Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Lending St. Peter's to the Anglicans, Novus Ordo-fying the Tridentine Mass, and more

  • I'm starting to describe myself as a very conservative Roman Riter (and one functionally biritual with the Byzantine Rite) rather than traditionalist. The Tridentine Mass and offices are home, but I'm not on board with the "Novus Ordo is invalid" crowd.
  • I have no problem with Vatican II on paper. I think a vernacular option, religious liberty, and ecumenism are grand. In practice, it was a disaster so I live as though it never happened.
  • First-ever Anglican Evensong in St. Peter's, Rome. Mixed feelings. Pro: Choral Evensong is wonderful; not heretical at all, and better than the Novus Ordo in many places. Why not an ecumenism that shares this? Anglican English is my religious English. Con: We should not lend our churches to Protestants. I can't imagine an ancient Catholic bishop hosting the local Valentinian or Arian bishop, can you? I don't go to Lessons and Carols locally because I decided I can't appear to give witness to a false church (Episcopal), even one with which I share much culturally. We've been jawing with the Anglicans et al. for 50 years and having lots of gestures like this. How closer are they to returning to the church? It's indifferentism: they end up thinking they're just fine outside the church and keep moving away from us.
  • How the ordinary form of the Mass can "enrich" the extraordinary form. Twaddle from a conservative Novus Ordo priest who doesn't really like the Tridentine Mass. The three-year lectionary is dumb: people only remember a year's worth of readings, which is why all traditional readings are in a one-year cycle. Writing a new service from scratch is arguably a bad idea; while I'm fine with "low" and experimental services alongside mine, better that the Novus Ordo had never been written. That and the self-righteous churchmen who pushed this stuff did it to the exclusion of my Mass. That said, the Novus Ordo, in its original Latin and in the English translation approved by Benedict XVI, is not Protestant; I have no conscience problem with it and, with its baseline of orthodoxy, I even appreciate what the reformers were trying to do. Fr. Stravinskas harkens to the bad old 1980s under St. John Paul the Overrated (I don't have any devotion to the man) when putatively conservative Catholics adopted the party line, turning on traditionalists with a vengeance. If you told them you wanted the traditional Mass for any reason, they told you that you were bad (disobedient, "not open to the Spirit," and even no longer Catholic) or sick (emotional problems such as being "rigid"; sometimes true but look at how trads were treated, an understandable reaction). So he's entitled to his opinions, none of which here touch on doctrine, but I don't take him seriously. Here are some real "enrichments" that aren't my fantasy but my parish's practice: a conservative dialogue Mass in which the congregation sings or says some of the responses, an option introduced shortly before Vatican II, and, a big one, Anglican music. We have a pipe organ, prelude, processional and recessional hymns that are Anglican classics, and a postlude. We aren't re-enactors of '50s American Catholic practice; we're doing it better. And let's offer a vernacular option for our Mass.
  • "More Catholic than the Pope" leads to the schismatic bigotry of the Orthodox (been there; no thanks), the Old Catholics (now reduced to Episcopalian mush, a Middle European rump sect), and the fever swamp of sedevacantism (the CMRI for example, I understand a wicked, abusive cult that uses the trappings of my pre-conciliar Catholicism). False religion is always about self. Take a good thing and make an idol of it. In this case, worshipping being Catholic over worshipping God. That's a reason I like traditional Lutherans and classic Anglicans, hanging out with them online; they remind me to stay focused on Christ (Mass and office) and not major in the minors.
  • Pope Francis has ordered a review of the new Mass translation rules. If he undoes this reform, he'd still be Pope and I'd still be in the church but he would be dead to me. "More Catholic than the Pope" means thinking you're above the Pope's office, which exists to defend our doctrine; nothing to do with his opinions.
  • New blog-post label: Byzantine Catholicism. Nothing deep academically; just sketches of my introduction to it and how it still fits into my life. Russian Orthodoxy minus the attitude.


  1. Replies
    1. Now hyperlinked in the post: the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI) in Spokane.

  2. Lessons and Carols: celebrated in RC-AU parishes. I don't see a problem with this.

    CMRI: Bishop Mark Pivarunas. Don't know how "good" his Episcopal Orders are. Supposedly he was consecrated by Moises Carmona.

    1. No problem with Lessons and Carols (quintessentially Anglican but not in the original Book of Common Prayer). Just like Evening Prayer from the Prayer Book, it's a perfectly good, beautiful service. I had a conscience problem here because the place having it, a city church, is very much part of the Episcopal Church: two women curates, with one "married" to another woman, and part of its "ministry" is telling gay Catholics they don't have to be chaste in their state of life; a false church trying to hook Catholics. I can't appear to be supporting that with my attendance, even at an innocuous service in a beautiful, Catholic-looking building. One may disagree, saying that was scrupulosity, and I respect that. But that was what I decided. To be honest, if it were a conservative parish, as St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue was under Fr. Mead, I'd go.

      Bishop Pivarunas is really a bishop but the organization he heads, although not a separate church in theory, is as I described, abusive and not really the church.

  3. Oh one other thing re the Papal authorized "review" of Liturgiam Authenticam: You might recall my stating SERVERAL TIMES on the old York Forum and maybe a few times on Facebook that I thought that the modern RC liturgy and the traditional liturgy (TLM) were fundamentally contradictory and could not in the long run coexist in peace. IOW, one must give way entirely to the other. Me thinks that iL Papa Bergoglio is trying to make the TLM go the frack away!

    1. ...I thought that the modern RC liturgy and the traditional liturgy (TLM) were fundamentally contradictory and could not in the long run coexist in peace.

      A good friend of many years who has a seminary degree and lived in Rome for several years agrees with you because he knows so much. For him, reading the new Mass is like reading the Book of Common Prayer if you know the history. It's not so much what they say, which is orthodox. It's what they don't say, why Cranmer and Bugnini cut things out: Protestant intent. Cranmer's new collects are wonderful; I love reading them as a supplement to the traditional Roman Rite. No heresy in them. But he wrote them to replace others whose Catholic doctrine he rejected.

      I would have agreed with you about the first, bad English translation of the new Mass, an abomination. But since Pope Benedict's reform, while the new Mass is not my home and never will be, I entirely accept it and even appreciate what it does when it's reverently used. Same cadence as the Episcopal services I grew up with, but Catholic. (The 1928 American Prayer Book is nice; same pre-Sixties ethos as the Tridentine Mass. But it's Protestant; I couldn't go back to it. High Morning Prayer with the Elevation of the Collection Plate? No, thanks.) Just like in 1960, I can go to Mass anywhere in the United States!

      Mainstream Catholic churchmen tried to wipe out our Mass and nearly did. Even putative conservatives were trying to. I don't want to be that self-righteous. I've seen that smugness from them, from traditionalists, and from the Orthodox. I'll pass.

    2. I wasn't speaking about orthodoxy of the TLM vs. the alleged heterodoxy of the N.O.M. I have never considered the N.O.M. heterodox even with the previous inadequate ICEL translation.

      To me it's more about expecting Sunnis and Shiites to get along. Not likely to happen. It would seem that there are Catholic bishops concerned or even worried about unity and that the TLM ghetto dwellers are potential separatist elements who will never belong to the "what's happening now" Church. There is some minor, oh so minor truth to this from the POV of the liberal PTB running the Church, particularly in the U.S. I am, for example, thinking of Ahem! Ahem! Ahem! . . . the likes of Cardinal Cupich and Archbishop Garcia-Siller . . . and some others.

    3. Reminds me of the priests who would have the congregation stand around the altar with him: churchmen bullying you into at least passively buying into their Protestantized or Modernist agenda. No wonder so many of our traditionalists don't want anything to do with things post-conciliar. I don't think I'm that extreme, because I understand the teachings of the church well enough and the legitimate aspirations of some of the "reformers," but I get it. With things like that I say "thank you, Lord, for not making me a priest." I can literally walk away from such clergy. My line: as long as you follow the text, if you want to experiment, fine; just don't force it on me.

      There's "the biological option/solution" to what's been ailing the church: the kind of bishop you describe is old. It's simply a fact of nature that Cardinal Cupich (yes, making him a cardinal is scandalous) will go away. (All I will say about Archbishop García-Siller is it seems to be a clergy turf war.) The few young American Catholics aren't like them; they don't even share that famous American Catholic hatred of high churchmanship. The backbone of my parish is born Catholic couples in their 30s with kids, not our living links to before Vatican II or even us Anglo-Catholic alumni. Our living links and we walk-on Anglo-Catholic alumni kept this culture alive against all odds, and the young Catholics are soaking it up, even easier to learn in the Internet age. Isolated Catholics can experience our Mass on YouTube.

      My guesses are reform of the reform, dressing up Pope Benedict's English Mass, will win; the Tridentine Massers will remain a dogged minority. (The Byzantine Rite in America will keep on slowly sinking.) Here "mutual enrichment" won't be a joke or catchphrase but a wonderful reality. My parish's Sung Mass and other Masses have Anglican hymns and use the altar rail; you'll see more eastward celebrations and kneeling Communion at the new Mass.

  4. Speaking of traditional liturgies and their liturgical communities, may God protect the Anglican Ordinariates . . . they could be on the "chopping block" before too long!

    1. Pope Francis is unpredictable: verbally attacking conservatives (apparently his latest target are the new, still little but thriving conservative religious orders, which he accuses of being self-righteous and "rigid," one of his favorite words) but making nice with the SSPX. As you know, I've been hoping he spares Benedict the Great's greatest work, reforming the English of the new Mass, far bigger than Summorum Pontificum (which is wonderful, of course; why I have my usual Sunday Mass), because it affected every English-speaking Roman Catholic, and I've thought he will as well as the ordinariates because he doesn't really speak English (I think the only languages he really knows are his native Spanish and some Italian) and, a Jesuit, he doesn't care about liturgy. But he shares American liberal churchmen's aversion to high churchmanship (as Thomas Day described perfectly).

      A British wag has described the ordinariates as "a granny flat for Anglo-Catholics (much of them are retired Anglican clergy) and a dry run for the Lefebvrists." May it be so.

      My non-ordinariate parish is in part an Anglo-Catholic alumni magnet; home.

  5. ""More Catholic than the Pope" means thinking you're above the Pope's office, which exists to defend our doctrine; nothing to do with his opinions."

    Two of my favorite movies are "El Cid" with Charlton Heston, and the 1937 version of "The Prisoner of Zenda", and both for the same reason. They stress that a bad king is still king nonetheless, and a cruddy monarch deserves the loyalty and obedience of his subjects even when they find it necessary to rebuke and correct him. It's an attitude slightly alien to us Americans, who are implicitly raised to believe that any persistent mis-management on the part of a superior is automatic grounds for rebellion or secession. I'm as fond of my Constitutional Republic (or what's left of it) as any other American, but the Papacy is a Monarchy, and with very good reason.


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