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July 07, 2007


Crimson Wife

Father O'Leary,
Do you truly believe that the Catholic Church should "learn from the Anglicans?" That denomination has steadily lost members and influence over the past half-century and is currently on the verge of schism. A number of Episcopal priests and even whole congregations have converted to Catholicism recently. I am a cradle Catholic but my mom & her family are Episcopalians so I hear first-hand accounts of the turmoil in that denomination. That's not what I want for our Faith!

The fastest-growing faiths in the world are the traditionalist ones- Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Islam, and so on. Within Catholicism, the fastest-growing parishes are ones offering Byzantine and Traditional Latin Masses. It's not just the older generation who grew up prior to Vatican II and converts, either. Many young cradle Catholics like me have grown dissatisfied with wishy-washy "feel good" Catholicism lite and have embraced orthodoxy.

We should do well to recall Christ's warning in Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!"


"Somehow the Tridentine Mass is supposed to have an aura of holiness that will spread to the Novus Ordo as well. This is weak and illogical thinking."

"I am no liturgical historian, but I wonder if there has ever been a case in history where older and newer forms of the same rite are maintained in the same church."

I disagree. In the Diocese of Oakland (CA) a parish has maintained both rites since 1989. The NO Mass is in Latin, incorporates bells, incense, traditional vestments, traditional music and sacred silence. I believe that the introduction of the TM greatly influenced the NO Mass in that Church and that the NO Mass is offered in way which is truly holy, consistent with the real spirit of Vatican II.


"The faithful will be choosing between a Tridentine Mass at 9 and a Novus Ordo Mass at 10. This is a troubling scenario."

Why is this troubling? It will draw out "traditionalists" and re-incorporate them into the standard parish community.

Increasing numbers of parishes offer NO Masses with Latin and chant. This is a type of gravitational "pull" that the Tridentine Mass has on the NO Mass. And it is a good effect that I hope continues to spread.


Did you read the explanatory note? I thought this quote from St. Paul was particularly appropriate:

"Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!" (2 Corinthians 6:11-13). Paul was certainly speaking in another context, but his exhortation can and must touch us too, precisely on this subject. Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.

Father V.

Shouldn't we be applauding anything that will bring people back to the fold? I have heard from so many over the years, "Well, you know, it's a big Church, be open to the gifts that everyone brings." This is usually an excuse for some craziness, or some heterodox practice. Well, now those who have blown this horn need to realize that yes, it truly is a big Church, and there is room for two liturgies in the Roman rite.

Secondly, I sense in your post a certain lack of trust in the Holy Spirit. The Sedevacantists hold that there is no valid pope since Pius XII, but many on the other side of the aisle seem to think that the Holy Spirit has stopped working through the person of the Pope since Vatican II. Both are, of course, wrong. This is an action of the Holy Spirit working through Peter. Let us all relax, and "generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows."

God love you and keep you, dear brother.

Pristinus Sapienter

Oh, good grief! So much hot air, Father, with little warmth and absolutely no light!

Where, oh where, have you misplaced your faith?

Could it be there hiding behind and buried under your out-sized ego? Has it not occurred to you that only God can afford to exert ego, all and here abouts?

I will pray for you, surely - you appear to need prayers almost as much as I do.

The young fogey

Obviously, Father, we're on opposite sides of this issue but I've never forgotten your gentlemanly defence of me on Fr Jake's blog for my peace witness.

Me on the motu: http://home.att.net/~sergei592/motu.html

'Do you truly believe that the [Roman] Catholic Church should "learn from the Anglicans?"'

Well, of course I do! :) 1) The Episcopalians had the sense to backtrack very near the beginning of their liturgical revision and offer what many people wanted: a 'Rite I' traditional option in the new book and a traditional service once a week, often the early ('eight o'clock') service... that's why the Church of England has included a similar option in its new books; and 2) the English Missal and Anglican Breviary are traditionalists' for the asking to do the 1962 services in English.

Anna Ficaldi

Father O'Leary. Hello. I am not a Catholic. I was born and raised a Protestant. But I've read your writings, your views, all over the web for some time now. All I want to ask you is this: why do you not leave the RCC and join the "group" to which you belong in reality? You know, the so called "ultra-liberal Protestants"? Those people who barely can call themselves "Christian" any more? I can never understand why people like you who try and undermine (sorry, I know this is a strong word!) your tradition, still cling to it in a basically dishonest manner, while at the same time trying to smuggle with the heads and minds of your fellow church men/women. Have you ever asked this question to yourself? Perhaps you did. Did you reach an honest answer?

Michael J. Bayly

Fr. O'Leary is where he needs to be - at the growing edge of our Catholic tradition.

We need informed, courageous, and intellectually honest people like him to challenge and inspire us. I know there are many Catholics who appreciate the work of theologians like Joseph O'Leary. It would be a sad day for the Church if their voices were silenced.

Thank you, Joseph, for all you do.



The young fogey

Not to presume to speak for Father but my theory is a lot of it is cultural - ethnic and class loyalty keeps a lot of dissident Roman Catholics where they are even though intellectually they're liberal Protestants. For example they don't become Episcopalians because of the bad history between the Irish and the English and because they don't like high churchmanship.

I can take this one further and say the liberals are an inverted form of the first kind of catholics I describe here: http://unasancta.wordpress.com/2007/07/05/talks-with-a-young-fogey/

Part of the same Roman culture as the EWTN conservatives?

Joseph O'Leary

Young fogey, I forget if you speak as an Anglican or as a Roman Cathoic, but why do you feel it necessary to use that Stalinist language about dissidents? I love the Anglican Communion and consider it an authentic form of Catholic Christianity, "our sister church" as Paul VI called it. To argue that I should therefore reject the Roman Catholic Church is sectarian thinking. I note that my revered teacher Enda McDonagh has been made an Ecumenical Canon of an Anglican Cathedral in Dublin -- a sign of how close our churches are, how one in Christ.

Joseph O'Leary

Here is the response of the Archbishop of Paris:

Archevêché de Paris Paris, le 6 juillet 2007

Aux curés et aux prêtres de Paris

Chers amis,

Depuis bientôt un an, la presse nous annonce la prochaine publication d’un Motu Proprio. Elle en donne des versions diverses, au point que nous avons déjà été préparés à le lire avant qu’il ne paraisse. Maintenant nous en avons le texte et c’est ce texte dont nous devons assurer la « réception » par nous et par tous les fidèles. Après les vacances, nous pourrons faire le point plus précisément sur la situation mais dès maintenant, je souhaite donc simplement vous proposer quelques clés de lecture et quelques orientations pratiques. 1. L’intention du Pape. Dans sa lettre d’accompagnement le Pape exprime les raisons positives qui l’ont conduit à publier ce Motu Proprio. La première est la volonté de faire progresser la communion de l’Eglise. Il ne s’agit ni de « revenir en arrière » à une pratique préconciliaire ni de donner des gages à des groupes de pression. Il s’agit de prendre une mesure d’apaisement et d’ouvrir la voie à une plus grande communion entre les chrétiens. Ce serait donc aller à l’encontre de cette intention que d’utiliser ce texte pour rallumer une sorte de guerre liturgique. Nous ne sommes pas dans un conflit entre des rites qui feraient de l’Eucharistie un moyen d’opposition ou de division. Nous sommes devant un appel à vivre l’Eucharistie comme une expérience de communion. C’est donc notre premier objectif pastoral.

2. La règle. Le moyen de faire progresser notre communion sacramentelle est simple. Le Pape rappelle, comme le faisait déjà l’Exhortation post-synodale Sacramentum Caritatis, que la « forme normale » ou la « forme ordinaire » de la liturgie eucharistique est celle établie par Paul VI, et confirmée par Jean-Paul II, à la suite du Concile, telle que la donne la Présentation générale du Missel Romain. La nouveauté est l’élargissement du Motu Proprio de 1988 pour la célébration eucharistique selon le Missel de 1962, désignée comme une « forme extraordinaire » pour bien manifester qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un retour général à la pratique antérieure. Cette possibilité de célébrer selon le Missel de 1962 est élargie à tous les prêtres pour des messes sans participation des fidèles, à des communautés religieuses et à des « groupes stables de paroissiens » qui peuvent en faire la demande à leur curé. Elle peut aussi concerner des demandes particulières pour les sacrements célébrés, soit en latin selon le rituel actuel, soit selon le rituel de 1962. 3. L’application. Ces nouvelles mesures seront applicables à compter du 14 septembre 2007. Nous devons donc profiter de ce délai pour réfléchir aux possibilités de sa mise en oeuvre. Mais dès maintenant nous devons donner aux fidèles une information exacte qui corrige les présentations approximatives des journaux. Cette information porte sur trois points : • Il n’y a aucune mesure générale pour remettre en cause la « forme ordinaire » de la liturgie paroissiale. • Nous sommes invités à améliorer encore la qualité liturgique de nos célébrations y compris quand c’est pastoralement possible avec des parties latines de l’Ordinaire de la messe. • Les prêtres qui adhèrent à l’usage ancien doivent reconnaître « la valeur et la sainteté » de la messe selon le Missel de Paul VI pour être autorisés à célébrer selon le Missel de 1962. 4. Dans le diocèse de Paris. Comme vous le savez, depuis le Motu Proprio de 1988, le diocèse de Paris a institué la célébration selon le Missel de 1962 dans trois lieux : Ste Odile, St Eugène-Ste Cécile, et la Chapelle Notre-Dame du Lys. Ces trois propositions demeurent. A la demande de la Communauté de Notre-Dame du Lys, nous avons cherché une paroisse qui soit à même d’accueillir cette célébration plus largement. Ce sera chose faite à partir du 1er dimanche de l’Avent 2007. Pour assurer la qualité et la vitalité des célébrations selon le Missel de 1962, il me paraît raisonnable de renforcer ces trois lieux de célébration. Si de nouvelles demandes se présentent dans votre paroisse, vous voudrez bien les étudier avec générosité et me faire les suggestions pastorales que vous estimez justes. Je n’ouvrirai pas de paroisses personnelles dans le diocèse de Paris car j’estime que des fidèles qui demandent la célébration selon le Missel de 1962, ne sont pas des paroissiens « à part ». Mais cette volonté de ne pas les marginaliser suppose que nous soyons capables de répondre raisonnablement aux demandes qui seront faites. J’ai toute confiance dans votre jugement pastoral et votre capacité pour gérer cette situation avec justice et charité. Je compte sur vous pour que vous informiez les fidèles de façon à ne pas exacerber des polémiques dont les médias sont avides. Je souhaite que vous preniez quand même un repos bien nécessaire et je vous assure, cher amis, de mes sentiments cordiaux.

Mgr André Vingt-Trois

Note that he does not intend to open "personal parishes" because he does not think those who want the old rite are separate parishioners. Also he stresses that only those who accept the legitimacy and holiness of the Novus Ordo can receive permission to celebrate the Tridentine rite.

Joseph O'Leary

For the fetishism surrounding the cult of the Tridentine rite, I found a very illuminating comment from a young Catholic, John Heard, who expresses a fascination with the maniple-- "an ornamental handkerchief derived from a Roman soldier's sweat-towel"!: http://johnheard.blogspot.com/2007/07/dreadpublishing-being-heard-john-heard.html.

Joseph O'Leary

On episcopal authority, see the interesting and good-natured responses of Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard at his press conferences: http://www.dailymotion.com/fcrp/video/x2hc6i_motuproprio-cal-ricard-autorite-de

Joseph O'Leary

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun says:

"Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the division of the Church that had directed the Inquisition before he became Pope Benedict XVI, has taken a powerful step toward the re-introduction of the process of demeaning Jews. You cannot respect another religion if you teach that those who are part of it must convert to your own religion. Interfaith respect is based on acceptance of the notion that people who do not become part of your own religion nevertheless deserve respect, and their religious commitments cannot be treated as something which must be overcome and left behind. While such notions of mutual respect are not honored recently in the practice of the U.S. government which currently believes it has the right to murder people in other countries and invade and topple their governments if they do not share the religion of capitalism and democracy, those of us who are spiritual progressives believe that this approach to the world is barbaric. So just as we oppose these policies in our own government, we join in supporting the many Catholics who are part of the Network of Spiritual Progressives who are dismayed and outraged at this latest assault on interfaith cooperation by the Pope, recognizing it as a first step on a slippery slope toward the restoration of anti-Semitism in the Church as well as the restoration of authoritarian and feudal ways of thinking that they had hoped would be relegated to the garbage bins of history... We see this move as wildly insensitive and further proof of the need of the Church to systematically teach its priests and its members about the disgraceful role it played in fostering anti-Semitism through the centuries, and how the teachings of hatred, and the need to convert the Jews, played into that anti-Semitism."

Joseph O'Leary

What Rabbi Lerner is complaining about is this prayer in the 1962 Missal that is to be restored:

"For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."

Joseph O'Leary

Interesting that there is a lot of restiveness among neocaths AGAINST the Motu Proprio. Benedict may have miscalculated the extent of his support base on this one. At Mark Shea's weblog we find sentiments such as the following:

'I entered the Church in 1971, so I had no first-hand knowledge of the Tridentine Mass. Out of (possibly) sinful curiosity, I attended a Lefebvrist celebration in the early 80's (did not receive communion of course). I was neither deeply enchanted nor particularly repelled. Though I lacked an emotional stake in the matter, until recently I favored making it widely available to those who preferred it. I thought the niggardly response of most bishops to the papal indults were petty and insolent (being, as they were, so obviously contemptuous of the Pope's plain intent). But after slogging through the comboxes on this during the last few months, I am this far (fingers 1/8 inch apart) from coming to the opinion that the motu proprio is a mistake and that the Tridentine Mass should be ruthlessly and finally suppressed. The arrogant disdain of some(not all, I admit) of its partisans for people who somehow can't perceive the total depravity of the Novus Ordo has been a major turn-off for me. I would never have thought that I could feel sympathy for the French bishops, but these guys have actually made me think that their froggish excellencies might be onto something.'

What if they gave a Tridentine party and nobody came?

Joseph O'Leary

One apect of the madness is that priests are already in short supply and over-burdened. As Bishop Matano of Burlington Diocese says:

'To celebrate the extraordinary form of the Sacred Liturgy with the proper reverence and honor it merits, careful preparation is needed. It is now over thirty years since this venerable rite has been celebrated in our Diocese. Thus, pastors able to celebrate the extraordinary form must reacquaint themselves with its rubrics. Also, servers must be properly trained, as well as choirs and cantors. At the same time, due to a severe shortage of priests, the first duty of the Bishop and the pastors is to make the Eucharistic Sacrifice available to as many people as possible, using the rite that is understood by the majority of the faithful in attendance... When this fundamental need is met, attention can be given to significant numbers of the faithful who seek the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Eucharistic Liturgy.'

Joseph O'Leary

Neocath rage from one Barbara Nicolosi, a disgruntled reader of the above blog entry:

Saturday, July 07, 2007
"Isn't it hard for you to kick against the goad?"

I did enough gloating for a year in my earlier post about the Pope's new Motu Proprio. So, I'm not going to gloat here about being right about the grinding and gnashing of teeth already coming from the G.H.C.W.L.A.L.T.F. (Grey-Haired Catholics Who Long Ago Lost Their Faith).

But, in truth, they're off. Here are a few choice snips from a GHPWLALHF (Grey-Haired Priest Who Long Ago Lost His Faith) twisting in the wind in a blog post he entitled, "Moto Proprio Madness". "Madness". The madness of the Vicar of Christ. I point it out just in case someone out there thought I was exaggerating about the disdain with which the GHCWLALTF have always treated the rest of us. In the name of the general good, of course.

The new Motu Proprio reflects clearly the rather idiosyncratic opinions of Joseph Ratzinger, opinions that have always been controversial and divisive.... [NOTE FROM BARB: Please note the hackneyed GHCWLALTF tactic of define and dismiss, a.k.a. "We call you names, so then, we don't have to listen to you."]

...Here the aspiration of many bishops to offer a “creative liturgy” to their people, is discredited.... [NOTE FROM BARB: See, the creative part of the liturgy is Jesus changing the bread into Himself. All the GHC'sWLALTF efforts to be more "creative" than Jesus at the liturgy have been obscenely inappropriate. Like watching Ellen Degeneres do her dancing at the Moscow Ballet.]

There is no mention of inculturation, or of a return to biblical sources.... Nothing about the pain of the many faithful who have not been provided with creative, inculturated liturgy, but with sawdust texts, hopeless sermons, wretched music, etc. [NOTE FROM BARB: Is it really possible for a GHPWLALHF to duck responsibility for the "wretched music" in the Church today? Are you kidding me?! You guys were the ones who shoved down our throats the Music Ministry People waving their hands in the air and croaking, "To Taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake Each MO-ment and Livvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve Each Mo-ment in Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeecae E-ter-nal-lyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy....."??? You gotta own the bodies of your rebellion, buddy.]

Nothing about learning from the Anglicans, who do all these things so much better than we do. In short, both diagnosis and remedy seem very narrow.... [NOTE FROM BARB: More name calling. Now the Pope is "narrow." But the Anglicans are super smart and good!]

...The Anti-Defamation League has rightly condemned the restoration of the prayer for the conversion of the Jews.... [NOTE FROM BARB: Because we do not wish that all people come to believe in Jesus? What you really meant to say here was, "What can we expect from a Pope who was in the Hitler Youth? People who like the Tridentine mass are all anti-Semites." Define and dismiss 101.]

...there are indications that the Motu Proprio is designed to undercut episcopal authority... [NOTE FROM BARB: Oh, no! Not people questioning authority?!!.... I suppose it is too obvious to say that someone might consider this GHP'sWLALHF blog post to be designed to undercut Papal authority. No, that's too obvious. I won't say it.]

...The Rev Keith Pecklers, a Jesuit liturgical expert [NOTE FROM BARB THE GHCWLALTF EXPERT...That's all, just wanted to balance out any whiff of the argument from expert authority.], said: ‘The real issue here is not limited to liturgy but has wider implications for church life.’ He added that proponents of the old Mass ‘tend to oppose the laity's increased role in parish life... collaboration with other Christians and its dialogue with Jews and Muslims.’” [NOTE FROM BARB: Because people who resist the GHCWLALTF are fearful, bigotted and racist. Define and dismiss. But really, is this guy really claiming that allowing the Mass of Bl. John XXIII is going to foster clericalism and bigotry? What is it with this generation that they always demonize in the worst political extremes, anyone who disagrees with them? Enough already. Can't you all go and pray somewhere while you wait for death?]

...Some French bishops have expressed their resolve to remain firmly in charge of the liturgy of their dioceses, and have been immediately denounced by neocaths as contumacious. It is bad governance for a Pope to appear to ride roughshod over his own bishops and his most enlightened advisers. [NOTE FROM BARB: Oh, so that's what JPII meant when he asked the French bishops, "Eldest Daughter of the Church, What have you done with your baptism?" It was all a papal euphemism for "you Frenchies are my most enlightened advisors.]

...The Motu Proprio will be greeted by many, deplored by many, as a blow to the authority of Vatican II.... [NOTE FROM BARB: No doubt the same people who distorted and misrepresented Vatican II for their own GHCWLALTF ends.]

...Somehow the Tridentine Mass is supposed to have an aura of holiness that will spread to the Novus Ordo as well. This is weak and illogical thinking. [NOTE FROM BARB: No reason given. Just because the GHPWLALHF says so. Oh, and note that the Vicar of Christ (author of something like 60 theological texts, has a weak and illogical intellect.]

I could go on, but what is the point? Just, please parse all the crap like the above that you are going to hear in the media once we get past tonights "The Planet is God" festivities.


What Rabbi Lerner is complaining about is this prayer in the 1962 Missal that is to be restored:

"For the conversion of the Jews. Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, You do not refuse Your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of Your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."

Yes and? I would certainly have no objection to Jews offering a prayer along the lines: "For the conversion of the Christian people to the true belief in the one God. May they see the falsehood of the teachings of Jesus the so-called-Messiah and come to understand that God is one and eternal, not divided into three persons."

Indeed, I would take it as a certain measure of respect for us, as Christians, if Jews did pray for us in this way. If someone believes his religion to be true (as I assume the good Rabbi does) and if the doctrines to which one gives belief differ from those of another (as I'm sure his do from mine) than one ought to pray for that person's conversion.

Vatican II rightly pointed out to us that many successfully give their love to God and attain salvation through love of Him despite holding to beliefs which are not true in every detail. But that does not mean that there is not a truth out there to subscribe to.

We also pray for the return of other Christians to unity with the one Church, and for the conversion of those who do not believe in God. Surely it would be odd if we then left the Jews out, as if they were not worthy of finding the truth.

All in all, though I'm no great fan of the Tridentine rite, I can't see a problem with the motu proprio, which seems to focus of providing power and flexibility to the laity. There's nothing clericalist or hierarchical about telling priests and bishops to listen to what the lay people want and give it to them -- rather than cramming down their throats whatever some panel of experts deem to be "at the people's level".

Pertinacious Papist

It is very difficult to reason with people suffering from mental illness.

So THAT'S what explains the challenge we've had trying to reason with you! You insist on clinging to your bugbear, your fetish, your foggy-headed notion of the "Spirit of Vatican II," and react with rage to anyone (like Benedict XVI) who puts it in question!


So what do we do with all those troglodytic Eastern Rites within the Catholic Church?

The Tridentine Rite is no more and no less than the traditional Western Rite.

Should they be banned outside the borders of their particular linguistic reach and traditions?

What is scaring the anti TR people? They still have the NO and no one is threatening that in any way.

Are they scared people may vote with their feet towards the TR or influence a more devout, dignified and elevated approach in the NO rite, especially in terms of the English language and the music currently in use rather than, the "get it over as quickly as possible" and "pop tune" current approach

Joseph O'Leary

"Get it over as quickly as possible" was quite a common attitude to the old Tridentine rite, as all of us who were altar boys remember. In no way was the acolyte encouraged to recite his responses at a slow contemplative pace.

Joseph O'Leary

Pertinacious Papist -- once again your contribution to the discussion is mere empty satire. Have you a substantive argument on any aspect of the issue?

Joseph O'Leary

Darwin, the prayer you quote was replaced in later versions and the current prayer is one that does not gratuitously offend Jewish people. To go back to the old prayer is nasty and insulting.


If I'm not mistaken, the prayer in question is from the Good Friday liturgy... which won't be celebrated under the provisions of the MP.

So what is the point of raising the controversy about this prayer? Seems like a divisive distraction...

Joseph O'Leary

Clayton, "Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary."

"Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.


Joseph O'Leary


"I belong to a parish that welcomed in people from SSPX and our experience has been, if possible, even worse. Our pastor ended up in the hospital from the stress, bickering, and outright threats to the point where restraining orders had to be issued against members of this “holier than the Pope” group. Having been one of those “refugees” from SSPX I am in a unique position to sound the alarm. Out of the entire group (about 50 families) my husband and I are the ONLY ones who integrated into the parish. I am the Youth Minister and we both help teach RCIA. Since I am a lay person some people have been less than cordial re: my caveats."


"Though you well know it, I shall remind you again that a Priest is 'another Christ'. And that the holy Spirit has said: 'Nolite tangere Christos meos — do not touch my Christs'."
(The Way, 67)

Joseph O'Leary

The Bishops of England and Wales, in their reception of the Motu Proprio, take the interpretive gambit I predicted: 'The Pope’s intention is to free Bishops from “constantly having to evaluate anew how they are to respond to different situations”. He states that the Bishops’ own authority and responsibility, both for the liturgy and for the pastoral care of the faithful is fully maintained.'

Another excellent gambit, also followed by Archbishop Vingt-Trois, is to say: "We are already doing what the Motu Proprio asks for". Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor says: "“We are confident that the provisions already made throughout England and Wales under the indult granted back in 1971 go a significant way towards meeting the requirements of the new Norms. We foresee little difficulty in receiving and carrying out the Pope’s teaching about the two forms of the celebration of the Eucharist. There will of course be some priests who may not know immediately how best to respond to genuine requests for the extraordinary rite. The Norms are perfectly clear that the responsibility lies with the Bishop and where appropriate for him to refer to the Holy See for assistance and advice."

The art of "reception" has a long history in Catholicism and it is a deep and subtle one.

Joseph O'Leary

English Latin Mass Society: "The English Latin Mass Society said in a statement: "Thirty-seven years ago, the Latin Mass Society was denounced by The Universe newspaper for its attachment to the Traditional Latin Rite under the banner headline, 'Latin Madness'. Today, the loyalty, determination and sufferings of the Traditional faithful have been vindicated by Pope Benedict XVI's wise and pastoral motu proprio. This document puts an end to the discrimination, marginalisation and exclusion which, too often, Traditional Catholics have suffered. Instead, Pope Benedict has stressed legitimate diversity in the liturgical life of the Church and has enjoined the equality of all validly celebrated rites. In this respect it is important to note Pope Benedict's explicit statement that the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII 'was never juridically abrogated and consequently, in principle, was always permitted.'"

Note the word "equality". And note also this statement:

"Particularly important is Pope Benedict's implicit admission that many bishops could and should have done more over the years to accommodate the legitimate needs of those attached to the Traditional Rite."

The Latin Mass Society want the Pope to put his money where his mouth is: "We propose to ask the Holy Father to celebrate publicly the Traditional Rite as a mark of unity. This is a great day for the Church, particularly in Europe, where those attached to both the Traditional and new usages can now pull together as equals to launch the re-evangelisation of the continent."

Someone suggests that the reason Benedict feels the secession of the Lefebvrists as such a deep wound is that they take with them the residues of the old European aristocracy, on which he counts for the re-evangelization of Europe -- old Throne and Altar stuff.

Joseph O'Leary

Bishop David A. Zubik of Green Bay, Wis.: "Most importantly, I wish to state emphatically that the Mass is not changing. The normal way that we have been celebrating the Mass for the past 40 years remains. What you and I are asked to do is to open our hearts and be more aware of and attentive to those who have a spiritual need for the extraordinary form of celebrating the Mass."

The reality of this spiritual need may be questioned, as the bishops suggests when he adds that papal intervention appears to be "in response to serious concerns that have been expressed in countries other than our own."

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said that he also believed the document "will not result in a great deal of change for the Catholics in the U.S."

"The issue of the Latin Mass is not urgent for our country.. I think they wanted us to be part of the conversation so that we would be able to understand what the situation is in countries where the numbers are very significant." So -- the USA, where the noisiest neocaths are jubilant about the Motu Proprio, will be virtually unaffected by it!

"There are some conservative Catholics who feel that everything ended with the Council, and some liberals who think that everything began with the council, and this Holy Father is trying to say that this is continuous growth, that it's the same church, and that we must try to avoid allowing the liturgy to become a battleground rather than a point of unification and communion for believers," O'Malley said in a July 7 telephone interview with the Boston Globe.


Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., expressed concern about "the reality that there are many priests in our diocese serving two or three parishes and few priests who are trained to celebrate the 1962 Latin form."

Joseph O'Leary

Surprise! Pertinacious Papist does not treat the Motu Proprio as an infallible oracle: "Judgments of prudence in matters of discipline are clearly not always prudent. In such matters, the pontiff is clearly not protected by the divine charism of infallibility. Our response: prayers of petition for what needs changing, and prayers of unceasing gratitude for whatever good gifts we've been given." Here is good Catholic principle to check hot-headed zealots.

Joseph O'Leary

On the other hand, Pertinacious uses his principle to suggest that the reforms of forty years ago were imprudent. But there is a deeper issue here. Those reforms were not just a papal initiative, they were carried out in obedience to the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. The suggestion that the reforms of Vatican II could be overturned in principle (a suggestion formally rejected by Benedict) savors of schism and even heresy.

Joseph O'Leary

More good Catholic principle in Pertinacious Papist's combox: "For me some Traditionalists fool themselves if they believe there is ever a way back for the whole church to times and worship before Vatican II - Novus Ordo is an inherant part of the organic catholic development. This is it - those that truly enjoy worship according to the Latin Rite will find ways to do so - but I bet the future will see plenty of liberal and progressive leaning parishes who will offer hybrid masses - services that are a mix between nice meditative gregorian chants, some melodic old rite Latin, great contemporary music and a feelgood homily."

Joseph O'Leary

The Motu Proprio is a very brief document. The implications from the point of view of Canon Law will be difficult to work out. As canonist Dr Edward Peters remarks (http://jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2007/07/motu-proprio-mo.html#comments): 'Skimming comboxes here and there, one might conclude that (pace chronically cranky liberals) there is nothing about this document, now that we can finally read it, that warrants a closer look or raises any concerns. I think some tempering of enthusiam might be in order. There are, I'm thinking, A LOT of real questions in here.'

Joseph O'Leary

On the Triduum, even private celebrations can happen then if the celebrant has permission; or so at least Jimmy Akin thinks: "This makes it clear that in private Masses the priest has discretion about which missal he is going to use. He doesn't need permission from anybody. Now watch the two blue clauses in the following sentence, because they're important: The only time he can't use the Tridentine missal without permission at private Masses is during Triduum. This doesn't say that he can't get permission to use the Tridentine missal at a private Mass during Triduum. It also doesn't say that the Tridentine missal can't be used at public or conventual masses during Triduum. As the norm is written, it's addressing the situation of private Masses during Triduum, presumably to keep priests from sneaking off to celebrate in this way privately and not participating in the public and conventual Masses that are offered then."

Akin also thinks that in speaking of (merely) "due" reverence for the Novus Ordo the Motu Proprio is implicitly downgrading it.

Joseph O'Leary

Akin goes into the nitty-gritty of potential frictions and flash-points. "In practical terms, the PCED [Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei] is likely to uphold the bishop's judgment if the group of the faithful is small or a Tridentine-rite-capable priest is not available. However, this norm contains the flip side of the fact that there is no minimum number of the faithful that is required for a group: As the law is written, a group of any number of the faithful can appeal to the PCED."

Actually, one can easily imagine the PCED being inundated with requests and complaints by tiny conventicles demanding a Mass to their liking; that would be a delicious nemesis! Bishops, too, could keep sending conundrums and quandaries to the PCED for resolution, initiating consultations that could drag out for years (in the manner of the recent Kennedy non-annulment). In short, if the Vatican turns out to have created headaches for bishops, priests and laity, it will have turned out to have created even more headaches for itself!

Joseph O'Leary

On the triduum again, Akin's combox has this: 'So, if you're in a parish that primarily observes the extraordinary form, it is likely your pastor will choose to use it for the Triduum. If not, you will likely have one in the ordinary form. Which, honestly, shouldn't be some heinous suffering for people. Those Masses are usually performed as the highest form of the Novus Ordo in the parishes I've attended. Respectful, reverent, often with extensive Latin usage, and all the "smells and bells". I can't say if my parish decided to use the extraordinary [?]form for the Triduum it would upset me, nor should it.'

Joseph O'Leary

And here is some realism from the ground:

'1) How many people does it take to 'trigger' the extraordinary rite? I work in a parish that already has mass in 3 languages. If ten people came to us with the desire for a mass in a fourth language, would we comply? No. Because the priests are already stretched thin by the three language groups we serve, because it would mean added expense for the music (which the collection from ten people might not cover) and because we don't have the 'slot' available on a Sunday. I can't imagine that we are that unique. You can also factor in that we have two priests avaialable, but something like 60% (?) of the parishes in the US have one priest assigned to them. How would he manage?

'2) I work in a diocese with three parishes which provide the 1962 missal mass under the old indult. I figured out a while back that no one in the diocese is more than about a 30 minute drive from one of these parishes. Even with a generous estimate about how many attend each of the 1962 masses, I don't think that more than about .4% of the mass-going public avails themselves of the opportunity now. In our parish, that would be 5 people, at that rate of attendance. Note what I said above about resources being stretched. I would just give them the phone numbers and Mapquest directions to where the mass they prefer is already being offered.

'3) All of that being said, one hasn't even begun to factor in the purchase of new liturgical books, the training that goes into saying the mass according to the old missal, etc. (The one priest I know who is chomping at the bit can't really pronounce Latin. So, he needs a bit more practice, I would say.) And, as I said above, there is the expense of the music ministry. (We could recreate the hurried and silent 15 minute masses of my childhood, but I don't think that these fulfill anyone's hopes (across the spectrum) for something beautiful, dignified, with full, conscious and active participation.)

'So, what do I think will happen? A big yawn. No huge changes. Maybe a few more opportunities to experience the 1962 missal. And we roll on to the next thing that will clamor for attention.'

What did I tell you? The whole thing is MAD. It is mere ideological posturing, massaging of the fetish, with no serious connection with potential practical effects.

Joseph O'Leary

Continuing this discussion may be a frivolous waste of time, since the insignificance of the Motu Proprio, except possibly as a negative symptom of more Vatican foot-dragging on Vatican II, is becoming quite apparent. But here in any case is a useful contrast of the old and new rites, provided by the US Bishops:

Extraordinary Form (1962)
includes 1% of Old Testament
includes 17% of New Testament

Ordinary Form (2007)
includes 14% of Old Testament
includes 71% of New Testament

Extraordinary Form (1962)
Begins with prayers at the foot of the altar prayed
privately by priest and server

Ordinary Form (2007)
Begins with a greeting and communal
penitential rite

Extraordinary Form (1962)
One Eucharistic Prayer: the Roman Canon

Ordinary Form (2007)
Nine Eucharistic Prayers, the first of which is
the Roman Canon

Extraordinary Form (1962)
Faithful usually receive Holy Communion only
under one kind

Ordinary Form (2007)
Allows for wider distribution of Holy
Communion under both kinds to the faithful

Extraordinary Form (1962)
Last Gospel and Prayers to Saint Michael the
Archangel included in closing rites

Ordinary Form (2007)
Closing rites include Prayer after
Communion, Blessing and Dismissal

Extraordinary Form (1962)
Preserves prayers and rites of 1570 with some

Ordinary Form (2007)
Simplifies prayers and rites in the light of
contemporary research and understanding

Extraordinary Form (1962)
Only clerics or “altar boys” perform liturgical

Ordinary Form (2007)
Restores lay liturgical ministries and encourages careful differentiation of roles.

In short, as the bishops show, the 2007 liturgy has everything the 1962 one has and more!

Joseph O'Leary

The Bishops also say:

In both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Missale Romanum, full, conscious, and active participation of the faithful is to be desired above all else. (cf Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14). In both forms, this begins with an interior participation in the sacrifice of Christ, to which the gathered assembly is joined by the prayers and rites of the Mass.

The ordinary form of the rite customarily accomplishes this participation through listening and responding to the prayers of the Mass in the vernacular, and by taking part in forms of exterior communal action.

The extraordinary form accomplishes this participation largely through listening to the prayers in Latin and following the words and
actions of the Priest and joining our hearts to “what is said by him in the Name of Christ and [what] Christ says [to] him”(St. Pius X).


Joseph O'Leary

At Sacramentum Vitae we have this "welcome" to the Motu Proprio:

"Despite the best of intentions, this move will legitimate what is already a de facto schism. For the Tridentine Mass is the rallying point for Catholics, clerical or lay, who think Vatican II was unnecessary at best and a disaster at worst. The new indult will make it easier for lay Catholics of that sort to attend Mass in that form; many of them already attend such a Mass but do so despite resistance from their bishops, so that some of the priests who preside at such Masses are doing so illicitly—either without "faculties" or as members of schismatic groups. Greater lay access will do little to change the attitude of such priests toward either their bishops or to the "updated" Church in general; what it will do is make attendance at their liturgies guilt-free; and in the medium term, the most conservative bishops will probably permit seminarians to learn how to do a Tridentine Mass. The effect of all that will be to make it easier and more respectable to be what the traditionalists already are, which is a much wider reality than that of liturgy alone. In effect, it will further entrench a spiritual culture sharply at odds with much of what has happened, good as well as bad, since Vatican II.

"That does not mean I oppose the new indult. As a tactical matter, it is probably the only way to bring closer that "reform of the reform" which Joseph Ratzinger has long thought necessary. I suspect that's probably what he now thinks too. For the effect of the Tridentine-Mass culture on the wider Church will be to make it more respectable to seek out liturgy that isn't schlock and is more organically connected to the great past than the Novus Ordo has been. My own preference, for example, has long been to bring back Latin for the Ordinary of Mass and celebration ad orientem by the priest, neither of which Vatican II or the Missal of 1970 forbade, but without sacrificing those aspects of the Novus Ordo I like, such as the wider lectionary cycle in the vernacular, lay lectors, and communion in the hand. My hope and prayer is that easier access to the "extraordinary" form will make that possible in many quarters where it now is not. But in the meantime the price will be high."


"Darwin, the prayer you quote was replaced in later versions and the current prayer is one that does not gratuitously offend Jewish people. To go back to the old prayer is nasty and insulting. "

I understand that the prayer I quoted (I pulled it from your post above -- I've never been to a Tridentine Good Friday service) is an older version that has since been revised. My point however -- lonely and unaddressed -- is that is a sad and flabby sort of "tolerance" that rests on all parties pretending that they do not actually believe themselves to hold the "truth" and hope that others will embrace it as well.

Perhaps it is easier to separate warring children by telling them "no one is right" but our goal should be a mutual respect of each others convictions, not an agreement to pretend we have none.

As such, a Catholic prayer for the conversion of the Jews should not be offensive to Jews -- and Jewish prayer for the conversion of Catholics should not be offensive to Catholics.

David Bennett

It is very difficult to reason with people suffering from mental illness.

For me, a major red flag pops up when disagreement with the author's assumption/perspective is equated with mental illness. I do not see how such an opening line is positive in encouraging real discussion and debate about the merits of the Tridentine mass.

Even though I would probably be stereotyped as a "neo-cath" by Fr. O'Leary, I am not a huge fan of the Tridentine mass, but I certainly can see the reasoning behind those who want to see it used more frequently.

Joseph O'Leary

David Bennett, I find it more enlightening to view the Tridentine Mass cult as a pathological symptom of the liturgical crisis than as a coolly reasoned response to it.

Darwin, see http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_19820306_jews-judaism_en.html

"NOTES on the correct way to present the Jews and Judaism
in preaching and catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church"

Preliminary considerations

On March 6th, 1982, Pope John Paul II told delegates of episcopal conferences and other experts, meeting in Rome to study relations between the Church and Judaism: "'you yourselves were concerned, during your sessions, with Catholic teaching and catechesis regarding Jews and Judaism' We should aim, in this field, that Catholic teaching at its different levels, in catechesis to children and young people, presents Jews and Judaism, not only in an honest and objective manner, free from prejudices and without any offences, but also with full awareness of the heritage common" to Jews and Christians.

In this passage, so charged with meaning, the Holy Father plainly drew inspiration from the Council Declaration Nostra Aetate, 4, which says:

"All should take pains, then, lest in catechetical instruction and in the preaching of God's Word they teach anything out of harmony with the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ"; as also from these words: "Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend mutual understanding and respect".

In the same way, the Guidelines and Suggestions for implementing the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate (4) ends its chapter III, entitled "Teaching and education", which lists a number of practical things to be done, with this recommendation:

"Information concerning these questions is important at all levels of Christian instruction and education. Among sources of information, special attention should be paid to the following:

- catechisms and religious textbooks;

- history books;

- the mass media (press, radio, cinema, television).

The effective use of these means presupposes the thorough formation of instructors and educators in training schools, seminaries and universities" (AAS 77, 1975, p. 73).

The paragraphs which follow are intended to serve this purpose.

I. Religious Teaching and Judaism

1. In Nostra Aetate 4, the Council speaks of the "spiritual bonds linking" Jews and Christians and of the "great spiritual patrimony" common to both and it further asserts that "the Church of Christ acknowledges that, according to the mystery of God's saving design, the beginning of her faith and her election are already found among the patriarchs, Moses and the prophets".

2. Because of the unique relations that exist between Christianity and Judaism - "linked together at the very level of their identity" (John Paul II, 6th March, 1982) - relations "founded on the design of the God of the Covenant" (ibid.), the Jews and Judaism should not occupy an occasional and marginal place in catechesis: their presence there is essential and should be organically integrated.

Joseph O'Leary

3. This concern for Judaism in Catholic teaching has not merely a historical or archeological foundation. As the Holy Father said in the speech already quoted, after he had again mentioned the "common patrimony" of the Church and Judaism as "considerable": "To assess it carefully in itself and with due awareness of the faith and religious life of the Jewish people as they are professed and practised still today, can greatly help us to understand better certain aspects of the life of the Church" (underlining added). It is a question then of pastoral concern for a still living reality closely related to the Church. The Holy Father has stated this permanent reality of the Jewish people in a remarkable theological formula, in his allocution to the Jewish community of West Germany at Mainz, on November 17th, 1980: "the people of God of the Old Covenant, which has never been revoked".

4. Here we should recall the passage in which the Guidelines and Suggestions (I) tried to define the fundamental condition of dialogue: "respect for the other as he is", knowledge of the "basic components of the religious traditions of Judaism" and again learning "by what essential trait the Jews define themselves in the light of their own religious experience" (Introd.)

5. The singular character and the difficulty of Christian teaching about Jews and Judaism lies in this, that it needs to balance a number of pairs of ideas which express the relation between the two economies of the Old and New Testament:

Promise and Fulfilment
Continuity and Newness
Singularity and Universality
Uniqueness and Exemplary Nature.

This means that the theologian and the catechist who deals with the subject needs to show in his practice of teaching that:

- promise and fulfilment throw light on each other;

- newness lies in a metamorphosis of what was there before;

- the singularity of the people of the Old Testament is not exclusive and is open, in the divine vision, to a universal extension;

- the uniqueness of the Jewish people is meant to have the force of an example.

6. Finally, "work that is of poor quality and lacking in precision would be extremely detrimental" to Judaeo-Christian dialogue (John Paul II, speech of March 6th, 1982). But it would be above all detrimental - since we are talking of teaching and education - to Christian identity (ibid).

7. "In virtue of her divine mission, the Church" which is to be "the all-embracing means of salvation" in which alone "the fulness of the means of salvation can be obtained" (Unit. Red. 3); "must of her nature proclaim Jesus Christ to the world" (cf. Guidelines and Suggestions, I). Indeed we believe that is is through him that we go to the Father (cf. Jn. 14:6) "and this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (Jn 17:33).

Jesus affirms (ibid. 10:16) that "there shall be one flock and one shepherd". Church and Judaism cannot then be seen as two parallel ways of salvation and the Church must witness to Christ as the Redeemer for all, "while maintaining the strictest respect for religious liberty in line with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (Declaration Dignitatis Humanae)" (Guidelines and Suggestions, I).

8. The urgency and importance of precise, objective and rigorously accurate teaching on Judaism for our faithful follows too from the danger of anti-Semitism which is always ready to reappear under different guises. The question is not merely to uproot from among the faithful the remains of anti-Semitism still to be found here and there, but much rather to arouse in them, through educational work, an exact knowledge of the wholly unique "bond". (Nostra Aetate, 4) which joins us as a Church to the Jews and to Judaism. In this way, they would learn to appreciate and love the latter, who have been chosen by God to prepare the coming of Christ and have preserved everything that was progressively revealed and given in the course of that preparation, notwithstanding their difficulty in recognising in Him their Messiah.

II. Relations between the Old* and New Testament

1. Our aim should be to show the unity of biblical Revelation (O.T. and N.T.) and of the divine plan, before speaking of each historical event, so as to stress that particular events have meaning when seen in history as a whole Y from creation to fulfilment. This history concerns the whole human race and especially believers. Thus the definitive meaning of the election of Israel does not become clear except in the light of the complete fulfilment (Rom 9-11) and election in Jesus Christ is still better understood with reference to the announcement and the promise (cf. Heb 4:1-11).

2. We are dealing with singular happenings which concern a singular nation but are destined, in the sight of God who reveals his purpose, to take on universal and exemplary significance.

The aim is moreover to present the events of the Old Testament not as concerning only the Jews but also as touching us personally. Abraham is truly the father of our faith (cf. Rom 4:11-12; Roman Canon: patriarchae nostri Abrahae). And it is said (1 Cor 10:1): "Our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea". The patriarchs, prophets and other personalities of the Old Testament have been venerated and always will be venerated as saints in the liturgical tradition of the Oriental Church as also of the Latin Church.

3. From the unity of the divine plan derives the problem of the relation between the Old and New Testaments. The Church already from apostolic times (cf. 1 Cor 10:11; Heb 10:1) and then constantly in tradition resolved this problem by means of typology, which emphasises the primordial value that the Old Testament must have in the Christian view.

Typology however makes many people uneasy and is perhaps the sign of a problem unresolved.

4. Hence in using typology, the teaching and practice of which we have received from the Liturgy and from the Fathers of the Church, we should be careful to avoid any transition from the Old to the New Testament which might seem merely a rupture.

The Church, in the spontaneity of the Spirit which animates her, has vigorously condemned the attitude of Marcion** and always opposed his dualism.

5. It should also be emphasised that typological interpretation consists in reading the Old Testament as preparation and, in certain aspects, outline and foreshadowing of the New (cf. e.g., Heb 5:5-10 etc.). Christ is henceforth the key and point of reference to the Scriptures: athe rock was ChristÓ (1 Cor 10:4).

6. It is true then, and should be stressed, that the Church and Christians read the Old Testament in the light of the event of the dead and risen Christ and that on these grounds there is a Christian reading of the Old Testament which does not necessarily coincide with the Jewish reading. Thus Christian identity and Jewish identity should be carefully distinguished in their respective reading of the Bible.

But this detracts nothing from the value of the Old Testament in the Church and does nothing to hinder Christians from profiting discerningly from the traditions of Jewish reading.

7. Typological reading only manifests the unfathomable riches of the Old Testament, its inexhaustible content and the mystery of which it is full, and should not lead us to forget that is retains its own value as Revelation that the New Testament often does no more than raume (cf. Mk 12:29-31). Moreover, the New Testament itself demands to be read in the light of the Old. Primitive Christian catechesis constantly had recourse to this (cf. e.g., 1 Cor 5:6-8; 10:1-11).

8. Typology further signifies reaching towards the accomplishment of the divine plan, when "God will be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28). This holds true also for the Church which, realised already in Christ, yet awaits its definitive perfecting as the Body of Christ.

The fact that the Body of Christ is still tending towards its full stature (cf. Eph 4:12-19) takes nothing from the value of being a Christian. So also the calling of the patriarchs and the Exodus from Egypt do not lose their importance and value in God's design from being at the same time intermediate stages (cf. e.g., Nostra Aetate, 4).

9. The Exodus, for example, represents an experience of salvation and liberation that is not complete in itself, but has in it, over and above its own meaning, the capacity to be developed further. Salvation and liberation are already accomplished in Christ and gradually realised by the sacraments in the Church. This makes way for the fulfilment of God's design, which awaits its final consummation with the return of Jesus as Messiah, for which we pray each day. The Kingdom, for the coming of which we also pray each day, will be finally established. With salvation and liberation the elect and the whole of creation will be transformed in Christ (Rom 8:19-23).

10. Furthermore, in underlining the eschatological dimension of Christianity we shall reach a greater awareness that the people of God of the Old and the New Testament are tending towards a like end in the future: the coming or return of the Messiah - even if they start from two different points of view. It is more clearly understood that the person of the Messiah is not only a point of division for the people of God but also a point of convergence (cf. Sussidi per l'ecumenismo of the diocese of Rome, n. 140). Thus is can be said that Jews and Christians meet in a comparable hope, founded on the same promise made to Abraham (cf. Gen 12:1-3; Heb 6:13-18).

11. Attentive to the same God who has spoken, hanging on the same word, we have to witness to one same memory and one common hope in Him who is the master of history. We must also accept our responsibility to prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah by working together for social justice, respect for the rights of persons and nations and for social and international reconciliation. To this we are driven, Jews and Christians, by the command to love our neighbour, by a common hope for the kingdom of God and by the great heritage of the Prophets. Transmitted soon enough by catechesis, such a conception would teach young Christians in a practical to way cooperate with Jews, going beyond simple dialogue (cf. Guidelines, IV).

III. Jewish Roots of Christianity

1. Jesus was and always remained a Jew, his ministry was deliberately limited "to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Mt 15:24). Jesus is fully a man of his time, and of his environment Y the Jewish Palestinian one of the first century, the anxieties and hopes of which he shared. This cannot but underline both the reality of the Incarnation and the very meaning of the history of salvation, as it has been revealed in the Bible (cf. Rom 1:3-4; Gal 4:4-5).

2. Jesuss relations with biblical law and its more or less traditional interpretations are undoubtedly complex and he showed great liberty towards it (cf. the "antitheses" of the Sermon on the Mount: Mt 5:21-48, bearing in mind the exegetical difficulties; his attitude to rigorous observance of the Sabbath: Mk 3:1-6, etc.).

But there is not doubt that he wished to submit himself to the law (cf. Gal 4:4), that he was circumcised and presented in the Temple like any Jew of his time (cf. Lk 2:21. 22-24), that he was trained in the law's observance. He extolled respect for it (cf. Mt 5:17-20) and invited obedience to it (cf. Mt 8:4). The rhythm of his life was marked by observance of pilgrimages on great feasts, even from his infancy (cf. Lk 2:41-50; Jn 2:13; 7:10 etc.). The importance of the cycle of the Jewish feasts has been frequently underlined in the Gospel of John (cf. 2:13; 5:1: 7:2.10.37; 10:22; 12:1; 18:28; 19:42; etc.).

3. It should be noted also that Jesus often taught in the Synagogues (cf. Mt 4:23: 9:35; Lk 4:15-18; Jn 18:20 etc.) and in the Temple (cf. Jn 18:20 etc.), which he frequented as did the disciples even after the Resurrection (cf. e.g., Acts 2:46; 3:1: 21:26 etc.). He wished to pu tin the context of synagogue worship the proclamation of his Messiahship (cf. Lk 4:16-21). But above all he wished to achieve the supreme act of the gift of himself in the setting of the domestic liturgy of the Passover or at least of the paschal festivity (cf. Mk 14:1.12 and parallels; Jn 18:28). This also allows of a better understanding of the "memorial" character of the Eucharist.

4. Thus the Son of God is incarnate in a people and a human family (cf. Gal 4:4; Rom 9:5). This takes away nothing, quite the contrary, from the fact that he was born for all men (Jewish shepherds and pagan wise men are found at his crib: Lk 2:80-20; Mt 2:1-12) and died for all men (at the foot of the cross there are Jews, among them Mary and John: Jn 19:25-27, and pagans like the centurion: Mk 15:39 and parallels). Thus he made two peoples one in his flesh (cf. Eph 2:14-17). This explains why with the Ecclesia ac gentibus we have, in Palestine and elsewhere, an Ecclesia ex circumcisione, of which Eusebius for example speaks (H.E. IV, 5).

5. His relations with the Pharisees were not always or wholly polemical. Of this there are many proofs:

- It is Pharisees who warn Jesus of the risks he is running (Lk 13:31);

- Some Pharisees are praised w e.g., "the scribe" of Mk 12:34;

- Jesus eats with Pharisees (Lk 7:36; 14:1).

6. Jesus shares, with the majority of Palestinian Jews of that time, some pharisaic doctrines: the resurrection of the body; forms of piety, like alms-giving, prayer, fasting (cf. Mt 6:1-18) and the liturgical practice of addressing God as Father; the priority of the commandment to love God and our neighbour (cf. Mk 12:28-34). This is so also with Paul (cf. Acts 23:8), who always considered his membership of the Pharisees as a title of honour (cf. ibid. 23:6; 26:6; Phil 3:5).

7. Paul also, like Jesus himself, used methods of reading and interpreting Scripture and of teaching his disciples which were common to the Pharisees of their time. This applies to the use of parables in Jesus' ministry, as also to the method of Jesus and Paul of supporting a conclusion with a quotation from Scripture.

8. It is noteworthy too that the Pharisees are not mentioned in accounts of the Passion. Gamaliel (Acts 5:34-39) defends the apostles in a meeting of the Sanhedrin. An exclusively negative picture of the Pharisees is likely to be inaccurate and unjust (cf. Guidelines, Note 1; cf. AAS, loc. cit. p. 76). If in the Gospels and elsewhere in the New Testament there are all sort of unfavourable references to the Pharisees, they should be seen against the, background of a complex and diversified movement.

Criticisms of various types of Pharisees are moreover not lacking in rabbinical sources (cf. the Babylon Talmud, the Sotah treatise 22b, etc.). "Phariseeism" in the pejorative sense can be rife in any religion. It may also be stressed that, if Jesus shows himself severe towards the Pharisees, it is because he is closer to them than to other contemporary Jewish groups (cf. supra n. 17).

9. All this should help up to understand better what St Paul says (Rom 11:16 ff) about the "root" and the "branches". The Church and Christianity, for all their novelty, find their origin in the Jewish milieu of the first century of our era, and more deeply still in the "design of God" (Nostra Aetate, 4), realised in the Patriarchs, Moses and the Prophets (ibid.), down to its consummation in Christ Jesus.

IV. The Jews in the New Testament

1. The Guidelines already say (note 1) that "the formula "the Jews sometimes, according to the context, means "the leaders of the Jews' or "the adversaria of Jesus', terms which express better the thought of the evangelist and avoid appearing to arraign the Jewish people as such".

An objective presentation of the role of the Jewish people in the New Testament should take account of these various facts:

A. The Gospels are the outcome of long and complicated editorial work. The dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, following the Pontifical Biblical Commission's Instruction Sancta Mater Ecclesia, distinguishes three stages: "The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explicating some things in view of the situation of the Churches, and preserving the form of proclamation, but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus" (n. 19).

Hence it cannot be ruled out that some references hostile or less than favourable to the Jews have their historical context in conflicts between the nascent Church and the Jewish community.

Certain controversies reflect Christian-Jewish-relations long after the time of Jesus.

To establish this is of capital importance if we wish to bring out the meaning of certain Gospel texts for the Christians of today.

All this should be taken into account when preparing catechesis and homilies for the last weeks of Lent and Holy Week (cf. already Guidelines II, and now also Sussidi per l'ecumenismo nella diocesi di Roma, 1982, 144 b).

B. It is clear on the other hand that there were conflicts between Jesus and certain categories of Jews of his time, among them Pharisees, from the beginning of his ministry (cf. Mk 2:1-11.24; 3:6 etc.).

C. There is moreover the sad fact that the majority of the Jewish people and its authorities did not believe in Jesus - a fact not merely of history but of theological bearing, of which St Paul tries hard to plumb the meaning (Rom chap. 9-11).

D. This fact, accentuated as the Christian mission developed, especially among the pagans, led inevitably to a rupture between Judaism and the young Church, now irreducibly separated and divergent in faith, and this stage of affairs is reflected in the texts of the New Testament and particularly in the Gospel. There is no question of playing down or glossing over this rupture; that could only prejudice the identity of either side.

Nevertheless it certainly does not cancel the spiritual "bond" of which the Council speaks (Nostra Aetate, 4) and which we propose to dwell on here.

E. Reflecting on this in the light of Scripture, notably of the chapters cited from the epistle to the Romans, Christians should never forget that the faith is a free gift of God (cf. Rom 9:12) and that we should never judge the consciences of others. St Paul's exhortation "do not boast" in your attitude to "the root" (Rom 11:18) has its full point here.

F. There is no putting the Jews who knew Jesus and did not believe in him, or those who opposed the preaching of the apostles, on the same plane with Jews who came after or those of today. If the responsibility of the former remains a mystery hidden with God (cf. Rom 11:25), the latter are in an entirely different situation. Vatican II in the declaration on Religious Liberty teaches that "all men are to be immune from coercion" in such wise that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs. Nor "restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs" (n. 2). This is one of the bases - proclaimed by the Council - or which Judeao-Christian dialogue rests.

2. The delicate question of responsibility for the death of Christ must be looked at from the standpoint of the conciliar declaration Nostra Aetate, 4 and of Guidelines and Suggestions (III): "What happened in (Christ's) passion cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living without distinction nor upon the Jews of today", especially since "authorities of the Jews and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ". Again, further on: "Christ in his boundless love freely underwent his passion and death because of the sins of all men, so that all might attain salvation" (Nostra Aetate, 4). The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches that Christian sinners are more to blame for the death of Christ than those few Jews who brought it about - they indeed "knew not what they did" (cf. Lk 23:24) and we know it only too well (Pars I, caput V, Quaest, XI). In the same way and for the same reason, "the Jews should not be presented as repudiated or cursed by God, as if such views followed from the holy Scriptures" (Nostra Aetate, 4), even though it is true that "the Church is the new people of God" (ibid.).

V. The Liturgy

1. Jews and Christians find in the Bible the very substance of their liturgy: for the proclamation of God's word, response to it, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, recourse to the divine mercy. The Liturgy of the word in its own structure originates in Judaism. The prayer of Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies have their parallels in Judaism as do the very formulas of our most venerable prayers, among them the Our Father.

The eucharistic prayers also draw inspiration from models in the Jewish tradition. As John Paul II said (Allocution of March 6th, 1982): "the faith and religious life of the Jewish people as they are professed and practised still today, can greatly help us to understand better certain aspects of the life of the Church. Such is the case of liturgy".

2. This is particulary evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, like the Passover. Christians and Jews celebrate the Passover: the Jews, the historic Passover looking towards the future; the Christians, the Passover accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ, although still in expectation of the final consummation (cf. supra n. 9). It is still the "memorial" which comes to us from the Jewish tradition, with a specific content different in each case. On either side, however, there is a like dynamism: for Christians it gives meaning to the eucharistic celebration (cf. the antiphon 'O sacrum convivium), a paschal celebration and as such a making present of the past, but experienced in the expectation of what is to come.

VI. Judaism and Christianity in History

1. The history of Israel did not end in 70 A.D. (cf. Guidelines, II). It continued, especially in a numerous Diaspora which allowed Israel to carry to the whole world a witness - often heroic - of its fidelity to the one God and to "exalt him in the presence of all the living" (Tobit 13:4), while preserving the memory of the land of their forefathers at the hearts of their hope (Passover Seder).

Christians are invited to understand this religious attachment which finds its roots in Biblical tradition, without however making their own any particular religious interpretation of this relationship (cf. Declaration of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 20, 1975).

The existence of the State of Israel and its political options should be envisaged not in a perspective which is in itself religious, but in their reference to the common principles of international law.

The permanence of Israel (while so many ancient peoples have disappeared without trace) is a historic fact and a sign to be interpreted within God's design. We must in any case rid ourselves of the traditional idea of a people punished, preserved as a living argument for Christian apologetic. It remains a chosen people, "the pure olive on which were grafted the branches of the wild olive which are the gentiles" (John Paul II, 6th March, 1982, alluding to Rom 11:17-24). We must remember how much the balance of relations between Jews and Christians over two thousand years has been negative. We must remind ourselves how the permanence of Israel is accompanied by a continuous spiritual fecundity, in the rabbinical period, in the Middle Ages and in modern times, taking its start from a patrimony which we long shared, so much so that "the faith and religious life of the Jewish people as they are professed and practised still today, can greatly help us to understand better certain aspects of the life of the Church" (John Paul II, March 6th, 1982). Catechesis should on the other hand help in understanding the meaning for the Jews of the extermination during the years 1939-1945, and its consequences.

2. Education and catechesis should concern themselves with the problem of racism, still active in different forms of anti-Semitism. The Council presented in thus: "Moreover, (the Church) mindful of her common patrimony with the Jews and motivated by the Gospel's spiritual love and by no political considerations, deplores the hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source" (Nostra Aetate, 4). The Guidelines Comment: "the spiritual bonds and historical links binding the Church to Judaism condemn (as opposed to the very spirit of Christianity) all forms of anti-Semitism and discrimination, which in any case the dignity of the human person alone would suffice to condemn" (Guidelines, Preamble).


Religious teaching, catechesis and preaching should be a preparation not only for objectivity, justice, tolerance but also for understanding and dialogue. Our two traditions are so related that they cannot ignore each other. Mutual knowledge must be encouraged at every level. There is evident in particular a painful ignorance of the history and traditions of Judaism, of which only negative aspects and often caricature seem to form part of the stock ideas of many Christians.

That is what these notes aim to remedy. This would mean that the Council text and "Guidelines and Suggestions" would be more easily and faithfully put into practice.

Johannes Cardinal Willebrands

Pierre Duprey

Jorge Meija


*We continue to use the expression Old Testament because it is traditional (cf. already 2 Cor 3:14) but also because "Old" does not mean "out of date" or "out-worn". In any case, it is the permanent value of the O.T. as a source of Christian Revelation that is emphasised here (cf. Dei Verbum, 3).

**A man of gnostic tendency who in the second century rejected the Old Testament and part of the New as the work of an evil god, a demiurge. The Church reacted strongly against this heresy (cf. Irenaeus).

Joseph O'Leary

Central to the above document is its stress on the deep bond that unites Jews and Christians. The conversion prayer of the 1962 liturgy does not reflect this but echoes the epoch of division and hostility, notably in the phrase "even the Jews".


Fr. Joe,
How long does it take for the acid you took during the 60's to wear off? Your superiors should have warned you not to take Carlos Castaneda so literally!

Joseph O'Leary

Here are responses of Joan CHITTISTER and Thomas REESE with indignant expostulations of John ZUHLSDORF.


It used to be that if you asked a question about the Catholic church, you got very straightforward answers. No, we did not eat meat on Friday. Yes, we had to go to church every Sunday. [Before legions of the discontinuity folks really snatched the reins of power in schools, chanceries, universities, seminaries, convents….]

They tell us now that Mass texts—including even hymns—may not include feminine references to God. And this in a church that has routinely addressed God as Key of David, Door of life, wind, fire, light and dove. God who is also, they tell us, "pure spirit" can never, ever, be seen as ‘mother.’ [sniff] Are we to think, then, that even hinting at the notion that the image of God includes the image of women as well as the image of men, as God in Genesis says it does, is dangerous to the faith? Antithetical to the faith? Heresy? [If the shoe…. well….]

Or, too, we learned that the words of the consecration itself would soon be edited to correct the notion that Jesus came to save "all" [Nooooooo… that is not what the correct translation "pro multis".] —as we had been taught in the past—to the idea [the FACT] that Jesus came to save "many." The theological implications of changing from "all" to "many" boggles the mind. Who is it that Jesus did not come to save? [This is just tendentious.]

Does such a statement imply again that "only Catholics go to heaven?" And, if read like that by others, is this some kind of subtle retraction of the whole ecumenical movement?

Now, this week, we got the word that the pope himself, contrary to the advice and concerns of the world’s bishops, [First, the Pope is not subject to the bishops. Second, the bishops are to be in union with Peter. Third, Peter’s role is to strengthen the brethren and govern the Church entrusted in the first place to him. Fourth, the Pope DID consult... and consult, and consult, and consult. And do you think he was just twiddling his thumbs without anything to do before he became Pope?] has restored the Tridentine Latin Rite. [Noooo….. even a fast reading of the MP shows that the older, extraordinary form of the Roman Rite had never been abrogated.] It is being done, the pope explains, to make reconciliation easier with conservative groups. [Noooo…. it doesn’t stop there. That is unjust. These provisions are for THREE, groups, those who are in questionable unity or broken with the Church (which subsists in its fullness in the Catholic Church), those who were wounded by the changes decades past, and those who have discovered the older ways and want them now. The writer was lacking in justice not to give the Pope’s document a fair reading. But here at WDTPRS we try to be just. If you want peace, work for justice, after all. This is a social-justice oriented blog, or rather an ad orientem justly social blog… well… you get it.]

But it does not, at the same time, make reconciliation easier with women, [HUH??? Whenever I go to a approved parish or chapel to celebrate the older use of Holy Mass (something the writer of this article will never do in any use) I always see lots of women. Women everywhere. Big women, old women, little women, young women, girls, and they are pretty happy to be there, too. You can tell by the way their chapel veils hang.] who are now pointedly left out of the Eucharistic celebration entirely, certainly in its God-language, even in its pronouns. [Nooooo….left out especially in its pronouns, Sister, let’s be precise.] Nor does it seem to care about reconciliation with Jews who find themselves in the Tridentine Good Friday rite again as "blind" and objects of conversion. It’s difficult not to wonder if reconciliation is really what it’s all about. [Well… it ain’t about reconciliation on your terms, Sister, I can tell you that. And the provisions for the use of the extraordinary right really aren’t about the Jews at all. They don’t figure in the equation. And, you know what? That’s okay. Moreover, the writer is not just wrong, but also unjust. True Catholics don’t treat other people as "objects". People, made in God’s image and likeness, are the dignified subjects of their own actions. That dignity cannot be violated. No one is forced to be a Catholic or to listen to us. But, darn it, we have a right to be Catholic, and have our own language, and symbols, and prayers. And if anyone is interested in talking, we’ll talk. But in the CATHOLIC Church, we are not going to betray Jesus Christ and compromise our beliefs for the sake of "buonismo".]

What’s more, where, in the intervening years, bishops had to give permission for the celebration of Tridentine masses in the local diocese, the new document requires only that the rite be provided at the request of the laity. [Right. This empowers the laity. It empowers WOMEN, come to think of it LAY WOMEN! And SISTERS! Sisters can now boss priests around and make them say the old Mass!]

But why the concerns? If some people prefer a Latin mass [I think the writer means the older form of Mass] to an English mass, why not have it?

The answer depends on what you think the Mass has to do with articulating the essence of the Christian faith.

The Latin Mass,[I think the writer means the older form of Mass] for instance, in which the priest celebrates the Eucharist with his back to the people, [kaCHING! Say da magic woid, winnahunnud dahlahs!] in a foreign language—much of it said silently or at best whispered [much of it said very much out loud]—makes the congregation, the laity, observers of the rite rather than participants in it. [I think we have covered what the Church really means by "active participation" here so often readers can recite it in their sleep. So, let’s just back away from this embarassing cliche and move on.]

The celebrant becomes the focal point of the process, the special human being, the one for whom God is a kind of private preserve. [Well…. yah… that’s about right. When the priest is at the altar, he IS special. He is alter Christus. That, Sister, is special!]

The symbology of a lone celebrant, [cue Clint Eastwood music….] removed from and independent of the congregation, [a clear whistled melody…. the distant howl of a wolf and… what’s that hear? Gunfire?!] is clear: ordinary people have no access to God. They are entirely dependent on a special caste of males to contact God for them. [B as in B. S as in S.] They are "not worthy," to receive the host, or as the liturgy says now, even to have Jesus "come under my roof." [Ehem…. one of those things the lone male priest is saying silently up there at the altar Sister can’t approach is "Domine, non sum dignus… Domine, non sum dignus… Domine, non sum dignus…" before anyone else says it. And, NEWS FLASH: No one is worthy to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Jesus in the Eucharist. We approach Him because He invitingly commands it and we, in hope that He will crown His own merits in us, extends to us now this great pledge of future glory. We come with humility, not a sense of our own "worth". His Holiness even before his election wrote and warned eloquently about an unbridled sense of "self-sufficiency" in the Church.]

The Eucharist in such a setting is certainly not a celebration of the entire community. It is instead a priestly act, a private devotion of both priest and people, which requires for its integrity three "principal parts" alone—the offertory, the consecration and the communion. The Liturgy of the Word—the instruction in what it means to live a Gospel life—is, in the Tridentine Rite, at best, a minor element. [Riiiighhhht…. so… show me that list of great saints raised up solely on the newer form of Mass…. oppps…. where are they? It look like all these saints we so venerate were nourished on a Mass that had little to do with the Gospel life. I guess the Chinese and Spanish martyrs, Teresa of Calcutta, Damien of Molochai, Catherine of Siena, Bakhita, and well… others somehow just stumbled onto their…. thing… by chance.]

In the Latin mass, the sense of mystery—of mystique—the incantation of "heavenly" rather than "vulgar" language in both prayer and music, underscores a theology of transcendence. It lifts a person out of the humdrum, the dusty, the noisy, the crowded chaos of normal life to some other world. It reminds us of the world to come—beautiful, mystifying, hierarchical, perfumed—and makes this one distant. It takes us beyond the present, enables us, if only for a while, to "slip the surly bonds of earth" for a world more mystical than mundane. [So far so good.]

It privatizes the spiritual life. The Tridentine Mass is a God-and-I liturgy. [Riiiight…. that is why St. John of God and Camillus of Lellis, the aforementioned Teresa of Calcutta founded hospitals and houses for the desperate, why saintly mother foundresses built schools and shelters and orphanages, why holy missionaries left everything to go to the ends of the earth. This is why millions of quiet lay people saved and sacrificed to build their churches and support women religious (before they needed pants suits and hairdoos) and give to the poor and to missions. In the end, everyone of them, if you were to ask them after Mass why they did those things they would say without hesitation…. "It’s all about me and Jesus". That’s right! That’s sure what they would tell you.]

The Vatican II liturgy, on the other hand, steeps a person in community, in social concern, in the hard, cold, clear reality of the present. [Especially when those out of tune guitars start a strummin’ and the shouting into the microphone over the bongos begins…. hard, cold reality of the present… for an hour or so that seems never to end.] The people and priest pray the Mass together, in common language, with a common theme. They interact with one another. They sing "a new church into being,’ non-sexist, inclusive, centered together [BLEEEEEAAAAACHHH .... ‘scuse me o{]8{ sorry… please go on… ] in the Jesus who walked the dusty roads of Galilee curing the sick, raising the dead, talking to women and inviting the Christian community to do the same.

The Vatican II liturgy grapples with life from the point of view of the distance between life as we know it and life as the gospel defines it for us. It plunges itself into the sanctifying challenges of dailiness. [Wow… no one had EVER thought of that before 1963!]

The Vatican II liturgy carries within it a theology of transformation. It does not seek to create on earth a bit of heaven; it does set out to remind us all of the heaven we seek. It does not attempt to transcend the present. It does seek to transform it. It creates community out of isolates in an isolating society. [Ehem…. to me… that sounds like hell. That sound like exactly the OPPOSITE of what Vatican II asks of the baptized living in the world. Still… let’s all sing!
Not in the dark of buildings confining,
not in some heaven, light years away,
but here in this place, the new light is shining;
now is the Kingdom, now is the day.
Gather us in – and ….aaaaaaaand…..
BLEEEEEAAAAACHHH .... sorry… sorry again…]
There is a power and a beauty in both liturgical traditions, of course. No doubt they both need a bit of the other. [After all that, you make this admission?] [The] Eucharist after all is meant to be both transcendent and transformative. But make no mistake: In their fundamental messages, they present us with more than two different styles of music or two different languages or two different sets of liturgical norms. [Which is a pretty good start, thank you very much.] They present us with two different churches. [B as in B. S as in S.]

The choice between these two different liturgies bring the church to a new crossroads, one more open, more ecumenical, more communal, more earthbound than the other. The question is which one of them is more likely to create the world Jesus models and of which we dream. [While those who follow followed the heremeutic of rupture and "dreamed", in the bad old day Catholics WORKED and created the infrastructure the dreamers are still living off of. For people like this, who can see things only in blacks and whites without any flexibility and nuance, who are incapable of taking what is good from the last, say four decades, and then make corrections, I bet all of this really is pretty scary. We should be nicer…. .... .... later maybe… ]

There are many more questions ahead of us as a result of this new turn in the liturgical road than simply the effect of such a decree on parish architecture, seminary education, music styles, language acquisition and multiple Mass schedules. [I’ll settle for those.]

The theological questions that lurk under the incense and are obscured by the language are far more serious than that. They’re about what’s really good for the church—ecumenism or ecclesiastical ghettoism, [Always the drama… always with the drama.] altars and altar rails, [yeppp….. pretty scary] mystique or mystery, incarnation as well as divinity, community or private spirituality?

From where I stand, it seems obvious that the Fathers [and Mothers] of Vatican Council II knew the implications of the two different Eucharistic styles then and bishops around the world know it still. [And that is why the Fathers … and Mothers… of the Council mandated only VERY FEW changes to Holy Mass. Read the documents.] But their concerns have been ignored. They don’t have much to do with it anymore. Now it’s up to the laity to decide which church they really want—and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.

"Much fuss is being made over the rumor that the Tridentine Mass is allegedly going to be “restored.” If anything happens, and it probably will, the decision will have more to do with power and politics than Latin and liturgy. [For all feminists it’s always about power.]
"The issue is not Latin in the liturgy. Any priest can say the current Catholic liturgy in Latin. Nor is the issue the Tridentine or pre-Vatican II mass. Any priest, with the permission of his bishop, can say the Tridentine Latin mass.

"The real issue is the power of local bishop to decide [As I said. Most of concern was about the power of the bishops, not whether this was the right thing to do or not.] whether the Tridentine mass will be said in his diocese. Right now, a local bishop has the power to approve or not approve the use of the Tridentine mass in his diocese. [That they were not so generous brought this present situation on.] Under current practice, a priest or a group of people petition the bishop to allow them to use the Tridentine mass. [Or… the bishop could do it on his own without a petition.] He then investigates the situation and decides on pastoral grounds whether it is a good idea or not. Often he will require that the petitioners state that they accept the new liturgy and Vatican II as legitimate.

"Some bishops, especially in France, have said no because they judge that the petitioners reject the reforms of Vatican II and are divisive in their dioceses. If the pope issues a Motu proprio allowing the use of the Tridentine mass without the local bishop’s permission, he is basically saying that he does not trust the pastoral judgment of the bishops. Those who have been fighting the bishops over the Tridentine mass will celebrate this as a victory over the bishops. [Not if the bishop takes charge of the situation from the very beginning.]

"Some in the Vatican, including Benedict, hope that allowing free use of the Tridentine mass will make possible reunion with Society of St. Pius X, the schismatic group started by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The leaders of the group, however, have indicated that their rejection of Vatican II goes way beyond the vernacular liturgy.
"Some in the Vatican hope that greater use of the Tridentine mass will undermine support for the Lefebvrite leaders and bring some of the society’s members back into union with the Catholic Church. [That is what happens where bishops have been generous with the older form of Mass.]

"Rumors that the Tridentine Mass was giong to be made more easily available date back to the papacy of John Paul II. So far the bishops have been able to fight it off, but the record shows that when it is an issue of papal power versus episcopal power, the Vatican usually wins. [Right, because for men like Reese, this is seen through the lens of power and conflict.] Other than embarrassing the bishops and pastors who have opposed wider use of the Tridentine mass, the Motu proprio will probably have little effect since public opinion polls show overwhelming support for the new liturgy among Catholics."

Joseph O'Leary


In a 1978 Gallup Poll 64% of Catholics wanted the traditional Latin Mass.

In 1985: Thirty-five percent opposed bringing back such a mass in pre-1970 form, and 37 percent said they would not go to one even if it was available. The rest were undecided or had no opinion.


Joseph O'Leary


87% agree Church should allow wider use of Latin Mass (Minneapolis)

Joseph O'Leary

Corriere della Sera poll 75% favor return to Latin Mass.

Joseph O'Leary


French Poll: When asked whether Catholics should have a choice between the Novus Ordo Mass and a traditional liturgy, 65% of French Catholics answered that they should, while another 22% said they did not care; only 13% opposed the idea.

A 1990 Gallup poll commissioned by the St. Augustine Center Association showed that 76% of Catholics in America would attend the Traditional Latin Mass if it were readily available in their parishes.

The Star Tribune poll above, with its extraordinary 87% poll, is a fake; see http://www.domusdei.org/2007/07/01/vote-for-the-tridentine-mass-in-star-tribune-poll/

Joseph O'Leary

sedevacantists see the Motu Proprio as a Trojan Horse; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1863119/posts


"Central to the above document is its stress on the deep bond that unites Jews and Christians. The conversion prayer of the 1962 liturgy does not reflect this but echoes the epoch of division and hostility, notably in the phrase "even the Jews"."

I certainly agree with the above document and its stress on recognizing the Jews are our spiritual ancestors and as the living proof of God's love for humanity through the Old Covenant -- which was never abandoned, as God is constant in His love.

I just don't see why that should make praying for the conversion of the Jews so distasteful. We're all grown ups here, and I'm sure that each group can handle the fact that our beliefs differ.

But we've probably hit the end of useful conversation on that point. I think that the objection to the prayer has at least as much with general aesthetic objection to the _idea of_ the old liturgy (in other words, a stick to beat it with) as any actual objection to the relation of truth and tolerance.

Amy G.

Instead of a dialogal meal-event shared by a community looking forward to the Kingdom and involved with creating the Kingdom of justice and peace here and now (this very language strikes horror in those suffering from the Tridentine obsession), the Tridentine Rite offers an event of sacrificial adoration of a transcendent God, in which there is no room for dialogue or creative variation of the text or rubrics, and in which the celebrant and the faithful do not look at each other but both together look towards God.

Seems to me that the Mass ought to be ordered to worshiping the Transcendent God and recalling that Jesus commanded us to celebrate the Eucharist as a rememberance of Him and His sacrifice. Dialogue and sharing ideas for promoting social justice can easily be done in the context of a prayer meeting or through articles in a parish bulletin. Personally, I don't care whether Mass is celebrated in English, Swahili, Japanese or Latin. We ought to give glory to God simply because He is God. We worship Him because He is transcendent, yet He loves us to death.

Joseph O'Leary

No one is against adoring the transcendent God. But the Gospels show how that transcendence comes into the world and how it is to be celebrated.

The vicious frothing against Sr Joan Chittister on Fr Zuhlsdorf's site are another pathological symptom. I reprint this hate speech in the vague hope of bringing Fr Zuhlsdorf to his senses:

Prof Basto: This woman isn’t Catholic. Isn’t Catholic and shouldn’t be adressed as “Sister”. Why isn’t she expelled from the Catholic Order to which she technically is still affiliated? Why isn’t she under censure, or excommunication? You look at what she writes and it’s obvious: she is a heretic, and heretics, as we know, incurr latae sententia excommunication.
It is a pity that, thanks to the inaction of Bishops and of the CDF in declaring publicly that she is a heretic and has incurred the penalty, she is still alowed to create scandal among the faithful by using the title of a nun, the postnominal letters of a Catholic Order, and by expressing her heretical, uncatholic views in a newspaper that, without deserving it, bears the name Catholic.

Shoshiru Honda: This post by “Sister” Chittister reminds me of one long whine. I think that in the USA, there are too many “sisters” of many Orders who think like Joan Chittister. Thier Orders are dead, and have been for years, yet it is traditional Orders like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Holy Eucharist that are growing rapidly. In many ways, what the Church believed in once, thanks to Pope benedict XVI and the Motu Proprio and other rulings coming, we believe in again. I totally believe the quote Pope benedict XVI wrote, something like ” what was sacred and great in the past, is sacred and great for us now.”Has anyone ever visited Sr. Chittister’s Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pa. website? Very sick people when it comes to liturgy, agenda, philosophy etc. They are not Catholic. In the long run, truth is the Church and Mass Sr. Chittister want and liberals like her want is dead and is being dismantled by our Holy Father. We should pray that He succeeds, and has years left to acomplish this great work. Finally, “Sister” Chittister, isn’t she about 73 or so…as are most of the nuns in her monastery (or older). Most of people who want a Church like her are around the same age. Their time is over. They have a choice. To accept and embrace the return of the Catholic Church to itself, or to leave. For Sister Chittister, She doesn’t need to leave. She’s not been a Catholic for 35+ years.

Pertinacious Papist

"Pertinacious Papist -- once again your contribution to the discussion is mere empty satire. Have you a substantive argument on any aspect of the issue?"

Of course, my friend. But since you also offer only empty satire (albeit of a much more verbose variety), I thought to respond in kind (only with generous brevity).

"On the other hand, Pertinacious uses his principle to suggest that the reforms of forty years ago were imprudent. But there is a deeper issue here. Those reforms were not just a papal initiative, they were carried out in obedience to the mandate of an Ecumenical Council. The suggestion that the reforms of Vatican II could be overturned in principle (a suggestion formally rejected by Benedict) savors of schism and even heresy."

The expression "in obedience" here is used uncritically and naively. "In obedience" according to whom? You? Nobody here (least of all me) questions the infallible authority of an Ecumenical Council (well, perhaps with the exception of YOU). The question is whether the current Novus Ordo represents the reform mandated by Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium carried out "in obedience." Licit it may be -- although there is much about the way the Novus Ordo is celebrated today that doesn't begin to approach its licit form prescribed by the Vatican.

But is the Novus Ord even in its licit form what Sacrosanctum Concilium mandated? The Fathers of the Council would almost unanimously vote thumbs down. So would many of the greatest liturgical historians of the Council, like Louis Bouyer. So would many of the most erudite and historically informed students of liturgy today -- including Alcuin Reid, Aidan Nichols, Klaus Gamber, not to mention the former Cardinal Ratzinger and present Holy Father, Benedict XVI. You therefore miss the point completely.

Joseph O'Leary

I am familiar, Pertinacious Papist, with the school of thought to which you subscribe, and which relentlessly criticizes all the architects of the Novus Ordo including Paul VI. I think this school of thought is pitiably wrong-headed, but I am hardly likely to convince you of this.

Let me simply ask you how you can square your belief that the Novus Ordo "even in its licit form" is not what Vatican II mandated with the following statements in the Motu Proprio:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

"In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.'

Joseph O'Leary

"Willingly accepted by bishops, priests, and faithful" -- that is what the Pope says about the Novus Ordo and it is clear that he approves of and desires more of this willing acceptance.

Joseph O'Leary

Here is a typical episcopal response to the Motu Proprio, one suggesting that no substantial change in current arrangments is required. What I love about this is the bishop's insistence that priests who want to celebrate the Tridentine rite will be given a rubrical and Latin exam in accordance with the Pope's own statement. The frenetic neocaths show by their frequent howlers whenever they try to write in Latin (e. g. "moto proprio", "con fides") that they would be incapable of participating in a Latin Mass. Here is Bishop Trautman's letter, with expostulations from some neocath blogger:

Most Reverend Donald W. Trautman, S.T.D, S.S.L., Bishop of Erie, issued the following statement on July 9, 2007 regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic letter “Summorum Pontificum”:

The recent apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI on widening the use of the liturgical books of 1962 is prompted by his desire to reach out to those Catholics in schism [It seems that no matter how many times this gets corrected, they still say it. So it must be true.] because of their non-acceptance of the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council. [Only the crazies you see, nobody who accepts V-II wants it.]

The Second Vatican Council, an ecumenical council of the Church [in case you didn't know], restored and adapted the liturgy recommending vernacular languages for the worship life of the Church [ he must have forgotten about V-II mandating the retention of Latin, oops.] Pope Benedict, sensitive to those still clinging [what are the young clinging to?]to the Tridentine Latin Mass (the 1962 missal) and liturgical rites prior to Vatican II, now grants a more generous application of that former liturgy.

Since the Diocese of Erie already permits the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in two locations, St. Ann Parish in Erie and St. Bernadette Parish in Saegertown, I do not foresee a pressing pastoral need on the part of our people. [The diocese of Erie is composed of the thirteen counties of Northwestern Pennsylvania with a Catholic population of about 225,000. Geographically, it is the largest diocese in the state covering 9,936 square miles! Yup, two is plenty.]

In the future, I will be issuing diocesan norms to help apply and order the specifics of the pope’s letter. Priests who might want to celebrate the Tridentine Mass [before being banished to the smallest coal town in Pennsylvania] will be given a rubrical and Latin exam to comply with the pope’s own statement, “The use of the old missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language.” [One can only imagine the type of exam that the good bishop will concoct...Please translate the entire Webster's dictionary into Latin, you have 30 minutes...starting now.]

Further, there will be need to ascertain that the common good of the parish prevails and to ascertain what constitutes a stable community [Oooh, the hurdles he will think up for this one!] of those requesting the 1962 missal. We must keep in proper perspective [read, my perspective] the pope’s more generous use of the liturgical rites prior to 1962. The pope himself has said: “It is clearly seen that the new missal will certainly remain the ordinary form of the Roman rite.”

Joseph O'Leary

Hi again, Pertinacious Papist: contrary to what you write on your website I do not say BXVI is mentally ill -- I say that the widespread hang-up on the Tridentine Liturgy is a pathological symptom of the liturgical crisis in today's church. Benedict could be seen as a well-intentioned doctor, unfortunately coddling the patient.

Janice Kraus has some wild remarks: "I read the exceptionally silly comments of Fr. O'Leary. By the way, he's also using Eamon Duffy's tendentious emendation from Joseph Ratzinger's The Open Circle [Die christliche Brüderlichkeit], but O'Leary has even removed the brackets Duffy used."

Not so, the brackets were used by Pertinacious Papist in his paraphrase of Duffy; I cited Duffy from the New Blackfriars website; moreover, I corrected Duffy's reference by citing the original text immediately afterward.

"It's the usual: we need creativity, yada, yada, yada. And the MP is only a sop to the Lefrebvrites, et al. I guess all of the other substantial reasons that Benedict issued the MP had nothing to do with it. And O'Leary WOULD cite Keith Pecklers. And Eugen Drewermann, "a prophet scorned." !! please!"

I called the great Drewermann "a prophet stoned", not "scorned".

Evidently Janice Kraus has not taken the time to read my posting with any careful attention.


I am no ultramontanist or protestant. Your comments however are really very sick. You should be leave the priesthood. Not because you criticise a pope or the pope but because you do it with such calumny. Last time I looked that was a sin.

Joseph O'Leary

Chris, if you point to a "calumny" (as opposed to a legitimate criticism), I shall immediately correct it.

Joseph O'Leary

From an essay by Michael Davies prominently displayed on Philip Blosser (= Pertinacious Papist) on his website:

'Dr. Lothian is completely correct in claiming that the Vatican insists that a liturgical renewal “has taken place and that the Church is all the better for it.” Pope John Paul II assures us that “the vast majority of the pastors and the Christian people have accepted the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervor.”In reality the vast majority of baptized Catholics in Western countries do not assist at Mass on Sundays. Those who were not assisting at Mass before the Council have not been brought back to the practice of their faith, and millions who participated with joyful fervor in the unrenewed liturgy have now ceased attending altogether. In some European countries the percentage still assisting at Mass has collapsed to a single figure, and in the United States it is about 25% – i.e., 14 million out of 55 million Catholics.12 The official 1998 Catholic Directory for the U.S. reveals that the number of seminarians is now only 1,700, a decline of almost 97% from the 1965 figure of 48,992.

'The one prefect of a Roman congregation who has faced up to the reality of the liturgical debacle is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has no doubt that “the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.”He explains that the finalized (1570) Roman Missal was, in the words of J.A. Jungmann, one of the truly great liturgists of our time, “a liturgy which is the fruit of development.” “What happened after the Council,” writes the Cardinal, “was something else entirely: in the place of the liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it, as in a manufacturing process, with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product."

'The liturgical destruction did not begin in 1969 with the promulgation of the new rite of Mass, the Novus Ordo Missae. The debacle was well under way in 1965 when the Vatican allowed its liturgical bureaucrats to begin revising the Missal that had last been revised in 1962. The 1962 Missal incorporated the mainly rubrical changes contained in the General Decree Novum Rubricarum of the Sacred Congregation of Rites of July 26, 1960. This rubrical reform had been ordered by Pope Pius XII, and few of the changes would have been noticed by the layman using a pre-1962 Missal apart from the omission of the second Confiteor before the Communion of the Faithful. In pre-1962 Missals in the Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae, X, 6, this Confiteor is stipulated. In the same section in the 1962 Missal it is not mentioned, but nowhere in the rubrics is it forbidden. Apart from this omission the ordinary of the Mass was not changed.

'No layman could help noticing the changes made to the Ordinary of the Mass in the 1965 Missal, and there can be little doubt that its purpose was to prepare the faithful for the revolutionary changes that were to be introduced in 1969. By design or by coincidence the preparation for this revolution followed precisely the strategy of Thomas Cranmer, the apostate Archbishop of Canterbury, prior to the imposition of his English Communion Service of 1549. One of the principal features of the Catholic liturgy had been stability. Developments in the manner in which Mass was celebrated did occur, but they crept in almost imperceptibly over the centuries, and the Missals in use in England and throughout Europe in the sixteenth century had remained unchanged for at least several hundred years. The faithful took it for granted that whatever else might change, the Mass could not. In order to avoid provoking resistance among the Catholic faithful Cranmer deemed it prudent not to do too much too soon. Parts of the Mass were celebrated in the vernacular – but, many insisted, it was still the same Mass, so why risk persecution by protesting? New material was introduced into the unchanged Mass, which while open to a Protestant interpretation was in no way specifically heretical; once again, why protest?'

Joseph O'Leary

Philip Blosser believes that the Pope shares the dismal vision of the new liturgy exposed in the above posting. If he believes this, is he not saying that the Pope is a liar -- since in the Motu Proprio he says the opposite of this?

In any case the dismal diagnosis in the above posting is wrong. The liturgical crisis has to do not with the change to the vernacular but with the poor biblical and liturgical culture of Roman Catholics and the unimaginative control of the new liturgy by the Vatican bureaucrats. The proof of this is seen in the fact that vernacular liturgies work perfectly well in other Christian churches. Moreover, the new liturgy is not at all the unredeemed disaster that these pessimists make it out to be: consider the inculturated liturgies of Vietnam, Africa, Latin America. It is in places where the dead hand of bureaucracy lies heavy that the liturgy is dead.

Joseph O'Leary

the full text of the jaundiced article is at http://catholictradition.blogspot.com

The petty level of its reactionary concerns may be gauged by such paragraphs as the following:

"Such citations could be multiplied indefinitely. If a liturgical rite is perfect in construction, perfect in thought, and perfect in expression it is hard to understand how it can contain parts that were added with little advantage. What exactly were these parts, according to the compilers of the 1965 Missal? They decided not to delay, but to begin at the beginning and suppress Psalm 42, the Judica me. Thus, from almost the very moment the Mass began, a familiar and well-loved dialogue was removed and within a few seconds the celebrant was saying his Confiteor, making it clear to the faithful that the traditional rite of Mass, described by Fr. Faber as “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven,” was no longer considered sacrosanct. Did the good of the Church genuinely and certainly require that the Judica me should be abolished? Did the words of this inspiring Psalm harm our faith? Did Catholics who were not practicing their faith return to the Church in droves because they would no longer be bored by the words: “O send out Thy light and Thy truth: they have led me and brought me unto Thy holy hill, even to Thy tabernacles. Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God who giveth joy to my youth”? Unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly required the removal of this psalm, those who removed it were certainly disobedient to the Council.

Another very significant change that also made clear that no prayer in the Mass was sacrosanct23 was made at the very moment of receiving Holy Communion. The traditional practice had been for the priest to make the Sign of the Cross with the Host over the ciborium before each communicant, and then to place this Host upon his tongue with the words: “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.” In the 1965 rite the Sign of the Cross is abolished; the priest says simply: “Corpus Christi” and the communicant responds “Amen.”24 There is, of course, nothing unorthodox in this formula. It is found in the De Sacramentis of St. Ambrose (d. 397). Its significance, as with the omission of Psalm 42, is that it made it clear to the communicant that if this sacred ritual, which he had known and revered since the day of his First Holy Communion, could be callously suppressed, then nothing in the Mass was sacrosanct.

This point was reinforced by the revisers with very shrewd psychological perception by radically curtailing the conclusion of the Mass, omitting the Last Gospel and the Prayers for the Conversion of Russia. Thus at the beginning of Mass, at the moment of Holy Communion, and at the conclusion of Mass, breaches with tradition were mandated that were certain to impose themselves upon the consciousness of the faithful. It is correct that the Judica me and the Last Gospel were among the latest additions to the Ordinary of the Mass, but what of it? Is there a more inspiring passage in the whole of the Sacred Scriptures than the first fourteen verses of the Gospel of St. John? Did the good of the Church genuinely and certainly require the suppression of this inspired evocation of the Incarnation, the event in history that is the foundation upon which our entire Catholic faith is built, and which connected the Sacrifice of our Redemption with the Incarnation of the Word? "

Or this:

"A good number of changes incorporated into the 1965 Missal diminish the unique role of the celebrant, particularly in sung Masses. He no longer says quietly those parts of the Proper that are sung by the choir or the people. Thus when the Introit is sung the priest does not recite it after the prayers at the foot of the altar. The celebrant has the option of singing or saying the parts of the ordinary said or sung by the choir or the people with the choir or the people, as if he were simply a member of the congregation, rather than saying them separately sotto voce. Note how this diminution of the distinct role of the celebrant is developed in the 1969 Ordo Missae – where, for example, he is deprived of his separate Confiteor and is just one of the brothers and sisters who confess their sins."

Or this:

"Just as Thomas Cranmer introduced new material into the traditional Mass, the Prayer of the Faithful is introduced into the 1965 Missal. This is authorized by Article 53 of the Liturgy Constitution, another example of its internal contradictions, as it also states in Article 23 that care must be taken that any new forms adopted should grow in some way organically from forms already existing. By no stretch of the imagination can the Prayer of the Faithful be said to have existed in the Roman rite prior to Vatican II. It had died out before the pontificate of St. Gregory at the end of the sixth century. If the prayer of the faithful was as utterly tedious in the early Church as it is today it is easy to understand why it fell into disuse."

Or this:

"By 1965 the practice of celebrating Mass facing the people was already becoming the norm. This practice was not so much as mentioned in the Liturgy Constitution and was alien to the universal practice of celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice facing the East in both the Eastern and Western Churches, including the Orthodox. Apart from the imposition of the vernacular, this practice more than any other destroyed the ethos of mystery and reverence that permeates the traditional Mass. Among other changes made during this period were the reduction of the Eucharistic fast from three hours to one, and permission to fulfill the Sunday obligation on Saturday evening."

Joseph O'Leary

The conclusion of the article admired by Blosser is at the antipodes to the Motu Proprio:

"By refusing to accept any rite of Mass other than that found in the Roman Missal of 1962, traditional Catholics are in no way a cause of disunity in the Church but, motivated by a profound sensus catholicus, they are serving it with the utmost fidelity to the faith handed down from their fathers, the faith that they are determined to hand down to their children. As Msgr. Gamber put it: 'In the final analysis, this means that in the future the traditional rite of Mass must be retained in the Roman Catholic Church...as the primary liturgical form for the celebration of Mass. It must become once more the norm of our faith and the symbol of Catholic unity throughout the world, a rock of stability in a period of upheaval and never-ending change.'"

Perhaps Dr Blosser will say that the Pope is doing a "Cranmer" in reverse, and that the present Motu Proprio is the first step in gently nudging the Church back to the full and exclusive use of the Tridentine Rite. The trouble with this view is that it makes the Pope a liar!

Blosser will counter that since I disagree with the Motu Proprio I cannot criticize him for doing so. But I am disagreeing with it as a practical policy (it is in fact impracticable), whereas Dr Blosser is disagreeing with its theological foundations, those of Vatican II.

Joseph O'Leary

An excellent article in The Tablet: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/articles/10058/

Some quotes:

'Historical precedent also demonstrates that the "Tridentine Rite" was meant to be abrogated in 1970. It simply cannot be argued, for example, that after the sixteenth century there were two officially recognised ways of celebrating the Roman Rite. Designating the old and new rites "uses" within the same rite is an attempt at canonical sleight of hand and does not solve the problem. While it is true that when the "Missal of Pius V" was promulgated, there were local medieval "usages" in France, such as the rite of the City of Lyon, these were permitted as a concession to centuries-old territorial custom. Nor can it be reasonably argued that the "Tridentine Rite" ought to be accorded the same status as one of the Oriental rites, since the ancient rites of the Eastern Churches are the expression of Christianity lived over centuries by a given nation or ethnic group within a limited geographical territory.

'It also seems clear that Pope Paul VI intended to replace the previous Missal and wanted to restore the liturgy by returning "to the original norm of the holy Fathers" (general introduction to the 1970 Roman Missal). The sixteenth-century framers of the "Missal of Pius V", which dates from 1570, were unable to do so because they lacked adequate historical resources, for they were unable to refer to manuscripts dating earlier than the pontificate of Innocent III, around 1216. As a result much of the Tridentine Rite is a hybrid of medieval Franco-Germanic elements fused to a Roman core that dates from the late sixth century.

'That is why Paul VI's novus ordo is closer to "the original norm of the holy Fathers" than the Tridentine Rite. Article Six of the Preamble to the General Instruction of the "Missal of Paul VI" implies as much by stating that there was something that was incomplete about the old missal since "the older Roman Missal [that of Pius V] is brought to fulfilment in the new" [that of Paul VI].

'As a product of the sixteenth century and compiled during the height of the Reformation, the "Missal of Pius V" reflects the Church's antagonistic relationship to a larger world that was seen as opposing its authority and traditions. This can be easily seen in some of the Ad diversa Mass formulas which maintain earlier, medieval texts - for example, a Mass "Against the Pagans".'

The neocaths have already targeted the author of this article as what they call, in their Stalinist language, a "dissident". However, it is clear that the reception of Benedict's Motu Proprio is going to be affected by such liturgical knowledge and scholarship. Its impracticability is only one way in which its impact will be limited. Its lack of solid theoretical and historical foundations is another. The net result of this double defectiveness in the Motu Proprio is to consign it to the status of deadletterhood.

Joseph O'Leary

Mark Francis concludes his Tablet article as follows:

'While the theological problems of the "Tridentine Rite" are at odds with the teachings of the Council, the pastoral difficulties that will accompany the implementation of this motu proprio may prove to be an even greater problem, starting with the priests themselves. Where will competent priests, willing to celebrate the Mass and other sacraments according to the old rite, come from? Are we now to offer Latin and liturgy courses in seminaries to train our new priests to offer the Rite of Mass and the sacraments of the Medieval Rite on demand along with the liturgical rites mandated by Vatican II?

'The official proclamation that this medieval rite is "extraordinary" compromises the coherence of the Church's self-understanding and threatens to reduce the liturgy to a simple matter of individual "taste" rather than what it is meant to be: an accurate reflection of what we believe as Catholic Christians who live in the twenty-first century. Although cited several times in the document, the hallowed patristic axiom lex orandi, lex credendi (how we pray, so we believe) has been seriously ignored in this motu proprio.

'In short, "Summorum Pontificum" weakens t&he unity of the Church by failing to support the foundational insights of the Second Vatican Council.'

And that is indeed madness.

Susan Goldwater

'Historical precedent also demonstrates that the "Tridentine Rite" was meant to be abrogated in 1970.'

That's certainly true. You can look at this in two ways, then: either Pope Paul VI's advisors were totally inefficient (since in fact the rite of St Pius V was NOT formally abrogated, although subsequent documents assumed it had been), or God in His providence ensured that it wouldn't be abrogated. Or, of course, both.

Joseph O'Leary

Here is some good sense from a priest on the ground -- he says it is more pastorally urgent for priests to learn Spanish or even Vietnamese than to learn the Tridentine texts in Latin: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/07/12/2007-07-12_latin_mass_is_all_greek_to_most_worshipp.html.

The Tridentine groupies are a loony group, who themselves have no knowledge of Latin (as I have observed again and again on their blogs). Benedict's coddling of them is absurd, and will produce no practical effects. They are in thrall to an illusion, a childish fantasy, and one that is rigorously opposed by many obstacles in the real. First the realization of their frail dreams would require that they could magically learn Latin -- not that that would take so long, no more than a few months -- but study is not their forte. Next they will have to face the bitter reality that they are a small minority, already amply catered for by the services laid on for them in dioceses where they can assemble a significant number of people. Last, even if they realize their dream, they will soon find themselves as bored and discontented at the Tridentine Mass as they now are at the new liturgy.


I haven't seen this blog before; very interesting.

In your comments on Philip Blosser you say that if the Pope abolished the current Novus Ordo Mass he would be putting himself against the Council, would be "schismatic or even heretical", and should be deposed.

Interesting to see that you might be joining the sedevacantists, but this is nonsense.

As we all know, the Novus Ordo Mass was not promulgated by the Council but by a Pope. It would be perfectly in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the Council, and no challenge to its authority, for another Pope to produce another new version of the Mass - provided it is in accordance with the Council's statements.

Joseph O'Leary

"Interesting to see that you might be joining the sedevacantists, but this is nonsense." It is Dr Blosser who wants Benedict to be a Lefebvrite Pope and who even believes him to be such, advancing masked to his goal. I think that this is a nonsensical fantasy. If the Lefebvrites did manage to get, say Bernard Fellay, on the Petrine Throne, and he continued his present attitude to Vatican II and changed doctrine and ritual accordingly, I think we would have not a sede vacante situation but the situation of a schismatic and even heretical Pope (heretical in denying the authority of an Ecumenical Council).

"As we all know, the Novus Ordo Mass was not promulgated by the Council but by a Pope."

In doing so he enacted the will of the Council, and the unanimous reception of his act by the world's bishops confirms this.

" It would be perfectly in accordance with both the letter and spirit of the Council, and no challenge to its authority, for another Pope to produce another new version of the Mass - provided it is in accordance with the Council's statements." Of course. But that is not what Philip Blosser has in mind. He wants a return to the exclusive use of the Tridentine Rite, which would certainly be in contradiction to Vatican II.

I may be misinterpreting Dr Blosser's views, which are obliquely expressed. But he has not challenged my interpretation.

David Pringle

Several things to ponder:
1. To say we must change that which is true to suit our own comforts or whims instead pursuing the Divine as one people of God is the core of emasticism (modernism), a heresy.
2. If the Mass does not rise above the world, why should an individual leave the world to attend? Possibly the sick person the Holy Father is treating is Trautman whose ideas do not cause the faithful to look to the divine, but to the world of the adversary.

Maria T. P.

Charity by all means - the love of others for the sake of God-, free will - our gift from God. Where have you placed those? How do you serve God?

Creation stays forever as a living film that you will endure as a course or as a blessing.
Are not you afraid to suffer the eternal death?

God does not change,
Truth is in God.
Truth is to contemplate,
not to be understood.

Be silent and pray that God may open your heart, your ears and your eyes.

Joseph O'Leary

"Several things to ponder:
1. To say we must change that which is true to suit our own comforts or whims instead pursuing the Divine as one people of God is the core of emasticism (modernism), a heresy." QUITE RIGHT. And to reduce OT readings from 14% of the OT to 1% because we dislike the liberation-theology potential of the Prophets or of today's first reading, is a betrayal of truth for the sake of our own bourgeois aesthetics.

"2. If the Mass does not rise above the world, why should an individual leave the world to attend?"
God says to Moses in today's reading: I have heard my people's cry. The Mass if not out of the world but at the heart of the world.

" Possibly the sick person the Holy Father is treating is Trautman whose ideas do not cause the faithful to look to the divine, but to the world of the adversary." This savors of Manicheanism.

Marcionism, Manicheanism, Pneumatomachism -- so many old heresies seem to be thriving in the Tridentinist camp.

Joseph O'Leary

Maria T. P., excuse me for saying this, but you seem to be suffering from some form of religious fanaticism.

Joseph O'Leary

Barbara Nicolosi is acclaimed by Dr Philip Blosser, Christopher Blosser, and Michael Liccione (Sacramentum Vitae) as "excellent" etc. These fellows represent or claim to represent the intellectual upper crust of Catholic blogdom. It hardly speaks highly of their intelligence that they subscribe to bilge like the following: "But, in truth, they're off. Here are a few choice snips from a GHPWLALHF (Grey-Haired Priest Who Long Ago Lost His Faith) twisting in the wind in a blog post he entitled, "Moto [recte: Motu] Proprio Madness". "Madness". The madness of the Vicar of Christ. I point it out just in case someone out there thought I was exaggerating about the disdain with which the GHCWLALTF have always treated the rest of us. In the name of the general good, of course."

David L Alexander


A few things...

[i]"Darwin, the prayer you quote was replaced in later versions and the current prayer is one that does not gratuitously offend Jewish people. To go back to the old prayer is nasty and insulting."[/i]

We do not pray for the placating of the Jews, but for their conversion. If we believe the Catholic faith is the One True Faith, this should come as no surprise. Neither should any Jew be surprised who is honest with himself, and secure in his devotion to Judaism. One would not expect him to agree necessarily. Further, we should not be surprised that Jews might respond in kind. Oh, and speaking of that, the Talmud describes Jesus as a false prophet who is spending eternity boiling in a cauldron of his own filth. I cannot repeat here what they say about his Blessed Mother. In any case, I am not aware of any plans to revise the Talmud for the sake of good Catholic-Jewish relations. We should welcome any proposals along such lines.

On two other matters, I am described above as a priest. I assure you I am not a priest; merely a layman who reads too much for his own good. As to my friend Father Franklyn McAfee, he is not a priest of Opus Dei, but a priest of the Diocese of Arlington.

Thanks for listening, and for linking to my blog. Stay in touch.

Joseph O'Leary

David, I did not say you were a priest, but referred to your website for the views of a priest reported there.

As to Fr McAfee, I was following this report:

" McAfee is a member of Opus Dei, the same organization which also claims Robert Hanssen and his wife as members." http://larouchepub.com/other/2002/2915nghbrs_kttns.html

Since you know him personally, you can confute this if it is false. But your statement that he is not an Opus Dei priest does not exclude the idea that he is a priest who is a member of Opus Dei.

The unconscious antisemitism of "even the Jews" in the 1962 prayer disappears in the current prayer, which is much more in line with Vatican II. I personally heard the rector of a leading Roman College hold forth in a viciously antisemitic manner ("They are always complaining; not that many of them were killed by Hitler"), so I have little trust in the ecumenical sensitivities of the neocon types in the Vatican, and tend to believe what a Vatican insider wrote in The Tablet recently, about Catholic-Jewish relations being in reverse gear.

As to revising the Talmud, you might as well talk of revising the Fathers (with their numerous anti-Jewish diatribes) or revising Luther (with his horrific genocidal sermons) -- or for that matter, revising the Bible. Ecumenical sensitivity means using these ancient texts critically; I certainly find that Jews are much less prone to antiChristian rhetoric than Christians today are to antiJewish rhetoric.

In any case, it appears that what you say about the Talmud is just a smear: http://www.angelfire.com/mt/talmud/jesusnarr.html


Sorry Father O'Leary the Spirit of Vatican II is dying to which I say Deo Gratias.... the Protestants await you with open arms...ha, ha, ha

[See Nicholas Lash's response to this attitude in the posting now added, July 27. -- JSOL]

Joseph O'Leary

The French reaction to the Motu Proprio is overwhelmingly negative, and is likely to become more so. See: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/pdfs/1344/bookmarks/#pagemode=bookmarks

Al Carlson

We are so grateful for the extraordinary Mass in our diocese every day. We are so gratefuly for our priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter. We are finally HOME!


Interesting, thoughtful but again you stress the middle path and exaggerate the positions of both traditionalists and modernists. Most of us and I am a traditionalist are not against change, The soppy low Mass Catholicism is a problem. I think the problem I have is about the criterion of how change is judged to be necessary. How change occurs. Is it rational or irrational or both? The Old Mass is wonderful because it is democratic. It is something influenced by those long dead. Their attitude to change was not modern yet it occurred. Yet those on a committee tell me I do not know my own mind and they will impose change on me. Ugly banal modernity. The Church saves me from being a shallow banal child of my age. It is a cultural issue.

Spirit of Vatican II

Pertinacious Papist asks, on his weblog, 'whether we cannot talk about "three liturgical movements" in Roman Catholicism today: (1) the TLM, which has continued under an officially encouraged indult [and now under the liberalization mandated by Summorum Pontificum], (2) the reform of the TLM called for by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium, and (3) the current Novus Ordo, which incorporates numerous innovations never envisioned by the Council, and which Pope Benedict has referred to in various ways as representing a "rupture" with liturgical tradition, a "banal on-the-spot product" of post Vatican II liturgical engineering.'

In short, the Mass of Paul VI, universally received as an implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium, is here branded as illegitimate, in favor of two forms of the Mass that were abrogated by Vatican II (Paul VI was publicly celebrating Mass with vernacular elements while the Council was still in session.) It is amazing how far the neocaths are ready to go in demonizing Paul VI, a Pope who was not only loyal to Vatican II but kept the Church united.

Gary Figurski

I really do not see all the "hype". Why should new or old be "crammed" down anyone's face! Let each say for themself how they pray.

Scott Pringle

Well I see that the Holy Father and Cardinal Canizares suffer from these same "issues". Interesting that what was truth in the time of St. Pius V, is not truth now according to you O'Leary. Is it possible that pride is surfaced in this article, the "I will not serve" philosophy?

Spirit of Vatican II

I was not aware of denying any truth; to improve or modernize liturgy is not necessarily a sell-out of truth. The new liturgy opens up the riches of Scripture, surely a contribution to truth?

Not of course that Pius V is always a sure guide to truth; he was keen on the idea that Popes can depose rulers and of course the sun went around the earth back then...

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