Friday, June 30, 2006

Carpe Diem: The new edition of the Missale Romanum

[A busy day and time here at the NLM. Between my call for the promotion of the Oxford Colloquium, my own fundraising campaign with regards that conference, and what I am about to write, there are a number of action items out there. There is a lot of opportunity out there my friends.]

A thought crossed my mind today about the minting of a new Missale Romanum what with the new English translations that are in the process of being approved and developed.

This is a rare opportunity, and a big one for the reform of the reform.

How often does a completely new version of the missal happen, complete with all the work that entails in typesetting, formatting, etc.? But it will have to happen with this new translation.

Further, how often does it happen that a new version of the Missal comes out that each and every parish will acquire? Not often at all.

To that end, it struck me: has anyone proposed, or tried to get mandated, that the new version of the Missale Romanum in English should contain:

1) Parallel Latin-English text for the Ordinary parts of the Mass

2) The notated chant texts for those portions of the Mass commonly sung, in both English and Latin.

These two additions would add next to nothing in terms of additional pages, thus there would be little work to be done and little additional cost, but the benefits are legion:

To date, if a priest wishes to exercise the use of Latin in the liturgy, either he must use two missals, he must have clumsy cards for the Latin parts of the Mass, he must memorize the Latin parts, or some other "work-around" to the Roman Missal being either in English, or in Latin, but never a mixture.

If we are serious about the restoration of Latin and chant to the sacred liturgy in normative parishes, then we need an edition of the English Roman Missal which includes the notated texts of the Ordinary in Latin and English, and the very texts of the Ordinary of the Mass in parallel Latin-English.

The presence of this as part of the very fabric of the new Roman missal produced in the various English-speaking countries will make this easy for priests, and thus also substantially more likely. We are creatures of ease, and if we are required to have laminated cards, if we are required to paste in, or turn even to the back of the Missal for "addendums", we are less likely to do it than if the Latin texts and chants are right there on the page beside the new English translation. It then is merely a matter of, which does Father choose to pray of the two in front of him?

In view of this, I have set out and written a number of letters to people in Rome and influential and sympathetic bishops in the USA.

The key in all this is that I am only speaking of the ordinary parts of the Mass -- that is, the unchanging parts that do not change from Mass to Mass. A dual Latin-English missal for the entire missal would be a substantially more time consuming and costly project, and would end up with a missal that is either too large, or text that is too small.


1) priests and laity alike: write your local bishop and auxiliary bishop requesting this in the new edition of the Roman Missal.

2) write to Francis Cardinal George who has been instrumental in this project, as well as to other sympathetic bishops like Burke, Finn and Bruskewitz. Their addresses can be found on their diocesan websites.

3) Last but certainly not least, I also recommend that you write both Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith and Francis Cardinal Arinze at the Congregation for Divine Worship, and make this request as well. Request even that this addition to the new version of the Roman Missal might be made mandatory -- or at very least strongly recommended.

They may be written or faxed here:

Palazzo delle Congregazioni, 00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10


Is there really continuity here?

Given the new emphasis from the Vatican that music at Mass must have a link to chant and polyphony, we can probably expect some interesting strategic twists and turns in the coming days, including efforts to justify music of the St. Louis Jesuits as not a break from the past but a continuation of it.

Bob Hurd, for example, writes in the new issue of Today's Liturgy (Ordinary Time, 2, 2006) on the communion rite, and acknowledges the Church's preference for the text in the Graduale Romanum. But, he complains, this book "exists only in Latin. Its Gregorian chant antiphons are too complicated for most assembly singing." Having the choir sing alone ends up "rendering the assembly voiceless during Communion" (does the celebrant's homily similarly render people voiceless during the "Liturgy of the Word"?).

He continues, then, to argue that Dan Schutte's "Only This I want" is "an equally wonderful way to reflect on these Scriptures while receiving Communion. Our biblical piety would be the poorer if his Scriptural song were eliminated from our repertoire, simply because it does not come from the Roman Gradual." He further recommends other familiar songs by Marty Haugen, Bernadette Farrell, and David Haas—-music that most any Catholic listener knows in his heart is as far from chant as a modern church-in-the-round is from a traditional cathedral.

Writing in the same issue, Don Saliers discusses chant, its "discovery and rediscovery," with a special focus on Adore Te Devote. He credits the "semiological approach" with giving license to restore "earlier free-flowing Latin forms found in the Triplex"—-using terms and references few readers of this publication could possible follow or understand. He invokes the need for "ecumenical sharing of chant forms" and "modified chant in hymns" to recommend popular songs such as "How Lovely is your Dwelling Place" (Randal DeBruyn, 1981) as suitable substitutes. Thus does his article imply that contemporary praise songs are viable successors to the old chant, not a break from the past but a praiseworthy development.

These are only two such instances. But I expect that we will see more such efforts to re-render contemporary Christian song as a continuation of chant rather than the break that it truly does represent. Whether or not this effort is successful, it does suggest a last-ditch effort to salvage the legacy of the changes of the 1970s by implicitly conceding that chant is the standard or the paradigm of Catholic music. But it still begs the question: why accept a substitute when the genuine song of the Church is available to us if we are willing to challenge ourselves to offer the best?

Archbishop Burke, Bishop Rifan comment: Will classical liturgy aid reunion with Eastern Orthodox?

Brian Mershon
June 29, 2006

"Similarly, it must not be forgotten that from the beginning the Churches of the East have had a treasury from which the Western Church has drawn extensively in liturgical practice, spiritual tradition, and law" — Unitatis Redintegratio, November 21, 1964.

Is it truly feasible that the "freeing of the classical Roman rite of liturgy" is a small part of the Pope's overall plan for paving the way for the reuniting of the Latin Church with the separated Churches of the East?

Bishop Fernando Rifan, who heads up the Apostolic Administration of St. John Mary Vianney in Campos, Brazil, said he believed a further liberalization of the liturgical rite of Pope St. Pius V would aid ecumenical relations with the East.

"I really think that the Traditional Latin Mass widely and freely available would be, among many other good reasons, a great benefit in the field of the true ecumenism with the Orthodox," he said. "This would be primarily because the Traditional Liturgy is much more similar to the Oriental [Eastern] rites in the aspect of the sacred, veneration, and beauty."

Bishop Rifan and his priestly society achieved full canonical recognition and regularization with the Church on January 18, 2002.

It is hoped by many traditionalists and the Holy See that the positive example of this group of priests, which offers all the sacraments exclusively according to the ancient rites, will serve as a model for other traditionalist priestly societies such as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), to potentially reach full regularization with the Church.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, a notably obedient son of the Church, particularly with applying Pope John Paul II's request in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta to be "wide and generous" in allowing the Classical Roman liturgy for those Catholics who desire it, agrees with Bishop Rifan's assessment, but with a nuance.

"I wouldn't think that the Holy Father would be doing this simply as a strategy [for ecumenical relations with the Orthodox], but I do think it will be an effect of a restoration or in the 'reform of the reform' of the liturgy," Archbishop Burke said.

"It seems to me for the Eastern rites, and for those of the Orthodox Churches, the reform of the liturgy after the council and the concrete expression is so stripped of the transcendent, of the sacral elements, it is difficult for them to recognize its relationship with their Eucharistic Liturgies," he said.

Archbishop Burke agreed that the Eastern Churches would most likely identify more readily with the Classical Roman rite of liturgy, and its similarities with their own Divine Liturgies, than the Novus Ordo liturgy.

"It would be easier for them to see the unity, the oneness in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by a rite of the Mass, just limiting ourselves now to talking about the Holy Mass, that it was richer in those dimensions — the elements of the transcendent — the symbols of the transcendent element of Christ — Christ in action in the Mass — the unbloody renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary," Archbishop Burke said.

Not A Hopeful Indicator

Dr. Alcuin Reid, author of numerous scholarly books on the Sacred Liturgy and its history, is the recent author of Organic Development of the Liturgy, which contains glowing praise in its preface written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. He affirmed that it was his opinion as a liturgical scholar, that the Novus Ordo liturgy, as practiced in the vast majority of Catholic churches, is not a hopeful indicator of eventual reunion with the East.

"I suspect that our current liturgical state does not exactly inspire confidence in them," Dr. Reid said. "The Holy Father is, no doubt, aware of this, and most probably hopes to give a sign that Rome wishes to set her liturgy in order once again, and that indeed Rome respects legitimate traditional liturgical rites."

Fr. Richard Jano is the pastor at Nativity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Springfield, Ore., an Eastern rite Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See. As an Eastern rite priest, he has occasionally offered the Novus Ordo liturgy for area churches over the past 25 years, and he agrees with Dr. Reid's assessment.

"I think there would be some value in doing this [freeing the Classical Roman rite] as an indication of the respect the Church holds for liturgical worship that comes down to us from ancient times, and emphasizes the awe, reverence, and respectfully loving attitude that a Christian should carry into the Sacred Liturgy," he said.

"It would also illustrate the truth that the Church honors the genuine and authentic diversity of liturgies, not only in the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, but even within the Roman Church itself," Fr. Jano said.

French Cardinal's Comments

In a recent May 31 interview, Jean-Pierre Cardinal Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, chairman of the French Episcopal Conference, and member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, recently reaffirmed that an imminent concrete gesture on the part of Pope Benedict XVI would be forthcoming, perhaps in the months following the July SSPX election of their superior general.

In a previous April 21 article from Catholic World News, the cardinal revealed the Pope's desire, expressed at the April 7 curial meeting, to restore normal relations with the SSPX. This first step is presumably a public affirmation by the Pope further recognizing the enduring value and prospective further "liberalization" of the rite of Holy Mass according to Pope St. Pius V, presumably for all Latin rite priests.

Both Cardinal Medina Estevez and Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, in multiple public interviews over the past several months, have affirmed the enduring value of the ancient liturgy.

Many might ask, "What does the prospective liberalization of the Classical Roman rite have to do with ecumenism and the Orthodox?" According to many, it could mean very much to the East for the Holy See to publicly recognize its own traditional liturgical traditions, devotions, and heritage. Examples of these are found today especially in many communities of the SSPX, as well as in diocesan indult communities, and those churches served by traditionalist priestly organizations such as the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP).

Of course, a vast majority of the actual "ecumenism" practiced by cardinals, bishops, and priests cannot be found to be compatible with the Decree on Ecumenism's teaching, as explained by Walter Cardinal Kasper at this November 11, 2004 conference, "On the 40th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Conciliar Decree Unitatis Redintegratio":

"The Catholic principles of ecumenism, as formulated by the Council and later by Pope John Paul II, are therefore clear and unequivocal in their rejection of the irenicism and relativism which reduce everything to banality (UR, 5, 11, 24; UUS, 18, 36, 79). The ecumenical movement does not throw overboard anything which has been valued and cherished by the Church in its previous history, it remains faithful to the truth that has been acknowledged in history and defined as such; nor does it add to it anything absolutely new. The ecumenical movement and its avowed goal, the unity of the disciples of Jesus Christ, remain inscribed within the furrow of tradition."

Jeopardized By SSPX Talks?

In a May 22 interview with Martin Klöckener, professor of liturgical sciences at the University of Fribourg, he criticized dialogue with the "integrists" (SSPX) as a danger to the ecumenical dialogue to which so many have become accustomed since the Second Vatican Council. This interview was conducted by the Swiss news agency, APIC.

Klöckener said, "The Catholic Church should not forget its engagement in favor of ecumenism, its steps toward the Churches of the Reformation."

"It is not acceptable that a small, very special group, on the right side of the Catholic Church, block the dialogue of the Church as a whole," he said. And as if expressing the progressivists' so-called worst nightmare, he concluded, "One cannot make the sacrifice of these dialogues with the other churches under the pretext of reaching unity with the integrists," he said. "It would be too large a sacrifice."

Perhaps the better question is: "What is the common basis of doctrinal and moral issues for dialogue with increasingly more estranged, and increasingly less Christian sects with no valid priesthood?"

Pope Benedict XVI, able to tell "the tree by its fruits," clearly recognizes the advantage of having more than 500 priests in the SSPX in full communion. He also recognizes the accelerating number of priestly vocations produced in other traditionalist communities like the FSSP and the ICKSP. The current Pope's brand of "ecumenism" is one of Christian charity and justice, and perhaps recognizing "the signs of the times" called for so often in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath by progressives.

He also understands that a united Church, East and West, may possibly be able to save Christianity in Europe and aid in re-establishing a more Christian worldview.

How does a gesture such as freeing the Classical Roman rite of liturgy fit into prospective ecumenical relations with the Orthodox, which was the primary group emphasized in the Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio?

If the Church has abandoned (or even given the appearance of abandoning in many quarters) its own liturgical patrimony and traditional devotional traditions, how can it hope to achieve any measurable ecumenical gains with the Churches of the East?

There have recently been a surprising number of extremely hopeful and positive public statements about the current pontificate emanating from Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, most recently in a May interview with the Italian news agency ANSA. "It is quite obvious that we should not compete with each other, as competition leads to confidence gap and enmity," Patriarch Alexy II said.

"On the contrary, we should unite for the sake of fulfilling a great mission of proclaiming the word of God to people and witnessing about Christian values to our society."

In an even more recent interview, he said that he believed the current pontificate of Pope Benedict XIV would be a historic one for Christianity, particularly regarding the possible reunification of the Churches of the East and West.

Through The Eastern Orthodox Lens

"The very rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern Churches should be known, venerated, preserved, and cherished by all. They must recognize that this is of supreme importance for the faithful preservation of the fullness of Christian tradition, and for bringing about reconciliation between Eastern and Western Christians" — Unitatis Redintegratio.

John Cheevers lives in Atwater, Calif., and is a member of St. Mary Magdalene Parish in the Orthodox diocese of the West.

He is an Orthodox convert and is a former Catholic. Prior to converting to Orthodoxy, he frequently attended chapels of the Society of St. Pius X, and while still an admirer of much of what they stand for liturgically, he said, "I became disillusioned by the heavy-handed legalism and what I felt was the very negative message regularly put forth," he said. "I have always been suspicious of faith groups that identify themselves primarily by what they are against as opposed to what they are for."

But Cheevers admitted that he has been following the discussions of the SSPX with the Holy See with great interest. "I pray for their swift reconciliation with Rome."

A studied layman with some keen insights on what the postconciliar liturgical revolution has done to Orthodox sensibilities, Cheevers said, "Initially, I was attracted to Orthodoxy by its liturgy," he said. "The chaos in the postconciliar Catholic Church did nothing to impede my move to Orthodoxy, but it was not the reason I converted."

Cheevers said that Orthodox liturgists have always tended to cringe at the post-Vatican II liturgical reforms of the Latin Church. "Organic development in liturgy is permissible. Radical invention is not."

"The Pauline liturgy implicitly seems to move away from the clear expressions of faith about the sacramental nature of the Divine Liturgy commonly understood in the undivided church of the first millennium."

Cheevers said that a restoration of the Classical Roman rite, or so-called Tridentine rite, in the Catholic Church would probably be helpful to fostering ecumenism with the Orthodox. "It's something that Orthodox can look at and say 'we recognize this.'"

As for the number of other former Catholics who have fled the Church primarily due to the postconciliar liturgical revolution, Cheevers opines, "Sadly, I do know people who have converted to Orthodoxy mainly as an escape from the mess in the Catholic Church."

Through The Eastern Catholic Lens

Ukrainian Catholic Fr. Jano said he receives much feedback from his Eastern Catholic parishioners when they travel and attend Holy Mass at modern Roman rite parishes.

"The most common problems they mention are a lack of silence in the church before Mass, which hinders their preparation prayers, unsingable hymns with trite lyrics, too many people in the front of the church near the altar such as the choir, musicians, 'ministers,' etc., thereby creating more distractions from the service," he said.

Fr. Jano continued: "They tell me of priests who, if I may quote one parishioner, 'act as though they're talk show hosts in front of an audience,' the lack of reverence for the altar and/or tabernacle, announcements of 'who-is-doing-what,' during the Mass, as though they were the cast of a play; the prosaic 'Good morning, everyone! Good morning, Father!' greeting, and other routine ad libs; poor or unorthodox sermons, and a general lack of reverence that they feel is missing from the Mass on the part of the priest, and/or faithful."

Even among our Eastern Catholic brethren, the Novus Ordo liturgy, and the manner in which it is often celebrated, is not spiritually edifying, nor breeding or enhancing a sense of unity.

While admitting the liturgical reform's negative effects to many Christians of the East, both Orthodox and Catholic, Fr. Jano cautions against expecting too much headway to be made in the immediate future.

"I certainly think Pope Benedict has a strong desire to see the wounds of division healed; however, the problems the Orthodox have with the Catholic Church have become so institutionalized over nearly 1,000 years that taking a fresh approach to see if there is any possibility of reunion is generally viewed as being un-Orthodox," he said.

"Because of differences in liturgical style, East and West, the average Orthodox would likely find the Tridentine Mass difficult to comprehend, although he would appreciate the serious sense of worship, reverence, and adoration it presents."

And echoing an assessment made by many Catholics of a more traditional liturgical mindset, Fr. Jano said, "The Novus Ordo Mass would be easier for an Orthodox believer to understand, but depending on where he attended, the experience might be labeled as 'Protestant.'"

One of the recurring themes of Pope Benedict's writings on the recovery of the sacred in the liturgy is the positioning of the priest "toward the East" or "toward God." As an Eastern rite priest who offers all Divine Liturgies toward the East, leading his flock in worship to the heavenly Father, Fr. Jano voiced his impressions on his offering Mass "toward the people" when occasionally offering the Novus Ordo.

"On the few occasions when I have served the Mass in Roman Catholic parishes, I have been very surprised to discover how uncomfortable I am with praying to God while facing the congregation," he said. "Probably the most jarring example for me, to illustrate this point, is when I have seen Roman priests reading a prayer at Mass and gazing intently at the congregation while uttering the prayer. I've never understood this," Fr. Jano said.

"If you have something important to say to your Father, why would you stare at your brother when you're speaking to Him?"

Salutary Effects

Fr. Thomas Kocik of Somerset, Mass., and author of Ignatius Press' Reform of the Reform?, agreed that the reformed Novus Ordo liturgy is not an ecumenical breakthrough with the Orthodox.

"The Orthodox are justly disturbed not only by abuses in the post-Vatican II liturgy, but also by approved practices such as female altar servers, Mass 'facing the people' and Communion in the hand," he said. "Given the East's intense conservatism, I think the freeing of the Tridentine liturgy bodes well ecumenically, because these problematic practices are simply not standard features of the Classical Roman rite."

"The Orthodox may interpret this as evidence of a renewed seriousness in the Roman Church about the ancient maxim, 'lex orandi, lex credendi,' meaning that as we believe so we pray, and vice versa," he said. "Doctrine and worship influence each other."

Fr. Joseph Santos, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence, R.I., concurred with Fr. Kocik. "Most Orthodox that I know agree that the change in the liturgy was disastrous for ecumenical relations."

Fr. Santos said that the rule of "lex orandi, lex credendi" is extremely important in the Orthodox Church. "It is what binds them together as a Church that guards jealously that which has been handed down from the Apostles. If the words and actions are changed, so is the faith; especially in the minds of the laity."

"Everyone also knows with what great love the Christians of the East celebrate the sacred liturgy, especially the Eucharistic Celebration, source of the Church's life and pledge of future glory, in which the faithful, united with their bishop, have access to God the Father through the Son, the Word made flesh, who suffered and has been glorified, and so, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they enter into communion with the most holy Trinity, being made 'sharers of the divine nature' (35). Hence, through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in each of these churches, the Church of God is built up and grows in stature (36) and through concelebration, their communion with one another is made manifest" — Unitatis Redintegratio.

Fr. Robert Fromageot, a priest for the FSSP, currently studying in Rome, affirms this liturgical sensibility with a stark example from the Angelicum in Rome.

"There is no doubt at all that the Classical Roman rite has far more in common with the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom than the Novus Ordo does," he said. "I think there is a closer connection with the Classical Roman rite and the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom than even between the Novus Ordo and the Classical Roman rite."

Fr. Fromageot said that even though many people in the current ecumenical movement do not believe this is the case, he thinks there is a much greater sympathy between the Orthodox and the Catholics who are very much acquainted with the Classical Roman rite because there is a mutual understanding of what liturgy is all about. This has a direct impact on the potential for true ecumenism and ecumenical dialogue.

A recent anti-example of this was that a particular professor at the Angelicum in Rome was teaching a class about ecumenism, and there happened to be a Serbian Orthodox student in the class whom Fr. Fromageot knows well.

Fr. Fromageot related that the professor said that the East needed the equivalent of a Novus Ordo, a kind of liturgical reform that would bring about an Eastern Novus Ordo to replace the rite of St. John Chrysostom, and that this new Eastern rite would benefit the ecumenical movement. "Of course, that would not go over very well," Fr. Fromageot said.

He said that this same Serbian Orthodox student had previously frequented the celebration of the Classical Roman rite, and even though it is not of her tradition, she conveyed how much she appreciated it, and said she felt immediately "at home" in the sense that she could pray, she could "draw closer to our Lord in a very powerful way," he said.

He also said that this same student believed the Novus Ordo to be valid. But as a liturgy, it was her opinion that it was "rather poor," and that she much preferred the Classical Roman liturgy.

"I think it is very important to stress with the Church the ecumenical power for the East of the Classical Roman rite," Fr. Fromageot said.

"For Lutherans? I'm not sure," he said. "Certainly, the Novus Ordo hasn't been proven to be very powerful [with Lutherans] either, although one of the principles of the Novus Ordo was to be as ecumenically sensitive to the Lutherans without losing the essence of the Catholic faith," he said.

Fr. Santos echoes Fr. Fromageot's assessment. "It is also good for us to remember that the Roman Church and the Orthodox have a nearness of faith that is not shared with any other Christian confession, all of whom fell far from the Church at the time of the Protestant revolt."

Roger McCaffrey, publisher of Roman Catholic Books, has been involved in the fight for restoring the Classical Roman rite to its rightful place for dozens of years. His sentiments sum up in precise terminology the more clear-cut path of true ecumenism and liturgical reform laid out by the current pontificate.

"I know next to nothing about the Orthodox, but if I were them, I'd be highly suspicious of everything the Vatican did to the liturgy since 1965," he said. "What is abundantly clear is that Pope Benedict XVI also finds so much of it offensive himself."

Brian Mershon is a commentator on cultural issues from a classical Catholic perspective. His trade is in media relations, and his vocation is as a husband to his beloved wife Tracey and father to his six living children. He attempts to assist his family and himself in attaining eternal salvation through frequent attendance at the Traditional Latin rite of Mass, homeschooling, and building Catholic culture in the buckle of the Bible Belt of Greenville, South Carolina.

© Copyright 2006 by Brian Mershon

Interview of Bishop Ranjith by La Croix

[I received this in email. I can't confirm the translation, etc.]

- Do you have the sense that the conciliar reform went too far?

- It is not a question to be anti-conciliar or post-conciliar, nor preserving or progressist! I believe that the liturgical reform of Vatican II never got off the ground. Moreover, this reform does not go back to Vatican II: it actually preceded the Council, it was born with the liturgical movement that beginning from the 20th century. If one sticks to the decree Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II, it was a question of making the liturgy the path to the faith, and the changes on this matter were to emerge in an organic way, by taking account of tradition, and not in a hasty way. There were many drifts, which lost sight of the fact of the true direction of the liturgy. One can say that the orientation of liturgical prayer in the postconciliar reform was not always the reflection of the texts of the Vatican II, and in this direction, we can speak about a necessary correction, a reform of the reform. The liturgy should be regained, in the spirit of the Council.

- Concretely, how will this happen?

- Today, the problems of the liturgy revolve around the language (vernacular or Latin), and of the position of the priest, turned towards the attendees or turned towards God. I will surprise you: nowhere, in the conciliar decree, is it indicated that it is necessary that the priest from now on turns to the attendees, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden! If the use of the current language is authorized, in particular for the liturgy of the Word, the decree specifies that the use of the Latin language will be preserved in the Latin rite. On these subjects, we wait until the Pope gives us his indications.

- Is it necessary to say to all those who followed the post-conciliar reforms with a great sense of obedience, that they were mistaken?

- No, we should not make an ideological problem out of it. I notice how much the younger priests, here [in France], like to celebrate Mass in the Tridentine Rite. It should be clearly specified that this rite, that of the Missal of Saint Pius V, is not "outlawed". Should it be encouraged more greatly? It is the Pope who will decide. But it is certain that a new generation is requesting as a main trend towards mystery. It is not a question of form, but of substance. To speak about liturgy, we do not need only a scientific, or historico-theological spirit, but especially an attitude of meditation, prayer and of silence. Once again, it is not a question of being progressivist or conservative, but simply to make it possible for everyone to pray, to listen to the voice of the Lord. What occurs in the celebration of the glory of the Lord is not only a human reality. If this mystical aspect is forgotten, everything becomes jumbled, and becomes confused. If the liturgy loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, what, then, will help mankind to be released from selfishness and his own slavery? The liturgy must above all be a way of release, by opening man to the dimension of the infinite.

Scott Turkington on Organ

Enjoy this clip of Scott Turkington playing the organ postlude at the final Mass of the CMAA colloquium. He is playing the "Final" from the First Symphony by Louis Vierne at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, Washington, D.C., June 2006.

Pugin church restored to former glory

LONDON - 30 June 2006

The Catholic Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Fulham, Victorian architect A W N Pugin's only complete parish church in central London, re-opened last Sunday following extensive restoration work.

The Church now benefits from new vivid interior decoration reflecting the architectural principles of the Gothic Revivalist architect A W N Pugin. A new altar, modelled on the Church's 19th Century interior carvings has also been Consecrated, replacing a plain stone altar dating from the 1960's.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor presided at a special Mass, attended by over 900 people, for the Consecration of the new altar which marked the Re-dedication of the Church. In his homily, the Cardinal quoted the psalm response: 'How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God of Hosts' and. reminded the congregation that "we are living stones building the Body of Christ".

Parish Priest, Fr Norbert Fernandez commented: "As we prepared to embark on the restoration of the Church I always remarked that the beautiful Church would be a reflection of the people who hallow it, just as the people are blessed and inspired by the beauty of the Church. St. Thomas's, Fulham, has a great diversity of people, rich and poor, many nationalities, cultures, and languages and we are all delighted that our Church has at last been restored to its original decorative glory."

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin was born in London, 1 March, 1812, and in 1834 embraced the Catholic Faith. A W N Pugin became an advocate of Gothic architecture which he believed to be the true Christian form of architecture and is today best remembered for his work on churches and on the Houses of Parliament

The foundation stone of St Thomas was laid on 16 June 1847 and the church opened on 30 May 1848. At the time of the design and building of the Church, architect Augustus Welby Pugin was working on drawings for the interiors of the Houses of Parliament.

From 1960 onwards, a series of campaigns of work sought to adapt the use of the building to a revived post-conciliar liturgy. The present work has to included adapting the use of the building to a revived post-conciliar liturgy. At the same time it has dealt with a number of practical issues including renewing decayed plaster; and providing new heating and electrical systems.

Beyond these tasks, the Parish has also sought to return to the vividness of Pugin interiors at their best. There is no evidence for Pugin's original decorative scheme for St Thomas: it is reported that "colouring" of the interior only began some years after his death.

Accordingly, the present work uses motifs used by Pugin and his immediate followers in a new scheme which starts at its simplest furthest from the altar with painted bands and stencilled flowers outlining the reveals of arches and windows.

Only towards the chancel, and in the immediate area of the tabernacle, does the decoration become more intense: diapered lozenges and fleur- de-lys, the marble and encaustic flooring and the painted star-bursts and monograms of the holy name in the ceiling "combine to form a splendid whole" (as Pugin wrote in his True Principles, 1841, p.58).

The decorative scheme reflects the liturgical arrangements while, at the same time, bringing back into relief many of the qualities of Pugin's work that had become diluted over the years; not least, the fine stained glass is now framed in colour, allowing it to shine with a new vividness.

© Independent Catholic News 2006
Independent Catholic News

Juventutem 2008 update

For those young Catholics out there who wish to experience World Youth Day in the midst of the wonderful catecheses and splendourful liturgies of the classical Roman liturgy, you may be interested to know that Juventutem Austrailia (the hosts of the 2008 Juventutem WYD pilgrimage) has launched their Juventutem WYD Sydney 2008 website, as of yesterday, the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Re-enchantment of the Liturgy: a mutual venture

Today I received a copy of the Latin Liturgy Association newsletter which included the agenda for their upcoming national convention.

While I posted this here earlier in the week, today was the first opportunity I had to really look at the line up of speakers and liturgies.

I was particularly pleased to see a range of speakers that included both the reform of the reform crowd (Helen Hull Hitchcock of Adoremus for example) and also the Tridentine crowd (Msgr. Schmitz of the Institute of Christ the King for example). This was also reflected in the liturgical schedule which includes a Saturday morning mass in the modern rite in Latin, and a Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine Rite, offered by Archbishop Raymond Burke at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

This project of bringing together those seeking to re-enchant the modern Roman liturgy on the one hand, and those who seek to widen the availability and fullness of liturgical life available in the classical Roman liturgy on the other, is a very great sign of hope and progress.

I recently did a review of Abbe Claude Barthe's book, Beyond Vatican II. Amongst the various insights of that book, one of them was precisely that these two movements need to begin working together in more and more substantial ways, each understanding the value of the other's project and the fact that ultimately there is a common goal: the restoration of fitting Catholic worship. Indeed, there are various particular differences, but differences mustn't always be a cause for division. Some differences form part of a legitimate diversity; a tapestry if you will.

This is why when I go to a CIEL colloquium and see the likes of an FSSP priest sitting alongside his brother reform of the reform priest, I am encouraged. Here too is a realization that the work of groups like CIEL are of equal value and interest to both movements.

Likewise, I am encouraged when I go to a place like the Toronto Oratory and witness the beginnings of the reform of the reform there, additionally alongside their Sunday Missa Cantata in the classical Roman rite.

Some of us feel called to closely work within both projects. And while all may not be so called, we all, I propose, need to at very least grow into a sense of fraternity and communion, realizing we are together working to re-enchant the liturgy of the Roman church.

L.A. in L.A.: Liturgiam Authenticam in Los Angeles

Catholic New World: Cardinal's Column

Francis Cardinal George

The spring meeting of the United States Bishops’ Conference took place last week in Los Angeles. As is the case with most meetings, the bishops spent most of their time in a hotel, but we went one evening to celebrate Mass in the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a unique ensemble of buildings designed to place the Church and her ministry squarely at the center of Los Angeles’ life.

At the center of the bishops’ concerns during our meeting was the approval of a partial translation of the latest edition of the Roman Missal. The Roman Missal was revised after the Council and published under the authority of Pope Paul VI. That first edition of the Pauline Missal was translated into English and is still being used. Since the late 1960s, however, the Holy See has published a second edition of the post-Vatican II Missal and then, a couple of years ago, a third edition. The third edition has several more canons and prefaces and a number of new feast days to mark the celebrations of saints recently canonized. Because there is a new edition of the Missal in Latin, there has to be a new translation in the vernacular languages of the Catholic world. Some people have asked why we are bothering with new translations of the Mass. The reason is because we’re still using the first edition of the revised Roman Missal when we should be using the third edition.

Among the vernacular languages, English has a particular importance, although many more Catholics speak Spanish rather than English around the world. But English is the predominant global language today, and the English-speaking countries have had, since the Council, a single translation for the whole English-speaking world. Eleven English-speaking bishops’ conferences created the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) after the Council to help the bishops oversee the translation of the Roman Missal from Latin into English.

ICEL has been working on translating the third edition of the Pauline Roman Missal for several years and has recently asked the various conferences to approve the translation of the Missal’s central section, the Order of Mass. This section contains the prayers we say at each Mass, as distinguished from the proper parts of the Mass for particular feasts. Australia, England and Wales and Scotland had already approved the new translations before the U.S. bishops took up the question last week. In fact, it was the third time we had discussed the texts. Twice before, we had sent in suggestions for changes to ICEL, some of which were incorporated in the texts and some not. We continued the process of revising parts of the text before we voted on it and approved it last week.

The history of liturgical translations has been stormy in the last seven or eight years. Part of the controversy has centered on the rules for translating. The Holy See, which determines how the Roman rite of the Catholic Church is to be celebrated around the world, issued a document called Liturgiam Authenticam several years ago in order to help translators create texts both faithful to the original Latin and satisfactory for worship in the vernacular. A good translation is faithful not only to the meaning of the original language but also to the form. There are, for example, different ways to instruct someone to turn on a light. I could say, “Turn on the light,” or I could say “Would you turn on the light?” The information is the same in both sentences, but the form is different. Liturgiam Authenticam instructs the translator to pay attention to both the content and the form of the original language.

The translation of the new Missal will consequently be somewhat more polite, more courteous in form than the texts we now use. The new translations will also restore parts of prayers currently not translated and pay special attention to the biblical context of many of the prayers of the Roman rite. A case in point is the much-discussed translation of “et cum spiritu tuo” as “and with your spirit” rather than the current “and also with you.” Our current translation might seem more personal and friendly, but that’s the problem. The spirit referred to in the Latin is the spirit of Christ that comes to a priest when he is ordained, as St. Paul explained to St. Timothy. In other words, the people are saying in their response that Christ as head of the Church is the head of the liturgical assembly, no matter who the particular priest celebrant might be. That is a statement of faith, a statement distorted by transforming it into an exchange of personal greetings.

The texts of the Order of Mass approved by the U.S. bishops last week are both beautiful and interesting. It will take some time and personal investment to pray them well. The full Missal will not be in use for two or three years, and this will give us time to become more instructed in the matter. In the meantime, we will continue at Mass to worship God in spirit and truth, praying for one another, the Church and the world. God bless you.

Oxford Fundraising update

The "Send CIEL Canada/the NLM to the Oxford Conference" fundraising campaign has managed to get its minimum bottom line down to $865 USD now from $1350, and that in turn from the original $2000 USD. The majority of this has come through the generousity of a few people and I thank them.

Please keep this fundraising project in mind if you feel you can make a donation, no matter how big or how small, they all add up.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

CIEL Oxford Promotional Banners & Materials

Thank you to all those whom have made requests for these resources. For those who have and those who haven't but are iinterested, feel free to put these anywhere you can.


Please download this document, email it, link to it, etc. so that it might be widely distributed: CIEL 2006 OXFORD PROMOTIONAL DOCUMENT


(Note: It would be good if you could make these graphical banners also hyperlink to the website if clicked upon. This is quite easy to do.)

Rectangular Shaped

Revolving banner:

Sepia toned banner:

Colour banner:

"Square" Shaped

Revolving banner:

Sepia-toned banner:

CMAA Photos

Here is a photo essay of the CMAA/Ward Center Sacred Music Colloquium.

The Guidonian Hand

Here is Professor William Mahrt, president of the Church Music Association of America, demonstrating the Guidonian Hand, to the ancient hymn "Ut queant laxis," between classes at the CMAA/Ward Center Sacred Music Colloquium, June 25, 2006:

See the video here.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The NLM Needs You! Help Advance CIEL in the English Speaking World

I've mentioned CIEL's upcoming Oxford conference; an important milestone, being the first major colloquium of CIEL to be hosted in the English speaking world, and thus having papers presented in the English language. I cannot stress how important this is for the work of CIEL in the English speaking world, and North America in particular where we are much more unilingual as a general rule.

I am endeavouring to promote the work of CIEL generally, and the upcoming Oxford conference in particular. I cannot do this alone and so I am asking for your help since fostering the new liturgical movement is a project dear to us all.

(Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. One of the Conference venues)

Who can help?

Priests, particularly classical rite parishes, and parishes where there is a spirit of the reform of the reform

Members of the parishes such as those above


Catholic news services

Webmasters of Catholic related websites

Generally interested individuals

How can you help?

By reposting NLM pieces about CIEL on your own blogs or websites, or by linking to them or writing your own.

By promoting the CIEL and the Oxford colloquium at your parish, and specifically to those whom you think would be interested.

By emailing the information packet I have to friends and colleagues, inviting them to do the same in addition.

By posting an CIEL Oxford ad banner/box on your blog or site or in your periodical.

Methods of Promotion

Websites and Blogs: I have created ad banners/boxes that could be posted on websites or blogs that link back to the CIEL 2006 site, if you're interested in putting such a thing up, email me.

Email or Printed: If you're interested in promotional materials that can be emailed to you to either forward in email, or to be printed off and posted in parishes, etc. please email me.

If there are any other ways you'd like to help or think you can, please contact me.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are interested in, yourself, going to the CIEL conference in Oxford and want more details, email me.

Let's spread the word about Oxford and about CIEL. We not only want people to go to the Oxford colloquium and make for a big North American presence, we want people to get to know the work of CIEL and its papers as well.

Let's help our Holy Father, Benedict, in his project to re-enchant the sacred liturgy, by means of CIEL, an organization which he has been very aware and supportive of through the years.

Who's in?

Translation please

Here is the text of the Pope's address. Can someone offer a solid translation of the whole text as a comment on this post?

Signori Cardinali,

venerati Fratelli nell’Episcopato e nel Presbiterato,

fratelli e sorelle nel Signore!

Al termine di questo concerto, suggestivo per il luogo in cui ci troviamo – la Cappella Sistina – e per l’intensità spirituale delle composizioni eseguite, l’animo avverte spontaneo il bisogno di lodare, di benedire, di ringraziare. Questo sentimento si rivolge innanzitutto al Signore, somma bellezza e armonia, che ha dato all’uomo la capacità di esprimersi con il linguaggio della musica e del canto. "Ad Te levavi animam meam", diceva poc’anzi l’Offertorio di Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, riecheggiando il salmo (24,1). Veramente le nostre anime si sono elevate verso Dio, e perciò desidero manifestare la mia riconoscenza al Maestro Domenico Bartolucci e alla Fondazione a lui intitolata, che ha progettato e realizzato questa iniziativa. Caro Maestro, Ella ha offerto a me e a tutti noi un dono prezioso, preparando il programma nel quale ha sapientemente accostato una scelta di capolavori del "Principe" della musica sacra polifonica ad alcune tra le opere da Lei stesso composte. In particolare, La ringrazio per aver voluto dirigere personalmente il concerto e per il mottetto Oremus pro Pontifice, che Ella ha scritto subito dopo la mia elezione alla Sede di Pietro. Le sono anche riconoscente per le amabili parole che ha voluto poc’anzi rivolgermi, testimoniando il suo amore per l’arte della musica e la sua passione per il bene della Chiesa. Mi congratulo poi vivamente con il Coro della Fondazione ed estendo il mio "grazie" a quanti hanno in vario modo collaborato. Un saluto cordiale indirizzo infine a quanti con la loro presenza hanno onorato questo nostro incontro.

Tutti i brani ascoltati – e soprattutto il loro insieme, dove stanno in parallelo i secoli XVI e XX – concorrono a confermare la convinzione che la polifonia sacra, in particolare quella della cosiddetta "scuola romana", costituisce un’eredità da conservare con cura, da tenere viva e da far conoscere, a beneficio non solo degli studiosi e dei cultori, ma della Comunità ecclesiale nel suo insieme, per la quale costituisce un inestimabile patrimonio spirituale, artistico e culturale. La Fondazione Bartolucci mira proprio a custodire e diffondere la tradizione classica e contemporanea di questa celebre scuola polifonica, che si è sempre contraddistinta per l’impostazione incentrata sul puro canto, senza accompagnamento di strumenti. Un autentico aggiornamento della musica sacra non può avvenire che nel solco della grande tradizione del passato, del canto gregoriano e della polifonia sacra. Per questo motivo, nel campo musicale, come anche in quelli delle altre forme artistiche, la Comunità ecclesiale ha sempre promosso e sostenuto quanti ricercano nuove vie espressive senza rinnegare il passato, la storia dello spirito umano, che è anche storia del suo dialogo con Dio.

Lei, venerato Maestro, ha cercato sempre di valorizzare il canto sacro, anche come veicolo di evangelizzazione. Mediante gli innumerevoli concerti eseguiti in Italia e all’estero, con il linguaggio universale dell’arte, la Cappella musicale pontificia da Lei guidata ha così cooperato alla stessa missione dei Pontefici, che è quella di diffondere nel mondo il messaggio cristiano. E tale opera essa continua a svolgere ancora sotto l’attenta direzione del Maestro Giuseppe Liberto.

Cari fratelli e sorelle, in conclusione di questa gradita elevazione musicale, volgiamo lo sguardo alla Vergine Maria, posta alla destra di Cristo Signore nel "Giudizio" michelangiolesco: alla sua materna protezione affidiamo in modo particolare tutti i cultori del canto sacro, affinché, sempre animati da genuina fede e da sincero amore per la Chiesa, offrano il loro prezioso contributo alla preghiera liturgica e concorrano efficacemente all’annuncio del Vangelo. Al Maestro Domenico Bartolucci, ai membri della Fondazione e a tutti voi qui presenti imparto di cuore la Benedizione Apostolica.

A Change of Tune in the Vatican – And Not Only in the Secretariat of State

[Sandro Magister at Chiesa has this to say today on Pope Benedict's recent thoughts on sacred music.]

Bertone takes Sodano’s place. But an important shift is also taking place in liturgical music. The way was pointed out by a concert with the pope in the Sistine Chapel, conducted by maestro Bartolucci

ROMA, June 27, 2006 – Step by step, Benedict XVI is impressing a new form and a new style on the governance of the universal Church.

Recent days were marked by the announcement of a change in the secretary of state: from Angelo Sodano to Tarcisio Bertone.

But another event orchestrated by pope Joseph Ratzinger is of no less importance: the concert conducted in the Sistine Chapel, on Saturday, June 24, by maestro monsignor Domenico Bartolucci.

With this concert, Benedict XVI has symbolically restored the Sistine Chapel to its true maestro. Because the famous chapel is not only the sacred place decorated with the frescoes of Michelangelo, it also gives the name to the choir that for centuries has accompanied the pontifical liturgies.

Maestro Bartolucci was named the “perpetual” director, the director for life, of the Sistine Chapel by Pius XII in 1959. Under this and later popes, he was an outstanding interpreter of the liturgical music founded upon Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. But after a long period of opposition, in 1997 he was dismissed and replaced by a choirmaster thought to be more fitting for the “popular” music dear to John Paul II.

Bartolucci’s replacement was the finishing stroke of the almost complete elimination of Gregorian chant and polyphony as desired by the authors of the postconciliar liturgical reform.

The person responsible for Bartolucci’s removal in 1997 was the master of pontifical ceremonies, Piero Marini, still in service with Benedict XVI although close to his own dismissal. Marini brought in monsignor Giuseppe Liberto as head of the Sistine Chapel, having noticed and appreciated his work as music director during John Paul II’s visits to Sicily. It was easy to get pope Karol Wojtyla’s permission for the maneuver.

At the time, the only significant figure in the Roman curia who came to Bartolucci’s defense was Ratzinger, for reasons that were both musical and liturgical, as he explained in essays and books.

His positions then were isolated. But with his election as pope, Ratzinger immediately indicated his intention to proceed, in the liturgical and musical field, with what he calls “the reform of the reform.”

This was clear from the inaugural Mass of his pontificate in St. Peter’s Square, the celebration of which was distinguished by a classical style that had been overshadowed in the mass rituals of his predecessor.

It was clear from one of his first changes in the Roman curia, when he replaced the secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship.

In the areas of liturgy and music, Benedict XVI knows that decrees from the authorities are not enough. His intention is that of reeducating more than issuing orders. The concert by maestro Bartolucci in the Sistine Chapel is one of these teaching moments that the pope wants to leave a mark.

In the concert, Bartolucci masterfully executed an offertory, two motets, and a “Credo” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, the prince of sacred Roman polyphonic music and maestro of the Sistine Chapel until the end of the 1500’s.

But he also executed some of his own compositions: three motets, an antiphon, a hymn, and an “Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto,” composed in 2005 after Ratzinger’s election as pope.

The juxtaposition of ancient and modern polyphony was not a casual one. Speaking at the end of the concert, Benedict XVI noted:

“All of the selections we have listened to – and especially in their entirety, where the 16th and 20th centuries stand parallel – agree in confirming the conviction that sacred polyphony, in particular that of what is called the ‘Roman school’, constitutes a heritage that should be preserved with care, kept alive, and made better known, for the benefit not only of the scholars and specialists, but of the ecclesial community as a whole. [...] An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.”

Before this, maestro Bartolucci had addressed Benedict XVI:

“Most blessed Father, we all know the great love of Your Holiness for the liturgy, and thus for sacred music. Music is the art that has benefited the liturgy of the Church most of all: the space for the choir represented its cradle, thanks to which the Church was able to form the language that we admire today. The most beautiful examples that the faith of past centuries has left to us and which we must keep alive are Gregorian chant and polyphony: these require a constant practice capable of enlivening and animating divine worship.”

Among the prelates of the Roman curia present at the concert were Marini and Liberto. But Benedict XVI’s attention was entirely dedicated to maestro Bartolucci – a vigorous 89 years old, – his choir, and the superb quality of their performances.

The pope defined these as “a vehicle of evangelization,” but he doesn’t want them to remain simply the matter of concerts, but rather that they should again animate and adorn the liturgies. Beginning with the pontifical liturgies.

This is the road ahead. By restoring the Sistine Chapel to maestro Bartolucci, Benedict XVI has pointed it out in an unmistakable way.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sunday Evening at the Toronto Oratory

The men of the Toronto Oratory are indeed men of the Church. Men of faith, men of joy, men of intellect, men of culture and civility.

I had the pleasure yesterday evening to make a visit to Fr. Jonathan Robinson, author of The Mass and Modernity, and generally to the Toronto Oratory and the Oratorian community there. It was not my first visit to the Oratory in Toronto, but it was my most memorable to date.

(A view of the Toronto Oratory in either the early spring or late autumn)

The Oratory is a special place within this region of the world, and in particular within Canada. Indeed, it was many years ago that I recall hearing the Toronto Oratory called the hidden jewel of Canadian Catholicism. It is indeed so, though without exaggeration I should say that it is not just as such with regards the Church within Canada, but within the very Universal Church itself.

It is indeed that sort of place which rivals in excellence the famed Oratories of England, should you ask my opinion on the matter, or any of the most excellent classical rite communities. If I might compare, the Toronto Oratory does for the Church in its wholistic sense of Catholicity, learning and culture, what the likes of the Institute of Christ the King do within the classical rite.

There is something old world about the Oratory in their graciousness. Perhaps the presence of a harpsichord in their parlour alone says enough about this sense of cultured life, but allow me to explicate the matter.

The Sacred Liturgy at the Oratory

The visit began with the celebration of the sacred liturgy. We arrived in time for the public celebration of Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. As the bell rang and the pipe organ began, the solemn procession of the Oratorians from the sacristy proceeded out, led by thurifer, crucifer and acolytes. Two of the Oratorian priests where dressed in matching green copes and they led the chants of Vespers. Fr. Robinson, dressed in probably the most beautiful green cope I have yet seen (in either the celebration of the modern or the classical Roman rite) presided over Vespers. Each pair of Oratorians reverently geneflected in unison to the tabernacle and took their place in the sanctuary in antiphonal seating.

The chant rang out by Fr. Robinson: "Deus in adjutorium meum intende..." and so it began, a mixture of Latin ordinary and English propers -- some of which was, wonderfully, using that more sacred and venerable incarnation of the language, hieratic English, in beautiful poetic compositions.

The chants of the Psalms were sung antiphonally alternating between the parts sung by all the faithful and then by a male choir and a female choir -- both of professional calibre. When the time came for the Canticle, the faithful responded with a versicle, and the canticle was sung by the choir in polyphonic form. A beautiful mixture of two of the greatest styles of music to grace the sacred liturgy of the Latin rite. The Magnificat was sung in Latin by the faithful and the choir alteratively as the altar was incensed by Fr. Robinson.

After the completion of the Divine Office, the organ played as Benediction was prepared for. Benediction was what one would expect of it, and the traditional Eucharistic chants of the Church, composed by the Angelic Doctor, where sung with exuberance. Delightfully, this also included a meditative polyphonic motet. (For those particularly interested in sacred music and its particulars, please look at the bulletin of the parish, made available online.)

The liturgy concluded with thurifer, acolytes and other Oratorians processing to the statue of Our Lady, and the Salve Regina was sung and the statue of Our Lady incensed.

A Sunday Evening at the Oratory

The celebration of the sacred liturgy alone would be enough to highlight the evening at the Oratory. But, thankfully, the evening did not end there. A few of us were additionally blessed with the opportunity to visit and dine with the Oratorians that evening.

The evening began with a refreshing glass of Sherry in the midst of discussions with the Oratory community. Set in a beautiful parlour, the Oratorians attentively hosted their guests to ensure that they should never be left without. Their consummate sense of hostmanship and the reception of guests was indeed of the sort that inspires one to reclaim this sense in one's own life.

After this apertif followed dinner in the refectory, which followed a typically monastic pattern and arrangement, complete with spiritual readings being read aloud during dinner. After dinner we returned to the parlour for tea and coffee and more time for conversation.

The evening drew to a close with an opportunity to meet with Fr. Robinson privately as well as to peruse the wonderful house library that the Oratory has accumulated. Their collection was fabulous, particularly their collection of, of course, Cardinal Newman.

Some Concluding Thoughts

The beauty of the liturgy itself, the vestments, the sacred music, the sacred architecture and of the ceremonial was matched by the vigour of the participation in those rites on the part of the faithful. Further, that sense of beauty, dignity, culture and service is carried over into the communal life of the Oratory. Surrounded by beautiful architecture and art, treated to good food and good conversation one finds oneself lifted higher and beyond the mundane. This in turn is reflected in the evident focus upon scholarship and the pursuit not only of the interior life, but also of the intellectual life.

It is worth mentioning in addition that the Toronto Oratory is situated in a poorer neighbourhood, and they provide a valuable service to that community. It is this community who comes to their parish and who so devotedly participate in these traditional rites. Further, the Oratory operates a pantry to provide food for those in need, in service of the poor.

Indeed, at the Toronto Oratory one sees all the various aspects of Catholic life covered, as people from various walks of life and economic backgrounds come together as a community of faithful believers, served by the devoted priests of the Oratory.

Do yourself a favour and, if you are in the Toronto region, make the trip to the Toronto Oratory. Look for the numerous black cassocks and the distinctive Oratorian collars -- worn, it is also worth noting, by a community quite diverse in age, and which noticeably includes a number of young men.

You won't come away disappointed.

Pope Urges Recovery of Traditional Sacred Music

June 26 ( - Pope Benedict XVI has called for preservation of the Church's heritage of sacred music.

Genuine renewal in Catholic music 'cannot be achieved except by following the great traditions of the past, of Gregorian chants and sacred polyphony,' said the Holy Father, speaking after a June 25 concert at the Vatican. This musical tradition, he said, is 'a priceless spiritual, artistic, and cultural heritage.'

The Pope spoke at the conclusion a concert that emphasized 16th- and 17th-century sacred music, held in the Sistine Chapel and presented by the Domenico Bartolucci Foundation, directed by Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci. The Pope saluted that foundation, especially for its commitment to promoting the 'Roman School' of polyphony-- which, the Pontiff noted, 'has always been characterized by its focus on the pure voice, without instrumental accompaniment.' Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci was named director of the Sistine Chapel choir by Pope Pius XII in 1956, and served in that role until his retirement in 1997. Although he was over 80 years old at the time of his replacement, the appointment of a new choir director (Msgr. Giuseppe Liberto) by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) was widely interpreted as a sign of the Pope's decision to de-emphasize the music of the 'Roman School' at papal ceremonies. At the time, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was openly saddened by Msgr. Bartolucci's departure."

9th CIEL Colloquium, 2003: Liturgy, Participation and Sacred Music

As I've mentioned here in the past, and more recently in my Oxford fundraising campaign, CIEL (the International Centre for Liturgical Studies) is an organization who hosts an annual international colloquium on the sacred liturgy which brings together some of the finest liturgical thinkers in the Church today.

In addition to the international colloquium, some national delegations are also able to host their own national conference, the best example being those hosted by CIEL UK in the spring months of each year. Eventually, this would be a goal for CIEL Canada and CIEL USA, though I cannot presume to speak on behalf of CIEL USA of course. Nonetheless, it would seem desireable that, as in the United Kingdom, the local (i.e. North American) work of CIEL should not simply remain on the front of the distribution of the proceedings and the promotion of the same, but eventually find a national face in addition, more congruent with the character of CIEL as a liturgical studies organization.

Returning then to the topic of the international colloquium, each colloquium has its proceedings published. These are then made available to the public for sale and ultimately a fundamental aspect of CIEL's vision is to send a copy of these proceedings to the bishops of that country in hopes that the research found therein might help foster a deeper appreciation of the treasures of the Roman liturgy – of course, such a project is entirely dependent upon financing. In terms of CIEL Canada, at the present our work has been focused upon the promotion of CIEL and its work, in an effort to give it a greater presence within in Canada and the United States.

While distribution of the proceedings to the hierarchy is deemed a primary goal, ultimately, the modus operandi is not necessarily set in stone and may be tailored according to local circumstance. CIEL Canada has determined it to be of greater priority at present (within Canada) to aim to send copies of the proceedings to theological libraries and seminary libraries in an effort to get this scholarship into the hands of young seminarians and clergy who would be more open to its research, thus helping to promote the new liturgical movement amongst new generations of priests and liturgists.

The publication of the CIEL proceedings are an important annual event which brings to bear the fruits of CIEL's scholarship, often supplemented as well by inspiring photographs of the liturgies celebrated in the course of the colloquium. Recently due to some practicalities, the 2003 proceedings were delayed in production. However, they are now finally available. The theme of the 2003 colloquium was Liturgy, Participation and Sacred Music.

Amongst only some of the interesting topics and speakers are to be found:

Elements of a Theory of Participatio Actuosa in the Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, by David Berger

Active Participation and Pastoral Adaptation, by Alcuin Reid

Josef Pieper and Participatio Actuosa, by Dr. Guido Rodheudt

Active Participation in the Liturgy in accordance with the Prescriptions of Mediator Dei, by Fr. Bernard-Marie Lainsey

Participation in the Holy Liturgy by Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estevez

Do we need a New Liturgical Movement? by Alcuin Reid

Besides these papers are a number of others of great interest. The papers listed above represent less than half of those found within this volume.

The importance of the work of CIEL cannot be underestimated. In purchasing the proceedings you not only get essays from amongst the finest liturgical thinkers in the Church today, those who truly care about our liturgical patrimony, you also assist CIEL in the greater task of its apostolic work in spreading this information abroad to the clergy and bishops.

I would heartily recommend that individuals whom are looking to learn more about the sacred liturgy, begin with the CIEL proceedings.

Copies of the 2003 CIEL Proceedings may be obtained either by contacting CIEL USA or CIEL UK. Moreover, if you wish to consider purchasing any of the previous CIEL proceedings, these too are available via CIEL UK.

For more information on CIEL generally, as well as the specific contents of the past CIEL proceedings, please visit my CIEL Canada site.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hope and Exuberance at the CMAA

A few reflections on the CMAA's Sacred Music Colloquium XVI at Catholic University:

This was nearly a full week of Gregorian chant and polyphony, with daily liturgies that featured the music prepared in rehearsals. For a musician who loves great liturgy, this is the closest thing to Heaven on earth.

The conference was packed with 85 people, who stretched the limits of the facilities—a nice problem to have—and this is certainly a record. If you have never sung renaissance motets and chant with so many voices, I can only say that it is an unforgettable experience. Two thirds of the attendees had never been before, but most all currently direct and sing in Catholic music parishes.

What did this conference give them? Full immersion into the musical culture of the Roman Rite, something that is sadly lacking in parishes. It's like learning a language. The best approach is to live in the country that speaks it. This week was the "country" of Catholic sacred music.

But here is the best part: rather than merely bemoan the dreadful music that still dominates Mass in this country or kvetch about the missteps after Vatican II, there was a real sense of optimism—even unbounded joy—among most everyone there, as the musicians in attendance experienced a strong sense of collegiality and looked to a bright future.

The music was at once beautiful, inspiring, and challenging. We sang full Mass settings by H. Hassler Missa Dixit Maria and Josef Rheinberger, five Latin motets by great renaissance composers, and most of the Propers in Gregorian chant as they appear in the Graduale. The director of the polyphony choir, Horst Buchholz of Denver, and two chant instructors (Scott Turkington and Amy Zuberbueller) did an amazing job in achieving this ambitious goal.

It was my impression that most attendees had no prior understanding that the Roman Rite comes with its own built-in music. It came as a real surprise to see the Gregorian Missal and experience who these chants so fully enrich the liturgy. The music is challenging in the extreme but after decades of having been spoon-fed praise choruses, what true musician can't but welcome such a challenge?

After one Mass that used chant to its fullest, a person came up to thank us for doing the old rite. I explained that this was in fact the new rite. She didn't believe me. I had to cite several specific instances of difference to convince her that this was postconciliar liturgy. And truly it would take a liturgy geek to spot the difference.

After the final liturgy (a great integration of chant and high romanticism) a person in attendance came up to ask: what amazing choir was this that brought back chant to Catholic liturgy so he could hear Latin chant for the first time in decades. I told this tourist visiting Washington, D.C.: this is the Church Music Association of America and it's just the beginning. The revolution will come to his hometown in his lifetime. He responded: thanks be to God!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Catholic World News : Vatican liturgical official seeks recovery of the sacred

[I've moved this back up to the 24th as the rest of the story is now included, which I hadn't before.]

Vatican, Jun. 23 ( - The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has conceded some "negative results" of liturgical changes since Vatican II, and voiced his support for reform of the post-conciliar liturgy, in an interview with the I Media news agency.

Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don told I Media that the Council fathers had hoped to reinvigorate the sense of an active encounter with God through the liturgy. "But unfortunately," he said, "after the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past." The result, the archbishop said, was quite different from the Council's intent.

Asked to provide some examples of the negative results, the Sri Lankan prelate listed "the abandonment of the sacred and the mystical," the confusion between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained ministry, and the concept of the Eucharist as a common banquet rather than a representation of Christ's Sacrifice.

These changes, Archbishop Patabendige Don said, have produced negative consequences for the Church even beyond the liturgy. In the face of a growing secular trend in society, he said, the Church urgently needs to cultivate a deeper sense of the sacred and a more active interior life. Fortunately, the archbishop said, there is a growing sense among Catholics of the need to recover the sense of the sacred. He said that the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship entails helping bishops and episcopal conferences to refine the liturgy by incorporating the strengths of the past.

Asked whether he was hinting at approval of the use of the old Missal of St. Pius V, the Sri Lankan archbishop said that the requests for the use of the pre-conciliar liturgy have become more common. But the question is in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI, he said. "The Pope knows all this," he said; "he knows the questions, he is very conscious of the situation, he is reflecting, and we are waiting for his indications."

Archbishop Patabendige Don addes that the use of the Tridentine rite "has never been abolished or banned." However, he said, because of the split in the Church caused by the traditionalist followers of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, the old Mass "has taken a certain identity that is not right."

Whether Pope Benedict will now encourage the use of the Missal of St. Pius V, or call for a reform of the 1962 Missal-- "what some people call 'the reform of the reform'"-- is not yet known, the archbishop said. What is established, he said, is the need for a liturgy that is "more beautiful, more transcendent." The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship cautioned that it is imprudent to press for quick decisions, running the risk of falling into new errors because of haste. "We have to reflect a great deal," he said; "and above all, we have topray for the Holy Father and the Church, and listen to what the Lord wants of us."

Latin Liturgy Association Convention

The Latin Liturgy Association has posted their itinerary for their upcoming convention in St. Louis, July 14-16th.

The convention includes a historic church tour.

Friday, June 23, 2006

CNS STORY: Pope's pallium noticeably different from ones he'll give archbishops

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI will place woolen bands, called palliums, around the necks of new archbishops June 29 as a symbol of their authority and responsibility.

The pope, too, wears a pallium over his chasuble when celebrating Mass, but his is noticeably different -- at least for the time being -- from the palliums worn by archbishops.

U.S. Archbishops Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, George H. Niederauer of San Francisco and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington are among the archbishops named in the past year who are expected to receive their palliums from Pope Benedict on the late-June feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

While the flippant may call it fashion, the pallium and the chasubles chosen by Pope Benedict actually are the result of a study of history and aesthetics.

The morning after Pope Benedict was elected last year, Archbishop Piero Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, presented him with a draft of the new "Rites for the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome."

The book, which included proposed texts for the Masses and prayer services marking the beginning of a pontificate, also included a suggestion for a new -- or rather, very old -- pallium.

For hundreds of years the pope's pallium, like the one still worn by archbishops, was a circular band of wool with a 12-inch-long strip hanging from the center down the front and the back.

The one chosen by Pope Benedict is wider and drapes around his neck; it is more than twice as long as an archbishop's pallium, with the ends hanging down his left side and reaching below his knees.

The pope's advisers did not make up the design, but recovered it from the first millennium of Christianity, said Marianist Father Silvano Maggiani, a liturgist and consultant to Archbishop Marini's office. The prototypes can be seen around the shoulders of archbishops depicted in the sixth-century mosaics in the churches of Ravenna, Italy.

The pallium was shortened over the centuries as the chasuble worn at Mass became heavier and more elaborately decorated, Father Maggiani said.

Especially with the so-called "fiddleback" chasuble common before the Second Vatican Council, a pallium hanging down the side just did not look right, he said.

"It is a matter of aesthetics -- in the original Greek sense of perception, allowing its meaning to be perceived," Father Maggiani said.

The pope and archbishops wear the pallium as a sign of their authority over the Christian community, but it is the Gospel authority of a shepherd called to carry his sheep, to lead them and feed them.

Father Maggiani said the fiddleback chasubles and even the fuller chasubles adopted after the Second Vatican Council often had strong designs or large images on the chest and back, which drew all attention away from the band of sheep's wool the pope and archbishops carried on their shoulders.

Msgr. Crispino Valenziano, another liturgist and Vatican consultant, presented the new papal pallium design to the press shortly after Pope Benedict's election and said it was part of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

With more of a focus on the pallium, Pope Benedict also needed new chasubles, so a whole new collection was designed. Instead of having one strong central image, they are dotted with ancient symbols such as bees, shells and flames for Pentecost.

When Pope Benedict approved his new pallium, he also said a discussion would be held about changing the pallium given to archbishops, Father Maggiani said, but that discussion has not begun.

"Personally, I hope that in the future the archbishops will have a pallium like the pope's," the priest said. "When archbishops wear that small pallium, it looks like a collar or something. No one knows what it is."

However, even if the archbishop's pallium one day will resemble the one worn by the pope, it is unlikely to be identical.

An archbishop's pallium is made from the wool of lambs blessed by the pope on the feast of St. Agnes.

The pope's pallium is made of the wool of both lambs and sheep to reflect Jesus telling Peter, "Feed my lambs" and "Feed my sheep."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Msgr.Gamber's "The Reform of the Roman Liturgy" back into print this summer

An important book release tip.

A few weeks back I was delighted to learn that Roman Catholic Books ( is reprinting that classic and important work of liturgical history and critique, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber, which hasn't been in print since the English edition by Una Voce Press.

This re-release is due to be published this August.

I can't stress enough how important this book is. I will provide a review of the book at some point around that time in addition. Of course, this is the book with that oft-quoted and important preface by then Cardinal Ratzinger.

I've also learnt that Dr. Thomas E. Woods, Jr. will also be doing a number of interviews and pieces on Msgr. Gamber's book at that time. Yet another thing to look forward to.

Great news to say the least.

Brand new, traditional vestments and liturgical items

As the new liturgical movement moves forward with the passing weeks and years, there is of course a great sense of the re-discovery of the place of beauty within divine worship. There is also a great rediscovery of traditional devotional practices such as Corpus Christi processions and so forth.

With this re-discovery of tradition and re-enchantment of the liturgical and devotional life of the Latin rite, needs for appropriate liturgical vestments and items are sure to follow.

For far too long, this had relied on piecing together old sets, or restoring old vestments that sat in disuse for 50 years or more. This is a worthwhile task, but it is also worthwhile to know that re-enchanting the liturgy in a parish need not entail becoming the sacristy equivalent of an antique hunter!

I wanted to highlight who are in the business of producing fine traditional vestments and liturgical articles.

This includes not only vestments in the gothic and Roman styles, but also Corpus Christi canopies and canopy poles, copes, solemn high Mass sets (which could equally be used in the classical as well as modern Roman rite), altar cards, altar linens, etc.

In short, everything a classical rite parish, or a parish "reforming the reform" could want or need.

For those that still prefer antique, you'll be pleased to know she has a selection of antique vestments for sale as well.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Missa Cantata: In Nativitate S. Johannis Baptistae (Solemnitas)

If you happen to be in the Washington, DC area this weekend, do not pass up the opportunity to attend this liturgy featuring the schola cantorum assembled as part of the Church Music Association of America's Sacred Music Colloquium. Sponsored as well by the Center for Ward Method Studies of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at the Catholic University of America, the schola will assist at this special Mass at the beautiful and historic Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.

Click here for more information on the Church Music Association of America.

The choir will sing all Latin propers of the Mass of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, along with a Mass setting in Gregorian Chant from the Graduale Romanum. The polyphony will include the "Justus ut palma" by Palestrina and the Tantum Ergo by Durufle.

If you have never toured his wonderful monastery, this is your opportunity to see the gardens and grounds, and hear the magnificent organ on this solemn feast. The choir will sing the Mass in precisely the normative form encouraged by Benedict XVI, John Paul II, and Pius X.

Please pray for this intention

Priests in particular take note! But indeed for all...

Please keep a member of my family in your prayers, who has an infection which could lead to more serious problems down the road if not cleared up.

If you all might pray for quick healing, I would be most grateful. It's all a little nerve-wracking to say the least!

Bishop Fernando Rifan says traditionalists must show perfect communion with Pope, tradition

Brian Mershon Brian Mershon
June 20, 2006

(From the June 22 edition of The Wanderer)

The great expectations of a pending "freeing of the Classical Roman rite of liturgy" have dissipated like April showers. It is now in the heat of summer, and a well-respected consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was interviewed by the Mexican newspaper, Milenio, where he mentioned the possibility of a document freeing the Classical rite may be promulgated in October, a post-synodal apostolic exhortation, following the October 2005 synod on the Holy Eucharist.

Whether this was merely speculation on the part of Nicola Bux, or an informed opinion, remains to be seen.

As the spiritual father of many traditionalist Catholics worldwide, Bishop Fernando Rifan is the sole bishop in the world in full canonical communion with the Holy See who offers the Classical Roman liturgy exclusively.

Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, and Pope Benedict XVI have told Bishop Rifan (whose apostolic administration is a "floating diocese" in Campos, Brazil) that he and his priests stand as models for the Church to continue her 1,700-year-old liturgical traditions, within the full communion of the Church, but with full rights to continue to pursue the theology of showing the Second Vatican Council's teachings "in light of Tradition."

Bishop Rifan kindly granted this recent interview to The Wanderer, and we present it here in full to affirm that despite the recent absence of media and blog attention, it is most likely that the Pope, in consultation with his Curia, has already decided upon a specific course of action on the traditionalist front. It most likely will begin a systematic plan by first bolstering the spirits and "rightful aspirations" of traditionalists Catholics who are in full communion with not only the Church's doctrine and liturgical traditions and devotions, but are recognized as such by the Holy See.

+ + +

Q. What would a "universal indult," "the freeing of the Classical Roman rite," or "reaffirmation of Quo Primum" mean for Catholics worldwide?

A. A universal indult for the Old Form of the Roman rite, conceded by the Holy Father, I think would benefit Catholics worldwide.

But it would not be a real reaffirmation of the bull Quo Primum. It would be a concession of this Pope, who has the power over the liturgy of the Church. But it is dependent exclusively upon the Pope to judge about the benefit to the Church.

Q. One of the two preconditions the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) have requested since 2001 was a public affirmation that the Classical Roman liturgy has never been abrogated. If this first step is eventually granted, what do you predict will happen next?

A. I think that it is very true that this affirmation of the cardinals that the Classical Roman liturgy has never been abrogated. The continuation of this usage, allowed by the Holy See, is a proof. But this universal indult has nothing to do with this precondition of the Society of St. Pius X; it will be a realization of the personal will of the Holy Father, independent of this good request.

Q. Do you think there are sufficient grounds for the Pope to grant the second precondition — lifting the decrees of excommunications (or declaring them null and void) against the bishops of the SSPX and Archbishop Castro de Mayer?

A. The Pope can lift the decree of excommunication, as a sign of benevolence, in order to facilitate the conversations with the SSPX. That was my suggestion [to the Pope] during the conversations.

But it is not all. After this lifting of the decree of excommunications, they will be in the similar condition of the Greek Orthodox, from whom the Pope [Paul VI in 1964] lifted the decree of excommunication too. Afterwards, they will need the canonical regularization and the correction of doctrinal mistakes.

Q. How do you think a freeing of the Classical Roman rite will aid in the restoration of the Church worldwide?

A. I think that the Classical Roman rite is a paradigm, a model of a very good liturgy, with a wonderful sense of reverence and [the] sacred, and so can help all the priests, even those who say the Mass of Novus Ordo. But as I have written in my first pastoral letter, "Let's conserve the Traditional liturgy in union with the hierarchy and the living Magisterium of the Church, and not in contraposition to them." Let's use the Classical Roman rite like a form of demonstrating our communion with the Church because it is a rite of the Catholic Church and approved by the Church.

Q. What role do you believe the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP), the traditionalist priests of Campos, Brazil, and a canonically regularized Society of St. Pius X can play in restoring and reforming the Church?

A. With this good spirit as I said, I think all the traditional groups can play an important role in restoring and reforming the Church, with their different characteristics and charisms, in perfect union with the Holy See.

Q. How will the FSSP and ICKSP and other traditional priests and laity be affected by any possible canonical guarantee (apostolic administration) that Bishop Bernard Fellay of the SSPX said Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos supposedly has ready and has presented to the Holy Father?

A. I think that the religious institutes already canonically erected will conserve their same structures and independence as now. Perhaps they will gain the possibility of more apostolates in the dioceses.

Q. Based on your knowledge of the younger diocesan clergy, do believe that many of them are interested in offering the Classical Roman rite? Do you have any evidence of this? Can you quantify it?

A. Cardinal Castrillon [Hoyos] has stated this. Here [in Campos, Brazil], we know many young priests interested in learning the Traditional Mass. We have received many priests here wanting to learn the Traditional liturgy. We even produced a didactic DVD to teach the priests the way of saying the Traditional Mass, with a good diffusion.

Q. I have been told by a reliable source, that at one orthodox pontifical college and seminary in the U.S., more than half of the students and seminarians desire to offer the Traditional Latin Mass. Would this surprise you? What do you think this might mean for seminary training in the future?

A. I know of other seminaries and non-traditionalist groups wanting to know the Traditional liturgy, with great interest. Sometimes they have invited our priests to say the Traditional Mass there, and they love it.

Q. The Pope and other notable priests and scholars have repeatedly emphasized the importance of having the Classical Roman rite of liturgy more widely available as an "anchor," so to speak, to measure the "reform of the reform" of the Novus Ordo in order to bring it more in line with the true organic development. How much importance do you think the Pope gives to the Classical Roman rite's role in assisting in a true "reform of the reform" in accord with the Latin liturgical tradition?

A. I think that this is the thought of the Pope, as he has written many times in his books. We have a great hope.

Q. Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos' influence has obviously been great. When the new Pope was introduced a year ago by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, there stood the last two cardinals who were voting age for the conclave who were active at the Second Vatican Council. What do you think Cardinal Medina Estevez's influence on returning the Traditional Latin liturgy to its rightful place has been?

A. I think that the Holy Spirit really has demonstrated the good direction for the Church in this conclave. Let's pray for the Church, our family, our Mother.

Q. Do you think Pope Benedict XVI will offer the Traditional Latin Mass from St. Peter's Basilica? Do you think he should?

A. I don't know, but it would be a wonderful thing.

The Real Reasons

Q. As a closing note, is there anything you'd like to discuss or elaborate upon further?

A. I would like to explain the incorrect and the correct reasons of conserving the Traditional Mass, as we have previously published, [as follows]:

Why do we love, preserve and prefer the classic liturgical form of Roman rite, The Traditional Mass?

Would it be only because we are nostalgic or sentimentally attached to past forms of liturgy? This reason alone would not be enough.

Would it be because we deny the power of the Pope to modify and promulgate liturgical laws? This would be against the Pope's supreme power dogma!

Would it be because we just consider the New Mass, or Paul VI's Mass, invalid, heterodox, sinful, sacrilegious, or not Catholic? These statements would be against Church's indefectibility dogma and unity of cult dogma, and they have already received the Teaching Church's anathema. Therefore, it [the Novus Ordo's promulgation] is a universal liturgical law, promulgated by Church's supreme authority 34 years ago and adopted unanimously by the whole Teaching Church.

The real reasons we love, prefer, and preserve the Classical liturgical form of the Roman rite are:

- for a better and more precise expression of our faith in eucharistic dogmas,

- for safety, for protection against abuses,

- for the good of whole Church, in contribution for liturgical crisis' reform,

- for wealth and solemnity of rites,

- for better precision and clarity of rubrics (giving no space to "ambiguities, liberties, creativities, adaptations, reductions, and instrumentalizations," as complains Pope John Paul II in Ecclesia de Eucharistia, nn. 10, 52, 61),

- for the sense of sacredness,

- more wealth and precision of prayers' formulas, in reverence,

- for personal and ritual humility

- for elevation and nobility of ceremonies

- for respect, beauty, good taste, piety, sacred language, tradition, and legitimate right recognized by Church's Supreme Authority.

Brian Mershon is a commentator on cultural issues from a classical Catholic perspective. His trade is in media relations, and his vocation is as a husband to his beloved wife Tracey and father to his six living children. He attempts to assist his family and himself in attaining eternal salvation through frequent attendance at the Traditional Latin rite of Mass, homeschooling, and building Catholic culture in the buckle of the Bible Belt of Greenville, South Carolina.

© Copyright 2006 by Brian Mershon

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: