From Blackfriar Films

Now here is an evocative and beautiful and interesting video for you. I was put on to it by a fellow monk, Fr. Bob Koopmann OSB, who is the pianist. It was shot in Manhattan by the Dominicans – who, by the way, have 20 novices this year in the eastern province. The vocalist is Fr. Austin Litke, OP, pastoral vicar of St. Joseph’s in Greenwich Village and assistant chaplain at The Catholic Center of NYU.

There is much going on here, with powerful contrasts of sacred and profane, male and female, religious and lay, church and city, and rapid and intense sequencing of sounds and symbols.

I’m told that the Dominicans don’t make clear distinctions between development fundraising, vocational recruitment, advertising, and evangelization. They just make these videos and put them out there.

Is this inculturation, the new evangelization, the next reinvention of religious life? What do you make of it?


  1. It’s interesting to note that the priest, Fr. Austin Litke OP, is a young priestly ordinand who celebrates both the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and the Extraordinary Form of the Dominican Rite – and both with regular frequency.

    Perhaps the event that drew the most attention (on the internet anyway) was the first public celebration of the Dominican Rite at St. Vincent Ferrer, the provincial house, in decades:

  2. It reminds me that God is with us and among us. To me it says that we can be a Christian where ever we happen to be. That text and arrangement of music in the midst of a busy city says live your faith in the life God has given you. It inspires me to stand up and not be afraid to stand out.
    It is also one of my favorite hymns. I especially love the arrangement in the video. I appreciated his simple and prayerful tone of voice.

  3. When I first returned to church, wary as I was, I found my way to a Dominican parish. I suspect if I did not go there, end up with a Dominican spiritual director and so forth, I might not have stuck around. That is not the church life that I am a part of today, but it was so foundational for me 23 years ago.

    The song was lovely, and touching. Like Fritz, I have affection for the order, too. But, like so many things, something about the whole thing seemed a bit rarefied.

    1. @Fran Rossi Szpylczyn – comment #8:
      I would agree about the thing being rarefied. It’s a “me and God all alone” message. Other people are only passing crowds with whom he has no relationship.

      Actually, New York itself was unnecessary to the film. It was backdrop. Patch in Tokyo and nothing would change. He’s drifting through New York as if it doesn’t really exist.

      1. @Rita Ferrone – comment #9:

        Actually, New York itself was unnecessary to the film. It was backdrop. Patch in Tokyo and nothing would change. He’s drifting through New York as if it doesn’t really exist.

        I didn’t get that impression from the film, but I see your point. Anyone who has to struggle through the massive sea of humanity which is Grand Central at rush hour knows it’s impossible to be isolated in the station.

        Maybe the recruitment video would be more effective if a friar sang a hymn with passersby at a major Manhattan intersection, such as one of the city squares. New York City is heavily Catholic, so there’s bound to be someone who’ll step forward and sing along. Not me — the camera operator will drop the camera in order to cover their ears.

  4. Rarefied? I suppose, but in my mind, appropriately so. I have been taught – and have believed – that we are “in the world but not of the world“.

    New York may have been unnecessary – it could be any large metropolis where materialism is apparent – but that contrast between the spiritual and the material is the main point of the video. I liked it a lot, and I have never even heard that piece before. It will become part of what I do in the future.

    1. @Charles Day – comment #10:
      But this video doesn’t look like “in the world but not of the world” to me.

      The friar in habit appears as a semi-divine figure, a sort of apparition, who is fairly untainted by or unrelated to or unaware of the secular world. The city is merely a backdrop, a contrast to the godlike image that serves to make the image look even more divine. This godlike figure is not seeing and responding to the “joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties” of people in the city. He is not serving the city. He is not building up the Kingdom of God in the city. But in my view, all of that is what it means to be in the world but not of the world.

      If it’s true that he offers the pre-Vatican II unreformed Mass, then there is evidence of a troubling pattern. The unreformed rite of Mass, in the view of the fathers of Vatican II, was not to continue in its then-present state because it did not show forth adequately the nature of the true church. It was distorted, a sort of sacred theater carried on by a priestly class for the laity to observe, and perhaps be moved by, but not really act as participants. The fathers of Vatican II wanted to restore a less distorted sense of community, of sacrifice, of Real Presence, of priesthood, and the rest.

      This drive to restore and spread the unreformed rite is a huge problem – it seems that some people are drawn to this unreformed sacred theater, which can’t help but be a sort of escape from the modern world, and a calling into question or even rejecting the Second Vatican Council.

      I hope I’m not over-interpreting, but I’m seeing evidence of a troubling trend – toward an aesthetic of “churchiness,” However appealing that is, it’s not what Vatican II – or Jesus – had in mind.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #21:
        Fr. Anthony, I resonate with your interpretations and implications of the promo video for current evangelization efforts. I also share your concerns regarding the efforts “to restore and spread the unreformed rite” as a return to the pre-Vatican 2 ecclesiology and a “troubling trend – toward an esthetic of ‘churchiness'” – I sensed these were being communicated via the content and context of the video.

        Like Fran Ross (#8), these earlier expressions of church life and worship were “foundational” for me many decades ago – but no longer articulate what I now understand concerning the deeper and broader “Great Tradition” of Catholicism. My early Catholic formation (through ungrad college) was in the pre-Vatican 2 church; for this I’m truly grateful. At the time, I deeply identified with all the aspects of what it meant to “be Catholic.” When Pope John 23 and Vatican 2 arrived, I experienced a major “conversion” and came to eagerly embrace his vision for the church and the fruits of the Council. With each passing year, I’m even more committed to a “Vatican 2 church.”

        Blessings and best wishes to all the new orders (embracing the “new orthodoxy” in their forms of religious life) and claiming their numbers are increasing – in contrast to the declining numbers of older orders (supposedly affected by gnostic and Pelagian trends).

        However, I’m well acquainted with several “older” OPs (men & women) and also IHMs and RSMs, whose communities vigorously embraced the Vatican 2 renewal and who continue religious life – within contemporary forms. They maintain a healthy “vertical” dimension to their spirituality along with an equally strong “horizontal” dimension via peace and social justice ministry. Perhaps their diminishing (?) numbers are offset by the many “lay associates” they attract, as well as the growing involvement of non-associates who carry on their orders’ charisms.

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #21:
        I think you are over interpreting what I meant. I do agree with your points about Mass and Vatican II in general. I am not somehow opposed to old form, except to the extent that some people want to promote old form as better. It isn’t. And since it isn’t better, it really isn’t necessary and serves more to divide than unify, IMO.

        But as to the video, I don’t see a semi-divine figure in the friar. I see a guy who lives in NYC (the in the world part) – and not in a monastery in some desert – but who is striving to carve out a niche where he is not of the world. Yes, he is not engaging people he is walking past; in my experience, most New Yorkers don’t engage people much. It’s just the contrast with the spiritual life he seeks and the world he lives that provides the ‘hook’ a lot of artists look for in their work.

        And the music is great, messed with or otherwise.

  5. I very much disagree that this is rarefied. My impression is that the friar is engaged in this world. He seems to be taking delight in his surroundings, the people, the city. I’ve always been struck by the great hopefulness in Vaughan Williams’ tune, and the text is certainly pertinent to all of us:

    Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
    such a way as gives us breath,
    such a truth as ends all strife,
    such a life as killeth death.

    Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
    such a light as shows a feast,
    such a feast as mends in length,
    such a strength as makes his guest.

    Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
    such a joy as none can move,
    such a love as none can part,
    such a heart as joys in love.

  6. I find it interesting that both AWR and Kathleen Pluth both posted this video on the same day.
    For me, I cannot yet see the impetus for the video. The young friar is, according to Kathy, a great scholar of Latin. The only sure speculation I can offer is that this is obviously some sort of labor or love and/or necessity.
    That said, the George Winston “treatment” and the very, very watered down and significantly truncated melodic alterations to RVW’s “THE CALL” are an extreme turn off to this musician. One does not, under any circumstances, diminuate the art and craft of a known genius for the sake of what (?), accessibility, popular taste, lack of thorough vocal technique? Sure, mine the work if so inspired for harmonic enrichment (though this particular song is as tight a piece as one could hope for.) But never mess with a finely honed melody.
    As is, such ought never be utilized at liturgy, as the arrangement, or misarrangement is thus self-serving in its own right, notwithstanding the noble effort of those involved.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #13:
      Thank you for this comment, Charles.

      I wondered what happened to the tune. You have helped me to put this into perspective. I would agree that the melodic alterations seemed to “mess with a finely honed melody” and I wasn’t sure why the tune was altered.

    2. @Charles Culbreth – comment #13:
      “But never mess with a finely honed melody.”

      Just as well JSB didn’t take this advice. If he had, we wouldn’t have his chorale cantatas to enjoy and to inspire us.


  7. The Eastern Province of Dominicans sponsors the Thomistic Institute for priests during the summer. In July it was in Nashville this year. A goodly number of Dominicans were there including the one in the video who helped to lead the chanting at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. And yes, the propers were properly chanted and for the most part in English. I can see why their order is doing so well and in many ways is similar to their Sister’s order of the Nashville Dominicans who like the Dominicans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, exude sincerity, youthfulness, joy and community. It is no wonder that this group of men religious have 20 novices. Their community is far from individualistic or “me and God” alone, although hopefully, there is a bit of that for all of us in our spiritualities. It will be orders like the Dominicans, traditional, joyful and faithful, both male and female, that will help religious life to experience resurrection or better yet, the Paschal Mystery, in this country. The others that have sold out to a Pelagian agenda as Pope Francis would describe it and born of the Enlightenment, have just about run their course.

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #14:
      With all due respect Fr. Allan, who said that the whole community was individualistic? If I understood Rita’s comment, to my point, it was the impression left by his journey around the city.

      I say this as someone (see my initial comment) that was formed by Dominican priests, who very carefully ushered me into community and taught me so much of what is my life today.

      The problem for me, with your comment, is that intentionally or not, it elevates the Dominicans and their flood of vocations, over the rest of us poor souls who sold out to a Pelagian agenda. I don’t think that is what you meant, but that is – with all charity – how it sounds.

      1. @Fran Rossi Szpylczyn – comment #19:
        Of course as Deacon Fritz correctly points out, I should have used gnostic agenda as Pope Francis describes it and for religious orders which have embraced it and despite their lack of vocations and soon-to-be “going out of business” conduct business as usual. Certainly laity can fall into the various extremes of the Church today on the left and right, gnostic and Pelagian and usually a combination of both as do the religious orders left and right. I really don’t know of any religious orders, especially those of women, who still embrace 1970’s gnosticism with a tinge of Pelagianism who are attracting vocations, but the middle of the road traditional groups are and yes the ultra traditionalists are too, such as the SSPX.

  8. Fr. Allan, as I recall, Francis said that it was the self-styled traditionalists who were “pelagian.” If you’re going to use Francis’s lexicon, at least get it right.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #15:
      Of course, you are right, I meant gnostic, but as Pope Francis understands and describes it. 🙂 Although I think there is a mixture of both in the ultra-extremes of the Church and of course the Dominicans I cite are not in those categories.

  9. I found the setting of NYC and the text of the hymn to be insightful.
    I would have expected them to use the hymn in a more “churchy” way, using scenes of adoration etc.

    But hearing the words and seeing the daily life of NYC, the words become an invocation, an epiclesis invoking the true life, light, joy and love to come and abide in daily life.

    One could almost hear the cry of wisdom, who delights to be with humanity, calling to all in the streets to be “attentive”.

    The vocalist was good, but lacked a certain passion and engagement that could have really kicked this up a notch.

    does anyone know what church they used in NYC?

  10. Perhaps Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P discussion of the Baroque era in his Theology of Ministry may help us understand this “rarefied” artwork. His very appreciative stance toward the Baroque may be related to his Dominican spirituality.

    A Baroque theology of ministry is based upon two main operational principles: first, the organization of the church in detail around the papacy; second the designation of the interior life of grace as the object of Christian ministry.

    The interior life of this Dominican is the center of this art work.

    The theater of the Christian life and the kingdom of God moved from the medieval cosmos and the arena of society to the interior of the Baroque church and the life of the soul. In the Baroque, the light pours down through clear windows into the church and states that God is not distant nor utterly different from creatures. God is actively present in the church and in the Christian.

    In this artwork, the theater of this Dominican’s life includes both the arena of society as well as the interior of the church. “Light” as evidence of God’s active presence is as much perhaps even far more present in the arena of society than in the church. Explicitly in the church light is present primarily in two figures, a male priest pianist and a woman violinist.

    In some ways these two figures are the only community in this Dominican’s life. But they are an interior community that forms the Dominican’s song which he carries from the darkened interior of the church into the light of the city.

    The spirituality of this song is definitely not a Jesuit “contemplation in the midst of activity,” a finding of God in all things. This Dominican is not kissing the wounds of Christ in the poor. Obviously not a Pope Francis figure.

    Rather it is the spirituality of “contemplation, then teaching others” of the Dominican tradition. Christ is found in the interior song as the fruit of contemplation, a song which interprets both the church and the world.

    A lot of “traditionalism” seems to be an attempt to recover the Baroque, a time when the Church was under siege and retreated into its churches and its interior life. As O’Meara points out that was also a great era of missionaries. However these were missionaries that went out from the interior life of the churches and ministered not so much to societies and cultures as to the interior lives of people in specialized church institutions separate from “the world.”

    This artwork seems to be a kind of “updated” Baroque which does not deny the Light present in the world, but still sees the Christian life as mostly an interior song. Francis might see that “interior song” as just another form of modern Gnosticism finding God in an interior life but effectively denying in practice the real presence of Christ in the World (even if theoretically agreeing it is there).

  11. I found the comments much more revealing of their authors than I found the film clip revelatory of the participants. It seems to me an eminently forgettable example of popular piety. I must agree that the flying, floating friar is a puzzle. I’m sure that, as is true of most works of this genre, it will be admired by those who are so oriented and predisposed. To the rest of world it’s probably a ‘yawn’.

  12. I believe this order celebrates primarily the Ordinary Form but also the other form of the one Latin Rite. That’s the way it is in 2013 and with the Magisterium’s approbation within some limits of course and all in keeping with today’s adjusted interpretation of Vatican II’s pastoral sensitivities. But as far as the video and as a former vocation director, I’m not sure it is a good tool for vocational recruitment, but it is a nice piece of art, using the new media to do it. It does make you think and draw your own conclusions, but if I didn’t know of this religious order, I wouldn’t have a clue about their charism or mission in the world is and I don’t think it is meant to do that. Despite their post-Vatican II embrace of the way the liturgies of the Church can be celebrated today, they may well have a recipe to hook those who might be individualistic given our culture’s thrust today and then formed in the tradition of the Dominican charism if they choose to go further.
    But in terms of the Mass, did Vatican II really want to dogmatize the form of the Mass over its substance and to denigrate what came before that formed in marvelous ways Catholics, lay, clergy and religious for centuries and thus provided quite a foundation for renewal in the pastoral realm in the 1960’s?

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #24:
      “did Vatican II really want to dogmatize the form of the Mass over its substance and to denigrate what came before…”

      In a word, yes …. after one states it less polemically and with more nuance. It’s not dogmatizing, but it is making clear claims about form. For Vatican II, the form really matters, and the old form – with great respect for it, with understanding for how it got that way, with no judgment on the individuals whose piety was nourished by it – the old form is inadequate, it doesn’t express the nature of the true church. It’s distorted. Not wrong or evil or bad, but inadequate and out of balance. This is why V2 didn’t intend, and couldn’t have intended, that the old form ever continue. The whole thing needed reform, and only the reformed version was to remain. Of course reform is ongoing, of course the reformed form isn’t perfect. But it is a re-balancing that the Council held to be totally necessary.

      I think we have to be more honest in naming how the continuance of the unreformed rite really is at odds with Vatican II. Yes, I know the pope (B16) allowed it. But it’s still at odds with the Council.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #27:
        But Father, but Father, today we are reassessing the wisdom of some of the reforms, not all and using the template of what you call the “unreformed” Mass, which I prefer to call the unrevised one, to see how best to implement Vatican II’s vision for not only the liturgy but the Church. While there are many sociological, religious and demographic reasons for the decline in attendance for the Mass from nearly 80% of Catholics each Sunday at the time of the Council, to about 20% today, one must look at all the reasons including the nature of the revised Mass and make adjustments where no dogma or doctrine are involved to turn things around and yes, go back to that which worked or at least revise that which doesn’t work. That will take some time and a good beginning has occurred with the pontificate of B16 releasing the unrevised Mass from the chains of obscurity in the present day. In 50 years time, we’ll have to have this discussion again, given the nature of what has happened with B16 and the liturgy.

      2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #29:

        Fr. Allan, I’m a little puzzled by your reference to “B16 releasing the unrevised Mass from the chains of obscurity in the present day.” Should we conclude that every previous phase in the development of Catholic liturgy in every part of the globe, that is, everything other than the third edition of the Missal of Paul VI (and, since Summorum Pontificum, the 1962 Missal of John XXIII) is presently shackled in chains of obscurity, and that releasing them from such unfortunate bondage is desirable? To consider the results of this line of thinking for ecclesial and liturgical life today is a little scary, no?

      3. @Barry Hudock – comment #68:
        You would be correct, no, in what you say about scary things if unscrupulous unshackling were to take place by popes, of course. However, Pope Benedict released from the shackles of obscurity the 1962 version of the Mass in the desire that celebrating the now two forms of the one Roman Rite would lead to the organic development of a missal that Vatican II actually desired but for whatever reason was hijacked for good or ill in the immediate post-Vatican II period, in terms of a manufactured liturgy desired by the intellectuals of the liturgical movement prior to the Council rather than a slower organically developed missal. What Pope Benedict desired, though, with releasing the 1962 from the shackles of only a few who were allowed to celebrate it by Pope Paul VI and subsequently expanded slightly by John Paul II and then completely liberated by Benedict XVI is organic development. I can tell you from experience that I celebrate the OF Mass basically by saying/chanting the black and doing the red with a bit of flair. But having celebrated the EF now for over five years, it has impacted the way I celebrate the OF in an organic way but nothing radically different from my previous experience except for a little more attention to detail and external reverence. But it will take a generation of priests willing to celebrate both forms of the Latin Rite Mass well for an organically developed Roman Missal to evolve that takes into account what Vatican II’s SC actually, if one is willing to read the letter of it with the mindset of the bishops who had exclusively celebrated the unrevised Mass during Vatican II, actually desired.

      4. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #69:

        Father, invoking “the mindset of the bishops” of Vatican II in support of restoration of the 1962 rite is unhelpful (and even ironic), since it was those very bishops who called for a reformed rite that would replace it. Also, to suggest that those bishops envisioned “a slower organically developed missal” does not jibe with reality either, since John’s 1962 Missal, as well as the revision of the breviary, were introduced as provisional, in expectation of the Council and the liturgical reform that was expected to result from its work.

      5. @Barry Hudock – comment #71:
        Barry, I don’t disagree with your assessment of history. But times have changed and there are those who feel the liturgical renewal went off track as much of the renewal did. Yes, the bishops of Vatican II asked for the liturgical books to be revised. They only gave some inklings about that. It was a later group that decided the changes and Pope Paul VI approved them. But now some 50 years later, we wonder how the Mass might be renewed in what is called a post Vatican II “new liturgical movement.” It is wise that priests and laity know the Mass that Vatican II asked to be revised, study SC carefully and then critique the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of the implementation of SC. That’s quite healthy and quite healthy to have what some call, the “unreformed rite” as a point of reference as it was for the bishops of Vatican II.

      6. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #27:
        Coincidentally, I was prompted earlier today to re-read John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter ‘Vicesimus Quintus Annus’, issued on the 25th anniversary of ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’. This Letter, which is quite short, is a very clear (and, yes, unpolemical and well-nuanced) expression of John Paul’s commitment to the ongoing implementation of the Council’s decisions.

        One sentence in paragraph 11 leaped out at me: ‘Some have received the new books with a certain indifference, or without trying to understand the reasons for the changes; others, unfortunately, have turned back in a one-sided and exclusive way to the previous liturgical forms which some of them consider to be the sole guarantee of certainty in faith.’ (It has to be said, however, that John Paul reserves his strongest disapproval for those who have promoted ‘outlandish innovations’.)

        What is very clear, though, is that the reform is not seen as optional.

        The Apostolic Letter may be found here:

      7. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #27:
        I think this is where I part ways with you liturgically. I see the intent of the Fathers in regards to continuing the old Mass as having very little relevance today. They were acting at a different time in history, and were making their decisions without the benefit of hindsight. The EF today takes place in a totally different context than it did prior to the council, and there could never be a “turning back of the clock” even if it were re-established as the only form of Mass tomorrow. That doesn’t mean I think the old form should be frozen in its 1962 version – it should be reformed eventually – but after years of reading arguments for why retaining the old Mass is troubling or wrong, I’ve yet to find any truly compelling or reasonable argument beyond that of authority (“Vatican II said so”).

        Personally, I see the retention of the older form as necessary in light of the history and culture of the past fifty years. I also think we need to be honest about how the old form can be in harmony with Vatican II and help accomplish the council’s larger goals.

      8. @Jack Wayne – comment #47:
        Jack, it’s not just that Vatican II said so – it’s why they said so. They had beliefs about the nature of the true church and about proper ecclesiology regarding eg. the role of the priest. They had reasons for saying the old rite can’t continue. Those reasons haven’t been superseded, nor do I expect they ever will be, unless you want to undo the whole ecclesiology and the whole understanding of ordained ministry of Vatican II.

  13. My initial, and continuing, impression was exactly that of Fran and Rita. I was happy to see Bob Koopman, OSB, whose playing at St. John’s was always wonderful. I liked the violin as well, those two are in a relationship. But our young male cleric is floating serenely over the landscape, the Love he seeks is certainly not to be found in those that brush by. This is a carefully produced vocation pitch, it is clear what vision of the religious life is being promoted.

  14. On altering and ‘messing with’ the tune:

    Here I disagree with the critics. Musical tradition is ongoing, and any composition belongs to the rest of humanity in succeeding centuries, not just to the composer. Bach re-arranged Palestrina without batting an eyelash – nobody yet thought that originals were monuments to be protected by some historical society or government office for the preservation of monuments. Composers and performers were very free with others’ works until the 19th and 20th centuries gave us a rather limited and limiting sense of history and tradition.

    I can see that some like this arrangement more than others. I suppose I prefer the Vaughn William original. But I sure love this evocative rearrangement of it also.

  15. I am usually somewhat of a musical purist, so I initially recoiled when hearing Vaughan Williams’ eloquent melody in other than pristine original form. But I was quickly drawn back by the appeal of the the lyric violin line, the truly elegant piano underpinning, and the earnest appeal of the singer. I’m not going to purport that RVW would approve, but found it interesting to compare the music in this video with what RVW did with KINGSFOLD in his “Variants on Dives and Lazarus.”

  16. I suspect there might be some over-reading going on here. I seriously doubt that the intended message is “become a Dominican and you’ll float above the world.” That might be the message that people are receiving, but it would hardly fit with the charism of the Order of Preachers.

  17. I would also add that Dominicans might have a slightly different motivation in celebrating the Dominican Rite than would a typical EF devotee, since the Dominican Rite was (largely) abandoned rather than reformed after the Second Vatican Council. So if a Dominican wants to celebrate the distinctive rite of his Order, he has no choice but to do so in its unreformed form.

    I’ve always thought it was a shame that the Dominican’s did not reform and preserve their Rite.

  18. Video as Rorschach test, eh? Seems to be very effective.

    For the record, I interpreted it as showing that the young friar takes the intimacy of prayer out with him to encounter New York, rendering the ordinary sacred to him. Those who know the Order of Preachers better than I do can decide whether my interpretation is apropos for a recruitment video.

    I definitely suspect from the variations of interpretations offered above, and from knowing that what I just described is a theological obsession of mine, that these readings are probably a better reflection of our own theological presuppositions than the intentions behind the video! 🙂

    1. @Kimberly Hope Belcher – comment #35:
      Kim and all,

      Thanks for your comments. I overstated and over-interpreted. I do believe what I said, but not as strongly as I implied.

      I think the video is beautiful, really well-done, and I think we all have something to learn from the creativity and competence of the Dominicans here.

      But I do think there is a possibility that some of the appeal of this thing has some problematic aspects of “churchy purity, apart from and above culture.” I should have stated that this is possibly one problematic aspect of an overall fantastic product – I really don’t dismiss the video as a whole. Where I disagree with Kim is in her dismissal of critique as “Rorschack” – I don’t think I’m making up or superimposing the possible problems, I think they are there, and worth noting and talking about.


  19. Fritz Bauerschmidt : I would also add that Dominicans might have a slightly different motivation in celebrating the Dominican Rite than would a typical EF devotee, since the Dominican Rite was (largely) abandoned rather than reformed after the Second Vatican Council. So if a Dominican wants to celebrate the distinctive rite of his Order, he has no choice but to do so in its unreformed form. I’ve always thought it was a shame that the Dominican’s did not reform and preserve their Rite.

    Agreed on all counts!

  20. Fascinating. I thought I had recognized Bob Koopmann, but the Dominican thing threw me. Don’t they have a pianist? Not that I’m complaining; the man is a consummate artist.

    The production has depth on every level. It has the pace of a 21st century music video yet an artistic quality that draws a person in.

    As for the criticism of this being a “me and Jesus” thing, I’m unconvinced. It’s the same kind of reasoning used by Catholics who insist that every jot and tittle of Real Presence doctrine must be elucidated in order for a speaker, book, or song to be declared orthodox. If we need a “we” song, let’s produce a video of Psalm 122.

    Is New York just a convenient setting for singer, or is it just the 21st century Rome? The singer seems ambivalent about the city, at any rate, given the images of comings and goings via ferry and the Brooklyn Bridge. If that’s a statement about seats of power, that’s fine with me.

    Bravo, Blackfriars. Well done.

  21. I think one might be “over interpreting” the video if one reaches conclusions about rejecting Vat 2?

    From what I understand, the Dominicans of this province celebrate the renewed liturgy of the church in a very reverent manner. To suggest that they have an agenda or regressive traditional agenda is not fair.
    Just check out their liturgies in the NYC area or the websites of the parishes they staff.

    If the younger members of the order want to connect with the traditions of their order……that seems to be valid and something that can be fruitful. It does not carry all the baggage of “traditionalism” that older people put on this.

    I think there has been a real generational shift and the polemics that older people have used or lived with for the last 40 years no longer work or help. if we start projecting our baggage on the current generation, we just miss the boat and end up disconnected and become grumpy old men and women!

  22. Well, it’s nice to know that the PTB Braintrust (;-p) can agree to disagree without being, uh, disagreeable. Thanks, Rita. Who’da thunk we’d be on the same page?
    Hi AWR and Gerard. Both of you are correct regarding the “organic” redistribution of known musics into evolving forms, all of which likely go further back than pagan ritual, and certainly before “L’homme arme” and “Wachet Auf.” Vaughan Williams was, himself, part of a whole generation of tune collectors spread all over Europe and likely other continents as well at the turn of the 19th.
    All that acknowledged, the onus of refashioning a known and (let’s not digress with copyright issues) licensed work of authorship such as THE CALL into a worthy and conceptually worthy successor is upon the shoulders of a Bach, a Beechum (MESSIAH orchestration disaster) or a Koopman. If that extrapolation does not add to the merit of the source (this is a serious case of diminution!) or adds too much (Sir Thomas’ Handel augmentation) that artist should have the common sense and decency to not “name” their effort as “THE CALL” by RVW. It simply is not THE CALL, no matter whether you like it or not, Anthony. Your premise is more like calling an apricot a peach.
    I’d rather bypass an argument over whether “My Sweet Lord” was lifted directly from “He’s So Fine” than to ignore the injury done to the purity and sanctity of THE CALL by dumbing its melody down to suit the nebulous needs of a video. Name it “Theme and Meditation upon THE CALL” and it’s all good. I really don’t get how you both could tolerate that distinction.

  23. Sorry, I’m a music editor and can’t help myself!

    As creative as Vaughan Williams was, he did not invent the title “The Call.” That is the name of the poem by the great metaphysical poet and (might I add) Anglican priest George Herbert (1593-1633).

    The music of “Five Mystical Songs” (premiered in 1911) is in the public domain in the US, but not in the Commonwealth, and beyond that gets very complicated.

    Interesting how much is being read into this (to me, anyway) delightful and thought-provoking little piece of art. I’m saddened that so many seem determined to parse out threatening implications from what is not there.

  24. Dear Mr. Strickland, really it’s just me, not others.
    I’m not trying to belabor or parse out anything to demean or threaten this “charming little piece of art.” As Rita simply affirmed, what happened to the melody of the song as RVW composed it, set it, whatever it? I’m well aware of its history, but “THE CALL” is also a designate for the hymntune, not just the Herbert text. AWR and Gerard pressed the point, I answered accordingly and not in extremis. Otherwise I find the piece compelling, particularly the Grand Central Station set, as it reminded me of a scene in Gilliam’s master film, “the Fisher King.”
    But as an editor, I would think that correct or fitting attribution to arrangements be justly noted in both the realms of tune and text. I’m done now. That okay?

  25. I seem to always jump into these things after they’ve already passed their peak, but here goes:

    Along with many, I think there’s some over interpretation here – connecting the impression of the video with alleged interests by this young priest in the unreformed Dominican rite. As Deacon Fritz pointed out above, the dominicans are in a somewhat unique situation with their historic rite and might not be interested in it for ‘typical EF enthusiast reasons’. Moreover, even if their were typical EF enthusiasm afoot on the part of one participant, I’m not sure we can then connect that enthusiasm with what we don’t like in the video. No such scrutiny or associations have been made with respect to Fr. Koopman or the violinist. And while it is possible that because the Preachers put this together it is reasonable to assume that the video more likely reflects the outlook of the Preacher rather than the pianist and violinist, it is also possible that the young man who celebrates the Dominican Rite did this at the behest and planning of a superior. As such, his liturgical interests are irrelevant to the video itself.
    Now, as to the video, I can see where some might say this is an ‘individualistic’ view of faith. He doesn’t engage in those around him. But, this might be an appeal to finding strength and joy in God in situations of intense loneliness. Despite (actually because of) the huge number of people, New York City can be an incredibly lonely place. The anonymity can be crushing. The image of the serene, if ‘lonely,’ priest singing a song of petition for strength, joy, and love could be interpreted as one of hope for those in isolation, darkness. That even here, God may be reached, and our hearts dilated with joy. That might not be the whole of the Gospel, but it is surely a dimension of the Gospel that might be important to preach today.

  26. I attended a Dominican parish from the 80’s into the mid 90’s and similar to Fran, they saved my faith. They celebrated the new Mass reverently and with some measure of “reform of the reform” before that even existed. Yet, it was an historically informed approached to celebrating the Liturgy, rather than a backwarding looking one. Their preaching was informed, educated, universal, and riveting. I was so shocked and eventually blessed to find that place in the desert that is this archdiocese. Hardly inward-looking or pietistic, they mixed equally with the parish and world, including the university which looms around the parish and priory. And you’d see them on the street, in their habit, not because it was showing off or they were some heavenly creature, but precisely because it was who they were, and what they did. To quote a phrase, these guys ‘smelled like the sheep.’ And that made an impression on me, and obviously others as well, as I saw many added to their numbers in the years I was there.

    I think the subject in the video was showing the peace he has in the midst of the chaos, anonymity, and loneliness of such a place as NYC. I’ve seen modern Protestant ‘worship song’ videos that have the exact same look, just replace with friar with a young hipster male, or doe-eyed female, gliding through the crowd, also seemingly two feet above the ground, enrapt. While the arrangement and orchestration are lovely, I also have to agree, don’t mess with the RVW melody.

  27. Anthony Ruff, OSB : @Jack Wayne – comment #47: They had believes about the nature of the true church and about proper ecclesiology regarding eg. the role of the priest. awr

    Father Anthony, this is second time in this thread I see you use the phrase “the true church.” Can you please explain? If now is the true church, that would imply to me that before VII, there was a false one and that it’s ecclesiology, again up to that point, was improper. Was I (and my forefathers) baptized into a false church? Why are there two churches, and why is the new one the true one?

    1. @John Kohanski – comment #53:
      I’m quoting Vatican II on “true church.”

      I anticipated this question. It’s a very important one, the key to many of our present problems. The only solution I see is to affirm Vatican II about the true church, and the need for liturgical reform because the old liturgy didn’t express the nature of the true church, without saying any of those judgmental things you see about the pre-Vatican II church in my position. It’s the same church and it had great and holy people back then and it did many things well. But there’s no way to make sense of Vatican II’s statements without drawing the conclusion (which the Council did not do implicitly in SC) that the Church, while still being the true Church, had some things distorted and out of balance and in need of reform.

      So “true church” doesn’t mean “we’ve never been wrong” or “we never change,” but obviously has to mean “we can change a good deal, and now we must do so, as we come to realize how the true church, down through the ages, while still possessing the truth, had allowed the truth to be distorted and imbalanced.”

      It shouldn’t be that hard for a Christian church to say “we were wrong,” indeed, it should be a mark of the true church to be able to say that however often as necessary. But we live in a time when a certain kind of Catholic finds it difficult to say that. I think this is precisely because parts of the tradition that were in need of renewal are those parts saying that the church never changes, cannot admit it is wrong, etc. Some people still want to believe those parts of the tradition, though I don’t think it holds up in view of Vatican II’s revolutionary changes.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #54:
        Fr. Anthony, just to clarify, when you say you’re quoting Vatican II re: “true church”, you mean the use of the phrase as found in Sac. Conc. 2?

        “For the liturgy, ‘through which the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ most of all in the divine sacrifice of the eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church.”

        I think I can agree with you, to an extent, that the pre-Vatican II liturgy does not always clearly express “the real nature of the true Church”. The pre-Vatican II liturgy got some things right (that is, it expressed the real nature of the true Church in certain ways), at least some of the time. Otherwise, the post-Vatican II liturgy would not have incorporated anything found in the pre-Vatican II liturgy. But there are places where the pre-Vatican II liturgy is deficient, imperfect, inadequate, unclear, etc.

        But I would think we have to say the same about the post-Vatican II liturgy, no? Unless, in some triumphalistic twist, the reformers got everything right, the post-Vatican II liturgy is (or will be) in need of reform so that it can better express the real nature of the true Church. That could mean, to use Todd’s frequent example, orations of local origin relevant to the lections; or it could mean, to use a different example, a recovery of ad orientem posture at times.

        Judging from your last paragraph, we should have to admit that the reformed liturgy needs reform, even if that might mean admitting in certain cases that we were wrong about whether we were wrong about some things!

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #55:

        But I would think we have to say the same about the post-Vatican II liturgy, no? Unless, in some triumphalistic twist, the reformers got everything right, the post-Vatican II liturgy is (or will be) in need of reform so that it can better express the real nature of the true Church. That could mean, to use Todd’s frequent example, orations of local origin relevant to the lections; or it could mean, to use a different example, a recovery of ad orientem posture at times.

        It is quite clear not that the reformers got everything right but that the implementation of the reforms did not get everything right. It was in fact only a beginning. The situation we have today is that those (the small minority) who are nostalgic for the old can only see a return to the old as “the way forward” (e.g. the recovery of the ad orientem position that Jeffrey cites), while those on the other wing (the vast majority) feel that returning to the old is a waste of time and that we should in fact be moving forward, indeed further away from the old — in other words we should be using the reforms as implemented as a springboard for yet further reforms. It is clear that the majority view will eventually win out, but Benedict’s muddying of the waters in order to keep the small minority on board has delayed that outcome and has, I believe, made it more difficult to achieve a situation in which both persuasions can peacefully co-exist at the present time.

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #55:
        Thank you Jeffrey.
        I think that the extent of changes required by the Council was discussed in June when we considered Article 50 of SC. It seems clear that the authors of the article did not envisage a desire for the unrevised form of the Mass and so did not give an explicit ruling either way.
        Readers might like to revisit that discussion.

      4. @Peter Haydon – comment #72:
        Not quite. To say that the council fathers didn’t give an explicit ruling either way is disingenuous, downright unfaithful to the clear meaning of the text. They clearly intended that there would be one Roman rite, the reformed one. They clearly had no opening whatsoever in mind for there ever being an unreformed rite staying around. To see they were neutral is to miss what is rather obvious in the entire liturgy constitution. Whatever we think now about changed circumstances and the (alleged) need or legitimacy of the unreformed rite being in use now, 50 years later, we have to look at the clear intent of what SC said 50 years ago.

      5. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #74:
        I think that you are right that “They clearly intended that there would be one Roman rite”. My point is that they they did not think it necessary to go on to state that the unrevised form should not be used alongside the revised form.
        This is not to be neutral about it but rather to say that there is no sentence stating the point with the note used by lawyers: “for the avoidance of doubt”.
        In the original discussion Fr Michael made the point that: “I see nothing in the article that suggests that the Council Fathers believed two celebrational forms of Roman Rite Mass should co-exist.” The subsequent comments touched on why this might have been so.
        It struck me that readers could refer to where this matter had been discussed in a constructive way. Fr Michael’s excellent series provides a good opportunity to seek the clear meaning of the text of SC.
        Sorry: you found my comment disingenuous and worse. That was not the intent.

      6. @Peter Haydon – comment #75:
        Peter – thanks for the clarification. I’m sorry if I misread you. I agree with what you wrote and I think you put it well.

      7. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #76:
        No worries Father
        The question risked hijacking the comments on the original post.
        My history books tell me that the Domincans provided a great improvement on the preaching of the ordinary clergy in pre-reformation England. I hope that they can do well in the future.

  28. Alan Smith: What is very clear, though, is that the reform is not seen as optional.

    Except that this totally exclusivist reading is belied by the fact three months later Bl. John Paul II will call “rightful aspirations” the desires of those “who feel attached to some previous liturgical and disciplinary forms of the Latin tradition” to worship according to that form in Ecclesia Dei Afflicta.

  29. Getting back to the video I think it’s odd that none of the ‘interpretations’ consider the technological means and budget at the disposal of the video makers. It looks to me that in the scenes where the singing friar appears to be floating through New York the city is being back projected or blue screened behind him. In scenes where he is clearly walking through the city he is not singing. It would be much more difficult to match the sound and visuals of his singing if he was actually in all of those places (did anyone think he was really standing in the middle of whatever avenue that is?) Therefore what is being interpreted as isolation by some is simply a factor of limited means – commercial videos of this type can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fake this. I also find it dispiriting that the video was originally posted as being “evocative and beautiful and interesting” but as soon as the editor found out something about the singer’s activity that didn’t make him happy it became “troubling”. Really? Can’t we just look at an aesthetic product on its own terms without changing our attitude to it once we impute motivations to its makers though we can’t actually prove them from the object itself? For myself I am inclined to agree with comment 23 – the video seems rather like the vaguely spiritual posters one sees in certain waiting rooms. Though having said that I do respect the effort of the makers and think the idea of juxtaposing the poem against the city was worth pursuing – while it’s true it might have been any city that seems part of the point – and hardly surprising that they used the city where they were actually making the film.

  30. Before looking at the comments, what struck me when I watched the video was the lack of interaction: in the video, no one talked to the dominican and he talked to no one. Is the message that he may be praying for the world, but is staying at a distance from the world, like a monk? But dominicans are not monks. What did the people designing the video have in mind? If the focus was prayer and music, then, why all the city scenes?

    Maybe this is part of a series and there are or there will be other videos to paint a more complete picture, emphasizing studying, preaching, or the community life. After all, dominicans are experts on everything other than manual work, aren’t they?

  31. In 1960 in terms of the 80 to 90% of the people who attended Mass, the true nature of the Church was celebrated in the Liturgy in that Christ the Head and His body, the people of God, clergy and laity were gathered together to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Of that 90% a goodly number did not receive Holy Communion and we can presume that apart from breaking the lengthy fast, their lives were disordered and perhaps they did not accept all that it means to be Catholic, they were more or less cultural Catholics whose faith impacted little their lives. Yet they knew at least the obligation to attend Mass. In other words, more of the periphery were joining the main stream. Where are they now? We’ve lost 60 to 70% of those marginal Catholics who have no sense of at least attending Mass on Sunday.
    If one boils ecclesiology down to how people participate at Mass, in the sense of speaking and singing their parts, lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, what about the unrevised Mass could not have been remedied by incorporating these aspects into it, such as the vernacular, reducing the fast to make it possible for more of the laity to receive Holy Communion and to encourage the laity to bring their faith to the rest of their lives apart from the churchy things we have encouraged for 50 years. One can have actual participation to include all that this means in both forms of the Mass.
    But to make ecclesiology the basis of the true Church smacks of idolatry. Jesus Christ, the Paschal Mystery, the manifestation of the Most Holy Trinity, the Sacramental economy and Scripture, Tradition and Natural law all come first. Ecclesiology in terms of pre-Vatican II and post Vatican II cannot be set at odds with one another but must be taken together.

    1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #60:
      “But to make ecclesiology the basis of the true Church smacks of idolatry.”

      No, Allan, that’s what ecclesiology is – the study of the church. Your comment makes no sense.


      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #61:
        You need to be clearer then. In terms of the unrevised liturgy, that could easily be revised without changing anything except including more vernacular and thus improving actual participation by the laity in all that is envisioned for them, a revised lectionary, lay readers, and parishes that maintain active participation apart from the liturgy as in consultative bodies, what makes the current revised liturgy any better in terms of the study of the Church?

      2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #62:
        Because it more accurately reflects Roman Catholic ecclesiology than the old one. It’s not just about lay people donig stuff. Lay people have been doing stuff, and often picking up the pieces from the clergy for nearly two millennia now. It’s about the liturgy presenting the Church in a more accurate, more perfect way. The 1962 Rite doesn’t accomplish that, sorry to say. We, the Church, no longer inhabit an aristocratic, feudal world. And the Church changes and adapts to fit.

    2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #60:

      Where are they now? We’ve lost 60 to 70% of those marginal Catholics who have no sense of at least attending Mass on Sunday.

      Fr. Allan, please consider this: the decline in Mass attendance is not a clearly defined variable. I’m surprised that you haven’t picked up on the plurality and diversity of society, especially as a priest who ministers in a part of the United States where Catholics are a distinct minority. I’m quite certain that not a few of your parishioners have married persons of different ethnicities who grew up in or belong to other Christian churches or other religions. In my own family, I have Jewish, Muslim, and openly agnostic/atheist relatives who are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. I certainly don’t think that my family would have been this inclusive in my grandparent’s generation. My family is now very inclusive, and we are quite the better for it. Nothing dispels prejudice faster than forming than welcoming a new person into your family.

      My Catholic relatives who have spouses of different religious backgrounds negotiate religion differently. Sometimes, each spouse chooses to practice his or her religion separately. Some spouses cease practicing either religion. Sometimes one spouse returns to his or her birth religious tradition at a later date. Religion today is not the sociocultural marker it once was, and the highly flexible relationships and marriages today don’t fit into neat categories.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #63:
        I recognize that this decline has many sociological and religious factors. It was rare in the South for Catholics to depart the Church to marry a Protestant. I have parishioners who had to be married in the chapel of the Jesuit rectory I now live in because they couldn’t get married in the Church proper because they married a Protestant. They didn’t like it but they went along. The Protestant had to promise to raise the children Catholic too, not just the Catholic. (BTW, it was somewhere in the 1950’s that a Catholic could marry a Protestant in the Church proper but outside the altar railing and no Nuptial Mass to follow). I know of a great number of southern Catholics who were staunchly raised Catholic by their Protestant mothers who never became Catholic! And these mothers have told me they know the Baltimore Catechism backward and forwards. My own former sister-in-law, now deceased, a southern baptist, almost single-handedly reared my nephew, her son, as a Catholic, made sure he became an altar server, received the other sacraments. He married in the Church to a Baptist,have a child now baptized and his wife is in the RCIA. Go figure.
        But today, in the minds of many Catholics and what I would call a false egalitarianism, Catholics get married in Protestant traditions or by the JP and if the spouse who is not Catholic is strong in their own faith, the Catholic joins the Protestant spouse. That usually didn’t happen prior to the Council, although in the south we had a significant number of Catholics marrying practicing Protestants.
        But I’m thinking in my comments more about marginal Catholics who came to Mass nonetheless compared to today’s marginal Catholics who remain on the far periphery of the Church and don’t even bother to come Christmas and Easter. That is a significant shift.

  32. Mass attendance is not a clearly defined variable.

    Mass attendance is very much a “monkey see, monkey do” phenomenon.
    Catholics in southern states have a much higher attendance rate than Catholics in northern states. Catholics are as much influenced by what their Protestant neighbors do as by what their fellow Catholics do.

    Church attendance has become the great “religiosity” indicator in the USA largely because churches here are supported mostly by voluntary contributions (in time as well as money). Congregations have to emphasize attendance in order to survive. Not the same situation as in some other countries were churches are supported by the state, the rich, or endowments.

    There are other equally or more important indicators of religiosity, e.g. how important is religion in your life? Gallup uses this to help correct for some of the misleading aspects of church attendance. Therefore people who do not attend weekly but say that religion is very important in their lives are still classified as religious, e.g. the elderly homebound. Likewise the spouse who attends church weekly but says that religion is unimportant in his life is classified a “not religious.”

    My favorite indicator of religiosity, a much neglected one, is daily prayer. About 60% of Americans pray daily whereas only about 30% go to church weekly. Daily prayer may be a much more important indicator of religiosity since it is not as influenced by social conformity pressures. Obviously many people pray daily who do not attend weekly. A better evangelization strategy might be to put up signs “Do you pray daily? Come worship with us this week!” Of course that might take away some of the feelings of moral superiority among weekly churchgoers.

  33. The video is a pretty good parable about the church, I think.
    The faith (the song/melody played in a church by a cleric and laywoman– the ‘members’ of the church) is taken out and “sung” in the everyday world and all its concerns by an apostle sent by Christ. It refers back to the altar –Christ– for strength and nourishment.
    The video did not intend to teach theology or to be a complete catechesis about the church. It had a simple point, message. Analyzing the video itself too closely under a magnifying glass is unfair to it and its director.

  34. If the audience of this video is seekers into the faith, those discerning vocations or those who need to be lifted up in troubled times – maybe in a busy world – “Is GOD really listening and with me?” If so, I think it works in ways that artistic works cannot be simply defined.

    I found it lovely, rich in meaning, hope-filled, expressing a simplicity of faith, beautiful in a very simple way, and very moving. I am sending this off to some folks I now who are seeking, discerning and working with life-troubles – just to reassure them that God is here with the, with me, with the Church and the Church is here too!

  35. Paul Inwood :It was in fact only a beginning. The situation we have today is that those (the small minority) who are nostalgic for the old can only see a return to the old as “the way forward” (e.g. the recovery of the ad orientem position that Jeffrey cites), while those on the other wing (the vast majority) feel that returning to the old is a waste of time and that we should in fact be moving forward, indeed further away from the old — in other words we should be using the reforms as implemented as a springboard for yet further reforms. It is clear that the majority view will eventually win out

    Paul, As one of your ‘small minority,’ I am not nostaglic for the old Mass. I am perfectly happy to have the majority of Mass in a vernacular, and being able to understand the prayers and lections without needing a missal, and being able to sing the parts that are mine that would need to be in the vernacular. But, what I do want is a celebration of Mass that is truly worship (of God), reverent, prayerful, and in continuity with the past.

    While agreeing that your ‘vast majority’ wouldn’t want to go back to the 1962 missal, though at this point a majority wouldn’t even know what that means, I doubt that they want further reform(sic) or to move further away from the past. Those that want that would be a “small minority in the vast majority.’ Where I do think and know that people want change in the church has little to do with liturgy and more to do with the life of the church: ordination of married men, ordination of (married) women, acceptance of LGBTQIA and divorced/remarried persons, and a greater role of the laity in running and making decisions in the Church. For those that want to move further away from the past and use the reforms of VII for further reforms(sic) to the liturgy (and indeed to the Church), it’s already been done by the many Protestant communities.

    1. @John Kohanski – comment #70:

      I don’t think Blackfriars Films would produce successful productions if Fr. Litke or any other friar were to approach a person on the street and run down a list of (what some perceive as) almost sure impediments to the Catholic life. “Okay, you can participate in the video so long as you’re not gay, divorced and remarried outside the Church, using contraception …” The friars would have very few lay participants in their videos by the time they found the few persons who fit strict metrics of “orthodoxy”.

      I get this sense that the heightened concern some Catholics exhibit over perceived Others in the Church borders on a moral panic that almost completely shuts down even basic human charity. Maybe a good OP recruitment video might include the friars interacting with a diverse range of students of different ethnicities, backgrounds, sexual orientations, even different religions. I’d think that a well-rounded friar would be equipped for any pastoral situation or opportunity for dialogue.

  36. Unless anyone misunderstand, I like Vatican II, but some of its implementation is problematic. I don’t think I stand alone in this. But it does seem to me that as Pope Benedict said often, there is a tendency to make Vatican II into a super dogma. Prior to the Council, were their bishops, priests and laity constantly referring back to the Council of Trent in protest every time a new development occurred in the life of the Church as though Trent shackled future developments? Usually ultra-conservative beat that tiresome drum, but they were a minority. I don’t think anyone should use Vatican II to prevent future developments, even the development of two forms of the one Roman Rite, but with the very clear explanation that the unrevised liturgy is “extraordinary, by exception” and the other is the norm. I find it extremely odd that progressives in terms of Vatican II are beating that tiresome drum as ultra-conservatives did as it regards Trent and Vatican II and future developments.

    So if we following the logic of those who make councils into super dogmas, should we not also protest Vatican II’s reversal of the following from the Council of Trent amongst other things?

    The holy council wishes indeed that at each mass the faithful who are present should communicate, not only in spiritual desire but also by the sacramental partaking of the Eucharist, that thereby they may derive from this most holy sacrifice a more abundant fruit; if, however, that is not always done, it does not on that account condemn as private and illicit those masses in which the priest alone communicates sacramentally, but rather approves and commends them, since these masses also ought to be considered as truly common, partly because at them the people communicate spiritually and partly also because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for himself only but for all the faithful who belong to the body of Christ.”

    And of course, Pope Pius V added this concerning the Tridentine Mass, which of course Vatican II has no such admonition concerning future developments of the Mass after it ordered it revised:

    “It shall be unlawful,” said Saint Pope Pius V, “henceforth and forever throughout the Christian world to sing or to read Masses according to any formula other than this Missal published by us. Should any venture do so, let him understand that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.”

    So, would those who say Pope Benedict acted unlawfully in allowing for Pope Pius’ V Mass in addition to the post Vatican II Mass say the same thing about Pope Paul VI violating the letter of the law of Pope Pius V? Probably not and for ideological reasons.

  37. #79 – would suggest that this quote is taken out of context and implies something that is both inaccurate and incorrect:

    Key corrections:
    – VII developed and approved a liturgy document (Trent did not); thus, Consilium and Paul VI acted immediately upon the council’s document (while council was on-going). Trent closed with no liturgical document and some general advice and it was only the 2nd pope after Trent’s close who made liturgical decisions
    – experts interpret Pius V as making these points – liturgy changes and because liturgical forms are disciplinary; not dogmatic; no pope would expect successors to insist upon their missal, order of mass, etc. as irreformable. Thus, #79 is taken out of context – the rest of what Pius V said:

    (Thus, he allows certain liturgical practices to continue despite the new Missal)

    “This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by the Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases we in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.”

    Note that even Pius V has made his new missal the *ordinary* form but then granted some exceptions based upon a 200 year window.

    Thus, Pius V did NOT decree that other forms were just as legitimate – rather he gave allowance with limits. That’s quite different from what #79 argues. In fact, it is really not much different from what Paul VI did after the close of VII – consistent with Pius V, he proclaimed one missal/form of the mass with certain exceptions his were based upon reasons of age, spiritual reasons, etc.

    And this is what Pius V stated in Quo Primum per the link author:

    “Rather than pretend to issue a liturgical decree as if it were a Divine law necessary for the faith and salvation of all, the Pope was trying to do what many popes have tried to do in their own contexts both before and since: to put an end to what the Church regarded as an excessive variety in the liturgy. To end, in other words, a certain sloppiness or lack of control over the rite, as evidenced by various changes and adaptations which were of relatively recent origin or were associated too much with particular localities, thereby marring the desired universality of the Roman Rite for an insufficient reason.

    Indeed, this context is very similar to our own. Pius doesn’t want anyone adding to or subtracting from the Missal as promulgated by proper authority. John Paul II could say much the same about any of the missals currently permitted for use today. And in doing so, John Paul II would definitely not mean that no future Pope could make any changes.

    Indeed, Pius again makes this limitation of his own prescription clear when he specifies exactly who is bound by the new Missal: “We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.”

    Sounds exactly like what Paul VI did and what Benedict contradicted.

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