Rorate Caeli

The sole purpose of a "Reform of the reform"

From the interview granted by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, author of Il Concilio Vaticano II: una storia mai scritta (The Second Vatican Council – a never before written history), to Austrian Catholic website

[]There is no renewal of the Church without a true liturgical renewal. What is the meaning, in your view, of the liturgy in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite which, with the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, once again enjoys full right of citizenship in the Church? Is it truly "a twofold use of the save and only Rite" (Benedict XVI, Letter on the publication of "Summorum Pontificum", July 7, 2007) or should the "form" that today is "ordinary" be considered a "phase" of that return to the origins in which the true future is found?

[De Mattei] The Holy Sacrifice is truly one, but the "Novus ordo" of Paul VI is, it seems to me, profoundly different, in spirit and in form, from the ancient Roman Rite. In this last Rite, I see not the past, but the future of the Church. Traditional liturgy is in fact the most efficacious response to the challenge of secularism, that attacks us.

Benedict XVI gave full citizenship back to the ancient Roman Rite. I am certain that it will go through a new development and a new splendor in the Church and in society. The "Reform of the Reform" which is mentioned makes sense and is worthy only as a "transition" of the "novus ordo" towards the traditional rite, and not as a pretext for the abandonment of the latter, that must be kept in its integrity and purity.

The essential question seems to me, though, that of recovering a thelogical and ecclesiological vision founded upon the dimension of transcendent and the holy. This means that it is necessary to reconquer the fundamental principles of Catholic theology, beginning with a precise view of the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

It is further necessary that the idea of sacrifice shall permeate society in the shape, quite forgotten today, of a spirit of sacrifice and penance. This, and not anything else, is the "experience of sacredness" of which our society has urgent need. Without it, it is hard to imagine a return to an authentic Liturgy that has at its center the adoration owed to the one true God.


  1. Please God let this be our future. I am quite young, but I won't see it.

  2. Yes, the only rightful end of the "Reform of the Reform" is to wean man from the Holey Celebration of the masses (the ad hominem Novus Ordo) to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (the ad Dominum Traditional Mass).

    The Reform of the Reform is like refinishing an Andy Warhol painting; it might look better, but its form and substance will remain the same.

    Also, this is very important: [the Traditional Rite] must be kept in its integrity...!

    One of my pet peeves is the notion of an integrated rite between the NO and the TLM that I hear in tradition-wanna be circles. Banish the thought! Banish it from every membrane of that thing above your eyes, under your hair, and encircled by your ears! Does oil mix with water? Neither can the TLM mix with the NO!

  3. dominic19559:14 PM

    That's what I say too-"fixing" the NO is putting lipstick on a pig or a Mercedes hood ornament on a Trabant.

    Most people (from prelates on down) really don't have much of a sense of what liturgical worship is or should be. The only charitable and effective way is to ease them out of it. Let them spend the last of their silliness on the NO like they have already for the past 50 yrs. I would imagine that if these people had to start saying the TLM right now, they'd find some way of ruining it.

  4. Spero9:22 PM

    These have been my sentiments as well. It is very difficult to convince people of the merits of the TLM when they are addicted to the emotional stimulation experienced in most Sunday Masses according to the Novus Ordo Missae. If, however, we can bring the Novus Ordo to appear to be on common ground extrinsically (through restoration of chant and real sacred music, orthodox catechesis, ad orientem, Communion on the tongue and kneeling etc.), then we will have the common ground to invite people to start actually looking at the texts and structure of the TLM versus the NOM.
    Right now, most people are fed a diet of sugar at the Novus Ordo. There are catchy little songs, funny sermons, lots of eye contact from the priest, and very little silence. The result is that it is not necessary to actually exercise the intellect very much or engage the will. The feelings and senses are kept busy and the time is easily passed.
    If you want to pray the TLM, you have to actually exercise your mind. The TLM does not spoon feed you a bunch of sensations to pass the time. You actually have to think about what is happening on the altar during the silence of the Canon. If you don't think about that, then you will have to think about something else or get really bored.
    In thinking about the mysteries of the Mass you will then be ready to engage your will in "acts." You will make acts of penance, adoration, thanksgiving, love, hope, reverence etc.
    In short, you actually need to pray the TLM. If the Novus Ordo is celebrated in the way that it often is, you can get by without engaging the intellect and will very much.
    I think that the result of this is that there is the "hard Mass" (TLM) where you actually have to do something with your brain, and the "easy Mass" (NOM) where you can just glide along. So long as this is the dichotomy that people experience, it is hard to talk about the real merits of the TLM. People are likely to either reject it because it is hard and boring, or to write it off as an unnecessary alternative to just celebrating the NOM more reverently. If someone is not accustomed to actually trying to PRAY the Mass, they will likely find the TLM to be disorienting or boring. Their mind will be left free to soar toward heavenly things, but not used to this freedom, they might be left feeling awkward.
    It is my contention that as we remove the sugar and stimulation from the Novus Ordo and as people are taught to pray the Mass uniting themselves to the Sacrifice, they will soon come to see that the TLM is better suited to aid them in this task of prayer and worship. Thus the Reform of the Reform is a way of leveling the ground so that people better see the real merits of the TLM. This approach also has the advantage of not suggesting that those who prefer the NOM should be simply abandoned as if they were formal heretics.

  5. That's what I say too-"fixing" the NO is putting lipstick on a pig or a Mercedes hood ornament on a Trabant.

    Lol! I hadn't hear that last one; good one!

    But, what about THIS pimped-out Trabant?

    That's the Renewed-Renewed Novus Ordo!

  6. Hard to see a radical change towards the TLM. The masses don't want it. Where it is freely offered in areas of many Catholics, it attracts only a tiny fraction of the faithful. Look at Atlanta, Dallas, and Green Bay, for example. How many Catholics are in those areas and how few attend the TLMs there?

    And the bishops certainly don't want it. Neither has the Holy Father shown any inclination toward it.

    So who is going to spearhead a serious move towards it? A handful of theologians? Orders without bishops?

    We may never return to it. This may be it. You may have to move or continue to travel great distances to get to it, and be happy at that. It's more than many societies have had historically, so it's not like we're being cheated.

    I'm just saying we're still hanging by a thread, one stroke of the pen away from a decision to stop trying to appease a small minority of dissidents, and so Rome just turns the matter of TLMs over to the local bishops, and then it's a short walk to the end.

    I don't think that will happen, but it is still a distinct possibility. Better not take SSPX for granted.

  7. Alphonsus Jr.11:32 PM

    In accord with conciliar schizophrenia, there are today two tiers of Church teaching; namely, the exoteric and the esoteric.

    In view of Plato's Republic and the Straussian hermeneutic of it, we can recognize the "reform of the reform" as a noble lie and as the exoteric teaching. Traditional theology and practice, along with the traditional Mass, is the esoteric teaching, the "extraordinary form," as it were.

    The task is thus to restore the esoteric to its rightful place as the exoteric, to make once again the "extraordinary" the ordinary. Only this will heal the conciliar schizophrenia.

  8. Let us hope that this is another of Cardinal Koch's efforts at wishful thinking, rather than the actual policy of Benedict:

  9. Joe B,

    I think we do well to remember that Holy Mother Church is a Divine Institution. Sure, Her human element and those who hate Her may blow holes in the Barque, but Her ultimate law is the salvation of souls, and I think more souls will be saved if the TLM is the norm than if the Novus Ordo is, regardless of the actual number of attendees. Yes, the situation is dire, but we must not give up!

  10. Prof. Basto12:04 AM

    Absolutely agreed.

    We have a true practical problem in today's Church. The problem is that, even if we had a Pope or an Ecumenical Council willing to declare an immediate return to the Usus Antiquor as the only form of the Roman Rite starting next Pentecost Sunday the abolition of the Novus Ordo overnight wouldn't be feasible in practice.

    That is so because MOST OF TODAY'S PRIESTS require liturgical formation, and do not have the skills necessary to pray the TLM.

    For starters, most priests, not by their own fault, but by deficient formation in Modernist Seminaries, lack any real knowlegde of the Latin language.

    Most priests would FAIL any serious test of aptitude in the use of that Language. So a period of, say, 6 to 8 years would be necessary in order to require most priests of the to go to Latin language classes.

    A generation of priests that was given a bogus liturgical formation, and that therefore actually believes in misguided liturgical concepts, would need to undergo also a re-education.

    Finally, many people who are alive today have no idea of such concepts as that of a silent canon, etc. The people who today seek the EF are those who have better catechesis and more solid knowledge of liturgical matters. But the Masses would simply not understand the beauty of the EF, especially in those places where the Catholic laity has no clue of the Latin language.

    They would need first to be given bilingual hand Missals to study, and only then they would start to find out about the beauty of the texts of the Traditional Mass.

    During that time of rebuilding and transiton, a Rite born of a reform of the reform would be a useful replacement to the Novus Ordo. And, to clarify:

    - the novus ordo must be abolished sooner rather than later;

    - the reform of the reform Rite that replaces it should be based on the 1962 Missal, and not on the Novus Ordo.

    - The integrity of the Usus Antiquor should be preserved.

    After a first step, when the multitude of Catholics were once again better accustomed to sound liturgical principles and practices, then the reform of the reform rite could give way to the Mass of All time as the only form of the Roman Rite, completing an absolute reversal of the catastrophical liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

    Those who think that it is possible to make the change from the OF to the EF overnight are in my opinion gravely wrong, because they fail to take the reality of most Catholics and the formation of the majority of the clergy into consideration.

  11. Harry1:19 AM

    Perhaps the Pope will adopt the following "Mass" (from an apparent Lutheran Church) as part of his reform:

    This might work for Kiko!

  12. GQ Rep2:55 AM

    "It is further necessary that the idea of sacrifice shall permeate society in the shape, quite forgotten today, of a spirit of sacrifice and penance."

    There is no sense of sacrifice or the sacred in the Novus Ordo today, even if attempted reverently. This is why Mass attendance according to a monk I spoke with in Belgium two weeks ago is 3% in Belgium, and around the same in France. The priest sex crisis in Belgium, and the disasterous reign of Cardinal Godfried Daneels (protector of perverts) and a great friend of JP II just about destroyed the Catholic Faith there. Except in the 1 place I attended the Tridentine Latin Mass, anywhere else Mass is a cicus and a joke. People encouraged to laugh during Mass, jump around, clap and cheer for Jesus during the consecration etc. is very common. Also common is the gross practice of liturgical dance. I walked out of a Mass where they had liturgical dance near the old Louvain Catholic seminary. The guys had no shirts, and the girls looked like they were out of a harem.
    If anyone ever saw the old Saturday morning "Sword and Sandal" gladiator movies that were made in Italy and rerun on USA TV stations 5000x for thirty years...the Mass looked like that. Terrible!
    The one place where there was Catholicity is a small covent of people who are not even technically nuns...a parish priest is trying to restore a group of Catholic women known as the Beguines, in Belgium. Theu bought a former Poor Clare convent (habitless Poor Clares closed it last year), and now there are 13 women between ages 22-65 who are trying to restore the traditional Beguines and who use the Tridentine Latin Mass (surprisingly) with the blessing of the local Bishop who is more interested in the cultural history of the Beguines than religious.
    They wear the traditional long black habit and white veil of te Beguines. They are not really nuns, although I addressed the superior as "Sister". They do not take perpetual or solemn vows...only simple vows as in the past for hundreds of years. They do not profess total poverty (although they only wear their habits). They can even quit and get married if they want....some past members did, others quit to become full Sisters in other traditional Orders. They support themselves with a small bakery, and a small book/cd and dvd store on their property. They also are trying to restore the art of making fine linen albs, surplices, etc. although they don't have enough members yet. There are only 13 so far. About 10 others tried the life for afew months and left over the last few years.
    They average 1-2 new members a year, although for 2012 they already have 2 new members who entered right at New years (so there are grand total of 13 + 2 brand new aspirants.
    Pray for them, because the original Beguines (sisters), died out after Vatican II. I was told that at the time of Vatican II, there were still 400 Beguines in Belgium, and another 250 in Netherlands and Germany. But the reforms of Vatican II were so radical, and the implementation in Belgium, France, Netherlands so extreme that Beguines suffered at first more departures than nuns because their whole lifestyle and history was openly ridiculed by the radical liberals and hundreds of them left leaving only the old.

    Nearly ALL Orders of priests and nuns are dead in Belgium. Vatican II has killed the Church there.
    From a liturgical point of view, it was the most shoking and worst place I visited in my learly 3 1/2 week trip to 3 countries while on a photo shoot.
    Pray for what is left in the Catholic Church in Belgium . They and this new small group of Beguines will need it.

    Pray for the

  13. dominic19554:25 AM

    @ Knight of Malta

    Pretty much. Now, analogies can only go so far, but the picture is of some use.

    To put an engine like that in something like a Trabant would probably result in a twisted frame or the engine coming off its mount. Thus, its either just a decoration that makes it look more powerful than it is or just a pipe dream picture. Obviously, the pic is just a mock up but that is what I mean. The NO can only handle so much of what is truly traditional until people realize, why don't we just do the TLM?

    I've been to a number of tradded up NO's, and that's always what I've thought. Latin, ad orientem, birettas, maniples, chant, etc. etc. but without all the proper ritual of the TLM and the ancient antiphons, readings etc. it just lacks. Actually, in some ways, the tradded up NO is more annoying than the sillyseason NO because you see exactly how lacking the NO really is and it's like nails on a chalkboard.

    That mock-up Trabant is a joke, just like the tradded up NO or, even worse, the "tertium quid" that wants to combine the two. It might "work" on paper, but we all know that in the real world such things as this "tertium quid" would be a disaster.

    As I and others have said, most people cannot handle the TLM right now. Go for the "Reform of the Reform" to try to get people used to what worship really is supposed to be. This new translation they have in NOland is a good step, at least the words are more dignified and the actual Latin text is more properly translated. I went to a "Reform of the Reform" NO the first Sunday the new translation came out, and even though I've seen it on paper years ago, I thought that at least now it is not near as bad. Hopefully this will give pause to the more observant that this sort of wording that more clearly underlines sacrifice and Catholic theology just does not fit with all the stupid P&W music, guitars, banners and streamers etc. A small step indeed, but a necessary one.

    One of the biggest problems we run into is that we Traditionalists and the NO folks (especially Neo-Cons) simply do not speak the same language when it comes to the nuts and bolts of things. They simply cannot fathom why we have such a problem with the NO, especially in their churches in which they might actually have chant, the priest might actually use a chalice veil, etc. They see it as aesthetic preferences, not as substantial differences. I'd take a TLM celebrated in cheap travel vestments said on the tailgate of a pickup over a NO decked to the nines in an old cathedral precisely because the issue isn't merely a matter of aesthetics!

    Part of that is that I try to live the calendar, the traditional calendar. I don't care what week of "Ordinary Time" the "rest" of the Church is in when we are in Septuagesima. I don't care what one of four weeks their LOTH is in, our breviary has 1 week as it had always been and it has all the psalms and their parts to boot!

    When they speak of what the Church has given us in the liturgical seasons, I cannot help but roll my eyes. They got what Bugnini and Friends gave them, they have barely a thread of a connection to what their forefathers in the Faith had. Even our 1962 liturgy has problems in this regard, much what we do still is very similar to its Tridentine and earlier roots.

  14. Joe B,

    Never forget that ultimately God is in charge of the Church. Remember the wise council of Gamaliel (Acts 33-39), namely "for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; 39 But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God."

    Whether the NO (in a restored form) will remain or not is God's will. But if it not, I can see a dozen way that the NO can disappear within the next 50 years, even without a single bishop or Pope declaring it to be so. Here are a few possible scenarios:

    (1) People in NO parishes simply stop returning to Churches and parishes with 1960's music simply lose the youth who see this music as behind the times.

    (2) Entire diocese might go bankrupt due to abuse lawsuits leaving only non-diocese groups like Opus Dei and the SSPX.

    (3) Vocations to NO parishes dry up, partially because parishioners simply don't want to have children and partially because lay people do not see any difference between priests and dedicated lay people. But TLM vocations increase because of the opposite reasons.

    Personally, I do think NO is here to stay but in 50 years, a typical NO mass will look more like the TLM than the most orthodox NO mass today because of incremental restorations done in the NO.

    Either that or some Pope will interpret Vatican II in such a way that translating TLM into the vernacular was all the council really wanted and NO experiment went beyond the scope of Vatican II. IMO, a vernacular TLM could be accepted by the most of lay and priesthood without too much more descent than the current corrected NO translation.

    The key thing to keep in mind is that as others have pointed out, fixing TLM will not fix the problems in the Church. The same Church that celebrated TLM in 1962 balked at Humanae Vitae and implemented clown polka "masses" a decade later. Modernism was fully alive in the Church back then, it was just hidden. Vatican II exposed it. IMO, God willed that the Church succumb to it so that it could grow back stronger because it will need the strength to combat the far more viscous global secular foe that is now beginning to show itself.

  15. dofdsauf5:19 AM

    Prof. Basto, priests need not understand Latin to say the TLM. They could learn to speak it properly in short order.

    Nevertheless, I agree that justice demands that the Novus Ordo be phased out, not jettisoned all at once.

  16. Stickler5:21 AM

    Regarding the issue of preference, see the excerpts of Rev. Anthony Cekada's new book, Work of Human Hands, on the Philothea Press site. The notion that attendance at the Novus Ordo vs. the TLM is a preference is a modernist invention.

  17. Ecclesia Militans10:19 AM

    There is no need for phases in rejecting a deliberately protestantized Mass.

    These are very insightful words:
    "Actually, in some ways, the tradded up NO is more annoying than the sillyseason NO because you see exactly how lacking the NO really is and it's like nails on a chalkboard."

    The NO is a rite made by the enemies of the Church, and it must be rejected as such, not offered a compromise, or any degree of respect.

    What a pope has to do to solve the Crisis:
    Dump the NO!
    Dump Vatican II!
    Dump all postconciliar teaching!

    What you are left with is Tradition.

    And in my experience priests can learn the Mass of All Ages in a week or a few weeks at the most.

    The theology is a bit more of a problem, but a clear papal condemnation of the teachings mentioned above will open the eyes of any blind man.

  18. ...I'd take a TLM celebrated in cheap travel vestments said on the tailgate of a pickup over a NO decked to the nines in an old cathedral precisely because the issue isn't merely a matter of aesthetics!

    Couldn't agree more!

    The TLM converted the New World, usually in open-field, or wood shacks, on make-shift altars.

    And lest we forget, those magnificent Cathedrals, such as Chartres, were built, usually over centuries, not to house a silly liturgy-by-commission, but a liturgy even more significant than the Cathedral itself, more magnificent than the Cathedral, taking many more centuries to "build" than the Cathedral, and around which and over which and for which grandfather, father and son would labor for generations.

    Bugnini especially, but also Vatican II and Paul VI insulted and smeared this testimony to faith.

  19. Prof. Basto1:01 PM

    We are all dreamers. This morning, a decree was read, approving some form of the Kiko Rite.

    The Pope's speech to the NeoCatatonics, published in today's bolletino, mentions the decree that had been just read.

    I would like to find out more about the text of such decree and about the features of the approved particular Rite, but this can't be good.

  20. Joe B3:45 PM

    All I'm saying is don't get overconfident ("there is no longer a crisis in the church") and have charity for all traddie priests and orders at this time (save those who have chosen their own pope, of course). After all, when the flock has been maliciously scattered, how much blame can be put on the scattered sheep for falling into ravines now and then? Life for even those "independent" traddie priests is a heroic sacrifice for a handful of souls. They often live in loneliness and poverty, since they cannot join other orders or return to their dioceses, hostile as those are. All traddie priests are welcome at my apartment.

    But you'll have to sleep on the floor like me. Sorry about that. Not holy, just cheap.

  21. Spero:

    " -- addicted to the emotional stimulation experienced in most Sunday [NOM] Masses --"

    Once in a 'blue moon', if that!

    Perhaps if Celebrated at an Oratory, or Holy Name, Manchester.

  22. Beautiful. Professor de Mattei just sums it right up and to the point. Unfortunately, it is, again, just lofty ideals until those in power accept this concept and act on it. He is so correct on how the Liturgical impacts the societal. Our Ecclesial melt-down is heading towards critical mass (ha, no pun intended) and until they shore up the Mass which is the reactor of this Church if you will, then look out, Fukushima number two on the way, and it will be worse for this planet than any actual reactor.



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