"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
At any rate, Fr. Z makes the point that, since the Holy
Father has made it clear that there are two forms of the Roman Rite,
seminarians should be trained in both; otherwise, their training is incomplete.
Fr. Z quotes Universae Ecclesiae, the Instruction about Summorum
21. Ordinaries are asked to
offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for
celebrations in the forma extraordinaria.
This applies also to Seminaries, where future
priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity
to learn the forma extraordinaria of
the Roman Rite.
Well, there’s that “pastoral needs” clause again…the bane of
our liturgical existence, I think, because “pastoral need” is usually invoked
as a means of denying the EF Mass rather than providing it. At any rate, if
seminarians are actually requesting training in the EF Mass, that would seem to
indicate a “pastoral need”, would it not?
Fr. Z also notes:
...but NOT praying in Latin might be!
The 1983 Code of Canon Law says
that all seminarians must be very well trained in Latin. I am not making this
up. The CIC can. 249 requires… it doesn’t suggest… it requires
that all seminarians be very well-versed in Latin and also any other language
useful for their ministry: “lingua latina bene calleant”… Let us also
review Sacrosanctum Concilium 36 and Optatam totius 13!
Yes, in this Year of Faith, we are encouraged to study the
Vatican II documents, right? Optatam
totius is one of those, with the English title of “Decree on Priestly
Training”. The paragraph mentioned by Fr. Z states that
…[Seminarians] are to acquire a
knowledge of Latin which will enable them to understand and make use of the
sources of so many sciences and of the documents of the Church. The study of
the liturgical language proper to each rite should be considered necessary; a
suitable knowledge of the languages of the Bible and of Tradition should be
Seminarians are supposed to know Latin so well that they can
read and study the Latin version of the documents of the Church! Who’d’a
Concillium 36 says: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.” That’s pretty
straightforward, but it seems to have been largely ignored; how many of the
faithful are still operating under the mistaken assumption that Vaddican Too
eliminated Latin from the liturgy? How often have you been told that the utterance
of a simple “Agnus Dei” is to be considered a “step backwards”?
There are even bishops
who say such things!
something said by Richard at Linen
On the Hedgerow: “The Latin Mass: Bishops Should Provide It Even If There
Is No Demand”. That’s the title of his post, and he quotes Fr. Simon Henry:
On the video DVD produced by
the FSSP/EWTN to instruct about the older form of Mass the Cardinal Castrillon
Hoyos said that parishes and priests should make available the Extraordinary
Form so that “everyone may have access to this treasure of the ancient
liturgy of the Church.” He also stressed that, “even if it is not
specifically asked for, or requested” it should be provided. Interestingly,
he added that the Pope wants this Mass to become normal in parishes, so that
“young communities can also become familiar with this rite.”
Just the other day, a friend and I were trying to figure out
how we could learn who in our diocese – especially the parishes closest to us –
is interested in the EF Mass. If we could galvanize them and present a united
front, perhaps we could effect a return of our EF Mass.
Unfortunately, the outlook is bleak. The trouble with trying
to ascertain interest in the Diocese of Baker is that the Faithful are so
ignorant of the usus antiquior that they wouldn’t even know if they might be interested. In my opinion, this
is a direct result of the poor liturgical formation before the Council. The
Holy Father, in his cover letter to the bishops in regard to Summorum Pontificum, said
“...a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage
of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood. This was especially
the case in countries where the liturgical movement had provided many
people with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal
familiarity with the earlier Form of the liturgical celebration.”
The inverse is also true: in countries where many people had
not received a notable liturgical
formation, few remained strongly attached to the older form.
In our diocese, short of a miracle, the Faithful will always
be scattered and separated and unaware of each other – even in the Ordinary
Form; it’s that way now and has been for a long, long time. Short of a
top-down, pastoral initiative on the part of the bishop and his clergy, there
seems to be little hope of any serious improvements on the liturgical field in
This is the Year of Faith…our bishops are supposed to be
leading us toward a resurgence of faith. And what is the “source and summit” of
our faith? The Eucharist, of course – and if we study, as we have been
encouraged to do, the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we will find those words in Lumen Gentium 11, and CCC 1324.
So…if our bishops want to increase the faith of the
faithful, they’d better get to work reforming the liturgy. Not only that, but
if there are two forms of the Roman Rite –which the Holy Father has made clear
there are – then the faithful should be introduced to the rite they’ve been
denied all these decades.
Withholding the EF Mass because people aren’t asking for it
is like this: suppose you are the sole heir designated in your wealthy
great-uncle’s will. In addition to healthy bank accounts, he has a great treasure
of antiques in his basement; a few people know that, but they think the
antiques are nothing more than thrift store trinkets, and they can’t imagine
you would want to see them. So when your great-uncle dies, they disclose to
you his bank accounts, the real estate he owns, etc., but they neglect to tell
you about the antiques in the basement. Finally, though, you discover them, and
are amazed at their beauty and the richness of the heritage they bespeak. You
confront your relatives who have hidden the treasure from you, asking them why
they didn’t disclose it at once.
Would their response of “You never asked” be appropriate?! I
don’t think so.
Catholics have a right to know their heritage, whether they
are aware of that heritage or not. Our faith is flagging badly.
Why not bring out the old treasures and see what the faithful
really think of them?
out this interesting article called “The Liturgical Cliff” by David G. Bonagura, Jr. He points out that:
For over forty years, the vast
majority of Catholic parishes have tilted the celebration of the Mass in a
manner that was thought to stimulate God's Really Awesome People. The Church,
according to cultural trends, needed to be a more welcoming and friendly place.
So we placed greeters at the doors, and, just in case we were not welcomed
enough the first time, we are then invited by the lector to greet our fellow
pew-mates before Mass begins. The music melody and attendant instruments are
also intended to appeal to us, not God, so that the celebration may feel
meaningful for us, the worshippers. Whether God, the object of worship, will be
satisfied by our selections is not even given a thought.
In light of this pervasive “people-centered” view of the
Mass, priests are afraid not to give
the people what they’ve come to expect, says Mr. Bonagura. He adds (my emphasis):
In this situation, reorienting the Mass back towards God
presents a liturgical cliff — a negative backlash from a large portion of
the faithful who feel disengaged by a liturgy not wholly focused on them. And
the liturgical cliff is made steeper and more sobering because these Catholics
bear no blame for their people-centered Mass preference.
As for restoring the sacred in the Mass, Bonagura notes that:
The new English translation of
the Mass was a first stroke, and a masterful one, in this direction. It
restored sacred language without altering
the people-centered ethos to which we have grown accustomed — avoiding the
The next step is to return this people-centered ethos to a God-centered
one. It begins with a whole series of
homilies and lessons with a simple theme: Mass is not about us, it is about
It seems that, more and more, people are seeing that the bishops
need to be the ones to take the steps necessary for liturgical reform – they are,
after all, the chief liturgists of their dioceses!