Solemn High Mass in Rome Marks 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum

Edward Pentin shared photos of the Solemn High Mass in Rome to commemorate the 10th anniversary (9/14/07) implementation of Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

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The Mass took place at the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva in Rome and was packed. From the photos, it appears that Monsignor Wach, the prior general to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP).

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It’s hard to argue that Summorum Pontificum has been anything other than the greatest and most fruitful contribution to St. JPII’s call to the New Evangelization. ☩

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Deo Gratias! Fr. Uzhunnalil Freed by Terrorists After 18 Months of Captivity

Below is a moving photo (update: photos) of the Indian priest being received by Pope Francis in Rome after spending 18 months in captivity, wondering if he’d escape alive. Many prayers were answered by his release! Thanks be to God.

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Fr. Uzhunnalil will spend a few days with his Salesian brothers before returning home to be with family in India.

Screenshot from a video made while being held captive for being a Christian | NCRegister

Chaos Looms with Possible Silver Lining: Pope Decentralizes Authority on Liturgical Translations, Revisions

UPDATE: It is worth reading Ed Condon’s commentary on the UK’s Catholic Herald regarding this Motu Proprio: What no one’s noticed about the new liturgy rules. He explains that, if followed faithfully, this would actually make new liturgical translations more difficult since it requires “unanimous” agreements among bishops. This, of course, assumes bishops are faithful to the document in Rome…which we know isn’t always the case.

17_09_09_Magnum_principiumToday the pope issued a “motu proprio” titled Magnum Principium which effectively lessens the centralized power of the Congregation of Divine Worship (CDW, of which Cardinal Sarah is prefect) as it pertains to approved liturgical translations and revisions. Pope Francis (who seems to favor a decentralized Catholic Church) wishes to allow councils of bishops in various countries to make official liturgical translations in their respective vernacular language rather than the CDW having the ability to dictate which translations from the official Latin texts (because, after all, we are the Latin Church) are allowed in different places of the world. What has just happened may or may not be a big deal. Time will tell.

Despite Pope Francis wishing for greater unity in the Church, this document will likely do the opposite just as many other ideas following the Second Vatican Council have done. At best, this will work to enshrine the disunity of Masses in various languages. At worst, this will open the door for all sorts of chaotic translations or even practices at Mass. The document begins attempting to cite the wishes of Vatican II:

The great principle, established by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood, required the weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy and of preparing and approving the versions of the liturgical books, a charge that was entrusted to the Bishops.

Is “the great principle” simply a synonym for “the spirit of”, it sure seems like it. And we all know where “the spirit of Vatican II” has gotten us in the past 50 years.  This, of course, ignores the explicit directive of the Second Council contained within the document Sacrosanctum Concilium where it states:

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

A bit more from the beginning of Magnum Principium:

The Latin Church was aware of the attendant sacrifice involved in the partial loss of liturgical Latin, which had been in use throughout the world over the course of centuries. However it willingly opened the door so that these versions, as part of the rites themselves, might become the voice of the Church celebrating the divine mysteries along with the Latin language

So, it kicks off by stating the obvious sacrifice the Church has made with attempting to suppress its mother tongue since V2. Remember, Bl. Pope Paul VI himself even prefaced the changes by discussing how unfortunate this was going to all be! Then it states that this means forthcoming translations of liturgies were to be celebrated along with the Latin language. I’m no liturgical expert but it seems to me that these allowances for vernacular translations were in spite of the official Latin texts, not along with.

It is no secret that liturgical and theological progressives in the Church have been pining to sanitize the association with Latin in the Church. They feel it is archaic, distant, and cold…unwelcoming. With every small decision they have been able to make, and in spite of the direct wishes of the Second Vatican Council, they have worked to silence the tongue of their ancestors, a language which is perfectly fit for the Holy Liturgy. Just think of Judaism ignoring Hebrew or Islam ashamed of Arabic.

Here’s exactly what changed in the Code of Canon Law as pointed out by CNA:

[Canon 838, 2] has been changed to read: “It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognize adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.”

Similarly, 838, 3 previously read: “It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.”

The text will now read: “It pertains to the episcopal conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

The changes apportion a greater portion of responsibility for the preparation and approval of liturgical translations to episcopal conferences, rather than the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

It might not seem like a big deal and we might not notice any difference anytime soon (or, hopefully, ever) in the United States (our council of bishops being the USCCB) but there are countries with bishops councils that are going to be excited to immediately use this document in an unfaithful manner. For instance, look what the bishops of Argentina and Germany have done immediately in the wake of chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia.

This, however, cannot create havoc for too long because while Francis is choosing more and more progressive dinosaurs to be bishops their immediate predecessors (wolves) are dying off. Soon there will be mostly only faithful, joyful, serious, and orthodox priests to choose from to make bishops (and, from bishops, cardinals). But what about the “silver lining” in the title? Well, I predict this will only work to fuel the speed at which the laity, seminarians, priests, and bishops are becoming interested in the treasure of our inheritance, the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Let’s say some bishops conferences in Europe (where they are more likely to use this document in an unfaithful manner) decide to make some wacky and despicable changes to the Holy Mass. This could only take place in the novus ordo (ordinary form) celebration of it. The TLM won’t change. Where do priests or seminarians turn to if their council of bishops wants them to do something that doesn’t sit easy with them? Where do the faithful turn to when the Mass becomes even more protestantized, banal, and ugly? The answer, of course, if obvious.

As I stated above, the bishops who loath the treasures, traditions, liturgy, and languag of the Church will soon go away. It is inevitable. There is no future in watered-down, beige Catholicism. To quote Rod Dreher’s funny and completely accurate tweet:

 

In the meantime, let’s see how this all plays out. ☩

For more (and much insightful) commentary, check out Father Z’s notes on this.

The Juxtaposition of the Pauline Mass and Tradition

Amidst all the news of Christianity shrinking in the West, there are interesting things happening. It is true that Millennials are the least religious group of people history has ever seen (along with the most depressed, lonely, and despairing group). Millennial Catholics are the least likely to go to Mass, let alone practice any devotions, if they have not altogether renounced the Faith. The numbers may seem shocking, but the worry is mitigated once one realizes that much of what is happening is that the Catholics eschewing their Mass obligations or plainly identifying as non-Christian or atheist in polls are simply being more honest than the decades of similar-thinking people before them.

While the Church hemorrhaged Catholics following the rampant unfaithful application of Vatican II, those leaving the pews between the 60’s and 90’s, really, still felt it socially unacceptable to declare themselves spiritual-but-not-religious or, especially, atheist. With the past decade of accelerated secularism in the United States, people in their teens to 40’s feel much more comfortable being honest about there belief in immaterial divinity, or lack thereof. This transparency isn’t a bad thing. As this happens, the Catholics remaining in the pews (and men entering seminaries) are those who are choosing Catholicism out of conviction rather than being Catholic by lineage. This means those who are there who are under, say, 50 see some clear value in the Roman Catholic Church. What these people value in it clearly is something that isn’t (and cannot) be offered by popular culture. Therefore, this group revere the counter-cultural messages and practices which Church tradition offers both within and outside the Mass. Contrary to many of the aging Catholics who were groomed in the sexual and cultural revolution of the 1960’s, young Catholics today do not seek popular culture’s approval of the Church (or vice versa). Quite the opposite. Catholics today seek exactly what has been ignored by many of their parents and grandparents and are slowly restoring liturgical and devotional practices which have stood throughout centuries, forming nearly all the saints.

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We see, thanks to the strong and serious young Catholics today, more parishes offering more reverent, serious, and traditionally-minded novus ordo Masses (aside from the steady growth of Traditional Latin Masses {TLM} worldwide). These clerics and laypeople are fostering a sense of beauty in their liturgies and prayers which has been absent through many of their childhoods (such as mine in the 90’s).

Like many large dioceses throughout the country, there are organizations popping up which cater to these young, faithful Catholics. In my very own archdiocese there is an organization which reserves a diocesan church each week on a weeknight. This church is on a large state university campus and fills the nave nearly entirely each Wednesday with young adults (~18-40). The event is officially sanctioned and advertised by the archdiocese although it is known that it makes some recoil within the archdiocese’s administration who would eliminated if they could. Why does it make these dissenters see red? After all…it is doing such a good job drawing young people to the pews. Well, because the event features an hour of reverent Eucharistic adoration with sometimes more than five (young) priests hearing confessions. Following adoration comes a solemn daily Mass featuring altar boys in cassocks & surplices; incense; Latin ordinaries and hymns; young, orthodox priests; a long procession; and more. Young people are double-genuflecting during adoration, receiving Communion on their tongue (and some on their knees on the floor), refraining from holding their hands out during the Pater Noster, and some young women wear beautiful chapel veils. It is thriving and one of the only signs of actual growth and hope in the diocese.

Other than implementing ad orientem, I’m not sure what else they could do to make a daily novus ordo Mass be more beautiful or traditional. And yet, it seems to still be lacking. The priests (some of which I know or are familiar with) are open to the TLM (or already know it). Many of the laity there are clearly open to traditional practices. Why do we have to pretend like this is the best (the most reverent, serious, beautiful) the Roman Rite liturgically has to offer? I actually asked one of the men behind the event if they’d ever consider hosting a TLM even if just once per month. He stated they surely are (both the young laypeople and priests responsible for this organization), however, they rely on the archdiocese sponsoring it and many in the administration had a hard time getting over the Latin and male-only altar servers in cassocks and surplices. He went on to say that it is possible in the future, but it is best to take one step at a time right now. I understand.

Why, though, despite being so well done is there a lacking sense? I was reminded of a post from the Liturgy Guy blog where he quotes Bl. Pope Paul VI discussing the some of the change the faithful must be ready for as he, to put it nicely, changed the liturgy.

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Pope Paul on the New Rite of the Mass (11/26/1969)

“We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30 (1969).

“This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead

“So what is to be done on this special and historical occasion? First of all, we must prepare ourselves. This novelty is no small thing…

It is here that the greatest newness is going to be noticed, the newness of language. No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass. The introduction of the vernacular will certainly be a great sacrifice for those who know the beauty, the power and the expressive sacrality of Latin. We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance. We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment. What can we put in the place of that language of the angels? We are giving up something of priceless worth. But why? What is more precious than these loftiest of our Church’s values?

The answer will seem banal, prosaic. Yet it is a good answer, because it is human, because it is apostolic.

“Understanding of prayer is worth more than the silken garments in which it is royally dressed. Participation by the people is worth more—particularly participation by modern people, so fond of plain language which is easily understood and converted into everyday speech.”

Bl. Pope Paul VI

So here we have the very man who made this drastic “change” (again, being charitable) to the Missae while preemptively making one (of many) arguments against it. He explains clearly that the loss of the sacred language of Latin, alone, is cause for regret and bewilderment! He refers to it as the language of the angels and describes the TLM as  that which “brings the prayer of our forefathers and saints to our very own lips”! With this monumental “change”, generations of Catholics lost their identity and inheritance nearly instantaneously. For Catholics today who say there is no difference between the forms of the Mass (ordinary and extraordinary), other than one’s difference in preference, we must ask them if one should correct Paul VI’s very own preemptive statements on the two forms of the Mass. With the move to the novus ordo Mass, clearly much was lost.

Young Catholics are clearly yearning for an intimate encounter with liturgy and ritual which is unlike anything that can be found elsewhere in society. That is why Catholics are submerging themselves in Latin, even if they can’t entirely understand or memorize it. This is why young women are veiling not only to the TLM but to ordinary form Masses like the ladies mentioned above (remember, it can be a small veil, wraparound scarf thingy, or even a hat lest someone be concerned they would look overly pious with a full mantilla). I think to myself how cool of an opportunity it would be to be able to express my reverence of the Eucharist in such a tangible way, what an ability to be bold. So, too, are men bold simply by dressing nicely and receiving the Eucharist with humility and reverence.

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I know, two TCG memes now, I’ll stop.

While, even in it’s most beautiful and traditional stylings, the novus ordo Mass is lacking for reasons I wont rehash here, perhaps it is good that this event is strictly in the ordinary form. It may be more likely to draw people otherwise wouldn’t seek out a reverent Mass (or know they exist). If it was billed as a TLM-only event, it may be (unfortunately) intimidating to the casual Catholic. Instead, this can be a sort of stepping stone to either people demanding more reverent N.O. Masses at their home parishes or seeking out and supporting a nearby TLM in its growth. Also, when Catholics are boldly embracing traditional and beautiful practices such as veiling, dressing well, and proper reception of Communion in an ordinary-form church, it provides a powerful witness to other who may either not know it exists or who are interested in moving the needle in their own liturgical devotions but are too self-conscious to be the first one.

Soon the people standing in the way of true progress (as measured by the increasing number of young people coming becoming interested in the Faith) will be gone and replaced by the people we see at events similar to what is mentioned here. It is important for each individual to keep moving the needle in their life both inside and outside of the liturgy not only for personal spiritual growth but also for the growth of a demolished western Church.

Needless to say, it seems not only to me but also Pope Paul VI, the structure, form, and construction of the Pauline Mass makes for an odd juxtaposition with traditional Catholicism by its very nature. ☩

 

Ven. Pope Pius XII Declaring the Dogma of Assumption in 1950

The Roman Catholic dogma of what is also known as the fourth Glorious Mystery was infallibly declared by Venerable Pope Pius XII in 1950. Sitting before 700-thousand Catholics in an overflowing St. Peter’s Square, Pius announced the dogma which declares that Mary, Mother of God, was assumed into Heaven–body and soul–to be close to her Son. Her being so close to Christ, King of Heaven and Earth, makes her intercession as the queen mother so powerful. As nearly all saints have proclaimed, the quickest way to Jesus is through Mary.

Anyway, watch the short, narrated, video below: