Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Compare and Contrast: Virility in the Mass

Rorate Caeli recently posted an exclusive article by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla recently: “The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass”. Fr. Z commented on this article, nicknaming it “The Wussification of the Mass”. I plan to write a post highlighting some of the points made there, but I encourage you to read the entire article.

That said, I turn my focus to that article in conjunction with two videos that have been making the rounds lately. This is a “compare and contrast” exercise that brings out a point made in Fr. Cipolla’s article; he says that his essay was inspired by the comment made by Cardinal Heenan of Westminster to the Synod of Bishops in Rome after the experimental Mass was presented for the first time in 1967 to a group of bishops. Here’s Cardinal Heenan’s comment:

“At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.”

 Now with only that quote in mind, watch these two video. The first is rather short; the second is longer, but worth every minute. For this initial comparison, though, you might just watch a bit after the 2 minute mark, and maybe skip forward to the various parts of the Mass depicted.

Fr. Cipolla gives a brief explanation of his term “devirilization”, explaining that “feminization” and “effeminization” are terms that come to mind, but which are inadequate and misleading to some extent. He summarizes (my emphases):

This is the term, devirilization, that I want to use to describe what Cardinal Heenan saw that day in 1967… In its Novus Ordo form… the Liturgy has been devirilized. One must recall the meaning of the word, vir, in Latin. Both vir and homo mean “man”, but it is vir alone that has the connotation of the man-hero and is the word that is often used for “husband”. The Aeneid begins with the famous words: arma virumque cano. (“ I sing of arms and the man-hero.”) What Cardinal Heenan presciently and correctly saw in 1967 was the virtual elimination of the virile nature of the Liturgy, the replacement of masculine objectivity, necessary for the public worship of the Church, with softness, sentimentality and personalization centered on the motherly person of the priest.

Now, for a third example, play back the “video” in your mind of the typical Mass at your parish, especially if you belong to a Novus Ordo parish where there are no huge, glaring liturgical abuses (like a Halloween Mass or a Balloon Mass), but where the music excludes Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, and the priest celebrates Mass facing the people. 
How does the typical, run-of-the-mill parish Mass compare to the reverence and dignity seen in the second video above? 

I think Fr. Cipolla is onto something here.


  1. That second video is really astounding, isn't it? When I saw it posted somewhere yesterday, I just wanted to forward it to all my friends and family(Novus Ordo Catholics, all) but resisted the urge. I wonder who produced that. Do you know?

  2. This was very upsetting to me. It reminded me of what was and where we are now. Its going to be a long struggle back.


  3. I'm sorry, Bill! I know it is discouraging, but God will have His way eventually. Even though it seems very few people in my area care about the TLM, the second video is very comforting to me. That Mass is still there.

    Elizabeth, I don't know who produced it, but if you view it on YouTube, it might identify the source there.

  4. When I watched that second video, I was literally moved to tears. While my local parish has no glaring abuses like the first video above, it is sadly one of the many run-of-the-mill parishes that exist here in our modern age. Thanks be to God that I am able to travel to the only place near my location that offers the Tridentine Latin Mass: a FSSP chapel in Pequannock, NJ. It is a sacrifice to attend mass there, with it being over an hours worth of travel each way, but it is well worth it.

    When I see the Novus Ordo in comparison, it feels like a "Catholic-Lite" version of the mass, if you'll forgive me for the blunt phraseology. It pales in comparison to the richness and reverence of the Tridentine Latin Mass. While it is no less valid than the TLM, in my honest opinion, it does very little to feed your need for spiritual nourishment.

    I hope that the TLM will be practiced as abundantly as it once was in ages past, but I fear that I may be praying for a good long while before they come into fruition. Lets keep praying... For the sake of our faith and eternal salvation, we must pray that the TLM will not only be kept alive, but be allowed to thrive and flourish!

  5. "...the virtual elimination of the virile nature of the Liturgy, the replacement of masculine objectivity, necessary for the public worship of the Church, with softness, sentimentality and personalization centered on the motherly person of the priest."

    *This* is one reason why there has been much clamoring for wymyn"priests". Once you toss out the "masculine objectivity" of the "public worship of the Church" the celebrant no longer needs to be in Persona Christi (the Person of Christ, i.e. male).

    The mystical, nuptial union that is *supposed* to take place at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with "the virtual elimination of the virile nature of the Liturgy", renders the sacramental priesthood genderless.

    Let's connect the dots:

    + Our Divine Savior was a *man* (Latin: vir). This was in the Father's plan all along. (Feminazis and their sympathizers need to get over themselves and ask Him when [if?] they get to heaven about this plan.)

    + Jesus, the Bridegroom, is wedded in this mystical, nuptial union to His Church (the Mystical Body of Crist), to sanctify her and present her to the Father on the last Day (see Eph. 5:22-30, Mt. 25:31-46).

    + With this beautiful consummated union, sanctifying grace is consecrated within the bride with the specific purpose to save souls (see John 6:56, 10:10, 14:6).

    + The Bride (the Body of Christ, the Church) exists for the salvation of souls and it is only in Him (Jesus) that men (Catholics) are given the grace to participate in this salvific process (see Acts 4:12, 2 Peter 1:4, CCC 2000).


  6. If the Holy Sacrifice is genderless (or the lines are blurred) then (supposedly) *anyone* can “preside” over the “Mass.”

    The problem is if the “presider” is female that mystical, nuptial union spoken of above cannot take place! Same-sex unions *cannot* give life!

    Thus when the “presider” (if they are anyone besides a validly ordained Catholic priest) says “This is my Body, which is given for you” there is *no* union, no sacrifice of Calvary represented in an unbloody manner, taking place.

    This makes the “liturgy” merely a communal meal “centered on the *motherly person* of the priest(?)”. This is *not* what the Church has taught since its inception by our Blessed Lord (see CCC 1348-1383).

    I am just a catechist. I am not trying to play theologian on the World Wide Web. However, can we not ask the following: Does any solid Catholic really need to have a degree in Sacramental theology to see the ramifications of this? For that matter does a mere nominal Catholic need one?

    If the Mass has really and truly rendered genderless by the “…elimination of the virile nature of the Liturgy,” then one *has* to wonder are we who assist primarily at Novus Ordo Masses receiving (any?) the sanctifying grace our Blessed Lord promises in His “Bread of Life Discourse” in St. John’s Gospel?

    This entry and videos, Dr. Boyd, make me tremble and pause. I am not some kind of radical traditionalist. I do not have the privilege to assist at a TLM at all. I do not subscribe to The Remnant or Latin Mass magazines or The Wanderer. I have never read a book by Michael Davies.

    I am your prototypical Catholic just like 90-95% of the rest in the U.S. today.

    I *have* read Msgr. Gamber’s “The Reform of the Roman Liturgy” (with its high kudos given by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger). I have read much of Alcuin Reid’s “The Organic Development of the Liturgy” (with a nice shiny forward by, again, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger!). I read, daily, this blog, Fr. Z’s, Tantamergo’s and (though she has now gone silent) Supertradmum’s.

    All of these have given me *much* food for thought about how we are and should be worshiping Almighty God.

    Considering this worship and sacrifice of our Blessed Lord is supposed to change the world in which we live can any Catholic, especially those in first world countries, honestly say the “world” is getting better? If not, *why* not? Is Fr. Cipolla making sense now?



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