Monday, July 18, 2022



Now that I have the flexibility of being a senior priest, what some wrongly call “retired”, I am helping (supplying) in various parishes.

And the question I get from the sacristans is this, “Father, how do you celebrate Mass.?” And my answer is that I will celebrate Mass as the parish does or the pastor permits. 

The sacristan laughs and says every priest has his own way, some major some minor in variations. 

And therein lies the problem of the Modern Roman Missal. It isn’t predictable, from congregation to congregation, and priest to priest. Each might have their own way of doing things. 

“Say the black and do the red” is more important now than ever and even Pope Francis stated priests should follow the rubrics and words of the Modern Roman Missal. 

But the other problem is this. There is a flexiblity built into the Modern Roman Missal that even following the rubrics allows for great diversity from priest to priest.

In the 1962 Roman Missal, there are three basic forms of the Mass. The Low Mass where everything is spoken in the Missal, although hymns might be added to the Low Mass, but the Mass itself is completely spoken. 

Then there is the High Mass and Solemn High Mass. While one is more ceremonious than the other, everything is sung by schola and the priest.

In other words, there is not hybrid Mass in the ancient form. You can’t say the Introit, but chant the Kyrie, say the Gloria and chant the collect. You can’t say the Our Father, if the other parts are chanted.

Not so with the modern Missal, the priest can sing or say whatever he wants. That varies form priest to priest.

Finally, the problem of the position of the priest in the sanctuary. I have always followed the Modern Roman Missal in this but even here there is flexibility.

I start the Mass at the chair. All the readings are at the ambo and there is always a lector. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is at the altar and the concluding rite is at the chair. 

But many priests and it is allowed, celebrate the Mass completely at the altar from start to finish except for the Liturgy of the Word which is at the ambo. 

And then throw in the possibility of ad orientem and the same scenario. 

There is no uniformity with the Modern Roman Missal and when you toss in the priest’s ad libs and super-creativity and the imposition of his personality on the Mass, you have those longing for the 1962 Roman Missal, now being forbidden to them. 


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

I celebrate with the smaller Roman Missal, some use the larger because the need larger print. Nothing deleterious to the liturgy in that preference.

I rarely choose to celebrate optional memorials, some choose to celebrate all of them. Nothing untoward about either choice.

Being particular - OK, maybe a little OCD - as you are, I adjust the set-up of the credence table to suit my preferences, some have no preference at all. Either way is fine.

I chant parts of the mass while some, who have little chanting/singing ability, don't. Both are fine.

Some days I choose to use the confiteor, some days I use one of the other options. The people aren't impacted negatively one way or the other.

I use all of the four standard Eucharistic prayers, rarely using the same one two days in a row. The congregations are familiar with them all. My choice to use #4 or #1 doesn't confuse anyone or send people screaming into the street, decrying the lack of uniformity in the mass.

Variations/options aren't a problem. Unity is not a by-product of uniformity.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course you just confirmed those sacristan observations. They weren’t complaining simply acknowledging that each priest does it his way. Have you chosen the option of ad orientem?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Yes, I confirmed the sacristan observations - so what? Doesn't amount to a hill beans. Priests have options when celebrating mass. You choose some, I choose others.

No, I don't celebrate ad orientem.

TJM said...

Fr K,

And that's why I would never attend one of your Masses, it is all about YOU, you, you, you, and the options you prefer.

Father McDonald,

What you stated underlines the utter hypocrisy and craveness of Traditionis Crudelis (Custodes). Thank God there are decent cardinals, archbishops and bishops who have treated it with the respect it deserves: NONE. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Cardinal Cupich who is presiding over the largest downsizing of the Church in Chicago history, is cruelly suppressing the Institute of Christ the King which is not only raising the Liturgy standards in the Archdiocese but the standard of living for poor Blacks on the south side of Chicago. The Institute has hired many of the locals to aid in the restoration of the Shrine. I have been there and that location has improved greatly with the presence of the Institute and many of their parishioners are local Black families. f that act of the Cardinal's is not evil, I don't know what is. Yet St. Sabina's and a myriad of liturgical abuses are permitted. FYI, Chicago, nominally has as many Catholics as ever, they just don't choose to show up for the "new and improved Mass."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - I hereby mark you SAFE form having TJM ever attend one of your masses.

You see, by his reasoning, since YOU choose the large (or small) missal, since YOU choose to celebrate (or not) the optional memorials, since YOU choose how the credence table is arranged, since YOU choose to chant or not chant parts of the mass, since YOU choose which option to use for the Penitential Rite, and since YOU choose which Eucharistic Prayer to use, the masses you celebrate are all about you, you, you and the options you prefer. He will not darken the door...

When we meet again, we will toast our good fortune!

TJM said...

Fr K,

But I have attended one of his Masses!

Anonymous said...

Father Kavanaugh said..."No, I don't celebrate ad orientem."

Father Kavanaugh, do you believe that ad orientem Mass presents any spiritual benefit as compared to Mass versus populum?

Is Mass versus populum, as compared to Mass ad orientem, of greater spiritual benefit?

Father, thank you.


Mark Thomas

Cardinal Ottaviani, October 1965 A.D., Vatican II intervention: War must be outlawed:

"...modern wars can never fulfil those conditions which govern — theoretically — a just and lawful war.”

"The council should therefore give its vote to the creation of one world republic composed of all the nations of the world in which no longer would there be strife among various nations, but an entire world living in peace: the peace of Christ in the reign of Christ."

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Fr. ALLAN McDonald - Is it true that TJM has attended one of your masses? If so, then he must have done so unaware that YOU chose the large (or small) missal, that YOU chose to celebrate (or not) the optional memorials, since YOU chose how the credence table was arranged, that YOU chose to chant or not chant parts of the mass, that YOU chose which option to use for the Penitential Rite, and that YOU chose which Eucharistic Prayer to use.

He must have been there before he realized that the masses you celebrate are all about you, you, you and the options you prefer.

And he will acknowledge how his ignorance allowed him to make such a tragic choice and will never darken your door again!

Or, he will see that his rant above at 9:45 was silly and, wait, no, that's not gonna happen. We'll toast our good fortune anyway!

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

You already know what Father K will say, so why ask? Besides you will lose the opportunity to gaze upon his loveliness

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark - Note first that TJM is unable to acknowledge that his rant about me at 9:45 above has been, like Wilde's Bunbury, "quite exploded." Fr. ALLAN McDonand and I make the same choices as we prepare to celebrate the mass. I am attacked, Fr. McDonald is lauded.

You ask, " you believe that ad orientem Mass presents any spiritual benefit as compared to Mass versus populum? Is Mass versus populum, as compared to Mass ad orientem, of greater spiritual benefit?"

That depends on how one understands the purposes of the celebration of the mass.

If one maintains that the purpose is the offering in an unbloody way the Sacrifice of Calvary, then the orientation of the priest may be inconsequential. In that same vein, the presence of a congregation is also inconsequential. What the congregation, if present, does during the mass - reads books, prays rosaries, knits or crochets - is inconsequential.

When the dignity of the Baptized is recognized in a way it might not have been before, when the capacity of the laity to understand the prayers of the mass (hence the vernacular) and the readings from Sacred Scripture is appreciated, and when the "dialogue" of the mass is no longer seen as the exclusive possession of the priest, then the orientation of the celebrant takes on new meaning. The nature of the gathering of the People of God goes through something of a metamorphosis. Hence...

TJM said...

Father K,

Your response is just like Mark Thomas' - you never engage nor refute the point. You simply ignore and deflect. You have mentioned before that you "improve" the texts even when your lack of knowledge of the Latin language makes that endeavor impossible. You are also violating the express command of Sacrosanctum Concilium which prohibits this practice. So it is all about you. Catholics are at Mass to receive the Roman Rite not the Rite "improved" by you.

Your puerile attempt to wave off ad orientem, the inveterate practice of centuries and still utilized by most Eastern Rite liturgies, is hardly persuasive. I think Cardinal Sarah has you beat on that point.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark, note that TJM continues to fail to engage and refute the point tat his rant about me above has been "quite exploded."

Anonymous said...

Father Michael J. Kavanaugh...thank you for your response to my question about ad orientem/versus populum.

I prefer Mass ad orientem. But I am certain in that regard that among my Latin Church brothers and sisters, I am in the minority.

Father Kavanaugh, I appreciate your comment..."If one maintains that the purpose is the offering in an unbloody way the Sacrifice of Calvary, then the orientation of the priest may be inconsequential."

Again, thank you for your thoughtful reply.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Fr K,

You lost the argument, so like your Mark Thomas, you avoid the substance and deflect with inane comments.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark, note that TJM is, it would appear, incapable of understanding that the basis for his rant above at 9:45 regarding the choices I, or any other celebrant makes for the celebration of the mass, has been "quite exploded."

The inanity of his attack against me is revealed in that Fr. ALLAN McDonald, or any other priest who celebrates the NO, makes the same choices I do. BUT, when I make those choices, TJM sees it as a HORROR. When other priests make the same choices, TJM lauds them.

"Quite Exploded."

TJM said...

Fr K,

You have proved nothing. Your own words condemn you. You have mentioned on this website that you "improve" texts which is sinful and violates Sacrosanctum Concilium. I guess you are rejecting Vatican II so Bishop Parkes should remove you if the Church is to have any credibility at all in its war against traditionalists.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark - As I said, TJM is incapable of recognizing or acknowledging that his rant about me has been "quite exploded."

TJM said...

Fr K,

Epic fail. And you still ignore my constant question as to why only 30% of Catholics who bother to go to the OF believe in the Real Presence. Could it be that, though valid, is ineffective?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Mark - TJM thinks I have to "prove" something when, in fact, he has proven his failure himself. I make choices for the options used in the mass, and it is an apocalyptic tragedy. Fr. ALLAN McDonald makes the same choices, and he is a hero. TJM just can't see how obvious his failure is.

THEN, as always and as a distraction, he shifts to an unrelated topic, this time his 30% whine.

Abortion, I predict, will be his next diversion, followed by "party of death," then stolen election, then, who knows, maybe something altogether new!

V for Vendee said...

Father K drinks Appletini’s I bet

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Vendon't - You lose.