Happy Birthday Novus Ordo? – The American Catholic

having fun with the new-mass disasters — :

Among my many flaws is a deep appreciation for biting sarcasm. A recent post by Damian Thompson at his blog at the Telegraph is a masterpiece of this form of verbal combat:

“It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!”

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.”

I attend Novus Ordo masses, but I do think a fair argument can be made that there seems to be almost a deliberate effort over the past 45 years to strip from the Church the beautiful, the traditional, the mysterious and the moving for the ugly, the novel, the trite and the banal. I dimly recall the Latin Mass as I was born in 1957, but I do remember often being overwhelmed with awe. The Novus Ordo is many things, but awe-inspiring is rarely one of them, at least for me, except of course for the Eucharist. It is a legitimate Mass, and I have no time for those who would argue otherwise. However, I think the Church can do better, and has done much better, than what has often been inflicted on the people in the pews since the Sixties.

People for whom the whole business was to get them to PARTICIPATE and love it.

Searing comments by the highly esteemed Louis Bouyer on Novus Ordo as it was devised

From his Memoirs, here gathered by the prolific Joseph Shaw. The widely published Bouyer was in on the process from the start of Vatican 2. He refers to the concilium, or commission, charged with concretizing liturgical reform according to guidelines given by council’s document. Italics are added here.

Wrote Bouyer:

I should not like to be too harsh on this commission’s labours. It numbered a certain number of genuine scholars and more than one experienced and judicious pastor. Under different circumstances they might have accomplished excellent work. Unfortunately, on the one hand a deadly error in judgment placed the official leadership of the committee in the hands of a man who, though generous and brave, was not very knowledgeable: Cardinal Lercaro. He was utterly incapable of resisting the manoeuvres of the mealy-mouthed scoundrel that the Neapolitan Vincentian, Bugnini, a man as bereft of culture as he was of basic honesty, soon revealed himself to be.

Even besides this, there was no hope of producing anything of greater value than what would actually come out of it, what with this claim of recasting from top to bottom and in a few months an entire liturgy it had taken twenty centuries to develop.

Shaw notes:

Bouyer’s description of personally bodging [trying this, trying that until somehow you get a product] together Eucharistic Prayer II with [another liturgiologist] Dom Botte in a cafe in Trastavere [in Rome], before rushing to the meeting at which it would be discussed, has already passed into legend. He was, in fact, revising it by the time he got to the cafe, but the scorn he had for the haste and the amateurishness of the whole process is searing.

He continues from Bouyer:

The worst of it was an impossible Offertory, in a Catholic Action, sentimental / workerist style, the handiwork of Fr Cellier, who with tailor-made arguments manipulated the despicable Bugnini in such a way that his production went through despite nearly unanimous opposition.

More Bouyer:

I prefer to say nothing, or so little of the new calendar, the handiwork of a trio of maniacs who suppressed, with no good reason, Septuagesima and the Octave of Pentecost and who scattered three quarters of the Saints higgledy-piggledy, all based on notions of their own!

Because these three hotheads obstinately refused to change anything in their work and because the Pope wanted to finish up quickly to avoid letting the chaos out of hand, their project, however insane, was accepted!

Of which more later. Call it the trials of Paul VI, or something like that. A saint he may be; but a judge or manager of men, not so much.

Bouyer, finally:

After all of this, it is not much surprise if, because of its unbelievable weaknesses, the pathetic creature we produced was to provoke laughter or indignation … so much so that it makes one forget any number of excellent elements it nevertheless contains [Shaw
liked the lectionary and the Common Preface, for example, though
the former was was too hastily composed], and that it would be a shame not to salvage as so many scattered pearls, in the revision which will inevitably be called for.

As it was, early and often in the decades to come, to little effect.

More later on the fearful mystery that became the Novus Ordo . . .

In Poland, a Roadside Billboard: “Stop Communion in the Hand!” — Catholicism Pure & Simple

That’s it. We have nothing to add. Just our most heartfelt congratulations to the Polish Association of Christian Culture for their beautiful campaign (click here) in promotion of the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. (H/T to Rorate Caeli)

In Poland, a Roadside Billboard: “Stop Communion in the Hand!” — Catholicism Pure & Simple

Old-style Catholic mass in Oak Park, 1993, as in Chicago Tribune by Jim Bowman

Every time Julie Badon, a 46-year-old Berwyn homemaker and lifelong devout Catholic, goes to church in Oak Park on Sunday, she violates an edict of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

The mass, in which a priest stands with his back to the people, who pray to God with prayer books and rosaries, is celebrated by a priest of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a Frenchman who rejected the reformist Second Vatican Council as the work of the devil and was excommunicated for ordaining bishops on his own.

For Julie Badon and hundreds of other worshipers at Our Lady Immaculate, 410 W. Washington Blvd., ostracism by her church is not too high a price to pay for the consolations of the pre-Vatican II mass and the devotion it inspires.

Every time Julie Badon, a 46-year-old Berwyn homemaker and lifelong devout Catholic, goes to church in Oak Park on Sunday, she violates an edict of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

She does it anyhow, convinced that she has found at Our Lady Immaculate the one, true mass rejected for the most part by the one, true church she grew up in.

It’s a Tridentine Latin mass, outlawed for 13 years by one pope and only partly permitted by another, as of 1984.

The Lefebvre phenomenon is unique in recent Catholic history because, as a bishop who ordained other bishops, he set in motion a self-perpetuating rebel structure. It was the first major schism within the church since the turn-of-the-century exit of the Polish National Catholic Church of America.

Lefebvre ordained his four bishops in 1988, having broken off talks with the Vatican authorized by Pope John Paul II in an effort to head him off at the pass before he institutionalized his rebellion.

Lefebvre and his followers, the equally excommunicated priests and bishops of his society, have essentially told the Vatican to take the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), source of virtually all that is changed and modernized in the church, and shove it.

For Julie Badon and hundreds of other worshipers at Our Lady Immaculate, 410 W. Washington Blvd., ostracism by her church is not too high a price to pay for the consolations of the pre-Vatican II mass and the devotion it inspires.

It’s not the only Latin mass in town. Since February 1990, the archdiocese has allowed a Latin mass at three churches, one on Chicago’s Near Northwest Side, one on the South Side, and one in Antioch in Lake County.

But Our Lady Immaculate is the only local church run by the St. Pius X Society, an international organization that remains by far the biggest traditionalist thorn in the side of the Vatican since the Second Vatican Council.

At the heart of the rebellion, symbolic and symptomatic of the society’s rejection of changes in the church, is Sunday mass with incense and Latin and statues all around, as the mass used to be before the council.

To Our Lady Immaculate, worshipers come from Aurora, Oak Lawn, Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, the Northwest Side and points in between, self-described refugees from “the new mass” and the new church-what Catholicism hath wrought in the last 30 years.

`I feel like a dinosaur’

Balloons in church for her son’s first communion pushed Badon over the edge of churchly respectability 17 years ago; that and mass for a much-loved uncle held in the school basement around a small table surrounded by folding chairs.

“I wanted a mass for my uncle,” she said, “and instead I got a paraliturgy”-not a mass at all, but a prayer service modeled on a mass.

It wasn’t what she’d been raised on in several South Side parishes and a South Side high school-all of them gone now, like the Latin mass. She and her husband wanted their five children to have what they had as kids, “the sacraments, the way we were taught. Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur. Everything from my past is gone.”

At Our Lady Immaculate, it all returns. Rev. Peter Scott, a 35-year-old Australian ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre, who died in 1991, commutes weekly from Kansas City, Mo., where he is U.S. superior for the Society of St. Pius X.

A slight, lean, dark-haired man who says mass with grave demeanor and preaches with verve and intensity, he is the chief deliverer to Badon and others of old-time Catholic religion, with its deep suspicion of the outside world, its emphasis on asceticism, and its confidence of possessing the true faith.

Living for the afterlife

“So many Catholics are Sunday Catholics,” Scott says from the pulpit after reading Scripture passages twice, first in Latin at the altar with his back to them and then in English from the pulpit. “They are a very common species. They don’t want to get involved.

“It’s a natural tendency. But we must overcome the spirit and influence of the world, perform our daily prayers, say the rosary, examine our conscience. We must watch closely over our daily lives, shunning immodesty, rock music, TV. The world is controlled by the passions of the flesh. The modern world is full of despair. It has no future, no hope.”

He decries “the liberalism of the day” and bids his listeners look ahead to the afterlife. “The torments of the world are allowed so that we might live not for this life but for eternity.” He extols “the joy of depending on God” and predicts, “Our sorrow can be turned into joy.”

Preaching like that keeps Francis Gaul coming back for more. Gaul, 74, a 1937 graduate of Mt. Carmel High School on the South Side, and his wife commute weekly from Des Plaines to Our Lady Immaculate. He hasn’t been to a new mass in 17 years.

He won’t attend any of the archdiocese-sanctioned Latin, or “indult” as they’re called, masses in the Chicago area. “The sermons would not be what I get here. The church isn’t Catholic anymore. It’s Protestant.”

“Today’s church is in direct contradiction with what the popes have taught,” Scott said. He argues that the church is in conflict because it approves religious liberty, ecumenism and the non-Latin mass, which were condemned, respectively, by Pius IX in 1864, Pius XI in 1929, and Pius XII in 1947.

The new mass is “Protestant in its inspiration,” vetted of its Catholic meaning for ecumenical reasons, Scott said. As such, it is “dangerous” to the faith of Catholics because it teaches the wrong things, de-emphasizing the sacrificial and emphasizing the communal-meal aspect of the mass.

For instance, worshipers in the new mass often hold hands while saying the “Pater Noster,” or “Lord’s Prayer.” Asked about this, Scott said derisively, “Oh, please.”

Hand-holding, balloons in the sanctuary, wine served in paper cups, wooden chalices and folk songs-it’s all anathema to members of Our Lady Immaculate, who worshiped 10 years at the Hillside Holiday Inn before coming to Oak Park.

At the Holiday Inn, they set up an instant chapel, bringing statues in garbage cans that they up-ended and draped as pedestals.

This sort of preparation is crucial for Miguel Garcia, a Northwest Side computer programmer and father of four small children, here 17 years from his native Mexico. Garcia rejects the “party atmosphere” of masses where the priest dresses in “ethnic colors so Spanish people can relate to it.” He finds it disrespectful, “because God is King.”

A `vertical’ approach

The more than 400-year-old Latin Tridentine mass (established by the counter-reformation Council of Trent) is “the true mass,” he said. “God instituted it one way, and we shouldn’t be changing it. That’s what happened at Vatican II.”

Something else happened, according to organist and choir director John Cooper of Clarendon Hills, an insurance salesman and part-time jazz pianist. It’s not just that the new mass “an atrocity.” The new church “hasn’t worked.” Seminaries are closing and mass attendance is down, thanks to “all this liberty baloney. People need some kind of regimentation,” he said.

As Scott put it, “No condemnation, no obligation. Popes always used to condemn things, but liberals don’t believe in condemning anybody.”

Scott terms Pope John Paul II “a conservative liberal” who is “very weak in governing the church. He has not acted against heresies.” One such heresy, Scott argues, is to “make man the center of the liturgy.”

Indeed, at Our Lady Immaculate, worshipers look to the altar. There is no handshake of peace before communion (received kneeling and on the tongue, not standing and in the hand), as in the new mass. It is what’s called a “vertical service,” teaching people to look up, to God, rather than “horizontally,” to one another.

“The way you worship affects your view of God,” Scott said. “It is not just sentimentality. We like Latin, the Gregorian mass, and incense. But none of these are the point.”

“What was touted as church renewal and revival has obviously fallen flat on its face,” said John Pfeiffer of Forest Park, a 32-year-old Loop attorney, referring to priestly defections, shortage of vocations, and the like.

“People don’t realize their Catholic faith is being snatched away from them, like in the time of Henry VIII,” said Rita McCarthy, a 40-ish Orland Park typesetter.

“At a funeral, there’s no mention of purgatory. In baptism there’s no mention of original sin. In marriage, emphasis is on the couple. But the first purpose of marriage is to have children, and the relationship of the couple is secondary. All of the sacraments have been watered down. People don’t know anything about sin anymore. Divorce, abortion, birth control condemn you to hell. People don’t seem to know that.”

The church is not amused

Authorized Latin masses are offered at three churches weekly-St. John Cantius, 825 N. Carpenter St.; St. Thomas More, 2828 W. 81st St.; and St. Peter, in Antioch-and every other week in Libertyville and Techny.

But Catholics are forbidden to attend Our Lady Immaculate in Oak Park, though an archdiocese official is wary of saying that it is a sin to do so or that specific penalties will be meted out.

The Society of St. Pius X is “not schismatic,” meaning it hasn’t formally split from Rome, notes Rev. Robert Flinn, vice chancellor of the archdiocese. Its bishops and priests are excommunicated, but its parishioners are welcomed back “just by coming, with no need for special absolution.” They need only “disassociate themselves from their Pius X church.”

That’s “moral persecution,” Scott said. “We remind (archdiocesan authorities) continually of what they ought to be. We have a sense of identity and purpose and mission which they have lost.”

Scott himself is a convert from Protestantism, drawn to Catholicism by the writings of St. John of the Cross, the 16th Century mystic who wrote from a prison cell after getting in trouble with the church, and by the traditional Latin mass. Scott had found the new mass “more Protestant than Protestant services” and lacking in reverence.

He met Lefebvre in Melbourne, asked to be ordained, and went to Switzerland for six years to study theology. Ordained in 1988, he was sent to the U.S., where he taught for two years at the society’s seminary in Winona, Minn.

Now based in Kansas City, he heads the society in the U.S. with its 35 priest members (of 250 worldwide) and 100 chapels and other installations in 38 states. He says mass in Elkhart, Ind., or Memphis on alternating Sundays after his Oak Park appearances.

A former Jesuit theological seminary in St. Mary’s, Kan., near Kansas City is the site of the society’s coed kindergarten-through-high-school “academy,” with 345 students, and its 50-student college. At St. Mary’s the society has its biggest parish, where 1,300 attend weekly. The Oak Park parish has 90 families. Weekly attendance is around 235.

The church, formerly Second Presbyterian of Oak Park, was bought for $390,000 by members of the Holiday Inn group. The society took over payments and spent $20,000 to rebuild the altar area and install new stained-glass windows and an altar rail-“to remake it as Catholic,” Scott said.

Traditional worship and morality are the key to Our Lady Immaculate’s attraction, but members’ finding a home away from home is strong as well, as with any successful church.

A sympathetic ear

Scott talks a tough game from the pulpit, but he also offers a good shoulder to cry on, to judge from Julie Badon’s experience. One of her daughters sought him out in the midst of a recent crisis.

“Father Scott counseled her and was very patient with her,” Badon said. “She really loves Father Scott, and has no qualms about approaching him.”

1866 to 2020 – The Incredible Story of a Light in the Darkness

In Milwaukee comes a renewal.

If you told someone the Catholic Church was experiencing an incredible resurgence in the postmodern world we live in now, they may wonder if you need to get your eyes, and maybe your head, checked. But that is exactly what is happening here in Milwaukee (and around the world) thanks to God’s grace, Polish immigrants and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Watch this short video of the story of a light in the darkness here in Milwaukee.

At the heart of it, a return to the traditional Latin mass.

Let the old times roll.

Episcopal rector in Oak Park (IL) explains accommodation to slipping attendance, a common church experience

It’s eerily reflective, in reverse, of the Roman Catholic dilemma and solution since Vatican Council 2, very much propelled by that council . . .

Rev. John Rumple, meanwhile, rector of Grace Episcopal Church on Lake Street, said, “Like many mainstream denominations, our church has faced the challenges of moving into modern times with a liturgy that is traditional and a Gothic building that is from another age. However, in our theology and practice, we are at the cutting edge of Christianity in terms of not only accepting, but welcoming the Spirit-led leadership of women, LGBTQ people, and racial minorities.”

. . . as in liturgical changes, construction and adaptation of church buildings, and engagement with social and political issues.

Incense is good for you . . .

Fr. George Rutler today, plucked out of his column even before reading the rest: “After the Protestant schism, the pulpit replaced the altar, and churches became more like lecture halls with comfortable pews for listeners.”

And unfortunately, the same happens sometimes in Catholic churches.

I read further, of course, and this came at me:

Puritan influences abandoned what was redolent of sacrifice, and in particular the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which fulfills the symbolic sacrifices within the Temple in Jerusalem, with Christ himself becoming the perfect Sacrifice and the indestructible Temple.

Ah, from places of sacrifice to lecture halls. Incense mattered.

Even after the rejection of the Mass by order of the Tudors, the use of incense lingered in the cathedrals of Ely and York. Incense from the Sarum form of the Latin Rite, which was developed in the eleventh century in Salisbury, continued by force of custom well into the eighteenth century. A canon of the Salisbury cathedral chapter finally eliminated it because he said it affected his breathing, which many considered a poor excuse inasmuch as he took liberal doses of snuff while seated in choir.

Heh. The canons I know would never do either of those things.

However, in this our day,

Ironically, considering the way flaccid celebrants used post-Vatican II liturgical changes as an excuse for neglecting incense, the Novus Ordo rubrics provide unlimited use of incense, while the Extraordinary Form limited it to solemn celebrations.

So it’s all-systems-go.

The incense used in church may be pure frankincense or a combination of it with other aromatics, but its base comes from the sap of an arboreal bark, which recent science has discovered has properties that relieve anxiety and depression by activating ion channels in the brain.

It’s good for you.

More importantly, one study at the Jena Friedrich Schiller University in Germany claims that frankincense contains anti-inflammatory substances produced by Boswellic acid, principally the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, which can alleviate the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

And,

Whether its anti-inflammatory properties can thwart the Covid-19 Wuhan Coronavirus is not yet established, mindful of the cautions of the Food and Drug Administration. But burning frankincense reduces airborne bacterial counts by 68%.

Last, not least,

More important is the office of incense as an earthly hint of worship in heaven, where there are “harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints” (Revelation 5:8).

Bring on the incense.

Triangulating Sanctity: How the Word of God in the Domestic Church Renews the Liturgy

Making silk purse out of sow’s ear:

As we move beyond COVID-19-induced cancellations of public Mass and their replacement by more regular domestic prayers, it is worth a look back to see what good has come of it all. While the participation in the Eucharistic Prayer and the reception of the Blessed Sacrament were not options for most families, the reading and praying with the Sunday scriptures became a regular means to engage, albeit imperfectly, with the Word heard behind closed parish doors.

Bible Christians.

Sacrosanctum Concilium 5

Catholic Sensibility


Now we start to get to the meat of what Vatican II said about liturgy. Chaprter I is entitled: “General Principles for the Restoration and Promotion of the Sacred Liturgy” Section 5 begins under a chapter subheading, “The Nature of the Sacred Liturgy and Its Importance in the Church’s Life”

God who “wills that all … be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4), “who in many and various ways spoke in times past to the (ancestors) by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1), when the fullness of time had come sent His Son, the Word made flesh, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the contrite of heart (Cf. Is. 61:1; Luke 4:18.), to be a “bodily and spiritual medicine” (St. Ignatius of Antioch, To the Ephesians, 7, 2.), the Mediator…

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The Mass as sacrifice, more than a meal

It’s an event.

Failure to believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is not the only crisis of Eucharistic faith the Church currently faces.

It is the most well-publicized crisis of faith, because studies have consistently shown a decline in the percentage of Catholics who believe that the Eucharist is truly and substantially the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. But lack of faith in the sacrificial nature of the Mass is an intimately related crisis of paramount importance.

This failure is at the heart of the happy-meal diversion.