Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fr. Z on an instance of sacrilege at Assisi III

Nothing overblown, no goats or chickens sacrificed, but a few incisive remarks about a video clip of a "Pagan chant to the deity Olokun in the Basilica of St. Francis during Assisi III" (WDTPRS, October 28, 2011).

As Father says: "For pity’s sake, couldn’t the organizers learned from the mistakes made at Assisi I, back in the day?"

But see also the address of Pope Benedict XVI at Assisi.

Bishop Slattery: "They shouldn't have viewed the old something that needed to be fixed."

Bishop Edward Slattery, in an interview with the National Catholic Register (October 28, 2011), responded to a question about problems with the liturgy and what changes he would like to see with the following:
I would like to see the liturgy become what Vatican II intended it to be. That’s not something that can happen overnight. The bishops who were the fathers of the council from the United States came home and made changes too quickly. They shouldn’t have viewed the old liturgy, what we call the Tridentine Mass or Missal of Pope John XXIII, as something that needed to be fixed. Nothing was broken. There was an attitude that we had to implement Vatican II in a way that radically affects the liturgy.

What we lost in a short period of time was continuity. The new liturgy should be clearly identifiable as the liturgy of the pre-Vatican II Church. Changes, like turning the altar around, were too sudden and too radical. There is nothing in the Vatican II documents that justifies such changes. We’ve always had Mass facing the people as well as Mass ad orientem [“to the east,” with priest and people facing the same direction]. However, Mass ad orientem was the norm. These changes did not come from Vatican II.

Also, it was not a wise decision to do away with Latin in the Mass. How that happened, I don’t know; but the fathers of the Council never intended us to drop Latin. They wanted us to hold on to it and, at the same time, to make room for the vernacular, primarily so that the people could understand the Scriptures.
His Excellency goes on to say that he has himself begun celebrating Mass ad orientem, leading by example rather than by dictate. Most importantly, he declares:
But we must approach the liturgy on bended knee with tremendous humility, recognizing that it doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to God. It is a gift. We worship God not by creating our own liturgies, but by receiving the liturgy as it comes to us from the Church.
A point, surely, that needs to be reiterated throughout the Church these days.

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ominous signs: state repression of religion on its way

Russell Shaw, "Are we seeing the beginning of religious persecution in America?" (OSV Newsweekly, November 6, 2011): "Is America on track for a religious freedom crisis generated by secularists in and out of government bent on pushing churches around on a variety of fronts? Fresh evidence strongly suggests that the answer is yes."

[Hat tip to Fr. Zuhlsdorff]

Comments about Communion in the hand attributed to St. Cyril a deception?

Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Pace, S.D.B., has published an article, "S. Cirillo di Gerusalemme e la Comunione sulla mano" Chiesa Viva (January 1990) (Civiltà, Brescia.), arguing that the words attributed to St. Cyril of Jerusalem ("When thou goest to receive communion ... [place] thy left hand as a throne for thy right, ... to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen") are an historical deception promoted by a crypto-Arian.

The author, says the article, was "an anonymous Syrian, a devourer of books, an indefatigable writer who poured into his writings, indigested and contaminated figments of own his imagination" -- whose writings became part of the Mystagogical Catechesis through the work of a successor of St. Cyril, who most scholars identify as "Bishop John," a crypto-Arian, influenced by Origen and Pelagius and thus contested by Sts. Epiphanius, Jerome, and Augustine.

A translation by Rorate contributor Francesca Romana is available under the title of "The great Catholic horror story: the pseudo-historical deception of Communion in the hand" (Rorate Caeli, Octobwer 26, 2011).

It will be interesting to hear what the patristic scholars have to say about this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When diocesan offices undermine Catholic faith

It's not as if this hasn't happened before in Church history, but we may sometimes forget that it does happen. That is, official representatives of the Church can sometimes be, either through malignant neglect or deliberate sabotage, the Church's own worst enemy.

This is truly remarkable. I urge you to view this report in full. The spiritual battle of our times is one that is sometimes being waged, not between those inside and outside the Church, but between the Catholic faithful and those directly charged with the care of their souls.

And for anyone who missed the earlier report, see below:

Don Pietro Leone's "The Roman Rite: Old and New"

Rorate Caeli has been posting a 4-part series on the short, yet powerful masterpies: The Roman Rite: Old and New, by Don Pietro Leone Monselice:

Monday, October 24, 2011

20 Years of the Tridentine Mass in Metro Detroit

Tridentine Community News (October 23, 2011):
It all began with a plan. A group of enterprising Canadians wanted to worship according to the historic Latin Rite of the Church. A similar group of Americans, undeterred by the Archdiocese of Detroit’s unwillingness to permit a Tridentine Mass on their own turf, formed a partnership of sorts with their Canadian brethren to attempt to start one in Windsor. A complete operational plan was drawn up before approaching the Diocese of London, Ontario: celebrant, chapel, supplies, budget, handouts, and most every detail were pre-arranged. All that was needed was permission.

Then-Auxiliary Bishop Frederick Henry approved of the plan, and in 1991 Mass began in the chapel of Assumption College High School (photo above), on Huron Church Road just south of the Ambassador Bridge. The first regular Chaplain of the group was Fr. Alexander Barna.

In 1999, the Mass was relocated to the chapel of the Villa Maria Nursing Home (photo above), located on the bank of the Detroit River. The Chaplain at the time, Fr. Ronold [sic] Pazik, was rather short of stature, and as a result, the main altar in the chapel could not be used. Mass was celebrated at a tiny side altar. These were difficult years; the nursing home setting unfortunately caused attendance to decline.

Incoming Diocese of London Bishop Ronald Fabbro sympathized with the group’s desire to relocate to a more fitting setting for the Mass, and granted permission in 2003 to move to the 1950s-era St. Michael’s Church (photo above). The Chaplain in those years was the indefatigable Fr. Ulysse Lefaive, and the pastor of the host parish at the time just happened to be the Episcopal Vicar, Fr. James Roche, whose wise counsel and continuing assistance helped the Mass to grow.

In 2007, the group experienced a blessing in disguise. Parish politics at St. Michael’s put some obstacles in the way of proper celebration of the Mass. Then-Auxiliary Bishop Anthony Daniels agreed with the group’s suggestion that this was an opportune time for an upgrade. His Excellency arranged a relocation to the most beautiful church in Windsor, Our Lady of the Assumption (photo above), the oldest parish in Ontario. God graced the group with a new Chaplain, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, who was intent on improving the quality of the liturgy to match its new home.

In 2004, members of the group helped to found Detroit’s long-awaited first Tridentine Mass at St. Josaphat Church, and later its descendant Masses at St. Albertus, St. Joseph, and Sweetest Heart of Mary Churches. The professional choir that sings every Sunday year-round at Assumption has been called upon to sing at special occasion Masses at the National Shrine of the Little Flower, St. Peter’s Seminary, St. Hyacinth Church, Flint’s All Saints Church, and elsewhere.

The pioneering souls behind this enterprise have names. May we ask your prayers for the founders and original members of the Windsor Tridentine Mass Association: Helen Broderick, Ray Cameron, John Foot, Brad Nelson, Michel Ozorak, Richard Walczak, and the late Earl Amyotte, Germaine Deimling, Murray Harris, and Thomas Marshall. Metro Detroit and Windsor’s currently thriving Tridentine Mass scene would not exist without their well thought-out efforts.

All Souls Day – Wednesday, November 2

For the third year in a row, we will be holding a special All Souls Day evening of liturgies. This year’s event will take place at St. Josaphat Church, with Low Masses at 6:00 PM and a Solemn High Mass at 7:00 PM. Details will be provided next week.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 10/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Raphael the Archangel)

Tue. 10/25 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead with Absolution at the Catafalque)

Fri. 10/28 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Ss. Simon & Jude, Apostles)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for October 23, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Bishop Sample's simple and compelling catechesis on EF liturgy

Bishop Alexander King Sample (b. 1960) is the twelfth and current Bishop of Marquette.

[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Petition to Pope Benedict XVI for a more in-depth examination of the Second Vatican Council

In case you missed this, upwards of fifty-seven Catholic leaders have affixed their signatures to a document petitioning the Holy Father for an in-depth study and clarifications regarding the Second Vatican Council. The original post, in Italian, is at Riscossa cristiana (dated September 24, 2001, but with a list of signatories last updated October 20, 2011). An English translation of the document may be found at Documentation Information Catholiques Internationales (October 14, 2011), but with only a partial list of signatories.

The petition begins by rehearsing the recent history of such petitions to the Holy Father, beginning with Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, a canon of St. Peter's Basilica and well-known professor of Ecclesiology at the Pontifical Lateran University and dean of Italian theologians, who wrote to Pope Benedict in 2009:
“For the good of the Church—and more especially to bring about the salvation of souls, which is her first and highest law (cf. the 1983 CIC, canon 1752)—after decades of liberal exegetical, theological, historiographical and “pastoral” creativity in the name of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, it seemed urgent to me that some clarity be created by answering authoritatively the question about the continuity of this council with the other councils (this time not simply by declaring it so but by proposing a genuine demonstration), the question about its fidelity to the Tradition of the Church.” ...
Somewhat later, the document mentions the recent, well-documented History of Vatican II by Professor de Mattei (pictured right), whose study offers a precise, realistic analysis of "the tormented, dramatic unfolding of that Council," which he concludes with the words:
“At the end of this volume, allow me to address reverently His Holiness Benedict XVI, whom I acknowledge to be the successor of Peter to whom I feel inseparably bound, expressing my deep thanks to him for having opened the doors to a serious debate about the Second Vatican Council. I repeat that I wanted to make a contribution to this debate, not as a theologian, but as an historian, joining however in the petition of those theologians who are respectfully and filially asking the Vicar of Christ on earth to promote an in-depth examination of Vatican II, in all its complexity and its full extent, to verify its continuity with the twenty preceding councils and to dispel the shadows and doubts which for almost a half a century have caused the Church to suffer, with the certainty that the gates of hell will never prevail against Her (Mt 16:18).”
And there is much, much more; well-worth the reading. This strikes me as a very significant development indeed. Read more>>

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Mounting Doubts About Same-Sex “Marriage”

Brian Raum's post by this title (On the Square, October 20, 2011):
In the wake of the New York Legislature’s decision to pass the so-called “Marriage Equality Act,” there has been a renewed discussion among homosexual activists over whether they really ought to be pursuing an institution historically rife with “heterosexual” values such as exclusivity, fidelity, commitment, and monogamy.... Read more>>
The reader who sent this to me comments:
"Occasionally a line sticks out for its needed clarity, as in the subject line here ["We tell them 'it gets better' when, in fact, it does not"].

"I saw the TV in the gym yesterday. Ellen was with Rachel Maddow. Both, without any exaggeration, looked like male impersonators, down the to dress. No big deal, also undeniably odd: Two of the most watched and trusted voices now are women who present themselves, at least in dress, very much as men.... I guess it is only a fashion statement."
[Hat tip to J.M.\

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Forgiveness in Hollywood

Mark Moring, "Downey Jr. Pleads: Forgive Mel Gibson" (CT Entertainment, October 18, 2011).

Yes, of course, there is no mention of forgiveness by those whom were directly wronged, much less divine forgiveness. What is nevertheless good about Downey's speech is its clear embrace of our human need for forgiveness -- his own, Mel Gibson's, everyone in the audience, and the rest of us. As well as the need to own up to one's responsibility. Call it a secular analogue to Sacramental Confession.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Anglican Ordinariates to take on Catholic Reform of the Reform?

"Priests to face east at ordinariate Masses" (The Tablet, October 21, 2011):
Masses celebrated by priests in the ordinariate are likely to be ad orientem, according to one of its leaders. While the liturgy for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has yet to be approved by the Holy See, Mgr Andrew Burnham said the Congregation for Divine Worship "is likely to commend eastward celebration, when the dynamic of the building suggests it". Mgr Burnham also said that it may also recommend kneeling at mention of the Incarnation during the Creed.
Well, at last somebody is willing to break the stalemate and move beyond the languishing status quo ante. Read more>>

[Hat tip NC at Rorate Caeli]

A New Generation of Theologians

I missed this earlier piece by Ryan N.S. Topping (FT, On the Square, September 27, 2011). It's a reflection on a colloquy of young untenured theologians brought to Washington D.C. by the USCCB for a symposium titled "The Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization," from September 15-17.

Much of the animosity felt by older theologians toward the Vatican or, more generally, toward episcopal authority, has disappeared....

Keynote presentations were delivered by Professors Janet Smith and John Cavadini, a top theologian from the University of Notre Dame, as well as Houston’s Cardinal Di Nardo and Archbishop Joseph Di Noia O.P., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The need to re-evangelize the West is now obvious; less clear, or at least less often discussed, is what shape the intellectual apostolate should take in these troubled times. The question put to the new scholars was this: if theology is an ecclesial activity how can your efforts serve the reconversion of Europe and the Americas?

Over the course of the weekend three themes emerged. First was the need to reconstruct a humane anthropology. The most dynamic contemporary thinking on this front has been inspired by Blessed John Paul II’s reflections on the theology of the body. Janet Smith showed how, in John Paul’s own understanding of personalism, the language of self-gift, self-mastery, and so forth, should be received as an extension, not a revision of Thomistic categories....

Beyond confronting the antihumanism of the reductionist scientists (who would reduce mind to brain) and the over-zealous environmentalists (who would elevate beasts to men), the New Evangelization requires a more confident philosophical grounding. Respect for a diversity of theological styles is healthy. But pluralism has stepped wildly beyond its useful limits. Theology must once more regain trust in reason’s native capacity for truth. So to the second theme: the queen of the sciences must choose her help maids wisely. Some servants are unworthy. Others will betray her. Theologians today can settle for nothing less than a robust philosophical realism....

Third, if these are some of the tasks before us, how should the next generation of theologians go about their work? What resources beyond post-Kantian philosophy can serve? It was notable—though perhaps not surprising—that several of the conference’s speakers called for a return to classical texts of apologetics. In works like Origen’s Contra Celsum and Augustine’s City of God, John Cavadini suggested that young theologians can find enduring models of engagement with a secular or half-believing culture. There was also a call to deeper prayer. (emphasis added)
[Hat tip to J.S.]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Preparations for Assisi III

In "Who will be present in Assisi III?" (Rorate Caeli, October 18, 2011), we see the list of representatives of Western and Eastern Churches and other religions (Buddhists, Muslims, various African religions) and sects, including one member of the Austrian Communist Party.

The official name of the event is: "Day of Reflection, Dialogue, and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World - 'Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace' - Assisi, October 27, 2011."

I think I know what the Holy Father might intend by "Pilgrims of Truth." I wonder, however, what the public will generally understand it to mean in our climate of world-historical relativism and the faux-humility about religious truth that it engenders.

"What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert--himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. . . . The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it's practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . . The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table."

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy(Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1957), pp. 31-32

De Mattei explains the post-Conciliar crisis

"Prof. Roberto de Mattei, author of the award-winning Il Concilio Vaticano II: una storia mai scritta (The Second Vatican II: A story never written), published this stirring review of a recently published book in Il Foglio last week [reviewing] Alessandro Gnocchi's and Mario Palmaro's La Bella Addormentata (Sleeping Beauty), on why the Church entered a deep crisis following the Council, and why she should rise again." Read more >> (Rorate Caeli, October 19, 2011).

It's not just the economy, but still . . .

There are certainly other, even more fundamental issues besides the economy, such as the fact that people have forgotten God, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said in his Harvard University address decades ago after being exiled from the U.S.S.R.

Still, the economy is to religion a bit like the brain is to the mind, or like the body is to the soul, a sort of corporeal life support system. Without it, the New Evangelization has no corporeal vehicles to preach the Gospel.

The gravity of the current situation is made crystal clear by Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, shows [].

Then, too, one recalls how the material collapse of civilizations in times past -- certainly as recorded in the Old Testament -- was often a consequence of God's judgment upon spiritual apostasy, i.e., "whoring after false Gods."

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupiers without a cause

Now I've heard it all. After the "Arab Spring," and now weeks of watching literally aimless people occupying Wall Street and center-city areas of metropolitan centers across the country with causes as random as "pay my tuition," I now see that the restless natives want to occupy Detroit.

Occupy DETROIT??? Are they out of their minds???!! What's this: Protesting a city that represents the failure of their own agenda? For a good laugh, read Henry Payne's article, "Occupy Detroit: Why Here?" (NOR, The Corner, October 16, 2011).

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Tridentine Travelogue: Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, Illinois

Tridentine Community News (October 16, 2011):
The Mississippi River separates St. Louis, Missouri from Belleville and East St. Louis, Illinois, much like the Detroit River runs between Windsor and Detroit. Extraordinary Form Masses have been held for many years in both the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Belleville. In St. Louis, the premier site is St. Francis de Sales Oratory; in Belleville, it is the quaint Holy Family log church, both of which have been discussed in previous editions of this column.

On the outskirts of Belleville is a Catholic pilgrimage site that can be hard to describe to those who have not seen it. The Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows is best known for its massive outdoor church; imagine a Catholic version of the Hollywood Bowl. The shrine grounds have many devotional areas, including a replica of the Lourdes Grotto. The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (the O.M.I.’s), administer the Shrine and explain this title of our Blessed Mother as follows: “Devotion to Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Snows is one of the oldest devotions to Mary. It has direct ties to the legend about a marvelous snowfall in Rome in 352 A.D. Mary had indicated in a dream to a wealthy, childless Roman couple that she wanted a church built in her honor and the site for this church would be covered with snow. On a hot, sultry morning on August 5, Esquiline Hill was covered with snow. All Rome proclaimed the summer snows a miracle, and a church to honor Mary was built on the hill in 358 A.D. Restored and refurbished many times, this church, now the magnificent Basilica of St. Mary Major, still stands today as the seat of devotion to Our Lady of the Snows in the Catholic Church.”

Also on the grounds of the shrine are two indoor chapels and a church. The chapels have mosaic-filled designs reminiscent of Windsor’s St. Michael Church and Detroit’s Transfiguration Parish. In one of those chapels, the first Tridentine Masses at the Shrine since the reforms of Vatican II were recently held, and not only was St. Josaphat Blog editor Christopher Din present, he was actually invited to serve the Mass. Chris fills us in on the details:
“On the weekend of September 24-25, two special Low Masses took place at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. ( The Masses took place as part of the It’s Time to Meet Saint Philomena Retreat which was held at the shrine. The Retreat was sponsored by the Universal Archconfraternity of St. Philomena ( and the Universal Living Rosary Association of St. Philomena (

“The celebrant for the Masses was the Reverend Fr. Chad Partain of the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana and the altar servers were from St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, MO and St. Josaphat Church in Detroit, MI. The Masses took place in the Christ the King Chapel.”
Windsor Anniversary Mass Next Sunday, October 23

A reminder that Fr. Jonathan Robinson, C.O., founder of the Toronto Oratory and St. Philip’s Seminary, will be the celebrant and guest speaker at the 20th Anniversary Solemn High Mass and Dinner, respectively, of the Windsor Tridentine Community at Assumption Church. Mass begins at 2:00 PM; the dinner will be held in the lower level Social Hall of nearby Holy Name of Mary Church (681 MacEwan Ave., one block south of Wyandotte St.) at 4:15 PM. Louis Vierne’s majestic Messe Solennelle, known for its forceful Kyrie, will be sung by the choir. Tickets for the dinner must be purchased no later than this Tuesday, October 18; please call (519) 734-1335 to reserve your spot. Fr. Robinson happens to have just published a new book, Jesus Christ: Revelation of the Unknown God. We are trying to arrange for some copies to be available for sale at the dinner.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 10/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin)

Tue. 10/18 7:00 PM: High Mass at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (St. Luke, Apostle)

Sun. 10/23 2:00 PM: Solemn High Anniversary Mass & Dinner at Assumption-Windsor (Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for October 16, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Evangelization through tobacco and liquor

I'm sorry, but this is just too funny and too good -- from Theater of the word Incorporated.

The theme of this year's Chesterton Conference in Rochester, New York, which 150 eager Chestertonians attended several weeks ago, was "Transforming the Culture." Just a couple of thoughts from Kevin O'Brien:

"One way to transform the culture is to get men [that includes women, you toads] drinking and smoking again."

What?? No, you got that right:
"The True, the Beautiful and the Good echo the glory of the Holy Trinity, and we dare not as artist or audience settle for the Trite, the Banal and the Mediocre.

"These sorts of insights only come by way of cigar smoke, bourbon, a chilly night, the pouring rain, and true Christian fellowship.

"This is because there's something dangerous in men of like mind smoking and drinking together, united in a love of Christ.

"There's nothing dangerous about Kumbaya, about "the sign of peace", about sitting in a circle and sharing [Yes, you MUST click on that!]. The one is living and has gonads; the other is the emasculated product of the same society that's trying its best to re-bury G. K. Chesterton."
And if you have any doubt about that, perhaps you should have been following Fr. Z's "blognic" (you know, "picnic" for "bloggers") in one of London's watering holes, The Coal Hole, recently.

[Hat tip to K.J.]

Msgr Pozzo's answer: Why is it worthwhile to promote the Latin Mass?

Monsignor Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, answers the question, "Why is it worthwhile to promote the Latin Mass?"
Because the ancient rite of the Mass makes explicit and highlights certain values and certain fundamental aspects of the liturgy that deserve to be maintained, and I am not speaking only about the Latin or Gregorian chant, I am speaking about the sense of mystery, of the sacred, the sense of the Mass as a sacrifice, the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the fact that there are great moments of interior recollection, interior participation in the divine liturgy. All these are fundamental elements which are particularly highlighted in the ancient rite of the Mass. I am not saying that these elements do not exist in the Mass of Paul VI's reform, but I am saying that they are highlighted much more and this can enrich even those who celebrate or participate in the ordinary form of the Mass. Nothing prevents one from thinking that in the future we will also be able to achieve a reunification of the two forms, with elements that come together and complement one another; but this is not a goal to be attained in a short time, and particularly not with decisions taken at a desk, but one which requires a maturation of the entire Christian people called to understand the value of both liturgical forms of the same Roman Rite.
Source: Gloria.TV

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Interview with Dr. Alcuin Reid in Deutsche Tagepost: The Council, Organic Development, Rupture and Continuity

We have this fascinating interview with Dom Alcuin Reid from Shawn Tribe (New Liturgical Movement, October 10, 2011), who writes: "From September 12-14th an academic conference took place at the University of Freiburg, Germany, organized by Dr. Helmut Hoping of Freiburg, entitled “The Roman Mass and Modernity: the Reform of the Missal in the Twentieth Century”; the conference involved participants from many German universities and liturgical centres from across the liturgical spectrum. Dr. Alcuin Reid presented a paper “Refining ‘The Organic Development of the Liturgy’ – The Fundamental Principle for Assessing the Reform of the 1970 Missale Romanum.”

During the conference Katrin Krips-Schmidt of the Catholic paper Deutsche Tagespost conducted the following interview with Dr. Reid, published in German and presented here on NLM in English:
1. What positive things came from Vatican II regarding the reform of the liturgy?

The most positive element was the insistence that participatio actuosa – true, actual participation in the liturgy – was the heart of the life of the Church. This was the goal, the ‘why’ of the reform. The liturgical movement had been promoting this for over fifty years before.

The second was the Council’s requirement that thorough liturgical formation take place at all levels of the Church. This was the means, or the ‘how’ of the reform. But this important element of the Council has been forgotten. Without this formation the foundation necessary to facilitate participatio actuosa is lacking, no matter how many changes to the rites are made.

The Council also asked for the use of a wider selection of sacred scripture in the rites, gave permission for a more extended use of the vernacular, Holy Communion under both species, concelebration, etc., as other ways to facilitate participatio actuosa.

2. What criteria are there for liturgical development in continuity? Is a Council competent to change or to remake the liturgy?

Neither councils nor popes are competent to construct the liturgy. The Council’s does not speak of making a new liturgy, or of “change” – it uses the word “renewal” (“instauratio”). The Council wished to bring about fruitful participatio actuosa through widespread liturgical formation at all levels of the Church and through moderate ritual reform, not a rupture either in the official ritual or in the perception of the faithful in their experience of the liturgical celebration.

The criteria for development in continuity are found in article 23, read in context and as it was approved by the Fathers of the Council. I have published a paper on this. It means that development is proportionate – the liturgical tradition may be developed, as is necessary, but it is not completely changed. There must be a continuity of rite where new texts or practices are integrated, naturally, over time. A good example is the Ordo Missae of 1965. It is the rite of Mass as handed on to the Council, pruned and developed in line with the discussions at the council. But the 1969 Ordo Missae is very different, a new construction of the Concilium. To be sure, it is more conservative than they wanted because Paul VI refused their requests to abolish the Roman Canon, the Orate fratres and the sign of the cross at the beginning of Mass. But even so, the 1969 Ordo as a whole is a radical ritual and theological innovation, not an organic development in line with Sacrosanctum Concilium 23.

3. Continuity or Rupture? Could one say that “traditionalist” Catholics agree with the thesis of a rupture?

I am not a “traditionalist”. I am a Catholic. I am also a liturgical historian. As the latter I can say that there is evidence that those responsible for the reform intended rupture – ritual and also theological. They did not want what was handed on in tradition. They did not want to develop that. They wanted something new, something that would reflect ‘modern man’ in the 1960’s and what they thought he needed.

This is an historical reality, not an ecclesio-political position. Liturgists from ‘both sides’ agree that the reform was radical and a rupture. As a Catholic I regard this as a significant problem, because it is unprecedented in liturgical history and it is not what the Council, out of respect for liturgical tradition, called for.

4. What authority did the Consilium – the body to reform the liturgy - have? Did it follow the intentions of the Fathers of the Council or exceed its competence? Are there examples of radical innovations?

The Consilium’s full name indicates that it was an organ to implement the Council’s Constitution. In effect its work rested on the personal authority of Pope Paul VI, who followed it very closely and authorized each change in forma specifica. It is clear that they went well beyond the Constitution: there is no authorization there for any new Eucharistic Prayers, for the 100% celebration of the Mass in the vernacular, etc. But all of these reforms enjoy the authority of Paul VI.

5. If the liturgy is seen as “changeable” as Sacrosanctum Concilium 21 says, is there the risk to its impact upon ordinary people, as Martin Mosebach speaks about the “Heresy of formlessness”?

Elements of the liturgy that do not come from the Lord Himself are, of course, able to develop or even to be left aside, and new elements can be introduced. Change is possible. We know that from history. But if, all of a sudden, everything in the liturgy except those things concerning validity are seen as changeable – and almost constantly so – then the rite as a whole can be subjected to a “formlessness” whereby it looses its nature as a rite and becomes a temporary conglomeration of the “good ideas” of those who celebrate it. That would not be Catholic liturgy, which is always the liturgy of the Church, received by her in tradition and carefully handed on, with proportionate development as necessary. Even authorized developments, if they involve disproportionate changes to the received tradition imposed very quickly, risk bringing about such a “formlessness”.

6. Sacrosanctum Concilium has been criticized for having too much room for interpretation. Do you share this view?

Yes, it is clear that much of the language of the Constitution is capable of different interpretations. Article 36-2 is just one example. It is also clear from the memoirs of Archbishop Bugnini himself that there was a very wide interpretation of this article, and others.

7. What consequences are there for the future of the liturgy?

We must look again at the liturgical reform following the Council, not as partisans of any side, but as good historians, good theologians, good Catholics. If it is clear that we have lost important elements of the liturgical tradition, or have introduced ones that are harmful, then we must have the honesty to admit this and do what is necessary. This has been begun through Sacramentum caritatis and Summorum pontificum and the personal example of Pope Benedict XVI in his liturgical celebrations.

We must also move forward with charity and pastoral sense. It is not possible to re-impose the past rites on everyone or to take away the new ones in an instant. At this moment, though, it would be possible to permit – facultatively – some older elements (the offertory prayers, some of the ritual gestures made by the priest, etc.) in the modern rites. It is also possible to adopt that ars celebrandi spoken about in Sacramentum caritatis, where the modern rites are celebrated with a liturgical richness that is in more tangible continuity with tradition.

History will see how the liturgy develops from this point. Our duty is to ensure that nothing “sacred and great” is lost to the Church of today or of the future.
Photo credit: Andreas Düren
Article source: Deutsche Tagespost
[Hat tip to JM]

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tridentine Trivia: Did You Know . . .

Tridentine Community News (October 9, 2011):
... that a Bishop celebrant does not cross his stole for Mass, as a priest would, because he wears a Pectoral Cross over his alb? And that he does not put on the maniple until after the Indulgéntiam during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar?

... that the bow that the celebrant makes towards the center of the altar prior to praying the Opening and Postcommunion Collects is to the Crucifix that must be on or above every altar, and not to the Tabernacle, which is not required to be on the altar?

... why the Deacon at a Solemn High Mass examines the inside of the Burse, the envelope containing the Corporal cloth, during the Credo, before taking it to the altar and unfolding the Corporal there? It is a ritual gesture to ensure that nothing harmful or impure might have been placed inside the Burse, a legitimate concern in particularly anti-Catholic times and places.

... why the Subdeacon at a Solemn High Mass holds the celebrant’s paten under a humeral veil while facing the altar during the Canon of the Mass? Centuries ago, a fragment of a Host consecrated by the Bishop would be placed on the paten later in the Mass. The position of the Subdeacon at this point represents unity with the Bishop of the diocese by waiting for that moment.

... why the Celebrant chants or says “Orémus” before the Offertory Antiphon? In other parts of the Mass, “Orémus” or “Oráte” is said only before a Collect (prayer) [Opening Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion], but not before an Antiphon [Introit and Communion]. Many years ago, the Mass contained Bidding Prayers after this “Orémus” but before the Offertory Antiphon, analogous to the Prayers of the Faithful in the Ordinary Form. Today only the “Orémus” remains as a sign of the since-excised prayers; it is technically not associated with the Offertory Antiphon at all.

... why a server or Subdeacon holds the Last Gospel altar card out at an angle while the celebrant reads it? As with the main Gospel in the Holy Mass, which is read from the altar missal turned at an angle, the Last Gospel is read facing Liturgical North, to represent preaching to the pagan North Countries of Europe.

... that the large priest’s hosts do not fit the lunas [glass holders] of every monstrance, and that they must be trimmed down to size [prior to Consecration] before they will fit inside?

... that many beautiful fixtures in our churches are, in fact, fakes? Some of the large “marble” pillars are in fact not marble, and only painted to look like marble. The pillars on the front of St. Josaphat’s High Altar are neither marble nor structural, but actually removable decorative objects. Our immigrant predecessors who built these magnificent churches were simply trying to produce the best appearances with the meager resources they had at their disposal.

... that a year and a half after it debuted as the #1 Best Seller upon publication, the Altar Missal for the Extraordinary Form remains among the Top 10 best selling books on the Vatican Bookstore web site,

Cardinal Arinze Celebrates Tridentine Mass

His Excellency Francis Cardinal Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, recently celebrated a Pontifical Low Tridentine Mass at Providence, Rhode Island’s Holy Name of Jesus Church. A prominent advocate of rubrically correct celebrations of the Ordinary Form, His Eminence has never been known as an advocate of the Extraordinary Form. He becomes the latest in a series of Bishops, Archbishops, and Cardinals formerly indifferent to the Tridentine Mass who have begun to celebrate it.

Quote of the Week

As has often been stated in this column, while the goal over the long term should be to follow all of the rubrics of Holy Mass correctly, an accident, oversight, or missing object should not cause us stress. On the New Liturgical Movement’s post about the above Mass by Cardinal Arinze, commenters who should have been delighted that the event took place instead got a little carried away critiquing what appeared to be a mistake in the rubrics regarding the application of the maniple to the bishop’s arm.

To lighten the mood and put some perspective on the issue, Allen Maynard, one of the leaders of the Tridentine Community at Holy Name of Jesus Church, posted the below comment:
“I believe I can put the whole maniple question to rest: unfortunately Mr. Tribe has only seen fit to include a few images, however if he would be so kind as to make available frames #1962-1970 of the “Zaprinze Film” it would be possible to see the infamous “lone subdeacon” (vested as an M.C. since this was a low Mass) enter the frame at the extreme lefthand side. He is unmistakeably bearing a red item, which appears to have gold tassels. In frames #1970-2007 he can be seen handing it off to the capellanus ad sinistram who thereupon installs it on the cardinal. This is especially clear in the new digitally enhanced version (available on DVD for $19.95 from Conspiracy House Books and Media). Alas, the only remnant we can see of this action in frame #2011 (above) is the starboard chaplain tardily finishing his “Profound Bow at the Imposition of the Maniple”, which is supposed to have been completed by the time the ruby-headed maniple pin (amethyst for bishops) has penetrated the obverse drape of the maniple. (Stehle, v.3, Addendum for Rhode Island and Providence Plantations)”
Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 10/10 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Francis Borgia, Confessor)

Tue. 10/11 7:00 PM: High Masses at both Assumption-Windsor and St. Josaphat (Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Sun. 10/16 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for October 9, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Will the younger generation correctly interpret Vatican II?

Fr. Z, "Card. Piacenza to seminarians: 'Yours will probably be the first generation that will correctly interpret the Second Vatican Council'" (WDTPRS, October 7, 2011).

Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, His Eminence Mauro Card. Piacenza, makes some good points in his speech, like this:
Renewal is always necessary for the Church, because the conversion of her members, poor sinners, is always necessary! But there cannot be, nor could there be, a pre-Conciliar Church and a post-Conciliar Church! If this could be so, the second one – ours – would be historically and theologically illegitimate!
I think I know what he means about the generally-received, popular interpretation of Vatican II NOT being correct and the younger generation perhaps being the first to correct this problem. But I don't think a correct interpretation of Vatican II (the specific documents and the import of the Council as a whole) is automatic for the younger generation, although it is certainly much less encumbered by the prejudices of their forebears. Certainly temporal distance will help in the assessment; but so will acquaintance with what has happened, knowing Church history, specifically the history of movements within the Church since the time of the Counter-Reformation and, more recently, since the French Revolution.

Here's what they're saying about blogging ...

Friday, October 07, 2011

The fifteen decade Rosary

I confess that I rarely if ever pray all fifteen decades when I pray the Rosary. I do the more typical (these days) five decades, and I try to do this daily. I think I remember reading somewhere that St. Josemaria Escriva when presenting his norms for daily life in Opus Dei to Pope John Paul II, was requested by him to reduce the mandated daily Rosary from a prayer of fifteen mysteries to a less onerous undertaking of just five mysteries.

This seems to fit with the temper -- or should one say, lack of temper -- of our times. It's quite amazing once you begin to list the ways in which the practice of the Catholic Faith has been cushioned and softened for us today -- from the removal of Holy Days of Obligation to the nearest Sunday, Saturday evening Vigil Masses by which to fulfill one's Sunday obligation, substitution of some alternative penance for the meatless Fridays (for those who remember or care), a comfortable upholstered seat in the suburban church instead of a wooden pew, a "fast" of a mere one hour before reception of Communion, a Lenten fast that denies one not even of meat on any day but Friday and allows for two nearly half-meals along with one whole meal (including even eggs, cheese, and butter) even on Fridays, and the list could be easily extended.

As much as I admire the more austere and more 'manly', Spartan ideals of Catholic tradition, I cannot say that I have been immune to the enticements of the "comfortable pew." It is endemic, I'm afraid.

Nevertheless, I have prayed the entire fifteen decade Rosary for the past two days, for a special intention, and some of you will know what I mean when I tell you what a happy discovery it is to find myself so richly blessed by the practice.

I have no profound resolution to make it a daily habit. I know myself all-too-well for that. I must say, however, that I've had a couple of glimpses into why some groups have seemed so 'fanatical' in their recommendation of the daily Rosary. There's power in them there beads -- or should I say, in the intercession of Our Blessed Lady!

Prayer & miracles

I've been reading The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM(San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000), about a German Catholic who was drafted with his fellow-Franciscan seminarians into the German army during the Second World War. The dramatic first-hand account highlights not only the life-and-death situations they constantly faced, but the struggle of maintaining their fidelity to Christ and the Church in the face of unrelenting persecution from the Nazis, who hated devout Catholics and tried to root out their Christian commitment. Goldmann was made an SS officer, complicating problems for him as well as multiplying ironies. He also sought ways to minister to his fellow Catholic soldiers who were often wounded and dying. He secured permission to carry the Blessed Sacrament with him and to distribute Communion to his fellow soldiers. Eventually he also managed to get himself ordination as a priest, by direct permission from the Holy Father in Rome, further facilitating his ministry but also pulling down the ire of Nazis upon him.

Eventually his group was taken prisoner and shipped to various prisons across Algeria and Morocco in North Africa. There, he did his best to continue his ministry among the prisoners, setting up make-shift chapels for Mass, sometimes in hiding from the prison guards, and always in the face of persecution and sometimes life-threatening beatings from the Nazi prisoners.

While in Morocco, he got permission to visit a nearby convent where he secured material gifts of food and clothing for his fellow-prisoners from the Sisters. He writes:
More important than these material gifts was the fact that these Sisters prayed for the conversion of the prisoners. Day and night, they prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for the conversion of the Nazis, not only the Sisters in Midelt, but also in another convent. Soon we had a dozen convents in North Africa praying and making sacrifices for our camp. In the face of such storming of heaven, many men lost all resistance, expelled the unbelief and paganism of the Nazi credo from their hearts, and accepted belief in God; after some months of prodding they came to confession and received their second First Holy Communion.

There was one man in particular, a rabid Nazi, who was notorious even in Germany. His conversion was so exceptional that it is worthwhile to follow it in more detail.

It happened some months before this trip to Midelt that resulted in my meeting the Missionary Sisters. On one of my trips to another work group, I learned that in the valley of these mountains, known as the "Valley of Hell" because of its intense heat, a Sister was living all alone. I could not believe it at first, it was so unprecedented. When I had a chance to go there later on, I found sister Jeanne living isolated from all Europeans in the beautiful mountain district of Khenifra, in solitude and penance. Having obtained special permission from the Pope, she had sought out this lonely spot, where she fasted with almost inhuman rigor. The three days I was there I suffered continuously from hunger -- I, who thought I knew a great deal about privation! She cared for the native sick in the villages, going from early morning until late at night into the dirty huts to nurse their frightful wounds and festering sores. Then every night she knelt as motionless as a statue of stone before the Blessed Sacrament for three hours -- I saw this with my own unbelieving eyes. By special papal permission, she was allowed to keep the Blessed Sacrament in her small chapel; every three or four months a priest-hermit came from still higher up the mountain to renew the species. Then for months again she would be all alone with her work and with her Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. What I heard and saw there was unbelievable. Her bed was a board; her meal, thin soup; but she was happy as a child and physically much stronger and enduring than I.

The first time I came into her solitude -- it was soon after I became chaplain in the Nazi camp -- was at a time when I had lost all courage to go on because of the extreme opposition and persecution I suffered, while making no progress that I could see. When I told her that I was thinking of going to another camp where the work would be easier and more satisfying, she told me almost fiercely that I was to return to the Nazi camp.

"sister Jeanne, I cannot. It is just too much for me. I have done everything I can, and still I have failed to bring the camp to Christ."

She amazed me by seizing my habit and looking me in the eyes, saying in a voice that pierced bone and marrow, "Father, in God's Name, you are going back to your camp at once!"

I recovered from my surprise at being so "commanded," since her order was given in such a way that I knew I dare not oppose her. At the same time, she made me write down the name of the worst enemy of the Church on a piece of paper. "Leave all the rest to me, Father," she said.

I did as she asked, giving her the name of Kroch, a fanatical Nazi, a terrible persecutor of the Church and her French people, and returned to camp. I really did not have too much time to think about Sister Jeanne after that, and when Kroch came to speak to me three months later, I was preoccupied. I was so angry at his continuous vituperation against me and his ugly remarks against God and the Church that I would not see him.

"If Kroch wants to speak to me, tell him to come in the morning when everybody can see him and not in the darkness of night!" It was an angry message, and I was sorry at once; but I let it stand as it was said.

The next morning as I stood in line for the small bread ration, he actually came up to me and asked, without trying to conceal his request from the others standing by us, if he could go to confession.

"I was a Catholic, Father. Once I was even a Mass server; my mother was a pious woman, who would be so happy if she could know that I had come back to the Church." I could hardly believe my ears, but it was really so. I knew something of his history; for many years, even before the war, he had been a leader of the youth against God and had played a leading role in Nazi Germany.

However touched, however moved I was by his request, his admittance back into the Church could not be a simple matter. He must do public penance for his many public wrongs. Every Sunday for months he had to stand before the altar, a poor penitent, and admitted sinner. Finally came the Sunday when he acknowledged publicly before many hundreds of men, who listened breathlessly to what he had to say, his guilt and his whole shameful history -- from pious lad to one of the most vicious haters of the church. He recounted the story of his return to the Church and asked for pardon. Then at last he received sacramental absolution and Holy Communion. The men stood around the altar with tears in their eyes, and later many of them stood waiting patiently before the confessional to end their lives of sin.

Good Sister Jeanne, in her solitude at Khenifra, had put the paper with the man's name before the tabernacle, and every night she spent six hours in prayer for his conversion. (pp. 229-232)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Feast Days Enriched with Plenary Indulgences

Tridentine Community News (October 2, 2011):
A reader asked an interesting question: Can we produce a list of Feast Days on which the Church grants Plenary Indulgences? We’re more than happy to oblige, especially when the end result is making the Church’s treasury of graces available to more people.
The following information and quotes are taken from the currently-in-force book of guidelines, the 2006 Manual of Indulgences available from All of these statements are prefaced by text such as “A plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who...”

Octave Day of Christmas, a.k.a. Feast of the Circumcision (January 1): “Devoutly assist either at the recitation or solemn singing of the Veni Creá implore divine assistance for the course of the whole year.”

Fridays of Lent: “Devoutly recite after Communion the prayer En ego, O bone et dulcíssime Jesu before a crucifix.”

Holy Thursday: “Piously recite the verses of the Tantum ergo after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday during the solemn reposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”

Good Friday: “Devoutly assist at the adoration of the Cross in the solemn liturgical action of Good Friday.”

Easter Vigil: “At the celebration of the Easter Vigil...renew their baptismal vows in any legitimately approved formula.”

Divine Mercy Sunday, a.k.a. Low Sunday: “In any church or chapel, in a spirit that is completely detached from the affection for a sin, even a venial sin, take part in the prayers and devotions held in honor of Divine Mercy, or who, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed or reserved in the tabernacle, recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a devout prayer to the merciful Lord Jesus (e.g.: ‘Merciful Jesus, I trust in you!’).”

Pentecost Sunday: “Devoutly assist either at the recitation or solemn singing of the Veni Creátor.”

Corpus Christi: “Devoutly participate in a solemn Eucharistic procession, held inside or outside of a church.”

Feast of the Sacred Heart: “Publicly recite the act of reparation (Jesu dulcíssime).”

Ss. Peter & Paul (June 29): Two plenary indulgences are possible, though not on the same day:
  1. “Make prayerful use of an article of devotion, as defined by Norm 15, that has been blessed by the Supreme Pontiff or by any bishop, provided the faithful also make a Profession of Faith using any legitimate formula.” Norm 15 identifies these as a crucifix or cross, rosary, scapular, or medal.

  2. “Visit...a minor basilica [or] the cathedral church...and there devoutly recite an Our Father and Creed.”
Portiuncula Indulgence (August 2): “Visit...a minor basilica, the cathedral church, [or] a parish church...and there devoutly recite an Our Father and Creed.”

Feast of Christ the King (Last Sunday in October): “Publicly recite the act of dedication of the human race to Christ the King (Jesu dulcíssime, Redémptor).”

All Souls Day (November 2): “Devoutly visit a church or an oratory and recite an Our Father and the Creed.” This plenary indulgence is applicable only to the dead.

Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Savior (November 9): “Visit...the cathedral church...and there devoutly recite an Our Father and Creed.”

Seventh Day Within the Octave of the Nativity (December 31): “Devoutly assist either at the recitation or solemn singing of the Te offer thanks to God for gifts received throughout the course of the entire year.”

Feast of the Titular of the place: “Visit...a minor basilica; the cathedral church; an international, national, or diocesan shrine established by competent authority; [or] a parish church...and there devoutly recite an Our Father and Creed.”

Feast of the Founder: “Visit...a church or an oratory of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.”

Some general terms: ”In order to be capable of gaining indulgences one must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works. To gain an indulgence, one must have at least the general intention of doing so and must carry out the enjoined works at the stated time and in due fashion, according to the sense of the grant.” In practical terms, one should first be aware of the possibility that an indulgence can be earned so that one can desire to gain it. We will strive to mention any relevant Indulgences in the Latin/English Propers Handouts for each of the above Feasts, and to include Latin and English texts of any associated prayers. The usual conditions apply: Prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions, Confession within 20 days, reception of Holy Communion, and freedom from attachment to sin.

Certain Feasts may be moved to a Sunday in the Extraordinary Form. The rules for Indulgences anticipate this possibility: “If a liturgical celebration or its external solemnity is lawfully transferred, it is understood that an indulgence attached to that liturgical celebration is likewise transferred to the same day.”

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 10/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Virgin)

Tue. 10/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Francis, Confessor)

Fri. 10/07 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Our Lady of the Rosary)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for October 2, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

As to the source of the information in this post, the author writes: "All the information in [this] column was taken from the 2006 Manual of Indulgences.

I verified that Plenary Indulgences are gainable up to 20 days from the day of Confession in this column. Prior to this, there was speculation that it was eight days, but the Manual of Indulgences does not specify a number of days.

There is also a marvelous book, which I have been tempted to buy at the only store where I have seen it ... London’s St. Paul’s Bookstore by Westminster Cathedral ... by [Prof.] Edward Peters [of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, in Detroit]: A Modern Guide to Indulgences.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Donatist revival inadvertently fostered?

I was recently listening to a presentation recorded some years ago by the late Anne Roche Muggeridge, the daughter-in-law of the famed journalist and author, Malcolm Muggeridge.
The author of reflective and insightful books, like Gates of Hell (1975) and The Desolate City: Revolution in the Catholic Church(1990), Anne Roche Muggeridge was a champion of traditional Catholicism who stalwartly resisted the anarchism of the post-Vatican II decades. She died in Toronto last year on my birthday, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14, 2010).

In her presentation she made the startling observation that the liturgical chaos following the Council had foisted upon faithful Catholics the onus of having to determine for themselves whether a given Novus Ordo Mass was valid or not by assessing how the priest celebrated Mass, whether he departed from the text of the Missal or stuck to the rubrics, etc. -- and that this, in turn, had inadvertently revived the Donatist heresy of constantly focusing on the personal disposition of a cleric to determine the validity of a Sacrament.

St. Augustine's reply to Donatism, of course, was that the Sacraments are valid "ex opere operato" -- i.e., that the validity of a Sacrament depends not on the worthiness or holiness of the minister performing it, but upon the worthiness and holiness of God who is the principal agent in dispensing sacramental grace. The hitch, however, is that the efficacy of ex opere operato hinges in some indispensable ways upon the person of the priest, such as his providing valid matter, speaking the words of the formula correctly and with the intent of causing the Sacrament to occur validly in keeping with the mind of the Church, etc. And this is the arena in which doubts sometimes raise their heads.

It's an interesting point, and recalls the lamentations of Martin Mosebach in Heresy of Formlessness (Ignatius, 2006) about simple Catholics being obliged these days to become liturgical experts simply by dint of the constant innovations they must assess. It is a huge burden to foist upon ordinary Catholics -- those euphemistically called "pew peasants" -- to require them to cultivate a discerning nose for discerning the difference between liturgical chicken soup and liturgical chicken ... well ... perhaps you see the point.

Why couldn't Catholics simply stick with the dance steps received from the past -- with perhaps a minor adjustment of a given move here or there (at most!) -- and concentrate their minds on their Divine Dance Partner, rather than be treated to a barrage of constant changes in the dance steps themselves, which has forced them to focus on their own feet instead? Even St. Thomas Aquinas makes the point in his Treatise on Law that changes of any kind ought not to be introduced into law (in this case, liturgical law) unless the net positives far outweigh the net negatives, for the effect of any change itself is to some degree to undermine the received (liturgical) law.

Anne Roche Muggeridge jokingly lamented that circumstances in the Catholic world were turning her into a Donatist. How unutterably sad!

Monday, October 03, 2011

"Face it, hippies!"

Over at Orwell’s Picnic there is a post entitled “Face it, Hippies”, with this graph:

Fr. Z comments: "I sense a trend" (October 3, 2011), and continues:
The growth is slow, some will say. But there is growth. There is growth in several important spheres of the Church’s life, including a growth in vocations to the priesthood answered by men who are faithful to the Church’s teachings, many of whom desire traditional liturgy. In the meantime, the acceleration of the “biological solution” is sweeping a certain vision out of positions of influence. As the Church in the wealthy West seems to in some ways growing in numbers, it doesn’t seem to be growing in numbers of people who know their faith well and practice it diligently. We seem to be moving toward what Pope Benedict referred to as a “creative minority”. Now look at the graph again.

We need a Marshall Plan for the renewal of our Catholic identity, and the New Evangelization. The key to any renewal of any aspect of our Catholic lives must be our liturgical worship.
Did you catch that? The last two sentences are freighted. One of my colleagues, in fact, was just commenting the other day on the need to re-think the New Evangelization in terms of traditional liturgy. Ad fontes!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Day of infamy, day of grace

During my high school years at a mission boarding school in Tokyo, one of my dorm mates was the son of Jacob DeShazer (1912-2008) (pictured right), one of the intrepid Doolittle airmen in the daring carrier-launched bombing raid on Japan four months after Pearl Harbor. Like many of the sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers, DeShazer's ran out of fuel after dropping its payload in Japan and the crew had to bail out over the enemy-occupied coast of China.

Captured by the Japanese, DeShazer was sent to Tokyo with the survivors of another Doolittle crew, and was held in a series of P.O.W. camps both in Japan and China for 40 months -- 34 of them in solitary confinement. He was severely beaten and malnourished. Three of the crew were executed by a firing squad. Another died of slow starvation. DeShazer's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Japanese emperor. Along with the surviving Doolittle POW's, DeShazer was liberated by American paratroopers in China in 1945.

But the story doesn't end there. As the result of a religious conversion during his internment as a prisoner of war, DeShazer resolved to become a missionary after the war and returned to Japan in 1948. Two years later, an American missionary was passing out evangelistic tracts outside a commuter train station in Tokyo, and among those who picked up a tract written by DeShazer (entitled "I Was a Prisoner of War in Japan") was former Captain Mitsuo Fuchida (pictured left), the Japanese airman who led the carrier-launched attack on Pearl Harbor several years earlier on December 7, 1941. Fuchida converted to Christ as a result of reading DeShazer's story and eventually met DeShazer.

Thus Jacob DeShazer, the Doolittle raider who bombed Japan, met Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the two became good friends and even cooperated in common mission ventures in Japan.

Fuchida and DeShazer together in Japan

In 1959, DeShazer moved to Nagoya to establish a Christian church in the city he had bombed. Fuchida became a Christian evangelist, traveling across Japan and Asia telling his story: "I would give anything to retract my actions of twenty-nine years ago at Pearl Harbor, but it is impossible," he wrote. "Instead, I now work at striking the death-blow to the basic hatred which infests the human heart and causes such tragedies. And that hatred cannot be uprooted without assistance from Jesus Christ."

Some years later, Fuchida came to visit the Hokkaido International School in Sapporo, Japan, where I was enrolled as a junior high student. He was accompanied by an American (whose name I cannot remember) who was promoting the film, Tora! Tora! Tora! Fuchida spoke to the assembled students, telling his story, along with the American, who told us about the soon-to-be-released film, Tora! Tora! Tora! -- still the best Pearl Harbor film, in my opinion. A memento I still have in my possession from that event is the framed autograph of Captain Mitsuo Fichida, signed on a piece of notebook paper.

Some might wish to discard or even destroy such a relic from someone who was not only involved in that day of infamy, but led the assault that left over 2000 Americans dead in Honolulu, Hawaii. I keep it as a memento of God's grace which He pours out in the most unexpected ways in the seemingly most unlikely hearts.