry Christmas and turned him loose in the sanctuary. He then made little dog whining noises during the dance. As funny as this is to me it shows how foolish the far reaches of interpretation of Vat II and SC have gone, how they undermine the reverence due the Mass even under those silly circumstances, and how it is apparent to the young that this sort of thing is stupid and foolish.

We went to a proper Mass later and played fiddle and banjo at home, where it belongs. The youngest danced in the kitchen, but I think she was teasing me in front of the other children. And I am fine with that.

Православный физик said...

I've been to a parish in the middle of nowhere in Oregon (Pendelton) and the Holy Father's words are catching steam, Communion by Intinction at the rail, Latin Ordinary, twas a beautiful midnight Mass. :)

Henry Edwards, you're onto something I believe. Those that are set in their ways aren't going to move. He's influenced the younger generation of priests who are taking this reform by the horns and running with it. Although I'm a former seminarian, I definitely had the mind of Benedict when I was in.

Fr Shelton, I believe the intent is to work from the bottom up, the victories that I have seen have been at the local parish level...though some Bishops have taken the mind of the Holy Father in the Liturgy, I wish all of them would follow our Holy Father...but it will be at least another generation before we get the full Pope Benedict XVI effect. Particularly when those ordained from 2008 forward get in power.

Unknown said...

Is anyone else surprised bishops, or at least cardinals, are not generally following the Holy Father's liturgical examples?

In a word, no. The vast, vast majority of bishops are not of Benedict's legacy. There are some, but the majority are not. They are of John Paul II's era and we all know him to be a liturgical trainwreck.

As more bishops are consecrated, such as Alex Sample, Conley in Lincoln, Morlino and the like, then we will see movement, but it will not be until the younger priests of today (who are not afraid to wear the proper vestments) consecrated, that we will see those changes wholesale.

Sure, as those priests become pastors they are making small changes, but by and large it is a travesty what we are forced to deal with. Example; I was at my parents parish for Midnight Mass. Father moved the "presidential" chair to slightly askew, but never-the-less in front of the tabernacle. He used gold lame on the altar and had four fat/stubby candles asymmetrically placed about the altar (to convey, what must only be understood as "style").

This is what we have and we (literally the faithful) can do NOTHING about it, because everything has been reduced to logical subjectivism. Father will dismiss any conversation because the faithful don't have any "experience" with the setting of the sanctuary and the like. What a crock.

You're right to ask this question Father, but don't ask us, ask your Ordinary. YOU are the one who will shape the Church in the decades to come, YOU are the one who will make the liturgical/rubrical "reform of the reform" a reality. Don't settle and stand up to abuse. I will support you and there are a great many others who will too. The faithful have a right to the Mass celebrated properly.

What Fr. Pastor did in my parent's parish was abusive, not only to the Mass, but to the faithful who have a right to the Mass celebrated properly. And there is more to celebrating the Mass properly than just saying the words and making the motions....there is also ensuring the servers do their jobs properly, the sanctuary is properly appointed, the proper vestments are worn, the proper songs are sung and the list goes on...

YOU are the molder of minds. YOU are the decider of liturgical fates. YOU have a responsibility. It seems as though you understand this, but the gravity by which it must be approached is often lost.

WE, the faithful, can only do so much. Please God, do the right thing by the faithful, you are our future.


Pater Ignotus said...

Methinks, Good Father McDonald, that the storm you encountered in your meditations had the same effect it had on Dorothy Gale - someting broke loose, smacked you in the head, and transported you to the Liturgucal Land of Oz.

The resulting fog in your brain leads you to ignore what those who do not find the new translations elegant or majestic have actually said, so you make up their "reasons" in your own befuddled thinking.

As a regular reader of the "Pray tell" blog, you know the reasons why many find the new translations less than optimal. You choose, however, to ignore these stated reasons in favor of your own vivid imagination.

It's interesting, I suppose, but rather removed from reality.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI, I am not alone in my uber correct opinion of this glorious translation as The blogs Chant Cafe and New Liturgical Movement agree with me and not you and praytell. PI you continue to live in the liturgical and musical 1970's please come to the CMAA chant intensive in two weeks here!

rcg said...

I tend to be more optimistic than Andy; and more subversive. I think we must strike while the iron is hot and fill the seminaries with young men bent on reform of the reform, return to dignity and reverence to the presence of God. Then they will take care of the Bishops and Lay minister experts for us by saying the Black and doing the Red.

Templar said...

To Father Shelton: No, I am not surprised. It is the Bishops who created the mess, and the Bishops who prolong the mess. The road to hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops.

To Father McDonald: Since PI brought up translations, let me ask a question that has always been in the back of my mind. Why are the readings and Gospel always based on a non-literal translation? It always annoyed me that what was read from the ambo never matched what I had in front of me, but since the new Translations were introduced it really stands out now. Meaning, even the style of the Bible translations seems childish for lack of a better word.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - Like you I am not taken in my smoke and mirrors.

I never said you were "alone" but that you, rather dishonestly, impute motives to others when, in fact, you read regularly what their motives are.

Why is this necessary? Why not deal with what others have said regarding the translation, rather than making things up?

Unknown said...

While I will be dismissed for making this point, I will never-the-less make it:

This whole business of translation could be solved with the return of the Liturgical language to what it was always intended to be, LATIN.

If the devil is in the detail, then Satan is alive in the translation. There will never be consensus. Yet, Satan HATES Latin.

Unknown said...

@ Fr. Shelton;

"I've just offered five Christmas Masses ("quination"?), with three O.F. English, one OF Spanish, and one E.F. (midnight). The only one that did not tire me was the E.F., because there were no distracting variables. There are neither modern nor traditional choices to make in the E.F., and the E.F. congregation is consistent in its participation. The E.F. is just sacrificial worship, and that's all, and I prefer it for myself and for my "sheep"."

Praise God!!!

"What, precisely, does the Holy Father hope to accomplish by his traditional liturgical choices? What are his successes beyond his own celebrations?"

I think that he is attempting to show some sort of continuity. However, that belies his own argument that there is a hermeneutic of discontinuity (or rupture). It is just one proof for my argument that this Holy Father works in the hypothetical/theoretical and not in reality, outside of St. Peter's.

I think that it will fall to the next Pope to put into place his theory. I amend my position, after discussion and prayer to think that the current Holy Father has proposed a hypothesis and a theory.

If he operated in the conclusion, then the changes would be applied throughout the world. I think that Benedict needs to realize that his scope is not just spiritual, but also temporal.

Rood Screen said...

Andy Milam,
I think you're right about the Holy Father's tendency.
I know some have suggested here on this blog that the Holy Father hesitates to mandate anything because he fears scandalous disobedience. However, I would argue that he fears a repetition of the Sixties and Seventies, during which time drastic changes were made in response to legitimate mandates, but without anyone understanding the reason for the changes, or the manner in which they were to be made. Indeed, in many cases reasons seem to have been dreamt up by local "experts", and then passed on down by the priests.
Even more recently, I recall Cardinal Foley, God rest his soul, explaining on international television that Pope Benedict was now distributing Holy Communion only to kneeling communicants because of his short stature! We could expect much more of the same zany explanations were the pope to mandate liturgical or educational reforms.
The real problem for Pope Benedict, it seems to me, is that the Holy Father is not naming bishops and high prelates who share his "reform in continuity" outlook. To be blunt, but without being dangerously specific, it is nearly impossible for priests allied with the BXVI reforms to take concrete steps when our bishops tell us not to do so.

ytc said...

Pope Benedict radiates brilliance. My mother and I watched the Papal Mass for Christmas the other day, and she, who is not Catholic, remarked about this.

I think Pope Benedict is weeding the fields where the seedlings grow and is fertilizing them. A Successor will be the one to tend the young plants.

ytc said...

Fr Shelton, perhaps Pope Benedict isn't naming them because the current generation of men being named bishops aren't one with the liturgical mens of the Holy Father.

Let's face it, men under 50 or so aren't generally made bishops, much less 35 as Canon Law prescribes. The men generally most supportive of the Holy Father's liturgical practice seem to be those under 40 or so, most especially the youngest priests. I don't suggest 27 year olds start being consecrated.

Either the Holy Father himself is a generational anomaly, or he has simply been honest with himself and is so brilliant that he was not wooed by the post-Conciliar Kool-Aid.

And while most bishops aren't explicitly supportive of the Holy Father's liturgical stances, it seems that very few are vocally against them. I don't think the Pope is unawares of all this. I believe we won't see large shifts in episcopal appointments for another ten or so years. And let it not be forgotten than recent appointments have been exceedingly fantastic in moral areas, if not rather liturgically uninteresting. Episcopal support for a liturgical revision will come in due time.

Capt. Morgan said...

While I would agree with several posters as to His Holiness' intents toward reform, i must disagree with the premise that these "seeds planted" will bare fruit in the future without a return to the hierarchical structures that existed pre-Vatican II. As Fr. Shelton noted, without the support of the Bishops, local Priests are without recourse. And collegiality and Conferences breed a certain autonomy that we have witnessed numerous times in the past 50 years.
Although i realize it is wishful dreaming, a return to Ex Cathedra and the straight language of Pope St. Pius X and H.H. Pope Pius XII would be a welcomed relief to the obscure, wishy washy language of suggestion we now receive.

Unknown said...

@ Capt Morgan;

"...the straight language of Pope St. Pius X and H.H. Pope Pius XII would be a welcomed relief to the obscure, wishy washy language of suggestion we now receive."

That is simply aggiornamento at work. I think the remedy for that is simple, eradicate aggiornamento as being erroneous and that language starts to go away.

As for a return to Ex Cathedra, that wasn't ever invoked for discipline, which is what we are discussing. One cannot make infallible that which was never meant to be infallible.

@ ytc;

" seems that very few are vocally against them."

The Church is rife with said vocalizations. Have you not read the majority of liturgical discussion in the last 50 years? The last 40 years? The last 30 years? The last 20 years? The last 10 years? Last week? This is exactly the reason the Holy Father won't move out of the hypothetical/theoretical, because I do believe he doesn't have the traction to make a difference, substantially. As I said before, it will take a Pope who realizes that his leadership is both temporal and spiritual. This Pope doesn't accept that. He has remained as have the Popes since Paul VI, a spiritual Pope alone and that is detrimental to any real conversion on the inside. The bishops, priests, and faithful need to know that there is and are consequences for illicit actions.