Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Praise for Wassim Sarweh and Assumption-Windsor

Some of you may remember that we recently mentioned (in a post here in Musings on August 17, 2011) that Jeffrey Tucker and Arlene Oost-Zinner of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) would be visiting -- and singing with -- the choir at Windsor's Assumption Church on Sunday, August 28th at 2:00pm.

We were there for the occasion, and it was one of those moments that reminded me once more of how glad I am to find myself looking forward to Sundays now that we're here in the Metro Detroit area. Before moving here, we had come to the point of dreading Sunday Mass, because we never knew what to expect -- or should I say: we always knew what to expect -- namely innumerable programmatic distractions. In Martin Mosebach's words, we would go to Mass hoping to meet God and come away theater critics. In any case, last Sunday at Assumption-Windsor everything was perfect. It was beautiful, like one of those days when the weather is so good that you are just happy to be alive and breathing the cool air and soaking in the sunshine. Yes, Sunday Mass can be Extraordinary!

So now, not even a week later, we have the following post from Jeffrey A. Tucker: "Vigor, Energy, Freshness in the Extraordinary Form" (The Chant Café, August 30, 2011):
Wassim Sarweh must be one of the most brilliantly innovative yet underrated organists and choirmasters in the English-speaking world. I say that because I just heard him play and his choir sing at the Church of the Assumption Latin Mass in Windsor, Ontario. If you have not been, it is worth a trip. It will redefine your understanding of the aesthetic potential of the extraordinary form. It is also a wonderful experience to join this community of happy and liturgically enlightened Catholics in this beautiful parish.

Wassim's singers are all first rate, and his approach to playing the organ was like nothing I've heard before in this context. Forget nostalgia and dated sentimentalism This is something completed different. The celebrant's voice is clear and his Latin diction is perfect. The singing is as precise as it is effervescent. If you attend on the right day, you can even hear the Gradual chant sung in organum with middle eastern musical accents.

Many people know that I'm no fan of accompanied chant, but Wassim took an approach that was enough to make me a new believer at least as regards the people's chants. He didn't use organ on the Mass propers -- all sung from the Graduale Romanum - but rather on the ordinary of the Mass and the credo in particular, since the rest of the Mass ordinary was sung according to a setting by Orlando di Lasso.

When I first saw Credo III listed, my thought was: too bad that this parish uses this too familiar setting as a fallback. Accompaniment surely can't help. I was completely wrong. Wassim took off following the celebrant's intonation. The speed was vigorous and the text very clear. The harmonies he chose were not like anything I had heard. There unusual modal shifts. There were dramatic volume changes and interesting articulations that heavily informed the singing. There was real word painting going on. The drama ebbed and flowed throughout. As we approached the end, the intensity grew and grew, and my heart began to race. As we finished, I was left with a wild feeling of exuberance, and I wanted to look around and shout: don't we all share a fantastic faith?! I know it sounds silly but music is capable of inspiring such feelings. I never imagined that Credo III could do that.

I asked Wassim where he found such an amazing version. I should have known: he wrote it himself. It is not published. It should be. It should also be on youtube. It would be a revelation for many.

... It was a great privilege for me and for Arlene Oost-Zinner to sing with the choir on the Sunday when we happened to be there following a parish workshop in Lansing, Michigan. I can't imagine what it would be like to have access to such a glorious liturgical event week after week. If you live anywhere near this parish, it is worth a drive just to see what is possible. More than any "old Mass" I've attended, this convinced me that this really could be the Mass of the future.
Yep. That's just about it. I would just add that Wassim Sarweh doubles as our organist and choirmaster at St. Josaphat in downtown Detroit too. He's far too humble to admit it, but he's the genuine article, a regular Meistro.

The politics of the Council

"The majority and the minority at the Council - or, rather, two minorities?" (Rorate Caeli, August 31, 2011):
In this small snippet from Dr. Roberto de Mattei's fascinating history of the Council, the author tries to answer some perplexing questions. Was the Second Vatican Council dominated by a "progressive" majority? Or were the "progressives" also in the minority? And, if so, why did they turn out to be the most influential minority?

Monday, August 29, 2011

D. of Phoenix symposium on 1965 Rite

This is immensely interesting: the Diocese of Phoenix is holding a Conference on October 3-4, 2001, on the 1965 Rite of the Roman liturgy.

Many people are not even aware of the existence of this Rite following the Second Vatican Council. But then, neither are many people aware that Vatican II mandated Latin language and Gregorian Chant as normative for the future reformed Catholic liturgy it envisioned, or that it never prescribed Mass with the priest facing the people, free-standing altars, the absence of altar rails, Communion in the hand, female altar servers, or church choirs in front of the congregation singing songs like Marty Haugen's "Gather Us In." A large part of what Catholics take for granted in their Sunday Masses today consists of innovations following the Council.

A quick look at an English translation of the 1965 Rite will show, on the one hand, that it involves some significant changes from the 1962 Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII (for example, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are "optional"); and, on the other hand, that it is vastly different from anything one finds in nearly all Catholic parishes these days (it still looks in many ways like the old "Tridentine" Mass).

It has been reported by Rorate Caeli that the D. of Phoenix conference is not a Tridentine Conference, but "that the underlying message of the conference is that the 1965 Rite was supposed to have been the end of the reform," and that "a future New Rite was not intended by the bishops in 1963," that the Council's "reform was dutifully implemented by 1965 -- and ulterior developments were, ultimately, a rupture with tradition."

On the other hand, the same source also maintains that the D. of Phoenix conference is not a "reform of the reform" conference either, for which the Novus Ordo would be seen as embodying the proper direction anticipated by the Council, but just needing to be reigned in and tweaked a bit. In other words, suggests Rorate Caeli, this conference "is very quietly suggesting that the Novus Ordo should not have been."

One thing is clear: neither of the two forms of the Roman rite distinguished by the Holy Father in Summorum Pontificum is the form of liturgy envisioned by Council fathers. From a historical perspective, the "Ordinary Form" of the Mass (Novus Ordo) cannot yet be called even an "established" liturgy, even if one did not go as far as the French Catholic Jesuit revisionist following the Council, Fr. Joseph Gelineau, who suggested that the Novus Ordo is a "permanent workshop" of perpetual innovation. The "Extraordinary Form" of the Mass (Traditional Latin Mass), on the other hand, has the virtue of being a well-established and venerable liturgy that does not lend itself easily to innovation. Neither form, however, is exactly what the Council fathers had in mind (though of the two, they would have arguably been far more at home with the unreformed Extraordinary Form than with what most of us experience every Sunday today as "Ordinary").

In light of this, the D. of Phoenix symposium ought to garner some serious attention, though whether it will or not is another question. The contemporary liturgical atmosphere is not one that lends itself readily to considerations of history and tradition. As Fr. Gelineau declared, without a shred of regret (in Demain la liturgie, Paris: Ed. du Cerf, 1979): "the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed." And as the former Cardinal Ratzinger, though animated by radically different sympathies, similarly wrote: "Today we might ask: Is there a Latin Rite anymore? Certainly there is no awareness of it. To most people the liturgy appears to be rather something for the individual congregation to arrange." (Feast of Faith, p. 84)

Interest in EF a "formation issue" in some seminaries

Father M. Brown, "Sad" (Forest Murmurs, August 27, 2011):
Reports reach the Forest now and again about bishops and vocations directors quizzing seminarians about their interest in the Extraordinary Form. This could be a good thing: they might be ensuring that seminarians are at one with the mind of the Church about the Extraordinary Form regarding which Universae Ecclesiae told us a few months ago:
6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honour.
Thus if bishops and vocations directors are expressing any concern regarding the Extraordinary Form and seminarians it would, one would think, be to ensure that all seminarians are at home in both forms of the Roman Rite and most importantly are taught how to celebrate and to love the EF.

Sadly this is not what one hears. Instead seminarians are quizzed about their interest in the Extraordinary Form in such a way as to make clear to them that any interest would be considered a problem and as they used to say in my time, 'a formation issue'. This is outrageous given developments in recent years. Eventually this will change but until then it is sad that people who are only following the directives of the Holy See are made to suffer.
[Hat tip to N.C.]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Revised Musical Settings for the Revised Missal?

By Lucy E. Carroll

Faithful Catholics have waited expectantly for the revised translations of the English missal, which will adhere more precisely to the original Latin missal. The texts have been sent ahead to publishers, and are set to be introduced to parishes at Advent 2011.

The first vernacular translations submitted in the aftermath of Vatican II were very close to those found in the old Latin/English missals. Little by little, however, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy imposed its agenda, and the translations became clunky and even erroneous. The current Confiteor and Gloria, for example, are actually missing entire phrases. One of the memorial acclamations — “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” — did not appear in the Latin missal; it was a rogue statement inserted only into the English missal.

With the sudden and jarring change from Latin to the vernacular, new music was needed in a hurry. Music was needed for the Mass parts and for the hymns that would — temporarily, we were told — replace the daily parts of the Mass originally called “Propers,” since those would need more time for composition.

The contemporary musical culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s had a tremendous influence on hymn composers, and a slew of folksy, pop-style hymns wound their way into the Mass. Although the secular culture has moved on, this genre sadly still remains in most parishes, at least in part. In due time, the parts of Mass itself were set to music in the mode of these pop-style hymns. Masses are still in use today that sport a preponderance of percussive accompaniments and non-sacred musical elements. Some of these are published with music underpinning the priest’s prayers, something specifically forbidden even in the Novus Ordo. Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Sacramentum Caritatis (2007): “Certainly as far as the liturgy is concerned, we cannot say that one song is as good as another .... The introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy should be avoided” (#42). Yet the Latin American pop rhythms and soft-rock-style accompaniments play on.

Soon we will be treated to translations of the Mass texts that are much closer to the original Latin missal. This is most obvious in the Gloria, which will match the phrases as they appear in the Latin missal, rather than relying on the chopped-up and re-organized translation currently in use. Along with the revised translations, may we now expect more sacred musical settings?

Sadly, this does not appear to be the case. A mailing from one of the major publishers assured me that the revised translations would be adapted to current settings, and new settings are coming, but from the same composers who gave us the old secular-style settings and hymns. It is an opportunity missed.

At the monastery where I serve as organist/director, we gave up on those Mass settings some time ago. For several years now, we have used only Gregorian chant settings of the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Our little congregation knows several of these, as well as two chant settings of the Gloria. We do have a simple chanted setting of the Gloria and Credo in English, which I prepared for the monastery. I have reset these for the revised translations. In the coming year, we hope to include Credo III periodically for special feasts.

Gregorian chant is not simply for choirs and scholas. Pope Pius XII wrote in Mediator Dei (1947): “So that the faithful take a more active part in divine worship, let Gregorian chant be restored to popular use in the parts proper to the people” (#192). Yes, the revival of chant was for the benefit of the people in the pews.

Settings of chant Masses are available for the English translations, but these are sadly deficient. To fit the text, the melody must often be mutilated, for the notes and Latin syllables are very closely wedded together. Besides that, revising must be done each time there is a change in the translation. How can the melodies survive? If one is to sing chant, sing it in the original Latin.

There is a lovely synagogue near our monastery where, for special Shabbas services, the entire congregation chants the entire service in Hebrew, unaccompanied. It is quite inspiring. Are our Catholic congregations less able? If so, it is because we have not given the proper training and the example.

Pius XII wrote in Musicae Sacrae (1955) that the Mass “must be holy. It must not allow within itself anything that savors of the profane nor allow any such thing to slip into the melodies in which it is expressed. The Gregorian chant which has been used in the Church over the course of so many centuries, and which may be called, as it were, its patrimony, is gloriously outstanding for this holiness” (#42).

I propose that until such time as the musical settings of the Mass approach this ideal, congregations should boycott secular music and return to chants. With time, they will come to love them and prefer them. I also propose that classically trained composers prepare new settings for the revised texts and write in a style closer to chant and further from the secular world — free of pianos, guitars, percussion, and pop-style accompaniments. And most of all, I propose that publishers publish them and parishes use them.

Let us not permit this opportunity to go completely wasted.


Lucy E. Carroll, D.M.A., is organist/director at the Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia. She is also adjunct associate professor at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton. Lucy E. Carroll's article, "Revised Musical Settings for the Revised Missal?" originally appeared in the Guest Column of New Oxford Review (July-August, 2011), pp. 36-37, and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

"The elephant in the liturgical living room"

The internationally renown liturgical scholar, Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB, recently published a review of Anthony Cekada's Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI (Philothea Press, 2010), 445 pp pb., which was first posted online by Shawn Tribe, editor of New Liturgical Movement (July 19, 2011).

The publication of yet another book criticizing the New Mass elicits little more than a few yawns these days. Such books are a dime-a-dozen. They are generally ignored. What makes it ultimately impossible to simply ignore Cekada's book, however, is the fact that it is not a mere aesthetic or sentimentalist critique, or a critique of abuses and innovations subsequent to the promulgation of the Novus Ordo by Pope Paul VI, but a theological critique of the new Mass itself. Furthermore, Cekada's critique, despite its often breezy and popular style, is copiously documented and not easily dismissed, regardless of the defensive efforts of some revisionist partisans of the "Spirit of Vatican II," like the former Bugnini collaborator, Rev. Mathias Augé, who declares it a defamation of Paul VI's reform.

Note the words with which Alcuin Reid concludes his review:
Father Cekada’s great service is to flag the big question that we have not widely, as yet, been prepared to face. Whilst it is certainly better to celebrate the modern liturgy in a traditional style using more accurate translations, that is not enough. For if the Missal of Paul VI is indeed in substantial discontinuity with the preceding liturgical and theological tradition, this is a serious flaw requiring correction. It is high time, then, that we not only recognise, but do something about the elephant in the liturgical living-room.
Cekada's book has also been recommended and praised (remarkably in some cases) over the last ten or eleven months by:
* * * * * * *

Dr. Alcuin Reid's review

"Book Review: Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI, Anthony Cekada" (New Liturgical Movement, July 19, 2011):
I have long been in Father Cekada’s debt, for it was his booklet The Problems with the Prayers of the Modern Mass that alerted me almost twenty years ago to the significant theological difference between the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Roman Missals. Work of Human Hands is by no means so succinct a publication. It is a substantial attempt to demonstrate profound theological rupture between the two, and more. It deserves serious attention.

Some will dismiss this study because Father Cekada is canonically irregular and a sede vacantist. Whilst these are more than regrettable, ad hominem realities are not sufficient to dismiss this carefully argued and well researched work. We must attend to his arguments on their merits.

The principal thesis is that “the Mass of Paul VI destroys Catholic doctrine in the minds of the faithful and in particular, Catholic doctrine concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the priesthood and the real presence,” and that it “permits or prescribes grave irreverence.” His secondary thesis is that the Mass of Paul VI is invalid. His practical conclusion is that “a Catholic may not merely prefer the old rite to the new; he must also reject the new rite in its entirety. The faith obliges him to do so.” These strong, even extreme, positions may themselves repel readers. But again, they must be examined.

Work of Human Hands seeks to lay an historical foundation for these theses, examining the liturgical movement of the twentieth century and the work of liturgical reform from 1948-1969. Unfortunately this history is not dispassionate. It makes the mistake of repeating the all-too-frequent shrill cries of “modernism” that abound in Father Didier Bonneterre’s slim work, The Liturgical Movement, which I have reviewed elsewhere as “not a study that reaches a conclusion, but a conclusion which seeks the support of a study.”

That is not to say that those at whom the finger is pointed ought not to be scrutinised. Dom Lambert Beauduin certainly inaugurated the pastoral liturgical movement, but anyone who studies his seminal work Liturgy the Life of the Church can see that this was both sound and traditional. Beauduin’s ideas developed, yes, and he became a suspect ecumenist, certainly, but there is no evidence that he conspired towards or would have been happy with the missal of Paul VI. The influence of the Jesuit scholar Joseph Jungmann―expounded very well here―is certainly crucial. Louis Bouyer’s liturgical theology was definitely different to the prevailing twentieth century scholasticism, but that does not mean that it is necessarily modernist or heretical: theological development is possible so long as it does not deny truths of the faith.

Father Annibale Bugnini is pivotal, of course. But the idea that prevails here, and elsewhere, that he held the reins of power in all liturgical reform from 1948 onward, carefully manipulating and conspiring towards the goal of the new Mass, is false. Bugnini was an activist and an opportunist, certainly. However, as Msgr Giampietro’s study of Cardinal Antonelli’s liturgical role, The Development of the Liturgical Reform, demonstrates, Bugnini was by no means the principal or sole architect of the liturgical reforms of Pius XII. His moment came later, in 1963, when his friend, Cardinal Montini, became Paul VI and rehabilitated him, naming him secretary of the commission to implement the Council’s liturgical reform. This singular opportunity and their frequent personal collaboration is what brought about the Mass of Paul VI.

It must be said that the author’s veneration of Pius XII, and his exoneration of him from any responsibility for the liturgical reforms of the 1950s, is excessive. The fact is that we do not know the extent of Pius XII’s personal enthusiasm or involvement in their realisation. But we do know that they were enacted on his authority. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, for better or worse, the responsibility for them is his.

Cekada’s history of the Vatican II reform is better, though to treat the discussion of liturgical reform at the Council itself in but three paragraphs, and the intense activity of the following five years in but ten pages is rather thin; and there are occasional inaccuracies. One also needs to disentangle the historical narrative from the at times amusing commentary and analogy provided by the author (“The fox [Bugnini] was back in the chicken coop”).

However the meat of Cekada’s work is found not in his history, but in his theological analysis of the Mass of Paul VI.

Two chapters are devoted to an analysis of the different versions of the General Instruction of the Missal that appeared in 1969 and 1970. Cekada rightly points out that the 1969 text confidently outlined the prevailing theological principles that underpinned the reformed rite of Mass, which was published with it. Cekada demonstrates well (but with a bit too much rhetoric) that these principles leave traditional Catholic theology behind: “sacrifice” is replaced with “assembly”, “the Lord’s supper” moves in to displace “the Sacrifice of the Cross”, etc.

This provoked an unholy Roman row and the “Ottaviani Intervention”, which declared that the new Order of Mass “represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated [at] the Council of Trent.” Note that Cardinal Ottaviani speaks about the rites, not the Instruction. As Cekada ably demonstrates, the theological principles so boldly outlined in the 1969 Instruction guided the decisions about what went, remained, or was invented for the rites of the Mass of Paul VI (just look [at] the offertory).

This row led to the appearance of a revision of the General Instruction in 1970, with, as J.D. Crichton quipped, a more “Tridentine” phrase put beside each incriminated expression, in order to shore up its doctrinal integrity. However, as Cekada deftly observes, the prayers and rites of the 1969 Order of Mass are identical to those of 1970: a defective building is not rectified by scribbling a few changes on the blueprints. The Mass of Paul VI remains, in its Latin original (before any Episcopal Conference gets to mistranslate it), intentionally theologically different to what came before.

Over half of this book is given over to a detailed exposition of this difference, not at all unsuccessfully. Cekada draws frequently on the writings of those responsible for the reform itself, who state the difference plainly. (One of the strengths of this work is its research and detailed footnotes and bibliography).

To take but one example, Cekada’s exposition of the theological reform of the orations―the collect and other prayers (pp 223-228)―brilliantly demonstrates that, as Father Carlo Braga boasted at the time, the “doctrinal reality” of the texts was altered in the “light of the new view of human values” and “ecumenical requirements”, as well as “an entirely new foundation of Eucharistic theology.” My only regret here is that this is not augmented with references to the excellent and detailed work being done on the same topic by Professor Lauren Pristas. Nevertheless, here, Cekada makes his point very well. Indeed, it has to be said that the book as a whole succeeds in demonstrating the substantial theological difference between the two missals.

He also succeeds in demonstrating the impact of a doctrinally different rite on the belief of the faithful. Surveys on the decline in belief in the real presence amongst Catholics are sufficient to underline that.

What the book does not succeed in doing, however, is to demonstrate the invalidity of the Mass of Paul VI. For whilst there is certainly a theological difference between the two, it is by no means proven that in its Latin text the rite of Mass of Paul VI contradicts Catholic doctrine. It may be doctrinally weaker, it may be theologically different, but it is not heretical. Nor can it be successfully maintained, as does the book, that Paul VI had no authority to modify the formula for consecration in the Mass.

Given that, it is certain that a validly ordained priest who intends to “do what the Church does” in celebrating the Mass according to the modern rite, celebrates a valid Mass. Yes, it is possible, perhaps even more likely, that some priests with a formally defective liturgical and Eucharistic theology that may have been unintentionally encouraged by the liturgical reforms, may more easily celebrate invalidly; that too is an indictment of the rite. But Peter holds the Keys, and whatever prudential errors he may or may not have made in the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, he cannot have committed the Church to an intrinsically invalid rite of Mass.

Given its theological deficiency, Father Cekada dismisses the efforts, led by Pope Benedict XVI, to celebrate the modern rites in more visible continuity with liturgical tradition. We disagree here: the Mass of Paul VI is a valid rite, and its better celebration is all to the good. One may even prefer it in good conscience―as do many generations who have known nothing else. We can argue (and I think quite convincingly) that we can and ought to do better than what is in the Missal of Paul VI, but to worship according to the modern rite is not of itself sinful.

Regardless, Father Cekada’s great service is to flag the big question that we have not widely, as yet, been prepared to face. Whilst it is certainly better to celebrate the modern liturgy in a traditional style using more accurate translations, that is not enough. For if the Missal of Paul VI is indeed in substantial discontinuity with the preceding liturgical and theological tradition, this is a serious flaw requiring correction. It is high time, then, that we not only recognise, but do something about the elephant in the liturgical living-room.

Dr Alcuin Reid is a liturgical scholar and a cleric of the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France.

20th Anniversary of Windsor Tridentine Mass Special Mass – Music Program – Dinner – Guest Speaker To Be Held on Sunday, October 23

Tridentine Community News (August 28, 2011):
A landmark point in local Tridentine Mass history will be passed this October when the first post-Vatican II Tridentine Mass group in metropolitan Detroit celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

From its beginnings in the chapel of Assumption College High School in 1991, to the humble days in the chapel of the former Villa Maria Nursing Home, to the growth era at St. Michael’s Church, to today’s home in the grand, historic Our Lady of the Assumption Church, the Windsor Mass has been the seed from which many other Tridentine Masses in our region have sprung, including the regular Masses at St. Josaphat and St. Albertus, the special occasion Masses at St. Joseph and Sweetest Heart of Mary, and “grandchildren” such as Ss. Cyril & Methodius (Sterling Heights) and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (Wyandotte). Today, the Mass at Assumption Church sets the local standard via its music program and year-round professional choir, its collection of vestments and liturgical books, its resource-filled web site, and the dedication of its enthusiastic priests and volunteers.

It is only fitting that this occasion be marked with a special program and a notable special guest.

Celebrant & Keynote Speaker: Fr. Jonathan Robinson

If you have been around the Latin Mass world for a while, you have most likely heard about London, England’s Brompton Oratory. Perhaps the most renowned church in the world for Latin Liturgy, the London Oratory offers both Extraordinary and Ordinary Form Latin Masses, public and private, at their magnificent high altar and a plethora of side altars, throughout every day. All Masses are celebrated ad oriéntem. Frequent opportunities for Confession, Vespers, Benediction, several children’s and adult choirs, and educational and social events, all create an atmosphere rarely encountered anywhere else. Cardinal John Henry Newman established the first Oratory in Birmingham, England in 1848. Fr. Frederick Faber, author of the familiar hymn Faith Of Our Fathers, founded the London Oratory one year later. An Oratory in Oxford was founded in recent times, in 1990. All follow a similar liturgical model.

In 1975, an enterprising priest of the Archdiocese of Montreal embarked upon a project to bring the liturgical and community life of the Congregation of the Oratory to Canada. Today, the Toronto Oratorians boast a number of priests and administer two parishes, St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family, both of which offer Mass in the Extraordinary Form; the latter offers Latin Masses in the Ordinary Form as well. This priest also founded and served as rector of St. Philip’s Seminary, an Oratorian-run minor seminary serving vocations to the Oratorian Fathers as well as vocations to religious orders and the diocesan priesthood. In 2005, this same priest gained notoriety for authoring a book, The Mass And Modernity, which explains that modernism and its influences and effects have no place in the Church’s liturgy. In all, this priest has arguably contributed more to reverent celebrations of the Holy Mass in contemporary Canada than any other.

We are honored that this holy and accomplished priest, Fr. Jonathan Robinson, will be the celebrant of the 20th Anniversary Solemn High Mass at Windsor’s Assumption Church at 2:00 PM on Sunday, October 23.

A dinner will follow the Mass at which Fr. Robinson will speak about the founding and growth of the Toronto Oratory.

Music Program

Befitting this special occasion, the most ambitious music program yet assembled for a local Tridentine Mass has been planned. Louis Vierne’s grand Messe Solennelle will be sung by Assumption’s Tridentine Mass Choir in conjunction with additional guest singers. The Vierne Mass is known for perhaps the most majestic Kyrie ever composed, one that is intended to convey the omnipotence and fearsomeness of our all-powerful God.

Event Details

Sunday Mass will begin as usual at 2:00 PM. Dinner will be served in the basement Social Hall of nearby Holy Name of Mary Church after Mass, starting at approximately 4:15 PM. The talk will follow the dinner.

Tickets for the dinner are $15 for those 16 and older; $6 for children 5-15; children under 5 are free. Tickets may be purchased at the missal tables of Assumption and St. Josaphat Churches after Sunday Mass. Checks should be made out to “Windsor Tridentine Mass Association”. U.S. and Canadian currency and checks are both welcome. Tickets may also be purchased by mail; please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page or call (519) 734-1335 for further information.

We hope you will be able to join us for what promises to be a fascinating afternoon. U.S. residents who wish to attend will need a Passport, a Passport Card, a Nexus Card, or an Enhanced Driver’s License to cross the border. The latter is the easiest and least expensive to obtain ($35), and may be ordered at any Secretary of State office. Please allow three weeks for delivery of the upgraded license after the order is placed.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 08/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)

Tue. 08/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Rose of Lima, Virgin)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 28, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Fr. Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward (Ignatius Press, 2005) -- From a review by Dom Alcuin Reid, OSB:
"The present condition of Catholic worship has come about because it has been shaped by principles and attitudes of secular modernity. The result is that the Liturgy, instead of providing an alternative vision of life to that provided by secular modernity, now cooperates with and disseminates principles that are destructive of Catholicism."

"Modern liturgical practices are defective, and they are in place, and they reinforce people's understanding both of their faith and of how the faith should relate to the modern world."

Strong words, but true. Father Jonathan Robinson doesn't avoid the grim reality of the state of the Liturgy in the modern world. Rather, he subjects it to the scrutiny of a Catholic philosopher (himself), and comes up with a detailed if disturbing diagnosis.

However a correct diagnosis is the necessary prerequisite for a cure, and whilst it may be unpleasant, we are indebted to Father Robinson for his inscisive work. This book should form part of the liturgical formation programme of all clergy and religious and be studied by any laity seeking a qualification in the Sacred Liturgy. It is philosophically demanding, but all that more important for so being.

Whether or not one agrees with Father Robinson's practical suggestions - and with these there is scope for much discussion - his cry of alarm is prophetic.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Franky Schaeffer: Filial impiety in excelsis

There have been several examples of public filial impiety lately, including Christopher Buckley's remarks about his father and mother (William F. Buckley and Patricia Taylor Buckley) in his book, Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir (2009), on which we posted "Loss of faith, loss of filial piety" (Musings, June 5, 2009).

But the worst example of late is Frank Schaeffer, who wrote a screed on his parents four years ago in Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back (Carrooll & Graf, 2007) (see our post of November 3, 2007 and Os Guinness' review, "Fathers and Sons").

Now the junior Schaeffer, whose ailing blind mother is 96, has come out with yet another book of this kind entitled Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway (Da Capo Press, 2011). Of course Kirkus Reviews, Huffington Post, and The Humanist love it, caressing the author with words like "intelligent" and even "sensitive." I think I'm inclined more toward Holden Caulfield in Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, when he says "That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a goddam toilet seat."

For a couple of reviews that offer what I consider fairly reliable insights (only if any of this interests you), I would recommend those written by J.Mart and Colin Duriez. J.Mart offers an interesting comparison with Wilfrid Sheed, the son of Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, who lost his faith but always treated his parents respectfully in public and in print, even when he disagreed with them.

[Hat tip to our HBCU Correspondent we keep on retainer somewhere in the middle of Hurricane Irene]

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

. . . propterea exaltabit caput.

The deciding issue concerning the position of the priest at the altar is, as we have said, the nature of the Mass as a sacrificial offering. The person who is doing the offering is facing the one who is receiving the offering; thus, he stands before the altar, positioned ad Dominum, facing the Lord.

If, nowadays, the aim is to emphasize the aspect of the communal meal during the "Eucharistic Feast" by celebrating versus populum, this aim is not being met, at least not in the way some might have hoped. The new arrangement has the "meal leader" positioned at the table, by himself. The other "meal participants" are situated in the nave, or in the "auditorium," not directly connected to the "meal table." ...

The focus must forever be on God, not man. This has always meant that everyone turn towards Him in prayer, rather than that the priest face the people. From this insight, we must draw the necessary conclusion and admit that the celebration versus populum is, in fact, an error. In the final analysis, celebration versus populum is a turning towards man, and away from God.

Klaus Gamber
Die Reform der römischen Liturgie

Acknowledgements: This post, with its added emphases, was taken from ". . . propterea exaltabit caput." (Rorate Caeli, August 24, 2011). Image source: Mysterium Fidei - announcing the monthly Mass at the Basilica of the Most Precious Blood in Bruges. Msgr. Klaus Gamber's book is available in English translation under the title, The Reform of the Roman Liturgy.A French translation carries a laudatory Foreword by the former Cardinal Ratzinger.

How to Arrange a Wedding in the Extraordinary Form

Tridentine Community News (August 21, 2011):
In recent months, a number of readers have asked how to plan for Tridentine weddings and funerals. While the circumstances surrounding those two types of events are entirely different, many of the factors pertaining to arranging Masses for them are actually quite similar.

Tridentine Weddings and Funerals are regularly held at St. Josaphat Church and Windsor’s Assumption Church. They are also possible at Detroit’s St. Joseph, Sweetest Heart of Mary, and St. Albertus Churches. Further, the 2007 Motu Proprio Summórum Pontíficum and the 2011 Instruction Univérsæ Ecclésiæ allow any pastor the option of granting permission for a Tridentine wedding or funeral in his church, even if the church does not regularly host Extraordinary Form Masses. You are thus free to ask any pastor’s permission if you have a desire to use a different church. The priests, musicians, and servers from St. Josaphat and Assumption will be happy to help you with a funeral or wedding held elsewhere.

A couple planning a Catholic wedding of any sort must adhere to parish and diocesan guidelines to prepare for the wedding. The couple should contact the pastor of the parish, or, at Assumption Church, the Latin Mass Community Chaplain, Fr. Peter Hrytsyk, who for the purposes of this discussion serves the function of pastor. Marriage preparation classes may be required, along with a series of meetings with a priest, deacon, or other designated staff. At the discretion of the pastor, the marriage prep might be permissible to be had through another parish. The amount of advance notice required to be given for the wedding varies. It is essential to contact the church(es) you are considering as far in advance as possible, for marriage prep purposes, to ensure that your preferred date and time is available, and to understand the costs that are involved at each venue.

A wedding desired at St. Albertus Church will need its sacramental records recorded with St. Joseph Parish, in whose canonical territory St. Albertus resides. Marriage prep will need to be discussed with Fr. Roman and arranged at St. Joseph or elsewhere. A stipend to St. Joseph Parish for these services is appropriate for a wedding at St. Albertus.

The choice of celebrant is a mutual decision between yourself, the pastor, and if relevant, the third party priest. A pastor has the right to determine which priests may celebrate weddings in his church.

The music program for your wedding can vary from an organist alone, to a small choir, to an orchestra and full choir. Our churches are experienced in providing all of these options. Of course, the more elaborate the music, the more it will cost. See our music director, Wassim Sarweh, after one of our Tridentine Masses to begin this planning process.

Likewise, a Tridentine Mass can have as few as four altar servers for a sung Mass, or as many as eleven if torches (candles) are desired. Like musicians and singers, altar servers for a wedding receive a stipend. See altar server Alex Begin after one of our Tridentine Masses to make arrangements.

Stipends for use of the church, and flower and decoration guidelines vary. Contact the parish for details. In general, you are responsible to clean up the decorations and any sort of “mess” that might be left over after the Mass.

A Unity Candle is not permissible in an Extraordinary Form Nuptial Mass. The presentation of flowers at the Blessed Mother’s altar at the conclusion of Mass is customary but not required. Photographers are not allowed in the high pulpit or inside the Communion Rail. Please e-mail the address at the bottom of this page if you have questions about the process or ceremony.

How to Arrange a Funeral in the Extraordinary Form

The first and most important point when planning a Tridentine Funeral Mass for yourself or a loved one is to make your wishes known to as many people as possible in advance. If you are planning your own funeral, your wishes for your Funeral Mass should not be guessed and cannot wait until the reading of your Will. Too many people devoted to the Extraordinary Form have had Ordinary Form funerals simply because their families were not aware, or did not know to whom to turn.

It is imperative when calling a church to arrange a funeral that you explain in very clear terms that you want a “Traditional Latin Tridentine” funeral Mass. Those who answer the phones may not be familiar with the term “Extraordinary Form” or even “Tridentine”. Be prepared to explain in detail what you want, to supply the name of priest(s) who can celebrate the Mass, and to arrange musicians and altar servers yourself. Our parishes still offer more Ordinary Form than Extraordinary Form funerals, so the staff is likely to assume that you, like most, want the former.

In 1962, the year of the currently in-force Extraordinary Form Missal, cremation was not an option for Catholics. Today it is permissible, although it is not a traditional option. The Extraordinary Form missal makes no provision for cremated remains to be present at a Funeral Mass. A practical option is to have the deceased’s body present at the Funeral Mass before it is cremated. Otherwise, we are faced with the quandary of whether to conduct the ceremony of Absolution at a Catafalque, which stands in for a body not present. Arguably having both a Catafalque and the deceased’s ashes present constitutes an inappropriate redundancy.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 08/22 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Immaculate Heart of Mary)

Tue. 08/23 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Philip Benizi, Confessor)

Wed. 08/24 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Bartholomew, Apostle)

Fri. 08/26 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Our Lady of Czestochowa, Second Patron of St. Josaphat Parish)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 21, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

WYD: "It's the Evangelicals, stupid!"

Whatever one thinks of the trend labeled "Evangelical Catholicism" by John Allen in "Big Picture at World Youth Day: 'It's the Evangelicals, Stupid!'" (National Catholic Reporter, August 19, 2011), it seems for better or worse to embody the most palpable drift of mainstream "conservative" Catholicism these days. Allen's analysis is quite perceptive at points, as a reader pointed out to me. Definitely worth a read.

Some of you have already noted this trend on Catholic radio programming across the country as well, not to mention traditionalist Christopher Ferrara's blistering critique of EWTN as "a network gone wrong." In any case, the trend appears to be here to stay.

The strengths of the orientation comes from its willingness to tackle the interface between faith and culture, and the broad appeal of its chatty style and presence in Catholic media. Evangelical Catholics love to talk. They talk about Scripture. They talk about doctrines. They offer arguments to defend their doctrines. They share their conversion stories. They love to appear on talk shows. They like "praise" songs, extemporaneous prayers and couldn't tell you the words to the Te Deum to save their lives. The irony is that if you were driving somewhere and not sure of the radio station you were listening to, you might have to listen for awhile to figure out that it was a Catholic station you were listening to, and not an Evangelical Protestant one.

This, in turn, points to a possible weakness of the orientation: it is thoroughly acclimated to contemporary American religious culture, which has been decisively shaped over the past decades and centuries by a mix of Protestant and secular influences, and one sometimes gets the impression that Evangelical Catholics know next to nothing about pre-Vatican II Catholic tradition, except for a few talking points in apologetics. The question that arises then is: How long can Evangelical Catholics sustain their Catholic cultural identity; or, better, what is left of their Catholic cultural identity? What differentiates them from Protestant Evangelicals, besides a few minor liturgical "externals" and some sort of relation to the pope?

[Hat tip to J.M.]

Monday, August 22, 2011

WYD anti-Catholic harrassment & violence

"Wonder not, brethren, if the world hate you." (1 John 3:13) Fr. Z: "Start getting used to the idea..." (photos, first-hand accounts: "... shouting and threatening and spitting and filming us and mocking us and trying to burn our flags.")

1,500+ youth assist at EF Mass at WYD

Details over at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's WDTPRS.

Why is September 14th important?

  1. It's the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross.
  2. It's my birthday, as well as that of Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood.
  3. It's the anniversary of the date of the implementation of Summorum Pontificum established by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in 2007.
  4. It is the date of a meeting to which SSPX leadership has been summoned by Rome next month.

It is generally understood that this meeting will attend to the canonical situation of the Society. Pope Benedict XVI lifted the Decree of Excommunication of 1988 on January 21, 2009, leaving the canonical status of the Society unanswered. The September 14th meeting between Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Msgr. Fellay, General Superior of the Fraternity of the Society of St. Pius X and his two assistants Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nély, will consider the outcome of two years of doctrinal talks between representatives of the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity. All Catholics are requested to pray for the intentions of the Holy Father and the good of the Church.


National debt in perspective

New national debt data: It's growing about $3 million a minute, even during his vacation (Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 2011): Obama sets record: $4,247,000,000,000 debt in just 945 days...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"The pro-life homily that rocked the world and caused 3 priests to be beheaded"

Dr. Gerard M. Nadal's August 15th post comes to you via Nina Bryhn from Deacon Greg Kendra, who posted this homily by Cardinal Clemens von Galen earlier this month on the 70th anniversary of its delivery, originally, on August 3, 1941, in Münster Cathedral. It is archived at, which has an excellent repository of historical speeches and commentary.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Blessing of Herbs and Fruits for the Assumption - Part 2 of 2

Tridentine Community News (August 14, 2011):
Below we present the conclusion of the Blessing of Herbs and Fruits for the Feast of the Assumption, which will be conducted today at both St. Josaphat and Assumption Churches:
Let us pray.
O God, by Moses, Thy servant, Thou didst command the children of Israel to carry their sheaves of new grain to the priests for a blessing, to pluck the finest fruits of the orchards, and to make merry before Thee, the Lord their God. Hear Thou our supplications, and bestow blessings
+ in abundance upon us and upon these bundles of new grain, new herbs, and this assortment of produce which we gratefully present to Thee on this festival – blessing + them in Thy name. Grant that men, cattle, sheep, and beasts of burden find in them a remedy against sickness, pestilence, sores, injuries, spells, against the bites of serpents and other poisonous animals. May these blessed objects act as a protection against diabolical mockeries, cunnings, and deceptions wherever they are kept, carried, or other disposition made of them. And through the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose Assumption we celebrate, may we likewise, laden with sheaves of good works, deserve to be lifted up to heaven. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.
℟. Amen.
Let us pray.
O God, Who on this day hast raised up to heavenly heights the rod of Jesse, the mother of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, that through her prayers and patronage Thou mightest communicate to our mortal nature the Fruit of her womb, Thy same Son; we pray that we may use these fruits of the soil for our temporal and eternal welfare – the power of Thy Son and the patronage of His glorious mother assisting us. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

℟. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son,
+ and Holy Spirit come upon these creatures, and remain for all time.
℟. Amen.

[They are sprinkled with holy water and incensed.]
Jeffrey Tucker & Arlene Oost-Zinner
To Visit Assumption Church on August 28

Two of North America’s most prominent advocates of traditional sacred music will be paying a visit to our region.

Jeffrey Tucker and Arlene Oost-Zinner of the Church Music Association of America will be visiting – and singing with – the choir at Windsor’s Assumption Church on Sunday, August 28 at the 2:00 PM Extraordinary Form Mass. The CMAA is North America’s oldest and largest organization promoting the traditional repertoire of sacred music in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of Holy Mass.

The prior day, Saturday, August 27, the duo will be leading a Gregorian Chant workshop at East Lansing’s St. Thomas Aquinas Church, with a focus on singing English Propers and the new translation of the Ordinary Form of Mass.

Jeffrey is the editor of Sacred Music magazine, the webmaster of, and the author of the blog He is one of the most prominent advocates in the English speaking world for the singing of the Propers at the Ordinary Form of Holy Mass, both from the original Latin Graduále Románum and from English translations. He led the CMAA’s efforts to request reasonable permission from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy for composers and others to have access to the copyrighted texts of the new translation of the Ordinary Form. He was one of the prime movers behind the CMAA’s new hymnal, The Parish Book of Chant, and the editor of Simple English Propers, a new book which offers the Propers of the Ordinary Form set to traditional Gregorian Chant tones (melodies). He is the author of several books, among them Sing Like a Catholic. Arlene is a published composer of sacred music, a music instructor, and co-director with Jeffrey of the St. Cecilia Schola at St. Michael Church in Auburn, Alabama, which sings at regular Extraordinary and Ordinary Form Masses in the area. The pair co-administers a growing number of chant workshops and Sacred Music Colloquia around the U.S. We are honored that they will be making time in their schedule to see what the buzz is about with the Tridentine Mass choir at Assumption Church, the only Extraordinary Form Mass site in metro Detroit and Windsor to offer a full professional choir almost every Sunday of the year.

All are invited to meet Arlene and Jeffrey after Mass on the 28th.

Additional Masses Scheduled in Lapeer

This column has previously reported on the initiation of Extraordinary Form Masses at Immaculate Conception Parish in Lapeer, Michigan, at the initiative of Associate Pastor Fr. Clement Suhy, OSB. The parish has announced that Tridentine Masses will be held on Sunday, August 28 and Sunday, September 25 at 12:30 PM; and every Thursday at 8:45 AM.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 08/15 7:00 PM: High Mass at St. Josaphat (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Tue. 08/16 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (St. Joachim, Father of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 14, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

Monday, August 08, 2011

To all home-schooling moms

[Hat tip to Nina C. Bryhn]

Drudge: Barackalypse Now

No, it's not like the smell of Napalm in the morning, and it doesn't smell like ... victory. It smells like overly-ripe bananas ... or like the United States, along with the countries of the E.U., turning into China's rotting banana republics.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

For the record: Vatican on Communion on tongue, kneeling

News almost a week old, but for the record, the Vatican's Prefect for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera recently recommended that ALL Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.

As reported by Catholic News Agency (July 28, 2011), the Cardinal said that "It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving."

Now, is that not refreshingly NOT about "we-ourselves-and-us," for a change? What a novel concept: we gather-us-in together at Mass, not to celebrate US, or our "COMMUNITY," but in awe, to let-all-our-mortal-flesh-keep-silence, in adoration, before the majesty of our LORD!

“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves ..." he declared.

Receiving Communion on the tongue while kneeling, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.” (emphasis added)

Won't the "We Are Church" and "Call to Action" crowds love this!!

Bouyer and ad orientem worship

There is an interesting excerpt from a longer article on Louis Bouyer and church architecture by Uwe Michael Lang, "20th Century Liturgical Movement and Mass Facing the People," posted over at Southern Orders (August 7, 2011). In it, Lang writes: "Bouyer notes in retrospect a tendency to conceive of the Eucharist as a meal in contrast to a sacrifice, which he calls a fabricated dualism that has no warrant in the liturgical tradition."

The so-called "Liturgical Movement," whether one limits himself to the 20th century or goes back several centuries, is a complex phenomenon. I used to be a big fan of Louis Bouyer, especially after reading (back during my journey to the Catholic Church some 20 years ago) his The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism,which I still consider an excellent book, despite the poor translation. But I was not yet then aware of everything about Bouyer that I have been learning since, working, as I am, with the same disability as Friedrich Schelling, as Hegel noted, of carrying on his education in public.

Lang's quote makes it appear as if Bouyer was a staunch opponent of the liturgical revolutionaries who set their sights set on jettisoning the traditional Catholic emphasis on the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice and displacing it altogether with the notion of the Eucharist as a communal meal. The impression is that Bouyer wanted a "both/and" emphasis, rather than an "either/or." I would now disagree.

This is not the place to pursue the issue at the moment, but I have read enough now to know that, despite Bouyer's later disappointments in the direction taken by Vatican II and especially the post-Vatican II innovations that ensued, Bouyer himself played a large role in reinforcing and solidifying the 20th-century liturgical movement's commitment to the view that the Mass is primarily a communal banquet rather than a propitiatory sacrifice, a view certainly shared by Abp. Annibale Bugnini, as well as with various historical reform movements identified with Protestantism and Jansenism (I hope to post something on this in the future).

Still, Lang is not insensitive to the complexity (not to mention ambiguity) of Bouyer's own work. He writes:
Bouyer painted with a broad brush and his interpretation of historical data is sometimes questionable or even untenable. Moreover, he was inclined to express his theological positions sharply, and his taste for polemics made him at times overstate the good case he had. Like other important theologians of the years before the Second Vatican Council, he had an ambiguous relationship to post-Tridentine Catholicism and was not entirely free of an iconoclastic attitude. Later, he deplored some post-conciliar developments especially in the liturgy and in religious life, and again expressed this in the strongest possible terms.
[Hat tip to Fr. Z.]

You're gonna love this: The Blessing of Herbs and Fruits for the Assumption - Part 1 of 2

Tridentine Community News (August 7, 2011):
Next Sunday, August 14, all are invited to bring fruits, herbs, and flowers before Mass to St. Josaphat and Assumption-Windsor for the Blessing for the Feast of the Assumption. This tradition is associated with Our Lady because she is seen in biblical imagery as a vine; flowers represent her virtue; and Our Lord is her fruit. The Extraordinary Form Roman Ritual specifies that the blessing be prayed by the priest entirely in Latin; below we present an English translation:

* * *
℣. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
℟. Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 64

Praise, O God, is due Thee in Sion, * and a vow must be offered Thee in Jerusalem.
Hear my prayer; * all flesh cometh unto Thee.
Iniquities overwhelm us, * but pardon Thou our transgressions.
Blessed be the man whom Thou dost elect and adopt, * that he may dwell in Thy courts.
We will be filled with the goodness of Thy house; * holy is Thy temple and wonderful in righteousness.
Hear us, God our Savior, * the Confidence of all ends of the earth and the sea afar off.
Girded with power, Thou settest fast the mountains by Thy strength, * Thou stillest the roaring of the seas and of their waves.
The nations are dismayed at Thy signs; also they who dwell in uttermost parts; * to the east and to the west Thou givest joy.
Thou hast helped the land with plenteous rain; * Thou hast in many ways enriched it.
God’s rain hath filled the earth and provided food, * for then does it grow.
Fill Thou the furrows, multiply their crops; * gentle rain-drops gladden the buds.
Thou crownest the year with Thy good things, * and Thy fields overflow with plenty.
The beautiful places of the wilderness grow rich, * and the hills are surrounded with joy.
The mountains are clothed with sheep, the vales abound with wheat; * they shout for joy, and sing a hymn of praise.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣. The Lord will be gracious.
℟. And our land bring forth its fruit.
℣. Thou waterest the mountains from the clouds.
℟. The earth is replenished from Thy rains.
℣. Giving grass for cattle.
℟. And plants to the servitors of men.
℣. Thou bringest forth wheat from the earth.
℟. And wine to cheer men’s heart.
℣. Oil to make his face lustrous.
℟. And bread to strengthen his heart.
℣. He sends His command, and heals their suffering.
℟. And snatches them from distressing want.
℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.
℟. And let my cry come unto Thee.
℣. The Lord be with you.
℟. And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.
Almighty, everlasting God, by Thy Word alone Thou hast made heaven, earth, sea, all things visible and invisible, and hast adorned the earth with plants and trees for the use of men and animals. Thou appointest each species to bring forth fruit in its kind, not only to serve as food for living creatures, but also as medicine to sick bodies. With mind and word we earnestly implore Thy unspeakable goodness to bless  these various herbs and fruits, and add to their natural powers the grace of Thy new blessing. May they ward off disease and adversity from men and beasts who use them in Thy name. Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

℟. Amen.

[To be continued next week.]
Fifth Mass Site in Diocese of Lansing Debuts

A fifth Tridentine Mass site is debuting in our neighboring Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, at the historic St. Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, Michigan, southwest of Ann Arbor on US 12 in the Irish Hills lakes area. Associate Pastor Fr. Tom Wasilewski, ordained in 2010, will offer the first Mass, a Low Mass, this Tuesday, August 9 at 8:30 AM. Additional Tridentine Masses may be scheduled if there is support.

Masses for the Feast of the Assumption

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated at St. Josaphat Church with a High Mass on Monday, August 15 at 7:00 PM. On Sunday, August 14 at 2:00 PM, Assumption Church in Windsor will offer a High Mass for the External Solemnity of the Assumption, the patronal feast of the parish. The rubrics of the Extraordinary Form permit the moving of a parish’s patronal feast to the nearest Sunday. Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament will follow the Mass.

Next Mass at St. Albertus: August 21

The next Tridentine Mass at St. Albertus Church will be held in two weeks, on Sunday, August 21 at noon.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Mon. 08/08 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. John Vianney, Confessor)

Tue. 08/09 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Assumption-Windsor (Vigil of St. Lawrence, Martyr)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Josaphat bulletin insert for August 7, 2011. Hat tip to A.B.]

"What are all these things compared with the loss of souls?"

Under this title -- words taken from Pope Pius XI's Quadragesimo Anno -- Rorate Caeli (August 6, 2011) writes:
One of the "cornerstones" of modern economy, the unassailable credit of the United States: downgraded.

Ours is an extraordinarily interesting age, of which this latest piece of news is just a very minute sign: the explosive energy that sprung up in the small western end of Eurasia in the Middle Ages, shaped by Christendom, a burst of creativity and missionary spirit which covered the whole world: the originally Christian West, whose good (and sublime) and bad (and hideous) ideas shaped the world as we know it, and that, in a kind of lifeline, lived its last decades of influence after the European disasters of the 20th century in some of its old colonial outposts - that energy seems to be finally spent. Many aspects of that civilization, enormously wealthy and yet bankrupt as well as spiritually exhausted, remain and will survive, but its hegemonic presence seems likely to be replaced. By what? And does it matter, in the eternal scheme of things?

Despite rivers of ink in "social" and "economic" doctrinal documents since "the Council", it is astounding that the best Catholic commentary on the troubles of this age was written 80 years ago.This is not the first time some of these words of Pius XI are posted here - but they never seem to get old: ...

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A Latin hymn that could make me run from a Tridentine Mass

No more exquisite torture could be imagined to drive me positively apoplectic. I pray this isn't the "fruit" of the cross-fertilization of the two forms of the Roman rite envisioned by anyone in high places. I suppose that if I were sent to hell for my sins and Marty Haugen to heaven for his sanctity, Marty's heaven could well be my hell.

What's right and wrong with Michael Voris

Most of you know how much I appreciate Michael Voris. He's saying some things that badly need saying and that only someone of his independence seems in a position to dare say. This underscores what is right with Voris. He is something like a contemporary Jeremiah, calling God's people to repentance, sometimes with a refreshing (and doubtless offensive) bluntness. This is what gives him part of his negative reputation: he offends delicate sensibilities. Good for him. What would the redemptive history of the Chosen People have been without Jeremiah and his "Jeremiads"?

So what is wrong with Voris? Despite what Mark Shea and others like him might think, not much. There is, however, a small thin slice of Voris' messages that are a problem, not because of their bluntness, but because of their ignorance; and this applies to most of what he has to say about Protestants. While his opposition to knee-jerk "we're-all-the-same-anyway" ecumaniacs is a welcome difference from the naive and ill-informed willingness of some Catholics to embrace everyone from Bishop-Spong-vintage liberal Episcopalians to "Jesus-who?" Unitarians, he has little discernment concerning the facts of the 16th-century Protestant Reformers (De-formers, if you prefer), let alone the distinctive nuances of different kinds of Protestants, whether Calvinists, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Nazarines, Baptists, Mennonites, Schwenkfelders, Moravians, or whatever.

This leads to some bald declarations that are just, well, embarrassing.

A good example is "Voris & Shea: Can't We All Just Get Along?" (Creative Minority Report). My issue is not so much the words of "Amazing Grace," which are the focus of Voris' remarks here. I do think that there are parts of that Protestant national hymn that can be interpreted in ways that are grossly inimical to traditional Catholic sensibilities (as my friend Chris Garton-Zavesky could tell you), but I don't think that interpretation is essential or, indeed, is how most people who sing that hymn interpret them. That, to my thinking, is beside the point here.

If Mr. Voris would cease attacking Protestantism, where he is often on very shaky ground, and continue to focus on the house-cleaning of our own Catholic household, I could find very little if anything not to appreciate in him, despite what Mr. Shea may wish to say. His opposition to mindless ecumenism is welcome, but there is also such a thing as gross insensitivity to baptized brothers in Christ who, through no fault of their own, were born into and raised in some Protestant ethos or another and sincerely seek the truth by the light they've been given. Some of us led, doubtless by the Holy Spirit, to discern the truth of Catholicism by means of disparate nuggets of what was true and good within our own erstwhile non-Catholic Christian traditions.

[Hat tip to J.M.]

"100 Reasons NOT to go to Graduate School"

One could offer plenty of reasons for not going to most colleges and universities today, even most high schools, if you want to preserve your love of learning, let alone your faith. On the one hand, I get the gist of the point this writer is making. On the other hand, I can think of some very good reasons for SOME individuals to pursue graduate studies -- even in the citadels of Babylon.

[Hat tip to C.B.]

Friday, August 05, 2011

Dr. Thomas Pink responds to Fr. Rhonheimer

"On the coercive authority of the Church: a response to Fr. Martin Rhonheimer by Dr. Thomas Pink" (Rorate Caeli, August 5, 2011) offers, along with a detailed chronology of the articles bearing on this subject posted by Sandro Magister at Chiesa, a thoroughgoing and programmatic discussion by Prof. Thomas Pink of King's College London.

By way of introductory summary, Rorate Caeli quotes the words of Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli OP, who put the critical issues as follows in the course of the discussion: "The heart of the debate is here. We all agree, in fact, that the doctrines already defined [by the dogmatic magisterium of the former Church] present in the conciliar texts are infallible. What is in discussion is if the doctrinal developments, the innovations of the Council, are also infallible."

Monday, August 01, 2011

The collapse of Catholic missions

Anthony Sistrom is a gentleman with whom I have been corresponding for some years now. He lives in California, is thoroughly conversant with Catholic literature in French as well as English, and often has interesting and provocative things to say. Recently he told me that the new pastor of his Catholic parish is so liberal that he feels practically driven out by the priest's secular homilies, which seem to reflect the priest's own loss of faith. Fortunately, he says, there is an Orthodox OCA parish with a beautiful liturgy in the area: "I hope by attending twice to remain Catholic." He also says that his hope is in the success of the Anglican ordinariate: "Small communities, committed Catholics, solemn liturgy (chanted and not rushed) in Elizabethan English."

I have profited from his correspondence and, though I have never yet had the privilege of meeting him, consider Mr. Sistrom a friend. He was the first to recommend to me the excellent book by the Australian, Geoffrey Hull, entitled Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church (T&T Clark Studies In Fundamental Liturgy)(Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2010), a wonderfully challenging and enriching book.

From time-to-time, Mr. Sistrom sends me a paragraph or two reflecting on a particular issue relating to the state of the Church. Let me share a few such paragraphs with you here from two emails on the related subject of missions. Whatever you may think of what he says, I think you will find it provocative food for thought. I know I always have.

No. 1:
There is no area of Church life more damaged by Vatican II than missions.1 We had thousands of heroic men and women in the field whose priority was evangelizing. There is still a tremendous Evangelical witness but Catholics have altogether disappeared. We now have development and charitable activity instead. Missiology is a flourishing academic specialty while missions and missionaries are in total eclipse. I recently read a review (Books and Culture) of Jesuit Fr. Jacques Dupuis' Christianity and the Religions by Anglican Fr. Gerald McDermott. I quote: "Dupuis has the same problem with Jesus that the Enlightenment had. Jesus was one of the 'accidents of history' inaccessible to humanity as a whole... As Lessing famously put it, "Accidental truths of history can never become the proof of necessary truths of reason....

"... Dupuis, in 263 pages of text, never mentions atonement through the Cross, salvation as redemption from sin, or the reign of God as discipleship to Jesus- and insists that Jesus' uniqueness and universality are not 'absolute'. For such claims would require the notion that God was fully revealed in Jesus Christ, as the early church suggested."

Fr. McDermott has nailed it. Even in Cardinal Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity one finds embarrassment in dealing with St. Anselm and the atonement.
No. 2:
I am reading Newbigin:
"There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command... This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel. If one looks at the NT evidence...Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact? The mission of the Church in the pages of the NT is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving. One searches in vain in the letters of St. Paul to find any suggestion that he anywhere lays it on the conscience of his readers that they ought to be active in mission... It is a striking fact, morover, that almost all the proclamations of the gospel which are described in Acts are in response to questions asked by those outside the Church....One of the dangers of emphasizing the concept of mission as a mandate given to the Church is that it tempts us to do what we are always tempted to do, namely to see the work of mission as a good work and to seek to justify ourselves by our works. On this view, it is we who must save the unbelievers from perishing....It is not that they must speak and act, asking the help of the Spirit to do so. It is rather that in their faithfulness to Jesus they become the place where the Spirit speaks and acts."
Like I said, food for thought ...


  1. This coincides with the verdict of John Lamont, who identifies as a weakness of Vatican II it's neglect of a clear rationale for missions: "It made no reference at all to unbelief rendering salvation doubtful," he writes. (See our review of John Lamont's 2007 Blackfriars article, "What was wrong with Vatican II." [back]

More on Ireland

Janet Smith sent me this link today on the post entitled "How Many Questions on the Cloyne Report?" (The Thirsty Grove, July 26, 2011) -- worth a read.