Tag Archives: liturgy

Traditional Latin Mass instrumental in conversions, still

The form of the Mass offered according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII, the 1962 Missasl (known also as the Extraordinary Form [EF]) is a misunderstood theology, manner of worship and experience. It is this form of the Mass that has been heart of the Church’s prayer and sacramentality for generations, that has produced saints, and that has worshiped the Triune God.

The EF was freed from the shackles of ideology by Pope Benedict XVI in his 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. You can read the Pope’s Letter to the Bishops about his motu proprio here. Also of interest is Cardinal William Levada’s Instruction on Summorum Pontificum. These three documents are required reading if you want to know what the Magisterium is teaching.

Let it be said that there are many, even among our clergy and supposedly educated types, who have a profound distrust and one could claim, hatred, for the EF that they act uncharitably toward those who may love the EF. In the ecclesiastical provinces of Hartford, Boston and New York have deacons, priests and bishops who actively work against the laity and clergy who have an affection for the John XXIII’s Missal. Knee-jerk reactionaries is not what you would expect from educated people! Experience tells me that it is not an exaggeration to say that there is still a great prejudice toward the adherents of the EF. I also know of seminarians harassed by seminary formation people and pastors for, and some have been dismissed from seminary formation for wanting to know, serve and pray the 1962 Missal, side-by-side the the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

I have found that attending to the Mass in this form to be beautiful, coherent, faithful, and challenging. The 1962 Missal has expanded my categories of faith and life. I generally attend the Ordinary Form; I do attend the EF regularly for several reasons: the Church in which it is offered is a beautiful place to worship; the Liturgy is often well-done (though not always), I want to know more about this Liturgy as a coherent form of worship, theology and as a way of life; I want to know why people feel the need to discredit and be obstructive of those who have dedicated themselves to this portion of the Church’s liturgical tradition.

The title of this post uses the word “still” because I want to emphasize that the EF can facilitate one’s conversion, even re-version, to Jesus Christ and life in His Church. The Mass of the Ages, as some will call the EF, brought humanity for millennia to Christ, and continues to do so.

Read this article, “Old form of Mass attracts new generation,” citing the experience of a former anti-Catholic and another who was an avowed atheist who are now a practicing Catholic due to grace and the liturgical praxis of the EF.

My purpose in writing on this subject is not to defend the the EF. I hope that the above article will expand your view that conversions to Christ, our own and new ones, is possible through one’s praying of the older form of the Mass. That is, we don’t have to be so rigid to exclude others without good reason. Furthermore, it is my hope that we all act with faith, hope and charity toward others who think a little differently from whatever criteria of the “norm” we happen to utilize. In short, may we be truly Catholic according to the mind of the Church and not our own measure of what it means to be Catholic. My desire is to have a reasonable celebration of both rites of the Mass that’s coherent with what the Church has done, with what the tradition as given to us over the years, and with what the Church hopes to be as a Christian people with eyes set on the Lord. I happen to think we need to continue with vigor the work of the Liturgical Movement and do things in the sacred Liturgy that are truly Catholic and not ape what our Protestant brothers and sisters do. Catholic Liturgy is not Lutheran Liturgy, and we ought to resist blurring the lines.

Saint Benedict, and all Benedictine saints, pray for us.

The Spirit of the Liturgy from Benedict to Francis

Abbot Michael C. Zielinski OSB, undersecretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, discusses what is being taught by the most recent pontiffs. Abbot Michael notes the continuity and distinctions in celebrating of the sacred Liturgy by Popes Benedict and Pope Francis. But there are some things that Abbot Michael notes that are not liturgical per se, “the spirit” can be a bit vague some ways. Moreover, there are things that are already expected as the result of the theology and upheld by the rubrics. More reflection on what the synthesis and art of celebrating means, teaches and how it sanctifies. Here is a beginning… The Catholic News Service provides the video feed.

Rogation Days

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Just before Ascension Thursday, there are three days of prayer asking God to bestow his blessing on creation, particularly the on farms that produce the food we need for nourishment. We call these days minor Rogation Days, in comparison to the major Rogation Day is observed on April 25. “Rogation” comes from the Latin rogare, to ask, as in, to ask for God’s mercy, His blessings, His continued benevolence upon all creation. Whether major or minor days of asking, Christians have been doing this type of prayer since the time of Saint Gregory the Great (the major day) and Saint Mamertus (the minor days). This is good example of how we Christians connect trust and confidence in God and the work of human hands on the earth.

A Catholic sense of ecology always includes prayer and not merely a commitment to a green ideology. All of our thinking and acting is informed by our prayer, work and prayer, faith and reason. From a gesture of gratitude we give thanks to the Lord for the beauty of the earth. The key biblical passages prayed come from Psalm 69, Jeremiah 10-11: 1-16, James 5:16-20 and Luke 11:5-14.

In the Northeast we don’t see too much of Rogation Day observances with Mass, litanies and processions. Sad to see so little done in this area since there are lots of working farms here and it would be a good thing to make supplication to God. In the Midwest can be experienced. Farmers, gardeners, agricultural professionals and others, gather to pray for all who work on the land, for a favorable planting, growing, and harvesting season, and for safety and protection from natural disasters.

Some of the Benedictine monasteries will attend to Rogation Days in collaboration with the local pastor or bishop. In 2012, the Benedictine Sisters of St Benedict Monastery (Ferdinand, IN) for example, had a procession that went from their monastery to the local parish with Bishop Charles C. Thompson, bishop of the Diocese of Evansville. Offices of Catholic Rural Life in certain dioceses ought to be attentive to this ancient form of prayer.

Some places to read further: here and here (with a very good history of the Rogation Day practice).

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Father Augustine Thompson lectured on “Baptismal Theology and Practice in the Age of St. Thomas Aquinas”

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Father Augustine Thompson, OP, delivered the 23rd annual Aquinas Lecture “Baptismal Theology and Practice in the Age of St. Thomas Aquinas

I highly recommend watching the video presentation.

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Fr. Augustine examined and presented research on his discoveries of the liturgical and social significance of baptism in Northern Italian cities of the thirteenth-century. He also discussed developments in the Catholic theology of baptism from the twelfth century to Aquinas in the late thirteenth, including Aquinas’ disagreements with other theologians. I found his presentation compelling because he speaks of how Northern Italy preserved the unity of the sacraments of initiation, the role of the bishop in being the prime minister of Christian initiation, the role of city government, the faith community, and many other things like the fast of infants.

A New York native, Fr. Augustine is Professor of History at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, CA. He earned a PhD from UC Berkeley and in 2007 was given the STM from the Order of Friars Preachers. He is the author of the recently published Francis of Assisi: A New BiographyCities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325 and Revival Preachers and Politics: The Great Devotion of 1233Ad Completorium Liturgiae Horarum secundum Usum Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum. Oakland, CA: Provincia Ss. Nominis Jesu Ordinis Praedicatorum, 2010 (Liturgical Music); Cities of God: The Religion of the Italian Communes, 1125-1325. 2005; and edited John Williamson Nevin. The Mystical Presence: A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinist Theology of the Holy Eucharist, 2000.

Sacra Liturgia 2013: a preview

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There are few opportunities for good and solid learning on the sacred Liturgy these days. Many of the conferences that pass for the advancement of Catholic thinking on the Liturgy are ideological. BUT, the forthcoming conference in Rome, Sacra Liturgia 2013, provides a great venue, a a clear context, a group of well-informed speakers dealing with the Catholic worship of the One Triune God.

Recently, a member of the Catholic World Report interviews one of the organizers, Dom Alcuin Reid, of Sacra Liturgia 2013 which will take place 25-28 June.

Dom Alcuin answers a question on Pope Benedict’s contribution to liturgical life of the Church:

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Primarily in fostering the “new liturgical movement,” I think. Firstly, by his teaching, above all in Sacramentum Caritatis, which is a profound tutorial on the liturgical and ecclesial celebration of the Blessed Eucharist. Also by his acts, most certainly through Summorum Pontificum, where he authoritatively asserted that that the rites that were once “sacred and great…cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or considered harmful.” Finally, by his example: papal liturgies have shown us the meaning of ars celebrandi–the manner of celebrating the sacred mysteries with a true noble simplicity. And always, at the head of these liturgies has stood a man who has looked together with us toward the cross he had placed in the center of the altar. The liturgy is about Him, not me, he has taught us.

Clergy, religious and laity are welcome!

Dom Alcuin Reid is a monk of the Monastère Saint-Benoît in the Diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, France. 

Reid’s major work, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2005); he updated The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described (Burns & Oates, 2009) and he is the editor of From Eucharistic Adoration to Evangelization (Burns & Oates, 2012).

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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