Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Squelching Latin in the Mass...Even the Novus Ordo!

Another story of the use of Latin in the Mass being unjustly curtailed comes to us from the Dallas, Texas area via Tantamergo’s blog. “St. Mark Latin Mass to be terminated” reads his headline:

…unless attendance increases dramatically, and soon. Within a month or two, I would guess. So we were told by Fr. Hopka last night, repeating the words of Bishop Kevin Farrell, who apparently told Fr. Hopka he was “disappointed” with the attendance at the Latin Mass.

Let’s be clear: this is NOT the TLM. It’s the Novus Ordo said in Latin, for heaven’s sake! It’s not a Sunday Mass; it’s a weekday Mass – a daily Mass said in Latin. Attendance is low? Tantamergo observes that

…if “attendance” is the reason why the Mass is being cancelled, half the daily Masses in the Diocese ought to be cancelled, because they have the same, or fewer people assisting compared with this Novus Ordo Latin Mass (we get about 30-50 a night…)

Wow! In my neck of the woods, that’s an outstanding number of Mass-goers! Daily Mass at the Cathedral gets about 10 on a good day. (The only time I ever saw 30 people at a daily Mass was when, the night before, the pastor had held a meeting and threatened to resign; some blamed his despair on me. Thirty people showed up the next day at Mass to “support” him – and half of them came only to give me dirty looks, from what I could tell.)

Anyway, as Tantamergo notes, the threat of this Mass being terminated is a somewhat pivotal moment for the parish/diocese concerned, because

…if this Mass goes away, the Diocese and any pastor/priest will have a ready-made, 100% plausible excuse never to have Latin Mass again – it was tried and it “failed.”

He’s right – and it will make no difference that the Novus Ordo in general seems to have “failed” in many ways no matter what language is used!

Tantamergo offers a number of reasons why attendance is “low” – reasons I’ve noted before (here, for instance). The cards always seem to be stacked against anything that smacks of “traditionalism”. In the case of St. Mark’s, the factors were:

An odd or inconvenient time (Mondays at 7pm)

Uncertainty as to whether the Mass would actually be said, with many cancellations

Lack of proper “advertising” of the Mass

That last factor is an interesting one. Tantamergo notes (his emphases):

…it was forbidden to list the Latin Mass with the rest of the weekly Masses on the front of the bulletin, or on the front page of the website, for that matter.

So, why was there little or no advertisement? Why couldn’t this Mass be listed with the other Masses at St. Mark on the bulletin’s front page, or on the website with the other Masses? We had wondered that for a long time. We had asked ushers, called the office, talked to the music minister, all who said it should be on the front page, but never was. We asked specifically for it to be added to the front page, and nothing ever happened. Well, now we know why. It’s because Bishop Farrell himself demanded that it NOT be put on the front page!!!!!!! Apparently, he was very specific about this. So, the prime means of letting people know of the Mass’ ongoing existence was eliminated from the start. I should note that the Mass, from the beginning, was described as “experimental.” Thus, it was perhaps not “worthy” to be listed with the other, “real” Masses.

We ran into something similar here in the far corners of the Diocese of Baker. Our priest was happy to say the EF Mass, and he was happy to have an announcement in the bulletin, but somehow, that just never happened. I don’t know why…not for certain, anyway. I have my suspicions, but let’s not go there. It just didn’t happen.

In addition, we also ran into the problem of a fluctuating time for the Mass. Some weeks it was at 1 pm; sometimes at 3pm; occasionally at noon. That doesn’t work towards building a stable group of attendees!

As Tantamergo notes, there’s a lot of abuse going on in this kind of situation. When a bishop squelches the Latin Mass – whether the Novus Ordo or the Extraordinary Form – it’s pretty obvious that he is setting himself in opposition to the Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, which states plainly that “. . .the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites" (SC, #36).

And of course, a bishop who forbids a priest to celebrate Mass in the extraordinary form, is violating the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. Doesn’t a bishop telling a priest that he can’t celebrate even the Novus Ordo in Latin also seem to be an overstepping of bounds?

So here’s the rub, once again: some bishops seem to have one interpretation of the documents of Vatican II, and others seem to have a different take on the issues.  Recall Bishop Anthony Taylor’s derogatory interpretation, especially regarding what the Mass was like before Vatican II.

Don’t you wonder how there can be such different interpretations? And why?

And do you think much will come of a renewed study of the Vatican II documents? I mean, if a bishop has a particular interpretation – say, for example, one that is against the use of Latin in the Mass – then won’t he promote that interpretation? And even if the faithful study the documents and come to a different understanding from their bishop, what good will it do them?  

It seems to me that some of the faithful have been protesting for years that Vatican II did NOT abolish Latin, did NOT turn around the altars, did NOT take away the altar rails, etc. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story of a priest or bishop responding, “Oh my gosh! You are RIGHT! We’ll have to re-educate the people, and make some changes right away! We must adhere to the letter of Vatican II!”

Even the Pope doesn’t get that kind of response. Case in point: Redemptionis Sacramentum (On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist), which says of itself (my emphases):

This Instruction, prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by mandate of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was approved by the same Pontiff on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, 19 March 2004, and he ordered it to be published and to be observed immediately by all concerned.

Yeah. Right. Many of the abuses covered in that document are still going on, as if no one ever read the document!

So…I’m still a little skeptical of any great epiphanies about liturgical correctness resulting from “studying” the documents of Vatican II during the Year of Faith. But who knows? With God, all things are possible.


  1. Yes you are so right Dr. Jay ..with God all things are possible !
    But since my own re-version and coming to know and LOVE the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Francis de Sales I am a new creation.
    The litugical abuses that are going on is alarming , my former parish is a prime example but I never knew that was going on and I never heard of the word liturgical abuse before in my entire life, I just went along with everything at my Novus Ordo parish ...see I believe people in the pews need to be taught the TRUTH and educated on these matters...I believe the average person sitting in the pews has no clue what the Holy Mass is ...no clue at all! That my dear friends is very sad and needs immediate attention ...teach us the TRUTH and only the complete TRUTH! God have mercy on us all!

  2. Friends, I need your advice and prayers.
    The final straw in my parish church occurred on Sunday. I have been hanging on by a frayed string for some time now there, but Sunday's "homily" on the sin of "individualism", building the Reign of God on earth, and the priesthood of the people did me in. It is often a straw that breaks the camel's back. But the conversation between the priest and an EM in front of the open tabernacle that caused me the most pain. As an afterthought, the priest made a reluctant bow, and the EM thought to imitate him and do the same as they hurried away.

  3. (Cont'd)
    As I think I already mentioned here, I am a former sedevacantist/SSPX chapel goer. That is where I am on the brink of returning - to my sedevacantist chapel.
    Our diocese is bad. Our present bishop makes the former look like Archbishop Lefebvre, and he was bad enough.
    I have been advised to sit home, but I cannot do that. I just want a place where I have my faith and a reverent Mass.
    Any advice anyone has will be considered and appreciated.
    Prayers are needed. Ask Our Lady to stop me if I am making a mistake.

  4. I really wish I could help you, Lorraine. I am struggling right now. I have people telling me I need to go to the NO Mass with my husband, but I can hardly stand to be there after 3 yrs of the diocesan TLM only. This diference is wearing on me and the children.

    Lately, I began going to the local SSPX chapel for First Fridays only and have found such an oasis there that I want to keep going back. But my hubby doesn't like the TLM to start with and detests the SSPX. I would never be allowed to take the children with me.
    Please pray for me to make a right decision.

  5. Anonymous, I will certainly keep you in my prayers. God knows who you are, so when I offer prayers for "Anonymous", He will most certainly know who I mean.

    And please don't let this put a wedge in your marriage.

    1. Unfortunately, it already has. WHen I first found tradition and the TLM, I tried to push it on every one I knew - not using much tact or discretion. I was excited to find it, but also angry at what we had lost. Because of my pushiness and attitude - so he says - he wants nothing to do with tradition or even to talk with me about religion.

      He goes to Mass regularly and would never miss, but we never go together and do not pray together. *sigh*

  6. Lorraine - Please clarify: Are you inferring that SSPX chapels/attendees are sedevacantists?

  7. No. I am not implying that they are.

  8. I think I might make a post out of these comments. Sigh. The pain we feel IS real, despite what some bishops and priests think.

    In the big scheme, I think we have to hold onto the Church and assume the Pope is the Pope, etc. Seems to me that to go the sedevacantist route is to give up on the Church. Even if the Masses we must attend are not completely liturgically correct, most of them are probably valid.

    Keep praying. Things may not change to meet all of our desires in our lifetimes, but our prayers can help those yet to come.

    That said, if there was an SSPX chapel within an hour's drive of us, I think we would attend there at least part of the time, just for relief from the liturgies we must endure close by. Fr. Z has stood by his statement that attending the SSPX Mass satisfies the Sunday obligation. It's receiving Holy Communion there that is the issue, from what I've been told.

  9. You are in my prayers!
    Thanks Dr. Jay for your encouragement .
    I am very blessed to have the TLM at St. Francis de Sales here in my home town ...the Canon's of the Institute of Jesus Christ Our Sovereign King ..it is heaven on earth and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form is beautiful beyond words !
    My heart goes out to all of you. I cannot go to a Novus Ordo Mass it is distracting to me..I feel like I am at a social event.
    But I have been told that it is valid and Jesus is present on the altar ..provided the words of Consecration are not changed ...is that right? My heart breaks ...the Holy Catholic Church is in shambles and the good God will purify it , in His timing and in His Way! God have mercy on us all ...we need to keep our prayers ascending to the Throne of God and beg HIS MERCY!

  10. Lorraine, Jeanne, Anons and Dr. Jay,

    I hate to sound like a lying, adulterer president who could rarely tell the truth, but:

    I feel your pain.

    I have come to the conclusion that the "reform of the reform" will come *way after* my death. I sit and weep at what is supposed to be the *Holy* Sacrifice - or the *Sacred* Liturgy. It rarely is either.

    Much has been posted by Dr. Jay, Tantamergo and Fr. Z on this topic at their respective blogs. I will not give you any of the numerous examples in my neck-O'-the-woods.

    However, if I may, please consider reading the following transcript of a conference given by the late, great Fr. John Hardon, S.J. The title is "How to Cope with Abuses in the Eucharistic Liturgy."

    Pray over it. Meditate on Father's comments. I pray it will help *all* of us who long to worship Our Blessed and Eucharistic Lord *how He should be worshipped*:



    PS: Maybe, Dr. Jay, you would consider posting this conference and intersperse it with your excellent commentaries? ;)

    Just askin'!

  11. CK - Thanks for your words of encouragement to all of us. I will definitely look at the link; actually I am pretty sure I've been to that site a time or two. And I will definitely consider posting on it - flattery will get you everywhere!(Thanks for the kind words.)

  12. At the urging of a local friend, I "dropped" in to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at my parish for a few words with Our Lord and Our Lady.
    The place is so bad that no one even bothered to put a new candle in the Sanctuary Lamp - and the priest had just been there because it was after Mass!
    Maybe it was Our Lord's way of telling me that He wasn't there?

    Catechist Kev, I will read the Fr. Hardon article. I miss him.

  13. Regarding the SSPX, I really would steer clear of them. They do more harm than the sedevacantists. Why? Because they place the diabolical question mark in your mind about the validity of everything in the Church - is it or isn't it valid?
    That's my opinion and it has been my experience. I spent many years with them and it took me an almost equal amount of years to get the question mark out of my head - I still have it when it comes to Holy Water (blessed with the old Rite blessing vs. the new - is the former more powerful than the latter?)

  14. I just finished the Fr. Hardon article. This is one of the many times that I wish I had money because I would have this article, with permission of course!!, made into a little booklet and widely distributed. There are innumerable souls who need to hear this instead of enduring grueling agony week after week in their parish churches.
    My diocese will be one of the last to get with it as it is hopelessly rooted in the mentality of the sixties and the priests are imbued with Lutheran theology.

  15. I too just finished the Fr. Hardon article...to God be the Glory.
    I agree with you Lorraine ..this should be read by everyone and for sure EVERY person who claims to be Catholic .
    Let us continue to pray for the Holy Catholic Church and her purification...it is coming !
    Let us hold fast to the TRUTH, the TRUE Faith and Tradition and reject this "new church" God have mercy on us !

  16. As Jay mentioned, attending an SSPX Mass fulfills one's Sunday obligation. However, receiving communion at their Mass was never in question.

    Here is a canonical study in defense of their sacraments of Confession and Marriage: http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/supplied_jurisdiction/validity_of_confessions_1.htm

  17. I do not believe that the SSPX does more harm than sedevacantists. Bishop Fellay has made it quite clear as to what the society adheres to and by God’s Grace, they have kept the standards (quite well, might I add). There are always going to be fringe groups who manipulate or invent ideas. Parents cannot be blamed for what their adult children do.

    Is it really the doings of the SSPX which have confused Catholics? The devil is the master of deceit and confusion, not the SSPX. The SSPX continues to clarify for Catholics what we have longed to hear for the past 50 years. They remain steadfast in the Faith without compromising Truth.

    Even though I do not attend an SSPX chapel, I agree with their mission and commitment to the Pope and Church.

    In the article by Father Hardon, he calls the SSPX group schismatic. If that were true, how could the Pope lift their excommunications? Schism is a serious charge that was never made by Rome regarding their standing. The SSPX are not in schism! Please don't get me wrong . . . I really enjoy Father Hardon's writings and even study his Marian Catechist books.

    But this is how rumors are started . . . for nearly 50 years we were told that the Tridentine Mass was abrogated. This is what they wanted us to believe - and many did and gave up the fight. It took the Motu Proprio in 2007 to clear that up once and for all - without any apologies, of course!

    Unfortunately though, the damage of V2 has been done and the path of least resistance has now become more appealing than the Cross of Christ.

    1. Anon, what commitment to the Pope? They ignore him unless it suits them not to.

      Catholics don't dialogue with the pope. Catholics submit their minds to the Vicar of Christ whether they personally agree with him or not. Peter speaks, they listen. Catholics don't tell the Holy Father that his understanding of the Second Vatican Council and the documents is wrong and theirs is right.

      The arrogance of the SSPX is supreme. That is their downfall.

      How does anyone preserve their "Catholic identify" separated from the pope?

  18. I noticed that too, about Fr. Hardon calling them schismatic. I think mostly it's just a mess. But the few SSPX sermons I've heard (on youtube,etc) seem to be clearly Catholic - way more so than most of the homilies I've heard at NO Masses in local parishes! The SSPX wants to preserve our Catholic identity, as far as I can tell. And it is willing to meet the needs of the people the NO priests want to ostracize. That's saying something.

  19. The position of ChurchMilitant.TV concerning the SSPX is that of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, as expressed in his motu proprio Ecclesiae Unitatem (http://bit.ly/sY3U0k), issued July 2, 2009:

    "In the same spirit and with the same commitment to encouraging the resolution of all fractures and divisions in the Church and to healing a wound in the ecclesial fabric that was more and more painfully felt, I wished to remit the excommunication of the four Bishops illicitly ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre. With this decision I intended to remove an impediment that might have jeopardized the opening of a door to dialogue and thereby to invite the Bishops and the "Society of St Pius X" to rediscover the path to full communion with the Church. As I explained in my Letter to the Catholic Bishops (http://bit.ly/uuQYU3) of last 10 March, the remission of the excommunication was a measure taken in the context of ecclesiastical discipline to free the individuals from the burden of conscience constituted by the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties. However, the doctrinal questions obviously remain and until they are clarified the Society has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers cannot legitimately exercise any ministry."

    There are two important points here:

    1) The SSPX are not in full communion with the Church and are invited by the Church to rediscover this path.

    2) The SSPX has no canonical status in the Church and its ministers cannot legitimately exercise any ministry.

    We are well aware of ongoing dialog between the SSPX and Rome. It is to be fervently hoped that these dialogs result in a return of the SSPX to full communion with the Church, granting their bishops and clergy canonical status and the authority to exercise ministry. Until such time as this occurs, our judgment must remain that of the Holy Father.

    Terry Carroll
    Executive Producer


    1. Mr. Carroll,

      Can you provide a link to upcoming appearances of Mr. Voris?

      I saw him twice last year and really enjoyed listening to his presentations.

      Thank you kindly and God bless your apostolate ChurchMilitantTV,

    2. "...Until such time as this occurs, our judgment must remain that of the Holy Father."

      This is how a Catholic speaks.

      Thank you, Terry.


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