Abbot Cuthbert on evangelizing with the new missal

Advice from Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, OSB, member of Vox Clara, about the forthcoming missal:

Perhaps we should remember Saint Benedict’s words that “We believe that God is present everywhere and especially is this so when we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy”.

My hope for the new English translation of the Roman Missal is that all controversy is now laid aside, and that together bishops, priests, deacons, religious and the lay- faithful work to ensure that it becomes a great source for renewal in the liturgical life of the Church, and makes a valuable contribution to the work of new evangelization.

From this interview.

47 comments

  1. “My hope is that all controversy is now laid aside, and that together bishops, priests, deacons, religious and the lay-faithful work to ensure that it (i.e., Vox Clara Pell-Moroney-Ward-and to some extent Johnson Missal) becomes a great source for renewal …. blah, blah, blah”.

    This is rich indeed.

    Involved up to his tonsure in the shenanigans and political machinations of the Curial liturgy games for DECADES, most recently in the hatchet and pick-axe mutilation of the 2008 ICEL translation approved by the Conferences of Bishops, this man has the NERVE to ask everyone upon whom this latest and nastiest fruit of his ancient vendetta against ICEL (old-new-and in-between) is about to be visited simply to show up, shut up and pay up? Pray, pay and obey?

    Fat chance, Dom Cuthbert, fat chance!

    Instead, tell us, in detail, YOUR role in the Order of Christian Funerals debacle, in the 1998 translation “affair”, in Liturgiam authenticam and now this “Missal Mess”.

    Just to set aside all controversy.

      1. Great focus on the issue, Sam, with all the insight we’ve come to expect from you. Consult with Canon Griffiths and Father Ruff on the benefits of playing hardball with tyrants. Then get back to me.

        On second thought, don’t bother.

      2. Great focus on the issue, Sam

        I’m not focusing on the issue? You’re publishing anonymous comments accusing Dom Cuthbert of carrying out a vendetta against ICEL and you complain that I’m not focusing on the issue? When you make the issue the “nerve” of Dom Cuthbert, the issue Dom Cuthbert’s personality and not his arguments, you open yourself up to criticism of how you choose to conduct the debate. And now you’re publishing anonymous comments insulting me:

        with all the insight we’ve come to expect from you.

        And that is focusing on the issues?

        If you’ve “been patronising Da Roberto’s” since at least 1978 as you tell us in the other thread, you can afford to have skin in the game.

        Fr. Ruff and Canon Griffiths aren’t starving. They haven’t been thrown in prison. They haven’t been banned from teaching or exiled.

        Bishop Pei Junmin is “playing hardball with tyrants” that’s hardly what’s going on here.

      3. Canon Griffiths and Father Ruff have been treated unjustly, and not by the Chinese Communists, from whom we would expect mistreatment, but by those in positions of authority within the household of the Faith, for whom they were trying to provide a service.

        That you cannot see the injustice of that, or imagine the suffering it entails, or sense the critical ecclesiological issues it raises, tells me all I need to know.

        Good night, and good morning.

      4. Pseudonymity has a hallowed place in Christian tradition. Think of three of the four gospels, for a start! Not to mention the numberous examples in the Jewish Bible.

      5. Xavier Rindfleisch is actually a woman. She has taken a man’s name and a possibly clerical status so that she has more credibility with the Roman Curia.

    1. Sir,

      Wherever you were in 1973, surely you know that Monsignor Frederick McManus was defamed by Michael Davies.

      I have enormous and long-standing respect for Canon Alan Griffiths and Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, and I concur that they were shamefully treated by Rome and the new ICEL. An injustice was clearly done to both. But I am puzzled at the need to repeat this unlovely episode every other day. I hardly think they consider themselves the new Tyburn Martyrs.

      Fathers Griffiths and Ruff can defend themselves. Alas, Monsignor McManus cannot.

      1. “Alas, Monsignor McManus cannot….(defend himself)”

        And neither can Michael Davies.

      2. Mary – your comment only makes this painful episode more so. What happened to Rev. McManus has been documented, printed, and told by a number of witnesses.

        Have never seen or read anything that documents M. Davies beyond his own “attack” as published in Appendix V, 3rd volume of Pope Pauls’ New Mass, 1980 printed by Angelus Press and Davies’ Liturgical Revolution Series. His accusations in this series are not supported by documentation and elevate character assassination, rumor (e.g. Bugnini and Masons), and innuendo to new heights. His ideological Una Voce is again only an “attack” group that supports SSPX – this link speaks volumes: http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/9_NewMass.pdf

        Reminds me a lot of Cekada’s own defense below of his contorted process to defend his opinion of what papal truth is and is not through the centuries.

      3. His ideological Una Voce is again only an “attack” group that supports SSPX – this link speaks volumes

        Bill, you’ve not linked to “Pope Paul’s New Mass”, but to some sedevacantist web site that cites it in the footnotes of their own publication.

        Your words about the International Federation Una Voce are outrageous. The organization was praised by Pope Benedict (before his election to the papacy) in these words:

        “The International Una Voce Federation has played an important role in supporting the use of the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal in obedience to the directives of the Holy See. For this valuable service I express my gratitude to the members of the Federation and extend my blessing.”

        Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, speaking to the Una Voce Federation, 25 July 1996

        This is how Cardinal Ratzinger would describe something that is “only an ‘attack’ group”?

      4. SJH – it took Ratzinger years to come around to the fact that Maciel was an abuser and liar extraordinarie. Wonder what he would say about this group now – 15 years later?

  2. Dear Sam and Professor Rindfleisch (and others, if there’s anyone else out there): while you’re focusing on “the issues” (though I do find it had to see how XR’s identity could be one of them . . . but I do know why Sam wants to make it so!) I’d like to focus on the photos.

    Every time I see photos of “Abbot” Cuthbert, he’s either at lunch with the Pope, or (as in this case) outside a convent, or at some Old or New Rite celebration, or telling some religious house how to better run itself, or at some home for old ladies (where he apparently, and unremarkably, lives) – he’s never at “his” abbey.

    Does anyone know why he’s no longer there?

    Just to set aside all controversy.

  3. The controversy has not even begun. It amazes me that the perpetrators have learned nothing from the outcry from the small English-speaking Catholic community in South Africa. The same outcry, multiplied a thousandfold, may be about to erupt in the entire English-speaking world. Remember that 99.9999 percent of English-speaking Catholics have not read or heard the dreadful new texts yet. I expect to hear a mighty BOO! such as I heard at Bayreuth at the end of a mediocre performance of the Ring Cycle. Then the new translation may be quickly buried.

  4. Samuel J. Howard :
    If you’ve “been patronising Da Roberto’s” since at least 1978 as you tell us in the other thread, you can afford to have skin in the game.

    Sam: you’re probably riught now attending the abrogated old rite Mass, tanking up on sanctifying grace for another day of blogging, but Professor Rindfleisch didn’t say he’s been patronising Da Roberto’s “since at least 1978” in the other thread or anywhere else. Facts, you’ll recall, like it or not, are important.

    1. Professor Rindfleisch didn’t say he’s been patronising Da Roberto’s “since at least 1978″ in the other thread or anywhere else. Facts, you’ll recall, like it or not, are important.

      Actually, he did. He said that “And now we’re being read lectures on non-controversial obedience by someone who’s been involved in Curial liturgical politics for as long as I’ve been patronising Da Roberto’s (four Popes!)”

      If he’s been patronizing Da Roberto’s under four Popes, that means that he patronized it under Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Since Paul VI died in 1978, if he’s patronized it under 4 popes, he’s patronized it since at least 1978.

      1. Wrong Sam.

        Proessor Rindfleisch DID NOT say “at least since 1978” and you’ve even confirmed it.

        He was, as it happens, referring to the pontificates of (not to mention the Coptic Popes) Gregory XVII, Pius XIII, Linus II and one other (a google search will confirm their existences in recent times) – see, sedevacantism has taken over the blog, and like Chairman Mao, Professor Rindfleisch is letting a thousand flowers bloom.

        But he didn’t say “since at least 1978” so you’re still wrong.

      2. Chris, everyone knows it’s Pope Michael I. Y’know, of the Vatican in Exile?

        I’m not sure why there’s all this bickering. The 1978 date was a reasonable deduction from the information XR provided.

        My apologies for butting in.

      3. He didn’t identify it as a deduction, Jeffrey, but as a quote . . . And you, of all people on here, should know the difference – even if he doesn’t!

        Fascinating, though, that no one has been as horrified with the Professor’s dalliance with sedevacantism as they have with that of Monsignor Wadsworth!

      4. SJH’s full phrase was “If you’ve ‘been patronising Da Roberto’s’ since at least 1978 as you tell us…”

        What SJH quoted was XR’s phrase “been patronising Da Roberto’s”. What SJH did not quote was “since at least 1978”. So SJH didn’t “quote” XR as saying “since at least 1978”.

        Ugh, this is still silly.

      5. Exactly, Jeffrey. Leave it alone. If you’ve got this much spare time, you should get a job helping Vox Clara improve their translating, or Monsignor Wadsworth find nicer people than sedevacantists to hang around with (“have maniple, will travel . . . back in time”) or Abbot Cuthbert sharpen his tongue . . .

  5. Of COURSE the poor man hopes that all controversy will be laid aside and everything will work out fine. Who wouldn’t, if one were as deeply implicated in this mess as he is?

    I have to say, however, that it’s not likely to happen. I mean, look at the people involved, look at the church as we know it. How likely is it that everyone will pull together, set aside differences, accept imposed authority joyfully, welcome prayers they can no longer understand, forget all the scullduggery of how the translation was produced, and hasten to go forth and evangelize?

    This is wishful thinking, pure and simple. We are in for a rough ride, and the preliminaries are only a taste of things to come.

    1. Q, is your real name Cuthbert Johnson?

      No, no, don’t tell me! Let it be a surprise!

      About EWTN, you see, it’s not safe to assume that EWTN = the church, any more than NCR = the church. So even if every EWTN viewer welcomes the prayers joyfully, my questions about pulling together and setting aside differences remain unanswered.

    2. To the extent that our present difficulties have their origin in the 1973 Sacramentary I’d agree. We’ve known nothing but the rough liturgical ride ever since but the preliminaries ended some time ago.

  6. If anyone’s curious about what a Mass with more sacral language and gestures might sound and look like, hop over to Rocco Palmo’s website, whispers in the loggia. There you’ll find an Anglican usage rite being celebrated.

    After watching it, I realize that the Anglican churches have their own liturgical aesthetes who seem more interested in Elizabethan English and Cranmer era rubrics than nourishing Christ’s faithful. It must be the Anglican version of romanita which means that everything, above all, must look right even if it isn’t.

    1. The Eastern Rites and the Carthusian Rite are ancient rites: they’re not a bunch of men who’ve creadted a dress-up rite which is a pretty accurate description of the “Anglican version of romanita.”

    2. The class assignment to do a liturgical evaluation of a service from another denomination took me to a high church Episcopal parish.

      After reporting many details with my usual academic thoroughness, [a-hem] I think my summary went something like this.

      It was hard to tell whether they were worshiping their God or their culture.

      1. You would make the same misapplication if you had observed a Mass in any of the approved rites or usages in the Church.

      2. I would contend that an outside observer would come to the same conclusion attending a Catholic Mass in an average American parish. From the music to the obsession with political correctness, it has become the embodiment of secular culture worship.

    3. I think good liturgy has to be a reflection of concern for great drama and knowing how to unite song, words, and choreography with architectonic and artistic factors. Hence, it is important where the liturgy is performed.

      The Latin rite in 40 years has generally failed miserably in this area. The east churches and the Anglicans (for the most part) have not.

  7. “After watching it, I realize that the Anglican churches have their own liturgical aesthetes who seem more interested in Elizabethan English and Cranmer era rubrics than nourishing Christ’s faithful.”

    I suspect that what Mr. Feehily calls “Cranmer era” rubrics has nothing to do with the martyred Archbishop. His goal in reforming the English Rite was to nourish Christ’s faithful with the pure milk of holy scripture and understandable prayers and meaningful ceremonies. Not unlike that of Vatican II!

  8. From the interview : (the new Missal) “makes a valuable contribution to the work of new evangelisation.”

    Sometimes I’m slow on the uptake, so it’s only recently come to my attention that the “new evangelisation” is not about bringing people to Church or even back to Church. It’s about taking Church back to some legendary time when the clergy was obeyed and everyone used Latin at Mass. In other words, Reform of the reform with a vengeance! With that thought in mind, everything about the new missal makes perfect sense.

    1. I think that Pope Benedict has made no pretense in this project. It is about re-evangelizing and re-establishing European Catholicism. He has said as much and been unapologetic about it. There are forms and traditions and cultural trappings that go with that.

      It’s about taking Church back to some legendary time when the clergy was obeyed and everyone used Latin at Mass.

      I agree that those were Legendary times….but I think you actually meant to say “mythical” times. To call something “legendary” is a compliment and an acknowledgement of it’s greatness. Or maybe that is what you meant?

  9. One thing I have not seen is a systematic criticism of the Latin text of the Missal. That text, which was supposed to get translated into English as literally as possible, does it have any imperfections?

    1. I think the three new formulae for dismissal received a bit of criticism at WDTPRS, if not from Fr. Z than by some folks in the comment box.

      I know there were occasional typos in the Latin too.

      1. Fr Z and his pals obviously don’t realize that the four dismissal formulae were personally selected by Benedict XVI himself from the 72 possibilities that were presented to him in the wake of the 2005 Synod. It’s about the only thing in the revised Order of Mass that you can say he had a personal hand in.

      2. I don’t think it’s obvious that they don’t realize BXVI personally selected the dismissal formulae. Fr. Z’s blog post of 16 October 2008 (“Because we really need more options…”) quotes a ZENIT article which says, in part: “According to Cardinal Arinze, the Pope had asked for suggestions to be presented. The congregation received 72, from which they prepared nine proposals. The Holy Father has chosen three.”

        It seems more likely to me that, even though Fr. Z and his readers know BXVI personally selected those responses out of the 72 that were presented to him, they take issue with one or more of them from a technical perspective. Fr. Z doesn’t just parrot BXVI, though he is a strong supporter of the pope and considers him to be the “Pope of Christian Unity.” He still exercises critical thinking and asks questions about things BXVI says and does.

        On “glorificando vita vestra Dominum”, see comments 1, 2, 3, and 4.

      3. That text, which was supposed to get translated into English as literally as possible, does it have any imperfections?

        Fr. Zuhlsdorf has also, from time to time, I believe criticized the collects for needlesly tinkering with the prior versions from the 1962 Missal).

  10. Dom Cuthbert’s interview is all about promoting his book Understanding the Roman Missal, published by the Catholic Truth Society. A closer look at this little book shows that it is not about the new Missal at all, but just the Order of Mass, so its title is somewhat misleading.

    On the same day that this was published, another little book in the same format appeared from the same publisher: Companion to the Order of Mass by Mgr Bruce Harbert. It really is what is says on the tin: a companion to the Order of Mass. In fact both books cover essentially the same ground. Perhaps the CTS found themselves with two manuscripts and did not know which one to go for and so issued both.

    I wonder if their editors noticed the very first thing I came across when I perused them?

    Here’s Dom Cuthbert on Eucharistic Prayer II (p.59 of his book):

    “The second Eucharistic prayer is based on that composed by the Roman priest and martyr Saint Hippolytus around 215 and is the earliest Eucharistic prayer that has come down to us.”

    By contrast, here’s Bruce Harbert on the Second Eucharistic Prayer (p.70 of his book):

    “This Eucharistic Prayer is derived in part from one that survives from the mid-Third Century in a document known as the Apostolic Constitutions. Fragments of it have come down to us in many languages, and its textual tradition is very complicated. Though the name of its author was long believed to be Hippolytus, this now seems unlikely.” [My emphasis]

  11. Dunstan Harding :
    I think good liturgy has to be a reflection of concern for great drama and knowing how to unite song, words, and choreography with architectonic and artistic factors.

    [G]ood liturgy has … concern for …
    drama
    knowing how to unite
    — song,
    — words,
    — choreography [blocking]
    with
    architectonic and artistic factors

    To elaborate,
    A good liturgist takes into account the nature of the available space and the size and culture of the assembly.

    A good liturgist rehearses movement as well as music and has made the equivalent of the American Musical transition from finding places in the show to insert music to using music to move the action forward. [Rogers and Hammerstein’s great theatrical advance].

    I would say “performance skills” rather than “artistic factors” because of the evolution of the connotations around artistry. Once it meant great skill in expressing content. It now has heavy overtones of self-expression.

    I am not sure what is intended by using “architectonics” rather than “architecture.” I am concerned that liturgical space architecture be distinguished from devotional and meditative space architecture. That is why I am now avoiding the term “worship space.”

    Liturgical spaces should not draw attention to themselves or their decorations. They need to be flexible, noble, and simple, allowing the presence of the worshiping community to bring them to life, allowing seasonal colors prominence.

  12. Mary O’Toole at 8:55am, 11 July, on Monsignor Frederick McManus’s (died, November 2005) inability to defend himself now against the slanders of the late Michael Davies.

    M. O’T –“And neither can Michael Davies [defend himself].”

    NOR COULD HE HAVE.

    Lux aeterna luceat ei, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

  13. #26 and others
    Finally someone has noticed the similarities of the some of the proponents of the reform of the reform, and the least edifying aspects of the high-church Anglican movement. Now, high-church Anglicanism is probably “my tribe,” but like all movements, it had its bad results too. One thing I’d point out: in Anglicanism, the use of the “Trindentine” style was coming from people’s own desires, not obedience to any church command. In the (R) Catholic Church today, those hankering after this kind of precision and elaboration are trying to get it all into the “commands,” but I wonder if it is also often doing what “you want to do?”
    How Catholic is that?
    Mark Miller

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