Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More books available

Readers have responded very well to the used Catholic books on the site.

People will be happy to know more is up and more is on the way.

I've posted today the following for example:

4 Vol. Latin Breviarium Romanum in a decorative box set edition. Very rare.

St. Thomas' Summa Theologica

Copleston's History of Philosophy

The Way of a Pilgrim in a nice slipcase, hardcover edition

An Oxford book on Byzantine Art, Literature and Music.

Watch more for liturgical materials very soon. I'll let you know when they're up.

Pictures of the Dominican rite in Rome

The Cornell Catholic Circle has some pictures of the Dominican rite as celebrated in Rome recently.

Report of the Una Voce Conference

[From the December 1, 2005 edition of The Wanderer]

Providence Brings Bishop Rifan to Una Voce Conference


PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Amidst buzz in Catholic circles about the
possibility of an imminent freeing of the classical Roman rite of Mass, Bishop
Fernando Rifan offered a Solemn Pontifical Mass from the throne and
delivered the keynote address, highlighting the tenth anniversary
conference of Una Voce America in Providence, R.I., November 18-20. And on Saturday morning, he treated Mass attendees with his musical
playing ability by slipping down from his chair near the altar to play
the organ during the communion of the faithful, as well as for the
recessional -- to the delight of those assisting at Holy Mass.

Bishop Rifan is currently the sole bishop in the world with the
permission from the Holy See for his diocesan priests to offer the Holy Mass
and sacraments exclusively according to the Missal of 1962. He said
that the cause of tradition was very hopeful in the new pontificate of
Pope Benedict XVI and is currently much brighter in the U.S. than perhaps
many realize.

"You have four bishops who allow all their diocesan priests to offer
the Traditional Mass [privately] at any time," Bishop Rifan said. He
specifically cited Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Bishop Fabian
Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb.; Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill.; and
Bishop Alvaro Corrada, SJ, of Tyler, Texas, who have been generous in
the Ecclesia Dei indult application, as requested and emphasized
repeatedly by the late Pope John Paul II.

A spokesperson from the Diocese of Lincoln explained that Bishop
Bruskewitz requests a "courtesy" from his priests prior to offering the Mass
publicly, as it is traditional for the bishop to have jurisdiction over
the Masses offered in his diocese. For instance, Spanish, Vietnamese,
and all regularly scheduled public liturgies must be offered with the
bishop's knowledge and consent.

Bishop Rifan, the superior of St. John Mary Vianney Apostolic
Administration in Campos, Brazil, offered the Holy Sacrifice from the throne
with the permission of Bishop Thomas Tobin, and gave encouragement to Una
Voce leaders from all over the U.S. and Canada who attended the
three-day conference at Holy Name of Jesus Church in downtown Rhode Island.
"Una Voce is a force in the Church now," Bishop Rifan said to an
audience of 200 laymen and women and 10 priests in his keynote address on
Saturday, November 19. "We have many hopes with the new Pope, and we must
pray for the Pope," Rifan said.

And perhaps due to the uptick in rumors about a possible pending
universal indult for all priests to offer the classical Roman rite, Bishop
Rifan emphasized the need for patience. He said that sometimes bishops
know things, but the laity must understand they cannot disclose
everything confided to them by the Pope.

"I will defend you always, especially Una Voce, when I speak to the
Pope," Bishop Rifan said.

The newly elected president of Una Voce International, Fra Fredrik
Chrichton-Stuart, president of Una Voce Holland, gave attendees reason for
additional hope. He said that Bishop Rifan meets with the Pope often to
discuss the concerns and spiritual needs of traditional Catholics, and
quoted Msgr. Camille Perl, secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission,
who recently told Una Voce International leaders:

"There is a new wind blowing in the Church," with Pope Benedict XVI in
office. Msgr. Perl also told the Una Voce leadership in an October
meeting in Rome that the Ecclesia Dei Commission has been shown a new level
of respect since the new Pope has been in office.

Fra Chrichton-Stuart also added that he is aware of many younger
priests in the Church who are attracted to the classical Roman rite of Mass.
But he also emphasized the need for patience and for praying for the
Pope during these early stages of his pontificate.

Both Pope Benedict XVI and Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of
the Congregation of Clergy and president of the Ecclesia Dei
Commission, have told Bishop Rifan that traditional Catholics such as the Campos
apostolic administration, priests and lay faithful, as well as Una Voce
members, are seen as a model for the rest of the Church.

"You are the example in preserving the tradition in full communion
with the Holy See," Bishop Rifan stated Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told

Bishop Rifan said that Catholics had the right to criticize certain
problems with the new rite of Mass, and developments after Vatican II,
but "with charity and from within the Church." He also cautioned against
a tendency toward over-criticism, especially toward bishops, who
represent the apostles and are vested with authority from Jesus Christ.

The Search For Holiness

Fr. Joseph Wilson, associate pastor from St. Luke's Church of the
Diocese of Brooklyn, began the conference with some hard-hitting analysis
and questions. "Forty years ago, there were a lot of optimistic books
looking for the golden age of the future," he said. "If the past 40 years
has been a renewal, I would really like to see what a disaster looks
like," he said.

Fr. Wilson explained that perhaps in the pursuit of attempting to
become more palatable to the world, the Church lost track of its primary
mission. He suggested that self-affirmation and the search for sexual
autonomy replaced the search for holiness, then this helped to contribute
to the current crisis in the Church.

"The Orthodox fast for nearly half the year," he said. "We have taken
many traditions and have decided to ignore them -- to take the easy way
out," he said. He recommended a return to reading the fathers of the
Church, and to recapture many of these lost traditions, which the
Orthodox have maintained. "We decided the old wisdom no longer applied," he

He explained that the Church leaders, many laity, priests, bishops
appear to "have lost the ability of self-reflection." The "signs of the
times" that Gaudium et Spes emphasizes, have not been read well in the
past 40 years, according to Fr. Wilson. He encouraged people to read an
article headlined "The End of Gaudium et Spes," by Dr. James Hitchcock,
from a previous issue of Catholic World Report.

"How did we lose the ability to criticize ourselves?" he asked. He
also said that an accurate reading of "the signs of the times" is
necessary in order for the Church to find its way out of the current crisis.

Bishop Rifan indicated that in recent meetings with both Pope Benedict
XVI and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, he stressed the importance of
providing Catholics the full use of the traditional sacraments and devotions
so they could conserve the traditional Catholic way of life. "Personal
parishes [traditional] are needed," Bishop Rifan said.

Become A Saint

Other highlights of the conference included Bishop Rifan outlining
numerous points on what it means to be a traditional Catholic, as well as
an emphasis on the centrality of devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He
repeatedly stressed the theological virtue of charity.

Reaffirming the proper and rightful place of traditional Catholics
within the Church, Bishop Rifan quoted Pope Benedict XVI from the Cologne
World Youth Day: "Only saints can restore mankind. The Church does not
need reformers -- it needs saints! We will reform the Church by
becoming saints," he said.

"Martin Luther tried to be a reformer," he said. "St. Athanasius was a
saint," and through the process of becoming one, he reformed the

He also cautioned attendees from paying too much attention to rumors
and conspiracy theories. "In my 30 years in the priesthood," Bishop
Rifan said, "I have offered only the Traditional Latin Mass." He said that
because he is a bishop in the Universal Church, he sometimes must
attend Masses offered using the Missal of Pope Paul VI.

"However, just because I attend these Masses occasionally, does not
mean that I necessarily agree with everything that goes on," he said.

This may be a reference to some Catholics associated with Society of
St. Pius X, currently in dialogue with the Holy See in order to possibly
resolve their canonical irregularities (but "not in formal schism,"
according to Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos). Some Catholics and web sites
sympathetic to the Society of St. Pius X have repeatedly accused Bishop
Rifan of "selling out" traditional Catholics due to his occasional
attendance at concelebrated Masses with other priests and bishops.

Among other suggestions to Una Voce leaders, he encouraged them to
defend "correct ecumenism." According to Bishop Rifan, this means that
with charity in our contacts with non-Catholics, we should "ask them to
return" to Christ's Church, and also pray for their conversions. He said
that in Campos, as part of the New Evangelization, his priests and
laity engage in door-to-door missions while handing out tracts, and they
politely invite those they encounter to consider the truth of Jesus
Christ through His Church.

Focus On The Supernatural

Msgr. Michael Schmitz, the U.S. vicar general and provincial for the
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, gave a rousing closing
talk Sunday afternoon on the importance of tradition. "Many times people
have come to me and told me, 'Father, I know I must become Catholic
because I have been to Mass'," he said.

Msgr. Schmitz also agreed with Bishop Rifan's positive assessment of
tradition in the United States. "American society is much more
traditional than European society," he said. "In Europe, the traditions have
been almost destroyed."

"Tradition in the Church is supernatural, and therefore, we should not
speak of the Traditional Latin Mass," he said. Instead, "we should
speak of the Mass because it is God's Mass; it is the Mass God wants us to
celebrate," Msgr. Schmitz said.

"Many believe that tradition is something dusty -- that the word
should be avoided," he said.

He explained that all people, regardless of their religious, or even
political, leanings, have a routine, a custom, a tradition they follow
on a daily, weekly, and even monthly basis.

Simply speaking, according to Msgr. Schmitz, tradition is "some
worthwhile learning that is received by us by someone who gives it." This
"handing on," is traditio -- the Latin root for tradition. All learning
takes place through the use of tradition.

"Education at every level is traditional -- even if sometimes the
contents are not worthwhile," he said. But when tradition is applied to
divine Revelation, then tradition's importance is increased -- "in the
realm of God." Msgr. Schmitz said that Catholics should try to permeate
their daily life with tradition through the use of sacramentals,
devotions, holy water, and other things to keep the focus on the supernatural.

With regard to Tradition and divine Revelation: "Everything is
reception. Everything is gift. Everything is Tradition," Msgr. Schmidt said.

Bishop Rifan emphasized this same theme during his keynote address the
previous evening. "To be a traditionalist means to defend the doctrine
of Christ as King!" Bishop Rifan declared. "To be a traditionalist
means to be attached to the Traditional Latin Mass because it better
expresses the Catholic doctrine on the Holy Eucharist," he said "To be a
traditionalist is a Catholic way of life: It is not just the Mass," he

The Reform Of The Reform

Fr. Thomas Kocik, from the Diocese of Fall River, Mass., and author of
The Reform of the Reform, published by Ignatius Press, said he believed
the 1962 Missal must be the starting point for any reform of the 1970
Missal of Pope Paul VI. "When you are doing a complicated math problem,
and it comes out wrong, you go back to the original place where you
began to go wrong," he said. Fr. Kocik said he believed the coexistence of
the classical rite of Mass was vital for a proper reform of the current
normative rite of Mass.

Fr. Kocik also raised the question as a possibility of the Campos,
Brazil, apostolic administration being used as a model diocese, and
possibly eventually applied to traditional Catholics throughout the entire

When asked if he thought Pope Benedict XVI would publicly offer the
classical Roman rite as Pope in St. Peter's Basilica, he said he "did not
know." When asked if he thought the Pope should offer it, he said that
based upon the Pope's own positive previous writings about the
classical rite, "I think he should."

Brian Mershon holds a Master's degree in Theology.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More on sacred music

One of our readers forwarded me a link to Nicholas Maria Publishers whom are "Dedicated to the Restoration of the Sacred in Catholic Church Music".

What looks particularly interesting on this site is an e-book which is available freely online: Stones Instead of Bread: Reflections on 'Contemporary' Hymns

Comments have included:

"This study of a particularly sensitive aspect of pastoral liturgy makes many serious points, and is worthy of earnest consideration by all who share the concerns of composer Mary Oberle Hubley for the Church's worship and its music. Too long have too many 'church mice' been given 'stones instead of bread': it is time to reflect anew upon the theological roots of the present malaise, and these pages can offer a helpful point of departure."

Father Robert A. Skeris
Director, Church Music Association of America;
former President of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, Rome

"In regard to Stones Instead of Bread...

I read your precious little booklet on Stones Instead of Bread...
I wish to congratulate you for your sense of good theology, of tradition in the Church, and especially for your delicate touch and good taste...Wish you all the luck, or rather wish the Church the good luck to discover you and appreciate you.

With my blessing,"

+Archbishop Joseph Raya

(Many will recognize Archbishop Raya as an Eastern Catholic bishop.)

The table of contents of this e-booklet reads as follows:

Part I: Post-Conciliar Hymnody
Part II: What Makes Music Sacred? Association with the Occasion
Part III: What Makes Music Sacred? Association with a Sacred Text
Part IV: What Makes Music Sacred? Association with That Which Is Set Apart, or Separate, from the Worldly or Profane
Part V: What Makes Music Sacred? Association with That Which Is Truly Art
Part VI: What Makes Music Sacred? Association with the Roman Catholic Tradition
Part VII: Hope for Church Music

Monday, November 28, 2005

Benedict XVI Encourages Teaching of Latin

Greets Members of Latinitas Foundation

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2005 ( Benedict XVI encouraged the teaching of Latin, especially to young people, with the help of new methodologies.

The Pope made this proposal today when greeting the participants in a meeting organized by the Latinitas Foundation, a Vatican institution that promotes the official language of the Latin-rite Catholic Church.

The Holy Father, who addressed the participants in classical Latin, congratulated the winners of the Certamen Vaticanum, an international competition of Latin prose and poetry.

Benedict XVI said that this foundation must see to it that Latin continues to be part of the daily life of the Church, so that understanding of many of its treasures will not be lost.

The Latinitas Foundation, founded by Pope Paul VI in 1976, has the dual aim of promoting, on the one hand, the study of Latin and classical and Christian literature, and on the other, the use and spread of Latin through the publication of books in that language.

The foundation publishes a quarterly magazine, Latinitas, and every year celebrates the Certamen Vaticanum. The foundation has also published a dictionary, the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis, containing more than 15,000 neologisms translated into Latin.

For those who ever wondered about the Latin equivalent for "computer," "terrorist" or "cowboy," there are now answers.

"Instrumentum computatorium" is the way the Latinitas Foundation refers to computers.

Those who sow violence and terror are called "tromocrates (-ae)"; while characters in Westerns are called "armentarius."

Some of the words of the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis can be consulted on the foundation's Web page.


Videoconference to Touch on Liturgy

ROME, NOV. 28, 2005 ( A worldwide videoconference of theologians this Wednesday will focus on the theme "Architecture, Art and Music at the Service of the Liturgy."

The videoconference, a monthly event organized by the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, uses Internet to link top theologians from around the world.

The upcoming conference can be followed live beginning at noon, Rome time, at

The original texts of the addresses will be posted on the same page later.

To follow the event, Real Player must be installed in a computer. The Web page gives the link to download it.

Among the specialists who will participate in the conference are Cardinal Georges Cottier, theologian of the Pontifical Household, who will speak from Rome on "The Anointing of Bethany and the Theological Foundation in the Necessary Decorum of the Eucharistic Celebration."

Other speakers and their topics will include:

-- Father Michael Hull, New York, on "Buildings of Worship: Not Every Artistic Expression is in Keeping with the Truth of the Christian Faith and the Authentic Beauty of Sacred Art."

-- Father Gary Devery, Sydney, Australia, on "The Postconciliar Liturgical Reform and the Misunderstood Meaning of Creativity and Adaptation."

Una Voce America's 10th Anniversary Conference in Providence a Tremendous Success

Una Voce Rhode Island sponsored the 2005 UVA Leadership conference in Providence, RI on the weekend of November 17, and by all accounts, it was a wonderful success for the chapter leaders and UVA supporters who attended.

The event kicked-off Friday evening with a private meeting of UVA Leaders who met, for the first time, their newly-elected president of the International Federation, Fra Frederick Crichton-Stuart. The meeting provided a very good representation from UVA chapters across the country and each group was invited to present a paper discussing the various activities, successes and challenges faced in their local area.

Friday evening initiated the first of several magnificent liturgical events, all attended or presided over by Bishop Fernando Rifan, of Campos Brazil, and in this case, a Tridentine Rite Vespers celebrated with the utmost solemnity and reverence, in the magnificent Holy Name Church.

Saturday launched the public forum through which attendees heard excellent talks by Fr. Joseph Wilson, Fr. Thomas Kocik and Fra Frederick Crichton-Stuart. The day concluded with a wonderful dinner and a stirring talk by Bp. Rifan to close out the day.

Sunday's liturgical event was stunning in its beauty and profundity, as Bp. Rifan celebrated a Pontifical High Mass from the throne. He mentioned that this was a special privilege granted him by the diocesan ordinary, Bp. Tobin, and the faithful in attendance were surely carried away by the beauty of the ritual, prayers and the superb musical accompaniment.

The chapters and leaders gave special thanks and recognition to Mr. & Mrs. Allen Maynard, hosts for the event and also to Fr. Santos, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church, who showed much generosity and kindness to Una Voce America in providing use of his facilities for this event (as well as offering Mass for us).

[Original Story: Thanks to Brian Mershon of Una Voce Greenville, SC for the additional photographs.]

Worshipping the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness

[Fr. Newman of St. Mary's Church in South Carolina, shares his forthright suggestions on where to practically move a parish in reforming the reform. Courtesy of Pontifications)

by Fr Jay Scott Newman

I was baptized in the Episcopal Church, and there I learned to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. When I became a Catholic, one of the most difficult adjustments for me was learning to accept the generally wretched state of the sacred liturgy in most parishes: banal language, casual atmosphere, mediocre secular music, ugly buildings badly decorated. In all too many places, the result is simply unspeakable. But this need not be.

The Catholic Church gave us Chartres and Canterbury; she gave us plainchant and Palestrina. The Catholic Church saved the language of Cicero, and gave birth to the Christian poetry of the West. The cultural and artistic riches of the Western Church are still in our storehouse; we need only deploy them in a way adapted to the present structure of the Roman Rite.

I have been a priest for more than twelve years, and in that time I have served four parishes, one college chaplaincy, and one seminary. In all of those posts, the following characteristics were observed (mutatis mutandis), and the results were splendid. I offer these suggestions for those who seek to “re-enchant” the sacred liturgy for the purpose of leading those who worship more deeply into the Paschal Mystery.

For the building and its contents

1. The tabernacle MUST be on the rear wall of the chancel and on the central axis of the church. Putting the LORD anywhere else turns everything else on an angle, and no ideological justification will change the way in which this simple fact destabilizes the liturgy.

2. The priest’s chair should face the ambo, not the congregation, and it should ideally be located on the opposite side of the altar from the ambo. When he is seated, the celebrant (like the congregation) should be facing the proclamation of the Word of God; to have him face the people from his chair makes him the focus of attention and invites him to behave like a talk show host.

3. Right angles are preferable to oblique ones. The eye senses rest when it follows one line to a 90 degree angle with another line; it senses motion when any other angle is present. One of the reasons many of our churches do not feel like peaceful houses of prayer to most folk is that the entire building and all of its furnishings are constantly “in motion”.

4. The altar candles should rest on the mensa, not on the floor around the altar. The passion for the “naked altar” is bizarre, pagan, and antiquarian for its own sake. Yes, the rubrics do allow for the candles to be on or near the altar, but I believe that placing them on the mensa has an immediate effect towards the re-enchantment of the liturgy.

5. Avoid kitsch in all its forms, including most especially the trendy and sentimental, in decorating the church. Most churches look like someone’s Italian or Irish grandmother has just finished sprucing up the place. Is it any wonder we have such trouble convincing our men that religion is not women’s work? The sanctuary is the home of the Son of Man; let’s make it look like a place in which most men would be comfortable spending a little time.

For the sacred music

1. Stop balkanizing the Mass schedule with different types of music. This trick comes from Protestant church growth strategies, and it teaches our people that divine worship is just a matter of personal taste. Yes, progressive solemnity can distinguish one Mass from another in a large parish (low Mass, sung Mass, solemn Mass, etc.), but the basic approach to matters musical should remain essentially the same.

2. If the choir is visible to the congregation, move them to a place where they will not be. This is absolutely essential to celebrating liturgy as worship rather than liturgy as entertainment. Yes, Anglicans more or less successfully replaced priests with lay choirs in the chancel, but for several different reasons, that simply does not work in the contemporary Roman Rite. The ideal place, of course, is a loft for organ and choir at the rear of the church. Failing that, at least move them to the back of the church.

3. Sing only sacred music. Much of what is now marketed as “liturgical music” is not sacred at all, and congregations addicted to that pablum are not capable of entering the liturgy as a participation in the worship of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Sacred music is a happy marriage of text and music, and both halves are necessary to re-enchant the liturgy.

4. If you sing hymns, sing the whole hymn. Stopping after the second verse because Father is at his chair makes as little sense as reciting half the Creed. And no “closing hymn” is needed. “The Mass is ended, go in peace” means what it says. Where possible, the priest and ministers should depart the sanctuary to an organ postlude or something comparable.

5. The Anglican, Methodist, and Lutheran traditions have given us an extraordinary treasury of hymnody, most of which can be used in the Catholic liturgy with very little adaption. This music has proven itself to be durable, effective, and sacred. Do not be afraid of using hymns from this patrimony because they are “Protestant”. In truth, these texts are far more orthodox and “Catholic” than most of the tripe published by Catholics in the past two generation.

6. Plainchant was, is, and ever shall be the music best suited to the Roman Rite. Teach your musicians and your people some simple chants, and sing them well. Even those who struggle with Latin grammar will not need to be taught that this is sacred music.

For the congregation

1. Silence is indispensable. No talking before Mass. Teach them to be comfortable with prolonged sacred silences during the liturgy by explaining that we’re not just waiting for the next thing to happen; we’re waiting together for the LORD.

2. Teach them all the gestures proper to them, e.g. profound bow in the Creed, striking the breast at the Confiteor, kneeling at all appropriate times, etc. If the liturgy is just talking, talking, talking, then half the human person is left out of worship.

3.Emphasize coming early and stigmatize leaving early. Being casual about being on time renders the entire activity casual. Ditto for clothing. Same for the eucharistic fast.

4. Give constant, clear, and firm instruction about who should and who should not receive Holy Communion. Nothing desacralizes the sacred liturgy more than sacrilegious Communions, and the people need to be told this regularly. If you are not in full communion with the Church, if you are married outside of the Church, if you are in serious sin (including missing Mass on a Sunday or a Holy Day) and have not yet been to Confession: DO NOT EAT AND DRINK YOUR OWN CONDEMNATION. Reasserting that the Most Holy Eucharist is the most sacred reality on earth and not to be profaned by unclean lips will go a long way towards sorting out the McChurch atmosphere that poisons our souls.

For the priest

1. Say Mass as though the people were not present. This means that the priest is thinking about, speaking to, and turned towards the Most High God. Paradoxically, it is this benign neglect of the people that gets the person of the priest out of the way and invites the people into the most intimate participation in the sacred mysteries. This is now counter-intuitive to most priests, who were taught that their first, last and constant job is make the people “feel welcome”, but it is absolutely and unconditionally true: say Mass as though they are not there, and they will start to say things like, “That’s the first time in 40 years I feel like I’ve been to Mass.” Guaranteed.

2. Naturally, when speaking to the people, the priest must look at them. But except when speaking directly to the people, the priest’s entire attention (shown by posture, direction of eyes, etc.) must be directed away from the people and towards the Throne of Grace. For example, the Collect is not addressed to the congregation. Why face the people when you are speaking to the great I AM? And in the Eucharistic Prayer, the words “Take this all of you..” are NOT directed to the congregation, so when you say those words, Father, DO NOT look at the people. The entire Anaphora is directed to God the Father, so do not look at your congregation when you are speaking to the Ancient of Days.

3. Eliminate the words of introduction in the entrance rite. Simply cut them out completely. This little interlude is one of the worst mistakes in the 1970 Missal; it’s like pulling the emergency brake on a train moving at 80 mph: the whole thing comes crashing to a disturbing halt. Give one homily, and give it when you should … in the homily. No off the cuff remarks, no improvisation after Holy Communion.

4. To the maximum extent possible, hide your personality under the chasuble. Who the celebrant is ought to be as nearly insignificant as possible. The priest’s job is to pull back the veil between God and man and hide himself in the folds, and this task is made nearly impossible by the ever expanding personality of “The Presider” who feels compelled to intrude his personality into every part of the sacred liturgy. The people aren’t there to see us, Father, and if they like our jokes, then we can let loose at cocktail parties. But not in the liturgy.

5. Sing the liturgy. Most parishes sing around the liturgy, but the liturgy is meant to be sung. Unless a priest is truly tone deaf (and even then he can learn to sing recto tono), he should sing, at least at Solemn Masses, nearly every word out of his mouth. From “In the Name of” to “The Mass is ended” and including most especially the Eucharistic Prayer (in whole or at least the words of the institution narrative), the priest should sing the liturgy. In the Christian East, it was once clear that a man who could not sing had no priestly vocation. I wouldn’t go that far, but singing the priestly prayers is an essential part of the sacred liturgy, and when it is done well, the re-enchantment of the liturgy is literally at hand.

6. Remember that every liturgy leaves chronological time and enters kairotic time. In chronos we say Good Morning; in liturgical kairos we say Dominus vobiscum. If we do not depart from the texts of the Church, then we stand a fair chance of taking the people with us into the never ending liturgy of the New Jerusalem. This is also why SLOW walking, talking and gestures are important. Same with hiding street clothes under sacred vesture. Ditto for the athletic shoes of the altar boys.

7. Yes, that’s altar boys, not androgynous altar servers. Want to encourage young men in the parish to think about the priesthood and all the men to take seriously their responsibilities for masculine headship? Then restrict the service of the altar to boys and young men.

What’s This About?

Remember that the cult of the ugly and the mundane was forced upon the Church in the service of an ideology. And if 40 years ago there was any doubt that this ideology is the enemy of the Gospel of Christ, there can be no doubt now. A bare ruined choir is all that is left in many corners of the vineyard, but even (and sometimes especially) in the ruins, God can make all things new. In the service of this renewal, or re-enchantment:

1. Take Cardinal Mahoney’s pastoral letter on the celebration of parochial liturgy and throw it on the fire. Watch it burn. Now go take a hot shower.

2. Reject the ideology that got us here. Root and branch, cut it out of yourself. Empty seminaries, despoiled religious orders, plummeting Mass attendance, and wholesale immorality among clergy and laity alike are probably pretty good clues that the vocation to holiness which is our baptismal second birthright is getting obscured along the way.

3. Read good books that will help you understand the real nature and purpose of the sacred liturgy. Two excellent places to start are The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Ratzinger (who now goes by a new nom de plum) and Looking at the Liturgy by Aidan Nichols, O.P. For the mechanics of celebration, start with Peter Elliott’s Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite and Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year.

4. Now approach the altar in spirit and truth, and worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sacrificium Laudis Conference - pictures

The Research Institute for Catholic Liturgy has posted some pictures of their recent liturgical conference held near Detroit, Michigan.

To see the rest of the pictures, click here

Friday, November 25, 2005

Traditional Church Architecture

A site that some might be interested in is Della Chiesa.

It's subtitle for itself is "Traditional Church Architecture, Restoration and Preservation Web" -- sounds like a very worthy goal.

Much of it is based upon subscriber access unfortunately, but there seem to be some interesting tidbits.

One such tidbit is a book by Michael Rose called In Tiers of Glory: The Organic Development of Church Architecture through the Ages

I haven't read the book myself, but here's what is said about it:

Architects, says Rose, have always understood that architecture isn't inconsequential. Sacred architecture, in particular, has an immense influence on how people think and feel - and even on how they pray and believe. In Tiers of Glory explains why, and it does so from the perspective of history and tradition.

Rose (author of The Renovation Manipulation and Ugly As Sin) here provides a clear, comprehensive summation of the development of Catholic Church architecture from the Church's earliest days to modern times. He identifies the canons that have been common to Catholic churches throughout history - from Roman basilicas to Byzantine and Carolingian churches, from pilgrimage shrines to Gothic churches, from Renaissance classicism to Baroque opulence - that is, elements that have been common to churches in every age except our own.

Rose details how this organic development has been broken by the banal, uninspiring, and sometimes ugly church buildings of today. But he insists that Catholics need not simply endure these blunders and missteps. With a series of enlightening prescriptions for the future of Catholic church architecture, Rose explains how the Church can restore continuity with the great churches of the past - and why it is crucial to do so.

Gloriously illustrated with 200 full-color photos and renderings, In Tiers of Glory is a much needed and welcome addition to the literature on church architecture.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi

Unfortunately, I seldom get to look at other blogs. Sometimes, however, I do. Today I was rewarded when I saw this wonderful tidbit on the Pontifications blog:

"The proposed solution [of the synod bishops, related to the concern of the decline of belief in the Eucharistic presence] is to encourage parish priests to teach the Eucharist from the pulpit. I’m sure this would be a good thing to do, but I have to wonder whether the decline in eucharistic faith is not also tied into the massive disenchantment of the liturgy that has occurred since Vatican II. Surely it is much more difficult to believe the mystery of transubstantiation when the liturgy, as presently enacted in most congregations, appears to say just the opposite! Does the liturgy truly witness to the eucharistic miracle when the banality and informality, and sometimes just plain ugliness, of the liturgical celebration tells us that this is just a communal meal with a religious intent?


If the bishops of the Church wish to restore vital faith in the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist, then they must fully embrace the re-enchantment of the Divine Liturgy.

If you'd like to read the entire post, click here.

Comments: A very pertinent insight -- one which I know Pope Benedict is quite aware of; certainly the synod spoke of the ars celebrandi and of the "shadows" which have been around in the celebration of the sacred liturgy these past decades. Let us hope and pray that this interrelationship, which has been summarized quite adequately in the oft-quoted axiom, "lex orandi, lex credendi", will not be underestimated in terms of where we go after this synod.

On the Use of Black Vestments

Many out there are likely aware that there has been these past 40 years or so an aversion to black vestments for times such as funerals, or for the Feast of All Souls and so on. (Thankfully this is decreasing with the newer generations of clergy.)

Often black vestments have been excluded in practice (though not necessarily in law) -- enough so that there are entire generations who will have never seen a black vestment worn, let alone know of its existence as a liturgical colour. For example, red is now worn on Good Friday instead of black in the modern rite -- it is still used in the classical rite of course. White will typically be worn for funerals. Sometimes purple will be used.

Now let us get it straight: this is not a liturgical abuse as these are options which the Church has given, or in the case of Good Friday, changes that have been made. There are some, however, for whom this is not simply aesthetic (nor should it be), nor a question of common practice in a diocese, but is actually an ideological opposition aimed at the perceived "negativity" of black. This latter idea is a problem. I wish to address in a roundabout way both the problem with the former way of thinking, but also I want to make a case for why I believe the effective disappearance of black is not desireable, even when we are just exercising another legitimate liturgical option as a norm.

The use of black is representative of some fundamental Christian realities. While Christians are a people of hope (the oft used argument for those wishing to exclude black), we are also a people aware of the reality of sin and judgement. We do not presume to know the state of our loved one's soul. Too often even some parish priests themselves acquiesce to this idea that our achieving of our heavenly reward is a fait accompli. While we indeed hope and pray that our loved one has attained his or her heavenly reward, it is not a hope that is without reservations or loving concern. As Christians we are hopeful and yet also have a humble realism. We know that we are sinful creatures and we do not always meet the mark, nor necessarily repent of our sins. As such, we both hope and pray. Black, with its echoes of mourning and reserve, both acknowledges our own emotional response to the loss of a loved one, and is further representative of our need to pray for the repose of our loved one's soul. It also is a reminder and symbol of our belief in purgatory wherein the suffering souls require our prayers and especially Masses. After all, Requiem masses are not merely memorials made for the living -- tools for our psychological and emotional comfort -- but are first and foremost powerful prayers and graces for the repose of our dearly beloved. If we approach the afterlife of heaven as "automatic" or as a given, whom will take seriously the need to pray for the souls of purgatory or our departed loved one? Eventually, who will see the need to have a funeral Mass? Black represents our mourning and also that there is work yet to be done -- the work of prayer; the graces of the Mass. The gold or silver which adorns the decoration of a black vestment gives us that silver-lining of Christian hope which we have for the resurrection of our loved one, and eventually ourselves, into Our Father's House.

From a cultural perspective, this lack represents a divide from the common cultural sentiment expressed at death which has been informed by religious principles for generations -- one cannot help but notice that black is still the colour of mourning amongst most at a funeral; if we are truly interested in speaking to people in symbols and language they can understand and relate to, the use of black at a funeral cannot be surpassed in this regard. (Note: I am not suggesting that culture must inform liturgical practice; in this case, I think the Faith has informed the culture and the culture still retains this formation on a deep level.)

There really is nothing to stop a priest from re-introducing black vestments into the sacred liturgy when the rubrics allow for it -- and this I would heartily recommend to parish priests who read this weblog.

That being said, I receive many emails from readers on this weblog asking advice on how to approach such questions in there parishes. Often they are facing situations where there is little interest in the liturgy, or at least, little interest in the goals of the reform of the reform -- which may go in an opposite direction from where their parish is heading.

In such instances, getting black vestments re-instituted may be a non-starter with their parish clergy -- but as I say, there is a surprising openness to them from many of the younger clergy. If you don't have that situation, don't worry, there may yet be hope. While you may not get black vestments instituted in your parish, there is another option that comes halfway at least, and may be more acceptable in such a situation and would help begin to restore this balance of hope, mourning and prayers for the dead.

Here is my proposal for a pastor that can't yet (or won't) re-institute black vestments: a white (or preferably off-white cream colour) vestment, with a large, substantial band of black brocade going up the centre of the vestment -- or also with the traditional Y-orphrey. (Imagine a vestment such as this one but where the red colour is replaced by black instead.) The key is making the black noticeable.

One vestment company has taken up this idea already. Again, I do think a more substantial band of black, as in the Holy Rood Guild vestment style above, would be better to make it less an ornamental feature and more substantial, and that off-white would be better as it can again symbolize that while we have hope, this is not strictly an occasion of jubilation, nor festivity.

(Footnote: In looking for an image of a nice black vestment, I stumbled across the following vestment site in the U.K. which has particularly fine quality vestments, both new and antique, in both the Gothic and Roman styles: Luzar Vestments)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Feast for the Eyes - The Classical Roman Liturgy

For those interested in a wonderful feast for the eyes and for the liturgical soul, one of the most wonderful collection of photos of the classical Roman liturgy can be found over at the website of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales:

Latin Mass Society of England and Wales Gallery

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Book: Introduction to Liturgical Families and Rites

Speaking of the CIEL 2006 conference and the legitimate plurality of rites, I came across a somewhat more obscure introduction to this topic by an Eastern Orthodox bishop:

Introduction to Liturgical Families and Rites
(Liturgical Studies Vol. 1)

Author: Bishop Dr. John Yazigi of Pyrgou
Publisher: St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology
Price: $6.99 USD

Order from:

Saturday, November 19, 2005

CIEL 2006 - Studying the Plurality of Rites and Legitimate Liturgical Diversity

Some of you may be interested to know that there is more information up about the CIEL 2006 conference to be held at Oxford University, Merton College.

Of particular interest to this CIEL delegate is the direction the conference will take:

"The conference will explore the diversity of the forms of the Roman Rite from its appearance as a specifically Latin Rite in the fourth century up to (but not including) the Second Vatican Council.

Speakers will be sought who will provide an overview of not only the liturgical development and diversity of the rite, but also the spiritual motivations for this development.

Some speakers will concentrate on areas of specific expertise -
the rites of the religious orders (Carthusian, Cistercian, Dominican, Carmelite, Order of Malta) or local manifestations - i.e. Gallican, Frankish etc., or even Diocesan - Lyons, Braga, Venice etc."

Understanding the legitimate diversity of liturgical rites within the Church is key I believe to correcting two extremes:

1) the modern, dissenting tendency toward a diversity which entails a rejection of rubrics and a failure to respect the integrity of the official texts of the missal(s); in short, the propogation of an illegimate diversity and a misunderstanding of what diversity really is with regards the liturgy.

2) the opposite extreme which forgets that there is such a thing as legitimate diversity and which, as such, can result in an approach to other liturgical rites as either somehow suspect, less Catholic, or plain undesirable as a general rule; this usually results in a tendency to absolutize/universalize particular aspects of the liturgy which may only be representative of a particular liturgical tradition (e.g. the complaint many Byzantine Catholics have against some Latin rite Catholics whom attempt to Latinize their traditions, or on the other hand, the tendency to not be generous where the classical Roman rite is concerned, or where the co-existence and compatibility of the classical Roman rite and the reform of the reform is concerned.)

A draft list of topics includes:

Pope Benedict XVI and the Liturgy

The Roman Calendar

Music proper to the Roman Liturgy

Liturgical Latin as a hieratic language

Organic development of the Liturgy

Liturgy and spirituality in the religious life

The Rite of Braga – origins and development

Genius of the Roman Liturgy, theological aspects

Developments in the Liturgy in the Holy Land and the Military Orders

Kiedricher Choral – musical diversity within the Roman Tradition

Roman Liturgy and popular piety

The Theological significance of the Classical Liturgies of the West

Cardinal Ratzinger on Liturgical Music

Recently reprinted in Homiletic and Pastoral Review:

Cardinal Ratzinger and Liturgical Music by Chris Miller.

Pope Benedict and the Liturgy

From the current issue of The Saint Austin Review, an article by John Haas: Pope Benedict and the Liturgy

(Published in America by Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University, in partnership with the International Institute for Culture, and in the UK by the Saint Austin Press, the Saint Austin Review (StAR) is a Catholic cultural journal which brings together scholars, journalists, poets and spiritual leaders from around the English-speaking world.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

A Cathedral Renovation... done right!

[Original Story: Pasadena Star News]

A Restoration of Faith
Cathedral to reopen after project

By Juliet Williams Associated Press

SACRAMENTO - The 19th-century bishop who lobbied for a Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in downtown Sacramento deliberately chose a site just one block from the state Capitol.

Bishop Patrick Manogue, a one-time gold miner, wanted the statehouse and the church, with its 217-foot bell tower, to stand as reminders of the two pillars of society - church and state. Manogue also hoped the cathedral's location would act as a moral check on political abuse.

The state capital has been without one of those pillars for more than two years, after the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was closed for major repairs and a seismic retrofit. On Sunday, the 116-year-old cathedral reopens after a $34 million restoration project that includes elaborate murals and refurbished glasswork and statues.

"The cathedral is a symbol in modern life of the sacred, a symbol of the transcendent," said its rector, the Rev. James Murphy. "It's a reminder to people that there's more to life than money and stress."

The restoration began as a straightforward plan to repair a leaky roof and shore up the foundation.

Architects discovered that many aspects of the original design were never finished because the diocese ran out of money. Piecemeal modifications over the years left the cathedral with a mishmash of styles and no cohesive theme. Its distinctive dome was hidden behind a false ceiling installed during the 1930s.

A design team from the New York architectural firm Beyer Blinder Belle used a lone newspaper clipping from 1889, the year construction of the cathedral was completed, and some partial drawings from the 1930s to recreate the dome and install 16 panel murals that tell the story of the Eucharist.

At the time of its construction, the cathedral was one of the growing city's premier buildings and was described in great detail in accounts of the time.

"It is one of the most significant historic structures in Sacramento," said Jim Shepherd, the architectural firm's project manager. "It really serves as a spiritual center for downtown Sacramento, so I think it's wonderful that it will be sort of `reinvented' for another generation."

The restoration of the cathedral's classic European architecture bucks the trend for California cathedrals in recent years. The $189 million Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles, completed in 2002, and a new cathedral under construction in Oakland, were designed using modern architectural styles.

Such an approach was never considered for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Murphy said. The New York firm was selected in part because of its experience restoring cathedrals, as well as renovations of Grand Central Station and Ellis Island in New York.

"The word `modernization' is anathema to them," Murphy said. "They want to preserve the original intent of the building."

Manogue, the diocesan founder, came to Northern California during the Gold Rush and used the money from his prospecting to pay for a trip to a seminary in Paris, where he studied to become a priest.

He was named the first bishop in Sacramento in 1886 and began lobbying church officials to move the diocese's seat from the Sierra foothill town of Grass Valley to the state capital and then to build its mother church there.

"He wanted a symbol of the sacred in the heart of the capital," Murphy said.

Today, the diocese includes 99 churches and more than 500,000 parishioners across a 20-county region that spreads north of Sacramento to the Oregon border and east to the Nevada state line.

Among the art works gracing the restored cathedral is an ornate mural honoring the Saints of the Americas. One of the saints depicted is Toribio Romo, the patron saint of migrant workers and a Mexican priest who was martyred in the 1920s. About 1,000 of his distant relatives now live in the Sacramento area and helped secure bone fragments from Romo's tomb that will be installed in the cathedral altar during Sunday's service as a relic.

Jesus Romo, a relative, will help carry the relic during the ceremony for the cathedral's blessing. He said Hispanics are excited about being part of the remade Cathedral.

"It will draw more people to the Cathedral. It will make us feel a little more at home in Sacramento," said Romo, who grew up hearing stories about the priest's devotion to his work and parishioners.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

How we are re-enchanting the sacred liturgy

I was thinking today of how there is so much work that needs to be done with regards the sacred liturgy. Whether that be working for the improvement of the classical Roman rite in our area, or whether it be in trying to help effect the reform of the reform in our parishes.

I had made some recommendations and asked some of the clergy what they had been doing to try and help in this way.

I wanted to now ask those of you out there reading this, especially the laity, but clergy are welcome as well, what sorts of things are you doing to help re-enchant the liturgy in your parish, or in your indult Latin Mass community?

I believe sharing this will be inspiring to all of us, and perhaps give others ideas how they might help. So often the problem is it is hard to know where to begin!

To that end, I invite you to leave comments. Let us know what you're working on; what you're thinking of working on. And feel free to make general suggestions to people as well.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Where to get Ward Method books

One of our readers made the fine suggestion that with all this talk about the Ward Method, it might be a good idea to forward along a link whereby people could acquire materials for it.

Here is the link:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chaldean Synod: Bishops to present Pope with reformed liturgy

[Chaldeans are Babylonian Catholics. Liturgical languages are Syriac and Arabic. The 310,000 Chaldean Catholics are found in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and North America. For reference, here is the Chaldean Liturgy as it stands presently, prior to the reform spoken of below. Hopefully they will help demonstrate good, organic liturgical reform!]

The final text of the new mass is expected for
tomorrow after seven years spent working on it.
Participants say reforming the liturgy was the priority, not politics.

Rome (AsiaNews) – The final version of the
reformed liturgy of the Chaldean Church will be
presented to the Pope tomorrow morning. The Holy
Father will also receive all the Chaldean bishops
who are currently taking part in their Church’s
special synod that began on November 8 in Rome.

This synod comes seven months after the last one
that took place in a Baghdad. Its focus was
almost exclusively on the liturgy and private
law, overshadowing more political issues that
some bishops had highlighted in the period leading up to it.

“There was no way of discussing anything else,” a
source close to the synod told AsiaNews.
“Reforming the liturgy was the main issue. We had
been working on it for seven years and everyone
expected the meeting to come up with final version.”

Mgr Rabban al-Qas, Bishop of Amadiyah (northern
Iraq), also took part in the sessions. He confirmed this version of the events.

“At the beginning of each session, we spoke a
little of the situation in our country, but the
issue that took most of our attention was religious, not political,” he said.

“We are working on reforming the mass, and then
we’ll propose a new liturgy for feast and week
days. Once the Vatican approves it, it will be
implemented on a trial basis for three years in
various dioceses,” he explained.

A source involved in the synod said that the
proposed changes “aim to maintain the tradition
whilst introducing modern elements for pastoral purposes”.

Mass will have a “more organic structure”
preserving changes made over the centuries, and
adding new words to some moments like the anaphor.

“With the Vatican’s green light, the new mass
will be gradually explained to the faithful and
priests. A trial period will then begin at the
parish level and the process will end with a new
synod vetting whatever problems that may emerge
and deciding a definitive version,” the same source said.


The Mass Isn't Entertainment, Says Cardinal Arinze

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2005 ( The Mass is a moment of reflection and encounter with God, rather than a form of entertainment, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.

In an interview with Inside the Vatican magazine, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments made a comprehensive assessment of the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist and of developments in liturgical practice 40 years after the Second Vatican Council.

Regarding "music in the liturgy, we should start by saying that Gregorian music is the Church's precious heritage," he said. "It should stay. It should not be banished. If therefore in a particular diocese or country, no one hears Gregorian music anymore, then somebody has made a mistake somewhere."

However, "the Church is not saying that everything should be Gregorian music," the cardinal clarified. "There is room for music which respects that language, that culture, that people. There is room for that too, and the present books say that is a matter for the bishops' conference, because it generally goes beyond the boundaries of one diocese.

"The ideal thing is that the bishops would have a liturgical music commission which looks at the wording and the music of the hymns. And when the commission is satisfied, judgment is brought to the bishops for approval, in the name of the rest of the conference."

What should not be the case, insists the Nigerian cardinal, is "individuals just composing anything and singing it in church. This is not right at all -- no matter how talented the individual is. That brings us to the question of the instruments to be used.

"The local church should be conscious that church worship is not really the same as what we sing in a bar, or what we sing in a convention for youth. Therefore it should influence the type of instrument used, the type of music used."


"I will not now pronounce and say never guitar; that would be rather severe," Cardinal Arinze added. "But much of guitar music may not be suitable at all for the Mass. Yet, it is possible to think of some guitar music that would be suitable, not as the ordinary one we get every time, [but with] the visit of a special group, etc."

"The judgment would be left to the bishops of the area. It is wiser that way," he pointed out. "Also, because there are other instruments in many countries which are not used in Italy or in Ireland, for instance.

"People don't come to Mass in order to be entertained. They come to Mass to adore God, to thank him, to ask pardon for sins, and to ask for other things that they need."

"When they want entertainment, they know where to go -- parish hall, theater, presuming that their entertainment is acceptable from a moral theological point of view," added the cardinal, 73, who this year celebrated the 40th anniversary of his episcopal ordination.

The synod

In the course of the interview, Cardinal Arinze, who in the recent Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist was one of the delegate presidents, subsequently made a summary of this ecclesial event which gathered 252 bishops.

Speaking of the positive points of the synod, the cardinal said there were many: "Strengthening our faith in the holy Eucharist. No new doctrine, but freshness of _expression of our Eucharistic faith. Encouragement in the celebration in the sense of good attention; a celebration which shows faith."

"The synod thanked priests for their ministry and also deacons and others who assist at the celebration of Mass, and underlined the importance of Eucharistic adoration outside Mass which has its fruits in the Mass itself because the Mass is the supreme act of adoration," he continued.

"But the sacrament does not finish after Mass," the cardinal observed. "Christ is in the tabernacle to be brought to the sick, to receive our visits of adoration, praise, love, supplication. The synod fathers did not only talk about adoration -- they did adoration, every day. Christ exposed in the monstrance in the chapel near the Synod Hall, one hour in the morning, one hour in the afternoon."

"The synod also stressed the importance of good preparation for the holy Eucharist; to receive Communion," he noted. "Therefore, confession of sins, for those who are in mortal sin and in any case encouraging the sacrament of penance as a way of growing in fidelity to Christ. And also that not everybody is fit to receive holy Communion, so those who are not fit should not receive."

Protestant view

Referring to a negative tendency in the Western world, the cardinal revealed that an increasing number of Catholics have "a more Protestant concept of the Eucharist, seeing it mainly as a symbol."

The "synod fathers recognize that many Catholics don't have correct faith in the real presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist," he said. "This was mentioned in one of the propositions as well.

"It was recognized so much that many of the synod fathers suggested that there be themes suggested for homilies on Sundays. Seeing that for many Catholics the Sunday homily is about the only religious instruction they get in a week, the synod fathers suggested that the four major areas of Catholic faith should be covered by the homily in a three-year cycle."

The four areas correspond to the parts of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

"First part, what we believe," Cardinal Arinze said. "Second part, how we worship, i.e., sacraments. Third part, what we live, life in Christ, so the moral law, the Ten Commandments, the Christian life lived; and the fourth part, prayer."

Therefore, "although the homily should be on the Scripture readings and the other liturgical texts, some way has to be found to cover the whole area of Catholic faith in a period of three years because many Catholics are really ignorant of fundamental matters. That is a fact nobody can deny."


"Vatican II brought many good things but everything has not been positive, and the synod recognized that there have been shadows," Cardinal Arinze acknowledged.

"There has been a bit of neglect of the holy Eucharist outside Mass," he said. "A lot of ignorance. A lot of temptations to showmanship for the priest who celebrates facing the people.

"If he is not very disciplined he will soon become a performer. He may not realize it, but he will be projecting himself rather than projecting Christ. Indeed it is very demanding, the altar facing the people. Then even those who read the First and Second Reading can engage in little tactics that make them draw attention to themselves and distract the people.

"So there are problems. However, some of the problems were not caused by Vatican II, but they were caused by children of the Church after Vatican II. Some of them talking of Vatican II push their own agenda. We have to watch that. People pushing their own agenda, justifying it as the 'spirit of Vatican II.'"

The Vatican prefect continued: "So, if only people would be more faithful to what has been laid down, not by people who just like to make laws for other people, but what follows from what we believe. 'Lex orandi, Lex credendi.' It is our faith that directs our prayer life, and if we genuflect in front of the tabernacle it is because we believe that Jesus is there, and is God."

Abuses not new

Contrary to what many think, he said, "even when there was the Tridentine Mass there were abuses. Many Catholics did not know, because they did not know Latin! So when the priest garbled the words, they were not aware of this.

"Therefore, the most important area is faith and fidelity to that faith, and a faithful reading of the original texts, and their faithful translations, so that people celebrate knowing that the liturgy is the public prayer of the Church."

Cardinal Arinze concluded that the liturgy "is not the property of one individual, therefore an individual does not tinker with it, but makes the effort to celebrate it as Holy Mother Church wants. When that happens, the people are happy, they feel nourished. Their faith grows, their faith is strengthened. They go home happy and willing to come back next Sunday."

Time for a blog "examination of conscience"...

I just want to make a little pause in our discussions to remind everyone of the tone I think we need to take, whether it be myself in writing a piece, or people in commenting on news stories, etc.

Let's make certain that any criticism we make is of a dispassionate variety. Let's avoid being overly sarcastic, or parodying names or describing things in a way which is solely mean to be polemical or negative.

While I can relate to the frustration that is the root of this, I think we need to be careful here to not lose sight of charity and respect, as well as to approach those whom we disagree with with a certain, academic coolness.

For example, let us express our concern with, even question, the principles which are coming out from the American Bishops with regards translation of the liturgy, but let us not devolve into polemics, bitterness, etc. Let us critique by means of good and principled argumentation.

Let us analyze and express concern with certain modern liturgical trends, music, etc. but without making fun of these things. Let us propose alternatives as well.

A fundamental part of the new liturgical movement is both looking critically, with honesty and yet with charity at problems we see, and also at building up those things of our tradition which need to be re-built.

We must have not only charity, but also patience and respect in these matters if we are to serve "the cause". Not doing so can drive people away, or at least not incline them to listen as readily.

Overall I think we are fairly successful at doing this, but I think we all (myself included) need reminders of this from time to time.

New FSSP parish in Indiana

A reader of this weblog shared with me a photo taken this past weekend from the choir loft of St. Cecilia's parish in Indiana.

Apparently it is a new parish that has been given to the FSSP by the Bishop of Indiana for their exclusive use.

Fr. Gerard Saguto is the priest offering Mass.

It is always nice to hear of the apostlate for the classical Roman rite growing.

More on the English Translation of the Roman Missal

(Original Story from Catholic News Service)

Bishops hold informational session on new Mass translation

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops held an hourlong informational session Nov. 14, the first day of the bishops' fall meeting, to prepare for one of the biggest liturgical projects they will face in the next two or three years -- an entirely new English translation of the Roman Missal for use in the United States.

Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., chairman of the Committee on Liturgy, moderated a half-hour panel presentation and led a half-hour question-answer session on the ins and outs of what the bishops can expect to deal with as they move through the translation approval process.

On the main features of the new translation, he said written consultations with the bishops have shown a major division within the hierarchy.

The current U.S. English version of the Roman Missal was adopted shortly after the Second Vatican Council, under Vatican-established translation rules that then favored accommodation to the internal structure and rhythms of the receiving language rather than literal translation when more literal translation of the Latin text would result in stilted, awkward or difficult phrasing in the receiving language. Linguists call that approach to translation "dynamic equivalence."

The Vatican recently rewrote the liturgical translation rules and now requires, as a general rule, that translations adhere more strictly to the original Latin -- an approach called "formal equivalence" by linguists.

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, the U.S. bishops' representative on the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, which drafts common liturgical translations for consideration by bishops' conferences throughout the English-speaking world, said there is an ongoing tension between the two approaches. While the former translation rules favored "accommodation to the receiver language," the newer rules favor "fidelity to the original" over accommodation, he said.

Presenting the results of two nationwide consultations on a draft text of the new missal translation, Bishop Trautman said 53 percent of the bishops who responded thought the new translation was excellent or good, while 47 percent rated it fair or poor.

He said the responses indicated very different attitudes among the bishops themselves on what the style of liturgical language should be: What one bishop regarded as elevated language that enhanced the liturgy another described as "turgid" and another complained about as "not American English."

At the end of the session, the bishops were asked to express their opinions on three specific issues dealing with people's prayers or responses during the Mass:

-- When the priest says, "The Lord be with you," should the people continue the current response, "And also with you," or be required to give a response more literally translated from the Latin "Et cum spiritu tuo" -- "And with your spirit"?

-- Before Communion, should the people's prayer continue to say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you ..." or should they pray a more literal version of the original Latin, "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum ..." -- "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ..."?

-- Should the Gloria translation remain as it currently is, or should the fuller Latin text be restored in the English translation? A portion in the current version, "We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory," compresses the Latin, which says -- in full translation -- "We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory."

In the first two cases, the argument on one side is that the Latin reflects biblical passages that are not so recognizably evoked by the current English translation. In his letters St. Paul several times asks the Lord to be with someone's spirit, and the "under my roof" recalls the Gospel report about the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his daughter by just speaking a word, since he wasn't worthy to ask Jesus to come into his home.

The main argument on the other side is that since Catholics have prayed the other versions for the past 35 years it will be pastorally unsettling and harmful to make them abandon the form they are used to.

For the Gloria, a different question arises. Besides the pastoral question of changing the prayer people are accustomed to, the Gloria is often sung and there are no musical forms for the proposed new translation. In the case of the Gloria, no question of biblical warrant is involved, since only the opening words of the prayer are drawn from the Nativity narrative of St. Luke's Gospel.

Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, S.D., a liturgy committee member and a panelist in the Nov. 14 presentation to the bishops, said the committee was asking all the bishops to express their views in a written survey on the three questions of people's prayers because only 107 bishops responded to the most recent consultation on the issue and the results were divided. The liturgy committee wanted to know how the majority of bishops feel, he said.

The results of the survey announced Nov. 15 showed that on all three texts a majority of the bishops preferred the current translation to the proposed new translation.

On the response "And also with you" and on the current version of the Gloria, 58 percent of the bishops said the current text is better. Regarding "Lord, I am not worthy ..." 55 percent of the bishops wanted to keep the current version.

The bishops were faced with conflicting rules regarding the translation of the prayers and responses of the people during Mass. On the one hand, the new rules call for greater fidelity to the original in translating everything, including the people's parts; on the other, the rules say that some exceptions can be made, especially in the people's parts, for pastoral reasons.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Triumph of Hope at NPM

By way of background, the NAPM adminsters what is by far the most well-attended Catholic music symposium in North America (the world?) but its annual program does not emphasize the two music styles mentioned by name in the 2nd Vatican Council and the General Instruction. So the following announcement in my in-box is quite interesting:

As part of the 2005 National Association of Pastoral Musicians convention in Milwaukee, the first meeting of the Chant Section took place. It was chaired by Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, a chant scholar and practitioner from St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Individuals interested in being part of the Chant Ad Hoc Committee met before the convention to discuss the purpose, goals and projects of the group. During the convention, other interested individuals gathered for the first ever Section meeting.

Those who met were united in their desire for a positive and constructive attitude in fostering Latin and vernacular chant in the reformed liturgy. It was agreed that the basis for the Section’s work would be the official postconciliar directives as found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the Lectionary for Mass: Introduction. The Section will attempt to reach out to all those interested in chant, whatever their views about liturgy or their approach to controversial questions of chant interpretation. The primary focus of the section will be Latin chant and also vernacular chant inspired by or based (however loosely) upon Latin chant.

Several possible future goals were discussed. These include meeting annually at the national convention and one of the regional conventions; promoting the Section’s presence on internet (including the NPM webpage); and promoting at least some chant at NPM convention liturgies. It is hoped that the membership will grow and stabilize so that we will soon become a Standing Committee of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

All those interested in this new chant section are invited to contact the chair:

Fr. Anthony Ruff, O.S.B.
St. John’s Abbey and University
Collegeville, MN 56321
320-363-3233 /

Please include both your email and postal addresses so you can be included in all future mailings.

"The Organic Development of the Liturgy" PB edition from Ignatius Press - Nov. 2005

Those of you who don't yet have this book -- and you should -- will be happy to know that Ignatius Press is releasing a much less expensive paperback edition of it sometime this month, coming in at $19.95 USD.

The Organic Development of the Liturgy

U.S. Bishops and the proposed English translation of the Roman Missal

[Comment: First off, let me state outright I believe there is a place for pastoral considerations in regards liturgical changes. Second, I don't doubt that some of these bishops are earnest and good-willed in their concern.

That being said, I find the sudden liturgical conservativism from some parties, who aren't usually liturgically "conservative", to be rather convenient. In the case of those who are normally "liberal" with the liturgy, it seems to me what is more likely at the heart of this conservativism is less a pastoral concern so much as an ideological distaste. Only God can read their hearts of course, and I won't presume to make my thought on this an absolute certainty, but I make that discernment based on the fact that it seems as though many such are only too happy to push forward liturgical changes provided they move in a particular ideological direction -- now that the direction is reversed, we are suddenly told that we need to be careful about changing the liturgy. As I say, it seems all too convenient.

This conservativism would be well placed 40 years ago in regards ICEL's and Consilium's original work. In our present situation however, we are dealing with a problematic translation which, arguably, has contributed to a horizontalization of the Roman liturgy in the English speaking world, this is a theological problem that must be addressed.

As for what has become "more meaningful" (more familiar is more accurate I should think), should not the question be asked, what is the meaning that is being derived by an impoverished translation that often excludes the vertical language of the liturgy? Should not the shepherds lead the flock in this regard rather than vice versa since it isn't merely a question of aesthetics, but rather one of spiritual and theological content?]

U.S. bishops disagree over changes in liturgy
Sexual abuse issues still a concern, cropping up in many other discussions
Tuesday, November 15, 2005

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

WASHINGTON -- At a meeting where the sexual abuse scandal was not on their public agenda, the U.S. Catholic bishops repeatedly raised the topic in matters ranging from their budget to an acrimonious discussion about proposed changes to the English liturgy.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago noted that a long-standing division between bishops who prefer standard American English and those who want a literal rending of Latin has become more complex. Some bishops on both sides have realized that the current English text is more familiar and meaningful to many Catholics than the centuries-old Latin text once was, he said.

"There are those who have been quite critical of the present translation, but who are now saying that we don't want to disturb the people, especially in the situation of weakened episcopal authority we have now," he said, referring to distrust of bishops who failed to remove child molesters from the priesthood.


But the greatest tension at the meeting occurred in a discussion on liturgical translations. The Vatican, which has said that all translations must follow literally from the Latin, wants the English-speaking bishops worldwide to vote on a new text that is now being prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Some bishops, including Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Liturgy, believe the changes are clunky and obscure. For instance, in the Nicene Creed, "one in being with the father" would be replaced with "consubstantial with the father."

Yesterday, Bishop Trautman shared the results of a summer survey that showed the bishops were deeply divided over the proposed changes.

One would change the words of The Gloria -- the hymn beginning "Glory to God in the highest" -- so it could not be sung with any tune now in use.

The second would change the prayer "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed" to "Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

The third follows the priest's blessing of "the Lord be with you." It would change the congregation's response from "and also with you" to "and with your spirit."

The Rev. Bruce Harbart, executive secretary of the commission, defended the changes as more faithful to biblical language. The Apostle Paul greeted people with "the Lord be with your spirit," he said. And the phrase "Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof" recalls the Roman centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.

According to Bishop Trautman's summer survey, 12 percent of the bishops believe the proposed translation overall was excellent, 40 percent rated it as good, 40 percent rated it as fair and 7 percent said it was poor.

"We are a divided body on this translation issue. At this time we do not have a two-thirds vote necessary for canonical approval," he said.

Bishop Trautman argued that the Vatican regulations give the bishops some leeway when a text is so familiar that changing it would cause pastoral problems.

Several bishops questioned Bishop Trautman sharply. In some cases where his committee recommended keeping the current translation, said Bishop Allen Vigneron of Oakland, Calif., there was no criticism of the proposed translation in the survey results.

Bishop Trautman replied that although there might not have been a criticism of a specific phrase, many bishops indicated unhappiness with the overall text.

Bishop Donald Wuerl of Pittsburgh did not address the issue from the floor, but said he had "a good number of concerns" about the proposed changes.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Online Broadcast: Theology of Eastern Church architecture

From Ancient Faith Radio (free, online streaming radio broadcast)

Program: Sacred Spaces

Have you ever wondered about the theology of Orthodox Church architecture? Join us as we talk with Robert Latsko, an Orthodox architect with a degree in theology from St. Vlads Seminary. Catch the interview at the following

Mon Nov 21 at 730pm CT/830pm ET
Wed Nov 23 at 1130am CT/1230pm ET
Fri Nov 25 at 3am CT/4am Et
Sun Nov 27 at 3pm CT/4pm ET

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Oxford "Ever Directed to the Lord" Conference -- the first pictures.

The first pictures of the Ever Directed to the Lord liturgical conference at Oxford University are starting to trickle out from the Society of St. Catherine of Siena.

Here's a couple:

Temporarily unavailable
(Solemn Mass at Blackfriars, Oxford)

Temporarily unavailable
(Prof. Eamon Duffy to the left)

The conference has been acclaimed by all to be a great success and the papers of this conference will be published. More information will be posted on this blog as it becomes available.

The Dominican Rite in Rome

Thanks to a reader for sending me this link on the Cornell Catholic Circle blog. The story relates a Mass celebrated by a Cardinal in Rome according to the classical Roman rite. More interesting is the unrelated comment that, apparently, the Dominican Rite will be celebrated regularly again.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

More used liturgical books up..

I've posted some more liturgical books in the Used Books section, and there are more on the way.

These books are more pricey given their nature than the Bouyer book, but worthwhile for those interested.

Here's what's newly posted:

1951 Missale Romanum - quite decorative
1958 Missale Romanum
1964 Roman Missal - quite decorative as well, which isn't usual
The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin - complete 3 volume set.

I only have one copy of each of these.

I've had a good response to Bouyer's Liturgy and Architecture. Please note that I have a few copies left, so you aren't too late to pick it up. Once they are gone, I will take down that book off the list.

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's a Ward Ward Ward Ward World

For the first time in history, the brilliance of the Ward Method of music instruction is made accessible to all. Read an article about its origins, a step-by-step description of the method itself, and watch a video demonstrating the Ward Method in action. This is nothing short of a revolution.

CNS: Pope encourages quick completion of English Mass translation

[From Catholic News Service - Please visit for the original context.]


Pope encourages quick completion of English Mass translation

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hopes that a new English translation of the Mass prayers would be completed soon.

Writing to members of the Vox Clara Committee, a Vatican-appointed commission of English-speaking bishops, the pope said the new translation from Latin will allow the English-speaking faithful around the world to "benefit from the use of liturgical texts accurately rendered."

Seven of the 12 bishops on the Vox Clara Committee met Nov. 8-10 at the Vatican. The committee was established in 2001 to help the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments evaluate English translations of liturgical texts submitted to the Vatican for approval.

The pope said he was confident that with Vox Clara's assistance "the translation of the 'Missale Romanum' (the Roman Missal) into English will succeed in transmitting the treasures of the faith and the liturgical tradition in the specific context of a devout and reverent eucharistic celebration."

Pope John Paul II promulgated the Latin edition of the Roman Missal in 2002.

The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, a body established by English-speaking bishops' conferences, is translating the Latin text into English. After a national bishops' conference votes to adopt a text, it is forwarded to the Vatican for approval by the worship and sacraments congregation.

A Nov. 10 press release from Vox Clara said the members were informed by ICEL that a "projected schedule" had been drawn up that called for ICEL to complete its translation of the Roman Missal in sections over "the next 23 months."

Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy at Princeton

A recent article, A Catholic Renaissance at Princeton, reveals that they have (and use) a Gregorian Chant choir (Schola Cantorum Princetoniensis) as part of the Catholic chaplaincy at that prestigious American university.

For those interested, that chaplaincy has a home page here: Aquinas Institute

Complements of the Thirsty Scribe.. Mass and Modernity

[Many thanks to the Thirsty Scribe blog for pointing this out to me and kindly allowing me to post it in its entirety on this blog. I think this book is quite important and its author is second to none as a scholar. Having experienced the liturgy at the Toronto Oratory personally, I can attest it serves as yet another model for the reform of the reform.]

Have you ever had the intuition that something at Mass was missing? Does the divergence between what the Church says Mass is, and how ministers act today, ever leave your faith shaken? Ever wonder why so many in the church think this way? And why even some church authorities ignore the existence of a problem? Are you perplexed that so many of those in charge of liturgy today seem to think that the holiness of God is unimportant? And have you ever wanted to know what the historical causes of this crisis might be?

A book has been written on the topic, and I had the privilege of meeting the author at the book’s recent launch.

It took place in the context of the Evenings at the Oratory, at Holy Family parish in Toronto. As a special guest, I had special privileges. This meant joining the fathers for prayer in their candlelit chapel. The darkness, the discreet bells, and the aroma of incense, made it feel less like Parkdale, and more like a Carthusian Charterhouse. Most of this time was in silence, but when they did pray, it was in unison, and the words were sharp, fast and in Latin. This gave their prayer a manly characteristic. After prayer, I joined the fathers and seminarians for supper, where in total silence, we listened to readings from the Fathers, and from Church history. Dinner was followed by tea and conversation.

The book-launch then took place in the parish basement. There was standing room only. Between 150-200 people were there. I even spotted a Ukrainian rite priest, and several converts from Anglicanism. Unfortunately, I saw no representatives from the chancery's liturgical department, and none from the Archdiocesan seminary.

Pictures of the author, Fr. Jonathan Robinson, signing books:

The author brings to the task extensive knowledge of philosophy and theology. But the book is unusual for another reason: the author is honest. I am shocked with his willingness to say openly, what so many of us have felt intuitively, but for the sake of politeness, or because of a misinformed notion of obedience, we keep quiet. The author does not let politeness get in the way of truth. As an example, consider how many churchmen today would say something like this:

“The Enlightenment began by denying revelation in Jesus Christ, by neutering the doctrine of the Mystical Body, by denying the existence of God, and by discrediting the Resurrection of Jesus and the possibility of everlasting life. The nineteenth century went on to provide a theory in which the community became god. Put in this blunt way, I do not suppose many people would recognize these elements in the current ideology that drives an apparently insatiable desire for more liturgical change; but recognized or not, they are the fuel driving the changes today.”

The book was introduced, by Fr. Derek Cross, also a father at the oratory. Fr. Cross began his talk with the following statement:

“If you have been to a Mass where a priest puts emotions at centre stage, you experienced precisely what modern liturgists intend. This is complicity with modern atheism, where transcendence is defined as our inner-enrichment."

He outlined what he saw as a major implication of the book:

“The celebrant at Mass ought to face the liturgical east, that is, he should not be facing the people.”

He described the thesis of the book this way:

“The theology of the Paschal Mystery urges us to live the Mass by reproducing the Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection of Christ in our lives, and Vatican II stressed the Paschal Mystery. Why then does this spirituality of the Mass seem ever far removed from everyday Catholic comprehension? Did the reforms of the Council to better display the Paschal Mystery somehow go awry? Robinson’s book fingers another villain for the trivialization of the Mass in modernity: The principles of modernity are hostile to the sacramental religion of Christ. The Church found itself in a double bind at the council. On the one hand, modernity made it advisable to have a liturgical revision so the inner meaning of Mass would not be lost from site. At the same time, modernity is the worst possible context in which to undertake such a revision, because the revisers and implementers themselves are likely to be infected with conscious and unconscious modern attitudes that will make it difficult for them to revise a Rite in its integral authenticity."

To hear this from men who have years of training in graduate theology, and years of pastoral experience, is sobering. They are not fundamentalists or obscurantists:

“Someone might suggest this is an extreme thesis. Surely there is more to modernity than anti-theological ire. Robinson makes perfectly clear we should live in the actual world, and not some romantic ecclesiastical ghetto of our own devising. We are moderns, and we must acknowledge that. He examines developments in modernity, like positivism, romanticism, etc. Nonetheless, these varieties of modernity may be seen as phases of one overarching modern project that tirelessly pushes man closer to a state that would shut off all trace of transcendence. Any hope of retracing the Paschal Mystery, would be doomed, a world with no place with room for sacrificial love or bliss. If churchmen had sufficiently critical understanding of modernity, we would have been able to negotiate it’s dangerous currents, but without this critical understanding, we are always tempted to surrender ...”

Why are the assumptions of modern philosophy incompatible with Catholic liturgy? According to Fr. Cross:

“The modern idea of knowledge, is that knowledge only comes from clear, distinct ideas, where things are spread out, separated, on one level. The result is that for some people, liturgical renewal will mean explaining, displaying, standardizing, where there are no shadows, nothing is hidden, no repetition, and no hierarchy.. Everyone who ministers must have his place in the sun. A sense that is alive to tragedy, irony and playfulness, gives way to mere earnest didactism. There is no sacrifice, no aspersion, and no turning eastward for the longing of the God to come with the rising sun.”

After a lively social gathering where wine and desert was served, the people made their way upstairs to the Church, where Compline was sung. I hope many people buy this book. And I hope people read the book collectively, in groups, and then decide to do something.

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