Update on Vox Clara

 
VOX CLARA COMMITTEE PRESS RELEASE
February 2-3, 2011

The newly appointed members and staff of the Vox Clara Committee met from February 2-3, 2011 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed by the Congregation on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell (Sydney). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Alfred Hughes (New Orleans, emeritus), Archbishop Michael Neary (Tuam), Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. (Ottawa), Bishop David McGough (Birmingham, auxiliary), Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Phoenix), Bishop Arthur Serratelli (Paterson), Bishop John Tong Hon (Hong Kong). Other members of the Committee not present were Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I. (Chicago), Cardinal Justin Rigali (Philadelphia), and Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Bombay).

In the course of the meeting the following officers were announced: First Vice-Chairman: Bishop Thomas Olmsted; Second Vice-Chairman: Cardinal Oswald Gracias; Secretary: Bishop Arthur Serratelli; Treasurer: Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Also assisting the meeting were the Executive Secretary, Monsignor James P. Moroney; Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. and Monsignor Gerard McKay and special assistants: Reverend Joseph Briody and Reverend Gerard Byrne. Other advisors to the Committee unable to be present are experts: Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. and Reverend Dennis McManus.

The representatives of the Holy See included the Delegate to the Vox Clara Committee, Reverend Anthony Ward, S.M., Undersecretary of the Congregation; Monsignor Thomas Fucinaro, Monsignor James O’Brien, and Reverend Andrew Menke.

The Committee heard reports on the recent publication by the Congregation through the Vox Clara Committee of a study text with excerpts from the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Available from http://www.theologicalforum.org/; discount for orders of 100+

It is the hope of the members that the study text will be of assistance to Bishops throughout the English-speaking world in establishing programs of formation for Priests in preparation for the implementation of the Roman Missal.

The process for the completion of the Roman Missal, continuing initiatives for publications of the Lectionary for Mass by various Conferences, and the recent confirmation of the Grail Psalter were also discussed along with the effective refinement of structures and processes followed at all levels in the future development of English language liturgical texts.

The Committee discussed at some length the English-language translation of the Blessing of Holy Oils for the Chrism Mass and explored the means by which a text might be made available in time for use on Holy Thursday of 2012. As a text reserved for the use of the Bishop it is not included in the Roman Missal.

The Committee also looked to the continuing translation of the rest of the corpus of Roman Rite liturgical books as envisioned by the instruction Liturgiam authenticam. In particular, the Committee recommended to the Congregation the expeditious establishment of a plan of work by all collaborators in this work.



Left to right: Archbishop Hughes, Bishop Serratelli, Cardinal Canizares Llovera



Congregation for Divine Worship Secretary Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, OP

On the second day of the meeting, the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, and the Secretary, Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P. met with the Vox Clara Committee.

Cardinal Pell began by thanking the Congregation for its consistent support throughout the years and recalled that with the work of the translation of the Roman Missal substantially complete, initiatives should continue around the English speaking world for its effective reception. In this regard, Cardinal Pell thanked the Prefect for his introduction to the Vox Clara study text with excerpts from the new English language translation.

Both the Prefect and the Secretary stressed the importance to the Church of providing authentic vernacular translations to strengthen ecclesial communion. They also thanked the members and advisors for the role of the Vox Clara Committee in providing a model of collaboration by which the principles of Liturgiam authenticam might be applied to the translation of the editiones typicae of the Roman Rite.

Finally, the Committee expressed satisfaction that the completion of the English translation of the Roman Missal has been welcomed throughout the English-speaking world.

The widespread development of formation programs for clergy and people and the publication of resources were acknowledged with gratitude by the Committee, which remains firmly convinced of the spiritual and catechetical value of this moment in the liturgical renewal envisioned by the Council Fathers almost a half century ago.
 

Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, OSB, Bishop David McGough



Archbishops Neary, Hughes

 

Fathers Menke, Briody, Byrne
Msgr Fucinaro (centre), Bishop Olmsted

HT, Archbishop Terry

104 comments

      1. Fr. Endean,

        That’s true, but perhaps things are simpler than that – pre-school children tend to believe that if they say it, it’s true. This looks an awful lot like that behavior.

    1. This is classic bureaucratize. It has the tone of a State Department cable going out to diplomatic posts from Washington assuming something not only not in evidence, but something nobody ever bothered to check out in advance.

  1. Are there any liturgists, linguists, or biblical scholars in this group?

    Where would you put Moroney, Ward, Abbot Cuthbert in terms of liturgical expertise?

    Most of Vox Clara seem to be canon lawyers?

    F/U to Fr. Unterseher: What word (insulated or isolated) would you use for this group?

    1. Bill,

      Abbot Cuthbert is a distinguished liturgiologist whose works are, unfortunately, out of print. His studies of the prefaces in the revised Roman Missal (of Paul VI) are indispensable for the study of modern euchology.

      I can’t comment on the others. . .

      I’d say “insulated” of this group. Interestingly, Abbot Cuthbert blogs; he has to know there’s been some flap about the translation. As for the rest, I suspect they [think they have] better things to do with their time.

    2. Along with expertise in liturgy, the supervision of this translation requires something more rare in prelates of any stripe: culture. This is not to cast stones at anyone, but only a plea for a refined sense of what the English language is and can be in the hands of a great master, and for a determined insistence on phrases that ring with authority and majesty. There are still such rare and exotic creatures to be found amongst the clergy, but very few in an episcopacy composed of workaholics, technocrats, and process managers.

      1. “Both the Prefect and the Secretary […] thanked the members and advisors for the role of the Vox Clara Committee in providing a model of collaboration by which the principles of Liturgiam authenticam might be applied to the translation of the editiones typicae of the Roman Rite. Finally, the Committee expressed satisfaction that the completion of the English translation of the Roman Missal has been welcomed throughout the English-speaking world.”

        Actually, they have clearly drawn on a great exponent of the English language for this passage: George Orwell.

      2. Well, that’s the thing that gets you, Michael, it’s all so phony. One of the most astonishingly untrue things I’ve read in a long time was Pell’s letter to the English-speaking bishops introducing Vox Clara’s study booklet, in which he quotes Liturgiam authenticam: “must be translated from the Latin in the most exact manner,” when he himself, according to the eye-witness testimony of someone deeply committed to the translation project, specifically instructed that Eucharistic Prayer II NOT be translated “in the most exact manner” but in an intentionally “inexact” manner (the “adstare coram te” which he was keen to have changed from “stand in your presence” to “be in your presence” so that people would kneel for the Canon). And all the other examples that have appeared on this blog (and ONLY this blog) . . . my favorite “inexact” translation (and by a group with so many Benedictines associated with it!) is the Collect for Saint Benedict’s feast, July 11, which contains (in the Latin original) an almost direct quote from the Holy Rule that they’ve managed not to translate “exactly”. Truly amazing. But as long as you have folks, most of whom would probably prefer Mass in Latin anyhow, brush it all off with that pious “distinguished men who love the Church” nonsense, that’s the product you get.

      3. This type of Orwellian statements are damaging. They betray shameless disregard for reality. It is precisely why most of my friends are not Catholic: they hear about the sacred nature of the priesthood, but see the reports of sexual abuse by clergy. They see how the Vatican twists words of documents exposing its shady past, to reinterpret them at its whim. In that world, a word can be manipulated to mean whatever they want it to mean, “many” does not mean “not all”, and a cappa magna is a sign of humility. They read about promises of celibacy, but see the statistics about how often those are broken. And then, they hear the words: “This is my body”, but see a mere piece of bread… In a world of lies and hypocrisy (“avoidance of scandal”), it becomes that much harder to believe in anything at all. They think it’s all phony.

        I agree with Pope Benedict that the Church must undergo a period of purification. That means getting rid of the lies, the secrecy, the cover-ups, the hypocrisy, the rot. The devil is using blind obedience, avoidance of scandal, excessive respect for authority, desire for unity, and discretion, as tools to lead good people astray and to magnify evil.

        The way to fight this evil is to refuse to compromise our integrity on the altar of some hypothetical greater good. The times call for being radical. Refuse to say what we do not believe. Then the truth will shine.

        Well, yesterday Fr Goodwin said his piece, today I’ve said mine…

      4. I mean, not a reason to discount my rant. (Also, there are intermediate situations between a world of Orwellian hypocrisy and a world where all Catholics would be saints.)

    3. I have done a bit of scouting around. Moroney is a Rome-trained liturgist (and worked for the US conference for a time). Ward and Johnston are qualified, and has worked for the CDWDS. The bishop of Birmingham is a scripture scholar, and the two new ‘special assistants’ Byrne and

  2. Cuthbert Johnson has a doctorate in liturgy from Sant’ Anselmo. He came back to England from Rome, the ink scarcely dry on the certificate, and with fire in his belly. He was set to change the world.

    However, within a matter of months he was summoned back to Rome to work in the Congregation, and within another few months his scholarship and idealism had been subverted by Romanità. The lure of power proved too much, alas.

    Tragic to see all that potential go to waste.

  3. A distinguished group of men who love the Church and God’s people. Thank you! It is good to see V2’s liturgical renewal beginning to mature.

  4. Does George Pell have an advanced degree in liturgy?

    The last picture I saw of him he was wearing white gloves and a cappa magna. He’s really in touch with the people in the pews, isn’t he?

    1. He’s in touch with this person in the pew and many others. Despite what many people think, the white gloves and cappa magna were never abolished by Vatican II. The gloves were “left to the bishop’s choice” and the cappa magna was reserved for “very solemn occasions.” I do not think Cardinal Pell has abused these guidelines.

      I am weary of this “populist attitude” towards the Church and liturgy. Perhaps the “people in the pews” need to get in touch with the hierarchy?

      This reminds me of an old priest I knew, now deceased, who was fond of saying, “We were doing just fine until somebody introduced us to the People of God.” While he said this in jest, there is much truth in what he said.

      1. Irene

        I’m sorry but Cardinal Pell is hopeless out of touch with this “person in the pew”.

        Just because Vatican II “never abolished” white gloves the cappa magna doesn’t mean that the good cardinal should use them. Even the popes have discarded their tiaras and the more excessive aspects of their “look-at-me” dress without any sayso from the Council. The cardinal should follow their lead.

        But I can only think he wears what he wears because he likes it – a great pity.

        Perhaps a warning is apt (and it applies to us all, not just to the wearers of liturgical bling):

        The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’
        seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not
        practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of
        others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be
        seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the
        place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the
        marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have
        one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one
        Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the
        Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled,
        and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

        Mt 23:2-12.

      2. Graham,

        Your attitude toward the rich Catholic tradition seems misguided. Everything you’ve written to bemoan the cappa could be applied toward many other aspects of our tradition as well as the Eastern rites. If traditional items are out-of-place for us Latins you would remove them from the Byzantine Catholics too. This does not display ecumenical sensitivity toward the Eastern Orthodox & Oriental Christians.

      3. Jack

        That’s why I’m not an eastern-rite Christian. I respect their traditions, but these may have no significant meaning to me other than as a curiosity.

        In my western tradition, cappa magnas belong to a bygone era and have lost any original significance, replaced by a significance in many western eyes that is contrary to the values in the Gospel.

        The richness of the Christian traditions is found in diversity. Why should we be like the east? Let’s forge and nurture our own traditions that are meaningful in the context of our own cultures.

        Catholic = unity of belief in diversity of custom in diverse cultures.

        The cappa magna is an accoutrement of someone else’s custom that is inappropriate to the message of Jesus in my culture at this time.

      4. In my western tradition, cappa magnas belong to a bygone era and have lost any original significance, replaced by a significance that is contrary to the values in the Gospel.

        Saying it doesn’t make it so. Your preferences don’t define the liturgy, the tradition of the Church as embodied in the liturgical books does and the Cappa Magna is found in the books of BOTH the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite.

      5. Well said Samuel. Progressive sensibilities that tend toward minimalism can sometimes obscure the humility necessary to receive our tradition and the modesty that prevents us from presuming to suppress its use. Imagine the humility necessary for an highly progressive cleric to wear the traditional vestments of our rite be it the cappa or something else. It requires an admission that the tradition is larger than oneself and ones possibly self-selecting local worshiping community.

        Graham does not seem to understand that his criticisms of the cappa and his seeming desire to suppress it exemplifies a great deal of hubris because it would deny that aspect of our tradition to others, a certain lack of hospitality, as it were. Latin Catholics are not second class, if it is wrong to suppress the traditions of the other sui iuris Churches than it is wrong to suppress the liturgical expressions of the Latin Church as well. The cappa is just one example but we could look at certain forms of chant, the sacring bells, or even translations.

      6. This is the kind of cultural misalignment I’m talking about.

        The cappa magna becomes a joke (and scandal) to good Catholics and completely undermines the credibility of the wearers too. The Gospel message is lost in all the “noise”.

        see this (Catholic Sensibility blog)

      7. Once again, just because someone is scandalized by something doesn’t make it wrong. This is a basic Christian principle. You need to demonstrate how it contradicts the Gospel, not just claim that it is a stumbling block for this person or that person, otherwise there’s a boatload of doctrine and practice we’d have to throw overboard.

        By the way, suggesting that it becomes a joke and a scandal to good Catholics is perilously close to suggesting that those of us not appalled are not good Catholics.

  5. ICEL – neutered, abandoned, unappreciated, left to do all the hard work of translating for Vox Clara to discard at whim. Why should ICEL continue? Why should the English-speaking bishops’ conferences even bother considering new translations? What do their opinions count for anyway? Leave it all to VC.

    1. Oh I think that’s precisely the plan, don’t you? Then Vox Clara “might present to the immensity of your majesty” a perfect translation “that we might all escape from” the imperfections that were obviously present in the poor 2008 version. Actually, I think part of the plan is to cut back on the number of Prefaces . . . go to ICEL’s music website: http://www.icelweb.org/musicfolder/openmusic.php
      and try singing Preface II for the Dead, or the true little shop of horrors, Preface VIII for Sundays in Ordinary Time. Some of these things are, as Fr Ruff pointed out privately to ICEL (was it last August?), so badly botched (compared to the 2008 originals), that almost any musical solution doesn’t work. Not that they “read” any better than they ‘sing.”

  6. I don’t know about “populism,” but what happened to the idea (I think from Augustine) that the first mark of charity in a priest, and especially a bishop, is poverty?

    1. Today, February 7th, is Dom Helder Camara’s birth anniversary. He was what a bishop’s bishop should be. He said: ““People are too heavy for you? Do not carry them on your shoulders, hold them in your heart.””

      And also:

      “I feed the poor, I’m called a saint. I ask why the poor have no food, I’m called a communist.”

      He and Mother Teresa should have been at the head of the line of candidates for canonization–way ahead of others who were sneaked into the line.

      1. My favorite from Camara: “The bishop belongs to all. Let no one be scandalized if I frequent those who are considered unworthy or sinful. Who is not a sinner? Let no one be alarmed if I am seen with compromised and dangerous people, on the left or the right. Let no one bind me to a group. My door, my heart must be open to absolutely everyone.”

    2. And humility…it takes a great deal of humility to show one’s respect for the great tradition and wear the cappa. It is a submission to tradition, Chesterton called it the “democracy of the dead”. We see precious little humility toward the Catholic tradition at times.

      1. Jack,

        I’m sorry, but putting ‘humility’ and ‘cappa magna’ into the same conceptual box just doesn’t work for me. It had its time and place way back when, but bishops aren’t riding horses about town now, so there’s no need for such a long cape to cover their [horse’s] behinds. Having practical origins, and no present practical use, I think it’s just silly, and I simply cannot get to humility when the item in question is very expensive watered silk.

      2. Is it so difficult to see the hubris that it takes to forcefully criticize the traditions of a liturgical rite, a sui iuris Church with her own rich tradition? It almost seems that some have forgotten the symbolic meaning associated with these sacred vestments.

        The best illustration is to apply the arguments being proffered by the minimalists to the Byzantine, Maronite, or Assyrian vestments, for example, substitute the Orthodox/Byzantine sakkos for the cappa in the discussion above. Where is the sensitivity?

      3. Jack

        The cappa is not a *sacred* vestment. It’s not a liturgical vestment properly speaking. Many people who object to the cappa do not object to traditional liturgical vestments, especially ones of great antiquity and fine artistrty (not all traditional vestments fit that category, any more than more contemporary ones to, of course). The cappa is court vesture, and is more associated with a great deal of courtly trappings that have only a nominal connection to liturgy at best and that originated in a desire to communicate in terms worldly courts would understand; that premise has gone with the wind since the Great War. Now the sign value of the cappa reads like the Society for Creative Anachronism – Avignon Edition. The comparison to the Eastern churches is a complete red herring and undermines the credibility of your argument, such as it is.

      4. A red herring is an irrelevant comment and the truth is that the minimalist’s dismissive of a Latin Church tradition also dismisses our ecumenical sister Churches’ tradition is clear to see. Eastern Orthodox Christians also operate in our time and place. The same is true of Byzantine and other Eastern Catholics.
        The cappa is used in liturgical ceremonies. Different colors are assigned to different days in our EF and different forms of the cappa are used by different ranks of clerics. When blessed it becomes a sacramental. Just because you may not like it doesn’t make it appropriate to lampoon it or seek its suppression.

      5. “the minimalist’s dismissive of a Latin Church tradition also dismisses our ecumenical sister Churches’ tradition”

        This does not follow logically, nor does it correspond to ecumenical thinking in our church today. A tradition may be authentic in one place, while in another it may be out of keeping with integral developments which call for a different assessment. There is no sense in ecumenism that all different traditions of Christianity to be valid must, therefore, be the same. Differences exist, and for good historical and cultural reasons. To critique one does not imply a critique of another. By the very same logic that you are using, any Orthodox person who defends a married clergy would be disparaging the celibacy rule of the Latin Church. Not true.

      6. The EO would only be disparaging the Latin tradition of celibacy if he suggests all parish priests must be married and that there is something wrong with a celibate priesthood, something he would probably not do considering that their bishops come from the ranks of the celibate clergy.
        The reason my point of potential ecumenical insensitivity does follow logically, IMHO, is because, as was shown above, the EO do have ceremonial vesture of a kind not all that different from the cappa.
        To critique a Latin Church tradition and then presume the thinking behind that critique would not extend to the other liturgical Churches would suggest that the other liturgical Churches are some kind of cultural museum piece instead of a living faith community for today. Additionally, to presume that the traditions of the Latin Church do not deserve the same respect due to the other venerable sui iuris Churches is to show a lack of sensitivity to the tradition of the western Church and the people’s right to receive that tradition. It almost seems uncharitable to advocate suppressing something that the people of the west have as part of their own heritage of faith.

      7. “To critique a Latin Church tradition and then presume the thinking behind that critique would not extend to the other liturgical Churches would suggest that the other liturgical Churches are some kind of cultural museum piece instead of a living faith community for today.”

        The reason we have made progress in ecumenism, Jack, is that we no longer think in a monolithic manner. The difference lies in the concept of a plurality of traditions with a unity of faith. Unity is not uniformity. To understand traditions within their historical contexts and development is not to consign them to being a museum piece, but just the opposite. They are living traditions, growing up in a particular soil and worthy of respect as a living thing. The Church is one, but is also diverse.

      8. Jack

        The permitted use of the cappa in choir dress doesn’t make it it a liturgical vestment any more than the permitted use of coat and tie by lectors (some of whom coordinate the color of their ties with the liturgical celebration) makes that liturgical vesture. Argument fail.

        I don’t have general problems with traditional liturgical vestments. The fact that you are confusing court dress that is permitted to be used in liturgy with liturgical vestments shows the problems with court dress that I do have an issue with. Betty Windsor-Mountbatten is free to keep up the Society for Creative Anachronism – Windsor Edition that delivers tourist dollars to her kingdom. But the disciples of Christ have to have a better reason to shell out coin to fabricate new court dress of this sort than it was once in use for a few centuries.

      9. Question: When do clerics wear choir dress?

        Answer: At liturgical functions outside of Mass.

        (I know that clerics also wear choir dress when they assist at Mass as members of the congregation).

        The cappa, therefore, is worn at liturgical functions. When blessed, it is a sacramental. Very few ushers own ties that have been raised to the level of a sacramental. If it is the word “vestment” coupled with the cappa that troubles you I think you are being unnecessarily legalistic. Anastasia Dolby’s “Church Vestments” 1868 describes the cappa as a “vestment”.
        Additionally, the Catholic Encyclopedia has the following:
        “…articles of clothing worn by ecclesiastics which are not, it is true, designated as vestes sacroe, but which, nevertheless, in a general sense can be included among the liturgical vestments. Thus, in the Latin Rite, there are the cappa magna, the amess, the mozetta, the rochet, the biretta; in the Greek Rite the mandyas (mantle) of the bishops, and the biretta-like covering for the head called kamelaukion, which, when worn by monks or bishops, has a veil called exokamelaukion.” That is why the minimalists criticisms of the “cappa” apply to the Byzantine rite.

      10. The cappa is court vesture, and is more associated with a great deal of courtly trappings that have only a nominal connection to liturgy at best and that originated in a desire to communicate in terms worldly courts would understand;

        Cite? As far as I know, the Cappa Magna is a development of the Cappa Choralis and is specifically liturgical in origin. Another development of the Cappa Choralis is the Cope. It’s choir dress, not state dress or abito piano. There is another sort of cape worn for non-liturgical functions, the ferraiolone.

      11. Jack

        I note the CE keeps the distinction I made.

        You can defend the cappa magma all you want. It just doesn’t help traditionalists to do so. Just don’t expect us to take seriously the idea that critiquing the appropriateness of shelling out new coin on cappas is anything like calling Eastern sacred vestments into question. And I am no liturgical minimalist.

      12. Jack,

        OK, let’s drop the question of what qualifies as a “liturgical vestment.” Let’s just speak of “things priests wear.” Criticizing some of the things that priests wear in no way entails a criticism of all things that priests wear. Criticizing the cappa in no way requires that one also criticize the collar, the chasuble, the biretta or the exokamelaukion. One would have to inquire into the reasons for the criticism.

        My reason for disliking the cappa is that I don’t think Christians should wear things that require one to have servants (or servant-like attendants) in order to move from point A to point B (NB: I would apply this to ridiculously long bridal trains as well). It simply seems unfitting in light of any number of things Christ says in the gospels.

      13. Karl, it doesn’t talk about it being court dress. The Cappa Magna is clearly derived from liturgical garments (if not vestments properly speaking). If you’re going to change your argument, at least acknowledge that you’ve done so.

        Deacon Fritz, if you rule out assistance, you’ll have to rule out the chasuble in its conical form then (revived in the 20th century by the very same liturgical movement folks, many from St. Johns Abbey, who wanted to eliminate Tridentine accretions) and the wearing of the cope for Vespers and Benediction. I realize you say “in moving from point a to point b”, but I’m not sure why that should be the limitation versus assistance in general. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to draw that line.

        Heck, putting on a stole and chasuble properly frequently requires assistance. A maniple is very challenging if it pins or ties as many do rather than being elastic. Besides that, we frequently do things for a cleric in the liturgy (even in the novus ordo) that he could very well do himself, because it images ministering to Christ, in whose place the priest stands.

        It’s not clear to me which Gospel passages you would cite. Christ quite famously needed assistance moving things from point a to point b on the way to his Passion.

      14. The cappa isn’t the hill I’d die on, but I marvel at its success as a lightening rod for progressives eager to rubbish traditional elements. It can’t be about the money, for they readily blow staggering sums on ill-conceived projects. It can’t be about contempt for gross excesses of theatrical display, seeing that the Los Angeles religious ed conferences are never cited. It can’t be about temperamental loathing for hierarchy and authority, given their more-than-readiness to boss, bully, and impose when they find themselves in charge. It can’t be about the wearer’s desire to be noticed and admired, seeing that celebrants presiding like TV show hosts is a practical norm that goes unchallenged. Yes, and if the cappa were an exotic article of non-western origin, they’d invoke inculturation and be falling over themselves to order their own.

        I can only conclude that the cappa’s really only a marker, a stand-in, a convenient symbol of an entire form and praxis which they oppose with faces set like flint. But about the garment itself? Bah.

      15. Samuel,

        I manage just fine in a conical chasuble or a cope without the assistance of another minister.

        And let’s be careful when we invoke the image of the priest’s ministry “in the place of Christ”. The priest does not replace Christ who is absent, but realizes the ministry of Christ as head of the Church in a given, particular time and place. And then only as head: the ministry of all the faithful realizes Christ as well: at best, the image is one of body ministering to head.

        (I find, though, that such allegory only overlays the liturgy with unnecessary levels of contrived meaning. The liturgy is rich with meaning that we fail to appreciate when we constrain it with allegory.)

      16. I’m glad you’re so dexterous, many priests are not and they’d end up with cinder holes or singe marks in the sides of their copes.

        The fact that the priest stands in persona Christi is a sacramental fact and not an allegorical one. Of course he doesn’t replace Christ who is absent. When the priest is present, liturgically, so is Christ.

      17. I manage just fine in a conical chasuble or a cope without the assistance of another minister.

        Cody, I’m managing just barely to resist recommending that you therefore upgrade to cappa magna. 😎

        Seriously however: self-sufficiency is not a Christian ideal. Though in this you can manage on your own, perhaps there is a spiritual value in not insisting on doing so. As also there’s a spiritual value for others in being allowed to render service.

      18. Quite right, Samuel, as regards the sacramentalization of Christ the head through the ministry of the priest during the eucharistic celebration. By allegory, I was referring to the imaging of Christ serving Christ — which, while also fact in the realm of sacramental ontology could give rise to some interesting commentary on the liturgy.

      19. Christ quite famously needed assistance moving things from point a to point b on the way to his Passion.

        Fie on those selfish prelates who do not to embrace the cappa and prefer to forego its shame. Truly the cappa is folly to the Greek and scandal to the Jews. Ecce cappam magnam, in quo salus mundi procedit!

    3. the first mark of charity in a priest, and especially a bishop, is poverty?

      I doubt Cardinal Pell wears the cappa while watching TV or reading in bed..

      A cardinal may practice exemplary personal poverty without imposing that practice on the liturgy whose servant he is and not its possessor. Indeed it is an act of humility for a man devoted to simplicity in his personal affairs to allow himself to be adorned for a ministerial role in which his personality is set aside and made irrelevant.

      If anyone wishes to accuse Pell or other cappa-wearing prelates personally of intemperate luxury and attention-seeking, he should say so plainly and give his reasons. Giving one’s person over for the sake of a venerable liturgy is evidence of nothing.

      1. At the risk of sounding rather simplistic…did Jesus wear a cappa magna and gloves?

        I personally see nothing venerable in either items, to my eyes it makes the wearer appear outlandish.

      2. Good point, Margaret. Maybe we should bathe Cardinals’ feet in perfumes costing $18,000 (the current equivalent of the 300 denarii’s worth of nard Judus judged to have been wasted on Jesus). At those prices, the cappa starts to look like a bargain.

        And yes — liturgy is certainly outlandish, if it’s done right. As is all of Christian life.

    4. I don’t know about “populism,” but what happened to the idea (I think from Augustine) that the first mark of charity in a priest, and especially a bishop, is poverty?

      You might be interested in this 1978 article from Time magazine about the late Bishop Bernard Topel of Spokane, WA. It was surprising, and edifying, to read about a bishop who certainly practiced poverty.

      (I’m not sure where I came across this article. I think a commenter on the Commonweal magazine blog linked to it, but I haven’t been able to find that post.)

  7. Wearing the Cappa shows respect for the great tradition? He could show respect for the great tradition by sitting down to read and pray along with the Fathers of the Bible, and he would not have to squander the pennies of the faithful to do so. Where does the Cappa come from anyway? Probably from some decadent medieval period when prelates behaved as political rulers.

    1. Again…an example lacking ecumenical sensitivity. In attacking the Latin Catholic tradition of vestry you also attack the expressions we see among the Eastern Orthodox and our own Eastern rites. How often western minimalists ignore the Eastern tradition, as if it did not exist. Basic Catholic apologetics would be enough to answer these objections toward the Catholic liturgical treasury that sound as if they originated from the most heated polemics of the Reformation. So strange to see them coming from a Catholic though.

      1. Jack N —-Again…an example lacking ecumenical sensitivity. In attacking the Latin Catholic tradition of vestry you also attack the expressions we see among the Eastern Orthodox and our own Eastern rites. How often western minimalists ignore the Eastern tradition, —

        Exactly right, Jack. I keep trying to get Jack R., our resident expert on Eastern Orthodox, to tell us about the Orthodox and hand Communion and versus populum, but I don’t ever get a response. Why is that?

        There was that thread a while back where a PT contributor blasted the Orthodox for their lack of participatory worship. Ecumenism, in the mind of progressives, doesn’t seem to reach eastward. It seems only to focus on reaching out to American style mainstream Protestants.

      2. “Ecumenism, in the mind of progressives, doesn’t seem to reach eastward. It seems only to focus on reaching out to American style mainstream Protestants.”

        Again, as I replied to Jack, this assertion is based on an erroneous assumption. Eastward ecumenism does not depend in the least on Latin rite Catholics adopting the vesture style or imitating the customs of the East, any more than ecumenism with those Christians descended from the Reformation in the West requires that we adopt Geneva tabs or preaching gowns. Ecumenism does not erase differences, and homogeneous norms for vesture are not essential to Christian unity.

      3. Nothing about the charge of ecumenical insensitivity displayed had anything to do with Latins adopting the vesture style or imitating the customs of the East. The logic behind the criticism of the Latin cappa is what would offend the sensibilities of any Orthodox Christian or Byzantine, Maronite, (etc.) Catholic who recognizes that their own liturgical and other ceremonial robes would fall under the same criticism applied by some here to the cappa, e.g. archaic, too expensive, out-of-place in our time, ostentatious, “un-biblical” and so forth….

    2. Joe, it is news to me that squandering the pennies of the faithful is a fault peculiar to those favoring traditional forms of liturgy.

  8. “In 831 one of the Saint-Riquier copes is specially mentioned as being of chestnut colour and embroidered with gold. This, no doubt, implies use by a dignitary, but it does not prove that it was as yet regarded as a sacred vestment. In fact, according to the conclusions of Mr. Edmund Bishop, who was the first to sift the evidence thoroughly, it was not until the twelfth century that the cope, made of rich material, was in general use in the ceremonies of the Church, at which time it had come to be regarded as the special vestment of cantors.[2] Still, an ornamental cope was even then considered a vestment that might be used by any member of the clergy from the highest to the lowest, in fact even by one who was only about to be tonsured.”

    So far no mention of the cappa magna, twelve centuries into Christian history.

  9. Graham Wilson,

    You wrote, “In my western tradition, cappa magnas belong to a bygone era and have lost any original significance, replaced by a significance in many western eyes that is contrary to the values in the Gospel.”

    My friend, that is not for you to say. That is for the Church to decide.

    1. That Church includes all of us, even hierarchically ordered (your application of such order appears stunted). Cappa magmas are not an item of faith or morals.

  10. This is in reply to Rita’s post below, but through some hiccup, it appears above it.

    “To critique one does not imply a critique of another.”

    When that critique is couched in general terms it does, because it doesn’t make a logical distinction on which a differentiation can be made..

    For instance, if I say “Liturgical symbols shouldn’t make use of royal imagery,” with no qualification, it implies a critique of all Catholic rites.

    It doesn’t help to say, “Byzantines have a tradition of royal imagery and Latin’s don’t,” because Latin’s clearly do have that tradition.

    It doesn’t help to say, “Our present culture doesn’t accept it,” because, e.g. the Byzantine Ruthenian Church is just as much immersed in western American culture as your local Polish Latin Catholic parish is.

    So if it’s OK for them and not for us, you have to point to a logical difference. If no logical difference is offered, but it’s OK for them, then it follows that it’s OK for us too.

  11. So I’m having a thought — dangerous thing, no?

    The Ceremonial of Bishops allows ( par. 1200) for a judicious use of the cappa magna by a bishop only in his own diocese “for the most solemn feasts.”

    The fact is that it is limitedly legitimized. (I have questions regarding its use on certain notable occasions in the past year in connection with high-profile liturgies: I do not see that Summorum Pontificum opens the way to a claim on the older Ceremoniale; but I digress.)

    Whether or not the use of the cappa is evangelically advisable or desirable is open to debate, as we’ve seen here.

    Although it has been suggested here that its retention is de fide — by some, apparently, quite seriously; tongue-in-cheek by others — it most certainly is not.

    Rather than going on endlessly trying to bait one another while canonizing one or another opinion on the vesture of the prelates involved, perhaps we could/should examine some of the other questions that stem from the original post. I notice nobody has commented on Bishop Olmsted’s involvement, for example, or the possible significance of the word “substantially” in the phrase “. . . work of the translation of the Roman Missal substantially complete. . . .” Also, nobody has mentioned that the article highlights the fact that the other rites will undergo re-translation, with a slough of new editions for them as well. (I should note that, as a bibliophile collector of liturgical books, I welcome this development, even as I pray I’ll see at least one more round of translations beyond this in my lifetime, pro bono ecclesiae.)

    Much to discuss here, folks. . . more than just yards and yards of silk.

    1. (I have questions regarding its use on certain notable occasions in the past year in connection with high-profile liturgies: I do not see that Summorum Pontificum opens the way to a claim on the older Ceremoniale; but I digress.)

      There really shouldn’t be any doubt.

      Summorum Pontificum says:

      1. … It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church.

      The Ritus Servandus of the 1962 Missal says:

      6. In Pontifical Masses everything is done as prescribed in the Roman Pontifical and the Ceremonial; the Bishop, or other, as above, may never disregard the order of the Pontifical, whenever he celebrates with Deacon and Subdeacon.

      So to celebrate according to the 1962 Missal is to have reference to the Ceremoniale. This is even the case for priests. Much of the liturgy is ordered and regulated for them as well by what is in the Ceremoniale.

      What is illicit is when Bishops celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal in the manner of a simple priest and don’t use the ceremony of the Ceremonial.

    2. That word, “substantially”, is all the stranger when contrasted to the conference of Irish Catholic Bishops, who have stated that the new missal is “set in stone”.

    3. Fr. Cody – 40 years after SC we have a group that quotes from a papal document that explicitly states permission for an “exception” – in the words of B16, for those who just can not accept the Novus Ordo for a varity of reasons. So, why are folks such as Pell heading up VC when they seem captivated by the “exception” – it would seem to make sense to have folks in the mainstream who can call upon specialists and experts across the broadstream of liturgical areas.

      Pell and Olmsted (mentioned above that the dominant members seem to be canon lawyers) – of course, if you mention or highlight someone such as Olmsted, it appears to be a “personal” attack. But given his recent public stances, it is hard to see him in this international role in an area where he has little to no expertise.

      As to other rites – of course, it follows that they will be re-translated. But, let’s see what happens – it took them 10 years to do this. The sadness, IMO, is the loss of the alternative prayers and new prayers, settings for many liturgical/sacramental situations that pastoral ministers have been requesting for years.

  12. Rita F- Ecumenism does not erase differences, and homogeneous norms for vesture are not essential to Christian unity….-

    But Rita! As the old saying goes: ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’.

    The OF was a change in a particular direction, wouldn’t you say? And it was not eastward! E.g. a large percentage of the hymns we now sing from our hymnal at our parish have been penned by Protestants. We do many things now like Protestants, e.g., the way we take Holy Communion. I’ve even been in Catholic Pentecostal services where there was a Billy Graham style altar call!

    I think progressives are giving us ‘homogeneous norms’ and ‘erasing differences’. They’re erasing those between us and mainline (and sometimes tent revival) Protestantism.

    If the old saying is true, whom are we trying to flatter?

    1. I must disagree with you, George. I think the reformed liturgy that issued from the Second Vatican Council is oriented toward being true to our truest self, a change in the direction of becoming more firmly rooted in our deepest identity which involves shedding those things which detract or distract from this identity in the present age. Should some elements of that identity be shared with others, so much the better. But none the documentation I have read concerning the reform (and I’ve read a lot of it) supports the notion that there was a flattering imitation of others going on. As for the attitudes of individual people today, randomly chosen, perhaps some do feel this way, I wouldn’t rule it out. I can’t say you’ve never talked to anyone who views things this way. But it’s certainly unfair to put “progressives” or “progressive liturgists” in such a category wholesale.

      1. Rita—none the documentation I have read concerning the reform (and I’ve read a lot of it) supports the notion that there was a flattering imitation of others going on.—-

        Dear Rita! I am speaking of practices being imitated. I have had almost this same discussion with Baptist preachers who put ashes on foreheads for Ash Wednesday. They insist they are not imitating (and flattering) us. But really!!

        By the same token isn’t it just more honest to admit that we didn’t think of of our progressive reforms on our own? That we are indebted to the people who started the same practices 400 years ago?

        You can have the last word on this, I won’t beat this dead horse any more!!

      2. My dear George, the ready example that comes to mind in support of your characterization is indeed Eastward-looking. When the new Eucharistic prayers were written, all of them included an epiclesis which much more explicitly named the Holy Spirit’s role in the Eucharist. Years of ecumenical work with the Eastern churches, for whom the role of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy is paramount, had helped Catholic liturgical theologians to see the value in including this. It’s not that anyone believed the Holy Spirit was absent from the Eucharist in the Latin Church, but one of the aims of the Council, stated in the preface to Sacrosanctum Concilium, was indeed ecumenism. Where the liturgical reform could do so with integrity, it paved the way toward greater communion. Peace to you!

      3. —When the new Eucharistic prayers were written, all of them included an epiclesis which much more explicitly named the Holy Spirit’s role in the Eucharist.—-

        Thanks for pointing that out!

  13. 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

    Liturgical minimalism is rooted in this passage from SC. The arguments here against liturgical minimalism are arguments against this fundamental principle that introduces the general norms for reform of the liturgy.

    If this minimalism is based on this principle, it does not insult the Orthodox or any other Christian. It may raise questions about whether their garments should be changed in order to more clearly express the unchangeable essentials of liturgy.Their answer could be different from ours. But what is important in these discussions is not a “false irenicism” but a true consideration of the essentials of our faith.

    1. Jim,

      That does not call for “minimalism” – criticism of minimalism is well established in our Church. Noble simplicity is far from minimalism, remember that the phrase “noble simplicity” predates Vatican II.
      And your comment seems to forget two things: namely that the cappa has a place in the reformed liturgy that developed out of SC, you cannot write it out of the Pauline liturgy, and two, the the EF is now considered venerable and is an expression of our existing and contemporary Roman rite. The cappa is simply not going anywhere because it belongs to all of us.

    2. Jack,

      I am not sure I am addressing your concerns, since I cannot see how your comments are connected to mine, but I will try.

      Minimalism is rooted in the idea that “elements subject to change… ought to be changed [in some circumstances]”. Minimalism is an excessive application of this principle, but comments have tended to attack the principle rather than the excess. For example, citing the EF as “venerable” seems to imply that the whole rite is not subject to change. That may be right, but it is a specific denial of this principle from SC, not an attack on excessive application of it.

      As I see it, there are two questions. 1>Is the cappa an immutable element divinely instituted? 2> if not, is it out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy? The minimalist will say only the first matters, and anything that is not immutable should be changed. A maximalist stops short of even the first question, and tries to argue that everything is immutable. For the rest of us, “harmony with the interior nature of the liturgy” is the issue.

      The maximalist argument is unpersuasive, and is even irrelevant, in light of the principle laid out in SC. If you want to engage the principle, and argue that the cappa magna is in harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy, you might make some headway. But if you just say “it is part of the rite so it cannot be changed”, you are denying the principle and fighting against a key principle from Vatican II. imo.

      1. Correct Jim, your comments are not related to mine, you seem to be attempting to develop a different discussion. Liturgical minimalism is related to legalism, doing the least possible under every circumstance.
        SC is not a minimalist document since it makes every effort to sustain a fully developed liturgical celebration and actually legislates against minimalism.
        SC respects particular law, the cappa is part of the liturgy as it exists in both forms. Following your logic every element of the liturgy would be up for grabs in perpetuity, without stability. That is not the practice of our Church.

  14. I’m having very uncharitable thoughts about the fact that some of our friends here can’t actually spell vestes sacrae (not sacroe), amice (not amess) [sic], mozzetta (not mozetta), habito piano (not abito), and so on, and so on.

    It reminds me of those in the Adoremus fold who frequently cite Latin documents but who can’t pronounce them properly because they have no Latin.

    Sorry, everyone! [lack of charity off]

  15. Somewhere Monsignor Moroney, Abbot Cuthbert, Father Ward, Cardinal Pell and the supporting cast of The Gang That Couldn’t Translate or Compose English Sentences Straight must be “bending slightly” and offering “to the immensity of his majesty” a joyful thanksgiving that the spotlight is off their gaffe-rich Roman Missal and focused on the finer details of liturgical lingere etiquette instead.

  16. Had Father Anthony been treated with the respect and kindness shown to the members of Vox Clara by regular contributors to this blog there would have been no need for hundreds of replies about charity.

    1. I’m sorry, Fr. Christopher, I don’t follow you. Help me out. Where are the hundreds of replies about charity? At the America blog?

  17. A sensible traditionalist blogger wrote: “if there’s one things Trads understand, it’s the power of symbolism and dramatic gestures.”

    What is the symbolism of the cappa magna and bejewelled mitre? What does their use connote in the Mass? Some refer to beauty, though I cannot see how a stately, plump prelate becomes (to quote blogs) ‘liturgical eye candy’, no matter how many yards of lace and watered silk he wears. Is it purity? Wisdom? Self-sacrifice? Kingship?

    To me these symbols speak of power and domination, the power of this world’s kingdoms rather than of the kingdom of God.

    If that’s not the right interpretation, what is? Here is the communications director of the diocese of Tulsa, as quoted in the Catholic Herald

    “The capa [sic] magna does indeed represent the finery of the world, its power and prestige. That is why after his entrance wearing it, the prelate is publicly stripped of this finery and humbled before the congregation. Then, vestment by vestment, the bishop is clothed in the new man of which St Paul speaks, including the baptismal alb, the dalmatic of charity, the stole of pardon and the chasuble of mercy. When finally clothed in Christ, the prelate makes a second entrance into the church to begin the eucharistic celebration in persona Christi, the visible head of the body, the church

    It was a clear statement that the power and prestige of the world have no place at the altar, but it is expressed in a liturgical ritual or symbol, which, unfortunately, are often lacking in the contemporary rites and thus hard to grasp.

    This nonsense should win a new prize for Orwellian language.

    What does the cappa symbolise? How should we ‘read’ the jewelled mitre?

  18. Jeremy Stevens :

    Somewhere Monsignor Moroney, Abbot Cuthbert, Father Ward, Cardinal Pell and the supporting cast of The Gang That Couldn’t Translate or Compose English Sentences Straight must be “bending slightly” and offering “to the immensity of his majesty” a joyful thanksgiving that the spotlight is off their gaffe-rich Roman Missal and focused on the finer details of liturgical lingere etiquette instead.

    Well said! Talk about off topic and onto the non-topical, indeed the irrelevant.

  19. Even though our Archbishop is on the Vox Clara Committee (he’s Archbishop Terry) we have heard zippo in Canada about any effectivity date for the New Translation.
    This blog has some theories why.
    http://voxcantor.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-roman-missal-for-canada-iii.html
    One is that the Canadian Bishops want both the new French and English translations completed before introducing them to Canada. The other has to do with kneeling at different intervals during the Eucharistic Prayer. I don’t know if either theory is accurate.

    1. Archbishop Terry has a notice about Vox Clara on his blog. On Sunday I think it was there were several comments asking him about issues including Father Ruff and Father Griffiths being fired and examples of the revisions not following Vatican guidelines. By that night the comments were all gone and the combox shut down. Guess the Archbishop didn’t want to discuss the amazing process either. So much for free and open discussion, transparency and all that stuff.

      1. These were the comments that were removed because I saved them when I first saw them and wanted to know the answers. Nothing about when the new translation was going to start but about the process which the Archbishop was part of and praised in his posting.

        #1

        How did the embarrassing mistranslations get into the final translation prepared by “experts”. In Preface II for Lent, for example, the Latin (literally) “inordinate desires” (very broad) has been rendered “disordered affections” (Catechismese for homosexuality); in Preface IV for Lent, the Latin “vices” has been changed to “faults” (the Catechism is specific on the distinction between these). Then there are endless gaffes and howlers in English usage: “that we might all escape from dying” (Preface II for the Dead); “to the immensity of your majesty” (Preface of Christ the King); and Preface VIII for Sundays in Ordinary Time: a structural horror. And who can forget “he bends slightly” in the consecration rubric.

        Yet two scholarly priests, who worked on the project, were fired from their positions with ICEL when they pointed out these errors (and violations of Liturgiam authenticam): Canon Alan Griffiths and Father Anthony Ruff. It’s truly amazing, and disheartening, to find a Canadian bishop, and one with such a scholarly reputation, praising such a dysfunctional and incompetent process as the Vox Clara Committee. 

        #2
        Cardinal Pell sent a letter this past week, as recorded on the Adoremus website, that introduces the Vox Clara Missal book by quoting a Vatican directive that “the Latin must be translated in a most exact manner.”

        But a priest who was at a meeting with someone who advises Vox Clara told me that the reason “adstare coram te”, “to stand in your presence” (Eucharistic Prayer II) was changed to “to be in your presence” was that Cardinal Pell said the literal translation might be used as a justification by people who did not want to kneel for the Eucharistic…

      2. Continuing second quote didn’t fit I guess:

        not want to kneel for the Eucharistic Prayer.

        So how is that “a most exact translation”? How is that any different from the alleged “paraphrase” of the older ICEL translations?

        Seems like it’s still an arbitrary process: just new people in power.

        ——-
        Thought they were good questions when I read them and kind of hoped the Archbishop who had been in on the whole process would answer them. But they vanished and no more comments. If everything’s OK with the process they shouldn’t be so afraid of answering thoughtful questions like these comments seemed to be to me.

      3. I honestly wouldn’t expect any Canadian Bishop – Vox Clara member or not – to say anything at all about the product or process when there is no intention to even publish the final texts online until after the Missal is printed.
        Not trying to justify the removal of the comments or the combox, but that just seems to be the way it is.

  20. I would like to bring up the issue of the value of a missal in our worship. Does publication of one mean that the priest will take over all the roles in the celebration of Mass? Will the liturgical ministries of cantors, lectors, choir all be given to the priest to “read” like he did when I was a boy in the 1940s? Is that the purpose of Vox Clara,k returning the Mass to the one we had from Trent and the Missal of Pius V?

    1. I’m not sure I understand your concern… the “missal” being printed is not going to be constructed like the 1962 missal. The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite requires multiple books, at least a missal and a lectionary. The missal (currently called the “Sacramentary” in English) is going to be the same book, just with a new translation and a new name. The Latin name of the book never changed from “missale romanum”, even though its contents changed (i.e. the readings were taken out of it).

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