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Tradition vs. Traditionalism

September 5, AD2013 94 Comments

The Communion song this last Sunday at the 11:30 a.m. Mass was “The Servant Song”. One might say it’s one of those Gather Hymnal songs that traditionalists point to whenever they compare the richness of the traditional Latin Mass to the relative poverty of the Novus Ordo Mass that’s been with us the last forty-odd years.

Okay, “The Servant Song” as it’s sung now is truly dreadful: with quarter notes stomping the diatonic scale on the beats, it plods along like a man flat-footing it up a sidewalk. However, I have a faint quasi-memory that at one time the melody was much more syncopated … light, sweet and inoffensive, though still too much “all about me/us” to be appropriate for worship.

So I’m a child of the 1970s. The Gather Hymnal is what I grew up with. Occasionally, though, the chorus will sing an older song, like “Lift High the Cross”, and something in me lifts up with it. And Mozart’s Requiem, though not his best work, still beats out anything by Marty Haugan.

De gustibus non est disputandum: there are times when I can really appreciate the traditionalist perspective on liturgy, especially when it comes to my first love, music. The cultural heritage of the Church is one of great aesthetic richness and beauty; when done well, the Tridentine Mass is a glorious concentrate of everything the Latin Church did right for centuries.

The great danger in traditionalism, however, is the tendency to conflate liturgical and devotional traditions with the apostolic tradition. Doctor Taylor Marshall speaks of “the [radical traditionalist] belief that Latin Mass Catholics are ‘A Team’ and Novus Ordo Catholics are ‘B Team’”, but that’s actually a bit mild: the further you move to the right, the more you run across the sentiment that Novus Ordo Catholics, or “neo-Catholics”, aren’t really Catholic at all — we’re crypto-Protestants with an idiosyncratic fondness for the pope.

First, let’s go back briefly to some basic catechesis, so we can make proper distinctions.

The word tradition has different meanings according to the context in which it’s used. For instance, when we speak of oral tradition, we speak of an old method of teaching the faith by rote repetition. You can find an example of it in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, where the pattern of and … and … signals the repetition of things to be memorized: that the Messiah died in accordance with Old Testament prophecy, and that he was buried, and that he rose on the third day, and so forth and so on.

Besides being a rather effective pedagogical tool, this sense of tradition is fairly obviously connected to the sense in which we speak of rituals as traditions: we do and say the same things on a particular occasion every time that occasion arises because it carries meaning and forms a connective bond over the years. As an example: To outsiders, it may appear that teaching American soldiers how to march makes little sense in the age of mechanized transport. However, learning to march not only builds unit cohesion, it also creates set identification by bonding those soldiers to Baron von Steuben and the men at Valley Forge, more remotely to Caesar and his legions, and more broadly to soldiers all over the world.

But there’s another sense to tradition that’s more abstract: “system” would be a close synonym. The apostolic tradition, which refers to the entire body of Church doctrine, fits this sense. It comprises not only Scripture but also the writings of the Church Fathers, the decrees of the various ecumenical councils and the popes, and so much more. It’s one thing to claim through selective quotation of Scripture that the first Christians believed X; the apostolic tradition, by contrast, gives a teaching its provenance, our chain of evidence that the Church has believed X since the beginning. The apostolic tradition, of course, is the Church’s main concern, because that’s what carries Catholic belief through time and insures our continuity with Jesus and the apostles.

Perhaps now you begin to see what I mean by “conflating liturgical and devotional traditions with the apostolic tradition”.

Let’s give the traditionalists some justice: Nothing in the documents of Vatican II mandated Mass in the vernacular, or that the priest should face the people, or that piano and organ should give way to guitars, tambourines and harmonicas (yes, harmonicas … one accompanied “The Servant Song” last Sunday), or that the old-style confessional booth should be replaced by cozy little nooks where penitent and confessor can natter face-to-face. While many people reacted positively to these changes, the facts remain that the changes were mostly imposed upon the people by their liturgists, pastors and bishops without consultation or preparation, and that those who wanted no part of the flower-child madness which often accompanied the changes were pushed to the margins of the Church.

With full justice and not a little irony, then, we could say the “spirit of Vatican II” reformers themselves gave birth to the traditionalist movement. At the same time, though, the marginalization endowed a segment of that movement with the kind of rancor and siege mentality that armchair psychiatrists find irresistible. While many people rightly blame the ham-handed implementation of excessive changes, some go as far as to blame the bishops of Vatican II, even to the extent of rejecting it as an authentic ecumenical council. At their worst, radical traditionalists become a magisterium unto themselves, stopping just shy of full sedevacantism.

It’s no part of my argument to say some mindless ersatz truism like “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.” Rather, I spent time discussing the different aspects of tradition to make a distinction between that which is part of the apostolic tradition and that which is merely traditional. It is the unity of our beliefs which defines us as members of the universal Church, not the language or the liturgy:

 As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points [of doctrine] just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 1:10:2).

Elements of the Mass, especially the words of the Institution, are part of the apostolic tradition. The Mass, considered as a whole, is not, because it is a discipline and not a doctrine. Certainly, if we learned nothing else in the last forty years, it’s to not reject out of hand the ancient on the theory that “newer = better”. But the Tridentine Mass itself was a late reform of St. Pius V, and underwent several modifications prior to 1962. Because the Mass is the servant of the apostolic tradition — to paraphrase Jesus, the Mass was made for man, not man for the Mass — it is open to change whenever change can better instruct and make more devout.

Or, as Sir Thomas More says in A Man for All Seasons, Latin isn’t holy. It’s just old.

Filed in: Faith, History

About the Author:

Born in Albuquerque, N. Mex., and raised in Omaha, Nebr., Anthony S. Layne served briefly in the U.S. Marine Corps, and attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha as a sociology major while holding a variety of jobs. Tony was a "C-and-E Catholic" until, while defending the Faith during the scandals of 2002, he discovered the beauty of Catholic orthodoxy. He currently lives in Denton, Texas, works in the home-mortgage industry in Dallas, participates in his parish's Knights of Columbus council, and bowls poorly on Sunday nights. Along with Catholic Stand, he also contributes to New Evangelization Monthly and occasionally writes for his own blogs, Outside the Asylum and The Impractical Catholic.

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  • Mary Ann

    Thank you for such a clear and honest distinction between the two. Tradition is what gives us our religious identity, it was never meant to be distorted into it’s own religion. There’s room in Catholicism for both beautiful versions of the Mass, each having it’s own appeal, as long as whichever form we choose inspires us to become better, more humble imitators of Jesus. How can we ever hope for unity and peace in the world when we find it so hard to live in harmony with other Catholics who prefer a different form of Mass?

    • johnnyc

      Why did/does there have to be a different form of the Mass? The Church had/has a beautiful and reverent Mass. They played around with it which led to the ‘spirit of Vatican II’. The OP is satisfied with protestant music in a Catholic Mass and seems to begrudge those that are not.

    • Mary Ann

      I’m not a Church scholar, but I believe that the bishops and Pope were all well-intentioned in the changes they proposed to the Mass and various other Catholic practices. Just the fact that some of the very bishops and priests who took part in the Council went on to be elected as Pope themselves (Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI) would lead you to believe that the Holy Spirit inspired much of the Council’s thinking. It’s easy to blame all of the Church’s current failings on Vatican II. What’s harder to imagine is how much good may have been brought about by the changes. That requires faith and trust in God. How many converts do you think would be attracted to the Church today if the Mass were only spoken in Latin?

      Both forms of the Mass are beautiful, there doesn’t have to be comparison or competition between them. Rather, we should be grateful that Jesus wants to unite Himself with us whenever we gather around His table, in whatever language or music we feel most comfortable to offer Him praise.

    • johnnyc

      “It’s easy to blame all of the Church’s current failings on Vatican II.”

      It’s easy because it’s true. Tabernacles off to the side. Auditorium style seating. Guitars & bongos…..the Church needn’t become more protestant to attract protestants. The Truth should suffice. You talk about converts…..50% of ‘catholics’ voted for a staunch pro abortion president.

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      Johnnyc – not one of those things is mandated or even mentioned in the documents of Vatican II.

    • DJR

      But, Father, those things were implemented by the bishops that came back from the council, and we were told such things were mandated. Did the bishops lie to us? It is easy enough for the younger generation to make such statements as yours, but, you see, for those of us who lived through that era, it is a different story. The bishops who mandated “the changes” are the same bishops who comprised the Second Vatican Council. If the council did not mandate such things, why did the bishops implement them? And how in the world would the ordinary rank and file Catholic oppose the bishops? That’s called disobedience. Do you not see that “the changes” were foisted upon the laity from the very top of the Church and that the things you say were not mandated by the council were nevertheless mandated by the bishops that comprised the council? What difference does it make that “the council” did not mandate the changes? The bishops did, and that’s the point. Implied in your response is that the bishops were disobedient to the very council they themselves comprised. If the bishops themselves couldn’t figure out what the council mandated, how could anyone else? The bishops WERE the council. It is disingenuous at best to suggest that the bishops did not know what the council demanded.

    • Anne Ashford-Hall

      I believe weak bishops allowed themselves to be led by liberal theologians and Parish Priests by local Parish Counsels.

    • tradman

      Father do you think that the Russian people thought for a moment that all the evils of Communism would come to pass when they took that first step. All they wanted was a bigger piece of the pie and bit into the lie hook , line and sinker.
      When you hear about fresh air in the church and a church more of the people(laity) it sounds good. It too was a lie. The Pope said the smoke of Satan had entered the Church. Satan is the Prince of Lies and you will know them by their fruit. So with all the cliches I guess I am saying you don’t have to take our word for it. Just look around world wide, the new church and it is a new church, is tainted.

    • Hollie2009ad

      johnnyc it IS NOT TRUE and if you would take time to read about the Saints of old and what was going on in the Church in their time, you would hang your head in shame at your absurd statement. In fact, just read what St. Paul and St. John said in the Bible about what was going on in the early church. +JMJ+

    • Anne Ashford-Hall

      In which document have you read that this should be implemented.

    • Howard

      OP is the kid from the Andy Griffith Show. Yeah, he probably was satisfied with protestant music. What of it?

      But as to “Why did/does there have to be a different form of the Mass?” You might just as well ask why people “have to” look different. AT NO POINT IN HISTORY HAS THE TRIDENTINE MASS EVER BEEN THE ONLY MASS. Pius V did not do away with the Ambrosian Rite, to say nothing of, for instance, the Melkite Liturgy. So the answer appears to be, “It must be this way, because it is the will of God.”

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  • Traditium

    “But the Tridentine Mass itself was a late reform of St. Pius V.”

    That seems to be a carefully constructed sentence, and is fair enough as far as it goes. But the Mass had been largely similar since long, long before Trent and St. Pius V.

    • Traditium

      Mr. Layne and Ms. Trasancos, may my next column be a reply to the ideas in this one?

      – Patrick

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      Of course. Thank you.

    • Traditium

      I am going to write a reply to this as my next column I believe.

      Patrick Pierce

    • cda

      In support of Traditium’s claim
      The traditional Roman rite was nearly universal in the West at least by the 12th century A.D.:
      “By the twelfth century at latest [the Roman rite] was used wherever Latin obtained, having displaced all others except at Milan and in retreating parts of Spain.” (Fortescue, Adrian, “The Roman Rite”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 13, NY: Robert Appleton Company 1912)

      Most of the rites abolished by Pope St. Pius V in 1570 were “derived” from the Roman rite “differing from the pure form only in unimportant details and exhuberant additions.” (ibid.)

      But it acquired its present form at least by the 6th century A.D.:
      “The Roman rite evolved out the (presumed) universal, but quite fluid, rite of the first three centuries during the (liturgically) almost unknown time from the fourth to sixth. In the sixth, we have it fully developed in the Leonine, and later Gelasian, Sacramentaries.” (ibid.)

      Moreover:
      “Since the seventh century, our canon [the fundamental part of the mass that comes after the offertory and before communion] has remained unchanged.” (Fortescue, Adrian, “Canon of the Mass”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3, NY: Robert Appleton Company 1908)

  • Carol McKinley

    This is a decent analysis of the fringe that fled the loony antics in nearly every parish in the United States. Their despair fed doubt and they lost Apostolic authority and continuity.

    But I take issue that you paint the entire LTM Community with the attributes if the fringe.

    This piece also underestimates the absence of Catechesis, the demoralization of Catholics by homosexual priests – and the overall danger to the salvation of souls.

    A great many and in fact most in the TLM are simply people who get physically sick when watching the antics and are seeking refuge in a spectacular Liturgy that is focused on the Diety and not the daffy women who stampeded the Sanctuary and sissified Catholic men.

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      You shouldn’t take issue, because as I wrote it I made clear that I was talking about a segment of the traditionalist movement and not the movement as a whole. Dr. Taylor Marshall, whom I quoted at the beginning of the piece, is a traditionalist himself, as is Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, and I’ve read where both of them have taken that segment to task for speaking of Novus Ordo Catholics as if we/they were ersatz Catholics. That segment is not representative of traditionalists as a whole, but they have a very deleterious effect on the traditionalist community. It’s certainly not a good tactic for persuading anyone.

    • Carol McKinley

      Anthony, the impression I walk away with is that you have defecated politely upon TLM community. While I admire your intellect and manners, you have fallen into the trap of using the word ‘tradition’ to undermine it. Your last line conveys the impression that you perceive TLM community as clinging to vernacular.
      It is such an understatement that I cannot see the good will in it, I am sorry to say it.
      The people who have fled to TLM are Catholics who want their religion taught to them in a homily – relating Scripture to the daily personal challenge with temptation or evangelization of the government’s (Gog) attempts to demoralize the culture (Magog).
      They are people who go to Church to enter the Mystical prayers of the Canon and touch with intimacy the Divinity of Christ in the properties of the Eucharist.
      The underestimation of your caricature of TLM community – perhaps unintentional, by omission or misunderstanding – has left me wanting. Frankly, your caricature of TLM Mass as an unholy alliance with vernacular has me blowing steam out of my ears.

  • Howard

    The worst enemies of the EF are the belligerent traditionalists. (Not all traditionalists are belligerent, but the ones who make noise on blogs almost always are.) I’m a convert from Protestantism, so I actually know something about what Protestantism looks like, and it’s nothing like the OF. That’s regardless of whether the OF is celebrated in a reverent manner or not. Frankly, however nice the EF Mass might be, if it means spending time next to total jerks, I’d rather find a decent OF Mass — or if that’s not available, make a long drive to the nearest Eastern Rite Divine Liturgy.

    • ColdStanding

      The worst? I doubt that. No, the worst enemy is the one that has always been the worst, the very father of lies. Leaving him aside, as if we could, there have been far more strident opponents with out of and, recently more so, within the Church than those that, in your charitable judgement, are EF “jerks”.

    • Howard

      If you mean in terms of malevolence, you are right about the father of lies, and if you mean in terms of stridency, you win by default, since the people we are talking about undermine the EF by supporting it.

      You surely must realize that the strongest argument against Christianity is the behavior of some Christians, and the strongest argument against the ministerial priesthood is the behavior of certain priests. These can be accounted for, yet the argument cannot simply be dismissed as ad hominem attacks, because “by their fruits you shall know them.” In precisely the same way, when the traditionalist presence online so often consists of BOASTING and SLANDERING, it’s tempting to assume that the glories of Gregorian chant have not actually made them more holy (which is true — aesthetics does NOT make one holy), and that they are on a too-familiar basis with the previously mentioned father of lies.

      Is that — at least the second part — an overreaction that is not justified? Yes, it is: just like the unjustified generalizations about the Ordinary Form so often trotted out by traditionalists.

    • ColdStanding

      I once read about a man that traveled to Russia to visit the churches there. Each church had a bossy old woman that kept discipline in the place. Nobody like these dragon ladies, but they were kept around and even secretly honored because everybody knew that the culture and practice of religion was largely saved by them through the Communist era.

      Like or lump the worst of the adherents to the mass of the ages, and you have seen probably worse than I, I owe them a debt of gratitude for their stridency for by them I am allowed to participate in the birthright of every Catholic. Deo Gratis.

    • Howard

      Fair enough — as long as the “bossy old woman” is not the ONLY experience a visitor comes away with. Don’t let the traditionalists who are cranky, if not indeed cranks, be the public face of traditionalism!!! That means getting in the public eye to promote the EF in a way that neither is, nor looks like, prideful boasting or bitter slander.

    • ColdStanding

      Given time, some air and many prayers, it will right itself. The Church has spoken, it is now a time of the dual rites. The mass of ages is a precious treasure and must MUST be allowed to flourish or die by the Holy Spirit.

      Perhaps it might be useful to keep in mind that VII – for pastoral reasons – permitted a lessening of discipline Catholics by Canon Law must follow. So, while one is no longer obliged to accept a more demanding discipline, there certainly is not restriction on Catholics voluntarily undertaking a regime of great, perhaps even more strident, self-mortification.

    • Howard

      So are you now saying that “the Mass of the Ages” is a mortification? Or are you saying that it is a consolation? You appear to be saying both simultaneously.

    • ColdStanding

      Hadn’t thought about it that way, but that is in line with my understanding of pray, being as it is a giving of our most precious commodity time, over to the worship of God. Granting as I do that this is not an exclusive “benefit” of the Mass of Ages.

    • Lizziebee

      As a convert too, I say that the NO Mass can be so similar to a Protestant service as to be nearly indistinguishable. Now why is that? And why is the NO Mass so different from parish to parish? Because the Mass often takes on the flavor of the individual(s) saying it/participating in it, versus being about the Lord Jesus Christ. It becomes about the celebrant and his ‘audience.’
      This ongoing attack against ‘traditionalists’ really seems to be an attack on the TLM. Why are you so worried about crabby ‘traditionalists’? Keep your NO Mass, but don’t prevent others from experiencing the TLM. Isn’t the Catholic Church big enough to have so-called traditionalists and NO Catholics coexist? The constant calumny displayed toward those who love the TLM is bordering on persecution.

  • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

    This is a fair critique of a lot of the excesses of traditionalists, but I think it ultimately falls short. Probably won’t do much to actually reach out to those individuals to help correct them of their errors either.

    When you say “It is the unity of our beliefs which defines us as members of the universal Church, not the language or the liturgy”, that seems like the familiar call that traditionalists need to remember that it is x that matters, not the liturgy. When one reads Sacrosanctum Concillium, one finds an attitude far different:

    “”Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows.””

    Certain changes can reinforce or weaken this belief. For far too long, much of what has passed for the liturgy, even one “Reverently” done, didn’t do much to follow this mindset. Even today, you go into your average AmChurch parish, and you’d be mistaken for thinking that liturgy is just another thing the Church does, rather than it being the summit of all things Christians do.

    And few if any traditionalists doubt that the liturgy can be changed when circumstances demand it. The debate worth having (and when we are on our strongest footing) is when we are allowed to debate IF those changes have served us better.

    I don’t think you give traditionalists, “radical” (ignoring such an insulting ambiguous phrase that almost always ends up defining “normal” traditionalists as well) or otherwise the attention and respect they deserve.

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      On the contrary, it’s precisely because I use “traditionalists” by itself in other places that “radical” — a loaded word, I grant you — makes a distinction. In fact, throughout the post I’ve deliberately used language to speak of a segment of the traditionalist movement rather than of traditionalists as a whole.

      I’m very picky about semantics: I call a spade a spade because it isn’t a shovel … or a club. So you say, it SEEMS like I’m saying that the apostolic tradition matters but the liturgy doesn’t — but that’s not what I DID say. It matters very much, which is exactly why we keep tweaking it.

    • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

      The problem with “radical” is that its pretty loose by definition. It’s kinda like obscenity in the Courts eyes: they know it when they see it, and apparently, people know a “radical traditionalist” when they see it. Except they don’t. Due to the inherently loaded nature of the word, and because people can’t seem to define it without smearing otherwise good traditionalists, thats why apologists like Dave Armstrong stopped saying the word, and even Karl Keating admits using it is a mistake, albeit he has no clue what to replace it with.
      My response was a bit dismissive only because your straw man (in addition to words such as “radical traditionalist) are dismissive and go after a straw man. I don’t know any traditionalist who says its the language of the liturgy that defines who we are as Catholics, especially because many of us are friendly with the Eastern Rites, who are a heck of a lot closer to us.
      We most certainly do agree that it is our beliefs that define us. We just say that the apostolic tradition is so closely united to that, a lot of the changes have really damaged that link, and its no surprise to see the faith as weak and mediocre as it is today. (Or if you prefer something more scholarly, Dr. RalphMartin speaks of the “institutional collapse” of Catholicism in America)
      So by all means criticize traditionalists, even the “radical” ones. Yet criticize us on things that we actually believe, and are actually relevant. Why i suggest you strip away the “radical” moniker. helps dialogue actually occur, so we don’t make such ill informed statements.

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      I agree that “radical” is a pretty loose word. If you have a better, more technically precise one to describe that subset, I’ll be more than happy to use it.

      The argument was never about traditionalism or all traditionalists, but rather against that subset that uses the Latin Mass as a combination litmus test/”No true Scotsman” argument to belittle those who attend or even (gasp!) prefer the Ordinary Form. In this respect, the straw man you attribute to me is one of your own creation. You wouldn’t have done it, I suspect, if I’d been able to use some other term to describe that subset; on the other hand, the paragraph in which I quote Dr. Marshall, and which was featured in the picture, should have signaled the limits of my concern.

    • http://commonsensecatholicism.blogspot.com/ Kevin Tierney

      Maybe, maybe not.
      As far as a term to use instead of “radical”, here’s one. WRONG.
      Seriously, why can’t we just say that someone is wrong, without developing a label to stigmatize them? it doesn’t help differentiate between the two. Trust me, it doesn’t in the real world. Especially since most of these individauls, even though wrong and flawed, are still our brothers in the Church. We should be seeking their conversion through reason, or at the very least, refuting their arguments and warning people away from the ideas, not the person.
      We loyal traditionalists have battled the SSPX and others for a long time. We do it without using the phrase “radtrad” or “radical traditionalist”, yet we can still disagree sternly and present Church teaching.
      I find it even more descpiable when a cleric does it. We should want these people to repent of their errors and get to the confessional. Think you are likely to go the confessional of someone who thinks you are some radical extremist?
      Personally, a lot of the problems you describe exist in various other communities. Remember, during the 1980’s, the Church officially viewed the valid aspirations of her faithful as a “problem” of “resistance.” These terms are just far too nuclear, better to dispense with them altogether. It’s not efficient, but then again, true and authentic dialogue leading to conversion never is.

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      “Seriously, why can’t we just say that someone is wrong, without developing a label to stigmatize them?”

      As a Catholic, you already know the answer to that question: because we’re fallen, prone to sins large and small. There’s no tool we’ve developed for good purposes that we can’t twist to evil uses. A spade can plant a garden, and it can hide a body. We use names to make distinctions between beings, which is a valid and good purpose; but being who we are, we spoil those efforts by filling the words with pejorative content.

      I actually have a lot of hope for the traditions, as I see them coming back little by little — pieces of our heritage being taken out of the trunk in the attic, dusted up and brought down to play parts in our daily lives. In the meantime, I make this plea for charity towards those who have no experience with or desire for the Tridentine Mass, as they too are our brothers and sisters. Pax tecum.

    • Carol McKinley

      You use the word ‘radical’ in the context of our religion as if that is a bad thing.
      Let us not make a dirty word out of ‘radical’. Our religion will always be seen by the unCatechized and the enemies of Christ as radical. The love and sacrifice involved in the execution of our faith is radical.
      Sedevacanists are heretics. Let us just use the right word and the right context for what we are talking about and stop trying to radicalize an entire group of faithful Catholics.

    • Carol McKinley

      I don’t know where the word ‘traditionalist’ came from and it is possible that mot of us just simply reject it. Catholics who attend TLM through the authority of motu proprio are just, plain and simple, Catholics who know the value of intercessory prayers while sitting in the pews as our priest offers himself persona Christi right there in front of them.
      They know what to do and say as he is doing it.
      They are not in any way, shape or form, fringe Catholics who need any other descript attribute to passively-aggressively imply they are clinging to vernacular.
      I am so done with this it isn’t even funny.
      This whole hoopla is about the Catholic media who are, through omission and commission with the Bishop’s talking points, sometimes involving covering up of corruption, and they cannot admit the ethical problems inherent in that avocation and the people who must rise to overcome it.
      Any effort to undermine what is happening through advancing the rubbish published through Catholic Answers and Patheos crowd is duly noted.

  • Loiuse

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

  • james

    And Mozart’s Requiem, though not his best work, still beats out anything by Marty Haugan.

    What a pofane slight. Marty Haugan dedicated his music to God. His liturgical hymns
    were well received by both our parish and choir.

    • Phil Steinacker

      Slight or not – and any uncomfortable criticism can be explained away as a “slight” – Marty Haugen knows nothing about authentic sacred music.

    • Carol McKinley

      I have never, in my 56 years of being Catholic heard a teaching of the Church in a place where Marty Haugan’s hymns are being played in the sanctuary. Never.

    • james

      Well, you can’t be everywhere at once.

    • Carol McKinley

      You are trying to persuade Catholics that your parish is teaching the precepts of the Catholic religion while articulating gross misunderstanding and heresies forecloses your assertions.

  • anabel

    Dear Anthony,

    Your article focuses on the liturgy without really focusing on the liturgy.

    I have an interesting perspective as I am a former Novus Ordo Catholic
    who made the journey back to Traditional Catholicism a few years ago. One of
    the things I did on my journey was to compare line-by-line the two liturgies,
    and what I found was quite astonishing. It turned out that the Traditionalists
    were correct. The Novus Ordo mass was completely protestanized and not just the
    music, vestments, priest facing backwards etc. Its very theology was
    compromised.

    Take for example the Confiteor. In the Latin mass, the Confiteor is said
    three times. The first time is by the priest himself, because as priest he is different than we the lay people. He is not a presider or a celebrant equal to his lay congregation, rather he is in persona Christi, a man with Holy Orders who acts in place of Christ to forgive our sins, to bring us the Eucharist, and to lead us to heaven. The second Confiteor is said by the altar servers on behalf of the congregation, and the third Confiteor is said again by the altar servers right before reception of Holy Communion so we can all be assured to be as pure as possible before we receive Our Lord.

    Now take the actual words of the Confiteor. In the Novus Ordo mass, you say, “I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters…” First question should be: why are we confessing to our brothers and sisters? In the Latin mass, the Confiteor goes like this, “I confess to Almighty God and to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to Blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles
    Peter and Paul, to all the holy saints and to YOU FATHER….” So, why in the Novus Ordo did they remove any reference to our Lady, or the angels and saints? Because protestants do not believe in our Lady or the angels and saints or even for the need to seek forgiveness, and they (the protestants) found this prayer very offensive. You don’t believe it? You can ask the six protestant elders that attended Vatican II giving their advice on the new mass.

    If you would go through every line of both masses and analyze what’s been removed there you will find proof of the protestantization of not only the novus ordo mass, but the entire novus ordo church. Likewise, the sacraments have been stripped to conform to protestantism. We recently had a “supplemental” baptism for our grown children who were baptized in the novus ordo. Once I realized what was stripped from the sacrament (the exorcism prayers) in the Novus Ordo Church, I wanted my children to have them, and joyfully they agreed. So, Anthony, why did the novus ordo church strip the exorcism prayers from the sacrament of baptism? For change? Take some time to compare the mass and the other sacraments, especially extreme unction, and I think you will find that the problem is much graver than the infiltration of awful protestant liturgical music and grotesque felt banners.

    As a Traditional Catholic, the faith I now practice is completely different than yours (assuming you are Novus Ordo). The mass, the sacraments, and thankfully the catechesis looks NOTHING like yours. Not even our calendars match.
    This is about much more than a stubborn group of people who cannot accept “change.”

    Thank you for your time.

    • james

      And this inabilty to change is what will reduce your numbers to maybe four digits over the long haul. It’s all about becoming One – Jesus’ last wish.

    • ColdStanding

      What needed to be changed? It is a serious question. Assuming the hierarchy did have the authority to change – not just modify, but change – the rites and liturgy of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, on what grounds was there a need for the change? What was wrong that needed changing? And if there was something wrong, and a change was made to correct the situation, was the change as it was implemented a success? Is the situation better or worse?

      The devotions and liturgy of the tradition of the Catholic Tradition have proven to be very successful at fostering deeply devoted priests and parishioners. Where is the proof that VII Catholics are matching this record? There where four people at mass last night other than me and my family at the NO parish we attend.

    • james

      Climate is changing – on what grounds ? Conditions have changed. Why ? Because humanity has made leaps both
      in science and culture. Is it really too bad we lost the medieval practice of 4 hour masses, much of it on ones knees ? What needed changing was the static rituals that defined a declining age. We gather as Christians who go out to bear good fruit. The gospel teaches us how.
      Our liturgy (by inspired priests or ones who struggle) is a means to that end. Most Vll Catholics are in the wings. Why ? Rome let us all down with its funky disciplines and see attached penalties. What you are seeing is possibly
      the end of religion as per observation by the Dali Llama. Why ? Well, just look at this Catholic blog. This is happening in most all older major faiths. People today reason very well. If the four major religions can’t get it together then what do you expect from us ? Chanting in Latin and beating the breast is giving way to soup kitchens, washing strangers feet and acceptance to all who love God (or not) no matter what religion or lack thereof. Thank God for Francis. He knows this very well.

    • ColdStanding

      This is the only time in the history of the Church when people identifying themselves as Catholics didn’t simultaneously do liturgy AND soup kitchens.

      You can not be – note: can not – transformed by the Holy Spirit in to the image of Christ, so a to become a living image of Christ without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Spiritual communion with Christ, while good in and of itself, is not a replacement for sacramental communion with Christ. The Mass of Ages is at the same time prayer and a meditation upon Christ’s sacrifice. His death upon the cross makes us Christians. You need to understand that sacrifice with every fiber of your being. It is the Mass that does this, among other things.

      I’m sure you could do good work with your arms and legs cut off, but any rational person would prefer to have them.

    • james

      So, if a bunch of Catholcs were to move to the great north woods among pagans the Holy Spirit would stop working
      within us because there wasn’t a priest to say Mass ?

    • ColdStanding

      There are no pagans up here, friend. All the tribes are Catholics.

      You don’t live in a world that doesn’t know about or have access to the mass, so I’ll take a pass on guessing what it would be like without the mass.

    • james

      So I’m forbidden to move into the desert to become a conteplative because I don’t have acces to the mass ?
      I think you are very wrong about the Spirit because it
      works in the lfe of atheists and Buddhists and Jews
      and protestants too.

    • ColdStanding

      Assuming you are a Catholic, you are obliged to make your confession and receive communion at least once a year. This duty really falls upon all men, but such is the fallen world. Further, you would likely be following your own will and not God’s if you just up and moved to the desert to live what you took to be the life of the spirit. The Catholic Church is greatly blessed with a rich body of teaching upon this matter.

      The Church also teaches that there is a difference between communicating with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in prayer and His giving of Himself body and blood soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine in the Holy sacrifice of the mass. To think you could achieve the city of God without these means is to tempt God and doubt His plan for your salvation.

      The Holy Spirit does desire to work in the lives of all men, what ever their accidentally acquired creed, but they are in grave danger of eternal damnation unless they are baptized into the mystical body of Christ, which is His Church, because they are still in bondage to sin.

    • james

      Now I know.

    • ColdStanding

      I have hurt your feelings. I am sorry. Please forgive me.

    • Carol McKinley

      James,
      It is painful to read the fruit of those who have misled you in catechesis. I can smell the stink of the Jesuits from a suburbs of Massachusetts. I am familiar with the smell.
      I offer you this suggestion in charity and love. Please just start saying the Rosary every day and ask the Blessed Mother, in surrender and sincerity, to lead you to the truth.
      You have my prayers.

    • james

      ok Carol, I’ll give it a try.

    • Carol McKinley

      It only takes ten or twelve minutes to complete five decades of each mystery -which really is a contemplative prayer that follows the Life of Christ. Each decade focuses on an attribute of the Holy Spirit which can be attained through it. Sincerely said, it is a powerful tool to separate the wheat from the chaff and guide us to good judgment.
      We are in Crete here in the United States and the diabolical disorientation is profound enough to take one’s breath away. It has wrapped its tail around your feet. Send it back to hell where it belongs and find yourself a new parish where a priest is authentically teaching the faith and healing souls with the Sacraments. They are rising from the blood of martyrs all over the world. This is the springtime John Paul II always spoke about. It doesn’t exactly play out like one would expect. Rather, it is what is described in the Book of Revelation. Watch yourself and God bless you and yours.

    • susan

      And btw James…the Holy Spirit is a HE, not an “it”…I think you’ve been hangin’ around with too many atheists and bubbhists.

    • susan

      Ha! I meant buddhists (but I kinda like bubbhists :)

    • p

      James, your words and tone convey a rather triumphalistic tone far greater than the worst traditionalist Catholic could ever muster.
      You honestly haven’t a clue. Perhaps if Pope Benedict hadn’t restored the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) in 2007 your prediction (fervent wish) of its growing decline might have some merit. However, you really should catch up with reality by reading sources you might ordinarily dismiss.
      When Pope Benedict issued his motu proprio in 2007 there were only 31 regularly scheduled Sunday TLMs in the entire U.S. Today that number exceeds 400. I don’t know where you got your education, but in Catholic school we learned that the relationship between these two numbers heralds great success!
      Quite apart from some of our more angry brethren among traditionalists (most of whom are seniors), the overwhelming majority of practicing traditionalists (defined as those fully committed to the theologically correct and orthodox Mass of the Ages with formed 99% of all the Saints) are young people. The largest and fast growing demographic committed to weekly assisting at the TLM is comprised of teens, 20s, and 30s – the latter two including married couples with families.
      Sorry, but you are just plain wrong – and your contempt for your fellow Catholics fairly “drips” from your words.
      Like it or not, “becoming one” is NOT going to occur centered around the decline and disappearance of the TLM. It is BACK, and I predict that over time those angry trads who alienate combined with the arrogant neo-conservative orthodox with contempt for the TLM will both give way to those who have tasted the sense of sanctity, reverence, majesty, awe, mystery, and transcendence which overflows from the TLM. Once experienced (it takes more than a couple visits to grow past initial discomfort) those whose hearts are open can’t help but acknowledge that those spiritual elements are lacking in the Novus Ordo.

    • johnnyc
    • james

      And if your numbers are such that you replace yourselves then
      you might end up with a million members – Jehovah Witnesses
      are that world-wide I’m told. And a hundred years from now I
      believe they won’t be around. But the TLM will – it will be an
      eccentric minority of Believers whose souls will be saved in the
      end – just like the NO’s
      It’s not contempt, it’s anger at your self righteous view of what is holy, good and true. You hide behind antiquity to justify a
      fear of change – like there is something new under the sun.

    • sean

      “So, why in the Novus Ordo did they remove any reference to our Lady, or the angels and saints? Because protestants do not believe in our Lady or the angels and saints or even for the need to seek forgiveness, and they (the protestants) found this prayer very offensive.”

      In the protestant churches I grew up in, they very much believe in the need to seek forgiveness for sins.

      Setting that aside, theologically, is there a purpose to confessing sins to Mary, angels, and the saints? I understand asking for their intercession on our behalf, but that’s still preserved in the Novus Ordo mass: “I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

      From my perspective, the Novus Ordo mass looks very different from the protestant services I grew up with, so I’m curious to know the protestantization that has occurred (or why the original was more in line with Catholic teaching).

    • anabel

      Hello Sean,
      there are upwards of 40,000 protestant sects, so you are right, it is possible that the new Catholic mass didn’t look like your particular worship. However, if you compare it to the anglicans, episcopalians, and even some lutherans you will see very little difference save that Catholics (most) believe in the real presence and for the protestants its symbolic.
      Regarding forgiveness, when Luther (father of protestors) threw out the sacrament of penance in his new religion, he proclaimed (I believe in a letter to Melanchaton) to “sin and sin boldly.” Luther’s new found theology held that as long as you had faith in Christ, nothing mattered, not even your sin, therefore go and sin boldly, just love Christ more. Since then, perhaps some protestants have come back around to understanding the need for forgiveness. However, they still have no means to be forgiven without the sacrament of penance from a priest with Holy Orders. “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
      thank you for your feedback.

    • Hollie2009ad

      Haven’t you read what St. James told us to do: Confess your sins one to another and you will be healed. Look it up, it is in the Bible. +JMJ+

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      Dear anabel —

      “Your article focuses on the liturgy without really focusing on the liturgy.” No, my article focuses on the necessary distinction between the apostolic tradition and other kinds of Catholic tradition. And you’re right that traditionalism is “about much more than a stubborn group of people who cannot accept ‘change'”; if you believe I implied that, I’m sorry, for that wasn’t my intention.

      You could talk all day about how the liturgy was “protestantized” and get little but agreement from me. My objection isn’t there. My objection is when SOME, I repeat, SOME traditionalists conclude from the inferiority of the Novus Ordo Mass that those who attend it, accept it, or — quod Deus avertat! — actually prefer it are nigh unto Protestants themselves. It’s neither true nor charitable nor necessary to the traditionalist argument.

    • anabel

      Ah, I see what you are saying. And you are right, not some, but I would argue many (most hard core?) Trads do not view the Novus Ordo Chruch as Catholic. And can I be honest? I’m struggling with it. Having practiced both, I now see that they are essentially two completely different forms of worship resulting in two completely different faiths. So much so that I told my kids that if they marry Novus Ordo, they should consider it an inter-religious marriage. Now maybe that’ll make you crazy….but in the diocese where I live, the Novus Ordo still has mimes dancing the gospel on the altar, and that’s the least of the offenses…it is for all intents and purposes no longer Catholic.
      Anyway, I digress…
      Maybe, Anthony, think of it this way: on one hand you are saying that the Novus Ordo mass has indeed been protestantized, “little but agreement from me.” Yet on the other hand you don’t want the Trads saying we should reject it. Aren’t Catholics obligated to reject anything that has been protestantized? Protestantism is a heresy, an error, a man made ”church”….how can any Catholic accept anything from that movement and remain Catholic? This I think is what the Trads are arguing. And you know what? Since I joined them I have a new found love and appreciation for them. They are not open. They are not friendly. They are suspicious and untrusting. But you know what? They’ve been on the front lines for the last 50 years fighting a fight I didn’t even know was going on……without them, I don’t know what would be left of ANY Tradition. Thank you for your feedback!

  • ColdStanding

    “Or, as Sir Thomas More says in A Man for All Seasons, Latin isn’t holy. It’s just old.”

    But the real STM never said that. The play’s author did. Is the author of the play declared a saint or a doctor of the Church that we should give weight to his opinion? No. Not. Next.

    As to modification, if a group of people has carefully constructed a building, oh, I don’t know, let’s use a church as an example, and the succeeding generation a removes the bell tower and builds a better one, that’s modification. If the succeeding generation brings in a wrecking ball to knock down and put on the rubbish heap the church previous generations painstakingly built up and replaces it with a barn. How can that be called, with any honesty, “modification”? It is something. That something, whatever it is, is not modification.

    The “Spirit of Vatican II” did not give birth to traditionalists. The Holy Roman Apostolic Catholic Church did. You are ill-advised to start talking about the “at worsts” of this boogie-man you seek to demean.

    Apostolic authority maintains and runs the bridge, which is the liturgy. Devotional tradition is the act of the faithful crossing, to and fro, the bridge/liturgy. Those that
    are entrusted with the authority over the bridge/liturgy may modify it, but they have no authority to wreck it. They did not make the bridge. The Holy Undivided Trinity did. IF the hierarchy of the Church had the authority to build a new bridge, and this really is the point in question, then it stands to reason that the new bridge should be a marked improvement.

    Therefore, build your case that the new mass is a marked improvement. Valid, it maybe, but an improvement?

  • cda

    Re: Novus Ordo
    “If anyone shall say that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church accustomed to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be disdained or omitted by the minister without sin and at pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones: let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session VII, On the Sacraments in General, Canon 13, Denzinger 856)
    The Novus Ordo, in fact as well in name, is a new rite, which, further, must be the case if, as confirmed in Summorum Pontificum, the traditional Roman rite was never abrogated, despite any claims to the contrary.
    The Novus Ordo might be an approved rite, but it certainly is not a received rite, and most certainly is not a rite accustomed to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments.

    The Pope is a pastor of the churches, for which the above canon makes no exception.
    The traditional Roman rite, which is the received and approved rite for the vast majority of ministers in the West, is omitted by the majority of that majority of ministers, and is even disdained by many, minister and layman.
    If just saying a thing is anathema, then what about doing that same thing?

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      I’m sorry — did you just deny any distinction between the Vicar of Christ, to whom was given the power to bind and loose, and Fr. Joe Schmuckatelli at Our Lady of Angels? Did you just deny that “to [the Supreme Pontiff] was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the
      full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church” (Council of Florence 6)? I hope not, because those would be Protestant positions.

      You’re committing a fallacy of equivocation; the canon in question was aimed at priest celebrants who change the liturgy of the Mass to suit their own views; it was never intended to prevent the Pope or any ecumenical council from making such changes as they felt were necessary.

    • cda

      There is no such denial either in the canon or in my comment. The canon simply does not make the distinction you assert.

      The Latin is quite clear “… aut in novos per quemcumque ecclesiarum pastorem mutari potest [or can be changed into new ones by whatever pastor of the churches] …” The word in question is “quemcumque”, more literally “whomsoever”. This word excludes exceptions.

      Moreover, a “pastor of churches” is a bishop, not a mere priest.

    • cda

      CORRECTION re: “pastor”
      “This term denotes a priest who has cure [sic] of souls (cura animarum) …” (Papi, Hector, “Pastor” in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11, Robert Appleton Company 1911)

      “Those specially having the cure [sic] of souls are the pope for the entire Church, bishops in their dioceses, and parish priests in their respective parishes.” (Fanning, William, “Cure of Souls” in The Catholic Encyclopaedia, vol. 4, Robert Appleton Company 1908)

    • Hollie2009ad

      Why don’t you check into the history of the Church and find out just when your so-called ‘traditional’ Mass come into being and when did the Latin Mass become universal; the answer will be very surprising. I was raised in the Latin Mass and what a great joy when the Charismatic Mass came into being once again. As for myself, I go to Mass to be with Jesus and I try to ignore the music that is being given to us, especially during Holy Communion, when we should be only having Jesus on our mind. +JMJ+

    • ColdStanding

      Why don’t you provide us a list of those books you found helpful in leading you to your current understanding of the mass, it’s history and the place of the mass in the life of the Church?

    • cda

      At least by the 12th century A.D.:
      “By the twelfth century at latest [the Roman rite] was used wherever Latin obtained, having displaced all others except at Milan and in retreating parts of Spain.” (Fortescue, Adrian, “The Roman Rite”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 13, NY: Robert Appleton Company 1912)
      Most of the rites abolished by Pope St. Pius V in 1570 were “derived” from the Roman rite “differing from the pure form only in unimportant details and exhuberant additions.” (ibid.)

      But it acquired its present form at least by the 6th century A.D.:
      “The Roman rite evolved out the (presumed) universal, but quite fluid, rite of the first three centuries during the (liturgically) almost unknown time from the fourth to sixth. In the sixth, we have it fully developed in the Leonine, and later Gelasian, Sacramentaries.” (ibid.)

      Moreover:
      “Since the seventh century, our canon [the fundamental part of the mass that comes after the offertory and before communion] has remained unchanged.” (Fortescue, Adrian, “Canon of the Mass”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 3, NY: Robert Appleton Company 1908)

  • Judy Kallmeyer

    It is so sad that discussions on the LIturgy seem to provoke so much vitriol. The quote attributed to St. Thomas More, whether actually said by him or not, is spot on. Latin in and of itself is not holier than any other language. The first Mass was said in Aramaic. No one seems to be gung ho at having the Liturgy of today celebrated in Aramaic. I personally love the Liturgy of today. I am fully engaged in the prayer. I don’t have to fiddle around with a missal trying to figure out where the priest is. The priest is facing the congregation and the action of the Mass is not hidden by the body of the priest. The conflict about ad orientam seems to me to be unnecessary. Both priest and congregation are facing the altar where the substances of bread and wine will be transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Lord Jesus. In the pre-Vatican II Liturgy, the congregation were more spectators than participants in the celebration. Now we are full participants.This takes nothing away from the role of the priest. He is and always will be the principal celebrant. But as sharers in the priesthood of the faithful, we are also celebrants, but do not have the special power of the priest. As for those who blame the changes in the Liturgy for all of the problems we have today with the disintegration of the moral life of the world, or the fact that many people have left the Church (or the priesthood or the consecrated life), I must beg to differ. If that were so, the Catholic Church would probably have died. But it did not! It is is still gloriously alive. There are many people like myself who have continued to grow in their faith, in their appreciation of the worship life of the Church, in their love for Jesus in the Eucharist. I venture to say that the problems we see are rooted in the cultural “revolution” if you will that began in the ’60s. The culture declined and many Church members followed along probably because their faith was not deeply rooted in the person of Jesus and did not know their faith well enough to truly cherish it. They might have been able to memorize doctrines, but the reality never moved from their heads to their hearts. They never “fell in love with Jesus” and so the practices of the faith of many were lost in the drugs, wild music, and sexual immorality that began to pervade society. But there are many, myself included, who love the Liturgy, have active prayer lives, are active in the life of the parish, and have made firm commitments to live in union with the Lord. Please, everyone, stop the arguing. If the Mass in the Extraordinary Form enables you to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice in a more reverent manner, then, by all means, participate in it. I personally have absolutely no desire to attend such a Liturgy. But do not try to denigrate the revised Liturgy. And vice versa. If you thrive with the revised liturgy, then celebrate it to the hilt. But do not make fun of those who are on the opposite side of the Liturgical “fence.” Be who you are! But most of all, be a man or woman in love with Jesus, devoted to His Eucharistic presence. Stop straining at gnats and swallowing camels. Language and what direction to face during the Mass should be non-issues. Devotion, belief, attitudes of the heart, are at the heart of how one worships, indeed, if one worships. Continued arguing about Liturgical practices only serve to play into the hands of the Prince of Darkness who would like nothing better than to divide and conquer the Church. We all need to remember that Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. We also need to remember that Holy Spirit is the life of the Church. He will lead us in the direction of the Master Who loves us and wants us to put out into the deep and to follow Him

    • johnnyc

      “It has been the practice in the entire Church, East and West from time
      immemorial. Contrary to a prevailing misconception, there is no evidence
      for celebration of Mass versus populum in the first nineteen centuries
      of the Church’s history, with rare exceptions.”

      “Despite all the variations in practice that have taken place far into
      the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of
      Christendom: praying toward the east is a tradition that goes back to
      the beginning. Moreover, it is a fundamental expression of the Christian
      synthesis of cosmos and history, of being rooted in the once-for-all
      events of salvation history while going out to meet the Lord who is to
      come again.”

      Spirit of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ratzinger

    • Mary Ann

      Judy,
      You are the voice of reason… thank you!

    • ColdStanding

      Ugh! What a frustrating pastiche of commonplaces, headlines, and folk theology. Looking for the positives, you have managed to put just about every misunderstanding about the Mass of Ages into one heap. So, I will cut and paste it and begin carding, with the hope of getting some useful yarn.

      Your analysis of the pre-VII participation in the mass is a-historical. Which is a fancy way of saying wrong.

      There is no fault in if you don’t spend much time writing, but is it to much to ask for a paragraph break once in a while?

  • Kate Edwards

    Sorry but this analysis is fundamentally flawed.

    The Apostolic Tradition cannot be reduced to just doctrine. Have a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church – or better still the summary in the Compendium. It defines the Apostolic Tradition as “the transmission of the message of Christ…by means of preaching, bearing witness, institutions, worship and inspired writings.”

    The Catholic faith is not just a body of doctrines, not just what we believe, but also a way of praying (worship) and a way of living (morality, the golden rule, charity, joy etc).

    The Mass is not simply a discipline, but something intrinsic to the tradition that cannot be reduced to the mere words of institution. That is not to say it can’t be modified – of course it can within certain limits, hence the existence of different rites.

    Traditionalists are right in insisting on respecting the continuity of our institutions, worship and other means of transmitting the tradition because the Church has always insisted on this – take a look at the Council of Trent (and earlier) pronouncements on tradition, for example, which emphasize that the Gospel is more than just written words:

    “[This Gospel] our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down even unto us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand.”

    And indeed Vatican II reiterated this in Dei Verbum:

    “Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion (see Cor. 1:20; 3:13; 4:6), commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, and to impart to them heavenly gifts… This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the Apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.”

    • http://tonylayne.blogspot.com/ Anthony S. Layne

      Actually, it’s worthwhile to delve into the fuller context of the Catechism:

      “Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium” (CCC 83).

      Now let’s look at Compendium 12, looking at the words you omitted by ellipsis: “Apostolic Tradition is the transmission of the message of Christ, brought about from the very beginnings of Christianity by means of preaching, bearing witness, institutions, worship, and inspired writings.”

      Even before I went to the books, I suspected you were reading more into the text than was actually there. The Compendium speaks of preaching, bearing witness, etc. as means of transmitting the apostolic tradition, not as parts of that tradition; the citation from the fuller Catechism confirms it. The distinction, I conclude, still remains valid.

      A lot of what you say is true, set apart from that. By maintaining it is the doctrines of the tradition that bind us in unity, I do not assert either explicitly or implicitly that the liturgy, prayers, language, etc. are of no account; indeed, it’s precisely because they are the means of transmitting the apostolic tradition that they’re worth fighting over. But saying that the Novus Ordo “protestantized” the Mass is a useful descriptor only if, and to the extant that, the Ordinary Form teaches Protestant beliefs rather than Catholic beliefs; if the Ordinary Form does not teach error, then it would be better — and more charitable — to say that the OF “impoverished” the Mass.

  • http://mschaut.wordpress.com/ MSchaut

    Any ‘apologist’ who uses or relies so heavily on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s term ‘rad trad’ to denigrate their fellow Catholics is no apologist at all, but is the point of the spear aimed at the heart of the Church by Marxists. Anyone following this self-aggrandizing advice is putting their soul at grave risk. Mass is NOT a ‘mere devotional’, the infallible teachings of the Church since the beginning are NOT a ‘new religion’, and the tenets and morality the Apostles taught since the first days is NOT a rabid conflation creating a ‘new’ religion’ that never existed before. It is a profoundly UNCHARITABLE way to get attention, divisive and MEAN, and rather than teaching anything, does exactly what it was MEANT to do and that is create more bad will among those who are commanded to ‘love one another as I have loved you’. For SHAME.

  • Hollie2009ad

    Anthony, your post, of what I can understand of it, (try the KISS method) is wonderful and it is so sad that far too many Catholics are clueless about the true history of Our Mother Church. Reading the lives of the various wonderful Saints, that were very human such as us, can open our eyes to some of the problems that the Church as faced even when the Apostles were still here. A few years ago I went to a Latin Mass and I also saw one on EWTN, and nothing has changed since my childhood days: people are still trying to find their place in the missals, some are just being there and a few that know Latin or pretend to know it seem to be able to follow the Priest, the Altar boys and the choir. The only times that the crowd becomes awake is at the collection and Holy Communion. At least, with our new/old Mass we can join in and actually pray the Mass with the Priest. Now if the Bishops would only obey our beloved Holy Blessed Pope John and put the Tabernacles back in the middle of the Church and restore the Altar rails, it would be even more wonderful. For those of you that love your Latin Mass, try loving Jesus even more and for those of us that are grateful for Vatican II, also love Jesus even more. +JMJ+

  • Maggie

    There are more than two Mass forms. We have 22 Catholic churches which have completely different types of Liturgies. They are very beautiful, and have been around for centuries.

  • Michael47

    The state of the Church is disastrous and anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or lying. You even have a prominent cardinal, a Prince of the Church, claiming that Gov. Andrew Cuomo — divorced, living with his girlfriend, supporting abortion and gay marriage — is a Catholic in good standing. He receives Communion every Sunday, a walking scandal. !!!! Give me a break. When a bishop cannot even defend basic morality–BASIC MORALITY — there is a serious crisis in the Church. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

    • james

      and the gates of hell shall not prevail ye man of little faith.

    • Michael47

      Oh, okay — gee — I guess we should do nothing then. Just keep plodding along and do nothing as souls fall into Hell. No big deal. Thanks. Now I can get back to watching TV and tolerating ever abomination imaginable, with my kids watching too, because, after all, it all works out in the end. No need to do anything.

    • james

      Michael, the church is in this position because of its own intrigue, corruption and politics..It is in transition from one
      of the most radical change of courses ever set. The ice-
      berg you see is a mirage. The Spirit of Vat II has been
      passed to a reluctant faithful who are afraid to meld into
      a higher power of love, understanding and acceptence.
      Our pope is going to challenge us to action. Just stay
      calm and work out your own salvation and teach your
      children well as the song goes. Peace

  • pete salveinini

    I don’t disagreed with your column, BUT EVEN IN THE ORDINARY FORM the entrance antiphons are not supposed to be substituted by hymns, even though our hierarchy has long permitted this abuse. Reasons against this practice of substitution are manifold but the main point is that we are sing the Mass and not other things at Mass. The entrance antiphon sets a spiritual motif and requires a receptive attitude rather than a robust assertive singing. (since the antiphons change, the vernacular is to be preferred, sung in a mode that puts the words over musical compositions). This is something that is just now beginning to happen. (the offertory is a good place for a hymn, there is no longer an antiphon required at that point).

    • james

      Pete, I’ll bet you set a mean 12 course dinner.

  • Anne

    Vatican II We Love You.

  • Traditium

    My reply, to the degree it is a reply, is up :).

    http://catholicstand.com/the-tridentine-fallacy/

  • Richard Newell

    This article is very misleading. It ignores the biggest question. Are Vatican II and the New Mass heretical in and of themselves. That’s not conflating liturgical tradition with apostolic tradition; that’s Catholic doctrine. Everything about and from Vatican II is heretical; everyone who of their own will rejects that belief is not Catholic.