How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Cardinal Antonio Cañizares de Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, spoke March 2 at a book launch in Rome. The book is by Father Nicola Bux, and is written in Italian. Cindy Wooden, of Catholic News Service, reports that its title, if translated into English, would be: How to Go to Mass and Not Lose Your Faith.

The story goes on to say: “Cardinal Cañizares said that while the book’s title is provocative, it demonstrates a belief he shares: ‘Participating in the Eucharist can make us weaken or lose our faith if we do not enter into it properly’ and if the liturgy is not celebrated according to the church’s norms. This is true whether one is speaking of the ordinary or extraordinary form of the one Roman rite.’”

You can read about it here.

198 comments

  1. Having thrived in/and survived the Catholic Church, I think there is the need for a book entitled “How to Keep Your Faith Despite the Leadership of the Roman Catholic Church”. My experience of 54 years of Catholicism have been both extremely rich and disappointing at the same time. Unfortunately, I think I am mostly disappointed these days. The description of the book by Fr. Nicola Bux confirms my fears and feelings about the Roman Catholic Church. My faith in God:STRONG; my confidence in the leadership and the direction we seem to be going: weaker every day.

    1. Mr.Lehmann-

      In response to your comment I can only cue the “Amen” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”.

      Well, maybe a tiny bit more. I find myself using several ‘d’ words these last few years: disappointed, dismayed, and disgusted, mostly. This sheep doesn’t have much trust in those entities that purport to be the shepherds.

    2. The irony is that in Spain where Cardinal Canizares comes from very few really care about the Church anymore. I suspect this also to be the case in many places in Europe. It seems like the ones who care suffer the most!!!

  2. So it does not matter how bad the presiding, translation, or preaching might be because it is not the fault of the clergy if one does not come with the right attitude.

    This is worse than ex opere operato, putting the burden on those to be served rather than those preparing and presenting the liturgy.

    Of course this is the same Burke who denied there is any difference between doctrine and discipline.

    1. So it does not matter how bad the presiding, translation, or preaching might be because it is not the fault of the clergy if one does not come with the right attitude.

      I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion based on the article at CNS. Bad presiding, bad translation, and bad preaching are possible problems (“abuses”, we could call them) that lead to lackluster liturgies that result in flagging faith.

      And do you have a citation for the doctrine/discipline conflation by Card. Burke? I’d like to see the quote.

  3. Tom – I think the point is that if the Mass is celebrated badly, it means people are unable to enter into the mystery of the Mass. The same cardinals make the point that rubrics and words matter a great deal, contrary to what some priests say. In the same article. Card. Burke said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are “serious abuses.”

    1. Didn’t we just see that in the discussion about the omission of the “Gloria” during Ordinary Time?

      1. If you think the occasional dropping of the Gloria for pastoral reasons is a serious abuse, you are sending a sharp message of discouragement to priests who aim at a meaningful, creative, pastorally involving liturgy. The real abuse is that we have made the liturgy so drab and boring.

      2. Fr. Joe,
        Perhaps the new translation will help many celebrants to pray the liturgy better so that they will be less apt to find it a dull routine.

        Dropping the “Gloria” is an abuse and liturgical instructions from the time of Pope Paul to our own day testify to it.

      3. What pastoral reason could there possibly be to drop the Gloria?

        When a priest changes the liturgy it sends a very strong message that it’s his Mass rather than everyone’s Mass regardless of how pastoral his reasoning supposedly is or how collaborative he supposedly thinks he is with some parishioners.

    2. And many of us are scandalized when we see Burke flouting around in his cappa magna; issuing condemnations; etc. There is a significant majority in the church who would see his “liturgical actions” as serious abuses. Guess it depends upon whose ox is being gored.

      See this link: http://www.richardsipe.com/Burke_Gallery/The%20Cost%20of%20Looking%20Good%202007%5B2%5D.pdf

      Average estimated cost of Burke’s typical liturgical garb – $40,000 in one color and not counting the cost of the cappa magna.

      1. Gosh Bill, thinking about saving money, just think of all the money we could have saved if we had not unnecessarily renovated our churches after 1970.

      2. The constant harping about cappa magnas seems very hollow to me since they aren’t characteristic of traditional and “reform of the reform” liturgies in general. A lot of traditional OFs and EFs tend to be rather modest and reuse a lot of old stuff. $40,000 vestments may or may not be scandalous, but they aren’t really something your typical traddy is going to see on a regular basis and aren’t really the big hallmark of traditional liturgy that detractors wish to make it out as.

        Meanwhile, “creative” Masses that don’t follow the norms (that are in reality rather lifeless and off-putting) are shockingly common. I can’t think of any decadent traditional churches fettering away money in my city, but can think of two that have driven people away by doing such pastoral things as forbid kneeling or omit the Gloria and creed (among other things) on a regular basis.

  4. “If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith,” said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican’s supreme court.

    Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does.

    “If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest,” he said.

    At least he & Bux are consistent in their ecclesiology and liturgical styles.

    Contrast that to this article by Gabe Huck –
    http://celebrationpublications.org/sites/default/files/conference_presentations/Gabe_Huck.pdf

    Highlights:

    “Justin in the second century described it this way:
    On the day called Sunday there is a meeting in one place of those who live in cities or the country, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits. Then we all stand up together and offer prayers. And when we have finished
    the prayer, bread is bought and wine and water, and the president similarly sends up prayers and thanksgiving to the best of his ability, and the congregation assents, saying the Amen. The distribution and reception of the consecrated elements by each one takes place and
    they are sent to the absent by the deacons. Those who prosper, and who so wish, contribute, each one as much as each chooses to. What is collected is deposited with the president, who takes care of orphans and widows, and those who are in want on account of sickness or any
    other cause, and those who are in bonds,”

    Or – “A parishioner at St Henry’s in Cleveland was asked in an interview about the meaning of bread and wine/ eucharistic prayer. “What gets changed?” Sam! Sam gets changed!” If I’m not mistaken, Thomas…

  5. “Father Bux said that too many modern Catholics think the Mass is something that the priest and the congregation do together when, in fact, it is something that Jesus does.”

    What is wrong with this statement? The Mass is something that Christ does. We do not do it ourselves. We participate in it as the Body of Christ. Think of the modes of Christ’s presence in the liturgy. The Mass isn’t just something a group of us get together and do, it is the work of Jesus Christ that we participate in.

    What these two cardinals are saying really isn’t new. It’s basically another way of saying Lex orandi, lex credendi or what was said in Music in Catholic worship–good liturgy strengthens faith, bad liturgy destroys it.

    1. The phrasing is wrong because it does not express “wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I…” Instead, it seems to say that liturgy is not “something that the priest and the congregation do together.”

      1. Perhaps inserting the word just before something would better relate the point.

  6. Agree with your explanation – it is both/and in classical, traditional sacramental understanding. Not sure I agree that this is the direction of Burke or Bux.

    1. What I find obnoxious about this trope, common among reformers of the reform, is that it’s playing off divine agency against human agency, whereas orthodoxy consists in recognising that we mustn’t do that. If what they are really saying is that our mode of celebration should be somehow more formal, then I’ll give that opinion the time of day, and maybe even agree with it sometimes–but to claim the theological high ground in the way they do (or indeed, mutatis mutandis some gung-ho reformers do) obscures the genuine issue.

  7. Liturgical abuse is like graffiti on the wall. It may be interesting, some people may find it even amusing. However, what these wall decorations advertise is that the place is infested with minor league artists. They perpetrators care nothing about how they ruin their environment.

    They want attention and control of the situation.

    Same thing is true of Sunday morning piano virtuosos hammering out unedifying “liturgical songs.” Or what about the odd preacher walking up and down the isle entertaining his flock with jokes ripped off the internet. I am sure most of us experience this type of inappropriate behavior. Some priest refuse to wear chasubles. Just stop dressing after they put on the stole. So cool and casual! I never figured that one out yet. Can any one can educate us about this?

    The most pathetic example I witnessed was a pastor processing out after Mass and as he walked down the isle he made like a bishop or the pope blessing the folks right and left. He took a step then blessed folks on the the left side; then took two more step and blessed the right side; repeating this several times before finally leaving the “worship space.”

    The Cardinals and Msgr. Bux are right on the money. Liturgical graffiti, liturgical abuse empty the Mass of meaning.

  8. I have not noticed the sort of abuse John Molnar desribes. What I mainly see in the Catholic liturgy is a desolate drabness. Creative liturgy in priest-people collaboration is the answer.

  9. I really am close to despair with this debate! Where oh where is there any Christian charity in the level of debate? Can both sides not realise that what they feel about ‘unedifying liturgical songs’ others can feel at the Mass full of Latin chants and vice versa! Please, please you are really driving many like me who are struggling to hang on to the little faith we have over the edge.
    By all means debate differences and preferences but they are just that, preferences. Don’t make your own subjective preferences out to be revealed truths. But in all things, please, charity and humility.

    1. Amen!

      Let’s please recognise that there is always place for everyone in the Catholic Church and space for pluriform liturgical expressions of our common faith. If there weren’t, the Church just wouldn’t be catholic.

      1. True the Church does possess more than one legitimate liturgical rite. There also is some diversity within the one Roman rite, for example we have the ordinary and extraordinary forms. Celebrants should be well versed in both.
        We have to realize, however, that justice is important too, that is why we must receive the authorized liturgical books that provide the people with the prayers and tradition of their own proper liturgical rite. We don’t want to turn our parishes into self-selecting communities. .

      2. Exactly!! Thank you, Graham (I find myself continually “amen-ing” your posts! Lol!)
        We do not have to put one another down in order to make our position look more tenable or legitimate! If our personal taste leads us to one form of the Roman rite, so be it!
        It does not mean that we have to denigrate someone else’s chosen
        form of the rite to make ours more “legitimate”

  10. I approve that Father Bux has channeled MCW 6:

    “Faith grows when it is well expressed in celebration. Good celebrations foster and nourish faith. Poor celebrations may weaken and destroy it.”

    Any objections that neither quote Scripture or any liturgical documents?

    1. Yes, Todd, this was my first thought too.

      By the way, the original 1972 version of MCW said, trenchantly, “Poor celebrations weaken and destroy it.”

      No “may” about it! That weasel word was introduced without comment when the document was reprinted subsequently.

  11. Daniel McKernan :
    Gosh Bill, thinking about saving money, just think of all the money we could have saved if we had not unnecessarily renovated our churches after 1970.

    Just think how much money can be saved by not implementing this new translation.

  12. “If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass. This means that it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church, which people have a right to, but it is just the Mass of this parish or that priest.”

    This final comment from Fr Bux exemplifies a major problem. Faith is not really faith until it is appropriated, made into one’s own faith. Yet Fr Bux seems to deny that this appropriation is appropriate, since we appear not to do anything. Perhaps it is the way he has been quoted, but if the Mass is not “the Mass of this parish or that priest,” it is not the Mass of the Catholic Church. There is no Catholic Church that exists apart from the individuals people and parishes of the Church. The gifts that God gives to people and parishes are an integral part of every liturgy, and downplaying the importance of those gifts and their particularity goes far beyond being an abuse.

    I guess I am opting for “these statements must have been taken out of context.” What these things seem to say is just too bizarre to consider as likely to come from any priest, let alone a Cardinal.

  13. Jim MC and other like comments:

    The hard sayings rebuke from Jesus is reflected in Fr. Bux’s remark concerning the Mass. A radical individualistic interpretation of the Mass; rejecting what you do not like in the Mass or adding to it makes for poor community worship. Definitely not in line with the Council (V-2) instructions.

  14. Has Fr Bux never heard of enculturation? How does he explain the variety of incarnations of the Christian church such as Orthodox, Reformed or Roman Catholic? Is it so obviously an acid test of the unity of the church that the same mass is celebrated in the same language with the same gestures every place from Australia to Zimbabwe? Seems like a simple confusion of unity and uniformity.

    1. “If you go to a Mass in one place and then go to Mass in another, you will not find the same Mass……”

      Dear Earle and Gerard and Jim,

      I love Bux’ statement. Was it Cardinal Ratzinger who posited that the Catholic Faith itself ‘enculturated’ the various peoples who accepted it?

      If we go the other way, and each group enculturates the Faith it doesn’t take long for the Church to stratify. You see it now where you might be warned not to go to the Sunday night youth Mass if you don’t want to hear loud music, etc. There is something to the old saw ‘the family that prays together stays together.

      Fr. Rollheiser has pointed out that Dorothy Day was converted to the ‘old-fashioned’ Catholic Church because she saw all groups, rich and poor, kneeling together at the Communion rail. Such things, thanks to pluriform worship —and the absence of Communion rails—
      are harder to witness in the post-conciliar Church.

      Stratified churches lead to groups thinking the others’ Mass less valid or less meaningful and other such judgmental attitudes.

      1. Masses that do not celebrate the divergent gifts God has given us are not masses at all. What do we offer to God if not who we are and what we have been given?

        The task of the priest is to enable all to offer their gifts to God in union with Christ. They should be able to do this without stratifying the Church, but if they do not try, this is the most fundamental abuse of the liturgy possible. Suppressing individuality and culture, as if these are not gifts for which we are grateful, is a route to ingratitude, the opposite of Eucharist.

  15. Both of the cardinals and Fr. Bux are mistaken.

    According to the survey by the Pew Report, 71% of those who left the Catholic Church said that they left because their spiritual needs were not met (see http://pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/orphan_migrated_content/catholic.pdf).

    I am not sure if the liturgy has as much of an impact as some wish to think. From my own experience, with the exception of a few vocal fanatics, most people don’t complain about “liturgical abuses.” What I occasionally hear are the complains about long and boring homilies (that usually focus on sex) and some boring masses.

    The question then is: what can we do pastorally to meet people’s spiritual need?

    1. Including or omitting the Gloria in Ordinary Time must be a North American issue. In Ireland it is the exception to have it omitted – different enculturations of the mass.

    2. I am assuming the question isn’t what can we humans do to meet people’s spiritual needs because Christ himself is not meeting them. I don’t think that is what you meant, but when we start to say that the Mass and other sacraments don’t meet people’s needs and we need to sit down in a committee and come up with something we start down a dangerous path. True we do need to nourish faith outside Mass and in addition to Mass. But if our participating in the sacrifice of Christ and receiving His Body and Blood aren’t satisfying one’s needs, then either that person is looking for some kind of superficial satisfaction or nothing can be done.

      1. #36 Fr. Costigan:

        Your comment reminds me of a priest who gave a thirty minute homily that put most of the congregation to sleep, who afterward said: “I preached the word of God. What else do they want? It is not my job to entertain them.”

        From my experience, pastoral leadership in the RC is just awful. Case in point: Cardinal Burke. The people of St. Louis are much happier these days because his successor is a better pastoral leader.

        Giving good homilies is a good start!

        In the long run, one can argue that it is the church leaders who are mainly responsible for the lost of faith in the church. Obviously, there are always exceptions, such as Abp Nolan is one of the few bishops who actually acknowledges and talks about the issue of people leaving the church. The rest, I am afraid, are either clueless or powerless to do much.

  16. I would be fascinated by the actual text of the book. However, the title itself betrays a sad expectation I’ve only heard uttered by the self-styled orthodox.

    It’s also a curious sort of narcissism: that the “way I say Mass” is the only right way. I remember a rookie mistake I made in my first parish assignment while I was in grad school, suggesting to my new parish that their music would be improved by me and by my friends I would bring in from the city. The insinuation was that rural parishes had less talent. It didn’t take long for me to retract my stance. And I never needed to augment their efforts at musical leadership and ministry.

    The reality in Fr Bux’s situation seems to be this: He expects Catholic liturgy to be poor. He expects faith to falter “out there.” He has all the answers and has a cardinal-backed book out there to tell us what they are. Where is God in all this? Where is a basic Pauline theology of gifts?

  17. Although one may cite the need for ad orientem, kneeling for Holy Communion and a “sacral” vernacular translation of the Mass to improve what the laity experience at Sunday Mass, what we all need to realize is that even with the current translation and General Instruction, saying the black and doing the red will help. But we also need well trained directors of music, lectors,altar servers, ushers and a laity who understand that what they do both internally and externally from the pew is very important. Priests need to do what they are asked to do well not in a mediocre or flamboyant way. Attention to detail, choreography, vesture (both lay and clergy, pew and altar) will go a long way in making Sunday Mass an experience that builds faith rather than diminishes it.

  18. First of all, I am simple church organist/choir director. Having made that disclaimer, let me state an opinion which is that we Catholics have arrived at where the Episcopalians have been for a good while, namely, we are Ultra High, High, Broad, and Low, as respects worship style, and perhaps theology too. The problem is we haven’t learned to love and respect those whose worship style is different from ours. Until we do we are going to have the mess we have now. I could be wrong about all this, but this is what I think

  19. Using the “Glory to God” as an example, when it isn’t sung I think my faith is more endangered by the absolutely dreary recitation that I am forced into Sunday after Sunday.

    And when it is sung I am usually subjected to a 6/8, “Everyone Be Happy”, finale to an Act I musical.

    1. In all charity, I ask you to ask yourself whether when you complain about trite music that isn’t to your taste, are you in fact considering yourself to be superior to the unlettered masses, the PIPs?

      Recognizing that our experience of Mass is enhanced when we use music and art (which includes gesture) that speaks to us, who are we to say that a chant Mass which is opaque to a given group is superior to a Mass using Christian rock hymns?
      I myself would prefer the chant Mass, but I am willing to allow other people to praise God their way.

      1. Brigid—For most people, the switch from Latin to the vernacular was a switch from pious gibberish ……. to a clear proclamation of the Good News.—–

        Brigid—I myself would prefer the chant Mass—

        Dear Brigid,

        I’m scratching my head! Is there more than one Brigid
        Rauch? How can you hold to both of the above opinions?

  20. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    … Bad presiding, bad translation, and bad preaching are possible problems (”abuses”, we could call them) that lead to lackluster liturgies that result in flagging faith.
    And do you have a citation for the doctrine/discipline conflation by Card. Burke? I’d like to see the quote.

    I agree with your first sentence above. See following comment in this regard.

    With regard to Raymond Burke saying there is no difference between doctrine and discipline, I tried to Google it, but it is not available on line. I read it in an interview he gave to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but it may be from before digital copies are available on-line. I am not reporting a second or third hand citation, but something I read and underlined myself as a direct quotation and not a reporter’s summary. My notation at the time was that I thought this distinction was taught in Theology 101. I will see if I can find it some other way, because I would like to have it filed permanently also.

    1. Tom – is this what you are referring to:

      http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/articles/enforcement.htm

      “The Bishops leave the impression that one of the options of a bishop is to permit or admit a manifest sinner to Holy Communion. However, this is not correct. This sacrilege is forbidden by Canon Law c.915.

      Insofar as the bishops did not state this clearly, they failed the people of God in professing the truth.

      This is no small matter, especially in light of the persistent obstinacy of most bishops to apply canon law c.915.”

      “There is a wise old mediaeval scholastic axiom that teaches in Latin: Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur. In English, Lessons are received according to the nature of the recipient. Some persons are obstinately resistant to revealed truth.

      The law is a medicinal remedy. It is a discipline, which calls the sinner to repentance and brings him back to full union with the Church.

      If the bishops give the sinner the Eucharist, they risk his eternal salvation. If they deny the sinner, they are saving the sinner from condemnation, from eternal damnation.”

      “The duty of Catholic legislators to respect human life,” said Burke, “it is not [a] personal opinion I have arbitrarily decided to impose. It is not Burke’s law, but God’s law, which Burke, as a shepherd of God’s flock, is bound to teach and uphold, also by admonishing those who violate it. As bishop, I am a guardian of the faith and its practice. If I remain silent while the faith, in one of its most fundamental tenets, is openly disobeyed by those who present themselves as sincere adherents of the faith, then I have failed most seriously and should be removed from office.”

      1. No, it was more explicit than that regarding there being no difference between doctrine and discipline, almost those exact words. It was in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch during his first years in St. Louis.

  21. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :
    … even with the current translation and General Instruction, saying the black and doing the red will help. But we also need well trained directors of music, lectors,altar servers, ushers and a laity … Priests need to do what they are asked to do well not in a mediocre or flamboyant way. Attention to detail, choreography, vesture (both lay and clergy, pew and altar) will go a long way in making Sunday Mass an experience that builds faith rather than diminishes it.

    Despite the shock it may cause that an apparent progressive is agreeing with apparent traditionalists, in the above words, Allan, Jeffrey, and I do agree.

    As many options as there have been in the GIRM, American priests tended to celebrate Mass as if there were few rules at all. In multiple parishes and diocesan committees I have seen priests and bishops choose to do what they like or just what they saw elsewhere or what was promoted to them by publishers.

    The bishops did not teach or even explain SC to their priests. Those trained in liturgy did not bring about the ignoring of rules, but not many spoke out strongly against them.

    I do not think the RC Mass has any more options for the presider than are actually in the Missal. How can we PIP argue for good liturgy based on SC and GIRM or any other source if the priests can do whatever they want?

    I think offenses of this order are now being used as pretexts by those opposed to the entire set of changes in SC. It is a pity so many unofficial variations have…

    1. It’s hardly surprising, though.

      When one advances a mode of liturgical interpretation or praxis, one should always be wary how it will undermine one’s goal, even if by reaction. This kind of prudence and wisdom has been scarce in many places, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. (And one sees the same mistakes mirrored in Reform of Reform advocates of a certain sort.) Another demonstration of original sin is the human propensity to get in our own way . . . with the best of intentions.

    2. Dear Tom, if you would have the vision of our Lord and see the span of my life including 31 years as a priest, I doubt you would box me in by calling me a traditionalist, although that is certainly part of the story, but thanks for agreeing with something nonetheless; it’s nice seeing that amongst Catholics.

  22. George Andrews :

    Brigid—For most people, the switch from Latin to the vernacular was a switch from pious gibberish ……. to a clear proclamation of the Good News.—–
    Brigid—I myself would prefer the chant Mass—
    Dear Brigid,
    I’m scratching my head! Is there more than one Brigid
    Rauch? How can you hold to both of the above opinions?

    George, how can you not see that Latin is a language so little known to most Americans as to sound like gibberish, while chant is a form of music independent of any language?

    1. Of course, one of the lovely things about the introduction of the mostly vernacular Ordo is that the people no longer have to wonder what the Ordinary in Latin means, since they utter the English for it most of the time.

      Indeed, the widespread embrace of the vernacular may ultimately have proven to be the best preserver of Latin in the Roman liturgy. Of course, those for whom vernacular or Latin (as the case may be) has become a shibboleth are loathe to see or welcome this.

    2. I apologize for not replying directly, I don’t know how to post above.

      I probably revealed my ignorance by misusing the phrase “chant Mass”. I was specifically referring to the music, in that I prefer Medieval style music to that used at most teen Masses. I still prefer the vernacular over Latin, or a Latinate translation.

      Still, music is also a language. What speaks to me may not speak to someone else. The measure of liturgical music is not what professionals think of it, but whether it brings the people using it closer to God.

      What I was cautioning against was the temptation to think that because I like “superior” music than those people, I am somehow a “superior” person.

      1. I think it was quite clear what you intended to say, Brigid. I didn’t see any contradiction.

    3. Tom P—George, how can you not see that Latin is a language so little known to most Americans as to sound like gibberish, while chant is a form of music independent of any language?—

      Thanks for bailing Brigid out, Tom! I’ve never heard anything but Latin from our Cathedral’s schola. What percent of ‘chant’ that you hear is in the vernacular?

      1. I know an English chanted “Our Father”. I remember Masses where some of the Ordinary (“The Lo-ord be with you. And also with you. Li-ift u-up your hea-arts. etc.”) was chanted in English.

  23. For sake of intelligent discussion, things must be distinguished from each other.

    These things have independent values and do not necessarily go together:

    Latin
    The Roman Canon
    chant
    ad orientum Mass
    organ accompaniment
    music written before 1960
    All of them also remained options for the past forty years

    The following things do not necessarily go together:

    vernacular Masses
    EP II
    rhythmic music
    ad populum Mass
    guitar accompaniment
    music written after 1960.
    All of them will remain options under VC2010. [IIRC]

    It is not necessarily so that anyone who likes one thing in one group likes all its contents or hates all in the other group or vice versa.

    Most of those things are matters of taste. There is no single right way to do liturgy. Unity does not require uniformity. Nor do any of the above things automatically produce greater piety, deeper faith, or fuller Eucharistic devotion.

    Despite how deeply wronged those who prefer the entire first group have felt for the past four decades, it is not correct for them to assert that the majority of American RCs would have preferred to keep all of them as a bundle.

    The public information available is that American Catholics welcomed Mass in English and being able to see what the priest does there. My opinion is that they would accept any of the other things on either list if the pastor supports them.

    In my experience, many priests failed to study either SC or the GIRM. Instead of turning to academically trained liturgists such as the periti at V2, they bought what was sold to them in the popular religious press, much of it promoted by those who called themselves liturgical-this-or-that but were actually selling a product or service. The new “church goods” could be just as tacky or elegant as old items. New hymnals mean new profits. “New” is marketing.

    We must all be careful to separate the independent elements of good and bad liturgical experiences and separate our tastes…

    1. Contemporary worship is a boon to churches according to the FACT 2008 survey of Evangelical, Mainline, Catholic, and Other Religions:
      http://religioninsights.org/contemporary-worship-boon-churches

      The survey analyzed questionnaires from 2,527 randomly sampled U.S. congregations. The congregation’s senior clergy leader was the respondent.

      Contemporary worship has long been on rise, indeed has hit a peak among Evangelicals in this survey compared to similar ones in 2000, and 2005. Traditional teaching and moral stances have been combined with contemporary worship.

      But mainline Protestant churches (despite their reputation as being more liberal) have been slow to join the contemporary worship trend. However the FACT2008 survey reported 15 percent of mainline Protestant churches switched worship styles between 2005 and 2008.

      A good reason for the shifting may been from the over all results: 64 percent of churches with contemporary worship reported a 2 percent or more increase in attendance. By contrast, only 44 percent of churches that kept traditional worship styles reported a 2 percent or more increase in attendance.

      The whole report is available here
      http://faithcommunitiestoday.org/sites/default/files/American_Congregations_2008.pdf

      Data collection for 2010 is completed and news releases should begin in April.

  24. CAUGHT AGAIN IN THE WORD COUNT DECEPTION!

    We must all be careful to separate the independent elements of good and bad liturgical experiences and separate our tastes from what is required and allowed.

    1. I think I have agreed with everything you have posted the last few days. Some good old fashioned common sense!

    2. Here’s a little cheat/trick I learned about this commenting software. If it truncates your post because it thinks you used too many characters (even though you didn’t!), just Edit your post and you can add as much content as you want.

      Don’t abuse this cheat/trick, though. It’s Lent. That wouldn’t be niec.

  25. But we also need well trained directors of music, lectors,altar servers, ushers and a laity who understand that what they do both internally and externally from the pew is very important. Priests need to do what they are asked to do well not in a mediocre or flamboyant way. Attention to detail, choreography, vesture (both lay and clergy, pew and altar) will go a long way in making Sunday Mass an experience that builds faith rather than diminishes it.

    Hear, hear, Allan!

    And, I would add, if anyone wants to see liturgical abuses on a grand scale, go to almost any church in Rome, on the Vatican’s doorstep. Santa Maria Maggiore would be a good place to start.

    Cardinal Arinze was over-fond of hectoring people about abuses which (he gave the impression) were to be found everywhere. Actually they weren’t, and most people had never encountered the abuses he described — but many of them can be found in the Eternal City….. Physician, heal thyself?

    1. Paul,

      I agree generally about liturgy in Rome — absolutely dreadful. But I must say that the Masses I’ve been to in Santa Maria Maggiore have not been that bad. Maybe I just got lucky.

      1. Fritz

        Paul’s something of a musician and therefore tends to see these things through music-tinted glasses, as it were.

        The ‘choir’ at the ‘Canonical’ Solemn Mass at the Liberian Basilica on Sunday mornings has been a laughing stock for generations, famously composed of retired mid-range Roman opera baritones, all competing with each other to sing loudest.

        Perhaps the latest Archpriest, in whose reign I’ve hardly darkened the doorstep of the place, has managed to do the right thing with the liturgy there, something he couldn’t seem to manage with pretty much anything in his former assignment.

  26. I suffered through all of the back & forth dialogue/argument of this posting. My penance for Lent is now complete. With so much talk about the Latin Rite, Ordinary Branded and Extraordinary Branded, can anyone tell me which Rite was used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper? Or, in the early House Churches? At what point in time did God tell us that he wanted to be worshipped, or that Jesus was to be constantly sacrificed to him through the Latin Rite Mass? I am amazed that so many here write as if they know the mind or the will of God. I simply go to mass to share in the Eucharist. And, if a good preacher can provide a good sermon that breaks open the word of God, and if the musicians can provide prayerful music, then I am happy, and, blessed, and fulfilled. Enough.

      1. Huh? He asks several pointed questions. Where is a position stated, much less a Protestant one?
        Did you know there have been several official dialogues between Catholics and various Protestant groups on the nature of eucharist, which increasing agreement? Did you know that the Catholic Church official participates in such dialogues because we Catholics can learn and gain from other Christian traditions? You write as if Protestant = bad, unlike the teachings and documents of the Catholic Church on ecumenism.
        awr

        awr

    1. At what point in time did God tell us that he wanted to be worshipped, or that Jesus was to be constantly sacrificed to him through the Latin Rite Mass?

      The questions of whether we should worship God, and whether God wants to be worshiped, are rather fundamental. It seems clear to me from the whole Bible that we should worship God and that He desires our worship. Perhaps you may elect to use the term “love” instead of “worship”, but the point is the same.

      As to whether Jesus instituted the Eucharist as a perpetual sacrifice (or intended to do so) is probably beyond the scope of this blog.

      1. In Amos we hear that while God may desire our worship, he would be prepared to forgo it if it were at the price of justice. Have a look at the following:
        I hate, I scorn your festivals,
        I take no pleasure in your solemn assemblies.
        When you bring me burnt offerings . . .
        your oblations, I do not accept them
        and I do not look at your communion sacrifices of fat cattle.
        Spare me the din of your chanting,
        let me hear none of your strumming on lyres,

        From this we can deduce that the worship which is pleasing to God is a life where justice is practised.

      2. Amos was prophesying to Northern Israel which had a string of evil kings and had false places of worship. The context of Amos’ preaching is important.

        But we can go earlier: Samuel told Saul that God loves obedience more than sacrifice. (So, until we’re perfectly obedient, there wil be — and be a need for — sacrifice, no?)

        We also have the testimony of Micah 6:8.

        And Jesus calls us to worship God “in spirit and truth.”

  27. Paul, before accusing anyone of being a hypocrite, can you back up your claim with concrete evidence?

    1. Let’s take just one example from Santa Maria Maggiore, then. The last time I was there, three years ago, there were two Masses going on in separate side chapels. I looked in on both of them for just a few minutes each. At one of them, the altar was being used like a sideboard to park things on — the priest’s spectacles, a box containing who-knows-what?, etc. The altar was also used as the ambo — the readings were all proclaimed from a book lying on it. In my book, all that counts as an abuse.

      Just one tiny example, but you will find many others multiplied all over Rome, in churches large and small. I have never yet returned from a visit to Rome without a catalogue of new sightings to amuse my dinner guests.

      1. Until the 2002 MR, it was licit to read the readings at a private Mass from the altar.

        Since you seem to turn into the liturgical police every time you go to Rome, maybe you could write that priest a citation for following an old rubric no longer in force.

    2. In Amos it isn’t poor worship which is rejected. The criticism of their worship has nothing to do with its taking place in the wrong location. It is worship which is not accompanied by justice or more pointedly, worhsip which is accompanied by injustice, which is rejected by the God of Amos.

      1. Gerard, as much as justice vs. injustice is a theme in the prophecies of Amos, it is a really big deal that the northern kingdom of Israel set up its own “high places” to compete with Jerusalem (which belonged to the southern kingdom of Judah) and made up its own feasts to compete with those instituted under Moses, and established its own priesthood to compete with the line of Levi. And they slipped into worshiping other gods.

        Often (but not always) false worship or empty worship is connected to injustice. God wants neither, of course! But note that the prophets usually connect a restoration of morality and justice WITH a restoration of right sacrifice, such as in Malachi.

  28. I have no doubt that there is liturgical sloppiness in Rome, all of Europe and throughout the world. I do think that this should be distinguished from Liturgical abuse, like making it up as you go, the focus of attention on the priest especially through arbitrary actions that call attention to himself, clowns, liturgical dance, and people doing that which is not their given liturgical role.
    I suspect too, there is a correlation between the gross secularism of Europe and other places and a liturgy that is seen by many not to be very important especially as it is celebrated. How would a person who is not of our faith view the actual celebration of a Mass sloppily celebrated. Would there be any hint of the Church’s belief in the Real Presence of God Incarnate in the Bread and Wine consecrated and the majesty of God therein?
    At least kneeling for Holy Communion and the priest joining the congregation in facing the same way for prayer shows that God is the focus and the one worshiped no matter how sloppy other aspects of the liturgy become even in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

    1. A psychoanalyst would have a field day expounding on the propensity of males to wear lace and some of the other camp paraphernalia associated with such a scenario. All of which draw attention to the priest, despite protestations to the contrary. A liturgist would have a field day rebutting the assertion that kneeling for Holy Communion ‘shows’, that it is God who is the focus of it all. And a theologian would take issue with the implication that all facing the same way, as if God were somewhere out in the middle distance, shows that it is God who is being worshipped, when it isn’t much more than evidence of a primitive cosmology.

      When Raymond Burke came to Cork’s SS Peter and Paul’s to preside at a liturgye last year, the train of his cappa magna was so long that the acolyte and he were separated by almost the width of the sanctuary. Reminded me of the old definition of pontifical high mass: dressing and undressing a bishop to music. If the Queen of England comes to Ireland later this year, without a train, she will be unlikely to create such a spectacle. It would be amusing if it were not so sad.

      1. Gerald F–A liturgist would have a field day rebutting the assertion that kneeling for Holy Communion ’shows’, that it is God who is the focus of it all. —

        Dear Gerald,

        I’ve yet to see any liturgist or cleric present a cogent argument for why we should not kneel when we are right in front of Jesus Christ, and as close as we ever get to Him! [other than – a la Fr. R- it makes people think -wrongly -that they are kneeling for the priest. Father’s argument falls flat with me because I have yet to meet a ‘kneeler’ who thought that’s what they are doing]

        Please, hook me up with a link to a rational argument!

      2. I wonder why lace is such a big deal to some people – it’s lovely when used tastefully and, while perhaps more common at EF Masses, isn’t ubiquitous. I’ve also seen lace at many OF Masses (not just traditional ones). The obsession with connecting it with some kind of mental problem seems desperate and would maybe have merit if lace in Catholic/western Christian religious dress were really all that unusual.

      3. I’ve yet to see any liturgist or cleric present a cogent argument for why we should not kneel when we are right in front of Jesus Christ, and as close as we ever get to Him!

        George,

        If St. Thomas is correct that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not a “local” presence, then I think you will need to come up with another argument for kneeling. I am sure there are plenty of good ones.

      4. George – as one who spent many days and hours implementing communion in the hand in the late 1970’s in the archdiocese of New Orleans, the NCCB had numerous sacramental, liturgical, and theological reasons to support this practice:

        We can see a similar type of intermingling of issues operative in the controversy over a very different type of practice, the reception of Communion in the hand. First surfacing as a widespread “unauthorized practice” in the immediate postconciliar period, this simple ritual received approbation only in 1977, after having been rejected by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1973. When the practice first emerged in 1967–1969, the Sacred Congregation was enough concerned about it to conduct an international survey and issue a study paper. Certainly the issue touched questions of lay participation in the liturgy, but it also symbolized much wider questions: the interpretation of tradition, reliance on modern medicine, infantile versus adult authority relationships, theological and philosophical understandings of transubstantiation, the locus of the holy, the definition of an appropriate public etiquette code, and the sociological sources of institutional power. As the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy summarized its argument in 1970: “The restoration of the venerable practice in which the minister places the consecrated host in the communicant’s
        hand is a serious and sensitive matter. It is proposed for a
        pastoral reason, namely, to acknowledge and develop greater awareness of the dignity of the baptized Christian. This has created the desire for a more dignified and indeed more reverent manner of receiving the holy Eucharist
        among many of the most sincere and devout faithful.”

        From – “Thirty Years of Liturgical Renewal: Statements of the
        Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy,” ed. Frederick R. McManus

        “U.S. Bishops Approve Communion in the Hand,” Origins 7
        (June 16, 1977)

  29. Santa Maria Maggiore has the Eucharist permanently reserved in at least two different chapels and on public display for several hours each day in a third.

  30. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Here’s a little cheat/trick I learned about this commenting software. If it truncates your post because it thinks you used too many characters (even though you didn’t!), just Edit your post and you can add as much content as you want.
    Don’t abuse this cheat/trick, though. It’s Lent. That wouldn’t be niec.

    These posts of mine are already edited when I see the system truncate them. It’s just that the system is counting about 25 more characters between when it says you have reached the end. Maybe something is added in the transfer process. I just have to remember to stop when it says 25 characters left, even though it permits me to enter them.

    A minor irritation caused by machine saying one thing when programmed to do another.

  31. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :

    At least kneeling for Holy Communion and the priest joining the congregation in facing the same way for prayer shows that God is the focus and the one worshiped no matter how sloppy other aspects of the liturgy become even in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

    This suggests that you are rejecting the teaching of a holy ecumenical council in union with the pope that the Mass does not have just one focus. The Eucharist is both summit and source. The assembly praises God and God offers nourishment to the people. It is both sacrifice and banquet, communion both with God and each other. It is an error to teach that the Mass exists only to worship God. It does that and many other things. The Eucharist is as much, if not more, God’s gift to the people of the assembly as it is the people offering themselves to God. The role of the presider is as much to lead the people in prayer as it is to rencall the sacrifice. SC teaches a both/and theology of the liturgy and makes an explicit advance from, not break from, the single minded theology of sacrifice.

    1. Rejecting a teaching of a Council? A bit of hyperbole, Tom! The context of my “rant” is Masses that are sloppy where faith is diminished not nourished. It could be an EF Mass or an OF Mass. In these sloppy Masses, at least ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion would show that it is worship of God. Implicit in this is “ex opere operato.” At least in these “sloppy Masses” prayer is being led by the “presider” even when done so ad orientem and a sense of the majesty of God Incarnate is available when receiving kneeling as is the norm for the EF Mass and certainly possible in the OF Mass as Pope Benedict models for us.

  32. John Nguyen :

    #36 Fr. Costigan:
    Your comment reminds me of a priest who gave a thirty minute homily that put most of the congregation to sleep, who afterward said: “I preached the word of God. What else do they want? It is not my job to entertain them.”
    From my experience, pastoral leadership in the RC is just awful. Case in point: Cardinal Burke. The people of St. Louis are much happier these days because his successor is a better pastoral leader.

    Agreement from here in St. Louis. Besides the archbishop is now here more often instead of in Rome tending to his connections.

  33. Jim M —Masses that do not celebrate the divergent gifts God has given us are not masses at all. What do we offer to God if not who we are and what we have been given?

    I disagree. You are being as intolerant as any SSPXer, denying the validity of the Sacrament. I think I kind of agree with your sentiment, that it’s nice to get people involved and to share their gifts. But how do we do that without making it a bad imitation of “The Original Amateur Hour”?

    So many bands, tuning up while people are trying to collect themselves and to pray! It just strikes me as a great big ‘look-at-me!’ I don’t believe that is what the Mass about either.

    1. My point is simply that if we do not offer anything, we do not offer anything. How can it be a Mass if we do not offer anything? We are not united with Christ in His Offering etc. It is not a question of validity, but of simple definition.

      This can be taken to extremes, as you describe. I would hope that every priest, leading a celebration of the Eucharist, would choose lead all to glorify God. The Gloria is the obvious way to do this, hence the rubric.

      Legal reasons are barely enough. It is best if the priest chooses to glorify God using the Gloria. Next best is choosing to follow the rubric because it is the rubric. Last would be not using the Gloria. In this context, there may be times when the priest will choose to glorify God by not using the Gloria, as when the Church chooses a heightened Gloria over its use in Advent and Easter.

      The Gloria is an example of how choosing what the rubric prescribes can be an expression of personal choice, and of offering to God what God has given to us. The CNS article that sparked this discussion gives the sense that individuality and community are not part of the liturgy, which is done instead by Christ. I think it should rather be a full expression of our individuality and community, offered in union with Christ offering Himself.

  34. Jeff P—I know an English chanted “Our Father”. I remember Masses where some of the Ordinary (”The Lo-ord be with you. And also with you. Li-ift u-up your hea-arts. etc.”) was chanted in English.—

    Alright, Jeff! Technically you are right. Brigid has explained that’s not exactly what she had in mind, but rather medieval music which may or may not be in Latin.

    I’m afraid there is an attitude among many of the people who run things that certain things in the Church’s treasury are not for everyone. These people made the decision that the ‘unwashed’ should not hear Latin or Latin chant.
    Lo and behold! after 40 years the common people have lost their ear for it.

  35. Deacon Fritz–If St. Thomas is correct that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not a “local” presence, then I think you will need to come up with another argument for kneeling. I am sure there are plenty of good ones.

    Now you have me really confused. “local” does mean “near” or “close” in my little world. I guess if one doesn’t believe she is coming close to Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, then that would explain why the Sacrament can be received ‘any old way’.

    1. Sorry to be confusing. In this case, “local” means “related to location.” St. Thomas thinks that the way one draws close to Christ is not by walking toward the consecrates species but by receiving them worthily (i.e. in a state of charity), or at least desiring to do so. Christ’s proximity in the Eucharist is not something that can be measured in feet and inches.

      1. Father Hardon, S.J.–It is faith in Jesus Christ not only as a historical memory, but faith in a present, geographic, local presence in Our midst no less than He was present to His disciples at the Last Supper or present to them after His resurrection when He told them to see and touch His risen body and even ate in their presence.

        Deacon Fritz,
        Would you say Fr. Hardon was right in what he asserted?
        Isn’t it just a necessary, Incarnational fact that we need to come within inches and millimeters of Jesus in order to receive Him in the Sacrament?

      2. George,

        I think the late Fr. Hardon was mistaken to describe Christ’s presence as “geographic.” And while I would agree that in the Eucharist Christ is “in our midst no less than He was present to His disciples at the Last Supper or present to them after His resurrection when He told them to see and touch His risen body and even ate in their presence,” I think we have to recognize that this is a different mode of presence: a presence through sacramental signification and not through incarnation. Christ’s divine nature is simply not “incarnate” in bread and wine. And I’m pretty sure I’ve got St. Thomas and the Council of Trent on my side on this one.

      3. For a more recent approach to the question of the “locality” of Christ in the Eucharist, here is Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei 46:

        “For what now lies beneath the aforementioned species is not what was there before, but something completely different; and not just in the estimation of Church belief but in reality, since once the substance or nature of the bread and wine has been changed into the body and blood of Christ, nothing remains of the bread and the wine except for the species—beneath which Christ is present whole and entire in His physical ‘reality’ corporeally present, although not in the manner in which bodies are in a place.”

  36. George Andrews :
    I’ve yet to see any liturgist or cleric present a cogent argument for why we should not kneel when we are right in front of Jesus Christ, and as close as we ever get to Him!

    If all that we were doing was adoration, prostration would be an appropriate posture.
    However, this is another both/and situation. We are siblings to Jesus, taking and eating. We are heirs entitled to stand in the presence of the Lord.
    Kneeling is a feudal introduction to Christian liturgy, fairly late. The position comes from kneeling in a position where one’s superior could as easily cut off one’s neck or dub one a knight.
    The Biblical prayer postures are standing with arms extended and hands upraised, orans, or prostration full length upon the ground.
    The use by priests of the hands apart at body width is a mere compromise from being postured joined together before them and the orans position of classical Christian prayer.
    The folded hands, by the way, come from the same infeudation ceremony as the kneeling. It made it easy for the superior to grasp the hands of the subordinate, hold them bound during oath taking, or hold the person still for sudden decapitation. At least that was the symbolic possibility.
    The Mass is a both/and thing. Sacrament and sacrifice. Giving praise to God and receiving nourishment in word and food. There are always multiple meanings.

    1. Tom—Kneeling is a feudal introduction to Christian liturgy, fairly late.—

      Tom, it was introduced because it fit. Your post seems to rest upon the axiom that kneeling is foreign to the Bible.

      Are you certain you can’t find it in there? Anywhere?
      Don’t you think there is kneeling going on in the Heavenly Liturgy?

    2. Kneeling was also the gesture of courtly love, and as such coexisted with the development of feudal rituals. In our culture, kneeling has lost its feudal connotation but retained its association with love, devotion and vulnerability.

  37. Jack Wayne :
    I wonder why lace is such a big deal to some people – it’s lovely when used tastefully and, while perhaps more common at EF Masses, isn’t ubiquitous. I’ve also seen lace at many OF Masses (not just traditional ones). The obsession with connecting it with some kind of mental problem seems desperate and would maybe have merit if lace in Catholic/western Christian religious dress were really all that unusual.

    I agree that associating lace with negative psychological implications is inappropriate.
    Yet, I wonder, what good does it do?
    What is behind your obsession with keeping lace?

    I think that the most relevant comment in this string was comparing RC prelates with the UK nobility.

    There is exactly one occasion where the long train for the monarch and antique court wear for the nobility is still used, and that is coronation. The nobility do it, but many of them admit to feeling silly and resent the expense of the coronets.

    What is an RC prelate saying about himself to insist on wearing such antique court garb? Much more so than lace in particular, I think such gaudy display shows insecurity and a desire to dominate. This seems to be in distinct contrast with serving the needs of the community, ministering to the assembly.

    1. I’ve shown no obsession with keeping lace – I simply see no reason to exclude it from our worship. I’m not bothered when a Mass has no lace . However, some people seem to be terribly upset by it and think it is indicative of some deeper problem.

      As to what good it does – for many people it is beautiful. Having beauty in the liturgy isn’t a bad thing. Beauty comes in many different forms. Perhaps I’m simply too “live and let live” to get worked up over something like lace or cappa magnas. What good does it do to overanalyze the use of lace or long trains and attach negative motives to those who use them? It causes needless division and ill will as far as I’m concerned.

  38. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :
    Rejecting a teaching of a Council? A bit of hyperbole, Tom! The context of my “rant” is Masses that are sloppy where faith is diminished not nourished. It could be an EF Mass or an OF Mass. In these sloppy Masses, at least ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion would show that it is worship of God. Implicit in this is “ex opere operato.” At least in these “sloppy Masses” prayer is being led by the “presider” even when done so ad orientem and a sense of the majesty of God Incarnate is available when receiving kneeling as is the norm for the EF Mass and certainly possible in the OF Mass as Pope Benedict models for us.

    You seem to always want to argue something that is non-responsive to what others have said.

    What I said was that you seem to insist that the Mass has only one purpose. If that is what you are saying, you are in conflict with SC which teaches the multiple purposes of the Mass.

    The following finds me in agreement, but is irrelevant to kneeling or ad orientem, “Masses that are sloppy where faith is diminished not nourished.”

    I am not sure that anything can convey the nature of the Eucharist if a Mass is sufficiently sloppy to be distracting. It is exactly what I have disliked about the indult Masses in St. Louis. The quality of the singing and the mumbling of the Latin was so bad on repeated visits as to be a total distraction for anyone trying to participate in the Mass rather than being buried in some simultaneous private devotion like the…

    1. There you go again Tom. If you look at my first post on this, what I said is that even in the Mass with our current translation, if one says the black and does the red and also pays attention to detail that the Mass may well be the source and summit of Catholic life. Then I went on to say that we need well trained music directors/musicians, altar servers, readers, priests, and laity who all understand their role with the role of the laity being a participative one that is both internal and external and which from the laity all other liturgical roles flow, including that of the priest. So put altogether, reverence for the real presence of the incarnate God, who is Jesus Christ, crucified and risen can be shown to Him in the assembly, the Word proclaimed, the priest celebrant/presider and especially in the sacramental signs consecrated, the Bread and Wine which is our Crucified and Risen Lord. Attention to detail means precisely that, attention to all the details of Mass and its environment including vesture, which also means the laity that is quite willing to dress in Sunday best as that is understood in their religious culture. The Mass is both horizontal and vertical, not either/or.

  39. This might be helpful – from Theological Studies- “Reception of Vatican II in the US” by

    “In summary, these two dimensions, the symbolic or polyvalent meaning of practices and their rootedness in the interactive dimensions of the community, formed a new context for the development of postconciliar pastoral leadership in the period from 1968 to 1983. If we examine the areas indicated we will discover that the dynamics of church life in the United States engendered the following historical pattern:
    (1) The development of a religious practice, usually on a popular level but involving both clergy and laity together, is reflective of the intersection of the reception of the council’s pastoral teaching with socio-cultural mutations. This may be a practice that in a new context has suddenly become self-conscious (e.g. the regulation of births, the pastoral care of Catholics
    living in marriages not recognized by the Church); or it may be a practice that suddenly appears as “new,” sometimes even occasioned by the teaching Church itself (e.g. Communion in the hand, charismatic prayer, women as lectors in church); or it may be an extended application of a new practice (e.g. the question of women’s ordination as a possible application of the
    role of women in ministry flowing from the equality of all the baptized).”

    (2) The Church as the Body of Christ then searches from within itself for the relationship between this new demand with its expressions and the inherited practices and interpretations already in place. This stage involves
    multiple levels of discussion and argument, a ressourcement in the tradition, and a dialogue with the contemporary. Historically, this process of interaction has different durations. It is essentially an exercise in collective discernment, as for example took place in the charismatic or pentecostal movement, 1967–1975.”

    1. Bill D’s quote about the reasons for instituting hand Communion —-It is proposed for a
      pastoral reason, namely, to acknowledge and develop greater awareness of the dignity of the baptized Christian. This has created the desire for a more dignified and indeed more reverent manner of receiving the holy Eucharist
      among many of the most sincere and devout faithful.”
      —–

      Bill, I really appreciate you finding this source for me!

      I, as you aren’t suprised, don’t agree with either point in the above quote.
      Regarding its point about hand Communion acknowledging the dignity of laity:

      I think there is dignity in accepting what you are and the roll you’ve been given. I have a friend who left his wife for a younger woman. He thinks he looks impressive having a pretty young wife. I think there is something positively UNdignified in how my friend behaves –even ignoring the morality of it. I really think there is some of that going on here.

      We laity were, supposedly, deprived because the clergy who confect the Eucharist are also authorized to handle It. I see Hand Communion as an effort to ‘up our dignity’ by having us pretend for the moment that we are clergy.

      My friend pretends he is again a youth, we pretend to be clergy. Any dignity gained from such exercises is pretend dignity.

  40. cont…..Rev. Chinnici, OFM

    rejection of Humanae vitae, the practice of Communion in the hand, the pastoral care of marriages not recognized by the Church.
    (4) In some cases, an equilibrium is reached where the new practice becomes a matter of custom. In other cases, the different dimensions of the Church agree to disagree or work to develop appropriate boundaries between public speech and private application. In still other instances, conflict and tension continue. This stage, as an ecclesial reality, can be maintained as long as a full vision of the “pastoral” is accepted, that is, as long as the issue is seen to exist within the total complex of Church life, dialogue proceeds, and the contested practice does not migrate outside of communion through the fracturing of parties and the isolation of the part from the whole. In the period under discussion this pattern without its fracturing clearly appears in the issues surrounding first confession/first Communion, women in ministry, and in the debates over the pastoral care of homosexuals.”

    We know that adaptations in the liturgy would eventually become one of the most contested of areas in the postconciliar period. However, the initial
    proclamation and implementation of Sacrosanctum concilium in the United States had met with widespread acceptance and some resistance, with only the small “traditionalist movement” dissenting in any profound manner. It was toward the end of our first phase of conciliar reception, in the late 1970s, that a discernible national movement began in opposition to
    some of the ritual changes. Before this public polarization reached a critical stage, the implementation had been governed by efforts to form a large consensus that the reform needed to be truly “pastoral,” that is
    maintaining fidelity to the tradition while at the same time addressing the needs of the contemporary person. The basic principle was stated most clearly by the NCCB’s Committee on the Liturgy…

  41. Deacon Fritz—Christ’s divine nature is simply not “incarnate” in bread and wine. —

    You know better than that, Deacon! It’s not bread and It’s not wine.

    1. Deacon Fritz was responding allusively to Fr Allan’s question “Would there be any hint of the Church’s belief in the Real Presence of God Incarnate in the Bread and Wine consecrated and the majesty of God therein?”

      It is a tricky phrasing that can be read several ways. God Incarnate is present as “the bread and wine consecrated”, but God is not incarnated into the bread and wine consecrated. The Son was incarnated at the birth, or thereabouts, of Jesus, who continues to be present among us by the consecration of the bread and wine. Or so I understand it.

      1. My wording could be tricky indeed. What I was writing is that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, who is God incarnate, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, who has two natures, divine and human, but one God, is present but hidden or veiled under the “accidents” of Bread and Wine consecrated. In this context Jesus, crucified and risen becomes Food and Drink for our pilgrimage and transition to eternal life and our Last Holy Communion will be Viaticum which in effect is what each worthy and Holy Communion is.
        In a sloppily celebrated Mass or a liturgy with liturgical abuse, if the Mass is valid and “ex opere operato” kicks in because that Mass, priest or congregation has hit rock bottom and the liturgy becomes the most minimal sign of what it is meant to be, one receives our Lord in Holy Communion and He is present on the altar, nonetheless. That at least is a comfort to those who expect much more than just “ex opere operato.”
        In a sense just as Latin, and ad orientem act as an “iconostasis” so too do the various signs and symbols of the sacraments, these all veil or hide the real presence of Christ.

    2. You know better than that, Deacon! It’s not bread and It’s not wine.

      Indeed I do. In fact, I said the divine nature is not incarnate in bread and wine. Transubstantiation is precisely what disallows the identification of the Eucharistic presence with the incarnation, which is what the quotation from Fr. Hardon seems to want to do.

      1. Deacon Fritz—Indeed I do. In fact, I said the divine nature is not incarnate in bread and wine. Transubstantiation is precisely what disallows the identification of the Eucharistic presence with the incarnation, which is what the quotation from Fr. Hardon seems to want to do.–

        Dear Deacon Fritz,

        I am afraid your lack of clarity, the fine line you are trying to trace has confused Tom P–defending you– into coming up with Luther’s definition of the Eucharist, in which the Consecrated Elements are Both Body and Blood and yet still Bread and Wine.

        That’s not what we believe!

        Jim, at least tried to correct him.

        Why didn’t you?

      2. George, I think you’re barking up the wrong tree with Fritz. He knows What and Who the Eucharist is. If you’re going to ask why he didn’t correct Tom, you might as well ask (indict?) everyone else on this blog too, yourself included. I had a response, but deleted it because I figured I would let someone more eloquent and learned lay it out.

        I understood Dcn. Fritz’s phrase quite well: “Christ’s divine nature is simply not ‘incarnate’ in bread and wine.” Fr. Allan used a similar phrase, and you have not given him the third degree.

        I think it would be wise to let this matter end.

      3. A postscript — I was not trying to correct Tom, but to demonstrate some of the bewildering fog we are walking into when using scholastic language in modern settings. I heartily endorse what Fr Allan has said, the the Eucharist is a mystery whose splendor pierces through that fog.

      4. Jim, at least tried to correct him.
        Why didn’t you?

        If I were prone to paranoia, I’d think you were implying something.

        As to why I didn’t bother to correct Tom, I can only refer you to this.

  42. George Andrews :

    Deacon Fritz—Christ’s divine nature is simply not “incarnate” in bread and wine. —
    You know better than that, Deacon! It’s not bread and It’s not wine.

    Another failure to recognize the both/and of things.
    It is bread and it is wine.
    It is the body of Jesus and it is the blood of Jesus.
    Which of these facts of Catholic doctrine one mentions depends on the context of the discussion. To mention bread and wine is not to deny body and blood.
    This is one of the great gifts of Catholicism since at least Divino Afflante Spriritu. Scripture can be both the Word of God and myth and factually inaccurate in some places and specifically accurate in others.
    Bread can be Jesus without ceasing to be bread. Where is the mystery or the need for faith if that is not so?

    1. Tom, what you are describing is “consubstantiation” rather than transubstantiation. Catholic theology does not accept that the bread and the Body are consubstantial, (=existing together) maybe because they want to use that word to mean “one in being.”
      Of course THAT meaning for consubstantial might make for a valid interpretation of transubstantiation. Or would it? Now I am just confused. Christ has two natures, but the Eucharist is one substance, which substance has two natures, neither of which is bread, though it looks like bread and acts like bread, so it is a duck. Or something like that.

  43. George Andrews :

    Tom—Kneeling is a feudal introduction to Christian liturgy, fairly late.—
    Tom, it was introduced because it fit. Your post seems to rest upon the axiom that kneeling is foreign to the Bible.
    Are you certain you can’t find it in there? Anywhere?
    Don’t you think there is kneeling going on in the Heavenly Liturgy?

    typical rhetorical trick, to try to force me to defend something I did not say.

    If you think kneeling is a biblical posture of prayer, offer the citation.

    Yes, kneeling fit a particular time and culture of feudal rule and kingship. It is not a particularly Christian thing. It is not particularly valuable in the history of liturgy. It puts worship into a context of royal court, not a particularly useful place to be for the siblings of Jesus in communion with God and each other, a communion of equals.

    We are back to the both/and insight. We are the people of circumstantes and adstare. We are sharing a meal in our communion.

    I have no knowledge of what is going on in heaven and neither do you. Heaven is imaged in many ways by Jesus. I do not think that a place of eternal happiness is particularly well imaged by a people kneeling quietly kneeling. Singing as they go about other things maybe?

    1. It’s “both/and”, but not kneeling?

      As for kneeling being a posture of prayer:
      * Solomon prayed in the Temple on his knees, hands outstretched to the heavens. (1 Kgs 8:54 / 2 Chr 6:13)
      * Ezra prayed thus after his fasting. (Ezr 9:5)
      * Daniel prayed on his knees facing Jerusalem three times a day. (Dan 6:10)
      * Jesus prayed to the Father on His knees in the garden. (Lk 22:41)
      * Peter knelt to pray over Tabitha (Acts 9:40)
      * Paul knelt to pray with the Ephesians (Acts 20:36)
      * Paul knelt to pray with disciples in Tyre (Acts 21:5)

      It’s also a posture of supplication (if you want to distinguish that from “prayer” proper):
      * Elijah was entreated upon in this way. (2 Kgs 1:13)
      * Stephen fell to his knees before he died (Acts 7:60)
      * People “worship” Jesus to ask favors of Him in the Gospels many times; this is sometimes translated as kneeling
      * Kneeling is explicitly mentioned in the Gospels too (Mt 17:14; Mk 1:40; Mk 10:17)

      It’s also a posture of worship:
      * It was done before rulers. (Gen 41:13)
      * It was done before idols. (1 Kgs 19:18)
      * It was done unto God: “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!” (Ps 95:6)
      * Paul mentions it. (Eph 3:14; Phil 2:10, cf. Isa 45:23)

      If any of these examples are erroneous due to translation, I apologize in advance!

      1. Yes, both/and, of course kneeling is a legitimate position for prayer, but not one of the primary ones, not particularly
        Christian. We know when and where it came into the liturgy.

        George Andrews introduced the question of kneeling in the Bible by attributing something to me which I did not say. “Tom, it was introduced because it fit. Your post seems to rest upon the axiom that kneeling is foreign to the Bible.” I only spoke of the liturgical origins of kneeling in Christianity.

        Andrews then went on further to challenge me to prove something which I did not claim. These sorts of challenges are what are known as rhetorical tricks. They are of great use when your logical or factual arguments are weak.

        I find the list of biblical quotes interesting but irrelevant to the role of kneeling in Catholic liturgy in the USA in 2011.

      2. Tom, I don’t find them irrelevant to Catholic liturgy in the USA in 2011. I don’t find kneeling irrelevant, I don’t find receiving Communion on the tongue irrelevant, I don’t find Latin chant irrelevant. Counter-cultural, challenging, awkward, yes. But not irrelevant. I believe they can be made relevant to people who don’t understand them and consider them to be irrelevant. (I’m not saying you don’t understand them.)

        I will gladly imitate my Lord in kneeling in prayer, and I am glad that kneeling is part of the Roman tradition. Visibly and distinctly so!

      3. Tom – two more comments.

        1. You said “The Biblical prayer postures are standing with arms extended and hands upraised, orans, or prostration full length upon the ground.” This sounds to me (and George, I imagine) like a denial that kneeling is a “Biblical prayer posture”. George and I disagree. I believe it to be Biblical, and suited to Christianity (at least in the Roman tradition).

        2. Lest I be misunderstood in my previous comment about relevancy vs. irrelevancy, I was saying first that I do not find the quotes from the Bible irrelevant today, and then listing other things I do not consider irrelevant, to provide some context for the company I keep, as it were. If we’re at all serious about returning to our sources, I think we should be very careful about what we consider to be irrelevant in our current time and place.

    2. Card. Ratzinger wrote about kneeling as a Christian posture in The Spirit of the Liturgy (around page 192; a lengthy excerpt can be found here). Guardini wrote about it (much more briefly) in Sacred Signs.

  44. At least kneeling for Holy Communion and the priest joining the congregation in facing the same way for prayer shows that God is the focus and the one worshiped

    While I am pleased that Fr Alan wants us to use a gestural language that everyone will understand, I am not sure that this is as comprehensible as he thinks. (In any event, it is probably not as comprehensible as using the vernacular.)

    Kneeling on Sundays and during Easter season was forbidden by Nicea, probably to harmonize many different practices then prevalent. The argument (from Augustine iirc) is that having been raised with Christ, we should stand with Joy rather than kneel subserviently. That justified the practice in places like N Africa where kneeling was “unlawful” at the specified times.

    In our day and place, the question is if we want to show, using feudal or pagan gestures, our subservience to God, or if we want our congregations to show that we have a new life and a new dignity from the Resurrection of Christ. Do we assert our human weakness, or allow the divine life to raise us?

    1. The Orthodox still follow this rule about standing during Sundays and the Paschal Season. We should recover our unity with them on this matter.

      Actually standing during the weekly vigil service in an Orthodox Church is much more spiritual than slouching in a Roman Catholic parish.

      1. Well, the no-kneeling posture is bracketed by prostrations during other liturgical moments. Choosing the one without the other is cherry-picking.

    2. Jim–Kneeling on Sundays and during Easter season was forbidden by Nicea, probably to harmonize many different practices then prevalent—

      Jim, you and Tom really need to iron your position out a little more! Tom says kneeling wasn’t even introduced until after Vatican I (or thereabouts).

      Now you’re telling me the practice was prevalent enough in the fourth century to prompt a ban by an ecumenical council?

      It looks to me like the much-derided practice has been around a while. Didn’t even Muhammad say ‘every knee shall bend’ . Wait! he wasn’t a Christian!
      Oh wait again! That wasn’t Muhammad that said that!

      1. Tom said no such thing!
        This is twice in this thread in which you have misquoted me.
        Please do not let your rhetoric put words in my mouth.

        Medieval, feudal, were my words. Kneeling entered Christian liturgy with the settlement of the Germanic tribes in the early Medieval period.

        Also, do not conflate two people’s opinions with each other for your convenience.

        Your sarcasm does nothing to advance your argument.
        Your rhetorical tricks make everything you say suspect.

      2. George,

        I have enough problems ironing out the difficulties in my own positions; please don’t make me responsible for Tom’s, or anyone else’s, as well!

        If kneeling was prohibited only on Sundays and during Easter season, then it must have been permitted the rest of the time. So it was and is in use.

        Since JP has already referenced Benedict’s The Spirit of the Liturgy on kneeling, I will echo those remarks. Kneeling is an essential gesture because it is how we imitate Christ who became a servant. Its use at liturgy should always remind us of the service we give to others, and that it is in imitation of the service Jesus gave to his disciples when he washed their feet.

  45. Jack Wayne :

    As to what good it does – for many people it is beautiful. Having beauty in the liturgy isn’t a bad thing. Beauty comes in many different forms. Perhaps I’m simply too “live and let live” to get worked up over something like lace or cappa magnas. What good does it do to overanalyze the use of lace or long trains and attach negative motives to those who use them? It causes needless division and ill will as far as I’m concerned.

    OTOH using antique court clothing “for many people” is pretentious and self-aggrandizing and a distraction by drawing attention to the person who is supposed to be ministering to the people and helping to focus their attention on God. It is inordinate display. It is suggestive of clericalism “to many people”. it does not contribute to the communal prayer. The judgment of beauty is subjective, but it is certainly not part of contemporary culture. “It causes needless division and ill will as far as I’m concerned,””

    1. Then perhaps those many people you refer to, who wish to deny to others things that they themselves need not participate in, should ask themselves if they are any different from nutjob traditionalists who would deny the new Mass to those for whom it is effective or who equate modern vestments with clowns and such.

      Perhaps the many people you describe shouldn’t be so hard-hearted as to ascribe such outlandish motivations to people they probably don’t even know.

  46. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :
    </div … what I said is that even in the Mass with our current translation, if one says the black and does the red and also pays attention to detail that the Mass may well be the source and summit of Catholic life. … Attention to detail means precisely that, attention to all the details of Mass and its environment including vesture, which also means the laity that is quite willing to dress in Sunday best as that is understood in their religious culture. The Mass is both horizontal and vertical, not either/or.

    This is the sort of thing you posted earlier and to which I offered agreement. I thought you got off this track when pushing for kneeling and ad orientem.

    I do not oppose these two as local options, only as universal requirements.

    I can appreciate a Mass using any of the many options available so long as the principles of SC and the GIRM are followed, including FCAP of all present.

    Following comment flows from this but raises another issue.

  47. Tangential thought.

    I can understand the point of view that wants ad orientem and the Latin Canon for the EP.

    What I have never been able to understand is why these people have not adopted the Paul VI vernacular Liturgy of the Word and post-communion rites.

    Insisting on proclaiming the Word in a language which the hearers cannot understand seems to be a sort of simple minded antiquarianism rather than any concern for effective liturgy.

    Please note use of “seems” and “sort” and that this is an expression of puzzlement, not a condemnation.

  48. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    Tom – two more comments.
    If we’re at all serious about returning to our sources, I think we should be very careful about what we consider to be irrelevant in our current time and place.

    I have not quoted some of the good points you made in order to focus on this thought.

    I think we should also be very careful about what is private prayer or devotion and what is official, public, communal prayer — liturgy.

    There are many elements of worthy Christian practice which are not particularly liturgical. It is in this sense that I think of kneeling as irrelevant.

    In this regard of wanting things in the liturgy which are not precisely liturgical, I think the left and the right both offend.

    The right, if I may speak broadly, wants to keep anything with which they have been familiar, without analyzing how it arrived or how well it contributes or whether it might distract from the essential flow of the service.

    The left wants to introduce all sorts of innovations whether or not they contribute to or distract from the flow of the service.

    Both groups, in my opinion, over the past forty years, have been affected by the mistake, in which I once participated, of trying to make everything “liturgical” and deleting other forms of devotion, other forms of public prayer. The most unfortunate result was that many people from both sides tried to get their favorite things into the parish Sunday Mass, partially because that had become the only time when they could expect an audience…

  49. Tom, just to be clear in the Masses in my parish, except for the EF once a month on Sunday and weekly on Tuesday, we follow the GIRM, we say Mass facing the people, and people receive Holy Communion standing, although a few do kneel on the hard floor to receive. It is simply my pious opinion that ad orientem would cut down on the “appearance” that prayers said by the priest are read in a way that looks as though these are directed to the people and reduce the need for the priest to look “pious” as he prays these. Kneeling for Holy Communion, in my humble opinion would create a greater sense of respect for the sacrament and would tie us back into our Lutheran and Episcopal brothers and sisters who also maintain kneeling for receiving Holy Communion. Keep in mind, the devil has no knees.
    However, I would never implement my pious opinions unless my bishop and the GIRM allowed it. I say the black and do the red in both the EF and OF Mass.
    With that said though, I see no difference in my priestly role in either form of the Mass and in our EF Mass we read the readings in English facing the people and do not duplicate them in Latin. I would love to have the revised English translation of the OF Mass along with the lectionary, calendar, etc but using the EF order of the Mass with its rubrics as an option, but again just my pious opinion, but it could easily be done and in the vernacular.

  50. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :… It is simply my pious opinion that ad orientem would cut down on the “appearance” that prayers said by the priest are read in a way that looks as though these are directed to the people and reduce the need for the priest to look “pious” as he prays these. Kneeling for Holy Communion, in my humble opinion would create a greater sense of respect for the sacrament and would tie us back into our Lutheran and Episcopal brothers and sisters who also maintain kneeling for receiving Holy Communion. Keep in mind, the devil has no knees.

    I am eager to see a parish try the variation of ad orientem with congregation in “U” shape and altar at bottom and all facing the open end for EP. It eliminates priest “secretively” facing the wall, yet not “performing” to assembly. What is your point with priest looking “pious”?

    Not all ELCA or ECUSA members kneel for communion. As best as I can tell, it is local option by service. Others here can tell us, if we are still being read by them after all these posts. Assume devil’s knees is intended humorously.

    I do not see creating sense of respect as being as important as sense of communion, sharing, avoiding “me and Jesus”, having a communal and liturgical experience, all of which seem to be negatively affected by kneeling for communion.

    I think the main problem with communion in the US is the failure to “do the red” by addressing each communicant and awaiting a reply before releasing the consecrated bread to the recipient.

  51. Here and in following message are what I think are the most significant words for our discussion from the citation of Cdl Ratzinger by Adoremus.

    The Christian Liturgy is a cosmic Liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture – the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of life of the cosmos.

    There is much more that we might add. For example, there is the touching story told by Eusebius in his history of the Church as a tradition going back to Hegesippus in the second century. Apparently, Saint James, the “brother of the Lord”, the first bishop of Jerusalem and “head” of the Jewish Christian Church, had a kind of callous on his knees, because he was always on his knees worshipping God and begging forgiveness for his people (2, 23, 6). Again, there is a story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but most strikingly, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical.

    But I do not want to go into more detail. I should like to make just one more remark. The expression used by Saint Luke to describe the kneeling of Christians (theis ta gonata) is unknown in classical Greek. We are dealing here with a specifically Christian word. With that remark, our reflections turn full circle to where they began.

  52. Finale from Cdl Ratzinger.

    “It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ.”

    Personal opinion and reactions follow.
    The quoted reference in earlier message is his only attempt to link kneeling directly to the liturgy. In doing so, he jumps to a personal statement without linking the specifically liturgical usage, communal prayer usage, to all the personal worship moments he cites from Scripture.

    This sort of leap has been common among those who prefer the pre-Paul VI Mass. So much of their experience in Mass is tied to their personal prayer during it that they do not give great weight to the participatory, communal nature of liturgy as described in SC.

    As I offered previously, kneeling seems, to me, to be a Christian prayer usage appropriate for individuals, but delivers the wrong connotations in liturgical prayer, especially for communion where the emphasis should be on the sharing of a common meal rather than on the individual encounter.

    The concluding remarks by the Cardinal seem to turn things upside down. Where people have said that kneeling does not fit most modern cultures, he responds that he wants people to recover an older culture.

    Personally, and I believe I am in agreement with SC in this, I do not think that the church has its own culture but expresses Jesus in the media of the culture of each time and place. Kneeling in liturgy is a carryover from the eras of royal courts. More later.

    1. I think for progressive Catholic liturgists to spend effort on trying end the longstanding Roman practice of kneeling in liturgy is a good example of wasting time and undermining more important progressive goals in affirming the reform of the liturgy. The idea that kneeling is necessarily more individual and less communal than standing is entirely subjective; moreover, it’s been a communal expression objectively for a long time. If you had asked the Council Fathers if they intended to get rid of kneeling in the Roman liturgy, I would be shocked if more than a handful or two from the Latin rite would have said yes with much enthusiasm. This is rather far afield of Vatican II and its reform of the Roman liturgy.

      There are far more important battles to pick. Picking this one merely gives ammunition to those who want to win those other battles. Lack of prudence on these kinds of things has been no small part of the fuel for where we find ourselves today.

  53. Karl Liam Saur :

    I think for progressive Catholic liturgists to spend effort on trying end the longstanding Roman practice of kneeling in liturgy

    But you have this exactly backwards! It is the traditionalists who are reintroducing kneeling to people who have been standing for two generations. It is the traditionalists who decide that the Latin should not be translated literally when it refers to people standing around the altar, adstare, circumstantes.

    Besides, the discussion here began with a more traditional person advocating for ad orientem and kneeling for communion. It was not begun as a proposed change by a progressive.

    1. And why have the people been standing instead of kneeling for the consecration of the Eucharistic Prayer when it was Roman tradition to kneel at that point? Because “progressive Catholic liturgists [spent] effort on trying [to] end the longstanding Roman practice of kneeling in liturgy.”

      I think the new translation of “adstare” in EPI II as “be” is a bad one, even misleading or dishonest.

  54. The discussion, so far, has been the old Mass, pre VII, versus the new Mass, post VII. There are those who lobby for a return to the old Mass and the old ways because the new Mass is poorly done, or doesn’t follow rubics, or has lost its way, or, isn’t really a proper Mass at all. Perhaps, the bigger problem is that we haven’t moved far enough with the reform of the Liturgy. Perhaps we need a full reexamination of just how the Eucharist was performed/administered/celebrated in the times of the apostles, in the House Churches. Perhaps we are stuck in the idolatry of the Mass, when, instead we should be returning to the original intent of the Eucharist celebration. Did Jesus really create a rite where we would sacrifice him on the altar, in perpetuity, as an offering to God? Or, did Jesus bring us together, at supper, where we could be nourished by his word, by his body, and by his blood? Is the Eucharist a shared communal celebration, or is it just me praying to God while the priest works his holy magic at the altar? I think I remember that Jesus had a real problem with Ritualism and Legalism that forgot Love of God and Love of Neighbor. Thank you.

    1. The problem is that it can be JUST as legalistic and ritualistic to find ways to denigrate age-old customs of the people, among other things. That’s what many people don’t realize: that their “creativity” is often just another form of legalism and ritualism. Making up the ritual as you go involves tons of “spontaneous” choices that can be far more enslaving that following the given ritual. There are values beyond mere obedience in following a given ritual that do not implicate the ire of Jesus that you refer to. Values like hospitality (fro example, spontaneous or highly localized ritual can be deeply inhospitable).

  55. Karl Liam Saur : … many people don’t realize: that their “creativity” is often just another form of legalism and ritualism. … There are values beyond mere obedience in following a given ritual that do not implicate the ire of Jesus that you refer to. Values like hospitality (fro example, spontaneous or highly localized ritual can be deeply inhospitable).

    Yes, AND the solution is not to go back to a form of prayer preserved from another era but to properly train and supervise those who feel called to creativity rather than to presiding at the official, ordered, public, communal prayer of the Christian people.

    This is the same problem in modern culture of redefining art to be self-expression which others are expected to admire rather than seeing art as an attempt to communicate insight to others. It is the attitude which is the problem, not the OF texts, certainly not the translation of those texts.

    The baby to which SC gave birth is a vernacular liturgy with dialogical participation of the leader of the community with the entire praying assembly. It was a recovery for the assembly of those parts of the liturgy which had come to be performed by specialists of various sorts whether clerics, servers, or choirs. The OF does that fairly well, but its enforcement and catechesis has been lax. To go back to Latin or the EF is to toss out the precious baby with the dirty bath water of poor implementation.

    1. Reminder: I am a liturgical progressive. I have no interest in reviving the EF. I just have learned the hard way that progressives are sometimes our own worst enemies. People need to triage what was truly important about the reform, what was actually legislated, et cet.; in other words, defend the actual reforms as opposed to the reforms as some would have preferred them to be. Excluding Latin and kneeling, among many other desiderata of some, are not only not important, they are counterproductive.

    2. a vernacular liturgy with dialogical participation of the leader of the community with the entire praying assembly. It was a recovery for the assembly of those parts of the liturgy which had come to be performed by specialists of various sorts whether clerics, servers, or choirs

      With the exception of the vernacular, you can have that in the EF. Popes Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII expressed as much in their liturgical writings.

      To go back to Latin or the EF is to toss out the precious baby with the dirty bath water of poor implementation.

      Since SC 54.2 calls for the congregation to be able to make the responses in Latin, until SC as a whole (or SC 54.2 individually) is officially superseded, I will disagree with you on the matter of “go[ing] back to Latin”.

  56. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    And why have the people been standing instead of kneeling for the consecration of the Eucharistic Prayer when it was Roman tradition to kneel at that point? Because “progressive Catholic liturgists [spent] effort on trying [to] end the longstanding Roman practice of kneeling in liturgy.”

    The answer to why is that the tradition was culturally conditioned to a particular time and society which have passed into history. In its place was put the still earlier practice of all standing at prayer being led by one among siblings of equal status before God.

    There will always be some people who simply do not like change, and there was some such opposition to the OF. However, if you were to impartially survey those who were pastors at the time, or even survey the published information of that time, you will find that the changes embodied in the OF were positively received. Many of the leading voices against change are still the same few leading voices today. The Curia was opposed then, and their chosen successors are opposed now and for the same reasons which were insufficient then.

  57. Tom Poelker (March 10, 2011 – 2:47 pm): I am eager to see a parish try the variation of ad orientem with congregation in “U” shape and altar at bottom and all facing the open end for EP. It eliminates priest “secretively” facing the wall, yet not “performing” to assembly.

    I’m not contesting your opinion on ad orientem. I’m just trying to picture how your plan would work.

    Even before the Council, there were interesting experiments in offering Mass “ad orientem”. A 1950’s church around the corner from me in Montreal has an altar with a suspended double crucifix. The church is “in the round”, so the priest can face either way on the altar and face half the congregation. There is no tabernacle or candles on the altar, but I suspect there were at one time. I only wonder: did the priest turn to say “Dominus vobiscum” to half the congregation, or not turn and say it to the other half of the congregation? Weird, but a creative way to get around the prohibitions at that time on versus populum worship. Also: could two priests say private Mass at the same time on either side of the altar? Now that would be fun to watch!

    As for the U shape: do you mean that some would watch the priest say Mass in profile? Consider Henri Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence (photos property of the Musee Matisse Nice). The altar is positioned so that the religious in choir can view the Mass at an angle. The priest is facing ad orientem, but with the action of the Mass visible from different angles. I would also like to know which way the priest turned at these Masses. He probably just pronounced the greetings while facing towards the altar.

    1. “Also: could two priests say private Mass at the same time on either side of the altar? Now that would be fun to watch!

      As for the U shape: do you mean that some would watch the priest say Mass in profile? ”

      Jordan,
      I think that the period of “private” Masses is ended. At least I hope so. 🙂

      The “U” variant proposed would have the long aisle in front of the presider who, 2/3rd of the way to the west would face east along with the entire congregation for the EP. The ambo would be at the east so that the entire congregation could be addressed.

      The basis of the idea is that all face ad orientem and all are addressing the invisible God, no imagery on the east wall. The presider would be visible to those along the aisle, should they want to look, but there would be no intentional eye contact during the EP between the presider and assembly. That is the precise distraction this layout is trying to prevent.

      If the seats along the aisle face the center line, the members of the assembly there would be expected to turn 90 degrees to the east for the EP, while those behind the altar would already be facing east.

      For the opening and concluding rites, the president’s chair would be in the first row along the center aisle. I anticipate some problems like this but I would sure like to experiment with it for a while.

      The idea developed because I separated the interesting reasons for facing east from the idea of putting the altar near the east wall. Voila, ad orientem with gathering around the table.

      In other words, the idea is to have what the priest is doing be entirely pubic and visible but to not have anyone expected to “watch the priest” at all. We are all supposed to be addressing God rather than watching a performance by the priest was the point being made to me when I first floated this idea.

      1. Tom, there is quite a bit of merit in your idea. In fact, there are many older Quebecois churches designed in this way. Here in Montreal there are many beautiful (and crumbling) 19th century churches that have both nave seating and balcony seating to the north and south. In fact, at one church, a parishioner could sit in a north or south loft and look directly down at the priest’s actions at the altar. St. Agnes Church in midtown Manhattan is a good example of a recently renovated church that celebrates the EF in a U-shape.

        A Judaic Studies professor of mine once told me that the women’s balcony in a local shul offers a better view of the bimah and readings than the male area on the floor of the shul. Different positions in a church (or any place of worship) afford quite different perspectives on worship. These differences in perspective are important and shouldn’t be minimized.

  58. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    The questions of whether we should worship God, and whether God wants to be worshiped, are rather fundamental. It seems clear to me from the whole Bible that we should worship God and that He desires our worship. Perhaps you may elect to use the term “love” instead of “worship”, but the point is the same.

    If you think that one can look at the word “love” and substitute “worship” and “the point is the same”, no wonder you have no problem with VC2010.

    This sort of imprecision with language undermines all intelligent discussion.

    An important additional clarification is that liturgy is not always equivalent to “worship”. Worship is fairly close to adoration, but prayer also includes petition, gratitude, and repentance. Liturgy as public prayer includes all of these. It also includes instruction. It also includes celebration.

    I mention these points because this misuse of the word “worship” seems to recur over the years among those who do not like the Missal of Paul VI.

    1. I was not merely equating “love” and “worship”. And you are wrong about me “hav[ing] no problem with VC2010.” But you were also wrong about me being simply “onery” earlier.

      My point was that is clear from Scripture that we should worship God and that God wants us to worship Him. It’s also clear from Scripture that we should love God and that God wants us to love Him. And, while worship and love are not synonymous, we will not be loving God properly if we do not worship Him, and we will not be worshiping God properly if we do not love Him.

      I know of the four ends of our liturgical prayer (adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication). And I know that the liturgy, which is above all the worship of God, is also didactic.

  59. Karl Liam Saur :

    Reminder: I am a liturgical progressive. I have no interest in reviving the EF. I just have learned the hard way that progressives are sometimes our own worst enemies. People need to triage what was truly important about the reform, what was actually legislated, et cet.; in other words, defend the actual reforms as opposed to the reforms as some would have preferred them to be. Excluding Latin and kneeling, among many other desiderata of some, are not only not important, they are counterproductive.

    Point is well made and well taken.

  60. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    a vernacular liturgy with dialogical participation of the leader of the community with the entire praying assembly. It was a recovery for the assembly of those parts of the liturgy which had come to be performed by specialists of various sorts whether clerics, servers, or choirs
    With the exception of the vernacular, you can have that in the EF. Popes Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII expressed as much in their liturgical writings.

    Thus far, we agree.

  61. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Since SC 54.2 calls for the congregation to be able to make the responses in Latin, until SC as a whole (or SC 54.2 individually) is officially superseded, I will disagree with you on the matter of “go[ing] back to Latin”.

    The entirety of SC54 seems to be going a different direction than your selected quotation.
    “54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

    Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

    And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.”

    It provides explicitly for more vernacular. In 1963, the congregation being able to do their parts in Latin was relevant. Now that the rest of the paragraph has been implemented, it is not.

    1. It provides explicitly for more vernacular. In 1963, the congregation being able to do their parts in Latin was relevant. Now that the rest of the paragraph has been implemented, it is not.

      I disagree completely. SC 54 is about the introduction and expansion of the vernacular in the liturgy, yes, but nevertheless the people are not to be incapable of making the responses in Latin. SC 54.2 did not become irrelevant as SC 54.1 & 3 were implemented. Such a conclusion is not supported at all by the document, especially SC 36.1.

      SC 54.2 was not considered irrelevant in 1967 in Eucharisticum Mysterium. Nor in the early 1970’s in Paul VI’s Iubilate Deo. Nor in 1994 in Varietates Legitimae. Nor in more recent documents like Sacramentum Caritatis.

      1. Jeffrey,

        the change is noted in the preamble to the GIRM 12:
        Since no Catholic would now deny the lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin, the Council was also able to grant that “the use of the vernacular language may frequently be of great advantage to the people” and gave the faculty for its use. The enthusiasm in response to this measure has been so great everywhere that it has led, under the leadership of the Bishops and the Apostolic See itself, to permission for all liturgical celebrations in which the people participate to be in the vernacular, for the sake of a better comprehension of the mystery being celebrated.

      2. I’ve read that, Jim. But it does not say that the faithful no longer need to be able to make certain responses in Latin.

        And GIRM 41 says that “it is fitting that [the faithful] know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin… (using the context of gatherings of faithful from more than one country).

      3. In this first sentence, the vernacular is described as an exception at the time of the Council, roughly the situation Tom described. In that context, laity should know the norm, the responses in Latin.

        Then that situation changed as the leadership determined granted “permission for all liturgical celebrations in which the people participate to be in the vernacular,” This was not a repeal of SC, but it does mean that the liturgical language has now changed, so that the point of SC that laity should learn the responses in the liturgical language no longer means they should know them in Latin. So the only question is whether SC means “the liturgical language” or if it means “Latin.”

        Frederick Brown has a mystery story about a murder at a circus. Someone tells the story of the blind men and the elephants to say that the different viewpoints have to be assembled to find the criminal. But the detective realizes that the murderer was an Elephant!

        Maybe SC means learn Latin, but the likelihood is that they were encouraging participation in the liturgical language.

      4. the liturgical language has now changed, so that the point of SC that laity should learn the responses in the liturgical language no longer means they should know them in Latin. So the only question is whether SC means “the liturgical language” or if it means “Latin.” … Maybe SC means learn Latin, but the likelihood is that they were encouraging participation in the liturgical language.

        I do not agree with this assumption at all, especially since later instructions have continually mentioned the use of Latin specifically. Optatam Totius speaks of “the liturgical language proper to each rite”, and Sac. Conc. says that the use of Latin is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

        While it’s possible that there are now two liturgical languages (your vernacular and Latin) in the Roman Rite, I think it would be absurd to say in Sac. Conc., as the permission for the vernacular is being introduced, that “nevertheless” people should be able to make the responses in “the liturgical language”. Sac. Conc. is explicit: it means Latin. Are we really going to start debating what “Latin” means now? I’m a bit frustrated from the question of what “required” means in the other thread.

        P.S. I wonder if today the situation described in GIRM 12 is true… “no Catholic would now deny the lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin.”

      5. Discerning the meaning of “Latin” is what we have been talking about all along. Do we take a text in a simple literal fashion, or do we look for the intended meaning? I think this passage from SC echoes the major point of SC — people should actively participate in the liturgy. It is not an addendum that people should also learn Latin for some unstated reason; they should learn it so they can respond at the liturgy. If all liturgy with laity can use the vernacular, responding at the liturgy is no longer dependent on learning Laitn. The leadership of the bishops and the Vatican has led us past the literalist reading of SC that calls for laypeople to learn Latin.

        At least we agree that there probably some out there who would deny the usefulness and efficacy of Masses held in Latin.

      6. Do we take a text in a simple literal fashion, or do we look for the intended meaning?

        I think it’s clear from Sac. Conc., Opt. Tot., and post-conciliar documents, that the Council Fathers had Latin in mind. I don’t know how else to say it without just repeating myself.

        If they meant something else, I wish to God they’d just said it so that we didn’t need to waste time debating what their intending meaning was. And if they couldn’t say what they wanted to say, and they wrote it in an intentionally ambiguous (or even deceptive) way, then… ugh.

        people should actively participate in the liturgy.

        I charge that “active participation” does not preclude the use of Latin; that the use of Latin is part of the “active participation” envisioned by the Council Fathers, as it was for Pius X, XI, and XII.

        If all liturgy with laity can use the vernacular, responding at the liturgy is no longer dependent on learning Laitn.

        But Sac. Conc. says “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Provideatur tamen ut christifideles etiam lingua latina partes Ordinarii Missae quae ad ipsos spectant possint simul dicere vel cantare.) This sounds to mean like something to be done despite the growing inclusion of the vernacular.

        The leadership of the bishops and the Vatican has led us past the literalist reading of SC that calls for laypeople to learn Latin.

        Even in 1975, the GIRM said that it was “desirable that they know how to sing at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin.”

        And I differentiate between what SC 54.2 says and “learning Latin”. We just need to be able to pray these responses. We already know what they mean, thanks to the vernacular!

      7. Jim, here is a list of excerpts from documents found in the collection Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979 (DOL). Many of the documents on that page are from Paul VI or the Consilium (or members thereof). Of particular importance are Voluntati Obsequens (and Iubilate Deo) and the last document, which is from so late a date as 1979. (I’m also surprised and delighted to see that documents pertaining to the post-1969 Missal refer to Musicam Sacram, which some treat as unrelated to the Ordinary Form.)

        I collected these quotes to establish a credible argument that the “leadership of the bishops and the Vatican” — at least, Paul VI and the Consilium! — considered the ability of the faithful to sing certain parts of the Mass in Latin to be the actual intent of SC 54.2.

  62. “Then perhaps those many people you refer to, who wish to deny to others things that they themselves need not participate in, should ask themselves if they are any different from nutjob traditionalists who would deny the new Mass to those for whom it is effective or who equate modern vestments with clowns and such.” Jack Wayne

    I have not heard anyone on this list or elsewhere say that they wish to deny to anyone their participation in EF liturgies with antique vestments and language [my terms].

    What I have seen and oppose is the desire to spread the EF further and promote it through church wide legislation. If, after ordination, priests want to celebrate the Medieval form of the Mass as captured in the Missal of Pius V, they are welcome to study sufficiently on their own time to do so well.

    I do not think it is fair to constantly reference the once upon a time ridiculousness of clown costumes substituted for vestments. It certainly happened, possibly more than once, but I cannot recall anyone trained in liturgy who encouraged it.

    I do not think it is good either to constantly bring up the cappa magna or lace, because de gustibus non disputandum est. I happen to think these detract from rather than add to the liturgy, but I cannot make a logical argument [which is what the Latin references] when it is simply my taste versus another’s.

  63. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    I do not agree with this assumption at all, especially since later instructions have continually mentioned the use of Latin specifically. Optatam Totius speaks of “the liturgical language proper to each rite”, and Sac. Conc. says that the use of Latin is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

    Jeffrey, could you lose the word “assumption”?

    Every time you use it you seem to be denigrating the other person’s argument, making it sound as if they are offering something which is “merely” and assumption.

    It often seems to me that it is a way of avoiding taking seriously whatever point is being made.

    If you just call it an assumption, you don’t have to treat it as seriously as a logical deduction or a methodological approach.

    I can tell that you work very hard some times to see both sides of things, but it also seems that any time you refer to some one else making an assumption that you do not address what is actually presented or present something which represents a mere assumption on your part or a mere re-stating of positions already taken without advancing your case.

    Just letting you know how this sort of response strikes me without even getting into the actual content of your comment.

    1. How would you rather I describe it? “Interpretation”? “Argument”? “Theory”? “Point of view”?

      I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to establish the veracity of the claims / arguments/ assertions. I think the idea that the Council Fathers used the word “Latin” but didn’t mean it is wrong, and I am trying to show, at least through documentation, that they were serious about the faithful being able to make responses in Latin as well as their own vernacular.

      I will figure out how I can better respond to people without them perceiving it as denigration.

      1. I think that any of the options you suggest would be more kind.

        By the way, I agree with you that saying “Latin” in SC does not mean Latin as we ordinarily understand it is unbelievable.

        Where I diverge is to agree with the past tense in speaking of Latin in SC and disagree that the sentences are applicable since the implementation of the vernacular reform promoted in the context in which they appear.

        IOW, of course they meant Latin, but the circumstances have changed.

  64. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    …instructions have continually mentioned the use of Latin specifically. Optatam Totius speaks of “the liturgical language proper to each rite”, and Sac. Conc. says that the use of Latin is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
    … Are we really going to start debating what “Latin” means now? I’m a bit frustrated from the question of what “required” means in the other thread.
    P.S. I wonder if today the situation described in GIRM 12 is true… “no Catholic would now deny the lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin.”

    Last things first. That comment is unnecessary, irrelevant, and uncharitable, as well as being judgmental and casting aspersions with no basis. Several on this thread have written of there being a proper place for Latin and the EF.

    Latin means Latin to me.

    On the other hand, you have not addressed why, given the context, the need for the faithful to learn Latin in 1963 should be considered to be the same thing the faithful need to learn now.

    If we were preparing for an international event, I think I would suggest that all groups sending participants should be told that Latin will be the language of the liturgy and that their preparations should include practicing the responses and commons in Gregorian chant and specify which Mass. I think that is not a reasonable expectation in all American parishes unless one is trying to reintroduce Latin as the ordinary language of the liturgy.

    1. I do not see how asking if “no Catholic would now deny the lawfulness and efficacy of a sacred rite celebrated in Latin” is uncharitable. I’m not accusing anyone here, or insinuating anything about them. I’m asking generally.

      If Latin is being used at an international event, and the faithful generally have no exposure to or experience with Latin, they will probably be discouraged from participating in the responses and other prayers. If the parishes these faithful come from have taken the same non-approach to Latin, who will prepare them for the Gregorian commons, etc.? Are we to be dependent on some small remnant who is capable of singing (and teaching others to sing) the Latin responses? Why can’t we faithful be generally competent with the Latin responses?

  65. “I think it’s clear from Sac. Conc., Opt. Tot., and post-conciliar documents, that the Council Fathers had Latin in mind. I don’t know how else to say it without just repeating myself.

    If they meant something else, I wish to God they’d just said it so that we didn’t need to waste time debating what their intending meaning was. And if they couldn’t say what they wanted to say, and they wrote it in an intentionally ambiguous (or even deceptive) way, then… ugh.” Pinyan

    However, the reason this discussion does not move forward is that you do just repeat yourself. You do not address the actual points others make.

    It is unreasonable for you to provide an idiosyncratic interpretation of SC and then complain that the fathers did not say something which you could not misinterpret.

    Look at the entirety of SC. It repeatedly says in an amiable way that the old ways are good. Its a variation on “the church has always taught.” Then, continuing the same sort of format that church documents often use, SC says that despite those goods, some new things are needed. The entire tone of the document is to move on from merely maintaining Latin and the Missal of Pius V.

    Well trained liturgists with any respect for the documents at all will agree that there is still a particular place for Latin and the Roman Canon. However, it is also time to move on.

    The Roman Rite is the rite established in Rome through the pope. It is not essentially Latin or essentially tied to any one EP.

    There is no single right way to do liturgy. The size of the assembly and the room make a difference. So does the language common to the people actually present. It is not just to argue that those arguing for good English for American parishes are also arguing against any Latin anywhere. I can not imagine the syllogism which would support that.

    1. I don’t see how my interpretation is idiosyncratic, especially given all these documents. They support my conclusion regarding the continued use of Latin by congregations… or at least the desire of the Pope and the Consilium for this.

      I agree with the “despite those goods, some new things are needed.” But this is not necessarily (from the documents themselves) at the complete expense of Latin. The “moving on” doesn’t mean abandoning Latin, but adding the vernacular. The documents consistently use language like “also” or “as well” or “in addition”. Like the scribe trained for the kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13:52.

      It is not just to argue that those arguing for good English for American parishes are also arguing against any Latin anywhere.

      And I’m not making that unjust argument. (Or is my wondering whether some Catholics think a Latin liturgy is not efficacious or lawful the equivalent of that? I’m not generalizing about all who want good English for parishes.)

      P.S. Is it uncharitable for me to suggest that, although “there is no single right way to do liturgy,” there are Catholics who are adamant that the Extraordinary Form is “a wrong way to do liturgy”?

  66. We all need to remember the context of SC.

    The common experience of Roman Catholics in the lifetime of the Council fathers was of an entirely clericalized Mass.
    Wide participation in weekly confession and communion was new in their lifetimes.

    The laity were either entirely passive or brought their prayer books or rosaries for private devotions during “father’s Mass.” The music at Mass was often out of synchronization with what the priest was doing.

    There had been a century of liturgical study which included the development of the Liber Usualis. The implementation of a program of Gregorian Chant was part of that. There had been an international effort to involve the laity in the Latin dialogues of the Mass. These were all efforts to improve lay participation in the Latin Mass.

    Given all this, the bishops still gave priority to the need for vernacular liturgy. They explained their goals. The goals did not include promoting the existing Latin Mass but changing it.

    After four hundred years they could hardly make negative comments about the Missal of Pius V. Instead they emphasized how they wanted the liturgy to get better than the way it was.

    They knew the very public recommendations of liturgists from Maria Lach and Collegeville, et alia. Cardinal Ritter presided at the first public legal use of English at the Liturgy Week in 1964. These large conferences [over 10,000 in STL] had been developing a liturgical direction for more than a decade.

    The bishops knew that Latin was on the way out in their parishes. Maybe it went more quickly than they expected it, but they did want the vernacular to replace it.

    Only by taking SC statements about Latin out of this historical context can one infer that the fathers wanted to promote the use of Latin. They did not expect it to go away, but they were not trying to promote it either.

  67. “people should actively participate in the liturgy.

    I charge that “active participation” does not preclude the use of Latin; that the use of Latin is part of the “active participation” envisioned by the Council Fathers, as it was for Pius X, XI, and XII.” Pinyan

    This rhetorical device is called setting up a straw man. They make good targets because they only represent the opponent and do not deal with the logical argument.

    No one has claimed that Latin precludes FCAP.

    1. Perhaps no one here, but I have encountered Catholics elsewhere (Catholic Answers Forums, Ministry & Liturgy’s forum, and the comment-box at the National Catholic Reporter) who argue that Latin does preclude FCAP.

      And if Latin does not preclude FCAP, then why must it be replaced by the vernacular, rather than supplemented by it?

  68. “But Sac. Conc. says “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” This sounds to mean like something to be done despite the growing inclusion of the vernacular.” Pinyan

    Alternatively, it could be read that in the interim people should still be training to participate in the Latin Mass. That would also fit better in the context.

    1. I don’t see why giving a strictly temporary (interim) character to SC 54.2 fits better with the context.

      Inter Oecumenici 48 explicitly states the interim nature of its changes. But the context of SC 50-58 is not interim.

  69. “Even in 1975, the GIRM said that it was “desirable that they know how to sing at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin.” Pinyan

    Which was merely a carry over from earlier editions.

    You would have a stronger case if you could show examples which introduced a new concern for having people know Latin some time before the Congregation for the Liturgy got a new name and began to change its focus.

    1. Which was merely a carry over from earlier editions.

      Was it carried over on purpose, or by mistake? What I mean is, did they really mean it, or did they keep it there as lip service?

  70. “It is simply my pious opinion that ad orientem would cut down on the “appearance” that prayers said by the priest are read in a way that looks as though these are directed to the people and reduce the need for the priest to look “pious” as he prays these.”

    I never, ever got the impression that priests were praying to the community. And a good priest should not have any trouble with his facial expression as he prays with and for his people.

  71. Jeffrey Pinyan : I don’t see how my interpretation is idiosyncratic, especially given all these documents. They support my conclusion …

    They do not support your conclusion. The precise point is that any document must be interpreted and there are fair and accurate ways to interpret and there are slanted ways to interpret.

    Having the documents just means that we are all trying to interpret the same texts. The documents do not necessarily mean what you think they do. [c.f. “Princess Bride” movie]

    An example from U.S. Constitutional history:

    The First Amendment clearly says that Congress shall make no law “respecting an establishment of religion.”
    Most people read this as if “establishment” meant “organization” and the pharase means no laws regarding churches.

    However, in the eighteenth century, the writers were concerned with the history of England changing the single established church. The one ecclesial body authorized and supported by the government.

    The Amendment does not mean that the U.S. government shall make no laws regarding churches, but that it shall make no laws establishing one church to have governmental preference over others. Without the contemporary context, the word and phrase are easily misunderstood.

    The documents exist. Your interpretation of them remains to be supported.

    1. Tom, I’m not confused by the “establishment” term; I too know the context and meaning of the words.

      Please provide your fair and accurate interpretation of the documents from which I have provided excerpts.

      For example, Italy 1968: “In any event we must not lose the important ecclesial bond that consists of a solid repertoire in Gregorian chant and therefore in Latin. The national liturgical commission is responsible for a program that will include the Credo and the Pater noster among the Gregorian melodies that the people should know well.” I can provide a fuller context if you would like.

      If you would like me to go into detail as to how I interpret those documents to support my conclusion, I will write a post on my blog doing so — the 2000 character limit here is probably too low.

      1. First, let me apologize for not even noticing that you have a blog and checking it out. I probably won’t go there often, though, unless you would like to move our entire dialog there instead of here where we are sort of doing our own thing separate from the rest of the list.

        Second, I doubt that either of us is competent to interpret each and every statement about Latin in the liturgy. I do not need you to go into your full case and I have already said about as much as I can. I think the context has changed from when the statements were made and that the different contexts have to be taken into account.

        Also, I think that B16 has made it clear that he has cultural concerns which are in addition to strictly liturgical considerations. I would suspect, but cannot demonstrate, that many Italian bishops, whether in 1968 or today, have similar concerns. I would like to stick to specifically liturgical concerns.

        FYI
        Part of the experience I bring to interpreting liturgical documents is that of hearing people who are musicians working in the liturgy. Many of them have a habit of searching the liturgical books for permission for things they wish to do. They then act as if what is permitted and they want is best, often despite clear contexts which state things like congregational singing is to be preferred.

        Choral works ARE permitted, for example, but congregational participation is the underlying desiderata regarding liturgical music. Similarly with musicians getting bored with music which the congregation actually knows and sings.

        This is on the order of providing my context to you rather than saying you are doing any such thing. In fact, you should mention this back to me if you think I am implying such of you.

        I do not want to ruin a very productive discussion which has leed each of us to clarify our positions. I think we have found a lot of convergence. Do you?

      2. I don’t think that’s what I’m doing, but it’s hardest to judge yourself, no? And yes, I think we’ve come to a bit of a convergence.

        Here’s my context in a nutshell. Back in 2007, I went to a three-day lenten reflection on Deus Caritas Est. It was the first Church document I can recall reading. BXVI had also just written Sacramentum Caritatis, and my oldest brother (a priest) recommended I read it. I enjoyed it immensely. (I was not big on reading before then, as my elementary or high school teachers could avow.) I was also a bit surprised at some of what I was reading (like Sac. Car. 62 on Latin).

        I decided to find more Church documents to read, so I followed the footnote trail: what BXVI had quoted and referred to, I would read. I eventually worked my way back to Vatican II and earlier. I gravitated towards documents on the Eucharist and the liturgy. I was very surprised about what Vatican II did (and didn’t say), and I wondered why I’d never heard much (or any) of it before. I’d heard things attributed to Vatican II, but it was eye-opening to read the documents themselves.

        Perhaps I am too much of a literalist when it comes to these documents, but maybe that’s because I found the older Church documents to be much more straightforward. I’d like to think we can still write as plainly as we mean.

  72. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    I agree with the “despite those goods, some new things are needed.” But this is not necessarily (from the documents themselves) at the complete expense of Latin. …

    Same straw man, again. Neither I not anyone else I have seen in these comments has claimed that the changes were ever meant to completely eliminate Latin liturgy. Regardless of context, that much we should be able to agree upon.

    I suspect that you would claim in addition, that SC did not anticipate that Latin would become almost unknown in most American parishes. I would agree that such was not anticipated. However, I think that the way the original permissions for the use of what is now called the EF were phrased shows acceptance that the unexpected had happened and was not to be undone.

    1. Neither I not anyone else I have seen in these comments has claimed that the changes were ever meant to completely eliminate Latin liturgy.

      Jim has said nearly as much! That when the Council Fathers said “Latin”, they didn’t mean it, and that SC 54.2 is unimportant now.

      Jim McKay on March 12, 2011 – 2:39 pm
      In that context, laity should know the norm, the responses in Latin. […] the liturgical language has now changed, so that the point of SC that laity should learn the responses in the liturgical language no longer means they should know them in Latin. So the only question is whether SC means “the liturgical language” or if it means “Latin.” […] Maybe SC means learn Latin, but the likelihood is that they were encouraging participation in the liturgical language.

      Jim McKay on March 12, 2011 – 8:08 pm
      I think this passage from SC echoes the major point of SC — people should actively participate in the liturgy. It is not an addendum that people should also learn Latin for some unstated reason; they should learn it so they can respond at the liturgy. If all liturgy with laity can use the vernacular, responding at the liturgy is no longer dependent on learning Laitn. The leadership of the bishops and the Vatican has led us past the literalist reading of SC that calls for laypeople to learn Latin.

      What I glean from that is: SC 54.2 is no longer necessary. It needn’t be implemented, because a completely vernacular Mass has been implemented. But that’s not what I see these numerous other documents saying. Even after all of the people’s parts have been translated into the vernacular, we still see these documents calling for the people to be able to make the responses in Latin. They never say “until the people can make the responses in their vernacular, make sure they can make them in Latin.” They say “in addition to the vernacular”, or something like that.

      the unexpected had happened and was not to be undone

      Surely you don’t mean that bishops decided that the faithful were absolutely not to be made capable of making the responses in Latin. What do you mean?

      1. I believe I have already expressed my disagreement with McKay’s expressions. I think I know what he is trying to say, but I do not think what he has actually written is quite on target.

        Again, please distinguish what I have written from what others may have said here or elsewhere. I have explicitly stated several times that there remain times, places, and communities for whom FCAP in the Latin OF is entirely appropriate. I have some sympathy for people raised on the Missal of Pius V and think that four centuries of its enforced and exclusive use and the wide availability of remaining materials justify its continued extraordinary use.

        I am shocked at the more recent expansion of the use of the EF because it is apparently unprecedented for the RCC not to insist that there is only one current form of the Roman Rite. This expansion actually undermines the teaching authority of the church.

      2. Okay, Tom, I will attempt to restrain our dialogue to simply what we are saying to one another, and not what other commenters have said here or elsewhere.

      3. I guess I should clarify my misunderstood remarks.

        I cited the GIRM because IT says the situation has changed since SC was issued, under the leadership of the bishops and the Apostolic See. It is an assertion that some part of SC is now obsolete in some way, which is what Jeffrey asked about.

        As a result of the enthusiastic welcome given to the vernacular, ALL liturgies in which laity participate may now be in the vernacular. Laity do not have to be formed to use Latin because liturgies may now be formed for their language.

        This change has an impact on how we read SC. “Latin” and “liturgical language” were interchangeable terms then; they are not now. So did the Council mean “people must learn Latin” or did they mean “people must learn the liturgical language.” Identical then, these two statements now differ in an unanticipated way. It is anachronistic to expect “clarity” on this issue from the Council.

        With this change in the liturgical language, Latin has a new place. Learning Latin now serves to preserve the language, not to get people more involved in the liturgy. That purpose is blurred when a document from before the shift is cited as if it means the same thing after the shift.

        Simply, the GIRM testifies to a change that has taken place since SC. In light of that change, SC has to be read in context of its time, which is what Tom has been saying, not in the context of our time without contextualization.

  73. Jeffrey Pinyan : … I’m not accusing anyone here, or insinuating anything about them. I’m asking generally.
    … If the parishes these faithful come from have taken the same non-approach to Latin, who will prepare them for the Gregorian commons, etc.? Are we to be dependent on some small remnant who is capable of singing (and teaching others to sing) the Latin responses? Why can’t we faithful be generally competent with the Latin responses?

    I’m sorry if I misinterpreted you. I thought you were intentionally making a negative insinuation.

    I think you ask some good questions.

    I also think that my experience in choral singing is that, regardless of where one is, experts can be found in the original languages to prepare performers, often at little or no cost because the experts are eager to have their favorite language presented and pronounced accurately.

    In addition, I do not foresee in the next two generations that we will fail to have people who love and support and often revive and present the liturgy in Latin. I welcome them. I just do not think such a cadre is needed in every parish, but maybe in every diocese.

    You and I seem to agree that we have serious problems getting the vernacular liturgy done reverently and in accord with the authorized books. I would rather not complicate that by trying to get competency in an additional form or language, especially so many already need to do the OF in two languages.

    1. You and I seem to agree that we have serious problems getting the vernacular liturgy done reverently and in accord with the authorized books.

      Yes. I would be much happier if the vernacular liturgy were celebrated reverently and according to the authorized books.

      I don’t think it’s that hard to teach people a handful of phrases in Latin. Nor would I say that, if we can get to a reverent and proper celebration of the vernacular liturgy, that we needn’t pursue teaching the people a handful of Latin phrases. I’m content to do things one at a time if necessary (reverence first, Latin later), but I’ll look for whatever sensible “shortcuts” I can find (like including the Latin text alongside the English translation).

  74. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    It is not just to argue that those arguing for good English for American parishes are also arguing against any Latin anywhere.
    And I’m not making that unjust argument. (Or is my wondering whether some Catholics think a Latin liturgy is not efficacious or lawful the equivalent of that? I’m not generalizing about all who want good English for parishes.)
    P.S. Is it uncharitable for me to suggest that, although “there is no single right way to do liturgy,” there are Catholics who are adamant that the Extraordinary Form is “a wrong way to do liturgy”?

    I do not know of anyone who thinks that way, so, in this dialog, it does seem to be unfair and irrelevant to throw that at people who are trying to be in dialog with you.

    It is my opinion that anyone who thinks that the EF is “wrong” is very ill-informed indeed. The very furthest I would be comfortable with somebody going is for them to state the equivalent of, “The EF is wrong for the pastoral needs of this congregation.”

    It would be very hard for me to agree with any such opinion except on a Mass-time by Mass-time congregational basis. I do not think it would be just to ever say, “No Latin in this parish ever again.”

  75. Jeffrey Pinyan :Perhaps no one here, but I have encountered Catholics elsewhere (Catholic Answers Forums, Ministry & Liturgy’s forum, and the comment-box at the National Catholic Reporter) who argue that Latin does preclude FCAP.
    And if Latin does not preclude FCAP, then why must it be replaced by the vernacular, rather than supplemented by it?

    Regarding replacing and supplementing, I think that it is clear that the bishops and people want vernacular liturgy to be the normal thing in American parishes. Therefor, it is the Latin which would supplement the vernacular. See my immediately previous post for my further thoughts on decisions on Latin in parishes.

    I think it would be better if none of us brought to our discussions things which have not come up here but have irritated us elsewhere. Others have recently caught me doing that and I remain corrected. Just because I am used to a certain configuration of opinions going together does not mean that I should write as if they go together for any particular individual without them saying so. I know it makes me angry when people attribute to “my side” people or opinions which I do not share, especially when I think such opinions are wrong, as I do the ones mentioned above.

  76. Jeffrey Pinyan :
    I don’t see why giving a strictly temporary (interim) character to SC 54.2 fits better with the context.
    Inter Oecumenici 48 explicitly states the interim nature of its changes. But the context of SC 50-58 is not interim.

    The context is not explicitly interim but the circumstances are transitional. SC does not make law but teaches an orthodox theology. To cite statements appropriate to a particular place and time as if they were meant to be permanent law is to misunderstand the context and to read a stronger intent into the authors than they explicitly put into the text. The very absence of either “for now” or “for ever” is what leaves the matter open for our discussion.

    I read the overall tone as saying that we have these good things from the past and we do not intend to denigrate them or summarily dismiss them, but it is time to move on. It is the sense of “time to move on” which provides the context for me.

  77. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Which was merely a carry over from earlier editions.
    Was it carried over on purpose, or by mistake? What I mean is, did they really mean it, or did they keep it there as lip service?

    If you are insisting that I guess, I’d say that it was probably not considered at all. There were higher priorities and unless they had an explicit reason to change something, it got carried forward.

    To me, what this means is that each iteration is not a new decision but depends on the original situation from which the material is carried forward. It does not change, neither strengthens nor weakens the original reasons.

  78. Joe O’Leary :
    I never, ever got the impression that priests were praying to the community. And a good priest should not have any trouble with his facial expression as he prays with and for his people.

    I also do not think that I ever got the impression that the priest was making such a fundamental theological error as PRAYING TO the community.

    However, I have seen numerous priests PLAYING TO the community, doing such things as intentionally maintaining eye contact, when they should have been focused on their prayer which is addressed to God.

    It seems to be a frequently repeated error that priests thought that because they were now more visible to the assembly that they were performing for the assembly instead of leading the assembly in prayers performed for the worship of God. Most priests do not seem to change how they say things whether a text is directed to God or to the community.

    The thing I want to do is train priests how to read and interpret the missal texts, how to carry their bodies and use their hands and voices to reinforce the words provided them. It is the sort of thing done by every actor in every rehearsal, serious amateurs or professionals. Most priests, at best, merely read the words without putting any of themselves into them or showing any consciousness of their meanings or context.

    There are far too few of those good priests you mention.

  79. Jeffrey Pinyan :

    You and I seem to agree that we have serious problems getting the vernacular liturgy done reverently and in accord with the authorized books.
    Yes. I would be much happier if the vernacular liturgy were celebrated reverently and according to the authorized books.
    I don’t think it’s that hard to teach people a handful of phrases in Latin. Nor would I say that, if we can get to a reverent and proper celebration of the vernacular liturgy, that we needn’t pursue teaching the people a handful of Latin phrases. I’m content to do things one at a time if necessary (reverence first, Latin later), but I’ll look for whatever sensible “shortcuts” I can find (like including the Latin text alongside the English translation).

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  80. Jeffrey, my 6:25 comment got posted after your 5:25 posting instead of at the end. For now, I need some dinner. I may not get back to this interesting exchange until tomorrow.

    May you continue to be blessed this Lord’s Day.

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