Understanding Pope Benedict XVI on the Liturgy

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 \AM\.\Tue\.

Assessing Benedict’s views of the liturgy

In “Where Truth and Beauty Meet”: Understanding Benedict (The Tablet August 14, 2010) – Eamon Duffy, Professor of the History of Christianity, and Fellow and Director of Studies at Magdalene College, Cambridge, aptly summarizes Pope Benedict’s view of the liturgy and his calls for reform

[Pope Benedict] believes that behind many celebrations of the new liturgy lie a raft of disastrous theological, cultural, sociological and aesthetic assumptions, linked to the unsettled time in which the liturgical reforms were carried out. In particular, he believes that twentieth-century theologies of the Eucharist place far too much emphasis on the notion that the fundamental form of the Eucharist is that of a meal, at the cost of underplaying the cosmic, redemptive, and sacrificial character of the Mass.

The Pope, of course, himself calls the Mass the “Feast of Faith”, “the Banquet of the reconciled”. Nevertheless Calvary and the empty tomb, rather than the Upper Room, are for him the proper symbolic locations of Christian liturgy. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist has to be evident in the manner of its celebration, and the failure to embody this adequately in the actual performance of the new liturgy seems to him one of the central problems of the post-conciliar reforms. … Read the rest of this entry »


The United States Youngest Cardinal

Thursday, August 26, 2010 \PM\.\Thu\.

A Profile of Daniel DiNardo

by Jeff Ziegler

On June 17, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed “grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive.’ Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect — that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”

Cardinal DiNardo expressed these concerns as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the latest in a line of responsibilities he has assumed in recent years. As recently as 1997, he was simply “Father Dan,” a 48-year-old Pittsburgh parish priest, before he was appointed coadjutor bishop of a small Iowa diocese. At the age of 54, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston, and at 58, Pope Benedict created him a cardinal — the first cardinal from a diocese in the South, and the youngest American cardinal since Cardinal Roger Mahony received his red hat in 1991.

Following the consistory of 2007, Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal DiNardo a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (2008) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (2009). In the fall of 2009, he assumed the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts. He will take part in any conclave that occurs before his eightieth birthday in 2029 and appears destined to be one of the leading American ecclesial figures of the next two decades.

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Belgium: Cardinal Danneels Home Raided In Sexual Abuse Investigation

Thursday, June 24, 2010 \PM\.\Thu\.

Godfried Cardinal Danneels home was raided in Belgium by police searching for evidence in the sexual abuse of children.  Belgium police also raided the offices of the Archbishop of Brussels, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard.  This came on the heels of Bishop Roger Vangheluwe’s abrupt resignation after admitting to homosexual relations with a boy this past April.

Cardinal Danneels is well known as creative in his interpretations on Church teachings.  Cardinal Danneels participated in writing Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document which influenced the complete rewriting of the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.  Which in turned fueled the liturgical abuse that most Catholic in the West are still being exposed to.

Under his watch as prelate of Belgium, a once devout and vibrant Catholic country, Belgium’s Catholic faith has been all but eliminated.  Abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual unions have been legalized under his watch.  In addition church attendance and religious/secular vocations are at their lowest not seen since that part of Europe was pagan.


My Thoughts on the Guitar Mass

Saturday, March 6, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.

I have still failed to find anything in the documents of the Second Vatican Council where it said to replace the organ with the guitar.


When the Saints Go Marching Out

Thursday, January 21, 2010 \AM\.\Thu\.

The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, should honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them, because they are worthy of honor and as friends of God will help the faithful on earth. — The Baltimore Catechism, 1941

I am trying these days, as best I can, to come to terms with the Church’s reform of the liturgy. But when one truly examines the differences between the “Tridentine” liturgy and the “Novus Ordo” liturgy, and furthermore, compares the “Novus Ordo” liturgy to what Protestant “reformers” (if that’s what you want to call violent iconoclasm) have tried to introduce into the liturgy for the past 500 years, it is hard to remain sympathetic.

On the surface the liturgical revisions of Vatican II were aimed at “increasing participation” of the congregation in the liturgy. I’ll leave aside my complaints about that motive for now. If this were indeed the goal, however, what I cannot understand are some of the other changes that were made, changes that apparently, to my untrained eye anyway, have nothing to do with participation. When, however, I reflect upon the some statements made by Annibale Bugnini, who was at the forefront of liturgical revisions during Vatican II, the changes do make sense. Bugnini is often quoted as having said:

“We must strip from our … Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.”

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Pope Benedict XVI Wishes Us All a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s Christmas Eve Homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! “A child is born for us, a son is given to us” (Is 9:5). What Isaiah prophesied as he gazed into the future from afar, consoling Israel amid its trials and its darkness, is now proclaimed to the shepherds as a present reality by the Angel, from whom a cloud of light streams forth: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). The Lord is here. From this moment, God is truly “God with us”. No longer is he the distant God who can in some way be perceived from afar, in creation and in our own consciousness. He has entered the world. He is close to us. The words of the risen Christ to his followers are addressed also to us: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). For you the Saviour is born: through the Gospel and those who proclaim it, God now reminds us of the message that the Angel announced to the shepherds. It is a message that cannot leave us indifferent. If it is true, it changes everything. If it is true, it also affects me. Like the shepherds, then, I too must say: Come on, I want to go to Bethlehem to see the Word that has occurred there. The story of the shepherds is included in the Gospel for a reason. They show us the right way to respond to the message that we too have received. What is it that these first witnesses of God’s incarnation have to tell us?

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Happy Birthday Novus Ordo?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Church Opens Doors To Anglicans Seeking Reunion With Rome

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

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This morning William Cardinal Levada announced at the Vatican that Pope Benedict XVI has introduced a canonical structure in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that allows for corporate reunion with Anglicans by establishing Personal Ordinariates.

A Personal Ordinariate would be similar to Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world.

Here are the highlights from this mornings announcement:

  • It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy.
  • Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
  • The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop.
  • The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony.
  • These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates.

Cardinal Levada has stated:

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Is There a Liturgical Counterrevolution Underway? I Hope So.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

There have been a number of conflicting reports about impending changes to the liturgy in recent weeks. The National Catholic Register, on the one hand, reports that:

On Aug. 22, the reliable Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli reported that cardinals and bishops of the congregation voted almost unanimously at their plenary meeting in March “in favor” of 30 proposals aimed at increasing reverence in the liturgy. He said these included “a greater sacrality of the rite, the recovery of the sense of Eucharistic worship, the recovery of the Latin language in the celebration, and the remaking of the introductory parts of the Missal in order to put a stop to abuses, wild experimentations and inappropriate creativity.”

Tornielli also wrote that the bishops had reaffirmed the importance of receiving Communion on the tongue rather than the hand, and that Cardinal Cañizares was studying the possibility of “recovering” the practice of celebrating Mass with the priest facing ad orientem (literally “to the east”; i.e. in the same direction as the people).

As we might expect, however, the National Catholic Reporter remains skeptical about any proposed changes:

On Aug. 24, a Vatican spokesperson effectively denied the Il Giornale report, saying, “At the moment there are no institutional proposals regarding changes to the liturgical books currently in use.” Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s No. 2 official after the pope, dismissed the reports as “fantasies” in an interview with the Vatican newspaper.

So it would appear that, as of right now, all we can say is that there are discussions about the liturgy taking place.

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Ad Orientem

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa is a champion of Ad Orientem.  Here you can read his thoughts on the subject.  The National Catholic Reporter wrote a piece on the subject which Father Z has put through his patented fisk machine and which may be read here.  I of course am all in favor of Ad Orientem.  Priests should render the sacrifice of the Mass at altars when possible and not at the Protestant-lite communion tables that have come into vogue since Vatican II, in a well-intentioned but completely wrong-headed attempt for greater involvement by the laity in the Mass.  Quotes from Pope Benedict regarding Ad Orientem are here at the wonderful blog New Liturgical Movement, which I had not read until researching this post.  What do you think?


A Can of Worms: In Praise of the Latin Mass

Sunday, July 26, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.

Since I began blogging here at The American Catholic, I’ve yet to see a debate open up between liturgical traditionalists and modernists. Most other Catholic sites I have visited on the Web usually end up in them at least once, if not multiple times. This leads me to wonder: is there an unspoken consensus at TAC about the liturgy, or is it simply a topic no one has yet broached?

Speaking for myself, I am partial to the Latin Mass, the Tridentine rite as it is sometimes called. When I live in the Phoenix area, I am fortunate enough to be able to attend a daily Latin Mass offered by a priest affiliated with the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP), though they are also offered by the Norbertines here in Orange County (needless to say, I do not attend Masses offered by “schismatic” sects). I am equally drawn to the peace and quiet of the daily Low Mass and the beautiful chant of the Sunday High Mass. And I also find it quite tragic that had I not been looking for it, I would have never found it – though I know the local community there is now making attempts to publicize itself.

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News & Notes for A.D. 3-3-2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

Salvete AC readers!

OK, I junked the whole Latin title since I figured it wasn’t coming across that well as to what I wanted to do with this bit.  So now I’m calling this particular column ‘News & Notes’ (for now).  Here is today’s Top Seven picks in the Catholic world:

1. A great new blog by Pat McNamara about Catholic history titled appropriately enough, McNamara’s Blog.  I’ve been thinking of starting something like this for the past three years, but never got around to it.  I’m happy to say that McNamara’s Blog has great short stories on famous and little known figures in Catholicism as well as stories on non-Catholics and how they interacted and viewed our beautiful Catholic faith.  Here is the link to McNamara’s Blog: http://irishcatholichumanist.blogspot.com/

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The Mass-What is Optional and What Is Not

Sunday, January 4, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.

the-mass

Hattips to Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons and Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say.  They brought to my attention the comments of Monsignor Joseph Schaedel, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to his parishioners at Holy Rosary Church after the Monsignor dropped the Sign of Peace at the Mass.  I find the Monsignor’s comments heartening, as I suspect will other Catholics in this country who have wondered “What next!” as they have sat through the numerous changes foisted upon the Mass over the past four decades.  Here are the comments with Father Z’s “color commentary” in red.

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Return of Gregorian Chant

Monday, December 15, 2008 \PM\.\Mon\.

This past Summer a conference took place on the shores of Lake Michigan on reinvigorating the use of Gregorian Chant in our liturgies.  The Reform of the Reform continues.

Deo gratias!

(Biretta Tip: New Liturgical Movement)