Sunday, January 17, 2016


I call it absolutely stunning, a work of an immense progressive perspective but yet rooted in the liturgical tradition of the Extraordinary Form. I am speaking of the Ordinariate's "Book of Divine Worship, the Missal."

I am shocked that there has been so little written about this new missal which in many ways embodies what Pope Benedict desired when he issued Summorum Pontificum that the EF Mass would have a gravitational pull upon the revised missal and from that a new, third missal would emerge. It was approved and praised by Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship  who said, why can't the rest of us have a missal like this?" Of course the Congregation for Divine Worship worked closely with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith headed by Cardinal Muller who also endorsed its publication.  Most importantly it has the endorsement or imprimatur of Pope Francis himself, a wildly unreported but stunning fact!

 The Ordinariate's missal is that vision fulfilled. It's template (apart from the particular Anglican liturgical patrimony) will be applied to the revised Roman Missal, meaning the look, the calendar, and the EF options (Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the EF's Asperges, Traditional format for the Introit, the use of the Gradual and Tract, the Offertory Antiphon printed in the missal,  the older form Offertory Prayers, the rubrics more in line with the Extraordinary Form Mass, kneeling to receive Holy Communion, clear permission for ad orientem and the Last Gospel).  All of these could easily be applied (apart from the calendar) to our current revised Roman Missal. I could do it today if allowed.

And from my perspective as a seminarian in a liberal seminary of the 1970's, the fact that today in 2016 I can celebrate both forms of the one Latin Rite (that in and of itself the most progressive terminology of all) is absolutely stunning. Anyone doing what I am doing in a regular parish in the south in terms of both forms of the Mass and one of our Ordinary Form Masses ad orientem every Sunday and one of those once a month an Extraordinary Form Mass would have been thought to be impossible, just impossible. I would have been a laughing stock and my bishop would have clamped down on me and sent me to the periphery. Of course for many, what I do liturgically is on the periphery and thus very  Pope Francis!

Like homosexuals who have redeemed the term "queer" in their lexicon, the term pre-Vatican II has been redeemed too since Pope Benedict. It no longer describes someone who is a heretic in light of Vatican II's spirit, a rigid throwback or someone to be despised and marginalized.

And no longer can those "spirit of Vatican II types" tell us that pastoral positions of the Vatican II documents are infallible dogma. Like the bible, we must read the documents of Vatican II using the historical critical method. We have to know what is dogma (and there is dogma in Vatican II's documents, but this dogma is pre-Vatican II as there are absolutely no new doctrines or dogmas in the documents of Vatican II, none.) There is theology, new theology, what one may call pastoral theology and there is a new direction given for the Church on pastoral matters that are important. But the critical historical method tells us that many of these pastoral initiatives are now dated in light of a new modernism and the affect of secularism on Catholics.

Look at St. Joseph's Christmas Midnight Mass below this post. This would have been anathema just 10 years ago. Today I can post it for worldwide distribution!



Anonymous said...

I attended a Latin EF Mass today and the celebrant, who offers both forms of the Mass, was talking in his sermon about the anniversary of the bishop who founded the Catholic Faith in my country. He said he had been at a concelebrated Mass for the anniversary of this bishop recently, but he marveled at the fact that he was able to say today the very same Mass that this bishop had celebrated almost 180 years ago and, as he said, there would have been exactly the same readings as we had today. It certainly seemed to strike a chord with him and it is obvious how much he loves offering the TLM. It was a beautiful Mass and a great sermon, filled with sensible advice too of how we must do good to those who persecute us. Deo gratias.

I have heard no mention of the Ordinariate's missal. I think that would be just too much for the progressives in this country, where the aim seems to be getting rid of priests and appointing women pastoral leaders.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Jan, progressives of the ilk you describe are quite aware as many traditionalists now are that the EF Mass will appeal only to a certain number of highly committed Catholics but not to rank and file Catholics who embraced this Mass prior to its reform. Thus the EF Mass will remain a vital part of the Church but truly what I call a "boutique Mass" that can have a leavening effect on the Ordinary Form and its adherents.

The greatest threat, though, is the "EF-ication" of the Ordinary Form as the Ordinariate's Missal does in such a marvelous way. If the "EFness" of this missal were applied to our current OF Mass, there would be many, many more Catholics experiencing at least a part of our EF's liturgical patrimony abandoned senselessly in the 1970's revised missal.

It will still be the revised missal with its revised lectionary, but the older missal and older lectionary will coexist side by side. That is a good thing and very enriching.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Many of those to whom the Ordinary Form appeals are highly committed Catholics as well. Being committed to the Faith, knowing the Faith, embracing the Faith is not limited to those who participate in the EF.

The simmering undercurrent of many of the posts, it seems to me, regarding the EF is that EF Catholics are the real, true Catholics while OF Catholics are somehow benighted simpletons who don't know what they're missing, who would flock to EF masses if only they were offered at convenient times, who would discover the "Mass of the Ages" to be the form of worship they had been seeking all their lives.

It is an error, I believe, to look at the mass as if it were a museum piece - something to be admired from a distance, protected from change and development, untouched and, therefore, untouchable.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Levels of commitment to the faith differ from intentional communities be they traditional or something else. The Alleluia Community has by far many more highly committed members than an parish would have--parishes are dragnets of a variety of people highly committed and others less so.

You write: "It is an error, I believe, to look at the mass as if it were a museum piece - something to be admired from a distance, protected from change and development, untouched and, therefore, untouchable."

I agree that some EF affectioninadoes feel that way and as a boutique Mass I say fine, leave it alone.

The greater problem are those, perhaps like yourself, who want the OF as it is sloppily and diversely celebrated today not to be protected from change in this regard, shielded from development, untouched by EF sensibilities such as the Ordinariate's Missal now allows--this is the greater problem, not what you describe concerning the EF Mass itself, although you make valid points.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

should have written "who want the OF to be protected from change..." (take out not!)

Anonymous said...

The major problem for the Ordinary Form of the Mass is that, after 50 plus years, the vast majority of those attending the Ordinary Form of the Mass no longer believe in the Real Presence. That has come about through sloppily offered Masses, yes, but also because of the lay involvement in distributing Communion, liturgies of the Word by lay people and pentecostal music. Because of all of this the Ordinary Form of the Mass will die out because there are simply not enough conservative Catholics now attending in time for a rebuild. I look around at the congregations and ask myself when my generation passes away who will there be to carry on? There has been no catechesis for 50 years and so the vast majority of young people do not practice the faith when they leave school/college.

Father, with due respect, you have mentioned the decline in numbers attending your parish and although the decline isn't as bad in your parish it is markedly declining everywhere else. The bishops in Holland have announced that 1,000 of their parishes - that is two-thirds - will close by 2025. Take France. In 2014 there were 14,000 priests with an average medium age of 75. It has been calculated that if the present tend in ordinations continues there will be more priests ordained to offer the traditional Mass by 2038 than there will be priests to offer the Ordinary Form. Look at the number of parishes closing in New York. Who will there be to offer the Ordinary Form of the Mass and who will there be to attend the Ordinary Form?

So, by default, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass will become the norm and the Church will be a smaller, more faithful Church, as Pope Benedict said would happen. Mons Pope who has Mass once a month is the only one saying there is any decline. A Mass only offered once a month will not increase in numbers. That's for sure. Other reports have the opposite that the only thing in the Church on the increase is the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The Mass I attended today was full of young families with babies. This was not the SSPX either. I was one of a small number of older people there. As traditionalist Catholics are, by and large, the only ones having children then the numbers can't help but increase. Your Nancy Pelosi-style of Church - which is by far the majority - is going to die out but there may be the odd boutique Ordinary Form of Mass here and there.

"The secular press covers youth interest in the traditional Latin mass far more respectfully. The Economist recently reported on the “traditionalist avant-garde.” The old mass, it found, isn’t petering out but picking up some speed: “The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, started in 1965, now has over 5,000 members. The weekly number of Latin masses is up from 26 in 2007 to 157 now. In America it is up from 60 in 1991 to 420. At Brompton Oratory, a hotspot of London traditionalism, 440 flock to the main Sunday Latin mass. That is twice the figure for the main English one.”

The influx of conservative Anglicans has bolstered these numbers a bit: “Dozens of Anglican priests have ‘crossed the Tiber’ from the heavily ritualistic ‘smells and bells’ high-church wing; they find a ready welcome among traditionalist Roman Catholics.”

But the principal source of growth comes from youth interest. “Like evangelical Christianity, traditional Catholicism is attracting people who were not even born when the Second Vatican Council tried to rejuvenate the church,” says The Economist. “Traditionalist groups have members in 34 countries, including Hong Kong, South Africa and Belarus. Juventutem, a movement for young Catholics who like the old ways, boasts scores of activists in a dozen countries.”

Servimus Unum Deum said...

Fr Kavanaugh said, "The simmering undercurrent ... all their lives."

Hello Father and readers. Fr Kavanaugh, I am in whole hearted aggrement. I even just recently on my blog had to tackle a most grievous and insulting, heresy laden comment, of Catholocs of the Novus Ordo being "simple." I'll admit this sick attitude, combined with the hatred, spying, pride, etc. of those in person and online of a sizable portion of those EF/Radicals who attend the EF, is a reason I don not embrace it more in the past year or two. It is such a turn off to young people like myself who do not want to become corrupted by sin and pride in our faith journey.

Sadly, unless those of us embracing this form of the Mass MUST, as Msgr recently lamented, Proclaim such liturgical worship, and in that I include the beauty of the Ordinate Missal, with the Joy of the Gospel, and not be hypocritical in faith. Otherwise, those who would be favourable to such influence will cast it off as for "those elitists." Thanks for chiming in father.

TJM said...

Father Kavanaugh, I find that many "progressives" want the OF to be a museum piece, a veritable re-run of"That 70s Show." Thanks for the laugh.

Bill B said...

I predict within the next 3 years, Robert Cardinal Sarah will reform the Novus Ordo thus: Bugnini's fabricated Ordinary and option saturated rubrics will be suppressed, and replaced with the vernacular 1965 Ordinary and rubrics into the current Novus Ordo Roman Missal. He will add into the rubrics that while hymns may be of any reasonable musical style of the musical director's choosing, all Mass Settings must be Chant or in a chant style. He will then revamp the Liturgical calendar to mirror the Ordinariate calendar.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't see the 1965 Missal reinstated as in reality there was no universal 1965 Missal only regional conferences of bishops who submitted their vernacular version to Rome. It is basically the 1962 Missal with minor revisions to the rubrics but nothing else.

There would be no much resistance to suppressing the current OF Missal especially with its richness in terms of Masses and prefaces even if some of the additional Eucharistic Prayers were suppressed which i don't think will happen either.

The only reasonable solution or expectation is that the current missal as it is has the EF's sensibilities returned to it in terms of the order of the Mass, rubrics and the layout of the Missal. That can happen but not a complete return to the 1962 Missal with some vernacular as the 1965 regional missals allowed.

Rood Screen said...

Father Kavanaugh and Father McDonald are both right, it seems to me. The Roman Mass was rightly reformed in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium, and must continue to be reformed, as needed. This is neither the 16th century nor the 20th century. It's time to move forward.

TJM said...

Dialogue, no, the Roman Mass as "reformed" by Archbishop Bugnini was not done in accordance with the mandate of Sacrosanctum Concilium, but was a radical and disruptive departure. We are still paying the price for that unmitigated disaster. In today's age, Bugnini would NEVER had gotten away with that. He would have been crushed by an engaged laity with no fear of offending a faithless cleric.

Anonymous said...

The OF Mass came about because of the faith of those who created it and then forced it upon the rest of the Church in the most high handed autocratic manner. Just as it is customary after any revolution the winners rejoiced and the losers were lined up and shot if only in a symbolic manner.

For centuries, the Mass has been considered a prayer, a sacrifice, a gif to God. The greatest Catholic saints worked and gradually refined its various parts to make the Mass prayers and its music the best they could for the greater glory of God. Compelled by Catholic faith our ancestors built amazing Cathedrals worthy for offering this Mass, this perfect prayer. It was a way to prepare man and woman for their ultimate destination their beautiful heavenly home. Do Catholic Mass goers still believe this today?

There is no use kidding each other, Vatican 2, especially as reflected in the changes in the liturgy, represents a radical revolution. The Mass has evolved not so much into a prayer to God than as an existentialist encounter between fellow human beings: the Priest addressing us face to face and in reply we speak to him about a God that many of us in the pews believe may be present in the consecrate species or not in a substantial way. This is how most brands of Christian sects believe also. There is nothing special about Catholic worship anymore.

Not surprisingly, many, perhaps most of us, also present ourselves in church, in a sacred place, attired as if we just came from the gym, beach, or worse. We have replaced beautiful sacred music and architecture with banalities. The vernacular language of the prayers is improved somewhat after the recent retranslations.

It has not been my intention to upset any one with this comment, but it must be said that if the EF Mass offends your sensibilities it is not likely because its language is Latin, it is rather because your way of prayer does not match the Catholic way of belief. And that is a tragedy for all of us.

TJM said...

Anonymous, Amen!

Gene said...

Anonymous and TJM, right on. I had a friend who is a theology prof tell me the other day that, "It doesn't really matter where you go to church is primarily a matter of personal aesthetics." Pretty sad. And, this with all the BS about all religions lead to the same God...these are the people leading the wonder we are in crisis.

Rood Screen said...


I do not maintain that the Roman Mass was reformed well, but that it was right to reform the Mass in light of the recent council. I once tried cutting my own hair, with disastrous results: it was right to cut my hair, since I am not a hippie, but the cutting was poorly planed and poorly executed.

Rood Screen said...

Poorly planned.

Gene said...

I don't know, Dialogue...if he cut his own hair, it was probably "poorly planed" as well. LOL!

TJM said...

Dialogue, there was really no need to reform the Roman Mass. In my parish the Missa Recitata and Cantata was the norm and we had excellent participation. By the time I was 10 I could chant 5 different Latin ordinaries by heart. We exchanged a Cadillac for an Edsel.