Thursday, September 8, 2016


We have been dealt a hand of cards and thus we have to live with that hand even if we don't like it.

The Mass is the Mass when it is valid. The Orthodox Divine Liturgy, while celebrated by schismatics, is valid. So is the Ordinary Form, the Extraordinary Form, the Ordinariate Form and the myriad of eastern rite liturgies not to mention the Latin Rite variations, of which many have returned in the EF experience.

For me as a priest when I celebrate the EF, OF or LT (Lifeteen), I enter into the mystery and allow God's grace to work in me. When I become too critical and enter into wishful thinking about this, that and the other as it concerns the Church and the liturgy, then I close myself to the gifts of grace God desires to give me through the various celebrations of the myriads of Masses I celebrate.

So stop complaining, whining and critiquing and simply be in the majesty of God's embrace during the Mass. His actual participation is present.


Jusadbellum said...

Much of the disputes in the type of Mass is - I believe- a matter of taste and one can't really argue about taste.

To the degree there's any principles and doctrine at stake, it's largely a matter of the decorum, attention, and attitude of the people who make the liturgy 'go': how they conduct the public worship (serious or unserious) and the content of the songs, homily, and prayers of the faithful.

If one goes to any Catholic Mass with the desire to worship Our Lord, one will find the Lord - even in a clown Mass.

When I attend Mass, my priorities are: a) to ask pardon for my sins and the sins of my nation, tribe, family, and the congregation b) to seek wisdom through the scriptures, psalms, and Gospel c) edification and good insights in the Homily and prayers of the faithful. d) to again ask God's pardon and grace to be the person He wants me to be so as to more worthily receive His Presence in my soul and more worthily and effectively bring His presence to others after the Mass is over.

I'm really not that hyperfocused on the altar servers, decorum, choir and what other people are doing - though I have to confess that it can be distracting to see women on the altar in "flattering" attire that accentuates their legs, hips and cleavage. I often wonder what in the world they're thinking to come forward wearing something that clearly says "sex object".

So I've taken to a habit of NOT looking too hard at the congregation and keeping my head down during communion and in the silence.

In this I believe I'm a creature of the culture - the visually stimulating and over-sexed post-Christian culture. It embarrasses me that I should have to avert my eyes and consciously reinforce my values that people are valuable not for the pleasure the sight of their bodies - and all the imaginations this vision can lead to - but for their own sake as souls for whom Our Lord died and rose again.

I don't know what the answer is to the decay of our culture. Many seem to have a cargo-cultish idea that the Mass itself can effect magic on a culture. I think it's a part but that we're putting the cart before the horse.

If a person does not know, love, and seek to follow Jesus as Lord and King, they're not going to care much about the liturgical method or means by which to encounter the Word made flesh. So it would seem that discipleship happens FIRST and THEN disciples are introduced to the "divine mysteries" vs. the other way around.

The Shadow said...

Is this photo of your empty church a message.... a foreshadowing...? (If I were you, I'd post a shot of Midnight Mass....full house...)

George said...

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin

It could be argued that Mary's nativity should have a greater prominence. By virtue of her being the Mother of God, the Mother of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Blessed Virgin Mary has a special status, a special pre-eminence above that of any other human being. No greater creature was ever born into human existence and no creature ever made a greater choice than she did in consenting to be the Mother of God.
The Church, however, when she honors the saints, does so not do so on the date of their birth into our Temporal existence, as is the human custom, but rather on the date of their birth into Eternal life.
The feast day of the the Assumption has greater liturgical prominence and rank and properly so, since it honors the Blessed Virgin's entrance into the Eternal Heaven.
Let it be noted that while they while the solemnity of the Assumption involves the Blessed Virgin, it testifies more to the Love, Magnificence, Goodness, and Power of God. In other words, while the Mother of God is venerated in certain celebrations of the Church, the Divine Trinity is glorified. While Mary's birth involved another creature (St. Ann) co-operating with God's grace and creative Power, the feasts of the Assumption and Immaculate Conception involve a special privilege conferred by God alone on Mary alone, superseding that provided to any other creature. The major Marian feast days point to God - His Love, Mercy,Power, Glory, and Goodness. It should be noted and recognized that Mary always points to God. As she says in her Magnificat: "My soul magnifies the Lord". The Holy Virgin we honor is the greatest of God’s creatures, the paradigm and exemplar of all Christians. So she is rightly and properly honored by the Church in her nativity. When we love and honor the Blessed Virgin are we not doing what God Himself does? How can anyone say that it is wrong to do this when God Himself does this? Sings the Church in her liturgy :" Thy nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, has announced joy to the whole world".
It is fitting that we honor the Blessed Virgin's nativity on the eight day in September of our present calendar which supersedes those calendars which came before it. It is fitting that we honor her nativity on the eight day, she who was chosen by God to be His Divinely ordained means to bring the Light of God to the Eighth day, the Day of our Salvation.

TJM said...

hard to do when the celebrant is a buffoon and undermines the Mass with his antics

John Nolan said...

'Critique' whether used as a noun or a verb refers to a detailed and analytical assessment of something. It is not a synonym for 'criticize'.

When I attend Mass I do not leave my critical faculties in the church porch along with my umbrella, which pace GKC has yet to be stolen.

The late great musicologist Hans Keller once observed 'art has nothing to do with taste'. The same applies to liturgy. However, Jusadbellum's comment raises an interesting point. If the only Mass available to me was one of the horrors occasionally encountered on Youtube, and I delayed my arrival until the Offertory and left after the priest's Communion (thus fulfilling the obligation as defined by Lateran IV), wore earplugs and kept my head buried in a book - would the spiritual benefit be the same as it would be at a Mass I followed devoutly and intently from beginning to end?

Ryan Ellis said...

There is no "life teen form" of the liturgy. The fact you said there was one tells you that this is not part of the same conversation as the other, legitimate forms you mention. Rather, the life teen mass is a liturgical abuse of the ordinary form. That's our point.

Caliban said...

What John Nolan describes as "horrors" is an opinion, no more, no less.

What fries his grits is that many (most ?) faithful, educated, and devoted Catholics do not share his opinion.

While in his mind they may be philistines, most of us know them as the people who, by their generosity, pay the parish bills, volunteer for donut duty, take up and count the collections, clean the school grounds after tropical storms, staff the soup kitchen, donate to the school tuition assistance fund, sing in the choirs, wash the altar linens, cook for homeless families living in parish facilities, oversee the Scout troops, mow the lawns, etc etc etc.

None of said philistines require (desire ?) earplugs because they know instinctively that the Mass is not about what they prefer.

Thanks be to God for Catholics who know who they are!

TJM said...


Then the Mass should not be subject to the tastes and whims of the priest.

Victor said...

Many a time did I wish I had brought earplugs for "Mass". From guitar strummers playing commercial pop style gigs at Mass in little churches to women duets screeching the responsorial psalm in a basilica through a distorted microphone, it shows that the Mass is now about people, perhaps even an appendage to social a justice club. Bugnini was successful in making the Mass a participation at an event that is not even good enough for amateur night at a cabaret. What ever happened to worshiping the Lord of the universe, the source of all existence? That would require reverence and all the best that people could offer, not a community meeting of people in a certain locale called a "church".

Jan said...

It is impossible to attend a Life Teen Mass without it being intrusive unless one wears ear plugs and sits with eyes closed - Life Teen Masses quite often have the teens doing skits on the altar for the sermon and even the Gospel. The music is protestant praise and worship that's for sure and the Mass is secondary to the band mentality of the teens. It is easily seen why when they get a little older the teens "grow out" of the Mass and stop attending all together. The best way to attend these sort of Masses is to only attend for the consecration and communion.

Anonymous said...

the Orthodox may dispute your claim as to who the schismatics were in 1054....but in any event, when each claims they are the "true" Church, it is no wonder that the two remain at an impasse in their ecumenical dialogue.

Anonymous said...

"If the only Mass available to me was one of the horrors occasionally encountered on Youtube, . . . . . would the spiritual benefit be the same as it would be at a Mass I followed devoutly and intently from beginning to end?"

No. It is traditional theology (universally taught in seminaries before the 1970s) that every aspect of a particular celebration of Holy Mass--the dispositions of the priest and other participants, the reverence and propriety with which it is celebrated, the beauty of the church, the music, etc--affects the efficacy of that particular Mass as a effective channel of grace. So whereas "every valid Mass is a sacrifice of infinite merit" as a re-presentation of the sacrifice of the cross, no two different Masses are likely equally effective in making actual (finite) grace available to worshipers.

One who thinks that the validity of the Mass is all that's important, likely has little understanding of worship and its spiritual benefits.

Anonymous said...

From a post by Father Z today:

No One At Mass Sure Whether They At Catholic Or Protestant Service

“The man looked like a priest and I was quite certain I was in a Catholic Church,” said longtime parishioner Joyce Parlin who had no clue as to what the hell was going on. . . .

Parlin went on to add that the priest or pastor or whatever the heck he was continually used words like “fellowship” and “ministry” during his sermon, words, Parlin admitted, she had never heard before. . . .

At press time, the band has begun singing praise a worship as beach balls are being thrown to and fro, confirming that the event is a Life Teen Mass.

Unknown said...


Erm? Yes! Of course. It is a negative 'active' participation, for sure, but it is active .. in that the participant in actually involved in what is being done. It would be wonderful - though unlikely - if everyone could, at all times, be positive about what is being offered to God as worship in the Catholic Church; the real difficulty is (as it ever was) whether our full, sincere and interior participation (participatio actuosa) in Christ's action can be properly and positively engaged in a valid but egregiously illicit or deliberately error-ridden (even openly sacrilegious) liturgy.

So a few (rather impatient) eyes may roll if a pastor forgets to genuflect at the consecration, this may even receive from some (judgemental) tuts if this happens frequently; yet the actual participation remains positive (on the whole). But a pastor who chooses not to genuflect at the consecration, in principle, always .. even though he has no insuperable difficulty in bending the knee in other circumstances .. well, Father, if we positively participate in this obdurately rebellious choice we offend not just the Church but God Himself; rather we must participate in a negative - though still actual - manner. The Holy Sacrifice may well be valid, as an approved Rite (if not a form in the Roman manner of the Latin Use), yet this does not mean that we are obliged to offer a positive expression of full, sincere and interior participation .. the Faith may require us, rather, to offer up heart-broken penitential reparation for negative aspects that offend against the Church's rule and the divine purpose of the act (even though we must try our best to suppress judgement according to the flesh's natural revulsion and the spirit's cry of vengeance for the offence).

gob said...

Fr, McD,,,,for what it's worth (and to most of the "residents" here that is very little), I totally support and admire your opening comments. These premises are over populated with arrogant, pompous, know-it-all phonies who suffer from delusions of brilliance....wannabe intellectuals...each trying to outdo the rest in fancy talk and Latin phrases...They are comical in their efforts...seem to have no idea what the real world, made up of real decent, honest, loving people is all about.

Mark Thomas said...

Life Teen Mass at Saint Ann, December 16, 2012 A.D.


39:38 - 40:35, uninspired Elevation, altar boys and girls stand with Father at altar, hold hands.

41:33 - 43:54, out of control sign of peace, noisy, milling about Church.

44:14: - Two EMs approach altar. EMs begin to seize control of Mass.

44:29 - Priest leaves altar.

44:40 - Two EMs leave altar.

45:04 - 46:07...About 15 additional EMs parade to altar, help themselves to Body of Christ to distribute...not even one of ghe head as they waltz about the altar...nothing.


Does the video portray a typical Life Teen Mass?

Appalling. The destruction of the Roman Liturgy. Such a liturgy cannot possibly instill into people a strong sense of Holy Tradition.


Mark Thomas

rcg said...

Protestants have sunday school and activities after their service where they study their faith and play music, etc. Catholics can't leave Mass soon enough. I think the desire to entertain so people stick around is a big factor. Why not have the Life Teen stuff after Mass to reenforce the catechism and faith?

John Nolan said...


A very appropriate nom de plume, by the way!

Since you don't know to which 'horrors' I referred, you can't really pass judgement. However, I can assure you that they are by no means common, and all faithful, educated and devoted Catholics I have met (and I have met many) would be horrified if they encountered them (clue: dancing deacons, vestal erstwhile virgins pirouetting with smoking incense bowls, priests on skateboards).

I might prefer the Roman Rite to the Novus Ordo, I might prefer Latin to English, I might prefer Gregorian chant to non-liturgical songs; I might even justify my preference by citing the most authoritative sources, past and present, on the liturgy. But I do not decry those who, for one reason or another, do not share my preferences. The last Mass I attended was a vernacular Novus Ordo; it was no less reverent than the Missa Cantata (1962 missal) at which I shall be singing on Sunday.

Perhaps it didn't occur to you that I was asking a hypothetical question and giving an extreme example. Like some other anonymous/pseudonymous commentators on this blog, you need to brush up on your reading comprehension.

johnnyc said...

rcg.....I think the idea is NOT to reinforce the Catechism and the Faith. That's why there are such things as life teen, etc. For some the aim is to make the Catholic Church more protestant in the misguided notion that it will attract protestants. We don't want Truth to be the forefront because that might offend some and we don't want that now do we?

Rood Screen said...


The church is not empty. See the little metal box in the center? That's the very Substance of our Savior. Step out of the shadow and into His light.

TJM said...


No one posting here beats you when it comes to comedy! You are the funniest joke I've encountered in a long time. I've missed your inane and pointless comments.

Rood Screen said...


The world and the Church are both big enough to handle good opinions and preferences that differ from your own. Did you know that someone can think differently from you without there being anything wrong with that person?

Mark Thomas said...

"...not even one of ghe head as they waltz about the altar...nothing."

I had meant to write that there was not even one bow of the head as one EM after another (about 15 EMs) entered the Sanctuary, which the priest had vacated.

EMS simply headed to the altar as they helped themselves to the Body of Christ to administer to the congregation.

That was an appalling Life Teen Mass.

I pray that the worldwide "Super Diocese" that His Holiness Pope Francis has planned for the SSPX, as well as those who wish to join the "Super Diocese," will soon enter into existence.

Young Catholics need to exchange the Life Teen Mass for the TLM.


Mark Thomas

Caliban said...

John, still, what irks you is that others do not share your views.

It doesn't matter to you that those who prefer the vernacular, who prefer hymns, who are unmoved by antiphons chanted in Latin, who are not confused by Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as to the proper role of the priest, who actually find the use of guitars, drums, pianos, and other non-organ instruments helpful in prayer and praise, are living exemplary Catholic lives despite the absence of all the elements of the "Roman" Rite that you would like to see at Mass.

Many philistines don't look to obscure definitions from Lateran VI because they understand the value of being present for the entire Mass, from opening hymn to recessional. They, unlike you, don't look for the minimum that they must do to "fulfill and obligation." Rather, they look to be generous in their full, conscious, and active participation in the Mass.

That, I think, make them exemplary Catholics.

Unknown said...


If you're an example of 'real decent, honest, loving people' then I'll gladly become an serial killer.

Jan said...

Here is a Life Teen "event" at Stubenville which is in reality protestant pentecostalism with a little Catholicism thrown in, i.e. exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. This is not Catholicism. Those teens are really being tricked and I think it's disgraceful that protestants masquerading as Catholics are being allowed to mislead young Catholics in this way. Young people are being denied the truths of the Catholic Faith and the spirituality of Catholicism. These people in Stubenville and elsewhere are responsible for Catholics ultimately leaving the Church.

Jan said...

Caliban, from what you described in reality you have embraced protestant pentecostalism if you need guitars and drums to find help in prayer and praise. No doubt like many others you will go off in search of greener pastures and fresher bands because what you are promoting just simply isn't Catholicism.

John Nolan said...


You still don't get the point, do you? When did I say that I was irked if someone disagreed with me? When did I say that someone who likes Marty Haugen to the extent that he has CDs of his entire oeuvre cannot be an exemplary Catholic? You claim to read my mind, and yet obviously you don't even read my comments.

I am unlikely to encounter liturgical abuse on the scale to which I was referring. If I go into a church in Holland and find 'Mass' performed by a lay person using invalid matter (it does happen) then I would know it wasn't a Mass, however sincere the participants were, and would go elsewhere.

The obligation to attend Mass is a commandment of the Church, and the Church has therefore had to define the minimum required to fulfil the obligation, namely to be physically present for the Offertory, the Consecration and the priest's Communion. This is not an obscure definition of a Council; it is what everyone of my generation was taught at Confirmation. A specified minimum, legally binding, leaves no loopholes. No-one is suggesting that it is a recommendation. And at the risk of repeating myself, I was positing a hypothetical situation relevant to this discussion. It elicited a reply (from Henry) which it was meant to do.

I wouldn't attend a Mass which featured drums, guitars and keyboards, with soloists bawling into a microphone in pop-music style. This is partly down to personal taste (I dislike the genre) but also arises from a conviction that this type of music is unsuited to the liturgy. Someone who likes this sort of thing might not like Gregorian chant and strive to avoid it; but he cannot do so out of a conviction that chant is not suited to the liturgy, since this is demonstrably false.

Your choice of pseudonym indicates that you are at least intelligent enough to have read The Tempest. Are we to take your posts as an exercise in imagining what Shakespeare's 'savage and deformed slave' might have to say on the subject? This would certainly make sense in view of the content, although the equation of such an attitude with an 'exemplary Catholic' implies heavy irony. Or do you actually identify with Caliban and take a perverse pride in being an uncultured philistine?

Since no-one in his right mind would wish to do so, I can only assume that the former explanation is correct and the joke is actually on the rest of us. No matter - it gives us an opportunity to express our ideas, which we would do even had you remained in your cave.

Jan said...


Life Teen at Stubenville

Protestant Praise and Worship

Pub band

And we've even now got pub churches

But we've got Juventutum youth doing it the traditional Catholic way, where the only hand waving you'll see is the choir master and the emphasis is on God not on guitars and bands:

And Chartres Pilgrimage

20,000 make the pilgrimage to Chartres Cathedral - 80% under the age of 30

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Bravo. I always take great pleasure when an Englishmen expresses himself in an almost Churchillian way. My son-in-law is a British Catholic and he has the same knack for expressing himself in crisp and flowing English

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I am curious as to when you are going to dress the Altar in the Benedictine arrangement? It would be an instant and huge improvement to the sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

Jan - Catholicism isn't defined by the choice of musical instruments used at Mass. If that's what you think defines Catholicism and Catholic worship, you are simply wrong.

Rood Screen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rood Screen said...

John Nolan,

It seems we live in a new world of infantile sensibilities. If you disagree with someone or some group, it now seems they cannot understand you to disagree with them for any reason other than because you have no respect for them. Granted, it is difficult to respect an adult who argues like an infant.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

I recently attended a liturgical procession of the Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima here in Chicago. Before the procession though the streets of Chicago, Fr. Rick Simon gave a homily in the church. One of the most striking things he said was this (and it was a great homily with many very powerful insights):

(not verbatim) Recently he sat in the church (he pointed to about where) on a Sunday morning attending a Latin High Mass. He was in need of prayer. And as he sat there (this former Charismatic Renewal leader) he said to God, well, I'm not having much of a spiritual experience here. And reportedly God "said" to him, Oh, so you were looking for an experience!? I thought you came to worship Me...

Interesting, no?


John Nolan said...

Anonymous @ 12:09

Perhaps you would enlighten us as to what, in your opinion, should define Catholic worship, particularly regarding music. We would then have an opportunity to evaluate your opinion, and if you are 'simply wrong' there are people here who are well qualified to tell you so.

Henry said...

True, Anonymous, Catholic worship is not defined by, but certainly can be vitiated, by inappropriate non-liturgical music.

TJM said...


Lefties don't like to hear how their little world is one, big, massive failure.

George said...


Feelings and emotions are a physiological response. Love at its core is an act of the will. It can exist even if there are no physical manifestations.You learn that by reading about St Theresa of Calcutta and the lives and experiences of the other saints. Those who depend on the superficial aspects of participation when it comes to prayer and liturgy, will likely lose interest and commitment when they are not present, or are no longer there.

Participation in liturgical worship of God is an intention of the will. Those who expect an emotional experience, and become focused and dependent on that over the transcendent, spiritual response to Divine Love, put themselves in danger of losing interest in attending Mass. Even a favorite well-crafted popular song can become tiresome after enough repeated listenings.

The Mass, if celebrated properly and with due reverence, will never grow old and tiresome if one approaches it with the right spiritual disposition.

Rood Screen said...

Some Catholics believe it is easier to enter into full liturgical participation in the Mass if the prayers are chanted in Latin and offered a common direction. Other Catholics--indeed, the majority--believe they participate most fully when vernacular prayers are accompanied by a pop music band, with everyone looking at each other. If these two groups of Catholics begin dialogue with a mutual respect for each other's legitimate experiences, then we can discuss the deeper merits of liturgical planning. I think everyone would be better off with chanted Latin, offered ad orientem, but I'm willing to listen to rational arguments for other legitimate options.

Caliban said...

One wonders what "qualifies" anyone here to determine what styles of music are proper to Catholic worship.

We all can read Church documents. We all have participated in Catholic worship. Some of us have served as singers or instrumentalists in Catholic worship.

What sets one above the others in this regard?

I suspect John Nolan will find those who agree with him to be among the more qualified, while he will dismiss the others as philistines.

But that's a diversion. "Catholicism isn't defined by the choice of musical instruments used at Mass." If anyone is "qualified" to show that this statement is wrong, please do so.

Rood Screen said...


Good question. Liturgical planning takes place under the direction of the pastor, after consultation with the faithful about things that directly pertain to them, such as music. This blog, which is very liberal in its expansive appreciation for the length and breadth of the Roman liturgical tradition, provides a friendly forum for discussion of this pastoral process. Gregorian chant, of course, holds pride of place in these discussions, but polyphony and local music are also worth discussing. Singing in Latin should not be forgotten, since it seems necessary in order for the faithful to learn their parts of the Mass in that language.

Caliban said...

What makes it "necessary" to learn Mass parts in Latin?

There is a rule, somewhere, long ignored, that one might cite. But if we are learning Latin responses merely to be obeying a rule, what merit is there in that?

Does making responses in Latin givegreater praise to God? No.

Is God more pleased when He hears responses in Latin? No.

Are the faithful more faithful if they respond in Latin? No.

Is the Catholic made more generous, more compassionate, more forgiving if he responds in Latin? No.

Does responding in Latin more effectively dispose one to recrieve God's grace? No.

What makes it "necessary" to learn Mass parts in Latin?

John Nolan said...

If one reads Church documents, (Sacrosanctum Concilium, Musicam sacram, the GIRM) then it is abundantly clear that the only music which is proper to the Roman liturgy (liturgiae Romanae proprius) is Gregorian Chant. Not that it needed a General Council to point this out, since it is obvious to anyone with even a slight knowledge of liturgical development and tradition. Note that 'proprius' does not mean simply 'suitable', which in Latin would be 'aptus' or 'idoneus'.

Other forms of sacred music, especially polyphony are by no means excluded. Note the word 'sacred'. Lyrics of a religious nature do not make the music itself sacred. Palestrina's 'Sicut cervus' is sacred music by any definition of the term. Boney M's 'By the rivers of Babylon' might have a biblical text, and could even be called 'religious music' but it isn't 'sacred music' as the Church understands it. Setting a liturgical text to music which is associated with a profane use is a form of sacrilege. In Pius X's day this meant the florid 'operatic style' which was undoubtedly popular; nowadays it would mean a pop band.

Even someone who only listens to popular music would not necessarily think it suitable for use in a liturgical setting. Apart from anything else, it is designed to focus attention first and foremost on the performers. It is nothing if not narcissistic. The contrast between a pop performance and that of a string quartet playing Beethoven is not simply in the quality of the music.

'Liturgical planning' is a very modern concept. On Sunday, having spent thirty-five minutes rehearsing the Propers, it was only necessary to tell the priest 'Mass XI, Credo III' so he is prepared for the intonations at the Gloria and Credo. Any suggestion of performance was avoided by the fact that the four singers were in the choir loft and since it was according to the 1962 Missal the priest followed the rubrics and all the music was in the Liber Usualis.

This was the Roman Rite as handed down and all of us, celebrant, servers, schola and congregation were at the service of the sacred Liturgy. Personal choice and personal taste did not come into it.

Rood Screen said...

Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.

Rood Screen said...


As a Catholic, I follow the leadership of the pope and bishops, shepherds I believe are ordained by God to lead us. Since this is a Catholic blog, I think it should be fine for us to assume that we are following the pope and bishops, even when that means working through points of confusion. At any rate, if you do not respect the rules established by our shepherds, then why are you commenting here? Do you also visit Baptist websites to question their lack of adherence to papal encyclicals, or Moslem websites to chastise them for not going to Mass on Sundays?

Caliban said...

Dearest Dialogue - I comment here because I choose to do so. That's the only reason I, or any other person, needs.

As I Catholic I, too, follow the leadership of popes and bishops. However, it's not as if these liturgical rules are ordained by God, now is it? There's no revelation about the use of Latin or Gregorian chant or incense or only males serving at the altar. These are man-made rules. They have changed time and time again. They are not sacrosanct.

And how many times has Vatican II been dismissed here as "merely pastoral," meaning that the person who holds that opinion can simply ignore any and everything found in the Council's documents. Even though Vatican II contains and expands and develops only that teaching which has preceded it, many posters here LUV to say "merely pastoral" as if it gives them the right to dismiss the documents without further thought.

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

TJM said...

John Nolan once again said it best, far better than most "catholic" priests or bishops could who are heavily invested in liturgical failure.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

@George on Sept. 11 at 2:15 pm:

Oh, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I believe what Fr. Simon had to say is very telling, and gives an insight into how even a faithful priest (there's no doubt he is very orthodox and committed to the priesthood and serving God. No doubt. He's no lightweight.) can be, after years of service, still measuring the Mass, and maybe all that happens to him, by how he "feels" during it. And how many Catholics in the pews are doing this too? Many many.

Anyone who has studied the scriptures or the lives of the saints realizes spiritual maturity is present when one sticks to Our Lord, the liturgy, and practice of the faith even when it doesn't "feel" good, or even further, under persecution.

You explain it very well.

John Nolan said...

Does our ignoble savage Caliban really believe that the liturgy is not sacrosanct (sacred and holy)? Does he really believe that the Roman Rite (which has been remarkably consistent through time and in divers places) has 'changed time and time again'? Or that the idea that 'anything goes' can be justified by reference to tradition? Or that the liturgy is a purely man-made construct which can be altered at will?

If so, he is deluding himself and exhibiting an ignorance which can only be described as breathtaking. There is no way that views such as his can be reconciled with right belief. Any attempt at dialogue would be a waste of time, since there is no common ground.

TJM said...


Instead of evading the issue about Latin and chant, why not respond, point by point, to John Nolan's well reasoned argument.

As to your unserious comment: "They have changed time and time again. They are not sacrosanct" that is factually and demonstrably false. "

Any serious student of the Roman Rite knows very little, in fact, changed from the time of St. Gregory the Great (6th century) until 1964. A Roman Catholic in 1964 would have readily recognized the Roman Mass from St. Gregory's time. What has changed after 1964, and particularly, after the promulgation of the OF, is that with all of the options provided in the Missale, and the "preferences" of the celebrant, the Mass bears not much resemblance to the times of St. Gregory the Great. There has been more tinkering and monkeying around with the Roman Rite in the last 50 years than in the whole of Catholic history.

Your unhelpful comments, would however, be slobbered over with joy at Pray Sniff.

rcg said...

Fr. AJM: to sorta get back to the topic will you please explain how you see the LifeTeen Mass (mass?) fitting in with your hermeneutic of continuity vector? The LT seems to be more designed for a eccumenical service at some summercamp that was assigned to the local Catholic priest than a permanent fixture for the yout's of the local parish.

Rood Screen said...


VCII was, indeed, a pastoral council, by design, although this fact should not be used to dismiss that council. The first paragraph of the first constitution of VCII lists the four purposes of the council, all of which are pastoral in nature.

I've never heard anyone suggest that God personally mandates all the details of our worship. Hopefully, the Church is in a dialogue with the Holy Spirit in the development of our rites.

Caliban said...

No, the liturgy is not sacrosanct. It is sacred, but not sacrosanct (regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with). Inasmuch as it has been "interfered with" time and time again, sacrosanct it is not.

Yes, the Roman Rite has been changed time and time again.

"Anything goes" is your thinking, not mine.

Much of the liturgy is man-made. The prayers are written by men. The vesture is designed and made by men and women. The rubrics are developed and changed, time and time again, by men. The music, Gregorian Chant or Popular Hymnody is written by men and women.

That which is man made can be altered at will.

All of this enshrines that which is God-given - Sacred Scripture and the Real Presence of Jesus and the grace that is available in the celebration of the Mass. These are the unchangeable elements.

TJM - I am sure you know far more about slobbering than I.

TJM said...

Caliban, typical Caliban. NEVER addresses the substances of anyone's remarks, I assume because he lacks the intellectual capacity or knowledge to do so. Just engages in glittering and meaningless generalities.

rcg said...

Caliban is an excellent nom de cyber for the persona posting. If man, and any and all of his works, are insufficient presents for Our Creator then each and every work is as good as any and good enough. Why is poor Caliban deemed less than others; why should he not be allowed to populate the world with Calibans? Our Creator is perfect and just in every way except for His appreciation of Calibans. And that is the sum and story of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo.

John Nolan said...

I am disturbed because I have a suspicion that from the vocabulary and general style of Caliban's comments he is actually a Catholic priest who frequently posts on this site under his real name but for some reason also writes pseudonymously. Reference to 'philistines', a purely rationalist and reductionist view of liturgy, plus a lofty dismissal of Latin as 'unnecessary' which implies a disdain of any Catholic worship before 1965 (when he himself was only seven years old) rather gives the game away.

However, his choice of pseudonym is useful as well as revealing. I would not insult a Catholic priest to his face. But I have no hesitation in condemning 'Caliban' as someone who knows next to nothing about liturgy, has probably never even attended the Roman Rite as an adult and would not do so on account of his animosity and purblind prejudice, and whose idea of answering a question is simply to reiterate his demonstrably false assertions. Yes, my contempt for such individuals tends to override my pity for them.

Oculos habent et non videbunt; aures habent et non audient. The psalmist said it, and I am getting tired of having to repeat it.

Caliban said...

John Nolan (who fancies himself to be a reincarnation of Zoltan Karpathy) - Your insults are like water off the proverbial duck's back. If someone disagrees with you they, "know next to nothing about liturgy." That's a purely self-serving argument, and, I think, you know it.

Your comments about philistines are repeated here. Anyone who reads the blog knows the disdain with which you view those who do not share your love for Latin. Of course, that translates into something better than 99% of the Catholic world, so those of us with such proclivities have little to worry about.

I have never been to a Satanic Mass, so, by your (il)logic, I could not possibly know what I am missing.

Earlier I asked, Does making responses in Latin give greater praise to God?
Is God more pleased when He hears responses in Latin? Are the faithful more faithful if they respond in Latin? Is the Catholic made more generous, more compassionate, more forgiving if he responds in Latin? Does responding in Latin more effectively dispose one to receive God's grace?

No one even attempted a reply, and I am rather sure I know why.

Neither your pity nor your contempt have any value to anyone here, except to help bolster your own feelings of superiority.

Unknown said...

John Nolan, you might not insult a priest to his face, but I would (youthful arrogance, I know...)

Caliban, when posting under the name Anonymous, was unable to understand that Mexico is not part of the United States, and that because I live in Mexico, the 'benefits' of the FDA are non-existent down here. I'm not sure what's to be expected of someone unable to comprehend a basic concept like international borders.

But, as for the reasons why Caliban/Fr. K posts pseudonymously: he was assigned to a new parish. I suspect he doesn't want his real name attached to something his new parishoners might find by Googling his name. Googling his full name along with a couple of words (like, maybe, 'Macon', or 'Georgia priest Diocese of Savannah') could lead someone to this site, or to some other thing on the internet. He's just covering his tracks.

Of course, this user could just as easily reply that we're mistaken, and that he's not Fr.K, but I'm sure his conscience won't allow him to lie.

TJM said...


Answer a simple question if you can.

Since the introduction of the "reforms" and the Novus Ordo, Mass attendence in the US has collapsed. If praying in the vernacular and singing insipid music is so great, how can that be? Prior to that period, when the Mass was in Latin and Gregorian Chant had pride of place, almost 80% of American Catholics attended Mass on Sunday. Wouldn't a thinking person (which excludes most bishops) begin to wonder, what went wrong? Could we have been mistaken? SHould we consider restoring what was lost? Do we even care about souls or just our massive egos which are invested in failure?

Rood Screen said...

But Caliban seems to be a woman.

John Nolan said...

Does making responses in Latin give greater praise to God? Not necessarily. Are the faithful less faithful if they respond in Latin? Not necessarily. Is the Catholic made more generous, more compassionate, more forgiving if he responds in Latin? Not necessarily. Does responding in Latin more effectively dispose one to receive God's grace? Not necessarily.

All these questions refer to the interior disposition of the individual. They are, in effect, rhetorical questions. Yet someone who equates attending a Satanic ritual with attending a Mass in the Roman Rite is seriously deranged (another fingerprint, making outrageous analogies and then proceeding to deny he has made them). Someone who tries to justify the present liturgical chaos by maintaining that the Roman Rite 'has been changed time and time again' clearly doesn't know what he is talking about. The truth, for him, is 'like water off the proverbial duck's back'.

Still, I'll leave Caliban to wallow in the mire of his own ignorance and recommend to those who actually understand and care about the Roman Rite a video of a Mass as it would have been celebrated in Sweden on the 18th Sunday after Pentecost in the year of Our Lord 1450. It isn't identical to the Tridentine Rite but would have been reassuringly familiar to any Catholic, anywhere in the world, five hundred years later.

It was linked by one of the commentators on Fr Z's blog (under the post which shows the west door of Amiens cathedral in all its medieval polychrome splendour).

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Flav - I have a very long paper trail, so I feel no need to hide behind a pseudonym on this or any other blog.

Caliban said...

TJM - The simple answer is that you err in asserting a causal connection between the reforms of Vatican II and the decline in Mass attendance. The logical fallacy into which you have blithely blundered is "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" - "after this, therefore because of this."

"Since event Y (decline) followed event X (reforms), event Y (decline) must have been caused by event X (reforms)."

The error is in thinking that there are no other possible, and possibly more likely, causes for the decline in attendance.

The error is also in failing to recognize the monumental shifts that have occurred in Western culture since the end of World War Two.

John Nolan said...

Caliban has just repeated, almost verbatim, a post made previously by Fr K. So if we take Fr K. at face value, Caliban is guilty of plagiarism.

And, as I pointed out at the time, 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' cannot be used to deny the existence of cause and effect. William I became king after he won the Battle of Hastings, but there is a causal connection between the two. Events usually have more than one cause, and again you can't cite PHEPH to exclude a probable cause just because it suits you.

Caliban said...

John, I did not equate attending a Satanic ritual with attending Mass. You said, "...has probably never even attended the Roman Rite as an adult..." asserting that, having not had the experience, I could not know the benefits of the Roman Rite, or, at least, what the Roman Rite is all about.

Yes, one can know about the Roman Rite without attending it. And you don't have to go to a Satanic ritual to know that is a dangerous place. (Note, I am not suggesting the Roman Rite is a dangerous place.)

Are you maintaining that the Roman Rite has never been changed? (Your answer can't be "Not Necessarily," eh?) To maintain such an absurdity reveals as philistinic lack of knowledge of the history of the development of the Roma Rite over the centuries.

TJM said...


Thanks for the laugh. Losers do what you do:

"The simple answer is that you err in asserting a causal connection between the reforms of Vatican II and the decline in Mass attendance. The logical fallacy into which you have blithely blundered is "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" - "after this, therefore because of this."

Now please try some introspection and real discernment to find out the root causes of your denial. In the business world, you'd be laughed out of the Board room.

Caliban said...

It is incumbent upon the one making an assertion to show that there is a causal linkage.

Simply saying there is is insufficient.

Caliban said...

In the business world, I would be applauded for recognizing that there are many factors that influence people's behavior.

John Nolan is correct - there MAY be a connection between reforms and decline in attendance.

But it is up to you to show that this is the case.

Just because the rooster crowed right before the sun rose doesn't mean the crowing bird caused the sunrise....

Caliban said...

“When anything in life is an absolute requirement for your happiness and self-worth, it is essentially an ‘idol,’ something you are actually worshiping. When such a thing is threatened, your anger is absolute. Your anger is actually the way the idol keeps you in its service, in its chains. Therefore if you find that, despite all the efforts to forgive, your anger and bitterness cannot subside, you may need to look deeper and ask, ‘What am I defending? What is so important that I cannot live without?’ It may be that, until some inordinate desire is identified and confronted, you will not be able to master your anger.”

― Timothy J. Keller, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters

TJM said...


And a serious, discerning and caring pope or bishop would pursue studying that possible effect rather than engaging in childish "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil antics." They are invested in the failure and can NEVER admit they were mistaken even when souls salvation is at stake.

ps: the OF Product would have been tossed decades ago in the business world.

rcg said...

Cali, it is not true that someone making an assertion is responsible for confirming its causality. Furthermore, You would be disappointed to find that simply determining that there are more than one influences on a subject's behaviour is not valuable, that is prima faci. What is worth a lot of money is knowing how to get the subject to prioritise the influences for action. The most difficult choice to influence is prioritising a concept over satisfying the flesh. Of course a Caliban rejects that conciously, being a creature preferring sin and the flesh.

Caliban said...

rcg - I think it is true, especially in a forum such as this. And I think you think it is true, as well.

Were someone to post, "Fr. McDonald drives a Bentley and eats filet mignon every day!" you and others would pounce. "Prove It!" would be the cry.

Yes, those who blame every evil from dandruff to dengue fever on Vatican II have an obligation to show that there assertions are more than poppycock.

TJM said...


It is beyond peradventure that the implementation of Vatican Disaster II left the Church in a weaker state and its Faithful less educated in the Faith than from any one event since the Protestant Revolt. Otherwise, we wouldn't have catholics voting for the Abortion Party, formerly known as the Democratic Party.

John Nolan said...

Everyone knows that the Roman Rite has developed over the many centuries of its existence, and since development is associated with change, it can be argued that it has been subject to change. The addition of the Nicene Creed and the Offertory prayers (the latter, and indeed the Offertory rite itself are not identical in all Uses) can be seen as 'changes'. Not that the various Uses, of which the familiar Tridentine is one, changed appreciably in hundreds of years.

However, to assert that 'the Roman Rite has been changed time and time again' is highly misleading. The use of the passive voice 'has been changed' as opposed to the active 'has changed' implies an agent, and the phrase 'time and time again' implies that there is a history of chopping, changing, and tinkering with the Rite over many centuries, neither of which can be said to apply before the twentieth century, and which really only took off after 1964. By 1967 one of the reformers (Fr Gelineau) could say with some authority that the Roman Rite had effectively been destroyed, so multifarious and unprecedented were the changes imposed on it. Fr Bouyer said the Consilium claimed 'to recast from top to bottom and in a matter of months an entire liturgy it had taken twenty centuries to develop.'

No pope or council before the 16th century saw any need to legislate regarding the liturgy, and the Council of Trent had to deal with the Protestant revolt which had spawned a number of heretical 'liturgies'. So, who were these agents of change over the centuries, and when and where were they operating? Do we see medieval bishops imposing material liturgical changes in their dioceses because they felt like it? Of course we don't, and before the advent of printed books it would not have been a practical proposition anyway.

Regarding causality, the leaders of the Soviet Union could not accept that the problems besetting their country could possibly be to do with the fact that Marxism-Leninism was a flawed concept. It is an exact parallel to those in the Catholic Church who for ideological reasons cannot accept that the problems besetting the Church could be due to Vatican II and its 'reforms' of which the botched liturgical 'reform' was the one that impacted most on the faithful. Yet many writers, from John Eppstein in 1973 to Henry Sire in 2014 have made this causal connection, and provided plenty of evidence to corroborate it.

I expect that whoever is hiding behind the pseudonym Caliban wouldn't know the truth if it hit him, so these observations are not addressed to him, or Gobshite; they are for the consideration of those readers of this blog who aren't troglodytes.

Wipo of Mainz said...

Those in my monastery who are tasked with copying the liturgical books must do so magna cum diligentia, lest a slip of the quill should lead the reader into error. As for presuming to change the sacred text, even the Pope in Rome has not potestatem neque auctoritatem, etiam in parte minima.

Caliban said...

"... it can be argued that it has been subject to change..."

Yeah, well, "it can be argued" that there are two low tides and two high tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes. And "it can be argued" that regular exercise is beneficial to overall health. And "it can be argued" that 2 + 2 = 4.

There is a history of changes to the Roman Rite.

"The following are some particular changes made to the Roman Mass over the centuries. To start out with, you might be surprised to learn about some items that are taken for granted today as part of the Roman Mass, but which were not prescribed until 1570 through the newly-codified Missale Romanum. For example, the use of 3 altar cloths instead of only 2, the use of the genuflection as the form of reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament; as in many places, just a low bow was made, and how many candles were lit for a Low or Solemn Mass. Other items for the Roman Mass that came even later was the prescription for reserving the Blessed Sacrament in a tabernacle on the high altar in a parish church, the precise manner in which the altar was incensed during Solemn Mass. This ritual was not decreed until the late 19th century. Even today, there is a difference of opinion amongst rubricians about what types of bows exist (ranging from a 3-bow system to a 5-bow system), as the missal’s rubrics are not exact on this matter." - Magnificat Media Blog, October 29, 2015.

Among other changes - Greek (2nd century) gave way to Latin (6th century) which gave way to the vernacular (20th century).

"We have hardly any knowledge at all of what developments the Roman Rite went through during the third and fourth centuries. This is the mysterious time where conjecture may, and does, run riot. By the fifth century we come back to comparatively firm ground, after a radical change." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"Two documents of this time give us fairly large fragments of the Roman Mass. Innocent I (401-17), in his letter to Decentius of Eugubium (about 416; P.L., XX, 553), alludes to many features of the Mass. We notice that these important changes have already been made: the kiss of peace has been moved from the beginning of the Mass of the Faithful to after the Consecration, the Commemoration of the Living and Dead is made in the Canon, and there are no longer prayers of the faithful before the Offertory (see CANON OF THE MASS)." - Catholic Encyclopedia

"The "Liber Pontificalis" (ed. Duchesne, Paris, 1886-92) contains a number of statements about changes in and additions to the Mass made by various popes, as for instance that Leo I (440-61) added the words "sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam" to the prayer "Supra quæ", that Sergius I (687-701) introduced the Agnus Dei, and so on." - Catholic Encyclopedia

Yes, "it can be argued that it has been subject to change."

I expect that whoever is hiding behind the pseudonym John Nolan wouldn't know the truth if it hit him, so these observations are not addressed to him, or Gobshite; they are for the consideration of those readers of this blog who aren't troglodytes.

TJM said...

Caliban aka "Father" Kavanaugh,

Nice to know you're still invested in failure and unable to articulate the "changes" in the Mass from the time of St. Gregory the Great until Vatican Disaster II" which changed in 3-4 years the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass more than the Mass had been changed in over 1300 years. Kind of like Obama doubling the national debt in 7 years, compared to all presidents back to 1789

Anonymous said...

"Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans"

John Nolan said...

I might add that the custom of placing cross and candles on the altar probably dates only from the time of Innocent III (early 13th century) and there are no genuflexions in the Use of Sarum, among others. But you would be hard pressed to identify any material changes to the Roman Rite after the end of the sixth century, and additions (which, like the Agnus Dei and the Nicene Creed, were only adopted in Rome after they had been in use elsewhere) were additions, not changes.

The utter vacuity of Caliban's argument is evident. A fifth century pope added four words to the Roman Canon. So this justifies Bugnini & Co. in the 1960s to jettison the Roman Canon altogether. It was saved, albeit in a mutilated form, thanks to a personal intervention by Paul VI) but in practice is rarely used in the Novus Ordo.

Everything he cites for the last millennium and a half are relatively unimportant rubrical directives regarding the number of altar cloths, candles and so on. And in most places they would have been part of time-honoured local custom, and Rome did not interfere.

Does Caliban regard the rest of us as so ignorant as to take his spurious and unconvincing arguments seriously? He might also be aware that if you cite sources they should reinforce your argument rather than fatally undermine it.

He is beneath contempt, and his pathetic attempts to score points off me won't work, since I am more intelligent and far better educated and informed than he is.

rcg said...

Cali, proof is a hgh bar. If someone makes a statement, observation, accusation they may not be able to prove even what they saw. I will 'observe' that you are using the proof demand as a deflection and stall to address the statements made by others on this blog. John Nolan has his (strong) opinions and seems willing and able to defend them to varying degrees. Being a skeptical person myself I accept his statements insofar as I accept his citations as authoritative. And if I remain both skeptical and interested I can pursue his citations and establish for myself if he used them correctly. I am especially impressed by primary source documents.

In the case of societal changes, i.e. The precipitous fall of Catholic participation in their Holy Day obligations, annecdotal evidence certainly points toward the change in the Liturgy. If a progressive catholic was interested in learning the actual reason he would be best served by working with traditon minded Catholics to establish independent data and evaluations to get to the bottom of the matter.

Traditionalsts seem to be aware, as a group, that there are several versions of Mass that fit the Traditional mold. There are various reasons for the differences that are also either known or at least available to know with little effort. I recall John Nolan himself referring to these various versions over time on this blog so I, therefore, do not interpret his use of 'sacrosanct' as synonymous with 'unchangeable'. Neither is JN given to petty contradiction for argument's sake. So he must be referring to what the various versions of the Mass are conveying and how, even in different forms, they deconstruct faithfully to inviolate Church teachings. Some teachings, thoughts, and objects are quite large and can have several discourses on them dwelling on various aspects of the same concept. Thus the Resurrection can be a topic of a lesson or Gospel reading outside of the Easter cycle.

As far as the use of Latin and it being pleasing to God: the words could be any language but Latin is the standard and has been used for going on two millennia to capture the ideas accurately. Latin is the manufacturing system for the thought that is pleasing to God. It is neccessary that the thought be produced regardless of the system. If the first time that the thought occurs is measured in inches it does not matter that the second time is measured in millimters as long as it is accurate. But to convey the thought to a third system is best done using the original manufacturing process as the baseline, in this case Latin, rather than allowing the tolerances of the second system to insert even microscopic errors into the third.n otherwise each subsequent generation introduces errors that eventually render the product totally unlike the design. By this baseline method, this discipline, all thoughts derived from the basic Latin concept are first generation progeny of the original thought and can maintain their accuracy due to their close relationship to the primary document. If an advancment is made in the secondary system, perhaps Twi, it can be scrupulously captured in the Latin matrix for the benefit of all other systems.

B. C. Caliban said...

John Nolan, these are your words (and thoughts), not mine: "A fifth century pope added four words to the Roman Canon. So this justifies Bugnini & Co. in the 1960s to jettison the Roman Canon altogether."

I never thought, imagined, or suggested such a silly thing.

"Everything he cites for the last millennium and a half are relatively unimportant rubrical directives..."

Maybe so, but all of them are changes - changes you said "it could be argued" actually occurred. Seems the summation of the argument is "Changes Happened."

rcg - You say, "The precipitous fall of Catholic participation in their Holy Day obligations, annecdotal evidence certainly points toward the change in the Liturgy."

What evidence? The only evidence so far presented is "They happened at the same time."

"Latin is the standard" No, it is nor, nor has it been for decades.

"used for going on two millennia" No, it has not. 6th C to middle 20th is not 2 millinnia.

If the Mass were a manufacturing process, the millimeters might matter. Mass is not a manufacturing process, so.....

There is nothing - at all - sacred in the prayers written by humans in Latin 1500 years ago. Nothing. Prayers written originally in English today can and do reflect as fully as prayers written in Latin the Truths of our Faith.

John Nolan said...


Catholics are not required to be experts in liturgical history. Thus traditionalists who refer to the 1962 Missal as 'the Mass of all time', and who expect the tabernacle to be on the high altar, are easy targets for progressives who loftily parade their 'superior knowledge' in order to belittle them and disparage their views.

Yet the majority of Mass-goers in 1960 believed that the Mass, with its time-honoured rituals, its ancient prayers, its venerable and learned language, was to all intents and purposes the Mass of their ancestors and the Mass of future generations throughout the Catholic world. They may have been ignorant as to detail, but was their belief totally misplaced?

And if, in the course of a few short years, you proceed to alter in almost every respect the one thing which above all others identified them as Catholics, do you think you're not going to cause a crisis?

B. C. Caliban said...

While John Nolan ridicules "progressives who loftily parade their 'superior knowledge'" he trumpets his own. "...since I am more intelligent and far better educated and informed than he is."

Farcical, simply farcical.

Because no one who disagrees with John Nolan could possibly be anything but a run of the mill philistine.

John Nolan said...

Caliban, you underestimate the intelligence of your readers. You cited sources in support of your contention that 'the Roman Rite has been changed time and time again'. Their effect, however, is to undermine your argument. Had you said 'the Roman Rite has changed and developed over time', no-one would demur. But I suspect you chose your words carefully, since your purpose all along has been to justify what happened to the Roman Rite between 1964 and 1970.

The standard text of the new rites is in Latin. Translations may be used but they must have the recognitio of the Holy See. ICEL 1998 was rejected in its entirety, despite its being rubber-stamped by the bishops of the English-speaking world, since it strayed too far from the Latin original.

rcg said...

Cali, rathan repeat you responses I will simply reply to them in order.

- That was given. My point was to suggest a a way to determine, 'prove' as you say, why.

- actually, it is. Latin is still the primary language for authoritative documents released by the Holy See.

- rounding error on my part. The phrase 'going on' granted imprecicion.

- Thoughts are created by the thinker. The sequence is based on the code, or language, used. The rules of the language allow the thought to convey meaning.

- i make mistakes all the time when i post due to my rushing and not proof reading. So I fo not intend this to be a personal attack when I say that your last paragraph is nonsense. You mY want to break the thoughts into complete paragraphs and sentences to help the reader.

rcg said...

John Nolan at 6:46 - it is an interesting,i if idle, thought experiment to contemplate what would have happened to Mass attendance during the last 50 years had there been no NO. I think no bers would have dropped somewhat less but I also think the Faux Catholic politician would have been more rare.

The preist in our county when I was a child was Polish and spoke several languages. When he traveled he enjoyed visiting the various parishes accross the USA and Canada. He would laugh at his misadventures when he would make some faux pax with the local customs or the particular rite. So even though we had only our one small church it was obvious there were other ways of doing things. I chalked it up the odd ways of Yankees but have discovered it was larger than that.

Caliban wants to apply scientific principal as taught at the primary school level to large sets of information, e.g. Liturgical history, language, epistomology, societal behaviours. That can be done but is at best unwieldy and at worst introduces errors. Living organisms are notoriously unpredicatable. And that unpredicabilty increases exponentially as the organism increases in complexity until the behaviour becomes contrary. Ironically that is the point where the models must strive for simplicity, a calculus that gives a range of right answers. We know that a significant number of people have quit practising our Faith due to to change in the Liturgy and, more importantly, the resulting ignorance and confusion concerning its tenets. It is not neccessary for a single solution to capture every reason the Church has declined in the West, but we can have a group of causes and solutions and attack the group based on the best tools we have for nearest problem. Latin, qua Latin, is not better than any other language except that it leads us most directly and accurately back to where we want to be.

B. C. Caliban said...

John - I cited a small sampling of changes. There have been others.

rcg - Latin is the language used by the Vatican for official documents - no one disputes this. But that has little or nothing to do with the rest of the Catholic world, other than to give us something to argue about on this and a handful of other blogs.

Latin is no more sacred that any other language. It is not "God's language," it is not particularly useful beyond a small circle of academics and traditionalists, it is nowhere revealed by God that Latin is superior in any way to other languages.

rcg said...

Caliban, I give you credit for chosing an appropriate name. I was willing to allow that you were simply being mentally sloppy in your responses; a common error in casual blogs. But it is now evident that you misrepresent the statemets of others, not for clarity, but only to create a target for your tiresome arguments. That is an exemplary, if far less interesting, form of self-serving dishonesty characterizing the original Caliban.

B. C. Caliban said...

"We know that a significant number of people have quit practising our Faith due to to change in the Liturgy and, more importantly, the resulting ignorance and confusion concerning its tenets."

"We know" this how? Because a dozen or so have said so?

"Significant number" 0.0001%? 0.001% 0.001%

I am not suggesting for a minute that the answer (or solution) to the complex problem of declining Mass attendance is simple. Nor will it be easy.

I am suggesting that many here oversimplify the phenomenon when they point to "Reforms" as the culprit. First, other than the weakest anecdotal evidence - "Some said to me once..." - we simply don't have support for the claim. Second, those making the claim are highly biased which, in the real world, is reason to doubt their data or their pseudo-data. Third, overlooking the massive cultural changes that have occurred since the begin of the 10th century and since the end of WW2 is tunnel vision.

John Nolan said...

B.C. Caliban, alias Fr MJ Kavanaugh, has long had a problem engaging with me on this blog. I take what he says at face value and point out the fallacy of his reasoning; his stock answer is to claim that I have either misunderstood what he is saying or have distorted his statements to suit myself. Neither happens to be true.

A recent exchange is illuminating. He writes, quoting me: '"A fifth century pope added four words to the Roman Canon. So this justifies Bugnini & Co. to jettison the Roman Canon altogether." I neither thought, imagined or suggested such a silly thing.'

Does this mean that the idea of getting rid of Roman Canon is such a silly thing that it can't be justified by any precedent? Or that there is no justification for the actions of Bugnini & Co.? Most liturgical historians would agree, but I'm not sure that Fr K concurs with them. In fact he thinks that the new Mass is such an improvement on the old that the latter is 'not needed'. Like the Sopwith Camel, it was all right in its day but is now obsolete.

This extreme view underlies all his comments. Latin (or Greek, or Hebrew) is not a sacred language because he doesn't believe there is such a thing. And because he doesn't happen to believe it, the many that do so must be wrong. Even his understanding of English is influenced by post-modern deconstructionism. He is the clearest exponent on this blog of the relativism which Benedict XVI saw as being the greatest evil besetting the Church and society as a whole.

I have debated with many people, and have disagreed vehemently with some of them. But by and large I have respected their intellectual honesty. Not in this case.

B. C. Caliban said...

John Nolan - Nothing I said could lead a reasonable person to believe that I supported the notion that the addition of four words to the canon in the fifth century could justify Bugnini and Co jettisoning the Roman Canon altogether.

That was your extreme example and did not arise from anything I said. Many times you and others have jumped to that level of absurdity.

If you want to fight air battles with a Sopwith Camel, please do so. You will, of course, lose the battle.

Had the language of the Church remained Greek, Greek would have been your "sacred" language. Had Peter headed East instead of West, our liturgical language might have been Old Persian or Farsi. That Latin became the language of the educated and, therefore, of the clergy, is an accident of history.

Your self-congratulatory "disclaimer" is a feather in your cap, I am sure, at least when you look in mirror.

John Nolan said...

Thanks, Caliban, for setting the record straight. I thought that the sources you quoted were to support your contention that 'the Roman Rite has been changed time and time again'. Now I know that you merely posted them for the sake of interest. I was also under the mistaken impression that the Sopwith Camel/F-16 comparison was by way of analogy. Silly me! You were merely telling us that aviation technology has improved over the last hundred years. Left to ourselves, we would never have worked that one out.

The language of the Greek Church is Greek, which also happens to be the language of the New Testament. However, two millennia of association with the sacred does not make it a sacred language, because there is no such thing as a sacred language, and in fact language itself has no existence outside of its context. Drat! I knew I should have taken Jacques Derrida more seriously.

And of course the fact that the Incarnation took place in the Graeco-Roman world at a particular time was simply an accident of history. Do you know, I never considered this before. I just assumed that it was part of God's plan. How could I and so many others have been so wrong and for so long?

O great Caliban, long may your wisdom shine forth to enlighten the nations!

B. C. Caliban said...

John - The Roman Rite has been changed time and time again. And you know this. You don't like the rapidity of change that came following Vatican Two, so you pretend that changes in the past were "immaterial" or that the changes made in the last 75 or so years are harmful.

That the Incarnation took place is no accident of history. That it took place in an particular place and in "the fullness of time" is part of God's economy of salvation. And yes, it could have taken place anywhere, anytime. God is not limited by time and place, we are.

John Nolan said...

Caliban, I don't pretend anything of the sort. To say that something has been changed time and time again is to imply strongly that someone has been the agent of change, and that change has been a constant and defining feature of it (in this case the Roman Rite). This is simply and demonstrably untrue. The Mass in 1950 was not greatly different from the Mass in 1450 (btw, did you watch the video? I think not).

I might object to a rapidity of change which replaced a rite which had developed over a millennium and a half with a substantially new one in five (FIVE!) years. But I do not falsify the evidence to make my point since I have no reason to do so - the evidence speaks for itself. The Roman Rite, from the sixth century onwards, has changed gradually over time. Elements were added; others were dropped (and some have been restated later). But everything points to continuity rather than rupture. Nothing remained more constant over 1500 years than the Roman liturgy. And it is still celebrated, week in week out, and increasingly so.

I do not re-interpret the past in order to justify my prejudices. If you can cite one instance where I have done so, please let me know. I want details, not blanket statements as to what you think I stand for. You actually have the nerve to impute to me opinions which I do not have, and at the same time deny obvious inferences from your own statements. And you conveniently sidestep questions you might be hard pressed to answer, as well as signally failing to address issues that I and others have posited on this thread.

Therein lies your intellectual dishonesty. Hiding behind pseudonyms is the least of it.

B. C. Caliban said...

John, No, to say something has been changed time and time again does not mean that change has been constant. It means that the thing has been changed time and time again. The Mass has been changed time and time again, as you well know.

You acknowledge as much when you say: "The Roman Rite, from the sixth century onwards, has changed gradually over time. Elements were added; others were dropped (and some have been restated later)." Gradual change is change. Adding elements is change. Dropping elements is change. Adding them back is change.

And the changes don't have to be "great" in order to be changes.

Pot, if you want to check out someone "imputing opinions," please re-read the false opinion you have attributed to me. Nowhere did I say or suggest that "the addition of four words to the canon in the fifth century could justify Bugnini and Co jettisoning the Roman Canon altogether."

Impute not, lest ye be imputed.

John Nolan said...

Caliban, you are impervious to either logic or irony, and think that if a lie is repeated often enough it will stick. Dr Goebbels was of the same opinion. However, in this case you are only repeating it to yourself and the rest of us (apart from Gob and various anonymous trolls who are probably the same person) are too intelligent to swallow it.

I've done with you. I have passed your comments to Wipo of Mainz whose mighty intellect thunders down the centuries (did you know he corresponds with St Bernard?) and who is more adept than I in dealing with ignorant and contumacious clerics. Vale.

B. C. Caliban said...

Oh, of course, you were just being ironic. Nice dodge, there, John.

John Nolan said...


My comment at 9:31 on the 17th inst. was an example of irony. The real irony lies in having to explain to a fool what is ironic and what is not.

B. C. Caliban said...

John - I read your contradictory posts here, so I am well aware of the meaning of irony.

Wipo of Mainz said...


Nomen tuum indicat servum ferum et deformatum. Non dubito. Memento autem quod scriptum est: melius est a sapiente corripi, quam stultorum adulatione decipi. Quisquam negat linguam latinam sacram esse, anathema sit. Qui asseverit quod Ritus Romanus frequenter mutatus est, anathema sit.

Legi omnes scripturas Joannis (de regno Angliae). Nunquam se contradicit.

Mogontiacum, die XIX Septembri, Anno Domini MCXLVIII.