The big pope interview

This is a all over the web already, and rightly so, since it’s a big story. Pope Francis has given a long interview to America magazine, filled with blunt statements. Most people will be interested, for good reason, in his belief that the Church can’t be “obsessed” with a few issues like abortion, gay marriage, and contraception, or his candid admission that he was too heavy-handed many years ago as a Jesuit superior, or his statement that “this church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people.”

Readers of this blog will be interested in what Francis said about liturgy:

Vatican II was a re-reading of the Gospel in light of contemporary culture. Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today—which was typical of Vatican II—is absolutely irreversible. Then there are particular issues, like the liturgy according to the Vetus Ordo [“old order”]. I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.

Discuss. Rita also posted on this. So let’s talk about liturgy here, everything else at her post.






84 responses to “The big pope interview”

  1. Stanislaus Kosala Avatar
    Stanislaus Kosala

    So it looks like Francis isn’t against the EF per se, just against groups that use it to attack the council? Such a concern is already present in Universae Ecclesiae 19, btw.

    It’s also interesting to note how important the Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration are for the Holy Father’s prayer life.

    1. Richard Malcolm Avatar
      Richard Malcolm

      @Stanislaus Kosala – comment #1:

      So it looks like Francis isn’t against the EF per se, just against groups that use it to attack the council? Such a concern is already present in Universae Ecclesiae 19, btw.

      True enough. “The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.”

  2. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
    Dale Rodrigue

    Very good! This will upset some in my parish who state that the Vetus Ordo is the “way Mass should be” and the way “Mass has always been”. Interesting that he didn’t use the term Extraordinary Form (as far as I know anyhow). Possibly because it will be for those who may wish it or as he states have that “sensitivity” but not a “universal” right?

  3. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
    Jordan Zarembo

    I find Pope Francis’s comment on traditionalism to be well balanced and wise. Buenos Aires is the base for the SSPX’s South American operations. Clearly, the SSPX exploits the VO (no longer EF?) as the face for a revanchist and antisemitic hostile stance towards the Church and the greater world. I also read Pope Francis’s admonition as a rejection of Pope Benedict’s attempted rapprochement with the Lefebvrists. Pope Francis endorses a more morally-responsible approach to Vatican encounters with radical traditionalism. So long as the SSPX wields the Tridentine liturgy as a battering-ram contrary to charity and morality, Pope Francis will not appease them.

    I am not as optimistic as Pope Francis about the success of the postconciliar liturgical reforms. Even so, I suspect that Pope Francis would be willing to dialogue with Catholics who are dissatisfied with some aspects of the reforms so long as the aggrieved clergy and laity genuinely recognize the great benefit of the liturgical reform for Pope Francis and like-minded brothers and sisters. When traditionalists confuse the validity of the Pauline Missal with the celebration of liturgy, the ideologization (and idealization) of Tridentine liturgy Pope Francis speaks about ensues. This is when the avenues of communication between different liturgical opinions disintegrate.

  4. Jack Rakosky Avatar
    Jack Rakosky

    My read is that people who promote the Vetus Ordo as one spirituality among many in the Church that is appropriate to some people will be able to pursue that spirituality. Those who use it to respond to the needs of people will not be in trouble.

    However, I think the Pope has difficulty with people who promote the Vetus Ordo as either an equally important or superior spirituality to the Novus Ordo.

    The hermit life was once regarded as the highest form of monastic life and there were many hermits. Some people including Merton have promoted its revival today. However if one begins to advocate that it should be promoted as much as, or even than more communal or active forms of religious life this becomes an ideology. Even more so if one hints that communal and active forms of religious life are inferior, and these people are not real monks.

    This is a humble Pope, be humble and you will not be in trouble.

    As for improvements in the Novus Ordo, if the Peace Vigil is any indication, this Pope sees many different ways that liturgy can be improved. But criticizing the Novus Ordo by use of the Vetus Ordo as a model is likely to be a non-starter with him.

    If you like Latin and chant (as I do) accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

    1. Elisabeth Ahn Avatar
      Elisabeth Ahn

      @Jack Rakosky – comment #4:

      “if the Peace Vigil is any indication”

      Could you explain this a bit more?

      I had hoped there would be a post about the vigil here, but alas, there was none, and now I’m ever more curious!

    2. Rita Ferrone Avatar
      Rita Ferrone

      @Jack Rakosky – comment #4:
      With respect, Jack, I think his critique goes deeper than what you’ve noted here.

      Here’s what I mean (another direct quote).

      “If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­—they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies.”

      Pope Francis is explicitly making a case against such an approach as a false trail that leads nowhere, an ideology, not one spirituality among many.

      It’s a much sharper-edged critique.

      1. Bill deHaas Avatar
        Bill deHaas

        @Rita Ferrone – comment #6:
        Thanks, Rita – agree and it goes along with those who constantly talk about multiple forms of the one rite.

        Spirituality – actually, the liturgy is the public worship or prayer of the church; it is not a spirituality.

        IMO, that begins a number of avenues that lead the wrong way and opens the door to other incorrect ways of experiencing or even describing the liturgy.

      2. Matthew Morelli Avatar
        Matthew Morelli

        @Bill deHaas – comment #8:

        “Spirituality — actually, the liturgy is the public worship or prayer of the church; it is not a spirituality.”

        Spirituality and Rite go hand-in-hand. We see that not only in both “forms” of the Roman Rite, but with the various Eastern Rites as well. All liturgy springs from and exists within a context.

        This is why I think, if greater scrutiny is given to the matter, that we will find that the two “forms” of the Roman Rite are actually two Rites properly speaking, even though there is no canonical formulation of such a distinction. That development would put an end to all this nonsense of “which form/rite is better”.

  5. Audrey Seah Avatar
    Audrey Seah

    Maybe I’m reading too much into one word, but did anyone else find it interesting that Pope Francis referred to the EF using “vetus” which simply means “old,” and not “antiquus,” which is “old” with a connotation of also being “time-honored” and is also incidentally the preferred term for many who tend to ideaologize the EF? 🙂

    1. Sean Keeler Avatar
      Sean Keeler

      @Audrey Seah – comment #10:

      It’s possible that he used “Vetus” deliberately to “de-mystify” things. Perhaps it’s just the word he used at the moment. Perhaps somebody in the Vatican used it in the approved version. Perhaps it’s all in the translation.

      I think you’re reading too much into it. If the Pope can suggest we tolerate people’s lifestyle choices, perhaps we can extend the same courtesy to people with different ideologies.

      (And for the record, I’m so traditional that I’ve actually attended the EF 3 times in the past 45 years or so.)

  6. Bari Colombari Avatar
    Bari Colombari

    I do think it is worth mentioning the milestones in the life of Pope Francis:
    Born: Dec. 17, 1936
    Professed (Society of Jesus): Mar. 12, 1960
    Ordained Priest (Society of Jesus): Dec. 13, 1969
    Professed (Perpetual Vows, Society of Jesus): Apr. 22, 1973

    *This makes him the first pope who was ordained a priest AFTER the Second Vatican Council.
    In addition to his Jesuit formation, one has to imagine that this timeline certainly plays a part in the evolution of Francis’ liturgical spirituality.

    *Benedict XVI: ordained a priest June 29, 1951
    John Paul II: ordained a priest Nov. 1, 1946
    John Paul I: ordained a priest July 7, 1935

    1. Sean Keeler Avatar
      Sean Keeler

      @Bari Colombari – comment #11:

      Professed (Society of Jesus): Mar. 12, 1960
      Ordained Priest (Society of Jesus): Dec. 13, 1969

      Interesting that he was 33 when he was ordained, same age Jesus was when His Apostles were sent out!

      Out of curiosity, is 9+ years common among Jesuits from profession to ordination?

      1. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Sean Keeler – comment #17:

        The standard length of time from entering the Jesuits (profession comes later on, as with monastic orders) to ordination to the priesthood used to be 14 years. It is less than that now.

      2. Bill Logan Avatar
        Bill Logan

        @Paul Inwood – comment #21:
        I’m not sure that Pope Francis’ formation as a Jesuit was so much reduced from the traditional pattern. He would have done 2 years as a novice. He probably skipped the 2 year juniorate because he already had a university bachelor degree when he entered. He likely did the full 3 years of philosophy (although his reference in the interview to “decadent Thomists” suggests that he was not that thrilled by it). I’m guessing that his scholasticate was shortened from 3 years to 2 years. Then he had the 4 years of theology, but since Jesuits are ordained after only 3 years, that corresponds to his ordination being at the point of almost 10 years in the Society. So after ordination, he still has his 4th year of theology to do and then also his tertianship.

    2. Elisabeth Ahn Avatar
      Elisabeth Ahn

      @Bari Colombari – comment #12:

      This should be added to that list:

      Discovered his priestly vocation: Sept. 21, 1953, the feast day of St. Matthew.

      This Saturday, 9/21, he will be celebrating the 60th Anniversary!

  7. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    Well, the “New” Mass is often called the Novus Ordo, so Vetus Ordo would be a logical term to use for the “old” Mass. I would caution against reading too much into these terms since we don’t know what the preferred term is amongst South Americans and Italians. I don’t know how popular Usus Antiquitor is outside the Anglophone Blogosphere.

    I think it is far more significant that he called SP a prudent decision and criticised the ideologization and exploitation of the EF rather than the rite itself. I strongly doubt Francis would repeal or restrict SP since such a move would help those who wish to ideologize and exploit the old Mass. He seems plain spoken and outgoing enough that he would have said something about restricting the EF if it was what he really thought.

  8. Timothy O'Brien Avatar
    Timothy O’Brien

    I have read the whole interview and there is much in it with which I agree and that needed to be said. On of my issuez is with these words which were quoted above “those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­—they have a static and inward-directed view of things”. Is this actually true? How many cultural, political and artistic movements have moved the world forward precisely because they sought to recover the past – even a long gone and idealised one. How about the renaissance – whose name itself indicates a look back to Rome and Greece – a rebirth not a new birth. Similarly the fascination of the romantic era with mediaeval forms and ways of looking led to radical artistic and political views of which Wagner’s Parsifal (which apparently Francis admires) is but one example. Closer to things which influenced religious practice is William Morris’s arts and crafts movement and ideas of communalism which are influential to this day both artistically and politically and directly based on ideas about the mediaeval period. In our own time many liturgical changes have been argued for not on the grounds of newness but on the grounds of return to the essence of an apostolic past – and there’s no doubt they moved things forward whatever the long term judgement of them will be. There are many more examples. So in my opinion the Pope is wrong about people who look to revive the past – in fact radically wrong as the evidence tends the other way. In the same way I was quite upset by his remarks the other day about priests who get tired working and those who aren’t close to their flock but get tired for some other reason and need a sleeping pill because apparently the need for help to get to sleep is evidence that you are not doing your job correctly. While I feel like I know what he was getting at this was, on its surface, a bad example which also doesn’t hold up. So while I think Pope Francis is reminding us of a lot of good things he also seems capable of speaking quite large amounts of tosh.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Timothy O’Brien – comment #13:
      “So in my opinion the Pope is wrong about people who look to revive the past – in fact radically wrong as the evidence tends the other way.”

      As with anything, it’s a matter of context.

      Perhaps the consistent complainers about bad Catholics set the tone for how Pope Francis views “revivalists.” If people are unsatisfied with the 1962 Missal and feel they must attack other Catholics even after a generous indult, why wouldn’t a Roman think that many traditionalists are ideologues in pious clothing?

      The emphasis on the small church in some quarters must make the man bristle. It is inherently antigospel. I thought Pope Francis was rather gentle with such folks.

  9. Timothy O'Brien Avatar
    Timothy O’Brien

    #14 Fair enough – but the quote in teh context of the interview was in a discussion of our encounter with God the nature of certainty and not about liturgy at all. I guess I was really responding to Rita Ferrone’s comment linking this to the liturgy, so perhaps it is wrong to talk about the application of this statement to cultural history in terms of what the Pope meant. However I note that commentators on this and the previous thread haven’t hesitated to use this quote to bash old mass lovers rather than celebrate the inclusion that that Francis seems to argue for.

  10. Roger Evans Avatar

    Audrey Seah : Maybe I’m reading too much into one word, but did anyone else find it interesting that Pope Francis referred to the EF using “vetus” which simply means “old,” and not “antiquus,” which is “old” with a connotation of also being “time-honored” and is also incidentally the preferred term for many who tend to ideaologize the EF?

    I had exactly the same thought. “Vetus” conveys the possibility of being superseded.

  11. Joe O'Leary Avatar
    Joe O’Leary

    I loved his use of “vetus”. This is a great interview, dissolving so many logjams and dogmatic binds that the previous pontificates had so stiflingly accumulated.

  12. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    I think Francis is right to be worried by the ideologization and exploitation of the Vetus Ordo.

    This was never Benedict’s intention — he wanted to make room for those (he described them as a very small group) who still hankered after a particular way of worshipping. In other words the original intent was a pastoral one.

    SP allowed those who had previously continued with an older form — existing members of a group — to become “normative” rather than continuing to be subject to indult. It did not give them permission to proselytize, to attempt to draw in new members (that only came later on with Ecclesia Dei), and I think Benedict quite naïvely believed that proselytization would not happen. Allowing them to worship in their own way would be enough. The bishops of France and of England and Wales, who had first-hand experience of the sort of people Benedict was reaching out to, urged him not to promulgate SP because they knew he was wrong about that and foresaw that proselytization and ideologization would follow, as indeed they immediately did.

    Francis recognizes Benedict’s pastoral desire for inclusion of the EF folk, and describes it as prudent. From that point of view it was rather like lancing a boil. In the fullness of time, it would die down and heal and disappear. But in expressing concern that the EF is now the subject of ideologization and exploitation he also acknowledges that the boil has instead become a running sore. And the problem he faces is that it is going to be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to turn it back into a boil.

    1. Jack Wayne Avatar
      Jack Wayne

      @Paul Inwood – comment #22:
      Those who celebrate the EF don’t need special permission from the Pope to proselytize or attract new members – it is already given to them by Jesus in the Gospels. I strongly doubt that Benedict intended those who attended the EF to ignore the call to spread the Good Word, or discourage interested people from sharing the Eucharist with them as if they are something to be ashamed of. Perhaps you meant something else – or at least I hope you did. Did you mean those who might try to convert people to be against the OF?

      I think the ideologization of the EF is something to worry about, but EF folk have as much a right to attract new people as any other Catholic of any other rite. The remnant mentality that was bred by the indult years is still pretty strong and will probably take a generation to go away, but it will never go away if the EF folk are expected to remain a small insular group.

    2. Paul Waddington Avatar
      Paul Waddington

      “From that point of view it was rather like lancing a boil. In the fullness of time, it would die down and heal and disappear.”

      Does Paul Inwood really think that Pope Francis believes that interest in the Vetus Ordo will die down and disappear in the fullness of time? All the evidence is to the contrary.

      He should be familiar with the state of affairs in England, where Ushaw College, the largest seminary for the training of diocesan priests closed its doors three years ago, whilst young men are travelling abroad in increasing numbers to study in the seminaries run by the traditional societies. He should also know that many of the students remaining in the seminaries serving the dioceses of England and Wales are hankering to be taught the older form of the Mass.

      If he requires further evidence, he should tale a look at the listings of extraordinary form Masses and note how the numbers have grown. Perhaps he should also look at the situation in France, where it is estimated that one ordination in four is now of a priest specialising in the usus antiquior.

      1. Paul Inwood Avatar
        Paul Inwood

        @Paul Waddington – comment #47:

        Does Paul Inwood really think that Pope Francis believes that interest in the Vetus Ordo will die down and disappear in the fullness of time? All the evidence is to the contrary.

        No, I don’t think that at all, and that is not what I said. I think Benedict may have thought that by allowing a splinter group to worship in their preferred fashion he could keep them within the fold and that the question of which form was “superior” to the other or more authentic would then simply go away. He was sadly wrong, or badly advised.

      2. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
        Dale Rodrigue

        @Paul Waddington – comment #47:
        I’m always amused by the statements of growth of the EF but never any numbers? How about some hard numbers to go along with those claims? And don’t forget those who have entered the church at Easter and attend the OF. In the US that number is 1.2 million

  13. Jim McKay Avatar
    Jim McKay

    Vetus Testamentum
    Novus Testamentum

    Antiquus may suggest time honored, but Vetus has long been associated the oldest and most honored of books. I doubt that there is any diminished respect implied in the use of Vetus.

  14. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar
    Fritz Bauerschmidt

    On another liturgical note, based on a remark made by the interviewer, the Pope apparently prays the office in Latin.

  15. Jonathan Day Avatar
    Jonathan Day

    I don’t know how much to read into ‘vetus’. Lewis and Short say that vetus (= ‘has been in existence for a long time’) is opposed to recens (= ‘has not long been in existence’), while antiquus / anticus (= ‘exists no longer’) is opposed to novus (= ‘has not previously existed’). The usage in describing the two Testaments and the two orders of Mass seems to imply that the old order has been around for a long time, and continues – and that the new one didn’t exist before.

    On the other hand, it looks as though ‘vetus’ is broadly less positive than ‘antiquus’, at least in classical Latin. And it would not surprise me if ‘Vetus Testamentum’ reflected some sense of supercession on the part of the Latin Church fathers.

    There’s enough ambiguity in the usage that I am inclined to agree with Sam on this one.

  16. Jeffrey Tucker Avatar

    I can’t find anything in this interview that Benedict would obviously find incorrect. I really like the interview and it causes me to like this Pope in a way that I hadn’t entirely before. I’m really sold. He is thoughtful, intelligent, broad, courageous — all good things. Moreover, I don’t get the hysteria at all. This is just Catholicism we are hearing from him — put in a creative and interesting and conversational way. A real inspiration.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Jeffrey Tucker – comment #27:
      Unfortunately, it was the same brand of Catholicism that got the CDF to eject Thomas Reese as America’s editor.

    2. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      @Jeffrey Tucker – comment #27:
      Well, it’s not a matter of “correct” or “incorrect.” It’s a major of emphasis, tone, basic attitude toward today’s world and real people in it. I think you’re missing where the real change is, and you’re missing (or choosing to minimize or deny) where the real change is a change precisely from Pope Benedict XVI. Those who “get” it have reason to be excited, surprised, hysterical, enthusiastic.

      1. Brendan McInerny Avatar
        Brendan McInerny

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #29:
        I find myself agreeing with both you and Mr. Tucker on this. The change in tone is striking and very different that Benedict’s. On the other hand, as Jonathan Ziegler’s comments in Rita’s thread highlight, there might not be as much shift in content here as (some) enthusiasts are inclined to see.
        That’s not to say the shift in tone – or, I think more precisely, the shift from an introverted teacher (and I must confess my deep love of Benedict’s teachings as pope) to an extroverted pastor – is not negligible. Obviously, Francis has tapped into something deeply appealing and I daresay needed for the Church. Benedict once wrote sometime prior to becoming pope that “there are people who leave behind, so to speak, a surplus of love, of perseverance in suffering, of honor and truth that captures others and sustains them.” I think Francis, through his innate gregariousness, is doing this before the public eye in a way impossible for his quiet, introverted predecessor – though I think Benedict has done this as well in his own act of profound humility…
        None of that is on liturgy though so I’ll add: I think Francis said exactly the right thing about the EF/VO. It seems clear that SP is still the law of the land and will remain so, but with the chastising of ideological uses of the EF/VO – I think especially in tendencies toward remnant ecclesiology – perhaps those drawn to it can set themselves more clearly to the ‘mutual enrichment’ of the two (or better from my point of view, the enrichment of the celebration of the OF by the EF, with the eventual end of the use of the EF…).

  17. Fr. Allan. McDonald Avatar

    Someone just said today here in Assisi that Pope John Paul II opened the hearts of people, especially the young. Pope Benedict XVI filled the hearts of people with his teachings much like a Doctor of the Church and now Pope Francis is pushing people to take their filled hearts to the world.

    I personally like the Italianess of Pope Francis and the Italians here are resonating with him, he is filled with humanity and simplicity and very much like their favorite saint, Saint Francis.

    But there will be other popes to come, so sobriety is recommended and love for one pope does not mean disparaging another and this is where the progressive hysteria, and it is precisely that, is a bit over the top. A personality and a style of papacy has changed. It will change again. The substance of the faith remains. The theology of pastoral outreached is being sharpened and sharply so with this pope. But there will be others.

    It would seem that we should appreicate what we have when we have it and then accept what will come when it surely will come. But the pope is still Catholic and I loved his words of encouragement today concerning the Church’s outreach to the poorest of the poor, which means Pope Francis is listening to some of his critics and is quite capable of doing so:

    Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations, or in the developed societies. Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and – I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the “culture of waste” proposes! They cannot be discarded!

    1. Bill deHaas Avatar
      Bill deHaas

      @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #30:
      Really – can think of lots of folks who did not experience JPII as opening their hearts – rather, his authoritarianism slammed the door and left little room for *encounter (unless on his terms), dialogue, and the frontier (unless it was his frontier). Ask a few hundred theologians who were on the frontier; ask anyone who thought liberation theology was postive/good; etc.

      can think of lots of folks who did not experience Benedict as filling their hearts – e.g. women, gays, ecumenists, etc. Let’s just leave it at the fact that his decision to retire was the most spirited filled move

      and Francis is pushing people to take their filled hearts – sounds like a mis-reading. Francis is not pushing (that is one of his complaints about prior leadership; cultural war bishops, etc.). Francis invites!!
      Filled hearts – actually Francis spends quite a bit of time on the image of the church as a *hospital that heals* (which implies that hearts are not filled); etc.

      Could go on but Fr. Ruff specifically set this up to focus just on one part of the Francis interview – about liturgy and we have moved far from that topic here.

    2. Sean Keeler Avatar
      Sean Keeler

      @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #30:

      [T]his is where the progressive hysteria, and it is precisely that, is a bit over the top.

      There seems to be plenty of hysteria on both ends of the spectrum. Celebrations and Defamations.

      The most important thing I hear in this interview is that this is not a Church of righteous people, be they Progressive, Traditional, or mere PIPs. It is a Church of Sinners. And if my Pope self-identifies as a sinner, I’m starting to feel better about myself and my Church already.

      1. Fr. Allan. McDonald Avatar

        @Sean Keeler – comment #35:
        John Allen has a good commentary on all of this and it is quite sober and as usual spot on. Yes, both sides of the far right and left think the pope is Hans Kung with a Francis mask. Biut as John Allen points out in his very sober and common sense take on it, it is middle Catholics who are the winners.

      2. Sean Keeler Avatar
        Sean Keeler

        @Fr. Allan. McDonald – comment #36:

        His comments are interesting, but I’m forced to laugh at one item:

        The drama now is whether the Catholic middle will mobilize effectively to support the best pope for their interests they’re likely to see in a long while…

        Part of the shtick of being in the middle is NOT to mobilize!

        The average practicing Catholic trundles off to Mass on Sunday, prays their team will win on Sunday afternoon, and trundles home to the bigscreen. Let the leftists and the rightists battle onward. Occasionally pray for things (since it’s easier than doing things) and trundle back next week.

        The biggest single thing the Pope can do for the middle is get the Catholic Church off the front page so it isn’t the standing target for Monday morning’s coffee break.

  18. Todd Flowerday Avatar

    “… there might not be as much shift in content here as (some) enthusiasts are inclined to see.”

    As an enthusiast, I wasn’t looking for a change in content. I never asked for abortion on demand, a divorce from my wife so I could marry a man, or for the ordination of my Lutheran sister.

    The main thing I was hoping for was a repudiation of ultramontane-tinged scandals and high-handedness in the curia and episcopacy.

    The change in tone is a heck of a lot more than just a shift from an introvert to an extrovert in the Chair of Peter.

    Pope Francis has the measure of it: it’s not optimism. It’s hope.

    1. Brendan McInerny Avatar
      Brendan McInerny

      @Todd Flowerday – comment #32:
      Yes, you’re right, Todd, and I apologize for what may have come off as dismissive of you or anyone else who’s hopeful about the Church under Francis – I count myself among them. The addition of “(some)” was to signal that I wasn’t attempting to describe the impression or moods of all Francis-enthusiasts – only those who see him as undoing all the ‘unpopular’ stuff of the Church’s teaching.

      As for ultramontanism and wielding a heavy hand, I’m not totally sure to whom or what you are referring. I suppose I’d describe the scandal as being one of a negligence of exercising leadership on the part of Benedict before I’d reach for “ultramontane.” He wasn’t authoritarian so far as I’d interpret him, nor do I see the scandals being a result of his wielding that authority or the expectation that he does wield all the authority. But again, I might just be missing to what you are referring.

      You’re also right that there’s more going on than a simple change in papal personality. However, I do think the change in papal personality is highly relevant to the changes that seem to be afoot in the Church as well as the extraordinary, and unexpected, change in the way the Pope is being reported on in the mainstream media and the draw he has even for people who aren’t reading the interviews or the homilies or liturgy blogs for that matter. My main desire, as some others here, is to avoid seeing everything he does/says, by content or tone, as indicating a deep ideological division between him and his predecessor(s) when the only need to see it as such is if one is motivated by ideological interests of the far “left” or “right”.

  19. john Robert Francis Avatar
    john Robert Francis

    It is interesting that the pope prays the breviary in Latin.

    1. Jack Rakosky Avatar
      Jack Rakosky

      @john Robert Francis – comment #37:

      Not too surprising given the information above that he was
      Professed (Society of Jesus): Mar. 12, 1960
      Ordained Priest (Society of Jesus): Dec. 13, 1969

      I became a Novice of the Society of Jesus in 1960. During Novitiate we had Latin and Greek courses. I had had two years of Latin in High School. Most novices from Jesuit prep schools had had four years. If I had stayed for vows, the next two years would have been mainly classics, followed by three years of philosophy (mostly in Latin) Francis probably did all that before the system began to change, e.g. philosophy became more modern in modern languages.

      After Novitiate I went to Saint John’s for my undergraduate work, and often sang Vespers in Latin from the monastic office. I have a copy of the Monastic Office and often follow the Monastic Office which is posted on the internet by at least two monasteries in Europe which still use it. If I had as much Latin as Francis likely had I would probably use the Latin Office most of the time.

      One of the revelations of the interview was that this Pope with the common pastoral touch is a very sophisticated intellectual. That probably had much to do his Jesuit interviewer and we are fortunate that the interviewer did a good job a supplying background to the Pope’s questions and answers.

  20. Steve Wilson Avatar
    Steve Wilson

    In regard to comment #4 by Jack Rakosky on September 19, 2013 – 12:36 pm:

    “However, I think the Pope has difficulty with people who promote the Vetus Ordo as either an equally important or superior spirituality to the Novus Ordo.”

    Mister Rakosky, one Churchman after another believes that the Novus Ordo, as compared to the “Vetus Ordo”, is the superior expression of worship.

    For example, I offer the following from Archbishop Chaput:

    June 30, 2010 A.D.:

    “In this regard, the Novus Ordo, the new order of the Mass promulgated after the council, has been a great blessing to the Church.

    “The vernacular has opened up the liturgy’s content in new ways.

    “It has encouraged active, creative participation by all the faithful — not only in the liturgy but in every aspect of the Church’s mission.

    “By the way, for the record, I’m also very grateful that the Holy Father has allowed wider use of the older Tridentine form — not because I personally prefer it, in fact I find the Novus Ordo, properly celebrated, a much richer expression of worship; but because we need access to all of the Church’s heritage of prayer and faith.”

    Conversely, there are some Churchmen who insist that the Novus Ordo, as compared to the Traditional Latin Mass, is deficient is many respects.

    From Archbishop Chaput to those Churchmen who differ with his liturgical opinions, they are in communion with Holy Mother Church.

    A Catholic is most certainly free to believe that this or that form of Mass and/or Divine Liturgy is the superior expression of the Faith.

    By the way, wasn’t the point of the radical liturgical reforms launched during the 1960s designed to deliver a “superior” form of Mass to the Faithful?

    If not, why then was a new form of Mass “manufactured” (Cardinal Ratzinger’s (Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI) word) to replace the then-normative Traditional Latin Mass?

  21. john Robert Francis Avatar
    john Robert Francis

    Some journalists in Rome are predicting the announcement of several changes in the Curia tomorrow. If the predictions turn out to be true, it hardly looks like the beginning of a revolution. Two of the archbishops who are rumored to be promoted have current positions in Rome. Both are from Italy and were born in 1940. We’ll see.

    1. Jack Rakosky Avatar
      Jack Rakosky

      @john Robert Francis – comment #40:

      Well Muller has been confirmed as head of the CDF, and DiNoia has been transferred back to CDF from the CDW. Remember the former Almonder (and traditionalist) was also transferred back to CDF.

      Seems like Francis is concentrating all the traditionalist resources over at CDF under Muller. Could he see the major issue in regard to the EF as being “ideological” rather than pastoral? By concentrating traditionalists there a more pastoral approach to the EF is likely while limiting the use of the EF for ideological purposes.

      The change at clergy replaced a traditionalist with a diplomat who ran the school for diplomats emphasizing their priestly side and knowledge of issues over getting involved in politics. He like Francis is very much against careerism.

      Aren’t there a lot of openings now at CDW? Will Francis show real liberal credentials by appointing Marini-1 there?

      So far I agree with John Allan that Francis has mainly followed a middle of the road course in his actions. Traditionalists are out, but middle of the roaders are in. Unless one counts Muller as a liberal because of his association with Liberation theology.

      In regard to Francis words and openness, we must always remember the Jesuit maxim. “We go in their door in order for them to come out our door.”

      1. john Robert Francis Avatar
        john Robert Francis

        @Jack Rakosky – comment #46:
        The changes and re-confirmations are interesting, though hardly a major re-setting of the stage as some have been predicting. The Pope did not wait for the 1 to 3 October meeting with the eight cardinals.

        To me the most important decisions were the continuance of Abp. Mueller at CDF and Cardinal Filoni at Evangelization of Peoples. The consistent chatter over the past months has been that both were going to be re-placed. Those two dicasteries and Bishops are the big three, and certainly Cardinal Ouellet, who is close to Francis, will be re-confirmed.

        I noted too that bishops or monsignors appointed to major positions continue to be named titular ARCHbishops. I was hoping that would end. As well, the two major changes come out of the diplomatic corps, though now based in Rome, and are in their early 70s.

        As for CDW, I would be happy to see Abp. Marini named prefect. I have known him since 1980. But where would Cardinal Canizares go? Sending him to Madrid would mean his FOURTH diocese. A scandal, I think.

      2. Elisabeth Ahn Avatar
        Elisabeth Ahn

        @john Robert Francis – comment #51:

        1. “The changes and re-confirmations are interesting, though hardly a major re-setting of the stage as some have been predicting.”

        As the pope said:

        …the most appropriate means…do not always coincide with what looks great and strong.

        2. “As for CDW, I would be happy to see Abp. Marini named prefect.”

        For what it’s worth, all the other rumors that were circulated with this one turned out to be true, so this one may very well be too.

        No matter, I am immensely grateful and feeling very hopeful — about everything.

      3. Jack Rakosky Avatar
        Jack Rakosky

        @Elisabeth Ahn – comment #56:

        Francis way of dealing with his priests may tell us something about his dealing with people in the Vatican.

        The reports suggest that as Archbishop he knew everything that was going on (the phone and walking about?), and that priests could not pull the wool over his eyes for long. While he set high goals for priests he was very patient. One priest took a leave of absence, even began working as a lay person and found a woman friend. Francis met him once a month. He would just tell Francis what was going on in his life. The priest recognized he was still being a pastor even among his coworkers, decided to returned to ministry, asked and received after a period of readjustment one of the tough slum parishes. Francis did not easily remove or publicly discipline priests. When he did, it was in a very unobtrusive way.

        By not living inside the funnel of the Papal apartment and using the phone himself, Francis has created an entirely new situation for the Vatican employees. No one knows how much he knows or with whom he has talked.

        Francis is using the morning “meditations” to let all the Vatican employees (and the whole world) know the basic values that he is promoting. This plus the interviews, and all the phone calling will make it very difficult for Vatican officials to promote their own opinions as those of the Pope.

        Basically it is a whole new situation for many of the Vatican employees. Changed situations may change existing employees and the system much more than new employees will change an established system. Francis in both a very pastoral manner and a very good management style is giving everyone a chance to absorb all the changes caused by his style without introducing a whole new set of personnel.

        We can see his personnel management style in way he appointed a Cardinal as a “mediator” rather than as an apostolic visitor, and the consequences is that a bishop will now be audited by his fellow bishops ((see comment #42). The Vatican has recently removed an apostolic delegate and an auxiliary bishop for sexual abuses. In both cases quietly before government investigations began. Similar things are happening on financial abuses. The pattern seems to be quiet even somewhat pastoral internal discipline but also cooperation and accountability with civil and ecclesiastical processes. Francis is taking responsibility and introducing accountability without becoming an autocrat.

        I suspect Francis will use the Ecclesia Dei commission members to implement the EF even handedly through dialogue both with bishops unsympathetic to the EF and with overzealous promoters of the EF. The bottom line will be the pastoral good of the people not the self-referential interests of priests and bishops. This will restore pastoral control (Rome, bishops, pastors) over the EF without gutting the intentions of SP.

        In regard to CDW Francis has a problem. Clearly his desire to empower synods and councils requires a major change in CDW behavior and its relationships to bishops. How and when he brings that about will be interesting.

  22. Jack Rakosky Avatar
    Jack Rakosky

    An example of Francis different way of doing things?

    Vatican sends mediator to fractious German diocese

    German bishop who was criticized by his priests and laity for an extravagant lifestyle and authoritarian leadership has apologized for “misjudgments” and agreed to an outside audit of his diocese’s financial records.

    Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg issued the apology at the end of a weeklong Vatican-ordered “brotherly visit” by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a veteran Vatican diplomat and the Holy See’s nuncio to Germany for eight years in 1990s.

    On Sept. 16, Tebartz-van Elst released a declaration signed by himself, Lajolo and Fr. Günther Geis, the cathedral rector, that calls on the German bishops’ conference to appoint a commission to audit diocesan finances with special attention on the money spent redecorating the bishop’s palace in Limburg. “The final report of the commission, which will examine and include all costs, finances and procedures involved, will be disclosed publicly,” the declaration says.

    It is highly unusual for a bishops’ conference to audit the finances of an individual bishop in this way. Canon law has no provisions for such oversight. The power of supervision over individual bishops is reserved for the pope.

    His extravagant style at liturgies has not set well with local Catholics either. He favors ornate vestments with gold brocade and white gloves when presiding at Mass. During a hospital chapel dedication this year, he used so much chrism oil and incense that the altar caught fire and two-yard-high flames shot up. A catastrophe was only avoided in the last minute.

    As the Pope said in his interview, he sees Rome only a resource for bishops not a place for them to dump their problems. Look’s like Bishops and Bishop Conferences are going to become involved in fraternal correction.

    1. Paul Inwood Avatar
      Paul Inwood

      @Jack Rakosky – comment #42:

      NCR said: During a hospital chapel dedication this year, he used so much chrism oil and incense that the altar caught fire and two-yard-high flames shot up. A catastrophe was only avoided in the last minute.

      That is precisely what is supposed to happen, and was “standard practice” during the Middle Ages and until comparatively recently. The brazier on the altar that we usually encounter these days is a later, cut-down version, though there is still provision for the older method where chrism was poured liberally over the entire surface of the altar, seasoned with incense, and set ablaze. The sight of the altar “on fire”, with flames leaping several feet in the air, was always an awe-inducing sight and a powerful reminder of OT altars of sacrifice, though of course it was the chrism that burned, not the altar itself.

      One reason for its discouragement these days is the fear of architects that the altar stone will crack and fracture under the heat, and indeed this has happened in some cases. The problem there is the use of unsuitable stone, or an unsuitable cut. Only then will you get a “catastrophe”.

      1. Sean Keeler Avatar
        Sean Keeler

        @Paul Inwood – comment #45:

        The problem there is the use of unsuitable stone, or an unsuitable cut. Only then will you get a “catastrophe”.

        Methinks the local fire marshal might be able to suggest a few more definitions for ‘catastrophe’ than ‘a cracked stone’.

  23. Andrew rex Avatar
    Andrew rex

    Paul Inwood – just in case you don’t know, your comments from this posting are being reported on the latin mass chairman’s blog and are being used as a personal attack against you.

    1. Jeffrey Pinyan Avatar

      @Andrew rex – comment #49:
      The blog post in question is here (

      For what it’s worth, I don’t see anything from Joseph Shaw that constitutes a “personal attack” on Paul. The comments on the post (from three other people) might be another matter.

  24. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    It is far too soon to judge whether or not Benedict was “sadly wrong.” I think there is very little real evidence that SP has had a negative impact.

    Do you think it is wrong for those attached to the OF to argue it’s superiority, or try to “convert” people away from the EF?

    1. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
      Anthony Ruff, OSB

      @Jack Wayne – comment #53:

      “Do you think it is wrong for those attached to the OF to argue it’s superiority, or try to “convert” people away from the EF?”

      Jack, as I’ve said many times to questions such as this: it all depends on this thing we call the Second Vatican Council. For those who accept the Council, of course we think it’s “superior” (although “better-worse” language is not helpful for dealing with evolution in Church thinking – I wouldn’t say that Chalcedon is “better” than Nicaea or that Nicaea is “bad” or “wrong,” just that it’s earlier) and of course we would want to draw people to the liturgy of the Church, or the “ordinary” liturgy of the church if you will.

      One other thing – a minor point, but still worth making: it’s not quite right to talk about those “attached” to the ordinary liturgy, parallel to those “attached to the unreformed rite. One is not “attached” to the Church’s ordinary liturgy. Rather, one is a Catholic and likes and attends the liturgy of the church. Language of “attached” is for a pastoral “problem” or “necessity” that some people wish to worship as if the Second Vatican Council never happened, and how do we deal pastorally with their “attachment”? I think the answer from Pope Francis will be that we respect them and we tolerate it, but it’s not the way (the ordinary way) of the church, it’s not the future, and it’s not anything we promote.


      1. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #54:
        But there can’t be a liturgy of the Church that is “tolerated/not anything we promote” because we are called to draw people to the Church and her liturgy. This call extends to all Christians, and comes from the Gospels (which I hope you believe carries at least slightly more weight than some of the liturgical directives given at Vatican II). ANY liturgy approved for use by the Church, and which even has groups devoted to its sole use, is to be promoted. I have no problem with those who wish to promote the OF as superior, as long as they do it with intelligence and charity, but then those who attend the EF should have that right too.

        I think it is right to say some people are attached to the OF. You are right that most Catholics are not attached – they attend because it is the ordinary liturgy and they likely would not seek it out if it were replaced by a new Missal tomorrow. However, some are attached to the OF, even a certain style of celebrating it, and would be distressed were it to go away.

        For what it’s worth – I take joy in Pope Francis, Vatican II, and the EF. It is a wonderful time to be Catholic.

      2. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
        Dale Rodrigue

        @Jack Wayne – comment #58:

        Jack, do you support those who promote the EF to bring those who attend the OF over to the EF?

        In other words are you proselytizing fellow catholics or non catholics?

        We have had some EF proselytizing OF catholics in our parish, with lies of course, (EF has always been the way mass was said, the OF is a new liberal mass with 40 yrs of history vs 1800 yrs , the EF is the way it SHOULD be, blah blah blah…..

        As Fr AWR stated, there is this think called Vatican II. Because of this the “reformed rite” should take precedence. The EF having been reformed into the OF should be limited, and because it has been reformed, the EF isn’t the norm and isn’t to be promoted. It should be limited and severely regulated. It is available only for those who need it.

        Francis seems to be moving slowly and actually stated it is better to take small steps to accomplish large goals. We’re moving in the right direction.

      3. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Dale Rodrigue – comment #59:
        I encourage anyone who shows interest in the EF to attend, and never lie. There is this thing called the Gospel, after all, and Vatican II is pretty meaningless without it.

        Some folks who are against the EF “lie” too.

      4. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
        Dale Rodrigue

        @Jack Wayne – comment #61:
        Hello Jack, I have No problem if a catholic who attends the OF has an interest in the EF. What I don’t approve is when they are told lies to get them to attend the EF and not because they initially show an interest.

        Don’t belief this happens?

        Here’s an example. I occasionally attend mass (OF) in the Diocese of Venice FL. They have an EF at St. Agnes, Naples FL. The priest who says the EF mass (FSSP?) was interviewed and he stated just that… the OF was two millenia old, that we have tradition that “works” whereas the OF is only about 45 yrs old and new, “too early to tell” if it will work….. unbelievable. But don’t try to talk to the bishop, none other than Frank Dewane (received the millstone award by NCR for being the worst bishop in US).

        This mischaracterization of the OF must stop.

      5. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Dale Rodrigue – comment #64:
        I never said I don’t believe you, just that bending the truth isn’t something only traditionalists do, so you can’t really claim the moral high ground. I’ve heard my fair share of anti-EF lies. Conversely, I’ve heard things about the OF that make all of your examples look like compliments in comparison.

        Personally, I think the OF and EF have enough going for them that their promoters don’t need to resort to negative comments. I think it hurts the EF when people disparage the OF.

        Jordan is right about how damaging the indult culture was. Limiting and severely regulating the EF will achieve the exact opposite of what you want because it will breed Catholics who need to justify to themselves the effort and trouble it takes to adhere to a liturgy that is severely regulated.

      6. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
        Dale Rodrigue

        @Jack Wayne – comment #66:
        Hello Jack, I didn’t intend for you to think that I thought you didn’t believe me (phew, what a tortuoius sentence). The “Don’t believe this happens?” was a rhetorical question.
        I’m not trying to argue but you state: “I’ve heard my fair share of anti-EF lies. Conversely, I’ve heard things about the OF that make all of your examples look like compliments in comparison.”
        Can you give me concrete examples, names of churches and places where this happened, as I did? (not because I don’t believe you).
        Thanks Jack.

      7. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Dale Rodrigue – comment #68:
        I’d rather not name people and churches, since they wouldn’t be around to defend themselves. The worst offender is retired, anyway.

        I suspect what you or I would consider a “lie” about the EF to be very different since you tend not to see it. For instance, it is not right to say the priest turns his back to the people (something one hears all the time). It is technically correct since the people see the back of the celebrant and many other people, but the wording implies abandonment and indifference in a way that isn’t true. If I were to say the technically correct opposite about the OF (that the priest turns his back to Jesus in many places), I doubt it would be accepted without offense.

        I was at a Catholic gathering of young adults and a so-called liturgy expert told everyone the priest did not turn towards or interact with the congregation in any way at the EF to make a point about it being inferior. When I took him aside and mentioned that wasn’t true, he said the EF Masses I had been to must not have been celebrated the right way because the priest is supposedly forbidden to turn to the people.

      8. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
        Jordan Zarembo

        @Dale Rodrigue – comment #59:

        As Fr AWR stated, there is this think called Vatican II. Because of this the “reformed rite” should take precedence. The EF having been reformed into the OF should be limited, and because it has been reformed, the EF isn’t the norm and isn’t to be promoted. It should be limited and severely regulated. It is available only for those who need it.

        Dale, “severe regulation” of the EF has failed abysmally. I lived the indult culture of the 1990’s. With every passing year, hatred of (perceived) repressive bishops merely grew more and more intense. Crypto-lefebvritism was rampant among the Tridentine faithful “loyal to Rome”. Summorum Pontificum is a pressure valve to release pent-up anger. SP is necessary to prevent further schism and also create a brokered peace for the Roman rite. Many of the odious aspects of traditionalism in union with Rome, such as barely concealed SSPX sympathy, have subsided notably since 2007.

        The Tridentine liturgy will never go away. There will always be a small fraction of the Roman faithful who will want to be baptized, wed, and buried in the EF, as well as hear Latin Mass throughout their lives. Perhaps Pope Francis’s “field hospital” metaphor can be extended: the vast majority of the wounded are treated through the Ordinary Form. However, a small specialist field camp serves the few whose prognosis requires different surgery and and a different rehabilitation regimen. Yes, this small hospital uses therapies and methods which are outdated and even primitive in the eyes of some. Yet, the Church uses whatever means possible to save souls.

        Pope Francis reminds us that the EF is not equal to the OF per positive law. The EF is lawful, however, because it is better to permit Tridentine liturgies than have those faithful fall away. A return to the severe restrictions of the indult era causes more casualties and no gain. Why then are many eager to repeat the perils of the past?

      9. Sean Connolly Avatar

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #54:


        1) If “superiority” does not carry the note of “better,” then what note does it carry? “Later in time?” It seems that such a sterile conception of superiority hardly impels us to “want to draw people into the ‘ordinary’ liturgy of the church” without the addition of the note of betterness that you had initially sought to avoid. Either the difference between the rites is value-neutral, and preference of one over the other purely subjective, or we should encourage people to attend the one over the other. However, it seems that you would assert both simultaneously, which doesn’t make sense to me.

        2) Your post consistently speaks of the reformed Roman Rite as the “liturgy of the Church.” Aren’t the rites of the East equally the liturgy of the Church, or should their adherents also be encouraged to abandon these rites? Or, at least, do we not promote them? If so, doesn’t that run against the declarations of the Second Vatican Council?

        I think probably people are attached to liturgies largely for reasons of personal piety, and find that certain rites resonate with them and afford them comfort, edification, and stability in their spiritual lives. I think of leading a potential convert by the hand from parish to parish. Shouldn’t we “promote” in the concrete whatever helps a person encounter Christ in the Word and Sacrament? Isn’t that why the Church tolerates a multitude of rites, and insists upon each preserving its own unique character and legitimate traditions?

        I find myself defending the legitimacy of the OF fairly often, and even its superiority in many points to the EF (with the note of value), but I have also seen a Protestant (granted a classicist), unmoved by the ars celebrandi of most OF parishes, brought into the Church by what he experienced at an FSSP chaplaincy. It boggles me that I could not “promote” that, or that the Church would not “promote” that and take such a rite unreservedly as Her own.

      10. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #54:
        I’m a bit late for the party, but wanted to comment on Anthony’s description of those who favor the EF as those who “wish to worship as if the Second Vatican Council never happened.” While that undoubtedly describes some who attend the EF, I know that others would be entirely happy with (some) vernacular, homilies related to the readings, a restored prayer of the faithful, occasional concelebration and maybe even occasional communion under both species — all of which Vatican II made possible. Some of my EF-devoted friends do not think that it is a liturgy that is beyond reform; they just think the reforms after the Council went too far and, on balance, they would rather worship with an unreformed liturgy that a badly-reformed one.

        I don’t, for the most part, agree with that view of the postconciliar reforms, but I also don’t think that those who hold that view are living in a preconciliar la-la land.

      11. Anthony Ruff, OSB Avatar
        Anthony Ruff, OSB

        @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #76:
        Fritz – this is a very important comment and thanks for making it.
        I think this is a VERY important question going forward for the healing of our liturgical divisions: how many EF people see the EF as untouchable, and how many are open to its further reform? You give me hope that many are in the second group.

      12. Peter Haydon Avatar
        Peter Haydon

        @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #77:
        Yes Father
        Many lay people go to the services at Solesmes to hear the Gregorian chant in the ordinary form. Jack, in comment 74, is right: there are few opportunities to attend this sort of Mass. This may contribute to the attitudes that Jonathan describes in comment 78.
        I think that Pope Benedict’s appeal for mutual enrichment would suggest some sympathy at least for the approach that Fritz describes in his comment 76.

  25. Paul Inwood Avatar
    Paul Inwood

    Andrew and Jeffrey,

    Thanks for your concern. I’m not too worried by a small coterie of people who can’t handle the truth; and I note with amusement that Joseph Shaw does not seem to know that there is an Ecclesia Dei Commission (which is what I was referring to) as well as a motu proprio of that name.

  26. Dale Rodrigue Avatar
    Dale Rodrigue

    Hello Jordan, you’ll find no argument with me and I have the highest regard for your responses. But Jordan, some OF attendees are not like you (I wish they were). My position is that the EF is not normative and those who attend the EF should be grateful and not attempt to proselytize fellow OF catholics. However, it’s not the norm and the idea that it is on par with the Of and can be had just for the asking should be changed. It needs to be MONITORED so that this business that it is the Real Mass and that it has Always been that way just stops because it is just wrong. This is ideologization that Francis is against IMO. Also see my response to Jack below.

  27. Todd Flowerday Avatar

    ” … it is better to permit Tridentine liturgies than have those faithful fall away.”

    This is an interesting standard to apply to liturgical reform. I suspect there are somewhat more feminists who have left the Church than traditionalists. Does that tell us that some of us should have the choice of an inclusive language Lectionary? Access to ordained women for the sacraments? At what point is it necessary to pitch that field hospital? Is it for those who have the numbers? Who complain the loudest? Who have friends in high places?

    I don’t ask these questions to score debate points, but I think they are germane to the pastoral policy of liturgical reform. I think we know who decides. But I’m curious as to the “why” concessions are offered to some groups and not to others.

    1. Scott Smith Avatar
      Scott Smith

      @Todd Flowerday – comment #65:

      I would suggest the border might be those who can be accommodated without becoming unorthodox (i.e. by say providing Tridentine liturgies to the Ecclesia Dei communities), and those who can’t be (i.e. say those who demand Vatican II be renounced like the SSPX, or those who demand ordained women).

    2. Jordan Zarembo Avatar
      Jordan Zarembo

      @Todd Flowerday – comment #65:

      Todd, your observations are very balanced. You’ve pointed out a large defect in my argument. It’s true that the EF has its own tent on the battlefield in large part because the previous pontiff supported and certain cardinals still support the Tridentine liturgy. It’s not as if EF adherents got what they wanted mostly out of grass-roots initiative. Traditionalists were quite lucky that a certain place and time played to their benefit. This luck could change in the future, of course.

      I support an inclusive language lectionary. I always cite the NRSV on PTB because it is an accurate inclusive language Bible translation. An inclusive lectionary can be easily accommodated within the Ordinary Form. Tridentine culture not only desires the previous liturgy but also the freedom (emphatically not a right, per Pope Francis) to live within a quite different ecclesiology (as Fr. Anthony has noted a number of times). The “Tridentine question” contains different layers of meaning than a revised lectionary or even women’s ordination, both of which theoretically do not need any liturgy other than the normative liturgy.

      1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

        @Jordan Zarembo – comment #70:
        Thanks for the comment, Jordan. I might think of your argument as less defective and more of an exploration.

        I might be tartly critical of the theology behind the 1962 Missal, but given my preference for liturgy at Benedictine monasteries, I’m probably more aligned artistically with TLM folks than your average American suburban Catholic. Honestly, I don’t get why MR3 in Latin wouldn’t be satisfactory to any traditionalist but the hardcore anti-conciliar ideologues. But I know the history in many places got personal for too many people.

        I don’t have the long-term solution for two forms in one rite. I’ve combatted the ghetto approach for decades (the guitar Mass, the choir Mass, the quiet Mass, the family Mass, etc.) and that has been the result of a long discernment, both for me personally and with parishes I’ve served. The institutionalization of choice, even lawful choice, goes against my grain. Time for more discernment, I suppose.

      2. Jack Wayne Avatar
        Jack Wayne

        @Todd Flowerday – comment #72:
        Setting aside the structural and wording differences that make the EF appealing – I suspect a large part of the EF’s appeal lies in it being a complete package. You know it will be in Latin, ad orientem, with chant and communion kneeling no matter what, and no priest can take that away. Once you have the EF, you don’t need to struggle for years to build up any of those other things – they are more or less built into the rite.

        Latin OF Masses are hard enough to find and were actively discouraged in places – A Latin OF with other traditional trappings (communion kneeling, chanted propers, ad orientem) is practically impossible to find and was never really an option put out there for traditionalists. A sung OF in any language is even harder to find. If such a thing was achieved, it could easily be swept away by one unsympathetic pastor using Vatican II as an excuse. I could drive two hours and pay ten dollars in tolls to attend a Latin OF that is derided by many of the OF’ s supporters, or I can save my time and money and go to the EF.

  28. David Jaronowski Avatar
    David Jaronowski

    Todd, #65 – Well, the answer is that it can be done for those who prefer the older rite because the older rite IS legitimate and has legitimately been practiced in the past. There is a tradition for it, it’s simply a matter of reviving a previous tradition.

    You can’t say that for any of the things that you mentioned.

  29. Ann Olivier Avatar
    Ann Olivier

    It seems to me that most of the talk here about the “old form” of the Mass and the “new form” seem to be assuming that there are more differences between the old and new than likenesses between them.

    Compare both forms with the form(s?) of the Mass of the Orthodox Church and you’ll see what I mean. Not to mention the form of the tiny middle eastern rite which doesn’t even use words for the Consecration at all — the signs at the Consecration are the motions of the priests, not words. (I’ve forgotten the name of that rite.)

  30. Jonathan Day Avatar
    Jonathan Day

    I know that some Tridentine Mass adherents favour a few reforms. But most I come across are opposed to any reform, except perhaps those that undo preconciliar changes.

    As evidence, consider the ‘position papers’ promulgated by Una Voce, the federation of groups like the Latin Mass Society. These are ‘offered to stimulate and inform debate about the 1962 Missal among Catholics “attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition”, and others interested in the liturgical renewal of the Church.’

    Here are their conclusions (number matched to each paper):

    1. No women to serve at the altar.

    2. Changes in the liturgy to make it more intelligible have a negative spiritual impact.

    3. Communion should only be received by the laity kneeling, and on the tongue.

    4. Celebration facing the apse, ‘away from the people’ to be maintained.

    5. The ‘Pian Psalter’ introduced in 1945 to be removed from the 1962 Missal.

    6. The ordinary and extraordinary forms never to be amalgamated.

    7. Latin to be retained because it is ‘universal, unchanging and dignified.’

    8. No prefaces to be added to the 1962 Missal.

    9. Silent or inaudible prayers to be retained to ‘express the intimate relationship between the priest and God.’

    10. The three-hour fast of Pope Pius XII to be restored.

    11. (Does not contain recommendations for or against change)

    12. Latin instruction to be restored in seminaries and Catholic schools.

    13. Holy days of obligation to be retained.

    14. The Holy Week reforms of 1955 to be rolled back, providing for at least optional use of the 1570 Holy Week rites.

    15. The one-year lectionary to be maintained; restoration of the practice, abolished in 1960, of having a displaced Gospel read out as the Last Gospel.

    16. To replace Latin with the vernacular for any part of the Mass “not only lessens the liturgical quality of that section of the Mass, but interrupts the liturgy as a whole”, and hence the permission granted in Universae Ecclesiae for some vernacular scripture readings should not be used.

    All I can see here – and these are the official views of a large number of Tridentine Mass groups, each presumably made up of a large number of adherents – are calls either for no change, or for the restoration of changes made prior to the Council.

    1. Fritz Bauerschmidt Avatar

      @Jonathan Day – comment #78:
      Jonathan, you may be right, and I have certainly encountered such people on the internet (and I presume they exist IRL). But as I understand it Una Voce is a kind of clearing house for a particular type of Latin Mass aficionado that I think of as the professional EF devotee. But aren’t there people for whom things like the three-year lectionary or additional prefaces or the readings only in the vernacular would be unproblematic unless the Una Voce-types got them all whipped up into thinking that this was the camel’s nose under the tent that would lead to guitar Masses, EMHCs, standing for communion and the other things that they would find problematic?

      FWIW, I’d be OK with 10, 12 and 13, even for the OF.

  31. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    I think the “camel’s nose under the tent” comment by Fritz sums up why a lot of traditionalists are not open to any sorts of changes to the 1962 Missal. I could see a successful reform coming from a commission comprised of people within the Church who belong to groups that exclusively use the EF (like the FSSP or ICK). A new EF Missal would likely upset the SSPX and drive them further away, creating an ever greater distinction between them and those who attend official Masses.

    I myself would be open to some reform, such as:

    1. Allowance of vernacular for either all or at least the proper parts of the Mass, but without stigmatizing the use of Latin like was done in the OF – when you get down to it, vernacular is 99.99% of the reason the OF facilitates FCAP. I mostly support this because it would broaden the appeal of the EF quite a bit.
    2. Offertory Processions – why not? Traditionalists love processions and would do them right
    3. “Prayer of the Faithful,” though as a more formal litany sort of thing, like on Good Friday.
    4. Abolition of the priest repeating the choir/congregational parts, but still allowing everyone to sit if the Gloria/Credo are really long classical works.
    5. Making the Last Gospel optional, or allowing it to be read out loud in vernacular since it truly is beautiful
    6. New Prefaces
    7. Allowing female servers – I doubt it would catch on in most EF communities, but females serving just isn’t a big issue for me.
    8. Lay Readers at low Mass, perhaps at High Mass too if they still chant the reading
    9. Communion under both kinds, either like how the Anglicans used to do it at the rail, or via intincion
    10. Expanded cycle of readings that still adheres to the EF calendar
    11. Optional allowance of the three year lectionary, mostly for priests who say the EF at an otherwise OF parish – I see this as problematic, though, since it obliterates the (IMO superior) EF calendar.
    12. Allowance of Seasonal Propers, for choirs that have trouble doing new ones every week.
    13. Optional *chanting* of the Roman Canon
    14. Allowing the readings to be chanted/said at an Ambo or pulpit

    Reforms that are a huge deal to the anti-EF crowd that I have little use for and wouldn’t want to see:

    1. Mass facing the people. I think the EF practice is more communal and in line with Vatican II anyways.
    2. Communion standing – same reason as above.
    3. Graduated Solemnity with the music – this pretty much killed the Sung Mass in the OF. I think the Low, High, and Solemn distinctions should be strictly maintained.
    4. Allowing propers to be substituted by hymns
    5. Saying all the quiet parts out loud – I think the multi-layered overlapping nature of the EF is one of its best qualities. It gives purpose to the quiet parts of the Mass and makes them more natural.
    6. Adding options and extra Eucharistic Prayers
    7. Making everyone shake hands
    8. EMHCs
    9. Most textual changes to the Mass Ordinary.

    1. Todd Flowerday Avatar

      @Jack Wayne – comment #81:
      “I could see a successful reform coming from a commission comprised of people within the Church who belong to groups that exclusively use the EF (like the FSSP or ICK). A new EF Missal would likely upset the SSPX and drive them further away, creating an ever greater distinction between them and those who attend official Masses.”

      Until such a commission ever convenes, I would have to say that by intention, accident, or uninformed choice, the TLM remains in some kind of a limbo apart from the Roman Rite and from the Church’s fullest and more perfect theology of the Eucharist.

      That “ever greater distinction,” if true, is probably an apt testimony against the balkanization of the liturgy on the grounds of personal taste.

      With respect to Una Voce #2, they simply have no idea what they are talking about–outside of their clique.

      If traditionalists are so “good” at things like processions, and other liturgical rituals, perhaps we have their absence from the Church’s unity to blame for how Catholic liturgy has run so far off the rails. Who’s been left in various parishes and communities to make sure these things are done right? The damage to unity isn’t just about lacking 1.2 billion Catholics marching in ritual lockstep. It also impacts the more ancient form of the theology of the Body, the Pauline expression, that suggests that all parts need one another.

  32. Jonathan Day Avatar
    Jonathan Day

    Jack, thank you. I am impressed. The reformed Tridentine Mass you describe comes within a hair of the way the Oratorians celebrate a solemn (Latin) Novus Ordo, in London. At Farm Street (Jesuit) the Latin Novus Ordo is more “modern” than you might like — it features items 1, 2 (optional), 5, 7 (optional) and 8 from your second list. But it is very close.

    It would be great to hear from other strong adherents of the older rite — Richard Malcolm? Jordan? How do you react to Jack’s lists?

  33. Jack Wayne Avatar
    Jack Wayne

    You seem to have this idea that traditionalists were given all sorts of great options after the council to continue celebrating the OF in a traditional way, but instead childishly chose to reject them and leave. All evidence I have ever seen (personal accounts, newspaper articles) from the era indicates otherwise. Traditional celebrations were actively discouraged and only survived when a parish had a long-time pastor who was very strong willed. Such people were not wanted.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: