Cardinal Meisner on celebrating pontifical High Mass in the old form

Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne was asked, “Could you envision celebrating a pontifical high Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite?” His response:

As a Catholic Christian and in particular as a cardinal, I am bound to the entire liturgy of the Church – in every form which is celebrated in agreement with the successor of Peter. But as archbishop I have a particular ministry to offer, namely that of unity. Thus, the form that Pope Benedict XVI has termed “ordinary” is the standard for me.

Still, this unity also finds its expression in the liturgy in that we do not ignore those people who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite. In his motu proprio “Summorum pontificum” of 2007, the Holy Father expanded the possibilities of celebrating the liturgy in this extraordinary form. In the archdiocese of Cologne we take care to implement this: we have several churches in which the liturgy is regularly celebrated in the extraordinary form. But it is crucial – in the sense of the unity I mentioned – that those faithful who feel more at home in the extraordinary form also accept the ordinary form as such. That is the expressed wish of Pope Benedict XVI.

I take very seriously the desire for the celebration of the liturgy in the extraordinary form. I have tried to discover what motivates people who so highly value this form of our liturgy. What is important to them are periods of silence, the solemnity of the celebration, the devout atmosphere, and above all the space for one’s own prayer. Certain forms of expression such as Gregorian chant also touch them. I personally consider these aspects indispensable and treasure chant. These can and should have their place in the ordinary form of the liturgy. …

To your actual question: Until now, I have not celebrated a pontifical High Mass in the extraordinary form. Although I was ordained a priest in 1962 and initially celebrated Mass in the extraordinary form, today I would have to prepare extensively for it. At this time I see no reason to celebrate a pontifical High Mass in the extraordinary form.

tr. AWR

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91 comments

    1. For the first time since discovering PT, I agree with something Fr Allan writes.

      Mirabile dictu. Mirabile visu!

  1. “But it is crucial – in the sense of the unity I mentioned – that those faithful who feel more at home in the extraordinary form also accept the ordinary form as such.”

    And vice versa?

    “At this time I see no reason to celebrate a pontifical High Mass in the extraordinary form.”

    Perhaps to promote the afore-mentioned unity?

    1. Yes…it would seem that he might have been more clear about that point. That word “mutual” comes to mind…as in “mutual enrichment” and “mutual respect”, perhaps even “mutual acceptance”. While EF advocates who reject the OF are oft referred to as “extremists” or “ultra-conservatives”, there is little admonition for those OF advocates who reject the EF. The Cardinal makes a good point here. Both forms are now acknowledged as a part of our liturgical practice, so it is time to end the criticisms.

      1. What about those who continue to be skeptical about the old form for all the reasons the Second Vatican Council critiqued it, said it should not continue in use unreformed, intended defininitively to change it so it wouldn’t exist in its then-form?

        I’m not sure we can bury the teachings and directives of the Second Vatican Council that readily because of recent policy changes.

        awr

      2. You make it sound as if it were a simple matter of option A and option B.

        There is a reason why one is called the ordinary form and another, extraordinary.

        The former is the norm. The latter tolerated to avoid schism. (Unlikely to succeed.)

      3. Looking to the future rather than the past, the stated mind of the Church now :

        UE 6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.

        UE 7. . . . Among the statements of the Holy Father was the following: “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful.”

        UE 8. . . . The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, and has the aim of:

        a.) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;

        b.) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;

        c.) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.

      4. That said, I would agree that–in addition to preserving the EF as a “precious treasure” of the Church for the minority who will prefer it–our Holy Father’s principal intent surely must have been to provide a base in continuity for the continuing reform of the OF as the normative form for the benefit of the majority.

  2. I think this is a reasonable response. Would that all our bishops — EF and OF enthusiasts alike — had a similar “live and let live” approach to both forms.

  3. I agree Dylan. I admit that I am not a big fan of the eccelsiology implicit in the EF, but that’s just one guy’s view. I’m willing to back off critiques of EF folks, asking only that, in turn, my preference for the OF (as currently practiced) not be called evidence of heresy. Neither should my preference for the 1973 and 1998 iterations of the post-Conciliar form over the Missale Vox Clara be cause for insults that I and others are under educated phillistines. I endorse and will try to practice Dylan’s call for a truce. How about it? After all, variations in rite, but not faith are an ancient fact of the Church’s liturgical life.

  4. With Christianity so beleaguered in so many countries, I might go a step further and suggest that perhaps every Apostle of Christ ought to (pro)actively and energetically promote both forms of the Roman rite in every way he can. Making both conveniently available and encouraging everyone in his diocese to partake of whichever best fits him or her. Particularly, in evangelizing those who are not currently attending either form. Doing whatever he can as bishop to make both as attractive as possible. (My own belief being that exemplary liturgy–in a variety of senses–can be the best tool for the “new evangelization”; after all, if the liturgy doesn’t make people want to come to it regularly, what will?)

    1. if the liturgy doesn’t make people want to come to it regularly, what will?
      ——————————-
      Perhaps, a liturgy designed by your
      bishop after having sounded out his flock and with appropriate approvals, of course, from the USCCB.

  5. I’m surprised Cardinal Meisner thinks he would need extensive preparation to celebrate Pontifical High Mass. Nearly everything is done for you, and there is an assistant priest to guide you through the rubrics.

    1. Perhaps he does not want someone whispering all those finicky details about precise ways to hold one’s hands and fingers and exactly how to make all those finicky little crosses, or maybe he just does not sight read Latin nor want to slow down the service to do all the reading and following of the finicky rubrics. Or maybe he would like to do a good job of presiding and actually pronounce all of the Latin instead of mumbling his way through it. Maybe the Cardinal takes seriously, even for the EF, the obligation to preside and proclaim the prayers instead of just reading a Mass.

    2. “Nearly everything is done for you.”

      That’s how clerics, whose sole competence in Latin is limited to Kyrie eleison, can make their way through a Tridentine mass.

  6. Henry Edwards :

    With Christianity so beleaguered in so many countries, I might go a step further and suggest that perhaps every Apostle of Christ ought to (pro)actively and energetically promote both forms of the Roman rite in every way he can. …

    This is one of the most self-serving and least logical postings I have seen here. HE wants his preference actively promoted. The non-sequitor from “beleagured” Christianity is astounding.

    This approach by HE is in total contrast with the sensible approach of Cardinal Meisner.

    “But as archbishop I have a particular ministry to offer, namely that of unity. Thus, the form that Pope Benedict XVI has termed “ordinary” is the standard for me.” and

    “But it is crucial – in the sense of the unity I mentioned – that those faithful who feel more at home in the extraordinary form also accept the ordinary form as such. That is the expressed wish of Pope Benedict XVI.”

  7. Meisner: “I have tried to discover what motivates people who so highly value this form of our liturgy. What is important to them are periods of silence, the solemnity of the celebration, the devout atmosphere, and above all the space for one’s own prayer.”

    Here is an essential problem clearly stated and demonstrating the need for catechesis. They want space for their own prayer. They obviously do not want liturgy, which by its nature is communal prayer. We come together for Mass for communal prayer. Why can these people not pray in public with the Church and find space for their private prayers in private? This desire to find time for private prayer betrays a near total ignorance of the teachings of SC about the very nature of liturgy. Private devotions belong in private, not in the liturgy.
    Non-liturgical public devotion belong in their own time and place, not inserted into the liturgy.

    Periods of silence, solemn celebrations, and a devout atmosphere can all be had in the OF in the vernacular or the Latin. What cannot be had, what these people seem to insist on having is this private prayer in the midst of communal prayer. They are at least very consistent in wanting Latin, because their private prayer is so much more convenient when one is not distracted by public prayer in a language one understands.

    Here is the rejection of liturgy in favor of devotionalism in a nutshell. THEY want private prayer, and they simply do not care to learn that liturgy is communal prayer. It is an essential rejection of church teaching that liturgy is something other than what they want, their private time with God during the time they are required to be at a church service. It is a denial of the very nature of Christianity as communal rather than merely personal belief, personal devotions, personal morality. All else is subterfuge.

    One hour a week of communal prayer is unacceptable to these egoists. Even that time must be personalized.

    1. Tom, I think you’re over-reacting. Your comment is based on the Cardinal’s description of what these other people want, and it’s rather judgmental and dismissive and rude, full of wild accusations. I’m a bit furious reading it, to be honest.

      They obviously do not want liturgy.

      A near total ignorance of [the] very nature of liturgy.

      They simply do not care to learn that liturgy is communal prayer.

      They want […] private time with God during the time they are required to be at a church service.

      One hour a week of communal prayer is unacceptable to these egoists.

      The Cardinal said “one’s own prayer”, he didn’t say “private” or “devotions”, which is what a large part of your comment focuses on. How do you know what prayers these people are praying? Maybe they’re praying thematically with the priest during the Canon, as recommended by Ratzinger in his remarks about silence during the Eucharistic Prayer.

      And surely you are aware that there are places in the Mass where we can offer our own prayers (silent, but not strictly private). “Let us pray” followed by silence — not so that the priest can flip to the right page, but so that we can in fact pray, and have our prayers collected into one in the prayer spoken by the priest.

      And maybe the things they want that you say can be found in an OF can’t be found in the OFs they have easy access to.

      It’s like you assume the absolute worst about “these people” and write them off as hopeless, selfish, unchristian brats.

      1. “It’s like you assume the absolute worst about “these people” and write them off as hopeless, selfish, unchristian brats.”

        That’s very much the impression I got as well. I really didn’t see the logical connection between the Cardinal’s comment and the wild conclusions Tom came to.

      2. The Cardinal’s description fits so much I have seen here on PTB and elsewhere that I have intentionally taken the occasion to generalize rather than accuse an individual or claim to read a particular person’s mind.

        Yes, there might be the particular individuals with the better attitudes mention as possiblities, but they are not the verbal majority of those who want EF. That majority should not be allowed to hide behind the few exceptions in their midst.

        Why are those places in the Mass where we can offer our own prayers not enough for these egoists?

        They should work on the OFs in their parish, not try to drag us all back to the devotionalism of faux liturgical EF.

        I get very tired of this phoney argument about the OF not having silences, solemnity, or a devout atmosphere from people who are not willing to put in the effort to create these very accessible qualities in the OF and instead want to run away into the past where they attend the Mass Father says instead of participating in the Liturgy of the Church.

        I will not write them off, but they are ignorant of the liturgy and selfish and trying to get their personal desires put ahead of actual liturgy.

      3. I would say you are completely wrong – the people who want the EF typically want good liturgy where people pray the Mass. The verbal majority wants this, as do the people you find at a typical EF Mass, where lots of effort is put into making most Masses high Masses and effort is put into making the texts of the Mass accessible to all visitors. None of what you’ve written follows from any online or personal evidence I have ever seen regarding people who prefer the EF aside for a tiny minority. You seem to have drawn conclusions and then found evidence for them.

        Also, the people who want the EF are not forcing it on you, so stop acting as if they are with your “drag us all back to the devotionalism of faux liturgical EF.” Something isn’t an imposition just because it is available in a few places where people really wanted it. How many times have you had to change your schedule because the time you wanted to go Mass was switched to an EF? You would be a real exception to the rule if you said even once. You seem to be the one who wants to impose his own preferences.

        Can you even fathom that there might be purely good and positive reasons why some people want and prefer the EF?

      4. They should work on the OFs in their parish…

        How do you know they haven’t? How do you know what they’ve suggested to their pastors or parish liturgical committees? Oh, that’s right — you’re taking the opportunity to generalize.

        [They] want to run away into the past where they attend the Mass Father says instead of participating in the Liturgy of the Church.

        How do you know what they’re doing?! How do you know they’re not participating according to whichever Missal the priest is celebrating?

        Why are those places in the Mass where we can offer our own prayers not enough for these egoists?

        Basta, as they say. I take my questions back; I don’t want to continue this discussion.

    2. When are you going to address the liturgical issue instead of arguing how popular you claim your position is?

      Your put down understates the facts. I don’t just think I am an expert on liturgy, I am an expert. I have both the academic credential and four decades of experience in multiple parishes and on the diocesan and national levels.

      I had the humility to get the credential after almost three decades or work and reading about liturgy.

      Before that, I was I server for almost a decade before V2 and worked as an MC as a seminarian during the transition when the rubrics were still in Latin.

      What makes you an expert on liturgy?

      Why do you think that those with whom you are in touch or objective?

      What does liturgical expertise have to do with the location of the mainstream instead of knowledge?

      Notice that I have asked serious questions, not made rhetorical claims or leveled unsupported charges.

    3. The resort to argumenta ad hominem simply indicates the bankruptcy of your argument.

      People with higher degrees in liturgy are…..liturgists.

    4. Was that first sentence meant to be a question?

      If so the answer is yes. You need catechesis.

      Liturgy is not a matter of American politics where everyone is entitled to an opinion no matter how ill informed. Opinions on liturgy require a theological background, or at least a close familiarity with the basic documents, in this case, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

      By the way, why have you made another personal attack and not even attempted to answer any of my serious questions?

  8. JW at 10:00
    You are ignoring the actual content of what I have written.
    These people do not want good liturgy they want private prayer.

    The entire trend of the RotR crowd indeed is to force the old ways on as many people as possible.

    JP at12:19 and 10:17
    You can propose all the creative possibilities you can imagine, but asking about these few possibilities does nothing to address the generalities. Repeatedly, as the Cardinal cites from his inquiries, TLM and EF advocates cite their desires for private prayer during the Mass. This reveals a lack of understanding of liturgy as communal prayer. They do not want liturgy, they want some other form of devotional ritual. These are my subjects, not the few exceptions you can imagine. Please stay on topic instead of building straw men.

    The usefulness of actually studying liturgy lies partially in defining the terms accurately and in basing one’s planning on the principles and purposes of liturgy instead of on personal tastes and preferences. [This is true on the left and right. I have actually been involved in more heated discussions in committee meetings over forty years with “liberals” wanting to introduced some new fad than in trying to get “conservatives” to give up some old devotion.]

    1. You are ignoring the actual content of what I have written.
      These people do not want good liturgy they want private prayer.

      No, he’s disagreeing with you. There’s a difference.

      1. He appears to be ignoring Tom’s post. He may also be disagreeing with him, inadvertently.

      2. I addressed the content of his post in so far as I feel he reached very wild conclusions that have no evidence to support them. I would have to suspend my disbelief in order to go along with what he has said. While EF advocates will often defend those who would wish to do things such as pray the Rosary during Mass, far more effort is put into trying to get people to pray the Mass itself (like through bulletin inserts and those ubiquitous red books).

        I imagine I have far far more insider experience with how the EF is celebrated today and the mentality of those who attend it than Tom does. Nothing he has said rings true, and his claims are outlandish enough that I think a lot of evidence is required to substantiate them. It seems to be his personal opinion more than anything else.

      3. One cannot help wondering whether some folks’ lives and/or careers have been colored with an essentially negative approach to liturgy, preoccupied with the perception that some people in the past or present were or are less sincere, less devoted, less enlightened, less holy, or even less accepting of the fruits of the most recent Council than are they themselves.

        So now it naturally is difficult for them to wrap their minds around the fact that some of these people have a fully positive approach and devotion to both valid forms of the Roman rite, and earnestly wish the best for both. Understandably, it must be hard to comprehend the enthusiasm of some—and especially younger folks who grew up with the newer form and have no memory of the older form in the past—for the treasure of the older form, while also being fully appreciative of the complementary merits of the newer form.

        Or that for some a hope and dream that the OF to reach its fullest potential may be inseparable from their desire for the EF as well, because (with Pope Benedict) they see the two forms are mutually enriching. In summary, because they love the Roman rite and pray for it to best meets the needs and aspirations for all Roman Catholics—and not just their own individual needs— in their common worship of God.

  9. Liturgy is the official communal prayer of a Christian denomination. It is not a performance by ministers for an audience, nor is it a time for lifting individuals into private reveries.

    Mass is a time for renewing the Christian community through sharing the Scriptures and the Lord’s Supper. These things can be done with greater or lesser solemnity [or formality which seems to be what some mean by more devoutly] but they can not be replaced with visions of heaven or private prayer.

    Liturgy cannot be limited to adoration/worship, either. It is not entirely a lifting up, because it is also God handing down. Liturgy is not only about people relating to God, it is also about Christians relating to each other. These things are all omitted by those who want more private prayer instead of liturgy.

    That is my essential point. These people may use the word “liturgy”, but almost every preference they offer is devotional rather than liturgical and their words reveal that they do not understand that there is a difference. They have not learned the definitions and lessons of Sacrosanctum Concilium, not learned the mind of the Church regarding the very nature of liturgy.

    This is why it is so hard to have a discussion about liturgy with this minority. They do not understand how liturgy is something different from what they want and they do not want to learn what the Church actually means by liturgy. In essence, they are denying the very nature of liturgy and battling to have something else.

    I think that all of us who have studied and understand the principles of liturgy need to keep clear in our minds that we often deal with people who are in denial or willful ignorance of liturgical principles. It will help us keep calm in personal relationships if we realize that they do not even understand the words they are using.

    1. #27, The “mind of the Church” says there are TWO forms of the Roman Rite to be respected. What may start with “devotionalism” may very well grow into a strong sense of being a Catholic and a myriad of other things, all derived from devotion. I wouldn’t be so quick to write off what you do not agree with or understand. Devotion may and often does spread into a depper understanding and will to understand they Faith. Where a person begins their journey into their Faith is a deeply personal one, whether ir be at the EF or the OF Mass. Your comments appear aimed at marginalizing a group of Catholics who prefer the EF for whatever reason. Each post is quite condescending. I am curious how the thousands of Priests feel about having made all those “finicky” crosses for centuries. I would like to believe they did so in complete accordance with the mens of the Church and the utmost devotion. Something even you admit is lacking in many Masses of today. As an EF attendee and the occasional OF as well I can only speak for myself when I say I have never tried to force my preference on anyone and in fact mention it to very few. I simply prefer the atmosphere and trying to understand what is still relatively new for me, a few years, has taught me more about my Faith than all the years growing up with everything in a language and atmosphere very “relaxed” and actually quite banal. That is often the suprising result from the going to an EF Mass.

      1. Not sure the “mind of the church” has said that. The Pope and curia have said that over the objections of most bishops and conferences.

        And we haven’t even begun to talk about the people of God and the sensus fidelium.

        You have the usual spin going.

      2. Mr. Bateman – really….look up the definition for exaggeration. Yes, we do have an order that was established to preserve or maintain SP…..has to be a first in the history of the church?

        The history of religious orders was almost always based upon a response to the gospel. Now we have a “new” initiative….an order (Institute of Christ the King – go to their website – less than 20 locations in the world) that “saves” an exception; a second form of a liturgical rite in a time period where we need every priest…give me a break.

        millions of catholics?, thousands of parishes? – please look at this list for US/Canada: http://web2.airmail.net/carlsch/MaterDei/churchessummary.htm – might reach a hundred and merely names some places that will “host” one mass – no numbers of attendees?

      3. The Institute of Christ the King, headed by the Monsignor who is not a monsignor, but insists on continuing to call himself one.

      4. “And we haven’t even begun to talk about the people of God and the sensus fidelium.”

        What is the sensus fidelium according to you? Every poll I’ve ever seen seems to show that the People of God are perfectly happy to allow the Latin Mass for those who want it.

        And I really wonder who you think the priests who celebrate Latin Masses are ministering to when you act like they are wasting resources at “a time period where we need every priest.” The people who attend the EF are part of the People of God and sensus fidelium. They are part of the “we” you talk about when you say “we need every priest.” Their souls aren’t a worthless waste of time, you know.

        Ecclesia Dei ( http://www.ecclesiadei.org/masses.cfm ) lists way more than 100 churches that offer the EF. It’s closer to 400. Not bad considering the short time SP has been in effect and the wasteful resistance the EF receives from some priests and bishops.

    2. Tell me what is mistaken, not just that you do not like what I say or that you do not like how I say it.

      Deal with the fact that what the Cardinal discovered is that people who want the EF want time for private prayer. This focus is not liturgical but devotional. You refuse to address this issue, instead offering judgments and insults.

      Please discuss the issue.

      Liturgical prayer is not the time for private prayer. Why is the allowed time for silent prayer in the midst of the liturgy not enough?

  10. JN – you like to attack; you state you are an historian. Really – your above post is merely opinion based on what – your imagination working overtime? The church is more than Ratzinger; more than JPII – the liturgy of the 1970’s evolved from VII.

    You use terms such as “unholy mess” (how historical – let’s see; your documentation comes from Fr. Z, Wanderer, etc.); “refuse to admit” …..again, documentation…in fact, the 1998 approved translation was based upon feedback and improvements; your “outdated as flared trousers and cassette tapes” – again, how historical.

    Please, you need to continue to post with Fr. Z or present on EWTN – your history or alternative universe will be well-received.

  11. John Nolan :

    I’m surprised Cardinal Meisner thinks he would need extensive preparation to celebrate Pontifical High Mass. Nearly everything is done for you, and there is an assistant priest to guide you through the rubrics.

    Contrast this with later post by JN.
    “What a load of b…s! I know plenty of priests who celebrate the EF and have taken the trouble to learn it. ”

    So what is it? EF takes no extensive preparations or people have to take the trouble to learn it and should be praised for putting in the effort?

    Consistency is useful in serious discussion.

    On the other hand, if one is just arguing in order to come out looking like a winner, then one does not need to worry about consistency, or specific knowledge.

      1. Solves nothing.
        Either it takes extensive preparation or it does not. JN claims whichever is convenient to winning a particular point, with no consistency.

      2. How about this: for the celebrant, low Mass and high Mass take quite a bit of effort. For a pontifical Mass. . . not so much, since the celebrant mainly stands there and looks pretty.

        NB: I don’t know if this is true or not, but if it is then JN is not being inconsistent.

      3. Tom, does making a meal take extensive preparation or not?

        My breakfast didn’t. My dinner will.

        I don’t doubt JN is trying to win a point, but it seems to me you often are too.

    1. What is this special knowledge you claim?

      You do not become consistent by merely claiming to be consistent, you must be able to demonstrate it. If in one place you claim something is easily done with no preparation and another you state how much preparation work people have to put into the same thing, that is apparently inconsistent. You have claimed but not shown how it is not.

      All this attacking and demanding tolerance without providing substantial material is irrelevant to theological discussion. It amounts to more ad hominem attacks such as used by amoral politicians but not by charitable theologians.

  12. The arguments favoring the EF seems to be these.

    > Some want the EF because it better provides for private prayer. This denies the nature of liturgy as communal prayer.

    > Repeatedly on PTB some favor the EF as a personal preference and consider others likely to agree with them if they can expose the majority of Catholics to the EF. These consider themselves to be leading a wave of the future, and they market the EF as the coming thing, seeking to create a bandwagon effect. This is a campaign technique, not a liturgical or theological argument. It is just a desire to (and prediction that they will) win.

    > Some are insecure in their “Catholic Identity” and want the EF because it is historically distinct from the Eucharist as celebrated by Protestants. This is not a liturgical point. See above mentioned desire to win.

    > Some want the EF because its language is emphatically focused on the sacrificial interpretation of the Eucharist. This preference for apologetic content has nothing to do with liturgical values.

    > Some hierarchs prefer the EF because it is priest focused and makes a clear distinction between clergy and laity with greater importance given to the clergy. This is in direct contrast to the teaching of Sacrosanctum Concilium that the Mass is celebrated by all present, by the priestly, prophetic, and royal people of God. It is a rejection of an Ecumenical Council’s description of liturgy.

    > Some Eurocentric esthetes prefer the musical and other cultural associations of the EF. To these, the EF is “more beautiful” and part of our “cultural heritage”. This disregards liturgical principles.

    The above arguments are what I have heard in support of the EF.

    All you anger-venting, accusatory, and motive challenging proponents of the EF are invited to skip those stages and actually offer some liturgical reason to support the EF, because none such are seen above.

    1. Some people prefer the EF because it is less priest-centric. The priest faces with the congregation and prays with them (rather than in front of them), does not get to choose whatever prayer options he personally likes best and forever ignore the ones he does not like, and doesn’t get the opportunity to impose his own prayers and devotions at various places in the Mass. Since the EF isn’t the plaything of the priest, it allows it to be owned by all present, by the priestly, prophetic, and royal people of God.

      Some people prefer the EF because it gives more time for private prayer so they can feel a personal connection to what is going on instead of being just one unimportant congregant of many – people are allowed to have personal responses amidst the overal community gathering, just like they would at any other meaningful communal action they would participate in (like a family dinner). You seem to confuse private devotion with private prayer and still have not explained how private prayer denies the communal aspect of liturgy. You seem to think liturgy is only communal in an impersonal sense – just lots of people visibly doing the same thing. No wonder many Catholics leave the Church for Protestant groups that emphasize a “personal relationship with Jesus.” I guess they are just selfish egoists.

      1. “The priest…….does not get to choose whatever prayer options he personally likes best and forever ignore the ones he does not like,”

        “people are allowed to have personal responses amidst the overal community gathering,”

        It’s interesting that when the priest has a choice it’s bad and when the congregation can choose it’s good. Make up your mind!

        The primary argument you make that the rite from the Tridentine era is less priest-centred can be turned on its heard with a little historical context, namely, that in the missal of Pius V the priest did it all. So much so that the only person needed for the ritual was the priest, and for the 400 intervening years between Trent and the Second Vatican Council, priests ‘saying private masses’ was very common, especially in religious communities, but also in parishes.

        Priesthood, rather than the person of the individual priest is exalted in the rite from the Tridentine era, while the impulse of the Second Vatican Council is to narrow the gap between ordained and non-ordained Christians.

      2. It’s interesting that when the priest has a choice it’s bad and when the congregation can choose it’s good. Make up your mind!

        Perhaps the distinction is that the priest’s choices are imposed on the congregation, while the congregation’s choices are not imposed on anyone.

        It seems to me that the 20th century liturgical movement sought to reclaim the rightful participation of the congregation in the Mass, not just sacramentally (receiving Communion), but also intellectually (understanding the Mass and their role in it), spiritually (uniting their prayers and offerings to the Eucharist), and bodily (postures, responses, etc.). Documents from Pius X forward emphasize these concepts. This was all within the framework of the Tridentine Missal.

      3. JP hit the nail on the head – there is no conflict in what I wrote. When there are periods of silence in Mass and opportunities for the congregation to respond personally, it does not impose on other people the way a priest with his preferences can.

        A lady three pews ahead at me praying the rosary (and people at the OF do pray the rosary) doesn’t affect me, for example.

        As for context, you can only beat the Tridentine Missal up so long for being poorly celebrated fifty years ago.

      4. “Perhaps the distinction is that the priest’s choices are imposed on the congregation, while the congregation’s choices are not imposed on anyone.”

        That is a false reading of what happens. The choices which individual worshippers may make can indeed affect other people. If someone decides to read a book, a missal or something else during the mass, or to say the rosary using a beads, it can and does affect other participants. This is particularly so if the congregation is small and in choir formation, where one side faces the other.

        Your use of the word ‘imposed’ is tendentious. There are lots of places during the eucharist where choices have to be made. Why do you call these impositions?

        Are you so distrustful of the choices that presiders make, that you would wish all choice be eliminated? Of course, that way you could control human behaviour more easily.

      5. To Gerard (you can tell it’s a serious response because I’ve taken the time to spell your name right):

        The choices which individual worshippers may make can indeed affect other people.

        I think you are conflating what I said with what Jack said. I did not say that one person’s choices to not affect another person’s; Jack said that, that a woman praying the Rosary doesn’t affect him. I said that one person’s choices are not imposed on the rest: the woman who decides to pray the Rosary three pews ahead of me does not require me also to pray the Rosary. Unlike Jack, I think I would be affected by my fellow congregants choices (such as attire or the praying of the Rosary).

        Are you so distrustful of the choices that presiders make, that you would wish all choice be eliminated?

        I think this is more conflation: I was attempting to explain the remark Jack made. I didn’t make Jack’s remark. Since you asked me, though, I should answer (in the next comment).

        Of course, that way you could control human behaviour more easily.

        I don’t think that villainizing remark was called for, and that’s certainly not my intent. I would ask Tom to come to my help!

      6. I would consider someone distracted by the things you list as being a busybody.

        In your typical congregation people tend to pay more attention to what the priest is saying/doing, so what he does and says tends to be more overpowering than the old lady sitting three pews in front of me or the little boy sitting five rows behind me. The priest is really the only person there who could be said to have a captive audience since there is an expectation that you pay attention to him and respond to him.

      7. To Gerard (part 2):

        Are you so distrustful of the choices that presiders make, that you would wish all choice be eliminated?

        No, I would not have all choices be eliminated, nor am I distrustful of presiders’ choices. I would just prefer that the options get more equitable time.

        Example: We have multiple EPs now because “One anaphora alone cannot contain all the pastoral, spiritual, and theological riches to be hoped for. A multiplicity of texts must make up for the limitations of any one of them.” But just because EP II was missing for centuries and EP I was used for centuries doesn’t mean their respective use should now be inverted in some form of liturgical affirmative action.

        That said, this past Sunday was a great opportunity to use EP III, because it contains the phrase “make us an everlasting gift to you” which echoes the prayer over the offerings. I also think using EP III on Sundays which take precedence over a saint’s day is a good idea, so that the saint’s name can be included in the EP. EP IV is beautiful and deserves more use!

        I’d like the opportunity to pray the Confiteor with my brothers and sisters more often, but at my parish, there’s always a deacon at Mass (as long as I’ve been there), and so the Kyrie with invocations are used instead. (And yet… the lector reads the intentions of the prayer of the faithful… go figure.) And who has actually used Penitential Form B (followed by the Kyrie, of course, though the current translation can obscure the distinction between Form B and the Kyrie)?

        As for controlling behavior / imposing, let me make these two remarks: 1) we’ve all heard anecdotes of people having their hands forcibly held during the Our Father (and perhaps a priest instructing people to do so); 2) I’m liberal about receiving Communion: standing/kneeling, hand/tongue — unity needn’t mean uniformity, right? 😉

      8. Jack: I would consider someone distracted by the things you list as being a busybody.

        In all fairness, I don’t have the best custody of my eyes, and I can be distracted by things I notice out of the corner of my eye. I wouldn’t say I’m a busybody (I’m not nosy about other people’s business), but maybe I’m just hyper-observant.

        In your typical congregation people tend to pay more attention to what the priest is saying/doing…

        Hey, I thought the Mass WASN’T priest-centered! 😉

        I agree with Gerard that churches with antiphonal seating (or in the round) put the other congregants in clearer view of each other (their fronts, not their backs) so their expressions and actions are more noticeable.

      9. JP, I will concede that my statement regarding how the actions of each individual at Mass don’t affect the other people present is sort of extreme. What I was mostly driving at was that the choices of individual congregants do not affect the whole congregation to the same degree as the choices made by the priest. For better or worse, your typical Mass (OF or EF) involves a large group of people facing one person up on a platform who often wears a microphone.

        I will admit that my tolerance for “distracting things” is pretty high. I have only had two times where the actions of another pew sitter seriously affected me in a negative way. There were the two teenage girls who kept singing that “Don’t trust a ho” song by 3OH3! during Mass and the group of people who said all the responses in a purposefully mocking way (complete with exaggerated finger snapping hand motions – think “AND snap ALSO snap WITH snap YOU OO OO”). I’ve never noticed anyone reading a missal or praying a rosary in a distracting way that demands attention.

  13. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Tom, does making a meal take extensive preparation or not?
    My breakfast didn’t. My dinner will.
    I don’t doubt JN is trying to win a point, but it seems to me you often are too.

    But I am both logical and consistent.

    JP, you need to pause longer before posting.
    You write these irrelevant things which do not advance the discussion as if you just want to be contrary.
    It is similar to the points you make about there might be some who have different motives than ones I describe. Given the modifiers, almost certainly true, but irrelevant to the discussion.

    It is like you just want to take a shot, take someone down a peg, without contributing anything useful.

    1. Tom, I gave an example of a matter which can (but needn’t) require “extensive preparation” because you consider it illogical to say that it isn’t hard for a bishop celebrating a pontifical EF Mass (because the other ministers handle a lot of the proceedings) and also to say that a priest needs to take the effort to prepare for celebrating an EF Mass. I think you’re overlooking something that is readily apparent, which is why I made a comparison to a very simple example.

      Perhaps you can explain why you insist that “Either [the EF Mass] takes extensive preparation or it does not.” But perhaps this is a side-issue and doesn’t merit further discussion here.

      I apologize for responding to your other comments by deflecting from the points you’re trying to make and setting up an alternative explanation which is irrelevant. I haven’t been trying to take shots; I have been trying to contribute. But I will take your advice and pause longer (and think twice) before posting comments here.

  14. Jack Wayne :
    Some people prefer the EF because it gives more time for private prayer so they can feel a personal connection to what is going on instead of being just one unimportant congregant of many … No wonder many Catholics leave the Church for Protestant groups that emphasize a “personal relationship with Jesus.” I guess they are just selfish egoists.

    JW has returned to the original meme. EF proponents have a selfish desire to be individualists, not just one of many. He does not understand that liturgy is specifically communal prayer and goes out of his way to denigrate the idea of communal. He wants all prayer to be a personal relationship with Jesus and not communal prayer.

    Not even for one hour a week will this sort of person give up on their self-centeredness and participate in the Christian community. All the rest of the blather is irrelevant.

    QED He does not understand the nature of liturgy.

    1. Or you could have read my post. I said absolutely nothing of what you ascribe to me.

      Your over-the-top characterization of me is supported by nothing but your own delusions and total inability to understand any viewpoint other than your own. It amazes me you think you can talk to people the way you do and use your supposed four decades of liturgical study as an excuse to do so.

      1. You are denying that I quoted you accurately?

        Or are you denying that you want to insert personal prayer into the communal prayer which is liturgy?

        Or are you denying that liturgical prayer is communal?

        If you want to insert personal prayer into liturgy, then you do not understand liturgy. If you think that liturgical prayer is primarily a personal rather than a communal experience, then you do not understand liturgy.

        If you can provide logical counter-arguments to such positions, they you should do so.

        You should not just make insults and complain about remarks if you cannot make a logical case for your positions. That is called an ad hominem attack. It is useful in political rhetoric, but not in a theological discussions. If you want your viewpoint understood, then it is up to you to describe it clearly, including the logic behind it. You seem to be avoiding that.

      2. Quoting something and then making something up in reply that has no logical connection to what you are replying to is not an argument. So far it really seems like you’ve just inferred whatever you feel like from what I have written. What I’ve actually said doesn’t seem to matter at all.

        I never said liturgy is primarily a personal experience. I never denied that liturgical prayer is communal. I never said that private prayer must be inserted into liturgy (whatever that means). Please find the quotes where I directly say these things.

        Provide me with a logical argument first, then I’ll bother with a counter argument. So far you haven’t given me anything to work with other than grand declarations that I’m selfish and don’t understand liturgy.

      3. Tom, I apologize if — like a Took — I am being too hasty, but I think Jack’s saying your characterization of him is not based on what he said.

        Jack’s “some people prefer the EF because it gives more time for private prayer so they can feel a personal connection to what is going on” became your “He wants all prayer to be a personal relationship with Jesus and not communal prayer.”

        I don’t recall Jack saying anything that could amount to a denigration of communal prayer.

        But this is between you and Jack, so if my intrusion is unwelcome, I’ll kindly butt out.

    2. “Tom, I apologize if — like a Took — I am being too hasty, but I think Jack’s saying your characterization of him is not based on what he said.”

      Yes, that is what I meant.

  15. Answering two points further up this thread:

    There is nothing private about what we do at liturgy. Personal, yes, but not private. The two are not the same. However, attempting to differentiate private devotion from private prayer is a lost cause. They are one and the same, since they are private. The essence of liturgy is that it is communal, as Tom has incessantly pointed out, but that does not mean that we are not personally engaged in it.

    One of Inwood’s Liturgical Laws states that in liturgy all movement draws attention to itself and can potentially be a distraction. In the same way, anyone doing something different from the rest of the assembly (for example, saying the rosary) is making a statement about their participation (more correctly their lack of it) in the common enterprise which is the liturgical celebration. It’s the same as the person who sits there with arms folded, resolutely refusing to take part in the spoken responses or the singing. They are saying with their whole body “I am not part of what you are doing.”

    We need to be honest and admit that private devotion during Mass is precisely that: saying one’s own private prayers on the occasion of the Church’s public, communal liturgy, and thus disconnected with the liturgical action. Why come to Mass at all if that’s what you want to do?

    1. Jeffrey Pinhead,

      Thanks for taking the trouble to get my name correct!

      There’s a lot of verbosity on this thread. If the subject has not been thoroughly exhausted, some of the comments are quite exhausting.

      1. It’s fair turnabout for my misspelling his name as “Gerald” on purpose from before. Besides, now I can reminisce about my elementary school days.

        Anyway, Gerard didn’t mean to take a shot or take me down a peg without contributing something useful to the discussion.

  16. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jeffrey Pinyan :

    I don’t recall Jack saying anything that could amount to a denigration of communal prayer.

    JW “You seem to think liturgy is only communal in an impersonal sense – just lots of people visibly doing the same thing. No wonder many Catholics leave the Church for Protestant groups ”

    Sounds either denigrating of communal or a case of JW mischaracterizing what I say.

    In any case, JW continues to make ad hominem attacks, while not contributing anything positive or clarifying to the discussion. If he thinks I have drawn illogical conclusions from what he has said, he should show the false syllogisms and disprove them.

    Just because I rephrase what he says does not mean that I have mischaracterized his position. He has gone many postings now without offering anything but rage and personal attacks.

    I offered everybody a great big opportunity earlier with my list of EF support motives. No one has offered additional motivations. No one has offered specifically liturgical reasons for supporting the EF.

    JW happens to be a very verbose case of condemning others without making any case for his positions. As others have observed, he seems to be more interested in attacks and raging than in lilturgy. I do not think there is very much JW content for you to support, JP.

    1. Could you actually demonstrate your portrayal of me with things I have actually said? Not a goofy “rephrasing” that is biased towards your own conclusions.

      Even your attempt above to say I am denigrating the communal aspect of liturgy has no support from what I have said. I said that you seem to view liturgy as being communal in an impersonal sense, nothing more. That isn’t even a statement directly related to the communal nature of liturgy nor of what I think of it

      Also, you seriously need to reread your posts addressed to me if you think I’m the one “more interested in attacks and raging than in liturgy.”

      1. Still nothing but attacks.
        No specific position taken.
        No logic.
        Nothing since the original desire to have more private prayer instead of communal liturgy.
        No liturgical reason for anything.

        Of course you continue to defend your unsupported description, reading of my mind, attribution of opinion to me regarding communal nature of liturgy. You seem to feel you can just characterize how I view the communal nature of liturgy without any evidence, but you can complain about logical deductions from your stated preference for private prayer instead of participating in liturgy. Your attribution of people leaving the RCC because of the communal nature of liturgy instead of a me and Jesus approach, you do not admit to be an attack on the communal nature of liturgy.

      2. You seem to think you can attribute ideas to me that I have not stated (like wanting private prayer *instead* of communal liturgy – a position I have never taken) and make rash characterizations of me (I’m selfish according to you and don’t want liturgy, for example). When asked to support these characterizations and opinions with things I have actually said, you simply tell me I’m attacking you.

        Your second paragraph where you think you are describing me is a perfect description of what I currently think of your postings. I think you are more interested in winning than in having a conversation, so I don’t really think it productive to talk to you anymore concerning this topic. I can already predict your reply anyway. I leave with no ill will against you, and am not “raging” at all.

        I have stated that times for private prayer in liturgy can be a good thing because they can foster a sense of personal connection to the overall communal action. I never once said this should replace communal worship, nor do I think the two are mutually exclusive (t is “both/and” as they say). I never put down communal worship either, though I may have MISUNDERSTOOD your position on what communal worship is (not mischaracterized, which seems to assume malice on my part ).

  17. Bishop Fernando Rifan (Apostolic Administrator of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, Brazil], in the course of explaining why he and his priests, though dedicated to the EF, sometimes concelebrate the OF:
    – – – – –
    “We love, prefer, and preserve the Roman liturgy in its most ancient form because it is, for us, a better liturgical expression of the eucharistic dogmas and solid spiritual sustenance, for its richness, beauty, elevation, nobility and solemnity of the ceremonies, for its sense of sacrality and reverence, for its sense of mystery, for its greater precision and rigor in rubrics, presenting thus greater safety and protection against abuse, leaving no space to ‘ambiguities, liberty, creativity, adaptations, reductions, instrumentalization’, as Blessed Pope John Paul II lamented (Enc. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 10, 52, 61). Because it is one of the Catholic liturgical riches, we express, by way of the Mass in the more ancient Roman ritual form, our love for Holy Church and our full communion with it. We preserve the venerable rite of Saint Pius V, but ‘cum Petro et sub Petro’, in full communion. And the Holy See recognizes our adherence as perfectly legitimate, granting us this liturgy as proper to our Apostolic Administration. Therefore, thanks to God and to the Holy See, our priests and faithful can join the Church and celebrate divine worship with this liturgical treasure of the Church that is the ancient ritual forma of the Roman Rite.”
    – – – – –
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2011/08/note-on-concelebration-of-holy-mass-in.html#more

    1. Except that the 1962 Roman Missal is not “the Roman liturgy in its most ancient form”. That cannot even be claimed by the 1570 Missal. The “Gregorian” form (i.e. the Mass as celebrated at the time Gregory I added a clause to the Hanc igitur) is quite ancient, but not ancient enough. You could say that Justin Martyr’s description is the most ancient form of the Roman liturgy.

      1. While I can’t read the original writer’s mind (and perhaps wrongly assuming this is a translation from Portuguese that might not fully reflect the author’s meaning), I interpreted “most ancient form” to be relational – the 1962/1570 Missal is currently the oldest form of the Roman liturgy still in use.

  18. Jack Wayne :

    I have stated that times for private prayer in liturgy can be a good thing because they can foster a sense of personal connection to the overall communal action. I never once said this should replace communal worship, nor do I think the two are mutually exclusive (t is “both/and” as they say).

    The entire distraction on this thread began with you making a personal and unsupported attack: “That’s very much the impression I got as well. I really didn’t see the logical connection between the Cardinal’s comment and the wild conclusions Tom came to.”

    I began my comments with generalities about a category of people described by Meisner. If you want to claim that you hold a different position, then you should explain your position.

    You have continued to make negative characterizations regarding myself and refused to offer any support for your positions.

    The only thing I have been trying to win in our back and forth is some substantive instead of personal comments from you. You have finally provided one such, and I reply.

    There is already time for private prayer in liturgy.
    It seems that you are pushing for more private time.
    If so, that is what I am claiming is counter to liturgical prayer which is basically communal.

  19. Bishop Rifan:
    “We love, prefer, and preserve the Roman liturgy in its most ancient form because it is, for us, a better liturgical expression of the eucharistic dogmas and solid spiritual sustenance, for its richness, beauty, elevation, nobility and solemnity of the ceremonies, for its sense of sacrality and reverence, for its sense of mystery, for its greater precision and rigor in rubrics, presenting thus greater safety and protection against abuse, leaving no space to ‘ambiguities, liberty, creativity, adaptations, reductions, instrumentalization’,

    Note please, that none of these reasons are liturgical reasons. This is stating a preference for a liturgical form because it serves other than liturgical purposes.

    Liturgy needs to be seen as the communal prayer which it is. The Mass needs to directly, affectively, nourish all present with the Scriptures and by sharing in the communal meal. Other theological truths may be spoken about the liturgy, but they should not be cited in making decisions about liturgy.

  20. In a lunch discussion today, it occurred to me that some of the statements, which I have described as being theologically true but irrelevant to liturgical discussions or evaluations, might also be described as being focused on the effects of Sanctifying Grace and failing to support or encourage the effects of Actual Grace.

    Is this a useful way of putting things?

  21. Jack Wayne :

    When asked to support these characterizations and opinions with things I have actually said, you simply tell me I’m attacking you.

    You have neglected to address this reference to what you actually said.
    “Your attribution of people leaving the RCC because of the communal nature of liturgy instead of a me and Jesus approach, you do not admit to be an attack on the communal nature of liturgy.”

  22. “The Mass needs to directly, affectively, nourish all present with the Scriptures and by sharing in the communal meal.”

    John Paul II in Ecclesia de Eucharistia :

    11. . . . The Eucharist is indelibly marked by the event of the Lord’s passion and death, of which it is not only a reminder but the sacramental representation. It is the sacrifice of the Cross perpetuated down the ages. . . .

    12. . . . The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the Cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. . . . The Mass makes present the sacrifice of the Cross . . .

    16. The saving efficacy of the sacrifice is fully realized when the Lord’s body and blood are received in communion. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is intrinsically directed to the inward union of the faithful with Christ through communion . . .

    Sounds to me like–as important as reading the Scriptures and sharing a communal meal are–they are not principally what the Mass is about.

    1. H.E. “Sounds to me like–as important as reading the Scriptures and sharing a communal meal are–they are not principally what the Mass is about.”

      If that’s your conclusion, from a selective citing of one encylcical, you’re liturgical and eucharistic theology is deficient. Nowhere does any of the passages you have selected deny the central place in the celebration of the eucharist, of the reading of the scriptures and the sharing of a communal meal.

    2. Once again, true theologically true statements about the Eucharist which do not relate to how one plans or executes liturgy well.

      Notice that these are all statements about the attributes of the Eucharist not about the nature of the liturgical celebration. They are very important in sacramental theology, but they are not what the Mass is principally about. The Mass has as its purpose the nurturance of the community through sharing of Scripture and the Eucharistic banquet. The things you cite and many other things are true but flow from well prepared and served liturgy. They do not determine the nature or purpose of liturgy.

      Though they are, as you say, important, they are not what determines good liturgy.

  23. John: “Move on.”

    Indeed. You may recall with me when those who found “change” difficult (especially when it entailed the abandonment of faith) were derided. Now that the Church is moving on and putting a host of “spirit of Vatican II” aberrations behind it, a different class of folks are finding “change” difficult. And not handling it well.

  24. John – this is just for you from Gene Kennedy:

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/bulletins-human-side/guilt-shortage-dooms-reform-reform

    High points:
    – “The inability of these romantic reformers to find the fuel of guilt to keep their enterprise on the road explains the midsummer madness of the cardinal who has decreed that Catholics may only receive the Eucharist on the tongue while standing or the bishops of England and Wales who want to restore meatless Fridays. Granted that the latter is a great symbol but they will never again make Catholics feel that they commit a mortal sin equal to that of murder for forgetfully nibbling on a pig-in-the-blanket at a Friday cocktail party.”

    – ” The Reform of the Reform is therefore doomed because it can no longer make healthy people feel unhealthy and unnecessary guilt about being human. That is why, when once asked why he convened Vatican II, Pope John XXIII replied not with a discourse on the sinful world but with perhaps the most Catholic sentence spoken by any pontiff in the 20th century: “To make the human sojourn on earth less sad.”

    1. I think PrayTell needs a new comment policy about antagonizing, to be equally applied to all commenters here. But since I can’t require or enforce such a thing, I’m going to recommend that we all try to repress the urge to make snide remarks and snider retorts.

      For what it’s worth, I apologize for intentionally misspelling Gerard’s name (the first time was an honest mistake), and I apologize to anyone else I’ve senselessly provoked.

  25. John Nolan :
    @ Gerard Flynn
    Anyone who disagrees with your liturgical and eucharistic theology has, of course, a deficient understanding. Please understand that there are some (perhaps many) who may see your interpretation, though not without an element of truth, to be one-sided, subjective, and out of touch with contemporary thought. I don’t want to dig out my flares, pop an ABBA tape into the deck and jump into a Ford Cortina MkIII to attend your liturgies. Move on.

    Another attack without substantive contribution to the discussion.

    If you have another point of view which you think applies here, please share it. A good way to begin is, “Another point of view holds that … ” There is absolutely no need to make denigrating attacks against those with whom you disagree. Actually, it is frowned on in polite company.

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