CNN on the pope’s liturgy – sort of

As CNN reports: “Catholic worshippers packed pews inside St. Peter’s Basilica to hear Pope Benedict XVI deliver Midnight Mass… Celebrants, both young and old, watched in reverence as the choir serenaded the pontiff during his ceremonial march into the church.”

Who on earth writes this stuff for CNN??

Doesn’t anybody at CNN know that Catholics go to Mass to pray, sing, recite, participate – not just “hear”? That priest “celebrates” Mass? That “celebrants” are vested priests, not laity in the congregation? That “serenades” are calm, gentle pieces? That the celebrant and ministers “process” into church??

CNN is available in over 100 million U.S. households, and CNN International can be seen by viewers in over 212 countries and territories. You’d think they could find someone who knows something about the religious ritual they’re covering.



  1. I’d say the celebrant and ministers “proceed” into church, not “process,” but that could open a debate akin to that between those who pronounce “short-lived” correctly and those who do not.


  2. My favourite was

    Bells rang out during the Holy Eucharistic, with chimes that could be heard inside the church as well as throughout Vatican City.

    Ah well, at least they are covering it, and CNN didn’t ferret out critical quotes from the National Secular Society, as they did for the pope’s Thought for the Day here.

    A happy Christmas to all.

  3. As for CNN, it depends upon whether you think CNN should give only the actors view of what the actors think is going on, or include other people’s opinions of what they think is going on. Given CNN’s diverse audience, they need to do both, e.g. insiders who can talk about entrance processions, and outsiders who can ask “why this parade and serenading of the Pope?”

    In the case of entrance processions, “a parade of ministers accompanied by a serenade” is a good description IMO. The song accompanies their parading. Few parishes sing more than a couple of verses: only one that I know sings the whole hymn.

    Egreria’s descriptions of the gathering rites for services in Jerusalem provide a good model for us. Religious and pious laity came early and slowly filled up the place. They began singing hymns and psalms; a few deacons and presbyters showed up to lead litanies and prayers with them. Then the bishop and rest of the clergy came for the main service. I guess there is still a remnant of that in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy where the Little Entrance separates the beginning service of antiphons from the Liturgy of the Word.

    If I arrive fifteen minutes before Sunday Mass, I would like some music ministers to be there already providing a mixture of instrumental music, some meditative pieces by the music ministers (e.g. Gregorian Chant Introit), and a warm up song or two by the people. All of the other ministers including the presider can take their places individually during this period. This whole period of time should give everybody the sense that all of us are coming prayerfully together in our own ways and at our own speeds, not that we are waiting around for a parade of a group of people who are going to put on a show for us. There is little incentive to come early to Mass except if one wants a special seat. You just end up watching the people in charge prepare. There are many incentives to arrive just in time; and that makes people arrive late.

    1. The Spanish pilgrim lady’s descriptions of the gathering rites for services in Jerusalem provide a good model for us today. Too bad we don’t see this outside of a monastic, collegiate church, or European cathedral setting very often

      It is exactly how every liturgy should start. A portion of the Divine Office as a preparation should be sufficient “warm up”. Just as is customary in the east and many Anglican churches too.

      It makes a world of difference when it comes time for the choir to proceed into the church for mass, or change into mass vestments in the sanctuary following the office.

  4. “There are many incentives to arrive just in time; and that makes people arrive late.”

    Intriguing insight. My instinct suggests it’s accurate.

    People arriving at my parish before 5:30 or Midnight Mass may have been a little alarmed to hear music or readings even twenty-five minutes before what they thought was the start time. But I’ll call Jack’s one parish that routinely sings all the verses.

    1. Todd,

      The parish that sings the entire entrance hymn also sings the entire recessional, but they do adjust the hymn during the preparation of the gifts to fit the action.

      There are some large obstacles to a “gathering period” before Mass. In many parishes the choir practices during this time, in church or elsewhere. In many parishes there are some people who would like to restore a quiet time for prayer before Mass.

      A “gathering period” could overcome these obstacles if it included periods of silence and meditative music as part of the gathering process. Also the choir could practice elsewhere, letting a few of its members assist with the music in church and entering toward the end of the period for a song or two that might use the entire choir.

      The choir of the parish that sings all the verses had always practiced in church before Mass. When their new music director moved them elsewhere, some people objected. The parish held a ballot. About half the people voted to have the practice in the church, a quarter voted to have it elsewhere, and a quarter had no preference. Many people said that practicing in the church before Mass allows them to come early to preview the music which will be used at the liturgy and so be better prepared to sing.

      The whole incident and the vote tells me that about three quarters of the people care about what happens before Mass. I think we could combine music and silence in a way that makes most of them happy.

  5. I was taught that the liturgy is the prayer of the entire Church — the entire Body celebrates, which would include the assembly. I still think it’s good theology.

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

    Ann Riggs :

    I was taught that the liturgy is the prayer of the entire Church — the entire Body celebrates, which would include the assembly. I still think it’s good theology.

    Ditto. I grew up talking about ‘celebrants’ but in theology school got in the habit of talking about ‘presiders.’ But what about vocabulary for the other presiders who are not the chief presider? My inclination is still to say ‘concelebrants’ rather than ‘co-presiders.’ I don’t know why the former term sounds better to me, but it does. Just a small curiosity.

  7. “You’d think they . . .”

    Agreed. But just one more reason to stay a way from CNN and watch Fox News, where the Catholic coverage is reasonably fair and balanced.

  8. “the pope’s liturgy”

    Oh really Anthony?

    All those cardinals, archbishops, bishops, monsignori, priests, deacons, religious, diplomatic and other dignitaries, other special guests and last (and apprently least) the “laity” . . . yet it’s ” the pope’s liturgy”?

    Late wint’ry December’s surely not the best time to throw stones through glass house walls in Collegeville!

    1. Good point – it’s the danger of short headlines. I was gonig to put “liturgy at St. Peter’s” but didn’t think it’d be as clear, and it’s longer. “At St. Peter’s Basilica” would have been the best, though it’s too long to pack a punch like a good headline.

      1. Yup, but my personal scruple on that is repeatedly hearing our chant schola Fr. Gerard Farrell OSB, who I grant was probably too prickly about some things, saying “Why do the media say ‘Vatican’? That’s a geographical location and a political state. It’s the Holy See or the Pope or the Curia who are speaking or acting.” Maybe as a blogger I need to let go of that scruple?
        Anthony osb

      2. Well their website, which is included in the PrayTell links, is the Vatican. So in this digital universe, I guess that is what we call them.

        Makes a lot of sense. Most people don’t really understand Holy See, etc. I think most people understand the Vatican to be the Pope assisted by his Curia. I would even call it the Vatican liturgy, since it is the liturgy of the Pope surrounded mainly by his Curia

  9. The most glaring omission on CNN’s part and the most important news item was that a third year seminarian, Jason Adams studying at the North American College in Rome for the Diocese of Savannah and from Cordele, Georiga an hour south on I-75 from Macon, GA was the second lector. He spoke impeccable southern and brought gracious southern charm to this Christmas almost at Midnight Mass. You’d think that CNN headquartered in the center of the universe, Atlanta, Georgia, whose airport all people going to heaven, hell or purgatory must make connections, just an hour up the other direction on I-75 from Macon would have reported such an important bit of news at this papal Mass. Just what was this CNN reporter thinking anyway? 🙂

    1. Fr. Allan – CNN reporter was probably a Yankee hired by CNN and wouldn’t know a southern accent if he/she tripped over it.

      Reginal accents, regional word groups, expressions, etc. are more and more lost in this world wide media drive to make language mediocre, flat, and undifferentiated. Unfortunately, we lose insights, wisdom, regional experience, etc. so that a worldwide retail environment wins out.

    2. Fr. McDonald: You’d think that CNN headquartered in the center of the universe, Atlanta, Georgia, . . .”

      Not only was that lector a 3rd-year seminarian from your Diocese of Savannah, but the deacon of the Gospel was a 4th-year seminarian from your metropolitan Archdiocese of Atlanta. But, of course you know that confined to downtown Atlanta, as the CNN folks are, it’s easy to forget that you’re actually in Georgia.

    3. Oh trust me, Father, we Yankees recognize Southern accents. We studied the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement in school. There’s a great scene in the old movie The Cardinal that features lots of gracious Southern charm.

      1. Here’s hoping the Ambo is the closest the possessors of that “gracious Southern charm” ever get to Peter’s Chair!

      2. Jeremy – that was my comment. Keep in mind that the most segregated parts of the US in the 1960’s and 1970’s and 1980’s were the catholic neighborhoods of Chicago, Detroit, and Boston. Embarrassing and a scandal at worst; at best???

        The US is more segragated now than 40 years ago; but it is covered up by economic divisions; rich vs. the rest of us; etc.

        It took years for civil rights to finally impact certain northern cities and there are catholic dioceses that still ignore or do not use resources at the same percentage for minority parishes – last year there was an very insightful study done about how the archdiocese of Chicago transferred and placed more pedophile priests in minority (African-American) parishes than white parishes.

        One of my favorite movies in high school was “The Cardinal” – so, he now take a fictional movie and make it a historical fact? It did take place in the Northeast and the FBI (foreign born Irish clerics) were prominent.

      3. The Cardinal was so “fictional” that Cardinal Cushing had to call Otto Preminger and apologize for having to revoke his invitation to film inside any Boston churches: “Spelly’s mad as hell. Thinks the movie’s about him!” (S.F. Stephen Fermoyle / F.S. Francis Spellman). The Cush lined up Bridgeport as an alternative and Saint John’s Church there was used for the famous “bleeding Madonna” scene.

        The busing crisis took place during Cardinal Medeiros’ time, Irish Catholic Southie mostly. No churches burned and no Klan rallies.

        And kudos galore to a German immigrants’ son and a New Yorker, Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummell of New Orleans for his courage both in desegregating his Archdiocese and being unafraid to wield the only weapons he had, interdict and excommunications, against the “good Catholics” who organized public opinion against him. How’s his cause for Beatification going?

        Back to the Cardinal, the legendary John Huston as Boston’s Cardinal Glennon (a thinly disguised William Cardinal O’Connell) is still a treat to watch. And what about the rumor that a young Father Ratzinger was technical advisor, especially for the Roman and Austrian parts (the Austrian stuff was not part of the novel, by the way, which had Fermoyle ending up in Hartfield / Hartford).

  10. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    Yup, but my personal scruple on that is repeatedly hearing our chant schola Fr. Gerard Farrell OSB, who I grant was probably too prickly about some things, saying “Why do the media say ‘Vatican’? That’s a geographical location and a political state. It’s the Holy See or the Pope or the Curia who are speaking or acting.” Maybe as a blogger I need to let go of that scruple?Anthony osb

    It was a Mass in the Vatican Basilica – nothing, in that sense, to do with the Holy See.

    And you could have said “Papal”!

    Funny that you “respect” that scruple yet you’re still happy to call it “the Pope’s liturgy” . . . selectively old (clericalist) habits dying hard over there this Christmastide?!

  11. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    Yup, but my personal scruple on that is repeatedly hearing our chant schola Fr. Gerard Farrell OSB, who I grant was probably too prickly about some things, saying “Why do the media say ‘Vatican’? That’s a geographical location and a political state. It’s the Holy See or the Pope or the Curia who are speaking or acting.” Maybe as a blogger I need to let go of that scruple?Anthony osb

    Good ole Fr. Farrell, RIP! Loved him.

  12. Happy Christmas to all readers
    I watched the Mass on French TV. It was hard to follow the second reading as the American text seems to differ from the E&W text and the simultaneous voice over in French did not quite obliterate the English.
    How did other TV stations cover it I wonder.
    The commenter said that the long silence after the homily was at the request of the Pope to give time for reflection. Good.
    The BBC meanwhile had the Mass from Liverpool (Paddy’s wigwam) and no coverage of Canterbury or any non-Catholic service. Of course last year they had the splendid Westminster Cathedral service with the Charpentier Messe de Minuit which was much better than the music from Rome….

    1. The musical offerings of Westminster Cathedral and King’s College Cambridge at Christmas are uniformly better than the road show we receive from Rome, or that abomination from St. Patrick’s cathedral. With the archbishop glad-handing the local politicos. Since when did Mayor Mike and the NYCity’s police commissioner become part of the entrance rite?

      All of this cult of personality wrapped up into the liturgy is so completely foreign to what Pope Benedict has specifically condemned in his writings. So, why do they continue this liturgical farce?

  13. I say “hear Mass” for ideological reasons. I disagree with the progressive view of “active participation”. Listening attentively to the Mass, performing the body postures, and following the priest’s gestures at the altar is just as much active participation as reciting responses or singing. An overmic’d loud cantor that waves his or her arms as if he or she is a turboprop ready for takeoff discourages meditation and silent prayer.

    As an aside: I wish that CTV would webcast a direct and unaltered stream of Papal Masses without the endless chatter and voice-overs.

    1. Yes, Jordan, my father (R.I.P.) used to always say he went to church to “hear Mass” and also, when we went to a different Mass than him and came back home, he would ask, “Who read Mass?” I always understood what he way saying and asking, for these were the terms he grew up with.

      Of course, he also made the responses, (although he never sang the hymns) and so I don’t think participating in the responses and acclamations of the Mass (when possible) is a necessarily “progressive” view. Internal participation is also quite active indeed.

      Cantors, when needed, should serve as “animators” of the congregation, not yell-leaders, and I believe the time has come to seriously re-evaluate the necessity of hand/arm gestures at most places in the liturgy. Most folks know now when to sing at the processions and at the ordinary acclamations. And even for litanies and responsorial chants, the pattern is usually easily established without a hand going up for each “pray for us” for instance. The dominant and microphoned cantor during the music proper to the entire assembly should be avoided as much as possible.

      Every Mass, EF or OF, in Latin or in the vernacular, should have times dedicated to sacred silence.

      I also wish we could get a “commentator-less” Mass telecast. Perhaps subtitled translations and subtitled general explanations for those not familiar with the liturgy would be helpful. But the chatter is rather disturbing.

      1. I sometimes say “hear mass” or mention that a priest “said Mass” simply because I’ve heard and read it so many times. It doesn’t strike me as an unusual or wrong thing to say unless you’re being ideologically picky.

        It’s like how the priest technically delivers a homily, but many people still say he delivered a “sermon.”

    2. “for ideological reasons” — great approach to the sacred liturgy, Jordan. But no surprise. I think most of us figured out a long time ago how you view the liturgy. Bless your heart for coming right out and saying so.

      1. Let me say even more boldly: Mass is irrelevant to me! Mass is the objective reality of the Sacrifice and Paschal Mystery regardless of my presence, state of grace, disposition, or emotions. As the objective reality, Holy Mass must be blind to my mortal, sinful, and highly distorted subjective appraisal. A priest who must celebrate Mass alone fills the world with the infinite grace of the Sacrifice. Must a server validate the Mass, lest it not exist? Must the priest judge that he has satisfied his duty? No, it is enough that the thronis et dominationibus give their witness to the eternal act that saturates the world with grace.

        What can we add to the Is before Is that enters time and space at every Mass? Has the Victim lost his power simply because I did not “feel included” in the Mass? Certainly not. Rather than seek validation through the Mass, I listen for the enlightenment of the mind and repair of the soul that is only possible when the Creator enters creation. A Mass turned in on the satisfaction of its participants cannot listen for this great gift; we have then presumed that the Mass is at our bidding and not beyond our sin and mortality.

    3. In order to talk about “hearing Mass”, perhaps it’s good to remember what the phrase means. As Pius X put it:

      “If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart, and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens on the Altar. When acting in this way, you have prayed Holy Mass.”

      As it happens, I attend a TLM that some might call vibrantly participative. The people sing the Gloria, Credo, Pater Noster, etc. as well as more responses than at an OF Mass. But my own most active participation—and others, also, I believe—surely is greatest during the silent Roman Canon when I’m neither singing nor even listening, but simply hearing (that is, praying) in the sense of Pius X.

      1. Yes, indeed, in keeping with that which he also said, I believe: “Don’t pray at Mass, pray the Mass” or something of the like.

      2. At the TLM I used to go to the gift of about 100 Kyriales was turned down flat. “When we suggested that everybody sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, the people who organized it said that back in the old days that was the first step toward Vatican II.” no dialogue Mass either for same reason. Sometimes I think it’s not just two different forms of mass but two different Churches.

  14. Seriously, Jeremy, they were right! The very same liturgical movement that led to Sacrosanctum Concilium started with Pius X (or before) and urged participatio actuosa in the TLM before Vatican II.

    And I believe that the highly participative nature of most sung EF Masses today owes more than most know to Vatican II. Which is hardly surprising, since the Council’s liturgical recommendations were about participation in the TLM, not the introduction of some “new order” of Mass.

    In particular, the young folks who provide most of the dynamism and energy in the TLM movement now are ones who grew up participating vocally in the Novus Ordo. So they naturally combine the exterior (vocal) participation of the OF and the interior (prayerful) participation of the EF, the happy combination that I think must have been the real intent of Vatican II.

    Consequently, I suspect that if you walked into the typical EF Sunday Mass today, in place of the silent low Mass of distant memory (for me, at least) you might be surprised at how much it resembles (aside from the Latin itself) what you’d like to see at a typical EF Sunday Mass—combining real prayer and active joyful participation.

    1. “….recommendations of the council were about participation in the TLM, not the introduction of some “new order” of Mass.

      Sorry – as some have said, you are entitled to your opinion but not to the facts. This statement is “mythological” at best; downright wrong at worst.

    2. the highly participative nature of most sung EF Masses today owes more than most know to Vatican II.

      “Sometimes you have to go a long distance out of your way in order to come back a short distance correctly.” This is one of those times.

    3. I’m really glad that’s been your experience but I’m sad to say wasn’t mine. As I posted on here before I heard the back pews chattering about visiting women who didn’t have chapel veils on and people at the coffee hour complaining that the young priest didn’t do all of the movements and gestures properly and he had apparently said the wrong (new) version of the Prayer for the Jews the previous Good Friday so they were gunning for him over that too. Then he walked in and everybody was all smiles and Hello Father, nice sermon etc. That was it for me.

      1. Both experiences are valid, Jeremy. I too have walked away from the one you describe, a scene I associate with older separatists (or at least holdovers) of one sort or another. But the one I described is more typical of EF Masses in ordinary parishes full of young families, most of them relatively new to the TLM. One is dying out, the other is growing. One is the past, the other is the future. Thankfully, the past is past, and the future is future. As one of the older folks, I’m just thankful that I lived long enough to see this future.

    4. “….recommendations of the council were about participation in the TLM, not the introduction of some ‘new order’ of Mass.”

      Granted, if not a “new” order, then a “revised” order for sure because it says so in the document itself (SC 50).

      And “recommendations” seems a little lightweight a term to describe what was actually given. “Decree” was the word used in the document itself.

      1. Michael: Granted, if not a “new” order, then a “revised” order for sure because it says so in the document itself (SC 50).

        Actually, nowhere in SC is there explicit reference to any “revised order” or “new order” of Mass, phrases that may have connotations beyond the decreed revision of rites “in faithful obedience to Tradition”. Because so many people (here and elsewhere) appear to comment on SC without having clearly having studied the document, I have appended below the most directly pertinent paragraphs.

        That said, let me add that I fully and enthusiastically accept the OF as not only a valid but a valuable and potentially fruitful form of the Roman rite. Which is why I attend the OF daily when the EF is also available to me, why I was just as thrilled by the most recent papal Mass (OF) as with the April pontifical Mass (EF) at the NBSIC, why I’m just as interested in the reform of OF ars celebranda—to benefit the great majority of Catholics—as in preservation of the EF both to benefit directly a minority and as a model for stability and continuity of tradition. In particular, my concern for the OF is not with its texts which are rich and beautiful, but with the fact that in typical parish practice the intrinsic beauty of the revised rite has been withheld from most ordinary Catholics.

      2. SC extracts:

        4. Lastly, in faithful obedience to Tradition, the Sacred Council declares that holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigor to meet the circumstances and needs of modern times.

        23. That sound tradition may be retained . . . . . . there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

        50. The rite of the Mass is to be revised in such a way that the intrinsic nature and purpose of its several parts, as also the connection between them, may be more clearly manifested, and that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved.

      3. Henry Edwards,

        You took a swipe at the “many people” who have not studied SC, and then you provide a few quotes to support your claim that there is no call for a “revised” order in Vatican II. May I kindly suggest that you study SC more closely?

        SC 21: “The liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.”

        SC 21: “In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.”

        SC 31: “The revision of the liturgical books must carefully attend to the provision of rubrics also for the people’s parts.”

        SC 38: “Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands, provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved.”

        The quote you provide from SC 50 also calls for a revision of the Mass rite.

        Vatican II clearly called for a revision of all the liturgical books, and it clearly never intended that the unreformed 1962 rite remain in use. Developments since then are another thing, but the question here is what Vatican II said.


      4. Looking at those quotes, I would say that none of them really support a “new” missal, nor do they support an unreformed missal. At face value, they seem to mostly point towards a revised version of what already existed with a greater emphasis on lay participation.

        Looking over all those quotes, I think it perfectly reasonable to assume that a much milder reform than what we got (one that still looks and feels like it sprang forth from the 1962 Missal rather than one disconnected to it) would have been in perfect harmony with all the quotes given. The main point seems to be simplifying the rite and increasing active participation.

        That isn’t to say the OF isn’t in line with what the council wanted, I just sometimes wonder if it was the only logical (or best) outcome. SC didn’t clearly call for a dramatically revised missal where nearly every prayer and rubric went untouched.

      5. Fr. Ruff,

        The examples you give us from SC seem to require no dramatic change. The 1965 missal more than met these stipulations while retaining much more of the 1962 edition.
        I am used to the new order of Pope Paul and assist at it regularly, but I am willing to admit that the consilium went beyond the requirements seen in SC and that the new missal probably served to weaken the unity of the Church. The arguments over translation are illustrative of this as was the reaction of the bishops to the consilium’s work in 1967. I think that restoring the options of the 1965 RM to our existing missal would help to bring more unity to the Church. Celebrants who don’t want to employ them need not do so while those who would like to use them to benefit their parishes or monasteries could.

      6. It’s a matter of interpretation, and I don’t find your interpretation compelling. These quotes could have allowed for the less dramatic change you want – but they could also support changes more dramatic than we got. Personally I think what they did is mostly fine, all of it well within the wide berth SC offered them.

        There is no 1965 editio typica or the Roman Missal – are you referring to some vernacular edition which took into account the first round of slight changes? One hears repeatedly that there was this interim missal which met Vatican II’s requirements, but the claim doesn’t stand up. To name just one example, it did not yet increase the Scripture readings over a bigger cycle than one year.


      7. I would agree that SC has a “wide berth” that would have allowed for many outcomes. Because the document was so wide, I think it perfectly legitimate to think the OF wasn’t the best outcome without having to put up with being called retrograde or in denial of Vatican II.

        I would actually like it if the EF were reformed to more clearly express what Vatican II wanted, as it doesn’t seem to me that the wide berth of SC excludes the possibility of its continued use. Even you quoted from SC that group variations are allowed as long as the overall character of the Roman Rite is maintained.

        P.S. Did Vatican II call for a multi-year lectionary? I know it wanted an expanded lectionary (and that some weekday lectionaries were put out in the late 60’s for the “1965 Missal.”), but don’t recall if it specifically asked for one with multiple years. I s’pose I could look myself, but others seem to have the document memorized…

      8. Fr. Ruff,

        It’s unclear to me that anything in your post @ 9:51 am—either in what you yourself say or any of the paragraphs of SC you quote—contradicts anything stated in my own posts in this thread.

        So I wonder with what, precisely, you thought to express disagreement?

      9. You claimed that Vatican II never called for a revised order. I provided several quotes from SC calling for a revision. If you revise the Order of Mass, you’re left with a “revised order.” Ergo, Vatican II did called for a “revised order,” contra your claim.

      10. +JMJ+

        SC 51. The treasures of the bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God’s word. In this way a more representative portion of the holy scriptures will be read to the people in the course of a prescribed number of years.

        51. Quo ditior mensa verbi Dei paretur fidelibus, thesauri biblici largius aperiantur, ita ut, intra praestitutum annorum spatium, praestantior pars Scripturarum Sanctarum populo legatur.

        While the Council Fathers did not specify any particular number of years, they left it open as to whether or not the “lectionary” reform would operate within the one-year cycle. (The Consilium could just have easily prescribed one year, but with a richer selection of readings.)

      11. I cannot agree, Fr. Ruff, that this (@ 11:58 am) suffices to get you off the hook. My precise words:

        Actually, nowhere in SC is there explicit reference to any “revised order” or “new order” of Mass, phrases that may have connotations beyond the decreed revision of rites “in faithful obedience to Tradition”.

        If you wish, you can verify the precise truth of this statement by doing a search on the word “order” in an English translation of SC. In short, there was no explicit mention whatever of any new or revised order in the sense of a new liturgical rite—a break with tradition—as some of its proponents (though not me) regard the Novus Ordo to have been.

        Of course, it would be absurd for anyone to claim that SC did not call for revision in the rites of the Mass. Certainly, no one who has studied SC repeatedly over the years, and has studied (as I have) the course of the twentieth century liturgical movement both before and during Vatican II—including the minutes of all 50+ meetings of the Council’s liturgical commission that prepared SC and steered it through numerous council votes on revisions of the schema in response to hundreds of interventions by Council fathers.

        In any event, SC plainly called for revision in the rites of the Mass, and to me its decrees seem consistent with the goals of the pre-conciliar liturgical movement (which I supported then and would now). What one can disagree about, of course, is the extent of the liturgical revision the Council called for, and whether 1965 was less or 1969 was more than what was intended.

      12. (continuing) However, it cannot be claimed that the Council intended for the 1962 Mass to be preserved intact, when it was precisely that form in which the Council was calling for revisions. I take it that Benedict’s principal motive for restoring use of the 1962 missal now is to stimulate—through the “reform of the reform”—the faithful implementation of SC in typical parish practice, which we still await, but are now pursuing (after the perhaps biblical detour of 40 years). Indeed, I would suggest that, if the implementation of the Novus Ordo in practice had not fallen so far short of the vision of the Council, then no restoration of the traditional Latin form would have been thought necessary now.

      13. OK, I’m glad we all agree that Vatican II called for revisions to the Order of Mass. I think our only difference is in word usage. I think that after you do revisions, what you end up with is “revised.” Whether the exact wording “revised order” is there or not seems irrelevant to me. Can we agree, then, that Vatican II didn’t use the exact phrase “revised order,” but did say that the order should be revised?

      14. Sure. How could anyone disagree that SC called for revisions in the liturgical rites or order of Mass? I certainly don’t know of anyone ever doing so. Though many (including Benedict XVI, evidently) doubt any intention of a New Order (“Novus Ordo”) in the sense of a discontinuity with tradition.

      15. HE:

        I never said “revised order”, I said “revised” order. There is a BIG difference here. Obviously revision of the order would have resulted “revised” order. You misquoted me, and this opened up an entire vein of argument that I did NOT intend to cause. What an unnecessary waste of time results when we don’t respond to what a person is actually saying.

        But the council did in fact DECREE revisions. They weren’t merely “recommendations” as you called them. No answer there, I see. So much for your having “studied” SC, which in fact I did not misquote, nor have I ever, and which I have studied repeatedly, comprehensively and faithfully.

        And having done so, I am of the opinion that neither the EF or OF satisfies what SC decreed. Not the EF, because it has not yet been revised according to the conciliar decrees, and not the OF, because it obviously and needlessly goes way beyond what was decreed. Of course the pope is the pope, whether PVI, JPII or BXVI, and so I accept both forms as legitimate and valid, with docility. That being said, I also attend and participate in both rites regularly.

        The council fathers doubtless “went home” thinking that there would be revisions to the Mass, for that is what they voted for. Few, if any of them, imagined at the time what we ended up with, and the mess that resulted, part of which is: 1) two “forms” of the same rite, neither accomplishing specifically what was actually decreed by the ecumenical council, and 2) seemingly endless polarization, accusation, and division.

        God help us all.

      16. “How could anyone disagree that SC called for revisions in the liturgical rites or order of Mass?”

        Then what exactly was your point with my original post? I said nothing greater or lesser.

      17. Michael:

        Of course, the Council decreed revisions in the rites of the Mass (even if SC never used the word “order” in this context). It doesn’t appear to me that we have or had any disagreement on this. Thank you for stimulating a discussion that perhaps some readers have found not entirely lacking in interest.

        Also, I agree that neither OF or EF (as they presently exist) is what SC decreed. And that permanent “discontinuity” between two separate forms of the Roman rite is hardly desirable. Perhaps we also agree on the hope that a single unified rite realizing the vision of the Council will eventually result from the present period of reform.

      18. +JMJ+

        For those playing at home, a “duscyssuib” is a “discussion” with the right hand one character over to the left. Which is hilarious to me, a computer programmer geek. 🙂

        Edit: Awwwww, Henry, you fixed it!

      19. Thanks, Henry, for your kind response. It indeed appears that we have a most substantial agreement on a good number of things. I am sorry that I presumed otherwise, and was so crabby and defensive. And yes, we are indeed also in agreement that there is need for a “single unified rite realizing the vision of the Council” that “will eventually result from the present period of reform.” I will happily join my hopeful prayers to yours. Christmas peace, and all good!

  15. Robert and others
    Can you point me, and others, to an authoritative text describing what is meant by participation? Paragraphs 84 to 118 of Mediator Dei (1947) seem to do this.
    May I offer my own view?
    A few of the congregation can play a particular role as readers or as members of the choir but most will have no special role. For these the active external participation seems to mean following the prayers of the Mass (rather than saying the Rosary) and joining in the responses and singing. Participation is internal also by understanding and uniting their sentiments with the priest (paragraph 98).
    Now what additional forms of participation are envisaged?

    1. +JMJ+

      You can read several comments (14-23) here about this issue.

      As far as what sort of participation is expected at Mass, here are some quotes from 1967’s Musicam Sacram:

      5. Liturgical worship is given a more noble form when it is celebrated in song, with the ministers of each degree fulfilling their ministry and the people participating in it. Indeed, through this form, prayer is expressed in a more attractive way, the mystery of the liturgy, with its hierarchical and community nature, is more openly shown, the unity of hearts is more profoundly achieved by the union of voices, minds are more easily raised to heavenly things by the beauty of the sacred rites, and the whole celebration more clearly prefigures that heavenly liturgy which is enacted in the holy city of Jerusalem.

      15. The faithful fulfil their liturgical role by making that full, conscious and active participation which is demanded by the nature of the liturgy itself and which is, by reason of baptism, the right and duty of the Christian people. This participation (a) Should be above all internal, in the sense that by it the faithful join their mind to what they pronounce or hear, and cooperate with heavenly grace, (b) Must be, on the other hand, external also, that is, such as to show the internal participation by gestures and bodily attitudes, by the acclamations, responses and singing. The faithful should also be taught to unite themselves interiorly to what the ministers or choir sing, so that by listening to them they may raise their minds to God.

      33. It is desirable that the assembly of the faithful should participate in the songs of the Proper as much as possible, especially through simple responses and other suitable settings.

      1. Thank you Jeffrey.
        Much of the discussion, now several inches up the page, seemed to be on the amount and form of participation that was permitted and desirable.
        I have a family Missal from Tours (1880) with the text of the Mass in Latin only and 12 pages of “Prières durant la Saine Messe” which suggests that those not fluent in Latin would read these during Mass. I suspect that greater participation, as you describe, was intended. It does not follow that greater participation, as envisaged by some enthusiasts, was ever prescribed.
        This is important as much of the debate about how Mass should be offered seems to be based on the appropriate form of active participation of the congregation.

    2. If one is looking for a Super Secret Decoding Tool that will readily resolve the tension in the documents between the desire for congregational participation even in the propers and the desire to retain the treasury of the Church’s music, you seek in vain. The tension is built into the conciliar and postconciliar documents and I and many others would say it is deliberately left unresolved. It was left to be resolved over time in the pastoral forum experiment and experience, with resolutions differing from community to community. Those who seek to impose an ideologically uniform resolution from above or below seek in vain.

  16. Doesn’t anybody at CNN know that Catholics go to Mass to pray, sing, recite, participate – not just “hear”?

    Certainly they know… they simply despise religion of all sorts (except Islam these days). Perhaps this is why CNN now has a market share somewhere between C-SPAN 2 and MSNBC.

  17. I’m not one to denigrate the 1970 missal as it was promulgated and done so as a result of Vatican II. One may or may not like some elements of the official texts and order and may prefer the older texts and order. We now have both officially. My problem is what liturgists told us was the intent of the Council in terms of how to celebrate the 1970 missal, incorporate inculturation and impose other creativities on it. These same liturgists interpreted how to renovate older churches which amounted to iconoclasm, and how to design new one which amounts to the Burger King look. Priests and congregations have manipulated the 1970 missal for their own purposes and sometimes in a purely narcissistic way. I think we can legitimately complain about interpretations of how to celebrate the 1970 missal and say that SC never intended most of this, but the 1970 missal for better or for worse is the Ordinary Missal of the Church. I tend to like it very much when celebrated as intended, saying the black and doing the red if I might borrow a cliche.

  18. Your opinion – for what it is worth. The old follow the rules approach to liturgy – forget principles; forget the nature of liturgy, its soul/insights/etc.; just say the black and do the red. Would suggest that liturgy over the past 40 years has become lifeless because of too many presiders who have done exactly what you recommend. Understand that liturgy must capture a community’s soul – no amount of black or red will do this. In evaluating liturgy, many folks look to a good homily (not in the black or the red) and yet the most pressing deficit in our liturgy is the state of homilies; next would be the lack of liturgical education given to seminarians (sorry, one course in reading the black and doing the red does not qualify) – this lack of education can be seen almost anywhere in the US – minimal use of chant; poor proclamation of collects; how many presiders have memorized the EPs and actually understand the various parts of an EP; their history; what goes into composing an EP? Lack of silence; lack of knowledge or at least incorporating scripture into their comments or making valid liturgical choices based on that day’s readings? Many folks suffer because of lack of presiders necessitating use of foreign priests who have an inability to even pronouce english so it can be understood.

    Sorry, you again repeat the same mantra – Burger King look; “manipulating the 1970 missal (your judgment); iconoclasm, etc. Any of us, I am sure, can remember, find, or point out examples of what you say – but, really, are these examples a trend; do you over-generalize them and apply to every diocese, community, priest who has tried to use and implement VII changes? All these comments do is increase polarizations or make people dig in their heels – now what, another blogger gives numerous examples of the other side?

    Finally – your comment – “we now have both officially” – would suggest that you interpret this in your way; it started out as an exception for a…

    1. Bill, one can “say the black and do the red” and still develop the “art of celebrating” as well has develop good preaching skills and rhetoric. There were some very fine preachers in the Pre-Vatican II times and liturgy. Yes, the EF is the exception except in those parishes where it is exclusively allowed. I still say that only a small minority want the EF; there is a significant number who don’t know what good Liturgy is today, they’re like “frogs cooked in the crock pot” of consistently dumbed down liturgies, music, etc. And what many think is good liturgy, is actually entertainment, all the way to the mannerism of the celebrant to the in-your-face cantors and singing ensembles. I think saying the black and doing the red also includes attention to details, the details you write.

  19. The 1965 missal that Jack Nolan links above, I have a mint edition in its original red box on my book shelf. Yes, it appears to me to be almost exactly what SC “suggested.” I write “suggested” because there is so much room for interpretation on precisely what SC required for a subsequent reform of the Mass. That’s why we got the 1970 missal. From what I understand, Benzinger Brothers who published missals nearly went out of business believing that the 1965 missal would be the typical edition for centuries to come, not just a few very short years. They printed mass quantities of this soon to be outdated missal.
    I’m not sure though if the prayers at the foot of the altar could be omitted when the Asperges wasn’t celebrated. I think it was either/or or both/and when the Asperges was celebrated which shows a new flexibility already incorporated into the 1965 missal. But without the Asperges the shortened prayers at the foot of the altar were required. In addition, the priest by red rubric was instructed not to jump ahead in praying the canon while the choir/congregation sang the sanctus or any of the other lengthy hymns, such as the Gloria, Creed and Agnus Dei. He was to join the congregation in these.
    The missal also has on the same page the English in bold print and the Latin equivalent on the margin thus allowing the Latin to be maintained easily with this missal, but the English as the choice of preference.
    There is no reason why this missal could not have been adapted to the new calendar that was developed and the new lectionary, the 1965 missal and the new calendar and lectionary do not have to be mutually exclusive. I might say the same for the 1962 missal revised in calendar and lectionary. I am surprised that Summorum Pontificum did not allow for the 1962 or 1965 missal. I think the 1965 missal would be used much more widely today than the 1962 is and no one can say that it wasn’t reformed as SC suggested the 1962 missal be reformed.

    1. Your last paragraph illustrates the somewhat opportunistic legal hermeneutic adopted in SP: only the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal before 1970 is considered not to have been abrogated by the introduction of the latter.

    2. In regard to whether anyone “can say that [the 1965 missal] wasn’t reformed as SC suggested the 1962 missal be reformed”:

      Whereas there actually was no editio typica of the Missale Romanum between those of 1962 and 1970 — the so-called “1965 missal” that incorporated the 1965 Ordo Missae in various language editions was thought by many, from laymen and publishers to cardinals and bishops just home from to be the Council, to fully express the will of Vatican II.

      For instance, on page 118 of the Fontgombault proceedings volume, we find that in the preface to a German edition of the 1965 missal, “the Cardinal Secretary of State officially declared that this missal was the definitive realisation of the Council’s commands”.

      The frontspiece of my own copy (New Saint Joseph Daily Missal, Catholic Book Pub. Co., NY: 1967-1968)—which is a “1965 missal” incorporating the 1965 Ordo Missae—says:

      This New Missal is in complete accord with the Directives and Recommendations of Vatican Council II On the Liturgy.

      And on the title page itself:

      In accordance with the New Revised Liturgy as directed by Vatican Council II

      All of which may explain Cardinal Heenan’s publicly expressed shock when the Novus Ordo was unveiled, when he asked just who were these people who have been working in secret on this unexpected “new order” of liturgy, whereas (accepting his perception as representative) many in the hierarchy had generally thought the 1965 version was “it”.

      1. But this is in tension with the fact that most of the Council fathers also implemented the 1970 Missal with alacrity and enthusiasm.

        I think what needs to be understood is that the decade involved a shift from long-enduring situation where bishops were in fear of being thought to be in favor of changing the Missal (being openly in favor would have long earned such bishops suspicion or worse in Rome) to a situation where bishops could be freely in favor of changing the Missal without such fear. That, more than anything, can explain the trajectory of episcopal reactions over the course of the decade. It’s hard to convey now what it was like then.

      2. I’m afraid that’s all water under the bridge now. The Magisterium issued a new missal in Advent of 1969 and with all the authority which Pope Paul VI had at the time. But now we are in the “reform of the reform but within continuity ” mode and who knows what is in store for us but the Holy Spirit and those working in secret!

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