28 February 2007

Motu Proprio Update

(Taken from Rorate-Caeli)
Benedict XVI decrees the return of Latin Masses.

The Pope has decided to sign and publish the text with an illustrative note written by liturgical experts and theologians


Pope Benedict XVI took the decision of publishing the motu proprio decree on the liberalization of the Tridentine Mass, the ceremony in Latin according to the Missal of Saint Pius V, that is, the pre-Conciliar Mass, which was celebrated up to 1962, with the priest turned towards the east, popularly defined as with the back [of the priest] turned to the people.

The Pope decided to sign and publish the text along with an illustrative note written by liturgical experts and theologians. The news comes from Rome and was confirmed yesterday in the Sacred Halls.

In fact, the definitive text of the Motu Proprio was handed to the Pope in late January by the Ecclesia Dei Commision, the Vatican organ charged with examining dealings with the Lefebvrists. Not all clerics are pleased with the measure, particularly the French Episcopal Conference.

The Tridentine Mass will not be obligatory, but the priests who wish to celebrate according to the old rite will now be able to do it, without asking permission to the diocesan bishop, as before. The decision of the Pope seems guided by common sense, because it ensures sobriety and spirituality.

26 February 2007

Be Converted with all your heart

Ash Wednesday Sermon, Fr Laurent Demets FSSP (De Fide Catholica)

Our Lord Jesus-Christ opens the doors of the spiritual life for us: “Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.”

We have a natural instinct which pushes us to protect and conserve our goods. If someone steals something from you, you may become angry instantly, and this reaction is legitimate. The purpose of the passions is precisely the protection and the conservation of persons and species. Anger can be useful to help us overcome a difficulty. In our example, if your weekly salary, which allows you to live decently has been stolen, your anger will help you not to give up and to begin the process for potential compensation or reparation.

But the fact is, dear Brethren, that most of the time, our anger is disproportionate. Does someone steal from you something that you don’t really need in order to live, and right away you start to gripe and grumble, insulting your thief and perhaps using profanity and even blaspheming the Holy name of God. But for what purpose? Because someone stole a hundred dollars from you while you have a house with television in almost every room, two cars and many other goods that are not necessities for life? Indeed, you have been a victim of an injustice and you certainly have the right to make a claim for your goods, but don’t you think that your reaction is too extreme, for not saying sinful?

The fact is that we like to lay up to ourselves an earthly treasure. And we worry too much over this so-called treasure. Where our treasure is, there our heart is also.
"Haec dicit Dominus - Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart." Jesus Christ calls us. Be converted to me with all your heart! But where is our heart? It is where our treasure is. And where is our treasure?

Dear Brethren, we have to understand that we cannot convert to the Lord as long as we remain attached to earthly treasures. Remember that we are traveling. We will not stay on earth for eternity. We cannot allow ourselves to take charge of a heavy and burdensome load that we will leave one day anyway. Jesus tells us:

“Don’t be too attached to the things which are not necessary. I am the Only necessary because I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. All the creatures I gave you are certainly for your use, but only as means in order to serve Me. If you make these creatures your treasure, you will lose your life. If you choose me as your treasure, you will have life everlasting. So, be converted to me with all your heart
- How do we have to convert to Thee, O Lord?
- Now, as I told my prophet, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning.”

Dear, Brethren, this is now the time to return to our God as He wants us to do. And He wants us to fast and to weep. It is now the time to start again our Holy exercises of Lent, because they are a way to God. It is a time of purification and of renouncement; a time to practice virtues of penance, of obedience and of temperance; a time to lay up a treasure in Heaven that we will keep for all eternity.

Jesus wants to open the doors of the spiritual life, so that we can find an imperishable treasure. If we let Him open them, Lent will be a way of conversion or re-conversion; it will be the return of the prodigal son to the home of His Father. Finally, beyond the austerity and the harshness of our penances, it will a time of joy – the peaceful and plenary joy given by the presence of God in a soul.

May Our Lady help us to find this joy through our exercises of Lent. May she help us to choose Her Son for a treasure.


25 February 2007

Sign of Contradiction

(Taken from Rorate Caeli)

Pleasure is not the foundation of society, but virtue. Enjoyment is not our vocation here below, but labor and grief. God has created us expressly to produce by us a thing which He could not produce alone: that is, greatess in vileness, strength in infirmity, purity in flesh and blood, love in selfishness, good in evil, virtue in a heart which possessed each moment the liberty of being a convinced sinner. This is our vocation, our fate.

Jesus Christ conquered the world only because He knew [this fate]; and because, from His Cross, slave and God, he supremely fulfilled it. Salvation (as well as all glory and all joy) is found in following him.

This is why -- thanks be to God! -- pleasure and enjoyment shall never [be the foundation] of a society here below. Misfortune must be stronger, so that virtue may exist; there must be poor, so that alms shall be given; wounds, so that they may be bound up; tears, so that they may be accepted; disorders, so that men may aspire to order; ruins, so that pride may be humbled; ... bloodshed, so that there may be saints.

Henri-Dominique Lacordaire
Conférences à Notre-Dame de Paris (1845)

Polyphonic Hosanna

Short Clip of Hosanna sung by a polyphonic choir during a Classical Roman Rite Mass on 21 December 2006 in St Joseph's Church. The occassion according to the Tridentine Calender was the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle. This is a rare Indult Mass that took place Singapore and was given the go ahead by His Grace Archbishop Nicholas Chia.

23 February 2007

The Price of Appeasement?

(Taken from World Net Daily)
Thirty-seven years after the end of the only church council of the 20th century, the jury has come in with its verdict: Vatican II appears to have been an unrelieved disaster for Roman Catholicism.

Liars may figure, but figures do not lie. Kenneth C. Jones of St. Louis has pulled together a slim volume of statistics he has titled Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II.

His findings make prophets of Catholic traditionalists who warned that Vatican II would prove a blunder of historic dimensions, and those same findings expose as foolish and naive those who believed a council could reconcile Catholicism and modernity. When Pope John XXIII threw open the windows of the church, all the poisonous vapors of modernity entered, along with the Devil himself.

Here are Jones' grim statistics of Catholicism's decline:

* Priests. While the number of priests in the United States more than doubled to 58,000, between 1930 and 1965, since then that number has fallen to 45,000. By 2020, there will be only 31,000 priests left, and more than half of these priests will be over 70.
* Ordinations. In 1965, 1,575 new priests were ordained in the United States. In 2002, the number was 450. In 1965, only 1 percent of U.S. parishes were without a priest. Today, there are 3,000 priestless parishes, 15 percent of all U.S. parishes.
* Seminarians. Between 1965 and 2002, the number of seminarians dropped from 49,000 to 4,700, a decline of over 90 percent. Two-thirds of the 600 seminaries that were operating in 1965 have now closed.
* Sisters. In 1965, there were 180,000 Catholic nuns. By 2002, that had fallen to 75,000 and the average age of a Catholic nun is today 68. In 1965, there were 104,000 teaching nuns. Today, there are 8,200, a decline of 94 percent since the end of Vatican II.
* Religious Orders. For religious orders in America, the end is in sight. In 1965, 3,559 young men were studying to become Jesuit priests. In 2000, the figure was 389. With the Christian Brothers, the situation is even more dire. Their number has shrunk by two-thirds, with the number of seminarians falling 99 percent. In 1965, there were 912 seminarians in the Christian Brothers. In 2000, there were only seven. The number of young men studying to become Franciscan and Redemptorist priests fell from 3,379 in 1965 to 84 in 2000.
* Catholic schools. Almost half of all Catholic high schools in the United States have closed since 1965. The student population has fallen from 700,000 to 386,000. Parochial schools suffered an even greater decline. Some 4,000 have disappeared, and the number of pupils attending has fallen below 2 million – from 4.5 million.

Though the number of U.S. Catholics has risen by 20 million since 1965, Jones' statistics show that the power of Catholic belief and devotion to the Faith are not nearly what they were.

* Catholic Marriage. Catholic marriages have fallen in number by one-third since 1965, while the annual number of annulments has soared from 338 in 1968 to 50,000 in 2002.
* Attendance at Mass. A 1958 Gallup Poll reported that three in four Catholics attended church on Sundays. A recent study by the University of Notre Dame found that only one in four now attend.
* Only 10 percent of lay religious teachers now accept church teaching on contraception. Fifty-three percent believe a Catholic can have an abortion and remain a good Catholic. Sixty-five percent believe that Catholics may divorce and remarry. Seventy-seven percent believe one can be a good Catholic without going to mass on Sundays. By one New York Times poll, 70 percent of all Catholics in the age group 18 to 44 believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Jesus.

At the opening of Vatican II, reformers were all the rage. They were going to lead us out of our Catholic ghettos by altering the liturgy, rewriting the Bible and missals, abandoning the old traditions, making us more ecumenical, and engaging the world. And their legacy?

Four decades of devastation wrought upon the church, and the final disgrace of a hierarchy that lacked the moral courage of the Boy Scouts to keep the perverts out of the seminaries, and throw them out of the rectories and schools of Holy Mother Church.

Through the papacy of Pius XII, the church resisted the clamor to accommodate itself to the world and remained a moral beacon to mankind. Since Vatican II, the church has sought to meet the world halfway.

Jones' statistics tell us the price of appeasement.

(Taken from Catholic.net)
"The picture that emerges is distressing. Mass attendance of U.S. Catholics fell precipitously in the decade following the liturgical changes and has continued to decline ever since. This decline moreover is not an isolated phenomenon, confined solely to the Church in America. In England and Wales, the time pattern of Mass attendance has been just as bad, perhaps even worse. Church attendance of Protestants, in contrast, has followed a much different path. For most of the period it was without any discernible trend, either up or down. In recent years it actually has risen. The notion that the Catholic fall off was simply one part of a larger societal trend, therefore, receives absolutely no support in these data."

22 February 2007

Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Albert Ranjith on the Motu Proprio

[From NLM, Courtesy, Inside the Vatican]

All who are interested in the Church’s liturgy are wondering if the Pope will soon issue a motu proprio allowing the celebration of the "Old Mass," and (if he does), what it will say. One of the Vatican’s liturgists sheds light on the Pope’s plans

ANTHONY VALLE: Your Excellency, you have been generous in giving several interviews to the international press regarding liturgy since becoming the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Some of your statements have been misinterpreted and aroused controversy rather than providing the intended clarity. Would you care to clarify anything?

ARCHBISHOP MALCOLM RANJITH: What I wished to insist on in those interviews was that the post-conciliar reform of the liturgy has not been able to achieve the expected goals of spiritual and missionary renewal in the Church so that today we could be truly happy about it.

Undoubtedly there have been positive results too; but the negative effects seem to have been greater, causing much disorientation in our ranks.

The churches have become empty, liturgical free-wheeling has become the order of the day, and the true meaning and significance of that which is celebrated has been obscured.

One has to, then, begin wondering if the reform process had in fact been handled correctly. Thus, we need to take a good look at what had happened, pray and reflect about its causes and with the help of the Lord move on to make the necessary corrections.

VALLE: It seems as if Pope Benedict XVI will release a motu proprio to liberalize the use of the traditional or Tridentine Mass. Some hope that the Pope’s motu proprio will institute a juridical structure enabling priests to celebrate the traditional Mass without being unjustly harassed and persistently thwarted by, ironically, not people of other faiths or secular authorities, but by their own pastors and bishops. Is this hope for a new juridical apparatus realistic? Is such an apparatus necessary?

RANJITH: Well, there is this rising call for a restoration of the Tridentine Mass. And even certain leading figures of the elite have made public appeals for this Mass in some newspapers recently.

The Holy Father will, I am sure, take note of this and decide what is best for the Church.

You speak of the possible realization of new juridical structures for the implementation of such decisions. I do not think that this would be so much of a problem. Rather what is more important in all of this is a pastoral attitude.

Will the bishops and priests reject requests for the Tridentine Mass and so create a need for juridical structures to ensure the enforcement of a decision of the Pope? Should it go that way?

I sincerely do not hope so.

The appropriate question the shepherds have to ask themselves is: How can I as a bishop or priest bring even one person closer to Christ and to His Church?

It is not so much a matter of the Tridentine Mass or of the Novus Ordo. It is just a question of pastoral responsibility and sensitivity.

Thus, if the Tridentine Mass is the way to achieve an even better level of spiritual enrichment for the faithful, then the shepherds should allow it.

The important concern is not so much the "what" as much as the "how." The Church should always seek to help our faithful to come closer to the Lord, to feel challenged by His message and to respond to His call generously. And if that can be achieved through the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass or the Pius V Mass, well, then space should be provided for whatever is best instead of getting down to unnecessary and divisive theological hair-splitting. Such things need to be decided through the heart and not so much through the head.

After all, Pope John Paul II did make a personal appeal in Ecclesia Dei Adflicta of 1988 to the bishops, calling upon them to be generous in this matter with those who wish to celebrate or participate in the Tridentine Mass. Besides, we should remember that the Tridentine Mass is not something that belongs to the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre only. It is part of our own heritage as members of the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican Council, as Pope Benedict so clearly stated in his speech to the members of the Curia in December 2005, did not envisage a totally new beginning, but one of continuity with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and a new outlook that better responds to the missionary needs of the time.

Besides, we also have the serious question of the diminishing number of faithful in some of the churches in the Western world. We have to ask ourselves what happened in these churches and then take corrective steps as may be necessary. I do not think that this situation is attributable to secularization only. A deep crisis of faith coupled with a drive for meaningless liturgical experimentation and novelty have had their own impact in this matter. There is much formalism and insipidity visible at times.

Thus, we need to recover a true sense of the sacred and mystical in worship.

And if the faithful feel that the Tridentine Mass offers them that sense of the sacred and mystical more than anything else, then we should have the courage to accept their request.

With regard to the timing and nature of the motu proprio, nothing yet is known. It is the Holy Father who will decide.

And when he does, we should in all obedience accept what he indicates to us and with a genuine love for the Church strive to help him. Any counter attitude would only harm the spiritual mission of the Church and thwart the Lord’s own will.

VALLE: Like many Catholics today, my wife and I have found that we leave the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass on Sunday exasperated and perplexed rather than spiritually invigorated. Why?

RANJITH: In the celebration of the Novus Ordo we have to be very serious about what we do on the altar. I cannot be a priest who dreams in his sleep about what I will do at the Mass the following day, walk up to the altar and start celebrating with all kinds of novel self-created rubrics and actions.

The Holy Eucharist belongs to the Church. Hence, it has a meaning of its own which cannot be left to the idiosyncrasies of the single celebrant.

Every element in the liturgy of the Church has its own long history of development and significance. It is certainly not a matter of private "traditions" and so cannot be the object of manipulation by all and sundry.

In fact, Sacrosanctum Concilium does state that other than the Apostolic See and the bishops, where this is allowed to the latter by the former, "absolutely no other person, not even a priest, may add or remove or change anything on his own authority" (SC 22). Even then, we note much free-wheeling in liturgical matters in some areas of the Church today, basically due to an incorrect understanding of liturgical theology.

For example, the mystery of the Holy Eucharist has often been misunderstood or partially understood, leaving thus the door open to all kinds of liturgical abuses.

In the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, some place too much accent on the presidential role of the priest. But we know that the priest is really not the main agent of what happens on the altar.

It is Jesus Himself.

Besides, every liturgical celebration has also a heavenly dimension "which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem towards which we journey as pilgrims" (SC 8).

Others explain the Eucharist in a way that places the accent on its banquet/meal dimension, linking it to "communion." This too is an important consideration, but we should remember that it is not so much a communion created by those taking part in the Eucharist as much as by the Lord Himself.

Through the Eucharist, the Lord assumes us unto Himself and in Him we are placed in communion with all the others who unite themselves to Him. It is thus not so much a sociological experience as much as a mystical one. Hence even as "communion" the Eucharist is a heavenly experience.

What is more important is the sacrificial dimension of the Eucharist. Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we relive the sacrifice of Calvary, celebrating it as the moment of our salvation.

And this very fact also constitutes the unique dignity and font of identity of the priest. He has been instituted by Christ to celebrate the wonderful mystery of turning this corruptible piece of bread into the very glorified Body of Christ and this little bit of wine into the Blood of Christ, enacting the sacrifice of Calvary for the salvation of the world. And this has to be lived, understood and believed by the priest each time he celebrates the Eucharist.

Indeed, Sacrosanctum Concilium placed accent on the sacrificial and salvific effectivity of the Mass. The priest thus becomes another Christ, so to say. What a great vocation! And so, if we celebrate the Eucharist devoutly, then the faithful will reap immense spiritual benefit and return again and again in search of that heavenly nourishment.

VALLE: Some have contended that the solution to the liturgical crisis -- and at bottom the crisis of faith -- afflicting the Catholic Church today would be to implement the exclusive use of the Tridentine Mass, while others maintain that all we really need is a "reform of the reform," in other words, a reform of the Novus Ordo. What do you think?

RANJITH: An "either-or" attitude would unnecessarily polarize the Church, whereas charity and pastoral concern should be the motivating factors.

If the Holy Father so desires, both could co-exist.

That would not mean that we would have to give up the Novus Ordo. But in the interaction of the two Roman traditions, it is possible that the one may influence the other eventually.

We can’t say everything is completed and finished, that nothing new could happen. In fact, Vatican II never advocated immediate change in the liturgy. Rather it preferred change to "grow organically from forms already existing" (SC 23). As Cardinal Antonelli, a much revered member of the Concilium that undertook the revision of the liturgy after the Council, noted in his diaries, some of the liturgical changes after the Council had been introduced without much reflection, haphazardly, and made later to become accepted practice.

For example, Communion in the hand had not been something that was first properly studied and reflected upon before its acceptance by the Holy See. It had been haphazardly introduced in some countries of Northern Europe and later become accepted practice, eventually spreading into many other places. Now that is a situation that should have been avoided. The Second Vatican Council never advocated such an approach to liturgical reform.

VALLE: Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi ("The law of praying (is) the law of believing, (is) the law of living"). Is it true that how we worship and pray influences what we believe, and that what we believe influences how we live? In other words, liturgy ultimately influences our moral life, does it not?

RANJITH: Yes. How can we convince the faithful to make sacrifices in their ethical and moral options, unless they are first touched and inspired by the grace of God profoundly? And such happens especially in worship when the human soul is made to experience the salvific grace of God most intimately. In worship, faith becomes interiorized and brims over with inspiration and strength, enabling one to take the moral options that are in consonance with that faith. In the liturgy, we should experience the closeness of God to our heart so intensely that we in turn begin to believe fervently and are compelled to act justly.

VALLE: What are some contemporary liturgical trends or problems that need correction?

RANJITH: One of these, as I see, is the trend to go for ecumenical liturgies in replacement of the Sunday Mass in some countries, during which Catholic lay leaders and Protestant ministers celebrate together and the latter are invited to preach the homily. Sunday Liturgies of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion, which form is allowed in cases where a priest cannot be present, if turned into ecumenical events can give the faithful the wrong signal. They may get used to the idea of the Sunday without the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, as you know, makes the Church (Ed E. 21) and this is central to us Catholics. If it is so easily replaced by Liturgies of the Word, or worse still by so-called ecumenical prayer services, the very identity of the Catholic Church would be in question. Unfortunately, we hear also of cases whereby the Eucharist itself is being celebrated under various guises along with the Protestant pastors. This is totally unacceptable and constitutes a graviora delicta ("more grave offense") (RM 172).

Ecumenism is not something left to the ad hoc choice of individual priests. True ecumenism, such as the one espoused by Vatican II, comes from the heart of the Church. For example, the path to true ecumenism begins with serious reflection on the part of those who are deemed competent to engage in that type of reflection, such as the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Holy Father himself. Not everyone has the competence to know in what way this delicate search for unity is to be perceived. It needs much reflection and prayer. Hence, liturgical novelty in the name of ecumenism should not be tried out individually.

A second disturbing trend is the gradual replacement of the Mass celebrated by a priest with a paraliturgical service conducted by a lay person. This of course can legitimately happen when no priest is available and facilities for the fulfillment of Sunday obligation are scarce. However, this is an exception, not the rule. What is dangerous is to marginalize the priest even when he is available and some lay pastoral leader team arrogates to itself tasks that are reserved for the priests. I mean by this the trend to get the lay leader to preach the homily instead of the priest, even when he is present, or to distribute Holy Communion, leaving the priest to sit idle at the altar.

We have to stress here that, as the Second Vatican Council affirmed, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood "differ from one another in essence and not only in degree" (LG 10). And so it is gravely abusive to relegate to the laity the sacred obligations reserved to the priest.

What is unfortunate is the increasing tendency worldwide to laicize the priest and to clericalize the laity. This too is contra mentem ("against the mind" or "against the intention") of the Council.

There is also an increasing trend to shift the Sunday Mass to Saturdays almost as a "normal" practice. Rather than Sunday being the true day of the Lord, and so a day of spiritual and physical rest, there is a move to reduce its importance, making it become a day of worldly distractions. In Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II warned against this disturbing trend.

A final point I wish to make here concerns some practices introduced in mission territories, for example, in Asia, in the name of change, which are counter to its cultural heritage.

In some Asian countries we see a trend to introduce Communion in the hand which is received standing. This is not at all consonant with Asian culture. The Buddhists worship prostrate on the floor with their forehead touching the ground. Moslems take off their shoes and wash their feet before entering the mosque for worship. The Hindus enter the temple bare-chested as a sign of submission. When people approach the king of Thailand or the emperor of Japan, they do so on their knees as a sign of respect. But in many Asian countries the Church has introduced practices like just a simple bow to the Blessed Sacrament instead of kneeling, standing while receiving Holy Communion, and receiving Communion on the hand. And we know that these cannot be considered practices congruent with Asian culture.

Besides, the laity whose role today is being enhanced in the Church are not even consulted when such decisions are made.

All these situations do not augur well for the Church and we need to correct these trends, if the Eucharist we celebrate is to become, as St. Ignatius of Antioch affirmed, "medicine of immortality and antidote against death" (Eph. 20).

Anthony Valle is a theologian and writer who lives in Rome.

20 February 2007

Motu Proprio Humour :)

FSSP Communique: 16 Feb 2007

In Rome on Saturday 18 October 2008, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and all its friends will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our foundation (cf Roman decree of October 18, 1988, erecting the FSSP as a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right:

All lay and consecrated persons who wish to associate with that event are cordially invited. With very many families, with groups of young people and adults, it will be the occasion to give thanks to the Lord, to his Most Holy Mother and to our patron the Apostle Saint Peter for our many vocations and for our services to souls in tens of dioceses on several continents. We will also express our gratitude to the Holy Father and to those who have encouraged our young Fraternity since its foundation. Although not all our 318 members (statistics as of 15.XII.2006) will be able to come, as some will have to supply in our parishes, still a very great number of our priests and seminarians from the whole world are awaited.

The gathering will begin on Saturday morning October 18, 2008 and will finish on Sunday afternoon October 19, 2008. The program, currently in progress, will offer one or more pontifical Masses, one or more meals taken in common with all the faithful present, a conference and vespers with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Buses will be organized starting from various European countries, while groups of overseas pilgrims will be constituted.

In advance we cordially thank all those who will be able to pray for the preparation and the fruitful happening of this event, an important stake in the history of our priestly Fraternity at the service of all the Church.

Assuring you of our faithful prayer,

Rev. Fr. Armand de Malleray,
Gen. Sec. FSSP

18 February 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary Website


The priest is the minister of Christ, an instrument, that is to say, in the hands of the Divine Redeemer. He continues the work of the redemption in all its world-embracing universality and divine efficacy, that work that wrought so marvelous a transformation in the world. ~P.P.XI.

1 Reason why Liturgical Forms Do Matter

Taken from NLM

It is an objective historical fact that a great deal has been lost, liturgically speaking, these past 40 years. When one considers how many unique liturgical rites in the West disappeared almost overnight, it is hard to come to any other conclusion.

The Dominican rite, the Premonstratensian, the ancient Ambrosian and so many others virtually disappeared from use. There is also the issue of the classical Roman liturgy, which was so closely related to these other Western rites.

One might ask us however, why lament over this? These liturgical rites, after all, are not absolutes. The sacraments still exist, regardless of particular liturgical form. Moreover, the Holy Trinity is our end, not the sacred liturgy which is but a means to that end pointing us to the hoped for celebration of the Heavenly Liturgy in eternal beatitude.

These things are all true. We do still have the sacraments, the necessary instruments instituted by God for our salvation. The sacrifice is affected, even if not always understood by all within our parishes. God can be worshipped.

So is it wrong for one to be so concerned with the question of the liturgy? The answer is no. First proof of this is the fact that the Church deems it important. If the liturgy is one of our greatest teaching tools, then it cannot fail to have importance.

One might compare it to a book. The content of the book itself is ultimately the purpose of the book. However the sturdiness of the book's construction, the legibility of the text, the quality of the materials employed, these all matter and have an important part to play in the delivery of the contents of the text itself and to ensure that those contents are best delivered.

We might also compare the loss of our historic liturgical forms to the loss of a family home. The loss of these liturgical rites in the day-to-day life of the Church is like the loss of a home that has been in one's family for generations and generations. The sorrow at that loss is not only real, it is legitimate. While one might still have food and shelter over one's head (the sacrifice is accomplished, the sacraments delivered) which is most necessary, nonetheless that which ties us to our family and heritage is diminished. So too with the loss of our historical liturgical rites, which tie us to our Catholic heritage and to our spiritual family. It is something passed down to us through the centuries and a tradition which we continue in. This has profound spiritual value and power.

Sermon for Sexagesima Sunday

Taken from De Fide Catholica

The parable of the sewer provides for us an occasion to examine our consciences about the way we receive the word of God. We probably all hear the word of God, otherwise we would not be here today. We hear the word of God, but how does this word affect our lives? Is it really a substantial food for our souls, along with the Holy Eucharist, or is it just a word that we listen to sometimes which we hardly know. In other words, do we put ourselves in the condition of a disciple who listens to his master, ruminates on his teaching and then tries to actualize it in his own life? Or are we just passive spectators who probably appreciate the quality of the divine word but have merely an esthetic or intellectual attraction for it as he could have for Racine or Shakespeare. I would say that in itself is a good thing since so many people just ignore the word of God or simply don’t know it.

But appreciating and even loving the verses of a great author doesn’t make you one of his disciples. Being a disciple means that you must follow a master and conform your life to his teaching and his own life. By definition it implies a certain intimacy with him and a certain attachment to his person. It is, alas, not rare to meet some people who like the words of Jesus Christ, who appreciate the beauty and the harmony of his moral teaching, but they are not his disciples. They don’t follow Him, they don’t imitate Him, they are not one with Him. They have heard the word of God, but it remains useless and ineffective as long as they don’t keep it and nourish it in their mind and within their heart.

Saint Paul gives a lesson to those who esteem themselves to be good disciples. It is for us, brethren. It is we who dare to boast of our actions. We think that we are good disciples because we have fulfilled a duty. But it is not the purpose of a disciple to fulfill his duties. It might be the purpose of a good soldier, a good citizen, a good student, but don’t you think that Jesus asks more of you than to fulfill your duties?

Imagine for example a father of family. This man works well and hard to gain money so that his family can live. His wife and his children have a decent home and food every day. He drives them when they need it and is ready to do anything they ask. Good man! But now, imagine that he never speaks to them and never gives marks of his affections. He provides for the needs of his family but remains in a certain way far from his wife and children. He is a man of duty, but is he really a good father and a good husband?

Are we really good disciples of Jesus Christ? Do we listen to the word of God in order that we may be true disciples? There is no other option than to take time to escape from the world and to open the door of your soul. We cannot listen to God surrounded by the noise of the world, in the midst of the agitation of our activities. I have already told you this many times, and I repeat it again, because it is the key to the spiritual life according to the entire tradition of the Church.

“But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who sees in secret will repay thee.” Here is the divine intimacy with God. A secret relationship between you and Him which is only possible if you shut the door of your chamber and open the door of your soul. Daily reading helps you to do this. I mean a loving reading of the gospel or any spiritual book – and you have so many available, from the Fathers, the Saints, the Doctors – not just the last rumors about the Motu Proprio on internet. It is better to leave your computer screen and open a real book and take your time to read it, savor it and meditate on it. For Saint Benedict, the lectio divina is necessary in order to be a true monk. And a true monk is nothing more than a true disciple of Jesus Christ, which is who we are all supposed to be.

May Our Lady help us to be such disciples, able to listen to our God and to serve Him with a pure heart. If you don’t start today to listen to Him, why would you do it tomorrow? And who knows? Today might be your last day.

Sermon for Septuagesima Sunday

Taken from De Fide Catholica

A new liturgical cycle begins with Septuagesima Sunday: the Easter cycle. During this liturgical season, we are going to follow humanity from its condition of slavery to its deliverance. This change is signified by the parting of the Red Sea, of which we will be reminded during the Easter Vigil. As Moses and his people, we are on our way from Egypt to the Promised Land. Our guide is Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our manna is the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. We are on the way to recover what we have lost by our sins. And this way is long and hard.

Saint Paul gives us an image to help us to understand. The Super Bowl game today can help us too. Imagine a sportsman who wants to win a prize or a cup. He cannot win without serious and determined preparation and a strict discipline. For one day of glory, he may have to go through years of hard, grueling work. But when the day of his victory comes, the difficulty of the training is already far behind him. Saint Paul, this untiring athlete of Christ tells us that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come. And for us, Christians, the goal is incomparably different than for a sportsman. The Apostle says again that every one that strives for the mastery, refrains himself from all things: and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one.

It is good and laudable to run for a corruptible trophy, but it is incidental. Running for the incorruptible one is necessary. The fact is that many people are able to strive for an earthly trophy but they forget about the most important one. They are ready to suffer a thousand pains for one evanescent reward, and they do absolutely nothing for the eternal reward. The reason is that they forget the One who gives this reward.

Now look at a sportsman. What does he in do in order to win? He wakes up early, he imposes upon himself a strict diet, he runs and trains almost every day, he tries to develop his skills and he works on his mental acuity as well. He has a strict program that he must follow under the guidance of his coach. And he also has a doctor who monitors the care of his health and physical condition. So, a champion does not become a champion by chance. He may have some natural abilities, but if he doesn’t uses them well, he cannot become a champion.

Now, what about the heroes and champions of Faith, I mean the saints who are now in Heaven? How do you think that they became saints and arrived in Heaven? By chance? They woke up early every day so that they could glorify God at the beginning of the day as the Psalms say: For to thee will I pray: O Lord, in the morning thou shalt hear my voice. In the morning I will stand before thee. And I will sing thy strength: and will extol thy mercy in the morning. They imposed on themselves a strict diet by observing the precepts of the Church of abstinence and fasting, which was in the past much more strict than today. And they practiced the virtue of temperance which allowed them to castigate their bodies and to refrain from the sins of the flesh. They took enough time every day for their spiritual exercises: prayer, meditation and spiritual reading. This helped them to practice virtues and to live as good Christians.

The Saints had also a strict program that they followed during their life. A rule of life was certainly necessary for them to keep a right order in their lives and to be able to do everything at the appropriate time and place. Wisdom and prudence led toward a higher perfection. And finally, they had the best coach and the best doctor you can imagine, in fact the same person: Our Lord Jesus Christ, helped by His assistants coaches and medical team: the priests, who are spiritual directors and doctors of their souls.

God gave them natural abilities and supernatural graces, but they still had to use them well. So do we! We have an incorruptible crown to win. Let us start the training right now.

May Our Lady help us in his difficult task. She knows how long and hard the preparation is. She knows all the difficulties we have. But, more than ourselves, she wants us to be victorious. And she will be present on the podium when we receive our trophy. It would be a shame to miss this event, by far more important than the super bowl. So, let the best win tonight, and let us all win the eternal reward at the hour of our death.

17 February 2007

Heresy is Innovation

Taken from Rorate Caeli

From the origin of Christianity, all heresies have had the same character, and, long before the age of Arius, Tertullian had said, "Heretics vary in their rules; namely, in their confessions of faith. Every one of them thinks he has a right to change and model what he has received according to his own fancy, as the author of the sect composed it according to his own fancy. Heresy never changes its proper nature in never ceasing to innovate...". ...

This nature of heresy has always been observed by Catholics and two holy authors of the eighth century wrote that "heresy, however old, is always in itself a novelty; to better retain their title of novelty, [heresy] innovates daily and daily changes its doctrine."

But, while heresies always vary, never agreeing among themselves and continuously introducing new rules..., Tertullian says that "in the Church, the rule of Faith is unalterable, and never to be reformed". It is so because the Church, which professes to speak and teach nothing but what she has received, does not vary; heresy, on the contrary, which began by innovating, innovates daily, and does not change its nature. ...

Two aspects cause this disorder of heresies: one drawn from the nature of the human mind, which, having once tasted the temptation of novelty, does not cease to seek with disordered appetite this deceitful allurement; the other originating from the difference which exists between the works of God and those of man.

The Catholic Truth proceeds from God and has its perfection at once; heresy, the frail offspring of the human mind, can be formed only by disordered patches. When ... we venture to remove "the ancient landmarks established by our Fathers" and to reform the doctrine once received among the faithful, we set events in motion without the slightest insight into the consequences of our attempt.

Jacques Bénigne Bossuet
Histoire des variations des églises protestantes

Are there degrees of Unity?

Taken from Rorate Caeli

How can there be degrees in the unity of faith? Either these other religions maintain their faith to be true and will maintain that it alone is true, or they admit the possibility of some other faith, and in that case are not certain of their own, and have not faith.

Whenever a religious system approaches the principle of unity, that is, when it excludes from its bosom all opinions contrary to those which it professes, it is because it is sensible of the absurdity of calling one proposition true, and yet receiving another totally opposed to it.

Every time a religious system departs from the principle of unity, it is because, not being able to find conclusive arguments to establish the certainty of its faith, it grants to others the same tolerance it requires for itself; it dares not exclude others, because they might on the same principle exclude it.

That the Catholic Church is not subject to these fluctuations, but posseses unity of faith in the highest degree, is a proof of the perpetual certainty of faith to be found in her, and of that immutability which is put forth by Catholics as a character of the truth of the faith they profess.

Alessandro Manzoni
Osservazioni sulla Morale Cattolica

Haydock Douay Rheims

This classic Douay-Rheims version of the Old and New Testaments contains the invaluable footnotes, gathered by Fr. George Leo Haydock, from the Fathers and Doctors who lived in the early centuries of Christendom, closest in proximity to the lives of the Apostles.

First published in 1884 and digitally reproduced in order to ensure an exact duplication of the original text, this new edition in Hardback will include the Illustrated Bible Dictionary and a history of the books of the Bible in one volume. The cover will have gold embossing stamped on burgundy colored leather, using the pattern which appeared on the original 1884 edition, a gold cross with rich Catholic symbols patterning the entire front of the cover. This Bible will undoubtedly be a collectors item for many years to come and provide an irreplaceable version of the Bible which is uniquely one of a kind in the English language.

Coming soon...

16 February 2007

One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church

The Latin phrase that you see at the start of the clip is "In principio erat verbu, et verbum erat apud deum et deus erat verbum". This comes from the Gospel according to St John and in English it means "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Jn 1:1)

The background music that you hear is from the Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack. Both 'Fog Bound' and 'The Medallion Calls' are used.

At the end of the clip the following are the lines used...
"Urged by faith

we are obliged to believe
and to maintain

that the Church is

holy Catholic
and apostolic.

We believe in her firmly

and we confess with simplicity that outside her there is neither salvation
nor the remission of sins,

as the Spouse in the Canticles proclaims:
"One is my dove, my perfect one".

ONE. "

"One is my dove, my perfect one is but one" is found in Canticles of Canticles (Song of Songs) Chapter 6 Verse 8.

(Special Thanks to Fr Laurent Demets of De Fide Catholica for posting the clip)

14 February 2007

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for Lent 2007

“They shall look on Him
whom they have pierced”
(Jn 19:37)

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced” (Jn 19:37). This is the biblical theme that this year guides our Lenten reflection. Lent is a favourable time to learn to stay with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, close to Him who on the Cross, consummated for all mankind the sacrifice of His life (cf. Jn 19:25). With a more fervent participation let us direct our gaze, therefore, in this time of penance and prayer, at Christ crucified who, dying on Calvary, revealed fully for us the love of God. In the Encyclical Deus caritas est, I dwelt upon this theme of love, highlighting its two fundamental forms: agape and eros.

God’s love: agape and eros

The term agape, which appears many times in the New Testament, indicates the self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros, on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved. The love with which God surrounds us is undoubtedly agape. Indeed, can man give to God some good that He does not already possess? All that the human creature is and has is divine gift. It is the creature then, who is in need of God in everything. But God’s love is also eros. In the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe manifests toward the people whom He has chosen as His own a predilection that transcends every human motivation. The prophet Hosea expresses this divine passion with daring images such as the love of a man for an adulterous woman (cf. 3:1-3). For his part, Ezekiel, speaking of God’s relationship with the people of Israel, is not afraid to use strong and passionate language (cf. 16:1-22). These biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the “yes” of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride. Unfortunately, from its very origins, mankind, seduced by the lies of the Evil One, rejected God’s love in the illusion of a self-sufficiency that is impossible (cf. Gn 3:1-7). Turning in on himself, Adam withdrew from that source of life who is God Himself, and became the first of “those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage” (Heb 2:15). God, however, did not give up. On the contrary, man’s “no” was the decisive impulse that moved Him to manifest His love in all of its redeeming strength.

The Cross reveals the fullness of God’s love

It is in the mystery of the Cross that the overwhelming power of the heavenly Father’s mercy is revealed in all of its fullness. In order to win back the love of His creature, He accepted to pay a very high price: the blood of His only begotten Son. Death, which for the first Adam was an extreme sign of loneliness and powerlessness, was thus transformed in the supreme act of love and freedom of the new Adam. One could very well assert, therefore, together with Saint Maximus the Confessor, that Christ “died, if one could say so, divinely, because He died freely” (Ambigua, 91, 1956). On the Cross, God’s eros for us is made manifest. Eros is indeed – as Pseudo-Dionysius expresses it – that force “that does not allow the lover to remain in himself but moves him to become one with the beloved” (De divinis nominibus, IV, 13: PG 3, 712). Is there more “mad eros” (N. Cabasilas, Vita in Cristo, 648) than that which led the Son of God to make Himself one with us even to the point of suffering as His own the consequences of our offences?

“Him whom they have pierced”

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look at Christ pierced in the Cross! He is the unsurpassing revelation of God’s love, a love in which eros and agape, far from being opposed, enlighten each other. On the Cross, it is God Himself who begs the love of His creature: He is thirsty for the love of every one of us. The Apostle Thomas recognized Jesus as “Lord and God” when he put his hand into the wound of His side. Not surprisingly, many of the saints found in the Heart of Jesus the deepest expression of this mystery of love. One could rightly say that the revelation of God’s eros toward man is, in reality, the supreme expression of His agape. In all truth, only the love that unites the free gift of oneself with the impassioned desire for reciprocity instills a joy, which eases the heaviest of burdens. Jesus said: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). The response the Lord ardently desires of us is above all that we welcome His love and allow ourselves to be drawn to Him. Accepting His love, however, is not enough. We need to respond to such love and devote ourselves to communicating it to others. Christ “draws me to Himself” in order to unite Himself to me, so that I learn to love the brothers with His own love.

Blood and water

They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.” Let us look with trust at the pierced side of Jesus from which flow “blood and water” (Jn 19:34)! The Fathers of the Church considered these elements as symbols of the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. Through the water of Baptism, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit, we are given access to the intimacy of Trinitarian love. In the Lenten journey, memorial of our Baptism, we are exhorted to come out of ourselves in order to open ourselves, in trustful abandonment, to the merciful embrace of the Father (cf. Saint John Chrysostom, Catecheses, 3,14ff). Blood, symbol of the love of the Good Shepherd, flows into us especially in the Eucharistic mystery: “The Eucharist draws us into Jesus’ act of self-oblation … we enter into the very dynamic of His self-giving” (Encyclical Deus caritas est, 13). Let us live Lent then, as a “Eucharistic” time in which, welcoming the love of Jesus, we learn to spread it around us with every word and deed. Contemplating “Him whom they have pierced” moves us in this way to open our hearts to others, recognizing the wounds inflicted upon the dignity of the human person; it moves us, in particular, to fight every form of contempt for life and human exploitation and to alleviate the tragedies of loneliness and abandonment of so many people. May Lent be for every Christian a renewed experience of God’s love given to us in Christ, a love that each day we, in turn, must “regive” to our neighbour, especially to the one who suffers most and is in need. Only in this way will we be able to participate fully in the joy of Easter. May Mary, Mother of Beautiful Love, guide us in this Lenten journey, a journey of authentic conversion to the love of Christ. I wish you, dear brothers and sisters, a fruitful Lenten journey, imparting with affection to all of you, a special Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican, 21 November 2006.

12 February 2007

Confraternity of Saint Peter


The example of Our Lord.
“Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is abundant but the labourers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest.” (Mt 9, 35-38)

What is the Confraternity of Saint Peter?
It is a society which gathers those who feel close to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter and who wish to support its charism through prayers and sacrifices.
Thus the Confraternity contributes to the service of the Church, through supporting numerous vocations, the sanctification of priests and their pastoral endeavours.
What does a member of the Confraternity of Saint Peter do?

Members commit themselves to
- every day: 1) pray one decade of the holy rosary for the sanctification of our priests and for our priestly vocations, 2) and recite the Prayer of the Confraternity;
- every year: 3) have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered once for these intentions.

What spiritual benefit do members receive from the Confraternity?
Their commitments place the members among our most faithful benefactors, and as such, among the particular recipients of our priests’ and seminarians’ daily prayers.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each month for the members of the Confraternity in each area. Recollections and instructions in the faith are also foreseen.

How does one become a member?
1. Fill in the enrolment form and send it back to us when filled out.
2. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter will send to you in return the certificate of membership. The commitments take effect with the reception of the certificate.
3. Members must be at least 14 years old.
4. Membership is purely spiritual and does not confer any rights or duties other than the spiritual support in prayer and charity in accord with the commitments described above.
5. By themselves the commitments do not bind under penalty of sin.
6. Membership and the commitments which follow it are tacitly renewed each year on the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (February 22), unless expressly determined otherwise.

How does one receive news about the Confraternity?
Our channels of information - bulletins and websites of the districts or of the houses – will provide news about the Confraternity.


Prayer for Priests, to be said by members of the Confraternity of St. Peter.

Following a decade of the Rosary:

V. Remember, O Lord, Thy congregation.
R. Which Thou hast possessed from the beginning.

Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus, born to give testimony to the Truth, Thou who lovest unto the end those whom Thou hadst chosen, kindly hear our prayers for our pastors.
Thou who knowest all things, knowest that they love Thee and can do all things in Thee who strengthen them.
Sanctify them in Truth. Pour into them, we beseech Thee, the Spirit whom Thou didst give to Thy apostles, who would make them, in all things, like unto Thee.
Receive the homage of love which they offer up to Thee, who hast graciously received the threefold confession of Peter.
And so that a pure oblation may everywhere be offered without ceasing unto the Most Holy Trinity, graciously enrich their number and keep them in Thy love, who art one with the Father and the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory and honour forever.

Nihil obstat: Vic. Gen. FSSP, 05.II.2007

Charter of the Confraternity and enrolment form to print out (pdf)

5 February 2007

Indult Date :-p

Taken from Curt Jester

“But of that day and hour of the Tridentine indult no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Curia, but the Holy Father only."

As in the days of Clown and Polka Masses, so will be the coming of the Motu Proprio. For as in those days before the indult they were eating and drinking using invalid matter for the Eucharist, Irreverent and saying the Mass Irreverently, until the day when Indult entered the bark of Peter, and they did not know until the Indult came and swept away all the silliness, this will be the coming of the Motu Proprio.

2 February 2007

Lord we are perishing...

Taken from De Fide Catholica (Sermon for 4th Sunday after Epiphany)

Our Lord was sleeping when a storm arose. The disciples, afraid, went and woke Him: “ Lord, we are perishing.

Lord, we are perishing! We are probably tempted to repeat this often. We are perishing because things are going badly in the world and in the Church today. And it is true, as it was true of the storm which scared the disciples. It is also true that there is a real danger. The old societies have almost disappeared and have given way to a kind of worldwide society almost similar everywhere. The Nations lose their identities under the force of the new world order, which provokes many social and political disturbances. Thousands – if not millions – of youth today have no social or cultural roots and are ready to accept anything in order to give a sense to their lives.

The Church herself is shaken by a huge earthquake which comes to weaken her foundation. It seems that the boat of Peter is about to sink. The words of Pope Saint Pius X at the beginning of the XX century appear to be true: modernism really is the ruin of religion. In many places around the world churches are closed and empty. And even in the churches, which are full of people, I am not sure that, there, the true God is adored according to a true worship. In addition to this, and perhaps as a result of the loss of Faith and of a true evangelical spirit within the Church, we are assailed by false religions and many different kinds of sects due to the rise of the New Age movements. So, we have indeed many good reasons to cry out: “Lord, we are perishing!

One day Saint John Bosco had a dream, a little bit different than Martin Luther’s dream. He saw a naval battle. Many ships were fighting against one ship which fought alone, and this lone ship was the symbol of the Church. This ship was damaged many times by the cannonballs of the enemies. But it was never destroyed. It was led by the Pope who brought it to port where the ship could be anchored between two big columns. On the top of one was a big host with the inscription “Salus credentium” – salvation of the faithful. On the top of the other one was a statue of the Immaculate with the inscription “Auxilium christianorum” – help of Christians.

Dear Brethren, as long as we remain faithful we have no reason to cry out that we are perishing. Nourished by the Holy Eucharist, daily if it is possible, and helped by the Immaculate Virgin Mary, we are, under the authority of the Pope, visible head of the Church, in good hands. And this is a matter of Faith – faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ whose words cannot be wrong and which cannot deceive. It is not human confidence in a man, whatever his name is – Karol Wojtyla or Joseph Ratzinger – but in Jesus Christ who has established them to rule His Church.

But you can trust Jesus only if you know Him, which means only if you take time to be with Him. You can trust Him only if you speak to Him and if you listen to Him every day. This is all the secret of Christian life: a close intimacy with the Lord who loves you. This is the fulfillment of the Divine grace in a soul that unites it to Jesus Christ. Then there is nothing to fear because you are with God, with Jesus Christ and with His Blessed Mother, safe inside the Catholic Church, the new Arch of Salvation.

Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Don’t you understand that if you had Faith, you could do anything? Our Lord doesn’t need a bunch of fearful people complaining constantly but rather He wants an army of brave disciples ready to do anything for the love of God. Let us be those men and women animated by the same love of Jesus Christ. May Our Lady help us to remain faithful until the end and to strengthen our faith. Those who have a strong and deep faith are not perishing.

New Missal for New Mission

Taken from CNA

The liturgical renewal in the Church, which includes a revision of the English translation of the Latin Missal, will contribute to the missionary impulse of the Church, said Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge of Canberra, this week.

The archbishop wrote a letter to his diocese, published in the local “Catholic Voice,” telling the faithful about the changes that are coming to the English Mass and the spirit in which this liturgical reform is taking place.

“The whole point of liturgical reform at the Second Vatican Council was to generate new energy for mission,” he wrote. “And at a time when the Holy Spirit is calling the whole Church to become more missionary, my hope is that the new Missal will be one of the key sources of the new energy that new mission requires.”

“‘New Missal for new mission’ is not a bad motto for us all as we approach this new threshold in the ongoing journey of liturgical renewal in the Church,” he continued.

Archbishop Coleridge chairs the Vatican’s International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary. He met with other bishops in Cape Town, South Africa, to work on the revision of the missal.

The revision, he said, is intended to ensure that the English is closer to the Latin original and that “it offers more of the riches of the Catholic tradition.”

“The language we use at Mass is a crucial factor in shaping our spiritual lives, our relationship with God in the Church, our mission in the world,” he wrote. “The bishops hope to provide in the new Missal words that are richer and deeper because they pass on to us more of the vast treasures of the Catholic faith through the ages.”

“We will have to learn new things, but it will be learning for a purpose. The bishops have no interest in disturbing priests and people just for the sake of it,” he added. “The liturgical renewal called for by the Second Vatican Council was always going to be a long and winding road, and this is a new phase of the unfolding journey. But this new phase, I am convinced, is no less under the influence of the Holy Spirit than was the first impulse that came to us from the Council decades ago.”

The archbishop said he plans to have both the Archdiocesan Assembly and the Clergy Assembly focus upon what that is involved in this new threshold of liturgical renewal in the Church.