Thursday, December 2, 2021


 Shepherding the Flock Out of the 1962 Missal

The time has come, says God to Moses. You must lead my people out of Egypt, out of captivity, toward the Promised Land.1 Unfortunately for the eager travelers, the journey lasts 40 years,2 and along the way the people murmur; they look back in nostalgia at the good things they once had.3 And they doubt that they will ever make it to the Promised Land. Many of them, in fact, die along the way.4 It is not easy to shepherd a people from one place to another physically; it is much harder to shepherd them spiritually.

Thus, it might not be easy for our Shepherds — the Church’s bishops — to fulfill the command of the Holy Father’s recent Motu proprio (entitled Traditionis custodes) and accompanying letter. For in these documents he is asking his bishops to lead some of the faithful away from the celebration of the 1962 Missal (known by many as the “extraordinary form,” “The Traditional Latin Mass,” “The Tridentine Mass, etc.); it will be a challenge for some of our shepherds to fulfill the mandate from Pope Francis “to provide for the good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration and need to return in due time to the Roman Rite promulgated by Saints Paul VI and John Paul II.”5 For the American bishops, in particular, who preside over many parishes and groups that are attached to the Missal of 1962, this task could be daunting.



TJM said...

This is ridiculous - lead people away from the Form of the Roman Rite which instills belief in the Real Presence. And the next Pope may very well render TC null and void. What is this author going to write about when that occurs? I think the Pope and certain clergy are afraid of the EF, that their life work committed to a Form of the Roman Rite that does NOT instill belief in the Real Presence may end up losing the day! It really becomes more difficult by the day to put up with this kind of nonsense

MrMatt said...

A more accurate relfection would be leading them into Egypt from the promised land.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think the author hits the nail on the head. This is about obedience to the Magisterium a hallmark of so-called orthodox, traditional Catholics. But what we are finding here is a pseudo orthodoxy/traditionalism which is far from what faithful Catholicism is about. And what is causing all of this? The preference for a particular form of the Mass versus what every validly Mass celebrates, our redemption! Our unity in Christ! Our communion with the pope and bishops in union with him.

The only thing that bums me out about the pope's initiative in this regard is that there is no similar going after liturgical abuses in the Ordinary Form, wild celebrations of it that make it appear to be completely contrary from the book it evolved from.

Can and should the Ordinary Form be reformed once again (it already has had a few "reforms of the reform"? Yes it can and it must and the Ordinariate's Divine Worship, the Missal is the template both in the order, rubrics and calendar of this Roman Missal. I'm not speaking about it archaic English, that need not be our language, but more Latin mandated certainly is needed but also the current English translation cleaned-up where it needs to be.

John said...

I am seriously puzzled. Is it possible that the HF misdiagnoses the state of Church unity today? I have never heard said that a third or a half attending the TLM do not believe in the Real Presence in thew Eucharist. However, that rumor may be true of Catholics attending NO Masses exclusively according to surveys conducted over the years by various organizations.

Respect for the Mass of either form of the Roman rite? You yourself, Father McDonald, have spilled gallons of ink bemoaning the disordered and disrespectful manner the NO is treated in thousands of places ever since its implementation. Catholic support for abortion, even infanticide? Very big problem a major source of disunity in the Church.

Frankly, I find the cognitive dissonance between what Church teaches about the Eucharist or the sanctity of human life and what is being tolerated by critics of the TLM utterly bewildering.

William said...

Again: Are we better off now than we were 60 years ago? Only the obdurate and the foolish would say that we are.

rcg said...

Long article and I don’t think this format supports a proper response. However, there are assertions about the reasons for Vatican II that address some of my own questions. It is awkward, IMO, that a major reason for suppressing the Latin Mass is that the Pope’s feelings were hurt. I am in a very traditional community and we are often led in prayers for the Pope and for his intentions. The Fraternity goes out of its way to be in ‘solidarity’ and full communion with the Pope and the Church. I have no idea of the relative sizes of the FSSP, SSPX, or ICK, but I don’t sense that the overwhelming majority, or even a small majority, are sedevacantists. Likewise it does not seem Christ-like to burn the wheat with the chaff.

It is reasonably well composed, but I don’t find it compelling.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

The Pope is not a dictator and that is how he comes across with regard to the EF. His actions it has been suggested from liturgical and canonical scholars may be ultra vires, because one cannot ban what was once sacred. In stark contrast, Pope Benedict was on the right track. Think of the caterwalling that would have taken place if he had abrogated the OF.

It is despicable to deprive the Faithful of a legitimate expression of the Roman Rite which existed for over 1600 years because a few crank traditionalists say mean things? What about the thousands who did not? The more importance issue for me is that the OF is NOT doing its job. Belief in the Real Presence has collapsed even among Catholics who still attend Mass. That is not an issue with the EF. The Magisterium undermines its authority when it tacks in this direction. PF is his own worst enemy.

John Nolan said...

PF talks of the 'good of those who are rooted in the previous form of celebration' who 'need to return in due time' to the Novus Ordo. I belong to the last generation to be rooted in the previous form, in that I was brought up and formed by it (as of course was Jorge Bergoglio; indeed he is more 'rooted' than I, since he was 26 in 1962, whereas I was 11).

The vast majority of those who attend the EF are in fact rooted in the new Mass, so I suppose it makes some sort of sense to talk of their returning to it, although it requires some understanding of why they uprooted themselves in the first place.

A few days ago there was a small pilgrimage to Lyford Grange in Oxfordshire, the manor house where St Edmund Campion was arrested in 1581. Photographs were posted on the LMS Chairman's blog. Mass was said in an adjacent barn by a diocesan priest who was ordained in 1988. It was a Low Mass in the EF, the same rite which the martyr would have celebrated. A Novus Ordo Mass in English would have conferred the same graces but would have been historically anomalous and Campion would not have recognized it.

The pilgrims were overwhelmingly young people and children. Were they perhaps connecting in some way to their English Catholic roots, and the witness of those brave men and women who died for what PF dismisses as an 'antecedent' form which is not the 'lex orandi'?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think the problems in the EF Community were overblown to the pope. It’s not just a small but vocal minority in this group that outright oppose this pope, but I would say far more in OF communities who do but aren’t as vocal but have a veneer of Vatican II, which includes inculturation, welcome to immigrants and the LBGTQ+++++community and service to the poor of which they are very vocal and point to their “good works” in all of this. The EF community appears to rigid, doctrinaire, exclusive and concerned more about beautiful worship then living inclusivity, outreach to the poor and marginalized think LGBTQ+++++ and every other sort of marginalized person.
Oddly enough, in all of this, Pope Francis has never reached out and included the EF communities of the world, but rather ridiculed and mocked them sending them to the periphery and now making them pariahs for wanting a certain type of liturgy that has a 1,600 year old ethos in continuity with the liturgies of the East. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Jerome Merwick said...

"Pope Francis has never reached out and included the EF communities of the world, but rather ridiculed and mocked them sending them to the periphery and now making them pariahs...It makes no sense whatsoever."

Actually Father, it makes perfect sense if you are willing to explore certain possibilities. But I don't think you want to go there. It's going to have to get a lot worse before you and a lot of others might consider the horror of that possibility. And it will get worse, mark my word--more quickly than you can imagine.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

Actually it appears EF communities are the most generous and charitible. OF types tend to be cheap. They want government to do their "charity." But I digress. I know as a priest you must be circumspect, but I would bet you would have rather have not have seen TC issued at all and allowed history and nature to take its course. PF and his types are fighting against the inevitable.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, no need to limit anything except bishops more involved with priests and communities celebrating the EF so everyone is on the same page and in communion with the bishop and all other Catholics. The problem with some in the EF is an elitism and arrogance and heresy that the same graces are not available in both forms. Tastes do not dictate theology, doctrine or dogma, the Magisterium does that for us which we humbly and obediently receive.

John Nolan said...

'Tastes do not dictate theology, doctrine or dogma'. But that's precisely what's been happening over the last 50-odd years.

If PF's eventual aim is to suppress the EF entirely, and if he holds to the opinion that the liturgical books rewritten in the aftermath of Vatican II constitute the only or unique expression of the lex orandi (a claim that can easily be refuted), then it is he who is exhibiting 'elitism and arrogance and heresy'.

And that isn't simply a problem 'with some in the EF' (whatever that means), it is a problem for all of us, regardless of which rite we use.

John Nolan said...

Rather than be accused of lèse-majesté it was usual to blame the king's advisors rather than the king himself for mistaken and/or unpopular measures. One can see this with regard to the disintegration of the liturgy in the 1970s - blame Bugnini, not Paul VI.

TC may have been written by the Italian bishops or at their behest, but I don't think that Francis is easily influenced, and the buck stops with him.

'They are Lord Raglan's orders: we have no choice but to obey.' The words of Lord Lucan to Lord Cardigan on 25 October 1854 which sealed the fate of the Light Brigade.

Shame on those bishops, who in defiance of Canon 18, have moved to restrict the EF. The most high-profile of them, Archbishop Aupetit of Paris, has got his comeuppance, having recently had to resign over an affair with a woman in 2012. Serves him right. Who's next?

John said...

What an excellent post JN!

TJM said...

John Nolan,

This is what probably has the Italian bishops all worked up about the EF - a full seminary of traditionalist seminarians while their seminaries are underpopulated:

John Nolan said...

John (7:47)

Careful, old boy, lest our resident contumacious cleric address you as 'Johnny'!

John said...


Sticks and stones etc......