Wednesday, February 5, 2014


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis was greeted by a sea of people taking cover under umbrellas as he made his way into St Peter’s Square on Wednesday for his weekly General Audience. Making reference to the rainy weather the Pope said “it’s not a nice day is it”.
In his continuing Catechesis on the Sacraments, the Holy Father focused his attention on the Eucharist saying that it accompanies us every step of the way on our pilgrimage of faith.

Reflecting on the Mass, Pope Francis said it was a banquet that nourishes us not only with the bread of life but also with the proclamation of God’s word in the Scriptures.

The Pope went on to say that at the Last Supper, Christ gave us this sacrament when he broke bread and offered the cup as the foreshadowing of his sacrifice on the Cross. In this Eucharistic sacrifice, he added, Jesus gave us the supreme prayer of thanksgiving to God our merciful Father. 

The Holy Father underlined that the celebration of the Eucharist is more than simply a banquet; it is he said a memorial of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection, and makes present the paschal mystery in all its saving power. 

Departing from his prepared remarks Pope Francis stressed that we can never thank the Lord enough for the gift of the Eucharist adding, "that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sundays, to go to Mass, not only to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread which is the Body of Jesus Christ, that saves us, forgives us, and unites us with the Father."

Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report RealAudioMP3


Gene said...

I would not call that a strong statement regarding the Eucharist and its meaning.

Anonymous said...

Fr., I have a question that I have been strggling with lately. If all the other rites in the Church are ancient (TLM, melkite, etc.)but the OF Mass was made up by a group of men after VII, then how is it valid if it does not stretch back to apostolic times? I'm in my early 20's and my parents are older than the Ordinary Form. Is it valid just bc the Church says its valid? And can the Church just scrape it's liturgy and make up a new one, is this possible?

Would really apprecite the help Fr. AJ!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

the Mass is certainly valid, the concern is that after Vatican II a committee redesigned it, but they left in tact all that it needs for validity. Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium wanted to continue the Liturgical Renewal that had been going on since the early 1900's by helping to make full, conscious and actual participation more of the norm for the majority of those attending mass. It could have been accomplished in the older missals and was being in many places. A bit more vernacular would have helped. It asked for more readings in the Liturgy of the Word. This was a good reform. It asked to simplify the Mass. I think things went a bit over board in that interpretation.
But thanks be to God we still have the EF more widely available and in time there will be an OF Mass more like the EF in order and spirituality.

Anonymous said...

"I would not call that a strong statement regarding the Eucharist and its meaning."

I agree with you, Gene. It's a statement still widely open to interpretation. We really need to stop just using the vague term "Liturgy" (a term vague in meaning at least to those in the modern Roman Rite) and return to the clearest title: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Православный физик said...

Yes, I would agree, that word Liturgy needs to be more specific...(Liturgy of the Hours) this is also an act of worship in the Holy Church, but not the supreme act of worship (the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass)....but it is good to see the "more than a meal" mentioned by Pope Francis, even if it's weakly mentioned.

Pater Ignotus said...

Anonymous - The OF mass was not "made up by a group of men after VII." This simply is not the case.

And the Church did not "scrap it's (sic) liturgy and make up a new one."

While historically different from the EF, the Ordinary Form is Traditional in that it contains all the elements that have been part of the Church's Eucharistic celebrations from the time Eucharistic celebrations evolved.

Many elements of the EF that were set aside - prayers at the foot of the altar, the "Last Gospel," the multiplication of signs of the cross, etc. - had crept into the mass over centuries.

John Nolan said...

The second commentator raises some interesting points. Neither the Pope nor the CDWDS can make something valid that is inherently invalid. The SSPX, who will not celebrate the Novus Ordo, still regard it as valid (with the proviso that it is celebrated properly) but illicit. If, however, the priest were to make a significant change in the words of consecration, that could render the Mass defective and therefore invalid. There is a question as to whether the translation of 'pro multis' as 'for all' amounts to a significant change, which would have implications for Italian and German, as well as for the pre-2011 English Mass.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

What you say is quite correct as far as it goes. To say that the reformers "made up" a new Mass is an exaggeration; the framework of the Roman Rite and what are arguably its essential elements, which make it a valid Eucharist, are retained. However, the Novus Ordo is very much a "designer Mass" incorporating various concepts which had been current in liturgical reform circles many years before the Council met.

Many prayers which entered the Mass during the second millennium and were originally the private prayers of the priest were excised, but the reformers also intended to ditch the Roman Canon, which is the oldest prayer of the Mass which has come down to us. Elements which had fallen into disuse were reinstated, but only if they were deemed relevant to the present day. Prayers from first millennium Sacramentaries that didn't make into the Roman Missal were restored, but at the same time new ones were composed. And many elements of the new Mass are indeed novel.

It's all very neat and pat (at least before the translators and 'creative' clergy, not to mention the Haugen-Haas school of tunesmiths) got their hands on it. But to use an architectural analogy, if I walk round a medieval cathedral I see the result of many additions over the centuries - Norman, Early English, Decorated, Perpendicular. If I visit Coventry Cathedral (cons. 1962, architect Sir Basil Spence) I see a design concept. It's still awesome, but it's a different experience.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - To say that the reformers "made up" the "new Mass" is not merely an exaggeration - it is patently false.

All prayers in the Missal were, at one time, novel, including the Roman Canon. The Missal did not fall out of Jesus' pocket as He ascended to the Father. Rather it, and the liturgy it serves, have evolved over time and continues to do so.

Novelty is not the boogeyman it is made out to be.

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that if priests would celebrate Mass with piety, respect for tradition and in a sober manner using the Missal of Paul VI, we wouldn't have had the loss of Faith in the Church that we have had. It is completely incomprehensible to me that the majority of priests WILL NOT OBEY the mandate of Vatican II on the liturgy, that "no one, not even a priest may add remove or change anything in the liturgy". Why do priests think they know better than the Church by insisting on imposing their will on the Mass? To me this is clericalism. Maybe this is one of the things that the pope is decrying.

John Nolan said...

Sorry, PI, you've got the wrong end of the stick again. The questioner was referring to antiquity, and I was not suggesting that if something is new it is therefore not admissible. When Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC there was no Mass, although there were Old testament prefigurations of it. You accuse others of circular argument, but the fact that everything was new once is at the same time a statement of the obvious and an evasion of the issue.

I don't know, and nobody knows, who wrote the Roman Canon. It is most likely a number of prayers cobbled together, and even the Latin was altered before it achieved the familiar form. EP III is to me the defining prayer of the Novus Ordo. It is a fine prayer, but it was composed ("made up" if you like) by Fr Cipriano Vaggagini in the 1960s, in other words in both our lifetimes, following the Liturgical Movement's ideas of what an anaphora should be.

This is not to disparage it, nor the Mass it accompanies. But it is a tendency in all religions to value traditional customs (your small-t tradition) because the further back one goes, the closer one gets to the founder. When the new Mass was introduced priests were at pains to play down the novelty aspect and stress a return to an older tradition. It was not an entirely honest approach and those of us with some knowledge of Church history were rightly sceptical.

Before you dismiss something as 'patently false' it's a good idea to have the facts at your disposal.

Pater Ignotus said...

"The further back one goes the closer one gets to the founder" sounds a lot like ressourcement to me - and that's a good thing.

St. Justin Martyr's Apologia, the earliest record of Christian worship, describes in outline what we have now in the OF.

And if the questioner is looking for antiquity, he/she need look no further than Justin to see that the OF is pretty much what Justin describes.

Saying "Everything was once new" is not a circular argument - it is a statement of fact.

George said...

Evolution or refinement? One could be said to be the result of and built upon the other, No?
TLM EF or NO? Ressourcement or Aggiornamento? Aggiornamento through ressourcement?

There are some who would look on this as similar to the development of a modern automobile.
There is no question that the cars of today are much superior to those of 80 years ago and even those of 40 years ago in many respects. Yet the cars of today just like those back then in they still have a motor, a transmission, a battery(perhaps when it comes to some electric cars), headlights, steering wheel etc.

In a certain basic defined way, a car of today is not much different than those of decades past.

The Mass of today (NO) is still the Mass(and valid). No question.

The question that some pose is(as in the example of the modern automobile): Is it better? Some would (and do) say that it is.

I don't think we can compare the Pre-VatII Mass to the Post VatII Mass in this way though.

Maybe we should think about how we drive the car. If we do it carelessly and not in the way it was designed to drive(with "reverence" for it, let us say), the passengers will not get anything good out of the experience and beyond that, much damage can result.
There is another perspective and that is that with the centuries of evolutionary change to the Mass there was a certain refinement going on, a perfecting if you will, and that VatII liturgical changes brought too sharp turn in another direction.

Gene said...

John, Once in a while, Ignotus stumbles over the facts…but, he always manages to pick himself up and keep right on going. LOL!

Henry said...

PI: "And if the questioner is looking for antiquity, he/she need look no further than Justin to see that the OF is pretty much what Justin describes."

I would hope not. And, in fact, I think not--as one who respects the merits of the OF (whatever the motives of some of those involved in its development).

For if the Novus Ordo were, indeed, the same as the primitive Christian worship described by Justin Martyr, that would mean it is a denial of the inspirit of the Holy Spirit over the centuries in the development of Catholic liturgy (and thus a sin against the Holy Spirit?). And that the OF actually is a rupture with the past, not a organic evolution of the Roman liturgy that preceded it. Which would come pretty close to saying that its introduction was a violation of proper papal authority. Where would this leave us?

George said...

I meant to type in the above:

Yet the cars of today are just like those back then in that they still have a motor, a transmission, a battery(perhaps more than one when it comes to some electric cars), headlights, steering wheel etc.

John Nolan said...


St Justin Martyr's second-century Apologia describes in outline what happens in all Christian Eucharistic gatherings, Eastern and Western, Catholic and Protestant. In his day Christians would meet clandestinely in each others' homes. He doesn't mention bishops, and indeed most Protestant sects don't have them. He doesn't mention an ordained priesthood either. There is no mention of ritual, and incense is regarded as a pagan custom. The number and choice of readings does not appear to be fixed, and apart from the "words of institution" the prayers would seem to have been be extempore.

As you say, liturgy has evolved since then (as has theology - St Justin does not seem to have had a Trinitarian theology) and the point about evolution is that it cannot be simply reversed. "Ressourcement" cannot be an absolute principle, and Pius XII warned that it could lead to "archaeologism". We can see how liturgy evolved in different places over the last 1500 years, but before that the evidence is at best patchy and at worst non-existent.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - St Justin didn't mention bishops or the ordained priesthood because he wasn't writing an apologia for the Episcopate or the Seven Sacraments. This complaint is akin to complaining that, in a book about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the author did not write about Harriet Tubman and the Undergound Railroad.

As Pope Pius warned against "archaeologism," I think the Church would do well to be warned against liturgical "medievalism" - devotion to or adoption of the spirit or practice of the middle ages; medieval tendency in thought or action, as with respect to religion or politics.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus, since the Middle Ages (a term only used from the 18th century) is taken to mean the time elapsing from the fall of the western Roman Empire in the fifth century to the fall of Constantinople in the fifteenth - a period of 1000 years which saw the evolution of not only the liturgies of the Eastern and Western Churches but also their theology - it is hard to see that "medievalism" is something the Church could warn against.

Are you suggesting that we can jump back what is now a millennium and a half and recover the supposedly pristine and undoubtedly primitive spirit of what we conjecture to be early Christianity? Or that Justin Martyr's Eucharistic gatherings are the genuine liturgy which was lost for 1800 years until Annibale Bugnini rediscovered it? Are you suggesting that belief in the Trinity or the Real Presence is optional since these doctrines are medieval? Do you maintain, as heretics do, that the post-Constantinian Church is corrupt and not the Church which Our Lord founded?

A lot of what you say might tend to support the above inferences, so I suggest that you either set the record straight or admit you are not what most reasonable men would consider to be a Catholic.

And since you are engaging with erudite persons on this blog, more in the way of intelligent argument, and less in the way of bald generalized statements of 'fact' which are really only opinion, would be greatly appreciated.

Gene said...

John Nolan, Ignotus has already refused to answer the direct question, posed by another blogger, as to whether he believed in the Real Presence and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. He not only refused to answer, he adamantly did so, saying that it was a trap. I think we can safely infer from this that he neither believes in the Trinity nor the Real Presence. But, he will quickly tell you that he serves with his Bishop's sanction. Doesn't that make you feel better?

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Anonymous (5 Feb 2:36 pm) expressed the false understanding that "...the OF Mass was made up by a group of men after VII,..."

My reference to Justin's description of the liturgy was to show him/her, conclusively, that the OF is not "made up." What we have in the OF today is what the Church had in the time of Saint Justin ( c. 100 – 165 AD)

Justin's liturgy was "the genuine liturgy" unless you believe that the genuine liturgy did not exist in the time of the early Church.

Now, an erudite, non-philistine such as yourself knows full well that I did not cite Justin to provide an expression of the full doctrine of the Church regarding the episcopate, the ordained priesthood, the Trinity, or the Real Presence.

And an erudite, non-philistine such as yourself knows that these doctrines were developed (they evolved) in the years (centuries) following Justin. So, in your fullness of your erudition, you know that looking for them in Justin is a Quixotic pursuit.

No, your inferences are not supported in the words of Saint Justin or in mine.

Justin does not mention the Immaculate Conception, so would you suggest that by referencing Justin on the mass of the second century, I am denying (or even questioning) the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? Certainly not.

As for setting the record straight, my faculties come from Bishop of Savannah. My Profession of Faith, subscribed by myself each of the three times I have been appointed pastor of a parish, is on file in his office.

Pin/Gene can "infer" what wants. He can infer that Good Father McDonald like to stand on his left ear and stack greased BB's, but that inference, like most, if not all, of his inferences, has little connection to reality.

Gene said...

Ignotus, greased BB's are not nearly as slick as you. LOL!

John Nolan said...

PI, I will examine one of your propositions, namely that "what we have in the OF today is what the Church had in the time of St Justin".

1. Obviously not in terms of texts, rubrics, ritual or calendar. But I'm sure this is not what you meant. But you need to explain why St Justin's sketchy outline cannot equally apply to the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, all the Uses and Rites of the Latin Church, not to mention the Protestant versions of the Eucharist which explicitly deny the Mass.

2. Because some of the Novus Ordo is copied from earlier tradition, it does not mean that you can castigate as 'patently false' the assertion that a lot of it was newly composed, or made up. The new Eucharistic Prayers are definitely so, as are many of the Propers which replace those of the Roman tradition which date from the first millennium. Then there is the 3-year lectionary cycle for which there is no precedent. The Introductory Rite and Penitential Act are also innovatory, as is the new Communion Rite.

3. However, you have said that because something is new it should not be condemned on this account. Quite right - in the 20th century there was a new Mass and Office added for the Feast of Christ the King by Pius XI and for the Assumption of the BVM by Pius XII. New Prefaces were added, including the one for the Requiem Mass. But these innovations were not accompanied by a wholesale recomposition of the Mass Ordinary.

4. The Dominican Rite was drawn up in the 13th century by a committee. The 1570 Missal was also drawn up by a committee, and one which was appointed as a result of a General Council. But neither considered that it had carte blanche to make wholesale changes. Bugnini's Consilium was given free rein by Paul VI to rewrite the Mass, Office, and (crucially) the Ritual which affects the efficacy of the sacraments and sacramentals. We are still living with the fall-out.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - 1. No, I do not need to explain why St Justin's outline doesn't apply to the Eastern Rites or to Protestant liturgies. I never said or suggested that it did.

The outline does show that the OF mass was not "made up by a group of men after VII" which was the false notion that was offered by Anonymous on 5 February.

That Protestant liturgies may follow the same (or very similar) outline is evidence that their liturgies are based on ancient patterns of Catholic worship. Does that make them "valid?" No. Because you and I both know that much more is required for validity.

2. The three year lectionary cycle is nothing if not brilliant. That there is no "precedent" is a not a valid argument against it.

3. "Novel" additions to the mass can be beneficial. On this we agree.

4. Again, "novelty" does not mean that that which is new is bad. Again, we agree.

John Nolan said...

PI, I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. "Made up" does not necessarily mean conjured out of thin air. It can mean "composed" or "assembled". A simple textual comparison between the classic Roman Rite and the Novus Ordo shows what has been removed, what has been retained, what has been altered, what has been rearranged and what been newly composed.

A celebration of the Pauline Mass that doesn't use the Graduale Propers or the Roman Canon would retain the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei and a few prayers and formulas from the older Rite, but most of the textual material would have been recently composed or (in the case of the Lectionary, re-arranged), in other words "made up".

A small example. In the traditional Roman Rite there are five prayers used for blessing the candles on 2 February. Such a multiplication of prayers is one of the characteristics of the Roman Rite, but SC wanted the rites simplified (fair enough). Previous generations of reformers would have reduced the number of prayers to (say) two. Bugnini and co. scrapped all five and replaced them with an entirely new composition.

Imposing the new Lectionary involved scrapping the existing one, which had served the Church for 1400 years or so and was one of the oldest features of the Roman Rite. However, a relatively small number of experts took it upon themselves to declare it to be no longer fit for purpose, and Paul VI signed the new Lectionary into existence without actually reading it, so we are told.

And not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as you are. It has advantages but also drawbacks, which I won't go into here, but which have been fully argued in liturgical circles.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I am using "made up" as I understand Anonymous 5 Feb to have used it.

He/She wrote: "...but the OF Mass was made up by a group of men after VII, then how is it valid if it does not stretch back to apostolic times?"

Referencing St. Justin shows, conclusively, that the OF mass DOES stretch back to Apostolic times. It was not "made up" out of non-Apostolic elements, it was not created out of thin air, it is not a creation of some who wanted (or want) to destroy the Church by destroying the liturgy.

Any legitimate "entirely new" composition is based on the theology of the Church. In that, it reflects the Apostolic belief (Tradition) of the Church. If I am called on to offer a prayer at some gathering, the prayer I make up will be entirely new, but it will contain and express the belief of the Church.

"Entirely new" does not mean bad, inaccurate, unacceptable, etc.

John Nolan said...

"'Entirely new' does not mean bad, inaccurate, unacceptable etc." I'm not saying it does - I'm merely saying it's entirely new, or in other words made up. And since it replaced existing and relatively ancient prayers, the latter were scrapped (or would have been but for the fact that the Roman Rite was not, nor could have been, abrogated).

Your extempore "made up" prayers are not liturgical, so we are not talking about the same thing.

You can't assume what the original commentator meant by "made up"; it was a genuine enquiry about continuity and rupture which you didn't really address.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - I did address the continuity question. Inasmuch as the mass of St. Justin and the OF mass contain the same elements - gather, read, preach, offer, consecrate, commune, send forth - it cannot be said that "... the OF Mass was made up by a group of men after VII."

No, ex tempore prayers are not the same as prayers within the mass. However - and it is a BIG however - if the "novel" prayers that replaced the ancient prayers contain and are based on the revealed Truth, then there is no reason why they cannot or should not be used.

John Nolan said...

The new prayers should of course be used when using the Missal for which they were written. No-one is suggesting that the Novus Ordo does not contain all the elements required for a valid Eucharist; even the SSPX concede that point.

However, if you take a longer view of liturgical evolution it is undeniable that the Pauline Missal represents a new departure. This was recognized by Paul VI himself, the reformers (who admitted in 1967 that the Roman Rite had been effectively destroyed) and of course those who didn't like the changes. If this were not the case, then the 1970 Missal would simply have replaced earlier editions.

Indeed, had it been less revolutionary, it would have been harder to make out a case for the retention of the 1962 books. I am also looking at the texts and rubrics themselves and ignoring the sea-change in the way Mass was celebrated and the type of "music" deemed suitable for it.

Had someone gone to the Antarctic in 1964 on a scientific expedition and returned in the summer of 1967, on going to Mass in his local parish he would scarcely have recognized the service. The language, orientation, vestments (probably) and the music would all have been different. On the other hand had St Francis attended Mass anywhere in the world in 1960 he would have found it completely familiar. I think this is the point the earlier commentator was trying to make, and it is a valid one.