Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Liturgically, since the spirit of Vatican II twisted Vatican II into an ideology, the Church has seen polarization in the one area that once united Catholics throughout the world--the Mass.

While I am pleased that the now called EF Mass is no longer demonized by being locked in a prison, the EF Mass is only a leven not the object that will be the liturgically renewed Church of the future. That Liturgy will be the OF Mass celebrated in continuity with the EF Mass and will look like the Ordinariate's "Divine Worship, the Missal."

A liturgically renewed Church which touches each parish worldwide will eliminate liturgical polarization and elitist mentalities as witnessed by a layman who loves the EF Mass but is turned off by EF laity's elitist attitudes. This is what Fr. Z prints on his blog from this layman:

My friend and I have been attending Mass in the EF for several years. We are the pioneer “young ” adults in our Latin Mass community. We were discussing the other day how both of us haven’t really been attending the TLM as much as we had because, though we both love the EF and the Church’s traditional devotions and traditional spirituality, and both want to grow in holiness, we don’t like “Traditional Catholicism” and the “Traditonalist Movement”.
For example, the incessant pope/priest/bishop bashing and whining and complaining, the conspiracy theories, the looking down on everyone who doesn’t attend the TLM, etc. There’s just too much negativity. It’s hard to be part of a community that’s just so bitter and unpleasant to be around.
(My comment on the blue above: If EF's Mass goers really want to be Catholic, they must, and I repeat, must support the Holy Father and the bishops of the Church through thick and thin when it comes to the faith, morals and canon law of the Church. Loyalty is the test of a true Catholic. Any pre-Vatican II Catholic alive today knows how authentic Catholics were loyal to the true Church through thick and thin regardless of who held a particular high office in the Church.)

The OF vernacular Mass needs to recover worldwide the spirituality, devotional and reverence qualities of the EF Mass with its choreography, ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion.

The laity must learn to sing the Mass parts and that the Mass is the ONE GREAT HYMN TO GOD. In fact, there is no real need to add superfluous hymns of dubious doctrinal, spiritual, and devotional quality prone to fads which polarize those who attend Mass.

Style of singing or chanting must be timeless and in continuity with our Catholic Liturgical heritage/ Tradition. This is a no brainer as it regards authentic liturgical renewal in continuity.


Victor said...

The way the Church hierarchy had been treating the faithful who loved the Mass of the Ages for 40 years until Benedict tried to do something about it, certainly has left a bitterness to their suffering. Nevertheless:
1. "It’s hard to be part of a community that’s just so bitter and unpleasant to be around." -> welcome to the real world where conflict reigns. That is a pretty feeble excuse for anything in this world.
2. "The OF vernacular Mass needs to recover worldwide..." -> impossible. The OF is designed from the ground up to cater to the people's fancies, not to place the worship of God first. Besides, the council called for Latin, a language made sacred by its use on the Cross, to be retained in the liturgy.
3. "The laity must learn to sing the Mass parts and that the Mass is the ONE GREAT HYMN TO GOD." -> Why? The "must" is typical of post Vatican II pastors. What is wrong with listening to sacred music at Mass being sung to perfection, when the silent listener receives God's graces in his silence?
4. "Style of singing or chanting must be timeless and in continuity with our Catholic Liturgical heritage". -> It is not about style of music. It is about what constitutes sacred music. And this is music set apart from the mundane for its beauty, universality (Latin), and devotion of the heart to God both in the text and the melodies, which means art-music in continuity with the chain of Catholic memory throughout the ages.
Sorry to be so critical, but your ideas seem like an impediment to restoring transcendent Catholic worship.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Regardless of who designed the OF Mass, the legitimate Pope at the time used his legitimate authority to promulgate the new Mass--that is what popes do and Catholics understand that. Pope Benedict also did what popes do, he freed the "suppressed" EF Mass even more so than Pope John Paul II did as pope--that's what popes can do in the Catholic Church. They are the Supreme Pastor, the Supreme Pontiff and they have the authority to do these things--those who don't like what the pope's power can do usually leave the Catholic Church to become Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalians, Protestant or nones--some find a home in the more extreme versions of the SSPX.

Victor said...

Fr Mc:
Exactly what is the authority of a pope respecting liturgical matters? Was it not Benedict XVI who pointed out the limitations of the pope in this area, and who seemed to contradict what Paul VI had done?
Indeed, until the second world war the Roman liturgy remained something too sacred to dabble with even by a pope because it was considered a sacred gift from God until Bugnini and his gang convinced Pius XII of the need for dramatic changes. The Roman Canon remained untouched since time immemorial until Bugnini tricked Paul VI to accept his ideas for a modern liturgy of the people, fabricated by his all-knowing experts, all-knowing, that is in the consciousness of a world war II generation, quite irrelevant to today's consciousness.
Again, is the power of the pope absolute, particularly in liturgical matters?
No one in authority wants to make any official changes to the OF because it would intensify the great division in the Church, where liturgy seems to be the dividing line. In the meanwhile, Catholic churches are closing everywhere due to poor participation in a liturgy that was meant to put participation above all else (even God).
We can only hope that Cardinal Sarah will be listened to, but considering the way he is being mocked by one side of the dividing line, I would not hold my breath.
Thank the Lord for the EF Mass......

Marc said...

I'm sure there are some who leave because they simply don't like the pope's power. Others recognize, after historical study, that the pope's power has changed and grown dramatically over time. The idea that the pope is the sole arbiter of liturgy is a good example of the consolidation of papal power. There is no evidence to suggest that any bishop thought about asking the pope what he thought about the liturgy in areas outside of Rome until late in the first millennium at the earliest. That's why there were a multitude of different rites and uses. After the Frankish takeover of the papacy, there was back and forth between western bishops and the popes in terms of appeasement in doctrinal and liturgical matters.

That culminated in papal power over the liturgy about halfway through the second millennium with Pius V's prohibition on local uses so that, by the time one gets to the 20th century, we are left with the idea that the pope has absolute power in this area.

The point is that people could look at the history of liturgical development and recognize that this is an instance where papal power has grown from nothing to absolute. They might then question why that is. Asking such questions might lead them to conclude that some other place has a better claim to being "The Church" than Rome has.

Personally, I think those are good questions to ask. The result might be that one's belief in the papacy is strengthened. Or, alternatively, one might find the answer to the question of just what the heck is going wrong in the Catholic Church today. At any rate, learning about Church history is a good thing.

Agnes said...

Father, I think the OF also needs to incorporate more of the prayers of the EF. I attend a beautifully offered OF Mass on occasion, but am always struck by how watered down the prayers are compared to the EF, and this makes the Mass a mere shadow of what it should be.

Although there are things that I like and dislike about both forms of the Mass, I attend the EF because, of the two, I think it is closer to what Vatican II intended. However, if Vatican II were implemented the way it was supposed to be, we would have the best of both worlds, and a Mass very few people would find the need to complain about.

Gene said...

All this hand wringing and back and forth about reforming the Liturgy is just a lot of nonsense. The only way to reform the Liturgy is to return to the TLM and try to pretend the OF never happened. All the talk and discussion is just the fiddling while the Church burns. At present, I have no confidence in Rome, the Cardinals, the Bishops or any of their yakking. Most are completely comfortable with their unbelief and are simply trying to find ways to sell it to the rest of us.

Rood Screen said...

The Holy Ghost is in charge. I wonder what he wants us to do about the situation.

rcg said...

Is this a case of trying to use the exception to prove the rule? I agree it would be tiresome to hear an endless rant against the clergy, but I can figure out who does it and avoid them. FWIW, I heard more complaints (in person) from NO clergy and parishoners against JPII than anyone else.

I am working on Fr. K's 'radical individualism' theory. It is appealing but I always depart from it or concur with different causality. The Church began to fly apart when it began the Babel Liturgy process and essentially institutionalised indivualism versus catholicity. This was an abdication of Her central role in Civilisation. Once dispersed She was conspicuous by Her absence and Civilisation wandered lost in the moral wilderness. To blame society not only for its own fall but for the fall of the Church is at least an intellectual dishonesty if not moral weakness.

ByzRus said...

This topic has become so frustrating, wearying and distracting to many that comprise the <20% that still regularly attend mass. The frankly puzzling lack of commitment to tradition from so many within the hierarchy is certainly bearing much of the blame. How, possibly, are structures like the cathedrals in LA, Oakland or, the renovations made to the cathedral in Milwaukee in continuity with tradition and not reflective of the personal agendas of their executors? Grassroots efforts in favor of tradition seems to lead to tribalism. One parish is traditional, the next one over is not and so on. Neoconservatism is a dead-end as the appearance of tradition without being submissive to tradition is mostly a false fa├žade. In time, one is left wanting more. Without question, clergy and faithful committed to the TLM have suffered, been isolated, denied ordination etc. and are justifiably cynical. While the suggestion of a total return to the TLM would be welcomed by many, myself included, realistically speaking, that probably is not going to happen. The Byzantine Church, despite the changes made to its liturgy in recent years does feel like an oasis where one can be peaceful, free from these types of distractions and better able to focus on worship. Additionally, regardless of where you go, Divine Liturgy is almost exclusively celebrated in a consistent fashion by subservient priests, deacons and acolytes. This level of consistency within the Roman Church seems, in 2017 terms, to be a distant memory.

Absent admitting as mature adults that the results of the reform are questionable at best, then finding an organic middle ground between the TLM and the OF that will put the majority of people at peace and likely result in the loyalty and support that is desired (key to this: ad orientem posture and musical reform), nothing will change and this cycle of debate will continue without end.

Anonymous said...

"The Holy Ghost is in charge."

Of the Church? Would that he really were! (Recalling Cardinal Ratzinger's statement that a knowledge of papal history suffices to disabuse one of any notion that the Holy
Ghost determines the election of popes.)

Gene said...

RCG, "Radical individualism" is nothing more than the liberal war cry for socialism, anti-capitalism, anti-free enterprise, globalist, egalitarian nonsense. Every time somebody says it, I wish I could bust them in the know, show 'em some radical individualism. LOL!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, radical individualism is not a "liberal" cry - for anything.

Toqueville noted it in Democracy in America and warned that tends to dissolve the bonds that exist between people.

He defines individualism as “a calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself”

Warnings about individualism aren't a cry for socialism, but for a recognition of what the Church teaches - that we are a community, that we exist to serve the community, that we are being saved as members of a community.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, you must live in a totally different universe from the rest of us.

Rood Screen said...


I'd say he's just perpendicular.

Marc said...

Gene, it's the same universe where all those reside who haven't had to encounter real humans, but instead rely on the observations of people like Tocqueville and act as if merely citing the aphorisms of someone else proves a point. Usually such people are found in academia or the Society of Jesus!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

No, Gene, we live in the same universe. The difference is, I perceive the universe without your filters.

I try my best to see the world as the Church does and to engage it accordingly. Try as you might, you cannot dismiss the Church's teachings on community and trumpet "radical individualism" as if this were some preferred way of living.

The Church's teaching is pretty clear. But, as you have dismissed it previously, I doubt you have any desire presently to be conformed to that teaching and will continue to try to form the Church according to yourself.

ByzRus said...

With respect to the decline of the church, I agree with Father Kavanaugh that individualism was certainly part of the aggregate problem. The rise of 'Me' that occurred during that period and that has become so well rooted was unprecedented. It is difficult to imagine Americans today sacrificing the way the Greatest Generation did during their shining hour. The worship of 'Me' leaves little room for much else, certainly not the worship of our Lord. I don't think you can look at the decline in the church and not consider external/societal factors that have had such a lasting impact.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Do you know why we call them "selfies"?

Because "narcissisties" is too long...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Aphorisms contain, by definition, general truths.

Victor said...

If Church is community then she may as well pack up shop and close down, as community and individualism are opposed, where today's society is mostly individuals first. Curiously, I do not find the word "community" in the old Catholic Encyclopedia. That is because the traditional understanding of Church as Body of Christ is not community, but a communion of Saints, living, dead, and to come. It is a mystical idea, not sociological. And that is the problem today, isn't it? The Church has tried to become community for hic et nunc that is meaningless and repels individuals who are seeking the absolute and eternal.
Has anyone considered why the world has become a world of Me's where each me is his own universe? Is not not because no one has offered an alternative that convincingly gives universal truth to people? The Church has failed miserably in this since the Council.
So you want the individuals to come to Mass to a community of people there...sorry, people are looking for communion in eternity.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Curiously, I do not find the word "trinity" in the Sacred Scriptures, but...

As for community, we do find in Scripture, "Now the body is not a single part, but many. If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?
But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.
If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.”

Paul was not talking about community only in the life to come. Rather he describes what our lives are meant to look like here in anticipation of the communion/community in the life to come. It is both a sociological AND mystical idea.

I think people are looking for community here and for communion with the Saints in heaven.

"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in heaven."

rcg said...

And yet each of the body parts remains distinct and true to its purpose. We are told that if one part gives us a problem we should cut it off or pluck it out as appropriate to the part. So the parts are held accountable, individually, for their impact on the whole. IIRC, St Paul distinguished even between the roles and respective modesty associated with the parts. When has the body as a whole been well advised by a penis? If we are not expected to be individuals why then are we expected to tell right from wrong? When in confession, I am alone before the priest accountable for my actions where I am advised to confess MY sins and not bring others into it. This would include sins of ommission where I may have not acted as an individual but remained silent with my peers. Even the saints that died in groups met the sword one at a time.

Also, that part about not finding the Trinity in the Bible ignores a penultimate point: that Christ must return to the Father so the Paraclete could procedeth.

You have good points, Fr. K, but twist yourself to spite Gene. Be careful.

ByzRC said...

Thank you, Father Kavanaugh for tying the discussion back to scripture. It makes analyzing what was intended verses what actually happened that much easier.

Victor said...

"I think people are looking for community here and for communion with the Saints in heaven."
That is the root of the problem of the post Concilliar Church in modern times, that here there is no longer communiuon with the Saints. In former times, one did not have to wait for heaven to be in communion with the heavenly Saints, because here on earth we had the Mass that exerted itself to try and give us a glimpse of heaven where inhabit timelessly all the Saints.
Unfortunately, the populist Marxist ideology probably in reaction to the Viet Nam war during the 1960's permeated even the Council. I am surprised that the Church did not even call for Catholics to live in communes in addition to the monasteries. In Vermont you can see vestiges of abandoned communes from almost 50 years ago, something meaningless for people today.
For whatever reason the Council was called, whether for frivolous ones or not, its thinking has become outdated. Furthermore, the Novus Ordo liturgy was dated from the start. Once the war was over, it was the Me generation blooming.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The statement, "here there is no longer communion with the Saints" is problematic.

First, communion with the Saints in heaven is, I suggest, very much real and effective. It is real whether 22 or 2 billion believe in it.

Second, if it is no evident to people, then we - you and I - bear the responsibility for 1) that sad reality and 2) for changing that sad reality.

The idea that Marxist ideology permeated the Council is silly.

Lastly, if you don't know why the Council was called - "For whatever reason the Council was called" - then re-read the documents. It is clearly spelled out.

Gene said...

All this Kavanaugh talk about Heaven and such is laughable. He already refused to answer the simple question from another blogger as to whether he believed in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus, saying the question was a "trap." His entire presence on this blog has been tongue-in-cheek from the very beginning. I would not believe a word he said...even if he told me the sky was blue on a sunny day, I'd go outside and check.

Victor said...

Fr K:
I am glad that you find that the documents of Vatican II clearly spell out the reason why the Council was called. Curiously, this has been a matter of some debate, especially considering that Blessed John XXIII called the Council apparently on a whim while talking to his secretary cardinal Tardini. Assuming that the Council was called to address the theme of The Church and The Modern World, would it upset anyone if it were noted that we are no longer in the modern world, but in the postmodern world. Does the Church need to call an Ecumenical Council every 25 years to update itself to the world at large? It seems to me, all that the Council discussed could have been done so through synods, so that councils ought to be left to deal with urgent matters of settling doctrine.

As for Marxism, do you not find it curious that one of the biggest threats to the Church, and the free world, at the time was Marxism-Leninism, and yet the Conciliar documents ignored this Communism. Amazing!

But the point is the liturgy. When you enter the liturgy, your are meant to enter a world where past, present, and future converge, to worship God with all the Saints, and not a place to shake hands with an ephemeral community around you to show that you are goody-goody.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"On a whim"? Evidence for this silly assertion, please.

No, I do not find it curious that the Council did not address Communism. When one reads the documents, it is clear that the fundamental elements of Communism are repudiated. I suggest the Council Fathers were wise in not "naming" Communism.

Edw. Pentin writes, "Some have little doubt that the Second Vatican Council played a key role in ending the Marxist-Leninist experiment. The post-conciliar Church, argue some historians, featured a new emphasis on religious freedom which hastened Communism’s demise, largely thanks to the insistence of Bishop Wojtyla, who helped convince a wavering Paul VI to sign off on the decree Dignitatis Humanae. And, for the first time, the Council allowed bishops behind the Iron Curtain to meet each other and to talk together outside their countries."

The "ephemeral" community that is present at mass is the community I hope to be with in the non-ephemeral community of heaven. I don't see them as "throw-away" members of my community as you seems to.