Rorate Caeli

Work of Human Hands



In the discussions (which, so far, have been civil, thank God) currently taking place in the combox for Rorate's post on Fr. Stefano Carusi's analysis of the reform of Holy Week under Pope Pius XII, the book "Work of Human Hands" by Fr. Anthony Cekada has been repeatedly cited. For the information of our readers I would like to post here Philothea Press' press release on the book.


Philothea Press is proud to announce the release of Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI by Rev. Anthony Cekada.


At a time when many Catholics have started to re-assess the post-Vatican II liturgical changes with a more critical eye, Father Cekada provides a scholarly and comprehensive analysis of the new rite by examining:


• How the Mass of Paul VI was created.
• The writings of the liturgists who created it.
• The theological principles behind the words and gestures of the new rite.

Father Cekada amply demonstrates that the differences between the old Mass and the new run far deeper than aesthetics, connection with the past and the sense of mystery in religion. Work of Human Hands is a copiously referenced work and represents a major contribution to the liturgical debate currently taking place in the
Church.


Some priestly praise for Work of Human Hands:


"Nowhere have I seen such an exhaustive and well-researched analysis of just exactly what the Modernists did to the Catholic Mass, step by step."

"Meticulous attention to detail manifests countless hours of research. The numerous footnotes, extensive bibliography and full index make it a great research tool. It compliments other works written on the subject and provides additional information not found elsewhere."


Though scholarly in scope and citation, the book can be recommended not only to liturgical experts but to seminarians, college students and laymen as well—to anyone who cares about the causes and effects at work in the reformed liturgy.


Available, together with excerpts online, at Amazon or at http://www.philotheapress.com/


Sneak peeks of chapters in the book can be found here

There is also a blog dedicated to supplementing the book's contents: Doctrina Liturgica.

The book itself, although written by a well-known sedevacantist, does not delve into the sedevacantist thesis.
I am not of the opinion that a book or article should never be mentioned simply because it is authored by a sedevacantist. Here in Rorate we have posted, or linked to, articles written by Eastern Orthodox and by Anglicans -- surely there should be nothing controversial about noting a work by a sedevacantist Traditionalist, especially if it contributes something to the discussion of the contemporary crisis of the sacred liturgy?


"Inquire not who may have said a thing, but consider what is said." (Imitation of Christ, Book I, Chap. 5)

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

This book is demolishing to the catholic faith of any honest person. The full picture of the Anti-Christ and the Anti-Church of the post-conciliar church appears in its pages.

Jordanes said...

Not a very glowing review, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Fr Cekada, please brother, get your good self back in to the Church!

There are very, very few
Who write the truth as clear as you...

So get your good soul back into the Church and continue to say it like it is. So what if you are crucified for it: that is your job and your privilege.

O completely agree with you that Paul VI's Mass is unbearable because of its doctrinal deviancy...but I cannot articulate that as eruditely as you.

Please, come back into the Church because it is good for your soul and good for many other souls...because you will be heard far and wide: the time is ripe.

Seminarian

W.C. Hoag said...

Although I am sure that the author does not seek to contribute to the reform of the reform, this book may do just that.

The comment from Anonymous 00:24 does nothing to contribute to a discussion of the merits and weaknesses of Fr. Cekada's research and arguments or the broader effort of liturgical renaissance.

Oliver said...

People may say that but for the obstinacy of Abp.Lefebvre the size of the resistance however fragmented it is would not be as substantial. But how necessary it is to have independent thinkers like Fater Cekada to continue with that uncompromising stance away from those who would give it all away because of a Roman trick or two.

Anonymous said...

Kudos, Carlos!

Civility is discussions such as this only help! The name calling, backbiting, and personal vendetta only serve to stifle the real goal which is the exaltation of Holy Mother Church.

C. said...

Presumably Cekada will reinforce the previous work by Bugnini, Marini and the Bologna School.

Anonymous said...

De imitatione Christi et contemptu omnium vanitatum mundi -

Dear Mr. Palad,

In regard to your quotation of the Imitation of Christ, I listen to this book daily in the car, whithersoever I go, on tapes produced by the Familia Sancti Hieronymi; thus, the tapes are in Latin and perhaps the context of your quote is harder to discern in English translations - I can't judge that. Yet, you quote the work out of context ... even out of the context of the sentence, much less the chapter and book in which these words are found (I copied above the title of the first part), here is the sentence:

<< Non te defendat auctoritas Scribentis utrum parvæ vel magnæ litteraturæ fuerit, sed amor puræ veritatis te trahat ad legendum. Non quæras quis hoc dixerit, sed quid dicatur attende. >>

The author is obviously referring to humility, love of truth, and to an hermeneutic that is less influenced by "big names", if you will, than by the Truth.

My point: we all use adages and proverbs loosely, but I think this usage of yours negates a necessary "caveat lector" that should accompany any recommendation of this author's work - for all Catholics should see the overarching "non sequitur" to be found in the sedevacantist's arguments about the Mass: namely, the New Mass must be invalid because ..., the "church" you currently see is not really the Church because ..., the Pope [fill in the blank].

Finally, I don't say this maliciously. I have read diligently all of Fr. Cekada's works, much to my own spiritual and academic profit. However, the True Church of Jesus Christ has always shown a great restriction and temperance, at least in her Supreme Pastors and in the great religious orders, regarding WHAT (and thus at times WHOM) we Catholics may read. Thomas a Kempis was referring to spiritual books in his own work, not to a rather academic and subtle critique of a Liturgy of Holy Mother Church. I'm sure he would appreciate a bit of clarification in regard to the citation from his book and all "simpler" minds should appreciate a fair warning (though without bitterness or contempt for Father Cekada) regarding the conclusions that the very author draws from his VERY SELECT and VETTED citations, sources, and quotes.

Please forgive my E-anonymity.

AMDG

Jack said...

\\"Inquire not who may have said a thing, but consider what is said."\\

Sometimes WHO said something affects the meaning, understanding, and even validity of what was said.

To give an example, there are several severe problems in the earthly part of the Church. That cannot be denied.

But if the ladies of The View commented on the problems and offered their solutions, should they be taken seriously?

Let the one who has ears to hear, hear and understand.

A Sinner said...

This may be off-topic, but has everyone heard of the Miles Jesu situation now? They've issued a statement, it looks like this isn't just a problem with the Legionaries:
http://renegadetrad.blogspot.com/2010/07/miles-jesu-situation.html

Anonymous said...

...However, the True Church of Jesus Christ has always shown a great restriction and temperance, at least in her Supreme Pastors and in the great religious orders, regarding WHAT (and thus at times WHOM) we Catholics may read. Thomas a Kempis was referring to spiritual books in his own work, not to a rather academic and subtle critique of a Liturgy of Holy Mother Church.

Out of curiosity, E-anonymity, are you just as concerned about the drivel that passes for Catholic flowing from the pens of the modernists?

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Dear CAP,

I don't agree with offering free advertising to the heretic "Father" Cekada work which in fact must be seen as a work towards his wicked end of deceiving faithful Traditionalists of the false dogma that Peter's Successor can lose the Faith, which the Lord Himself assured would not happen.

Holy Mother Church created a list of forbidden books precisely for the reason that seemingly pious works written by heretics tend to lead the simple-minded astray into heresy and perdition.

I would say the same if you were to have advertized a work of Fr. Richard McBrien as well.

I'm sure there are many works by faithful traditionalists, including Michael Davis and Archbp Lefebvre, for one to be edified with rather than promoting this heresiarch of sedevacantism.

Sincerely, MKT

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:32

Agree completely.

But you should know that it is only a one way street with them. The Church is filled with books containing heresy in various forms by many authors that are being read and have been read by Catholics. On top of the that, we have the new age "philosophy" slinking its devious way into too many parishes.

But, heavens to Betsy, whatever you do, do not read a book by a sedevacantist!

Delphina

Anonymous said...

Dear Delphina,

throwing one more heresy-laden book into a pot imbued with heretical literature indeed may have little additional impact. Much like quartering a man who has just been beheaded likely won't cause him that much more pain.

However, Rorate Caeli cannot be accused of promoting heresy, and I do take exception to them promoting this pertinacious heretic's work on this fine blog site.

Let him fund his own advertising. For our part let us promote the works of faithful Catholic Traditionalists like Archbp Lefebvre and Michael Davis, among so many others.

Sincerely, MKT

Paul Haley said...

I'm going to give Fr. Cekada some credit for his scholarship and not contribute to the plethora of criticisms regarding his sedevacantist views. Instead, I will pray for his conversion knowing full well that this leap into sedevacantism can happen to anyone who looks at the post conciliar mess we are in and asks: "How can this be?"

If one reads the Apocalypse very carefully, it's obvious that drastic changes will occur in the Church before the end finally occurs. Are we in those times? I cannot say. Neither can I say we are not.

dcs said...

This blog criticizing the scholarship of Fr. Cekada is also worthy of mention:

http://pistrinaliturgica.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Sadly the responses attacking Father Cekada for his theological position regarding the post Vatican II hierarchy prove that their authors do not have a clue about what sedevacantism is. Besides no one is discussing sedevacantism–period.

I have read the book and NOT ONE SINGLE WORD of the text is used to promote sedevacantism. As a matter of fact it was well written, informative, and quite entertaining. Why not see the book is a tool that may be used by concerned Catholics in their attempts sort out the crisis in the Church today. A way to connect the dots if you will.

Such unwarranted hysteria is reminiscent of the children's story "Chicken Little!" The sky may be falling, but its not do to "Work of Human Hands." Try putting the blame on the monsters who foisted the new liturgy on the Catholic Church.

Another Anonymous said...

Delphina and Anonymous 15:32,

Well said!

Let the book be judged on its worth.

Brian said...

I just finished reading "Work of Human Hands." It is a very readable, well-researched, interesting but unsettling book. It makes a thought-provoking case about the theology behind the Novus Ordo being significantly deficient relative to that of the ancient Mass and about the changes consistently moving toward impiety and irreverance.

To make its case, the book cites the actual writings of the liturgists who developed the Novus Ordo. Most especially, however, it meticulously details the consistency with which numerous specific changes, deletions, and changes were made to the Mass, itself, in order to move away from sacrificial and "negative" theology (sin, devil, unworthiness,etc.) toward a more modern emphasis on ecumenism, the "assembly," and the meal.

I highly recommend this book.

I would, however, say that although Fr. Cekada does not even mention the word "sedevacantist," on two or three pages of the 444 page book, Fr. Cekada does argue that the "Mass of Paul VI" is invalid, which does, at least, imply sedevantism.

He argues on page 347-348 that at the consecration, "the erstwhile sacramental forms found in the traditional Mass were transformed into institution narratives," resulting in, what Fr. Cekada calls an "invalidating defect."

Citing a 1951 treatise by Felix Capello to support his argument, Fr. Cekada concludes "substantial changes in the form of the Sacrament that alter the intrinsic sense of the words, change the ministerial intention, and render the consecration -- and the Mass of Paul VI -- invalid."

I did not find the case to be very convincing.

G. said...

MKT,

There is no dogma that the successor to Peter can lose the faith, as there is also no contradiction to the dogma of papal infallibility that a Pope might lose the faith, embrace some heresy, and thereby cease to be Pope. It is not a matter of doctrine or dogma, but of the facts of the case--and not so clearly evident, to me at least, that I would feel competent, or confident enough, to determine either way. It is the pious expectation that God would not allow it, but human freedom remains even when one becomes Pope. There is a considerable literature on this topic among even the most highly regarded theologians, some of them our most heroic heretic-bashing Saints.

Anonymous said...

On a different note, I would be interested to know the names of the people quoted recommending the book.

On the basis of the samples, the book seems well written, but it is a polemic -- a perfectly respectable literary genre -- and should be read as such.

For example: Fr. Cekada mentions, not surprisingly, the Ottaviani intervention but neglects to mention that his intervention was focused on an earlier draft of the NO, not the one finally promulgated, which was revised in the light of Ottaviani's critiques. Whether the revision was successful might be a matter of debate -- the important point for readers of THIS book is to keep in mind that the post-Intervention revisions are not mentioned (at least not in the samples).

On a side note, it would be fascinating to read a study of how the various drafts of the NO was made and how it changed from draft to draft to reach the present form.

On another note: it seems that sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists disagree simply about a matter of fact (that X is the pope)not a matter of principle (that the pope is supreme pontiff). So my question is -- is it really a heresy, or just an empirical disagreement

Anonymous said...

Attn.Delphina:

What is it that makes a Sedevacantist unable to contribute to the search for truth but allows that the Othodox or Potestants at times can? Also, is it worse to read this work of Fr. Cekada or kiss the Koran (which was done by John Paul II)? Does the fact that father does not acknowledge him as a the valid late Pope really render him worse than many in Rome?

A.M. La Pietra

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to see Rorate giving space to this notorious Sedevacantist. This blog supports the Pope some days and supports the sedevacantists as well.
How can you support the Pope as well as give support to those who deny that he is the nothing but what sgg.org has called a "cardboard pope"? Even worse, this priest rejects that "Ratzinger is a member of the true Church" (http://www.traditionalmass.org/images/articles/B16inCanon.pdf)
You are supporting somebosdy who calls the pope a heretic; and coins "Ratzinger's 'Frankenchurch' heresy". Rorate where do you stand? Surely Pope Benedict as Vicar of Christ could say to you: He who is not with me scatters?
Do you support the Catholic Church of the Frankenchurch (as in Frankenstein?)
Henricus Dante

warrior300 said...

I have looked at the blog Pistrinaliturgica for knock down proofs of the book's theological weakness and falsity, but all I found were rather sneering comments about latin and greek vocabulary and the style. Much of what Fr Cekada has written about the "Catholic reductions" in the original latin of the propers can be checked and he seems to be right, as can his useful listing of the scriptural passages omitted in the New lectionary, giving the lie to the popular belief that the New Rite has ALL the Bible read.
Alan Robinson

Jordanes said...

I'm sorry to see Rorate giving space to this notorious Sedevacantist. This blog supports the Pope some days and supports the sedevacantists as well.

You need to re-read Mr. Palad's post (if you've even bothered to read his post at all), in particular, these words:

"The book itself, although written by a well-known sedevacantist, does not delve into the sedevacantist thesis. I am not of the opinion that a book or article should never be mentioned simply because it is authored by a sedevacantist. Here in Rorate we have posted, or linked to, articles written by Eastern Orthodox and by Anglicans -- surely there should be nothing controversial about noting a work by a sedevacantist Traditionalist, especially if it contributes something to the discussion of the contemporary crisis of the sacred liturgy?"

As anyone who pays the slightest attention knows, Rorate Caeli is not a sedevacantist weblog and has never supported sedevacantism.

Visitors here are invited to discuss the thesis and arguments and evidences brought forward by Father Cekada in his book. No further off-topic protests about Father Cekada's sedevacantism (which Rorate holds to be mistaken) or silly complaints about Rorate Caeli's supposed support for sedevacantism will be approved.

Father Anthony Cekada said...

I've been away from my computer all day, and I was bit surprised to see the fairly heated controversy that erupted.

First, I thank Rorate for being so kind as to post an ad for Work of Human Hands.

Second, to those who were upset by this, I would like to say the following in hopes of somewhat calming the waters.

The underlying contention of WHH is that the Mass of Paul VI is harmful to Catholic doctrine and to Catholic piety.

There is nothing new or particularly shocking about this; it is simply what trads have been saying ever since the New Mass appeared in 1969. SSPX said the same thing in their excellent 2001 theological study.

All I have attempted to do is address that question in a somewhat systematic fashion, and put together the evidence.

I am sure that many who follow Rorate regularly would agree with the underlying thesis of the book. I hope they will be able to understand that we share that common position, once they get beyond the notoriously radioactive aura of the author.

Others here disagree with this thesis, and think that the New Mass contains no serious defects. Naturally, they will not be particularly interested in what I have to say. So be it — but it would be nice if after reading the book, they changed their minds.

Finally, I hope to have WHH reviewed eventually by academics, ideally those who have some familiarity with liturgical issues.

(I should note here that Craig Toth, the author of the pistrina blog, has no such qualifications. He is a retired public school bureaucrat who edited public school textbooks.)

I would find it very interesting to hear their analysis.

Andreas said...

I must object to MKT's calling Fr. Cekada a heretic. If sedevacantists are wrong, then they are in (material) schism, but that is not the same as heresy. I have read a considerable amount of Fr. Cekada's writing (though not yet "Work of Human Hands") and have encountered nothing heretical there.

John McFarland said...

For what it's worth, I second Fr. Cekada's observations. This strikes me as a topic that virtually all trads can discuss without coming to blows.

I also hope that careful analysis of the theological underpinnings of the New Mass will lead some of the more Benedictine of the denizens of this blogspot to examine more carefully the theological underpinnings of the Holy Father's magisterium.

Anonymous said...

I would like to reply specifically to Mr. Palad's comment:

"Here in Rorate we have posted, or linked to, articles written by Eastern Orthodox and by Anglicans -- surely there should be nothing controversial about noting a work by a sedevacantist Traditionalist..."

This in my strong disagreement: There is NO DANGER in traditional Catholics becoming Eastern Orthodox or Anglicans; it doesn't happen.

But there is every danger that traditional Catholics slip over into sedevacantism; it does happen, often.

The author himself states: "There is nothing new or particularly shocking...; it is simply what trads have been saying ever since the New Mass appeared in 1969."

This being so there is even less reason to give him space. It is imprudent and dangerous to the souls of others to start people into reading sedevacantist books.

I am qute unimpressed with this post and I think the blog should take a hold of its duty of being a responsible Catholic site faithful to the Magisterium and the Holy Father.

The justification that because you have exposed the thinking of Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox and that therefore it is also permissible to expose the thinking of Sedevacantists is wrong. They are not in the same class and represent a proximate danger to the faith of traditional Catholics.

Henricus Dante

hilaron said...

@Andreas: Vatican I decrees that "if anyone says that
it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that
the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy:
let him be anathema."

Furthermore, to say that we have not had a pope since 1958 (that's 52 years by now), means that there are no longer any validly elected Cardinals and thus there is no way to elect a new valid pope, therefore the perpetuation of the primacy of Blessed Peter is denied by sedevacantists, at least implicitly and materially. That is heresy pure and simple, and is indeed anathematized by Vatican I.

Among the things that are considered part of the infallibility of the Church is the historical facts of who was Pope when. So even if it is not part of the deposit that Benedict XVI was validly elected Pope in 2005, it is still a part of the infallibility of the Church to state that he is and we are obliged to submit to the Church's authority in such matters where She is infallible (Extraordinary Magisterium, Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, such matters of historical fact which are intrinsically linked to the Divine Constitution of the Church). To deny that the Church has the sole authority to determine who is pope or not is to commit the sin of heresy, at least implicitly and materially if not formally.

In Christ the King,
Slave of Mary,
David

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"This in my strong disagreement: There is NO DANGER in traditional Catholics becoming Eastern Orthodox or Anglicans; it doesn't happen."

Where have you been all these years? Not a few traditional Catholics have indeed, joined either Orthodoxy or "traditionalist" Anglo-Catholicism. The bloggers Moretben and John of "Ad Orientem" come to mind among those who have 'doxed, and Anthony Chadwick (former ICRSS then Benedictine) among those who have turned to Anglo-Catholicism. There are a LOT more...

Quite frankly, the sustained watching of videos of the Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy is probably more apt to seduce souls into schism than picking up a book by a sedevacantist.

"But there is every danger that traditional Catholics slip over into sedevacantism; it does happen, often."

Are you saying that the faith of traditional Catholics is so weak that they are constantly on the verge of leaving the Church?

"The author himself states: 'There is nothing new or particularly shocking...; it is simply what trads have been saying ever since the New Mass appeared in 1969.'

This being so there is even less reason to give him space. It is imprudent and dangerous to the souls of others to start people into reading sedevacantist books."

There is a great difference between a "sedevacantist book" and a "book written by a sedevacantist". A "sedevacantist book" would be a book that adduces arguments in favor of sedevacantism, and this book does NOT do that.

"I am quite unimpressed with this post and I think the blog should take a hold of its duty of being a responsible Catholic site faithful to the Magisterium and the Holy Father."

Could you think of any other private blog that reports the words and discourses of the Holy Father Benedict XVI as frequently as this one? We've actually been criticized for reporting even "insignificant" or "useless" statements by the Holy Father. Perspective, please.

"The justification that because you have exposed the thinking of Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox and that therefore it is also permissible to expose the thinking of Sedevacantists is wrong. They are not in the same class and represent a proximate danger to the faith of traditional Catholics."

Based on what I've learned in the past few years, I disagree. I would say that Orthodoxy is an equal if not greater "temptation" for not a few Catholic Traditionalists.

"Henricus Dante"