« | Main | Beckett and Radio »

September 26, 2007


Thomas Cattoi

This is Thomas Cattoi from Berkeley (you might remember me from Oxford, the fathers read ludically...) I just realized you had a blog. Excellent piece. Indeed, you might compare the Pope's Mass at Loreto with the Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine rite celebrated at Loreto ten days later by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, where the readings were only in Latin and most people in attendance were representative of Italian monarchist groups.
You may consult the following webpage (www.icrsp.org) for some pictures (go to "album photo 2007" )of the Gricigliano seminary (which is booming, the order just got a church here in Oakland and one in San Jose)... and you might then wonder why one needs Econe.

Spirit of Vatican II

Hi, Thomas -- thanks for that info about Monarchist groups -- it will add a touch of class to my presentation of this paper as a talk here in Tokyo next week. That Gricigliano looks like a very jolly place, though one wonders what all the dressing-up is in aid of. Their slogan should be: "L'avenir, c'est le passé!"

Spirit of Vatican II

Some telling remarks from Fr J. Patrick Wissman (http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/abbott/071017)

"The Pope seems to be out of touch with the ordinary church. He seems to be acting in good will, but giving into the 'letter writers' who have been complaining for years, he will create a shadow church and cause great divisions in every diocese. Such will be that when churches are built, they would have to accommodate both rites and seminarians would have to take courses in Latin."

"The gospel is meant to enlighten and challenge us! It is my opinion that the use of Latin should have been done away with hundreds of years ago... I say the people, because of Latin never were confronted by the gospel. The Mass and the sacraments never really reached down deep into the soul."

The ululations of the "letter writers" as the Motu Proprio fails to find any popular welcome in the Church worldwide are almost amusing. Now they are claiming that the problem is "education" -- priests and laity need to be educated about the splendors of the TLM, so they heroically settle in for the long haul. And this at a time when the world's needs are so immense, and when a dignified and communicative liturgy, such as Anglicans and Lutherans seem to have little difficulty in enacting, could speak effectively to those needs, bringing the Gospel to bear on them.

Here is a sample of the ululations: http://pblosser.blogspot.com/2007/10/lies-damned-lies-and-statistics.html.

This article from "Latin Mass" attacks the US Bishops for pointing out that there is far more generous use of Scripture in the 2007 liturgy than in the 1962 liturgy that a tiny group of people want to see restored. Unable to refute this obvious fact, the article claims that the TLM is saturated with OT allusions, and that the attitude to the altar reflect the OT temple worship. It fails to note that the new Eucharistic Prayers, especially the fourth, introduce a range of eloquent scriptural reference not found in the TLM. The article also argues that "the very idea of quantifying the Scriptures in this way bespeaks an indebtedness to social science models that is alien to a spiritual evaluation of liturgy." Latin Mass ideologists seem to have a loose grasp on reality -- they regularly overstate their own numbers, and no doubt when their derisory numerical showing is pointed out they think that this is cold and insultingly mathematical way of viewing them.

Spirit of Vatican II

Rorate Caeli blogsite prints an adress by Archbishop Ranjith of the Congregation for Divine Worship to the Dutch Association for Latin Liturgy. His address seems to show the Vatican, or some parts of the Vatican, sulking over the cool reception of the Motu Proprio.

The sermon is all about obedience, but it is not calling Latin Mass enthusiasts to obedience; rather those unenthused about the Motu Proprio are denounced with every resource of the Old Testament as rebels. The vast biblical fresco concludes with a call for obedience to the Church, "the manifestation of God's Kingdom on earth. And as Lumen Gentium states it 'subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in union with that successor' [LG 8]." "The Church has to manifest itself as the community of God, consisting of those in whose life the acceptance and submission to the will of God and a noble sense of unity ought to shine out... If the world wishes to become a place where confusing and contradictory philosophies, values and a cacophony of noisy and disorderly political orientations make human life neurotic, the Church has to be the sign of truth, good and beauty which in their most supreme form reflect God's own essence." The Archbishop seems to be suggesting that modern democratic and cultural pluralism are neurotic. "The Church cannot be the arena of confusion, philosophical or moral relativism, sophistry and casuistic dilution of the revealed truth which is the foundation of its Credo, the Word of God as revealed in the Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church and interpreted by the official magisterium of the Church and open dissent or public debate even in the name of the freedom of theological research." The disobedience the Archbishop most frets about is that of Bishops who imagine that their collegiality somehow loosens the grip of the Roman Primacy: "'the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered' and further 'the College of Bishops, has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head' [LG 22]... Disagreement is possible but it should not be allowed to deteriorate and become a cause of division, hostility and a sign of mundane frivolity." "Every effort then ought to be made not to demean the inner dynamism of the Church through our selfishness and sinfulness especially through intellectual pride and arrogance."

Suddenly the Archbishop swoops from lofty principle to extreme particularity: "A so called dissident theologian from Asia recently wrote as follows: 'many Christians in Asia are increasingly unable to think of salvation exclusively in terms of the Church or as only mediated by Jesus Christ. We have come to realize that such a view would imply that the vast majority of the people of Asia were not saved. The point has slowly dawned on us that this is not acceptable.' The more I studied the issue of salvation the more I was impressed with the serious inadequacy of the Church’s doctrinal teaching” [Tissa Balasuriya, From Inquisition to Freedom, Continuum 2001, pg.90]."

He goes on to quote remarks of Balasuriya on original sin and redemption and the statement that "The mission of the Church is not so much to convert to Christianity as to convert all to humanity.” He diagnoses here "an approach to theology bereft of that sense of faith and transcendence and geared rather towards the humanization of the society, than its divinization... The rejection of objective revelation places such theologizing outside the realms of the faith and once it becomes an object of debate leads to attitudes incompatible with the noble spiritual mission of theology."

Then he returns to the theme of disobedient bishops: "Even those wearing ecclesiastical purple or red are not exempt from the tempter's enchantments. We see this happening unfortunately quite often nowadays. It is not a rare feature to see the emergence of ecclesiastics in responsible positions who are intrumentalised by the media and forces inimical to the Church, to make statements critical of the directions from the Roman Pontiff or from the dicastries that carry out his decisions. Others take the attitude of ignoring or disregarding such directions and so great harm in procured for the mission of the Church – especially through the sense of loss and confusion brought about by such attitudes on the faithful." Is this not a clear allusion to the reception of the Motu Proprio by the world's bishops? It suggests that the Vatican have not learnt to respect collegiality and would still treat the bishops as mere errand boys. Happily the German and Polish bishops, who know intimately the present Pope and his predecessor, have exercised their pastoral responsibilities in a mature and manly way in their reception of the Motu Proprio, and the Archbishop's jeremiad can only give the impression of a case of "sour grapes."

Spirit of Vatican II

The Motu Proprio madness is kept aboil by Archbishop Ranjith who lashes out again at bishops and cardinals as agents of the devil in this: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2007/11/ranjith-speaks-episcopal-rebellion.html. Such flamboyant demonstrations of desperation in the highest circles are a sign of deepening crisis.

Warren O'Leary

Proud that an O'Leary wrote this article.


For the average layman in the pew it is much simpler. The disconnect with much of what has been our tradition and faith for centuries is disheartening. We want to hear some Latin, Gregorian Chant, and see some antiquated rubrics not for the reasons above in the article (for they are far too above our intellect to comprehend) but simply because they invoke a sense of Catholicism, mystery, and something beyond what we find outside the doors of Church in our everyday world. If I am not incorrect the original interpretation of Vat II in regards to Latin was for people (lay people) to learn the parts that pertain to them. Going to a Latin study class for Mass seems like "Active Participation" to me. Had that been the case we would not have had the problematic translations. And as for not knowing what they were saying before the council, in Latin, then so be it. We believed in it, lived it and held it for what it was. The philosophy that this was the best we could give to GOD. Now, for 40 years throwing that all in question and providing no clear answer for something superior or at least equivalent has not been for the good of the people. Also against Vat II instruction..There are other religions out there for people who want things easy, comfortable, or easily understood but that is not the answer. Should we make religion conform to us? If so world view was against Humanae Vitae in 68. Latin is part of the sum that equals the whole. It should not be disregarded as part of the past. It does unify even if not in the way scholars would like it. I am of the NO or OF generation but miss my history and feel deprived of much. For all the springtime that may have been well intentioned I know of no one from my generation that speaks so highly of the changes, and that is because they all fell away from the Church. It was implemented so badly that in many places it is an unrecognizable faith. Rupture did indeed occur.


Dear Fr.,

Your understanding of the function of Latin in the Roman Canon is entirely debateable. Is it simply the case that rogamus and petimus as simply a rhetorical device. I do not think so. The exordium value of the current ICEL translation of the Roman Canon may be excellent; but to what or whom is one exhorted? The quasi repetition is for a profound theological reason that is connected with "Clementissime". The current ICEL translation is pathetic. The is nothing in the first paragraph of the ICEL translation of the RC that really suggests that we are humble beggars in front of a merciful God. Instead we are there to offer praise and thanksgiving. While it is true that we are there partly to offer praise and thankgiving the words left out specify the manner in which this is to be done and the position of the beggar to the He who bestows.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Blog powered by Typepad