Monday, July 9, 2007

Reaction to World Over Live Special on Summorum Pontificum

I thought the panel discussion on EWTN tonite went well, considering how quickly they threw it together. There were some technical glitches, but we survived - and so did they.

I can't offer much at this point since it is way past my bedtime. However, I can't let this one slide....

EDIT: UPDATED with additional thoughts on 7-10-07.

There were the last couple of callers that had me in stitches. I was laughing so hard it took me several minutes to regroup.


One man acknowledged remembering the old Mass when he was a kid and then said he plays the guitar now. He wanted to know how he could fit in to the old Mass with his guitar. The stunned look on Raymond Arroyo's face was almost as funny as asking how a guitar can fit into something as dignified as the traditional form of the Mass. I don't mean any disrespect to that man, but bringing a guitar into the old Latin Mass is like putting perfume on a pig.

People want to escape the guitars, the pianos, the banal folk songs, and casual rock during Mass. Don't get me wrong. I like guitar and I even played one (gulp) - during Mass in the 80's. People, including me, want to escape to Gregorian chant, sacred polyphony, and just some old-fashioned silence.

God bless Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ for being brave enough to chime in with "You can fit in by grabbing a missal and leaving the guitar at home", or something to that effect. Somewhere behind the camera, I could envision Fr. George Gabet, FSSP pulling Bishop Bruskewitz's pectoral cross out of his throat. The pure shock of the question was enough to make any fan of the old Mass gasp deep enough to suck in the TV. I spontaneously erupted into laughter and for the life of me I can't figure out how those gentlemen contained themselves so stoically.

Raymond allowed one more question at the end, and that was along the same lines. I would have given a lot to be a fly on the wall in that studio after they cut production.


A lady called to ask how Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist (EMHC) will fit in. Fr. Gabet fielded that one, quite charitably and explained that the old form of the Latin Mass goes according to the missal of Blessed John XXIII and while the form of the Mass is extraordinary, there will be no need for extraordinary people in the sanctuary. Besides, as he rightly pointed out, we would expect in this Mass, that Holy Communion would be handled by a priest, and that there is indeed a desire to show the line between priest and laity.

This all goes to the mistaken notion that active participation for some means "doing" something.

I don't know how any of them kept a straight face for those last two questions. I think it was Fr. Baker who finally explained for those who don't know that in the old Mass you will kneel to receive Communion and you will receive on the tongue. You will not see EMHC's, nor will you see altar girls. At one point they discussed the mantilla, but Bishop Bruskewitz pointed out that is not something in the rubrics, but head-dress is a matter of discipline. He noted it is something that would probably be discussed (if I recall his words correctly).

This just goes to prove that a whole lot of catechesis is going to be needed. I don't mean any lack of charity to those who don't know any better. For all practical purposes, I am laughing at my own misunderstandings through these people. It wasn't that long ago that I could have raised similar questions. Although, I don't think the guitar and old Mass issue would have even crossed my mind.


There was a lot of discussion about Latin. Some called in concerned that they don't understand Latin, or how it will affect those who bring someone from another faith to a Catholic Mass for the first time. This is a legitimate concern. However, I have heard cases of other Christians who were drawn to the majesty and beauty of the old Mass and the Latin. As was explained by several of the panelists, the old Latin Mass will not be forced on anyone, and aids should be provided by those offering the old Mass. Typically, the translations found on facing pages are of the utmost accuracy from my experience - with respect to the Latin - and from an artistic standpoint, those translations are majestically beautiful. This is fitting to the occasion.

It can only be at one Sunday Mass, not all and the vernacular form of the Novus Ordo will likely remain dominant for some time. Therefore, people can elect to go to any other Mass that Sunday if they don't like the old Mass. I myself envision younger generations exploring it in greater numbers as time goes on. The panel did bring up the challenges facing an entire generation of priests who know little Latin. The first order of business will be to ensure they understand what they are praying. The monsignor representing the USCCB stated that priests should know their Latin well whether they are celebrating the newer or older form of the Roman Rite - a point I agree wholeheartedly with given such sloppy and dumb-down translations we've all been living with.

I myself want to learn Latin - well enough to read the classics in Latin and to understand the audible parts of holy Mass - be it the Latin Novus Ordo or the old Mass. Each time I've explored taking it at nearby Sacred Heart Major Seminary, I was only able to find it at around 3:30 in the afternoon - a time not open to much of the working class. If they can't open that up for evenings, then I would like to see parishes come up with plans to offer Latin - non-credited to the faithful so that those who wish to "hear" the Mass through the language may freely do so. We have people who are schooled in Latin, who may not be candidates for teaching at higher institutions, but who know enough to teach a non-credited class at parishes. We need parishes to get together and offer these things in "clusters", advertising in each other's bulletins or in the diocesan newspapers. The people are smart enough to learn, now we need to have opportunities to do so.


On another note, someone asked if EWTN would be celebrating the TLM on air and there was some discussion around that. Raymond Arroyo said that there is a statement (which I could not find a quick check) indicating EWTN will be looking into how to implement this for extraordinary occasions. As you know, that diocese in Alabama is in need of a new bishop, and has been for some time. We can only pray that the new bishop won't put any restrictions on what can be aired in terms of the form of the Mass, and the priest's posture. Currently, they are not permitted to air the Mass when the priest is using the ad orientem posture. Bishops may regulate what goes on air so what is permissible in private may not be in public.

Comments welcome in the combox - just remember, I have comment moderation turned on indefinitely, so just verify after you send that it says something like "waiting moderator approval" or something like that. Please don't send the comment twice.


I would like to point you over to some pretty good things on the blog of Father Z. I just can't keep up with a fast-typing priest on vacation at the Sabine Farm sipping on Veuve. If you are really into motu proprio mania, don't miss these fine posts at Father's blog. There's so much more there, so I encourage you to just visit his homepage daily.

Fr. Z discusses a comment in one of his comboxes in an interesting post.
Fr. Z discusses the Time Magazine article on the motu proprio
Fr. Z discusses Good Shepherds in India who receive motu proprio well
Fr. Z discusses Hand Missals and Active Participation (I love it!!!)
Fr. Z discusses irritating interview of Fr. Thomas Reese, SJ (fired editor of America Mag)
Motu Proprio Celebrations in the USA

EDIT: And, something you don't want to miss, which is an excellent article on Zenit in which Fr. Z is interviewed about the motu proprio. It is quite the contrast to articles you will find in the secular media. Go read,

An analysis of Summorum Pontificum.

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