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Monday, November 26, 2012

Pope St. Pius V and Centralization of the Mass

I was reading a commentary and the following was said,

The Missa Bossa Nova was written for the vernacular Tridentine Mass of the 1965 missal by Father Peter Sholtes. If you forget the tempo and instruments and focus on the English words, you will find that the first translation of the Latin Mass into English was very faithful to the Latin whereas what we got in 1973 was anything but faithful. Listen closely, the translation is very similar with only minor differences with the revised translation that we've had for the past glorious year. 
I think the single worst thing that happened to the Catholic Mass was not its vernacularization, although the second revised English translation was an absolute disaster, now corrected thanks be to God and not to liturgists.

The single worst thing that happened to the Catholic Mass was the total abandonment of Gregorian Chant, or polyphony or other chants based upon these. But worse yet was the abandonment of no instrumentation when singing and the organ for instruments that are best left to the secular venue, such as those used in the Missa Bossa Nova. Even its name tells you that Catholic spirituality and chant are seriously compromised by the melody, beat and instrumentation used. 
I responded thusly;

"If you forget the tempo and instruments and focus on the English words, you will find that the first translation of the Latin Mass into English was very faithful to the Latin whereas what we got in 1973 was anything but faithful."

But we cannot forget that.  It is that as much as abandonment of the Latin which caused the problems we have today.  It is the absolute disregard for the sacred, in favor of the profane which caused the liturgical malaise we must combat today.

Some will say that we cannot put the horse back in the barn, my response to that is "WHY NOT?!"  According to the liberals, we are the most educated, the most modern and the most "enlightened" Catholics EVER.  Why can't we figure out a way to put the horse back in the barn?  I believe we can.

The Church spent a goodly number of years prior to 1570 with regional Masses, which is essentially what we have now.  St. Pius V centralized that and for near ye 500 years we had liturgical stability and the Church entered into a so-called counter reformation which was a glorious period in history, from a Catholic point of view.

What we need today, is another centralization of the Mass.  The Holy Father should take a lesson from St. Pius V and simply codify the Mass and THEN IMPLEMENT IT!  As I have argued before, the Holy Father (for whatever reason) keeps the liturgical "forcefulness" in a hypothetical vacuum.  He speaks of the glories of the reform of the reform, but does nothing about it.

The re-introduction of the TLM was not a reform of the reform, it was a restoration of a Catholic truth.  And a good one, at that.  But....what has come from it? (That is another post for another time)  A closer translation to the Latin?  That isn't due to the restoration of the TLM, that is a process which has been ongoing since 1975, with the first revision.

A true reform of the reform would be a concrete reform of the Mass.  Substantive changes upheld by law, not suggestion, with consequences.  And those consequences should be first leveled at the bishops, then moved to the priests.  The process is simple, the implementation is simple and the acceptance would be worldwide and swift.  Catholics won't leave.  Heck, they didn't leave when the drivel you posted above was force fed to them, they won't leave now.  And if they do, that is on the priests who don't support the Vicar of Christ and the Church.

Bottom line, we can put the horse back in the barn.  We're smart enough to do it.  We just have to be willing to stand up and say ENOUGH!  Sadly, most priests like the freedom to do what they want, because for most priests, obedience is a hypothetical, just like the reform of the reform.  So, enough of Bob Hurd, and Bernadette Farrell.  Enough of Marty and David.  Enough of the St. Louis Jebbies (whoever is left) and Enough of liturgical abuse being passed off as "implementation and forward application."

The Mass should not have been tampered with.  Sacrosanctum Concilium wasn't needed, except by liberal churchmen in bed with the Protties.  And it was forced.  The Mass was reformed in the image of Luther, and Paul VI signed off on it, which makes it valid.

It's time for a second centralization and it is time for a second counter-reformation.  Just like before it must be supported by law, because as we have seen over the last 50 years, suggestion will just be ignored....much like priestly obedience.

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Regarding the Whining Pundits....

As the conversation continued (after I blogged, I might add),  I made the following statement;

Why translate the Mass at all? What is wrong with Latin? Where is the disconnect and what is the malfunction when it comes to celebrating the Mass in the universal language of the Church?

If the Mass is celebrated in one language, Latin; then there is the elimination of the majority of this discussion. The language is static, therefore the meaning is clear for each word. The words of the Mass itself are of little consequence to be heard in the vernacular tongue, so that is a non-starter. The use of a central language, Latin; allows for the universal complementarity, equity, and consistency necessary to bring the Rite back to a center position.

What we have witnessed by the "splitting" of language, is the very same thing we saw in the episode of the Tower of Babel. Often times it is wondered, why not return to one language and make all of mankind unified...I've heard that preached more than once...the same applies to the celebration of Holy Mass.

Many of the issues you list would be alleviated by the return to the liturgical language and the abandonment of the vulgar (or profane).

Another priest popped into the conversation and added the following;

Andy: What's wrong with Latin? 99% of the people reading/hearing it do not understand Latin.
Latin is not the universal language of the Church. In the Catholic universe, 99% of Catholics do not understand Latin.
Latin is not static. Latinists work every day adding new Latinized words to keep up with new words in other languages. As with any language, those who do understand it (the 1%) can and do interpret the words in various ways.
I do not agree that "the words of the mass are of little consequence." Were that so, why did we go through a re-translation of the words of the mass? Why are we discussing the words of the mass now?
Latin is not a "central language" for the 99% reason stated above.
There was never a time when all people spoke one language.

I responded thusly;

So what? What did Vatican Council II say about Latin? I do believe and I quote, " Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 36.1)

It goes on to say that the limits may be extended to some of the prayers including the readings, but nowhere does it speak of the vernacular being the normative language. So, if we are truly to be a "Vatican II people," then we are at odds with your response to me.

Regarding understanding the language, well, what does the Church say about that? It says and I quote, "...Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." (Sacrosanctum Concilium 54)

So, Father, if the faithful cannot understand Latin, it would seem that you, priests, have failed the faithful. Because it was incumbent upon you to teach.

Latin is a static language. We can go on and on arguing this, but in reality the meaning of the words don't change and are not dynamic as they are in English or some other modern language.

Oh, the words of the Mass are of little consequence to the faithful. The meaning behind the action is what is important. The language is important, the conistency is important, but the words themselves, save the words of consecration, well....not so much, at least according to the liberals who are changing things. Also, to say "look at the changes in the English..." Poppycock. That is a change in translation to be more faithful to the actual words which are in LATIN.

Latin is a central language. If it weren't then the Holy See would have abandoned it. Vatican City would have abandoned it. The Holy Father would have abandoned it.

You're right, there never was a time, since Babel where we have spoken one language. But the Church speaks in one language and we should all be able to worship in that language. It is what Vatican II wanted after all....

My point is this and it remains that Latin is normative.  It will solve a lot of problems.  Sure the blue hairs and the bleeding hearts will disagree, but that is the fight they chose to fight and they lost.  The Holy Father is clear that Latin, not the vernacular, is normative.  While Masses are celebrated in the vernacular, they are not the fast growing Masses.  They are the waning ones.  The fast growing Masses are the TLM or the Extraordinary Form Masses.  Young people, middle aged people and some older people are assisting there more regularly than the Novus Ordo Masses.

Bottom line, it isn't the vernacular which is saving Holy Mother Church.  It is Latin.  And according to the Council Fathers, that is the way it always should have been.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have Catholics Become Whining Pundits?

I was again in conversation with a priest friend who made the following statement in the course of conversation:

Have Catholics become whining pundits? I can remember the day when Catholics didn't complain for they knew a complaining spirit was not of the Holy Spirit, so they usually brought it to confession and the seal of confession
I've heard or read where some priests so dislike the new English translation that they find it a burden now to celebrate Mass! I wonder what the laity think about a priest who feels that way. Is he committing the sin of idolatry? Has he made the words of the Mass into a god or the form of the Mass into a god?
....Any Mass that is validly celebrated no matter the vocabulary, language or style of celebration is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The one Sacrifice of our crucified, Risen and Ascended Lord is made present to us on every Catholic altar in the world, in the Eastern Rite and Western Rite and all the Eastern Orthodox Churches and even in schismatic Churches which retain valid sacraments.
That is not a fair assessment, Father. While I understand that you're entitled to your opinion, your opinion is wrong by my estimation.

Here is why.

There is more to the Mass than validity. There is also the matter of being licit. When a Mass is licit the graces imparted are at their greatest, because it is at that point the Sacrament is being confected in a manner which is consistent with the AUTHENTIC magisterium of the Church. However, when the Mass is not celebrated in a licit manner, then the graces are reduced and the subjective error of the self becomes more important (to a greater or lesser degree) than the objective truth of the Rite.

So, when those of us clamor, lobby and complain that the Mass is not being celebrated properly, we are clamoring, lobbying and expressing our wishes that we are given what is our right (and it is our right). Namely to have a Mass celebrated not as the individual priest sees fit, but rather as the Church sees fit.

It is a gross mischaracterization to simply say that those who are calling for the valid AND LICIT form of the Mass to be celebrated as "whining pundits."

So, to answer your questions, I will do so now:

"Is he committing the sin of idolatry?"
--No. But he is breaking liturgical law and therefore should amend his action to conform to the authentic magisterium. The Mass is his, but only insofar as he celebrates it, the actions by which he celebrates it are very defined. Or at least they should be.

"Has he made the words of the Mass into a god or the form of the Mass into a god?"
--Again, NO. But since he is acting outside the authentic magisterium, he is acting in a manner which is contrarian and spiteful, even if unintentionally so.

The real question isn't what you're asking. The real question is why are priests so disobedient? And the bigger question is, why aren't the bishops doing anything about it, by and large.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Motu Proprio "Latina Lingua"

Things in the Church move at a snail's pace.  We all know this.  It isn't anything new or earth shattering for me to say this, but I will say that while Benedict does follow that pattern on some things, on other's he moves like a rocket ship!  The language of the Church is one of them.  He is a proponent of Latin.  He uses Latin and he supports Latin.  His first public homily (to the Cardinals was in Latin) and there have been subsequent  homilies since.  The Papal Mass sans the readings is in Latin, Ordinary Form of course.  And then there comes this from the Holy See:

By the Motu Proprio "Latina lingua" published today, Benedict XVI has established the Pontifical Academy for Latin, which will be part of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The new academy will be directed by a president assisted by a secretary, to be appointed by the Pope, and will comprise an academic council. It will supersede the foundation "Latinitas", established by Paul VI with the Chirograph "Romani Sermonis" of 30 June 1976.
"The Latin language", says the Pope in his Motu Proprio, "has always been held in high regard by the Catholic Church and the Roman pontiffs, who have promoted the knowledge and diffusion of the language by making it their own, able to universally transmit the message of the Gospel, as was authoritatively confirmed by my predecessor Blessed John XXIII in the Apostolic Constitution 'Veterum sapientia'.
"Since the Pentecost the Church has spoken and prayed in all languages known to humanity; however, the Christian communities of the first centuries made extensive use of Greek and Latin, languages of universal communication in the world in which they lived, thanks to which the novelty of the Word of Christ encountered the heritage of Hellenistic-Roman culture. After the fall of the western Roman empire the Church of Rome not only continued to use Latin, but in a certain sense also became its custodian and promoter in the theological and liturgical fields, as well as in education and the transmission of knowledge.
"In our times too, knowledge of Latin language and culture remains as necessary as ever for the study of the sources of numerous ecclesiastical disciplines including, among others, theology, liturgy, Patristics and canon law, as confirmed by Vatican Council II. Furthermore, the 'editio typica' of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, the most important documents of the pontifical Magisterium and the most solemn Acts of the Roman pontiffs are written in Latin, precisely to emphasise the universal nature of the Church.
"However, in contemporary culture, within the context of a generalised deterioration in humanistic studies, we see the danger of an increasingly superficial knowledge of Latin, which may also be detected in the philosophical and theological studies of future priests. On the other hand, in our world in which science and technology are so prominent, we also find renewed interest in the Latin language and culture, and not only in those continents with Greco-Roman cultural roots. This interest seems particularly significant inasmuch as it is present not only in academic and institutional environments, but also involves young people and scholars from very different nations and traditions.
"There is therefore an apparent pressing need to encourage commitment to a greater knowledge and more competent use of Latin, in the ecclesial environment as well as in the world of culture at large. To give prominence and resonance to this effort, it is important to adopt teaching methods adapted to contemporary conditions, and to promote a network of relationships between academic institutions and among scholars with the aim of promoting the rich and varied heritage of Latin civilisation".
The Holy Father concludes by saying that, "in order to contribute to the achievement of these aims, and following in the wake of my venerated predecessors, with the present Motu Proprio I today establish the Pontifical Academy for Latin".
By this Motu Proprio the Pope approves the statute of the new academy "ad experimentum" for a five-year period.

This is a fairly big step.  There is a nuance in here which will be missed, if one isn't looking for it and it is that he is reversing or superseding a previous Pope's position (Paul VI) while supporting that Pope's immediate predecessor (Bl. John XXIII).  Benedict XVI will drag his feet on some things, but on the use of Latin, he is a true restorationist!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Now?

So the election is over.  Boo.  It isn't what I wanted in a result, but I am very well aware that I don't always get what I want.  It's interesting though, now we have to move on.  We have to do what we can as Catholics to forward the idea and ideal of Catholicism in America.

Our mission has not changed.  We must promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We must hold the Catholic line regarding the non-negotiables.  We must protect innocent life, we must protect marriage.  We lost the election on the national level, but in many places we won the state battle.

I am of the opinion that we, as Catholics, must mobilize and we must lobby.  We must fight.  We must NOT relent on the issues which threaten our country.  We must do this systematically.  We must do this efficiently and we must do this with a POSITIVE attitude for change.

Find your local abortion mill, whether it be Planned Parenthood or some other place and protest publicly.  Follow the necessary steps and prayerfully protest.

Find your State Representative and State Senator's office and make it clearly and concisely known that abortion and so-called "same sex marriage" is not acceptable.

Find your National Representative and Senator's office and do the same thing.

Finally, go to Holy Mass and pray.  Pray for the leadership of this country to embrace a properly formed conscience.  Pray for the local, state and national leadership to do what is right and good.  Catholic thought is not just Catholic, it is universal.  It is right thinking and it is truly diverse.

My prayer for the next 4 years is that the damage is limited.  My prayer for the next 4 years is that we can affect a change.  But we must be clear in our goal, we must be clear in our action and we must be clear in our thought.  Emotions play a part, but that part should be a small part.  We must remain logical and reasonable.

We must accomplish our goals.  We must end abortion and we must support the proper definition of marriage.  These are things that are not negotiable.  These are man made interventions into divine law.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Please Go To Confession

As we come close to Christmas and a new year in Holy Mother Church, I am reminded of a plea that was made to us while in college.

"End the year right, go to confession."

On the heels of that, when we came back from Christmas break, either for J-term or to start the new semester, we hear this plea;

"Start the year right, go to confession."

I know that for the vast, vast majority of Catholics, the idea of going to confession is one of nostalgia.  Thoughts like, "Oh, that is nice, but it is what was done years ago..." or "I'll go soon, but just not now...," but those thoughts are wrongheaded.  We need confession.  We need confession.  We need confession.  The idea behind it is so simple.  Go, confess your sins, make a firm resolution to not do them again and then live your life.  Easy peasy.

But it isn't.  Sin is hard.  It is hard to confess, but it is harder to stop.  Why?  Because 9 times out of 10, it feels good to sin.  It is that guilty pleasure that you don't have to tell anyone about.  It is that knowledge that you got away with something and it is just your knowledge.  The reasons are infinite.  But that is the hard part, they become a habit and that habit becomes something which very hard to break.

Sure, it's easy to talk about porn, or sexual deviancy, or something really salacious, but in reality those aren't the sins that are the hard ones (oh, they can be...), the hard ones are the small sins that nick away at the soul.  The disobedience to parent, spouse, friend, boss, etc...  The occasional missing of Holy Mass.  The white lie that doesn't "hurt anyone."  Those are the tough ones.  Those are the sins which eat away at Christian dignity and our striving for holiness.

We need confession.  Why?  Because it is a way to hold ourselves accountable for our actions.  We budget our money right?  Why?  To hold ourselves accountable to our debtors and to save.  The concept is exactly the same.  When we go to confession we hold ourselves accountable to God and we are saved.  The priest hears the confession and the priest gives absolution, but the priest at that time isn't just Fr. Bob or Fr. Whomever, but he is also Christ Jesus.  He is persona Christi.  The absolution doesn't come from a man, it comes from Christ through a man.

Once one gets in the habit of going to confession, it is easy.  It is easier to go to confession than just about any other sacrament.  And there is something liberating about it.  As an example, I will share my confession habit:

I go to confession either weekly or bi-weekly (It depends on circumstances), but never longer than a month, without going.  99% of the time I don't have a mortal sin to confess, but it doesn't matter because if we are aware of it all sin must be confessed.  So, I go in and I confess it.  I don't mince words and I don't look for emotional counselling (if Father wants to counsel for more than a few seconds, I'll make an appointment).  I NEVER go face to face.  The priest doesn't matter.  He is there to hear the confession, he is not there to hold my hand or to look empathetic or to be a friend.  I don't mind (actually, I do expect) a stern penance and I always make a firm resolution to amend my life.  It isn't always easy to fulfill, but I do it.

As a Catholic, I'm going to ask YOU to start going to confession again, if you've stopped.  It is the most liberating sacrament and it is a way for you to deepen your friendship with God.  It has worked for me and if you look to EVERY SINGLE saint, you'll find that it worked for them too.

Please go to confession.