Saturday, January 18, 2014



Most of us have some kind of understanding of the "reform of the reform" when it comes to the Mass. Although there is a diversity of opinions on how this reform ought to occur, my own very conservative understanding of the reform of the reform of the Mass has to do with the current missal and simply doing what its General Instruction of the Roman Missal allows with the options already modeled by two popes, Pope Benedict XVI and now Pope Francis.

My conservative "reform of the reform" is the following:

1. Say the Black and do the Red, as another famous or infamous blogger so keenly has seared into our minds with his coffee cups

2. Make use of two options seldom used: Chanting the propers and celebrating the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem, either with the true ad orientem or the virtual ad orientem of the pre-Vatican II altar arrangement even when facing the laity

3. Chant all the parts of the Mass, including the priest's parts, at least at the principal Mass

4. Choreograph everyone's movements and make sure everyone is well trained and solemn in their movements and presence at the altar

5. Use incense at the principal Mass(es)

So the above is my idea of the reform of the reform and Pope Francis models it marvelously at all his Vatican Mass and most especially at the daily Mass he had at the altar of Blessed Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica and most recently at the Sistine Chapel for the Baptism of the Lord.

But there is another "reform of the reform" which even the south in becoming the premier geographical area for the Catholic Church throughout America (moving from the corrupt north) is modeling.

In the Augusta, Georgia metro area, there are two new churches being built. One is in the suburb of Augusta, called Grovetown at St. Teresa of Avila Church and the other is about 20 miles away in the Diocese of Charleston in Aiken, South Carolina, St. Mary Help of Christians Church. Both parish communities have a vision for the future and understand the reform of the reform when it comes to church architecture:

Both new churches are well under construction at the present time. Here are the renderings of their architectural "reform of the reform":

St. Teresa of Avila in Augusta:
St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken, SC:

This other "reform of the reform" new church, with construction soon to start, is south of Savannah in Richmond Hill, Georgia. Their website has the best renderings:


John Nolan said...

There should be a sixth point in your ROTR agenda, also modelled in the Vatican - NO WOMEN IN THE SANCTUARY!

Just because it was (grudgingly) allowed a mere 20 years ago, doesn't mean you have to do it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But John, but John, women are indeed readers of both Scripture and the Universal prayers at most of the Vatican Masses with both Popes Benedict and Francis.

Pater Ignotus said...

I think there have been women in the sanctuary in this country for 40 years, if not longer.

Grudgingly, they accepted the role of linen-washers, sanctuary-sweepers, and brass-polishers for a long time. But they wised up, recognized their Baptismal dignity, and became some of the most accomplished and faithful servants of the liturgy we have.

God bless these generous women.

Henry said...

I wonder whether these new churches will have altar rails. Aside from the question of how holy communion should be received, I think altar rails are important to reclaiming as sacred space that in which the sacrifice is offered.

Православный физик said...

The readings should be chanted, all of them...As for women in the sanctuary, we should probably take the eastern approach to this problem ;)

Anonymous 2 said...

Women priests are one thing. Women in the sanctuary are another.

At the Last Supper there were only men. But doesn’t the prominence of women at Calvary, when our Lord was crucified, and as witnesses to the Resurrection have some bearing on the issue of women in the sanctuary?

Anonymous said...

I see the question of distribution/reception of Holy Communion as being vitally important if there's going to be a reform. You, good Father McDonald, have repeatedly stated that you're not opposed to Extraordinary Ministers, but I'm just going to say, I am, and I also believe that Communion in the hand and standing will have to go. People will disagree with me, but in my opinion, those two things take the sense of the sacred right out. There was a reason the Church practiced the Extraordinary Form-degree of reverence for so long in her life, and it's absolutely dangerous that all the various reverences meant to safeguard the Blessed Sacrament and belief in It—like the mandatory keeping together of thumb and forefinger—were removed after the Council. Did it sometimes alienate people from receiving Communion? Okay, perhaps. But that can be remedied by solid preaching about what's necessary for a worthy Communion.

Just my two cents. God bless, all.

John Nolan said...


When women read at papal Masses they do so from an ambo which is outside the sanctuary. And they do not assume clerical dress.

Gene said...

Anon 2, there were also a lot of Jews at Calvary, Emperor worshiping Roman soldiers, slaves and, doubtless, dogs. Why not have them in the Sanctuary, as well?

John Nolan said...

The reason that women and girls were allowed to serve at the altar, despite an explicit prohibition by JP II (cf Inaestimabile Donum) was because a) it was already illicitly going on and it was easier (though spineless) to retrospectively legitimize it than to reprobate it, and b) because the committee responsible for the interpretation of legislative texts considered it logical that if women could be readers and EMHC they could also be servers - which immediately begs a few questions.

PI's argument that baptism confers the right to service at the altar is easily disposed of by reference to the relevant texts. I have quoted chapter and verse to him, but he still thinks that his private opinion overrules the sensus Ecclesiae. There is no point in arguing with him.

Talking about who was present at Calvary is equally irrelevant - after all it was known for 1900 years or more and to bring it up in the 21st century as if it were a new revelation is, quite frankly, pathetic.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I did not say that Baptism gives anyone a RIGHT to service at the altar.

No one has a right to serve at the altar - it is a calling that is confirmed and validated by the Church.

You distort what I said, rather than arguing the point.

I said, " But they wised up, recognized their Baptismal dignity..."

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: Because, unlike the women, they were not disciples of our Lord.

Gene said...

Anon 2, The women were not disciples. Get it right.

kkollwitz said...

Have a look at our project in Greenville SC:

Anonymous 2 said...

It depends how you define “disciple,” Gene. I did research the usage again before posting and it is my understanding that it is perfectly acceptable to refer to the female followers of Jesus as disciples. They may not have been Apostles but that is different. However, I stand to be corrected by Father McDonald or another priest. Perhaps the sources I consulted are wrong.

Wrong or not, the point remains. Those others you mention were not “followers of Jesus”; the women were (I assume you will at least agree to that).

Gene said...

Disciple in the NT context is generally understood as referring to the 12. The Church often explains the injunction against women priests by saying that "Christ chose no female disciples." I believe it is further proof of His divinity and omniscience that he did not.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: As always, it is important to define one’s terms in context. As one example of my usage I offer CCC section 500:

Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus,” are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary.” They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.

Gene said...

Anon 2, what is your point? There were no female disciples…period (no pun intended).

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: I would have thought the point was obvious. Read the CCC section. According to the Catechism, there were female disciples. I hope you will understand if I choose to be guided by the CCC rather than you. Take it up with Rome if you have a problem with it.

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. Perhaps you will accept it from Pope Benedict:

Please note that the passage in this 2007 address in which Pope Benedict says:

“Jesus, as we know, certainly chose from among his disciples 12 men as Fathers of the new Israel and appointed them "to be with him, and to be sent out to preach" (Mk 3:14-15).

This fact is obvious; but, in addition to the Twelve, pillars of the Church and fathers of the new People of God, many women were also chosen to number among the disciples.”