Monday, January 30, 2012

Revisions of the 1962 Missal in the offing?

"Revisions of the 1962 Missal coming soon? The International Federation Una Voce presents its objections" (Rorate Caeli, January 30, 2012).

Doubtless there are plotters and schemers in positions of ecclesial power who would love nothing more than to see the 1962 Missal "revised" in such a way as to undercut the adherence of those who love it, and to undermine the Holy Father's stated purposes in Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae and, particularly, the Letter to the Bishops Accompanying Summorum Pontificum, of seeking "an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church."

19th-century forerunners of V-II neo-Cath polity

There's something humbling about carrying on one's education in public, as Hegel said of Schelling. But there it is. I'm a slow learner.

I've been reading a bit about some of the 19th-century Catholic figures who anticipate the kinds of thinking on Church-state relations here in America found in the likes of Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., Jacques Maritain and contemporary post-Vatican II Catholics like Michael Novak, Kenneth Whitehead, George Weigel, Joseph Bottum and the late Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus on Church-state relations here in America.

This includes Irish champions of American assimilationism in the 19th-century like Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul, MN (pictured left), and the prophet of Americanism, Fr. Isaac Hecker (pictured below, right), a Catholic convert from Protestantism and one-time Transcendentalist and ex-Redemptorist who founded the Paulists, a congregation of priests without vows dedicated to working among Protestants. Henri Daniel-Rops (quoted by Geoffrey Hull in The Banished Heart) describes Hecker thus:
A strong personality, whom some regarded as a superman and a saint even during his lifetime, Father Hecker was hostile to book learning, almost impervious to logical argument, but of uncommon energy and generosity. He was, moreover, a mystic, believed himself to be guided directly by the Holy Ghost, and was therefore little inclined to attach much importance to tradition and hierarchical institutions.
Hecker was an indefatigable promoter of Americanism and the reconciliation of Catholicism with American democracy and the separation of Church and state. The American Catholic hierarchy was suspected by Rome of harboring many bishops sympathetic to these ideas, which were termed "Americanism" and condemned by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Longinqua Oceani (1895). Leo's efforts, however, were undercut by the likes of Cardinal Gibbons, who simply denied that anyone in the American Church held the condemned views.

It's instructive to see how strategies were then employed by opponents of the Vatican , which we find in abundant use today; as well as to examine the sorts of things that were being asserted by Rome. Leo XIII described both the positive (seductive) aspects of the American experiment, as well as the negative, corrosive aspects. In Longinqua Oceani, he writes:
For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced.
In an Apostolic Letter to Cardinal Gibbons (January 22, 1899), Leo XIII rejected the Americanist view that
[t]hat in order the more easily to bring over to Catholic doctrine those who dissent from it, the church ought to adapt herself somewhat to our advanced [American] civilization, and, relaxing her ancient rigour, show some indulgence to modern popular theories and methods.
In the intervening years between the uncooperative clerical Irish Mafia and promoters of Americanism in the Vatican II era, however, there were decades dominated by staunchly orthodox prelates such as Archbishops Hayes and Spellman of New York, and McIntyre of Los Angeles. As Hull comments in the aforementioned work: "But like its more lethal contemporary, Modernism, Americanism hibernated for some sixty years until the American political and economic domination of Western Europe afforded it an opportunity to reassert itself with a vengeance during the Second Vatican Council."


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Global warming ended but would have helped?

Do you still run into people who tell you that they still run into people who still refuse to believe in global warming? So do I.

Back in March of 2007, I noted the Inconvenient Detail, overlooked by Al Gore, suggested by the National Geographic News report that the melting of polar ice caps on Mars suggested a solar, not human, cause of global warming.

Now scientists are suggesting that global warming is probably part of a climatological cycle and that the warming may have ended some 15 years ago -- AND that global warming within any reasonably predictable range could actually be beneficial by promoting the greening of planet earth (something reported some time ago also by this First Things article, and this).

But here's the latest:
  • Paper: global warming ended 15 years ago (MailOnline, January 29, 2012): "Forget global warming - it's Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again).

  • "Opinion: The Global Warming Hoax" (Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2012): Princeton physics professor William Happer on why a large number of scientists don't believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

For the record: CDF - SSPX update

Alessandro Gnocchi & Mario Palmaro, "The SSPX and the Holy See: what now?" Il Foglio, January 27, 2012), in English translation at Rorate Caeli (January 28, 2012).

Related: A guest-post by Côme de Prévigny, "Bishop Fellay to Rome: 'We are ready.'" (Rorate Caeli, February 5, 2012).

254 Bishops Have Celebrated the EF Since 2007

Tridentine Community News (January 29, 2012):
An interesting synopsis was published by the Spanish blog Acción Litúrgica and translated into English by The Eponymous Flower blog: A listing of all of the Bishops and Cardinals known to have celebrated the Extraordinary Form since the effective date of the Motu Proprio Summórum Pontíficum in September, 2007. 254 Bishops in total, including Detroit’s Auxiliary Bishop Francis Reiss, Lansing’s Bishop Earl Boyea, Marquette’s Bishop Alexander Sample, Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, and while he was Bishop of Oakland, California, current Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

The complete list is at:

While we don’t have statistics, this seems to be a significant increase, around a doubling, of the number of Bishops who did so prior to Summórum Pontíficum. Another reason why our Holy Father deserves prayers of gratitude for issuing this document which has had such far-reaching positive effects in so many areas of the Church.

Welcome Bishop Reiss

Speaking of Bishop Reiss, don’t be surprised if you see him around the grounds of St. Josaphat: His Excellency has moved into the St. Josaphat Rectory and has already celebrated one Extraordinary Form Mass since his arrival. Not only are there obvious liturgical benefits to his presence, but he is also doing a service to the parish by occupying this important building.

In light of the above study, it would be interesting to know how many other Bishops reside on the property of parishes which offer the Extraordinary Form.

Blessing of Candles on the Feast of the Purification

A reminder that this Thursday brings the annual High Mass for the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as Candlemas. Candles are blessed before Mass, and a procession with the candles precedes the Mass. This symbolism recognizes our Lord as the “Light for the revelation of the Gentiles.” If you are unable to go, it may nevertheless interest you to view the Propers Handout for the Feast on our web site and read the prayers for the Blessing of Candles.

The Sign of Peace and the Pax Brede

At a Solemn High Tridentine Mass, after the first of the three Prayers Before Holy Communion, the celebrant offers the Sign of Peace to the Deacon, after which it is passed on to the Subdeacon, the Master of Ceremonies, the Thurifer, and the Acolytes. Unlike in the Ordinary Form, the Sign of Peace is not passed on to the congregation; it is a formal process reflecting the Peace of Christ being given from one to another, as our Lord commanded, with little relationship to the notion of secular friendship.

The “giver” and the “receiver” approach one another with palms together and bow to one another. The giver places his palms on the receiver’s shoulders, while the receiver places his palms under the giver’s elbows. Both nod their heads to the right of the other as the giver says “Pax tecum” [Peace be with you]. The receiver replies “Et cum spíritu tuo” [And with your spirit]. Both join their hands as at the beginning, bow to one another, and depart.

When Holy Mass is celebrated by a priest in the presence of a Greater Prelate (i.e. a Bishop or higher), an different version of the ceremony may be performed. An object alternatively known as a Pax Brede, [simply] a Pax, or an Osculatórium, is held by a server in front of the receiver. This object resembles a larger reliquary, often with a handle on the back. In the absence of a proper Pax Brede, a priest’s paten may be used instead. The receiver kisses the Pax Brede, then the server wipes it with a linen cloth and presents it to the next receiver. The first receiver is always the celebrant and the second the Prelate. This version of the rite places emphasis on the peace that comes from the presence of and reverence towards Christ.

After 28 years of attending Tridentine Masses, this writer only recalls seeing a Pax Brede used once, at Merton College Chapel at Oxford University during the C.I.E.L. [International Centre for Liturgical Studies] 2006 Conference. One might logically ask whether they are still being manufactured. The answer is no as a catalog item, but yes as a custom piece: Holy Rosary Church in Portland, Oregon had some made several years ago.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 01/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Martina, Virgin & Martyr)

Tue. 01/31 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. John Bosco, Confessor)

Thu. 02/02 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary – with Blessing of Candles and Procession)

Sun. 02/05 1:00 PM: High Mass at St. Hyacinth (Septuagesima Sunday) – Continuation of Tridentine Masses at St. Hyacinth depends in part on the level of attendance at this Mass [Editor's comment: Want to see the interior of a magnificent Catholic church and experience a beautiful Extraordinary Form Mass while you're at it? Take a hint!]
[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 January 29, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Friday, January 27, 2012

No crisis in the Church?

Of course, it's only a Vanity Fair poll (conducted with a little help from CNN), but the results are all-too-predictably telling -- particularly the portion devoted to the following question:

So ... do we laugh or lament? See Voris' commentary HERE.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tridentine Community News

Tridentine Community News (January 22, 2012):
Next Tridentine Mass at Ss. Peter & Paul West Side

One week after the news that St. Hyacinth Church has decided to hold an additional Mass in the Extraordinary Form, Ss. Peter & Paul (west side), Detroit has announced that it will hold another Tridentine High Mass at 12:15 PM on Sunday, March 25, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Lætáre Sunday). As with St. Hyacinth, your support of the first Mass there in December demonstrated that there is sufficient interest to continue scheduling Tridentine Masses. Additional Masses may be scheduled in the future if demand continues.

We ask your prayers for, and words of thanks to, the priests and people of Ss. Peter & Paul, St. Hyacinth, St. Albertus, and our own St. Joseph and Sweetest Heart of Mary, for hosting these periodic Masses. They are in the vanguard of the growing presence of the Extraordinary Form in ordinary parish life.

“Commemoration” of the Baptism of the Lord

A reader asked why the Feast on January 13 is entitled the “Commemoration” of the Baptism of the Lord, rather than just “The Baptism of the Lord”. Two observations might offer some insight:

First, the Proper Antiphons and Epistle of the Mass are the same as those of the Feast of the Epiphany. The Liber Usuális, the book of chants used by the cantor at the Tridentine Mass, does not even have an entry for the Mass of the Commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord; it is presumed that the user knows to turn to the Mass of the Epiphany. The Orations and Gospel of the Mass are those of the Mass of the Octave of the Epiphany, which was removed from the Calendar by Pope Pius XII as part of the 1955 revisions to the Missal; clearly the Epiphany remains the dominant theme. It would therefore not seem “proper”, as it were, to represent the Propers of this Mass as being something unique unto themselves. In effect, this is a commemoration of the historical event of the Baptism of the Lord during a partially repeated Mass of the Epiphany of the Lord.

Second, the Baptism of the Lord, along with the Wedding Feast at Cana, are actually incorporated into the Propers of the Second Vespers of Epiphany. These plus the visitation of the Magi provide the three main themes of the Feast of the Epiphany. This is reflected in the English Epiphany hymn, Songs of Thankfulness and Praise, whose lyrics address all three events. There does not seem to be a reason to separate entirely a concept that is already a part of the main Feast.

This scenario is also a reminder that there is more to the Propers of a given Feast than just those Propers used at Holy Mass. We must remember that the Divine Office contains its own Propers which ought to be considered when reflecting upon the theme of a particular Feast.

Titles Assigned to Saints

Every Saint in the calendar is assigned one or more titles. These titles are most frequently found in missals and listings of weekday Masses. For example, “St. John Chrysostom, Bishop, Confessor, & Doctor”. Let’s explore what these titles mean:

Bishop: Self-explanatory

Confessor [of the Faith]: A male champion of the Faith who has not been martyred. Effectively the catch-all term for male Saints not classified by another title.

Doctor [of the Church]: One who has made an important contribution to theology or doctrine

Holy Abbot: Superior of a monastery

Holy Woman: A female champion of the Faith. Can be used as a catch-all in the absence of another title.

Martyr: One who died for the Faith

Pope: Self-explanatory

Virgin: Only used for female Saints

The Propers (Readings, Orations [prayers], and Antiphons) for a given Saint’s Mass can range from being entirely unique, to being entirely generic, to being a mixture of unique and generic components.

The generic parts are taken from the Commons Masses. There are Commons Mass Propers for, for example, the “Common of a Martyr Bishop” the “Common of a Martyr Not a Bishop”, and the “Commons of Many Martyrs Not Bishops”. There are also Commons for the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin and for the Dedication of a Church. Some of the Commons are subdivided into ones to be used during certain liturgical seasons, such as “Common of a Martyr Not a Bishop – Outside Paschal Time”. Many Saints’ Feast Masses contain unique Collects or Readings but use the remainder of the Commons’ Propers. (Confused yet? We are.) Fortunately, no one needs to understand all of this fully, because hand missals and altar missals contain clear directions as to which parts of which Commons need to be used for a particular Feast.

Some Saints are given additional titles such as Widow, Priest, or Hermit, but those titles do not refer to specific Common Masses.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 01/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat ([Mandated] Votive Mass for Peace)

Tue. 01/24 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Timothy, Bishop & Martyr)
[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 January 22, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

For the record: Annual March for Life today in DC

"Today – compare and contrast: National Catholic Register and National Catholic Reporter" (WDTPRS, Jan. 23, 2012):
The front page of the National Catholic Register is very focused on the Church’s prolife message.

Fishwrap? Zip.

At least not yet. They are probably preparing massive coverage for later in the day.


Still, it is after noon where I am and they have nothing.
Well, nothing, perhaps, until THIS.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holy See does NOT approve NeoCat liturgy

At first it seemed TO ME that the Vatican had approved the new liturgical forms of the Neocatechumenal movement. (See "Rite approved? Let us call it the New Liturgical Way," Rorate Caeli, January 20, 2010). However, I must have misread the closely-nuanced text.

One commentator declared, in fact: "The one good to be derived from this will be the wry amusement one can enjoy reading the conservatives defend this action." Which seemed to confirm MY initial impression that approval was granted to the NeoCat liturgical way, or at least whatever is not already under the governance of existing Vatican liturgical norms.

Fr. Z. immediately suggested, however, a cautionary note: "This didn’t sound to me like the thought of a Pope about to approve the NeoCat liturgy." He suggests that these are the "celebrations" to which the Pope in his address refers to as "not strictly liturgical," and which "are NOT, by their nature, already regulated by the liturgical books of the Church" (emphasis added).

Then, sure enough, reports out yesterday and today confirmed that my first impressions were mistaken:In fact, this should have been clear all along from a more careful reading of Rorate Caeli's excellent-(as-always) post. I obviously missed the chief point amidst the nuance. My bad.

Update 1/23/12

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The smooth compelling urbanity of blue culture

I spend more time than I like driving every day, which means I listen to a lot of radio. It's interesting to compare the discussions going on in different venues -- Catholic radio, National Public Radio (NPR), conservative talk radio of various stripe.

One thing I've noticed is that the sound of NPR is always smooth, polished, unhurried, articulate, and professional. If you didn't stop to listen to what was being said and analyze the underlying assumptions and commitments of those speaking, you might even get the impression that you were getting the unvarnished TRUTH.

Among the possible reasons for this, one may be that the station isn't littered with advertisements like other talk radio is. But that's not the only reason. There's an impressive professional tone to what's said that inspires not mere confidence, but a certain comfort.

I wouldn't be surprised if the NPR hosts had to be vetted on voice quality to make sure it's sufficiently hypnotic. It can lull the listener into a stupor of bland acceptance. "You will believe what we tell you ... These are THE FACTS ... This is the CORRECT way to think about things. Anybody with half a brain holds the opinions that we do ..." Etc.

In the faculty lounge of my institution this afternoon, I caught a bit of a University of Chicago panel discussion, which included a very polished lineup of mostly very BLUE panelists: Rahm Emanuel, David Brooks, Rachel Maddow, and Alex Castellanos (the lone Republican and media consultant). George Stephanopoulos served as moderator.

What struck me again was how seemingly reasonable these people can sound on the level of image and style. They were all quite charming, measured in tone, professional, pleasant overall. This contrasts to what you sometimes encounter on the other side, where the style can seem parochial, a bit pinched, if not judgmental and harsh.

In an age of connotative spin and image, it's not hard to see what is attractive about the blue message, because the medium (the style and spin) IS the message. It takes much more effort to probe beneath the surface of this superficial image and analyze the logic and premises of what is being said. In short, the media has largely gone blue, and the country is doomed. Or, we're doomed, at least to sound bites, edited video clips, and spin -- rather than propositions and arguments.

I haven't owned a television in decades and find the experience liberation. Liberate your mind and joint the Society for the Defenstration of Television Sets.

US Bishops call Pres. Obama’s attack “literally unconscionable”

Unconscionable to force citizens to buy contraceptives against their will....

WASHINGTON—The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today’s announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Of such is the kingdom of heaven . . .

Mark Wahlberg's Catholic faith, inspiring

Billy Hallowell, "I 'Go to Church Every Day': Actor Mark Wahlberg Credits Faith for Turning His Life Around" (The Blaze, January 17, 2012):
Actor Mark Wahlberg likely surprised viewers when he appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” last Friday to discuss a variety of issues — his faith, the importance of family, his work in the community and more.

For the record: preamble update

Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli's source in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith provides him the following information (published in today's La Stampa - translation by Vatican Insider, corrected according to the Italian original), from Rorate Caeli, January 17, 2012.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trotskyite Republicans? Where are we headed?

The apparent balkanization of the Republican party got me thinking about just how diverse are the views held under the political umbrella of that party. Using the familiar jargon of the popular media, there are the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, the evangelicals, the moderate conservatives, big government conservatives, libertarian conservatives, and about a dozen or two more variations and combinations among the rest of prospective voting blocks, ranging from Tea Party conservatives to moderate swing voters. There seem to be very few individuals any more capable of capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of the entire GOP voting block and really uniting it the way Ronald Reagan did, just as there seems to be nearly nobody anymore who can unite this deeply divided country of these "United" States.

Just how deeply this balkanization runs was driven home for me by a video clip by Sen. Ron Paul I recently discovered from May of last year in which he endeavors to expose the neocon agenda in American government by showing us what nocons really believe. The term "neocon," of course, is about as hard to pin down as "liberal" or "fundamentalist" these days; but what Sen. Paul means by it is the political movement whose descendants stem historically from left-wing Ashkenazi Jewish Trotskyites who now identify themselves explicitly as "neo-conservatives" and include the spiritual stepchildren of Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol, like Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kegan, William Kristol, Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey,Frank Gaffney, and others like Dick Cheney, William Bennett, Ronald Rumsfeld, and Rupert Murdoch (owner of Fox New, The Wall Street Journal, and, I believe, the New York Post and Weekly Standard).

He mentions as key beliefs and assumptions of such neoconservatives: (1) Trotsky's historical tenet of permanent revolution, (2) redrawing the map of the Middle East, (3) pre-emptive war to achieve desired ends, (4) that the ends justify the means, (5) support for the welfare state, (6) American Empire-building, (7) the necessity of deceiving the public in the interest of the state's survival, (8) the necessity of a strong, centralized federal government, (9) the government by an 'elite', (10) opposition to American neutrality in foreign affairs, (11) reject libertarianism and constitutionalism, (12) the necessity of compromising civil liberties for security, as in the Patriot Act, (13) unconditional support for Israel and the Likud Party.

He mentions also the promotion of these ideas via the agenda of the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for a New American Century, as well as its parent organization, the Bradley Foundation. He mentions the (unwitting?) support for this neoconservative agenda, as well as for Israeli Zionism (usually for fundamentalist biblical-theological reasons) by various Christian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists.

You get the picture. None of this is really new, though it may be news to some. It has all been said by others before in various places, including Dale Vree, the former editor of New Oxford Review, in a December, 2005, editorial, "What is a Neoconservative? -- & Does It Matter?," who talked at some length about the ultra-Left Communist (Trotskyite) origins of modern American political neoconservatism. It has been said before by the likes of Jack Bernstein in "The Life of an American Jew in Racist Marxist Israel" (1985), who, among other things, pointed out the radical racial discrimination between the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews in Israel, the former of European descent, usually Zionists and often of Marxist orientation; the latter of Middle Eastern descent, religiously conservative, poor and persecuted. The agenda of American neoconservativism would be perceived as "friendly" by the Jewish Zionist movement, while there are other Jewish groups decidedly opposed to such an agenda, such as the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network.

None of this is surprising as such. What surprised me, however, is that it came from Sen. Ron Paul. But then, what did I know about Ron Paul? Next-to-nothing, except for what I've read and seen in the mainstream media and the public debates, where he hasn't been very impressive.

Like most everyone else, I see things I like and dislike in all of the Republican candidates. I like the fact that Sen. Santorum has a clear Catholic vision and can articulare an intelligent rationale for some of the Church's positions on social issues. I like some of the zingers launched by Speaker Newt Gingrich in his debates. I like the flat tax idea floated by Gov. Perry. I like the usual poise under pressure of Mr. Romney. I even like the occasional statement by Sen. Paul. But I'm not confident that any of these can unite the party, let alone the country, although I would just love to be pleasantly surprised. I am more-and-more confident, however, that the real winner in this election, like the last, will be the mainstream media; and while I hope it makes some difference which party occupies the presidential office, I'm no longer convinced that any candidate, once elected, can likely turn this country around, now that it's hit the greased skids to what looks like spiritual as well as socio-economic suicide.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pray for detained, imprisoned clergy in China

"Appeal to authorities for Chinese New Year: release of three bishops and of six priests who have disappeared" (WDTPRS, January 16, 2012).

Fr. Z. suggests praying a Memorare on their behalf.

400 men, standing ovation for Voris at "Testosterone Central" in MN

Every month, several hundred Catholic men gather for an evening of "Muscular Catholicism" at the Argument of the Month Club, the Men's Forum for Catholic Apologetics, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. The convocation may evoke congeries of ancient Scandinavian tribal Folkmoot gatherings of meaty Conan-the-Barbarian-type blond beasts emerging from saunas and sweat lodges amidst a cacophony of Shreckish grunts, but the facts are a bit more heart-warming. Have a look:

According to the above-linked website, whose feature article carries the banner: "Standing Ovation for Michael Voris on Tuesday, January 10th!":
Once again Michael Voris packed the AOTM hall with men ready to hear how to fight for the soul of Catholicism! He came out swinging and pulled no punches. His message was clear and spoken with passion for the Truth. That message of truth was received with a standing ovation! Four Hundred men standing and cheering for the Truth!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekday High Masses for 2012

Tridentine Community News (January 15, 2012):
By popular request, we are publishing a list of all of the weekday High Masses that are intended to be offered at St. Josaphat Church in 2012. The list includes Masses already offered for completeness. This will be the fifth year in which St. Josaphat will offer High Masses on major Feast Days, including First and Second Class Feasts on which a Gloria and Credo are specified. A few Feasts that meet these criteria will be skipped, notably the Wednesday-Saturday Masses of the Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas Octaves. There will no Masses on the Ember Days, as was done on occasion in the past.

High Masses listed in bold will also be offered simultaneously at Windsor’s Assumption Church. Apart from Good Friday, All Souls Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, weekday Tridentine Masses at Assumption are only held on Tuesdays. In addition to the listed days, Low Masses are held every Monday at St. Josaphat and every Tuesday at Assumption at 7:00 PM.

Monday-Friday High Masses will be held at 7:00 PM. Masses on Saturday will be held at either 9:30 AM or Noon, depending on the celebrant’s preference. Please check or the preceding Sunday’s Tridentine Community News, usually posted first at, for confirmation of a particular week’s High Masses and a particular Saturday Mass time.
  • Mon. 01/02: Most Holy Name of Jesus
  • Fri. 01/06: Epiphany
  • Fri. 01/13: Commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord
  • Thu. 02/02: Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (including blessing of and procession with candles)
  • Wed. 02/22: Ash Wednesday
  • Sat. 02/25: St. Matthias, Apostle
  • Mon. 03/19: St. Joseph (likely to be held at St. Joseph Church instead of St. Josaphat)
  • Mon. 03/26: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary [transferred from the usual 03/25]
  • Thu. 04/05: Holy Thursday at 7:00 PM
  • Fri. 04/06: Good Friday Liturgy at 1:30 PM at St. Josaphat and 5:30 PM at Assumption-Windsor
  • Sat. 04/07: Easter Vigil at 8:00 PM
  • Mon. 04/09: Easter Monday
  • Tue. 04/10: Easter Tuesday at Assumption-Windsor only
  • Wed. 04/25: St. Mark, Evangelist
  • Tue. 05/01: St. Joseph the Worker
  • Fri. 05/11: Ss. Philip & James, Apostles
  • Thu. 05/17: Ascension of the Lord
  • Mon. 05/28: Pentecost Monday
  • Tue. 05/29: Pentecost Tuesday at Assumption-Windsor only
  • Mon. 06/11: St. Barnabas, Apostle
  • Fri. 06/15: Sacred Heart of Jesus
  • Fri. 06/29: Ss. Peter & Paul, Apostles
  • Mon. 07/02: Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Wed. 07/25: St. James the Greater, Apostle
  • Thu. 07/26 or Sun. 07/29 [TBD]: Ste. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit
  • Mon. 08/06: Transfiguration of the Lord
  • Wed. 08/15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Wed. 08/22: Immaculate Heart of Mary
  • Fri. 08/24: St. Bartholomew, Apostle
  • Sat. 09/08: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Fri. 09/14: Exaltation of the Holy Cross
  • Sat. 09/15: Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Fri. 09/21: St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
  • Sat. 09/29: Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel
  • Thu. 10/11: Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Thu. 10/18: St. Luke, Evangelist
  • Thu. 11/01: All Saints
  • Fri. 11/02: All Souls [Low Masses at Side Altars at 6:00 PM; Solemn High Mass at High Altar at 7:00 PM]
  • Fri. 11/09: Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Holy Savior
  • Fri. 11/30: St. Andrew, Apostle
  • Sat. 12/08: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Fri. 12/21: St. Thomas, Apostle
  • Tue. 12/25: Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Joseph Church
  • Tue. 12/25: Christmas Day Mass at 9:30 AM at St. Josaphat, and at 2:00 PM at Assumption-Windsor
  • Wed. 12/26: St. Stephen, Protomartyr
  • Thu. 12/27: St. John, Apostle & Evangelist
  • Fri. 12/28: Holy Innocents
The availability of weekday Masses depends first and foremost upon the availability of a celebrant. For this reason we ask that you pray for our priests, and bring to our attention any priest who is interested in learning the Extraordinary Form by e-mailing the address at the bottom of this page. Weekday High Masses also depend upon the availability of an organist/cantor, sufficient altar servers to set up the church before Mass and clean up afterwards, and a parking lot guard at St. Josaphat. Should any of these elements fail to come through, a given weekday Mass might have to be cancelled.

Celebrants, organists, and guards are all paid for their services, plus heating up the church for Mass has a cost. We ask those of you who regularly attend weekday Masses kindly to take this into consideration when making your Sunday donations, as collections are not taken up at most weekday Masses.

Next Tridentine Mass at St. Hyacinth

The next Tridentine High Mass at St. Hyacinth Church will be held on Sunday, February 5 at 1:00 PM. Your support of the first Mass held there a few months ago was instrumental in the decision to hold this Mass. Additional Masses may be scheduled in the future if interest continues.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
Mon. 01/16 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Marcellus I, Pope & Martyr)

Tue. 01/17 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Anthony, Abbott)

Sun. 01/22 Noon: High Mass at St. Albertus (Third Sunday After Epiphany)
[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 January 15, 2012. Hat tip to A.B.]

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mershon reviews Cekada

Last year Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB, reviewed Anthony Cekada's Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI (Philothea Press, 2010), 445 pp pb, as we noted last August in our post, "The elephant in the liturgical living room" (August 28, 2011).

Brian Mershon has just reviewed it, after reading it "multiple times," in RenewAmerica. Mershon says he highly recommends the book to those "who desire to understand in excruciating detail the theological reasons behind the rupture with liturgical and theological tradition caused by the use of this new rite of Mass for the past 40 years."

The book should provoke some healthy controversy where it's needed.

"Secular Theocracy"? (Updated)

David J. Theroux,

When priests have wives, or husbands . . .

Fr. Longenecker, "The Vicarage Bedroom" (January 13, 2012), writes:

Some time ago a friend of mine (we'll call him James) who was once an Anglican vicar opined that the introduction of women priests had an unexpected consequence in the bedrooms of vicarages across the land. What made him think was the ad in a church paper for a new vicar for what had always been a conservative Evangelical parish. After stating what sort of person they were looking for the advertisers added, "Marital status not an issue."

In former times, my friend observed, this would have meant "We are willing to accept an unmarried man for the post." What it now means is "We're not going to ask any questions about the vicarage bedroom." Indeed, he knew of parishes in the Church of England with just about every permutation of modern "marriage" possible. Two men living together, two women, divorced and remarried people, single women with children, single men with children after divorce, men and women co name it.

James said, "I think what happened when women were ordained is that a certain understanding about Christian marriage was also shattered.... Read more >>
[Hat tip to J.M.]

On Bethke: Does Jesus hate religion?

Kevin DeYoung, "Does Jesus Hate Religion? Kinda, Sorta, Not Really" (The Gospel Coalition, January 12, 2012):
There’s a new You Tube video going viral and it’s about Jesus and religion.

Specifically how Jesus hates religion.

The video—which in a few days has gone from hundreds of views to thousands to millions—shows Jefferson Bethke, who lives in the Seattle area, delivering a well-crafted, sharply produced, spoken word poem. The point, according to Bethke, is “to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion.”
Read more >>. Bethke's presentation is superficially powerful, and DeYoung's post offers some helpful insights into how a Catholic might want to respond -- points that a Catholic might be willing to learn from even a Reformed Protestant.

[Hat tips to JM & Fr. Z]

Friday, January 13, 2012

Ocáriz v. Gleize on V-II: What is "doctrinal continuity"?

For any of you who haven't noticed, there is a very interesting and often quite serious and substantial debate that has been going on for some time over at Rorate Caeli over the question doctrinal continuity and Vatican II, occasioned by two articles by participants in the doctrinal discussions about Vatican II that took place in Rome between the CDF and SSPX from October 2009 to April 2011.

The first article, by Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz Braña, Vicar General of Holy Cross and Opus Dei (one of the Vatican representatives in the doctrinal talks with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X), was published in the December 2, 2011 issue of the official daily of the Holy See, L'Osservatore Romano, and is entitled "On adhesion to the Second Vatican Council."

The second article, by Fr. Jean-Michel Gleize, professor of theology in the International Seminary of Saint Pius X in Écône, Switzerland (also a participant in the doctrinal discussions between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X), is a response to the former article published in Le Courrier de Rome (no. 350, décembre 2011), made available by DICI in English shortly before Christmas, 2011 (the full text, in Italian: "Una questione cruciale: il valore magisteriale del Concilio Vaticano II").

Those interested in the wider debate can garner a taste of the controversy by consulting the lively comments to the following two posts:Can academic conferences commemorating the Second Vatican Council in this 50th anniversary year expect to be taken seriously by turning a blind eye to the family of issues raised in the exchange between Ocáriz v. Gleize?

  • Another exchange, this one between Dominican Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli and Sì Sì No No, published HERE.

Bugnini's dream: Will pope approve Neocatechumenal liturgy?

Sandro Magister's latest column, "'Placet' or 'Non placet?' The wager of Carmen and Kiko" (www.Chiesa, January 13, 2012), reports:
The founders of the Neocatechumenal Way aim to obtain definitive Vatican approval for their "convivial" way of celebrating the Mass. The document is ready. But it could be modified or blocked in extremis. The verdict on January 20.
As New Catholic points out in "Bugnini and the Neocatechumenal Way" (Rorate Caeli, January 13, 2012), Magister's report states that Annibale Bugnini, the architect of the Novus Ordo Missae in the 1960s, "congratulated himself over the way in which the first communities founded by Kiko and Carmen celebrated the Mass," pointing out that it was he, "together with the co-founders, who decided to call the newborn movement 'Neocatechumenal Way.'"

The question, of course, is whether the "NeoCat liturgy" will obtain papal approval. Does anything surprise one these days?

Update 1/22/2012

Will the EU repress Hungary as did the Warsaw Pact?

An interesting comparison between the Warsaw Pact's intervention in Hungary in the 1950s and the EU's power-play to "ensure Hungary complies with European principles" -- doubtless animated by fear of Hungary's "terrifying" new constitution.

What, one cannot be too cautious these days, with the possibility that any of these EU member nations might see a recrudescence of incorrect medieval sentiments expressed in such "terrifying" utterances as: "God bless the Hungarians," or "We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving our nationhood." The very prospect conjures up nefarious memories of THE INQUISITION, if not THE CRUSADES!! Eeeeek!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seminal history of Vatican II now in German

Roberto de Mattei's groundbreaking book on the history of Vatican II, Il Concilio Vaticano II: una storia mai scritta (The Second Vatican Council – a never before written history), Turin, Lindau, 2010, is available in German - its first published translation, a wonderful gift for all your German-speaking friends, according to New Catholic, "Trickling Down" (Rorate Caeli, January 12, 2012).

He adds: "We hope it will soon become available in all major languages, in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the last ecumenical Council."

The German title is: Das Zweite Vatikanische Konzil: Eine bislang ungeschriebene Geschichte (Canisius-Werk, 2011).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Barak and Michelle's top 5 "let them eat cake" moments

Patrick Hruby, in The Washington Times (Jan. 11, 2012).

SCOTUS unanimous decision upholding religious liberty, “ministerial exception”

In what may be its most significant religious liberty decision in decades, the Supreme Court of the United States today, by a unanimous decision, recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination law, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose and dismiss their leaders without government interference. (See NYT, and WDTPRS)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Cardinal George recants comparing Gay Pride to KKK

As seen in these reports by The Washington Post (Jan. 9, 2012), Fox News (Jan. 6, 2012), and Catholic News Roundup (January 9, 2012).

For the record: Voris update (+updates)

As I've suggested in an earlier post on the subject, I have neither any reason nor competency for questioning the juridical reasoning of the Archdiocese of Detroit or its eminently capable canonist, Ed Peters. Yet I would also argue that non-canonical questions may be at issue here that are no less interesting and every bit as important, as I am sure Peters and others would concur.

This whole incident over Real Catholic TV could have an eminently salutary effect, it seems to me, if it became a vehicle for smoking out the really serious culprits, the dissembling dissenters and saboteurs of the Faith among the etiolated remnant of the church-going Catholics, whose thin, watered-down catechetical consommé has become the shallow puddle of our experience in too many regions of AmChurch today.

In this light, the call to prayer (and, I would add, penance), not only for Detroit but for the whole Roman Catholic Church, is certainly one that any faithful Catholic should welcome.

The Counts of Jesu Christo, Part II

The Massacre of the Holy Innocents by Fra Angelico

By Michael P. Foley

This article is a companion to an article of the same name in the christmas 2008 issue of the Latin Mass.

It might seem odd to think of anyone else besides the Infant Jesus or the Holy Family during the octave of Our Lord’s Nativity, but the Church in her wisdom does precisely that. Immediately following Christmas Day are the feasts of several holy men and boys known as the comites Christi, “the comrades of Christ.” Comes not only means “companion” but it is also the Latin word for the noble title of count. As this would suggest, the comites Christi are somehow close to their Lord in the way that a royal entourage is close to its king. The Church acknowledges a spiritual intimacy by placing the feasts of certain saints close to that of the birthday of their Sovereign: the Byzantine rite, for example, pays special honor to the Princes of the Apostles, Peter and Paul, by celebrating their feast on December 28.

* * * * * * *
It might seem odd to think of anyone else besides the Infant Jesus or the Holy Family during the octave of Our Lord’s Nativity, but the Church in her wisdom does precisely that.

* * * * * * *

During the same week, the Western Church honors St. Stephen (December 26), the first martyr in both act and desire and hence the first to be honored after Christmas; St. John the Evangelist (December 27), the disciple closest to Christ during the Last Supper; the Holy Innocents (December 28), close to the Infant Jesus by their martyrdom; St. Thomas Becket (December 29), whose death at the hands of a Christian king on this day in 1170 so shocked Christendom that his feast day was given the privilege of remaining within the Christmas octave; and St. Sylvester (December 31), the Pope who lived to see the civic peace that followed the Roman persecutions and whose feast thus aptly gives voice to our prayers for the new civic year.

Three years ago, we looked at the feasts of two such counts, Saints Stephen the Proto-Martyr and John the Apostle.1 This year we turn our attention to the rest of the Roman rite’s Christmas Camelot: the Holy Infants, St. Thomas Becket, and Pope St. Sylvester.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

CDF pastoral recommendations for V-II anniversary

Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, William Cardinal Levada, has issued a Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith:
"With the Apostolic Letter of 11 October 2011, Porta fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared a Year of Faith. This year will begin on 11 October 2012, on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, and will conclude on 24 November 2013, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King...." Read more >>

So ... we have a national Presidential election to contend with; and then this. I wonder, which will hold more surprises?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Criminal serving time with monks begs to be sent back to prison

And they used to call them "hardened criminals" ...

"Criminal serving his sentence with monks pleads to be sent back to prison... because monastery life is too hard" (Mail Online, January 5, 2012):
Thief David Catalano, 31, was sent to a Santa Maria degli Angeli community run by Capuchin monks in Sicily last November.

But he found their austere lifetstyle too tough to handle and soon escaped. After a short while on the run he was caught by police and sent back.

On Monday he fled for the second time in six weeks, only to swiftly turn himself in at a police station and beg officers to send him back to jail in the nearby town of Nicosia.

He told the stunned policemen: 'Prison is better than being at that hostel run by monks.'

A police spokesman said: 'Catalano arrived out of the blue and said there was no way he could stay on with the monks.
[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Pray for the people of Los Angeles and for Archbp. Gomez.

As Blogsville is already achatter over the resignation of LA's Aux. Bp. Most Rev. Gabino Zavala after two of his teenage children were discovered, I need say little about it. How very sad.

Pictured below is the Bishop with altar serves of the Campus Ministry Mount Saint Mary's College following the "Closing Liturgy" in a past edition of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. [Source]

Fr. John Zuhlsdorff notes that Bp. Zavala also presided over the closing liturgy of the "Three Days of Darkness" Education Conference in LA a couple years back. Who could forget?

And, yes, Fr. Z also called this, back when it happened, "reason #65648 for Summorum Pontificum," be that as it may.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

An apologia for the new Missal translation

This from a commentator named "Spero" over at Rorate Caeli, a counter-point to the main post by Adfero:
Yes, the new translation will not fix the way the new Mass is said in most places. Yes, there are problems even in the Latin. However, as a recently ordained diocesan priest, I have to say that the new translation is not nothing. It may be nothing in terms of forcing an real end to the liturgical debacle. However, at our parish's small daily Masses, where we never have extraordinary ministers, where I rarely look up toward the people outside of the homily, where nothing is sung except the hymn I pick for the recessional, and at which I use the Roman Canon daily, omit the general intercessions, and always use the Confiteor and the entrance and communion antiphons, it has made a difference to me.

You are right, it has not changed the way I say Mass. I used the same "options" with the old translation. You are right, it is still the Novus Ordo with all the issues that that entails. However, I have found that sacrificial language of the new translation of the Roman Canon very edifying. I am able to say each day and my parishioners hear at each of my Masses, "and bless these gifts, these offerings the holy and unblemished sacrifices," "bless, acknowledge and approve this offering in every respect," "accept this oblation of our service," "we...offer to your glorious majesty...this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation; Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance and accept them...and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim." In addition, the orations are translated far more accurately. I have many times found orations which are identical to those found in the TLM. With the new translation it is much easier to preach on these texts. The old translation mangled them so badly that even where the Novus Ordo made us of traditional orations, the translation made them unrecognizable and often altered their theology.

So no, the new translation will not fix our liturgical crisis. Yes, most people will find the mess at their parishes to be more or less the same. However, the new translation is still not nothing. I became a diocesan priest, rather than joining the FSSP or another community (which I seriously considered), because I believe that this is where God is asking me to be. Being where I am, I have found the new translation to be a real help in making that best of a bizarre historical situation.
[Hat tip to J.M.]

Voris update

I've been given to understand that formally and canonically, the Archdiocese of Detroit is on firm ground in referencing Canon 216 of the Roman Catholic Church's current Code of Canon Law, which holds that “no undertaking is to claim the name 'Catholic'” without authorization. If Real Catholic TV dropped the word "Catholic" from its name, there would be no canonical ground for objecting to Voris' media presentations, no matter how people felt about their content.

Their content (as well as the opposition to it) is, of course, another matter with too many unknown quantities to hazard anything like a confident judgment at this point. Nevertheless, there are some obvious candidates for what might offend: Voris' bluntness -- for example, his willingness to directly call President Obama "evil" (because of Obama's support for abortion, courting of the homosexualist lobby, opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, and disregard for ethical positions of Catholic hospitals), or his ecumenically insensitive references to Protestantism as "heresy" (not even Belloc was willing to go that far in his book on The Great Heresies) or his willingness to call modern Judaism a "man-made religion" in the Catholic tradition of supersessionism (viewing the Church as the true spiritual Israel) -- views largely discarded in practice after Vatican II.

Some of you may remember my piece, "What's right and wrong with Michael Voris" (Musings, August 6, 2011), objecting to some all-too-superficial treatments of "Protestantism" without a nuanced appreciation of the significant differences between those traditions that may have at one time had valid (if illicit) orders, such as the Anglicans, and those that are so far removed from the sacramental tradition of the Church that they no longer even baptize or celebrate 'memorials' of the Lord's Supper, like the Quakers and membership of the Salvation Army. Further, Voris sometimes seems to lack an appreciation for the clear evidence of the life of the Holy Spirit and redemptively changed lives in some extra-ecclesial communions, such as those that produced the missionary movement of the former China Inland Mission and its yield of thousands of conversions to Christ, if not to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

Still, I think it goes without saying that Voris' apostolate has an important place in the life of many faithful Catholics. His opposition to the "Catholicism-and-water" that prevails throughout the AmChurch world, with it's knee-jerk "we're-all-the-same-anyway" faux ecumenism, its all-too-easy accommodationism toward the culturally ascendant relativism in morals and all its "lies and falsehoods," is a breath of fresh realism for many Catholics. So, too, is Voris' appreciation of the invaluable treasures and resources that Catholic tradition has to offer.

While appreciating all of these positive features of Voris' apostolate, I see little problem with the technical canonical point that would prevent him from using the name "Catholic" without being granted permission from his local bishop. I see little problem, too, in admitting that it could be problematic to suppose that everything he says represents the official position of the Church, since some of his statements are simply too baldly unqualified. That, of course, is part of his popular appeal. His presentations often take the form of blistering jeremiads against hypocrisy and evil in high places. These are bound to offend; and those Catholic faithful, who have felt too long affronted by a discrepancy between word and deed among their leaders, quite likely feel at last a sense of vindication when this unrestrained Jeremiah stands up and calls it like he sees it, or, more-to-the-point, calls it like they see it.

The latest news, in any case, is that Real Catholic TV may be saved for the moment by a technicality of its own. According to CNA today:
... Voris maintains that Archbishop Vigneron is not the “competent ecclesiastical authority” over Real Catholic TV, which is owned by Indiana resident Marc Brammer.

“I don’t have ownership over the name of the organization. It’s not my organization. The headquarters are outside of the diocese,” Voris told LifeSiteNews in a Dec. 23 article. “It’s the wrong person, and the wrong outfit asking the wrong person the wrong question.”

Brammer told LifeSiteNews that “if all of a sudden now there’s this tussle over the use of the word 'Catholic,'” he would “deal with it through competent ecclesial authority.”

Monday, January 02, 2012

English Catholic converts who experienced V-II: reactionary cranks or prescient prophets?

In his Foreword to A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes,Expanded Edition (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), Joseph Pearce writes:
It is a singularly intriguing fact that the preconciliar Church was so effective in evangelizing modern culture, whereas the number of converts to the faith seemed to diminish in the sixties and seventies in direct proportion to the presence of the much-vaunted aggiornamento, the muddle-headed belief that the Church needed to be brought "up-to-date."
And the number of well-known literary converts from those pre-conciliar days is remarkable indeed. In the English-speaking world there were G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Dawson, Fr. Ronald Knox, Evelyn Waugh, Sheila Kay-Smith, Compton MacKenzie, Alfred Noyes, Hugh Ross Williamson, Sir Alec Guinness, and Malcolm Muggeridge -- not to mention, in the preceding generation, Cardinal Newman, Fr. F.W. Faber, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, to name a mere handful.

The numbers of well-known converts in Europe were equally impressive: Charles Péguy, Léon Bloy, François Mauriac, Henri Ghéon, Giovanni Papini, Gertrud von Le Fort, Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Sigrid Undset, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Louis Bouyer -- not to mention the likes of Maria Alphonse Ratisbonne in the previous generation.

What is no less interesting about these converts is that most of them witnessed the liturgical experimentation and innovations leading up to the liturgical changes promulgated Second Vatican Council and were appalled by them. Nobody is more familiar with this fact than Joseph Pearce who built his career around this generation of English Catholic converts.

In his review of Joseph Pearce's wonderful book, Literary Converts(London : HarperCollins, 1999; rpt., San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), reprinted by Seattle Catholic (October 11, 2004) from The Latin Mass Magazine, Fr. Eugene Dougherty observes that Pearce's book has a special appeal for those who love the Church and the traditional Latin Mass. The subtitle of the book "Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief," he says, reinforced his own faith by affording him the company of authors with whom he grew up: G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Ronald Knox, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Malcolm Muggeridge, and a host of others.

Fr. Dougherty's chief interest in these authors today, he says, is that many of them "experienced" the Second Vatican Council, and that their reaction was generally the same as the fifty prominent English authors who petitioned the Holy Father to preserve the traditional Mass. (Incidentally, the petition was presented to Pope Paul VI by John Carmel Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster in London. The story goes that it was the inclusion among the signatories of the non-Catholic mystery writer Agatha Christie, whom Pope Paul VI admired, which persuaded him to agree to what amounted to a unique national exemption from the Novus Ordo, which in fact came to be known as the Agatha Christie Indult.) These 20th-century converts were attracted to the Faith, says Dougherty, by "the very things that the leadership of the Church has now rejected, in the 'spirit' of Vatican II." He writes:
Malcolm Muggeridge, we are told by biographer Joseph Pearce, "could not (at first) bring himself to be a Roman Catholic. The reason centered on his dislike of the changes instigated by the Second Vatican Council. To Muggeridge, the "spirit of Vatican II was destroying Christendom: "Catholicism, he declared, was seeking to reproduce all the "follies and fatuities of Protestantism," and he would not climb aboard a sinking ship.

Ronald Knox, who died in 1957, did not witness the Council, but he was aware of the coming destruction of the liturgy. He spoke of the liturgical reformers as "a strange alliance between archaeologists absorbed in their speculations on the rites of the second century, and modernists who wish to give the Church the character of our deplorable epoch." On one occasion someone requested him to use the vernacular in the baptismal rite. His response was, "The baby doesn't understand English and the Devil knows Latin."
(emphasis added)
In the following précis of Literary Converts, Fr. Dougherty limits himself to those converts who lived long enough to witness the Council, allowing them to speak in their own voices:
On behalf of these converts to the Catholic faith from Protestantism, Evelyn Waugh asked Cardinal Heenan:
Why were we led out of the church of our childhood to find the Church of our own adoption assuming the very forms we disliked?
Christopher Dawson:
[There is] ... a philistine and patronizing attitude to Baroque Catholicism expressed by certain "modern" Catholics.
Hugh Ross Williamson:
The changes [are] echoing everything that was done at the Reformation... the Martyrs have died for nothing.
David Jones:
One year they abolish the biretta, the next year they abolish the Mass.... I can't understand it all; they'll be pulling down Chartres Cathedral next.
Cecil Gill:
The vulgarization of the Mass.... One sighs for a Low Mass instead of this brash version of the sacred liturgy.
George Mackey Brown:
The vernacular has robbed the Mass of its majesty and mystery... so much of its glory has been sort of shed.... There was something very mysterious about the same language being used all over the world.
Robert Speaight:
The vernacular liturgy, popular and pedestrian, intelligible and distressing, has robbed us of much that was numinous in public worship; there is less emphasis on prayer and penitence, and the personal relationship between God and man... is neglected in favor of a diffused social concern.
Sir Alec Guinness:
Much water has flown under the Tiber's bridges, carrying away splendor and mystery from Rome since the pontificate of Pius XII... [T]he banalities and translations which have ousted the sonorous Latin and Greek are of a supermarket quality which is quite unacceptable. Hand shaking and embarrassed smiles or smirks have replaced the older courtesies; kneeling is out, queuing is in, and the general tone is like BBC radio broadcast for tiny tots....
Cardinal Heenan:
If the Church is to remain truly the Catholic Church it is essential to keep a universal language.
Christopher Dawson:
The existence of a common liturgical language of some kind is a sign of the Church's mission to reverse the curse of Babel and to create a body of unity between the peoples.
Fr. Dougherty concludes:
At the present time the Holy Father is proposing both Pope Pius IX and Pope John XXIII for canonization. Pius IX, a conservative, convoked the First Vatican Council; John XXIII, a liberal, convoked the Second - which Evelyn Waugh and our other literary converts considered "a betrayal of the principles of Pio Nono," a surrender to modernism with the "home improvements" that the Council proposed.

How can we reconcile these two opposites? Was the spirit of Vatican II the work of the Heilige Geist (the Holy Ghost), or the Zeitgeist (the spirit of the times)? Literary Converts answers the question.
Are these the sentiments of reactionary cranks or prescient prophets? Perhaps neither. Yet there are some remarkable agreements that may be noted. The Oxford Declaration on Liturgy (1996) asserted that ". . . the preconciliar liturgical movement as well as the manifest intentions of Sacrosanctum Concilium have in large part been frustrated by powerful contrary forces, which could be described as bureaucratic, philistine and secularist..

Again, a year before he became pope, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his Preface to Alcuin Reid's The Organic Development of the Liturgy(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005) that those who, like himself, were moved on the even of the Council by the perception of the liturgy "as a living network of tradition" that awaited sensitive pruning by scholarly experts in order to properly flourish "can only stand, deeply sorrowing, before the ruins of the very things they were concerned for." (p. 11)

Yet again, in The Feast of Faith(San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), Cardinal Ratzinger wrote: "Today we might ask: Is there a Latin Rite at all any more? Certainly there is no awareness of it. To most people the liturgy seems to be rather something for the individual congregation to arrange." (p. 84)

Reactionary cranks or prescient prophets? Or neither? You decide. What's your verdict?

New Hungarian constitution: "terrifying"

New Catholic reports that the new Constitution [Fundamental Law] of Hungary went into force yesterday, and must be considered terrifying, considering the international media coverage it has garnered. Accordingly, he takes a look at its most distressing aspects:

God bless the Hungarians
We are proud that our king Saint Stephen built the Hungarian State on solid ground and made our country a part of Christian Europe one thousand years ago.
We recognise the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood. We value the various religious traditions of our country.
We do not recognise the suspension of our historical constitution due to foreign occupations. We deny any statute of limitations for the inhuman crimes committed against the Hungarian nation and its citizens under the National Socialist and Communist dictatorships.

We do not recognise the Communist constitution of 1949, since it was the basis for tyrannical rule; therefore we proclaim it to be invalid.
Article I
(1) Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nation’s survival.
(2) Hungary shall encourage the commitment to have children.
Article II
Human dignity shall be inviolable. Every human being shall have the right to life and human dignity; embryonic and foetal life shall be subject to protection from the moment of conception.

For the record: links on the Neocatechumenal Way