Friday, July 11, 2014


The following is a good article on Pope Benedict and the liturgy from The Week.  My only comment is that Pope Benedict helped me to recover my pride in my pre-Vatican II heritage and to appreciate even more what was intended by Vatican II prior to its true renewal hijacked by discontinuity forces.

In defense of Pope Benedict and the Latin Mass
One of Benedict's greatest legacies was to liberate the Latin Mass — and thereby restore beauty to the whole world
Well done.
Well done. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Twelve summers ago I entered a dusty little church in a Polish neighborhood in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., that Poles had abandoned long ago. It was a 45-minute drive from my home. The old, wooden high altar and the sanctuary it sat in had not been renovated, marked as they were by New York state as too historically important to endure the trendy changes of church architecture in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. The people there were a crusty lot, hardened by years of struggle between their own bishops and priests. Some were made saintly by this. Others were conspiracists, and grouchy. A few seemed to be all of the above. I watched the women, young and old, adjust mantillas on their heads, and pray sotto voce. I marveled at the pious silence of the children. A few amateurs intoned the Gregorian chants for that day, as a priest quietly and efficiently offered the old Latin Mass.
Seven years ago this week, Pope Benedict would deliver the relief of my life. He declared that what we did in those days was legal. He affirmed what we told ourselves as we were chased out of that parish, that this form of worship had never been abolished and never ought to be. On the very portentous date of July 7, 2007, he issued the document Summorum Pontificum, which liberated that Mass. By doing so he established his legacy as a brave pope. He also did a great service for culture and the arts, for the whole world — even for nonbelievers.
Why does it matter to nonbelievers? Because beauty matters to everyone. In 1971, Agatha Christie, not a Catholic, was so appalled at the disappearance of the traditional Mass and the effect this would have on English culture that she signed a petition to Pope Paul VI to keep it alive in England. It read, in part:
The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts — not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. [Traditio]
Because of Benedict's intervention, my own parish in Norwalk, Conn., is treated not only to Gregorian chant, but to Renaissance-era motets, and Masses composed by Morales and Monteverdi. It is an aesthetic high crime that so much of the modern church continues to force saccharine and theologically insipid hymns like "Here I am, Lord" on its people, while leaving William Byrd's Ave Verum Corpus in a dusty attic.
Summorum came too late to save that community in Poughkeepsie. In the New York Archdiocese as then ruled by Cardinal Edward Egan, the offense of saying this Mass and publishing tracts in its favor was treated as a far more serious crime and scandal than clerical pederasty. Cardinal Egan suspended my Poughkeepsie priest, and effectively exiled him from the life of the church. Priests who knew about the situation observed darkly that if he had raped children instead of saying this Mass, his career would have been better off.
The modus operandi then was that these Latin Mass people — "the crazies," as they were called in the archbishop's office — should be contained in Saint Agnes in midtown Manhattan or in a few obscure parishes along the Hudson River. Egan was all too happy to see that Poughkeepsie parish closed and the building sold. He smudged us out like a penciled mistake.
Benedict's intervention urged bishops to make every accommodation for communities like ours. He grounded this in a solid principle of religion, writing: "What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful."
The growth of this movement within the church has been phenomenal. In 1988, there were 20 regularly scheduled and diocesan-approved Latin Masses in the United States. After Summorum Pontificum, there are now more than 500. And because the movement to restore beauty and solemnity to worship is growing, it is also becoming more mainstream and diverse, less "crusty" and forbidding as it seemed to me over a decade ago.
Benedict's intervention was not perfect. His intellectual attempt to save the Council and the new Mass from criticism with a "hermeneutic of continuity" was a noble failure. If the council intended continuity, why did it throw every aspect of Catholic worship up for possible revision in its documents? Why was the council swiftly followed by the worst spasm of iconoclasm in the history of the church — a tearing down of altars, images, statues — and a hasty revision to nearly every part of Catholic life?
A first-year student of religious studies would recognize that changing a religion's central act of worship — altering the rationales for it, modifying all its physical and verbal aspects — is not merely an "update" or sign of organic growth and maturation, but a mixture of vandalism and revolution. Even today, as more young and growing families attach themselves to the ancient rite, rearguard apologists for the 1960s insist on a 1930s critique that the old Mass cannot speak to modern man. But that is another, sadder essay.
Luckily, the maligned and misunderstood Pope Benedict made this generous gesture to embattled Latin Massers seven years ago. It has empowered a movement in the church that will bring back beauty not only to the sanctuary, but to the whole world as well


Anonymous said...

I hear that it was some people on the "grassy knoll" that hijacked Vatican II

Gene said...

Even nonbelievers understand the terrible damage done by Vat II better than Catholics. Does that not say it all…seriously? It is also embarrassing, frightening, ironic and, in a gallows humor kind of way, laughable.

Templar said...

I can not get my head around the title of the post "Being proud about both the Pre-V2 and Post V2 Catholicism". To identify with one automaticly puts me at odds with the other since they are as different as night and day.

Templar said...

Here's the Post V2 Church in all it's glory, aiding and abetting criminal activity.

Anonymous 2 said...

The author states: “It is an aesthetic high crime that so much of the modern church continues to force saccharine and theologically insipid hymns like ‘Here I am Lord’ on its people while leaving William Byrd’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ in a dusty attic.”

I agree with the first and third parts of this statement. As I have consistently maintained, the TLM should never have been withdrawn as a liturgical option. I must disagree with the second part of the statement, however, Will someone please explain to me what is “theologically insipid” about the lyrics of “Here I am Lord.” As for saccharine, that has more to do with the musical style with which the lyrics are presented. Here are the lyrics. Far from being insipid” they strike me as theologically profound. Each line is rich in theological meaning. I am reminded of Jesus’s words: “He who hath ears to hear, let him hear”:

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have born my peoples pain.
I have wept for love of them, They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.

Gene said...

There is very little to be proud of in today's Church. It is a time of perseverance, prayer and, hopefully, a time for an exodus from the Vat II Babylonian Captivity of the Liturgy. Although the issues are quite different, it might be instructive for us to re-read Luther's (gasp) "The Babylonian Captivity of the Church." The dynamics are the same even if the issues are not. You know, Luther was not wrong about everything.

Rood Screen said...

Whenever I hear discouraged Catholics lament the lack of an EF Mass nearby, I ask them: (a.) if there are other interested Catholics in their area, (b.) if they have written to a local priest, (c.) if they have written to the local bishop, and (d.) if they have written to Rome due to a lack of response from the priest and bishop. I personally know of two instances when a "stable group of the faithful" wrote to Rome in this way, following these steps, and Rome instructed the bishop to provide an EF Mass.

I do not, however, know for sure if this process still works with the new papacy, although I assume it does.

Rood Screen said...

Nether the EF nor the OF rites of Mass meet the demands of VCII, but together they do. The OF rite is young and full of the modern vitality, but it lacks maturity. The EF rite features the accumulated ritual wisdom of two millennia (and much of that inherited from the even more ancient Jerusalem Temple), and should serve as a sort of "revered grandparent", guiding the new rite along the sure path to liturgical maturity. This will take time, but the process begins when we all treat both with the proper respect their sacred natures deserve. Take the one out of the nursery and the other out of the nursing home.

Православный физик said...

There are things that were wrong pre-Vatican II (in particular I'm thinking of the relationships between Eastern churches with the forced Latinizations (Abp Ireland), the minimalistic/janesenistic meantlities towards the Liturgy as a whole, and I'm sure those of you alive Pre-Vatican II can give more detail. Things also wrong in the Post Vatican II world, in particular, catechesis, the anthropocentric tendencies of the Liturgy, morality, etc.

Of course the Church is one, and the substance of Her can't change, for God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the Church is like unto Him. But it'd be crazy to say there aren't foundational differences in pre and post Vatican II worlds, and I'm not just speaking to the change in missal. (which I really on the scale of damage to the Latin Church I don't think is that large, other issues I think did more damage than the change in the missal).

God bless and keep our dear emeritus Pope for doing both acts of justice (recognizing the old Missal was never abrogated, the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX Bishops) as well as trying to bridge the orthopraxis of the pre and post Vatican II periods (by sticking to the Letter of the Liturgy, chanting, the vestments, his clear teachings and being unafraid to correct the stray (in his very gentle manner). There is certainly much to be done, but it must start in how we are praying to God as a Church and as individuals. Through the Liturgy the seeds can be placed as to transform the world. And while most certainly, the Liturgy is not a guarantee (just remember a lot of the abuses came before Vatican II) it should be a rock of stability from which we cooperate with the graces to transform the world.

Jody Peterman said...


There have been times that you have seem to point out the lack of attendance at St Joseph's at your 2:00 pm Latin Mass. Some of us responded with a criticism of the time. I attended a Latin Mass at 9:30 am, at St Patrick's in New Orleans.....An incredibly beautiful Church in downtown New Orleans. The Church was 3/4 full. They offer the NO 5 times on Saturday and Sunday, as well. I know the defense, but they will come in the morning. I think it's unfair to even have an opinion on mass attendance for a Sunday afternoon.

Carol H. said...

Anon 2,

My problem with the lyrics of "Here I am Lord" is that it forces everyone to sing God's part in the first person.

I am not God. I am not a man ordained to act in persona Christi. I do not sing this song.

Anonymous 2 said...


Thank you for that thought. I certainly see your point. However, does it make a difference that the lyrics are based on the prophetic narratives in Isaiah 6:8 and I Samuel 3? In other words, the author of the lyrics is not so much purporting to report the speech of God directly as he is the speech of the Prophets who spoke for God. Or is this a distinction without a difference?

In any event, your reservations are not due to the theological insipidness of the lyrics as the author of the article alleges, in my view unjustifiably. I am still waiting for someone to explain why the author’s allegation is correct.

Templar said...

People are talking about song lyrics for Pete's sake when 85% of the Church is in Apostacy!

And yes JBS the Bishop has been written to, although I personally don't know if anyone took it the next step to ED.

And the problem with the 2PM TLM at St Jo's isn't the time slot. It's treated as a gimmick. The Bulletin proclaims a MONTHLY High Mass, but it is cancelled as often as not, and without notice. When there were 50 regular attendees appealling for a weekly Mass it was played off that those 50 attendees weren't all from St Jo's Parish proper, so they didn't count some how.

Pfffttt, enough, why do I get drawn back into these pointless debates?

Anonymous said...

I like your point about it being treated as a gimmick. Your contributions are appreciated.

Yet, the 2pm time slot is indeed an issue too. A double-edged issue.
By utilizing midafternoon, the pastor found a way to offer the EF Mass without coming across as if he is forcing it on people and acting like a liturgical bully.
Plus if his Parochial Vicar won't learn how to celebrate it, then he must celebrate each and everyone himself, therefore it needs to be scheduled around the pastor's needs..otherwise there will be no regularity to the offering of EF Mass at all...which would lead to it disappearing from this location altogether.

The other edge..It was seven years ago that 2pm was selected, and little has been done in that time to educate the congregation about the EF Mass and attempt to cultivate a new awareness, respect, admiration, and hopefully interest in the EF Mass...thus it has been effectively, although probably not intentionally by the pastor, relegated to a sideshow-afterthought-gimmick.

We should keep in mind that the pastor cannot do EVERYTHING..if we Latin Mass Lovers keep spreading the word it would help a lot.
(Plus educational paragraphs in the weekly parish bulletin..IMHO.)

The Mass of the Ages is so far off the radar of most's a sad shame...sniff, sniff
..and the 2pm time slot enables it to stay off their radar...sniff, sniff.

Hopefully as young priests learn how to celebrate the EF Mass, a new life will be breathed into it..and "the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth"..or at least the face of the Liturgy.

Just my two-cents worth,

Thanks, Sheila

Rood Screen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anon friend said...

Well, Templar, after that last arrow from Fr. JBS at 10:05, I'm sure you are far more motivated toward the "debates" not to mention writing "the .... letter" (expletive deleted)!

Gene said...

Sheila, …forcing the TLM on the people. That says enough right there…the very idea that it is forced or could be. What a state we are in...

Rood Screen said...

Anon friend,

Rather than complaining about everything everyone else does or doesn't do, we should instead ask whether we ourselves have done, "that which we ought to do":

"But which of you having a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle, will say to him, when he is come from the field, 'immediately go, sit down to meat'. And will not rather say to him, 'make ready my supper, and gird thyself, and serve me, whilst I eat and drink, and afterwards thou shalt eat and drink'? Doth he thank that servant, for doing the things which he commanded him? I think not. So you also, when you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say, 'we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do'."

Anon friend said...

"...without deliberately insulting anyone..."
JBS, your words, not mine; it was jarring to me that just yesterday you praised (I complimented you for pointing that out!) Joe and Henry for how they post their thoughts, then this morning you posted ("...whining like little girl..") what you did here--not to mention the expletive. You are usually more careful. None of my business and I'm certainly not your judge--it's just not like you.

Rood Screen said...

Anon friend,

Templar's Blogger name distinguishes him as a man of courage and purpose, and someone who can handle a little direct talk. Who knows, if my words serve as the kick in the pants he needs, he might just get something constructive done about the situation he decries.

Anonymous 2 said...


I do not want to add fuel to the fire on this thread and I am going to talk about something different than the exchange between you and Father JBS.

You provided a link yesterday with the comment that it was an example of the Post-Vatican II Church aiding and abetting criminal activity. I read the article and want to correct what I believe may be an erroneous impression created by your comment. It seems there may indeed be a zoning issue regarding the use of the former convent to house the arriving mothers and children temporarily (overnight I believe until they leave for another destination in the U.S. pending further proceedings). But I suspect you were focused more on the idea that the mothers and children are arriving in the country illegally. Regarding this I would make two observations.

First, the Archdiocese is housing them at the request of the DHS, which has detained these arrivals. So the Archdiocese is aiding and abetting immigration enforcement, something I would have thought you would be happy about, and not violation of the law. Aiding and abetting violation of the law would be, for example, if the Church was hiding them from ICE, instead of ICE bringing them to the former convent after requesting the Church’s assistance with housing. Second, there is an argument to be made that those arriving who turn out to have legitimate asylum claims, for example, should not be regarded as illegal anyway, for they are arriving to claim rights under the law. And until they are properly processed under the law (which the Church has no jurisdiction to do itself) the Church cannot tell who has a legitimate claim and who does not, in other words who is illegal and who is not. You may not like the law but that is a different point.

On the broader issue, our immigration system is in dire need of overhaul. But these clowns in Washington seem more intent on drawing their salaries and enjoying other perks, and in schoolyard brawling, than in actually governing the country. So much for doing the people’s business! In any other enterprise they would have been let go a long time ago. This probably explains why their approval ratings are so incredibly low.

Gene said...

The song is, indeed, theologically insipid, especially in this age of radical immanence and humanistic thinking. We do not need this junk. We need Christological songs, songs about the majesty and sovereignty of God, songs about the Incarnation and Resurrection, songs based upon the Creeds, songs about God's wrath and judgement tempered by His great mercy.

Rood Screen said...

My intention was to provide motivation, such as that given by a coach, to Templar. But since there is such shock and dismay at my attempt, I shall delete it.

Gene said...

Anon 2, just watch. The Church will be leading the pack insisting that all these illegal aliens be allowed to remain in this country. Bishops and Priests will stumble over each other, claw each other's skin, trying too get to the head of the pro-illegal alien line. It is going to be a bigger circus than the average NO liturgy.

Gene said...

JBS, I have no shock or dismay at your language. There are too many people on this blog and everywhere else that are terrified of straight talk, anger, a little harsh language, and people with spirit and passion. To quote Tennessee Williams, "screw them."

Rood Screen said...

Alas, Gene, these are troubling times. It's impolite to be a man, except for the bumbling males on television.

Rood Screen said...

Tennessee Williams! I suppose he did have a certain sort of "spirit and passion".

Merlot said...

Is it just me, or does anyone else think it is just adorable that Gene quotes a gay man when he writes of "spirit and passion"?

George said...

Gene said above that "Luther was not wrong about everything". So I would say that he is not being inconsistent or out of character in finding something useful in Tennessee Williams writings.

Gene said...

Actually, the quote from Tennessee had nothing to do with spirit and passion. Gay or not (and he was probably more "bi," having had several relationships with women early on and actually traveling cross country with one for a year or more) Tennessee had great insight into heterosexual human relationships and a profound understanding of original sin…better than Faulkner's since Faulkner was a humanist. For all the comparisons and papers written about such stuff, Tennessee is closer to Flannery O'Connor than he is to William Faulkner in his understanding of human nature. So, yeah, I quote him quite a bit.

George said...

In your reply to Carol you referenced Isaiah 6:8. Did you read the rest of Isaiah 6? Somehow I don't think that's what the writer of the song had in mind. I will say also that Carol's objection is a big one for me. In addition, looking at the first line: "I, the Lord of sea and sky," Well, Isis was a goddess of the sea and sky. You can get certain images from some of these lines that the author (I hope) did not intend. It sounds like a line from a character playing a a pagan god in mythology/fantasy film.

Templar said...

Fr JBS, I was not insulted or dismayed by your statements. I grew up in NY....I can recall in my minds eye Fr Passamonte staring back at the pitcher shouting WTF was that, after a spaldeen was pitched high and tight. I have more respect for plain speaking Priests that the batch of PC types we produce now.

Having said that, why should I write a letter to ED? SP empowers Priests to provide without approval from their Bishops, let alone Rome. At my place of employment I fight for what is right and just in defiance to the Corporation, and at cost to my career growth and salary. I would think Priests would be expected to do no less. So I must conclude that with the clergy in general don't support SP, or they are frightened of their Bishops. In either case I am done with them, the Diocese, and the Church in general. I am a few years away from bidding good riddance to the Diocese of Savannah, and when I do I will find a Parish where the priests don't need to be petitioned to do the right thing. Good for me, good for them, and only bad for the Diocese of Savannah, which after 18 years of residence I can find almost nothing good to say about. Hmmmm, on second thought, it's good for the Diocese too, since it's obvious they're glad to be rid of me and my kind.

As for Anon2 and his defense of "Odumbo, the DHS, etc".....The Church, at the request of the DHS, blah, blah, blah. The Government in general and the DHS in particular are vile cesspools. the Church needs to stay AWAY from them. And yes I mean ALL that implies.

Gene said...

Anon 2 is a hopeless appeaser. He could be an apologist for the Devil himself.

Anonymous said...

Templar, I wonder whether any force plays a more pernicious role than careerism in shaping the Church for the worse in our time. In this, the Church reflects a pervasive dilemma in all modern organizations—whether business, government, academic, or religious—in which self-interest powerfully motivates almost everyone to put career advancement ahead of integrity of performance.

This must be especially compelling for a priest under the constant threat of banishment to an isolated backwater if he too forthrightly tells it like it is from the pulpit or too conspicuously does it right at the altar. Especially compelling for a priest, because of the enticing rationalization that in the threatened backwater he will forfeit the opportunity to influence enough people to accomplish the objectives of his vocation. Perhaps most of us in government, business, or academic organizations rarely if ever face so stark a choice between strength and weakness as appears (from outside the clergy looking in) to be a ubiquitous factor in the life of priests.

George said...

Another issue (which some on the blog have alluded to) are those priests which are less than what God would desire them to be. Although in some cases this assessment and judgement in in the eye of the beholder. Are there some priests around the country that need to be disciplined or reprimanded by a bishop? Sure. Are there some who, as you say, "forthrightly tells it like it is from the pulpit" and canonically are really not in need of any corrective measure, that this is more likely to happen to? Yes. While there are cases of a bishop assigning a pastor to some "isolated backwater" I think it is less now than at one time. I do think it is in part because of the shortage of priests that some bishops are giving more latitude to how one celebrates Mass or administers his parish (some bishops more so than others, I'll agree).

Rood Screen said...


I think the dilemma for such priests runs even deeper than fear of worldly demotion. The bishop is the spiritual father to a priest, so that a priest who wants to be holy will desire to please his bishop. When the rules of the bishop clash with the rules of the Church, this creates an inner dilemma for loyal priests.


Write the letter.

Desiree said...

Our 2 pm Latin Mass has been cancelled for the past two months. It's been disappointing. Tuesday at 5 pm is difficult to attend most weeks from Robins.

I was visiting my mother in TN a couple weeks ago. I went to Mass with her. Her priest taught himself the TLM and celebrates it every Sunday in a small church, leading about 30 people. The priest has told one family that of they where able to attend Mass daily that he would celebrate it daily...even just for one family!

That floored me. Why can't St. Joseph's offer the same??? I'd give up the beautiful, historical church for what my mother has offered to her. That's pastoral! I try very hard to sit happily through the OF, but I'm not happy. My soul sings at the TLM. I can't help it.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Regarding 'Here I am, Lord', it was written by a certain Dan Schutte, who despite his surname is NOT German (Gott sei Dank) and is a high priest (or in his case ex-priest) of what one of your commentators called 'the Haagen-Dazs school of liturgical muzak'.

For those who want genuine Catholic hymns, there is a splendid brand-new website which I heartily recommend.

In festo Doctoris Seraphici, Sancti Bonaventurae.

John said...

The reason only 30 people show up for the TLM is because that is how many Catholics live in the area?

The Church is changing because the culture is changing. This is not surprising or unexpected. Remember, V2 opened the windows to let in some fresh air? Well, the air was polluted. The rest is history.

B 16 speaks about a smaller Church, poor and even persecuted. We are there.

Templar said...

Keep speaking truth Desiree

Gene said...

Fr, like many Priests, was afraid to offer the TLM as a regular Sunday morning Mass. I am not sure why…perhaps he did not want to deal with the whining and complaining from his flock or perhaps he was afraid of displeasing there Bishop. I would like to remind him that the sheep are being led, not consulted. It probably would have been better if he had not offered it at all, given the poor time slot. Now, it just provides
ammo to those who want to say, "see, nobody wants that dumb old Latin Mass." Dammit, you schedule it at 9:30 or 12:10 and say, "this is the Mass. Learn it and benefit from its graces." If they leave, they can go to Ignotus' Church and pretend they are Methodists. He would be thrilled to get more members and we would be rid of some dead weight. Heck, Fr, if the Bishop gets mad at you, you might enjoy pastoring the Terrors of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Possum Lick, Georgia. LOL!

Anon friend said...

"I used to care, but things have changed.."
Look it up.
I'm done. John Nolan got it right.
May God have mercy on us all..

Gene said...

This blog has certainly taken a sad turn.

Desiree said...

The number fluctuates from about 60 to 30. I asked my mom earlier. It's at 2 pm as well, but every Sunday. Just the fact that one family could get TLM daily makes my jaw drop!

Our 12:10 Mass is already the most Traditional, so why not just change it to Latin? I go now for the Traditionalism. If people go because the time allows them to be bums and they get upset with the change, then that's their problem. Enough of us would have Father's back if he did change 12:10 to TLM. It excites me to imagine the 12:10 Mass full for Latin, and the altar rail in! I'm imagining modestly dressed women in veils too. So Catholic!

I was born in the wrong era.