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It's the Mass that Matters

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What I am not going to argue

In this document, I concern myself only with the Rite of Mass. This is not because I am not concerned about equivalent changes made to the celebration of the Sacraments (especially ordination), the Office and various "popular devotions" (especially Benediction), but simply to limit my subject to one of (barely) manageable proportions. To save confusion, ill will and misunderstanding, I shall first list a number of propositions I have no sympathy for:
  • The Order of Mass promulgated by Pope Paul VIth (the New Rite: "NR") is invalid.
  • The traditional Roman Rite as codified by Pope Pius Vth (the Old Rite: "OR") is not in need of reform.
  • Latin is to be strongly preferred over the vernacular.
  • It is desirable that all Western Rite Catholics conform to the same Use.
  • Those who generally approve of the NR are heretics.
  • The Roman Canon cannot be changed.
It is not my intention to give a theological account of the Eucharist, or the Blessed Sacrament in this article, nor to reflect on issues relating to spirituality and transcendence. For those unfamiliar with the Old Rite, I recommend the following Audio-Visual presentation.

The core of my case

I brief I shall argue below that the Liturgical changes of the 1960's were generally misconceived, pastorally inept, uncatholic in character and profoundly damaging to the life of the Church. The case for this has previously been made very thoroughly by Michael Davies in his book ["Pope Paul's New Mass", Angelus Press (1990)]. My main purpose here is make my own position clear and to try to delineate a possible way forward based on the idea of a Living and Developing Tradition: as opposed, on the one hand, to sterile conservation of the past and, on the other, a dissolute disregard for it.

Not all the 20th Century Liturgical changes were bad.

For what it's worth, I think that, a number of limited reforms of the OR were called for. The OR was codified under Pope St Pius Vth in the aftermath of the Council of Trent. There was little attempt to vet or evaluate or perfect the Liturgy in this process. The only concern was that it should conform (in a Q.A. sense) with the "best" Roman documents and contemporary practice. Until that time, it had been subject to gradual evolutionary change: errors and abuses arising and then being corrected and new ideas being introduced and either passing or failing the test of time. The fact that it was frozen at a certain moment necessarily meant that it was captured "warts and all", with certain contemporary abuses uncorrected. Hence it is pretty obvious that one should expect the the "Tridentine Codification" to be capable of improvement.
"Must we .... conclude .... that all these things should have been kept unchanged? The [Second Vatican] Council, with temperance and prudence has answered otherwise. Some reform and renewal was needed .... Is it not devoutly to be wished .... that those who have lived through the Council should strive, in perfect submission to the Successor of Peter, so to bring [reform and renewal] about as to arouse true and generous undertakings sprung from the purest tradition of the Church and born of the Spirit of God yet living in His Spouse?
The first part of the Mass, intended for the instruction of the faithful and as a means of expressing their faith, clearly stood in need of a means of achieving these ends more plainly, and in some way, more intelligibly. In my humble opinion, two of the reforms proposed for this purpose appeared useful: first the rites of this first part and some vernacular translations.
Let the priest draw near the faithful, communicate with them, pray and sing with them, stand at the lectern to give the readings from the Epistle and Gospel in their tongue, sing the Kyrie, the Gloria and the Credo with the faithful in the traditional divine melodies. All of these are happy reforms, restoring to this part of the Mass its true purpose. The arrangement of this teaching part of the rite should set, in the sung Masses of Sunday, the pattern to which other Masses should conform. These aspects of renewal seem excellent."
[Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre "A Bishop Speaks: Writings and Addresses 1963-1975", p37-39]
I next present my evaluation of the various changes that have in fact been made.

Changes up to 1962

The Holy Week "reform" of 1956 was well intentioned. The idea, I suppose, was to relieve the average parish of the undoubtedly onerous ceremonial that had been conceived for and was only appropriate in the context of a Cathedral or other major Church. Because a reduced liturgy would be more practical, what remained might be better performed and so be more edifying for the average congregation. Unfortunately, the reform was effected in terms of simply excising huge chunks from the rite; in particular, and most sadly, large numbers of pertinent lessons from Holy Scripture. Instead of making certain texts optional, the reading of these lessons was, in effect, forbidden! I suppose the Holy See just couldn't stomach the idea that local decisions on liturgical matters could ever be legitimate. This, it turned out, set a dangerous precedent, and entirely back-fired.

It was common belief that it was "ultra vires" for even the Pope to sanction the slightest change to the Roman Canon. First because it was in some sense viewed as almost "magical" and second because it was known to be the oldest Eucharistic prayer still in use. The Eucharistic prayers ascribed to Chrysostom and Basil, for example, are much later in composition. Although they are undoubtedly more sophisticated, polished and theologically erudite, they are considerably less Apostolic. Indeed, the Roman Canon remained unchanged from Patristic times until 1962: with the exception of one short clause inserted by St. Gregory the Great in the "Hanc Igitur". The reaction of the Roman laity to that change was one of outrage. They threatened to kill the pope because he had dared to touch the Sacred Liturgy! Since that time no pope dared to change the Canon, until Pope John XXIII added the phrase "beati Ioseph, eiusdem Virginis Sponsi" [of blessed Joseph, Spouse of the same Virgin] to the Communicantes of the Canon. Even this was a shock to the Catholic system. Clearly, it was a pious act. Certainly no doctrinal harm was done: the names of other saints had been added to it in the past. Sadly, this change opened the way to others being made.

The introduction of the "dialogue" form of Low Mass (in which the congregation as a whole was encouraged to "answer" the priest with the responses previously made by the server alone) was a huge improvement. Although "participation" in the liturgy is not at all equivalent to "making verbal responses": as anyone who has shared in the celebration of an Eastern Rite Liturgy will understand, it does help! Moreover, I am fairly sure that many of the server's "responses" were originally meant to be the "liturgy of the laity" as a whole and had only been restricted to the server as a sensible reaction to the low level of education and literacy of medieval congregations. Some of the "responses" are properly hymns. The Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei had earlier been usurped by the choir, as remains the case with equivalent texts in the typical Eastern Liturgy. The Creed was originally imposed on the priest as a sort of "personal oath of orthodoxy", rather like the AntiModernistical Oath promulgated by Pope St. Pius Xth: which was, however, never incorporated into the Mass! Others, such as the Introit, Tract, Gradual and Alleluia were intended for the choir and soloist singers (cantors) from the beginning. Still others, I suppose had never been intended for general use: e.g. the responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Nevertheless, they can be extended to congregational use with good effect: except that it might be even better to have the congregation sing or say the Introit while the priest and server get on with the Judica Me etc, and not have the priest say the Introit at all.

The second confiteor (before the distribution of Holy Communion) though something that I personally find helpful, was clearly a minor "corruption" (part of a "Communion Service" intruded into the flow of the Order of Mass) and its suppression was understandable.

Other Changes that were or could have been made

The re-introduction of the general distribution of Communion from the Chalice was a good idea. The original rationale for lay communion to be "under one kind" ceased to be valid generations ago.

The use of the vernacular, in accordance with the guidelines enunciated in Vatican II's Constitution of the Liturgy "Sacrosantum Concillium" (rather than how it is in fact being used) would have had an entirely positive effect of the Church's liturgical life.

It would have been a good idea to have the whole congregation join with the celebrant in the Lord's Prayer. This was a feature of the 1965 "Dialogue Mass".

A renewal of the lectionary was long over due. This could have most conveniently have been done by adding additional cycles of readings in addition to those appointed to be read in the Tridentine order. Also, optional Old Testament lessons could have been allocated to the existing cycle of  Epistles and Gospels. Allowing lay men and women to read both OT Lesson and Epistle (in the absence of a subdeacon) would have been a good idea: though it would have been better for them to be given suitable training and then be made "Lectors", one of the Traditional Minor Orders.

The suppression of the Last Gospel as part of of the public eucharistic liturgy, as was done in 1965, was an understandable move: though as a Platonist I find it sad to see the regular celebration of the Divine Logos removed from Church's liturgical life.

A review of the rubrics was long over due. The amount of hand and object kissing and the number of special privileges and exceptions pertaining to various ranks of prelate was excessive. Moreover certain practises associated with particular celebrations (such as the use of a "fake coffin" in the Requiem Mass for All Souls day) should never have been tolerated!

The extension of the "Kiss of Peace" to the whole congregation is a good idea, in principle. However, I think that this should have been transferred to the offertory (where the Anglicans and other protestants place it!) because it would both be less distracting there and also more scriptural.

The introduction of an "Offertory Procession", would have been a good idea.

The introduction of "prayers of the faithful" would have been a good idea. I would have preferred it to have taken the form of a litany, like those that feature in the liturgies of the eastern churches.

The composition or adoption of other Eucharistic Prayers to complement (but not supplant!) the Roman Canon might have been an enrichment of the Roman Liturgy. The extension of the range of  Eucharistic Prefaces is fairly obviously a good idea: though I think that the use of the Preface of the Holy Trinity (or others on the same theme) for all the Sundays between Trinity Sunday and Advent should have been continued. This because of the crucial importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity, and because it is so very poorly understood and preached.

The evolution of local Uses (as in Sarum, Ambrosian, Mozorabic etc) could have been encouraged. Unlike the practice of the East; it was never part of the tradition of the West to impose the Liturgy of its Patriarchal See upon all of its provinces. This expedient was only adopted after the Council of Trent, partly by accident and partly as a laudable tactic in the Counter Reformation fight back against Protestantism. The important (theoretical) question of how such Uses might be evolved is discussed at the end of this essay.

The New Rite was nevertheless a disaster for the Church.

The typical Catholic reading the previous section of this essay might be forgiven for asking "Well what is his point? What he's describing is more or less exactly the situation that we now have!" This is far from the truth. While the NR can be presented as being what I have just described: in fact it is nothing of the kind. Archbishop Bugnini, co-author of the New Mass himself said that the changes were not just slight ones but actually "deal with a fundamental renovation .... a total change .... a new creation." In support of this statement, the following remarks can be made:
  • Explicit mention of the Holy Trinity has been minimized.

  • There is not a single "glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit" left in the NR.
  • The Minor Orders have been suppressed.
  • The Roman Canon has been edited.
  • The Second Eucharistic Prayer is hardly Catholic.
  • Innumerable Eucharistic Prayers for various purposes have been composed.
  • The use of Latin has been almost extirpated.
  • The rubrics have been grossly simplified.
  • It is virtually forbidden for Mass to be celebrated with the Celebrant facing

  • in the same direction as the Congregation, and the altars of almost every
    Western Rite Catholic Church have been broken up, ripped out or at
    least re-located to facilitate "Mass facing the People".
  • The Offertory Prayers have been removed.
  • The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar have been removed.
  • Almost every reference to the saints have been removed.
  • Use of the maniple and (until the promulgation of the 2002 General Instruction) the chalice veil has been suppressed.
  • Presbyters no longer cross their stoles.
  • Holy Communion is now received with no external sign of reverence.
  • The length of the Eucharistic fast has been reduced such that it means nothing in practice, at least on a Sunday.
  • The calendar of traditional Saints has been pruned excessively, while an immoderate haste to canonize numerous contemporary figures has been evident.
  • The revised Sunday lectionary fails to do justice to the full range of the Scriptures. It is very odd, for example, that the Gospel of the Healing of the Centurion's Boy is no longer read on a Sunday (it is the gospel of the third Sunday after Epiphany in the OR.)
  • The idea of "commemorations" has been abolished.
  • Holy Days of Obligation (with the exception of Christmas) are regularly transferred to the nearest Sunday.
  • " simply cannot deny that the products of Pope Paul VI's Consillium contained significant and unprecedented ruptures with liturgical tradition."
    [Dom Alcuin Reid:  "Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?" UK CIEL conference, London (2004)]

    "Let those who, as I did, knew and sung the High Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant, remember it if they can. Let them compare it with the Mass which we now have. Not only have the words, songs, and gestures been changed. To tell the truth: it is a whole new Liturgy of the Mass. This must be said without subterfuge: the Roman Rite, as we knew it, exists no longer. It has been destroyed." [Fr Gelineau (2005)]

    "I still feel robbed and cheated out of  my heritage due to the misinformed ever changing directives of  some diocesan liturgical commissions in regard to liturgy on the parish  level. Most of what passes for liturgical use in the average Roman parish has little in my humble opinion to do with the liturgical directives of Sancrosanctum Concilium in the documents of Vatican II. 

    That makes me angry. It  makes me angry that a whole generation of Romans have grown up being led by many  who for all their good intentions basically destroyed the Romant Rite in their zeal for antiquity and making the liturgy revelant to the common man. 

    I have seen the Novus Ordo Missae done with much beauty and solemnity (St Agnes church in St. Paul, Minnesota and St. Michaels Church in Munich) but unfortunately too often the liberty that is taken in regard to rubrics and decorum is lacking in continuity and is not an organic development of the centuries but in many situations a real breach with continuity. This is what disturbs me. This and the often times indifference I've found among many Roman priests who are misinformed has caused me much grief. 

    If the faithful are strengthened in their faith in the Eucharistic Saviour and in their zeal for performing good works by their assisting at and participating in the Holy  Sacrifice of the Mass when their lives are transformed in holiness by the liturgy be it Anglican Use, Novus Ordo, Tridentine or whatever: then the liturgy  is serving its purpose I  think.

    My question is whether this is the case in many places."
    [Private communication from an Anglo-Catholic (January 2006)]

    In addition to these universal changes, there is the matter of the character of the official English version of the liturgical texts:
    • The ICEL English rendering of the NR contains explicit and grave heresy.
    • The ICEL version of the NR is not a translation and contains many errors.
    • The ICEL version of the NR employs an impoverished idiom of the English Language.
    • The Jerusalem Bible is an inaccurate and partizan translation of the Holy Scriptures.
    In addition to these official changes, the following observations regarding common practice can also be made:
    • The Roman Canon is rarely used.
    • Lay people ordinarily administer Holy Communion.
    • Plainchant is almost never used.
    • The idea of votive Masses has vanished in practice, if not in theory.
    • The common style of celebration is "banal" [Mgr Murnion on behalf of Cardinal Bernardin]: casual, chatty, informal and slovenly.
    • Folk hymns, often with words that are little better than doggerel, proliferate.
    • The laity are encouraged to join in with parts (or even all) of the Eucharistic Prayer.
    • Clergy often neglect to play their proper liturgical roles, giving way to lay people.
    • Clergy regularly modify the texts used, improvising prayers and bits of prayers.
    • The standard of serving is abysmal.
    • The standard of reading is abysmal.
    • The standard of singing, and music in general, is abysmal.
    • The standard of preaching is abysmal: both in presentation and content.
    The following is quoted out of a sence of irony:
    "No one doubts the great effects resulting from the liturgical renewal prompted by the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the post-conciliar liturgy has greatly fostered the active, conscious and fruitful participation of the faithful in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar." ["Instrumentum laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)
    The same document states that:
    "An increasingly secularized society has caused a weakening in the sense of mystery. This is witnessed in mis-interpretations and distorted ideas in the Council’s liturgical renewal, which has led to rites superficial in nature and devoid of spiritual significance....

    Some liturgical celebrations suffer from an improper balance, ranging from a passive following of rituals to an excessive creativity which sometimes draws too much attention to the celebrant of the Eucharist.....

    Many responses noted that some celebrants at the liturgy seem more like showmen, who must draw people’s attention to themselves, instead of servants of Christ, called to conduct the faithful to union with him.....

    [There are] deficiencies and shadows in the celebration of the Eucharist on the part of both the clergy and the faithful which seem to have their origin in a weakened sense of the sacred in the Sacrament .... for example, a neglect by the celebrant and the ministers to use proper liturgical vestments and the participants’ lack of befitting dress for Mass; the use of profane music in Church; the tacit consent to eliminate certain liturgical gestures thought to be too traditional, such as genuflexion before the Blessed Sacrament; an inadequate catechesis for Communion in the hand and its improper distribution; a lack of reverence before, during and after the celebration of Holy Mass, not only by the laity but also the celebrant; the scant architectural and artistic quality of sacred buildings and sacred vessels; and instances of syncretism in integrating elements from other religions in the inculturation of liturgical forms."
    ["Instrumentum laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)]
    Note that this document seeks to lay the blame for the desolation of Catholic worship on "secularised society" rather than on any policies of the hierarchy, where it truely belongs.

    Subsequently, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship conceded some "negative results" of liturgical changes since Vatican II, and voiced support for reform of the post-conciliar liturgy. Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told the I Media news agency that the Council fathers had hoped to reinvigorate the sense of an active encounter with God through the liturgy. 

    "But unfortunately, after the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past." 
    The result, the archbishop said, was quite different from the Council's intent. As examples, he listed:
    • "The abandonment of the sacred and the mystical." 
    • "The confusion between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained ministry."
    • "The concept of the Eucharist as a common banquet rather than a representation of Christ's Sacrifice."
    These changes, he said, have produced negative consequences for the Church even beyond the liturgy. In the face of a growing secular trend in society, the Church urgently needs to cultivate a deeper sense of the sacred and a more active interior life. Fortunately, the archbishop said, there is a growing sense among Catholics of the need to recover the sense of the sacred. He said that the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship entails helping bishops and episcopal conferences to refine the liturgy by incorporating the strengths of the past.

    Asked whether he was hinting at approval of the use of the old Missal of St. Pius V, he said that requests for the use of the pre-conciliar liturgy have become more common. "The Pope knows all this," he said; "he knows the questions, he is very conscious of the situation, he is reflecting, and we are waiting for his indications."

    He added that the use of the Tridentine rite "has never been abolished or banned." However, he said, because of the split in the Church caused by the traditionalist followers of the late Archbishop Lefebvre, the old Mass "has taken a certain identity that is not right." Whether Pope Benedict will now encourage the use of the Missal of St. Pius V, or call for a reform of the 1962 Missal is not yet known, the archbishop said. What is established, he said, is the need for a liturgy that is "more beautiful, more transcendent." The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship cautioned that it is imprudent to press for quick decisions, running the risk of falling into new errors because of haste. "We have to reflect a great deal," he said; "and above all, we have to pray for the Holy Father and the Church, and listen to what the Lord wants of us."

    The judgement of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci

    These two cardinals wrote a famous letter to Paul VI, dated September 25, 1969. In it they say:
    • The NR of Mass suggests "that truths ... can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic Faith is bound forever."
    • The NR of Mass represents "a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent" which, in fixing the "canons," provided an "insurmountable barrier to any heresy against the integrity of the Mystery."
    • "Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment in the faithful who already show signs of uneasiness and lessening of Faith."
    • "Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result" of the NR of Mass "is an agonizing crisis of conscience..."
    • "The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition ... do not seem to us sufficient."

    • "Will priests of the near future who have not received the traditional formation, and who rely on the Novus Ordo Missae with the intention of 'doing what the Church does,' consecrate validly? One may be allowed to doubt it!"

    The judgement of Cardinal Ratzinger 

    The folowing are extracts from Pope Benedict's Autobiography. They speak for themselves:
    "The promulgation of the banning of the Missal that had been developed in the course of centuries, starting from the time of the sacramentaries of the ancient Church, has brought with it a break in the history of the liturgy whose consequences could be tragic ....

    The old structure was broken to pieces and another was constructed, admittedly with material of which the old structure had been made and using also the preceding models .... the fact that [the liturgy] was presented as a new structure, set up against what had been formed in the course of history and was now prohibited, and that the liturgy was made to appear in some ways no longer as a living process but as a product of specialized knowledge and juridical competence, has brought with it some extremely serious damages for us.

    In this way, in fact, the impression has arisen that the liturgy is made, that it is not something that exists before us, something given, but that it depends on our decisions. It follows as a consequence that this decision-making capacity is not recognized only in specialists or in a central authority, but that, in the final analysis, each community wants to give itself its own liturgy. But when the liturgy is something each one makes by himself, then it no longer gives us what is its true quality: encounter with the mystery which is not our product but our origin and the wellspring of our life ....

    I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us.

    But if in the liturgy the communion of faith no longer appears, nor the universal unity of the Church and of her history, nor the mystery of the living Christ, where is it that the Church still appears in her spiritual substance?" [Cardinal Ratzinger: "From My Life: Remembrances1927-1977" (1997)]

    "The liturgical renewal in its concrete application is straying ever further away from its origin. The result is not renewal, but devastation."
    [Cardinal Ratzinger in his Foreword to Monsignor Klaus Gamber’s book ''La Reforme'' (1992)]

    "Your primary service to this world must therefore be your prayer and the celebration of the divine Office. The interior disposition of each priest, and of each consecrated person, must be that of “putting nothing before the divine Office”. The beauty of this inner attitude will find expression in the beauty of the liturgy, so that wherever we join in singing, praising, exalting and worshipping God, a little bit of heaven will become present on earth. Truly it would not be presumptuous to say that, in a liturgy completely centred on God, we can see, in its rituals and chant, an image of eternity. Otherwise, how could our forefathers, hundreds of years ago, have built a sacred edifice as solemn as this? Here the architecture itself draws all our senses upwards, towards “what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined: what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). In all our efforts on behalf of the liturgy, the determining factor must always be our looking to God. We stand before God – he speaks to us and we speak to him. Whenever in our thinking we are only concerned about making the liturgy attractive, interesting and beautiful, the battle is already lost. Either it is Opus Dei, with God as its specific subject, or it is not. In the light of this, I ask you to celebrate the sacred liturgy with your gaze fixed on God within the communion of saints, the living Church of every time and place, so that it will truly be an expression of the sublime beauty of the God who has called men and women to be his friends!

    ...God is never simply the “object” of theology; he is always its living “subject” as well. Christian theology, for that matter, is never a purely human discourse about God, but always, and inseparably, the logos and “logic” of God’s self-revelation. For this reason scientific rationality and lived devotion are two necessarily complementary and interdependent aspects of study.

    ... In its desire to be recognized as a rigorously scientific discipline in the modern sense, theology can lose the life-breath given by faith. But just as a liturgy which no longer looks to God is already in its death throes, so too a theology which no longer draws its life-breath from faith ceases to be theology; it ends up as a array of more or less loosely connected disciplines."
    [Pope Benedict XVI "Address to the monks of Heiligenkreuz Abbey" (9th September 2007)]

    The Offertory Prayers

    The Tridentine Offertory prayers are without question a late addition to the OR, but no less valuable for that. I consider their loss to be deeply damaging. In particular, the prayer "Veni sanctificator...." supplies the formal deficiency of any "Epiclesis" (invocation of Holy Spirit) in the Roman Canon. More generally, the offertory prayers of the OR made it very clear that the core of the Eucharist was "Sacrifice". Arguably, the theme of sacrifice and expiation is so prominent in the Roman Canon that the additional emphasis in the Offertory prayers is "too much of a good thing"; but this is certainly not the case when any of the other NR Eucharistic Prayers are substituted for the Roman Canon.

    The present predicament of the Roman Canon

    The Roman Canon still has theoretical pride of place in the NR, though it is now called "Eucharistic Prayer I". It has been edited in the following ways:
    • Its two lists of saints have been made optional;
    • various "per ... Christum .... Amens" have been excised and
    • the words of consecration have been changed:
      • the phrase "....which will be given up for you" has been added to the consecration of the bread;
      • the phrase "the mystery of faith" has been removed from the consecration of the wine and
      • the word "multis" has been replaced by "omnes" within it.
    While I find most of this regrettable, I do not think that any of these changes are of fundamental importance. The removal of the "per .... Christum Amens" makes the prayer flow better, but obscures the character of the Roman Canon, which is an ad-hoc compilation of "favourite texts" from various sources strung together: the word "canon" means a "list".

    The phrase "mysterium fidei" was plausibly sung out loud by the deacon as the celebrant concluded the prayer of consecration under his breath. It is grammatically foreign to the words of consecration, and while Oecumenical Councils may have stated positively that this phrase was part of the consecration of the wine, the converse opinion has never (to my knowledge) been anathematized.

     The change of the word "multis" (the many) to "omnes" (all) is potentially theologically significant. Unfortunately for those who might wish to pounce on this as a pretext to denigrate the NR, the word "omnes" is arguably more orthodox than the original!

    In practice, of course, the Roman Canon is rarely used. Eucharistic Prayer III is the norm for most Sunday Masses, with Eucharistic Prayer II coming in as a close second. I rather think that use of the Roman Canon is generally seen as a political statement in favour of the OR, and so is avoided at almost all costs.

    The Second Eucharistic Prayer

    This is supposedly based on the most ancient recorded Eucharistic prayer. However, it is far from clear that Hippolytus' Canon was ever used in practice. It may have been nothing more than one person's idea as to what should be said: not what ever was said. Certainly, antiquity of itself is no recommendation for a liturgical text. This is as true of the Roman Canon as of  that of Hippolytus. As time goes by, additional theological insight and a development of devotional practice might go together to perfect a liturgical text, such that the earlier use might be justly thought to be naive, unsophisticated and inept. It is clear that the Second Eucharistic Prayer of the NR is abrupt and perforce theologically shallow. It hardly seems the appropriate way to address Almighty God when celebrating the central Mystery of the Faith. The Eucharist is the central act of Worship for the Church, it is when the Christian People "make love" to God: or better, God makes love to them. This is something which time and attention should be lavished on, as Mary lavished nard on the feet of Our Lord. It is not something to be rushed over, without grave and urgent cause.

    Impoverishment of the Rubrics.

    I will treat here only of examples intimately associated with belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic Elements. In the OR, once the celebrant has put down the consecrated host he never unjoins the finger and thumb between which he held it, except in order to take it up again: e.g. at the "little elevation" at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer; at the fraction when adding a fragment of the host to the chalice; and to minister Holy Communion. The manifest idea behind this rubric is to avoid the possibility that a crumb from the host might be dropped and lost. Needless to say, this practice is no longer enjoined in the NR and very few priests continue with it. It should hardly need saying that observance of this rubric has no negative consequences whatever, and could have no possible impact one way or another on lay experience of or participation in the Liturgy. I should perhaps add that the rubrics of the OR associated with accidents involving the dropping or spilling of the Eucharistic Elements are very specific and involved. They treat of such incidents with the care and attention manifestly due to them if they really involve the Body and Blood of God: our Saviour Jesus Christ. I know from my own bitter experience what the typical NR response to such events is: blank indifference. I cannot say what is the "official procedure" in the NR, I hope that it is not: "try to ignore what has happened, and certainly don't make a fuss over it", which is what happens in practice!
    The liturgical changes associated with the reception of Holy Communion by the laity are truly startling. Whereas in the OR, Holy Communion is received:
    • from the hands of an ordained minister
    • who is wearing vestments,
    • out of a sacred vessel made of a material esteemed as valuable: normally silver or gold,
    • taken from a tabernacle placed in the centre of the High Altar
    • kneeling,
    • on the tongue and
    • after a three hour fast
    Now, in the NR, it is common for Holy Communion to be received:
    • from the hands of a lay person: even if a cleric is present,
    • who is wearing ordinary clothes,
    • out of an earthenware vessel,
    • taken from a cupboard let into a wall of an obscure side-chapel,
    • standing, and with no sign of reverence,
    • in the hand and

    • after no significant fast.
    Sense has been so far lost in the Church, that I have had to listen to a Catholic priest argue that the current practice of "cafeteria communion" (as described above) is devout and represents the dignity of the Christian in his/her Risen Lord. This is in my view nothing other than Orwellian "double-think" and "double-speak". I have also known it argued - by a priest who went on to become an ArchBishop - that kneeling to receive communion is wrong because it is "penitential". This is shear nonsense! One does not kneel out of penitence: sorrow and regret, but out of a sense of smallness before that which is greater than oneself. So, for example "our heroes" falls to their knees crying "Not worthy!" when they meets Alice Cooper in the comedy film "Wayne's World". One falls to one's knees out of awe, humility, respect (and perhaps excitement), more than from sorrow or self-denial or mortification. Of course, hard and sharp edged uncarpeted altar steps might make kneeling to receive communion a painful matter: but this is easily rectified!

    It is hardly surprising that belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament has hugely declined. I find it ironic that the late Cardinal Hulme found occasion to publicly bewail the loss of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, when he was personally and specifically responsible in his own diocese for imposing some of these innovations. I shall never forget it being explained to me by a traditionally minded priest (in all earnestness) that he had had to stop his congregation kneeling to receive communion in order to be "in communion" with Cardinal Hulme! It is most regrettable that although pope John Paul II specifically apologized on behalf of the contemporary world-wide episcopate for the widespread abuses that had entered the common liturgical practice of the Church, neither he nor they did anything subsequently to correct them for twenty years! The deviation from liturgical traditions described here has inevitably resulted in a huge loss of orthodoxy among the laity.

    "If a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community
    as much as possible, had been able to be advisor to the Church,
    he could hardly have done a better job."
    [Dr. Berger, Lutheran sociologist, in ‘Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Feb. 1979]
    "I would like to ask forgiveness - in my own name and in the name of all of you, venerable and dear brothers in the episcopate - for everything which, for whatever reason, through whatever human weakness, impatience or negligence, and also through the at times partial, one-sided and erroneous application of the directives of the Second Vatican Council, may have caused scandal and disturbance concerning the interpretation of the doctrine and the veneration due to this great sacrament. And I pray the Lord Jesus that in the future we may avoid in our manner of dealing with this sacred mystery anything which could weaken or disorient in any way the sense of reverence and love that exists in our faithful people."
    [Pope John-Paul II: Letter "Dominicae Cenae" 1980]

    "In some places the practice of Eucharistic adoration has been almost completely abandoned. In various parts of the Church abuses have occurred, leading to confusion with regard to sound faith and Catholic doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament. At times one encounters an extremely reductive understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. Stripped of its sacrificial meaning, it is celebrated as if it were simply a fraternal banquet. Furthermore, the necessity of the ministerial priesthood, grounded in apostolic succession, is at times obscured and the sacramental nature of the Eucharist is reduced to its mere effectiveness as a form of proclamation. This has led here and there to ecumenical initiatives which, albeit well-intentioned, indulge in Eucharistic practices contrary to the discipline by which the Church expresses her faith. How can we not express profound grief at all this?
    It must be lamented that, especially in the years following the post-conciliar liturgical reform, as a result of a misguided sense of creativity and adaptation there have been a number of abuses which have been a source of suffering for many. A certain reaction against 'formalism' has led some, especially in certain regions, to consider the 'forms' chosen by the Church's great liturgical tradition and her Magisterium as non-binding and to introduce unauthorized innovations which are often completely inappropriate."
    [Pope John-Paul II:  Encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia", 2003]

    "In this regard it is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the Liturgy and the Sacraments as well as the tradition and the authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetration of  liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease."
    [Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: "Redemptionis Sacramentum", 2004]

    "Neglect of prayer, contemplation and adoration of the Eucharistic mystery has weakened the sense of the sacred in relation to this great Sacrament..... This situation can lead to compromising the truth of Catholic teaching concerning the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, traditionally called transubstantiation. It can also threaten faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a belief which suffers from ideas which intend to explain the Eucharistic mystery not so much in itself but rather from a subjective point of view, for example, in the use of terms like 'trans-finalization' and 'trans-signification' .... It is widely held that Christ’s presence is a result of the community and not Christ himself, who is the font and centre of our communion and head of his Body, the Church .... at times, a certain way of acting indicates that transubstantiation and the Real Presence are understood in a symbolic sense only.

    It is worth considering whether the removal of the tabernacle from the centre of the sanctuary to an obscure, undignified corner or to a separate chapel, or whether to have placed the celebrant’s chair in the centre of the sanctuary or in front of the tabernacle - as was done in many renovations of older churches and in new constructions - has contributed in some way to a decrease in faith in the Real Presence." ["Instrumentum laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)]

    The Horrors of ICEL

    I shall make this brief, though it breaks my heart. The English language is a beautiful thing, capable of many nuances and great depth of expression. Many great poets and playwrights have effected works of genius in it. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Dickens, Wesley, Wilde .... the list is endless. The language of ICEL is a different beast altogether. It is bare of adjectives. It is shallow of cadence. It is devoid of allusion. It is the language of a committee, not of a poet. It is all compromise and contrived simplicity and nothing of genius. It is meant to be "accessible" to the meanest intellect and hides nothing from the shallowest understanding. It is ugly, brutish and base.

    Moreover, the ICEL texts are not translations. Over and again, words are omitted from the Latin: words that would have a clear and natural role in an English text. I will only give two examples. After the celebrant asks the congregation to pray for God to accept the oblation he is about to make, the ICEL response is "May the Lord accept the sacrifice .... for ... the good of all his Church", whereas the latin clearly says "Ecclesiae suae sanctae" - His Holy Church. The dropping of thhe adjective is not necessary or advisable from any stylistic, grammatical, theological or cultural point of view that I can think of. It is simply wrong.

    My second example is hugely worse, as it involves heresy, and heresy of the worst possible kind. The heresy is so awful that I do not think for a moment that it is intentional. There are many places in the ICEL version of the NR where it is very plausible that protestantism is intentionally winked at and flirted with. This is not one of those places. The heresy involved would have been repugnant to Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Knox. I presume that the error represents nothing other than gross carelessness on the part of  the ICEL translator(s) and gross negligence on the part of whatever authority gave official sanction to the English text. The original ICEL rendering of the preface of the Fourth Eucharistic prayer opens

    "Father in Heaven .... you alone are God, living and true...."
    This is Arianism: the specific denial that Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit are consubstantial with the Father, fully participating with the Father in the fullness of the Divine Nature. Needless to say, the Latin says no such thing. It might be rendered accurately into English as "Heavenly Father .... you are the One True Living God."  This is entirely orthodox, as it does not involve any implicit comment on the status of the Son and Spirit; of whom exactly the same statement could be made! To those who might say that I am splitting hairs, I reply that what matters isn't the number of syllables that are wrong, but the meaning! Sexist language involves the use of "man" rather than "woman" or "mankind" and "he and him and his" rather than "she and her and hers" or "they and their and theirs". The issue that raged at Nicaea was whether the Son was "identical" or "indistinguishably similar" in substance with the Father, the difference being an undotted "i" in the Greek, but pIvotal for theology! The original ICEL mis-translation was corrected - formaly - a few years ago, but the originaal english wording is still regularly to be heard in Catholic churches throughout the UK.

    At long last, after many representations, Rome accepted that the ICEL rendering of the NR was flawed and attempted to have it corrected. The response of the English Speaking bishops was entirely predictable: howls of fury, that Rome should stick its nose in to their local business and jurisdiction! By doing so, they painted themselves into the role of people defending rank heresy.

    ".... some lamented the poor quality of translations of liturgical texts and many musical texts in current languages, maintaining that they lacked beauty and were sometimes theologically unclear, thereby contributing to a weakening of Church teaching and to a misunderstanding of prayer."  ["Instrumentum laboris" of the 11th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (July 7, 2005)]
    After much delay, first  the U.K., and then the U.S.A. bishops [June 2006] agreed to a revision of the translations.
    "It is well-known that the official translations into the vernacular of the Liturgy of the Mass, Divine Office and Sacraments are highly (and deliberately) defective. Those translations have been under criticism since their first appearance in 1970, and it is almost a miracle that so many years later they will finally be corrected. 'The mills of the Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.' The 'changes' now to be introduced are certainly a great and long-awaited improvement which will finally bring the vernacular liturgical texts back into line with the Latin original and with the Scriptural references, some of which themselves are drawn from ancient liturgical texts. 
    [It is interesting to note, however that] the soon-to-be-introduced linguistical changes are, in fact, for the most part not at all new, but are the very same expressions found in the unofficial vernacular translations of the Liturgical texts in use before 1965, and are the very same expressions as found in the official vernacular translations of the Liturgical texts in use between 1965 and 1970, that is, before and up to the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae. I remember very well how both priests and lay faithful struggled to become accustomed to the completely new and unheard-of translations introduced in 1970, which sounded then like very streamlined (adjective-less), colloquial, secular, lowest-possible-level and incorrect paraphrases of the sacred original. This is true regarding not only the English liturgical translations, but nearly all the translations made at that time, and which are still in use to this day!" [A Catholic priest (June 2006)]

    The New Rite is a pastoral disaster

    At the time of the Liturgical Changes, very few of the laity wanted them. They were mainly supported by a small vocal class of self-important middle-class "intelligentsia". The OR had been a breeding ground of sanctity for innumerable years. Whatever its limitations, deficiencies and problems: as the central defining act of the Catholic Community it worked! The Church viewed as a sociological entity was highly cohesive, with a clear sense of identity and purpose. Every Catholic knew that "It's the Mass that matters!" Even changing the language used from Latin to the vernacular was to court disaster. Though of no possible objective significance; for many, it was difficult to adjust to this change. Altering the character of the Liturgy in addition to its language as profoundly and rapidly as was done, was a source of great pain, distress, confusion and disillusionment to very many people. It seemed to deny the truth of all the standard arguments adduced in favour of the character of the OR and by implication started to undermine the credibility of the Magisterium.
    "I remember knowing, when attending a funeral mass that as the casket was rolled up the church aisle toward the exit, that it was on its way to Heaven.
    I miss the mystery of the old rites, the ceremony in which each gesture, each word had a specific meaning. It conveyed a certainty that today's rite does not. I miss incense and vestments. I miss the sprinkling of Holy Water.... I miss the music, grand and swelling in joy, or somber in funeral/Lenten rites, but still quickening to the spirit. But most of all, I miss the access one had to the quiet of the church at any time. 
    I resent the moving of the tabernacle to some side altar/chapel as if it were some disgraced relative we keep hidden in a private room when the guests arrive." 
    [A lapsed Catholic (June 2006)]
    Practices that had in 1950 been condemned under pain of mortal sin were in 1970 encouraged or even relentlessly enforced. What would happen next? The statistics make it quite clear that the decline in every objective measures of the health of the Church all date from the introduction of the NR. Of course, there might have been some other coincidental cause. I have no idea, however, what else this might have been. The decline in Catholic statistics did not follow those of Protestantism until the NR was introduced. Even now, Bishops argue that accepting the OR's legitimacy within the Church would be a source of confusion. If this is true now, how much more must the imposition of the NR have been a cause of confusion in the 1960's!

    The NR is not in any real sense an improvement on the OR. If it had been, then the harm due to mere change would have been offset by the benefit due to these improvements. In my view, the few acknowledged advantages of the NR are hugely offset by its general betrayal of good doctrine and its dumbing down of decent and dignified liturgical practice. The NR does not nurture devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. The NR does not inculcate a sense of awe: neither does its banality effect any sense of intimacy either with God or fellow worshipers. The NR is simply dull, boring and uninspiring. That is all. There is no joy in it, neither dignity nor passion. It is bureaucratic and officious. It is no breeding ground of saints. For any one regularly participating in it, "there is the serious risk of what one might term 'spiritual food poisoning' from the diet of poor translations, gross informality, trite music and any number of abuses". [Dom Alcuin Reid:  "Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?" UK CIEL conference,London 2004]

    The NR is an evangelistic disaster. Metropolitan Anthony, of the Russian Patriarchal jurisdiction, used to tell a story of a postman. This man was converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity as a result of sticking his head into the Cathedral at Enismore Gardens, London, when he couldn't deliver a recorded delivery parcel at the presbytery. The man was so struck by the beauty of the liturgy: the icons gently glowing in the candle-light; the vibrant colours of the vestments; the haunting cadences of the unaccompanied choir and the urgent petitioning of the deacon, that he was rapidly drawn into the Christian Fellowship there. This simply could not happen with a standard celebration of the NR. A Methodist friend of mine once described a Catholic wedding that he had attended (which I presume included a Nuptial Mass) as "embarrassingly informal". I know what he means.

    "The faith thrives where the Eucharist is celebrated worthily, drawing the Christian community into its mystery and power. Yet in many parishes Mass attendance has plummeted; congregational participation is indifferent; and liturgies are marred by lack of preparation, casual or rushed gestures, unsuitable music, and banal sentiments in hymns and, above all, in homilies. There is widespread awareness that, thirty years after the Council, the goals of liturgical renewal have been met more in letter than in spirit."
    [Msgr. Philip J. Murnion: "Called to be Catholic: Church in a Time of Peril" (1996)]
    We should be guided by the words of our Lord: "By their fruits you shall know them." The fruits of the New Mass are:
    1. Mass attendance:
      • 30% decrease in Sunday Mass attendance in the U.S.A.: NY Times 5/24/75.
      • 43% decrease in France: Cardinal Marty.
      • 50% decrease in Holland: NY Times 1/5/76.
      • A decline in practice rate in England and Wales from 55% in 1965 to 25% in 2000.
    2. A great decrease in conversions to Catholicism followed the use of the New Mass.
      • Before 1960 they were up to 100,000 a year in the U.S.A. They are now less than 10,000.
      • The number of people leaving the Church far exceeds those entering.
    3. Within seven years of the introduction of the New Mass,

    4. the number of priests in the world decreased from 413,438 to 243,307: Holy See Statistics.
    I well recall the words of Archbishop Bruno Heim, then Apostolic Delegate to the U.K., spoken to me at a private interview in about 1980: "If I had known what was going to happen as a result, I would not have voted for it" (it being the Vatican Council's Constitution on the Liturgy.)
    "Statistically, most Catholics today come nowhere near the Liturgy, and even when they occasionally do, there is the serious risk of their being infected with what one might term 'spiritual food poisoning' from the diet of poor translations, gross informality, trite music, and any number of abuses.... with which they may be confronted."
    [Dom Alcuin Reid: "Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?"UK CIEL conference, London 2004]

    Further Comments

    The New Rite represents:
    • A significant betrayal of Catholic Eucharistic Doctrine.
    • An impoverishment of the Church's cultural heritage.
    • A revolution outside the stream of Tradition, not an organic development within it.
    • The loss of  Latin as a bulwark against Racism, Nationalism and heresy in general.
    • The use of law to prohibit the OR is grossly uncharitable.
    • The common neglect of competent authorities to enforce what law relates to the NR is tyrannical.
    The general attitude of the hierarchy seems to be that there are only two totally unacceptable evils: to favour the Tridentine Liturgy over the Rite of Paul VIth and to be gay. I have experienced reactions to requests that the Tridentine Mass be celebrated that one might have expected on requesting a Satanic Ritual to be performed! One is called a "protestant", in a most un-Ecumenical way: i.e. it is clearly meant that protestantism is a seriously bad thing! It rankles to be told by people with recognizably protestant beliefs that that I am a protestant, when I purposefully gave up protestantism to embrace the Catholic faith over twenty years ago. Of course, what they mean is that I am being disobedient to authority: which is true.
    Has the Old Rite been abolished?
    It is arguable in law that Paul VIth did not outlaw the OR.
    • While he may have intended to do so, he failed to mention either it - or any of the other ancient Uses - specifically by name in the document that promulgated the NR. According to established principles of Canon Law, no practice of "immemorial right" (i.e. that has been going on for more than a few hundred years) can be forbidden or changed without being specifically identified. This is no more than a matter of common courtesy and a means of ensuring that unintended consequences are avoided.
    • It is fairly common knowledge that when a Commission of Cardinals was asked to look into this matter by Pope John Paul II, it concluded that Paul VIth had not abolished the OR. Of course, this conclusion was never made public. It would have been much too embarrassing.
    • The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told the "I Media" news agency on 23rd June 2006 that the use of the Tridentine rite "has never been abolished or banned."
    Whether or not the OR has been outlawed, it shouldn't have been! Arguably, even if Paul VIth had formally succeeded in abolishing it, he would have been acting ultra vires. He swore the following oath, when he became Pope:
    "I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein. To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort ..... I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church .... Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone - be it ourselves or be it another - who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the Orthodox Faith and the Christian Religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture."
    The blanket suppression of the OR in order that the NR be introduced was simply un-Christian in character. It was an exercise in arbitrary heavy-handed authority. When Pius Vth promulgated the Tridentine Liturgy, he had no thought to impose it where other Uses had immemorial right. In particular, as Catholicism started to re-emerge in Great Britain, reversion to the Use of Sarum was discussed, even though it had fallen into desuetude during penal times, when missionary priests ministered to the faithful using "standard issue" liturgical texts. Unfortunately, this was rejected as "pointless". If the NR had any great value, it would have been able to establish itself if offered as an option. If it was not a divergence from Sacred Tradition it could not have become a cause of contention and a standard for dissent: as neither could have the continuing OR. The existence of the Ruthenian, Melchite, Coptic and other Eastern Liturgies within the Catholic Church is no more cause for dissent and ill will than is that of the Ambrosian or Dominican Use!
    "For the correct formation of the liturgical conscience, it is important to stop condemning the liturgical form as it was known up to 1970. Those, who at this moment defend the validity of the traditional liturgy or its continued use, are treated like lepers: all tolerance for them ceases to exist. In the whole history of the Church we have never before seen such intolerance manifested! This stance shows a contempt and scorn for the whole history of the Church. How can we ever trust the Church, with such a point of departure? I have never been able to understand why so many bishops, with no plausible reason, have given themselves over to this law of intolerance and thereby work against the needed reconciliation within the Church." [Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: "God and the world" (2002)]
    The application of Law as regarding the NR is entirely different. In my experience, no matter what documents are quoted to competent authorities regarding NR liturgical abuses, no action is taken to correct the situation. The attitude seems to be that "anything goes" for the NR, and "nothing goes" for the OR. Of course, it is not as simple as that. I am sure that if some priest thought to re-introduce aspects of the Old Rite into the New (for example by prepending the prayers at the foot of the alter before starting the NR of Mass, or appending the Last Gospel and Leonine Prayers after concluding the NR of Mass, or was caught saying the OR offertory prayers under his breath out of private devotion) he would be stamped on! Of course, there is no law stopping a priest doing any of these things. None of these involves any change to the official text of the NR, but merely additional "informal" extra liturgical matter. There are, of course, specific injunctions against many of the regular personal variations in the Liturgy that are now common.

    Why did all this happen?

    Not being a Vatican insider, it is difficult to know how or why the liturgical revolution occurred. Some people believe in one conspiracy theory or another. All have a common theme: that some organization (such as Continental Freemasonry) managed to infiltrate the Church and intentionally disrupted and corrupted Her Worship. This sounds extravagant, and I do not personally believe there is enough evidence to establish any such theory. It is, however, certain that one motivation behind the Liturgical changes was a concern to appease Protestant opinion. The chief of the liturgical revisionists, Archbishop Bugnini, himself said: "[We] desire to do everything to facilitate the path of union for our separated brethren, by removing every stone that could constitute even the shadow of a risk of stumbling or of displeasure." [Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965].
    Appeasement of Protestants
    Six Protestant clerics collaborated in re-writing of the Catholic liturgy. They were: Revv. George, Jasper, Shepherd, Kunneth, Smith and Thurian. The photo shows some of them. Enough Catholic theology was removed from the NR of Mass that some Protestants can now use its text  without difficulty. Rev. Thurian said that a fruit of the New mass "will perhaps be that the non-Catholic communities will be able to celebrate the Lord's Supper using the same prayers as the Catholic Church." [La Croix 4/30/69]

    Jean Guitton, a distinguished French writer as well as the great friend and confidant of Paul VI, has said that his "intention .... was to reform the Catholic liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy .... beyond the Council of Trent, and closer to the Protestant Lord's Supper .... making less room for all that some would call 'magic', (namely) .... transubstantial consecration, and for all what is of the Catholic Faith; .... there was with Paul VI an ecumenical intention to       remove .... what was too Catholic, in the traditional sense, in the Mass, and, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass."  [Broadcast December 19, 1993 by Radio-Courtoisie, Paris.]

    "A great deal of Catholic liturgists seem to have come to the conclusion that Luther, rather than Trent, was substantially right in the 16th century debates...
    It is only against this background - the de facto rejection of the authority of the Council of Trent - that the bitterness of the fight against allowing the celebration of the Holy Mass according to the Missal of 1962 .... can be understood.
    The possibility of celebrating the Mass in that way provides the strongest, and therefore most unbearable, proof against the opinion of those, who believe that the faith in the Holy Eucharist, as formulated by Trent, has lost its validity." [Cardinal Ratzinger: Lecture held during the Liturgical Conference at Fontcombault (2001)]
    Along with the NR of Mass goes also a new catechesis; a new ethics; a new spirituality; a new Code of Canon Law; a new calendar, in a word: a New Church. "The liturgical reform ... do not be deceived, this is where the revolution begins." [Msgr. Dwyer, Archbishop of Birmingham, spokesman of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.]

    The methods used to promote the NR of Mass follow closely the authoritarian methods of the English heretics. Holy Mother Church canonized numerous English men and women who suffered martyrdom rather than participate in Cranmer's liturgy!

    Appetite for self-destruction
    I have encountered pre-1960's devotional material which explicitly advocated the entire destruction of the personality in favour of an 'ideal' personality: supposed to be that of Jesus. It favoured the idea that one should become a slave (not even servant!) of God. This amounted to self hatred, as far as I could understand what was said.

    I rather suspect that such self hatred was the basis of much of the inhumanity that has from time to time featured in the Church: for example, Jansenism and related tendencies. I think that it also contributed to the wanton destruction of Catholic Order in the 1960's. Church leaders were accustomed to denying themselves things that they found attractive: so it was not remarkable to them that they should destroy the beauty of the liturgy or the harmony of well regulated church life. After all, these were things that they found pleasure in: so they must be sacrificed when they were instructed by Papal edict to do so! As Cardinal Hulme is reported to have said to Sue Coote, the inspirational late secretary of the Latin Mass Society: "I've given up my religion, why can't you sacrifice yours".

    What should be done to restore Catholic Order to the Church?

    I  propose that:

    • The personal right of any Catholic to participate in the Traditional Liturgy of his or her Patriarchate, this right stemming from Immemorial Custom rather than any graciousness of the Apostolic See or of any other Ecclesial Authority, be confirmed as a matter of extreme urgency.
      • This out of a loving concern for the salvation of souls and as the only means of defending the integrity of Catholic Eucharistic belief within the Roman Patriarchate, and indeed the Unity of the Western Church.
      • This would level the playing field between adherents of the New and Old Rites and give grounds for the latter to start to trust Rome.
      • It could be done without any juridical act. All that would be required is for some senior Cardinal to remark in passing:
        • either 

        •   that it was "well known" that Paul VIth never abolished the OR 
        • or 

        •   that the OR is still universally licit 
        • and also

        •   that it is therefore the right of any priest to celebrate it in public
              as a matter of his own personal discretion;
            and that no ordinary has the authority to interfere with this right
              in any way and on any pretext whatsoever.
    • The ICEL version of the NR be immediately declared flawed and be replaced by accurate translations conforming to orthodox doctrine as a matter of urgency, just as the Roman Curia apparently now wishes. Similar action should be taken, where necessary, regarding other vernacular versions.
      • This is now underway.
    • The Jerusalem Bible be replaced with the (N)RSV or Knox version.
    • The many abuses associated with the NR be systematically extirpated. In particular:
      • ordinary use of "extra-ordinary" ministers of communion.
      • use of earthenware or glass Eucharistic vessels.
      • verbal participation of the congregation in any part of the Eucharistic prayer.
      • preaching by either members of the laity or protestant clergy.
      • replacement of the homily/sermon on Sunday by a money raising appeal.
    • The NR be reformed to bring it back within the clear scope of Catholic Tradition. In particular:
      • a set of clear rubrics should be issued and energetically enforced. The manifest minimum aim should be to re-establish respect for the Blessed Sacrament.
      • the celebrant should keep the finger and thumb of the hand in which he holds the host closed (except when holding the host) from the consecration until the ablutions.
      • communion should be received either kneeling; or after genuflection, prostration or three profound bows.
      • the prayer "Come Sanctifier"/"Veni Sanctficetur" should be added to the Offertory, at least whenever the Roman Canon is to be used.
      • the prayer "Lord, I am not worthy"/"Domine non sum dignus" should be said three times before communion.
      • Eucharistic Prayer II should be withdrawn from use.
      • the various "Eucharistic prayers for various occasions" should be withdrawn from use.
      • Eucharistic Prayer IV should be allowed to be prefaced by others than its own proper preface.
      • the Subdiaconate should be restored.
      • the Acolyte should be made only an extra-ordinary minister of Communion.
      • the Acolyte should be made the only extra-ordinary minister of Communion.
      • the sign of peace should be removed to the time of the Offertory.
        • I note that the 2005 synod of bishops has called for this reform.
      • priests should always wear chasubles when concelebrating the Eucharist.
        • I note that this is called for (but not insisted on) in the decree "Redemptionis Sacramentum".
      • deacons should always wear dalmatics when officiating.
      • genuflection at the "and became man"/"homo factus est" in the Creed should be restored.
      • the head should be inclined at the mention of any of the Sacred Names.
    • The use of either the 1958 or 1962 Holy Week Ceremonies be allowed.
    • The use of the NR lectionary in the OR and the Tridentine Lectionary in the NR be allowed.
    • Over an extended period of time a dialogue be established and prosecuted in charity between those who adhere to the Old and New Rites with the aim of merging the best of both into a Common Liturgical Resource, by the use of options and variations where necessary and appropriate.

    • Over the longest term, flexibility and variation without pre-determined limits (except those demanded by sound doctrine, decency, reverence and cultural resonance) be allowed, and indeed encouraged within the Western Liturgical Tradition. If pastorally appropriate, this might allow for the organic evolution of "African", "Chinese", "Indian" and other Rites.

      "For the correct formation of the liturgical conscience, it is important to stop condemning the liturgical form as it was known up to 1970. Those, who at this moment defend the validity of the traditional liturgy or its continued use, are treated like lepers: all tolerance for them ceases to exist. In the whole history of the Church we have never before seen such intolerance manifested! This stance shows a contempt and scorn for the whole history of the Church. 
      How can we ever trust the Church, with such a point of departure? I have never been able to understand why so many bishops, with no plausible reason, have given themselves over to this law of intolerance and thereby work against the needed reconciliation within the Church.
      [Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: "God and the world" (2002)]

      ".... [this is what I] object to, and very strongly: the fact that, contrary to the explicit instructions of the Second Vatican Council, one can scarcely find a Mass in Latin, and even then it's often viewed with suspicion; that Mass ad orientem, though just as licit as it has always been, is so rare as to be practically non-existent in Latin-rite churches in this country; that Gregorian chant and the polyphonic heritage of the Western Church have been so universally replaced by songs of the present day (or from the 1970s) that people don't even have an option to worship regularly in the context of the traditional music; that the way that Communion has been received in the Western Church for over 1,000 years is now frowned upon or openly discouraged in some quarters; that vestments of more traditional design - whether Roman or Gothic - are disparaged or effectively banned for being obsolete and not up-to-date (as if any liturgical garment were "up-to-date"); that every modern option that has been introduced in the last 25 years is now obligatory for all; that every liturgical option that Bl. John XXIII would have recognized is now somehow retrograde and reactionary, even if current legislation continues to allow it. 

      I object to all of this. I object because these nasty tendencies have alienated two generations of Catholics from their birthright. The forms of worship that our ancestors practiced for centuries - and in some cases for over a millennium - have been forcibly pried from the Church, so much so that those once-common elements of Catholic worship are now as alien to millions of Catholics as Buddhist or Muslim worship would be to them. This is not an indictment of what has taken the place of those traditions. It is, rather, an indictment of the narrow-minded intolerance with which those traditions have been replaced and continue to be shut out of the Church's life. If the 'contemporary liturgies' and the music of the St Louis Jesuits are as spiritually uplifting and relevant as their admirers say they are, then they really have nothing to fear from a widespread and permanent offering of worship according to the more classical forms of Catholic liturgical tradition. By alienating those traditional forms and making it burdensome to celebrate them, one merely succeeds in alienating the Catholics who prefer them and in fostering factionalism and a (not always unjustified) sense of paranoia. 

      This isn't nostalgia for the 1950s. I don't remember the 1950s any more than I remember 1968, and I really don't want to live in either. (That, by the way, is one of the reasons that one typically finds 'Tridentine Masses' attended by so many young people: if it were really a matter of nostalgia, the congregants would be on the whole quite grey by now.) To desire the classical forms of Roman liturgy as it has developed through the long centuries is no more 'mere nostalgia for obsolete practices' than was the restoration of the permanent diaconate or of offering the possibility for Communion under both kinds again. To say that the Church now only has room for 'contemporary liturgy' (whatever that is) is
      narrow-minded, arrogant, intolerant, and - in my estimation - immoral. 

      I'm not calling for my 'traditional' monopoly to replace the reigning 'contemporary' monopoly. I'm saying, let's break the monopoly up and start giving people some meaningful choices."
      [Rev Jim Tucker]

    The evolution of local Uses within the Western Rite

    The form and style of all such Uses must be clearly conducive to the proclamation of Catholic Eucharistic doctrine and in all regards impeccably orthodox. Manifestly, turns of phrase and physical actions can have dramatically different and even opposite meanings in different cultures. For example, standing is a sign of respect in Western European culture, but is a sign of hostility in parts of Africa: it is very inappropriate to have people from such a culture stand at the reading of the Gospel! The objective should be to have commonality of meaning and significance, which can only be achieved by diversity of expression. Intrusions such as ancestor worship; the cultus of pagan deities disguised as Catholic Saints; and spiritism: the forms of which I have witnessed at Lourdes, should not be tolerated, still less encouraged. I do not presume to stipulate what new forms might be incorporated into the Liturgy or put any limit on these. I would be willing to countenance an "Anglican" Use to accommodate some of the worthwhile features of CofE liturgical practice to help ease the way for those clergy and laity who from time to time convert to Catholicism. Such a Use is established in the USA, though it has not been allowed in the UK! Whereas the wonderful medieval mystery plays evolved from quasi-dramatic interpolations in the liturgy, it should be recalled that these interpolations did not meet with universal approbation, and in the end all such forms were expelled from the liturgy.

    The initiative to evolve such Rites of necessity lies with the local Church. This right should be unambiguously recognized and affirmed (not "granted") by Rome and such initiatives be actively encouraged; not as a matter of largesse, but from a pastoral obligation to the well-being of the Christian People. It is equally clear that the Episcopacy in general (normally in the person of the Patriarch, or his Curia) has an inescapable duty to determine (with all cultural sensitivity) whether  the conditions for Catholicity are met. This duty and the authority it implies, should be enthusiastically acknowledged by the local Church, not as a matter of compromise, but out of a fervour for Catholic Unity. In the last analysis, the requirements of Catholicity must (by the nature of the case) prevail; and so the authority of the Patriarchal See prevail in practice: with appeal to the Pope or Ecumenical Council.

    Litany of Reparation in Honour of the Blessed Sacrament

    Kyrie Eleison!
    Christe Eleison!

    God the Father of Mercy,
    God the Son, mediator between God and man,
    God the Holy Ghost, enlightener of hearts.
    Holy and Undivided Trinity of love,
    Sacred Host: expiation for the sins of the world,
    Sacred Host: offered on the altar by priests,
    Sacred Host: despised and neglected,
    Sacred Host: neglected and abandoned,
    Sacred Host: abandoned and blasphemed,

    Have mercy on us.
    Be merciful : spare us, O Lord!
    Be merciful: hear us, O Lord!

    For so many unworthy communions,
    For the irreverence of thy people,
    For the neglect of the diaconate,
    For the blasphemies of the presbyterate,
    For the complacency of the episcopate,
    For the desecration of thy altars,
    For infamous discourses made in thy churches,
    For the sacrileges which profane The Sacrament of Love,
    For the tepidity of the greater number of thy children,
    For their ignorance of Thy holy doctrine,
    For their contempt of Thy loving invitations,
    For the infidelity of those who style themselves Thy friends,

    We offer you our sorrow.
    For our abuse of Thy grace,
    For our unfaithfulness,
    For our delay in loving Thee,
    For our tepidity in thy Holy Service,
    We are sorry and repent.
    For Thy sorrow at the ruin of souls,
    For Thy long waiting at the door of our hearts,
    For Thy sighs of love,
    For Thy tears of love,
    For Thy passion,
    For Thy death,
    We praise, thank and adore Thee.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: audi nos.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: miserere nobis.
    Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccate mundi: donna nobis pacem.


    Lord Jesus, you expose yourself to the outrages of the impious
    rather than withdraw your sacred presence from your people.
    Grant us heartfelt sorrow for the sacrileges committed
    against the sacrament of love.
    Help us, by your grace,
    to make up for  the contempt you endure
    at the hands of your servants
    by our love and devotion.
    For you are God,
    living and reigning with the Father
    in the unity of Holy Spirit,
    Ages on Endless Ages.


    Appendix I : The Canonical Status of the Old Rite

    The Papal Commission

    In 1986, Pope John Paul II secretly appointed a commission of nine Cardinals to examine the legal status of the OR. It consisted of Cardinals Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict XVI], Mayer, Oddi, Stickler, Casaroli, Gantin, Innocenti, Palazzini, and Tomko and was asked two questions:
    1. Did Pope Paul VI authorize the bishops to forbid the celebration of the traditional Mass?
    2. Does the priest have the right to celebrate the traditional Mass in public and in private without restriction, even against the will of his bishop?
    The Commission reported, in private, that:
    1. Pope Paul VI never gave the bishops the authority to forbid the OR.
    2. Priests cannot be obligated to celebrate the NR.
    3. Bishops cannot place any  restrictions on the celebration' of the OR.

    4. A Papal decree should be issued based on the Commission's findings,
      making it clear that anyone could choose between the OR and the NR.
    It was the Pope's intention to issue such a decree in November of 1988, but he failed to do so: giving way to pressure from other Cardinals.

    Not long afterwards, Msgr. Perl of the Ecclesia Dei Commission published a letter that cast doubt on the above story.

    Cardinal Stickler Clarifies the Controversy
    On May 20, 1995 at the Christi Fidelis conference in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Alfons Cardinal Stickler gave an address entitled "The Theological Attractiveness of the Tridentine Mass". During the question and answer session after his speech, His Eminence was asked about the Nine Cardinal Commission of 1986 regarding the Tridentine Mass.
    His Eminence began his remarks by recounting an incident where Eric de Saventhem (former head of Una Voce in Europe) asked explicitly if the Tridentine Mass had ever been forbidden. Cardinal Benelli never answered ... not yes, not no. Cardinal Stickler explained that Benelli
    "... couldn't say 'yes he (the Pope) forbade it'. He can't forbid a Mass that has been used not only for centuries, but has been the Mass of thousands and thousands of Saints and Faithful."
    The Cardinal continued,
    "the difficulty was that he (the Pope) could not forbid it, but at the same time, he wanted that the new Mass be said ... be accepted. And so, he could only say 'I want that the new Mass be said'."
    Cardinal Stickler then addressed the issue of the Commission. He first confirmed that it had been appointed and then that he had been a member. He continued,
    "the answer given by the nine Cardinals in 1986 was 'No, the Mass of Saint Pius V (Tridentine Mass) has never been suppressed'."
    "the nine Cardinals unanimously agreed that no bishop may forbid a Catholic priest from saying the Tridentine Mass."
    He also confirmed the incident regarding the Papal decree: eight Cardinals had been in favour, and one against.

    The Cardinal said that the Pope seemed willing to promulgate this sort of announcement, but a few National Episcopal conferences who found out about the "danger" of this permission, came to the Pope and said

    "this should not be absolutely allowed because it would be the occasion or the cause of controversy in the people of God - in the faithful themselves ... one against the other, and so on."
    and in the face of this argument, the Pope refused to sign the decree.
    Msgr. Perl again
    In October of 1997, Msgr. Perl wrote another letter. In it he says that:
    "...we wish to point out that the effect of law was removed from the Bull Quo Primum by the Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum issued by Pope Paul VI on 3rd April 1969. At the conclusion of that document promulgating the new Roman Missal, the Pope stated:
    'It is our will that these decisions and ordinances be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding any Constitutions and Apostolic Ordinances made by our predecessors, and all other decrees including those deserving of special mention, no matter of what kind.'
    The legal basis for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass today does not derive from the Bull Quo Primum, but from the documents Quattuor abhinc annos (1984) and Ecclesia Dei (1988) which were issued under the initiative of Pope John Paul II. Thus, the traditional Mass would be forbidden and could not legally be celebrated except by derogation, in the case foreseen by the two documents just cited (Quattuor abhinc annos of 1984 and Ecclesia Dei of 1988)."
    This apparently contradicts the judgement of the Papal Commission. In fact it does not, as he is talking about the positive legal basis rather than the traditional immemorial right.

    The Sienna Case

    A priest of the diocese of Sienna, Italy, was in the habit of offering the traditional Latin Mass. He justified this by referring to the perpetual indult granted by St. Pius V in his bull Quo Primum, dated July 14, 1570. The Archbishop of Sienna submitted three questions about this to Cardinal Medina, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (SCDW). The first question was canonical in nature, the second, doctrinal, and the third, practical. The Cardinal replied on June 11, 1999, in a very important letter. To the last question, the Cardinal replied kindly, recommending that a church be reserved for the exclusive celebration of the traditional Mass, but the first two questions are more important, and the replies unacceptable.
    Canonical Question
    The first question was: "Can every priest use the Tridentine Missal without seeking any permission, since St. Pius V has assured him of the faculty in perpetuo?"

    The Cardinal answered: "No, because the Missale Romanum so-called of St. Pius V must no longer be considered as being in force." He only gives two reasons: an explicit notice of the SCDW of October 28, 1974, and a reference to Canon 6, §1, no.4 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC). The Cardinal was wrong, because:

    1. The infamous notice of 1974, "Conferentiarum Episcopalium" claims to prohibit all priests from using the Tridentine missal unless they are sick or elderly; and the faithful from attending even these masses.
      • However, this notice is not even mentioned in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis,

      • the collection of the Holy See's official documents.
      • It was in no wise ratified by the Pope.
      • The Immemorial Mass, which was, so to speak, canonized by Pope St. Pius V,

      • could not be prohibited by a notice emanating from a Roman dicastery!
      • Neither can a solemn Papal bull such as Quo Primum,

      • be annulled by the Cardinal Prefect of a Roman Congregation.
    2. Canon 6, §1, no.4 speaks about the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC), not the new Mass.
      • A common principle is nevertheless invoked in this canon.
      • This is that when a new disciplinary law comprehensively

      • treats of a matter in a new manner, it "abrogates" the former law.
      • This means that the former law is superseded by the very fact

      • that the new one has been introduced [CIC 20].
      • Even if  this principle applied to the Ordo Missae, which is arguable:

      • the most one could conclude was that the normative form of Mass
        was the rite of Paul VIth rather than that codified by Pope St Pius Vth.
      • One could not conclude that the supplementary clauses of Quo Primum granting

      • permission in perpetuity to celebrate Mass according to the rite it codified were revoked.
      • Common law is one thing, a particular permission is another.
    Cardinal Medina wrote in his introduction: "If the will of the Pontiff (Pope Paul VI) had been to leave in force the preceding liturgical forms as an alternative that could be freely chosen, he should have said so explicitly." In fact, the Cardinal is wrong about this on two counts.
    1. When Cardinal Heenan, the Archbishop of Westminster, asked Pope Paul VI if he was abrogating or prohibiting the Tridentine Mass, the Pope answered: "It is not our intention to prohibit absolutely the Tridentine Mass."
    2. The Tridentine Mass was not the work of the Council of Trent; it is first and foremost the traditional Mass and as such is of immemorial custom. Cardinal Medina's assertion is contrary to Canon Law, which requires an explicit revocation, not to maintain, but rather to suppress acquired rights and privileges:
      • Acquired rights, and likewise privileges hitherto granted by the Apostolic See to either physical or juridical persons, which are still in use and have not been revoked, remain intact, unless they are expressly revoked by the canons of this Code.
      • "In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not to be presumed; rather, later laws are to related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonized with them."
      • "But unless the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke centennial or immemorial customs."

      • [CIC 4, 21 & 28]
      These principles of Canon Law cited according to the 1983 edition are themselves of immemorial right, and were previously affirmed in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (see Canon 4; 6 §2, 6 §4; 23; 30).
    Theological Question
    The second question was: "Can a Pope 'block' a rite forever?" The Cardinal answered:

    "No. On the power of the Church concerning the administration of the sacrament of the Eucharist, the Council of Trent expressly says "that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments, preserving their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances, times, and places." From a canonical viewpoint, one must say that, when a pope writes '...We concede in perpetuity,' it must always be understood as saying as well 'until it is otherwise disposed'. The special attribute of the Roman Pontiff's sovereign authority is to not be bound by purely ecclesiastical laws or to the dispositions of his Predecessors. It is bound by the immutability of the divine law and the natural law, and by the Constitution of the Church. Thus, if with the Motu Proprio of St. Pius V, one looks at the Apostolic Constitution (April 3, 1969) by which Paul VI promulgated the Missale Romanum actually in force, one finds the following words: 'We wish that these Our decrees and prescriptions may be firm and effective now and in the future, notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the apostolic constitutions and ordinances issued by Our Predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those deserving particular mention and derogation'. It is clear that the authority of the Council or of the Roman Pontiff is not exercised in an arbitrary manner, but as keeping in sight the common good of the Church."

    The Cardinal is wrong again:

    1. Whereas every pope possesses the same plenitude of supreme power in the Church, not every papal act engages this plenitude of authority. A simple comparison of the bull Quo Primum of St. Pius V and of the Constitution Missale Romanum of Paul VI shows most clearly that St. Pius V engaged all the plenitude of his apostolic power in this bull, but that Paul VI did not engage the same plenitude in his Constitution.
    2. Paul VI's Constitution merely "presents" the new Mass. It does not even specify whether this is merely permitted or imposed! If it it is obligatory, it does not specify who are subject to the obligation; nor the possible exceptions; nor the gravity of the obligation.
    3. Compare the bull Divino Afflatu by which Pope St. Pius X changed some of the rubrics, or the motu proprio Rubricarum of Pope John XXIII: the obligations are clearly defined, the abrogations clearly and expressly made.
    4. There is nothing like this in the Constitution of Pope Paul VI.
    5. The formula, cited by Cardinal Medina, is insufficient, because the expression 'these Our decrees and prescriptions' is supposed to make reference to something, but to what? To the "presentation" of the new Mass?

    6. One must then conclude with Cardinal Stickler and seven other cardinals (for a total of eight out of nine polled) that Pope Paul VI did not suppress the Mass of St. Pius V.

    Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don

    The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told the I Media news agency on 23rd June 2006 that the use of the Tridentine rite "has never been abolished or banned."

    Appendix II : What is the situation of the Society of St Pius Xth?

    This question is not really part of the present discussion. Moreover it is none of my business! I have no wish to be impertinent. However, I think that some comment on my part is necessary. In brief, I consider that Archbishop Lefebvre had no practical alternative but to do exactly what he did, in order to preserve as he could the substance of Sacred Tradition. The Vatican has repetidly proven itself to be dishonourable and untrustworthy. It was unreasonable to expect the Sainted Archbishop to "trust the Holy Father". He would have failed in his personal Apostolic duty, if he had not done all in his power to provide for the continuance of a Catholic Episcopate unequivocally committed to Sacred Tradition, believing as he did - and for good reason - that the Church was involved in "a process of auto-destruction", to quote pope Paul VIth:
    "The Church finds herself in an hour of anxiety, a disturbed period of self-criticism, or what would even better be called auto-destruction. It is an acute and complicated upheaval, which nobody could have expected after the Council. It is almost as if the Church were attacking herself.
    We looked forward to a flowering, a serene expansion of concepts which matured in the great sessions of the council ... one must notice above all the sorrowful aspect. It is as if the Church were destroying herself."
    [Pope Paul VI, 7 December 1968, Address to the Lombard College]
    Hence, whether or not the clergy of the Society of St Pius Xth are formally excommunicated; I do not hold this of any account whatsoever. The act which may have attracted the excommunication was objectively just, and was necessitated by grave cause: namely the almost total loss of "Catholic Order" within the Church. The Jesuit theologian Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) remarks:
    "And in this second way the Pope could be schismatic, if he were unwilling to be in normal union with the whole body of the Church, as would occur if he attempted to excommunicate the whole Church, or, as both Cajetan and Torquemada observe, if he wished to overturn the rites of the Church based on Apostolic Tradition."
    "If [the Pope] gives an order contrary to right customs, he should not be obeyed; if he attempts to do something manifestly opposed to justice and the common good, it will be lawful to resist him; if he attacks by force, by force he can be repelled, with a moderation appropriate to a just defence." [De Fide, Disp. X, Sec. VI, N. 16]
    It should be noted that the 1917 Code of Canon Law does not impose excommunication as a penalty for the act of consecrating a bishop without papal approval.
    Canonical Opinion
    There is a growing concurrence of the most prominent Roman canonists that:
    1. Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre did not commit a schismatic act by consecrating bishops without papal mandate.
    2. The declaration of excommunication by the Sacred Congregation of Bishops is null and void:
      • Archbishop Lefebvre was technically not "excommunicated"

      • as no ecclesiastical trial was ever held;
      • rather, the Congregation simply declared that he had "excommunicated" himself,
      • Archbishop Lefebvre disputed this, citing the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
    3. Priests and faithful associated with the SSPX are under no censure at all.

    4. The Vatican has admitted in practice that traditional Catholic priests are not schismatic.
      When the traditional priests of  Campos, Brazil, were received into "full communion",
      the Vatican did not pretend to absolve them from any censure for schism.
    "The situation of the members of this Society [SSPX] is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course, the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. The bishops are validly ... consecrated." [Edward Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity: May 3rd,1994]

    The act of consecrating a bishop [without explicit papal permission] is not in itself a schismatic act." [Rosalino Jose Cardinal Castillo Lara, President of the Pontifical Commission  for the Authentic Interpretation of Canon Law, President of the Disciplinary Commission of the Roman Curia]

    "The fact is that Msgr. Lefebvre simply said: 'I am creating bishops in order that my priestly order can continue.  They do not take the place of other bishops. I am not creating a parallel church.' Therefore, this act was not, per se, schismatic." [Count Neri Capponi, Professor Emeritus of Canon Law at the University of Florence]

    "With the episcopal consecrations, Archbishop Lefebvre was by no means creating a schism." [Professor Geringer of the University of Munch]

    "It is not the consecration of a bishop that creates the schism. What makes the schism is to give the bishop an apostolic mission (which Archbishop Lefebvre never did)." [Rev. Patrick Valdini, Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Catholic Institute of Paris]

    As to the matter of "jurisdiction" (which impacts on the validity of the sacraments of confession and matrimony), I consider this to be a practical means of regulating matters when there is good order within the Church. In the present chaotic situation, restrictions arising out of deficiencies in jurisdiction are complications that the Catholic Faithful can ill afford. In all "emergency situations", it is well known that "the principle of economy applies" (Eastern concept) or "the Church supplies jurisdiction" (Western concept).

    At present, I am pleased to say that there are significant negtiations underway between the SSPX and Pope Benedict XVI.

    Appendix III : Changes afoot in the U.S.A.

    It seems that the following changes in devotional practice are to be imposed on the laity in the United States of America, as dioceses begin implementing the updated General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
    1. Raising their hands at the Lord's Prayer.
    2. Embracing the person in the next seat at the sign of peace.
    3. Bowing before receiving Holy Communion.
    4. Not kneeling in prayer after Communion, but instead, standing until the distribution of the Sacrament is complete.
    The Rev. J-Glenn Murray, director of the Cleveland, Ohio diocese's Office for Pastoral Liturgy, said the changes will unsettle many Catholics, but the diocese hopes the uniform guidelines will help people in the pews have a richer experience of the sacrament. "I think the current rite stresses presence and holiness in a very powerful manner," Murray said. "I think it's a vast improvement."

    This is amazing. That such trivial changes could be thought to "unsettle many Catholics"! If this is true, what must the introduction of the NR have done? It is doubly amazing that such trivial changes could be thought to constitute "a vast improvement". It is triply amazing that the previous practice is hereby criticized as being capable of "a vast improvement".

    The parish of St. Bede the Venerable in Mentor has already adopted the practices of bowing before Communion and raising  hands at the Our Father. Joanne M. Tadych, liturgist at St. Bede, said that bowing before receiving Communion has had a profound effect on parishioners. "It has a very calming effect. It gives you just a moment of peace to think about what you're really doing. You're not just rushing through." One elderly parishioner is reported as saying that bowing before receiving Communion "is a wonderful mark of respect." Another middle-aged parishioner, said she sometimes forgets to bow at Communion, because "It's a big change."

    I am lost for words here. It is the same authorities and persons who systematically extinguished any  practice of reverence at the reception of Holy Communion that are now claiming to have discovered the obvious truth that the addition or subtraction of even a slight sign of reverence can have a "profound effect on parishioners"! It is gratifying to have it admitted that the NR practice of neigh on forty years amounts to "just rushing through". If bowing before receiving Communion "is a wonderful mark of respect", I wonder how the traditional practice of kneeling should be described?

    Appendix IV : A Latin Parish in the United States of America

    Based on an article in the December 21, 2003 Virginian-Pilot

    Prejudice would suggest that an ever-dwindling band of nostalgic, silver-haired Catholics would attend St. Benedict's Chapel, Chesapeake, to hear the Rev. Damian A. Abbaticchio lead worship in Latin. In fact, Sunday mornings find youthful faces throughout the church. A steady trickle of newcomers in their 20s, 30s and early 40s has boosted St. Benedict's congregation to about two hundred. This has led to a second Sunday Mass being held there regularly and an expansion of the building. The congregation was about eighty when worship in Latin commenced at St Benedict's in 1992.

    For older Catholics and many baby boomers at St. Benedict, the old liturgy has almost a nostalgic feel: It is the standard with which they grew up. For some younger Catholics raised on the vernacular Novus Ordo Missae, the Old Rite is oddly fresh in its return to tradition. Moreover, the Novus Ordo is too unpredictable and too much like Protestant services.

    From the Old Mass to the rosary, traditions that fell out of favour among their parents after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s are making a comeback among many young Catholics. "They are a big trend in the church," said Kathleen Cummings of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, which is based at the University of Notre Dame. She explains that the old practices appeal to some within the younger generation who are struggling to find ways of defining and demonstrating their Catholic identity. "The Latin Mass would be one way to proclaim one's self as distinctly Catholic," she said.

    For the younger generation, which rarely experienced the traditions while growing up, the old practices can serve as a new way of connecting with the divine. "They enable people to pray in a certain way that helps their faith," said the Rev. James Martin, who has written about the trend as associate editor of America, a Jesuit magazine. "On the one hand, you have people, mostly liberals, who say, 'It's baloney and superstitious,' and you have other people who say, 'You're not a real Catholic if you don't pray the rosary,''' he said. Martin said the old traditions will continue to find young adherents. "The most salient part is that for many young Catholics, these devotions and things like the Latin Mass are just sort of exotic, sensual, mysterious, very other, so it sort of fascinates them," Martin said. Additionally, he said, younger Catholics are less likely to be biased against traditional practices they haven't experienced than some older Catholics who remain glad to be rid of ways that they found stifling or outmoded.

    In the case of the Old Rite, "there's a sense that the whole has been refined over centuries," said thirty-six year-old Ron Weber, a Chesapeake resident who grew up going to English-only Masses. "It gives you the sense that God is always the same." Weber first learned about the Tridentine Mass while studying religion at The College of William and Mary. After graduating and settling in South Hampton Roads, he visited St. Benedict out of curiosity. He finds in the Old Mass a quality of "immutability – the sense that God doesn't change, and neither does the way you worship."

    Joe and Susan Kalis, said they began learning about the traditional style of worship while giving their children religious instruction during home schooling. "We were re-taught the faith when we taught our children, and suddenly realized we had missed an awful lot," said Joe, who, like his wife, is fourty-one. Echoing a comment common among their peers at St. Benedict, the couple said the Tridentine rite properly puts a heavier emphasis on reverence to the Blessed Sacrament.

    Most typical was Leanne Smith's view that the Latin Mass demands more reverence than is usually found at the standard worship service. Smith, thirty-five, said she skipped from one church to another before stumbling upon a Latin service in Northern Virginia five years ago. "It opened my eyes," she said. "This is what our Lord, the apostles, have passed down."

    Appendix V:  Juventutum in Germany

    Based on a Reuters article August 17, 2005

    Over 300 young Catholics gathered on Wednesday morning in the large Saint Antonius church in Duesseldorf for a celebration of the Tridentine Mass by Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan from Campos in Brazil. The traditional liturgy, almost forgotten since the Church switched to vernacular tongues for its services, is making a quiet comeback among a minority of young Catholics who find it more sacred and prayerful than the general diet of folk guitars and chatty priests served up in the typical modern parishes.

    'There is so much depth and richness and tradition in this Mass,' said Andrea Nolan, 27, a teacher from Oklahoma City.

    'This is the same Mass that saints like Ignatius of Loyola and Catherine of Siena heard,' said another American, recent law
    graduate Matthew Dalrymple, 26.

    "We don't understand everything, but we know what it means," said Hary Soerijanto, an Indonesian now studying in Berlin.

    "There is a lot of suspicion in Switzerland, because one of these groups has its seminary there in Econe," said Raphael Waldis, 19, who regularly attends Latin Mass at his home in Bulle. "But we're not schismatics. The Vatican allows this."

    "We support people who want to ask their bishop to offer it," said Robert Lane, an Irish student from County Galway.

    Adrian O'Boyle, another Irish student from County Mayo, said the timeless permanence of the Latin Mass attracted young people to it. "There's nothing wishy-washy about it," he said.

    A new movement called Juventutem (Latin for 'youth', its main constituency) organised the Latin Masses and other traditional
    devotions here for the first time ever. About 800 pilgrims with Juventutem came from France and 200 from other countries, French traditionalist priest Fr. Jean-Marie Robinne said after the service here. "Most of these French youths come from families that have always attended Latin Mass."

    Several prelates, including Cardinals Francis George of Chicago, George Pell of Sydney and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, have agreed to lead Latin prayers here with Juventutem.

    Appendix VI  Drama at Fatima

    Based on an article published in the September 2005 edition of Catholic Family News.

    On 5th May 2004, a Hindu priest was permitted to chant a prayer for peace at the altar in the Little Chapel of the Apparitions at the Fatima shrine. On August 21st and 22nd, thousands of concerned Catholics converged on Fatima to make an Act of Reparation.

    On Sunday, August 21st, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X celebrated a solemn High Mass  in a field about a mile from the Fatima Shrine. Then on Monday, a low Mass was celebrated at the same outdoor site, followed by a procession to the Shrine. Upon arriving at the Shrine, the hundreds of priests, four bishops, many  religious, and thousands of faithful, were confronted by a barricade that blocked  their way to the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, even though the SSPX had made an agreement with Shrine authorities to be at the Little Chapel at that hour.

    The men from the procession opened up the barricade themselves, and the huge crowd took its place in front of the Little Chapel of the Apparitions, never entering the Chapel itself. The  four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X knelt in front of the Little Chapel. The ensemble of pilgrims chanted the Litany of the Sacred Heart, and then began to pray the Rosary in Latin.

    At about the third decade of the Rosary, three nuns from the Fatima Shrine approached  the podium in the sanctuary, as if they were going to start a ceremony of  their own. We had just finished a decade, so we began to sing the "Christus Vinces". Immediately after we started our hymn, the nuns from the Shrine began to sing over the microphone a different hymn from ours, in an attempt to disrupt our prayers.

    It was a dramatic stand-off. We stood at full height and sang louder. The nuns continued the challenge, singing their own
    hymns over the microphone. It was as bizarre as it was childish. Tension mounted. We were outraged that the Shrine  representatives would hurl such contempt at our group, which was merely praying the Rosary at the Fatima Shrine.

    This "got the Irish up" of an Irish Brother who stepped over the small outside wall around the Little Chapel and made his way toward the nuns. His plan was to pull the microphone away from these peculiar Sisters treating us with derision. As he approached the nuns, he was seized by Shrine guards. A scuffle ensued. Various pilgrims in the crowd gasped in horror.
    Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta from the SSPX rose to his feet to establish calm. The guards released the Brother. The Shrine nuns withdrew from the sanctuary and we continued our  prayers.

    Within two minutes, the Shrine authorities retaliated. Sacred music suddenly began to blast from the Shrine's sound system. It was full volume, so loud that I could barely hear the Rosary recited by the people around me. The entire esplanade vibrated
    from the Shrine's state-of-the-art sound system, designed to project sound to tens-of-thousands of people.

    It was Sacred music used as a weapon against  traditional Catholics! The pilgrims continued the Rosary as the music blared. The bishops, priests and people renewed the Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pilgrims sang a final hymn to Our Lady and broke into applause while doing so. Then the entire group solemnly processed from the Little Chapel. The Act of Reparation was concluded. We completed what we set out to do, despite the Shrine authorities' clumsy attempt at  disruption.

    Australia's Father Kevin Robinson said, "We've just witnessed an incredible scene. This is the power of Tradition over the
    devil-inspired new religion. I think everybody here is very happy to have experienced the Consecration of the Society. And please God we can overcome these modernists. They provoked us to pray  more, to pray for their conversion. This is the place where conversions happen."

    Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of  the Society of Saint Pius X, said, "We had, during our little Act of  Reparation, a
    very, very nasty reaction from the side of the Sanctuary. They provoked, but there was a happy end."

    Father Geraldo Zendejas, Prior of Saint Ignatius Retreat House, said, "We came here for a public act of Reparation. And we
    received the answer from them (the Shrine). They want to silence us. Every-body's accepted here, even the Hindus. But today, we were rejected. We were 2,000 people just praying on our knees for the glory of God."

    This is true. Under Rector Guerra, Hindus were welcome to pray at the altar. Interfaith Congresses were held at the Fatima
    Shrine's conference center. Anglicans have conducted retreats at the Shrine. But Traditional Catholics, who believe everything the Church has always taught and practiced, are not  welcome.

    Father Jean Violette, District Superior of  Canada, made a similar point: "I'm sure if we would have worn turbans, the Rector
    would have greeted us at the Statue. We all would have held hands, and we would have had a nice ecumenical meeting. Instead, we were received very rudely - a typical, Novus Ordo, ecumenical gesture."

    Father Anthony Mary from the traditionalist Redemptorists in Great Britain, said, "I heard from Father Schmidberger that
    everything had been organized. They (at the Shrine) knew we were coming." Conditions, he explained, were agreed to with the Shrine regarding the public prayer in front of the Little Chapel. "We kept the conditions to do the consecration and Father Schmidberger said that he was very surprised that they broke the conditions (the agreement). And once they at the Shrine broke the conditions of keeping the arrangement, then, well, we actually had to break through the barriers to get through. So I  think the whole attitude of them was despicable. The least they could have had was the simple, natural charity to let us say our prayers and not try to interrupt it. But it's wonderful that we managed to do what we had to do and  I'm sure graces will be won for the Fraternity, for Tradition, and reparation done as well."

    Appendix VII : The Funeral of Roger Schutz of Taizé

    Based on an article by John Tagliabue, August 24th 2005.

    At a Funeral Mass celebrated on Tuesday by Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of Christians; for Roger Schuttz the Blessed Sacrament was distributed indiscriminately, regardless of creed.

    Brother Roger's community and friends, including President Horst Köhler of Germany and the retired archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger, attended the liturgy in the vast wooden monastery church at Taizé, while thousands more followed it on a huge screen in fields outside the church. The Taizé community encompasses about 90 members from 20 or so countries and virtually every Christian denomination. Four Roman Catholic priests from among the members concelebrated the funeral Mass with Cardinal Kasper.

    Petra Simmert, a schoolteacher from southern Germany, came with her husband and two children. She is Protestant, he Catholic; one child is Catholic, the other Protestant. "We're an ecumenical family," she said, with a laugh. Watching the funeral of Pope John Paul II on television, they saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, give communion to Brother Roger, even though he was not Catholic. "That struck us," she said.

    Was Taizé founder a "secret Catholic?"

    The religious affiliation of Roger Schutz became a subject of speculation, at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, when the Taizé leader received communion from Joseph Ratzinger, although he was known to be a Reformed Church pastor. The mystery deepened after he was killed, when Cardinal Kasper presided at a Catholic funeral.

    The historian Yves Chiron reported in the August 2006 issue of the newsletter "Aletheia", that Schutz converted to Catholicism in 1972. He claims this was confirmed for him by Msgr. Raymond Séguy, former bishop of Autun - the diocese where Taizé is located.. Schutz kept his conversion secret, Chiron is reported to say, to avoid upsetting the ecumenical harmony of the Taizé community.

    An article in "La Monde" also claims that the other founder of Taizé, Max Thurian (who died in 1996) also became a Catholic, but that this was not known until 1988. Msgr. Séguy apparantly knew of this from his predecessor as bishop of Autun, Armand Le Bourgeois, who he claims received Schutz' profession of faith. The present leader of Taizé - a catholic - is reported to have said that the report bby Chiron was "inexact". He states that Schutz attended Mass in the Pope's chapel when he visited Rome in 1972, and received communion there "without a conversion, which was not requested of him." Apparently Schutz sought communion with the Catholic Church, but wished to avoid the term conversion, because it would "imply a break with his roots." He was not required to reveal what had happened so as not to disturb the ecumenical harmony of Taizé.

    "I found.... my own christian identity in reconciling in my own person the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking communion with either." [Roger Schutz "Roman declaration" (1980)]
    The Taizé community later issued a series of statements rejecting reputes that its funder, Roger Schutz, had secretly converted to Catholicism. They stated that instead he: 
    "undertook a step that was without precedent since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Catholic Church without a 'conversion' that would imply a break with his origins. [To speak of a] "conversion" [in this case would show that one] has not grasped the originality of Brother Roger’s search."
    In a supporting statement released by Taizé, Bishop Gerard Daucourt, a member of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, pointed out that conversion to the Catholic faith would "involve a written and signed document. No document of this kind exists in Brother Roger’s case." He said that, nevertheless, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II had "recognized an objective and public character in the communion of faith that Brother Roger lived with the Catholic Church."

    Yet another supporting statement came from Rev. Gill Daudéin, the head of ecumenical relations for the French Protestant Federation. He said that Brother Roger had "entered into a step that was post-confessional," creating a situation that "seems to go beyond what we are able to imagine." 

    Appendix VIII : Some Horror Stories

    "One of the priests who celebrated in  the college Chapel where I went to school avoided the word blood in the anaphora (He said,"This is the cup of a new testament") because blood was depressing and we shouldn't talk about it in Church. Apparently eating someone's body was okay, because he left that part of the institution narrative intact. Another priest there used to insist that people consume all of the remaining sacramental elements after his mass, because he was "uncomfortable" with the idea of adhering presence. I told him he really ought to think about becoming a Lutheran, earning me an irritated look. He wasn't anywhere near good enough as a preacher to be a Lutheran anyway.

    I remember attending a mass at which the priest said, "This is bread for the journey," and "This is drink for the journey" instead of the the normal consecration formula. I remember considering quietly "Validating" the action, but deciding that someone who would do something that silly might also do God knows what horrible thing with the left over elements. I decided that since as things stood that would really be no problem, it was best to just leave things as they were. In fact, leave is exactly what I did, because I didn't want to knowingly participate in an invalid sacrament. I remember that the priest got out of his car wearing his alb when he arrived at the Church where the mass was being held, which is strange in itself." [From a priest correspondent]

    "Here in Holland, laymen and laywomen regularly play at priest by presiding at ''Communion services'', even forbidding ordained priests to celebrate Mass in the churches where they preside.  The Bishops do nothing to stop the abuse.
    Some lay ''pastoral workers'' or ''pastores'' as they call themselves, even distribute unconsecrated hosts, saying that nobody can see the difference anyway. Often, the faithful take an extra Host with them to bring to hospital or to private homes, as the priest is no longer expected to visit the ill and dying. Some deacons and lay people even perform an invalid anointing of the sick!
    Many priests keep themselves busy with all kinds of meetings and ecumenical activities, whilst powerful lay persons have taken over most sacred functions. In the church where I celebrate Mass on Tuesdays, I am not allowed to say Mass on any other weekday because on other days there are lay led "Word and Communion services." The lay ''pastoral workers'' involved refuse to allow their services to be substituted by a Mass (this is a widespread phenomenon). So on the other weekdays I celebrate Mass privately. On Sundays, thank God, I travel to other cities to celebrate the Mass for groups of traditional Catholics, who truly long for the Mass, and who appreciate the priest who brings it to them.
    This one thing - the post-concilliar permission for lay people to violate the Sacrament (by receiving it on their hand) and the Altar (by being allowed to play priest at ''Communion services'') - like a vicious circle, has so contributed to a loss of identity and purpose amongst priests, and to a subsequent loss of vocations, that the lay extraordinary ministers have made themselves an almost indispensable substitution for the ordained priests who are dying out.
    Today I received the monthly bulletin of that beautiful church of the Sacramentine Fathers called the Begijnhof. In it was an article so heretical and so belittling of  Catholic doctrine on the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and the
    priesthood, that I wrote a letter this evening telling them not to send me the bulletin any more. And they are 'Sacramentines'. The auxiliary bishop is a Sacramentine, and lives in that very priory! Their bulletin has always been full of heterodox ideas but this article is the last straw. It is called 'A history of the Eucharist in a nutshell' and claims that the protestants were right all along: that the catholic priesthood; the Sacrifice of the Mass; the Real Presence; Eucharistic devotion; Holy Communion as a means of grace and Liturgy itself are all 'strange' ideas happily rejected by Vatican II, ideas which were foreign to Christ and the first seven centuries of christians, but were invented by the Germanic peoples after they had been christianized."
    [From another priest correspondent]

    "I once assisted at a 'Mass of the Roman rite', where the priest spoke no words of consecration at all, yet distributed the non-consecrated wafers as Holy Communion. When I asked him why, he answered: 'Go and study the new theology!' Of course that Mass was missing not only the words of consecration but every else as well! I later found out that this has been going on in ultra-liberal circles since the end of Vatican II. How can I now with a straight face defend the integrity of the Catholic Mass and of Catholic sacramentology?"
    [From yet another priest correspondent]

    "The situation is dire. Anyone can walk into a Catholic church on a Sunday and see pews, once filled to bursting, now sparsely populated with grey heads. And there is no other solution for the church but to begin again, as if it were the church of the catacombs, an oddball minority sect in a world of casual cruelty and unbending empire that gathered adherents because it was so unlike the surrounding society."
    [Thomas Cahill: New York Times (5th April 2005)]

    ". . . The effectiveness of the current liturgy is something many people are discussing - Cardinal Ratzinger is not a lone wolf howling in the wind on this one.
    ..... the results of two different well-known polls (which were reported in your paper) that only one-third of Massgoers recognized the orthodox Catholic doctrine on the Real Presence as being an expression of their faith, the other two-thirds happily opting for Zwinglian and Lutheran formulations? ....
    I think the most serious thing which can be said about the way we worship in the Roman rite is that it is in tone, in spirit, utterly different from any of the other rites of the Catholic Church .... the sense of the transcendence of God, which once marked liturgy strongly, seems rarely to find expression in our worship today."
    [Fr. F. Wilson, a letter to the Editor of the "Brooklyn Tablet" (1997)]

    When I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, a priest invited all of the congregation of students at a "College Mass" held in one of the student's rooms to join in the whole of the anaphora. On another occasion, an evangelical was given specific permission to receive communion at the Chaplaincy, just because he was the boyfriend of a Catholic girl. One of the Chaplains was regularly to be seen sitting with various female students on his lap.

    When I went on pilgrimage to Walsingham I noticed that earthenware eucharistic vessels were being used. When I wrote to the Diocesan Bishop, the late unlamented "Dr Alan Clark", he told me to mind my own business. This illegal practice has recently been condemned anew, but is still commonplace, for example in my own parish of "Holy Ghost", Basingstoke.

    I once attended a Mass at "Our Lady of Lourdes and St Joseph", Leigh-on-Sea at which a visiting priest preached that "there is no place for the worship of God in the Christian Religion".

    The parish priest of St Mary Moorefields told me that he had stopped his congregation from kneeling to receive holy communion "in order to be in better communion with" his Archbishop, the late Basil Hulme. At the same church, I observed "extraordinary ministers" distributing holy communion while an assistant priest sat inactive on the sanctuary.

    More recently, I saw the Abbott of Douai consecrate a litre glass jug of wine after preaching a sermon in which he suggested that Islam was at least as good a religion as Catholicism.

    This whacky and wild "Clown Mass" is brought to you by the parish of Christ the King, 
    Pleasant Hill, Diocese of Oakland, California. 
    The portly, balding presbyter in the centre is Rev Brian Joyce.

    Appendix IX: A bad experience with the Old Mass

    "For all the time I've been a member of this group, I'd never attended a traditional latin rite Mass - until last week. I have to say, after all I've read and learned about it from this group, I found it to be terribly disappointing.

    I guess I didn't realize how much of it is utterly inaudible and invisible - even if spoken in a language I don't understand, I actually missed the consecration simply because I couldn't see or hear a thing until the bells rang! 

    I appreciated Father's reverence, of course - but I had witnessed that reverence during Novus Ordo Masses as well, and at least I felt like I was doing more than watching the priest engage in what seemed like his own private liturgy.

    I also found myself uneasy with the male dominated feeling of the whole Mass.... no women anywhere near the altar, all the women (except me) wearing chapel veils or mantillas, large families devoted to JPII congregating in the parish hall afterward for the potluck supper. It was so not my scene, and I don't think I'll be doing it again. (The old rite baptism of my nephew that preceded it was kind of cool, though.)

    What I did appreciate, of course, was the altar pushed back against the wall, and the notion of us all facing God... and a chapel decorated so exquisitely, it could have only been overseen by a gay man (and Father is certainly that - he just toes the Vatican line). But aside from that, none of the liturgy struck me as anything like "awesome," or superior to the better celebrated novus ordo Masses I've attended. 

    The Mass cannot be catered to my or anyone else's tastes, of course, which is the issue - it's about right worship. I can also certainly better appreciate why people were upset when the rite was changed, considering the old Mass is really nothing like the new. But am I missing something?" 
    [Private communication from a Catholic laywoman (June 2006)]

    "I grew up with the old rite of mass (and sacraments), was terribly upset with their change (when I was sixteen years old), and since then have always tried as much as possible to attend and celebrate the old rite Mass and avoid the new. Your own various first impressions - both negative, positive and neutral - whicch you describe in your posting - seem very logical to me. Aside the circumsstances, (large families present, lack of females near the altar), should you ever continue to attend the Mass according to the Traditional Rite, I am sure that you would grow to understand, appreciate and to love the pecularities of the Old Rite, such as the silent Canon. Granted, I was not present at your Mass. So I donot know how rubrically faithfully, liturgically, and devotely the preist celebrated, the altar boys served, and the choir and people chanted. For if you attended a low Mass - merely recited rather than chanted - which is not the Roman Mass as it is meant to be celebrated - then your disappointment is so much the more understandable.

    The 'good' liturgical movement (pre-Vatican II) strove to have the High Mass - chanted by priest, choir and people - with incense, deacon, subdeacon, acolytes and lectors - become once again the normal parish Mass on Sundays and Festivals, and to reintroduce into the exisitng Mass of the Roman Rite elements which in many or most places had fallen into disuse; elements integral to the Roman Rite, which make the Sacrifice of the Mass more truly a liturgical celebration that inspires awe, reverence, and a sense of communion with the Sacred, rather than just a ritual to 'get through with' as accurately, effeciently and hastily as possible. Unfortunately the 'good' liturgical movement was hijacked after the council by the 'bad' liturgical movement dominated by heretics, which produced the notorious Novus Ordo in its many diverse manifestations; (which does not exclude the fact which you have noted, that some priests are able to celebrate even the Novus Ordo Mass in a devote and quasi-traditionally catholic manner - by applying to the Novus OrdoMass the texts, attitudes, gestures, rituals, vestments, tone of voice, sounds and convictions proper to the Old Rite.)

    In a word, it seems to me that not all that goes under the name of Old Rite is gold, just as not all that goes under the name of New Rite is dross. Though, you all know a thousand times over where my religious sympathies and loyalties lie! Try again. Perhaps somwhere else, or on a different day when a baptism is not being celebrated just prior to Mass. Perhaps a different kind of crowd will show up." 
    [Reply from a Catholic priest (June 2006)]

    Appendix X: An interview with the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship

    An interview with Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, published by  “La Croix”
    One gets the impression that the liturgy is a priority for Benedict XVI.
    Rightly so. When one looks back at the history of the liturgy over the years, one sees how important listening to God and touching the transcendent is for everyone. The Church has always been aware that its liturgical life must be oriented toward God, and must bring with it a profoundly mystical atmosphere. Now for a number of years the tendency has been to forget this, and to substitute for it a spirit of complete liberty that leaves everything open to a rootless and depthless creativity.

    Has the liturgy become an object of controversy, of debate within the Church, even a factor of serious division? 
    I think this is a purely Western phenomenon. Secularization in the West has led to a deep division between those who take refuge in mysticism, forgetting about life, and those who trivialize the liturgy, depriving it of its role as a mediator with the transcendent. In Asia – for example, in Sri Lanka, my own country – everyone, no mater what his religion, is very conscious of man’s need to be drawn to the transcendent. And this should also be reflected in everyday life. I don’t think that the sense of the divine should be lowered to the human level, but that man should be lifted up to the supernatural level, where we can approach the divine Mystery. Now, the temptation to take charge of this divine Mystery, to try to control it, is strong in a society that divinizes man, as Western society does. Prayer is a gift: liturgy is not determined by man, but by what God brings to birth within him. It implies an attitude of adoration toward God the creator. 

    Do you have the sense that the conciliar reform went too far?
    It’s not a question of being anti-conciliar or post-conciliar, conservative or progressive! I think that the liturgical reform of Vatican II never got off the ground. Besides, this reform didn’t begin with Vatican II: in reality, it preceded the Council, coming into being with the liturgical movement at the beginning of the 20th century. If one abides by what the Vatican II decree Sacrosanctum Concilium says, the issue was that of making the liturgy the route of access to faith, and the changes in this area were supposed to emerge in an organic manner, keeping the tradition in view, and not in a haphazard manner. There have been many tendencies that have banished from view the authentic meaning of the liturgy. One could say that the direction of liturgical prayer in the postconciliar reform has not always been the reflection of the documents of Vatican II, and in this sense, one could speak of a necessary correction, a reform of the reform. The liturgy must be won back, in the spirit of the Council. 

    Through what concrete steps? 
    Today, the problems of the liturgy center around language (vernacular or Latin) and the position of the priest, whether he faces the assembly or faces God. I will surprise you here: nowhere in the conciliar decree does it say that the priest must face the assembly, nor that the use of Latin is forbidden! If the use of the common tongue is permitted, notably in the liturgy of the Word, the decree is very clear that the use of the Latin language should be maintained in the Latin rite. We are waiting for the pope to give us his guidelines on these subjects. 

    And as for all those who followed, with a great sense of obedience, the post-conciliar reforms – do they need to be told that they were wrong? 
    No, this shouldn’t be turned into an ideological problem. I have noticed how much the young priests here love to celebrate the Tridentine rite. It must be clarified that this ritual, following the missal of Pius V, has not been “outlawed.” Should its use be encouraged even more? That’s for the pope to decide. But it is certain that a new generation is seeking a greater orientation toward mystery. This is not a question of form, but of substance. In order to speak of the liturgy, what is necessary is not a scientific or historical-theological spirit alone, but above all an attitude of meditation, prayer, and silence. 
    Once again, it is not a question of being progressive or conservative, but simply of permitting man to pray, to listen to the voice of the Lord. What happens in the celebration of the Lord’s glory is not a merely human reality. If one forgets this mystical aspect, everything gets mixed up and confused. If the liturgy loses its mystical and heavenly dimension, then who is left to help man free himself from his egoism and self-enslavement? The liturgy must be above all a road to freedom, in opening man to the infinite. 

    This interview is from June 25 2006. Three days earlier, the Archbishop had given a more detailed interview on the same subject to Antoine-Marie Izoard of the French news agency "I.MEDIA."  The text of this earlier interview is available only to I.MEDIA subscribers. However, on June 23, the French newspaper "Le Figaro" reprinted some selections from it in an article by Hervé Yannou.


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