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    During my recent visit to Malta, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the people involved in the Traditional Latin Mass apostolate, which is based at St Paul’s church in Birkirkara, about a 15 minute bus ride from the center of the main city, Valletta. (Public transport in Malta is excellent, by the way, and easy to use, so Birkirkara is not at all hard to get to if you are visiting.) The Maltese are very proud of the fact that they received the Faith from the Apostle himself, who was shipwrecked there, as described in Acts 28, and it is nice that the group should be assigned to a church dedicated to one of their island’s principal patrons. The church has the traditional Mass every day, Sunday at 7 pm; Visit their website here:

    Two of the members of the community, Kenneth Fenech and Gavin Muscat, have recently established a new Catholic media apostolate, True Light Catholic Media, “to present Catholic audio-visual content which is entirely faithful to the Catholic Church’s Magisterial teaching.” You can check out some of the services they offer on this page of their website; they are also on Facebook. Here is a really great example of their work, an interview with members of the Schola Sainte Cécile during their recent pilgrimage to the island, talking about the importance of Sacred Music. It features our own Henri Adam de Villiers, the conductor of the Schola, choir member and logistic director Fanny Bornot, and Gauthier Guillaume, a seminarian of the FSSP and alumnus of the church of St Eugène in Paris, where the Schola regularly sings.
    The Schola sung several Masses during their visit; here is a recording of the full Sunday Mass at St Paul’s on August 27th, the 12th Sunday after Pentecost. Fr Nicholas Doublet, the celebrant and chaplain for the TLM, told me that they have only had a few solemn Masses thus far; let us pray that their apostolate continue to grow and thrive, and that they eventually have many, many more!

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    In our recent round-up of articles about the “irreversible” speech, I wrote the following in regards to Fr Zuhlsdorf’s take on the matter: “(he) begins his very useful commentary by stating ‘Given what I have seen and heard in Italy, my mind reels in dread at the very notion of a room full of Italian liturgists.’ This is a completely reasonable reaction; the state of the liturgy in Italy is appalling, with a particular emphasis on very bad music.”

    Just two days ago, the Italian newspaper La Stampa reported on a conference of choir directors recently held in Rome, some of them quite prominent, held in honor of Card. Domenico Bartolucci for the centenary of his birth; they are also deeply pessimistic about the general state of music in Italian churches. (The translation of the following excerpts is my own.)

    The Catholic Church is mute. When it sings, it does so badly, in a way that profanes the liturgy. “... isn’t it time to calm down and return to singing the Word of God, instead of the horrendous repertoires which are heard in the choirs of our parishes?” The question is posed by Don Valentino Donella, director emeritus of the choir of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo.

    “In (liturgical) functions, a populist attitude dominates. But singing the liturgy isn’t about livening up a meeting of friends, which is the order of the day, unfortunately. Sacred music must possess three characteristics: it must be holy, true art, and universal. Our land is overgrown with weeds”; this, the denunciation, with all his authority, of Monsignor Valentino Miserachs Grau, director emeritus of the choir of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. … Michele Manganelli, director of the Choir of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, (i.e. the Duomo) and a professor at the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music in Rome, insists (that the problem lies in) the absence of musical training in seminaries. “The first to not know what they want are the liturgists, the parish priests, the bishops. They don’t know what should be done, and they don’t sing. They push the buttons on the ‘liturgical animator’ and play recorded music, (Editor’s note: I myself have seen this happen.) but the celebrant doesn’t sing, the assembly doesn’t sing either, and the rite is cut in half. …”

    “We lack poets, we lack writers. Catholic publishing houses print texts that would be fine for Sanremo, (an annual Italian music festival, wholly dedicated to pop-rock), which speak indistinctly of love, or separation from him, from her, with no reference to the sacred,” adds the President of the St Cecilia Association, Monsignor Tarcisio Cola, who concluded the conference by officiating at a Mass sung very worthily, in the Choir Chapel of St Peter’s Basilica. The choice of location was deliberate: here, where the Cappella Giulia sings, is buried the body of Pius X. (Editor’s note: properly speaking, it is in the chapel next to the choir chapel.) He was the Pope who, with his 1903 Motu Proprio on sacred music (Tra le sollecitudini) set the stage for a reform in the name of the true identity of liturgical music, which is called to distinguish itself from other styles, especially that of the opera. ...

    A century later, his strategy has not succeeded. … but even within the Catholic Church, the Italian churches are outstanding for their mediocrity. In a study soon to be published by Treccani, don Alberto Brunelli, a music historian and well-known organist, writes, “Every parish has its own collection of songs, which is in continual evolution or degeneration. (“evoluzione o involuzione”.) The culture of the ephemeral has also taken over the liturgy. We know full well that the Second Vatican Council did not prohibit anything at all that was old, while happily opening up to the modern. This absolute liberty has brought us down to a level from which it will be difficult to rise up.” What about Pope Francis? “Paul VI, tone deaf as he was, always sang. Benedict XVI knows and loves music, and knows how to sing. Pope Francis does not sing, unfortunately”, says Don Donella, with sadness.

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    Our Lady of Peace Church in Fords, New Jersey, will celebrate a Solemn Mass in the traditional Roman Rite at 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, September 14th, for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, followed by veneration of a relic of the True Cross. The church is located at 620 Amboy Avenue. (See the Facebook event page here.)

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  • 09/07/17--16:45: The Feast of St Cloud
  • September 7th is noted in the Martyrology as the feast day of St Clodoaldus, whose name in English is “Cloud”, and usually pronounced by English-speakers as it is written, as in “raincloud.” It is written the same in French, but the D is silent; by a pun with the word “clou”, he is honored as the Patron Saint of nail-makers. His feast is traditionally included in the supplement of missals and breviaries printed for use in the United States, since he is also the Patron Saint of the Diocese of St Cloud, Minnesota. The city’s name was chosen by a man of Huguenot ancestry, not in honor of the Saint, but from the name of the Parisian suburb where Napoleon had his favorite palace.

    Clodoaldus was the youngest of three boys born to Clodomir, the second son of Clovis, King of the Franks, whose baptism heralded the general conversion of his people to Christianity. After the death of their father, the three boys were raised by their grandmother Clotilda, who is also a Saint. (The family’s penchant for names beginning in “Clo-” makes them rather hard to keep track of.) In the midst of the very complicated, and absolutely horrifying, dynastical struggles of the Merovingian kings, the two older brothers were murdered by their uncle Clotaire. Clodoaldus escaped to Provence, where he became a hermit, renouncing any idea of reclaiming the royal title and dignity that were rightfully his.
    Part of a painting by Charles Durupt (1831) in the church of St Clodoaldus in St Cloud, France. The Saint is shown cutting his hair as a sign of his renunciation of his rights to the throne, consecrating himself to the monastic life. At the time, long hair was privilege of princes. (Image from the church’s website.)
    This was hardly typical of either the era or the family, and the Parisian Breviary of 1847 makes note it by saying that he “was not spurned by the world, as much as he spurned it.” After some time, he returned to Paris and set himself under the rule of a holy monk called Severinus; the place where he established his hermitage was later named for him, the future site of the aforementioned suburb. He was ordained a priest, and spent the rest of his short life in the religious instruction of the people, dying at the age of 36 ca. 560 A.D. The Parisian Breviary also notes that his relics were saved from the profanations that took place during the Revolution, and later exposed once again for the veneration of the faithful.
    Relics of St Clodoaldus in the altar of the above-named church. (Image from Wikimedia Commons by Reinhardhauke.)
    Fr Alban Butler was an alumnus of the English College in Douai, France, and began working on his famous Lives of the Saints while serving there as a professor; he was later appointed to the English College at St Omer. Since these institutions in northern France were so important to English Catholicism in penal times, he understandably devotes a great deal of space to French Saints. The original version of his work contained a great deal of material in the way of moral exhortation, which the subsequent revisers, Fr Herbert Thurston, S.J., and Donald Attwater, removed almost completely when they revised it in the 20th century. One of the very few such passages which they retained was part of Butler’s entry for St Cloud, a quotation which he took from the 15th-century Italian humanist and scholar Pico della Mirandola. The wisdom of these words seems to me especially important today, when politics seems to have gained the power to spread into and poison everything.

    “Many think it a man’s greatest happiness in this life to enjoy dignity and power and to live amid the riches and splendour of a court. Of these you know I have had a share; and I can assure you I could never find in my soul true satisfaction in anything but retreat and contemplation. I am persuaded that the Caesars, if they could speak from their sepulchres, would declare Pico more happy in his solitude than they were in the government of the world; and if the dead could return, they would choose the pangs of a second death rather than risk their salvation again in public offices.” Amen.

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    Fr Kyle Tabotabo, of the Archdiocesan Shrine of St Pedro Calungsod in Cebu City, Philippines, ordained in 2015, celebrated his first Mass in the usus antiquior this past Sunday (13th after Pentecost), a Missa cantata at the Adoration Chapel of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Cebu City. He was assisted by the members of the Cebuano Summorum Pontificum Society, who are responsible for organizing the weekly EF Masses in Cebu, and the Schola Gregoriana of Cebu. No “nostalgia” here, my friends!

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    The Rev. Mark Jabalé OSB, Emeritus Bishop of Menevia, will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in St Mary Moorfields Church, Eldon St, London, on Thursday September 14th, starting at 7pm. This day is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum coming into effect. Music will be proved by Cantus Magnus, directed by Matthew Schellhorn, and will include Thomas Tallis’ Mass for Four Voices, Nos autem gloriari oportet by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, and Super omnia by Luca Marenzio.

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    Advent is considered the start of the Roman Rite’s liturgical year as a matter of logic and convention, but is not formally designated as such in the liturgy itself. In the Byzantine Rite, on the other hand, the liturgical year has a formally designated beginning on September 1st, a custom which has its origin in an ancient Roman cycle of taxation known as the Indiction. This was celebrated as the civil New Year in the Byzantine Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, and in Russia until in 1699, when it was changed by Peter the Great as part of his Westernizing reforms. The Indiction is still mentioned repeatedly in the liturgical texts of September 1, as in this Idiomel for Matins.
    Thy kingdom, Christ God, is the kingdom of all the ages, and Thy dominion is from generation to generation; Thou hast made all things in wisdom, fixing for us times and seasons; therefore we thank Thee for all things and through all things we cry out: Bless the crown of the year with Thy goodness and grant that we may all cry out to Thee without condemnation: Lord, glory to Thee! (Psalm 144, 13; 103, 24; 64, 12)
    The Byzantine tradition distinguishes twelve feasts, eight of Our Lord and four of Our Lady, as “Great Feasts”, with Easter in a category of its own as the Feast of Feasts. Whether by design or coincidence, the first of these in the liturgical year is also the first chronologically, the Nativity of the Virgin on September 8th. This event does not of course occur in the Bible, but is first mentioned in the popular apocryphal work known as the Protoevangelium of James. The precise origin of the feast is a matter of speculation, and the reason for the choice of date is unknown. It was celebrated at Constantinople by the 530s, when St Romanus the Melodist composed a hymn for it; by the seventh century, it had passed to the West, and Pope St Sergius I (687-701) decreed that it be should celebrated with a procession from the church of St Adrian (who shares his feast day with the Birth of the Virgin) to St Mary Major. It would seem, however, that it was rather slower to be accepted than the other early Marian feasts, the Purification, Annunciation and Assumption, since it is not mentioned in some important early liturgical books. Thus we find it included in the oldest manuscript of the Gelasian Sacramentary in roughly 750 A.D., but missing from the calendar in some later books.

    A 16th-century Russian icon of the Birth of the Virgin.
    From the Byzantine Rite, the Roman borrowed the following troparion as the antiphon at the Magnificat for Second Vespers, surely one of the most beautiful of the entire Gregorian reportoire.
    Ἡ γέννησίς σου Θεοτόκε, χαρὰν ἐμήνυσε πάσῃ τῇ οἰκουμένῃ· ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἀνέτειλεν ὁ Ἥλιος τῆς δικαιοσύνης, Χριστὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν· καὶ λύσας τὴν κατάραν, ἔδωκε τὴν εὐλογίαν· καὶ καταργήσας τὸν θάνατον, ἐδωρήσατο ἡμῖν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον.
    Nativitas tua, Dei Genitrix Virgo, gaudium annuntiavit universo mundo: ex te enim ortus est sol justitiae, Christus Deus noster: qui solvens maledictionem, dedit benedictionem, et confundens mortem, donavit nobis vitam sempiternam.
    Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaimed joy to the whole world; for from Thee arose the sun of righteousness, Christ our God; who released us from the curse, and gave us blessing; and confounding death, He granted us eternal life.
    A tradition of the church of Angers in France claims that the feast was instituted by a bishop of that see in the early fifth century, St Maurilius, in consequence of an apparition of the Virgin vouchsafed to him. Another version of the story, also associated by some authors with St Maurilius, claims that a hermit who lived near Angers heard angels singing on September 8th to celebrate the birth upon earth of the Queen of Heaven. However, St Fulbert of Chartres, (ca. 960-1028) speaks of it as a feast of recent institution, and his three sermons on the subject are the oldest genuine Latin homilies on the feast. In the first of these, he says, “After some of Her other, more ancient feasts, the devotion of the faithful was not content, unless it could add to them today’s feast of Her Birth.”

    Ironically, it was another sermon of St Fulbert, preached not on the Nativity, but on the Annunciation, which became the standard medieval Office sermon for the feast, since it was included among the sermons of St Augustine. This inclusion was perhaps not an accident, but a way of adding greater authority to the work of a “new” author on a new custom. (It is still to this day noted as “A Sermon of St Augustine” in the Breviary of the Extraordinary Form.) This text would have a huge fortune in the history of Marian devotion, since a part of the peroration became one of the most commonly used texts for antiphons and responsories of the Virgin Mary.
    Sancta Maria, succurre miseris, juva pusillanimes, refove flebiles, ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu. Sentiant omnes tuum juvamen, quicumque celebrant tuam commemorationem.
    Holy Mary, come to the aid of the wretched, help the weak in spirit, refresh the mournful, pray for the people, intervene for the clergy, intercede for all devout women. May all those who celebrate the commemoration of Thee perceive Thy aid.
    The words occurring before and after these were often used in France as lessons for Matins in the Little Office of the Virgin Mary, as for example in the Cistercian Use, which, with characteristic austerity, proposes the same single lesson every day.
    Admitte, piissima Dei Genitrix, preces nostras intra sacrarium tuæ exauditionis, et reporta nobis antidotum reconciliationis. Sit per te excusabile quod per te ingerimus: fiat impetrabile quod fida mente poscimus. Accipe quod offerimus, redona quæ rogamus, excusa quod timemus.
    Most holy Mother of God, admit our prayers into the holy place where Thou may hear them, and bring us the remedy of reconciliation. Through Thee, may all be forgiven, that we place therein also through Thee; and what we ask with confidence become obtainable. Receive what we offer, grant in return what we ask, obtain pardon for what we fear.
    The upper part of the Tree of Jesse window, one of the most famous and best preserved of the stained glass windows in the cathedral of Chartres, from the end of the 12th century.
    At the Papal conclave of 1241, one of the most difficult in the Church’s history, the cardinals were forcibly enclosed in a ruined building known as the Septizodium, then a thousand years old, under such rough conditions that one of their number died. This was done by another cardinal, Matteo Orsini, in an attempt to force the election of a Pope favorable to certain interests which he backed. The cardinals vowed to honor the feast of the Virgin Mary’s Nativity by granting it an octave, if She would lead them to agreement on a candidate and obtain their deliverance; the liturgical commentator William Durandus, writing at the end of the century, notes that the Pope thus elected, Celestine IV, died after a reign of two-and-a-half weeks, and it was left to his successor, Innocent IV, to fulfill the vow.

    As a “new” feast, the Nativity of the Virgin was never kept with a vigil in the Roman Rite, i.e., a fast on the day before, accompanied by a Mass in violet after None, and without the Gloria in excelsis, Alleluia or Creed. (The same holds true even for the medieval feast par excellence, Corpus Christi.) In the Ambrosian Rite, however, it is kept with such a vigil, as a feast of particular importance, the titular feast of the cathedral. On the façade over the central door is a large plaque with the two words “Mariae Nascenti - To Mary as She is born.”

    On both the vigil and feast, a lesson is read which very cleverly links two Biblical passages traditionally associated with the Virgin Mary, the sixth chapter of the Song of Songs, and the twenty-fourth of Ecclesiasticus.
    Thus sayeth Wisdom: Song 6, 8-9 She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her. The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and concubines, and they praised her. Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array? Eccli. 24, 24-28 I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations.
    The Protoevanglium of James mentioned above is also the source for the names of the Virgin’s parents, Ss. Joachim and Anna. Because it is an apocryphal Gospel, their feasts were suppressed from the Roman Rite in the reform of St Pius V, along with the Virgin’s Presentation in the Temple, which is also first mentioned therein. This went far too strongly against the grain of traditional piety, and all three feasts were swiftly restored, St Anne’s by Pius’ own successor, Gregory XIII, in 1584, the Presentation by Sixtus V the following year, and St Joachim by Gregory XV in 1622. In the Roman Rite, his feast was assigned to the Sunday within the Octave of the Assumption, and later fixed by St Pius X to August 16th. The Ambrosians, however, placed it on September 9th, the day after the Virgin’s Nativity; arguably a more reasonable choice, since the ancient tradition was that Joachim and Anne were both quite elderly at the time of the Virgin’s birth, making it certain that neither was still alive at the time of the Assumption.

    The Descent of the Virgin from St Anne, by Gerard David, ca. 1490
    On both feasts, in both the Roman and Ambrosian liturgies, the Gospel is the genealogy of Christ from the beginning of St Matthew, chapter 1, 1-16. From ancient times, it was understood that this Gospel, in tracing the royal descent of St. Joseph, shows that the Virgin Mary is also descended from King David, to whom the promise of the Messiah was made. Since Joseph is commended as a just man, he would not transgress the law that a Jew must marry within his own tribe, and therefore Mary must also be of the tribe of David. A passage to this effect from St John Damascene’s book “On the Orthodox Faith” (book 4, 15) is read in the Roman Breviary on the feast of St Joachim.

    On September 12th, 1683, the combined armies of the Holy Roman Empire and the Kingdom of Poland defeated the invading armies of the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna, a battle which would prove to be the high-water mark of the Turkish invasion of Europe. The King of Poland and commander of the Christian armies, Jan III Sobieski, had placed his troops under the special protection of the Virgin Mary, as they rode to the defence of Christendom. In thanksgiving for the victory, therefore, Blessed Innocent XI (1676-89) extended to the universal calendar the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, thitherto kept only in Spain and Naples. It was originally assigned to the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of the Virgin, but later fixed by St Pius X to September 12th. (The reform of 1911 abolished the once-common custom of fixing feasts to particular Sundays, with a few exceptions.) In the Calendar of 1969, the feasts of the Holy Name of Jesus and of Mary were both abolished, one of the reformers’ worst decisions, happily undone by St John Paul II in 2002. In the interim, it continued to be observed as the titular feast of many churches of the Virgin Mary, especially in Italy.
    King Jan Sobieski Victorious at the Gates of Vienna, by Jan Matejko, 1883. In the middle, King Jan hands to a Dominican friar a message to deliver to the Pope, announcing the victory; on the right, Leopold I, Archduke of Austria and Holy Roman Emperor, doffs his hat to him. The artist, himself a Pole, painted this in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the battle, by which time the Kingdom of Poland had been partitioned between Austria, Russia and Prussia, and no longer existed as an independent state; he is here reminding the Austrians that their position as a dominant power in Central Europe was due in no small measure to the military might of the Poles, now in part their subjects. This painting was donated to the Vatican Museums by the artist, on condition that it always be prominently displayed; on the frame (not seen here) are medallion portraits of Bl. Innocent XI and the then-reigning Pope, Leo XIII. A copy of this image in silver relief was placed over the grave of King Jan in the cathedral of Krakow.

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    The complete text of the new motu proprio on liturgical translations issued today, Magnum principium, is now available on the Vatican Bolletino in a variety of languages: Latin, English, Italian, and Spanish. A commentary from the CDW on the changes instituted thereby accompanies it.

    From the very first post on NLM, August 1, 2005, a report by Stratford Caldecott on a liturgical conference held in June of that year in Oxford.

    “Don’t fear anarchy ... Anarchy is what we have already. The law of the Church has been so widely disregarded that it is now in disrepute: if respect for law is to return there must be an end to the pretense that everything is under control.”

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    Our thanks to Arrys Ortañez for these photos of a Dominican Rite Missa cantata celebrated on Friday, the feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, by Fr Innocent Smith at the church of St Vincent Ferrer in New York City. Below them are two photos sent in by Diana Yuan of Solemn Mass for the same feast at Our Lady of Mt Carmel, offered by Fr Stephen Saffron for living and deceased religious; after Mass, there was the traditional blessing of flowers, herbs, and seeds.

    Preparation of the Chalice, which is done before the Gospel.
    The acolytes stand facing the wall for the Gospel.

    Genuflection at the Creed

    As we have shown many times before, in most medieval Uses, the priest extend his hands in the form of a Cross during the Unde et memores.
    Our Lady of Mt Carmel

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    In 2013 we published a list of Catholic Liturgical Children's Choirs. Since then, the list has grown substantially, so we are delighted to share it again. The start of the academic year is an ideal time to be thinking about enrolling your child in a choir. In so doing, you are helping to make the Liturgy we offer to God as beautiful as possible, and your child will gain the immeasurable benefits of an immersion in the musical treasures of the Catholic Church.

    It is quite possible that some of the information below is out of date: if so, please help by making amendments in the comments. Equally, if you know of a choir which is not listed, please share the information in the comments and it will be incorporate in future editions of the list.

    UNITED STATES (State alphabetical)

    St. Clare of Assisi: a children's choir for students in grades 3-8, forming on the west side of the Diocese of Phoenix Arizona. The choir will specialize in Gregorian chant and sacred music. Contact is Director of Music Matthew J. Meloche

    Corpus Christi: The St. Cecilia Schola Cantorum offers a music education and choral experience which includes instruction in sight singing, theory, Catholic catechesis and Gregorian chant. The St. Cecilia Choir (7+ years) and the Mary’s Angels Choir (under age 7) rehearse on Friday afternoons. Open to non-parish members. Contact the director, Valerie Nicolosi, at valnic33@sbcglobal.netWebsite

    St Mary's: Director of Music David Hughes, a key CMAA figure and leading Catholic musician has a huge music programme involving a number of choirs with excellent opportunities for children. Contact David Hughes music@stmarynorwalk.netWebsite

    St John Cantius: The Holy Innocents Choir has nearly 100 children. Gregorian Chant and modern notation are taught, as well as catechesis. Rehearsals on Saturdays, sings at OF and EF Masses, Propers and Ordinaries; polyphonic mass settings; motets and hymns. Also occasionally sings the Divine Office with the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius. Contact Director Br. Chad McCoy, SJC, email holyinnocentschoir@cantius.orgWebsite
    Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church: Schola Cantorum founded three years ago as an "after school choir school." 25 choristers and 8 probationers (lower parts are choral scholars from the local university) directed by Lucas Tappan. The Schola sings every other week for the sacred liturgy as well as for concerts and tours. This year the students will be recording their first CD. Contact Lucas Tappan ltappan@mphm.comWebsite

    Regina Caeli Schola Cantorum: a Gregorian Chant class for children grade 3-8. Rehearsals on Mondays. Contact the Director Mia Coyne miacoyne@gmail.comWebsite

    St Jane Frances de Chantal: Parish Children's Choir for children grade 3-8, rehearses on Wednesday evenings and sings for Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant and Hymns. Director Mia Coyne miacoyne@gmail.comWebsite

    St Paul's, Harvard Square: home to the renowned St Paul's Choir School, one of two Catholic Choir Schools in the USA. Musical boys in 3rd grade should apply for entry at 4th grade. Contact John Robinson, Director of Music 617-868-8658 jrobinson@choirschool.netInformationWebsite

    St. Mary's, Kalamazoo, Michigan has a children's choir which sings principally at the EF Mass. Propers, Ordinary, and hymns and motets. Chant and some polyphony. Website

    St Benedict's: Children's Schola for boys and girls grades 2-8, directed by Sandra Eller, to study sight reading skills using solfege, and sing Latin and English chant in modern and Gregorian notation. Rehearses Wednesday evenings, sings for Sunday Mass once a month. Contact Director Sandra Eller nannybouje@gmail.comWebsite

    ST. PAUL, MN
    Cathedral of St Paul: The Cathedral Choir School of Minnesota is an after-school program at the Cathedral on Wednesdays for Choristers in grades K-12, beginning with Benediction and concluding with Mass. Contact Jayne Windnagel Website

    St Martin of Tours: a new children's choir focusing on Chant and polyphony directed by Mary Pentecost, weekly rehearsals (Thursdays) and singing at a monthly Mass. Auditions for children in Grades 3-12. Contact Mary Pentecost (314) 544-5664 InformationWebsite

    Cathedral of St Helena: The St Cecilia Choir for boys and girls aged 7-15 sings once a month at the 11am Mass with weekly rehearsals on Tuesdays. Website

    St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, FSSP: Sacred Music Instruction for boys and girls 7-14: including Ward method activities, Gregorian chant, and beginning polyphony. Rehearsals are Wednesdays from 4-5 pm. Choristers sing for occasional sung Masses at SF Chapel. Those interested in joining please contact Nicholas Lemme, Chant Director at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, FSSP; Choir Director at St. Francis of Assisi Chapel (402) 797-7700

    A new youth schola (12+ years old) directed by Dr. Patricia Warren to compliment Schola Vox Clara, a Schola which serves the Extraordinary Form in the Diocese of Raleigh. Weekly rehearsals to sing for one EF Mass per month to start. Mixed voices, and gentlemen with both unchanged and changed voices are welcome. No prior choral experience is necessary. Contact Dr. Patricia Warren,
    Director, Schola Vox Clara

    Ward method classes given by NLM's Jennifer Donelson are available as part of the Colm Cille Club homeschool co-op curriculum. Classes are on Wednesday mornings at St Catherine's Church. Website

    Holy Family: Schola Cantorum sings at a weekly Diocesan Extraordinary Form Mass. Its members are girls and young women ages 14-23, who sing Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony alone, and occasionally with a men's Schola (in formation). Contact Fr. Stephen Concordia O.S.B. stephen.concordia@stvincent.eduWebsite

    Harmonia Children's Choir Christ Our King Stella Maris School. Directors, Scott and Suzanne Fleming-Atwood and

    Saint Rita Catholic Church has a graded program for children in grades K-8, with three choirs serving 70 children. Jubilate Deo, grades 5-8, sings once each month for the sung liturgy, Novus Ordo. Additional training in theory and sight singing offered once per week. Dr. Alfred Calabrese, head director.

    The Atonement Academy and Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church. The Saint Augustine Boy Choir is for boys with unchanged voices in grades 3-8. The Saint Nicholas Children's Choir is for girls in grades 3-8. The choirs focus on Gregorian Chant and many motets and anthems of the Anglican Patrimony. Contact Brett Paterson, Department of Music (210) 695-2240 Website

    Madeleine Cathedral: The Madeleine Choir School, a superb Cathedral Choir directed by Gregory Glenn with vocal training from Melanie Malinka, both inspirational musicians who are well-known to those who have attended the Colloquium the past two years in Salt Lake. Website

    The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes: The Diocesan Youth Choir for boys and girls in grades 3-8. In this diocesan choir, children learn music skills including singing technique and sight-reading and sing beautiful sacred music in the context of Mass presided over by the Bishop of Spokane. Contact the Cathedral Music Office at (509) 358-4290 or

    St James the Greater: a number of children's choirs - Sacred Heart Choir for Kindergarten-Grade2, Saint Cecilia Choir for girls grades 3-8, Saint Gregory Choir for boys grades 3-8, Archangelus Chorale for high school students and Holy Trinity Ensemble, and auditioned choir for grades 5-12. Contact Director of Music Gary Penkala liturgy@stjameswv.orgWebsite

    Basilica of St Josaphat: a new children's choir is being formed. Contact Christopher Berry Director of Music berryc@archmil.orgWebsite

    The American Federation of Pueri Cantores Website


    St John the Evangelist: Sacred Heart Choir School is a program for homeschooling boys and girls in grades 3-12 based at St John's, an Ordinariate Parish. Classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact the Principal, Paul Hudec Website

    St Michael's Cathedral: St Michael's Choir School for boys has three choirs which sing at the Cathedral: Elementary Choir (Grades 3 & 4), Junior Choir (Grades 5 & 6), Senior Choir (Grades 7-12). Contact musicoffice@smcs.on.caWebsite

    Oratory of St Philip Neri: The Oratory Children's Choir - Children learn chanted ordinaries of the mass, English propers in psalm-tone and 2-pt fauxbourdon and motets from Medieval to 19th Century repertoire. Grade 4-12. Contact Oratory Music Director, Philip Fournier: Website

    St.Thomas More Ordinariate Parish has a children's choir for ages 7 to 18, meeting for weekly rehearsal on Thursday afternoons. Plainchant to contemporary classical repertoire. Directed by Katharine Mahon kmahon79@yahoo.caWebsite


    Autun Cathedral Girls Choir - Choeur de Filles de la Maîtrise de la Cathédrale d'Autun. Liturgy - Concerts - Choir School. Girls aged 6 to 15 years old, trained in Gregorian Chant and Polyphony. Director : Hugo Gutierrez +33980903434 Website

    Notre Dame de L'Assomption 1er: Les Petits Chanteurs de Passy for boys and girls aged 8-14. Rehearses Fridays and Saturdays, sings polyphony with adult back row. Contact contact@petits-chanteurs-passy.frWebsite

    Saint-Eugène - Sainte-Cécile 9e: Les Petits Chantres de Sainte-Cécile, a new choir for children launches at the end of September 2013. Rehearsals on Saturday afternoons. Contact the Director, Clotilde de Nedde clotildedenedde@gmail.comFacebookWebsite

    St Bavo Cathedral: The Koorschool is a Choir School for boys and girls from age 8. Contact info@koorschoolhaarlem.nlWebsite

    Metropolitan Cathedral. Boys' Choir and Girls' Choir. Website

    London Oratory SW7: The London Oratory Junior Choir for boys and girls aged 8-16 directed by Charles Cole. Three rehearsals per week and two services including the Sunday 10am Mass. Gregorian Chant Propers and Ordinary, motets from Medieval/Renaissance through to present day. Also sings for the Royal Ballet's productions at Covent Garden. Contact oratoryjuniorchoir@gmail.comInformationWebsite

    London Oratory Schola. Boys' choir which sings the Saturday Vigil Mass at the London Oratory, Concerts, Tours, Recordings. All boys attend The London Oratory SchoolWebsite

    St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane. Children's Choir Website

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  • 09/11/17--09:04: The Other Great Principle
  • In light of recent events, it seemed fitting to place online the complete text of Chapter 12 of my book Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis: Sacred Liturgy, the Traditional Latin Mass, and Renewal in the Church (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2014), 158-165, with the publisher's permission.

    Latin, the Ideal Liturgical Language of the West
    Many convincing arguments can be and have been given in favor of preserving the Latin language in the liturgical life of the Roman Catholic Church—as even the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963) stated that it should be, following close on the heels of John XXIII’s remarkable Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia of 1962.[1] As we all know, Pope John XXIII’s and the Council’s reaffirmations of Latin in the liturgy were more or less cancelled out completely by the ill-considered decisions of Pope Paul VI, who once more demonstrated to the world that if the pope enjoys the charism of infallibility when teaching the truths of faith and morals, he enjoys no such gift in regard to particular prudential judgments, including the dispositions of the liturgy in its changeable elements.  In any case, my purpose in this chapter is not to catalog and review the many arguments in favor of Latin, a task that has already been well explored by others, but merely to speak of some of my own personal experiences of where and when the impressive unity of Latin would have made so much more sense in real life than the Babel of vernacular languages.

    My wife and I lived in Austria for seven and a half years. Being in Europe convinced me past all doubt that the switch after the Council to an exclusive use of the vernacular for the Mass was the most foolish and nearsighted change that could have been made. Instead of making the Mass more deeply accessible, it localizes, particularizes, and relativizes it, shutting off everyone who does not speak the local tongue; traveling or immigrant Catholics are thrust into a foreign environment that alienates them far more than the solemn Latin liturgy ever alienated the simplest peasant. In fact, due to its pervasive aura of sacredness and its perceptible focus on the mystery of the Eucharist, the traditional liturgy, even when the words are not fully understood, shapes the soul better than the new liturgy when cerebrally understood.

    The irony can be seen on many levels.

    First, Latin is universal and is not the daily language of any modern nation or people. There is no cultural imperialism in the use of Latin, but rather a visible sign of the Church of Christ reaching out to all nations, leading them back to unity in one faith, one communion, one worship of God. If the use of Latin were argued to be a form of cultural imperialism, we would have to go further and say that proclaiming and preaching the Trinity or the Incarnation is a form of theological imperialism destructive of pagan African, Asian, and European cultures and religions, or that the very use of the same Mass, the same missal (in however many vernacular tongues), is a form of liturgical imperialism destructive of the peculiar ways that an Aborigine might choose to worship Christ. There is no escaping this logic: if you deny the fittingness of a universal presence of Latin, a universality insisted on by none other than St. John XXIII, you are on the road to denying the universality of Christian doctrine and worship as such. Why acknowledge or adhere to any type of transcultural and transhistorical unity—why not opt for total pluralism, as postmodernism has done? Or perhaps I should say, as postmodernism has attempted to do, since one cannot exalt total pluralism without denying the intelligibility of communication and therefore rendering null and void the entire project.

    Second, modern Europeans in general are strongly multilingual, which would make Latin easy enough for them to get used to, as indeed they once were accustomed to it not many decades ago. There has never been an age when Latin would be more accessible than now, precisely on account of the “globalization” taking place. If men of Switzerland or Denmark can and often must speak several languages, what would be the difficulty of liturgy in Latin? It would be a source of international unity among believers, far more than idiosyncratic local liturgies could ever be. In those years in Europe, I participated in many liturgies that would have gone far more smoothly had they simply been in Latin. On my sole visit to Lourdes, I attended a Mass in which the languages were being shifted constantly to accommodate the international congregation, an elaborate show of linguistic gymnastics that I found highly distracting, and it was almost impossible for me to pray. The already overly verbal and self-involved character of the new liturgy was heightened all the more by this preoccupation with proportional coverage of language groups.

    Third, and building on the last point, because literacy has spread everywhere, large numbers of people are in a position to follow along with a hand missal or a booklet that reproduces the Ordinary of the Mass. Even the illiterate, who often enjoy (in compensation, as it were) a rich oral culture and a high level of intuitive understanding, will benefit from sermons in their own tongue that explain the Mass, as Romano Guardini explained it to his German congregations. Moreover, as Jacques Maritain says in Peasant of the Garonne, the believer who, by simply kneeling at Mass and letting his mind be drawn to heavenly things, is caught up in silent worship of God, does not need words, missals, long readings and sermons; it is enough for him to be there. As the peasant  in the parish of the Curé of Ars put it: “He looks at me and I look at Him.” When the liturgy breaks this immediate spiritual contact in favor of verbal didacticism, it does a disservice to the spiritual lives of believers.

    Fourth, the longed-for fraternity of nations and peace on earth—what could serve this aspiration better than a liturgy everywhere the same? An American traveling in France, a German traveling in Spain, an Italian traveling in Denmark, indeed an Asian in Africa or an Indian in Australia, all of them would find themselves “back home” in the local parish church. And given the importance G.K. Chesterton and Gabriel Marcel rightly place on this deep and inexpressibly consoling feeling of “being at home,” should not the Church do everything in her power to make the liturgy the very place where one can always be at home, no matter where one is? Not, of course, by making the liturgy chummy and casual, but by ensuring that it remains deeply familiar in its identity, coherence, consistency, and stability. It is, or should be, a single solemn act of adoration of the Blessed Trinity that never varies in spirit from the rising of the sun to its setting. As Our Lord says: “Believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. . . . The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (Jn 4:21, 23). This was once a common experience of Catholics. In spite of vast differences of peoples, cultures, and circumstances, the sacred liturgy was truly universal and unified, so that one encountered the beautiful face of Christ in the face of his Church everywhere. Lamentably, the Church of today gives quite a different impression, one of democratic diversity, with many different masters served on as many different mountains.

    We are living in the age of travel, the age of the “global village.” At least in the Western world, almost everyone travels at some point or another; there has never been a time in the entire history of the world when so large a number of people take trips within their country as well as to foreign countries. How foolish it was to break down the universal mode of worship just when it has become more needed than ever! The usus antiquior emphatically illustrates and admirably furthers the purpose of human brotherhood—and, as Henri de Lubac observes, there is definitive brotherhood only in a common adoration of God. In the realm of the Novus Ordo, however, the liturgical celebrations illustrate a diversity or plurality that is not traced back to unity and universality, as is painfully evident to a traveler who speaks few or no other languages than his own. Once upon a time, parishes and chapels across the entire globe testified to the profound inner unity of the Catholic (that is, universal) Church; now there is only the Protestant phenomenon of localization.

    This last point deserves a bit of development. The era of the traditional liturgy in fact left much room for inculturation or local adaptation, whether in the design of churches, in the style of vestments, in the layout and decoration of sanctuaries, or in popular hymns, carols, and processions. Nevertheless, the one constant axis was the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which testified in its very language and ritual to an unbroken unity with Rome, the mystical-historical seat of the Church founded by Christ. The incarnational scandal of the particular was never sacrificed in view of temporary and superficial gains; Christ was never declared to be an African or an Asian, a female or a hermaphrodite, in order to win converts from paganism, feminism, gnosticism, etc. The Faith is founded on the rock of Peter, by providence Bishop of Rome, and this utmost particularity will remain until the end of time, as an image of the even greater scandal of the particularity of Christ, a Jewish man born in Nazareth during the heyday of the Roman Empire. The Chinese Catholic, as a man and as Chinese, worships God in communion with Rome. This is what the old liturgy proclaimed, in blissful and holy ignorance of the shallow charge of “cultural imperialism,” which of course the proclamation of truth can never be, even though the Gospel was given to mankind through the most particular of all particular circumstances.

    Some years ago, I was taken aback when a friend forwarded me a discussion by a conservative Catholic apologist who had come out in full arms and armor to defend the vernacularization of the Mass after the Council. My first impression was that his panoply of arguments, though reasonable-sounding, had already been rehearsed by the promoters of the Consilium’s “reform” back in the 1960s, and had not gained in truth or persuasiveness with the intervening decades. My second impression was that I was looking at a case of old-fashioned dissent in respect of Pope John XXIII’s Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, which declared Latin to be the permanent and preeminent language of the Roman Catholic Church’s worship and theology. This Constitution has been endlessly violated since its promulgation, but it has never been rescinded nor its contents abrogated. It may be that a future pope will be able to take it up again with praise when the full effects of Summorum Pontificum have permeated the Church.

    In any case, the apologist argued that Latin was the common language of ancient Rome, and so we ought to be using the common language of our day and age. Well, Latin certainly was the common language of many members of the Catholic Church once upon a time, in the declining Roman Empire, but already in the early Middle Ages, with the invasions of barbarian tribes speaking a plethora of languages, Latin became more and more a monastic and academic tongue, and at the popular level morphed into early forms of the Romance languages, such as the Italian dialect in which Dante wrote his Divine Comedy, or the Neapolitan dialect St. Thomas Aquinas used when preaching in his native territory. Thus, we may safely say that for over a thousand years the Catholic Church was worshiping in a language that had become a fixed, formal, sacred language, just as Hindus use Sanskrit, Jews Hebrew, Muslims Arabic, and so on.

    It was also plain silly for this apologist to assert that most people in the old days did not understand what was going on at Mass. From what I can tell, it seems fair to say that far more people in the old days knew what was going on at Mass—essentially—and why it was important, than people know nowadays, even though the Mass is in their own language. Now, I would not blame the language for this; I rather blame the clergy, as well as the wretched translation of the Novus Ordo that was foisted upon the faithful by the original ICEL, malforming congregations for forty-five years. Still, the tectonic shift in language signified in the popular mind a shift in the very meaning of what was taking place in church, and hence, over time, a further deviation in the faith of the people regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Will it ever be possible to calculate the damage done to the Church by the banishment of Latin from her public worship? I think not. We have little conception of the true extent of the harm, just as we have trouble imagining the size of the earth, the solar system, or the galaxy we are in. By the sudden cessation and replacement of the solemn sacred language that for over 1,500 years had been the tongue, the voice, part of the inmost character, of the Western Church, the opinion already circulating at the time of the Council that the past is meaningless to the present and the present must be liberated from the past was confirmed and, as it were, institutionalized. In the very fact of vernacular worship is embodied the hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity, a feeling of superior enlightenment and superior mission, as though now we finally understand, now we finally know what we are to do in the modern world. “Fools, for they have not far-reaching minds,” as Empedocles once said. What we ought to do in the modern world is nothing other than precisely what we have always been doing in every age. The mistake was thinking that we could do better. For our punishment, we have been permitted not only to do much worse, but to burn many of the bridges that lead back to doing better.

    Although he hated many features of the Catholic liturgy after his break from Rome, Martin Luther retained respect for the Latin tongue. Actually, the case is even more embarrassing for today’s Latin-loathing Catholics, inasmuch as Luther had the basic psychological insight to realize that Latin adds something to the liturgy and that it should not simply be thrown out, as can be seen in his preservation of the Latin language in Lutheran worship—a custom that lasted well into the time of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose more compact settings of the Gloria and Sanctus are not crypto-Catholic oddities but perfectly useful Lutheran church music. Is it not long past the time when the Pope and the appropriate dicasteries at the Vatican should do something about this travesty, this amnesia of our own identity, history, culture, and mother tongue of worship?

    Maybe someday historians will be able to look back and see that Summorum Pontificum marked a decisive shift in the “language wars”—a phrase by which I advert not to the more pedestrian, albeit still important, question of whether the Ordinary Form is well translated, but rather, to the more intriguing and more consequential question of whether a liturgy that has been cut off from its age-old roots in the Latin language and the piety of the Latin rite can survive in the long run. Maybe the motu proprio [SP] marks the beginning of a movement that will culminate, decades or centuries later, in the rightful triumph of the Latin liturgy, the Mass of our forefathers, the Mass of the ages. For this quixotic but, with God’s power, manifestly achievable goal, we should certainly not fail to get on our knees to pray: Miserere nobis, Domine.


    [1] Sacrosanctum Concilium states: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites” (36.1); “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (54); “In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office” (101.1). Even Annibale Bugnini writes in his memoirs: “The conclusion reached in this debate [between partisans of Latin and partisans of the vernacular] was ultimately set forth in Chapter I of the Constitution on the Liturgy, where the question is answered in a way that reconciles the rights of Latin and the need of the vernaculars in celebrations with the people” (The Reform of the Liturgy [Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1990], 25). Would that the rights of Latin had been respected by Paul VI.

    [2] Although I sympathize with many arguments given by supporters of the “reform of the reform,” I cannot agree with their contention that Latin has always remained the language of the liturgy. It is, of course, the language of the editio typica on which translations are based, but the Vatican has done next to nothing in the past forty-five years to ensure that Latin remain the language of the Novus Ordo Mass anywhere. Already when Paul VI introduced the new missal, he lamented the loss of Latin it would bring, and said we ought to consider this painful sacrifice worth it in view of how well the vernacular would serve the contemporary needs of the Church. Whenever John Paul II mentioned Latin, he reserved for it a small place, not the dominant place given it by John XXIII and Vatican II. Nor did Pope Benedict XVI see to it that the Ordinary Form be celebrated far and wide in its Latin typical edition; rather, he encouraged the rediscovery and spread of the Extraordinary Form, which, Deo gratias, remains in the Church’s mother tongue.

    (A link to the book of which this is a chapter.)

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    This October 29th, the Catholic Art Guild, a Chicago-based community of artists, will host a landmark conference bringing together leading philosophers and artists to rediscover the power of Beauty in the modern world.

    The conference, entitled “Beauty and the Restoration of the Sacred”, will feature English philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, well-known for his BBC documentary “Why Beauty Matters,” as well as architect Duncan Stroik, classical artist Anthony Visco, and art historian and educator Denis McNamara.

    The ground-breaking conference opens with a Solemn High Mass featuring Renaissance choral music in the baroque splendor of Chicago’s historic St. John Cantius Church, a parish well known for bringing beauty into Christian worship.

    Conference presentations and discussions will take place at the The Drake Hotel, followed by an elegant banquet, wine service, culminating in a stimulating panel discussion.

    “Beauty has been so denigrated in today’s culture as a result of prevalent utilitarian thinking. This unfortunately relegates those with artistic gifts to the periphery or worse, tells them their gifts are useless,” says organizer and guild President Kathleen Carr, “We hope this conference will shine a light on the necessity of Beauty in today’s world.”

    All visual artists, designers, architects, art educators, and art lovers are welcome to attend. Tickets and more information can be found at

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    The church of St John Cantius in Chicago will have a Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Thursday, September 14th, for the Exaltation of the Cross, starting at 7:30 pm. The Mass will feature Palsestrina’s famous Missa Papae Marcelli, and motets by Gascogne and Guerero; Tournemire’s L’Orgue mystique will be played beforehand, starting at 7. The church is located at 825 North Carpenter Street.
    On September 30th, the Canons will be offering a liturgical conference for the laity at the church of the Sacred Heart in Springfield, Illinois, which will include a solemn Pontifical Mass celebrated by H.E. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop Emeritus of Lincoln, Nebraska. For more information and to download the registration form, click here.

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    Thanks once again to our Ambrosian correspondent Nicola de’ Grandi, this time for finding these wonderful photos of some processions held in Milan in the 1920s. The first set is of procession with the relics of St Aloysius Gonzaga, which took place on February 13, 1927, going from the church of St Fidelis to the Duomo. The Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Eugenio Tosi (predecessor of the Blessed Schuster), and the entire chapter of the cathedral participated.

    The banner of the city, carried by four firemen, and accompanied by the city’s valets.
    The archbishop’s mace-bearer, wearing a traditional costume from the days when Milan was a territory of the Spanish crown, and pages carrying the biretta and cape of the Cardinal.
    Members of the cathedral chapter, preceded by their processional cross.
    A bishop, not the Cardinal.
    Card. Eugenio Tosi, flanked by Monsignors Buttafava and Balbiani, Canons of the cathedral chapter; the clerics to either side carry their birrettas and capes.

    The relics of St Aloysius, carried under a baldachin of the classic form used by the Ambrosian church.
    Fr Giovanni Bargiggia, first provost of the parish of Santa Maria del Rosario in Milanom who was made bishop of Caltagirone in Sicily a few months later (which must have been quite the culture-shock...)
    The remaining photos are of a procession held on May 7, 1922, as part of a Eucharistic Congress.

    On Via San Giovanni sul Muro
    The procession passes in front of Santa Maria della Consolazione, which is now the home of the traditional Ambrosian Rite in the center of Milan.

    The procession arrives in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio.

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    The manipulation or distortion of truth should be opposed wherever it crops up, no matter what the source. For, as it says in a verse of Psalm 62 traditionally recited at Sunday Lauds: “The king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall glory; for the mouths of liars will be stopped” — a verse that was, incidentally, expunged from Paul VI’s Liturgy of the Hours.

    Anyone who has taken any trouble at all to study the history of the Second Vatican Council knows that it was an exceedingly complex event, with many currents of thoughts, extremely sharp disagreements among individuals and factions, and crafty manipulators behind the scenes, as one learns from eyewitnesses (e.g., Wiltgen, Lefebvre, Congar, de Lubac) and historians (e.g., De Mattei). It was no simple triumphal march of progressivism over the graves of obscurantists, as much as the victors wish they could rewrite the narrative by conveniently glossing over or dismissing the actual debates in the aula and the final texts of the documents, in which a conservative or traditional viewpoint is often reflected.

    This is not to say that the documents are unproblematic; fifty years of hermeneutical battles have sufficiently demonstrated the contrary. It is merely to say that the popular narrative of the Council as a “new Pentecost” driven forward by a nearly unanimous groundswell of support for innovation and modernization is far indeed from the variegated and uneasy truth of things. The documents were compromises, no doubt about it; the liberals did plan to leave them behind as soon as possible, like lower stages of a Saturn V aiming for the moon; the traditional elements in the documents are, by now, almost completely buried and forgotten; the Church is plentifully reaping the destructive results of rupture and discontinuity. All this is true. But it still gives us no carte blanche for rewriting the Council itself, unless we wish to be among those whose mouths will be stopped.

    Therefore, it is surprising, to say the least, to find a recent document making such claims as the following:
    The great principle, established by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood, required the weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy and of preparing and approving the versions of the liturgical books, a charge that was entrusted to the Bishops.
              The Latin Church was aware of the attendant sacrifice involved in the partial loss of liturgical Latin, which had been in use throughout the world over the course of centuries. However it willingly opened the door so that these versions, as part of the rites themselves, might become the voice of the Church celebrating the divine mysteries along with the Latin language.
              At the same time, especially given the various clearly expressed views of the Council Fathers with regard to the use of the vernacular language in the liturgy, the Church was aware of the difficulties that might present themselves in this regard.
              The goal of the translation of liturgical texts and of biblical texts for the Liturgy of the Word is to announce the word of salvation to the faithful in obedience to the faith and to express the prayer of the Church to the Lord.  For this purpose it is necessary to communicate to a given people using its own language all that the Church intended to communicate to other people through the Latin language.
    How curiously unlike what one discovers poring through the great big volumes that contain the speeches of the Council Fathers — all those religious superiors, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who spoke day after day in the opening session in 1962!

    When reading their speeches on the liturgy schema, one is struck by how often they return to the subject of Latin. Even after repeated requests by the moderators to stop talking about it, the subject kept popping up. Almost every speaker had an opinion and wanted to share it (each making his remarks, of course, in Latin—for the Council was the last great event at which one could sense vividly the glorious unity of a global, multi-racial Church communicating in a common mother tongue that belonged to no imperial power; this we lost as a punishment for the new tower of Babel we attempted to construct in the 1960s). Yes, it is true that a number of Council Fathers spoke out strongly in favor of greatly increasing the role of the vernacular; but they were a minority. There were many more who admitted that its use should be expanded in certain situations, while not displacing the customary Latin; and there were many besides who adamantly reaffirmed the primacy of Latin due to qualities frequently acknowledged by the Magisterium of the Church, such as its antiquity, longevity, stability, and universality.

    One of the experts sitting at the Council, soaking it all in, plotting his way through the maze of opinions and endless evening gatherings, was the Jesuit theologian Henri de Lubac. He was later to acquire a reputation for conservatism, but that was only against the backdrop of the insanity that would follow. When the Council opened, he was widely seen as a progressive, even a modernist, for his laudatory book on the pseudo-mystic Teilhard de Chardin. De Lubac has left us a precious historical document, the Vatican Council Notebooks, in which he wrote down detailed notes about his experiences each day at and around the Council. The very fact that de Lubac’s progressivism inclined him to pay less attention to the boring conservatives and more attention to the exciting young Turks makes it all the more striking that he records so many (but not all of the) conciliar speeches in favor of Latin. In other words, since we know he is not attempting to push a pro-Latin agenda—if anything, the contrary is true—his testimony reliably indicates the depth of thought and sentiment on behalf of Latin among the Council Fathers. As we shall see, too, many of the Council Fathers vividly anticipated the curse of too much liturgical variety and diversity of adaptation, and pleaded in favor of liturgical unity against decentralization and the fragmentation of decisions. Their warnings went unheeded.

    With this brief background to the Notebooks, let us bring before our eyes some of what de Lubac heard and recorded. (Numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the first volume of the Ignatius Press edition of Vatican Council Notebooks. I do not give the dates of the speeches here, which may be found by consulting the book; the first excerpt is from the gathering of October 23, 1962, and the last from that of November 13. De Lubac does not italicize the Latin phrases that he sprinkles throughout.)

    Archbishop Armando Farès of Catanzaro and Squillace observed that this text is intended to be the “magna charta”; so it is necessary to explain the connection “inter fidem et liturgiam” [between faith and liturgy] and to pay careful attention to liturgical unity for the sake of the unity of the faith.“Sit una lingua, sc. latina” [Let there be one language, namely, Latin]. (176–77)

    Cardinal Ruffini made 12 criticisms. … “Cautissime procedendum est” [it is necessary to proceed with the greatest caution {in regard to the question of Latin}]; there is great danger here, and it is not in conformity with the teachings of Pius XII. (178)

    Card. Feltin: Latin remains the language of the Church. … We must extend the concessions that have already been made by the popes for the use of the vernacular languages. He suggested that we keep the missa solemnis in Latin as well as the essential formulas of the sacraments. (178)

    Cardinal James L. McIntyre (Los Angeles): words of praise for Latin. It is a thing “plus quam humanum” [more than human]. He appealed to history. To attack the Latin language is in some way to impugn the immutability of dogmas. Latin is not only necessary from the ecclesiastical point of view, it is so from the scientific and civil points of view. It is the Catholic language: Protestants do not use it. “Missa debet remanere ut est” [the Mass must remain as it is]. (178–79)

    Cardinal John D’Alton (Armagh, Ireland). … “Placet omnino quod dicitur de lingua latina” [I entirely approve of what has been said of the Latin language], the language of the Church; but we must resist those who would like to eliminate Latin altogether. That would cause confusion. (179)

    Card. Juan Landázuri Ricketts (Lima, Peru): “in genere placet” [the schema pleases me in general]. Let us take care, however, not to favor variety too much. (179)

    Card. Bacci. … The people will not understand any more in the vernacular than in Latin, because we are dealing here with mysterious things … Besides, it is enough that catechesis is in the vernacular.… Danger of disputes, of nationalism, especially in bilingual (Canada, Belgium) or trilingual (Switzerland) countries, to the great detriment of the Church. For the sacraments, one could permit some parts in the vernacular language, “probante tamen Sancta Sede” [with the Holy See’s approval, however]. Matters this serious should not be left to the bishops’ conferences. Otherwise, “magna diversitas et confusio” [great diversity and confusion], as already exists today. (184)

    Alex. Gonçalves do Amara (Uberaba, Brazil): … The Mass and sacraments should be kept in Latin; the Epistle and the Gospel in the vernacular. (186)

    Pietro Parente, assessor of the Holy Office. … Her acts prove that the Church is not immobile, as she is accused of being. But it is necessary to proceed “cum maxime cautela” [with the greatest caution] … Be careful of the “pericula versionum” [dangers of translation]. (186–87)

    Dino Staffa, archbishop of Caesarea (Palestine), secretary of the Congregation for Studies. … To admit in principle the use of the vernacular languages is a serious matter, for it will not be possible to stop at half-measures. There is a great risk for the faith and for discipline.—At a time when the world is moving toward unity, will the Church move in the direction of diversity? … “Lingua latina integre servetur in missa” [Let Latin be preserved in full in the Mass]. (187)

    Cardinal Siri. … It is necessary to soften art. 20, on adaptations; we must stave off the danger of a multiplicity of forms and deviations. … No. 24, on Latin: caute procedendum [let us proceed with caution]: let us abide by “Veterum sapientia.” (191)

    Bishop M.J. Flores of Barbastro (Spain). … No. 24 [on introducing vernacular]: we should mistrust those who dare everything; beware, here as everywhere, of the “intolerantia auctoritatis” [intolerance of authority]; beware of troublemakers. Flores applied the prayer of Saint Isidore recited at the beginning of every session: that we not let ourselves be diverted from truth and justice by love for our national languages. The Ecclesia must be “una in fide, una in liturgia, una in caritate” [one in faith, one in liturgy, one in charity]. (192)

    The auxiliary of Burgos (Spain) [Demetrio Mansilla Reoyo]: … No. 24: without Latin, the Mass will be even less understood. The Fathers at Trent had to react against variety; “fructus ex historia capiamus” [Let us gather the fruits of history]. (194)

    [Vittorio Maria] Costantini, a Franciscan bishop: vernacular languages are constantly changing. Comments in the vernacular are sufficient. And the liturgy in the vernacular languages will not suffice to bring back our separated brethren. (194)

    [Benedikt] Reetz, Benedictine abbot of Beuron. He is for an “usus moderatus linguae vulgaris” [a moderate usage of the vernacular], but he would not wish Gregorian chant to be condemned to death; he does not believe it is necessary for everyone to understand everything; the other day, I only understood one word of the Greek Mass: Amen; and yet it was of spiritual benefit. (195)

    K.J. Calewaert, bishop of Gand … Latin is the best sign of unity; in conferences, pilgrimages, international meetings, it is necessary that everyone be able to chant together the Gloria, the Credo, the Salve Regina … The vernacular can be allowed for the sacraments. (195)

    Dom Jean Prou, Abbot of Solesmes. … As for no. 24, it is dangerous: there is a risk of no longer being able to go back.It would be necessary to place strict limits on this [extension of the vernacular]. (195–96)

    Bishop [Luigi Carlo] Borromeo (Italy): let Latin be kept, even for the sacraments. (197)

    Anicet Fernández, O.P., master general: Major concordia esset si duae quaestiones distinguerentur: (a) major libertas in usu linguarum vernacularum: resp.: affirmative; (b) utrum omnes sacerdotes debeant cognoscere linguam latinam: affirmative, nam: lingua latina possidet (jus a longo tempore)—est lingua officialis—in lingua latina continentur immensi thesauri sapientiae christianae. [There would be greater agreement if two questions had been distinguished: (a) a greater freedom in the use of the vernacular languages. Response: yes. (b) Must all priests know Latin? Yes, because Latin is in place (and has been so for a long time already), it is the official language, immense treasures of Christian wisdom are contained in the Latin language.] (199)

    Zacharias Rolim de Moura, bishop of Cajazeiras (Brazil). … We must avoid the multiplication of local rites.A speech in defense of Latin. Let there be no excessive innovations or exaggerations against the venerabiles traditiones [venerable traditions]. (200–1)

    Joseph Melas, bishop of Nuoro (Italy): Let Latin be preserved and recommended, ut ex omni lingua et natione … latine loquantur [so that people of every language and every nation may speak Latin]. Do not scandalize the faithful by innovations. (202)

    A Franciscan missionary bishop (India) [Albert Conrad De Vito]. Against the use of vernacular languages. … The divine mysteries are diminished by the use of vernacular languages. (202–3)

    Another Brazilian [Carlos Eduardo de Sabóia Bandeira Melo]. Experience shows that great confusion has arisen in the last few years. Hodie lingua, cras aliud… [Today language {is changing}, tomorrow {it will be} another thing]. And the laity claim to know better than the clergy. There is no one who is incapable of understanding the Latin Mass, after some explanation. … Let us not grant anything to the bishops’ conferences: the bishop is master in his diocese; nullum moderamen, nulla jurisdictio inter episcopum et Romanum Pontificem [No intermediate body, no jurisdiction between the bishop and the Roman Pontiff]. (203)

    Bishop Antonio Santin of Tireste … There is no piety or dignity in a liturgy in the vernacular language. … “Non amore novi procedamus!” [Let us not proceed from a love of novelty!] (209)

    Joseph Battaglia, bishop of Faenza (Italy). … At no. 24, lingua latina “diligenter et cum amore servetur. S. Pontifex luculenter demonstravit nexum inter Ecclesiam et linguam latinam.” [Let Latin be preserved zealously and with love. The Supreme Pontiff has amply demonstrated the link between the Church and Latin.] All the children of the Church must hear the voice of their Mother, the same voice. Latin, sign of unity. Adjuro vos… [I implore you.] (209)

    Archbishop Enrico Nicodemo of Bari (Italy). … Now he recommended Latin to us. (210)

    A Brazilian bishop [Salomão Ferraz]. It is necessary to introduce the vernacular a little more; let this be permitted, sed nulli implacabiliter impositum [but not imposed in an implacable manner]. In the solemn offices, lingua latina adhibenda, ut officialis [Latin must be employed, as the official language]. … Do not abandon the exterior traditions, even in the vestments. (211)

    An Italian bishop [Biagio D’Agostino]. … Without doubt Latin non est de essentia fidei [is not of the essence of the faith], sed: una fides, unum baptisma, una liturgia [but: {let us have} one faith, one baptism, one liturgy]. To say “catholicus sum” [I am Catholic] is to say “civis romanus sum” [I am a Roman citizen]. Let the West preserve Latin. (212)

    J. B. Peruzzo, archbishop of Agrigente. Multa audivi contra sacram traditionem. Haec verba cause mihi fuerunt anxietatis et timoris. [I have heard many things against sacred tradition. Those words were for me a cause of anguish and fear.] … All those who want to diminish Latin always invoke the same reason: so that the people will understand and participate better. That is what the Augsburg Confession demanded. Now, quid evenit [What was the outcome]? Actus separationis a Sancta Matre Ecclesia [An act of separation from Holy Mother Church]. Separatio a lingua latina, per quandam inexplicabilem rationem, fere semper, etiam cum permissu Summi Pontificis [The abandonment of Latin, for some inexplicable reason, almost always, even with the permission of the Supreme Pontiff], ends up in absolute separation. (212–13)

    Archbishop Peruzzo mentions the Augsburg Confession, a profession of faith written by Philip Melancthon in 1530 to present the fundamental articles of Lutheranism. In its article 24, we read: “All the ceremonies [of the Mass] must serve principally for the instruction of the people in what is necessary for them to know concerning Christ.”

    Continuing with the Council Fathers:

    Cardinal Spellman. Maxima prudentia et circumspectio est necessaria. De liturgismo exaggerato vitando. No. 27: cur ordinem missae recognoscere? Attendamus, ne minuatur reverentia erga SS. Sacramentum. [Very great prudence and circumspection are necessary. We must avoid an exaggerated ‘liturgism’. Why revise the ritual of the Mass? Let us be careful not to diminish reverence toward the Most Holy Sacrament.] Beware of magna confusio [great confusion]! (213)

    Cardinal Godfrey, archbishop of London … No. 42: not too much of the vernacular language; risk of error in matters of faith; and if the choice is left to the bishops, erit maxima confusio [there will be great confusion]. (217)

    Card. Ottaviani—no. 37: Si oportet sic recognoscere Ordinem Missae, quid manebit? Haec res sanctissima non debet mutari [If we must revise the ritual of the Mass in this way, what will remain of it? This most holy thing must not be changed] at every generation. … There is an appeal [in the schema] to the authority of Pius XII; but there is no mention of his speech to the international liturgy congress, where he said: “The Church has the grave duty to maintain firmly the unconditional usage of Latin, sine ulla remissione [without any relaxation].” (218)

    Bishop Dwyer of Leeds (England): no. 37 is not clear. If every nation can change things, “non erit recognitio, sed potius destructio” [There will not be a revision, but rather, a destruction]. (220)

    A Spanish bishop [Ramón Iglesias Navarri]. No change should be made to the Mass without very grave reasons. (225)

    A Chinese bishop (Formosa?) [Petrus Pao-Zin Tou]. Several people are trying to introduce some beautiful novelties. Canon missae idem debet ramenere ubique terrarum, etiam quoad linguam, exceptis Pater noster et Agnus Dei [The canon of the Mass must remain the same everywhere on earth, even in what concerns the language, with the exception of the Our Father and the Lamb of God]. Ante et post canonem [before and after the Canon], preserve the ceremonies, but in various languages. (229)

    Armand Farès, archbishop of Catanzaro and Squillace (Italy). Be mindful of the Council of Trent. At no. 37, do not exaggerate active participation. Ne tangatur canon missae; cf. Trent: canon est ab omni errore purum [Let the canon of the Mass not be touched; cf. Trent: the canon is free from all error]. No. 42 {on communion under both species}: no; we must not arouse the miratio populi [astonishment of the people], etc. (235–36)

    Sabóia Bandeira, bishop of Palmas (Brazil). p. 177: Omnino debet remanere sicuti est. [{The Roman rite} must remain altogether as it is.] … If we touch that, everyone will propose his own change, etc. (236)

    Archbishop Modrego y Casaus of Barcelona. … If the homily is well done, no need for the vernacular language at Mass. (239)

    Similar points were raised when the Council Fathers discussed the Divine Office. Again, there were some in favor of dropping Latin altogether, a larger number who wanted a blend of or a choice between Latin and the vernacular (e.g., Frings, Léger, Döpfner); and a number of “hard-liners” who basically said: The Office has been in Latin and should remain in Latin, and the clergy just have to put their minds to learning it and doing it. A sampling:

    Cardinal Manuel Gonçalves Cerejeira, patriarch of Lisbon: … In general law, lingua latina a clericis servari debet, quia in officio sacerdo est tanquam vox Ecclesiae. [Latin must be retained by the clerics, for in the Office the priest is, so to speak, the voice of the Church.] (258)

    Cardinal Étienne Wyszyński (Warsaw). Let the emendatio not go too far: Servanda sunt monumenta antiquissimae traditionis [We must preserve these monuments of the most ancient tradition]. … Lingua latina conservanda videtur in breviario [It seems that Latin must be retained in the breviary]. A number of beautiful texts cannot be well translated. If we yield on this point, priests will lose the habit of Latin to an ever greater degree. In the name of the 64 Polish bishops: let us refrain from shortening the breviary too much (some applause) and let us keep the Latin. (258)

    Cardinal William Godfrey, archbishop of Westminster. … If, in some regions, Latin is no longer much used or esteemed, that is not a reason for abandoning its use in the office: on the contrary, we must make an effort to restore it. Do not give a signum debilitatis [sign of weakness]. (259)

    Card. Ant. Bacci. … Liturgical Latin is easy; the bishops have a serious obligation to take the necessary measures {in its favor}. (261)

    Bishop Franić (Split, Yugoslavia). Let us not shorten the office any more. … Keep the Latin. (262)

    Bishop Luigi Carli of Segni. Do not shorten the breviary: it should rather be augmented. … Therefore followed a full-scale assault on the use of the vernacular. (268–69)

    Bishop Victor Costantini of Sessa Aurunca (Italy), against the vernacular. (269)

    Archbishop Pierre Ngo-dinh-Thuc of Hué (Vietnam). In the name of the bishops of Vietnam. This schema proposes so many innovations that nothing of the Roman ritual will remain; this could be very harmful. De aspectu sociali, multi Patres exagerant [On the social aspect, a number of the Fathers are exaggerating]: among us, for a long time, this social aspect has been very intensive; but we still value individual piety. So much freedom requested for adaptations! In this, too, there is danger. Latin has always been the language of a minority: so the situation is not new: it has brought about unity; it must do so still. (278)

    A Polish titular bishop [Franciszek Jop]. … Lingua latina magni pretii est [the Latin language is of great value]; it must remain; it is linked to the birth of our nation; the first history of Poland is in Latin, etc. … Against the growth of the powers of the episcopal conferences. (284)

    What we see in de Lubac’s summaries of these interventions is just how lively was the desire of many Council Fathers to see Latin remain unimpaired in its majestic role as a source and symbol of Catholic unity and as the traditional vesture in which the sacred rites were clothed, so that they could remain the common possession of Holy Mother Church instead of the sport and prey of various national episcopacies and their linguistic and cultural agendas.

    As hackneyed as the saying may be, perhaps we may be excused for invoking it: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The hopes and fears of the Council Fathers speak with exactitude to our current situation. Their repeated protests against the supposed magnum principium and its corollary of decentralization remain a matter of historical record that no one can alter.

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    A reminder that EWTN will broadcast live the Pontifical Latin Mass which His Excellency Bishop Joseph Perry will celebrate at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. You can also watch on EWTN’s website:; the Mass begins at 7pm EDT. Sacred music for the Mass will include Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C-major, (the “Sparrow” Mass), Elgar’s Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, Monteverdi’s Adoramus te, Christe, and John Blow’s Salvator Mundi, in addition to the Gregorian chants.

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    Our thanks to Fr Richard Cipolla of St Mary’s Church in Norwalk, Connecticut, for sharing this article with our readers.

    For Priests who wish to use Mutual Enrichment to inject Tradition into the Novus Ordo Rite
    If you are a priest of the Roman Rite, as of ten years ago today, you are officially “bi-formal”; you have almost completely free access to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, as we now call it, in addition to the Ordinary Form.

    Despite his shy and retiring character, Pope Benedict XVI braved a great deal of criticism, much of it very nasty, all of it completely unnecessary, to give you this gift, after devoting so much of his work to consideration of the Catholic Church’s liturgy problem. This was not only done so that you could respond more generously to the pastoral needs of the faithful, and especially the younger faithful, who are so eager to rediscover beauty and the sense of the sacred in public worship, although that it is certainly very important. It is no small matter, this liberty to fulfill what St John Paul II defined as the “rightful aspirations” of the faithful who love the traditional liturgy. However, it was also done to provide an important, indeed, a necessary point of reference for the future correction of the post-Conciliar liturgical form, since the need for such a correction is evident to all those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.
    From last year’s All Saints and All Souls photopost, the OF Mass as it should be, at the Church of St Agnes in St Paul, Minnesota.
    Since it seems likely that it will be a while before the “reform of the reform” can begin, what now needs to be done is to celebrate the Novus Ordo in a way that includes as much of the traditional Roman Rite as possible without disobeying its rubrics. The object of this Primer is to inject Tradition into the veins of the Novus Ordo as a preparation for its future reform in the next generation. We hope that these suggestions will fruitfully contribute to the “mutual enrichment” which Pope Benedict spoke of in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

    1. Say the vesting prayers every day. Always wear the maniple, the sign of the work of the priest. When using Roman vestments, cross the stole. Wear the biretta.

    2. Always use the veil and burse for the chalice; a bare chalice is embarrassing and irreverent. Either have the veiled chalice on the altar before Mass or carry it in in the traditional way. On the way to the altar, recite Psalm 42 quietly.

    3. The Mass must be celebrated ad orientem. This is the most important injection of the Tradition into the OF. To change the orientation is to eliminate the terrible novelty of saying Mass facing the people and the misunderstanding of the Mass that ensues from such a posture. Those who are pastors must, after proper catechesis in the parish, re-introduce the ancient and constant tradition of orientation of the celebrant facing liturgical East. Remember that the rubrics of the OF still assume that the priest is facing East, as, for example, to turn to the people at the Orate fratres. (For more details, see “The Normativity of Ad Orientem Worship According to the Ordinary Form’s Rubrics”.

    4. When incense is used, the customary prayers of blessing should be said silently, thereby not breaking the rubric to say “nothing” at the blessing.

    5. The Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) should be in their traditional languages and preferably sung to a simple chant. This injection of Greek and Latin into the Mass, even daily Mass, helps the people become comfortable with the uniform objectivity and universality that the use of Latin affords. The final blessing is another good place to introduce the use of Latin in the Mass.

    6. Make the customary bows in the Gloria at adoramus te, gratias agimus, Jesu Christe, suscipe deprecationem, and make the sign of the Cross at the end.

    7. The position of the hands at the Collect, at the Prayer over the Gifts and Post-Communion prayer, should be in the traditional form, never the outstretched arms that came into vogue in the 60s and 70s. Beware of making the traditional form too rigid.

    8. The Responsorial Psalm is one of the least happy novelties of the reformed rite. Wherever possible, sing the psalm, or better yet, have a cantor sing the Gradual, which is an option listed in the General Instruction.

    9. Memorize both prayers before the Gospel from the traditional rite and say those quietly.

    10. At the Creed, make the customary bow at Jesum Christum, a deep bow at et incarnatus est, a bow at simul adoratur, and the Sign of the Cross at end.

    11. At the Preparation of the Gifts, the berakah prayers that thank God for bread and wine must be said according to the rubrics. They should be said quietly before saying the traditional Offertory prayers silently, Suscipe sancte Pater for the bread and Offerimus tibi for the wine. It would seem that the water is not blessed according to the OF rubrics. Bow deeply at In spiritu humilitatis.

    12. When censing the gifts, use the traditional three crosses and three circles. Memorize the prayers Dirigatur and Ascendat at the censing of the altar.

    13. Memorize the Lavabo prayer at the washing of hands.

    14. At the Orate Fratres use the “half-circle” movement. Turn to the right to face the people and then continue turning to face the book.

    15. Make a profound bow at the Sanctus and bless yourself at the Benedictus.

    16. THE CANON should be said audibly but quietly. God does not have to be shouted at, especially during this most sacred prayer of the Mass. At the beginning of the Roman Canon, use the traditional circular motion with your hands and bow profoundly at “Jesus Christ” so that this is as close to the traditional kissing of the altar as possible. Ignore the brackets after Andrew in the list of Apostles and always include all of the saints in the list beginning with John the Baptist. Before the consecration, wipe your thumbs and forefingers three times on the corporal. Genuflect both before and after you elevate the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood. Keep “digits” (thumb and forefinger joined) from after the consecration until the ablutions.

    17. At the Our Father use same hand position as for the Collects.

    18. Turn to the people for the Peace, and then turn back to the altar and begin the Agnus Dei.

    19. When receiving the Host and Chalice, make the sign of the Cross with each before receiving. Memorize the prayers Panem caelestem and Quid retribuam and use them before consuming the Sacred Species.

    20. Have the altar server ring the bell immediately after you have consumed the Sacred Species. This is important to let the people know that the Sacrifice is complete. The reformers deliberately moved the Ecce Agnus Dei to before the priest’s Communion to make it seem that the priest is just receiving Communion first before the people. The priest is not “receiving Communion”; he is completing the Sacrifice.

    21. Always do the double ablutions, first only wine, holding the paten under your chin, and then wine and water, holding your joined thumb and forefinger over the chalice as the server pours the wine and water over them. When consuming the second ablution hold the purificator under your chin. Dry your fingers with the purificator, cleanse the chalice thoroughly, cover the chalice with the veil and place the corporal in the burse.

    22. After the post-Communion prayer go to the foot of the altar and say the prayer to St Michael, followed by Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us, three times. Or, consider using the full suite of Leonine prayers: three Hail Marys; Hail, Holy Queen; the prayer for the Church; the St. Michael Prayer; and the threefold Sacred Heart invocation.

    23. If possible say the Prologue to John en route to or in the sacristy after Mass.

    For further reading, see also “Imbuing the Ordinary Form with Extraordinary Form Spirituality.”

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    We are extremely grateful to His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for sharing with New Liturgical Movement the text of the address which he delivered today to the Fifth Roman Colloquium on Summorum Pontificum, held at the Pontifical University of St Thomas (Angelicum). The talk is entitled “Silence and the Primacy of God in the Sacred Liturgy”; His Eminence wishes it to be understood that this is a provisional text, which will be revised for publication later.

    I would urge our readers to take note of several points of this excellent talk. Card. Sarah speaks eloquently against the idea of an anthropocentric liturgy, and the necessity of giving back to God His rightful place at the center of our worship, and against liturgy as “theatre” and “worldly entertainment”, and the noise that “kills” the liturgy, as he also wrote in his fine book, “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise.” In the final section, under the heading “Some Reflections on the 10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum” he states unequivocally that “(t)he usus antiquior should be seen as a normal part of the life of the Church of the twenty-first century.” He also speaks with praise of those communities which celebrate the traditional Mass, and reassures us No one will rob you of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite.” (This is a particularly important in light of some highly tendentious and pastorally uncharitable declarations about liturgical reform made in recent days.) We are indebted to His Eminence for these words of encouragement, and his exhortation to share with the whole Church “the profound formation in the faith that the ancient rites and the associated spiritual and doctrinal ambience has given you.”

    Cardinal Sarah introduced by Fr Vincenzo Nuara, O.P., at today’s conference in Rome.
    The first sentiment that I would like to express, ten years after the publication of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, is that of gratitude to Almighty God. In fact, with this text Benedict XVI wanted to establish a sign of reconciliation in the Church, one that has brought much fruit and which has been continued in the same manner by Pope Francis. God wants the unity of His Church, for which we pray for in every Eucharistic celebration: we are called to continue to pursue this path of reconciliation and unity, as an ever-living witness of Christ in today's world.

    This initiative of Pope Benedict XVI finds it full explication in an important work of Cardinal Ratzinger. Writing less than a year before his election to the Chair of St Peter, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger took issue with “the suggestion by some Catholic liturgists that we should finally adapt the liturgical reform to the ‘anthropological turn’ of modern times and construct it in an anthropocentric style.” He argued:
    If the Liturgy appears first of all as the workshop for our activity, then what is essential is being forgotten: God. For the Liturgy is not about us, but about God. Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age. As against this, the Liturgy should be setting up a sign of God’s presence. Yet what happens if the habit of forgetting about God makes itself at home in the Liturgy itself and if in the Liturgy we are thinking only of ourselves? In any and every liturgical reform, and every liturgical celebration, the primacy of God should be kept in view first and foremost.”
    “Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age.” My brothers and sisters these words, utterly true when they were written in July 2004, have become more and more poignant with each passing year. Our world is marked by the blight of Godless terrorism, of an increasingly aggressive secularism, of a spirit of individualistic consumerism in respect of creation, material goods and even human relationships, and of an advancing culture of death which endangers the right to life of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters: the unborn, the unhealthy and the elderly.

    In the face of this increasing godlessness we, Christ’s holy Church, are called by virtue of our baptism and of our own particular vocation to announce and proclaim that “Christ is the Light of nations” (Lumen Gentium, 1), and “to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 1). For the way of Christ and His Church is the path of Truth, Beauty and Goodness, the ultimate consummation of which is unending life in communion with God and all the saints in heaven. Whereas those who choose to walk according to the route laid down by the Prince of Lies risk hell: that ultimate fruit of the free, knowing and willing choice of sin and evil—eternal separation from God and the saints.

    My brothers and sisters, we must never forget these eternal verities! Our world has most probably forgotten them. Indeed, particularly in the affluent West, our society seeks to hide these truths from us and to anaesthetise us with the apparent goods it offers to us in its unending cacophony of consumerism, lest we find the time and space to call into question its godless assumptions and practices. We must not succumb to this. We must be untiring in announcing the good news of the Gospel: that sin and death have been conquered by our Lord Jesus Christ whose sacrifice on the Cross has enabled us to gain the forgiveness that our sins demand and to live joyfully in this world and in the sure hope of life without end in the next.

    The Church is called to announce this good news in every possible way, to every human person in every land and in every age. These essential missionary and apostolic endeavours, which are nothing less than an imperative given to the Church by the Lord himself (cf. Mt 28:19-20), are themselves predicated on a greater reality: our ecclesial encounter with Jesus Christ in the Sacred Liturgy. For as the Second Vatican Council so rightly taught: “the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10).

    We might ask: if the Church’s missionary vitality has diminished in our time, if the witness of Christians in an increasingly godless world has become weaker, if our world has forgotten about God, is this perhaps because we who are supposed to be “the light of the world” (Mt 5:14) are not approaching the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed as we should, or not drawing sufficiently deeply from the font from which all her power flows so as to bring all to enjoy that “spring of water welling up to eternal life”? (Jn 4:14)

    For Pope John Paul II, these were not questions but tragic results of the crisis of faith and of our betrayal of the Second Vatican Council. He said, in fact:
    In this “new springtime” of Christianity there is an undeniable negative tendency, and the present document is meant to help overcome it. Missionary activity specifically directed “to the nations” (ad gentes) appears to be waning, and this tendency is certainly not in line with the directives of the Council and of subsequent statements of the Magisterium. Difficulties both internal and external have weakened the Church's missionary thrust toward non-Christians, a fact which must arouse concern among all who believe in Christ. For in the Church’s history, missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality, just as its lessening is a sign of a crisis of faith.
    If this is indeed so, if the Church of our day is less zealous and efficacious in bringing people to Christ, one cause may be our own failure to participate in the Sacred Liturgy truly and efficaciously, which is perhaps itself due to a lack of proper liturgical formation—something that is a concern of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who said:
    A liturgy detached from spiritual worship would risk becoming empty, declining from its Christian originality to a generic sacred sense, almost magical, and a hollow aestheticism. As an action of Christ, liturgy has an inner impulse to be transformed in the sentiments of Christ, and in this dynamism all reality is transfigured. “our daily life in our body, in the small things, must be inspired, profuse, immersed in the divine reality, it must become action together with God. This does not mean that we must always be thinking of God, but that we must really be penetrated by the reality of God so that our whole life...may be a liturgy, may be adoration.” (Benedict XVI, Lectio divina, Seminary of the Diocese of Rome, 15 February 2012)
    It is necessary to unite a renewed willingness to go forward along the path indicated by the Council Fathers, as there remains much to be done for a correct and complete assimilation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on the part of the baptized and ecclesial communities. I refer, in particular, to the commitment to a solid and organic liturgical initiation and formation, both of lay faithful as well as clergy and consecrated persons.

    It may also be because too often the liturgy as it is celebrated is not celebrated faithfully and fully as the Church intends, effectively ‘short-changing’ or robbing us of the optimal ecclesial encounter with Christ that is the right of every baptised person.

    Many liturgies are really nothing but a theatre, a worldly entertainment, with so many speeches and strange cries during the mystery that is celebrated, so much noise, so many dances and bodily movements that resemble our popular folk events. Instead the liturgy should be a time of personal encounter and intimacy with God. Africa, above all, and probably also Asia and Latin America, should reflect, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and with prudence and with the will to bring the Christian faithful to holiness, about their human ambition to inculturate the liturgy, in order to avoid superficiality, folklore and the auto-celebration of their culture. Each liturgical celebration must have God as its centre, and God alone, and our sanctification.

    Today, the 10th anniversary of the coming into force of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI, also raises the question of the implementation of the liturgical reform called for by the Second Vatican Council and of what one might call the liturgical and pastoral ‘fallout’ of those years. They are not peripheral questions of importance only for liturgical specialists or of interest solely for so-called “traditionalists,” for, as Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 1997, “the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.”


    In the citation from Cardinal Ratzinger with which I opened this address, the Cardinal asks: “What happens if the habit of forgetting about God makes itself at home in the Liturgy itself and if in the Liturgy we are thinking only of ourselves?” This may seem to be a strange question, but it arises out of a real tendency in recent decades to plan and hold liturgical celebrations where the focus is mostly on the celebrating community, almost at times to the apparent exclusion of God. I say “apparent” because I do not wish to judge the intentions of those who promote or celebrate such anthropocentric liturgies: they themselves may be the victims of a poor or even deficient theological and liturgical formation.

    Nevertheless, such celebrations are unacceptable because they reduce something which is of its very essence supernatural to the level of merely the natural, contrary to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (and before that of the Encyclical Mediator Dei of the Venerable Pius XII), that:
    The liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.
    From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7).

    As I said in my 2016 address to Sacra Liturgia in London, England:

    Catholic liturgy is the singularly privileged locus of Christ’s saving action in our world today, by means of real participation in which we receive His grace and strength which is so necessary for our perseverance and growth in the Christian life. It is the divinely instituted place where we come to fulfil our duty of offering sacrifice to God, of offering the One True Sacrifice. It is where we realise our profound need to worship Almighty God. Catholic liturgy is something sacred, something which is holy by its very nature. Catholic liturgy is no ordinary human gathering.

    ...God, not man is at the centre of Catholic liturgy. We come to worship Him. The liturgy is not about you and I; it is not where we celebrate our own identity or achievements or exalt or promote our own culture and local religious customs. The liturgy is first and foremost about God and what He has done for us. In His Divine Providence Almighty God founded the Church and instituted the Sacred Liturgy by means of which we are able to offer Him true worship in accordance with the New Covenant established by Christ.

    Therefore, God must come first in every element of our liturgical celebration. It is for love of Him and so as to worship Him all the more fully that we set aside and consecrate people, places and things specifically for His service in the Sacred Liturgy. Our desire to “dare to do as much as we can” (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, Sequence of the Feast of Corpus Christi) in praising and adoring God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Sacred Liturgy, is itself an interior act of worship. It follows naturally that this disposition should be given external expression. And so our churches should be beautiful expressions our love of God, our liturgical ministers—ordained and lay—should expend time in training and preparation; all their liturgical actions, including their dress, should radiate reverence and awe for the divine mysteries which they have the privilege to serve and minister.

    The ‘things’ we use in the liturgy should similarly tell of the primacy of God: nothing is too good, beautiful or precious for His service. Howsoever humble they must be according to the means at our disposal, our liturgical vessels, vestments and other items should be things of quality, worth and beauty that bespeak both the love and sacrifice we offer to Almighty God by means of them. So too our chant and music should raise our hearts and minds to Him, and not—as has happened altogether too frequently—merely reflect the human sentiments or mores that predominate in our society or culture.

    You are aware that in recent years I have spoken often of the importance of the restoration of the priest and people facing East, of turning ad Deum or ad orientem during the Eucharistic liturgy. This posture is almost universally assumed in celebrations of the usus antiquior—the older form of the Roman rite—made freely available to all who wish to benefit from it by Pope Benedict XVI by means of Summorum Pontificum. But this ancient and beautiful practice, which speaks so eloquently of the primacy of Almighty God at the very heart of the Mass, is not restricted to the usus antiquior. This venerable practice is permitted, is perfectly appropriate and, I would insist, is pastorally advantageous in celebrations of the usus recentior—the more modern form of the Roman rite—as well.

    Some may object that I am paying too much attention to the small details, to the minutiae, of the Sacred Liturgy. But as every husband and wife knows, in any loving relationship the smallest details are highly important, for it is in and through them that love is expressed and lived day after day. The ‘little things’ in a marriage express and protect the greater realities. So too in the liturgy: when its small rituals become routine and are no longer acts of worship which give expression to the realities of my heart and soul, when I no longer care to attend to its details, when I could do more to prepare and to celebrate the liturgy more worthily, more beautifully, but no longer want to, there is a grave danger that my love of Almighty God is growing cold. We must beware of this. Our small acts of love for God in carefully attending to the liturgy’s demands are very important. If we discount them, if we dismiss them as mere fussy details, we may well find, as sometimes very tragically happens in a marriage, that we have ‘grown apart’ from Christ—almost without noticing.

    Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that “in any and every liturgical reform, and every liturgical celebration, the primacy of God should be kept in view first and foremost.” If we apply this principle in liturgical matters great and small God shall indeed have the primacy that is rightly His in the Sacred Liturgy. And he will enjoy the same primacy in our hearts and minds. Both our liturgical celebrations, and we ourselves, shall become the beautiful icons of His saving presence through which those who do not know Christ and His Church can find the beautiful path to salvation.


    This ‘setting apart’ of created realities for the worship of Almighty God was something demanded of our Jewish ancestors by the Lord God Himself and was appropriately adopted by the Church in her earliest centuries as she came to enjoy the freedom to worship in public. We use the term “consecrated,” from the Latin verb sacrare—to make holy or to dedicate to a particular service—to describe the persons, places and things set apart for the worship of Almighty God.

    Once these goods of God’s creation are thus consecrated they are no longer available for ordinary or profane use; they belong to God. This is true of the monk and the nun, of the deacon, priest and bishop and it is (or it should be) reflected in their very dress and comportment even when they are not ministering in the Sacred Liturgy. It is also true of all the various things, great and small, used for liturgical worship. One of the treasures of the usus antiquior is the large corpus of blessings and consecrations for items destined for liturgical use given in the Rituale Romanum and in the Pontificale Romanum. How moving it is to see the revival of the custom of a soon-to-be-ordained priest bringing his chalice and paten to a bishop for consecration before his ordination. And what a beautiful expression of faith and love it is when new items are generously offered for the worship of Almighty God and are brought to the priest to be given the Church’s blessing before they are used.

    These small and too often forgotten rites and customs teach us eloquently that the liturgy is, as a whole, something essentially sacred, something set apart from our ordinary, day to day way of acting. Indeed, they remind us that in the Sacred Liturgy, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, it is God who is acting—not us (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7, cited above).

    It is He who blesses us with his grace, with salvation, in our very midst in the Sacred Liturgy. As the Council teaches: “every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7).

    And so when a celebration corresponds to what it must be constitutively, that is, to the "whole public worship" and to a "sacred action surpassing all others" (SC n ° 7), it can only manifest and promote the adoration of the One and Triune God, shine in the majesty of gestures and signs, express how it is not a mere human action, but "action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church" (SC n. 7), educate man to true life, which is fundamentally ordered to God (ordo ad Deum). This Primacy of the Absolute, of the Eternal, is found only in the humble awareness of priests and lay people that the liturgy is not the place for creativity or adaptation but the place of that which has been ‘already given’, where past, present and future touch each other in an instant that is in reality timeless.

    Before the theophany of the burning bush the Lord instructed Moses: “Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Ex. 3:5). The same injunction applies even more to the ongoing theophany of God made man for our salvation that takes place every throughout the world when the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated faithfully, according to the norms laid down by the Church.

    But there is one important difference from the burning bush: we are invited to “come near”, we are invited to feast at the sacred sacrificial banquet of the Lord’s Body and Blood. This unprecedented invitation should not breed over-familiarity in us! Profound humility and awe before God are required if we are to participate fruitfully in the life-giving Supper of the Lamb, the fount of life (cf. Rev. 19:9).

    This invitation should, however, bring forth our generosity. In response to the invitation to the Supper of the Lamb we are called to offer the Lord nothing less than our “first fruits” (cf. Prov. 3:9) both materially and spiritually. We can all contribute, according to our means and God-given talents, to the material of the liturgy. But let us never forget the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount that we must first be reconciled and liberated from all resentment by God before offering our gift at the altar (cf. Mt. 5:24). Indeed, all our external offerings, including what we give through any liturgical ministry we exercise, must be a reflection of our internal relationship with the Lord. They should arise in humility from the “acceptable sacrifice” of a “broken and contrite heart” of which the psalmist sings (cf. Ps. 50[51]:19). Otherwise there can be the danger of hollow ritualism, even of a form of ‘liturgical materialism’ or Phariseeism. What we give to God for the Sacred Liturgy, what we do in public service in His Church, must be the best that is possible, certainly, but they must be in complete harmony with our Christian life and mission so that our external liturgical actions are imbued with an integrity which is itself something holy, something sacred, and which itself sings of the glory of God alive and working in His Church in our day.


    In the Book of Revelation we read that when the Lamb opened the seventh and final seal on the scroll, “there was silence in heaven for about half an hour” (Rev 8:1). Why this silence, coming after the cosmic upheaval ushered in by the opening of the sixth seal? Scholars tell us that this is the silence of expectation, of the anticipation of God’s vindicating judgement for the martyrs throughout Christian history. It is the silence of awe, of adoration, in the silent presence of Almighty God who is present and who is about to act.

    When we encounter the sacred, when we come face to face with God, we naturally fall silent and kneel in adoration. We kneel in humble awe and in submission to our creator. We await His Word, His saving action, in awe and anticipation. These are fundamental dispositions for how we approach the Sacred Liturgy. If I am so full of myself and of the noise of the world that there is no space for silence within me, if human pride reigns in my heart so that it is only myself of whom I am in awe, then it is almost impossible for me to worship Almighty God, to hear His Word or to allow it space to take root in my life.

    As Romano Guardini says: “If someone were to ask me what the liturgical life begins with, I should answer: with learning stillness. Without it, everything remains superficial, vain.” But what is silence? Silence is the calm of inner life, the depth of a hidden stream, it is the gathering presence, openness and availability. Only silence can build up what will support the sacred celebration, that is, the liturgical community, and create the space in which this celebration will come to fruition: the Church. It can be said without exaggeration that silence is the first act of sacred service.

    Now, however, let us consider it from another point of view; silence involves a close relationship with the verbal act and with the Word itself. A word does not acquire the importance and the power that are proper to it unless it comes from silence, but the opposite is also true in this case: for silence to be fruitful and to acquire its creative power, it is necessary for the word to be expressed in a spoken word. Although much of the liturgy consists of words spoken by God or addressed to Him, it is always necessary to practice silence for the benefit of the word and to hush the noise in any liturgical celebration. Noise in fact kills the liturgy, kills prayer, tears us and exiles us far away from God, who does not speak at all in the impetuous wind and in the earthquake, whose force and violence break the mountains and break the rocks, but speaks with the voice of a subtle silence (cf. 1 Kg 19:12). The importance of silence for the sacred celebration cannot be underestimated, whether it is during its preparation or during its function. Silence reveals the inner source which begets the word that becomes prayer, praise and silent adoration.

    Silence is the key: the silence of true humility before my Creator and Redeemer which expels false pride and shuts out the clamour of the world. The demands of my vocation may require much activity from me and even mean that I am surrounded by worldly noise from day to day. The gifts given to me by Almighty God may mean that I receive just praise for what I have been able to do in His service. But even in these circumstances it is possible to preserve the silence of true humility before the Lord. Indeed, this approach is absolutely necessary if I am to worship Him and not myself, or even no one at all.

    Our liturgical rites themselves, as the Church’s realisation and celebration of the most sacred realities we shall encounter in this life, must be themselves imbued with this silence and awe of God. I speak more of their having texture of the numinous, of the transcendent than of imposing specific periods of silence, which can at times be artificial. For I can be silent of heart and mind and body and yet be caught up in the awe of God at the Sacred Liturgy: provided that is celebrated optimally with that ritual multivalency which facilitates this so well. The solemn celebration of the Holy Mass in the usus antiquior is an excellent paradigm for this, with its layers of rich content and the many different points of connectivity which the action of Christ affords us, and which allows us to achieve this silence of heart, mind and body. This is certainly a treasure with which it can enrich some of the more horizontal and noisy celebrations of the usus recentior.

    So too, liturgical ministers must approach the liturgical rites they celebrate with the dispositions of awe, of reverence and of silence. We must be humble and show profound respect for the Sacred Liturgy as the Church has given it to us. The Second Vatican Council insists that, apart from duly constituted authority, “no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 22 §3). It is not for us to rewrite the liturgical books out of our own pride or that of others who think they can do better than the Church. It is unfortunate that this temptation can be found amongst those who use the older liturgical books as well as the new. Unauthorised liturgical practices strike discordant notes in the symphony of the Church’s rites and produce a noise which disturbs souls. This is not creativity, nor is it truly pastoral. No: a fidelity grounded in humility, awe and silence of heart, mind and soul are what is required from each of us in respect of the Church’s rites. Let not the sin of liturgical pride take root in our souls!

    When the prophet Elijah was called to meet the Lord at Horeb, “a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice” (1 Kg 19:11-12). And it was in this still, small voice that Elijah encountered the Lord. My brothers and sisters, it is imperative that we attend to this small voice as it speaks quietly, calmly and lovingly to us the Sacred Liturgy of the Church with that humility, silence and awe of God which will enable us to hear it and to live more fruitfully from His Word.


    Silence of heart, mind and soul: are these not they key to achieving the great desire of the twentieth century liturgical movement and the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council: the full, conscious and actual participation in the Sacred Liturgy? (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14) For how can I truly participate fruitfully in the Sacred Mysteries if my heart, my mind and my soul are blocked by the obstruction of sin, clouded by the commotion of this world, and burdened with things that are not of God?

    Each of us needs the interior space into which to welcome the Lord who is at work in the rites of His holy Church. In the modern world this requires effort on our part. In the first place I must cleanse my soul, or rather to allow Almighty God to cleanse it, through the Sacrament of Penance celebrated frequently, integrally and in all humility. I cannot hope to draw deeply from “the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 14) when sin reigns in my heart.

    Secondly, I must—somehow—manage to put aside, even if this must be temporary, the world and its constant demands. I cannot participate fully and fruitfully in the Sacred Liturgy if my focus is elsewhere. We all benefit from the advances of modern technology, but the many (maybe too many?) technological devices upon which we rely can enslave us in a constant stream of communication and demands for instant responses. We must leave this behind if we are to celebrate the liturgy properly. Perhaps it is very practical and convenient to pray the breviary with my own mobile phone or tablet or another electronic device, but it is not worthy: it desacralizes prayer. These apparatuses are not instruments consecrated and reserved to God, but we use them for God and also for profane things! Electronic devices must be turned off, or better still they can be left behind at home when we come to worship God. I have spoken previously of the unacceptability of taking photographs at the Sacred Liturgy, and of the particular scandal that this gives when it is done by clergy vested for liturgical service. We cannot focus on God if we are busy with something else. We cannot hear God speaking to us if we are already occupied communicating with someone else, or behaving as a photographer.

    Nor can we attend to the voice of God, or properly prepare to do so, if our brothers and sisters in the church are themselves distracted, busy and noisy. This is why silence and calm is so important in our churches before, during and after liturgical celebrations. What hope have we of an interior focus on God if what we experience in our churches is yet more distraction and noise? I do not mean to exclude appropriate organ or other music, which can be an aid to silent prayer and contemplation and which can serve to ‘cover-up’ the incidental noise of people arriving, etc. But I do think that we need to make an effort so that our churches, and indeed the sacristy and the sanctuary of the church, are not places of chatter, rushing about in last minute preparation, or simply a social area. These are privileged loci where all our focus should be on what we are about to celebrate. We can (and rightly do) socialise afterwards, elsewhere. The prayerful silence of a church or sacristy should itself be a school of participatio actuosa, drawing all who enter it into that silence of heart, mind and soul which is so necessary if we are to receive all that Almighty God wishes to give us through the Sacred Liturgy. If some communication is truly necessary it should be done with awe and respect for where we are and for what we are about to do.

    When I prepare to approach the altar of God, before I get there, I have to leave aside my preoccupations, howsoever heavy and worldly they may be. This is primarily an act of faith in God’s power and grace. It may be that I am utterly exhausted and distracted by the worldly duties I must perform. It may be that I am profoundly troubled for myself or for someone else. Perhaps I am suffering deeply from temptation or doubt, or are wounded by evil or injustice perpetrated against me or against our brothers and sisters in the faith. It is right that I persevere in bearing these burdens, certainly—that is an important part of my Christian vocation. But when I come to the Sacred Liturgy I must place them at the foot of the cross in faith, and leave them there. God knows the burdens I bear. He appreciates more than I do myself what it costs to shoulder them. And, in the silence of soul that placing my burdens at His feet creates, He wishes to communicate His love to me through the rites in which I am about to participate. He wishes to renew, even re-create, me so that I can fulfil the demands of my vocation with new strength and evangelical vigour.

    Full, conscious and actual participation in the Sacred Liturgy is predicated on our capacity to participate, on our receptivity and acceptance to what Almighty God wishes to give to us. Our receptivity depends upon our docility, on our silence of heart, mind and soul. Achieving this personally, and in the places where we celebrate the Church’s rites, requires effort and discipline on our own part individually and on the part of pastors and rectors of churches. If we do not make this effort the Council’s desire for fruitful participatio actuosa will be frustrated. But when we are silent, when our hearts, minds and souls are humbly attuned to the work of the Lord that is the Sacred Liturgy, our encounter with Him shall enjoy an intimacy which cannot but bear fruit in our Christian lives and mission to the world.


    Before concluding I wish to offer some specific reflections on today’s 10th anniversary of the coming into force of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

    The legislation governing the use of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite laid down by Pope Benedict XVI, in the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, declares that the ancient form of the Mass was never "abrogated," and states in the Letter to the Bishops on the occasion of the publication of the same document:
    In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
    This has as its principal motivation the “matter of coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.” (Benedict XVI, Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum, 7 July 2007)

    Certainly, Summorum Pontificum’s establishment that the older rites of the Mass and the sacraments are to be freely available to all of Christ’s faithful who request them—laity, clergy and religious—was intended to, and has done much to end the scandal of the divisions in the Body of Christ on earth which had arisen because of the liturgical reform following the Council. As we know, there is more to do to achieve the reconciliation Pope Benedict XVI so desired, and which work Pope Francis has continued, and we must pray and work so to achieve that reconciliation for the good of souls, for the good of the Church and so that our Christian witness and mission to the world may be ever stronger.

    Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum noted another phenomenon: “Young persons too have discovered this liturgical form,” he wrote. They have “felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.” This is increasingly true around the world. It is a phenomenon which some of my own generation find very hard to understand. Yet I know and can personally testify to the sincerity and devotion of these young men and women, priests and laity. I rejoice in the numerous and good vocations to the priesthood and the religious life that arise from communities who celebrate the usus antiquior.

    To those who have doubts about this would say: visit these communities and come to know them, most especially their young people. Open your hearts and minds to the faith of these young brothers and sisters of ours, and to the good that they do. They are neither nostalgic nor embittered nor encumbered by the ecclesiastical battles of recent decades; they are full of the joy of living the life of Christ amidst the challenges of the modern world. For those who still find this reality difficult, I would like to recall the advice of Gamaliel, the “teacher of the law, held in honour by all the people,” given to the Council of the High Priest when the Apostles were being persecuted: “...let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)

    I would like to add an appeal to pastors of souls and in particular to my brother bishops: these people, these communities have great need of our paternal care. We must not allow our own personal preferences or past misunderstandings to keep people attached to the older liturgical rites at a distance. We priests and bishops are called to be ministers and instruments of reconciliation and communion in the Church for all of Christ’s faithful, including those who desire to celebrate according to the older form of the Roman rite. Dear brother priests, dear brothers in the episcopate, I ask you humbly and in our common faith, following the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows” (Letter to the Bishops on the Occasion of the Publication of Summorum Pontificum, 7 July 2007).

    The usus antiquior should be seen as a normal part of the life of the Church of the twenty-first century. Statistically it may well remain a small part of the Church’s life, as foreseen by Pope Benedict XVI, but it is not in any way inferior or ‘second-class’ because of that. There should be no competition between the more recent rites and the older ones of the one Roman rite: both should be a natural element of the life of the Church in our times. Christ calls us to unity, not division! We are brothers and sisters in the same faith no matter which form of the Roman rite we celebrate!

    But there can be a relationship of mutual enrichment between the two forms. The issue of a more faithful implementation of the liturgical reform desired by the Fathers of the Council, about which I spoke in London last year, remains. This is sometimes called the question of a ‘reform of the reform,’ although that term scares some people. Whilst recognising the need to study and address the underlying issues, I prefer to speak of “positive enrichment” whereby positive elements in the older rites could enrich the new, and vice-versa.

    For example, the silent praying of the offertory prayers and of the Roman canon might be practices that could enrich the modern rite today. In our world so full of words and more words more silence is what is necessary, even in the liturgy. The ritual silence at these parts of the Mass in the older rites is fecund: people’s spirits are able to soar heavenward because there is space which allows them so to do. The discipline of verbal and ritual ‘silence’ with which the usus antiquior rite is imbued and which enables the Lord to be heard more clearly is a treasure to be shared and valued in our manner of celebrating the usus recentior also. So too, the older missal may well profit from the addition of ferial Masses in Advent and the expansion of its lectionary on ferias, not by way of an imposition of the new upon the old so as somehow to ‘score points,’ but as a genuine enrichment and organic development of the rite for the glory of Almighty God and the good of souls.

    I am aware that in this area there are many sensibilities and that we must not cause any further pastoral harm by making liturgical changes without careful study and due preparation and formation. I raise these simply as possibilities for consideration: there are many others that could be discussed.

    In July I spoke of a possible future reconciliation between the two forms of the Roman rite. Some have interpreted this expression of personal opinion as the announcement of a programme that would end up in the future imposition of a hybrid rite which would bring about a compromise that would leave everybody unhappy and would abolish the usus antiquior by stealth, as it were. This interpretation is absolutely not what I intended. What I do wish to do is to encourage further thought and study on these questions in peace and tranquillity and in a spirit of prayerful discernment. There are improvements which can be made to both forms of the Roman rite in use today, and both forms can contribute to this in due course. Whether one prefers to speak of a reform of the reform, a positive enrichment or a liturgical reconciliation, the underlying realities remain and must be addressed calmly and in all due charity. No one, however, should fear that anything will be lost for, as Pope Benedict XVI insisted in his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

    Let me also be very clear on another matter: in speaking of liturgical enrichment the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments is not advocating, let alone authorising, an à la carte approach to any liturgical books, old or new. Far from it! We must all have great patience whilst the Church considers what is best in these questions of future development and we must wait for authoritative rulings. As I noted above, we are not free to make decisions or to take action ourselves by changing what the liturgical books provide.

    I would like to address a paternal word to all those attached to the older form of the Roman rite. It is this: some, if not many, people, call you “traditionalists.” Sometimes you even call yourselves “traditional Catholics” or hyphenate yourselves in a similar way. Please do this no longer. You do not belong in a box on the shelf or in a museum of curiosities. You are not traditionalists: you are Catholics of the Roman rite as am I and as is the Holy Father. You are not second-class or somehow peculiar members of the Catholic Church because of your life of worship and your spiritual practices, which were those of innumerable saints. You are called by God, as is every baptised person, to take your full place in the life and mission of the Church in the world of today, not to be shut up in—or worse, to retreat into—a ghetto in which defensiveness and introspection reign and stifle the Christian witness and mission to the world you too are called to give.

    If ten years after coming into force Summorum Pontificum means anything, it means this. If you have not yet left behind the shackles of the ‘traditionalist ghetto,’ please do so today. Almighty God calls you to do this. No one will rob you of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite. But many will benefit, in this life and the next, from your faithful Christian witness which will have so much to offer given the profound formation in the faith that the ancient rites and the associated spiritual and doctrinal ambience has given you. As the Lord Himself teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount: “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Mt 5:15). This, my dear friends, is your true vocation. This is the mission to which, by bringing forth the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in due time, Divine Providence calls you forth.


    “Forgetting about God is the most imminent danger of our age” Cardinal Ratzinger wrote. My brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum and give thanks for the freedom and new life that it has brought to the Church’s worship and mission in the past decade, let us be in no doubt that we do indeed live in a godless age.

    “As against this, the liturgy should be setting up a sign of God’s presence,” the Cardinal continued. There can be no doubt that the tangible sacrality of the usus antiquior of the Roman rite serves do this very well today, most particularly in its sung and solemn celebration. Additionally, its disciplined silent sacrality also serves to remind us that in every liturgical celebration of whatever use “the primacy of God should be kept in view first and foremost.”

    Today, as we celebrate the most beautiful feast of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, and tomorrow as we kneel silently at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady of Sorrows, let us implore the Lord who mounted the Cross in sacrificial love for us that His Church may enjoy a profound and authentic renewal in her life of worship so that she may go forth from that sacred encounter into the world with renewed vigour to announce the good news that sin and death have been conquered by our Lord Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice on the cross has obtained for us the forgiveness of our sins and the hope of eternal life.

    I thank you for your kind attention. I bless each one of you and your different apostolates, and I humbly ask your prayers and those of your communities for myself and for my ministry.

    © Robert Cardinal Sarah
    Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

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    Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors, South Carolina, will hold a five-week speaker series on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, organized to help the faithful to a better understanding of why this form of Mass is celebrated. The parishioner who organized the event, Paul Pizzuti, describes it as “an every man’s approach to the Latin Mass. By offering an opportunity to find comfort and education within the Extraordinary Form, my hope is that parishioners of all ages will draw even closer to Jesus Christ.” The series will run from September 24 to October 22.
    The feast of the Assumption at Prince of Peace.
    This speakers discuss different aspects of the Extraordinary Form based on their own studies in literature, architectural design, philosophy, knowledge of historical Catholic figures, dogmatic and biblical theology, among them tow of Prince of Peace’s own, the pastor, Fr Christopher Smith, and Fr Richard Tomlinson. “Prince of Peace Catholic Church is one of the largest Latin Mass communities in the Southeast. I was thrilled that like so many young adults, the Extraordinary Form of Mass has been such a vital part of Paul’s Catholic faith that he wanted to created a program sharing his passion with others across various stages of understanding of this form. I look forward to speaking on the topic of Sacred Music and am grateful for the willingness of our other speakers to devote their time and generosity to this effort.” said Fr Smith.

    Here are the descriptions and dates of each of the workshops:
    Why Latin?, Sept. 24 with Father Jason Barone of the Diocese of Charlotte
    • The history of Latin and why this language is known to unveil the mystery of God.

    The Mass & the Missal, Oct. 1 with Father Richard Tomlinson
    • Learn about the fundamentals that make up the Extraordinary Form of Mass

    Sacred Music, Oct. 8 with Father Christopher Smith
    • The historical significance behind the music of the Extraordinary Form of Mass

    The Beauty of the Extraordinary Form of Mass, Oct. 15 with Joseph Pearce
    • Appreciation of participating in the Extraordinary Form of Mass

    Sacred Art & Architecture (What Changed with Vatican II), Oct. 22 with Jacob Wolfe
    • How the meaning of art and architecture in the Catholic church has changed over the past 50 years

    Each workshop will be held at 10 a.m. in the Parish Activity Center (PAC) on the Prince of Peace Catholic Church and School campus, located at 1209 Brushy Creek Rd., Taylors, South Carolina. For more information, please contact Paul Pizzuti at (843) 616-1766. As a reminder, Prince of Peace Catholic Church invites you to attend the Extraordinary Form of Mass every Sunday at noon.

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    Yesterday, His Excellency Bishop Joseph Perry, Auxiliary of Chicago, celebrated a solemn Pontifical Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, for the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and in thanksgiving for the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum on the tenth anniversary of its coming into effect. Here is a good quality video of the complete ceremony; the original link is given below.

    On this most auspicious occasion, New Liturgical Movement thanks Bishop Perry for his pastoral solicitude on behalf of the faithful who love the traditional liturgy, especially the many younger people who through these ancient rites are drawn closer to the Lord. We also offer our congratulations to all those who were involved in putting together this beautiful ceremony, something truly done for the greater glory of God!

    10th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum from Kearns Media Consulting LLC on Vimeo.

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