Tuesday, November 11, 2014


There is mass hysteria in some camps of the Church over the pope and the liturgy. But just how massive is this mass hysteria? It comprises for the most part bloggers and those who read them. In a world of 2 billion Catholics, just how many is that?

Okay, lets say of the 2 billion Catholics, 88% of them don't go to Mass. How many of the 12% of Catholics who do go to Mass actually feel horror and disorientation over the pope and the liturgy?

There are those who say that I should disregard the wishes of the majority of my parishioners at any one given Mass on Sunday and make one of them exclusively extraordinary form. Of course they fail to point out that there are only about 75 people in my parish who would want an EF Mass every Sunday. In fact on the First Sunday of the month at 2 pm we only get about 40 parishioners for the EF High Mass and about 30 more who don't belong to the parish. Why in the world would I foist the EF Mass onto our 12:10 PM Mass and risk alienating that particular congregation and make them go to another Mass or stop going altogether?

But let's get back to the pope and liturgy and chilling out over both.

Liturgy is local and yes we need good role models for celebrating the liturgy properly. There is great latitude in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. But let's face it, we need local bishops and priests do celebrate it well and to make known in a good sort of critical way what isn't good. Papal liturgies and cathedral liturgies, even faux cathedrals named such on ancient post-cards should be role models for other parishes.

We ultramontanists also need to remain papal in our orientation not only when there is a pope whose focus is the liturgy but when there isn't. But we need to adjust our ultramontanist leanings and not be obsessive in watching everything a pope does in this internet world where we can overdose on papal acts and antics. We need to follow the pope in the areas of faith and morals alone. No pope has any secret information about God or the Church, that is called gnosticism. Catholicism's truths, the Deposit of Faith is out in the open and everyone has access to the truths of Catholicism not just the pope and bishops, although they have an authority in the Church that laity do not have. That must be made clear to laity who don't understand that.

The 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form is a rich missal and when celebrated as it is printed and following scrupulously it General Instruction and rubrics can be very beautiful.

In a previous post I mentioned that the Ordinary Form Mass allows for more lay involvement in the liturgy's formal ministry especially for women in the areas of serving the altar, reading and assisting in distributing Holy Communion.

Someone commented to me that altar girls and receiving Holy Communion in the hand and widespread use of EMC's came about through disobedience that then became permitted.

But that commenter forgets that Summorum Pontificum is a result of the same thing but on a grander scale of disobedience by an archbishop of the Church who not only bucked Pope Paul VI and St. John Paul II on the exclusive use of the older form of the Mass which was not allowed at the time, but ordained bishops illicitly and incurred excommunication for it. This led to the current day SSPX.

St. John Paul II started the FSSP to counteract this disobedience by allowing what the SSPX wanted in terms of the EF Mass. And Pope Benedict kicked it up a notch to allow the EF Mass based upon local need. But all of this was a result of schismatic acts of an archbishop and his followers.

So regardless of how EMC's and altar girls and women in the sanctuary came about, it is now legal and approved for the universal Church and under legitimate authority!  And keep in mind that parishes that were not disobedient either in terms of EF sensibilities or girl altar servers embraced both once they became allowed!

So chill out over the current pope and the state of liturgy under his reign, I mean term in office.


Anonymous said...

No, Father, your statement that Summorum Pontificum came about because of disobedience is wrong. The Latin Mass was never abrogated - as Pope Benedict confirmed. Una Voce a group established in 1964 is a group of loyal Catholics who have fought long and hard for the restoration of the Latin Mass. [The Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (or FIUV) was founded on December 19, 1964 in Paris by Georges Cerbelaud-Salagnac in order to promote the Tridentine mass from the Pre-Vatican II Missale Romanum (1962).[3][4] The organization argues that while the Second Vatican Council had introduced vernacular liturgies, it did not actually forbid the Latin mass, and that regular weekday and Sunday masses in Latin should be maintained.] I have been a member of a group affiliated to Una Voce since the early 80s.

I note that the SSPX wasn't even founded until 1970.

An indult for the Latin Mass was granted for England on 5 November 1971 in deference to the English Martyrs who gave their lives for the Mass. This indult is colloquially known as the Agatha Christie Indult and the story can be found here.


I note that Summorum Pontificum expressly states that it is not for groups that are not in communion with the Church, so I am afraid you have got the wrong end of the stick on this occasion.

And something a little off point. I am dismayed to hear that Francis recently said that God is not a magician nor divine, or words to that effect, so to me he is certainly sailing even closer to the wind ... even the very implication that God is not all powerful seems to me he is treading on very dangerous ground.


Anonymous said...

Also, if I can put in a plug for Una Voce - there are a large number of groups in the States - contacts listed here:

Here are the aims of Una Voce:

"The Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) is a lay movement, and its principal aims are to ensure that the Missale Romanum (1962 edition) is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. A General Assembly is convened every two years in Rome and elections are held for the Council and Presidency. The current President is Mr James Bogle from Una Voce Australia. The Federation is recognized by the Holy See, its views are received with courtesy and respect by the relevant Roman Congregations, and its representatives are received by them in the same manner."

And what they said in 2011 with the publishing of Universae Ecclesiae:

"The International Federation Una Voce has worked patiently and tirelessly for the restoration of the traditional liturgy for more than 40 years and is now witnessing a vindication of its fidelity to Holy Mother Church and the See of Peter. The Federation expresses its thanks, prayers, and admiration to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, and praises his courage in not fleeing in the face of the wolves. The Federation also extends its thanks and gratitude to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and to those bishops and priests who have also striven, often in great difficulty, to preserve and foster the traditional liturgy for this and future generations."

This is truly the faithful group of lay people who should be thanked for their tireless work over the years appealing to the Holy See for the restoration of the Latin Mass and supports and trains priests and seminarians.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Jan there is disagreement about Paul VI' so called abrogation of the ancient order of Mass. While he gave limited permission for its ongoing celebration it was effectively abrogated for about. 99% of Catholics. Pope Benedict said it was never abrogated but this cannot be considered infallible, he could be wrong , but he was not wrong when it comes to SP and effectively ending Paul VI so-called abrogation!

Anonymous said...


“Mass, whether in Latin or the vernacular, may be celebrated lawfully only according to the rite of the Roman Missal promulgated 3 April 1969 by authority of Pope Paul VI.”

The emphasis on the word “only” (tantummodo) is found in the original.

“Ordinaries must ensure that all priests and people of the Roman Rite, “notwithstanding the pretense of any custom, even immemorial custom, duly accept the Order of Mass in the Roman Missal.”
“Conferentia Episcopalium” (Oct. 28, 1974).

Anonymous said...

Father, it has always been maintained by Una Voce and others that the Traditional Mass was in fact never abrogated, and there is in fact nothing in any of the documentation that says it was.

An opinion on the matter is on the UK Latin Mass site which you may be interested in reading:

Two points seem to me to add particular weight to the contention that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated:

"Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, whom Paul VI put in charge of the post-conciliar liturgical reform, wanted to obtain an explicit ruling to the effect that the Novus Ordo Missae of 1970 abrogates the Old Mass, so that the latter would be suppressed de jure. To apply for such a ruling to the Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of Conciliar Documents, he needed permission from the Cardinal Secretary of State. On 10 June 1974 the Secretary of State refused to give the requested permission on the grounds that such an attempt would be seen as “casting odium on the liturgical tradition” (A. Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975, The Liturgical Press, 1990, pp 300-301).


Cardinal Medina Estevez, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship, writes in a letter of 21 May 2004: “I reaffirm my personal opinion that the abrogation of the Missal of St Pius V is not proven and I can add that the decree that I signed promulgating the third typical edition of the Roman Missal does not contain any clause that abrogates the ancient form of the Roman Rite...And I can also add that the absence of any abrogation clause whatsoever did not happen by chance, nor as if caused by inadvertence, but was intentional.”

So I believe we were forbidden our patrimony arbitrarily for 40 years.

Father, I don't want to cause you any strife but, if you don't already do so on occasion, perhaps it is a matter of fairness and charity to consider the requests of the 74 in your congregation who desire a Sunday Latin Mass.

I don't know if you are aware but it has recently been stated by Ecclesia Dei that the two Masses are on an equal footing and that no constraints can be put on the EF Latin Mass nor on the Novus Ordo Mass as regards numbers attending. Also a couple of years ago Ecclesia Dei stated that an EF Latin Mass can be substituted for a Novus Ordo Mass - admittedly in that regard the pastor is not obliged to do so but if he feels able to then it can be done. I have to add that in several of our dioceses here the EF Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass are being celebrated on Sundays in the same parish as Pope Benedict envisaged it.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous, 8.01 what you cite is a document forbidding the Traditional Mass. But the Mass was never juridicially abrogated - in other words, Pope Paul VI never went through the legal formalities of what he needed to do to abrogate the former missal, so the Traditional Mass is in fact the Roman Missal and the Novus Ordo is the indult. That is the reality of it.

The fact that Pius V codified the Mass for all time, probably means it was not in the power of Paul VI to abrogate the Traditional Mass.

Yes, you're right, it was forbidden, as Pope Benedict confirmed in his Motu Proprio but it was never juridicially repealed. So the Traditional Mass always had standing under Canon Law. I am sure there are some scholars that can give you chapter and verse as to why.


Anonymous said...

This is the reason I believe that Pope Paul VI was never able to legally abrogate the Traditional Mass because of the codification in perpetuity by Pius V:

"Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain . . . that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force ... [The complete Apostolic Constitution "Quo Primum" of Pope St. Pius V (July 14, 1570)]."

Rood Screen said...

Anonymous, which "conferentia episcopalium"?

Anonymous said...

I prefer the TLM,
However, I do like the Ordinary Form of the Mass. I was fascinated that when I was becoming Catholic, the very striking similarities between Justin Martyr and other early Church references to the liturgy and how the Ordinary Form is very similar.

The sad fact is, the OF is not celebrated with dignity in the vast ,majority of places that I have been. It is its lack of concrete rules that makes it sway with the wind.

Example: My priest when I was in college said the OF ad orientum and with Latin mixed in. Say a new priest eventually comes along and no longer wants to do that, he is going to tailor the Mass to how he wants it to go.

What do you think the future of the OF is in the next 10 years Fr. Mac?

Rood Screen said...

Father MacDonald is certainly right. We must follow and support the pope as our global shepherd, and those of us in the Western Church must be especially attentive to his liturgical leadership.

As for the EF Mass, it could be that the reformed missal still needs further reform, at least to provide it with the balance called for in Sacrosantum Concilium. Perhaps for this reason the Holy Ghost ensured that older missal was never completely abrogated, and inspired Pope Benedict to provide for its extended use.

I suspect that history will prove the present value of the EF missal lies in its future service as a template for reforming the OF missal.

As for Sunday celebrations using the EF missal, we must admit that only a handful of Catholics are interested in it. However, where the EF Mass is celebrated weekly, there are many vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It also serves to "anchor" celebrations of the OF Mass more soundly in the Roman liturgical tradition.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope FRANCIS isn't interested in going forward or backward with the liturgy. He is going to maintain the status quo for good and bad. He has other priorities and mercy is it and maybe to a fault, not a mercy leading to conversion and a new life but rather an enabling mercy that also maintains the status quo of sin.

I think it significant no new prefect has been named for CDW a. I think it will be placed under the congregation for the saints or better yet the CDF.

Our hope for the future relies on the corpus of liturgical work of Pope Benedict. His theology will be in place in about 10 years if not sooner.

The template of this is already found in the new Roman Missal of the Anglican Ordinariate!

Jdj said...

I'm confused by a sentence in your last comment about the Holy Father's priority of mercy: "...not a mercy leading to conversion and a new life but rather an enabling mercy..."
This seems contradictory to me and thus adding to my admittedly confused understanding of Pope Francis. Can you explain, Father? Thanks.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If in fact he will approve Holy Communion to those in second non recognized marriages this is enablement. If the Pope said to a woman in an illicit marriage to go to Holy Communion by passing her pastor and worse yet her bishop this is enablement .

Jdj said...

Ah, I see your point, Father, thanks. As I have never criticized Pope Francis here or anywhere, and
Meaning no disrespect to the HF now, are we faithful pew-sitters to view this as a good change and embrace it as the new status quo? Are we allowed to tacitly disapprove such a huge change in Church teaching and still be called faithful Catholics?
Surely you and Fr. JBS are getting questions about this? But I will completely understand if you do not yet have an answer. Again, thanks

Anonymous said...

First, The mass of Paul VI is every bit as Traditional as the mass of 1962 or 1570.

Second, Quo Primum does not apply.

Exerpt from a letter from Msgr Camille Perl, Secty of Ecclesia Dei, in response to a query from Ohio:

"Secondly, we wish to point out that the effect of law was removed from the bull Quo Primum by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum issued by Pope Paul VI on 3 April 1969. At the conclusion of that document promulgating the new Roman Missal the pope stated:

It is our will that these decisions and ordinances should be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding any Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinances made by our predecessors, and all other decrees including those deserving of special mention, no matter of what kind."

NOTE: "...the effect of law was removed from Quo Primum..."

Pope Paul VI was fully within his power to override the authority of his predecessor regarding the liturgy.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As was Pope Benedict. TLM refers to the ancient use Mass or 2962 Missal versus the 1970 modern rite with a new order and new lectionaries and new calendar .

John Nolan said...

Paul VI ordered that his missal be universally adopted. Had it simply been a reform of the Roman Rite it would have automatically replaced the former missal. But Paul was very much aware that this was a new form of Mass. So, of course was Bugnini, who knew that the Old Rite was never formally abrogated and asked for permission to apply for this. He was turned down flat - the idea of abrogating the former rite was described as 'obnoxious' to liturgical tradition. The issue was finally laid to rest by JP II's cardinatial commission.

No priest is obliged to celebrate the EF. Nor is any priest obliged to accept a female server, even if the diocese or the parish allows it. In this respect the two issues are similar, but here the similarity ends.

Anonymous said...

"We must follow and support the pope as our global shepherd, and those of us in the Western Church must be especially attentive to his liturgical leadership."

Certainly we follow the pope in his primary role as shepherd and guardian of our received faith, protecting us against any and all assaults on the sacred doctrine of the Church.

But the idea of the pope as liturgical leader seems—even after decades of liturgical chaos as the fruit of Vatican II--novel and non-historical to one like me, whose first exposure (as a young Methodist) to Pope and Church was in the time of Pius XII. In discussing the (new to me at that time) role of the pope in the Catholic with everyone I could, no one ever mentioned his having any special liturgical role, nor did I find any such idea mentioned in my voracious reading about the Church.

Pius XII will surely be viewed by history as one of the great popes, but the very idea of inquiring what he thought about the liturgy would surely have seemed downright incongruous then. An informed answer at that time might have been that the pope’s role in the liturgy was the same as any bishop’s—not to think for himself about it, but to follow dutifully and humbly the directions of his MC in offering the Holy Sacrifice properly.

After all the recent chaos, Pope Benedict’s efforts to restore some liturgical order and sanity were certainly welcome. But still more welcome will be the time when we can be confident that no pope—be he a good or bad one—will have any effect whatsoever on our worship at Holy Mass.

Anonymous said...

"How many of the 12% of Catholics who do go to Mass actually feel horror and disorientation over the pope and the liturgy?"

An even better question might be ... Of this 12% of Catholic who regularly attend Mass, how many are faithful believing Catholics who accept all the doctrine of the Church?

Or is the answer to both questions perhaps the same. The 1/3 of regular Mass attenders who believe in the Real Presence, etc.

In which case maybe the sad answer to both questions is . . . One in 25 identified Catholics.

Marc said...

When did the pope first obtain the authority to be the sole determiner of the liturgy? And how did he obtain that power?

You are all arguing about the application of rules that are completely made up.

Anonymous said...

JBS: "As for Sunday celebrations using the EF missal, we must admit that only a handful of Catholics are interested in it."

But of those who attend the OF Mass, how many of them are really "interested" in it, to the extent of actually knowing what's going on?

Could it possibly be that, of the Catholics who are really serious about the Mass, a significant fraction (if not an actual majority) are favorable to the EF?

Rood Screen said...


You're probably right. Given the present state of confusion and division, even regarding defined dogmas, perhaps the best path for now is simply to provide both forms of the Mass in each parish and allow the faithful full freedom of choice.

Whatever our feelings about the pope and the local bishop, none of our problems can be resolved without their resolute and unified leadership, for which we must wait. Until that happens, just let the two forms exist side by side. That's my approach. Follow the rubrics of the appropriate missal, teach the Catechism, obey the Code, read Southern Orders, and pray, fast and give alms.

Anonymous said...

Because Pope Benedict has stated, as Pope, that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated and because of the continuing disagreement over the status of the Papal Bull of Pius V, I agree with JBS that both forms of the Mass should be provided. That would go a long way to healing the wounds that have developed since the introduction of the OF Mass. Anything less means a faithful group of Catholics are marginalised, which was what Pope Benedict sought to overcome with his Motu Proprio.

Cardinal Cañizares Llovera then Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship stated:

"The motu proprio modified the recent situation, by making clear that the celebration of the extraordinary form should be normal, eliminating every restriction [todo condicionamiento] related to the number of interested faithful, and not setting up other conditions for the participation in said celebration than the ones normally required for any public celebration of the mass, which allowed for a wide access to this heritage that, while it is by law a spiritual patrimony of all the faithful, is, in fact, ignored by a great part of them. In effect, the current restrictions to the celebration in the extraordinary form are not different from those in place for any other celebration, in whatever rite.

Those who wish to see, in the distinction made by the motu proprio of cum and sine populo, a restriction to the extraordinary form forget that, with the missal promulgated by Paul VI, the celebration cum populo without the authorization and agreement by the parish priest or rector of the church is not allowed either."


Pater Ignotus said...

Jan - It can be argued that the "faithful group" (as if others were not really faithful) that feels marginalized has moved to that position by choice.

Anonymous said...

Pater Ignotus in saying "a faithful group of Catholics" I am distinguishing between those who have remained with the Church and not gone with SSPX, who Father referred to in his post - therefore, why should they be treated any different from other Catholics who are allowed the Mass in all other languages, including now Anglican Rite Catholics?


Православный физик said...

To give to God due and proper worship is justice and should always be fought for.

Ignoring Rome is keeping my sanity...

I must say though that the idea of the Pope being model exemplified...we have to keep in mind that the Pope has certain privleges which the vast majority of clergy do not have.

But in one sense, yes, the Papal Liturgy in the most solemn form should be the highest possible that is offered in the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI, one got the sense of someone who loved the Liturgy....Pope Francis (Mandatum gate I and II aside) although he too also follows the Liturgy insofar as he's physically able to (assuming he's not deliberately avoiding certain things) gets the sense that he's relieved that it's over.

This of course isn't to say anything bad about the latter (for I'm sure that all of us feel that way about the Mass especially when horrible music or Liturgical Abuses run rampant)...but it's almost as if he didn't have to be there, he wouldn't. (I do many things out of a sense of duty, so in of itself, it's not a bad thing).

Pater Ignotus said...

Jan - If there were a parish community where Latin was the common language, spoken and understood by all, I would be first in line to offer mass there in Latin, ordinary form, of course.