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St. Paul


I was thinking about doing a post on the Pauline Year, but I don't think one can beat Amy Welborn's post here.

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Eez Your Lucky Day!

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To be Baptized in the Roman Catholic Church!


If you're going to the vigil tonight, say a prayer for Tony D, who will be Baptized this evening.

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First off, I'm not ignoring the last few comments left on the posts below about Summorum Pontificum and the traditional mass in this diocese. I've just spent way too much time composing posts, reading comments and responding. I'll most likely take the weekend off from the subject and get back to it next week.

Second, a commenter down below asked:

Is Msgr Soseman going to offer the TLM anytime soon? I should hope so.. he knows it well....

I was a bit surprised to find in my email a response from Monsignor Soseman:

Could you add that I do offer the Latin Mass, usually more than once a week.

The Sunday Mass is offered at St. Mary of the Woods in Princeville at 7:30 in Summer, and soon to switches to 11:15 for the Winter. I know for people in the city of Peoria, Princeville is like on the moon, but the Church is only about 17 minutes from the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. (people in Chicago sometimes drive for 2 hours for the Traditional Mass)

Thanks, if you could do this for me.

God Bless,

Msgr. Soseman

I'm closing comments on this post. If you have something to say about this, please look him up on the diocesan website and contact him that way.

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Final word

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Obstinate dislikers of Bishop Jenky the Peoria memo are asked to explain this excerpt from the 30 Days interview with Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos:

Isn’t there also some apprehension that a small minority of believers may impose the mass of Saint Pius V on the parish? CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: Those who say that obviously haven’t read the motu proprio. It’s clear that no parish priest will be obliged to celebrate the mass of Saint Pius V. Only that if a group of the faithful, having a priest disposed to say it, asks to celebrate this mass, the parish priest or the rector of the church can’t oppose it. Obviously, if there are difficulties, it will be up to the bishop to act in such a way that everything takes place with respect and I would say commonsense in harmony with the universal Pastor.
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I started replying to individual comments, but it got too long so I'm posting again.

For the record, I don't think Fr. Z is being unfair. I'll even admit my initial reaction was harshly negative towards the Peoria memo, but as I thought about the context of the memo and the concrete situation of our priests here, I chilled out and came to see it as fair to priests and parishioners alike.

Since I'm not interested in quarreling point by point, let me respond to the general objections:

  1. Permission - Some seem to think that the bishop has no right to ensure that priests have a minimum competency in offering the Extraordinary Form (EF) of mass. I disagree. No bishop has reason to doubt that his priests are able to celebrate the Ordinary Form (OF) because they get trained on it in seminary and do it all the time. Most priests have no idea how to offer the EF and it's a lot more complicated then the OF. The bishop has the responsibility to safeguard the sacraments in his diocese. That may be the "Party Line," but it's also true.

    I said in my original post that I understand that some bishops will use this as a roadblock. If Bishop Jenky does that, it will be unfortunate. But the document itself gives every indication that this is not the case. The document states that means will be made available for priests that want to learn.

    It makes sense to assume, by the way, that this is not just for priests at the five parishes where the EF wil be regularly offered. Therefore the bishop is not confining the EF to those parishes. What is unreasonable about this again?

    I would just like the doubters on this point to explain the following sentence uttered by Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos: "It is the parish priests who must open the doors to those priests that, having the faculty, go to celebrate." Particularly explain the word "faculty."

  2. Numbers - I read Fr. Z every day, I respect his opinions and will readily concede that he knows far more about this than I do, but just because he says a coetus can be as small as three doesn't make it so. Now, as far as I know, the most authoritative word is Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, who states in this 30 Days interview that no minimum number was ever established. OK, great, but the point is that various people have suggested numbers up to 300, and not all of them are flaming libs out to stick it to trads. I do wish the Peoria memo had cited which cardinals gave those numbers, but I don't disbelieve the statement. This argument comes very close to calling at least Fr. Deptula and possibly the bishop flat-out liars. Is somebody bold enough to make that claim and lay out the indisputable proof? Or can everybody just please clam up on this point?

    Again, it is important to point out that the memo is partially meant to address concerns raised by priests. Further, it states that "All of the requests that have come to the attention of the Office of Divine Worship or the Bishop’s Office have been from individuals or very small groups."

    One can well imagine the situation: "I'm a pastor of two parishes and I have two families that want the Latin mass. I already say 3 masses (sometimes 4) on a weekend. What do I do?" Tell me, knowers of all, is it better that the priest:

    a) change one of the two masses a parish has to the EF,
    b) schedule himself into violation of canon law by adding another Sunday mass, or
    c) kindly refer the families to the nearest regular celebration of the EF?

    Yes, there are other possibilities, like the one mentioned by the commenter below: that these groups of people could find a retired priest who can say the mass for them. But how many 80 year old priests are there itching to do this? That might be a great solution for some parishes, but you're still going to have situations where the pastor can't accommodate the requests, for reasons having nothing to do with a lack of generosity or hatred of traditionalists. What do they do? Well, in the Diocese of Peoria, they will soon have five regular parishes to which they can refer parishioners.

    What I think grates on people is that to an extent the memo assumes that priests will not be able to accommodate the people who want the EF. Well, folks, welcome to the... um... 1970s. If you even have a pastor, you should be grateful. The only way to change this is to have more babies and pray that they're called to the priesthood.

  3. Imposing the EF - Many people are put off by this language: "Parishioners need not fear that the Traditional Mass will be imposed on them or that they will be "surprised" by a pastor arbitrarily choosing to change the way that Mass is celebrated in a parish."

    I was too when I first read it. But then I looked at things from the eyes of the average parishioner who wasn't constantly refeshing the page on the morning of July 7. The Catholic who learned about the motu proprio from an AP story headlined "POPE BRINGS BACK LATIN MASS." And then I envisioned those people inundating their pastors and bishops with phone calls. And then I understood and chilled out. This is a reassurance that if you like the mass you go have, it's not going away anytime soon.

    The way some of these people react, it's as if Bishop Jenky had proclaimed:

    No one is being told to attend the traditional Mass unless they want to. Everything will be as it was in the parishes, with respect to the Mass according to the Novus Ordo. There will be traditional Masses only in parishes where it has been duly requested by interested persons and where there is a priest who is qualified to celebrate it."

    (Oh by the way, there's that pesky language about the priest being "qualified" to celebrate the EF). I wonder what liberal rabble-rouser said that?

I wish people would take a deep breath and look at the document for what it is. No priest is going to impeded from offering the EF so long as he learns do it properly, and those parishioners whose pastor cannot for whatever reason accommodate their desire for the EF have 5 different parishes they can attend.

The fact of the matter is that concretely, not much is going to change for reasons entirely independent of the bishop. Every priest is going to celebrate at least one Sunday mass in each of his parishes in the OF. If they have a Mass left to say, they may or may not say it in the EF depending on how many people in the parish want it, how big that parish is in general, how available the EF is in the immediate area.

Furthermore, I am aware of some of the problems traditionalists have had in this diocese, and I feel for them. I'm also not declaring that Bishop Jenky is now and forever Friend of the Traditionalists. I am also saying that it appears that he;s making an earnest effort to balance the requirements of the Summorum Pontificum and the desires of many Catholics for the EF of mass with the needs of priests and the preference of theat vast majority of parishioners who aren't all that interested in the EF. But when I see them rend their garments in disgust at what is a fairly positive reaction by the diocese to Summorum Pontificum, I have to think they're letting their hatred of the bishop get in the way of appreciating the vastly increased access they will have to the EF.

Finally, please do see Brandon's second comment in my original post, where he maks some good points and has kind words to say about both Fr. Deptula and my pastor.

Good night.

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Peoria Diocese on Summorum Pontificum

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Fr. Z got a hold of a memorandum (currently not posted on the diocesan website) from my diocese's Office of Divine Worship to priests of the diocese concerning Summorum Pontificum and the celebration on the mass using the 1962 missal. While I've generally agreed with Fr. Z's writings on the Motu Proprio, I disagree with his take on this statement.

First off, he emphasizes that the bishop's signature is not on the document, which suggests... what? That the office is issuing norms without the bishop's approval? Is he implying that this allegedly anti-traditional mass memo is solely the work of the Director of the Office of Divine Worship? That's a problematic interpretation since the document repeatedly refers to Bishop Jenky's intentions, expectations and concrete plans.

Second, he interprets the statement in an extremely negative light. Granted, there are bishops on record with much more jubilant receptions of Summorum Pontificum. Still, Fr. Z overlooks the generally positive indications in the memorandum:

  • The number of parishes regularly celebrating the traditional mass is increasing from two to five. If these parishes are well distributed, that means a large portion of the diocese will have much easier access to the 1962 mass than before.

  • The bishop will provide training for priests who wish to celebrate mass in the extraordinary form Fr. Z does say that's positive, but it casts much of what he criticizes in a different light. He comes down hard on the diocese for suggesting priests should demonstrate competence in saying the traditional mass, but in light of the availability of training, that's not so bad, is it?

The last point is something on which I disagree with Fr. Z. He tends to take offense when bishops suggest that priests who want to celebrate the traditional mass should demonstrate that they can do it. While I understand that could be and in some instances is being used as a foil by unsympathetic bishops, I think it makes sense as a general rule for two reasons. First, priests don't get trained on the traditional mass in seminary. Second, if you hope (as Fr. Z does, and as I do) that the traditional rite will have a "gravitational pull" on the newer rite, fostering a greater sense of reverence towards the liturgy, you want to make sure that the priests offering the traditional mass are doing it right. You want people experiencing the extraordinary rite to have a good experience of it.

I remember an older priest mentioning that many priests used to say the old Mass quickly by only saying the first word of each line of the eucharistic prayer. Is that what we want the result of SP to be? Is that even a valid mass? As long as a bishop is going to provide the training (which, according to the memo, our bishop plans to do) what is the problem with asking the priests to demonstrate competence.

Third, I disagree with the exception Fr. Z takes to the language about most Catholics not experiencing any change. With all of the media misreporting about "undoing Vatican II" it's fair for the bishop to want to reassure people that if they like the Mass they have, they needn't worry about it being taken away from them. That wasn't a very nice thing to do forty years ago and it wouldn't be a nice thing to do today, even to correct past wrongs. Even if we hope that increased celebration of the traditional mass will eventually change the way the modern liturgy is celebrated, that change is supposed to be gradual, right?

This is not to say that I find the Peoria memo wholly positive. My concern is that by concentrating the traditional rite to a set number of parishes, the diocese is not de-ghettoizing it; instead it's merely increasing the size of the ghetto. That's clearly not the intention of Summorum Pontificum and I hope it's not the intention of my diocese.

Even there, however, the situation of the priests in the diocese needs to be taken into account. We have many pastors with 3-4 parishes whose boundaries cover hundreds of square miles of territory. These priests have weekly mass schedules that push the limits of canon law. With that in mind, it must be noted that the norms contained in the memo are at least partially meant to address concerns that were raised at the diocesan Presbyteral Council meeting.

Fr. Z is unhappy that the memo asks priests to refer small groups of parishioners requesting the traditional mass to the existing regular celebrations. Perhaps he didn't notice it, but that part of the memo is specifically addressed to "Pastors who are unable to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal when approached by parishioners." That implies that pastors who can offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal should try to accommodate those parishioners. It also implies that pastors who cannot offer it might consider taking advantage of the training offered by the diocese so that they can.

Below the jump, I'm going to post the text of the memo so folks can read it for themselves without Fr. Z's emphasis and remarks. As an aside, anybody who knows Fr. Deptula (I suppose that even though I'm not exactly a journalist, I should disclose that I worked for him as a sacristan for three years) might be amused at Fr. Z's portrayal of him as Defender of the Abusive Modernist Liturgy.

Like I said, Fr. Z has a great blog and I appreciate the work he's done to promote the traditional mass and Summorum Pontificum. However, I don't think it does much good to harass a bishop and a diocese that prove willing to use time and resources to expand the availability of the traditional mass and to train priests to offer it.

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  • 25 skills every man should know

    Interesting list except for their lame-a** attempts to add basic computer skills to the list of general competencies every man should have. I think I'm man enough without knowing how to "Retouch digital photos." That said, I'm humble enough to admit that I scored an abysmal 6/25 on the list.

    My other criticism is there's nothing about booze or tobacco on the list. Rolling a cigarette? Smoking a pipe? Mixing a gin and tonic? I guess that can be explained by the fact that the list was put together by Popular Mechanics. Still, it feels incomplete.

  • A Tridentine Ordo that is unfortunately good only for another 2 months or so

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Summorum Pontificum


Below is the Vatican Information Services daily dispatch containing the text of today's motu proprio.


VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is a non-official English-language translation of the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" of Pope Benedict XVI, "Summorum Pontificum," concerning the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The original text is written in Latin.

"Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'

"Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)

"Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

"Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

"One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

"'It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

"In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)

"But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,' exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

"Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

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

"It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows:

"Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

"Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

"Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

"Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.

§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.

§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.

§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

"Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

"Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.

"Art. 9. § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.

§ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

"Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

"Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

"Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

"We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

" From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate."

(1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397.

(2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

(3) Ibid.

(4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

(5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.

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Letter to Bishops on "Summorum Pontificum"


VATICAN CITY, JUL 7, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of the English-language version of Benedict XVI's Letter to all the bishops of the world concerning his Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum," which was published today:

"With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter 'Motu Proprio data' on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.

"News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

"This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter.

"In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions - the liturgical reform - is being called into question.

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

"As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a 'Forma extraordinaria' of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.

"Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio 'Ecclesia Dei' (July 2, 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of bishops towards the 'legitimate aspirations' of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of St. Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present norms are also meant to free bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.

"In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.

"It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the 'usus antiquior,' will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.

"I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return ... widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

"There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.

"In conclusion, dear brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own diocese.

"Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.

"Furthermore, I invite you, dear brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.

"Dear brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: 'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.'

"I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my apostolic blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful."

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What's "Gather us In" in Latin?


"For one thing, Catholics old enough to remember the pre-Vatican II Mass know that it’s as capable of being celebrated in drab, uninspiring fashion as any other rite." - John Allen

Allen does say something I agree with - namely that those anxious for the old rite will be disappointed when they see that it can be celebrated irreverently and abusively. I suppose some might say that at least there won't be any "hippie music", though I would caution them not to underestimate the lengths to which liturgists will go to undermine all things traditional.

Not that I'm against this motu proprio business, not at all. I think it's immensely important, just not in the way you might think. My hope is that a wider availability of the traditional rite will cause both to influence each other over the next few decades so that the next missal will preserve what is best from each of them and will be an elegant and organic development of traditional Catholic worship.

Hopefully I'll be alive to see it.

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Boo John Allen


John Allen disappointingly plays to his audience in the NY TImes op-ed on the Pope's anticipated motu proprio loosening the restrictions on using the 1962 Missal for Mass.

In any event, the real impact of Benedict’s ruling is likely to be measured in small changes over a long arc of time, not in upheavals or revolutions. That reality, however, will do little to lower the rhetorical volume. If only we could convince the activists to slug it out in Latin, leaving the rest of us blissfully oblivious, then we might have something.

This is shameful language. Not the long arc part - that's true and it's a good thing. I mean the part where he audibly exhales in exasperation and casts a pox upon both the Blefescuian trads and Lilliputian liberals.

He's right of course, in that most Catholics don't care, won't know what the motu proprio is (or even what that Latin phrase means) and won't notice anything different when it is released. What he doesn't address is whether those are good things. It is obviously not good and a sign of spiritual malaise that the average Catholic is ignorant about his spirtual patrimony, but Allen here laughs it off as a big-end/little-end squabble.

Is the Mass the source and summit of our Catholic lives? If so, is it a concern that many Catholics probably couldn't tell you what the Real Presence is? Or that others find the Mass at their local parish so spiritually uninspiring that they worship at schismatic traditionalist chapels? These are serious questions that touch on the center of the Catholic faith, not peripheral issues. What Allen dismisses as a food-fight between partisan "activists" is actually a discussion about the very substance of Catholicism. By liberalizing use of the old missal, the pope will be making an emphatic statement in that conversation.

Sure, Allen doesn't have to be an apologist, but with a slot in the NY Times, Allen had a teaching moment. He could have taken any number of angles that would have demonstrated the mystery and importance of the Eucharistic celebration in the Catholic life. Instead, he proudly proclaimed how embarrassed he is that his crazy uncles won't shut up.

Thanks for nothing.

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More on Sacramentum Caritatis

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Sacramentum Caritatis

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1. The sacrament of charity (1), the Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus Christ makes of himself, thus revealing to us God's infinite love for every man and woman. This wondrous sacrament makes manifest that "greater" love which led him to "lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13). Jesus did indeed love them "to the end" (Jn 13:1). In those words the Evangelist introduces Christ's act of immense humility: before dying for us on the Cross, he tied a towel around himself and washed the feet of his disciples. In the same way, Jesus continues, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, to love us "to the end," even to offering us his body and his blood. What amazement must the Apostles have felt in witnessing what the Lord did and said during that Supper! What wonder must the eucharistic mystery also awaken in our own hearts!

The whole document may be found here.

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A transitional deacon of the Society of St. John Cantius writes about reclaiming the Catholic heritage of sacred music in Adoremus.

Realizing that the future of the Church rests with our children, the parish decided it was of supreme importance to form a choir for children and youth. The Chorus Innocentium Sanctorum (Choir of Holy Innocents), from its inception, has sought to teach the children of the parish the Church’s heritage of liturgical music. The choir includes youth from ages six to eighteen. Each Saturday morning the children and youth meet for two hours to learn the heritage of sacred music in both Latin and English.

The primary purpose of the choir is not to receive praise, but to give glory to God, and to catechize and edify the faithful. Children who have sung with the choir over the years are convinced of the importance of this. They develop a good understanding of sacred music, as well as its proper function in the liturgy. They learn the leadership skills necessary to advance the future of sacred music in the Catholic Church.

The children are excited to sing the chant and polyphony, as it involves them in the parish as leaders. The forty parishioners with whom Father Phillips met in 1988, including but one child, have now persevered to see this Choir of Holy Innocents grow to more than 100 active members

Hmmm... what a nice idea... Hint, hint.

Adoremus also has a piece about The Mundelein Psalter. Good things are happening in Chi-Town.

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National Hymnal


Adoremus has the first article in a two aprt series about a 1970s project to create a national collection of music approved for use in Catholic worship that failed miserably. In November, the U.S. Bishops conference approved a similar project, which was called for by the Vatican document Liturgiam authenticam.

I have mixed feelings about this. No, actually, they're pretty much all negative. The U.S. is far too big and far too diverse for any such hymnal to be meaningful to everybody. It seems like it would be much more realistic to work on a diocesan hymnal, or maybe a state-wide hymnal.

In fact, I actually would have warmer feelings towards a national hymnal if we had such regional resources already in existence from which it could draw. The way it is, however, I have little confidence that this won't be perceived by most - if not actually created so, which is a real possi---probability - as our liturgical elites telling us what we can and can't sing.

All of this is even before we get into the political aspects of traditional vs. folk vs. praise and worship music which will surely make this whole process exceedingly painful and in the end will likely satisfy none.

It is hard for me to see how this hymnal could be a catalyst of liturgical renewal, in fact, a hymnal that was instead the fruit of actual liturgical renewal would seem to have a better shot at being nationally "relevant," as the kids say.

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Apostolic Exhortation due out next week


In October 2005, bishops frpom around the world gathered in Rome for a synod on the Eucharist. Today, the Vatican reported that a post-synodal document entitled "Sacramentum Caritatis" or "Sacrament of Love" will be released. This will be the second major document of Benedict XVI's pontificate, and given his voluminous writing on the liturgy and the recent rumors swirling around that he plans to loosen the restrictions on the Tridentine Mass, the document will surely be closely scrutinized. Catholic News Agency has a report that speculates on some of the specific liturgical reforms that might be called for in the document. Though the document will undoubtedly make such prescriptions directed towards the clergy and towards liturgists, we can also expect that there will be a strong emphasis on exhorting the faithful to renew their own inner love and devotion for Jesus in the Sacrament. Whatever happens, this is exciting news indeed!

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Accuracy in Translation

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Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, who has drawn much ire around Catholic blogland for his criticisms of the new translation of the Mass, has an op-ed of sorts making his case in the UK Catholic paper The Tablet. Specifically, he pushes his argument against the "for many" translation of the latin phrase "pro multis" in the institution narrative of the Eucharistic Prayer.

In Matthew 26: 28 and following, we read: "For this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." The reference to the "many" is certainly drawn from Isaiah 53: 11, where we read: "Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many and their guilt he shall bear."

In this passage the term "many" is a Hebrew word that means "for everyone", since there was no Hebrew word "for all". The term was originally inclusive and signified "everybody". The Jesuit scholar Max Zerwick's Philological Analysis of the Greek New Testament is still an unsurpassed authority. On Matthew 26: 28 Zerwick explains that polloi, the Greek for "the many", translates a Semitic expression that can signify a multitude and at the same time a totality. It means "all (who are many)".

This was strongly affirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1970 when the Congregation commissioned Zerwick to research and write an article on the meaning of pro multis. That article was published in the official organ of that Congregation (Notitiae) in May 1970 (pages 138-140). It states: "According to exegetes, the Aramaic word which in Latin is translated ‘pro multis' means ‘pro omnibus': the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. St Augustine will help recall this: ‘You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?' "

In 1970 the Congregation for Divine Worship made a definitive judgement and published it in its official organ. What reasons now compel the Holy See to reverse itself? The English word "many" is normally taken to exclude some. The Pope's decision to revert to this literal translation does not seem to express in English the true meaning of the phrase. "Many" does not mean everyone. On a pastoral level we must have from the Vatican a better rationale for this major change than what has been given. With full respect and love for the Holy See, we need a pastoral explanation for the people. Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, concedes that "for many" does not convey at face value the Lord's universal salvific intent, but that this belongs to catechesis. Is not the liturgy the best form of catechesis? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The liturgy is the privileged place for catechising the people of God" (Paragraph 1074).

This argument is much more credible than his last attempt at making this point ("it's too confusing!"). I, however, not knowing any Hebrew or Greek, find myself unable to evaluate the merit of the new piece. I'd be interested if anybody knows where I can find this treated more fully.

UPDATE: Father Z fisks brutally:

Remember: this is all based on a conjecture (oopps… "guess") about what the Lord might have said in Aramaic – which we don’t know. This sets up a conflict between the "guess" and the Greek text of the New Testament. In other words, people who make this claim are creating their own text by which they judge the veracity of the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper. Neat, huh? NOTE: I demolished the passe argument that follows in a four part WDTPRS series. In that series I show the sandy foundations the following arguments rest upon. Also, kindly note that when you translate liturgical texts you are not translating Scripture. The Pope agrees.

He also claims to have treated this in a four part series, though he doesn't say if that was on his blog or his in his Wanderer column.

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Fool me 5,344,655,933 times...


Yet again rumors about the universal indult for priests to offer the Tridentine Mass are swirling about. The credibility of the rumors again has increased, but it's hard to get excited until something happens.

The best commentary I've seen comes from Father Z. (found via Amy Welborn), who, after listing several reasons that have been thrown aorund for why the Holy Father might grant the indult, does not reject any of them, but suggests a more plausible reason:

Pope Benedict simply wants to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do.

I won’t say this is long overdue, though I am really tempted. The time is simply ripe. When and if the document comes, those who are motivated by common sense and charity will make the proper use of it and refrain from whining that it should have been done years ago or that it is not enough or that it is too late, blah blah blah.

Establishing the older form of Mass as an "extraordinary" rite, with a solid footing alongside the Novus Ordo, is the right thing to do.

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The editors of Adoremus get a little snarky:

One hundred and three years after Pope Pius X called for liturgical reform, and “actual participation” of the people at Mass, in Tra le sollecitudini;

Forty-three years after the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which permitted use of vernacular languages at Mass;

It goes on and on...

On a very slightly more productive note (if you're a liturgy nerd), Adoremus also has a transcript of the USCCB debate leading up to the vote that approved the new liturgy translations, as well as the text of the widely-praised address by Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, Chairman of ICEL, that preceded the debate.

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Communion Under both Species


A commenter asks:

When I was younger, I'm 50, we didn't have anything to drink at Communion. All we got was the dry wafer.
Why & when did they change it?

Short answer:

WHY: To encourage fuller participation in the Mass by Catholics.
WHEN: After the Second vatican Council.

I sorta knew the answer off the top of my head, but thinking about it made me realize it's been a long time since I read any of the Church's liturgy documents, so just for fun, I decided to reseach a slightly more thorough answer.

Long answer:

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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