27 April 2007
25 April 2007 (Wed) was the feast of St Mark the Evangelist. I went for Mass in the evening. Since a more unique Preface for used, I decided to flip to the correct page in my daily missal. The Preface of Apostles II was used, as dictated by the Diocesean Ordo. But...
Priest: ... You founded your Church on the apostles to stand firm forever as the sign on earth of your infinite holiness and as the living gospel for all (extended pause) men and women to hear...
What is written in the valid vernacular English translation of the Roman Missal is "and as a living gospel for all men to hear". Granted that it sounds alright in the literal sense, the prayers in the Mass a not just supposed to sound alright. They are supposed to follow exactly what is in the missal, not come up something else. Some people may say that such is so restrictive and legalistic. It is said that the Mass is one and the same no matter where one attends Mass at. In terms of an external and audible sign there is a difference between hearing ""and as a living gospel for all men to hear" and "and as the living gospel for all men and women to hear". One is straight from the Missal, the other is the insistence on the use of inclusive language. In short, inclusive language detracts from the Sacred Traditions that have been handed down to us from the Apostles. The word 'men' refers to the male gender as well as both genders at the same time, why the need to insist that 'men' only refers to the male gender and insist that women are excluded unless the word 'women' is used when they really are not. On the level of inclusive language being the need to represent both genders "The Church is the Bride of Christ" would need to be changed to "The Church is the Bride and Bridegroom of Christ". But oops Christ is male, not some gender neutral entity.
27 April 2007 (Fri) was just a normal weekday Mass in Easter, but oh my...
Priest: Pray my brothers and sisters that our offering of bread and wine may be acceptable...
Huh? In the Roman Missal it 'sacrifice'. Is it so hard to verbalise 'sacrifice'? Did 'sacrifice' suddenly become a vulgarity? Or is it just that the Mass being a Holy Sacrifice is just too uncomfortable of a Dogma? Granted that the current Offertory Prayers leave much to be desired, be it in Latin or the vernacular, the Orate Fratres specifically still uses 'sacrificium' and it doesn't take a genius to equate 'sacrificium' to 'sacrifice'.
During the time of Pope John Paul II, the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum was release in 2004. On these two specific instances, referring to No 59 would be appropriate "The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy." If the respect due to Pope John Paul II is more than just lip service, perhaps this very simple instruction would be followed.
26 April 2007
[Taken from WDTPRS]
There is an nterview available through UCANews. Gerard O’Connell interviews H.E. Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith speaking about the post-Synodal Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis of His Holiness.
It concerns especially the Exhortation and Asia. There is a mention of the now famously correction par. 62 Sacramentum caritatis. The inteview is an education about the use of Latin and its place in the whole world, not just in Asia. He speaks about Gregorian chant.
Most interesting are his comments about inculturation.
Here are some high points. My emphases.
UCA NEWS: How has the liturgical renewal initiated by Vatican Council II been carried out in Asia? What are its positive achievements and negative results?
ARCHBISHOP RANJITH: Generally, there have been many changes in the way liturgy was celebrated in Asia since the Council. Some of us who were brought up in childhood under the liturgical orientations of pre-conciliar times know what these new changes were and how they affected our life as Catholics.
As your question indicates, there has been a mixed bag of results. Among the positive changes, I see the use of vernacular languages in the Liturgy, which helped to lead the faithful to better understand the Word of God, the rubrics of the Liturgy itself, and a more responsive and shared participation in the celebration of the sacred mysteries.
Adaptations to local cultural practices have also been tried, though not always with good results. The use of the vernacular has at times helped in generating a theological vocabulary in the local idiom that eventually could be helpful to evangelization and the presentation of the message of the Gospel to those of non-Christian religious traditions, which constitute the overwhelming majority of the people of Asia.
Some negative aspects have been the quasi total abandonment of the Latin language, tradition and chant; a far too facile interpretation of what could be absorbed from local cultures into the Liturgy; a sense of misunderstanding of the true nature, content and meaning of the Roman rite and its norms and rubrics, which led to an attitude of free experimentation; a certain anti-Roman "feeling," and an uncritical acceptance of all kinds of "novelties" resulting from a secularizing and humanistic theological and liturgical mindset overtaking the West.
These novelties were often introduced, perhaps unknowingly, by some foreign missionaries who brought them from their own mother countries or by locals who had been to those countries on visits or for studies and had let themselves be uncritically absorbed into a kind of "free spirit" that some circles had created around the Council.
The abandonment of the spheres of the Sacred, the Mystical and the Spiritual, and their replacement by a kind of empiricist horizontalism was most harmful to the spirit of what truly constituted Liturgy.
How is the new exhortation on the Eucharist relevant for the Church in Asia?
Seen as a whole, the document is for me something that re-echoes in the true sense of the word the reform of the Liturgy as it was understood and desired by the Council. I mean not a rejection of positive developments of liturgical reform in force today but the expression of the need to be truly faithful to what was meant by Sacrosantum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Second Vatican Council, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on Dec. 4, 1963).
One could, in a certain sense, state that documents such as Ecclesia de Eucharistia ("The Church [draws her life] from the Eucharist," encyclical "On the Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church," Pope John Paul II, April 17, 2003), Liturgiam Authenticam ("Authentic Liturgy", instruction "On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy," Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, May 7, 2001), and Redemptionis Sacramentum ("Sacrament of Redemption," instruction "On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist," Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, April 23, 2004) already started the needed adjustments reflective of the indications of the Council.
Sacramentum Caritatis crowns it all with a truly profound, mystical and yet so very easily understandable catechesis on the Eucharist that brings out best the fuller meaning of this most Holy Sacrament. Pope Benedict wants us to understand, celebrate and live the fullness of the Eucharist.
I feel that in the context of Asia such a call should naturally be appreciated, valued and lived. The basic orientations of Sacramentum Caritatis do reflect Asian values like the love of silence and contemplation, acceptance of a deeper life beyond that which is tangible, respect of the sacred and the mystical, and the search for happiness in a life of sanctity and renouncement.
The stress laid on these aspects makes Sacramentum Caritatis a valuable and important contribution towards making the Catholics in our continent live the Eucharist in a truly Asian way.
Which aspects of the document are most important for Asia’s bishops, priests and Catholic faithful?
From a general point of view, the call to consider the Holy Eucharist as an invitation to become Christ himself, drawn and absorbed unto him in a profound communion of love, thus making His own glorious splendor shine out in us, is truly in line with the search for spiritual mysticism in the Asian continent.
As I mentioned, Asia is deeply mystical and conscious of the value of the Sacred in human life, moving a human being to look for the deeper mysteries of religion and spirituality. The tendency to banalise the celebration of the Eucharist through a somewhat horizontal orientation, often visible in modern times. is not consonant with that search. Hence, the general orientation of the document is good for Asia.
Going into details, I would say that its seriousness, the tendency to always accent the deeply spiritual and transcendental nature of the Eucharist, its Christo-centric outlook, faithful adherence to rubrics and norms [nos.39-40], interest in sobriety [no. 40], proper and dignified sense of celebration, use of appropriate art and architecture, chant and music, and avoidance of improvisation and disorder are all reflective of the Asian way of worship and spirituality. People in Asia are a worshipping people, with worship forms that are centuries old and not inventions of any single individual.
Adherence to rubrics in the other religious traditions in Asia is strict. Besides, their rubrics are profoundly reflective of the special role of the Sacred. Thus, the seriousness recommended by the Supreme Pontiff is very much in consonance with Asian ways of worship.
Following the Second Vatican Council, there has been much talk, including among Asian bishops, of the need for inculturation of the liturgy. How has this developed in the Asian Churches? What remains to be done, or is it an open process without a concluding date?
As the Pope himself states in Sacramentum Caritatis, the principle of inculturation "must be upheld in accordance with the real needs of the Church as she lives and celebrates the one mystery of Christ in a variety of cultural situations" [Sacr. Carit. 54]. We know that it is a need emerging from both the call to evangelization or the incarnation of the Gospel message in various cultures, and the requirement of a real and conscious participation of the faithful in what they celebrate.
Yet, already Sacrosanctum Concilium indicated clear parameters within which the adaptations of the liturgy to local cultural patterns are to be carried out. It spoke of admitting into the Liturgy elements that "harmonize with its true and authentic spirit" [SC 37], ensuring the "substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved" [SC 38], provided such is decided by the competent ecclesiastical authority, meaning the Holy See and, where legally allowed, the bishops [cf 22: 1-2]. It also called for prudence, in the choice of adaptations to be introduced into the Liturgy [SC 40: 1], the need to submit such to the Apostolic See for its consent, if needed, a period of limited experimentation [SC 40: 2] before final approval and consultation of experts in the matter [SC 40: 3].
Sacramentum Caritatis follows the same line, that adaptations of Liturgy to local cultural traditions be handled according to the stipulations of the various directives of the Church and in keeping with a proper sense of balance "between the criteria and directives already issued and new adaptations" [no. 54], and these too "always in accord with the Apostolic See" [ibid. 54]. In short, inculturation through adaptations, yes, but always within clear parameters that ensure nobility and orthodoxy.
As for what has been carried out up to now, one cannot be altogether satisfied. Some positive developments are visible, like the large scale use of vernacular languages in liturgy, making the sacraments better understood and to that extent better participated, and the use of art, music and Asian gestures at worship. But a lot of arbitrariness and inconsistency can also be noted, arbitrariness through the permitting of all kinds of experiments and officialisation of such practices without proper study or critical evaluation.
I once was listening to a radio talk given by a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka who ridiculed Christians for allowing local drum beating in their churches without knowing that those beats in fact were chants of praise for the Buddha. This could be just one instance of unstudied absorption of local traditions that are per se incompatible with what we celebrate.
By inconsistency I mean practices we introduce as adaptations but per se are incompatible with our culture, like just a bow instead of genuflection or prostration before the Holy Eucharist, or communion in the hand received standing, which is far below levels of consideration given to the Sacred in Asia. In some countries, instead of introducing liturgical vestments or utensils reflective of local values, their use has been reduced to a minimum, or even abandoned. I was at times shocked to see priests and even bishops celebrating or concelebrating without the proper liturgical attire. This is not inculturation but de-culturation, if such a word exists.
Inculturation means deciding on liturgical attire that is dignified and full of respect for the Sacred realities celebrated, not abandoning them. I feel that the Episcopal Commissions on Liturgy in Asia at continental, regional or national levels should, with the help of experts, study these issues carefully and seek ways and means to enhance the meaning, dignity and sacredness of the divine mysteries celebrated through solid adaptations that are critically selected and proposed to the Holy See for due approval.
A closer spirit of cooperation with the Holy See in this matter would be needed. There is too much drifting in the matter and even an attitude of "who cares?" that leaves everything to free interpretation and the creativity of single persons. Besides, I wonder if there is a sufficient awareness of what the Council itself mentioned on the matter and the guidelines given in Varietates Legitimae ("Legitimate Differences," instruction, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Jan. 25, 1994) and no. 22 of Ecclesia in Asia ("Church in Asia," apostolic exhortation on the Church in Asia, Pope John Paul II, November 6, 1999).
In No. 54 of Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict advocates "continued inculturation of the Eucharist" and calls for "adaptations appropriate to different contexts and cultures." What does this mean in Asia?
Asia is generally considered to be the continent of contemplation, mysticism and a deep seated spiritual outlook on life. These orientations may have resulted from or even led to the origins of most world religions in this continent. Any attempts at inculturation of the Liturgy or of Christian life cannot bypass these profoundly mystical orientations typical of Asia.
As Christians, we ought to show that Christianity is Asian in origin and it has an even profounder sense of mysticism within it that it can and wishes to share with others. It would be a pity if we strive to project our faith as an appendix of a secular and globalizing culture that endorses secular values and seeks to represent these in Asia. Unfortunately, sometimes in our way of doing things, we do project such an image. This makes us "foreigners" in our own continent.
Take, for example, the large scale abandonment of the cassock or religious garb by many priests and religious in Asia, even missionaries. They hardly understood that in Asian culture, persons dedicated to God or religion are always visible in his or her own garb, like the Buddhist monk or the Hindu sannyasi (holy man). This shows we do not understand what inculturation truly means. Often enough, it is limited to a dance or two during the Holy Mass or sprinkling of flowers, the arathi (closing prayer song) or beating a drum.
In mind and heart, however, we follow secular ways and values. If we are truly Asian, we should focus more attention on the mysticism of Jesus, His message of salvation, the great value of prayer, contemplation, detachment, simplicity of life, devoutness and reflection and the value of silence, and forms of liturgical celebration that focus great attention on the Sacred and the Transcendent. We Asians cannot be secularists who do not see anything beyond the visible and the tangible.
So too in Liturgy, instead of concentrating on just a few exterior gestures of cosmetic value, we should focus on the accentuation of the mystical and the spiritual riches conveyed to us, and highlight these more and more even in our dress and behavior. The Universal Church would gain from a Church in Asia that becomes a tangible expression of Christian mysticism in an Asian way.
Can you give a concrete example of what "maintaining a proper balance between criteria and directives and new adaptations" means?
By "proper balance," the Holy Father means, on one side, faithfulness to the Universal and Catholic Tradition of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, enshrined in the Roman rite itself, and, on the other, the space provided in Sacrosanctum Concilium and Varietates Legitimae for adaptations. As No. 21 of Sacrosanctum Concilium indicates, there are "unchangeable elements divinely instituted" and "elements subject to change" in the Liturgy. Only the latter may be changed, and even that is to be done on the basis of norms that the Council itself laid out in the third chapter of the same document.
In the case of the Eucharist, it is the same approach. The Eucharist is not what the Church made but what has been the Lord’s own gift to us, a treasure to be guarded. Hence, even though exigencies of Evangelization and of the Inculturation of the Gospel message in various situations demands a certain amount of diversity, this is not to be left to the whims and fancies of the individual celebrant. The areas open to diversity are limited and pertain to language, music and singing, gestures and postures, art and processions [SC 39]. In these areas, adaptation is possible and should be undertaken after proper study, due approval of the bishops and then the consent of the Apostolic See [SC: Ch. III].
Thus, the sense of balance between safeguarding the essentials and seeking to integrate local cultural elements is very much needed if the Church is to profit spiritually. At the same time, I would hold more essential not only adaptations of that type but the noble and dignified celebration of every liturgical act, making it reflect the mysticism of the East. It would be more helpful than just a series of external adaptations, even those introduced following established procedures.
Besides, the love of silence, a contemplative atmosphere, chant and singing reflective of the divine mystery celebrated on the altar, sober and decorous attire, and art and architecture reflective of the nobility of the Sacred places and objects, are all Asian values often reflected in places of worship of other religions and more expressive of a truly Asian outlook on Liturgy.
In no. 62 of the exhortatios, the pope suggests that celebration of Mass in Latin and use of Gregorian chant could be done on some occasions and in parts of the liturgy. What do you think Catholics in Asia feel about this? Have you detected a desire for the Mass in Latin among Catholics in Asia?About inculturation.
Sacrosanctum Concilium never advocated total abandonment of Latin or of Gregorian chant. It stated that "the use of the Latin language, except when a particular law prescribed otherwise, is to be preserved in the Latin rites… But since the use of the vernacular … may frequently be of great advantage to the people a wider use may be made of it especially in readings, directives and in some prayers and chants" [SC 36: 1-2]. Besides, it wished that "a suitable place may be allotted to the vernacular in Masses which are celebrated with the people, especially in the readings and ‘the common prayer’, and also as local conditions may warrant, in those parts which pertain to the people" [SC 54].
In the same passage, the Council wished that care be taken to "ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them" [ibid.].
The point is that the vernacular is not the normal language of the Liturgy for Sacrosanctum Concilium but Latin, with permission being granted for the vernacular to be used in specific areas such as the readings, some prayers and chants and parts that pertain to the people. What is remarkable is that it advocates the use of Latin even in "those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them" [SC 54].
Unfortunately, a quasi total abandonment of Latin took place almost everywhere soon after the Council, so only the older generation of Catholics in Asia has an idea of the use of Latin in the liturgy and of Gregorian chant. With a strong vernacularisation of the Liturgy and of seminary formation, the use of Latin did almost completely disappear from most of Asia.
This is rather unfortunate. I am not sure if there is a marked yearning for a return of Latin in the Liturgy in Asia. I hope it would be so. Some Catholics who are aware of the beauty of Latin do express such a desire. They have seen or come to experience Liturgies celebrated in Latin in Rome or elsewhere and are fascinated by it. Others are fascinated by the old Latin rite, the Pius V Mass now being celebrated in some places of Asia.
But the larger portion of Asian Catholics is still unaware of the value of Latin in the Holy Mass. I wonder what they would say if some form of Latin is reintroduced. They might like it and, knowing the spirit of devotion that Asian Catholics carry within themselves, it would certainly help deepen their faith even further. Our people know that not all divine realities are within the reach of human understanding and that there should be room for some sense of spiritual mystery in worship.
Besides, it would be good for the Church in Asia not to remain cut off from new trends emerging universally, one of which is a fresh appreciation of the Church’s bi-millennial Latin heritage. This is not to say we ought to abandon the vernacular and embrace Latin in toto. A sound and sober use of Latin as well as the vernacular, on the lines of Sacrosanctum Concilium, would be a gain for all. Besides, in Asia some other religions have preserved an official "liturgical" language, like Sanskrit for Hinduism and Pali for Buddhism. These are not spoken languages but are used only in worship. Are they not teaching us a lesson that a "liturgical language" which is not in common use can better express an inner mysticism of the "Sacred" in worship?
The Pope wants "future priests" to learn Latin in seminaries, so as to read Latin texts and sing Gregorian chant. How do you think young Asians studying for the priesthood regard that call? Will Asia’s seminaries welcome it?
There is no question of a welcoming. I think it is a need, and rather than falling into a well of isolationist narrow mindedness or a purely empiricist approach to faith that, by the way, is not Asian and does not leave room for an understanding of that which is transcendent, our priests and seminarians should be encouraged to open out to the wider reality of their faith, which is Catholic and Universal, its bi-millennial roots and development and its mystical and sacred dimensions. And since Latin has been at the very root of much of the developments in Theology, Liturgy, and ecclesial discipline all along, seminarians and priests should be encouraged to learn and use it.
This would help the Church in Asia not only to grasp better the content of the depositum fidei (deposit of faith) and its development, but also discover a theological language of its own, capable of presenting the faith to the peoples of Asia convincingly [cfr. Ecclesia in Asia 20]. Learning Latin is in no way a going backward but, on the contrary, going forward. Only thus could a truly profound process of inculturation take place. Any so-called theology not rooted in the fonts of Sacred Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church, prayed on one’s knees and illumined by the light of a holy life is but empty noise-making and would lead only to disorder and confusion.
The same is true of Liturgy. Latin is the ordinary liturgical language of the Church. In the origin and development of the Roman rite, it had a major role to play. Thus, a sufficient knowledge of this language would facilitate a better understanding and appreciation of the beauty of what is celebrated. As the Holy Father stated, "the beauty of the liturgy is part of this mystery; it is a sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on earth" [Sacr. Carit. 35].
Celebrating in Latin thus would help build a sense of awe and respect as well as a profound spiritual link with what the Lord himself inspired the Church to assume as its form of worship. This openness to Latin would also help the students appreciate better the role of Gregorian chant in the Church. The Holy Father wishes that it "be suitably esteemed and employed" as it is the "chant proper to the Roman liturgy" [Sacr. Carit. 42]. Learning the simplicity and beauty of this great body of chant would also help musically talented priests and seminarians in Asia to be inspired by it and be able to compose dignified and prayerful chant forms that can harmonize better with the local culture. It would be presumptuous to assume that using Gregorian chant would harm inculturation of the liturgy. It could actually be beneficial.
Is there anything else you wish to tell Churches in Asia about the exhortation and how they should implement it?
A careful look at Sacramentum Caritatis convinces me more and more that it is not only a treasure trove of information, inspiration and a truly pastoral yet deeply theological reflection on the Eucharist but, more so, a document that seeks to bring to completion that which was truly desired by the Second Vatican Council and its document on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. The post-conciliar reform of the Liturgy, though laudable in some aspects, had not been all that faithful to the spirit of the Council.
As Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli, a member of the Commission that worked on the reform then, attested: "I am not happy about the spirit. There is a spirit of criticism and impatience towards the Holy See which would not augur well. And then, everything is a study on the rationality of the liturgy and no concern for true piety. I am afraid that one day one would say of all this reform what was said about the reform of the hymns at the time of Urban VIII: accepit liturgia recessit pietas (as liturgy progresses, piety goes backward); and here accepit liturgia recessit devotio (as liturgy progresses, devotion goes backward). I hope I am wrong" [from the diaries of Cardinal Antonelli, April 30, 1965].
We have seen a lot of banalisation and obscuring of the mystical and sacred aspects of the Liturgy in many areas of the Church in the name of a so-called "Konzilsgeist" (Council spirit).
In the last 20 years or so, the Church has sought to set the course of liturgical reform straight and in line with the indications of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Documents such as Liturgiam Authenticam, Varietates legitimae, Redemptionis Sacramentum and Ecclesia de Eucharistia are part of that attempt, and Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a collegial document in that it collects the propositions of the Bishops’ Synod on the Holy Eucharist, is the culminating moment, I would say, of that course of "setting things right." It truly is a correction of course and should be welcomed, appreciated, studied and put into practice.
The cultural heritage of Asia is deeply religious and conscious of the value of the Sacred and Mystical in human life. So the Church in Asia should welcome this document and its orientations, which are directed very much towards a restoration of the profound values of spirituality and faith into Liturgy most wholeheartedly and take necessary steps to implement its indications as zealously and as faithfully as possible.
This is my wish for the Church in Asia, the continent of mysticism.
For years when I have written about inculturation I have made some distinctions similar to what H.E. mentioned above about "proper balance" and "faithfulness to the Universal and Catholic Tradition of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, enshrined in the Roman rite itself, and, on the other, the space provided" by official documents.
How do we know the "proper balance"? I believe we seek for this balance in the logical priority we must give to what the Church has to give. In the dynamic process of inculturation which is authentic, there is a constant give and take going on between what Church as to give (imbued with divine revelation) and what the world has to offer. Each culture in every time also has its own genius. They intertwine. However, if the process of inculturation is to be authentic, what the Church has to give to the world must always have priority to what the world has to give to the Church. When the world receives and is thereby transformed, it then has something to offer back to the Church: music, art, architecture, etc.
What the Church has to give always must have logical priority in this dynamic interchange, this commercium. I wonder if the paradigm of the Incarnation is not the best way to seeing this problem.
25 April 2007
Download here: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k53352s.capture
One can also request a fascimile copy from them, but but its quite expensive..
Strangely, I found it on Wikipedia.
24 April 2007
Kudos to Cerimoniere
Translation: I announce to you a great joy: We have a Liturgy! The most eminent and most reverend Rite, Traditional Use of the Roman Rite of the Holy Roman Church, of which another name is established as Tridentine.
22 April 2007
The following is from a conference given by the late Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
Modesty and prudence are two virtues that most persons would not think to associate, yet they stand to one another as cause to effect: Just as there can be no chastity without modesty, so there can be no modesty without prudence. Before we go any further, let us reiterate that we are dealing with Christian chastity; i.e., chastity as revealed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, although the Latin word castitas predates Christ, chastity regarded as a virtue appears only after the Incarnation. Already among the ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle, it was assumed that continence or the virtue of temperance in controlling the sexual appetite required the practice of prudence. But the prudence we have in mind goes far beyond, is much deeper, than what even the best minds before Christ ever conceived, to say nothing of what was expected of persons in practice.
What is modesty?
The most basic meaning of modesty is moderation. In this sense a modest person is one who moderates his actions. In other words, a modest person is moderate or balanced. This can mean placing a moderate estimate on one’s own abilities or talents. A modest person is one who is neither bold not self-assertive. A modest person tends toward diffidence. Such descriptions we will find in any modern lexicon. In Catholic moral teaching, however, modesty is a virtue inclining a person to observe proper decorum, especially in speech, in one’s bodily movements, dress, and adornments. The key term in this definition is proper decorum. As explained by St. Augustine in his Rule for the Servants of God, “In all your movements, that nothing be evident which would offend the eyes of another.” For our purpose, proper decorum means such external behavior as would not lead another person into temptation, especially against chastity. As we have often said before, God intends us to be channels of grace to other persons. Conversely, therefore, God does not intend that we be sources of temptation to other persons.
Needless to say, modesty is rooted in the mind and in the will. That is why Lactantius once observed: “Modesty in human beings is praised because it is not a matter of nature, but of will.” We are only as modest in our behavior as we are convinced on reason and faith that our external conduct has a deep influence on every person whose life we touch. We are responsible for every person whom God even momentarily places in our life. Accordingly, we are responsible for others’ preservation and practice of modesty and chastity. This is still the mind of believing Christians, even though we live in a world that has almost forgotten how to spell the word modesty and ignores the most fundamental norms for the preservation of chastity.
If we are to understand the meaning of modesty we must first realize that, like so many other virtues, it is rooted in humility, the virtue opposed to pride. The more closely we look at modesty the more we see that it requires restraint, restraint in the instinct we all have to be appealing to others. We want others to accept us, think well of us, admire and praise us. In short, we desire to be loved. This desire helps foster and preserve the social bonds that man has by nature. Man’s nature, however, suffers from the effects of original sin. Were human nature not wounded, we would not desire to be loved at any price; we would all be modest spontaneously and easily. But human nature is wounded, subject to inordinate desires-cravings- on account of original sin, including the craving to be loved. Consequently, we are inclined to crave to be the object of others’ attention at any price. This craving leads to immodesty, wherein we become for those by whom we wish to be accepted, admired and loved occasions of sinful temptations. Certainly, the desire to be loved is not in itself a bad thing. But reason illumined by faith assures us that, on account of the effects of original sin—especially the inordinate love of self (i.e. pride) that leads to an inordinate desire to be loved—we must practice restraint, difficult as this may be at times. We dare not crave the acceptance and admiration of others except in accordance with the will of God. As stated previously, the practice of modesty depends upon the virtue of prudence. Without Christian prudence, the practice of Christian modesty is practically impossible.
What, then, is prudence?
In general, prudence is the virtue whereby we recognize in any situation what is good and what is evil. In this sense, prudence is a moral virtue, a moral virtue of the intellect that enlightens the mind and directs the will on what goals it should desire, and on the good means it should choose to attain that goal, as well as the evil means it should avoid. In other words, prudence is a light that guides the will with respect to what should be done and the morally good means that may be used to accomplish it. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that prudence is composed of no less than eight elements. These eight qualities of prudence are worth reviewing, as they are important for a correct understanding of modesty and help in the practice of Christian chastity.
First, prudence requires the memory of past experiences on what a person draws when making a moral decision. In practicing modesty, it helps to remember how past imprudence led at least to temptations, even sins against chastity, in oneself or in others.
Second, prudence demands understanding of the basic principles of morality, derived not only from reason, but also from revelation. Only a Christian believer can really understand that chastity is necessary for the practice of charity. And as every believer knows, charity is a pre-condition for reaching our eternal destiny. It is a necessary means to reaching the ultimate goal that we have as children of God. At root, immodesty is a failure in charity. It is self-love at the cost of another person’s friendship (potential or actual) with God.
Third, prudence calls for docility, that is, the willingness to learn from others. In this age of sexual promiscuity, if the young are unwilling to learn from those who are older and wiser than they, the further breakdown of a stable society is assured. In my five years on a faculty of a state university, I was constantly counseling my students, never retiring before midnight. These young people had to practice constant prudence if they wanted to maintain their chastity, to say nothing of their sanity!
Fourth, prudence is built on shrewdness. To be prudent, a man must be able to make a wise conjecture about the best course of action to follow in a particular case. Christ told us to be as simple as doves, but let us not forget the other half: to be as wise as serpents. To persevere in virtue, one must be supernaturally shrewd, cunning in anticipating how my virtue will be tested in a variety of situations. One can never be too wise in the practice of modesty, at least if the goal is to imitate Our Lord and Our Lady in their practice of chastity.
Fifth, prudence implies practicality. All the moral doctrine of Christianity is useless unless I apply the Church’s moral principles to the particular situations that arise hour after hour, day by day, especially when I associate with other persons.
Sixth, prudence entails foresight; indeed, the very word means foresight; that is, being able to provide or foresee how something should be done. Applying this to modesty, a modest person will consistently, almost instinctively, foresee how he or she should act in order to preserve his own chastity and that of others. We said earlier that modesty avoids any bodily movements that would be offensive to the eyes of others. We should immediately add that modesty also avoids anything that would be offensive to the ears of another person. In the modern West, and certainly in American society, it is almost part of our culture to arouse sexual thoughts and images through sight and sound. Our communications media not only seem to be, they are diabolically possessed with a desire to incite the sexual passions.
A whole science has come into existence called sexology. Its advocates have deeply influenced our entire system of education, from pre-school children right through secondary schools and to the universities. I thought I would have a heart attack when a priest friend of mine, who was taking graduate courses at a university for a doctorate, told me that he was specializing in sexology. Somewhere, near the center of this ideology, we find a virulent opposition to what the sexologist calls religious moralizing. According to the sexologist, the moral teachings of all religions, but especially that of Christianity, are repressive, Christianity, the claim, inhibits the natural expression of the sexual instinct, even within the bond of marriage. Needless to say, many clergy and laymen have embraced these notions propounded by sexologists and championed by Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood, the institution that she founded. When, as we’ve said before, Pope Paul VI published the encyclical Humanae Vitae, the Episcopal conferences of almost all the nations of the world met in solemn session to pass judgment on the Vicar of Christ, and about half of the world’s Episcopal conferences voted against the teachings of the Bishop of Rome, while tacitly acknowledging with Sanger and her ilk that the Church’s teaching on contraception was repressive, and could in good conscience be rejected.
Let’s be clear. In today’s world, a Christian believer cannot remain chaste without practicing heroic prudence. What do I mean? I mean what Our Lord taught: we cannot love both Him and the world. Either accept Christ and reject the world or, more graphically, love Christ and hate the world. Knowing the world as well as we do, we have no choice. We shall only be as chaste as we are constantly on guard against the enemies of Christ, who deny the very existence of chastity. In their vocabulary, chastity is a form of psychosis. Sexual pleasure in every form should be available to every normal man or woman-- indeed, to every child.
Seventh, prudence calls for circumspection, which means to look at or study a situation from “all around”. In other words, prudence would have us take into account the circumstances involved in what ever it is we plan to do. For the time, place, and persons involved may bear to one degree or another on the morality of our actions. Needless to say, circumspection is indispensable if we wish to remain faithful to Christ’s teaching on chastity. Fortunately, the holy Ghost, who dwells in our hearts, is ready to provide us with the light we need to enkindle our divine instinct: what we should say or not say; how we should act or not act; what we should wear or not wear; how we should even move or not move our bodies, if we are to preserve our own chastity and be channels of grace for His virtue to everyone who enters our lives.
The last element of prudence that we will take up is caution, which entails anticipation and vigilance. In practice, this means that I will be content neither with the act itself nor the intention being good, but that I will strive to anticipate and be vigilant against the evil or harm that an otherwise good action on my part may occasion or produce in another, despite my good intention. Such anticipation can hardly be maintained apart from the assistance of the Holy Ghost dwelling one’s heart. For only God knows how a perfectly innocent act on our part may be the occasion of sin for another.
We have one more important aspect of our subject to speak on; namely, supernatural modesty and prudence. All that we have been saying so far about modesty and prudence has been founded on our Christian faith; we have not relied upon the world’s standards. A comparison between the two may now prove useful. A standard dictionary would define modesty as propriety in dress, speech, and conduct. Fine. Let’s accept this definition for now. But what is meant by propriety? Again, the dictionary will define propriety as a standard on what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech. In short, propriety is what is socially acceptable. On these premises therefore, it is the society in which a person lives that sets the standard on what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech. In short, propriety is what is socially acceptable. On these premises, therefore, it is the society in which a person lives that sets the standard for what is modest. The moment we say this, we are face to face with two norms of morality: the norm determined by society and culture in which we live, and the norm determined by our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. What norm do we follow? Perhaps one or the other, perhaps a little of both.
Those who practice modesty often do so with a view towards others. They do not wish to be a source of temptation for others. This is good, but incomplete. We are to practice modesty not only for the sake of others, but for our own sake as well. There is such a thing as being an occasion of sin for oneself. We believe that Our Lord’s standards of morality are fundamental to being a faithful follower of Christ. Our divine Savior could not have been more plain when He told us that we love Him only as much as we keep His commandments. I cannot over emphasize the importance of this. The essence of being a Christian consists not only in what a person believes but also in how a person behaves. Among these commandments of Our Lord Jesus Christ, none more openly and consistently conflicts with the philosophy of the world than Christ’s teaching on chastity.
St. Alphonsus, a Doctor of the Church and heavenly patron of confessors, tells us that, in his judgment, most of those who lose their souls lose them because they fail to practice chastity. If the standard of the world in this regard greatly differ from the standards of Christ, we must conclude that only a deep faith in Christ as the living God in human form and fidelity to His standards can sustain us in the practice of modesty and chastity.
Over the years in my priesthood, I have always been convinced that faith in Christ as the living God is the granite foundation for the practice of all the virtues, especially that of chastity. Volumes could be written defending on purely rational grounds why people should be chaste, but in the final analysis, you must believe Our Lord, not seeking fully to comprehend Him before accepting the truth of His words, that unless we be chaste in this world we shall never see the face of God in the world to come.
Christian chastity is a mystery and we define a mystery as that which is inconceivable before divine revelation and never fully comprehensible even after divine revelation. We will only be as chaste as our faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ—that He is the Divine Word made flesh—is strong, no more no less.
When Christ told us that without Him we could do nothing, He meant that we can do nothing in the moral order that leads us to heaven without the help of His grace. This grace is first of all light for the mind to know what God wants us to do in every circumstance of our daily lives. Put another way, the most important grace we need to practice all of the virtues, including that of chastity, is light for the mind. We must see with the eyes of faith why we ought to be chaste. This grace likewise strengthens the will that it may choose what our mind tells us is the divine will in every situation.
Not surprisingly, when Christ warned us about how we use our eyes and our hands, He did so with reference to chastity. Only a believing Christian, this is, someone deeply in love with Christ, is ready to accept what the Master tells us about chastity in the mind as a condition for chastity in the body.
For us who believe that Jesus is God, we can almost redefine modesty as chastity of the body, which is governed by a chaste mind. It is not too much to say that our loyalty to Christ, certainly in our day will only be as firm and as stable as our fidelity to the practice of chastity and modesty.
Twenty years ago, I listened to a lecture by Vance Packard, the author of Hidden Persuaders. What Vance Packard said on that occasion, I shall never forget. Almost at the heart of American society is an organized, highly financed, efficient, and savvy core of experts. Their one ambition is to persuade the people to buy what they do not need, with money they do not have. Worse still, one of the most important tools used by these persuaders is sexual stimulation. To be ignorant of this truth is to be ignorant of the society in which we live. Christ tells us not to be afraid, for He has overcome the world. We believe that Christ was telling the truth when He told us that modesty is a precondition for chastity: either we accept this teaching and put it into practice or we will become yet another casualty in the modern deluge of sexual idolatry.
I would like to close with a quotation from, of all people, the “Little Flower”. Writing just before she entered the Carmelite order, her simple yet profound words are worth pondering: “Here was one lady that was talking about my pretty hair, another just going out the door wanting to know who that very pretty girl was. The thrill of pleasure I felt made me realize that I was full of self-love. I am always ready to sympathize with the people who lose their souls. After all, it’s so easy once you begin to stray along the primrose path of worldliness.” What is this pretty girl, also known as St. Therese of Lisieux , telling us? Either we rely on Christ to protect us from going down the primrose paths of worldly immodesty or we risk the salvation of our souls.
Acts 6:7 - And the word of the Lord increased: and the number of the disciples was multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly. A great multitude also of the priests obeyed the faith. (DRV)
Also Priests. (Well, a large group of them, anyway.) So you see, it can happen.
Kudos to Diogenes @ CWNews.
20 April 2007
On 27 February 2007 a talk titled “The Mass: Pre & Post Vatican II” was given by Fr Paul Staes, CICM at Catholic Spirituality Centre in Upper Serangoon. Fr Staes was ordained before the Second Vatican Council in 1961. So in 2006, he celebrated his 45th Anniversary of his Sacerdotal Ordination. I was not able to attend this talk myself, but some notes and commentary were posted online (http://catholicwriter.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/the-mass-pre-post-vatican-ii/ and http://groups.yahoo.com/group/catholicact/message/7560). Various misconceptions were included in this, and I shall proceed debunking the various myths and fallacies.
Before I begin in earnest, let me first say that this article is in no way meant as a personal attack. The purpose of what shall follow is to clarify certain misunderstanding regarding the Classical Latin Mass, also know as the Tridentine Mass, Traditional Latin Mass as well as the Divine Liturgy of Pope St Gregory the Great.
First and foremost it is an utter fallacy that it was only in the Council of Trent that the Tridentine Mass came into being. The thrust of this article is not the historical development of the Mass.It is sufficient to note that the 1474 Missale Romanum was almost exactly the same as what Pope St Pius V promulgated in 1570, almost 100 years later. One should also note that the Bragan, Ambrosian, Benedictine, Dominican, Carthusian, Carmelite and Premonstratensian Rites all pre-dated the Council of Trent by more than 200 years. Quo Primum, that promulgated the 1570 Missale Romanum, explicitly allowed these rites to continue to be used alongside the actual Roman Rite  . Legitimate liturgical diversity was hence allowed even after the Council of Trent and well the Mass was celebrated in Latin prior to the Council of Trent. The Bragan, Ambrosian, Benedictine, Dominican, Carthusian, Carmelite and Premonstratensian Rites that were all more than 200 years before the Council of Trent, were all in Latin  . It is also with good reason that these rites are rightly called variations of the Latin Rite. Unfortunately, the Pope Paul VI disregarded all this on 3 April 1969, in the Apostolic Constitution that effectively gave us the Missal of Paul VI. When comparing the 1570 Apostolic Constitution with the one in 1969, it is very clear that the former had the utter most respect for the Sacred Traditions that had been handed down to us as well as the organic development of the liturgy, while the latter sought to innovate .
Yet back to the commentary and notes that I have referred to. “So unlike a number of the people who are pro-Tridentine Mass today, but never really lived in the pre-Vatican era, this guy actually celebrated the Tridentine Mass then.”
Now this seems like a very strange comment to make, and its not very logical either. Personally I would prefer the term Classical Latin Mass to Tridentine Mass. It is not very accurate to attribute the Mass to the Council of Trent. The 1570 Missale Romanum was a product of hundreds and hundreds of years of organic liturgical development. As such, it does pre-date the Council of Trent. Yet I digress. If I could just reconstruct the premise: To desire the Classical Latin Mass, one must have lived in the era before the Second Vatican Council. This is as good as saying that if one is to hold a certain opinion, one must have lived in a specific era. This premise is simply not true. The 1988 Motu Proprio Eccelsia Dei does not have a single line that imposes any form of era or age limit. It specifically states that “respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the Latin liturgical tradition…  ” This was clarified by the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei Msgr Camille Perl, in September 1995 .
Now with regards to celebrating the Classical Latin Mass ‘then’, well in terms of rubrics, celebrating the Classical Latin Mass “then” and “now” is exactly the same. What changed were various disciplines, like the need to pay for pews. The use of the word ‘then’ may also denote differences in the social situation between ‘then’ and ‘now’. It does not follow that because Classical Latin Rite was celebrated in the era before the Second Vatican Council, it was only for the time before (and during) that period. What is so special about celebrating the Classical Latin Mass ‘then’? Perhaps a pertinent point would be the ability to experience the Classical Latin Mass from young and being able to live and breath in that Rite. Yet even then, there were converts, who experienced the Classical Latin Mass later in life. Another perspective could also be about the level of understanding of what is happening in the Mass “then”. This however has more to do with the quality and level of the catechesis and not the text of the Missal.
“To start with, I recall one of Father Paul's sharings about how a pro-Tridentine Mass person came up to him to say how beautiful the Latin language is, and how the Church should all return to celebrating Mass the 'old' way. So Father Paul begins to speak to this person in Latin, and the person is stunned, unable to understand what Father Paul says. To which Father Paul goes, ‘Oh, I'm sorry. You don't speak Latin?’ ”
One is required to be able to converse in Latin to attend the Mass in Latin? Or one is required to converse in Latin to desire the Mass to be celebrated in Latin? For a moment let’s just set aside the differences between the Missal of Paul VI and the Classical Roman Missal.
Assuming Latin just like any other language, the premises can be reconstructed as one is required to converse in a particular language to attend mass in that language and one is required to converse in a particular language to desire mass to be celebrated in that language. So, for example one is required to be able to converse in Bahasa Indonesia to attend Mass in Bahasa Indonesia. On the surface it seems to make some sense, but unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in this line of reasoning. One can only attend a Mass celebrated in the vernacular in the language (or languages) that one is conversant in. So if a person who is conversant only in Tamil should only go for Mass in Tamil and a person who is conversant only in Mandarin should only go for Mass in Mandarin. With this mentality, the natural product would be a form of detachment between the different language communities. Consequently, within just the context of a Sunday Mass, a Mandarin speaker who is Catholic will have zero contact what a Tamil speaker who is Catholic because the difference in timings and location. One can argue that the two may be able to meet if they attend Mass in English, but then again both of them may not exactly conversant in English.
The imposition of the requirement of fluency implies that the lack of it is an impediment to the “full, conscious, devout, intelligent and active participation ” that is legislated by the Second Vatican Council Document Sacrosanctum Concilium (The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy). It does not follow that that a high level of fluency allows the best participation in the Mass.Participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is both interior and exterior. Knowing the language and being able to verbalise is one thing but actually meaning what you say is another. One can be fluent in any language, but one can still just only say something only for the sake of saying it. One can be fluent in English and know what to say in the various responses of the Mass in English and at the same time have absolutely no sincerity in saying them. Hence, fluency is not an impediment to participation. What really impedes participation is making the responses in the Mass without putting one’s heart to it. A mistranslation would also be another impediment but that is a matter for another time.In this section, I began by assuming that Latin is just like any other language. Pope John XXIII, who initiated the Second Vatican Council, states otherwise in his Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia, “…the Latin language can be called truly catholic…and must be esteemed a treasure … of incomparable worth  ”. Here Pope John XXIII was quoting from his predecessors Pope Pius XII and Pope Pius XI. In Sacrosanctum Concilium, it is very clearly stated that “The use of the Latin language… is to be preserved in the Latin rites. ” It is further stated that “… care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.  ”
The are 24 Churches that constitute the Catholic Church and there are 8 distinctive Rites namely, the Latin, Armenian, Alexandrian, Ge’ez, West Syrian Maronite, East Syrian, West Syrian, and Byzantine . Each Rite has its own distinctive liturgical language and tradition. For example, for the Alexandrian Rite is used by Coptic Catholics and their liturgy is in Coptic. Syriac is used in the Liturgy of by the East and West Syrian Rites.
It was the Latin Church that effectively spread and sustained the Faith to this region. As such it is the Latin Liturgical Tradition that is proper to most Catholics in Singapore. The default language of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass remains as Latin. As recently as 2004, the Instruction by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments states that “Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin. ”
Latin is a source for unity for Catholics in the Latin Rite. Yet it is a wonder why it is so seldom used and hardly ever taught. One is not baptised into the Teochew, Hokkien, Tamil, Malayalam, or English Rite. In Singapore , being baptised into the Catholic Church more often than not (not forgetting the presence of our Eastern brethren) means being baptised into the Latin Rite. The Second Vatican Council requires that the laity be sing or say the Ordinary of the Mass that pertain to them in Latin. It does not require the laity to converse in Latin.
It can be argued that one can also blabber something in a foreign language with the correct pronunciation and annunciation with absolutely no idea of what one is verbalising. Yet the fault here does not lie in the language or the need to use the language, it lies with the catechesis as well as the heart of the individual. One cannot simply fault the use of Latin.
To the mind of Pope John XXIII there is also educational value to be found in Latin. Latin is “most effective training for the pliant minds of youth. It exercises, matures and perfects the principal faculties of mind and spirit. It sharpens the wits and gives keenness of judgment. It helps the young mind to grasp things accurately and develop a true sense of values. It is also a means for teaching highly intelligent thought and speech.” Herein then lies the relevance of Latin.
 http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius05/p5quopri.htm “This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom.”
 http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius05/p5quopri.htm “From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship, We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all out thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure liturgy, and We strove with God's help, by every means in our power, to accomplish this purpose.” …… “Hence, We decided to entrust this work to learned men of our selection. They very carefully collated all their work with the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and with reliable, preserved or emended codices from elsewhere. Besides this, these men consulted the works of ancient and approved authors concerning the same sacred rites; and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers.” …… “this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection”
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_p-vi_apc_19690403_missale-romanum_en.html “Now, however, our purpose is to set out at least in broad terms, the new plan of the Roman Missal. We therefore point out, first, that a General Instruction, for use as a preface to the book, gives the new regulations for the celebration of eucharistic sacrifice.” …… “It must be acknowledged that the chief innovation in the reform concerns the eucharistic prayer.” ……. “we have decided to add three new canons to the eucharistic prayer” ……
 http://www.latin-mass-society.org/gresser.htm “The Motu Proprio does not speak of any restrictions, including age limits, on those who aspire to worship according to the liturgical books of 1962. Neither does it state that only those who had previous experience of the Latin liturgical tradition could have such an aspiration.”
http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/liturgy.asc Sacrosanctum Concilium No 14 “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations…” …… No 50 “…devout and active participation by the faithful…” …… No 79 “…enabling the faithful to participate intelligently...”
http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=1160 Veterum Sapientia “In addition, the Latin language ‘can be called truly catholic.’ It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed ‘a treasure... of incomparable worth.’ ”
http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/liturgy.asc Sacrosanctum Concilium No 36 “The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”
http://www.rc.net/rcchurch/vatican2/liturgy.asc Sacrosanctum Concilium No 36 “… Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/guests/kevinyurkus/othercatholics.asp and http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/guests/kevinyurkus/othercatholics2.asp
 http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html Redemptionis Sacramentum No 112 “Mass is celebrated either in Latin or in another language, provided that liturgical texts are used which have been approved according to the norm of law. Except in the case of celebrations of the Mass that are scheduled by the ecclesiastical authorities to take place in the language of the people, Priests are always and everywhere permitted to celebrate Mass in Latin.
http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=1160 Veterum Sapientia “There can be no doubt as to the formative and educational value either of the language of the Romans or of great literature generally. It is a most effective training for the pliant minds of youth. It exercises, matures and perfects the principal faculties of mind and spirit. It sharpens the wits and gives keenness of judgment. It helps the young mind to grasp things accurately and develop a true sense of values. It is also a means for teaching highly intelligent thought and speech.”
16 April 2007
On checking the dates of the imprimatur, there was just a difference of 2 month, with the 1962 St Andrew Daily Missal imprimatur being on 26 January 1962 and the 1962 St Andrew Bible Missal imprimatur being on 25 March 1962. While it would be the case that during this period the English translations are not at all official, the very purpose of having a translation alongside the Latin is to assist in the interior participation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Now with an inaccurate translation, one cannot fully understand what is going on.
On the surface, it seems that a logical conversational response to 'The Lord be with you' would be 'And with you also / And also with you'. However, there is actually a context to this is Sacred Scripture. In St Paul's Epistles to Philemon, Timothy, the Galatians and the Philippians, he writes 'the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thy/your spirit'. The omission of 'spirit' removes this scriptural context and impedes interior participation.
But back to the St Andrew's Missals. It seems that the Monks of St Andrew's Abbey are rather fickle in how 'et cum spiritu tuo' is translated. The occurrence of 'and with you also' is rare in translations for the Classical Roman Rite, well given the innovations that were creeping in its not surprising to see such being published. But with the Nihil Obstat being from Godfrey M Danneels... :p
Another Missal where 'et cum spiritu tuo' is translated to ''and with you also' is the 1961 Fulton J. Sheen Sunday Missal. The Fulton J. Sheen Sunday Missal is actually a wonderful publication with the entire missal having Latin and English on facing pages. Yet one can trust the Jesuits to mess things up :p
Safety comes first! Our doors are locked b/c we are afraid! A new security system on all entrances. Four or five cleverly hidden but readily accessible guns. Guard dogs. Threatening yard signs. A panic room with enough food and water for a month. Cameras covering every inch of the property. Two personal bodyguards on duty 24/7: Rocky and Twinkie. Yes, we’re afraid. So afraid, in fact, that we are now prisoners in our own home and hostages to our obsessive need for security and control. Safety comes first!
And Jesus comes and stands in our midst and says to us, “Peace be with you.” The locks fall away. The guns melt. The security system starts playing remixes of “Ave Maria” by P Diddy and Shaina Twain. The guard dogs morph into kittens. The yard signs now read “WELCOME!” We use cameras now to catch funny moments for Youtube. Rocky and Twinkie serve margaritas by the pool and give foot massages. We are no longer afraid. Christ, our Lord Jesus, commanded that we be at peace. And so we are. If you aren’t, I wonder why?
Let’s say that our tightly wound and locked down house is your soul. Or maybe your heart and mind. As a Christian—baptized, confirmed, and in full communion with the Body—you have nothing to fear from anything or anyone. But how many of us here will clamp down on our spirit like a nervous dictator after student dissidents when someone threatens the security of our trust in God? Or challenges the veracity of our faith in the public square? Where is our apostolic spirit, that breath of Christ?
Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up. The disciples are locked up tight in a room for fear of the Jews, meaning they were hiding from the partisan Jews who arranged for Jesus’ phony trial and illegal execution. The disciples, despite their cowardly betrayal of Jesus in the garden, were probably right to worry that they were being hunted. It’s one thing to remove a tumor. Quite another to pick out all the infected cells. Fail in this and the cells might become tumors themselves. Jesus’ followers were a threat to the hegemony of the temple and the Romans. And so, they locked the doors for fear of their persecutors. Very understandable.
But is this what Thomas the Twin does when he denies, despite credible testimony, that Jesus visited his brother disciples after his death? Does Thomas lock up the doors of his spirit, his heart and mind, b/c he fears persecution for his belief? No. Obviously not. He doesn’t believe, so how would installing invincible security protect his faith? He has none. Thomas’ denial of Christ in the face of the apostolic witness of his brothers is scandalous. Note: he doesn’t doubt. He denies: “I WILL not believe…” And then he demands evidence no one else needs or wants. Thomas is not threaten by persecution for his faith. Thomas is threatened by the faithful witness of those who have seen Christ in the flesh. And what exactly is it of Thomas’ that is threatened by this faithful witness? Let’s pause here and turn the question back to us.
When we, when you detect some alleged threat to your faith and slam the security doors of your soul, your heart and mind, and call the ecclesial police and demand absolute safety for your faith, what is it of yours that is threatened? Please don’t say, “My faith is threatened”! How exactly could faith ever need or use the safety that anyone on Earth could provide? Your faith in God, the trust God has given you as His child, cannot be seriously threatened by anyone or anything outside your own intellect and will. Let me suggest that it is our Spiritual Comfort that gets threatened. Our comfortable, settled, cushy ways of being faithful, of “being spiritual” that get threatened by challenges from our worldly persecutors. And it is the Devil who convinces us that when our Spiritual Comfort is threatened it is actually our Faith in God that is threatened. Nonsense. Utter twaddle.
The disciples went around with Jesus listening to him teach and preach, watching him argue and heal, sweating with him to serve the poor, the wrecks, those abandoned. They saw him day in and day out, heard him every time he spoke, and accompanied him nearly everywhere he went. And yet! At crunch time, at the hour of his crucible, when he needed them most, they ran like weasels set on fire, denying him as they ran. OK. Would we have done any better? Probably not. I dunno. Maybe. But my point is this: with Christ their faith was comforted and defended and they had no need to fear. Without him they fled their persecutors behind locked doors. Christ came to them to console their anxieties. And Thomas, who was absent for Christ’s visit, denies that any such thing had happened. His comfortable ways of being spiritual were threatened by the disciples’ outrageous testimony and he slammed the security doors of his soul, his heart and mind, and called the police. He decided that his best way to defend his comfortable way of understanding Christ was to demand of Christ irrefutable empirical evidence: “Unless I see the mark of the nails of his hands…I will not believe.”
Now back to us. When our comfortable ways of being spiritual, our settled means of knowing Christ are threatened, what do we do? Don’t we become Denying Thomases? That is, we deny the power of God’s gift of faith and cast around for empirical evidence that we are right to trust God. Think about that phrase: “evidence that we are right to trust God”! What kind of trust in God needs evidence to warrant fidelity? We look to weeping statues, Blessed Mother tortillas, bleeding Hosts, a dancing Sun, Jesus’ face in a smeared store window, levitating rosaries, apocalyptic dream poems from “visionaries,” and on and on. All of which could be miraculous. But none of which need be for the truly faithful! You may answer me: “But Father! The faith has enemies everywhere! Fundamentalist Muslims. Fundamentalist secularist. Dissident theologians and priests and bishops. Schismatic archbishops and religious orders. Scandal in the seminaries, in the rectories, in the chanceries, in the schools. Perverts in collars and miters preying on our children and our young people. Call to Action! Voice of the Faithful! Women’s Ordination Conference! Catholics for Choice! Error and dissent everywhere, everywhere! And the Holy Father isn’t doing anything about it! Nothing!” And Jesus comes and stands in our midst and says to us, “Peace be with you.” And his servant, John Paul II, stands next to him and says, “Be not afraid.”
For us, Christ’s peace is our security. We are secure in his presence. Secure in his love for us. Secure in the knowledge that he has won the last battle against darkness and despair. Secure in the church and her invincible yet always open gates. Thomas sticks in fingers in Christ’s wounds and says, “My Lord and my God!” And Jesus tells him that he has come to believe b/c he has seen. The truly blessed, however, are those who have not seen and still believe.
“Safety comes first” is the motto of the damned. There’s nothing safe or easy or comfortable about following Christ. There is only your life lived in absolute trust. Unlock your doors. Welcome the strange and the stranger. Stand firm in the Word. Celebrate joy in the Sacraments. And there will be nothing comfortable in your faith to threaten. Nothing settled to stir up. Nothing easy to complicate by a challenge from the world. Make trusting Christ the most outrageous thing you do, the most exhausting exercise of your day, the most thrilling adventure of this life. And there will be nothing out there or in here to stand up and demand that you fail your Lord. You must believe that he has won this war. There is nothing for us to fear from our enemies. So, peace be with you. Receive the Holy Spirit and live freely the life of a Child of the Risen Lord, the life our Lord died on the cross to give you!
[Addition for U.D.’s Church of the Incarnation…]
At the risk of provoking the crowd with a slightly longer homily, I want to address directly the presence of Divine Mercy in God’s plan for the restoration of creation. And I want to do this by noting a strain of piety, or maybe it’s a way of thinking about sin, here at U.D. that seems to deny the power of Divine Mercy. Let me lay these out plainly: 1) the tendency to turn every sin, no matter how small, into a mortal sin; 2) the seemingly unshakeable conviction among some that God just can’t wait to punish us for our sins; 3) that God is gleefully playing “Gotcha Games” with our spiritual lives by burdening us with temptations we can’t handle; 4) the audacious rejection of God’s grace in games of Religious Athleticism—I go to more Masses, kneel longer, sing in Latin, belong to this or that paraecclesial group, etc. and you don’t or can’t, so I’m holier than you!; 5) the bizarre notion that sexual sins are deeply, horribly offensive to God while pride, envy, lack of charity, and judgmentalism are simply unfortunate character flaws by comparison; 6) the perverse belief that my sins are too big for God to forgive or too many for Him to catch all of them in just one confession or too horrible for Him to look upon so I have to use euphemisms, etc.; 7) that mercy is for the weak, that forgiveness is for the impure and the willful, and the perhaps the most damning error of all: despite the freely given sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his glorious resurrection into heaven, I don’t deserve mercy, so I will just wallow in my prideful self-pity, thank you.
Here’s the truth: not every sin is mortal—stop this prideful manipulation of reality and get a grown up’s understanding of sin. God does not want to punish us for our sins. He sent His only Son to save us. If he wanted to punish us, He would’ve skipped the excesses of the Incarnation and the Resurrection and just damned us. God is not waiting under your bed to jump and yell “A-HA! GOTCHA! GO TO HELL!” It’s a paranoid fantasy. Your Religious Athleticism is pointless. It just makes you more and more self-righteous and less and less holy. Stop it. Don’t stop praying, of course, but stop thinking that you’re saved in these exercises of piety. You’re not. Sex is good, true, beautiful, and holy. Pride, envy, lack of charity, all distort everything that is good, true, beautiful, and holy. Sexual sins are not somehow more horrible sins b/c they are sexual. Sexual sins are usually expressions of pride, envy, lack of charity, etc. Nothing about you or me or this world or this universe is too big for God to handle. The Devil is telling you that your sins are special. They aren’t. Mercy and forgiveness are for the weak, the willful, and the impure. And if you think you’re going to be strong, obedient, and pure without God’s grace and mercy—you’re deluded.
Simply put: God wants His creation—all of it, all of us—restored. That’s His goal for you, for me, for everything He has created. You thwart your own growth in holiness by exaggerating your sins; refusing God’s mercy as a sign of weakness; and believing that there is anything you can do to save yourself. Let God love you, so that you can grow in holiness! What is there to fear in being shown mercy? In being loved?
14 April 2007
Readers will remember how previously I noted the negative elements of the Post-Synodal exhortation, or at least some of them, I could address all of them but that would be probably too lengthy. Suffice it to say that on top of the negative elements proper, we now have the problem of the positive elements obscured by a faulty English translation, which in certain cases says things almost antithetical to the Latin, and thanks to Fr. Zuhsledorf of "What does the prayer really say" some of these are being addressed. It is symptomatic of the problems of collegiality, and devotion to John Paul II, that Benedict has not replaced the staff in the Vatican, forcefully if necessary who are opposed to many items on his agenda and therefore muddy up the works. Therefore when necessary I am going back to the Latin, which I did not do in my previous commentary because all the points I spoke of were just as bad in the Latin as they were in English.
First we have in #17 and 18:
If the Eucharist is truly the font and culmination of the Church's life and mission, it follows that the process of Christian initiation must constantly be directed to the reception of this sacrament. As the Synod Fathers said, we ought to ask ourselves whether in our Christian communities the close bond between Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist is sufficiently understood. It must never be forgotten that to be Baptized and Confirmed is done with respect to the Eucharist. Accordingly, our pastoral practice should reflect a more unitary understanding of the process of Christian initiation. The sacrament of Baptism, by which we were conformed to Christ, incorporated in the Church and made children of God, is the gate to all the sacraments. It incorporates us into the one Body of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 12:13), a priestly people. Yet, it is our participation in the Eucharistic sacrifice which makes perfect the gifts given to us at Baptism. The gifts of the Spirit are given for the building up of Christ's Body (1 Cor 12) as they furnish a clear witness of the Gospels in the world. The Holy Eucharist, then, perfects Christian initiation and places it in the center as it were and goal of all Christian sacramental life.This is an excellent place to start and puts forth a lot of good things to think about. We must realize that the battle for Tradition is not only about the Traditional Latin Mass, but also involves various elements of Catechesis, formation and discipline, all of which compete for the souls and minds of the next generation of Catholics. One of the the destructions of Catholic theology has been the perversion of the sacrament of Confirmation, and the separation of it and Baptism from the Eucharistic mystery. In the present state of things the best we can hope for our children coming out of "CCD" (which I affectionately call Calvinist Catechetical destruction) or religious education in Catholic schools is that they will believe that to be fully initiated in the Catholic Church they need the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist; and if we are supremely lucky they might believe the Eucharist is the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ when they get confirmed. They most certainly do not understand the unity in them, and that they are ordered objectively to the Eucharist which is the finality of Christian life, both as symbol and as true union.
There is also another problem, especially in "CCD", namely that children, educators and even people with Master's Degrees do not understand what the Sacrament of Confirmation is. They do not. They think that it is "becoming an adult in the Catholic Church". This idea is so devoid of anything Catholic it is not even funny, yet 99% of all children being confirmed will tell you that is what confirmation is. Just read "RCIA" testimonials in your local Church bulletin. The first and obvious rebuttal to this false theology is that in the Eastern Church confirmation is given at infancy, but who would say that an infant is an "adult in the Church"? However this example becomes difficult to use, since most are ignorant of the fact that there is an "Eastern Church" let alone their sacramental theology or the principle of sacramental reciprocity (that what is valid in one is valid universally even if it might not be licit in another rite). Here in this exhortation, we find a strong, post-conciliar affirmation concerning the doctrine of Confirmation.
The gifts of the Spirit are given for the building up of Christ's Body (1 Cor 12) as they furnish a clear witness of the Gospels in the world. (SC no. 17)Though not as nice as that definition found in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, it is still a strong refutation of the concept of Bar Mizveh which is entering Catholic formation, a strange concept of being an "adult" in the Church which has no basis or foundation in scripture or tradition. The Catechism of St. Pius X teaches:
The sacrament of Confirmation makes us perfect Christians by confirming us in the faith and perfecting the other virtues and gifts received in Baptism; hence it is called Confirmation.It is one thing if there is to be a cultural "coming of age" within a community, but such celebrations have no bearing on one's status as a Christian. You never become an "adult" in the Church, it just doesn't happen. Jesus did not say become adults in the Church, he said be as little children (Matthew XVIII:3). This is followed up with an extremely important reconsideration of current practice as regards the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation. But first, it is necessary to note one other aspect of this passage, namely the unity of Baptism and Confirmation with the Eucharist, and the perfection of the former with the latter. The exhortation is basically saying that while Baptism in fact incorporates one into the Church, and gives one the graces of salvation it only finds it's full and complete meaning in the Eucharist. St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa taught:
It [the effect of the sacrament] is considered on the part of what is represented by this sacrament, which is Christ's Passion, as stated above (74, 1; 76] , 2, ad 1). And therefore this sacrament works in man the effect which Christ's Passion wrought in the world. (III, Q.LXXIX, A.1)The effect of the Passion in the world is reconciliation, that represented in Baptism which heals us from our pathetic and fallen state and restores us to life. Baptism then, only can find meaning in the context of that saving sacrifice from which it flows, the sacrifice of the Cross, made represent for us in an unbloody manner in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Another positive element is that Pope Benedict did not use the words "Eucharistic Liturgy" as John Paul always did, neither did he merely say the liturgy, or the meal, or the service, but the "Eucharistic Sacrifice", which is so important for orientating us back toward that which the liturgical reformers wanted to deny, that all important sacrifice.
In this regard, it is necessary to turn the argument's attention to the order of the sacraments of initiation. There are various traditions within the Church. There is on the one hand a clear diversity manifested in the Eastern Churches through the ecclesial customs of the Eastern world and the practice of the West regarding the initiation of adults and, on the other hand, the procedure adopted for children. Nevertheless by no means do these variations properly and truly pertain to the dogmatic order, but are pastoral in nature. It is needful to be explored which practice is able to efficaciously assist the faithful that the sacrament of the Eucharist might occupy the centre, as the goal of the whole process of initiation. In close collaboration with the competent offices of the Roman Curia, Bishops' Conferences should examine the effectiveness of current approaches to Christian initiation, so that the faithful can be helped both to mature through the formation received in our communities and to give their lives an authentically eucharistic direction, so that they can offer a reason for the hope within them in a way suited to our times (cf. 1 Pet 3:15). (SC no. 18)What is important here is that the document is saying the current practices in use are not helping achieve what was talked about in the previous paragraph. The unfortunate thing is that no clear idea was worked out at the Synod itself to be presented in the document, and instead it is now asserted that the source of the problem must undo its damage and adopt a new praxis. There is a lot of money invested in the current system of non-formation and confirmation. There are a lot of invested interests which want to keep the system as it is. To put it in perspective, the current system by which children are confirmed in their teenage years is entirely novel in Church history. In the beginning, the sacrament was given at birth, however, two different traditions evolved East and West. In the West, it was found desirable to maintain the symbol of the Bishop as the font of the liturgy in his diocese, so that he personally confirmed all of his subjects. Originally only the Bishop celebrated the liturgy, but as provinces and flocks got too big, it became necessary to farm certain tasks out to priests. In the East however, the emphasis of the sacramental power was on the sacred Chrism, not so much on the physical action of the Bishop. Thus if the Bishop consecrated the Chrism, the priest could use it for confirmation with the Bishop's approval, and in that way the tradition of priests celebrating confirmation at birth was confirmed and set in stone, a process which is called "Chrismation". Since this was impossible in the west, since the Bishop could not confirm every child born and neither could baptism be put off until the reception of the sacraments together, they were separated. Thus it became the custom in the West to celebrate confirmation prior to reception of Holy Communion.
Something very strange happened in the 20th century, by which children were confirmed later, and after Pope St. Pius X's lowering of the age of reason when one could receive communion to the age of 7, confirmation was retained at a later date in spite of the fact that the same Pope in his catechism said confirmation should be given at age 7. At that point the Eucharist was placed before the reception of confirmation. It seems clear that the Exhortation is teaching that this obscures the meaning of Confirmation and its union with the Eucharistic sacrifice, since the separation of so many years, in some cases as much as 10 years, makes Confirmation appear as an extra thing, and increases the disconnect mentioned. Therefore it is a good thing to advocate this change, the only lamentable thing is that there is not a clearer direction.
If I might interject my own thought for a moment, I think that confirmation at infancy as it is done in the Eastern Church is a great thing. If confirmation perfects what we receive in Baptism, and makes us soldiers of Christ, why in the world would we not want that as soon as possible? Why, especially in our culture where children are under assault from perverted and immature adults from every angle, would we not want our children to have this grace? At the very least it should be no later than 7.
By no means is it doubtful that the ordained minister "also acts in the name of the whole Church, when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and most excellently when offering the eucharistic sacrifice." It is necessary in this matter that priests should be conscious of the fact that they must never in their ministry put themselves or their personal opinions in first place, but Jesus Christ. It contradicts their priestly identity wheresoever the priest attempts to place himself as the primary author of the liturgical action. The priest is above all a servant of others, and he must continually work at being a sign pointing to Christ, a docile instrument in the Lord's hands. This is expressed particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical action, in obedience to the rite, by which his heart and mind respond, and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality. We shall require the clergy therefore, always to see their eucharistic ministry as a humble service offered to Christ and his Church. The priesthood, as Saint Augustine said, is amoris officium, (74) it is the office of the good shepherd, who offers his life for his sheep (cf. Jn 10:14-15). (SC no. 23)This is perhaps the most important part of the document. Here the Pope is suggesting something completely at odds with the Bugnini doctrine which has been in operation since Vatican II. He is suggesting that the priest is a servant of the rite, not its creator. This is something so offensive to modern liturgiology, that the translators in the Vatican who are generally opposed to Pope Benedict's program originally translated the word actionem as assembly, rather than action. This is earth shatteringly important.
For liberals, the priest leads the assembly always. There can't be private Eucharistic celebrations. This is why concelebration is so promoted as a sign of "communio" or of unity, to eliminate the priest saying Mass by Himself. If the priest has a legitimate sacramental function that is not bound up with the faithful directly, then one might garner horrible ideas, such as that the priest can offer the sacrifice of Mass without people present! Horror of horrors, something happening without the people! It strengthens the traditional understanding of the priest as someone set apart, and weakens the distortion of the "priesthood of the laity" which they are all too happy to bandy about.
On the other hand, if the priest leads an actio, it is an action that he receives and surrenders himself to. Most importantly, this is antithetical to the GIRM, since it leaves so many options up to the priest, he is effectively the author of the liturgical celebration. The only way for the priest to realize that he is not the author of the Liturgy is for him to say the Traditional Latin Mass, which gives him no freedom to make changes, and forces him to surrender Himself just as Jesus surrendered himself on the Cross.
This small portion of the document gives the theological underpinnings for a return to the Traditional Mass, with the concept that the priest does not act as his own person, but surrenders himself in persona Christi.
This fits in so beautifully with the model for the priesthood which Jesus set at the Last Supper when He instituted the priesthood. He, the Lord of Heaven and earth, offers Himself as a servant, doing the work that only servants do, washing the feet of His apostles, of His first Bishops, even though they were sinful men. This is the model and context by which the entire priestly ministry is offered and conducted. Service, sacrifice. The priest of the Novus Ordo, or we should say who is created for it and by it, is akin to Peter saying "anoint not only my feet, but my head also." Let us not only do those things which symbolize my servitude, but let's invigorate the process with some innovations that I have composed.
Sacramentum Caritatis is rejecting that mindset altogether, and saying that the only way for a priest to be faithful, to be true to his priestly identity, is to be a servant to the Liturgy, to die to it, to that sacred celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, where our Blessed Lord Jesus also died in reality.
In Part II, we will examine some other positive elements of the document, while in part II of the negative aspects we will consider some of the things I didn't have time to get to.