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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

His Excellency Alexander Sample, Bishop of Marquette in Michigan

'Nuff said....he says that which those of us who have been students of Monsignor Richard Schuler have been saying since the 1970s (myself, since 1994).....

Yep.  This is good stuff!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy....

I will be posting sporadically for the next several weeks.  This is the busy time of year for my work, but I will make a concerted effort to do what I can.

Expect a post about Mass with the director of development for the FSSP coming early in November.  Also, expect a post in the next couple of days about Bishop Sample of Marquette, MI.  He is one of the disciples of Mons. Schuler, along with Fr. Z, Bishop Sirba (Duluth), Bishop LeVoir (New Ulm), Frs. Joe Sirba, and Bryan Pederson, Deacon Bernie Pederson, Allen Young, esq., and yours truly.  Bishop Sample is making a good name for himself....

May God keep you close, as I wind up my busy season with work.  Pax tecum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turned Around Altars

I think that today is a good day to re-post an article from my mentor, Mons. Richard J. Schuler.  It was written 18 years ago, but is just as poignant today.  Take a read:

Father Klaus Gamber, who is recently deceased, has written for many years about the liturgical reforms that followed on the II Vatican Council. <The Reform of the Roman Liturgy> (available from Foundation for Catholic Reform, 1331 Red Cedar Circle, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524, $23) has recently been translated from German into French and English, and has provoked considerable comment in the European press. One of the points considered by Father Gamber is the position of the altar with reference to the congregation. One of the most evident reforms following the council is the practice of having the priest face toward the congregation. Much of the propaganda that brought about the priests' change in position alleged that it was only a return to a custom of the early Church. History and archeology were both cited (but without true facts) as evidence in the claims. Without much study or questioning, priests and parishes across the country accepted the stories and tore out their altars, replacing them with tables of wood and blocks of stone that allowed the priest to face toward the congregation. The designs of the original architects, the over-all lines and focus of the church were set aside and thrown out. In most cases the artistic results were bad, and at best the new arrangement looked like a remodelled dress or suit. The destruction of the church and sanctuary was unfortunate and often costly. In some parts of the country, the damage done to the churches by the altar-bashing reformers was greater than what the Vandals did to Spain or North Africa. But the greater evil was the damage done to the liturgical presence and actions of the priest. He was told to make eye-contact with the people, to direct his words to them, to become the "presider" at the community assembly, the "facilitator" of the active participation of the congregation. The notion of the Mass as sacrifice was discouraged, while the idea of a common meal was promoted. The altar became the table, much like in the days of Archbishop Cranmer in England. Among those asked to comment on Father Gamber's book was Cardinal Ratzinger, who was interviewed in the Italian journal, <Il Sabato> (April 24, 1993). He explained that there is no historical data, either in writing or from archeology, that establishes the position of the altar in the early centuries as having been turned toward the people. To look at the people was not the question in the early Church, but looking toward the east where Christ would appear in His second coming, the parousia, was most important. Thus church buildings and the altars were "oriented" (faced to the east) so that the priest especially would see Him on His arrival. If because of the contour of the land or some other obstacle, the church could not be so located, then the priest, always looking toward the east, would have to stand behind the altar and face toward the people. That he was looking at the congregation was only accidental to the eastward position he took. Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome is a good example of this, because the church could not have the usual west entrance because of the Vatican Hill. The cardinal explains further that the almost universal change to altars facing toward the people is not a decree of the II Vatican Council. Nor was it impossible before the council to offer Mass toward the people. A tradition of fifteen centuries of priests' standing at the head of their congregations was swept away in a few years. That tradition admitted of exceptions. I, myself, probably had a record of celebrating Mass in Latin, facing the people, more than any other priest in the country before the council. The church where I had weekend duty had such an altar in the crypt, and I offered Mass twice each Sunday for nearly ten years, all prior to 1963. The cardinal was asked if the Church would revert to the ancient tradition practiced before the council. He replied that there would not be a change "at this time:" He said that the people are far too confused now by so many changes so quickly introduced. But he did not say that it would not happen at a future date. Surely, a great boost in restoring reverence to the celebration of the Mass would be given by a return. Father Jungmann, whose work on the history of the liturgy (<Missarum solemnia>) was in large part responsible for the introduction of the change, had second thoughts about the value of the change. The interesting aspect of the discussion brought about by Father Gamber's book is that little by little the propaganda and false assertions invoked to bring about the liturgical reforms following the council are now being exposed and found to be without truth or basis, historical, archeological or liturgical. The errors swallowed by the clergy and laity alike in the sixties included such lies as the elimination of Latin, the forbidding of choirs, tearing out of communion rails, statues, tabernacles, and vestments-all in the name of the council or perhaps the "spirit of the council:" Thank God the truth is beginning to re-appear.

This article appeared in the Summer 1993 issue of "Sacred Music." Published by the Church Music Association of America, 548 Lafond Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Regarding Porta Fidei

I think that first, the Holy Father wants to set straight that the "Year of Faith" is a concrete move toward applying his hermeneutic of continuity to all aspects of Vatican Council II and the proper implementation of it, as well as the proper reading of the documents. For he says;

 I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.” (PF 5)
This then begs the question and I think that it is a proper question to ask, To what end should we, the faithful, expect the liturgical, ecclesiological, and "ecumenical" (read: religious tolerance) life of the Church to be renewed?

These seem to be the biggest issues facing the Church and the most ambiguous with regard to reading and implementing Vatican Council II.

Porta Fidei



1. The “door of faith” (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.

2. Ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ. During the homily at the Mass marking the inauguration of my pontificate I said: “The Church as a whole and all her Pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.”[1] It often happens that Christians are more concerned for the social, cultural and political consequences of their commitment, continuing to think of the faith as a self-evident presupposition for life in society. In reality, not only can this presupposition no longer be taken for granted, but it is often openly denied.[2]Whereas in the past it was possible to recognize a unitary cultural matrix, broadly accepted in its appeal to the content of the faith and the values inspired by it, today this no longer seems to be the case in large swathes of society, because of a profound crisis of faith that has affected many people.

3. We cannot accept that salt should become tasteless or the light be kept hidden (cf. Mt 5:13-16). The people of today can still experience the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him (cf. Jn 4:14). We must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the word of God, faithfully handed down by the Church, and on the bread of life, offered as sustenance for his disciples (cf. Jn 6:51). Indeed, the teaching of Jesus still resounds in our day with the same power: “Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life” (Jn 6:27). The question posed by his listeners is the same that we ask today: “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (Jn 6:28). We know Jesus’ reply: “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (Jn 6:29). Belief in Jesus Christ, then, is the way to arrive definitively at salvation.

4. In the light of all this, I have decided to announce a Year of Faith. It will begin on 11 October 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and it will end on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on 24 November 2013. The starting date of 11 October 2012 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of theCatechism of the Catholic Church, a text promulgated by my Predecessor, Blessed John Paul II,[3] with a view to illustrating for all the faithful the power and beauty of the faith. This document, an authentic fruit of the Second Vatican Council, was requested by the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985 as an instrument at the service of catechesis[4] and it was produced in collaboration with all the bishops of the Catholic Church. Moreover, the theme of the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that I have convoked for October 2012 is “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”. This will be a good opportunity to usher the whole Church into a time of particular reflection and rediscovery of the faith. It is not the first time that the Church has been called to celebrate a Year of Faith. My venerable Predecessor the Servant of God Paul VI announced one in 1967, to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul on the 19th centenary of their supreme act of witness. He thought of it as a solemn moment for the whole Church to make “an authentic and sincere profession of the same faith”; moreover, he wanted this to be confirmed in a way that was “individual and collective, free and conscious, inward and outward, humble and frank”.[5] He thought that in this way the whole Church could reappropriate “exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it”.[6] The great upheavals of that year made even more evident the need for a celebration of this kind. It concluded with the Credo of the People of God,[7] intended to show how much the essential content that for centuries has formed the heritage of all believers needs to be confirmed, understood and explored ever anew, so as to bear consistent witness in historical circumstances very different from those of the past.

5. In some respects, my venerable predecessor saw this Year as a “consequence and a necessity of the postconciliar period”,[8] fully conscious of the grave difficulties of the time, especially with regard to the profession of the true faith and its correct interpretation. It seemed to me that timing the launch of the Year of Faith to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council would provide a good opportunity to help people understand that the texts bequeathed by the Council Fathers, in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “have lost nothing of their value or brilliance. They need to be read correctly, to be widely known and taken to heart as important and normative texts of the Magisterium, within the Church's Tradition ... I feel more than ever in duty bound to point to the Council as the great grace bestowed on the Church in the twentieth century: there we find a sure compass by which to take our bearings in the century now beginning.”[9] I would also like to emphasize strongly what I had occasion to say concerning the Council a few months after my election as Successor of Peter: “if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.”[10]

6. The renewal of the Church is also achieved through the witness offered by the lives of believers: by their very existence in the world, Christians are called to radiate the word of truth that the Lord Jesus has left us. The Council itself, in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, said this: While “Christ, ‘holy, innocent and undefiled’ (Heb 7:26) knew nothing of sin (cf. 2 Cor 5:21), but came only to expiate the sins of the people (cf. Heb 2:17)... the Church ... clasping sinners to its bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal. The Church, ‘like a stranger in a foreign land, presses forward amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God’, announcing the cross and death of the Lord until he comes (cf. 1 Cor 11:26). But by the power of the risen Lord it is given strength to overcome, in patience and in love, its sorrow and its difficulties, both those that are from within and those that are from without, so that it may reveal in the world, faithfully, although with shadows, the mystery of its Lord until, in the end, it shall be manifested in full light.”[11]

The Year of Faith, from this perspective, is a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Saviour of the world. In the mystery of his death and resurrection, God has revealed in its fullness the Love that saves and calls us to conversion of life through the forgiveness of sins (cf. Acts 5:31). For Saint Paul, this Love ushers us into a new life: “We were buried ... with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). Through faith, this new life shapes the whole of human existence according to the radical new reality of the resurrection. To the extent that he freely cooperates, man’s thoughts and affections, mentality and conduct are slowly purified and transformed, on a journey that is never completely finished in this life. “Faith working through love” (Gal 5:6) becomes a new criterion of understanding and action that changes the whole of man’s life (cf. Rom 12:2; Col 3:9-10; Eph 4:20-29; 2 Cor 5:17).

7. “Caritas Christi urget nos” (2 Cor 5:14): it is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth (cf. Mt 28:19). Through his love, Jesus Christ attracts to himself the people of every generation: in every age he convokes the Church, entrusting her with the proclamation of the Gospel by a mandate that is ever new. Today too, there is a need for stronger ecclesial commitment to new evangelization in order to rediscover the joy of believing and the enthusiasm for communicating the faith. In rediscovering his love day by day, the missionary commitment of believers attains force and vigour that can never fade away. Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness: indeed, it opens the hearts and minds of those who listen to respond to the Lord’s invitation to adhere to his word and become his disciples. Believers, so Saint Augustine tells us, “strengthen themselves by believing”.[12] The saintly Bishop of Hippo had good reason to express himself in this way. As we know, his life was a continual search for the beauty of the faith until such time as his heart would find rest in God.[13] His extensive writings, in which he explains the importance of believing and the truth of the faith, continue even now to form a heritage of incomparable riches, and they still help many people in search of God to find the right path towards the “door of faith”.

Only through believing, then, does faith grow and become stronger; there is no other possibility for possessing certitude with regard to one’s life apart from self-abandonment, in a continuous crescendo, into the hands of a love that seems to grow constantly because it has its origin in God.

8. On this happy occasion, I wish to invite my brother bishops from all over the world to join the Successor of Peter, during this time of spiritual grace that the Lord offers us, in recalling the precious gift of faith. We want to celebrate this Year in a worthy and fruitful manner. Reflection on the faith will have to be intensified, so as to help all believers in Christ to acquire a more conscious and vigorous adherence to the Gospel, especially at a time of profound change such as humanity is currently experiencing. We will have the opportunity to profess our faith in the Risen Lord in our cathedrals and in the churches of the whole world; in our homes and among our families, so that everyone may feel a strong need to know better and to transmit to future generations the faith of all times. Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo.

9. We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; ... and also the source from which all its power flows.”[14] At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed,[15] and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make his own, especially in the course of this Year.

Not without reason, Christians in the early centuries were required to learn the creed from memory. It served them as a daily prayer not to forget the commitment they had undertaken in baptism. With words rich in meaning, Saint Augustine speaks of this in a homily on the redditio symboli, the handing over of the creed: “the symbol of the holy mystery that you have all received together and that today you have recited one by one, are the words on which the faith of Mother Church is firmly built above the stable foundation that is Christ the Lord. You have received it and recited it, but in your minds and hearts you must keep it ever present, you must repeat it in your beds, recall it in the public squares and not forget it during meals: even when your body is asleep, you must watch over it with your hearts.”[16]

10. At this point I would like to sketch a path intended to help us understand more profoundly not only the content of the faith, but also the act by which we choose to entrust ourselves fully to God, in complete freedom. In fact, there exists a profound unity between the act by which we believe and the content to which we give our assent. Saint Paul helps us to enter into this reality when he writes: “Man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved” (Rom 10:10). The heart indicates that the first act by which one comes to faith is God’s gift and the action of grace which acts and transforms the person deep within.

The example of Lydia is particularly eloquent in this regard. Saint Luke recounts that, while he was at Philippi, Paul went on the Sabbath to proclaim the Gospel to some women; among them was Lydia and “the Lord opened her heart to give heed to what was said by Paul” (Acts 16:14). There is an important meaning contained within this expression. Saint Luke teaches that knowing the content to be believed is not sufficient unless the heart, the authentic sacred space within the person, is opened by grace that allows the eyes to see below the surface and to understand that what has been proclaimed is the word of God.

Confessing with the lips indicates in turn that faith implies public testimony and commitment. A Christian may never think of belief as a private act. Faith is choosing to stand with the Lord so as to live with him. This “standing with him” points towards an understanding of the reasons for believing. Faith, precisely because it is a free act, also demands social responsibility for what one believes. The Church on the day of Pentecost demonstrates with utter clarity this public dimension of believing and proclaiming one’s faith fearlessly to every person. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit that makes us fit for mission and strengthens our witness, making it frank and courageous.

Profession of faith is an act both personal and communitarian. It is the Church that is the primary subject of faith. In the faith of the Christian community, each individual receives baptism, an effective sign of entry into the people of believers in order to obtain salvation. As we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “ ‘I believe’ is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during baptism. ‘We believe’ is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. ‘I believe’ is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both ‘I believe’ and ‘we believe’.”[17]

Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals himself and allows us to know his mystery of love.[18]

On the other hand, we must not forget that in our cultural context, very many people, while not claiming to have the gift of faith, are nevertheless sincerely searching for the ultimate meaning and definitive truth of their lives and of the world. This search is an authentic “preamble” to the faith, because it guides people onto the path that leads to the mystery of God. Human reason, in fact, bears within itself a demand for “what is perennially valid and lasting”.[19] This demand constitutes a permanent summons, indelibly written into the human heart, to set out to find the One whom we would not be seeking had he not already set out to meet us.[20] To this encounter, faith invites us and it opens us in fullness.

11. In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in theCatechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church ... I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.”[21]

It is in this sense that that the Year of Faith will have to see a concerted effort to rediscover and study the fundamental content of the faith that receives its systematic and organic synthesis in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here, in fact, we see the wealth of teaching that the Church has received, safeguarded and proposed in her two thousand years of history. From Sacred Scripture to the Fathers of the Church, from theological masters to the saints across the centuries, the Catechism provides a permanent record of the many ways in which the Church has meditated on the faith and made progress in doctrine so as to offer certitude to believers in their lives of faith.

In its very structure, the Catechism of the Catholic Church follows the development of the faith right up to the great themes of daily life. On page after page, we find that what is presented here is no theory, but an encounter with a Person who lives within the Church. The profession of faith is followed by an account of sacramental life, in which Christ is present, operative and continues to build his Church. Without the liturgy and the sacraments, the profession of faith would lack efficacy, because it would lack the grace which supports Christian witness. By the same criterion, the teaching of the Catechism on the moral life acquires its full meaning if placed in relationship with faith, liturgy and prayer.

12. In this Year, then, the Catechism of the Catholic Church will serve as a tool providing real support for the faith, especially for those concerned with the formation of Christians, so crucial in our cultural context. To this end, I have invited the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by agreement with the competent Dicasteries of the Holy See, to draw up a Note, providing the Church and individual believers with some guidelines on how to live this Year of Faith in the most effective and appropriate ways, at the service of belief and evangelization.

To a greater extent than in the past, faith is now being subjected to a series of questions arising from a changed mentality which, especially today, limits the field of rational certainties to that of scientific and technological discoveries. Nevertheless, the Church has never been afraid of demonstrating that there cannot be any conflict between faith and genuine science, because both, albeit via different routes, tend towards the truth.[22]

13. One thing that will be of decisive importance in this Year is retracing the history of our faith, marked as it is by the unfathomable mystery of the interweaving of holiness and sin. While the former highlights the great contribution that men and women have made to the growth and development of the community through the witness of their lives, the latter must provoke in each person a sincere and continuing work of conversion in order to experience the mercy of the Father which is held out to everyone.

During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfilment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfilment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.

By faith, Mary accepted the Angel’s word and believed the message that she was to become the Mother of God in the obedience of her devotion (cf. Lk 1:38). Visiting Elizabeth, she raised her hymn of praise to the Most High for the marvels he worked in those who trust him (cf. Lk 1:46-55). With joy and trepidation she gave birth to her only son, keeping her virginity intact (cf. Lk2:6-7). Trusting in Joseph, her husband, she took Jesus to Egypt to save him from Herod’s persecution (cf. Mt 2:13-15). With the same faith, she followed the Lord in his preaching and remained with him all the way to Golgotha (cf. Jn 19:25-27). By faith, Mary tasted the fruits of Jesus’ resurrection, and treasuring every memory in her heart (cf. Lk 2:19, 51), she passed them on to the Twelve assembled with her in the Upper Room to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts1:14; 2:1-4).

By faith, the Apostles left everything to follow their Master (cf. Mk 10:28). They believed the words with which he proclaimed the Kingdom of God present and fulfilled in his person (cf. Lk11:20). They lived in communion of life with Jesus who instructed them with his teaching, leaving them a new rule of life, by which they would be recognized as his disciples after his death (cf. Jn 13:34-35). By faith, they went out to the whole world, following the command to bring the Gospel to all creation (cf. Mk 16:15) and they fearlessly proclaimed to all the joy of the resurrection, of which they were faithful witnesses.

By faith, the disciples formed the first community, gathered around the teaching of the Apostles, in prayer, in celebration of the Eucharist, holding their possessions in common so as to meet the needs of the brethren (cf. Acts 2:42-47).

By faith, the martyrs gave their lives, bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel that had transformed them and made them capable of attaining to the greatest gift of love: the forgiveness of their persecutors.
By faith, men and women have consecrated their lives to Christ, leaving all things behind so as to live obedience, poverty and chastity with Gospel simplicity, concrete signs of waiting for the Lord who comes without delay. By faith, countless Christians have promoted action for justice so as to put into practice the word of the Lord, who came to proclaim deliverance from oppression and a year of favour for all (cf. Lk 4:18-19).

By faith, across the centuries, men and women of all ages, whose names are written in the Book of Life (cf. Rev 7:9, 13:8), have confessed the beauty of following the Lord Jesus wherever they were called to bear witness to the fact that they were Christian: in the family, in the workplace, in public life, in the exercise of the charisms and ministries to which they were called.

By faith, we too live: by the living recognition of the Lord Jesus, present in our lives and in our history.

14. The Year of Faith will also be a good opportunity to intensify the witness of charity. As Saint Paul reminds us: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13:13). With even stronger words – which have always placed Christians under obligation – Saint James said: “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled’, without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith” (Jas 2:14-18).

Faith without charity bears no fruit, while charity without faith would be a sentiment constantly at the mercy of doubt. Faith and charity each require the other, in such a way that each allows the other to set out along its respective path. Indeed, many Christians dedicate their lives with love to those who are lonely, marginalized or excluded, as to those who are the first with a claim on our attention and the most important for us to support, because it is in them that the reflection of Christ’s own face is seen. Through faith, we can recognize the face of the risen Lord in those who ask for our love. “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40). These words are a warning that must not be forgotten and a perennial invitation to return the love by which he takes care of us. It is faith that enables us to recognize Christ and it is his love that impels us to assist him whenever he becomes our neighbour along the journey of life. Supported by faith, let us look with hope at our commitment in the world, as we await “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:13; cf. Rev 21:1).

15. Having reached the end of his life, Saint Paul asks his disciple Timothy to “aim at faith” (2 Tim 2:22) with the same constancy as when he was a boy (cf. 2 Tim 3:15). We hear this invitation directed to each of us, that none of us grow lazy in the faith. It is the lifelong companion that makes it possible to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that God works for us. Intent on gathering the signs of the times in the present of history, faith commits every one of us to become a living sign of the presence of the Risen Lord in the world. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end.

“That the word of the Lord may speed on and triumph” (2 Th 3:1): may this Year of Faith make our relationship with Christ the Lord increasingly firm, since only in him is there the certitude for looking to the future and the guarantee of an authentic and lasting love. The words of Saint Peter shed one final ray of light on faith: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet 1:6-9). The life of Christians knows the experience of joy as well as the experience of suffering. How many of the saints have lived in solitude! How many believers, even in our own day, are tested by God’s silence when they would rather hear his consoling voice! The trials of life, while helping us to understand the mystery of the Cross and to participate in the sufferings of Christ (cf. Col 1:24), are a prelude to the joy and hope to which faith leads: “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). We believe with firm certitude that the Lord Jesus has conquered evil and death. With this sure confidence we entrust ourselves to him: he, present in our midst, overcomes the power of the evil one (cf. Lk 11:20); and the Church, the visible community of his mercy, abides in him as a sign of definitive reconciliation with the Father.

Let us entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed “blessed because she believed” (Lk 1:45).

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 11 October in the year 2011, the seventh of my Pontificate.


[2] Cf. Benedict XVI, Homily at Holy Mass in Lisbon’s “Terreiro do Paço” (11 May 2010):Insegnamenti VI:1 (2010), 673.
[3] Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992): AAS 86 (1994), 113-118.
[4] Cf. Final Report of the Second Extraordinary Synod of Bishops (7 December 1985), II, B, a, 4 in Enchiridion Vaticanum, ix, n. 1797.
[5] Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Petrum et Paulum Apostolos on the XIX centenary of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul (22 February 1967): AAS 59 (1967), 196.
[6] Ibid., 198.
[7] Paul VI, Credo of the People of God, cf. Homily at Mass on the XIX centenary of the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul at the conclusion of the “Year of Faith” (30 June 1968):AAS 60 (1968), 433-445.
[8] Paul VI, General Audience (14 June 1967): Insegnamenti V (1967), 801.
[9] John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001), 57: AAS 93 (2001), 308.
[10] Address to the Roman Curia (22 December 2005): AAS 98 (2006), 52.
[11] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 8.
[12] De Utilitate Credendi, I:2.
[13] Cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, I:1.
[14] Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10.
[15] Cf. John Paul IIApostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992): AAS 86 (1994), 116.
[16] Sermo 215:1.
[17] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 167.
[18] Cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, chap. III: DS 3008-3009: Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum, 5.
[19] Benedict XVI, Address at the Collège des Bernardins, Paris (12 September 2008): AAS100 (2008), 722.
[20] Cf. Saint Augustine, Confessions, XIII:1.
[21] John Paul II, Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum (11 October 1992): AAS 86 (1994), 115 and 117.
[22] Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 34, 106: AAS 91 (1999), 31-32, 86-87.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Truth, Goodness, and Beauty...

I have a friend, Fr. Christopher Smith who has a blog (he calls it Catholic Social Networking) which is a fantastic read.  He edits it and there are several contributors to it.  Please do take a look.  It is certainly worth your while.

Truth, Goodness & Beauty

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Wonder When...It. All. Changed?

This clearly isn't a Vatican Council II issue.  This statement by His Holiness was made at the time of the Council.  So, obviously the argument that Vatican Council II opened up the widespread use of the vernacular is captious at best.  Take a read....

His Holiness, Blessed John XXIII.

Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.
Preservation of Latin by the Holy See For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.
She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another. Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.
These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.” Universal Since “every Church must assemble round the Roman Church,” and since the Supreme Pontiffs have “true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful” of every rite and language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite.
When, therefore, the Roman Pontiffs wish to instruct the Catholic world, or when the Congregations of the Roman Curia handle matters or draw up decrees which concern the whole body of the faithful, they invariably make use of Latin, for this is a maternal voice acceptable to countless nations.
Furthermore, the Church’s language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings. But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established. Non-vernacular Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular. In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.”
It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth.” It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching.
It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Times they are a Changin'....And for the Better

I'd be willing to be about a bazillion dollars that this will sweep through the conservative and conservative/moderate dioceses like already has in two.  Read here.

Since 2005 we've not been supposed to be doing this...I think that it shows the absolute lack of respect the USCCB has for the Holy See.  2005!!!!  This isn't an oversight, the impotice is too big, a matter of obedience even!  This is something that was put on ignore!  Praise God for Bishops Olmsted and Morlino.

An excerpt from the bulletin of the Cathedral in Madison:

In the last couple of decades, Communion under both species (with the congregation able to receive the Pre-cious Blood as well as the Sacred Host) has become routine in our experience. I knew (as many of you do) that Communion under both species was first introduced, on a limited basis, after the Second Vatican Council, and that it has become much more common since. What I did not know was that the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005.


Almost no one realized that until very recently. Maybe we can be forgiven for forgetting that we were operating under a temporary indult. After thirty years, something can seem pretty permanent. But it wasn’t. The bishops of our country did apply for an extension of the 1975 in-dult, but that was denied.

So, all over the United States, we now find ourselves needing to bring our practice into conformity with current regulations (and with the rest of the world). In his comments at Chula Vista, Bishop Morlino mentioned a few instances in which Communion under both kinds is still permitted: the Chrism Mass, the Feast of Corpus Christi, for the bride and groom at a Nuptial Mass, and for those so allergic to wheat that they cannot tolerate even low-gluten hosts.

He suggested that the beginning of Advent (when the new translation of the Missal is fully implemented) would be one plausible date to make the change.

Mons. Holmes (rector of the Cathedral and administrator of the Newman Center at U-dub) is far more charitable than me.  As it is, the message is clear and the responsibility is ours to bring to the attention of our pastors and administrators that at the parish level we expect conformity with the law.  Praise God for the wisdom of the Holy See.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Death of Music in the Mass...

From Dom Mark Daniel Kirby OSB...

It speaks for itself...

Until the approval of The New Roman Missal by Pope Paul VI on 3 April 1969, there had existed for four hundred years a substantial unity between the texts of the Proper of the Mass contained in the Graduale Romanum and those given in the Roman Missal. The Missal, in effect, reproduced the complete texts of those sung parts of the Mass that in the Graduale Romanum are fully notated.
The Missal takes the text of the Chants of the Proper of the Mass from the Graduale Romanum, and not the Graduale Romanum from the Missal. The Missal, in fact, contains the very same texts found in the Graduale, but in the Missal they are printed without the musical notation that allows them to be brought to life in song and, in a certain sense, interprets them in the context of the liturgy. The melodic vesture of the texts functions as a liturgical hermeneutic, allowing them to be sung, heard, and received in the light of the mysteries of Christ and of the Church.
Originally Mass was always sung. Not until the eighth or ninth century did the so called Low Mass or missa privata come to be celebrated at the lateral altars and private chapels of abbatial and collegiate churches. The Chants of the Proper of the Mass were not omitted at these Low Masses; they were recited by the priest alone. This fact, of itself, suggests that well before the eighth century, the Proper Chants were, in effect, considered to be constitutive elements of the Mass, deemed indispensable to the very shape of the liturgy.
What are the Propers?
Let us, then, review what the Proper Chants of the Mass are:
Were one to open the Roman Missal at the first page, finding there the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent, the very first element proper to that Mass, and to all others, is the Introit.
The Introit is composed of an antiphon; a verse taken from the psalm corresponding to the antiphon or, occasionally, from another; the Gloria Patri; and the repetition of the antiphon.
The Introit as presented in the Roman Missal appears in a somewhat truncated form, though all the essential elements -- antiphon, psalmody, and doxology -- are present. Until about the eighth century the entire psalm would have been chanted, or at least the greater part of it, with the antiphon repeated after every verse, and this until the celebrant reached the altar, at which point the cantors would intone the Gloria Patri, and after the final repetition of the antiphon, end the Introit.
The purpose of the Introit in the tradition of the Roman Rite is not didactic; it is contemplative. The Introit ushers the soul into the mystery of the day not by explaining it, but by opening the Mass with a word uttered from above. The text of the Introit signifies that, in every celebration, the initiative is divine, not human; it is a word received that quickens the Church-at-Prayer, and awakens a response within her.
Concerning the Introit, Maurice Zundel writes:
[The soul] has but to listen, her sole preparation an eager desire for light, to catch the interior music of the words, and understand that Someone is speaking to her who was waiting for her.
He calls the Introit,
. . . a triumphal arch at the head of a Roman road, a porch through which we approach the Mystery, a hand outstretched to a crying child, a beloved companion in the sorrow of exile. The Liturgy is not a formula. It is One who comes to meet us.
Sung examples: Ad te levavi, Introit of the First Sunday of Advent, and Resurrexi, Introit of the Mass of Easter Day.
The Gradual received its name from the Latin word gradus, meaning a step, because a cantor would sing it, standing on a step leading up to the ambo. The structure of the Gradual is an initial phrase, nearly always from the Psalter, followed by a verse entrusted to one or several cantors. The first part may be repeated.
The musical treatment of the Gradual is melismatic, that is to say, lavish, and characterized by great flights and cascades of notes that stretch and embellish the sacred text.
Maurice Zundel writes:
What really matters about words is not their strictly defined meanings which we find in the dictionary, but the imponderable aura wherein the unutterable Presence in which all things are steeped, is faintly perceptible.
It is in the silent spaces which poetry and music open within us that the doctrinal formulae can be heard with their amplest resonance.
It was therefore natural to invoke their aid after the reading of the Epistle. For its message must be allowed to bear fruit in our personal meditation until we make contact with the Presence with which the texts are filled. We must hear this single Word which is their true meaning and which no human word can express.
The chanting of the Gradual provides this interval of silence and this time of rest in which the teaching just received can unfold in prayer, in the sweet movement of the Cantilena distilling in neums of light a divine dew.
Sung example: Laetatus sum, Gradual of the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
The Alleluia, a cry of jubilation at the approach of the Bridegroom King who will arrive in the proclamation of the Holy Gospel, is a chant full of mystery, in that it quits the zone of mere concepts and words, and takes flight to soar into the ecstatic vocalisations of one seized by an ineffable mystery.
Saint John relates that the Alleluia is a heavenly hymn. It is the song of the saints in praise of God and of the Lamb. The Alleluia is universal; it is found in all the liturgies of East and West. This universal presence of the Alleluia in Christian worship attests to its great antiquity.
A verse or phrase, generally, but not always, from the Psalter, follows the Alleluia. After the verse, the Alleluia is repeated.
The sequence prolongs the jubilation of the Alleluia, by gathering up the neums that shower out of it to organize them into a syllabic melody, and by giving free reign to a poetic expression of the mystery being celebrated.
Five sequences remain in the Roman Missal: the Victimae Paschali Laudes of Easter; the Veni Sancte Spiritus of Pentecost, the Lauda Sion Salvatorem of Corpus Domini; the Stabat Mater of September 15th; and the Dies Irae of the Requiem Mass.
The Roman Missal of 1969 retains only four of these; the Dies Irae having been removed to the Liturgy of the Hours where it serves as a hymn for the last two weeks per annum.
Sung example: Veni Sancte Spiritus, Pentecost.
Whereas the Alleluia is the expression of a joy defying all expression, the Tract is characteristic of a liturgy marked by godly sorrow and compunction. It is found in the Mass, notably, from Septuagesima until Easter.
Originally the Tract was sung by the deacon from the ambo, in the manner of a lesson. It was rendered from beginning to end without the interjection of a refrain by the choir; it is from this mode of execution that its name appears to be derived.
The Tract prepares the congregation for the hearing of the Gospel, not by inviting it to stand on tip-toe in joy, as it were, at the arrival of the Bridegroom, but by inviting to a profound recollection. The Tract, more than any other Chant of the Proper of the Mass, illustrates that the Roman Rite is a school of audientes, a school forming listeners to the Word.
The substitution in Lent of an acclamation addressed to Christ for the Alleluia -- a way of expressing the Alleluia without saying the word -- impoverishes the Roman Rite which, in the usus antiquior demonstrates that one can prepare for the hearing of the Holy Gospel in the silence of a godly sorrow and compunction, as well as in jubilation.
Sung example: Qui habitat, First Sunday of Lent.
The Offertory Antiphon, already at the time of Saint Augustine, was sung to accompany the offering of bread and wine by the faithful and clergy. Pope Saint Gregory the Great gave to the chant at the Offertory a form not unlike that of the Introit: an antiphon and several verses from the Psalter. The antiphon was repeated before each verse; the singing lasted until the priest signaled to the cantors that they should stop, after which he would turn to the faithful for the Orate Fratres.
Even after the Offertory procession, as such, fell into disuse, the Offertory Antiphon continued to be sung, shorn of its verses. The Offertory Antiphon is, as a rule, taken from the Psalter, although occasionally it is taken from other Books of Sacred Scripture. In a few cases as, for instance, in the Requiem Mass, it is an ecclesiastical composition.
As for its musical characteristics, the Offertory is one of the richest and most expressive pieces in the Gregorian repetoire. Dom Eugène Vandeur, a Benedictine monk of the first half of the last century writes:
More mystical and profound than either the Introit or the Gradual, it disposes our souls to recollection that thus they may fittingly assist at the Adorable Sacrifice about to be renewed. The Offertory [Antiphon], then, more than any other part of the Mass, is a sublime and inspired prayer rising to the throne of God.
Sung example: Sicut in holocausto, 13th Sunday per annum.
The Communion Antiphon with its psalm, structured like the Introit, accompanies the distribution of Holy Communion. The Communion of the faithful ended, the Gloria Patri is sung, after which the antiphon is repeated.
While the greater part of Communion Antiphons are drawn from the Psalter, a certain number are taken from the Gospel of the day. These particular Communion Antiphons, sung especially during Lent and Paschaltide, signify that the same Lord Jesus Christ who speaks and acts in the power of the Holy Ghost in the Gospel of the Mass, gives Himself to the communicants to fulfill in them what the Gospel proclaimed and announced.
Sung example: Lutum fecit, 4th Sunday of Lent.

The 1965 Missale Romanum

The 1965 revision of the Roman Missal maintained the Chants of the Proper in their integrity as found in the Graduale Romanum. Even as The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, was being implemented, the place of the Propers was not called into question. They remained constitutive elements of the Mass, having a structural and theological rather than a merely decorative or didactic function within the overall architecture of the Mass.
The Missal of 1969
Four years later however, the fate of the Chants of the Proper of the Mass appears signed and sealed. Concerning the Proper Chants, the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, Missale Romanum (3 April 1969) is curiously misleading. It says;
The text of the Graduale Romanum has not been changed as far as the music is concerned. In the interest of their being more readily understood, however, the responsorial psalm (which St Augustine and St Leo the Great often mention) as well as the entrance and communion antiphons have been revised for use in Masses that are not sung.
With all due respect to Pope Paul VI, what the Apostolic Constitution neglects to say is:
1. that the very form of the Introit has been changed to correspond to the Opening Sentence common in Protestant orders of worship;
2. that the text itself of the revised Entrance Antiphon will no longer correspond to the text of the Graduale Romanum and, in some instances, will be an entirely new text susceptible of being integrated into the didactic opening remarks that, in the new Ordo Missae, may follow the salutation.
3. That even the vestigial psalmody of the traditional Introit will disappear entirely from the reformed Missale Romanum;
3. that the traditional texts of the Gradual, Tract, and Alleluiatic verses will be found henceforth only in the Graduale Romanum and will not appar alongside of the Responsorial Psalm as a legitimate option in the reformed Lectionary;
4. that the Offertory Antiphon will disappear entirely from the new Roman Missal entirely, and will be found henceforth only in the Graduale Romanum;
5. that the Communion Antiphon will, like the Entrance Antiphon, become something akin to a Communion Sentence, and often will no longer correspond to the text of the Graduale Romanum.
Thus began the radical deconstruction of the Mass of the Roman Rite. If one posits that the Chants of the Proper of the Mass are not merely decorative, but constitutive of its architecture, then one must admit that by tinkering with them, or removing them altogether, one is weakening or removing supporting beams of the entire edifice, and risking its collapse.
The General Instruction on the Roman Missal, also promulgated in April 1969, in a single phrase --sive alius cantus-- effectively invited the termites to come in and finish the job. Jesting aside, the Latin text of the General Instruction provided three options for the Chants of the Proper of the Mass. These are:
1. The antiphon with its psalm as given in the Graduale Romanum. 2. The antiphon with its psalm as given in the Graduale Simplex. 3. Another chant (alius cantus) suited to the sacred action and to the character of the day or season, the text of which is approved by the Conference of Bishops
. The 2002 American Adaptation of the GIRM
The 2002 American adaptation of the same General Instruction on the Roman Missal broadened the options and, in so doing, caused the text of the Proper Chants of the Roman Mass to appear as remote accessories that are, in any case, not indispensable to the architecture of the celebration.
In the dioceses of the United States of America there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Roman Missal or the Psalm from the Roman Gradual as set to music there or in another musical setting; (2) the seasonal antiphon and Psalm of the Simple Gradual; (3) a song from another collection of psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) a suitable liturgical song similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.
The choices are given in order of preference. The Roman Gradual, which hitherto was the primary reference, falls into second place. The first choice is the text of the antiphon given in the revised Roman Missal; the American "adaptors" were assuming that these texts will have been put to music.

The second choice is the antiphon and psalm in the Roman Gradual; the American adaptation adds, rather tellingly, either in the chant setting or in another musical setting.
The third choice is the Simple Gradual. The Council Fathers had, in fact, in Sacrosanctum Concilium, article 117, mandated the preparation of a Simple Gradual, better suited to use in smaller churches.
The fourth choice, a collection of psalms and antiphons approved by the Conference of Bishops or by the Diocesan Bishop, does not, to my knowledge, exist anywhere in the U.S. or elsewhere in the English-speaking world.

The fifth choice -- clearly the last resort -- is a suitable liturgical song (here, there is a departure from the psalms and antiphons found in choices 1 through 4) similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or by the Diocesan Bishop.
The General Instruction on the Roman Missal continues:
48. If there is no singing at the entrance, the antiphon in the Missal is recited either by the faithful, or by some of them, or by a lector; otherwise, it is recited by the priest himself, who may even adapt it as an introductory explanation (cf. above, no. 31).
Article 48, by suggesting five different ways of reciting the antiphon in the Missal, including its mutation by the priest into an introductory explanation -- note here the primacy of the didactic -- puts the final touches on a insidious operation by which the Proper Chants of the Mass, even in the minimalistic form of texts recited by the celebrant, routinely came to be omitted altogether. The Proper Chants, that in 1964 were still considered to be constitutive elements of the Mass, deemed indispensable to the very shape of the liturgy, were, by 1969, well on their way to being replaced by other compositions alien to the Roman Rite, and erased from the collective liturgical memory.
Allow me to formulate a principle, perhaps even, with a nod to Anton Baumstark, a law of liturgical evolution. It is this: elements of the rite tend to be neglected and, in the end, disappear altogether, in direct proportion to the number of options by virtue of which they may be replaced or modified.
To my mind, one of the most urgent tasks of what has been called The Reform of the Reform is the suppression of the provision for an alius cantus aptus, and the restoration of the traditional texts of the Proper of the Mass, taking care, at the same time, that the texts given in the Missale Romanum correspond to those in the Graduale Romanum. (I would also argue for the restoration of the text of the Offertorium [Offertory Antiphon] to the editio typica of the reformed Missale Romanum.) The replacement, in the current Missale Romanum of the venerable sung texts of the Graduale Romanum with texts destined to be read, was an innovation without precedent, and a mistake with far reaching and deleterious consequences for the Roman Rite.
In conclusion, I would further argue that a wider use of the Missal of 1962, and a careful examination of the so-called interim Missals published prior to 1969, in whole or in part, would be among the most effective means to the rehabilitation and reappropriation of the Proper Chants as indispensable theological and structural elements of the Mass of the Roman Rite.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Continued Discussion on Revisionist Theology...

The conversation continues SLPO says:

I think your dislike of the vernacular is stronger than what Sacrosanctum Concilium's is. You limit the vernacular to the readings and the rubrics, but that is not what SC limits it to. To the readings, the directives, some of the prayers and chants. SC also states that use of the vernacular may be of great advantage to the people, but you seem to deny that (or that is how I percieve what you have said in the past).
My response:

Ok, so riddle me this...which one's? Which prayers and chants? Some does not equal all, so how do you discern which are acceptable and which are not? Clearly those who rewrote the liturgy did equate some to mean all, which is the issue.

And while the vernacular can be advantageous, when I consider that, I consider it within the scope of the WHOLE liturgical action, not only the Mass. Notice that I disagree with the vernacular in the Mass, but I've never mentioned anything about the divine office or the other Sacraments. So, while I focus 99.9% of my discussion on the Mass, there is more to the liturgical life of the Church than the Mass.

So, the question is put back on you. Which prayers and chants do the Council Fathers think would be advantageous in the vernacular? I'd like to see documentation from the Conciliar Fathers to prove the veracity of that statement made in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Also, I am not interested in the Consilium's view. They were not the Council Fathers.

He continued:

I am not saying I know which prayers and chants it may be helpful to have in the vernacular. I am saying that Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document of Vatican II and of the magisterium says that it may prove advantageous for certain prayers and chants to be said in the vernacular. I can give my opinion as to which prayers and chants I personally think would be helpful to have in the vernacular on ocassion, but by no means do I have any authority to make such a determination. Instead that determination was left to the bishops, whom I think made very poor decisions in that respect (some = all is a very poor decision indeed, advantageous = required is even worse).

What I don't understand in your thinking is this: if it is OK to have the divine office and other sacraments in the vernacular, or portions thereof, why would it not be ok to have portions of the divine liturgy in the vernacular as well? Why should one be able to get married, baptized, have confession in the vernacular but not have vernacular parts at mass?

I assure you I am not for the vernacularization of the mass. I am 100% opposed. I do think that the vernacular being offered ocassionally, or at some masses, during certain parts can be beneficial. Why have the readings in both Latin and English? Is the English not good enough to edify God as part of the liturgy and must be reduced to purposes of catechesis during the homily which isn't actually a part of the liturgy?

My personal opines very quickly and briefly written down and not well thought out are as follows:
Certain propers could be sung in English while the preist prays in Latin. No prayer that the preist prays quietly should be moved to the vernacular as the "advantageous" part of it being in the vernacular is gone. The preists should know latin well enough to not have any need for the vernacular, and the laity assisting at mass don't hear what the priest is praying anyways.

This means the entire canon remains in latin at a TLM. The propers are sometimes sung in english for the laity to hear and sing yet still prayed by the priest in Latin. The same possibility for the credo and all other prayers the priest prays.

and I'll have to finish this and re-iterate my thoughts better later tonight as my break time at work is almost over. Basically I think certain parts that are vocalized by the preist during the TLM could be said in the vernacular, all silent/quiet parts remain in latin, and some of the chant could be in English on ocassion. Maybe have a couple TLM's at a parish and one is all Latin while the other has the propers etc in English yet still keeps lots of latin. This is of course... when the Novus Ordo is abolished (either publicly or naturally) and we have a return to the TLM :).
 My response:

You have shown the very problem with the Consitution on the Liturgy...there is nothing definite. Their wishes were never concrete in nature. They were always a hypothetical.

Essentially it came to this: Some prayers and chants will be advantageous in the verncacular, but we're not going to say which ones (read: we don't know which ones). So the Consilium says, "Hey, we'll run with this (heck, we wrote it anyways), so why don't we just make ALL of the prayers and chants (strike that, we don't like chant) to be recited in the vernacular. We'll commission who we want to restructure the musical identity, because it will be less obtrusive to the Protestants (that's what they wanted anyways), by using hymns instead of singing the whole of the Mass. We'll also rewrite the prayers since they're going to be in new languages anyhow and we'll make sure that the prayers are not offensive to the Protestants, because we want to "be inclusive of all God's people." And then we'll present you with our ideas and pass them off as yours, so you can vote on them. Oh, you didn't like it...we'll go ahead and submit it to the Pope anyways, because we know your mind better than you do...we've been leading you along the whole way anyhow."

And that is EXACTLY what happened. It's in the record, go back and read it. Pretty sad, but in a nutshell, that's it.

I never said it was ok to have the Divine Office or the Sacraments in the vernacular, I'm saying that in reading what the Conciliar Fathers envisioned, that is where they thought the vernacular would be most appropriate. Because even then Latin is to be the norm, but wider applications may be of great use to the faithful, so the possibility does exist. I can see where they are coming from though...have you tried to read some of the Office in Latin? It's not the easiest read in the can be done, but the average Catholic would struggle. So, like I said, I can see their point.

It isn't about the vernacular (English or whatever) being good enough to edify. That misses the point. The point is that the language of the liturgy is Latin. That was to be retained. Reading the epistle and Gospel in the vernacular only isn't consistent with the rest of the liturgical action. It is a break with the continous action, therefore it shouldn't be removed. (re-reading them before the homily, is technically not part of the Mass, so I have no problem doing is considered to be part of the weekly announcements, so that is acceptable, but by no means necessary)

As for your opining, that is your own and I won't comment. You have your opinion and you're entitled, but I don't think that it can be supported in a cogent or coherent way with regard to a strict reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Reasons being these: 1. There is no real definition of how the vernacular is to be employed. 2. The Council Fathers wanted Latin to remain the normative language. 3. There is no discussion of the actual change of the Rite itself in any concrete form.

If we're going to be authentic in looking at Vatican Council II and the Constitution on the Liturgy, we should be authentic. There is nothing in there to support what happened to the Mass. The justification for the Novus Ordo is that the language of the Constitution is so vague that it is left open to interpretation. Fine, but whose interpretation are we subscribing to? The Council Fathers? The Pope's? The Consilium's? Well, who wrote the Novus Ordo? How supportive was the Synod of Bishops AFTER the Council? How much did the Holy Father act collegially when he promulgated Missale Romanum and the supporting documents? How does 1+1=4? Like I said square peg into a round hole. It doesn't add up.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Discussion on Revisionist Theology

Recently, I have been in a conversation with some peers and friends about the Mass.  I've been documenting some of that conversation here.  I will continue with some further discussion that I've been having.  I'll color code the commentary, for ease of reading.

I will remain black.  The others will have their own colors...

CB said the following;

I'm sorry, but comments like these are really starting to get tiresome.  They crop up nearly everytime a "Reform of the Reform" post is made.  We get it, the OF is not perfect.

I would think that such staunch proponents of tradition would have more conservative impulses, which include, among other things, a healthy respect for the world as it is, not as we would like it to be.  The Holy See ain't going to abolish the OF and, for the foreseeable future, the OF will remain the liturgical form for the vast majority of Roman Catholics.  In light of that reality, I don't see why it is necessary or productive to qualify efforts to make the OF more God-ward, beautiful and aligned with the historic Roman Rite.
 To which I responded:

If the OF is not perfect, why have it?  The whole point of the Mass is to give us a glimpse into heaven.  The Mass should be perfect.

I know this will ruffle feathers (apologies S.), but I'll argue that the TLM is perfect.  It was developed through 1600 years in the forefront of the Church's life.  Then it was abandoned, almost overnight...only to be "imposed" upon the faithful again in 2007.

While some will argue that there were revisions, I would argue that the "revisions" were not revisions at all, but either development or clarifications.  The Mass was essentially unchanged for  the majority of the life of the Church.  It was codified at Trent, but it had been the Roman form arguably from antiquity.  That doesn't constitute change, that constitutes development.

So, from my point of view, the idea that it's acceptable or even tolerable that the Mass is not perfect is not a proper view of Sacramental theology.

Those of us who are "staunch conservatives" do have a healthy respect for the world as it is, but we can also respect the idea that the Mass is more than just part of the world as it is.  It transcends time.  It is universal and it is to be all things to all men at all times in history.

You're correct about one thing, the Holy See isn't going to abolish the OF, but then again it doesn't need to.  The OF will simply fall out of use as more and more people come to realize the deficiency of the Novus Ordo, as fabricated by Bugnini and his Consilium.

In the light of THAT reality, I'm going to make this arguement that there really shouldn't be a need for a translation to the vernacular at all, because that is not consistent with the view of the Council Fathers.  Mass, even the Novus Ordo, should be in Latin, which is the vernacular for the Latin Church.

The response to me came from ST, he said:

Apologies not necessary Andy, but two thoughts.

1. The only perfect liturgy is the heavenly liturgy.

2. As for the vernacular, I am not sure why you keep suggesting that its introduction was not consistent with the view of the Council Fathers when SC so clearly contradicts such an assertion -- as I only recently quoted. What is true is that the Council Fathers did not envision the loss or wholesale replacement of Latin (but that is very different than not envisioning some vernacular.)

To which I answered:

I'll speak to the second first...the use of the vernacular was to be a limited exposure, not the wholesale abandonment as we have seen.  Look at what SC acutally says and show me where it says that the whole of the Mass can be replaced with the vernacular.  If you can read that into the document, then the Consilium has done what precisely what I've been arguing this last month or so...nowhere does it say that the Mass was to be celebrated in the vernacular.  To the contrary, the documents speak directly to the fact that the "wider use" was to extend to the readings and then to "some parts."  The shift in liberal thinking (the Consilium) was then that some = all and the conservatives didn't combat it enough.

SC 36.2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the
administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may
be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be
extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and
to some of the prayers and chants...

The intention of the Council Fathers was to have the readings and the rubrics translated.  The readings wouldn't be such an issue, because that was already being done and the rubrics translated shouldn't have effected the faithful in any way.  As it is though the language used was very vague (ie. may be extended).  This is where I make my argument that the Consilium took advantage of imprecise language and hijacked the nature of what the Council Fathers intended.Nowhere does it say all, or replace, or remove.  Latin was to remain the normative language.  Also, nowhere in Sacrosanctum Concilium does it call for a revision of the Mass.  If it does, I am missing the section.The closest we get is that the rites should be celebrated with "noble simplicity" (cf. SC 34), whatever that means.  Again ambiguous language which is imprecise.The next mention we have of Art. 36 is in talking about the administration of the "Sacraments and sacramentals."  But again, what does that mean?  Where does it say that Latin is not supposed to be normative?  When did may = should?The next mention comes after SC has left discussion of the Mass and is speaking of the Divine Office.  And even then it remains that Latin is to be normative.  But as I have been pointing out this idea of a both/and...either/or mentality is running throughout.  The reason?  Because Sacrosanctum Concilium was drafted by...The Consilium.There is a master plan at work about concerning the revision of the Mass.  The Consilium positioned themselves as judge, jury, and attempted executioner of the Mass.  Fortunately, they didn't succeed, but the harm they did is so bad and the trouble in distinguishing the truth from the intention is so difficult, that even the most astute can miss it (I don't claim to be one of the astute, mind you)...but I can read and I can see that a square peg is stuck in a round hole, when I visualize what I've read.  Continuity is the round hole...rupture is the square peg.So, I guess that I have to continue to question the consistency of the wholesale replacement of Latin with the vernacular.

As to point #1.  While I understand the Heavenly Liturgy is perfect, the dogmatic and doctrinal aspects of the Mass on Earth are perfect as well, no?  So, while the disciplinary aspects can be be developed, the development is to be done in light of the dogmatic and doctrinal perfections...therefore it can be argued that the TLM is perfect, insofar as there is authentic growth from the perfections which are in the Mass.  The same cannot be said of the Novus Ordo though, because it was not a doctrinal change (admittedly, by Bugnini and the Consilium), it was pastoral.  Pastoral changes may or may not be perfect, but again, ambiguity reigns supreme.  There can be no certainty.

The question remains for all Catholics; if the hermeneutic of rupture really happened?  How and why?  And if the hermeneutic of rupture is real, why not define it?  The rupture had to start someplace, right?  Where?  I don't think that it started with Vatican Council II, I think that it culminated with it.  I think that the rupture started when the Liturgical Movement was hijacked by the liberals.  I think that the hermeneutic of rupture began when the Consilium formed and eventually derailed what was to become the Consitution on the Liturgy.  I think that the rupturous form is best seen in the disconnect in Sacramental theology since Vatican Council II.  It is my firm belief that if the Council was pastoral and not doctrinal or dogmatic, then the changes to the liturgy can be rightly said to be disciplinary ONLY and that means that the Novus Ordo can be rescinded without fear of destruction or deliberate attack on the faith at large.  The question can be asked, is the Novus Ordo licit?  Something can be valid and not licit...I'm not questioning the validity, but the prudence and the licety of the Novus Ordo only.