The Tail Just Wagged the Dog


This not an excuse for Pelosi and her type of juring Catholics it is an explination...

On the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI Given Motu Proprio

(Note: links to the appropriate documents are given at the end of this article.)

There is much excitement about the wonderful news that the use of the Tridentine Order of the Mass has been liberalized. Now priests all over the world can use it. Really? At least that’s what the news reports said.

I personally have been hearing the rumor about this permission for years. Long accustomed to be let down and even betrayed by those clergy who claimed to be pastors over me, I said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Even if the permission were to be given, I discerned that the ever-so-political bishops, who en masse have gone completely out of their way to suppress anything which could remotely remind anyone that the Church existed before 1962, would fight it so strongly that all the teeth would be taken out of it.

Now, I’m not one of those “anti-Novus Ordo” schismatic types. Indeed, with great effort, and filling in where the Novus Ordo is missing, the new order of Mass can be made sacred, as can the new breviary. (For the breviary, the Church never provided her children with an updated Liber Usualis. Abandoned children once again…) Get Solemnes books for Gregorian Chant, do it in Latin, use a high altar, celebrate ad altarem or towards the “liturgical East,” use only altar boys and not altar girls, employ black cassocks and vestments of a higher quality than potato sack burlap, etc. In other words, things which are done nowhere.

That said, one would have to be blind to speak well of the results of the Novus Ordo. Kumbaya Masses, Masses with electric guitars and drums, Masses with bar-room piano Music, Masses with the faithful holding hands and swaying, Masses with priests and bishops inventing whatever words they want. Masses where the Gospel is read by the non-ordained. Masses where the texts of the readings, including the Gospel, were altered on the fly by the reader to be made politically correct. Masses with pathetic, erroneous and misleading translations to the vernacular authorized by our bishops. Masses with liturgical dancing. Masses with Homilies against the Holy See, against pro-life, empty of catechesis. Masses where the Eucharist was abused, fragments cast about on the floor falling from patens and corporals and communicants’ hands – often dirty hands at that. Masses with communion for everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics, those in mortal sin and those in public scandal. And all of this is the tip of the iceberg.

These horrors do not constitute ancient history, but serve as the common experience of the faithful all over the world to this very hour. Can all of this can be described as the new “lex orandi” (the “law of prayer”)? Can all of this be described as the “ordinary expression” of the law of prayer?

I guess they can, for the results on the faithful have been as catastrophic as is the Novus Ordo liturgy. From bad priests came bad parents. From unchaste priests came unchaste parishes. From bad catechesis in the homilies practically all catechesis was lost. From the disobedience to liturgical norms came disobedience to ecclesial – and sometimes even to natural – law. From the lagoons and contradictions of norms in the liturgy came the creativity for each one to fill in as he saw fit. Again, the list could go on. Indeed, “lex orandi lex credendi”! The law of this bad liturgical prayer spawned bad faith. And the whole situation flowered from this: broken families, empty seminaries, vanishing religious houses, dearth of scholarship, moral confusion, small Mass attendance and countless scandals of the clergy. And our Pastors praise such results.

Can the pastors of the Church not see what they have done? Can they fail to see the deep links between this sad situation and the so-called “reform” of the 1960’s and 1970’s? If some or all do not, I think it is through some diabolical influence. It is so flagrantly evident, that nothing can explain their lack of seeing, unless it were insanity or some supernatural influence of evil origin. But yes, they go on singing the praises of the new order of the Mass and all that came with it. How long, oh Lord, how long will the pastors abandon us sheep to the wolves? Have mercy, lord, have mercy.

No, in principle I am not anti-liturgical reform. It is just as evident where the 1962 Missal could have been improved to make it more accessible and less opaque to those without degrees in the history of the liturgy. But instead of revamping, reordering, amplifying on what we had, which many a Pope has done before to the great glory of God, the Church basically threw out the Old Mass and started from scratch inventing what we now call the “Novus Ordo.” There was a letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, in which the Pope asserts that there is “no contradiction,” “growth and progress but no rupture.” How this is so is not as obvious. I suppose one would then certainly need not only a degree in the history of the liturgy, but a doctorate. In which case, the Concilium failed to achieve its end, and the whole matter is more opaque than every before.

I was surprised to see that the document is as indulgent as it is. It confirms that the old missal was never in fact abrogated (cf. art. 1). (I don’t understand how this assertion squares with the document Conferentium Episcopalium (I think 1973; you can find it in the Flannery edition of the Vat. II docs.), which seems to have done just that; but there you have it.)

But the conditions upon which a parish priest can celebrate the old order of Mass are severely limited. First, the pastor (it used to be the bishop) must give permission (art. 5, §1). Good luck with that one! Second, it must be only “in parishes where a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably” (again, art. 5, §1). This is a rare thing to find. And the observation, that it is a rare thing to find, is important.

For, the faithful, for the salvation of their souls and holiness of life, receive the sacraments. There are so many impediments to sacredness, catechesis, piety, devotion, doctrine, morality and so forth in the Novus Ordo Mass, and the faithful have been subjected to it for so long, that the children of the Church do not have the habit of wanting what is good for them.

Like children habituated to disobedience, children habituated to doing their schoolwork poorly or not at all, children habituated to candy and junk food… which of these children will hop up to say, “Oh, give me obedience, discipline in my studies, and healthy food in which I take no pleasure!” None, not one. And a parent who governs his home not on the principle, “What is good for the family,” but rather, “What appeases the immediate caprice of the children,” is nothing but a negligent parent. In such a family, it can be said, that the tail is wagging the dog. And the faithful everywhere are often as spoiled children, demanding and getting whatever odd thing hits their fancy in the liturgy.

I think of my own Archdiocese, which just might – I say might – lead the world in corruption, scandals, pro-homosexuality, bad examples, uneducated priests; an Archdiocese whose vast majority of priests are rigid and ruthless in pushing their agenda of dissent and disobedience (also known by the perhaps not too well placed tag of “liberals”). Who in this diocese will offer the faithful the order of the Mass which will more help them attain holiness? Few, very few, I surmise.

The bottom line is that we are almost in the exact same position we were yesterday. I’m thankful to Rome – and happily surprised, honestly – that I can say “almost,” and not “exactly.” For on those rare days when I have a Mass without a congregation, I may offer the Tridentine order of Mass, and if they want the faithful may attend. Or perhaps I can work really, really hard to inspire even a small group of faithful to desire the Tridentine order of Mass. And maybe my pastor will give me permission in that case. But outside of that, same-old-same-old. A liturgy focused on man and not on God, wretched contemporary English hymnody, laughable translations of the Scriptures, a congregation eager to dance and hold hands, disappointing ritual prayers and countless lagoons in the liturgical norms.

And how many sacrileges are done daily worldwide in the name of, and with the blessing of, the Novus Ordo Mass? How long, oh Lord, how long…

This was sent me by Roobert Banaughm who is a sometime contributer on religious matters...

Fortunately this doesn't describe my parish. ...But, it does describe my last parish.



1. Latin edition on Vatican web site: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20070707_summorum-pontificum_lt.html

2. Unofficial translation from USCCB: http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/bclnewsletterjune07.pdf


Father Gregory said...

It's not my parish either, although I know some parishes that would fit the description. This must be from a rather young priest, since he is still trammelled by pastor who will not allow the EF of the Mass. With the paucity of priests these days, if this young Father will just keep his head down for a few years, he will be a pastor soon. Then he can call the (correct) shots and be a force for reform. I hope his bishop will assign him to a church that would be more open to him than the ones he describes.

albert cooper said...

I live in the parish of the Cathedral Church of St.John The Baptist in Norwich England,and I too still await the promise of the Orthodox Tridentine Mass to be celebrated here.The Bishop and Clergy are determined to resist all attempts for the return! why? maybe they are scared of the truth,that the Vactican Two has proved a failed and disasterous experiment.The lack of ordinations to the religious life,irreverence to the real presence,and few going to confession now a days.children deserting the church in droves,abuses of the liturgy,etc,it goes on and on

Convenor said...

It would be very kind if you would let your readers know about our blog:


You might also find something of interest in our journal:


God bless you!

Percival Devante said...

Excellent article. While the process is slower than we'd hoped, I have no doubt that a return to older ways is to come. We must keep fighting for it though. We must be active in our convictions. Let's face it; the younger wave of priests are more traditional and conservative and we are more passionate about the return of tradition than they are about suppressing it. We will win out eventually if we keep working at it.