Jesuit-Run America Magazine Gets Reason Millennials Don’t Go to Mass Wrong…Followed By Comment Worth Noting

The Jesuit-run website America has an article titled Yes, millennials like brunch. But that’s not why they’re skipping Mass. The entire article entirely misses the point of why most Millennial Catholics don’t regularly assist at Mass, suggesting it is because the experience at Mass might not be the social experience they hope for among other eye-rolling reasons. The author also says it’s just plain “hard”.

The truth is, we do not go to Mass weekly because it is hard. Not hard in a “walk uphill both ways in the snow to fulfill our Christian duty” way. But hard in a “I don’t want to have to wrestle two preschoolers to sit still for an hour while I receive judgmental stares” way.

While a perfect attendance record may elude us, our twice-monthly attendance at Mass is practically pious by my generation’s standards…

Read the whole thing there. It’s ridiculous a website which claims to be Catholic would have an article about how hard it is to go to Mass regularly, while citing all wrong reasons for the dismal Millennial numbers. The real reason is because too many parishes are run by people/pastors whose thinking is exactly the same!

At any rate, the reason for the post is a comment at the bottom of the article. One person makes an accurate comment about the Sacrifice of the Mass and Millennials. Then, a shocking response from a misled person.

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[WATCH] Another Historic and Beautiful Church Saved by ICKSP

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The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICKSP) is an apostolate which has been taking over churches across the globe which have been either slated to close or in a state of nearly unusable disrepair. They make the repairs needed, restore the original beauty of the inside and out, provide the extraordinary form of the Mass and sacraments. and watch the pews fill more and more each week (with young families).

This is what happened at St. Thomas of Canterbury and English Martyrs, the beautiful, Gothic, larger-than-life, church in Preston, England with its first (Pontifical High) Mass to celebrate its renewed life. ICKSP has saved this gorgeous building from being sold or demolished by the diocese of Lancaster. Deo Gratias!

Below is an 11-minute video taken of the Mass celebrating the day with interviews of the bishop, ICKSP, and beaming new parishioners.

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. ☩

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.

Reconciling the Two Forms of the Latin Rite – is it Possible?

Recently the UK’s Catholic Herald reported on Cardinal Sarah’s article in the French publication La Nef wherein he describes his desire for a “reform of the reform” with an emphasis on reconciliation between the two liturgical forms of the Latin rite. It came on the heels of the tenth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s moto proprio Summorum Pontificum which liberated the traditional Latin Mass across the globe. The fact Cardinal Sarah is discussing this is great, it’s wonderful to have cardinals discussing the merits of the Extraordinary Form (EF) in positive ways. However, I don’t believe what he proposes would work. Let’s look at what His Eminence said from the article above and then some of the reasons, as laid out by Joseph Shaw also of the Catholic Herald, why it isn’t likely to work.

Quoting from the Herald with my own abridgment and emphasis:

Cardinal Sarah wrote in favour of the “mutual enrichment” of the two forms of the Roman Rite, a phrase of Benedict XVI’s arguing that both forms have riches that would enhance the other if incorporated [in his moto proprio].

…this has been interpreted in EF circles in a mostly unilateral way: the OF ought to adapt the practices of the EF. Cardinal Sarah is certainly in favour of this – he has argued in the past for ad orientem celebration of the OF, greater use of Latin, and more periods of silence, including some of the priestly prayers. In La Nef, he goes further, recommending that Holy Communion be received kneeling and on the tongue; that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar be restored at the beginning of Mass; and that the priests keep united after the consecration those fingers which have touched the sacred species.

In order to faithfully apply Benedict’s direction of “mutual enrichment” between the two forms, the cardinal suggests the possibility of the following:

Sarah proposes that efforts be made to have a shared calendar and a shared lectionary, so that both the EF and OF would celebrate more feasts together and have the same Scripture readings at Mass.

…EF devotees often speak about the simplified OF calendar as being too banal – “Ordinary Time” instead of Sundays after Pentecost – and consider it a mistake to have abandoned Passiontide and the octave of Pentecost

For the 10 years since Summorum Pontificum, those who prefer the EF have expected such an attitude from the OF. Cardinal Sarah now suggests that it is required of both clans, united in one Church, around one altar.

When I was considering making the switch from a very good OF parish (which included chant, Latin ordinaries, communion at the altar rail, and even ad orientem) to the EF parish just down the road, one of the biggest hurdles to me, at the time, was the fact the calendar and lectionary were different. I didn’t like that if I went to the EF parish one Sunday and then had to go to the OF parish much closer to my home (not the aforementioned one) the following Sunday, there would be a feeling of discontinuity. I thought the gap in feasts, calendar, and readings erected a wall between Catholics who should be united. I started thinking the two forms should be reconciled somehow without having an opinion on how or being terribly familiar with the EF lectionary or calendar.

After becoming quite familiar, now, with how the EF works, I still do think reconciliation would be in the best interest of the Church. However, I am convinced this can best be done, contrary to what Cardinal Sarah posits, in one direction back to the EF. It has become clear that the cycles and lectionary of the EF are simply superior for a number of reasons. Most of these reasons coincidentally are laid out in the next Catholic Herald article from which I will quote from below (abridged and with my emphasis):

Why Cardinal Sarah’s liturgical ‘reconciliation’ plan won’t work

The new lectionary is sometimes held up as obviously superior to the old, but not everyone committed to the reformed Mass agrees. The Toronto Oratorian Fr Jonathan Robinson wrote (The Mass and Modernity, 2005, p332):

I think the diversity, rather than enriching people, tends to confuse them… This may be because the selections, as has been noted by others, were drawn up more to satisfy the sensibilities of liturgical scholars than on traditional liturgical principles.

…can the lectionaries of the two Forms simply by swapped over?

The short answer is ‘no’. To take the most obvious problem, the 1969 Lectionary has no readings for the season of Septuagesima, because that season does not exist in the 1969 calendar.

Variations on this problem arise throughout the Church’s year. Many of the EF’s proper texts of feast days, and a good many Sundays, refer to the readings. The choice of readings in the Ordinary Form is so different from those in the Extraordinary Form that the discordance would be particularly jarring.

Thus, on Corpus Christi, the ancient Mass gives us a reading from on the danger of the unworthy reception of Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 11:27-9). St Paul’s message was excluded completely from the new Lectionary: it is not found even on a weekday…

…Something else they might like to consider is the very different role of feastdays in the Extraordinary Form. Moving some to the same date as the OF might sound innocuous enough, but a wholesale revision would endanger the distinctive character of this Form, whose weekday celebrations are not distinguished by a daily Scripture-reading cycle, but by large numbers of often very ancient feast days. Many of the saints commemorated are invoked in the liturgy itself, in the Canon or in the Litany of the Saints. Removing them from the calendar, but not from the liturgical texts, would not strengthen the Extraordinary Form, but simply make its message—about the communion of saints, intercession, and continuity—harder to discern.

These are all important points which most people who become familiar with the EF by and large recognize. Typically, anyone who considers the OF lectionary superior only does so because of the sheer amount of scripture contained within the cycle. There are two readings plus a Gospel reading. Of course more scripture is never bad, but the Mass isn’t supposed to be the only place a Catholic encounters sacred scripture. The EF uses scripture as a beautiful frame to the day’s respective liturgy instead of the other way around. The other purpose of scripture is is to instruct the faithful, so what better than the epistles which are essentially teaching documents. That is why in the EF there is an epistle reading and a Gospel reading. The epistle reading is typically concise, impactful, and offers a great springboard for a sermon. Furthermore, the new lectionary comes after the unfortunate removal of many important readings which were deemed to be inconvenient, demanding, or politically incorrect as pointed out by removing any reference to the damnation of receiving Holy Communion in an unworthy state.

The new calendar is problematic too, it’s severely lacking. Not only is Septuagesima replaced with a snippet of “ordinary time”, but the entire concept of ordinary time is odd and lackluster. Much more rich are the traditional seasons of the Nativity, Easter, and Pentecost. Better does the traditional calendar reflect times of penance and feasts too. The feast days are more than just times on the old calendar to celebrate, the entire daily Mass revolves around the nature of the respective saint’s character.

Nonetheless, it it is important to heed the call of Benedict suggesting for a “mutual enrichment”. Perhaps there are some things which the EF could better incorporate which might help a culture so far removed from these rituals to come to appreciate it more. For instance, and these are just off the top of my head, there is no ban on singing with the choir at an EF Mass…something our pastor reminds us of often…whether that be the Asperges Me or Salve Regina. Or perhaps this means holding hands during the Pater Noster. Okay JUST KIDDING ON THAT ONE, just seeing if you’re still reading. It could be enriching to somehow incorporate newer saints into the traditional calendar such as St. Gianna Molla, St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian Kolbe, or St. Mother Teresa.

It would be lovely if something could be done to merge the two forms and I thank God for Cardinal Sarah and his public thoughts on this matter. It’s just that in order to do this, the OF has much more to be “enriched” than the EF before reconciliation happens. ☩


UPDATE: Here is Fr. Z’s take on the two articles referenced above. which reminds me of a point I forgot to make in my original post. Even if the suggestions of tweaking the EF calendar and lectionary have merit, given all the chaos going on in Rome right now, with all the unfaithful, heinous bishops and cardinals who wish to mold the Church into the likeness of prevailing culture, perhaps we should hold off on even considering opening up the EF right now to be tampered with. Cardinal Sarah may caution the faithful not to treat the EF liturgy as a “museum object” but I think it is far more likely the faithful consider it a treasure. ☩☩