Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pope Francis and the 1962 Latin Mass

Some of the comments following the election of Pope Francis have been made in ignorance of the Church's teachings, "normal" practice and Vatican "protocol". The idea that Pope Francis would somehow "remove" Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum (on the Extraordinary Rite etc) is simply ridiculous. In this report from the New Liturgical Movement blog we gain some insight into the Pope's mind. He is a unifying Pope, not a Pope of disunity or disturbance in the Church. I sometimes wonder if some of the fears we have seen expressed since his election betray a lack of faith in the Holy Spirit and Our Lord's promise to be with us until the end of the ages. Pope Benedict argued that BOTH forms of the rite (ordinary and extraordinary) should inform each other. I know that some "traditionalists" (I dislike using the term but it is used in this limited sense by some) have not really accepted this; they want the old rite to remain untouched. This was not Pope Benedict's intention, nor was it his intention that the Missa Normativa (the correct name for the ordinary rite) should remain untouched or descend further into unwarranted innovations or liturgical disobedience. Rather BOTH rites are protected by each other and certain "adaptations" or "styles" can already be seen moving from one to the other. A stultification in the manner of celebrating the Old Rite needs to be avoided. A too mannered way of celebrating the Latin Rite can be just as much a distraction and display of the priest's ego as some styles of celebration are in the Ordinary Rite. One of the things I have learned in coming to the Old Rite is that the priest is the servant of the Rite which means that a certain humility is required. Pope Francis' use of the word "triumphalism" is well-advised. The extremes he does not like - I would suggest - are linked to a certain style of priestly living which sometimes appears snobby or sneering. Allowing for human weaknesses and non-sinful eccentricities, what we, in Yorkshire, refer to as "poncing about" needs to be avoided.

The Liturgy, "new" or "old" is NOT vehicle for displaying one's "churchmanship" (for want of another term) or the distinctiveness of one's character or even piety. Self-consciousness in celebrating the Liturgy is always spotted by those who are genuinely Catholic and it is, in the end, a "turn off". Pope Francis' obvious humility and his emphasis on the priest (and bishop) as servant is applicable to every aspect of priestly life, including the Liturgy.


  1. A good post Father except for your comment about "a too mannered way of celebrating the Latin Rite" etc. I would have thought it virtually impossible for a priest to project his ego in this manner. The priest's actions, by and large, are quiet, discreet and shielded from the congregation. Even the altar server can only gain occasional glimpses of the actions of the priest celebrating this most private of Masses.

  2. Thanks Richard, I agree that this is how it should be, and mainly is, but there is a danger that someone could display his ability at rubrics in such a way as to draw unnecessary attention to himself. it has been known! There can be a certain "manner" in the display of correctness that draws unnecessary admiration. I;m sorry to say this, but it is more than a possibility in some cases. Most of the action cannot be seen by the people, but some of it is, even just the manner of walking in and out and turning to face the congregation.

  3. Father, I am so glad to see that you are posting this. I have had moments in which I have seen priests and laity alike display obvious pride and pomp in the Latin Rite. Many of them go so far as saying that only by attending the Latin Mass on Sundays is one fulfilling his/her true obligation and that the Novus Ordo is, generally, illegitimate.

    Apparently, this is a world-wide spread dis-unification of the church, some call themselves TFP and others refer to themselves as "The Roman Catholic Church of Pope Pius XII" and refer to Catholics as "The False Church of Vatican II" ?

    Isn't this sort of mind-set heretical? It seems to me like it would divide The Church like the Great Schism, Protestant Reformation, etc. and go against what Our Lord said in John 17:21.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this, as I have been struggling for some clarification on this topic for the past year or two and it greatly disheartens me to see this kind of separation within The Church. Thank you and God bless!

  4. ...firefly. yes. Sadly it seems that there are even more extremist Catholics than before Pope Benedict's instructions. The internet bristles with them. Some attack Blessed John Paul 11. The same can be found on YouTube as we know. Some follow this or that theologian or controversial speaker, others are just so totally given over to the old rite that they can see nothing else, even to the extent of virtually excommunicating everybody else. My own view is that it is a kind of madness related to the "end times". On the other hand we have the mad liberalism of the Episcopalians and liberal Anglicans, the dreadful heresies of some of the free church evangelicals (recognised by other orthodox evangelicals). I do believe all this confusion and dissension is being caused by satan as well as by human pride. it is against unity and peace. Unfortunately so many Catholics no longer listen to the Pope - and this is true on both ends of the scale. Many American Catholics, of course, are very far away from anything resembling orthodoxy. Still, the Lord walked on the water through the storm and he was in the boat during another storm. He is around.

  5. Thank you very much for your clarification, Father. God bless you!

  6. But Father, why was the liturgy allowed to disintegrate to such an extent under JPII and Paul VI?

    Paul VI said that "The smoke of Satan had entered the Sanctuary of God", and seemed unable or uninterested in stopping it.


    There was an explosion of profane Masses,of heretical Masses over the western world. Why? Why was nothing done to stop it?

    The litrugical disintegration commented on by Pope Benedict has led many to lose their faith and now risk the fires of Hell.

    Many young Catholics have walked away from the church because they have been brought up in the cruddy N.O liturgy.

    The revolution of mitre and cope, brought to the faithful by nutter Bishops and Priests of the 1960' and 1970's has undoubtly scandalised the Church, and as Cardinal Siri of Genoa said, "it will take 400 years to repair this tragedy".

    SO in your defence of N.O and the N.O Popes, who were probably good men, out of their depth - why was this tragedy allowed to occur?

    And now, it is the yuong clergy, many inspired by Pope Benedict who are fighting back and overturnign the liturgicval revolution of the 1970's.

    Why is this counter reformartion occuring, if what happened in 1970 was such a positive for the church? The liturgy you grew up with was recorded as being offered by Pope Damasus in the 5th Centiry - it was much older than Trent - and it was the core of the Church - so why change it for the N.O Mass?

    Why was the desruction of the Holy Liturgy allowed?

    The changes did not bring the unbeleiver inot the church - that fictitional man on the street - but drove many people out of the church to join the unbelieving man on the street.

    And the Pope and the Bishops sat back and did pretty much nothing!


    It seemd the more outrageous the Mass - the more theatrical and novel, - the greater your responsibility in the N.O heirarchy!

    The worse your Masses, the greater your promotion.

    The majestic Roman Canon was replaced with 28+ inane Eucharistic prayers, many of which were dripping in Protestant theology and language.

    The concept of Sacrifice was removed from the Mass.


    This Sacrifice is one of the corner stones of Catholicism. The teaching to take up your corss, and like Christ battle the difficulties with faith and fidelity to church and God.

    After 1970, Tabernacles were removed from Altars and they were pushed into obscure alcoves, as if they were an embarrasment to our Protestant neighbours.


    Many churches were destroyed and turned into Protestant halls.


    All this happened under Paul VI and JPII? Why did they not stop this vandalism - this diabolic desturction of the God's Temple?

    How could all this been allowed by orthodox Priests and Bishops?

    Now it is the young Priest ( my generation yrs 28 - 43) who are the ones leading the counter charge by reclaiming tradition and repairing the vandalism of VatII.

    They are the ones replacing high Altars and returning statues and Altar rails to their churches. They are the ones reclaiming " traditional Catholic signs" and manner of worship.

    The young clergy are the ones overturning the 1960's and 1970's revolution of cope and mitre. Maybe it is Divinely inspired, God coming back to reclaim what was His.

    But how could all this damage been allowed under the Pontificates of Paul Vi and JPII?

    Much of the damage was due to nutter bishops ( like the one in our Diocese who destoryed the Sanctuary in the Cathederal) as well as members of the Roman Curia?

    So Blessed JPII and Paul VI has some heavy failures to answer for.