Are Faithful Catholics Allowed to Question the Liturgical Reform?—A Dialogue

William: My good fellow, I simply can’t go along with your position that the Novus Ordo is inherently defective. A pope could never promulgate a liturgy that was harmful to the faithful.

Terence: Bill, you amaze me! What prevents you from seeing what seems an obvious fact to me and so many other Catholics? Of course a pope can do that, because Paul VI did it in spades,and here we are, wallowing in the mess. The mess is all around us, in the countless boring and banal, if not irreverent and sacrilegious liturgies celebrated every day.

William: That’s only because of the way people have chosen to celebrate it, Terry. There’s nothing wrong with the liturgy in itself—nor could there be. Blame the driver, don’t blame the car!

Terence: Let’s try to step back. Your hesitations proceed, if I’m not mistaken, from an underlying anxiety about what the fallout would be, if one admitted that it had been a mistake for Paul VI to promulgate a new Order of Mass (and a new order of everything he could get his hands on). What would happen to the life or duties of Catholics if one believed that the new liturgy was a deviation, a dead end; that the traditional liturgy preceding it was fundamentally sound and already capable of meeting the needs of ‘modern man’; and that one ought to embrace it again, as much as one could?

William: Yes, quite so. Now that you say it, I believe that the fallout would be considerable. I don’t think we could trust the pope with anything, if we can’t trust him with the liturgy. It might undermine the whole system of Catholic belief and practice.

Terence: It may surprise you to hear that I can’t see any significant fallout for me. Thinking as I do about the liturgical reform, I still profess the Creed and accept all the defined dogmas and morals clearly taught by the Church. I strive to pattern my life after the lives of Our Lord, His Mother, and the long line of saints. I receive and pass on the teaching contained in the authoritative catechisms. I worship God within the apostolic tradition that the Church has handed down in its integrity, as the primary source of her sanctity. Really, the only difference between me and a Catholic of a century ago is that it was easier for him to have access to these things, whereas I must seek them out with determination, in the teeth of the ignorance, error, hostility, and indifference of clergy and laity alike.

William: That’s rather strongly put, but I suppose it makes you not very much different from a sincere Catholic of the Reformation period, living amidst ecclesiastical corruption and doctrinal confusion, working hard to know your faith and live according to it.

Terence: Exactly. Does this mean that I am on a trajectory towards repudiating the office of the papacy or its ultimate authority to define or adjudicate matters of faith or morals? Far from it.

William: Then how do you make sense out of the enormous lapse in papal prudence demanded by your position? Wouldn’t it undermine the reverence we owe the pope, and the confidence we place in him?

Terence: Here we get to the nub of the question. The papal office does not in principle exclude grievous flaws in the prudential order and in matters of non-definitive teaching. Such flaws may include the imprudent approval of a liturgical or sacramental rite defective in its secondary elements (that is, not in its form and matter), which are liable to occasion an inadequate or faulty understanding of the mysteries with which it deals. Scripture, Tradition, and Magisterium have never told us that this is impossible; it is not ruled out by the doctrine of papal infallibility as defined by Vatican I; therefore it is possible.

William: I would need to study Vatican I more carefully to assess your claim.

Terence: In addition to what the Magisterium itself says about its own conditions and limitations, we are also supposed to take seriously the evidence of our reason, our senses, our wits. God is the author of nature as much as He is the author of the supernatural. When we can see a disaster, we are to accept it as a disaster, and react accordingly.

William: I will stick with my usual line: if a layman or cleric comes away from the new liturgy with a misunderstanding about faith or morals, it is his own fault, since it was not required of him that he misunderstand anything—as would occur with an explicitly heretical liturgy like that of the Calvinists.

Terence: That’s not convincing, because the competent authority has a duty to provide such aids to understanding as human nature requires, and to avoid, as much as possible, anything that might readily suggest a false understanding. If vast numbers misunderstand what they have been given, there is a problem in the thing that was given, and the blame for this problem falls squarely on the one who gave it.

William: Be patient with me, as I’m still learning about the ins and outs of this debate. Could you offer some examples?

Terence: The Novus Ordo removes traditional aids to understanding and worshiping rightly—this, after all, is what orthodoxy means: right doctrine and right worship, inseparably—and includes antiquarian or novel elements that suggest a false understanding of the Mass—for example, anachronistically returning to ancient Eucharistic practices that, coming after the development of medieval piety whose effects extended right into the modern world, had and could only have had a modernist inflection and the result of a weakening of faith in the Real Presence. Moreover, the dubious or explicitly modernist opinions of the new liturgy’s compilers are well documented, which establishes that the very ones who put it together intended to remove certain aids and introduce certain novelties.

William: That’s pretty damning, if it’s true.

Terence: It’s well documented by the very people who revised the liturgy in the sixties and seventies.

William: All right, you’ll have to show me some of those sources later. But let’s assume you are right about what the reformers intended to do. How does this implicate the pope?

Terence: Can we get away with saying that a pope who patronizes such a product—a product of questionable theories, suspicious innovations, and manifest departures from the general consensus of the Council Fathers as documented in Sacrosanctum Concilium—and then promulgates it for the Church of the Latin Rite is not, in a real sense, responsible for the deleterious effects that this new liturgy has had on the faithful? Can we say that he is not, in any way, answerable for its defects?

William: I don’t see how we could.

Terence: Both natural reason and the judgment of faith would resoundingly answer No. This pope, Montini by name, is responsible for the evil of rupture; he is answerable for each and every one of the numberless abuses of the rite he promulgated, because in the manner of its redaction as well as in the manner of its very existence and operation, it departs from the sure path of tradition and opens the way to false inculturation, pluralism without end, and celebratory individualism, egoism, and narcissism.

William: I’m uncomfortable with where you’re going, but it’s hard for me to deny it. The pope is responsible for what he promulgates—and if its flaws are built in, so to speak, then he is as much their author as Bugnini or any other member of the Consilium. Or rather, he is even more their author, because he formally adopts the work as his own when he puts it forward authoritatively under his name.

Terence: You’ve got it.

William: But why are you so sure that the results of the reform have been uniformly bad?

Terence: I don’t need to say all bad; just mostly bad. Can anyone seriously doubt that the new liturgy has had the most deleterious effects since its coercive introduction almost half a century ago? Quite apart from the statistics about rapid and devastating declines in Mass attendance throughout the Catholic world (a trend that began in the first fervor of liturgical experimentation in the 1960s and continues to this day, as the relentless closing of churches reminds us), there has been massive confusion about what the Mass is, and whether the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist, and how the priest at the altar differs from the layman, and other basics (basics!) of the Catholic Faith—even among those Catholics who still attend Mass and who are polled with simple questions that a first communion candidate in the 1950s could have answered with ease. Above all, one dare not ask Catholics whether the Mass is a sacrifice. Almost the only ones who will answer “yes” and could offer a simple explanation of their answer are Catholics who attend Mass with the Ecclesia Dei communities, the SSPX, and those few dozen parishes worldwide that have a sound liturgical life.

William: Surely, many if not most of these problems take us back to wayward implementation, bad preaching, and the lack of good Catholic schools?

Terence: You are conveniently sidestepping the fact that the new Mass itself was everywhere perceived as inviting and even requiring a tradition-lite, improvisatory instantiation with storytelling preaching, and that nothing substantive was ever done to prevent this from happening.

William: But there have been so many Vatican documents…

Terence: Oh, don’t start on that! The endless stream of toothless documents, a mountain of inefficacious verbiage, is a sad testimony to the utter failure of genuine pastoral governance—ironic in an age that has adopted the word “pastoral” for its special descriptor. If there was a genuine desire to restore sacrality, reverence, beauty, solemnity, seriousness, good music, and so forth to the liturgy, it would all have come long ago. It has not and never will, because the Novus Ordo isn’t fundamentally, inflexibly, dogmatically committed to the traditional vision of worship, and neither are the popes or bishops who support it.

William: So you think that the Novus Ordo is doomed to fail—that it cannot be turned right?

Terence: There’s no reason to beat around the bush: the simple act of jettisoning the inherited liturgy, which was beloved across the ages and across the globe, and the imposition of a massively different neo-liturgy on a body of faithful that was not asking for such a change, more than adequately explains why it was not blessed by God with the fruitfulness characteristic of the one true Church or the universal acceptance expected for a papal act.

William: Say more what you mean.

Terence: Its bad fruits were immediately apparent, and its lack of acceptance by certain members of the laity and clergy was a poignant sign that something had gone seriously wrong—a sign that has not diminished but grown in the subsequent decades, down to the present. Except in places that had a longstanding rite of their own and held on to it through thick and thin, the Tridentine liturgy was accepted throughout the Catholic world with ever-increasing unanimity. In stark contrast, the new rite of Paul VI generated controversy from the start. It was called into question and resisted by a not inconsiderable number of Catholics, both famous and obscure, in different parts of the world, and never won over everyone for whom it was intended. Each year that passes, more Catholics around the world effectively reject this botched reform in its totality, as they seek to return to the blessings of traditional worship. There has never been anything like it in Church history. That should tell us something about the limits of anyone’s ability—be he the undisputed ruler of the known world, or the plenipotent pope of Rome—to dictate to reality how it must be!

William: You are evidently not of the opinion of certain bloggers who think that traditionalism is a short-lived flash-in-the-pan, destined to go the way of Amish irrelevance…

Terence: Leaving aside the fascinating question of how irrelevant the Amish actually are when compared with the last gasps of mainline Protestantism, yes, I don’t share those excessively optimistic views. Despite the vain wishes of its fabricators, the Novus Ordo Missae is nevergoing to be able to establish itself as the only form of the Roman Rite. Communities centered around the traditional Mass are yielding a disproportionately large harvest of priestly and religious vocations,[1] arising from their consistently larger and better-catechized families.

William: You have to admit, though, that Pope Francis and his supporters around the world are doing their level best to stamp out the traditionalists.

Terence: When traditional Catholics are persecuted, as they have been during this pontificate, they do not give up or go away. If the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity, something analogous is true of the thrusting aside of traditionalists, which only increases their intense work and prayer for the true reform of the Church, and confirms their assessment of the fundamentally modernist orientation of their enemies, which is not hard to prove in any case.

William: Don’t you think there is a danger of traditionalists developing a martyr complex, and thinking themselves better or more right just because they are in trouble?

Terence: The fact that traditionalists are seen and treated as worse than all other heretics or schismatics because they believe and pass on what every Catholic used to believe for centuries is a glowing sign that they are on the right path, the narrow path that leads to renewal. Renewal always comes from absolute conviction, from total commitment to the truth of divine revelation in the Church. If we look at reform movements, we can see that this is always the work of a few, not of the many. The many are too comfortable in their positions of power or their assumptions about “the way things are.” The few see things differently, envision something better. It is a privilege to suffer as a Catholic from the assaults of Catholics; it is a privilege to suffer for Jesus Christ and the Faith of our fathers instead of giving way to the ersatz peddled by the old boys’ club.

William: We seem to have gone rather far afield from our original question. Do you mind if I come back to it?

Terence: Not at all.

William: Here is what I am committed to saying at all costs. The pope, when promulgating a liturgy, cannot promulgate a sacramentally invalid liturgy or one that contains positive error in faith or morals.

Terence: That’s all your position boils down to? Then there’s no disagreement between us.

William: You have to say more, Terry. Don’t leave me hanging.

Terence: I don’t know whether to call it a matter of faith or a conclusion deducible from a matter of faith, but I am convinced—and I believe that traditionalists in general would agree—that the pope cannot promulgate an invalid liturgy or one that contains positive error in faith or morals. Unpacked, this claim means that any papally-promulgated sacramental rite will contain at least the form and matter required for the completion of that sacrament, and that one would not be able to establish that it expressly denies any article of faith or asserts claims that could only be construed as heretical.

William: So far, so good.

Terence: It does not follow, however, that the whole content of the Catholic Faith would have to be found in a papally-promulgated rite. There is no reason it could not give a gravely inadequate expression to certain doctrines, or contain ambiguities susceptible to heretical interpretation. On the contrary, a valid rite could be defective in expressing the dogmatic and moral content of the Faith, and superficial or ambiguous enough to make heretical interpretation not only possible but probable. It could, in addition, allow or prompt a lack of due devotion, deficient reverence, and even sacrilege.

William: Once again, examples would help. What kind of defects are you referring to?

Terence: One example would be the deliberate omission[2] throughout the Novus Ordo of 1 Corinthians 11:27–29, where unworthy Eucharistic communion is sternly warned against. This is no minor point of doctrine, given that both Scripture and the liturgy connect unworthy reception with the soul’s eternal damnation!

William: I see your point, and concede it.

Terence: Some ultramontanists claim far more than you and I are claiming. For instance, they say that a papally promulgated liturgy is necessarily well-ordered; that it necessarily promotes the good of the Church as a whole; that it is incapable of having deleterious effects on the body of the faithful due to omissions, ambiguities, additions, or other modifications. I’m sorry to have to puncture their pretty balloons, but there is absolutely no way to prove such claims, quite apart from the difficulty of sustaining them in the face of mountains of contrary evidence. Claims of this nature are absurdly overstated and make a mockery of the Catholic doctrine of the papacy itself.

William: Let me summarize, to make sure I understand. The Catholic traditionalist does not assert that the Novus Ordo Missae embodies positive error in faith and morals. He does claim, however, that it is not in continuity with the tradition of the Roman Rite, and that this discontinuity has had catastrophic effects on the actual life of the Church. The practice of the faith has in fact declined due to what was done to the liturgy, and orthodox belief and morals have in fact suffered due to the omissions, ambiguities, modifications, and tolerated abuses of the new liturgy.

Terence: You have summed it up perfectly.

William: All the same, Terry, I still feel you’re being unfair to the Novus Ordo. You assume that it will be done in a flawed manner—which, admittedly, it often is. In argumentation, however, we should assume the Novus Ordo as Paul VI promulgated and intended it.

Terence: It is completely artificial to talk about some pristine Novus Ordo that measures all others, like the standard meter bar fashioned in the French Enlightenment. If one is hoping to find the new liturgy celebrated in full observance of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and according to a Ratzingerian hermeneutic of continuity—that is, in Latin for the unchanging parts (as called for by Vatican II), with Gregorian chant (as called for by Vatican II), ad orientem (as the very rubrics of the Ordo Missae presuppose[3]), without lay ministers of holy communion, and so forth—one might as well plan on making a pilgrimage to the Oratory in London, Oxford, or Toronto. You won’t find this rare bird in your neighborhood aviary.

William: But surely this is how it is supposed to be?

Terence: That, my friend, is where you are mistaken. If Paul VI gave the Church something definite, then we can take up your proposal. If he gave us something designedly malleable, subject to inculturation, adaptation, and variation, the almost countless abuses of which are tolerated everywhere, can we even talk about whether “the new liturgy” is a good thing or a bad thing? What are we even talking about? The very fact that it is so indefinite, indeterminate, and intractable is an unanswerable strike against it—a sign either that something is wrong with the form as such or that the hierarchy (including the popes) have been guilty of grave dereliction in their responsibility of watching over the liturgy and ensuring that the faithful have access to it in its integral fullness. Either way, the buck stops there, at the shoes, red or black, of the fisherman.

William: We are talking about what Paul VI himself had in mind and intended.

Terence: Unless you’re a mind reader of extraordinary facility, good luck with Montini’s mind, which seems to have changed depending on the last person who spoke with him. Moreover, are we seriously going to say that it makes no difference what kind of modernist theology the compilers of the Novus Ordo had—as if, once Paul VI promulgated it, all the erroneous assumptions behind it evaporated and the result was suddenly healed, in a kind of papal miracle? As if the removal of the Septuagesima season, contrary to ancient tradition and human psychology, doesn’t matter at all, because once Paul VI promulgated the denuded calendar of 1969, it must be the faithful’s fault if they don’t get out of the streamlined new calendar everything their predecessors got out of the old one?

William: You are always putting so much emphasis on externals.

Terence: Do the aesthetics, the outward signs, of worship[4] have no impact on subjective belief? Or are we going to say, again and again, that any failure on the part of the faithful to get what they should out of the Mass is exclusively their own fault—not the fault of a liturgy stripped of precisely those semiotic elements and ascetical practices that transmitted and reinforced moral and dogmatic truths?

William: Fair enough.

Terence: In a further ventilation of this entrancing logic, we would also have to argue that the cessation from works of penance of the majority of Catholic faithful, in spite of Our Lord’s first words being “Do penance and believe in the Gospel,” has nothing to do with the removal of mandatory Friday abstinence and daily Lenten fasting; it’s just the fault of the lazy faithful, who should have hit upon creative penances instead of following what their forefathers had done for centuries.

William: One would have to be an idiot to think so, I’m afraid.

Terence: When all is said and done, the Novus Ordo’s hyperultramontanist defenders sound increasingly naïve, threadbare, unconvincing, disconnected from reality. Their arguments in defense of a monumental rupture are an insult to the God who created reason and elevated it by His grace, who fashioned our Catholic liturgy over the ages by the breath of His Spirit, who placed on our shoulders the sweet yoke of obedience to His commandments and the light burden of submission to His Providence.

William: I hope you’re not including me among these defenders!

Terence: No, you have a great deal of common sense, which has served you well in these horrid times.

William: What do you think Catholics ought to do, then?

Terence: For God’s sake (truly), let us put aside forced apologetics for the liturgical reform, frankly see it for the stupendous disaster it was, and seek our healing in a return to venerable rites hallowed by centuries of faith and devotion. As a matter of fact, these rites never perished, and today they are taking root in more and more places, as true nourishment for a flock reprehensibly neglected.

William: And what are the implications for the pope? After all, it was the papacy that started this whole conversation…

Terence: When Jesus said solemnly to Peter: “Feed my sheep … feed my lambs,” He was asking him to take that task upon himself. He was not stating “You will feed my sheep and lambs,” as if he would automatically do it, whether he wanted to or not! Every pope—indeed, every spiritual shepherd—subsequently has to give ear to Our Lord and freely choose to follow Him, lovingly feeding the sheep and lambs purchased by His Precious Blood. May our shepherds awaken, if they have not already done so, to the urgent need to restore to full honor and magnificence the traditional worship of the Church, which should never have been despised and set aside.

William: Whatever differences remain between us, Terry, we definitely agree on that.



[1] See my article “Traditional Liturgy Attracts Vocations, Nourishes Contemplative Life, and Sustains the Priesthood.”

[2] See my article “The Omission that Haunts the Church — 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.”

[3] See my article “The Normativity of Ad Orientem Worship According to the Ordinary Form’s Rubrics.”

[4] See my article “Why getting the ‘externals’ of Catholic Mass right is more important than most realize.”

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18 Responses to Are Faithful Catholics Allowed to Question the Liturgical Reform?—A Dialogue

  1. John says:

    LOL a Protestant at heart thinking he is pious. The Pope didn’t confuse the innovators. They had a purpose and new exactly what they were doing. The bastardisation of the liturgy they effected in their domain was wilful not simple confusion.

    The Terrence character in the story will likely become a sedevacantist Protestant in due course.


  2. geoffkiernan says:

    A wise man is our Terrence…..


  3. kathleen says:

    All the many sublime praises for the Mass – from countless saints, Doctors of the Church, martyrs (at the moment of execution), Popes, theologians, spiritual writers and apologists – have been eulogies for the Tridentine Mass (a.k.a. the Traditional Latin Mass) and not the Novus Ordo Mass.

    Let’s be frank: the NOM, even when celebrated with reverence, simply cannot raise our minds and hearts to God in the same way as the TLM. Its whole tendency towards a more community-centred Liturgy and symbols, compared to the total God-centredness of the holy TLM, just sets it off on the wrong foot from the start.


  4. Mary Salmond says:

    I get the picture. I like the logic of the dialog. But how do I answer a diocesan priest and monk priest who both say blatantly, “we’ll never go back to the traditional Latin mass.”? Also they both gasped when I mentioned the Baltimore Catechism. All tthese above arguments become a moot point with them.


  5. Brother Burrito says:

    Dear Kathleen, I object to your speaking on my behalf about how little the NOM can raise my mind and heart to God compared to the Tridentine Mass. I do not mean to be snitty: I just question your authority to make such a sweeping statement about my personal relationship with God in, with and through the Liturgy. If I was a sensationalist type of commenter, I might even describe it as “SHOCKING!!!!” (though I never actually would because we are friends I hope)

    (In Toad’s enforced absence, and as his gaoler, I feel responsible for providing to this blog that little bit of chilli-spice his contributions used to provide here. Please don’t take my comebacks personally. I am merely playing his part for him 😉 )


  6. kathleen says:

    Dear Burrito – yes, of course we are still “friends”; a disagreement here definitely does not imply an old friendship will be lost 😉.

    If you find that the NOM, despite all its inherent shortcomings, raises your mind and heart to God in the same way (or more) than the TLM does, I can only say, chapeau! I know of only one other good Catholic like you who shares your opinion… and in her case it is due to a strange dislike of Latin owing to a bullying Latin teacher she had as a child. Most Catholics, even those who are a bit bewildered when they first discover the TLM, are bowled over by its transcendent beauty and will seek it out whenever possible.

    Let me add that I know the NOM, when celebrated as laid out by Canon Law, is a legitimate and valid Mass. The Catholic Church teaches this and to deny it would be sinful. Also, it is the Mass that I usually attend because it is the ONLY Mass available to me (except on the first Sunday of the month when a visiting priest celebrates the TLM in the city, an hour’s drive away). And this leads me onto other important points….

    The TLM, owing to its strict rubrics and awe-inspiring Liturgy, is a fitting re-enactment of Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary. It is intrinsically focused on God. On the other hand, the NOM has many parts (prayers plus symbols) that are totally focused on the community. It’s all me, me – instead of You, my Lord and Saviour.
    Then, another often overlooked point: because the new Mass has been all (or mostly) about me/us, not God, the noisy chatting and movements around the church as soon as the priest has left the altar allows no one to continue their thanksgiving prayers!
    The hymns at the NOM (if there are any) will tend to be banal, Protestant-type offerings that mostly do nothing more than distract people from prayer.
    Also, so much depends on the priest celebrating the NOM: the Mass can range from pious and prayerful to a pathetic show!*

    There’s more, but duty calls and I must go…

    * P.S. That means that, in my case, the three priests in our parish all celebrate the Mass differently – one very reverently and well, another reasonably well, and the third (a Modernist showman) to be avoided at all costs if you care about your spiritual welfare!!


  7. Crow says:

    At our TLM Mass, it is generally full and mostly young people. We have a young friend who is a chorister in the Cathedral choir (which is NO but beautifully done). He is aware of traditional monks who are forming monasteries/convents etc, because the young people share this news on social media because they are truly excited by it.
    The future of the Church is the mustard seed – it lies dormant and invisible to the eye until it springs forth.
    Mary, those V2 priests who say that we will never go back are the ones who are asking why the teenagers leave (‘we should have a youth Mass’).i do not trust this Pope or Cardinal Parolin (or, of course, the lobby group) and so I think that the attraction of the Latin Mass for the young should be kept quiet. We have witnessed the FFI. It makes me question their motives, but I am not alone there….


  8. Crow says:

    Ooh Kathleen- my daughter’s school had a Mass with the Jesuits (who used to be Catholic…) The priest skipped the Creed and made up his own words at the Consecration. He then gave a sermon about himself. It’s enough to make one atheist. I think I have said this before but, I left our local Mass when the music woman (at the front with the microphone), played the spoons.


  9. Brother Burrito says:

    Dear Crow, what you have described is scandalous to me. I too have endured many extremely substandard Masses, though not at my Parish, thankfully.

    Look, I understand that I may recently have come across as this blog’s resident bad guy, but I wish to put my Catholic credentials on the table with this comment:

    I am hugely disturbed by Liturgical abuses. I am very lucky to attend a Parish where, even lacking a church building, we participate in NOM to the highest standard possible. The Readings are done excellently, we sing the Psalm always and traditional Catholic hymns almost always. Our priest is from Kerala and stands for no nonsense, yet is very human, approachable, and wise.

    To my mind, the battle for the future of the Church is not about TLM vs NOM. It is about Sacramentally well-nourished Catholics getting out there into the world, the marketplace, and showing everyone what a Grace-filled human being can do that others cannot: lead with humanity, for instance.


  10. kathleen says:

    Crow, the vivid images that came to mind of the woman playing the spoons at Mass (oh, horrors!) really made me laugh! Better than crying, eh?
    This, together with the Jesuit ‘priest’ you mention making up his own ‘mass’ and plenty more horror stories I could recount if I had time, are all products of the Modernism heresy that swept through the Church in the ‘spirit’ of Vatican II like a destructive hurricane that no one knew how to control. Modernist innovations in the Liturgy by progressive priests were given a perfect ‘home’ in the NOM, thanks to its weak ‘structures’.

    I am a teeny bit jealous (no, not really 😉) of those who can go daily, or at least weekly, to a Traditional Latin Mass. I count the days for the only monthly one available to me here where I live. Recently I spent time in England where there are so many more possibilities to find the TLM. And then we had a beautiful sung High Mass each day on the Chartres pilgrimage that was attended by thousands of devout young people.

    Truly this is the future of the Church. Those “V2 priests” (^) will one day have to eat their words!


  11. kathleen says:

    To my mind, the battle for the future of the Church is not about TLM vs NOM. It is about Sacramentally well-nourished Catholics getting out there into the world, the marketplace, and showing everyone what a Grace-filled human being can do that others cannot: lead with humanity, for instance.

    If the faithful are not “Sacramentally well-nourished” by a devout and prayerful Liturgy, Burrito, their souls will languish and they won’t be able to “show” anything. (Read Terrence’s last paragraph again.)
    Pope Benedict XVI realising this was the root of the problem in the Church today (as he clearly stated) brought back the Mass of the Ages. Only eleven years later we are seeing the good fruit this is producing.


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Kathleen says (13:18):
    “The hymns at the NOM (if there are any) will tend to be banal, Protestant-type offerings…”

    Unless we’re confining music at Mass to ancient chant and Middle Ages polyphony (both Catholic and supreme in my view) my long experience is there’s not a lot of difference between Catholic and Protestant hymns – unless you’re a fanatic parsing every lyric for heresies. Indeed, ours can come off worse by comparison. Who’s the better hymnist: the rightly renowned Methodist Charles Wesley (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling plus innumerable others) or the intensely Ultramontanist – not to mention Ultraheadache of John Henry Newman – Frederick Faber (Faith Of Our Fathers, Living Still, his best composition, plus quite a few others hardly ever heard or sung by anyone anymore)?

    Last summer, after weekday Mass where Father had us sing a perfectly ridiculous introit from our national Conference of Catholic Bishops approved hymnal, I sent him this book:
    Why Catholics Can’t Sing
    Now this is not to say I welcome the idea of Proddies writing our lyrics (the music itself is neutral in my view – even atheists, homosexuals, racists and socialists have composed great music) and this makes me laugh because it calls to mind a old client of mine (nameless) who had one or two of his musical compositions published in our old Catholic Book of Worship and who consulted with me some years ago after a ménage à trois involving the spouse of a colleague of mine (upstanding Protestant) who was not part of it (the ménage, I mean).

    On this side of the ocean (hello, Crow!) I invite people to spend a little coin on the St Michael Hymnal, published by St Boniface Parish in Lafayette, Indiana. An excellent resource for Catholic choirs, although even it stands in line behind the Saint Edmund Campion Missal & Hymnal first brought to my attention on CP&S by “Teresa” about five years ago.

    Speaking of “Teresa”, who all old CP&S regulars (and perhaps even some irregulars like Toad) will remember, I feel remiss never having asked the whereabouts of our good Malaysian correspondent who has been M.I.A. these some months. I do hope she’s come into a fortune and thus managed to forget about me.


  13. Brother Burrito says:

    Dear kathleen, in order to avoid saying something uncharitable to one another, we simply should agree to disagree, dontchathink?


  14. Brother Burrito says:

    [Not in reply, just emoting]: Thank God for johnhenrycn. He’s a welcome blast!

    Yeah, where the heaven is GC??


  15. mmvc says:

    i do not trust this Pope or Cardinal Parolin (or, of course, the lobby group) and so I think that the attraction of the Latin Mass for the young should be kept quiet.

    Crow, it appears that Pope Francis already knows, but dismisses it as a passing ‘fashion’. Which, given what happened to the FFI, may not be a bad thing.

    Archbishop Graubner from the Czech Republic recalls the following from an audience with the Pope in Rome:

    [Abp. Jan Graubner speaks:] When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. “When I search more thoroughly – the Pope said – I find that it is rather a kind of fashion [in Czech: ‘móda’]. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us.”


  16. mmvc says:

    JH @ 01:14, I think Kathleen may have been referring to some of the banal modern hymns from the 70s and possibly the kind of ‘praise and worship songs’ that have made their way into the NOM from Protestant Charismatic gatherings, rather than the traditional hymn genre you mention .

    The General Instruction for music in the Catholic Mass (though mostly ignored!) is this:
    “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as being especially suited to the Roman liturgy; therefore it should be given pride of place in liturgical services”

    “An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.” (Pope Benedict)


  17. kathleen says:

    Dear mmvc,

    Yes, that is exactly what I meant by my remark complaining of distracting “banal” music at Mass, thank you. Even as a youngster I remember cringing at some of the ghastly lyrics we were dished up in the name of “hymns”!
    Perhaps I should not have added the adjective Protestant-type [offerings] though; plenty of the terrible modern music of the 70s was produced by ultra-progressive Catholics as well.

    @ JH (loyal old friend of CP&S),

    Agreed – that is a lovely carol plus hymns by Methodist, Charles Wesley. There are many great Catholic composers of hymns too, although their music is seldom heard at NO Masses it would seem, in the inexplicable preference for the silly songs (re mmvc’s link from First Things above!)

    You would be happy to hear that Father Faber’s wonderful Faith Of Our Fathers hymn is sung with gusto by the British pilgrims on the Chartres pilgrimage 😀. The French pilgrims cheer us along when they hear it! (We also sang it inside that packed hall at St Mary’s Moorfields after +Schneider’s powerful talk on The Church Militant: a forgotten truth.)


  18. Crow says:

    Sorry everyone, I was MIA too – end-of-term school stuff. I am seconding JH and B.B. in asking ‘where is Teresa, and GC and also my friend Toad?’ I do hope all is well (and are well).
    Thanks for the tip about the Edmond Campion missal, JH, I will google it. I already had ‘Why Catholics Can’t sing’ and read it voraciously after the spoons incident. If you ever want me to play the spoons at your local Mass, Kathleen, I would be more than happy to oblige…


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