Fr. Z has some commentary about this story on his blog (and he heartily disagrees with Fr. Foster):Fr. Z's Comments
It is easy to discount everything he says when you realize he is a 68 year old priest. It is truly a marvel to find a priest in his 60's who has the Catholic Faith, or any Catholic sense. To find one who evidently does not is not at all unusual.
John,I do not thing Fr Foster lacks faith- on the contrary many regard him as saintly. He is however mischievous, and I understand very suspicious of any sense of reaction in the church, which can at times be attracted to his speciality.
Father Foster has a career because the Vatican has moved so dramatically toward the virtual nonexistence of Latin as a vital means of communication and sacred language in the Church. If he were living in 1897 instead of 2007, in an age when the pope was composing hymns for the Office of the Holy Family and writing HIS OWN encyclicals in Latin, he wouldn't have a job.Further, the Latin style of modern Vatican documents isn't anything to brag about. Calling Father Foster a leading Latinist in the world is only further proof of the state of Latin education and knowledge in the world today. He's competent, workmanly...he's not, however, a "leading Latinist".As for his comments on the so-called Tridentine Mass...they speak volumes about his mindset: neocon all the way.
It really bothers me to read the "Sacerdos in Aeternum" line, because it is true but he doesn´t deserve it.The commentary about Latin in the Church today is so true and brings to mind a very important point. How is it that we are going to have a renewal of the Traditional Liturgy if the priests don´t know the basics about Latin.
All well said!Father Foster seems to be an individual that species of the feeble minded psychologists have identified as the idiot savant.It is as John as said. But I suppose if I were to question this presbyter's his faith I would have to question my own. Why do I remain in the Church where this is true? For the entirety of my life not only has the presbyteriate represented a test for my faith but the Papacy and Episcopacy as well. So if Foster lives a contradiction so do I. But one thing that thas right I believe is that the Pope probably will not issue the awaited motu proprio precisely for the reasons he suggests.
1- To comment on the "faith" of Father Foster is beyond our abilty and quite judgemental. Only God knows the secrets of one's mind and heart. 2- With reguard to his comment on the lack of interest in the Latin Language and the failure of even church officals lacking in understanding of it, I would have to say that this is more of a commentary on the modern education system. We tend to focus on specilizatons, technology, sciencs. The humanities today are even over burdened with modernists ideology and a rewriting of history. The educational system of today has little reguard for the "classics" including the fundamental Latin language. This is mos unfortunate. Those who do appreciate Latin and classical theology are by in large the minority today. What is needed is a counter-revolution. 3- With reguard to Father comment about the Mass, he is simply a by-product of his history. He suffered the cataclysm of the Second Vatican Council, when everything solid and true was called into question. suddenly those things in which he was formed were now considered outmoded or wrong. It must have been a devestating time on one's psyche. They didn't know what they were going to do; they only knew what they were not going to do. They were not going to do anything that was done previously. It was truly a revolution and a breakdown in the society of the Church. No wonder it lefy many hostel. This being said, is his comment justified? Of course not, it is just wrong. Truth is immutable. Here is an example of someone who thinks he is open minded but in reality he is so openminded that his brains fall out; thus, he fails to consider any view but his own.I do think to Pope is isolated by the curia and is having difficulity the triditional rite. I do wonder if he will prevail. Let us pray so.Fr Kevin bq
Is this characteristic of Fr. Foster? It seems the interview is almost self-contradictory between the love of Latin and the dislike of the Traditional Latin mass. I pray that this quotation is innacurate, but perhaps someone more familiar with him can comment.The comment is not even remotely respectful of the mass that was celebrated for 1000 years and produced almost all of the saints. I would not make such a comment on the Novus Ordo, because, as lacking in accidents as it might be (and is due criticism for this), it is still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and due respect.God Bless,Matt
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI PP.00120 Via del PellegrinoCitta del VaticanoFourth Sunday after Epiphany AD 2007 Dear Holy Father,I have in front of me two opinions about the Traditional Roman Rite of the Mass. The first is that of your own papal Latinist, Fr. Reginald Foster and was given to Malcolm Moore of the Sunday Telegraph who shared it with his reading audience in this weekend's edition:"It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid."The second is your own which you voiced in your book, "Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium" : "I am of the opinion, to be sure, that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It's impossible to see what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community is calling its very being into question when it suddenly declares that what until now was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and when it makes the longing for it seem downright indecent. Can it be trusted any more about anything else?"In answer to your question your Holiness, no, I don't think it can be. Yours in Christ,(Mornac)
I think his words must have been twisted by the journalist. It is unconceivable that in such a position, standing so close to the Holy Father and knowing his opinion about the Classical Rite could be capable of saying such a thing. If it does happen to be true, he should be removed FORTHWITH!!
Fr.Foster says some things that are true about the demise of Latin. His remarks about the Mass prior to the Council were very foolish. I absolutely diagree with him that the Pope will not issue the indult. A big part of the demise of Latin is part of the general malaise stemming from the refusal to govern by the Holy See. The Holy See allowed Latin to be eclipsed and the will of the Council thwarted in that regard. Governing has to at times contain the prescription: "You will do such and such with the appropriate penalties for non-feasance.
This is the exact kind of thing "Reggie" is famous for saying. He seems to be of that breed that truly delights in being a contrarian. Each time I read his opinions I think: yes, yes, yes, NO, NO, NO! While not judging his soul or presuming to know a great deal about him, he gives me the same feeling one often gets from some protestant theologians, like Luther, who almost revel in their own gruff, crude, illicit behavior; their sinfulness is almost like a badge of their authentic christianity/ humility. In short, he is, to me, an exhausting personality. There is a little more about him at the Cornell page.
Father Foster seems to be an individual that species of the feeble minded psychologists have identified as the idiot savant.I take issue with this, not to defend what Fr. Foster said, because it is in fact idiotic, but because you have to know Fr. Foster to know why he thinks what he does. In 2003 I was one of the non-paying students studying under Fr. Reggie for which he has been fired. The man has a very crass sarcastic personality, and he suffered a lot when the Church essentially threw out Latin, a discipline he devoted his whole life to. His view of Trads is that they want to bring the Church back to 1095, and abandon modern technology, inventions, etc. He doesn't want to find out any more about us, and identifies the movement for the Traditional Mass with a bunch of idiots stuck on stupid. He hasn't taken the time to find out, nor does he want to, that Trads are his best hope of maintaining Latin in the Church. More to the point, he identifies Trads as those stuck with antiquated 19th century ways of teaching Latin as a dead and useless formality the way English schools treated it, rather than a living language with living applications as Catholic countries treated it (a view which is sadly by and large correct, most centers of Traditional Catholicism use a series like the Henle series which is worthless in terms of its pedagogical value, and is the reason why people kicked Latin to begin with). One time in class he debated a Traditionalist who didn't know his stuff, and the worst crime of all didn't know much Latin, so Fr. Foster said "Non dic teipso ut traditionalismum es nisi Latinum didicisti" which is essentially "don't call yourself a traditionalist until you learn Latin." As far as the MP, I can guarantee Fr. Foster is simply not in the know, or else is putting a prediction on it in a matter of fact manner, the way he does about everything. He just sees it as another revolution like the one he went through and hated in the 60's, and he may be partially right to a point. It will create anarchy for the Novus Ordo Church, because they will have no control over tradition.I loved Fr. Reggie, but I didn't agree with him on Church politics. He should stick to what he knows, and he knows it better than anyone else in the world: Latin.
Anonymous said... "I think his words must have been twisted by the journalist."From a post on another forum by a resident of the British isles:"The last Editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Charles Moore, was a convert to Catholicism from the Church of England, is extremely orthodox and still has a weekly column."
I would add what I had already said in another comment box: this man is one among several qualified Latinists at the service of the Holy See, but he is certainly not the "leading" Latinist. His web fame is vastly exaggerated by the fact that he is well-known among English-speaking Latin students in Rome and English is the global language, especially on the web.
I am surprised that nobody has pointed out that "Reggie's" specific comments on why the motu proprio supposedly will not be issued are almost identical to the reasoning and language used by Henri Tincq in his important Le Monde article of 10 days ago or so. Is that Reggie's source, or are bothTincq and he speaking to the same people in the Vatican?
Some of the stuff he said was so off the wall, especially:>>"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose."<<Ha ha. This only proves the Holy Father is brave enough to stand up against anything "unpopular".In this priest's mind "all hell break loose" must mean more Catholics desiring to learn their faith and attend the TLM. In reality Hell cant stand Catholics who are drooling to be the best Catholics they can be.>> In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."<<This man clearly is crazy, on one hand he trashes the "old days" yet turns around and holds up Latin as the greatest treasure the Church has preserved. Putting 2 and 2 together would reveal the decline in Latin is DIRECTLY related to the decline in use of traditional Latin prayers. It doesnt take a rocket scientist here to realize that the perfect way to preserve Latin is the TLM! In the online and information age we live in Latin could be revived overnight due to the hunger most of us have for the TLM! This guy is worried about the lack of free education? BRING BACK THE TLM! Catholic pages will then be flooded with information on learning Latin, with Catholic blogs and forums devoted to helping fellow Catholics learn it. The conclusion is pretty clear here, either this priest was badly misquoted or else he is of the brand that secretly (or not so secretly) hates the TLM and is a modernist at heart (pretending to care about Latin to throw us off). Dont get me wrong, Im far from a Rad Trad, but he directed his words at the Catholics who really care about Catholicism and he made sure he said some hurtful and nasty stuff...>>It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid.<<The truth is he knows the MP is on the table and he wants to cause some serious deep scars on us hopefuls while he has the chance. He is trying to crush our hopes, but were not going to let him.
Please do take away the cynical and attacking words sacerdos in aeternum. Dear NewCatholic, please do not make this a polemics site. Fr. Foster should be prayed for. He is disrespectful, but please do not let us become so too.
"Sacerdos in aeternum" are words of attack?... Hardly! Anyway, this note was posted by another contributor and he may edit it if he wants to. I do not find it offensive.
It is well known that Fr Foster is half mad. Much depends on how much he has had to drink on any particular occasion. As regards Vatican 'gossip' he was never any good. Since he is regarded as a fool by those in the know, he is never told anything. His comments on this matter may be completely disregarded.
Is he trying to provoke the Pope?He can't be playing the old reverse pyschology card, surely.
Fr. Foster said..."But nowadays the students don't get it, and I don't blame them – it's not their fault...It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid."FIVE SONS 1/28/07Today, five sons,Served on the altar.Determined boysWho would not falter.Boys, at home,Who fight and shoveBut on the altarAssist with love.At home shouting,From top of lung.On the altar, Latin’s sung.At home runningCan’t sit still.On the altarDisciplined will.At home throwingCereal, toast.On the altarAdoring Host.At home bedrooms,Scattered scene.On the altarOrder, serene.I, proud, mother,Faithful to Rome,Five sons on the altar,Five men at home.....and as I tell my boys everyday, "Semper ubi sub ubi!"
Many thanks to New Catholic for translating "La Messe notre trésor", spiritual legacy of Dom Franco (RIP).Is there an exhaustive translation?Hard to believe the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was almost 30 days ago... Of one thing I remain convinced, Providence never fails!
¡No wonder he got kicked out of the Gregorian University!
Reggie was just being his usual, sassy self. He doesn't know more than anyone else what's going on; this is up to Benedict. Doesn't mean that Reggie doesn't have an educated guess - he appears to be right that Benedict doesn't want to rock the Boat too much.If Reggie would just realize that Latin will never return to where it was in the Church as long as Latin remains alien from the liturgy, from the Mass. But he drank the Paul VI Kool-Aid, he looks up to that Pontiff as his hero.
Reggie is certainly a strange character. All this opposition to the old mass and yet, when he passes out Latin hymns in his classes, he conspiciuously uses the pre-reform versions. I can remember vividly his saying, "they messed this one up in 1970."
In 1970 they restored some hymns that had been altered during the unfortunate reform of Urban VIII. That Pope didn't like the postclassical Latin in which those hymns had been written and had them recast in Ciceronian Latin. One swallow does not make a Spring, but that was a good thing they did in the 70ies.Example: Conditor Alme SiderumPre Urban VIII version, restored in the new liturgy:http://www.preces-latinae.org/thesaurus/Hymni/Conditor.htmlUrban VIII's version:http://www.chantcd.com/lyrics/creator_alme_siderum.htm
It is important to keep in mind that when dealing with Reginald Foster, one is NOT, I repeat, NOT dealing with a rational person on any level. I have known him for years, and one could fill a book with pairs of Reggie aphorisms that completely contradict one another. E.g. after reading and singing the Adoro te devote in class "I don't care if you believe any of this stuff or not...I don't believe a word of it myself." 2 weeks later, on a class trip outside Rome, "My friends we must thank the Lord for this glorious day!!" (turns and genuflects to the tabernacle) The comment that he is considered mad in the Vatican is absolutely true.
Dear Reggie is a good man, though admitedly something of an eccentric. I can even suppose that there's something saintly about him. I don't doubt that he holds the fullness of the Faith. I think it foolish and uncharitable to judge otherswise.He also is a leading latinist. I'd studied Latin for many years under a variety of latin teachers from high school through University, and there's no one to touch him when it comes to Latin. Any complaints about his Latin can be laid squarely at the door of the drafter of the original texts he has to translate.But he did say an interesting thing the other day in class - that there are two documents on his desk, one about the Eucharist, and another one, which he is refusing to translate and about which he utterly disagrees...
if the above anonymous can be believed, then both the exhortation and the MP have been signed...
"refusing to translate"?"refusing"?Is that possible?Can the anonymous people pick a "handle" whilst retaining their anonymity because it can be a little confusing...
*If* it has been signed, then one naturally wonders when it will be released...January 31st 1580 Henry of Portugal died.January 31st 1606 Guy Fawkes, Catholic English patriot executed.January 31st 1788 Charles Edward Stuart died in exile.January 31st 1888 John Bosco died (feast day).January 31st 1969 My birthday.January 29th 2007 dreams then wakes up.
"...there are two documents on his desk, one about the Eucharist, and another one, which he is refusing to translate and about which he utterly disagrees..."This off-handed, anonymous comment is very ... loaded. Can anybody verify or refute this? Is it possible the Motu Proprio is being held up by recalcitrant/intransigent translators, as has been suggested regarding other documents of this Pope?This is too important a comment to let it hang out here unconfirmed...
The only reason Fr. Foster might be expected to know anything about the MP is that he works on papal documents as a translator, putting the finishing touches on the official versions. If he was responsible for translating the encyclical and has not worked on the text of the MP, this would be worrying. However, looking at his remarks carefully, he doesn't say "There is no motu proprio, I certainly haven't seen or worked on anything like this." Rather, he says "He's not going to do it." In effect, he's basing his prediction on his interpretation of the Pope's resolve to do this, and his own private opinion that it would be a bad idea in any circumstances. We have no reason to believe that he is in any priveleged position to know of the Pope's intentions, so this remarks may simply be one more ingnoramus engaging in idle & biased speculation.The fact that the MP still hasn't arrived is, of course, worrying in itself. But we've seen this kind of ridiculous delay before--people had begun to doubt whether the homosexuality in seminaries document would ever appear, and then suddenly it arrived once the chatter had died down.
Father Foster does not wear the traditional black cassock of a priest because, he says, it intimidates people.
About the translation...Can´t the Holy Father, a professor doctor, who became a priest in the Tridentine times, translate his Motu Proprio himself if he wants?
Is it possible the Motu Proprio is being held up by recalcitrant/intransigent translators, as has been suggested regarding other documents of this Pope?This is too important a comment to let it hang out here unconfirmed...This is entirely possible, and he has done this before. When he thinks he is right about something he will make no bones about it. With John Paul II (of infelicitous memory) Fr. Reggie held up both Veritatis Splendour and that millenium document (forget the name) because he disagreed with the use of certain Latin words. JPII sent him a note which repeated Pilate's words to the Jews "Quod scripsi, scripsi", and Reggie got the impression that he was being ordered. I don't think Benedict will allow this to get hung up any longer than usual, at least not by Foster. Foster certainly doesn't have any more sway than the French Bishops. Fr. Reggie, its time to realize your only hope of restoring Latin is the Traditional Latin Mass, get off of it!
I have known Fr. Foster for several years now, and count him a friend. I must agree that many of the comments above regarding his self-contradictory views are exactly correct.I generally don't like to try to dissect other people's psyches, but I think a little such is necessary to understand where Reggie is coming from. He dedicated himself to Latin and to the Church very early in life - he went to minor seminary, so he has been on this path since he was just a boy. Then, when he had devoted himself to the language of the Church for a decade or so already, in the year of his ordination, the Generals of the Carmelites met in Rome and voted the out Latin. He has never discussed this openly in my hearing, but it must have been as if the rug was pulled out from under the universe.This is, I feel, the origin of his mindset - a sort of "sour grapes" mentality about things traditional. He will wax ecstatic about some of the gems of the (traditional) liturgical year, and how glorious they were, saying "we used to wait around *all year* to sing this!" And then, coming out of the reverie, he'll close with "but this is all gone, friends, and it's never coming back, so stop wasting your time!" (I paraphrase, but this is the way one actual conversation with him went)In this position, many men would have thought that it had become a waste of time and simply left the Church. Many did. At the least, he deserves our prayers rather than our scorn.Regarding some of the specific points:- The style of Latin in most Vatican documents is actually dictated from above, and is not up to the translators. Reggie constantly complains about how "the boss" (I believe this refers to the Secretary of State) wants everything to be in a simple, boring style. So the style of Vatican documents should not be held as a mark against Fr. Foster's Latinity.- The statements given to the Telegraph are clearly just Reggie shooting his mouth off. He doesn't have any real inside information. And what information he does get almost certainly comes from his colleagues in Stato (his office is a division of the Secretariat of State), not from the Pope (whom he probably sees only a couple times a year).- Fr. Foster is a discalced Carmelite, and so wouldn't wear a cassock anyway (a minor point).- If it is in fact the case that Reggie is refusing to translate the M.P., there are plenty of other people who could do it. In fact, when Ratzinger was Prefect of CDF, the Holy Office used to do all their own Latin translations, rather than sending them through the Stato Latin Office for Foster & the others to translate. So presumably the Pope could find someone else (or even do it himself).
If anyone needs their blood heating just go here:http://simon-peter-says.blogspot.com/Look at "The Life Guards & Grenadier Guards", click, listen, and remember they will soon be under the command of a Catholic King of England, crowned by the Pope himself and off to reconquer the Holy Roman Empire, the east, and the Holy Land under the banner of OLoF.Then I woke up again.Stiff upper everyone.
I am not going to apologize for Foster's comments. However, I know him and I do have to take issue with those that criticize him. Let me make my point with a story:When Foster was a young boy, he fell in love with a girl - let us call her 'Maria'. Well, what can we say - Foster fell in love with Maria madly, desperately, achingly, with his whole heart and his whole soul. It happens that way sometimes. And you know what? Maria loved him too – it all worked out. They got married when they were still both children. For about seven or eight years, everything went very well - Foster loved Maria, Maria loved Foster, it was bliss. Every moment of every day was so beautiful for Foster - work, play, sleep, eating, anything - it was all heaven. Heaven. But then, after a few years, Maria started to change. She got bored with Foster and was looking for something new, something interesting. She got into all of the newest fashions. She started wearing trashy clothes, dying her hair, putting on makeup - it was all horrible for Foster, who loved her in all her girlish simplicity. She started spouting out all this new-fangled speech to justify her actions and wishes – and Foster knew that everything she was saying was nonsense, but he let it be. Then she started whoring around, a lot – and Foster knew all about it. She had stopped loving Foster. But Foster still loved Maria, just as much as when he was a boy if not more, and he could not stop loving her, no matter what she did to him. He still worked for her everyday – his sweat paid for her whoring around. He worked so hard every day, and all the profits of his work went to Maria, so that she could use his money in a million different ways that all showed him that she did not give a damn about him anymore. His friends were dismayed, his family could not understand, everyone simply thought that Foster was mad to keep on doing what he was doing, to keep on loving Maria and to keep on working. But he did. For thirty-five years. He never talks about his love for Maria anymore, neither to her nor to others, but it is still inside him, burning and consuming him like it first did when he was a boy. I am not trying to make excuses for his actions or words, but I am only going to say this: you cannot even begin to imagine how much Foster has suffered and continues to suffer to this day – only because he loves.When he hears young, enthusiastic traddies talking about the ‘old-rite’ and getting all hot about it, it is like hearing a young man wax on about how beautiful his fiancée is, how happy they will be together and how lovely the world is.When he hears older priests and men dedicated to the ‘old-rite’ talk solemnly and ‘responsibly’ about how it is the way to go for various reasons, it is like hearing rather happily married men talk sensibly about married life and worrying about where their kids will go to college.When he hears talk about an ‘indult’, it is like hearing people tell him that maybe Maria might love him again, that she might have changed her mind after forty years.Once again, I make no excuses for Foster. But, in his own way, he knows what love is, much more than a young Romeo or a happily married man. And, in his own way, he is more of a traddie than anyone on this website ever will be.
Anonymous (right above my post): Spare us the ridiculous emotionalism! You must have been as drunk as Fr. Foster when you typed all of that 'Hallmark Moment' garbage. Save it for Valentine's Day, pal! Stop making excuses for a grown-up man. Foster is known to be brilliant but in a "mad scientist" sort of way. I dont think that he needs a bunch of sappy metaphors to justify his statements. He's a big boy! I'm sure that he (and his reputation) can weather the criticism - which by the way is quite legitimate because of the content of his remarks and the very public and thus SCANDALOUS manner in which he voiced them.
Anonymous let's get serious. If Foster has PTSD after all the traumas of his life, let him retire. As it is, he holds an official position in the Vatican and says things that are subject to the severest criticism. Maria has been unfaithful to me too - but not Maria really. Bad people have taken control of Maria and used her in a bad way. Eventually God will help Maria get back to her senses. I hope He helps Foster too.
How do you solve a problem called "Maria"?(With apologies to Bishop Williamson...)
Yes, but "her contrition is real."
Perhaps, but she still hasn't changed her behavior much. One has to wonder.
From the post just prior to the one about Fr. Reginald Foster:'We cannot in any way forswear a heritage slowly built by the faith of our fathers, their burning devotion, and the theological reflection around the sacrament of the Passion of the Lord. In contact with the Mass of Saint Pius V -- in which we also contemplate the purest masterpiece of Western Civilisation, hierarchical as well as sacral -- our souls lift up and our hearts expand, while our minds taste the most authentic Eucharistic doctrine. This is why we wish to understand and love, at all times more, the Traditional Mass, our treasure, and we will not cease to defend and advance it.'What a breath of fresh air after plowing through this perplexing and emotional combox on Fr. Foster. The moral of the story: it ain't about the LATIN. It's the THEOLOGY, stupid! :-) Thank you, New Catholic et al, for an excellent post, and for such a wonderful and maddening blog!
Thank you all, I believe this matter has been given much more than its fair share of commentary.I hope Al Trovato will not object to the closing of this comment box.
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