Saturday, June 30, 2007


After the first day, I figured it was no big deal, but on the second and third day, I started to worry. But now it seems like it has gone on more than a week. Does anyone know why the glorious CPDL is down?

A Modern Roman Rite Priest reports on Classical Roman Rite Training

[One of the Father's who visits the NLM recently attended the FSSP "boot camp" for priests wishing training from them as regards the classical Roman rite. The following is his report, both of what occurred and, even more interestingly, his personal experience. I've chosen to eliminate his name for the sake of anonymity. If he chooses to reveal himself in the comments, I shall leave that to him.]

"I would characterize my experience as frankly stunning, and even life changing. I must admit that the experience has recast my understanding of the priesthood to some degree."

by a Diocesan Priest

I. Summary of the Training

This past week I returned from what one priest called the Traditional Mass Boot Camp, hosted and taught by the fine priests, deacons and seminarians of the Fraternity of Saint Peter at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton NE. Being a “Novus Ordo” priest and having little exposure or opportunity to experience the traditional Rite, this weekend was nothing short of amazing.

Arriving on Monday we jumped right in with an introductory session on the Mass covering various basic principles such as the attitude and composure of the priest, and the centrality of the Mass as a sacrifice. Wasting no time we began our practicum, our class was broken up into small groups of three, according to experience with the traditional Mass and Latin skills. Over the course of the five day we had workshops on the vesting prayers, the Low Mass, the Requiem Mass, Gregorian Chant, the sung Mass, and Exposition and Benediction. These were covered in depth in class and the practicum sessions, which were and hour and a half to two hours long.

The daily schedule began with private Mass from 6:00 to 8:00 AM and ended with Compline at 9:00 PM. The resources and materials that the Fraternity provided was copious and pedagogically geared for a priest to learn the traditional Mass. Any priest who is willing to learn and take the time necessary can confidently know that he will be able to offer the Mass with the proper reverence and confidence that the Rite demands.

On our final day on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul we were privileged to pray the Solemn High Mass in choir with the Nuns the Carmelite Monastery of Mary Jesus and Joseph in Valparaiso, NE a short drive from the seminary, this was absolutely the crowning event of the week, beautify offered by Fr. James Fryar FSSP, accompanied by the Deacons and seminarians of the seminary and the angelic chants sung by the Carmelite Nuns.

II. Personal Observations

Being a priest of the modern Roman rite I was admittedly nervous and lacking confidence due to my lack of experience, I felt that I perhaps had got into something that was over my head, but the graciousness and patience of the members of the Fraternity of Saint Peter quickly overcame any misgivings I had.

I must confess that I was worried that there might be some looking down upon a "Novus Ordo" priest such as myself in a “Traditionalist” environment such as this, but the respect and genuine affection and gratitude that was shown me by the priests, deacons and seminarians of the FSSP was most edifying and humbling. I cannot speak highly enough about these excellent and truly humble men, who most joyfully offer themselves for the life of the Church.

One of the many remarkable things that struck me about my experience this past week was that these men of the FSSP and others like them have preserved for the entire Latin Rite the living memory and tradition of the Church in a unique way.

I would characterize my experience as frankly stunning, and even life changing. I must admit that the experience has recast my understanding of the priesthood to some degree.

Also, by this intensive introduction to the ancient Roman liturgical tradition, I now more fully understand the paradigm shift and rupture that Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has spoken of. I can’t help but feel that once the adolescent rebellion of liturgical abuse and rejection of our living heritage subsides, they will be there to help all of us reclaim and reinvigorate the Latin Rite in a way that is truly organic and faithful to our roots, strengthening and in some areas reestablishing a vibrant Catholic identity.

I wish to thank my benefactors who enabled me to attend this workshop; it was a profound privilege for me to go. I will remember you in my prayers and my intentions at the Sacrifice of the Mass.

A Call to Prayer and the Watching of Our Tongues in this time of Grace

As a point of note, we are entering into a period where the Devil will certainly be trying to sow discord rather than see greater unity and progress accomplished. One can sense it even here in the comments of the past day. Anything that is of great good can be attacked, and the angles of attack are from all sides -- meaning we too can be unwitting contributors to such. Brother may even attack brother. We need to resist this steadfastly more than ever.

The liturgical issue is front and centre. There has been much battle done, and emotions can run high. Indeed, recall Fr. Zuhlsdorf's now famed "rules of engagement" as well. Be joyful. Celebrate! Let that shine through so that the excitement might become contagious. But while we do that, guard also against pettiness, mischaracterizations, accusations, polemics and needless absolutizations when disagreements are raised.

Let's keep our wits about us and wear fraternal charity on our sleeve.

I might recommend that we increase our life of prayer right now and ground ourselves that way in the spirit of the Lord. Then as we approach these discussions and debates, we can try to do so fruitfully, in a Christian spirit, and in a way that will make us good witnesses and apostles and which will hopefully move the true, the good and the beautiful ever forward.

Perhaps that is by the Divine Office. Perhaps reading the rule of St. Benedict. Or perhaps, in the spirit of that great model of Christian life that our Holy Father pointed us to recently, St. Francis of Assisi, by praying this prayer each day:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

"Plain Fare..."

Ian Jack writes in The Guardian (UK) today about the speculation surrounding Tony Blair's possible conversion. The part that is pertinent to the NLM is this:

"When the writer Edward Sackville-West wrote to Evelyn Waugh in 1949 to tell him that he was preparing for his conversion, Waugh replied that conversion was "like stepping across the chimney piece out of a Looking-glass-World, where everything is absurd caricature, into the real world God made; and then begins the delicious process of exploring it limitlessly".

Yesterday, the feast day of St Paul and St Peter, I decided to see if I could catch a small part of this feeling and went for the first time to mass [sic] at the Blairs' old church. As Pevsner says, the interior is handsome - bare, light, sparse, more Protestant than Catholic. There were about 50 in the congregation, very few under the age of 60. The priest was Irish, a woman read the lesson, another woman delivered to the priest the wine and the wafers, which the congregation eventually queued for. The whole thing lasted about 20 minutes. Aside from a few bells and responses, it might have been a ceremony devised on a busy day during the Reformation. "Exotic" it was not; hard to see how this plain fare would have attracted Edith Sitwell."

It is precisely such a reaction to the average parish liturgy that the re-discovery of the classical Roman rite and our rich liturgical heritage might help overcome. Then, by the grace of God, the Church's liturgy may attract still more people and draw them to worship and love Him.

New England news video on classical Roman rite

Thanks to a reader for pointing out this video. It is perhaps one of the most thorough to date.

Forthcoming papal decree authorizes expanded use of Tridentine Mass, Vatican says - Catholic Online

Catholic Online runs the follow reprint: Forthcoming papal decree authorizes expanded use of Tridentine Mass, Vatican says

Some excerpts:

Cardinal Bertone refuted media reports intimating that the papal decree will remove power from bishops in this matter. [Although, it seems clear that it will be modified from the way it stands today.] As the pope had done in his letter, the cardinal outlined three key reasons for issuing the document.

The first... to ease the full communion and reconciliation of the St. Pius X Society with the pope.


A second reason... to enable "wider use" of the Tridentine Mass. Unlike the "ordinary form" approved by Paul VI in 1969, in the Motu Proprio, the Tridentine Mass is considered an "extraordinary" expression of the Latin Rite.

Benedict... devised the "extraordinary" form as a way to unblock the situation and accommodate those people.

The third reason... to preserve "the treasures" of the Church's older culture, including Latin in the liturgy, and to integrate them into the contemporary culture.

Pope Benedict suggested in his nearly one-hour meeting with participants that if five or six Sunday Masses are offered in a diocesan cathedral, the bishop could designate one of them for celebration according to the John XXIII missal, if a sizable number of people ask for it.

All participants expressed their views at the meeting. Some saw the Motu Proprio as an expression of "pastoral charity," or a strong affirmation of "diversity in unity." By the end of the meeting, most indicated their basic acceptance of the text, but a few, like the French, still had reservations.

The Motu Proprio provides for a review of the situation in three years. [Some have expressed concern over this. If such in fact is prsent in the Motu Proprio, which we don't yet know for certain, my view is this. It seems like any new initiative as this undergoes as kind of "ad experimentum" period. This is not unique. What should also be noted is that, politically, it would certainly be pyschologically helpful for people having trouble "buying in" in the episcopal front to at least know there is a normal safeguard in place. Whatever works to get us started! I wouldn't be too concerned by this aspect. In fact, typically I've often heard ad experimentum periods of 5 years; I'm pleased it is only 3, and would be more pleased for an even shorter period of time because it would mean it's that much more likely to come under the pontificate of Benedict.]

Friday, June 29, 2007

In the Beginning... Chronicle of the First Whispers of the Motu Proprio

With the Motu Proprio set to be released very soon now, I have been reflecting these past weeks on where and when this all began.

The answer to that, so far as I know, requires you to look all the way back to the earliest month's archives of this site.

It was on September 15th, 2005 (two years ago this September) that this story was posted:

Universal Indult rumours
posted by Shawn Tribe

Church historian sees end to restrictions on Latin Mass

Dublin, Sep. 15 ( - Pope Benedict XVI will take action soon to allow all Catholic priests to celebrate the Latin Mass, a Cambridge historian has predicted.

Speaking to a conference of priests in Ireland earlier this week, Eamonn Duffy said that it was "extremely likely that Pope Benedict will lift the restrictions on the celebration of the Tridentine liturgy," the Irish Independent reported.

The Tridentine ritual, which was the universal form of the Mass prior to Vatican II, is now celebrated only with the explicit permission, or "indult," of the diocesan bishop. Some Vatican-watchers speculate that Pope Benedict will announce a "universal indult," giving blanket permission for all Catholic priests to use the old ritual.

In remarks to the National Conference of Priests of Ireland, Eamonn Duffy said that he thought the Pope would make the policy change in October, during the meeting of the Synod of Bishops. The topic for Synod discussions is the Eucharist.

Very shortly after this came this story on the 25th of September, 2005:

Vatican official on the Latin Mass
posted by Shawn Tribe


Rome, Sep. 26 ( - An influential Vatican official
believes that Pope Benedict XVI could soon expand permission for
priests throughout the world to celebrate Mass using the Tridentine


Cardinal Medina, the former prefect of the Congregation for Divine
Worship, is a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, set up by Pope
John Paul II to serve the needs of Catholics who cling to the Latin
Mass. In an interview with the I Media news service, the Chilean-
born prelate said that the Pope could act soon to liberalize Church
regulations, allowing all priests to use the Tridentine rite.


"But within the Society [SSPX], there are different currents,"
Cardinal Medina observed. While some members of the traditionalist
group are "inflexible," others are more inclined toward dialogue
with Rome, he said. He said that when some traditionalists refer to
the Novus Ordo Mass as "heretical" or "invalid," they create "an
extremely difficult situation." The Vatican will insist that SSPX
members acknowledge the validity of the post-conciliar Mass, he
said; they will also be required to accept the teachings of Vatican

After his meeting with Pope Benedict, Bishop Fellay suggested that a
first step toward reconciliation could be a Vatican recognition of
the right for all priests to celebrate the Tridentine-rite Mass,
using the liturgical form codified by Pope Pius V after the Council
of Trent. Cardinal Medina saw "no difficulty" in expanding access to
the Latin Mass. But he reiterated that such a step 'would not
resolve the fundamental problems with the SSPX."

Questioned on whether Vatican II intended to abolish the Tridentine
rite, Cardinal Medina said that the arguments were inconclusive on
that point.

However, he said, each rite is valid, and "the missal of St. Paul V
and that of Paul VI are both perfectly orthodox." He observed that
each ritual appeals to "different sensibilities," and noted that the
Offertory prayers of the old rite are particularly useful in their
emphasis on "the sacrifical character of the Mass: an essential
aspect of the Eucharistic celebration." The restoration of universal
permission to use the Tridentine Mass would involve canonical and
liturgical questions, but no major theological concerns, the
cardinal said. "So I hope that, little by little, the possibility of
celebrating the old form of the Roman rite will be opened," he said.

As a member of the Ecclesia Dei commission, Cardinal Medina
reported, he is sometimes asked to celebrate a Tridentine-rite Mass.
When he receives such a request, he said, "I do it, without asking
anyone's permission."

And so, here we sit today, almost 2 years after these initial whispers, with bottles of Moet, fine Ports and other vintages chilling as what were whispers turned to greater hopes, and what were hopes turned to confirmations of an unknown timeline, and finally, when the unknown timeline turned to the near present moment.

In this time, there's been much discussion, much speculation. Some have grown weary of this, while others have thrived on it and taken hope in it. One thing is universal, no one could ignore it. We have debated it back and forth and through it all, not only do we sit upon a greater freedom and de-marginalization of the classical Roman liturgy, we have, I think, progressed in bringing the liturgical question to a greater forefront than it had been before. Through this process, the hermeneutic of continuity is re-asserting itself.

No doubt, once the document is released, as with anything when there is so much expectation and anticipation, there can be a little let-down; after all, the wait is over -- just like when the gifts are finally all unwrapped for a child after Christmas morning. But rest assured, whatever comes in the next week, we shall all, reform of the reform and classical Roman rite adherents, be further ahead for tradition shall be further ahead as it becomes further clear that it was not to be and indeed, cannot be, abolished, even though it can and does develop and grow.

To that we can all say, Deo Gratias. We are witnessing a moment in our Catholic history. But we are not at the end, we are now at the beginning. We must work.

An Eye-Witness account of the MP meeting

In case you have not already seen this, Cardinal Seán O'Malley has blogged about his recent meeting with the Holy Father in Rome and included a photograph taken after that meeting about the motu proprio...

NLM readers will surely be interested in His Eminence's view-point, seeing as he was one of a select few at the meeting, and I have little doubt that his analysis of the status and need for the classical Roman rite in the U.S.A. will generate much comment.

So be it.

Indeed, one is free to engage him in dialogue in the comments boxes of his own blog. So far, people have been very frank and he actually responds cordially.

In relation to this, I think Fr Zuhlsdorf's '5 Rules of Engagement' are worth bearing in mind...

ADDENDUM: In the light of some of Fr Newman's comments to this post, which spell out the situation that face our pastors, I think Fr Philip Powell OP's addition to Fr Z's 'Rules' are worth mulling over.

LIturgical Democracy

Hmm, I wonder why 1/3 of the people in this online poll say they don't want the Motu Proprio.

English Gradual in Progress

Announcing a new project for the renewal of sacred music.

Several of us have been working on setting the new English translations to Gregorian chant melodies, and, once the new translation is released, making them available online for free download. Chant in English is not the ideal, something which I have sworn against for many years. Nevertheless, this compromise solution is worthwhile for two reasons: #1 This promotes chant in more places than would experience it otherwise, and #2 This provides, however imperfect, a far better alternative to the corporate music offered by the big publishers.

The goal of this project, ultimately, is to make it possible to have the resources to sing the entire Mass in English to authentic Gregorian melodies from beginning to end with one click of your mouse button. You might think that we are merely imitating what some others have done, but our approach has been somewhat different--and more successful, in our opinion--than the worthy efforts of others who have ventured into this area. Now, there may be some tricky logistical matters in the interim that will need to be negotiated smoothly in order to make this project work, so you pray, ok?

UPDATE: I neglected to make it clear earlier that this only concerns the texts of the Mass that are recurring; that is, the Ordinary and the dialogues (In nomine Patris; Apostolic Greeting; Preface, etc)--as well as recitation tones for the prayers and the readings, etc. It does not include the Proper. I have mentioned my personal opinion below in the combox about English Propers (which I stress is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of all involved in this project).

Il Giornale: More details about the contents of the MP?

In a news story in Il Giornale, Il Papa ai vescovi: via libera alla messa antica, they claim the following as being part of the Motu Proprio on the classical Roman liturgy:

1. "The text [of the Motu Proprio] declares that the ancient Roman rite has not been abolished"

2. The faithful will be able to directly approach the parish priest about celebrating the classical Roman rite. The role of the bishop is spoken of, but I can't make out the text. (A full translation would be good for anyone fluent in Italian.)

3. There will not be "two rites" but an "extraordinary" and "ordinary" form of the Roman rite. This is how it is spoken of.

4. The classical calendar and readings will be retained.

5. The MP pertains to all the sacramental rites as well in use in 1962.

6. The cover letter to the bishops explains that this is not a retreat into the past, or rejection of the Council; again, I find it hard to make out, but there is also something about liturgical rupture or 'fracture' as perhaps also not being the intention of the Council.

We learn that Cardinal Pell of Australia was also in this meeting.

A Fitting Tribute to Michael Davies

Tonight, as we await the publication of the now famous motu proprio, Rorate Caeli has reposted a fitting tribute to Michael Davies (R.I.P.). What a great hero he was on behalf of Tradition, and he did it while remaining steadfastly loyal to Holy Mother Church. Surely much of his work has led us to this hour. May God reward him for his selfless service.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Marquess de Bute's translation of the Roman Breviary

I've happened across a complete 4 volume set of the Marquess de Bute's translation of the pre-Pius X Roman Breviary (titled, The Roman Breviary). It is around $400 USD and ships from England.

Since I cannot afford such right now, I thought at least someone else might be interested in it. Email me if so.

More and More Images from Colloquium

There are another 143 here:

Here is Fr. Jeffrey Keyes on the 2nd day, Latin Mass

Official English Translation and related MP stories

Here's the official English version from VIS:


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office concerning Benedict XVI's forthcoming "Motu Proprio" on the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

"Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican, a meeting was held under the presidency of the Cardinal Secretary of State in which the content and spirit of the Holy Father's forthcoming 'Motu Proprio' on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 was explained to representatives from various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father also arrived to greet those present, spending nearly an hour in deep conversation with them.

"The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father to individual bishops - is expected within a few days, once the document itself has been sent to all the bishops with an indication of when it will come into effect."

OP/MOTU PROPRIO/...VIS 070628 (180)


Catholic News Service:

Pope meets bishops, discusses decision on pre-Vatican II liturgy

At a glance: Differences between Tridentine Mass, Mass said today

(Note: some point by point commentary could be made about certain aspects of this piece. For example: "...the new missal permits use of the vernacular language; because it called for full, active participation, the use of a local congregation's language became customary." This direct co-relation is not accurate. One can indeed fully participate in the liturgy when done in Latin, either entirely or partially. Hopefully, this is one such idea that with the MP and reform of the reform, will come to be understood as an overly simplistic assumption, and rooted in a particularly one-sided view of what constitutes active participation.)

CNS also includes a caption about the classical Roman liturgy today as well. Does anyone else see the seeds of a definite shift? Whether one were to like it or not, it is becoming more mainline through this process -- regardless of who and how many people opt to worship in it, either now, or down the road. Like the reform of the reform though, it's a process.

Catholic World News:

Vatican confirms briefing on motu proprio; publication near

Motu Proprio coming July 7

Catholic News Agency:

Vatican announces Tridentine Mass Motu Proprio to come “within a few days”

Expected Motu Proprio to be published July 7, German newspaper announces

Vatican Press office confirms yesterday's MP meeting

From today's Vatican Bolletino:


Si è svolta ieri pomeriggio in Vaticano una riunione, presieduta dal Cardinale Segretario di Stato, in cui è stato illustrato ai rappresentanti di diverse conferenze episcopali il contenuto e lo spirito dell’annunciato "Motu proprio" del Santo Padre sull’uso del Messale promulgato da Giovanni XXIII nel 1962. Il Santo Padre si è recato a salutare i presenti e si è intrattenuto con loro in un’approfondita conversazione per circa un’ora. La pubblicazione del documento – che sarà accompagnato da un’ampia lettera personale del Santo Padre ai singoli Vescovi - è prevista entro alcuni giorni, quando il documento stesso sarà stato inviato a tutti i Vescovi con la indicazione della sua successiva entrata in vigore.


Unofficially translated:


Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting at the Vatican, presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of State, the content and the spirit of the announced "Motu Proprio" by the Holy Father on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 have been presented to representatives of various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father greeted the participants and engaged in an hour long, profound dicussion with them. The publication of the document, which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter by the Holy Father to every single bishop, is expected in a few days, when the document will be transmitted to all bishops with the indication of when its entry into force will follow.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All forms of music belong at Mass?

Here in the Arlington Herald we find the classic case that all styles of music are suitable at Mass, and none in inherently more appropriate than another. Rather, the value of each piece of music must be judged from within the genre in question. And the goal? To serve the people and allow us to express ourselves better.

The problem is that this is contradicted at every point by the whole of Church teaching on music. Personally, I find it incredible that that a central mandate of the Second Vatican Council, so clearly stated in the conciliar documents, could be so easily passed over: namely, that Gregorian chant and polyphony are uniquely suited to Roman Rite worship. Paul VI reinforced this and mandated chant in strong terms. John Paul II further stated that the closer a piece of music approaches the sensibility of chant, the more appropriate it is. Benedict has said the same and more.

But instead of listening, we just sort of make things up as we go along, acting as if the choice of liturgical music is akin to the choice of which radio station we want to listen to. : Le motu proprio sur le missel de saint Pie V dévoilé aux évêques

As Gerald pointed out in the comments here, la-Croix also has a piece up on today's meeting: Le motu proprio sur le missel de saint Pie V dévoilé aux évêques

A rough translation:

27/06/2007 20:45
The Motu Proprio on the Missal of Saint Pius V revealed to the bishops

by Isabelle GAULMYN, in Rome

Wednesday June 27 a meeting was held in the Vatican with representatives of episcopal conferences, to which Cardinal Bertone delivered the contents of the motu proprio aiming at liberalizing the use of the Tridentine missal.

In the afternoon, Wednesday June 27, the cardinals and archbishops of various countries were joined together around Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, to take note of the contents of the motu proprio aimed at liberalizing the use of the missal in Tridentine rite, called “of Saint Pius V”.

“It is a internal [private] form of publication to the Church”, discloses one of the curia. The “external” [public] publication, i.e. official, should occur soon, by way of L'Osservatore Romano, the daily newspaper published by the Holy See. The text, written in Latin, will be accompanied by a letter of Benedict XVI in several languages.

Before this meeting, the bishops were unaware of all the final contents of the text. Actually, since the last known meeting of the Ecclesia Dei commission, in charge of the bringing together of the integrist movements [NLM note: seems polemical since applied without distinction, but it could be in the translation], on December 12, 2006, the discussions were returned in greatest discretion.


The pope, who wishes to facilitate the recourse to the rite of Saint Pius V, had asked since 2006 the Ecclesia Dei commission to work toward a solution. With a double objective: to support the return of the integrist communities in the Catholic Church, but also to encourage the attachment of the Catholics to a liturgical tradition, in their view [NLM: see comment below] abused since the Vatican II.

Thanks to indiscretions of the press, confirmed by the Holy See, one knew since last October that a project of motu proprio aiming at liberalizing the Tridentine rite was in preparation. It would put this rite on the same full level as that known as “of Paul VI” and there would be no more, like today, of preliminary authorization necessary on behalf of the bishop.

The project caused the hesitation of a certain number of episcopates, of which France and the United States, for which this biritualism in fact presents a risk for the unity of the Church. [NLM note: the piece and some of the commentary certainly seems a bit editorialized. It is interesting that the concern over the liturgical tradition being abused since Vatican II is portrayed as a subjective, "in their view" matter -- even though such has clearly been spoken of by Church authorities -- whereas this issue of concern for disunity by the some of the bishops is noted as being a factual concern. This tends to put the matters on different levels, even though they are not. Of course, I'd like to point out again that if liturgical unity was required for unity in Faith, then the whole church should have one liturgical rite, and there should be no liturgical options or variations. Unity comes in the unity of Faith, which can be expressed by a legitimate variety of Catholic rites. Unity would be best served by a truly open and generous spirit that could build trust.] Fear is that the bishop, subjected to pressures in favour of the rite, loses his authority in the diocese. Concerns heard by the pope who, in the exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis in March, specified that it is with the bishop, “liturgist par excellence of his diocese”, that it returns “to safeguard the unanimous unity of the celebrations in his diocese”. [NLM: Actually, this is standard teaching, so it seems a stretch to say it there is necessarily a direct co-relation as a kind of response or acknowledgement, except in the most general sense of a continuing sort of acknowledgement. As well, much of the bishop's present authority with regard the classical Roman rite seems particularly characterized by the fact it has been classified as an indult; a special permission. It will be interesting to see what happens in this regard, if anything. That will certainly nuance this particular issue in relation to the bishop. It will be interesting to see how this plays itself out. But again, we need to see the two documents.]

The motu proprio should envisage safeguards to guarantee to the bishop the last word, in the event of dispute between faithful and priests on this point. [NLM: I'd caution people about taking this statement at face value. However, it is interesting that it is qualified as being "in the event of a dispute" as opposed to applying generally to the liturgical rite as it is present state. But again, best to wait to read the document and, hopefully, the accompanying letter.]

[The rest of the article details in brief the controversy raised by some about 'anti-semitism'.]

Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Same Rite

One of the aspects of the MP that pleases me greatly is the Pope's reported emphasis on the idea of a single Roman Rite with two forms: ordinary and extraordinary. This makes a great deal of sense, though both traditionalists and progressives will resist the designation, and oddly for the same reason: each is invested in the idea of rupture over continuity.

At the CMAA colloquium last week, participants had the opportunity to sing for the same Mass (St. John the Baptist) in the same rite done in both the extraordinary form and the ordinary form--both in Latin. How do they compare? The designations fit in every way. The 1962 Missal form was elaborate and gorgeous, but would probably strike a modern Catholic who had never attended it as a bit remote from the congregation. The 1970 Missal was plainer, more accessible, more direct, but also very wonderful in its own way.

Certainly one could say that the old form was more robust, precise, and artistically multi-dimensional. While the new form was simpler and relatively linear in structure by comparison, it had a strong reach into the minds and hearts of the people, and seemed to call more on their own faculties in liturgical action. (I know these aren't universal features; I'm speaking only of the experience last week, and one could imagine the reverse.)

What was most striking were the threads of unity that connected the two forms. Both Masses were sung completely, including all propers from the Graduale and a full poyphonic Mass setting. And they were, in fact, clearly the same rite.

One mundane point that I couldn't help notice: the extraordinary form took one hour and 20 minutes. The ordinary form took one hour and 35 minutes.

Do we finally know the MP Date?

July 7th it sounds like. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has the info:

"On Wednesday afternoon the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Card. Bertone gave the Motu Proprio to 30 bishops from around the world on Wednesday afternoon in the Apostolic Palace. The bishops were explicitly chosen and invited for this. (I am guessing that they were heads of Bishops Conferences.) Pope Benedict XVI later came to the meeting. The document is three pages long, though what the format is in not revealed.

"It is clear from the way this was done that the Holy Father wanted to make sure that bishops got this document in this way, rather than having to read about it in the paper. I assume that what will happen now is that these bishops, if they are heads of conferences, will return home and distribute the document to the bishop members of the conference.

"The general publication is 7 July." broke this story.

Perfect chant

Here are some amazing chant recordings from 1930 Solesmes. Here is the Kyrie, Gloria, Christus, and Descendit.

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Archdale King's Rites of Eastern Christendon, finally back in print

It looks as though this long awaited two volume reprint is now finally ready to order. Very good news.

The Rites of Eastern Christendom
by Archdale A. King
Hardcover (Casewrap)
2 volumes (over 1200 pages in total)
Price: $160.00

The classic introduction to Eastern Orthodox liturgies, King’s two-volume, The Rites of Eastern Christendom has been a scarce source for too many years. Gorgias Press is proud to bring this title back into circulation. King begins his historic study with an introduction to the Rite of the Oriental Churches, then moves specifically to the Syrian Rite, the Maronite Rite, the Syro-Malankara Rite, the Coptic Rite, and the Ethiopic Rite. These five ancient churches of the East, sympathetically viewed from King’s own Catholic position, are considered as of a piece with historic Christianity and comprise the first volume of the set. Volume two contains the Byzantine Rite, the Chaldean Rite, the Syro-Malabar Rite, and the Armenian Rite. The text presents some historical background to each church to provide an appropriate setting, including a description of the church’s hierarchy, architecture, and liturgical furnishings. These are coupled with special attention to the liturgies of the individual churches. A resource that no student of Eastern Christianity can afford to be without, King’s work has yet to be surpassed as an accessible introduction to a complex subject.

Chant workshop in Detroit/Windsor Region

The classical Roman rite community at St. Josaphat in Detroit, MI. is holding a chant
workshop this Saturday, June 30th.

Further details:

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

$40 fee includes lunch.

At St. Josaphat Catholic Church

691 E. Canfield (at I-75), Detroit

No experience is necessary. The Chant Workshop is designed to appeal to a broad audience, from the “person in the pew” wanting to gain an understanding of chant, up through those considering joining a choir and/or established choir members/directors.

To register, send an e-mail or call the parish office 313-831-6659.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ordo Musicae in Hebdomada XI Per Annum

Jeffrey has done quite a fine job of keeping this readership up to date about the goings on at last week's colloquium. To add to his fine posts, I thought I might share with you the order of the music in each of the Masses that was celebrated. All Masses except Saturday's were in the magnificent crypt church in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Nota bene: This is a repost. A reader earlier today failed to respect my desire that we stay out of conversations about liturgical minutiae, and so I'm wiping out the comments and starting over.

The musical ensembles
The polyphonic choir, directed by Dr. Horst Buchholz
The chamber choir, directed by Scott Turkington
The men's schola, directed by Scott Turkington
The women's schola, directed by Dr. William Mahrt
Basic chant schola, directed by Amy Zueberbueler
Organist: David J. Hughes, assisted by Horst Buchholz and Scott Turkington

Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinal Time
The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Skeris, Principal Celebrant

English settings of the chant Propers commissioned by the CMAA and arranged by Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB.

Gloria set to a Psalm tone by Dr. Kurt Poterack
Pater noster setting by Dr. William Mahrt
Sanctus and Agnus set to chant in English: Sacramentary (edited slightly)

Thursday: Requiem Mass for Deceased CMAA Members
The Rev. Jeffrey Keyes, Principal Celebrant

Propers from the Graduale Romanum
Dies Irae Sequence
Elgar: Ave Verum Corpus
Croft: I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Friday: Feast of Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher
The Rev. Robert C. Pasley, KHS, Principal Celebrant

Propers from the Graduale Romanum

Victoria: Missa O quam gloriosum
Bruckner: Os justi
Tallis: O nata lux

Organ postlude: Buxtehude Praeludium et fuge in d minor, BuxWV 140

Saturday: Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
The Rev. Dr. Robert A. Skeris, Celebrant
Traditional Latin Missa Cantata at Old St. Mary's, Chinatown

Asperges me (chant)
Propers from the Graduale Romanum
Credo III

Croce: Missa sexti toni
Monteverdi: Cantate domino
Palestrina: Ego sum panis vivus

(This same music was repeated at Sunday morning's Novus Ordo Missae in the shrine crypt, with the exception that Credo V was used instead of Credo III, and Horst Buchholz's setting of the Asperges me--which employs a great deal of the original chant--was used.)

Institute of Christ the King has new church in New Jersey

Institute of Christ the King haa a new apostolate in West Orange, New Jersey

"With the gracious permission of the Archbishop of Newark, the Most Reverend John Myers, the Institute of Christ the King will be assigning a priest to the Latin Mass Community at St. Anthony of Padua Chapel in West Orange, Newark- New Jersey. Father Matthew Talarico, one of our newly ordained priests, has been appointed Rector of the Chapel by the Archbishop Meyers. Father Talarico, who has already gained good experience serving as deacon in other Institute apostolates and in carrying out many responsibilities in the Seminary, will begin his work on July 17th.

"St. Anthony of Padua Chapel is situated in a pleasant residential neighborhood in West Orange, about 20 minutes from the beautiful Cathedral of Newark and 40 minutes from downtown New York. While being a newer church building, it boasts an elegant high altar and an array of devotional statues and stained glass windows. With a good sized rectory it is located in a wooded area, with well entertained beautifully landscaped gardens and a large parking lot. The Chapel is easily accessible from all directions. For the time being, Father Andreas Hellmann, Prior of the Institute’s House in Chicago, replaces Father Talarico, as well as Father Richard Munkelt, who is a priest in residence. Father Talarico will celebrate his first Sunday Masses on July 22nd, followed by the “First blessing” of a newly ordained Priest. All are welcome!"

Benedict and the Mass

The text below is the editorial of the forthcoming June-July issue of Inside the Vatican magazine.

- by Dr. Robert Moynihan

In Rome in mid-June, the release of Pope Benedict’s motu proprio allowing wider celebration of the "old Mass" was reportedly "imminent," expected in any case "during the first days of July, before the Pope goes on his summer vacation," Vatican officials close to the Pope said. (And yet, the document has been delayed before.)

So what do we know already about this matter? Several things: 1) that the Pope has wished to publish the motu proprio for about a year; 2) that he has been advised by many bishops, who evidently fear it will cause divisions in the Church, not to publish it; 3) that he has therefore taken his time, consulting many advisors, and has written a prefatory letter to explain what the motu proprio means.

Why all the attention to this issue? That is the deeper question. Isn’t the essence of Christianity to lead a good life, with all the liturgies of the Church a secondary concern? That is what many seem to believe.

It is difficult to get at the truth of the matter, and the difficulty will not cease even with the release of the motu proprio. In fact, it may only intensify.

Some would see the Holy Father’s interest in the old Mass as a matter of cultural taste. His desire for a wider use of the old rite in Latin is seen as something comparable to his interest in classical music. For these people, the issue is often reduced to a question of practicality: the old rite, in Latin, is "impractical" in the 21st century, and so, these people say, it would be unwise to expand its use.

But this is a serious misunderstanding of Benedict’s motivation. He is not concerned with Latin in itself. His respect for the "old Mass" is not a nostalgic cultural attachment to an ancient language. No, Benedict is concerned about the essence of the Mass itself.

And what is that essence? The right worship of God.

Certainly there is something to be said, in practical terms, for the use in a worldwide Church of a single liturgical language. And certainly, Latin is in some ways a good candidate to be that universal language. It was the language of the Empire under which Jesus lived and died. It has been used for almost 20 centuries. And translations could make the language "accessible" to all even today -- and even in times to come.

But that is not the point. It isn’t about the Latin. (And the Latin Mass is, in any case, not the Latin Mass at all; that is a misnomer; it is, rather, "the Latin, Greek and Aramaic Mass," with "Kyrie eleison" in Greek and "Amen" and "Alleluia" in Aramaic.) And those who think Latin is at the core of this matter do not see fully what is at stake here.

And what is at stake is not a trivial matter. If it were, the Pope wouldn’t have given two years of attention to it, or 25 years as a cardinal to stating repeatedly that there needs to be a "reform of the reform." Rather, it is an important matter. In fact, the most important one. For the Mass is celebrated for a single reason: for the Eucharist. And the Eucharist is one thing only: Christ with us. And Christ with us is the sole reason for the Church’s being.

So in dealing with the Mass, the Pope is not dealing with a marginal, a peripheral matter. The liturgy is not a "side issue." It is a central one; indeed, the central one. It is the little matter (and the Orthodox rightly stress this) of... the divinization of man! A reality which brought Padre Pio to tears.

So it is a very important matter. But what is the problem? It seems that Benedict, like many thoughtful believers, is concerned about the fact that the conciliar reform of the liturgy in the 1960s has in some way apparently failed to achieve its chief goal, which was to bring about an even greater reverence for the Eucharist, an even greater participation by the faithful in the mystery of Christ, an even deeper sacramental life within the Church. (That is what the conciliar fathers hoped to accomplish by approving a liturgical reform.)

And if there are in the "old Mass," as many argue, qualities too hastily discarded in the 1960s -- a sense of tradition which made it a bit easier for some to turn their minds toward the eternal, a sense of solemnity which helped some to turn their hearts toward God -- and if that loss can, even if only in part, be made good, if it can be remedied, by a motu proprio allowing the "old Mass" to be celebrated more widely, then it is a work of great import for the Pope to carry out.

If the "old Mass" is merely a "cultural" matter, the fad of a small elite, it will not flourish in any case, and the motu proprio will be a dead letter. But if it is a matter of renewing the Church, and if the dignity and holiness of the old rite strikes the faithful in such a way as to re-kindle in them a sense of that devotion which prepares them to encounter Christ, then allowing the old Mass to be celebrated more widely will be an act worth preparing for with much toil and care.

Mater Ecclesiae Announces Assumption Mass 2007

The parishioners of Mater Ecclesiae Roman Catholic Church in Berlin, NJ invite you to attend their seventh annual Mass of Thanksgiving on Wednesday, August 15 at 7pm at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Camden, NJ. Mark your calendar now.

Dr. Timothy McDonnell, outgoing director of music at the Pontifical North American College and onetime director at Mater Ecclesiae, will return to lead the singing of Schubert's Mass in B-flat Major, an exceptional work of art. Gregorian chant propers will be sung by a men's schola.

If you live within a day's driving distance of Camden, it is worth the trip to assist at this Mass. Assumption 2004 in Camden was my first Traditional Mass, and I shall be forever grateful to this parish--which I now call home--for introducing this wonderful liturgy to me. One pastor I worked for used to say, "If you'd see the Tridentine Mass, you'd know that it doesn't make sense." But at that Assumption Mass, I kept thinking, "This makes perfect sense." Come and experience this for yourself, since assisting at one beautiful Mass is far more valuable than a thousand blog posts.

The Camden cathedral, at Broadway and Market Sts., is easy to find by car, and there is some parking available. It is also accessible via the PATCO train from Philadelphia. For more information, visit

Special Issue on Orlando di Lasso

Volume 134.1 is now available for viewing and printing. The entire issue is dedicated to Orlando di Lasso. It is also the fattest issue of Sacred Music to appear in decades.

Yet More Photos of Colloquium

Even more here:

Institute of St. Philip Neri Ordination

The Institute of St. Philip Neri in Germany recently put some photos up of their May ordination of Rev. Thomas Achatz by Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The ordinations took place in the chapel of the Monastery of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in Schellenberg, Liechtenstein.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

It may be a day or so late, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

No, I've not lost my mind--at least over this particular subject. You see, there are two Christmases on the liturgical calendar, and the "Summer Christmas" was this past Sunday, the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

There are many theological connections between the births of St. John and of Our Lord, and one of the more interesting ones was pointed out at last week's sacred music colloquium by Dr. William Mahrt. The birth of St. John marks the beginning of the shortening of days, and Christ's birth signals the beginning of the lengthening of days. This relates quite profoundly to what John said about Christ the Light, "He must increase and I must decrease."

But there's more. Last Advent, I was watching a show on EWTN, the title of which I can neither remember nor find on their website. In any case, it was all about Catholic customs as they relate to the liturgical calendar. As it turns out, in Medieval England June 24 was known as the Summer Christmas, and on this day--not December 25--the Christmas plays were held. This is because these plays would have been performed outside, and never inside the church. December was, of course, too cold a month in which to hold these plays outdoors, so they were transferred to the nearest relevant feast in agreeable weather. That would be June 24, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

As a child, I used to watch a certain network's series called "Christmas in July." It featured Christmas movies right in the middle of the summer. This struck me as a really neat idea (of course!) and I remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to have two Christmases every year."

Little did I know then that the Church's calendar, in combination with the lively faith of the laity of centuries past, already provided the second one. Perhaps the Summer Christmas is worth bringing back, especially in these days when Christ's Mass has been all too commercialized. To me, this seems like the perfect use of inculturation.

Here's hoping your Summer Christmas was a blessed one.

Roman Ears are Tingling

From Fr. Zuhlsdorf: It is possible that the Motu Proprio is now being printed:

Here is what he has to say:

"I am told by a very well-placed source that the text of the Motu Proprio is being printed at the Vatican Tipografia.

"On Italian news via RAI tg2 on Sunday, it was said that the MP will come "in the upcoming days" and "next week".

"It has been said that the MP would come before the Holy Father leaves Rome for his summer break. He leaves in early July.

"UPDATE: The Roman daily Il Tempo has a story on the MP. It states that the Pope will release the MP "in settimana… during the week". Once again, we find the comment that at least 30 people have to make the request."

Regardless of what the MP says, it will certainly be a step forward for all who love that liturgy and that will be worth celebrating.

On that note, like so many others, I should finally start thinking about what I might use to "raise a glass" in celebration. Perhaps something Benedictine. Any suggestions?

Do note, when the MP comes out, if any of you are having "MP celebrations" with Catholic friends, do send in your photos. It will be a celebratory time and I think we should share that joy.

Colloquium Photos

Vast numbers available here

Oregon and the Classical Rite (and a big opportunity)

The Most Rev. Kenneth Steiner, Auxillary Bishop of Portland in Oregon, will celebrate Mass according to the Missal of 1962 at the Holy Rosary Parish in NE Portland at 7:30 PM this Friday for the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul. To add to the beauty of the Mass, the professional Gregorian Chant and Polyphony choir will perform the Propers for the Mass from William Byrd's Gradualia and will sing the Missa cum Iubilo for the Ordinaries. The address is: 375 NE Clackamas
Portland, OR 97232.

There are many, many reasons why this is a rather surprising turn, and just as many reasons why you should attend if you can.

Who says 140 voices can't sing polyphony and chant?

Some more sound files from the 2005 Sacred Music Colloquium here. Now, I'm quite sure that these are the first modern recordings of what it is like to have 140 people sing Renaissance polyphony. It is NOT as crazy as you have heard. This music is endlessly flexible, from 4 singers to 140 it is just right for liturgy.

All week I was planning posts on the colloquium but there was simply no time. We were singing from morning until night. Meanwhile, there is so much to say that I don't even know where to begin. So rather than write paragraphs of gibberish, I'll just let this music speak for itself.


Actually, a couple of things I found interesting. Throughout the week we sang chant from the first thousand years of Christianity, polyphony from the 16th century, and we heard organ improvisation from, well, from right now. What was "missing"? Music from the 18th and 19th century, the very music that most people associate with "traditional" Catholic musicians. (Bruckner was an exception but he wrote the Os Justi in the 16th century style.) This wasn't by design, and no one was trying to make a point. I just found it interesting to note.

Without further delay:

  • Cantate Domino by C. Monteverdi, sung at the Tridentine sung Mass at St. Mary's parish, Washington, D.C., with organ by David Hughes
  • Justus et palma, offertory proper sung by low voices for Nativity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
  • Asperges Me, in a chant/polyphonic setting by Horst Buchholz
  • Sanctus, G. Croce
  • Agnus Dei, G. Croce
  • Credo V, sung in alternatum
  • Alleuia verse, St. John Baptist
  • Ego sum, by G. Palestrina, sung by a chamber choir from the Colloquium at the National Shrine.

Traditional Carmelites on CNS

An interesting note. One Catholic News Service they have a caption today which features a group of traditional Carmelites in Wyoming who celebrate the Carmelite rite.

While the caption does not concern their liturgical aspect, it was good, nonetheless, to see them featured so.

Spanish cardinal celebrates Mozarabic heritage

Toledo, Jun. 25, 2007 ( - Cardinal Antonio Canizares of Toledo, Spain celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy in the Mozarabic rite [NLM: Presumably in the post-conciliar form] on June 24 to mark the 1,400 anniversary of the birth of St. Ildephonsus, once the bishop of the city.

Later the cardinal led a procession of the relics of St. Ildephonsus, which are kept in the town of Zamora.

The Mozarabic rite, which was established on the Iberian peninsula before the Muslim conquest. When Pope Gregory VII extended the Roman rite to what was then the known Christian world, there was some resistance in Spain-- particularly among faithful Christians who lived in regions heavily influenced by the dominant Muslim culture. Those who resisted became known as "Mozarabs"-- the term used to identify Christians who had submitted to Islam.

The city of Toledo soon became a center of the Mozarabic liturgy, and the Christian tradition was preserved there through the centuries, despite Islamic pressure. In fact the Mozarabic rite became a focal point of Christian unity in Spain during the years when the society was under Muslim control.

In the 11th century, when Alphonse VI of Castille arrived in Toledo to reassert Christian control, the fate of the Mozarabic rite again became a controversial issue. Eventually a compromise was reached, allowing the used of the Mozarabic liturgy in six parish churches of Toledo. The Mozarabic tradition endures today in Toledo in among perhaps 1,000 Christian families elsewhere in the world.

A report on the Oxford Martyrs pilgrimage

Oxford Events has some new photos up.

First and foremost in our attention are some photos of the actual procession itself through the streets of Oxford:

(Through a shopping district in Oxford)

(Memorial Gallows are setup in the area of the martyrdom)

(Benediction closes out the Event)

Some more photos of the Mass itself have been posted there, but Fra Lawrence documented that well for us on Saturday.

Here is Joseph Shaw (of St. Benet's, Oxford) report:

"Fr Anton Webb led a record-breaking sixty-strong procession from the ancient church of St Michael at the North Gate to the East end of Holywell Street. The is the route taken by the four martyrs of 1589 – the seminary priests Richard Yaxley and George Nichols, their gentleman helper Thomas Belson, and a Catholic inn servant, Humphrey Prichard – from the Bocardo prison in Cornmarket to the town gallows where thy were hanged, drawn and quartered. All four were beatified in 1987. The procession sang the Litany of the Saints on the way to the gallows, and then the Te Deum and a number of vernacular and Latin hymns while we returned to the Oratory church, where Fr Anton celebrated Benediction for us. This was a great witness to the faith in the streets of Oxford. Thanks are due to the Fathers of the Oratory for their hospitality, to Fr Dominic and his minsters, and to Fr Anton, as well as to the large number of people who came, many from long distances, to join the pilgrimage."

Incidentally, there are a few pictures of the Corpus Christi procession held in Oxford available on that page as well.

A Significant Parish Museum

I was pointed to this very interesting Parish liturgical Museum, from Holy Family in Columbus, OH. Do take a look. Unfortunately, the pictures are not comprehensive, but apparently they have massed quite a collection of items, which you can at least see from what pictures are available.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lost Lambs: Video for ICRSS Ordination PART 1

I should never say something is "final" but I would rather prove myself wrong than not link to these two posts of someone who took their own personal video recordings of the ICRSS ordinations in St. Louis. I know many readers would be interested.

Here they are via Lost Lambs:

Part 2 can be seen here via the originating blog.

Final ICRSS ordination post

The ICRSS have released a document, Four Hours in Heaven which details their recent priestly ordinations in St. Louis' cathedral.

A press release was also issued, as were the official photographs -- some of which have not yet been seen -- including some lovely shots of the Archbishop prior to the ordinations praying the pontifical prayers, vesting and then some lovely wide angle images from the choir loft.

Incidentally, and I'm sure this will gain some interest, you can also order a DVD recording of the event by emailing them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fr. Dwight Longenecker's Latin Questions

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has a few Latin Questions. We should recall that Fr. Longenecker has come from a tradition of beautiful English language liturgical prose. That must be remembered for context. He had the following questions about Latin in liturgical worship, which he obviously has some struggles with, and really about certain traditional liturgical ethos generally. I will respond to them in turn in bold.

He notes that he asks these questions in earnest, and I think everyone should take them in that light. We must keep in mind that such answers, particularly in our current liturgical atmosphere are most certainly not evident. In fact, it requires a considerable amount of 'counter-ecclesial-cultural' thought and research. I say "ecclesial" but of course, I do not mean officially, but rather practically on the parish to parish level.

Unfortunately, because of people's frustrations in the face of the 'liturgical establishment' they can be tempted to react flippantly or emotionally to such questions, as though all who question such things do so ideologically. What must be remembered is that such is not the case. Many have been formed to think in such a way, and they have known nothing else. Others come from different traditions and so they look for explanations so they might at least understand.

With that prologue accomplished, here is the series of questions Fr. Longenecker has to ask:

Fr. L: If the Latin language is so wonderful, why is it inaudible on purpose?

Response: We should of course immediately make a distinction in the approach to the prayers of the liturgy in a sung Mass (whether solemn or not) and a low Mass. In the sung Mass, which we should recall is the "normative" model for the classical liturgy (even though the Low Mass became far too predominant in many parishes) the focus is upon the (sung) propers of the day, the sung ordinary texts (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei), and then of course the readings and Canon of the Mass. This tradition of certain parts being sung, while others being spoken at the altar spans various liturgical traditions. In the Byzantine liturgy, the Priest (and deacon if one is present) speaks many prayers that go unheard while the congregation sings other parts.

When you translate this model over to the Low Mass, it can lead to a style of celebration whereby the priest speaks his parts relatively quietly (to the server effectively) as the people follow along in their missals or quietly pray. It's particular approach that some more contemplative souls find quite edifying -- and it can be, as for example, in an early morning weekday Mass. This 'mode' might be seen as a carryover from the normative mode -- the sung Mass -- whereby the strong vocalization of the prayers would not be necessary, and the servers would alone tend to make those responses as the rest focus upon the sung parts of the Mass.

But of course, this is not the only way. Perhaps it was with the increase of the Low Mass on Sundays (which as Ratzinger and many adherents of the rite will say, is not ideal and is an impoverishment) that the "dialogue Mass" was encouraged. In such a method, the priest should speak out the appropriate parts of the liturgy clearly as it is in dialogic form. If he doesn't (excepting for the Canon of the Mass) then that isn't the fault of the rite, but rather the fault of the celebrant.

There is another distinction we must make here, which I've just skirted, that of the silent Canon. The Roman Canon is a truly beautiful prayer. Some would argue that it is so theologically rich, it should be spoken. Well, there is an argument in that. However, there is also an argument that can be made for the great worth of this tradition. On the one hand, there is the argument from tradition, but of course, this could develop. Still, the tradition has a merit and value that we should always heed very closely. But aside from that aspect of the question, there is the issue of the lesson that such speaks. It is within our cultural religious vocabulary to understand the idea of that which is most sacred as being "veiled".

For example, we veil the tabernacle yet still in many of our churches, even though underneath it is often of beautiful craftsmanship. It was more common as well that altars would be veiled with frontals, and moreover, covered with canopies. Chalices and ciboria as well of course. In the Old Testament there was the Ark and the Holy of Holies. Gospels books where covered with precious covers. This all spoke of something sacred and holy, and so too with the Canon of the Mass, which was rather the "Holy of Holies" of the sacred liturgy. The veiling here occurs by the silence, and the silence in turn brings about an added solemnity, prayerfulness and poignancy to that moment, particularly in contrast to the other moments of the liturgy characterized by vocal elements, be it chant or be it the spoken word.

It was in the 2003 CIEL Proceedings (if memory serves) that there was a very excellent essay offered precisely on this topic. If you desire, I'd be happy to confirm the volume, title and author of the essay, but it makes for a wonderful meditation on this aspect of the liturgy, including in how we might understand the silent Canon as at least "making sense" from a Christian perspective. (And as for the argument from theological richness and worth, which is undeniable of course, let's remember that it's not necessary on either-or situation. People will have access to this great prayer as they pray along in their missal -- while still retaining these other symbolic and prayerful benefits.)

With that, let's return to the question. You asked (to paraphrase), if Latin is so wonderful, why is it done purposefully inaudible.

The short answer then is this:

a) Sometimes it is not intended to be inaudible, and certainly never "mumbled" and if it is in those instances, that is the fault of the celebrant, who is not doing the language or the rite justice. Poor "ars celebrandi".

b) More often than not, the Latin chants and music are the focus, which are still done in Latin, in which case, it isn't inaudible.

c) The Canon was indeed meant to be inaudible, or "sotto voce", which can be understood as part of the Judeo-Christian tradition of 'veiling' and accentuating that which is most sacred.

Fr. L: How does the priest reading the Scripture in Latin with his back to the people inaudibly in a language they don't understand help the people of God to hear and understand the Word of God?

Response: First of all, the scriptures are never intended to be read inaudibly. If that was what you witnessed, then witness point (a) above.

As regards comprehension, a few thoughts. On the one hand, we should always remember that hearing the scriptures proclaimed in the vernacular doesn't guarantee comprehension. One can hear a particular reading over and over, like one prays the Our Father over and over, without really comprehending the message. This doesn't specifically address the direct point you are raising about Latin readings, I realize, but I think that should be laid out there. Whatever the language, this is where the homily can come into play -- provided the homily is good -- and comprehension ultimately something that requires some effort.

As it stands, Catholics who do not speak Latin must avail themselves of a translation provided in a Missal, or the Sunday Bulletin or so forth. Now, there is benefit to this. Even if the readings are proclaimed in the vernacular, I know of many Catholics who find that by reading the passage themselves, they are able to focus more upon the reading. From that angle, having to so do could very well help in terms of their understanding of the Word of God.

All that being said (which is just to say there can indeed be profit from that practice), while some attached to the classical liturgy would not say so, there are many others who are attached to the classical liturgy who would say that allowing the option to directly read or chant the epistle and Gospel in the vernacular (rather than proclaiming them again in the vernacular prior to the Homily) would seem to be one of the clearest examples of a good and reasonable 'organic development'. However, such cannot happen until the Holy See allows such. I for one do think this would be a most sensible development, but at the same time, I am also keenly aware that not having such an option does not bar understanding or comprehension of the Sacred Scriptures given other considerations like reading along in the Missal as well as listening to a homily which expounds upon it.

Fr. L: How does no hymns and a choir singing in Gregorian chant help the people to particpate in the Mass, or have I got this wrong and the people are not intended to participate in the Mass at all? If so, is this better?

Response: Most such masses do at least have hymns, even the Low Mass (usually the Processional, Communion and Recessional).

A bigger issue here though is your issue about "participation". As Pope John Paul II reminded the U.S. Bishops in their ad limina visit (see here), participation is not to be solely understood as external participation. That would be to reduce participation to one dimension, and not necessarily its most important dimension.

Here is what John Paul II noted: " participation does not preclude the active passivity of silence, stillness and listening: indeed, it demands it. Worshippers are not passive, for instance, when listening to the readings or the homily, or following the prayers of the celebrant, and the chants and music of the liturgy."

In other words, silence, listening, hearing the chants all constitute a form of participation. In the excellent series of essays on the topic of "active participation" by Cardinals Arinze, Medina-Estevez, Pell and George (Cardinal Reflections published by Hillenbrand Books) they note the same as well, and also point to this aspect of participation (interior participation) as being more important than mere external participation.

None of this is to denigrate external forms of participation.

Fr. L: How does it help the people to understand what is going on at the Mass when they can't see what is happening at the altar, can't understand the language, and can't hear what the priest is saying?

Response: Let's start to answer this in the reverse order in which bring up the questions. On the latter point, I think we've addressed the issue about audibility extensively. On the matter of understanding the language, an important point to note, aside from the fact of a Missal in which to pray along the Mass (which can be very focusing, and thus, engaging) it must be stated that one does not have to fluently speak Latin in order to have a significant understanding of what is being said.

There are two forms of the liturgical "understanding". One is the awareness of what is supernaturally going on around you: that the priest is acting in the person of Christ, offering up the one sacrifice of Christ to God the Father; that Christ comes down onto the altar, that one is mystically at calvary. We shouldn't underestimate the importance of this sort of understanding, which, when brought to Mass, has an inherent value at any and all times.

As regards the prayers and ceremonies, we do not always understand all aspects of the ceremonies. Why for example, does the priest wear particular vestments? Why do we make certain actions in the liturgy? Why does he pour a drop of water into the wine? Why does he break the host? There are answers to all these questions, but all do not know them, and yet this does that make the Mass incomprehensible or without understanding. In fact, where we don't understand at times, it can draw us in by virtue of our asking questions and pondering these things.

Likewise, we mustn't see all the actions at the altar to appreciate the liturgy. In fact, as Dr. Alcuin Reid has pointed out, this can lead to a kind of "ritual exhaustion" which is not helpful. (At this point as well, we must refer back to the previous points about the different kinds of participation.)

At the same time, moving back to the issue of language, one need not be fluent in the Latin language and its grammatical constructs to understand the core prayers being prayed. Words, phrases or prayers that are used over and over, and read in their English translation over and over, come to be known. Within a very short time, let alone a lifetime, these are certainly very known. One does not have to be Italian to know what "ciao" means or fluent in French to understand "c'est la vie". Likewise, not only would most Catholics who begin to worship in Latin know what "Dominus vobiscum" means, as well as its response, but who could deny that they wouldn't also know what they are praying when they hear the Our Father/Pater Noster in Latin, or the Kyrie in Greek, the Sanctus, Credo and so forth?

A little familiarity goes a very long way in this regard. Even the modern Roman rite, with its series of responses can seem, to one new to it, highly complex and difficult to follow; a little "incomprehensible." This is because it is new to them and as yet, they haven't been able to integrate those actions and responses into themselves. The ordinary Latin parts of the Mass are no different.

Fr. L: I've heard it said that the Latin language is 'ancient and mystical' and that having the Mass in a dead language assists the worship by making it more mysterious. But the Mass was first translated into Latin from Greek because Latin was the vernacular at the time. In other words, it was put into Latin so people could understand it. Isn't the veneration of Latin therefore artificial?

Response: To be honest, the aspect of mystery in this regard isn't really something personally I'd hang my hat on. However, on the issue of Latin as the ancient vernacular, while I've responded to this on Fr. Longenecker's site in the comments, I'd like to touch upon it again here for the sake of anyone else reading this.

Fr. Uwe Michael Lang has addressed this very topic both in Oxford in the Fall at last year's CIEL conference as well as in his recent piece in the May/June 2007 issue of the Saint Austin Review, "Reflections on Latin as a Liturgical Language."

To quickly summarize. The Latin employed in the early Church cannot be simply thought of as the vernacular. It's not quite so simple as that. As he has brought forward, it was of a highly stylized idiom and thus would not be immediately recognizable, even comprehensible, to the average Roman in the street -- let alone, for that matter, converted but non-Latin speaking cultures which we should remember were also around at this time. Both in the type of Latin employed, as well as the highly stylized vocabularly and way of speaking, it was divorced from the "common vernacular".

By analogy (and this is my analogy, not Fr. Lang's) one might think of how a Shakespearian play reads to us today perhaps. It is in English, in the 'vernacular', and we recognize various words, but it is also very difficult because some words we don't really hear so often (if at all) in our day to day English, and also the way sentences are phrased is not our normal way of speaking. So it is "vernacular" in one sense, but not so in another.

If we understand that the liturgical Latin used at that time was very much similar in the way it would be experienced, we can then understand that the employment of Latin was not necessarily on the principle of the vernacular as we understand it. Fr. Lang goes further into this matter to give further considerations of why the switch might have been made from Greek to Latin, which ties into the matter of the Roman aristocracy and empire. But certainly, the idea of a "sacred language" in that sense is not foreign to us. Jewish peoples use Hebrew as such, and within certain protestant traditions, the older, stylized forms of English, such as found in the King James Version or Cramner's BCP find themselves distinguished from everyday speech -- though less so in the case of the latter than what we are discussing.

At any rate, that point aside, there are various reasons for maintaing Latin in the liturgy. For one, it is our tradition. There is the matter of organic development. As well, there are some pragmatic reasons as regards to the shifts that can happen in the vernacular, and the need for liturgical stability. There is also the fact that this is what the Church continues to decree as proper and desireable. Finally, there is also the fact that this continues to tie us to our own spiritual ancestry, our "roots" if you will, in the same way as people do with their ethnic culture through dance, dress, food and the like; from our perspective, it also continues to preserve the treasury of sacred music, such as chant and polyphony, that has been handed on down the ages. There is certainly great value in all this.

This doesn't mean that a liturgy must be entirely in Latin of course, but nor does it mean that a liturgy predominantly in Latin is a problem either.

Fr. L: If one really wants an ancient, dead language that is mysterious, why don't we have the Mass in Aramaic or Syriac, which are the dead ancient languages closest to what our Lord himself would have spoken? Why is Latin so special?

Response: It's part of our particular tradition just as other languages and traditions are in other rites. This in turn has informed much of Western culture, and so it forms a part of our spiritual, cultural and artistic heritage generally. This has value.

I should note in this matter of language that I am not a Latin-absolutist. I do not think it is an "all or nothing" as regards to the question of Latin and the vernacular. As such, I do think there is a place for a decent, accurate, beautiful and hieratic vernacular in the liturgy; yes, even the classical Roman liturgy. But our tradition of liturgical Latin continues to have a prominent place and definite value, as certainly seems proper.

[A caveat: this is by no means a comprehensive response to these questions. There are so many issues that can be touched upon and it is quite easy to lose one's train of thought.]

Concelebration and unconsecrated wine at ordinations in the Roman Rite

[A Guest Piece in response to a recent 'comments' discussion here on the NLM

by Dom Christopher Lazowski, OSB]

The whole question of concelebration at ordination Masses, and the slightly mysterious matter of a sip of unconsecrated wine when you would expect a drink from a chalice containing the Precious Blood, was raised by Msgr. Alliegro and others in the wide-ranging and fascinating comments thread to Shawn's second photopost about the recent ordination in St. Louis. It aroused my curiosity, and as soon as I had a free moment, I took myself, Hermione Granger-like, to the library. What I found, while it does not provide definitive answers, at least helped me to understand the historical background and general liturgical context better.

According to Dom Pierre de Puniet's 1930 commentary on the Roman Pontifical (a monk of Oosterhout in the Netherlands, founded as refuge for Wisques during one of the third French republic's outburst of anticlericalism), newly ordained priests concelebrate strictu sensu with the ordaining bishop at their ordination Mass, and are entitled to receive a Mass offering. He refers to a number of ancient precedents for concelebration in the Roman rite (in the sense of the local rite of the Roman Church). The entry in the Liber pontificalis for Pope Zephyrinus (198/9-217) says that the ministers hold glass patens (sic!) before each of the priests participating in the Holy Sacrifice. The version of the Ordo Romanus I contained in codex 349 of the Saint-Gall library says that the canon is sung, and that each priest says it aloud; the consecration having thus been carried out, and each priest having given himself Communion, the pontiff gives the priests other consecrated hosts for distribution to the people. The 9th century Ordo Romanus I says that the cardinal priests concelebrate with the pope at Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, and on the feast of St. Peter. The description is almost the same as the one in the LP, except that the cardinals hold corporals rather than glass patens :

“per has quatuor solemnitates, habent colligendas presbyteri cardinales, unusquisque tenens corporalem in manu sua...; et accendente pontifice ad altare, dextra laevaque circumdant altare,et simul cum illo canonem dicunt tenentes oblatas in manibus non super altare, ut vox pontificis valentius audiatur; et simul consecrant corpus et sanguinem Domini...”

As to concelebration at an ordination Mass, Dom de Puniet points out that William Durandus of Mende included it in his Pontifical, whence it passed to the first printed Roman Pontifical of 1485, and so to later versions. However, Puniet does not mention that around 1200, the Pontifical of Apamea and Pope Innocent III both mention eucharistic concelebration at episcopal consecrations. A slightly later document, the Pontifical of the Roman Curia, dating from the pontificate of Innocent IV (1243-1254) says:

“Veniente autem pontifice post offertorium ad altare, consecratus qui celebranti consecratori concelebrare debet, accedat ad dextrum cornu altaris et ibi se collocet, habens ante se librum missalem et iuxta se capellanum unum indutum superpelliceo, qui serviat ei. Pontifex autem officium misse prosequitur ex more et, cum elevaverit vocem ad dicendam prephationem, consecratus submisse pronuniet eadem verba et cetera legat et faciat que sequuntur in canone misse usque ad communionem.” (Michel Andrieu, Le pontifical romain au moyen-âge, vol. 2, p. 365)

As to the ordination of priests, the Pontifical of the Curia is less explicit:

“Qua oblatione facta, presbiteri vadant ad altare, ad standum a dextera et leva altaris cum missalibus suis et dicunt totum submissa voce, sicut si celebrarent [one manuscript omits “si”]...Post communionem vero pontificis, ante perfusionem, ordinati, facta confessione et osculata dextera pontificis, sacram communionem recipiant de manu pontificis, recipiendo osculum pacis ab eo, presbiteri scilicet et diaconi. Sanguinem autem recipient de manu diaconi qui cantavit evangelium.” (Andrieu, vol. 3, pp. 349-350)

So does does the Pontifical of the Curia consider priests to concelebrate at their ordination Mass? Not very clear! But it is clear that they receive Holy Communion under both kinds. In his own Pontifical, William Durandus also has the newly ordained priests recite the canon along with the bishop, but they receive Holy Communion under one kind only. However, unless I've missed something, Durandus, doesn't mention the ablution of the mouth with unconsecrated wine. I haven't been able to find out if this ablution was first prescribed by the Pontifical of 1485 (based on that of Durandus); it is certainly in the 1596 Pontifical of Clement VIII, a revision of the 1485 book, and in force until recently. My guess is that priests ordained with the ceremony laid down by Durandus received an ablution after Communion like everyone else; it was not considered necessary to prescribe it explicitly. In his comment, DF refers to this practice, long fallen into disuse in the Latin Rite. Perhaps it was considered useful to lay it down for ordination Masses at a moment when it ceased to happen on an everyday basis. Whether or not this was the case, its addition would certainly have been in line with the general drift of the changes to Durandus introduced by Augustine Patrizi (also known as Piccolomini, because he had been adopted by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Pope Pius II), in collaboration with the great Ioannes Burchard (probably the greatest papal master of ceremonies, and the author of the Rubricae generales reproduced by the Pian Missal) in 1585. These changes could be summed up a a sort of general rubrical tidying up and rationalisation; for example, the 1485 Pontifical gave for the first time a series of general rules as to when a bishop should wear, and when he should lay aside, his mitre.

One detail remains to be pointed out. The 1596 Pontifical of Clement VIII, which mentions explicitly an ablution of wine after communion under one kind, also contains a rubric instructing the newly ordained priests to take care to say the words of consecration at exactly the same time as the ordaining bishop. The obvious explanation is that the legislator intends them to concelebrate.

Overall, it seems reasonable to say that the liturgical evidence favours the idea that newly ordained priests concelebrate at their ordination Mass, without permitting a categorical response. St. Thomas says that it can and does happen, “secundum consuetudinem quarumdam ecclesiarum, sacerdotes, cum de novo ordinantur, concelebrant episcopo ordinati.” (S. Th., III, q. 82, art. 2) The modern rite clearly prescribes concelebration. I think that in the classical rite the Church probably intends priests to concelebrate at their ordination, and that they do in fact concelebrate if they have the intention to do so.

More Liturgy from Oxford

Below are some photos taken during the first part of High Mass in the Oxford Oratory on 23 June 2007, the Vigil of the Nativity of St John the Baptist. The High Mass marked the start of the annual Oxford Martyrs' Pilgrimage.

I did not take any photos during the actual Procession through the centre of Oxford which was, as ever, thronging with Saturday shoppers. No doubt photos of that and the Benediction which closed the day will be online soon.

About a hundred Catholics of all ages walked in the footsteps of the Oxford martyrs, singing the Litany and psalms in Latin, various vernacular hymns, and praying. We were led by Fr Anton Webb, Cong. Orat. in this collective act of witness to our faith and thanksgiving for the brave sacrifice of the Catholic martyrs of Oxford.


Vigil Mass of St John the Baptist's Nativity

Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword!
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free.
How sweet would be their children's fate
If they, like them could die for thee!
Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
We will be true to Thee till death!

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