Wednesday, September 30, 2015


As many of you can tell, I'm fed up with the faux Catholicism of traditionalist Catholics who nitpick every thing they dislike about Pope Francis. I've dealt with anti-papacy sentiments with my Protestant fundamentalist friends and enemies all my life and I know the smell of anti-Catholicism when I smell it but never has it smelled so bad when it comes to pretend Catholics who do not know that a Catholic is obliged to be respectful to the successor of Saint Peter especially in public forums. He's our Holy Father.

The dysfunctional attitudes so many have toward their Holy Father indicates to me why there is so much divorce in the world and that marriage and the family are in crisis!

I fear that the traditionalist blogs that are stirring up discontent against Pope Francis are doing great harm to the new liturgical movement. That is a shame to say the least.

Although, for me and for the majority of Catholic bishops, priests and laity, while the new liturgical movement is open to the wider celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the goal is to make sure that the Ordinary Form is celebrated in a way consistent with the reverence, precision and piety of the Extraordinary Form.

Cardinal Robert Sarah has already indicated this in one of his speeches and called for cathedrals to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass ad orientem to indicate that prayer and sacrifice are offered to God with the priest and congregation together facing in the same direction. This prevents prayers from being a performance read to the congregation. 

When one asks how effective a Eucharistic Prayer is when the congregation is able to hear and understand it, one misses the whole point! It is more important for God to hear and understand prayer. He does even in a silent Eucharistic Prayer prayed in the presence of a congregation! Asking if the congregation got anything out of the prayer shows forth the fatal flaw of post-Vatican II wrong-headed thinking and liturgical action, the horizontal rather than the vertical. 

If nothing else is changed about the Ordinary Form, the following which already is encouraged is all that is needed in the new liturgical movement to align the Ordinary Form's celebration of the Mass in keeping with the reverence, precision and piety of the Extraordinary Form:

1. Chanting the propers and never omitting them and using the Extraordinary Form's form of the Introit to include the Gloria Patri

2. Ad Orientem for at least the Liturgy of the Eucharist but not to exclude the Introductory and Concluding Rites of the Mass

3. Kneeling at the altar railing for the reception of Holy Communion

4. In keeping with the Ordinary Form's Roman Missal's General Instruction, when Holy Communion under both forms is allowed to the lay faithful it is done by way of intinction as is modeled by Pope Francis and the Masses here in the USA and elsewhere.

Simply doing the above four things will add greatly to the continuity between the EF and OF Masses and put the new liturgical movement into high gear!


Anonymous said...

More name-calling. Traditional Catholics are not anti-Catholic, many are more Catholic in belief and devotion than the Pope and a lot of Priests. They are frustrated, hurt, and shocked at what has been going on and at this Pope. This makes them angry and they, rightly, express that anger on opinion blogs and forums like this one. For many, the issue is that there is no "continuity" between the TLM and the OF, or whatever continuity there is has been manufactured by the post-Vat II myrmidons. The continuity is sort of like the continuity between football and soccer...they both run, they use a ball, they have a field, and some terms are the same. Fr, ask yourself if you anger and frustration is really at traditional Catholics who are critical of the Pope and the OF, or is it at the situation you, a devoted and conscientious Priest, have been placed in by post Vat II Catholicism and a Pope who is becoming more and more difficult to find excuses for. You are fighting hard not to be like Fr. Kavanaugh, but it is getting more difficult, eh?

Anonymous said...

A major step in improving the OF of the Mass would be to mandate Eucharistic Prayer 1 - the Roman Canon - to be the Eucharistic Prayer offered on Sundays and Feastdays. I attended Mass on Sunday where the music was fairly awful and there were loads of people tramping around the church and the aisles during Mass and it was very distracting. I didn't feel I was at Mass at all until it came to the Eucharistic Prayer and the priest recited Eucharistic Prayer 1. It put a whole new complexion on the Mass and the Roman Canon overtook the dreary music and the laya people stomping round the church. It definitely makes a difference overall to the Mass.

We are in such a serious state in the Church now, made so evident with the openly gay lector at the Papal Mass, that I can't see how neo-cons can continue to turn such a blind eye. It is to the continuing detriment of the Church that they do not stand up and speak out and say "We will not have scandal in our churches". It seems to me the traditionalists are like a voice crying in the wilderness. It was said that the traditionals and conservatives were entirely over-rund at Vatican II - outgunned and outplayed. This is happening again, simply because neo-cons will not raise their voices and when they do it is usually to condemn traditionalists. If they wait much longer it will be too late. The only conservative blogs raising any concerns are Church Militant, Crisis and now the National Catholic Register are beginning to see the problems ...


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Jan, apart from God who would notice, even in a sung EF Mass if the canon is quiet whether the priest is using 1, 2, 3 or 4??? The canon isn't for us it is the Church's prayer and all four are legitimate and any others approved by the Church including the Eastern Rite one.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

For what it's worth, Father, I think God would notice.

Is not "we offer to your glorious majesty . . . this pure Victim, this holy Victim, this spotless Victim, the holy bread of eternal life and the chalice of everlasting salvation" far more reverential to the Father's only-begotten Son (whom He loves/is loved by infinitely) than EP2's "we offer you the bread of life and the chalice of salvation," or even EP3's "we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice"?

Is not the profound bow at the "Supplices Te Rogamus" far more communicative of the piety due to the Mass, than the omission of the same in the other prayers? Is not the language of the Roman Canon far more elevated and beautiful than the other prayers, once again pleasing the Father by giving as much reverence as possible to his Most Beloved Son?

And lastly, does not the Roman Canon lay out, far more clearly than the other prayers, the propitiatory character of the Holy Mass, as well as the ministerial division between priest and laity? Look at the first Memento: "For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise, or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them, for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being." And look, too, at the Supra Quae: "Look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance (literally, propitious, or sin-forgiving, and serene), and accept them, as once you were pleased," etc....

With all due respect, I agree with Jan. There is a difference, and even if no one else notices it, God does, and I think the Church would do well to return to the Roman Canon as her primary EP here in the West.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Sorry for the double post here, but Jan's "Put a whole new complexion on the Mass" is entirely right. The use of EP1 can indeed elevate even a banal Mass to the point where it does *feel* like the Mass. Please don't take this the wrong way, Father, but it's very possible that, from the "celebrating" standpoint, the choice of EP doesn't affect how the Mass comes across to you, but it really does for those in the pews, and the Roman Canon gives a whole new sacrality to any Novus Ordo Mass it's used in. EP2, with it's thin level of substance, does just the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, Father, well, if the priest used any other canon in the EF of the Mass then that would be going against the rubrics and people would instinctively know because he would get through the canon a lot faster than they would. If the canon was quiet in the OF of the Mass then most people would no doubt use a missal and then of course we would know what eucharistic prayer was being prayed. I know that all four canons are legitimate for the OF of the Mass, but I am saying that a big improvement for the Mass would be the Roman Canon, which more surely raises my mind and heart to God then words such as "send your spirit down on us like the dewfall" does. I would be interested to know where those words come from.

You were suggesting improvements to the OF Mass and, as a lay person attending Mass, I am not the only one that has expressed the same opinion about the use of Eucharistic Prayer 1. The others, while legitimate, are banal made up on the spot to paraphrase Benedict XVI and I certainly agree with him. Benedict XVI didn't mince words on that score.


Lefebvrian said...

There is no such thing as the "Roman Canon" in the Novus Ordo. The word "canon" means law. In the Novus Ordo, there are many options, which is why the committee who wrote it called these "prayers" the "Eucharistic Prayers." By definition, there can be no Roman Canon where there are options.

And, by the way, there is more than one Eastern Rite prayer -- there are at least three in common usage. In my opinion, they are all rather excellent, but they are all quite long. Part of the brilliance of the Roman Canon, and the Roman Rite in general, is the way that the prayers were cultivated to be both pithy and theologically excellent.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

Well, to be fair, Pope Benedict did use the other EP's relatively frequently, and he did say as Cardinal that he was thankful for the "new prefaces and Eucharistic Prayers," so I'm not sure *he* would apply his "banal, on-the-spot" comment to them, but on the whole, I agree with Jan.

But another thing to bear in mind is, for the first few years after the Council, EP1 was still all there was. From 1967-1969, after the Canon was allowed to be said in a loud voice, it was still the Roman Canon. I don't know why more needed to be added with the promulgation of the OF as such, but in the words of one priest I recall reading, the use of the Roman Canon today is so rare as to be negligible. 1500 years of continuous use to occasional use on a big feast day. The GIRM recommends its use for Sundays and Solemnities and also says it may "always" be chosen, but the exact opposite is the case in practice.

Anonymous said...

The specific prayers and postures in the Mass are important expressions of the theology that they were designed to convey. It seems, first comes theology, the Faith, out of which comes the order of worship. (The law of Faith is the law of prayer, and vice versa.)

Vatican II, through use of vague and novel language, introduced a radical change in Catholic theology that Roman Catholics, also called Traditional Catholics, will never accept. The resulting liturgy expresses this new theology especially in the Novus Ordo. As a result the NO is man centered while the TLM is God centered. No amount of tinkering, Tradition bashing, name calling can erase the inherent contradictions between the two. The heavy emphasis on community and fellowship aspects of worship conveys to the People of God that they owe more to each other in their hope for personal salvation than to Jesus Christ who died for them on the cross. (Pelagian?)

Therefore, we must be taught the Catholic theology as for example, Fr. Harandon (sp?), used to teach it. Actually, from time to time, we hear this admonition for more emphasis on catechesis from the highest levels. However, the theology of the past must be the same as in the past or else we are agreeing with those who insist that Vatican II has raised for us a completely new Church. And that cannot be.

John Nolan said...

EP IV is a very watered-down and anodyne version of the anaphora of St Basil the Great. Compare it with a literal translation from the Greek (easily accessible on the internet) and you will see what I mean. EP III is the designer anaphora par excellence and to my mind defines the Novus Ordo which is a designer Mass par excellence. (This is not a matter of opinion, it is an historical fact.) EP III was put together by Fr Cipriano Vaggagini who disliked the Roman Canon so much that he was convinced he could improve on it. It is a fine prayer but it dates only from the 1960s.

No-one who has read Fr Louis Bouyer's memoirs can have any doubts about the provenance of EP II. It is now virtually certain that it was not by Hippolytus and was never used as an anaphora in Rome.

That leaves us with EP I (the Roman Canon). This is the oldest anaphora to have come down to us but was only retained (in a modified form) at the insistence of Paul VI, who also restored some of the Offertory prayers, to the dismay of the reformers.

The Novus Ordo can be celebrated in an authentic Catholic manner (although it rarely is) since the musical structure and a lot of the ceremonial can be carried over from the old Rite, albeit as an option. A couple of hundred years from now it will be forgotten, along with the pseudo-Council which engendered it. The Church has a knack of correcting herself, which is hardly surprising since she is guided by the Holy Ghost.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John in the USA our Ordinary Form Roman Missal has additional Eucharistic Prayers, two for reconciliation and four others for special occasions (not for Sunday). Each of these have their own prefaces which must be used. There are also children's Eucharistic prayers (not in the missal) which we thought were suppressed (as they were in the older English missal, but I am not completely sure these are suppressed. I hope they are though.

Michael (Quicumque Vult) said...

I'm not sure Vagaggini responsible for EP3 as we have it, because EP3, as I mentioned here once before, is shortened rewrite of Vagaggini's proposed "Canon B", which was originally much longer and retained many of the Roman Canon's trademark elements, including phrases carried over unaltered.

Jusadbellum said...

I think given the heat being generated on these threads that it would do my soul more good to take Fr. McDonald's advice and take these issues - and Pope Francis' unique magisterium style to prayer more than to blogging.

I think the bit about nit picking is a valid one and something I too need to take to my examination of conscience. What's the point of straining out gnats but swallowing camels?

There's something in the air, one can feel it... the easy, superficial take is that Pope Francis is a liberal progressive etc. etc. but as I've penned before with respect to Evangelii Gaudium, despite the world pretty much taking it at face value as being pro-socialist/anti-American conservative capitalism.... you really can't make that argument from the text itself in the context of who he wrote it for (the world).

So too with other things he's saying and doing. My challenge is finding the hermeneutic or common thread in his magisterium take ties it all together and makes sense of all these gestures, vague language, occasional put downs etc. I think Fr. McDonald's take about how this may be a CULTURAL think - Italian-Agentinian might have more going for it than we originally took it for.

Maybe we're reacting in a German way to an Italian's way of expression with intentional hyperbolic statements or exaggerations?

Read this way, these routine lacks of fine, nuanced statements are meant not for dense analysis and exegesis but are done for the general emotional "effect". Like a joke doesn't make sense if hyper-analyzed as the point is to provoke laughter. Perhaps his exaggerations are likewise made for the effect of getting LOW INFORMATION CATHOLICS to lower their defensive shields, lift their secular heads and look and see something novel and unexpected and so open themselves to the possibility that this Pope may lead them to this Jesus character....

After all, Benedict came and wrote amazingly concise and beautiful theology....but no one read him.

So I for one am toning things down and re-looking, re-reading Pope Francis' works to see what I'm missing.

TJM said...

The Ordinary Form (as celebrated) is the Edsel of Liturgy. This model should either be reformed or scrapped.

Jdj said...

Jusad at 12:11, thank you.
A couple of weeks ago I had come to the same thought-place you describe here. You, of course, describe it far better than I could. Less time reading blogs and more time in prayer. Good advice.

Anonymous said...

As regards the Mass as a whole (which would have included the Eucharistic Prayers), Michael Davies states as to what Cardinal Ratzinger said about the new Mass:

"In his preface to the French edition of Msgr. Gamber's book, Cardinal Ratzinger has this to say on the subject of post-conciliar renewal:

"What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it - as in a manufacturing process - with a fabrication, a banal on -the-spot product. Gamber, with the vigilance of a true prophet and the courage of a true witness, opposed this falsification, and, indefatigably taught us about the living fullness of a true liturgy".

What, then, does this true prophet have to say about a reform which is, in reality, a continued revolution?

"The pastoral benefits that so many idealists had hoped the new liturgy would bring did not materialize. Our churches emptied in spite of the new liturgy (or because of it?), and the faithful continued to fall away from the Church in droves." And again: "In the end, we will all have to recognize that the new liturgical forms, well intentioned as they may have been at the beginning, did not provide the people with bread, but with stones."

I agree with those comments. To me because the New Mass has been so stripped down we are not being fed as we are in the Traditional Mass and that is why we have the continual drop off in Mass attendance and priests and liturgists trying to counter this by introducing more novelty.


Anonymous said...

The battles here between "old" and "new" sound like the battles the Episcopal Church still has over its prayer books---1928 or 1979? Many traditionalists did not like the new 1979 model, because of the language ("thee" and "thou" for instance), though there were some positive aspects to the 1979 version, like inclusion of the Easter Vigil service, missing from the 1928 version. But generally an Episcopal parish using the 1928 version will be more conservative than the 1979 version. I'm not aware of any "liturgy wars" among the Eastern Orthodox.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Dear Father McD:

Please forgive me for asking this, but I sense you began this post with an additional idea of where you wanted to go with it, but you wrapped it up without going there. I was waiting to see how "faux" folks were sabotaging the NLM.

I certainly agree that we should always be respectful of the pope.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I did veer off from by title didn't I? The point of the title which I didn't explain is that traditionalists and really from the moment Pope Francis came out on the loggia went into hysterics about his papal style and some of the liturgies he celebrated as the Archbishop of BA. They've continued to carp on him and denigrate him which isn't going to leave a very good taste in the mouth of the very person who could help promote the EF Mass which is the pope himself.

We already knows that Pope Francis doesn't view traditionalists in a very positive way as some of them were the most difficult for him to deal with in BA. In fact shortly after he became pope in the BA cathedral there was an interfaith service and I believe the SSPX heckled people in the cathedral itself.

The antipathy, nit-picking and the like from traditionalists' corners is not helping the cause of improving the liturgy through papal mandate.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, those traditionalists are an evil lot, actually believing the articles of the Creed, the CCC, and revering the Mass of the Ages.
How stupid of them to expect a Pope to cater to such silly such ideology. Yes, they deserve for Priests to belittle them and call them names. After all, what we really want is a Church full of progressives, Leftists, and cafeteria Catholics. Hey, it is the wave of the future. Why not just surf it for all it's worth. Send in the clowns....wait...they are already here!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A, only those traditionalists who while legitimately having a disagreement with Pope Francis over this, that and the other and nit-picking what he says to the nth degree all the while using harsh and divisive language to do so are the "evil lot" to use your words. Any true Catholic knows from the CCC that we owe not only the papacy but the person of the pope respect and obedience and deference in matters of opinion and when disagreeing to do so respectfully. I don't see that in your comment so you fit the "evil lot" description you use.

Anonymous said...

Fr, why do you think there is such division? Why do you think that thousands of devout Catholics are disappointed and downright disgusted with this Pope? Where could the basis for the media's so-called mis-interpretation of his words have come from? Why are so many well-educated, many theologically educated, thoughtful people criticizing the Pope? Did they all just wake up one morning and say, "hey, let's go after the Pope?" Have they suddenly collectively become infected with some anti-Pope virus? Things like this do not happen in a vacuum. And, why are so many scurrying around trying to defend this Pope? They are like a cat burying poop on a tile porch.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

They are coloring book Catholics who do not know what a lay Catholic as well as ordained Catholics are suppose to do in terms of their relationship with the papacy and the person of the pope. They are to be respectful and if they have disagreements to share these privately, not in the mass media like on blogs, twitter and Facebook.

They are a scandal, these Catholics you speak of and are guilty of calumny, gossip and breaking the 4th and 8th Commandments, all of which are mortal sins. Their only out is if they are ignorant of these facts which I believe them to be since what they say is so anti-Catholic as to be laughable if not so tragic. But it is serious matter and if they know it is wrong and do it with full consent of the will they've committed a mortal sin. And in addition to this it boarders on an excommunicateable offense in terms of violence (if only symbolically) directed to the person of the pope!

In the 1950's a second grader would know what I just posted!