A unique sight, and intensely interesting: Abp Alexander Sample celebrates Mass

Helen, Countess of Radnor, Viscountess Folkestone (1845 – 1929) was a Victorian musical pioneer, best known today because Sir C H H Parry named an orchestral suite for her. Aristocratic by birth and by marriage, she organised a “ladies’ string band” to play in support of various good causes.

A newspaper column called London Gossip (26 September 1887) offered a breathless report of one of her charity concerts:

One of the most amusing as well as delightful entertainments of a public nature in London was Lady Folkestone’s concert at Prince’s Hall. The entire orchestra, chorus, and all  the performers, were ladies … Lady Folkestone conducted, standing with her back to the audience, and facing the entire band, who were placed on graduated seats.

Lady Folkestone is a massive woman; she was dressed in magnificent old lace and white satin, the train of which overflowed the borders of the dais. Her arms are marvellous for size. To see her, wand in hand, conducting and controlling the answering musicians, was a sight to remember. The distinguished fiddlers, some of whom literally blazed in diamonds, was a unique sight, and intensely interesting. The music discoursed was of the best kind, and excellently rendered. The hall was filled with the crème de la crème of society, headed by the Princess of Wales … Ladies are poaching on the privileges of the male sex.

But it never mentioned what the ladies played. The concert was worth reporting, not because of the music, but because of the oddity of beautifully-dressed women, doing something that men usually do.

I had a similar reaction in listening to a recent homily by Alexander Sample, the archbishop of Portland, Oregon in the USA. He was celebrating a solemn pontifical Mass, in the Tridentine form, as part of a conference on Gregorian Chant. The homily is on Youtube, and it has received wide acclaim in the traditionalist and “reform of the reform” world, so I thought it was worth checking out.

We made an unofficial transcript of the homily, which you can read here. It has only been lightly edited, primarily to add punctuation and to remove stutters and repeated words. It is a transcript, not a text prepared by the archbishop. If you do find a material error in the transcript, let us know and we will correct it.

Archbishop Sample’s homily reminded me of the London Gossip report on Lady Radnor’s concert, because, in a sermon during a pontifical Tridentine Mass, his primary theme was the fact that he was celebrating a pontifical Tridentine Mass. We learned something about the musicians’ jewellery and clothes, but not much about what they were playing.

Toward the very end of the homily, he said, “I should say something about the scriptures we just heard.” (At this point the congregation tittered.) Expanding on 1 Corinthians 13, the archbishop admonished “those of this more traditional sensitivity” to offer “a witness of great love, of great kindness, of gentleness, of patience … As much as we may want to get every word right in the liturgy, as much as we want to get every movement down perfectly in the liturgy, if we do not have love, then it’s just a show. So let’s be people filled with love.”

Good and wise counsel, to be sure, however brief.

But 90 percent of the homily was about the fact that the archbishop was celebrating a Tridentine Mass, in the solemn pontifical form. And here, it was less impressive.

He starts out with a claim that seems dodgy to me:

The pontifical liturgy celebrated by the bishop, especially by the bishop in his own diocese, is the highest form of the liturgy, and every other celebration of the Holy Mass derives from this liturgy.

I’m not sure what he means by ‘highest’ – it can’t be ‘most elaborate’, because a Pontifical Mass celebrated by the pope is far more elaborated. And is it really the case that every other form of Mass derives from the pontifical Mass celebrated by a bishop in his own diocese? Is a papal Mass simply a matter of adding a few doodads to this ‘highest’ form? Is low Mass created by subtracting the gloves, buskins, episcopal sandals, mitre, etc.? That doesn’t ring true to me; I would value comments (and sources) by those more knowledgeable in liturgical history.

He might have created greater clarity by quoting Sacrosanctum Concilium, section 41:

…all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the pre-eminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God’s holy people in these liturgical celebrations, especially in the same eucharist, in a single prayer, at one altar, at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers.

Then, the archbishop effectively describes himself as a ‘high priest’. Sacrosanctum Concilium says the same thing, also in section 41: “the bishop is to be considered as the high priest of his flock, from whom the life in Christ of his faithful is in some way derived and dependent.” But saying it in this context seems a bit self-serving, rather like priests who get upset if they aren’t addressed as Father, or who go on about their own anointed hands, or about how they are acting ‘in the person of Christ’.

After this we get a long discourse on ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. It’s hard to work out quite what the archbishop is recommending here.  I don’t really blame him, because the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’ concept is so vague.

On the one hand, who could disagree that it makes no sense to celebrate the liturgy as though “everything began anew at the Second Vatican Council”, as though we need a complete ‘rupture’ with what has gone before? Who ever made such a silly claim? Even the wildest excesses of the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference have some degree of ‘continuity’ with the Tridentine Mass, and with other older forms.

Liturgy changes with time. It changed at the Council of Trent; it changed again a few years after that council. Many things change, many things remain constant, so there is continuity. There has never been either complete stasis or complete rupture.

“This liturgy [the Tridentine] is ancient – ancient!” says Archbishop Sample; “There are prayers that we are praying in this liturgy tonight that are ancient, that go back to the earliest centuries of the Church. Our way of celebrating tonight is a way of celebrating from antiquity.” True enough. And also true of the Novus Ordo. And do all those episcopal gloves and bugias and gremiales date back to the earliest centuries of the Church?

This fuzzy logic leads to a thoroughly confusing conclusion: “as we take a good hard look at the reform of the liturgy in our own day we need this [Tridentine] liturgy as the touchstone, as the measure of what true reform would look like.” Does this mean that true reform means no reform?

Let me be clear: I love beautiful liturgy. Every Sunday, I participate (actively) in a Latin Mass, the Mass of Paul VI, with gorgeous music, chant, even bells and incense. But it is simply the Mass, not something extraordinary; the same Mass that is held in our parish, 23 times every week. To quote Archbishop Sample, “that’s continuity!”

There is more that could be said. The rest of the homily reads like a pastiche of Alcuin Reid and Archbishop Schneider, and it’s clear that Archbishop Sample has read a few of the blogs as well. But let that pass.

A few minor criticisms. The first is that Archbishop Sample clearly likes his Latin, even beginning his homily with a Latin phrase. Well and good, but at least let’s get the Latin right. He refers, twice to “usus antiquor”; antiquor is not an adjective but a verb, a word you would not say unless you were personifying a bill before the Senate, perhaps as a character in a Roman comedy. Antiquor means, “I am rejected.” He meant antiquior, of course, which means “older”, but went on to mistranslate this as “ancient”.

The following two comments are more about the Tridentine Mass itself than about the homily.

If you watched the video instead of reading the transcript, you would have seen the archbishop seated, facing the people, flanked by the clergy, all wearing liturgical hats: the bishop in his mitre, the other clergy in birettas. Is this really required by the Tridentine pontifical ritual? Could the bishop not stand to speak, without his crown? Do the other clergy need to face the people, looking like court officials?

And no matter how often I attend a solemn Tridentine Mass, the business of removing and replacing the biretta at every mention of the Holy Name seems funny at best, silly at worst.

A final gripe: did the Archbishop really need to leave us with the unfortunate image of “the priest sitting with us with nothing on but a stole”? No need to bring back memories of the 1970s; public nudity is no longer in vogue, especially at Mass.

85 comments

  1. Thank you for posting the text of the homily.

    This homily was a brilliant exposition of the thinking (and legislation) of Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum, and it was appropriate — for a conference on liturgy and sacred music — that he primarily address those themes. I think the comparison with the outfits of the ladies is snarky and unfair; Archbp. Sample made a number of substantive points about the liturgy and the real intention and teaching of the Second Vatican Council that readers of this blog would do well to heed.

    Let’s put it this way: one could just as easily say that the Second Vatican Council was guilty of navel-gazing by spending so much time talking about the Church, the Church, the Church, the People of God, us, our problems, etc., rather than focusing on Christ the Lord, His kingdom, His glory, His prerogatives, etc. But of course that would paint a false opposition: to treat of the Mystical Body of Christ is to treat of Christ; to speak of the People of God is to point to God Himself as well as to His people. The very same thing is true of the Archbishop’s homily: it looks to the liturgy and sacred music not because of some weird preoccupation, but because these things, done properly, give glory and honor to God and bring the people to holiness.

  2. It’s nice to see the Tridentine Rite come out of the closet. There can be unity in the Church without uniformity. That is part of our Tradition which has not been honored in recent centuries. As long as His Excellency respects those who do not share his liturgical views and people want to support this then let it happen (those buskins are expensive, not to mention all the different miters). This is a legitimate spirituality for a number of people; it should be encouraged as such.

    1. @Deacon James Anderson Murphy – comment #3:
      Deacon, I agree. I personally don’t see the point of the birettas and buskins and whatnot, but clearly some people do. May they be nourished by the Mass they treasure.

      Ignore my comments about priests in a row and birettas, if you wish. My concerns about the homily remain.

  3. Sad……let’s see:
    – doesn’t know latin well
    – has a confused and mixed up ecclesiology
    – has a confused concept of episcopal theology e. g. *high priest* in VII documents has a much broader theology than a narrow placement in the eucharistic liturgy
    – is this a version of a ROTR *clown mass*?
    – his *hermeneutic of continuity* seems to sound more like what Francis described in many ways and forms:

    “Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian!”
    “Restorationist!”
    “Triumphalist!” (Jonathan, your high priest comment reminded me of this)
    “Museum mummy!”
    Renaissance prince!”
    Idealogue!” (especially, IMO, since eucharist comes out of a community and isn’t a once in a while *show piece*)
    “Liturgical obsessive!”
    “Sayer of prayers!”
    “Authoritarian!”
    “Elitist!”
    “Querulous and disillusioned pessimist!” (esp. given his disjointed quasi-historical narrative on the TLM)
    “Asker for certainty in all things!”
    “Closed, sad, trapped Christian who is not a free Christian!” (IMO, this self-obsession with the TLM brings you to this stage in life)
    “Little monster!”
    “Creed-reciting, parrot Christian!”
    “Abstract ideologue!”
    “Fundamentalist!”
    “Worshiper of the god Narcissus!” (IMO, most of his talk is about him)
    “Vain, butterfly-priest!”
    “Those closed in the formality of a prayer that is cold, stingy [who]
    might end up in the sterility of their formality.”
    “People nostalgic for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world!”

    Just repeating Francis.

      1. I think the comments pretty much sum up Archbishop Sample. He clearly revels in personal pageantry of the past. In an unseemly way. Gowns do not a priest make.

      1. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #10:
        Mr. Kosala – go back to the speech in which Francis used this phrase. Both the context and meaning refer to priests/seminarians who have closed minds; hang onto certain outdated practices and then impose them upon the church. Sounds like a pretty accurate parallel to what Sample is doing. He used the phrase when talking to a group of religious superiors about formation – must include both the heart and the mind. Re-read this sermon – not much heart; rather focuses upon the unreformed form of the eucharist. No mention of encountering Christ, the community, etc. Glancing addition of that day’s scripture, etc. Appears to be more an *agenda* rather than *breaking open the word of God*.

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #19:

        No mention of encountering Christ

        Bill, what do you think the experience of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass/Eucharist* is, if not a total encounter with Christ?
        Or is He confined to how many times He is mentioned in a homily?
        It’s pretty simple, actually.

        *in either form.

      3. @Charles Culbreth – comment #20:
        Charles, it is clear you don’t like my posts but you are really stretching this time…..explicitly commented above that I was referencing his sermon (it wasn’t a homily and that was part of my point of view despite his throw away lines at the end).
        Go to the GIRM and look up the definition and purpose of a homily? It is pretty simple, actually.

        Or, as you stated on another post:

        ‘Charles, that sort of commentary is at best obtuse, unnecessarily directed, and unhelpful towards advancing discussion. You know this”

      4. @Bill deHaas – comment #33:

        Actually Bill, I rather enjoy most of your posts when you’re not baiting FRAJM, if you really want to know what I actually like.
        And whether you realize it or not, whether sermon or homily or not, my question to you does advance the discussion because I asked you clearly whether Christ is present throughout the whole of the Mass, something with which even the late Eugene Walsh wouldn’t likely contend. It’s not personal, Bill. You’re the one who questioned the efficacy of Abp’s Mass insofar as “encountering Christ.”

      5. @Charles Culbreth – comment #37:
        Thanks, Charles – yes, miss those FRAJM baiting days – it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

        Really, didn’t question Sample’s mass – only the sermon as Jonathan emphasized and continues to try to pull us back to! But I digress.

        OTOH – have been amused by some comments; for example;
        – one says Sample merely did what was legal and then condemned the LA RE Mass because of liturgical dance (which is also legal – so what’s up?)
        – another amusing thought….. I note how liturgists say that “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist should participate only when clergy are not available.” So “extraordinary” means different things at different times. Ahhh “catholic logic” !!!
        – some bishops set up a personal diocesan parish or church for the TLM/EF…which brings up this *consubstantial* suggestion – Does this mean that we can expect them to establish a “personal parish” for those who prefer the “old” version of the English Mass, rather than the so-called English version we have now?

        Just some ruminations along the line of what I heard in the Bishop’s confusing sermon. (to bring it back to Jonathan’s request again)

      6. @Bill deHaas – comment #19:
        Please, don’t hide your insults behind quotation marks. If you want to call him a little monster, and a museum mummy, just do it. As for not encountering Christ, read the last few paragraphs of the homily.
        Forgive me, but the fact that a liturgy such as the one in the l.a. religious education congress, concelebrated by a criminal bishop and with huge deviations from the missal requires no justification from you, but a liturgy celebrated by a bishop according to approved norms of the church requires justification, makes your complaining about disunity seem rather farcical to me.

      7. @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #21:Talk about a reaction based upon your own outrage:

        Really, first you react to my comment (and my long post had multiple points and you pick out one? which wasn’t even the central or key points) and call it an insult and then your next comment is just another *insult* –

        “…liturgy such as the one in the l.a. religious education congress, concelebrated by a criminal bishop and with huge deviations from the missal”

        Guess you didn’t like the LA Religious Education Congress – so, what does that have to do with this post and topic? Are you just mad because they didn’t invite Bishop Sample to speak or do a TLM?

        Help me understnad:
        – what were the *huge deviations*from the missal* at the LA RE Conference?
        – *criminal bishop (well, he is a cardinal (retired)) and whether you or I wish he was a *criminal* no US court has found him criminally convicted. And, again, what does this have to do with this post and Sample? And, yes, there are few folks like Mahony that have a worse track record on abuse but reputable groups say this about Sample: “you’ve “done nothing to distinguish” yourself from “the overwhelming majority of Catholic officials who continue to minimize and hide clergy sex crimes.”

      8. @Bill deHaas – comment #34:

        Yes, I didn’t like the L.A. Congress, litrugy, but I’m also not much of a fan of Bishop Sample, and I do think that he looks silly in those gloves. The reason that I bring the l.a. congress up, is that you are so upset by what you perceived is a disunity being advocated by bishop sample and the liturgy he is celebrating, but at the same time have no problem with the sort of liturgy that was celebrated there with a bishop who has been a great source of pain for many of the faithful. You assult the character of bishop Sample, but Mahony gets a free pass. You compare the liturgy celebrated by bishop Sample to a clown mass, but voice no concerns about dancers in lyotards prancing about as the audience watches. The liturgy which breaks from what is called for in the missal and from the general tradition of the roman rite, gets no derision, but the liturgy celebrated according to the rites of the church gets all sorts of derision, insult and mockery from you and other commentators. It makes it difficult for me to take you seriously, and genuinly amuses me.

  4. Peter, this blog also looks to the liturgy and sacred music. We don’t think that liturgy is a weird preoccupation; some of us — like you — spend many hours reading, thinking and writing about it.

    What I don’t see in the Archbishop’s homily is a lot more than a repeated assertion that the Tridentine Mass he has celebrated is beautiful and “ancient”. Nor is it clear what he is recommending to the Church.

    This doesn’t apply to your own work, at least as published on New Liturgical Movement. You have made it clear that the liturgical reforms following the Council were based on false principles, and that the Church should discard the Novus Ordo and return to the preconciliar liturgy, as soon as it is pastorally practical to do — not immediately, as you note in one article, but, ideally soon.

    I greatly admire the courage and frankness with which you have put forth your views, and the clarity with which you have expressed them. I think they are utterly wrong, but there is no question about what would happen if the Church agreed with you.

    I can’t say the same for the Archbishop’s homily. Just what does he think should happen?

  5. Now…I’m going back 24 years when we were in Seminary together, so Alex may have changed somewhat over the years. I do have to say that Alex is brilliant; besides a degree in Theology, he also has an Engineering Degree in the Metallurgical Sciences (I think that’s the right spelling, but I’m not positive) and tought those type of courses for some years after Ordination. That type of scientific thinking was prevalent when we had our Preaching Practicum. To all of us who were listening, he sometimes seemed scattered (we all were!). What happened at times is that he presumed we had some basic understanding of science and that type of methodology and thinking. We didn’t, of course; we weren’t that intelligent (most every priest that I know that is super intelligent sometimes can’t preach worth a bean). I can honestly say that when he was asked to clarify because we didn’t know where he was coming from, he did so. His “outline” of thought made more sense.

    Was he Conservative back then. Yes, he was. We seminarians had the big “argument” on whether to stand or kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer (remember, this was during the Middle to Late 80’s). He led the crusade to kneel (the rest of us didn’t care one way or the other).

    Did he like Latin? Yes, he did. Because I love chant, I was in charge of the schola for the Masses in Latin that we had, and he sang in it. I can say that he wasn’t the best Latin scholar. Although I’m rusted solid today, I was pretty good back then. I prefer to use a living language as my primary one, instead of one nobody understands.

    I can also say that he used to assist at the Byzantine Liturgies that we had, so he wasn’t some Latin-only fanatic. He may have changed for all I know, but he wasn’t back then.

    Would I want to be one of his priests today? Probably not; he’s too Conservative for my tastes. But he was a good friend back then, and still is, although I haven’t seen and talked with him since Ordination.

  6. is it really the case that every other form of Mass derives from the pontifical Mass celebrated by a bishop in his own diocese?

    In a certain sense he got this one right. To over-simplify, the spread of the Roman Rite through Europe during the Middle Ages was via the pontifical sacramentary, not whatever books were used by garden variety Roman priests. So solemn Mass was a somewhat stripped down papal Mass and Low Mass (when it eventually developed) was a stripped down solemn Mass. So the Ur source was an episcopal liturgy.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #9:
      Thanks, Fritz. What you say makes sense.

      Does this suggest that the papal Mass was initially “the Mass of the bishop of Rome”, just one episcopal Mass among others, until various movements — e.g. St Francis in the Rule, and eventually the Council of Trent, aided by the development of moveable type, promulgated the Roman (papal) Mass as the central version?

      Reading the homily in this way, it looks as though Abp Sample might endorse some liturgical devolution to the bishop in his own diocese. I wonder what he thinks of the central imposition of the new translation…

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #17:
        Jonathan – my comment above was mostly tongue in cheek but also wonder why you made this post and then tried to focus on the homily?

        To clarify my comments – the eucharist and the role of bishop is to create, implement, and support *unity*. Given this, find Sample’s TLM (highlighted in his homily) to only create division (not unity) and, IMO, this is also not diversity (nor am I only focusing on uniformity). My experience is that SP and the TLM is really a local decision (now) to show kindness and mercy on a very small group (because of their own needs). SP does not set the TLM as a separate *rite*; it does not elevate this *permission* so that it conveys the notion that the TLM and the reformed VII eucharist are the same; some argue that it is a spirituality – the eucharist is not a spirituality nor is the eucharist used to support a spirituality. And to be honest, at the hundreds of PTB posts on this issue, what you mostly see are folks who desire the TLM and at the same time have reservations about VII, skew the interprretation and meaning of VII to their own ideology, etc.
        Given my opinion, my comment was – SAD – because this archbishop chooses to make the eucharist a symbol of disunity; a symbol of ideology; and creates confusion in the local church.
        Assume that you are trying to make this TLM/homily some type of basis for debate, argument, etc. Wonder if that is the best way to go – at times, I wonder if PTB is only providing a blog so that folks can continue old, inaccurate, and emotional opinions (not based upon factual analysis) and then all of the comments merely go in a circle? Find that the TLM arguments repeat the same discredited memes over and over – so, what is the goal? (and, as you say above – “I think they are utterly wrong, but there is no question about what would happen if the Church agreed with you.”
        Also, surprised by your question in #17 – if you have tracked Sample’s career at all, you know that he is a delayed vocation; a latin/TLM advocate; has given numerous speeches on latin, chant (anti-hymns); doesn’t want deacons preaching; a cultural warrior (admires Chaput & Burke); authoritarian; administrator (not pastor) who longs for a return to the age of the Baltimore Catechism and the church of the 1950s. He wouldn’t allow Bishop Gumbleton to speak in his diocese and was one of the bishops who condemned Notre Dame for inviting Obama.
        Fr. Ruff posted on Sample on PTB previously which answers your question:
        http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/02/13/bishop-samples-pastoral-letter-on-sacred-music-in-divine-worship/

        Highlights from Fr. Ruff:
        – “see that the document cites the Vatican II liturgy constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 13 times – more than any other source. But Bishop Sample has a particular slant on Vatican II and which parts of it he wants to emphasize.”
        – “Bishop Sample quotes Pope Pius X’s 1903 motu proprio “Tra le sollecitudini” 6 times, in second place (tied with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal) of all sources he cites.
        The US bishops’ 2007 document “Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship“? Not so much. One citation. Yup, one. The primary post-Vatican II Roman document on music, Musican sacram of 1967? One. Pius XI and Pius XII each appear once. Paul VI? Forget it. The reinterpretation of Vatican II continues apace. 1903 is in big time. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Portland.”
        Commenters that followed:
        – Paul Ford uses the word…elitist
        – Fr. Jack says…..If you’ve seen a photo of him with a very tall, pointed miter and wearing white gloves, you’ll know that this prelate is quite special. May God help us all.
        – Fr. Ruff says…..Bishop Sample has a very one-sided, not to say tendentious, reading of Vatican II. You can show that by looking at his citations. You could also (though I didn’t do it) show this by looking at the themes he emphasizes, and how very selective he is about Vatican II. That would be a longer post, and maybe I will get around to writing it. Or maybe others will show this by their comments on this.
        – you questionned why he released a letter/policy just before leaving Marquette?
        OR
        http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2011/10/bishop-alexander-sample-on-liturgical.html

  7. Is it uncommon for a Bishop to preach sitting down? I honestly don’t know. The last time I attended a Mass celebrated by a bishop he sat to deliver his homily – and that Mass could only be described as a more “progressive” OF (no kneeling, odd music that didn’t follow any approved translation, etc). The seating arrangement was such that nobody in my section could see the bishop when he sat down unless you turned completely around, so we just had to listen to his voice through the sound system.

    I have noticed that it is common for the homily at a “first EF” to be about the EF. The priest at the first Mass of my EF community preached about the EF and its merits, and when our group moved to a new parish, the priest again mostly talked about the EF. After that, it was regular homilies about the readings, season, or feast day. I think when something is infrequently done or is new, it is self-conscious. When it done regularly, it isn’t. For those of us who attend the EF regularly week after week, it is “simply the Mass.”

  8. I saw this clip several days ago on another blog.

    I too was rather perplexed by the ecclesiology operative in the homily.

    I objected to the principal character of the homily as being self-congratulatory. As is often the case, the closer I get to the truth the more likely my comments are to be deleted as it was in this particular case.

    It really seemed like play acting to me, although in fairness I would allow that it was likely a licit and valid Eucharist.

  9. A biretta story, reported by the sister who taught me in sixth grade, suggesting that the disappearance of that headgear was a blessing: A presiding priest was seated on the bench, biretta on head, while another priest preached. Since the sitting priest was obliged to doff the cap whenever the word “Jesus” came up, he could not tune the sermon out completely. (Yes, the name in Philippians 2:9-11 at which every knee must bend isn’t “Jesus” but “Lord.” Good luck getting custom to conform to Scripture there.) Unfortunately, the homilist was talking about biblical interpretation and repeatedly used the word “exegesis,” and each time he did so, off would come the presiding priest’s biretta.

    1. @Paul R. Schwankl – comment #13:
      A blessing yes! I remember the scowl on the priest’s face whenever he went to sit down, we would lift the chasuble for him to sit but if we weren’t quick enough the biretta always got sat on.

      1. @Dale R. Rodrigue – comment #24:
        Belated thanks for this response, Dale. Yes, birettas do seem to have been a source of considerable amusement in the old days. I wish the ROTR folks who cultivate the return of this headgear would take into account the what-on-earth-is-THAT reaction that it evokes in many of the faithful.

  10. The Vatican II documents placed Jesus Christ at the center of the reform, including its descriptions of the Church. One would expect “Church” to be mentioned frequently in a constitution on the Church, and indeed ctrl-F shows “more than 100.” A simple search of Lumen Gentium finds “people of God” mentioned 37 times. “Christ” over 100.

    One possible hallmark of a homily is how focused it is on Jesus Christ. Sadly, I have heard homilies that are drastically Christ-impoverished. Sometimes contemporary hymnody is the only thing that saves the liturgy. One can say that the Psalter is the songbook of the Church (propers, etc.) but a valid question might be: where is Christ?

    I have no interest in the 1962 Missal nor in Bishop Sample’s homily. I’m fine with letting reform2 continue on its way. I won’t hesitate to say that the 1570/1962 liturgical practice is theologically and pastorally impoverished. But that happens in a lot of places with the Roman Rite.

    +1 on #12, Paul.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #14:
      “One can say that the Psalter is the songbook of the Church (propers, etc.) but a valid question might be: where is Christ?”

      Todd, I know you’ll pull out weights and measures, but Jesus is clearly in “Visionem” (Tell no one what you have seen…) from Matthew as last Sunday’s Communio. He is also present in “Qui biberit aquam” (Whoever drinks the water I will give…) from John this Sunday. “Lutum fecit” (He made mud from His spittle) will be sung next Sunday, and so forth.
      In the lovely words of Judy Collins, “What I’ll give you since you asked.”
      It occurs to me that you’ve left yourself an “out” with linking the Psalter to the presumed whole body of Propers. But consider this from this Sunday’s gospel: the cistern of generations collects rain, or from aquafirs. That is metaphorically “dead water” as opposed to “streams of living water” as found in Ps42. Jesus enhances, or fulfills that “existential” reality for the Samaritan woman. And furthermore, 1 John 1 affirms the presence of the Logos from creation. There’s Jesus in the Psalter.
      I’m not a theologian nor do I play one on TV.

  11. Just took a look at the Youtube clip. I know the good archbishop is presiding at the Eucharist in the so-called EF, but, frankly it looks silly. For what purpose would priests in the 21st century be seated in that configuration with vestments that look like costumes from a period piece and wearing birettas. I last wore a biretta in 1965, my first year in seminary. We also wore capes back then in cold weather. They kept us warm, but then overcoats came along to do the same thing. I’m sorry, traddies, but I really have a hard time with this. I’ve no problem with whatever it is you feel the need to do behind church doors, but watching it does not arouse in me pious thoughts.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #22:
      Very reasonable Jack.
      I suspect Bishop Sample feels the wind of change and the need to pound home the EF and circling the wagons. Anyhow, if he wants his show with birettas and gloves he can have it. Only a small number anyhow, more of a curiosity than anything else and everybody occasionally likes attending a show with all the dress up. That’s why shows in Vegas are so popular, they peak our curiosity and are entertaining.
      A note from my diocese and a true story. Recently an elderly priest volunteered to say the EF because he remembered how to say it from his early days as a priest and wanted to help the small pious group that needed a priest. Suddenly, I think is was last month, he quit. When asked why he said he was tired of the bunch. Even though he volunteered because he believed all the motu proprio stuff he quickly learned that this small group left a lot to be desired. After one of his EF masses he was accosted and was told that the Mass he just said was “invalid” because he didn’t hold the host properly between his thumb and forefinger. He quit after that. True story.
      They are now scrambling for a replacement.

  12. As a Latin teacher and student of history, among other things, I cannot help but be drawn to the EF of the Mass. The past few years I’ve moved down a long, winding road toward the Church, reading my way into it, as it were, and it was through Sts Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Therese of Avila, Catherine of Sienna, through Bl. Cardinal Newman and countless others that have drawn me to it. The chanting of the Introit, the Gradual, the Offertory, the Communion Sentences drew me. The prayers and hymns — Introibo ad altarem Dei, Exsultet, Pange Lingua, Stabat Mater — those drew me. The sheer otherworldliness of that liturgy, its timeless quality, not unlike the few times I’ve ventured to an Orthodox Paschal service, the bells, the incense, the bowing, the kneeling, the silences, the engagement of all of my senses and my entire body and being, have drawn me along. At the elevations – Kyrios mou kai theos mou! – time and eternity, every Mass ever celebrated, seemed to collide into one moment, one mystical experience: the Mass. Even the birettas, which I wouldn’t personally enjoy having to wear, point to that gestalt nature of the Latin Mass, despoiling Egypt, as it were, as it rolls along growing in majesty. Typically, the clergy I know put the birettas in their laps after the third time the name of the Lord is mentioned, for what it’s worth.

    It may be that praising the Mass and its great history the way that I have causes much eye-rolling here, but here are (quite literally) millions of people, some of surprising youth, drawn to that form and similar otherworldly, older liturgies, most notably the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, but also a growing number of people who crave an explicit connection to the older form of the Roman Rite. They will pursue it regardless of whether they are poked fun of or considered odd for doing so. Why is it so baffling to see people still drawn to it?

  13. Shaughn, I wish you well in your journey! If all adherents of the EF were like you then there would be absolutely no problem.

    Unfortunately they aren’t, sometimes the EF is like a magnet for those who despise the OF and have a false belief or undercurrent that the EF is the CORRECT way to worship, Mass of the ages whose tradition is 2000 years old whereas the OF is only 50 years old AND the OF needs to be rolled back ASAP…lots of garbage IMO, but you can see that very undercurrent in Bishop Sample and those who support him.
    If you don’t believe me just reread the above post by Jonathan Day and read the homily by Sample. Also read Jonathan Day’s excellent comment to Peter Kwasniewski in #5: “This doesn’t apply to your own work, at least as published on New Liturgical Movement. You have made it clear that the liturgical reforms following the Council were based on false principles, and that the Church should discard the Novus Ordo and return to the preconciliar liturgy, as soon as it is pastorally practical to do — not immediately, as you note in one article, but, ideally soon.”
    Now, NOT all of those attending the EF are this way but many are and I’ve seen firsthand the divisions they create and their downright nastiness. Some of the priests in my diocese call them Catholic Fundamentalists and some of these malcontents write letters on a regular basis to the priests in our diocese. Our priest read one of them to the congregation. Along with their long list of baloney they also stated that Vatican II was “satanic”. The congregation hissed. Needless to say there is never going to be an OF at our cluster. Again, neither you nor all of the OF adherents are this way but as long as the pious good OF adherents are silent and don’t weed out the goats then there will always be resistance to the OF.

  14. I am so pleased that people are using ancient rites, to wit, Tridentine, Ambrosian, Sarum, but I am even more thrilled that I don’t have to.

  15. Shaughan, I respect your personal religious sentiments, but there are so many other factors to consider. Suppose there was a movement to restore Elizabethan English in place of what it’s adherents call the more vulgar contemporary form? Perhaps all over the English speaking world there might be significant support. Now imagine that these Elizabethans contended that those who espouse contemporary English are responsible for much that is wrong with the world. That’ show EF’ers come across to me. They remind me also of opera buffs who scoff at people who prefer more popular kinds of music.
    We had an ecumenical council that employed this age’s tools of scholarship and in doing so called for a thorough reform of the rites of Mass and the other sacraments that would more clearly speak to what it is that Christians do when we worship God in spirit and truth. That reform had to reflect the cognitive element required of most literate people. That could not have been a factor in the 16th century when most people including many priests were barely literate if at all. The notion of intellectually comprehending the sacred mysteries was not on ordinary people’s radar. The TLM is predicated on the principal that the Mass is comprised of the correct words and gestures which when substantially observed results in the Real Presence at which all can marvel and adore. Is that what Jesus was doing at the Last Supper or at Emmaus or in the homes where people gathered for the breaking of the bread? Did he die on the cross so that priests could bring him down from heaven? The TLM may be beautiful to you but it’s puzzling to me. I lived the first third of my life before the OF.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #28:
      And don’t forget, Fr. Jack, when the church moved to latin – that latin was the local Roman vulgar contemporary latin (or as one latin expert stated – the latin of the prostitutes)

  16. Jack,

    Elizabethan English can be found in the Ordinariates for people who want it, which is probably where I’d head in the long term (for the sake of my family) since I can scratch my Latin itch conveniently enough on my own. There is, can, and should be room for those who long to hear “My soul doth magnify the Lord * And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior,” et cetera.

    Based on what I’ve read over the years, TLM seems to emphasize a fine blend of a) sacrifice on an altar that is then consumed by the congregation as in the temple at Jerusalem, b) the seder, c) the Sabbath meal, and d) the synagogue service, with a heavy emphasis thematically on a) while drawing on b, c, and d for its form. But that’s probably a tangent of sorts.

    If I have a complaint about the current state of affairs in the US, both in church and outside of it, it’s that I’m very often reminded of Martin Bucer’s logic for the liturgy, which is to eschew, eschew, eschew whenever and whatever people don’t understand, rather than teach it. Then again, I am a Latin teacher, and so I’m surely biased.

  17. Interestingly, I see the anti EF crowd in a similar light as Fr Jack sees the traditionalists. I have met some crazy traddies, and they seem no more nasty than some in the anti EF camp.

    Perhaps the character of traditionalists varies by region, I could see them being more bitter in areas where the indult was abused and neglected. Most of the ones I know, and I’m talking vast majority, are rather nice people who even attend the OF (even acting as lectors and ushers at it) on occation. I have a hard time believing that most Catholics who would request the EF from an average OF priest would call Vatican II satanic. If that was the one oddball letter of many, then the priest was being cruel in reading it to the congregation.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #34:
      Jack, most priests in my diocese get letters not from one person but from a group. They are actually advised to not reply to them because it will only legitimize them. The chancery is apparently aware of them. And sorry if you have a hard time believing the comment, but it is true as 400 parishoners can testify. And the priest reading the letter was not cruel, but it was an eye opener on what is going on out there.

      As I said Jack, not ALL EF Catholics are this way. However, I would disagree with you and think that more than half, the majority are this bad, at least with what I have experienced.
      and what our liturgical people have related.
      As far as anti EF camp sure there are some crazies, but we call them out on it. BUT when we dealt with these issues there was LITTLE vitriol unlike the stuff that has come out of the EF crowd.

      There is only one way out in my opinion, give the EF crowd their own legitimate Rite. Lord knows we are closing enough churches, give them a church building, free of charge. Help them out. Nothing like turning the other cheek. But make sure that it is called the “Old Latin RIte Church” or something else to distinguish it from the reformed Rite. Lord knows we don’t want the public thinking that SOME of these individuals represent the remaining 93% Roman Catholic Latin Rite crowd.

      BTW Jack,

      Google: Vatican II Evil

      and see what comes up. I did and now I have indigestion and a greater dislike for SOME of this group. My lenten self mortification will be to love them. Personally, I would rather take the rack.

  18. This article is a disappointment. Taking the words of a sermon presented at a Pontifical High Mass (EF) to an assembly consisting, it would seem, of a number of people who’ve just attended a conference on the subject of the Traditional Latin Mass (EF), the author takes Archbishop Sample to task for selecting as his topic reflections on the Pontifical High Mass.

    Nuts! If I were an attendee, that is precisely the topic I would want to hear my Archbishop discuss.

    The criticisms are childish. Did you REALLY think that the priest referenced in the sermon was buck naked but for a stole? Did the pronunciation of his Latin words discombobulate you so thoroughly? Then surely you’d have been thrown when he twice spoke of how to “interpet” something. (Are you still left with that image of the priest?)

    As for some technical questions, the Ceremonial of Bishops [(c) 1989 Collegeville MN] refers to the bishop’s role in the “preeminent manifestation of the Church…” Not verbatim “highest”, but thinking people can understand.

    And the question regarding the bishop remaining seated, that too can be found in the Ceremonial of Bishops, [17] “Unless he decides that some other way is preferable, the bishop should preach while seated at the chair, wearing the mitre and holding the pastoral staff.”

    Archbishop Sample’s closing comments are most interestingly brushed aside in the rush to castigate him. He reminds us that without love, anything else is worthless, I found little evidence of love in this review.

  19. Regarding #14 and #15: I’m thankful to you, Todd and Paul, and I’m thankful for Pray Tell. The “exegesis” story has been waiting for a wider audience since about 1962.
    The linked video shows, at 21:00, one of those instances of “At the name ‘Jesus’ every biretta must come off”—this time in a wave, as the deacon doffs his and his four confrères in birettas realize, serially, that they must do so also. The two on the archbishop’s immediate left are quite late.
    I hope spectacles of this sort were not uppermost in Archbishop Sample’s mind when he spoke of the “beauty” and “antiquity” of the usus antiquior. They have limited antiquity and not a whole lot of beauty. But they had some understandable effects in the days before December 1963:
    1. Homilists had some incentive to avoid the word “Jesus” while preaching, to head off embarrassment for biretta-wearing clergy who were listening.
    2. The Catholic bishops of the world, led by Pope Paul, were ripe for suggestions that the externals of the Eucharist had become too intricate for their own good. Consequently the council said, “Ordo Missae recognoscatur; ritus simpliciores fiant; ea omittantur quae minus utiliter addita fuerunt” (SC 50).
    Archbishop Sample tells his congregation that continued use of the unreformed order of Mass, though to me very obviously excluded by the assembled Catholic bishops of the world under the leadership of the pope, has been “permitted by the Church” and “even encouraged by the Church.” What church, I ask, is that?

    1. @Paul R. Schwankl – comment #40:

      Paul, you’ve touched THE nerve. In the days before Summorum Pontificum, when rumours of its imminence were everywhere, I asked a curial bishop with whom I happened to be dining (at Da Roberto on the Borgo Pio, as a matter of fact) if he thought the then Pope would allow universal use of the unreformed order of Mass. He replied: “No Chris, because that would make two Churches, and you can’t have two Churches.”

  20. How I pray that one day soon we all like sheep will cease our endless bleating of anecdotal and statistical “evidence” that is merely caricature that demeans the Sacrifice of the Mass from both side of the LitMusic Conflict…
    To illustrate this ritualistic anthropomorphism, I’d ask those who at best will one day have to agree to a DMZ between the two Koreas, I’d ask: if you find the literal imperative carried on ritually for centuries of referencing the mandate of John that at “Jesus’ Name, every knee shall bow” silly or repugnant, would you also be quick to state your distaste for the ritual posture and movement of Hassidic Jews at prayer, particularly in the public square, whether the Wailing Wall, or in another public place? Are you strong enough in your maxims to dismiss the liturgical traditons of Islam as invalidating the practice of authentic faith and ritual?
    Presuming “no” to those questions is the answer, why bother to waste air and bandwidth picking nits of birettas and gloves, or whether the Abp’s sitting posture necessarily betrays the Christological agency at work in all Masses?
    The sooner we can dispense with this DMZ siege mentality, the sooner we will work towards “that we may become one.”
    And, lest we forget, the perogative to address the congregation in matters of faith and ritual rightly belong to the celebrant, and not some self-styled lit experts who think that the GIRM and Missal only permit scriptural exegesis at the homily moment. Does not the truism that the measure of worship proceeds to the measure of belief, and then action is actually represented in the homily in question and still applies?
    Double standards should have no purchase in the realm of ritual of our Church. From any corner. Like Jesus (and the Red Hot Chili Peppers) answered the rich young scion desiring sainthood, “Give it away, give it away, give it away now.” Let go, combatants keeping verbal vigil.

    1. @Charles Culbreth – comment #41:
      Thank you for poking me on the content of the antiphons, but I was thinking of the Psalter itself, and not an arcane and less-explicit foreshadowing of Christ therein. Sure, it is there. But the other side of my issue, as you well know, is the inclusion of New Testament canticles and lyrical material as a wholly valid expansion and renewal of the propers. If the church decides to go that way at all.

      Since I was the one who brought up statistical evidence, I should point out it was in response to the archbishop’s criticism of the over-emphasis on the “Church” and the “people.” while I have no doubt the archbishop and others are *sincere* in their criticism of a misguided ecclesiology, I do take exception to their diagnosis. And that’s another of my hallmarks, as you well know: that many reform2 people have drastically misread the history, intent, and background of liturgical reform.

      In order to move beyond the liturgy wars, it will take something more than good feelings, or the lack of bad feelings, such as the case may be. It will take two or more souls coming together and celebrating their unity, lacking a uniformity. Is that something that, if you suggested to your CMAA/reform2 confreres, would get a reception at all positive? Or would they demur because it was me, persona non grata?

  21. Let me try to bring the conversation back to the homily itself — or to the question I had hoped it might answer: what are the positive gains, or learnings, or insights for the people of God in the celebration of the Tridentine pontifical Mass? What can we learn from this ritual? How can we go beyond a London Gossip appreciation of what happened in this Mass?

    The Archbishop’s homily had a positive ending, which I highlighted at the very start of my post. But his discussion of the Mass didn’t take us beyond the London Gossip level. Can the collective expertise of PTB readers help us go there?

    In answering this, I hope we can avoid covering ground that he already did — i.e. that the pontifical Mass was taken away in the “rupture” of the postconciliar liturgical reforms. I don’t think it was, but suppose that he was right. What, exactly, was lost? What of positive spiritual, moral, intellectual benefit for the people? To Charles’s challenge above, what is the measure of belief we are to gain in the pontifical Tridentine Mass?

    To state my own views, for those who haven’t seen them before: Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae were both serious mistakes on the part of Pope Benedict. The postconciliar liturgical reforms were needed, and, for the most part, proceeded in the right way.

    But given that the old Mass is now back, let’s focus on the positive elements, especially of the pontifical version, the bishop in his own diocese, etc. What else — what positive things — might the Archbishop have said, or added to what he said?

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #43:
      You’ve set a noble challenge, Jonathan, and I’m not sure I’m equal to it. Love is supposed to conquer all, but the obstacles are large.
      Archbishop Sample made five points I found particularly striking in relation to possible trad-prog common ground. Some were discouraging and some weren’t.
      1. He said that the Church permitted and even encouraged use of the 1962 Missal. As my earlier comment indicates, I’m quite sure that the most authoritative voices in the Church (in SC 50) say the opposite.
      2. He seemed to say that the ad-orientem position of the clergy during the Eucharistic Prayer is valuable because at that time the Church wishes us not to think of the presence of Jesus in the assembled saints. Again, I believe that the most authoritative voices in the Church (in SC 7 and 48) say the opposite. If I ruled the world, or at least the Holy Office, I would have one of those talks with the archbishop about that statement.
      3. He repeated the canard that laying aside the old order should be viewed not as a move to forestall fragmentation in the Church but rather as a condemnation of the usus antiquior as ungodly. As Archbishop Sample pointed out, this complaint was raised by a living pope emeritus when he was in office. However, after a pope voices a canard, it doesn’t become a truth; it just becomes a canard voiced by a pope.
      Two points to come . . .

    2. @Jonathan Day – comment #43:
      To conclude—
      4. He said that familiarity with the usus antiquior is a great aid in understanding the reformed rite. There, I think he’s profoundly right. Older worshippers like me need to realize how much our awareness of the old order helps us appreciate the new one and carry it out fruitfully. (BUT . . . how much should this good point be pushed? Should seminarians be urged toward regular TLM attendance? Would videos be enough? I’ve never been enrolled in a seminary, but as one of the faithful served by the graduates of seminaries, I can’t justify taking some of the students’ precious time away from the study of Scripture, theology, church history, and the human sciences that will help them tend their flocks, and instead making them master a second rite of the Mass, complete with learning Latin.)
      5. Archbishop Sample said love needs to reign supreme. Let’s hope!

  22. Let me suggest that Ab. Sample and his liturgical views need not overly concern those who are devoted to the newer form of the Roman rite, and perhaps harbor antipathy for the older form. Those familiar with his focus as a bishop know that he too is primarily concerned with the OF. So his interest in the EF surely is not as an end in itself, but–as Benedict himself may have intended with Summorum Pontificum–primarily as a means toward improvement of the typical celebration of the OF for the benefit of the preponderant majority of Catholics for which it will and (as I’m sure Ab. Sample thinks) should remain the normative form of western Catholic liturgy.

    Ab. Sample almost exclusively celebrates the OF himself and devotes almost all his liturgical advocacy to its support and enhancement. So surely the most telling of his remarks in this sermon is “I encourage my priests and my seminarians to learn and to know this [EF] rite. Even if you never have a chance to celebrate it, knowing it, experiencing it–I guarantee you–will affect the way you celebrate the Ordinary Form. It will do so.” Indeed, many of us have learned that (in our areas, a least) the surest guarantee of a well-celebrated OF Mass is a young priest who has learned the EF Mass, even if he does not celebrate the EF regularly or publicly. Whereas those priests, who in the 1970s absorbed the liturgical ethos of a now bygone era, typically are understandably little inclined to change anything at this late date in their priestly ministries.

    As a footnote, many who attend and support the EF Mass would be delighted with (or even prefer) a glorious OF Mass (whether Latin or vernacular) of the reverence and solemnity Jonathan describes as his own regular Sunday fare. However, such an OF Mass is impossible in many areas to find or obtain or perhaps even to envision–and certainly an EF Mass is often much easier to arrange than an OF Mass in Latin–so their recourse for a reverently celebrated Sunday Mass is an EF Mass.

    1. @Henry Edwards – comment #44:
      Henry, I hope you are right. Given things I have seen recently on New Liturgical Movement, e.g. Peter Kwasniewski and others saying that the liturgical reforms represent a failed experiment that ought to be rolled back, I wonder how many “EF supporters” would welcome a Latin Mass of Paul VI.

      The Mass that I described is not peculiar to our parish, by the way: you will find it on Sunday at several London churches, including Westminster Cathedral.

      These Masses have Latin, beautiful music (chant, but also baroque, classical and contemporary composers), bells and incense, and in general a very reverent style of celebration. However, in our parish

      – the priest faces the congregation throughout
      – there are no birettas or maniples
      – there is an exchange of the peace — it’s quiet and it ends quickly, but it’s there
      – there are female altar servers
      – there are extraordinary ministers of communion
      – communion is received standing, in both kinds
      – communicants can receive in the hand or on the tongue; about 1/3 of them choose the latter
      – the canon of the Mass is said aloud (as the NO rubrics indicate)

      I think this is typical for these solemn Latin Masses in London — Farm Street, St Mary’s Cadogan Street, the Cathedral, etc.. An exception is the London Oratory, where the style is much more “Tridentine”; most people who attend the Masses I described above tend to avoid the Oratory, for this reason.

      There is an Association for Latin Liturgy in the UK (google it) promoting the Mass of Paul VI done entirely or partially in Latin. It maintains a directory of churches who provide this.

      Having tried to ease the conversation back to the homily, I have now introduced another tangent. Mea culpa!

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #49:
        Jonathan, a good many of the EF Sunday Mass attendees I know not only “welcome” the OF Mass, but are devoted to it, regularly attending OF Mass voluntarily on weekdays. Only a small minority of them decline to attend OF Mass at all. These are not opinion leaders of the kind you mention, but ordinary pew Catholics, many of them active in normal mainstream parish activities (choir, religious education, RCIA, social action and charities, etc). I myself may be what passes as a leader (and a founder) of my local TLM community (on whose board I serve as chairman), but am equally devoted to the OF (which I attend multiple weekdays, and thus more frequently than the EF Mass).

        I’m sure that most of these folks would be quite happy (if not ecstatic) with the OF Masses you describe and, indeed, many most likely would frequently or regularly attend a solemn Latin OF Mass–or a vernacular OF Mass of similar beauty and solemnity–in preference to an “ordinary” EF Mass. However, whereas there are scheduled EF Sunday Masses at five different parish locations in my southern U.S. diocese, I am not aware of a solemn Latin OF Mass within several hundred miles.

  23. I hesitate to quibble with an excellency, but I would have thought that a bishop concelebrating in his cathedral with his clergy was a fuller expression of the liturgy. But then that’s one of those new-fangled innovations, I believe.

  24. Dale, as I have said before, I don’t need you telling me what “at least half” or most of my fellow Massgoers supposedly think. Perhaps the half you mean are groups outside the Church. I’m quite aware of those who think Vatican II is evil, though I never met many in person and I wonder how they could send letters to what they would consider the evil “NewChurch.” They’re probably the same people leaving fliers at official Latin Masses warning the attendees about how those are an evil trick.

    Did the priest who read that letter use it to make everyone think all of us are bad people? Did he mention or say anything about good traditionalists? It sounds like he created an environment where good people would be afraid to speak up for the EF lest they be viewed as evil by thier friends.

    To me the only clear answer is to freely allow the EF. A generation of Catholics who do not have to fight tooth and nail for it will do more to get rid of the fringe “VII is evil” and the many angry traditionalists. Limiting the EF and taking Bill deHass’ attitude towards them will only divide us, and creating a new OldLatinRite is totally unneeded when you could just create more oratories. I know the only thing that has ever made me flirt with those crazy ideas and question the goodness of the OF is my interactions with the crazy anti EF crowd – who seem to get congratulatory pats on the back rather than being called out.

  25. Yes, I have referred to you by name at MSF within even this last week, Todd, invoking the call towards precision and beauty in performance practice.

  26. Here is another account of Lady Folkestone’s concert – http://tinyurl.com/ofjn4ng which entirely eschews the sexist commentary of the London Gossip – which, after all, as its title might suggest is not actually somewhere you’d go for a review of the actual music just as you wouldn’t go to US Weekly or Hello looking for a description of a ceremony as much as you would go looking for what people were wearing. Basically by choosing the Gossip rather than any other commentary (and why would you choose any other because otherwise a Victorian society concert has absolutely no relevance to the sermon) you chose to present the Archbishop’s sermon in its reflected light and, as many of the comments, that followed show – this was entirely successful – as those who choose to see the EF as mere display have happily piled in asserting that that’s all that was happening.

  27. Timothy, the post never asserted that the archbishop’s Mass, or the Tridentine pontifical Mass, or the Tridentine Mass itself, was “mere display”.

    The homily could have given a more profound account of the Mass — in the same way that other reviews (there were many) actually discussed the music that Lady Folkestone and her band played. But it didn’t. It functioned more at the level of London Gossip than of The Monthly Musical Record that you cited.

    So let me repeat my request, from a comment above. Focusing on the pontifical form of the Tridentine Mass,

    what are the positive gains, or learnings, or insights for the people of God in the celebration of the Tridentine pontifical Mass? What can we learn from this ritual? How can we go beyond a London Gossip appreciation of what happened in this Mass?

    Have at it. By all means, let’s have the Monthly Musical Record treatment.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #53:
      Respectively, but perhaps not respectfully: none, nothing, and by just moving along. This is a sideshow, a window into an era now past. I do not see how it inspires the missionary impulse of Jesus’ last commandment (Mt 28:19). It is an exercise in time travel, not liturgy. That said, let the people who find it edifying continue to experience it. It will get the Church nowhere.

  28. The Ceremonial for BIshops states that the ‘proper’ posture for preaching is seated from the presider’s chair. I’ve done it several times, felt real comfortable with it and received much positive response from the congregations.
    Archbp Sample is a real smart, holy bishop. I’ve read alot of what he’s written/spoken and gained alot of insight into important issues. But in this video –no disrespect intended– substance seems to have been overshadowed by style. The excessive regalia seems to have shouted louder and drawn more attention unto itself rather than having led us deeper into Mystery. The biretta’d clergy seated with the bishop looked like… I dunno… were they alive and breathing? It’s unfortunate the homily was an apologetic for TLM rather than a breaking open of God’s word. Watching the video, instead of feeling like I was in my Father’s house, I felt more like I was sent to the principal’s office. (I know from experience…)

  29. Todd, what evidence do you have to support your opinions that it will get us nowhere or does not inspire missionary impulse? That you dislike it or find its attendees to be beneath you doesn’t count.

    So many EF detractors speak as if their opinions are self evident, but those of us who don’t see it as obvious would like a tiny scrap of evidence once in a while.

    My opinion of the Mass is that it inspired a lot of traditionalists to see a bishop celebrate the EF in all the regalia, silly as it seems to a few people here, and to speak glowingly of it. It showed unity without uniformity, and communicated the idea that they are indeed a part of the Church rather than a crazy minority with an incureable sensitivity (some people, even some of the commenters at PT don’t even think EF people should be allowed to spread the gospel). Such encouragement can only embolden us to carry out our mission.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #56:
      I think there’s a disconnect between liturgy as spectator event and evangelization as the activity of all the baptized. The post-reformation liturgy was the product of an age in which “professionals” did the mission of the Church: clergy, missionary orders, and the like. As it evolved in 20th century America (for example), evangelization was the purview of the media priest (eg Fulton Sheen) and after Vatican II, the charismatic, with-it pastor.

      Is it possible for a community to celebrate liturgy in a passive and reflective mode, then go out and actively evangelize their neighbors? Sure it is. But my question: is it likely? Should not the impulse of faith be a comprehensible proclamation of the mysteries in the vernacular, with active praying and singing by all, and a kerygma that inspires the baptized to be active in the world? I think the reformed Roman Rite is on the way to be better placed to inspire that.

      Please do not read into my theological or liturgical criticisms of the 1570/1962 Missal any sense of contempt for my sister or brother Catholics. I do not harbor such contempt for people who mangle the modern Roman Rite with talk-show behavior, burlap, or polka music. I just point out the Missal is unreformed, and in my opinion, unable to bear the weight asked of the liturgy.

      But I’m willing to be proved wrong.

  30. Tell me, Jack, a little about the EF you experience? Are there well trained lay readers who proclaim the one lesson? (Isn’t having only one lesson omitting much of the scripture?) Does a deacon proclaim the gospel? Is the homily based on the scriptures of the day and considered an actual part of the Mass (or is it bracketed off with signs of the cross)? Do the people present the gifts to the priest? Does the priest pray nearly everything with the help of a couple of altar BOYS or do the people get to participate and respond? In the NO it is readily apparent that ministry in the church is not limited to the ordained. How exactly do the people at the EF participate in the mission of the church–in spirit and in truth?

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #57:
      Fr. Feehily’s comments about ‘active participation’ during the Mass remind me of my childhood. One of my father’s hobbies was wood-working. He would let me and my brother actively participate in his projects by giving us scraps of wood to cut, nail etc. Of course we never contributed to my father’s work in any way but we did get to spend time with him.

      The same is true when laymen ‘actively participate’ in the Mass. The idea that they are actually contributing something important by posing as greeters, readers, bearers of the gifts or whatever other role they’ve dreamed up for themselves is laughable. It’s an infantile notion of the Sacrifice of the Mass based on emotion rather than intellect.

      1. @Steve Muise – comment #65:
        Actually, it’s not. The twofold purpose of Mass is the worship of God and the sanctification of the faithful–that’s the Church’s definition. Worshiping God is something anyone can do. It requires no priest. And as for sanctification, that involves active cooperation with God’s grace.

        Liturgical reform is part of a greater whole as I see it: a new level of recognition of the importance of baptism, and how the entire body of the faithful are being called, perhaps driven, to a deeper engagement with Christ and his mission on Earth. Clergy have a limited role. This millennium is about the laity, and about recovering a more vigorous appreciation of Baptism. It’s not about Holy Orders at all. That era is over.

      2. @Todd Flowerday – comment #66:
        That’s right Todd “…as you see it…” doesn’t necessarily translate into how the Church sees it.

        Your reply to me doesn’t address the mentality of many Catholics today who believe that laymen reading out of the Lectionary at Mass, our greeting people at the door, or presenting the gifts, or distributing Holy Communion at Mass is somehow contributing either to the Sacrifice of the Mass or the edification of the participant. The answer is, it doesn’t. It’s all based on feelings.

        Using my analogy from my first post, in the same way my brother and I contributed nothing to my fathers wood-working projects by banging nails into wood scraps, neither do laymen contribute anything significant by being ‘active participants’ (I.e. greeters, EMHCs etc.) to the Mass. Those clerics & laymen who think otherwise have an infantile concept of the Mass – the same way my brother and I thought we were helping my dad.

      3. @Todd Flowerday – comment #68:
        Todd I agree with you that the roles I described in my post have nothing to do with the principle of active participation. They’re just a gimmick for misguided busybodies who think they’re actually doing something important.

        Active participation during Mass is uniting one’s prayers with the prayers the priest is offering to God at the altar. Active participation away from the Mass are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy – just as the Church has taught for centuries.

        You write,

        “As I said, I have no problem with TLM Masses going on[My, how big of you]. I think they’re unreformed, have outdated theology, and don’t really set the laity or clergy for mission in the world. I have no intention of letting up on my criticism on what the modern Roman Rite has clearly passed by.”

        Your statement is a laughable. Please do tell us what mission work is bringing non-Catholics into the Church anywhere close to the missions prior 1962? Or is that work outdated as well?

      4. @Steve Muise – comment #74:
        Steve, I welcome your different point of view. I do not welcome your snarky tone. Please show a bit more respect for the other PTB contributors.

      5. @Steve Muise – comment #74:
        Thanks for replying, Steve. I’ve never heard a serious liturgist equate active participation with a ministerial role. Among my colleagues, it’s just not talked about in that way. I am aware that Roman Rite detractors occasionally refer to it as a caricature. But if you’re going to conduct a serious dialogue, you have to deal with real people. Not made up arguments.

        I think your sense of evangelization is outdated. The post-Reformation Church, especially as the centuries passed, indeed lost a sense of mission among the ordinary baptized. That oft-cited slogan, “Some go by giving; some give by going,” illustrates this.

        Clearly the post-Reformation Church was an abject failure on Christian unity, and on the major civilizations of Asia. As for your last paragraph, Africa made progress in the 20th century after Vatican II at least as much as before.

        Speaking for myself, your snark is irrelevant. But it is illustrative.

      6. @Steve Muise – comment #67:

        Were the disciples at the Last Supper playing an important role? An active role? Participating?

        I don’t have a clear answer for this, beyond one simple reflection. They had to be there to hear “Do this in memory of me.” Implementing that is a purpose for everyone present, whether it is by fulfilling liturgical roles or by the transformation of their lives in other ways.

      7. @Steve Muise – comment #67:
        Steve, I think you’re over-shooting in this comment. I don’t see how you could know what is contributing to the edification of the participant – that seems like it’s all based on (your) feelings.

        Pius XII and Vatican II both affirmed that the lay congregation has an important role in the Church’s offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice. You seem to be denying this.

        Sacrosanctum Concilium 28 says: “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy.” It is generally understood that this strengthens the notion of a variety of roles being played by a variety of people including laymen, and that it limits what the (ordained) minister does because there are other important roles and offices for the non-ordained.

        All this is in accord with the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council. And also of its sacramental theology, which denies nothing which is true in (neo)scholastic theology, but does not take as its starting or ending point any neo(scholastic) notion of the necessity only of the ordained minister for validity.

        I don’t see how your comment fits with the Second Vatican Council. I don’t know if you would say that you accept the Council, but your comments suggest at the least an imperfect understanding of its teachings.

        awr

  31. Fr Jack Feehily: I don’t attend the EF very often and prefer the OF but of the EF Masses I been to the people participate much morein the liturgy than in most OF Masses. They have many lay people involved in the music ministry (choir and organ) and in other parochial functions so that every part of the liturgy seems to run like clockwork. The laity participate much more enthusiastically in the responses singing several Gregorian ordinary almost by heart plus the occasional vernacular hymn at the end of Mass. I don’t know how many times I am have been to an OF Mass with a lone cantor struggling to get the congregation to follow but in the end resigning himself to singing the whole Mass setting as a solo.

    I also don’t where you get the idea that the laity are passive spectators in the EF. And the idea that only In the Novus Ordo the clergy preach on scripture is laughable!!! This may have been the pratice before VII but the EF communities I have been to have embraced the liturgical principles of the council while most OF parishes have ignored them, making up their own council!!!

  32. I hope you don’t your OF experience is typical. All the parishes I have been associated with participate in every way including interiorly. I am surprised to learn of your EF experience. Glad for that.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #60:
      There is nothing surprising about Daniel’s EF experience. It is typical of the experience at EF high Mass as celebrated in ordinary parishes with younger parishioners–where the EF growth largely is nowadays–as perhaps opposed to some “separatist” communities with older members. (I myself have wide experience with the former, but no experience with the latter.)

  33. We do not have lay readers or an offertory procession at the EF I attend (though I imagine you’d already know that).

    The people sing the responses and the vernacular hymns (usually at least three at every Mass that are indicated on the hymn board). When chant Masses are used (about half the year), many people sing along with those too. We aren’t where Daniel’s parish is in regards to singing, but we are at least on par with local OF Masses in this regard. The sermon begins and ends with the sign of the cross (like I’ve seen at some OF Masses), but is always about the scripture.

    My OF experience is also similar to Daniel’s. Most people do not sing (and even if they did, the cantor is usually so loud you’d never be able to tell). The offertory procession is usually handled the worst. When growing up our family was chosen at least once a month because we always sat towards the back in the same spot and the ushers didn’t want to have to spend any time picking new people. My parents started turning them down and telling them to pick someone else for a change. Two weeks ago at the OF Mass, the priest and servers waited for the gifts to be brought up for quite some time until he finally motioned for the servers to go get it because nobody was picked.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #62:

      Jack, you win. I’ve never heard a better argument for overturning the decisions of an Ecumenical Council to reform the liturgy.

  34. The 1570/1962 Missal functions best when it is a special occasion. And also, as some TLM advocates suggest and admit, when the community celebrating it is truly a community, and more: an intentional community.

    The problem for the mainstream in any worship situation is when a community lacks the intentionality to do the simple things: sing, welcome newcomers, or even get up and bring up the gifts when nobody else does it.

    In a way, I confess it would be a relief if all the casual Catholics went to the TLM and left me with an intentional community for the modern Roman Rite. But there is no way a TLM community could do what the rest of us struggle to do every day: every Sunday and holy day a sung Mass, plus funerals and weddings. The weddings would get forced back into the rectory. The funerals wouldn’t get their $3-a-service sister playing the Requiem music.

    I vote we leave the TLM people alone, and they leave communities of women religious and college students and inner city churches be. Excise the word “heretic” from everybody’s vocabulary. Win-win, right?

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #64:
      No, the EF functions best when celebrated regularly rather than as a special occasion. Otherwise there is no chance for familiarity. I will concede that we are a more intentional group than the OF Masses are (however, the OF of today is a more intentional group than in the years before the council, when the vast majority of Catholics attended more frequently out of obligation. Also, the rubrics about music and the time Mass can be celebrated makes it easier for you today too). We get our share of people who do not attend because they love the EF, but instead come because it is a later Mass than most in town.

      I think a TLM community could do what most OF parishes do every day. In my experience, most OF Masses are not really sung, though they have a little more music in them than an EF Low Mass because the rubrics allow it. We couldn’t make every Mass a sung High Mass, but that’s hardly what is happening in your typical parish anyway.

      I’m a big advocate of “live and let live.” I think good liturgy is the most important thing, regardless of rite. I would never advocate that an active, beautiful OF Mass be squashed and replaced by an EF, so it mystifies me why so many here want to crush good EF communities with active participants. It seems to be about ideology, tit-for-tat, and power, and not at all about Vatican II or Christ.

      And we can’t leave the inner city be, it is usually the only place we’re allowed to have EF Masses:)

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #71:
        “In my experience, most OF Masses are not really sung …”

        They should be. That is how the Roman Missal envisions it. In my parish, the daily Mass ordinary is sung, as is the alleluia and two bookmark hymns. There is no “silent” Mass on weekends or holy days. Silent Mass is old-school Tridentine stuff, and best ejected from practice wherever and whenever possible.

        As I said, I have no problem with TLM Masses going on. I think they’re unreformed, have outdated theology, and don’t really set the laity or clergy for mission in the world. I have no intention of letting up on my criticism on what the modern Roman Rite has clearly passed by.

  35. Todd – live and let live…..you know, the same approach for other significant life issues – economy, immigration, birth control, death penalty, nuclear war, minimum wage, right to health insurance, not discriminating against homosexuals; one could go on and on.

  36. Steve,

    I agree that the Church, at least in the US, has lost a sense of mission. The US Church seemingly does nothing but close schools and parishes. AmChurch is pathetic, really. I respect some priests and the work they do, but the writing is on the wall for the institution as a whole: let it die.

  37. In watching the video…if gloves are necessary, please do not roll one’s fingers while looking at them. Reminded some of our students of Austin Power’s Dr. Evil and for me, somewhat older, like Fagen in the play Oliver “reviewing the situation.”

    And for those keeping score In the homily, I believe Benedict XVI gets four mentions and Francis none.

    This homily had more to do with Archbishop Sample speaking about himself presiding at this Mass in a small chapel in Oregon than the tacked on 1st Corinthians shout out near the end. He and his fellow clerics were more dressed up than the Infant of Prague on a High Holy Day.

    This Mass, beautifully and meticulously executed is another example of us talking to ourselves. I am glad that Archbishop Sample knows this cannot be the norm in Oregon.

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