Why I decided to migrate to the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass from the Novus Ordo Mass: Abuses in the Liturgy of the Holy Mass in my archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore

MARCH 2015

Why I decided to migrate to the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass from the Novus Ordo Mass: Abuses in the Liturgy of the Holy Mass in my archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore


Why? The detailed story follows, but first briefly,

1. Because I am subjected to multiple liturgical violations (all of which are condemned by Rome) at every Novus Ordo (New Rite; Ordinary Form) Holy Mass in every parish that I’ve been to in my archdiocese over the past few years, not only on Days of Obligation, but even on weekdays… and at weddings and funerals;

2. Because my attempts to communicate on these issues either orally or in writing with all but one of the priests concerned have been met with hostility or with ignore-ance (yes, pun intended); and

3. Because Rome has never abrogated the Extraordinary Form (EF) or Tridentine Latin Rite Mass but allows it and in fact encourages laity to attend it… and so does my Archbishop, the Most Rev. George Antonysamy.

God bless him, because it appears that 99% of the Indian bishops do everything they can to extinguish it.


The locations where the Tridentine Mass with the approval of the local Ordinary are available:

1. CHENNAI: The Tridentine Mass is celebrated Sundays at 5:30 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Chapel, 33 Cathedral Road in Gopalapuram, near the US Consulate and the Anna Flyover by priests of the Society of St. Pius X.

Car parking is arranged at the Stella Maris College which is diagonally across the road from the Chapel.


2. MUMBAI: In a notification dated March 17, 2006, Cardinal Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Bombay,
authorised its celebration on the first Sunday of every month at the Church of Our Lady of Victories, Mahim, Mumbai:

Mumbai: Church crisis resolved? EXTRACT


March 28, 2006

“To accommodate those who wanted the traditional mass, the Church permitted the Tridentine mass once a month at the Church of Our Lady of Victories, Mahim provided they gave an undertaking that they believe in Vatican II and the new order of the mass.”


The Lefebvre Movement in the Archdiocese EXTRACT


I deem it opportune to inform the faithful in the Archdiocese that the members of the Lefebvre movement and their Masses – though valid, as are those of some other non-Catholic Christian communities – are not in full communion with the Holy See. May I also recall that, since 2001, for the benefit of those who desire to attend the Tridentine Latin Mass of St. Pius V – so much hyped by the Lefebvrists in opposition to the post-Vatican II Mass introduced by Pope Paul VI – I have authorised its celebration on the first Sunday of every month at the Church of Our Lady of Victories, Mahim.

+ Ivan Cardinal Dias Archbishop of Bombay March 17, 2006


TLM update from India


February 25, 2009

In the Archdiocese of Bombay the Indult Mass has been celebrated at Our Lady of Victory Church, Mahim, Bombay, on the first Sunday of the month since January 2001. Initially done by a very senior priest who was ordained in 1956, he had forgotten how to celebrate it and made quite a mess of it. For around a year the Mass was celebrated by pre-1969 priests but thereafter it has been celebrated mostly by a post-1969 priest… 

From January 2008 the Motu Proprio Mass, requested by a group of laypersons, is being offered in the Jesuit-run St. Peter’s Church, Bandra, in the church loft by a pre-1969 priest, first by an 82 year-old priest in the Clergy Home and thereafter by a Spanish Jesuit, also ordained before 1969. Attendance at the start was around 70.The Mass is only on the third Sunday of every month.  




For those who may be unaware, Latin is still the official sacred language of the Catholic Church.

The Latin Mass at the Mahim church is celebrated by Fr. Paul D’Souza of the Holy Cross Church, Kurla, at 11:00 am on the first Sunday of the month.

I am informed that it is also offered “in the church loft” at 11:30 am at St. Peter’s Church in Bandra
on the first Sunday of the month.

There is also the Tridentine Mass available at St. Anthony’s Church, Malwani, Malad every second Sunday of the month at 6:30 pm. One of the priests coming to Malad, Fr. Philip Lobo, is reportedly 90 years old, while the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Juan at Bandra is around 85 years old. Fr. Paul is the youngest, at around 65.


3. TUTICORIN, Tamil Nadu:

The Tridentine Mass
approved by the local bishop
is offered on all Sundays at 7:00 am, excepting the last Sunday of the month when the Mass is at 5:30 pm, reports the contact person
Francis Kumar, 94864 71966.


But these are the rare exceptions. Laity preferring the Latin Mass attend those celebrated by priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) at their Mass centres (often the residences of Catholic laity) in Bangalore, Goa, Orlem (in Mumbai), Vasai (near Mumbai), Coonoor in the Nilagiri hills, Palayamkottai at their Priory, and several other cities and towns in the deep south of Tamil Nadu state.

Some SSPX retreats and recollections are held at Catholic diocesan or religious-run institutions such as the St. Anthony’s Chapel in Chennai, the St. Francis Xavier’s Chapel in Virar West, Vasai, the Xavier Centre of Historical Research in Alto Porvorim and the SVD Mission Seminary (St. Francis Xavier’s Ashram) in Raia in Goa, the SVD priests’ Atma Darshan in Andheri, Mumbai, the Ignatian Retreat Centre (Mount St. Joseph) in Bangalore, and the Salesian sisters’ Morense Convent in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu.


Tridentine Mass in Bombay (at Orlem)


November 27, 2011




Today I heard the Sunday Mass in a chapel in the northern part of Bombay. The chapel was organized on the first floor of a private building ‘Gratias Mariae’. It was an extraordinary experience not only because of the Mass, but also to see how the regional traditions and sensitivities can have also place in the Tridentine Mass without liturgical abuses. Ladies wearing traditional saris were singing Gregorian mass for Advent. Altar servants were wearing black cassocks and surplices, but were barefooted – since this is a custom in India that you enter a holy place without shoes. And which place is more holy than the Catholic Church. Address: 1st floor, Gratias Mariae Building, Tank Road, Orlem, Malad West, Mumbai



Latin Masses are being systematically killed


By Dr. Aubyne Savio Fernandes, Mumbai July 25, 2013 EXTRACT

The Traditional Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Mumbai is offered in 3 churches, Victoria church at Mahim and St. Peter’s church at Bandra on 1st Sunday of every month and we have started this Mass at St. Anthony’s church at Malwani, Malad. We had a tough time to obtain permission from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, (presently archbishop of Mumbai and one of the 8 cardinals from the globe who is selected from Asia to advise Pope Francis) who asked us to prove a stable group that desires this mass. When we send him the signatures of parishioners desirous of this mass, he said he does not have Latin-conversant priests. It means that the Seminary of St. Pius X at Goregaon in Mumbai has not introduced Latin.  

We provided three names, Frs. Paul, Philip, and his brother whenever he comes to Mumbai to visit his brother from England. Both are 80 years plus. There are priests who will say the mass, but are afraid of the sword of transfers to remote places, as there is one Emeritus Bishop Bosco Penha, who runs his writ and the Cardinal is helpless. This Bishop is deadly against the Traditional Latin Mass and is responsible for vitiating the careers of many priests. One priest has gone to the US, another is on sabbatical. Two Priests have left and got married and the latest is that one priest has left and joined as a pastor in some group called New Life. This Bishop says that any priest saying the Traditional Latin mass is a Lunatic Priest. There is one priest who left the SSPX group and joined back, but he too is afraid, though.

He says he is ready, but does not give concrete response. He is now transferred to Our Lady of Salvation church, Dadar, where the aforesaid Bishop resides. As long as these three priests are available to us, we alternate them. After their demise, we do not know the fate of this mass.  SSPX are banned to offer Traditional Mass in our Churches, although they are having their services in residential flats. Parishioners are afraid, as they fear isolation viz. burial, social boycott, refusal of sacraments etc. We need Latin-conversant priests, which we are lacking. This is our fate!

Comment by Renjith Leen, Kochi:

If Bishop Bosco Penha believes that priests who wish to say the Tridentine Latin Mass are lunatics, then I guess all the priests, bishops, cardinals and popes of the past two millennium were all lunatics as they only said the Tridentine Latin Mass. A priest friend of mine in Kerala … personally requested me to get for him a Tridentine Mass kit from the SSPX. When I asked why, he said, “I don’t get any spiritual consolation saying the New Mass.” To hear this from a holy priest like him who reverentially celebrates the New Mass, was a shocker.


Bad news from India


July 26, 2013

A serious development for the Tridentine Mass is occurring in India. According to an article by Dr. Aubyne Savio Fernandes, in the Archdiocese of Mumbai, Tridentine Masses are offered in 3 churches: Victoria Church (Mahim), St. Peter’s Church (Bandra) and St. Anthony’s Church (Malwani, Malad).

In order for these to take place, permission was obtained – after tough negotiations – from Cardinal Oswald Gracias, who first wanted proof that a stable group desired the Mass. When a list was provided, Cardinal Gracias said that he did not have Latin conversant priests. 

The current situation is as follows:

-two priests are more than 80 years old. 

-other priests would like to say the Tridentine Mass, but are afraid of being transferred to remote places, as apparently has already been the case.

-Bishop Bosco Penha is very much against the Traditional Latin Mass and allegedly is responsible for vitiating the careers of many priests.

-the same bishop defines any priest who says the Tridentine Mass as “Lunatic Priests”.  

-the SSPX is banned from offering the Tridentine Mass in the Diocesan Churches, and is forced to provide its services from residential flats.

This situation is alarming in particular because Cardinal Oswald Gracias is among the eight cardinals from around the world who were appointed by Pope Francis in an advisory council to look into ways of reforming the Vatican bureaucracy. This council will help the Pope revise the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia Pastor Bonus. Cardinal Gracias was appointed Archbishop of Mumbai by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006. He was raised to the cardinalate in 2007.


Priests and Bishops everywhere decline every request by the laity to allow them the Tridentine Mass.

1. MUMBAI: In December 2008, the Tridentine Mass was permitted to be offered at the main altar of St. Peter’s Church in Bandra
for the marriage of the eldest daughter Joan of Mr. Narcissus Neef after a gap of 39 long years in which no Latin Mass was celebrated; but for the matrimony of his younger daughter a few weeks ago, “every obstruction was created by the present parish priest of the same church and the New Mass was performed”, according to one of my correspondents.

There was a seminarian, now a priest at the Dadar church (he had defected from the Archdiocesan seminary in Goregaon, Mumbai, to join the Society of St. Pius X seminary in Australia but returned to the Goregaon seminary after a few years to complete his priestly studies) who “was branded a Lefebvrian by Cardinal Ivan Dias and harassed” after he started attending the Tridentine Mass, I am reliably informed.



Below is a report by a Traditionalist from Mumbai who was familiar with the history of the “re-introduction” of the Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of Bombay:

At the end of 2000 there was a petition to Archbishop Ivan Dias for an Indult Mass from people primarily in Mahim, subject to each signatory signing that he/she accepted the New Mass as licit and valid, Cardinal Dias granted it w.e.f. January 2001, on the first Sunday of the month, with Msgr. Anthony Cordeiro celebrating the first Mass at Our Lady of Victories church, Mahim. It seems that, in sanctioning the Mass to the 1962 Missal in Latin, the Archbishop’s intention was to break the back of the SSPX.

The Mass was clumsily done with no Confession before Mass, no Rosary before Mass as at SSPX Masses, very old volunteers as altar servers. The celebrant committed several glaring errors as he had forgotten how to do it. Some of us attended for the first three months but got fed up. At the second Mass, one of the very aged altar servers toppled but did not break his bones. The parish priest of Our Lady of Victories church, Fr. Roque Almeida, was simply not interested in investing each occasion with quality and fervour although, before Vatican II, as a young priest at the Holy Name Cathedral, he used to train altar servers to serve that very Mass.

The Archbishop came to know that Bro. Lawrence D’Souza of the Goregaon Seminary, due to be ordained in the same or the following year, had started attending that Mass. Dias summoned him, called him a Lefebvrian when Lawrence knew absolutely nothing about the SSPX Masses in Bandra and Malad, and told him that his ordination would be delayed by three years as he had to be mentally reconditioned under a Jesuit for that period.

Lawrence made contact with the SSPX through a meeting with Fr. Thomas Blute SSPX in Goa and Fr. Blute advised him to do a retreat with the SSPX in Palayamkottai. Lawrence at first liked the SSPX and Fr. Blute suggested that he pull out some more seminarians from the Goregaon Seminary which Lawrence did clandestinely and they started to secretly attend the SSPX Masses in Bandra till one day, in early 2002, when they were seen by Fr. Cleo Fernandes, Rector of the seminary, who happened to be in the next compound by sheer chance, and a secret watch was kept for one or two more Sundays on Pioneer Hall, St. John Baptist Road, Bandra, where the SSPX Mass was held on Sundays. The new boys whom Lawrence brought, each a year junior to the other, were Anthony Rodrigues, Tony Alphonso, and Gregory Noronha.

Then suddenly all four were summoned to the seminary by Fr. Cleo for interrogation, called in one by one, starting with the youngest, Gregory, and Fr. Cleo got the shock of his life when Gregory accused the church of deception on the issue of the Mass and declared his intention to quit the Goregaon Seminary. The remaining three were also interrogated and made the same declaration. By July 2002, the SSPX started to collect money abroad for their training at Holy Cross Seminary, Australia, their visas were arranged, and in November 2002 they left for Australia, each armed with Goregaon Seminary class notes. Cardinal Dias was furious and issued an Official in The Examiner against the SSPX. But when their course curriculum in the Goregaon Seminary was examined by the SSPX in Australia, the SSPX came to the conclusion that it was unfit for the raising of a Catholic priest and they were told that they would have to do the full six years of priestly studies to the SSPX curriculum to which they agreed.

What the SSPX was imposing on the Goregaon Seminarians was, in fact, the very same studies which used to be imparted at the Goregaon Seminary itself before Vatican II when it was among the best Catholic seminaries in the world.


2. GOA:

This is what Joseph L.R. Vaz, a Catholic activist who speaks for conservative Catholics in Goa informed me:

It is more than 3 years since we are requesting our Bishop through our Parish Priest for a Latin Tridentine mass in Goa. I have written a couple of letters, met our Parish Priest umpteen number of times, met our Vicar General on a couple of occasions, but to no avail. The last thing that I did was to write to Pope Francis, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka and the letter was delivered in his hands, but I haven’t received any reply yet. I attach some of my correspondence to this email.

When my parish priest went to discuss about having the Latin Mass with our Archbishop he asked him “Don’t you have anything better to discuss? (By ‘anything else’ perhaps he meant the money collections). Our Parish Priest told me that “the Bishop did not say yes or no”, and that I should wait for some more time till he says yes. I told him that we cannot keep waiting for eternity and that I will at least like to have the mass in some Chapel in my village. Though initially he said “no”, when I quoted to him Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum,” he agreed and told me to give a copy of it to him. But our Archbishop sent a message through another priest “that all masses are same and since the new mass is held everywhere, the Tridentine Latin Mass is not required.”


Three letters of Joseph L.R. Vaz to the Goan Church hierarchy are reproduced below:

Joseph L. R. Vaz & Others

H.No.8, Aquem-Baixo,

Navelim, Salcete,

Goa – 403707

Date: 4th May 2013


His Grace,

Archbishop of Goa,

Paco Patriacal, Altinho,

Panjim, Goa.



Through the Parish Priest of Our lady of Rosary Church, Navelim.



Sub: Petition for Tridentine Mass at Navelim on 13th May


Your Grace,


Greetings from the Parishioners of Navelim.


We had requested our Parish Priest, Fr. Jose Roque Gonsalves and followed up with a written request that a Tridentine Mass be prayed for desiring faithful of our Parish. After further talks with our P.P. and on his instruction we spoke to our Episcopal Vicar, Fr. Lucio Dias. We are now making this humble Petition to your Grace that Tridentine Mass be prayed for desiring faithful of our Parish.


After reading Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum,” issued “motu proprio”, concerning the use of the Roman Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962, we are impressed by the following words:


“In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.


Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the “Lex orandi” (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Blessed John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same “Lex orandi,” and must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s “Lex orandi” will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s “Lex credendi” (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.


It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the liturgy of the Church”.


Therefore, we feel a strong urge for a Tridentine Mass in Latin at our Parish in Navelim. The same mass which was celebrated by our Goycho Saib: St. Francis Xavier, Patron of the Archdiocese: Blessed Joseph Vaz and also the most recent and devout St.
Padre Pio amongst others.


We do remember Your Grace, at the Lenten concert by The Concert of Sacred Music in Sant Anna, Talaulim affirm that sacred music allows us to contemplate on the passion and death of Christ. He also lamented that the practice today in many churches is to use contemporary musical idioms for worship. This was distracting and did not serve the purpose. Your Grace also recalled how the Gregorian chant unified the Catholic Church under Charlemagne. That it should be given the “pride of place” & appealed to the audience “to keep up the long traditions of the classical and Gregorian music when composing for and singing in the church”. What better chance is there to follow his directives than this?


Latin is the mother tongue of our Church, as Arabic is for Muslims & Sanskrit for Hindus. Having us exposed to it will bring more respect and a greater sense of belonging to our Church.


We request a priest be appointed (if possible) to guide, mentor and monitor our moves, to make sure that all we do would be in sync with the teachings of the Holy Mother Church, under your pastoral care.




Since May 13th is the day of the 1st apparition at Fatima, we feel it would be a good day to start the Latin Tridentine Mass at Navelim. If 13th May is not possible, then any other memorable day would do. After that, we humbly request if we could have the mass either twice or at least once a month to begin with.


Hoping that this humble request will be obliged, we thank you and request God to bless you abundantly with good health & happiness.

Your humble Catholic,


(Joseph L R Vaz and others)


P.N. Pl. find attached our letter to our P.P. Fr. Jose Roque Gonsalves date 29th July 2012 and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter “Summorum Pontificum”


Joseph L. R. Vaz & Others

H.No.8, Aquem-Baixo,

Navelim, Salcete,

Goa – 403707

Date: 29th July 2012


Rev. Fr. Jose Roque Gonsalves,

Parish Priest,

Our Lady of Rosary Church,

Navelim, Salcete, Goa.


Sub: Request for a Tridentine Mass at Navelim


Dear Rev. Fr.,


Dev Boro dis dium.


Following my personal meeting with you on the above subject, as suggested I make a written request that a Tridentine Mass be prayed for desiring faithful of our Parish.


I along with many of my friends have been born after the shift from the Latin Mass as the Holy Father calls it: the Extraordinary form to the Ordinary form. Most of us have been baptized in the new rites and have received all our sacraments in the new rites. Now all our children too are following the new rites as given to us by the Roman Catholic Church.


However looking at the world and how it is moving and reading about our faith and tradition, we feel a strong urge for a Tridentine Mass in Latin at our Parish in Navelim. The same mass which our “Goycho Saib” St. Francis Xavier said, as also the most recent and devout Padre Pio said. Padre Pio continued with the Extraordinary Form of Mass with permission from the Holy Father even after the shift to the new Ordinary Form.


Some of us have attended this Tridentine mass either outside Goa, or when some visiting Priests have obliged us to say this Mass in Goa. We like the solemnity, discipline and respect for God at the mass. That’s one of the main reasons we want the Mass back, to teach people how to pray with humility, to bring back the discipline in society and the respect 1st to God and then to each other.


In fact there is a sizeable population of faithful from around Goa who would like to attend Latin Mass & who at present are attending the same by SSPX priests. However, all of them would be more comfortable to attend at a Catholic Parish, under His Grace, the Archbishop because, as St. Irenaeus said, “where the bishop is, there shall the Church be”.


Fr. as you told me that the Tridentine Latin mass is a mystery, but then you also said that God Himself is a Mystery. Ours is a Universal Church, with a lot of rites. I would like to get our children & us exposed to the solemnity & devotion of our ancestors & the saints. It does create a sense
of awe even among non-believers.



I do remember His Grace, the Archbishop at the Lenten concert by The Concert of Sacred Music in Sant Anna, Talaulim affirm that sacred music allows us to contemplate on the passion and death of Christ. He also
lamented that the practice today in many churches is to use contemporary musical idioms for worship. This he felt was distracting and did not serve the purpose. He also recalled how the Gregorian chant unified the Catholic Church under Charlemagne. That it should be given the “pride of place” & appealed to the audience “to keep up the long traditions of the classical and Gregorian music when composing for and singing in the church”. What better chance is there to follow his directives than this?

Latin is the mother tongue of our Church, as Arabic is for Muslims & Sanskrit for Hindus. Having us exposed to it will bring more respect and a greater sense of belonging to our Church.


We could be wrong, but we believe that our parish may be the first in Goa, or rather India to have taken up this valuable suggestion from our Holy Father, provided in his :Summorum Pontificum”; & that too with all credit to you. Pope John Paul II had said on a couple of occasion that the future of the Church lies in Asia and Goa being known as the ‘Rome of the East’ and Navelim being one of the biggest Parishes in Asia, we believe that this could be beginning of the rejuvenation of the Catholic Church, which seems to be going the Protestant way, with so many self-appointed Preachers conducting Praise & Worship at every nook & corner of Goa without even our Bishop’s permission.


We request a priest be appointed (if possible) to guide, mentor and monitor our moves, to make sure that all we do would be in sync with the teachings of the Holy Mother Church, under your pastoral care.

Hoping that this humble request will be obliged, we thank you and request God to bless you abundantly with good health & happiness.

Your Faithful Parishioners,


(Joseph L R Vaz and others)


3. From: Joseph L. R. Vaz joe@vaz.in
To: Archbishop Filipe Neri archbpgoa@gmail.com

Subject: Urgent: Parliamentary Elections 2014 Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM
Your Excellency,
We appreciate & congratulate you for your bold letter to the laity reminding us about the need to keep focus on national issues and vote for a govt. which will uphold the principles of democracy, secularism, human rights, freedom of conscience as enshrined in the constitution.

We are also happy that you have announced that a prayer campaign be started and continued till the announcement of the results and even later, which includes petitions during Prayers of the faithful, offering of the family Rosary and a special Mass or Holy Hour to be organized in parishes and religious communities on the eve of the election date in our state.
It is in this context that we thought it as our duty to also suggest some more things to be done on a priority before the election date.

The Catholic Association of Goa had recently organized some lectures in Margao, Mapusa & Vasco to sensitize the voters and give them the ground realities of Gujarat state where Narendra Modi is Chief Minister, so that we know what to expect if he becomes the Prime Minister of India. Fr. Cedric has also met Your Grace and must have discussed the anti-Catholic or for that matter the anti-non-Hindu ideology of this Modi, who has been propped up by the R.S.S.

Now recently this rabid organization called R.S.S. was engaged in battle with the farmers of Navelim, as they wanted to organize their parades in the fields of the poor farmers (opp. Konkan Railway Station, Margao).  This was well reported in Herald and other newspapers of Goa. False case was filed against me and I was threatened with arrest if I don’t agree to them holding their parade in our fields. The farmers refused and the Chief Minister controlled R.S.S. was equally adamant. In the end we won, but in this battle we used one powerful weapon, the mass of all ages or as the Holy Father calls it, the Extra-ordinary form: the Latin Tridentine Mass.

This mass has exorcism powers too, especially with the Hail Holy Queen, 3 Hail Marys and the St. Michael’s prayer being said after every mass, makes it a very powerful weapon against the devil. Today’s Herald newspaper has carried a photograph on pg. 2, under title “Appeals to make no difference” wherein South Goa BJP candidate Narendra Sawaikar is seeking the blessings of a “devchar” at Farmagudi.

Therefore may we suggest that a Tridentine Mass be prayed for desiring faithful at different parishes in Goa before the election date on a priority. If not other Parishes, at least allow us to have this mass, ‘the same mass which St. Francis Xavier, or Blessed Joseph Vaz or even Padre Pio used to say’, in our Church at Navelim.

There are many Priests, especially the elderly who are willing, provided Your Grace gives permission. On earlier occasion, I had submitted a written request to my Parish Priest, Fr. Jose Roque Gonsalves, (dt. 29/07/2012) on whose instructions I have even spoken to Fr. Lucio Dias, who has informed me that the same has been discussed with Your Grace, pending request from my Parish Priest (another letter addressed to Your Grace dt. 4/5/2013 was given to my PP. – copy attached).

With elections round the corner and the danger of rabid, communal and fascist forces coming to power, we humbly request that Your Grace permits us to have this mass in Navelim, as well as other Parishes in Goa.
Awaiting your reply,
With prayerful wishes,
Joseph L. R. Vaz, Vice President – Catholic Association of Goa, (m) 9370441231


TLM update from India


February 25, 2009

In Goa there was a petition signed by more than 100 persons for the Indult Mass about 12 years ago*
but the Archbishop referred it to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council and the Priests Council and both bodies vetoed it.


*A letters from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to Joseph Afonso of Goa (The 2003 letter predates the remission of excommunication of four SSPX bishops; Rome remitted the latae sententiae excommunications incurred by the SSPX Bishops vide a decree from the Congregation of Bishops on January 21, 2009):





My enquiries could not elicit information about the provision for Latin Masses in any other dioceses in India.

Apparently there are none. The feedback I have received is that the Church hierarchy everywhere, both overtly and covertly discourage and even obstruct any move by the laity as well as priests to make available the Extraordinary Form of the Mass despite the (little known) fact that it was NEVER abrogated by the Second Vatican Council and its use actually encouraged by Pope John Paul II, and by Pope Benedict XVI in his July 2007 Motu Proprio (meaning “of his own initiative”) Summorum Pontificum.


This is also said to be the attitude of the top brass of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) over which the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India exerts great influence in much the same way as the International Cricket Council is controlled by the cash-rich power-brokers of the Board of Control for Cricket in India; so too, the Tridentine Mass is facing intense opposition from the Church hierarchy to its revival in most other Asian nations whereas it’s use is growing in Europe and the United States of America.


There is a Tridentine Latin Rite Mass that is celebrated by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X in Negombo, 30 km. from Colombo, (who fly in from Singapore every Sunday and usually fly out the same day) with the official approval of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, a leading crusader against liturgical abuse, see CARDINAL MALCOLM RANJITH ON THE LITURGY AND ITS ABUSES



Some of my sources hold, and rightly so I believe, that with the great majority of our Bishops — and the liberal theologian-priests and theologian-lay women who influence their decisions — fully committed to inculturation of the liturgy and what they pass off as “interreligious dialogue” and “ecumenism”, quite different from those envisioned by the related and always misinterpreted Documents of Vatican Council II, the permitting of the Tridentine Mass and its resurgence would pose a serious threat to their own vision and goal of an autonomous saffronised Indian “church” that many theologians here are already clamouring for (as I have documented in some of my earlier reports). Rome, meanwhile, continues to look the other way.


The Novus Ordo or “new rite” or Ordinary Form uses the 1970 Roman Missal or Novus Ordo Missae, and the Extraordinary Form or “old rite” or Traditional Mass or Tridentine Latin Rite Mass uses the Missal of 1962.

The former is also known as the Mass of Pope Paul VI or the “Pauline Mass”.

The latter is also known as the Mass of Pope St. Pius V.

In his July 7, 2007 letter to the bishops, Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI said that we should instead think of these Missals as being two forms of a single Roman rite, rather than as two separate rites.

The two forms use different liturgical calendars and different cycles of scriptural readings. The Extraordinary Form operates according to a one-year cycle, which means the same readings are used on the same dates every year. The Ordinary Form uses a three-year cycle, which means particular passages are usually used once every 3 years. For more: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/extraordinary-form-101, November 2008



What exactly are these liturgical aberrations that I encounter on a regular basis at the Novus Ordo Mass?

Are they serious enough for me to have felt compelled to switch from the Ordinary Form to attending the Extraordinary Form?

How is the Novus Ordo Mass different as compared to the Tridentine Mass?

What does the Church say about Catholics’ attending the Tridentine Mass?

The answers to these questions will be provided in the information compiled by me in this report.

The COMPILED information in the following pages is broadly divided into

I. Liturgical abuses and what the Church says about them (page 12 onward), and

II. The Tridentine Latin Rite Mass, and related issues (page 39 onward)

The contents of each section are, as far as possible, arranged in chronological order


But first, allow me to fill the reader in on the run-up to my decision to attend the Tridentine Latin Mass:


Over the past decade of my full time ministry of 20+ years during which I have been seriously engaged in studying the fundamentals of my Catholic Faith, I have become acutely aware of the dichotomy between what Rome permits, teaches and exhorts us to do, and what is actually being practised in the Indian Church.

One of the areas in which I encountered humungous abuse and infidelity is the Sacred Liturgy.

I had been active in the mainstream Catholic Charismatic Renewal since 1982 and was deeply distressed to discover that instead of being a conduit for and teaching platform of orthodoxy and fidelity to Tradition, the charismatic renewal had become a vehicle in which aberrations in the sacred liturgy flourished and from which they were being transmitted into the body of the Church.

I do not want this document to become a list of liturgical abuses because I have posted a large number of articles and reports on them at our web site, but I must identify several so that the reader will be able to understand my perspective and the reasons for my disenchantment with the Novus Ordo Masses and for my electing to attend the Tridentine Mass in future.


One of them is the use of the Orans position or extending of hands by the laity during the Lord’s Prayer. Popularized by the charismatic renewal, it is a classic example of the clericalization of the laity since the posture of the lifting up of hands in the Orans position is reserved to the president or celebrant of Holy Mass.

Another common abuse is the banalization of sacred music at Holy Mass. Hymns laced with Protestant theology like Amazing Grace, to name just one, and foot-tapping beats and rhythms are the order of the day, leading to a decline in reverence and an atmosphere of entertainment during the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Sacred music must have no preludes, interludes and post-ludes, but who is aware of that, and who cares?

“Charismatic” Masses have become occasions for musical excesses, healing services, delivering of healing testimonies and the using of the gifts of tongues and prophecy and reinventing the rubrics of the liturgy.




If the reader is surprised that I have categorized all the above as liturgical abuses, it is in itself evidence of the lack of awareness among the faithful of right conduct (orthopraxis) at Mass.

Lest the reader conclude that my focus is on criticizing the excesses of the charismatic movement, I hasten to add that the general Catholic population — and I include lectors, cantors, choir members, etc. — are equally ignorant of what they may and may not do at Mass. They err by omission as much as by commission.

The Responsorial Psalm is almost always replaced by an unconnected and even non-scriptural hymn. This is impermissible. To the priest’s invitation to “Let us proclaim the Mystery of Faith”, “He is Lord…” is sung.

On the part of the priests, they wish the congregation a “good morning” after the initial blessing and elicit a response. Some use inclusive language (“God, our Father and Mother) which is not envisaged in the rubrics.

Priests have permitted non-Christian individuals to give messages in lieu of the homily.

Firecrackers have been lit during Mass; birthday cakes have been cut, distributed and eaten by priests and lay individuals within the sanctuary. The homily has been dramatized and the Offertory procession augmented with what may be described as “teaching aids”. On occasions there have been dance performances.


While the laity are being clericalized, the clergy laicize themselves by innovating, free-wheeling, dialoguing with the congregation during the homily and introducing levity into the service, leaving the sanctuary and ambo, “meaningless liturgical experimentation” (to quote Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith) with the prescribed rubrics of the Roman Missal, soliciting applause from the gathering and much more. The distinction between the priest who is an alter Christus, acting in persona Christi, and the laity is not simply blurred but completely annihilated.

Guest priests are thanked, applauded and presented shawls for coming to the parish and saying Mass.

The reader who desires details is invited to examine the list of files (including Church Documents) provided at the end of this present report.



It seems that nobody, but nobody, cares for rubrics of the G.I.R.M. and what the Church thinks and says.

But for a couple of exceptions among the priests whom I approached, my interventions have been met with either the curt dismissal reserved for one who is an ultra-conservative or the hostility shown to laity who refuse to fall in with the non-protesting majority. As one parish priest said to me when my family and I walked out of one abuse-filled service that became unbearable for us, “But the people like it”.


And I have not even brought up in the present report the rampant secularization and Hinduisation of the Mass that has become routine at Christian festivals like Christmas and at Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi, Pongal, Ayudha Pooja, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc.!


Things had come to such a pass that I had been unable to drive home from Sunday Mass for the tears in my eyes, and I had come to dread having to go to church and attend Mass on Sundays and Days of Obligation.

I am not saying that the problems that I listed above are common to all dioceses in the Indian Church. But of one thing I am certain: they are prevalent to a greater or lesser extent in a majority of Indian parishes.

I had shared this with my present Archbishop, Most Rev. George Antonysamy in the confessional last year.

Having visited many parishes in my archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore in my quest for a church where I could settle down to attend Holy Mass in prayerful reverence and without being distressed and angered by the flagrant violations of the rubrics by the celebrant even when I could succeed in ignoring the hijacking of the liturgy by the choir, the lectors and many in the congregation, I can truthfully and sadly assure that the reader that I could not find a single Novus Ordo Sunday Mass that was completely free from error.

Every trace of the sacred often disappears in these so-called “liturgies”.” –Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

Source: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/60561?eng=y


During Christmas week 2014 and New Year week 2015, I had attended several Masses at the Salesian-administered Don Bosco’s church in Lingarajapuram, Bangalore. I found the services free from error.

My archdiocese (Madras-Mylapore) seems to be beset by a serious problem of liturgical anarchy. It seems that no single priest is faithful to the rubrics of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM).

There was one priest saying Masses at halls and the home of a preacher without even the rudiments of clerical vestments and sacred liturgical items. See PREACHER JOSEPH LOUIS MASQUERADES AS A CATHOLIC

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/PREACHER_JOSEPH_LOUIS_MASQUERADES_AS_A_CATHOLIC.doc. My report to my Archbishop and his intervention generated abusive telephone calls to me from two of the priests concerned.


I have written letters to several priests and to our Archbishop but the rampant abuses remain unchecked.

I have felt obliged to meet with parish priests and guest celebrant priests after Sunday Mass on many occasions in order to voice my concern/register my protest against all the above and other aberrations.

This has resulted in two priests in my own and a neighbouring parish denouncing me during their homilies and even my Archbishop commenting disparagingly about my pro-activeness, all of them without naming me of course. I was present on the two former occasions and one of my sons on the latter. The record of these incidents and of the futile meetings and exchanges of letters with some of these priests has been reproduced by me in the first of two files listed below. A few of the faithful present at the Masses independently concluded that the priests could have only been referring to me.


When I shared my unhappy experiences with a few like-minded people, at least two individuals have informed me that the Archbishop has told them that though he would very much like to rectify the situation, the priests don’t obey him or he cannot control them… or something to that effect.


I wrote to three different priests outside my city of Chennai who are liturgists and/or authors of books on sacred music and the liturgy. Despite repeated requests and reminders, not one of them was ready to oblige me with answers to the questions that I wanted to put to them on liturgical matters. The unproductive exchange of letters with these priests has been reproduced by me in the second of two files listed below.


I recently attended Sunday Mass at the church of Our Lady of Snows in the Diocese of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. It was “error-free” except that I found that the Order of the Mass followed was not that of the New English Missal that came into force on November 27, 2011. I have written to the Bishop of Tuticorin, to the Chairman of the National Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre and to the Chairman and secretaries of the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council seeking clarifications and got no response from any of them, despite a reminder. Please see the second of the two files listed below.


A compilation of my unproductive letters to a few priests and to my Archbishop:










My experience is not unique.

Lay theologian Anthony Valle wrote, “Like many Catholics today, my wife and I have found that we leave the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday exasperated and perplexed rather than spiritually invigorated.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka admits that “liturgical free-wheeling has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured“.

He recognizes that “there is this rising call for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass… if the Tridentine Mass is the way to achieve an even better level of spiritual enrichment for the faithful, then the shepherds should allow it… Pope John Paul II did make a personal appeal in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 to the bishops, calling upon them to be generous in this matter with those who wish to celebrate or participate in the Tridentine Mass. Besides, we should remember that the Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only. It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church… if the faithful feel that the Tridentine Mass offers them that sense of the sacred and mystical more than anything else, then we should have the courage to accept their request…

Source for both:
, February 2007


‘The priest must remember that he is the servant of the sacred Liturgy and that he himself is not permitted, on his own initiative, to add, to remove, or to change anything in the celebration of Mass.’ -General Instruction on the Roman Missal #24.

I. Liturgical abuses and what the Church says about them (mostly in chronological order)

“Thus, according to the obligations and rights which belong to all members of Christ’s Church, not only is there no room afforded for liturgical abuse – but the faithful are bound to defend the Faith when necessary from such occurrences when they are confronted with them.”

“It is, truly, a most regrettable thing that liturgical abuse has gone so far. There is no question that such abuse is an offense against God and against His Church
– the Body of Christ.
Catholics faithful to the Church are
duty bound to seek to stop liturgical abuses

Source: Eclipse of Truth – Part 1, The Law of Worship, (1997), Stephen Mahowald, page 74, MMR Publishing, Omaha, NE.


The Scandal of the Liturgy – “Incarnation” does not mean doing as we please with the Church’s worship


Online Edition – Vol. VI, No. 9: December 2000 – January 2001

Book Review by Father Paul Scalia

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy (English edition, trans. John Saward) San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000. 232 pages. $19.95.

What theologians call “The Scandal of the Incarnation” poses a perennial threat to the health of the Church. This famous phrase does not designate a particular heresy or teaching but describes the difficulty of accepting the Church’s teaching that God became man.

The Incarnation scandalizes people because they resist the idea that God would limit Himself in that way, or stoop to our level at all. Further, they reject the particularity of God’s descent to earth: that He became a particular man in a particular place, in a particular time. That God should choose one time, place, and group over any other strikes them as unfair, undemocratic.

The Scandal of the Incarnation finds a parallel in the liturgical controversies surrounding us: the liturgy scandalizes people, too, and for similar reasons. They resist the teaching that the liturgy is limited in some way or that it possesses a definite spirit or form. That there should be particular demands regarding the time, place, and actions of the liturgy strikes many people as unfair, undemocratic. They resent the fact that they cannot do as they please with the liturgy. Thus the Church now suffers from what we might call “The Scandal of the Liturgy”.

It is precisely this scandal and its animating spirit that Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addresses in his latest book, The Spirit of the Liturgy. As he has in the past, the cardinal here displays an understanding and treatment of the issues far deeper than most other writers today.

Those who expect a controversial discussion of all the “hot button” topics will be disappointed. As the title indicates, Cardinal Ratzinger focuses primarily on the essence of the liturgy, with a view to showing how the liturgy “takes flesh” in our world. As such, the entire book is really a consideration of the incarnation of worship.





The very structure of The Spirit of the Liturgy follows the pattern of the Incarnation. Just as the Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel contemplates the Word “in the beginning”, before it becomes flesh, so also Ratzinger looks to the essence of the liturgy before he considers how it becomes flesh. He does not begin with rubrics and translations the “flesh” of the liturgy but with the truth of the liturgy itself.

Part One addresses “The Essence of the Liturgy” and seldom mentions specific liturgical actions or words. He concludes the introductory section on the essence of the liturgy:

Christian liturgy is a liturgy of promise fulfilled, of a quest, the religious quest of human history reaching its goal. But it remains a liturgy of hope. It, too, bears within it the mark of impermanence. The new Temple, not made by human hands, does exist, but it is also still under construction. The great gesture of embrace emanating from the Crucified has not yet reached its goal; it has only just begun. Christian liturgy is liturgy on the way, a liturgy of pilgrimage toward the transfiguration of the world, which will only take place when God is ‘all in all’. (50)

Similarly, in part two (“Time and Space in the Liturgy”), Cardinal Ratzinger illumines the fundamental structure of the liturgy. This section includes the cardinal’s reflections on “the place dedicated to divine worship”, a chapter on “the altar and the direction of liturgical prayer”, and on the “cosmic symbolism” of liturgical time (feasts and seasons of the Church year).

Part three (“Art and Liturgy“), which reflects on the meaning of sacred images and the importance of music in the liturgy, also covers what is essential to the liturgy before arriving at specific observations or suggestions. The author points out that sacred art “requires the gift of a new kind of seeing” and he invites us to “have one last brief look at our own times”:

The dissolution of the subject, which coincides for us today with radical forms of subjectivism, has led to ‘deconstructionism’ — the anarchistic theory of art. Perhaps this will help us to overcome the unbounded inflation of subjectivity and to recognize once more that a relationship with the Logos, who was at the beginning, brings salvation to the subject, that is, to the person. At the same time it puts us into a true relationship of communion that is ultimately grounded in trinitarian love…. What in museums is only a monument from the past, an occasion for mere nostalgic admiration, is constantly made present in the liturgy in all its freshness. (155)

Artists, he also observes here, “are weary of the empty freedom from which they have emerged. Humble submission to what goes before us releases authentic freedom and leads us to the true summit of our vocation as human beings” (156).

In the final section, part four (“Liturgical Form”), in chapters on the meaning of ‘rite’ and the significance of bodily gestures such as kneeling and the sign of the cross in expressing the cosmic language of liturgical symbol, Cardinal Ratzinger examines specific regulations of the liturgy in detail only after looking upwards, to the truth of the liturgy.

Thus he concerns himself with two basic points throughout the book: first, that the liturgy possesses a definite form; second, that certain particulars in the liturgy flow from its very essence.

First of all, as the title indicates, the book focuses on the spirit of the liturgy, that is, what is essential to the very nature of the liturgy. This title, identical with that of a 1918 study of the liturgy by Romano Guardini, could easily be misunderstood. In our culture, “spirit” indicates something vague and easily (and endlessly) re-defined like the “spirit of Vatican II”.

But Cardinal Ratzinger never gives vagaries and poor definitions! He makes it clear that “spirit” in this case means the liturgy’s inner demands and form. The Cardinal often recalls this point, speaking of the liturgy’s “essential” features, its “essential form”, its “inward essence” and its “pre-existing identity”. In short, the “spirit” of the liturgy is not one thing today and another thing tomorrow. While the liturgy expresses itself differently throughout history and in different cultures, its spirit remains the same.

This “givenness of the liturgy”, as Cardinal Ratzinger calls it, occupies the center of today’s controversies. Before we can have any true reform of the liturgy, we must first respect the form of the liturgy.

But because modern man is accustomed to manipulate, control and dominate the world, the suggestion that there exists a definite, objective meaning to the liturgy scandalizes him. He resists the spirit of the liturgy would rather dominate the liturgy to make it fit his own whims and desires. Lurking behind every liturgical abuse and every call for “updating” the liturgy we find his arrogant view that the liturgy is something we create and manipulate. This view displays an attitude of rebellion and an unwillingness to receive the true worship that Christ gives us.

Cardinal Ratzinger strikes at the root of our present problems when he vindicates the spirit of the liturgy and states that “man himself cannot simply ‘make’ worship”. Proper worship is “received from God in faith”. The “pre-existing identity” of the liturgy means that “‘creativity’ cannot be an authentic category for matters liturgical”. We receive the liturgy; we do not produce it. This basic point must precede any discussion of particulars. Before we can discover what constitutes “right worship”, we must first accept that there is such a thing as “right worship”.

But The Spirit of the Liturgy also considers the particulars of the liturgy, that is, exactly how
its “pre-existing identity” becomes flesh. Specifically, Cardinal Ratzinger examines the times of the liturgy, the art, music, gestures and postures proper to it. Always, though, he enters into these considerations with a respect for the essence of the liturgy. Many, if not most, liturgical writers today take a consequentialist approach to these questions: “We should do this because it will produce that”. “Will it work?” seems to be their first and only question. Cardinal Ratzinger, on the other hand, asks whether a particular action, gesture, kind of music or art pertains to the essence of the liturgy.

He makes clear, for instance, that the issue of kneeling at Mass is not a question of what “works”, but of what the liturgy demands. Similarly, whether the priest may face East depends not on sociological, political, and cultural factors, but on the spirit of the liturgy itself. He approaches all the other questions in the same way. He does not presume to supply the answers even less does he presume the ability to create the answers himself. In effect, he “asks” the liturgy itself to answer.



Of course, precisely how the liturgy becomes flesh scandalizes people. They object to the specifics of worship time, place, movement, posture, words. They would rather have their own liturgy that does not make demands on them. The disagreement here is not so much over the specific changes to be made, but over what determines the particulars: Do we decide, or do we let the liturgy speak for itself?

Cardinal Ratzinger does not merely contribute to the debate. He calls attention to what the terms of the debate must be:

The life of the liturgy does not come from what dawns upon the minds of individuals and planning groups. On the contrary, it is God’s descent upon our world, the source of real liberation (168).

On the last page of the book, Cardinal Ratzinger observes, “Incarnation does not mean doing as we please”. For years, many liturgists have separated the liturgy from the Incarnation, precisely so that they may do as they please with it. The Spirit of the Liturgy reasserts the liturgy’s utter dependence on the Incarnation. By so doing, Cardinal Ratzinger reveals that the Scandal of the Liturgy really has its roots in the Scandal of the Incarnation.

In the end, the Scandal of the Incarnation stems from pride. Since God became a particular man in a particular time and place, we must meet Him according to the particulars of His life. We must meet Him on His terms, not ours. The proud resist this, because they want to determine their relationship with God. They want to set the terms. They do not want to receive God, but to possess Him.

So also the Scandal of the Liturgy stems from pride. Since the liturgy is the worship of the Incarnate Word of God, we must abide by the essence of His worship. But the “creators” of liturgy do not want to worship in the form that Christ gave us. They want to determine their own form of worship. They want to set the terms. Like the builders of the tower of Babel, they want to make a name and a liturgy for themselves. Ultimately, they do not want to receive the liturgy, but to possess it.

And just as the remedy for the Scandal of the Incarnation is to receive the truth about the Incarnate Word, so also the remedy for the Scandal of the Liturgy is to receive its true spirit:

The more priests and faithful humbly surrender themselves to this descent of God, the more “new” the liturgy will constantly be, and the more true and personal it becomes (168-169).

Father Scalia is a priest of the diocese of Arlington, serving in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He was ordained in 1996.

Excerpts from The Spirit of the Liturgy can be accessed by clicking here.


Problems in the Church


By Jimmy Akin, Catholic apologist, http://www.catholic.com/profiles/jimmy-akin, April 2001

Take a moment with me to cast your mind back over the centuries. I want to call to mind two incidents from the history of ancient Israel.
The first took place just over 1,000 years B.C. It is a story well worth your while to pull out your Bible and read, and it is found in the first four chapters of 1 Samuel.
At the time, the high priest of Israel was a man named Eli, who had several sons. According to the custom of the time, the high priest’s sons served as the priests at Israel’s national sanctuary. Unfortunately, “the sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:12).
They abused their office as priests in a variety of ways, three of which are recorded for us in this chapter. They took more than their share of the meat from the animals that were brought to the sanctuary as sacrifices (vv. 13-14)-the ancient equivalent of stealing from the collection plate. They often took their portion at the wrong time during the sacrifice (vv. 15-16)-the ancient equivalent of rearranging the liturgy to suit one’s own tastes. And “they lay with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting” (v. 22)-the ancient equivalent of having affairs with the church secretaries.
As priests, Eli’s sons were lazy, selfish louts who were unworthy of the sacred office that had been conferred upon them. As their superior, their father rebuked them but ineffectually, and he allowed them to continue in their ministry as priests. Scripture hints that he did this partly because he himself was desirous of the offerings they produced from the faithful and partly because of his affection for them as their father (1 Samuel 2:29).
However that may be, he was insufficiently strict with them, and so God sent a prophet to rebuke the group. As the prophet declared to Eli beforehand, disaster fell upon his house. Among other things, two of his sons, Hophni and Phinehas, died on the same day. When it came to pass, Eli-who Scripture curiously records was of sufficient bulk that he could have benefited from the Atkins diet (1 Samuel 4:18)-fell over, broke his neck, and died.
Surprising as it may seem, this passage was especially meaningful to me when I was in the process of becoming Catholic. Why? Because it was easy for critics of the Church to point to real or supposed examples of abuses in the Church, by priests or other leaders of the Church, either in its past or in its present.
With this Bible story firmly in mind, I neatly avoided the distraction these critics sought to offer. While it was certainly true that “you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:19), this was a test that applied to individual teachers, not to overall theological systems. Jesus even began this warning by saying, “Beware of false prophets” (Matthew 7:15) not “Beware of false churches.” The emphasis was on the teachers, not the systems they represented.
The case of Eli made this all the more apparent to me since, had I been a pagan in the time of Eli and had I judged the truth of God’s religion by the performance of the priests of the day, I would have remained a pagan and missed the true religion.
That’s a sobering thought. And it taught me that theological systems must be judged independently of the apparent spiritual successes or failures of those who have embraced these systems.


As an individual discerning whether I should leave the Protestant ethos of my birth, I needed to focus on the theological evidence the Catholic position could mount for itself and ignore the failings of individual Catholics, however highly placed they might be. It did not matter whether Catholics had committed various misdeeds in the past, nor whether Catholics were committing misdeeds in the present.
I therefore focused my attention on the truth of Catholic theology and resolved to ignore the high crimes or misdemeanors of Catholics. As I put it at the time, “If there are problems in the Church, that’s no reason to stay out of the Church. If water is coming into the lifeboat, the solution isn’t to stay out of the lifeboat. It’s to get in the lifeboat and start bailing.” The only question I had to focus on was whether the Catholic Church was, indeed, the bark of Peter.

The second incident from Israel’s history I’d like to revisit occurred much later, slightly less than a century before the time of Christ. In this period, Israel was ruled by men who served simultaneously as high priest and as king. At the time, the man in charge was named Alexander Jannaeus (ruled 103-76 B.C.).
One of Israel’s more important national festivals was (and still is) the feast of Tabernacles (a.k.a. Sukkoth). In Alexander Jannaeus’ day, one of the customs for celebrating Tabernacles was for the people to bring luabs to the Temple and wave them in celebration. A luab was a bundle of branches from trees in the vicinity of Jerusalem-palm, myrtle, willow-to which a citron had been tied. A citron is a fruit similar to a large lemon.
While the people held their luabs, one of the things the high priest was supposed to do was pour out libations from two silver bowls-one of water and one of wine. According to the custom of the Sadducees, the high priest was supposed to pour out the water bowl on his feet, but the custom of the Pharisees disagreed with this.
Alexander Jannaeus, who was a Sadducee, followed the Sadducee custom in performing the ritual, but the Pharisees were so popular at the time that the people became enraged, tore the citrons off their luabs, and pelted Alexander with them in the middle of the liturgy.
Well, that’s one way to deal with perceived liturgical abuses-though I wouldn’t recommend using it today. (In fact, it didn’t work so well then, either. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Alexander took revenge by killing about six thousand members of the citron-lobbing crowd.)
This episode is famous enough that is mentioned not only by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 13:13:5 [372ff]) but also in the Mishnah (Sukkah 4:9) and the Talmud (Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 48b).
What lesson may be drawn from the example of these ancient citron-hurlers? They were expressing a natural human emotion: the desire to protest what they perceived to be a liturgical abuse.
Was it really an abuse? Who can say? I can’t. This might have been an instance where the Sadducee custom was more authentic than the Pharisee one was-or neither may have been correct. At this late date, however, we simply know too little about Israel’s authentic liturgical law in this period.
What we do know, however, is that the people perceived their high priest as doing something wrong and they protested. Admittedly, they showed remarkably limited judgment by throwing fruit at Alexander, knowing he was not only a priest but also a totalitarian monarch who, like most of us, wouldn’t take kindly to being the target of a hailstorm of oversized lemons.
But further, even if Alexander had poured out the water libation in an improper manner, was their response proportionate? Was that the right time and place to lodge a complaint? Would pelting the high priest with citrons restore the sanctity of the liturgy or only further desecrate it?
It doesn’t take someone with a Ph.D. in mob psychology to see that the people weren’t giving thought to higher questions. They were enraged and wanted to strike back at what they saw as a liturgical abuse. Why? Because they had surrendered their peace to someone else. This is a mistake that many people make today, though few pay for it with their lives, as did the ancient citron hurlers.
In my work as an apologist, I encounter a lot of people who have allowed themselves to become so scandalized by real or imagined problems in the Church that they are driven to one form or another of spiritual fruit-chucking. They may savage the priest verbally behind his back, committing the sins of detraction and/or calumny and sowing the seeds of discontent in the parish that undermine what legitimate ministry their priest might exercise. They adopt an attitude that prevents them from entering into a spirit of worship in any liturgy by any priest. They may declare themselves unable to go to this priest for confession, and they may give up going to the sacraments altogether. They may become so embittered that they poison their own spiritual lives, depriving themselves of the peace Christ means for them to have, even in the midst of adversity. They may even rationalize jumping out of the bark of Peter into one of a number of schismatic movements.
All of these errors, regardless of degree, can be traced to one root mistake: Giving someone else permission to control your spiritual peace.
As I deal with people who are in the kinds of situations just described, I find myself telling them over and over what I would have told the ancient citron hurlers: “Look, don’t do it! Don’t make the mistake of turning over your happiness before God to someone else. You don’t have to do that. You may tell yourself, ‘I just can’t stand the way this Mass is being celebrated,’ but you’re wrong. People say that they can’t stand something when they know full well that they can. They’re simply trying to rationalize a decision they want to make by telling themselves that they don’t have any choice.
You do have a choice. You have a choice how you will react to what someone else is doing. You can choose to react in a way that mourns whatever offense has been committed yet leaves your spiritual peace intact. Or you may choose to react in a way that poisons your spiritual life and robs of you of the peace God wants you to have. But it’s still your choice.
You can’t control what another person is going to do. But you can control how you choose to react.




Prelate makes case against liturgical abuse


Vatican, April 23, 2004

As he introduced the new Vatican instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum
at an April 23 press conference in Rome, Cardinal Francis Arinze said that the Church must eliminate liturgical abuses.

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, speaking to reporters in a relaxed manner and sprinkling his remarks with humour, admitted that some people might see the attempt to curb liturgical abuse as “a waste of time,” because “it always exists, always will exist.” But he countered that “not all abuses of the Eucharist are the same.”

Some abuses actually might make the Sacrament invalid, the cardinal pointed out.

“Others show a lack of faith, and still
others create confusion and trouble believers,” he continued.

Still others detract from the solemnity of the Eucharistic celebration. For all these reasons, the African cardinal said, “abuses cannot be taken lightly.”
Cardinal Arinze stressed the duty of diocesan bishops to correct liturgical abuses.

Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also spoke at the Friday press conference. He stated that arbitrary changes in the liturgy “not only deform the celebration, but cause doctrinal insecurity, confusion, and scandal for the People of God.” Rejecting the notion that liturgical novelties show the freedom of the celebrant, Archbishop Amato that obedience to the Church’s norms provide real freedom, because
the norms ensure that the rights of the faithful will be respected

Questioned about the reports that early drafts of Redemptionis Sacramentum had caused serious disagreements within the Vatican, Cardinal Arinze said that numerous changes had been made in the text, “up to the last minute” before its final approval. The document was prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The cardinal said that these two dicasteries worked “hand in hand,” without any severe disagreements.

According to earlier published reports, the sharpest criticism of the early drafts came from other Vatican officials.


From PETRUS magazine, Mumbai

Issue of March 2005, Your Queries, answered by Fr. Peter Stravinskas, Courtesy, The Catholic Answer.

Q. Being 75 years old, I grew up in the “old” Church… I can never remember a celebrant “tweaking” the Liturgy to suit his own pleasure. Then came the Second Vatican Council… Now, Bishops seem to have the idea that they can modify the liturgy to suit their own preference! I still travel a bit, and attending Mass in various other dioceses has become very “educational” if I may describe it that way… I trust you, father: tell me how I can be at peace with the “new” Church?

A. It depends on what aspects of the “new” Church you want to be at peace with, for there are certain elements of it with which I am not at peace- liturgical chaos, loss of priestly identity, doctrinal confusion… So, while I lament many post-conciliar difficulties, I do not have the mentality that the Council was an unnecessary intrusion into the life of a healthy Church, nor that it was a disaster. On the contrary, I believe the Council was a great grace to the Church of the 20th and 21st centuries; the problem has been in its being hijacked and improperly implemented. I have studied the 16 documents of Vatican II very carefully, and there is not a line of that Council which causes me an iota of difficulty.

Distortions of it, however, are another matter entirely. I remember a reporter asking a prelate some years ago if he thought it was now time for a Vatican III; shrewdly, the Bishop said, “I just wish we would begin to take seriously Vatican II.” My sentiments exactly.


Pope Appeals to Priests to Respect LiturgyCardinal Comments on Holy Thursday Letter


Vatican City, March 18, 2005

In his annual letter to priests, John Paul II appealed for respect of liturgical norms in the celebration of the Eucharist. When presenting the letter to the press today, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, commented that the use of more popular language in the celebration of the liturgy does not always help people understand what they are living.
Asked about the topic of obedience in the letter, to which the Holy Father said priests commit themselves “on the day of their ordination,” the cardinal replied: “From the press one learns that there is no lack of abuses in the sacred rite of the Eucharist.” The cardinal said that his Vatican congregation receives complaints because “at times the rite is celebrated perhaps in a rather indelicate manner. It depends on people’s sensibility, but the Holy Father reminds us priests that it is the most sacred action we can carry out.” That is why the Holy Father wrote the encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” which also speaks of the “rite’s form, of the holiness of the rite,” Cardinal Castrillón said. Moreover, he added, “the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments wrote an instruction, ‘Redemptionis Sacramentum,’ approved in a special way by the Holy Father, as at times more popular gestures are made in the belief that people need a very simple language to understand the liturgy better.”
Cardinal Castrillón added: “The sacred rite, the holiness of the rite, the imperative to submerge oneself in the rite, is something we must do with all possible holiness, including external. The Holy Father speaks about this. “Always with great respect for the local hierarchy, the bishops, who are the authority in their dioceses, the Holy Father requests priests to be obedient to the norms that are given to them by the bishops, especially, on the Eucharist.”



Benedict XVI: The Pope and His Agenda

By Sandro Magister, Rome, April 20, 2005

His brother Georg, a priest, is the choirmaster at Ratisbonne, one of the last pockets of resistance for the great tradition of sacred polyphony and Gregorian chant.
And this has been for years one of the points on which he has collided with novelties in the postconciliar Church.
He has had harsh words for the transformation of the mass and liturgies “into spectacles that require directors of genius and talented actors.”
He has said similar things about the dismantling of sacred music. “How often we celebrate only ourselves, without even taking Him into account,” he commented in his meditations for the Stations of the Cross last Good Friday. Here, “Him” refers to
Jesus Christ, the one forgotten by liturgies changed into convivial gatherings.

Benedict XVI has never hidden his reservations even about the mass liturgies celebrated by his predecessor. No one in the curia of John Paul II was more free, or more critical, than he was.
And Karol Wojtyla had the greatest respect for him for this reason, too. “My trusted friend”: this is how he defined Ratzinger in his autobiographical book “Arise, Let Us Be Going,” praise he never bestowed on any of his other close collaborators.


LITURGIES. The grandiose mass celebrations so dear to pope Wojtyla cannot be repeated, as such, by his successor. And this will modify the external image of the Church that the worldwide media will transmit. Another critical point, and one even more important, regards the manner of celebrating the mass in all the large and small churches throughout the world, the central act of Christian worship and the classical barometer of the adhesion to the Church on the part of the faithful. This October, a worldwide synod of the bishops will discuss precisely this issue together with the new pope.

In the judgment of many, the novelties introduced in the sacred rites after Vatican Council II have taken forms that are deviant to a certain extent, and these have in turn had a negative influence upon the content and practice of the faith. The decisions that the synod and the pope will make in order to reshape the celebration of the mass will therefore be decisive in remodeling the concrete face of the Church in the next years and decades. Sacred music and art will be an integral part of this chapter of the agenda.


The “Reform of the Reform” has already begun


By Sandro Magister, Rome, April 28, 2005
His first act was the inauguration mass of his pontificate. Benedict XVI is a pope of the great tradition of the liturgy, with the Eucharist at the center. It is a tradition of liturgical texts, rituals, and music – and symbolic places.
On Sunday, April 24, Benedict XVI inaugurated his “Petrine ministry as bishop of Rome” in the sunlight of a Saint Peter’s Square overflowing with crowds… That same day, speaking to the cardinals in the Sistine Chapel, he immediately made it clear that in the first place of his agenda for the papacy, above anything else, would be the Eucharist. He defined this as “the permanent center and source of the Petrine ministry that has been entrusted to me.”
For him, the form and the substance of liturgical celebrations are intimately connected. And their disarray is expressed in a passage of the startling meditations that he wrote, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, for the Stations of the Cross last Good Friday: “How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that He is there!” Here “He” refers to Jesus Christ crucified and risen, the great missing person of so many new liturgies, which have become “meaningless dances around the golden calf that is ourselves.”

…With his extraordinary passion for the liturgy, Benedict XVI is unquestionably a pope of the great tradition of liturgical texts, rituals, art, and music. Vatican Council II also began from this point: the most memorable mark it has left is that of liturgical reform. But from the very beginning Ratzinger saw and denounced the distortions of this reform. He went so far as to write: “They are the dead burying the dead, and they call it reform.”
The last complete book that he wrote – not a collection of essays – was published in 2001 under the title “An Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy,” and it outlines a “reform of the reform.” Its criticisms also apply to many of the innovations of showmanship that were introduced into the mass rituals dear to John Paul II.


Reflections on saying Mass (and saying it correctly)


By James V. Schall, S.J., June 13, 2005
Every time I am at a Mass on Sunday or a Solemnity where, contrary to the rules, the Creed is omitted, I wonder why. The Creed is that part of the Mass wherein we, individually and as a congregation, affirm out loud what, in essence, we hold to be true about the Godhead. We need to hear, affirm, and think about this Credo, as it is called; the Church needs to hear that it is affirmed.
I asked a friend of mine about this omission of the Creed. He told me of a parishioner he knew who noticed the same thing. He asked his pastor about it. The pastor told him that it was omitted because the Creed was “divisive!”
Now, the life of Christ itself was divisive. This division is what happened when He dwelt amongst us. “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay; but rather division” (Luke, 12:51).




The Trinity, the subject matter of the Creed, is divisive. Jews and Muslims, among others, reject it. There is practically no point of what we believe or know that is not “divisive” to someone. The logic of this dubious principle – skip what is “divisive” – is to believe and proclaim precisely nothing as the essence of our faith. Is nothingness what satisfies empty minds? Another friend told me that many of the younger priests he knew do not wear vestments at private Masses. I have even heard of Mass in swimsuits. There is no warrant for this shedding of proper liturgical garb, except perhaps in the failure of bishops and superiors to insist on the normal rules of the Church. Too much bother, I guess.
Often these days, I find petition prayers after the Creed to last longer than the Canon of the Mass itself, with seemingly interminable lists of things to pray for, not infrequently of dubious political or moral import. Quite often the petitions merely repeat what is already in the Canon, itself is also in the vernacular. Why pray for the Pope in petition prayers when we pray for him in the Canon?
What happens at the amazingly poorly named “kiss of peace” is too amusing to recount. No aspect of the current Mass is more inappropriately placed. It distracts us from what is going on at Communion at the very moment we ought not to be so distracted. I believe at the Brompton Oratory in London it is placed elsewhere. Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, in The Spirit of the Liturgy, praises the Church of Zaire for placing it before the Presentation of the Gifts. He adds that this placing “would be desirable for the whole Roman Rite, insofar as the sign of peace is something we want to retain” (p. 170). That is, we may not want to retain it.
The kneeling, standing, sitting, bowing, genuflecting aspects of Mass and Communion are up for grabs and cause all sorts of needless controversy. No two parishes or dioceses seem to be exactly the same or even think they should be. When we visit a new parish we often have that bewildered look about what is going to happen next. The old suspicions seem borne out in practice, that if you change one thing, on the grounds that it could be “otherwise,” then everything connected with it will be changed. I sometimes wonder whether every parish will not end up having its own liturgy, sort of like the reformation.
If there is anything clear in the later Eucharistic documents of John Paul II, the Roman and National Liturgical Commissions, and Benedict XVI, it is that each priest should say Mass every day, even if he has to do so alone, and, unless ill or infirm, properly vested.
What is even more clear is that, granted cultural variety, the Liturgy is not up for grabs so that we can refashion it to suit our tastes in either doctrine, wording, or movement. It is not the private property of priest or bishop. Benedict XVI recently said to the Roman clergy assembled in St. John Lateran, “we are not sent to proclaim ourselves or our personal opinions, but the mystery of Christ and, in him, the measure of true humanism” (L’Osservatore Romano, May 18, 2005).
This admonition, which is really a kind of charter of freedom from the reigning mood of recurrent adaption, is no doubt aimed at the “actor priests.” Josef Cardinal Ratzinger has often remarked that today the priest must, like John the Baptist, “decrease.” The show is not about him. He is not there to call attention to himself, expound his own ideas, or entertain the people, a temptation almost endemic, as Ratzinger also indicates, to “turning the altar around.”
The Mass is not a staged drama at which we applaud the talent of the performers. There really is room for quiet and awe. The priest is there to do what the Church asks in the way the Church asks. Both of these criteria are set down in official documents and are easy to understand by almost anyone who takes the trouble to read them.
For a long time, following publication of the General Catechism and the Code of Canon Law, I have thought what the Vatican especially needs to do is to establish a universal popular Missal, an editio typica, on which all others everywhere in the Church are based. We need to get rid of the leaflet missals, burn them all like Luther, I believe, is said to have wanted to do to Aristotle. Each person in every parish should have his own Missal, which should not be changed every month, or year. The same Missal that we took to Mass at twenty should still be used at seventy. It is a great comfort to die with the same Missal we have used all our lives. I do recognize that many of the current English translations, especially of the collects, range from atrocious to vapid in comparison to the old Latin originals.
Each language group should have a common Missal, easily purchased in expensive or inexpensive versions. On one side is the official Latin text, the same in all missals; on the opposite page the corresponding vernacular whether German, Greek, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, whatever in exact translation. Nothing is wrong with old and familiar translations. The rubrics about what the priest should do and wear should be quite clear in the text and easily known by the reader. Latin should be used once in a while, if not often. The translation is right there. Everyone has what is being said or sung right there in front of him.
I know there are theories that want to take away any reading or prayer tools (i.e., rosaries or Missals) from the faithful so that they are completely beholden to whatever the celebrant (I dislike that word) comes up with. The Mass is absorbing, but only when it is what it is supposed to be. If I have to worry about whether it is orthodox or proper, I cannot follow it with attention. With no authentic text before them, people do not know what is supposed to happen. Today the Missal should be seen both as itself a prayer book, as it is, and as instruction and information about what is supposed to happen.
The laity have a right to (it’s in Canon Law) and should avail themselves of the duty to inform bishops, and the Holy See, when what is laid down is not observed. How can they do this if they do not authentically know what is supposed to be going on? They should know that the clergy are bound to the same rules that they are reading about in the Missal. It is also their Mass in the sense that neither the clergy or they make it up by themselves but both observe the same rite.
Even the slightest changes in wording and gesture usually imply a veering in thinking or understanding, even in doctrine. C. S. Lewis pointed out that we cannot say liturgical prayers together if the celebrant or other minister is making up the words as he goes along. The Mass words are very precise, very much expressive of a definite, well thought out understanding of who the Father is, who Christ is, what this sacrifice of the Mass is about in each of its details.




Moreover, there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading what is also being said. In fact, it is often a help in praying the Mass, both because rarely in the average church are the acoustics and pronunciations clear enough for everyone to hear and because understanding takes constant repetition and attention.
“The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law,” Benedict XVI remarked at an earlier Mass, also in St. John Lateran. “On the contrary: the Pope’s ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God’s Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism” (L€  ‘²Osservatore Romano, May 11, 2005). This spirit, of course, is what we should follow with regard to the Mass. We are a literate and intelligent people. Our faith is a faith also directed to intellect. We should not only know what the Mass is supposed to be because we too can read what it is intended to be, but we should witness what it is when we attend it.
“The authority of the Pope is not unlimited,” Josef Ratzinger wrote in The Spirit of the Liturgy; “it is at the service of Sacred Tradition. Still less is any kind of general ‘freedom’ of manufacture, degenerating into spontaneous improvisation, compatible with the essence of faith and liturgy. The greatness of the liturgy depends – we shall have to repeat this frequently – on its unspontaneity” (p. 166). That is a worthy conclusion to what I want to say here – “the greatness of the liturgy depends on its unspontaneity.” It is unfortunate that we have to repeat this reminder so frequently.
Fr. James V. Schall S.J., is Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. He is the author of numerous books on social issues, spirituality, culture, and literature including Another Sort of Learning, Idylls and Rambles, On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing, and A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning.


Benedict XVI, Vatican II and Modernity (Part 1) Tracey Rowland on the Pope’s Interpretation of the Council


Melbourne, Australia, July 24, 2005

Many believe that “Gaudium et Spes” was the key document that shaped the life of the Church in the years immediately following the Second Vatican Council. However, according to theologian Tracey Rowland, 40 years of post-conciliar history and reflection on the 1965 pastoral constitution have led many to conclude that the document had an inadequate understanding of culture, particularly that of the culture of liberal modernity.

The result, Rowland reckons, was the unleashing of currents within the Church that gravely harmed the liturgy
and offered a false humanism ultimately destructive to the pastoral care of souls.

Rowland is dean and permanent fellow of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne and author of “Culture and the Thomist Tradition: After Vatican II” (Routledge).
She shared with ZENIT why a reconsideration and reinterpretation of “Gaudium et Spes,” a dominant theme in the theological work of Joseph Ratzinger, is necessary to reorient the Church’s encounter with liberal modernity……

Rowland: Against the background of secularizing readings of “Gaudium et Spes,” John Paul II argued that the document needs to be read from the perspective of Paragraph 22. In a nutshell, it says that the human person needs to know Christ in order to have self-understanding.
No doubt Pope Benedict would agree that this paragraph undercuts some of the ambivalent language if it is taken as the lens through which the rest of the document is read. But how many of the world’s Catholics, including the clergy, know about the significance of Paragraph 22?
The popular interpretation of this document was that it represented an acknowledgment on the part of the Church that modernity is OK and that it is the will of the Holy Spirit that Catholics accommodate their practices and culture, including liturgical culture, to modernity’s spirit as quickly as possible.
This had the effect of generating a cultural revolution within the Church such that anything that was characteristically pre-conciliar became suspect.
Modes of liturgical dress, forms of prayer, different devotions, hymns that had been a part of the Church’s cultural treasury for centuries, were not just dumped, but actively suppressed. To be a practicing Catholic in many parishes, one had to buy into the pop culture of the 1960s and 1970s.
Against this, Ratzinger has been critical of what he calls “claptrap and pastoral infantilism” — “the degradation of liturgy to the level of a parish tea party and the intelligibility of the popular newspaper.”


From PETRUS magazine, Mumbai

Issue of August 2005.
Trent, Vatican II Not to Blame for Mass Confusion

by Fr. William Barnaby Faherty S.J. Courtesy: Our Sunday Visitor. EXTRACT:

Many excesses followed the changes in the liturgy. But these excesses happened to come after Vatican II, not because of it. Among these excesses was a casualness of dress and manner among the faithful at Mass rather than the awe and dignity that should prevail; guitar accompaniment with disturbing beats; emphasis on the Mass as a banquet to the neglect of its sacrificial aspects; excessive jubilation at the kiss of peace, so that at times the celebrant almost needed a whistle to settle the congregation for communion; conversation in the sanctuary immediately after the final blessing; and no silent time for prayers of thanksgiving…





From PETRUS magazine, Mumbai

Issue of September 2005, Your Queries, answered by Fr. Peter Stravinskas. Courtesy, The Catholic Answer.

Q. “…We are exposed to all sorts of creativity and licence in the Mass… We have noticed that, more and more, the blessing given by the priest at the end of Mass is delivered like this: “May God bless US, in the name of the Father…” What happened to “May God bless YOU…”?

A. Vatican II says, “No one, not even a priest, may change a word of the sacred liturgy”.

That having been said, the change [mentioned by the questioner] reflects an impoverished notion of the priestly ministry. The priest is an alter Christus, but most especially during the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Hence acting in persona Christi, the priest blesses the assembly, standing at its head and almost outside it; that is the reason he does not include himself (“us”) in the action. In other words, the priest is not just one more member of the congregation; he represents Christ the Bridegroom in relation to His Bride, the Church.


Vatican official says pope will fix liturgical abuses firmly, gently


By John Thavis, Catholic News Service, Vatican City, February 10, 2006

The Vatican’s top liturgy official said he expects Pope Benedict XVI to move against liturgical abuse with firm teaching and a gentle manner, recognizing that such mistakes often reflect ignorance, not ill will.
At the same time, the pope wants to offer reconciliation to followers of the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre — but not at the cost of “disowning” the Second Vatican Council, said Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Nigerian who heads the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
Cardinal Arinze spoke about the direction of the new papacy in an interview with Catholic News Service in early February. He said he expected important moves — but not a purge — to improve liturgy under Pope Benedict. “I do not expect an aggressive correction of abuses. I don’t think the pope is going to use the ecclesiastical hammer,” Cardinal Arinze said. “Pope Benedict has very clear doctrine and convictions. What many people may not know is that he is not rough. He is gentlemanly, in the sense of what the prophet Isaiah said: ‘A bruised reed he will not break,'” the cardinal said.
Many liturgical abuses, Cardinal Arinze said, are “based on weakness of faith or ignorance” or on a wrong idea of creativity. Where improper practices occur, it is important to begin identifying them and talking about them, but without harming the people involved, the cardinal said.
That could be one reason the pope is focusing on the bigger faith issues, understanding that the quality of worship reflects knowledge of the faith, he said. A good example, he said, is the pope’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”).
Many people are scrutinizing papal Masses for clues to liturgical direction under the new pope.
“Obviously, people are watching the details, and I cannot blame them,” Cardinal Arinze said with a laugh. “I think the papal liturgies are beautiful and that people like them.”
He said the election of Pope Benedict, who wrote extensively about liturgy as a cardinal, kindled hope for reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, which was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre and which rejected the new Mass and several Vatican II teachings or directives.
Cardinal Arinze shares that hope, but said people should realize that the pope “cannot change the faith of the church.”
“He cannot disown Vatican II in order to make the Lefebvrites happy. The pope cannot reinvent everything, or act as if Vatican II did not take place,” he said.
While some have proposed a wider indult to allow use of the pre-Vatican II Tridentine Mass with fewer restrictions, Cardinal Arinze said he is happy with Pope John Paul II’s rules, which require the involvement of the local bishop.
“When you speak of wider use for everybody, it raises some questions, which have to be examined more carefully,” he said.
The cardinal said he thought that for most people the question is not the Tridentine rite versus the new Mass, but the much more basic issues of faith, love of Christ and the appreciation of the importance of Sunday Mass.
“If a person has these, many of these other problems would fall into line,” he said.
Cardinal Arinze said one priority that has carried over to the new pontificate is the translation of liturgical texts.
“The pope has said, let the various translations of the Missal proceed quickly, because the people are waiting. These pieces of paper used on Sunday and little leaflets are not ideal. You really need the whole book translated,” he said.
He said the new Roman Missal, released in Latin in 2002, is 1,300 pages long and has excellent texts, including some new ones, but the people do not have them in their local languages.
The cardinal said he hoped work on the English translation would be completed in two years. He said that would not depend principally on the Vatican, but rather on the priority given the project by bishops’ conferences.
The Roman Missal is being translated by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy for bishops’ conferences, which can adopt, amend or reject the translation. The worship congregation, meanwhile, has established a committee of 12 bishops, called Vox Clara, to help it evaluate the texts as they are being prepared.
The congregation’s closer watch on translations in recent years does not mean the Vatican wants to supplant local bishops and bishops’ conferences as the “key people” in translating liturgical texts, Cardinal Arinze said. But sometimes, he said, the congregation gives its views on a particular translation as it is being done, so that translated texts will receive ratification in Rome with the least delay.
Cardinal Arinze, 73, has headed the worship and sacraments congregation since 2002. Liturgy has always been one of his primary interests, and he wrote his doctoral dissertation on sacrifice in a Nigerian traditional religion as an introduction to the catechesis of the Catholic Mass.


The cardinal has been a popular speaker in the United States, and his reflections on liturgy and other topics have been featured in a number of recent video podcasts.
He heads a staff of 36 experts responsible for responding to questions from around the world, reviewing texts and ministerial books in many languages, hosting groups of bishops, attending a multitude of meetings and conferences, promoting liturgical knowledge and practice, and discouraging abuses.
“We always have more work than we can do on any particular day. People don’t understand that,” Cardinal Arinze said.
The limited personnel and resources mean that on some issues, like sacred music, the congregation’s actions may appear largely symbolic.
“We do not pretend that a few of us sitting here in the Vatican are going to conduct excellent music all around the world,” he said. But last year the congregation sponsored a study day at the Vatican to encourage dioceses to take liturgical music more seriously.
Cardinal Arinze said the main challenge facing his congregation is to encourage a spirit of prayer, which must grow out of faith. He said bringing people to Mass regularly is essential, and it hinges largely on two factors: catechesis and high-quality, faith-filled liturgies.

Celebrating Mass well involves lay ministers, but primarily the priest, who sets a tone through every word and gesture, the cardinal said.
“Suppose a priest comes at the beginning of Mass and says: ‘Good morning, everybody, did your team win last night?’ That’s not a liturgical greeting. If you can find it in any liturgical book, I’ll give you a turkey,” Cardinal Arinze said.
Likewise, a priest has to preach well, making sure that his homily offers theological and scriptural enlightenment, and not merely verbal “acrobatics” to show off how many books he’s read, he said.
The cardinal said that if done well Sunday Mass will not be experienced as a heavy obligation, but as a spiritual banquet, a celebration appreciated by the faithful who are hungry for spiritual nourishment and want to adore God.
“You should not need a commandment to enter such a banquet hall,” he said.


Vatican Official urges Catholics to be reverent during Mass


London, April 6, 2006 (Full story from Petrus magazine, Mumbai, Issue of May-June 2006)

During a talk in Westminster Cathedral April 1, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze
called on priests to restore tabernacles to central positions in churches and for Catholics to rediscover the tradition of reverent genuflection in the presence of the Eucharist.

He also called to an end to adding details to and subtracting them from the approved rites of the Mass and for an end to soft background music during Mass when people were trying to pray in church. “This is doubtless well intentioned, but it is a mistake,” said the Cardinal. “People enter churches to pray, not to be entertained.”

The Cardinal told about 400 audience members that Mass was “the supreme act of adoration, praise and thanksgiving which humanity can offer God.” “Man is not the center of reality. God is. By adoring God through the Holy Eucharist, we pay this tribute to God’s transcendence,” he said. “Those who refuse to adore God must not decorate themselves with the apparently nice title of liberal intellectuals.”

The Cardinal said that a person who refused to give God the adoration He truly deserved was like a child who refused to respect his parents, and as a result harmed his or her own best interests. “Would it be wrong to call him stupid?” asked the Cardinal.

He said Christians must not allow themselves to be “misled by the errors” of a secular mentality “which lives as if God does not exist.” He said attention has to be paid to the roles of every Mass participant, especially the priest, who must act “in such a way that his faith and devotion shine out.”

Cardinal Arinze said that the October Synod of Bishops stressed that the tabernacle should be the “center of our attention and prayer.”
But, he said, some “misguided” people still relegated tabernacles to obscure corners of their churches where it was sometimes difficult for visitors to locate.

“A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of ‘nobody will tell me what to do’ or a defiant sting of ‘if you do not like my Mass you can go to another parish’ is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense,” he said. “Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity- in his case idiosyncrasy- as the guide to the celebration of the Mass.”

The talk titled “The Eucharistic Mystery calls for our response” was the key event of an afternoon dedicated to “thinking about and celebrating” the Church’s liturgy. Three English prelates- Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster, Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark and Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood- and Auxiliary Bishop Mark Coleridge of Melbourne, Australia were among those who attended.


Cardinal Arinze discourages “liturgies to order”


April 7, 2006



Signs are growing that Benedict XVI intends to bring the liturgy back to a more traditional form after a top Vatican official protested the use of “do-it-yourself” services.
In a keynote speech delivered at Westminster Cathedral recently, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, also said that individual priests should not add to or subtract from the approved rites, mentioning the practice of playing background music in particular as one practice that should stop.
“The Mass is the most solemn action of the sacred liturgy, which is itself the public worship of the Church,” the cardinal said. Quoting John Paul II, he said liturgy is not a “private property” and that priests and lay faithful are “not free to add or subtract any details” from the official liturgy. He said communities that are faithful to the Church’s liturgical norms demonstrate their love for the Church.
“A do-it-yourself mentality, an attitude of nobody-will-tell-me-what-to-do, or a defiant sting of if-you-do-not-like-my-Mass-you-can-go-to-another-parish, is not only against sound theology and ecclesiology, but also offends against common sense,” the Cardinal said. “Unfortunately, sometimes common sense is not very common, when we see a priest ignoring liturgical rules and installing creativity, in his case personal idiosyncrasy, as the guide to the celebration of Holy Mass.”

The cardinal’s comments come a week after proposals were announced by a Vatican commission to outlaw the use of drums and electric guitars from church services. The commission outlined 50 proposals on reforming the liturgy, with Vatican insiders saying that the commission also proposed to increase the use of Latin during mass.
But Fr. Tom Jordon from the National Conference of Priests, said he was unaware of any deviation from the Rubrics provided by the Roman Missal in the nation’s churches but added that since Vatican II in was inevitable that the personality of priests shone through during Mass.
Cardinal Francis Arinze: Hearts and Minds – Thinking about and Celebrating the Liturgy (Text of address)*


The Eucharistic Mystery Calls For Our Response
Address by Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments…


The New Curia of Benedict XVI Looks toward Asia


By Sandro Magister Rome, May 26, 2006

The new prefect of “Propaganda Fide” comes from India. And the new secretary of the congregation for the liturgy is from Sri Lanka.

The first public appearance of the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, who was called to this role by Benedict XVI, was the presentation of a book on Wednesday, April 27, at the Augustinian Institute of Rome, a few steps from St. Peter’s Square.
The book, first released in the United States in 2004 with the title “Turning towards the Lord. Orientation in Liturgical Prayer” – which was published this year in Italy – was written by Uwe Michael Lang, a German liturgist who lives in London and is a member of the congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri.
But it also bears a preface written by Joseph Ratzinger when he was still a cardinal. As pope, he again met the author, Fr. Lang, in St. Peter’s Square at the end of the general audience the day before the presentation of the book, which he said he hoped would “have an effect.”

Here are Ranjith’s remarks … which he gave in Italian on April 27:
Unfortunately, for various reasons, which are sometimes well-intentioned, there are priests and bishops who introduce every sort of experiment and change, diminishing the sense of the sacred and mystical nature of what is depicted in the Church’s liturgical celebrations. The temptation to become the leading actors in the divine mysteries, and to seek to control even the action of the Lord, is strong in a culture that divinizes man. In some countries, the situation is or is becoming truly dramatic. Every trace of the sacred often disappears in these so-called “liturgies.”

Letters: Liturgical abuses


By Rosanna Sherman, New Zealand. Reprinted from AD2000 Volume 19 No 4, May 2006, p. 15

Much has been written over the years with regard to liturgical abuses, and we are all experts in what should or should not take place on the altar during Mass.

Various opinions have been aired such as, “It is only a Church discipline”, but surely the problem is a little more serious than that. To quote from an article I read some years ago, “It is very important to bear in mind that a priest is bound in conscience under pain of mortal sin to obey the solemn decrees whereby the Pope governs the liturgical discipline of the Universal Church.”

In the article titled, “How can differences over the Liturgy be resolved” (March AD2000), the writer seemingly acknowledges this when he writes, “It did not do for the priest to be afflicted with scrupulosity, or he would spend half his life going to confession!”




Perhaps, but where does it all end? There is certainly a perceived laxity in some of today’s Masses that needs to be urgently (in my opinion) addressed.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, when queried on this subject said, “In this, as in all matters concerning the celebration of the Holy Mass, the prescribed rubric is to be followed without alteration.”
The Congregation also directed attention to articles 48 and 49 from The Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, which reads in part:

(48) “If the priest lends to Christ, Most Eternal High Priest, his intelligence, will, voice, and hands so as to offer through his very ministry, the sacramental sacrifice of redemption to the Father, he should make his own the dispositions of the Master and, like him, live those gifts for his brothers in the faith. He must therefore learn to unite himself intimately to the offering, placing his entire life upon the altar of sacrifice as a revealing sign of the gratuitous and anticipatory love of God.”

(49) “The priest … must follow the rite established in the liturgical books approved by the competent authority, without adding, removing or changing anything. All Ordinaries, Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life, Moderators of societies of apostolic life and all other Prelates have the grave duty, besides that of being the first in example, of watching over the liturgical norms regarding the celebration of the Eucharist, so that they be faithfully observed in all places.”

If only…


Stepping closer to the reform of the reform
http://www.angelqueen.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=109859&sid=2aa45ce2c897d5ac3f1a54dbcb13d6ee EXTRACT

By Alberto Carosa, Inside the Vatican magazine, June-July 2006

The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don

was also reported in as having made it clear
that “regrettably, one can see priests and even bishops who introduce any sort of experiments” in the Mass, so much so that insofar as the liturgy is concerned, in some countries the situation “has become or is becoming dramatic” and as a result “any sense of sacredness” disappears.


In France, Cardinal Arinze Decries Liturgical Abuses

October 27, 2006

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship spoke out sharply against liturgical abuses during an October 26 presentation in Paris.
Speaking at the Catholic Institute of Paris, Cardinal Francis Arinze decried the “banalization, desacralization, and secularization of the liturgy.” He rebuked priests who take an “overtly egocentric” approach to the liturgy, violating the norms of the Church. And he also criticized priests whose “false humility” leads them to “share their role with the laity.”
“The sacred liturgy is not a domain in which free exploration reigns,” the Nigerian-born cardinal said. He suggested that many liturgical abuses can be traced to “the undue place given to spontaneity, or creativity, or perhaps a false idea of liberty, or even that error that goes by the name of ‘horizontalism,’ which consists in placing man at the center of the liturgical celebration instead of directing attention upward, that is toward Christ.”
Cardinal Arinze went on to say that priests should deliver homilies that are “rooted in Sacred Scripture,” rather than offering thoughts based on sociology, psychology, and politics. He reminded his French audience that priests are ordained to proclaim the Word of God rather than to offer their insights on matters that lay people can study equally well. By interfering in the province of the laity, he added, priests confuse their own role, and “that always causes damage.”
In an address that repeated themes frequently set forth in Vatican documents, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship concluded with the observation that “the liturgy is not the property of anyone– neither the celebrant nor the community in which the mysteries are celebrated.” He exhorted priests to approach the Mass with reverence and an appreciation for their own role in the Eucharistic mystery.


“Horizontalism … Does Damage to Catholic Faith and Worship”
Cardinal Arinze Address to Institut Supérieur de Liturgie

Vatican City, January 20, 2007

Here is an address given by Cardinal Francis Arinze at a colloquium to celebrate the golden jubilee of the Institut Supérieur de Liturgie of the Institut Catholique de Paris. The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments gave the address Oct. 26…

2. Show the light in matters liturgical
Primary among the duties of a higher liturgical institute is to be a beacon of light in matters liturgical. It informs and forms leaders who appreciate the riches to be found in the public worship of the Church and who will be ready to share them with others. It throws light on the close link between theology and liturgy, between the faith of the Church and the celebration of the mysteries of Christ, between the “lex credendi” and the “lex orandi.”


While, therefore, a higher liturgical institute should promote research, it above all bases its strong and durable foundations on the faith, on the Tradition of the Church and on the heritage enshrined in liturgical texts, gestures and postures. Such an institute appreciates that the sacred liturgy is a gift we receive from Christ through the Church. It is not something that we invent. It has therefore unchangeable elements which come from our Savior Jesus Christ, as in the essential forms of the sacraments, and changeable elements which have been carefully handed on and guarded by the Church.
Many abuses in matters liturgical are based, not on bad will but on ignorance, because they “involve a rejection of those elements whose deeper meaning is not understood and whose antiquity is not recognized” (“Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 9).
Thus some abuses are due to an undue place given to spontaneity, or creativity, or to a wrong idea of freedom, or to the error of horizontalism which places man at the center of a liturgical celebration instead of vertically focusing on Christ and his mysteries.
Darkness is chased away by light, not by verbal condemnation. A higher liturgical institute trains experts in the best and authentic [theological]-liturgical tradition of the Church. It forms them to love the Church and her public worship and to follow the norms and indications given by the magisterium. It also provides appropriate courses for those who will promote ongoing liturgical formation for clerics, consecrated people and the lay faithful.
As Pope John Paul II wrote the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments a month before his death: “It is urgent that in parish communities, in associations and in ecclesial movements there be assured adequate courses of formation, so that the liturgy be better known in the richness of its language and that it be lived in fullness. To the measure to which this is done, the result will be benefits showing themselves in personal and community life” (Letter of John Paul II to Cardinal Arinze, March 3, 2005, No. 5).


Cardinal Ratzinger blames Church crisis on Liturgical collapse


By Paul Likoudis, “The Wanderer”, May 8, 2007
The unprecedented manner in which Pope Paul VI imposed the Novus Ordo of the Mass created tragic consequences for the Roman Catholic Church, says Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in his new autobiography. Not only did the banning of the old Mass represent a severe departure from tradition, but the revolutionary manner in which the new Mass was imposed has created the impression that liturgy is something each community creates on its own, not something which “is given.”
Rather than being a force for unity in the Church, the new Mass has been the source of liturgical anarchy, dividing Catholics “into opposing party positions” and creating a situation in which the Church is “lacerating herself.” Formally imposed after a six-month period of “liturgical experimentation” in which anything – and everything – did go, the Roman Catholic Mass has never attained a universality, stability – or even an element of predictably – for most Catholics around the world; but instead has been a stimulus for never-ending innovations – from altar girls to dancing girls to women priests. While the Missal of Paul VI “brought with it some authentic improvements and a real enrichment,” the banning of the old Mass caused some “extremely serious damages for us,” he wrote in La Mia Vita, released in mid-April in its Italian translation.
“I was dismayed by the banning of the old Missal,” he wrote, “seeing that a similar thing had never happened in the entire history of the liturgy….
“The promulgation of the banning of the Missal that had been developed in the course of centuries, starting from the time of the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, has brought with it a break in the history of the liturgy whose consequences could be tragic…. The old structure was broken to pieces and another was constructed admittedly with material of which the old structure had been made and using also the preceding models….
“But the fact that [the liturgy] was presented as a new structure, set up against what had been formed in the course of history and was now prohibited, and that the liturgy was made to appear in some ways no longer as a living process but as a product of specialized knowledge and juridical competence, has brought with it some extremely serious damages for us.
“In this way, in fact, the impression has arisen that the liturgy is ‘made,’ that it is not something that exists before us, something ‘given,’ but that it depends on our decisions. It follows as a consequence that this decision-making capacity is not recognized only in specialists or in a central authority, but that, in the final analysis, each ‘community’ wants to give itself its own liturgy. But when the liturgy is something each one makes by himself, then it no longer gives us what is its true quality: encounter with the mystery which is not our product but our origin and the wellspring of our life….
“I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter anymore whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us.
“But if in the liturgy the communion of faith no longer appears, nor the universal unity of the Church and of her history, nor the mystery of the living Christ, where is it that the Church still appears in her spiritual substance?,” he asked.
Too often, Ratzinger lamented, “The community is only celebrating itself without its being worthwhile to do so.”
The book’s German title translates to: From My Life: Remembrances 1927-1977. On at least two other occasions, Cardinal Ratzinger has criticized specific liturgical abuses, while on other highly publicized events, such as the Ordinations of seminarians into the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, he has praised the beauty of the old Mass. But his newly released autobiography is the first prolonged lament over the wholesale replacement of one liturgy with another.
In 1969, Pope Paul VI issued his General Instruction of the Roman Missal, revising the Order of the Mass and related prayers. The old Mass rite was to be banned, with few exceptions, after a transition period of several months.



Although the Mass had undergone evolutionary changes through the history of the Church, there was always a sense of “continuity,” Ratzinger wrote. Even Pope Pius V, who reworked the Roman Missal, in 1570 following the Council of Trent, allowed for the continued use of some liturgies with centuries-long traditions. Cardinal Ratzinger said there “is need for a new liturgical movement to call back to life the true heritage of Vatican Council II. “For the life of the Church, it is dramatically urgent to have a renewal of liturgical awareness, a liturgical reconciliation, which goes back to recognizing the unity in the history of the liturgy and understands Vatican II not as a break, but as a developing moment.”
Pope Paul VI’s new Mass has been a contentious issue in the Church since its introduction in 1969, not only fueling a bitter Church dispute involving the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in 1988, but prompting millions of Catholics to question the legitimacy – not only of the Mass, but of the Pope who approved it.
Even after Pope John Paul in his 1988 apostolic letter Ecclesia Dei called on his bishops to be “generous” in giving Catholics access to the Tridentine rite, in a compassionate gesture aimed at healing some of the divisions and discontent over the Novus Ordo, many bishops, and even cardinals, notably Detroit’s Adam Cardinal Maida, have refused to accommodate the desires of Catholics for the old Mass.

Some reactions
For many Catholics, Cardinal Ratzinger’s public acknowledgment that the Novus Ordo created a “crisis” for the Church was a long-overdue admission on the part of the Holy See.
“Publicly admitting that suppressing the 1962 Missal was a mistake, and then restoring it, would be a good first step toward liturgical renewal,” said Chicago Catholic Rich Freeman, who posted the announcement on his Catholic Internet service as soon as it was reported in the Italian press.
“The modernists have always known that they couldn’t win a fair fight with tradition . . . that’s why they had to take the extraordinary step of suppressing, or attempting to suppress, the Mass that has an unbroken lineage of tradition back to ‘that first Eucharist before He died’,” he said.
A clerical reaction came from Fr. Joseph F. Wilson, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. He wrote a letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Tablet, after its editor commented negatively on the Ratzinger admission. Fr. Wilson stated:
“. . . The effectiveness of the current liturgy is something many people are discussing – Cardinal Ratzinger is not a lone wolf howling in the wind on this one.
“Within the last two and a half years, two separate organizations were founded in the United States to address the question of the liturgy. Indeed, if memory serves – I wish I could be more exact in referring to this – there was a meeting within the last two years of liturgists in Chicago to observe the anniversary of Vatican II’s liturgy constitution. The theme of the gathering was What Has Gone Wrong – why has the early promise of the liturgical renewal not come to fruition?
“It is unfair to cast this as a question of loyalty to Vatican II. Return to your copy of the documents and read the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. You simply will not find described there what we presently do at Mass. The postconciliar commission on the implementation of that constitution went well beyond the prescriptions of the council fathers, and every liturgist will admit that freely….
“In your article you say: a) American Catholics have embraced the revised liturgy; b) we understand it much better today; c) we understand that it is the central act of the Church; d) our better understanding is due to the changes in the liturgy.
“I wish that I could say that you do not specify which planet you refer to. You actually say you’re talking about America. How do you reconcile these assertions with the results of two different well-known polls (which were reported in your paper) that only one-third of Mass-goers recognized the orthodox Catholic doctrine on the Real Presence as being an expression of their faith, the other two-thirds happily opting for Zwinglian and Lutheran formulations? And how on earth can you reconcile these assertions with the fact that Mass attendance has dropped by perhaps as much as 60% in 30 years?. . . I think the most serious thing which can be said about the way we worship in the Roman rite is that it is in tone, in spirit, utterly different from any of the other rites of the Catholic Church. The Roman rite was always different from all of the eastern rites, of course, but the sense of the transcendence of God, which once marked our liturgy strongly, seems rarely to find expression in our worship today. And we trashed, just trashed, a glorious tradition of liturgical music which the council fathers at Vatican II explicitly commanded be fostered. We replaced it with . . . On Eagles’ Wings.
“You also ask: ‘Does he really think that in the midst of the relevancy revolution of the 1960s, people would have continued to flock to a ceremony at which they couldn’t understand a word?’ (That’s part of my point. Most of them didn’t continue to flock!! We just stopped caring about them. They were the unrenewed. We just kept talking about how renewed we were, ignoring the declining numbers).”


Paul VI saw liturgical abuse as “smoke of Satan”


Rome, May. 16, 2008

When Pope Paul VI spoke about the “smoke of Satan” entering the Catholic Church, he was referring to liturgical abuses, according to the prelate who served as his master of ceremonies.

Cardinal Virgilio Noe, the chief Vatican liturgist during the pontificate of Paul VI, spoke candidly about the late Pope’s concerns in an interview with the Roman Petrus web site. The Italian prelate– who was also the Vatican’s top liturgist under Pope John Paul I and the early years of the pontificate of John Paul II– is now retired, and at the age of 86 his health is failing. In his interview with Petrus he concentrated primarily on his years serving Pope Paul VI.



Pope Paul accepted the liturgical reforms after Vatican II “with pleasure,” Cardinal Noe said. He added that Paul VI was not be nature a sad man, but “he was saddened by the fact of having been left alone by the Roman Curia.” Regarding the late Pope’s famous remark about the “smoke of Satan,” Cardinal Noe said that he knew what Paul VI intended by that statement. In that denunciation, he said, the Pope “meant to include all those priests or bishops and cardinals who didn’t render worship to the Lord by celebrating badly Holy Mass because of an errant interpretation of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke of the smoke of Satan because he maintained that those priests who turned Holy Mass into dross in the name of creativity, in reality were possessed of the vainglory and the pride of the Evil One. So, the smoke of Satan was nothing other than the mentality which wanted to distort the traditional and liturgical canons of the Eucharistic ceremony.”

For Pope Paul VI, the cardinal continued, the worst outcome of the post-conciliar liturgical reform was the “craving to be in the limelight” that caused many priests to ignore liturgical guidelines. Cardinal Noe recalled that the Pope himself believed in careful adherence to the rubrics of the Mass, firmly believing that “no one is lord of the Mass.”
Speaking for himself, the former top Vatican liturgist said that the liturgy must always be celebrated with reverence and careful respect for the rubrics. He said with regret that in the wake of Vatican II “it was believed that everything, or nearly, was permitted.” Cardinal Noe said: “Now it is necessary to recover– and in a hurry– the sense of the sacred in the ars celebrandi, before the smoke of Satan completely pervades the whole Church.”

Reader’s comment at

The “Smoke of Satan” comment was made on June 29, 1972, more than six and a half years after the Second Vatican Council closed on December 8, 1965. Even by the early ’70s, the abuses were apparent.


PETRUS: Amazing interview with Card. Noè: Paul VI’s “smoke of Satan” remark concerned liturgy


Posted on 15 May 2008 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

On the site Petrus there is an interview by Bruno Volpe with His Eminence Virgilio Card. Noè, [pronounced “No-eh”] “former papal MC, the predecessor of Archbp. Piero Marini.

These are very interesting comments.  He speaks of the phrase of Paul VI that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church and what Paul VI meant by that phrase. 

My translation and emphases.



Exclusive: the revelation of Card. Noè:” When Paul VI denounced the smoke of Satan in the Church, he was referring to liturgical abuses following Vatican II.”

By Bruno Volpe
CITTA’ DEL VATICANO – He speaks with a thread of a voice and at times laboring for breath he it is so difficult he has to stop. But his mind is lucid and his heart is sound. The interview with Virgilio Card. Noè, 86, Master of Liturgical Ceremonies during the Pontificates of Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, once the Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Peter and Vicar of the Pope for Vatican City, showed himself to be at the same time both touching and engaging. The Cardinal, who has very much abandoned public life because of the infirmities of old age, helps us, taking us my the hand, better to know a Pontiff – wrongly forgotten in history’s haste: Giovan Battista Montini. He reveals for the first time what Paul VI was referring to precisely when in 1972 he denounced the presence of the smoke of Satan in the Church.




Your Eminence, who was Pope Paul VI?
A real gentleman, a saint. I remember still how he lived the Eucharistic Mystery, with passion and participation. When I think of him I tear up, but not in the way of a hypocrite. I am truly moved. I owe him a great deal, he taught me a lot, he lived and paid a great price for the Church.
You had the privilege to be Master of Liturgical Ceremonies precisely because of the assignment from Papa Montini in the time of the post-Conciliar reform. How do you remember those times?
Splendidly. Once the Holy Father said to me, personally, and in a very tender way, how the MC ought to carry out his role in that particular historical period. He came into the sacristy. I drew near and he said: “The MC must foresee everything and taken everything on himself, he has the task of making the Pope’s road smoother.”
Did he add anything else?
He affirmed that the spirit of the MC must not be shaken up by anything, large or small, that may be his own personal problems. An MC, he stressed, must remain also the master of himself and be the Pope’s shield, so that Holy Mass can be celebrated in a dignified way, for the glory of God and His people.
How did the Holy Father take the liturgical reform desired by Vatican II?
With pleasure.
It is told that Paul VI was quite a sad man, true or legend?
A lie. He was a good and gentle father, a gentleman and a saint. At the same time, he was saddened by the fact of having been left alone by the Roman Curia. But I would prefer not to talk about that.
As a whole, against the historians, you, as one of his closest and trust collaborators, describe Papa Montini as a serene person.
He was. Do you know why? Because he also affirmed that whoever serves the Lord cannot ever be sad. He served Him especially in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Paul VI’s denunciation of the presence of the smoke of Satan in the Church is unforgettable. Still today, that discourse seems to be incredibly relevant.
You from Petrus, have gotten a real scoop here, because I am in a position to reveal, for the first time, what Paul VI desired to denounce with that statement. Here it is. Papa Montini, for Satan, meant to include all those priests or bishops and cardinals who didn’t render worship to the Lord by celebrating badly (mal celebrando) Holy Mass because of an errant interpretation of the implementation of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke of the smoke of Satan because he maintained that those priests who turned Holy Mass into dry straw in the name of creativity, in reality were possessed of the vainglory and the pride of the Evil One. So, the smoke of Satan was nothing other than the mentality which wanted to distort the traditional and liturgical canons of the Eucharistic ceremony.”
It is thought that Paul VI was the real culprit as the cause of all the ills of post-Conciliar liturgy. But based on what you have revealed, Eminence, Montini compared the liturgical chaos, even if in a veiled way, actually to something hellish.
He condemned craving to be in the limelight and the delirium of almighty power that they were following the Council at the liturgical level. Mass is a sacred ceremony, he often repeated, everything must be prepared and studied adequately, respecting the canons, no one is “dominus” [lord] of the Mass. Sadly, in many after Vatican II not many understood him and Paul VI suffered this, considering the phenomenon to be an attack of the Devil.
Your Eminence, in conclusion, what is true liturgy?
It renders glory to God. Liturgy must be carried out always and no matter what with decorum: even a sign of the Cross poorly made is synonymous with scorn and sloppiness. Alas, I repeat, after Vatican II it was believed that everything, or nearly, was permitted. Now it is necessary to recover, and in a hurry, the sense of the sacred in the ars celebrandi, before the smoke of Satan completely pervades the whole Church. Thanks be to God, we have Pope Benedict XVI: his Mass and his liturgical style are an example of correctness and dignity.


A few observations. 

First of all, I have good and bad memories of Card. Noè. 

He was the one who tore out the altar of the Chair in the apse of St. Peter’s. He was one of the main causes of the emasculation of the style of papal ceremonies and the minimalism we experience still in many places. 

At the same time, I remember what a gentleman he was. I would from time to time encounter him in the Basilica in the mornings. I said Mass there every day. In the corridor between the sacristy and the basilica he would step reverently aside for any priest going to or coming from Mass. He would say quietly to those going, “Memento” and to those returning, “Prosit”. Old school. 

Also, he made sure the Basilica was clean, which was a real change in those days that persists to today.

Still, while I take what His Eminence says about Paul VI cvm grano salis, I was very interested to read his high praise of Pope Benedict, whom he respects for his liturgical style.

Card. Noè wasn’t a real fan of the Polish Pope’s style, for sure, and there was some tension there. As a matter of fact Noè was just a little impatient and bossy with him, who wasn’t all that interested in the finer points of liturgy. I remember a story from a papal MC who was present one day toward the end of Msgr. Noè’s service as MC to John Paul II. The Pope would descend using an elevator to the floor of the basilica and then, after being greeted according to protocol by the MC and others, would go to vest. One today, as I said close to the end of Noè’s time, when the MC greeted the Pope, John Paul II responded “Oggi, Monsignore, faccio io papa! … Today, Monsignor, I think I’ll be the Pope.” Msgr. Noè moved along to a new post in the Congregation not long after that.



In any event, the comment Card. Noè made about decorum and the need to celebrate Mass well are spot on and he gets WDTPRS kudos.

As a matter of fact, there is something in his remarks that echoes very strongly two of the main points I am trying to drive home on this blog.


Celebrate Mass well, participate properly – affect the whole world. Celebrate poorly – affect the whole world.

What is most fundamental to celebrating Mass well?

Simply putting yourself aside and obeying the rules in the book, saying the texts well and properly, is already a huge step in the right direction. 

They are the sine quibus non of a sound ars celebrandi, which Noè mentioned.  This is the phrase that was used during the Synod on the Eucharist in 2005 and then which Benedict explained in Sacramentum Caritatis.


What’s Behind Liturgical Abuses? Interview with Leader of Traditional Mass Community


By Alexandre Ribeiro, April 9, 2008
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – The bishop of a Brazilian community that celebrates the Mass according to the 1962 missal contends that abuses in the liturgy can be attributed to the lack of a serious spirituality.
Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan, apostolic administrator of the St. John Maria Vianney Personal Apostolic Administration in Brazil, spoke with ZENIT about the richness of the extraordinary form of the Mass. The use of that form was extended with Benedict XVI’s “Summorum Pontificum,” released last July.
The St. John Maria Vianney group was founded by Bishop Licínio Rangel, who was ordained a bishop without papal approval in 1991 by bishops themselves illicitly ordained by Bishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St. Pius X.
Bishop Rangel later asked to return to full communion and expressed the necessary dispositions. He received a letter granting his wish from Pope John Paul II and returned to the Church in a ceremony in 2002, presided over by the Pontiff and Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Today, the apostolic administration continues serving Catholics in Brazil devoted to the traditional Mass, and have full communion with the Catholic Church.


Q: What indications do you give for avoiding scarce attention and respect for the liturgy?
Bishop Rifan:

Speaking of the abuses following the liturgical reform, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger lamented that the liturgy degenerated into a show, in which they seek to make religion interesting with the help of stylish elements, with momentary successes in the group of the liturgical “manufacturers” (in the) introduction to the book “La Réforme Liturgique” by Monsignor Klaus Gamber, page 6 and 8.
Cardinal Edouard Gagnon was of the same opinion. “It cannot be ignored that the [liturgical] reform has given rise to many abuses and have led in a certain degree to the disappearance of respect for the sacred. This fact should be unfortunately admitted and it excuses a good number of those people who have distanced themselves from our Church and their former parish communities (in) “Fundamentalism and Conservatism,” interview with Cardinal Gagnon, “Zitung — Römisches,” November-December 1993, page 35.
I think that the central point of the abuses was indicated by Cardinal Ratzinger himself: the door left open to a false creativity on the part of the celebrants (in an) interview in “L’homme Nouveau,” October 2001.
Behind this is the lack of a serious spirituality, (the idea that) to attract the people, novelties should be invented. Holy Mass is attractive in itself, because of its sacredness and mystery. Deep down, we’re dealing with the diminishment of faith in the Eucharistic mysteries and an attempt to replace it with novelties and creativity. When the celebrant wants to become the protagonist of the liturgical action, abuses begin. It is forgotten that the center of the Mass is Jesus Christ.
The current secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship,
Bishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, laments: “Holy Mass is a sacrifice, gift, mystery, independently of the priest who celebrates it. It is important, I would say fundamental, that the priest draws back: The protagonist of the Mass is Christ. I don’t understand, therefore, the Eucharistic celebrations transformed into shows with dances, songs or applause, as lamentably happens many times with the Novus Ordo.”
The solution to the abuse is in the norms given by the Magisterium, above all in the document “Redemptionis Sacramentum” of March 25, 2004, which asks that “everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favoritism” — No. 183.
But, as Bishop Ranjith says, “there are a lot of documents (against these abuses) that unfortunately have remained a dead letter, forgotten in libraries full of dust, or even worse, thrown into the waste basket.”

Cardinal Arinze cautions Asian bishops against false inculturation, liturgical dance


August 17, 2009

Cardinal Francis Arinze, who served as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 2002 to 2008, warned the bishops of Asia in an August 16 homily against liturgical “idiosyncracies” and false conceptions of inculturation. Cardinal Arinze also sounded a cautionary note against liturgical dance.

Preaching in Manila at the closing Mass of the plenary assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Cardinal Arinze– Pope Benedict’s special envoy to the meeting– encouraged Asian bishops to foster Eucharistic adoration and reverence:

Adoration manifests itself in such gestures in genuflection, deep bow, kneeling, prostration and silence in the presence of the Lord. Asian cultures have a deep sense of the sacred and transcendent. Reverence in Asia to civil authorities sometimes shows itself in clasped hands, kneeling, bows, prostration and walking away while facing a dignitary. It should not be too difficult to bring and elevate this cultural value to honour our Eucharistic Jesus. The fashion in some parts of the world of not installing kneelers in churches should not be copied by the Church in Asia.

After praising Asian cultures’ sense of the sacred, Cardinal Arinze warned against false conceptions of inculturation and urged observance of liturgical norms.

The way in which Holy Communion is distributed should be clearly indicated and monitored and individual idiosyncracies should not be allowed. In the Latin Rite, only concelebrating priests take Holy Communion. Everyone else is given, be the person cleric or lay. It is not right that the priest discard any of the vestments just because the climate is hot or humid. If necessary, the Bishop can arrange the use of lighter cloth. It is altogether unacceptable that the celebrant will opt for local dress in the place of universally approved Mass vestments, or use baskets, or wine glasses to distribute the Holy Eucharist. This is inculturation wrongly understood.

“It is the tradition of the Church that during the Mass the readings are taken only from Holy Scriptures,” Cardinal Arinze continued. “Not even the writings of the Saints or Founders of Religious Orders are admitted. It is clear that the books of other religions are excluded, no matter how inspiring a particular text may be.”

Cardinal Arinze exhorted the continent’s bishops to follow the Church’s norms for liturgical inculturation, so that “the local Church will be spared questionable or downright mistaken innovations and idiosyncracies of some enthusiastic cleric whose fertile imaginations invents something on Saturday night and whose uninformed zeal forces this innovation on the innocent congregation on Sunday morning.”

“Dance in particular needs to be critically examined because most dances draw attention to the performers and offer enjoyment,” he continued. “People come to Mass, not for recreation but, to adore God, to praise and thank him, to ask pardon for their sins, and to request other spiritual and temporal needs. The monasteries may be of help in how graceful body movements can become prayer.”

Sources: Cardinal Arinze: Living the Eucharistic Mystery (FABC)

Archbishop Quevedo on the Outcome of the FABC Plenary (Vatican Radio)

Bishops discuss Catholic Church’s woes in Asia (AFP)


Asian bishops see need for Asian music, symbols in liturgy

August 18, 2009

The Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences concluded a plenary meeting on August 16 with a statement on the “hunger” for the Eucharist that remains in Asia. In some countries that hunger is due to the shortage of priests and the need for greater evangelization, the FABC statement said; in other countries (like China and Vietnam) the hunger is aggravated by restrictions on the freedom to worship and in some cases (such as India and Pakistan) overt violence against Christians.

In an address to the FABC assembly, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the former prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, had warned against the uncritical adoption of liturgical “idiosyncracies” in the name of “inculturation.” But the group’s final statement called for the inclusion of Asian music and symbolism in the liturgy, saying that this would “make our celebration create a resonance in the depths of Asia’s heart.”

The FABC encouraged the formation of small groups for prayer and Bible study, and expressed a keen interest in dialogue with other faiths.

Source: FABC plenary outlines document on Eucharist, cautions about Mass innovations (UCAN)


Comment by moderator Austine Crasta in Konkani Catholics digest #1987 dated August 18, 2009:

If I were to post this mail, I would have probably put the subject as “Cardinal Arinze Deserves a Hug!”
His closing homily is virtually a compendium of all the fundamental liturgical principles and norms that are quite routinely and freely violated in parts of Asia and sadly, in our country too.
Much ignorance surrounds these. And it is compounded with confusion.
To make things worse, liturgical formation of pastors too suffered great neglect after Vatican II until recent years. Before the Council it was all about “How to Say Mass Correctly”. And after the Council, ignorance had it that rubrics didn’t matter because one needed to be “pastoral”.
Speaking about liturgical formation after the Council, how many seminaries in India could boast of having a qualified liturgist? Yet India was apparently at the forefront of inculturation. And so it became anybody’s enterprise because liturgy now began to be seen as the work of the people and not primarily the work of God.


While parishes were spared many of the excesses, formation houses, convents, ashrams, and other private communities excused themselves from the bishops’ vigilance and become centres of free liturgical experimentation justified in the name of “creativity”. I won’t be surprised to see communities which do not even know what it is to celebrate their daily Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office/Breviary) faithfully according to norms of the Roman Rite.
Cardinal Arinze is very blunt on this point. “Liturgy is never anyone’s private property”. So far as their liturgical life is concerned, none of these communities are outside the authority of the diocesan bishop who is the “moderator, promoter and guardian of the whole of its liturgical life”. And so, the bishops not only can but must intervene because the “Bishops are responsible for the liturgy celebrated in their dioceses, including those held in the house of religious men and women, ashrams and religious movements.”- Austine


Observance of Liturgical Norms and “Ars Celebrandi”
Father Gagliardi Reflects on Abuses in Celebrating the Mass



Rome, July 9, 2010

(“Ars Celebrandi” means “The art of proper celebration”; see http://www.catholicliturgy.com/index.cfm/FuseAction/documentText/Index/14/SubIndex/0/ContentIndex/574/Start/557)
Here is a translation of the last article of the Spirit of the Liturgy series, which has been directed by Father Mauro Gagliardi, a consultor of the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff and professor of theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum of Rome.
This article by Father Gagliardi concerns the importance of the observance of the liturgical norms and the “ars celebrandi.”
During the Year for Priests, which ended last month, the column “The Spirit of the Liturgy” developed the topic “The Priest in the Eucharistic Celebration,” chosen because of the coincidence in 2009-2010 of several anniversaries: the 150th of the death of the Holy Curé d’Ars (1859), the 40th of the promulgation of Paul VI’s Missal (1969) and the 440th of Saint Pius V’s Missal (1570), which in the edition approved by Blessed John XXIII (1962) represents the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.[1] Hence the opportunity to make clear the peculiar dignity of the ordained priesthood, reflecting further on the theology and spirituality of the Holy Mass, particularly in the perspective of the minister who celebrates it.
In this last article, with which we also wish to take leave of our readers before the summer pause, we wish to reflect with the usual brevity on the topic of the “ars celebrandi.”

1. The Post-Conciliar Situation
Vatican Council II ordered a general reform of the sacred liturgy. [2] The latter was effected after the closing of the Council, by a commission commonly called, for reasons of brevity, the Consilium. [3] It is known that, from the beginning, the liturgical reform was the object of criticisms, at times radical, as well as exaltations, in certain cases, excessive. It is not our intention to pause on this problem. We can say instead that it is generally agreed that an increase of abuses can be observed in the celebratory field after the Council.
The recent magisterium has also taken note of the situation and in many cases has called for the strict observance of the norms and of the liturgical indications. On the other hand, the liturgical laws established for the ordinary form (or of Paul VI) — the one which, exceptions aside, is always and everywhere celebrated in the Church of today — are much more “open” in relation to the past. The latter allow for many exceptions and different applications, and also provide many forms for the different rites (the pluriformity also increased in the passage from the Latin “editio typica” to the national versions). Despite this, a great number of priests believe that ultimately the space left to “creativity” must be enlarged, which is expressed above all with the frequent change of words or whole phrases in relation to those fixed in the liturgical books, with the insertion of new “rites” often completely foreign to the liturgical and theological t
Liturgist Cesare Giraudo has summarized the situation with these words: “If before [the liturgical reform] there was fixation, sclerosis of forms, unnaturalness, which made the liturgy of the time a ‘liturgy of iron,’ today there is naturalness and spontaneity, undoubtedly sincere, but often understood, misunderstood, which make — or at least run the risk of making — of the liturgy a ‘liturgy of rubber,’ slippery, elusive, soapy, which at times is expressed in an ostentatious liberation from all written normatives. […] This badly understood spontaneity, which in fact is identified with improvisation, taking the easy way out, superficiality, permissiveness, is the new ‘criterion’ that fascinates innumerable pastoral agents, priests and laymen. […] Not to speak of those priests who, at times and in some places, arrogate to themselves the right to use wild Eucharistic prayers, or to make up their texts or parts of them here and there.”[4]
In the encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” Pope John Paul II manifested his displeasure over the liturgical abuses that have often taken place, particularly in the celebration of Holy Mass, in as much as “the Eucharist is too great a gift to endure ambiguities and diminutions.”[5] And he added: “Unfortunately, it is to be lamented that, above all beginning with the years of the post-conciliar liturgical reform, because of a misunderstood sense of creativity and adaptation, there has been no lack of abuses, which for many have been the cause of uneasiness. A certain reaction to ‘formalism’ has led some, especially in certain regions, to consider the ‘forms’ adopted by the great liturgical tradition of the Church and her magisterium as not obligatory and to introduce unauthorized innovations often all together unsuitable.
“Hence, I feel it my duty to make an urgent call to attention so that liturgical norms are observed with great fidelity in the Eucharistic celebration. They are concrete expressions of the authentic ecclesiality of the Eucharist; this is its most profound meaning. The liturgy is never someone’s private property, either of the celebrant or of the community in which the mysteries are celebrated.”[6]


2. Causes and Effects of the Phenomenon
The phenomenon of “liturgical disobedience” has extended in such a way, because of the number and in certain cases also because of the gravity, that the mentality has been formed in many by which the liturgy, with the exception of the words of the Eucharistic consecration, can be subject to all the modifications “pastorally” considered suitable by the priest or the community. This situation induced John Paul II himself to request the Congregation for Divine Worship to prepare a disciplinary Instruction on the Celebration of the Eucharist, published with the title “Redemptionis Sacramentum” on March 25, 2004. Indicated in the quotation reproduced earlier of “Ecclesia de Eucharistia” was the reaction to formalism as one of the causes of the “liturgical disobedience” of our time. “Redemptionis Sacramentum” points out other causes, among them a false concept of liberty [7] and ignorance. The latter in particular refers not only
Introducing the topic of fidelity to the norms in a theological and historical understanding, in addition to the text of the ecclesiology of communion, the instruction states: “The mystery of the Eucharist is too great ‘for someone to allow himself to treat it with his own personal choice, which would not respect either its sacred character or its universal dimension.’ […] Arbitrary acts do not benefit true renewal, but harm the true right of the faithful to liturgical action, which is expression of the life of the Church, according to her tradition and discipline. Moreover, they introduce in the very celebration of the Eucharist elements of discord and deform it, when it tends, by its very nature and in an eminent way, to signify and realize admirably communion with divine life and the unity of the People of God. Derived from these arbitrary acts are uncertainty in doctrine, doubt and scandal for the People of God and, almost inevitably, a violent repugnance that confuses and
“On the other hand, all Christian faithful enjoy the right to celebrate a true liturgy, and especially the celebration of the Holy Mass, which should be exactly as the Church has desired and established it, as written in the liturgical books and in the other laws and norms. Moreover, the Catholic people have the right to have the holy sacrifice of the Mass celebrated for them in keeping with all the teaching of the magisterium of the Church. Finally, the Catholic community has the right to have the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist carried out in such a way that it seems truly a sacrament of unity, excluding absolutely all the defects and gestures that can manifest divisions and factions in the Church.”[9]
Particularly significant in this text is the appeal to the right of the faithful to have a liturgy celebrated according to the universal norms of the Church, in addition to stressing the fact that the transformations and modifications of the liturgy — even if done for “pastoral” reasons — in reality do not have a positive effect in this field; on the contrary, they confuse, disturb, and tire and can also make the faithful abandon religious practice.

3. The “Ars Celebrandi”
Here are the reasons why in the last four decades the Magisterium has reminded priests several times of the importance of the “ars celebrandi,” which — although it does not consist only in the perfect execution of the rites according to the books, but also and above all in the spirit of faith and adoration with which these are celebrated — cannot be carried out, however, if it is removed from the norms established for the celebration.[10]
It is expressed thus, for example, by the Holy Father Benedict XVI: “The first way with which the participation of the People of God in the sacred rite is fostered is the proper celebration of the rite itself. The
‘ars celebrandi’ is the best premise for the ‘actuosa participatio.’ The ‘ars celebrandi’ stems from faithful obedience to the liturgical norms in their plenitude, as it is precisely this way of celebrating which has ensured for two thousand years the life of faith of all believers, who are called to live the celebration as People of God, royal priesthood, holy nation (cf. 1 P 2, 4-5.9).”[11]
Recalling these aspects, one must not fall into the error of forgetting the positive fruits produced by the movement of liturgical renewal. The problem indicated, however, subsists and it is important that the solution of the same begin with the priests, who must commit themselves first of all to know in a profound way the liturgical books and also to put faithfully into practice their prescriptions. Only knowledge of the liturgical laws and the desire to hold oneself strictly to them will avoid further abuses and arbitrary “innovations” that, if at the time might perhaps move those present, in reality soon end by tiring and disappointing. Saving the best intentions of those who commit them, after forty years of “liturgical disobedience” it does not in fact build better Christian communities, but on the contrary it puts in danger the solidity of their faith and of their belonging to the unity of the Catholic Church.
The more “open” character of the new liturgical norms cannot be used as pretext to pervert the nature of the public worship of the Church: “The new norms have much simplified the formulas, gestures, liturgical acts […]. But neither must one go in this field beyond what is established: in fact, by doing so, the liturgy would be stripped of the sacred signs and of its beauty, which are necessary so that the mystery of salvation is truly realized in the Christian community and that it also understood under the veil of visible realities, through an appropriate catechesis. In fact the liturgical reform is not synonymous with de-sacralization, nor is it the motive for that phenomenon called the secularization of the world. Hence, it is necessary to preserve in the rites dignity, seriousness, sacredness.”[12]
Therefore, among the graces we hope to be able to obtain from the celebration of the Year for Priests is also that of a true liturgical renewal in the heart of the Church, so that the sacred liturgy is understood and lived for what it is in reality: the public and integral worship of the Mystical Body of Christ, Head and members, worship of adoration that glorifies God and sanctifies men. [13]

[1] Cf. M. Gagliardi, “The Priest in the Eucharistic Celebration,” ZENIT, Dec. 11, 2009:


[2] Cf. Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 21.
[3] Abbreviation of “Consilium ad exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia.”
[4] C. Giraudo, “La costituzione ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’: il primo grande dono del Vaticano II,” in La Civilta Cattolica (2003/IV), pp. 532; 531.
[5] John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, No. 10.
[6] Ibid., n. 52. Cf. also Vatican Council II, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” No. 28.
[7] “It is not strange that the abuses have their origin in a false concept of liberty. However, God has given us, in Christ, not a false liberty to do as we please, but the liberty so that we are able to do what is fitting and just”: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” No. 7.
[8] Ibid., No. 9.
[9] Ibid., Nos. 11-12.
[10] Sacred Congregation of Rites, “Eucharisticum Mysterium,” No. 20: “To foster the correct development of the sacred celebration and the active participation of the faithful, the ministers must not limit themselves to carry out their service with precision, according to the liturgical laws, but they must conduct themselves in such a way as to inculcate, through it, the meaning of sacred things.”
[11] Benedict XVI, “Sacramentum Caritatis,” No. 38. See No. 40, which develops the concept properly.
[12] Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, “Liturgicae Instaurationes,” No. 1. The text continues: “The efficacy of liturgical actions does not lie in the constant search for ritual novelties, or for further simplifications, but in deeper reflection on the word of God and on the mystery celebrated, whose presence is assured by the observance of the rites of the Church and not those imposed by the personal taste of each priest. It must be kept in mind, moreover, that the imposition of personal reconstructions of the sacred rites by the priest offends the dignity of the faithful and opens the way to individualism and to personalism in the celebration of actions belonging directly to the whole Church.”
[13] Cf. Pius XII, Mediator Dei, I, 1; Vatican Council II, “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” No. 7


Common Latin Chants to Be ‘Resuscitated’ – Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith http://www.archdioceseofcolombo.com/CircularOnYearoftheEucharist_16.07.2010.php

July 16, 2010


“We cannot tolerate liturgical errors.” Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith’s program for the liturgy in Colombo


By C.A., July 26, 2010

His Excellency Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith has proclaimed a special “Year of the Eucharist” for his Archdiocese of Colombo, from August 2010 to August 2011. The text of the Archbishop’s circular, dated July 16, 2010 and announcing the Year of the Eucharist and enumerating its goals can be found here

According to the Archbishop, the goals of this special year are the following. Emphases mine.

01. Uppermost in our mind is the urgency to live the Eucharist in daily life through well-coordinated and directed works of charity. I have already requested Seth Sarana, the social services arm of the Archdiocese, to work out a plan of action in this connection. The most holy Eucharist is broken before its reception. It becomes our strength and nourishment only in this broken form. The vine is pressed and crushed before it becomes the most Sacred Blood that purifies and begets new life. Similarly, we need to break ourselves for others, and be pressed and crushed for justice and peace simultaneously as we believe and celebrate this most holy Sacrament. Hence, I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality. Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God’s gifts and fruits of the earth’s fertility which are produced as food through human labour. Let this Year of the Eucharist be truly a Year to live the love of the Lord among our brothers and sisters, and a Year which will make us be grateful to God for His wonderful creation by safeguarding the equilibrium of nature. Indeed Pope Benedict XVI called for such an engagement in favour of creation when he stated: The Eucharist itself powerfully illuminates human history and the whole cosmos. On this sacramential perspective, we learn day by day, that every ecclesial event is a kind of sign by which God makes Himself known and challenges us. The Eucharistic form of life can thus help foster a real change in the way we approach history and the world (Sacramentum Caritatis 92).


02. While enriching ourselves with the power and blessings of the Eucharistic Lord we look forward to deepening our understanding about the mystery of the Eucharist. Aided and inspired by the theology and the spirituality of the Eucharist we wish to accept the regulation of the celebration of the liturgy not as something imposed on us, but as something which flows naturally from the mystery we need to uphold, cherish and safeguard. I wish to draw the attention of all priests, religious and the laity to what follows in this connection:


2.1 The Liturgical Guardian of the Archdiocese of Colombo which has already been given to the priests in the Archdiocese, and which will be made available for all others from 29th August 2010, is the main point of reference in all matters pertaining to liturgical celebrations within the Archdiocese of Colombo. Please abide by its stipulations faithfully without trying to implement personal views and opinions. 




Those wishing to do things as they wish make themselves like God himself, and that is self-idolatry. During this Year we shall concentrate very specially towards eliminating all erroneous practices regarding the celebration of the most holy Eucharist, the Sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. I would draw your attention also to the renovation and construction of churches which need to be done according to the guidelines set forth in the Guardian. In order to deepen our understanding about the Eucharist I wish to appeal to all parish priests, heads of institutions, principals of schools, superiors of religious houses to organise liturgical formation sessions on the Eucharist, sacraments and the Liturgy of the Hours. Please pay special attention to the training of lectors which is conducted in the Archdiocese as a deanery level training session, formation of choristers and training of church organists while not neglecting other ministries.


2.2 I appeal to all rectors of seminaries, administrators of archdiocesan shrines, superiors of institutions and directors of archdiocesan apostolates to very specially cooperate in this effort. While not exempting others, in such places we cannot tolerate liturgical errors. The Episcopal Vicars and the Deans have been instructed to be responsible for the implementation of the Liturgical Guardian in all parishes and religious houses, while the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy and the Deanery Liturgy Coordinators have been authorised to closely monitor the progress of this endeavour. Religious in the Archdiocese are not exempted from following what has been accepted as the liturgical law of the archdiocese.


2.3 An effort will be made to make common Latin chants popular during this year. With this aim in mind the Archdiocesan Coordinator for Liturgy, together with Mr. Francis D’ Almeida will be organising sessions of practice in all 15 deaneries and teach all choirs some basic Latin chants which could be used in parishes and institutions. Once these practice sessions take place parishes may sing at least the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei at parish Sunday Masses on the first Sunday of the month. No. 36 of the Constitution on the Sacred liturgy clearly sets forth the principles in this regard. Latin still remains the main liturgical language of the Church. In Sri Lanka we made a mistake in abandoning the language of our worship altogether. Let this Eucharistic Year be an occasion for us to resuscitate this lost tradition at least to some extent. I appeal to all priests, religious and laity to cooperate.


I also wish to affirm that as indicated in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7th July 2007 priests and institutions are now permitted to celebrate, where it is appropriate, the Tridentine Mass and the Sacraments in that rite. In this case it is best that the faithful be prepared for it beforehand. I myself hope to celebrate a solemn Eucharist in that rite sometime in the near future at the Archdiocesan Cathedral.


2.4 The sub-commission for Sacred Art and Architecture has been authorized to identify some churches for the improvement of church sanctuaries. I appeal to priests not to start renovating anything without the permission and supervision of this sub-commission. This sub-commission has been recently re-constituted and is headed by Revd Fr Cecil Joy Perera, our Liturgy Coordinator. At the same time the Ars Celebrandi required from us require that we think seriously about Mass vestments, altar linen, altar vessels and the liturgical vesture for various liturgical ministries. Let the Year of the holy Eucharist be an occasion to improve all such aspects of our celebration.


2.5 The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission will also try to provide extra reading material on the holy Eucharist in all three languages. An effort is being made at present to provide a booklet with daily reflections on the Eucharist, and to make available at least some of the major Church documents on the Eucharist. Please try to make use of this Year to read, reflect, discuss and study such source material.


God bless this worthy Archbishop!!!

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Vatican officials say bad Masses lead to weak faith


By Cindy Wooden, Rome, March 3, 2011
A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass in many parts of the world can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don’t follow church rules, said two Vatican officials and a consultant.
“If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith,” said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican’s supreme court.
Cardinal Burke and Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke March 2 at a book launch in Rome.
The book, published only in Italian, was written by Father Nicola Bux, who serves as a consultant to the congregations for the doctrine of the faith and for saints’ causes and to the office in charge of papal liturgies.
The English translation of Father Bux’s book title would be, “How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith.”
Cardinal Burke told those gathered for the book presentation that he agreed with Father Bux that “liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics.”




Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are “serious abuses.”
Cardinal Canizares said that while the book’s title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares: “Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly” and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the church’s norms.
“This is true whether one is speaking of the ordinary or extraordinary form of the one Roman rite,” the cardinal said, referring to Masses in the form established after the Second Vatican Council as well as the Mass often referred to as the Tridentine rite.
Cardinal Canizares said that at a time when so many people are living as if God did not exist, they need a true Eucharistic celebration to remind them that only God is to be adored and that true meaning in human life comes only from the fact that Jesus gave his life to save the world.
Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does. “If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest,” he said


Five wounds inflicted on Christ’s Mystical Body through our liturgy


Posted on March 14, 2012 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan gave a speech on 15 January 2012 in which he listed “five wounds” of the liturgical mystical body of Christ. His whole address is on Paix Liturgique.

His basic premise is that the rupture in our liturgical worship that has resulted in abuses after the Council and because of going beyond the Council’s 6 clear mandates in Sacrosanctum Concilium about liturgical reform, have resulted in wounds to Christ’s Body the Church.

Then he goes through “five wounds” of the liturgical mystical body of Christ.

You can read his explanations on your own, but here are my bullet points based on Bp. Schneider’s text:

1. Mass versus populum.

2. Communion in the hand.

3. The Novus Ordo Offertory prayers.

4. Disappearance of Latin in the Ordinary Form.

5. Liturgical services of lector and acolyte by women and ministers in lay clothing.

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The Liturgy, a School of Prayer


Vatican City, September 26, 2012 (Vatican Information Service)

The liturgy as a school of prayer, as a “special place in which God addresses each one of us … and awaits our response”, was the theme of Benedict XVI’s catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter’s Square.

The Pope explained how, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “we read that the word ‘liturgy’ originally meant a ‘service in the name of/on behalf of the people’. If Christian theology took this word from the Greek, clearly it did so thinking of the new People of God, born of Christ Who opened His arms on the Cross to unite mankind in the one peace of God; ‘service in the name of the people’, a people which exists not of itself but which has come into being thanks to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ”.

“The Catechism also states that in Christian tradition, the word ‘liturgy’ means the participation of the People of God in the work of God”. In this context Pope Benedict recalled how the document on the liturgy had been the first fruit of Vatican Council II. “By beginning with the issue of liturgy, light was very clearly thrown on the primacy of God, on His absolute precedence. … Where the gaze on God is not decisive, everything becomes disoriented. The fundamental criterion for the liturgy is that it should be oriented towards God, in order to ensure we participate in His work.

“Yet, we might ask ourselves”, the Holy Father added, “what is this work of God in which we are called to participate? … And what makes the Mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, Who brought salvation, real for me today? The answer is this: the action of Christ through the Church and the liturgy; in particular the Sacrament of the Eucharist which causes the sacrificial offer of the Son of God Who redeemed us to be present; the Sacrament of Penance in which we pass from the death induced by sin to new life; and the other Sacraments which sanctify us”.

Quoting again from the Catechism of the Catholic Church the Pope affirmed that “a sacramental celebration is a meeting of God’s children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words’. Thus”, he explained, “the first requirement for a good liturgical celebration is that it be prayer and dialogue with God, first listening then responding. … Sacred liturgy offers us the words, it is up to us to enter into their meaning, absorb them, harmonise ourselves with them. … One fundamental and primordial element of dialogue with God in the liturgy is concordance between what we say with our mouths and what we carry in our hearts”, he said.





The Pope then referred to a particular moment in which the liturgy calls upon us and helps us to find such concordance: the celebrant’s invitation before the Eucharistic prayer: “sursum corda”, meaning “let us lift up our hearts”; lift them up, that is, “out of the mire of our concerns and desires, our worries and our distraction. Our hearts, the most intimate part of us, must open meekly to the Word of God and join the prayer of the Church, in order to be oriented towards God by the very words we hear and pronounce”.

“We celebrate and experience the liturgy well”, the Pope concluded, “only if we maintain an attitude of prayer, uniting ourselves to the mystery of Christ and to His dialogue of a Son with His Father. God Himself teaches us to pray. … He has given us the right words with which to address Him, words we find in the Psalter, in the great prayers of sacred liturgy and in the Eucharistic celebration itself. Let us pray to the Lord that we may become increasingly aware of the fact that the liturgy is the action of God and of man; a prayer that arises from the Holy Spirit and from us; entirely addressed to the Father in union with the Son of God made man”.


The Church becomes fully visible in the Liturgy


Vatican City, October 3, 2012 (Vatican Information Service)

The time dedicated to liturgical prayer in the life of Christians, especially during Mass, was the central theme of Benedict XVI’s catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter’s Square.

Prayer, the Pope explained, “is the living relationship of the children of God with their immeasurably good Father, with His Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. Therefore the life of prayer consists in dwelling habitually in the presence of God and knowing Him. … Such communion of life with the One Triune God is possible through Baptism, by which we are united to Christ … because only in Christ can we dialogue with God the Father as children”.

For Christians prayer means “constantly gazing at Christ in ways that are ever new”, said the Holy Father. “Yet we must not forget that we discover Christ and know Him as a living Person in the Church. She is ‘His Body’. … The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying power of love, does not annul ‘you’ and ‘me’ but exalts them to their most intense unity. … Praying means raising oneself to the heights of God, by means of a necessary and gradual transformation of our being”.

By participating in the liturgy “we make the language of mother Church our own, we learn to speak in her and for her. Of course this comes about gradually, little by little. I must progressively immerse myself into the words of the Church with my prayers, life and suffering, with my joy and my thoughts. This is a journey which transforms us”, the Pope said.

The question of “how to pray” is answered by following the Our Father, the prayer which Jesus taught us. “We see that its first two words are ‘Father’ and ‘our’, and the response then becomes clear: I learn to pray and I nourish my prayer by addressing myself to God as Father, and by praying with others, with the Church, accepting the gift of her words, which little by little become familiar and rich in meaning. The dialogue God establishes with each one of us in prayer, and we with Him, always includes a ‘with’. We cannot pray to God individualistically. In liturgical prayer, especially the Eucharist … in all prayer, we speak not only as single individuals, but enter into that ‘us’ which is the prayerful Church”.

The liturgy, then, “is not some form of ‘self-expression’ of a community. … It means entering into that great living community in which God Himself nourishes us. The liturgy implies universality”, and it “is important for all Christians to feel that they are truly part of this universal ‘us’, which is the foundation and refuge for the ‘me’, in the Body of Christ which is the Church”. To do this we must accept the logic of the incarnation of God, Who “came close to us, making Himself present in history and in human nature. … This presence continues in the Church, His Body. The liturgy, then, is not the recollection of past events but the living presence of Christ’s Paschal Mystery which transcends and unites time and space”.

“It is not the individual priest or member of the faithful, or the group, which celebrates the liturgy. Rather, the liturgy is primarily the action of God through the Church with all her history, her rich tradition and her creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is specific to all the liturgy, is one of the reasons for which it cannot be invented or modified by a single community or by experts, but must remain faithful to the forms of the universal Church”.

The Church becomes fully visible in the liturgy, the Holy Father concluded, “the act by which we believe that God enters our lives and we can encounter Him. The act in which … He comes to us and we are illuminated by Him”.


Pope says liturgical abuses detract from Christ


By David Kerr, Vatican City, October 3, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI has reminded Catholics that the liturgy belongs to Jesus Christ and his Church, and should not be changed according to individual whims.

“It is not the individual – priest or layman – or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God’s action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity,” the Pope said during his Oct. 3 general audience in Rome.

“This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church,” he stated.

With over 20,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope explained how the Church is made most visible in the liturgy where “God enters into our reality and we can meet him, we can touch him.” The liturgy is where “he comes to us, and we are enlightened by him.”



The primary importance of Jesus Christ within the liturgy has been a constant theme of Pope Benedict’s teaching during his seven-year pontificate. He has often expressed concern that bad teaching can lead some Catholics to view the liturgy “horizontally” as the creation of a parish or group in which the community celebrates itself. “The liturgy is not a kind of ‘self-manifestation’ of a community,” he told pilgrims.

Pope Benedict noted that when priests or parishioners reflect on how to make the liturgy “attractive, interesting and beautiful,” they can “risk forgetting the essential: That is the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves.”

To help counter such erroneous concepts, Pope Benedict XVI’s papal liturgies are always celebrated with a prominent crucifix placed centrally upon the altar.

The liturgy is God’s work and he is the subject, the Pope said, adding that this means when it comes to the liturgy we must “open ourselves to him and be guided by him and his body which is the Church.”

“If the centrality of Christ does not emerge in the celebration, then it is not a Christian liturgy, totally dependent on the Lord and sustained by his creative presence,” he said.

“God acts through Christ, and we can only act through him and in him.”

This conviction must grow in the hearts and minds of Catholics each day because “the liturgy is not our, my, ‘action,’ but the action of God in us and with us.”

“Let us ask the Lord to learn every day to live the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic celebration, praying in the ‘we’ of the Church, that directs its gaze not in on itself, but to God, and feeling part of the living Church of all places and of all time,” Pope Benedict said in conclusion.


One selected comment from a reader (which largely represents the Madras-Mylapore scenario):

We need to get back to attending mass to worship….to experience the Sacrifice Made Present.  In my opinion that means….

1.  Stop musical performances (relocate the choir behind the congregation).
2.  Stop the non-stop singing (provide some prayer time).
3.  Stop interrupting mass for reports, awards, acknowledgements, plays etc. (This stuff is for entertainment no worship)
4.  Stop dressing inappropriately (people dressed in beach wear (or worse).
5.  Stop all forms of liturgical innovations (dancing, processions, children on the altar), stick to the GIRM.
6.  Stop using so many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (they are supposed to be used only if not doing so would unreasonable lengthen the mass).
7.  Stop servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion from dressing inappropriately (jeans, flip flops, revealing blouses, shorts, see through clothes etc.)
8.  Stop clapping in the nave (Catholics are not evangelicals and Pope Benedict XVI said about applause during or after the mass, “Whenever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of the liturgy has totally disappeared and been replace by a kind of religious entertainment).
9.  Stop high fives, victory signs, waves etc. during the sign of peace (a simple acknowledgement to those around you is sufficient).
10.  Stop standing around in the nave following mass to talk (take it to the gathering area or rec hall or cafeteria or the parking lot).
11.  Stop the children from running up and down in the aisles after mass (some people might wish to remain and pray).
12.  Stop feeding the children during mass.
13.  Stop giving the children games or toys to play with during mass (instead try training them and teaching them reverence).
14.  Stop allowing disruptive and loud children to remain in the nave (take them OUT!).
15.  Stop with the texting, phone calls etc. (I mean like it’s only an hour or so).
16.  Stop walking up to communion like you’re going to McD’s. (Does it hurt so much to approach communion reverently with hands prayerfully clasped?)

17.  Do make a sign of reverence before receiving (bow of the head or from the waist, sign of the cross).
18.  Do relocate the tabernacle to just behind the altar (or put an additional one in place).
19.  Do genuflect upon entering or leaving the pews (regardless of where the tabernacle is).
Well the above would be a beginning. 🙂

I have taken up most of those issues underlined by me above in my letters to my Archbishop -Michael


“Liturgy violations proliferate, we must rediscover the Vatican II”


By Andrea Tornielli, Vatican City, December 25, 2012

The cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship talks about reorganizing the ministry and about the new department for music and art: “Churches are not just places to congregate, but also to encounter the mystery of God”.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera has been Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship for four years. Since a few weeks ago his ministry has been the focus of a reorganization effort, which culminated with the institution of a new office to deal with the criteria for building new churches and for liturgy music. Cardinal Cañizares Llovera talked about it with Vatican Insider.


The Congregation has been re-shaped and there is now a new office dedicated to architecture and sacred music: could you explain why this office was founded and what it is for?



Yes, since the 1st of December a new office has been established in the Congregation. It is a department dedicated to art and sacred music for liturgy and it is intended for the implementation what is written in chapters 6 and 7 of the Conciliar Constitution “Sacrosanctum Concilium”. This is has been a necessary step in order to appropriately meet the needs of the liturgy in these two areas. Not all music or artistic expression complies with the nature of the liturgy that has its own rules to safeguard. Music and art are fundamental if we need to further the renewal of the liturgy as proposed by the Second Vatican Council and enhance the beauty of what the liturgy is, which is a must.  It is therefore very important for the Congregation for Divine Worship to encourage liturgical art and music, to offer criteria and guidelines in compliance with the many teachings and the extensive tradition of the Church and to favour relations with musicians, architects, painters, goldsmiths etc. And all this requires specific and close attention. This is the cause and aim for the institution of such “office” or department.


In the last fifty years we have witnessed the building of churches that resemble garages, lumps of lead or blocks of cement all over the world. What characteristics should a Catholic church have in your view?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives a very clear and simple definition for this in two paragraphs on church building. In one it is stated that churches “are not just places to congregate, but they also symbolize and represent the Church that lives there, the house of God and men reconciled and united in Christ”. Obviously the deeper aim of a sacred place of worship in not simply that of allowing the faithful to congregate. The gathering of believers is already a great achievement, but at the same time it not much of one at all. In truth a Church is the place to encounter the Son of the living God himself and is therefore a meeting place between us. The Catechism adds that ” the home of prayer, where the Holy Communion is kept and celebrated, where all the faithful gather, where the presence of the son of God, our Saviour, who sacrificed himself for us, is worshipped to support and console the faithful, needs to be tidy and appropriate for worship and for sacred functions. Thus, the truth and harmony of the symbols that make up the “house of God” need to represent Christ who is present and active there”. New churches ought to be built following these basic criteria, in harmony with the long and very rich tradition of the Church. This is the reason why we have such extraordinary art emblems. I’d like to mention a Church built last century which is a model of how these criteria can be respected, this church is the Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family by Antonio Gaudì in Barcelona.


What do you think is the situation of the Catholic liturgy across the world? Is the time of violations over?

I mentioned the need to further the liturgical renewal proposed by the Second Vatican Council, which is a clear sign of the state the Catholic liturgy was in worldwide. The liturgy is not going through a happy time. Obviously it is necessary to revive the true sense of the liturgy in Christian life and in the life of the Church. A lot has already been done, without doubt. But it has not been enough and it is therefore necessary to go much further, especially in order for the teachings of the Vatican II to enter into our own consciences, in other words in the consciences of the people who make up the Church so that the liturgy can become the centre of the Church, source and culmination of Christian life. Unfortunately, beside a certain degree of superficiality, attention to appearance and the risk to fall into routine habits, there are also many violations. These violations are expressions of errors within one’s faith, which at the same time lead people to warp faith itself. It is necessary to put the outmost effort into rectifying these violations and working towards the faith. This responsibility is one we have always had, but especially so now in this Year of the Faith. And this is particularly true for bishops.


Vatican preparing a manual to help priests celebrate Mass-Prefect warns against making Liturgy into a ‘show’


By H Sergio Mora, Rome, January 16, 2013

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to help priests celebrate the Mass properly and the faithful to participate better, according to the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares confirmed this Tuesday at an address at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See on “Catholic Liturgy since Vatican II: Continuity and Evolution.”

“We are preparing it; it will help to celebrate well and to participate well. I hope it will come out this year, in the summer,” the cardinal told ZENIT. 

During his talk the cardinal reiterated the importance Vatican II gave to the liturgy, “whose renewal must be understood in continuity with the Tradition of the Church and not as a break or discontinuity.” A break either because of innovations that do not respect continuity or because of an immobility that freezes everything at Pius XII, he said.

In particular, Cardinal Cañizares stressed the importance that Sacrosanctum Concilium gave to the sacred liturgy, through which “the work of our Redemption is exercised, above all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist,” adding that “God wants to be adored in a concrete way and it’s not up to us to change it.”

The cardinal said that there is talk of a renewed Church, which must not be understood as a mere reform of structures, but as a change starting with the liturgy, because it is from the liturgy that the work of our salvation is effected.

When speaking of the liturgy, continued the cardinal, one must not forget what the conciliar document states: “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the liturgical action. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, be it in the person of the minister, ‘offering himself now through the ministry of the priests as he then offered himself on the cross,’ be it especially under the Eucharistic species.”




He stressed that the objective of the liturgy “is the adoration of God and the salvation of men,” which is not a creation of ours, but source and summit of the Church.”

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments criticized existing abuses such as showmanship, and praised moments of silence “that are action,” which enable the priest and the faithful to talk with Jesus Christ and which exclude the predominance of words that often becomes showmanship on the part of the priest. The correct attitude is the one “indicated by Saint John the Baptist, when he says he must decrease and the Messiah must increase.”

The cardinal criticized the effort to make the Mass “entertaining” with certain songs — instead of focusing on the mystery — in an attempt to overcome “boredom” by transforming the Mass into a show.

He added that the Council did not speak of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, that it stressed the importance of Christ on the altar, reflected in Benedict XVI’s celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the altar. This does not exclude the priest facing the people, in particular during the reading of the word of God. He stressed the need of the notion of mystery, and particulars such as the altar facing East and the fact that the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist must not be lost.

Asked by the ambassador of Panama to the Holy See about the action of native cultures in the liturgy, the cardinal specified that “the Council speaks of inculturation of the liturgy,” respecting “the legitimate varieties,” without affecting the principles.

He recalled his experience on Palm Sunday in Santa Fe, Spain, when he attended a gypsy Mass in which a youth sang the “Lamb of God,” with an instrument used in flamenco singing, “a real groan of the soul,” which “moved everyone and brought the whole assembly to participate.”

He also referred to the fact that in many churches the Most Blessed Sacrament is placed in a side altar or chapel, so that “the tabernacle disappears,” and people talk before the Mass and arrive less prepared.

In regard to the case of Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, the cardinal said that Benedict XVI offered a healing measure, but that the archbishop’s followers did not respond. To “think that Tradition stops with Pius XII is also a break,” he noted.


An April 25, 2004 email to me from Errol C. Fernandes riterrol@vsnl.com, late Mumbai crusader against New Age and liturgical error:

This is with reference to what happened at Mass in Mount Carmel Parish, Bandra, Bombay, in July two years ago, when non-Christian scriptures read during the Liturgy of the Word, and in the homily, were equated with Christian scripture as being divinely inspired.

Redemptionis Sacramentum begins with a powerful argument for obedience to the Church’s liturgical norms, explaining that these norms preserve the right of the faithful to proper and reverent liturgical celebrations.

The document ends with a section on “Remedies” for liturgical abuse, citing the punishments that can be applied under the Code of Canon Law.
But for practical purposes, what happens when an ordinary Catholic laymen complains about liturgical abuse?

Redemptionis Sacramentum reminds us that the diocesan bishop should take responsibility.

The document (section 177) states:

“Since he must safeguard the unity of the universal Church, the Bishop is bound to promote the discipline common to the entire Church and therefore to insist upon the observance of all ecclesiastical laws. He is to be watchful lest abuses encroach upon ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the Word, the celebration of the Sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the veneration of the Saints.”

That entire paragraph is inside quotation marks. It is, in fact, taken verbatim from the Code of Canon Law.

So the duty imposed on the diocesan bishop is not something new here; it has been the bishop’s duty for years to guard against liturgical abuse.

There is also a pastoral duty to correct error and undo scandal caused by liturgical abuse.  The congregation has never been told that what was done at that Mass, in the Liturgy of the Word, is totally out of line with the Catholic Faith.  

The Church’s prime pastoral responsibility is towards the Lord’s “little ones” who have been subjected to scandal that threatens their faith.

I thought I should share this, in case you haven’t come upon it yet.

In Jesus, Errol





II. The Tridentine Latin Rite Mass and related issues (arranged in chronological order from page 55 onwards)

On learning that a Latin Mass is being celebrated in Chennai, I emailed this enquiry to my Archbishop and received his confirmation that participation in the said Mass is permitted by him (and is therefore valid):

To: archmsml@gmail.com
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2015 08:04:58 +0530


Dear Archbishop George,
I have been given to understand that you have granted the faithful of your archdiocese permission to attend the Latin Mass on Sundays at 5:30 pm at St. Anthony’s Chapel, opposite Stella Maris College, and that attending this Holy Mass fulfils our Sunday Obligation.
Kindly confirm to me that this information is correct.
With regards,
Michael Prabhu

From: S. J. Anthonysamy sj anthonysjsamy@gmail.com
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:41:51 +0530

Subject: HOLY MASS

Dear Mr. Michael Prabhu

The Archbishop has received your email regarding the Latin Mass at St. Antony’s Chapel opposite Stella Maris. Yes, the Archbishop has permitted Latin Mass already since one year. This chapel comes under the Luz parish.

With kind regards

Fr. S. J. Anthonysamy

Vicar General

The date should read as August 30, 2013 -Michael


A brief comparison of the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass with the Novus Ordo Mass

The Tridentine Mass is, of course, always in Latin, while the Novus Ordo Mass or New Rite Mass is usually in the vernacular.

The priest faces the “liturgical east” or ad orientem in the Tridentine Mass, not the people as in the Novus Ordo.

The faithful participate “more actively” in the Novus Ordo Mass as compared to in the Tridentine Mass.

Female altar servers are not permitted in the Tridentine Mass.

With the new Lectionary, one hears much more Scripture at the Novus Ordo than at the Tridentine Mass.

In the Tridentine Mass, the Epistle and Gospel are read by the priest at the altar in Latin, but may be repeated in the vernacular facing the people. In the Novus Ordo Mass, the entire Liturgy of the Word is in the vernacular; the First and Second Readings are taken by lectors while the Gospel is proclaimed by the priest.

The Tridentine Mass has no general intercessory prayers.

The Offertory procession is absent in the Tridentine Mass.

The congregation recites the entire Our Father or Lord’s Prayer along with the priest in the Novus Ordo; only the tail portion “Deliver us from evil” (sed libera nos a malo) is recited by the assembly in the Tridentine Mass.

There is only one Eucharistic Prayer in the Tridentine Mass as against four options in the Novus Ordo Missal.

The priest says the Eucharistic prayers including the consecration out loud in the Novus Ordo as opposed to silently in the Tridentine Mass.

The recipient saying “amen” while receiving Holy Communion is not a feature of the Tridentine Mass.

Communion under both species is not given in the Tridentine Mass whereas it is in the Novus Ordo.

Communion is given only by a cleric (Deacons and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion may not) and is received only kneeling down and on the tongue in the Tridentine Mass.


The Roman Missal was promulgated in 1570 by
Pope St. Pius V
by decree of the
Council of Trent
. For four centuries, it furnished the priests of the Latin Rite with the norms for the celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Tridentine Mass. The Society of St. Pius X uses the 1962 Roman Missal (see the next few paragraphs).

Sacrosanctum Concilium, or The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was promulgated at the Second Vatican Council, on 4 December 1963.
Pope Paul VI
issued Missale Romanum, or Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Missal, on 3 April

The Second Vatican Council, in promulgating the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, established the basis for the general revision of the Roman Missal,
1970. This Mass became known as the “Pauline Mass“.


In order to implement a decision of the Council of Trent,
Pope St. Pius V (1504-1572) standardised the Holy Mass by promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal. Pius V made this Missal mandatory throughout the Latin rite of the Catholic Church, except where a Mass liturgy dating from before 1370 AD was in use. This form of the Mass remained essentially unchanged for 400 years until
Pope Paul VI’s revision of the Roman Missal in 1969–70, after which it has become widely known as the Tridentine Mass; use of the last pre-1969 edition of the Missal, that [promulgated] by Pope John XXIII in 1962, is permitted without limitation for private celebration of the Mass and, since July 2007, is allowed also for public use, as laid down in the 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI. Some continue to use even earlier editions, but without authorisation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_V


Many traditionalist Catholics in good standing with Rome are served by local diocesan or religious priests who are willing and able to offer the traditional rites. Many other Catholics sympathize or identify as traditionalist who are not able to attend the traditional liturgy regularly because it is not offered in their area (at least not with regular canonical standing) and so they more or less reluctantly attend the Mass of Paul VI, the current ordinary or normal Roman Rite of Mass following the Second Vatican Council. […]

The best-known and most visible sign of Catholic traditionalism is an attachment to the form that the Roman Rite liturgy of the Mass had before the liturgical reform of 1969–1970, in the various editions of the Roman Missal published between 1570 and 1962. This form is generally known as the Tridentine Mass, though traditionalists usually prefer to call it the Traditional Mass.

Many refer to it as the Latin Mass though the Mass of Paul VI that replaced it can also be celebrated in Latin (Latin is the original language of all liturgical documents in the Roman Rite).

In his 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict XVI relaxed the regulations on use of the 1962 Missal [of Pope John XXIII], designating it “an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite”. Some refer to it, less exactly, as “the extraordinary form”.

Different traditionalist priests use different editions of the Roman Missal to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Most, not only those in good standing with the Holy See but also such as those in the SSPX, use the 1962 edition, the only one that the Holy See authorises.

A series of modifications to the 1962 liturgy introduced in 1965 are used by some traditionalists in good standing with Rome. This version of the liturgy is sometimes referred to as that of the “1965 Missal”, though no new edition of the Roman Missal was in fact published in that year. […]


Linked with the celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the observance of the liturgical calendar of saints’ days as it existed before the revision of 1969 (see General Roman Calendar of 1962). Some also ignore the revisions of 1960 by Pope John XXIII, and of 1955 by Pope Pius XII, and use instead the General Roman Calendar of 1954. […]

Following months of rumour and speculation, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum in July 2007. The Pope ruled that priests of the Latin Rite can freely choose between the 1962 Roman Missal and the later edition “in Masses celebrated without the people”.

Such celebrations may be attended by those who spontaneously ask to be allowed. Priests in charge of churches can permit stable groups of laypeople attached to the earlier form to have Mass celebrated for them in that form, provided that the celebrating priest is “qualified to (celebrate) and not juridically impeded” (this would exclude traditionalist priests not in good standing with Rome)…

The Society of Saint Pius X welcomed the document, but referred to “difficulties that still remain”, including “disputed doctrinal issues” and the notice of excommunication that still affected its bishops.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditionalist_Catholic


The Mass of Paul VI is a form of Mass in the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). It is now the ordinary or normal form of the Roman Rite Mass.

The form of Mass in the Roman Rite during the preceding four centuries, 1570[3] to 1969, is called the Tridentine Mass, while the various forms that succeeded each other in previous centuries are referred to as Pre-Tridentine Mass.

The current official text of the Mass of Paul VI in Latin is the third typical edition* of the revised Roman Missal, published in 2002 (after being promulgated in 2000) and reprinted with corrections and updating in 2008.

Translations into the vernacular languages have appeared; the English translation was promulgated in 2010 and was used progressively from September 2011. Two earlier typical editions of the revised Missal were issued in 1970 (promulgated in 1969) and 1975.

The liturgy contained in the 1570–1962 editions of the Roman Missal is frequently referred to as the Tridentine Mass: all these editions placed at the start the text of the bull Quo primum in which Pope Pius V linked the issuance of his edition of the Roman Missal to the Council of Trent. Only in the 1962 edition is this text preceded by a short decree, Novo rubricarum corpore, declaring that edition to be, from then on, the typical edition, to which other printings of the Missal were to conform.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_of_Paul_VI


*An editio typica (Latin) or typical edition is a form of text used in the Catholic Church as an official source text of a particular document—typically in Latin—and used for all subsequent translations into vernacular languages.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editio_typica


Tridentine Mass 


The Tridentine Mass is the form of the Roman Rite Mass contained in the typical editions of the Roman Missal that were published from 1570 to 1962. It was the most widely celebrated Mass liturgy in the world until the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI
in December 1969. In nearly every country it was celebrated exclusively in Latin, but the use of many other languages was authorized both before the Council of Trent and in the course of the succeeding centuries leading to the Second Vatican Council.

The term “Tridentine” is derived from the Latin word Tridentinus, which means “related to the city of Tridentum (modern-day Trent, Italy)”. It was in response to a decision of the Council of Trent that Pope Pius V promulgated the 1570Roman Missal, making it mandatory throughout the Western Church, excepting those regions and religious orders whose existing missals dated from before 1370.

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued a motu proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum, accompanied by a letter to the world’s bishops. The Pope stated that the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal is to be considered as an “extraordinary form” (forma extraordinaria) of the Roman Rite, of which the Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI in 1970 is the ordinary, normal or standard form. Since that is the only authorized extraordinary form, some refer to the 1962 Tridentine Mass as “the extraordinary form” of the Mass. The 1962 Tridentine Mass is sometimes referred to as the “usus antiquior” (older use) or “forma antiquior” (older form), to differentiate it from the newer form of the Roman Rite in use since 1970, again in the sense of being the only one of the older forms for which authorization has been granted.

Other names used include Traditional Mass and Latin Mass — though the revised form of the Mass that replaced it has its official text in Latin, and is sometimes celebrated in that language.

In Masses celebrated without the people, Latin Rite Catholic priests are free to use either the 1962 version of the Tridentine liturgy, or what is now the “ordinary” (normal) form of the liturgy. These Masses “may — observing all the norms of law — also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.” Permission to use the Tridentine form in parish Masses may be given by the pastor or rector.



In most countries, the language used for celebrating the Tridentine Mass was (and is) Latin…


After the publication of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, the 1964 Instruction on implementing the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council laid down that “normally the epistle and gospel from the Mass of the day shall be read in the vernacular”. Episcopal conferences were to decide, with the consent of the Holy See, what other parts, if any, of the Mass were to be celebrated in the vernacular…



Some Catholics prefer not to use the term “Tridentine Mass”. In some cases, the objection is that linking the rite specifically with the Council of Trent obscures its continuity with the form that developed in previous centuries. Others object that using separate terms for the pre-1970 and post-1970 liturgies (rather than classifying them both as forms of the same Roman Rite) implies that the post-1970 liturgy constituted a breach with the preceding form. Some Catholics use the term “Extraordinary Form”.

The most widespread term for the rite, other than “Tridentine Mass”, is “Latin Mass”. However, the Mass of Paul VI is published in Latin in its official text, and is sometimes celebrated in that language.

Occasionally the term “Gregorian Rite” is used when talking about the Tridentine Mass, as is, more frequently, “Tridentine Rite”. Pope Benedict XVI declared it inappropriate to speak of the versions of the Roman Missal of before and after 1970 as if they were two rites. Rather, he said, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

Traditionalist Catholics whose best-known characteristic is an attachment to the Tridentine Mass, frequently refer to it as the “Traditional Mass” or the “Traditional Latin Mass”. They describe as a “codifying” of the form of the Mass the preparation of Pope Pius V’s edition of the Roman Missal, of which he said that the experts to whom he had entrusted the work collated the existing text with ancient manuscripts and writings, restored it to “the original form and rite of the holy Fathers” and further emended it. To distinguish this form of Mass from the Mass of Paul VI, traditionalist Catholics sometimes call it the “Mass of the Ages”, and say that it comes down to us “from the Church of the Apostles, and ultimately, indeed, from Him Who is its principal Priest and its spotless Victim”.


Pope St. Pius V’s revision of the liturgy

At the time of the Council of Trent, the traditions preserved in printed and manuscript missals varied considerably, and standardization was sought both within individual dioceses and throughout the Latin West. Standardization was required also in order to prevent the introduction into the liturgy of Protestant ideas in the wake of the Protestant Reformation.

Pope St. Pius V accordingly imposed uniformity by law in 1570 with the papal bull Quo primum“, ordering use of the Roman Missal as revised by him. He allowed only those rites that were at least 200 years old to survive the promulgation of his 1570 Missal…

Pius V’s revision of the liturgy had as one of its declared aims the restoration of the Roman Missal “to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers”. Due to the relatively limited resources available to his scholars, this aim was in fact not realised.

Three different printings of Pius V’s Roman Missal, with minor variations, appeared in 1570, a folio and a quarto edition in Rome and a folio edition in Venice. A reproduction of what is considered to be the earliest, referred to therefore as the editio princeps, was produced in 1998. In the course of the printing of the editio princeps, some corrections were made by pasting revised texts over parts of the already printed pages. There were several printings again in the following year 1571, with various corrections of the text.


Historical variations

In the Apostolic Constitution (papal bull) Quo primum, with which he prescribed use of his 1570 edition of the Roman Missal, Pius V decreed: “We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it.” This of course did not exclude changes by a Pope, and Pope Pius V himself added to the Missal the feast of Our Lady of Victory, to celebrate the victory of Lepanto of 7 October 1571. His immediate successor, Pope Gregory XIII, changed the name of this feast to “The Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and Pope John XXIII changed it to “Our Lady of the Rosary”…


Typical editions of the Roman Missal

In addition to such occasional changes, the Roman Missal was subjected to general revisions whenever a new “typical edition” (an official edition whose text was to be reproduced in printings by all publishers) was issued.

After Pius V’s original Tridentine Roman Missal, the first new typical edition was promulgated in 1604 by Pope Clement VIII, who in 1592 had issued a revised edition of the Vulgate. The Bible texts in the Missal of Pope Pius V did not correspond exactly to the new Vulgate, and so Clement edited and revised Pope Pius V’s Missal, making alterations both in the scriptural texts and in other matters. He abolished some prayers that the 1570 Missal obliged the priest to say on entering the church; shortened the two prayers to be said after the Confiteor; directed that the words “Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in meam memoriam facietis” should not be said while displaying the chalice to the people after the consecration, but before doing so; inserted directions at several points of the Canon that the priest was to pronounce the words inaudibly; suppressed the rule that, at High Mass, the priest, even if not a bishop, was to give the final blessing with three signs of the cross; and rewrote the rubrics, introducing, for instance, the ringing of a small bell.

The next typical edition was issued in 1634, when Pope Urban VIII made another general revision of the Roman Missal.

There was no further typical edition until that of Pope Leo XIII in 1884. It introduced only minor changes, not profound enough to merit having the papal bull of its promulgation included in the Missal, as the bulls of 1604 and 1634 were.

In 1911, with the bull Divino Afflatu, Pope Pius X made significant changes in the rubrics. He died in 1914, so it fell to his successor Pope Benedict XV to issue a new typical edition incorporating his changes. This 1920 edition included a new section headed: “Additions and Changes in the Rubrics of the Missal in accordance with the Bull Divino Afflatu and the Subsequent Decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites”. This additional section was almost as long as the previous section on the “General Rubrics of the Missal”, which continued to be printed unchanged.



Pope Pius XII radically revised the Palm Sunday and Easter Triduum liturgy, suppressed many vigils and octaves and made other alterations in the calendar (see General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII), reforms that were completed in Pope John XXIII’s 1960 Code of Rubrics, which were incorporated in the final 1962 typical edition of the Tridentine Missal, replacing both Pius X’s “Additions and Changes in the Rubrics of the Missal” and the earlier “General Rubrics of the Missal”.

Changes made to the liturgy in 1965 and 1967 in the wake of decisions of the Second Vatican Council were not incorporated in the Roman Missal, but were reflected in the provisional vernacular translations produced when the language of the people began to be used in addition to Latin. This explains the references sometimes seen to “the 1965 Missal”.


Feasts and the Roman Calendar

Pius V’s work in severely reducing the number of feasts in the Roman Calendar was very soon further undone by his successors. Feasts that he had abolished, such as those of the Presentation of Mary, Saint Anne and Saint Anthony of Padua, were restored even before Clement VIII’s 1604 typical edition of the Missal was issued.

In the course of the following centuries new feasts were repeatedly added and the ranks of certain feasts were raised or lowered. A comparison between Pope Pius V’s Tridentine Calendar and the General Roman Calendar of 1954 shows the changes made from 1570 to 1954. Pope Pius XII made a general revision in 1955, and Pope John XXIII made further general revisions in 1960 simplifying the terminology concerning the ranking of liturgical celebrations.

While keeping on 8 December what he called the feast of “the Conception of Blessed Mary” (omitting the word “Immaculate”), Pius V suppressed the existing special Mass for the feast, directing that the Mass for the Nativity of Mary (with the word “Nativity” replaced by “Conception”) be used instead. Part of that earlier Mass was revived in the Mass that Pope Pius IX ordered to be used on the feast.

The General Roman Calendar was revised partially in 1955 and 1960 and completely in 1969 in Pope Paul VI’s motu proprio
Mysterii Paschalis, again reducing the number of feasts.


Typical editions of the Roman Missal

In addition to such occasional changes, the Roman Missal was subjected to general revisions whenever a new “typical edition” (an official edition whose text was to be reproduced in printings by all publishers) was issued.

After Pius V’s original Tridentine Roman Missal, the first new typical edition was promulgated in 1604 by Pope Clement VIII, who in 1592 had issued a revised edition of the Vulgate. The Bible texts in the Missal of Pope Pius V did not correspond exactly to the new Vulgate, and so Clement edited and revised Pope Pius V’s Missal, making alterations both in the scriptural texts and in other matters. He abolished some prayers that the 1570 Missal obliged the priest to say on entering the church; shortened the two prayers to be said after the Confiteor; directed that the words “Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in meam memoriam facietis” should not be said while displaying the chalice to the people after the consecration, but before doing so; inserted directions at several points of the Canon that the priest was to pronounce the words inaudibly; suppressed the rule that, at High Mass, the priest, even if not a bishop, was to give the final blessing with three signs of the cross; and rewrote the rubrics, introducing, for instance, the ringing of a small bell.

The next typical edition was issued in 1634, when Pope Urban VIII made another general revision of the Roman Missal.

There was no further typical edition until that of Pope Leo XIII in 1884. It introduced only minor changes, not profound enough to merit having the papal bull of its promulgation included in the Missal, as the bulls of 1604 and 1634 were.

In 1911, with the bull Divino Afflatu, Pope Pius X made significant changes in the rubrics. He died in 1914, so it fell to his successor Pope Benedict XV to issue a new typical edition incorporating his changes. This 1920 edition included a new section headed: “Additions and Changes in the Rubrics of the Missal in accordance with the Bull Divino Afflatu and the Subsequent Decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites”. This additional section was almost as long as the previous section on the “General Rubrics of the Missal”, which continued to be printed unchanged.

Pope Pius XII radically revised the Palm Sunday and Easter Triduum liturgy, suppressed many vigils and octaves and made other alterations in the calendar (see 1950 General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII), reforms that were completed in Pope John XXIII’s 1960 Code of Rubrics, which were incorporated in the final 1962 typical edition of the Tridentine Missal, replacing both Pius X’s “Additions and Changes in the Rubrics of the Missal” and the earlier “General Rubrics of the Missal”.

Changes made to the liturgy in 1965 and 1967 in the wake of decisions of the Second Vatican Council were not incorporated in the Roman Missal, but were reflected in the provisional vernacular translations produced when the language of the people began to be used in addition to Latin. This explains the references sometimes seen to “the 1965 Missal”.

The General Roman Calendar was revised partially in 1955 and 1960 and completely in 1969 in Pope Paul VI’s motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, again reducing the number of feasts.


The 1962 Missal

The Roman Missal issued by Pope John XXIII in 1962 differed from earlier editions in a number of ways.

—It incorporated the change made by John XXIII in 1962, when he inserted into the canon of the Mass the name of Saint Joseph, the first change for centuries in the canon of the Mass.

—It incorporated major changes that Pope Pius XII made in 1955 in the liturgy of Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum. These included:

—Abolition of the ceremonies whereby the blessing of palms on Palm Sunday resembled a Mass, with EpistleGospel, Preface and Sanctus; suppression of the knocking three times on the closed doors before returning to the church after the blessing and distribution of the palms; omission of the prayers at the foot of the altar and of the Last Gospel.

—On Holy Thursday the washing of feet was incorporated into the Mass instead of being an independent ceremony; if done by a bishop, 12 men, not 13, had their feet washed; the Mass itself was said in the evening instead of the morning and some of its prayers were removed or altered.



—On Good Friday, violet vestments were to be worn, instead of black; “Let us pray. Let us kneel. Arise” was added at the prayer for the Jews, and the adjective perfidis was removed (see Good Friday Prayer for the Jews); an afternoon Communion Service replaced the morning Mass of the Presanctified, at which the priest alone received the earlier-consecrated host, and drank unconsecrated wine into which a small portion of the consecrated host had been put.

—The Easter Vigil was moved from Holy Saturday morning to the following nighttime; the use of a triple candle was abolished and other changes were made both to the initial ceremonies centred on the Paschal Candle and to other parts, such as the reduction from twelve to four of the prophecies read.

—It incorporated the rubrical changes made by Pope Pius XII’s 1955 decree Cum nostra, which included:

—Vigils were abolished except those of Easter, Christmas, Ascension, Pentecost, Saints Peter and Paul, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Lawrence;

—All octaves were abolished except those of Easter, Christmas and Pentecost;

—No more than three collects were to be said at low Mass and one at solemn Mass.

—Its calendar incorporated both the changes made by Pope Pius XII in 1955 (General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII) and those introduced by Pope John XXIII himself with his 1960 Code of Rubrics (General Roman Calendar of 1960). These included:

—Suppression of the “Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and its replacement by the feast of “Saint Joseph the Worker”;

—Removal of some duplicate feasts that appeared twice in earlier versions of the calendar, such as the Feast of the Cross, the Chair of Peter, Saint Peter, Saint John the Evangelist, Saint Michael, and Saint Stephen;

—Addition of feasts such as that of the Queenship of Mary.

—It replaced the Roman Missal’s introductory sections, Rubricae generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal) and Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae “Divino Afflatu” et subsequentium S.R.C. Decretorum(Additions and alterations to the Rubrics of the Missal in line with the Bull Divino Afflatu and the subsequent decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites), with the text of the General Rubrics and the General Rubrics of the Roman Missal parts of the 1960 Code of Rubrics.

Pope Benedict XVI authorized, under certain conditions, continued use of this 1962 edition of the Roman Missal as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, alongside the later form, introduced in 1970, which is now the normal or ordinary form. Pre-1962 forms of the Roman Rite, which some individuals and groups employ,[43] are not authorized for liturgical use.


Liturgical Structure

The Mass is divided into two parts, the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. Catechumens, those being instructed in the faith,
were once dismissed after the first half, not having yet professed the faith. Profession of faith was considered essential for participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

This rule of the Didache is still in effect. It is only one of the three conditions (baptism, right faith and right living) for admission to receiving Holy Communion that the Catholic Church has always applied and that were already mentioned in the early 2nd century by Saint Justin Martyr: “And this food is called among us the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined” (First Apology, Chapter LXVI).


Before Mass

Asperges (Sprinkling with holy water, Psalm 51:9, 3) is an optional penitential rite that ordinarily precedes only the principal Mass on Sunday. In the sacristy, a priest wearing an  alb, if he is to celebrate the Mass, or surplice, if he is not the celebrant of the Mass, and vested with a stole, which is the color of the day if the priest is the celebrant of the Mass or purple if he is not the celebrant of the Mass, exorcises and blesses salt and water, then puts the blessed salt into the water by thrice sprinkling it in the form of a cross while saying once, “Commixtio salis et aquæ pariter fiat in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” (May a mixture of salt and water now be made in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit). After that, the priest, vested in a cope of the color of the day, while the choir sings an antiphon and a verse of Psalm 50/51 or 117/118, sprinkles with the holy water the altar three times, and then the clergy and the congregation. This rite, if used, precedes the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. During the Easter season, the “Asperges me…” verse is replaced by the “Vidi aquam…” verse, and “Alleluia” is added to the “Ostende nobis…” verse and to its response.

Following the Asperges, Mass begins.


Mass of the Catechumens

The first part is the Mass of the Catechumens.


Prayers at the foot of the altar

—Sign of the Cross

—The priest, after processing in — at solemn Mass with deacon, and subdeacon, master of ceremonies and servers, and at other Masses with one or more servers — and at Low Mass placing the veiled chalice on the centre of the altar, makes the sign of the Cross at the foot of the altar. At Solemn Mass, the chalice is placed beforehand on the credence table.

—Psalm 42 (“Iudica me, Deus”), preceded and followed by the antiphon “Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui lætificat iuventutem meam” (Translation: “I shall go in to the altar of God, the God who gives joy to my youth”), is recited by the priest, alternating with the deacon and subdeacon (if present) or servers. Then the priest makes again the sign of the Cross, saying: “Our help is in the name of the Lord”, to which the servers add: “Who made heaven and earth.”

—Confession (Confiteor)




—First the priest says the following while bowing low:

“Confíteor Deo omnipoténti, beátæ Maríæ semper Vírgini, beáto Michaéli Archángelo, beáto Ioanni Baptístæ, sanctis Apóstolis Petro et Paulo, ómnibus Sanctis, et vobis, fratres (tibi, Pater), quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo et ópere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem, beátum Michaélem Archángelum, beátum Ioánnem Baptístam, sanctos Apóstolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos, et vos, fratres (te, Pater), oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.”

(Translation: I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you, brethren, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin … and you, brethren, to pray to the Lord our God for me.) The servers pray for the priest: “May Almighty God have mercy on thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to life everlasting.” Then it is the ministers’ or servers’ turn to confess sinfulness and to ask for prayers. They use the same words as those used by the priest, except that they say “you, Father,” in place of “you, brethren”, and the priest responds with the same prayer that the servers have used for him (but using the plural number) plus an extra prayer.

—Some verses are then said by priest and ministers (or servers), ending with the priest saying: “Oremus” (“Let us pray.”) After this he goes to the altar, praying silently “that with pure minds we may worthily enter into the holy of holies”, a reference to Exodus 26:33-341 Kings (or 3 Kings) 6:161 Kings (or 3 Kings) 8:62 Chronicles (or 2 Paralipomenon)
3:8Ezekiel 41:4, and others. He places his joined hands on the edge of the altar, so that only the tips of the small fingers touch the front of it, and silently prays that, by the merits of the Saints whose relics are in the altar, God may pardon all his sins. At the words “quorum relíquiæ hic sunt” (whose relics are here), he spreads his hands and kisses the altar.


Priest at the altar


—The priest again makes the sign of the Cross while he begins to read the Introit, which is usually taken from a Psalm. Exceptions occur: e.g. the Introit for Easter Sunday is adapted from Wisdom 10:20-21, and the antiphon in Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary was from the poet Sedulius. This evolved from the practice of singing a full Psalm, interspersed with the antiphon, during the entrance of the clergy, before the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were added to the Mass in medieval times. This is indicated by the very name of “Introit”.


—This part of Mass is a linguistic marker of the origins of the Roman liturgy in Greek. “Kyrie, eleison; Christe, eleison; Kyrie, eleison.” means “Lord, have mercy; Christ have mercy; …” Each phrase is said (or sung) three times.

—Gloria in excelsis Deo

—The first line of the Gloria is taken from Lk 2:14. The Gloria is omitted during liturgical seasons calling for penitence, such as Advent and Lent, both generally having the liturgical color violet, but is used on feasts falling during such seasons, as well as on Holy Thursday. It is always omitted for a Requiem Mass.

—The Collect

—The priest turns toward the people and says, “Dominus vobiscum.” The servers respond: “Et cum spiritu tuo.” (“The Lord be with you.” “And with thy spirit”). The Collect follows, a prayer not drawn directly from Scripture. It tends to reflect the season.



—The priest reads the Epistle, primarily an extract from the letters of St. Paul to various churches. In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI has permitted this to be read in the vernacular language when Mass is celebrated with the people.

—Between the Epistle and the Gospel two (rarely three) choir responses are sung or said. Usually these are a Gradual followed by an Alleluia; but between Septuagesima Sunday and Holy Saturday, or in a Requiem Mass or other penitential Mass the Alleluia is replaced by a Tract, and between Easter Sunday and Pentecost the Gradual is replaced by a second Alleluia. On a few exceptional occasions (most notably Easter, Pentecost, Corpus Christi, and in a Requiem Mass), a Sequence follows the Alleluia or Tract.

—The Gradual is partly composed of a portion of a Psalm.

—The Gospel reading, an extract from one of the four Gospels

—Before the reading or chanting of the Gospel, the priest prays: “Cleanse my heart and my lips, O almighty God, who didst cleanse the lips of the prophet Isaias …”, a reference to Isaiah 6:6. In this passage, after being cleansed by the angel, Isaiah was instructed to prophesy.

—The Sermon

—The rite of Mass as revised by Pope Pius V (the Tridentine Mass) does not consider a sermon obligatory and speaks of it instead as merely optional: it presumes that the Creed, if it is to be said, will follow the Gospel immediately, but adds: “If, however, someone is to preach, the Homilist, after the Gospel has been finished, preaches, and when the sermon or moral address has been completed, the Credo is said, or if it is not to be said, the Offertory is sung.” By contrast the Roman Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI declares that the homily may not be omitted without a grave reason from Mass celebrated with the people attending on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation and that it is recommended on other days.

—The Creed

—This is the Nicene Creed, professing faith in God the Father, in God the Son, the Word made flesh, in God the Holy Ghost, and in the Holy Church. At the mention of the Incarnation, the celebrant and the congregation genuflect.




Mass of the Faithful

The second part is the Mass of the Faithful.


—Offertory Verse

—After greeting the people once more (“Dominus vobiscum/Et cum spiritu tuo“) and giving the invitation to pray (Oremus), the priest enters upon the Mass of the Faithful, from which the non-baptized were once excluded. He reads the Offertory Verse, a short quotation from Holy Scripture which varies with the Mass of each day, with hands joined.

—Offering of Bread and Wine

—The priest offers the host, holding it on the paten at breast level and praying that, although he is unworthy, God may accept “this spotless host (or victim, the basic meaning of hostia in Latin) for his own innumerable sins, offences and neglects, for all those present, and for all faithful Christians living and dead, that it may avail unto salvation of himself and those mentioned. He then mixes a few drops of water with the wine, which will later become the Blood of Jesus, and holding the chalice so that the lip of the chalice is about the height of his lips, offers “the chalice of salvation”, asking that it may “ascend with a sweet fragrance.” He then prays a prayer of contrition adapted from Daniel 3:39-40.

—Incensing of the offerings and of the faithful

—At a High Mass, the priest blesses the incense, then incenses the bread and wine. Among the prayers the priest says is Psalm 141:2-4: “Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed as incense in Thy sight; …”, which is prayed as he incenses the altar. The priest then gives the thurible to the deacon, who incenses the priest, then the other ministers and the congregation.

—Washing the hands

—The priest prays Psalm 26:6-12: “I will wash my hands among the innocent…”

—Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity

—This prayer asks that the Divine Trinity may receive the oblation being made in remembrance of the passion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and in honour of blessed Mary ever Virgin and the other saints, “that it may avail to their honour and our salvation: and that they may vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven…”

—Orate fratres, Suscipiat and Secret; Amen concludes Offertory

—Here the priest turns to the congregation and says the first two words, “Orate, fratres,” in an elevated tone and then turns around while finishing the exhortation in the secret tone. “Pray, Brethren, that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God the Father almighty.”

—The altar servers respond with the Suscipiat to which the priest secretly responds, “Amen.”: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram, totiusque ecclesiæ suae sanctæ. A translation in the English is: “May the Lord accept this sacrifice at your hands, to the praise and glory of His name, for our good and the good of all His Holy Church.”

—The Priest then says the day’s Secret inaudibly, and concludes it with Per omnia sæcula sæculorum aloud.

—The altar servers and (in dialogue Mass) the congregation respond: “Amen.”



—Preface of the Canon

—“The Roman Canon dates in essentials from before St. Gregory the Great, who died in 604, and who is credited with adding a phrase to it. It contains the main elements found in almost all rites, but in an unusual arrangement and it is unclear which part should be considered to be the Epiclesis.

—Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo. Sursum corda. Habemus ad Dominum. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro. Dignum et iustum est. The first part can be seen above at the Collect; the rest means: Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.

—Next a preface is prayed, indicating specific reasons for giving thanks to God. This leads to the Sanctus.

—Canon or rule of consecration

—Intercession (corresponding to the reading of the diptychs in the Byzantine Rite — a diptych is a two-leaf painting, carving or writing tablet.)

—Here the priest prays for the living, that God may guard, unite and govern the Church together with the Pope and “all those who, holding to the truth, hand on the catholic and apostolic faith”. Then specific living people are mentioned, and the congregation in the church. Next, Mary ever Virgin, Saint Joseph, the Apostles, and some Popes and other Martyrs are mentioned by name, as well as a generic “and all your Saints”, in communion with whom prayer is offered.

—Prayers preparatory to the consecration

—A prayer that God may graciously accept the offering and “command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen”.

—Consecration (transubstantiation) and major elevation

—The passage Lk 22:19-20 is key in this section. In Summa Theologiae III 78 3 Thomas Aquinas addresses the interspersed phrase, “the mystery of faith”. On this phrase, see Mysterium fidei.

—Oblation of the victim to God

—An oblation is an offering; the pure, holy, spotless victim is now offered, with a prayer that God may accept the offering and command his holy angel to carry the offering to God’s altar on high, so that those who receive the Body and Blood of Christ “may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing”.

—Remembrance of the Dead

—The priest now prays for the dead (“those who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace”) and asks that they be granted a place of refreshment, light and peace. This is followed by a prayer that we be granted fellowship with the Saints. John the Baptist and fourteen martyrs, seven men and seven women, are mentioned by name.

—End of the Canon and doxology with minor elevation



—The concluding doxology is: “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, for ever and ever.” “Amen” ratifies the Canon prayer.


The elevation candle

—Until 1960, the Tridentine form of the Roman Missal laid down that a candle should be placed at the Epistle side of the altar and that it should be lit at the showing of the consecrated sacrament to the people. In practice, except in monasteries and on special occasions, this had fallen out of use long before Pope John XXIII replaced the section on the general rubrics of the Roman Missal with his Code of Rubrics, which no longer mentioned this custom. On this, see Elevation candle.



—The Lord’s Prayer and Libera nos

—The “Libera nos” is an extension of the Lord’s Prayer developing the line “sed libera nos a malo” (“but deliver us from evil”). The priest prays that we may be delivered from all evils and that the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with the apostles and saints, may intercede to obtain for us peace in our day.

—Fraction of the Host

—During the preceding prayer, the priest breaks the consecrated Host into three parts, and after concluding the prayer drops the smallest part into the Chalice while praying that this commingling and consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ may “be to us who receive it effectual to life everlasting.”

—Agnus Dei

—“Agnus Dei” means “Lamb of God”. The priest then prays: “Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” He repeats this, and then adds: “Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.” The Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday has “have mercy on us” all three times. In Requiem Masses, the petitions are “grant them rest” (twice), followed by “grant them eternal rest.”

—The Pax

—The priest asks Christ to look not at the priest’s sins but at the faith of Christ’s Church, and prays for peace and unity within the Church. Then, if a High Mass is being celebrated, he gives the sign of peace to the deacon, saying: “Peace be with you.”

—Prayers preparatory to the Communion

—In the first of these two prayers for himself, the priests asks that by Holy Communion he may be freed from all his iniquities and evils, be made to adhere to the commandments of Jesus and never be separated from him. In the second he asks: “Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ…turn to my judgment and condemnation: but through Thy goodness may it be unto me a safeguard….”

—Receiving of the Body and Blood of our Lord

—The priest quietly says several prayers here, before receiving Communion. One of them, spoken three times in a slightly audible voice, while the priest holds the Host in his left hand and strikes his breast with his right, is based on Matthew 8:8: “Lord, I am not worthy….”

—If the priest is to give Communion to others, he holds up a small host and says aloud: “Behold the Lamb of God …”, and three times: “Lord, I am not worthy …” He then gives Communion, first making with the host the sign of the cross over each communicant, while saying: “May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul for eternal life. Amen.”



—Prayers during the Ablutions

—The prayers now focus on what has been received, that “we may receive with a pure mind”, “that no stain of sin may remain in me, whom these pure and holy sacraments have refreshed.”

—Communion Antiphon and Postcommunion

—The communion antiphon is normally a portion of a Psalm. The Postcommunion Prayer is akin to the Collect in being an appropriate prayer not directly drawn from Scripture.

—Ite Missa est; Blessing

—“Go, it is the dismissal.” The word “Mass” derives from this phrase.

—After saying a silent prayer for himself, the priest then gives the people his blessing.

—The Last Gospel

—The priest then reads the Last Gospel, the beginning of the Gospel of JohnJohn 1:1-14, which recounts the Incarnation of the Son of God. On certain occasions, as for instance at the Day Mass on Christmas Day, another Gospel passage was read instead because that Gospel is read as the Gospel of the Mass, but Pope John XXIII’s revision of the rubrics decreed that on those and on other occasions the Last Gospel should simply be omitted.


Prayers of the priest before and after Mass

The Tridentine Missal includes prayers for the priest to say before and after Mass.

In later editions of the Roman Missal, including that of 1962, the introductory heading of these prayers indicates that they are to be recited pro opportunitate (as circumstances allow), which in practice means that they are merely optional and may be omitted. The original Tridentine Missal presents most of the prayers as obligatory, indicating as optional only a very long prayer attributed to Saint Ambrose (which later editions divide into seven sections, each to be recited on only one day of the week) and two other prayers attributed to Saint Ambrose and Saint Thomas Aquinas respectively.

In addition to these three prayers, the original Tridentine Missal proposes for the priest to recite before he celebrates Mass the whole of Psalms 83–85, 115, 129 (the numbering is that of the Septuagint and Vulgate), and a series of collect-style prayers.




Later editions add, after the three that in the original Missal are only optional, prayers to the Blessed Virgin, Saint Joseph, all the angels and saints, and the saint whose Mass is to be celebrated, but, as has been said, treats as optional all the prayers before Mass, even those originally given as obligatory.

The original Tridentine Missal proposes for recitation by the priest after Mass three prayers, including the Adoro te devote. Later editions place before these three the Canticle of the Three Youths (Daniel) with three collects, and follow them with the Anima Christi and seven more prayers, treating as optional even the three prescribed in the original Tridentine Missal.


The Leonine Prayers

From 1884 to 1965, the Holy See prescribed the recitation after Low Mass of certain prayers, originally for the solution of the Roman Question and, after this problem was solved by the Lateran Treaty, “to permit tranquillity and freedom to profess the faith to be restored to the afflicted people of Russia”.

These prayers are known as the Leonine Prayers because it was Pope Leo XIII who on 6 January 1884 ordered their recitation throughout the world. In what had been the Papal States, they were already in use since 1859.

The prayers comprised three Ave Marias, one Salve Regina followed by a versicle and response, and a collect prayer that, from 1886 on, asked for the conversion of sinners and “the freedom and exaltation of Holy Mother the Church”, and, again from 1886 on, a prayer to Saint Michael. In 1904, Pope Pius X added a thrice-repeated “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.”

In 1964, with effect from 7 March 1965, the Holy See ended the obligation to recite the Leonine Prayers after Low Mass. However, the Leonine Prayers are sometimes still recited after present-day celebrations of Tridentine Mass, although they are not included even in the 1962 edition of the Tridentine Missal.


Participation by the people

The participation of the congregation at the Tridentine Mass is interior, involving eye and heart, and exterior by mouth.

Except in the Dialogue Mass form, which arose about 1910 and led to a more active exterior participation of the congregation, the people present at the Tridentine Mass do not recite out loud the prayers of the Mass. Only the server or servers join with the priest in reciting the prayers at the foot of the altar (which include the Confiteor) and in speaking the other responses. Most of the prayers that the priest says are spoken inaudibly, including almost all the Mass of the Faithful: the offertory prayers, the Canon of the Mass (except for the preface and the final doxology), and (apart from the Agnus Dei) those between the Lord’s Prayer and the Postcommunion.

At a Solemn Mass or Missa Cantata, a choir sings the servers’ responses, except for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. The choir sings the Introit, the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Gradual, the Tract or Alleluia, the Credo, the Offertory and Communion antiphons, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei. Of these, only the five that form part of the Ordinary of the Mass are usually sung at a Missa Cantata. In addition to the Gregorian Chant music for these, polyphonic compositions exist, some quite elaborate. The priest largely says quietly the words of the chants and then recites other prayers while the choir continues the chant.


Different levels of celebration

There are various forms of celebration of the Tridentine Mass:

—Pontifical High Mass: celebrated by a bishop accompanied by an assisting priest, deacon, subdeacon, thurifer, acolytes and other ministers, under the guidance of a priest acting as Master of Ceremonies. Most often the specific parts assigned to deacon and subdeacon are performed by priests. The parts that are said aloud are all chanted, except that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, which before the reform of Pope Pius V were said in the sacristy, are said quietly by the bishop with the deacon and the subdeacon, while the choir sings the Introit. The main difference between a pontifical and an ordinary High Mass is that the bishop remains at his throne almost all the time until the offertory.

—Solemn or High Mass (Latin: Missa solemnis): offered by a priest accompanied by a deacon and subdeacon and the other ministers mentioned above.

—Missa Cantata (Latin for “sung mass”): celebrated by a priest without deacon and subdeacon, and thus a form of Low Mass, but with some parts (the three variable prayers, the Scripture readings, Preface, Pater Noster, and Ite Missa Est) sung by the priest, and other parts (Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Gradual, Tract or Alleluia, Credo, Offertory Antiphon, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei, and Communion Antiphon) sung by the choir. Incense may be used exactly as at a Solemn Mass with the exception of incensing the celebrant after the Gospel which is not done.

—Low Mass: the priest sings no part of the Mass, though in some places a choir or the congregation sings, during the Mass, hymns not always directly related to the Mass.

In its article “The Liturgy of the Mass”, the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia
describes how, when concelebration
ceased to be practised in Western Europe, Low Mass became distinguished from High Mass:

The separate celebrations then involved the building of many altars in one church and the reduction of the ritual to the simplest possible form. The deacon and subdeacon were in this case dispensed with; the celebrant took their part as well as his own. One server took the part of the choir and of all the other ministers, everything was said instead of being sung, the incense and kiss of peace were omitted. So we have the well-known rite of low Mass (missa privata). This then reacted on high Mass (missa solemnis), so that at high Mass too the celebrant himself recites everything, even though it be sung by the deacon, subdeacon, or choir.

On the origin of the “Missa Cantata”, the same source gives the following information:

… High Mass is the norm; it is only in the complete rite with deacon and subdeacon that the ceremonies can be understood. Thus, the rubrics of the Ordinary of the Mass always suppose that the Mass is high. Low Mass, said by a priest alone with one server, is a shortened and simplified form of the same thing. Its ritual can be explained only by a reference to high Mass.



For instance, the celebrant goes over to the north side of the altar to read the Gospel, because that is the side to which the deacon goes in procession at high Mass; he turns round always by the right, because at high Mass he should not turn his back to the deacon and so on. A sung Mass (missa Cantata) is a modern compromise. It is really a low Mass, since the essence of high Mass is not the music but the deacon and subdeacon. Only in churches which have no ordained person except one priest, and in which high Mass is thus impossible, is it allowed to celebrate the Mass (on Sundays and feasts) with most of the adornment borrowed from high Mass, with singing and (generally) with incense.


Revision of the Roman Missal

Pius XII began in earnest the work of revising the Roman Missal with a thorough revision of the rites of Holy Week, which, after an experimental period beginning in 1951, was made obligatory in 1955. The Mass that used to be said on Holy Thursday morning was moved to the evening, necessitating a change in the rule that previously had required fasting from midnight. The Good Friday service was moved to the afternoon, Holy Communion was no longer reserved for the priest alone (as before, hosts consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass were used) and the priest no longer received part of the host in unconsecrated wine. The Easter Vigil service that used to be held in morning of Holy Saturday was moved to the night that leads to Easter Sunday and many changes were made to the content.

In 1960, Pope John XXIII (1958–1963) ordered the suppression of the word “perfidis” (“unbelieving” i.e. not believing in Jesus), applied to the Jews, in the rites for Good Friday. He revised the rubrics to the Order of Mass and the Breviary. Two years later, in 1962, he made some more minor modifications on the occasion of publishing a new typical edition of the Roman Missal. This is the edition authorized for use by virtue of the Quattuor abhinc annos indult (see below, under Present status of the Tridentine Mass). Among the other changes he made and that were included in the 1962 Missal were: adding St. Joseph’s name to the Roman Canon; eliminating the second Confiteor before Communion; suppressing 10 feasts, such as St. Peter’s Chair in Rome (or, more accurately, combining both feasts of St Peter’s Chair into one, as they originally had been); incorporating the abolition of 4 festal octaves and 9 vigils of feasts and other changes made by Pope Pius XII; and modifying rubrics especially for Solemn High Masses. Among the names that disappeared from the Roman Missal was that of St Philomena: her liturgical celebration had never been admitted to the General Roman Calendar, but from 1920 it had been included (with an indication that the Mass was to be taken entirely from the common) in the section headed “Masses for some places”, i.e. only those places for which it had been specially authorized; but her name had already in 1961 been ordered to be removed from all liturgical calendars.

On 4 December 1963, the Second Vatican Council decreed in Chapter II of its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium:

“[T]he rite of the Mass is to be revised … the rites are to be simplified, due care being taken to preserve their substance. Parts which with the passage of time came to be duplicated, or were added with little advantage, are to be omitted. Other parts which suffered loss through accidents of history are to be restored to the vigor they had in the days of the holy Fathers, as may seem useful or necessary. The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly so that a richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word … A suitable place may be allotted to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people … communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit…as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism…”

The instruction Inter Oecumenici of 26 September 1964 initiated the application to the Mass of the decisions that the Council had taken less than a year before. Permission was given for use, only in Mass celebrated with the people, of the vernacular language, especially in the Biblical readings and the reintroduced Prayers of the Faithful, but, “until the whole of the Ordinary of the Mass has been revised,” in the chants (Kyrie, Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and the entrance, offertory and communion antiphons) and in the parts that involved dialogue with the people, and in the Our Father, which the people could now recite entirely together with the priest. Most Episcopal Conferences quickly approved interim vernacular translations, generally different from country to country, and, after having them confirmed by the Holy See, published them in 1965. Other changes included the omission of Psalm 43 (42) at the start of Mass and the Last Gospel at the end, both of which Pope Pius V had first inserted into the Missal (having previously been private prayers said by the priest in the sacristy), and the Leonine Prayers of Pope Leo XIII. The Canon of the Mass, which continued to be recited silently, was kept in Latin.

Three years later, the instruction Tres abhinc annos of 4 May 1967 gave permission for use of the vernacular even in the Canon of the Mass, and allowed it to be said audibly and even, in part, to be chanted; the vernacular could be used even at Mass celebrated without the people being present. Use of the maniple was made optional, and at three ceremonies at which the cope was previously the obligatory vestment the chasuble could be used instead. Pope Paul VI continued implementation of the Council’s directives, ordering with Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of Holy Thursday, 3 April 1969, publication of a new official edition of the Roman Missal, which appeared (in Latin) in 1970.


Opposition to the latest revisions of the liturgy

Some Traditionalist Catholics reject to a greater or lesser extent the changes made since 1950. None advocate returning to the original (1570) form of the liturgy, though some may perhaps wish a re-establishment of its form before Pius X’s revision of the rubrics in 1911. Some do refuse to accept the 1955 changes in the liturgy of Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum and in the liturgical calendar (see General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII), and instead use the General Roman Calendar as in 1954. Others accept the 1955 changes by Pius XII, but not those of Pope John XXIII. Others again, in accordance with the authorization granted by Pope Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum, use the Missal and calendar as it was in 1962.

Some of them argue that, unlike earlier reforms, the revision of 1969-1970 which replaced the Tridentine Mass with the Mass of Pope Paul VI represented a major break with the past. They consider that the content of the revised liturgy is, in Catholic terms, seriously deficient and defective; some hold that it is displeasing to God, and that no Catholic should attend it.




When a preliminary text of two of the sections of the revised Missal was published in 1969, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre gathered a group of twelve theologians, who, under his direction, wrote a study of the text. They stated that it “represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent”.
Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, a former Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, supported this study with a letter of 25 September 1969 to Pope Paul VI. Cardinal Antonio Bacci signed the same letter. The critical study became known as “
the Ottaviani Intervention“. Cardinal Ottaviani subsequently stated in writing that he had not intended his letter to be made public, and that Pope Paul VI’s doctrinal exposition, on 19 November and 26 November 1969, of the revised liturgy in its definitive form meant that “no one can be genuinely scandalised any more”. Jean Madiran, a critic of Vatican II and founder-editor of the French journal Itinéraires, claimed that this letter was fraudulently presented to the elderly and already blind cardinal for his signature by his secretary, Monsignor (and future Cardinal) Gilberto Agustoni, and that Agustoni resigned shortly afterwards.
This allegation remains unproven, and Madiran himself was not an eyewitness of the alleged deception.

In October 1967, a meeting of the Synod of Bishops had already given its opinion on a still earlier draft. Of the 187 members, 78 approved it as it stood, 62 approved it but suggested various modifications, 4 abstained, and 47 voted against.

From the 1960s onwards, Western countries have experienced a drop in Mass attendance (in the United States, from 75% of Catholics attending in 1958 to 25% attending by 2002). These same countries saw a decline in seminary enrollments and in the number of priests (in the United States, from 1,575 ordinations in 1954 to 450 in 2002), and a general erosion of belief in the doctrines of the Catholic faith. Opponents of the revision of the Mass liturgy argue, citing opinion poll evidence in their support, that the revision contributed to this decline. Others, pointing, among other considerations, to the fact that, globally, there are more priests and seminarians now than in previous years (in 1970, there were 72,991 major seminarians worldwide, in 2002, there were 113,199, an increase of 55%, at a time, however, when there was an increase of global population of 64%), suggest that the apparent decline of Catholic practice in the West is due to the general influence of secularism and liberalism on Western societies rather than to developments within the Catholic Church.


Attitudes of Popes since the Second Vatican Council

Pope Paul VI

Following the introduction of the Mass of Paul VI in 1969-1970, the Holy See granted a significant number of permissions for the use of the former liturgy. For example, elderly priests were not required to switch to celebrating the new form. In England and Wales, occasional celebrations of the Tridentine Mass were allowed in virtue of what became known as the “Agatha Christie indult“. However, there was no general worldwide legal framework allowing for the celebration of the rite. Following the rise of the Traditionalist Catholic movement in the 1970s, Pope Paul VI reportedly declined to liberalise its use further on the grounds that it had become a politically charged symbol associated with opposition to his policies.


Pope John Paul II

In 1984, the Holy See sent a letter known as Quattuor abhinc annos to the presidents of the world’s Episcopal Conferences. This document empowered diocesan bishops to authorise, on certain conditions, celebrations of the Tridentine Mass for priests and laypeople who requested them. In 1988, following the excommunication of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and four bishops that he had consecrated, the Pope issued a further document, a motu proprio known as Ecclesia Dei, which stated that “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition”. The Pope urged bishops to give “a wide and generous application” to the provisions of Quattuor abhinc annos, and established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to oversee relations between Rome and Traditionalist Catholics.

The Holy See itself granted authorisation to use the Tridentine Mass to a significant number of priests and priestly societies, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney. Some diocesan bishops, however, declined to authorise celebrations within their dioceses, or did so only to a limited extent. In some cases, the difficulty was that those seeking the permission were hostile to the church authorities. Other refusals of permission were alleged to have stemmed from certain bishops’ disapproval in principle of celebrations of the Tridentine liturgy.


Pope Benedict XVI

As a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger was regarded as having a particular interest in the liturgy, and as being favourable towards the older rite of Mass. He famously criticized the erratic way in which, contrary to official policy, many priests celebrated the revised rite.

In September 2006, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei established the Institute of the Good Shepherd, made up of former members of the Society of St. Pius X, in Bordeaux, France, with permission to use the Tridentine liturgy. This step was met with some discontent from French clergy, and thirty priests wrote an open letter to the Pope. Consistently with its previous policy, the Society of St Pius X rejected the move.

Following repeated rumours that the use of the Tridentine Mass would be liberalised, the Pope issued a motu proprio called Summorum Pontificum on 7 July 2007, together with an accompanying letter to the world’s Bishops. The Pope declared that “the Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the lex orandi (law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nevertheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by St. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi'”. He further stated that “the 1962 Missal … was never juridically abrogated”. He replaced with new rules those of Quattuor Abhinc Annos on use of the older form: essentially, authorization for using the 1962 form for parish Masses and those celebrated on public occasions such as a wedding is devolved from the local bishop to the priest in charge of a church, and any priest of the Latin Rite may use the 1962 Roman Missal in “Masses celebrated without the people”, a term that does not exclude attendance by other worshippers, lay or clergy. 




While requests by groups of Catholics wishing to use the Tridentine liturgy in parish Masses are to be dealt with by the parish priest (or the rector of the church) rather than, as before, by the local bishop, the Pope and Cardinal Darío Castrillón have stated that the bishops’ authority is not thereby undermined.


Present regulations

The regulations set out in Summorum Pontificum provide that:

—In Masses celebrated “without the people”, every Latin Rite priest may use either the 1962 Roman Missal or that of Paul VI except during the Easter Triduum (when Masses without participation by the people are no longer allowed). Celebrations of Mass in this form (formerly referred to as “private Masses”) may, as before, be attended by laypeople who ask to be admitted.

—In parish Masses, where there is a stable group of laypeople who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the parish priest should willingly accept their requests to be allowed to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, and should ensure that their welfare harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392 of the Code of Canon Law, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the Church.

—Mass may be celebrated using the 1962 Missal on working days, while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may be held.

—For priests and laypeople who request it, the parish priest should allow celebrations of the 1962 form on special occasions such as weddings, funerals, and pilgrimages.

—Communities belonging to institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life which wish to use the 1962 Missal for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories may do so.

With letter 13/2007 of 20 January 2010 the Pontifical Council Ecclesia Dei responded positively to a question whether a parish priest (pastor) or another priest may on his own initiative publicly celebrate the extraordinary form, along with the customary regular use of the new form, “so that the faithful, both young and old, can familiarize themselves with the old rites and benefit from their perceptible beauty and transcendence”. Although the Council accompanied this response with the observation that a stable group of the faithful attached to the older form has a right to assist at Mass in the extraordinary form, a website that published the response interpreted it as not requiring the existence of such a stable group.


Present practice

The publication of Summorum Pontificum has led to an increase in the number of regularly scheduled public Tridentine Masses. On 14 June 2008 Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos told a London press conference that Pope Benedict wants every parish to offer both the old and the new forms for Sunday Mass.

The cardinal said that the Vatican was preparing to instruct seminaries to teach all students the Tridentine form of the Roman Rite. The complexity of the rubrics makes it difficult for priests accustomed to the simpler modern form to celebrate the Tridentine form properly, and it is unclear how many have the required knowledge.

Some Traditionalist Catholic priests and organisations, holding that no official permission is required to use any form of the Tridentine Mass, celebrate it without regularizing their situation, and sometimes using editions of the Roman Missal earlier than the 1962 edition approved in Summorum Pontificum.

In order to provide for priests who celebrate the Tridentine Mass, publishers have issued facsimiles or reprintings of old missals. There were two new printings of the 1962 Tridentine Missal in 2004: one, with the imprimatur of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, by Baronius Press in association with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter; the other by the Society of St. Pius X’s publishing house, Angelus Press. There was a new printing of a facsimile 1962 Tridentine Altar Missal in 2008 by PCP books. Some other missals reproduced date from before 1955 and so do not have the revised Holy Week rites promulgated by Pope Pius XII. They are used by traditionalists who reject Pius XII’s liturgical changes. As well as such altar missals for use by the priest, old hand missals for those attending Mass have been reproduced, including a St Bonaventure Press facsimile of a pre-1955 edition of the St Andrew’s Missal.


The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX)


The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is an international organisation, founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of traditionalist Catholic priests who do not legitimately exercise any ministry within the Catholic Church and whose association has no canonical status. The official Latin name of the society is Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Pii X (English: “Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X”). The head Superior General of the society is Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The society is known as a strong defender and proponent of the Tridentine Mass, along with pious practices, beliefs, customs and religious discipline often associated with the period before the Second Vatican Council, which the society believes promoted erroneous and heretical teachings, on matters such as the liturgical revision, ecumenism, freedom of religion, the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Church over other religions and relations with Jews. Accordingly, the society holds that their unrelenting effort to preserve the Tridentine Mass along with its traditionalist pious practices rescued the value of tradition against modernism** and the ongoing laxity of Catholic doctrine detrimentally caused by the Second Vatican Council. **See Pope Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici Gregis -Michael

Pope Benedict XVI declared that, for doctrinal rather than disciplinary reasons, the SSPX has no canonical status in the Catholic Church and, because of that lack of canonical status, the ministries exercised by its ministers are not legitimate in the Church. However, the society’s superior general maintains that the Holy See gives some recognition to the canonical existence and ecclesial ministry of the Society’s priests.




Tensions between the society and the Holy See reached their height in 1988, when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops against the orders of Pope John Paul II, resulting in a declaration of excommunication against the bishops who consecrated or were consecrated, an excommunication remitted for those still alive in January 2009 with a hope expressed that all members of the society would quickly return to full communion.

Formal discussions between the Holy See and the society began in 2009 and reached a critical stage in 2012, when Bishop Bernard Fellay rejected the doctrinal document presented to him on 13 June, evaluating a text proposed by the society on 15 April. Fellay asked Pope Benedict if that document had the Pope’s personal approval and the Pope sent him a handwritten letter assuring him that it had. On 27 June 2013, the society’s three remaining bishops (it had expelled Bishop Williamson) formally rejected the Holy See’s proposals and on 12 October 2013, Bishop Fellay spoke of Pope Francis as a Modernist.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, stated on 22 December 2013 that the leaders of the Society are in schism, having departed from communion with the Church, but that the door is open for them if they change their attitude and accept the Catholic Church’s conditions and the Pope as the definitive criterion of membership. In another interview on 12 February 2014, he said there is no backdoor for admittance, but only the open door of acceptance of the doctrinal preamble presented to the society in 2012…

The canonical situation of the SSPX has been the subject of much controversy since the 1988 Écône consecrations. The Society claims to possess extraordinary jurisdiction for celebrating masses and for other sacraments like penance and marriage.

The view of the Holy See, as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 March 2009, is: “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”


Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum university in Rome, says that, for Catholics, assistance at Mass celebrated by priests of the Society is not in itself a sin: “It would only become so if a person attended this Mass with the deliberate intention of separating himself from communion with the Pope and those in those in communion with him.” However, he concludes: “Only if there is objectively no alternative should one attend the Mass celebrated by a priest from the Society of St. Pius X. If one has to do so, then I would say that one may go in good conscience.”

He adds: “At the same time, it is our ardent prayer and desire, as it should be for all Catholics, that the doctrinal issues with the Society of St. Pius X will be resolved as soon as possible so that these priests may return to full communion and canonical good standing within the Church.”


Mass with the Society of St. Pius X

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/mass-with-the-society-of-st-pius-x, http://www.zenit.org/article-32905?l=english

By Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, Rome, June 21, 2011

Q: I am going to be visiting some dear friends this summer. They recently began attending the Society of Pius X after a great deal of prayer and study, including consultations with a canon lawyer. I am still struggling with the answer to it all. Would you please help me to discern where the Church stands on this issue so that I can make the right decision about where I should attend Mass while I am visiting? -A.Z., Regina, Saskatchewan

A: I believe it is necessary to distinguish between attending a Mass celebrated according to the norms of the 1962 Roman Missal (the extraordinary form) and attending a Mass celebrated according to this form by priests associated with the Society of St. Pius X. In the wake of Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum,” any Catholic can freely attend, and most priests may celebrate, Mass according to the 1962 missal. Thus it should become increasingly easier to find such a Mass.

Attending a Mass of the Society of St. Pius X is a different case. This society was founded in 1970 by French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. For doctrinal rather than disciplinary reasons, the society has no canonical status in the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father said in his letter of March 10, 2009, concerning his remission of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X: “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers — even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty — do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

With respect to the status of the members of this society, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesiae Dei has issued several private replies to individuals which have later been published on the Internet. One of the most recent, from 2008, reflects earlier replies. Regarding the status of adherents to the society, it states:

The priests of the Society of St. Pius X are validly ordained, but suspended, that is prohibited from exercising their priestly functions because they are not properly incardinated in a diocese or religious institute in full communion with the Holy See (cf. Code of Canon Law, canon 265) and also because those ordained after the schismatic Episcopal ordinations were ordained by an excommunicated bishop.

“Concretely, this means that the Masses offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X are valid, but illicit, i.e., contrary to Canon Law. The Sacraments of Penance and Matrimony, however, require that the priest enjoys the faculties of the diocese or has proper delegation. Since that is not the case with these priests, these sacraments are invalid.


It remains true, however, that, if the faithful are genuinely ignorant that the priests of the Society of St. Pius X do not have proper faculty to absolve, the Church supplies these faculties so that the sacrament is valid (cf. Code of Canon Law, #144).

“While it is true that participation in the Mass at chapels of the Society of St. Pius X does not of itself constitute ‘formal adherence to the schism’ (cf. Ecclesia Dei 5, c), such adherence can come about over a period of time as one slowly imbibes a schismatic mentality which separates itself from the teaching of the Supreme Pontiff and the entire Catholic Church. While we hope and pray for a reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X, the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” cannot recommend that members of the faithful frequent their chapels for the reasons which we have outlined above. We deeply regret this situation and pray that soon a reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X with the Church may come about, but until such time the explanations which we have given remain in force.”

Thus I think it is fairly clear. The mere fact of assisting at a Mass of this society is not a sin. It would only become so if a person attended this Mass with the deliberate intention of separating himself from communion with the Roman Pontiff and those in communion with him.

I would say, therefore, that a conscientious Catholic should not knowingly attend a Mass celebrated by a priest not in good standing with the Church. Doing so deprives participation at Mass of that fullness of communion with Christ and his Church which the Mass, by its very nature and in all its forms, is called to express.

Therefore, the first thing to do would be to investigate the availability of Mass (in the ordinary or extraordinary form) in another locale during your visit. If it is not available, then you could attend any Eastern Catholic celebration.

Only if there is objectively no alternative should one attend the Mass celebrated by a priest from the Society of St. Pius X. If one has to do so, then I would say that one may go in good conscience.

At the same time, it is our ardent prayer and desire, as it should be for all Catholics, that the doctrinal issues with the Society of St. Pius X will be resolved as soon as possible so that these priests may return to full communion and canonical good standing within the Church.


Indult Catholic


Indult Catholic was a term for a traditionalist Catholic who preferred to attend the older Tridentine form of Mass instead of the ordinary present-day form of the Roman-rite liturgy, the Mass of Paul VI, but who attended only those celebrations that had the explicit approval of the Church authorities. The term was pejorative, typically being used by traditionalists who saw no legal necessity for an indult for the Tridentine rite.

“Indult” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indult) is a term in Catholic canon law referring to a permission to do something that would otherwise be unlawful. While more than one indult was issued by the Holy See in respect of the Tridentine Mass, the particular “indult” referred to in this phrase was the general permission granted to the world’s bishops by Pope John Paul II in 1984 to authorise celebrations of the Tridentine Mass in their dioceses. In 2007, this permission was superseded with Benedict XVI’s promulgation of a papal motu proprio entitled Summorum Pontificum.

When the Mass of Paul VI replaced the Tridentine Mass in 1969-1970, some priests continued to be granted permission by the Holy See to celebrate the old liturgy. For example, elderly priests were not required to adopt the new form when it was introduced, and in 1971 Pope Paul VI granted the “Agatha Christie indult” that allowed occasional celebrations of the older form in England and Wales.

Under Pope John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in 1984, sent the circular letter Quattuor abhinc annos to the presidents of the Episcopal Conferences, granting diocesan bishops an “indult” (permission) to authorize, under certain conditions, celebrations of the Tridentine Mass as contained in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal by priests and laypeople who requested it.

Following the canonically illegal consecration of four bishops by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Pope John Paul II issued on 2 July 1988 a motu proprio entitled Ecclesia Dei recommending a “wide and generous application of the directives of the 1984 indult.

The main condition on which diocesan bishops could grant authorization under the Quattuor abhinc annos indult was: “That it be made publicly clear beyond all ambiguity that such priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.”

Many diocesan bishops decided not to grant certain priests or laypeople permission to use the older form of the Roman Rite. In many cases this was because, in the opinion of the bishops in question, they did not meet this condition. Other refusals of permission were arguably more difficult to explain or justify.

Traditionalist Catholics who, like the supporters of the Society of St. Pius X, questioned the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the revised liturgy, and were thus in a state of separation from the Holy See, claimed that no authorization was required for celebrating Mass in the older form. They decried those who accepted the conditions attached to the Quattuor abhinc annos indult, applying to them the term “Indult Catholics”, and frequently did not recognise them as fellow traditionalists.

On 7 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. By this document he replaced the conditions laid down in Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei for use of the 1962 Missal, and decreed that, under conditions indicated in the document, recourse need no longer be had to the bishop of the diocese for permission to use that edition of the Roman Missal, even for public celebrations of Mass.



Quattuor abhinc annos


Quattuor Abhinc Annos (Latin for “four years ago”) is the incipit of a letter that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent on 3 October 1984 to presidents of episcopal conferences concerning celebration of Mass in the Tridentine form.

The Congregation thereby granted diocesan bishops an “indult” to authorize celebration of the Tridentine Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal by specified priests and groups of the faithful who requested it.

The permitted Tridentine Masses were to be in full accord with the 1962 Missal and in Latin.

An important condition for granting the requests was “that it be made publicly clear beyond all ambiguity that such priests and their respective faithful in no way share the positions of those who call in question the legitimacy and doctrinal exactitude of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970.”

Diocesan bishops refused many requests by people whom they considered not to have met this condition. But authorization was in fact granted either by diocesan bishops or directly by the Holy See to many priests, parishes and priestly societies, who could then use the older forms of the Roman Rite either exclusively or only on occasion. The priestly societies included the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney. These used the “Tridentine” liturgical books exclusively, not only for celebrating Mass but also for the other sacraments and rituals and for the Divine Office. Individual priests and communities belonging to religious institutes also received the same authorization. There were such cases among the Fraternity of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the Institute of Saint Philip Neri, the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius, the monasteries of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux and Sainte Marie de la Garde. Various diocesan clergy also availed of the document’s provision. See Communities using the Tridentine Mass for a list of priestly societies and religious institutes which celebrate the Tridentine Mass.

Groups such as the Society of St. Pius X, who maintained that they needed no permission to celebrate the Tridentine Mass decried the document and referred rather derisively to Masses celebrated with the Quattuor Abhinc Annos authorization as “Indult Masses”. Several of these groups, such as the Society of St. Pius V, preferred to celebrate Mass according to pre-1962 editions of the Roman Missal.

The view that use of the earlier form of the Roman liturgy had never been formally abrogated was authoritatively confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI, who declared that permission to use it (which can be granted by the priest in charge of the church) is required only for public celebration.

In his motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of 2 July 1988, deploring the action of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in consecrating, two days before, four bishops against the express prohibition of the Holy See (see Ecône consecrations), Pope John Paul II called for “wide and generous application” of the Quattuor Abhinc Annos directives.

Pope Benedict XVI revoked the directives on 7 July 2007, replacing them with the norms enunciated in his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.


Traditionalism: True and False


By Colin B. Donovan STL

(I)n the area of liturgy the Holy See has recognized the legitimate aspirations of those who love the Rites of the Roman Church as they existed before the Second Vatican Council. This was manifested by the apostolic letter
Ecclesia Dei
(Pope John Paul II, July 1988 –Michael)
granting the privilege of using the Missal of 1962 to those who desired it and who accepted the Vatican Council and the authority of the Holy See over the Liturgy***. The Pontiff encouraged the bishops of the world to be generous in granting this privilege in their dioceses to those who wish it.


***6. c) moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962.(9)


I cite Pope Benedict XVI’s July 2007 Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum:

In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy.  The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration.  It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”.  Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. 

At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal.  Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level.  Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. 





This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration.  We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level.

Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.  I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion.  And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the “legitimate aspirations” of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite.  At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully.  Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about.  Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio…

Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio…

There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. 


Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka
has described the liturgical reforms inspired by the Second Vatican Council as “a mixed bag of results.” While praising the use of vernacular languages, he also criticized the “quasi total abandonment” of Latin and the “acceptance of all kinds of ‘novelties’ resulting from a secularizing and humanistic theological and liturgical mindset overtaking the West.” He has also lamented the “banalization and obscuring of the mystical and sacred aspects of the liturgy in many areas of the Church in the name of a so-called Konzilsgeist (spirit of the Council).”

Ranjith opposes the reception of Communion in the hand and standing, once saying, “I think it is high time to…abandon the current practice that was not called for by Sacrosanctum Concilium, nor by Fathers, but was only accepted after its illegitimate introduction in some countries.” A staunch supporter of the Tridentine Mass, Ranjith once said that bishops who opposed Summorum Pontificum
were allowing themselves to be “used as instruments of the devil,” accusing them of “disobedience…and even rebellion against the Pope.” He once said, “I’m not a fan of the Lefebvrians
(Society of St. Pius X –Michael) …but what they sometimes say about the liturgy they say for good reason.”

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Ranjith



II. Information on the Tridentine Latin Rite Mass and related issues (in chronological order)

No prophet in his own land: Reflections on Benedict XVI


By Alice von Hildebrand, Crisis Magazine, Vol. 23, No. 6, June 2005
The election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the throne of Peter has elicited a response of joy from all the faithful who love Christ and His Church. […]
Last but not least, Benedict XVI has a profound understanding of the importance of the liturgy in Catholic life. He refers repeatedly to the deep impression that the liturgy of the Church and Gregorian chant have made on him since childhood. He knows well the importance of authentic Catholic culture in the lives of the faithful. As he wrote in Milestones: “The prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic…. I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy.” And later, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”
Can we hope that Benedict XVI will restore to the faithful, hungering for divine food, the splendor of the divine service from which they have been deprived for so long? Lex orandi, lex credendi.
This is the pontiff whom the Holy Ghost has inspired weak and imperfect men to give us as the representative of Christ on this earth. A Te Deum and a Magnificat are called for.
Alice von Hildebrand is professor emerita of philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York and the author of The Soul of a Lion: The Life of Dietrich von Hildebrand (Ignatius, 2000), with preface by Cardinal Ratzinger.


Pius V’s Latin Mass Scheduled at Youth DayMembers of Juventutem to Participate


Rome, July 21, 2005



At least 3,000 youths and 60 priests of a group supportive of the Latin Mass of Pope Pius V plan to attend World Youth Day in Cologne, an official says. Armand de Malleray, of St. Peter’s Fraternity, who is delegate general of the Juventutem association, announced the news to ZENIT. The first Juventutem group was made up of followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who met in Brazil. For the past three years, Juventutem has been in full communion with the Church of Rome. Its members will attend the August 21 Mass presided over by Benedict XVI.
In the preceding days, at 7:30 a.m. the Juventutem group will attend a Mass celebrated in Latin in the old rite, in the Church of St. Antonius in Dusseldorf, which, together with Bonn and Cologne, is one of the three areas in which World Youth Day events will be held. The church was assigned to them by the Pontifical Council for the Laity with the approval of Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne. Three cardinals and eight bishops will preside at vespers or lead times of prayer and reflection which Juventutem members will attend. De Malleray added that Juventutem’s objective for World Youth Day is to “get to know one another, knowing that we have a common tradition within Holy Mother Church.”


Tridentine Mass “Not a Priority,” Says Cardinal Arinze


Vatican City, October 13, 2005

No one at the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist has addressed the issue of the “Tridentine rite” Mass that the Latin Church used before the Second Vatican Council. The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, mentioned this at a press conference today when he evaluated the first phase of the synodal assembly. “No synodal father has mentioned this point,” said Cardinal Arinze, the co-president of the assembly.

The so-called Tridentine rite was approved by Pope St. Pius V. “If there are groups that desire the Tridentine Mass, this is already provided for,” he said. “Bishops may allow it for groups.” “It is not a priority for the synod, as no one has spoken about it,” the cardinal concluded. “The problem we have discussed is that many people don’t go to Mass, and those that come don’t understand — they go to Communion but not to confession, as if they were immaculate.”


Liturgy and the poor, the treasures of the Church


September 2006

An interview with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith (now Cardinal –Michael) chosen by Pope Benedict XVI as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Gianni Cardinale.

Q: Does that mean that the so-called mass of Saint Pius V has never in reality been abolished? 
Archbishop Ranjith: The fact that the Holy See has recently approved the institution, in Bordeaux, of a society of apostolic life of pontifical law characterized by the fact of using exclusively pre-Council liturgical books (the Institute of the Good Shepherd which includes some former “Lefebvrians”, ed.) unambiguously means that the mass of Saint Pius V cannot be considered abolished by the new so-called missal of Paul VI.


Vatican source says pope to expand use of Tridentine Mass


By John Thavis, Catholic News Service, Vatican City, October 11, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI is preparing to expand permission to use the Tridentine Mass, the pre-Vatican II rite favored by traditionalist groups, said an informed Vatican source.
The pope is expected to issue a document “motu proprio,” or on his own initiative, which will address the concerns of “various traditionalists,” said the source, who asked not to be named.
The source said the new permission, or indult, was a papal decision, but was being done in cooperation with agencies of the Roman Curia. He would not elaborate on the extent of the indult, when it would be established or how it would work.
The Tridentine rite is currently available to groups of Catholics who ask and receive permission for its use from their local bishops. The old rite is celebrated in Latin and follows the Roman Missal of 1962, which was replaced in 1969 with the new Roman Missal. Among those who have strongly pushed for wider use of the Tridentine rite are the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988.
Canadian Archbishop James Weisgerber of Winnipeg, Manitoba, told Catholic News Service Oct. 10 that Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, head of the Congregation for Clergy, had spoken briefly to Canadian bishops about the expected step.
“It sounded to me like it was a sort of concession somebody has made,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Weisgerber said the new indult was apparently motivated by a desire to bring comfort to older people who may miss the old rite. But in his archdiocese, he said, the few people asking for it are “young people who never experienced it.”
Pope Benedict has made new efforts to reconcile with leaders of the Lefebvrite religious order, the Society of St. Pius X. In a meeting last year with the pope, Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the society, asked for the restoration of the Tridentine rite as a sign of good will.
Bishop Fellay later told CNS that he thought the Vatican should simply declare that the Tridentine rite can be used freely because it was never really abrogated. Bishop Fellay also said wider use of the Tridentine Mass would not solve all the problems the Lefebvrites have with the Second Vatican Council. The pope discussed potential reconciliation terms with the Lefebvrites in two meetings earlier this year, one with heads of Vatican curial offices and one with the world’s cardinals. In both meetings, sources said, there were mixed views on wider use of the Tridentine Mass.



In 1984, Pope John Paul II first made it possible for groups of the faithful to worship according to the old rite under certain conditions. In 1991, the Vatican established more liberal guidelines, encouraging bishops to grant permission and retaining just one basic condition: that those seeking the old Mass form must also accept the validity of the new rite.

Pope Benedict has long questioned the wisdom of the liturgical changes made after the Second Vatican Council. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was sometimes outspoken about what he considered the dismantling of the church’s liturgical tradition. “I was dismayed by the ban on the old missal, since such a development had never been seen in the history of liturgy. The impression was given that this was completely normal,” he wrote in a 1997 book. In the same book, he said it was important for the faithful to understand that for liturgy and other areas, Vatican II was not a break but a “developing moment.”


Spring of the Latin rite


By Christopher Pearson, October 14, 2006

The Australian was the first of the national media to break the news: “Pope set to bring back mass in Latin”. It was an edited version of a longer piece by Ruth Gledhill that had appeared in The Times of London on Wednesday. Gledhill’s article was unusually well informed, especially on the wider implications of the change, and echoed the leading professional Vatican-watchers in the Italian press that morning. Andrea Tornielli told his readers in Il Giornale that a decree liberalising the use of the Latin rite was ready and only lacking the Pope’s signature. La Stampa’s Marco Tosatti was not far behind and La Republica, La Nazione and Il Giorno all covered it. So did Catholic News Service, the news agency of the American bishops, in an article by John Thavis that cited Canadian archbishop James Weisberger of Winnipeg as his source on the document. Michel Kubler, editor of La Croix, the semi-official daily newspaper of the French Catholic establishment, confidently predicted the new decree before Christmas, though he cited no sources.

This is not the first time there has been speculation about a decree freeing up the highly regulated use of the old rite. Just before Easter I reported on Catholic blogdom and sites such as Rorate Caeli, the New Liturgical Movement and the Cornell Society. At the time the Pope had just had two meetings with curial cardinals on the subject and the head of the French bishops’ conference had foreshadowed initiatives from the Holy See “in the coming weeks and months”. Nothing happened then and, despite all the corroborative detail, it’s still possible nothing will happen. Two things at least can be said with confidence. First, no one will know precisely what’s in store until it’s signed and delivered. Second, since it will be a far more popular measure with the laity and the rising generation of theologically conservative clergy than with most of the bishops, it will probably be a diplomatic manoeuvre rather than an assertion of old-style papal power.

The document could take a variety of forms. It might be a motu proprio, which is a legislative document backed by the force of the Pope’s own initiative. It might be a statement contained in the papal summary of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, a document nearly a year in the making and due to be published by the end of this month. Then again, it might be no more than a formal clarification on a couple of crucial details.

A motu proprio is arguably the most effective means of ensuring that any priests attached to the old rite would be able to use it at their discretion. Discussion has concentrated on whether such a document would be universal in its application, which would appall the trendy bishops in a modernist enclave such as Brisbane, or whether bishops would generally retain the right to expressly forbid some priests to use it, for example on practical grounds such as a lack of understanding of Latin and the rubrics. A telling argument against a universal indult or permission is that, since in the prevailing view of the Holy See strictly speaking the old rite was not and could never be suppressed, no such permission is needed.

If the Pope decides instead to use the synodal statement, he may assert, as some in the curia have recently been doing, that the new and the old form of mass are “ordinary and extraordinary” forms of the one Roman rite, which are equal in status and should both be freely available in cathedrals and churches on Sundays.

The third way to skin the proverbial cat is by clarifications.

It is arguable that notwithstanding apparent forms of restriction or prohibition in the 1960s, priests have never lost the right to say a private mass, on their own, as was customary for the past 1500 years and guaranteed them by a papal bull, Quo Primum, in 1570. A papal assertion of the entitlement to a missa sine populo and to a choice of rite by the individual priest would have significant knock-on effects. Servers who usually assist at mass couldn’t reasonably be excluded, nor could the laity when and if they chose to come. This might well prove to be the most alarming outcome for bishops hostile to the old rite because it would be almost impossible to regulate and any attempt at ham-fistedness would be immediately reported on the internet and noted in Rome.

There is no doubt that the Pope has devoted a lot of time and careful thought to the question of restoring the old rite. He’s written extensively on the liturgy over more than 20 years and has often celebrated the Latin mass.

As a cardinal he said: “Personally I believe it would be more generous to consent to the ancient rite, for those who want it. It doesn’t really seem that this would be something dangerous or unacceptable. A community opens itself to question when it decides, on a whim, that something which recently appeared sacred should be prohibited.”

The word he (the Pope) most often uses in his published criticism of the new rite is banal.

The freeing up of the old rite is likely to have a powerful impact on Australian Catholicism and on the broader culture, although it’s unlikely to be noticeable immediately. Even if the old rite becomes available in most cathedrals and large parishes, it won’t displace the new rite, at least in the short term. No one who prefers the new mass need attend any other, until that rite is itself eventually reformed.


That project, which Benedict XVI calls “the reform of the reform”, has already started in a sense, with the recent development of English language translations far more faithful to the original Latin texts. As well, the presence of the old mass as a taken-for-granted option is likely to enrich the laity at large as well as the liturgical reformers’ sense of what their task entails. It’s often been said that the most obvious consequence of the revival of interest in the old mass among younger clergy is the greater reverence and attentiveness with which they celebrate the new version.

For readers who may be unfamiliar with either, or indeed both, I should explain the advantages of a solemn ritual language over the vernacular. For Anglicans the relevant comparisons are between the language of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 or the English Missal on the one hand and the present liturgical options. Latin, until recently a universal language, was prized as such, the sign of a universal church. It wasn’t a serious barrier to popular understanding because parallel texts were, and still are, freely available. Had Vatican II simply authorised the Bible readings in the language of the people and left the fixed unvarying parts of the mass in their familiar, ancient forms, as was originally intended, a great deal of anguish and bitterness could so easily have been avoided.

As it was, the design of the new mass was taken over by a committee of experts, many of them keen to produce something as modern as tomorrow that their Protestant friends would feel comfortable with and unafraid to exceed their mandate from the council fathers. The result was a planed-down assemblage, stripped of most references to the supernatural; in English an uncadenced language of the common man rather than formal, elevated speech. It was a language more conducive to a community meal than a solemn sacrifice, soon dated rather than timeless and showing its age even when spoken with feeling and orthodox piety.

The other great loss, from the late 1960s on, has been the treasury of liturgical music. From plainchant to polyphony, the sacred music of Haydn, Mozart, the classical composers right down to Bruckner: it was all designed for the old rite and seldom lends itself comfortably to the new. Australian civilisation is the poorer for its virtual absence from the repertoire in most churches. The return of the old mass will mean that no one is forced to listen to the faux-folk music of the St Louis Jesuits, to Haas and Hagen or Sister Janet Mead for that matter, ever again.

Along with the return of an ancient ritual language, the restoration of church music is likely to remind even casual visitors of the sense of the supernatural and the presence of the sacred in ways our grandparents took pretty much for granted but that are often almost unimaginable to modern sensibilities. This is going to have an almost immediate influence on the “high church” liturgical practice of some of the Lutherans, Anglicans and even Uniting churches.

There will be a lot more jobs for organists, cantors and church musicians generally. It’s also on the cards that it will make choral singing, especially for schoolchildren and undergraduates, as popular a pastime as it was in the early ’60s.

The number of emerging near-professional polyphonic choirs and scratch a cappella groups in the capital cities with or without any formal link to a church suggests that this welcome development is already under way.


Top Vatican cardinal addresses St. Louis Liturgy Conference


By Tim Townsend, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, November 12, 2006
Cardinal Francis Arinze, one of the most popular and powerful Vatican officials to visit St. Louis since Pope John Paul II’s 1999 visit, told more than 250 people at the Chase Park Plaza Saturday morning that
Latin should be used more frequently in the Roman Catholic liturgy.
The Latin language now, he said “is in the ecclesiastical refrigerator… Mass today should be in Latin from time to time.”
Arinze, as the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is the Roman Catholic Church’s chief liturgist. He was the keynote speaker on the final day of the Gateway Liturgical Conference, sponsored by the St. Louis Archdiocese. Arinze, 74, had been scheduled to give the keynote address at the 2005 Gateway Liturgical Conference, but had to cancel his trip when John Paul died less than a week before the cardinal’s address was scheduled. Arinze, a native of Nigeria, was president of the Vatican’s Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue for 17 years before being named to his present position four years ago. Partially because of the explosive growth of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa and because of his expertise on Islam, Arinze was frequently mentioned as a papabile — or likely next pope — in the immediate wake of John Paul’s death.
In his address on Saturday, titled, “Language in the Latin Rite Liturgy: Latin and Vernacular,” Arinze said the Roman church used Greek in its early years, but was “Latinized” in the fourth century. “The Roman rite has Latin as its official language,” he said. The great religions of the world all “hold on” to their founding languages — Judaism to Hebrew and Aramaic, Islam to Arabic, Hindu to Sanskrit and Buddhism to Pali. “Is it a small matter,” he asked, for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in universal language of the church? Or for “a million students” who gather for World Youth Day every few years “to be able to say parts of the Mass in Latin?”
In an hour-long, often humorous, address that received several standing ovations, Arinze suggested that, in order to give Catholics options, large parishes offer the Mass in Latin at least once a week, and in smaller, rural parishes, at least once a month. (Homilies, he said, should always be in the faithful’s native language.) Latin “suits a church that is universal. It has a stability modern languages don’t have,” he said.

Last month Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would soon loosen restrictions on the Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. In the 1960s the Second Vatican Council approved the use of vernacular translations of the Tridentine Mass, and today most Catholics are familiar with the celebration of Mass in their own languages. To celebrate the Tridentine Mass now, a priest must obtain permission from his bishop. The rumored papal approval, or indult, would expand the use of the Tridentine Mass by allowing individual priests to celebrate the Tridentine Mass without the approval of the local bishop.



The cardinal was coy about the timing of the indult, which some Vatican watchers believe could come this month. “The pope has not said anything about it,” he said. “When the pope does say something, we will all hear it.”



November 27, 2006
1) The Pope, by virtue of his supreme authority, has the power to put in practice universally valid and binding juridical and pastoral acts
2) The legitimate and fruitful celebration of the Eucharist demands full ecclesial communion, of which ultimately the Supreme Pontiff is the guarantor, who personally received from the Lord Jesus Christ the mission to confirm the brothers in the faith (cfr. Luke 22, 32; Matthew 16, 17-19; John 21,15-18); therefore it is indeed the Bishop of Rome who presides, with great mercy and joy, universal charity, never ceasing to seek the unity of those who believe in Christ.
3) The Second Vatican Council did not abolish the Mass of St. Pius V nor asked it to be abolished; rather the Council asked the reform of the order as it clearly appears from reading the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, chapter III, numbers 50-58 (cfr. EV 1/86-106);
4) The amplification of the indult regarding the so called liturgy of St. Pius V, is not equivalent in any way to rejecting the Second Vatican Council or the Magisterium of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI.
5) Pope Paul VI himself – who in 1970 promulgated the Roman Missal, according to the indications of the Second Vatican Council -, personally granted to Padre Pio of Pietrelcina the Indult to continue to celebrate, publicly as well, the Holy Mass according to the rite of St. Pius V, although since Lent 1965 the liturgical reform had been under way.
6) Pope John Paul II had already offered, on October 3, 1984, with the letter “Quattuor abhinc annos” of the Congregation of Divine Worship (cfr. EV 9/1034-1035) the possibility to Diocesan Bishops of utilizing an Indult, by which Holy Mass could be celebrated using the Roman Missal according to the 1962 edition, promulgated by Pope John XXIII. Moreover the same Pontiff, with the Motu Proprio: Ecclesia Dei Adflicta, (July 2 1988, cfr. EV 11/1197-1205), established, among other things, by force of his apostolic authority: “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See, for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962”
7) In the Church since the IV century, different liturgies or rites are in force that, although answering different traditions and sensibilities, express the same Catholic faith; such variety is a tangible sign of the Catholic Church’s vitality.
8) The Council of Trent did not will to unify with an act of authority the rites then existing in the Latin Church; in fact, based on the principle established by the same St. Pius V – who, at the request of the Council, acted the reform -, the churches and religious orders which had for at least two centuries their own rite of venerable tradition, could keep it. As years passed by, as a matter of fact, the Roman Rite affirmed itself, though not in an exclusive way; the case of the Ambrosian rite is an example of that, spread through some valleys of the Ticino (called “Ambrosian Valleys”) and the entire Archdiocese of Milan, though, even there, with exceptions: Monza, Trezzo, Treviglio;
9) Two valid expressions of the same Catholic faith — that of St. Pius V and that of Paul VI — cannot be presented as “expressing opposite views” and, thus, as mutually irreconcilable;
10) In liturgical ambit, the decisions and deeds of Popes – namely John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI – and of Councils – Tridentine and Vatican II – cannot be presented in a conflicting way and, much less, as alternative to one another.
Italian Original on Archdiocese of Genoa website at: http://www.diocesi.genova.it/documenti.php?idd=1605

The motu proprio that was issued is Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007 -Michael


Ecclesia Dei Commission to meet as new rumours swirl


Vatican, December 11, 2006

The pontifical Ecclesia Dei commission will meet in a plenary session on Tuesday, December 12, to discuss plans to allow broader use of the traditional Latin Mass.

The meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission– which was set up in 1988 by Pope John Paul II to address the pastoral concerns of traditionalist Catholics– has revived speculation that Pope Benedict XVI is on the verge of releasing a motu proprio expanding use of the traditional Tridentine rite.
The I Media news agency– which broke the story of this week’s meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission– had reported in October that the release of the papal motu proprio was imminent. But early in November, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, a member of the papal commission, assured his fellow French bishops that they would have time to discuss the papal initiative before any document was released.
During the month of November, the discussion of a forthcoming motu proprio slowed, as Vatican observers saw that the Pope’s efforts were concentrated on plans for his visit to Turkey. But with the Pontiff’s return from that trip, speculation has resumed. Informed sources at the Vatican insist that the document is now ready for the Pope’s signature.
The use of the traditional Latin Mass is a key concern for traditionalist Catholics, including (but by no means limited to) members of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), the group that broke with the Holy See after its founder, the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ordained bishops in defiance of Vatican orders.



Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, has been the Vatican’s key representative in talks with the SSPX during the past several years. On October 31, Pope Benedict accepted the Colombian’s resignation from his post as prefect of the Congregation for Clergy; but the Pontiff stipulated that Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos should remain in place as chairman of Ecclesia Dei.
In November the Genoa archdiocese posted a public notice about the traditional liturgy, pointing out that the Pope has the authority to issue new liturgical norms. That statement was widely interpreted as a means of preparing the faithful for the Pope’s directive; analysts noted that the Genoa archdiocese was until recently headed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is now the Pope’s top lieutenant as Vatican Secretary of State.


French, Italian intellectuals join in support for Latin Mass


December 18, 2006

In separate public statements published on December 16, two groups of French and Italian intellectual leaders have thrown their strong support behind an expected move by Pope Benedict XVI to broaden use of the traditional Latin Mass. More than 50 French intellectuals, led by René Girard of the Académie Française, joined in Un manifeste en faveur de la messe tridentine (“Manifesto in favor of the Tridentine Mass”), published Saturday in Le Figaro. On the same day the Italian daily, Il Foglio, ran a similar statement, also signed by Girard, along with several other signatories including Antonio Socci and Franco Zeffirelli.
Both published statements begin by noting the media reports that Pope Benedict will soon release a motu proprio liberalizing the use of the traditional liturgy. The Italian statement begins: “I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture, in support of a decision of Benedict XVI.” The French manifesto declares that the signers “witness our fidelity, our support, and our affection” for the Pontiff.
The French statement quotes the Pope’s statement, written well before his election to the papacy, that the crisis in the Church “is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” The manifesto goes on to applaud the Pope’s decision to recognize the new Institute of the Good Shepherd, an institution of French priests dedicated to the Tridentine rite. The Figaro statement notes that the Second Vatican Council called for the Church to recognize all legitimate rites, and “she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.”
The longer Italian statement predicts that the release of the motu proprio will be “an extraordinarily important event for the Church and even for the culture and history of our civilization.” A generation ago, the Foglio manifesto recalls, a group of secular intellectuals appealed to Pope Paul VI, pleading for the preservation of the Tridentine rite as a treasure of modern culture. These appeals, issued in 1966 and again in 1971, were backed by an impressive list of thinker, writers, and artists including W. H. Auden, Agatha Christie, Jorge Luis Borges, Augusto Del Noce, Graham Greene, Julien Green, Jacques Maritain, François Mauriac, Willim Rees-Mogg, Andres Segovia, and Evelyn Waugh. The participation of so many non-Catholics, the Italian manifesto notes, reflects the fact that “the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as it the Gregorian chant.” Maintaining that tradition is crucial, the statement continues, at a time “when our entire European civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.”
The Italian statement also quotes then-Cardinal Ratzinger, with his observation that the disappearance of the traditional Missal was devastating, and the “consequences could only be tragic.” The results of that radical change in the Catholic liturgy, the “Socci manifesto” declares, were “disastrous.” The Italian manifesto concludes with an invitation for others to join in support of the statement, and support of the anticipated move by Pope Benedict.

The Rorate Caeli blog (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/12/traditionalists-of-world-unite.html), which provided quick coverage and translations of both the French and Italian statements, has also posted a sample letter to Il Foglio, for those who wish to join in support of the Italian manifesto.



I wish to launch an appeal to the world of culture. In support of a decision of Benedict XVI. The announcement was given by Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez, a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission which met to discuss the liberalization of the Latin Mass. The prelate said, “The publication of the Motu Proprio by the Pope which will liberalize the celebration of the Latin Mass according to the Missal of Saint Pius V is close.” It is an extraordinarily important event for the Church and even for the culture and history of our civilization. Historically, lay intellectuals were actually those to realize more and better the disaster, the actual cultural destruction, represented by the “prohibition” of the liturgy of Saint Pius V and the disappearance of Latin as sacred language of the Catholic Church.
When, 40 years ago — in contravention to the documents of the Council — the prohibition of the ancient liturgy of the Church (that which had been celebrated even during the Council) was imposed, there was a great and meritorious protest by very important intellectuals who considered this decision as an attack on the roots of our Christian Civilization (the liturgy has always been a center and a fountain of the most sublime art). Two appeals were published in defense of the Mass of Saint Pius V, in 1966 and 1971. These are some of the names which undersigned them: Jorge Luís Borges, Giorgio De Chirico, Elena Croce, W. H. Auden, the directors Bresson and Dreyer, Augusto Del Noce, Julien Green, Jacques Maritain (who indeed was the favorite intellectual of Paul VI, the one to whom the Pope had given the letter to intellectuals at the end of the Council), Eugenio Montale, Cristina Campo, François Mauriac, Salvatore Quasimodo, Evelyn Waugh,



Maria Zambrano, Elémire Zolla, Gabriel Marcel, Salvador De Madariaga, Gianfranco Contini, Giacomo Devoto, Giovanni Macchia, Massimo Pallottino, Ettore Paratore, Giorgio Bassani, Mario Luzi, Guido Piovene, Andrés Segovia, Harold Acton, Agatha Christie, Graham Greene, and many others, including the editor of the “Times”, William Rees-Mogg.
They are largely lay intellectuals because the cultural and spiritual value of the ancient Latin liturgy is a legacy of all, as is the Sistine Chapel, as is the Gregorian [chant], as the great cathedrals, Gothic sculpture, the Basilica of Saint Peter also are. Even more so today, when our entire European Civilization risks to cut off and deny its own roots.
Curiously, even “progressive Catholics”, who made the dialogue with the world and with modern culture their banner, did not give any regard and fought for forty years to keep this incredible prohibition. An unprecedented arbitrariness. In April 2005, at the eve of the election of Benedict XVI, it was a lay writer, Guido Ceronetti, who writes, in La Repubblica, an open letter to the new Pope, in which he asked “that the sinister suffocating gag on the Latin voice of the Mass be removed”. When he was a cardinal, Ratzinger declared that the prohibition of the Mass of Saint Pius V was unprecedented: “throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the very spirit of the Church”. In one of his books, he retold dramatically how he had viewed the publication of the missal of Paul VI: “I was dismayed by the prohibition of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened in the entire history of the liturgy. The impression was even given that what was happening was quite normal,” but, Ratzinger wrote, “the prohibition of the missal that was now decreed, a missal that had known continuous growth over the centuries, starting with the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, introduced a breach into the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only be tragic … the old building was demolished, and another was built.”
The effects were disastrous. The road to incredible abuses in the liturgy was opened. Ratzinger writes, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the world-wide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence?”
That same Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who prepares to cancel the prohibition, will find opposition even inside the Church (already pre-announced by the French bishops) and he deserves an answer from the world of culture which, forty years ago, made its voice heard. I ask intellectuals and whomever may wish to do so to sign this synthetic manifesto:


Polish individuals sign Tridentine manifesto


We are with you, Holy Father!

Declaration on the use of the Traditional Liturgy

1. In light of ever more frequent statements of close associates of the Holy Father, who confirm his intention of restoring the right and freedom of use of the traditional liturgy in the Latin rite, as faithful laymen of the Roman Catholic Church we wish to express our hope and gratitude. We would also like to affirm our solidarity with the Pope, mindful that for many years prior to taking up his seat as the Apostolic Successor of Saint Peter, he took up efforts to ensure that reverent liturgical forms passed on in a long tradition and confirmed officially by Saint Pius [V] “according to the rites and customs of the Roman Church” (Apostolic Constitution Quo Primum, Pope St. Pius V, July 14th 1570) were preserved so as to “hand on this treasure for the Church of today and tomorrow” (Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressing liturgical conference, held over 22 to 24 July 2001, convened under the patronage of the Abbey of Fontgombault).
2. We understand the expected promotion of the traditional liturgy, otherwise termed the classical Roman rite, to involve the affirmation of the principle which is mentioned in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ratified by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, which quotes the words of the Second Vatican Council: “that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.” (CCC, 1203; Sacrosanctum Concilium, 4). The then-Cardinal Ratzinger also reminded us of this principle, stating that “the Council ordered a reform of the liturgical books, but it did not prohibit the former books.” (Ten Years of the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger).
Everything indicates that today we are progressing towards solutions which will bring these words into full daylight.
3. We dearly thank the Holy Father for all his gestures of understanding, openness, and respect regarding “the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition”.
These gestures underscore and continue the line of action of John Paul II, who appealed to the Bishops and those exercising a pastoral ministry in the Church twenty years ago for “measures to guarantee respect for [the] rightful aspirations” expressed by “all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition” (John Paul II, motu proprio Ecclesia Dei, 5 c).
Mindful of all the difficulties and cares which are associated with the service of the shepherds of the Church, we expect that the regulations announced by the Holy See will also serve to break the specific order of intolerance, which hinders the crucial internal unity in the Church. (See: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World).



4. Moreover, we hope that the response to this endeavor by Benedict XVI in the current discourse within the Church will include “every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent with truth and fairness” the condition of those Catholics who are tied to the traditional liturgy (Vatican Council II, Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 4).
We also hope that the granting of full rights of the use of the liturgy of Saint Pius V will improve the prospects of healing the rift which also took place in this context in 1988 and which lasts until this day, and for which, perhaps, “men of both sides were to blame” (Vatican Council II, Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3), partly due to the marginalization, within the Church, of “certain truths and certain values of the Christian faith” which “are no longer lived and loved” (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Speaking as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressing the National Conference of Chilean Bishops in Santiago). Let us pray that this wound be healed and that all Catholics who are already united by faith in the same dogmas will henceforth be able to enjoy the visible communion of the life of the Church.
5. In these days of expectation we therefore wish to join those voices of support and gratitude, which are already being directed toward the Holy Father by public figures in the Christian community, and we willingly hereby declare our support and gratitude to the Holy Father Benedict XVI for his will to remove the practical discrimination of the traditional liturgy, which has served throughout the ages as a worthy instrument for the sanctification of many and as a great monument of our spiritual culture.

Przemyslaw Alexandrowicz, senator
Prof. Jacek Bartyzel, political scientist
Dr. Slawomir Cenckiewicz, historian
Prof. Jan Dziêgielewski, historian
Marcin Gugulski, journalist
Lech Jêczmyk, translator
Marek Jurek, Marshall of the Sejm (Speaker of the Parliament)
Boguslaw Kiernicki, president of the Fundacja Sw. Benedykta (St. Benedict Foundation)
Wojciech Kilar, composer
Aleksander Kopiñski, historian and literary critic, editor of “Fronda”
Dr. Jacek Kowalski, art historian, singer
Prof. Grzegorz Kucharczyk, historian
Jan Filip Libicki, MP (Member of Parliament)
Marcin Libicki, MEP (Member of the European Parliament)
Pawel Lisicki, writer
Prof. Roman Michalowski, historian
Andrzej Mikosz, lawyer
Dr. Pawel Milcarek, philosopher and journalist, editor in chief of “Christianitas”
Pawel Nowacki, deputy director of TVP1, author of documentaries
Dr. Justyn Piskorski, university teacher
Ewa Polak-Palkiewicz, journalist
Tomasz Raczkiewicz, artist of the Poznan Opera
Prof. Marcin Sompoliñski, conductor, Akademia Muzyczna in Poznan
Dr. Piotr Sosiñski, lawyer
Konrad Szymañski, MEP
Prof. Kazimierz Swirydowicz, mathematician
Dr. Tomasz P. Terlikowski, philosopher, journalist at Polskapresse
Jacek Tomczak, MP
Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski, biologist
Artur Zawisza, MP
Original Polish Text Online at:
1. http://www.christianitas.pl/c/wlasnymglosem/?id=16552
2. http://info.wiara.pl/index.php?grupa=4&art=1167218317


Epiphany Declaration Published:
English Speaking Writers and Intellectuals Join Chorus of International Support for possible Papal Motu Proprio


By Shawn Tribe, January 06, 2007
We, Catholic laity and clergy, predominantly of various English-speaking lands, express our hope and desire to see the form of liturgy used prior to and during the Second Vatican Council given, again, greater freedom of use in the life of the Catholic Church and we express our enthusiastic support for any papal initiative to the same end.



We join in spirit as well with those figures of yesteryear who, in 1971, successfully petitioned the Holy See for the continued use of the classical Roman liturgy, deemed by them and by us as a spiritual and cultural treasure of inestimable value. Today in a similar spirit of love for the Church and her rich liturgical tradition, we unite our own voices with those heard in the recent past: with those of Agatha Christie, Cyril Connolly, Kenneth Clark, Graham Greene, Cecil Day Lewis, Malcolm Muggeridge and Iris Murdoch. Moreover, we join with the likes of such esteemed individuals as Evelyn Waugh in expressing our profound attachment to this liturgical treasure of Church.
As such, we wish to voice our support for the possible initiative of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, which is thought to allow for the wider usage of the classical Roman liturgy in the hope that:
1. Pastorally, the “rightful aspirations” (cf. Ecclesia Dei Adflicta) of Catholics attached to the classical form of the Roman liturgy might be more freely and readily realized in the Latin rite;
2. The ancient liturgical usages of the West might be fostered as living forms of worship in the Church, enjoying full right of citizenship in the same – the classical Roman rite as well as the ancient liturgical rites and uses of the religious orders and primatial sees which formed a part of the living, organic and legitimate liturgical diversity of the Church until recent times.
Finally, we believe that the presence of the classical form of the Roman liturgy in broader ecclesial and parish life will positively contribute to the ongoing efforts to implement the liturgical reforms promulgated by the Second Vatican Council as delineated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, and as envisioned by the Fathers of the aforesaid Council.
Saturday, January 6th Feast of the Epiphany Signed:

Matthew Alderman, Intern Architect and Liturgical Artist (USA)
Dr. Deri Balázs, Head of the department of Latin (Eötvös Loránd University), Director of the Institute for Ancient Studies, Editor-in-chief of the Hungarian Church Music Review (Budapest)
James Bogle, Esq., Barrister (London, UK)
Daniel J. Cassidy, Editor-in-Chief, Crisis in Education (USA)
Christian Champion, Department of History (McGill University, Canada)
Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil.(Oxon), Chairman, Classics Department. (Brunswick School, Greenwich, CT, USA)
Stephen M. Collins, Musician (USA)
László Dobszay, Writer, Professor (Liszt Ferenc Music Academy, Budapest)
Colin B. Donovan, STL (USA)
Fr. Lawrence Donnelly (Canada)
Jane Errera, M.A., Musician and Speaker (USA)
Fr. Timothy Finigan, MA, STL, Lecturer, Founder of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life (UK)
Fr. Gregoire J. Fluet, Ph. D, K.H.S, V.F., Vice-President, Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, Connecticut, Pastor (St. Bridget of Kildare Church, Moodus, CT, USA)
Dr. Michael P. Foley, Assistant Professor of Patristics (Baylor University, USA)
Michael Gilchrist, Editor, AD2000 (Australia)
J. Richard Haefer, Professor of Music (Arizona State University, USA)
Rev. Dr. Laurence Paul Hemming (Heythrop College, University of London, UK)
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, Author and Speaker (USA)
Fr. Thomas Kocik, Author (USA)
Fr. Matthew L. Lamb, Professor of Theology (Ave Maria University, USA)
Philip Lawler, Editor, Catholic World News (USA)
Michael Lawrence, Musician and Writer (USA)
Joseph Mansfield, M. Ed, President of TennSoft LLC (Retired) (USA)
Roger McCaffrey, Catholic publisher (USA)
Dr. Dennis Q. McInerney, Professor (Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, USA)
Dr. Stephen McInerney, Lecturer/English Literature (Campion College, Australia)
Fr. Aidan Nichols, OP, John Paul II Lecturer in Roman Catholic Theology (Oxford University, UK)
Dr. Susan Frank Parsons, President, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK), Co-Founder of the Society of St Catherine of Siena (UK)
Joseph Pearce, Writer, Professor of Literature (Ave Maria University, USA)
Michael Procter, MA LRAM ARCM FRSA, Editor and publisher of Sacred Polyphony, Director of the International Academy of Sacred Music (Venice)
Dr. John C. Rao (D.Phil., Oxford), Associate Professor of History (St. John’s University); Chairman, The Roman Forum (USA)
Dr. Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar and Author (UK)
Michael Sirilla, Assistant Professor of Theology (Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA)
Daniel W. Sexton, Attorney at law (USA)
Dr. Joseph Shaw, Fellow in Philosophy (St Benet’s Hall, Oxford University, UK)
Dr. Barry Spurr, Senior Lecturer in English (University of Sydney, Australia)
Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz, Freelance writer in the Catholic media (USA)
Shawn R. Tribe, Writer (Canada)
Edward S. Turner III, CIO IVES Group (USA)
Paul M. Weber, Assistant Professor of Music (Franciscan University of Steubenville, USA)


Fr. Samuel F. Weber, O.S.B., (Wake Forest University Divinity School, USA)
Amy Welborn, Catholic Author (USA)
Fr. Joseph Wilson (USA)
Kieron Wood, Barrister-at-Law (Dublin, Ireland))
Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf, Columnist, The Wanderer (USA/Italy)


German group joins in support for pre-conciliar liturgy


Berlin, Germany, January 22, 2007

A group of German Catholics has joined co-religionists in Italy, France, and the English-speaking countries in a statement of support for a long-awaited papal document allowing broader use of the Latin Mass.

The German declaration emphasizes the cultural heritage of the traditional liturgy, which “inspired the greatest composers to musical pieces that are generally admired.” The statement predicts that wide use of the traditional liturgy will help restore Europe to an understanding of its own cultural roots.
The German state (reproduced by the New Liturgical Movement web site quotes the words of the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, from the book-length interview God and the World: “To shape a right awareness in liturgical matters, it is important that the proscription of that form of liturgy which was valid up to 1970 eventually end.”


British declaration in support of the liberalization of the 1962 Missale Romanum


By Shawn Tribe, January 29, 2007

[Under the auspices of the International Una Voce Federation http://www.ifuv.org/docs/appeal.html a group of British scholars and intellectuals (or at very least those rooted in Britain) have released a declaration supporting the initiative to give freer use of the classical Roman liturgy. This declaration includes such persons as Fr. John Saward, Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, Dr. Catherine Pickstock (an Anglican scholar), Count Neri Capponi, Lord Gill, Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Dr. Alcuin Reid and Dr. Laurence Hemming, to name only a few. This document represents a continuing witness to the growing hope that the Holy Father will release this Motu Proprio so that the classical Roman liturgy might again find a freer place of expression in the life of the Church. We join our own voices with theirs, united in the same cause and in a spirit of love for the Church and her liturgical treasury.]

Appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI [From the British Isles]
In 1971 many leading British and international figures, among whose number were Yehudi Menuhin, Agatha Christie, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Nancy Mitford, Graham Greene, Joan Sutherland, and Ralph Richardson, presented a petition to His Holiness Pope Paul VI asking for the survival of the traditional Roman Catholic Mass on the grounds that it would be a serious loss to western culture. The then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Heenan himself appealed to Pope Paul for the continued celebration of the traditional Mass. The full text of this appeal in 1971 was:
“If some senseless decree were to order the total or partial destruction of basilicas or cathedrals, then obviously it would be the educated – whatever their personal beliefs – who would rise up in horror to oppose such a possibility. Now the fact is that basilicas and cathedrals were built so as to celebrate a rite which, until a few months ago, constituted a living tradition. We are referring to the Roman Catholic Mass. Yet, according to the latest information in Rome, there is a plan to obliterate that Mass by the end of the current year. One of the axioms of contemporary publicity, religious as well as secular, is that modern man in general, and intellectuals in particular, have become intolerant of all forms of tradition and are anxious to suppress them and put something else in their place. But, like many other affirmations of our publicity machines, this axiom is false. Today, as in times gone by, educated people are in the vanguard where recognition of the value of tradition in concerned, and are the first to raise the alarm when it is threatened. We are not at this moment considering the religious or spiritual experience of millions of individuals. The rite in question, in its magnificent Latin text, has also inspired a host of priceless achievements in the arts – not only mystical works, but works by poets, philosophers, musicians, architects, painters and sculptors in all countries and epochs. Thus, it belongs to universal culture as well as to churchmen and formal Christians. In the materialistic and technocratic civilisation that is increasingly threatening the life of mind and spirit in its original creative expression – the word – it seems particularly inhuman to deprive man of word-forms in one of their most grandiose manifestations. The signatories of this appeal, which is entirely ecumenical and non-political, have been drawn from every branch of modern culture in Europe and elsewhere. They wish to call to the attention of the Holy See, the appalling responsibility it would incur in the history of the human spirit were it to refuse to allow the Traditional Mass to survive, even though this survival took place side by side with other liturgical reforms.”
This appeal in 1971 came at a crucial time in the history of civilisation when the future of the traditional Latin “Tridentine” Mass was in jeopardy. Pope Paul VI graciously acknowledged this appeal and the traditional Mass was saved, at least in England and Wales. Since this momentous appeal in 1971 the traditional Latin Mass has prospered once again among the faithful worldwide and is now celebrated in almost every country in the world. Now, in 2007, there is great hope and expectation that this treasure of civilisation will be freed from its current restrictions. We, the signatories of this petition, wish to associate ourselves to the sentiments expressed in the petition of 1971 which, perhaps, are even more valid today, and appeal to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to allow the free celebration of the traditional Roman rite of Mass, the Mass of Ages, the Mass of Antiquity, on the altars of the Church.



Rt. Hon. Michael Ancram, QC MP.
Miss Madeleine Beard, M.Litt. (Cantab).
Dr. Mary Berry CBE, Founder of the Schola Gregoriana in Cambridge.
James Bogle, TD, MA, ACIarb, Barrister, Chairman of the Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Count Neri Capponi, Judge of the Tuscan Ecclesiastical Matrimonial Court.
Fr. Antony F.M. Conlon, Chaplain to the Latin Mass Society.
Julian Chadwick, Chairman – The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
Rev. Fr. Ronald Creighton-Jobe, The Oratory, London.
Fra’ Fredrik Crichton-Stuart, Chairman CIEL UK.
Leo Darroch, Secretary – International Federation Una Voce.
Adrian Davies, Barrister.
R.P. Davis, B.Phil., M.A., D. Phil (Oxon), retired senior lecturer in Ancient History, Queen’s University of Belfast; translator/commentator on the Liber Pontificalis of the Roman Church.
John Eidinow, Bodley Fellow and Dean, Merton College, Oxford.
Jonathan Evans MEP, Vice Chairman Catholic Union of Great Britain.
Fra’ Matthew Festing, OBE, TD, DL. Grand Prior of England – Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
The Right Honourable Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland.
Dr. Sheridan Gilley, Emeritus Reader, University of Durham.
Dr. Christopher Gillibrand, MA (Oxon).
Rev. Dr. Laurence Paul Hemming, Heythrop College, University of London.
Stephen Hough, Concert Pianist and Composer.
Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need UK
Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. KCSG.
James MacMillan, CBE, Composer and Conductor.
Anthony McCarthy, Research Fellow, Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.
Mrs. Daphne McLeod, Chairman – Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.
Anthony Ozimic, MA (bioethics).
Dr. Susan Frank Parsons, President, Society for the Study of Christian Ethics (UK) and Co-Founder of the Society of St. Catherine of Siena.
Dr. Catherine Pickstock, Lecturer in Philosophy and Religion; Fellow – Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Dr. Thomas Pink, Reader in Philosophy and Director of Philosophical Studies, Kings College, London.
Piers Paul Read, Novelist and Playwright; Vice-President of the Catholic Writers’ Guild of England and Wales.
The Rev’d. Dr. Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar and Author.
Nicholas Richardson, Warden of Greyfriars Hall, Oxford.
Prof. Jonathan Riley-Smith, retired Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Cambridge University.
Fr. John Saward, Lisieux Senior Research Fellow in Theology, Greyfriars, Oxford University.
Dr. Joseph Shaw. Tutorial Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University.
Damien Thompson, Editor-in-Chief, The Catholic Herald.


Latest phase of Vatican II journey



By Canberra, Australia Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Catholic Voice, February 2007
I’m writing this from a hotel in Cape Town. I look out through the window at the sea where Vasco da Gama once passed in a little ship that was crossing a huge threshold in history as he rounded the Cape of Good Hope. I’m here for a meeting of Bishops who are helping to make a new translation of the Missal from Latin into English, and our work is in some ways a new threshold.
In the not too distant future, we will have different words to pray at Mass, and they will take some learning. This is not a matter of just tinkering with words or fiddling while Rome burns. The language we use at Mass is a crucial factor in shaping our spiritual lives, our relationship with God in the Church, our mission in the world. The Bishops hope to provide in the new Missal words that are richer and deeper because they pass on to us more of the vast treasures of the Catholic faith through the ages.
The whole point of liturgical reform at the Second Vatican Council was to generate new energy for mission. And at a time when the Holy Spirit is calling the whole Church to become more missionary, my hope is that the new Missal will be one of the key sources of the new energy that new mission requires. “New Missal for new mission” is not a bad motto for us all as we approach this new threshold in the ongoing journey of liturgical renewal in the Church.
When the Bishops of Vatican II gave their teaching on liturgical renewal, no-one really knew what would be involved. The whole Church was casting its boat, the barque of Peter, upon new waters where the tides and currents could take us anywhere. But the Church did this under the influence of the Holy Spirit, since there is no other reason why the Church would or should do anything at all.



One thing the Council had permitted was the use of vernacular languages in worship – in our case, English. The Council Fathers imagined that this would only be for certain parts of the Mass, but that most of the Mass would remain in Latin. It was up to the Bishops’ Conferences of the world to ask for permission from the Holy See to use the vernacular as they saw fit.
The surprise then was that the Bishops around the world asked for the whole Mass to go into the local language. This wasn’t something the Council had foreseen, but the Holy See said “yes”.
The Missal and all the other liturgical books were very quickly translated from Latin into English, and those first translations have been used since the late 1960s. But very early on, it was recognized that there would have to be a revision. The first translations were OK for the time being, but there was a need for much better.
A revision began in 1983 which led to a new Missal being presented to the Holy See for final approval in 1998. For many reasons, Rome decided not to approve that revision and a new one was commissioned. The new project has worked on different principles of translation which are intended to ensure that the English is closer to the Latin original and that it offers more of the riches of the Catholic tradition. That’s the project that has me now holed up in a hotel in South Africa.
There’s no doubt that what we are producing is a different idiom. The language of the new Missal will be different from what we have known; and there will be some who say that because it’s different, it’s no good. But a little bit of patience through a messy transition time will show that the new Missal offers great riches.
We will have to learn new things, but it will be learning for a purpose. The Bishops have no interest in disturbing priests and people just for the sake of it. The liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council was always going to be a long and winding road, and this is a new phase of the unfolding journey. But this new phase, I am convinced, is no less under the influence of the Holy Spirit than was the first impulse that came to us from the Council decades ago. I will do as much as I can in the Archdiocese to explain to everyone why the changes are happening and what the new gains might be.
This year I plan to have both the Archdiocesan Assembly and the Clergy Assembly focus upon what that is involved in this new threshold of liturgical renewal in the Church. This is because I regard what is about to happen as a great opportunity for all of us. Some regard this new revision of the Missal as a kind of plot to subvert what the Second Vatican Council sought to achieve. I can only say that that is absolutely not the way I see it. If it were, I wouldn’t be sitting here in Cape Town right now. I am convinced that what is happening is faithful to the deepest impulse of the Council and is therefore being done in obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Far from being a burden, these changes will prove to be the kind of gift that only God can give. Vasco da Gama took a huge risk in rounding the Cape, but the risk was supremely worth taking because it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. May Our Lady of Good Hope lead us all safely and joyfully across the waters we are about to cross in our own journey of faith.

+ Mark


Vatican II rolled back by the restoration of Latin Mass? Restoring the Latin Mass a delicate act


By Fr. Andrew Hamilton, February 12, 2007

Last year, Pope Benedict licensed the celebration of the old Latin Mass in France. He is reportedly deliberating whether to allow it to be more widely practiced. Some imply that this is a step towards the reversal of the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II. But if we examine his earlier writings on liturgy, we find more complex and interesting questions posed.

The Pope has long-held and passionate convictions about liturgy, sketched in many of his books. In his understanding, the rites, both of East and West, belong first of all to the whole Church. The different families of rites structure the ways in which Christians worship, think and act. Like the great declarations of Christian faith, they are a gift to the Church and grow organically within the Church. Christians of any period are shaped by them, and do not shape them. Indeed, not even Popes are free to do as they will with rites. From this perspective, the extensive changes to liturgy that followed Vatican II are problematic. Cardinal Ratzinger believed that the Bishops at the Council wanted an evolutionary change that would continue the work begun by Pius X and Pius XII. This would free the rite of its Baroque additions. Their desires were reflected in the 1962 revision of the Roman Missal. But after the Vatican Council, liturgical experts carried through a more revolutionary change, leading to the new order of Mass in 1965. The Cardinal implied that their changes were inspired by historical scholarship and not by a theology centred on the Church.

In the Cardinal’s account, the changes were accompanied by essentially ‘uncatholic’ theologies. These included the Reformation emphasis on the local congregation at the expense of the universal church, on the priesthood of all believers at the expense of the ordained ministry, and on the Eucharistic meal at the expense of Eucharistic sacrifice.

For Cardinal Ratzinger, the revolutionary nature of the liturgical changes after the Council was embodied in the prohibition of the older form of the Roman rite. He believed that this violated the principle that rites grow organically, and that it had confirmed many Catholics in their alienation from the Vatican Council.
Cardinal Ratzinger’s approach to liturgy, like that of any Christian, is not solely theological. It also reflects a passionate personal sense of what is well-done liturgy. His childhood in Bavaria, in which the life of the town was integrated with the liturgy of the Church, and where good music flourished, surely influenced him. Other people may find that the kind of liturgy celebrated in Cathedrals and Abbeys does not help them to pray. But the Cardinal’s insistence that liturgy is a celebration of the whole Church means that his and others’ personal taste is of secondary importance.




Cardinal Ratzinger’s writings on liturgy displayed an intellectual gift for binding a range of phenomena into a coherent and formidable theology or anti-theology. The antics of a few clergy, the bad ideas of a few congregations, the theological barbarities of a few writers, and the slogans of a few debaters are organised into a coherent system of theology and practice. The risk of such synthesising is that it can be too easy – you can always put together examples of bad theology, rash practice, and overweening rhetoric from proponents of any church practice. To decide whether they are significant, or indicative of something larger, is a much more delicate task.
Cardinal Ratzinger’s account of the development of liturgy through Vatican II is also personal view. It deserves respect because he was involved in the Council as a young theological expert. Many Catholics have accepted it as authoritative, but in my judgment it needs to be supported by more careful historical research.
Assuming that he continues to hold the views he expressed as Cardinal, we may assume that Pope Benedict will want to allow the celebration of the older Roman Rite. He believes that the decision to forbid it was in principle wrong; to reverse it might perhaps win back people alienated from the Church. The Pope’s own theological principles, however, make the restoration of the old rite delicate. He believes that rites are an expression of the universal Church. This means that when we celebrate, we celebrate in union with our local Bishops who today represent the apostles, in union with Peter. Our celebration of liturgy is an act of reception of liturgy and Church, not an act of choice.
Many French bishops have recently opposed the free use of the old rite precisely on these grounds. They consider that it will enshrine individual and sectarian choice: the choice of a form of Catholicism that rejects the universal Church as expressed through its local Bishops and in the documents of Vatican II. The Pope’s challenge, then, is how to ensure that the old rite unmistakably expresses the unity of the universal Church. Cardinal Ratzinger, thinking aloud, spoke of anchoring it in particular abbeys, churches or a personal prelature. The last option echoes the ‘flying bishops’ created by the Anglican Church to solve similar problems.
It would be simpler, of course, to abrogate the changes of 1965 and make the old liturgy mandatory for everyone. But the changes have now been grafted into the Western rite and have grown organically. Pope Benedict will no doubt ask himself whether even a Pope could make such a revolutionary change.


Readers’ comments

1. A rite is not a liturgical usage solely, it is a community of believers that finds its expression in a particular liturgical form. Thus separating community from liturgy does violence to both.
A Tridentine rite presupposes a Tridentine community within the universal church, with its own bishops and such.

2. You hinted on the fact none want to express: universally, the Roman Church is now more Protestant than Roman; more choice than reception. The Eucharistic sacrifice was an event fixed in time, yet once and for all. It is not an event subject to organic evolution, a choice-process which our culture now equates with Truth.
This demand is a cultural emphasis; and, not all things embedded organically are Truth. The answer does not exist in the Holy Father, but the Holy Spirit. Two generations after Vatican II, it is now time for a new council to review the aggiornamento process and reconsider the true intent of the Holy Spirit in the work of Vatican II.

3. The “Tridentine” Mass was never forbidden; it only needed an O.K. to celebrate from the local Bishopric. There are many parishes which do so…. The “Novus Ordo” was intended originally [read Pope Paul VI’s declamenture] to be celebrated in Latin as well, only after Vatican II did it begin to be celebrated in the vernacular….Many parishes still celebrate it in Latin, needing no Bishop’s approval; or, at least 80% of the “Novus Ordo” is read/sung in Latin (excepting the readings and invocations)….just watch EWTN! Many parishes still also celebrate the Mass facing East. Both Masses are technically the “Latin Mass”, since, the Roman rite is so-used in the West…even if not entirely in the universal Latin tongue.
As for the “Tridentine” Mass itself, see how many times Cardinal Ratzinger was its celebrant prior to his Papacy….

4. Our Lord said that we can know a tree by its fruit. The sad result of Vatican II springs from a neglect of, indeed spurning of the sacred. The Holy Sacrifice took back seat to a banal touchy-feely communal meal. A real eye-opener would be to get a copy of an old English/Latin missal, and just in reading the English you will get an idea what we have lost with the “Novus Oh-no”.

5. In your article you say that ‘The Pope’s challenge, then, is how to ensure that the old rite unmistakably expresses the unity of the universal Church’ – how can he hope to do this if only a few souls in the church understand the language of the liturgy? You use the term ‘old rite’ and so you should. It is a treasured relic of the past and we should respect it as such. However, resurrecting the ‘old rite’ to serve a contemporary community is a nonsense.
I suspect that the recent movement to turn back the clock on liturgy will wane as people realise how truly foreign the ‘old rite’ really is.

6. I believe that the Traditional Rite should be available to all who wish to celebrate in this way. However, I do not see this as catering for more than niche communities operating more freely and in more parishes than at the moment. The real reform for Pope Benedict to attend to is the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass. It is my opinion that this Rite has never been celebrated in the English speaking world, as yet! To celebrate it reverently, devoutly and fruitfully the use of the vernacular needs to be confined to the Liturgy of the Word and the Offertory, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer and Communion Rite needs to be in Latin. This can be done if the rubrics are interpreted correctly and followed.

7. In the Anglican Church we also have people wedded to the “old” rite of the 1662 Prayer Book, which is constitutionally our touchstone for proper liturgy and belief.
Here in Bendigo, with six Anglican parishes, the old rite is used only in the Cathedral, and only at 8am. Most Anglicans are grateful for the evolutionary reforms which have given us a liturgy in sober modern English.



8. The debate is interesting but irrelevant to the real issues facing the church.
In the face of massive declines in church attendance, very few vocations and the enormous incursions of fundamentalist Christianity in Latin America this is deck chair rearranging at its worst.

9. For “the church” to even consider abrogating the changes of 1965 would be folly indeed, and isn’t it sufficiently embroiled sufficiently to date! If the Pope is inclined to ponder and reflect on rites, traditions and cultures, he could do no better than reflect on our Lord’s own clearly expressed comments on “the royal priesthood” which made it abundantly clear that everyone shares in it. Perhaps the following could help mental stimulation:
The clergy without the laity = 0
The laity without the clergy = 0
The clergy & the laity = “The church”… at least as far as the Lord’s concerned.
10. More strength to Pope Benedict!

11. Fr. Hamilton – Interesting contribution. But I’m not sure what to make of your opening two sentences. The Latin Mass has been available here in Melbourne for years (eg Caulfield and Kew), with the same rules as France. In France last year, the pope merely gave approval for a new institute, a bit like the Fraternity of St Peter, which only says the Latin Mass. The rumoured “universal indult” would perhaps allow any priest to say the Latin Mass any time – undoubtedly with some restrictions dependent on his bishop, I’m sure.

12. If as you claim Benedict XVI is hankering for the past how far back should one go? Should we go to Pius X who put anathema on those who dare change the order of his Mass and notwithstanding the oath that each Pope takes on being elected not to change anything of what previous Popes have decreed still changes are made? Should we perhaps go back to the early church community who chose their ‘Presbyter’ by imposing their hands on him / her and invoked the unction of the Holy Ghost and together with the Presbyter repeated the ‘breaking of the Bread’ in memory of HIM. And speaking of the Past why wouldn’t the Pope and his Curia divest themselves of the riches, pomposity and authoritarianism fashioned on the Roman Empire and build the Church on the Rock that is Christ and his Gospel.
Having said that I humbly stand to be corrected one each and every point I made

13. “Pope Benedict will no doubt ask himself whether even a Pope could make such a revolutionary change.” Rather it is questionable whether Pope Paul VI had the power to introduce the new Mass.

14. Given that I am a “child” of the Vatican II era I can safely say, “Benedict, bring it on!!!We want more of it!! Jettison forever those individuals who made it their business to ruin Christian culture.
The sooner they leave us the better. I feel remarkably “empowered” (to use one of their words,) that A German, who at least attempts to play his beloved Beethoven or Mozart sonatas for at least one hour per day is “running” my religion at least here on Earth!!!!
15. The Mass was never de jure banned, but was de facto! Local Ordinaries and the abominable Bishop’s Conferences guided by self-styled liturgists and other advisers, all lying to both their clergy and laity. Outcome: the destruction of Mother Church.

16. Please give us back the Latin rite. It was taken from us and we were never asked why we attended Mass and loved the ceremony and actions of the Tridentine. Since the vast numbers have fallen aka Vatican 2 in my humble opinion it illustrates what we Catholics honestly think about what came out of Vatican 2. Restore our Latin Masses in every Parish across the globe. At least one Latin Mass each Sunday to start & increase as Catholics return to their faith and a Mass known and understood. Please. Souls will be saved, attendance/participation enhanced.

17. Would that post-Vat II liturgy, at least in the US, represented the ‘antics of a few clergy, the bad ideas of a few congregations.’ Rather, the antic badness seemed to take over the world, and at amazing speed. At age 7, I was receiving First Communion amid Latin and incense; by puberty I was dodging clown masses and wondering if Christ could somehow boycott Transubstantiation if the music were just insultingly bad enough. By adulthood, virtually universal liturgical mediocrity was a fact of life, enlivened by occasional exceptions. When I rediscovered my dad’s old pre-Vat II Missal, the English translations moved me deeply, and I was shocked, even with no theological background, by the difference in depth and emphasis in the texts. I didn’t (and don’t) particularly want the Latin revived–after attending an Indult Mass, I had to reluctantly admit that “you can’t go home again”–but boy, would I love to see a return to a sense of the sacred, of sacrifice and adoration, and of consistency in keeping with what we claim the Mass to be…

18. For anyone to think outside the “Latin Mass” is the right or only way to go, they ought to read more about it. e.g. Wikipedia
The term Latin Mass may mean:
1. Tridentine Mass, i.e. the Roman Rite Mass celebrated, always in Latin, in accordance with the successive editions of the Roman Missal from Pope Pius V’s 1570 revision, following the 1545-1563 Council of Trent, to the edition promulgated by Pope John XXIII in 1962;
2. The present-day form of Mass of the Roman Rite, celebrated in Latin;
3. Mass celebrated in Latin in non-Roman liturgical rites, such as the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite;
4. (Historically) Mass in the Pre-Tridentine Mass forms of the Roman Rite;
5. The Latin Mass, the Journal of Catholic Culture & Tradition, a Roman Catholic magazine dedicated to promoting the Tridentine Mass and Traditionalist Catholic culture and theology.

19. Let’s look at this objectively. The liturgists have had their way, and their way isn’t working. The idea was to “open the windows and let in some fresh air”. Unfortunately, the “air” at the tine stank with hedonism and “anything goes” mentality.




The result was a “wine into water” theology, the loss of countless priests and nuns, and the dumbing down of religious instruction. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the representation of once for all Sacrifice of Calvary, not some “happy meal” hosted by a master of ceremonies.

20. Please let us not revert to a language nobody understands, not even in most cases the person saying the words! I came through Vatican 2 and can remember the priest before the changes being a remote character not even facing the people and nobody in the congregation even being involved. Most probably half asleep or with rosaries appearing to not even be aware that mass was in progress! I can remember the progressive changes where the priest faced the people and then the people were allowed to say something and then we were allowed to say it in words we could understand. Then we could have music that we could sing to instead of only the choir. We could now become involved. The only issue now is that we have failed to continue to renew the mass and become more involved.
Remember that the younger generations have never heard the old versions so do not miss it. I don’t think bringing back the old is suddenly going to make them return. Most people under 45 years old won’t know about the old mass….
The issue of reducing numbers I don’t think has anything to do with the change away from the Latin mass. People used to go because they thought they had to. Some coming from the pub and just standing outside! … because they had to. Now people generally only come because they want to. If we want more to come we need to give them good reason why they should….I cannot see reverting to Latin doing that!

21. How questionable is the sentiment expressed in the last sentence of this essay. These changes mandated by the new mass have a life span of only 40 years, while the traditional Latin mass has a pedigree of centuries. What this article reflects — and what His Holiness most likely also suffers from — is a simple lack of courage. The new mass is wrong in so many ways. It is too bad that Benedict XVI does not ask himself how a pope could make the revolutionary change of discarding that which was seen as the most sublime exercise of faith for nearly two thousand years. What foolishness.

22. “…the true intent of the Holy Spirit in the work of Vatican II.”
Armand, your comment presupposes that it was in fact the Heilige Geist, and not the Zeitgeist that was at work in the unleashing of Vat II; the Holy Spirit, rather than the Spirit of the Times, or the Spirit of the World, neither of which have anything to do with the Paraclete. We don’t need another Council, and I guarantee that in these times, any attempt to convene one would split the church farther than it is split already. If the Church is in fact more protestant than Catholic these days, then the schism is formal and those so believing and acting are gone already. So better to abandon the bitter and fruitless effects of the Vatican II ransack of Catholic spirituality, and let those who choose to do so go their way. Sometimes accommodation fails, and there are life choices to be made. Those times are coming. Steel yourselves to it.
Oh, and the argument about not understanding Latin is pathetic. We know the words of the ordinary whether we speak Latin or not, and if we haven’t learned their meaning through forty years of vernacular liturgy, then the experiment failed and deserves to be ended. The arguments in favour of a universal language are manifold, logical and already proven by past experience. It is the present that has failed. On a wry note, it is amusing how many people would subscribe to the notion of karma, good intentions bring about good results, everybody in the world hug each other and all war will stop, things like that. But the same people snigger at the notion that if we all pray a standardised liturgical prayer in a universal language that we’re just whistling Dixie. Wake up. ’60’s feel-good-ism is over. There is no such thing as subjective Catholicism. But don’t blame me. The fault lies with the generation who told you that there was.
Give us the Latin Mass, and our Catholic Identity back Holy Father, for our sake, and for God’s.

23. Fr. Reginald Wilson wrote: “The real reform for Pope Benedict to attend to is the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass. It is my opinion that this Rite has never been celebrated in the English speaking world, as yet! To celebrate it reverently, devoutly and fruitfully the use of the vernacular needs to be confined to the Liturgy of the Word and the Offertory, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer and Communion Rite needs to be in Latin.”
The prayers you wish to have in Latin are all written in the plural. The priest is leading the whole community in prayer. Is the laity present to be denied their conscious participation as a community in some of the most magnificent ‘total Church community’ prayers ever composed?

24. Peter Ryan: You have obviously never attended mass at the London Oratory if you think that the Novus Ordo has never been celebrated reverently in the English speaking world. There it is celebrated and interpreted in the light of tradition, ad orientem (they experimented with a coffee-table for about a month once, then ditched the thing), in latin, in Roman vestments, with polyphony and Gregorian chant, while still incorporating hymns and vernacular readings…it’s the model.
I myself have organized New Rite masses celebrated maximally, even celebrated with liturgical books obtained for my Gregorian (a men’s liturgical prayer group called Chorus Breviarii San Diego) which include a Novus Ordo Latin lectionary, again ad orientem, ALL in Latin, Gregorian chant through and through, 100% Novus Ordo…and you know what, when you get to that point, it’s still inadequate. It’s full of stops and starts, with the celebrant standing around waiting for the sanctus to be over (as if the concept of musical overlay requires every member of the congregation to be Albert Einstein).
They know perfectly well what the rite can be, but cling to a dated, childish (not to be confused with childlike), and ulterior need for reform. Well guess what, we didn’t all become protestant. Many have, but the doctrines and dogmas inconveniently didn’t morph or go away. It’s time for the liturgy to reflect those truths again, and the new rite, even done maximally, doesn’t cut it.

25. I also lived through the Vatican II years. I saw firsthand the cataclysm brought about by the “progressives” with their ejection of Latin. There is something to be said in favor of a “dead” language; and that is that it’s hard to tinker with. I am sick of the injection of P/C (usually feminist) language in the liturgy. The focus of the Mass is a vertical worship, but the Neo-Protestants have done their best to turn it into a celebration of our wonderful selves.


26. If I read him correctly, Fr. Hamilton suggests that part of the problem with restoring the “old rite” may be that the “new rite” has “grown organically” since Vatican II; thus, any widespread imposition of the “old rite” would cause the same sorts of disruptions as, presumably, introduction of the “new right” did post Vatican II.
He may well be right in this, but I suggest that this is only part of the problem. Of more immediate import is the fact that there are whole generations who have no familiarity with, or knowledge of, the “old rite”; thus, its widespread imposition would not merely involve getting used to a new style of liturgy so much as learning a new liturgy altogether. Moreover, it would be a liturgy that would be incomprehensible, and thus irrelevant to, the overwhelming majority of its audience.
I am a very example of this point. Whilst I was aware as a child/teenager that the Mass had once been said in Latin, I had no notion of what was actually involved. Indeed, during the first 21 years of my life, when I was a practicing Catholic, I never once heard the term “tridentine”, nor was I informed what this term signified. Ironically, it was only until well into my adulthood, and after I had once again become a practicing (Protestant) Christian, that I discovered, for myself, what the “old rite” actually involved.
My point being that there are many Catholics my and subsequent generations for whom the “old rite” is utterly meaningless, not least because they know – and have been taught – nothing about it.
However, I suggest that a partial solution might lie in fostering the view of the “old rite” as part of the richness of Christian worship traditions, in the same sense that the Orthodox rite and sacred music, and the various forms of contemplative music (Taize) and worship modes (e.g.: Tenebrae) can be likewise regarded. In this understanding, aspects of the “old rite” and its music might usefully be employed in the vernacular service or on specific feast days; who makes such decisions about where and when might itself be problematic, although I would suggest that closer to the congregational level, the better (or, at least, a two tiered system where the Vatican establishes particular feast days where aspects of the “old rite” might be utilised, but gives congregations the freedom to incorporate these into ordinary time services). At the very least, such an approach might remove the pejorative stigma to which terms such as “old rite” and “new rite” give rise.
Granted, this will not necessarily deal with issues such as the Eucharistic sacrifice over and against the communal Eucharistic meal; however, I do suggest that it may be a way for the Catholic church to at least promote a better universal understanding of what the “old rite” actually involves, before any moves are made to give that rite a wider currency than presently obtains. And even if that wider currency never arises, this process might restore, for many Catholics, a sense of their own living and historical tradition.


Back to the Tridentine? It’s Up to the PopeVatican Official Calls for Pastoral Sensitivity


Rome, February 26, 2007

Speculation continues as to whether Benedict XVI will issue a document on a possible reform of the liturgy.
The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, spoke with Inside the Vatican magazine about rumors of a papal document that would loosen restrictions on the Tridentine Mass.
If he were to issue a document “motu proprio” (on his own initiative), Archbishop Ranjith said that the Holy Father will “decide what is best for the Church.” “The Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only,” he said. “It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church.” The Sri Lanka-born prelate added: “It is not so much a matter of the Tridentine Mass or of the Novus Ordo. It is just a question of pastoral responsibility and sensitivity. … “The Church should always seek to help our faithful to come closer to the Lord, to feel challenged by his message and to respond to his call generously. “And if that can be achieved through the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Pius V Mass, well, then space should be provided for whatever is best instead of getting down to unnecessary and divisive theological hair-splitting.”


Current failure

Though noting positive results too, Archbishop Ranjith said that “the post-conciliar reform of the liturgy has not been able to achieve the expected goals of spiritual and missionary renewal in the Church.”
“The churches have become empty,” the 59-year-old said. “Liturgical freewheeling
has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured.

“One has to, then, begin wondering if the reform process had in fact been handled correctly.”
Archbishop Ranjith recalled that the Second Vatican Council’s constitution on the liturgy does not allow individual priests to modify the Mass.
“In the celebration of the Novus Ordo we have to be very serious about what we do on the altar,” the Vatican official explained. “I cannot be a priest who dreams in his sleep about what I will do at the Mass the following day, walk up to the altar and start celebrating with all kinds of novel self-created rubrics and actions. “The holy Eucharist belongs to the Church. Hence, it has a meaning of its own which cannot be left to the idiosyncrasies of the single celebrant.”
Asked about a return to the Tridentine Mass or just a reform of the Novus Ordo, Archbishop Ranjith said: “An ‘either-or’ attitude would unnecessarily polarize the Church, whereas charity and pastoral concern should be the motivating factors. If the Holy Father so desires, both could coexist.”
As to when or if a document “motu proprio” will be issued, “nothing yet is known,” but, Archbishop Ranjith said, “it is the Holy Father who will decide. And when he does, we should in all obedience accept what he indicates to us and with a genuine love for the Church strive to help him.
“Any counter attitude would only harm the spiritual mission of the Church and thwart the Lord’s own will.”



Benedict seeks return to Catholic “classics”


March 14, 2007

In a major document on the Eucharist released overnight, Pope Benedict has called for a renewed emphasis on the Latin Mass, Gregorian chant and classical church art as well as insisting on the obligatory “witness of virginity” in the Latin Church. Summing up the results of the October 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist in an Apostolic Exhortation, “Sacramentum Caritatis”, Pope Benedict reiterated his
strong opposition to remarried Catholics and non-Catholic Christians taking part in the Eucharist and invited priests to refrain from celebrating the Mass during weddings or funerals attended by non-practising Catholics, DPA reports.

The pope was particularly harsh in criticising Holy Masses held during funerals or weddings that are attended by non-practising Catholics or members of other faiths. “In situations whereby it is not possible to guarantee proper clarity on the meaning of the Eucharist, one should consider the opportunity of substituting the Eucharistic Celebration with a celebration of the Word of God,” the pope wrote.
“I ask that future priests … be trained to understand and celebrate Holy Mass in Latin, use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chants,” the pope wrote in a call for a return to Church classics.
According to Church rules adopted in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council of 1965, congregations wishing to celebrate Mass in Latin were forced to seek permission from Rome or from their local bishops.
According to the Herald, Pope Benedict also criticised styles of musical accompaniment, the colour of the priests’ vestments and even church art

Sources: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/vatican_releases_sacramentum_caritatis_with_press_conference/



Mixed reaction to Benedict’s exhortation


March 15, 2007

Strictures in Pope Benedict’s back to basics apostolic exhortation would only be observed when the bishop visits, a Melbourne priest has said while others have welcomed Benedict’s criticisms of
“trashy” modern liturgical music. Melbourne archdiocese chaplain for the traditional Latin liturgy, Fr. Glen Tattersall, told the Age that the Pope was concerned not to let the Mass imitate forms from secular culture. Instead, he wanted the liturgy to be closer to the Latin liturgy. “Benedict has very strong ideas about music. He thinks most modern so-called liturgical music is pretty trashy,” Fr. Tattersall said.
But a Melbourne priest described by the Age as “liberal” said the strictures would be observed “only when the bishop comes to our church”. Hobart Archbishop Adrian Doyle, who attended the 2005 bishops’ synod on which the exhortation is based, highlighted Pope Benedict’s warning that society risks being enslaved to work and his defence of Sunday as a day of rest. The day of rest was a concept that belonged to many faiths – for Jews it was Saturday, for Muslims Friday, Archbishop Doyle said. “The church preserved the day of rest when it was seriously in jeopardy because of people’s powerlessness. We have lost that concept, and a great treasure in doing so,” he said.
Source: Reclaim the day of rest, Pope urges


By Barney Zwartz, March 14, 2007


Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith on Eucharist Exhortation


April 25 2007, Indonesia

In no. 62 of the exhortation (Sacramentum Caritatis), the pope suggests that celebration of Mass in Latin and use of Gregorian chant could be done on some occasions and in parts of the liturgy. What do you think Catholics in Asia feel about this? Have you detected a desire for the Mass in Latin among Catholics in Asia?

Archbishop Ranjith:
Sacrosanctum Concilium never advocated total abandonment of Latin or of Gregorian chant. It stated that “the use of the Latin language, except when a particular law prescribed otherwise, is to be preserved in the Latin rites… But since the use of the vernacular … may frequently be of great advantage to the people a wider use may be made of it especially in readings, directives and in some prayers and chants” [SC 36: 1-2]. Besides, it wished that “a suitable place may be allotted to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people, especially in the readings and ´the common prayer´, and also as local conditions may warrant, in those parts which pertain to the people” [SC 54].

In the same passage, the Council wished that care be taken to “ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them”[ibid.].

The point is that the vernacular is not the normal language of the Liturgy for Sacrosanctum Concilium but Latin, with permission being granted for the vernacular to be used in specific areas such as the readings, some prayers and chants and parts that pertain to the people. What is remarkable is that it advocates the use of Latin even in “those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them”[SC 54].




Unfortunately, a quasi-total abandonment of Latin took place almost everywhere soon after the Council, so only the older generation of Catholics in Asia has an idea of the use of Latin in the liturgy and of Gregorian chant. With a strong vernacularisation of the Liturgy and of seminary formation, the use of Latin did almost completely disappear from most of Asia. This is rather unfortunate.


The Pope wants “future priests” to learn Latin in seminaries, so as to read Latin texts and sing Gregorian chant. How do you think young Asians studying for the priesthood regard that call? Will Asia´s seminaries welcome it?

Archbishop Ranjith:
There is no question of a welcoming. I think it is a need, and rather than falling into a well of isolationist narrow mindedness or a purely empiricist approach to faith that, by the way, is not Asian and does not leave room for an understanding of that which is transcendent, our priests and seminarians should be encouraged to open out to the wider reality of their faith, which is Catholic and Universal, its bi-millennial roots and development and its mystical and sacred dimensions. And since Latin has been at the very root of much of the developments in Theology, Liturgy, and ecclesial discipline all along, seminarians and priests should be encouraged to learn and use it.

This would help the Church in Asia not only to grasp better the content of the depositum fidei (deposit of faith) and its development, but also discover a theological language of its own, capable of presenting the faith to the peoples of Asia convincingly [cfr. Ecclesia in Asia 20]. Learning Latin is in no way a going backward but, on the contrary, going forward. Only thus could a truly profound process of inculturation take place. Any so-called theology not rooted in the fonts of Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church, prayed on one´s knees and illumined by the light of a holy life is but empty noise-making and would lead only to disorder and confusion.

The same is true of Liturgy. Latin is the ordinary liturgical language of the Church. In the origin and development of the Roman rite, it had a major role to play. Thus, a sufficient knowledge of this language would facilitate a better under-standing and appreciation of the beauty of what is celebrated. As the Holy Father stated, “the beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God´s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth” [SC. 35].

Celebrating in Latin thus would help build a sense of awe and respect as well as a profound spiritual link with what the Lord himself inspired the Church to assume as its form of worship. This openness to Latin would also help the students appreciate better the role of Gregorian chant in the Church. The Holy Father wishes that it “be suitably esteemed and employed” as it is the “chant proper to the Roman liturgy” [SC. 42]. Learning the simplicity and beauty of this great body of chant would also help musically talented priests and seminarians in Asia to be inspired by it and be able to compose dignified and prayerful chant forms that can harmonize better with the local culture. It would be presumptuous to assume that using Gregorian chant would harm inculturation of the liturgy. It could actually be beneficial.


Chief Vatican liturgist replaced

By Shawn Tribe, Vatican, October 1, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI has replaced Archbishop Piero Marini, the longtime director of office of papal liturgies. Archbishop Marini, who has coordinated papal liturgical celebrations since 1987, has become a familiar face to millions of Catholics, appearing regularly beside Pope John Paul II and then Pope Benedict XVI at papal ceremonies. Once a private secretary to Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, the chief architect of the liturgical reforms following Vatican II, Archbishop Marini was also a
lightning-rod for controversy because of his penchant for liturgical innovation.
Since the election of Benedict XVI as Supreme Pontiff in April 2005, Vatican-watchers had speculated that Archbishop Marini would be replaced by someone more sympathetic to the new Pope’s own more traditional approach to the liturgy. Confirming reports that had circulated early in September, Pope Benedict named another cleric with the same surname– Father Guido Marini of the Genoa archdiocese– to become the new master of ceremonies for papal liturgies.
The incoming chief liturgist for the Vatican, Father Guido Marini, has been serving as chancellor and chief liturgist for the Archdiocese of Genoa. In those capacities he served closely with the former archbishop– and current Vatican Secretary of State– Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.


Interview with Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith
Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

See also
November 23, 2007, Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) (Fides English Translation)

The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI on 7 July 2007 came into force on 14 September. The document treats the Rite of Saint Pius V revised in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. The Motu Proprio (Latin, “of his own accord”) allows the celebration of Mass using the Tridentine Missal without the formerly requested permission of the local bishop. The Second Vatican Council and in particular the Liturgical Renewal of 1970 promoted by Pope Paul VI, issued a new Missal to replace the old Missal. Although the latter was never officially abolished, to use the old Missal, the faithful had to obtain permission from the local bishop. This permission was sanctioned by a Motu Proprio: Ecclesia Dei Adflicta signed by Pope John Paul II on 2 July 1988. Now, with this new Motu Proprio, permission is no longer necessary and any «stable group» of faithful may ask the parish priest to celebrate Mass using the old Missal.





Archbishop Ranjith:
I believe that in the growing request for the more frequent celebration of the Mass of Saint Pius V, the Pope saw signs of a loss of spiritual depth caused by the way in which the Liturgical moments have so far been celebrated in the Church. These difficulties arise from certain orientations of the post Council liturgical reform which tended to reduce, or better, to obscure essential aspects of the faith, and also from adventurous attitudes, not in keeping with the liturgical discipline of the Reform; this is seen everywhere… There are voices that in some countries or dioceses bishops have issued regulations which attempt to practically annul or completely change the Pope’s intentions.


From Paris and Lourdes, the Lesson of the “Liturgist” Pope


By Sandro Magister,
Rome, September 16, 2008

On his trip to France, Benedict XVI did not only defend the ancient rite of the Mass. He also explained and demonstrated repeatedly what he believes to be the authentic meaning of the Catholic liturgy of today and always.

In the three Masses celebrated during his trip to Paris and Lourdes, Benedict XVI followed the post-conciliar rite. But he intentionally enriched it with elements characteristic of the old rite: the cross at the center of the altar, communion given to the faithful on the tongue, while kneeling, the sacredness of the whole.

The reciprocal “enrichment” between the two rites is the main objective that impelled Benedict XVI to promulgate, in 2007, the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which liberalized the use of the ancient rite of the Mass, according to the Roman missal of 1962.
The opponents of the motu proprio maintain, instead, that the use of the ancient rite does not enrich, but rather cancels out the achievements of Vatican Council II as a whole. The French bishops have been among those most critical of the pope’s initiative, before and after the promulgation of the motu proprio.
On Sunday, September 14, meeting the bishops of France in Lourdes, Pope Joseph Ratzinger did not fail to urge them to be pastors welcoming of all, including the faithful who feel themselves most “at home” with the ancient rite.
The pope had anticipated these ideas about the two rites of the Mass in responding to journalists during his flight to France, on Friday, September 12.
But Benedict XVI said much more on the subject during the four days of his trip to Paris and Lourdes.
In his lecture on September 12, at the Collége des Bernardins, he explained the emergence of great Western music, in the monasteries of the Middle Ages, in terms that require reflection on the diminishing quality of today’s liturgical music, and on the necessity of revitalizing it in keeping with its original meaning.
In his homily for vespers at the cathedral of Notre-Dame, he called for a “beauty” in the earthly liturgies that will bring them closer to the liturgies of heaven. And he exhorted priests to be faithful to the daily prayer of the liturgy of the hours.
In the homily for the Mass on the Esplanade des Invalides, on September 13, he addressed the doctrine of the Eucharist and of the “real presence” of the body and blood of Christ in very demanding words, requiring that the Mass be celebrated with a sense of sacredness that has been largely missing in recent decades.
And Benedict XVI again returned to this “real presence” in the concluding meditation of the Eucharistic procession in Lourdes, on the evening of September 14. With a passage dedicated to those who “cannot – or cannot yet – receive Jesus in the Sacrament, but can contemplate Him with faith and love and express our desire finally to be united with Him.” Among these can be counted the divorced and remarried Catholics, to whom the Church does not give communion. But their “desire,” the pope said, “has great value in God’s presence.”
To these calls to return to the authentic spirit of the liturgy, Benedict XVI also added, on September 14 in Lourdes, an illustration of the profound meaning of the Angelus Domini, the Marian prayer that he recites in public every Sunday at midday.
Here is what Benedict XVI said day by day, on each one of these points:

On the Mass in the ancient rite

From the press conference on the papal plane, September 12, 2008

Q: What do you say to those in France who are worried that the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” is a step backward with regards to the great institutions of the Second Vatican Council?
A: It is baseless fear; because this motu proprio is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, who know it, who want to live with this liturgy. It is a small group, because it supposes an education in Latin, a formation in a certain type of culture. But it seems to me a normal requirement of faith and pastoral practice for a bishop of our Church to have love and forbearance for these people and allow them to live with this liturgy.
There is no opposition between the liturgy renewed by Vatican II and this liturgy. Every day, the council Fathers celebrated the Mass following the old rite and at the same time they conceived a natural development for the liturgy throughout this century, since the liturgy is a living reality, which develops and keeps its identity within its development. So there is certainly a difference of emphasis, but a single fundamental identity that excludes any contradiction or antagonism between a renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy.




I believe there is a possibility for both types to be enriched. On the one hand, the friends of the old liturgy can and should know the new saints, the new prefaces of the liturgy, etc. But on the other hand, the new liturgy emphasizes the common participation, but it is not just the assembly of a particular community, but rather it is always an act of the universal Church, in communion with all the believers of all time, an act of adoration. In this sense, it seems to me that there is a mutual enrichment, and it is clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our time.

On the emergence of great Western music

From the lecture at the Collège des Bernardins, Paris, September 12, 2008

The psalms also contain frequent instructions about how they should be sung and accompanied by instruments. For prayer that issues from the word of God, speech is not enough: music is required. Two chants from the Christian liturgy come from biblical texts in which they are placed on the lips of angels: the “Gloria”, which is sung by the angels at the birth of Jesus, and the “Sanctus”, which according to Isaiah 6 is the cry of the seraphim who stand directly before God. Christian worship is therefore an invitation to sing with the angels, and thus to lead the word to its highest destination. Once again, Jean Leclercq says on this subject: “The monks had to find melodies which translate into music the acceptance by redeemed man of the mysteries that he celebrates. The few surviving capitula from Cluny thus show the Christological symbols of the individual modes” (cf. ibid. p. 229).
For Benedict, the words of the Psalm: “coram angelis psallam Tibi, Domine” – in the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise (cf. 138:1) – are the decisive rule governing the prayer and chant of the monks. What this expresses is the awareness that in communal prayer one is singing in the presence of the entire heavenly court, and is thereby measured according to the very highest standards: that one is praying and singing in such a way as to harmonize with the music of the noble spirits who were considered the originators of the harmony of the cosmos, the music of the spheres.
From this perspective one can understand the seriousness of a remark by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, who used an expression from the Platonic tradition handed down by Augustine, to pass judgement on the poor singing of monks, which for him was evidently very far from being a mishap of only minor importance. He describes the confusion resulting from a poorly executed chant as a falling into the “zone of dissimilarity” – the “regio dissimilitudinis”. Augustine had borrowed this phrase from Platonic philosophy, in order to designate his condition prior to conversion (cf. Confessions, VII, 10.16): man, who is created in God’s likeness, falls in his godforsakenness into the “zone of dissimilarity” – into a remoteness from God, in which he no longer reflects him, and so has become dissimilar not only to God, but to himself, to what being human truly is. Bernard is certainly putting it strongly when he uses this phrase, which indicates man’s falling away from himself, to describe bad singing by monks. But it shows how seriously he viewed the matter. It shows that the culture of singing is also the culture of being, and that the monks have to pray and sing in a manner commensurate with the grandeur of the word handed down to them, with its claim on true beauty.
This intrinsic requirement of speaking with God and singing of him with words he himself has given, is what gave rise to the great tradition of Western music. It was not a form of private “creativity”, in which the individual leaves a memorial to himself and makes self-representation his essential criterion. Rather it is about vigilantly recognizing with the “ears of the heart” the inner laws of the music of creation, the archetypes of music that the Creator built into his world and into men, and thus discovering music that is worthy of God, and at the same time truly worthy of man, music whose worthiness resounds in purity.


More on the Mass in the ancient rite

From the address to the bishops of France, Lourdes, September 14, 2008

Liturgical worship is the supreme expression of priestly and episcopal life, just as it is of catechetical teaching. Your duty to sanctify the faithful people, dear brothers, is indispensable for the growth of the Church. In the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, I was led to set out the conditions in which this duty is to be exercised, with regard to the possibility of using the missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962) in addition to that of Pope Paul VI (1970). Some fruits of these new arrangements have already been seen, and I hope that, thanks be to God, the necessary pacification of spirits is already taking place. I am aware of your difficulties, but I do not doubt that, within a reasonable time, you can find solutions satisfactory for all, lest the seamless tunic of Christ be further torn. Everyone has a place in the Church. Every person, without exception, should be able to feel at home, and never rejected. God, who loves all men and women and wishes none to be lost, entrusts us with this mission by appointing us shepherds of his sheep. We can only thank him for the honour and the trust that he has placed in us. Let us therefore strive always to be servants of unity.

Extraordinary Form 101 – A Beginner’s Guide to the Old Latin Mass


By Thomas E. Woods, Jr., This Rock, Volume 19, No. 9, November 2008

On July 7, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI launched one of the boldest papal initiatives since Vatican II: He declared that the traditional liturgy of the Roman rite, which he said was never abrogated, was officially available to all the Church’s faithful alongside the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI. Pope John Paul II had allowed for the traditional Latin Mass on a limited basis since the 1980s; with his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict removed the remaining restrictions.






In the letter he wrote to bishops, the Holy Father’s words explaining his decision are but an elegant expression of common sense: If the older liturgy was sacred in the past, then it is sacred now as well. “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. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.” Summorum Pontificum declared that the older liturgy “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage.” This due honor, according to Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” president Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, should be shown by making the traditional Latin Mass available even where it has not been specifically requested. The pope is especially hopeful that young people will be exposed to the Extraordinary Form.

Although some Catholics have followed these matters very closely over the years, others may not have understood quite so clearly exactly what the pope has said and done, or what the practical results of all this might be. Here I provide answers to a number of common questions.


What do the terms “Ordinary Form” and “Extraordinary Form” mean?

For a long time, people referred to the new liturgy (or the Missal of 1970) as the “new rite” and the older liturgy (the most recent version of which is the Missal of 1962) as the “old rite.” In his July 7, 2007 letter to bishops, Pope Benedict XVI said that we should instead think of these Missals as being two forms of a single Roman rite, rather than as two separate rites. Thus he prefers that instead of “new rite” and “old rite,” we say “Ordinary Form” (his name for the Missal of 1970, or Novus Ordo Missae) and “Extraordinary Form” (the Missal of 1962, or the traditional Latin Mass).

The two forms use different liturgical calendars and different cycles of scriptural readings. The Extraordinary Form operates according to a one-year cycle, which means the same readings are used on the same dates every year. The Ordinary Form uses a three-year cycle, which means particular passages are usually used once every three years.


Are missals provided, like the missalettes parishes use for the Ordinary Form?

Wherever I have attended the Extraordinary Form, there have always been booklet missals available for the laity’s use. If you attend the Extraordinary Form regularly, you’ll want to acquire your own hand missal, which is available at online Catholic booksellers, as well as an increasing number of brick-and-mortar stores. These missals contain both the Ordinary of the Mass (the parts of the Mass that stay the same every day) as well as the propers, which are the changing parts of the Mass (such as the readings from Scripture, the Communion and post-Communion prayers), for every Mass of the year. They also tend to contain additional prayers for devotional purposes as well as much valuable information about the liturgy, the vestments, and other aspects of the Extraordinary Form.


Are the missals in Latin?

The missals are in Latin and English (or whatever the local language is). Latin is on one side and the vernacular language on the other. Anyone can follow along. Even with the missal, though, you may find yourself a little lost the first couple times you attend. Do not worry about every small detail. Soon enough, you’ll find everything to be second nature. Should you want a brief tutorial, the longest chapter of my recent book Sacred Then and Sacred Now: The Return of the Old Latin Mass walks you through the Extraordinary Form step by step.


Are the readings in Latin?

Yes and no. When the scriptural passages are read in the context of the Mass, they are read in Latin, though of course you can read along with the English translation in your missal. Immediately before the sermon, the priest then repeats the readings in the vernacular language.


Do I kneel to receive Holy Communion? Do I receive on the tongue? Do I say “Amen”?

Yes, yes, and no. Communicants kneel at a Communion rail and receive on the tongue. The Extraordinary Form places great emphasis on avoiding any possibility of profanation of the host. You will notice, for example, that the priest holds the ciborium rather awkwardly. That is because, from the moment of the consecration until the purification of the sacred vessels, he may not separate his thumb and forefinger, lest even the smallest particle fall to the ground. It would be incongruous, after that kind of studious care, for him then to place the host into a layman’s outstretched hand.

The communicant does not say “Amen.” The priest says it as he places the host on the communicant’s tongue. The priest does not say, “The body of Christ.” He says, “May the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto everlasting life. Amen.” Amen, of course, means “let it be so.” In other words, “may this reception of Holy Communion have the effects for which I have just prayed.”


Will the priest have his back to the congregation?

Yes—but that is the wrong way to think about it. It is not a question of turning his back on the people. Instead, the priest and the people together face the same direction. Masses in which priest and people face a common eastward direction, whether in the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form, are called ad orientem Masses.

Fr. Joseph D. Santos, Jr., a priest of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, gives a straightforward explanation of this traditional practice:




When a general leads his troops into battle, does he face them? When a representative of the people approaches the ruler on their behalf, does he face them? When a priest is going to the Lord on behalf of his people, should he face them? When the priest is acting as the intermediary between the people and God, he faces the altar. When he is dispensing the gifts of God, or speaking to the people, he faces the people. (Interview, Traditional Latin Mass Blog, August 1, 2007)


Scholars have begun to conclude, contrary to popular belief, that Mass facing the people was not in fact the regular practice of the early Church, and that Mass facing east has been the historic norm. “As I have written in my books, I think that celebration turned towards the east, towards the Christ who is coming, is an apostolic tradition,” wrote Pope Benedict XVI in 2004, while still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger: Proceedings of the July 2001 Fontgombault Liturgical Conference, 151). In fact, those parts of the early Catholic world in which the sacrificial aspect of the Mass was best understood were most likely to celebrate Mass ad orientem. “The common direction of priest and people is intrinsically fitting and proper to the liturgical action,” Cardinal Ratzinger explained (Foreword, Turning towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer by U.M. Lang).


Will I be able to get anything out of it if I don’t speak Latin?

Of course. For centuries the popes insisted on the value of a non-vernacular language for the Mass, and as Catholics we owe them at least the benefit of the doubt that they cared about the spiritual lives of the faithful. It’s easy to follow along in your missal, especially once you’ve attended this Mass a few times. Next to no one spoke Latin in the old days, and yet their souls were deeply nourished by the Mass, and (if polling data is to be believed) they understood the meaning of the Mass far better than do most Catholics today.

It’s important to remember what Pope Bl. John XXIII said about the value of Latin. “The Catholic Church,” he explained, “has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular” (Veterum Sapientia, On the Promotion of the Study of Latin). It makes sense that we should leave behind what differentiates us from each other as Americans, Frenchmen, Koreans, or whatever, and meet for worship in a language that privileges no single group but is the common possession of us all. Just two generations ago, wherever someone went in the world he would encounter the same Mass he knew at home—a beautiful testament to the universality of the Church.

That’s one of the things that so impressed the British communist-turned-Catholic Douglas Hyde, who had looked in vain to secular organizations to give expression to the unity of the human race. In the mid-20th century he found what he was looking for in the Catholic Church, having been especially moved by its use of Latin:

At 11:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve I was twiddling the knob of my radio. Unable to get out to Midnight Mass I wanted at least to bring it to my fireside. And as I switched from one European station to the next I tuned in to one Midnight Mass after the other. Belgium, France, Germany, Eire, yes, even behind the Iron Curtain, Prague. It seemed as though the whole of what was once Christendom was celebrating what is potentially the most unifying event in man’s history. And the important thing was that it was the same Mass. I am a newcomer to the Mass but I was able to recognize its continuity as I went from station to station for it was in one common language. This aspect of Catholicism is but a single one, and maybe not the most important. But I have a strong feeling that it is precisely the Catholicism of the Catholic Church which may prove the greatest attraction, and will meet the greatest need, for my disillusioned generation. (Quoted in Michael J. Miller, “The International and the Introibo: How the Catholic Mass Converted a Communist,” Sursum Corda, Winter 1999)


Amid all the speculation regarding the Pope’s motu proprio, columnist Barbara Kay, who attends an all-Hebrew service at her synagogue, explained why she as a non-Catholic favored the use of Latin in the Mass:

The power of liturgy to lift us out of our narrow practical and material pursuits is not dependent on our understanding of every actual word we are saying, any more than our emotional submission to classical music’s soaring magic is dependent on our ability to read the score that produced it. . . . An ancestral, globally employed language like Hebrew or Latin provides a context for predictable and organic communion amongst those present at the service. Through regular engagement, even though rote, with a universally recognized language, worshippers are subliminally imbued with a common motivational narrative from the past, common moral goals in the present and intimations of a common destiny in the future. (National Post, “Latin’s Second Coming,” October 18, 2006)


She concluded her article for Canada’s National Post very simply: “Bring back the Latin Mass.”


Vatican II urged that “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites,” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36.1) and declared that the faithful should “be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (SC 54). The case for Latin as a liturgical language is very strong, and I discuss and defend it at greater length in Sacred Then and Sacred Now.


Does the laity do anything?

Yes: The laity prays the Mass. No more sublime form of activity can be conceived.

Participation in the Mass does not mean only or even primarily physical activity. Evelyn Waugh put it this way: “Participation in the Mass does not mean hearing our own voice. It means God hearing our voices. Only he knows who is participating at Mass.



I believe, to compare small things with great that I participate in a work of art when I study it and love it silently. No need to shout” (A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes, ed. Scott M.P. Reid). According to the late Msgr. Richard J. Schuler, former editor of Sacred Music, “Listening is a truly active participation. Listening both to the proclaimed word and the performed music can be full, conscious and active participation. The same can be said for watching the ceremonial as it is enacted” (“Active Participation in the Church’s Liturgy: What Did the Second Vatican Council Mean?” Sacred Music, October 1996). The great liturgical expert Dom Alcuin Reid describes active participation as “essentially contemplative.”

Pope Benedict XVI, during his years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained that the faithful’s liturgical actions do not consist

only or primarily in the alternation of standing, sitting and kneeling, but in inner processes. It is these which give rise to the whole drama of the liturgy. “Let us pray”—this is an invitation to share in a movement which reaches down into our inner depths. “Lift up your hearts”—this phrase and the movement which accompanies it are, so to speak, only the “tip of the iceberg.” The real action takes place in the deep places of men’s hearts, which are lifted up to the heights. (The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy, 89)


There is, in other words, much silence in the Extraordinary Form. This is good and important, says Fr. Kenneth Myers of the Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Silence in the Mass is perhaps the greatest need of modern man because we so desperately need to peer into our souls, to enter into our own hearts, and to see there what God himself sees. In the silence of the traditional Latin Mass we can listen to God’s voice within us.

The silence of the traditional Latin Mass reveals so clearly that the Mass is not the work of the congregation, a performance which we manufacture in order to make God happy with us. Rather, the Mass is the work of God—it is Christ’s own work of Redemption carried out in our midst, on our altar. The Mass is not fabricated by man, it must be received in faith, and silence enables us to do just that: just as we do not “take” Holy Communion, but rather “receive” the Lord in the Sacrament, so do we receive Christ’s Redemption in the Mass. (“A New Look at the Old Mass”)


At the same time, in a High Mass there can also be plenty of congregational singing, from the principal parts of the Mass—e.g., the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei —to the various responses (Et cum spiritu tuo, to take one example). I was always moved by the robust congregational singing of the Salve Regina at the conclusion of the old Mass at New York City’s Church of St. Agnes, which I attended in the late 1990s.

Above all, participation in the Mass involves an interior union with the holy Sacrifice. “The uniqueness of the eucharistic liturgy,” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “lies precisely in the fact that God himself is acting and that we are drawn into that action of God” (The Spirit of The Liturgy, 174). Any other activity is purely ancillary to this primary purpose. That so many Catholics emphasize external actions, rather than interior union with the Eucharistic sacrifice, as the essence of participation, is in Benedict’s view a sign that “liturgical education today, of both priests and laity, is deficient to a deplorable extent” (The Spirit of the Liturgy, 175).


Why did the Pope do this?

For several reasons. First and most simply, Benedict has a deep respect for and devotion to the Extraordinary Form. He has been its great advocate for decades, having been (in his own words) “from the beginning in favor of the freedom to continue using the old Missal” (Address, Fontgombault Liturgical Conference). In 2001 he told a liturgical conference at France’s Benedictine abbey of Fontgombault: “I well know the sensibilities of those faithful who love this [traditional] liturgy—these are, to some extent, my own sensibilities.”

If people are attracted to this beautiful expression of the faith, it is part of the Church’s generous nature to offer it to them. That is why Pope Benedict urged the world’s bishops, “Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows” (Summorum Pontificum, letter to bishops). In his letter to bishops, Benedict made particular mention of the Society of St. Pius X, whose irregular canonical status he doubtless hoped to rectify by bringing the Extraordinary Form back into the mainstream of Catholic life.

Beyond that, the Pope is concerned that in practice the new Missal has given rise to a spirit of improvisation that is at odds with a mature understanding of liturgy. “In many places,” he told the bishops in his July 2007 letter,

celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. . . . I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.


It is not merely the practice of the new liturgy but at times the new liturgical books themselves that bear responsibility for this problem, according to Benedict.

In the new missal we quite often find formulae such as: sacerdos dicit sic vel simili modo [the priest speaks thus or in words to this effect] . . . or, Hic sacerdos potest dicere [Here the priest may say]. . . . These formulae of the missal in fact give official sanction to creativity; the priest feels almost obliged to change the wording, to show that he is creative, that he is giving this liturgy immediacy, making it present for his congregation; and with this false creativity, which transforms the liturgy into a catechetical exercise for this congregation, the liturgical unity and the ecclesiality of the liturgy [are] being destroyed. Therefore, it seems to me, it would be an important step towards reconciliation, simply if the missal were freed from these areas of creativity, which do not correspond to the deepest level of reality, to the spirit, of the liturgy. (Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger, 150-151)



The pope is also concerned that the way in which the new Missal was introduced gave the impression of a rupture with the past, that liturgies can be manufactured on the spot rather than developed over long periods of time. The new Missal, he once wrote, “was published as if it were a book put together by professors, not a phase in a continual growth process. Such a thing never happened before. It is absolutely contrary to the laws of liturgical growth” (The Feast of Faith, 86).

That sense of rupture was multiplied by the peculiar hostility that some Catholics after 1970 displayed for the traditional liturgy of their own Church and their impatience with those who continued to desire it. Thus in 1997, Cardinal Ratzinger declared:

I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It’s impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. (Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium, 176)


The Extraordinary Form, to repeat, is to be given “due honor for its venerable and ancient usage.” That is as it should be. As one of my friends puts it, we are talking about one of the great treasures of the Church, after all, not a radioactive moon rock. We should embrace it, not accuse those who desire it of sedition.

May Pope Benedict’s wishes be respected, and in a spirit of joy and celebration.


“A Beautiful Act of Love”

As for the motu proprio . . . a precise, twofold intention emerges. First of all, there is the intention of making it easier to reach “a reconciliation in the bosom of the Church”; and in this sense, as has been said, the motu proprio is a beautiful act of love for the unity of the Church. In the second place—and this fact must not be forgotten—its aim is that of fostering a mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman rite: in such a way, for example, that in the celebration according to the missal of Paul VI (the ordinary form of the Roman rite) will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage.

—Msgr. Guido Marini, Master of Pontifical Ceremonies (Interview with L’Osservatore Romano, June 28, 2008)


Extraordinary Form Training and Resources

Pope Benedict’s promotion of the traditional Latin Mass has generated a great deal of interest on the part of priests and laity alike. But a generation of Catholics, including most seminarians, have little knowledge of Latin or the intricate rubrics of the Extraordinary Form. Several groups established before the motu proprio‘s release are wholly dedicated to the traditional Mass. They offer priestly formation, training, and resources.

—Canons Regular of St. John Cantius; www.sanctamissa.org 
The Canons Regular, a community of priests and brothers based in Chicago, was established by Cardinal Francis George in 1999. Today they offer workshops on the EF for priests all over the world.

—Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSS); www.institute-christ-king.org
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, a worldwide Latin Mass apostolate, has houses on four continents, including several in the U.S. It is dedicated to providing formation and resources for priests.

—Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP); www.fssp.org 
The FSSP has been celebrating and promoting the Extraordinary Form since 1988, when a number of priests and seminarians, who had been members of the Society of St. Pius X, reconciled with Rome. The FSSP is located in 16 countries, with 36 apostolates in the U.S. and Canada


DVDs published to help the faithful learn the 1962 Latin Mass

Rome, Italy, August 12, 2009

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, which was recently incorporated into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has announced the publication of two DVDs to help “priests and the community” celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin Rite.
The two DVDs include an entire Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos—until recently the president of the Commission—at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in 2003.
The discs also feature segments explaining in detail the “gestures and rubrics, from the preparatio ad missam (preparation before Mass) to the act of thanksgiving in the sacristy.”
The video is available in four languages (Italian, English, Spanish and French) and is intended to be the “first concrete contribution of the Holy See for the implementation of the Pope’s wishes contained in Summorum Pontificum.” The Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum,” which was released in July of 2007 by Pope Benedict XVI, granted universal permission to the faithful to celebrate the Tridentine Mass adapted by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.
The Commission has not yet announced where or how the DVDs can be purchased.


The Day the Mass Changed


By Susan Benofy, Adoremus Bulletin Online Edition, February 2010, Volume XV, No. 10




On November 29, 1964 — a year after the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was enacted — the “New Mass”, as it was then called, was introduced into US parishes. A fairly typical description of what Catholics experienced at Mass on that day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, is this:

Parishioners sitting in their places that morning knew something was different from the moment the Mass began. The week before, the priest and altar boys had entered in silence; now everyone was expected to sing at least two verses of a processional hymn. The scriptural passages for the day were read aloud in the vernacular…. The priest, standing behind a new altar set up in the middle of the sanctuary, still said some prayers in Latin, but the people were encouraged to recite others along with him, again in their own language.… The distribution of Communion was now different. In the past, the priest had repeated a prayer in Latin as he worked his way along the line of parishioners kneeling at the altar. He now paused in front of each parishioner, in many places standing rather than kneeling, held up the Communion host so they could see it, and said, “Corpus Christi” (“the Body of Christ”), to which the communicant responded, “Amen”. In a few months this, too, would be said in English, and the altar rail itself would be gone.…

The Church discontinued all Latin by 1969.

This description appears in a recent book by James M. O’Toole, The Faithful: A History of Catholics in America (Cambridge, MA: the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 204, 208).

Forty-five years later, most of the features O’Toole found novel in 1964 are generally considered an integral part of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Catholics who recall the new practices introduced on November 29, 1964 would likely agree that this was “the day the Mass changed”, even though the revision of the Rite of Mass was almost five years in the future.



By Susan Benofy, Adoremus Bulletin Online Edition, March 2010, Volume XVI, No. 1

Recall, for example, the 1945 article by Father H. A. Reinhold about a chaplain who said Mass facing the congregation (“The soldiers are ahead of us!” Worship, February 25, 1945). Father Reinhold commented that the change in position of the priest may be a simple change of no significance;

But if it is a significant symptom of an attitudinal change of great magnitude, don’t let us belittle it! There have been so many “unimportant” changes in the past — just outward rites, and yet they somehow shook the world (p. 173).

Among these “world-shaking” changes, Father Reinhold writes, were the change from leavened to unleavened bread, which he says led to a new cult “in which the sacrament became the terminus instead of the medium”. Similarly significant was the change to Communion under only one species, which, he claims, led to a “tabernacle-centered kind of mysticism” (pp. 173-174).

Half of our difficulties with the liturgy as it is on the books would never have arisen if it had not been for these two relatively small changes and their ensuing rationalizations. While they changed nothing in dogmatic facts, they overturned a whole world psychologically and led to a popular attitude which it will be well-nigh impossible to uproot (p. 174).

The reader of this passage cannot but sense that Father Reinhold desires to uproot the “popular attitude” toward the Blessed Sacrament that he found so troublesome. And he is suggesting that introducing Mass facing the people and other apparently “insignificant” practices might have the effect of overturning the then-current “psychological world”.

Comments of some liturgists several years after the Council indicate that they believed that they had succeeded in doing just that.

In a 1980 address to the North American Academy of Liturgy, Monsignor Frederick McManus said:

The reformed Eucharistic liturgy of the Roman rite is a most extraordinary and revolutionary accomplishment. After four centuries of increasing rigidity of text and form, almost overnight the Roman liturgy changed so notably that once familiar features of the preconciliar rite are now as remote to us as some obscure aboriginal ritual (“The Genius of the Roman Rite Revisited”, Worship volume 54, no.4, July, 1980, pp. 360-378).

Such a rupture with our past as Monsignor McManus described is certainly the overturning of a whole psychological world — and just as clearly was very far remote from the intent of the Second Vatican Council, which had insisted that

There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing (SC §23).

Today, more and more Catholics hope for a “reform of the reform” of the liturgy — that is, an honest evaluation and reappraisal of the current state of the Church’s worship in light of the Council’s intended liturgical reform, and, when necessary, making changes to correct problems. Some “progressives” criticize any such effort as “rejecting the Council” or “dismantling the reform”. But earlier advocates of change seemed to anticipate future criticism of their efforts to change the liturgy. In 1966 Jesuit Father Clement McNaspy wrote:

It takes humility to accept the fact that we are not at the end of change, but very much in a moment of transition; that many of our current changes can only be tentative and exploratory; that a future generation will look back on our efforts as gauche, or at best naïve though well intentioned. Like Faust we wish to perpetuate the precious moment, freeze it, impose it on the future. If we take this approach, we may end up with a diminished liturgy rather than a renewed one, and this would surely be the furthest thing from the intention of the Council (Our Changing Liturgy, New York: Hawthorn Books, 1966, p. 159-160).

That “future generation” of Catholics of which he spoke has already experienced the “dream Mass” of the commentators of the Sixties. They have found it to be diminished rather than renewed — and, indeed, far from the intention of the Council.

It is precisely because they embrace the Council and the liturgical reform it intended that people now are now calling for change.




Three Hard Facts about the Liturgy


By Arturo Vasquez, May 26, 2010

Reprinted with permission from our good friends at
InsideCatholic.com, the leading online journal of Catholic faith, culture, and politics.

When I hear or see people arguing about liturgy, either on-line or in person, I tend to run the other way. This is not for lack of an opinion, or out of some sense of not wanting to be “controversial”; I run because even people who think they know about liturgy are really quite uninformed about it. This is due to the fact that modern Catholics tend to have a bad sense of memory. They remember things as they would have liked them to have been, and not how they actually were.

Conversations about the liturgy often produce more heat than light. To that end, I want to present here three hard facts about the liturgy, insights that I hope will get people’s minds out of simplistic categories of what they like or dislike.


1. Most people who talk about liturgy lack any real perspective. You can no more pretend to be a liturgist knowing about only one liturgy than you can pretend to be a sports writer knowing about only one sport. The liturgy of the Roman rite of the Catholic Church underwent such profound changes in the recent past that it would be good to look at other liturgies and people’s experience of them to get some perspective as to what a liturgy tends to look like.

Walking into your average Greek, Russian, or Coptic church, visitors are often struck by the relatively passive behavior of most worshippers with regard to what is going on at the altar. This was very similar to the behavior of the average “bump on a log,” pre-Vatican II worshipper of modern-day liturgical lore. The extent of the congregation’s participation is limited to lighting a candle, making frequents signs of the cross, and singing at selected times. In these cultures, “Mass facing the people” would make no sense; in many places in medieval Europe (in England, with the rood screen, for example), people frequently did not see the altar for much of the service. In the Ethiopian church, the altar is in another room altogether. The experiences of the liturgy by those on the altar and those away from it are entirely different.

Thus, all of the bad things that people accuse the old Latin liturgy of being (non-participatory, overly complicated, repetitive) are characteristic of all of the liturgies that have developed organically since the time of the apostles. Even such supposed restorations of “ancient practices” that the 1960s brought about have rather flimsy justifications behind them. For example, Msgr. Klaus Gamber showed in his book, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, that Mass “facing the people” in the basilicas of early Christian Rome had nothing to do with “facing the people” per se, but rather were concerned with facing the doors that faced East. The fact that the altar was also facing the people was inconsequential, as later practice in other parts of Europe would clearly demonstrate. The idea of Mass facing the people, as we know it today, is a Protestant invention, and not even one practiced by many Protestants, as High Church Anglicans and traditional Lutherans would rightly point out.


2. By 1962, the liturgy had already changed quite a bit. For those who have studied the question, Vatican II was not the “revolution” in the liturgy that many traditionalists make it out to be, but the culmination of a process of liturgical and devotional change starting at the end of the French Revolution. While most people who call themselves traditionalists bury their noses in a hand missal to follow along with the priest’s prayers at an old Latin Mass, they fail to realize that such missals were nearly banned a little more than a hundred years ago. The argument went that a layperson had no business having in his hands the same prayers that the priest was saying. It was only with the publication of such works as Dom Gueranger’s Liturgical Year in the late 1800s that the idea of following the prayers of the liturgy became popular.

In fact, it was St. Pius X who really got the ball rolling in terms of changing the liturgy. The old breviary that some have fond memories of Monsignor So-and-So speeding through before the Second Vatican Council was entirely the invention of Pius’s papal court. In that reform, the order of the Psalms was entirely reworked and many of the rubrics for saying the office changed. Of course, no one noticed or particularly cared. Such a “restoration” was also accomplished by the “traditionalist” Pope Pius XII in the reform of Holy Week. The ceremonies to celebrate the Holy Triduum that most traditionalists will fight to the death over are not even 20 years older than the ceremonies celebrated in an average Catholic parish.

Even the Gregorian chant in which many hear the voice of the apostolic church is in some ways a scholarly recreation of the monks of Solesmes, and they were not without controversy when “restored” in the early 20th century. Before, even in the papal court of Leo XIII, one was far more likely during services to have heard some piece of Italian bel canto lovingly belted by a castrato. It is at least arguable that a Mozart Mass is far more traditional than a Mass taken out of the official Gregorian chant book, the Liber Usualis.


3. Liturgy will not save the Church. In 1794, Pope Pius VI condemned the Jansenist Synod of Pistoia’s suggestions for liturgical innovation in the bull Auctorem Fidei. These innovations – such as the reading of the Scriptures in the vernacular during services, the return of an offertory procession, and the general simplification of rubrics – became the law of the Church only a century and a half later. One can ask what happened, but the real answer is quite complex. What had primarily changed was the influence of the Church over society. In most places, Christian kingdoms were replaced by secular (and often anti-religious) governments; there was a mass movement of population from countryside to city; and general literacy and education increased among all social classes.





Because of all of these social phenomena, the influence of the Church in the daily lives of her faithful diminished greatly. No longer was the rhythm of life determined by the Church calendar, no longer were feasts publicly celebrated, and ecclesiastical authority was not the only voice competing for the ears and hearts of the masses. What other recourse did the Church have but to make use of that hour on a Sunday, that precious little time during an otherwise secularized week, to try to catechize and make an impression on the Church Militant? By the mid-20th century, it could be said that the Church no longer had the luxury of talking at her sheep in a language that they didn’t understand, in terms that were totally alien to the egalitarian, secular societies in which her faithful now found themselves.

Whether one likes the reforms or not, whether one wants to delve into the nitty-gritty of the theological arguments, one cannot dispute that such reforms have done little to help the Church, at least in the West. The Mass is indeed important for supernatural reasons that we, as good Catholics, can recite from the Catechism. But all of this still fails to answer the question: Can reforming or restoring the order and flavor of what Catholics do for 50 minutes on a Sunday morning really determine the fate of the Church? Will it be enough to fend off the onslaught of secularism so that we can pass on the Catholic Faith to our children as a significant part of their lives? I do not pretend to know the answer, but wishful thinking about the issues involved is not part of the solution.

Arturo Vasquez is a writer and independent researcher who lives in Berkeley, CA. He blogs regularly at
Reditus: A Chronicle of Aesthetic Christianity.


Watch the following two YouTube videos to understand why Pope Benedict heralded in the “Reform of the Reform” along with the Tridentine Mass:

Date: 04/08/2010 12:31:38 AM Subject: CIA is proving popular!

Dear Friend in Christ, 

The early reviews are in on the latest episode of CIA (Catholic Investigative Agency) and people are raving about it. It’s about the abuses in the Mass following Vatican II and what the Pope and others in Rome are doing about it. The show is Weapons of MASS Destruction and you don’t want to miss it. 

Watch Weapons of MASS Destruction:

http://www.realcatholictv.com/cia/03Massdest/ Part 1, 52:52

http://www.churchmilitant.tv/cia/03Massdest/index.php?pt=2 Part 2, 51:39

God Bless you and your loved ones.

Michael Voris, Senior executive producer, RealCatholicTV.com


The Liturgical Renewal I would like to see


By Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamis, September 23, 2010
Looking back, some of the culprits for me for the gradual loss of the true reform of the liturgy were the so-called “liturgists” who were more like technicians and choreographers rather than pure students of liturgy.
They had a peculiar affinity for refined liturgical celebrations coupled with disdain for the old rites and devotions. Unfortunately, some bishops, not pure students of liturgy either, gave in to their terrorist proclivities.
A search for creativity and community were dominant projects in “reform-minded” Catholic circles in the 1960s and beyond. In itself, this might not have been bad. But the philosophy that the community was god, and that “God” was not fully “God” without the community was the source of ideas that have done most damage to the Church.
This secular notion of community made its way into the liturgy to gradually supplant the inherited Christian tradition.
These self-appointed arbiters of the reform were, and I hate to say this, liturgical hijackers who deprived ordinary parishioners – and bewildered pastors – of their right to the normative worship of their own Church. Hence, there was the need for a reform of the reform.
A major goal of Pope Benedict XVI is the restoration of our Catholic identity. Liturgy is a key component of such an endeavor. Benedict’s broad liturgical approach can be described in terms of “continuity,” i.e. recovering elements of the liturgical tradition which he believes were too hastily set aside or downplayed in the immediate period after the Second Vatican Council.
The idea of a new liturgical movement came with strength from his book, Spirit of the Liturgy.
A relevant section: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy … in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not he speaks to us and hears us. … Such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope Benedict XVI in his Pastoral Letter to Catholics in Ireland situated the sexual abuse of children in the wake of fast-paced social change and a decline in adherence to traditional devotional and sacramental practices.
To his priests in the Diocese of Rome he said, “In the Eucharist we do not invent something, but we enter into a reality that precedes us, more than that, which embraces heaven and earth and, hence, also the past, the future and the present. … Hence, the liturgical prescriptions dictated by the Church are not external things, but express concretely the reality of the revelation of the body and blood of Christ and thus the prayer reveals the faith according to the ancient principle ‘lex orandi – lex credendi.'” (“The law of praying establishes the law of believing.”)



To be sure, the Pope has great regard for the Novus Ordo. He issued a Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum where he narrated why he wanted to expand the use of what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite and, in so doing, he deliberately responded to the fear that this expansion was somehow intended to demote the Novus Ordo or undermine the Vatican Council’s call for liturgical reform, saying it was unfounded.
For the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, (now Pope Benedict XVI) the liturgy is of its nature an inheritance, a space we inhabit as others have inhabited it before us. It is never an instrument we design or manipulate. Self-made liturgy is a contradiction in terms, and he distrusts liturgies that emphasize spontaneity, self-expression and extreme forms of local inculturation.
In his own book, Spirit of the Liturgy, Cardinal Ratzinger scathingly compared such liturgies to the worship of the Golden Calf, “a feast that the community gives itself, a festival of self-affirmation. Instead of being worship of God, it becomes a circle closed in on itself: eating, drinking and making merry … It is a kind of banal self-gratification … no longer concerned with God but with giving oneself a nice little alternative world, manufactured from one’s own resources.”
In his view, the liturgy is meant to still and calm human activity, to allow God to be God, to quiet our chatter in favor of attention to the Word of God and in adoration and communion with the self-gift of the Word incarnate.
The call for active participation seems to Benedict XVI to have “dumbed” down the mystery we celebrate, and left us with a banal inadequate language (and music) of prayer.
The “active participation” in the liturgy for which Vatican II called, he argues, emphatically, does not mean participation in many acts. Rather, it means a deeper entry by everyone present into the one great action of the liturgy, its only real action, which is Christ’s self-giving on the Cross.
We can best enter into the action of the Mass by a recollected silence, and by traditional gestures of self-offering and adoration – the Sign of the Cross, folded hands, reverent kneeling.
For the Pope, therefore, liturgical practice since the Council has taken a wrong turn, aesthetically impoverished, creating a rupture in the continuity of Catholic worship, and reflecting and even fostering a defective understanding of the Divine and our relationship to it. His decision to permit the free celebration of the Tridentine liturgy was intended both to repair that rupture and to issue a call to the recovery of the theological, spiritual and cultural values that he sees as underlying the old Mass.
In his letter to the bishops of July 2007, he expressed the hope that the two forms of the one Roman liturgy might cross-fertilize each other, the old Missal being enriched by the use of the many beautiful collects and prefaces of Paul VI’s reformed Missal, and the celebration of the Novus Ordo recovering by example some of the “sacrality” that characterized the older form.
It is just like
Anglicanorum Coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution providing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, about which the Pope talked to the Bishops of England and Wales in their ad limina visit.
“It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all,” Anglicanorum Coetibus reads.
Despite Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict himself has only celebrated the ordinary form of the Mass in public, “facing the people” in the manner of the Novus Ordo, using modern languages, all as stipulated in the Liturgical Books of the different countries where he celebrated.
Many people, for example, were waiting for him to use “for many,” instead of “for all” in the United States, but he did not do so.
The Pope celebrated ad orientem (to the east) once more at the newly renovated Pauline Chapel, whose altar was repositioned so that it could be used to celebrate both ways – and the Pope chose the traditional direction in the Mass he celebrated with members of the International Theological Commission.
Small changes to the accessories, vestments and ritual rubrics point to the Pope’s Reform of the Reform. On Corpus Domini of 2008 he began to give Communion exclusively on the tongue to the kneeling faithful.
In November of that year with a new master of pontifical liturgical ceremonies, the Crucifix and candle holders returned to the papal altar, from which the post-Conciliar liturgical reform had taken them away putting the Cross to the side and replacing the candelabra, if at all, by little temple lights.
On the Feast of the Epiphany last year, the Pope wore the guitar-shaped so-called Philippine chasuble instead of the post-Conciliar flowing chasuble, to underscore the continuity between past and present, manifested through liturgical vestments.
Then there are the ritual silences during the liturgies, observed after readings, after psalms, after the homily, and most especially, after Communion.
With these silences, the Pope is starting to educate the faithful who follow papal liturgies to a better, more appropriate attitude of concentration and meditation.
What is the Pope up to? In the words of Monsignor Guido Marini, “I think what the Holy Father is trying to do is to wisely bring together traditional things with the new, in order to carry out, in letter and spirit, what Vatican II intended, and to do it in such a way that papal liturgies can be exemplary in all aspects. Whoever takes part in, or watches, a papal liturgy should be able to say, “This is the way it should be done. Even in my diocese, in my parish!”
And that is how I would like the direction of the liturgical renewal to take with the Mass to be recast, yes, but in order to remain what it is, Calvary and the Upper Room.


Vincentian Archbishop Jesus Dosado of Ozamis, 71, was among six Church officials conferred the Sacrosanctum Concilium Awards during last week’s 25th National Meeting of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy in Manila. The awards are to recognize
“outstanding contribution” recipients have made “to the promotion of the Church’s teachings on liturgy.”


Pope’s master of liturgy helps Benedict restore traditions



By Jason Horowitz, Washington Post Staff Writer, in Rome, December 25, 2010

On a rainy Christmas Eve, Pope Benedict XVI followed a procession of Swiss guards, bishops and priests down the central nave of St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate midnight Mass before dignitaries and a global television audience.

And Monsignor Guido Marini, as always, followed the pope.

A tall, reed-thin cleric with a receding hairline and wire-framed glasses, Marini, 45, perched behind the pope’s left shoulder, bowed with him at the altar and adjusted the pontiff’s lush robes. As Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, he shadows the pope’s every move and makes sure that every candle, Gregorian chant and gilded vestment is exactly as he, the pope and God intended it to be.

“The criterion is that it is beautiful,” Marini said.

But beauty, especially when it comes to the rituals of Roman Catholic liturgy, is a topic of great debate between conservative and liberal Catholics, who share differing views on everything from the music and language of the Mass to where a priest should stand and how he should give Communion.

Some of the key trappings of the Mass – the vestments and vernacular, the “smells and bells” – have taken on a more ancient air since Benedict succeeded John Paul II, and since Marini succeeded Piero Marini.

Piero, 68, is a gruff Vatican veteran, a progressive who advocates a more modern ritual that reflects the great church reforms of the 1960s. The younger and more punctilious Guido, who is not related to Piero, has argued for more traditional liturgical symbols and gestures – like the pope’s preference that the faithful kneel to accept Communion – that some church liberals interpret as the harbinger of a counter-reformation.


‘Battle of the Marinis’

The coincidence of their shared last names has resulted in YouTube links like “Battle of the Marinis.” (“These things on the YouTube are fun but not important,” said Marini the Second.) But within Vatican and wider liturgical circles, the Marini schism is actually a profound one about the direction of the church.

The liturgical changes enacted under Guido Marini are “a great microcosm for broader shifts in the church,” said John Allen, a veteran Vatican watcher with the National Catholic Reporter.

Since the Marini II era began in October 2007, the papal Masses clearly have a stronger traditional element. Guido Marini, who has degrees in canon and civil law and a doctorate in the psychology of communication, caused considerable consternation among some progressive Catholics in January when he talked to English-speaking priests about a “reform of the reform.”

In an interview Thursday, he argued that the changes should not be seen as a liturgical backlash to modernity but as a “harmonious development” in a “continuum” that takes full advantage of the church’s rich history and is not subject to what he has called “sporadic modifications.” Liturgical progressives, like Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., are concerned that Marini considers the reforms of the 1960s ecumenical council known as Vatican II as being among those sporadic modifications.

At most papal Masses, a large crucifix flanked by tall candles is now displayed on the altar, even though many progressives say the ornaments block the view of the priest and the bread and wine. They argue that this obstructs the accessibility urged by liturgical reforms associated with the Second Vatican Council.

Marini responds by saying that the crucifix reminds the faithful of who is really front and center in the Mass. He also says that the pope cannot sit in front of the altar when it bears the crucifix because “the pope can’t give his back” to sacraments on the altar.

For Marini, Gregorian chants must be the music of the church because they best interpret the liturgy. And in September, ahead of the pope’s visit to Britain, Marini told the Scottish paper the Herald that the pope would celebrate all the Prefaces and Canons of his Masses in Latin. Piero Marini, who stepped down in 2007 after serving as the master of celebrations for 20 years, has championed the Vatican II reforms, including the simplification of rites that he believes facilitates active participation.

In the name of “inculturation,” or integrating church rites with local customs, the silver-haired Marini in 1998 accepted the request of local bishops to allow a troupe of scantily clad Pacific islanders in St. Peter’s Basilica to honor the pope with a dance during the opening liturgy of the Synod for Oceania. During John Paul II’s visit to Mexico City in 2002, Marini likewise granted a local bishop’s wish to let an indigenous Mexican shaman exorcise the pope during a Mass there.

He said the changes that have been made since he left are obvious. “You don’t have to ask me,” said Marini, who has expressed wariness about the rollback of liturgical reforms. “Everyone can see it for themselves.”


A ‘more sober’ style

His successor said that the two clerics had a good relationship and that it was only natural that things change under a new regime. “It’s true that there were celebrations that gave more space to different expressions, but that was one style and now there is a different style, one that is more sober and more attentive to the essential things,” said Guido Marini, who, like his predecessor, hails from northern Italy but who, like the pope, expresses admiration for the old Latin Mass.



He added that Benedict considered the Mass a heavenly space that shouldn’t be modified with “things that don’t belong.”

Marini has said there are no plans to force the changes on parishes around the world, but he hopes that they slowly spread and seep in.

Under Benedict, the faithful at papal Masses take Communion on their knees and receive the wafer on the tongue. Guido Marini said the change “recalls the importance of the moment” and keeps the act from becoming “banal.” A recent picture of Queen Sofia in Spain receiving Communion from the pope in her hand – and while standing and not wearing a veil – brought rebukes from conservative Catholics. (“Reform of the reform apparently put on hold,” read the Catholic blog Rorate Caeli.)

Perhaps the most apparent and luxurious sign of the new era is the pope’s vestments. Benedict has worn an ancient form of the pallium, or cloak, preferred by first-millennium pontiffs. He also brought back the ermine-trimmed red satin mozzetta, a short cape. And the pope clearly does not obey the article of American political faith to never don an unconventional cap. He has sported a red saturno, a sort of papal cowboy hat, and an ermine-trimmed camauro, a crimson cap that resembles a Santa hat and is worn on non-liturgical occasions.

According to one senior Vatican official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Marini sent him a page-long list of vestments he had to wear during a special ordination in St. Peter’s. “I didn’t recognize half of the things on it,” the official said. “Then I had trouble getting it all on.”

“The pope likes new things and antique things,” explained Marini, who compared the pope’s attire to someone in a family who likes modern fashions like, say, Gucci shades but also “the treasures of the family.”

At a Dec. 16 evening Mass, the pope opted for a paisley patterned crimson and gold chasuble, while Marini, his fingers tented in front of him, wore a white cotta with breezy lace sleeves over a purple cassock. As the frail pope sat in his throne, Marini adjusted Benedict’s robes and at the appropriate moments removed the gold miter in order to place a white skullcap atop the pontiff’s white hair. He adjusted the pages of prayer books that altar boys propped up before the pope. After the chorus sang about the divine promise made to David, Marini helped the pope up to read a prayer. At the end of the Mass, the pope followed the candles and large crucifix back up the nave. Marini, as always, trailed immediately behind.

“It’s hard work,” Marini said. “But it’s beautiful.”


Card. Burke’s opinion on female servers in the Extraordinary Form

Posted on 9 May 2011 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf



About the sad situation at Fisher House in Cambridge, where the chaplain had for some time, I am told, determined to have a female altar server for celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, something that truly goes against the entire ethos of the Roman Rite in the older form and certainly the sensibilities of the congregants….

Some time ago, His now-Eminence Raymond Card. Burke made observations about this very subject.  We saw this here at WDTPRS some time ago HERE.  Card. Burke had written a preface to a canonical study in German of Summorum Pontificum by Fr. Gero P. Weishaupt.

NLM posted a rough English translation of the German original of Archbp. [Card.] Burke’s preface.  The original text is available on the blog Summorum Pontificum.  My emphases.  Comments will follow.

I reproduce here what I offered back in August 2010 (my emphases and comments).


In the second chapter of his commentary, Weishaupt answers a number of practical issues that arise regarding the implementation of Summorum Pontificum and result from recent changes to the discipline of the celebration of the sacraments, such as e.g. those regarding female altar servers [that is the issue at hand] or lay people who perform the ministry of lecturers or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. To answer these questions, the commentary correctly applies two general canonical principles.

The first principle requires that liturgical norms, which were in force in 1962, are to be diligently observed for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, for these norms protect the integrity of the Roman rite as contained in the Missal of Blessed John XXIII. [In due regard to the law today, do what was done as it was done in 1962.  I pray this shows up in the forthcoming, legendary, verging on chimeric “Instruction”.] The second principle states that the subsequent liturgical discipline is only to be introduced in the Extraordinary Form, if this discipline affects a right of the faithful, which follows directly from the sacrament of baptism and serves the eternal salvation of their souls. [Thus, in Cambridge the chaplain introduced a female server into the Extraordinary Form.  Cui bono?  Did that help anything?  Anyone?  Service at the altar isn’t something that is a right because you are baptized, and a lot of people were seriously irritated.  Furthermore, it sounds as if a female server was instrumentalized as a means to an end.]

The application of these two principles to the cases mentioned leads to the conclusion that neither the service at the altar by persons of the female sex [There it is.] nor the exercise of the lay ministries of lecturer or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion belong to the basic rights of the baptized. Therefore, these recent developments, out of respect for the integrity of the liturgical discipline as contained in the Missale Romanum of 1962, are not to be introduced into the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite. The commentary presents here in an impressive manner that the mutual enrichment of both forms of the Roman rite is only possible if discipline peculiar to each of the two forms is accordingly carefully observed.

A few comments of my own.



—This is not an official document.  It is a preface by an official of the Holy See to a book which is a commentary by a writer who is not an official of the Holy See.  The preface has no legal force.

—Archbp. [now Card.] Burke is a distinguished canonist who also knows inside and out the older, Extraordinary Form because he has been so open to it and has often been celebrant for liturgies in the traditional form.  He knows the logic of the rite from within and not as some onlooker.

—Card. Burke was consulted about the text of Summorum Pontificum before its release.  He knows more than a little about its genesis and intention.

—As a canonist, Card. Burke understands the rights of the baptized from the point of view of the Church’s law.

His dictis

1. It is not a right of the faithful for the sake of their salvation, that they be allowed to serve at Mass or to act as an EMCH.

2. Since reception of Holy Communion – and the manner of Its reception – comes far closer to the issue of the salvation of the baptized, that might be a stickier issue.  Nevertheless, it seems to me that it is not a manner that touches on the salvation of the baptized to be permitted to receive on the hand when clearly it is contrary to the Church’s normative way of receiving.  Remember that permission to receive in the hand is actually an exception.

3. I have held (pace Burke) that Summorum Pontificum did not in fact revive the laws that were in force in 1962, thus creating a parallel set of laws.  Was I wrong?  [We shall see.  But what is my opinion compared to Card. Burke’s?  Perhaps the “Instruction” will clarify.]

4. Also, if there is to be such a strict separation of 1962 and 1970/2002, is mutual enrichment possible insofar as rites are concerned? [Perhaps during the next generation?]

5. Or, and this is where I have put all my stress over the last few years, does it have more to do with ars celebrandi?

Some food for thought.


Comment from a canonist who comments on the blog with some frequency (probably Dr. Ed Peters):

Dear Fr. Z,

You opened up the possibility of private comment on your posting regarding Card. Burke’s opinion of modern liturgical norms’ applicability to the EF of the Roman Rite. Please consider the comment below (of course you may publish it).

An old dictum I picked up in the first year of my JCL studies was “two canonists, three opinions.” Nevertheless, I think Fr. Weishaupt and Card. Burke and I agree, although we reach a different conclusion on the basis of the same legal conclusion. Let me explain below. Hopefully, Rome will speak authoritatively soon; sometimes Rome speaks and it’s not authoritative, and it ends up confusing the issue — consider that an instruction is not a law, but I digress.

Female Altar Servers
In looking at the issue of service in the sanctuary, it’s important to note a fundamental shift in terminology that began with Pope Paul VI’s Ministeria quaedam. Up until that time, the demarcation between clergy and laity was first tonsure and men progressed through several ministries that were referred to as “minor orders.” These minor orders were not ontological states that the men progressed through, but primarily juridical states that provided men — following formation and a special blessing through a liturgical ceremony — the power to serve the Church in specific liturgical actions (Institution of Readers, Instruction from the SC Divine Worship, 12/3/1972, et seq.). The liturgies in a way also set these men aside for the specific service (a form of consecration) and join the prayers of the Church for their faithful service. This change in nomenclature was probably a good thing; it aligned ordination (which not only effects an ontological change, but also bestows potestas regiminis upon the recipient) with the clerical state (which requires exercise of potestas regiminis “which exists in the Church by divine institution” [c. 129]).

It is commonly said that Pope Paul VI suppressed the minor orders with Ministeria quaedam; this is incorrect. Paul VI renamed the minor orders “ministries” and reduced the number of these ministries to two: lector and acolyte. Paul VI further stated that if bishops should find a need for additional ministries, they could work with the Holy See to institute them in their dioceses. He also opened these ministries up to men not destined for Holy Orders. Liturgically, however, a lector was a lector and an acolyte was an acolyte both, before and after the promulgation of Ministeria quaedam. So one who is instituted and authorized by the law to perform the action of a lector or acolyte, can perform that action; he remains a member of the laity.

In 1983 the Code incorporated Paul VI’s law and expanded it so that, in cases where instituted lectors and acolytes are lacking (and this was clarified in plenty of subsequent material) any lay person (again: lectors and acolytes are not clerics) may exercise the ministry (but not by that deputation or service become a minister) of lector or acolyte (c. 230). Furthermore (and I think regrettably) canon 230 § 2 has been authentically interpreted (AAS 86 [1994] 541, 6/6/1994) to apply to service at the altar, not just to the ministry of lector and acolyte, and also to permit both male and female servers. The authentic interpretation was published with instructions (AAS 86 [1994] 542, 6/6/1994) that clarify that the use of laici, as it applies to female servers, is permissive, not prescriptive (art. 1) and that it should only be used where it is necessary for “singular” (peculiares) reasons; this adjective should be understood to mean “reasons that are uniquely in existence and that will foster salvation of souls.”

Finally, canon 2 states that “Codex plerumque non definit ritus, qui in actionibus liturgicis celebrandis sunt servandi; quare leges liturgicae hucusque vigentes vim suam retinent, nisi earum aliqua Codicis canonibus sit contraria.”


In this case, canon 230 (as authentically interpreted) is contrary to the prior liturgical law in force at the time (remember: BXVI told us that the missal of 1962 was never abrogated, so that must mean that it was still in force and, therefore, part of what would be impacted by the code of 1983). Consequently, it follows that a priest may use a female altar server when celebrating the Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite if he determines that unique (peculiares) reasons exist to do so (must foster salvation of souls). Whether the reasons are substantial enough to warrant using a female altar server in the extraordinary form (or in the ordinary form — note that the standard is identical for both) is the province of prudence, and the Church gives terrifically wide discretion to the exercise of prudence.

Here then, I can bring it all together (I hope). Service at the altar is not a right of the faithful. Service at the altar is valuable to the Church. When the right conditions are met and the salvation of souls demands it, priests may permit girls or women to serve at the altar. Thus, I think, the only difference between this position and Fr. Weishaupt’s and Card. Burke’s may be that they don’t see any situation where such circumstances would arise and conclude there aren’t any.

I am just a lawyer and I don’t want to rule out such a scenario a priori, although I can’t see it either. That does not mean it can’t happen nor does it change the legal analysis. In the end, each priest permitting this may have to answer to ecclesiastical authorities about the specific circumstances; he will definitely have to answer to God regarding his interpretation of the Church’s laws.

Reception of Communion on the hand at the Extraordinary Form
The faithful have an absolute right to receive Communion, or any sacrament, when they “seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.” This generally means in a state of grace and in a posture that is approved, or permitted, by the Church. Furthermore, “any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion” (c. 912).

The issue of “Communion in the hand” was opened up by Memoriale Domini (AAS 61 [1969] 541-547). This was followed up with a positive response and further instructions by the Congregation for Divine Worship to bishops’ conferences (AAS 61 (1969) 546-547). More instructions (and wider permission) were issued by the Congregation in Immensae Caritatis (AAS 65 [1973] 264-271).

Approval has been provided for England and Wales (1976) and USA (1977). Other countries across the globe have joined.

These are universal permissions (the individual approvals are particular law but ubiquitous) and not limited to any particular use of the Latin Rite; they apply to the Novus Ordo and 1962 missals. Remember: the extraordinary form was never abrogated, so these indults’ lack of specificity must be interpreted widely, not only on their face but because rights are to be interpreted broadly and because “laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation” (c. 18).

This, then, truly is a right of the faithful. Whether it’s a right by exception or by broad rule is irrelevant.

Of course, this is a legal analysis, not a prudential one. But that’s what we have here. If abuses of prudence occur, eventually Rome will deal with them (Rome always does, sometimes in less than 200 years).


Vatican: girls are not permitted to serve at old Mass


By Rachel Obordo, June 8, 2011

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has clarified that female altar servers are not allowed at Extraordinary Form Masses.

It made clear that the Instruction on Summorum Pontificum, Universae Ecclesiae, does not permit female altar servers at the older Mass.

Universae Ecclesiae states “the Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the Sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962″. Permission for female altar servers came with the Circular Letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments of 1994. However, the rubrics of the 1962 Missal did not allow for females on the sanctuary during Mass.

The letter, signed by Mgr. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, said that “permitting female altar servers does not apply to the Extraordinary Form”.

Fr. Alban McCoy, university chaplain at Cambridge, has celebrated the Extraordinary Form with female altar servers. He said he did not seek to include women in his team of servers but “decided not to refuse the request of two young women to serve in the old form”.

His team includes six boys and four girls. “We have one team of servers for all Masses – Ordinary and Extraordinary; one rite of liturgy, one set of servers.”

A spokesman for the Latin Mass Society said the clarification was “significant” and that all bishops should practice in accordance with what has been stated in the letter.


Benedict XVI on liturgical worship and our identity

Posted on 4 October 2012 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf


The Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience with my emphases and comments (all emphases are the author’s):

Vatican, October 3, 2012 (Zenit.org) Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today in St. Peter’s Square.


The Holy Father continued his new series of catecheses on prayer in the Sacred Liturgy by reflecting upon the ecclesial nature of liturgical prayer.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
In the last catechesis I began to speak about one of the privileged sources of Christian prayer: the sacred liturgy, which – as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states – is “a participation in Christ’s own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal” (n. 1073). [Therefore, we need a good understanding of what “participation” is.] Today I would like for us to ask [QUAERITUR:] ourselves: in my life, do I reserve sufficient space for prayer and, above all, what place does liturgical prayer have in my relationship with God, especially the Holy Mass, as the participation in the common prayer of the Body of Christ, which is the Church?
In responding to this question, first we must remember that prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit (cf. ibid. n. 2565). Therefore, the life of prayer consists in abiding habitually in the presence of God and being aware of this, in living in relationship with God as we live the normal relationships of our lives, with the dearest members of our family and with our truest friends; indeed, it is our relationship with the Lord that enlightens all our other relationships. This communion of life with God, One and Triune, is possible because by our Baptism we have been inserted into Christ. We have begun to be one with him (cf. Romans 6:5).
In fact, it is only in Christ that we may converse with God the Father as children; otherwise it is not possible, but in communion with the Son we too may say, as he did: “Abbà”. In communion with Christ we can come to know God as a true Father (Matthew 11:27). Therefore, Christian prayer consists in looking constantly and ever anew to Christ, in speaking with him, being silent with him, listening to him, acting and suffering with him. The Christian discovers his truest identity in Christ, “the first born of all creation” in whom all things subsist (cf. Colossians 1: 15ff). In identifying myself with him, in being one with him, I discover my personal identity as a true child who looks to God as to a Father full of love.   [Note the connection to identity.  I have been maintaining for years that our Catholic identity will not be revitalized until we revitalize our liturgical worship.]
But let us not forget: We discover Christ, and we come to know him as a living Person in the Church. She is “his Body”. This corporality can be understood in light of the biblical words about man and woman: the two will be one flesh (cf. Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:30ff; 1 Corinthians 6:16 ff.). The unbreakable bond between Christ and the Church, through the unifying force of love, does not destroy the “you” and the “I” but rather raises them to their most profound unity. To find one’s identity in Christ means attaining a communion with him that does not destroy me but rather elevates me to the highest dignity, that of being a child of God in Christ: “The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God’s will increasingly coincide” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 17).

To pray means to be raised to the heights of God, through a necessary and gradual transformation of our being.
Thus, in participating in the liturgy, we make our own the language of our Mother the Church; we learn to speak in her and through her. Naturally, as I already said, this happens gradually, little by little. [Brick by brick?] I must gradually immerse myself in the words of the Church, with my prayer, with my life, with my sufferings, with my joys, with my thoughts. It is a journey that transforms us.
I think, then, that these reflections allow us to respond to the question we asked ourselves at the beginning: how do I learn to pray, how do I grow in my prayer? Looking to the model that Jesus taught us, the Pater noster [the Our Father], we see that the first word is “Pater” [Father] and the second is “noster” [our]. The answer, then, is clear: I learn to pray, I nourish my prayer, by turning to God as Father and by praying with others, by praying with the Church, by accepting the gift of her words, which little by little become familiar to me and rich in meaning. The dialogue that God establishes with each one of us and we with him in prayer always includes a “with”; we cannot pray to God in an individualistic manner. In liturgical prayer, especially the celebration of the Eucharist, and – formed by the liturgy – in every prayer, we do not pray alone as individual persons; rather, we enter into the “we” of the praying Church. And we must transform our “I” by entering into this “we”.
I would like to recall another important aspect. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read: “In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church” (n. 1097); therefore, it is the “whole Christ”, the whole Community, the Body of Christ united with her Head who celebrates. [GET THIS…] The liturgy then is not a kind of “self-manifestation” of a community; instead, it is a going out of simply “being ourselves” — of being closed in on ourselves — and the portal to the great banquet, the entrance into the great living community, in which God himself nourishes us. The liturgy involves universality, and this universal character must enter ever anew into everyone’s awareness. [Latin would help that.] The Christian liturgy is the worship of the universal temple, which is the Risen Christ. His arms are extended on the Cross in order to draw all men into the embrace of God’s eternal love. [Which is why the Cross should be where it is central to our focus.] It is the worship of heaven opened wide. It is never merely the event of a single community, with its own position in time and space. [The Extraordinary Form can help with that.] It is important that every Christian feel and really be inserted into this universal “we”, which provides the foundation and refuge for the “I” in the Body of the Christ, which is the Church.
In this, we must always be mindful of and accept the logic of the Incarnation of God: He has drawn close, become present, by entering into history and into human nature, by becoming one of us. And this presence continues in the Church, his Body. The liturgy then is not the memory of past events, but rather the living presence of Christ’s Paschal Mystery, which transcends and unites both time and space. If the centrality of Christ does not emerge at the forefront in the celebration, we will not have Christian liturgy, [!] which is totally dependent upon the Lord and sustained by his creative presence. God acts by means of Christ and we cannot act except through him and in him.



Every day, the conviction must grow in us that the liturgy is not ours, my own “doing”; rather, it is God’s action in us and with us.
Therefore, it is neither the individual – priest or faithful – nor the group who celebrates the liturgy; [And should not just make it make up!] rather, it is primarily God’s action through the Church, who has her own history, her own rich tradition and her own creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is proper to the liturgy as a whole, is one of the reasons why it cannot be designed or modified by individual communities or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.  [SAY THE BLACK – DO THE RED]
Even in the liturgy of the smallest communities, the entire Church is always present. For this reason, there are no “strangers” in the liturgical community. [Latin helps with that.  And the older Mass reaches across centuries and borders.] In every liturgical celebration the whole Church participates together, heaven and earth, God and men. The Christian liturgy, although it is celebrated in a concrete place and space and expresses the “yes” of a particular community, is by its very nature catholic; it comes from the whole and leads to the whole, in unity with the Pope, with the Bishops, with believers of all times and ages and from all places. The more a celebration is animated by this awareness, the more fruitfully will the authentic meaning of the liturgy there be realized.
Dear friends, the Church is made visible in many ways: in charitable works, in missionary endeavors, in the personal apostolate that every Christian should carry out in his own environment. [Mass concludes with “Ite!”] But the place where she is fully experienced as the Church is in the liturgy: it is the act, we believe, whereby God enters into our reality and we can encounter him, we can touch him. [No project of New Evangelization… no initiative of the Year of Faith… no undertaking of renewal will be successful if we do not also revitalize our liturgical worship!] It is the act whereby we enter into contact with God: He comes to us, and we are enlightened by him. Therefore, when in our reflections we focus our attention only on how we may render it attractive, interesting, beautiful, we risk forgetting the essential: the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for us; it is his work; he is the subject; and we should open ourselves to him and allow ourselves to be guided by him and by his Body, which is the Church.  [Christ is the true Actor in our sacred actions.  We must participate in all that He does for, in and through us especially by being actively receptive.  Active receptivity is the key.]
Let us ask the Lord to grant that we may learn each day to live the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic Celebration, by praying in the “we” of the Church, who directs her gaze not to herself but to God, and by feeling that we are part of the living Church of all places and times. Thank you.

Thank YOU, Holy Father.


Time to Restore the Sense of the Sacred: To Love the Liturgy is to Love the Lord


By Deacon Keith Fournier, Washington DC, Catholic Online, January 20, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI is one of the great liturgists of our age. His seminal book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, written when he was still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, is required reading in most seminaries and should be read by every Catholic. Last October the Pope gave a series of instructions on the Liturgy. On October 3, 2012, he reminded the pilgrims in St Peters square:

“It is not the individual – priest or layman – or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God’s action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity. This universality and fundamental openness, which is characteristic of the entire liturgy is one of the reasons why it cannot be created or amended by the individual community or by experts, but must be faithful to the forms of the universal Church.”

“Dear friends, the Church is made visible in many ways: in its charitable work, in mission projects, in the personal apostolate that every Christian must realize in his or her own environment. But the place where it is fully experienced as a Church is in the liturgy: it is the act in which we believe that God enters into our reality and we can meet Him, we can touch Him. It is the act in which we come into contact with God, He comes to us, and we are enlightened by Him.”


“So when in the reflections on the liturgy we concentrate all our attention on how to make it attractive, interesting and beautiful, we risk forgetting the essential: the liturgy is celebrated for God and not for ourselves, it is His work, He is the subject, and we must open ourselves to Him and be guided by Him and His Body which is the Church.”

The older I get the more I appreciate the profound gift and mystery that is the Eucharistic Liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As a Deacon of the Catholic Church, I understand the immense amount of time and catechesis spent in preparing the faithful for the implementation of the Revisions to the Roman Missal last year. It has borne such good fruit. As one who has spent years studying Catholic theology, I welcomed the revisions and I saw them as a kind but motherly act by the Church to set the ship on a straight course and raise the water level of all Catholic worship. The faithful deserve it.

For too long some priests took it upon themselves to “wing it” with the canon and the liturgical prayers of the Holy Mass.
The Holy Mass does not belong to the celebrating priest; it belongs to Christ the High Priest in whom he stands. I know that some priests meant well in their efforts. I am not opposed to spontaneity in its proper form and proper place. Just not in the canon of the Sacred Liturgy, the Holy Mass. The faithful have a Right to receive the Liturgy as Holy Mother Church has preserved it under the continual inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  

As a revert to the Catholic Church who was drawn home to the fullness of Christianity found within the Catholic Church – including the beauty of the Liturgy – I deeply appreciate serving at the Altar as a Deacon. I also respect the holy priesthood. However, I must be honest; the notion that innovation equaled some kind of “anointing” was way too prevalent among some priests. 




This past week I was pleased to read two reports, one from Rome and the other from New York. One concerned a cardinal and the other a deacon. The first was written by H. Sergio Mora of the Zenit News Agency and entitled “Vatican Preparing a Manual to Help Priests Celebrate Mass: Prefect Warns Against Making Liturgy Into a ‘Show’. The Prefect for the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares explains the booklet and the purpose. It is encouraging and bodes well for the continued movement toward recovering the full beauty that is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The second was written by one of my favorite Catholic Bloggers, Deacon Greg Kendra. It was entitled Communion Rails: Restoring a Sense of the Sacred. Communion Rails: Restoring a Sense of the Sacred.  It asked the question “Would a change of posture at Holy Communion help to sharpen our perspective, as well?” It is well worth reading. Both articles reflect the growing – and much needed – attention and reflection which is being given to the Liturgy.

There is a Latin maxim that addresses the centrality of worship in the life, identity and mission of the Church; “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”. The phrase in Latin literally means the law of prayer (“the way we worship”), and the law of belief (“what we believe”). It is sometimes written as, “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi”, further deepening the implications of this truth. How we worship reflects what we believe and determines how we will live. Worship is the heart of the Christian vocation. The highest form of Worship is the Divine Liturgy.

The Catholic Church has long understood that part of her role as mother and teacher is to watch over worship, for the sake of the faithful and in obedience to the God whom she serves. How we worship not only reveals and guards what we believe but guides us in how we live our Christian faith and fulfill our Christian mission in the world. Liturgical Worship is not an “add on” for a Catholic Christian. It is the foundation of Catholic identity; expressing our highest purpose. Worship reveals what we truly believe and how we view ourselves in relationship to God, one another and the world into which we are sent to carry forward the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ.

How the Church worships is a prophetic witness to the truth of what she professes. Good worship becomes a dynamic means of drawing the entire human community into the fullness of life in Jesus Christ. It attracts – through beauty to Beauty. Worship informs and transforms both the person and the faith community which participates in it. There is a reciprocity between worship and life.
I have spent decades in ecumenical work. Perhaps that explains why I find it odd that right when so many of our Christian friends in other confessions and communities are searching for a deeper encounter with the beauty of the Lord in formal liturgical worship, many Catholics so easily succumbed to novelties. Our fellow Christians everywhere are hungering for sign, symbol and mystery in worship. As many Children of the Protestant Reformation are considering the safe harbor of the Catholic Church in order to experience a connection with the ancient Church, too many Catholics have lost their sense of what it really means to be a Catholic Christian. 
As many Christians in communities of the Protestant reformation are suffering from the sad loss of what CS Lewis called “Mere Christianity”, too many Catholics have no idea of the treasure they have in the ancient but ever new faith. As our Christian brethren are experiencing the barrenness of their own worship, many in our Catholic Church are discarding the very treasures that make her formal liturgical worship so beautiful, full of mystery and so compelling and attractive to those seeking a deeper experience of worship and Christian life.

Sadly, what for some may have begun as a sincere effort to simplify the Liturgy in the Catholic Church too often devolved into a form of liturgical minimalism. The liturgical minimalism I speak of begins when you entered what was often called the worship space of some contemporary church buildings. There are few symbols of the ancient yet ever new Catholic faith anywhere. There are few icons or images reflecting heaven touching earth, drawing the worshipper into a transcendent encounter with the God who we receive in the Most Holy Eucharist and in whom we are invited to live and move and have our being.

I am not a traditionalist Catholic, although I understand and respect those who are. I am just a Christian who chooses to live my faith in its fullness, as a Catholic. I love the Tradition, with a capital T. I am a revert, I returned to the Church as a young man. I was drawn back to that fullness of Christianity that is dynamic, orthodox, faithful Catholic life and practice. I have respect for my brethren who are Protestants in each of their various confessions and communities. However, I am not one, by choice. I do not want a Protestant looking church building or a stripped down Catholicism whose worship seems more protestant than Catholic. I do not want barren liturgy and symbol-less Catholicism.

Over the last few decades, some who purported to be liturgical experts too often stripped away the richness and the depth that draws so many to the treasure that is Catholic worship and life. Their numbers and influence are dwindling.

The Catholic seminaries that are full (and their number is increasing) are filled with candidates who want the vibrant, symbolic, faithful, richly liturgical, devout fullness of Catholic faith and life. The movement toward dynamic, symbolic and beautiful Liturgy is not about going backward but going forward and toward the eternal worship. 

The ecclesial movements are flourishing in the Church, drawing men and women who also want the fullness of Catholic worship, faith and life in all of its rich beauty. The new Catholics, coming into full communion from other Christian communities, are flocking to the dynamically orthodox and faithful Catholic parishes. The symbols are coming back into our sanctuaries and new ones are emerging. It is all happening because of the young. The move toward recovering the sense of the Sacred in the Liturgy is a youth movement in the Church. The future of the Church is Tradition, rightly understood. The liturgical innovators are aging and their reign is coming to an end. 

There was a movement called Iconoclasm (“Image-breaking”) in the eighth and ninth centuries in the Eastern Church.




It became a full scale heresy. The term has come to be associated with those who rejected icons, but it speaks to a contemporary problem, liturgical minimalism and the loss of the sense of the Sacred in our Churches. Icons are meant to put us in touch with the transcendent mysteries of our faith. I pray with icons and have for many years. I cherish their liturgical role in the Eastern Church. In fact, one would never find an Eastern Church, Catholic or Orthodox, without icons. The contemporary “iconoclasts” are those who seek to de-mystify Christian faith, life, worship and practice. They are not the future of the Catholic Church but the past.

There are still some who think that the symbols of our Catholic worship, faith and life are a problem. While they strip our sanctuaries and make our liturgical experiences barren, they think they have helped us by somehow making the faith more ‘relevant”, “meaningful” or “contemporary”. They are sadly mistaken and have done the Church and her mission a disservice. It is the Church which makes human experience more relevant, by revealing its full meaning and mystery. And the Liturgy helps to bring heaven to earth and earth to heaven. They also fail to grasp that, by nature and grace, human persons are symbolic. Man (and woman) is created in the image of God, and is a divine icon. Jesus Christ is the Icon of the Father. Symbols touch us at a much deeper level than words or emotive or affective participation can. They touch us at the level where authentic religion and deep worship truly begins. It is there where we hunger the most for God.

On April 15, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Bishops of Brazil in Rome. He told them that the Eucharist constitutes “the centre and permanent source of the Petrine ministry, the heart of the Christian life, source and summit of the Church’s mission of evangelization. You can thus understand the concern of the Successor of Peter for all that can obfuscate this most essential point of the Catholic faith: that today, Jesus Christ continues alive and truly present in the consecrated host and the chalice.” He warned the Bishops that “Paying less attention at times to the rite of the Most Holy Sacrament constitutes a sign and a cause of the darkening of the Christian sense of mystery, such as when Jesus is not the centre of the Mass, but rather a community preoccupied with other things instead of being taken up and drawn to the only one necessary: their Lord.”

Pope Benedict continued, “If the figure of Christ does not emerge from the liturgy, it is not a Christian liturgy. As Blessed John Paul II wrote, “the mystery of the Eucharist is ‘too great a gift’ to admit of ambiguities or reductions, above all when, ‘stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet’.” Toward the end of these beautiful remarks Pope Benedict summarized the heart of Liturgy, “Worship cannot come from our imagination: that would be a cry in the darkness or mere self-affirmation. True liturgy supposes that God responds and shows us how we can adore Him. The Church lives in His presence – and its reason for being and existing is to expand His presence in the world.”

It is time to restore the sense of the Sacred to our Liturgy. To love the Liturgy is to love the Lord.


The Tridentine Latin Rite Mass is said Ad Orientem, facing the “Liturgical East” and not the people.

Q: Formerly Priests faced the altar when saying Mass but the Second Vatican Council changed this practice and asked the Priest to face the people when offering Mass – True or False?
A: False. Sadly this is what many of us have been given to understand.

The truth is, the Second Vatican Council never really said anything about the existing custom of celebrating Mass facing the Liturgical East (“Ad Orientem” position). It is highly unlikely the Council Fathers even imagined such a change. However, a later instruction allowed the possibility of the Priest facing the people when celebrating Mass. But this was only an option and certainly was not dictated by Vatican II.

Priests today need no special permission to celebrate the “Novus Ordo” Mass in the “Ad Orientem” position (i.e., facing “Liturgical East”/Altar) according to the ancient and venerable custom.

A 1993 commentary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments addressing the issue, “Praying ‘Ad Orientem Versus‘”, was published in Notitiae, an official publication of the Holy See (Notitiae 322, Vol. 29 (1993) Num. 5, 245-249).


Mediator Dei (Pope Pius XII, 1947) §60 reads:

The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church, is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth.

In spite of this, the use of the mother tongue in connection with several of the rites may be of much advantage to the people. But the Apostolic See alone is empowered to grant this permission. It is forbidden, therefore, to take any action whatever of this nature without having requested and obtained such consent, since the sacred liturgy, as We have said, is entirely subject to the discretion and approval of the Holy See.


Love for Latin Liturgy More than a Fashion


By Rachel Lu, February 24, 2015

As a lover of traditional liturgy, I was momentarily excited by a report last week that, for once in my life, I might actually be hip to the trends. It would be a nearly-unprecedented thing for me, and I’m still not sure how to feel about it. But according to a recent second-hand report, Pope Francis thinks that liturgical traditionalism is now fashionable among the young.

Tradition-sympathetic Rorate Caeli offered the quotation from Archbishop Jan Graubner, who reportedly said to Vatican Radio that:



When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it.

When I search more thoroughly”—the Pope said—”I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: ‘móda’]. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.”

Now, it’s never a good idea to make too much of rumors. We don’t know exactly what the Holy Father said, and whatever it was quite obviously was not intended as an authoritative ex cathedra pronouncement. Even if Pope Francis’ remarks really were as tradition-unsympathetic as they sound, liturgical traditionalists can take comfort in the fact that he seems to regard them more as a benign nuisance than an active menace. In the wake of Pope Benedict’s assiduous efforts to encourage liturgical renewal, traditionalists are better off now than they have been since before Vatican II. A little benign neglect should not now cause them too much grief.

Nevertheless, the rumor caused a stir. Partly, that is because it lent further strength to the already-established impression that Pope Francis dislikes liturgical traditionalists. Also, the quoted passage expresses a view of the traditionalist movement (and particularly of the younger Catholics who have flocked to it) that is shared by many other Catholics. It thus invites us to consider once more the movement to revitalize older Catholic traditions (and particularly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass) which blossomed under the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI. Is it fair to dismiss this movement as mere fashion or fad?

It’s easy to understand why some might want to. Traditionalists are frequently taken to task for being bitter, obsessive and obnoxiously superior. While none of these criticisms are totally without foundation, I find that mainstream cradle Catholics can themselves become quite embittered when they realize that secular liberals are not the only people in the world who have critical things to say about their cultural and liturgical sensibilities. More than one Catholic friend has become uncharacteristically spiteful when discoursing on the defects of the “rad trads.”

This knee-jerk defensiveness is to my mind fairly understandable. Nowadays it is counter-cultural to be a committed, Mass-attending Catholic of any sort, and to someone who has become accustomed to fending off attacks from the left, it can be unsettling to take criticism from a different angle. It should also be admitted that not all traditionalists take pains to press their criticisms in prudent and charitable ways. Even when they do, however, it’s hard to find a nice way to explain to someone that his sensibilities are malformed and his preferred forms of worship defective.

Young traditionalists are undeniably the greatest source of controversy. When older Catholics rhapsodize traditional liturgy, this is comparatively easy to dismiss, since it is understood that older people normally have a lingering attachment to the habits and tastes that they cultivated in youth. If older Catholics were the only ones agitating for traditional liturgy, they could be politely tolerated for another decade or two, at which point the movement would dissipate on its own. But now, younger people are voluntarily donning the mantle of liturgical tradition. This is more threatening. Why would anyone want to return to older liturgical forms if the ones we have now are (as their proponents like to think) better, and more suited to modern needs?

To those who find the new liturgical movement displeasing, it makes sense to dismiss it as a mere fashion or fad, since this implies that the attraction is shallow, ephemeral and a product of whimsical circumstance. If the new liturgical movement is just a fad, then it really isn’t necessary to pay it much attention; after all, fads pass and fashions change. More importantly, if the new liturgical movement is just a fashion, we need not regard it as evidence that there is anything defective in mainstream Catholic culture and liturgical life. Anything the young people might value in older liturgical forms can be supplied just as readily by newer ones.

One way to find out what young traditionalists really think is to ask them. The best way to understand the new liturgical movement is by seeking out a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and observing the community that gathers. If that isn’t feasible, however, there are plenty of online resources for the liturgically curious.

People who have had bad experiences with liturgical traditionalists may be a little softened once they see how they interact among themselves. Catholics devoted to traditional liturgy have come to expect that they will be regarded with hostility and suspicion by many of their fellow Catholics. When their desires for reverent liturgy are satisfied, their reactionary tendencies recede into the background, and their love of beauty comes to the fore. This is one thing that is consistently mentioned when young traditionalists explain their attraction to liturgy. They are drawn to the beauty and solemnity of older liturgical forms, which bring them to a real appreciation of the power of the Sacraments.

Is this beauty and solemnity unique to the older liturgical forms? Not necessarily. The Novus Ordo Mass can be celebrated with great reverence and solemnity, as it regularly is in St. Agnes Parish here in St. Paul. Unfortunately, this is not the norm in every parish. In an effort to make the Mass more “accessible,” we dress it up in forms less reminiscent of the Courts of Heaven, and more reminiscent of the library “story hour” to which I sometimes take my children.

I don’t mean to sound contemptuous here. As a non-Catholic undergraduate at Notre Dame, I must have attended a hundred such Masses, and at the time I was fairly unperturbed. Even as a teenager I tended to gravitate to more solemn forms of worship, but still, the dormitory Masses had their charms. It was fairly enjoyable to sing campy songs while standing arm-in-arm with my friends, just as it is now sometimes fun to participate in story hour with my children.




Nothing about that experience, however, made me feel that I was missing anything important when I slipped to the back of the chapel instead of joining my friends in the Communion line. When I discovered the traditional Latin Mass in my first year of graduate school, I was suddenly stricken with an intense thirst to receive the Sacraments for myself. I suddenly realized (which, through hundreds of Notre Dame Masses, had never occurred to me before) that the Sacrament was the central point of the Mass.

If young people are indeed “addicted” to traditional liturgy, I would contend that beauty and grace are the things they find most intoxicating. It strikes me as the sort of addiction that ought to be encouraged.

Admittedly, it is not impossible to find these things through newer liturgical forms. There is one more thing, however, that draws young people to the new liturgical movement. Blogger Susanna Spencer captures the point well in a reflection on her own discovery of the traditional liturgy. As a cradle Catholic, she was always surrounded by Catholic things. Nevertheless, in traditional liturgy she felt she was uncovering a long and rich Catholic tradition that her earlier experiences had obscured. In a particularly moving passage, she compares her discovery of that tradition to the experiences of the Israelites returning to the land of their ancestors (as related in the Book of Nehemiah). Standing once again on the sacred ground of their fathers, the people weep when they hear the law read aloud once more. They are simultaneously overcome by joy and by sadness, because in appreciating the beauty of what they have regained, they also understand the magnitude of what was lost through sin and disobedience.

Young Catholics have a deep yearning to be reconnected to the rich Catholic tradition that is their rightful heritage. Having grown up in the shadow of egregious doctrinal disobedience and liturgical neglect, they feel exiled from that tradition, and many ardently desire to return. Revitalizing older devotions and liturgical forms is one way of building bridges back to our own country and people, who carried the torch of faith through the centuries. This is not a fashion. It is, as for the Israelites, a way of rediscovering who we really are.

Rachel Lu, a Catholic convert, teaches philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she lives with her husband and three boys. Dr. Lu earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Cornell University. 


A brief conclusion:

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith of Sri Lanka once said, “I’m not a fan of the Lefebvrians … but what they sometimes say about the liturgy they say for good reason.”


Cardinal Francis Arinze fears that liturgical abuses possibly render the Eucharistic Sacrifice invalid, we read on page 16.

An equally fearful prospect is that those priests who systematically violate the rubrics of Holy Mass may be guilty of grievous sin as we read on page 22: “It is very important to bear in mind that a priest is bound in conscience under pain of mortal sin to obey the solemn decrees whereby the Pope governs the liturgical discipline of the Universal Church.”

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger saw “the crisis in the Church” as caused by “liturgical collapse”, page 24.

The Second Vatican Council had stated that the Eucharist is the source and summit of all life in the Church.

I am confident that by that the Council meant a validly celebrated Eucharist.

Therefore, I would like to attend Mass where I am reassured that the priest who is offering Mass is faithful to the rubrics and also ensures that other liturgical guidelines are not violated, thus rendering it valid.

























MARCH 28, 2001


NOVEMBER 20, 1947


MAY 29, 1969


DECEMBER 25, 1955



APRIL 23, 2004




FEBRUARY 22, 2007


DECEMBER 4, 1963


DECEMBER 4, 2003




NOVEMBER 22, 1903


MARCH 29, 1994





















































































MARCH 2015


















Categories: Hinduisation of the Catholic Church in India, Liturgical Abuses, new age, PROTESTANTISM

1 reply

  1. About a year ago I had requested the Bishop of Pune, Thomas Dabre to have the Tridentine Mass said here in Pune on a monthly basis. Initially he agreed and then later put a stipulation that at least 50 people need to sign up for it and he wanted to see their names. Needless to say, I couldnt muster 50 names and that was the end of that. Lex orandi, lex credendi, (the manner of praying, is the manner of belief). The year of faith has come and gone and our faith hasnt increased because our Liturgy continues to go South. Today I came from the Easter Vigil Mass (held at 7 pm) with three reading and about 6 Alleluias….Enough said.

    On Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 8:01 PM, EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic

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