Sunday, September 1, 2013


Those who live in the present are joyful that there are two forms of the one Roman Rite, a progressive act by a future pope, who is now an emeritus Pope, that changed the course of liturgical history by allowing such a flexible reality in the present, which of course neither Pope Pius V envisioned or Pope Paul VI envisioned and neither did Trent or Vatican II, but the Holy Father acting alone, did envision it!

The unreformed Mass of the Council of Trent (which in fact is reformed):

The reformed Mass of the Second Vatican Council:

IDEOLOGICAL RIGIDITY of ultra traditionalists, as it concerns the Mass of the Council of Trent, is that Vatican II and Pope Paul VI had no right to change the Mass that the Council of Trent ordered codified and subsequently mandated by virtue of Pope Pius V. And usually they refer to the following dogmatic statement from Pope Pius V after the Council of Trent to back up their premise:

"It shall be unlawful," said Saint Pope Pius V, "henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than this Missal published by us. Should any venture do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."

Now, in a strange twist of ecclesiastical fate, ultra-progressives use the same reasoning for the Second Vatican Council as ultra-traditionalists use for the Council of Trent:

Father Anthony Ruff, a Benedictine of Collegeville, MN and editor of Praytell an ultra progressive blog, sums up the ultra progressives point of view as it concerns Vatican II and Pope Paul VI codifying only one form of the Mass, the reformed one post-Vatican II, who sounds quite a bit like the ultra traditionalists as it regards Trent and Pope Pius V when Father Anthony writes:

"They [Bishops of the Second Vatican Council and ultimately Pope Paul VI] clearly intended that there would be one Roman rite, the reformed one. They clearly had no opening whatsoever in mind for there ever being an unreformed rite staying around. To [say] they were neutral is to miss what is rather obvious in the entire liturgy constitution. Whatever we think now about changed circumstances and the (alleged) need or legitimacy of the unreformed rite being in use now, 50 years later, we have to look at the clear intent of what SC said 50 years ago."

My final comments: This is where I find the progressive point of view as it concerns Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum to be utterly laughable. The progressives are talking like the ultra-traditionalists who oppose Vatican II's reordering and reform of the Mass on the same grounds that it wasn't intended by a particular group of bishops or a pope, during and after an ecumenical council all long dead but not forgotten.

In fact the ultra-traditionalists have more ammunition for their position of no future change in liturgical customs than the progressives as Vatican II and Pope Paul VI have no dogmatic, unambiguous statements concerning freezing the liturgy as they developed it in the same dogmatic way Pope Pius V did after Trent. Interesting, no? And all Pope Benedict did was to release from the shackles of obscurity the Mass of Pope Pius V! He didn't dramatically overhaul or abolish Vatican II's Mass.



John said...


I believe the Right would have been OK with certain changes in the Tridentine rite provided the changes left the Mass what it is supposed to be: the sacrificial offering of the Man-God Jesus Christ.

The way it appears to me is this: the changes implemented in the NO makes the rite a Pelagian undertaking: man saving himself instead Jesus Christ making the salvific sacrifice on behalf of humanity. The role of Jesus is diminished and the remembering role of humanity is exalted. The human centeredness of the NO worship is the chief heresy. All the other abuses derive from this new doctrine. To wit, if it is "our thing" then we can legitimately express ourselves anyway our private inclinations lead us to do.

The Right would like to go back to the TLM and perhaps try again, maybe.

Gene said...

John is correct. The focus of the NO is most decidedly more humanistic/man-oriented. While it may be tecnically incorrect to call it Pelagian, it certainly encourages that kind of thinking. The role of Christ, especially of Christ as the Agnus Dei, is greatly diminished, and this poses many theological problems...if you are Catholic.

John Nolan said...

Ruff (who spends too much time listening to progressives - he should have stuck to his field, which is Gregorian chant) misses the point. The missal of Paul VI is not a reform of the Roman Rite but a replacement of it, as its authors freely acknowledge.

Paul VI was within his rights to make its use obligatory; what he did not do, and could not do, was to abrogate the Roman Rite. Whether he wanted it celebrated is neither here nor there; it exists sui generis. Pius V wanted a degree of uniformity, and because of printed books it was inevitable that the Tridentine Use would become normative; however it did not replace or displace existing Uses.

I, as a Latin-Rite Catholic, accept the following:
1. The Pauline missal in Latin or the vernacular, provided it is celebrated according to the GIRM. This would include many options of which I may disapprove, but exclude such deviations as would render it sacrilegious.
2. Any authorized Use of the Roman Rite, including the Tridentine.
3. Non-Roman rites, e.g. the Ambrosian.
4. Byzantine rites used by Eastern Churches in communion with Rome.
5. Ancient eastern rites celebrated by Churches in communion with Rome.

Does this make me a liturgical progressive?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John I basically agree with you and I don't think we will see a radical redesign of the Ordinary Form Mass. But some things can be mandated such as:

1. For the sung Mass, the use of Gregorian Chant or some form of chant, vernacular or English for the propers which should never be eliminated.

2. Ad orientem or the Benedictine altar arrangement when facing the congregation--both of equal status

3. Kneeling for Holy Communion as the norm, standing the exception and communion on the tongue the norm and the "Anglican" method of receiving in the hand as the option.

4. Strict observation of rubrics and GIRM.

It wouldn't take an act of a Council or a pope to do what I describe above, but bishops would need to get out of the way of those who would do it now.


Dan McKernan said...


I'm pleased that you are able to articulate a much needed pastoral tone at PTB. Fr. Ruff does tend to bounce more traditional voices especially those of the laity.
A comment I tried to make which he would not publish was that his interpretation would suggest that all the eastern liturgies are unreformed and, therefore, unable to communicate the voice of what he calls the "true Church" of V2. I admit that SC's specific admonitions are applied to the Latin rite alone but its general principles including that which Fr. Ruff rests his conception of the "true" post V2 Church, would apply to the whole Church east & west. It seems to me that V2's recognition that the eastern rites are legitimate frustrates the progressive spin on SC.
Progressives will attempt to explain that V2 kept the eastern rites unreformed in recognition of the Orthodox branches of our eastern rites but they forget or choose not to consider that some, like the Maronite, have no Orthodox sister.

Dan McKernan said...

Father Allan,

Forgive my second comment but the more I consider Fr. Ruff's statement on PTB the more improbable his interpretation appears to me. The good Father claims that the Council Fathers who were still celebrating the EF daily believed that "the old liturgy (the EF) didn’t express the nature of the true church".
This seems impossible to sustain because:
a. SC never says it,
b. the eastern liturgies were maintained by SC & Fr. Ruff's interpretation of SC & V2 would have to apply to them as well,
c. the post V2 magisterium retained the EF as early as 1971 in the UK and extended the usage of the EF in 1980 and 1984 all before the OF had even settled down to its current form in the 2002 RM.
d. the post V2 magisterium granted the EF to an entire diocese in Brazil (Campos) as well as to numerous religious orders and monasteries all over the world well before SP.
It would be interesting to explore the reason why liturgical diversity brings so much anxiety to Church progressives, the very persons one might presume would support diversity. After all, there are already two forms of the one Byzantine rite giving us considerable precedent for our own situation.

Pater Ignotus said...

The NO is the sacrificial offering of the Man-God Jesus Christ.

The mass does not contain "heresy," chief or otherwise.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Dan you are absolutely correct on all counts. In fact, I fancy myself a bit of a progressive and in fact was quite progressive in the seminary and the first 10 years of my priesthood. But I matured and realized that the direction of renewal in the post-Vatican II Church certainly wasn't what Vatican II actually desired and I began to critique those pushing a progressive spirit of Vatican II rather than critiquing and denigrating pre-Vatican II paradigm. We have every right to dissent vociferously from academic theologians and their agenda!
But with that said, the very fact that I embrace the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form is out of a flexibility that liberalism instilled in me--that's good.

Gene said...

Um...Ignotus, it is generally phrased "God-man" Jesus Christ, not the "Man-God" as you say...revealing once again (subconsciously or not) your true theological colors.

Joseph Johnson said...

This morning, just as my family and I had made it to a pew to kneel down and pray before Mass, our pastor was in front of the altar strongly exhorting all present to go around and speak to someone they did not know. Given all the din that this created, it was especially hard to concentrate on the prayers. Is this good "hospitality?"

He then reminded us that what happens on the altar isn't the only Communion--that we are "Communion" too, quoting St. Augustine. I understand that we are Communion in that we are members of the Kingdom of God, (the Body of Christ) but I felt the way he referenced the actual Eucharist on the altar was a confusing use of the word (Communion) for some.

We are not the transubstantiated to be the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of God. We are not the Eucharist even though the Grace we derive from receiving it worthily can transform our lives. In short, the way he used the word, "Communion" made it sound like we are God, too. I don't believe my pastor is heretical (he actually gives some very solid homilies--although I don't care for his "charismatic" style)--it's just that his quick explanation sounded heretical and could easily be misunderstood to say that parishioners are the same thing as the Holy Eucharist.

This is why I prefer the EF Mass or a very solemnly celebrated OF Mass which sticks to the books and the ritual (I shouldn't see Father vested in the Church until he comes out in the liturgical procession with the Deacon and servers). Leave the Christian fellowshipping outside the Sanctuary--otherwise, we can't find Sacred silence and prayer time before Mass in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin-Gene - Um, no, "Man-God" reveals only one thing - that I was quoting John's post of 7:20 a.m.

Nice try - no ceegar.

Anonymous 2 said...


Once again, if you would take the trouble to read carefully (heck, never mind “read carefully,” just “read”) instead of zealously seeking to sniff out heresy (or more usually imagined heresy), you would have noticed that Pater Ignotus was responding to the very first post in this thread, from John, who used the expression “the sacrificial offering of the Man-God Jesus Christ.” The language to which you object, then, is John’s not Pater’s. Context is everything.

Anonymous 2 said...


What gives you away is that, even though you emphasized that the NO is more humanistic/man-oriented, when John had said that the Mass was supposed to be “the sacrificial offering of the Man-God Jesus Christ” you did not see fit to correct him.

Boy, must your nose hurt!

Anonymous 2 said...


I wrote my comments before seeing Pater’s own response. Of course, he is just confirming the obvious.

Are you beginning to see the problem? You do this all the time – misread what people say and project your own meaning into their text. I have talked about this before. You could avoid a lot of this if you would just take a step back and take a little time to read and think about what people are actually saying.

Sometimes we could be a little clearer in what we say, I admit. For example, Pater could have put that language in quotes or referred specifically to John’s post. But he was certainly under no obligation to do that and surely the reader has a responsibility too. And again – you did not correct John’s use of that language in what was then the immediately preceding post to which you were responding.

Please think about it.

Gene said...

I rarely misread what Ignotus says. Neither do others on the blog. Besides, he should have, indeed, corrected it.
The stuff you post is so speculative and tentative that it is quite easy to misread it.

John Nolan said...

My normal Sunday fare is the EF or the solemn form of the OF in Latin, and it's only rarely I attend a vernacular Mass. The last one was in a nearby parish which is a bit on the traditional side - silence observed before and after Mass, the St Michael prayer at the end. It was a visiting priest who celebrated versus populum. He ad-libbed the introductory rite (but used the first form of the penitential act) but thereafter stuck to the text until the Blessing, when he said "may almighty God bless US" - an innovation not uncommon in priests of his generation. He followed the rubrics. He did not sing anything, but recited the Proper prayers clearly and intelligently, showing that the new translation works well if handled properly.

There were four hymns on the board; three of them were modern, and though the choir (in the choir loft) gave a good lead, not many joined in. The Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei were the missal chants in English, and I noticed quite a few singing them from memory, including Gloria XV - a good portent. There was an altar rail, and it was used, although there was the inevitable female EM
(in jeans, everyone else in the sanctuary being appropriately vested) although Communion was in one kind only. I know Fr Allan disagrees, but it looks totally wrong, particularly when she is preceded by an altar boy with a communion plate.

The congregational responses were delivered confidently and accurately. This type of Mass appeals to a lot of people, particularly women in the over-fifty age group, many of whom will have known the Old Rite but would not want to attend it even if it were available. I have to say that at the last EF scheduled Sunday Mass I attended there were more young people present.

Introducing sung Propers to replace the four-hymn sandwich is problematic and will meet with resistance (I know, I've tried it). For the time being I would retain the entrance hymn but start the Introit as the procession reaches the sanctuary. Keep the recessional hymn, except in Lent. Introduce chant at Offertory and Communion, when most people don't want to sing anyway. If there is any singing AT ALL, the celebrant should be required to sing his parts.

Another reform. Mandate the Roman Canon for major feasts, and on all other Sundays give the option of this or EP III. I would like to suppress EP II altogether, but at least relegate it to weekdays. Actually EP IV is more suitable for weekdays since there is no Creed and it recapitulates a lot of the Creed.

Keep plugging the case for ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I know it violates one the key canons of the reformers, the idea of the priest as 'president', but the faithful couldn't give a tuppenny damn for the avant-garde liturgical ideas of Bugnini & co.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,
"But the faithful couldn't give a tuppenny damn for the avant-garde liturgical ideas of Bugnini & Co." Well said--exactly how I feel!!

Yesterday, we had three modern hymns and one traditional one as well (needless to say, I "boycotted" three and sang one with great enthusiasm). Our pastor always starts the Mass with a bit of ad libbed introduction. The part that bothers me more, though, is when he changes the words at the final blessing and dismissal--he always says, (with emphasis on the word "is") "The Lord IS with you." It is as if this is his personal liturgical trademark. What should our bishop think? He had told us earlier that the bishop didn't want us to have a kneeler for those who want it for Communion but changing the liturgical text is OK? I doubt the bishop knows this is going on . .

Who are the REAL Pelagians?

Henry said...

It's been some years since I've attended an OF Sunday Mass, but this past Thursday morning I attended a standard OF parish Mass on the memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist. The congregation was older than that seen at an EF Mass, but it was good to kneel behind a half-dozen fully habited and veiled nuns. I arrived about 10 minutes early, and heard no sound before Mass.

The OF Mass was celebrated versus populum, but throughout with the same precision and reverence that the celebrant exhibits when he celebrates the parish's Sunday EF Mass. There were no hymns. The congregation chanted the entrance antiphon as the celebrant preceded by the young adult server proceeded directly out of the sacristy into the sanctuary. There were no introductory remarks, Mass began with the sign of the cross, followed by the confiteor form of the penitential rite. The congregation chanted the vernacular ordinary (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) using the new English Roman missal tones. The celebrant chanted the proper prayers specified for the memorial of St. John's Beheading and the preface of the Precursor that is proper for Masses of St. John the Baptist. The reading, responsorial psalm, and gospel proper to this memorial were read. So no generic last-Sunday propers (typical of OF ferial days) or forced-march on-to-the-next-chapter readings (typical of weekday OF Masses in some parishes) were heard. The Roman canon (EP I) was used, recited fairly quietly and precisely (with none of the half-dozen parenthetical Through Christ Our Lords omitted), though the memorial acclamation and per ipsum were chanted. I noted no hands held or shook or backs slapped, though the nuns conferred the pax upon each other. As at Sunday Masses in this parish, holy communion was in one form only, so there was no EMHC. Some or many received on the tongue over the communion paten held by the server. After the celebrant's ablutions, the communion antiphon was chanted, the celebrant and server proceeded in silence to the sacristy after the closing blessing, and the congregation knelt for their personal thanksgivings.

As one with pretty solidly traditional views, my point with this description is simply that this entirely vernacular OF Mass seemed plainly recognizable as a legitimate and valid form of the Roman rite. I would even suggest that such a form of Mass is desirable for the Church to have at the present time, in that it affords a great many people a perfectly acceptable and attractive way for them to offer worship to God by assistance at the Eucharistic sacrifice. This despite the apparent intentions of some of the OF reformers (past and present) to essentially destroy the Roman rite, and despite the shenanigans to which the OF is typically subjected in many or most parishes.

Anonymous said...

I'm with John Nolan here--having someone in everyday clothes, particularly women due to their lack of historical presence within the sanctuary, giving Communion "looks totally wrong". If seemingly anyone can distribute Our Lord in Communion, it makes it incredibly hard to take seriously. What does it say about our belief in the Eucharist if anyone can handle It (distributing or receiving)? I know the Eucharist is the Eucharist however It is received and however It is distributed, so please don't misinterpret me, but if I were not a Catholic and I went to a Mass full of Extraordinary Ministers and Communion in the hand, it would do nothing to help me take the Eucharist seriously.

And forgive me, Father McDonald, if this post was too off-topic.

Ah well. Our Lord will do something if He wishes, and there's nothing I can do to nullify the licitness of these actions at present besides prayer.

Gene said...

Joseph, I seriously doubt if the bishop gives a hoot.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and question, Father: I know you've said before that you won't do it, so I'm not asking you to, but out of curiosity, did you ever entertain the idea of offering Mass at that beautiful high altar? ;)

Joseph Johnson said...

If you are right and our bishop doesn't give a hoot, that is sad. If true, it is sad that he would not care about his priests adhering to the recently approved and implemented English translation of the Mass.

If what my pastor said is true about the bishop taking exception to the offering of a kneeler at Communion time (and forbidding same) then this is doubly sad.

We now have a Pope who describes himself at liturgically "emancipated" (and I have otherwise yet to figure him out), a bishop who may not care (if you are correct) about his priests sticking to approved Mass texts and (according to our pastor) doesn't like kneelers for Communion. Add to this the fact that I now have a new pastor who describes himself as "charismatic" and has turned what was quiet prayer time before Mass into a kind of forced "meet and greet" in the nave of the church.

As you can see, this blog provides me an opportunity for me to vent my frustrations! Deliver me O Lord (give me the EF so none of the above matters!).

John Nolan said...

Joseph Johnson

Over on Fr Ray Blake's excellent blog I had the temerity to correct a woman (who from her spelling and phraseology would appear to be American, and is actually quite orthodox) on a point of liturgical history. I received the following in reply.

"Guys like you are the biggest problem with the EF traddy types IMO. YOU would be a good bet to be on the 'Kleenex on the head patrol' trying to hand out Kleenex or ugly pepto-bismal colored cheap mantillas to women who came in (sic) an EF Mass without a head covering"

I suppose this is what Fr Z would call a "spittle-flecked nutty". I had to google Pepto-Bismol and found a liquid of a similar hue to Oratorian vestments on Laetare and Gaudete Sundays. I have attended EF Masses in England and Europe (including SSPX) and have only seen mantillas in black or white although I recall my late mother having one in dark navy which she kept in her handbag until she went up to Communion. I have never seen a woman with Kleenex on her head, and most women at EF Masses are bareheaded.

However, unless this woman is barking mad it must be something she has experienced. Can anyone enlighten me?

Gene said...

Joseph, I also surmise that the Bishop is the reason Fr. stopped distributing by intinction. So far, he has shown me nothing hopeful. He seems, at this point, to be just another administrator who wants as little "trouble" as possible.

Henry said...

John, I have never seen a Kleenex on a woman's head at Mass, but occasionally (but not often) have seen a woman pull a black (or perhaps white, more rarely) lace doily head covering out of her purse at Mass--a doily being more like a napkin in size than a shawl-sized mantilla.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry in the 1960, I saw women and maybe even my mother bobby pin a nicely folded hanky either tissue or cloth on their head when something nicer was forgotten.

Gene said...

Pepto Bismol is a foul conspiracy among pharmacists, the kaolin industry, and advertisers. Bleeeech!!!

Henry said...

Yes, Fr. McDonald, now that you mention it, I recall--back in the "old days" when female head covering at Mass was considered mandatory--white handkerchiefs used as a last resort. Though not in recent times--which is what I was thinking of--since it is no longer considered mandatory so that such a resort is required.

Joseph Johnson said...

John Nolan,

I don't believe I've ever seen a "Pepto Bismol" pink mantilla (either the large triangular type or the small, round "doilie" type most often worn by little girls). I do remember white ones, black ones or Marian light blue ones. We have a few women in our parish who wear the triangular type. Their age range is 40's to 70's (so this is not just an "old lady" phenomena).

As I am sure you already know, the wearing of head coverings at Mass by girls and women (either hats or mantillas) is a pious custom, has a Biblical basis, but (to my knowledge) was never a church law. Despite apocryphal media reports (to the contrary) from the 1960's or 70's, this "rule" was never "relaxed" as it was never a rule to start with. It was a widespread and long-standing pious custom going back to Biblical times. The sad thing is that, once a custom is broken, it is very hard to re-establish it in the general population.