Reactions from Germany to the Instruction on the old Mass

Some reactions to the instruction from Pope Benedict’s homeland:

The German Bishops’ Conference declared that the Instruction contains “no fundamental innovations”; furthermore, interest in the old Mass in Germany is slim. The secretary of the German Bishops’ Conference, Hans Langendörfer, emphasized that the document would have no great effect upon church practice. At the present time, the old Mass is celebrated in only 128 places in Germany out of 11,383 parishes.

Professor Helmut Hoping of the University of Freiburg praised the new document. Much is clarified that was previously unclear. He expects that the old form of the Mass will now be celebrated more frequently in those 150 places where it has been celebrated up until now.

Benedikt Kranemann, chairman of the Association of Catholic Liturgists, (Arbeitsgemeinschaft katholischer Liturgiewissenschaftler), lamented that the criticism from bishops’ conferences and theologians of the introduction of two parallel forms of the liturgy was “not taken into account at all.” The document misses the real problems of the church in Germany. “What is really important to the majority of people doesn’t even appear in this discussion.”

The traditionalist Society of St. Pius the X greeted the paper: Benedict has placed “necessary reins on the arbitrary suppression” of the rules by many bishops.

Bishop Friedrich Weber, delegate for Catholic affairs of the Lutheran Church in Germany, expressed criticism. From the evangelical Lutheran viewpoint, comprehensibility is an essential criterion. When the liturgy is incomprehensible, it become nothing but an external performance and no longer fulfills the urgent requirement of engaged participation.

Source:, tr. awr.


  1. I do not want in anywise to let the Latin tongue disappear out of Divine Service; for I am so deeply concerned for the young. If it lay in my power, and the Greek and Hebrew tongues were as familiar to us as the Latin, and possessed as great a store of fine music and song as the Latin does, Mass should be held and there should be singing and reading, on alternate Sundays in all four languages-German, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. I am by no means of one mind with those who set all their store by one language, and despise all others; for I would gladly raise up a generation able to be of use to Christ in foreign lands and to talk with their people, so that we might not be like the Waldenses in Bohemia whose faith is so involved in the toils of their own language that they can talk intelligibly and plainly with no one unless he first learn their language. —Martin Luther

    1. UE shows no progress over SP.

      What does that mean? What did you expect it to say? The “progress” on the ground is undeniable. In the Archdiocese of New York for example, we have several more Sunday ’62 Masses than we did before S.P., we now have a daily Mass (before we had only Saturday in 1 church and Sunday in about 4 churches.) We have Sung Masses every Wednesday and Friday. We have the triduum celebrated according to the ’62 Missal, which we never had before. We had a priest celebrate one of his “first Masses” in the E.F. We had the Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus attend and preach at a Solemn Mass in the E.F., etc. etc.

    2. “negative episcopal feedback puts Vatican on the defensive”?

      Try this: “blatant denial of the rights of the laity prompts Vatican reminder to bishops that their obedience is to the Holy See and not their diocesan liturgical commissions and the liberal Catholic press”?

      C’mon, Joe, you’re an open-minded guy, who’s already asserted his right – nay, his conscientious obligation to change elements in the forthcoming translation that don’t meet your standard of up-to-snuff. So where’s that old “Let a thousand flowers bloom” spirit?

  2. This brings disgrace on all those who labored on the revision of the liturgical books after Vatican II. All the work that went into the Reform of the Roman Liturgy from 1964-2004 is now reduced to an option.

    The Motu proprio clearly gave priests the option to use the older missal (of course, applying this right is difficult given the pastoral responsibilities of the priest, but the technical option is there, nonetheless). The Motu proprio also gave priests the right to choose the older Breviary.

    Now, this Instruction clarifies that priests also have the right to use the older Breviary, the older Ritual (this, too, is conditional on pastoral duties, but once again, the option remains), bishops may use the older Pontifical (barring Ordination rites), and the older Ceremonial of Bishops.

    And, if this is not enough, the Instruction states that the older liturgical laws must govern the use of the older liturgy.

    All the work of Vatican II and the post-conciliar liturgical reform is reduced to an option. Defenders of the liturgical renewal are reduced to hawking the merits of the so-called “ordinary form” (note that this was the “only form” 10 years ago) of the Roman Rite like an ad-man and/or using force to suppress the laity’s apparent freedom to choose the unreformed rites. This is not a good position to be in.

    How did we go from the liturgical reform of Vatican II being THE Liturgy of the Church to being, technically, an option?

      1. I’m relieved this decree didn’t impose the EF as the only option. Other than that, I don’t see anything particularly
        earth shaking about it, nor do I see it leading to folks rusing to break down the rectory door to institute
        the EF. For those still supporting the general direction of Vatican II’s changes, they may now have even less reason to embrace the older rite.

        I’m glad, however, to see the possibility for using
        the 1962 rites for Holy Week, particularly where the OF is celebrated now.

      2. I liken it to tasting Afghan cooking for the first couple of times. After that, the novelty has worn off and it’s back
        to pasta, pizza, and chili, but perhaps with a little extra
        spice and few more condiments.

    1. Adam… this is indeed a strange lament. And I think it is more than just “technically” an option. As a Catholic who now moves freely between attending an EF and OF parish as do quite a few now, it is a very real (and welcomed) option for me.

      But I don’t understand your feeling that this somehow is a disgrace to the reforms of Vatican II. How is this different from those who felt that the reforms of Vatican II were a disgrace to the liturgical battles they had fought all their lives for? I think particularly of those serious liturgical musicians who had just finally won the Golden Cup of liturgical music legislation… the now well-known “Gregorian Chant should be given primary place as the chant most suitable and appropriate to the Roman Rite”, only to have chant completely replaced by guitar based folk-music a mere 4 years later. They had real and legitimate complaints, but they fell on deaf ears. You’re really just saying the same thing… progress has replaced the work that you’ve fought long and hard for. That’s painful, but it happened before and will, no doubt, happen again. Did you think that the Vatican II Church (whatever that might mean, good or bad) is the final state of the church? While it’s not necessarily my personal take on things, I was under the impression that the reforms of Vatican II favored options, particularly options in how the liturgy is celebrated. How is this different?

    2. Maybe it has always been just an option, the NO Mass. It has been stated that the previous form was never abrogated and that would indicate that their was always a choice in many places. The almost complete suppression is the thing that is being rolled back. That was unlawful and caused much harm which has been written about by out Holy Father and many, many others.

      1. Canonists dispute this. It seems to me that it was perfectly lawful for Paul VI to abrogate the old Mass, just as old rites were abrogated in the past to make room for reformed versions. The real questions about unlawfulness attach to SP. Since you accuse Paul VI of unlawful behavior, you cannot use “the pope can never make an unlawful decree” line taken by some here.

      2. The NO is hardly “just an option”. It isn’t called the OF
        for nothing. What’s most significant is that after
        four years of the motu proprio, Rome has not taken
        steps to roll back the NO, as many were hoping would

      3. We could come up with all kinds of metrics, but by this metric, which was the one used in the original post, Manhattan has more than Germany.
        So, what does this means ? Comparing the island of Manhattan( or do you mean the entire archdiocese of New York which includes Manhattan, the diocese of Brooklyn and the diocese of Rockville Center Long Island) to all of Germany?

    3. An easy answer to your question: It was not THE Liturgy of the Church, because the Church is larger than the Roman Rite. Meanwhile, the 1969 liturgical changes to the Roman Rite were too dramatic and too fast. Now almost every priest has his own way of saying Mass (both licitly, and far too often illicitly) so that many people in the pews are left to guess what’s going on. Outward unity is a fantasy.

      In any case, your first sentence is ridiculous. The traditional liturgy is only a threat to those who hate tradition. In the end, I’d rather trust St. Gregory the Great, Bl. Alcuin, Innocent III, and St. Pius V than a bunch of dated eggheads on a commission in the late 1960’s.

    1. There are 94 Latin Rite Churches in Manhattan (according to the list here and subtracting one that is actually closed and one that is Russian Rite.)

      There are currently 4 Sunday Masses according to the ’62 Missal in the borough or somewhat over 4%. (There is also an SSPX Mission.)

      1. No, not 4%. Much less. One would have to count all the Masses offered at all the churches, and divide the 4 EF Masses by that far greater number. I don’t have the sum of all the Masses offered in the OF in Manhattan, but I daresay there are very few that have only one. A quick search showed that St Ignatius (upper east side), Holy Name (upper west side) St John the Evangelist (midtown east), St Paul the Apostle (Lincoln Center), Good Shepherd (Washington Heights) have six each.

      2. No, not 4%. Much less.

        Yes, Rita, yes. In statistics, we compare apples to apples.

        Reread the original post:

        At the present time, the old Mass is celebrated in only 128 places in Germany out of 11,383 parishes.

        Tom correctly calculated: It looks like about one percent of German parishes offer the EF.

        Then he asked: What is the percentage in the US?

        That’s quite a challenge as Jeffrey points out to compile the number of EF’s in the U.S., but I happen to have accurate numbers for Manhattan: 4 parishes offer the EF as a regularly scheduled Mass.

        This compares to the statistic in the original article:At the present time, the old Mass is celebrated in only 128 places in Germany out of 11,383 parishes.

        So “At the present time, the old Mass is celebrated in only 4 places in Manhattan out of 94 parishes.” (Though I wrote “churches” in my comment above and not parishes as not all 94 are technically parishes, though all those churches that offer the Latin Mass are.)

        This is somewhat over 4%. It’s true that it’s not 4% of all the Masses celebrated, but that wasn’t what we were discussing.

        We could come up with all kinds of metrics, but by this metric, which was the one used in the original post, Manhattan has more than Germany.

      3. Thanks for the clarification, Sam. Now I understand why you said 4%. Was thrown off by “4 Sunday Masses” rather than “4 parishes offer Sunday Mass.”

        I am still a little unclear. Do 4 parishes offer one Mass each? In other words, do any parishes offer more than one EF Mass?

      4. Yes, four parishes offer one Mass each on Sundays.

        The only place currently offering more than one EF Mass on a regularly scheduled basis is Holy Innocents on First Saturdays, where there is an EF Mass at 5 AM at the conclusion of the all night vigil and then the regular Saturday EF Mass at 1 P.M.

        Occasionally it happens for other reasons that there is more than one EF Mass on a weekday in the same Church, because of a visiting priest or because of a special celebration.

    2. I’m not sure that there’s an accurate number for parishes offering the EF in the US at this time. It is constantly increasing, pretty much week-to-week. In the four years since July 2007, our Diocese has gone from one EF Mass every other week (in the entire Diocese) to 28 EF Masses in 6 different locations every week (that includes weekday Masses at Christ the King Parish and Ave Maria University), including a dedicated EF Parish that offers complete Sacraments in the EF. I know of two parishes in our neighboring Diocese that have begun offering the EF this past month as newly ordained priests assigned there (who have learned the EF on their own) have begun celebrations there. So the numbers are still rather small, but as is a well known mathematical principle, small numbers increase by great percentages very rapidly!There is a directory online, but it is not completely accurate since it is voluntary information from parishes offering the EF. Whatever the percentage of US parishes offering the EF was 4 years ago, it is likely many times that now, and will be considerably greater 4 years from now.

      The situation in Germany sounds like the very familiar “we won’t authorize celebration of the Mass because there is no interest in it” argument that was frequently the case pre-Summorum.

    3. In my diocese there was one weekly EF Mass before SP; now there are three, plus another that’s celebrated monthly. There have been celebrations at four other locations that I know of, including the diocesan seminary chapel. Some of these are scheduled to be repeated.

      I was married in the EF (we call it the Youth Mass in my parish — care to guess why?). Tom, you will be interested to know that the deacon and MC at my EF wedding have been sent by their respective bishops to Rome to study for advanced degrees — in liturgy. You may also be interested to know that several diaconal candidates from our diocesan seminary made a Holy Week retreat at a well-known religious community that’s exclusively 1962.

      By the way, in the past month I have served at two First Massed in the EF for young priests. In the recent past I have served at two others.

      Yes, the numbers are small but the momentum and passion among families, seminarians, and young priests are undeniable.

    4. There are 147 parishes in the diocese of Providence. 5 parishes offer the EF Mass regularly: one parish every Sunday, and the other four at least once a month. It’s about 3-4% of parishes, and about 1% of Masses, it seems.

  3. And the “Some Nerve” and “Minding Everybody Else’s Business” awards both go to:

    “Bishop Friedrich Weber, delegate for Catholic affairs of the Lutheran Church in Germany, expressed criticism. From the evangelical Lutheran viewpoint, comprehensibility is an essential criterion. When the liturgy is incomprehensible, it become nothing but an external performance and no longer fulfills the urgent requirement of engaged participation.”

    IMAGINE the hue-and-cry that would arise from the “enlightened” and “open-minded” wing of the Lutheran Church if a Roman Catholic bishop dared to critique the liturgical practices of another denomination!

    Ah, but when you’re a progressive, the rules you apply to others never apply to you.

    1. I disagree. What the Roman Catholic Church does is everybody’s business. Its decisions especially affect other Christian communities, and over the long run yes, our fates as Christians are joined. Any church that is a church and not a sect is a public entity, not a private club. It therefore has a place in the public realm, to which other Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) also belong. You may disagree with the opinions others hold, but they are entitled to have and to express them.

      Negative stereotyping (“when you’re a progressive”) and sneering in place of arguments stated directly, are classic ways of dehumanizing one’s interlocutors. Such tactics are used in bullying. I would very much like to see the discussion at Pray Tell not descend to this level, because it obscures the real points being made, and prevents genuine responses about the issues.

      1. Doing what you just did — phrasing remarks impersonally and pretending to make them of general applicability, where in reality you are deliberately addressing one person and expect that your comments will be understood as applying to her or him — is also a classic way of dehumanizing one’s interlocutor. It is a technique of talking to someone indirectly while refusing to speak to him or her directly.

      2. Sandi, my comment does have universal applicability. I am not “pretending.” It has happened many times on the blog, and I’ve seen it and commented on it before, with other posters. It is not dehumanizing to call for more a constructive approach than negative stereotyping.

      3. Oh come on: Deal with my point, Rita.

        Would there or would there not be a grand aggrieved outcry if a Catholic bishop critiqued the way another denomination conducted its worship? Much less have the nerve to deem a legitimate form of Catholic worship a “mere external performance”?

        Maybe good manners were lost in translation, but excuse me: who the hell does he think he is?

        Also, whenever strong opinions are expressed from the left, it’s “speaking truth to power.” From the right, it’s “bullying.” THAT is classic.

      4. Happy to deal with your point, Michael. Openly hostile comments received without “how dare you” have included Catholic bishops announcing that dialogue is over because of the ordination of women and blessing of same sex unions — both of which are liturgical practices. And how about classing as “desecration of the Eucharist” the presence of Protestant clergy at the altar in a Catholic Church? No gloves on there. Catholic churches aren’t even allowed to loan their buildings to congregations that need space temporarily because it would “desecrate” them. Yet I haven’t see so much indignation as despair in response to such statements. The losers are always the ecumenists.

        Bullying is not the property of persons of one particular stripe, liberal or conservative. Liberals can bully plenty; I’ve taken the brunt of it myself often enough. As for speaking truth to power, which power did you have in mind here?

      5. But Rita, it’s just one side that gets this response. No response to Fr. Jim Blue’s suggestion that people who attend the Latin Mass have no life. That’s just as much “Negative stereotyping (”when you’re a progressive”) and sneering in place of arguments stated directly”.

  4. The quote from Luther, rather than refuting contemporary Lutheran concerns about the comprehension of the Latin Liturgy, affirm them. Luther’s comments assume an understanding of Latin. Luther says that the reason the litrugy should not be celebrated in Greek and Hebrew as he personally might have wished was because they were not languages most Germans were able to comprehend. The same can be said of Latin in 2011.

    1. The quote doesn’t refute contemporary Lutheran concerns, but then it’s not meant to. It’s meant to point out that the situation is more complicated than the Lutheran bishop suggests, that there are issues besides immediate comprehension. What it’s meant to do is to point out that Luther had more than one concern. He was concerned with the preservation of Latin religious heritage and comprehension. Luther’s complete solution involved education of youth in their religious heritage, which for him included Latin liturgy.

  5. Friedrich Weber is the Lutheran bishop responsible for the relations with Catholicism and regularly comments on Roman actions relevant to ecumenism. His remarks are no more impertinent than those of Archbishop Rowan Williams at the Gregorian in Rome some years ago, which were warmly applauded by Cardinal Kasper.

    1. Rowan Williams …. he’s the chap who sees a legitimate place for Sharia Law in the UK and who lamented the killing of bin Laden … just a little context there.

  6. From Sandro Magister:

    An objective, historical analysis would posit that SP and now UE have “disrupted” the liturgical tradition. Scholarship indicates that the initial drive for this was the SSPX split and yet it now has a life of its own.

    Objective data, etc. indicates that less than 3% of bishops and “ordinary” catholics have any interest in two forms of one rite.

    This is a papal decision that is not supported collegially – where are the three year results of the SP survey that was mandated? all we see is his pronouncement – UE?

    The law of unintended consequences has been working since 1984, UE, directions, and a letter to all bishops:

    – “Only one Roman rite in two forms, ancient and modern. This is Benedict XVI’s prescription to heal a liturgical disorder that has become “hard to bear.” For those who don’t believe it, a new document has been released with instructions .”
    – Reasons stated: – “In many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church”. (this is subjective; anecdotal evidence; from long ago and in a period in which experimentation was given lee way – this is a personal opinion)
    – “There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

    Where has he been for 20 years of…

    1. Bishops in UK generally give permission for EF Masses, provided that proper provision is made for OF Masses on Sundays and Days of Obligation.

      In my mainly rural diocese there are 110 parishes listed, but I know that some of these have been amalgamated, and share a priest. The number of priests in parish service (diocesan and religious) would appear to total about 100. Of these two are known to have a strong preference for EF. According to the Latin Mass Soc list, only two priests (in their parishes) offer a public all-but-daily EF Mass. Of these two, one was appointed 8 months ago to a church in a run-down small market town. He has Introduced the EF 6 days each week, including on Sunday. He is parish priest of “two” parishes and at the w/e celebrates 3 OF Masses, one on Saturday evening and two on Sunday mornings. The EF is celebrated Sunday late afternoon.

      In an elderly parish with a Mass count of 90 (according to the latest diocesan directory) the weekday EF attracts a congregation numbering between 1 and 3. The count for the Sunday EF is scarcely more. It is very much appreciated by those who attend,though that can hardly be described as taking part. The parish is also the venue for a Polish Sunday Mass at least twice each month. The priest has the interesting challenge of straddling two different calendars.

      “jubilant” is hardly a correct description in this diocese. Other churches and priests than the one described already regularly offer an EF Mass at various locations and times. The Bishop has clearly in no way impeded the desires of priests and laity who prefer EF.

      1. The EF is celebrated Sunday late afternoon.

        What my parish priest calls being “relegated to the
        broom closet”.

  7. “Here in the UK, we are jubilent at the publication of this excellent document.”

    Are we? Speak for yourself, but not for everyone.

    1. Here in the UK, many (I’m tempted to say “most”) folk will be unaware of the document. Many (close to “most” again) do not know about the new translation which has been available to them for the last month.

      In fact, I wonder how many folk in the pew know about any liturgical documents – ever!

      As a rather nice chap named John Ainslie wrote in 1979, as late as the 1950s Catholics could quote verbatim Pope Pius X’s warning against the dangers of Communism but his “injunctions concerning the fostering of congregational music went largely unheeded”.

  8. The EF people alway exaggerate their numbers and presence. Only 4 EF Masses in Manhattan — a poor stat but one can vamp it up. The Britons are all jubilant! I doubt very much if anyone is jubilant. The grey Vatican document has all the marks of a confession that SP has not been a success; it went off at half-cock.

  9. A friend in the Cleveland Diocese reported to me that there were only two or three masses in the unreformed rite (“e.f.”) in the entire diocese. Undoubtedly the dearth of interest is a happy result of some excellent catechesis there in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I suspect in most places where there was good liturgical catechesis after the Council both S.P. and the new u.e. apologia are greeted with a collective yawn. People who could easily attend mass either on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning but chose to go to a boutique mass at 1 PM on Sunday . . . you wonder if they have much of a life?

      1. Then perhaps you don’t know them well enough to speak of them as you do.

    1. That might have been the Jim Beam talking. (It was after 5 on a Friday here for goodness sake!) I guess it was not very charitable. Everyone has a story and everyone has gotten to the point where he/she is for some reason. I recently heard of a person who became Byzantine because he was abused in the Roman church. So, perhaps there are some legitimate reasons for some to seek safe harbor in the unreformed mass. Questioning the quality of life of such a person is not going to bring her/him back to the normative practices of the church.

      1. Your blaming your lack of charity on alcohol?
        Are you serious?
        I really want to believe you are not a priest.

  10. 1. There will NEVER be full-communion between Orthodox and the Roman Catholic church if the Pope can intervene in this way in local dioceses.
    2. The traditionalist/conservative Catholics need to aquaint themselves more with Orthodox liturgical theology. A comparison would be not reflect well on the liturgical practice from Tent to 1962.

    Read Alexander Schmemann, maybe. Sure, he’d be in faor of a more ancient, traditional style. But not this way!

    1. There will NEVER be full-communion between Orthodox and the Roman Catholic church if the Pope can intervene in this way in local dioceses.
      2. The traditionalist/conservative Catholics need to aquaint themselves more with Orthodox liturgical theology. A comparison would be not reflect well on the liturgical practice from Tent to 1962
      Mark, I fear you’re right about point one. You just know
      the Orthodox and Anglicans are looking at this travesty with horror right now. I’m looking into Orthodox sponsored articles on this subject now. As for point two, I think both need to acquaint themselves with eastern and western liturgical and theological history. Both groups, particularly traditionalists, have taken refuge in a cave dug out in the
      16th century.

  11. Folks,
    There was lack of ecumenical charity, and self-confidence bordering on arrogance, in some comments. I deleted a whole conversational thread, though there were some well-written responses to the comments which prompted my action.

      1. Samuel and Jeffrey,

        While I don’t think PrayTell is perfect by any means, one reason I read it is the diversity of opinion that I find in the comboxes — a diversity that you both contribute to. I, for one, welcome your contributions, even (especially?) when I don’t agree with them. A couple of other blogs I can think of that deal with some similar matters have a tediously uniform set of folks who contribute to their discussions, with little diversity of opinion, unless it is over the manliness of lace or the relative merits of Gothic versus Roman vestments. Like I said, it’s not perfect, but this blog is one of the few places I know where there is a real interchange between “progressives” and “traditionalists” and all the critters in between.

  12. I will admit that this is one possible way of reading these documents, but the practice of the Church for the past 40 years would seem to lead away from such a reading. For example, if protestant eucharists were an act of material idolatry, would the Church have allowed Rowan Williams to celebrate such a eucharist on the altar of Santa Sabina, or would the Church have allowed the Catholic brothers at Taize to attend the protestant eucharist (while not communicating). Indeed, wouldn’t Catholics be barred from attending any protestant celebration of the Eucharist (except, perhaps (and ironically), only those very low church ones in which they claim that nothing happens)?

    Of course, you might well reply that these things in fact were abominations and are simply a sign of the general apostasy of the Church in the post-conciliar period. At which point I really don’t have much of a reply, at least not one that could fit into a comm box.

    1. Well, mine could fit in a tiny box.

      Anyway, the logic of that reductio ad absurdo is that they are apostate (from their baptism) pagans because they worship bread and wine, rather than the True God. It’s just silly.

  13. “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
    For as you judge, so will you be judged,
    and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
    Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
    but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
    How can you say to your brother,
    ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’
    while the wooden beam is in your eye?
    You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
    then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

  14. The instruction, besides what we see on the surface, includes some possible scenarios for the future. Important is the Article that derogates laws put into effect after 1962 pertaining to the Tridentine Mass. All these practices and laws may be under review now as having been really for the good of the CHurch and the Fatihful as the Council demanded with reform. Also the not so subtle intention to insert some new prefaces etc. into the Extraordinary Form Mass. It appears that while all the moaning and reviewing each comma and period as to their meaning, a type of organic development is being proposed and instituted right under the noses of all not paying close attention. In the future perhaps this organic development will grow and the 62 Missal will grow into all the hopes and desires of the Vat II Council. It may be easier to reform the well respected 62 Missal than that of 1970 because of the stigma attached to its’ abuses and faulty implementation. This could be a second chance to do things correctly, now with the benefit of hindsight. Although I do prefer the Tridentine Form I attend the NO when it is not possible to get to an EF Mass. It would be nice to see both Forms resemble each other until such a time when there is 1 Form again. As it stands now some of the Masses I have attended could not be more polar opposite.

    1. “It would be nice to see both Forms resemble each other until such a time when there is 1 Form again. As it stands now some of the Masses I have attended could not be more polar opposite.”

      I agree. I see no reason why a blended rite could not be
      developed as some churches already have done (they shall remain nameless). For example, the prayers at the foot of the altar from the Tridentine Mass of
      1962 and substituting them for the Pauline opening, but
      using the choice of greetings found in the 1970 rite. Using
      the Lectionary for adding an old testament reading to the
      62 form. Keeping the Roman canon silent except for the
      words of institution and anamnesis sung or said in the vernacular or latin.
      As Thomas Become, Cranmer’s chaplain, once said of the Roman canon, “a hotch potch . . .of popish rags”. Hopefully, in time replacing it with a much more coherent and expanded anaphora for reciting or singing, and bringing it closer to an eastern ideal as found in EP IV.

      All the smells, bells, pomp, circumstance, mass towards the apse, etc. are perfectly iterchangeable. Permitting some options from either the 1962 or other usages for the offertory, communion, and thanksgiving would be a further enrichment of both forms.

      What’s not to like? Furthermore, apart from the canonical issues where the legalists would see nothing but chaos, it could all be done in a matter of days or weeks.

  15. “Polar opposite.” The danger is this will keep on developing into two “parties,” two liturgical sensibilities. There will be OF parishes and EF parishes. This hardly seems a goal of conservative Catholic thinking. The result, unintended I’m guess, is the entitlement to choose your own expression. Yes this happens now, but SP, etc., seems to foster and enshrine it more down the road.

    What seems to be the biggest thing for traditionalists is that anything was actually wrong before the Council- and needed reform.

    1. Mark, I think part of the pope’s liberal allowance of the EF Mass and also his hermeneutic of continuity with the pre-Vatican II Church is that so many after the Council and even today think that the Church was totally out of wack before Vatican II; that there was little or nothing that was good. That is far from the truth. Did things need “transforming,” including some aspects of the Mass, yes obviously and that happened. Are we mature enough now to have the older form of the Mass but apply some of the principles we have learned to it in terms of active participation, praying the texts and not devotions during it, yes, absolutely.
      I always thought new and improved meant that old was awful. That is not the case with the Church or her liturgy although everything in this life can be improved without drastic changes. The bishop-homilist at the royal wedding warned the couple not to strive at “reforming” the other–that’s an insult to one being reformed, but rather to allow their love in Christ to transform. I think that’s better language and more respectful.

      1. Fr. McDonald, I well remember when the biggest fault to be found with the mass as we had known it in in the years before
        the Council was that (A) it should be permitted in the
        vernacular, (B) restore the communion chalice, (C)
        a distant third preference being more Old Testament readings.

    2. “The danger is this will keep on developing into two “parties,” two liturgical sensibilities. ”

      You bet, and it has actually got to the point where some parishes have a menu of sorts from which to select the liturgy of their choice. Not much evidence here of the mutual enrichment going on that Pope Benedict seemed to be aimed at achieving with his 2007 motu proprio.

  16. Fr. Allan – first; B16 talked about a hermeneutic of reform within continuity….your interpretation is your interpretation.

    The fathers of VII “reformed” the liturgy, period. They did not imagine nor did they want the mass of John XXIII or your even older mass forms to continue.

    LIturgy forms flow from an understanding of both theology and ecclesiology….your attempt is to change or justify your individual interpretation.

    It is sad that you continue to devise new ways to justify your own particular mannerisms – let’s see – new approach is to blame all those who see pre-vatican ii as “out of wack”; little or nothing was good, etc.

    Two forms of one rite – has nothing to do with maturity…has a lot to do with developing and growing which you seem to have difficulty with.

    1. That is your interpretation. You are not in a position to say,

      ”The fathers of VII “reformed” the liturgy, period. They did not imagine nor did they want the mass of John XXIII or your even older mass forms to continue.”

      Check it out:

      Benedict XVI said, “Unfortunately, the Liturgy was seen, perhaps even by us pastors and experts, more as an object to reform than as a subject capable of renewing Christian life,” the Holy Father said.

  17. Allen,

    I take your point. Indeed there have been Anglicans for well over a hundred years who have thought that the Tridentine mass was the best, etc.
    It would be lovely if the good experience of the Paul VI misssal would inform the use of the old one. That would be good. At the risk of having Apostolicae Curae (sp?)called down upon me: the Anglicans have had to live and learn ( sometimes!) from having two main liturgical sensibilites. Not entirely a good thing, but it can work toward synthesis, occasionally, maybe, a little.

    What will be needed NEXT is mature dialogue between those of different persuasions. This seems never to have happend in all this time.

    I never said that the reform of VII meant everything was out of wack. But things needed reforming. That was what was done. Allowng reformed AND not reformed at the same time is risky, and tends toward parties.

    1. Mark, Thanks for your thoughtful response. In terms of saying that some think that everything was out of “wack” with the Church prior to Vatican II was a counter balance to your point that there are those who in fact think that everything was perfect prior to Vatican II. That mentality certainly exists and you were correct in pointing it out. But both mentalities actually exist.
      Until the bishop who preached at the royal wedding brought it up within the context of marriage, I never gave thought to the fact that the word “reform”can have very negative connotations, especially for the one being “reformed.” How many spouses think they need to do that for the other? How many in the Church think that about the Church? Whereas being “transformed” has a much more positive aspect to it and doesn’t denigrate the other. So perhaps I might suggest to the Holy Father that he use the phrase, “hermeneutic of transformation within continuity.”

    2. Mark, You said “What will be needed NEXT is mature dialogue between those of different persuasions. This seems never to have happend in all this time.”

      Be of good cheer. Such dialogues and discussions do take place, but one is more likely to see thems being put into good practice in a few oratories of religious houses and Newman Center chapels–far, far away from the snooping
      liturgy police and other spies of Pope Benedict.

    3. Mark, One of my disappointments is that Pope Benedict hasn’t take advantage of the opportunity in this latest decree to get the ball rolling towards the adoption of a vernacular Tridentine Mass. Perhaps, it is his intention to authorize such a mass for the Anglican Ordinariate ONLY.

      If so, and he limits it only to the Ordinariate, I think this would be a very big mistake. Without an English version, the 1962 rite will always remain a footnote and little more. An eccentric liturgical practice simply tolerated for a few who can’t “get with the program”.
      The Roman rite needs to have a choice with an vernacular mass as well (with or without the Cranmerisms) found
      in the various Anglican missals, or the version we presently have in the “Book of Divine Worship”. Soon to be altered upon the introduction of an American component to the Ordinariate.

      1. Dunstan, my real preference as I’ve written before is that we have the revised OF Missal in the vernacular with two options, the Ordinary Option meaning we celebrate it as we are currently and the extraordinary option, meaning we celebrate it in the vernacular but with the EF Order of the Mass and its rubrics. In this way we keep the orations, prefaces, Masses, calendar, and lectionary.(The Liturgy of the Word would be celebrated as it currently is in the OF and with lay lectors, male or female). The EF form of the OF missal might only use the Roman Canon. It would not be too difficult to insert in any OF Missal the EF Order of the Mass. Then you could have the vernacular EF Mass, but updated and not really any different on any given Sunday from the newer Roman Missal and lectionary apart from its Order and rubrics. If that were possible I would not hesitate to turn one of our four Masses on Sundays into an EF expression.

  18. By the way, anyone who thinks the “liberation” of the 1962 Mass is bringing the Society of St Pius X around in peace and reconciliation, need look not a millimeter beyond their advertising blitz for their forthcoming “major publication,” DOUBTS ABOUT A BEATIFICATION (guess whose?), with a preface by Bishop Fellay, the sanest of the SSPX leadership (a short totem pole indeed).

    Never has so much energy been invested for so little return, even though the maximum return would have been of questionable value to begin with. It’s clear that having been their own Popes for so long, the SSPX leadership has no intention of going back to being regular old bishops. (By the way, I attend the EF pretty much daily).

    1. It’s clear that having been their own Popes for so long, the SSPX leadership has no intention of going back to being regular old bishops.
      Isn’t “Doubts about a Beatification” just another sign of the
      “mutual enrichment” taking place between the SSPX and sedevacantism?

  19. I am confused by these so called post Vatican II reforms. The kind of liturgy we have now is lamentable. Almost everyone tries to invent something and insert them into the mass. Here in the Philippines so many heritage in our old church buildings were destroyed. The Magnificent reredos, the baroque altars, etc… were all gone and replaced with those empty modern art in the name of liturgical reform. I dunno if those who say they are reforming the liturgy have really read the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

    Pope Benedict XVI has exactly done the right thing of putting to right and promoting an authentic renewal of the Liturgy in the spirit of continuity with tradition. Vatican II after all is not a super council and it has never abrogated previous council decrees and that Vatican II can only be understood in light of tradition, that is in light of the previous councils decrees.

    I hope that the self appointed arbiters who claim to be academicians and who think that the liturgy is like a fossil to be discovered and reconstructed will come to realize that after all the liturgy is not a specimen to be studied but it is part of a living tradition. And I hope that they wake up and realize how they have deformed the liturgy.

    Thanks to God we have a good pope in Benedict XVI.
    so long with the school of liturgies and their experiments.

  20. All academic discussions of “right liturgy” or “renewed liturgy” aside, we’ve never confronted what the implementation of the Missal of Paul VI has meant. Practically speaking and with all agendas aside, it has meant the widespread death of the Catholic ethos and a disorienting repudiation of centuries of Catholic praxis.

    In a great number of parishes in North America and across the world we encounter a Catholic liturgy that is virtually indistinguishable from a Protestant communion service. Lacking the robust sermons and biblical formation of our brethren, we have a ritual whose minimalist symbolic interface lends itself far more easily to sentimental, psychologized secular religions than anything we might call, from a historical or sociological perspective, “Roman Catholicism”.

    This has created a trauma that the next generation of Catholic Christians are inheriting- and dealing with in diverse ways. Whatever the problems of the pre-concilliar Church I think its clear the new Mass, with the radical extent and rapid pace of its innovations, has significantly abetted the death of the Catholic ideal.

    In the churches that survived the iconoclastic spirit, the new Mass is still haunted by the Old in the forms of the shadows of the high altars, the crumbling statues and enigmatic symbols.

    The Pope is quite aware that, in so many places around the world, the new Mass stands in dire want of the greater Catholic tradition. The Church can not survive with integrity unless this gap is somehow bridged. However awkward this “two forms of one rite” business is, it will at least further along the sorely need discussion about our relationship with our own history and dogma.

    The reformers should have been less quick to revolutionize such an ancient Church. If you rock the boat too hard there is no certainty that not even you will fall out.

    1. You’ve already stated this view at PTB. It sounds like you reject Vatican II – is that the case?


      1. I didn’t get that at all.. Rather than rejecting Vat II, I got the poster expressing some opinion that supports the Holy Father’s statements that much has gone wrong with the post conciliar reform and that indeed much pain was experienced by individuals deeply rooted in the Faith becasue of this. Why is it on this blog that when someone supports what the Holy Father has said about the previous Missal Edition or about the actual way that the new Missal was implemented their fidelity is questioned to all that was done in the name of Vat II ? I mentioned Exteme Unction once on this site and the same type of question was asked of me in regards to Vat II. People restate their views on this site, sometimes hourly, what is the issue with this poster?

  21. I don’t reject Vatican II. Though neither do I really care about it. Though, the Council said that chant has pride of place and that Latin is to be retained. It said nothing about ad orientem, placing the Eucharist in the hands of the laity or unleashing a wave of otherwise uncontrollable creativity. I seriously don’t believe we got the Mass the Council Father’s intended.

  22. Personally, I think we need to move beyond the “accept it” or “reject it” mentality. The Council was tried. It may have failed. Maybe there are good things in it that we should continue with and others which we should simply drop.

    From all human perspectives, Catholicism has probably been irreparably shattered in the course of the triumphs of secularity, the penetrations of modernity, the political and economic revolutions and everything the reforms have done to accommodate all of these. We can only move forward in this kind of “broken world”, I suppose drawing strength from the tradition where we can encounter it and however we can get it.

    I don’t think traditionalism will triumph in the Church. Neither do I think the Council is really, any longer, relevant. Only time will prove these thoughts to be either right or wrong.

    1. This is what I dread to think might be the worldview of Benedict XVI!

      Preserving the Church of 1962 in aspic is a strategy that might have killed off Catholicism entirely, or that would only have made it a fossil. The Council unleashed a great variety of Catholicisms, whose full potential is far from realized.

      1. And uncontrollable creativity is NOT the problem with the Church today — but rather laziness, lack of imagination and lack of conviction. Vatican II certainly called for creativity, notable in asking that the arts of our time be given a place to flourish in the Church. Communion in the hand and reception of the chalice was the norm in the ancient church — I fail to see why you are so nervous about it.

  23. Jordan DeJonge :

    Personally, I think we need to move beyond the “accept it” or “reject it” mentality. The Council was tried. It may have failed. Maybe there are good things in it that we should continue with and others which we should simply drop.
    From all human perspectives, Catholicism has probably been irreparably shattered in the course of the reforms, the triumphs of secularity, the penetration of modernity, the apostasies of the Catholic peoples… We can only move forward in this kind of “broken world”, I suppose drawing strength from the tradition where we can encounter it and however we can get it.
    I don’t think traditionalism will triumph in the Church. Neither do I think the Council is really, any longer, relevant. Only time will prove these thoughts to be either right or wrong.

    “Move beyond” at the beginning and not “relevant” at the end, but not rejecting? How strange!

    I think that with regard to the institutions of the RCC and the majority of the members of the curia not only has V2 “not been tried” [Chesterton] but has been actively opposed. This makes it most relevant indeed for the RCC remains more in need of reform now than then.

    For over a hundred years Rome has been inveighing against modernism. I wonder if it is the same issue now as it was in the beginning? Or has the term just become a shibboleth? A way of avoiding real changes in demographics and communication and especially of values in governance?

  24. Joe – Communion in the hand and communion of both species was practiced in the ancient Church, but both were also suppressed for good reason – the risk of profanation, as I’m sure you well know.

    I find it quite interesting that people in America get up in arms about receiving from the chalice. I spent a good bit of time in Germany in the early 2000s and never once saw the chalice offered to the people nor did I see an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, with one exception: I noticed an announcement in the bulletin that a Mass in English was scheduled for an upcoming early Sunday morning, so I got up early and went to see why Mass was being celebrated in English.

    It turned out to be a travelling group of about 100 retired Catholic Americans who entered the Church as a group, all sat huddled closely together in the front left corner of the Church, as their accompanying priest celebrated Holy Mass with them and with the few other people such as I who sat scattered throughout the large Church. I felt bad for them that they didn’t just wait an hour and attend the well-attended regularly scheduled Mass in German. Why skip the opportunity to worship together with the local Catholics?

    Anyway the most comical (and sad) part was after the consecration when one of the Americans went to the altar after the priest’s communion, took the tiny priests chalice — the sacristan had, as usual, prepared no other — and proceeded to try to communicate the entire group from the remaining precious blood in the priest’s chalice. Needless to say it didn’t work well.

  25. I don’t reject the Council. I was raised in the conciliar Church and I continue to attend the Novus Ordo on most Sundays. As we all know, the Council was pastoral in nature and decidedly set out to help further the cause of the Church in the modern world. It proffered no dogma. To a very great extent, it is vague if indecipherable and leaves the current Magisterium numerous options for its interpretation, including hermeneutics of continuity.

    Councils are not prophetic. Vatican II is not some kind of visionary Council with an unalterable and permanent program for the future Church. If its propositions are found wanting or if a new direction is needed, is not the Magisterium free to proceed in new pastoral directions? If the Council was called to meet the needs of the times, we are also free to observe that 2011 is already quite different from 1962. A council called specifically to equip its pastors to encounter an age by definition dates itself. Many of us feel the Church’s ancient liturgy is very well equipped to meet the “needs of our age”.
    Personally, there are things that I find valuable in Vatican II. As a student of world religions, I welcome the language it has lent us for considering the value of the world’s spiritual heritage. As someone who spent some years in the Protestant church, I also value the more amicable feelings with which we now tend to hold for fellow Christians. As well, I think a political right to freedom of religion is a positive thing.

    But I resent the “slice and dice” academic and secularizing approach to our ancient liturgy and praxis. I think it has gravely wounded and disoriented the Catholic consciousness, scandalously depriving so many of us of real contact with the venerable traditions that, for centuries, marked out the Catholic way and bonded us to Christ (God’s tradition to us) through an organic social bond whose vines run visibly down the ages.

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