Rorate Caeli

Bishop Slattery: "They shouldn't have viewed the old liturgy...as something that needed to be fixed."


From Bishop Edward Slattery's interview with the National Catholic Register, published on October 28, 2011: Bishop Slattery on Prayer, the Mass and New Vocations.


You’ve made public statements about problems with the liturgy. What changes would you like to see?

I would like to see the liturgy become what Vatican II intended it to be. That’s not something that can happen overnight. The bishops who were the fathers of the council from the United States came home and made changes too quickly. They shouldn’t have viewed the old liturgy, what we call the Tridentine Mass or Missal of Pope John XXIII, as something that needed to be fixed. Nothing was broken. There was an attitude that we had to implement Vatican II in a way that radically affects the liturgy.

What we lost in a short period of time was continuity. The new liturgy should be clearly identifiable as the liturgy of the pre-Vatican II Church. Changes, like turning the altar around, were too sudden and too radical. There is nothing in the Vatican II documents that justifies such changes. We’ve always had Mass facing the people as well as Mass ad orientem [“to the east,” with priest and people facing the same direction]. However, Mass ad orientem was the norm. These changes did not come from Vatican II.

Also, it was not a wise decision to do away with Latin in the Mass. How that happened, I don’t know; but the fathers of the Council never intended us to drop Latin. They wanted us to hold on to it and, at the same time, to make room for the vernacular, primarily so that the people could understand the Scriptures.


You yourself have begun celebrating Mass ad orientem.

Yes, in our cathedral and a few parishes where the priests ask me to. Most of the time, I say Mass facing the people when I travel around the diocese or when I have a large number of priests concelebrating, because it works better that way.

A few priests have followed my example and celebrate ad orientem as well. I have not requested they change. I prefer to lead by example and let the priests think about it, pray about it, study it, and then look at their churches and see if it’s feasible to do.


And it’s positive when people are thinking about and talking about the liturgy.

When people make the liturgy part of their conversation, it is a good thing. As priests and laypeople discuss the liturgy, they’ll see how important it is and how it is a work of God and not our own.

But we must approach the liturgy on bended knee with tremendous humility, recognizing that it doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to God. It is a gift. We worship God not by creating our own liturgies, but by receiving the liturgy as it comes to us from the Church. The liturgy should be formed and shaped by the Church itself to help people pray better. And we all pray better when we are disposed to receive what God has offered, rather than creating something of our own.

Photo source: LINK

36 comments:

Tom Esteban said...

Great! This is good news. God bless His Excellency.

P.K.T.P. said...

Here it comes: let us begin anew reforming the ancient Liturgy, this time in accordance with what the fathers of the Second Vatican Council requested. Such a suggestion is unwise and fails adequately to take into account the social context of that Council. Its time was one of revolution in society, politics and mores. This revolution infected the Council through the periti.

The aftermath of a revolution is the worse possible time to tinker and retinker and retinker again. There needs to be a hiatus of fifty years to remove the noxious influence of the 1960s progressivism. We need to be able to look at the period as an historical accident and work in that perspective. This cannot be done right now because the liberals who wreckovated the Mass in the 1960s are still too close to us, or their errors and disvalues are too near.

Let there be fifty years of peace before any reforms of the 1962 Missal be made. Fifty years is but an hour in the life of the Church. As for the New Mass, no amount of fixing can solve the problem; the problem is in its very bones. Let it die!

P.K.T.P.

DefensorFidei said...

P.K.T.P

Nothing in the interview suggests that His Excellency is in favor of reforming the 1962 Missal. His own words indicate the contrary stance.

What he is in favor of, is reforming the Novus Ordo. We can debate all day long whether this should even happen, or whether it will help, but reforming the Novus Ordo is by no means an automatic assurance of reforms being carried out on the 1962 Missal as well.

Adfero said...

He's the best of the best of the bishopric!

That photo shows three members of Old St Mary's in DC. If His Excellency was one step ahead you'd see my family!

Pascendi said...

Brilliant! Yet the continued "wisdom" is the contrary. Even episcopal documents re: the new translation of the Novus ordo missae continue to perpetuate the myths of the Council and the post-conciliar period as being faithful to the innovators (e.g. the destruction of Latin).

Pascendi said...

Brilliant! Sadly, to this day episcopal conferences continue to perpetuate myths and falsehoods concerning the Council. An example would be the Canadian bishops FAQs section on the new translation of the Novus ordo missae.

Fr. R said...

PKTP:

"As for the New Mass, no amount of fixing can solve the problem; the problem is in its very bones. Let it die!"

Leading the jihad, huh?

New Catholic said...

Rev. Fr., in all honesty, he did not say, "let us kill it," but rather, "let it die."

NC

HarrumphMeister said...

As commendable as Bishop Slattery's sentiments may be in some respects, I must concede that PKPT has, yet again, hit the nail largely on the big head.

It won't do for the bishop or anybody else to simply claim this was poor implementation. One only has to analyze the SC document of the council itself the way Chris Ferrara has to realize just how intrinsically flawed the council's mindset was to begin with.

In addition, we have comments from both Paul VI and John Paul II telling us that we did in fact achieve the desired and intended reform of the liturgy via the Novus Ordo of the 1970s and 1980s. I believe at one weekly audience c. 1976, Paul VI declared we were in the midst of enjoying liturgical reform in all of its splendor.

Right.

I await hearing from our ecclesial leaders that we need to return ASAP to 1954 worship. Then I'll know we're serious about liturgical 'reform'.

Don't worry, I'm not planning to hold my breath.

Henry said...

It sometimes seems to me that the people who write the most here, read and understand the least. For instance, what Bishop Slattery said:

"The bishops who were the fathers of the council from the United States came home and made changes too quickly. They shouldn’t have viewed the old liturgy, what we call the Tridentine Mass or Missal of Pope John XXIII, as something that needed to be fixed."

Nothing here to warrant the usual reflex hysteria that's habitual for some here.

Saint Michael Come To Our Defense said...

"We have to build, while the others are demolishing. The crumbled citadels have to be rebuilt, the bastions of Faith have to be reconstructed; firstly the holy sacrifice of the Mass of all times, which forms saints; then our chapels, our monasteries, our large families, our enterprises faithful to the social politics of the Church, our politicians determined to make the politics of Jesus Christ – this is a whole tissue of Christian social life, Christian customs, Christian reflexes, which we have to restore."

Guess who?

*

Feast of Christ the King said...

I am not convinced that the intentions of the Council Fathers were as innocent as Bishop Slattery contends.

By allowing the NO to self-destruct, God has clearly exposed the errors of a man-made liturgy.

One only needs to look at its by-products.

Barbara said...

God bless this good Bishop. I particularly liked:

"When people make the liturgy part of their conversation, it is a good thing. As priests and laypeople discuss the liturgy, they’ll see how important it is and how it is a work of God and not our own."

Rorate Caeli blog offers this possibility so wonderfully well!

Barbara

Gratias said...

A Bishop in full. Thanks for the Pontifical Mass in DC. Slattery would make a great Cardinal as he practices both rites of the Roman Catholic Church.

Okie said...

This blog at one point was a wonderful place to allow such discussions, but then the sniveling took over.

I already think it repulsive how much this blog ridicules the Holy Father rather than obediently disagrees with him (and there is plenty to disagree with). Furthermore, it gives voice to out and out Schismatics, nay, even Sedevacanists, but cannot relish enough any chance it gets to demean the Chair of Peter. It is fitting but sad that these two deplorable things go together.

However, it is particularly offensive to me that you take the best Bishop I have ever had the privilege to live under while a member of the Diocese of Tulsa, a man who has given Oklahoma the Clear Creek Monks (what real tradition looks like compared to what whining passes for tradition here on this blog), and perhaps may be the most level headed and effective Bishop in America in promoting tradition, and misread his words so crudely simply so you can complain and grind the same tired axe over and over again.

Who do you think you are impressing? Who do you think finds great solace in your tireless, melancholic jeremiads? It is a good thing that you do not follow an actual tradition rule like the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, or you would all be in grave violation of constant murmuring.

If tradition is the pearl of great price that few other people have, one would think those who have it would wear it with joy instead of mourn and complain that others do not find it shiny enough.

Tom said...

"In addition, we have comments from both Paul VI and John Paul II telling us that we did in fact achieve the desired and intended reform of the liturgy via the Novus Ordo of the 1970s and 1980s."

Yes.

The new party line, at least among conservatives (reform of the reformers), is that the Novus Ordo is not the reformed Mass that was to have flowed from Vatican II.

However, Pope's Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II and one bishop upon another (countless bishops continue to insist) declared that the Novus Ordo was in perfect harmony with the Conciliar reform.

Tom

New Catholic said...

Okie, your words leave me so confused I do not even know where to begin. But... actually I do know it; just visit our archives and read our comments from the very first years, and the mildest thing I can say about your words (that you direct at the blog itself, not its comment threads) is that they are false and malicious, and border on worse.

Of course we have problematic commentators, that we moderate as well as we can with as little time as we have in our hands, but that is part of online life. We also have great discussions, including in this very thread, if you chose to notice it - too bad you chose instead to see the stumps for the forest.

NC

Malta said...

I wholly agree with PKTP.

I actually rejoice that they did manufacture a new liturgy in one sense:

If, as Vatican II envisioned, the TLM were tampered with and vernacularized we would have slowly lost it.

"They wanted us to hold on to it and, at the same time, to make room for the vernacular..."

Bishop Slattery, it depends on what you mean by "they". Certainly not Bugnini, who drafted the Constitution on the Liturgy at Vatican II, and was the brain-child behind the Novus Ordo. No Paul VI, without whom the Novus Ordo would have been concocted.

So please, for the love of God, leave the TLM alone for at least the next 50 years.

LDSchmidt said...

Amen Malta, Amen.

Logan said...

Michael Davies sums up the case: Liturgical time bombs in Vatican II: the destruction of the Catholic faith through changes in Catholic worship.

Fr. VF said...

A "brain-child" is the child of a brain--not a "brainy child."

Adfero said...

Okie, you may not have noticed, but I'm a contributor and said in this comm box that Slattery is the best bishop in the country. Maybe try paying closer attention before you begin the calumny.

Caltrad said...

His Excellency is giving an excellent example to the faithful. This would not have happened a few years ago.

Although I do find it curious he charges the 1960's bishops with the crime of liturgical revolution, but also claims the council fathers intended no such revolution. The bishops who enforced VII were its authors too; therefore, he is essentially claiming the council fathers misinterpreted their own document. Curious. Nevertheless, his willingness to critique the Novus Ordo is heart-warming. God bless him.

Joseph K @ Defend Us In Battle said...

As a newerish revert/devotee of Mass according to the usus antiquior, his statement about leading by example really resonated with me.

Not that I need "more time" but it allows a more natural (read: organic) reform within an area.

Fred said...

Bishop Slattery for Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago! All in favor, say "Aye".

Luke Togni said...

One of the most interesting things here is that we have a Bishop who deliberately uses ad orientem in the NO, whereas the GIRM urges the use of the versus populum whenever possible. Would this count as an "abuse" (absurdly!) insofar as it deviates from the GIRM? There is no doubt that it is commendable in itself,but what the question that grabs me here, if it cannot be critiqued in light of the liturgical tradition, does it open the possibility of other elements of the liturgical tradition being used "legitimately" in the celebration of the NO, even if they are countermanded by the GIRM?

Will this be the way the NO goes away, piece by piece? The slow overturning of its laws simply by the weight of the tradition?

Tom said...

Traditionalists who spoke years ago as Bishop Slattery has spoken were labeled as "schismatics" and even "heretics" by more than a few conversative Catholics.

But then, many conservative Catholics used to insist that Traditional Catholics were "schismatics" for having dared to insist that the TLM had not been abrograted.

Tom

Tom said...

"Nothing in the interview suggests that His Excellency is in favor of reforming the 1962 Missal. His own words indicate the contrary stance.

"What he is in favor of, is reforming the Novus Ordo. We can debate all day long whether this should even happen, or whether it will help, but reforming the Novus Ordo is by no means an automatic assurance of reforms being carried out on the 1962 Missal as well."

But Pope Benedict XVI has made it clear that the TLM will be "reformed" as His Holiness believes that the Novus Ordo is destined to "enrich" the TLM.

We know from Pope Benedict XVI's action that even the most ancient of Traditional Roman Liturgical prayers — the Good Friday prayer for the Jews — is safe from liturgical "reform."

Tom

Tom said...

"is...not...safe from liturgical "reform."

Peter said...

"the most ancient of Traditional Roman Liturgical prayers"

Most ancient? i.e., 1960?

Jordanes551 said...

Traditionalists who spoke years ago as Bishop Slattery has spoken were labeled as "schismatics" and even "heretics" by more than a few conversative Catholics.

Evidence? As far as I can tell, Bishop Slattery's stance here doesn't seem to differ from the long-held opinions of so-called conservative (meaning non-traditionalist orthodox) Catholics.

But then, many conservative Catholics used to insist that Traditional Catholics were "schismatics" for having dared to insist that the TLM had not been abrograted.

They disagreed with the claim, since validated by the Holy See, but, no, that wasn't why they regarded traditionalists as schismatic.

Doc said...

To be fair to some of the Council Fathers who implemented the decrees in such a radical manner, many were just trying to be obedient to the Roman decrees and "suggestions" that implemented the new liturgy and appeared to require or favor new altars for facing the people and all vernacular translations for universal use in particular nations, etc.

New Catholic said...

Dear friend whose comment was blocked,

This is not being thin-skinned. Let us return to Okie's comment; he said the following: "I already think it repulsive how much this blog ridicules the Holy Father rather than obediently disagrees with him ... . Furthermore, it gives voice to out and out Schismatics, nay, even Sedevacanists, but cannot relish enough any chance it gets to demean the Chair of Peter."

There are many, many criticisms we accept: being unfaithful to the Holy Father and disrespectful of him is not one of them. Regardless of whom he aimed with his comment (he tried to redress the matter earlier today), his words are quite clear, and they questioned our very Catholicity - there is no way around it. We reject this vehemently, and we do not take it kindly. His comment was only allowed to be published so that we could publicly answer it. Any other comment by the same commentator (if we can identify him), of his friends, or in the same tone will be blocked. If there is one thing we will never allow to be questioned is our unswerving loyalty to the Apostolic Church and to the Roman Pontiff, our Sweet Christ on Earth, and his successors - this is intolerable for any Catholic.

NC

LeonG said...

The only aspect that needed changing was our interior disposition at Holy Mass. The emphasis was on properly activated interior participation. As St Pio of Pietrelcina said, we should be present at Calvary with Our Blessed Lady. Dietrich von Hildebrand lamented the priests and laity who no longer revered what they were doing and had lost the sense of the sacred at Holy Mass. When we are in awe of its magnificence and the Divine Presence understanding how to behave in harmony with the liturgy and its embodiment of The Roman Catholic Faith, everything then falls into place. The unity is stunning in all its beauty and our desire is to be present and be still before it.

The thought that the church gave all this up for a mess of protestantised vernacular anthropocentric potage is beyond credibility. It is the tragedy of our times which surpasses all others. Its consequences can be felt throughout all creation as the church with the secular world heads for disaster.

Delphina said...

I think Bishop Slattery is the tops! How I prayed Our Lord would have sent a bishop like him to our diocese...instead...well, never mind.

Tom said...

"They disagreed with the claim, since validated by the Holy See, but, no, that wasn't why they regarded traditionalists as schismatic."

Many conservatives (and many liberals) with whom I dealt insisted that a Catholic who held to the belief that the TLM had not been abrogated was "schismatic."

I encountered that from priests and laymen.

Their argument was that bishops were in charge of liturgy.

Therefore, Catholics (priests and laymen)who insisted that we did not require permission in regard to offering and worshiping at TLMs had stood against bishops in the serious matter of liturgical regulation.

When the war against Traditional Liturgy raged as far back as the 1960s, such men as Josef Cardinal Ritter threatened to excommunicate any priest in his charge who did not march in lockstep with the destructive liturgical revolution.

Born from that mentality was the claim that in was a crime to offer the TLM without a bishop's permission.

Tom