Rorate Caeli

Go do your homework and leave this to the grown-ups!


“Instead of anxiously wondering what Pope Francis personally thinks about every liturgical detail, we would do better to get on with the work we ourselves have to do,” [the bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, Dominique Rey] said in a recent interview with Vatican Insider.

That would be quite fine: if the other 4,000 bishops in the world were like Bp. Rey and, let us be honest, a handful of others.

With all due respect, it does not seem to be intellectually appropriate to appreciate every single liturgical gesture of Pope Ratzinger and then ignore the "liturgical details" of Pope Bergoglio because "we have work to do"... Signs of the times, signs of the times, we must pay attention to the signs of the times, and cannot be condemned for trying to understand them. 

[Tip: New Liturgical Movement]

32 comments:

backtothefuture said...

The bishop is right to an extent. We have to teach people about the traditional mass, invite people to come. The more packed churches get, the more progress we will make.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

I love the loaded "puff-piece" question Rey was asked: "With so many problems ailing the Church today in its relation with the world (lack of vocations, the sex abuse scandal, financial troubles, decline in the number of believers in the West...) does it make sense to focus on a very intra-Church issue such as liturgy?" In other words, the dead liturgy of the past 40 plus years isn't related to the death of anything else Catholic! Everything is just coincidental...

Kenneth J. Wolfe said...

This answer is also troubling: "Many bishops and priests have different ‘styles’ but all of us who are called to be ordained ministers of the Church promise to celebrate the Church’s liturgy as it has been handed on to us. Pope Benedict showed us this, as did Blessed John Paul II and so too today does Pope Francis. The Holy Father is a different person to his predecessor: we should not expect him to be identical to Pope Benedict. But Pope Francis celebrates the liturgy of the Church, as handed down to us, with dignity and beauty."

Liturgical indifferentism, where everything is wonderful in different ways. That is a terrible strategy if the goal is to restore beauty and sanity to every parish.

New Catholic said...

That is quite correct, Dr. Williams. There is absolutely nothing "intra-Church" about the liturgy, it is literally the public prayer of the Church, and that means it is the greatest public witness of what the Church is supposed to do: bring men together to give due worship to God assuring them of their salvation, the only worthy worship being the Sacrifice of His Son.

Michael Ortiz said...


When it comes to local versions of the liturgy, and pushing for options, we see the loss of an objective orientation to reality which is most distressing.

I say this while realizing the history of liturgy has legitimate variations on a central theme.

Robbie said...

Let's see. In 1962, 78% of American Catholics attended Mass weekly. Then came the wrecking ball that was VCII and the new liturgy. Both were supposed to breathe new life into the Church.

Instead, the opposite happened. In America, weekly Mass attendance dropped to just 22% by 2002 and two thirds of the seminaries in the US closed during that same time.

But by all means, let's ignore those facts and worry about how gays, feminists, modernists, and the anti-Catholic media of the world view the Catholic faith.

A battle over the liturgy is not some intra-Church issue. It is the most public expression of the Catholic faith. If we get that wrong or corrupt it, how can we accurately address the other concerns correctly?

Long-Skirts said...

Robbie said...

"Let's see. In 1962, 78% of American Catholics attended Mass weekly. Then came the wrecking ball that was VCII and the new liturgy. Both were supposed to breathe new life into the Church."

A
CHILD
OF THE
SIXTIES

(or “fool me once, shame on you”)

Daily Mass
In uniformed plaid
Then suddenly
Adults went mad

Priests danced round
Nuns turned hip
Fathers, mothers
All jumped ship

Michael rowed
His boat ashore
Through the Sanctuary
Door

Simoned-sermons
Garfunked too
Jesus loves you
Coo-ka-choo

Jesus Christ
Superstar
God is dead
So who You are?

Mourning pills
Eat the Bread
Grace Slicked-souls
Will feed your head

All were Virgins
Female Ghost
Solitary
Feminist boast

Tell what’s happening
What’s the buzz
Bishops do
What never was

But one Bishop
Stood up straight
Great man-Mitred
Gainst the gate

Great man-Mitred
Took the Cross
Plugged the hole
To stop Priest loss

And to this day
Green fields, no dream
From Catholic families
Vocations stream

Along the
River banks they line
Rosaries in hand
For both Tibre and Rhine

We believe in God
The Virgin…the Creed
If this flow continues
Your waters will bleed

But not with Christ’s
Most Precious Blood…
A mitred-muck
Of sin-scabbed mud!

Dan Hunter said...

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

"Fruit" = Is Catholic Tradition [Truth] being taught and enforced.

K-Town USA said...

That was wonderful, Long-Skirts! He was quite a brave and holy Bishop, indeed!

Liam Ronan said...

Speaking of liturgical gestures of Pope Francis, I wonder if the Holy Father’s unprecedented simultaneous worldwide hour of Eucharistic adoration on Corpus Christi might be a prelude to a simultaneous worldwide consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?

maryjpacheco said...

I greatly appreciate this article. I have been very concerned about the progressives reintroducing their liturgical abuses. And Pope Francis even leading them. Its so true that we have much work to do in restoring the Tridentine Mass to its rightful place, without having to worry that some leaders in the Church are taking us back to the 60's and the 70's. Lets all get back to the reform of the reforms. Its time to continue as Soldiers of Christ in restoring the sacred back to Christ's Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Rorate Caeli thanks for this wake up call.

Brother Juniper said...

And it's not like we can't do both - be aware of Pope Francis' views on liturgy and also work to further traditional litury.

Rev. Anthony Cekada said...

Michael Ortiz said...

When it comes to local versions of the liturgy, and pushing for options, we see the loss of an objective orientation to reality which is most distressing,


Mr. Ortiz is on to something here. Bp. Rey's support for the "Extraordinary Form" and Benedict XVI-style liturgical practices is based on nothing more than subjective considerations like "richness," "plurality," "ars celebrandi," and — let's be honest — personal taste. Welcome to the deregulated liturgy, where you can choose to line up behind Cardinal Burke's cappa magna or Cardinal Schönborn's (or Cardinal Bergoglio's!) balloons.

Theological considerations go out the window, because the reforms deregulated the liturgy — it's all a question of "pastoral effectiveness" and "style" now — and (as Fr. Thomas Richastatter pointed out) smashed the pre-Vatican II "doctrine-discipline-ceremonies" paradigm explained so well by Pius XII in Mediator Dei.

It's a bit surprising to see a prelate who strongly supports the old rite openly appeal, in effect, to the "taste/preference" argument. But I guess he's just following the shift in the winds off the Tiber these days.

Again, a favorite Andrew Greeley quote comes to mind: "God must have loved spineless bishops because He made so many of them."

Michael Ortiz said...


Hmmm. While I think, Father, that the loss of this focus on "what is" is, as you say, is largely behind the options mentality that afflicts our liturgy, I can't see Benedict XVI falling into this after reading "Spirit of the Liturgy".

There he does speak of "ad orientem" as "essential" to liturgical prayer, hardly making it an option issue.

I tend to think that there were other considerations behind Benedict not more fully acting on these insights, ie, bishops' conferences!

Robbie said...

Father Cekada's comments allude to something I have wondered about for some time. With a deregulated liturgy, aren't we setting the stage for a split in the Roman Catholic faith? Isn't the groundwork being laid for Orthodox Catholicism and modern Catholicism much as the split we see in Judaism?

If we've got traditional Catholics lining up behind Burke and Ranjith and others lining up with Pope Francis and his "emancipated formation", isn't the stage sadly being set for split that grows even deeper and wider? If so, doesn't this prove the lunacy of liturgical experimentation?

The Church survived quite well for 1650 with the TLM, yet it has done nothing but fray, splinter, and suffer under NO.

Rev. Anthony Cekada said...

Michael Ortiz said…

Hmmm. While I think, Father, that the loss of this focus on "what is" is, as you say, is largely behind the options mentality that afflicts our liturgy, I can't see Benedict XVI falling into this after reading "Spirit of the Liturgy".

There he does speak of "ad orientem" as "essential" to liturgical prayer, hardly making it an option issue.


Dear Mr. Ortiz,

My first impression when I read "Spirit of the Liturgy" many years ago was similar to yours.

Subsequently, though, I came to the conclusion that I was incorrect, and that whatever his own inclination towards older liturgical practices might be, Ratzinger was very much a "options/preferences" man vis-à-vis the old liturgy.

In a 1998 address in Rome to traditionalists, for instance, Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of “Different spiritual and theological emphases… that richness which pertained to the same single Catholic faith.”

The same outlook is found in Summorum Pontificum, in which Benedict speaks of the old Mass as a “mark of identity… a form of encounter” for many Catholics that is “particularly suited to them.” The old rite, he says, possesses “a sacrality which attracts many people,” who adhere to it because of “attachment,” “affection,” “culture,” “personal familiarity,” etc.

While many would naturally like to think otherwise, I think this put him firmly in the "options/preference" camp.

Robbie said...

Father Cekada's comments allude to something I have wondered about for some time. With a deregulated liturgy, aren't we setting the stage for a split in the Roman Catholic faith? Isn't the groundwork being laid for Orthodox Catholicism and modern Catholicism much as the split we see in Judaism?


And that is precisely the problem with liturgical deregulation: when you officially deregulate the lex orandi, you inevitably deregulate the lex credendi — you get to believe the theology behind either ne absorbeat eas tartarus OR "On Eagle's Wings."

While in the early days of the liturgical reforms trads criticized many of the effects deregulating the liturgy, it took a long time to articulate the problem with the underlying principle.

Not so the modernists: they recognized the "new style, new spirit" (Fr. Richstatter's term again) of the post-V2 liturgical "laws," and merrily implemented them.

Too bad we didn't catch on to this in the early 1970s!

Matthew said...

Mr. Ortiz,

I know you were addressing Fr. Cekada, but I did see something which jumped out at me. You wrote that Bp. Ratzinger sees ad orientem as "essential," and therefore not an option. This, respectfully, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The man did not always celebrate ad orientem, and he, for eight-ish years, enjoyed the highest authority upon Earth, and yet he did nothing about promoting ad orientem on a legal level; he simply gave an example. It is exactly, 100%, what Fr. Cekada said: it is a preference, it is about being pastoral.

Furthermore, Fr. Cekada has written on the ideological faults of Bp. Ratzinger's argument for ad orientem, that it is still a Tielhardian conception and logic, and not a Traditional Catholic one, so I would not expect Fr. Cekada to be sympathetic to Bp. Ratzinger's Spirit of the Liturgy.

Michael Ortiz said...



I believe, from what I have read, that Benedict thought that the way to fix the liturgy is not the way it was broken. Hence, corrections should come slowly, unlike the poorly implemented (and conceived!) reforms, which were literally implemented with sledge hammers.

We can disagree with that, but it's clearly easier to post a comment than govern the Lord's Church.

Angelo said...

Keep the comments rolling. I'm enjoying these comments with a sense of gratitude and relief, after a few months of near despair. Pope Benedict XVl had stated that the restoration of Latin and the "Usus Antiquior" is the will of God. God will prevail!

The Rad Trad said...

"and (as Fr. Thomas Richastatter pointed out) smashed the pre-Vatican II "doctrine-discipline-ceremonies" paradigm explained so well by Pius XII in Mediator Dei."

That paradigm was itself something of a novelty and more indicative of the problem than it was a reflection of the traditional outlook. Mediator Dei reverses the old principle "lex orandi, lex credendi", favoring theology over liturgy (as though the two were in conflict) and delegating all authority over the liturgy to the Papacy. It is hard to imagine the liturgical reform turning out as it did if not for this odd outlook. The idea that the liturgy should be formed by the theological judgments of persons, and that the person most qualified to do that is the Pope, facilitated the changes from 1948-1975. Really, Msgr Annibale Bugnini, Pius XII, and Fr Cekada seem to share this outlook. Bugnini just wasn't a Thomist.

JM said...

The Pope, the guardian of Church doctrine and liturgy, doesn't like liturgy and thinks it is no big deal. Sorry, but this seems quite backwards. His JOB is to defend that stuff, and the job of Catholic Charities is to help the poor. Seems like a backward mess.

Rev. Anthony Cekada said...

Rad Trad said...

"That paradigm [doctrine-discipline-ceremonies] was itself something of a novelty and more indicative of the problem than it was a reflection of the traditional outlook. Mediator Dei reverses the old principle 'lex orandi, lex credendi', favoring theology over liturgy (as though the two were in conflict) and delegating all authority over the liturgy to the Papacy. It is hard to imagine the liturgical reform turning out as it did if not for this odd outlook."


The doctrine-discipline-ceremonies paradigm is hardly an invention of Pius XII.

The whole history of liturgical law is one of ever-increasing regulation and centralization, precisely because liturgical prayer illustrates and professes doctrines of the faith that already exist rather than the reverse (the Church "incorporates the collective results of her spiritual experience" in the liturgy into her system of belief — Tyrrrell's idea.)

By the time of Gregory VII (1073–1085), the conditions for the unification of the Western liturgy were already firmly in place. Unity of faith invited a unity in liturgical practice. Just as local churches ought to have the same faith as the Church of Rome (the reasoning was), they ought also to have the same liturgy which expressed that faith.

Subsequent popes became more and more aware of their right and duty to legislate for the entire Church.

Liturgical abuses before the Protestant Revolt, the arrival of the new technology of printing, and the desire to preserve the doctrinal purity of the liturgy after the Revolt made additional regulation and centralization even more necessary.

Why should the pope have risked leaving liturgical regulation (and with it, the faith) in the hands of some Saxon Weakland?

So while I agree with you that the post-Vatican II liturgical revolution was indeed launched from the top down, a great many of its most devastating effects resulted from abolishing regulation and centralized authority. Instead of Pius XII, your legislator is now the local liturgy lady.

douglassbartley said...

My comments once again trashed for no stated reason.

Adfero said...

We do not allow our comms boxes to become constant advertisements for other blogs.

douglassbartley said...

Adfero: Are you still here?

Adfero said...

Yes, i never really leave. Why?

Adfero said...

Mr. Bartley I have only spammed your comments that have either attempted to use our site as your launching pad for an investigation, which is absurd on its face, or the ones that over and over tell our readers to visit your blog.

Keep insulting me and I'll simply ban you from commenting altogether.

Michael Ortiz said...



Father,

Do you not think that Benedict XVI, whenever he spoke of the old rite, was well aware of the wolves who hate it? Therefore, I would respectfully posit he was being diplomatic, as is reasonable given his position then as Pope.

I say this based on explicit statements from him before he became bishop of Rome.

Who knows, perhaps in retirement he may write for later generations with more freedom.

I do know I miss him very much.

Rev. Anthony Cekada said...

Dear Mr. Ortiz,

From the beginning, trads objected to the New Mass and adhered to the old Mass based almost exclusively on doctrinal and moral considerations — the Novus Ordo destroyed Catholic faith and was irreverent/sacrilegious, while the traditional Mass preserved the Catholic faith and was reverent.

As far as I can tell, such strong condemnations of the Novus Ordo did not figure in Ratzinger/Benedict's promotion of the old rite and certain practices associated with it. SP adhered to the "preference/richness" motive, and the basis for Ratzinger's apologia for "ad orientem" was the religious aesthetics of Von Balthasar and the cosmos theories of Teilhard. It's hard to imagine such notion as the starting point for a fiery crusade to dump the new rite and replace it with the old.

I think I've gone on quite enough about these issues in this thread, and I will now retire. Thank you for your patience.

Michael Ortiz said...



Father,

You're most welcome. Many thanks to you for your thoughts on these issues.

douglassbartley said...

Anchors Away

So if it suits you (and the others at Rorate Caeli) to suppress my ravings, go ahead. I remember the old line, “I’ve been kicked out of better places.” But here that should be changed to “I’ve never been kicked out of a better place.” Rorate was, until recently, a joy for me. I wish you continued success in going forward with your mission.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acnt3r6z5ns

Adfero said...

Mr. Bartley, as long as you're not directing people to your blog or, frankly, insulting me, you're more than welcome to stay here and comment.