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This Jesuit Pope

Two addresses by Pope Francis are making the rounds today, both of which provide further insights into his approach to his vocation, as pontiff and as a Jesuit. He seems to still consider himself very much one of the latter. "We Jesuits," Francis said in addressing many of his confreres as he visited the Gesu' in Rome, the mother church of the Society of Jesus.

He was also celebrating the canonization of Peter Faber, the Jesuit whose life of engagement and searching Francis appears to find deeply resonant.

AsiaNews has a report on the pope's powerful homily, which is worth reading in its entirety. This passage has jumped out as an important signpost:

"The temptation, that maybe many of us experience, and many other people have comes to mind; that of linking the proclamation of the Gospel with inquisitorial beatings of condemnation. No, the Gospel is preached gently, fraternally, with love."

That idea was also echoed in Francis' talk in November with the heads of religious communities of men meeting in Rome -- a three-hour conversation characteristic of this pope. According to an official report released today by Civilta' Cattolica (pdf here), at one point -- also indiscussing formation -- Francis said:

“Formation is a work of art, not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People Of God. This really gives me goose bumps.”

Can Francis change the direction of the church in this regard? It would be yet another welcome shift from the recent past. But it will require transforming a church culture, not just setting new policies.


Commenting Guidelines

Thanks, will note above that Kathy fails to respond to what I commented on...rather, she focused on Theology on Tap (sorry, doing TOT is not a frightening experience or even challenging - kids are there because they choose to come, listen, and participate... in fact, it is a rather ideal setting.  Not sure what her experience is or what that had to do with what I commented on).  Second, she tries to ignore the actual content of what the four speakers said - as if what they said was understandable given the overbearing nature of talking about their ministry at a TOT - really?).

She again tries to show that she knows *many* seminarians ( and is thus an expert?).  She has never done formation work - never had to know, study, and make decisions/votes on candidates - that requires so much more than just the *conservative* label because you shared a rosary, novena, etc.

Have heard these stories many times before - the conservative seminarian (who may truly have some significant formation issues) complains that he is being targeted because he is *conservativ*.   Yes, to be honest, can hypothesize that this does happen at times - so, has the exact opposite when your bishop is a Burke, Morlino, Olmsted, etc.  Eventually, you have to get beyond this perpetual liberal vs. conservative labels - seminary is about ministry, calling, and suitability - it is not a political game with two categories.

Borrowed this from another blog - it obviously highlights the danger of some *conservative* seminarians and its impact on ministry, an actual parish, parishioners:

"......more than 90% of my parish would be immensely grateful. The 10% unfortunately includes the ultra-trad parish priest who seems to have hitched his whole identity to “living” pre-Vatican II style and substance, psychologically, theologically, (un)ecumenically, liturgically and very publicly, aggressively and exclusively.

During the pp’s first week in the parish, our gentle, humble deacon had to suggest that it was important to preserve and maintain the unity of this country parish, but his warning was ignored and for 40 months now there has been much quiet suffering among parishioners. Representations to the Dean, the VG and the Bishop have been unavailing; the Bishop has given at least one order which the pp has refused to obey. There is a long story here.

Meanwhile our church premises have been made the centre of the usus antiquior in the diocese; a smallish congregation drives in. once a week but does not support the life of the parish, nor of the school."

Tlak about Francis and his phrase - *little monsters that mold the people of God - gives me goose bumps*

Continued; Read the book:The Pope's Armada if you want to know more about the NC.

rose ellen --


You've made the point clearly that a male can signify Jesus more completely *as male* than a woman could.  But that would be relevant only if "being a male" were somehow included in the meaning of *being a Savior".  But so far as I can tell there is nothing in Scripture or Tradition that says that a savior *has to be* a male, .  There just isn't any necessary connection between the two.


True, maleness is included in the sense of "Jesus" (a male name), but it's not included in "Savior".  [Did you say you were a philosophy major?  If so, then you might want to remember Frege's distinction beaten reference and sense here, and what Russell had to say about definite descriptions.)


We need a separate thread or ten on this.

"They are heretcal-in my opinion and I pray one day the Church hierarchy will open its  eyes  to that fact."

rose-ellen ==

I strongly suspect you're right.  Because groups like the New-Cats (think also Opus Dei) don't have to answer directly to any bishop, they can. for a very long time, get away with all sorts of non-Catholic/Christian things, whether teachings or practics.  The bishops just don't know what they're up to.  Yes, I'm open to dissent, but it must be open dissent.  My motto:  when in doubt don't go the secret route!  The bishops themselves have caused the Church a mountain of trouble by their own secrecy.


Like you I agree with Claire's intuitions around the EF. However, I think that there is a significant portion of traditionalist leaning Catholics who feel ill at ease with the new liturgy. But, it has been a long time so a better discernment around how to address this issue should have occurred. My father, who was educated, was deeply troubled by the reforms of the Second Vatican Council particularly around liturgy. But, at the same time, was deeply compassionate and in solidarity with the poor and fairly social justice oriented. So, yes, growing up I knew who Lefebvre was. Not in detail and not the anti-Semitic and anti- religious freedom side of things, but mostly due to his steadfastness around the liturgy.

Granted, people like my late dad were in the minority but still, the reforms really did alienate people like him and I saw that although he remained involved in the parish as lector and other things.

So, in some ways Benedict's SP was also a pastoral attempt to address that issue. But, with all due respect to Benedict, SP was poorly thought out. I know he criticized the newer liturgy but his solution was not a workable one. For starters the EF does not even operate on the same calendar as the OF. The readings are also different. So, even if you had the perfect storm of a parish that was able to provide both, it would be completely, liturgically disorganized. 

Yes, sure, it is good if people could have the option for different kinds of liturgies but they should follow the same calendar and same liturgical rhythms.

On the point of formation, it is not a problem at all if seminarians prefer traditional devotions and traditional liturgies but they must understand that they are serving a range of people and the parish or church is not about them and their paritcular liturgical fetishes (and that goes for progressives too).

Priesthood and ministry is about leadership and leadership is about listening and trying to accommodate a range of styes and people. 

I am someone who likes and appreciates good, orderly liturgy but pace my late father am not in lined to traditional styles. I prefer simple, monastic type liturgies with space for silence, good homilies, vernacular, warm, intimate, but not slap happy.

One of Peter's callings was the famous "Tu es Petrus," but another is the more collegially-oriented call to "confirm the brethren." Peter can strengthen bishops, a mission whose history that goes back before the Tome of Leo. That's how I see Summorum Pontificum. The faithful were asking for the opportunity to worship reverently, and when it wasn't being allowed by various factions, the Pope intervened to make it possible. There is nothing strange about these congregations. It's not a neo-Nazi factory. If you attend a Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form you will simply meet a ton of happy young families. If you were to ask the parents why they attend the EF, they will probably say they want to do everything they can to help their children to grow up Catholic. It's not very complicated and it's certainly not anti-Semitic.

By the way, I should retract the expression "cult of secrecy," which I realize now is an alarming expression and is an exaggeration. It's more subtle than that, and has exactly to do with the dynamic Pope Francis mentioned, where someone in formation cannot speak openly with formators because the formators have preconceived lists of right and wrong. I would also mention that the young men I've met are almost uniformly very interested in being good pastors for their people. Of course there are one or two who seem "in it for the suit," but that is not the norm. The norm is a) love for God and for the people of God, and b) orthodoxy, including liturgical orthodoxy.

Summorum Pontificul was much more than a pastoral response to the faithful who wanted an opportunity to worship reverently. See John Thavis, The Vatican Diaries.  On the anti-Semitism of the EF see Rita Ferrone, “Anti-Jewish Elements in the Extraordinary Form” by Rita Ferrone, Worship vol. 84, no. 6 (November 2010), 498-513.

Prof. Mitchell - yep, the whole story about SP reads in a similar way to the whole story behind Paul VI's HV decision.  In both cases, tiny minorities appear to have held sway not based upon the actual issue at hand but, rather, in terms of maintaining *their* concept of papal authority.  Sad.

Kathy at least now tries to clarify her *cult of secrecy* comment.

But, she continues her completely ridiculous re-interpretation of Francis' words with this: "....has exactly to do with the dynamic Pope Francis mentioned, where someone in formation cannot speak openly with formators because the formators have preconceived lists of right and wrong."  Really - where do you arrive at that conclusion?  Nothing like putting words in his mouth!!!

Finally, she repeats the usual mantra:   "The faithful were asking for the opportunity to worship reverently, and when it wasn't being allowed by various factions, the Pope intervened to make it possible."   Sounds so convincing but it doesn't resemble reality or accuracy.  Let's start with *The faithful* - really, as you terms of western catholicism, a very small percentage of folks.  *wasn't being allowed* - correct based upon solid and reasonable pastoral decisions by pastors and bishops....prior to SP and even with JPII's broadening of the criteria to make requests, there were reasons for making the would find that most bishops did not find these requests to meet the level of the requirements  (realize that, at times, this is a subjective decision but find it interesting that these groups *judge* many catholics as disloyal when they diagree with a bishop but when it comes to the TLM or EF, suddenly there is a sea change in attitude)

Sorry, Kathy, your re-interpretation reminds me of this article by Michael Sean Winters this morning in your neck of the woods:

Key points:

- "WPFMTS (What Pope Francis Meant To Say) Syndrome is different from FDS (Francis Derangement Syndrome)    But, madness is more easily discounted in its significance. WPFMTS is a more pernicious affliction not least because it tends to crop up among those who should know better.*

"...a person of faith might note that self-surrender is the essence of Christian discipleship, and it is so because it is Christ, the Lord of History, who is “in control” of His message. And, just as happened when He came the first time round, it is the wise teachers of the law who fail to understand, and the little children and the sinners who grasp the kerygma."  

I'd suggest anyone unsure of whether SP is good for the Church should actually go to an Extraordinary Form Sunday Mass and the donut hour following (if applicable) and take a look at the youthful, joyful, Christian community they find. If the Church is about what is good for people, then SP is good for the life of the Church. I find it very troubling on a pastoral level that some other people want to impose a priori, prejudiced restrictions on other people's liturgical lives, going so far as to demonize them as Nazi sympathizers (!) because of their liturgical preferences.

"Where someone in formation cannot speak openly with formators because the formators have preconceived lists of right and wrong." This is exactly what the Pope was talking about. "Problems are not solved simply by forbidding doing this or that. Dialog as well as confrontation are needed. To avoid problems, in some houses of formation, young people grit their teeth, try not to make mistakes, follow the rules smiling a lot, just waiting for the day when they are told: ‘Good. You have finished formation.’ This is hypocrisy that is the result of clericalism, which is one of the worst evils."

Kathy, actually I did exactly what you suggested - go to an EF Sunday Mass to see what the big deal was.  I found an assembly of people who sat as far as possible from one another, and a baffling liturgy. In front, an altar where some men were doing things I could not see and saying things I could not hear nor understand; in the back, a choir singing beautiful gregorian music, with words I could not understand; and in between, people doing various moves - standing, sitting, kneeling, crossing themselves, holding rosary beads -, seemingly at random times. At the end of Mass, everyone disappeared quickly. In appearance at least, it was a loose collection of individuals staying each in their own separate prayer world, and doing their best to avoid mingling with one another. I know from what other people have told me that it does not have to be like that, but it can be like that. (I will give it another try one day, but, given this first experience, I am in no rush!)


Ann Oliver; I get the logic of allowing women priests. My concern is theological. I'm thinking that perhaps allowing women priests would be a step backward. All pre christian religions acknowledge God as encompassing male and female. Christianity stands apart in that we claim God so loved humanty he  entered history.Our savior could have been male or female.[or extraterrestrial for that matter].He chose to become a man.Allowing women to represent that history, that fact of our savior being the man Jesus, might evicerate over time belief  in  that historic event.We already have representations of Jesus that are symbolic and transcend gender-Christ as a fish and as  a lamb and the cross[the human body]. These symbols cause no rupture with the historic event. They are obvious symbols.A woman priest representing Jesus -might over time-confuse the historic event and Jesus'  incarnation becomes incidental and eventually insignificant.Our christian faith would become for adherents merely symbolism .Christ as an abstraction which we all aspire to, a model of human behavior, a goal,or a reference.[we are saved by a past  event]. We re given more then God as abstraction -we were given the man Jesus who loves  us so much he gave us the eucharistic body and  blood commemoration  as sign of his eternal presence wih us and  as invitation to be  being  in relation with. A woman priest breaks the representation of the historic event of Jesus-the man with us, and over  time may evicerate  the belief in the  the historic event.That monumental event.We're back to God as the abstact all encpassing male/female. now relabeled   Savior.It's  's  a- historical if not revisionist..We have God in history-why go a-historical?Just to prove a point that God  encompasses male and female.That's old   news actually.We know more then that .We have Jesus.[I could  be on the wrong side of ihistory here and completely  off the rails.I hope  Pope Ftancis deals with this issue thoroughly and  succinctly soon.I would be just as saisfied to be wrong. 

 I find it very troubling on a pastoral level that some other people want to impose a priori, prejudiced restrictions on other people's liturgical lives, going so far as to demonize them as Nazi sympathizers (!) because of their liturgical preferences.

Those who are willing to wade into the garbage pits where Nazi lovers supperate find stuff that makes it obvious what they and those who angelize them are up to.   (Some examples at the link below.  Take a look at the first one.)

I'd suggest anyone unsure of whether SP is good for the Church should actually go to an Extraordinary Form Sunday Mass and the donut hour following (if applicable) and take a look at the youthful, joyful, Christian community they find.

I have to say that this has been my observation as well.

Why is it that some Catholics find spiritual fulfillment in praying in Latin?  Why does it resonate with them to pray from essentially the same book as their grandparents and great-grandparents?  Why do so many of them choose to home-school?  I don't know.  None of these things particularly move  or excite me.  And yet such folks are part of the body of Christ - and, unlike members of the SSPX, are fully in communion with us.  We owe them a certain reasonable amount of accommodation, just as we do to people who speak minority languages like Spanish.  Those of us who are in the majority do need to come to terms with the existence and persistence of folks in our midst who, for whatever reasons and in whatever ways, reject many aspects of contemporary life including contemporary worship, and who look to the wellsprings of the past for worship that satisfies them.

SP, it seems to me, is one way to accommodate these folks.  It is not the only way.  It may not be the best way, at least not in every place.  Personally, I'd prefer to give local bishops and pastors a freer hand to exercise pastoral judgment.  Consider again the parallel with majority English speaking and minority Spanish speaking worshippers.  There are several basic models for accommodating Spanish-speaking worshippers: create for them their own separate Spanish-language parish or mission (this is done in my particular deanery); or have separate Spanish-speaking and English-speaking masses in the same parish - something that puts greater demands on the pastoral staff, but which can be and is done successfully in many places; or try to have unified masses that use elements of both English and Spanish - something that wholly satisfies nobody but does make present in a concrete way that not everybody in our midst is just like us.


Kathy, actually I did exactly what you suggested - go to an EF Sunday Mass to see what the big deal was. 

Claire - for what it's worth, I did something similar within the last year or two, although in my case it was a weekday mass.  (The Chicago Archdiocese has a parish, St. John Cantius, that has become somewhat of a flourishing center for folks who prefer the old mass.  It even has its own order of priests now).  Some of my impressions were the same as yours.  It was a 'low mass', and I found it difficult to discern where we were in the liturgy.  All in all, it was mildly interesting but I don't feel the "pull" to go back again and again.  But to be fair to such communities, we'd need to immerse ourselves more deeply to really get an accurate impression of the community.  In my case, there were some very friendly people who chatted with me afterward.   And there were some attendees who were rather young, including several young moms who had young children in tow (dressed up the way my mom used to dress me up for mass when I was little, back in the 1960s).

I was there to give a presentation to one of their parishioner groups after the morning mass.  From the room next door to the room where I was presenting, I could hear a children's choir practicing songs for Easter.  They were the Easter hymns that were sung in my parish when I was a young boy: "The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Won" and "Ye Sons and Daughters".  No music director worth his/her salt in any parish in my area would trot those hymns out anymore - we lean more contemporary now.  But I stuck my head in the choir room after my presentation ended, and was surprised to see twenty or thirty children, mostly African American (the neighborhood around that parish is racially mixed), being led by a stern young priest or seminarian (a white guy).  That music would not be featured in the sort of music program I'd want to pursue, but for this particular community, it seemed to work.  


In case folks here don't visit a sister blog/website:


NCR suspends comments on website

Dennis Coday | Jan. 6, 2014NCR Today

National Catholic Reporter suspended the commenting feature of its website,, effective Monday 10 a.m. Central time.

We ordered our Web editor to suspend the commenting feature and to hide all previously posted comments because of the malicious, abusive nature of the comments that have bombarded our site in recent days.

Comments will be suspended indefinitely. NCR editors will explore options that will allow commenting to return in a way that respects our writers, the subjects of our stories, and our readers.

NCR has always stood for open discussion of issues of importance. Our website was among the early adopters of technology that allowed readers' comments on specific articles because we believed such a feature could be a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas. Ideas and discussions were exchanged, and much of it was valuable. Even in the rough-and-tumble Internet world, where arguments tend to more freewheeling, we strove for a long time to keep the forum as open as possible.

Unfortunately, we have reached a point where the good that an open discussion can do is being outpaced by the damage it can cause when commenters do not respect civil discourse.

Comments that have appeared on the website in recent days have been vile and demeaning. We could no longer support hosting a Web feature that allows such despicable comments to appear, and that is why we ordered the suspension of that feature.

We apologize to anyone who was offended by these appalling comments.

And yet such folks are part of the body of Christ - and, unlike members of the SSPX, are fully in communion with us.  We owe them a certain reasonable amount of accommodation, just as we do to people who speak minority languages like Spanish.

Strange comparison.

The Feeny people "are fully in communion with us".  Does that mean "we" are "fully in communion with" them?  Does the "accomodation" we "owe" them include sharing the views of their beloved founder, “the greatest theologian we have in the United States, by far?”


Jim McCrea, are you surprised by NCR's decision?

The John Allen article today is interesting, imho.  So glad the Franciscans of the Immaculate are being dealt with.  And the pope's comments about the "novice trade" and the "little monsters" are . . . timely.  That whole conversation with the heads of the men's orders was interesting.  

Gerelyn - sorry, I have no idea who the "Feeny people" are nor whether they are in communion with the church or not.  I am certain, though, that there are many, many Catholics who are fully in communion with the church who desire to take advantage of the pastoral provisions of Summorum Pontificum. The Catholic church is a vast, wide place, a big tent that accommodates many people who are different from us.  

NCR turns off its online comments, and so now apparently they're moving over here?  Please, no!


Rose-Ellen: directly relevant to your comments is the post and also Fr. K's comment in 

It's interesting that Augustine doesn't draw that conclusion about the priest's being a "proxy bridegroom." In fact, he seemed leery of any identification of the priest or bishop with Christ, who, he said, were not the Bridegroom but "the friend of the Bridegroom," that is, his close attendant, which is what John the Baptist called himself and what St. Paul was when he spoke of betrothing the Corinthians to Christ. The marriage-metaphor referred to the whole Church, clergy included, in relation to the Bridegroom; for Augustine it was not used to distinguish clergy and laity in the Bride

Note the phrase in bolface. I don't know if this is Augustine or Fr K's interpretation of Augustine, of course, but in any case, the idea that one ought to be careful to not identify the priest or bishop with Christ is perhaps something to consider. Your comments seem to take it for granted that the priest is primarily a representation of Christ. Maybe that is worth reconsidering.

Aside: looking for that comment led me to re-read Martini's final interview. His description of "who can help the church today" (great question) sounds a lot like pope Francis!  I wish he'd lived a few more months so that he could have seen the papal resignation and election. 


Hi Jim,

I realize you were probably merely refering to the idea of parish sub-groups when you made the comparison between the EF and Spanish Mass. But there is simply no comparison between Mass for Spanish-speakers and Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I think this is important enough to address here. There are many reasons why this is a totally wrong way to look at what is happening. Here are a few:

1. Use of the vernacular and respect for the multiplicity of human cultures around the globe are part of the liturgical reform of Vatican II. Perpetuation of the pre-Vatican II rites is not part of that liturgical reform. In fact, it is implicitly and explicitly a denial of the need for and/or the pastoral and spiritual efficacy of the reform. 

2. 406 million people speak Spanish as a native language, and 60 million speak it as a second language. There is no census of those who participate in the Extraordinary Form. But even the most generous estimates that one finds on line argue for about one million people worldwide. There is simply no comparison. Inflated ideas of some sort of exponential growth of the EF since Summorum Pontificum have yet to be proven. 

3. George D's observations above are correct, re: a different liturgical calendar and different lectionary in the EF. This is not true of a Spanish Mass. The EF also has different norms for who may minister (women are not allowed in the sanctuary in the EF, may not be servers or lectors, minor orders that were suppressed in the reform are required, etc.) and for how communion is distributed. The norms in force for the dioceses of the United States apply equally to Mass in other language groups. 

4. It is not true that in order to celebrate the liturgy in Latin one must celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form. The Extraordinary Form may only be celebrated in Latin, but the Ordinary Form may be celebrated in either Latin or the vernacular or a mixture of both. If there is a great interest in praying in Latin, it could have been the subject of a movement to celebrate the liturgy of Vatican II in Latin. It was not; it never was what this movement desired. The Latin exists, and is used in various settings. Latin is not the issue. The reformed liturgy itself is the issue. 

5. Offering Mass in Spanish is not boutique Catholic liturgy, where I prefer one form and you prefer another. It is the same liturgy, only in Spanish.

6. Finally, while anti-Semitism is not always and everywhere a current in the communities attached to the older rites, there is a serious and sustained thread of this phenomenon in traditionalist Catholic groups--both religiously and socially. This needs to be faced. As Massimo Faggioli argues in his book, True Reform, without the reformed liturgy you don't have Vatican II. With Vatican II came a solemn commitment to a new relationship with the Jewish people, as well as a realized imperative for an ecumenical dimension to our whole way of being Church. The liturgy incarnates this in important ways. Spanish speakers are heir to all of this. EF communities are given the freedom to hold it all at arm's length.

Rita, thanks for those thoughts.  In general, I agree with virtually everything you wrote.  And I should note that I thought SP, and even Ecclesia Dei, was a mistake: it takes what should be a sign of our unity, our liturgy, and makes it a sign of disunity.  I don't think two, parallel missals is the right approach.

What I think Kathy was objecting to (one of the things she was objecting to) is tarring anyone who wishes to worship in the 'Latin mass" as anti-Semitic.  My own interactions with such folks is that I don't think I've ever, ever, run across anyone who cited anything that can be considered anti-Semitic as a reason for preferring the 'Latin mass'.  I believe Benedict was careful to specify the 1962 missal in part because some of the objectionable language, such as "perfidious Jews", had been cleaned up in that edition.  I presume you've heard all the reasons that people wish to pray the 'Latin mass': it is the mass of saints, it has been used since time immemorial, there is something ineffably sacred about it, and so on and so on.  I think those really are the reasons, i.e. I believe people when they tell me these things.

I guess my overall point of view, at least for purposes of this thread, is that, whatever we think about people who prefer the Latin mass, regardless of what pains in the behind they can be: they are real, they are here, and they don't seem to be going away.  So what to do about them?  To what degree are we obligated to be solicitous of their preferences?  I don't think there is one right answer to these questions.  

A few comments on your points:

1.  I agree completely with what you say about respect for cultures and use of the vernacular being part of Vatican II.  But so is use of the Latin.  As you note, this could be done - and in fact is done, even in dribs and drabs - with the reformed mass.  I think this could be explored much more than it has been.  In fact, I go farther and believe that use of the Latin could be still another sign of unity across cultures.  I suspect one of the reasons Latin in the reformed mass hasn't been pursued - contrary to Vatican II - is a certain insecurity: the fear that using Latin would somehow whet people's appetites to "roll back" more of the reforms.  I don't think that would happen.  My view is that the reform is extremely successful, and there is no going back.  Surely the abject failure of the "reform the reform" crowd to make more headway during the pontificate of Benedict  - of which the failure of SP to be accepted at a diocesan level is one instance - makes this clear.

2.  You're certainly right about the sheer numbers of Spanish speakers.  Even in the US, there are a number of dioceses (including mine, Chicago) that can properly be described as bilingual.  But in the US, the primarily-English, minority-Spanish configuration is also quite common, both at a diocesan and a parish level.  The parallel I wished to draw is the pastoral one: what to do about a minority group in the community for whom, for whatever reason, busines as usual isn't optimal.  Naturally, the comparison, as is true of all comparisons, has limitations.  

3.  The differences in lectionary, calendar and liturgical law probably are good reasons to adopt the St. John Cantius model I referred to in a previous comment: a separate community for Latin mass adherents.  I don't underestimate the difficulties for a pastoral staff to sustain two calendars.  But the comparison to English and Spanish in the same community again has some aptness: different music ministries, lector lists, celebrant lists, and so on need to be sustained.  It's complicated when the community is diverse.

5.  I am not  sure what you mean by "boutique liturgy".  An occasional mass in Spanish, Vietnamese or Polish, it seems to me, can be a "boutique liturgy", too, if by "boutique liturgy", you mean, "a liturgy that caters to the preferences of a small, cohesive minority". The question I'm asking here is, "To what extent are we obligated to provide boutique liturgy?"

6.  Anti-semitism in the church is broader than liturgy, and efforts to cleanse the liturgy of it are older than Vatican II.  Anti-semitism is not universal among adherents of the Latin Mass, and it is far from eradicated among people who worship according to the "ordinary form".  Unflattering references to "the Jews" are found in the reformed Lectionary even today, as they are right there in the Biblical texts.  Concerns about anti-Semitism in the liturgical texts certainly can't be ignored, particularly in regard to those who (illegally) use missals from the 1940s or earlier.  I just can't square accusations of anti-Semitism with the actual Latin mass adherents I know (and, in some cases, love).  As I say, I don't think anti-Semitism is a prime motivator for them.  I just don't see it.  Kathy referred to one particular profile of Latin mass attendees: young people.  Attitudes such as anti-Semitism frequently change across generations.  I think it's quite likely that young Latin mass adherents are not markedly more anti-Semitic than anyone else of their generation.


Hi Jim,

Just one quick response.

You seem to think that Vietnamese people are Vietnamese by preference. No. They are born Vietnamese. Same with Hispanics. This isn't a question of preferences. 

Do you see the difference between belonging to a group because of the absolute givens of your life and preferring one type of liturgy over another as an option? The latter is what I mean by boutique liturgy.

The great irony is that in order to gain the reintroduction of the older rites into the mainstream, they had to be sold as an "option" which is a far cry from what their main proponents really wanted. Of course, they are confident that the new rites will eventually die out...


rose-ellen --


I grant you that if the most important iconic factor a priest should illustrate is a physical likeness of Christ, then, yes, a male is more like Him than a female.  But if His being a male isn't the most important thing about Him in the first place, why should looking like a male be most important?


You say that a woman priest would somehow "break" the history of Jesus being a man.  But, again, why is it most important that his male-ness be what the priest represents?  And if physicality is an issue, then surely a woman is a better representation of Him than the already allowed fish.


So, I grant you that a male priest has a (very minor) iconic edge.  But I just can't see why that is so important, given the strengths a female clergy would bring to the Church.  Being a priest is not only saying the words of consecration in the Mass, and our attention should be on the Hose and Chalice, not the person raising them up. And, as I said earlier, I just don't see that there are any theological reasons to deprive the Church of women priest.  We'll just have to disagree. 


I really don't understand what is hoped to be gained by a strict uniformity of rites. I spoke recently to a priest, a former Norbertine, who incardinated into a diocese after the Premonstratensian form was suppressed. He showed me the chanted sequence that in his early days as a Religious he had sung at Christmas. I don't understand why he had to lose the form of the Rite to which he had been accustomed. What is the point of suppression? What is the expression--let a hundred flowers bloom.

Kathy - the pre-1962 isn't a RITE.   and even tho Benedict tried hard to sell the *two forms of the one rite*, as both Jim P and Rita state well, that has created more disunity than unity and, as most all experts agree, this type of papal approach has never happened before. 

You are making an incorrect assumption when you think SP created a new rite.  Liturgy is always developing; it is organic; it is not a museum piece.

The other rites of our western church accept the VII reforms.



Rita can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that part of the point of SP was to clarify that what is now referred to as the extraordinary form was never, technically, suppressed. I believe that the evolution of rites has been precisely that, an evolution. Some rites fall out of use naturally as the Church adopts reformed liturgies and this is what occurred. I was too young at the time but there was, I understand, broad consensus among all bishops. priests, and laity that the liturgy was in need of reform. I have heard stories of priests not really formed that well in Latin, not clearly understanding what they were saying and praying, or worse, whipping through the mass barely even pronouncing the text. It is total historical fantasy to imagine that the liturgies were all reverent, prayerful, and contemplative.

At the time, the vast majority welcomed the reformed liturgy. In retrospect, maybe they should have kept important elements from the other rite as the difference as jarring or maybe there should have been an easier transition. I know for certain that the reformed liturgy alienated at least on person I know as I mentioned! So I am sympathetic to those who miss the older liturgy. But very few of those people exist any longer.

I am convinced though that the older liturgy would just fall out of use naturally. Even now, you have certain segments, and priests like Fr. Z agitating for its return. But it is simply not a wide scale clamour and there is not the critical mass to support it. That is just an empirical fact. I would even go so far as to say that it is the sensus fidelium. Those websites are simply not representative of the bulk of Catholics in the world.

But, yes, let there be pockets for it but they will always be in the minority and those leaders should be attuned enough to the sensus fidelium to abandon their cult like devotion to a form that has run its course.

Liturgy should unite us and it is important that there be some kind of clear structure in terms of liturgy. That kind of cohesion lies at the heart of public religious worship. I am not saying it has to be completely uniform but it seems to me that the current liturgy is sufficiently flexible to incorporate elements from other cultures (e.g. language, also sweet grass instead of incense, different music). But the core of it remains. And from my point of view anyway this is important.

I have attended Eastern liturgies as well and there is a consistency with their practices even though it is a different rite.

Bill, yes, you've caught me. I l had looked back briefly over my comment to make sure I had used the word "form" instead of "rites"--and missed one. Good catch. As long as we're doing elementary liturgy, first of all, your experts are wrong. Wide variation of practice was allowed until Trent--15 centuries of popes allowing freedom of liturgical form. Even after Trent, ancient rites could continue. Is there a reason why you think Trent should be *less* liturgically restrictive than Vatican II? Secondly, when you say that the other rites of our western church accept the VII reforms, do you include, for example, the Carthusian rite?

George, thank you for your thoughtful comment. (I still haven't figured out how to make paragraphs, by the way, so thank you for taking the time to slog through sentences that might seem incongrously linked. When I expand the comment form it just becomes a bigger comment form without any extra icons appearing, unfortunately.) While I agree that there are many more people who are comfortable enough with the Ordinary Form than people who are clamoring for the Extraordinary Form, I believe that this cannot by itself suggest that the sensus fidelium is operative and acclamatory of the Ordinary Form as such, for a number of reasons. First, most people today have had no exposure to the Extraordinary Form, so it isn't as though there is even a perceived choice between the two forms.  Secondly, those who did know the Mass pre-Vatican II were asked to make a switch to the new ritual books and either did so in good faith or stopped attending altogether, with the understanding that keeping the old form was not an option. (This was not a universally welcomed change. A lady who was elderly when I knew her in the 90s and who has since died used to say quite regularly, "Where we wrong then, or are we wrong now?") Thirdly, just because everyone in a certain age agrees on something is not sufficient to make in the sensus fidelium, particularly, as here, when secularizing attitudes have been at work. Fourthly, there is an enormous gap between the conciliar Constitution and the resulting liturgical practice. I am not suggesting an invalid liturgy, at all, but since the Church can always use reform, and since this gap is very real, it should be investigated and corrected. Fifthly and most importantly, the faithful have been formed inadequately since the Council, almost universally, in part by liturgical practices in many places that have no justification in any liturgical law including the early postconciliar Roman Missals, as well as by other peculiar practices, such as effective iconoclasm in many parish churches. Things are getting better, thankfully.

You seem to think that Vietnamese people are Vietnamese by preference. No. They are born Vietnamese. Same with Hispanics. This isn't a question of preferences.

Rita - that's true, of course.  A person who speaks Spanish as a first language doesn't do so as something freely chosen; it's just part of her history - part of who she is.  I take it your point of view is that the Spanish-speaking group has a better claim on diocesan or parish resources than a Latin mass group.  I don't say you're wrong.  

I am somewhat curious how a Latin mass adherent would respond to this point - but only somewhat :-)  I'm sorry if you stayed up late last night strictly in order to read my too-long comment!  Looks like this topic has now rolled off the first page at dotCom anyway :-)

Thank you Claire for the links and pointing out that the priest is not necessarily a stand in for Christ.I've been reading the linked article that Crystal posted about the theologian Karl Rahner.That gave me food for thought and helped clarify my thoughts  about what is meant by salvation.All humanity is saved by christ.Meaning, though unfanthomable and infinite is the mystery of existence[god the father] jesus comes to spell out our reality-that   existence is good and at its heart is love of mankind. He spells that out in his life and death and resurrection.All mankind is saved by Jesus mediating the unfathomable mystery with us; infinite[god] seeking finite  beings.Jesus shows us our  humanity[belonging to god who is good]The church is the outward sign of that fact. Baptied christians outwardly profess that fact. Yet that fact pertains to all humanity,Hence christiaity is universal and gets distilled more explicity in the church founded by jesus of baptized people, then in the form of the consecrated priest.All humanity is christian,all humans are priests in that sense; partakers of sharing in the life of the infinite unfanthomble mystery of being[father] Yet all this are abstractions. We're  not all theologians or contemplative mystics or Hindu gurus contemplating reality.That is why we have salvation history.Jesus comes to save us  by giving himself to and for us.THE mediator between god the impenetrable  mystery of reality, and the bearer of the good news about  this mystery that is god/reality and  about man.A male priest  is a needed distillation of salvaion history as it preserves the concrete fact of jesus christ as savior.Abolish this presence  of the male priesthood   and  in time christianiy may become like buddhism an intellectual pursuit or a good works institution. Karl Rahner says the opposite about womens ordination but i draw  a provisional oppossed  conclusion.Ontologically  the world is Christian[saved by christ], ontologocally we're all  priests[partakers through  grace of  the infinite life of god], so the church of actually professed baptized  are a further economy of salvation distillation instituted by Christ himself for the world. Consecrated male priests are part of that institution.Women are priests the same way all people are-by virtue of partaking in the holiness of existence;the goodness of god manifested in the redemptive  event,Jesus Christ who we recognize as close to us.Women priests would be a throw back to god as unknown distant being.A male priesthood signifies that god indeed  became man -.God is part of human history.The churchs and all christians proclaim  Christ so  does the presence of male priests.Women priests do not viscerally[psychologically], they do the opposte  actually and  over time will confuse then erase Jesus from  church.[Jesus forgive me  and  me enlighten me  if 'm  all wrong.]

Yes - the issue you raise is that the pre-Trentan rites are found in geographic/cutural regions - e.g. Ambrosian.  It wasn't the Trentan council that allowed exceptions - it was the popes after Trent who acted on Trent's few liturgical directives and implemented what we recognize as the Tridentine mass and the CDW codified this practice.  Issue - EF is not regional nor cultural (sorry, latin and Gregorian chant are't a culture compared to Milan/Ambrosian)

You think these are historical precedens that can compare and justify the EF/TLM - but that is like cramming a square peg into a round hole.

Rita makes the key point - VII reformed our understanding of church and liturgy flows from this. Our understanding of church develops (it was thus different prior to Trent). 

You and folks at Chant Cafe/ MSF act as if liturgy exists separate from church - as Rita stated - church that now wants to be less anti-Semitic and more ecumenical. 

Trent was not less restrictive - your question misunderstands actual historical facts:

-Trent actually did not stop vernacular liturgy - exceptions were made and bishops could ask permission

- Trent allowed use of the cup  (later catholic kings/rulers ended this - this type of royal fiats impacted pre and post Trent - something your simple comparison ignores

- Yes,later popes did codify one form but did allow for some old rites to continue

- VII also allowed the pre-1962 for certain reasons

Actually, Paul VI did the same as Pius V

Recommend reading O'Malley's *Trent*



Bill, you are mistaken. Trent allowed not only regional/ cultural variations in the rites, but also allowed the older rites peculiar to religious orders, such as the Carthusians and Dominicans, to persist. I suggest that the other point you mention might be much more fruitful: the ecclesial dimension. I am curious as to what effect a renewed ecumenical vigor would have on liturgy. I would be interested in hearing more about this. (Preferably without reference to the Nazi witch hunt argument.) 

Didn't say that - see third bullet.

For some actual facts

- Sixtus V (25 yrs. after Trent) formed the Congregation of Rites in 1588

- Congregation and Pius V between 1567 and 1614 rewrote all liturgy

- Most importantly, in 1570 bull promulgated the 1570 Missal which stated:

*Universal adoptation of the Roman Rite unless another rite had prevailed in a specific region or religious order for MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED YEARS*

- from this bull forward, the congregation implicitly controlled all liturgy from Rome - it gave it uniformity and rigidity

- this is what we have over time called *Tridentine*

To your points:

- pre1962 missal is not a rite nor a religious order

- so your approach is what - EF/TLM is like a pre-Trent region or religious order?

Ecclesial dimension  - articulated by SC/VII in the reformed liturgy - *people of God participating fullyand completely

Ecumenical - example before was ICET and shared lectionary, seasons, and worship responses


Exacrly, Bill. Two hundred years was enough to establish a rite for a religious order in Trent. And why then wouldn't the five hundred years' use of a form of the Roman Rite be sufficient to establish it? Have we have 500 years of invalid Masses, in your view? Was everyone worshipping entirely wrongly--for 500 years?

On the ecclesial and ecumenical dimensions, we'd need more to talk about than bullet points. What in your view is the goal of having worship that in some way resembles that of other Christians? Which other Christians, and how are they chosen? Should ecumenism lead the way for liturgy? Are there some matters, particularly regarding the theology of the Eucharist, that other Christians do not share? If there are some unlike elements, how are these expressed in the Mass and in other liturgical actions? Has the experiment of a common lectionary brought separated ecclesial bodies together, e.g., is there any real sharing of lectionary wisdom among local Catholic congregations and other congregations on a weekly basis, or any other significant cross-sharing on any level except that of pastoral resources? What has concretely happened to the celebration of those sacraments, including penance, that other Christians do not acknowledge? (Etc.)

The Roman Rite was reformed by VII (you have *invented* the pre-1962 Roman Rite).  Figured you would come back with that.....again, that isn't what determined *rites* in the church for our whole history. The rite was reformed - in fact, the rite was constantly being modified and changed from the century after Trent onwards (we just choose to ignore that reality).

The usual EF mantra - are masses invalid?  of course, not. nor were they wrong.  Those questions are a dodge and ridiculous - reveals lack of moral theoloy understanding, etc. or even basic canon law about validity - you appear to be desperate, as usual

Bill: What?

Now you have sunk to a new low......your prior validity statement reminds me of the famous quote from the papal birth control commission and a Jesuit, Zalba, who reminded the committee that any change from Casti C. would say - *what then with the millions we have sent to hell?*  To which Patty Crowley said: *Fr. Zalba, do you really think that God has carried out all of your orders?*

Let's see - we have *validity* but we also have *licet* - but neither applies here.  Keep stretching - since you are in Rome - ask some experts at one of the seminaries? 


Of course neither validity nor liceity is at issue here. It was a rhetorical question for you: do you really think that the 500 years of Masses were as bad as you characterize them? And if not, what is the problem with Summorum Pontificum? (Still, I think the ecclesial question is MUCH more interesting than either of our opinions about the relative worth of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms.)