Msgr. Wadsworth, ICEL head, praises sedevacantist’s liturgy book

This will interest Pray Tell readers. Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth is probably best known in liturgical circles today as the head of the International Commission on the Liturgy (ICEL), the translation agency that worked with the world’s English-speaking bishops to produce the forthcoming English missal. (Although that translation got pretty hacked up by the Holy See before final approval… but that’s another story.) As someone so intimately involved with the post-Vatican II Missal of Paul VI in his ICEL position, Msgr. Wadsworth is obviously a supporter of the reformed rite. Among his labors for the reformed rite are many speeches concerned with its worthy celebration.

But there is a diversity to Wadsworth’s liturgical interests, including a lively interest in the pre-Vatican II rite of Mass celebrated in Latin according to the 1962 missal. As The Tablet reported it is January 31, 2009 issue, “His keenness for the old rite was evident when he acted as deacon at the Tridentine Rite celebrated by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, president of the ‘Ecclesia Dei’ Commission, at Westminster Cathedral” the previous year. The Tablet added, “His supporters say that it would be wrong to see him through a single lens when he has a great love of liturgy in all the rites of the Church.”

It seems that Wadsworth’s great love of liturgy in the old rite extends surprisingly far. He recently wrote a rather glowing review of a book by a sedevacantist – that is, someone who believes that the bishop’s “seat” in Rome is “vacant” – sede, sedentary, sitting around, seat, see, I think you get the connection – because there is no valid pope in the See of Rome since Vatican II. The author of that book sees a “threat to Catholic doctrine inherent in the Mass of Paul VI.”

The book in question is Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI by Rev. Anthony Cekada. Rev. Cekada is, as Wadsworth puts it, a “well-known sedevacantist apologist.” (And here I admit: he wasn’t known to me until now.) Cekada says that he is clear about “rejecting the new liturgy in favor of the old liturgy on the basis of a clear theological rationale.” That is to say, Cekada does not believe that the new liturgy is theologically defensible.

To be sure, Wadsworth’s review  of the book is nuanced, and he states his disagreement with some of the author’s opinions. But it is striking how much he seems to agree with, as for example when he writes this: “Cekada’s identification of a paradigm shift in Why Change the Offertory? goes a long way in explaining a diminishing of an understanding of the priesthood and the sacrifice offered in the Mass, as does his inference of a deliberate wish to subvert on the part of some.” According to Wadsworth, the sedevacantist’s book is “full of ..credible analysis” and “an important contribution to the current debate.” He writes, “I encourage others to read it.”

For a fuller account of Msgr. Wadsorth’s review of Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, see Cekada’s kindly response to Wadsworth. For the full review itself, you’ll need to get your hands on the most recent issue of Usus Antiquior, or else shell out $39 here to buy the review.






343 responses to “Msgr. Wadsworth, ICEL head, praises sedevacantist’s liturgy book”

  1. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    Oh please, AWR, liturgical McCarthyism and it’s historical antecedents?
    Do you really want to go down this path?

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Where, please, is the McCarthyism? I report what he said, I report that he disagrees with some of the sedevacantist’s positions but agrees with others, and I use his own words. I emphasize that he supports the Missal of Paul VI.

      I stand by my account because I believe it is fair and accurate. It may be news you’re uncomfortable with – but it’s still news, and it’s reported accurately.

      1. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        So have you read Cekada’s book? It seems premature to condemn it and by implication Wadsworth for praising elements of it if you haven’t. Presumably even a sedevacantist can say things you would agree with.

      2. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        Samuel, stop. I linked to an important and interestig news story and I quoted relevant sections. I do it all the time. I didn’t condemn anyone. I tried to let the original story speak for itself. Please don’t nitpick and try to discredit.


    2. Xavier Rindfleisch Avatar
      Xavier Rindfleisch

      The head of ICEL praises a sedevacantist screed against the formally promulgated Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite … and that’s not of interest to those of us who accept the legitimacy of both Forms … not to mention the legitimacy of the current Roman Pontiff?

      How is that McCarthyism?

      And now we’re being read lectures on non-controversial obedience by someone who’s been involved in Curial liturgical politics for as long as I’ve been patronising Da Roberto’s (four Popes!): cf above thread on Cuthbert Johnson.

      Lay aside all controversy, indeed. Now that it suits their purpose.

      Bravo, Father Anthony, for speaking up!

      1. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        The head of ICEL praises a sedevacantist screed

        And have you read the book?

      2. Xavier Rindfleisch Avatar
        Xavier Rindfleisch

        About three-quarters of this new work (loaned to me by a colleague) and all of his previous booklet on the changes in the Collects from their form in the pre-Vatican II Missale Romanum to the Missal of Paul VI, some of which comparisons I used in both a class and a seminar, but drawing my own conclusions.

        So I’m sorry to deprive you, Sam, of the kick you would ordinarily get from your snarky MO. Do remember me at Mass today; I should be grateful for your prayers.

        Oh and Sam, what’s the last book you’ve read?

      3. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        There’s hardly any shortage of snark in your comments.

        The last book I finished was Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. I’m currently reading St. Anthony’s sermons for the time after Pentecost and Lord Acton’s lectures on modern history.

      4. Jeffrey Tucker Avatar

        Yikes, an intellectual with a broad mind and liberal spirit! Run for your life!

      5. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        Cekada believes that “Novus Ordo is a Pagan Worship, Vatican II is a Demonic Plot”:

        Just so we’re aware of what the broad mind and liberal spirit is open to.


      6. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Apparently as long as Cekada and Wadsworth consider the Propers of the Missale to be the only chants permitted, then, if one or another denies the legitimacy of the Pope or of the officially promulgated liturgy, they’re A OK for Jeffrey Tucker, speaking of intellectuals with broad minds and liberal spirits!

      7. Jeffrey Tucker Avatar

        I know nothing of Cekada, but why is it ridiculous to think that there is nothing to learn from him? To be broad minded means not to demonize the views of a person because one disagrees with the main strain of thinking. To be liberally minded means not to favor banning people and burning their books because they hold opinions that are not favorable to the current regime. these have been difficult years for the Catholic faith and sorting it all out is going to require open minds and wide reading. Guilt-by-association tactics really have no place in an open Church. This site has advanced opinions that are very much contrary to the main strain of thinking in the Church as regards some core issues, but it would be unseemly to dismiss every opinion offer here for that reason alone. For this reason, I find the underlying intent of this post to be unfair and upsetting.

  2. Paul Boman Avatar
    Paul Boman

    I read the sections of the book found in the link Fr Ruff provided. “Screed” is an entirely apt description. It is after all the work of a schismatic deeply in love with the status afforded clerics by his antiquarian “theology.”

  3. Jose F. Moreno Avatar
    Jose F. Moreno

    Considering some of Pope Benedict’s nuanced comments in an interview about a year ago, Msgr. Wadsworth shouldn’t allow nuance any chance at confusion by being clear. I have not read the review, but media and blogs can take any nuance and RUN-WITH-IT.

  4. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Fr Cekada is, presumably, a theologian. However, judging from his response to Andrew Wadsworth’s review and from the extracts from the book available on the site Anthony Ruff linked to, Cekada is certainly no liturgist.

    His basic position appears to be that the Liturgical Movement and the postconciliar liturgical reforms were motivated by doctrinal (theological) considerations. While there was of course an element of that, not least in the realm of ecclesiology, it does not appear to have struck him that the history of liturgical reform over the past 100 years was founded on the increasing insights gained from liturgical historians as well as liturgical theologians. He appears unaware that a return to earlier liturgical forms might have had an important part to play in the reforms.

    To get stuck on the fact that collect prayers from the 1962 Missal were edited and altered for the 1970 Missal is to ignore the fact that such editings and alterations have gone on throughout liturgical history. There is nothing new or noteworthy about updating. And to posit that the mediaeval blind alley which the Offertory rites had gone up (and from which they have not been entirely rescued as yet) affected the laity’s view of the theology of priesthood is sheer nonsense.

    It is clear that Cekada’s primary problem is that he cannot cope with change and development.

    1. Bill deHaas Avatar

      And Paul – note that he dismisses Jungmann’s work by calling and labelling his liturgical history analysis an “ism”. He and Wadsworth later state that more and more “experts” agree with this conclusion about Jungmann.

      Nothing like re-writing history.

  5. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    I sent Monsignor Wadsworth’s review to a mutual priest friend of ours who replied:

    “I know nothing of this. I know that for some years after his ordination Andrew was a champion of the old Mass. I am told that over time (whilst still retaining an affection for it) he has moderated his views considerably with the realisation that the Mass of Vatican II (which, after all, is his bread and butter) is here is to stay and in 98% of cases will be what people experience liturgically both now and in the future. I am not sure when this review was written… if in fact it dates back some years ago, then it would be consistent with his views at that time… if it is recent… then that’s another story!!!!!!”

    1. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      The magazine is dated July 2011.

      1. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Oh I know, my dear . . . I know!

  6. Brian Duffy Avatar
    Brian Duffy

    “To get stuck on the fact that collect prayers from the 1962 Missal were edited and altered for the 1970 Missal is to ignore the fact that such editings and alterations have gone on throughout liturgical history. ”

    I do remember meeting a Carmelite in Reginaldus’ class several years ago who was telling me that he was writing about the collects of the “new” missale. It was his thesis that unlike earlier revisions these collects were rewritten or created to proclaim the theology of Vatican II. He claimed that this was not a bad thing but that it was different from the purposes of earlier compilers.

    I often wondered if he actually published his book.

  7. Adam Bartlett Avatar
    Adam Bartlett

    This piece should be submitted to the National Enquirer. It meets perfectly the reporting standards that are held there. Sadly, this blog has become the Enquirer of Catholic liturgy.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Adam, how so? The post pretty accurately summarizes the state of affairs, based on the website of the book’s author. I note that Wadsworth supports the Mass of Paul VI, lest the reader associate Wadsworth exclusively with those who reject Vatican II. I try to let Wadsworth speak in his own words. I just don’t see how the ‘reporting standards’ are low here.

      I’m really trying to hear what is legitimate in your charge, but I’m not seeing it. I come away with the impression that you don’t want the story to get out that Wadsworth praised a book written by a sedevacantist. But he did – that is the fact – and I don’t claim anything more or less than that.

      If I’m missing something, please help me see it.


    2. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      Sorry, that job is already well-filled elsewhere. In fact, slur-by-association is the almost daily diet of many traditionally oriented blogs.

      That said, the association here lacks the full punch of the outright slur more common in other climes. For that reason, it’s likely to irritate those who prefer what they believe is the forthrightness of what they’ve come to expect elsewhere. Forthrightness is sometimes mistaken for honesty and courage.

  8. Charles Culbreth Avatar

    I really hesitate to comment further.
    But as I recall, the general thrust of “real” McCarthyism was that guilt by mere association became a false standard by which anyone with an agenda could impugn and discredit virtually anyone else, thus depriving the accused of his/her integrity immediately in the public eye and undermining said accused’s bond of trust with that public.
    I could be wrong. I’m certainly no Robert Welch.

    As the ref’s in the NFL say, “Upon further review…” I noticed that Jeffrey Tucker already advanced my point. And I obviously agree that the title of your post, Fr. Anthony, was not devoid of the possibility of a “guilt-by-association” interpretation. I’ll trust you and take you at your word if that was not the case.

  9. Msgr Andrew Wadsworth Avatar
    Msgr Andrew Wadsworth

    I am grateful for the interest this review has stimulated, particularly because I believe that we need more commentary which explains how we get from Sacrosanctum Concilium to the Missale Romanum of 1969 and then to the English translation of 1973. The Cekada study offers one such narrative which despite its polemical tone, contains important analysis which might usefully stimulate further discussion, alongside the work of other scholars, in a wider context.

    1. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      Oh and Monsignor, as long as you’re here, could you please explain why Canon Griffiths and Father Ruff were terminated by ICEL and how the process worked (i.e., who ordered it, who objected, what response to the objections there was, if such objections were made, if there were threats to those ordered to carry out the termination, etc.) – you know, just to set controversy aside, as the saintly Abbot is entreating us … or are you not the “controversy aside” kinda guy?

    2. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      Monsignor, you might also be good enough to tell us what you think of the 10,000 changes Vox Clara made to the ICEL translation.

      1. Adam Wood Avatar

        Someone everyone else has been discussing as if he wasn’t here shows up to contribute, and the only response he gets is an attack. Good job. I’m glad we all learned our lesson after Haas showed up at MusicaSacra immediately decided to never come back.

  10. Charles Culbreth Avatar

    So, KLS, two wrongs from erstwhile opponents make a right?

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      That wasn’t the question I was responding to. I was responding to the point that this blog is the Catholic Enquirer of Liturgy, that’s all.

      If you want to have your concern about hasty judgment on the part of AR taken seriously here, don’t suddenly convert what I was responding to into something else, either…..

      Now to answer your implied question: I would not run this post, because I would be the kind of blogger who would not have people reading his blog because it’s too nuanced. (So I take your concern, but by the standards of St Blog’s, what AR did here was not even up to standard fare. But, you see, I find that standard fare wearyingly utilitarian (not a compliment in my book). That’s why I’ve never bothered to blog, and only inhabit blog comboxes.)

  11. Rita Ferrone Avatar
    Rita Ferrone

    I had never heard of Fr. Cekada before this either, so looked around for more info. Here is a youtube which isn’t a video but an audio tape of a homily he preached the day after the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. Although there is no “proof” of authenticity (see, I knew you’d ask), from the content of his website it would appear it’s the same person because the ideas are the same, only here they are expressed orally.


    “I am going to give you a few considerations of the Ratzinger ‘motu Mass’ – the positive and the negative aspects… When I say positive aspects I mean this: those aspects of it that tend to destroy the false religion of Vatican II, to hasten its destruction, to hasten its demise. That is a positive aspect.”


    Then there are those troubling “negative aspects.” Watch out, traddie friends (see above), you who have settled into the 1962 liturgical books and who may therefore reflexively jump to his defense. He’s against 1962 too!

    P.S. The audio has with it a most charming photoshopped picture of Pope Benedict (whom he calls “Joseph Ratzinger” of course, seeing as he does not regard him as a legitimate pope) juggling CATS — really cute, you must see it!

    1. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      Thanks, Xavier.
      This has all been usefully stimulating!

      In fact, it’s especially useful if one wants to stimulate speculation about the theological legitimacy of Vatican II and its liturgical reform!

    2. Jeffrey Tucker Avatar

      Xavier Rindfleisch, it’s long past time for you to reveal your identity, which will surely provide some context to your point of view.

    3. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      “Are you now, or have you have been, a member of . . . “

    4. Xavier Rindfleisch Avatar
      Xavier Rindfleisch

      Jeffrey, you amaze me. What do I matter? I am an antique, by any standard, and a person with no “power” and of no “influence” in matters liturgical or ecclesial. For what they’re worth (and I’ve been paid nothing to offer them), I’ve set forth my analysis of the Latin / 2008 / Vox Clara Missals, calling attention to mistranslations from the Latin, violations of the norms for translation promulgated by the Holy See, and errors in English grammar and syntax. If any of my analysis is in error, point out the errors. If anything I’ve said regarding the process (all of it common knowledge, surely, by the time it gets down to the low rungs of the ecclesiastical ladder where I muddle about) that is untruthful, point out the untruths. But why should you or anyone care about me?

      If you’re as concerned for “the beauty of holiness” and the accuracy/literary beauty of liturgical translations as you claim to be, shouldn’t you be more concerned to know the identities of those who, subsequent to the approval of the bishops’ conferences, went through the ICEL translation mistranslating, violating Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis, and serving up unidiomatic or downright erroneous English constructions, that were then granted the confirmatio by a Congregation too incompetent, lazy or arrogant to heed the warnings of scholars who pointed out even heresies in some of the revisions – two of which scholars were dismissed with no due process whatsoever?

      Shouldn’t these be the people whose names you’d like to know, rather than some old curmudgeon, without power or influence, muttering into his wine of a warm Roman evening (but Germany and holiday soon, so don’t feel too badly for me!). And having to deal with (to quote one of Vox Clara’s Lenten Prefaces) incorrigible-still former students like Grady?

  12. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    Schillebeeckx said that he and many theologians believed the Vatican to be in schism.

    The friendliness of the current Vatican to schismatics is unnerving.

    Perhaps the new translation will prompt people to raise questions about an uncatholic or even anticatholic way of doing things.

    1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

      Rita, so we are only ecumenical (or dialogical) towards those who are ecumenical themselves?

    2. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      Jeffrey, I’ve never noticed this zeal for ecumenism in you before. Have you had a conversion?

      1. Jeffrey Tucker Avatar

        Haven’t noticed? You should stalk more thoroughly then.

      2. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        As someone who is already baptized, I think the word “conversion” is out of place. I would prefer to say I’ve had a coming-into-full-communion-ing. 😉

        All kidding aside, it’s hard to be everything I’m supposed to be all the time. Sometimes my zeal for ecumenism wanes.

  13. Rita Ferrone Avatar
    Rita Ferrone

    Well, you see, this really is the issue, isn’t it? (What Joe O’Leary said.)

    Someone in an important position for shaping the English liturgy for millions of Catholics for many years to come, is not just any scholar who comments on books within the circle of a scholarly community.

    Indeed, many such scholars exist who have been PILLORIED for having questioned any of the accepted axioms of current papal teaching. Their attempts to carry out a free discussion even among academics have been considered “dangerous” and disloyal, and are suppressed.

    But now here we have someone with a public ecclesial position, showing that great trust has been placed in him, and he is inviting the public to read sedevacantist works which culminate in the conclusion that the Mass of Paul VI is theologically illegitimate and ought to be abolished.

    This suggests that, far from being unthinkable, such outcomes are to be entertained and discussed. This discussion, or I should say “attempts at deconstruction” of Vatican II and its outcomes, must therefore enjoy the approval of a very high level of Roman bureaucracy.

    Is it any wonder, then, that the Catholic people have begun to suspect that the Council is being sold out?

  14. Paul Boman Avatar
    Paul Boman

    Than you Rita, very well stated.

  15. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    I find it wearisome and divisive, or is that a progressive or traditionalist refuge? What is the fruit of AWR’s article, thus far, Rita?

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Charles, are you saying that some things, such as this story, shouldn’t be reported on? I’m glad we did so.

    2. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      “Wearisome and divisive” would be a great sub-heading for Summorum Pontificum!

    3. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      Charles, the part that I find wearisome is the recriminations over posting the story. The tendency to pick at each other rather than to direct our thoughts toward a possible discussion is rather unhappy, and I think we could do better. Even now I can anticipate all the comments that will blame me for blaming them, and it’s quite tiresome to contemplate.

      But you asked about the fruit of AWR’s article, and I do perceive some. Several of us have now heard of this relatively obscure book, and we have a general idea that the head of ICEL thinks well of it, and doesn’t bat an eye at the fact that it ends up asking for the abolition of the Mass of Paul VI.

      For me, the question this raises about what’s “on the table” for discussion among highly placed servants of the Catholic Church is disturbing, but that’s a good fruit. I’d hate to be caught napping if they decide to withdraw the Ordinary Form one day, once Vatican II has been deconstructed.

      I learned that it costs $39 to reprint an article! (These are high rollers~ I couldn’t afford it, for sure.)

      Finally, the picture of Benedict juggling the cats was really cute and it’s safe to say I never would have seen it if it weren’t for this article!

  16. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    Thank you, Miss Ferrone, for confirming my prejudices about the hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness of liberals.

    First, whine about your own “persecution,” then harrumph about Msgr. Wadsworth’s “ecclesial positon,” establish ThoughtCrimes (“unthinkable”) and then hint at a conspiracy from on high (“approval of a very high level of Roman bureaucracy.’)

    People with ideology like yours DESTROYED Catholic life after Vatican II and have been riding high for decades. When the victims (and I mean people like me) take a leaf from your own revolutionary manual by “speaking truth to power,” your first move is to marginalize and delegitimize.

    There’s no possibility that I might have said ANYTHING worthy of consideration in Work of Human Hands, is there?

    Or despite the caveats in his review, there’s no possibility that Msgr. W. might have just been trying to be fair, instead of promoting a dark Ratzingerian conspiracy, with or without the flying cats. (Not my work, by the way.)

    What next? Hinting I’ll be invited to Castel Gandolfo for strudel this summer?

    1. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      You’re welcome to your prejudices, though I very much doubt you needed me to confirm them. However, as far as I am concerned, you are not welcome to deconstruct Vatican II or call for the abolition of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and get a nice pat on the back for it from the Executive Director of ICEL without anybody taking notice or taking exception. You put up on your website the parts of the review you wanted the world to see. Well, we saw them. Maybe if we could see the review without paying $39 for it we might appreciate better the nuances of Msgr’s comments.

      1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur

        And we got this far with neither side accusing the other of behaving in accordance with Alinksyism! (Because where McCarthyism lurks, so does Alinksyism these days in rhetorical reaction.)

        Today’s weather: Variable, but dry.

      2. Tim Whalson Avatar
        Tim Whalson


      3. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

        The publisher, Maney, charges for downloads, so I settled on publishing excerpts in my own blog.

        I just e-mailed the Editor of Usus Antiquior to let him know you were interested in reading the whole review. I assume he will make it available.

    2. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Fr. Cekada,
      For those of us unfamiliar with sedevacantism, would you please describe the basics of it within the 2000 character limit of comments here.

      1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        There’s no valid pope right now. And that leaves 1967 characters for the rest:

        Who the last valid pope was is not unanimous among SVs. Some say John XXIII was not a true pope ever, or that he fell into heresy. Others say the same about Pius XII (natural family planning, among other things). Or Pius XI (for saying that God is the Father of all, cf. Mal 2:10; although, does God being the Father of all necessarily imply that all are already, properly speaking, His children?). Or Benedict XV (for speaking of Mary as coredemptrix, and for promoting baptism of desire and other things in his code of canon law). Or Pius X (for saying that God is the Father of all). Or Leo XIII (for heliocentrism, and saying that God is the Father of all).

        I think they’d all agree Pius IX is legit, but I don’t know for sure.

      2. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

        “Sede vacante” is the canonical term used for the papal interregnum.

        Sedevacantism is a theological position among traditionalists (those who resist the Vatican II teachings, discipline and worship) that seeks to provide a coherent theological explanation for the disaster in the Church after Vatican II. The argument, in a stripped down form, is this:

        1. Officially-sanctioned Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws embody errors and/or promote evil.

        2. Because the Church is indefectible, her teaching cannot change, and because she is infallible, her laws cannot give evil.

        3. It is therefore impossible that the errors and evils officially sanctioned in Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws could have proceeded from the authority of the Church.

        4. Those who promulgate such errors and evils must somehow lack real authority in the Church.

        5. Canonists and theologians teach that defection from the faith, once it becomes manifest, brings with it automatic loss of ecclesiastical office (authority). They apply this principle even to a pope who, in his personal capacity, somehow becomes a heretic.

        6. Even popes have acknowledged the possibility that a heretic could one day end up on the throne of Peter. In 1564 Paul IV decreed that the election of such a pope would be invalid, and that he would lack all authority.

        7. Since the Church CANNOT defect but a pope as an individual can defect (as, a fortiori, can diocesan bishops), the best explanation for the post-Vatican II errors and evils we have catalogued is that they proceeded (proceed) from individuals who, despite their occupation of the Vatican and of various diocesan cathedrals, did (do) not objectively possess canonical authority.

        There are many articles explaining various details of this on

        But I hasten to add, I do NOT discuss this issue in Work of Human Hands.

  17. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    I thought I had been uncharacteristically clear.
    Sure, print your article, but accept that some have found it, or if nothing else the title, unseemly, unwarranted and provocative. The points advanced by XR are worthy of serious consideration, but the poison tongue, ever so clever and self assured, of his “incorrigible” student betray the climate of tolerance you seem to want to preserve everywhere else in ecclesia but here. Is this the fruit you wanted to harvest? Did you sow those seeds in fertile ground as you see it?

  18. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    Father Anthony Cekada :
    What next? Hinting I’ll be invited to Castel Gandolfo for strudel this summer?

    But surely you’re a sedevacantist? Why would you want to go all that way to eat strudel alone?

    1. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

      Because you’d be wearing that great outfit when you’d bring it to my table!

    2. Eileen Russell Avatar
      Eileen Russell

      To get away from the American Church “run by committee loaded with liberated, empowered, aggressive laywomen, often on salary”. He’s heard all about us from terrified pastors.

      Boo! We’re such a scary lot! The People of God – he calls the “enemy”. Indeed!

      When you live on a church salary, you learn to set priorities.
      Keep your $39. Instead, buy Elizabeth Johnson’s book for a friend, Rita. Well, if conversation about a publication which invites controversy is what you want.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        Of course, when the pastors hired you scarey, they expected meek female submissiveness, not having read anything relevant to the laity since their seminary days.

        Golf they will study, Liturgy, no. Theology, no, but some will study investment strategies for all their disposable income.

        Oh well, at least you got hired.
        I found that being a well-informed and degree holding male just put them in fear of their alpha dog status.

        What their assumptions are when hiring male music directors is terrible to contemplate.

        What a nice venting this has been.

  19. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    And on a somewhat less belligerent note — for me, at least:

    Work of Human Hands merely says in a more systematic way what Catholic traditionalists have been saying for years: The Mass of Paul VI embodied a major doctrinal shift concerning the nature of the Mass, the priesthood, and the Real Presence, as well as upon other matters such as ecumenism, hell, the world, miracles, the saints, etc.

    Traditionalists are not alone in recognizing this, and I think it’s unfair to hammer Msgr. Wadsworth over it. After all, Fr. Baldovin, hardly a crypto-traditionalist, praised several points raised in a Lefebvrist critique of the reform, saying:

    “In all of this [understanding the theological principles behind the reform] they are completely on target. That is, these are the issues that are at stake in the reform of the liturgy. The reformed liturgy does represent a radical shift in Catholic theology and piety.” (Reforming the Liturgy, 138–9)

    Naturally, he and I would disagree over whether this was a Bad Thing or a Good Thing. But the underlying facts — a radical theological shift in texts and rites — we would agree on.

    If anything, liturgists of a progressive bent who opt for a post-Vatican II hermeneutic of DIScontinuity should be CHEERING for Work of Human Hands. I show how you all won the battle after Vatican II: The old theology and the rite that expressed it went out the window, and you got a new rite based on a new theology.

  20. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Did I detect a defensive rant from Anthony Cekada just now? (1:43pm) Surely not.

    No one is saying that what he said is not worthy of consideration (though I admit that I discern that he is no liturgist, and so commenting on matters liturgical can prove dangerous). What this thread was discussing was whether the esteemed Andrew Wadsworth (for whom I have a great deal of sympathy, incidentally) had sold his soul down the river in contributing a preface to a book which was not all that it might have been.

    1. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

      Msgr. Wadsworth did not write a PREFACE to Work of Human Hands, but merely reviewed it in Usus Antiquior.

      As as for me being “no liturgist,” I guess that depends on how you define the term. A successful graduate of courses in inculturation, presidential style, feminist deconstruction of worship paradigms, LifeTeen liturgical style, etc.? Nope.

      Comparison and analysis of liturgical texts and gestures? Read my book, and judge for yourself.

      Running a Good Friday Pontifical Mass of the Presanctified at the Faldstool? Bring it on!

      1. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        Good Lord.

        A liturgist is someone who has an in-depth knowledge of liturgical forms and liturgical history, and who knows how to apply that knowledge in today’s pastoral context. Nothing to do with the areas that you just threw brickbats at.

        Your comment about faldstools, etc, makes me think that you have confused being a liturgist with being a rubricist. Not the same thing at all. You may be the latter, but not the former.

        Since you ask, I have read the sizeable extracts from your book which are available online, and I have to say that I am not impressed. You are coming from a place which is not a good basis from which to form an objective judgment of the things you are presuming to judge.

        I hate to say this, but people who are very competent in one particular area sometimes think that this gives them the right to pontificate on all other areas, even those in which they have no competence. The editor of Usus Antiquior is a good case in point.

        I apologize for attributing a preface to your book to Andrew Wadsworth. I of course meant a review, which is what this thread is all about. A simple slip of the keyboard…..

  21. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    Unbelievable…Still worth it?
    And I’m posing that specifically to not only AWR and Rita, but to Msgr. Wadsworth, Fr. Cenkada, KLS, JT and any other who thinks all this was beneficial to the Body.
    As Russell Shaw recently emphasized, “clericalism” ain’t just for clerics.
    I now find myself curiously aligned with the dumbfounded frustration David Haas often laments: why, O why?
    Mercutio’s curse is bubbling up to the fore if this bullsh*t is allowed to foment and froth over any hope of returning to the altar as siblings again.
    I’m sixty now, I can say bullsh*t.
    At least I don’t mince around with stereotypical slurs against my fellows, no matter how much they disagree with me. Disagree, bu/t don’t be disagreeable. What part of kindergarten did some of us miss?

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      Not still worth it, in case you are wondering, but I am reading along and intervening just like you are….

    2. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      Charles, I agree with you that much of the conversation (including all the parts now deleted!) wasn’t helpful. We all have to keep working on respecting each other, and de-escalating rather than escalating the tension.

      Still, I think this is an important question: Did this wild conversation cause the ill will, or did it merely give expression to the ill will already lurking beneath the surface??

      It’s a mix, surely. To the extent it is the latter, our conversation was helpful because it makes us aware of how toxic the topic of liturgy has become in our Church. I’ll be honest: I think Summorum pontificum has worsened the situation.

      Our Church is badly divided. Pope Benedict has succeeded in making all of us very unsure about the future, he has made a lot of people very nervous, and he has made other people ever more courageous and agressive. What a mess.

      Now we see why so many bishops and bishops’ conferences BEGGED him not to issue SP.


      1. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        I don’t think SP worsened the situation at all – instead it, to paraphrase you, gave expression to something wrong that was lurking deep beneath the surface.

        I don’t see how the indult that existed prior to SP could have been considered a healthy thing for the Church. I find it bizarre that those who most oppose SP seem to be the ones who speak the most about empowering the People of God and how it is their Church (unless they want the Latin Mass – then they have to be under the close supervision of the bishop and whatever arbitrary conditions he imposes).

  22. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    KLS, btw- I didn’t understand that your earlier post was in response to AB or someone else. Sorry for the wrong inference.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      Thanks, it was precisely to AB’s nonsense. I was wondering if you were confused on that point….

      I do wonder why someone like Msgr Wadsworth would review a book by Rev Cekada. I don’t know how broad his reviewing compass is, and if this reach for the margin is usual or unusual; moreover, if he reviews other pieces at the margin and, if so, at which point(s) he tends to do so. (Reminds me of people paying too much attention to Bob Sungenis, frankly; in our current era, attention is oxygen in a way it was not before the Internet, and the Internet has a predilection for accentuating the marginal in a disproportionate way, so we need to use custody of the eyes more deliberately, as it were. And, yes, geocentrism and sedevacantism are WOTLP (Way Out There, Like Pluto).)

      To that extent, I found this post whetted my curiosity, and expected it to be hashed out before I could judge how rash or non-rash it might ultimately be. I still can’t tell, and that’s OK; I am OK with lack of clear resolution. Love those extended chords, y’know….

  23. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Karl Liam Saur :
    with neither side accusing the other of … Alinksyism!

    Had to Google and wish to share.

    If you’re defining Alinksyism as the use of mass organization at a local level to achieve political ends … you could apply it to any modern mass political movement including the Tea Party.

    Growing up in the 1930s, Saul Alinsky was primarily interested in the urban poor and put most of his efforts into Community Organization or improving the living conditions of deprived communities.

    Alinsky specifically criticized groups … for being more interested in making radical political statements rather than actually trying to help their communities …

    Finally, maybe we should all read this quote from Alinsky himself shortly before he died;

    ‘…I’ve never joined any organization – not even the ones I’ve organized myself. I prize my own independence too much. And philosophically, I could never accept any rigid dogma or ideology, whether it’s Christianity or Marxism. One of the most important things in life is … ‘that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you’re right.’

    If you don’t have that, if you think you’ve got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.”

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur


      I was not addressing Alinsky the reality, but Alinksy the rhetorical jabbing point, which is the latter-day version of McCarthyism….

      * * *

      On a more substantive note, I would not be surprised if, when we encounter Jesus at the end of our mortal days, he greets us with a question: “[N], do you love me?”, just as he greeted Simon Peter after the Resurrection. The questions of truth, while not unrelated to that question (if you hate truth, then do you really love he who is Truth?), are nevertheless ordered to that question, not the other way around. And we can’t bull+it that answer, cuz, he will know the truth. The next question is, will we? That’s why, even though it’s important to get the truth right, to get in the habit of loving God (and that is not so much an affective matter as an act of will and being/becoming) is where we should pay more attention and energy; if we do that, such truth as we really need to embrace will flow as a matter of course over such time as God decides we need.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        sorry, KLS, did not mean to be criticizing anything you say, just found this info interesting and the term new to me

        I think, on first reading, that I am with you on the rest of this post.

  24. Anthony N. Emmel Avatar

    I am not a sedevacatist, but I most assuredly am not ecumenical. There is One Truth Faith revealed in Holy Mother Church. All others need not apply.

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      But of course Holy Mother church affirmed ecumenism at the last general council.

      I think you got yourself a problem there.

      Do you agree with Holy Mother Church, the revealer of the One True Faith, or not?


  25. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    I welcome the self-reflection on the chicken/egg question.
    But we commoners are not so interested in all the palace intrigue that seems to light the fires in the towers.
    For me, I am compelled to now question the risk to benefit ratio of frequenting PT and trying to defend the merit of PT awareness to others not disposed to look beyond the externals and ivory tower condescension I now am inclined to believe is SOP here at PT. For this grunt, this is now too darn near a FUBAR enterprise, and as I’ve pondered, not worth it any longer.
    Give it a few days rest…

  26. Eileen Russell Avatar
    Eileen Russell

    Yes, less belligerent in tone, for you. But the words you use are designed to disguise the issue. “a post-Vatican II hermeneutic of DIScontinuity should be CHEERING”? Really? Who would cheer your vision of a church in division into enemy camps? “Good!”, you declare to your followers. Divide and conquer. Whose theology is that?!

    The church envisioned by Vatican II is the people of God. This “new age in the life of the Church” is to continue the mission of the Lord – liberate and empower the poor, give sight to the blind, life in the Spirit – the giver of life. That’s continuity. It’s the reason God became human.

    But, if you fear it’s too hard to accomplish, give up and tie your life to a dead language and ritualistic humility, perhaps in place of the real kind. Without ever learning a word of latin, I’ve spent almost five decades hearing the scriptures while joining with others who gather in gratitude for the privilege of being called to serve. Not one minute of wasted time in that. And you call it a failure…….a disaster. Not so, Father.

  27. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Cekada, 10JULY4:57pm
    “1. Officially-sanctioned Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws embody errors and/or promote evil.

    7. Since the Church CANNOT defect but a pope as an individual can defect (as, a fortiori, can diocesan bishops), the best explanation for the post-Vatican II errors and evils we have catalogued is that they proceeded (proceed) from individuals who, despite their occupation of the Vatican and of various diocesan cathedrals, did (do) not objectively possess canonical authority.”

    To be clear, the logic here is that after one concludes in one’s own judgment that the results of an Ecumenical Council in union with the Pope are erroneous and promote evil, then one concludes that such a judgment leads to the conclusion that one is not only allowed in conscience to act contrary to such teachings but to declare that the jurisdiction held by the Pope is null and void and that all obligations of obedience and of following the guidance of the Magisterium in forming said conscience are eliminated, and the sedevacantists hold this to be the “best explanation”.

    The logic is flawless. The premise seems quite subjective and easier to claim than to prove, given it involves choosing among previous teachings and teachers which are consistent with Roman Catholicism and which not.

    I wonder if the acceptance could depend on particular popes or documents’ teaching on slavery, usury, movement of the earth? If a pope was inconsistent with mid-nineteenth century Catholicism on such issues, would that eliminate all RC teaching from that source? How does one decide, pick and choose?

    1. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar

      The logic is flawless.

      Not sure I agree. The logic seems to be to be question begging. Admittedly, begging the question is more a flaw in the premises (i.e. their covertly containing the conclusion) than it is in the inference, but it is still a logical flaw.

  28. John Williams Avatar
    John Williams

    Fr. Cekada has put together an erudite book that proves with wit and syllogistically sound argumentation that the “rule of prayer” in the new rite expresses a new and un-Catholic “rule of Faith”. Ratzinger’s Motu (a sort of Equal Rites Amendment) tries to unite two mutually exclusive ideologies on the nature of the Mass. Anything goes under his heretical ecumenism as long as you implicitly accept the errors of Vatican II, which the Motu crowd does (knowingly or otherwise). I also recommend Father’s book “The Problems with the Prayers of the New Mass”.

  29. John Williams Avatar
    John Williams

    Fr Cekada has published an erudite work that argues with syllogistically sound argumentation that the “rule of prayer” of the new mass does not express the “rule of Faith” the Traditional Mass does. Hence, the discontinuity of pre- and post- vatican II theology. Ratzinger’s Motu is a sort of “Equal Rites Amendment” that shows he is willing to tolarate anything as long as the errors of Vatican II are at least implicitly accepted (whether or not fans of Motu Masses are aware of that).

    1. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Syllogistically sound only means that if one accepts his premises, his conclusions follow.

      I refer you to Erik von Daniken of UFOs and the pyramids fame.

      The premises make a great deal of difference.

      I once was required to take a course and due to timing had the surprising experience of an incompetent Jesuit teacher. After asking if my repetition of his argument was correct, I asked how his conclusion differed from his premise. His response was an abrupt change of subject.

      If one assumes that the results of Vatican II are evil and the RCC is good, then one has to conclude that the pope and all 2000+ plus council fathers were bad. Nul est demonstrata.

  30. Fr. Nicolás Despósito Avatar
    Fr. Nicolás Despósito

    Neither Fr. Cekada’s book nor Msgr. Wadsworth’s review are about Sedevacantism. Is anyone here going to read the book??? If the answer is ‘no’, well… nolite loqui de quo nescitis!

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      I don’t think so. Ideas don’t exist in isolation. Surely having a sedevacantist position influences greatly one’s scholarly writing about the postconciliar liturgy, just as the belief that the world was created in 6 days would influence one’s scholarly writings in the area of biology.

      My point: it is not at all irrelevant to our liturgical discussion that Fr. Cedaka is a sedevacantist, even if that is not the topic of his book about liturgy.


      1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Ideas not exist in isolation.

        I seem to recall — now I wish I had been keeping track of all the comments on all the posts on PTB — that whenever a commenter here would ask a question like, “What does the author of this article think about women’s ordination?” or something like that, other commenters would ask why such a thing would matter, why it’s not the topic, why it doesn’t relate to such-and-such liturgical idea, etc.

        This seems unevenly applied.

      2. Mary O'Toole Avatar
        Mary O’Toole

        “ideas don’t exist in isolation …. surly having an (x) position influences greatly one’s scholarly writing….”
        Taking this logic to its end suggests that we would
        take all scholars out-of-Roman communion with a proverbial grain of salt. Clearly their writings on liturgy are influenced by their communion with Canterbury or at least their lack of communion with Rome. Let’s consider a writers position on OS before we address her (or his) thoughts on the new translation. If Fr. Ruff’s position toward Fr. Cedkada was applied generally here we would see a very different blog.

      3. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        I wouldn’t take the idea to this end. Rather, I would look at the body of ideas being associated with, and make judgments accordingly. For one thing, ecumenism with separated brothers and sisters is officially advocated by Vatican II, including the admission of fault on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. But sedevacantists, while claiming to be Roman Catholic, reject an ecumenical council. For another thing, there are too many similarities between the reformist work of Protestants and the reformist work of Vatican II and it’s Catholic antecedents for one to reject Protestants out of hand.

  31. James Ignatius McAuley Avatar
    James Ignatius McAuley

    This has been the most enjoyable Pray Tell dialogue to read. Where else would you find Ruff and Wadsworth, Ferrone and Cekada?

    Father Ruff — it does not logically follow that Summorum Pontificum (SP) worsened the situation in today church — I remember in 2007 a visiting priest in our parish making a show of throwing out the Liturgical Press’s Celebrating the Eucharist on the ground that we needed to be liberated from formal liturgy, and that missals were only suggested guidelines. The liturgy that followed had little relation to the OF and was a weird combination of evangelical showmanship and a rehashing of Leonardo’s Boff’s liberation theology. Liturgies like this were torture to endure over the next year. In 2009, thanks to SP, I discovered the EF, and being familiar with its calender due to my use of the first edition of the Liturgical Press’s Short Breviary, I felt safe. Now, thanks to the Liturgical Press’s The Church’s Year of Grace by Pius Parsch, I am quite at home in the EF. But, I am not a Trad, and my use of Liturgical Press materials makes me suspect to many of them.

    Charles Culbreth and Jeff Tucker — Xavier is a good guy, a true liberal. As an attorney, I have encouraged him to keep his identity anonymous — after all, I saw what happened to my parish priest, Father Jim Haley in Virginia — and Xavier does not want to end up in liturgical Siberia as Haley has. I will say this — I know Xavier in a different capacity than Mr. Grady, and Xavier has helped me grow in my understanding of the OF and EF — my suggestion is pray for him. He is a good man.

    Father Ruff — have a good feast of St. Benedict tomorrow — I certainly hope the monks have a good food feast to celebrate this.

  32. John Williams Avatar
    John Williams

    To Tom Poelker:
    I said Fr Cekada’s arguments were syllogistically SOUND. If a deductive argument is sound, then that means that not only are all the inferences true, but the premises are also true. Hence, the conclusion is necessarily true. The premise that the RCC is Indefectible is de fide. That Vat II has given evil/error is not assumed but provable. Consider the words of Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei: ” Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer’s body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.” Is this not what Montini, Wotyla, and Ratzinger have de facto given us in the new service? Tables, no black vestments, etc. which Pope Pius taught were “straying from the straight path, i.e. error. The conclusion is that those who gave the error could not be of the Church because it is of Divine and catholic Faith that She is Indefectible

    1. Joe O'Leary Avatar
      Joe O’Leary

      nutty logic

      1. John Williams Avatar
        John Williams

        No, just logic!

    2. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Are you claiming that this personal opinion of PXII expressed in an encyclical is more authoritative RC teaching than the documents of an Ecumenical Council in union with the Pope?

      “I wonder if the acceptance could depend on particular popes or documents’ teaching on slavery, usury, movement of the earth? If a pope was inconsistent with mid-nineteenth century Catholicism on such issues, would that eliminate all RC teaching from that source? How does one decide, pick and choose?” TAP

      1. John Williams Avatar
        John Williams

        Actually, Pope Pius XII CONDEMNED the following proposition: Encyclicals do not demand assent, because popes are not exercising
        their supreme power. (Condemned by Pius XII.)
        “It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical Letters does not demand assent in itself, because in these the popes do not exercise the supreme powers of their magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary magisterium, regarding which the following is pertinent ‘He who heareth you, heareth me.’; and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine.” Humani Generis (1950), DZ
        So this was no mere “personal opinion” but an “exercise of the supreme powers of … Magisterium” and “demands assent.” If you think a Council supercedes this that’s the error of Gallicanism. If your claiming that one Pope can change the solemn teachings of prior Popes, that’s a discontinuity..and congratualtions! You’re one step closer to proving the sedevacantist position!
        You offer no citations to authoritative papal documents (e.g.encyclicals, etc) to your assertions regarding slavery, usury, etc. Those might very well be just personal opinions, unlike Mediator Dei and Humani Generis. If you provide the citations, I can vet them and see if they hold water, if not, your argument is just blog blather without substance.

      2. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        Insanity! Of course a Council has more authority than an Encyclical. This is not Conciliarism or Gallicanism, since the Council is also convoked and ratified by the Pope. This sort of bull-headed obstructionism that scoffs at the leading of the Holy Spirit is one of the pathogens that have depleted the life of Catholicism in recent decades.

      3. Mary O'Toole Avatar
        Mary O’Toole

        Am I the only one noticing that the council never abolished black vestments nor did it say anything about them. In fact, black vestments remain for Masses for the Dead and All Souls day in the ordinary form. The council also never abrogated traditional
        altars, polyphony, or images.

      4. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Mary, what you say is true specifically. But Sacrosanctum Concilium did say, rather generally, in article 128:

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

        So… there you go. The Council gives permission for the Church to abolish black vestments (for example) if they are found to be out of harmony with the reformed liturgy (currently not the case).

    3. Joe O'Leary Avatar
      Joe O’Leary

      the sort of logic that spawned every heresy in history

      1. John Williams Avatar
        John Williams

        Logic is univocal. There are no “kinds” that do good or evil. Look to the illogical and contradictory pronouncements of Vatican II as regards ecumenism and eccclesiology, and you’ll find the “synthesis of all heresy”…Modernism!

      2. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        OK — the sort of tawdry misapplication of logic that has spawned every heresy and every futile controversy in history, poisoning the life of the Church.

  33. Mark Miller Avatar
    Mark Miller

    Let me see. I am convinced that Leo XIII fell into heresy when he declared Anglican Orders null and void, and was thus no longer Pope, so then it follows that my orders may be valid after all.

    Or Pius IX ( what I think, not most of the sedevacantists!) fell into heresy and so did Vatican I when it declared infallibility, so they were deprived office and so. . . a Catholic need not hold as faith that dogma. . .

    Oh never mind.

    I like a more Patristic theology– less syllogisms, please!! Or just read de Lubac.

    Mark MIller

    1. John Williams Avatar
      John Williams

      de Lubac, like Ratzinger, is a heretic. The gist of your post is that Sedevacantist randomly choose what they perceive as heresy; a form of private judgement. NO! Can you cite how Pope Leo XIII contradicted a prior teaching that decreed anglican orders VALID? No. How about Infallibility? No. I respond by saying that the act of faith, being an act of assent of the intellect, is made with an implicit affirmation of the principle of contradiction, which principle cannot, by metaphysical impossibility, bear its contradictory. The intellect cannot assent to, at the same time, the proposition Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist and Christ is not really present in the Holy Eucharist. To do so would be the equivalent of asserting that a circle is a square, which is intrinsically impossible.

      The type of act which Vatican II is requiring of the faith is an impossible act, i.e., to assent to contradictory teaching, especially with the motive of God revealing and divinely assisted apostolic authority proposing.

      On the other hand, what is not impossible, indeed what is seen as quite possible by many theologians, is the loss of papal power by an incumbent. The act of faith, therefore, in refusing the impossible and sinful act of asserting the opposite of what it assents to by faith, turns back and rightfully and necessarily refuses to recognize the apostolic authority in the promulgator.
      Vatican II clearly contradicts on:

      (1) religious liberty (condemned by Mirari vos of Gregory XVI and by Quanta Cura of Pius IX);

      (2) the unity and unicity of the Catholic Church as the one true Church (the ecclesiology of Vatican II was condemned by Pius XII in Mystici Corporis);

      (3) ecumenism (condemned by the Apostolic Letter of Pius VIII, Summo iugiter of Gregory XVI, and Mortalium animos of Pius XI).

      The New Missal, furthermore, contains a heretical definition of the Mass. This is to mention only a few of the problems…

      1. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        Any theologian could multiply such problems a millionfold. Faith is more intelligent than that.

      2. Jack Feehily Avatar
        Jack Feehily

        I find these observations absurd on the basis that they represent a virulent form of magisterial fundamentalism. Everything any pope says is not automatically infallible but must be carefully weighed by those qualified for the work of theological analysis. Such papal teachings also need to be received by the members of Christ’s body who have been given the Spirit of Truth by which to discern authentic teachings.

        The so-called sedevacantists espouse a rigidly clerical understanding of church. They resent the teachings of Vatican II because they replace that view with an older, more biblical and patristic understanding. They seem to think that when Jesus gave the power of the keys to Peter and the apostles that they were free to do with it as they pleased even if it contradicted sacred scripture. Is it any wonder the Orthodox churches are convinced they are more on target in upholding the eccesiology of the first 1000 years?

  34. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    While you are indulging in nutty magisterial fundamentalism, why do you not add biblical fundamentalism as well? Jesus says no divorce in one gospel, some divorce in another, and the church permits two forms of divorce Jesus never mentions. God blesses rape and genocide (Numbers 31) and condemns them. Jesus says do not swear, but the Church makes people swear. Jesus says not a jot not a tittle will pass away but Paul says the Law does not apply to Gentiles. etc. etc. etc. Paul, like Vatican II, is against slavery; the Deutero-Paulines are in favor, like Pius IX. Take your pick, yes; let the Spirit lead you into all truth. Jejune, adolescent logic-chopping is of no help here. That is what got Arius, Eunomius, the Donatists, Pelagius, the Jansenists into hot water.

    1. John Williams Avatar
      John Williams

      Your examples are certainly jejune and adolescent, but your analogy is inapposite. Every priest ordained prior to Vatican II swore the Anti-Modernist Oath which in part states ” Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.” In the case of the Bible, the fourth condemned proposition of the Modernists in Lamentabili sane says:”4. Even by dogmatic definitions the Church’s magisterium cannot determine the genuine sense of the Sacred Scriptures” Hence, the Church can reconcile seeming contradictions by understanding the Bible in Light of sacred Tradition and Her Infallible Charism.
      All would have to agree if ratzinger said “Abortion is not murder and not a sin” he would contradict all prior Catholic Teaching i.e. different from the one (teaching)the Church held previously. Likewise,the Vatican II ecclesiology is heretical since it affirms that non-Catholic sects are particular Churches which belong to the Church of Christ. The Catholic teaching is that the Church of Christ is exactly the same thing as the Roman Catholic Church, and that those who are separated from the Roman Catholic Church are separated from the Church ofChrist, and from Christ Himself.
      The new ecclesiology was already condemned in 1864.
      Although Vatican II apologists claim that their theory is not
      the same as the Branch Theory,it is nonetheless the same: the Church of Christ is composed of many parts which differ according to faith and government. (See Lumen Gentium). Please supply the citation to Pius IX’s official teaching that slavery is morally good. I doubt you can.

      1. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        “Hence, the Church can reconcile seeming contradictions by understanding the Bible in Light of sacred Tradition and Her Infallible Charism.”

        Quite so, and you should try it yourself, instead of revelling in apparent contradictions like a child.

      2. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        Pius IX : decree of the Holy Office, 1866, bearing papal signature, teaches that slavery is in accord with divine and natural law.

      3. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        In 1866 the Holy Office issued an Instruction in reply to questions from a Vicar Apostolic…”Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons…it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or donated.[111][112]

  35. John Williams Avatar
    John Williams

    “Quite so, and you should try it yourself, instead of revelling in apparent contradictions like a child.” First, how pointing out contadictions is childish escapes anyone with an iota of intelligence. Second, using wikipedia is the sign of a pseudo-educated dolt who can’t do serious research. Third, I was able to verify your citation to a primary source.
    Ironically, your wikipedia article actually refutes you! (And, I’ve verified the primary source). “Father John Francis Maxwell in 1975 published “The Catholic Church and Slavery”, a book that was the product of seven years research. It recorded the instances were slavery was sanctioned by Councils and Popes and also censures and prohibitions that have been recorded throughout the history of the Church. He explains what appears to the layman, not familiar with the intricacies of Church teaching and law, that what seems contradictory teaching, often involving the same Pope, is actually only a reflection of the common and longstanding concept of permissible “just slavery”, and “unjust slavery” which was subject to condemnation. He shows by numerous examples from Council and Papal documents that “just slavery” was always an acceptable part of Catholic teaching right up until the end of the 19th century when the first steps were taken to place all forms of slavery under the ban.” Hence, Pius referred to “just slavery” not the racial slavery associated with the Civil War in the U.S. In like manner, there is no condemnation of capital punishment, but one may oppose it. So, too, one may oppose slavery, even when “just.” This is a far cry from the stark contradictions between pre- and post vatican II ecclesiology

  36. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    Good, you are learning how to handle apparent contradictions.

  37. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    That is what Development of Doctrine means.

  38. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
    Anthony Ruff, OSB

    Not quite “the same,” but anyway: I read them in historical context, which includes the tragedies of their era, caused in part (large part?) by the Roman Catholic Church.

    Context makes a lot of difference.


  39. Brian MacMichael Avatar
    Brian MacMichael

    This post and thread, in a general sense, help remind me why I believe blogging (and much of ‘social media’) today is a largely counterproductive venture. It is indeed useful in the sense of learning news and some information (no matter how obscure). But when it comes to promoting this or that cause, blogs typically don’t contribute much to resolving issues or fostering authentic dialogue.

    In my estimation, this is partly because a.) a ‘preaching to the choir’ effect is difficult to avoid, and b.) any extended comment threads are often the result of inciting an opposed party to begin the rant-fest. Blogs known to promote a certain angle (and I’m talking across the spectrum) are often only going to attract readership that is already entrenched in their opinions – whether those in favor or those who don’t mind debating these points for whatever reason.

    But perhaps the biggest problem, I think, is that blogs with open comment boxes invite commentary from anyone at all. This is a problem with the internet in general — now everyone can be an expert on anything, or at least attempt to bludgeon others with subjective ramblings. This happens everywhere – for instance, I think one of the most unhelpful things was for news agencies like CNN to open up comments underneath stories (not merely under editorials). (I take solace in knowing that at least some places still feature comments with proper grammar!)

    Particularly in the realm of liturgy, I have found that there are precious few places on the internet where quiet observers — especially those of us who actually work in the field and are looking for sensible help or ideas in our occupations — can go to find real, practical information or concepts to ponder.

    It all adds up to much frustration, along with having to view the rehashing of tired arguments and hot-button issues.

    And here I’ve gone web-commenting again…

    1. Jeff Rice Avatar
      Jeff Rice

      First, this post and subsequent discussion are hardly an example of preaching to the choir. Rather, it seems to validate that the readership of this blog represents a wide swath from one end of the spectrum (and beyond) to the other. Where else besides the virtual world would this be possible?

      Second, I embrace the internet as a place where “everyone can be an expert on anything”. Perception of qualification, largely an institutional or social construct, is the not the determining factor of participation. Rather, one is judged almost entirely on what they have to say. It’s messy, contentious, and makes the establishment uncomfortable. Sounds rather Christian to me.

    2. Tom Poelker Avatar

      For attempts at sensible help and sensible ideas regarding liturgy, please visit me at

      I try to keep my discussions about controversies on this Pray Tell Blog and specific ideas and solutions on Practical Liturgist.

      I am eager to see what topics you would like to explore, what problems need sensible solutions.

  40. Henry Edwards Avatar
    Henry Edwards

    I feel obliged to thank everyone who’s contributed to this most illustrative thread, thereby providing a succinct answer to give the next time someone asks, “What’s the level and tone of this new ultra-liberal PrayTell blog that’s been mentioned? Is really it just ad hominem stuff and petty animosity as someone at WDTPRS implied?” I can just say, Take a look for yourself:

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      One will highlight as illustrative what one wants to highlight. Like you would ever have recommended this blog in the first place, except as something to have confirmed your own perspective.

    2. Jeff Rice Avatar
      Jeff Rice

      Oh please, children on all sides of the issue, grow up. It goes both ways. If you have your feelings hurt because of contentious commenting, don’t visit a blog about liturgy in 2011. People care about this stuff and are emotionally invested. People on all sides are angry, hurt, worried, and trigger-happy. We can pretend like there is nothing wrong, but that is dishonest. Strong families facilitate respectful honesty, so too should we as the Church.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        It seems to me that this particular thread has produced less name calling than many other PTB threads.

        I am not bothered by strongly stated positions and sharp disagreements. Even the SV volleying has been stated in reasonably civil terms, such as “if you believe this, then you are part of that group” rather than the more obnoxious assigning of positions without conditions. There have been attempts at logical argument, despite differences in premises.

      2. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        “People on all sides are angry, hurt, worried, and trigger-happy.”

        Not really, Jeff. Not on the two sides I frequent. On the EF side, people bubbling with optimism as faithful young priests all around are learning the ancient usage, already no shortage of EF celebrants. On the OF side, people bustling around in anticipation of a rejuvenation of the liturgy centering on chant and the new translation. In forty years, we’ve not seen so many wrongs beginning to be righted at once. Now that this statutory period has finally expired, we can even begin to look forward to an authentic implementation of Vatican II in continuity with the history and tradition of the Church.

  41. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    Since you’ve all been banging on about my sedevacantism, you might as well at least read a few things I’ve written about it:

    The first is a general overview of my position:

    The second is from a debate about sedevacantism with a Society of St. Pius X apologist:

    As you’ll see from the first of these, I eventually arrived at my conclusions about post-Conciliar popes in large measure by trying to figure out how to explain the disastrous effects that the official liturgical reforms had on Catholic doctrine and piety.

    In the 1960s and the early 1970s, I was an ardent advocate of a “traditional hermeneutic” for the official reforms — “misinterpretation” and “abuses” were the problem.

    By 1975, though, I concluded that this position was intellectually indefensible and I was fooling myself: The official reforms THEMSELVES, in Latin or any other language, were the real problem. They undermined traditional Catholic doctrine and overthrew traditional Catholic piety.

    In 1977 when I was ordained a priest, only traditionalist “cranks” held this position. No one in the post-Vatican II mainstream was even willing to consider it, still less, treat it seriously.

    This began to change in the 1990s, when a new generation of clergy began to question the orthodoxies of the liturgical Stalinists who controlled public discourse and marginalized dissent.

    This generation, thank God, recognizes that the liturgical reforms led to a disaster in the Church. Many among them are least willing to examine the evidence that the official reforms themselves undermined traditional Catholic doctrine and overthrew traditional Catholic piety.

    As a young priest, I never thought I would ever live to see such a radical shift in thinking. No wonder the supporters of the old order — once the new order — are so worried!

    1. Gerard Flynn Avatar
      Gerard Flynn

      Jaroslav Pelikan’s distinction between tradition and traditionalism comes to mind: the fomer is a matter of the living faith of the dead; the latter, the dead faith of the living.

      1. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        You rock, Gerard – well, Jaroslav does anyway!

    2. Jack Feehily Avatar
      Jack Feehily

      If you actually believe that the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is without an authoritative head, you are at least schismatic if not an actual heretic. Why anyone in this forum would have the least interest in hearing your opinions is now beyond me. Some things are beyond the pale.

      1. John Williams Avatar
        John Williams

        WRONG!! Fr. Cekada, myself, and all sedevacantists are neither schismatic nor heretical:
        ” “Finally, one cannot consider as schismatics those who refuse to obey the Roman Pontiff because they would hold his person suspect or, because of widespread rumors, doubtfully elected (as happened after the election of Urban VI), or who would resist him as a civil authority and not as pastor of the Church.” (Wernz-Vidal, Ius Canonicum [Rome: Gregorian 1937], 7:398,) We hold the person of Ratzinger suspect while submiting to the Institution of the papacy.

      2. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        Your citation rather underdetermines the matter. Canon Law is not moral theology.

      3. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur

        E pur se muove….

      4. James Sanders Avatar
        James Sanders

        Would you say the same to a Baptist? I think the sedevacantists wrong, but I find the tone taken by some brother Catholics when discussing them to be decidedly reactionary and offensive. Polite dialogue (ecumenical or otherwise) with those who disagree with us costs us little.

  42. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Joe O’Leary :

    In 1866 the Holy Office issued an Instruction in reply to questions from a Vicar Apostolic…”Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons…it is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or donated.[111][112]

    I would love to know which bishop/s sent the question which generated this response.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      The Vicar Apostolic of Galla (Abyssinia, now Ethiopia).

  43. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    Joe O’Leary,

    Aren’t you the one who, when encountering Motu Traditionalist on this site and other adherents of the “hermeneutic of continuity”, directs them to a sedevacantist website in order to prove that SC contains “revolutionary” liturgical principles? Isn’t that a tacit admission to their claims, albeit without problematizing the rupture?

  44. Ben Whitworth Avatar

    As the person who commissioned Msgr Wadsworth’s review of Fr Cekada’s book, I am somewhat gratified and somewhat alarmed by this thread. I am gratified that even our book reviews are considered worthy of note by Dom Anthony, whose own liturgical scholarship I greatly respect. I am alarmed, though, that the post has generated 131 comments (and apparently some others that have been deleted), many of them vituperative in tone, and – more to the point – almost all of them written by people who have read neither the review nor the book. I should think most of you could take the trouble to read the former, at least. I am not sure why the figure of $39 has been bandied around. $42 will get you an annual subscription, i.e. two issues of the journal, containing around 200 pages of liturgical scholarship. If your institutional library has a subscription (and if not, why not?), the new issue should be available soon. Let’s try to advance the debate through informed discussion rather than bogging it down in snark.

    1. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      AWR good for you: they’re all coming out of the woodwork! Even those who would advertise their sedevacantist wares, Monsignori Harbert and Wadsworth and “Father” Cekada!

      What a revelation to have proof that they ALL read the blog!

      Now all we have to do is coax “the immensity of his majesty” from his cone of silence there in Worcester!

      1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur

        well, you can try here, I would assume:

      2. John Williams Avatar
        John Williams

        Fr. Cekada was ordained in the Traditional Rite of Priestly ordination by Archbishop Lefebvre in 1977. Hence, he is truly a priest. Even your invalidly consecrated Fr. Ratzinger recognizes this, so why the quotes around his proper title? Would you do the same for the Greek Orthodox whose Orders are valid?

      3. Jim McKay Avatar
        Jim McKay


        This is trickier than it seems. Fr Cekada devotes a great deal of his explanation of his sedevacantism to the notion that if a person falls into heresy, he ceases to be a Christian, has no authority in the Church, etc. He cites remarks about non-Catholic particular churches in a way that implies these cannot be part of the Church, ie the Orthodox (and their orders?) are not part of the Church.

        While I do not agree with him on those things, and would gladly recognize his ordination, it might be argued that out of respect for his position, he should not be called “Father.” He makes some counter-arguments on that issue, but they seem weak.

        If his grounds for deeming Paul VI a “manifest heretic” lead him to deny him the title and authority of Pope. Should we return the courtesy and, if we deem Cekada a “manifest heretic”, deny him the title Father? I would not, but I can accept it if someone else does.

      4. Joe O'Leary Avatar
        Joe O’Leary

        “Your invalidly consecrated Fr Ratzinger” — oh, I love it!

        And these are the sort of people who are allowed to tamper with the Church’s liturgy?

        A binge of reckless eccentricity!

        DeJonge asks me an odd question — I may have referred to a sedevacantist site for some instructive info — they are very instructive about how mad the traditionalist Catholics are getting. But such people should keep their dirty paws off the prayer-language of the people of God.

  45. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    Gerard Flynn :
    Jaroslav Pelikan’s distinction between tradition and traditionalism comes to mind: the fomer is a matter of the living faith of the dead; the latter, the dead faith of the living.

    And the Paul VI reform managed to kill off both the faith of the dead, and the faith of the living. Some springtime!

    1. Joe O'Leary Avatar
      Joe O’Leary

      This is the defeatism that the perpetrators of the new translation are working from. Note — that is why they think their wretched dreck is a panacea for the Church’s ills. Was there ever a more fatuous delusion? Oh, the shock they will get when this is put before the people of God!!!

  46. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Your opinion only – thought Fr. Flynn’s reference was very apropos.

    This whole sedevacantist stuff reminds me of my years with American Civil War history studies. You can find alive and well a few passionate folks who truly believe that it was a war of nothern aggression – they write about it; preach it; delve into documentation to justify their beliefs, etc. But, when all is said and done, no real experts give them credence; their opinions are not taught at reputable universities; guess you could say that from time to time an item might lead to further historical clarification but at best they live in their own universe. Your opinions remind me of the debate about evolution versus creationism….what is sad is that papal/curial folks via SP, ED , etc. are acting like the state of Kansas.

    Mr. Whitworth – I would not waste my money on the war of northern aggression nor on your publication.

  47. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    Bill deHaas :

    Your opinion only – thought Fr. Flynn’s reference was very apropos.
    This whole sedevacantist stuff reminds me of my years with American Civil War history studies.…
    Mr. Whitworth – I would not waste my money on the war of northern aggression nor on your publication.

    1. Not “my opinion only” on the destruction of faith. All you need to do is go through the stats of the post-Vatican II surveys on what Catholics subsequently came to believe about the Real Presence. The new lex orandi imparted a lex negandi for the doctrine of transubstantiation.

    2. When you’re “reminded” of Civil War revisionism, creationism, and Kansas school boards, and grandly dismiss Mr. Whitworth’s suggestion, I’m reminded that you’re using the methods of a professoriate that seeks only to marginalize dissent, rather than engage with the evidence.

    3. You are really out of touch. There is a now a whole universe of “mainstream” Catholics throughout the world who hold conferences, run web sites, network and support publications like Usus Antiquior. They perceive that the official Vatican II liturgical reform was somehow deeply flawed. Their numbers are increasing, and they are questioning all the presuppositions of the reform.

    Few of them are sedevacantists. But I can assure you that when it comes to the liturgical reforms, many of them already think what I am saying out loud.

  48. Bill deHaas Avatar

    No one is seeking to “marginalize” dissent – am trying to apply accepted rules of discovery, use of documentation, and agreed upon methods of interpretation.

    Your comment – “……whole universe of “mainstream” Catholics throughout the world who hold conferences, run web sites, network and support publications like Usus Antiquior. They perceive that the official Vatican II liturgical reform was somehow deeply flawed. Their numbers are increasing, and they are questioning all the presuppositions of the reform.” only reveals your own bias and narrow mindedness……numbers increasing? reminds me of those who trumpet traditional nuns or the “new” religious orders that have developed only to support the TLM (what a travesty given the history of religious orders, their purpose, etc.). There are over a billion catholics in the world – what are the traditional numbers?

    Questioning presuppositions are fine – but not the methodology used by most of these groups, websites, etc. They merely follow innuendo, rumors, start with a grain of fact/truth and, lo and behold, we have a full blown conspiracy.

    Have you done any homework on conspiracy fanatics – your psychology, your metholodgy, and your goal are remarkably analogous.

    Can you name any reputable church or secular academies, universities, recognized publications that publish or approve of your “universe”?

  49. Gerard Flynn Avatar
    Gerard Flynn

    Transubstantiation is philosophy, not theology, unheard of in the first milennium of the life of the christian church. It is a common mistake among traditionalists (promoters of the dead faith of the living), to confuse it with the doctrine of the real presence of the Lord in the eucharistic species.

    1. Joe O'Leary Avatar
      Joe O’Leary

      Actually,, transubstantiation is only a word — Trent gives it no philosophical content, just says it is a suitable word to name the eucharistic conversion.

      Aquinas tries to think about transubstantiation philosophically, but of course the Aristotelian categories soon get into deep trouble for the one thing they do not permit is a separation of substance from accidents. Fr Fitzpatrick memorable discussed these quandaries in his book In Breaking of Bread (Cambridge UP).

    2. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

      Any comments to make on Paul VI’s use of “transubstantiation” in 1965’s Mysterium Fidei?

  50. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    “Dead faith of the living?”. I think, like it or not, there is something happening in North American Catholicism as regards the implementation of the conciliar reforms. For those of us choosing to remain in the Church, the reformed liturgy strikes us as offering little we could not get elsewhere. As I’ve said before, I was raised in the 1990’s in a thoroughly Catholic environment: family, school and broader community. I am nearly singular in my observance of the faith among my childhood peers. However, I have since managed to find a small circle of practicing Catholic peers. I have encountered very few people my age who are not, in some measure, interested in a pre-conciliar resourcement. Everywhere we turn, our generation is being overwhelmed by noise, pop culture, camp and pseudo gestures of “community and solidarity”. That we who remain do not want our spirituality to take too many leafs from that book is not a surprise to me.

  51. Bill deHaas Avatar

    Jordan – your experience has happened to many people throughout the history of the church. This period is not unique.

    Your statement: “……For those of us choosing to remain in the Church, the reformed liturgy strikes us as offering little we could not get elsewhere” is your experience only – try not to globalize it or over generalize. Have you experienced church in central or south america? how about the Far East or Africa?

    You have a definite slant in terms of spirituality and how it impacts liturgy and should be distinct from other “denominations”….thought one of our goals was to end finally the scandal of a divided Christian church?

    1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

      how it impacts liturgy and should be distinct from other “denominations”….thought one of our goals was to end finally the scandal of a divided Christian church?

      This, I think, is one of the issues surrounding the understanding of ecumenism and the implementation of ecumenical pastoral initiatives. As a hypothetical, if there were a Catholic Eucharistic liturgy that mimicked a Baptist service, what would that accomplish? Perhaps a Baptist might feel at home there, or a Catholic feel at home at the Baptist service… but is there actual unity of faith? What would there be to make the Baptist consider coming into full communion with the Catholic Church if, from his perspective, he can get it all (or at least, what he considers all) in his own community?

      Put generally, then: if the Catholic Church ends up being able to look like any and every other Christian communion out there, what sense or importance is there to being Catholic or not? (One could go further and ask if it matters what denomination of Christianity one ascribes to… or if Christianity matters on a personal level at all.)

      The early Church stood out, and they paid the price dearly for it, and won the crown of glory by it.

      As Vatican II (Lumen Gentium 8) describes the situation, there is one Church of Christ, governed by Peter (and his successors), and whatever “elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure” belong properly to her (the one true Church), and impel these other communities of Christians “toward catholic unity.” This picture seems to get reversed in some ecumenical endeavors, that the Catholic Church should adopt characteristics from communities outside her visible structure (i.e. become like them) to attain some wider Christian unity.

      Someone will quote SC 1: “to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ.” That must be interpreted carefully, lest someone think it means we can just jettison doctrines left and right so that other believers in Christ can feel comfortable calling themselves Catholic with the least effort (conversion) on their part.

      I think a discussion on ecumenism as found in the documents of Vatican II would be well worth it (Rita).

      1. Jim McKay Avatar
        Jim McKay

        if there were a Catholic Eucharistic liturgy that mimicked a Baptist service, what would that accomplish?


        The important principle is that the way we pray establishes the way we believe, and vice versa. If there is a unity in the way we pray, it will help establish a unity in the way we believe. I am not talking about a superficial unity of rubrics or language, but an interior unity of relationship to the persons of the Trinity, but outward gestures can reflect that inner unity.

        It then comes down to our belief in Baptism. Do we truly recognize the baptism of Baptists? Then how can we not want them to share in our faith, which is established by the way we pray? This is not a matter of making individual Baptists feel comfortable with our ritual, but of bringing them collectively to an understanding of how the faith revealed in Baptism unfolds throughout our liturgy. This includes deepening our own appreciation of baptism as the foundation for our faith. If we value the elements of sanctification that exist within our own communities, we can learn from those who value those same elements in ways we have not yet imagined.

        The early Christians stood out because they loved one another. Today’s Christians need to do the same.

      2. Brad Wilson Avatar
        Brad Wilson

        “This is not a matter of making individual Baptists feel comfortable with our ritual, but of bringing them collectively to an understanding of how the faith revealed in Baptism unfolds throughout our liturgy.”

        I think this was precisely Jeffrey’s point. If our own liturgy is seen as no different than a Baptist service, why would they even be interested in learning about our liturgy or how our faith revealed in Baptism unfolds throughout our liturgy? The things that make us distinctly Catholic should not be seen as something we are ashamed of, nor should they be downplayed so that a false illusion of unity exists where doctrine clearly tells us it does not. Doesn’t unity begin with fundamental beliefs and not the outward appearances that can often times be deceiving?

      3. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        It then comes down to our belief in Baptism. Do we truly recognize the baptism of Baptists? Then how can we not want them to share in our faith, which is established by the way we pray?

        Certainly I accept their baptism, although their precise theology of baptism may differ from our own.

        But if we mold our liturgy to approach a Baptist service, what will he (the Baptist) perceive to be different between the way he prays and the way we pray? What will make him think his faith and our faith differs?

  52. Mark Kendall Avatar

    Bill, I can’t speak to what percent of the over a billion [nominal] Catholics in the world are traditionalists. I doubt it’s big in the Third World. Though I’ll also point out that we don’t all attend trad parishes; many trads (like me) are stuck in Novus Ordo parishes week after week, are “invisible” and not purist about it.

    Among various subpopulations our numbers are almost certainly greater. My evidence can only be anecdotal, but I’d look at the prevalence of the preference among weekly-Mass-going Catholics, among those under 40, and among those who are active in the Catholic subculture on the Internet. I think you’ll find traditionalists disproportionately represented in all these categories, especially this last (just look at who participates in the comments even on THIS blog).

    And I can also say that with the publication of the motu proprios, interest is increasing in the West. Mainly among young people. The number of weekly Old Masses is rising. You scoff at the vocations-rich traditionalist societies (in Europe especially their prominence relative to other groups is impressive). I thought the whole point of liberalism is to let people do what they want! You seem to imply such groups humoring people’s liturgical preferences shouldn’t even exist. I say let the market decide.

    I’m 22, lived at the biggest Newman Center in the country during college, and have formed a network of young Catholic friends. They are a diverse group; you have your typical conservatives of course, but I wouldn’t assume that all traditionalists are just Right-Wing conspiracy theorists as you paint us. Many of my friends are quite politically liberal (and even openly homosexual).

    There is simply no survival of liberal Catholicism among my generation, and while (for lack of information and availability) they aren’t all trads, almost no young practicing Catholic I’ve met has been anything but excited to learn about our liturgical heritage and open to the Old Rite.

  53. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    I was never talking about the entire world. Are you really saying that we ought to have renovated our liturgy to end the scandal of the “divided house”? As has been said before, “that they might be one” is a prayer and not a command. We are not to achieve it any cost, least of all for the sake mere appearances. If reconciliation between the churches means the reduction of our traditions to the lowest common denominator, I personally want not part in such an “ecumenicism”. I would much rather the great Christian Houses (that have a hope of communion) be preserved in their historical and cultural breadth than gutted to give them all a bland, generic, interchangeable feel.

    The ultimate outcome of this attitude became clearer to me when I recently visited the inter faith chapel in the Munich Airport sponsored by the Diocese. The room was bare and colourless, without icon or recognizable symbol (representing everything and nothing). There was a prayer book that had a trite selection of generic prayers from every world tradition in every possible language. In the middle stood a giant wooden pillar surrounded by prayer mats for the Muslim faithful. The most lively feature was the wooden pillar, as it was inscribed with graffiti representing the thoughts of travellers. It was essentially a giant pissing contest: “Allah is God! Muhammad is the last prophet. Christ is Lord! How can God have Son? Do not add to the Lord. Eat. Pray Love.” , what have you.

    The contrast was stark compared to the chapel of Saint Raphael I had visited in an Italian train station a few days earlier. Personally, were I in the Middle East, I would rather pray in a beautiful Mosque, even if it is not my religion, than a generic chapel that pays heed nothing but an abstracted, bloodless multispiritualism.The construction of this kind of “negative/ neutral” (ecumenical) space, too timid to stand for anything but unity- for its-own sake, collapses, and in some cases, into mutual antagonisms

    1. Claire Mathieu Avatar
      Claire Mathieu

      Airport worship space is interesting.

      Cleveland, if memory serves, is decorated the Catholic way, complete with a colorful statue of Mary, roses around the room, and maybe even a rosary. It’s been taken over by Catholics.

      Seattle, if I am not confused, has basically a classroom-like space with an altar in place of the teacher’s desk, but the chairs are comfortably cushioned and it is the best place of the entire airport to take a nap.

      Paris has different rooms for different religious groups. The room for Christians is about large enough for 4-5 people only. Last time I was there coincided with their scheduled Mass, which made me really happy, but the priest never showed up. I was the only one there anyway.

      At some large airport in Germany, there is a common prayer room for all faiths, and there is a steady stream of people going in; when I was there the rate seemed to be three or four Moslems for each Christian.

      The nice thing about sharing the space with Moslems is that the carpet is comfortable. The nice thing about having a separate space for Christians is that I am usually alone.

      How would you design an airport worship space?

  54. Mark Kendall Avatar

    And, of course, who says the Church needs to have one liturgy anyway.

    Plenty of the more moderate traditionalists I know, though totally comfortable with the Latin ourselves, would have no problem with simply a hieratic vernacular translation of the Old Rite ala the Anglo-Catholic “English Missal” and I certainly have no real notion of making Africans and Chinese play in Latin. There are organic liturgical traditions in those parts of the world that could be further evolved for various locales (and put in more local vernaculars).

    And if they want to keep the “Lutheran Use” liturgy (aka, the Novus Ordo) for Protestants who convert or whatever, why not?

    But I think there can certainly be debate about what should be the default in the Latin patriarchate and about bland tasteless kindergarten patronizing liturgy.

    1. Tom Poelker Avatar

      It is nice of you to state your personal biases so clearly.

      Please do not seek to impose your “hieratic” medieval use on modern, educated, adults.

      The sheer bias of –the “Lutheran Use” liturgy (aka, the Novus Ordo)– is breathtakingly clear.

      Then there is the subjective judgmentalism of — bland tasteless kindergarten patronizing liturgy.

      I see no sign here of any knowledge of how ritual actually works or of the history of liturgy, only knowing what you personally want and a total lack of respect for those who differ with you.

      Perhaps a good, old fashioned examination of conscience would be in order and a refreshing break from blogs which wish to discuss liturgy actually.

      1. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        Thanks Tom. You saved the rest of us a tedious job.

    2. Dunstan Harding Avatar
      Dunstan Harding

      And if they want to keep the “Lutheran Use” liturgy (aka, the Novus Ordo) for Protestants who convert or whatever, why not?
      Mark Kendall, Novus Ordo? Nothing could be further from the truth,especially in many Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. They have a good blend of traditional
      “high church” and contemporary eucharists, great choirs, which, in my opinion, put their Catholic counterparts to shame. Also, Lutheran sermons are usually well thought out, usually somewhat longer than ours, but very pastoral, and well delivered.

      We should do so well.

  55. David Haas Avatar
    David Haas

    Mark – you say: “There is simply no survival of liberal Catholicism among my generation, and while (for lack of information and availability) they aren’t all trads, almost no young practicing Catholic I’ve met has been anything but excited to learn about our liturgical heritage and open to the Old Rite.”

    I had to read this a few times, because it is so stunningly wrong. You seem to be operating in a vary narrow universe. As one who has been (and still is) working with youth and young adults both locally in parish and school settings, and nationally and even internationally – your “shooting from the hip / boy I wish it were so” analysis could not be any further from the truth. There are many, MANY young people of your generation who (sorry I know this will be painful) love the legacy and vision of John XXIII, and have come to find the reforms of V2 and especially the liturgy that is celebrated as a result of that vision – truly life-giving and life transforming for them.

    You obviously either only associate with those who agree with you – or are turing a deaf ear to those who disagree with you.

    You certainly have a right to your own opinion and your own taste around such topics and matters – but knock it off – meaning, stop the cheap and melo-dramatic statements that show that in your arrogance, you really do not know what you are talking about, when you make such over generalized statements about your generation. Because – simply, you are just wrong on these points. Many of your generation share your particular thoughts – and believe me, MANY of your generation reject your vision and analysis of the situation.

  56. David Haas Avatar
    David Haas

    I need to tweak my comments a bit.. when you say that young practicing Catholics are excited to “learn about our liturgical heritage” – I would agree in many instances. But their sense of what that liturgical heritage is, and the one in which you and several others here want to present and/or promote… well – that is where the road diverges for many. Many choose to see a deeper liturgical heritage that is beyond specific rubrics, rites, and norms that happen to appeal to you…many also choose to move deeper and see the liturgy as truly the work of the “Body of Christ” – and their love of this heritage has in many cases, been nurtured by SC and more importantly, their EXPERIENCE of a liturgical life that has nurtured and deepened their life of prayer and praise.

  57. Mark Kendall Avatar

    “I had to read this a few times, because it is so stunningly wrong. You seem to be operating in a vary narrow universe.”

    Well, I would ask: where are they. They aren’t on any of the major Catholic forums online, I’ve never found many of their blogs, they weren’t active in FOCUS or even Koinonia at the Newman Center I lived at, World Youth Days seem pretty orthodox, new seminarians are conservative, etc etc.

    Young people who don’t want to commit to the whole shebang…are just non-religious completely.

    “There are many, MANY young people of your generation who (sorry I know this will be painful) love the legacy and vision of John XXIII, and have come to find the reforms of V2 and especially the liturgy that is celebrated as a result of that vision – truly life-giving and life transforming for them.”

    Oh, I know the charismatic and “praise and worship music” crowds exists. But I’ve found that most of them are very open to traditional liturgy too when they are given the chance to be exposed to it. And none of them were openly hostile the way some of the older folk around here are. At most, they respectfully recognize it as a taste-difference and don’t make such an ideological question of it. I also know that almost all of them would immediately get on board if the Pope said “jump” and reversed the reforms or whatever, they would not grumble.

    The problem is, many youth ministries, assuming that this sort of thing is “what young people want”…give it to them as the first thing they’re exposed to. I’ve never found one who was entirely conversant in the differences between the old way and the new way…and still chose the new. Much of it seems to be ignorance, ignorance perpetuated deliberately by the older folk in charge of the ministry to these young people.

  58. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    Claire, my point is not how I would design airport worship (there are many possible options), but rather a point about inter-spirituality and, by extension, the way we (mal)form our worship in order to appease a hypothetical, voyeur audience that is sometimes there, sometimes not.

    As regards the inter-religious and ecumenical question, I think when we try to pretend we don’t have differences, and let political/ social ideology coerce ourselves into celebrating what we have genuinely in common to the clear and wilful injury of what is genuinely unique in our traditions, (even those things that do not translate into one another’s idioms) we either lose track of what it was that we believe in and what was passed on to us in tradition, or we degenerate into antagonisms, with the perception that this “neutral” or “shared” space has indeed become “empty space” for competition with, and an up-staging of, “the other”.

    1. Claire Mathieu Avatar
      Claire Mathieu

      Understood. But I liked your example and thought that, although the design of airport worship space is beside the point, it might help give a fresh perspective to questions of ecumenism, a perspective where we don’t start out already divided and entrenched. Just a thought…

      1. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
        Jordan DeJonge

        Oh, I am just clueing into this “reply” feature right now. That’s helpful.

        Yes, I agree the airport case is interesting. In fact, when I was at the mentioned chapel in Munich this Spring, the religious studies student within urged me to take as many pictures as possible. I think it would be a worthy case study into the (potentially troubling) dynamics of inter-religious and (therefore in an analogous sense) ecumenical constructions of sacred space.

        I don’t want to come off as some kind “segregationist”, at least not in an absolute sense. At my university, formerly a Lutheran university, there is no Catholic chapel. There is, however, a Lutheran chapel in the attached seminary. Our Catholic campus group had our weekly Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament there. The architecture of the place was perfectly suited to this, preserving even the altar rails which we made use of when we occasionally communed after Benediction. I have to say that I found the Lutheran chapel far more edifying and prayerful in its appearance and layout than the nearby Catholic parish assigned to the Chaplaincy. I spent many days recollecting myself in prayer in between classes. So I do think, in today’s pluralistic times, much can be said for shared sacred space.

        It is the “reduction to the lowest denominator” mentality, destructive of genuine plurality and therefore hostile to true, enduring unity, that I have a serious problem with and which I think has plagued the Catholic House in the aftermath of the Council.

      2. Tom Poelker Avatar

        You do know that “altar rails” began as means of keeping dogs out of the sanctuary/presbyterium and had nothing to do with communion?

      3. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        And the washing of the priest’s hands before the Eucharistic Prayer was a matter of cleanliness after having handled who knows what in the offering from the faithful.

        And the mixing of water with wine was a cultural practice and practical necessity.

        And our vestments are holdovers from Roman/Greek attire of the first few centuries.

        And the Sanctus bells were rung to make sure people didn’t miss the Consecration.

        Yet all these things have come to acquire spiritual value and are (generally) retained in the Roman Rite.

        Since I’m curious now, what’s your source/citation for the “keeping the dogs out” origin? And what particularly was the purpose of bringing it up? It’s not that you mean to make Jordan consider that he is unconsciously equating himself to a dog, so what was it?

      4. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood


        Yet all these things have come to acquire spiritual value and are (generally) retained in the Roman Rite.

        Well, I think we could debate whether they have actually acquired spiritual value, or are simply externals which appeal to some people but not to others.

  59. David Haas Avatar
    David Haas

    Well Mark, where are they? They may not be in blogs that you visit, or among the throngs that you gaze upon at World Youth Day events (though, they are there).. they are in PARISHES, in their SCHOOLS, in their families, in their youth groups, and many other places. They exist at the “Music Ministry Alive” program that I humbly am a part of each summer; they are “One Bread, One Cup” held at St. Meinrad’s in Indiana; they are at the “Catholic Youth Choir” experience held at St. John’s (founded by Anthony Ruff, God bless him); they are there.. I meet and talk and experience them every day at the Catholic High School where I have been teaching at for the past 14 years.. and in many other places.

    Your comment: “Young people who don’t want to commit to the whole shebang… are just non-religious completely,”.. O my gosh.. I am stunned that you do not see how insulting and condescending such a comment comes off.. young people who do not necessarily commit to the “whole shebang” as you would define it.. are searching, discerning, and many of them embrace Catholic Social teaching by their commitment to service, mission trips, and so much more – ALL emphasized and celebrated in those Vatican II documents that you seem to find so abhorent.

    No – not just “charismatic’ or “praise and worship” music.. though they should be insulted by your comments as well. But no – I am sorry – the repertoire of people like Marty Haugen, Mike Joncas, Bernadette Farrell, Paul Inwood, Paul Tate, Fran O’Brien, Bob Hurd, Tom Kendzia, Lori True, Rory Cooney, Dan Schutte, Ricky Manalo, Christopher Walker and so many more – theses are not P&W folks or “Charismatic” composers. While yes, some people are drawn to more traditional forms (which by the way – I am not against), but many find it “boring” or not appealing at all.. I know – some of my students have attended such liturgies – and they reject it totally. Whether you like it or not – the young Church is very…

  60. David Haas Avatar
    David Haas

    is very diverse…

    As one of the “older folk” whom you like to categorize – we are not so disrespectful as you would make us to be. And if you think that all young people will “jump” if the pope tells them too.. O my dear young friend… you are truly living in an isolated village.

    Again – you insult youth ministers – many of whom are not at all trying to impose their particular spiritual preferences, but who are true servants, helping young people to discover who they are in their relationship to their God, and truly attempt to guide them in this journey.

    My gosh.. some of these stances you are making are downright unbelievable…

  61. Tom Poelker Avatar

    JD: “As has been said before, “that they might be one” is a prayer and not a command. We are not to achieve it any cost, least of all for the sake mere appearances.”

    Nor are we to present obstacles to unity to preserve mere appearances.

    I would like to repeat a question of a few days ago.
    What is so important to some people to maintain a distinctly Catholic culture?

    1. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
      Jordan DeJonge

      I am not for the creation of Catholic culture simply for its own sake but, inevitably if we stick to the principles that inform our religion, we should be distinguished in some manner for it, as these principles have not been abolished by any Council. Reunion has not been achieved. We shouldn’t act like it has.

      And there is nothing wrong with being differentiated from other Christian traditions, even markedly so. Again, I say this is not an authentic notion of plurality that says we ought to look more and more the same in order to share a pint. Especially in this age of “toleration” and bending over every which way to accommodate everyone else’s differences, it is bizarre the extent to which we will deconstruct ourselves in order to become “something for everyone and nothing to ourselves”. I credit this attitude as fostering, at least in part, the apathy to Catholicism among my own generation.

      I also think we forget the role that culture,rather than instruction, actually plays in instilling faith “in the bones”, so to speak.

      Beyond that, If Catholics don’t look and behave differently, there is simply no reason why we ought to remain Catholic and not be something else (besides arid intellectual reasons that only the few will ever be exposed to).

      Also, the wilful dismantling of Catholic culture in the name of ecumenical curiosity is simply diabolical. I am all for getting along with other Christians, but start ripping my dear Pieta out of the narthex and we’ve got a problem.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        If we stick to the principles of our Christianity we should be distinguished by how we love one another. Cultural distinctions do not come into this.

        There is nothing wrong with being distinguishable from other Christian denominations; that is almost the definition of Christian denomination existence. There is something wrong in seeking to make a distinction, especially if it has overtones of triumphalism.

        It is sad that you cannot distinguish between leaving medieval church culture and what you call “deconstructing ourselves.”

        It is not the material or artistic culture which instills faith, but the culture of Christian living in contrast to secular and political values.

        I see no need for Catholics to behave differently from any other followers of Jesus. We remain Catholics because of our particular tradition of growth in the faith of Jesus. Vatican II was precisely about returning to a healthy growing faith tradition instead of remaining in cultural and theological stasis.

        There is no willful dismantling of Catholic culture in the name of ecumenism by those who follow the teachings of the ecumenical councils in union with the pope. The fact that some people were not ready to move their faith out of the small compartment in which it had been contained does not mean that the movement beyond the fortress mentality of the Counter-Reformation was not long past due.

        Those whose Catholic identity is tied to the externalities of the 1570-1962 RCC need to read Rerum Novarum and subsequent social teaching encyclicals and discover the consistent development of Catholic doctrine for real life.

        I am in favor of sharing pints with those of other Christian denominations.

      2. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        If we stick to the principles of our Christianity we should be distinguished by how we love one another. Cultural distinctions do not come into this.

        I think that depends on what you consider a “cultural distinction” to be.

        There is something wrong in seeking to make a distinction, especially if it has overtones of triumphalism.

        What is that something? Jesus told His disciples to be distinct in the manner of their fasting, praying, and almsgiving. I don’t think Catholics who want Catholic culture to be distinct simply want it to be distinct for the sake of being distinct, but because the way in which it is distinct means something. For example, celebrating the Eucharist every day, not just to be different from communities who only gather once a week (or month, or less often), but because it is supremely worthwhile to do so.

        It is not the material or artistic culture which instills faith, but the culture of Christian living in contrast to secular and political values.

        And “living in contrast to secular and political values” is not a matter of cultural distinction?

        I see no need for Catholics to behave differently from any other followers of Jesus.

        Again, maybe it’s a difference in vocabulary that is an obstacle here, but what do you mean by “behave”? I would expect a Catholic to acknowledge the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, whereas I would not expect a Baptist to do so; I consider that “behavior”. I know you’re also talking about social behavior, but liturgical behavior is part of our Catholic identity too.

        I am in favor of sharing pints with those of other Christian denominations.

        Me too. I’d even give pints for them!

  62. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Why get stuck on 1962 or 1570? I do not see any sense of history in proponents of liturgy at either of those two points. Are they unable to see the cultural conditioning of feudalism and the fortress mentality/triumphalism of the Counter-Reformation?

    I have seen what I thought were humorous exaggerations saying that the Pious V missal ordered Mass just as Jesus did it [including fiddlebacks]. The lack of historical awareness shown by some traditionalist proponents approaches this for a-historicity.

    Why do some young Catholics think their spirituality depends on some very historically conditioned versions of Christian rituals which have developed greatly over time?

    In RC historicity, young people seeking a particular spirituality usually promoted some new devotion or prayer practice. Going in for Eucharistic Adoration in addition to Sunday Mass fits this pattern. Insisting that Sunday Mass needs to be one particular way is quite different, even from the turmoil of 1965-1985 in RC liturgy.

    1. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
      Jordan DeJonge

      I think a great part of the problem is that the liturgy was reformed, as it has been said, as though there were some kind of “Catholic historical worm hole” out there, and that we could suddenly bypass 1,000 years or more of liturgical and theological growth, (problematic or not), over night in order to re-connect ourselves with so called more archaic liturgical practices that (co-incidently?) appeared more congenial to the modern temperament. That some want to reach back to a praxis within living memory is, in my mind, less problematic than those who sought to restore practices never heard of in the Latin Church in well over a thousand years and, at that point, completely foreign to her ethos and the formation of her laity and priests. At least the old ethos still lingers in our stained glass, high altars and rosaries.

      ***Why do some young Catholics think their spirituality depends on some very historically conditioned versions of Christian rituals which have developed greatly over time?***

      Because historically conditioned is all we have to hold onto in this world of time and space, the only way God can come to us. The Novus Ordo is as historically contingent as any form of the rite, and even the more so for its pretence to free itself from historical growth and leap into some perennial, rudimentary purity, floating above every age while being adaptable to present needs. Its very historical and “conditionless” character amidst its extreme consciousness of what is itself conditioned and subject to change, suggests, always and everywhere, a hollowness to every concrete form its expression takes.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        I am very sorry for you and anyone else who thinks that historical forms of RC are the only way God can come to them. That reflects an unfortunately shallow foundation.

        Please page back in Pray Tell Blog or go to my blog
        and find the discussions about the origins and particularly the purposes of liturgy.

        It might also be interesting for you to examine the particular cultural connections between Pian missal rituals and those of the long gone social system of feudalism.

        The liturgy needs to be constantly reformed. Going backwards is not going to help us express and practice Christianity better as our culture and social institutions change.

      2. Brad Wilson Avatar
        Brad Wilson

        “Going backwards is not going to help us express and practice Christianity better as our culture and social institutions change.”

        This wasn’t the argument in the early 1960s when every liturgical change was backed up by claiming it was a return to the old way of doing things. This sounds like a double-standard to me.

  63. Mark Kendall Avatar

    “I know – some of my students have attended such liturgies – and they reject it totally.”

    Let’s take these young people and see how many are still Catholic in 15 years and, for the ones who are, if they like “new liturgy” still then.

    Let’s take a poll and see how many are completely orthodox on all questions of faith and morals. (If they are, they definitely WOULD “jump” if the Pope said so).

    As Jordan said, he grew up in the Catholic schools, and OF COURSE you have people participating there. But how many of them continue beyond school? When that structural “opportunity” disappears in their lives? I’ve seen my peers; either their faith matures, or they leave.

    I think it’s disingenuous for older people (yes!) invested in the new liturgy to give young people Masses celebrated not even necessarily in accord with even the CURRENT rubrics, and then to take them to an old liturgy once or twice and claim they don’t like it.

    Neither did I when I first tried it. It’s an acquired taste, and requires a lot of education. “Showing” people both (one of which they’ll have been familiar with their whole life, the other of which is new and strange) and claiming this proves a preference seems to prove nothing.

    Unless you add things you’re not supposed to be adding anyway (like rock and roll!!!), the New Mass is boring too. Liturgical scholars claiming that people like it as proof of their theories is risible. The people and the scholars like it for totally different reasons! If you introduced cheesy music and the vernacular in the Old Rite…people would like it too, Last Gospel and all.

    As for “why the Old Rite”…I’m certainly not saying organic change shouldn’t happen. But it shouldn’t be by committee. I’m not tied to any particular year, and frankly would like to see an (old rite) Missal of 2033 or something like that someday. I think vernacular would be a good idea too. But the reason “historic” forms are important are because our…

    1. F C Bauerschmidt Avatar
      F C Bauerschmidt

      I’m certainly not saying organic change shouldn’t happen. But it shouldn’t be by committee.

      How then should it happen? Papal fiat? Unregulated local experimentation? Some other option I am not envisioning?

    2. Mark Kendall Avatar

      You mention “unregulated” local experimentation, but then bizarrely don’t mention: regulated local experimentation.

      1. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar

        OK, then who would do the regulating and who would evaluate the results of this regulated experimentation? I suspect that at some point a committee creeps into the picture.

        But if your point is that proposed liturgical changes should be tried out “on the ground” before being universally implemented, then I am in complete agreement with you. This, of course, is exactly what many of the critics of the forthcoming translation have argued.

  64. Mark Kendall Avatar

    whole religion is based on Tradition.

    I suppose it’s really futile to argue this though.

    Those of us who are still alive will see what the Church in the West looks like in 30 years.

    1. Claire Mathieu Avatar
      Claire Mathieu

      Those of us who are still alive […] in 30 years.
      That’s mean. It’s dismissive of older people.

      Let’s take a poll and see how many are completely orthodox on all questions of faith and morals.
      Let’s start with the greatest commandments. You just failed to love your neighbor as yourself.

    2. Brigid Rauch Avatar
      Brigid Rauch

      I thought our whole religion was based on the testimony and witness of the Christ.

      Where are the non-Trad young Catholics? Some of them, at least, are spending Spring break on working retreats, assisting at nursing homes or repairing houses. Some are acting as lectors and Eucharistic ministers. Some work to build community gardens. Some are taking part in demonstrations to support the GLBT community. Some are quietly looking out for elderly grandparents. In other words, they live their version of Catholicism by …loving one another.

      If you look at places where tradition minded Catholics gather, don’t expect to find Catholics who are not focused on tradition.

      1. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        I imagine some young trad Catholics are doing all those same things too. I hope you aren’t implying that attending the EF and living the Gospel are somehow mutually exclusive (or that one makes it harder to do the other).

        And it is somewhat correct to assert that religion is based on tradition – nobody would know anything about Jesus had nobody thought to pass it down through the ages.

  65. Mark Kendall Avatar

    It’s just basic chronology.

    And, btw, if it’s the music really getting people (and, who knows) you can sing ANY hymns at Low Mass in the old rite.

  66. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    Chiming in as another 20-something, I would have to say that those who have pointed out that young Catholics are a diverse group are quite right. However, I would say that Catholics in my age group do not attach any sort of stigma to the EF or “ROTR” Masses that older Catholics do, and are very open to them even if they find it is not their cup of tea and instead embrace the OF as their preference.

    I also have friends who attend the OF usually, but who like participating in the EF once in a while too. They see it as enriching, and don’t read the same things into it as some older Catholics do since they don’t have the same cultural baggage.

  67. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    Right, Jack. Neither do I think traditionalism is the “horizon of the future” if we were to go by the numbers. But I do think what we are seeing is a break up in the post conciliar liturgical hegemony and an emerging consensus towards the need for a more markedly sacred observance of the liturgy, one more clearly connected to its historic and organic precedents than what we presently have.

  68. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    The 1998 translations already met the demand for a more markedly sacred observance, and the new translations betray that demand in the most insidious way.

  69. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    Jack Wayne :
    They see it as enriching, and don’t read the same things into it as some older Catholics do since they don’t have the same cultural baggage.

    You mean like the author of Summorum Pontificum?

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      No, if the Pope had the same cultural baggage as those who do not like the EF, he likely wouldn’t have issued SP. Note that in my comment I said *some* older Catholics, not all.

      I’ve noticed a distinct different between the way some younger and older Catholics look at “ad orientem” worship. People who grew up in a more repressive clericalist time see it as a clericalist gesture (the priest turns his back on us and won’t let us in), those who did not grow up in such an environment see it as the opposite (he is praying with us and as one of us).

      I’ve noticed the former mentality more among older Catholics, and have never seen it in younger Catholics exposed to ad orientem (as well as younger non-Catholics. I took someone to an EF who had never been to a Catholic Mass before. When I explained afterward that it wasn’t the usual way Catholics celebrated Mass nowadays and that the priest usually faces the people, she thought it was unfortunate because “he seems more one with the people” when celebrating ad orientem).

  70. Nicholas Mitchell Avatar
    Nicholas Mitchell

    As a Catholic wih a young family and in his early thirties, I have to say that I find the Extraordinary Form beautiful, reverent, prayerful and dignified in a way I simply do not find the Ordinary Fiorm. For the record I happily attend both forms of the Mass. I am deeply grateful to our Holy Father for Summorum Pontificum, without which I do not believe the EF would be available in my diocese, outside the Society of St Pius X.

    What amazes me is the open hostility among older generation Catholics to the EF. Why is this? I too find that younger Catholics are a great deal more open to the EF, even if it is not their “cup of tea”. Older Catholics seem to have (well, many, in my experience) hang-ups about it, and also any “reform of the reform”they perceive as a move away from the styles of the 1960’s – 1980’s and an idelogy to match. One delightful old lady came into the sacristy one morning in a state of shock that the alltar was being set up for the EF. “This is so regressive, it gives me the creeps”, said she. Same old lady was known for her opposition to the “big six” candlesticks being returned to the former gradine of what was the high altar. She saw in this a betrayal of Vatican II. An extreme case, no doubt, but representative I feel of the reactions of a certain generation to the EF and change in general. The liberals of old have become today’s reactionaries! Of course, if they were truly liberal they would “live and let live”!

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      It would not amaze you as much if you *really* asked people in a curious and open way and listened to them. What I see in your comment is a caricature of the older generation that serves to reinforce your own perspective. Things in reality are much less tidy and ideological than that.

      What I am seeing in this thread among some of the younger, more traditionally oriented commenters, is this meme: we’re the orthodox rump, we’re the faithful remnant of what’s left of the younger generation in the church, the rest of our generation has abandoned the faith, so you better damn well accept our perspective as the most valid perspective of Catholic youth.

      But, even here in the Boston area, within the city and the metropolitan area, I don’t see the facts on the ground to support that meme as a dominant reality. The affection for traditional liturgy among younger generation may have quadrupled in the past 10 years (for sake of argument), but it’s still tiny – 4x a very tiny amount is still a tiny amount. But the Internet ghetto allows all small minorities (across the spectrum – this is also true for Right-Thinking(TM) Radicals, just as much – in fact, the parallels are inevitable) to imagine they are much vaster than they really are.

      The first standard deviation of Catholic folks pretty much ignores liturgical discussion and analysis and is, if anything, turned off by it. This is an enduring reality. They have their liturgy, much the way Cleveland Amory’s fabled Boston Brahmin matrons had their hats.

    2. Brad Wilson Avatar
      Brad Wilson

      As another 20-something, I have to agree with Nicholas, Jordan, Mark and Jack. I attend the OF exclusively, but I’ve been to an EF about 3 times, and I really like it. I see pros and cons with both. But I am not openly hostile to the EF as most who lived through VII are. The tides are changing, as more and more young people are looking for something different than their everyday experiences. The older generation thinks they know exactly how the liturgy can speak to us, and it can be found exclusively in the OF the way it was celebrated in the 70s and 80s. The truth is, most of us wish for a liturgy that takes the best of both worlds and marries them together so we have a revelant and reverent liturgy in 2011. We don’t see ad orientem as the priest turning his back to us, but facing God. We have no problem kneeling to receive Jesus, because we don’t think it diminishes our dignity as human beings. Of course, I am only speaking for myself and those around me, but it truly seems to be a different way of thinking among younger Catholics.

      The contempt we see for the EF and everything distinctly Catholic is only a product of the times. People who spent their lives pushing liturgical reforms to extremes and championing the liberation that came with VII see any move to traditionalize as a threat that must be attacked and stopped. Our liturgy is bigger than the effects of a decade or two. The author of Summorum Pontificum, as Chris refers to him, understands the minds and hearts of the young people more than most liturgists in the churches.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        Then there is the use of loaded word like “hostile to the EF” and “exclusively in the OF” and “contempt for the EF and everything Catholic” and “spent their lives pushing liturgical reform to the extremes”.

        None of these phrases are true. They sound like political rhetoric used against persons of a different persuasion and meant to demean them to the electorate.

        I have spent forty years trying to get SC and the first edition GIRM faithfully implemented. I am openly hostile to those who oppose this and especially to those who denigrate the document, the council, and the academically trained liturgist.

        Going backwards is quite a bit different from recovering the historical basis and purpose of the liturgy.

        I am openly hostile to the betrayal of all that work by efforts to push for the old, devotional and a-liturgical ways through the promotion of the new creature in RC history, the EF.

      2. Mark Kendall Avatar

        Which is exactly what Nicholas seems to be saying, Tom: people who have dedicated their lives to the new liturgy are BOUND to be attached to it, because they’ve invested so much time and energy in it they just CAN’T admit they’re wrong. When you spend your whole life on a “project”…it can be really hard to let go.

    3. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      I can almost guarantee that the EF celebrated now is celebrated better than it was in most places prior to the 1960’s. It is important to bring up the mistakes of the past so contemporary celebrants of the OF and EF do not repeat them or mistakenly think all Masses prior to the council were beautiful High Masses, but it is irrelevant as a means of discouraging people from attending the EF today.

      Your relative’s hang-ups about the EF seem to have more to do with the liturgical and political culture of France at the time and less to do with the EF itself.

      1. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        “I can almost guarantee that the EF celebrated now is celebrated better than it was in most places prior to the 1960’s.”

        True, Jack. I attended Mass in several parishes prior to Vatican II. In the typical large parish with Masses on the hour on Sunday morning, only the last was a high Mass. The earlier ones were low Masses, perhaps with an organ and 4-hymn sandwich, but some without.

        Whereas, every Sunday TLM I’ve attended in quite some time now has been a “beautiful high Mass” with Gregorian chant and even sacred polyphony, as few ever heard in the old days.

        So, in a sense, Vatican II has done more for the older form than for the newer form. But, sadly, by confining it largely to a self-selected minority that now expects riches that the preponderant majority may never have enjoyed, and does not now.

        So it would be incorrect to look backward (as some do) with falsely rose-colored glasses. Our goal is to create the future, not a past that (in many or most places) did not exist. In short, to achieve everywhere the gloriously renewed liturgy that must have been envisioned at Vatican II, but which we still await in too many places.

      2. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur


        Well put.

        It also needs to be acknowledged then that references to “tradition” and “continuity” need to qualified, inasmuch as they reflect truth more in the notional realm rather than in the experiential realm.

        I believe the failure to clarify this, repeatedly, is a major reason why people so readily talk past each other.

    4. Brigid Rauch Avatar
      Brigid Rauch

      “after the occupation by the Germans, much of the French hierarchy lost all credibility”

      I wonder how many in Europe abandoned Church after the twin disasters of WW1 and WW2. One of the most Mysterious events of the 20th Century was the spontaneous Christmas truce of 1914. Imagine our world today if religious leaders back then had grabbed that moment of grace!

      I don’t mean to get into an argument of what Pius XII did or didn’t do during WW2, but rather to ask how conditions “Christian” Europe devolved to such evil.

      We face crisis after crisis today. Some Bishops protected those who raped children by remaining silent, others gave silent consent by moving predators around ahead of the police. Parishes are being closed due to the lack of priest, but many think the main concern of the bishops is to protect their own privileges rather than proclaiming the Word.

      What qualifies the best liturgies isn’t the music or the rubrics, but the perception that those celebrating are truly in love with God.

    5. Dunstan Harding Avatar
      Dunstan Harding

      Having attended a number of old liturgies before and after Vatican II, here and abroad, I’d have to agree. Most
      of the EF liturgies I experienced were boring. The chant was
      mediocre to bad with autocratic clergy forever talking
      down to their congregations and treating them as
      ignoramuses at worst and pious peasants at best.

    6. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Whence come all these new voices on PT?
      It seems likely that someone is recruiting people to support a matter of taste which cannot be supported through actual liturgical principles.
      I could be wrong about this, but these sudden appearances all on one side suggest something out of the ordinary here.

      1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Maybe someone just mentioned this, or some other recent hot-topic thread, on his or her blog. I don’t think it’s anything quite as sinister as you make it out to be.

        It’s not like Fr. Z called for the Pray Tell equivalent of a poll-flood.

      2. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        It is also highly likely that several noms de plume belong to a single scribe, given the same hymn-sheet from which they are singing and the very similar timbres, tones, (minor) keys and pitches of their melodies.

      3. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Gerald, that sort of thing could probably be detected by Fr. Anthony (or whoever is the technical director of the blog) by looking at each commenter’s IP address, browser and operating system, etc.

        But then, I don’t suspect that is taken into consideration too often, or else we probably wouldn’t have seen Fr. Jarse’s comments.

      4. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Tom, they’re very easily identified. Blessed John XXIII nailed them in his address Gaudet Mater Ecclesia at the opening of the Council: they’re the Prophets of Doom and they hunt in a pack.

      5. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Chris, I thought their name was Legion.

  71. David Haas Avatar
    David Haas

    Well, Mark.. I certainly do not claim to know the mind of younger catholics, and I certainly do not have a prediction as to the danger of their souls in the future – as you seem to do.

    I am done on this one… God bless you, Mark. I hope your version of orthodoxy makes you happy.

  72. Brian MacMichael Avatar
    Brian MacMichael

    Just one thought I’d like to add, which was spurred on by Mr. Haas’s 9:51 PM post last night.

    Being not terribly far removed from my own youth group days, I see some truths in what both Mr. Haas and Mr. Kendall say. However, I must very strongly opine that there is a decided lack of authentic historical awareness among the vast majority of young Catholics – particularly with respect to the liturgy and liturgical music. Before I went to college, I very sincerely believed that the latter 20th century offerings in hymnals such as Gather Comp were the Church’s “traditional” treaasury of sacred music, as opposed to the praise-and-worship genre that had been finding its way into Catholic youth ministry and beyond from Protestant worship (from which many of my friends hailed).

    I don’t say this as a judgment on either genre – that was just simply how narrow my understanding of the Church’s liturgical history was, and I have since confirmed with many peers that they believed the exact same thing before being educated in these matters. And it’s no real surprise – those were the only dynamics we’d ever encountered. And I can say fairly confidently that almost no Catholic parish youth programs delve particularly deeply into what the Second Vatican Council actually said (primary texts, for instance), and much less into the history of the liturgical reforms.

    I say this because I think it’s very hard to declare, with respect to the vast majority of young Catholics, that they are making particularly informed decisions about Catholic worship. And again, I think this applies to both ends of the spectrum.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      Well, book learning is good. But you also need to account for experiential learning: the fact is that, what was presented as an ideal in the pre-conciliar era was not for many centuries the lived experience of the majority of the faithful in many places.

      For but one example, we’ve only just lived through one century where it was expected that the faithful in the pews would regularly receive Holy Communion. For many centuries before that, such reception was typically rare.

      Finally, be aware that many historical arguments you might read in favor of the preconciliar praxis are cherry-picked or post-hoc rationalizations that have been the subject of considerable scholarly critique. You’re not likely to be exposed to those critiques if you’ve been trained by your reading to distrust the kind of people likely to make them. So, it’s an area rich in cognitive blindspots.

      An easier example: Solemn High Mass was the exception, not the usual experience. In fact, it was often treated as a penance for late sleepers (as it was typically celebrated as the last morning Mass – there were no Masses in the afternoon and evening…).

      So, when traditionally oriented Catholic youth today read of the riches of the preconciliar liturgy, they should understand that, in terms of experiential reality, the riches were not as widely spread around as they might be otherwise encouraged to believe.

      1. Brian MacMichael Avatar
        Brian MacMichael

        I agree with much of what you say, but I think perhaps you’re also reading a little too much into what I was saying. I’m not necessarily advocating a crash course in the extraordinary form or a sweeping history of the liturgical movement — I just think I could have benefited from _any_ discussion of the Church as being more than just our contemporary experience.

      2. Tom Poelker Avatar

        I will do up to three workshops per day at any event where you can produce at each workshop at least twenty people under thirty who want to actually study liturgy. I will do this gratis, expenses only, at the Red Roof level of accommodations and on any airline ticket you can get to anywhere in the US.

        You can pick the general topic. I will teach liturgy in historical context, rather than subjective taste.

        Contact me through to complete details by posting your interest on
        which will give me your email address.

      3. Jack Feehily Avatar
        Jack Feehily

        Nor did parishes engage in gregorian chant other than by exception. And there were no liturgical authorities espousing the majesty and reverence of the mass. In fact in those days liturgy was rubrics and nothing more. The mass was celebrated hurriedly and after the ones early in the morning, priests looked surprised if anyone approached for communion. How about this: at the Lord’s prayer which the celebrant prayed alone and in Latin, priests would pop in from the sacristy and go to the tabernacle to obtain hosts and proceeded to distribute communion (at the early masses). When the bells rang for the Domine, non sum dignis they paused and then resumed. The celebrant would check to see if he was needed. If not, he just went on with the mass. Oh, for the glorious days of old!

      4. Bruce Ludwick, Jr. Avatar
        Bruce Ludwick, Jr.


        In the interest of fairness, in the places I have lived around the US, there is no improvement in the priest consecrating the hosts for the people at that particular Mass. This was one of the goals of the Liturgical Movement from the very beginning. Its apparent failure has always made me wonder what “reforms” happened. This seems like a key one. I suspect seminaries are the ones who should be teaching this. I just mention this to point out that I don’t think that it is a “traditionalist” vs. “progressive” issue. I know a number of supposed “progressive” clerics who always consecrate far too many hosts at, say, a daily Mass, only to have to unceremoniously dump said hosts in the ciborium to languish for weeks. On the other hand, I know “traditionalists” who are very particular to find out how many will be attending before their EF daily Mass so that they consecrate only enough for those participating.

      5. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        I second what Bruce says – I’ve noticed the priest using reserved hosts at the OF my whole life (and never thought it was strange, unusual, or a bad thing – it’s so common). It’s not an EF vs. OF issue even if it was a bad practice that has “held over” from before Vatican II.

        Also, I think people need to compare apples to apples more. It’s good to correct people who think all pre-Vatican II Masses were expertly celebrated High Masses, but it is also unfair to go the other extreme and always compare the worst EFs of the past with an idealized OF. Inspirational, beautiful, and highly participatory OF Masses are really not all that common – I would say that the typical Sunday OF has more in common with the “four-hymn sandwich” low dialogue EF Masses I have experienced than with anything else.

  73. Henry Edwards Avatar
    Henry Edwards

    In occasional kibitzing at both extremes–far left and far right of the liturgical mainstream–it seems a bit surprising to see so much preoccupation here with the EF, and so much preoccupation there with the OF. I wonder whether this illustrates some underlying commonality between extremists at both ends of the spectrum.

    1. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
      Karl Liam Saur

      Well, if you think Fr Ruff or Rita Ferrone are far left, then you’ve got a problem. While we have a few commenters who probably fit that bill, they are not far left. I wouldn’t even say left (by which I mean something to the left of progressive mainstream, which might be considered center-left, as it were).

      1. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        I prefer not to characterize other people’s positions individually, since their own words tend to do the job well enough for them. However, since you mentioned Fr. Ruff and Ms. Ferrone specifically, I will admit that I was not thinking of either as included in the “far right”. Nor do I see either of them as being excessively preoccupied with the EF.

  74. Adam Taylor Avatar

    I have to say that I am very disappointed in many of the comments I’ve read here, from those on both sides of the argument. It seems that there is a lot of mud-slinging going on, and not a lot of actual argument. Will any of us ever convince someone of our point without charity? Please, for the sake of the Church, start to be more civil in your comments. Even if you do not intend to do harm by way of them, the potential for scandal is incredible. If you can’t make your point without biting sarcasm, find a different way of saying it. Can we stop being defensive and at least take time to consider the other point of view? After all, if we’re really speaking Truth, it will hold up to even our own scrutinies. Pray for each other and yourselves (and me!), but in the way of the tax collector rather than the pharisee.

  75. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    Latin, please note, is still the privileged liturgical langauge of the Church.Many priests would love to use Latin more – in celebrating Mass, administering Baptism or Anointing, giving Absolution, blessing pious objects, giving the ashes on Ash Wednesday – and would be delighted if the faithful asked for this. All of this is possible within the framework of the NO.

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      But in most people’s experience, it is not possible within the framework of the OF.

      I’ve heard part of the reason some folks prefer the EF is simply because it is easier to get people on board for doing it in a traditional way (Latin chant, incense, communion rails, etc). Doing the OF in a traditional way is an uphill battle that the next pastor can undo since the base assumption seems to be that the OF isn’t really meant for such things. I’m told by some of the older members of what was known as the “traditional” OF church in town, that they had to fight the bishop just to keep using the communion rail (and Latin and ad orientem were out of the question), and have seen local newspaper articles from the 70’s about the rebel priest who simply celebrated the OF in Latin for one of his parish’s Sunday time slots.

      1. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        What you say regarding the EF as the easier goal to attain (and especially to maintain) is most relevant to the situation today. My own inference from Pope Benedict’s words and actions is that an OF celebrated in a traditional way–and perhaps largely or frequently in Latin, like his own papal Masses–is the end, and the EF is the means (for the majority, while being preserved as a treasure of the Church for a minority).

        In my experience with EF communities in fairly ordinary parish settings, I observe that most attending these Masses go back and forth between the OF and EF, and suspect that many would be just as happy with a “Benedictine type” OF Mass. In requesting Masses for special occasions, I myself have sometimes suggested a Latin OF rather than an EF, as being equally “acceptable” but a bit more flexible (in regard to musical requirements and possible levels of solemnity, for instance).

        But you are precisely right that starting and maintaining a Latin OF Mass that one can count on is much harder than an EF Mass. Any kind of traditionally celebrated OF Mass tends to be here one next week and gone next week after the latest pastoral assignment. So there probably are not a few who would really prefer a tolerable OF, but after one too many of these disappointments have simply given up on it.

      2. Tom Poelker Avatar

        These comments, JW, reflect an unfamiliarity with the General Instructions of the Roman Missal and a willingness to believe any anecdote which supports one’s preferences.

      3. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        Could you explain *how* my comments illustrate an ignorance of the GIRM and a willingness to believe anecdotes? Claiming people are ignorant or blind seems to be your default response to people you don’t agree with.

        I know what the GIRM allows in regards to how traditionally the OF can be celebrated, but that doesn’t mean it is an easy goal to attain. In my diocese, the EF is far more common than “reform of the reform” OF masses, and there are only three or four churches that offer the EF on a regular basis.

    2. Mark Kendall Avatar

      Joe, I think this comment about Latin shows some utter naivitee about both what traditionalists like about the Old Rite and what your average Catholic likes about the New.

      I would bet you any amount of money in the world that it is primarily the language-barrier question that is a “turn off” for most Catholics regarding the Old Rite. I also happen to know that a substantial portion of traditionalists would be “okay” with it if the Old Rite were offered in a nice translation into English.

      Have your average pew-filling Catholic compare the New Rite (ad orientem and in Latin) with the Old…and I doubt they’ll care or be able to tell the difference. Let them have the Old Rite dialogue Mass in English (something I’m all for!) for a while, and I bet they would quickly prefer it, or at least that any remaining qualms would relate entirely merely to the loss of modern hymns they’ve become sentimentally attached to.

      Saying, “You can do Latin in the Novus Ordo too!!” is to advocate the WORST of BOTH worlds.

      Being uncomfortable with the Latin or the music or the level of lay response-making or any of these other accidentals I can actually totally understand. And, I would bet, these are the things that your average Catholic really cares about.

      But being so adamantly attached to even the text and rubrics of the OF (the differences of which from the EF your average Catholic in the pews is entirely ignorant of)…always strikes me as bizarre.

      The people don’t care about the new offertory, the elimination of the prayers at the foot of the altar, the butchered Collects, nor even the expanded lectionary. They don’t care about the priest genuflecting less often or not keeping his canonical digits together. They most likely care about the vernacular and the music.

      Suggesting a Novus Ordo “dressed-up” as close to the Old Rite as possible, then, with Latin and chant propers and all that…is to entirely miss the point about which things people DO prefer in the New Rite.

      Except for ideological “baggage” and associations with a more clericalist age which the younger generation simply doesn’t have…one has to wonder, at THAT point, if you’re going to dress-up the N.O. all traditional-like anyway…why NOT have the Old Rite?

      Academic liturgists and “save face for the Council!” folk have their reasons. The average Catholic wouldn’t care.

  76. Father Anthony Cekada Avatar

    Bill deHaas :
    No one is seeking to “marginalize” dissent – am trying to apply accepted rules of discovery, … documentation, … methods of interpretation.
    Questioning presuppositions are fine – but not the methodology used by most of these groups,… Have you done any homework on conspiracy fanatics… remarkably analogous.…
    Can you name any reputable church or secular academies, universities, recognized publications that publish or approve of your “universe”?

    Not “marginalizing dissent,” but then tarring objectors as “conspiracy fanatics,” eh? And then hinting that the dinosaurs of the liturgical professariat must give their imprimatur in order legitimize our discourse?

    Msgr. Wadsworth didn’t seem to think this was necessary.

    “Fr Cekada’s work (both in 1991 and 2010) considers the corpus of proper texts in the Missal in an attempt to assemble a comprehensive picture of the theological implications of the liturgical reform. The scarcity of this genre is testimony to the fact that forty years after the Council, we are still awaiting serious scholarship on these texts, the manner in which they were produced and the guiding principles which shaped their composition.”

    “Scarcity of this genre…” “Still awaiting serious scholarship…”

    Translation: the professariat wasn’t doing its job. So, a total outsider like me had to try to do it for them.

    Stop attacking the messenger. Read the evidence in my book.

    1. Guy Crouchback Avatar
      Guy Crouchback

      Yep. The only serious scholarship (at least in English) out there is by proponents (or more often protagonists) of the reform. For such a significant event, it is rather shocking how little critical analysis there is on the reformed texts. The reasons for this are complex, but Msgr. Wadsworth is correct that such research is LONG over due.

  77. Dunstan Harding Avatar
    Dunstan Harding

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Henry Edwards :

    In my experience with EF communities in fairly ordinary parish settings, I observe that most attending these Masses go back and forth between the OF and EF, and suspect that many would be just as happy with a “Benedictine type” OF Mass.

    I’ve found the same thing. Which leads me to think eventually the Vatican will impose a one- size- fits- all liturgy on the Church along the lines of the “Benedictine type”, of the NO, e.g. The Missal of Benedict XVI.

    I’d rather see the liturgy shaped by each bishop for his own diocese,rather than having red tape artists and liturgy
    munchkins in Rome trying to craft something and then impose a universal rite for all Catholics. We’ve seen what damage they’ve done already with the Pell missal. Bishops in each country are perfectly capable of assuring that eucharistic “orthodoxy” is preserved in the anaphora.

  78. Ben Whitworth Avatar
    Ben Whitworth

    PLEASE NOTE. Given the great interest that has been shown (and not just on this blog) in Msgr Wadsworth’s review of ‘Work of Human Hands’, Maney Publishing have now made this review, and several others, available FREE on IngentaConnect. Please follow this link:

    1. Henry Edwards Avatar
      Henry Edwards

      I opened this review with something akin to a quiver of eager anticipation, expecting hopefully to see something sufficiently inflammatory to justify a thread with over two hundred contentious comments. But what a disappointment!

      Not even a hint that I could discern in the evaluative comments of the reviewer of anything controversial. Of course, the sedevacantist views of the book’s author are in such a tiny minority–perhaps one of the smallest in the world, if not in the history of Catholic thought–as not to rise anywhere near the level of the inflammatory. But in the carefully measured comments of Msgr. Wadsworth himself, I saw nothing to which the typical post-Vatican II Catholic with well-informed mind would take much exception.

      After all the heavy breathing, is this really all there is? Surely I must be missing something. But what?

      1. Guy Crouchback Avatar
        Guy Crouchback

        Agreed. I’m a big fan of Fr. Ruff and this blog, but the title of the post (when compared to the substance of the article) reminds one of a Fox News headline.

  79. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Mr. Whitworth & Cekada – now we have created a new genre – comparing collects. Let’s just go with Wadsworth’s:

    “The work closes with a passionate apologia for the 1951 Missal and as such is a defence of the author’s own position and praxis, being also that of his former SSPX clerical associates and the SSPV. Here as at many earlier stages in the book, Cekada claims rather too much for the reforms of 1962 and 1965, giving the ludicrous impression that these revisions constitute the
    beginnings of the novus ordo. He also fails to cite his observations in a wider theological discourse, perhaps fearing a compromise of his sedevacantist position. This tends to mean that, whereas he is persuasive in arguing the genesis of modern liturgical reforms, his explanation of their consequences both at the time and in our present time is often unconvincing. A welcomed final feature of the book is an extensive bibliography which points the interested reader towards a vast amount of useful commentary.”

    His dismissal of Jungmann – sorry, he has not proven that
    His starting point is a brief period of liturgical history – many agree with the Pian moment but not his dismissal post fact Pian comments
    His theology is narrow as Wardsworth noted

    Sorry, like many SSPXers he reminds me of the equivalent in the US political world – a John Bircher who continues to write as if John Birch is still the answer to all of our problems

    He makes sense only if you accept that there is no true Pope after Pius XII – can’t believe Wadsworth gave this credence?

  80. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    Father Ruff:

    I really do (even at this late stage) need to take you to task, yet again, or your insistence on referring to Monsignor Wadsworth as the “ICEL head” – HE IS NOT.

    As pointed out on this blog, and elsewhere, before, the head job is not Monsignor Wadsworth’s. He is only the Executive Director (really Executive Secretary, but the title was somewhat aggrandized by Monsignor Wadsworth’s immediate predecessor to “Executive Director of the Secretariat” which means “Executive Secretary” not a lot unlike the way “And with your spirit” means “And also with you”).

    The real head job is owned by Bishop Arthur Roche, Chairman of ICEL.

    There are many who would say that the head job really belongs to Monsignor Moroney, who seems to be calling all the shots now, or Cardinal Pell, to whom he answers, but at least on paper, until the statutes are revised again, the ICEL head job is still Bishop Roche’s.

  81. Basil Roberson Avatar
    Basil Roberson

    Chris Grady :

    That’s not what I said – but it’s good to know you’re open to a revoking of Summorum Pontificum.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved

    Well said Chris! Raise your glasses to the re-abrogation of MR1962

  82. Rob Aitchison Avatar
    Rob Aitchison

    My stats: Male, 23, white, convert at 18, attend a suburban Vat. II parish.
    Nearly all my Catholic life has been spent in the Novus Ordo mass. When I was at college, I was exposed to the ’62 rite and was at first uncomfortable. I had the grace of being able to attend many times. After I became comfortable I started to love the ’62 rite. I attend both forms of the mass, mainly because I can’t seem to find a priest willing to say an old rite mass in my area (the nearest old rite mass is 23 miles). I’ve tried to work within the parish system to advocate for something old rite, but many people are utterly opposed (they aren’t in their 20’s). Perhaps someday I’ll have a close old rite, but till then I’ll enjoy being the youngest confirmed Catholic at mass.

  83. Charles Culbreth Avatar
    Charles Culbreth

    Henry Edwards :

    I opened this review with something akin to a quiver of eager anticipation, expecting hopefully to see something sufficiently inflammatory to justify a thread with over two hundred contentious comments. But what a disappointment!
    Not even a hint that I could discern in the evaluative comments of the reviewer of anything controversial… But in the carefully measured comments of Msgr. Wadsworth himself, I saw nothing to which the typical post-Vatican II Catholic with well-informed mind would take much exception.
    After all the heavy breathing, is this really all there is? Surely I must be missing something. But what?

    Welch: “…at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?
    McCarthy: I know this hurts you, Mr. Welch.
    Welch: I’ll say it hurts!
    McCarthy: Mr. chairman

  84. Charles Culbreth Avatar

    Sorry, tablet malfunction… the rest of the story:

    “Senator McCarthy: Mr. Chairman, as point of personal privilege, I’d like to finish this.

    Mr. Welch: Senator, I think it hurts you, too, sir.

    Senator McCarthy: I’d like to finish this. I know Mr. Cohn would rather not have me go into this. I intend to, however, and Mr. Welch talks about any “sense of decency.” I have heard you and everyone else talk so much about laying the truth upon the table. But when I heard the completely phony Mr. Welch, I’ve been listening now for a long time, he’s saying, now “before sundown” you must get these people “out of government.” So I just want you to have it very clear, very clear that you were not so serious about that when you tried to recommend this man for this Committee.

    Mr. Welch: Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you. You have sat within six feet of me and could ask — could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out, and if there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further. I will not ask, Mr. Cohn, any more witnesses. You, Mr. Chairman, may, if you will, call the next witness.”

    There is a God in heaven, and thanks be to Him Msgr. Wadsworth had the decency and grace to acquit himself with charity toward all and malice toward none. Would that all of us, myself included, had comported ourselves thusly.

  85. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Jack Wayne :

    Claiming people are ignorant or blind seems to be your default response to people you don’t agree with.

    Obviously, you do not know me and have not been reading my many lengthy comments over many months or my questions trying to understand just what your party actually wants.

    You make this exaggerated claim and then go on to speak of how much easier you want it to be to do what you subjectively want to do.

    Go to work instead. Study the difference between effective ritual and nostalgic reconstruction for the sake of propping up a logically insupportable cause. Study the GIRM for positive possibilities instead of complaining about people who do not want it your particular way. Good luck in finding enough people in your own parish who share your idiosyncrasies.

    If you have been making numerous such statements as above, I may have pointed out the lacunae in your training previously.

    Maybe it is just you who is ignorant and you are frustrated to be on a list where your passions cannot carry your arguments among those actually trained in the theory and practice of liturgy.

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      So now I’m not only ignorant, but frustrated because I can’t engage arguments with smart people like you?

      I’ve probably read almost every post you have made over the past few months because you genuinely seem to be concerned with good liturgy and are intelligent. However, you are often times somewhat condescending and unwilling to engage people who do not come to the same conclusions or hold the same opinions (informed as they may be) as you.

  86. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jeffrey Pinyan :

    Maybe someone just mentioned this, or some other recent hot-topic thread, on his or her blog. I don’t think it’s anything quite as sinister as you make it out to be.
    It’s not like Fr. Z called for the Pray Tell equivalent of a poll-flood.

    You can prove your assertion of what it is not?

    1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

      No, I’m just offering alternatives. Can you prove your assertion of what it is? Meh, more bickering.

      P.S. I searched Google for the URL of this blog post and for its keywords (wadsworth, sedevacantist). I found these hits:

      1. A blog post on from Sunday afternoon.
      2. A forum thread started by Rev. Cekada on from a little later Sunday afternoon.
      3. A blog post on from this afternoon.
      4. A link on from sometime today.

      None of these include a request for people to come here and share their viewpoints.

  87. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Mark Kendall :

    Which is exactly what Nicholas seems to be saying, Tom: people who have dedicated their lives to the new liturgy are BOUND to be attached to it, because they’ve invested so much time and energy in it they just CAN’T admit they’re wrong. When you spend your whole life on a “project”…it can be really hard to let go.

    It is not that I or any others I had in mind are bound to the some specific form. We are bound to follow the teachings of the church. We have tried to do so. Now, those who never did want to follow those teachings are doing their very best to ignore church teachings and substitute by law things which are more to their tastes.

    This has been done in secret and by bureaucrats staring down the episcopal conferences. The results are demonstrably deficient and honest scholars and decades of the work to do continuing reform of the liturgy have been tossed out and arbitrary and narrow minded goals have been substituted to which obedience is being demanded because they cannot withstand thorough scrutiny.

    For those of us who have tried to follow the teachings of the church, the repeated secret revisions and surprise new rulings and favoritism toward those who have not attempted to implement church teaching are much bigger issues than one form of one service or another.

    You posit a position for us which is convenient for your self image and supportive for your argument. It is a version a straw man because it is your creation for argument’s sake with little relation to…

    1. Henry Edwards Avatar
      Henry Edwards

      “It is not that I or any others I had in mind are bound to the some specific form. We are bound to follow the teachings of the church. We have tried to do so.

      Not only commendable, Tom, but necessary for a faithful and sincere Catholic. Which, for instance, is a good and sufficient reason to respect and support the universal law of the Church according to which

      “The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.”

      Indeed, surely any such Catholic will support and treasure both forms as treasures of the Church, praying with our Supreme Pontiff for their mutual enrichment and reinforcement.

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        irrelevant diversion to pet topic

      2. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        It will be very gratifying to have the support of the devotees of the novel two forms of the same rite school, when we shall need to have two forms of the ordinary form, at Advent and its aftermath.

      3. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Why limit it to two?

      4. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        OK. A minimum of two: the new ‘inter-linear translation’ and the current one for starters. If the 1998 one were available that would be three. You are right. Why limit it to two?

      5. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Indeed! If one man can create a thing hitherto unheard of (two ‘forms’ of one rite) then why not three or seventeen, or indded five hundred million! Extraordinary Form, Ordinary Form, Retro-fitted Form, Turbo-charged Form, Approved but not Promulgate Form, Harbert Form, Wadsworth Form, Moroney Form, Griffiths Form, Pre-1969 (Winstone) Form, etc etc etc . . . all of which would be, according to the Prophets of Doom, of a piece with the “mind of the Pope.”

        As Chairman Mao (and, in a spooky way, Benedict XVI Gloriously Reigning) said: Let a thousand flowers bloom.

      6. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

        Chris – isn’t it “a hundred”, not “a thousand”? And did Pope Benedict actually say that?

  88. Tom Poelker Avatar

    Jack Wayne :No, if the Pope had the same cultural baggage as those who do not like the EF, he likely wouldn’t have issued SP. Note that in my comment I said *some* older Catholics, not all.

    B16 has frequently described his own cultural baggage. He is obsessed with restoring the identity of Europe with Christendom, religiously and in the arts.

    The problems with B16’s baggage are many.

    The most obvious is that it is Eurocentric. He tends to favor policies which he considers good for European culture without wide consultation as to their effects on the faithful worldwide.

    He is also a cultural elitist in his interest in high arts and the European culture.

    The Council did not issue SC because the 2000 bishops did not like the cultural accretions of the Medieval Mass. They went out of their way, as RotRs like to quote out of context, to praise the cultural accomplishments. Then, always, they go on to say that those thing do not meet the current needs of the faithful. They studied the theory of liturgical action and prescribed a healthy set of changes.

    B16 issued SP for two given reasons.

    He hoped the far right would be pleased and calm down and be reconciled to the teachings of the church. That has failed. Instead, they have taken SP as being another step in their backwards direction.

    He also was supporting his agenda for classical church music and the formalized version of liturgy it was designed to accomplish. That seems to have been successful only within the Vatican and other areas of his immediate…

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      Everyone has baggage that affects how they view certain things, but not everyone has the same baggage. I never said the Pope didn’t have any sort of bad baggage whatsoever.

      Also, another reason for SP was to make the 1962 missal more available to people who are within the Church and who have followed Church teaching, but for whom the indult was not being fairly or generously applied (not just some “far right” that needs to be reconciled with the Church).

      1. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        But wouldn’t you agree, Jack, that Pope Benedict’s principal reason for SP likely was–in addition to preserving the EF as a treasure of the Church and making it available to the minority seeking it–to provide it as a model and anchor for the reform of the OF that is necessary to complete the faithful implementation of Vatican II.

      2. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        Yeah, Jack, tell us what the Pope thinks.

      3. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        You’re right, Henry Edwards, especially since the Pope talks about “mutual enrichment” between the two forms.

        And Chris – If you think I’m wrong, say *why.* Being rude isn’t an argument.

  89. Bill deHaas Avatar

    Jack – agree and you make a good point. Where it breaks down is that SP happens almost more than 30 years after Paul VI’s initial indult. Following Paul’s criteria and reasons, it is hard to imagine that there should be much need to broaden the original indult. What has happened is that B16 has expanded and changed Paul’s indult; he has strayed fromt the historical pattern of abrogating “old” missals, and he posits a reason that, on the face of it, seems reasonable but does not stand the test of experience, reality, etc. It also totally pulls the rug out from under his own bishops who by conciliar decree should be making these decisions – not pressure tactics from a disillusioned group.

    1. Ben Dunlap Avatar
      Ben Dunlap

      Can you give some examples of the historical pattern of abrogating old missals, in which the old and new missals are as different from each other as the 1962 and 1970? I don’t think there are any such examples but I’m not a liturgist.

      Also — not totally clear from your comment but are you saying that SP was a response to pressure tactics? If so, that doesn’t jive with what Joseph Ratzinger said and wrote on the topic of the liturgy before becoming Pope. Looking back at that stuff, SP is obvious. It’s something that he has personally desired for decades — and he argues extensively for it throughout his published corpus.

      1. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        Trent abrogated all prior missals – one example. Read Jungmann’s “The Roman Rite”

        Ratzinger has written much about liturgy – this blog has cited his writings after VII in Theological Investigations which would not point to SP. That being said, he may have led up to SP but this is his opinion only – in fact, most bishops strongly recommended that he not do this.

      2. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards

        “Trent abrogated all prior missals – one example.”

        Not so, actually. Only those with less than two hundred years of usage, according to my memory of Jungmann. So, for instance, I’d think it was Henry VIII rather than Trent that effectively abrogated the Sarum missal. (Which, I take it from some of the Anglican use chatter that I haven’t followed carefully, is still theoretically available.)

      3. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        Here you go, link:


        The Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of April 2nd 1969 copied the style used by previous Pontiffs to establish reformed rites as definitive:

        In conclusion, we wish to give the force of law to all that we have set forth concerning the new Roman Missal…. In promulgating the official edition of the Roman Missal, Our predecessor, St. Pius V, presented it as an instrument of liturgical unity and as a witness to the purity of the worship the Church…. While leaving room in the new Missal, according to the order of the Second Vatican Council, ‘for legitimate variations and adaptations,’(SC 38-40) we hope nevertheless that the Missal will be received by the faithful as an instrument which bears witness to and which affirms the common unity of all.


        Other pastoral and canonical consequences will arise from the adoption of the language of ‘ordinary’ and ‘extraordinary’ and the possibility of ‘usages’ within the one Roman Rite. What will happen, say, if parishes decide to reject the forthcoming translation of the liturgy into the vernacular? Does this Motu Proprio set a precedent for parishes with ‘1970 vernacular usage’ and others with ‘2008 vernacular usage’? Will the 2008 translation become the ‘ordinary’ one and the 1970 one ‘extraordinary’? As female altar servers were permitted by canon law, does that mean they may not be excluded from the 1962 rite? Are communicants barred from receiving under both species at these celebrations?

        Serving – female – recently ruled on. Does this support the overall goal of “unity”?

      4. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        Bill, you’ve totally ignored Henry’s point. Trent did not abrogate all previous Missals and did abrograte those missals that had been in use less than 200 years, making Quo Primum not an exact precedent for Missale Romanum and also making it’s allowance for the continuation in use of prior editions will abrogating others not conflict in its criteria with the abrogation of the current English translation.

    2. Henry Edwards Avatar
      Henry Edwards

      In any event, who has reason to be disillusioned anymore? Now that by the universal law promulgated in SP, the ordinary and extraordinary forms are “two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church.”

      Indeed, why not live happily forever hereafter, in mutual enrichment and reinforcement. No need for anyone to be grumpy or defensive, is there?

    3. Henry Edwards Avatar
      Henry Edwards

      I should hope, Bill, that you could find a more authoritative source than The Pastoral Review. As for the 200-year-exclusion that I mentioned, here are Pope Pius V’s words (in English translation) in Quo Primum:

      “This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom.”

  90. Chris Grady Avatar
    Chris Grady

    Jack Wayne :
    And Chris – If you think I’m wrong, say *why.* Being rude isn’t an argument.


    I was not being rude nor did I say I thought you were wrong (though I’ve never noticed you being right before, seeing as how you asked).

    My comment was merely about how “Henry Edwards” had asked you to tell us the Pope’s mind – as if he, you, or anyone else on here would know it!

    How you construe that as “being rude” is completely beyond me!

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      Henry Edwards didn’t ask me to share the mind of the Pope and your reply was directly addressed to me. I also didn’t ask you if you have ever noticed me to be right about anything (not that such an insult means anything coming from you – it’s actually sort of a compliment).

      It’s at least a little biting when someone like Tom says I’m wrong or ignorant. I can understand where he is coming from since he actually shares his knowledge of liturgy in his posts.

  91. Brigid Rauch Avatar
    Brigid Rauch

    Someone above made a comment about Mass being boring. (I apologize for not having the time to go back and find the specific reference.)

    There are times when the person attending Mass is too tired or too distracted to properly engage. There are too many lectors who proclaim the Word in a sing-song monotone, obscuring the strength and wonder of what is being said. There are too many celebrants who fall into the same trap. If the homily is boring, then it means the homilist didn’t pay attention to the readings. (as an aside – these problems point to the real value of a retreat to give the distracted the opportunity to re-gain wonder.)

    But – when enough pieces come together – Mass isn’t boring but rather the high point of the week, a moment of respite and a glimpse of the Kingdom. How can a proclamation of the Good News be boring?

    For me, the problem with the EF is that it can be a counterfeit. It can be an encounter with the Lord. However, I suspect that all too often an aesthetic experience is mistaken for a holy experience.

    ““the church is not a museum of antiques but a living garden of life.”

    1. Chris Grady Avatar
      Chris Grady

      It was a rite that needed reforming. So it was reformed.

      It’s as simple as that.

      1. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
        Jordan DeJonge

        It’s not really as simple as that. Many people, including self-identified traditionalists today and their sympathizers, concede that the pre-conciliar liturgy was in need of reform or revitalization. That doesn’t mean the reform was done correctly. Increasingly, many feel the New Rite itself is in need of reform or augmentation.

        My most consistent experience of the New Rite is of a ritual created seemingly in a vacuum a decade or two before Non-Denoms really learned how to make Christianity cool. I understand its a synthetic piece crafted in light of largely abstract theological, pastoral and liturgical “principles”. A rite that does very little to give a person the sense they are the recipient of an ancient testimony of God’s actions, receiving, by a long standing process of historical mediation, something of the life of God as He passed through our ancestors then and enters us now.

        Churches are filled with neglect and affected by a dark amnesia. We’ve forgotten our own time honoured symbols and praxis, neglect our high altars (if they were not torn out), have no musical tradition to speak of, and, where ever the piety that once made up the basic “shell” of our spirituality and interiority still flourishes, it is really a relic of a half refuted past.

        Catholic truths rely on tradition, indeed, are tradition. If perennial, they still only appear in the contingent and the conditioned. How do we explain to a new generation that all the teachings the Church has carried in her arms through the last two millennia remain true, even today? How can we expect people to believe anything taught on the force of sacred tradition, when our central liturgical act, the Mass, is so barren of it to the senses? Is it a wonder that so many Catholic communities can not seem to sing, proverbially, more than a theological tune of “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?”

      2. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur

        “How do we explain to a new generation that all the teachings the Church has carried in her arms through the last two millennia remain true, even today?”

        Well, for one thing, not all of the things that have been taught were necessarily true, and we should avoid giving the impression that they all were. (Unless you meant this statement tautologically, that it only refers to teachings at the level of infallibility, in which case, it’s not a very useful statement.)

        “How can we expect people to believe anything taught on the force of sacred tradition, when our central liturgical act, the Mass, is so barren of it to the senses?”

        Well, the postconciliar Mass at my parish is a banquet of sensory richness compared to a 20-minute mumbled dry Low Mass, so this is not very convincing.

        Let’s not confuse tradition with traditionalism (which is, paradoxically, an ideology of modernity). Lots of things have been done for ages that humanity is blessed to have finally stopped continuing for continuity’s sake.

      3. Samuel J. Howard Avatar

        Well, the postconciliar Mass at my parish is a banquet of sensory richness compared to a 20-minute mumbled dry Low Mass, so this is not very convincing.

        Lets a) compare like with like and b) not lapse into lazy and insulting stereotypes.

      4. Karl Liam Saur Avatar
        Karl Liam Saur


        What I did was called mirroring…..

      5. Jim McKay Avatar
        Jim McKay

        How can we expect people to believe anything taught on the force of sacred tradition, when our central liturgical act, the Mass, is so barren of it to the senses?

        Lets a) compare like with like and b) not lapse into lazy and insulting stereotypes.

        This question was what motivated the liturgical movement. The EF as celebrated 50 years ago was not a good answer. The OF is better, but still not adequate if it is not accompanied by proper attention and understanding.

    2. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Here we are back again at the need liturgical ministers have for performance skills.

      Why are they so reluctant to learn them?

  92. Brigid Rauch Avatar
    Brigid Rauch

    Jordan DeJonge, #265

    “I understand its a synthetic piece crafted in light of largely abstract theological, pastoral and liturgical “principles”. A rite that does very little to give a person the sense they are the recipient of an ancient testimony of God’s actions, receiving, by a long standing process of historical mediation, something of the life of God as He passed through our ancestors then and enters us now. ”

    Are we talking about the same Mass? The Mass that now includes a reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, a Psalm, a Gospel and excerpt from the Epistles? A Mass centered on the re-telling of the Last Supper? What you call barren to the senses is what I call stripped of so much that distracted us from and obscured a confrontation with the Creator. We were like children playing with the pretty box and ignoring the gift within.

    1. Mark Kendall Avatar

      The Iconoclasm contained in such sentiments (and that’s really what it is: simply a rehashing of iconoclasm) is mind-boggling. God IS Beauty and an aesthetic experience, subordinated to the divine (as it is in liturgy) IS a spiritual experience. No one forgot the gift within the box: Catholics had much more reverence for the Blessed Sacrament (and much more belief in the Real Presence) before the boundaries between sacred and profane (which is a real psychological effect) were torn out so mercilessly.

      1. Brigid Rauch Avatar
        Brigid Rauch

        Because people have changed the way they interact with the real Presence, the assumption is that they either no longer believe and/or are no longer reverent.

        I propose an alternate point of view. Many now believe in the Real Presence more than ever, that the Real Presence is also present in community (” wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name”) and that we are never outside of the Real Presence. In addition, many relate to the Trinity in a familial fashion rather than as peasants in a medieval court. Familial affection does not rule out awe, either. I have seen the stone hut my grandfather was born in, and am in awe of all he accomplished. I would not feel the need to kneel in his presence though, but would rather reach to him to be kissed on the head.
        This attitude does not preclude adding an aesthetic experience, but it is the aestheticism of the hearth and Nativity, not the throne room and high altar.

      2. Tom Poelker Avatar


        Here we go with the name calling and straw men again.

        Also the failure to distinguish devotional experiences from liturgical experiences.

        Possible confusion of the spiritual with the emotional/psychological.

        Insertion of true but irrelevant theological statements about the nature of God.

      3. Henry Edwards Avatar
        Henry Edwards


        Of course, Christ is present in our fellow Christians who are Living Stones and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we do not kneel to adore our neighbor in the pew, nor even the priest or deacon when he proclaims the Eternal Word that went forth to create the world–as Catholics do when we kneel and say “My Lord and my god” as we look up at the Host and Chalice as they are elevated after the consecration.

        Of course, God is present is every part of the universe He created, in every object of it. But we do not kneel to adore those objects–as Catholics do when we kneel in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament when it is exposed in a monstrance on the altar.

        The reason is that the Real Presence of Christ in the sacred species is different, special, and surpasses His presence in all those other ways. As stated clearly so many pertinent magisterial documents, e.g.:
        We speak of the presence of Christ under the appearances of bread and wine as “real” in order to emphasize the special nature of that presence. What appears to be bread and wine is in its very substance the Body and Blood of Christ. The entire Christ is present, God and man, body and blood, soul and divinity. While the other ways in which Christ is present in the celebration of the Eucharist are certainly not unreal, this way surpasses the others. “This presence is called ‘real’ not to exclude the idea that the others are ‘real’ too, but rather to indicate presence par excellence, because it is substantial and through it Christ becomes present whole and entire, God and man,”

    2. Ben Dunlap Avatar
      Ben Dunlap

      The OF is rich in many ways. The EF is rich in other ways. I think Jordan’s point, though perhaps obscured a bit by his passionate rhetoric, is that the process of reforming the EF into the OF ended up significantly obscuring the historical connection between the two — which is a serious problem.

      Summorum Pontificum is a bold beginning to a solution to this problem, using the lovely and age-old Catholic approach of ‘both/and’. It’s impossible for the strictest partisans of either form of the liturgy to be happy with SP, but in the end it’s hard to imagine a more prudent and pastoral answer to the real problem identified above.

  93. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Ben – sounds good but – over 2600 bishops at VII voted to “reform” the EF – this was based on changed ecclesiology, theology, etc.

    On the surface, your both/and sounds good but it is mixing apples and oranges.

    There is and was a better way to achieve your both/and goal – but via “papal fiat” over your bishops’ objections or inventing two uses of the one rite is not the way.

    1. Ben Dunlap Avatar
      Ben Dunlap

      But the 2600 bishops didn’t approve a particular Missal. And it’s difficult in many ways to see the continuity between the Missal that the bishops used to celebrate Mass at the council and the one that was promulgated in 1969/70. So what do you do about that problem? There are a few possibilities:

      a. Pretend the problem doesn’t exist and marginalize the small minority of faithful who are suffering
      b. Revoke the postconciliar reforms
      c. Acknowledge the problem and try to make the riches in the preconciliar Missal that were lost in 1969/70 more available to those who want them and perhaps even to those who would want them if they had any clue they existed.
      d. some other option?

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        First Option
        Let the Episcopal Conferences deal with the problems and avoid secret deals based on influence peddling and subjective tastes which can not stand up to professional evaluation.

  94. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    Ben – 2600 bishops did approve the missal and Mass Order by each conference vote per VII collegiality and follow up by Consilium and approved by Paul VI. Lack of continuity – that’s a judgment call and not a problem for me?

    Just to be direct – what riches were lost? Low mass in which most folks did not participate or understand? No use of scripture like today? etc. Would argue that we added riches.

    You are working backwards. Start with ecclesiology, theology and liturgy – which is so much more than just a missal. Riches – some type of emotion? feelings? accidentals?

    Suggest that your (c) is like the tail wagging the dog.

    Do you realize that catholics who have left the church are the second largest group in the US – again, this needs to be the focus; not some tiny subset.

    1. Mr. Crouchback Avatar
      Mr. Crouchback

      “Do you realize that catholics who have left the church are the second largest group in the US – again, this needs to be the focus; not some tiny subset.”

      Do you *really* think changes in the liturgy are a significant factor in why people join or leave the Church now days? Both sides of this debate constantly trot out this argument: one side arguing that the post-conciliar reforms are the cause for the drastic decline in mass attendance during the 20th century and the other woes that currently plague the Church, while the other argues that those declining numbers are proof for the need of even more reform. I just don’t buy it.

      People left and are leaving the Church, because modernity, for all intents and purposes, won the West. Christianity (and really any traditional religion or ethic) presume an ethical language and psychology which is completely foreign to the prevailing moral language of modern man, which really is just emotivism with a veneer of Christianity and the Enlightenment. (See MacIntrye, Alasdair) I’m thankful for VII’s attempt to engage modernity without succumbing to it, although I think that approach really just served to delay the inevitable. (Although the bunker strategy of the traditionalists of the time would have been even more disastrous). There wasn’t and isn’t any silver bullet that can solve this problem, if by “solve” we mean converting or bringing back hordes of Westerners into the Church.

      In that sense, we may want to put a little more stress on the liturgy’s genius for nourishing & sustaining those of us who remain in the Church, as opposed to placing undue emphasis on those who are leaving or who are outside of her. So if a group of crazy traditionalists want a weekly EF mass, what’s the harm?

      1. Tom Poelker Avatar

        Nourishing and sustaining are indeed the essence of Eucharist.

        That is why contemporary standard English is better than archaisms. That is why Mass is participatory and communal more than [not instead of] clerical and sacrificial.

        It is not some aesthetic experience or medieval cultural reconstruction.

        What nourishes people is what connects with their daily needs.

        The greater variety of Scripture aids that, too bad we have not gotten greater quality of preaching. Oops, here we are back again at the need for priests to acquire skills and improve them after they get ordained. This may be at the heart of the failure EF proponents see in the OF. Priests who previously could get away with mumbling in concealment refused to get trained in presiding or preaching.

    2. Ben Dunlap Avatar
      Ben Dunlap

      Some riches that were lost because they were suppressed:

      * Septuagesima
      * Tenebrae
      * Ember Days
      * Solemn mass

      And just off the top of my head, a couple of riches that were lost de facto in most localities:

      * The use of Latin — ever, of any amount — in the principal Latin rite
      * The use of the Roman Canon more than once or twice a year (talk about a-historicity!)

      I don’t think the old trope about how terribly some priests celebrated low mass is particularly helpful. I can see your mumbled low mass and raise it a clown mass and a halloween mass — who cares? None of these things is to the point.

      1. Chris Grady Avatar
        Chris Grady

        They weren’t suppressed – they were always there: it’s just that they were too silly to use.

      2. Gerard Flynn Avatar
        Gerard Flynn

        Halloween has a very esteemed christian pedigree:
        All Hallows’ Eve was also one of the great days of Celtic christianity.

      3. Bruce Ludwick, Jr. Avatar
        Bruce Ludwick, Jr.

        Ben et al,

        Ember Days have never been abrogated. They still exist, and in fact, if you look at (current) GIRM 394, you’ll see that “in drawing up the calendar of a nation(al church), the Rogation and Ember Days should be indicated.”

        To my knowledge there is perhaps one of two diocese in the country where the ordinary has actually observed this. We are poorer for it, especially as it is a wonderful way to sanctify the seasons of the earth God created.

      4. Tom Poelker Avatar

        It was not how “some” priests celebrated Low Mass.

        Low Mass mumbled and done close to the vest far away was the norm. I remember the one priest I served who actually pronounced all the words.

        High Mass was once a Sunday and Solemn High Mass was an Easter/Christmas special event.

        Forget about the anecdotes you have heard about clowns. I know of one story run nationally during the 70s about a clown Mass. The reporter thought it was cute and interesting. Liturgists thought it appalling. Reactionaries have stored it as ammunition.

        These other things are what you consider riches? These accretions and extensions previously only noticed by rubricists and those reading their hand missals?

        Use of Latin is OF authorized. Do not require it for the many just because the few want their culture fix.

        The Roman Canon may be elevating to actually speak, if one is fluent in Latin. What else anyone else could get from it, is hard to say. Is it a treasure? Yes. Is it good liturgy in 2011? No.

        The Roman Canon badly needs editing, even in Latin. A return to the source may be in order.

  95. Bill deHaas Avatar
    Bill deHaas

    I don’t either, Mr. Crouchback. So, why “fiddle” while Rome burns. OTOH, would suggest the new translation will not help this trend.

  96. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    Yes, I do think that the post-conciliar rupture in tradition introduces difficulties for the reception of Catholic doctrine- “T” tradition. The larger Tradition is carried, in my opinion, by the smaller traditions to a great extent. It is preferable doctrine be passed on this way, rather than by way of theology manuals and classroom lectures. There is really no surer way to teach the Communion of Saints, for example, than maintaing a ritual praxis which actually communes with them and invests their memory with holy reverence. As it is, the most I heard of the Saints (aside from the BVM) was in prayers that the said Saints themselves wrote, which contemporary audiences think sound “warm”. The Saints, from the dominant practice I observed in my broad community, were not actually helpers to turn to, but rather people whose [carefully selected] attitudes were to be imitated. That most people can’t understand there might exist a very important theological distinction between good men like Mahatma Gandhi, Saint Francis of Assisi and the Dalai Lama, is probably why the Anglican parish down the street from me is proudly displaying the former’s pacifying words on their front lawn. How much of this is inevitable in light of the dominance of secularity (which is admittedly not always a bad thing) is besides the point. I mean to say that, practically speaking, a good many Roman doctrines are cold as stone, at least in broad sections of the Church, and the psychology of the sacred that the New Rite engineered has certainly abetted this.

    I am not really a great fan of scholasticism. I actually do prefer a good deal of the new emphases, both pastoral and theological, that arose in the last century in the thoughts of people like Newman, Balthasaar, De Lubac and even young Ratzinger. I even consider myself a beneficiary of the less heady, simplified approach to Christianity that I received growing up under the Novus Ordo regime.

    1. Tom Poelker Avatar

      Another opinion with no relationship to the nature and purposes of liturgy.

  97. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge


    The “traditionalism” I favour would not be a retreat, but a reconnection, a repairing in the “vines”, so to speak.

    The Church has not always spoken in a Counter-Reformation, Counter-Enlightenment idiom. However, when the Church did “develop” or simply morph in her communication of the faith, it was always in an organic and gradual way. The “novel”, if we might call it that, did not suddenly supplant the old, but found something like a nest in it, growing up under its maternal wing. As has been noted before, so many of the liturgical gestures of the old rite themselves grew from perfectly mundane causes, but their theological and sacred content was supplied by the faithful over time. The Post-Conciliar period introduced immediate and radical changes which, if maintained as presently found, have the effect of undermining the legitimacy of development at any stage, or even the entire Catholic system itself. With Vatican II we seem, to the observer, to have really just the New, without giving any of the Old the dingily of “accretion”, whereby the faithful would be free to move between the many possibilities that such a richly symbolic order is capable of communicating. As it is, rather than the Holy Sacrifice being opened to better include the “Table of the Lord”, we are more or less forced to accept the latter meaning of the Eucharist over and against the former.

    1. Jim McKay Avatar
      Jim McKay

      A fine example of hermeneutic of rupture. Your prior note even uses the word, but it appears in words like “reconnect” and the like.

      The Pope prefers a hermeneutic of reform that does not repudiate the post- conciliar reforms but builds on them.

  98. Jordan DeJonge Avatar
    Jordan DeJonge

    As to my original point, the language of ritual and image is, in some ways, far more significant than words, including the explicit text of Scripture. Many of you who spent your years barred from the sanctuary by rails and receiving the Eucharist on the tongue (on occasion), might well experience its sudden placement into your hands as “refreshing” and “liberating” and really a more intimate experience with the Holy. Those, however, raised with this praxis from the start will struggle far more profoundly to accept intellectually what they are not truly acknowledging bodily. The sacred is, in effect, what we actually acknowledge as such in our action. To treat something profanely is, in effect, to really make it profane despite the intellectual content we might ascribe to the act. For a generation into whom the Catholic culture and small “t” traditions instilled a deep Eucharistic piety, to suddenly throw down the humeral veils and place the sacred vessels into profane hands, there might be a true thrill. I understand that as a pornography of the sacred. When the mystery around the desired is finally had, and its total exposure renders its nudity profane, the thrill dies out. It necessarily needs to recreate the thrill of unveiling. If the post-concilliar period was a pornographic unveiling of the Holy, it will necessarily lead to its fetishization which could take many forms, perhaps traditionalism included.

    1. Gerard Flynn Avatar
      Gerard Flynn

      As an antidote to the liturgical sterile dilettantism articulated by the semantic field of, for example, ‘profane hands,’ ‘a pornography of the sacred,’ and the description of a period of reform as a ‘fetishization’, the opening lines of Gaudium et Spes serve humbly to remind us that such a world-view is fundamentally unchristian, unbiblical and unhelpful:

      “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men and women of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men and women.”

  99. Gerard Flynn Avatar
    Gerard Flynn

    “using the lovely and age-old Catholic approach of ‘both/and’.”

    I sincerely hope we shall use this lovely and age-old Catholic approach when Advent comes.

  100. Henry Edwards Avatar
    Henry Edwards

    Another review of the Cekada book:

    The last sentence of the following paragraph in this review may be of interest regarding the original translation of the 1970 missal:

    “Particular cases in point are his excellent Chapters 5 and 6, examining the protestantizing doctrinal innovations that informed the 1969 General Instruction on the New Mass, and the skulduggery resorted to by Vatican officials in their attempt to salvage and repackage the document after its orthodoxy was brought into question by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. The author’s reflections on the expunging of references to the Mass as a sacrifice of propitiation in the Instruction are most interesting, as is his analysis of new interpretations of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist, and of the roles of priest and congregation. Studied in concert with these are doctrinal parallels in the thought of Cranmer and similar Protestant reformers which had been intended to obfuscate truths and deceive orthodox Catholics of their day. Another valuable insight provided by this book (pp. 92-9) is evidence that in several instances, for example the foisting of poor and erroneous vernacular translations of Latin liturgical texts on local churches, responsibility lay with the Vatican bureaucracies working under the Pope, not with the episcopal conferences who usually get the blame in polemic literature.