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August 26, 2005

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» Could it be? No, it can’t be. I must be dreaming. from Cacoethes Scribendi
Bishop Fellay and Pope Benedict are going to meet. Could there possibly be a reconciliation in the works? That would be wonderful, and we can always hope, but I’m kinda doubtful… There’s an SSPX chapel much closer to me than the n... [Read More]

Comments

Todd

This is supposed to be an issue? Maybe I haven't bothered enough conservative St Bloggers lately.

If something comes out of this meeting, then it'll be news. Until then, it's just another appointment on the pope's desk calendar, like Pele.

amy

So..what do you think, Todd? should I remove the post? Let me think on this...

Der Tommissar

Pele?

Oh come on. If this was the Patriarch of East Kripneywwastan, who has a Church if 30 adherants, we'd be all agog with Ecumenism, and "uniting the Churches".

But it's only the SSPX with their 1 million or so attendees throughout the world.

Did any of the bishops meet personally with John Paul II after Ecclesia Dei?

I mean, if you can't go to a Catholic blog and find out about stuff like this, we might as well pack our tents and go home.

julian

I am inclined toward hopefulness. However, it is the SSPX that will have to recant and re-normalize relations with the Holy See, and not the other way around.

Other than the schismatic mentality that certain SSPX clergy and laity have, a declaration of complete acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo Mass, and loyalty to the pope and the curia would probably be enough to get the reconciliation wheels spinning.

Here's hoping!

Donald R. McClarey

Hmmm! If the future Church may be smaller, as I believe Pope Benedict predicted in earlier writings, it looks like he believes there is a chance that this smaller church might well include the adherents of SSPX. Much too early to tell of course, but this is a very interesting development.

Tim Ferguson

Todd,

I've mostly disagreed with your postings over the last couple of years, but, in the past, there wasn't this attitude of mealy-mouthed anger and spite that there seems to be in your recent postings. Is there something wrong?

As far as I'm concerned - this IS an issue, and I'm glad that Amy (and others) are getting the news out.

Der Tommissar

Other than the schismatic mentality that certain SSPX clergy and laity have, a declaration of complete acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo Mass, and loyalty to the pope and the curia would probably be enough to get the reconciliation wheels spinning.

I'll just pinch hit for the other team a second here...

The SSPX claims to accept VII "In Light of Tradition". What that means, you can all beat into the ground.

On the other hand...it might be nice to rescind the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre. You know, if we're all into getting the wheels rolling.

Patrick Rothwell

Wow, many of those pro-SSPX comments on Vaticanisti's blog are little more than vitriolic personal attacks against those who do not share their views. Is rude and hateful behavior part of the SSPX formation process? What gives?

Rich Leonardi

I read to my children from The Dawn Treader last night. As most of you know, this is book five (or is it four?) of Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia.

One of the characters is Eustace, Edmund's and Lucy's cousin. Eustace is simpering, self-righteous, progressive, dismissive, self-aggrandizing, and usually exits a conversation once his superficial understanding of a topic becomes evident.

Now I ask you, fellow parishioners of St. Blog's, who does Eustace bring to mind?

Neil

I'd like to ask a question:

Last February, John Allen reported on a 50-page booklet released by the SSPX entitled “From Ecumenism to Silent Apostasy.” I don't really know that much about the SSPX's theology, so I'll give you Allen's analysis:

"'As attractive as he seems at first sight,' the booklet concludes about John Paul, 'as spectacular as his ceremonies appear on TV, and however large the crowds that follow him, the realty is extremely sad: ecumenism has transformed the holy city that is the church into a city in ruins.'

"Other than the pope, the villain of the story as told by the Lefebvrites is Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who is accused of heresy three times in the 50-page document.

"Interestingly, there isn’t one word on what has long been the signature issue for the Lefebvrites: the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. This confirms what experts have always understood, that the Latin Mass is the tip of the iceberg. The real theological issues, such as ecumenism and inter-faith relations, run much deeper. This is why, Vatican experts on traditionalism say, it was futile to believe that allowing permission for wider celebration of the pre-conciliar Mass, as John Paul did in 1988, would solve the problem."

Now, in his relatively new pontificate, in which he has not made (to the best of my knowledge) substantial comments about sexuality or other topics, Benedict XVI has already made remarks such as:

"The current Successor of Peter ... is disposed to do all in his power to promote the fundamental cause of ecumenism. In the wake of his predecessors, he is fully determined to cultivate any initiative that may seem appropriate to promote contact and agreement with representatives from the various Churches and ecclesial communities. Indeed, on this occasion too, he sends them his most cordial greetings in Christ, the one Lord of all." (April 20, 2005)

Furthermore, given his close relationship to his predecessor (and his own personal history, including his role in the drafting of the Joint Declaration on Justification), it would seem rather doubtful that Benedict XVI would immediately revise John Paul II's declaration that the Catholic commitment to ecumenism is "irrevocable" and part of the Catholic Church's awareness "of her identity and her mission in history."

Here's the question: Apart from consideration of the Latin Mass, has the SSPX developed an ecclesiology that is presently irreconcilable with the Catholic Church's awareness "of her identity and her mission in history?" If Allen is basically correct, is the SSPX in any position to receive Unitatis Redintegratio?

I'm just asking - I hope that nobody will see the above remarks as being uncharitable, even if my concerns should prove to be misguided.

Thanks.

Neil

David Kubiak

It's interesting that the Italian news-site gets things hopelessly muddied. The SSPX is a "Society", not a "Fraternity", which was the name the FSSP assumed precisely to avoid confusion with schismatics. And the notice also does not seem to understand that the Novus Ordo in Latin is not the old rite.

This project seems hopeless to me; the Pope dealt with them so often in the past I suspect he knows it too. As I said on another blog, people whose real interest was the liturgy came back with the Indult. The ones who are left use the old rite simply as a hook on which to hang all variety of tenets that Rome simply cannot tolerate. I realize of course how much heterodoxy is tolerated on the left, but somehow the context makes the aberrations on the right worse. The Pope cannot give beautiful talks in synagogues while at the same time embracing groups who indulge in grotesque anti-Semitic propaganda.

It may be that the average SSPX layperson in Europe is not as wacky as the American counterpart, because the bishops there have been so much stingier with the Indult. But still, the idea of Pope Benedict reconciling with the likes of Bishop Williamson in incredible to me.

julian

The SSPX on the subject: http://www.sspx.org/SSPX_FAQs/q6_vaticanII.htm

I don't care what they say they think, they need to issue a binding declaration of loyalty and acceptance. Lefebvre cannot have the sentence of excommunication lifted. He acted against the Church. He refused to do as he was told, and he broke the agreement he had reached. How can he repent now?

Rich Leonardi

Neil,

You're right that the "Old Mass" is just the tip of the iceberg. I attempted some research on the status of a local parish with less-than-clear ties to the archdiocese, and the examples of anti-semitism I found among SSPX adherents via a simple Google search was surprising.

That doesn't mean reconcilation is impossible, but SSPX leaders likely (and thankfully) will leave behind wolves among their flock if it does.

Christine

"Now I ask you, fellow parishioners of St. Blog's, who does Eustace bring to mind?"

Someone whose mission in life is to show the rest of us how incurably retro we are??

I keep having the frightening nighmare that Todd and Joseph D' were twins who were separated at birth ....

Tim Ferguson

there's some canonical difficulty in talking abour rescinding Lefebvre's excommunication. Notwithstanding the fact that lifting an excommunication of a dead person is really only a symbolic action, Lefebvre was excommunicated latae sententiae - that means that he was excommunicated by the very act of what he did (ordain bishops without a pontifical mandate - canon 1382). When Michael Cerularius, the patriarch of Constantinople, was excommunicated in 1054, he was excommunicated by an act of the pope (acting through his legate, Humbert) which, insofar as he was acting through his Petrine authority, could be rescinded by a succeeding pope. To rescind Lefebvre's excommunication, it would need to be determined that Lefebvre didn't do what he appeared to do - namely, consecrate bishops without a pontifical mandate using the full command of his will. There may be some wiggle room in that Lefebvre may have thought he was acting in violation of the law out of necessity (it's interesting to see SSPX'ers who would castigate the Church gladly for embracing the theory of the primacy of conscience, yet resort to that same theory to defend their founder).
I'd love as much as the next guy to see a wholesale rejection of schism by the SSPX and a return to fidelity to Rome, but I don't know how a lifting of Lefebvre's excommunication could really happen.

Richard

Rich,

I have long believed that reconciliation is possible, but only with parts of the SSPX community - not all.

This idea of a Fellay-Williamson split doesn't surprise me.

If by making concessions which do not compromise magisterial teaching (which includes the Council) the Holy Father can get back those who are, so to speak, get-back-able, it sounds like a Very Good Thing (TM) to me.

I have no idea what that concession(s) might be. I trust to the Pope's judgment. Certainly one cannot argue with SSPX claims that implementation of Ecclesia Dei's call for wide and generous granting of the indult has been widely flouted and that new measures are called for to realize it. Either way, Fellay and what followers he can bring with him must explicitly affirm the Council's teachings - all of them. Thay may end up using wiggle words like "in the light of tradition" but then they would hardly be the only ones to engage in such behavior.

As for the rest, the hard core schismatics who cherish the hardest-edged aspects of the Tridentine Church (especially the unpleasant behaviors toward the Jews), all we can do in the end is pray for them.

Mark Wyman

David,
The US Bishops aren't stingy with the Indult? Oh, come on -- it's better than it was, but they are still very stingy!

Regarding bringing the SSPX back in: they (the SSPX) have said that what is required for them to end their schism is 1) lifting the excommunications (which, contra julian, CAN be done after the excommunicated has died; and julian, if you get mad about that, try googling around about the ambiguities of Martin Luther's excommunication that may / may not have been lifted by the late Holy Father) and 2) free permission to any priest to say the old Mass. People who claim this latter requirement undercuts the bishops authority, whatever, learn some liturgical history. Sure, there would be some unpastoral Pastors who could alienate folks by too quickly switching to the old Rite; but why not let's be charitable and assume that priests will be good and will, by and large, offer the old Rite to groups who have been catechized and prepared, and at first in limited quantities, as it were. And to preempt: no, there is not a parallel between an irreverant celebration of the Mass that people aren't prepared for an a celebration of the old Rite that shocks people with its strangeness, etc. Yes, both are wrong to do, but the former -- clown Masses, polka Masses, whatever -- are in fact bordering on sacrilege, and allowing them to occur is therefore intrinsically unpleasing to God; whereas a thoughtlessly imposed celebration of an old Mass, while possibly scandalizing the faithful, etc, would be wrong to do, but is not intrinsically unpleasing to God.

Katherine

I am sure people could point to any number of unattractive literary characters, conservative and liberal, and make passive aggressive characterizations about each other all day long.

Anyway, Eustace turned out all right in the end.

I thank you, though, for reminding me of one of my all time favorite opening lines in a Novel though: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Perfect.

Mark Wyman

Richard wrote: Either way, Fellay and what followers he can bring with him must explicitly affirm the Council's teachings - all of them. Thay may end up using wiggle words like "in the light of tradition" but then they would hardly be the only ones to engage in such behavior.

Pope Benedict XVI said, before he was Pope: The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.

So .... receiving pastoral "teachings," in the "light of tradition" is a resort to wiggle words? Do you not intend to receive the teaching of the Council in light of Tradition?

See also: There WERE doctrinal teaching documents written before Vatican II!

c matt

The Pope has an appointment with Pele? I guess he couldn't get an appointment with Maradona, who, while a better player on the pitch than Pele, could certainly use a visit by the Pope to become a better person off the pitch like Pele.

Christine

Regarding the excommunication of Martin Luther, this is an excerpt from First Things referencing Pope John Paul II's visit to Germany:

"Nonetheless, some Protestants complained that he did not formally revoke the excommunication of Luther. There had been rumors before the visit that he wanted to do that but had been dissuaded by his advisors. In response to this question on other occasions, John Paul has noted that an excommunication holds only during a person's lifetime, and Luther's case has long since been submitted to a higher tribunal, the final judgment of God. In any event, the logically prior ecumenical step is the removal of the Council of Trent's condemnations of Reformation doctrine."

Simon

I share Patrick Rothwell's reaction to the vituperative pro-SSPX comments on the other blogs.

"Traditionalism" is very attractive in many ways -- until one encounters a few real, live Traditionalists. An awful lot of these folks seem to have surrendered their minds to whacky conspiracy theories ("Novus Ordo was written by a committee of Protestants and Jews!"), while surrendering their hearts to bitterness and anger. Sad.

Mark Wyman

Simon wrote: ""Novus Ordo was written by a committee of Protestants and Jews!"

You forgot the FREEMASONS!!!!!

:)

But, c'mon, not all traditionally-minded Catholics are so bad! And the best way to drain those admittedly fevered swamps is to bring the old Mass -- and the full breadth of traditional Church teaching -- back into the bright light of common, everyday living.

Rich Leonardi

I thank you, though, for reminding me of one of my all time favorite opening lines in a Novel though: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Perfect.

I burst out laughing upon reading it, with my nine- and ten-year-old not quite understanding why.

c matt

It may be that the average SSPX layperson in Europe is not as wacky as the American counterpart, because the bishops there have been so much stingier with the Indult.

Did you mean to say the Bishops in America were stingier with the indult? I am having trouble following your reasoning otherwise. If the indult is more widely available, I would think SSPXers would be less wacky. If it is less available (eg, stingier) I would think the SSPXers would be more wacky.

Anyway, I don't see one indult Mass per week per 2 million Catholics as the overflowing font of generosity here in Houston.

Richard

Hello Mark,

I think you failed to read between my lines. Might be my fault for having failed to make them clear and bright enough.

I (obviously) wholeheartedly endorse Pope Benedict's words here. The Council SHOULD be read in the light of tradition - and never NOT in that light.

But what I mean to say is that some would use that as smokescreen to basically interpret many parts of the Council clean away. I've seen it many times in the traditionalist community: If a Council teaching seems troubling ot them, "in the light of tradition" often means basically ignoring it altogether.

But then that leads to my larger point: Reading the Council one WANTS to read has been a cottage industry in the last 40 years. Usually by progressives. I might say athat maybe Fellay deserves the same slack that, say, Richard McBrien or Rembert Weakland have gotten.

Liam

To elaborate on the quote that Mark cites:

This project, if it may be termed that, will probably only have success if it can be demonstrated to Benedict XVI's satisfaction that it would clearly assist in the re-Christianization of the First World. Btw, that was a major point of Vatican II; one may argue the goal was not only not achieved by mangled; but by the same token, one would have to demonstrate a clear and convincing embrace of that goal (rather than hurling data points, as many appear wont to do, begging a host of control data issues).

I think that forward-looking (I'll avoid saying eschatological; oops, sorry) dimension has become more salient in his new office than his love of liturgy and church history.

I am not sure that a sufficient mass of Traditionalists, especially at the institutional level, are as fully engaged in that dimension of the issue as they may need to be to prevail upon Rome. "Back to The Future" was a Hollywood meme, after all, not a Roman one.

I think it will include a heartfelt, fervent demonstration of being relentlessly forward-looking. That will include cultivating profound detachment from the culture of resentment that has flourished in many parts of the Traditionalist movement.

Without those, I doubt there will be progress; with those, much is possible.

Richard

But, c'mon, not all traditionally-minded Catholics are so bad! And the best way to drain those admittedly fevered swamps is to bring the old Mass -- and the full breadth of traditional Church teaching -- back into the bright light of common, everyday living.

Bingo.

Tim Ferguson

I think what he means is that where the indult is NOT granted widely, the ranks of those who attend SSPX Masses is watered down by those who simply have an attachment to the old Mass, whereas when the indult is granted widely (and it is granted more widely in the US than most places in Europe) then those who simply want to attend the old Mass can do so in a legitimate setting, leaving the SSPX to those who have deeper issues with the Church - so they tend to be wackier.

Richard

Laim,

Btw, that was a major point of Vatican II; one may argue the goal was not only not achieved by mangled;

I would go farther. If this were soccer, I'd call it an "own goal."

That has been the practical effect in the Western World - virtual collapse of the Church - and in no small part because, as Pope Benedict has pointed, the Council's actual teachings have mainly been ignored, flouted or twisted rather than taken to heart and implemented.

Mark Wyman

Hi Richard,
Oops! I did misunderstand a bit -- thanks for the clarification. Though I will say -- as my extra link (to Pius XI's encyclical, Mortalium Animos) indicated -- that it's still a false parallel to talk about Fellay's misreading of the Council and McBrien's. Fellay, though disobedient in a very bad way, when he wants to explain away parts of Conciliar teaching, will do so, for the most part, by citing previous authoritative teaching, such as the linked encyclical. In contrast, the McBriens simply ignore every scrap of Church teaching that has ever existed. Fellay and SSPX, in their ecumenical hang-ups, really are reflecting actual teachings of the pre-Concilar Church! Their emphases may be wrong or unhelpful, but they're not unCatholic; McBrien and other heretics, on the other hand, actually ARE unCatholic.

Liam

Richard

You can adduce arguments to that effect. But one may also point out areas of Church teaching where observance by active Catholics has deepened and broadened as the Council envisioned.

I am not convinced by the Good Old Days meme anymore; its persuasiveness was shallow. Btw, I am also not convinced by its mirror image, the Good New Days meme, either.

I tend to find what happens when we go into root causes is it devolves into a worse-than-useless Jane-You-Ignorant-Slut Point-Counterpoint game. As a historian, I find there is a great deal of longer-term causation that predates Vatican II.

Richard

Mark,

Though I will say -- as my extra link (to Pius XI's encyclical, Mortalium Animos) indicated -- that it's still a false parallel to talk about Fellay's misreading of the Council and McBrien's. Fellay, though disobedient in a very bad way, when he wants to explain away parts of Conciliar teaching, will do so, for the most part, by citing previous authoritative teaching, such as the linked encyclical. In contrast, the McBriens simply ignore every scrap of Church teaching that has ever existed.

I can't really disagree with any of that.

Anon2

I'm all for a reconciliation and I'm praying that the Holy Spirit will be guiding all parties.
I don't agree that "a declaration of complete acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo Mass, and loyalty to the pope and the curia" is a requirement since, by that standard, distorters of Vatican II ("spirit of" people)and parish DREs and "Directors of Worship" couldn't - in truth - comply. It's the "declaration" that's not needed. Just get them back in the fold. If what they mostly want is the Tridentine Mass, what's wrong with that?

Marianne

Liam
"one may also point out areas of Church teaching where observance by active Catholics has deepened and broadened as the Council envisioned"
Could you name a few, please?

Richard

Liam,

I think you're reading more into my comment than I intended. Keeps happening to me today for some reason.

I also tend to think the "Good old days" meme is problematic. if things were so great, why did they fall apart so quickly in the 60's? The 1950's church was very vibrant (and superior to what we have today) by many measures to be sure but there was also a certain hollowness, one which many leaders were aware of and of course triggered the call for the Council in the first place. The liturgy was often indifferently performed; moral theology was excessively casuistic and religious life was impoverished as a result; too much emphasis on buildings and administration rather than evangelization. The ecumenical environment, despite potent indulgences in mushy indifferentism, is also a big improvement over the Fortress Roma which prevailed before the Council.

I never meant to say the Council has not produced good results. Of course it has.

But to the extent that it has been twisted, distorted or ignored by the aggiornamento meta-narrative, which reached a peak in 1965-1985, enormous damage was done as well - much of it. alas, possibly inevitable thanks to modernist cultural forces at work long before 1962. But I don't blame that on the Council per se.

Mark Wyman

Marianne,
Good examples are the restoration, in some quarters of Virtue-based moral theology (rather than a less-rich rules oriented approach to Moral theology that had apparently been rather dominant before); more focus on the theology of the vocation of Marriage (the always-cited Theology of the Body); and reflection on the proper role of the Church in the post-monarchial, pluralist democracies of the West (not always conclusive or proper reflection, but broadened certainly).

Der Tommissar

I don't agree that "a declaration of complete acceptance of the Second Vatican Council, the Novus Ordo Mass, and loyalty to the pope and the curia" is a requirement since, by that standard, distorters of Vatican II ("spirit of" people)and parish DREs and "Directors of Worship" couldn't - in truth - comply.

So they should be treated in the same way as a certain DRE who castigated me with, "you'll just need to learn to change as the church whill change. We will have women priests in forty years and there is nothing you or your Pope can do."

Which basically was, "You shouldn't be so uncharitable about someone who loves the Church, Tommissar. After all, she must love the Church if she spends so much time developing our program."

I can live with that.

The spooky thing was, she said, "And your Pope" in the same /exact/ tone as someone else once said, "And your little dog, too!" in some movie.

Liam

Richard

That is reasonable.

Marianne

I will not provide the bill of particulars, precisely to avoid igniting the Point-Counterpoint stuff that is tediouse beyonds words. It's well-trod ground at St Blog's (or at least certain pews therein!).

cs

I think that it is sad that anyone thinks that the 1950's were the glory days of the Church. As Father Groeschel repeatedly states, there was a fervency fueled by a wave of Catholic immigration and two world wars, that, combined with the larger family model, gave the US a kind of bubble catholicism.


CLK

"there was also a certain hollowness, one which many leaders were aware of and of course triggered the call for the Council in the first place'
Richard,
I'm guessing you're under 55 and don't have personal knowledge of what it was like because "the good old days weren't at all as you describe them: prayers and activities for "the conversion of Russia", thriving propagation societies, vibrant Catholic presence in literature, philosophy and political thought, abundant public witness of nuns and priests in habit etc. Things fell apart quickly because of revolutionary societal energy that swept through and brought down many institutions. You might well ask: "where did the WASPs go?" except if you're under 55 you wouldn't know the power of that query. But your point about V2: I thought it was called as a resumption of V1 which had broken off suddenly because of external unstable world conditions.

reluctant penitent

Der Tomissar,

Who is your DRE's Pope? Is it Pope Michael?

http://popemichael.homestead.com/

If not, you might want to recommend him to her as an alternative to your Pope. He looks like he might be open to heterodox ideas.

reluctant penitent

Correction... Der Tommissar.

bruce cole

I've recommended this book before, but here goes: for an insight into some important aspects of the strengths and weaknesses of the pre-Vat II church, and what they led to post-conciliar, please read the letters of Etienne Gilson to Henri de Lubac, printed many years ago by Ignatius.

Der Tommissar

If not, you might want to recommend him to her as an alternative to your Pope. He looks like he might be open to heterodox ideas.

I have no idea who her Pope was. This was years ago in California. I just remember her being "proud" that her son left the Church.


*shrug*

David Kubiak

Mr. Ferguson explains exactly what I meant by my conjecture about the relationship between the availability of an Indult Mass the wackiness of local schismatics.

Admitedly I tend to travel only to large cities in the US, but with my trusty LLA guide in hand I can hardly remember the last place where there was no Indult Mass available. Some were better presentations of the liturgy than others, but there was no problem finding them.

What chiefly strikes me about the SSPX and other independent types I have encountered in trad. circles is that they are clinging to what they think the Church was like before the Council, but what is in fact a fantastic creation of their own. I imagine the Church before Trent was not like that. It may be a harsh thing to say, but my conclusion on more than one occasion with these people is that there comes a point when religion does not have as much to do with God as it does with acting out various disturbances of personality.

c matt

Thanks Tim. That makes sense.

c matt

1) lifting the excommunications and 2) free permission to any priest to say the old Mass.

There's got to be more to it than that, I would think. Those demands don't seem so unreasonable.

David - I would be curious to know what level of generosity is present in other dioceses you have visited. As I alluded, here in Houston we get one indult per week. When divided by the number of Masses offered per week in the diocese, that comes to 1/1,000. It seems you can't be less stingy than 1, unles you go to 0, which would violate the indult. Bare minimum indeed. Are other US Dioceses more generous?

julian

David K.: I would agree that many super-traditionalists (I hesitate to call them schismatics) have unrealistic ideas about the pre-Conciliar Church. However, I think that some ordinaries and many pastors foster their unrealistic expectations (and personality disturbances) by demeaning their desire to have the John XXIII Mass made available. By treating traditionalists as radical kooks, certain clerics created an atmosphere of oppression. I think that it is fairly obvious that oppression breeds paranoia and conspiracy theories. The SSPX has plenty of both. Did the Church mean to do this? Probably not, but there were a few things that could have been done a bit better. The fact that the actions were imperfect doesn't create an ipso facto excuse for schism, though.

I'll reiterate, with a minor addition, I think it would be fantastic if Bishop Fellay and a majority of the SSPX priests reentered full communion with Rome. If Msgr. Williamson and his radicals don't like it, the SSPV will be happy to admit them.

Liam

I have to say that an unconditional permission to use the older rite is unlikely. That is, I imagine any broader permission would be structured in such a way as to avoid a priest deciding on his own unilaterally to impose the older rite on a congregation (at least for their Sunday/holyday obligations) without input from a pastoral council or ordinary. (If it's not likely, then providing to make sure it remains so is not a problem either.)

Mark Wyman

c matt,
the "free permission" thing is a serious sticking point for those who don't want to allow the old Rite. 18 million variations of the new rite, sure, but the old Rite? no way!

Liam,
Unlikely or not, the consultation model is currently in a state of failure. Talked to a priest lately about trying to say even parts of the new Mass in Latin? It ain't much fun -- I know of not a few priests disciplined for the radicalism of using Latin in their new Rite Masses. The Bishop's role as chief governor must never mean that he legislates against right worship! Clearly no Bishop should ever have abused his power in this way, but they have and still are and, if Rome so decides, it may be more important for the salvation of souls (both of the people and perhaps the Bishops themselves!) that this particular power of governance be taken away from them, beyond the ability, say, to require that each parish offer at least one mass in the normative (new) Rite on Sundays and holy days.

Todd

Allow me to clarify.

Occasionally, the conservative blogosphere is abuzz with hopeful rumors that the knight on a white horse will ride into town speaking Latin and liberating us po' laity who have been bewitched by a cabal that has subverted the True Council, or even the True Church. Was it last year, the year before, or both when the rumors were flying that a universal indult was in the works? Where did it go?

Fellay's meeting with the pope is a little more than Fellay making a pilgrimage to Rome and hoping to press a little papal flesh. But it's not an Ecumenical Event. As Catholics we should be glad that the Church is ever-ready to reconcile sinners, schismatics, and heretics. But the party line that we are heading for a leaner, meaner Church Triumphant sort of flies in the face of reconciliation of groups such as this.

Thankfully, the Church doesn't operate on a my-way-or-the-highway principle. If it did we would be a billion churches of one, not one for a billion. Sensitive, traditionally-minded Catholics did the Church (and themselves) a disservice by jumping ship, rather than work to revive and maintain the very best of the preconciliar worship experience. If they or others see a parish here and there in tatters because of it, I leave it to them to connect their own dots and see where they fit in the picture.

The battle over the Roman Rite was laced through with politics in the 60's, and it hasn't recovered since. Liam accurately points out this street corner (I hesitate to call it a battlefield) has been frequently visited more than enough times before.

I make a statement based on sheer numbers and resources: having a once-a-week indult Mass is the best of all possible worlds for the Tridentine communities. There are simply not enough musicians and clergy to maintain liturgy on a level at or higher than your average good parish in anywhere near the numbers people hope for. If you want better liturgy, do better preaching and music; nobody's stopping excellence. If you want Latin, go for it, nobody's stopping you from praying in the 1970 Rite. But if you're expecting the pope or Fellay or any other knightly personage to do it for you, let me suggest you have the keys to your own chains.

Tim Ferguson

Actually Todd, I think the Church does, in fact operate on a "my way or the highway model", though it's more properly expressed as "HIS way or the highway" - and determining HIS way is the difficult thing, not trying to figure out what we "po' laity" want - what does God want of us?
Thanks for the permission to go ahead and pray the Mass in Latin in the 1970 Rite. Could you possibly point me to the hordes of liturgists and pastors that would accomodate that?

reluctant penitent

'Occasionally, the conservative blogosphere is abuzz with hopeful rumors that the knight on a white horse will ride into town speaking Latin and liberating us po' laity who have been bewitched by a cabal that has subverted the True Council, or even the True Church. Was it last year, the year before, or both when the rumors were flying that a universal indult was in the works? Where did it go?'

Todd, What would be wrong with a universal indult? Why do the people who support it upset you so much? Most people who are praying for a universal indult are not lobbying to have your Lutheran-style Mass banned. You'll still be able to force parishioners who go to your masses to hold each other's hands and sing tacky broadway show tunes. The good thing about the universal indult is that people will have a choice. You support choice, don't you Todd?

reluctant penitent

'There are simply not enough musicians and clergy to maintain liturgy on a level at or higher than your average good parish in anywhere near the numbers people hope for.'

Actually the Haugen-Haas musical productions are usually quite embarassingly elaborate compared to Gregorian Chant. Gregorian Chant is far more conducive to congregational participation in the Mass. My elderly mother, for example, simply cannot take physically the noise in the average Haugen-Haas parish. And there's no way that she can sing along with any of it--it's far too rhythmically jerky and erratic. This is why I think that the average Haugen-Haas enthusiast really does not, in his or heart of hearts, give a damn about congregational participation.

Todd

" ... determining HIS way is the difficult thing"

Indeed. That sums up the essence of the spiritual life as good as any one sentence.

"Could you possibly point me to the hordes of liturgists and pastors that would accomodate that?"

You're thinking that people will do it for you? Let me put it this way: if a 1970 Rite Latin parish hired me to be its music director, I could give you a substantially good music ministry based on Latin chant and other classics. There are a few musicians who could do an even better job. But not terribly many who could do it at all. And pastors? Therein lies the problem. Any pastor who's able can preside in Latin. Finding a pastor who's willing to lead a parish down this road: that's a difficulty. When you can have outstanding liturgy with good music and preaching and not need to go into Latin: that makes a number of people wonder why one would invest the trouble to make it so. That's one reason why a very small minority of Catholics prefer it.

rp, you asked, "Todd, What would be wrong with a universal indult?"

Aside that it's not in keeping with Vatican II, and speaking personally, I see no problem with a universal indult. It would lower the quality of the celebrations of the 1962 Rite and splinter local communities supportive of it. It might hasten its reform or its end. In that sense, I see nothing "wrong" with it.

"Why do the people who support it upset you so much?"

Seems to me people get more upset when I bring the obvious problems to the table. I don't even have to state opinions; all I need to do is make dire predictions. Also, I think the lack of reform by the principles set down in Sacrosanctum Concilium: that makes continued use of the 1962 Rite a problem theologically and pastorally. Can a prelate really say with authority, "Don't change the readings to inclusive language," while allowing an unreformed liturgy to ignore principles of a council? Cred problem.

"Most people who are praying for a universal indult are not lobbying to have your Lutheran-style Mass banned."

Last time I checked my parish and I pray the Roman Rite. We don't need permission to do a really good job praying it either.

"You support choice, don't you Todd?"

Choice is not an unlimited virtue.

I think you can think what you like about music that people sing or supposedly don't sing. In my parish, people sing it all, and generally care little for the politics behind the liturgy.

Miche

'My elderly mother, for example, simply cannot take physically the noise in the average Haugen-Haas parish. And there's no way that she can sing along with any of it--it's far too rhythmically jerky and erratic.'

My then 5 yr old son and your mother had something in common. After attending a Novus Ordo Mass at our local Cathedral (which is now a Basilica) he declared that that the music was "too much" and he couldn't pray. He doesn't have this problem at the indult where he cheerfully joins in chanting in Latin. Incidentally we have to travel over 70 miles each way to attend the only indult in our entire state (yes, that's generous and widespread.) Our son also asked a very interesting question about the parishioners at the Cathedral, "If Jesus is RIGHT there why does everyone act this way?"

I pray that this meeting is successful and the SSPX is regularized. Among other things it means our family would be able to attend a traditional Mass on Holy Days instead of just Sundays and have our children receive sacraments in the rite they know without travelling to another state. Currently our Indult priest while willing is not allowed to say a traditional Mass for any Holy Day, even Easter and Christmas! Again, is this generous and widespread? Our Bishop would rather have a communion service with the administrator of the church (a permanent deacon) than allow our priest to say Easter Mass in the traditional rite.

reluctant penitent

'We don't need permission to do a really good job praying it either.'

That's terrific Todd. Yet you seem to be offended by the prospect of permission being given to those who want to pray the Tridentine Mass.

'I think you can think what you like about music that people sing or supposedly don't sing. In my parish, people sing it all, and generally care little for the politics behind the liturgy.'

It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the kind of music that is conducive to congregational singing. Gregorian chant is ideal for congregational participation. Yet people like you insist on the noisy and showy Haugen-Haas spectacles. Why is that? Could it be that you don't really care about congregational participation?

'It would lower the quality of the celebrations of the 1962 Rite'

Todd appears not to have faith in the average Novus Ordo priest when he thinks that the universal indult would lower the quality of the 1962 rite. I'm starting to think that Todd might be a crypto-traditionalist, He attributes a quality to the Tridentine rite that he, apparently, believes to be absent elsewhere.

'Can a prelate really say with authority, "Don't change the readings to inclusive language," while allowing an unreformed liturgy to ignore principles of a council? Cred problem.'

The Pope who allowed the indult Mass doesn't think there's a 'cred problem'. Do you believe that his decision was illegitimate?

What sort of 'inclusive language' do you believe to be required for a liturgy to be valid? Just curious. Maybe we can just translate Goddess into Latin and you'd be happy.

Charles

Two comments:

First, it's simply not true that any priest who wants to can celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin. In some dioceses it's not allowed. I know theoretically they can, but they would be persecuted by the chancery and the bishop. The Novus Ordo in Latin is a rarity, perhaps as rare as the Indult Tridentine.

Second, reliable (by which I mean "not completely insane" commentators have said that JPII said that (at least) the American bishops were in de facto, but not de jure, schism. James Hitchcock said this in CWR. Have you all heard the story about how the people sent by the French bishops to check on Lefebvre were denying the Resurrection of Christ? What a terrible quandry for Lefebvre! Paul VI apparently put his authority behind the Resurrection deniers (for fear of provoking open schism?). Lefebvre was responsible for the formation of the souls of his sheep, and the wolves were circling. I find it very difficult to judge him. It almost seems like the SSPX chose not to join the de facto schism and thus found themselves in de jure schism. I mean, five years ago (before he got retired) was Bishop Reginald Cawcutt in communion with Rome? De jure, yes, I suppose. Does that mean that to be in communion with Rome, one must have been in communion with Cawcutt (or Weakland, or Mahoney, or Kaspar, there are plenty we oould name)? I think Rome has decided not to let us know where things stand, and we just have to muddle through as best we can for now.

Charles

Two comments:

First, it's simply not true that any priest who wants to can celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin. In some dioceses it's not allowed. I know theoretically they can, but they would be persecuted by the chancery and the bishop. The Novus Ordo in Latin is a rarity, perhaps as rare as the Indult Tridentine.

Second, reliable (by which I mean "not completely insane" commentators have said that JPII said that (at least) the American bishops were in de facto, but not de jure, schism. James Hitchcock said this in CWR. Have you all heard the story about how the people sent by the French bishops to check on Lefebvre were denying the Resurrection of Christ? What a terrible quandry for Lefebvre! Paul VI apparently put his authority behind the Resurrection deniers (for fear of provoking open schism?). Lefebvre was responsible for the formation of the souls of his sheep, and the wolves were circling. I find it very difficult to judge him. It almost seems like the SSPX chose not to join the de facto schism and thus found themselves in de jure schism. I mean, five years ago (before he got retired) was Bishop Reginald Cawcutt in communion with Rome? De jure, yes, I suppose. Does that mean that to be in communion with Rome, one must have been in communion with Cawcutt (or Weakland, or Mahoney, or Kaspar, there are plenty we oould name)? I think Rome has decided not to let us know where things stand, and we just have to muddle through as best we can for now.

Charles

Oh, I just found out how easy it is to double post. I ws wondering how you guys did that.

Sam Schmitt

Todd said:

"nobody's stopping excellence"

Are you kidding me? When it comes to liturgy at a parish, this is what most of the people in charge are doing most of the time.

reluctant penitent

buying the Gather hymnal=stopping excellence

Anon

Q."Todd, What would be wrong with a universal indult?"
A. It would put a lot of "Directors of Worship" out of work.

Charles, any objective person who attends a Tridentine Mass and then attends a Novus Ordo can see that the attitude of the participants is dramatically different; the former are reverent. So why do "Directors of Worship" tolerate the loud gossiping before and after the Novus Ordo and other signs of disrespect? It can only be that they don't believe Christ is present in the Tabernacle (no, they don't)which means they don't believe in transsubstantiation (they couldn't and allow the Tabernacle to be just an ignored, disrespected piece of stage dressing). That is why they don't want their victims (and we are, if they're entitled and paid to undermine the Faith)to be exposed to genuine worship. Because the Mass would be about Christ, not about them. Simple as that.

reluctant penitent

'Because the Mass would be about Christ, not about them. Simple as that.'

I've heard one priest tell the story of a parish he visited in which, at Communion, parishioners responded to 'Body of Christ' with 'yes I am'! Apparently that was the practice encouraged by the pastor. Very demented stuff.

Todd

Ah yes, enough tickling to surface the conspiracy theories of bad liturgy. You people are a stitch. Honestly.

It boils down to a worldview that's always on the lookout to blame somebody else, and not to look within for a sense of responsibility for what happens or doesn't happen in one's parish.

Mischief managed; see y'all on another thread.

Richard

CLK,


I'm guessing you're under 55 and don't have personal knowledge of what it was like because "the good old days weren't at all as you describe them.

You have me on my age deficiency.

I'm not, as Rocco might put it, a "1958 man" like, say, Cardinal Pell or Pat Buchanan or some others I could name. I wasn't around to live through any of that. Or romanticize it. Not that certain aspects of it might not reasonably generate cause for nostalgia.

I *have* lived through the last three decades with some consciousness, and I do know how badly impoverished the parish life has been in much of the Church. Demographic collapse of vocations and orders. Steep declines in mass atttendance. Badly debased liturgies. Awful or downright misleading catechesis. Flagrant disregard for core Church teachings. Catholic universities that actually pretended to be Catholic and actually teach Church teaching. That hasn't happened everywhere and things seem to be slowly turning around. But I won't argue with you that on all these measures the 1950's Church had a lot more going for it than what we have had in my lifetime.

All I'm saying is that even allowing for all that we must realize that these collapses did not spring ex nihilo - that the seeds of self destruction were already sprouting under Pius XII and before - and that in certain respects there were (as there must always be) deficiencies - in, say, moral theology, liturgical practice, ecumenism - in the life of the Church.

Which I noted.


Richard

Hello Todd,

I think there's been plenty of disregard for the intentions of Sacrosanctum Concilium in the actual implementation of the N.O. mass since 1970.

To take for example the question of Latin:

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

54. ...Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.

101. ...101. 1. In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36.

This is not to be a Latin fetishist. Increased use of the vernacular is called for by SC and is based on sound pastoral concerns. I'm just pointing out an example of the kind of discontinuity I'm talking about. because we all know that in most N.O. parishes, Latin is generally as rare as hen's teeth in the liturgy. Occasionally you find a parish that will sing, say, the Agnus Dei or whatnot. But many clerics have a a real aversion to the liturgical and canonical language of the western church over the last twenty centuries. Apparently they equate it with anti-Jewish pogroms, freemason conspiracy theories and altar-and-throne alliance enthusiasms.

My experience dovetails with Miche and RC: The genuine and legitimate desire for greater lay participation has led to excesses whhich in practice have reduced the level of reverence (and mystery) in the typical N.O. liturgy. It *is* harder to pray during mass and beahvior is frequently boorish right before and after mass. No doubt that kind of thing happened in 1958 but I'lll wager not nearly on the same scale or extremes. And this is to say nothing of the plainly unorganic way the liturgy of the N.O. has evolved: a man of 1958 would feel wholly at home in a 1658 mass but utterly at sea if taken forward in time to a mass just two decades later. Such is the unprecedented upheaval in the liturgy. But this is well-trodden ground and I'm digressing.

I *do* agree that wider practice of the old rite risks lowering the overall quality and that we could use more people trained in traditional chant and hymnody and whathaveyou. That's one reason why we have a new sacred music program down here at Ave Maria. It is also true that too many people fed up with liturgical abuses or excesses simply complain or flee rather than sticking around and doing the hard work of making change happen. But you must also concede that too many bishops, priests and liturgical directors have acted as roadblocks as well. I know you're not that way. But not all liturgists are as tolerant as you are.

I would like to see more generous granting of the indult as called for by Ecclesia Dei but I also think this is only a small part of the answer to the liturgical deficiencies identified by Pope Benedict over recent years. The normative rite of the West is the Novus Ordo, and that is what must be reformed in practice. Revising the GIRM will help but what will help much more is a real emphasis by the Holy Father and his fellow bishops on appointing new bishops dedicated to restoring the liturgy to the reverence, structure and mystery intended by Sacrosanctum Concilium and overhauling seminary preparation and liturgical training which ensures a strong flow of new priests and laity dedicated to and able to fulfill this end.

B Knotts

That is, I imagine any broader permission would be structured in such a way as to avoid a priest deciding on his own unilaterally to impose the older rite on a congregation (at least for their Sunday/holyday obligations) without input from a pastoral council or ordinary.

Liam,

Perhaps this situation could be dealt with "pastorally," as we're told that's the right way to deal with the various abuses that are commonplace in parishes across the country.

dymphna

I don't understand why there is much hatred for the traditionalists. Nothing seems to excite people on this blog and most of the other big blogs than bashing the trads. This is so sad and sets a bad example for potential converts and the Orthodox. Why join a church where everyones seems to hate each other and enjoy smacking each other down for sport?

I hope something comes out of this meeting. I hope that SSPX comes back to the church. In my diocese we have a charismatic prayer group. They make noises and gyrate when they pray. We also a large and very active group that is devoted to Medjugorje--- a false apparition and these folks are tolerated by the bishops with no problem.

At my parish we have Spanish masses, we have folk music masses for the baby boomers and we have a large gay community that is lavishly catered to and that's perfectly cool with most folks here so what's the big deal with having a Tridentine mass? I say let the thousand flowers bloom. Meet and nurture people where they are. If a large enough group in a parish wants a Tridentine mass let them have it.

Liam

I don't see much *hatred* for traditionalists qua traditionalists. Certainly no more than for progressives qua progressives (question, on this very thread, to whom has more ire been directed?).

People of all stripes do get quite fed up with liturgical fundamentalists of any flavor. And that strikes me as unremarkable and to be expected.

My only caution is that folks move quickly enough out of being reactive to such situations and leave their baggage behind; cultivating and nurturing resentment (something many people with liturgical visions that are not thriving as they'd like seem to do well) is pure spiritual poison and needs to be named and called when you see it. It needs to stop, because in the end it will ensure the doom of the vision those resentful folks (be they progressive or traditionalist) aspire to.

That's one reason, btw, I suggest that implementation of a wider usage of the older rite be subject to local pastoral input and consensus. With such a process, cultivating resentment gets nipped in the bud more quickly, in my experience. I see no reason to continue the myriad kinds of unilateralism and lone-rangering that has encouraged such resentments. I am so sick of them.

I am glad I am no longer actively involved in liturgical or pastoral counsel activities; I spent too many years in the trenches, got to see plenty of my own warts and those of all sorts of folks over the years, too much of a distraction.

I wonder why anyone bothers anymore, sometimes.

reluctant penitent

Liam says:

'That's one reason, btw, I suggest that implementation of a wider usage of the older rite be subject to local pastoral input and consensus. With such a process, cultivating resentment gets nipped in the bud more quickly, in my experience. I see no reason to continue the myriad kinds of unilateralism and lone-rangering that has encouraged such resentments. I am so sick of them.'

A universal indult would not require that every parish offer a Tridentine rite Mass. It would merely permit every parish to offer one without having to get permission from the Bishop. The problem thus far has been that many Bishops have simply refused to permit the Tridentine Mass.

Liam

But what I wish to avoid is a traditionalist pastor unilaterally substituting the older rite for the newer rite without reasonable regard to input from his congregation. That will help reduce the likelihood of resentment against the older rite in such situations, which can only help things in the long run.

Lone-rangering helps nobody in the long run.

Todd

Richard, thank you for a most reasonable reply.

The matter of the vernacular has been much discussed elsewhere, but the universal embrace of local languages, authorized and confirmed by Rome, would seem to indicate the bishops and the Holy See both have come to see the more minimal use of Latin as advantageous, both pastorally, catechetically, and perhaps liturgically.

SC 54 has been interpreted in two main ways, with the emphasis on Latin, or the emphasis on participation. Not only does this section encourage the use of Latin, but it also seems to retire the notion of choirs usurping those parts of the Mass to the exclusion of people in the pews. What I've seen and done (and currently do): the Agnus Dei, the Kyrie, the refrain of the Gloria, would indicate there is a slight nod to the use of Latin. The entire Gloria and/or Creed might be a significant hurdle. The Sanctus? Doable. A good case might be made for more Latin, and I would be supportive of that, provided it had a point

"I'm just pointing out an example of the kind of discontinuity I'm talking about."

An awareness of liturgical reforms of the late 60's clears up much of the discontinuity. Schismatics and those leaning to schism made the language of the Mass one of their rallying points. I'm not surprised the last generation saw Latin as a threat to reform. I think those fears were overblown, but it is hard to separate politics from liturgical ideals at times.

" ... we all know that in most N.O. parishes, Latin is generally as rare as hen's teeth in the liturgy."

My birds must be a hundred million years old, because I've made occasional use of Latin language in music for seventeen years.

"The genuine and legitimate desire for greater lay participation has led to excesses whhich in practice have reduced the level of reverence (and mystery) in the typical N.O. liturgy."

I would put a heavier load of blame on cultural factors: music as listening or viewing entertainment, the fading of music from a person's education, poor acoustics, fewer trained musicians capable of balancing the many artistic and liturgical factors that make good liturgy, a deeply casual approach in Western society to many formerly formal settings, pragmatism from clergy, poor leadership in the parish, and a suburban-flight generation or two who have lost their roots.

"It is also true that too many people fed up with liturgical abuses or excesses simply complain or flee rather than sticking around and doing the hard work of making change happen."

Flight or fight, yes.

"But you must also concede that too many bishops, priests and liturgical directors have acted as roadblocks as well."

The most dangerous ones are those who put liturgy on a backburner. A rabid traditionalist and I have many things in common; far more than the liberal pastor who wants to set up a social service agency or a school principal who believes the school is now the center of parish ministry.

"The normative rite of the West is the Novus Ordo, and that is what must be reformed in practice."

Agreed on this point. We have a lot of work still to do. I agree that leadership on the diocesan level is needed. Training new priests and liturgists is also essential. No argument whatsoever on those suggestions.

reluctant penitent

'I would put a heavier load of blame on cultural factors: music as listening or viewing entertainment, the fading of music from a person's education, poor acoustics, fewer trained musicians capable of balancing the many artistic and liturgical factors that make good liturgy, a deeply casual approach in Western society to many formerly formal settings, pragmatism from clergy, poor leadership in the parish, and a suburban-flight generation or two who have lost their roots.'

Pope Paul VI gave Jubilate Deo as a gift to the Church. It free, and consists of simple gregorian chant that can be used for the mass and easily learned by any congregation. It is ideal for congregational participation, and does not require acoustics, guitars, drums, or any instruments for that matter. Yet parishes have, typically chosen to go with expensive acoustics and expensive gather hymnals that cannot be used except with the guidance of expensive musical directors. The music is harder to follow, and is, frankly, abusive to seniors who cannot handle the noise. Why have they done so? First of all because Jubilate Deo has the sung parts in Latin and parish music and liturgy directors are allergic to Latin. Second, it does not fit in well with the typical progressive liturgy director's vision of the mass, as a communal celebration. 'If you have a celebration,' the reasoning goes, 'the music must be joyful.' This leads to all sorts of very corny music.

Todd. Are you prepared to say to your parish: 'Folks, let's sell all of our fancy musical equipment, and our expensive hymnals, donate the proceeds to charity and let's learn the gloria, kyrie, sanctus, agnus dei, pater noster, etc. in Jubilate Deo'? If not, why not?

Sandra Miesel

The CATHOLIC FAMILY NEWS website www.cfnews.org has a story up about an SSPPX "pilgrimage of reparation" to the Fatima shrine led by Bishop Fellay. At one point one of their priests refers to the rest of the Church as a "devil-inspired religion." Some minds aren't going to be meeting, no matter what the Pope says.

Todd

rp, thank you for your reasonable post.

Regarding Jubilate Deo, you said it was "ideal for congregational participation ...."

I disagree. It is a useful and necessary resource for every parish musician. Latin, like other foreign languages, remains a particular challenge in the US. In your average parish, Latin is a distraction to prayer.

" ... and does not require acoustics ..."

I disagree more strongly here. Good chant demands proper acoustics for intelligibility, blending, and projection. Carpet is a killer of chant.

"Yet parishes have, typically chosen to go with expensive acoustics ..."

Also traditional.

" ... and expensive gather hymnals that cannot be used except with the guidance of expensive musical directors."

Good music directors are worth what they are paid. Volunteer musicians I know are quite able to navigate their way through hymnals.

"The music is harder to follow, and is, frankly, abusive to seniors who cannot handle the noise."

I don't find older people generally more or less hostile to hymnals, or even contemporary music.

"'If you have a celebration,' the reasoning goes, 'the music must be joyful.' This leads to all sorts of very corny music."

It can. But chant is also killed by improper tempo. I find the monastic experience of chant to be very joyful and very appropriate for liturgy.

"Are you prepared to say to your parish: 'Folks, let's sell all of our fancy musical equipment, and our expensive hymnals, donate the proceeds to charity and let's learn the gloria, kyrie, sanctus, agnus dei, pater noster, etc. in Jubilate Deo'?"

No.

"If not, why not?"

Because I don't need to jettison all musical tradition in favor of chant. I can use chant as part of a parish repertoire that achieves the end of prayerful, excellent liturgy.

reluctant penitent

Todd,

Acoustics are irrelevant--and musical instruments and amplification unnecessary--when the whole congregation is chanting together. Why is the simple, prayerful mode of participation in the Mass envisioned by Paul VI not sufficient? Why must we have expensive hymnals, musical equipment, loud music, all of which make participation more difficult? Why must we replace chant--which suffices to cover all parts of the mass--with music that appeals to transitory musical trends? I would understand it if chant were being supplemented by the traditions encouraged by V2, especially renaissance popyphony. But most of the time chant is replaced by music that has never been part of any musical tradition encouraged by any Church document. Chant is musically and aesthetically neutral, simple, cheap, ideal for congregational singing, part of the Catholic tradition--i.e. it is everything that the average Haugen-Haas-ite professes to want in liturgical music. Yet they all want something else. Why?

Todd

"Acoustics are irrelevant"

No, my friend, they're not. Skilled singers can focus their attention and produce good singing, much in the same way a skilled pianist can make a toy piano sound amazingly decent. But good musicians would ask why. Why should we sing in a carpeted alcove when we would sound better in a resonant building surrounded by wood and stone? Your average parish needs a lot more to go on than faith for their musical expression not to become tiresome.

" ... --and musical instruments and amplification unnecessary-- "

Musical instruments are unnecessary. Same is true of amplification, but we're talking acoustics, not electronic reinforcement.

"Why is the simple, prayerful mode of participation in the Mass envisioned by Paul VI not sufficient?"

Lay Catholics in this country never had a consistent experience of this, except in extraordinary situations.


"Why must we have expensive hymnals, musical equipment, loud music, all of which make participation more difficult?"

Hymnals aren't all that expensive. Missalettes are more expensive. Musical instruments have long been deemed needful for worship, specially the pipe organ. In my parishes, instruments support and assist in the singing. With good musicians at hand, participation is easier.


"Why must we replace chant--which suffices to cover all parts of the mass--with music that appeals to transitory musical trends?"

People have always replaced chant: organum, polyphony, hymnody, various harmony traditions, etc.. It is part of human creativity, just as it was when chant was invented millennia ago.

"Yet they all want something else. Why?"

Lots of reasons. They don't know chant. They were never trained in it. They distrust it. They never learned to sing it properly. They can't convince other people of its value and beauty. Parish politics. Ignorance of resources. Lack of support from the pastor or diocese. Parishioners refuse to consider it. Parishioners refuse to sing it.

Art Deco

Sensitive, traditionally-minded Catholics did the Church (and themselves) a disservice by jumping ship, rather than work to revive and maintain the very best of the preconciliar worship experience. If they or others see a parish here and there in tatters because of it, I leave it to them to connect their own dots and see where they fit in the picture.

There are, I believe, some 50,000 lay Catholics in attendance at Mass in the Diocese of Rochester in a typical week. The notion that the decomposition of liturgy therein can be explained by the decision of 160 laymen to attend the local indult Mass cannot be taken seriously.

There are simply not enough musicians and clergy to maintain [a Tridentine] liturgy on a level at or higher than your average good parish in anywhere near the numbers people hope for.

I have seen it done quite satisfactorily in an ordinary village parish which might seat 350 parishioners. The musicians employed were the parish choirmaster and 1 volunteer, and their only instrument was their voice. There is a PA system in that church, but that is a sunk cost.

If you want better liturgy, do better preaching...

Non sequitur

reluctant penitent

'Skilled singers can focus their attention and produce good singing, much in the same way a skilled pianist can make a toy piano sound amazingly decent.'

Here again your assumption is that singing is for the skilled musicians and not for the congregation. This is what happens when you depart from the simple Gregorian chant as envisioned by Pope Paul VI. Simple Gregorian chat is something that can be sung by the entire congregation. The congregation might sing in response to a choir, but the choir does not need to consist of professionals since the chant is simple and sung in unison--no skill is necesary. I've seen this done quite successfully in parishes with very modest means, no choir director and no skilled singers. If the congregation wants to sing more than just tbe basic Jubilate Deo settings it's easy to add traditional Gregorian settings. None of this requires good acoustics because the congregation is not listening to a choir give a concert but is singing in unison. When a congregation sings in unison even poor acoustics are not an obstacle.

'Lay Catholics in this country never had a consistent experience of this, except in extraordinary situations.'

Unfortunately most lay catholics have never had any experience with this because Jubilate Deo was simply ignored by people more interested in enforcing music that sounds like something you'd hear in the 'real' world--i.e. tacky broadway showtunes and folk music. Why? God only knows.

Greg Hessel

I don't know why anyone would dispute a universal indult. Even with the Universal Indult:

1) You will always be able to find the Novus Ordo in English in any diocese in the US

2)You will always be able to find bad translations of the Novus Ordo in any diocese in the US

3) You will always be able to find dreadfully bland music to accompany the Novus Ordo in the US

Greg Hessel

Here's a funny one for you....

I was talking to a priest friend who wears the maniple while celebrating the Novus Ordo. I asked him why he wears it. He said that he read a comment by St Alphonsus Liguori stating that the priest wears the maniple to wipe away tears of joy while celebrating Mass. My friend says he wears the maniple during the Novus Ordo to wipe away the tears of sorrow at how bad the liturgy is!

Greg Hessel

Hey Sandra,

So there are a few whacko's among the traditionalists? What else is new? Is this any better than the hypocritical view of newspapers like the Wanderer...which will criticize every move Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Hubbard make but will never point out some of the bad decisions Pope JP II made?

Greg Hessel

That Bishop Williamson is totally against reconciliation is no surprise....when has he ever been obedient to the Pope? He converted from Anglicanism right to the SSPX....

Sandra Miesel

On reconsideration, the SSPX priest may have meant that Hindism rather than "Novus Ordo Catholicism" is a "devil-inspired religion. I must be fair to my enemies.
I've studied the quaint folkways of the RadTrads (not to be confused with people who happen to love the Latin Mass) for some 15 years and been the subject of attacks in their publications. It's not just a case of a "few wackos."

B Knotts

People of all stripes do get quite fed up with liturgical fundamentalists of any flavor.

The Traditional Latin Mass developed over a millennium. I have seen many people make what amount to primitivist claims about the Missal of 1970. Who are the fundamentalists again?

Todd

"Here again your assumption is that singing is for the skilled musicians and not for the congregation."

Actually, no. Read my reply more carefully. Untrained singers do sense poor acoustics: it makes single voices stand out, it prevents blending, and it can contribute to a dead feeling at liturgy.

"Simple Gregorian chat is something that can be sung by the entire congregation."

Yes; especially when the setting is supportive.

" ... but the choir does not need to consist of professionals since the chant is simple and sung in unison--no skill is necesary."

Right and wrong. I've never had a "professional" choir, but I've had very good ones. But skill is needed to sing well in unison.

"None of this requires good acoustics because the congregation is not listening to a choir give a concert but is singing in unison. When a congregation sings in unison even poor acoustics are not an obstacle."

No. Poor acoustics are always an obstacle to congregations producing good singing sounds.

"Unfortunately most lay catholics have never had any experience with this because Jubilate Deo was simply ignored by people ...."

That wasn't my point. Congregations before Vatican II had little experience singing chant.

reluctant penitent

'Congregations before Vatican II had little experience singing chant.'

That is no doubt true but irrelevant to the question of why Jubilate Deo is ignored even though it was issued by Pope Paul VI as a fulfillment of the V2-requirements about congregational participation in singing the kyriale. JD is ideal for congregational singing, simple, and inexpensive, in contrast with the haugen-haas productions. Why, then, was it ignored?

It's false to say that the Gather hymnals are inexpensive. A complete set of pew and choir editions for a parish of substantial size is a several thousand dollar investment. Jubilate Deo is free. Additional gregorian settings for the mass can be obtained without cost. And one does not need any instruments, choir directors, amplification. All of the enormous funds spent on musical directors might be put to better use. One might, for example, give it to the poor, spend it on religious education, or on art, vessels and vestments.

Tim Ferguson

True - most congregations before Vatican II in the US had experience only with hearing chant - but it got into their blood (which is why my non-musical father, watching "The Shining" some thirty years after having been deprived of the possibility of attending a Latin Mass knew right off the bat that the background music during the opening credits was the Dies Irae).
Vatican II encouraged parishes to turn to chant - why didn't they do it? To some extent, that's a moot point: they didn't, and one can lament that fact but not redo it. The question before us is why don't they turn to it now? The norms of Vatican II encouraging chant are still in force, and are being reiterated by each liturgical document that comes out. To say it can't be done because people aren't used to it is absurd - people aren't used to each new creation that comes out of the Haugen-Haas crowd and that doesn't stop liturgists from imposing it. Try Gregorian Chant, try it with consistency, try it with enthusiasm, keep at it with at least the tenacity that you kept at the FEL Songbook in 1971 or Gory and Praise in 1985. Why? Because the Church asks it.

reluctant penitent

Sandra,

One gets the sense that there are great divisions within the SSPX ranks as well. If reconciliation ever does come about the wackos are likely to stay in schism in some smaller version of SSPX.

michigancatholic

Accepting V2 "in light of tradition" is very clear. The ONLY thing that makes V2 valid is the exact same thing that makes any of the other councils valid. That means exactly this: If any one of the other councils, or articles of those councils, is undermined, then V2 is undermined. Therefore, if an interpretation of V2 is made which undermines another council, it cannot be correct.

We are still working on unifying and understanding what the correct interpretation of V2 is. But one thing is sure---it cannot contradict previous councils. Period.

michigancatholic

Todd, familiar with Gregorian chant or no, congregations could not possibly sound worse trying Gregorian chant than they already do with the unsingable Haugen stuff.

Uphill is the only way you can move when you are at the absolute bottom of the pit. It's that bad. Most congregations sound like a catfight in progress.

michigancatholic

Um, reading this thread is interesting, re the things that aren't being mentioned. There are two power plays in liturgical music that need to be made explicit here.
1. "Liturgists" have been pushing for "professionalization" for years. In other words, they want to be recognized as specialists in their own right, and paid the big bucks. This, regardless of the fact that they are totally superfluous in most parishes, except for the largest in big cities. Not only that, but they are not effective---most parish music STINKS, and most laypeople despise liturgists, and for good reason! They treat most Catholics like dirt.
2. Parish music in the US, especially that in the missalettes, is copyrighted by liturgical music companies. It's a big business that drives much of the corruption in liturgy. I'm talking $$$$$$$. It's why there is this strange inability among bishops to make any sense whatsoever on this subject. It's responsible for the wacky lyric changes in hymnody---song of the month, etc. It's also responsible in part for the fact that much of contemporary Cahtolic hymnody sounds like hamburger joint jingles......... or sitcom theme songs.

My favorite is this:
V1: Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

V2: Here's the story of a lovely lady,
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls.
All of them had hair of gold, like their mother,
The youngest one in curls.

It's about time Catholics woke up and realized we're being taken for fools. No wonder liturgists treat us the way we do. No one respects those whom they dupe, even it they are the ones perpetrating the situation.

We need to get some open source music (lots on the net) and then get those copy machines going.

Aristotle A. Esguerra

Sacrosanctum Concilium 54 and related paragraphs lay down to what extent the vernacular is to be permitted during the liturgy. Immediately following the allowance comes this statement:

"Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them."

As an aid to choir directors, parishes and faithful wishing to heed the Council Fathers' "Nevertheless..." and cast into the deep regarding Mass parts in Gregorian Chant (and Jubilate Deo):

- A Lay Apostolate for Chant (MP3, GIF and PDF files - including a Kyriale)
- Jubilate Deo in PDF format

The recordings and notation are all royalty-free, and as most people reading this have computers and printers (and perhaps even portable MP3 players), the only cost incurred is that of paper, toner and time taken to learn these settings.

No universal indult is required for you to learn these settings. If your local parish choir director is not bothered enough by the aforementioned "Nevertheless", he/she isn't required for you to learn these settings either, as the monks featured on the MP3s will be your guide.

If you choose to undertake this task, learn the chants by ear first - the notation can wait.

Apologies for continuing on the tangent. I don't know how pervasive the SSPX is in my neck of the woods, but authentic unity is a good for which to be prayed.

Liam

Also available royalty-free is some material to become literate in the "alphabet" of Roman liturgical music: the basic Roman psalm tones (there are more in other materials, but this is the spine):

http://www.osb.org/gen/topics/psalmtones.html

I would love the USCCB to turn this into freeware where Catholic parishes could set vernacular psalms readily into the tones....

Kevin Miller

michigancatholic: At least some of the Trads go a lot further than that in what they mean by accepting VatII in light of the Tradition - i.e. - they insist not only that VatII can't contradict previous infallible teachings (of councils and popes), which is obviously correct, but also that it can't really develop doctrine in any way - anything that even goes beyond what's been taught before is to be ignored at best and rejected as false at worst.

Kevin Miller

(Thus, for instance, to the extent that Dignitatis Humanae does more than simply repeat what popes had taught concerning religious freedom, they reject DH.)

reluctant penitent

'If your local parish choir director is not bothered enough by the aforementioned "Nevertheless", he/she isn't required for you to learn these settings either, as the monks featured on the MP3s will be your guide.'

A call to action that none of us concerned about the state of liturgical music can ignore.

Todd

"It's false to say that the Gather hymnals are inexpensive."

It's a relative thing. If you or I were outfitting our bookshelves for several thousand dollars, yes: buying a few hundred hymnals is an expensive proposition. Nearly every parish I know provides paper copy in the pews for music, readings, prayers, and such. WhileI have my own issues with various hymnals, it is true that hymnals are cheaper than missalettes, assuming you can keep them in good condition for five or six years, as most parishes do.

"Jubilate Deo is free. Additional gregorian settings for the mass can be obtained without cost."

Does the Vatican waive shipping charges, too? I'm quite aware that many chant resources are in the public domain, but your parish is still going to need to invest in making copies. Even monasteries don't presume the community knows everything by heart.


" ... one does not need any instruments, choir directors, amplification."

A director is fairly essential. And it was you who brought up the issue of amplification, not I. I prefer to do without it, and when my choir sings plainsong, I prefer it be done without instruments, though I've found the congregation is used to a simple accompaniment.

"All of the enormous funds spent on musical directors might be put to better use."

Perhaps so. I've never felt a parish put "enormous" funds to use in paying me. After seventeen years, I can support a family of three. Seriously, I've never felt good personnel investments were bad for a parish. But might I inquire how your chant choir is doing? How long have you been singing? How often you sing? Membership? Your parish's response to you?

I think the recent tenor of responses here underscore a deeper problem in the Church: a profound resentment for things beyond our control. And while the issue of payroll and charity are interesting ones, and worthy of threads in their own right, the fact that we have veered from expectations about the Fellay summit show this undercurrent of resentment.

People on this thread harbor and seem to nurture various offenses against them, and take any and every opportunity to cultivate them. Perhaps not unlike the schismatics who became fed up with the Catholic Church. It seems to me that the problems facing the Church in instances like this (and their spillover) are less about doctrine, discipline, and governance, than about a need for greater maturity in dealing with life's bitter experiences and integrating them into a healthy and fruitful spirituality.

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