Wednesday, July 7, 2021


It is so sad when a Benedictine who runs a liturgical blog believes that a pious but erroneous opinion of a previous pope, stated in an off-the-cuff way is dogma, defined truth, immutable and henceforth for all ages and places to be implemented in the most authoritarian and rigid way.

This is what Father Anthony Ruff, OSB writes today in his Praytell blog. I guess that settles it. Pope St. Paul VI declared it infallibly and now it is a dogma of the Church subject to no dissent or contrary opinions, such as the future pope, still living in a twilight zone emeritus predicament, His Holiness Benedict XVI!

What is this new dogma and infallible statement from Pope Saint Paul VI? Here is Fr. Ruff’s rigid interpretation:

Paul VI on Readmitting the Pre-Vatican II Liturgy: “Never.”

The fundamental ideas of the liturgical constitution belong to the core theological content of Vatican II: pastoral bearing, connection between liturgy and ecclesiology, Church as a sacrament, and history of salvation. … Losing the connection between the liturgical reform and the rest of the theology of Vatican II means leaving the other documents of the council without their primary and ultimate framework of solemn expression in the Church, the liturgy. …

The philosopher and friend of Paul VI, Jean Guitton, asked the pope why he did not concede “the Missal of 1962” to Lefebvre and his followers. the pope replied:

Never. This Mass so called of Saint Pius V, the one we see in Econe, becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the council. I will not accept, under any circumstances, the condemnation of the council through a symbol. Should this exception to the liturgy of Vatican II have its way, the entire council would be shaken. And, as a consequences, the apostolic authority of the council would be shaken.

— Massimo Faggioli, True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium (Liturgical Press, 2012), 149-150


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Your hyperbole undercuts any argument you might want to advance.

Anonymous said...

You do that all the time, Father Kavanaugh!

Victor said...

Actually, Fr Ruff has something important to say here. If one interprets the Council documents including that on the liturgy in a neo-modernist way, then what he says is quite appropriate. But was it not pope Benedict who cautioned us to interpret the Council in continuity with tradition rather than in the modernist way of rupture?

But that the Council documents can be interpreted in such dramatically different ways shows their weakness if not failure in the first place. Ecumenical Councils were traditionally called to settle major theological disputes, not to babble about how to make the Church's theology more relevant to the world at large in a particular time period of the planet's history. Formerly, that meant using clear legalistic language in formulating its decisions, the kind that offers little room for interpretation. The anathemas of Trent are very precise and unambiguous. What Fr. Ruff and other neo-modernists fail to understand is that Sacrosanctum Concilium is not a dogmatic document, but a practical/prudential one that at the time seemed like the thing to do among the people-alienated Ivory Tower dwellers (who comprised the modern liturgical movement) to intensify the faith of Catholics. Of course, what the document says and what the Consilium did is a another horror story which again points out the inexcusable ambiguity in the Conciliar document(s).

UK-Priest said...

Pope St Paul VI was entirely right, and you can see evidence to support his opinion on this very blog. It’s not just the reformed Rite of Mass that so called traditionalists oppose but the Vatican Council itself.

You cannot be Catholic if you do not accept the council, PERIOD!

Stacheman said...

I've read Fr Anthony's blog posts for years and would certainly agree he is rigid regarding the EF. Fr Anthony (don't we refer to religious order priests by first name?) has outright stated that the old Mass does not conform to Church teaching, which strikes me as an extreme view. I think the fundamental flaw he and others make is to assume the council considered the old Mass irredeemably deficient, but one never gets that impression reading any council documents or really much of anything from that time period. Rather, one gets the impression that the Mass is a treasure in need of some updating. As someone else once put it, it's like a painting in need of cleaning.

An analogy I would make is that the council thought the old Mass was like a grand old house in need of some mechanical updating and repairs to make it conform to modern living standards, but nothing too major since it is still a perfectly functional house. Ruff and others see the council's view of the old Mass as if it were an old house whose very design is completely unsuitable to the needs of the intended resident. Therefore, the house needs to be demolished and replaced by something that, while it salvages a few pieces of the original house, is otherwise intentionally different. The old house can not continue because it cannot function as a house anymore, if it could ever have been considered to function as a house at all.

William said...

P. Ruff's assertions set a very bad precedent. Are we now to comb through the casual remarks of previous and present popes and qualify as "excathedra" only those that validate our own predilections? Very bad idea, dear P. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B., very bad idea.

Pierre said...


Vatican II was an unmitigated disaster. In stark contrast, Trent was an unmitigated success!

Chip said...

Official documents are done for a reason, which is to verify and affirm contents.

It would be natural to ask regarding the Pope Paul quote, how many others heard this unofficial utterance in the first place.

What we have otherwise is known as hearsay, a priest taking the quote as gospel truth, which he heard from an author who takes it as gospel truth, who heard it from another person acquainted with Pope Paul which acquaintance records as a recollection.

"I read the morning paper, and swear it as God's word," as John Prine sang, does not cut it as for any basis to make any judgement or argument about anything.

Anonymous said...

So I actually looked up the full quote in Jean Guitton's book, it reads as follows:

Here is what St. Paul VI said:

"I recognize that the difference between the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the liturgy of the Council (often called, I do not know why, the liturgy of Paul VI)
30, is very small. On the face of it, the dispute is about a subtlety. But this so-called Mass of St. Pius V, as seen in Ecône, becomes the symbol of the condemnation of the Council. I will, however, not accept under any circumstances that which condemns the Council with a symbol. If this exception was accepted, the entire Council would beshaken. And, consequently the apostolic authority of the Council.”

Doesn't really support Ruff's point does it?

Chip said...

The priest quoting the progressive quoting the philospher quoting the pope also neglects to mention philosopher Guitton was highly critical of Pope Paul talking mainly about human rights and justice and social causes while not near as much mentioning God.

Anonymous said...

Again, I asked this question over and over and over through the years, what are the modernist Novus Ordinarians so frightened about the Traditional Latin Mass? And why is it always the priests and older bishops that were ordained or brought up in the Traditional Mass The ones that despise it the most with such venom and vigor? For instance I attend the Traditional Mass exclusively, I don’t hate the Novus Ordo it’s just not for me, I don’t attack it with venom and anger like the Novus Ordonarians do against the TLM. There’s something that frightens them, especially when they see it growing and with young families in the pews, all I can think of is that the failure of the “New Springtime” and the growth of the TLM is something they cannot bear to watch, if anybody has some opinions please post them I would appreciate it.

Tom Marcus said...

Thank you anonymous, as that is the same question that once boggled my mind, until my mind stopped being boggled.

Why are so many priests so THREATENED by this Mass--the very Mass that has been the fundamental liturgy of our Church for AT LEAST more than 1600 years. This is the Mass that formed our greatest saints. This is the Mass, about which Pope Benedict wrote,"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful."

Please don't expect me to say that those opposed are Satanists or devoted to destroying the Church--although that might well be the case for a few. No, the only diabolical statement I would make is that these Churchmen are deceived. They honestly believe that there are two different Churches: Postconciliar and Preconciliar.

This Mass threatens them because they really and truly believe that the preconciliar Church was flawed and we need to stick to the "corrective" measures that the New Mass supposedly brought us.

I would argue that there is no Preconciliar Church or Postconciliar Church, but simply the Church. I have grave reservations about the Second Vatican Council and I believe that, in the future, when we are finally rid of the bias of priests and bishops who "invested" in the council, we will see more questions and reservations and, perhaps a "correction" to the Council. It is utterly insane that this "modest pastoral council" which had no condemnations or anathemas is constantly cited by "experts" and commentators as the source of "reforms".

I would offer this feeble analogy, but it holds true for me. I love my country. I am fully aware of its sordid past. I am not proud of slavery, but I am proud that our men shed their blood to end it. I am not proud of our corrupt politicians, but I am proud of our Constitution that provides us with the means to remove them. I am not proud of our foreign policy errors that corrupted certain police actions or harmed innocent people from other nations or even our own soldiers. But I am proud that we can look at these sins openly, and bring the good, the bad and the ugly into the light. I am proud that we have codified basic human rights in a way that no other country ever did, even to the point where ridiculous people deluded by poor thinking and mental problems exploit those freedoms and annoy the rest of us. I still believe we are the beacon to the free world, the first nation to recognize that our rights come not from kings or councils, but from God Himself.

I would suggest that the liturgical bigots who have closed their minds and hearts to the very liturgy that formed their faith for centuries reform themselves and examine why they despise their very past. For all Her sins of the pastm the Church has been a force of far more good than harm and outside of Her, there is no salvation. Certainly our Holy Mass, the timeless prayer of the ages, has never harmed anyone, but only provided us with unspeakable graces.

Most of the voices against the Traditional Mass are people who claim to espouse openness and condemn rigidity. If such is the case, then open your minds and see the great gift God has given us through the ages and realize it is not a "disposable".

Pierre said...

Tom Marcus,

Bravo and well said!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I would say it is counterproductive, and not a little bit dishonest, to characterize all those who do not favor the "T"LM (I use quotation marks because the Novus Ordo is every bit as Traditional as the OF) as being "afraid," as being "threatened," as "despising" the "Traditional" Mass, as "attacking" the "Traditional" Mass, as being "deceived" diabolically, as being "liturgical bigots," etc.

Many simply do not agree, and with good reasons that have been stated over and over, that the "T"LM is beneficial path, is the cure to our problems, or is the wave of the future.

Pierre said...

Father Kavanaugh,

The OF is every bit as traditional as the EF? On whose planet? The EF has 1600 hundred years of history compared to the 50 years of the OF. Of course if you use Latin and the Roman Canon, ad orientem celebration and kneel for Holy Communion the OF can look and feel like the EF but that rarely happens. So no, the OF is not every bit as traditional.

That being said, about 99 percent of the EF crowd actually believe what the Church teaches on the more important articles of the Faith, whereas less than half the OF crowd do. So it is not a very effective vehicle for what the Church teaches about the Real Presence, for example

Mark Thomas said...

Anonymous, July 7, 2021 at 8:15 PM, said..."And why is it always the priests and older bishops that were ordained or brought up in the Traditional Mass The ones that despise it the most with such venom and vigor?"

There isn't any question that, for the most part, those who had grown up with TLM do not want any part of the TLM.

Said folks also despise the notion to move the Novus Ordo Mass closer to the TLM.

There is a reason as to why during the late 1940s, Pope Venerable Pius XII authorized Monsignor Bugnini to guide the radical reform of the Roman Liturgy.

There is a reason as to why more than 2,000 Conciliar Fathers voted to reform the Roman Liturgy.

During the early 1960s, Father Joseph Ratzinger authored scathing reviews of the TLM.

Father Ratzinger insisted that the overall state of Latin Church liturgy was appalling. He insisted that the TLM had become the private affairs of priests.

He blamed the Council of Trent for the appalling state of Latin Church liturgy. He insisted that the Council of Trent had consolidated the Roman Liturgy into the “purely bureaucratic” Congregation of Rites.

Father Joseph Ratzinger declared:

"The fate of the liturgy in the West was now in the hands of a strictly centralized and purely bureaucratic authority. This authority completely lacked historical perspective; it viewed the liturgy solely in terms of ceremonial rubrics, treating it as a kind of problem of proper court etiquette for sacred matters.

"This resulted in the complete archaizing of the liturgy, which now passed the stage of living history, became embalmed in the status quo and was ultimately doomed to internal decay.

"The liturgy had become a rigid, fixed and firstly encrusted system... We can see this if we remember that none of the saints of the Catholic Reformation drew their spirituality from the liturgy."

That is the appalling state of pre-Vatican II Roman Liturgy that millions of Catholics had experienced, according to Joseph Ratzinger.

Many older Catholics recall those days...poor liturgy...20-minute Low Mass, mumbled in rushed Latin, a language that they did not comprehend...the priest with his back to them...the Faithful reduced to silent spectator status.

That is why the overwhelming amount of Catholics who had grown up with the TLM are not keen to return to said Mass.

Their pre-Vatican II liturgical experiences were not pleasant.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

There are people who confuse "Traditional" (note the capital T) with traditional and/or historic.

That which is Traditional belongs to, and comes to us through the teaching office of the Church, and is constitutive of the Church in ways that things merely - I use the word advisedly - traditional/historical do not/are not.

There is a world of difference between the Traditions of the Catholic Church and the traditions followed in the Catholic Church.

Tom Marcus said...

Speaking of "not pleasant"...perhaps not EVERY priest or bishop opposed to the Traditional Latin Mass (thanks for the clarification about "tradtional" Pierre--on point) but since Mark Thomas is relying on anecdotal evidence to make his case, I can easily, without hesitation say that I have personally witnessed more than a few priests who are otherwise very nice and friendly people turn into a state of rage or panic and various other neurotic manifestations when asked about the Traditional Mass--you know that terrible question: "Would you consider offering it here in our parish?"

To say the the "overwhelming amount of Catholic who had grown up with the TLM are not keen to return to said Mass" is merely an opinion--perhaps based on an accurate observation, perhaps not, but it is merely one opinion. But let's assume that this opinion is true. What is NOT included in this opinion is the fact that when the New Mass was introduced, the overwhelming number of people who had grown up with that Mass did not like the New Mass and wanted to return to the old Mass. This opinion conveniently ignores the hoards of Catholics (in provable statistical studies) who abandoned the Church. It ignores that those who stayed lived with a Church that militantly REFUSED them a chance to go back to the older form, thus making sure that they would get so comfortable with the enforced New Mass, that they would not want to go back. And to a degree with worked--Mao would be proud! When I returned to my first indult Mass back in 1989, I was amazed at how much I forgot and how lost I was at this Mass.

So if we just want to use opinions, I will include mine--an opinion that many share and an opinion that drives the demand for the Traditional Mass--a demand that will not go away and cannot be erased:

Our post-Vatican II liturgical experiences have not been pleasant.

Tom Marcus said...

I should probably add, while it ,is wonderful when Mass IS pleasant, the Mass does not exist for my comfort or entertainment. If I go to Mass feeling entitled to a "pleasant" experience, then my reasons for going are seriously flawed. And I've been living with "unpleasant" for decades now.

Pierre said...

Mark Thomas,

Wake up and smell the coffee. The OF continues to shed millions and it has not helped foster a belief in the Real Presence, quite the opposite. 80 percent of Americans went to Sunday Mass when it was in Latin, where maybe 15 percent go now with the English OF. Do facts mean anything to you, at all?

Pierre said...

Father K,

You managed to say nothing and still cannot reconcile how the OF is “traditional” unless you consider writing a Eucharistic Prayer on a napkin at an Italian trattatoria

Mark Thomas said...

With Father McDonald's permission, I wish to add please to my comments at July 8, 2021 at 10:38 AM.

During the early 1960s, Father Joseph Ratzinger had blamed upon the Council of Trent a great deal of the centuries-old stagnation of the Roman Liturgy.

But Father Ratzinger also insisted that inherent within the TLM were aspects that had contributed greatly to the then-appalling overall state of Latin Church liturgy.

During the 1940s, Pope Venerable Pius XII, having authorized Monsignor Bugnini to concoct liturgical reforms, had determined that the Roman Liturgy was in need of a major reformation.

I recognize that the Latin Church had been in need of liturgical reform.

But I wonder as whether the reform of the Latin Church priesthood would have solved to an impressive extent the overall poor condition of Latin Church liturgy?

That is...

-- The TLM was not to blame for the Low Mass mentality (reductionist liturgy) that Western Churchmen had concocted.

-- The TLM was not to blame for priests who mumbled the Mass.

-- The TLM was not to blame for priests who rushed through Mass in 20 minutes.

The TLM was not to blame for the rampant legalism throughout the Latin Church...

...legalism that spurred a great many folks to arrive at the TLM as late as possible, then depart Mass as soon as possible, so that they could declare the fulfillment of their Sunday Obligation.

Perhaps prior to Vatican II, the extensive holy reformation of priests, religious, and laymen, as compared to the Roman Liturgy, would have improved greatly the overall poor condition of the Latin Church's liturgical condition.


Mark Thomas

Pierre said...

Mark Thomas,

LOL - why don't you address how it is possible that 80 percent of American Catholics attended the EF prior to the Council, and only about 15% attend the "new and improved" OF? Ponder that.

Pope Benedict also said the OF was a fabricated liturgy made on the spot by so-called experts. If you ponder that, maybe that explains his liberating the EF via Pontificum Summorum. If the OF was truly doing its job and deepening the Faith instead of shedding millions upon millions of Catholics, there would have been no need for Pontificum Summorum. Fides et Ratio, try it

Mark Thomas said...

For a supposed "banal, on-the-spot fabrication," Pope/Cardinal Ratzinger has heaped praise upon, and granted unrelenting support to, the OF.

Pope Benedict XVI insisted that the "banal, on-the-spot fabrication," is in continuity with Holy Tradition.

Pope Benedict XVI insisted that there was not any opposition between the two forms of the one Roman Rite. "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture."

As Cardinal Ratzinger, he criticized the manner in which the Missal of Pope Saint Paul VI had been implemented within the Church. Even "modernists" have agreed with that analysis.

But he made the following clear to anybody who doubted his attitude toward the supposed "banal, on-the-spot fabrication:"

"Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me add that as far as its content is concerned (apart from a few criticisms), I am very grateful for the new Missal, for the way it has enriched the treasury of prayers and prefaces, for the new eucharistic prayers and the increased number of texts for use on weekdays, etc., quite apart from the availability of the vernacular."

Pope Emeritus has continued to celebrate the supposed "banal, on-the-spot fabrication"...the Mass that has, for decades, blessed millions upon millions of Faithful who have loved the Ordinary Form.

Thanks to the "banal, on-the-spot fabrication," the pews are packed throughout the booming Church in Africa...the Church has done well in Asia.

That is not bad for the supposed "banal, on-the-spot fabrication."


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

A lot of this sounds like the bickering years ago in the Episcopal Church over use of their more traditional 1928 Book of Common Prayer versus the more modern 1979 book that incorporates some Catholic liturgics (like inclusion of an Easter Vigil).

But as the liturgical wars continue on this blog, I am glad that Atlanta's archbishop is instead focusing on retaining the Hyde Amendment, which, except in limited instances, prohibits federal funding of abortion. Interestingly, the Hyde Amendment first was adopted when Jimmy Carter was president---imagine that, a pro-life measure adopted under a Democratic Administration and solidly Democratic Congress. unfortunately, how times have changed and not even Biden supports it anymore as he has caved into the far left. Our bishop is asking the faithful to support online petition to retain the amendment.

Pierre said...

Mark Thomas,

Pope Benedict issued Pontificum Summorum as a corrective measure to the fabricated OF hodgepodge. That statement comes as close as it can to saying the OF is garbage so your silly cut and paste efforts only convinces you and not the well informed. You remind me of older nuns whose religious orders are in shambles yet insist they are vibrant.

Fyi, the greatest missionary strides in Africa and Asia occurred under the EF if you care to educate yourself. You still have not addressed the OF’s abysmal record in first world countries where millions upon millions have walked away. Such a dilatory tactic does not work with the sentient

Pierre said...

Anonymous at 6 pm,

Sounds like a lot of Catholic bishops and priests are living in the past and think Carter is president rather than fake Catholic Joe Biden whose allegiance is to Planned Parenthood which controls the Democrat Party!

Tom Marcus said...


Evidently you are not yet familiar with the best-ignored bloviations of Mr. Mark Thomas. He will cherry pick quotes from anyone remotely credible to suit his agenda, he will slobber all over Pope Bergoglio with the word "holy" used ad infinitum, he will alway fall back on the "tremendous growth" of the Church in Africa as proof of the "superiority" of the Novus Ordo and he will drain you of your sanity if you bother to keep answering him back. I suppose I should be grateful to him, as he inspired the moniker I use to post here.

I don't purport to know who he REALLY is, or what he looks like, but if you've ever seen the Dirty Harry Film (#3 in the series, The Enforcer, I picture him being very much like the mayor's assistant. Just pray for him and let him spew his "enlightenment" and let it go. As Strother Martin once said (Cool Hand Luke), "Some people you just can't reach."

Mark Thomas said...

Pope Benedict XVI declared that he issued Summorum Pontificum for the following positive reason:

"I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity.

"One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew."


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

Tom Marcus,

I'm pretty sure Pierre is very familiar with Mark Thomas, as I'm pretty sure he is just TJM with a new handle. As such, he just can't help himself. At least he is actually addressing the person he has an issue with, unlike when he posted as TJM and would just go off on anyone, pretending they were "Anonymous K."

Pierre said...

Tom Marcus,

You are onto something about MT’s personality. As you will note he has cherrypicked a portion of Pontificum Summorum and conveniently leaves out Pope Benedict’s statement about the OF being a fabricated liturgy. He also will NEVER come to grips with basic facts that the OF has been a disaster (80 percent of American Catholics attending the EF prior to the Council versus 15 percent attending the OF now). He really is a broken record with a faint grip on reality.

Tom Marcus said...

Mark Thomas' inability to read between the lines is an inspiration to middle-school dropouts everywhere.

Tom Marcus said...

I would caution against trying to "unmask" or solve the identities of people posting here under false names. I use a false name because I like keeping a job, but I have been accused of being "Anonymous K" more than once and several other stabs at solving my identity have also been just as wrong.

We're a complicated bunch of people. Let's save our sleuthing for figuring out what to do about the poor state of our Church and our world.

Ron Conte said...

Millions of persons who attend the Novus Ordo Mass would (very unfortunately) not be willing to attend Mass in Latin. It is a language they do not understand. The liturgy is far too formal for many persons. And they simply would no longer go to Mass -- which for many Catholics is the main and almost sole connection to the Faith. Many Catholics are not particularly devout, and all they have is the Mass. So I truly believe that the NO Mass has saved millions of souls, that otherwise would have been lost.

As for the claim that the adherents of the EF are more faithful ("99 percent of the EF crowd actually believe what the Church teaches on the more important articles of the Faith, whereas less than half the OF crowd do.") a substantial number of EF adherents reject the authority and teaching of Pope Francis, do not accept that Popes John, Paul, and John Paul II are Saints, and do not accept Vatican II. They are not led or taught at all by the recent Council. They also do not accept the teaching of Vatican I: "This charism of truth and never failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See...." and that the Apostolic See is always unblemished. Then it is quite harmful that a particular very conservative subculture has grown up around the TLM, using it as their banner against anything the Church teaches that they judge to be wrong. So I don't see them as any more faithful than liberal or moderate Catholics.