Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Those who think that the Extraordinary Form of the Mass will become the norm in the Catholic Church once again should think again. It is unrealistic, goes against logic and the evidence at hand is that the EF Mass only appeals to a niche group of Catholics, many of them young, but a small niche, like a boutique hotel.

But what this boutique group of Catholics has accomplished, thanks be to God, is the development of a new movement that could have a broader effect upon the current Ordinary Form of the Mass without in any way changing anything in the Ordinary Form Roman Missal and its rubrics and General Instruction.

A complete return to Latin in the Ordinary Form is unrealistic also. However, keep in mind that the Roman Missal in the Vernacular and in its main body, not in the appendix encourages the Greek Kyrie and the Latin Gloria, Sanctus, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei. These parts are next to the English ones on the very same pages of the Roman Missal.

It would be interesting to know to what extent in the USA, England, Italy and worldwide the Ordinary Form of the Mass is being celebrated in the style of the Extraordinary Form without in any way changing the rubrics and General Instruction of the Ordinary Form and more Latin is used.

We had a prime example of this with our Faure's Requiem Sunday Mass for All Souls on All Souls' Day this year at St. Joseph Church:

And on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on Monday night, a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the London Oratory where Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster was the celebrant is what I am talking about. The choir sang music by Lassus, Gabrieli and Victoria accompanied by period instruments. Was John Nolan present and did he participate in the choir? Time will tell as will his comments.

Any parish and in the vernacular could celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass and make it look like this. It is significant that a high ranking cardinal of the Church, who has some progressive tendencies, is modeling this celebration.

Obviously a parish would not need all the sumptuous vestments, but most, with care and attention to detail could celebrate their Sunday Masses in this fashion.

A difficult Mass setting need not be chosen. The English or Latin Chants from the Ordinary Form Roman Missal could be used or more modern Mass settings that have a classical quality to them. The Propers could be chanted in Latin or the vernacular given the music resources of parishes.

Of course, altar servers and lectors would need to be well trained and choreographed.

John Nolan can tell us if the cardinal distributed Holy Communion to kneeling or standing communicants. Do people normally kneel for Holy Communion at the Oratory?

So what would bring the Ordinary Form of the Mass into continuity with its predecessor, the Extraordinary Form? You see it quite clearly in these photos from the London Oratory: ad orientem!

The Introductory Rite's Incensation of the Altar:
 The first two Scripture lessons:
 The Gospel:
 The Homily:
 The Elevation of the Host:
The Elevation of the Chalice:
Any parish could celebrate in a simpler way the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the orientation in the above pictures and video!


Gene said...

And, the Church and the Liturgy will continue to be a mess. Priests are not motivated by the EF to change the OF. They are not going to be….unless there is direct, unequivocal insistence from Rome. Ain't happening. Look for more of the same boring, routine, obligatory protestantizing OF's for the foreseeable future. "Now, after the sign of peace party this morning, please turn in your hymnals to p. 146 and join with the choir here in front in singing, "What A Friend We Have in Jesus….one further announcement, we will all receive standing today at Communion because we don't want you to crush the particles of the Body dropped on the floor by sloppy receiving in the hand. Thank you, please deposit your Dixie Cups in the large barrel as you return to your seat."

Anonymous said...

I don't see how the OF can be reformed. This is what I experienced yesterday December 8 th.

1. On Holy Days there use to be a special schedule so that working people could go to Mass. But Father flip flops wasn't going to say Mass any earlier than the usual 8:30.

2. On Holy Days the school children had off, not any more. People are seated for Mass and in comes the entire school, people have to move, the children (who never stopped talking and never genuflected) kept making people move their seat.

3. People have to go to work but we are having the annoying woman who thinks she can sing, screetch on and on and on "simging" one horrible song, not hymn, after another.

4. The proper Introit and Gospel antiphon are replaced by the ususal Glory and Praise garbage.

5. Child after child invades the sanctuary to shuffle papers, rerrange numbers on a board, light fake candles with ordinary matches, fix their hair, laugh, giggle, fix their hair, all in front of the tabernacle which they completley ignore.

6. Then the "Mass" starts. The woman cantor who can't sing starts her usual never ending speech. "Good Morning everyone. Welcome to our liturgy. And I want to stress I want everyone to sing. Again I want everyone to sing. Our first song is number 576 thats's 5 7 6, 576 in the missalette 5 7 6. Please sing .... And that goes on for another five minutes.

7. Then the priest who acts like he could care less comes strutting out, hands at his side, glasses on top of his head, wearing his usual flip flops and begins the Mass with a sigh. And it just goes down hill from there.

It would have been better for me not to have gone to Mass. I can't take it anymore and I'm not. If I can't find a traditional Mass to go to I'm not going anymore. I can't take it any more. It's ridiculous. To think the Catholic Church has been reduced to this is a disgrace.

Rood Screen said...

There are plenty of priests who would love to celebrate Mass with the full reverence of the Roman liturgical tradition, but widespread opposition from laymen prevents this, especially when the doubters stop contributing money and get the bishop involved. That's the reality. I know plenty of priests in my diocese and in each neighboring diocese who are stifled in this way. So, what's the answer? I maintain that it's the weekly and local presence of the EF. No one is offended when the EF is chanted in Latin and offered ad orientem, with Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.

Cameron said...

Actually, there are (terribly? horrifically?) clear demographic trends in the Church in the Western countries that can't be denied. The Church in the West is, for all intents and purposes, shrinking dramatically. Until we successfully re-evangelize—I am fully confident this will eventually happen—it will continue to do this.

Because of this, Catholicism in the West will continue to become more and more of a self-selecting group. Baby Boomers said, "Why be Catholic when I can be a Baptist? My wife is a Baptist." Generation X'ers said, "Why be Catholic when I don't have to be anything? I'm so confused." Generation Y'ers/"Millennials" say, "Why be Catholic when Catholic teaching goes against the vast majority of what society tells me is good? Screw this!"

The _effect_ of the above trend is going to be that the only Catholic people left in the West in a generation or two are going to be extremely committed. Far from Pope Francis having a liberalizing effect in the Church—he isn't having much of an effect at all in the numbers department—demographic trends that we have seen for the past 50 or 60 years will continue unabated and I predict that we will end up with a Catholic Church in Europe, the USA and Canada that is decidedly conservative. I'm not going to define the term conservative; take it or leave it. That is to say, the only people who will be left will be conservative.

The second trend that we will continue to experience, which we are experiencing now, is a conservativization of the clergy in the West. This is crystal clear and doesn't require much argument on my part. You don't hear many young liberal priests running around. There will be some, naturally, but they will be a small minority and already are and have been in groups of ordinands for probably 20 years now. We will have fewer priests in the future—although the ordination rate/numbers will eventually stabilize—but the ones we do have will not be flaming liberals. Most importantly, this is the takeaway: LIBERAL CLERGY HAVE VIRTUALLY NO PROGENY.

When you have a self-selecting group, that group tends to "conservativize" itself in most instances (the other option is that it dies, but we know this is not possible in this case). That is because liberalism is a luxury/decadence and you can't afford it when you're trying to survive.

Cameron said...

Don't worry JBS, you have demographics on your side. Just wait 'till you're 70.

Gene said...

JBS, To Hell with laymen! Laymen are not to be consulted about Mass or liturgy! As I have said before, their tastes are being formed, not consulted. What a namby pamby bunch of Priests who tremble at some layman's pique. Let 'em leave and the remnant will be a much more devout and believing bunch. Build a better Church from new converts who are looking for something true and meaningful. They have money, too.

Al Lewis said...

Father, I must respectfully disagree with you. The "niche" group of Catholics you are referring to are the only segment of the Church that is showing any consistent growth. Theirs are the only families having enough children to replace the dying population and the parents in these kinds of families are generously encouraging vocations. And surely you can see that the new breed of priests waiting in the wings are open to the EF. Of course we don't see it so much out here in the marginally Catholic hinterlands, but the EF Catholics are poised for the inevitable.

As far as being "unrealistic" and going "against logic"…well, you've just described the virtue of faith to us. Do I need to remind you that our Church began with 12 largely uneducated men from a backwater of the Roman Empire? God doesn't work according to the logic of man.

I think it's time we get beyond the vanity of our age and realize that this postconciliar debacle is only a small mark on the timeline of Christian history. And times change.

Pater Ignotus said...

The use of "ordinary matches" is, as we all know, the undeniable sign that Pope Francis was born in Kenya, that Six Protestant Ministers are really running the Vatican, that Cardinal Burke is really an alien implant from Alpha Centauri, and that jet liner contrails are really being used to spread communist thought control around the globe!

I didn't even know matches came in the extraordinary form...

Jdj said...

Anon 7:51, I'm so sorry!! Please find another parish. I have been there, and it is not worth your immortal soul.
Why, oh why cannot the local Bishop deal with this sloppy (dare I say sinful?) craziness?! Does no one care about these abusive priests? Are they answerable to no one? In the secular world, a person with these problems would be fired. The trouble begins at the top and spreads from the top down; thus the solutions MUST come from the top down. Come on, folks, souls are being lost underfoot...
What business do we have seeking lost souls outside the church when we are losing souls WITHIN.

Anonymous said...

But, JBS, reverence and beauty are surely more important for the many in the OF than for the few in the EF. Because, for the reasons Fr. McDonald cites, the EF by itself cannot restore faith and devotion among Catholics at large when it involves only a niche group. Those faithful priests you mention must somehow do it in the OF.

I sometimes wonder whether restoration of sacred music is at least as important as ad orientem and reception while kneeling. Yesterday I attended for the first time in quite a while a Mass with a complete 4-hymn sandwich, and was reminded forcefully how difficult it can be to pray while banal songs are being sung loudly during the offertory and communion rites. So I wonder whether singing and actually praying the Mass would encounter the same opposition as ad orientem and kneeling.

Gene said...

Help me out here, guys. Where are you getting your faith in demographics? Of couyrse, I hope you are correct but, when I look at the generation coming along, all I see is a bunch of techno-materialistic brats who are under-educated, overfed, media-obsessed, completely narcissistic with their heads stuck in iPhones and pads all day fingering them as if it were some sexual experience. Whence comes your hope?

Gene said...

RE: ordinary matches…yes, and a clear indication that Ignotus is an agnostic/socialist masquerading as a Priest who cares not a whit about liturgy or doctrine and who is only interested in promoting socialist ideology through his convenient camouflage as a cleric. You left that one out...

MTD said...

I can just add from my own experience there, Communion is always kneeling at the rail at the Oratory--but most, if not all, Masses at the high altar are in the Ordinary Form, but in Latin. Their EF Masses are usually in a side chapel. Or at least this was the case two years ago.

I loved the Oratory but maybe it's my love of gothic architecture that sent me more often to St James Spanish Place when I was living in London. I was amused by an Oratory acquaintance who said "Oh yes, some of my trad friends go there," as if he were less traditional! Very good liturgy, either way, and both demonstrate that "Ordinary Form" does not require anything remotely like what Anonymous listed above.

Gene said...

Jdj, But, ultimately finding another parish is only a personal, aesthetic solution. As wonderful as St. Jo's is under Fr. MacDonald, I know that, when he leaves, it will probably all go to Hell with no TLM at all, some clown liturgist as Priest, and cookies and punch at Confession. It has to be from the top down.

Anonymous said...

When I used the term "ordinary matches" that was done on purpose to show that today modern Catholics have no "Catholicity" about them. For almost 2,000 years in the Catholic Church beeswax candles were used during Holy Mass and were lit with a taper from an altar boy. You see all you modernists out there, the sacred liturgy is just that to some of us......SACRED. Ordinary, everyday utensals are not used because The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is worship of God and he deserves the best, even when it comes to something as simple as a match. Now of course this is riduculous to the modernist "Catholic" who would prefer a card table for an altar and street clothes instead of I take that back. A modernist "Catholic" hates the sacrifice of the Mass just as Luther did and wants to see its destruction, that's why all the sloppyness prevails. But a traditional Catholic is silent in Church and actually prayers and yearns for beauty that is in imitation of the heavenly Liturgy as desrcibed by St. John in Revelation. But a modernist doesn't understand that. You don't act in the house of God the way you act on a ball field. But a modernist doesn't get that. Then stay at the ball field and leave us alone.

Tom O said...


I agree that in the short term the Novus Ordo continues to be the primary form of Mass in the Church. Though I think your are being far to short sighted in your outlook. As we have seen in the last 70 years of Church history, a lot can change. I would not be so quick to restrict how the liturgical life of the Church will develop. The New Liturgical Movement you have referred to is slowly providing a liturgical formation that will deepen the Church's understanding of the Mass. It is precisely because of this deeper understanding that the long term use of the Novus Ordo is unrealistic. Whither you love or hate it, it must be acknowledged that the Missal of Paul VI is not an organic development of the Mass. I strongly agree with you that in the short term we must devoutly celebrate the Novus Ordo devoutly and in continuity with our tradition, still dressing it up in a traditional "style" is superficial and does not get to the core problems. I strongly recommend you read Father Cekdada's Work of Human Hands. Also Fr. Thomas Koci's excellent article:

Anonymous said...

This is fitting, for this thread:

Catechist Kev

Pater Ignotus said...

Anonymous - To jump from "they used ordinary matches" to "modernists," "card tables," "street clothes," "etc," is about as absurd as it gets. And it's one of the reasons the majority of priests pay little or no attention to people who make such absurd assertions.

We use propane fueled candle lighters here. I wonder if that makes us, in your view, heretics...?

There are hundreds of parishes that have been closed, and you complain that "ordinary matches" are used to light candles. Hundreds of Catholic schools have been closed and you complain that children are too noisy. Communities go without mass on Sundays due to the priest shortage, and you complain that your priest wears flip-flops.

It would be interesting to see where you get the idea that a using a taper instead of ordinary matches to light candles is an imitation of the heavenly liturgy . . .

Cameron said...

Gene, come on now... Be a conservative but don't be a blind conservative.

When you look at the generation coming along, yes you see a bunch of this that and whatever else you can think up. I agree. That is precisely WHY I said what I said in my post.

It is no longer a social requirement to be Catholic or to go to Mass. Pretty soon it will no longer be a social requirement to begrudgingly call yourself a Christian when pushed.

Catholicism has now entered the age of self-selection. You have to WANT to be a Catholic. Within 40 years, once Boomers have largely all died, there will have passed the last truly large group of Catholics in the US for the foreseeable future. Boomers have largely not passed the faith to their children, who, in turn, have been even worse in passing it to theirs.

I was born in 1993. I know maybe one or two other young Catholics at my parish of a similar age who seem to care. I know other Catholics my age, but they don't come to Mass, and they don't identify as Catholics really. (No, I don't harass them, I'm not a weirdo.)

The age of, "I go to church because I want to see my friends and have donuts afterwards," is rapidly dying. People of my generation—I hate that word—don't care about church at all. Their friends don't go to church, so why should they? Besides you can get donuts yourself without the hassle of going to Mass.

So we have seen huge amounts of generational attrition. The positive, however, is that the Catholics who are left after each "generational purge" if I can call it that (remember this is not an active process, rather it is the passive attrition of just not caring), and YES there are young Catholics who are educated well in the faith and believe it even though it's difficult, the Millennial Catholics that we DO have are generally very committed and, I would say, generally conservative (in the most liberal sense of that word heh).

So, yes Gene, those things you said are true, but take it a step further. What is the effect of what you said, what is the end result? The end result is what I said above and in this comment.

Phew brain workout over.

Anonymous said...


I disagree with you profoundly. The Novus Ordo has no future, and should not be encouraged. Its flawed from conception. Its optionality and rubrics, or should I say lack thereof, make it irreformable. That's not even to mention its intentional lukewarm artificiality.

If you restore the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the old Offertory, and confine the priest to the Roman Canon, you're tossing out the Novus Ordo anyway, and in effect restoring the 1965 Order of Mass under Inter Oecumenic.

Why celebrate it, when you can offer the EF instead? The only possible reason is Latin. We've smashed the model, and produced two generations of Latinphobes. So why not exercise, or at least attempt, the solution you mentioned last spring?

During your visit to Rome, you posted you had occasion to visit the CDF, where you inquired, if I remember correctly, whether or not a priest might celebrate the new Ordinariate Use. From what I recall, you were told "yes," if enough priests petition for it.

Why not be the first to do so? The Ordinariate Use conforms to traditional liturgical praxis, has the rubrics to protect it, and most importantly of all, is in hierarchic vernacular. It's English.

Why not be the first to exercise your own solution, and write for permission? I've recently shared your story with several priests delighted to hear it. If your petition succeeds, the kindling is lit. And believe me, the wildfire will spread.

Joseph Johnson said...

Tom O,
And Father might add to his reading list the famous "Ottaviani Intervention" written by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to Pope Paul VI in September, 1969, just before the Novus Ordo was to be implemented on the first Sunday of Advent, 1969 (now 45 years ago). That document (which I just reread recently) is the Magna Carta of the so-called traditionalist movement. The guys who wrote it weren't stupid.

Anonymous said...

I must respectufully disagree with you Father, for I cannot see how a renewal of the Church will come from the OF. My own experience is that the OF is dying. I’ve lost track of how many OF parishes have closed in Canada.

In my previous three OF parishes, the average age was near 60 and there were so very few children. There, I have never seen a young man choosing a priestly vocation. It is not renewing itself.

My current parish is an EF served by the Priestly Faternity of St. Peter. It is true that we are currently a small parish ( about 105 people), but our biggest demographic is from 18-29. Over a third are less than 30 years old. There are 11 altar boys. We have at least two women who are pregnant. We have one young man in seminary and I’ve heard another one who wants to join him. This to me is the future. Yes, it will take time, but consider what two more generations like this will do. From a remnant, the Church is slowly renewing herself through the EF.


Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

I admit to being entertained by your evaluation of the matches critique! But if I smoked cigars, as I do so wish I did, I would certainly light them with a waxed-string taper!


I sympathize with the idea behind what you suggest, but the reality is that I know of at least five choirmasters/choirmistresses who have been run out of parishes in the past ten years by organized groups of laymen in this diocese precisely for introducing the Proper and Ordinary chants (and similar elements) at OF Masses.


When a vocal group of laymen stop contributing in protest and they contact the bishop, the pastor must usually give in or else be moved to yet another parish.


Therefore, for now, the prudent thing seems to be letting the OF noisily be what it is in custom, and the EF quietly be what it is. We may hope for a brighter future, but it is not yet upon us. Patience.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

the poor celebration of the OF, its loss of traditional Catholic piety and reverence are not intrinsic to the OF Mass but imposed upon it and easily recovered.

However, I'm telling you from what I know that if i started the EF Mass exclusively in this parish, it would be closed in a year with people abandoning the parish.

Anonymous said...


"I'm telling you from what I know that if i started the EF Mass exclusively in this parish, it would be closed in a year with people abandoning the parish."

Because Latin.

I realize that. Then yes, do what you're doing in the interim, but please, get writing.

Gene said...

Cameron, I certainly hope that you are correct. Thanks for your perspective.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Church looked like when it came out of the Arian period? From what I've heard, that is the only other period in Church history that is comparable.

Pater Ignotus said...

I know I sound like a broken record in this, but the book "Habits of the Heart" by Robert Bellah, et al, and those who analyze seriously the changes in our culture over the past 50 years, give a good picture of why things are the way they are.

It has nothing to do with Latin or incense or lifting hems or maniples or the St. Louis Jesuits or Palestrina or "ordinary matches."

The last chapter, "Transforming American Culture," describes what Bellah and his collaborators think might help us rediscover the blessings of cohesion.

Православный физик said...

I have to agree in part with Fr JBS, I too know of priests who wish to restore reverence, but are met by the loud and vocal minority....and forces liturgical status quo.

But the two things that need to happen immediately.

a. Restoration of the propers to the Mass. (Even if we have to tolerate the folk music set to the propers, I say do it)....the laity being deprived of Scripture adds up...

b. The consecration of Jesus in the cool-aid pitcher or flagon needs to stop. (It's still a common abuse in my Latin archdiocese).....Rome did put a stop to it via RS 91, but it needs to be enforced badly.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ignotus,

I'm not going to argue any point with you. I will just say that you have no problem with the loud children who completely ignore the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament....ok. The truth is that they are the very last bunch of the Vatican II crowd. No love of the Faith has been taught them. They don't know the Faith and once they graduate they will never darken the door of a Catholic Church again. You know who is going to be left Ignotus? It's not the LCWR crowd, guess how is going to be left, that's right traditional Catholics. You will be dead and buried and all your heresy and disobedience and arrogant modernism. God will not be mocked. So eat and be merry now because one day you will be the one on the outside looking in. And we are going to ignore you like you said all your liberal priests ignore us.

Gene said...

Robert Bellah….riiiight….member of the Communist Party, non-Christian, studied in the Islamic Institute, believed religion to be a divisive factor in American culture, followed by FBI for years, treated religion as merely a sociological phenomenon. Another of Ignotus' revealing choices for reading and study...

John Nolan said...

I wasn't able to get up to London yesterday, but Solemn Mass at the Oratory is usually in the Ordinary Form, and is invariably in Latin. The decision to do this was made by the fathers nearly half a century ago. Other London churches did the same - the principal Sunday Mass at Farm Street (the Jesuit church) for example is sung Latin, although versus populum.

The Oratory choir is professional, so yours truly would not be singing in it!

One example of 'mutual enrichment' is the use of an Assistant Priest and bugia bearer, reintroduced in recent years.

Communion is in one kind only, kneeling has always been the norm and the vast majority receive on the tongue.

Advent 1 was also a pontifical Mass, celebrated by none other than Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who has long been a friend of the Oratory. Cardinal Nichols has celebrated Mass at the Oratory before (he is the local Ordinary) but like all guest celebrants he is expected to do things the 'Oratory way'. He is in any case no stranger to the sung Latin Mass.

The London Oratory is surely unique in that it offers a Latin OF and an EF Mass every day of the week, as well as English Masses.

Yesterday the Oxford Oratory (in addition to a low EF Mass and a Solemn Latin OF Mass) had a Mass for the children of the local Catholic junior school. The children led the singing of the Missa de Angelis and Salve Regina under the direction of a young woman teacher. Now that's what I call progress.

Pater Ignotus said...

Gene - Well, you've made religion - at least your peculiar version of it - a divisive factor, so I might allow that you know something about that topic...

Robert N. Bellah, a UC Berkeley sociologist who turned the analysis of religion's role in American society into a bestselling book and a thriving academic pursuit, died Tuesday at an Oakland hospital. He was 86.

The cause was complications after heart surgery, said his daughter, Jennifer Bellah Maguire.

Bellah made his mark with a provocative 1967 essay titled "Civil Religion in America," which argued that a central feature of the American political tradition was the belief in God as a higher authority over the nation.

The essay, with its examination of presidential speeches going back to the founding fathers, propelled the study of religion from the backwater of his discipline to the forefront, spurring a flood of popular and scholarly writing, conferences and college courses.

"No one was talking about religion when he wrote that essay," said Alan Wolfe, a political scientist who directs the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. "He made religion relevant even to people who don't put it at the center or who know nothing about religion. It was really path-breaking in that sense."

Bellah went on to co-write the bestselling "Habits of the Heart" (1985), a study based on interviews with an array of middle-class Americans that illuminated the dangers of a "radical individualism" rampant in American culture in the 1980s.

"We are concerned," Bellah and his four co-authors wrote, "that this individualism may have grown cancerous … that it may be threatening the survival of freedom itself."

Pater Ignotus said...


Many critics regard "Habits of the Heart" as his most enduring work. By the end of its first decade in print, it had sold close to 500,000 copies, placing it, as one critic noted, among "that rare breed of sociological works … with sales figures beyond the total number of practicing sociologists in the world, past and present."

Among the book's claims to fame is an expression that lit the imagination of a generation of religion scholars: "Sheilaism."

The term was derived from the pseudonymous Sheila, the name Bellah and his collaborators gave to a non-churchgoing believer in God who had invented a belief system so private and personal that she described it as "Sheilaism. Just my own little voice." Sheila became a symbol of the individualism that many spiritual leaders cited as a major reason behind the decline of organized religion.

Bellah wrote or collaborated on more than a dozen books, including "The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial" (1975) and "The Good Society" (1991), a wide-ranging critique of contemporary American institutions written with his "Habits of the Heart" co-authors, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler and Steven M. Tipton.

His last book, "Religion in Human Evolution" (2011), was an audacious synthesis of science and history that fulfilled Bellah's long-held desire to understand the origins of religion. Hans Joas, the eminent German social theorist, called it "the opus magnum of the greatest living sociologist of religion."

Robert Neelly Bellah was born in Altus, Okla., on Feb. 23, 1927. His father, a newspaper editor and publisher, died when he was 2, leading his mother, Lillian, to move the family to Los Angeles, where she had relatives.

Bellah attended Los Angeles High School, where he and his future wife, Melanie Hyman, were editors of the student newspaper. They were married in 1948 after she graduated from Stanford University, and he began studying at Harvard University after a stint in the Army.

At Harvard, Bellah was driven to study tribal cultures and later East Asian civilization because of a self-professed "ambivalence about America."

"It seems I could make sense of the apparently chaotic society in which I lived only by taking triangulations from distant positions," he wrote in "The Robert Bellah Reader" (2006).

Pater Ignotus said...


He earned a bachelor's degree in social anthropology in 1950 and a doctorate, also from Harvard, in sociology and Far Eastern languages in 1955. His dissertation, "Tokugawa Religion," published in 1957 and still in print, established him as an authority on Japanese history and culture.

He was fluent in Japanese and literate in Chinese, French and German. He later studied Arabic at McGill University in Montreal, where he wound up after a painful experience at Harvard.

As an undergraduate, he joined the Communist Party and was a member from 1947 to 1949. He was a graduate student completing his doctorate in 1954 when McGeorge Bundy, then Harvard's dean of faculty, pressured him to confess his activities and name his former Communist associates. Bellah refused and headed to McGill when his Harvard fellowship was canceled.

"Harvard did some terribly wrong things during the McCarthy period," he wrote in a letter published by the New York Review of Books in 1977.

He returned to Harvard as a lecturer in 1957, as McCarthyism was waning, and later became a full professor of sociology

Marie said...

I haven't read Summorum Pontificum lately, but I think at some point, Pope Benedict XVI says He hopes the two forms would influence each other toward greater reverence [or words to that effect, please correct me if I remember this wrongly.]

Which made me wonder how that could be, when he also specifically says the two forms may not be mixed.

But now, pondering the matter more closely, I think I know and hope where the Vetus Ordo can help improve the Novus; and the Novus Ordo can help improve the Vetus.

VO can inspire the NO to greater reverence by its restored use of Latin text in parts and chanting the Propers [either in Latin or the vernacular]; assembly singing the Ordinary in Latin; the priest facing Ad Orientem; silence during the Canon, hats or veils for women, and Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

Additionally, the VO can show that it's all right, if not desirable not to have too many options, for example - use only the Roman Canon, instead of the Eucharistic Prayers II to IV.

The Novus Ordo can help update the Vetus with the inclusion in the Missale Romanum of newly canonized saints since 1962; also new Prefaces that missed the early 1962 edition, i.e., the Preface for Advent.

I also think it would be so nice to have the two liturgical calendars streamlined so that both the NO and the VO would be celebrating the same Sunday feasts and solemnities on the same date, instead of on different days. They should agree on what to call the green days - Should they be called "After Pentecost" or "In Ordinary Time?" Is St. Rose of Lima's feast on Aug. 30 or Aug. 25? When should the Feast of Christ the King be?

Otherwise, the VO and the NO will continue to be seen as two different rites instead of two forms of the same rite.

God bless us. Have a blessed Advent.

Gene said...

So, Ignotus, what is your point about Bellah? Are you some kind of apologist for him? I can cite a number of authors I like and all of their credentials. Big deal.

Anonymous said...


Why did you use all that space to repeat what Gene had stated in 3 lines?

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin/Gene - My point is to point out that your attempt at a smear is futile. Yes, he studied at the Islamic Institute of McGill University. To learn Arabic! Now, isn't that a subversive thing indeed....?

Yes, he was a member of the Communist Party - for two years. You were, what, a Presbyterian waaaay longer than that. And we KNOW how "questionable" anyone who has once, in his past, been a Presbyterian is, don't we?

Anonymous said...

Can the EF Mass be celebrated with vernacular?

'just wondering'

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

No except for the Scripture readings in a low Mass.

Gene said...

Ignotus, It does not surprise me at all that you would equate the Communjst Party with a Christian denomination. Seems you really do have trouble distinguishing those things.

Gene said...

Oh, and I am not smearing Bellah, just pointing out his pedigree so people with good sense can make their own judgement.

Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

Thank you for recommending this book. It does look interesting, although perhaps a bit dated. If Gene is correct, then I will probably have some issues with its content, but I do appreciate your constructive contribution to this conversation by noting a work of this sort.

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - Why not judge the content of the book on its own merits?

Anonymous said...

Marie: "Which made me wonder how that could be, when he also specifically says the two forms may not be mixed."

I haven't re-read these documents recently either, but my recollection of the "no mixing" statement is its inclusion in the 1988 document Ecclesia Dei, which was superceded by Summorum Pontificum. It seems to me that the "mutual enrichment" of SP effectively abrogates the "non mixing" of ED.

Rood Screen said...

Pater Ignotus,

When I say "I WILL probably have some issues with its content" rather than "I WOULD probably have some issues with its content", that is a grammatical indication to you that I intend to read it.

Anonymous said...

No, elements from one form of the Roman Rite may not be included in the other form of the Roman Rite.

Comments from Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum University:

"Therefore, we have two usages and two forms and two distinct missals for use in the same Roman rite. I believe that the only respectful attitude toward these two forms is to respect each one and follow the indications found in each missal. It is true, for example, that the new missal does not forbid the use of the maniple, but this does not mean that it may be used. Pope Paul VI's missal lists the vestments required for Mass and these are what should be used, no more and no less. The same must be said about gestures and other minor rites."

What is not indicated in the OF missal may not be "imported" from the EF missal, and vice-versa.

For more:

Pater Ignotus said...

JBS - I'm glad you'll give "Habits" a read. I did not find it easy going, mainly because I am not that well trained in the methodology of such sociological research. It does tend to be a bit dry.

That being said, I would encourage you to judge the content on its own merit, not on that others may say.

Marie said...


I seem to recall that when I brought up this question in the now defunct COL forum [when SP was first released] that there was a "Henry" who answered. Could that be you? Or just a coincidence?

But not having read ED, I didn't really understand the answer. So if you could very kindly explain [again?]:

"... the 'mutual enrichment' of SP effectively abrogates the "non mixing" of ED."

I'd appreciate it very much. Thanks and God bless.

Cameron said...

ED is probably Ecclesia Dei.

Anonymous said...


I was referring only to the standard “established and decreed . . . whatever there may be to the contrary” clause in Summorum Pontificum (2007).

Actually, the oft-quoted directive that “There must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals” is not in Ecclesia Dei (1988) but rather in the preceding papal document Quattuor Abhinc Annos (1984) that first established the indult system for 1962 Masses that was negated by the universal permission granted by Summorum Pontificum.

Not having any particular knowledge or competence in this area, I would assume from what I’ve read that, for instance, the substitution in an OF Mass of the EF offertory texts and rite for the OF texts and rite is certainly still prohibited, since this would plainly violate the OF rubrics. And that Pope Benedict’s statement “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching” (in his letter to the bishops accompanying SP) refers more to such matters of ars celebranda as are not excluded in the rubrics—for instance, the practices seen in Oratory celebrations of the OF Mass that may seem reminiscent of EF celebrations.

Marie said...

"Actually, the oft-quoted directive that “There must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals” is not in Ecclesia Dei (1988) but rather in the preceding papal document Quattuor Abhinc Annos (1984) that first established the indult system for 1962 Masses that was negated by the universal permission granted by Summorum Pontificum."

Thanks for this explanation, Henry. But I think I still need help in understanding this part of the "Letter to the Bishops" issued by Pope Benedict XVI accompanying the SP:

"...The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage."