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Tuesday, January 30, 2007



I hope this proves to be nothing more than an example of a warped sense of humor.

Qualis Rex

This particular priest seems to be one of those kindly, jovial nihilists I have come across in my life. They are always good and fun to be around, but at the same time tend to give off a very fatalistic and dark message that "the end is near", most likely due to their own old age.

Either way, I'm not too sure under what authority he is saying the Motu Proprio will not be given. I guess it remains to be seen. I have a hard time believing Pope Benedict is shying away from controversy. He has surprised me consistently during his short tenure as pope...and this would be yet another suprise if he stops his work now.


Check out Fr. Foster at
He says he is a nudist and celebrates mass in the nude! The
Holy Father needs to read this!!!!


Sorry the link is


I deliberately ignored this news story because I don't view this priest's opinion as particularly well-informed. Although he is billed as being connected with the Pope, there is little evidence that he is "in the know".

This post from Shawn Tribe over at The New Liturgical Movement (and a number of the comments under that post) sums up my take on that story: Two views from Rome on the Motu Proprio; one more rational and one more emotional


I was not going to pass commentary on this, because, to be frank, it doesn't merit being taken seriously in my opinion. However, it seems as though a comment may be worthwhile after all given how public this statement is, and given, no doubt, how it will quickly become known through internet circles and the source of either despair, concern, or anger.

The story originally came through The Telegraph in the U.K. and concerns sentiments coming from Fr. Reginald Foster, often referred to as "the Pope's Latinist". In this piece, Fr. Foster laments what he sees as the imminent death of Latin. Quite ironically as part of this piece, he then moves on the disparage the classical Latin liturgy and speaks contrary to the Motu Proprio to liberalize the usage of the same:

"[Fr. Foster] said reports that Pope Benedict will reintroduce the Tridentine Mass, which dates from 1570 and is largely conducted in Latin, were wrong – not least because of the Pope's desire to avoid more controversies. A speech last year offended Muslims and more recently he gave initial support to a Polish archbishop who was eventually forced to resign, after admitting that he had collaborated with the communist-era secret police.

"He is not going to do it," Fr Foster said. "He had trouble with Regensberg, and then trouble in Warsaw, and if he does this, all hell will break loose." In any case, he added: "It is a useless mass and the whole mentality is stupid. The idea of it is that things were better in the old days. It makes the Vatican look medieval."

Clearly this statement on the part of Fr. Foster can only be dismissed as a partisan and ideological, even emotional, assessment. In fact, the comment rings of desperation -- seen in the fact of intemperately referring to an ancient liturgy of the Church as a "useless Mass" whose "whole mentality is stupid".

Well, there is indeed a problematic mentality here, but it is not within the classical liturgy of the Roman church, but rather in one who would make such intemperate, impious statements about a venerable rite of the Church. This is certainly one of the clearest manifestations of a hermeneutic of rupture we have yet seen.

It would seem that Fr. Foster in his evident state of high emotion about the matter, is confusing his own feelings with the objective facts of the situation.

In this writer's estimation, the comment cannot be taken seriously as far as the motu proprio is concerned.

Illuminating in this regard is the rather different take (from one also no great fan of the classical liturgy) from this past week, by Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, S.J. on Vatican Radio (courtesy of someone on CTNGreg):

"In all probability Pope Benedict will give the permission to celebrate again the traditional or Tridentine Rite. It would however be completely wrong if Catholics started to quarrel over this, some of them full of joy about this reversal, the others full of anger. It is to be noted that the Pope will not on any account reintroduce the old liturgy or even make it compulsory. He is only of the opinion that the prohibition of the classical Rite after the Council is in contradiction to Church tradition, because according to his conviction, Rites can be further developed but cannot be abrogated."

This latter position is more in accord with the objective facts of the situation as we've come to know them. The 1962 Missal won't be reintroduced in place of the modern Roman rite, but it will be substantially liberalized as an extraordinary rite of the Church which has, by virtue of its antiquity and long-standing use a "right of citizenship within the Church" (as Cardinal Hoyos once put it).

So there is Shawn Tribe's measured response.

A more eviscerating response can be seen here at Rorate Caeli: For the Record: The priests they foster




I'm for the increased availability of the Tridentine Mass for those who treasure it. I have not been to one, but it sounds spiritual and beautiful.

But, I'm not for any increase in Latin. The reason for Latin in the past was that it was the universal language of its day. Today, the closest thing we have to a universal language is English. We should let the scholars learn Latin (and classical Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic) if they want to read scripture and the Church fathers in their native language.

Why promote a language nobody understands. Somebody please help me understand this.


I agree. If some people would like to go to an occasional old-time Mass in Latin that's great. I wouldn't have a concern that it is somehow going to usurp Mass being said in one's native tongue.

If you've never been to one they're pretty nice, I think. When I was in Korea, a million years ago, that's what you got. I didn't understand the language hardly at all but I had alot of appreciation for the Latin Mass never the less. It's good to experience the different ways people worship. You should go to an old-time Baptist revival and a service at a synagogue too.

At our old parish, there was a wonderful old Catholic woman who had a great appreciation of our Jewish connection and she took a group of us one Friday for a service at the local synagogue. It was one of the greatest experiences in my life and one I'll aways remember. Did you know that if you try to convert to being in the Hebrew religion that it is a two-year quest and that the entire first year they try to talk you out of it? Pretty interesting stuff.



"Like classical music, Latin will always be there. If we cannot understand it, it is we who are losing out."

Exactly!! It's dangerous to underestimate us Trads; no way will we let our Tridentine Latin Mass die out. We'll fight to the death to keep it, as is our right.

It's easy to understand what's being said at a Latin Mass - the Faithful have missals with Latin texts on one side and English on the other - but the priest uses Latin, of course.

Latin, not English, is the universal language of the Church. English was not to be used to celebrate the Novus Ordo in it's entirety, contrary to popular belief:

In the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the Second Vatican Council stated:

36. § 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

§ 2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

§ 3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, § 2, to decide whether and to what extent the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

So, there you have it. The Mass published in 1969 by Pope Paul VI was meant to be celebrated in Latin with only a few, if any, parts spoken in English.

One last comment, which I'd like to make regarding this:

"You should go to an old-time Baptist revival and a service at a synagogue too."

Why, might I ask? Why, when we know we have the One True Faith? Ecuminism, ecuminism, ecuminism.


I was not talking about Latin at the Tridentine Mass. I think that should obviously remain. I was talking about Latin elsewhere. Why should Latin be the universal language of the Church if nobody speaks it, including the vast majority of clergy? I'm truly looking for an answer on this.



Latin has always been the universal language of the Church. Latin is a dead language, so the meanings of the words spoken in Latin - in the Mass, in Papal Decrees, etc - are set in stone, so to speak, and the true meaning will never be lost. Using the Traditional Latin in the Mass and in decrees and other documents constitutes a defence against manipulation. English, on the other hand, is a living language, so any translations will require revisions on top of revisions.

Not everyone throughout the world speaks English. We might as well say the universal language of the Church should be Spanish.

The vernacular is dangerous. A living language - the vernacular - has too many meanings, too many translations, too many choices. Because parts of the Novus Ordo Missae are "optional" depending on the Mass being celebrated that day, we now have priests making up their own Mass, so to speak. By allowing more variations, more Masses in the vernacular, the Roman Rite is no longer universal (we have the Indult, the Tridentine, and the Novus Ordo – all different). This is why we have problems with translation errors. The vernacular leaves the door wide open for manipulation, variation, error and abuse.

Latin should still be taught in the seminiaries. I myself wonder why it isn't being taught. Why aren't seminarians learning Traditional Latin? Why aren't they reading St. Augustine, the Summa, etc? I can guess, but I don't like the answer I come up with.


I'm less concerned about abuse in the church itself today as I am in seeing the prevention of abuse that is damaging to the church from zelots on the edges. You know what I mean?

People wanting to push the church into driving people away rather than bringing them in. You know?

And, that crack you made about why visit another religious service you answered yourself. To promote a better understanding among differing religious faiths.




Yes, I see what you mean and I do agree with you. The stones being pelted at the Church from the outside are extremely damaging - but this is precicely why ecuminism is so dangerous.

Sure, we must understand other peoples religions in order to help bring them to the One True Faith - but not by participating in their services. This would only imply to them that we agree with and are OK with their way of thinking, which we aren't. We must find other ways to understand other religions and bring people to True Faith. We can look to the saints for examples of this.

Abuses from the outside of the Church are threatening, absolutely! However, abuses within the Church cannot be ignored either - we must not let our Church be ravaged from the inside out.

Modern Catholic

Well personally I am relieved to hear that the Holy Father will not do something so silly as to attempt to turn back the clock.
Back to the Future was a fiction and in reality we have to go forward to the future. Lets all commit to woring in our parishes to making the Mass as we have it the best it can possibly be, and stop hankering for a past that will not be again.
Josef Ratzinger is too wise a man to do something which has the potential to cause a Liturgical Schism.

"Liturgical Schism"??

The Tridentine Mass has been in use for nearly 2,000 years! How in the world can this Mass - so old, so full of Tradition, so Holy - cause "liturgical schism"?

I fail to see that logic.

The Church doesn't change. Christ doesn't change. The sacraments don't change. Why can't we have a liturgy that, in essence, remains the same throughout the centuries?

Modern Catholic

What an ignorant posting. "The Tridentine Mass has been in use for nearly 2000 years"
Please do some histrorical research before making such nonsensical statements.
"The Church doesn't change" What planet have you been inhabiting since 1966 ?
The non essentials do of course change and language and ritual are among the non essentials. What must not change is the essence, and that endures in the new order of the Mass and Sacraments.
Fof the Holy Father to allow a dual liturgical life in the church would be madness, and thank God he has the wisdom to see that. The Tridentite Rite served us well for 500 years and remains a valid and valuable part of our heritage but we must move on.


Modern Catholic,

It seems ignorance is a "large" family. You reference the "madness" of a dual liturgical life - would that we only had two liturgies!

1.) There are multiple traditional liturgies that have and still are used within the Church, both before and after Trent, and before and after VCII. It seems that you want to SINGLE OUT the Tridentine rite for censure.

2.) There are an unbelievably vast number of "AD HOC" liturgies that are created every day by experimenting priests and ignorant clergy. In a church which allows Polka masses, and Clown masses, and Mariachi masses, and liturgical dance, et cetera ad nauseum... HOW can you postulate that there is no room for the Tridentine mass?

Modern Catholic says:

"What must not change is the essence, and that endures in the new order of the Mass and Sacraments."

This is not true, not in the least. I'd advise that some research be done on this subject before such statements are made.

The Novus Ordo is a new rite of the Mass, many theologians have said so. The essence of the Mass was changed with the Novus Ordo - to name two huge examples, the Offertory is gone, and the words of the consecration were changed (gasp!).

Of course the non-essentials are allowed to change, I know that as well as anyone. That's what Vatican I did - revise codify the Mass. And sure, even after Vatican I non-essentials changed. No one is arguing that non-essentials can't change.

What I meant is that the essentials of the Mass were untouched and unchanged until the 1960's, up until Vatican II - and what we have now in the Novus Ordo Missae is not the same Mass as what we had before.

Let's keep this discussion to logical reasoning, and not resort to ad hominum attacks.



While I agree with some critique of Modern Catholic's position, I must strenuously take issue with your assertion that the NOVUS ORDO has changed the ESSENCE of the mass.

Are you saying that NOVUS ORDO masses are invalid ?, or that a real sacrament is not being confected?

I would posit that the real question is whether the NOVUS ORDO, as it is being celebrated in the majority of churches, is the OPTIMAL rite.

We must always strive to give God our best, especially in the worship we pay Him. In this regard I would join in a critique of the Novus Ordo as being practiced. I will not affirm any declaration that the Novus Ordo is invalid, that's Lefevbrite talk.


Fr. Foster got the boot because, frankly, he's crazy.

"Are you saying that NOVUS ORDO masses are invalid ?, or that a real sacrament is not being confected?"

No, I'm not saying the Novus Ordo masses are invalid, nor am I saying that a real sacrament is not being confected. I would never make such a statement.

"I would posit that the real question is whether the NOVUS ORDO, as it is being celebrated in the majority of churches, is the OPTIMAL rite."

Yes, this is exactly what I'm saying. The changing of the essence of the Mass makes me uneasy, which is why I stick with the TLM.

"I would join in a critique of the Novus Ordo as being practiced."

As would I.

"I will not affirm any declaration that the Novus Ordo is invalid, that's Lefevbrite talk."

Actually, Lefebrve never stated that the Novus Ordo was invalid - he wouldn't make that statement - like yourself, he only joined in critiquing the NO and questioning whether it was the optimal rite. His work revolved around preserving the TLM, not declaring whether the NO was invalid or not.


Modern Catholic, why do you think allowing two forms of the Roman Catholic rite in the West would be "madness?" Do you think that greater availability of the Traditional Latin Mass would somehow cause parishioners to stop attending ANY Mass? If so, do you have any survey data showing this to be the case? I ask because I have seen no surveys showing that greater availability of the TLM would decrease church attendance.


I agree with what MJ has had to say. After reading some of these posts, I am more motivated than ever to drag out the Latin textbooks. If both of my older brothers could read, write, and speak Latin, then I can also.

1) Half of the major languages of Europe (Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese, etc.) were derived directly from Latin.

2) About fifty-percent of the words used by an educated English speaking person are derived from Latin.

3) Latin terminology is used in law, medicine, and science.

(An argument can be made that Latin is worth teaching in our schools based soley on 1-3 above.)

4) Latin has been the language of theology for many centuries. As a result, Latin posesses a theologically precise vocabulary unrivaled by modern languages.

5) Latin has already been in use as the universal language of the Church for many centuries. Because it is a dead language it is "neutral" in a way that modern languages are not. Although it originated in Europe, it is not strongly associated with nationality or ethnicity.

6) As MJ pointed out, the VatII document on the liturgy states "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites."If you have a problem with Latin in the liturgy you have a problem with Vatican II!

7) Latin is the language of Gregorian Chant. And, as VatII stated The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman should be given pride of place in liturgical services.-Sacrosanctum Concilium, 116.

8) The argument that you cannot understand the Mass in Latin is baloney! How many times do you need to hear the the ordinary of the Mass in Latin before you know what it is? Understanding every word uttered by the priest in the vernacular does not mean you really fathom the depths of the theological meaning of those words. I believe, on average, people understand the meaning of the Mass less today than they did in my grandmother's time!

9) The pastor of the parish where I grew up was a bishop who attended VatII. I can tell you that many of the bishops at VatII intended the vernacular to be an option for mission lands! They did not intend the vernacular to supplant Latin as the normative liturgical language of the LATIN Rite.

10) Average, like you, I have an interest in comparative religion. Other religions have found it wise to retain a "liturgical language" (Judaism-Hebrew, Hinduism-Sanskrit, Muslims-Classical Arabic, etc.)

11) The so called "Tridentine Mass" is 1500 years old, not merely 500 as stated by Modern Catholic. The Tridentine Mass was codified by the Council of Trent, but it had a long history pre-dating that council (along with other rites). There were slight variations, but it was the same Mass.

12)The issue is not merely whether or not the sacrament is valid.

According to Catholic tradition, lex orandi, lex credendi - the law of prayer is the law of belief. What this means is that how a person worships not only shows what the person really believes, but that how a person worships can ultimately decide what that person really believes.

As people's patterns of actual worship change, so will their underlying beliefs - even without their realizing it. It is because of this that the Catholic Church can be so strict in maintaining what many might regard as superficial practices, causing them to be seen by many as old-fashioned and tyrannical. The hierarchy realizes that allowing even minor changes in the practice of worship could lead to unforseen and unintended changes in beliefs, and the Church is one organization which understands how to think about how things will turn out over very long spans of time.

But because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth -Apocalypse 3:16



Kudos! I couldn't have said it better.

St. Pius V, ora pro nobis! St. Pius X, ora pro nobis!

Oh...and for those who prefer English, ora pro nobis = pray for us.



i appreciate your comment, Patrick--it should be read by all.

another person said:

"Why promote a language nobody understands. Somebody please help me understand this."

have we gotten this bad in the west that we truly don't recognize the value of latin?! it's a reversal of babel; it is the language of the saints and martyrs upon whose treasure of graces the church now survives--in other words, the demons *pay attention* to it when it is properly brandished by a priest (as in the rite of exorcism) or christian (as when you say your "Sancte Michael Archangele" before bedtime); it transcends cultures, peoples, nations, heritages--anyone with a problem with its 'western affiliation' isn't a ROMAN catholic, in my opinion; a roman CATHOLIC (ie, universal) could go to Mass in st petersburg or tokyo or havana or brazzaville or baghdad and never miss a beat: it was the same, glorious, timeless, jewel everywhere celebrated. besides, i miss it. and you would too.

Modern Catholic

Why is it that every discussion on this topic ends with the participants insulting each other?
Of course there are a multiplicity of rites within the Catholic Church all of them beautiful and faith nourishing in their own context. The challenge of our time is to encapsulate the essentials of the Mass in a meaningful rite for our time and context, and that is what the present Roman Rite tries to do.

Yes there are abuses, and we all cringe at Barney Masses and Halloween costumery but that is down more to badly formed clergy than an inherent fault with the Mass.
The reasl challenge that Benedict XVI faces is proper clergy formation.

Yes Latin has its place and it does provide a kind of brand recognition for Catholocism that is highly useful and desireable, but it is not the language of our day and does not express our worship in a way that most people can identify with.

I knoow that there is an erudite elite who would love us all in for part Latin Motets each Sunday - but that simply is not where most people are at.

To go back to my original point in my first posting ; we have to engage in our parishes in a way that will maximise the beauty of our Liturgy and stop hankering for a bygone era.

As for the Demons fleeing before clergy in full plumage chanting terrible Latin incantations ! For God's sake.......

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