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Articles on this Page
- 11/07/17--05:58: _The All Souls Requi...
- 11/07/17--10:19: _The Feast of All Sa...
- 11/07/17--14:49: _Memento Mori
- 11/08/17--05:00: _Announcing a New Gr...
- 11/08/17--13:34: _Fostering Young Voc...
- 11/08/17--13:26: _The Octave of All S...
- 11/09/17--06:40: _The Origin of All S...
- 11/09/17--09:13: _Dominican Rite Cale...
- 11/09/17--10:00: _EF Pontifical Requi...
- 11/09/17--19:06: _All Saints and All ...
- 11/10/17--05:00: _Why Does the Modern...
- 11/10/17--09:50: _A Note about Photog...
- 11/10/17--19:46: _All Saints and All ...
- 11/12/17--07:58: _Friends of the Trid...
- 11/13/17--08:11: _A Tale of Two Colle...
- 11/14/17--08:18: _Photos of Pontifica...
- 11/14/17--09:00: _Dominican Mass for ...
- 11/14/17--13:07: _The Relics of St Jo...
- 11/15/17--07:50: _EF Solemn Mass of t...
- 11/15/17--08:19: _A Beautiful Church ...
- 11/07/17--05:58: The All Souls Requiem Mass at Wyoming Catholic College
- 11/07/17--10:19: The Feast of All Saints 2017: The Martyrs
- 11/07/17--14:49: Memento Mori
- 11/08/17--05:00: Announcing a New Group for Promoting the Extraordinary Form in Idaho
- 11/08/17--13:34: Fostering Young Vocations (Part 6)
- 11/08/17--13:26: The Octave of All Saints 2017
- 11/09/17--06:40: The Origin of All Saints’ Day: A Brief Follow-Up
- 11/09/17--09:13: Dominican Rite Calendar for 2018
- 11/09/17--10:00: EF Pontifical Requiem in Leeds, England, Nov. 11
- 11/10/17--09:50: A Note about Photography in Church
- 11/12/17--07:58: Friends of the Tridentine Mass in Jupiter, Florida
- 11/13/17--08:11: A Tale of Two Collects: Different Worldviews in Old and New Prayers
- 11/14/17--08:18: Photos of Pontifical Requiem with Bishop Morlino
- 11/14/17--09:00: Dominican Mass for St Albert in Columbus, Ohio
- 11/14/17--13:07: The Relics of St Josaphat in the Vatican
- 11/15/17--07:50: EF Solemn Mass of the Presentation in New York City
- 11/15/17--08:19: A Beautiful Church Rebuilding in Madison, Wisconsin
The chaplaincy also sets apart November 2nd as a special day by celebrating a Requiem Missa cantata. This year the men’s schola prepared the Introit from Cristóbal de Morales’ five-part Requiem, often considered one of his final works and a sublime masterpiece by any standard. Morales gives the cantus firmus of the introit chant to the top line, here sung by the countertenor freshman whom we are delighted to have in the ensemble!
The remainder of the Mass was sung in the chant given in the Liber Usualis. Here is the Gradual.
A few photos of the occasion:
|Lighting the Sanctus candle|
From the Roman Breviary of 1529, the continuation of the sermon for the feast of All Saints.
|The Ten Thousand Martyrs on Mt Ararat, by Vittore Carpaccio, 1515|
These windows were created by Max Ingrand in Paris, France, and have been in the church since 1958 when the second parish church of St Joachim was dedicated. Photographs courtesy of Paul Flores Photography of Madera. (www.paulfloresphoto.com)
Readers who are familiar with the churches of Rome will recognize this motif from the two most prominent churches dedicated to the first Pope. At the Vatican, Bernini’s monument to Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1655-67), who was a personal friend of the artist, shows death itself as a winged skeleton holding an hourglass. The curtain covering his face reminds us, like the stained glass windows above, that death is no respecter of persons.
|Image from Wikimedia Commons by Jean-Pol Grandmont.|
|Image from Wikimedia Commons by LPLT|
|Image from Wikimedia Commons by Sailko|
|Image from Wikimedia Commons by Vassil|
NLM has been asked to publish the following announcement.
It is the intention of this society to indicate the existence of that "group of the faithful" (coetus fidelium) that Summorum Pontificum calls for, and thus, to give a voice to the faithful who are interested in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. To make this voice more effective, the group wishes to be a recognized chapter of Una Voce America and a part of International Federation Una Voce.
Together with the Blessed Margaret of Castello Chapter of the Dominican Third Order, arrangements were made for a Requiem Mass which was held for All Souls at St Paul’s, in Nampa, Idaho. About 150 faithful assisted at this Requiem Mass, from all the valley parishes as well as from Spokane WA, Vale and Jordan Valley in Oregon, and Twin Falls and Hammett in Idaho. The Mass was exquisite, as was the chant. Many thanks to all who served at the altar as well as musicians and ushers. We are happy to share some photos below.
If you live in southern Idaho and are interested in seeing established a weekly Mass in the Extraordinary Form, please visit our website and sign up. Ora pro nobis.
And speaking of Dominicans, Fr Lew very kindly shared with us this wonderful photo which he took of a Eucharistic procession recent held at St Dominic’s Parish and Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Haverstock Hill area of London. This was part of a Rosary Vigil on October 28, consisting of a Holy Hour punctuated with music, Scripture and reflections, followed by a Eucharistic Procession during which the Rosary was prayed, and the Akathist hymn was sung, and ending with Benediction and Dominican Compline. (Click to enlarge.)
From the Roman Breviary of 1529, the conclusion of the sermon for the feast of All Saints.
|All Saints in Glory, by Giovanni da San Giovanni, 1630, in the apse of the church of the Four Crowned Martyrs in Rome.|
From the Breviary of St. Pius V, 1568, the end of the treatise on mortality by St. Cyprian of Carthage, bishop and martyr, read on the Octave Day of All Saints.
There the glorious choir of the apostles, there the host of the prophets rejoicing, there the innumerable multitude of the martyrs, crowned for the victory of their struggle and passion; there the triumphant virgins, who subdued the desire of the flesh and of the body by the strength of their continency. There are the merciful rewarded, who by feeding and helping the poor have done the works of justice, they who, in keeping precepts of the Lord, have transformed their earthly patrimonies into the heavenly treasures. To these, beloved brethren, let us hasten with eager desire; let us long quickly to be with them, that quickly we may come to Christ.
November 8th is also the feast of the Four Crowned Martyrs, the titular Saints of a very ancient but much-rebuilt church on the Caelian Hill in Rome. Every year on the feast, the altar is covered with a very beautiful frontal, and silver reliquary busts of the martyrs are displayed in the sanctuary.
As I noted earlier, part of Rome’s answer to the Byzantine emperor’s rejection of sacred images was the building of an oratory at St Peter’s Basilica, which Pope St Gregory III dedicated to all the Saints, filling it with sacred pictures and relics. This was one of several major artistic projects by which the Pope declared the Church’s opposition to iconoclasm, a policy continued by his successors.
In 753, during the reign of Pope Stephen II (752-57), the Emperor Constantine V held a synod in the imperial palace at Chalcedon to confirm the iconoclast position, and formally condemn the cult of the sacred images; it is known from the name of the palace as the Synod in Hieria. As long as iconoclasm held sway as an official policy of the Byzantine government, this synod was legally recognized as a legitimate council. Furthermore, with its conclusion, there began a fierce persecution of the iconodules, which gave many martyrs to the Church. In The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils, Mons. Philip Hughes describes the 22 years from Hieria to the death of Constantine V as a “reign of terror”; the stories of the treatment meted out to the orthodox rival those of the English reformation for shame and horror. Constantine V’s traditional epithet, “Copronymus”, means “dung-named” in Greek, a reference to a diaper accident that occurred at his baptism; this was taken by those who honored the sacred images as a presage of his impiety. It occurs repeatedly in the Roman Martyrology, in reference to the many Saints killed or otherwise persecuted by him for the sake of the images.
Although the term “iconoclasm” literally means “the breaking of images”, Byzantine iconoclasm also involved an attack on the Church’s devotion to relics. In fact, very shortly after Hieria, the altar of the great basilica of St Euphemia in Chalcedon was dismantled, and her relics removed from it and cast into the sea. This was the very same church at which the Fourth Ecumenical Council was held in 451; the fact that the council of 753 was not held therein, but rather in the imperial palace, says much about the baleful influence of the Byzantine emperors on the Church in that era.
It is perhaps in light of this that we should consider the establishment of a second very notable oratory in Rome, within the Papal palace at the Lateran, officially known as “St Lawrence in the Palace.” From very early on, however, it was also known as the “Sancta Sanctorum – holy of holies,” not because of its status as a Papal chapel, but because of the presence of a very large and important collection of relics. To this very day, the chapel’s altar is completely surrounded by a cage of thick iron bars to protect the relics from theft, although the relics themselves have all either long since been lost or moved to other places. (Many of them are on display today in the Vatican Museums.)
|(Image from Wikimedia Commons by Sailko)|
From time immemorial, this oratory has also been the home of a famous icon of the Savior, one of the many “acheiropoetos” images, “not made by human hands.” It was already in Rome before Stephen III’s time, since the Liber Pontificalis records that Stephen II (752-7) held a procession with it through the city when Rome was threatened by the Lombards in 753. Its date and provenance are uncertain, ranging from the mid-5th to the 7th century, and from Rome to Byzantium; the metal sheet that covers it today is from the time of Pope Innocent III (1198-1216.)
Under Christ’s right eye is a dent which is still clearly visible, and it has been speculated that this damage was deliberately caused by an iconoclast. If the icon is indeed Byzantine in origin, it may very well be one of the many brought to Italy by those iconodules who fled from the persecution of Constantine V; images with such a history can be seen even to this day in churches up and down the peninsula. Its placement in the Sancta Sanctorum would therefore perhaps also be part of the Papal response to iconoclasm. Many of the relics formerly present in the oratory were placed there by Pope St Leo III, who was elected one year after the famous synod at Frankfurt, which, working off a very bad translation of the acts of Second Nicea, condemned that council, and what it mistakenly believed to be its teaching on the use of images. Likewise, Pope Gregory IV, who permanently established November 1st as the date for the feast of All Saints, also built an apartment for himself next to the Sancta Sanctorum, the more conveniently to go there for prayer.
We may therefore consider the possibility that the Popes built the oratory of the Sancta Sanctorum as the analog at the Lateran to Pope Gregory III’s oratory at the Vatican, and very much another part of their anti-iconoclast program.
|Contents of the Humbert Codex|
This calendar gives the feasts of the year according to the rubrics of 1962 and also includes (for votive use) those Dominican saints and blesseds added to the Dominican calendar after 1962. In addition it includes all saints and blesseds approved for celebration in the United States, as well as the feasts proper to those dioceses where the four American Dominican Provinces have houses.
I have also indicated the feasts of dedication for consecrated Dominican churches, when I was able to find them. If I have missed any, I ask my Dominican brothers to email me about them. I would be happy to add the local feasts of other dioceses where there are Dominican houses, if I missed them. Also, if anyone finds mistakes in this calendar, for example the names of ordinaries, please email me about them so that I can fix them before New Year's.
RTS: In your new book Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages (Angelico Press, 2017), you write as an unabashed apologist for the traditional Latin Mass. You are positive not only that “the Mass of the Ages” is far superior to the new Mass, which Pope Benedict XVI called the Ordinary Form, but also that the Roman Catholic Church should go back to the Extraordinary Form.
Can you summarize here why the Church should return to the Extraordinary Form?
Dr. Kwasniewski: The reason is simply that we are debtors to our tradition, we are beholden to our heritage, and we become ungrateful and arrogant wretches when we throw it overboard. The attitude of true humility is to assume that the accumulated wisdom and piety of the Church should continue to guide and inform us. This is how it has always been seen, no matter what century of the Church you look at. It could only have been in the twentieth century, at the pinnacle of evolutionary conceit, that a group of eggheads would have dared lay hands on the rich and subtle worship of the Church to force it into their imaginary categories of relevance or efficacy. Their work was justly punished with desolation and apostasy.
In short, the traditional liturgy expresses the fullness of the Catholic Faith and preserves the piety of Christians intact. This is more than sufficient reason for adhering to it and for insisting that it be the norm, always and everywhere.
RTS: What are some of the ways the older form of the Roman Rite expresses the fullness of the Faith?
Dr. Kwasniewski: The older rite is impressively theocentric, focused on God and the primacy of His Kingdom. It is shot through with words and gestures of self-abasement and penitence, attentive reverence and adoration, acceptance of God’s absolute claims upon us. Its prayers and ceremonial bear witness to both the transcendence and the immanence of God: He is Emmanuel, God among us, but also the One who dwells in thick darkness, whom no man has seen or can see. He is our Alpha and Omega, our all in all. The traditional liturgy is uncompromising on this point. Even in what you might call its “instructional” moment, the reading or chanting of Scripture, it remains fixed on the Lord, as if we are not so much reading to ourselves as we are reminding Him of what He said to us—as if we are asking Him to fulfill it again in our midst, according to His promise. The old Mass never deviates from the gaze of the Lord, always remains under His eye, conscientiously turned to Him. It plunges us into the life-and-death necessity of prayer. Padre Pio said “prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” We breathe that oxygen in the old Mass.
RTS: Don’t we do that in the new Mass, too?
Dr. Kwasniewski: We might do that in the new Mass, but it is much more difficult to do. The oxygen is harder to get. The needs and demands of the spiritual life are muted, swept under the carpet, in this stripped-down vernacular liturgy facing the people, replete with sappy songs, announcements, constant chatter. It was designed to be populocentric, to connect people with one another and with the priest around a table, a meal. As Ratzinger has said, God disappears in such a set-up. He may be there on the altar, but the people’s minds and hearts are elsewhere. Should we really be surprised that, according to repeated polls, most Catholics who attend the Novus Ordo do not believe in the Real Presence—do not even know that the Church teaches it? The liturgy does not help them to see, to experience, that truth. It is not just about adequate catechesis. It is about whether the liturgy vividly expresses the truths of the Faith.
To take just one example, the old liturgy’s prayers unflinchingly subordinate earthly life to heavenly life; they repudiate the pomps and vanities of fallen secular life. The new liturgy refuses to do this, and in fact its redactors systematically wiped out the old prayers that talked of “despising earthly things” for the sake of heaven. Has there ever been a generation since the creation of Adam and Eve that more needed to hear this message than today’s? Materialistic hedonism is the broad way along which countless souls are walking to their own destruction—and the Church smiles and waves at them, saying “God bless you.”
RTS: You say in your book that these problems have to do with a certain attitude towards modernity.
Dr. Kwasniewski: Exactly. Or maybe better, a certain attitude of modernity. At its root, modernity is anti-sacral, anti-religious, anti-incarnational, and therefore anti-clerical, anti-ritual, anti-liturgical. You can see this from the many philosophers of the Enlightenment who rejected both divine revelation and organized religion. A few centuries later, we moderns who have imbibed all this philosophical baggage have almost no clue what a solemn, formal, objective, public religious ritual is supposed to look like. We are at a total loss about corporate worship in which the individual ego is subsumed into the greater community of the Church across time and space. That is why we must clutch to the traditional liturgy for dear life. It is, for all intents and purposes, pre-modern—so old that it is unaffected by our contemporary shallowness, biases, prejudices. It breathes a realism, a spaciousness, a strength, a chivalry even, that has become foreign to our age and so, for that very reason, is desperately needed by us. Modern man needs nothing so much as to be delivered from the prison of his Promethean modernism. He needs to be challenged with that which is older, deeper, wiser, stronger, lovelier, happier. He needs to be ignored, not coddled; mystified, not lectured to; silenced, not uncorked.
RTS: I agree with you. But I wonder: What grounds do you have to believe that a return to the Mass of the Ages is even a possibility?
Dr. Kwasniewski: I don’t know what the future holds, but right now, looking at the virtual schism in the Catholic Church over basic points of faith and morals, it is hard to escape the conclusion that some mighty upheavals are in the offing, and that many things that might have seemed impossible a short while ago may suddenly become possible. In my opinion, the movement for Catholic orthodoxy and the movement for liturgical tradition are coming closer all the time and have already combined in many ways into a single movement. A time will come, I believe, when Catholics who profess the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, who adhere to the traditional sexual morality of the Church, and who accept priestly celibacy as a discipline willed by the Lord will be celebrating the usus antiquior either exclusively or predominantly. Of course, I have no way of proving this, but let’s call it an educated guess.
In any case, we need to have a sound historical perspective based on the study of reform movements in Church history, of which nearly every century has given us shining examples. Every reform movement started with a few people who, rightly scandalized by the faithlessness or immorality of their times and animated with the fervor of divine love, worked tirelessly and organized effectively to promote personal conversion and institutional change. It has always happened this way, and our times will be no exception. We have to beware of a subtle form of consequentialism, whereby we think we are doing the right thing because we are successful, or that as long as we do the right thing we cannot fail to be successful. No. We do the right thing even if it’s improbable, difficult, quixotic, leads to martyrdom. The success the Lord wants is for souls who care about Him to return to the sacred liturgy in its uncorrupted form, whether we are supported and applauded for this fidelity, or opposed and persecuted. He will do the rest for us. We are counting not on our superior numbers or might but on His resources, His interventions, His multiplication of bread and loaves.
The fact of the matter is, the traditional movement is indeed growing. All the numbers are there for examination: the numbers of priests and seminarians in traditional orders or communities, as well as the apostolates being entrusted to them, are steadily climbing. The number of families associated with their apostolates is ever on the increase. If someone in the Western world today wants to see a church full of large families, he has to visit traditional communities, for he will hardly find them elsewhere! Traditionalist books, magazines, pamphlets, catalogs, and religious items are burgeoning, which at least points to a market. Intellectuals and artists, to the extent that the contemporary Church has them, are decidedly favorable to traditionalism.
|Dr Kwasniewski with the choir of Wyoming Catholic College|
Dr. Kwasniewski: This really isn’t surprising. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his letter to bishops of July 7, 2007: “The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often.” Put simply: many people are not ready for it. Some, it’s true, attend once and are hooked forever, but for others, there’s a steep learning curve. They are the victims of such bad liturgical practices and habits that they will not know what to do with themselves when suddenly up against the edge of an infinite chasm of prayer, with no one to hold their hand, and a ritual that unfolds with what may look like a lofty indifference or a chilly remoteness. It is severely disturbing to your average Catholic. This is why, by the way, I always say that if you want to bring someone to a Tridentine Mass, you should bring him to a Missa cantata or even a Solemn High Mass, if you can find one nearby. The High Mass is far easier to relate to, as it appeals to all the senses, and carries the worshiper along on a gentle stream.
RTS: Yes, I can see your point. So, you think it’s unfair to say that the traditional Latin Mass is a “boutique phenomenon” among American Catholics?
Dr. Kwasniewski: First let’s wait till it’s available everywhere, for many years, and then we can re-assess the question. But coming back to what I said a moment ago: the Latin Mass is hard-core, full-on Catholicism, no holds barred. The liturgy is longer and more elaborate. The music is likely be the real stuff: Gregorian chant, polyphony. The preaching is also likely to be tougher, closer to what you’d expect from a religion that claims to be divinely revealed as the only way to salvation. Women are wearing mantillas, people are dressed formally. The whole package is radically opposed to the mores of contemporary Americans, including, sadly, Catholics themselves, who are contracepting and divorcing at pretty nearly the same rate as their heathen counterparts. I hate to say it, but the dominant ersatz version of Catholicism really is like a different religion, compared to the historic, authentic, dogmatic, ascetical-mystical Catholicism embodied in the traditional liturgy and all the devotions that flourish in its ambit. So, do we call this a “boutique phenomenon,” or do we have the courage to admit that Catholicism is in a state of accelerating decomposition and that most of what the world calls “Catholicism” is, at best, a shadow of the reality, if not a contradiction of it?
But let us be honest about this, too: the main reason the old Mass has not caught on more is the lack of availability and the lack of ecclesiastical support. Pope Benedict liberated it for the benefit of all priests and for the faithful they serve, but a huge number of priests have been cajoled, threatened, ostracized, or removed from ministry due to conflicts over Summorum Pontificum. I know what I am talking about from firsthand experiences. Too many bishops and pastors are opposed to it, and the young clergy who can already do the old liturgy or who may wish to learn it are kept down, forced into the mold of the postconciliar revolution. The lack of growth to which you refer is the result of a deliberate strategy of “containment” that is discussed and implemented at the level of episcopal conferences. Not officially, mind you, but behind closed doors. Thanks be to God there are still some heroic bishops and priests here and there who, in spite of all the political pressure, manage to hold their own line and promote the recovery of liturgical tradition in their dioceses or parishes. It is happening, slowly, across the face of the earth—I have been to many such places and seen the lively faith of clergy and laity. But it could and should be happening everywhere. There is an artificial limitation being imposed by monopolists. If we had a “free market economy,” so to speak, we would be looking at a far different picture.
Again, this situation is not unprecedented, either in salvation history or in Church history (which itself follows, again and again, the pattern of salvation history). Remember the story of Gideon in Judges 7? He had with him 32,000 troops to go up against the Midianites. The Lord said to him: “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, ‘My own hand has delivered me.’” The Lord succeeded in lowering the number first to 10,000, then to 300. With these “picked men,” Gideon obtained total victory over his enemies, who were “like locusts for multitude.” The Lord seems to have a preference for winning improbable victories, so that the glory can be His and not ours. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy Name give glory.” I take much comfort in this.
RTS: The odds of the traditional Latin Mass replacing the Mass of 1969 sometimes seem to me to be vanishingly remote, so I’ve been afraid that what traditionalists are advocating is like so much shouting into the wind. But then I chanced upon this, written by a secular blogger: “Anything worth shouting about is worth shouting into the wind. Because if enough people care, often enough, the word spreads, the standards change, the wind dies down. If enough people care, the culture changes. It’s easy to persuade ourselves that the right time to make change happen is when it’s time. But that’s never true. The right time to make it happen is before it’s time. Because this is what ‘making’ means. … Yes, there’s wind, there’s always been wind. But that doesn’t mean we should stop shouting.”
Dr. Kwasniewski: I couldn’t agree more, except that I’d say we don’t always have to be shouting. We need to practice the art of persuasion, good advertising, and, obviously, best behavior. The take-away is that we have a lot of work to do in winning our brothers and sisters over to traditional Catholicism, for their own good and for the health of the Church. This is going to happen to some extent naturally as things get worse in the Church and in the world. People who are serious about the Faith will ask: “Where is this Faith being taught and lived? Where is there a priest who believes and preaches the Faith? Where is the liturgy being celebrated in a way that nourishes and strengthens my faith?” We need to be there for them when they start asking these questions, and not drive them away because they are initially poorly dressed, or kneel at the wrong times, or sing badly, or have confused ideas.
RTS: You write that lots of young seminarians and newly ordained priests have learned to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, and you are hopeful about that. I am too. But recently some liberals are saying that the tradition-loving, cassock-wearing seminarians who came in during Benedict’s reign might be supplanted by a newer wave of priests influenced by Pope Francis.
Dr. Kwasniewski: I imagine this is true to some extent. But again, I think it would not be so much a swinging of the pendulum as the ongoing residue of postconciliar confusion, which has polluted nearly everyone’s thinking. Moreover, if progressives are in charge of seminaries, they know very well how to filter out the “excessively rigid” candidates—you know, those who believe the Catechism, pray the rosary, kneel for communion, and such things. Hence, in some seminaries the “Francis Effect” will certainly show itself as the rejection or dismissal of perfectly acceptable but “rigid” candidates.
The shift in mentality ushered in by Benedict XVI should by no means be under-estimated. He elevated the Church’s intellectual, spiritual, and liturgical profile to a level it had not enjoyed since before the Council, and left behind a treasure-trove of writings, particularly on the sacred liturgy, that will be read for decades and possibly centuries to come. The “Benedict Effect” may be quieter, but it’s deeper and more pervasive. Wherever you find a diocese bursting with vocations and Mass attendance, you will find the Ratzingerian influence at work.
RTS: I know a priest who gradually removed most of the liturgical abuses in his parish over almost a decade, with much more patience than I could have shown, and for all his pains, he received a lot of rancor. Eventually, in spite of all his patient catechesis of his parishioners, the priest was removed by his religious superior. All this happened under a supportive bishop. I fear to think what new tradition-minded priests will face in their parishes after ordination.
Dr. Kwasniewski: Yes, I don’t want to seem like a Pollyanna who is downplaying the difficulties. They are very real. For one thing, the persecution of orthodox Catholics is getting worse under this pontificate. Anyone who questions Amoris Laetitia, for example, is instantly persona non grata. A priest who preaches against homosexuality or contraception from the pulpit might well be “disciplined.” And a priest who starts offering the Latin Mass might as well tape a bull’s eye on the back of his shirt, with the words: “Shoot me!” But this cannot and will not be the final word. We are only in one phase of a long battle. No pope and no bishop lasts forever; generations come and go, some problems disappear and others arise to take their place.
This much is clear: the priests who are faithful to their sacerdotal ministry, who preach the truth “in season and out of season,” who offer the liturgy with utmost reverence, who make the Tradition come alive again: these priests will be blessed even in the midst of many crosses, and will become a blessing to their people. Our Lord will take care of them and make of them what He will. I know priests who have gone through terrible situations, which were the prelude to their arrival in a better place, to do more important work. We have to have confidence that God will take care of His own when they do what they are supposed to do. I know a priest who has been punished for his stance on never giving communion to people in the hand, because it goes against his conscience to see the Body of Our Lord handled in that casual way, with the danger of particles being lost (not to mention the loss of faith in the Real Presence and the ontological distinction between the ordained and the non-ordained). I admire him and others like him. They are the grain of wheat that will fall into the ground and die, so that an abundant harvest can spring forth.
I would also say that young men discerning a priestly vocation need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (cf. Mt 10:16). They should think about whether it would not be better for them to join a society of apostolic life or a religious community that utilizes only the old liturgical books. These books are repositories of the Church’s tradition. And the priests who are bound to their use will not face the same kind of opposition and maltreatment that the secular clergy too often do. I would say something similar, incidentally, to young women discerning a religious vocation—indeed, it is even more important for them to join a community that will be served exclusively by priests who offer the usus antiquior.
Let us beg the Lord on our knees to send laborers into the harvest!
RTS: Do you think there is a danger of discouragement in the ranks of traditional Catholics?
Dr. Kwasniewski: Absolutely. You run into it everywhere. Faithful people are especially scandalized by what’s happening in the upper ranks of the Church, and they are predicting that the sky will fall in on our heads. Maybe it will, but that’s still not the end of the world. Nor will it be the end of us, either. We have to fight hard against discouragement. St Thérèse said: “Discouragement is a form of pride.” It is pride in the sense that we start second-guessing Divine Providence and blaming the Lord for not intervening or solving this or that problem as we would have done. But God is in charge, and His ways are not our ways. Our job is to do, as well as we can, whatever He has given us the light and strength to do. We all know the famous words of Mother Teresa: “We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful.” God will bless and multiply the good of our fidelity to Him, to the Church, to Catholic Tradition, whether we see the fruits of it in our lifetime or not.
RTS: This past August, Pope Francis stated that there is no possibility of rethinking the decisions behind the liturgical changes; all we should do now is seek to understand the reasons why they were made. He said: “We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.” What do you make of this?
Dr. Kwasniewski: It is not easy to understand what the Holy Father expects to accomplish in this sentence, as it is not a doctrinal statement but an evaluation of a contingent historical fact, namely, the process of reform that began after Sacrosanctum Concilium and culminated in the various Novus Ordo liturgical books. It’s like saying: “The Euro is irreversibly established in Europe.” Why should we think so? Or: “The ecumenism of the past fifty years is an irreversible fact.” Sure, no one can deny that it has happened, and as such, cannot be undone. But that doesn’t say anything about what the future holds. The whole thing, new liturgical rites or ecumenism or whatever, could be scrapped, or at least severely “corrected,” by a forthcoming Leo XIV or Benedict XVII or Pius XIII.
One might also note that one pope (Clement VII) authorized the novel breviary designed by Cardinal Quiñones, another (Paul III) approved it, and yet a third (Paul IV) suppressed it, deeming it a rupture in the tradition and excessively influenced by Protestant theology. Popes actually can get the liturgy wrong, according to other Popes. Councils, too, are by no means infallible when it comes to recommendations about practical things to be done or not done. No one questions that the Council Fathers desired minor changes to the liturgy, but many notable authors, including Joseph Ratzinger and Louis Bouyer, have raised serious questions about the manner in which these changes were actually carried out.
RTS: Thank you for this interview. I am especially happy that you were willing to frankly address some of the problems that troubled me when I was reading your eloquent and persuasive essays in Noble Beauty. As you said “many things that might have seemed impossible a short while ago may suddenly become possible.” And, I agree, we do have to fight hard against discouragement. We have to be humble and holy ourselves so that God can work through us to obtain His purposes. I hope and pray that many readers will also find in your book, as I have done, much to think about, much to be consoled about, and much to be strenghthened by.
Dr. Kwasniewski: Thank you very much. Oremus pro invicem.
This is an excellent admonition, and sadly, a rather necessary one, but I am quite sure that His Holiness was referring to things like this:
Photo by Mr Arrys Ortañez, from our third Corpus Christi photopost of 2015, part of the Sacra Liturgia Conference held that year in New York City.
NLM was asked to post the following announcement for our readers in Florida.
If you are near the North Palm Beach county area, join us for Mass on Mondays at 12 pm in the chapel at the Saint Peter Church in Jupiter. Also consider signing up with our mailing list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are seeking a regular weekly Sunday Mass in the Jupiter/Tequesta area to build our community centered in the Tridentine Mass and we appreciate your support. Join us and bring your friends! More information is available at our website LatinMassJupiter.org.
A few photos of our location:
The old collect, translated literally, reads thus:
O God, who didst make blessed Albert, Thy bishop and Doctor, great by his bringing human wisdom into captivity to divine faith: grant us, we beseech Thee, so to adhere to the footsteps of his magisterium, that we may enjoy perfect light in heaven.The new collect, as given in the current edition of the modern Roman Rite, reads:
O God, who made the Bishop Saint Albert great by his joining of human wisdom to divine faith, grant, we pray, that we may so adhere to the truths he taught, that through progress in learning, we may come to a deeper knowledge and love of you.In the former prayer, God makes Albert great because he brought human wisdom into captivity to divine faith (in humana sapientia divinae fidei subjicienda). The prayer echoes St. Paul writing to the Corinthians about the destruction of worldly wisdom: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications, destroying counsels, and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:4–5). It is also reminiscent of the verse from the Psalms: “Thou didst ascend the high mount, leading captives in thy train, and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there” (Psa 67:19 [68:18]).
The perspective is not that human wisdom is bad, but that it is likely to be rebellious if not subordinated to divine faith, and that it will “come into its own” when the pride with which it is pursued is crushed and the knowledge is made, to so speak, obedient unto death, as was Christ in His humanity. There has to be a certain mortification and re-alignment of human wisdom if it is to be in harmony with the ineffable mysteries of God and a tool of sanctification. This is why the collect concludes on a note of ascension, with the enjoyment of perfect light in heaven: that is where the very font of truth and all wisdom is perfectly found, and it must be the measure of all we do in this earthly pilgrimage. We ask to be guided by Albert’s teaching because “our conversation is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). We cannot seek earthly knowledge for its own sake: “If you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above” (Col 3:1). In this collect, the notes of asceticism and mysticism are strongly sounded.
In the latter prayer, however, all of these elements have been deliberately muted. Here, God is said to have made Albert great because he joined human wisdom to divine faith (componenda). The two are placed parallel to each other, as if two links in a chain, or two peas in a pod, or two doughty comrades in arms. No hierarchy, no dependency, no subordination is expressed; no mistrust of wayward human thought, no necessity of bringing the worldly into subjection to the heavenly, no implicit asceticism. Here, reason is not governed by faith and destined to a goal beyond itself, but the two are like Church and State according to modern liberalism.
Not surprisingly, what we are said to gain through adhering to the truths he taught is not the ascetical-mystical ascent to heavenly light which casts all earthly knowledge into the right (finite) perspective, but “a deeper knowledge and love of you”—the kind of inspiring sentiment one will find on the higher-priced Hallmark cards. Shifting the focus away from Albertus Magnus as a great philosopher and theologian of the conquest of knowledge for celestial beatitude, the prayer turns platitudinous by invoking “love” in the pairing “knowledge and love.” No one would doubt that a canonized saint lived a life of heroic charity; but that is generic and beside the point when commemorating this particular saint. What he exemplifies in the Mystical Body is exactly what the old prayer conveyed and the new one nearly contradicts.
To underline the this-worldliness of the paradigm at play, we note that the means suggested to us for arriving at this deeper knowledge and love is none other than — you guessed it! — “progress in learning” (scientiarum progressus). Homage is thus paid to the modern ideal par excellence, that of Progress, which we might interpret as evolution, the leitmotif of all modern thought. Might this be the progress by which we modern Christians have learned to set aside the sixth commandment, which we now understand to be more than ordinary people can reasonably bear? Or the progress by which we have become so superior to our bloodthirsty ancestors that we must give an utterly novel interpretation to the fifth commandment?
The contrast between the two collects is extremely telling. It tells of a deliberate shift from a hierarchical worldview rooted in faith and aspiring to the beatific vision, to a humanistic worldview of scientific progress through diverse “sources” of knowledge that is meant, in an unspecified way, to deepen our knowledge and love of God.
For the traditional feast of St. Joseph of Cupertino on September 18 — suppressed in the Novus Ordo calendar — the Church prays, with a lovely reference to the saint’s famous levitations:
O God, who hast ordained that Thine only-begotten Son when lifted up from the earth should draw all things to Himself: mercifully grant through the merits and example of Thy seraphic Confessor Joseph, that we may be lifted up above all earthly desires and be found worth to come unto Him: Who liveth and reigneth…Or, for St. Francis of Assisi on October 4:
O God, who, through the merits of blessed Francis, didst give increase to Thy Church by enriching her with new offspring: grant us that following his example we may despise earthly goods and ever be glad to partake of Thy heavenly gifts.(Here, for comparison’s sake, is how the new Collect for Francis reads: “O God, by whose gift Saint Francis was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility, grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps, we may follow your Son, and, through joyful charity, come to be united with you.”)
Or, for the commemoration on October 9 of the martyrs SS. Denis, Rusticus, and Eleutherius — likewise suppressed on the new calendar:
O God, who this day didst strengthen blessed Denis Thy martyr and Bishop with fortitude in suffering, and didst associate Rusticus and Eleutherius with him in preaching Thy glory to the heathen: grant, we beseech Thee, that following their example we may for love of Thee despise worldly success and may not fear worldly misfortune [pro amore tuo prospera mundi despicere, et nulla ejus adversa formidare].On October 10, the feast of St. Francis Borgia, also suppressed in the Novus Ordo, the traditional liturgy prays:
O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the model of true humility and its reward: we beseech Thee, that as blessed Francis took Thee as model in contemning worldly honors and Thou hast glorified him, so Thou wouldst associate us with him both in the contempt and in the glory: Who livest and reignest…On October 16, the feast of St. Hedwig — a saint who miraculously stayed on the modern calendar — we find this potent Collect in the usus antiquior:
O God, who didst teach blessed Hedwig to renounce the pomps of this world, that, with her whole heart, she might follow the humble way of Thy cross: grant that, through her merits and example, we may learn to trample under foot the perishable delights of this world, and by cleaving to Thy cross, surmount all obstacles: Who livest and reignest…(The new missal’s collect for St. Hedwig is thin gruel: “Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the revered intercession of Saint Hedwig may bring us heavenly aid, just as her wonderful life is an example of humility for all.”)
The special postcommunion for St. Margaret Mary Alacoque’s feast in the usus antiquior (October 17) includes the petition: “make us renounce the proud vanities of the world.” Nothing like this is found in the new Missal. (In fact, the word “vanity” or “vanities” never appears in the current altar missal.)
The old collect for St. Luke (October 18) focuses on mortification:
Let holy Luke, Thine Evangelist, we beseech Thee, O Lord, intercede for us, who for the glory of Thy name ever bore in his body the mortification of the Cross.The new collect, although more customized to St. Luke, drops all reference to asceticism, in keeping with the prevailing bias Pristas and others have documented.
Lastly, on October 19, in celebrating the triumph of St. Peter of Alcantara (also removed from the new calendar), the Church in her traditional liturgy prays:
O God, who didst vouchsafe to ennoble blessed Peter, Thy Confessor, by gifts of marvellous penance and highest contemplation: grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits pleading for us, we may so mortify the flesh as the more easily to take hold of the things of heaven.All of the above, mind you, are Collects from a one-month period, namely, September 18 to October 19. Do we detect a pattern? Yes, without a doubt. The dogmatic and disciplinary freight of the lex orandi is unmistakable. The liturgy is asking the Lord for a specific attitude of contemptus mundi, which St. Albert all the more impressively illustrates precisely because he is a scholar, author, scientist, naturalist, and man of affairs who has nevertheless held firm to the primacy of the kingdom of heaven. Century after century, collect after collect, the liturgy lucidly expressed and tirelessly inculcated this lofty vision of man’s vocation, the finality of the celestial fatherland, and the relativity of earthly affairs — until the 1960s, when Progress built a home for itself in a Church that had once anathematized the statement: “The Roman Pontiff can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism, and modern civilization.”
“How’s that dangerous liaison with Progress been working out for you?,” asks Historical Consciousness.
St. Albert the Great — great because you subordinated the human to the divine, the temporal to the eternal, the natural to the supernatural, the secular to the sacred, the earthly to the heavenly — pray for us, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
 Deus, qui beatum Albertum Pontificem tuum atque Doctorem, in humana sapientia divinae fidei subjicienda magnum effecisti: da nobis, quaesumus, ita ejus magisterii inhaerere vestigiis, ut luce perfecta fruamur in coelis.
 Deus, qui beátum Albértum epíscopum in humána sapiéntia cum divína fide componénda magnum effecísti, da nobis, quǽsumus, ita eius magistérii inhærére doctrínis, ut per scientiárum progréssus ad profundiórem tui cognitiónem et amórem perveniámus.
 Lord God, who chose Saint Luke to reveal by his preaching and writings the mystery of your love for the poor, grant that those who already glory in your name may persevere as one heart and one soul and that all nations may merit to see your salvation.
 Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, n. 80, promulgated with the encyclical Quanta Cura on December 8, 1864.
|The Mass was celebrated especially for the deceased priests and bishops of the diocese, hence the episcopal and priestly birettas set on the bier.|
|Tradition is for the young!|
The relics of St Josaphat have a remarkable history. At the time of his beatification, they were enshrined in a silver casket at the behest of the Prince Leo Casimir Sapieha. In 1706, they were brought to the castle of Prince Karol Radzwill in the city of Bila Pidlaska, and then moved to the Basilian church in the same city. In 1873, during Tsarist persecution of the Greek-Catholic Church, the relics were removed from the altar of the church to the crypt, hidden in a wall, and apparently forgotten. However, when Bila Pidlaska was occupied by the German army in 1916, a priest of the Basilian order, Fr Pavlo Demchuk, was sent by Fr Platonid Filas, the General Superior of the Basilians, to recover them. Their location in the wall of the crypt was revealed to him by a man who had seen them being immured more than four decades earlier.
Fr Demchuk transferred them to Vienna, where they were kept at the Ukrainian Catholic Church of St Barbara. At the end of World War II, on the eve of the Soviet occupation of Vienna, the relics were moved again, smuggled away to Rome for safekeeping. Originally, the Basilians had planned to enshrine them in their monastery on the Aventine Hill; the street from which the church is entered was even renamed “Via San Giosafat” in his honor, and retains the name to this day. However, Pope Paul VI decreed that this “outstanding champion of Catholic communion should not be separated from blessed Peter, to whose See he remained unshakably faithful, nor from his father, lawgiver and master in the monastic life of the East. (St Basil)” The relics were therefore exposed for the veneration of the faithful in the altar of St Basil in St Peter’s Basilica.
|The relics of St. Josaphat in the altar of St. Basil, after their re-vesting.|
My thanks to the Rev. Dr. Athanasius McVay, a priest of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton, for the information on the history of St Josaphat’s relics, the photograph of the icon, and the two photographs of the relics taken during the re-vesting in 1982.
|The reliquary of St. Josaphat opened during the process of cleaning and re-vesting in 1982.|
The former structure, now happily reduced to landfill, looked like this, hair clipper on the outside, cylon basestar on the inside. Made in 1968 to replace an earlier chapel from 1909, it proved as well as anything the adage that nothing ages as rapidly as modernity.