Tuesday, November 25, 2014


If the Congregation for Divine Worship simply emphasizes the sobriety of the Latin Rite Mass and its reverence and piety, then the Congregation for Divine Worship will have provided an "immensity of majesty" ethos for the Liturgy and its proper celebration throughout the world, which this photo below does not convey in the least. May this come to an end!
 What can we expect from the Congregation for Divine Worship under Cardinal Sarah? I'm not sure, because this congregation has moved slowly but methodically over the years and in a more orthodox, traditional way since St. Pope John Paul II. He ordered the revision of the English translation of the Mass as far back as the late 1980's. He revised the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in 2002.

The unknowns concern the vernacular revisions of the Roman Missal. The one in English is completed. I don't see any major change by going backwards  in any dramatic way with future revisions of the English Roman Missal. I do think there will be some tweaking, but that will be minor and most laity won't even notice it.

For example, some of the phrasing and/or wording of the Prefaces of the revised English need some tweaking. The Preface for Christ the King has this oddity: "the immensity of your majesty." Certainly there is a better way to translate this?

But we still await the Italian revision and the Portuguese revision (being one of the worst of all translations) as well as other translations. Will the translating method be changed? Will it be shifted to Bishops' Conferences. If these things happen, then yes, we will be going backwards, not walking forwards.

What has happened with the Congregation for Divine Worship since Pope Francis became pope that might give us some indication of where this congregation will go?

First of all many things that Pope Francis approved where in the works under Pope Benedict. Pope Francis confirmed these right away:

1. The name of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was added to all Eucharistic Prayers. It was first added to the Roman Canon under the pontificate of St. Pope John XXIII. Pope Francis approved this immediately, within weeks of becoming Pope.

2. The revised Anglican Ordinariate Roman Missal was approved by Pope Francis. It allows Elizabethan English for the Mass, a revised Roman Calendar that is more like the EF's Calendar while still faithful to the Ordinary Form's Lectionary. It allows in the appendix, EF elements to be used as an option for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Ad Orientem, Holy Communion kneeling, the EF's Offertory Prayers and the Last Gospel, all as options.

In my mind, the Anglican Ordinariate's Revised Roman Missal is the big news of this Pontificate. Pope Francis approved it, although it was certainly prepared under Pope Benedict. Pope Francis could have certainly revised it or ordered its approval delayed after evaluation of it. He did not.

I'm not sure why other bloggers do not understand the significance of this revised Missal which was a collaboration of both the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In fact, when I was in Rome last year at a visit to the Congregation for Divine Worship, I asked an official there if we could expect the options allowed to the Anglican Ordinariate Missal to be applied to the Ordinary Latin Rite Missal. He said, if there are advocates for it, certainly.

I would think there are advocates. I believe Cardinal Burke still sits on the Congregation for Divine Worship as a member of one of its committees. Does anyone know if this is still true? He would be a wonderful advocate.

3. Finally, this congregation issued a decree that the Kiss of Peace would not be moved to a different location in the Ordinary Form of the Mass but it mandated that it be sober and that it is merely an option, not required.

So Cardinal Sarah, given the immensity of the majesty of his orthodoxy, will continue a trajectory for the Congregation that is already established but he will do so as Rocco Palma indicates:

...The office's new mission is likely to hew closer to Francis' own liturgical approach – as one op summarized it, "Go by the book. Don't make a fuss about it. And remember that liturgy's always a means to an end, not an end in itself."

Not only can I live with Rocco's summary, I wholeheartedly endorse it for everyone in the Church! I also endorse Cardinal Sarah as the next successor of Saint Peter!

As I have said time and again, I love both forms of the Mass and want both forms celebrated as prescribed. The Ordinary Form has many options. These are legitimate but regardless of the options, this Mass needs to recover reverence, piety and awe and it can easily be accomplished on the local level when there is attention to detail and small reforms are initiated. 

But our worship of God at Mass is meant to make us disciples of Jesus in order to bring our faith and good works to the world. Our lives as Catholics should be so attractive that it will draw others to consider what makes a Catholic different and Catholic lives so beautiful.

Is there a beauty in post-Vatican II Catholics' everyday lives? I honestly ask that question especially of the laity. Are Catholics living beautiful lives that attract others to our faith or are they not? 


Anonymous said...

What should be done, won't be done.

The starting point has to be the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

1. Translate the tridentine Mass into the vernacular with the following changes.

2. Use the new lectionary, having the readings read from the ambo. The laity would continue doing the readings as they do now.

3.The prayers of the faithful would be retained. The preface and Canon always in Latin.

4.All rubrics and geatures would remain as they have been codified in the 1962 missal, no inovations, no options. Other parts can be all done or partially done as desired. Done.

Those priests and bishops who don't like it would be laicized and told to go be Episcopalian. But nobody will have the courage to do it. It's not rocket science, it's common sense.

John Nolan said...

'... aeternum et universale regnum immensae tuae traderet maiestate ...' I would agree that 'greatness' would have been preferable to 'immensity' although I doubt if the word 'immense' is unfamiliar to English speakers.

Re the first comment - nobody who attends the EF wants it in the vernacular. Offertory prayers and Canon in English? You don't hear them anyway. Proper chants in English - cui bono? If they are from the Graduale they can't be shoe-horned into the vernacular without destroying them. Those who need a vernacular Mass are best served by a reverent Novus Ordo as exemplified by Fr MacDonald and many other priests.

Anonymous said...

Wrong! Anonymous at 8:01 Nothing but the return of the TLM, not the failed "man made" Novus Ordo, you have been revising your Novus Ordo for over 40 years and for what reason? The Novus Ordo will never be the new Mass no matter how much the liberals try to convince themselves it cannot compete against what has been perfect the TLM!!! Keep trying, the TLM lives thanks to His Grace Archbishop Lefevre who will be raised to our altars one day.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous 10.30am. The OF of the Mass did not develop organically over the centuries as the EF Latin Mass has. Also, the fact that it is in Latin preserves it from novelty. The rubbishy innovations, the chit-chat some priests engage in, the involvement of the laity in the sanctuary, the sign of peace of the laity only developed because the OF Mass is in the vernacular. What Anonymous at 8.01 suggests was what happened originally but that soon changed and things just worsened over the years and that would only happen again.

Also, having the Mass in Latin makes it universal and means the Mass is accessible by all nationalities as it once was. The biggest mistake made after Vatican II was shelving the OF Latin Mass. It devastated the Faith and there is no getting away from that - although many are still in denial in the face of what is so obvious: the introduction of a new Mass is the root cause of the decline in Mass attendance today.

As it is structured, the OF Mass tends towards a celebratory meal rather than a sacrifice. In that the OF Mass deviates from other Catholic rite Masses and the Orthodox Church and also from the original Jewish sacrifice. It seems to be forgotten in the OF of the Mass that Christ became the lamb of sacrifice on Calvary. Also, many prayers have had the word sin and sacrifice etc expunged and so people are not being made aware of these things through the Mass as they once were. The result is most Catholics think they are saved and are attending a celebration of that. Therefore to them balloons, clapping, dance, etc, are perfectly fitting to the Mass.

The involvement of the laity in reading at Mass, offertory processions and distributing communion, to me is a serious problem. Many believe that undercut the priesthood and is one of the root cause for the decline in vocations to the priesthood. Why would Johnnie want to be a priest with all the sacrifice that entails when he can be a permanent deacon or an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and read at Mass?

The old saying "Don't fix something that ain't broke" was ignored and so we are in the situation of a serious decline in Mass attendance today with parishes closing everywhere. The reality is, all the tinkering in the world is not going to turn an "on the spot banal creation" as Benedict XVI said, into the Mass of ages.

What is the solution: I think to have the Anglican Rite Mass more readily available for those who wish to attend Mass in the vernacular and the OF Latin Mass more readily available for those of us who wish to attend the Traditional Latin Mass.


Fr Martin Fox said...


Do you know if a Latin Rite priest -- such as you or I -- can take up the Anglican Ordinariate Missal and begin using it? Or is permission of some sort needed?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Fox. I really don't know. I suspect the bishop could give permission. It is odd that the Ordinariate priests can do theirs and the normal OF and the EF but the majority Latin Rite isn't so privileged.

Anonymous said...

Father, you asked: Are Catholics living beautiful lives that attract others to our faith or are they not?

It is very difficult to live a beautiful Catholic life that others notice these days. We may be living it, but it is sort of like a violet living amid the weeds. With the boorish behavior and disorder of the lives of others who are living a life of the world, living the Catholic life is like playing soft classical music on a radio at a rock concert. It just gets drowned out by the pagan culture. That doesn't mean we don't persevere. But often we don't know if how we are living is really affecting our worldly neighbors. My experience is that they believe they live as good and worthy lives without reference to God as we do going to Church. They also tend to be harshly judgmental of us, expecting a perfection of us, including expecting us to NEVER offend them in any way, even accidentally (our tree dropping apples on their property or believing we are creating sewage backup into their home (not true)). We continue to pray for them, and hope they will convert, but they hate us for being Catholic (though irreligious, the man was raised Baptist, the woman Methodist).
All we can do is practice patience and continue to live decent lives. We can only hope. People are living beautiful Catholic lives, but are under siege. We keep going.

George said...

One thought that has crossed my mind about glamor, fame, power and prestige, is the scandal brought about by those in the public eye who give bad example to others, whether in entertainment or politics or other areas. They become a tool in the hands of Satan to further his evil plans rather than an instrument of Divine Love in the hands of God. You can allow Jesus Christ and His teachings to embrace you or you can embrace the illusion of celebrity and other worldly attractions and end up in an existence without Christ. You will find in seeking this possession of false and worldly attractions an emptiness which leaves nothing substantial or worthwhile to hold on to. I especially fear those who attend Church but have one or both feet in a lifestyle which stands in marked contradiction to how a follower of Christ should live and what that person should believe and give witness to. How you live your life is how you teach and influence others to one degree or another.

John Nolan said...

The Novus Ordo Missae as introduced in 1970 and now in its third edition may well be a more radical departure from tradition than the Council Fathers intended; but the fact remains that it is the normative Mass for the vast majority of Catholics, although for the most part it is badly celebrated with execrable music (it doesn't have to be).

The EF or classic Roman Rite has its own calendar and rubrics and attempts to tinker with it should be resisted at least until it is firmly re-established, which will probably take another hundred years (so what? the Church thinks in centuries).

There is no point in stamping one's foot and insisting on a return to 1962 - it ain't going to happen. Attend the classic Roman Rite if that is what you prefer and if it is available; improve the new Mass with decent music and a good ars celebrandi; but recognize that both are valid and spiritual benefit can be derived from either.

Canadienne said...

Re: Father Martin Fox
When the Anglican Ordinariate was approved in our diocese, Latin Rite priests celebrated the liturgy as the Anglican priest was not yet ordained as a roman rite priest. Hoe this answers your question.