Rorate Caeli

The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass
[Exclusive article]

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil.(Oxon.)
Weymouth
June 5, 1944

The correspondence between Cardinal Heenan of Westminster and Evelyn Waugh before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Mass is well known, in which Waugh issues a crie de coeur about the post-Conciliar liturgy and finds a sympathetic, if ineffectual, ear in the Cardinal.[1]   What is not as well known is Cardinal Heenan’s comment to the Synod of Bishops in Rome after the experimental Mass, Missa Normativa, was presented for the first time in 1967 to a select number of bishops. This essay was inspired by the following words of Cardinal Heenan to the assembled bishops:

At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.[2]

What the Cardinal was referring to lies at the very heart of the Novus Ordo form of the Roman Mass and the attendant and deep problems that have afflicted the Church since the imposition of the Novus Ordo form on the Church in 1970.[3]   One might be tempted to crystallize what Cardinal Heenan experienced as the feminization of the Liturgy. But this term would be inadequate and ultimately misleading. For there is a real Marian aspect of the Liturgy that is therefore feminine. The Liturgy bears the Word of God, the Liturgy brings forth the Body of the Word to be worshipped and given as Food. A better terminology might be that in the Novus Ordo rite of Mass the Liturgy has been effeminized. There is a famous passage in Caesar’s De bello Gallico where he explains why the Belgae tribe were such good soldiers. He attributes this to their lack of contact with the centers of culture like the cities. Caesar believed that such contact contributes ad effeminandos animos, to the effeminizing of their spirits.[4] But when one talks about the effeminization of the Liturgy one risks being misunderstood as devaluing what it means to be a woman, womanhood itself. Without adopting Caesar’s rather macho view of the effects of culture on soldiers, one certainly can speak of a devirilization of the soldier that saps his strength and resolve to do what a soldier has to do. It is not a put-down of the feminine. It rather describes the weakening of what it means to be a man.

This is the term, devirilization, that I want to use to describe what Cardinal Heenan saw that day in 1967 at the first celebration of the experimental Mass.[5]    In its Novus Ordo form, what Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio: Summorum Pontificum somewhat cumbersomely, if understandably, calls the Ordinary Form of the Roman rite, the Liturgy has been devirilized. One must recall the meaning of the word, vir, in Latin. Both vir and homo mean “man”, but it is vir alone that has the connotation of the man-hero and is the word that is often used for “husband”. The Aeneid begins with the famous words: arma virumque cano. (“ I sing of arms and the man-hero.”) What Cardinal Heenan presciently and correctly saw in 1967 was the virtual elimination of the virile nature of the Liturgy, the replacement of masculine objectivity, necessary for the public worship of the Church, with softness, sentimentality and personalization centered on the motherly person of the priest.

The people within the Liturgy [6]   stand in a Marian relationship to the Liturgy: attentiveness, openness, pondering, waiting to be filled. Within the Liturgy it is the priest as father who pronounces, announces and confects the Word so that the Word may become Food for those who stand within the supreme activation of the Ecclesia that is the Liturgy.[7]   It is the priest who offers Christ to the Father, and it is this act that contains the defining role of what it means to be a priest. And so the role of the priest as father makes his role distinct not merely in function but in the very ontology of sexuality.[8]    The priest stands at the altar in persona Christi, in persona Verbi facti hominem, and this not merely as homo, which word in a sense transcends sex, but in persona Christi viri: in a sense homo factus est ut fiat vir, ut sit vir qui destruat mortem, ut sit vir qui calcet portas inferi: God became man in order that he might be that man-hero who would destroy death and crush with his own foot the gates of hell.

The devirilization of the Liturgy and the devirilization of the priest for all practical purposes cannot be separated. In what follows I wish, however sketchily and incompletely, first to talk in more specific terms about the devirilization of the Liturgy itself in the Novus Ordo form of the Roman rite. Secondly I will address the the necessary (coming from the devirilized rite) devirilization of the priest using specific examples.

The description of the Roman liturgy using adjectives like “austere”, “concise”, “noble” and “simple,” is commonplace among many who have written about the liturgy in the modern liturgical movement of the twentieth century. Many of these writers, however, have romanticized this austerity of the Roman rite or have used it to further their own agenda of stripping the rite of the organic growth of the ages, labeling such organic growth with censorious terms like “Gallican accretions “or “useless repetitions”. Rather than denoting the Roman rite as austere, an adjective that arguably has puritan overtones, it is better to speak of the masculinity or virility of the traditional Roman rite. To do necessarily demands a definition of masculinity in this context. This is somewhat difficult, and this question needs deeper study. But I will offer several characteristics of the traditional Roman rite that help to explain what I mean about the inherent masculinity and virility in the context of that rite.[9]

First, masculinity is opposed to sentimentality—not to sentiment, but to sentimentality. There is an absence of any trace of sentimentality in the Traditional rite, also called the Extraordinary Form. This is seen in its collects and prayers that are succinct and to the point without sacrificing beauty of language, and in its rubrics that prevent the personality of the priest from inserting his own feelings and choices into the rite itself. If we take note of Cardinal Newman’s insight that sentimentality is the acid of religion, meaning that it destroys true religion, then the rubrics of the Traditional rite are the little purple pill that prevents the reflux of sentimentality into the liturgy.[10]



Secondly, with the traditional Roman Mass there is the full acceptance of silence as the heart of the means of communication with God. Active participation is understood as contemplation, as prayer. The words of the rite are never the point. They are fixed. They always point beyond themselves. It is a commonplace to say that two real friends are those who can be absolutely silent in each other’s presence and know that heart speaks to heart in this silence. This is the silence of Moses before the burning bush, the silence of the Desert Fathers, the silence entered into by St. Benedict in the cave, the Sacro Speco.

Thirdly, there is the fact of the masculinity of the Latin language. This language, unlike the femininity of the Romance languages that are its offspring, is masculine in its terseness, its conciseness, its formality, its difficulty, its lack of pliancy. Even in the hands of a poet like Ovid who certainly understood and so beautifully put in practice the feminine side of Roman poetry, even there the masculinity of the language holds firm against any attempt to make it other than it is.

Fourthly, the traditional Roman rite demands, not merely in its rubrics, but in its very essence, a submission to its form. It demands a suppression of self-actualization. It is something that one chooses to enter, that one never makes over. And that choice always involves something like a heroic casting aside of the self for the greater goal, the telos.

Fifthly, very closely linked to the fourth aspect above, the Liturgy is something given, never made. It is there to be entered into. This aspect is seen more clearly in the Eastern rites where rationalism and sentimentality have never eroded this sense of the God-given-ness of the liturgy—hence it is known in the East as “the Divine Liturgy”. This given-ness does not imply a fossil nor does it deny organic development. Nay rather, this given-ness is like a great house that has been built by the inspiration of the Spirit through the ages and that is there to be entered. The genius and the truth of Roman Guardini’s The Spirit of the Liturgy, which inspired the present Pope, Benedict XVI, so deeply in his own understanding of the Liturgy, assumes this absolute given-ness of the Liturgy, for one cannot “play in the house of the Lord” unless the house is already there to be played in. The priest accepts the prohibition against imposing his own likes and dislikes onto the liturgy. He is willing to be called to remembrance to do what has to be done. He accepts the detachment that the Liturgy imposes, without which one cannot enter into the cosmic Liturgy that transcends time and space.[11]

Sixthly, the liturgy is virile in its understanding of and use of ambiguous gestures like the kiss. The kiss surely finds a secure place in the realm of the erotic. And yet the kiss as a mark of respect and love for the objects used in the liturgy and for those who participate in the liturgy, as in the Kiss of Peace, purify this erotic symbol and raise it to the highest and most objective level of adoration of the presence of God in the Liturgy. I am always amused and befuddled by those who celebrate the traditional Roman Mass without the customary kisses on the grounds that they are somehow “excessive” and prone to misunderstanding. They are never excessive, as Jesus pointed out to Judas when the woman anointed his feet with precious nard. These kisses are prone to misunderstanding only if the Liturgy is shorn of its innate virility.

Finally, the liturgy is virile in its acceptance of the essential aloneness of the priest within the community that are his beloved flock that he loves and for whom he would die if called to do so. The vir priest stands alone at the altar to offer the Sacrifice for his people. He stands in the line of Melchizedek, of Moses, of Saint Paul, of St Augustine and of all those saints who did not fear to be alone with God for and with the Community, especially those who did not fear to experience the aloneness of martyrdom.

It is obvious from the above discussion concerning the masculinity and virility of the liturgy that the devirilization of the liturgy demands and results in the devirilization of the priest. I want now to examine two contexts of the devirilization of the priest: one directly a consequence of the Novus Ordo rite as widely celebrated; the other a consequence of the forgotten essential masculinity-virility of the priest.

There can be no more powerful force for the devirilization of the priest than the modern custom of saying Mass facing the people. Quite apart from its non-traditional nature, quite apart from its foundation in faulty and sentimental appeals to antiquity (against which archaeologism Pius XII warned in Mediator Dei), quite apart from its imposition of a terrible misunderstanding of the essence of the Mass that has made the secondary “meal” aspect of the Mass nearly eliminate the primary aspect of Sacrifice: this custom of saying Mass facing the people as a novelty without the support of Tradition has been one of the primary causes for the devirilization of the priesthood.[12]

On one of my many stays in Italy I noticed that many of the baby strollers were built such that the baby sat in his seat and faced his mother who was pushing the stroller. This seemed strange to me, since in the United States the baby faces the same way as the mother who is pushing the stroller. When I asked a friend about this she told me that too many Italian mothers want to keep constant eye contact with the baby and to be able to smile at the child, talk in baby talk, to make sure the bond is always there between mother and child. The classic mother-child relationship is heightened almost in a perverse way by this perceived need of the mother to constantly engage her child face to face lest contact with the outside word, with “the other” will damage the relationship.

Without pretending that the above analogy is exact or complete, I would assert that the radical innovation, never mandated by the Council or by any liturgical book, of celebrating Mass with the priest facing the people, has transformed the priest’s role at the Mass from the father who leads his people to offer Sacrifice to the Father, to the mother whose eye contact and liturgical patter- banter with the people and whose sometimes deliberately silly behavior, as if the people are infants, reduces his role as priest to that of the mother of an infant. This reduction of the congregation to infants who are forced to look at the mother-priest prevents them from seeing beyond him to God who is being worshipped in the presence of the cosmic sacrifice of Christ.

To use another secular analogy: the Mass facing the people is reduced to a high school assembly where everyone has a role to play under the direction of the priest as Mother Principal, she who makes sure that all things go smoothly. This is described by some liturgists as the “horizontal” dimension of the liturgy, as opposed to the “vertical” dimension that provides the sense of transcendence. This is ultimately empty talk, for it supposes that the liturgy is under the control of the priest and ministers and that one of their functions is to make sure that both dimensions are present and are somehow in balance.

It is clear that this whole approach denies deeply the “given-ness” of the liturgy and its focus on the worship of God in praise and sacrifice. The rubrics of the Novus Ordo encourage this radically untraditional understanding of the Liturgy with the constant weakening of its rubrical instructions with words like “or in some other words”, “or in some other manner” and “or as is the local custom”. Quite apart from the romantic looking back to St Justin Martyr’s phrase with reference to the celebrant of the Mass offering thanksgiving “according to his ability”[13]  as somehow the norm; quite apart from the questionable notion of imagining that the priest is able to draw from the Tradition or from his own sense of Liturgy to supplement or fill out what the rubrics order to be said and be done: this “high school assembly” understanding of the liturgy makes Catholic worship impossible as it has been understood in the Tradition. For the Tradition understood the root meaning of liturgia as involving public worship as a duty, officium, a duty that is certainly based on love, but a duty nevertheless. It is this traditional sense of worship as officium that is enshrined and made visible and heard and experienced in the traditional Roman rite.

The priest is like Abraham, the father of Isaac and the father of the Jews and our father in faith. Abraham’s greatest act of faith and worship as a father is when he leads his son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him in obedience to God. They walk, each facing the top of the mountain. There is silence except for the brief dialogue between father and son:
And Isaac said to this father Abraham: “My father!” And he said: “Here am I, My son.” He said: “Behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together” (Gn 22, 7-8, RSV)

It is here between Abraham and Isaac that we see the truly horizontal component of worship, brief and to the point. The vertical and primary dialogue is between Abraham and God, a dialogue that occurs in the silence of awe-ful obedience and faith.

This role of the vir of faith is radically different from the priest who believes his job is not to lead the people to the altar of Sacrifice but rather to dialogue with them and to make them “understand what is going on”. Then the Eucharistic Prayer with its altogether brief dialogue between priest and people becomes another extension of the priest’s dialogue-banter. Here there is no walking up the mountain together; there is no turning to the Lord together; instead there is the terrible and stultifying stasis of the condescending and overbearing mother trying to connect with her child and in the process destroying the child’s freedom to walk up to the mountain of God.[14]

Before turning to the important question of the continuity of the Novus Ordo rite with the traditional Roman rite from the viewpoint of the devirilization of the liturgy, I want to offer comments on two practical results of the devirilization of the liturgy and of the priest. The first is this: the music that the Novus Ordo has produced, both for Mass settings and songs to be sung at the liturgy, is at best functional, at worst sentimental junk that makes the old Protestant evangelical hymns sound like Bach chorales. When Mass is reduced to a self-referential assembly, then music becomes merely functional at best, at worst something to rouse the feelings of the people. This functionalism is a mark of the chilling, outdated and anti-liturgical stance of the liturgical establishment that still controls much of the liturgical life of the Church in the Roman dicasteries, in seminaries, in dioceses and therefore in parishes.[15]

Functionalism cannot produce great art, either in music or painting or sculpture or architecture. And functionalism destroys worship, at least as traditionally understood. as not irrational but certainly unrational.[16]   In the functionalist view, the readings at Mass in the Novus Ordo become didactic moments, like being in a classroom, instead of acts of worship as traditionally understood. Again, the priest acts as a school- mistress constantly explaining what her students are hearing and seeing. We have forgotten that the readings at Mass (the Liturgy of the Word) are bearers of the Word within the Liturgy; they are not only lessons to be heard and taken to heart. They come from within the Liturgy and not from a catechism class presided over by a “school-marm”. The Liturgy is not didactic: it forms and in-forms. It demands attentiveness to what is beyond the words that are being sung or said. Scripture within Mass is an echo of the Word and a worshipful “reminder to God” of what He has said and done for us in the person of Jesus Christ. From the functionalist point of view, the traditional chant of the Church must be set aside absolutely, for it goes far beyond mere function in its distinct, given form whose purpose is the elevation of the human spirit to God.[17]

We turn from the banal and sentimental music of the Novus Ordo that is the sickly fruit of the functionalism that underlies the rite to something that may seem trivial in comparison, but is yet part of the evidence for the devirilization of the priest: the dress of the priest outside of Mass. The dress of the priest when not performing a liturgical function has become in a sense, to borrow a secular adjective recently in vogue, metrosexual. That means that his masculinity has been blurred in his outward appearance. The abandonment of the cassock as the normal dress of the priest outside of the liturgy is part of the devirilization of the priest. The dropping of the distinctive dress that is the cassock and its replacement with a black business suit worn with a clerical collar, or, increasingly more common, with a shirt having a white tab collar that can be removed and stuck in a pocket, is part of the shedding of the liminality of the priest. He is no longer he who stands at the threshold, the limen, of earth and heaven when offering Mass. Religious dress modeled after secular dress tames him down to become a mere clergyman, with “-man” now meaning “person” and not “man”.

The nineteen fifties and sixties saw a more radical approach to the dress of the priest by those who were seen to be and thought themselves to be on the cutting edge of reform especially in Europe. They wore coat and tie or black turtlenecks, even further blending in with the secular dress of those around them. Many European priests still dress like this, either in continuity with their romance with secularism or as an attempt to fit in with their flock. The fact is that the cassock, as the traditional dress of the priest, at least among his people, reminds them that he is not just a “clergyman” but a priest, not just “a religious leader”, but the one who offers Sacrifice for them, whose life is centered on this offering of the Sacrifice and who can never be totally secularized. The cassock is an affirmation of the manliness and the virility of the priest. This is in contrast to the world’s notion of manliness as a grunting football player or an unshaven model for Armani in tight jeans, or some sort of “stud” that exudes sexual power. The wearing of the cassock is the priest’s taking on the mantle of the prophet; it is the outward sign of his taking on of that aloneness and detachment that is such an integral part of what it means for a man, vir, to be a priest. The cassock is a symbol of that detachment that marks the relationship between the priest and his people.

The devirilized priest confuses detachment with arrogance or superiority or coldness or clericalism. Ironically quite the opposite is true. The post-Conciliar period has seen the rise of a clericalism that masks itself by claiming that the priest merely “presides” over the assembly but who in fact presides over everything. The priest must never be a presider, for this is like being a fussy wedding planner. To love his people the priest must have this sense of detachment from them, lest he become another collectible Ken doll in a collar.[18]

We finally come to what is the most serious effect of the devirilization of the Liturgy: the apparent and real discontinuity between the Novus Ordo and the traditional Roman rite. This question of discontinuity and rupture has been the subject of a number of studies and talks in the past few years, not the least of which is Benedict XVI’s now famous address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005. While it is true that this address treats specifically the question of the hermeneutic of the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, it still has relevance to the specific problem of the discontinuity of the Liturgy.[19]

The meaning of the very word “discontinuity” is often not clear. I wish to make an analogy that I think makes clear what is involved in this discontinuity between the two forms of the Roman rite.[20]  In mathematics there are functions that are called discontinuous at a certain point. In simple terms, what this means is that at this point, there is no value for the function. We can say that there is a “hole” in the function at this point. What this further means is that there is no way to “get” from before the discontinuity to after the discontinuity. One cannot go “through” a hole in the function.

Using this analogy of a function in which there is a hole, a discontinuity, helps us to understand the fact that for the overwhelming majority of Catholics who live on the “after” side of the hole, those for whom the Novus Ordo is their only experience of Mass, the side of the function that is “before” the hole is totally foreign to them. Whatever the theological and liturgical arguments that are advanced in this discussion about continuity, the startling fact is that for the Catholic who grew up with the Novus Ordo Mass, the traditional Roman rite is something foreign and exotic. These Catholics do not see the continuity that has been assumed and defended. They only see the hole as an abyss and cannot see or understand the “before” side of the hole.

This leads us to use the mathematical analogy to further elucidate what this discontinuity between the two forms really means. Functions are represented by formulas involving variables. A function that is discontinuous may have the same “formula” that stands for its “form” on either side of the hole in the function. But there can be the situation where, after this discontinuity, the formula of the function changes, and there is now essentially a new formula and form. If we are to believe what our own Catholic people experience in the celebration of the Mass in the two forms of the Roman rite, then it is obvious that not only there is a discontinuity, a hole; there is also a new function, a new formula, a new form after the hole. The new formula uses the same variables as the old formula, but it is a different formula denoting a whole new family of curves. . The appearance, shape and structure of the new form look and are very different from that of the form before the hole. This is a most serious problem for the integrity of the Catholic faith as seen and understood and actualized in the celebration of the holy Mass.[21]   On one side we have the Traditional Roman Mass that, using words describing the Rule of St. Benedict in a contemporary account of that saint’s life, is potente e strana, powerful and strange.[22]  The Traditional Roman Mass can be well described in the words of the introduction to the Antiphonale Monasticum in its description of the Church’s chant: “simple, sober, sometimes perhaps somewhat austere, certainly beautiful, and which exhibits a very strong sense of line, finally being capable of sweetness, and, through this. greatly expressive, sensitive to all temperaments, and having the capacity to bring forth the inmost feelings of the soul.[23]  And on the other side: something else-- devirilized and de-Romanized—something else.

This is indeed what Cardinal Heenan saw on that day in 1967 when the experimental form of the Novus Ordo Mass was first celebrated for the bishops in Rome. He saw there the results of the functionalist mentality that does not understand ceremonial and confuses simplicity with a stripped-down infantilism. He saw there the “newness” of the Novus Ordo Mass, a newness that did not grow organically from the Tradition but rather from a specific strain of liturgical theology that was founded upon and infected by post-Enlightenment rationalism. He saw there the devirilization of the Liturgy and knew what would be one of the effects of the Novus Ordo on the Church: a marked decrease in Mass attendance. He did live long enough to see the beginning of the loss of the sense of the Sacred. What he did not live to see is the devirilization of the priesthood and its disastrous consequences in lack of vocations and personal unfaithfulness to chastity and celibacy.

Fr. Cipolla is Chairman of the Classics Department at Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT, and parochial vicar of St. Mary’s, Norwalk, CT

[We deeply thank Fr. Cipolla for this exclusive contribution to Rorate caeli. Article should not be reposted in its entirety. When mentioning or quoting excerpts from this article, always include source and link.]

Notes:


[1] Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan, A Bitter Trial, 2nd ed. (South Bend: St. Austin Press, 2000)

[2] Ibid., 70

[3] The important question of the validity of the imposition of the Novus Ordo and the effective banning of the 1962 Missal of the Roman rite was brought up by Josef Ratzinger himself in The Spirit of the Liturgy, (San Francisco:Ignatius Press, 2000) 165-66. It would seem that the answer to the question is contained in the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum and its accompanying letter to the bishops. The question is not whether the Pope can issue a reformed Missal. St. Pius V certainly did this in response to Trent. The question is whether a Pope can impose a new form of Mass on the Church and suppress the traditional Roman rite. The cult-like understanding of the powers of the papacy displayed by Paul VI and subscribed to by those who encouraged him to suppress the traditional Roman rite and by the bishops who acceded to this bold move: all of this would make Pius IX blush with shame and perhaps envy.

[4] Caesar, De bello Gallico, 1.1

[5] Cardinal Heenan prefaced his remark with the observation that he did not know the names of those who had proposed the new Mass, but it was clear to him that few of them had ever been parish priests.

[6] One should not speak of the people being at the liturgy but rather within the liturgy. The Liturgy is something entered into, not something watched or made up or brought into being by the assembled people.

[7] Sacrosanctum Concilium 10: “Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows.”

[8] On the ontological nature of sexuality see Angelo Scola, “The Nuptial Mystery: A Perspective for Systematic Theology?” Communio 30 (Summer 2003)

[9] This essay does not attempt to address the verbal content of the Novus Ordo rite, for instance, the radical changes in the collects and offertory prayers. The important and in its way devastating results of the research of Dr. Lauren Pristas in a series of articles and in a forthcoming book on the revisions executed by the post-conciliar Consilium of the Collects of the Mass are evidence of the rationalistic and modernistic policies of revision that led to the new collects in the Novus Ordo Mass. These policies can be understood well in terms of the category of “devirilization”. Lauren Pristas, “The Orations of the Vatican II Missal: Policies for Revision”, Communio 30 (Winter 2003) 621-653; “Theological Principles that Guided the Redaction of the Roman Missal 1970”, The Thomist 67(2003) 157-95; “The Collects at Sunday Mass: An Examination of the Revisions of Vatican II”, Nova et Vetera, 3:1 (Winter, 2005) 5-38. See also Aidan Nichols, Looking at the Liturgy,(San Francisco: Ignatius Press 1997). This short book is still the best source for understanding the rationalistic and anti-liturgical suppositions of the late-modern liturgical movement that resulted in the Novus Ordo form of Mass.

[10] This theme of the destruction of true religion by reducing it to mere feeling runs through all of Newman’s sermons and works. The Bigletto Speech given in Rome when he was made a cardinal is a restatement of this theme in terms of what he calls Liberalism. This speech is at once powerful and prescient.

[11] On these points see Romano Guardini, The Church and the Catholic and The Spirit of the Liturgy (Sheed and Ward: New York 1935), especially chapters 3 and 9.

[12] The third revision of the General Instructions of the Roman Missal makes it quite clear that Mass facing the people is not mandated and that the traditional posture of ad orientem is certainly allowed. One of the great mysteries of the post-conciliar liturgical revolution is how Mass facing the people became mandated despite any official documents to support this. For a detailed and dispassionate history of and theological understanding of the “eastward” position of priest and people in the celebration of the Mass, see Uwe Michael Lang, Turning to the Lord, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press 2009)

[13] St.Justin Martyr, Apology. 66-67

[14] Guardini, “The Primacy of the Logos over the Ethos”, op. cit., 199-211

[15] This deadly role of functionalism in the liturgy is discussed and refuted by Benedict XVI in a collection of essays on the role of music in the liturgy entitled Lodate Dio con arte (Venezia:Marcianum Press 2010).

[16] Guardini, op.cit., “The playfulness of the Liturgy”

[17] In Italy, where the liturgical establishment seems still committed to functionalism and a technocratic attitude towards the Liturgy, they have recycled a wonderful word to describe the stripping down of the liturgy and the church building to the bare bones: adeguamento. In Lodato Dio con arte Benedict XVI discusses this term and the deleterious effects that the carrying out of adeguamento has had on the liturgical life of the Church in Italy.

[18] One can see the beginnings of this devirilization of the priest in the Hollywood depictions of priests like that played by Bing Crosby in the film, The Bells of St. Mary. The picture of the priest as a good sort of guy who smokes a pipe and is no threat to anyone at all, the domesticated priest that helps to dispel the knee-jerk anti-Catholicism of Protestant America. One wonders how many young men have been turned off from becoming priests these past forty years because of their fear that becoming a priest would mean the relinquishing of their manhood and virility.

[19] On the specific question of the discontinuity of the Novus Ordo rite with the Roman rite see Josef Ratzinger’s introduction to The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Klaus Gamber, Roman Catholic Books 1993, and Josef Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, , especially the chapter on Rite. For a detailed example of the consensus among many scholars that the Novus Ordo is discontinuous with the Roman rite, see the proceedings of the liturgical conference held at the Abbey of Fontgombault in 2001: Looking again at the Question of the Liturgy, Alcuin Reid, ed., (Farnborough, England: St. Michael’s Abbey Press. 2002). This question of discontinuity seems to be side-stepped, quite rightly, for pastoral reasons in Summorum Pontificum and the accompanying Letter to the Bishops. The fact that the two forms of the Roman rite co-exist in the Church does not say anything definitive about whether they are continuous or not.

[20] Discontinuity is a separate question from the validity of the form. The validity of both forms of the Roman rite is taken as a given.

[21] Pristas, Orations: With regard to the work of the post-Vatican II Consilium on the Collects of the Mass, Pristas speaks of “the construction of an entirely new city”. It is remarkable that the work of this scholar has not caused great disquiet among the bishops, who are, in fact, the moderators of the Liturgy in their diocese.

[22] Flaminia Morandi, San Benedetto: Una luce per l’Europa(Milano:Paoline 2009)

[23] “simplices, sobriae, aliquando fortisan austeriores, decoram certe et firmamissam exhibent lineam, de cetero dulcibilem ac per hoc maxime expressivam, omnium susceptibilem temperamentorum, intimos animae sensus preferendi capacem.” Antiphonale Monasticum, (Tournai: Desclée & Co., 1934) p. xi

67 comments:

JabbaPapa said...

Without pretending that the above analogy is exact or complete, I would assert that the radical innovation, never mandated by the Council or by any liturgical book, of celebrating Mass with the priest facing the people, has transformed the priest’s role at the Mass from the father who leads his people to offer Sacrifice to the Father, to the mother whose eye contact and liturgical patter- banter with the people and whose sometimes deliberately silly behavior, as if the people are infants, reduces his role as priest to that of the mother of an infant. This reduction of the congregation to infants who are forced to look at the mother-priest prevents them from seeing beyond him to God who is being worshipped in the presence of the cosmic sacrifice of Christ.

This claim is extremely forcible.

jasoncpetty said...

Is there any description, anywhere, of what that first Novus Ordo looked and sounded like in the Sistine Chapel? I have heard that it was wholly in Italian, and presumably it was ad orientem, but....anything else?

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

That is one amazing essay. This sentence describes perfectly the state of so many NO liturgies:

"...the replacement of masculine objectivity, necessary for the public worship of the Church, with softness, sentimentality and personalization centered on the motherly person of the priest."

In the large city I live in, there are Mass centres in the downtown core that attract between 80 to 100attendees for a daily Mass, but only about 10 to 15 of those people are men. The rest are ALL women. The NO priests explain that women are "more religious." I doubt it. Decades of an effeminized ecclesial culture has its effects. You would think that bishops and priests would do something given the fact that the exodus of men has - and will - cause a decrease in religious and priestly vocations.

Aloysius Gonzaga said...

That is one amazing essay, amazing because it captures in words exactly what I have seen and observed about the NO. Definitely worth re-reading.

backtothefuture said...

When is this disaster of an experiment ever going to end? Very well written. Father Cipolla and the rest of the wonderful priests at Saint Mary's have done a wonderful job, helping restore tradition.

backtothefuture said...

@Aloysius, this past november I was in Rome and went to a low mass at the church of Santissima Trinita dei pellegrini,run by the fssp. I went with my cousin. She was in shock because she was the only woman there. She had never seen that before.

Burt said...

Without knowing the whys and whereforths that led Cardinal Heenan to his prediction, I think he has been proved correct. I visited Ireland in 1979 ( I'm from England) when I went to mass during my trip to the emerald isle it was noticeable to see that many men of were happy to congregate just outside the church doors, while their wives and daughters were attending Mass. I don't know of course if that tendency was prevalent pre Novus Ordo. Heenan was of course an Irishman so perhaps his statement comes from an Irish sensibility (as was. The land that was Catholic from its earliest history is ditching its Catholic faith so easily since VII and it's Novus Ordo. Will the hierarchy try and put things right?

Ramadan said...

Fantastic, literally fantastic

Alphonsus Jr. said...

Unfortunately, many men are quite happy with the muliebral nature of the Novus Ordo and the culture that surrounds it. For example, this guy is fully on board with the emasculation campaign:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcgNUfqTcYI&feature=youtu.be

Supertradmum said...

Excellent and this comment by Heenan has been on the Net on other blogs in the past. As a woman, however, I want to say that many of us do not like the NO either. It is not merely men who can be rational and objective, appreciating the sublimity of the vertical rather than horizontal movement of the TLM. The reason why women stay with the NO is an overwhelming ability to SUFFER through it for the love of Christ. We have a high pain threshold.

Angelo said...

This is the best reading concerning the difference between the Novus Order and the Mass of St. Pius V I have ever read. This is for me a new foundation on which to build as there is nothing more important to me than the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If every single Catholic male read this article, we would have new Vocations in droves. Thank you Rorate Caeli for giving us this gem of an article. I now consider myself justified for using earplugs at the Novus Ordo Mass. I have always had to explain to others that I do this in order to be able to worship Almighty God without all the distractions. This article justifies the Traditionalist Priest. Many if not most Novus Ordo priests have been infected with the heresy of modernism which blinds them to the truth such as this article presents. If the Church must keep the Novus Ordo then She must completely overhaul it with a grand reform. The Church must eliminate the feminine in the NO and restore the masculine. This day June 24, 2013, Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist will go down in my history of life as one hec of a great day. And I am not sentimentally exaggerating I assure you!

Brother Juniper said...

Thank you, this is excellent. I have printed it for study and to share with my family. Fr. Cipolla is impressively careful even in the the words he selects to describe the problems in the new Mass: the term “feminization” of the liturgy (or the “feminization” of the catholic church) is inadequate and misleading (and perhaps insulting to Our Blessed Lady), the term “effeminized” is better, and finally settles on the term “devirilization.” Being a devotee of single malt Scotch whisky, I had always used the term “watered-down” to describe this idea. If you mix hot and cold, of course, you get lukewarm. We don’t want the feminine eliminated from the Church; we don’t want the masculine eliminated from the Church; we don’t want some watered-down combination of the two; we want both in all their power and glory. Isn’t “both” a typical Catholic answer? Chesterton said “we want not an amalgam or compromise, but both things at the top of their energy.”

mjh said...

Wonder, wonderful article. I am printing it out to share with friends, including a NO priest friend of mine.

Marie-Jacqueline said...
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john said...

You who run this blog are of great service to The Holy Catholic Church...I can't get to my printer fast enough!!! We must never lose hope!

Mike said...

Devirilization - I doubt I've encountered a more devastatingly apt depiction of the crisis of the ecclesiology of the novus ordo. Thank you so much for sharing this brilliant and beautiful piece.

St. Mary's, Norwalk CT is fortunate indeed to have Fr. Cipolla as its parochial vicar! God bless him, his parish and his work.

Robbie said...

I really enjoyed this thorough breakdown of the problems and issues that plague the Novus Ordo. Anyone with the ability ought to pass this along to open minded priests in hopes it might awaken them.

In particular, I found the section dealing the music of NO comforting because I've felt that way for some time. More often than not, the music we use today sounds as if it came from a Baptist hymnal. It bears no resemblance to the beautiful chants we once used.

Having said that, some days I feel like it's all for nothing. With Bergoglio, the Bishop of Rome, in charge, it feels like we're tilting at windmills. Yes, the use of the TLM is growing, but it's still small in numbers. I'd wager 90% or more of Catholics have never heard of SP so most don't know to ask for it.

Richard McNally said...

Interesting article. Something I wonder about is whether presider language and the loss of faith in the Mass as sacrifice inspires us priests to really live the grace of priesthood in true ministry/service.Does being simply a presider prepare us for opposition, persection and martyrdom?

Jacobi said...

This essay should be mandatory reading for all seminarians, in Catholic, I stress Catholic, seminaries. It really does say it all.

Mike said...

Robbie,
Overwhelmingly, the music heard in a typical novus ordo parish IS protestant in origin, and my view is that 90%+ of sacred music (sic) issued from so-called Catholic publishing houses is protestant in ethos, if not always in text. Hardly surprising, when one sees, for example, the enormous global affect of the Neo-Catechumenate alone, which is clearly an heretical cult comfortably abiding within the Church. It astonishes the senses, but there you have it.

I particularly appreciate the last paragraph of your comment. My experience is that among those attached to it, and indeed immersed in it and nurtured by it, the traditionalist movement often seems a bit turned inward on itself, forgetting the fact that the majority of practicing Catholics scarcely know, let alone understand, that SP provided that the Roman mass is available by right to all priests, was never abrogated, and that it is any Catholic's right to request it, and to insist upon that request.

Thank God for blogs like Rorate, which have gained important attention among many segments of Catholic life by an unswerving fidelity to the traditionalist mission which is, after all, simply the Catholic faith whole and entire. Something indeed to be grateful for.

Michael Ortiz said...


Excellent article.

One minor point about Guardini's "Spirit of the Litugy"--while overall excellent, I think Guardini makes way too much of a fuss about reading missals during Mass on the part of the Faithful, as if this were incompatible with receiving the Word as proclaimed in the liturgy.

Otherwise, your posted article corresponds to what has happened in even the best case parishes that follow the Novus Ordo, at least in my experience.

Ioannes Martialis said...

Lord, I am sorry for my sins that caused You to allow the Novus Ordo to remain and spread. If it is Your will, I will endure, but please give me the strength to love You as much as I can with my finite and weak self; please give me the strength to make amends for my offense and those done by clerics, and please give me strength to give You the honor You deserve at the Holy Liturgy instituted by your Apostles. I also pray for the faithful Catholics who love You from the bottom of their hearts as they work tirelessly to promote the liturgy dedicated to You by your holy servant, Saint Gregory.

Amen.

Jack said...

I enjoyed reading Fr. Cipolla's challenging and thought-provoking article. I did not agree with everything he said--it seemed he was projecting his own interpretation on the Ordinary Form--but I agreed with him on this point:

Many Reformation and post-Reformation rites, including recent rites of the Roman Church, spend a lot of time talking about what is being done instead of actually doing it. Catechesis and explanations are not the same thing as liturgy and worship.

There is a practical reason why most daily Masses in the OF have more women in the congregation than men, as compared with what happened before V2. The morning masses are simply offered at a later time, when most men, especially if they are breadwinners, have to be at work. When the time for daily Mass is around 6-7 am, more working men can be present.

What do you think?

Paenitet said...

Again, Fr. Cipolla is dead on in his analysis. For those of you within 500 miles of Norwalk, CT, it is well worth the trip to see what the priests, especially the pastor, have done have done with this church. The liturgy, music, and preaching is probably -- with no hyperbole -- the best in the United States. Fr. Cipolla is one of the finest homilists I have ever heard. He preaches with an almost prophetic quality -- and constantly calls the flock to repentance, repentance and holiness.

There can be no question that the new mass is driven by a incipient feminism -- it is painful to even assist at such masses given the drivel one is forced to endure. Once a new mass friend chastised for saying such things -- reminding me that Christ is present at the new mass -- I reminded my friend, yes, I know, and that is the problem -- Christ deserves more than soppy music, blue haired ladies rushing the altar and a casual "I am Ok, your Ok" preaching.

Lord, send us heroic priests like Fr. Cipolla.

Scott Ramsay said...

@ Jack:

It is possible that all the men are out working in order to put eggs and milk on the table and thus not at daily mass. It is possible that the men are out doing the "social" gospel.

And then again, almost everyone at a typical daily mass in a Novus Ordo parish is retired. Women do typically outlive men by several years.

I think the real test is to go to a dozen "ordinary" Novus Ordo parishes with "ordinary" Novus Ordo priests on "ordinary" Sundays and "ordinary" holy days of obligation, and then count the adult men and adult women. At least in my area, women vastly outnumber men at mass. (I'm suggesting going on the umpteenth Sunday of "Ordinary" Time and the Immaculate Conception -- NOT Easter Sunday nor Christmas for such a head count.)

I don't know if this same disparity existed "back in the day." I wasn't alive then. I do know that almost every late 1800s Western or early 1900s film makes a joke of how the woman drags the man to church for some "comedic" effect. That may indicate that women have almost always outnumbered men at mass. I don't know my Church demographic history that well. May God bless you all!

-- In Christ Jesus Through Mary,

Scott Thomas Ramsay


Saint Thomas, Apostle and Martyr, pray for us!

Stephen said...

Another nice explanation of what happened, following in the footsteps of the great Michael Davies. Would that the good Father were to share his thoughts on how and why it happened.

Marie-Jacqueline said...
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Roberto Hope said...

When I was a pre-teen boy in the late fourties and early fifties, I used to go to mass to the only church there was in a small town about two hours away from Mexico City. The custom still subsisted there at that time of men sitting on one side of the aisle and women and young children on the other. My recollection is that both sides of the aisle were equally full and even some men who could not find a seat or preferred to hear mass that way stood at the rear.

I have not heard mass there since many years ago, so I cannot tell whether male-female attendance composition has changed there, but what I can say is that where my family and I currently teach Cathechism to children and adults on Sundays in a small chapel in a very poor neighborhood in Monterrey, where the Novus Ordo mass is said, about 60% of the mass attendants are women, some 25% are male children or teenagers, about 10% are old men and the rest are middle aged men. Almost no young men attend mass there.

I must add that in addition to that mass I also attend mass at an an FSSPX chapel on such Sundays when mass is said there or to a diocesan mass in the Extraordinary Form on Sundays when it is not. At either of them the male-female ratio is roughly 1 to 1.

In churches located in upper middle class and well-to-do neighborhoods in the Monterrey area, where the Novus Ordo mass is said exclusively, the male-female proportion appears to be roughly equal

mic said...

Excellent and this comment by Heenan has been on the Net on other blogs in the past. As a woman, however, I want to say that many of us do not like the NO either. It is not merely men who can be rational and objective, appreciating the sublimity of the vertical rather than horizontal movement of the TLM. The reason why women stay with the NO is an overwhelming ability to SUFFER through it for the love of Christ. We have a high pain threshold.

Condivido. E non è solo solidarietà femminile, ma convinzione ed esperienza.

Anche a Roma, tutte le Messe tradizionali vedono una maggior frequenza di uomini che di donne. E' un fenomeno che si è evidenziato fin dall'inizio.

New Catholic said...

Thank you, mic. When the current generation of senior women (those who suffer and those who enjoy the mess) is gone, the emptiness of the churches in Europe and North America (and much of Latin America) will astound the world.

But you are correct: women are able to put up with much more (nonsense, pain, suffering) than men, another one of those wonderful qualities God created to differentiate each sex (not "gender"!).

NC

Jack said...

Might I suggest it takes both the horizontal and the vertical to make the universal Altar of the Cross?

Ideally, the Eucharistic Sacrifice is neither horizontal nor vertical, but both.

Unknown said...

I don't care for the thinking. For one thing, as supertradmom said, are you kidding, women like it? Idiots like it. Archbishop Lefebvre said that we should use the philosophical terms for errors rather than the nationalistic terms being used by whomever he was writing to, 'the German error,' etc. Lefebvre said we should use the term liberalism rather than national tags, and I think by extension it's the same here. The novus ordo is protestant. Let's make THEM mad, instead of insulting women by hanging the novus ordo on us. This approach is sensationalistic, the old sex sex sex banner. Jan, White Lily Blog, and late to see this post.

Magdalene said...

I am fortunate in that my present pastor is a "manly man".
We do have male cantors, etc. and also many young families. Yet there are still many wives who come alone to Mass. It is the older men, in particular , who come in shorts or jeans and leave early.

Still we have little girl altar servers which is a mistake and they look foolish on the sanctuary. It is an army of ladies with maybe one man who are EMHC. And the songs are not out of the Baptist hymnal but from Oregon Press and KLOVE. Yuk. We musing of ourselves or like we are God.

I have had the sad experience of a gay priest which is an awful thing....take about feminization!

Alan Aversa said...

This reminds me of Fr. Ripperger, FSSP, saying, in one of his talks, that he's seen churches where the wives and children are inside and their husbands are outside smoking, but it would be better were the wives outside and the husbands inside, and, of course, best if they all were inside. Men must be the spiritual leaders and not relegate their duties.

The emasculated ("devirilized") Novus (dis)Ordo overturns God's order.

Dan Hunter said...

I went to Lutheran service, many years ago before I knew it could be sinful to go to one,
and the Lutheran service was very similar to most Novus Ordii [?] I have been to, except it was more "reverent".

Marie-Jacqueline said...
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Alan Aversa said...

Since most priest-child-abusers are homosexual/effeminate (cf. this), and an emasculated liturgy causes a priest to be effeminate, this article supplies the necessary link in the connection between the Novus (dis)Ordo and the priest ephebophilia crisis.

Margaret said...

As a recent convert I appreciate this perspective on the discontinuity between the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite. Would it be helpful to achieve Pope Francis' goal of letting both forms live by agreeing to use the titles set out by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? Blessed John Paul II's Theology of the Body provides further insight into the priest as vir as a common goal for Catholics from both communities.

I found the article's defense of liturgical Latin as inherently more compatible with the priest as vir puzzling. If the liturgy in part serves to fertilize the faithful, shouldn't their ability to receive be enhanced by their more complete comprehension of their vernacular language?

Duns said...

Quite a few things simply don't add up in this article. To mention one -- viz, the cassock and priests wearing secular inspired clothes:

Cassocks are a fairly modern clerical attire originated from the 19th century. They are no doubt an outgrowth of the long frock coat that was fashionable at that time.

Priestly garb, although never keeping up with cutting edge secular fashions, has without question changed throughout the centuries according to GENERAL secular fashions. During the Middle Ages priests wore long stockings as was popular at that time, and the white collar that priests still wear today is almost certainly a remnant of the high frilled collar popular the Middle Ages, to mention two more examples.

Also, how is a cassock more virile than a suit by today's standards? The cassock resembles a long skirt. Something that is nowadays the exclusive dress of a woman. It simply makes no sense to make this claim.

Dan Hunter said...

Cassocks worn by priests is a major sign of masculinity and virility.

Fd said...

@Margaret

" If the liturgy in part serves to fertilize the faithful, shouldn't their ability to receive be enhanced by their more complete comprehension of their vernacular language?"

Take a look at this video, It's the part 2 of a conference given by Father Goodwin from the FSSP:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQO3YomJG7I

Tabernacle of David said...

From article: "Active participation is understood as contemplation, as prayer." and "This is the silence of Moses before the burning bush, the silence of the Desert Fathers, the silence entered into by St. Benedict in the cave, the Sacro Speco."

Actually...

Yes, the silent prayers of the priest are a good reflection on this point.

However, in my opinion as a traditional Eastern Catholic, the Liturgies of the ancient Churches of the East attest that this should not be overstretched to impose a universal understanding of these sublime comparisons as supporting a TLM Low Mass situation where the faithful rarely open their mouths.

One only has to pray the Cherubikon of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom to understand how the Latin TLM developed differently from the rest of the Church's liturgies. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom possesses the sublime silence. Yet it also retains the spirit of the words of St. Paul to the Hebrews:

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to his name." (Heb. 13:5)

Notice he says let "us" offer the "fruit of lips."

A person can hold that the NO is not an authentic organic development of the Sacred Latin Liturgy AND at the same time recognize that an authentic organic development COULD include elements such as a holy signification of the vocal participation of the faithful AND the use of the vernacular.

It is important to avoid preaching to the "trad" choir and objectively hold fast to Holy Tradition. What is authentic is not always what we "like" or want to hear. Principles must guide us.

God be with you all.

Father G said...

"Cassocks are a fairly modern clerical attire originated from the 19th century. They are no doubt an outgrowth of the long frock coat that was fashionable at that time."

Wow Duns, where did you get this tidbit of erroneous information or did you just make it up?

The cassock has been in existence for centuries and just didn't pop up in the 19th century and was definitely NOT an derivation of the frock coat. It's quite the opposite. Since the beginning of Middle Ages and before, men worn tunics of varying length. Those in religion wore a longer tunic often with a shortened or longer scapular or cape with a capuche attached. Secular priests over time adopted this garb and the long tunic either with ties or buttons remained. As to secular garb, eventually the tunic became shorter and eventually evolved into the frock coat and then into the modern day suit coat.


Throckmorton P. said...

"If the liturgy in part serves to fertilize the faithful, shouldn't their ability to receive be enhanced by their more complete comprehension of their vernacular language?"



While mine will be a minority opinion and would find me stoned, in the biblical sense, on other less civil traditional forums I will opine my thoughts anyway.

I grew up and learned my Faith in the late 40's and 50's (B. 1941). The changes made to the Mass in the 1960's and earlier may have caused some faithful alarm, for the majority caused hardly any notice. I was married in 1966 and was surprised, while moving, to find the small paper "missal" that used to be given out at a wedding. Much to my surprise the Mass was in English except for the Cannon. I hadn't remembered the change to English.

Inclusion of St. Joseph in the Cannon, dropping the second Confiteor, Last Gospel and prayers after Mass were noted and unpopular--at least the last three. However they did not cause people to stop attending Mass. I haven’t met any Catholic in the three Society chapels and one independent chapel I have attended since 1991 that these changes caused alienation from the Church. (Not that any would accept the 1966 Missal now, too much has occurred over the intervening years. But, during the changes (1962-1966) none had left.)

The Liturgy of Paul VI and all that accompanied it is the defining moment.

Long-Skirts said...

Duns said:

"Cassocks are a fairly modern clerical attire originated from the 19th century. They are no doubt an outgrowth of the long frock coat that was fashionable at that time."

THE
BLACK
SAILS

The power of the cassock
Is to lure
Like fishermen
To nets secure.

The power of the cassock
Ebony shine
A hull of hues
On deck Divine.

The power of the cassock
Anchors the man
Dead to the world
In his sea-span.

The power of the cassock
Weighted strength
Before the mast
It's linen length.

The power of the cassock
Sails your soul
To greater depths
From shallow shoal.

The power of the cassock
Captains' pure
The fishermen
Our land-locked cure.

Alan Aversa said...

ad orientem vs. versus matrem strollers… haha. I like the analogy. ☺

Adfero said...

It makes me chuckle, reading comments on this piece linked at another blog, where people think ad orientem is all it will take to make the NO masculine. Yes, just turn the priest round -- that'll solve everything!

Common Sense said...

Novus Ordo Missa belongs to its original place, which is the eternal pit!

Barbara said...

I finally had time to read all of this fine article which highlights even more why the Traditional Latin Mass is the true Catholic Mass and why it will always be vastly superior to the New Mass of Paul VI. Thank you so much Father Cipolla!

Father addressed many important aspects in this one short essay and I especially appreciated his analogies and commentary about discontinuity and real rupture between the Old Rite and the New One, functionalism, Latin and the priest’s uniform - the cassock.


It is hard to write about the devirilization of the priesthood without shedding a negative light on women. Father’s reference to the priest “as mother-priest” or as “school marm” and “the Italian mamma” anecdote connote this negativity. I understand the analogies and they fit. It is true that sentimentality is mainly associated with the feminine and that this has destroyed our Catholic worship in the many ways that Father described – the priest (chatty priest connotes chatty women) facing the people , the sappy and sweet music (and worse – rock) used to stimulate superficial emotions and destroy all sense of an encounter with the Divine Mystery. However, I also believe that many women are put off or have been put off by these things too, so it’s not just a male distaste. I cannot bear these aberrations of Holy Mass anymore especially since I discovered the Old Rite. . The 7th of July 2007 changed my Catholic life forever. Thank you Pope Benedict XVI!

I know that there are women of the feminist type that have kind of taken over parishes and pushed the didactic and sentimental agenda that Father described and the priest goes along with it all. This was one of the reasons I stopped going to my present parish. A small group of pushy women were protestanising everything and the priest, to my chagrin, allowed it. These “revolutionaries” are always in a minority but are convinced and determined of the rightness of their wrongness. It’s always the way. And their errors are spread and become “normal” if repeated often enough. Reading Catholic experiences on this excellent blog and others assures me that my experience is far from isolated.

The devirilization of the priesthood nonetheless was put into effect by men. In fact – priests! Ah - this indeed is an enigima. And the men left after the priests changed the Mass! Not all of them thank goodness.

We have our warriors like Michael Davies, Von Hildebrand, Muggeridge and Amerio and others like the good Archbishop Lefebvre ( some not so well-known and.on this blog per chance?).

Perhaps “diminishing the divine aspect of the priesthood” which the New Mass in effect has so successfully achieved, is one of the main causes of the devirilzation of the priesthood. Women became “de-something” too in the process.

Sorry I don’t buy the argument that the TLM is masculine and the NO is feminine.

I agree with Supertradmum. But I’d just like to add I have no sympathy for Catholic men who will not at least try be men after the heart of Our Lord (after all they have access to the sacraments too) and allow the havoc that has disgraced and dirtied the Catholic Sanctuary for far too long – be they priest or laymen. They have only themselves to blame if the New Mass has become feminized.

Sorry this is so long. Thank you once again Father Cipolla for putting some order and sanity into the House of Our Dear Lord. May we have many priests like you to pray for and sustain.

Alan Aversa said...

@Duns: See Clerical Dress and Insignia of the Roman Catholic Church pp. 47 ff. (PDF pp. 66 ff.).

Common Sense said...

Bit of topic only because what I've read makes my head still spining. Our great Australian Bueuro of Statistics lately just issued an order and usurped the most fundamental privacy right pertaining to the intimite relation between presumably married couple. So if you're one of those 'chosen' for the interview, you're obliged under the penalty of law answer all those questions about the past and present intimate details. If people refuse to cooperate they can be subjected to jail term and hefty fines. I couldn't go over it, how a mother of famous australian politician Natasha Stott- Despoja was harrassed by ABS. I've seen the clip and the article of it on Jeff Rense today.IF THAT'S TRUE, than the last frontier which is your bedroom, has been invaded by Big Brother who looks after our wellfare and protects us from terrorists. Aren't we fortunate? PLEASE, verify the veracity of it first, before you comment!

Bwangi Kilonzo said...

As someone who grew up in the novus ordo and did not attend the old rite till I was in my 30,s, all I can say is, the two forms are not the same rite.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Evelyn Waugh later wrote in the margins of an earlier sympathetic letter from Archbishop (not yet Cardinal) Heenan, "He went back on all this."

In fact, it is of notable interest to follow the trajectory of shifts in Heenan's position over the course of the 1960s. As I write in my review of the Waugh-Heenan correspondence:

By 1964 we find Heenan writing, “We shall try to keep the needs of all in mind — Pops, Trads, Rockers, Mods, With-its, and Without-its.” And by 1965 we find him echoing the prevailing progressive bromides touting the benefits of the changes — such as the “millions who hitherto were mere bystanders ... now taking an active part in the Mass” — and going so far as to compare those who resisted the Council’s changes to those elderly unfortunates who resist “slum clearance,” by which they are compelled “to exchange squalor for clean decency.”

Brother Juniper said...

Barbara saith:
"I don’t buy the argument that the TLM is masculine and the NO is feminine."

No surprize that a sublime article generates many interesting comments.

I think Barbara is exactly right, but I also don't think that this is what Father is saying. The TLM contains many elements (masculine and feminine among them) in their proper balance. The NO contains fewer elements and the balance is not as fine tuned (I almost said all out of whack). The masculine elements are downplayed in the NO (as they are in society at large). Eg, more of a meal than a sacrifice.

Bless you all. I learn so much here.

Unknown said...

A confused young priest who learned the Traditional Mass was trying to tell our young servers that the alb was similar to a dress, "showing the nurturing, feminine side of a priest..."

Not sure what other aspects of the priesthood he was confused about.

AMW

Father G said...

"A confused young priest who learned the Traditional Mass was trying to tell our young servers that the alb was similar to a dress, "showing the nurturing, feminine side of a priest..."

Not surprising given the formation that most priests receive in modern seminaries. This is a perfect example of why one should use caution with Novus Ordo priests offering the TLM. They often bring with them their bad formation. It's not just about the learning the Latin, whipping on a maniple and crossing your stole. It's much more, as Pope Benedict XVI said...there's a whole liturgical and doctrinal formation that goes with the TLM as well as a certain culture...these things need to be learned and must be preserved.
Although, I will say, so I'm not beat up here, there are many good Novus Ordo priests who are say both rites, who are sincere and do a very good job. This should gives us hope...

UnamSanctam said...

ban the Novus Ordo now!

Paxchristi said...

Fascintating essay. I have just finished reading Dei Verbum, and I have a question. From the NO pulpit today we largely hear the "three-reading" homily, that is, homilies based solely on the Sacred Scripture readings, with little or nothing offered of catechetics, apologetics or teachings of the Magisterium.

How were homilies structured pre-Vatican II? And on what documents were the structure of these homilies based?

At what point did the "three-reading homily" become de rigueur post-Vatican II?

Why am I asking? In Dei Verbum it states clearly that the Church stands on the tripod of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Teachings of the Church. There cannot be one without the others. Later in the document, it is suggested that the homilies be "regulated" by Sacred Scripture. Of course I realize the deep beauty and necessity of the Word of God, but if our homilies are based solely on Sacred Scripture without utilizing the wisdom of the other two legs of the tripod, Sacred Tradition and the Teachings of the Church, then one might as well be at a Protestant service where the preacher sermonizes only on Sacred Scripture.

Can someone help with this history please?

Ferrotomb said...

Thank you very much for publishing this well-written article!

Gabriella said...

I think one sign of pope Benedict's greatness is that he has "decriminalized" the old mass. People who still miss it can now attend the Latin mass without fear of being at odds with the Church. I never understood how traumatic a transition it must have been to be thrust into the new mass. I got a small glimpse of this with the recent changes to the English mass. Only a few responses were changed but they are a constant irritation and I find myself often asking Jesus for the grace to accept them.

That being said, I don't agree with much of this article, but can sympathize with the longing for a return to what appear to have been better times. The one point, I totally agree with is about the poor quality of the music used during the liturgy. I find it extremely awkward, if not downright impossible to sing the Gloria and the Confiteor.

The sign of peace has also become a time of awkwardness and embarrassment. For many years it was a handshake exchanged in a unifying sign of fellowship. Since the Saars scare, in Ontario, Canada at least, it has turned into a mishmash of hand jestures. The one I hate most is the 1960s peace sign which was a misunderstanding of Churchill's symbol during WW II. Churchill was not signing V for victory, he was improvising on the traditional English sign for "up yours". I just shake my head in sadness when I see whole congregations smilingly waving their hands in this rude jesture.

All that being said, my favourite liturgies, have been those attended in small groups where there has been a true unity of one community joining the priest in an offering to God. I guess that places me on team new order.

Gabriella said...

I think one sign of pope Benedict's greatness is that he has "decriminalized" the old mass. People who still miss it can now attend the Latin mass without fear of being at odds with the Church. I never understood how traumatic a transition it must have been to be thrust into the new mass. I got a small glimpse of this with the recent changes to the English mass. Only a few responses were changed but they are a constant irritation and I find myself often asking Jesus for the grace to accept them.

That being said, I don't agree with much of this article, but can sympathize with the longing for a return to what appear to have been better times. The one point, I totally agree with is about the poor quality of the music used during the liturgy. I find it extremely awkward, if not downright impossible to sing the Gloria and the Confiteor.

The sign of peace has also become a time of awkwardness and embarrassment. For many years it was a handshake exchanged in a unifying sign of fellowship. Since the Saars scare, in Ontario, Canada at least, it has turned into a mishmash of hand jestures. The one I hate most is the 1960s peace sign which was a misunderstanding of Churchill's symbol during WW II. Churchill was not signing V for victory, he was improvising on the traditional English sign for "up yours". I just shake my head in sadness when I see whole congregations smilingly waving their hands in this rude jesture.

All that being said, my favourite liturgies, have been those attended in small groups where there has been a true unity of one community joining the priest in an offering to God. I guess that places me on team new order.

Mike said...

UnamSanctam said,

ban the Novus Ordo now!

Can you imagine?… The entire world would drop its jaw! Along with that collective dropped jaw would surely occur a loosening of the world's grip that now reaches into the Church herself. Confessionals would fill. Re-Christianization would begin. Scales would fall from eyes blinded by false modernity, since nothing is more ancient and more modern than Truth. Modernist heresy would perforce be corrected by ecclesiastical authority. Conversions would manifest on an epic scale. True charity would reappear. The missionary spirit would reanimate, parishes would revitalize. Beauty would triumph in churches, and, more importantly, in human hearts..

Fanciful thoughts, no doubt..

Still, I've no trouble reading them simply as the proven history of the power of the Traditional Latin Mass - contrasted sadly by its pitiful substitute.

GMMF said...

I did some research on the Heenan quote, and in context he is speaking of the singing of the Mass, psalms, and hymns by the congregation and comparing it to the popular low Mass. He is not talking about facing the people, the vernacular, the text of Mass, etc.

This particular criticim of his would apply just as much to an ad orientem TLM with congregational singing. Fr. Cipolla's argument may arrive at the same conclusion as Heenan's, but it arrives there by a completely different route.

New Catholic said...

Of course: Heenan arrived at it by intuition, the Author by the actual experience of the past 50 years - or do you deny the feminization that has taken place around the world in the composition of the lay "audience" and in the apparent attitudes of the clergy?

Returnee said...

The mother-priest is a superb analogy.
The enemies of Christ knew what they were doing before, during and now after Vatican II. It's the church at large who couldn't or wouldn't see it coming. Time to gather up the wandering masses and close the barn door...

Gustavo D. said...

Our own translation to spanish: http://elbuhoescrutador.blogspot.com/2013/08/desvirilizacion-y-liturgia-una-aguda.html

christopher schaefer said...

“Lex orandi, lex credendi is usually associated with the fifth-century theologian Prosper of Aquitaine and it basically means ‘the law of worship determines the law of belief.’… many liturgists after Vatican II, even though they verbally proclaimed this dictum as a ritual incantation, believed more in liturgical education than the liturgy itself as formative… they are still relying on ‘more education’ to do the trick, that is, to move people, change people, or create an intra-ecclesial social movement”. Yet what always was constant throughout the Church’s history was that doctrinal “ideas are merely retrospective accounts of what took place in ritual practice (worship).” http://blogs.nd.edu/thecc/2013/04/22/lex-orandi-lex-credendi/ It is this transformation of the Mass into didactic functionalism that represents the most radical departure from 2000 years of Catholic worship.