Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

R. R. Reno, "Failed Leaders," First Things (December 2019):

Et Cum Spiritu Tuo

I don’t know more than a few Latin words and ­phrases. A former Episcopalian, I take for granted the liturgy in the vernacular. I’ve never been punctilious about ritual. I can’t tell you the difference between the “Introit” and the “Gradual.” The names for clerical regalia escape me. And there is little in my theological outlook that would attract me to the old form of the Mass, often called the “Tridentine rite” because it arose out of reforms mandated by the Council of Trent. I went to the Latin Mass two or three times in years past. I was disoriented and put off. In spite of all that, I’ve been attending a Latin Mass in Manhattan for more than a year.

My initial reasons for switching to the Tridentine rite had to do with the revelations about Theodore McCarrick in the summer of 2018. I was angry, exasperated by the feckless leadership of bishops and their tolerance of moral corruption in their own ranks. But anger, however righteous and fitting in the moment, can turn into bitterness, even despair, corroding faith and undermining the spiritual life. So I knew I had to find an affirmative way to express my disgust with the status quo in the Catholic Church.

Under these circumstances, I turned to the Latin Mass. In church parlance, it is called the Extraordinary Form, as opposed to the order of the Mass established after Vatican II by Paul VI, which is called the Ordinary Form. These terms are exactly right. The Ordinary Form is the almost universal mode of worship for American Catholics, while the Extraordinary Form marks the exception. Thus, my decision to make the Tridentine rite my regular Sunday Mass was a vote of no confidence in the status quo, but not one that pushed the Church away. Going to the Extraordinary Form was a way of drawing nearer, entering into the great storehouse of the Catholic tradition.

There are Mass booklets for the Extraordinary Form that allow you to follow along with a facing-page translation. Even with this aid, it takes time to get oriented. It is not easy to know where you are in the Mass amid the cascading Latin, long silences, and sudden shifts from kneeling to standing. It took me a couple of months before I was comfortable enough to begin to appreciate what the Latin Mass has to offer.

From the outset I was romanced by the long silences. The Tridentine rite emphasizes the priest as mediator. He faces the altar, not the congregation, and he speaks many parts of the Mass in a whisper. His words are directed, on our behalf, toward God, not toward us. This dynamic of prayer—a dialogue between priest-as-representative and God—affects the worshiper in subtle ways. It encourages each individual member of the congregation to enter into his own silent conversation with the divine. This is especially true during the consecration of the elements.

The Extraordinary Form uses the old lectionary, which means that the Sunday readings differ from what the rest of the Church hears when worshiping in the Ordinary Form. The old rite also has two readings rather than three, one from the Epistles and the other from the Gospels. The Old Testament is present only in brief verses, usually from the Psalms, chanted at various points in the liturgy. The reform of the liturgy after Vatican II restored the Old Testament to its place in the Liturgy of the Word—an important and salutary change. Nevertheless, I’ve been enriched by the pairings of Scripture in the old lectionary, which tend toward resonances that are more mystical and evoke the Church Militant more often than does the new lectionary.

For example, during Lent last spring, one of the Gospel readings was Luke 11:21–22: “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace, but when one stronger than he assails him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoils.” The reading sharpened the focus of my Lenten preparations for the triumph of Christ over sin and death. Jesus is that stronger man. He is a triumphant warrior, defeating the fell powers that would hold us in thrall.

Many priests are suspicious of the Latin Mass. Some are hostile. These responses are understandable. Going to the Latin Mass requires me to decide against attending the Ordinary Form, which is of course widely available throughout New York. And because the priestly vocation comes into its most intense focus in the sacrifice of the Mass, this decision can easily be seen casting doubt on the education and formation of priests over the last fifty years.

But my experiences with the Extraordinary Form have been otherwise. The more familiar I have become with the old rite, the more I see and feel the profound continuities with the new one. The elements of the Mass are the same in both. Furthermore, my experience with the Tridentine Mass allows me to appreciate the intentions of the liturgical reformers of the twentieth century. The old rite is colder and less immediately communal. It ­presumes a well-catechized congregation. By contrast, the use of the vernacular, the more fulsome lectionary, and the clear articulation by the priest of all the elements of the liturgy make the Ordinary Form more effective as a means for inculcating into the faithful the basic teachings of the Church about the nature of God and the role of Christ as the sacrament of our salvation. And not just the faithful. The Extraordinary Form has an other-worldly allure that might attract unbelievers, but both the Latin language and the ritual remoteness of the rite make it difficult to hear the gospel message. By contrast, the Ordinary Form makes the gospel audible.

At the same time, by attending the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis I have learned more about what has been lost. In the Latin Mass, the priest risks tending toward the caricature of remote hierophant engaged in mysterious rites at a distant altar. In the Ordinary Form, he risks tending toward the caricature of mediocre TV host chatting with his daytime audience of distracted housewives. If forced to choose between the two perversions, I vastly prefer the former.

The Extraordinary Form may lack Old Testament readings, but it is closer to Old Testament realities than the Ordinary Form, at least as it is currently celebrated. Aside from Yom Kippur, synagogue services retain few echoes of the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. By contrast, a priest celebrating the Tridentine Mass operates according to ritual patterns that reach back to the Old Testament priesthood. The altar, however close to the congregation in physical terms, is spiritually remote. The priest engages in careful, precise ritual preparation before entering the Holy of Holies to offer the sacrifice of the Mass. All of this is present in the new Mass but attenuated by the imperative of congregational engagement.

In simple terms, the Extraordinary Form invites a more transcendent orientation in worship. There is something about the liturgy in Latin that discourages the use of childish Andrew-Lloyd-Weber-goes-to-church melodies, bad folk-inspired praise songs, and felt banners. In the Tridentine rite, the priest faces God, not the congregation, and this lends itself to an unturned countenance—not just his, but that of all engaged in worship. The solemnities of silent prayer invite contemplation. The faint whispering of the priest reminds us of the mysterious, intimate commerce between God and man made possible in Christ Jesus, a commerce into which we, too, can enter in our own stumbling, barely audible words.

Benedict XVI observed that the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms are two usages of the ­self-same Roman rite. This does not mean that they do not have distinct charisms, as it were. The Ordinary Form is well suited for evangelization and catechism. My own entry into the Catholic Church was greatly eased by the accessibility of the Mass in the vernacular. Its more horizontal orientation encourages a sense of Christian community, as the liturgical reformers intended. The reduced emphasis on ritual precision shifts attention to the central gospel truths announced in the readings and reiterated in a liturgy readily heard in the language of the people. All these elements enrich the ­Catholic Church.

The charism of the Extraordinary Form is needed as well. At a time when all the institutions of the West, ­including the Church, are wobbling, the antiquity of the Tridentine Mass anchors corporate worship deep in the Church’s past. The remoteness of Latin, a “dead” language, builds a spiritual wall around the Church that helps protect her from capture by the whims and fashions of the contemporary world. The vestments, incense, and ritual create another world, in which it becomes easy to see oneself entering into the precincts of the divine, a prospect at once daunting and joyful. Centuries of use have tuned the Latin Mass to a near perfect pitch. In its more elaborate forms, the orchestrated layers of music, movement, and prayer interweave into a liturgical ­Gesamtkunstwerk, which is why, although the Mass I now attend is thirty minutes longer than the Ordinary Form liturgy, it seems shorter.

I have not become an ardent proponent of the Extraordinary Form. It has limitations, which is why it was reformed in the last century. But I have come to think the Latin Mass can make a contribution to the Church’s renewal. In the twentieth century, influential theologians called for ressourcement, a return to the sources of our Christian faith. We need always to soak ourselves in the living water of the tradition. The Tridentine rite offers an opportunity for ressourcement. This is not an opportunity to be shunned, because Ordinary Form, too, has it limitations, as most of us know only too well. Those limitations are to be expected. We are only at the first stage of what will be an ongoing refinement and perfection of the Mass in the vernacular. And this process, so needed in order to realize the full promise of what was begun at Vatican II, can be enhanced by the example and inspiration of the Extraordinary Form.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tridentine Community News - Dr. Victor Salas Talk at OCLMA; St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Perform at St. Vincent de Paul Choir Concert; The Monastère Saint-Benoît; First of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 10, 2019):
November 10, 2019 – Twenty-second Sunday After Pentecost

Dr. Victor Salas Talk at OCLMA

On Sunday, November 24 at a reception following the 9:45 AM High Mass of the Oakland County Latin Mass Association at the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel, OCLMA member and Sacred Heart Major Seminary Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Victor Salas will give a presentation on Thomas Aquinas: A Model of the Theologian in Turbulent Times.

St. Benedict Tridentine Choir to Perform at St. Vincent de Paul Choir Concert

For the second year in a row, the St. Benedict Tridentine Community Choir has been invited to participate in a concert of local Catholic choirs being held at Windsor’s St. Alphonsus Church this Friday, November 15 at 7:00 PM. The event benefits the local chapter of St. Vincent de Paul, which operates a well-utilized food pantry for the poor at St. Alphonsus Church. These sorts of events help expose elements of the Traditional Mass to a wider audience who might not otherwise experience our liturgies.

The Monastère Saint-Benoît

The Monastère Saint-Benoît (in English: St. Benedict Monastery) in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France has attained quite a reputation in the few years of its existence. An English-speaking institution devoted to the Traditional Liturgy, the monastery was co-founded by liturgical scholar Dom Alcuin Reid, who serves as its Prior, and Bishop Dominique Rey. It has attracted vocations, served as the base of operations for the Sacra Liturgía conferences, hosted the Sacra Liturgía Summer School, and in the process, outgrown its original shared quarters. It is yet another example of how religious communities devoted to the Tridentine Mass flourish.

The monastery has been given the opportunity to purchase a former Commandery of the Knights Templar, the 11th century Chapel of Saint-Christophe [pictured], located in its current diocese, as its new home. While spacious and well-suited to both the religious and hospitality needs of the monks, the property has been in private hands since the French Revolution and is in need of extensive restoration and renovation. The cost to purchase the property is €855,000, and initial renovations are expected to cost €400,000. A U.S. foundation has been set up to accept tax-deductible donations towards this acquisition, which may be made through the monastery’s Facebook page and PayPal account.

For further information on this history, activities, and growth of the monastery, or to sign up for their newsletter, visit: www.msb-lgf.org

First of Two Detroit Episodes of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo

Episode 13 of Extraordinary Faith – Detroit Part 1 of 2 – is now available for viewing on-line. Along with the Windsor episode, this is the second of three episodes filmed in metro Detroit and thus features many familiar faces. Diocese of Lansing, Michigan Bishop Earl Boyea talks about the role of the Extraordinary Form in his diocese. We visit the Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel in Bloomfield Hills and learn about the Oakland County Latin Mass Association, which holds weekly Sunday Masses there. Fr. David Bechill explains what first-timers can expect to see at a Tridentine Mass. We tour Detroit’s Roman basilica-like Holy Redeemer Church, pictured above, which hosts periodic Latin Masses, and we meet the author of sheet music that helps priests chant the Traditional Mass. You can find Episode 13 on the Extraordinary Faith channel on both YouTube and Vimeo.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Tue. 11/12 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (St. Martin I, Pope & Martyr)
  • Sat. 11/16 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (St. Gertrude the Great, Virgin)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 10, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week









* NB: The SSPX chapels among those Mass sites listed above are posted here because the Holy Father has announced that "those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins," and subsequently extended this privilege beyond the Year of Mercy. These chapels are not listed among the approved parishes and worship sites on archdiocesan websites.

Tridentine Community News - Short Indulgenced Prayers; Windsor Episode of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo; Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 3, 2019):
November 3, 2019 – Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost

Short Indulgenced Prayers

“A partial indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, while carrying out their duties and enduring the hardships of life, raise their minds in humble trust to God and make, at least mentally, some pious invocation.” So says the 2006 edition of the Manual of Indulgences, which goes on to provide examples of such Pious Invocations, listed below. The book stresses that these short prayers, which are also known as Aspirations and which may be spontaneously worded, are only indulgenced when they are prayed in conjunction with the performance of some work or the experience of some difficulty. Simply praying such invocations on their own, while obviously not without merit, does not gain the indulgence. The Church thus encourages us to form the habit of consecrating our daily obligations and crosses to God.
My God!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
I believe in You, O Lord!
I adore You!
I hope in You!
I love You!
All for You!
Thanks be to God!
Blessed be God!
Your kingdom come!
Your will be done!
As the Lord wills!
Help me, O God!
Comfort me!
Hear my prayer!
Save me!
Have mercy on me!
Spare me, O Lord!
Do not allow me to be separated from You!
Do not forsake me!
Hail, Mary!
Glory to God in the highest!
You are great, O Lord!
I am totally Yours!
Allow me to praise you, Virgin most holy; give me strength against your enemies.
All holy men and women of God, pray for us.
Blessed be the Holy Trinity!
Christ conquers! Christ reigns! Christ rules!
Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Hail, O Cross, our only hope.
Heart of Jesus, all for You.
Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for You.
Heart of Jesus, in You I trust.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me.
Holy Mother of God, ever Virgin Mary, intercede for us.
Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Yours.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.
Lord, increase our faith.
Lord, let our minds be united in truth, and our hearts in love.
Lord, save us, we are perishing.
Lord, send laborers into Your harvest.
May the Virgin Mary bless us with her holy Child.
May the most Blessed Sacrament be praised now and forevermore.
Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Mother of Sorrows, pray for us.
My God and my all.
My Lord and my God!
My Mother, my trust.
O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
O Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Remain with us, O Lord.
Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God.
Tender heart of Mary, be my safety!
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
Windsor Episode of Extraordinary Faith Now Viewable on YouTube and Vimeo

Episode 12 of Extraordinary Faith – Windsor – is now available for viewing on-line. This is the first of three episodes that were filmed in the Detroit area. Featuring Assumption and St. Alphonsus Churches, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, Fr. Joe Tuskiewicz, Wassim Sarweh, and Charlotte & Ron Parent, there are many familiar sights and personages in this episode, which you can find on the Extraordinary Faith channel on both YouTube and Vimeo.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Tue. 11/05 7:00 PM: High Requiem Mass at Holy Name of Mary, Windsor (Daily Mass for the Dead)
  • Sat. 11/09 8:30 AM: Low Mass at Miles Christi (Dedication of the Archbasilica of Our Savior)
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 3, 2019. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]