Unvested Altar Servers

I see that the altar servers aren’t vested at Pope Francis’ daily Mass at the Guesthouse. Hmmm, is this his “Reform of the Reform of the Reform”?

117 comments

  1. Yikes! Wearing school uniforms. 2 candles on one side of the altar and a small arrangement of flowers on the other. The Parousia must be near.

      1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #5:
        Yes but the post is on Francis’ reform of the reform of the reform; I just wanted to add the “in continuity” part.

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #4:
      Allan, there is a difference in style between Benedict and Francis.
      Is that what you’re disupting?
      The stereotype isn’t that 100% of what Benedict did, always and everywhere, was stuffy. It’s that he did as much of that as he could, and increased it gradually.
      So your comments really don’t prove anything – you’re going at a straw man.
      The differences between Benedict and Francis are real.
      awr

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #4:
      “Blowing all stereotypes”? Please, Fr Allan. That is a very formal liturgy, with the pope sitting in a huge chair, incense, tall mitre, vested servers, lots of bowing and bending, the wall of candles. Pope Benedict can’t even hold the thurible himself while it is being filled, a deacon has to do that and then hand it to him. And he’s wearing the fanon.

      Nothing wrong with all this. I have no objection to a “high” celebration. In fact I serve at one most Sundays of the year. But please stop parroting the meaningless “continuity” shibboleth. There has been a significant change in liturgical practice from Benedict to Francis. On this, at least, both “trads” and “progs” agree.

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #26:
        I’m confused, I didn’t write any of what you describe at my comment 4; you must have peaked at my forbidden blog. 🙂
        The video at 4 is about guitar music the pope was celebrating a la Francis in a Roman parish

  2. Dale, what we are really talking about – constantly – are the small details that the editor and others think highlight dramatic and (of course) favorable differences in the liturgical practices of Francis as contrasted with Benedict.

    I find Fr. McDonald’s video archaeology most edifying.

    1. @John Drake – comment #7:

      “archeology”

      I’ll agree w/ you there, it’s archeology and eventually the “reform of the reform” will go the way of the dinosaurs.

      Despite grasping at straws, and old videos, when one compares Pope Francis to B16’s usual haute couture fashion shows a la Vegas style, there is great discontinuity on a daily basis and it’s only been 5 weeks.

      1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #27:

        I’ll agree w/ you there, it’s archeology and eventually the “reform of the reform” will go the way of the dinosaurs.

        Dr. Dale, you’re a good guy and nice to boot, and I like that you concentrate on issues rather than idealogues. Might I suggest that even in your Darwinian scenario, RotR is an evolutionary reaction to an aberrant mutation. I am not speaking of a grand schema with Bugnini as Frankenstein, I’m talking about the almost absolute molting of the feathers, the disabling of the wings, the grotesquery of a bloated clown of former aviary protector and progenitor. If the solemn and serious worship of God, Creator of all, is left to custodians who punch a time clock, the archeological evidence of the fall of all but a remnant Church will tell an absurd and unnecessary tale of self-immolation.

      2. @Charles Culbreth – comment #38:

        Charles, I hope you have been well mon ami!
        I hope you do understand that my comments do not apply to individuals, I am not implying that anyone here will go the way of the dinosaur, only the RoTR thinking.
        I don’t think that things are so bad that we have self immolated ourselves if we don’t allow the EF to influence the OF (if I read you correctly, forgive me if I am wrong) although I cannot decipher the “former aviary protector and progenitor” comment. Your sense of erudition is well above my pay grade and would make Michel de Montaigne envious.
        In my opinion there is nothing like the OF when presided properly. Maybe I have been spoiled by masses at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg, FL. I use those masses back in the 1970’s and “80’s as a benchmark against which all masses are measured.. A very well run NO, beautiful, lots of assembly singing w/ pipe organ and cantor. During the offertory censing of the gifts while the choir performed a short hymn in latin or a Gregorian chant. Both species offered. All Vatican II and all beautiful. Now, it’s been awhile since attending a Tridentine Mass but remember being very glad never having to attend again.
        If we had good OF the reform of the reform would go away. It doesn’t take much to improve the OF without having to involve the Magna Cappa, stiff fiddleback chasubles, ad orientem, the wall of candles on the altar, kneeling for communion or some of the other holdovers from pre Vatican II (see EWTN mass for sumptuous display of theater at the altar of Mother Angelica’s Ego).

        If anything positive has come about from the RoTR it’s that it has scared lots of people, so much so that it has forced many parishes to improve their masses without actually implementing any of the RoTR.

        In any event, good presiding is something we all desire and is befitting of worship.

        ps I am more in the camp of Intelligent Design than evolutionary Darwinism. Microevolution is where the action is whereas Darwinian macroevolution is just about discredited and useless, gone the way of the dinosaurs! I think Intelligent Design has more to offer.

      3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #40:
        ROTR thinking is ultimately that the Mass should be celebrated well, but according to the books and without attaching a stigma to the Church’s liturgical riches (things like older styles of vestments, Latin, chant, etc.).

        Perhaps it’s all about perspective. I see nothing about fiddleback chasubles that makes them unfit for use today, or what’s supposed to be so awful about them. I also see ad orientem and kneeling at a communion rail as being amazing expressions of community far richer than the post VII norm, and would love to see a broader return to those two practices at Masses of all types. I can see why some have objections to the cappa magna and “wall of candles,” but don’t get why all pre Vatican II aesthetics are to be frowned upon while 1970s aesthetics are to be considered ideal.

        I sometimes lurk at the Musica Sacra Forum and recently saw someone make a very astute observation about those who oppose things like Latin or ad orientem. For many people those things are bad because they symbolize everything that was bad about the pre Vatican II Church. Guilt by association, I suppose.

      4. @Jack Wayne – comment #42:
        Because of all the “Laws” and revisions made according to the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy we have not had fiddleback chasubles, ad orientem, etc. for almost 50 years.
        From the Constitution:
        128. Along with the revision of the liturgical books, as laid down in Art. 25, there is to be an early revision of the canons and ecclesiastical statutes which govern the provision of material things involved in sacred worship. These laws refer especially to the worthy and well planned construction of sacred buildings, the shape and construction of altars, the nobility, placing, and safety of the eucharistic tabernacle, the dignity and suitability of the baptistery, the proper ordering of sacred images, embellishments, and vestments. Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished; and any which are helpful are to be retained if already in use, or introduced where they are lacking.
        (And most importantly…)
        According to the norm of Art. 22 of this Constitution, the territorial bodies of bishops are empowered to adapt such things to the needs and customs of their different regions; this applies especially to the materials and form of sacred furnishings and vestments.
        (And they did just that, according to their empowerment)

        Jack, you ask,’ but don’t get why pre Vatican II aesthetics are to be frowned upon…. ” because it states above: Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished”
        If your preference is for fiddleback chasubles, communion rails, ad orientem then you need to seek out an EF. You may think these things are far richer, most of us think they are a hindrance.

        But, those who are enriched by these things can attend an EF if they want any of the pre Vatican II aesthetics. It’s all there and more!

      5. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #40:
        How joyful, Dale, that maybe we now have two or THREE gathered invoking His Name. Todd and I, constrained willingly by out duties and our consciences, maneuver to help the Faithful find that beautiful “Peaceable Kingdom” that you enjoyed in St. Petersburg ( how apt) early on.
        My erudition is illusory, obvious to you, AWR, Rita and the Isle’s congnescenti, merely referred to the DoDo.
        I don’t share the deduction that RotR scares priests and folk. I’ve always allowed as how, like Jesus among the temple profiteers, “we” act up (oops) to disrupt the status quo, which like the other side of the sword (Trads) cannot discern and discriminate between furthering itself or heralding the true.I don’t think Catholic priests and Faithful in this era at all respond well to a “sinners in the hands of an angry God” manifesto, but I do believe that they recognize and enjoin a liturgy that evinces a genuine Catholic ethos AND heritage. In that world, my world, there’s room aplenty for Bob Hurd and Richard Rice/Adam Bartlett. Maybe I’m the dinosaur?

  3. We have in our diocese a new Franciscan bishop and two emeritus bishops all 3 quite different but all three in continuity especially in substance if not administration or style, that is my ever consistent point.

  4. Nothing new under the sun. Even in the days before the Council, the altar server at Low Mass (whether he be a boy or a man) could serve in layclothes if proper attire could not be had.

    Maybe the Guesthouse has no child-sized albs or cassocks/surplices (since I would think children do not normally serve Mass there)? Perhaps the Basilica should send a couple server cassocks up to him?

    In any case, Fr. Anthony again makes mountains of molehills.

    1. @Matthew Morelli – comment #11:
      But we have *in continuity* (required in all writings that pertain to the papacy)….and of course, one pope followed another pope that followed another pope, and so on and so on….ah yes, in continuity.

      How sublime and insightful; full of wisdom and understanding. The point being????? ah yes, *in continuity*

      And wonders – administration and style of a bishop has nothing to do with *substance*….really, administration – one would think that the episcopal office of teaching, sanctifying. leading would be touched by *administration* and therefore *substance*

      Or, as others have wisely stated, style sometimes speaks volumes about substance (whether positive (Francis) or negative (up to your imagination in the context of those commenting here)

      Can think of lots of priests who would love to have those two boys serve at daily mass? and yes, one would think that they were visiting Santa Marta…as you said, mountain out of a molehills.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #15:

        While your first three paragraphs are too jumbled to comprehend, I think that you are right to say that many priests would be happy to have altar boys to serve daily Mass (though most places would be equipped to dress properly as well).

        While style can speak to substance, I’m applying Ockham’s Razor here: the lack of small albs/cassocks is the simplest sufficient explanation — there is no statement here to be read positively or negatively.

  5. With any luck Francis will soon say Mass in blue jeans and a Hawaiian T-shirt on a picnic table.

    1. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #13:

      With any luck Francis will soon say Mass in blue jeans and a Hawaiian T-shirt on a picnic table.

      Let’s say that Pope Francis will do just this. I strongly doubt he will, but for argument’s sake let’s say that he’ll do so. (Are there North American style picnic benches in Rome? I’ve never seen one there.) If one person who attends this Mass returns to the faith, will it be worth it?

      I’m convinced that there’s a deeper emotional and temperamental level to the “Pope Benedict Catholics” and “Pope Francis Catholics” divide. I was high church before Pope Benedict was elected, but I appreciated his liturgical style and homiletic abilities precisely because the emphasis was not on feelings or subjectivity. He preached as if he were teaching as a professor, and for analytical types like me this was great.

      Pope Francis is an erudite preacher in his own manner. However, his liturgical style is very interpersonal. Some Catholics might never warm to this. Yet, think of it this way: those who considered Pope Benedict as aloof are likely energized by Pope Francis’s sincere empathy and personable nature. So, strong thinking-type Catholics might have to encounter some rather informal Masses. Before yelling “abuse!” think: maybe some Catholics who were turned away by Benedict’s “coldness” might be brought back by Francis’s “warmth”. Our lapsed brothers and sisters might find a pew.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #24:
        Jordan, at this moment I’m withholding comment on the unvested altar servers. As others have noted, there might be valid reasons for this exception. I’m more interested in hearing whether or not people think it ought to be classified as an exception.

        What is interesting or exciting about unvested altar servers to the progressive liturgical agenda? There are a number of things I understand, though disgreee with, about progressive liturgy. This situation is not one of them. That it should be implicitly lauded that people who handle the sacred things of the altar wear no distinguishing liturgical garb appears to me as… the death of liturgy.

      2. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #28:

        Some of the most memorable Masses I’ve ever attended were served by religious, seminarians, or laypersons without vestments. I don’t think that most of the Fordham chapels even had cassocks and surplices in the sacristy closets. Most of the priests vested over their clerical suits. Cdl. Dulles kept his zucchetto in his briefcase and wore it only at Mass (to minimally fulfill the rubrics, I suppose). Yet, I’d never miss his homilies for the world.

        Servers aren’t clerics. Servers at EF low Mass wear cassock and surplice (choir dress) because they are stand-ins for ordained acolytes. In the OF, the notion of “stand-in” is functionally defunct, and the congregation makes the responses. An unvested server is merely a helper who is an extension of the congregation. Why shouldn’t he or she wear clothes appropriate for a layperson?

        I spend quite a bit of time writing and thinking about my traditional liturgical sensibilities against postmodern change. I don’t see unvested servers as anything more than the evolution of mass-serving from the Tridentine era to a slightly different form in the postconciliar age.

  6. But what about eliminating the offeratory procession, and refusing to distribute holy communion to lay people?
    Is that a regress to pre-vatican ii?

    1. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #16:
      Many have underlined the Pope’s own words in terms of giving communion – he often will not do this because he avoids *photo ops* in terms of people wanting to take communion from the pope and then having this published or used in the media, etc. Another mountain out of a molehill?

      1. I don’t buy it. Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI didin’t have a problem with it. If Francis is worried about this then he could ensure that only non-political people could refuse communion from his hands.
        Are you saying that Francis is making a mountain out of a molehill?

      2. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #23:
        nope – just suggested the focus on this is unwarranted.

        Your comparison to previous popes means what? Sorry, you are trying to make something out of nothing.

        Francis has been quoted in terms of why he chooses not to give communion at times. Don’t think you will find that any of the prior popes you named ever stated that reason. So be it. Guess he could do what you say in terms of managing those who receive from him – but to what point? Is it required for him to give communion to all who come forward? Isn’t it sufficient to give to the deacons only? As I said, mountain out of nothing (not even a molehill)

      3. @Bill deHaas – comment #29:
        Only God can create something out of nothing, so I’m flattered.

        My point is that this is a return to pre-vatican ii practice when the pope did not distribute holy communion at the papal mass to lay faithful.
        In returning to this practice, he is distancing himself from the lay faithful. The same goes for nixing the offertory procession.
        Why are these things mountains out of nothing, but unvested altar boys are examples of a movement away from Benedict’s liturgical vision?

  7. We use unvested servers on a number of occasions, most notably at funerals. For various reasons. What difference does it make. The Communion Ministers and Lectors don’t wear special vesture. Aren’t their roles more important than servers? Of course we used to invariably vest altar boys in clerical garb so they could get used to the look and feel of clerics. We switched to albs–the common liturgical vestment–until the JPII bishops and priests came along and suggested we revert to cassocks and surplices. Lots of server albs were thrown in the dumpster so that fresh money could be spent on reforming the reform. Oh did I mention the fresh money for the old fashioned chasubles and dalmatics with inside stoles and the tall gold candlesticks and crucifix for the benedictine wall. We wouldn’t want anyone to think that Christ might be adequately seen in the faces of his priestly people. The required crucifix in most churches is right there on the wall near the altar or embodied in processional cross right nearby as well.

    As for “offertory” processions and the distribution of Holy Communion to lay people. The gifts of bread and wine do need to be placed on the altar, but that does not require a procession for a small daily Mass. I don’t know that the Pope isn’t distributing communion ever at St. Martha’s. But if he isn’t it’s probably because he doesn’t feel the need to do everything himself. By the way does anyone know if all those monsignors are concelebrating these daily Masses? If they are present, shouldn’t they be?

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #20:The “Communion Ministers and Lectors don’t wear special vesture.”

      Also unfortunate.

      “We wouldn’t want anyone to think that Christ might be adequately seen in the faces of his priestly people”

      But then, Christ is adequately seen (or should be seen) in every one, no? Just as much in my trip to the local mall as in my local parish?

    2. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #20:
      So the money spent replacing cassocks with albs wasn’t a waste, but switching back was? The money spent on the reform of the reform seems to be a drop in the bucket compared to the astronomical amounts that must have been spent right after Vatican II, so I’ve never understood that argument.

      As for servers not being vested – is this a daily occurrence or a one time deal? I think ditching albs or cassocks for servers would ultimately be a bad idea since it puts their clothes and economical status on display in a way that might discourage some kids from serving. Kids don’t have as much control over how they dress as adult lectors and EMHCs do, and are far more self conscious.

    3. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #20:
      The Communion Ministers and Lectors don’t wear special vesture.

      The GIRM (cf. 119) permits any liturgical minister to wear an alb (and, if necessary, cincture and amice), so that includes lectors/readers and EMHCs.

  8. I can’t but be reminded of the wedding guest who came to the wedding without a wedding garment. It’s teaching those innocent youths indifference towards matters which we should take seriously.

  9. Speaking of vesture, I’m patiently waiting for Pope Francis to eliminate the silly protocol that requires women at private audiences to wear black.

    1. @Jan Larson – comment #30:
      I’m with you there! While women might very well elect to wear a chic black suit or dress for the occasion, mandating the dress of queens and presidents is just silly.

      1. @Ellen Joyce – comment #88:

        I completely agree, Jan and Ellen. Veiling has long been optional for Mass. No woman must veil to meet with any bishop except the Pope. I hope Pope Francis does away with this odd custom of requiring women who visit him to veil in black and wear black. I doubt this question is foremost on Pope Francis’s mind, but perhaps a cardinal could suggest to the Pope that there should be no specific dress code for men and women. I suspect that Pope Francis would be very amenable to changing the rule or custom, given his penchant for ignoring papal customs.

        How did this custom begin, anyway? If that is the inevitable question, then it’s probably better to disregard the custom. This is especially true when the question does not pertain to liturgy or the sacraments. Rather, this is an issue of temporal court protocol.

      2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #5:
        Jordan

        I believe the veiling and black convention for papal audiences has for some time now been discretionary rather than mandatory.

      3. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #7:

        Thanks Karl. I’m glad to know that this custom is now discretionary. I overreacted since I had an unpleasant flashback to my fundi-trad past. Women were pressured to veil in some of the churches I went to. No person should ever be explicitly or implicitly told that they must wear a specific clothing article (like a veil) to Mass. Whatever’s fit to wear for the contemporary secular world is fit for Mass and il Papa as well.

  10. Fr Alan – I suspect that as Francis’ pontificate progresses you will be left with huge amounts of egg on your face!

  11. In my third assignment the altar servers wore white shirts and/or blouses and black slacks or skirts. It worked very, very well. Much better than the usually tacky albs most places have, and certainly far better than choir dress that is so inappropriate.

  12. Sorry but I am totally unedified by this debate. Fr Allan and people of his ilk are taking the personal predilictions of Benedict XVI far to seriously, and he is now emeritus, so as a point of reference his actions now join an even longer tradition of history and debate. And I can’t help wondering whether there was a ‘tongue in cheek’ element in Fr Anthony’s motives for posting this. Fr Allan rose to the bait, trotting out straw men and dubious video evidence and so much more.
    I think I’ll just re-read Rita Ferrone’s recent Godfrey Diekmann lecture and watch the video. Far more depth, backed by solid scholarship.

    1. @Brendan Kelleher svd – comment #35:
      The tongue in cheek comment isn’t far off either in the original post or my archeological video find of Benedict. I suspect I could find pictures of female servers and Benedict wearing a chasuble with an outside stole. The point is that both sides see what they want to see and most of us need new glasses as it concerns both Benedict and Francis. Both are enigmas and will/did suprise. Whether I wear egg on the face or a pie in the face is irrelevant, the question is does anyone have a sense of humor about pies or eggs on the face? There is more to Francis then turning Catholicism and liturgy into an academic pursuit, his daily Mass and homilies wonderful examples.

      1. @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #37:
        Granted until you end with: *his daily Mass and homilies are wonderful examples*. You then take those examples and try to force them into your own ideological narrative – like driving a round peg into a square hole.

        As AWR says frequently – *let Francis speak for himself*; so why dreg up some forgotten video of Benedict and then play the comparison game – to what purpose? Agree, it is unedifying and feels like a *gotcha game*.

        Fr. Kelleher is on point with his analysis.

  13. He asked those present mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae to pray for this, including about 20 volunteers working in the paediatric clinic of Santa Marta in the Vatican and many families

    This picture appeared in OR. Likely these boys are from the clinic. I suspect the Vatican Media wanted everyone to know these boys are from the clinic. Even if cassocks were available they would not want them to be used. Their similarity of dress almost suggests some sort of uniform. Perhaps the clinic has a residential or more likely day treatment program which meets the educational and medical needs of young people.

    In Argentina Francis knew about half the people in the slums. When touring them, on a dare, John Allen asked a women at random on the street if she had met Francis; she quickly retrieved a photo of him with her family. I am sure that Pope expects these pictures to be treasured by the staff, families and children of the clinic. “There we are serving at the Pope’s Mass.”

    Surely everyone around the Pope knows his priorities. From security to some of the Cardinals of the Curia people are clear that they have to adapt to the Pope’s pastoral agenda, not he to them.

    To paraphrase Francis homily to the priests he ordained this past Sunday, “you are to be pastors not administrators of rubrics.”

  14. While John XXIII was gloriously reigning I can remember attending mass at Camp Yawgoog’s S. John Bosco Chapel served by my fellow scouts attired in their summer uniform of shirt & scarf, knee-highs and shorts.

    Many a side altar mass was served by acolytes sans robes. The priest was thrilled for the assistance.

    It seems to me that J.Wickham Legg + offers a pic of altar boys serving mass in what I would call court dress.

    Things were much more casual in the old days than the various Ritual Notes would lead one to believe. Pope Francis is simply continuing the ways of his youth.

  15. I fail to see how fiddlebacks would not be harmonious with the OF, is there a law against their use? Also, communion kneeling and ad orientem aren’t abolished in the OF. They are legitimate options with their own merits and should not wrongly be presented as a hindrance to participation.

    I like all vestment styles provided they are of good quality. I don’t have a preference for fiddlebacks per se. A good quality fiddleback is better than a chasuble that looks like a bad Christmas tree skirt, though.

    I do attend the EF almost exclusively, and they use all different types of vestments, not just fiddlebacks. I enjoy the rite’ s noble simplicity and communal nature. I sometimes wish it were allowed in vernacular since the Latin scares away people who would otherwise prefer it. Perhaps those who oppose the ROTR should advocate for the EF to be allowed in English. That would likely do more damage to the ROTR movement than anything else.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #46:
      Of course, to accomplish this desire, you and your friends might attend an Anglican Use parish attached to the Ordinariate.

    2. @Jack Wayne – comment #46:

      I sometimes wish it were allowed in vernacular since the Latin scares away people who would otherwise prefer it. Perhaps those who oppose the ROTR should advocate for the EF to be allowed in English. That would likely do more damage to the ROTR movement than anything else.

      No, Latin or ad orientem is not the issue with attracting people to the EF. The issue is the insularity of EF communities. This is an unfortunate remnant of the indult years. Still, it’s time we open up as a community.

      Years after attending the same EF Mass, I still only know the names of a few people in the congregation. One priest I know well as we both are latinists. I know a few of my unmarried contemporaries (late 20s-early 30s). Other than that, I haven’t a clue. One once or twice has a person approached to introduce themselves.

      I’m not very good at small talk, so I struggle with greeting people. Even so, I am more and more convinced that even EF adherents need to reach out with a sincere and not saccharine greeting. Pope Francis, no EF adherent, has a lot to teach all of us about sincere empathy. His Masses are truly “pro populo” — I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, after seeing that the chairs at St. Martha’s aren’t filled to capacity, he will run out into the piazza in his vestments and encourage passersby to fill the seats at his Mass. For Pope Francis the Mass is given unconditionally for you. He’ll do anything to make Christ’s gift known to anyone he meets. His hospitality is genuine and certainly worthy to imitate, no matter which way one’s parish priest faces at Mass.

    3. @Jack Wayne – comment #46:

      Jack you ask:” I fail to see how fiddlebacks would not be harmonious with the OF, is there a law against their use? Also, communion kneeling and ad orientem aren’t abolished in the OF…”

      Oh yes they were “abolished” ….

      128. Along with the revision of the liturgical books, as laid down in Art. 25, there is to be an early revision of the canons and ecclesiastical statutes which govern the provision of material things involved in sacred worship. These
      LAWS refer especially to the worthy and well planned construction of sacred buildings, the shape and construction of altars, the nobility, placing, and safety of the eucharistic tabernacle, the dignity and suitability of the baptistery, the proper ordering of sacred images, embellishments, and vestments. *****Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished*****; and any which are helpful are to be retained if already in use, or introduced where they are lacking.

      AND how is this done?
      Continuing in Article 128:

      ***According to the norm of Art. 22 of this Constitution, the territorial bodies of bishops are empowered to adapt such things to the needs and customs of their different regions; this applies especially to the materials and form of sacred furnishings and vestments.****

      For 50 yrs the bishops had abolished ad orientem, fiddlebacks,altar rails etc. per the directions ordered in the Constitution in Article 128 and empowered to do so in Article 22.

      These laws and changes were then approved by Pope Paul VI and the Holy See.

      So my friend Jack, let’s just agree to disagree.

      1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #54:
        They weren’t abolished, Dale, at least not wholesale. Some bishops may have avoided them, or told their priests to avoid them, but other bishops and priests (and I don’t mean in the SSPX) continued to use them, if only from time to time.

        The new Roman Missal doesn’t exclude those three particulars, and no universal law forbids their use.

      2. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #54:
        I am not big fan of fiddleback vestments (actually, I really dislike them, along with dalmatics where the sleeves are turned into flaps covering the upper arms), but is there any evidence that any bishop anywhere ever actually banned them? There may be (all sorts of things happened in the 60s), but it would be interesting to know for sure.

      3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #54:
        It’s not a self-executing rule Dale. “Laws which seem less suited to the reformed liturgy are to be brought into harmony with it, or else abolished.” means what it says. The laws are to be abolished, not that they are abolished. Any changes in law actually have to be executed by the proper authority and Roman-style vestments haven’t been banned.

  16. I thought Jordan’s comments were right on. Taking them further, lets remember that EF Christology and liturgiology locate God “out and up there” on the other side of the wall, and Christ right there on the altar. At the predominant low Mass the faux acolytes have speaking parts in this divine drama that requires clerical vesture. I read here that efforts are made in some places to let the people participate not only interiorly but exteriorly as well, but all open eyes are on the altar. The OF, with its resourced understanding of Christ’s fourfold real presence extends the action of his sacrifice throughout the entire sacred space. In this context what the ministers are wearing is of lesser importance. Acolytes without clerical vesture just wouldn’t fit an E F Mass, but not so with then NO.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #48:

      I thought Jordan’s comments were right on. Taking them further, lets remember that EF Christology and liturgiology locate God “out and up there” on the other side of the wall, and Christ right there on the altar.

      No. The EF also has people who’ve read Aquinas on the nonlocative presence of the Blessed Sacrament and the location of God! Aquinas actually wrote that stuff well attending a non-Novus Ordo liturgy.

      At the predominant low Mass

      It is not at all clear that the low Mass is predominant these days.

      the faux acolytes

      They’re no more “faux” than the altar servers that take the place of instituted ministers in the novus ordo. The general norm there is instituted acolytes, just like it’s ordained acolytes in the EF.

      have speaking parts in this divine drama that requires clerical vesture. I read here that efforts are made in some places to let the people participate not only interiorly but exteriorly as well, but all open eyes are on the altar.

      Such sweeping statements when your knowledge of the EF communities today comes from reading blogs?

      The OF, with its resourced understanding of Christ’s fourfold real presence extends the action of his sacrifice throughout the entire sacred space.

      Liturgical theology didn’t begin in 1963!

      In this context what the ministers are wearing is of lesser importance. Acolytes without clerical vesture just wouldn’t fit an E F Mass, but not so with then NO.

      Actually, it was common for altar servers at the EF to not be vested, especially in Europe. It would be an interesting thing to study. I bet the change to uniformily vested servers actually has its roots in a) the Liturgical Movement and b) the increased availability of vesture because of much cheaper manufacturing of cloth and clothing.

  17. When I saw this post yesterday, I had to smile. I was reminded of how Pope Francis, through his manner of being, has been such a dynamic force for the Church. I work in a busy parish office, and in my completely non-scientific method of survey, I see “traditional,” “liberal,” “orthodox,” “progressive,” “pre-Vatican II,” “post Vatican II,” in agreement on Pope Francis. He has been a deeply unifying force.

    Returning here today, reading through the comments, I shake my head. Now remember, I am as lay liturgy geeky as you can get; I do read this blog (ahem) religiously, after all. However, my life and ministry in the parish continue to reorient me to God’s people in daily life. I know what the source and summit are, I get it, but I see other things that might get people to that source and summit.

    A brief digression. The following happens more often than you might think; the phone or doorbell rings, someone with questions about the parish. Many of these requests include words (they vary) about who is “allowed” to be Catholic. The person might say something like, “Well, I’m divorced, so I am not “allowed” in church, but I want my daughter to be able to make her (fill in the sacrament.) Is it really just about who is “allowed?”

    These moments seen in context with the image make me wonder… what would the average person think of this photo, if they saw it? All of the respected, collective theological, ecclesiological, and liturgical knowledge found here at PT, might fall by the wayside., at least for a moment.

    A pope, two unvested servers, in this particular light might be a compelling invitation back to the church they have been afraid to inquire about. This image might mean that grip of the questions about “who is allowed” or not is loosened, as they approach the Lord.

    Rubrics matter, but to see this discussion, I don’t know…I do thank Jordan Zarembo for what seems to be recognition of the power of evangelization through action. I just wonder about some of our…

  18. Jeff, Fritz and Sam, I think Karl is correct, it’s up to the local ordinary in conjunction w/ the conference of bishops.

    SC Rites (Consilium), Instructio (prima) ad exsecutionem constitutionis de Sacra Liturgia recte ordinandam Inter Oecumenici, 26 September 1964, AAS 56 (1964) 877-900.4

    22. It is for the bishop to regulate the liturgy in his own diocese, in accordance with the norms and the spirit of the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, the decrees of the Holy See and of the competent territorial authority.

    Vatican Council II, Constitutio dogmatica Lumen gentium, 21 Nov 1964, AAS 57 (1965) 5-71.5

    26. Moreover, every legitimate celebration of the Eucharist is regulated by the bishop, to whom is confided the duty of presenting to the divine majesty the cult of the Christian religion and of ordering it in accordance with the Lord’s injunctions and the Church’s regulations, as further defined for the diocese by his particular decision.

    Vatican Council II, Decretum Christus Dominus, 28 Oct 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 673-701.6

    15. It is therefore bishops who are the principle dispensers of the mysteries of God, and it is their function to control, promote and protect the entire liturgical life of the Church entrusted to them.

    35. (4) All religious, whether exempt or non-exempt, are subject to the authority of the local ordinary in the following matters: public worship, without prejudice, however, to the diversity of rites.

    Whether a diocesan bishop, in the exercise of his moderatorial responsibilities, may restrict the use of options for the sake of uniformity throughout his diocese has been debated.

    One such doubt was proposed and given a response by the Apostolic See:

    Query: When the rubrics provide several options, may the competent territorial authority for the whole region or the bishop for his diocese direct all to observe a single way of doing things, for the sake of uniformity?
    Reply: Strictly speaking (per se) this is lawful.

    1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #64:

      Also:
      Clarifying part of the Instruction in 1965 a letter from the Consilium in June of that year ventured the observation that since the introduction of the revised rites four months earlier, it had become clear that celebration facing the people “is most advantageous pastorally . . . [and] it is right to wish that the liturgy of the Eucharist might be celebrated facing the people” so that they could “follow the whole rite directly, thereby participating with greater awareness” (DOL415).
      An official Reply from the Congregation for Rites published in 1966 affirmed that “all priests celebrate the entire Mass facing the people without permission of the Ordinary or the pastor” (DOL 4336).

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #66:
        No, the answer is yes Fritz,

        To flip it, can you tell me in which diocese in the 70″s, 80’s and before JPII’s indult where ad orientem was used on a regular basis? I NEVER saw ad orientem in FL, Chicago, New England, Quebec or any where else during this time. The first I heard of it for the NO was in Oklahoma several years ago.
        Btw, I’ll be a Loyola MD this weekend, is the weather outlook good?

      2. Dale Rodriguez,

        John Paul II himslef, as Archbishop of Krakow never installed an ad populum altar in his own cathedral and continued to celebrate Mass ad orientem even after the council, and in fact to this day, Mass in that cathedral is always ad orientem.

      3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #70:
        John Paul II himslef, as Archbishop of Krakow never installed an ad populum altar in his own cathedral and continued to celebrate Mass ad orientem even after the council, and in fact to this day, Mass in that cathedral is always ad orientem.

    2. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #64:
      Jeff, Fritz and Sam, I think Karl is correct, it’s up to the local ordinary in conjunction w/ the conference of bishops.

      Yes, Karl is correct (at least roughly). But we’re not disputing that. We’re disputing whether you’re correct that:

      “For 50 yrs the bishops had abolished ad orientem, fiddlebacks,altar rails etc.”

      This is not correct.

      1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #67:

        Sorry Sam, but it is indeed correct if the local ordinary prohibited them.

        …and the Apostolic See backed them up:
        Vatican Council II, Decretum Christus Dominus, 28 Oct 1965, AAS 58 (1966) 673-701.6

      2. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #69:

        Dale, there are two problems with your response. First, you’re begging the question. Of course it is true that those things were banned if they were banned. We’re willing to concede for the sake of argument that the ordinaries had the power to ban these things… but whether they were banned turns not on the question of whether they had the power to ban these things (or whether you saw them), but on whether they were actually banned.

        Second, you claimed not only that they were banned some places, but suggested that this had been done universally.

        To flip it, can you tell me in which diocese in the 70″s, 80′s and before JPII’s indult where ad orientem was used on a regular basis?

        In the diocese of Rome at St. Peter’s Basillica for a start. In the Archdiocese of St. Paul at St. Agnes perhaps? I’m sure there are other places.

      3. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #71:
        “We’re willing to concede for the sake of argument that the ordinaries had the power to ban these things”

        For the sake of argument? Sorry despite all of the references you “agree for the sake of argument?” Are you that obtuse? If St. Peter himself presented the above references you would still deny it.

        Also,
        St Peters in Rome has always been ad populum.
        St Agnes “perhaps”?
        Seems like you also have a dearth of examples there too Sam.

      4. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #73:

        For the sake of argument? Sorry despite all of the references you “agree for the sake of argument?” Are you that obtuse?

        Sheesh… try to make a concession, see what it gets you.

        If St. Peter himself presented the above references you would still deny it.

        What is “it”? If it’s that the bishop’s had the power to do this, I didn’t deny “it.” If it’s that they did do this, I still maintain that they didn’t. Altar rails, “fiddleback” chasubles and ad orientem celebration were not “banned” for 50 years as you suggested.

        St Peters in Rome has always been ad populum.

        There’s more than one altar in St. Peter’s! Many private Masses are said ad orientem at side altars and my understanding is that this has gone on uninterrupted.

      5. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #74:
        So why were altar rails torn out and new churches built without them?

        btw Sam, thanks for the concession, you don’t hand them out often friend so I consider it an honor to have received one 🙂

      6. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #74:

        It’s worth pointing out that in the apse of St Peter’s, which is used for the “parish” Masses at weekends, there is an altar against the wall which is never used for celebration at these times. The presider and other ministers sit in front of it, facing the people, and a second altar is used facing the people during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

        In other words, there is a difference between the public “parish” Masses in the basilica and what may happen at “private” Masses at other side altars.

      7. @Paul Inwood – comment #89:
        I have been to several public Masses in the Blessed Sacrament chapel in St. Peter’s that were ad orientem. I have also been to regularly scheduled weekday masses in the Pauline Chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore that were ad orientem. So I’m not sure public vs private is the operative distinction here.

      8. @Paul Inwood – comment #89:
        Paul, there is no altar there. It was removed many, many years ago. The only things there are the chairs for the celebrant and concelebrant. The free standing altar is only a few years old and replaced an ultra modern one. Both however were/are movable.

    3. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #64:
      Query: … for the sake of uniformity?
      Reply: Strictly speaking (per se) this is lawful.

      Uniformity, not unity, I notice. 🙂 And what a truly glowing reply… not a mere “yes”, but a “per se licet”! How enthusiastic!

      Oh, but Notitiae 1 (1965), 254, n. 76 doesn’t end with “Per se licet.” No, the reply continues:

      Resp.: Per se licet. Attamen, semper prae oculis habendo quod non tollatur illa libertas, quae a novis rubricis praevidetur, aptandi, modo intelligenti, celebrationem sive ecclesiae sive coetui fidelium, ita ut sacer ritus universus sit revera quid vivum pro hominibus vivis.

      (Resp.: Per se this is permissible. Nevertheless, it should always be kept before one’s eyes that that freedom, envisioned by the new rubrics, of adapting in an intelligent manner the celebration either to the church or to the group of the faithful such that the whole sacred rite might truly be something living for living people, should not be taken away.)

  19. A good rule of thumb is that

    (a) Those ministers whose “natural habitat” is the sanctuary — bishops, priests, deacons, servers — are traditionally vested. One good reason for this is that they enter and leave the sanctuary in procession. People in procession look better when vested.

    (b) Those ministers who come forth from the people to minister to the people and return to sit with the people, even if they temporarily occupy the sanctuary — cantors, readers, lay ministers of communion — do not need any special vesture or insignia.

    Following on from this basic distinction,

    (c) Choirs do not need to be robed unless they are included in the entrance procession or the leaving procession. If they sit outside the sanctuary area, there is no reason for them either to process or to be robed. [I leave aside for the moment the thorny question of where the choir should sit.]

    (d) Cantors/song-leaders who may in practice spend most of their time (except for readings and homily) in the sanctuary are nevertheless lay ministers whose natural habitat is with the people. It is also important that the people should be able to identify with the song-leader as a member of the assembly, rather than as a separated figure of authority.

    So, a song-leader who is
    (i) vested in an alb,
    (ii) emerges from a door onto the sanctuary (as happens in many churches) and
    (iii) then spends all his/her time in the sanctuary
    is saying three times over “I’m one of them, not one of you”.

    I’m not really bothered whether Francis’s altar servers are vested or not. In the context of the relatively informal and imtimate celebrations that Francis is presiding over, which don’t for example include lengthy formal processions, it doesn’t seem at all important whether his servers are vested or not. Many weekday Masses in our parishes are served by lay people (adults) wearing ordinary clothes, and the only person who processes in and out is the priest.

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #68:

      A good rule of thumb is simple, elegant and very useful. You have my scientist’s admiration. I have not encountered this rule before.

      I had always known that sometimes I thought choirs should be vested and (most often) they should not be vested. Your rule thought it out for me.

      Whether before or after Vatican II whenever I volunteered to be the server for a Mass, it never occurred to me that I was not vested, and I would probably have thought it strange if the priest had offered me a cassock and surplice.

      As a Jesuit Novice before Vatican II we served all the private Masses in our cassocks because obviously that was our natural habitat.

      Some parishes have their grade school students be their servers using their school uniforms; again that seems to work because it is their natural habitat.

      1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #87:

        Thank you, Jack

        I was waiting for someone to ask about the fact that according to recent legislation a lay lector may carry the Book of the Gospels in the entrance procession if there is no deacon. That lector would normally not be vested despite being in the procession, since they would take the Book to the sanctuary and then leave it to return to their place in the assembly. But in any case, ever since this change in legislation was made and lectors were thenceforward forbidden to carry in the Lectionary, it has always struck me as somewhat bizarre that a person should be allowed to carry in procession a book from which they will then not be allowed to proclaim a reading !

        Other cases where lay clothes are worn in procession because those people are normally situated in the assembly and not the sanctuary include those bringing up gifts, oils, or walking in a procession of the Blessed Sacrament.

  20. Dale

    When you can cite specific diocesan statutes or laws, you will answer the open question.

  21. St Peters has more than one altar, many of which are built against the wall, and technically the main altar is ad orientem, it just also happens to face the congregation.

    I’m with the others – when you cite specific examples of Bishops banning ad orientem, rails, and fiddlebacks universally because they do not jibe with the OF, I will be convinced. None of your references prove your point, and it has nothing to do with any of us not wanting what you say to be true. I’m sure some Bishops demanded some kind of uniformity of practice, but that isn’t the same as saying ad orientem, or communion kneeling, or older vestments are incompatible with the OF and banned from all celebrations of it. Prior to Vatican II, ad populum was not banned, even though it was very very rare (the EF has rubrics for when it is celebrated facing the people), and roman style vestments were common, but not mandated. Just because something is rare or unusual does not mean it is banned.

  22. I’ve also heard JPII was hesitant about allowing communion in the hand in Poland, and the indult for it was only granted in the last decade or so.

  23. Ok, I have ever witnessed a Vatican II mass ad orientem, never.
    Now, if the bishops didn’t prohibit them then I want to know where in the approximately 195 dioceses’ in the US did ad orientem continue on a regular basis throughout the 1970’s and ’80’s.
    I am not talking about side altars in Rome. Just regular dioceses’ in the US.
    Where exactly did ad orientem occur on a regular basis?

    You say the bishops didn’t prohibit these things then show me where they occured on a regular basis? Ad orientem at St. Patricks on a regular basis then? Basilica Immaculate Conception in DC on a regular basis? Anywhere?

    I say they did prohibit it and point to the universality of these changes in churches throughout the US and Canada (except the side altars at St Anne de Beaupre). You will only find oddball examples because by and large the bishops universally prohibited them.

    1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #79:
      How is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Krakow an oddball example?

      I also don’t see how the fact that something is never done entails that it is forbidden. However, I do believe that Msgr. Richard Schuler never installed an ad populum altar in his parish of St. Agnes in St. Paul Minnesota, and he was made pastor there in 1969.

      1. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #80:
        Stan, I said in the U.S.. paragraph 2 ” Just regular dioceses’ in the US.”

        And St. Agnes is the only one with ad orientem out of 17, 644 parishes in the US?

      2. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #82:

        What percentage of those 17,644 have to be ad orientem in order for you to concede that it was never forbidden as a practice?

      3. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #82:

        Concession? is this a game for you Stan?

        This is a friendly blog site, not a gotcha site Stan. Healthy discussions here, it’s fun, at least for me, and I’m not out to make anybody concede anything and I always walk away having learned something from others that I may not agree with. And I hope that I have contributed something to the discussion too. I marvel at the many faces of Catholicism here from all walks of life.

        So conversely, if 99% of all parishes were not orientem then why? Uneducated bishops? crazy zealot progressives? or banned by individual bishops as per the documents above?

      4. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #84:
        I’m sorry if i’ve offended you, maybe “recognize” or “acknowledge” would have been a better choice of words. I didn’t mean for it to sound like this was some sort of a contest.
        I don’t know why in most places ad orientem was discontinued, but I don’t see how it follows from the fact that it wasn’t widely practiced that it was forbidden.

      5. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #85:
        Thanks Stan.
        I think we can agree that in the US 90% of all Masses are ad populum? If so why? I can find no other reason than ad orientem was not allowed by the ordinary. I recall many years ago around 1974 being told that it was forbidden to attend a Tridentine Mass at a Holiday Inn in Clearwater Florida by a travelling rogue priest. Obviously our bishop forbade it and was warning the parish. Same thing with standing for communion and ad orientem.

      6. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #86:
        I think we can agree that in the US 90% of all Masses are ad populum? If so why? I can find no other reason than ad orientem was not allowed by the ordinary.

        My question was about fiddlebacks, not ad orientem celebrations. But in any case, is the only reason you can think of that a practice is uncommon really that the Ordinary has banned it? Really? I can think of many reasons, ranging from fashion to forgetfulness. The one case I can think of involving an actual ban is the kerfluffle over Mother Angelica and televised Masses.

      7. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #9
        It was more than just forgetfulness, they disappeared. From 1974 until B16 I never saw one fiddleback chasuble anywhere I traveled from Florida up the East coast to the midwest. Not once. Banned maybe, intentionally replaced, yes.
        Or maybe they knew I was coming and hid them all.

      8. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #86:
        I can find no other reason than ad orientem was not allowed by the ordinary.

        Perhaps because Mass versus populum was promoted, and was, for the majority of US Catholics, something new (and thus to be welcomed), and because it seemed to be part-and-parcel of the reformed Roman Missal.

        Three possible reasons that don’t involve the banning of ad orientem.

  24. In some of the older churches, such as the landmark churches Fritz mentions, the architecture couldn’t be adapted. New churches, however, were all built so that the priest could walk around the altar and face the people.

  25. Why would a fiddleback be a hindrance at Mass to the point they would need to be banned anyway? Seriously, is it that big of an issue to you?

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #96:
      No, Jack, it seems that my statement that they were banned/ replaced is seriously a bigger issue to some.
      So why did they all disappear and end up in museums if they were not outright replaced by the ordinary, the bishop?

      1. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #97:
        my statement that they were banned/replaced is seriously a bigger issue to some

        Because if it’s not factual, it’s a disservice to treat it like a fact. Numerous commentators here have been taken to task for saying something as if it were fact and then having to show their evidence or correct themselves. Consider it academic integrity.

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #3:
        I beg your pardon,
        Do not lecture me on academic integrity.
        You expect me to believe that ad populum,in 95% of parishes in the US occurred “perhaps” because it was promoted? By whom Jeff? You remind me of my atheist friends, there is no God, it just happened. Same mindset.

        During that time of change the orders came down from the bishops to turn the altars around. That is what I was told, that’s why we have ad populum to the degree we have.

        Everyone here has opinions and to suggest dishonesty is over the top.

        I suggest before you question my integrity you look into a mirror and have a discussion with yourself about your own integrity.

      3. @Dr. Dale Rodriguez – comment #8:

        You expect me to believe that ad populum,in 95% of parishes in the US occurred “perhaps” because it was promoted? By whom Jeff? You remind me of my atheist friends, there is no God, it just happened. Same mindset.

        I think that Dr. Rodriguez has sort of a point here.

        While it’s true that no one can point to a formal juridical ban on celebration ad orientem, it was achieved de facto in most dioceses, with only a relative handful of exceptions that anyone can point to. And most of that was due to a) the 1960’s enthusiasm for all things new and different, and b) deeply instilled Catholic habits of obedience, even to informal directives.

        But for those resistant (a distinct minority, obviously) to even these phenomena, there was always the stick, and the stick was used. I think of Christ the King parish in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, where the pastor, Msgr. Kearney, opted to celebrate the New Mass in a traditional manner – ad orientem, communion at the altar rail. Bishop Sullivan finally responded in 1978 by sacking Kearney with less than 24 hours notice, and had the old altar and tabernacle jack-hammered out and the altar rails removed to ensure that the modern rubrics would be used. Other, less dramatic examples of such discipline could be multiplied; suffice it to say, priests hesitant to assume the new preferred rubrics took note.

        Whether bishops really had the juridical authority to do so is almost beside the point. They had the practical power to do so, and in diocese after diocese, they exercised it. And the few priests who dared to resist usually found themselves in the icebox.

      4. @Richard Malcolm – comment #10:

        “They (bishops) had the practical power to do so, and in diocese after diocese, they exercised it”

        God Bless you Richard for an honest response!

      5. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #12:

        I am very disappointed with you Fritz. I didn’t think you were prone to generalizations and putting words in my mouth.

        When I thanked Richard for “honest” response I was referencing the post by Pinyan implying that I was being dishonest.

        See post # 8 for part of my response: “Everyone here has opinions and to suggest dishonesty is over the top.”

        Richard’s response confirmed my experiences and reasons for ad populum changes, they were honest, even giving examples and he was kind enough to post it.

        My deacon who is very Ignatian would have first asked what I meant by using “honest” rather than being impetuous.

        That’s why I admire him and he isn’t even a professor.

      6. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #14:
        to suggest dishonesty is over the top
        the post by Pinyan implying that I was being dishonest

        I do not think I suggested or implied that you were dishonest. If that is what came to your mind when I mentioned “academic integrity”, then I am doubly sorry for having used that phrase. I did not mean to use it in any way so as to suggest you are dishonest (in that sense of the word “integrity”). If I have completely misused the phrase, then I have unwittingly insulted you and revealed myself to be un-witted.

        When I used the phrase “academic integrity”, I meant it in the sense of thoroughness of research, of holding up under scrutiny. Perhaps in my original context that did not come through as clearly as I hoped: “Numerous commentators here have been taken to task for saying something as if it were fact and then having to show their evidence or correct themselves.”

      7. @Dale Rodrigue – comment #14:
        Dale, a little honesty: I may be wrong, but I have come to the conclusion that you are not participating in this discussion in good faith. You’ve not responded to questions directly posed to you (e.g. “is there any evidence that any bishop anywhere ever actually banned [fiddlebacks]?”), you’ve made back-handed, passive aggressive insults (“That’s why I admire him and he isn’t even a professor.”) and you’ve bullied people into apologizing to you when in fact they have done nothing wrong.

        Feel free to respond if you wish the last word, but I’m done with this engagement.

      8. @Dr. Dale Rodriguez – comment #8:
        I apologize if I have struck a nerve; I did not mean to sound like I was lecturing you or anyone, and my “academic integrity” remark was not intended to be an insult or an accusation. (I was called to task for my generalization about the Church Fathers’ interpretation of Malachi 3:1 a year or so ago.)

        My concern is that you have mentioned (in addition to documents) a fair bit of personal anecdotal evidence as proof that certain things were abolished: you never saw such-and-such in so-many states of the US during the years since Vatican II. And it was not clear to me that you were presenting your conclusion (of abolition of these things) as opinion.

        You also said originally that “For 50 yrs the bishops had abolished [things]”. It’s become clear you’re speaking specifically of the US, or at least that you are only considering counter-examples in the US.

        As for my “promoted” remark, I meant by “promoted” that versus populum was endorsed and encouraged, both in documents and by individuals. For example, Inter oecumenici 91 says “The main altar should preferably be freestanding, to permit walking around it and celebration facing the people.” That permits / endorses / promotes celebration versus populum, albeit without prohibiting ad orientem. I did not mean at all that it “just happened”. It was also being promoted before Vatican II (by Parsch and Guardini, among others, I think).

        I think most Masses are celebrated versus populum for a number of reasons, but I seriously doubt that the idea that ad orientem is banned is one of them! Many documents provide POSITIVE reasons for versus populum celebration.

        And I think churches were built without altar rails because they were deemed unnecessary, not because they were considered forbidden.

        Old things sometimes fall out of use because new things become more favorable, rather than by outright banishment.

  26. I only asked because it seems to be very important to you that fiddlebacks be banned or otherwise not allowed at the OF. You even said those who like them should attend the EF rather than try and use them at the OF. What, exactly, is so bad about them that even people who like them should be restricted from using them at OF Masses? What’s wrong with reviving them? IMO, it’s not really in the same league as ad orientem, which actually changes the way the whole celebration feels (more communal, praying with the priest rather than watching him, but I know we’ll have to agree to disagree on that).

  27. Still, no citation of actual diocesan legislation, which is the open term in this discussion.

  28. Isn’t this THE fact: The long established practice of ad orientam (a term virtually unknown to Catholics) gave way to the practice of ad populam. The change reflected the recovery of a more immanent and incarnational Christology which prevails to this day. About 1% of Catholics around the world prefer a Christology which perceives the final coming of Christ from “the east” as begging the practice of Missa Ad Orientem. God bless them.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #4:
      Facing the people at Mass happened while the Mass was still the 1962 missal, so very early on in the liturgical renewal and experimented with in the 1950’s.

      I happened to like the change when it was introduced in the mid 1960’s in my home parish, perhaps as early as 1964 or 65. Back then, though, none of us realized what other changes would occur and how the personality of the priest first (clericalism) would dominate the Mass when he faced the congregation and how then eventually the personality of the congregation (laity being clericalized) would dominate the personality of the Mass as well, especially with churches built in the round.

      I think a recovery of the proper balance, either the Benedictine arrangement that Pope Francis has maintained thus far, or ad orientem would go a long way in reducing liturgical clericalism amongst the clergy and laity. And for those who can’t stand the wall of candles, what the pope has at the Vatican hotel chapel accomplishes the same thing, you don’t need tall candles or a tall crucifix.

  29. ANNOUNCEMENT
    I’m closing this discussion. The various side issues that have come up have been treated at length and there’s nothing to gain by protracting it.
    awr

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