Rorate Caeli

“Creative liturgy… alienates us from God and draws us near to sin.”

From an interview with Msgr. Nicola Bux published last month in the Italian blogosphere:

Then, not too surprisingly, he affirms: “The sense of sin has been weakened by the dilution of the sacrality of the liturgy. There is a close link between ethos and worship.” What do you mean? “That we today have lost values because we often do not give God a worthy worship at Mass. And many atheists ought also to live as if God exists.” (E molti anche atei dovrebbero vivere come se Dio esistesse) But let us return to the liturgical aspect: “People need the sense of the sacred in order to discover God. Sin is a negation of God, but if even when assisting Mass we live far from God, how is it then possible to avoid sin?” Then he specifies: “The liturgy is sacred, divine and glorious; it is vertical in the sense of tending towards the High, towards Beauty and Heaven. It is not something circular or horizontal, some kind of sports stadium, assembly or party. The idea of a fruitful and creative liturgy inevitably loses the sense of the sacred and therefore alienates us from God and draws us near to sin. The people, who are much more intelligent than one gives them credit for, perceive where the sacred is. It is not something abstract but a concrete thing. And it says so in the Gospel. "The woman wished to touch the cloak of Christ. In order to defeat sin, there is a need for certain, unequivocal and firm signs, not fluctuating, unstable ones.”

Therefore creative liturgy creates damage: “Many, especially after the Council, ceded to this unhealthy notion of creativity, but it was not the fault of the Council, as the Council never abrogated or cancelled the liturgy of all times (liturgia di sempre). A sloppy, manipulated and -- even worse – violated Mass is an obstacle to the sacred and alienates the people from the Church. To celebrate creative Masses is a profanation of the sense of the sacred, because it brings us away from God. The minister of the cult must never be an actor, often a mediocre one at that and a source of scandal, but should think that his principal duty is to serve God, never his own unbridled desire to play the protagonist. Only by recuperating or restoring a correct vertical liturgy, can we limit in part the effects of sin, thus rediscovering God.”


  1. Speculum3:50 PM

    Given that we are supposed to avoid the occasions of sin, and given that the monsignor speaks of the dangers and evils posed to the soul by ‘creative liturgies’, should it not be said that Catholics should avoid attending “creative liturgies”, even when these are “celebrated” in “full communion with Rome”?

  2. English Pastor4:31 PM

    Creative liturgy is brought about by the desire to 'celebrate man and his giftedness'; liturgy which routinely flouts the rubrics is brought about by the idea that the liturgy belongs to man rather than to God. Since liturgy is a reflection of belief (lex ornadi lex credendi) we can expect nothing but creative and norm-flouting liturgy today, because todays culture is man-centred. In seminary we had to do an assignent of religion's battle with science. My contention then (20+ years ago) was as it is today: that our greatest battle is not with the physical sciences but with psychology and sociology which, by their promotion of a person-centred culture, cannot generate a liturgy focused on God. Their liturgy will always focus on celebrating man (creative litrugy) or have man placed in the ascendency, over and above God (flouting of the rubrics). In order to restore true liturgy it is vital that Rome not simply encourage the following of the rubrics but enforce them.

  3. Anonymous4:34 PM

    If it is not the fault of the council then whose fault is it? Our leadership implemented the council teachings and let loose liberal hooligans to run over everything sacred.

    Poor V2. Wrongly interpreted, misunderstood. Boo hoo.

    For shame.

  4. M. A.5:17 PM

    There is so much talk, but so very little action. In "my parish", since SP we have been able to have one Tridentine Mass per year, while the guitars, children's Masses, heteropraxy of every 'Jane', 'Jean and 'Joan', "serving" from little bowls, continue unabated day after day, week after week..with no end in sight.

    Nonetheless, I am glad to read Msgr. Bux's comments.

  5. Well it's about time somebody said it...

  6. John McFarland6:18 PM

    I submit that we have to go a few steps further back than English Pastor and Anonymous 16:34 do.

    Modernism goes back to the latter 19th century. Ecumenism, and the program of tailoring the liturgy to ecumenical specifications, were already in the works by the
    1920s. The beginning of the replacement of the traditional doctrine of the redemption with what came to be known as the "Paschal mystery" theology came no later than the 1930s. The draftsmen of Sacrosanctum Concilium were all adepts of these various heterodox currents, and already intended to redo the spirit and letter of the liturgy in accordance with their tenets -- which they did. So we have ended up with a Mass that, as Archbishop Lefebvre famously formulated the dynamic, "is Protestant and makes Protestants."

    The alienation caused by creative liturgy is real enough; but at bottom it is only a symptom of the alienation from the authentic faith that has been increasing for better than a century, and which got institutional control of the Church during the pontificate of Paul VI, with Vatican II both the site of and the engine of the revolution.

    The traditional Mass cannot solve our problems -- and institutionally, it will not be permitted the opportunity to solve our problems -- unless and until the theology that created our problems ceases to be the theology of the Vatican, and the spirit of accommodation to the world that underlies that theology ceases to be the spirit of the Vatican.

    We could survive spiritually if, God forbid, we had to do without the Mass. Japanese Catholics did it for several centuries.

    We cannot survive spiritually without the Faith.

  7. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Lots of people and clergy saying the same thing...Then let's get to make some of the basic improvements on a widescale..Ad Orientem, Latin, Chant....What's the hold up? It is past time to move on this or it will never get done....Come on already.

  8. I am at the moment still a Protestant, although I feel the Lord's loving pull toward the Church of Rome. I have seen more than my share of silliness in the name of liturgy, not that many Protestants use that word. English Pastor said, "Creative liturgy is brought about by the desire to 'celebrate man and his giftedness.'"

    In many churches it is more than this. It is a belief that people cannot understand teaching or participate in worship that is different from what they experience in the rest of their lives. There is a sense that things must be dumbed down and made more accessible. We see this in simpler language translations of the Bible, simpler language songs, inane musicality, and so forth.

    I have the privilege of teaching Latin and Theory of Knowledge at a large public high school, and while I know that not all my students understand what I am teaching, yet I am equally aware that the majority can. I do not talk down to them when discussing the moods of verbs in the protasis or apodosis of a conditional sentence. I point out so we can enjoy together the beauties of a Ciceronian periodic sentence. And a great many stay with me as we explore the consequences of Protagorean epistemology as we read selections from Plato's Theaetetus (in translation, of course.)

    There is absolutely no need to dumb down liturgy or to strive to make it more accessible by all sorts of contortions and surrenders to popular entertainment. If people are only coming to church for the entertainment value, then they are missing the point, and churches miss the point right along with them when they surrender to these so-called "felt needs."

  9. Anonymous11:32 PM

    I never hear one of these "experts" say we made a mistake, Vatican 2 was unnecessary and the watering down of all aspects of the faith were because we were too lazy to do long liturgies and too cowardly to state the TRUTH as black is black, white is white!

  10. Anonymous2:02 AM

    where would one find these comments concerning Liturgies -- particualry in the OF -- which are not creative in the sense of strange and irreverent additions... but which might be considered "creative" when practices and customs common in the Older Form are done in the Ordinary Form....

  11. Anonymous2:03 AM

    Magister Christianus,

    I pray you come into the fullness of Christs Church soon, my brother.

    The joy is very great over here!

    God bless good man.


  12. Anonymous3:32 AM

    Well said, but the theological analysis neds to be taken several steps deeper.

    Why is the creative litury opposed to the sense of the sacred?

    Because the "sacred" in Christianity is forever, essentiall associated with the Passion and Death of the God-Man, Jesus Christ; and because the Mass is the re-presentation of that Most Sacred Sacrifice; and because the Christian, and moreso in a unique manner, the priest, must access the fruits of that sacrifice through conformity to the Crucified, because even after baptism we retain in us the disordered potentialty of the effects of original sin, which are only purged and clensed in sacrifice, mortification, immolation. Thus the sacrifice we offer on our altars is not only the unique means of salvation for the world, but the necessary way to access that salvation for all the offspring of Adam.

    Hence the liturgy by nature must be sacrificial not only in what it does or represents or communicates, but in the way we must access it and participate in it.

    Thus creativity in liturgy, which by its very nature prescinds from the necessity to mortify what is particularly or unique or different in me, and conform myself to a univeral rule which is uncomfortable to my many vices and peculiarities, is opposed essentially to this true Faith.

    Second, the question arises, how can men tinged with the effects of original sin create a liturgy which itself can be an effective instrument in removing such effects and sanctifying them?

    It is an impossibility: those who affirm that committees can create liturgical rites are pelagians, who believes that they can commence their own sanctification without grace.

    The ancient rites of the Church were authored by the Apostles, Fathers, Doctors and Saints, men who had enjoyed that unique and most rare grace of transforming union, and who, having conquered the effects of original sin in themselves by their perfect cooperating with grace, knew how to worship God in such a manner as to lead others to this interior sanctification and purgation.

    hence it is manifestly erroneous, and I woudl say heretical, to assert that one can reform the liturgy by conciliar enactment, not because an ecumenical council does not posses such authority, but because you cannot implement such a charge, unless you are already a saint on earth, and the Church as hierarchical has not the power to make individuals saints at will, as this is a special grace of the Holy Ghost, given to those whom God alone chooses beforehand, and how remain faithful.

    hence the attempt to reform liturgy by a Council is inherently arrogant, and doomed to failure.


    Br. Alexis Bugnolo

  13. Anonymous4:12 AM

    Monsignor's revised version of the post-Vatican II liturgical revolution is that Vatican II did not launch said revolution.

    However, in 1969, Pope Paul VI made it clear that Vatican II launched the liturgical revolution.

    Pope Paul VI linked the revolution to "obedience to the Council."

    But to salvage Vatican II, certain conservatives are determined to push the notion that Vatican II is not linked to the liturgical revolution.

    From: CHANGES IN MASS FOR GREATER APOSTOLATE, Pope Paul VI, November 26, 1969:

    "Our Dear Sons and Daughters:

    "We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass.

    "A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries.

    "We must prepare for this many-sided inconvenience.

    "It is the kind of upset caused by every novelty that breaks in on our habits.

    "We shall notice that pious persons are disturbed most, because they have their own respectable way of hearing Mass, and they will feel shaken out of their usual thoughts and obliged to follow those of others.

    "This novelty is no small thing.

    "As We said on another occasion, we shall do well to take into account the motives for this grave change.

    "The first is obedience to the Council.

    "That obedience now implies obedience to the Bishops, who interpret the Council's prescription and put them into practice.

    "No longer Latin, but the spoken language will be the principal language of the Mass.

    "We are parting with the speech of the Christian centuries; we are becoming like profane intruders in the literary preserve of sacred utterance.

    "We will lose a great part of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual thing, the Gregorian chant.

    "We have reason indeed for regret, reason almost for bewilderment."


    "The first is obedience to the Council."

  14. Anonymous5:56 AM

    I must first disagree with Archbishop Lefebvre on how the Ordinary Form "is Protestant and makes Protestants."

    We look at the Liturgy of the Church, and there was a rupture after the Novus Ordo was implemented, especially in regards to rubrics and things like this. But as Msgr. Bux has said, this is not the fault of the council. The GIRM was there from the get-go. The black and red are there. People, especially during those crazy times in the Church, thought that since the Mass was allowed to do other things (common language most especially) they figured anything goes.

    But this is not the teaching of the Church in any form in regards to the Mass. We are still first and foremost CATHOLICS. Creative liturgy does harm the faith. I will definitely attest to that. Very bad liturgy does create very bad Catholics, and worse, it can alienate us from God (Msgr. Bux was on point!)

    I was a product of poor liturgy in my hometown. I left the Church throughout High School, and never once believed in the Eucharist, nor any of the Doctrines of Holy Mother Church. It wasn't until I saw and was able to serve at a more solemn and proper Liturgy that I came to believe. I still attend the Ordinary Form every day. There is no Extraordinary Form in my diocese, but I am okay with that. Because the Mass, celebrated reverently, is the Mass. Christ is there. Regardless of language, if you say the black and do the red, Christ is present.

    The larger majority of my friends have never seen the TLM. But I guarantee, every single one of them have the same belief in the Eucharist as any saint. Christ is real, and they know this.

    I will not agree with Archbishop Lefebvre, nor do I agree with Mr. McFarland. The Council is the continuation of the faith, just as much as Vatican I, or even Trent. To accuse Bl. John XXIII, the Council he convened or any pope during or after this council to be Modernist is a lie. Flat out. Our entire faith cannot fall into heresy. The gates of hell will not prevail.

  15. Through liturgical horizontalism, the liberal modernist agenda was able to disembody almost all that was Roman Catholic in The Holy Mass. The sensitive blending of Sacred Tradition, Holy Scriptures & doctrinal infallibility into the liturgical Roman Rite of Holy Mass, was a birthright denied to the last two generations of Roman Catholics in The Church.

    The nature of the NO service is creative of itself & in this is unsustainable as a Roman Catholic liturgical form. It may be changed and re-formulated as much as The Vatican wishes but it will never completely embody authentic Roman Catholic liturgical aspirations. Many bishops ignore official rubrics; avoid official changes and invent or allow invention in the NO liturgies. permutations are countless. It is therefore alien to The Church and should be dispensed with as soon as possible.

    At the same time, any intentions to keep manipulating elements of The Holy Mass in Latin to "fit" contemporary norms & values ought to be resisted to the end. Many of us have had enough of this subversive philosophy of change, novelty and resultant liturgical anarchy.

  16. "Our entire faith cannot fall into heresy."

    But it can fall into pastoral & liturgical inappropriateness. This was a consequence of the liberal insistence, as was very evident as a controlling influence at The Councils, to the extent that pre-conciliar and post-conciliar paradigms are almost diametrically opposed - one bearing much fruit while the other bears pastoral confusion through uncharacteristic ambiguity; liturgical destruction through untypical novel approaches together with reductionist ecumenical & inter-religious policies that serve only to diminish the uniqueness & importance of The Faith.

    Considering the downward trends in all chief indicators since the early 1970s, still continuing, empirical evidence demonstrates the systematisation of heretical thinking and de facto schismatic behaviour among the faithful including significantly the clergy & the episcopate. Moreover, disobedience has almost become a norm.

  17. Anonymous1:04 PM

    If it will happen that we will have only the Pope, two cardinals and five faithful left in the whole Church that will still mean that the gates of hell have not prevailed.

    But I don't think it would mean that it's okay.

  18. Joe B2:47 PM

    I've heard the statement that 'modernism and moderists were already in the church before Vatican II, so Vatican II obviously wasn't the problem' so much that I'm forced to reevaluate my view that they are correct. It is beginning to sound like an agenda statement - propoganda.

    Here's the dilemma - if you never gain sufficient power to alter the practices and traditions of the people, will your errors ever be of consequence? There have been times when errors permeated the church but didn't gain much traction in the pews because they couldn't overcome the steady influence of the Old Mass, among other traditions. This bought time for wiser heads to prevail, and this is a church that generally moves slowly. Vatican II empowered those with erroneous views so that their negative influence on souls went from just local or like-minded group, to universal, and it did so with great speed and suddenness. Thus, I now suspect that the watershed historical event which Vatican II really was is indeed responsible for the crisis in the church.

    As for the Japanese surviving for centuries without the Old Mass, I suspect that phenomenon owes itself in large part to the fruits of the Old Mass in other areas of the world throughout that period, especially the nurturing of saints whose intercession sustained those heroic people.

    It has been some 40 years now. Do we have any saints yet who claim the Novus Ordo as their inspiration?

  19. Joseph Antoniello,

    You are very incorrect. Vatican II was definitely a break from the past Magisterium. It must be condemned.

  20. Anonymous8:38 PM

    Joseph Antoniello

    Does it bother you at all that in countries using English for the N.O. Mass the consecration of the wine is exactly what the Catechism of Trent specified "shall not be used"?

    Does it bother you that when the definition of the N.O. Mass was announced it was found to be heretical? It was changed to a definition that was not heretical without any change in liturgy. Is this OK with you

    A.M. La Pietra

  21. Anonymous10:27 PM

    Should it be celebrated that way? -- no. Should we attend it? -- a very different question. God supplies graces through the Church, Mother of all grace. And those graces include compensatory graces offsetting the damage, one presumably ought to believe, potentially done by illicit "performances". And even it can become an occasion or instrument of holinesss if we suffer correctly.

  22. John McFarland4:50 AM

    Mr. Antoniello,

    I am skeptical that you have a good understanding of the Faith. Where would you have learned it? If you got a good grounding in the Faith in an NO parish, you belong to a very exclusive club.

    If you read and can understand the SSPX's pamphlet "The Problems of the Liturgical Reform" (I am not trying to patronize you; it is not easy going), you will learn that the new Mass is grounded in a new and at best dubious understanding of the Redemption, the liturgical part of the infamous New Theology whose adepts and fellow-travelers captured the leadership of the Church at the Council. This new teaching cannot be squared with the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent regarding the Mass; and so the new Mass is radically flawed even when celebrated reverently. Balloon Masses and clown Masses are just the dumb and downmarket version of a Mass that is radically flawed even it is done intelligently and with culture and class.

    You can say that there is continuity between Vatican II and the councils that went before, but I doubt that you can even make your assertion plausible, much less demonstrate it. I could bury you under statements from and about Vatican II, beginning with Pope John's opening address at Vatican, that Vatican II was something new, a pastoral council that would not define anything, but bring the settled doctrine of the Church to modern man in language that he could understand. So at the very least, it is hard to figure out what level of authority to give to its pronouncements, and impossible to argue that it taught infallibly except when it simply repeated infallible teaching.

    Furthermore, the professed program of the Council is dubious. How can you teach the Faith to the modern world in its own language when its own language is the language of secularism and at least practical atheism? Is not the likely result of this program the conversion of Catholics to secularism, rather than the conversion of secularists to the Faith -- and isn't that exactly what we've seen for the last forty years, with the pace of apostasy slowing only because there are fewer and fewer Catholics left to apostatize?

    It is not my job to make judgments of heresy. But I certainly can say that at the very best, the teachings of the conciliar church are equivocal and hence are a danger to the Faith and make it easier for the Enemy to seduce the faithful from the Faith; and he has taken full advantage of the laxity of the shepherds to attack the flock. This is true even of the teachings of the conciliar popes.

    The issue is not infallibility, since the conciliar popes show no interest in teaching infallibly. Nor is the issue indefectibility; the Holy Ghost will make sure that the Church continues until the end of time, no matter what betrayals we Catholics, from the greatest to the smallest, impose on the Church.

    The issue is when the Pope and the bishops will again teach the complete and unadulterated faith, and stop trying to craft a doctrine that will please both God and the world, because that is not a way in which God can be pleased. We are enjoined to love God and our neighbor, but not the world. The world is what Jesus, the all-merciful, refused to pray for.

    In the meantime, we must go and find where we can learn and profess the complete and unadulterated faith, and go to a Mass that both reflects and strengthens that faith and the other theological virtues. Reverent NO Masses and professing the rudiments of the Faith are not enough. We all must do more than that for the Lord our God, who is perfect and demands perfection.

  23. Louis E.4:10 PM

    I don't know about saints whose inspiration was the Novus Ordo,but Jerzy Popieluszko (ordained a priest in 1972) is to be beatified June 6,and Chiara Badano (lived 1971-90 I believe) is in line for beatification.

  24. Just a question:

    If the liturgical revolution of Paul VI was done in obedience to the Council, would it be right for the "revolutionaries" to go beyond what the Council actually mandated?

  25. I understand the need to connect with the teaching/liturgy of the ages to ensure what we say and do remains faithful. For those claiming we shouldn't be lowering ourselves to the level of the common language and try to creatively connect with people where they are, please explain to me why Jesus, a Hebrew, would speak & teach in Aramaic, and the New Testament would be written in Greek? And why would Jesus even bother to try to put spiritual truth into parables if he wasn't trying to connect with people where they actually were?
    Come to think of it, I'm glad that Jerome and others didn't feel the Bible shouldn't be translated into the language of thepeople or we would have had no Latin texts or liturgies to argue about!


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