Monday, July 30, 2007

The Icon Fund

Yesterday afternoon the parish braved the changeable weather to have a strawberry tea after Sunday Benediction. Unfortunately no sooner had everyone sat down in the garden than there was an intense downpour and we had to transfer to the parish hall. The rain only lasted about five minutes and then the sun came out again. Here are some pictures of the tea party. This gallant band raised £100 for the icon fund we have at the minute. The total stands at about £900 at the minute and the total we need to reach is £2000.

This weekend I was happy to receive from Sr Petra Clare a copy of a previous icon she has produced which will be the model for the icons we hope to have placed behind the altar. The plan is to have the first and last mysteries of the Rosary. I had thought to have the Annunciation on one side of the tabernacle and the Coronation of the Virgin on the other but when Sister came to see the church and noticed the pattern of the glass in the wooden shutters she came up with the idea of having the Annunciation at the bottom and the Coronation above this with the figures repeating the shape of the coloured glass panels in the wood.

This is the picture Sister sent which will be the basis for what we hope to have.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What`s next?

Now that Summorum Pontificum has finally come out some people may be feeling nostalgic for all that waiting and the endless rumours that it was coming out next week or next month. If life seems dull without out all that speculation it seems that there is help at hand. Fr Zuhlsdorf has a post today about the Pope intending to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in public on the First Sunday of Advent. While this will be a fantastic boost for the use of the EF and will help those Catholics who up to now have felt nervous about getting involved with the Latin Mass movement out of loyalty to the papacy (as they like to say they celebrate the Mass the Pope says and if the OF is good enough for him why should we look for anything else) , I have a feeling that this could become the replacement for Motu Mania as dates start coming out for when the Pope intends to celebrate the EF in public.

However I hope it is true and that it is the first Sunday of Advent. I must look at my diary and see if I can get to Rome that Sunday although I imagine one would have to find a way of getting a ticket for admission to the Mass. I think if I got to it I would be completely overcome with emotion for the whole Mass. Failing an Easyjet ticket, I may have to consider getting EWTN installed so as to be able to watch. I await developments with interest!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

More on Latin and China

I had mentioned in an earlier post that Cardinal Bertone says that the Salesians are being inundated with requests to send Latin teachers to Chinese universities. I looked up the question of Latin and China again in Waquet`s Latin or the Empire of a Sign (published in 2001) which chronicles the history of Latin studies, mainly in the West, from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries. While it is a fascinating read it has to be said that she is not hugely sympathetic to the preservation of Latin outside specialist circles. She talks about the question of using a Latin liturgy in China in the Catholic missions of the 17th century and writes:

The argument in fact was concened less with knowledge of Latin than in the pronunciation. Missionaries and apostolic visitors to the orient all agreed on the inability of the Chinese to achieve a correct pronunciation; their letters, memoirs and reports were filled with proofs to this effect, referring knowledgeably to the pecularities of Chinese phonetics, lacking in several of the sounds corresponding to Latin letters. The main examples were the vowels a and e and the consonants b, d and r in the initial position which became respectively ya, nge, pe, te and lle. It was also impossible for the Chinese to end a word with a consonant other than m or n, so that vos amatis would be pronounced vosi yamassissi. And they did not have sounds corresponding to i and g, so that ego, for example, would be pronounced nheco. There was also their inability to pronounce two conjoined consonants or a double consonant without introducing a mediating vowel: sanctam would thus become sanketam and ecclesiam an almost unrecognizable ngekekelesiam. Even this absurd cacophony for a single word was as nothing compared to what became of whole sentences and phrases such as Ego te baptizo in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, Te absolvo a peccatis tuis or Hoc est corpus meum which became: Nghe ngho te bapetiso in nomine Paetelisu nghe te Filii te Sepilitusu Sanketi, Nghe te yapesolva ya pekiatisu tuisu and Hocu yesutu colpusu meum.

Apparently, following requests from the Jesuits, Paul V in 1615 allowed Scripture to be translated into literary Chinese and allowed future Chinese priests to celebrate Mass, recite the breviary and administer the sacraments in their own language. However this was not fruitful as the ordination of native priests was put off and translating the Bible proved very difficult in terms of terminology. The Chinese church continued to use Latin until in 1949 Pius XII allowed Chinese to be used for the whole of the Mass apart from the canon. It is interesting that we may see a great revival in Latin studies coming from such a country that took to it so badly to start with.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thoughts from California

This appears in California Catholic Daily today and I thought it was worth reproducing:

Do the Old Rite Right

The return of the Tridentine Mass is the reemergence of the stern, old Patriarch just when we were beginning to have fun

Notes from a Cultural Madhouse
By Christopher Zehnder

Since Pope Benedict XVI freed up the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass in his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, I’ve heard oft-repeated the comforting assurance, “The Tridentine Mass only appeals to a very small percentage of Catholics. Most Catholics are happy with the rite of the Mass celebrated in the vernacular.”

I call this an “assurance” and “comforting” because one of the greatest fears of “progressive” Catholics is the return of the Bad Old Days before Vatican II -- the days when the “Spirit” did not dash about the Church as freely as It does today. The “Tridentine” Mass, of course, is for many the symbol of that oppressive past, just as wisecracking celebrants, “Glory and Praise,” altar girls, and liturgical dance routines are of the age of liberation. The return of the Tridentine Mass is the reemergence of the stern, old Patriarch just when we were beginning to have fun.

I don’t mean to spoil anyone’s party, but it is, perhaps, premature to say that most Catholics are happy with their typical parish Masses, especially when they’ve never experienced anything else. Anyone who has been condemned for a time to eat institutional food knows that, after a while, one’s initial disgust with it wears off. One may even begin to enjoy the slop. What of those who have never known better food? What would happen if, instead of greasy chicken-fried steak, they were suddenly presented with a well-cooked cut of beef? Some, of course, may want to stick with what they’ve been used to, but others – many others – may find they like good food and come to regard the old fare with a species of disgust.

This has, indeed, been the case for many Catholics whose only experience of the Mass has been through the “liturgical renewal” that began in the late ‘60s. It’s not just Old Folks who attend the Tridentine Masses. The number of young people who come to prefer the Old Rite might increase when and if it becomes more widely available – especially since most younger people who remain in the Church tend to be devoted to “old-fashioned” orthodoxy.

The number of younger people attending the Tridentine Mass might continue to grow, if devotees of the rite and the priests that serve them carefully cultivate its beauties and draw from it the richness that is found in Catholic Tradition.

I myself am not what one would call a doctrinaire devotee of the Tridentine Mass. I prefer, in fact, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, which I attend on Sundays. I have even assisted at celebrations of the Novus Ordo – said in Latin, with incense and Gregorian Chant – that I would choose over many a Tridentine Mass I’ve attended. And I have been to many Tridentine Masses -- Solemn High Masses, High Masses, Missae Cantatae, and low Masses. I have witnessed profoundly beautiful celebrations of the Old Rite – more beautiful, I admit, than anything comparable in the New Rite – so I know just how exquisite the Tridentine Mass can be. I have even attended low Masses in the rite that have been quietly moving.

If such celebrations became common, I fear the worries of progressives about the liberalization of the Old Latin Mass might prove quite well-founded. But my experience of most of the celebrations of the Old Rite leads me to fear that richly beautiful celebrations of it may prove to be few and far between, at least in California and other states.

For the most part, the Tridentine Masses I’ve been to have been low Masses, hurriedly said and sloppily executed. The priests seem to make it a point to get through the ritual as quickly as they can and the people – despite the Pope John XXIII’s permission of the dialogue Mass – do not make the responses which belong to them. At one church with the indult, the Gloria is often not sung, only the Kyrie – presumably because it would make the Mass last too long. And by the time the Kyrie is finished, the priest is well into the Epistle. Thus, the people are able corporately to express their longing for God but not their praise for Him in that glorious hymn. At another parish that had the indult back East, the priest admitted to me he did not speak the words of the canon, but read them silently to himself. When I expressed my surprise, he quipped, “but that’s the way it was done before the Council!” Presumably he knew, for he had said the Mass before the council.

Poor celebratons of the Tridentine Mass, it seems, characterize illicit celebrations of the rite as well as those under the indult. Some years ago, I attended a Requiem Mass for a relative said by a priest who had refused to say the Mass of Paul VI when it came out and had, ever since, been celebrating the Tridentine Rite at various locations in Southern California. I expected that a priest who had rebelled over the Mass would understand its beauty and celebrate it accordingly. I was wrong. His Mass was like an magical incantation done slapdash. A Druid priest, I think, would have blushed to pronounce his spells the way that priest read the Dies Irae.

Those who love the Tridentine Mass often call it “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” Though a Byzantine or a Coptic Catholic might dispute this, his refutation would not come by the way I’ve seen the Tridentine Mass so often said. The Tridentine Mass is indeed beautiful, but like anything done, its beauty is only revealed by a careful attention to the way it’s done. The Tridentine Mass has beauty, but it is a delicate beauty that requires the cultivation of devotion.

Those who love the Tridentine Mass, I think, have to lay aside any preferences arising from memory or personal predilection and seek out what the Church has required of the liturgy since the days of Pope St. Pius X. Some Catholics, for instance, seem to treat the Mass as an avenue for private devotion and so object to congregational responses or singing. But the congregation of the faithful at Mass is not a chance gathering of individuals but the worship of the Church, the Body of Christ, through its Head. The fullest expression of this as a sign comes through corporate responses to prayers and the singing, at least, of the ordinary chants – the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. Private devotion, of course, is necessary, but it’s best when it is expressed through personal engagement in the prayers and ritual of the Mass. Though Pope Pius XII reminded us that exceptions can be allowed, the normal means for devotion is the missal, not the rosary.

Corporate, external worship is what, of course, Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium called for; and, it is important to remember that the Council fathers had the Tridentine Mass, not the Mass of Paul VI, in mind when they approved that Constitution. If we want the Tridentine Mass to be something more than a haven for the disaffected, as its opponents claim it is; if we want it to spread its leaven throughout the entire Church; if, in a word, we want it to be missionary – we must learn to see it through the real liturgical reform that, beginning with Pius X, includes Sacrosanctum Concilium.

The Council called for “full and active participation of all the people” in the liturgy. This, of course, does not mean primarily external gestures, but internal devotion. But being, as we are, creatures of body as well as soul, external actions – praying and singing aloud, crossing oneself, kneeling, standing where appropriate – are not only the natural expressions of interior devotion; they inspire it. More importantly, external participation in the liturgy serves as a sign of the Church, which has Christ as her head and the people as her members. We are, after all, a “royal priesthood, a kingdom of priests and a holy people."

Priests who say the Mass have to themselves, as the Council says, “become fully imbued with the spirit and power of the liturgy.” But so do we laymen. We, together with the clergy, have to open ourselves to accept the liturgy’s full potential as a sacrament of Christ’s love for mankind. And if we do, I’m convinced that the Tridentine Mass could become a powerful, if not the most powerful, means by which the Holy Spirit works to reform and renew the Latin Church. And, who knows, a renewed Tridentine Mass, celebrated according to the fullness of tradition, cleansed of the novelties of the 1960s (and the 1950s), might even end up drawing in those who most fear and hate it. The liturgy, after all, is a very powerful grace.


Sanctus bell rings
Are you listening?
On the vestments
Gold is glistening.
A beautiful sight
The old Roman rite
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland.

Gone away is the guitar.
Here to stay is the simar*.
We`ll sing an old song
As we go along.
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland

We can build an altar ad orientem.
Then go to see Father Brown.
He`ll say “Are you stable?”
We`ll say `Yes man`.
Will you say the Mass
While we`re in town?

Later on
We`ll conspire
As we sit around the fire,
To face unafraid
The plans that we`ve made.
Walking in a Ratzinger wonderland.

* Cassock with cape and double sleeves.

Friday, July 20, 2007


I`ve been thinking more about the question of the 1962 missal and the reaction of Jewish groups . Last night at our `Journey in Faith` meeting at SS Peter and Paul, Longbenton we discussed the `Our Father`. When looking at the petition `Hallowed be thy name` we talked about how the Jews hold the name of God as revealed to Moses, in such reverence that they refuse to use it and substitute Adonai or `the Lord` whenever it occurs in scripture. The pope`s book on `Jesus of Nazareth` was a help in talking about this. I seem to recall being told at seminary that cardinal Heenan had assured the Jews that Catholics would not cause offence to them by using the vocalised form `Yahweh` in their liturgy. Well I suppose it is not used officially in the texts of the translation of the Paul VI missal but there are quite a number of hymns used in Catholic churches which use this form of the name revealed to Moses. I wonder whether those in the Catholic church who think there is an anti-Semitic problem with the 1962 missal would also seek to avoid offending our Jewish brethren by abstaining from using this name so freely in their hymns?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Holy Week

I haven`t said much about the controversy about the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the 1962 missal as I hadn`t realised that it was controversial for the Catholic Church to pray for the conversion of others. Even the 1970 missal has a prayer which always seemed to me to be praying for the conversion of the Jews as well as other prayers praying for the coming of all Christians into one church and for those who do not believe in Christ or God to find faith. If we believe Christ to be the way, the truth and the life I had assumed that we, as Catholics, would want others to come to the same belief. However on Rorate Caeli there is part of an interview with Cardinal Bertone about this question. I reproduce it here.

There has been a great debate regarding the Motu proprio on the Tridentine Mass. How do you see the reactions of the Jews, who feel offended because it still contains an invitation to their conversion?

[Bertone:] The Jews, as John Paul II said, remain our older brothers. In the first [sic] Canon of that Mass, "our Father Abraham, father in the faith, and the High Priest Melchisedech" [sic] are invoked. I know of many rabbis who are glad about this. The formula regarding the Jews? The word 'perfidious' has already been removed. The problem of the "conversion" may be solved with a decision valid for all. For instance, using the formula of the liturgy for Holy Friday of Paul VI. Moreover, every priest may choose between the Tridentine Missal and that of Paul VI in the triduum of Holy Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It is also fair to value the richness and beauty of the Latin language. Did you know that in China hundreds of universities have requested instructors of Latin to the Salesians?

I was delighted to hear about the Chinese universities. However this remark of Cardinal Bertone is revealing as some have said that Summorum Pontificum does not permit the use of the 1962 Mass in the triduum when in fact it only prohibits a private Mass using either missal in that period. The Cardinal makes clear here that a priest can celebrate the triduum with which ever missal he sees fit to use.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A gracious response

This, from the Jesuit church in New Orleans, is my favourite response to Summorum Pontificum so far. It`s simple, to the point and without any `spin`. Hat tip to the Summorum Pontificum blog.


Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Last week, it was reported widely in the press that the Pope “was bringing back the old Latin Mass.” These reports were misleading on two counts:

First, the current Mass (the one said everyday at Jesuit Church) is already a Mass of the Latin (or Roman) Rite. It may be said in Latin without special permission. After all, Latin is the language of the Roman Rite and Vatican II itself said, “The use of Latin is to preserved in the Latin rite.” When even small changes are made in the vernacular text of the Mass (for example, from “This is the Word of the Lord” to “The Word of the Lord”), these changes are based on the Latin text, which remains normative. When I say private Masses, for example, I almost always celebrate in Latin. At Jesuit High School, we had several Latin Masses in recent years (usually for Latin classes). St Patrick’s Church, in addition to celebrating the older form of the Mass, also celebrates the ordinary form in Latin. In other words, the Pope can’t “bring back” Latin because it never went anywhere. It remains and always has been the normative language of the Roman Rite.

Strictly speaking, it’s not even true that he brought back the “old Latin Mass.” As the Pope notes, it was never officially abolished after Vatican II, not even after the Missal of Paul VI was promulgated in 1970. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, certain groups in certain parts of the world were authorized to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Pope John Paul II expanded that privilege in 1984 and further still in 1988. Now almost every diocese in the United States has at least one Catholic church or chapel that offers the “old Latin Mass.”
So what did the Pope do? In part, the following:

1) He established the old Missal, promulgated by Pius V and reissued in 1962 by John XXIII, as an “extraordinary form” of the Mass. The Missal of 1970, the fruit of the liturgical renewal of the 20th century, remains the “ordinary” form.

2) Every priest now has the right and privilege, when celebrating “Mass without the people,” of celebrating according to the older Missal without any special permission. Such Masses may be attended by the faithful who so desire. These can be celebrated on any day of the year except during the Sacred Triduum.

3) The Pope permits and encourages pastors to celebrate Mass according to the older Missal for “stable groups of the faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition.” These Masses can be celebrated on weekdays and once on a Sunday or feast day. Pastors also should grant requests from priests and groups of lay faithful for the older Mass for special celebrations, like weddings, funerals, pilgrimage Masses, etc.

Why has the Pope made the older form more accessible?

1) According to the Pope, a good number of people, long after Vatican II, remained strongly attached to the older usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood.

2) Other people became attached to the earlier form of the Missal after enduring years of liturgical abuses and false forms of creativity in the celebration of the new Missal. In short, interest in the older form of the Mass has grown as people have experienced a loss of the sacred in some celebrations of the new Missal.

3) The Pope seems to hope that the more frequent celebration of the older form will lead to a more reverent and faithful celebration of the “ordinary form.”

4) The Pope emphasizes that there is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

That last point is very compelling. The Mass as celebrated by St. Ignatius, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Frances de Sales; the same Mass that nourished Therese of Lisieux and Maria Goretti; the Mass that attracted into the Church the likes of Clare Boothe Luce and Evelyn Waugh; that Mass cannot be “harmful” or simply all of a sudden enter into the realm of “the forbidden.”

The Pope’s wise and generous action helps restore liturgical balance and can assist the Church in preserving her ancient spiritual riches. To which I say, Deo gratias!

Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A retraction

On the CNS there is a statement by the Vatican press officer, Fr Lombardi, which denies yesterday`s story about the Pope using the 1962 missal. Here it is:

Vatican spokesman: Pope concelebrates daily Mass using current missal
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal, the Vatican spokesman said.

Claims that the pope celebrates his private Mass using the Tridentine rite are incorrect, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi told Catholic News Service July 17.

The Tridentine Mass is the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council; it was last revised in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

Less than 10 days after Pope Benedict July 7 issued his letter and norms providing greater opportunity for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, news reports claimed Pope Benedict already had been celebrating the old rite privately.

"The confusion probably was caused by our footage of the pope celebrating facing the altar, which is due to the fact that the altar is against the wall" in the private chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Father Lombardi said.

With the altar against the wall, the concelebrants in the private chapel end up having their backs toward the congregation during the eucharistic prayer. The congregation at the morning Mass generally is made up of the pope's valet and the consecrated women who staff the papal apartment.

The images Father Lombardi referred to were released by the Vatican to coincide with celebrations of Pope Benedict's 80th birthday April 16. Father Lombardi heads the Vatican Television Center, which produced the footage, as well as serving as director of the Vatican press office and Vatican Radio.

Father Lombardi also said the fact that the pope's two private secretaries concelebrate the Mass with him each morning "obviously means he is using the new Missal," since the Tridentine Mass strictly limits concelebration.

At public Masses with an international congregation, Pope Benedict uses the post-Vatican II Mass with most of the prayers in Latin. However, on occasions such as the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, which is considered a Rome diocesan celebration although there is an international congregation, the pope recites the prayers in Italian.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pope Benedict leads the way

This story is on CWNews today. It is not true to say that Pope John Paul II celebrated his private Mass facing the people. I went twice and it was celebrated `ad orientem` and the altar was attached to the wall. I hope the rest of the story is reliable. I had wondered if this might be the reason that there was now no access to the Pope`s early morning Mass.

Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass

Vatican, Jul. 16, 2007 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned. Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal. In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Pope says that the older form-- the form in universal use before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II-- was never abrogated. Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual-- which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite-- for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass. Unlike his predecessor John Paul II, who regularly invited visitors to attend the Mass that he celebrated each morning in his private chapel, Benedict XVI has made it his regular practice to celebrate Mass with only a few aides. The Pope's closest associates have established a reputation for preserving confidences. Shortly after his election in April 2005, Pope Benedict ordered renovations of the Redemptoris Mater chapel in the apostolic palace. The changes included replacing the free-standing altar at which Pope John Paul celebrated Mass facing the congregation with a longer altar, closer to the rear wall of the chapel and with a tabernacle in the center. The new arrangement allows for the Pope to celebrate Mass in the ad orientem posture required for the older ritual. Pope Benedict has long been known as an ardent defender of the Catholic liturgical tradition. In the early 1990s he raised eyebrows in Rome by writing a laudatory preface to the book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, in which Msgr. Klaus Gamber decried many of the liturgical changes of the past few decades. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger also traveled to Wigratzbad, in Bavaria, to ordain priests for the Fraternity of St. Peter, a group devoted to the use of the traditional liturgy. He performed those ordinations, as well as Mass on Easter Sunday in 1990, using the 1962 Roman Missal.
UPDATE. 17.07.07 CWNews has removed the part about John Paul II and has added this note:
Editor's note Several CWN readers have pointed out that Pope John Paul II could and did celebrate Mass ad orientem in the papal chapel before the renovations that Benedict XVI commissioned. Because the paragraph on the renovations was confused, and added nothing to the substance of this story, we have removed it from this report.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This cheered me up this morning

From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Demand may rise with Pope's approval of Latin Mass
Some view traditional liturgy as divisive, others attracted by reverence
Sunday, July 15, 2007

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At 11 a.m. today, Latin chant will fill St. Boniface Church, as veiled young women kneel with their husbands and children to hear the Rev. Matthew Talarico offer his first High Mass for Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community.
The 26-year-old from Cecil was ordained last month by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis for a community whose call is to offer the traditional Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. Demand is expected to rise now that Pope Benedict XVI has said that the 1962 Mass -- the last approved Latin Mass before the changes of Vatican II -- no longer requires special permission from the bishop.
"Latin is the mother tongue of all Catholics," said Father Talarico, who will serve in the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.
"Modern languages are always changing. In order to express a timeless liturgy and eternal truths, we use a language with a venerable tradition, a language which does not change, a language which unites us with all of our ancestors in the faith and which serves as a bridge to the future in bringing all Catholics the unity of faith."
But use of the Tridentine Mass is controversial. Some bishops had not permitted it, in part because they believed it spawned division and elitism. Some Catholics associate it with schismatic movements that reject all teachings of Vatican II. Jewish leaders expressed concerns because the 1962 Good Friday liturgy includes a prayer for the conversion of Jews.
Father Talarico, however, was trained in Italy for the Institute of Christ the King, which is approved by the Vatican. He accepts Vatican II, noting that it hails Latin as the official language of the church.
The Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community, established in 1989, meets in St. Boniface Church of Holy Wisdom parish in the North Side. The Rev. Lawrence DiNardo, pastor of Holy Wisdom and chief canon lawyer for the diocese, will help decide how to apply the new rules.
Although he is not its chaplain -- the Rev. Kenneth Myers is -- the Latin Mass Community has been an asset to his parish, he said. With 650 participants, it is one of the largest diocesan Tridentine communities in the U.S.
Neither Father DiNardo, nor the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, the diocesan spokesman, expect the pope's decree to change much here. It doesn't require every pastor to offer the Mass if requested, Father DiNardo said. Those who want 1962 liturgy will continue to go to St. Boniface, he said.
However, the diocese is currently more permissive than the pope. Two Sunday Masses are held here; the pope permitted just one. Pittsburgh has had permission for all Holy Week services; the pope forbade the Tridentine celebration of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
"We can't say yet whether any of that will be grandfathered in," Father Lengwin said.
Some of the greatest concerns about the 1962 Mass concern Good Friday. Catholics and Jews involved in theological dialogue have objected to a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of Jews. It replaced a more infamous Good Friday prayer for "perfidious Jews," which Pope John XXIII excised in 1959.
The 1962 prayer is offered "for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."
Last week the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations sent an urgent letter to the Vatican, asking for assurance that the 1962 Good Friday liturgy was banned.
Rabbi Alvin Berkun, of Pittsburgh, is president of the international organization for Conservative rabbis and a participant in dialogues with the Vatican. Although he wants the Good Friday prayer removed, he discounted the fears of some rabbis that wider approval of the old Mass means a return to an old theology that cast Jews as "Christ-killers."
"As a rabbi, I wouldn't want the church telling me how much Hebrew I can put in my service. I don't think rabbis should be telling them how much Latin to use. I don't read into it any negative or nefarious suppositions," he said.
The Rev. Jerome Vereb, a Pittsburgher who once worked in the Vatican office that oversees relations with other Christians and Jews, said that those who attend diocesan-sponsored Latin Masses don't share the anti-ecumenical, anti-Jewish views of some schismatic groups.
He has occasionally attended a Latin Mass in New York City.
"The church is full of young people and people from other countries," he said.
"You see everyone from the Japanese ambassador to the United Nations to a Haitian lady who works as a nanny going to the Latin Mass. They go because there is still a universal quality and a sense of history to it."
Father Talarico first attended Latin Mass at 13. He had already sensed a call to priesthood.
The Latin Mass "was mysterious, but very attractive," he said. "There was a real sense of reverence. I wanted to learn more, and became an altar boy."
Yesterday he celebrated low Mass -- without chant, or the Bible readings and sermon that would otherwise be in English. Vested in a lace alb and ornate chasuble, he prayed facing the same direction as the people, so they saw only his back.
The 50 worshipers could follow in a Latin-English missal, which explained every gesture. But they never spoke. Only the altar boys -- they have no altar girls -- answered in Latin.Jim Cardelini, 41, of Munhall, has attended for about five years.
"At first we came because of an invitation. But then we started to come more. My wife and I were attracted by the reverence," he said.
"In the silence and the meditation, there is a mystical experience."
Lack of speech doesn't mean lack of participation, Father Talarico said.
"Participation is interior. It comes from the heart," he said. "People love that beauty. They can pray very simply to God."
In a letter accompanying his decree, the pope sought to allay the fears of some bishops that the Mass would be divisive. He expected it to have limited appeal.
"The use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often," he wrote.
But, he wrote, some people were deeply hurt by the sudden revolution in their worship. He didn't name the followers of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who rejected Vatican II. But, as the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he had attempted to reconcile the Lefebvrists. The new decree is not expected to heal the schism. Lefebvrist leaders have said they cannot accept current church teaching on many issues.
Nevertheless, the pope was thinking of reconciliation.
"Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church's leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity," he wrote.
Father Talarico joined the Institute of Christ the King because it is not divisive, he said. Its priests serve at the request of bishops, who often lack priests able to offer the Latin Mass.
"Our mission is to teach the truth of the Catholic Church, but to teach it with charity. We want to show that the faith is attractive for people today, that it has answers for all of the problems of today's world. But ultimately, it is about love," he said.
"We are not about going back to something, we are looking ahead to the future. The Mass is timeless. The church is always young.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Tablet

An apology to eccentrics. In my comments to the Tablet I say that the Tridentine Mass now belongs to the mainstream of Catholic life. It quotes me as saying: "This is not something for the eccentrics". I wouldn`t want it thought that I am excluding eccentrics from the benefits of Summorum Pontificum. What I probably meant to say was something like the 1962 missal is not just for eccentrics. If you are eccentric and thinking of coming to the Latin Mass but are worried you might get a frosty reception please be assured that this will not be the case.

That Catholic Show - You Are A Priest Forever

Hat tip to the Curt Jester for this. I`d not heard of That Catholic Show before

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Leading the way

Good to see a bishop who previously has refused to authorise the use of the 1962 missal in his diocese now, in the light of Summorum Pontificum saying that he will take it upon himself to celebrate the extraordinary form himself!

From the American National Catholic Register.

“I am the only bishop in Wisconsin who does not now give permission for the Mass of Blessed John XXIII, as I did not feel the adequate catechesis was in place,” Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison told the Register. “But now that the Holy Father has indicated his desire for this extraordinary form to be more widely used, not only will the decree be implemented, but I intend to take the lead. I hope myself to celebrate this Mass, through which I found my own vocation.”

Press Office of the Holy See

This useful reflection by the Press Office of the Holy See appears on the blog of Fr John Boyle, the South Ashford priest. I include it here for those who may not have seen it.

1. The Motu Proprio 'Summorum Pontificum' lays down new rules for the use of the Roman liturgy that preceded the reform of 1970. The reasons for such provisions are clearly explained in the Holy Father's letter to bishops which accompanies the Motu Proprio (the two documents have been sent to all the presidents of Episcopal conferences and to all nuncios, who have arranged to distribute them to all bishops).

2. The fundamental provision is as follows: the Roman liturgy will have two forms ('usus'):
a) The ordinary form is the one that follows the liturgical reform undertaken by Pope Paul VI in the year 1970, as it appears in the liturgical books promulgated at that time. There is an official edition in Latin which may be used always and everywhere, and translations in divers languages published by the various Episcopal Conferences.
b) The extraordinary form: which is that celebrated in accordance with the liturgical books published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962."

3. The Motu proprio allows the use of the prior liturgy for those who desire it; it does not intend, on the other hand, to impose the extraordinary form, that is, the prior liturgy, on those who are happy with the ordinary form.

4. The liturgy according to the 1962 books is celebrated in the Latin language but the readings contained in the Missal can be read to the people in the vernacular. To favor an active participation, the faithful who attend such celebrations are invited to recite together with the celebrant the diverse parts of the ‘Ordinarium Missae’ (Ordinary of the Mass – Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) which, in sung Masses, may be sung and if possible even by the people. When there are faithful present, it is not suitable for the entire Mass to be celebrated in a low voice. It is recommended that the faithful follow the prayers of the Mass with a bi-lingual missal, such as those that already exist and which will certainly be re-edited.

5. In parishes, in practice, the liturgy being used will not change: instead, it will be possible for the pastor to add to the Masses celebrated in the ordinary form, a second Mass according to the extraordinary form.

6. The two forms of the liturgy follow two diverse calendars, different on the dates of several secondary feasts, and they have two diverse lectionaries. Such differences should not create great difficulties: for example, the Ambrosian rite, celebrated in the Diocese of Milan, has its own calendar and lectionary.

7. The Motu proprio foresees the possibility of using the earlier rite for the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony. If such a reasonably-motivated demand exists, the pastor can decide to use the earlier missal; it is clear, however, that all prescriptions on the preparations for these sacraments, that have been set forth by the Episcopal Conferences, remain in force. The same possibility exists for funerals, both for the funeral Mass in church and for the funeral rite at the cemetery.

8. The local bishop may erect a personal parish, when in that place is found a very substantial number of faithful who wish to follow the earlier liturgy. It would be appropriate for the numbers of faithful to be substantial, even if not comparable to those of other parishes.

9. The liturgical books needed for the extraordinary form of the Roman liturgy are:- The Roman Missal in the 1962 edition; previous editions differ in the rubrics on the status (level) of feasts. In the 1962 edition there is always the ‘Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae,’ previously renewed in 1955 by Pope Pius XII. Pope John XXIII reformulated the prayer ‘Pro Judaeis’ in the Good Friday liturgy, and inserted it in this edition of the Roman Missal. Thus, it is not licit to use the Holy Week liturgy prior to the 1962 edition.
- The Roman Ritual, for the Sacraments of Baptism, Matrimony, Penance, Anointing of the Sick and other Blessings and Prayers contained in the Ritual.
- The Roman Pontifical for the case in which the bishop decides to confer Confirmation on a group of faithful who wish it in the earlier rite. The use of the 1962 Roman Pontifical was permitted in 1988 for those communities who followed the entire earlier rite of conferring the Sacrament of Orders.
- The Roman Breviary, for priests who wish to recite the Divine Office in consonance with the 1962 Missal.All four of these liturgical books must be reprinted for practical use. Those publishing houses that specialize in such books must be charged with this, with the ‘recognitio’ of the competent Pontifical Commission.

10. The priests necessary for the celebration of the liturgy in the extraordinary form must be prepared for this task.

11. The Motu proprio foresees that the jurisdiction for the application of the new dispositions belongs to the “Ecclesia Dei” Pontifical Commission which will take care of problems that could arise.

12. The Motu proprio is scheduled to enter into force on September 14. The Pope’s Letter explicitly asks Bishops to give an accounting after three years, in such a way as to be able to find solutions if “serious difficulties” arise.

The explanatory note also highlights several characteristics of the 1962 Missal:"It is a 'plenary' or 'integral' Missal in the Latin language, that is, it also contains the readings for the celebrations (it is not distinct from the 'Lectionary' as the later 1970 Missal is)."
It contains just one Eucharistic prayer, the 'Roman Canon' (corresponding to the first Eucharist Prayer of the later Missal, which includes a choice of various Eucharistic Prayers)."
Various prayers (including a large part of the Canon) are recited by the priest in a low voice inaudible to the people."
Other differences include the reading of the beginning of the Gospel of John at the end of Mass.
"The 1962 Missal does not provide for concelebration. It says nothing concerning the direction of the altar or of the celebrant (whether facing the people or not).
"The Pope's Letter envisages the possibility of future enrichment of the 1962 Missal (inclusion of new saints, new prefaces, etc.)."

[Translation of Italian original by Joan Lewis, EWTNews]


These comments from Cardinal Ricard are useful as too often in the past despite the text of Ecclesia Dei saying its provisions were for all those attached to the traditional liturgy, we were told that those provisions were intended to draw back followers of Archbishop Lefebvre. Now it is clear you don`t have to have been one of his followers to benefit from the Motu Proprio but they are for any Catholic who is interested. From CNA today:

Motu Proprio is meant for those faithful to Vatican II and will change nothing for most Catholics, says Cardinal Ricard
Rome, Jul 11, 2007 / 10:37 am (CNA).- Cardinal Jean Pierre Ricard, president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, said this week the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI “is intended for Catholics faithful to the Pope and respectful of the authority of the Council (Vatican II) and who desire to use the 1962 Missal.”
In noting that “the ancient liturgy has nourished the faith of the faithful during centuries and can still do so today,” Cardinal Ricard said Vatican II was not a “break” but rather a continuation of the tradition of the Church. He stressed that by issuing the document, Pope Benedict is calling on “the council faithful and the traditionalists to begin a journey towards reconciliation and communion.”
The Pope greatly desires “the unity of Catholics, he wants to favor reconciliation and reconcile the Church with her liturgical past. It’s also a gesture towards the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, but the Pope knows that in this case the differences are not only liturgical,” the cardinal said.
He emphasized that the “Missal of 1970 remains the ordinary form of celebration. This is not bi-ritualism but rather one rite that can be celebrated in two ways. For most Catholics nothing will change,” the cardinal stated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I`ve been tagged by Fr John Boyle of the South Ashford Priest blog. The questions are:
1. How did you start blogging?

I wanted to post a comment on another blog and found that to do so I needed to set up my own.

2.What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful?

I hoped to find a sympathetic audience for some of my recent difficulties and to communicate with other enthusiasts for the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I would say that in this it has been successful.

3. Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
Not as yet.

4. What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
Nothing comes to mind.

5. Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
My brothers read my blog.

6. What advice would give to a new blogger?
I`ve not really had much trouble with hostile posts as yet. It is important to remember that absolutely anyone can read your blog and to think before posting about how what you write will be taken.

I tag Vocation: thoughts of a teenage Christian.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

St Joseph`s Gateshead

After the excitement of yesterday, I was glad to be able to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman rite at St Joseph`s, Gateshead today at noon. I was called by the parish priest on Friday and asked to be the celebrant for Sunday. I was glad that I was able to do so. At my two previous Masses at St Aidan`s Benton and St Mary`s here, I spoke about the Motu Proprio, summarised the explanatory letter and mentioned some of the legal points. At St Joseph`s it was good to be able to celebrate the news with a congregation of about 60. At the end of the Mass, the schola led us in singing the Te Deum. Here are some pictures. ( I don`t know why the white altar frontal was being used on a green Sunday. There is another all purpose one which is normally used.)

Abortion: Cardinal throws down gauntlet to PM

My attention has been drawn to this article from the Scotsman. Cardinal O`Brien continues to speak out.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


The website of the bishops of the USA has acknowledged the issue of the Motu Proprio today and has even provided a commentary courtesy of their liturgy committee. Nothing as yet from the bishops of England and Wales. The only diocese in England and Wales to have news about the Motu proprio on its website today is the diocese of Northampton and that was published on Friday. It will be interesting to see what Monday brings.

UPDATE 08.07.07. There is a response on the Westminster website.

This morning

This Saturday began as usual with a 10am Mass in, what we must now call, the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.

After Mass we waited until 11 and then printed off the copies of the Motu Proprio from the web. Here you see some of the faithful taking it in.

Here I am cutting the cake.

Summorum Pontificum celebration

Many thanks to Fr Tim Finigan for putting together this celebration



Our predecessor John Paul II having already considered the insistent petitions of these faithful, having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters
We establish the following:
Art. 1 The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the Lex orandi (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same Lex orandi, and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s Lex credendi (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents Quattuor abhinc annis and Ecclesia Dei, are substituted as follows:
Art. 2 In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.
Art. 3 Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or “community” celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.
Art. 4 Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may – observing all the norms of law – also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.
Art. 5 § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.
§ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held.
§ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages.
§ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded.
§ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.
Art. 6 In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.
Art. 7 If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 § 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”.
Art. 8 A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” to obtain counsel and assistance.
Art. 9 § 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it.§ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it.§ 2 Clerics ordained “in sacris constitutis” may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.
Art. 10 The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.
Art. 11 The Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, erected by John Paul II in 1988, continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.
Art. 12 This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as “established and decreed”, and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.From Rome, at St. Peter’s, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

Papal Explanatory Letterto the Apostolic Letter
My dear Brother Bishops,With great trust and hope, I am consigning to you as Pastors the text of a new Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" on the use of the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970. The document is the fruit of much reflection, numerous consultations and prayer.News reports and judgments made without sufficient information have created no little confusion. There have been very divergent reactions ranging from joyful acceptance to harsh opposition, about a plan whose contents were in reality unknown.

This document was most directly opposed on account of two fears, which I would like to address somewhat more closely in this letter. In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted. At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level. Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration. We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level. Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them. This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.Pope John Paul II thus felt obliged to provide, in his Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), guidelines for the use of the 1962 Missal; that document, however, did not contain detailed prescriptions but appealed in a general way to the generous response of Bishops towards the "legitimate aspirations" of those members of the faithful who requested this usage of the Roman Rite. At the time, the Pope primarily wanted to assist the Society of Saint Pius X to recover full unity with the Successor of Peter, and sought to heal a wound experienced ever more painfully. Unfortunately this reconciliation has not yet come about. Nonetheless, a number of communities have gratefully made use of the possibilities provided by the Motu Proprio. On the other hand, difficulties remain concerning the use of the 1962 Missal outside of these groups, because of the lack of precise juridical norms, particularly because Bishops, in such cases, frequently feared that the authority of the Council would be called into question. Immediately after the Second Vatican Council it was presumed that requests for the use of the 1962 Missal would be limited to the older generation which had grown up with it, but in the meantime it has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them. Thus the need has arisen for a clearer juridical regulation which had not been foreseen at the time of the 1988 Motu Proprio. The present Norms are also meant to free Bishops from constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to various situations.In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often. Already from these concrete presuppositions, it is clearly seen that the new Missal will certainly remain the ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, not only on account of the juridical norms, but also because of the actual situation of the communities of the faithful.It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The "Ecclesia Dei" Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.I now come to the positive reason which motivated my decision to issue this Motu Proprio updating that of 1988. It is a matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church. Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. One has the impression that omissions on the part of the Church have had their share of blame for the fact that these divisions were able to harden. This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to unable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew. I think of a sentence in the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where Paul writes: "Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!" (2 Cor 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place. Needless to say, in order to experience full communion, the priests of the communities adhering to the former usage cannot, as a matter of principle, exclude celebrating according to the new books. The total exclusion of the new rite would not in fact be consistent with the recognition of its value and holiness.In conclusion, dear Brothers, I very much wish to stress that these new norms do not in any way lessen your own authority and responsibility, either for the liturgy or for the pastoral care of your faithful. Each Bishop, in fact, is the moderator of the liturgy in his own Diocese (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22: "Sacrae Liturgiae moderatio ab Ecclesiae auctoritate unice pendet quae quidem est apud Apostolicam Sedem et, ad normam iuris, apud Episcopum").Nothing is taken away, then, from the authority of the Bishop, whose role remains that of being watchful that all is done in peace and serenity. Should some problem arise which the parish priest cannot resolve, the local Ordinary will always be able to intervene, in full harmony, however, with all that has been laid down by the new norms of the Motu Proprio.Furthermore, I invite you, dear Brothers, to send to the Holy See an account of your experiences, three years after this Motu Proprio has taken effect. If truly serious difficulties come to light, ways to remedy them can be sought.Dear Brothers, with gratitude and trust, I entrust to your hearts as Pastors these pages and the norms of the Motu Proprio. Let us always be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul addressed to the presbyters of Ephesus: "Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the Church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son" (Acts 20:28).

I entrust these norms to the powerful intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, dear Brothers, to the parish priests of your dioceses, and to all the priests, your co-workers, as well as to all your faithful.

Given at Saint Peter’s, 7 July 2007


Friday, July 06, 2007


Elsewhere on the internet there is what purports to be a leaked copy of the new Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum. ( I wonder how we`ll cope with that as a term of reference. For exmaple there are numerous Ecclesia Dei societies around the world. Summorum Pontificum doesn`t roll off the tongue in quite the same way.) One of the commentators on the leak speaks of semi-private Masses. Are we moving towards a hitherto unknown category of celebration of the Mass, a semi-private Mass? Oh well we`ll know by tomorrow. By a happy co-incidence I am the celebrant of the Tridentine Mass on Sunday at my old parish of St Joseph`s Gateshead. I`m hoping that we will manage to have a sung Te Deum after Mass. It would be ridiculous not to mark the publication of the Motu Proprio in some way. I hope we`ll have some pictures of the Mass and the faithful celebrating, or at least smiling, to put on the blog.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vatican II

Spotted on Mrs Parkes blog was the following which I found worthy of filching (with her blessing).

Do you want to win a sure-fire bet? Take the average Catholic over fifty - and the average Catholic is over fifty - and ask her (the average Catholic is “her”) which of the following were ordered by the Second Vatican Council:

* that Latin should stop being the normal language of Mass and the sacraments.
* That pop hymns should replace Gregorian chant as the music of the Church.
* That there should be fewer prayers and less honour to Our Blessed Lady.
* That the Blessed Sacrament should be moved away from the main altar and hidden away.
* That statues should be removed from our churches.
* That it is all right to celebrate the life of saints but we must not ask them to pray for us.
* That the name of the Sacrament of Penance should be changed to Reconciliation so that we can be “reconciled to our neighbour and to living with ourselves.”
* That artificial contraception and even abortion are not really wrong.
* That nuns should no longer wear their habits but should wear ordinary clothes and lipstick and have expensive hairdos.
* That there should be no more Benediction.
* That Catholic should join CND and be in favour of unilateral disarmament.
* That devotion to the holy angels should be played down and all hymns concerning the angels should be removed from our hymn books.
* That there is nothing much wrong with remarrying after divorce and those who do so should be able to go to Holy Communion.
* That all religions are much the same.
* That no one goes to hell any more but at death everyone goes straight to heaven.
* That the purpose of a Requiem Mass is to celebrate the life of the one who has died not to pray for the soul of that person.
* That you should not pray for the holy souls in purgatory.
* That men and women are identical and everything possible should be done to minimise differences.

What is the correct answer to win your bet? Not one of the list was ordered by the Second Vatican Council. Most of the above are the exact opposite of what the Council actually said.

This article is based on one originally published in The Catholic Times newspaper.
Copyright ©; Eric Hester 2003


This Saturday I will be going to say Mass on Holy Island (Lindisfarne). St Aidan`s, Benton, which is one of my parishes, is celebrating its centenary this year and this trip is part of the celebrations. We`ll get a chance to see the alterations made by the bishop to the Catholic church on the island. It was certainly in need of refurbishment. Mass is at 2pm, so I`ll just get finished there and have to drive back for the vigil Mass in St Mary`s. Lindisfarne was the cradle of Christianity in this region and the home of many saints. My favourite of the Northumbrian saints, St Wilfrid, started his monastic life there.
I hope to get time to get a glimpse of the Motu Proprio at sometime in the day when I can get near a computer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Expectans expectavi

We have a name for the new Motu Proprio. According to Rorate Caeli it will be Summorum Pontificum. Sounds good and authoritative. Well that`s two words: reports say that the others will be released on Saturday.

Monday, July 02, 2007


While at a concelebrated Mass tonight, during the `Lord have mercy` from the Israeli Mass, it occurred to me that I should say how delighted I am to see that the Obnoxiously Pious blog has sprung back into life. Today there is a very thoughtful article about the coming Motu Proprio which dares to suggest that it may help priests who draw spiritual strength from the traditional Mass.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


From reading the blogosphere I see that next Saturday is the expected date for the Motu Proprio on the Mass. While on my tour of California I met two charming ladies from North Carolina, BeBe and De, who are Charismatic Evangelicals. They told me that their pastor has organised a rally for that date, which they expect 400,000 people to attend, as he is convinced that it will be a significant date and the beginning of a great Christian revival. I can`t really remember if anything dreadful happened on 06.06.06 but I was able to let them know, after a text from a friend, that 07.07.07 might well be a turning point for the Catholic Church too. Oremus.

That car park again

Just before I went away I got a call from the BBC asking me to write a piece for their website about why I thought the Gateshead car park should be demolished after someone had alerted them to my previous blog entry about it. So I rushed it off and they put it on their website the day I flew off. I only got to see it yesterday. It can be read here. It is interesting to see that of the more than 16,000 people who voted in the poll about the future of the car park, 79% thought it should go. It is a strange feeling to be on the popular side of an issue!

I must say however that I share the fears of those who have said Gateshead deserves more than a large Tesco store for its new town centre. I remember seeing the plans for the proposed redevelopment a couple of years ago and apart from the absence of the car park the proposed new buildings were not very exciting. The plans will be appearing here soon. I don`t think the replacement has to be considered a `chocolate box` type of architecture just because it won`t be `Brutalist`. In California I saw plenty of attractive modern buildings, not the least of which was the Getty centre in Los Angeles. I hope the plans for the renewal of Gateshead town centre will match the imagination which brought the Sage and the Baltic to the banks of the Tyne.