Is Pope Francis a Liturgical Liberal?

There have been some rumblings amongst traditionalist Catholics that Pope Francis is going to turn out to be a liturgical liberal. Apparently a few extremists are worried that Pope Benedict’s encouragement of the Latin Mass and his bringing back some of the older styles of clerical dress and papal customs are going to be thrown out in favor of happy clappy masses, clowns, balloons and big puppets.

Everyone should stop and take a deep breath and get a sense of priorities. I am myself, on the more traditionalist side of the liturgy wars. I dislike anodyne, sentimental church music, a game show host style of priestly celebration, tacky day-glo vestments and the whole modernist dumbed down liturgical style. I’m all for the Spirit of the Liturgy and reverence and beauty in the liturgy. I’m down on big round churches, sloppy servers and feel good homilies in the style of a Hallmark card.

However, there are permissible variations in the way Mass is celebrated. Pope Francis may well turn out to be more “low church” and folksy in his style. That doesn’t mean he is going to ban the Latin Mass. He may be more informal and personable in his celebration of Mass. That doesn’t mean he’s going to send his liturgical police to confiscate all the lacy cottas and birettas in the world. Just because he wears a chasuble with grapes and wheat on it doesn’t mean he’s going to make everybody sing Eagle’s Wings every Sunday.

There are a couple of things to remember here. First of all, in the United States the liturgy wars are part of a bigger cultural divide within the American Catholic church. Liberal liturgy very often also means liberal theology. Often the big box Catholic Churches with their praise bands and “gather them in” style are also full of cafeteria Catholics and left wing Obama-voting ideologues, while the traddy congregations are full of right wing members of the John Birch society with “You’ll get my gun when you pry my cold dead fingers from around it” bumper stickers on their cars. (I’m exaggerating to make a point). Naturally, therefore, the liturgy starts being about much more than the liturgy…

In the developing world however, the more informal modes of worship are much more of a general cultural phenomenon. An informal style there doesn’t necessarily carry all the baggage it does here. Just because a priest, bishop or pope is a bit more informal in his style of celebrating doesn’t mean he is a theological liberal or will compromise the faith. Indeed, everything about Pope Francis indicates that he is not only completely orthodox in theology and moral teaching, but that he has suffered for being so.

What strikes me about Pope Francis so far is that he celebrates Mass reverently and beautifully, but that his simplicity of life and his example of poverty means that he may not be as concerned about the “finer things” in Catholic worship. That doesn’t mean he’s going to ban everything that is beautiful, sacred and reverent. The give back with his informal style is that his preaching is heart felt and immediate.

So he’s not Pope Benedict. That’s okay. We can be confident that the same Holy Spirit who led the Cardinals to elect Joseph Ratzinger eight years ago also led the Cardinals to elect Jorge Bergoglio.

We need to remember that progress in the church is like sailing. When sailing you don’t always have the wind at your back for clear straight sailing.  When you are sailing against the wind you have to beat the wind. You said with the wind coming at an angle and go in a direction other than directly where you want to go. Then you swing around and sail in the opposite direction at a slight angle, then swing about again and repeat the process. You never seem to be going in a straight line where you want to go, but you get there in the end through this zig zag process–tacking back and forth sort of progress.

So it often is in the spiritual life and in the life of the church. Here we benefit from the charism and gifts of one pope. We learn from him and appreciate his emphasis. There we benefit from the different charism and gifts of another pope. We learn from him and appreciate his emphasis. So the fullness of the Catholic Church is experienced and the wideness and breadth of the work of grace can be seen.

I’m excited by our new holy father, and if everything he does isn’t exactly to my taste, well so what? I want to learn from him, learn how to be a better Catholic and learn how to be a better priest. Most of all, I hope he shows us the pressing needs of the world, and how much we need to proclaim the gospel with our words and our works.

The bottom line is this: it should not be a question of either good liturgy or faithful proclamation of the gospel. Indeed fine liturgy is an important part of proclaiming the gospel.

However, if I had to choose between a happy clappy pope who was a vital and dynamic witness to the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith, and a liturgically “proper” pope who was a sour, self righteous hypocrite, I’d take the happy clappy pope every time.

COMMENTS: Comments on this post are now closed.

  • Marsha Boles

    Thank you!!! I’ve been saddened to see our Holy Father automatically attacked as a threat to the Truth and have tried my best to defend attacks that are full of calumny, distortions, and over reactions. Thank you!

  • http://www.sheepslave.deviantart.com Michelle Therese

    My thoughts exactly, Father!

    • John

      But what if we could have NO Liturgy? Could the Faith survive? Most would say no, but look at Japan. For 2 centuries after St. Francis Xavier brought them the faith and baptized them, they were terribly persecuted and had no priests to provide them with the sacraments. But what happened? When the Europeans were finally allowed back into Japan, the Japanese Catholics were there waiting for them. They had survived with “only” the grace of baptism and marriage.

      Also, ” But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” He found it with the Japanese, but will he find it with us as we fight over how we are supposedly trying to “express our love for God” through our Liturgy?

      • Howard

        No, the Kakure Kirishitan became so confused that they were required to be re-baptized. They maintained a version of the Pater Noster, but they had no idea what the garbled Latin words had ever meant. Some of the mistakes were sort of comical, such as thinking that Pontius and Pilatus were two different people or that the Holy Family left for Bethlehem from the Philippines, but others were more serious, like the belief that the Crucifixion was a penance for Jesus having been the occasion of the Slaughter of the Innocents. They do not really illustrate the point you are trying to make.

  • vox borealis

    However, if I had to choose between a happy clappy pope who was a vital and dynamic witness to the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith, and a liturgically “proper” pope who was a sour, self righteous hypocrite, I’d take the happy clappy pope every time.

    But of course, one shouldn’t have to choose between these two extremes, as Benedict XVI himself demonstrated. Look, I agree that we all need to take a breath, that each pope brings his own gifts, etc., etc. But the traditionalist in me is worried. For my entire life Catholic liturgy was progressively decimated, and the example started at the top with some of the, um, unfortunate liturgies presided over by John Paul II (a pope whom I deeply loved, by the way). The trainwreck finally seemed to end to Benedict XVI, but now it *seems* as though there may be a return to the iconoclasm that dominated the last fifty years. And let’s be real, folks (at least some folks) are going to take their cue from the top. For example, it took years, but finally one started to see the so-called Benedictine altar arrangement here and there in parishes. That wasn’t by accident. The priests and liturgy committees saw what the pope was doing and followed suit. Now, if Francis jettisons these liturgical features, you can bet the same thing will happen in parishes throughout the Catholic world, only it will happen even faster because of the broader currents of the previous half century.

    I feel right now, from a liturgical perspective, Benedict helped push the rock from the bottom of the hill to near the top, but didn’t get over the crest, and now we’ve let go and we’re hoping the rock won’t roll back down into the valley. But I will I try to wait and see and limit my angst.

    • Neil Jennison

      Exactly Vox Borealis, Beautifully put.

    • Fernanda

      Thank you Vox Borealis! The Liturgy speaks louder than words. I’m from Brasil and indeed Lex Orandi Lex Credendi….we may not approve abortion like in USA but we a far away from the moral and teachings of the Church, just because, we have learned from clown masses that you can do whatever we what and go Heaven.

      I pray and hope that Pope Francis will be less South American and more Catholic! I’m not sure if I’m saying this right.

  • http://platytera.blogspot.com/ Christian

    The Liturgy is not the Faith.

    • http://www.alwayscatholic.com Sofia Guerra

      Are you kidding me? So the Consecration which Jesus said “Do this in Remembrance of Me” is not the Faith? so proclaiming the Mystery of our Faith is not the Faith? So the readings of the Old Testament with the New and the Gospel are not the Faith? so the Mass instituted by Christ on Holy Thursday along with Holy Orders is NOT THE FAITH? so what should Ftr Longenecker do everyday, just blog about the Faith and not offer the Mass? Where did you get your catechesis? Father Longenecker, please respond to Christian’s statement as I am not as learned or astute as you are to explain this.

      • Jacinta

        A bit of a harsh response. The faith goes so much deeper than the Holy Mass. If the whole Catholic faith was the mass alone what purpose would we have in the priest bidding us that “The Mass is ended, go in peace to love and serve the Lord”? The serving of the Faith must continue after mass and so the mass in not faith. However, the mass is the collective truth of the Faith enacted in prayer, communion, and Communion. It is an absolute necessity to living faith. Without Mass there is a lack of conversation in the Truth. Without the Mass each Catholic is like a blogger setting his ideas out to the world without knowledge, proof, or sufficient understanding. To proclaim one knows the faith without regular attendance of Mass one might as well be claiming “I am a Catholic, I just don’t like to do what Catholics do and I don’t really care what Catholics have to say.”

        • http://coalitionforclarity.blogspot.com/ Robert King

          The Liturgy is the celebration of the Faith, the celebration of the Sacraments, the celebration of the Incarnate Presence of Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, whose sacrifice and glory we enter into. The Liturgy is the “work of the people”, our offering to God, our celebration of the gifts and grace God has given us.

          But the celebration is not the gift itself.

          The Liturgy has developed in different ways in different lands and throughout history. It will continue to develop until Christ comes again. It changes. It sometimes needs correction. It sometimes is awkward or even ugly. There will always be a Liturgy, and it will always be more to some people’s taste than to others’. The important thing is that we always truly celebrate the Faith and Sacraments that God has given us, even if we don’t like or don’t understand the Liturgy at any given celebration.

          This is what “The Liturgy is not the Faith” means.

          • Howard

            Well, I think a better way of saying it is that the Liturgy is the right hand of the faith. Is my right hand my body? Yes, if by that I mean, “My right hand is part of my body;” no, if by that I mean, “Nothing that is not my right hand is my body.” Some form of the Mass is a necessary part of the Faith, but the Faith is not only about what happens at Mass.

            Of course, the fact that there are other valid and beautiful liturgies should be born in mind. The office of Pope as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter is be enduring and irreplaceable, but the Latin Rite as such did not always exist and is probably not essential.

    • Matthew

      Christian:
      The Fathers of the Church would disagree with you.
      Lex orandi, Lex credendi.
      Matthew

      • midwestlady

        No. They wouldn’t.
        The Liturgy cannot be separated from the Catholic faith, but neither can reading the bible, and proclaiming the doctrine, and living the Christian life. You can’t reduce the Catholic faith down to 45 minutes once a week (or even a few minutes once a day!) and claim that’s all there is to it. It doesn’t work that way.

    • Laura Lowder

      The liturgy can’t be divorced from the Faith, being the public Prayer of the Faith. A well-done liturgy reflects the integrity of the theology, and a mucked-up liturgy mis-represents the theology.

      I was touched by how reverently, slowly, Pope Francis elevated the Host and the Chalice during his first Mass as Pontiff. How he celebrated the Consecration revealed a lot about his belief in the Real Presence.

      • Bill

        Well, the Liturgy is the source and summit of the Faith, it’s the greatest expression of the Faith, but I don’t disagree with the assertion that it IS the Faith, as if the Faith only ontologically exists within the bounds of Mass. The Faith is holistic and all-encompassing, with its primary “face” being Holy Mass. But the Faith is also the other sacraments, corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the Sacred Scriptures, Holy Tradition, the Magisterium. It’s a reduction to say the Faith is the Liturgy.

        • http://www.mypuzzlefix.com Robyn Broyles

          No, the EUCHARIST is the source and summit of the faith, not any specific set of liturgical norms. I suspect that’s what the original poster was getting at. Having good liturgy is, of course, crucial to celebrating the Eucharist with fitting dignity; but in the end, even bad liturgy is still sacred if the Eucharist is present.

        • midwestlady

          The Faith does not consist only of the Liturgy, no. Meaning, contrary to the beliefs of a great many Catholics, the faith does not consist solely in showing up for 45 minutes once a week for mass.
          The Liturgy holds the faith, just as the Scriptures hold the faith, just as prayer holds the faith, just as the Deposit of Faith holds the faith, and so on. All of the integral parts of Catholicism go together like a great work of music. If a person partakes of only one instrument, what they hear is a little tune. If a person can hear all the instruments, what they hear is a symphony.

      • dave

        Brava Laura

    • Fr Smith

      The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian Faith. CCC1324.
      Eucharist here is more than just Holy Communion, but the entire liturgy.

    • Romulus

      If the liturgy is not faith it’s nothing but a ridiculous spectacle. Or as Flannery O’Connor said of the Eucharist — if it’s only a symbol, to hell with it.

      • midwestlady

        Are you telling me all I need is one 45 minute church service a week and that’s all there is to being Catholic? I don’t think you want to say that.

        • Super Genius

          No, it’s not “all there is” to being a Catholic, but of course no one here is saying that. However, it is the essential thing. And the graces derived from “one 45-minute church service a week” (by the way, you’re allowed to go more frequently) have a way of infusing the entire week.

          • midwestlady

            I’m not sure it is “the essential thing,” at least not THE essential thing. Not at all.

          • midwestlady

            I think it’s part of a much bigger picture that includes scripture and prayer and living out the faith and a lot of other things that serve an end which is faith in God and eternal salvation.

    • Ray

      I’ve always felt and read that we are a Eucharistic/Liturgy based faith. One of the Church documents from JPII or Benedict showed this regarding all the sacraments. I’ll see if I can find it.

    • Mike Harrison

      What Christian is saying, people, is the the Catholic Faith is not limited to the manner in which the litrgy is performed, i.e. to a particular set of rubrics. That so many of you missed his obvious meaning perfectly illustrates his point.

      • midwestlady

        It’s not even that, Mike. There are many Catholics who think that all there is to being Catholic is fulfilling the Mass obligation. This is stunningly ahistorical and wrong. This is not Catholic doctrine and teaching and never has been.

    • Barb

      The Mass is the Source and the Summit of the Faith. The Mass engenders holiness but only to the degree that the participant is focused on God and fulfilling his duties to Him. The beauty of the Mass shows forth the regard that we have for God. It isn’t there to please the priest or the people, it is there to honor God. The great Churches are filled with the art and treasures that the loving faithful have ever shown to Him. To frown upon such things as “extravagance” is just plain wrong. The pope isn’t supposed to be “my” guy or “their” guy, he is supposed to be God’s guy.

      • midwestlady

        The thing is, Barb, that just showing up for the mass and letting it go at that can produce a vestigial sort of Catholicism which may or may not even be Christian in nature. It happens all the time.

    • D

      I think it is: Lex orandi, lex credenda!

  • Julie

    What’s irritating me more than trad freak-out is the people who are crowing that now we have a pope who will confirm their dislike of “showy” “pompous” vestments, ceremonies, etc. but of course it’s early days all around. And ultimately it is just irritation which I am trying to remember to respond to with charity and prayer. Irritation that reminds me to buck up, in other words.

    It’s tough to be reminded that although Benedict was so much “my” guy, of course not everyone felt that way. Benedict, I felt, loved and valued so many of the things I loved and valued, and led me to a better understanding of them (and to Christ through them) — but that wasn’t true for everyone, not by a long shot, and a lot of people thought of him as Emperor Palpatine right to the end, much to my amazement. I like a lot of what I’ve seen from Francis so far, I’m excited (in a subdued, pious way :) ) to learn from him. But of course the important thing is Christ; my relationship with Him and leading others to Him. Praise be if Francis catches the attention and affection of others, and leads them to Christ, the way I felt Benedict did for me.

    • Marye

      And it’s perfectly fine to love both Benedict and Francis, each for their unique qualities and gifts. Many people who thought that they’d never get attached to another pope after John Paul II soon found themselves drawn to Benedict’s humble, quiet brilliance. (More of a reminder for everyone, not suggesting that you think otherwise.)

  • Denita

    Thank you, Father. This helps me a great deal.

  • Judith Dalmas

    Happy Clappy does not necessarily go wih dynamic etc. nor “proper” with hypocrite. Over simpliflying is not so clever at this point in peoples concerns.

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I said “if”

      • Phinnman

        Let us pray there is no need for “if”.

  • sd

    I’m a tremendous fan of Benedict XVI but he strikes me as the kind of Pope whose thinking and teaching will bear fruit in the Church slowly over a long period of time. In 200 years nobody will remember that he wasn’t especially charismatic or that he was (perhaps) a sub-par governor of the Church hierarchy. They will simply remember him as a magnificent, Christ-centered theologian that pointed the Church toward the real truths of Vatican II and all of humanity toward the power of the encounter with Christ. The Church needs Popes like that from time to time.

    But it also needs popes who don’t leave behind any particularly impressive body of writing but who serve as powerful witnesses to the Gospel in their own time. And I am optimistic – even though I probably “like” Benedict more than Francis – that our new Pope is just such a man.

  • http://catholicsacristan.blogspot.ca Wendell Clanton

    I appreciate the comparison to sailing. However, if caught in a storm I’d prefer a decent sized, seaworthy motorsailer fit for the open ocean to a six foot dinghy any day, if you get my drift. Lots of storms ahead.

  • Ella

    Thanks Father for the “breather” and renewed sense of proportion. I just attended the school Mass at our cathedral on Friday and since the singing, homily, etc. were all too similar to the absolutely horrific big-box protestant “praise and worship” services, I’ve been concerned that’s the path we’re headed with Pope Francis. I feel a bit more hopeful now.

  • http://roughplacesplain.tumblr.com/ nancyo

    Thank you for this.

  • Caroline B

    What about lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi?

    If Catholicism is not just a moral code but also a relationship of love, then how do we think we can live by stripping down the meeting of Heaven and earth during which we are present at and united to the greatest act of love in the world? To do this when one has all of the beautiful vestments and trappings available seems to me like a man telling his wife, “Listen, I could buy you roses and chocolate and a bottle of wine and take you on a long stroll through the beautiful park that we love, but instead of doing that, but I will just be simple and humble and tell you that ‘I love you.’” To me, his failing to do that ever when he is capable would give me doubts about his love for me.

    So I understand simple Masses when necessary (missionaries), but not in St. Peter’s. We can and should be able to fall in love with any Mass, but why make it more difficult, and further, what does it say when we are offering God less beauty than we can?

    I am not accusing Pope Francis of having bad intentions here because I think he has good intentions, but I’ll speak from those examples I have seen around me that how your pray is how you believe and how you live (family members of mine who hate going to or even miss Mass because it has become simple and banal, but are taken in with awe at the beauty of the Tridentine Mass)

    Therefore, let’s not de-emphasize liturgy.

    • Greg B

      Caroline,

      I think the analogy breaks down more along the lines of one spouse offering the other either chocolates, roses, and a conversationless evening at the symphony or a more rugged, “earthy” walk along the beach and intimate conversation. Both say “I love you”, but in different ways, one more formal, the other more “personal.”

      To be clear, I much prefer the extraordinary form of the Mass over the ordinary form. I love all the “pomp and circumstance.” Heap it on! Our Lord deserves it. But “form” also only extends so far. With it must also come “substance.” Our faith is so large, in one sense, that extremely rare seems to be the individual who embodies it with “perfect balance.”

      Segue back into Father’s article above…Benedict accented certain aspects of the faith very well. But missing in his case was the “personal touch” that is so clearly evident in Francis; a touch through which many who do not happen to appreciate pomp and circumstance (yet??) are bound to be much more drawn to the Lord.

      Indeed, let’s not de-emphasize the liturgy. But let’s be careful not to overemphasize form over substance either…Know what I mean?

      • Neil Jennison

        I cannot speak for what happens in the USA, but here in Britain one tends to find orthodoxy of belief in the more traditional parishes and a more “pick and mix” liberal belief set in parishes that take liberties with the liturgy.

        Obviously that isn’t hard and fast rule, but I believe it reflects the norm.

        None of us know how successful Pope Francis’ papacy will be….perhaps we do need a Pope who emphasises the loving and charitable aspects of Christianity – but I fear that heterodoxy of belief that entered the Church after Vatican ii, and which Pope Benedict had begun to turn around, will gain favour again.

        There are many out there who will jump at any chances that come their way.

    • Molly

      But really what you’re saying here is almost purely subjective and based on feelings. Take the husband analogy. I’d take simple and humble “I love yous” at home snuggling on the couch before roses and chocolate and wine ANY day. And I would know that my husband meant it because he was paying attention to me, knowing me, and speaking in my language. These different forms of the Mass (and I’m talking about approved forms of both Masses with NO liturgical abuses) are both the Mass, and whether we like them or not cannot change that reality. What we think of them them or what we think they communicate cannot change what they are and what they do communicate. How we feel when we are there and about what is happening cannot change what is really happening. I like the more traditional side of things. I strongly feel that Christian pop KLove radio station type music boarders on offensive TO MY OWN sensibilities about what Mass should be like. However, it is still a Mass, and I love the Eucharist just as much regardless of which form of Mass brought us to the consecration or what the musicians were singing/playing as a communion hymn. What I’m really getting is more important than how I feel about what I’m really getting.

  • Lynda

    I am profoundly saddened by various aspects of Pope Francis’s offering of the holy sacrifice of the Mass; more saddened than when I have witnessed a priest doing similar things. It is sad, for instance, when a priest does not genuflect before the Sacred Body and Blood on the altar or in the tabernacle. I am not talking about style – the Holy Mass is much too essential to the Faith to be subjected to personal styles. The Mass is the Faith. Without it there is no Faith, no salvation. It is not for individuals to impose themselves upon it. God, have mercy.

    • Molly

      What examples do you have of the Pope’s “personal style” that constitute him “imposing himself” upon the Mass? Just curious. He’s celebrated, what, three public Masses so far? I think? Did any of them include liturgical abuse?

    • Lee

      Lynda,
      You write, “I am profoundly saddened by various aspects of Pope Francis’s offering of the holy sacrifice of the Mass; more saddened than when I have witnessed a priest doing similar things. It is sad, for instance, when a priest does not genuflect before the Sacred Body and Blood on the altar or in the tabernacle.”

      Look, I am 70 yrs old and don’t genuflect unless I have been walking some distance and my knees are limbered up. Otherwise, I bow. Any other protocol would soon leave me with a sprained knee. But Pope Francis is 76 yrs old and somewhat portly. I certainly hope that my fellow parishioners don’t think as poorly of me for this as you do of the pope.

      Beyond that, we just finished a bio of Padre Pio wherein a lady expressed her reservations to him about Pope John XXIII welcoming Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law to the Vatican. He yelled, “How dare you judge the pope!” and refused her absolution, which leaves me wondering what he would have to say now.

      If the traditional liturgy gives rise to such arrogance as I have seen in your post and in many other comments at Rorate Coeli, why in Heaven’s name would the Pope or the Apostolic College want to see it extended and promoted throughout the rest of the Church? Popes and bishops generally are not promoters of the schismatic spirit.

      Besides that, we are only about four days in his papacy! Just from the stand point of rudimentary common sense and elemental political savvy, I absolutely cannot get over the lava flowing from the mouths of people who imagine they know what they are about liturgically.

    • R Plavo

      Sometimes priests have bad knees

    • TeaPot562

      Pope Francis is 76 years old. I am nearly 80, and my knees sometimes give me trouble. Cut the guy some slack on the genuflecting before and after the elevation at Consecration.
      TeaPot562

  • http://bylovealone.wordpress.com Charity M.

    “In the developing world however, the more informal modes of worship are much more of a general cultural phenomenon. An informal style there doesn’t necessarily carry all the baggage it does here.”

    This is SUCH an important point, Padre! As an American Catholic who has done mission work in Mexico and Central America for the past ten years (mostly part-time, and full-time for almost a year), I can attest that the point you are making here is absolutely true!

    • rd

      I came from a “developing” country. Many times, the not-so-grand liturgies are a matter of financial priorities. Would you rather have the parish spend on an organ and vestments, or help the kids begging right outside the church door? Frankly, I find that a lot of generalized criticisms made by traditionalists are insensitive and offensive when you try to apply them to a society that’s not as affluent. A physically smaller church space with full attendance, wide-open doors and windows for ventilation, and nothing but a guitar as musical instrument, will necessarily have to be “informal.”

      • Bob

        Ethiopia is a “developing” country. and I would say an Ethiopian Orthodox Liturgy, runs circles around anything from Latin America, in terms of tradition, vestments, music, and plain reverence. And they are grand!!

        • http://www.mypuzzlefix.com Robyn Broyles

          Ethiopia also had a couple of millenia to develop its own local traditions, unlike Latin America.

      • Bob

        A country that has Drug Cartells that make billions a day, and has the governments wrapped around their finger. Some Catholic countries, we have in the Americas. Seems like the post Vatican 2 Catholic missionaries failed miserably at their job. Mexico will be the next Somalia, guaranteed!!!.

        • http://www.wordpress/loquevale.com Paz

          That´s unfair… you don´t know what you are talking about

        • TeaPot562

          Border towns in a low-standard-of-living country next to a high-std-of-living country always cater to the vices of the high-std-of-living country. For example, Tijuana & Havana (before Castro) provided the types of entertainment that draw tourists from the USA. The drug cartels present in Mexico are providing the type of entertainment that the USA citizens are willing to pay for. If WE quit buying drugs, the cartels would try to find some other source of revenue, or go out of business.
          TeaPot562

        • Cristero

          Bob, just remind me, why do these cartels exist? Who buys the drugs that are destroying my country?
          Also, you should study history, your reference to Vatican III misions in Mexico shows that you are not very well informed. The faith cem to Hispanic America more than 500 years ago. When the pilgrims arrived to Plymouth Rock, the catholic Univeristy in Mexico City had been opened for almost 100 years! You should try to get educated before talking about things you don’t understand.

      • Claudia

        Being also from South America, I agree with “rd”. The “developed” countries sometimes do not realize the realities in Latin America. We lack in resources and education. Our parish budgets are very tight. In many churches, there are no one with musical experience because we do not have money to buy instruments or to afford music lessons. Let’s pray for our Church and specially for Pope Francis. Blessings from Brazil.

    • Molly

      Was thinking this myself. I think a lot of what we’re seeing “style” wise from Pope Francis is actually cultural. Am I off in thinking that the EF and what we see in the US as a more “traditional” style of celebrating the NO are actually very culturally European? I’m not talking about the use of aesthetically pleasing things/words being 100% appropriate in the Mass (they are), but of what we think is aesthetically pleasing being based on where we came from and what our backgrounds are.

      • rd

        Where I come from, the faith was brought by Spanish missionaries almost 500 years ago. We were Catholic before there were any permanent European settlements in what is now the United States. So our “style” is in the old Spanish missionary tradition. For example, much of our old traditional music for the Mass were Spanish Catholic hymns that the missionaries rendered in the native language–that’s right: vernacular. It’s music that people could easily memorize and dont require musical instruments. Consequently, we’ve always leaned toward a more intimate and simpler form of liturgy. But it’s every bit as reverent and solemn.

      • Ciara

        Yes, you are absolutely correct in saying so, Molly. I am Irish, living in France for a year, and the differences between the two countries are astonishing. The French Mass is very reverent, much of it is sung, sometimes in Latin, and is usually about and hour and fifteen minutes long. The people, especially the men, are extremely respectful of the Blessed Sacrament, will often receive on their knees, and there are always large numbers of young people in attendance. In comparison, our Masses at home in Ireland are forty-five minutes max, with short sermons (none, on occasion) nearly always accompanied by musicians with guitars singing praise and worship music. I must add here that I go to Mass in my home town and others around the region, the city where I go to college, the capital city where my god-mother lives, and the village where my grandmother lives, so it’s not just in one place I have witnessed these differences.
        Now, having made the comparisons, I will admit a growing fondness for the more solemn, French style of doing things. However, our Irish way of doing it is equally valid, and an organisation I am part of which is saturated with charismatic, joke-cracking priests and guitars is responsible for a growing renaissance in young Irish Catholicism. I suppose what I’m getting at here is that the Lord may speak to us through a myriad of mediums.
        Also, I think it might be worth remembering, for you good folks in America, that Pope Francis is now leader of the world’s Catholics, not just those of the United States. Although the sacrifice of the Mass is the same world-round, cultural influence is unavoidable, and country by country Catholics have different needs, and he is expected to be able to fix all of those problems simultaneously, it seems. We need to pray for him, that he may receive help with the heavy cross he must now carry.

        • Molly

          “Pope Francis is now leader of the world’s Catholics, not just those of the United States.”
          I think this is very important. We have all come to expect a particular sort of behavior from the Pope, but the Pope, in living memory, has always been European, and if not Italian then not far from it. Benedict is German but he it is not as if he just every once and a while served temporary duties within the Curia, he lived there, for a long time. This man was born and raised in Argentina. The only Catholic culture he is NOT going to seem somewhat foreign to is Latin America.

    • Maiki

      Yes, the cultural divide point is important. Things that mean one thing here mean a very different thing in Latin America. More traditional liturgies can mean more liberal morally in Latin America, if you are looking a wealthy, European style elites who have declined in their religious values but still love fancy churches and music. Also, the standard of what is traditional/not is very different when your traditions are different. Latin America is a missionary Catholicism in a much greater degree than the US, which is mostly immigrant Catholicism. “Traditional” forms of worship are folksy and kitschy at times.

  • http://rosenkranzbeten.info/rosenkranzbeten/ Monk

    Dear Fr. Longenecker,
    Thank you for your words, exactly my thoughts. I’m deeply hurt about these “left wing vs. right wing” wars, that conquer the Church of Jesus Christ: It’ s a pity!
    I’m from Germany and I’m a “scholar” of Romano Guardini, Walter Kasper was my bishop: I’m glad to have Pope Francis as I was happy to have Pope Benedict – we need each of their charismata.
    Best Regards,
    Anna

    • FRLBJ

      My son is the first American vocation to an Argentinian order and they celebrate the new Mass very reverently and traditionally with proper vestments and no socializing or clapping during Mass. It seems that the virtual Vatican has reigned in many parts of Latin America, rather than Vatican II.
      Pope Francis brought out a particle board altar for the Sistine Chapel for his very first Mass!!!! So it is not a matter of not being able to afford a beautiful altar. The beautiful altar has been there for 500 years. A reverent and beautiful Mass can read in a concentration camp. The point is St. Peter’s is not a hovel and why can’t the Mass be celebrated there with great splendor under Pope Francis? Why is there an attempt on his part to denigrate his position in the liturgy by wearing kitschy and banal vestments? Why the refusal to wear the red cape like every other Pope has for 800 years on the l;oggia? It comes across as prideful and willful to me.
      I read that the Pope was reading a book by Cardinal Kaspar. I only pray the Pope does not take any other advice from Waltar Kaspar since on the moral and liturgical issues he is lost. I remember we were all so surprized when Bishop Kaspar was made a Cardinal and head of the Vatican congregation. I had just visited one of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart’s Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Centers. In the waiting room there were all kinds of brochures from the German Health ministry and from Planned Parenthood. There were colorful magazines promoting lesbianism, masturbation, contraception and abortifacient drugs. Yes, the state forces them to pass them out, but the German bishops agreed to do so. Also there were no brochures promoting chastity or any Catholic teaching about anything, much less Catholic morality. NOTHING about the Catholic perspective!! Everything there was Planned Parenthood propaganda. This was under Walter Kaspar and also under his successor Fuerst who is still there. I doubt anything has changed except that more homosexuality is propagated there. The bishops are all proud of this and do deny it. So allowing the morning after pill after rape is not surprising at all.
      By the way the Holy Spirit guides the Cardinal,but you cannot say that they choose the best Pope or even the one the Holy Spirit wanted. Read what Pope Benedict said on this. Or was Alexander VI the right Pope for that time?????
      I agree that his simple words may reach some people and his politically correct name will draw some of the PC crowd perhaps. In the end though the liturgy is not about Pope Francis and his personality and I pray that the Pope will come to learn this and do his part obediently knowing that it is Jesus Christ, not Pope Francis, who draws all to Himself in the heavenly, reverently and beautifully celebrated Holy Mass.
      Pope Benedict emeritus understood this docility so well and he was truly humble by not trying to remake the liturgy, but instead accepting it as is has come down through the ages. The vestments and the objects used are not about glorifying the Pope or anyone there.They point and give silent witness to the presence of God Almighty!

      • Mary Rose

        Before you start judging Pope Francis, perhaps you should wait and see what he does. Even then, you should think twice about publicly criticizing him. After all, how many souls do you think are saved by criticizing the pope or a bishop? The answer is zero.
        Also, I think it’s tacky to try to bolster your argument by mentioning your sons’s vocation, which has nothing to do with the merits or soundness of your argument. I wonder, though, how you would feel if people who do not know your son publicly criticized him because he did not meet their idea of what a priest or religious should be. Do you think Pope Francis deserves this kind of treatment?

  • http://blog.adw.org Msgr. Charles Pope

    Well said Father.

  • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com The Ubiquitous

    Thing is, it’s also about the example he sets for the bishops, and the threat of disciplinary action on them if they are hostile. If Pope Francis doesn’t care regarding better liturgy, then the individual communities looking for SP help will not get as much traction.

    I say this as a great fan of Pope Francis, and someone in a large, stable Latin Mass community consistently obedient to a series of bishops who have consistently said that we will not get a parish. We expect the next “No” in June.

    Pray and fast until then, anyway.

  • Greg B

    Thank you, Father. Well said.

  • http://www.diary-of-a-sower.blogspot.com Cheryl

    If you truly believe that Jesus Christ himself is in charge of our church, you know that He is giving us exactly what we need right now, even if we don’t think we need it or will like it.

    I daresay the majority of people (including many Catholics) cannot understand or appreciate some of the most beautiful aspects of our faith because they are looking at it from a worldly view and think it is all pomp and circumstance. This is undoubtedly sad. Please don’t shoot me for saying this, but they may need to fall in love with our faith by experiencing a less formal Mass that makes them feel warm and happy inside. I know, I know, it seems shallow compared to the depth of the traditional Mass. But they may not be ready for it, because they aren’t correctly catechized. As they grow to love our faith, and grow more spiritual mature, they will want more, which will lead them to discover the full richness of our formal liturgy.

    I think our Pope Emeritus was a wonderful leader who gave us many gifts. As someone else said, most of those gifts won’t really be unwrapped for many years. But sadly, many who don’t “get” our faith, and those Catholics who haven’t been properly catechized, could not understand him. They will respond to Pope Francis because his style is less intellectual and more familiar to them. He exudes a warmth and kindness which many crave, because it is so hard to find in today’s world. Let us trust in the Holy Spirit’s selection for our pope, and let’s pray for our pope so he can fight off the forces of evil that will now try their hardest to destroy him.

    • FRLBJ

      The problem with those warm and happy services is that they are not Catholic. The rubrics allow some variation, but there is still a formality to the Mass which cannot be done away with except with liturgical abuses and with the priest imposing his personality on the Mass. I go to Mass because I need Jesus, not Father so and so. Father cannot satisfy the longings of my heart, no matter how many jokes he may crack, smiles or handshakes he might display. Priests who do that are ultimately drawing people away from God. It leads to great disappointment.

  • u3

    “Perhaps one should pray 15 decades of the Rosary for the Holy Father before logging online and detracting the Vicar of Christ, whom St Catherine of Sienna called “our sweet Jesus on earth.” This is a great quote from Dr. Taylor Marshall to all of the pompous, arm-chair liturgists out there. Pope Benedict was wonderful but he never ventured very far from the office or from academia. Pope Francis is showing us how to live the faith without all the fluff that goes with it. The liturgy is very, very important because all that we do as Catholics–all our good works, prayer, obedience, etc…all derive from the liturgy. Joy is a sign of the Holy Spirit and with all of the petty complaining out there I wonder who is actually living a life in Christ and who are just pompous snobs? Pray for Pope Francis…he has a much, much tougher job than any of us will ever have. When we complain, pout, moan, and criticize everything that Pope Francis does…the Holy Spirit is sad…while Satan is very happy at this division and keeps cheering you on in your snobby disgust, don’t forget that. If St. Francis of Assisi were a priest he would have certainly celebrated a much simpler Mass…and most importantly, each Mass celebrated by Pope Francis still has the Eucharist confected at each one. Besides the Mass before Vatican I was much more beautiful…the Mass of St. John Chrystodom is so much more beautiful than any Latin Mass!

    • Bob

      You don’t know that anymore than what St. Dominic or Benedict would have celebrated. It still probably would have been 100% better, and more reverent than any Novus Ordo Mass celebrated by todays Franciscans. Plus it would have been done in Latin.

      • http://www.mypuzzlefix.com Robyn Broyles

        I can’t speak for the Franciscans, though I daresay you are painting a very large order with a very broad brush. But I have seen a lot of Tridentine Masses and a lot of Novus Ordo masses in my time, and many of the NO masses were much more reverent than many of the rushed and careless Tridentine Masses.

        • midwestlady

          People don’t understand liturgical customs in religious orders, yes. This probably has something to do with the confusion around Pope Francis too.

    • Walter

      “Pope Benedict was wonderful but he never ventured very far from the office or from academia”

      What??? Pope Benedict hasn’t been in academia in decades and travbelled tremendously as Holy Father meeting the flock. That comment is completely unjustified.

    • FRLBJ

      St. Catherine wrote some very critical letters to the Pope!!!!

      • bill a

        Get back to us when you’ve had your vision of hell…kthxbye

  • rd

    Don’t disregard the significant fact that Pope Francis knows and has high regard for the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. There’s not much playing around with that liturgy.

    • bill a

      Rd mm. So much of what I’ve seen and heard in traddie circles is that the east just isn’t on their radar.
      Now if Pope Francis did one if the eastern liturgies with all of the signing, trappings and byzantine awesomness but kept the Latin form simple…heads would ‘splode =D

  • Vijay

    Thank you! You hit the nail on the head! In the developing world, the only mass we knew is the ordinary form. And yet our churches were filled and still are with devout Catholics, who love Jesus and will do anything for the faith. I never understood this discord with traditional Catholics until I came to the US. Plus, why are we making a big deal about the “trappings” of the liturgy. Historically and from the Scriptures, we know that the apostles did not say Mass necessarily in the ‘traditional’ form, and they most likely spoke in Greek, if not Aramaic or Hebrew. Pope Francis is doing the right thing, focusing on the spirit of the Word, rather than the letter. St. Paul explicitly forbids us from wrangling about days and methods and the like, in the letters to the Romans, Colossians, Timothy and Titus, etc. It is what has got us into this mess in the first place….possessing a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.

    • margretto

      Excellent point! I probably will make alot of enemies with my next comment but here it goes. I have gone to the Latin Mass and I know women who would never ever dream of entering a church without a veil, I was actually one of them, until I realized that it was pride that made me think that the Latin Mass was better than the NO Mass. It was pride that made me think that those who did not wear veils did not understand what Jesus wanted from them, It was all about the EXTERNALS. I know I was not the only one who ever thought along these lines, I’m sure many “traditionalists” do. It is and always has been all about the Eucharist. I am so very excited about Pope Francis, the minute I heard his name I knew what his name meant and every day my hunch has been confirmed. I can’t wait to see how he changes the Priesthood into a more Jesus like approach without all the luxuries that many bishops and priests currently have especially here in the USA. I think he will show the preisthood how to become true servants of God.
      Amen!

  • Marsha Boles

    Maybe it would be prudent for us to keep in mind there are physical ailments that may prevent a priest from genuflecting. We as Catholics are suppose to given a person the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. Instead of viewing a simplified liturgy as a removing an emphasis from the liturgy, it is placing the emphasis on a different aspect of the liturgy. By all accounts, the inaugural Mass is going to be splendid. The music will be chant and polyphony. The Masses Pope Francis has celebrated, although simple, have been beautiful and fitting of the Catholic liturgy. We need to watch and learn instead of being so fast to criticize and critique that which is not up to our ideals. Remember, we are viewing everything with a level of modern impatience – this is a good time for us to work on patience.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Fr. D,
    I too am tired of the cheap attacks on pope Francis. It hasn’t been a weed that he’s been pope and many are parsing his ministry in Buenos Aires from thousands of miles away and impassable Spanish skills and picking and choosing what sounds bad to slam pope Francis in whatever way they fear. Truly, these people need to go to confession for the grave sin of calumny.
    On the contrary, I confess to being a little apprehensive in the beginning. But, the more I get to know pope Francis, the more impressed I am with him and the happier too.
    Thank you, Holy Spirit for Pope Francis.

    • Mom2Many

      JMJ
      “On the contrary, I confess to being a little apprehensive in the beginning. But, the more I get to know pope Francis, the more impressed I am with him and the happier too.”
      Thank you, Holy Ghost for Pope Francis.

      Augustine, I was apprehensive in the very beginning with Pope Francis too. By the end of that first day and after having done some research, I felt so much better and GRATEFUL to the Holy Ghost for choosing the right person for the job.

      Jesus, I trust in Thee!

  • FW Ken

    Back when I was young, I looked around from my Baptist upbringing and went to an Episcopal church, where I first encountered people reading prayers from a book (the 1928 Book of Common Prayer as it happens). Once, we were going along and it occurred to me “I wonder how sincere that person is, reading the same prayers all the time”. Then I had another thought: how sincere are you, Ken?” Since that time, I’ve been loathe to pay attention to the folks around me, what they a wear, what they do, etc. I have my own soul to save.

    I say that to say this: I am fortunate to have a parish with a reverent Mass of Paul VI. Or music is mainly from the Episcopal hymnal

  • Tsepho

    Thank you for a little bit of perspective, here, father. Somtimes, I think (extreme) liturgical traditionalists worship their ‘worship’ more than they do the Lord. Even if a priest celebrates the Novus Ordo reverently, follws the rubrics, wears beautiful vestments, incorporates appropriate sacred music- for many, this is still not enough.

    It is shameful how some of these ‘liturgical critics’ have torn into the Holy Father just hours into his pontificate. If lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi is normative, they are not making a very good case for the liturgy they are trying to promote.

    • Taylor

      To your first point, you should look into the prayers of the EF and OF and understand that the prayers themselves in the Masses show different things about the faith, even though both forms are valid and licit. So yes, many would say that it doesn’t matter how greatly or beautifully the NO is celebrated. Latin and great music and vestments are just icings on the cake for the real nitty gritty. But indeed it is very sad and troubling that Traditionalists are shooting themselves in the foot.

    • midwestlady

      And we have people worshipping their social projects on the other side, rather than worshipping the Lord. We have extremes on both sides, and everyone’s aware of it.
      This new pope has made me happy because he’s very transparent about the Gospel. That’s something both extremes and the middle need to hear.

  • Catherine Alexander

    Thank you, Father, because I really need help processing and adjusting to these changes. I’m no “Trad;” I do not care for the Tridentine Mass. But I do lean traditional, and appreciate reasonable liturgical reform. I agree that liturgy is a reflection of theology, and vice versa; that it should not be either/or, but both/and. I grieve to see that Benedict’s influence on the liturgy, and thus the faith itself, is already being rolled back. I was especially disgusted with tweets from Cardinal Mahoney expressing his joy that “ermine, lace, and red shoes” are on their way out. That observation was so completely unnecessary, so uncharitable, and so polarizing — but it confirms that we aren’t imagining the significance of what is happening. Benedict’s enemies now feel emboldened, and the unfortunate division between liberal v. traditional is only being widened, and practically by the hour. In barely two days, many Catholics were in an uproar over what appears to be a failure of our new Holy Father to recognize and show sensitivity for the importance of symbolism. Most of these were people of good faith, who were genuinely excited to see white smoke, and who were full of goodwill for a new pontiff.

    Part of the problem is that many of are still in shock. For those of us still grieving, it seems like our beloved Papa Benedict has been snubbed in front of the whole world, and while he is still alive to experience it. It’s hard not to feel defensive; it’s difficult to avoid a sense of divided loyalty. There is also the fact that the media is driving a certain amount of this — the same media who hated Benedict and are using what I see as unfortunate missteps by Pope Francis to reinforce their declarations that Benedict was a failure.

    I find myself wishing someone would speak to our new Holy Father, who does indeed seem to be a very holy man, and help him understand that as the Pope, everything he does is now under a microscope and a spotlight, and actions that may mean little to him are having a tremendous impact on the faithful. He is upsetting people; he is frightening people; he is, unwittingly, I am certain, contributing to division at what could not be a much worse time. In the absence of that someone, I can only pray and be grateful for the most important thing: that God has yet again provided us with a holy and humble man to lead us toward that day when all of this will be irrelevant.

  • Marcela Garcia

    Thank you. Let us please! stop thinking of the Church as a two-party system. I really liked your sailing example.

  • http://findmeinfloridaagain.wordpress.com Jeanne Diener Stark

    Here we go. It took less than a week for the honeymoon with the new Pope to END. I have a hard stone floor you all can kneel on until you writhe in passion pain. What is it with you pricky folks? I am leaving Catholic blogdom behind. It was a great 10 years and I am moving to dance at least tap my foot to Eagle’s Wings. I will be waiting with a baseball bat outside to beat you until you laugh in the narthex of your local church. Most of you all do not understand Latin in the first place. There is no real dialogue with the Almighty other than you all talking to prideful selves. Got that?

    • R Plavo

      Bravo!

      • http://findmeinfloridaagain.wordpress.com Jeanne Stark IN Florida

        Double bravo yourself.

        I think we bloggers here pick everyone apart. It is sick.

        • midwestlady

          It may be “sick” as you put it, but it’s the only way for a convert like me to figure Catholics out. I would have been in the front door and out the back if I had had to rely on the Catholics I know to explain to me what goes on. What a mess!

        • midwestlady

          I became Catholic before the Internet and before the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and it was an exercise in confusion and silent suffering. Many Catholics act like insufferable jerks and that’s not exclusive to the Internet. Of course, now I know why. They need a good solid evangelization. Some of them aren’t actually Christian, it turns out.

  • http://sue-livingandlearning.blogspot.jp/ Sue in Japan

    Thank you for your wise words, Father!! We’ve had Pope Francis for less than a week – let’s all take a deep breath, and keep praying for him!

  • Puspasari

    I still hope that Pope Francis won’t sacrificed the Spirit of Liturgy that has been build by Pope Benedict XVI for 8 years. And I tell you, I live in the developing world in Asia when Catholic is a minority.

  • Eugenio

    What if the “happy clappy pope” indeed was a “sour selfrighteous hypocrite”?
    Abandoning liturgical form as a catholic often leads to a bare sour moralism and hypocrisy.

  • http://yorkshireshepherd.blogspot.com Fr. John Abberton

    In the last few years the danger has been that some Catholics have taken the view that to be a real Catholic one has to worship in a certain way and dress in a certain way. I agree with you that Liturgy should be reverent (and I tend towards Benedict’s understanding of liturgical celebration), but it has to be said that in spite of protestations to the contrary (and they have been halfhearted in my view) some who would happily call themselves “Traditional” Catholics have given the impression that those who are not now moving away from what they call the “Novus Ordo” ( the correct title has always been “Missa Normativa”) are somehow lacking in the Faith. We need to get a proper balance. Priests who have taken to wearing ALL the clerical gear seem to be making something of the same point as those “traditionalists”. There seems (in some cases) to be a kind of clerical snobbery developing and, sadly, a strange kind of sneering and knowing-glances kind of attitude to anything that is not of a certain trend. As I said on my blog, clerical dress is mandatory, not clerical flamboyance. Vestments need to be beautiful and well-cut, but this can apply just as much to a simple chasuble as to one that is more ornate. I can worship and pray just as easily in a wonderfully ornate baroque church as in a chapel of the Little Brothers. There is a different emphasis and there is room for both. Without this broad sense of Catholic devotion the word “Catholic” becomes narrow and apparently discriminatory in the wrong sense.

    • Sam Schmitt

      Clerical snobbery and sneering are definitely not called for, and I, too, can “worship just as easily” in an austere convent chapel as in an ornate Baroque church. But the Eucharistic liturgy is not simply about how it serves our needs, but should be embody and be worthy of (as much as possible) what it really is: the offering of Christ, and ourselves in Christ, to the Father.

      And papal masses are particularly important in that (for better or worse, justified or not) they are taken as models for the rest of the Church. Any perceived lessening of formality and reverence will be jumped on by those of a certain persuasion (it’s already happened, actually) as justification for their own casual style of liturgy. This is what many people are uneasy about, which I think has some meat to it given some of Pope Francis’s previous masses. It isn’t just a matter of “rad trads” in a tizzy about fiddleback vestments or the sign of peace.

    • jpaYMCA

      Dear Rev. Fr.,
      What is a protestation? Is that in Oxford’s? Just saying…

      Missa Normativa, for those of us who read the actual Latin “normative” texts, has not always been the nuncupation, and it was, indeed, the “Novus Ordo” for a while, if you search the “fontes” carefully.

      I live in Father Dwight’s Diocese: we have lots of priests – especially Latinos – who celebrate after the style of Pope Francis (based on what we’ve been given to see so far – and that WITH Marini (Guido) as MC) and guess what, there are hardly ANY Hispanic Catholics in SC’s diocese. That is due to numerous factors, but one is the miserable “Misa en espanol”, which I’ve attended more times than I care to remember. Our Lord was present, but He was dishonoured by the minister(s), according to my “sensus catholicus”.

      Yes, everyone should suspend judgment on Pope Francis…but the history makes anyone sympathetic to the Liturgical Traditions (in substance handed on by the Apostles – by Our Lord) worry about what Papal Liturgies will look like. We are solicitous for the salus animarum and I’ve been convinced by years of experience that bad liturgy drives souls away, while dignified and beautiful liturgy – despite the personal holiness of the celebrant – leads souls to God and to His Church.

  • Hermit

    The Lace Brigade will not be mocked!

    • vox borealis

      The Lace Brigade has been mocked, for 50 years at least and then some, and not just in the Catholic tradition. I fully understand why smells and bells types are more than a little gun shy.

  • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

    I agree, Father. No Pope can personally embody all aspects of the richness that is Catholicism: each will have his own emphases and particular strengths. At the moment, all we can really say is that the new Pope emphasizes prayer and is clearly attracted to the holy simplicity of St Francis. Perhaps that’s different from Pope Benedict; perhaps it isn’t. But these values are clearly part of Catholicism’s tradition and if we are offended by them, we need to ask ourselves why.

  • Advocate

    Thank you for the commentary. Liturgical style is the one concern I have with Pope Francis. People like myself who are in love with beauty have spent decades in the wilderness. There has been such a need for liturgical reform in the U.S., and it finally feels as though we are making a turn back to the ars celebrandi, reverence and the transcendentals of the good, the beautiful and the true.
    I hope and pray that Pope Francis will find a liturgical style consistent both with his commitment to evangelical poverty and the appropriateness of papal liturgy in the unequaled majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica.

  • Normal Traddy

    It’s so sad that even our priests feel the need to reinforce stereotypes such as the “John Birch Society” one mentioned here. I’ve been a member of “traddy” parishes for 16 years and have never met even one such person.

    • FRLBJ

      Yes, I am a former anti-Catholic Pentecostal Jesus freak who frequently went street witnessing. If I had asked you if you knew Jesus and you’d have said, “I’m Catholic”; I would have regarded you as belonging to a non-Christian cult. I have found a home in the Catholic Church and love it, especially the beautiful moral teachings and the traditional Mass. Many Protestants are doing there best with the little bit of grace and knowledge they have, but they are confused. Many Catholics appear to not to care what God thinks or wants. He does want us all to worship Him in spirit and in truth.

  • JACKSON

    Thank you Father Dwight for your wise words. I’m tired of seeing our Holy Father attacked by fellow Catholics. Stop speculating and pray for our new Papa.

  • Bob

    Fr. Dwight
    How would characterize the crowd that goes to the LA Religious Education Congress and their pagan style closing Masses. Incense bowls, dancing deacons, young girl carried on a platform (this years congress), like Madonna at the Superbowl, and liturgical dancers flaunting their stuff, wearing practically night gowns, in front of celibate Roman clergy. Are they all liberal Obama types. If so than how can Archbishop Gomez allow that to take place???. It’s plain disgusting and insulting to look at!!!!.

  • Keith

    We need to wait and see. It is too soon to simply take Fr. L’s glib assurances to heart, and I must say, they are rather casual and glib for something that has done serious harm to our present Church. We need to wait and see … and persevere!

  • Molly

    I’m more worried about orthodoxy, and it’s defense, than I am about people’s perceived notions that traditionalism, or lack thereof, are the only defining criteria of it. This is not the case, and never has been. The Pope and our bishops have more authority than we do, period. Does that mean they are not capable of personal error? Of course not. It does however mean that we have to calm down and at the very least start from the viewpoint that they are to be trusted, far more so than we can be. Some of these comments regarding Pope Francis are coming off like he’s this newbie rookie trying to hijack Benedict’s Church. The truth being that they are both more educated, more experienced, and more authoritatively appointed by the apostolic authority of the Church than any of us will ever be.

  • http://findmeinfloridaagain.wordpress.com Jeanne Diener Stark

    Hey Bob: since when is Christ’s Church about OBAMA? What are you the secret head of Fox News? Get real. Not supporting Barack is not equal with proper celebration of your salvation. Sorry. Your Republican party did NOT DIE FOR YOU LIKE Jesus Christ. THEY ARE NOT THE BLESSED TRINITY AND DO NOT LOVE YOU MERCIFULLY LIKE PAPA GOD.

  • James Patton

    I agree with Caroline B. “Save the Liturgy, save the world.” Greg B., it is the form of the Liturgy which gives meaning to the substance of the Faith. The dumbing down or sloppy crelebration of the Liturgy, both of which ignore its form, can detract from the Church’s teaching that the Mass draws us mystically into the heavenly banquet, presided over by the One who most certainly does not celebrate it sloppily.

    • Greg B

      James, I agree that a sloppy celebration of the liturgy detracts from…well…everything. But I don’t think anyone here is actually advocating for a sloppy or “dumbed down” version of the liturgy in the first place. What I’m not saying and what I don’t think Fr. Dwight is saying is, “Hey, if Pope Francis wants to don a clown suit and dance around the altar in order to engage our youth in the holy mysteries better, so what? Good for him for bringing in the youth!” All we’re saying is that there are illegitimate variations within the celebration of the Mass and legitimate variations. If Francis diverges from Benedict in some stark but also still legitimate ways, fine! There is no harm in that. In fact, it helps people to develope a fuller sense of the faith that way than when every pope does things the exact same way all the time.

      Does that help to clarify?

  • Diane

    I am absolutely loving Pope Francis style and his smile, his joy and being out-going! I can’t get enough of him these days. I read everything I can get my hands on. He has totally captured my heart and hopefully he will with most others! I admire his simplicity so much. Most of the world is simple! He is exactly what the Vatican needs at this time. We have had enough of the other way!

  • Pingback: Big discussion going on about Pope Francis at Fr. Dwight’s blog. I told it like it is. | Findmeinfloridaagain

  • Lori

    I so want to be part of the Church again. I was raised Catholic and went to 12 years of Catholic School. I’m a grown woman now. My mother was a liberal AND a practicing Catholic. She’s gone now. She died young and suddenly. There were no priests available to give her Last Rights, or to say a prayer and bless her grave at the cemetery. She scrubbed the alter week after week at a church she loved. That was after she did her 40 hours of paid work where she gave it her all. She availed her worn tired self to make the “Lords House” clean. She never knew she had no priest for her last sacrament. She didn’t know that her grandsons would have to read prayers and the bible verses at the cemetery where she was buried. She would have been proud of the job they did. I am. But there was no priest. There were no priests available in in the region that week (or quite a shortage, to say the least) because they were attending a Seminar about the Godawful indictments of many parish priests in my city and surrounding communities. I want to love the Church again. I want to be proud. I am hoping that our new Pope will talk to us about these horrific circumstances, put away the felons and their accessories to the crimes. Open his mind to the first thing we, as children learned about God.” Why did he make us ?” He made us in his image to know, love and serve him and be happy with him in heaven. He made ALL of us in his image, not just some. I am hoping our new Pope will remind us that God made all of us. Each and every one of us, and Jesus would love us all. Whether we were divorced (not on our own accord) and then remarried, whether we were straight or gay, whether we did or did not use birth control , whether we were incapable of conceiving a child and had medical help to have a
    baby. I want to belong to a religion that encompasses love as opposed to judgement. Judgement is reserved for our Lord, who I think is much more open minded than the worker bees on earth will ever be. Good Luck Pope Francis. Take a deep inhale, and bring us back. We want to be there.

  • http://FB Norberta

    OUR LORD ALLOWS EVIL SO THAT A GREATER GOOD CAN COME OUT OF IT! VATICAN II is an EVIL situation that has DIVIDED CATHOLICS all over THE WORLD as can be seen by the COMMENTS ABOVE! OUR LORD clearly said, I have come, not to UNITE but to DIVIDE”. WHY? I don’t know. CLEARLY he has ALLOWED U.S. citizens, and other countries to be DIVIDED ALSO! I don’t know where OUR LORD is taking us other than to the NEW WORLD ORDER of which ROME will certainly be part of as is seen with NOVELTIES in the CHURCH, but again, it is better to ERR on the side of GOD and what is REVEREND than what is of the WORLD, which is THE VATICAN II NOVUS ORDO NOVELTIES. Either way and for NOW we must abide by the 2nd COMMANDMENT and LOVE ONE ANOTHER as BEST WE CAN until OUR LORD SORTS US ALL OUT AFTER THE ANTI-CHRIST GETS DONE WITH ALL OF US!
    GOD BLESS EVERYONE AND I will PRAY that the above mentioned doesn’t happen in OUR LIVETIME because there will be MUCH SUFFERING and THAT’S what we will have to CONTEND WITH! OUR LORD is THE ONE to PLEASE, not each other or THE WORLD! As for the NEW POPE, PRAY that he UNITES us as CATHOLICS and if he doesn’t, KNOW THAT IT’S GOD’S WILL, GOD will TEST him and JUDGE him as HE surely will CONTINUE TO TEST ALL OF US to see how we did on the 2ND COMMANDMENT! BLESSINGS TO ALL OF YOU!

  • mike cliffson

    With you, father! Well put!
    But I can see how we all want our cupcake with icing on it and a cherry on top.

  • Paul Rodden

    What about a new alter-ego, Father?: Polly-Esther Crimplene

    Over the past few weeks a couple of bishops, here in England, are beginning to show their teeth, especially the new Bishop of Portsmouth, who’s ‘sacked’ most of his staff…

    Yep. It is good that the Bishops are beginning to rein things in. But, the gloating and schadenfreude in the combox on the blog post of one of the ‘traddy’ priests was palpable. For some, revenge was clearly a dish served cold, whilst others were squealing like little schoolgirls.

    If the approach of Pope Francis is ‘liturgically liberal’, I think the crypto-Sedevacantists will probably come out of the closet, which is no bad thing. But, what I find irksome about this is their snobbery. You’re scum if you don’t adore, say, Palestrina and James Macmillan, and their camp, sanctimonious hissy-fits are, well, so ‘gay’.

    Frankly, I need a Pope I don’t love for a change to afflict my comfort and to keep me on my toes as to what it really means to be Catholic and not Protestant.

    Meanwhile, WDYRMVWS? (What Do You Reckon Michael Voris Will Say?)

  • Vijay

    Dear Noberta, kudos to you. You deserve great praise for being a part of the division and continuing to spread division in the Body of Christ. How apt is St. John’s term for satan: “the accuser of the brethren”. And how glad he must be to use brethren to accuse other brethren. May God have mercy on the Church and on all our souls.

  • Brannen

    Here is my take on the mass, liturgy, spirituality and what I would like to see. I realize my opinions carry no real weight or value but then again neither do many others I’ve read.
    1. If it’s a novus ordo in the vernacular I tend to prefer it without music or singing because most of the hymns in English are total crap that seem to be influenced by whatever.
    2.” Contemporary Christian” music blends the worst of theology and the worst of music, I’d rather just not have music than have crap music.
    3. Why are there multitudes of versions of the Gloria when it’s sung in English? I thought the whole point of the new translation was to try to get everybody on the same page. I didn’t realize that Glory To God in the Highest was a refrain that needed to be repeated. In Latin the words, “Gloria in excelsis Deo” only appears once — at the beginning.
    4. In TLM, I can deal with a high mass or low mass. Either is fine with me. I’ll be honest, I tend to prefer the low masses over the high masses.
    5. People say that singing is the highest form of prayer but I think the simple chants from the priest and the chanted responses are more beautiful than most of the music.
    6. In Novus Ordo parishes can we get a sign that says which side of the church the priest will be handing out communion on? I don’t like to receive communion from anyone whose hands aren’t consecrated (deacon, priest, bishop) except in “Extraordinary” circumstances, which for me means there is no one with consecrated hands within a 100-mile radius.

    These things probably don’t matter in the grand scheme of things but to me they are important.

    • Maiki

      You don’t like music as a general rule and you don’t know the meaning of the word “Extraordinary” in context. Got it. Don’t expect most people to agree with you, though.

      Most people like music with worship, including but not exclusively chant. Low mass should be an exception, not the rule. Chant is awesome, but there are lots of types of music which are decent, reverent and valid even if not your cup of tea. I think we all agree we’d rather not have bad music, but that is not always easy to control (variability on musicians that volunteer, and singing ability of congregation).

      On the word extraordinary: TLM is the “Extraordinary Form”, does that mean it should only be said if there is no Ordinary form being said within 100 miles? No, it simply means it is “Extraordinary” because it is not the ordinary form. The ordinary minister of communion is an ordained minister. But if you need more than one minister in your parish and you don’t have more than one priest or a deacon using extraordinary ministers is perfectly fine. EMHC don’t have cooties.

  • Maiki

    From personal experience: I went to mass at the Cathedral in Buenos Aires once while Cdl Bergoglio was Archbishop (he was not officiating). It was a Christmas day Mass. It was very traditional and reverent. It was also the first time I was exposed to Benediction and Adoration — it happened right after mass. Mass in general in the Archdiocese (I normally went to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar) is much more traditional than in other parts of Latin America, and the churches are beautiful and traditional.

    I’m frankly surprised to hear people are worried he will start clown masses and putting felt on everything. That is not how his Archdiocese was run. At all.

  • Justme

    It’s my hope that someday we will all celebrate the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, for the peace from on high and the salvation of our souls let us pray to th Lord.

    • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)

      justme- no- The Roman-rite shouldn’t-
      how about we pray for unity with all churches and that the Orthodox patriarchs will accept the authority of St Peter’s vicar?

  • Lepidus

    Two things. 1) It’s not the chance of an orthodox happy-clappy pope that I would be worried about. It’s the unorthodox happy-clappy priests that would be saying “see, the pope does it so quit your yapping”. 2) The orthodox traditional leaning priest such as Fr. Longenecker have a lot less to worry about. As Father said, the liturgical police aren’t going to be coming for vestments or ad orientem altar anytime soon. He will continue to be attending prayerful Masses, because he will continue to be the celebrant at them. Unfortunately, the laity in the liturgical wastelands aren’t going to be getting reading lessons for their priest either so we can have even the ordinary form as it is. (“Let us rise….wait….and pray that the gifts we bring to this altar, our prayers, our lives and our financial support may be pleasing to God our loving Creator”)

  • Will J

    “In the developing world however, the more informal modes of worship are much more of a general cultural phenomenon. An informal style there doesn’t necessarily carry all the baggage it does here.”

    I have not been to informal masses, but I have been to masses with contemporary music. There is nothing wrong with that. The only baggage is for those who do not like it. They can attend masses with 1950s liturgy.

  • mike in kc, mo

    Hello Father. Thanks for the great perspective.

    I admit I am one who is a little worried about this. No, I don’t think the Holy Father will order everyone to use polyester vestments and strip the sanctuary of anything other than a tablecloth and card table for Mass.

    It also has nothing to do with money. Looking at some poorer churches, they make themselves as beautiful as they can for what resources they have (ours is one, and is actually a NO parish). I’ve have also seen mega sized NO parishes where it looked like the inside of a Walmart and I’m betting they still spent a fortune.

    I also know there is a different between on one side simplicity and humility and on the other side… dollar store style cheapness.

    I simply worry that some parishes will simply use the Holy Father’s direction as a way to push cheapness. I think too many in the US confuse ugliness and cheapness with simplicity, and this will simply give them a greater push. Anyway, not sure if that makes sense, this was more of a stream of thought… Thanks!

  • Rod

    I would take a sour-puss every time, provided they follow the rubrics of the Traditional Latin Mass to the exact letter.
    The reason is that when the mass is done properly, the priest’s individual identity fades away and Our Lord can shine through.
    The Pope, like the Priest, is only a place holder or a stand-in for Our Lord. Their individuality should not be obvious in the offering of mass.

    • Molly

      I guess what I don’t understand is why that is only possible with the TLM (in your opinion). It’s not as if the NO is a Mad Lib of Masses, filling in what you want where you want it. There are very strict rules about what is and is not officially part of the NO. The problem is that many parishioners are badly catechized and therefore don’t KNOW when a priest is either committing or allowing liturgical abuse. It’s not that a NO has more opportunity for said abuse. Believe me, I live in a diocese where there is absolute adherence to the liturgical rules for the NO.

      • Philip Steinacker

        Molly,

        Perhaps you are so blessed that your parishfollows the rubrics for the NO.

        I lean traditional but cannot get to the one church in my archdiocese which offers it, so I would gladly settle for my parish obsrving the NO rubrics. Trouble is, they dont, and when we approached father about 2-3 liturgical practices outside the rubrics he surprised us by listing 2-3 more as a way of saying “so, what?”

        He then advised us “let us not get caught up in rubricism.” I suppose the opposites of “rubricism” – a concocted self-serving word if I ever saw one – are pride and disobedience.

        Actually, litutgical abuses at my parish are the norm in my archdiocese, although which abuses are in effect varies from parish to parish. In fact, ours is pretty typical and not the worst.

        If you believe those “strict rules” aka rubrics are worth the paper they’re printed on, then you’ll never understand the concern so many of us feel.

        BTW, I take exception to much of the extreme criticisms of the hard-core rad trad crowd, but I understand their appreciation and l;ove for the traditional form, and their aprehension that many liberal parishes will most certainly use Francis’ example as a green light to more abuses and to shut down our requests for correction. Our own DRE as much as told me so with a big smile.

        • Molly

          I do sympathize with you regarding widespread liturgical abuse and I am aware that we are VERY blessed in my parish. My point was just that the problem is in the disobedience, not the form of the Mass. I realize that it may be easier to reel in abuse because there are far less “options” in the EF as far as ways of doing things. Regardless, the OF is far from a free for all, and if the rubrics were followed it would truly come down to a “taste” issue between the two.

      • midwestlady

        Ever seen an ad-libbed Latin mass? I have. Not pretty. And many people in the congregation don’t realize it’s going on, either. They just figure that they’re not using the missal right.

  • http://www.simondodd.org/ Simon

    Father, I do agree that the tone of the Traditionalists’ carping is unconstructive and unhelpful, but I find myself at odds with you on this. You seem to assume that the only concern that people have is that the usus antiquior will be suppressed, and from that error, you seem to give away virtually every point of the criticisms that I’ve seen. You concede that he may well turn out to be more low-church. You concede that he is more informal in his style of celebrating, on the way to saying that his liturgical style doesn’t show that he’s a theological liberal. Who said otherwise? The concern is that he’s theologically orthodox but liturgically indifferent. The concern is, as your commenter Vox borealis well-said above, that “Benedict helped push the rock from the bottom of the hill to near the top, but didn’t get over the crest, and now we’ve let go and we’re hoping the rock won’t roll back down into the valley.” Before the conclave, I said no issue was more important than broadening and deepening Benedict’s work to fix the liturgy, that Benedict gave us great liturgical examples, and that his successor would have to give us legislation. The question is whether a pope who prefers an informal, low-church liturgy will do that—not fussing about the implausible idea that he will ban the usus anqituior. He isn’t going to “make everybody sing Eagle’s Wings every Sunday,” but he isn’t going to ban it, either, and that’s what’s needed, for goodness’ sakes! What’s needed is not benign indifference, letting the rock slide back down the hill, but active engagement to push it over the top. Ecclesiam non possumus reparare nisi liturgiam primo reparamus—we will not be able to fix the Church unless we first fix the liturgy.

  • Yae

    I support and applaud Fr. L’s article. I have not attended a EF Mass and since Papa Francis’s election and the “bad rap” he has been getting from those who do, well, let me say that I see the “fruit” of their attendance and lack of charity as scandalous and divisive.
    I have only ever seen Papa Francisco celebrate Mass with reverence and with love for our Lord Jesus Christ. The way he elevates our Eucharistic Lord is awe-inspiring and beautiful. The way he contemplates Him, while doing so, has made me hope that many will come back to the faith, especially to holy communion.
    I love Papa Benedict and really like Papa Francisco. The thought of them both with us, one hidden in prayer, while the other will go about the world proclaiming Christ crucified, is a happy and hopeful thought. The mystery and great gift of why that is makes me grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ.
    My hope is that all who are distracted by Papa Francisco’s “lack thereof” will stop now to pray and to hope and to ponder the great gift that Christ has laid at the feet of his beloved Church…beloved Papa Benedict has pledged his fidelity and obedience to Papa Francisco, well, I will follow his example and do the same.
    God bless both Papa Francisco and Papa Benedict!

  • Annoyed

    You Traddy Catholics never cease to amaze me. You are the loudest voices and the last ones the general public needs to hears. You make all Catholics look bad through your ultra-judgmental views. You scare or annoy more people out of the Church than you bring to it. I’d rather spend a day talking faith with an atheist than some of the Traddies posting on this site.

  • ThomasL

    Expect more of this from Pope Francis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RJK0yULkCY
    This is not how to celebrate our Lord. This is blatant liberalization of the Mass. This would even make Luther and Tyndale blush. I do not share the hope that many of you have.

  • Rose

    Catherine Alexander: your words ring true to me. There is a great deal of unresolved grief over Pope Banedict.
    And that is perhaps unavoidable since the end of his pontificate was less than 3 weeks ago. Benedict resigned for the good of the Church; and I think it will produce good. Benedict was the sacrificial lamb (that was God’s will for him, I presume to think) He drew out the poison (the sexual abuse scandal, the Curial dissatsifaction, the careerism of factions in the Curia, the opposition to the SSPX, the tough line on dissidents, etc. etc.)
    They had all been brewing under JPII but JPII’s personality and stature in the eyes of the world ketp those things from blowing up, and along comes Ratzinger, the lightning rod. I am convinced Pope Beedict knew the time was ripe for a renewal of the Church since things had been cleaned out but what I am not so certain about is whether Pope Francis will bring the renewal. I guess for me, the litmus test will be the strength of vocations. First, does anyone know the state of vocations in the US under the BXVI pontificate? Second, does anyone know of Arbp Bergoglio’s record of vocational growth in Buenos Aires during his tenure there? Third, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts on:
    1. The swiftness with which Pope Francis asserted his authority over Msgr. Guido (bringing in consultors is a sure sign your boss does not respect your competence!) and how this augurs for the “trickle down” of liturgical leadership in the nest few years; I actually agree that the vestments, copes. etc do not matter at all, but the whole thing is integral to reverence and reverence matters. I have noted an informality in the way the litugry is conducted by many Jesuits, including our new Pontiff;
    2. The bowing vs. genuflection. Seems to me genuflection is such a typically Catholic gesture; bowing is more ecumenical, I suppose, but what about the Catholic identity thing so much discussed in the past few years in the traditionalist blogs- was that just a fad and will that no longer be the position of the traditionalist movement?
    3. The gesture of deference to non-believers when in the meeting with the journalists, he said out of respect for non-believers he would not give his papal blessing. I read a great deal of commentary on the Georgetown episode when the IHS was covered over for President Obama’s addressl but there seems to have been scant commentary on this blog or Fr. Z’ blog on this particular event; I would love to hear some commentary on this;; no one seems to care? or think it’s important to comment on? Or it does not matter; we are under new direction?
    3. The special mention given to Cardinal Kasper in the first Angelus; does this mean Cardinal Kasper will be the next Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, someone who is admired by the new Pontiff but distinctly not by the predecessor; I have not read any commentary on this or Cardinal Kapser’s positions on priestly celibacy, the admission of pro-abort politicians to Holy Communion; gay marraige. I do know he believes in mercifully accepting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion and I actually agree with that but it is curious no one has talked about this mention of Cardinal Kasper;
    4. I understand that as Arbp of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio opposed gay marriage ferociously. Does anyone know what kind of campaign he initiated at his diocese because I actually found on Amazon a book he co-wrote with a propoent of gay civil unions. Is the only evidence of his ferocity the confidential letter he wrote to the contemplative orders in his diocese a few weeks before the legislation was to be voted on? It would be great if we could have information that is not sourced either from his biographer or from his detractors.
    5. The fact that the new Pontiff has chosen to wear the ring of his predecessor Paul VI. What does this mean? A continuity with the rupture theory of VII or something else?
    I continue to pray for Pope Franics, the Church and Pope Emeritus Benedict, soon to be Bishop Emeritus of Rome. But as a rational human being I would love to hear your comments on the above.

    Thanks for taking this comment and if you deem it unacceptable, let me know so I know it was not a technical fluke that disabled it!

    Rose Marie Isaac

  • http://www.mypuzzlefix.com Robyn Broyles

    I can do without the clowns, balloons, and puppets, but clapping with music at Mass is rooted in the musical tradition of the psalms. So it’s more ancient than the Tridentine liturgy. Also, it’s interesting that my parish is a “big box” parish with a “gather them in” style and a praise band, yet is populated by theologically orthodox Catholics (at least among the most active members of the parish) who are typically politically conservative. Maybe because we’re in Texas.

    • Lepidus

      In all honesty, Robyn, I haven’t seen the clapping with the music except in some ethnic parishes. What I have seen is “Wasn’t that communion meditation by the kid’s choir beautiful? Let’s give them a round of applause”. “Today was Junior-ette’s first Mass as an alter-kid – let’s give her a round of applause”.

      • http://christinesinnott@gmail.com sezme

        Google this: MISA DE NINOS 2011……..
        balloons, clapping, dancing, Jesus puppets, & the biggest cookie ever!

        • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

          The video was doctored to make it appear the big puppets were in the Mass. They were not. They were part of a separate children’s event. It’s a lie and a bad one at that.

  • Father Joseph LeBlanc, SJ

    A great deal of omniscience in all of these comments.

    • Mike Harrison

      Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Father. It is simply astounding at how many RadTrad Trentophiles have entirely missed the point of Fr. Longenecker’s post above and the singular rightness of his argument. The omniscient ones are confusing the icing with the cake. Yes, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the center of the Church’s worship, but the Church is so much more!

      “Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee?” And the Lord replied, “It was when you were too busy worrying about fiddleback chasubles, standing ad orientem or seeing who can call out the Latin responses the loudest.”

      • Molly

        I think I understand where you’re trying to go with what you just said but be careful how you phrase it. Unless you really honestly think that the Mass is something that is just worship in the sense that a Sunday Protestant service is? The Eucharist is the reason the Church exists.

        • midwestlady

          Is it?

          • midwestlady

            I’m not really all that sure that such a sweeping but simplistic statement is true.

          • Molly

            It’s true in the sense that the Eucharist is God. It’s not true if you’re only looking at the Eucharist as a “Eucharistic prayer” or a process.

          • midwestlady

            But is it only in the Eucharist that God can be present to us?

          • midwestlady

            And if that’s the case, why don’t we just dispense with the 1st part of the mass, which is only readings, after all? Right?

          • Molly

            No it’s not the only way He can be present to us, just as the cross is not the only sacrifice He made for us. But it is the most important one, and He is the one who set it up that way. This is like saying Mary is not the only way to get to Christ. Sure, she’s not, but He chose her and decided to make her as important as she is. It’s not an either/or it’s a both/and. As for dispensing with the Liturgy of the Word, that’s part of the Mass. I’m not talking about the Eucharistic prayer, I’m talking about the Eucharist as a whole, and all that it entails. It is the very center of our faith. Without it we are not Catholic.

          • midwestlady

            What you’ve said is a start, yes. I admit to having given you a reductio argument there, to tease you into admitting that….. But yes, it’s not either/or; you are correct. There are many pieces to being a Catholic, and going to mass is only one of them. They fit together like the instruments in a symphony orchestra. However, it’s possible to impoverish oneself by refusing to hear any of the instruments except the one you consider to be the most important. That’s a huge waste. There are prayer and scripture and fellowship and works of charity and more–all to help us on our way to heaven. This is real discipleship, and we’re built to do it this way. This is what this should be about, not just 45 minutes a week and fighting amongst each other about how things look.

          • midwestlady

            By all means, never miss Mass, but don’t miss the other stuff either!

          • Molly

            Oh I completely agree with you about not letting ourselves become “go to church on Sunday” Catholics, and that’s it. I’m also an advocate of a reverent NO being just great. But I have the luxury of being from a diocese that is probably one of the most orthodox in the nation, and is an example of how the NO is supposed to work, with virtually no liturgical abuse. We also have the EF in our diocese and it’s wonderful. I don’t think we are at odds here. But I’m not talking about just going to Mass either. I’m talking about the Mass as a reality, as what it means to the Church. It’s where Heaven and Earth actually touch, and although it is not the only aspect, or the only important aspect, it is the focal point. It is at the center of the faith. Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy are integral to our lives as Catholics, but again, we would not be Catholic without the Mass and the sacraments. The Eucharist IS what sets us apart. And that is not my opinion, this is the objective reality of the Catholic faith. My emphasis on this fact does nothing to “offset” the importance of the other things. And I for one don’t think that Pope Francis for a second puts these other things above the Mass. He clarified that for us last week when he warned about the Church becoming an NGO when seen as an merciful and charitable institution of which Christ is not the center. Christ is not just “present” to us in the Eucharist, He IS the Eucharist. He Himself physically enters our bodies when we receive Him at communion, and there is no higher form of receiving Him in our lives. There is no greater source of grace available to us. Pope Francis mentioning the Catholics in Japan who were “waiting” for the missionaries when finally let back in was not to claim that the Mass isn’t important. It was to claim that Christ never abandons His Church, and He doesn’t. I understand the concern about liturgical abuse because it constitutes abuse towards Christ Himself, it constitutes bucking the authority of the Church. My problem is that I don’t think liturgical abuse is not wearing red shoes. It’s just not. But these people are reacting out of fear because they have only two experiences, the EF, or a severely abused OF, and they haven’t seen much evidence of the possibility of a reverent OF that does not invite dissent in one form or another, so they’re seeking to control the situation by cutting off avenues that they have seen lead to abuse. This, to me, is a very reactionary and narrow way of looking at things. It’s more about catechesis, helping people to understand their faith and why things are the way they are.

    • midwestlady

      A great deal of confusion in all these comments.

  • wolf1945

    My wife and I are faithful, active members of our parish and archdiocese. We sing in the choir, facilitate Bible studies, are part of the RCIA team, are on the Adult Faith Formation committee, have been lectors and Extraodinary Ministers of the Eucharist and worked many years in the Catholic Cursillo movement. I am constantly amazed that we fail to see the connection between the personality of our leaders and the outlook of the led. Over the years we have had parish pastors who were outgoing and charismatic and allowed traditional Masses and music to exist with folk and life teen Masses ( what you refer to as happy clappy). All were valid expressions of our faith and Jesus was there in the Eucharist. People attended the type of Mass that brought them closest to Christ. I grew up in the 50′s and 60′s and so know and love the Latin Mass. However a new pastor arrived threw out all but traditional music for all Masses and attempted to have only Latin service music and chant, not realizing or caring that most of our parishioners (and he also) either weren’t born till after Vatican II or converted afterwards. Many people, including me, moved to a different parish. The priest has left but the parish is a shell of the once vibrant community it once was. I think Benedict is a great theologian and I’ve read a lot of his work, but I don’t think he had the personal charisma to draw people to the Church that John Paul II did. Not many people do. I think that a personally appealing Pope is of more value to evangelism that a brilliant one.

    • http://www.simondodd.org Simon

      I must suggest to you that it is a serious eror to suppose that “traditional music” and “Latin service music and chant” has no appeal to Catholics who “either weren’t born till after Vatican II or converted afterwards.”

  • Father Paul

    Suspending all judgment on “taste” (linen v lace, Roman v Gothic vestments, Benedictine arrangement)….

    In watching the liturgies from St Peter’s during the previous Pontificate the thing that I kept saying to myself is “that was beautiful, shame I could never pull that off in my parish”.

    On the other hand the liturgies in the Sistine and in St. Ann’s during the past few days I was saying, “Hey, that would work here.”

    There is certainly an argument that Papal liturgies are on the one hand the Division I of liturgy (but let’s remember all we have not yet seen the occasion of a real solemn event. Remember that the Sistine is consider a “private chapel” and the Mass to close the Conclave is technically a “ferial” or “weekday” Mass and Sunday at St. Ann was a parish liturgy for the 5th Sunday of Lent) . However, if there is to be a “reform of the reform” providing Papal Masses as a model that can be more readily imitated at the local parish might be a good thing. Let’s see if the principle of “progressive solemnity” is at work here.

  • bj

    I hate how we hate. and we hate with labels. I just wonder if Jesus came back would we recognize him? or would we pick out certain aspects of him, and quickly throw a label on him.

    there will never be a world without people who are conservative and people who are liberal. If they love God with all their heart and soul and mind, then recognize their worth, because both are equally necessary.

    • Philip Steinacker

      BJ,

      None of these comments are hate. There are huge numbers of real-world examples of hate abounding, much of which are aimed at the Church.

      You have life too easy if reading a lot of angst-driven comments have you worried about hate. Yes, the trad community can sometimes be less than charitable, and a minority – whose volume gives the impression they are more numerous than they are – express harsh judgments of others. They put me off, too.

      However, there are also a lot of extreme, dismissive judgments made here by folks who are blissfully ignorant of the underlying principles to the cocerns expressed here. A comment box is not the best place to teach in depth why liturgy shapes what we believe and thereby influences how we live.

      Many of the folks posting their fears here understand this on many levels, while sadly the rest have no real understanding of these implications. I genuinely mean no disrespect or criticism by that last remark. Pope Benedict had been slowly bringing along greater numbers of foks to thisunderstanding, but this is the kind of development which takes time – “brick by brick”; “heart by heart.”

      I love Pope Francis humility but even more I love what apparently is the path to pesonal holiness he’s walking – or so I think. However, if he appoints folks like Kasper & Hummes where they have influence over the liturgy and the theology of the Church, I’ll prayerfully consider the possibility that the Church will go through a period of setbacks. Of course, no matter what, She will prevail.

      • bj

        1)hate is the absence of unconditional love. the more that you study unconditional love the more you recognize hate.

        2)I know little of Hummes and Kasper. But I have one question, what method would you use to determine if they were being led by the Holy Spirit in what ever role they were assigned.

    • midwestlady

      Philip is right. Honest discussion isn’t hate. It’s honest discussion.
      Occasionally I run across people who think that it’s bad to discuss things honestly and civilly, because according to them, nothing can be discussed or thought about logically. Don’t be one of those people. Faith and reason, believe it or not, are not opposed to one another. I get tired of having to tell people this. :|

  • AmericanCatholic

    How odd. Used to be, when it came for Mass, it was Low Mass or High Mass. Maybe Dialogue. Now, it’s like a box of chocolates—you never know what your gonna get. Could be puppets, could be clowns, could be glad tamborines, could be guitars, could be liturgical dancers, or even whirling dervishes! What a mess.

  • Justme

    @ priestswife, the liturgy of St. Basil then, it’s longer!!!! Or our new humble pope could just infalliably submit ex cathedra to the other patriarchates, but i understand that’s simply a dream, but I would absolutely follow 100 percent any vicar of St. Peter who would do that. Now Him who is due all glory, honor and praise with The Eternal Father and The all Holy and Life-giving Spirit; bless us and have mercy on us for He is gracious and loves mankind Amen!!!

  • Rose

    bj, why do you think there has been hate in the comments on this blog? Seems to me everyone has used very measured language while expressing real thoughts (not manufactured out of piety or as a result of collective emotion). Faith and reason do go together, so while we have faith that the Lord will guide Holy Father Francis to do his best for the Church, each of us also has rational faculties that read the content of events and ponder over them using logical faculties of inference and research and knowledge of human reactions and proclivities. Does that make any sense to you?

    I am not sure about ominscience but I have enjoyed the wide variety of view expressed politely here and the questions are real meat and potatoes questions from real life Catholics. Thank you for writing this blog, Fr. Longnecker; I will enjoy visiting in the days ahead.

    Rose Marie Isaac

    • bj

      it does make sense to me. blog after blog after blog-comment after comment after comment, there is division between liberal worshipers and traditional worshipers, each repulsed by the other. how can you love one unconditionally and be repulsed by them at the same time. babies worship different than old men. Old men worship different than young women. young women different than old women. I see it all like an orchestra and I love, love, love it!!! but when you see an orchestra with the string section fighting with the horn section, which is fighting with the percussion session. it’s all just a bunch of noise. I hear people say boldly they hate stringed instruments in church. and then say the only instrument for them is the piano. Seriously? quit looking on the outside and look inside.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com Kevin

    I dunno, maybe we could all be a bit more respectful on all sides….. That if you have to exaggerate to make a point, perhaps it is a point not worth making.

  • Joan

    What an idiotic dichotomy you falsely set up. We do not have such a choice to make, thank God, since Francis is not “happy clappy” and Benedict is not “a self righteous hypocrite”. Unless, Father, you’re implying that they are?

  • John F. Ambs

    Father,
    I used to read your blog all the time, but you’ve often said some pretty condescending things about traditional Catholics. Most of us have never been part of a schismatic sect, most have never left the Church at all but suffered greatly within our parishes and dioceses. I’m just shy of 49, and I’m raising my kids in the old “Extraordinary Form” rite. I saw what the modern Mass and rites did for my many siblings and their children–a complete disaster. I do believe the liturgy matters–it’s where most Catholics encounter the faith. The law of prayer is the law of belief (Lex orandi, Lex credendi). Put even more simply “by their fruits, ye shall know them.” St. John’s Gospel. We should pray for the new Holy Father, of course, but I understand why traditional Catholics are concerned.
    Traditional Catholics are quite used to derision, but we’ve got those nasty church stats from the last 50 years on our side of the argument.
    John Ambs

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I always distinguish between ‘rad trads’ the ones off the deep end and traditionalists–who opt for the Latin Mass in a sensible way. Take a deep breath.

      • Bill

        Yes, and it is a kind of”suffering.” I lived in the Diocese of Rochester during the late 90s and early 2000s. Bad times.

        Know what was worse? Struggling to make ends meet.

        And I’m upper middle class compared to Argentinians. I’m a wretch too generally with my sins, and I pray that God has mercy on me when I pass.

        I just have a REAL tough time with the victim mentality that so many Traditionalists have. It’s prideful and a bit infantile.

        Seeing heresy promoted in the Mass is much worse than not having a TLM around. It was great having a reverant Novus Ordo, and the local Ukrainian Catholic Church around.

  • Alejo

    How many souls have been saved because of the mozetta? Or the red shoes or the correct pronunciation of Latin? I’m a traditionally minded person but I’ve never understood the extreme rigidity in matters liturgical of some traditionalists. It’s all fluff. And I don’t mean it in a disrespectful tone but in the grand scheme of things what is really necessary are the words of institution. Everything else is a product of culture and time and really for our own sake and love of beauty. Those tastes change and in today’s world a simpler but more heartfelt message goes a long way. This doesn’t mean dump everything but we can’t go on as if Jesus himself commanded that Latin must be used. These conversations are trivial when every day souls are being lost. And it has little to do with the liturgy. People weren’t any holier when they “heard” Mass in Latin. Let us not forget that those that grew up in the glorious 50′s with Friday fish fries and family rosaries are the same ones that went off the deep end in the 70′s. We have simply not taken seriously the call of Vatican II to evangelize and recognize the vocation of all the baptized. We’re too busy with felt banners on one side and with not enough lace on the other. Traditionalist and liturgical dance gurus have more in common than the think. They both elevate personal taste and an obsessions with antiquity or novelty over the Gospel. God bless Pope Francis! Ad multos annos!

  • Belloc

    Not to be impudent, Father, but if this is just about cultural differences between hemispheres, then why did Francis as a Cardinal actively seek to suppress traditional masses in his parish as a Cardinal? And if we’re to accept that this is because low key masses are more popular in the southern hemisphere, then why is there such a strong SSPX presence in Buenos Aires?

    The people want a traditional mass, and the Cardinal did not meet their needs.

    The Holy Spirit guides the Cardinals, but that does not mean they listen. Nobody should pretend that the choice of Pope is beyond scrutiny.

    There is plenty reason to be cautious about Francis. As a Cardinal, he was not just indifferent but outwardly hostile to the Latin Mass, and was prone to involve himself in silly ecumunical publicity stunts.

    And I can’t help but think of the “Bishop dressed in white” from the revealed part of the Third Secret of Fatima when I look at his apparent allergy to traditional papal vestments. The last thing we need is another Pope who tries to be the “cool guidance counselor”.

    Yet, I’m hopeful that his humility and devotion to Our Lady, and even his lack of experience in the Curia could be a benefit. If he is truly devoted to Mary, and submissive to the will of God, maybe Russia could finally be consecrated, and maybe genuine house cleaning could happen.

    So I’m still unsure about Francis, but as always I will trust in God.

  • David Zelenka

    It’s all so interesting to watch this debate from an on the edge of Catholicism-perspective. I’m a catholic by baptism and creed, have taken RCIA, attend regularly Mass and have been to one EF Mass so far. I still attend a Protestant church, and for reasons not possible to get into here, I haven’t become a Catholic yet. But I love dearly our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, as an outsider, I see a lot of unnecessary bickering on the EF-Trad. blogs. How sad. How it would make any interested-Protestant quickly walk away. “That’s not the Jesus I know, I’m outa here.”

    But I’m holding on because I know Jesus wants his faithful to unify and I can’t ask the Catholics to become protestants.

    So, in my eyes it’s all politics. My Way vs. My Way. Liberal vs. Conservative. Openness to anything vs. traditionalism. Lust vs. Power. It’s the battle of PowerLust as St. Augustine put it. This simple war is what wages within the walls of the church. It’s also the battle of Gog and Magog going on right under our eyes. Don’t have a part of it!

    What attracts me to Catholicism besides wanting to please Christ Jesus in unity with his people, is the idea of his manifestation. Christ is manifest on Earth in music, art, buildings, and in us, which is fed to us through him in the Eucharist. He is being made manifest in all of the world. It started with the Cross and through the celebration of the Eucharist he feeds the world with his body and blood. This way, He becomes manifest in EVERYTHING.

    This is the only importance of Liturgy: Christ being made manifest. Now, the Latin Rite is only *one* way that the Liturgy is expressed. The liturgy is a language of sorts. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit. But that liturgy is not an end of itself. If so, it becomes a god and as so is doomed. That’s the SSPX failure. There’s a deep fear in the SSPX folks and some of the Traditionalists that if the Latin liturgy is removed, so will Christ. Ahhh…the faithlessness, but the error there is mostly the sin of Power. That’s the sin of the Pharisee. They were losing their control when Christ came to fulfill the Mosaic and Abrahamic Covenant. There power would die with him. So they killed him. That’s the fear with the Traditionalists, but hopefully not the outcome.

    Liturgy is living and must be allowed to be alive or the Holy Spirit within the liturgy will go elsewhere. That’s a prime example of Blaspheme of the Holy Spirit.

    I personally love the beauty and mystery of the liturgy, especially in the new forms of the Mass that a) makes sense to me an American born in 1971 and b) it still has the mystery of beauty. Beauty is the mystery. Beauty is love. Love is the mystery of faith: How God of the universe could love is hateful children so much to die for their salvation. Of course we get in the way of the Holy Spirit in liturgy when we worship in ways that are about us. But the liturgy must change with his people. It’s not 1962 anymore. It’s a special point in history. History is uni-directional and ends with the second-coming of Christ. History is not the same. Neither should our liturgy.

    I was recently told by a traditionalist priest, that those who can’t sing shouldn’t sing during mass. Ouch. I don’t think he was talking to me ;). Some of the most faithful people I have know have belted their tone-deaf voices across the church and I love listening to their heart burst forth. I don’t care what they sound like. I love them. Now I know Jesus loves to hear them worship him also.

    We can’t stop joy from escaping and if we trap the Holy Spirit in the Liturgy, the rocks will sing forth and what a racket they will make for our Lord!

    Oh, yes. And so far, I just love our new Pope!

  • midwestlady

    Get ready to have all your canned presumptions smashed. He’s going to preach the Gospel. It’s about time.

    • Molly

      Because Benedict wasn’t preaching the Gospel?

      • midwestlady

        He was preaching the Gospel, but in a different style than Pope Francis. And it wasn’t making headway with many people, both inside and outside the Church. Pope Benedict did his part of what needed to be done, and now it’s a new man’s turn. We have a lot of work to do.

        Look, 10.1% of the population of the US is ex-Catholic, according to the latest research. We are hemorrhaging members. That only sped up in the last 10 years. European mass attendance is in the single digits in many places, and dropping. According to recent research by Sherry Weddell at the Siena Institute, 40% of Catholics don’t believe a person can have a relationship with God. (What? Yes, that’s what I said.) What we are doing is not working. It’s time to get out of our comfy little bubbles and admit that now.

        • Molly

          I understand what you’re trying to say. Two things: This is not a comparison. This is not a “that didn’t work, this will” situation. It was working in the way that God wanted it to work. Benedict is the one who pinpointed the problem, coined the term “moral relativism”, got it out to the world. Pope Francis will build on that. He will succeed where he does because he has the legacy of a 2000 year old Church of saints and spiritual geniuses to build on, not in spite of it. He is not on a mission to prove that he can do it right where others couldn’t. This sounds wrong to put it this way but you’re giving (at least it seems to me) the Pope, the office of the Pope, too much power, too much credit. The Holy Spirit uses the Pope as He sees fit. Sometimes he’s a living saint who sets the world on fire (JPII), sometimes he’s a quiet flame that refuses to be put out (Benedict). But he has also been a corrupt man who only managed to teach truth when it mattered most, and didn’t even remotely live a life that would be an example to the people. The Pope can’t “save” the Church. That isn’t His job. The Pope will lead the Church, and if he cooperates with the Holy Spirit great things will come, but if he doesn’t, the Church is still here. The Church can’t fail. Case in point: The Church still lost members and mishandled scandals under a soon to be saint, a giant of a Pope who reigned for twenty seven years. And the entire Western world was Catholic under some of the most corrupt popes in history.
          Secondly, you’re talking US statistics. Asia and Africa are exploding with members. The Church belongs to the world, not the US.

          • midwestlady

            I have a sneaking suspicion that the blog-explosion we’re experiencing is a North American & European phenomenon. I could be wrong but I doubt it. I think the rest of the world is just about fit to be tied with joy over the election of Pope Francis. This is why I’m speaking to it.

            The Church in Africa and the East is at another stage of its development also. And they have other problems to deal with that we don’t. Don’t kid yourself. It’s not a bed of roses anyplace.

          • Molly

            It’s not a bed of roses anywhere, and it has never been. The Church will deal with these things until Christ returns. But He also promised us that He would be with us until the end of the age, and the reason people are so emotional about the Pope is because the Pope’s office is one of the greatest signs of that fact. This is why there are millions of people all over the world celebrating a man they don’t know, not because he’s Jorge Bergoglio, but because he is Peter. Add to that that for (most) Catholics, the only popes they’ve experienced in living history have been good, if not great, Popes. I’m convinced we didn’t see this kind of “panic” with Benedict because he was a proven “extension” of John Paul II. Not in personality or teaching style, but in ability and willingness to guard the faith and the Church. So while people may not have felt an emotional connection with him immediately, they trusted him. Francis is kind of an unknown. People aren’t talking about all the “firsts” he is because it’s novel, it’s because we haven’t had a somewhat unknown quantity in a Pope in living memory. The things he’s doing, getting off of the Popemobile to embrace the disabled man, walking out into the crowd, touching and hugging people, these aren’t novel. He’s very much like JPII in this way. We are just so used to the different personality of Benedict at this point. But he reminds me very very much of JPII. And I find that extremely comforting. But the people freaking out over his differentness aren’t being judgmental, they’re scared.
            And again, as for the “problems” of the Church, yes, they’re problems, but the Church has survived MUCH worse. And it always will. It may have to get smaller to get larger again. My spiritual advisor talks about how it might have to suffer smaller numbers, because the only way a lot of modern people are going to come back is if they live without it, experience the pain of being without it, and then the love of Christ and His Church will seem new to them, it will seem like exactly what the world needs. I’m not saying I want people to not care about the Church, or that I want it’s numbers to decline, but I tend to agree with him. (I think Benedict has a quote along these lines somewhere). Yes there’s problems, but again, these problems will never be able to defeat the Church.

          • Molly

            Here, I found the Benedict reference:
            Pope Benedict XVI’s forgotten Prophecy, not so forgotten lately, of a “More Spiritual and Simple Church”

            “In 1969, Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, spoke about the future of the Church. He prophesied, “It will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again. It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity. The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges. It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute.” He prophesied that “when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church” and that this renewed Church will be a sign of hope for those who have not come to know the love of God.”

  • Rose

    Our former parish priest was a self-confessed Bernardin follower; he had a great common touch; his liturgies were standard fare, full of jokes and informal homilies, often using Q & A. When he retired we were blessed with a younger priest who turned the culture around. He celebrated Mass very reverently, insisted on a silence, took care of the sacristy details himself, subsituted a chant style Alleluia for the Hispanic clappy happy Alleluia we used to sing and some parishioners used to sway to, preached to the young and old of marriage in the Lord. I hasten to add that Fr was also very humble (at least if the new definition of humble is living in spartan quarters and cooking meals for yourself half the time), he visited the sick, the youth at our parish schools, celebrated Mass for them, and stood on the sidewalk with the 40 days pro-life rally. He gave a series of talks on the Apostles Creed for the year of faith. We do not have slums (there is a good safety net) but Fr visited the old regularly. The lay staffers disliked him and complained to the Bishop that he was not “VII” enough at Mass. When 95% of the parish started a drive to bring him back , the single comment that appeared in all of the signature sheets was: Fr. celebrated a very reverent Mass. We are a very middle class community, our annual parish budget is very modest yet 95% of us when it came to reflect on what mattered most in our parish life, said, “a reverent Mass.” Not his outreach, not his involvement with the youth activities at school (although that was high on the list), a reverent Mass was the top priority. Our interim administrator gave us to understand that we were being childish (immature in the faith) since Jesus is present at every Mass. He was surprised that we cared so much about rules. He would not have Mass in the Church because lighting all those lamps would “distress” the enviroment. He counselled focusing on corporal works of mercy but was astonished to find that most of us were actively involved already (despite aging parents, young children, jobs, contributing to the parish funds etc.) So please do not make the facile mistake of setting up a dichotomy between prioritizing liturgy and serving the community or practicing corporal works of mercy. A flattened approach to liturgy at the top trickles down to an even flatter liturgy at the bottom. Rules that are loosened at the top means those below will take licence to play with them even more. That is the nature of man. Hence the deep anxiety as to further changes to the liturgy coming from on top, more chatter and loud music at Mass, a return to the jumpy peppy Alleluias. Wanting a good liturgy does not mean we do not serve the poor and the sick.

  • Chillout

    This militant, aggressive arrogance can not come from God! Think about that! This elitism, this “who can’t recite the TLM backwards is not a catholic” attitude (okay i exaggerated that a tad) can not come from God! Catholics don’t need to recite “lex orandi, lex credendi” a hundred times a day. Extreme traditionalist act like pharisees. The Mass isn’t everything, no. If it would be everything, every catholic in the last 4 centuries, up to the 1960′s would have become a saint. That was not so! Myriad of TLM abuses, sinner clerics, sinner laymen in masses (big numbers, sorry), that’s a fact from this period. Pharisees did that, what you do now. The Mass isn’t enough for salvation, latin is not mandatory for salvation, not even TLM is mandatory for salvation. I’m sorry to say that, but you are worshipping, idoling your own self imagined greatness. You feel great, on your “excellence”. We only have right to love, and what you do, doesn’t resemble love very much, like all the bashing and trolling you do on the internet. And your judgement is wrong! You judge other people, how much they are not like God, as if you were like God. Us people should judge with ourselves being in the center of our coordinate system, and not God. Everybody is a sinner, it is very easy to find fault, when we compare a person to God. Compare him to yourself! First admit, that you yourself had sinned quite a lot. And how often you erred! God forgave you. You claim the “right” to err, as you did err earlier (and now), but you deny this “right” to other people! You are shocked on all the little and big faults of people, and your faults? You know you weren’t born perfect! If God let’s you, with His great patience allows you to err and to sin, why shouln’t He allow that to others? (allow not in approve, but in remain patient). Arrogance comes from the evil, true servants of God are recognized by their humility. Remember St. Paul:
    Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up;
    5 Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil;
    6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth;
    7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

  • Freda

    I wonder if Pope Francis has dug a bit of a hole for himself – there are a lot of jokes being made about him already by the media – hold the bus, here comes the Pope, etc. I think some of this is very demeaning to the dignity and respect for the Papacy. Pope Francis knew what the papacy was all about and if he doesn’t like the red shoes, etc, then maybe he shouldn’t have accepted. He is not a parish priest anymore, like it or not. There is a certain dignity that goes with being the Pope and he will not be listened to if he sinks too far down. Christ had dignity and he needs to remember that.

    • bj

      Really? what color shoes did Christ wear? How fancy was his car? did he wear cuff links? He was born in a barn. lived in a small rural town. he had dirty feet. the clothes on his back. walked almost every where. He touched lepers and ate with unclean sinners in unclean homes. he washed the apostles stinking dirty feet. And in the end, he was stripped naked and left to die a public humiliating death on the cross and buried in a borrowed grave. This was all beneath the dignity of a common priest, much less the Great High Priest, much, much, much, less the Son of the Most High God.

      Christ did INDEED have dignity. but his dignity came from within. not from worldly means but from something far greater.

      when you go to Mass worship God with all you have in the manner that seems appropriate. And concentrate on Metanoia.

    • Gonzalo

      And did the media respect Benedict any more? They made fun of his red shoes all the time. Seems that not accepting the call just because of not wanting to wear red shoes or adjusting so the media won’t make fun of him, are rather superficial reasons.

  • Freda

    Chillout you have obviously no idea what the Mass is all about – it is not a mere ritual. Christ said, “This IS My body. This IS My blood. He who eats My body and drinks My blood lives continually in me and I in him”. You yourself are being as judgmental as the trads you claim are judgmental. Where is your patience? Your charity? You are not in any position to open your mouth. Instead of criticising those who love the Latin Mass – go and find out what it’s all about. Certainly throwing your arms in the air and bashing on a tambourine is hardly going to get you to heaven … no more than attending a concert in the park doing the same thing is. If you realised the importance of the Mass – what it was all about – you wouldn’t be saying the things that you say. Most Catholics these days are completely ignorant of their Faith.

    • Chillout

      Dear Freda!
      Thank you, i know what Christ said! Did you know, He also said: love each other, as i loved you? And that’s hardly bashing down on somebody. I’m sorry, but i have personal experience with trad extremists, and lots of their things simply don’t come from God. There is so much hatred speach. You have so much aggression, anger!
      Now i don’t say trads, or anybody shouldn’t judge! I say, you shouldn’t compare people to God, or rather that spotless image of yourself, that you imagine. My patience and my charity is in my soft tone. It’s my purpose to point at things, i think you make mistakes at. Love, charity is good will.
      When did i criticise those, who love the latin Mass? You change the subject! I myself like, even prefer the TLM! I participated in TLM already. I know a lot about it. But you have to understand, that the Mass alone is not enough for salvation. You need to believe in Christ and act accordingly.

      You write: “You are not in any position to open your mouth.”
      Thats very christlike, …, oh yeah. As if i heard St. Francis of Assissi talk. Don’t you feel the hatred and aggression in your tone? What? Is the Church suddenly the United States of Freda? Where you are the president?

      You’re so full of anger. Imagine! We don’t use tambourines, not even ukulele in our Mass. And steel drums are strickly out!

      Lots of catholic these days are completely ignorant, that the Church is not a gnostic sect, and our goal is not to be elite know-it-alls, but to be in full union with God, who is LOVE!

  • http://patheos.com George

    Father, great observations! Many on this blog are missing the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired the Cardinals to elect this man to be the Vicar of Christ. Who are we to question the Holy Spirit? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that the Holy Spirit is a lot smarter than me!

  • Xavier Abraham

    I was a fan of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s “Spirit of Liturgy”, until I read a rebuttal from Pierre-Marie Gy, O.P, a liturgist of high rank and one of the key players in the drafting of Second Vatican Council’s decree on liturgy. Even though I read the response from Cardinal Ratzinger to Gy, it didn’t convince me enough to change my views. From this, don’t assume Gy was a ‘liberal mass’ fan, a mistake that any typical traditionalist, for whom everything on earth is either traditional or liberal and nothing else, would easily jump into. I consider Gy as a traditionalist with a greater practical view on the subject.

    It does matter when balloons or clowns distract you away from the spirit of liturgy. But when we devote our heart, mind, and soul in the celebration of Eucharist, how much would it matter the priest is facing altar or people ? The few instances of liturgical indiscipline, which I have seen only in internet and blogs, should never be a false alarm to throw away the liturgical progress made by Church in the last century.

  • Freda

    BJ Christ is the Son of God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. He worked miracles. He rose from the dead. He had authority – he was a leader. St Francis worked miracles. No one is going to listen long to a man who rides the bus and acts like one of the boys. I’m afraid that is the world we live in. The Pope needs to have authority, and whether you like it or not no one is going to listen to him for long if he continues on in this vein. I am sure he has good intentions, but acting as he does casts aspersions on former Popes, who also spoke up for the poor and downtrodden. They were listened to because they retained their dignity. Pope Francis won’t be because he is undermining the dignity of his office and he needs to pull back. He is overdoing it. Maybe the papacy has gone to his head?

    • Molly

      What has he done that is undignified?

    • bj

      he’s not undermining dignity of the papacy, he’s redefining it. the kind of dignity that you are referring to is shallow and passes away. The kind of dignity that Francis is displaying lasts forever.

      a small story to give it perspective:
      one time we had a house guest sitting at our kitchen table and as the conversation went on, my mother began to set the table for dinner that he and my father were sitting at. He was sitting in my dad’s chair at the head of the table and when he started to get up protesting that, that was my dad’s place at the head of the table, my dad insisted that he stay sitting. He protested further and I at a young age and not really knowing what I was saying at the time told him, he could sit where ever he wanted because the head of the table moved depending on where my dad sat. that made an impact on our friend and he never let me forget that I had told him that as I grew older.

      Dignity follows the person worthy of it.

      Benedict xvi said that when Jesus was baptized by John (beneath his dignity) he sanctified the water for the rest of us. Did you ever consider that Francis is sanctifying the ordinary for the rest of us?

    • Gonzalo

      How do you know nobody will listen? Did they listen to other Popes who had a different approach? Why do you say he is casting aspersions on former Popes? That is YOUR interpretation. You chose what you want to believe.
      Also, what do you accomplish by your ranting? If you are so concerned, write him a letter, or go and say a rosary so you can understand and accept his authority. If you are so worried about people not respecting him, set an example and start showing a minimum of respect.

  • Freda

    Is it any wonder that people are concerned when you see what goes on at Mass in another Latin American country Brazil. Something has happened to the Church when liturgy sinks this low.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/10/reason-28867-for-summorum-pontificum/

  • http://www.simondodd.org/ Simon

    “[T]he new pope did not wear his miter during the homily and spoke standing instead of seated.
    ‘Make no mistake about it—[the inauguration Mass] is a liturgical revolution,’ said Benedictine Fr. Anthony Ruff, an associate professor of theology at Saint John’s University in Minnesota. ‘And no one saw it coming … [Francis preaches] like a simple parish priest—at the ambo, not the chair, and without miter,” noting that at a Mass last week, the pope also did not wear his miter during his homily.” What say ye now, Father?

    • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

      I’m glad he preached the gospel.

      • midwestlady

        Yes, more Catholics need to forget the hat, and listen to the Gospel.

      • http://www.simondodd.org/ Simon

        Without his miter. I saw our auxiliary bishop preach a homily without his miter once, but he was a newly-minted bishop, and one assumes that he just forgot. Pope Francis has been a bishop for more than two decades, and has ample assistance, and so one must infer that the choice was deliberate.

        Here’s the thing, Father: It is not an authentic humility to impose one’s own tastes and preferences, even if one labels one’s taste “humble.” There is a huge difference between the humility of Card. Bergoglio in refusing to accept the incidental trappings of episcopal office, on the one hand, and, on the other, Pope Francis’ refusal to accept the symbols and practices that characterize the petrine office. The mozzetta, the slippers, the miter—none of these things matter in themselves so much as they matter insofar as they are outward manifestations of an attitude that is incredibly troubling in a pope. A pile of ashes is more humble than a grand palace, but it is not an act of humility for the king to set fire to the drapes.

        Let us pray for poor Msgr. Marini, who must be having kittens at all this, and the future of the liturgy. Like Vox borealis, I can already see the stone rolling back down the hill. Conclaves have made mistakes before; the conclave is able to make mistakes. I pray that this is not such an instance, but when every day brings some new peal of stern alarums, what else can one infer? I had very little sympathy for those who raised hue and cry on day one, but each day brings new reason to worry that they might have called it right.

        • Gonzalo

          Is this what we have come down to? Arguing about shoes and cloths? Is this why Our Lord came to give His Life in the cross? Is this how we honor the saints and martyrs who gave their life for Jesus? It hurts my heart like a sword to see all the disrespect, pettiness and patronizing towards our Holy Father; to see grown men arguing in a similar fashion as high school girls, nitpicking. I understand their views about traditions and symbols, but isn’t it enough one whole week of endless whining? At what point piety becomes pietism? What good can come from these arguments? Should we remember Matthew 12, 36-37?

      • http://patheos.com George

        Amen!! After reading many of the negative comments about our new Holy Father on this blog, I can’t help but wonder if they’re legitimate or are they from people who hate the Church and are trying to destroy it from within. One has to discern whether these thoughts/comments are from God or from the devil. I’m sure the devil loves all of the attacks on our Holy Father. Our Catholic (universal) Church is made up of many different cultures and many of those cultures celebrate Mass differently than some of the more “traditional” cultures. I think some of the ‘bloggers’ would look down their noses at the way many Africans celebrate Mass, with bongos and cheap stringed instruments, or some Spanish parishes clap (for Jesus) during the Mass. I can’t imagine what they say about Charismatic Masses! lol! My mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”. Remember, it’s all about loving each other and the Lord, I’m sure he wouldn’t want us “hating on each other” over Litugical styles. Father L, you’re right on!

        • http://wwwimondodd.org Simon

          George, I can tell you that the “negative” comments from Traditionalists—of which I am not one, I reiterate—are born out of sincere love for the Church and deep concern that she will be destroyed. It is incredibly far of the mark to suppose that they are acting out of hate. If you want to see hate, cast your eyes to those faux Catholics who keep one foot in the Church only in the forlorn hope that she will eventually change everything she teaches and does. As to the “African” Masses or “clappy” Masses or “charismatic” Masses, I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I consider them to be a repulsive and disordered sacrilege that must be rooted out from the Church with all deliberate speed. We have gone so very, very far astray since Vatican II.

  • Markrite

    But Fr. Longnecker, how do you know that the “happy clappy” type Pope couldn’t ALSO be the “sour,self-righteous Hypocrite” Pope? Are they mutually exclusive? I’ve often felt in my observations of certain 20th & 21st century ecclesial types like priests and such that a whole lot of them were like spiritual con artists. They had their OWN AGENDA. Whatever trappings they used didn’t matter as long as they ACHIEVED THEIR GOAL. Think Fr. Marcel Macial. Just saying.
    On another note, it’s startling how much the actor who portrays satan in the new miniseries “THE BIBLE,” looks SO MUCH like Hussein Obama; it’s downright UNCANNY. But it couldn’t be anything more than just BLIND CO-INCIDENCE, RIGHT? After all, the producer of the miniseries has averred that he was a contibutor to Obama & the Demoncrats. But anyone who knows the world of big miniseries and Hollywood know that MANY producers, stars, directors, etc., contribute to the Dem’s, it’s all just going along to get along, right? In fact, since both Rebub’s and Dem’s have so many ccolluding agendas, think GAY MARRIAGE, for instance, how is THAT a deal-breaker in terms of ideology, etc.? In any case, maybe since Lucifer and Obama have so much in common, they are BOTH LIARS, for instance, and BOTH believe in the KILLING OF INNOCENCE, think LEGALIZED ABORTION; both are VERY MUCH FOR the evil practice, well, maybe the ARTISTIC thing to do in such an instance where the telling of the incidents in the Bible are obviously so connected, is to show satan as very close to a particular human prototype LIKE Obama. AFTER ALL, DO THEY REALLY DIFFER THAT MUCH?

  • http://thebladethatwasbroken.wordpress.com Jacob

    Everyone has made good points here. Something that I always wanted to point out to “traditionalists” is that the current latin mass wasn’t initiated (if my sources are correct) until around 1000-1500 AD. Jesus didn’t speak latin and I’m sure when he said “do this in memory of me” did not say it in latin. In fact he probably said it in Aramaic or most likely Hebrew, which was the language of prayer for the jews. I guess my point is that, while the latin mass is beautiful and I enjoy going, it isn’t as “traditional” as people think. Im sure that if Jesus returned tomorrow to celebrate mass he wouldn’t celebrate it in latin. I’m almost positive he would celebrate it in the dialect of the people in order to have more people understand his message. Let us also not forget that worship in the gospel consisted of locking the apostles together in a room and singing hymns (probably a hebrew him at that ). Now that’s not to say that merely getting together and singing hymns is the right or best way to worship…I’m only trying to make the point that, while latin mass is beautiful and good, it is not necessary for salvation.

    • http://thebladethatwasbroken.wordpress.com Jacob

      also paying too much heed to “how it’s supposed to be” is pharisaical…a lot of “traditional” jews hated Jesus because he did away with many old traditions. Would we do the same if he said that we shouldn’t be celebrating latin mass anymore?

  • JudeThom

    I am suspicious of false liturgical humility. The “dumbing down” of the Mass to include only bland vestments is a contrived act. The Orthodox would never “re-invent” their vestments to make a “Let’s all be bland and humble” statement. Tradition is tradition. After all, why stop at vestments? Why not smash altars, icons, and glass stained windows? Let’s get real simple…let’s abolish the Liturgy altogether. The Catholic Church, I am afraid, has gotten too used to novelities and changing everything–this is one big problem of the Church. Again, listen to the Orthodox. They do not “dumb down.” They do not discard vestments or re-invent their Divine Liturgy. This has been a Western problem. One can still be humble and a pope of the people and adhere to liturgical tradition, including wearing rich vestments and sky high miters!

  • JudeThom

    I am suspicious of false liturgical humility. This pope seems to be going out of his way to reinvent a new liturgical tradition. Forty years of various kinds of liturgical abuses in the Catholic Church, something Benedict tried to correct, now this pope seems to be conjuring them up again. Look at the Orthodox Church. They do not reinvent vestments or the Liturgy. The Catholic Church needs to pay attention to the Orthodox. Changing tradition with every new papacy is insane, and marks the Church as an institution in sync with novelities. Listen to the Orthodox. One can still be humble and wear traditional vestments and believe in liturgical “majesty.”

  • http://maggieflynn49.wordpress.com Maggie

    I like the initial article, but many of the comments are making me annoyed. We live in a world today where Catholics are increasingly identified as awful people by media and culture, especially when it comes to the hierarchical nature of the church. I think that Pope Francis is the best thing that could have happened to us in terms of demonstrating to the world that moral rules and charity go hand in hand. By his extensive charity work and his equal refusal to back down on what is right, he can do a great deal to show what being a Catholic is truly about. The ‘batten-down-the-hatches’ approach isn’t going to help the Church in this day and age. We have to show others love and charity, while holding to what is right, and you can’t show people that if all they see is declamations that they’re tools of the devil. Francis has shown he can be kind while keeping his moral standards. I think we need that.
    And honestly, until we get a Pope who’s a reprobate on the scale of the Borgia one, I really wish all the grumbling about pontiffs could stop. Complain when we have a Pope who keeps a mistress- till then, I think we can stay calm while Francis gets a chance to figure out which hallways lead where in the Vatican.

    • midwestlady

      Nobody should excuse bad behavior, as in name-calling and so on. But this display, whether rightly focused or not, does show that religious things do matter, and this might be an eye-opener for some people in the media and the general culture, since many of them are very dismissive about religion in general. Inducing an inkling of doubt about that in them might be a good idea, overall.

      I’d also like to utter a caution here about reducing religion to “ideas about charity” and “moral rules.” You can get those things anywhere. That’s not really what this is all about, you should realize. Nobody has the KIND of a hissy fit you’ve seen on the internet this week over a few theoretical rules and such. When the subject is solely charity and/or solely morals, the character of the uproar is entirely different.

  • Freda

    It was the apostles who complained that the woman used an expensive jar of ointment on Jesus when the money could have been used for the poor. Did He agree? No. He said, “The poor are with you always”. In fact it is the very poor who give the most – St Francis and St Clare dressed simply but used the finest of linens, etc for the altar. If the Pope wants to be with the poor then let him resign and work among the poor, as Mother Teresa did. The Pope is the visible head of the Church on earth. He needs to keep the dignity of the office. If he continues in this vein it will be a wasted papacy that will achieve nothing, as people soon tire of mediocrity. He is not Mother Teresa, he does not have the stigmata of St Francis, the charisma of Pope John Paul II or the dignity and intelligence of Pope Benedict XVI. Even the receptionist at the Vatican didn’t believe he was the Pope when he rang up. So either he will conform to papal norm or people will slowly stop turning up beneath his window … Watch and see. No one will travel miles if it is to see only the local parish priest at the window. The Pope needs more than that. After all, Church numbers have markedly declined with the banal liturgy introduced since Vatican II and that shows that ordinary doesn’t work, while extraordinary does.

  • Freda

    Jacob, something you don’t realise is that the Tridentine Mass was codified for all time. It was never abrogated, as Pope Benedict said. Why? Because there is no authority on earth to do that. It is not the fact that the Mass is said in Latin either, it is the beautiful prayers, the psalms, that constitute the Mass that has evolved over centuries. By contrast millions have left the Church since the introduction of the new Mass. What happened at the Reformation where the English martyrs were called on to die for the Latin Mass, when the Protestants turned the altars around, got rid of Latin, smashed the statues. Did God get it wrong then? Why did Christ appear to one of the martyrs in his cell if the Protestants had it right all along? The signs are there for those who have eyes to see – the Novus Ordo Mass is dying a natural death as young people no longer practice once they leave school and only the traditional Mass is growing. You can see that in the traditional orders where vocations are flourishing. Mediocrity won’t do it. Young people need something extraordinary to get them away from their smart phones and iPads.

    • http://thebladethatwasbroken.wordpress.com Jacob

      Freda you misunderstand me. I’m not taking away from the beauty of the latin mass. I attend often enough to recognize and understand the beauty. I would say that correlation does not imply causation. The Catholics who have left the church since the introduction of the new mass left for more reasons than a change in the missal. I challenge you to find one person who has fallen away who says “well if they would just go back to latin mass I’d come back to the church” I’m sure that it’s so much more than that: people left the church because of the misinterpretation of Vatican II.

      As to young people leaving the church and the Novus Ordo Mass dying….I don’t think it’s the fault of the mass that ‘s causing people to leave. Look at our culture. Look at how people raise their children. Look at the world and can you really make the statement “the reason that young people are leaving the church is because of the Novus Ordo”?? No. The reason that young people are leaving the faith is because young people are smart. They ask questions that are hard to answer and when their parents/ parish priests are unable to deliver a satisfactory response they think “well this isn’t logically sound” and they find something that doesn’t require them to think. In fact I would go so far as to make the claim that the church would be dying faster than it is now because the Latin Mass (again while beautiful and wonderful and all that) is not ACCESSIBLE to any but the Catholics who have a true understanding of the faith. Jesus instituted the church for sinners and sinners are who make up the church. I think it is wonderful that the pope is being a little unorthodox. He’s drawing attention of the church. Over the past year how many times have you heard that our beautiful church is full of corrupt rich white men who sit on a boatload of gold and lord themselves over common people. Pope Francis proving every non-believer, church hater, and atheist wrong with every single action in his papacy. Say what you will about all of it…but I am so glad that we have a pope of the people, a pope who can reach out to the hearts of those who are skeptical of our faith…and the latin mass just won’t do that. If you were questioning the church how long would you stick around if you couldn’t understand a word being said?

      Young people don’t need something extraordinary, they need something to believe in. We need a leader who addresses every single stereotype about Catholics and proves it wrong again and again. We need priests who speak out against homosexuality and abortion and instead of simply saying “it’s wrong because it’s in the bible” they need to give actual moral logical philosophical thought-out answers. I didn’t know until last month WHY homosexuality was wrong, I just knew that it was. I had no idea about sexual complimentarily and all of that.

      My point still stands. Jesus departed from tradition that stood for hundreds of years. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s the best way to reach people and that’s what the church needs a NEW evangelization.

      For those of you who “hate” the Novus Ordo: the true presence of God is still there. That’s good enough for me.

      If Jesus came tomorrow and said to Pope Francis “well done my good and faithful servant” would you be the one to throw a stone or embrace him with open arms?

      end rant.

      • http://gentillylace.wordpress.com Gentillylace

        Well, Jacob, if Jesus came tomorrow and said to Pope Francis, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”, I would say to Jesus, “Please, if it be Thy will, let His Holiness live a few years longer!” and to Pope Francis, “Please don’t die yet!” After all, it seems to me that Jesus would say that phrase to someone when that person is about to go to Heaven :-)

        It would be a shame to have Pope Francis leave us so soon — he reminds me of John Paul I in his affability and humility, but I hope that Pope Francis does not also share his fate :-(

      • Molly

        So agreeing with you here Jacob. My generation (the JPII generation, of all things) was poorly catechized. Period. We didn’t have the background to understand the Mass, period. This is a direct result of, as you say, the MISINTERPRETATION of VII by many priests and bishops at a local level. The fact that this misinterpretation hit at the same time as the sexual revolution did not help things. Traditionalists see the EF as a time before Vatical II and think that a return to that will solve these problems. I have no problem with a widely celebrated EF but it won’t solve the problem. At this point returning to the EF alone would completely compound the problem. There isn’t enough knowledge present in my generation of Catholics today (thankfully, the younger generation is really coming around, and I think this was started by JPII but absolutely set on fire by BXVI) to know what the NO should be much less what the EF itself is. This is the entire reason we need the New Evangelization. But the Traditionalists feel that there is a measure of control in the EF that isn’t present in the NO, and to a certain extent that’s true because it is able to be so much more standardized than the NO. But again, that would just be forcing people to not dissent, where what we want is people not wanting to dissent because they actually understand why it’s not good for them.

  • chris awo

    if you dont understand the old testament you may not understand the new testament.
    The eucharist has replaced the former animal sacrifices of the old testament by which sinners were reconciled with God.
    Instead of the blood of bulls and sheep the priest offers to God the body and blood of the Lord Jesus to take away the sins of the priest and that of the people. Therefore as in the old testament the ideal position during the liturgy of the eucharist is for the priest to face the altar of the most high God appealing on his own behalf and on behalf of the people behind him.
    This is the essence of the sacrificial character of the mass: the priest with tears and prayers united to the crucified Christ offering supplications to God for himself and the people (usually assembled behind him).
    The vestments, the music, the brocades, the lace are all okay. But the essence of the Mass is the priest with tears and prayers united with the Lord Jesus praying for the people of God.
    In short the quinessential priest is Prophet Samuel with prayers and tears and penance praying and atoning for the sin of King Saul.
    The catholic priesthood (Pope, Cardinal, Bishop, Parish pastor) has to return fully to its roots in the mode of the Priest Melchizedek to rediscover its true vocation and overcome all modern and post-modern temptations especially those of a sexual nature.
    And above all no liturgy should ever try to separate the Lord Jesus from his heavenly servants, viz the holy angels, as was attempted in 1965
    Lord Jesus, help us.

    • midwestlady

      Actually, historically that’s not far off, Chris. A person does have to understand the Old Testament to comprehend the New Testament. The origin of the Catholic priesthood is precisely in the history of the Jewish priesthood, yes.

      However, with your remarks about 1965, you lose me. The problem is the sheer ignorance in the Catholic Church about the Old Testament, rather than some liturgical innovation or another. Now, I”m old enough to remember the Liturgy before Vatican II, and I know as a matter of fact that having some liturgy–any liturgy– in place is NO GUARANTEE whatsoever that any doctrines associated with it are comprehended by anyone, even the priest. In order to understand history and doctrine, you have to study history and doctrine. In order to comprehend the Bible, you have to study the Bible. There are no handy-dandy shortcuts, and anyone who thinks there are is just being hyper-reductive American-style. You get the Bible, you get a pencil and you commit yourself to years of study, it’s the only way.

  • Daniel

    All of the concern about this subject is what concerns me. If there’s enough chatter to merit commentary in the media there must be something to it, at least.

    • midwestlady

      Yup. The traditionalists are drawing attention pretty far and wide and I’m not sure they’ve come up for air yet. It is worrisome. And what it’s going to do is cause people out there to ask themselves, “How Christian are they?”

      Fr. Z is challenging the readers of his blog tonight to engage in a list of things, one of which is to actually help the poor. So far, not too much is happening but talk. This could be a very important period for them if they don’t blow it. If they blow it, well…. :|

      • midwestlady

        In fact, :( since not everyone watching understands the dynamics in the Church. At. All.

      • Richard M

        You can always find a few noisily unhappy people on the internet. They come there disproportionately.

        Obviously, Pope Francis is not who many traditionalists were hoping for. But I find my experience on the ground in the traditionalist parishes I go to is quite a bit calmer than what runs in a few precincts of St. Blog’s.

  • Freda

    Jacob, Converts and those Catholics who have no understanding of what the Church was like before the Second Vatican Council may be quite happy, but those of us who experienced the difference are not happy. The whole concept of belief in the Real Presence, grace, sin, etc is no longer understood by most Catholics who just attend Mass on Sundays – and that is now the vast majority. The numbers who attended daily Mass and weekly confession was once numerous. Very few now attend daily Mass and almost nobody goes to confession – because they all believe they are saved. Many converts have not even been taught the Faith properly so many don’t go to confession. The loss of Faith is due to lack of catechesis and the state of the world, murder meyhem is due to the loss of Faith. The majority of people are no longer baptised so they are all in a state of Original Sin, so what can you expect: abortion, murder, homosexuality, etc.

    • http://www.simondodd.org/ Simon

      Amen! I have been astonished by the degree of what a friend calls “systematic religious ignorance” among Catholics. It has sometimes been apt to ask, in the context of discussions, “so, look, you say that you’re a Catholic, but tell me what that word means to you. In what ways, or for what reasons, are you a Catholic?” And what do I get? Usually either deflection (“how rude to ask me that!”) or mush (“well, I feel…”). I am a convert. My wife is an evangelical. I can tell you exactly why I am a Catholic and exactly why she is not; I can tell you exactly what the issues and decision points are, and where the bear traps are hidden; and I find myself having ever-decreasing patience with those who cannot.


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