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Vatican to prepare new document to help priests offer Mass January 17, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, Tradition, Virtue.

There are actually many dozens of these already.  I think as Father Z would say, if priests would merely say the black and do the red, things would be greatly improved.  But, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Canizares is producing a booklet to help priests – and laity, apparently – participate in the Mass better (I add emphasis and comments):

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is preparing a booklet to help priests celebrate the Mass properly and the faithful to participate better, according to the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.White_St Josaphat_Detroit

Cardinal Antonio Cañizares confirmed this Tuesday at an address at the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See on “Catholic Liturgy since Vatican II: Continuity and Evolution.”

“We are preparing it; it will help to celebrate well and to participate well. I hope it will come out this year, in the summer,” the cardinal told ZENIT.

During his talk the cardinal reiterated the importance Vatican II gave to the liturgy, “whose renewal must be understood in continuity with the Tradition of the Church and not as a break or discontinuity.” A break either because of innovations that do not respect continuity or because of an immobility that  freezes everything at Pius XII, he said. [I would say, why not Pius XI?  Just a joke, but it sure seems like almost every major statement coming out of the Vatican these days takes some swipe at the SSPX. I would say the Holy Father is rather peeved at them at present. It is amazing to me how much the talks that went on from 2009 to 2012 mirrored those that took place in the run up to the 1988 illicit ordinations.]

In particular, Cardinal Cañizares stressed the importance that Sacrosanctum Concilium gave to the sacred liturgy, through which “the work of our Redemption is exercised, above all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist,” adding that “God wants to be adored in a concrete way and it’s not up to us to change it.” [I think there are many legitimate criticisms of Sacrosanctum Concilium, not the least of which is the self-contradictory nature of the text – “latin is to be retained, BUT vernacular may be used,” etc.  Without being more specific, that statement has been used to justify the completely vernacular Mass (with awful, modernist translations). That is a major concern throughout Vatican II – it is very often like reading two totally separate documents]


When speaking of the liturgy, continued the cardinal, one must not forget what the conciliar document states: “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the liturgical action. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, be it in the person of the minister, ‘offering himself now through the ministry of the priests as he then offered himself on the cross,’ be it especially under the Eucharistic species.”[A legitimate question might then be asked – why did the 1970 Roman Missal remove almost all the references to sacrifice in the new Mass?  The Cardinal is precisely right, the Mass is a Sacrifice, and I’m glad he didn’t refer to the “other” real presences mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium, such as the “real presence” of Christ in the people.  But if you want to really reform the Mass, is a booklet the way to do it, or should we see a thorough-going reform of the Roman Missal?]

He stressed that the objective of the liturgy “is the adoration of God and the salvation of men,” which is not a creation of ours, but source and summit of the Church.” [Awesome.  That’s exactly right.]

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments criticized existing abuses such as showmanship, and praised moments of silence “that are action,” which enable the priest and the faithful to talk with Jesus Christ and which exclude the Christmas_Midnight Mass_Christ the Kingpredominance of words that often becomes showmanship on the part of the priest. The correct attitude is the one “indicated by Saint John the Baptist, when he says he must decrease and the Messiah must increase.” [I fully agree. Every single moment of the Mass doesn’t need to be filled with sounds, be it words or song. Silence allows time for prayer, builds reverence, and adds to mystery. All very necessary elements of the Mass]

The cardinal criticized the effort to make the Mass “entertaining” with certain songs — instead of focusing on the mystery — in an attempt to overcome “boredom” by transforming the Mass into a show.

He added that the Council did not speak of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, that it stressed the importance of Christ on the altar, reflected in Benedict XVI’s celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the altar. [This is highly confused and disconcerting.  I think they are trying to refer to Christ in the Tabernacle, which the priest does face Ad Orientem or Versus Deum, but the priest does face the altar when facing the people. They are referring to the Benedictine arrangement, of which I am not too fond as it is such an obvious kluge of a compromise. But the Species are only on the altar after the Consecration, and I’ve never seen a priest not face the altar at that part of the Mass, whether he has his back to the Tabernacle or not.] This does not exclude the priest facing the people, in particular during the reading of the word of God. He stressed the need of the notion of mystery, and particulars such as the altar facing East and the fact that the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist must not be lost.

Rose_Ecce Agnus DeiAsked by the ambassador of Panama to the Holy See about the action of native cultures in the liturgy, the cardinal specified that “the Council speaks of inculturation of the liturgy,” respecting “the legitimate varieties,” without affecting the principles.

He recalled his experience on Palm Sunday in Santa Fe, Spain, when he attended a gypsy Mass in which a youth sang the “Lamb of God,” with an instrument used in flamenco singing, “a real groan of the soul,” which “moved everyone and brought the whole assembly to participate.” [Inculturation is a bad idea.  This undermines the entire tone of the rest, and the seeming intent of this “reform.”]

He also referred to the fact that in many churches the Most Blessed Sacrament is placed in a side altar or chapel, so that “the tabernacle disappears,” and people talk before the Mass and arrive less prepared. [That’s a big problem]

In regard to the case of Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, the cardinal said that Benedict XVI offered a healing measure, but that the archbishop’s followers did not respond. To “think that Tradition stops with Pious [??] XII is also a break,” he noted.

Well, this last bit is also a bit nonsensical.  There can be developments in understanding of Dogma, but there can’t be mass apostasy and what appear to many souls to be radical redefinitions. This is getting to be a tiresome, throwaway line, like “more holy than the Pope” (I hate to break it to you, but there have been many unholy popes), which ignores the actual argument, which is that there are grave concerns about many conciliar formulations which seem very difficult to reconcile with Tradition. That doesn’t mean Tradition stops doctrinal growth cold – I think most traditionalists would welcome, for instance, further dogmatic statements regarding the role the Blessed Mother plays in salvation, possibly including the role of co-redemptrix. It’s not so much that change occurred, it’s the changes themselves, that are the concern.

One last bit – if you want to fix the Mass, shouldn’t you make whatever guidance binding?  Isn’t enforcement necessary?  Hasn’t the problem been that priests aren’t doing even what authoritative documents say?

I laud the effort to improve the Mass, but if it is done under serious misapprehensions as indicated above, and if it is done without a vehicle for enforcement, I am skeptical that it will effect any change. It will simply be yet another in a very long list of documents that have been ignored.

If you want to really reform the Mass, may I suggest mandating the following for every parish, everywhere?





1. Frank - January 18, 2013

Why do you find the last statement regarding Marcel Lefebvre nonsensical? I’m not getting your drift. Is Pope Benedict or Marcel Lefebvre our Vicar of Christ on earth? Should the Pope cave to every sedevancantist demand?

tantamergo - January 18, 2013

Well, Lefebvre is dead, and I have nothing to do with SSPX other than to observe events from afar. What is nonsensical is to claim that what SSPX is trying to achieve is to roll the Church back to 1958 and forever freeze it there. That is not what I perceive to be their intent. Having concerns or even grave reservations regarding parts of Vatican II does not mean that one is seeking to return the Church to some illusory former point and forever leave it there. There may be people in SSPX who feel that way but I don’t think the group as a whole is oriented in that manner. It’s just a lazy derogatory comment, a way to try to discredit the organization without taking their real concerns, some of which really deserve a broad discussion in the Church, seriously. The Church doesn’t need to pursue a path that says Vatican II is so totally inviolable that it is beyond all discussion or criticism. It needs to look at all the documents in that light of Tradition Pope Benedict proposes and examine how they can be interpreted according to that Tradition. I think there are some areas where incorporating statements from Vatican II with the preceding Tradition will be very difficult, without either radically changing the meaning of either the preceding Magisterium or certain statements in Vatican II. But the process needs to begin, simply saying SSPX are crazed fools trying to recreate some never-neverland past reality won’t help get Vatican II understood in light of Tradition.

2. Woody - January 18, 2013

Yeah, a booklet is going to suddenly make the priests change their “way” on how they say the Mass. I wonder if at the conclusion of the booklet it will say, “And this time we REALLY mean it.”

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