Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Shortly after the revised Missal of 1970 was instituted, many people, lay and clergy, lamented the sense of the loss of the sense of the sacred and reverence in the Mass.

In revising the Mass, many prayers of the priest were either eliminated or shortened, such as the prayers at the foot of the altar as well as the prayer as he ascends the steps to the altar and the prayer while he kissed the altar. There are many more examples of prayers shortened or eliminated, even those that were said quietly.Why get rid of good prayers? What's wrong with the priest having quiet personal prayers during Mass? It didn't make sense to most back then and now that I celebrated both Masses, it doesn't make sense to me either.

Of course there were far more prescribed genuflections. These were removed and all but three remain in the OF Mass. What's up with that?

Then the priest's reverence with the particles of Holy Communion that might adhere to his fingers. There were all kinds of precautions and concern even for the tiniest fragment, completely removed from the Ordinary Form. Is there less of a need to show Christ reverence in the Ordinary Form?

We worship God with our mouths and bodily gestures and we even repeat certain words several times during Mass even during the OF Mass, such as Amen, and with your spirit just to mention two.

But all the extra signs of the Cross were removed from the Ordinary Form of the Mass during the Eucharistic Prayer and the striking of one's breast at the Domine Non Sum Dignus and Lamb of God. What's up with that?

Any future adjustments to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Missal must take into account what was removed in a most puritanical way that lessened the awe, mystery and reverence people had for Christ and the Mass, and these must be restored.


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

All of your "What's up with that?" questions are answered here:

SC 21. "In order that the Christian people may more certainly derive an abundance of graces from the sacred liturgy, holy Mother Church desires to undertake with great care a general restoration of the liturgy itself. For the liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.

In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community."

Anonymous said...

Well, Father, it's always an option for the priest to voluntarily join his thumbs and forefingers in the NO (there's one photo of John Paul II elevating the Chalice and doing that). Personally, if I were a priest, I would feel obliged to do that, regardless of Mass form.

Anonymous said...

(The above comment was directed to Fr. McDonald, not to Fr. Kavanaugh.)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The bishops who drew up Sacrosanctum Concilium did not envision what the Consilium devised after Vatican II.

To say that the Catholics of the time prior to the Ordinary Form and now those who attend the Extraordinary Form to not understand the signs that the Mass signifies defies logic. Are there some who don't? Of course. The same is true of those who attend the Ordinary form, stripped down as it may be.

Since Sacrosanctum Concilium and Consilium did not create statements and reality that are irreformable, it is quite appropriate to take the same hermeneutic of criticism directed at the EF Mass and apply it to the OF Mass, more so to the OF Mass since it was fabricated.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Please explain what you mean by "fabricated."

Anonymous said...

"In order that the Christian people may...undertake a general restoration of the liturgy...unsuited to it..."

There. I have restored and made SC 21 more accessible. :)


Rood Screen said...

Father Kavanaugh,

You seem to be saying that the answers to Father MacDonald's questions are clearly evident in the conciliar text you quote. While one can certainly, and even convincingly, argue that the changes Father MacDonald mentions help fulfill the requirements of SC21, it seems to me that there can still be room for ongoing pastoral discernment in the application of this and other liturgical mandates of the council.

Can we not all allow room for dialogue about the application of concilar reforms, instead of pretending that the guiding documents are so precise as to eliminate the need for further discernment?

Rood Screen said...

Father MacDonald,

The question of what the bishops knew and when they knew it seems to be an open one. I know a cardinal who in the early years of his priesthood was an assistant to Paul VI during and after the council. The cardinal insists that everyone expected the reformed missal of 1970 to be basically as it turned out to be: no Latin required, Gregorian chant optional, abbreviated prayers and gestures, expanded options, etc. He says bishops around the world were overwhelmingly please with the reformed missal, with few exceptions. He also says it was exactly what they were voting for at the council.

Perhaps he's deluded, but his account adds to the overall picture.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Ratzinger on the Liturgical Reformers Creating a ‘Fabrication, Banal Product’
The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication. They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment. (Ratzinger in Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pgs. 103-104)

Ratzinger on the Degeneration of Liturgy and ‘Liturgical Fabricators’
“[W]e have a liturgy which has degenerated so that it has become a show which, with momentary success for the group of liturgical fabricators, strives to render religion interesting in the wake of the frivolities of fashion and seductive moral maxims. Consequently, the trend is the increasingly marked retreat of those who do not look to the liturgy for a spiritual show-master but for the encounter with the living God in whose presence all the ‘doing’ becomes insignificant since only this encounter is able to guarantee us access to the true richness of being.” (Cardinal Ratzinger’s preface to the French translation of Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Monsignor Klaus Gamber, 1992).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

JBS - I have never pretended that the guiding documents for liturgical reform are precise. Never.

If you have read my posts here you have seen that I repeatedly refer not only to the Conciliar documents, but to the numerous authoritative implementation documents that followed the Council.

I have also asserted here numerous times that the liturgy is continuously evolving and developing. I do not agree with the silly assertions previously made here that any authoritative is the final word on liturgy. Not Quo Primum, not Mediator Dei, and no, not even Sacrosanctum Concilium.

When traditionalists use the phrase "Mass of the Ages" or "Immemorial Mass" or other such terms, it is they, I believe, who are asserting that prior to modern reforms, the mass was as nearly perfect as possible and that only the most minor changes were needed.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Former PI, the current revised Roman Missal could easily be adapted to the EF's Order of Mass, with all its ceremonies and even the Liturgy of the Word with the revised lectionary could be celebrated at the altar as in the EF or at the Ambo as a legitimate option.

This Mass could be celebrated in English, Latin or a combination of vernaculars and Latin.

I would concede giving up the other Eucharistic prayers in favor of maintaining the Roman Canon for Sunday and Eucharistic Prayer II for weekdays.

This would very much be a revised Mass which does not real insult to the Mass from which it was revised.

If one wanted some sort of simplification, the 1965 Order of Mass would be a good compromise.

Anonymous said...

Fr K, in your understanding, what was the intention of Quo Primum?


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Steven - The "Money Quote" from Quo Primum goes like this: "By this our decree, to be valid IN PERPETUITY, we determine and order that NEVER shall anything be added to, omitted from, or changed in this Missal. . .At no time in the future can a priest, whether secular or order priest, ever be forced to use any other way of saying Mass. And so as to preclude once and for all any scruples of conscience and fear of ecclesiastical penalties and censures, we herewith declare that it is in virtue of our Apostolic Authority that we decree and determine that this our present order and decree is to last in PERPETUITY and can never be legally revoked or amended at a future date. . . And if anyone would nevertheless ever dare to attempt any action contrary to this order of ours, given for all times, let him know that he has incurred the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."

Traditionalists here and in other places have mistakenly argued that, after Quo Primum, all changes - ALL changes - in the mass are illegitimate and, possibly invalid.

They do not understand the language of the document nor do they understand how such documents are meant to be read. In particular they do not understand how liturgical legislation fits into the overall scheme of Church statements.

The intention of Quo Primum was not that the mass would never change again.

Rood Screen said...

Father Kavanaugh,

Thank you for your clarification, which is indeed consistent with your previous posts. Your zeal for the Temple of the Lord is evident.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - What benefit is there to 1) celebrating the Liturgy of the Word at the altar, 2) using Latin, or 3) eliminating Eucharistic Prayers?

What "ceremonies" are you suggesting for inclusion in the OF?

Also, what constitutes "fabrication" as you and Cardinal Ratzinger use the term? Please cite specific elements of the liturgy that you and Cardinal Ratzinger think are fabricated?

Rood Screen said...

Paul VI invoked no Quo Primum-style curses upon his successors for daring to amend his missal, and yet it seems strangely protected from revision by powerful forces.

Rood Screen said...

There are good reasons for offering the Liturgy of the Word ad orientem, but much better reasons for offering it facing the congregation. The opposite is true for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

But being a liberal like Father MacDonald, I prefer to keep all the options open and available to the people.

Anonymous said...

Fr K, I read your statement on how it should not be interpreted, but I am asking positively how then it should be interpreted. Thank you in advance.
I apologize if I am off topic.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Steven - From Wikipedia: "The declared reason for this measure was this: "It is most becoming that there be in the Church... only one rite for the celebration of Mass." However, he made the exception mentioned, which permitted the survival, within limited areas or in celebrations by members of certain religious orders, of Latin liturgical rites other than the Roman Rite, rites such as the Ambrosian and Mozarabic Rites, that of the Diocese of Lyon and certain Catholic Order Rites. Some of these dioceses and religious orders have since decided to adopt the Roman Rite. Others preferred not to avail themselves of the exemption to which they were entitled and instead to adopt the Roman Missal immediately."

Jeffrey Mirius writes for EWTN: "Rather than pretend to issue a liturgical decree as if it were a Divine law necessary for the faith and salvation of all, the Pope was trying to do what many popes have tried to do in their own contexts both before and since: to put an end to what the Church regarded as an excessive variety in the liturgy. To end, in other words, a certain sloppiness or lack of control over the rite, as evidenced by various changes and adaptations which were of relatively recent origin or were associated too much with particular localities, thereby marring the desired universality of the Roman Rite for an insufficient reason."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, to answer all your inane questions about the liturgy and your antipathy toward the EF and making the OF Mass reconciled to the Mass from which it was fabricated, follow Cardinal Sarah's lead. This is your only hope to get it right:

We cannot celebrate the liturgy by arming ourselves: by putting on our backs the weaponry of hatred, of struggle, of rancor. Jesus Himself said it: "Before presenting your offer, first reconcile yourself with your brother." In this "face to face" with God, our heart must be pure, free from all hatred, from all rancor. Each one must eliminate from his heart that which might cast a shadow over this encounter. This implies that each one be respected in his sensibility.

[Q.] Is this not precisely what Benedict XVI desired?

Cardinal Sarah: Yes, this is the meaning of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Benedict XVI spent considerable energy and hope in this undertaking. Alas, he did not succeed completely, because ones and others have "clutched" to their rite by excluding themselves mutually. In the Church, each one must be able to celebrate according to his sensibility. It is one of the conditions for the reconciliation. It is also necessary to bring people to the beauty of the liturgy, to its sacrality. The Eucharist is not a "meal among mates", it is a sacred mystery. If we celebrate it with beauty and fervor, we will reach a reconciliation, this is clear. Nevertheless, it cannot be forgotten that it is God who reconciles, and that will take time.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - The questions weren't inane. I hoped you would rise to the occasion and actually explain what you say you believe about the liturgy.

If you are looking for rancor in the discussions about liturgy here, look no further than the mirror. You accused those who disagree with you of being "imbeciles." (Don't say you don't remember saying it - I sent you the direct quote which, for obvious reasons, you chose not to post.)

If you look for rancor, look to the one here who, disgustingly, calls female altar servers "serviettes" (napkins). Lovely rancorous imagery, that.

If you look for rancor, look to those who bully and call others names, who revert to the use of racist slurs, obviously thinking they are still in third grade and on the playground at recess.

Look for those traditionalists who make false accusations against me and others - accusations that, when challenged, are met with stony silence or with the ever-popular, "Oh, I KNOW what you are really thinking!" or "Oh, I KNOW what you really mean!"

I have no hostility to the EF, really. I have no hostility toward Sopwith Camels, to bleeding patients to balance humours, or to the idea that the sun revolves around the earth. I'm not, however, going into aerial combat in a Camel, I'm not going to a doctor who thinks humours need balancing, and I'm not going to talk science with an advocate of geo-centrism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Former PI, sound like sour grapes on your part. Just read Cardinal Sarah through Pope Benedict. Be happy, not sad.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - You seem to misunderstand the fable of the fox and the grapes.

The fox, after finding himself unable to attain what he wanted - the grapes - decides that they were probably sour anyway. The moral of the story: " "It is easy to despise what you cannot get."

I don't care who heads the CDW. I don't really care who heads any Vatican dicastery, as long as it's not me.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh is right on one fundamental point; everything in the Novus Ordo, whether we like it or not, can be traced back to Sacrosanctum Concilium. Even Bugnini's declared aim to purge the liturgy of anything that might be a stumbling-block to protestants is foreseen in the opening paragraph which refers to 'fostering whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ'.

SC 21 is what Fr McDonald might call a bombshell; in this case a bombshell of thermonuclear dimensions.

Retention of Latin and Gregorian
Chant, the instruction that there should be no innovations unless 'genuinely and certainly' required, the idea that new forms should 'in some way' grow organically from existing ones (thus presuming that organic growth can be achieved at the drop of a hat) - these have been seized on by traditionalists but are in reality a smokescreen.

Paul VI closely supervised the work of the Consilium, and although Bugnini regarded himself as the architect of reform, it's Paul VI's Mass. Nor did the implementation of SC end there. Bugnini was working on SC 40 (radical forms of inculturation) when the Pope suddenly and unexpectedly called a halt and exiled him to Persia.

As commentators have noticed, Benedict XVI's attitude to the new Mass is ambivalent. From his many writings on liturgy it is clear that he is not happy with change which is imposed by papal fiat. It is not consonant with the historical development of liturgy in the Western Church.

Rites and Uses are never suppressed if they are not heretical; they may cease to be used for one reason or another, like the Use of Sarum. By making it clear that those who desire to use the older books may freely do so, he was not mandating anything.
If no-one wants the EF, if no priests are interested in learning it, then it won't be celebrated. But it is, and increasingly so, by priests, bishops and even cardinals.

By the way, 'serviette' is a towel in French and a non-U word for a table napkin in English. As a jocular term for a girl altar boy it is a harmless play on words, and only rancorous to a literalist who (to use a vernacular expression) is too far up his own a**e.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

1. ser·vi·ette /ˌsərvēˈet/ noun British Canadian a table napkin.

2. A napkin, serviette or face towelette is a rectangle of cloth used at the table for wiping the mouth and fingers while eating. It is usually small and folded, sometimes in intricate designs and shapes

3. "table napkin," late 15c., from Middle French serviette "napkin, towel" (14c.)

"If you look for rancor, look to the one here who, disgustingly, calls female altar servers "serviettes" (napkins). Lovely rancorous imagery, that."

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

Back in the 1980s a small parish in Lincolnshire got permission from the bishop to employ girls as altar servers because there were not enough boys willing to take on the role. The lady who was an EMHC at that parish was a colleague of mine and was certainly not a 'traddy'. She referred to them as 'serviettes', a joke which the girls themselves apparently found amusing.

They did not say 'That's disgusting and rancorous! You're comparing me to a table napkin!' a) because they were intelligent enough to recognize a pun when they heard it and b) because they were possessed of a sense of humour. I'm told they performed their duties reverently and efficiently.

In those days PC still meant police constable (although personal computers were just coming in). 'Political Correctness' and the humourless mindset which goes with it, remained on your side of the Atlantic. Would that it had stayed there.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John- I suspect they didn't say it because they knew the non-traddie EMHC was not vehemently opposed to their serving at the altar, that the EMHC didn't consider them an affront to the Immemorial Customs of the mass, that they were not regarded by her as usurpers of boys' roles and impediments to those boys answering a call to Holy Orders.

You see, political correctness aside, context is everything.

John Nolan said...

So, Fr K, you would have us believe that a pun is acceptable when used by someone whose views you surmise to coincide with your own, yet 'disgusting' (strong word, that) when used by someone who doesn't happen to share your views.

I also think it ill behoves a priest to accuse a Catholic layman of 'rancour' (harboured bitterness, deep-seated enmity, spite, virulence) simply because he disagrees with you on certain issues. The fact that you are given to hyperbole hardly mitigates it.

Your comment of 5 March at 10:56 was quite frankly petulant, and you saw fit to repost the offensive comment on the following day. I hope you can summon up the decency to withdraw it.

John Nolan said...

Oh, and while you're at it, Fr K, you might care to explain the connection between the EF Mass, an aircraft which is no longer effective, a medical procedure which is downright harmful and a cosmology which is plainly erroneous (except for the fact that you don't despise them but would not have recourse to them).

Because if 'context is everything' such a juxtaposition might lead people to infer that you believe the older Rite to be ineffective, harmful and erroneous.

Which of course cannot be true since to believe so would make the believer a heretic.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - It's not that we don't share the same views on girls as altar servers. It's that your view - that their presence is contrary to the good order of the mass, opposed to "Immemorial" custom, and detrimental to the fostering of vocations to the priesthood among boys - that provides the context of your referring to them as serviettes/napkins.

My mother's life-long friend, "Mr. G," referred to me as "Jo-Jo the Dog Faced Boy." Since I knew he did not think I was ugly, that I was an obstreperous child, or that I was planning to do him some unspeakable evil, I understood the context and that his choice of nicknames was benign.

Given your views on girls as altar servers, I don't think your calling girls "napkins" is benign.

Since I have repeatedly said that I do not think the older rite is harmful or erroneous, your understanding of my analogies is plainly wrong.

I do think the older rite is less effective - not ineffective, less effective - in achieving the purpose/goals of the mass Those are 1) the worship of God, Father, Son and Spirit, and 2) the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the People of God.

Either rite offers proper worship to God. Proper worship can be accomplished in Latin or English, Japanese or Igbo, Romansh or Shona. It can be accomplished in a sumptuously decorated neo-Gothic cathedral or on the hood of a jeep on the battlefield.

But, in our modern context, one must ask how the communication of the saving mysteries of Jesus Christ to the people of od is best accomplished.

That, I think, is where we have the greatest differences.

John Nolan said...

Fr K, if you don't want to be misunderstood, then I suggest you be more circumspect in your choice of analogies.

'Serviette' like 'suffragette' might be mildly disparaging and it's quite true that I don't like the idea of women in the sanctuary (although for none of the reasons that you attribute to me). I don't particularly agree with EMHC either, which is why I refer to them as Extraordinary Monsters. As individuals I bear them no ill-will, and to suggest that I am motivated by bitterness, deep-seated enmity or spite is uncharitable as well as being grossly inaccurate. However, I don't bleat about being misunderstood and if my words are 'twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools' then so be it; I consort with neither.

'Pun: A play on words which are similar in sound but different in meaning.' I am quite capable of distinguishing a girl from a square of linen.

I occasionally attend a vernacular Mass which employs both serviettes and Extraordinary Monsters. They're a minor irritation compared with having to endure the drivel which passes for music. Someone remarked that there will be no improvement in the liturgy until the last guitar is smashed over the head of the last EMHC.

That's a joke, by the way.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - It is the intention of many here to misunderstand anything I say, let alone anything as complex as an analogy (that's sarcasm), so I'm not going to worry about how I may be misunderstood.

I could say "Jesus is Lord" and some would accuse me of heresy.

Words change meaning, at times, according to the person using the word. When you ring for a lift, you're pushing the button of an elevator. When I ring for a lift, I am calling someone to ask for a ride.

As a self-proclaimed non-philistine, I am sure you know the difference between a young girl and a square of linen. Referring to these young girls, whose very presence on the altar you consider to be an affront to all that is good and holy, as "napkins" is, as far as I am concerned, given its insulting meaning by your well-known disfavor.

John Nolan said...

Fr K, why is it so difficult for you to understand that a pun only works if the similar-sounding word is used WITH A DIFFERENT MEANING. If I meant 'napkin' it wouldn't be a pun, and in fact would make no sense at all. 'Servi-' (from server) + '-ette' (a feminine diminutive suffix) actually makes a word which has an entirely different meaning which cannot therefore be applied either literally or metaphorically.

And once again, since you make tendentious comparisons you can hardly blame people for drawing their own conclusions. Or is it a ploy that enables you to come back with the petulant accusation that people are deliberately misconstruing you out of malice?

You are also very adept at imputing scurrilous motives and putting words into people's mouths. I never said that female servers were 'an affront to all that is good and holy', and neither did Paul VI and John Paul II when they reprobated the practice.

I believe their employment to be inappropriate, that's all.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I simply don't believe that you think girl altar servers are merely "inappropriate."

Why do you say they are "inappropriate?"

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

It's inappropriate because altar servers are standing in for clerics 'in temporanea deputatione'. They are lay clerks. The Italian word for altar boy is 'chierichetto', literally 'little cleric'. In the English cathedral tradition the boy singers are choristers and the adult men are referred to as lay clerks.

An altar boy has at least the potential to be a cleric; a girl does not. Clerical choir dress (cassock and cotta) is therefore not appropriate attire for females, whatever their role.

The 1994 ruling permitting women servers is hedged about with conditions. Earlier this century it was rumoured that this permission was about to be rescinded, and the English and Welsh bishops during one of their ad limina visits to Rome found themselves having to argue the case for retaining female servers.

That's my position, ceteris paribus. if you 'simply don't believe' me, that's your problem, not mine.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

John - I don't think there is any necessity for someone who is standing in for a cleric to be male.

Bishops have many vicars (vicarius - supplying the place of another) - stands ins - and quite a few are female. There are female vicars for clergy, vicars judicial, maybe even a female vicar general or two.

There is also the question of whether or not it is necessary for a cleric to be 1) assisting at the altar or 2) making the responses. If the primary sacrament of ministry is Holy Orders, then that may be the case. However, in the ecclesiology under which the Church now operates, that role is not limited to a person in some level of Holy Orders (deacon, priest, or bishop).

The proper role of the laity includes their full, conscious, and active participation in the mass, which certainly includes the responses as proper to them. Of course, nary a one of them is a cleric, nor are they rightly see as stand-ins for clerics.

John Nolan said...

Fr K, you should really not need me to point out that Vicars General and episcopal vicars must be priests (Canon 478 CIC 1983).

You'll be arguing next that the Vicar of Christ can be a woman.

Do you ever think that you might be wrong? I came across an article recently by a progressive Jesuit priest which proposed many of the ideas that you espouse regarding ecclesiology, liturgy etc. Perhaps you can apprise us of his name - unfortunately I have forgotten it and I have deleted the article.

Needless to say, his arguments have not gained universal acceptance.

You are entitled to your opinions, like everyone else. The people have always responded at Mass and this dialogue is extended in the Novus Ordo to the introductory rites. This has nothing whatever to do with service at the altar.

If Rome were to revert to the previous practice of all-male service (as bishops, and even parishes, and even individual priests can legitimately do) would you refuse to comply on the grounds that the 'ecclesiology' was wrong?