Ad Orientem

During Lent, Fr Newman is writing a series of Sunday bulletins for St Mary’s, Greenville on the reasons why celebration of the Mass ad orientem is consistent with the ancient traditions of the church. Week One is here, and the second installment is here.

See what you think.

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  • Anonymous

    Does this mean that he is going to start celebrating the Mass ad orientam? Will you do the same? How do you think the people of your parish will react?

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean that he is going to start celebrating the Mass ad orientam? Will you do the same? How do you think the people of your parish will react?

  • Time will tell

  • Anonymous

    Again I say, wish I were in Greenville! Indeed, Father, for all of us, time WILL tell. Fortunately, at least for now, “…time, time, time is on our side, yes it is…”. Here in our fair city of Norht Augusta, SC, only 3 hrs. from y’all but mega-distances apart in orientation (and too far, alas, to commute) things move MUCH more slowly. In point of fact, no mention is being made of any “orientation” inclination here in the greater Augusta Western Rite churches. Of course, the Eastern Rite church here has always “gotten it”. May the Holy Spirit continue to instruct us all… Blessings, Jenny

  • I’m glad to see that others are considering the practice! Here’s a picture from my parish, where we indeed celebrate ad orientem.

  • Cath

    I really wish St. Mary’s would just get with the program. Fr. Newman has been at St. Mary’s for how many years now? There is no excuse for him not having that parish in top notch liturgical and doctrinal shape. The people at St. Mary’s are not illiterate run of the mill “AmChurch” folk who think Gather Us In is wonderful liturgical music. Fr. Bart even celebrated the Good Friday Liturgy ad orientem last year. This is nothing “new” for St. Mary’s.Fr. Newman has never been afraid of “ruffling feathers” before so there should be no problem with “Vatican II never called for this, the Pope wants us to, we are obedient to the Pope aren’t we? Therefore we will all face the Lord together from now on.” That is ALL that is required.

  • Anonymous

    Cath,This is what we call armchair quarterbacking. It’s much easier to call the plays and criticize the players making the plays while we sit in our overstuffed chairs in the comfort of our living rooms. Fr. Newman is the Pastor at St. Mary’s not us. What he needs is our charity, patience and prayers. It will happen in due time.Doug

  • Cath

    Doug,It comes from those who have begged him to act on previous occasions as well. There is no “armchair” qualities to this criticism. It is neglect for the spiritual concerns of his parish. He is either faithful to the Holy Father or he is not. He has already expressed a number of opinions that are in contrast to the will of the Holy Father.

  • Anonymous

    So is the Holy Father moving fast enough for you Cath to restore the Mass? Or his he dragging his feet too?

  • Cath

    The Holy Father is the Holy Father, he acts in prudence due to the climate of the Church. The climate at St. Mary’s is not like any other parish. There is literally no excuse for this delay. It has already been done while he was away. My point is that he has had no problem stirring up trouble in the past yet he chooses the Traditional Latin Mass and anything else “traditional” like a glass figurine that he has to handle “carefully” in order to keep everyone from being traumatized. If Fr. Newman refuses from allowing the Traditional Latin Mass from being said in his parish then why will he not provide an alternative- a Latin Novus Ordo done with all the trappings of the Tridentine Mass? He doesn’t. He likes a very Anglicanized service and is in fact looking to hire not a Catholic music director but an Anglican one. How does this make sense?

  • Cath,I’m afraid I must say that you know as little about my decisions and their motives as I know about you, which is to say: nothing. If you are a parishioner of St. Mary’s, you are most welcome to call my secretary to set up an appointment so that we can discuss your concerns. If you are not a parishioner of St. Mary’s, I must confess surprise that you are so absorbed with matters in a parish which is not your home.Whether or not you decide to make an appointment, please know this: The charge that I am disobedient in any way to the law of the Church is false and scurrilous, and I suggest that you exercise some restraint before making accusations over matters which you so little understand. Now, to the matters at hand. 1. The move to ad orientem celebration has been several months in remote preparation and will be several more weeks in execution. And I have chosen this cautious approach precisely because it is the one advocated by then-Joseph Ratzinger in “The Spirit of the Liturgy.”2. “Summorum Pontificum” does not require any priest, any where to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite; it merely allows such celebration under certain specified conditions. Not to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite is not disobedient in any way to the directives of the Roman Pontiff, and if this distinction is lost on you, then I’m afraid constructive discourse is all but impossible with someone who doesn’t accept the Principle of Non-Contradiction.3. Likewise, not celebrating the ordinary form of the Roman Rite entirely in Latin is no way a contradiction of the mind of the Church. I suggest that you return to “Sacrosanctum Concilium” and subsequent liturgical legislation, and I think you’ll find that I am doing everything I can to shape the sacred liturgy of St. Mary’s according to the full mind of the Church. From my five years of life in Rome, my study of theology and canon law, my service to the Society of Catholic Liturgy, and my 15 years of experience in the priesthood, I conclude that the way we celebrate the sacred mysteries at St. Mary’s is perfectly in harmony with the current requirements of law and the best traditions of our faith. Our liturgy is certainly celebrated, as nearly as I can make it so, after the example of the “ars celebrandi” of the Pope himself, who nearly three years into his Pontificate has never celebrated the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite in public and who only two months ago celebrated ad orientem in public for the first time.Cath, if divine worship does not lead to increase of charity, then it is offered in vain, and I’m afraid that in the vitriol of your comments in this thread, I see very little charity. The salvation of souls is the supreme law of the Church, and finding the best way of helping souls accept the easy burden and light yoke of Christ is the shepherd’s unique responsibility. I regret that you have concluded I do this so poorly, but I assure you that I’m doing the best I know how to do. And since our best is never enough, I pray each day, all day: Kyrie eleison.

  • Cath

    Father Newman,1) I regret that it has taken this many years for you to attempt this. Fr. Bart celebrated the Good Friday liturgy ad orientem last year with no negative reaction. There should be instruction on the merits of the practice but I feel that you grossly under value the theological maturity of your parish. There is no need to take “baby steps” with them.2) Summorum Pontificum requires that any organized request to be fulfilled in some way be it you personally say the Missal of 1962 or you personally provide a means of it being celebrated at your parish. You noted in your bulletin columns after the Motu Proprio that you would take weeks of study and parish collaboration to implement the Pontiff’s will. After that initial statement nothing was heard. You have the largest parish in the upstate and Summorum Pontificum explicitly says that at LEAST one Sunday Mass should be made available in the Extraordinary Form in Cathedrals and large parishes such as yours. Your Mass schedule has only 4 public vernacular liturgies with at least 3 priests staffing them. You are not violating the laws governing bination if you allow one of those priests (including yourself) to celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form.3) There is a difference between “entirely in Latin” and a “Latin Novus Ordo.” You are permitted by the very documents you cite to allow the readings and a few orations to occur in the vernacular. You know yourself that the Council Fathers never envisioned a Mass in which the majority of the liturgy is celebrated in the vernacular. At the moment you have the bare minimum of Latin implemented. Your choir is not singing the proper chants such as the Introit, Graduale, Offertory, and Communio. The Second Vatican Council’s liturgy documents explicitly call for the proper chants to be used again for they had fallen into disuse due to the proliferation of the Low Mass movement with hymns. You do a disservice to suggest that having only the Kyrie (sometimes Sanctus) and Agnus Dei is an adequate amount of Latin. At the very minimum SC calls for the people to sing: Kyrie (greek), Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei, and all of the “et cum spiritu tuo” type responses. Also the vernacularization of the unchanging priestly prayers such as the greetings and Canon were not envisioned or endorsed by the Council Fathers. You can and should allow vernacular scripture readings and the Collect and Postcommunion when it would be most opportune. There is no reason why everything should be in English. The amount of Latin used at Fr. Smith’s first Mass was adequate and an example of how the 2002 Missal should be celebrated. I do not understand why you cannot see this. Is it because you are not proficient in the language or is it some other reasoning behind your choice against the wishes of the Second Vatican Council?Also, the Holy Father has celebrated ad orientem nearly every time he has offered Mass in public as the majority of his public liturgies have occurred inside Roman basilicas in which the altars are all set up ad orientem even if they are facing against the people. Also, the reasoning behind a lack of an extraordinary form Papal Mass would most likely be a result of the tenure of the previous Papal MC who abhors traditional liturgy and also the sheer logistical requirements of a Papal High Mass in the extraordinary form- one that has rubrics of such scale that it would require months of training to execute with dignity and also the reality that some things- the Papal Court for one thing- no longer exists in its old form. You do a disservice to the truth when you distort reality without fully explaining why things are as they are.Also, please do not bring any discourse on charity into this as it is most evident that you lacked this in dealing with many “traditionalists” in the past and most especially through the recent SSPX debacle. You scandalized the faithful of your parish by disseminating false information about the priests and faithful of the SSPX and assumed an authority that you most certainly lack. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has competence in this matter and the statements of such are binding upon you and to contradict them is to contradict the Holy Father, as he has granted them competence over all things “SSPX.” Also, if your contention that those of the SSPX are in schism is true, wouldn’t Rome deal with the group through the Pontifical Council on Christian Unity or some other Ecumenical body? It is not though because the group lacks the requirements of schism then it is treated as an internal matter which you lack competency to address. Charity must always be expressed in Truth and while we can have all the truth in the world and lack charity and profit nothing….it is also true that we can have all the charity in the world and lack truth and also profit nothing.My point still remains. While your disobedience to the will of the Holy Father and the wishes of the Council Fathers is to a lesser degree than some, it still exists. You can reason and explain away any mandate but the mandate still remains. The Holy Father calls for pastors to willfully provide the Extraordinary Form and you willfully choose not to. The Holy Father calls for a hermeneutic of continuity and you cling to the discontinuity by celebrating Holy Mass in a manner that contradicts the wishes of the Council Fathers. Your motivations may be private-or sometimes public- but the objective reality remains. There is obedience and disobedience. There are various degrees of such but disobedience is still disobedience and thus sinful. I urge you to repent of your disobedience and embrace the wishes of the Holy Father who you owe your entire obedience to.

  • Well, we now see what this diatribe is really all about: the schismatic SSPX.The Society of St. Pius X is still in schism from the Catholic Church, eight months after the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, and their acts of worship are still schismatic. This is not my judgment; this is the solemn judgment of the Roman Pontiff.I will continue to warn the people of my parish against the sin of schism as long as there is breath in my body.

  • Cath

    No, it was an example of your lack of charity and your overzealous attitude that moves beyond your competence. You, sir, are not the Roman Pontiff and you are not a member of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. They have competence over this matter and you….do…..not. You can scream schism all you want and the only one in schism is yourself because you have assumed an authority that you do not have. But this is not about the SSPX. It is about your pseudo-liturgical standards that are in direct contradiction to the mandate of Rome.You show your own stubborn ignorance when you ignore the rest of my post to attack my observation that you have assumed a position in contradiction to the Holy Father.I will listen to your opinion about the SSPX, whom I am not a follower by any means, after you explain why you refuse to obey the Holy Father.If anyone is in schism sir, it is you. Many of us pray for your return to the One True Church under Pope Benedict XVI which outside of which there is no salvation.

  • Cath,Every reader of this blog knows who I am, and I am accountable for every word I write. You, however, hide behind a facade of blogger anonymity while you spew bile over me for choosing not to do something I am free not to do and for attempting to protect the flock in my care from predatory schismatics. Given the depth of your seething anger and the cloak of your anonymity, I will not respond to you again until and unless you publicly identify yourself.I am truly sorry for you, Cath. Your anger and hatred have left you unhinged over the very thing which is the source and summit of the Christian life, and this is a pure sadness. May the LORD be gracious to you.

  • Cath

    Some people have children and it is not appropriate to put oneself on the internet in such a public way in order to keep pedophiles and such away from one’s family. Anonymity is an essential part to most internet communications on public forums. You should know that.The fact still remains that you are in schism. Your worship is Anglican in style and your preaching is evangelical in substance. You are a protestant sir. Good day.

  • To the readers of this noble blog: I regret that you had to see this hatefulness revealed in all it brutality, but now you’ve had a glimpse of what lies at the heart of the dispute between the Catholic Church and the self-proclaimed traditionalists who do not accept the teaching of the Second Vatican Council: belligerent self-righteousness. And believe it or not, this is tame compared to some of the toxic bile which is spewed forth in the name of our religion.The internal logic and inescapable consequence of the posts above is an ever smaller Church of “pure and true believers” who must rid themselves of the contamination of everyone else. Left unimpeded by grace, this is almost a definition of the road to perdition.May God have mercy on us.

  • David Harris

    If you would spend more time saying Mass and hearing confessions and remove yourself from all blogging your pastoral care for St. Mary’s would improve greatly. You should have Mass every single day and there is no excuse for your actions as a priest. It is disgraceful to see a parish priest blogging and neglecting his duties. Please never post on a blog again Fr. Newman for you embarrass yourself. If you cannot take criticism from bloggers then you must remove yourself from blogging. You cause scandal to the faithful. That person was speaking of your actions in the Missal of Paul VI not the Tridentine Missal except for the fact that you refuse to allow it at your parish. If you had read the poster’s post you would note that there was no “invoking” of the title of ‘traditionalist’ but rather a criticism of your choice to not identify your parish as “Roman” in practice but as “Anglican” in style. It is very evident that your parish has an anglicanized feel and lacks traditional Catholic atmosphere. Father, you place yourself in public and are able to be criticized. If you cannot take the heat then don’t leave the confessional…easy as that.

  • Mr. Harris,Well, at least you have the courage to put your name on your words, and for that I thank you.Dear Readers,It is one of the curious marks of radical traditionalists (Rad Trads in shorthand) that they are often the most virulently anti-clerical Christians in the world, usually finding a way to lay the blame for nearly everything wrong in the world at the feet of a bishop or priest who (they are sure!) is a secret heretic or Mason or Protestant. And in this venture, argument ad hominem is usually the preferred method of discourse. Mr. Harris’s denunciation above is an excellent example of the genre, and as is always true of argument ad hominem, it is unworthy of response.Now back to Mr. Harris,I defy you, sir, or anyone else to find anything at St. Mary’s, in the sacred liturgy or elsewhere, which contradicts the doctrine or discipline of the Catholic Church to the least degree. That you do not like my “style” in no way entitles you to accuse me of being unfaithful to my sworn and sacred duty to transmit the Catholic faith and celebrate the sacred mysteries of the New Covenant with diligence and devotion. For these charges to be anything other than hateful calumny (which is all that you and Cath have managed to offer above), you must produce evidence of the alleged infidelity. And so far the only thing to which either of you has pointed is that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is not presently celebrated at St. Mary’s, and since that is both entirely optional and not present in 99% of the parishes in the world, you have simply not found your mark. And I suspect that being unable to find your mark (because of the absence of evidence) is one of the reasons you have lost your temper and resorted to the tawdry work of personal attack.Finally, let me anticipate your response with this pledge: I will not respond to another argument ad hominem. Either offer facts or offer nothing at all.