Sunday, July 22, 2007

Wearing The Chapel Veil

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It is revealing when one considers how Catholic women all over the world still keep this custom. Unveiled women during mass is a phenomenon mostly seen in the West -- particularly English speaking nations. In a way, we could consider this custom a barometer of sorts. A society's Liberal decadence can be measured in part by how few women veil themselves during mass...
Derived from a book in progress called: "The Unveiled Woman"
by Jackie Freppon

During the second Vatican Council, a mob of reporters waited for news after a council meeting. One of them asked Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, then secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, if women still had to wear a headcover in churches. His response was that the Bishops were considering other issues, and that women's veils were not on the agenda. The next day, the International Press announced throughout the world that women did not have to wear the veil anymore. A few days later, Msgr. Bugnini told the press he was misquoted and women still had to wear the veil. But the Press did not retract the error, and many women stopped wearing the veil out of confusion and because of pressure from feminist groups.

Before the revision in 1983, Canon law had stated that women must cover their heads ". . . especially when they approach the holy table" (Can 1262.2). But in order to reduce such a growing collection of books, the new version of Canon law was subjected to concise changes. In the process, mention of headcoverings was omitted. In 1970, Pope Paul VI promulgated the Roman Missal, ignoring mention of women's veils. But at the time the Missal was published, it didn't seem necessary to keep mandatory such an obvious and universal practice, even if it no longer had a "normative" value (Interinsigniores, #4). And mention in Canon law or the Roman Missal is not necessary to the continuation of the tradition, for it is rooted in Scripture and has been practised ever since the early Church. Indeed, Pope John Paul II affirmed that the real sources of Canon law are the Sacred Tradition, especially as reflected in the ecumenical councils, and Sacred Scripture (O.S.V. Catholic Encyclopedia, p. 169).

Sacred Scripture presents several reasons for wearing the veil. St. Paul tells us in his first letter to the Corinthians (11:1-16) that we must cover our heads because it is Sacred Tradition commanded by our Lord Himself and entrusted to Paul: "The things I am writing to you are the Lord's commandments" (1 Cor. 14:37).

God has established a heirarchy, in both the natural and religious spheres, in which the female is subject to the male. St. Paul writes in first Corinthians: "But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11-3). And, in the institution of marriage, God gave the husband authority over the wife, but responsibility to her as well. Not only is he the family's decision-maker, but he is also responsible for the material and spiritual welfare of his wife and children. Man is not in this position to enslave or belittle the wife. As the Bride, (the Church), is subject to Jesus, women must wear the veil as a sign that they are subjected to men: "Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church." (Eph. 5, 22-23). The man represents Jesus, therefore he should not cover his head. However, this subjection is not derogatory to women, because in God's kingdom everyone is subjected to a higher authority: "For as the woman is from the man, so also is the man through the woman, but all things are from God." (1 Cor. 11, 12). Furthermore, the symbolism of the veil takes that which is invisible, the order established by God, and makes it visible. In the history of the Church, priestly vestments have played a similar symbolic role.

It is an honor to wear the veil. But by publicly repudiating it, a woman dishonors her feminine dignity, the sign of female subjection, just as the military officer is dishonored when he is stripped of his decorations. The Roman Pontifical contains the imposing ceremonial of the consecration of the veils: "Receive the sacred veil, that thou mayst be known to have despised the world, and to be truly, humbly, and with all thy heart subject to Christ as his bride; and may he defend thee from all evil, and bring thee to life eternal" (Pontificale Romanum; de benedictione). St. Paul says an unveiled woman is a dishonor: "But every woman praying or prophesying with her head uncoverd disgraces her head, for it is the same as if she were shaven" (1 Cor. 11, 5).

"That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels" wrote St. Paul in 1 Cor. 11, 10. The invisible heirarchy should be respected because the Angels are present at Christian liturgical assemblies, offering with us the Holy Sacrifice with the honor due to God. St. John the Apostle wrote: "And another angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense that he might offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which is before the throne." (Rev. 8:3, see also Matt. 18:10). They are offended by a lack of reverence at Mass, just as they abhorred King Herod's acceptance of adoration from the people of Jerusalem: "But immediately an angel of the Lord struck (Herod) down, because he had not given honor to God, and he was eaten by worms, and died." (Acts, 12:23).

The custom of wearing the veil was maintained in the primitive Churches of God. (1 Cor. 11:16). We see this in the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians. The women of Corinth, beset by modern sensibilities, started coming to church without their heads covered. When St. Paul heard of their neglect, he wrote and urged them to keep the veil. According to St. Jerome's commentary Bible, he finally settled the matter by saying the head covering was a custom of the primitive communities of Judea, "the Churches of God" (1 Thess. 2-14, 2 Thess. 1-4), which had received this Tradition from early times (2 Thess., 2:15. 3:6).

Even today some people erroneously believe that St. Paul based the tradition on his personal opinion. They think he did not intend it to be continued in the Universal Church, but only as a local custom. This argument, however, does not conform to the Pauline spirit. After all, it was Paul who stood before Peter to change Jewish traditions in Christian Churches (Gal. 2:11-21). St. Paul reminds them: "for I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it; but I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:12), referring to the authority of his ministry, and veracity of his words. Pope Linus, who succeeded St. Peter, enforced also the same tradition of women covering their heads in the church (The Primitive Church, TAN). Our Lord warns us to obey His commandments: "He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:19).

In summary, the reasons that St. Paul advises women to cover their head in the church are:

  • Our Lord commanded it;
  • It is a visible sign of an invisible order established by God;
  • The Angels at Mass are offended if women don't use it;
  • It is a ceremonial vestment;
  • It is our heritage.

Christian women around the world have other reasons to wear a hat, mantilla, rebozo, gele, scarf, shawl or veil. Some wear it out of respect to God; others to obey the Pope's request, or to continue family traditions. But the most important reason of all is because Our Lord said: "if you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). We should always be ready with our bridal veils, waiting for Him and the promised wedding (Apoc. 22:17), following the example of our Blessed Mother, Mary, who never appeared before the eyes of men but properly veiled. To those who still think that the veil is an obsolete custom, remember that: "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today, yes, and forever" (Heb. 13:8).


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tridentine Mass Touches Jewish Roots of Catholicism

(First Things): In my experience, Catholics who have an affinity for the particularly Judaic character of their Christian faith are more likely to be drawn to the Tridentine Mass than are Catholics for whom Judaism is a category on the other side of a boundary they would consider it bad manners to try to cross. You might think that, while Reform Catholics were on the subject of Catholic liturgy and Judaism, they would ask what happened to the Church’s observance of the event that most vividly marks Jesus as Jewish. The establishment of the 1970 missal as normative was accompanied by a certain curious change in the liturgical calendar: The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, on January 1, eight days after the celebration of his birth, wasn’t just moved. It was eliminated.

Of the criticisms that early Protestants leveled against Catholicism, the one that arguably cut deepest was that the Church presumed to revive the Levitical priesthood, which the spilling of Christ’s blood on Calvary now rendered obsolete. They inveighed passionately against the Mass, which they saw as overtly Judaic in its tone, structure, and purpose. (This Jewishness they objected to was largely a theological construct, not to be confused with the social and cultural construct of Judaism familiar to students of Jewish Studies departments at American universities.)

Protestants were correct that the Mass, in its aspect as a sacrifice, could not be fully understood outside the framework of pre-rabbinic Judaism. By the middle of the twentieth century, when Rome’s wish for some thaw in its cold war with Protestantism was in full bloom, it reformed the Mass such that the visible and audible distinctions between Mass and the worship services of the mainline Protestant churches were now greatly softened. Many Catholics saw it as an appropriate ecumenical gesture. So did many Protestants. Whether that step in the direction of Wittenberg and Geneva was deliberate or unconscious, what it was a step away from was Jerusalem, from the Temple and the daily sacrifice priests used to perform there.

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: As a convert to Catholicism from Evangelicalism, I can particularly relate to this story. I often tell people that I came into the Church through the "back door" so to speak. What I hadn't really stopped to consider was that the "back door" used to be the "front door," that is, until Vatican II seemed to turn things around. My interest in Catholicism developed from my exploration of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. As a good Evangelical, I was particularly interested in the Jewishness of Jesus and his apostles. I wanted to discover the Jewish connections to common Christian beliefs and customs. After a brief journey through the Messianic Jewish Movement, I learned a lot about the nature of symbolism, ceremony and liturgy. As I searched for Christian churches that still preserved many of the ancient Jewish connections, I could only find one that fit the description. It was none other than the Roman Catholic Church. Little did I know at the time how much the Ordinary form of the mass, promulgated in 1970, had stripped down the Jewishness of liturgy. Had I been born in a different time, I would have immediately seen the direct connection between Jewish liturgy and the pre-1970 mass. Fortunately for me, I now live in a time when the Church is rediscovering her "Jewishness" by restoring the Extraordinary form of the mass.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The 'Extraordinary' Mass Will Outlive It's 'Ordinary' Counterpart

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The following is an excerpt from a thought-provoking article written with more passion than paranoia. Generally I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I think this author made some good points outside of that...
( ...For the first time in living memory, a major institution is reforming itself by turning back to earlier precepts: David Cameron might profitably take note.

The bishops of England and Wales tried furiously to prevent the liberalization of access to the Traditional Mass, lobbying the Vatican against it, although they had recently approved the regular celebration of a Mass for homosexuals. On the eve of the publication of the Papal document, Bishop Kieran Conry, of Arundel and Brighton, said: "Any liberalisation of the use of the rite may prove seriously divisive. It could encourage those who want to turn the clock back throughout the Church." So, a liberal opposes liberalisation - why are we not surprised?...

read full story here

In a previous post I mentioned that if the Extraordinary form of the mass were translated into the vernacular (English for us), and celebrated along side the Ordinary form in English, it wouldn't be long before the Ordinary would be empty and the Extraordinary full. That's the power of the ancient liturgy. I have a feeling that this vision is not too far off from what the pope may be wanting for the future. A few clues were given in Summorum Pontificum. The pope allows for lectionary readings in the Extraordinary from to be read in the vernacular, and even suggests supplementing more readings from the new expanded lectionary. Furthermore he suggests a more reverent celebration of the Ordinary form -- following the example of the Extraordinary. Could it be that someday in the future (perhaps distant future) the pope envisions the reunion of both forms under a new missal?

Imagine for a moment the following. Suppose 15 years from now a synod on the liturgy called at the Vatican. Then five years later, in 2020, a new Missal is released for the universal Church. This new Missal is essentially a Tridentine mass in every sense. The only significant change is the expansion of the readings from the new lectionary. Permission is given to celebrate the mass in either Latin or the vernacular. However, if the vernacular is used, certain small parts of the mass are still designated to be said only in Latin - to preserve the Church's heritage.

It is possible? Now that the pope has released his motu proprio, I would say anything is possible.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vatican Says Protestant Organizations Are Not Really 'Churches'

( The Vatican has issued a new doctrinal statement confirming the essential role of the Catholic Church in God's plan for salvation.

The short document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), presented in question-and-answer format, addresses questions about the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that the Church founded by Jesus Christ "subsists" in the Catholic Church.

The CDF affirms that while other Christian bodies can play a role in bringing people to salvation, it is in the Catholic Church that "the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth." The Vatican document makes a further distinction between Orthodox churches that have preserved valid sacraments, and should be recognized as "sister churches," and Protestant groups that have not preserved the Eucharistic presence....

read full story here

Read Full Text of CDF Document Here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Here's the gist of it. The Catholic Church is the one and only "Church" founded by Jesus Christ. The Eastern Orthodox churches have maintained the sacraments, and therefore they are like "sister churches" in a very real sense, even though unity with Rome is the only thing lacking to complete them. Protestant churches on the other hand, are not really "churches" at all, because they have not preserved the sacraments. They are in essence man-made artificial organizations. These man-made organizations tie together like-minded Christians, who are separated from communion with Rome, into cohesive communities that mimic the appearance of a church, but they are not a 'church' according to the theological and historical definition. Because of this, it is more appropriate to refer to Protestant churches as "communities" or "organizations." Roman Catholics would do well to think of these "communities" this way, and order our speech accordingly for the sake of clarity.

It is absolutely imperative that Catholics understand the gravity of the Church's teaching on this. The Catholic Church has ALWAYS taught that it is the one true Church of Christ, and outside of it there is no salvation. This statement from the Vatican CDF reaffirms that fully, and again stipulates that the Second Vatican Council was pastoral in nature -- changing not a single Church doctrine. Many Catholics have been misled by the modern "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy of religious relativism. The papacy has NEVER embraced this idea. The Second Vatican Council NEVER condoned it. Many of us may have been taught that by our priests or religious instructors, but it doesn't change the fact that it's heresy. The Vatican has NEVER embraced Protestant organizations as "churches" on equal footing with the Catholic Church, and much to the chagrin of liberals, it never will.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has something to say about all of this, but it's important for us to understand how it's nuanced a certain way, so as to reaffirm the same teaching always taught by the Church.
Outside the Church there is no salvation

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

[emphasis added]

The key to this post-conciliar nuance is knowledge on the part of the Christian who refuses to enter the Catholic Church. What the Catechism is telling us is that if you're a Christian, and you KNOW Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church, and you REFUSE to enter it anyway, then you damn yourself to hell, because there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

The situation for Protestants is a complicated one. They know of Jesus Christ. They accept his Lordship. They receive the forgiveness he offers on the cross. Most of them are baptized in the Trinitarian formula -- a sacrament Rome considers totally valid regardless of the Protestant community it was performed in. They pray to and worship Christ as God. They study the Scriptures and give of their treasure and talents to the work of God's Kingdom here on earth. The Catholic Church fully recognizes them as Christian "brethren," though separated from full and perfect communion. In these ways Protestants are "catholic" in the sense that they've already embraced so much of the Catholic Christian faith, that virtually the only thing lacking is a little education and the sacraments. One could say if the trip to Rome were 100 miles, most Protestants have already traveled 80 to 90 of them.

Yet here is the sticking point. Very few Protestants have ever willfully chosen to leave the Catholic Church. Yes, there are a few, but for the most part, the vast majority of Protestants were born into Protestant families and consequently that's all they've ever known. Even among those few who chose to leave the Catholic Church today, in favor of some Protestant denomination, one could easily argue that the reason why they left in the first place was because they were so poorly educated in Catholicism that they didn't truly understand what they were leaving behind. Because of this, the Church places no blame on those Christians separated from the Catholic Church, so long as their separation was through no fault of their own...
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."
The Church still has the obligation and sacred right to evangelize. Why? Because it's pretty hard to be totally and completely without fault of your own. How many people do you know who are totally and completely without fault? Oh, I would venture to say that some of you may knew a few. Perhaps some of you may have small infants at home. Or maybe you know some adults who are mentally retarded and unable to communicate. These people certainly qualify as folks having no fault of their own. (When I say "fault" I don't mean sin, but rather blame.) Still, how many of you actually know some adults, who have all their faculties, that are totally and completely without fault? They may have sin in their lives, we all do, but that's not what I'm talking about. What I'm asking is who among them is ignorant of the gospel and the Church without fault of their own? Now we're starting to enter a grey area. Your Buddhist neighbor may be ignorant of the Gospel, and it may be through no fault of his own, but how can you be sure of that? You can't. You never could be. Technically speaking, you're not even qualified to say he is, even if you think you know. Only God is qualified to make that call. So what is your responsibility as a Catholic Christian then? Simple. EVANGELIZE! You don't know if your Buddhist neighbor is without fault in his ignorance of the gospel, and there is no way you could ever know. So the only thing you're qualified to do is tell him about it. Evangelize him! If he doesn't convert, that's fine because it's his choice, but you're still not qualified to tell if he's without fault. All you're qualified to do is tell them of your love for Christ and his Church, without stopping, and without judging them.

Now back to the Protestant question. What does Mother Church have to say to us specifically about them...
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."
Here we see the Church takes the case of the original Protestant "reformers" very seriously. These were educated men, who fully understood the potential consequences of their actions should they be in error. We would like to believe that they did not know they were in error. We would like to believe they did not fully understand what they were doing. Indeed, only God can judge. But all the evidence available to us seems to indicate a very damning case against them. The Council of Trent (AD 1545) pronounced anathema upon them and their doctrines. Even the softer and nuanced bishops of Vatican II could not disagree. The social, political and theological movements that spawned the original Protestant "Reformation" were damnable things, and those educated men who espoused them risked damnation of their souls, even by the standards of Vatican II.

Yet the Protestant movement did not end there. The damnable teachings of the "Reformation" fathers poisoned the minds of their followers against the Catholic Church - brainwashing Protestant children against her. Sometimes this was done maliciously with pure anti-catholic propaganda. Sometimes it was done more subtly, with the teaching of theological doctrines so inconsistent with Catholic teaching, that conversion back to Catholicism seemed impossible. Through the centuries Protestantism drifted so far away from it's Catholic roots, that Protestants themselves began to think of the Catholic Church as something totally foreign to them. Catholic worship itself became "strange" to them. Catholics became known as a "peculiar" people with "peculiar" customs that were totally foreign to the Protestant frame of mind. For example; while visiting Catholic churches, some Protestants (of the Evangelical persuasion) have been known to get up and walk out once they see incense burning in the procession. Why? Because it literally frightens them. They've never seen it before, and they don't know what to think of it. (This actually happened to a Baptist friend of mine. She saw the incense burning and made a straight line for the back door. I've since heard reports of this happening with other visiting Protestants.) It's odd that this would be the case, especially since the burning of incense is a totally Biblical practice, and Protestants pride themselves on following the Bible. Yet this is the reality of the situation we live in today. Can these Protestants be excused because their refusal to enter the Catholic Church is by no fault of their own? Perhaps, but it's not up to us to do the excusing. We're not qualified. Only God is. Our job is to evangelize and educate our "separated brethren" about the necessity of the Catholic Church in their "personal relationship with Jesus Christ."

In regards to the community organizations which were formed by Protestants, often called "churches," we must educate ourselves as to what they are, and where they came from. The original Protestants who separated themselves from the Catholic Church were completely unable to reunify themselves under a single banner. (That's because there is no Christian Unity outside the Catholic Church either.) So the regional governments of northern Europe stepped in to prevent confusion from spiraling downward into chaos. The original Protestant "churches" were state run. They were entities of the government, and they were organized upon nationality. These National "churches" were the forerunners to the original Protestant denominations we know today. For example, when the English came to North America, the state-run "Church of England" organized itself in the colonies as a Protestant 'denomination.' This was one way the English state asserted its influence (via religion) over the American colonists. Likewise, the state-run "Evangelical Church of Germany" did the same with the German immigrants to America via what became known as the "Lutheran" denomination. Throughout the centuries, Christians within the artificially state-run "churches" came to realize the problems associated with this. Some of them broke off to form new denominations, which were independent of state-run authority. As a result, they created new artificial governing bodies, to handle affairs within these new so-called "churches." Schism followed schism as century followed century, until we finally reached the current state of things in the Protestant world. At latest count, there are now some 20,000 individual Protestant denominations, affiliations and sects. Most Protestants today remain a part of the organizations they are familiar with, simply because they're afraid to try anything else. Who can blame them? Why would anyone want to do all the work it takes to determine which one (if any) of these 20,000 denominations is the right one? Most Protestants simply throw their hands up in the air on this one. As a result, a new doctrine has emerged in Protestant circles, which teaches that the true 'Church of Christ' is totally invisible, with no distinct head or body. As a result, nobody can truly know who is part of the invisible Church of Christ. It's all a mystery. Needless to say this is heresy, but it illustrates just how 'impossible' a task it is when Protestants try to rationalize the reason for so many communities, and so little unity.

As for these artificial organizations that like-minded Protestant communities create to govern themselves, Rome has never recognized them as anything more than that, and it never will. Catholics should do likewise. But in regards to these like-minded Protestant communities, the Catechism of the Catholic Church does have some important acknowledgments...
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements." Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."

When the Catechism uses the word "Churches" it is referring to the Eastern Orthodox. But when it says "ecclesial communities" it is in reference to like-minded Protestant denominations, affiliations and sects. In them, the Catholic Church recognizes that God uses them as tools to bring people to the knowledge of Christ and to salvation. You will notice that while it acknowledges these communities as a "means of salvation," it does so only so far as its teachings agree with the Catholic Church. Thus the "power" these organizations have to bring people to salvation, is in actuality an extension of the Catholic Church's power, because the vital teachings Protestant communities rely on (Bible, Trinity, Incarnation, Justification, Sanctification, Baptism, etc.) originally come from the Catholic Church, and are in full agreement with the Catholic Church. They are in essence, arms of Catholic influence, outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church. So in a very real way, if a Protestant comes to salvation, he does so because of how well he was influenced by Catholic teachings, some of which may have come through his Protestant denomination. So it can truly be said that outside the Catholic Church (or her sphere of influence) there is no salvation.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

FREE AT LAST: Tridentine Mass Liberated!

See Related Video Here
See CNN Report Here

Download Motu Proprio, Pope's Letter with Q&A from US Bishops

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: After having been repressed for nearly 40 years, the Mass of Saint Pius V (commonly known as the "Tridentine Mass" or "Classical Latin Mass") has been liberated by Pope Benedict XVI - formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. For over three decades, the vast majority of Catholics around the world have been under the false impression that the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II: 1962-1965) dispensed of the old mass (Tridentine) and replaced it with the new mass (commonly known as the "Novus Ordo" or "Mass of Pope Paul VI"). Not so! Vatican officials have in recent years repeatedly said the old rite was never abolished, and can still be celebrated anywhere in the world, with the permission of the local bishop. The late Pope John Paul II issued his own Motu Proprio regarding this same matter on July 2, 1988, establishing the norms for how this takes place.

However, it would appear that in most diocese throughout the world, particularly the United States, many bishops simply ignored Pope John Paul II and refused to grant permission to celebrate the Tridentine mass when it was respectfully requested by the faithful. The seriousness of this problem led to the alienation of many Catholics from their historic roots, and the rapid growth of a semi-schismatic group known as the "Society of St. Pius X" (SSPX). The SSPX currently operates outside the canonical structures of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrates the Tridentine mass exclusively, and totally rejects the reforms of Vatican II. The Motu Proprio issued by Pope Benedict XVI today, entitled Summorum Pontificum (which means "Of the Supreme Pontiffs"), builds upon Pope John Paul II's decision to permit greater freedom and latitude for the Tridentine mass. It does so by insisting that all local bishops grant permission for the faithful to celebrate the Tridentine mass, and if a bishop is unable to comply, the faithful have recourse to the pontifical commission of Ecclesia Dei, which will endeavor to "help" that bishop with this problem.

Over the last three decades, the Tridentine mass has become something of an anathema to liberals within the Church, many of whom find it intolerable. Usually those most hostile toward the old mass, also tend to be those most permissive toward fanciful innovations and liturgical abuse within the new mass. The liberal mindset follows the modernist presumption that Vatican II dispensed of the old Catholic Church, and created an entirely new one where "anything goes." The introduction of the Novus Ordo mass in 1970, along with the simultaneous repression of the Tridentine mass, unfortunately served to fuel this false presumption for decades.

Therefore this papal decision sends a virtual "death blow" to the liberal ideology of liturgical innovation and the modernist influence over the mass. Thus allowing the tide of historic Catholic tradition to flood back into the Church, the local congregation, and every individual Catholic willing to receive it. This restoration of the Tridentine mass is sure to exert a "gravitational pull" on the Novus Ordo. By that, I mean the Novus Ordo (commonly celebrated in the vernacular languages) is bound to come into greater continuity with the historic traditions and customs of the old Tridentine mass. Over time the two will remain distinct, but the continuity between them will be more obvious. Many of the customs and traditions of the Catholic mass, which were never intended to be thrown out, will slowly return to the Novus Ordo. This is part of Pope Benedict XVI's greater plan of liturgical renewal. Such a scenario may be intolerable to hard-core liberals, and because of that, we might expect to see a small exodus. However, Pope Benedict's intent is to put an end to disputes over the mass, and restore tranquility to the liturgical scene. His accompanying four-page letter chides hot tempers on both sides of the debate, calling for peace and harmony as both traditional and contemporary Catholics learn from each other, recognizing that no harm can come from historic traditions that have always been observed. He calls contemporary Catholics to greater fidelity to the authorized rubrics of the Novus Ordo mass. Furthermore, he insists that both masses (old and new) are part of the same Roman Rite, and that no rupture exists between them. A new vocabulary is called for in referring to the two masses. For the Novus Ordo is now to be referred to as the "Ordinary" form of the Roman Rite, while the Tridentine is to be called the "Extraordinary" form of the Roman Rite. (This blogger will henceforth attempt to honor the pope's request.)

There is an ancient Catholic maxim that says; "As the Church worships, so it believes, and so it behaves." In other words, worship shapes faith and behavior. The return of historic tradition, both in the revival of the Extraordinary form of the mass, and it's gravitational pull on the Ordinary form of the mass, has leveled the playing field. The traditional arm of the Church can now operate freely to effect the "reform of the reform" sought by Pope Benedict XVI. This is a pivotal moment in post-conciliar history. A fatal blow has been dealt to the liberals corrupting the Catholic Church and twisting the meaning of Vatican II. Today is "D-Day!" What Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio did today was the equivalent of the Normandy invasion in the liturgical sense. The liberal war on our historic Catholic Tradition is far from over, but today we have seen the "beginning of the end." Historic Catholic Tradition has finally been reintroduced to the Church in the revived Extraordinary form of the mass, and with it, the Ordinary form will soon be elevated to its intended glory. All of these things can only serve to make both the clergy and the laity more conservative, more orthodox and ultimately more Catholic.

Related Stories:
Differences Between Tridentine & Modern Mass
The Failures of Vatican II
Some Examples of Liturgical Abuse
How to Dress for Mass
How to Transform an Alter
How to Gregorian Chant
Traditional Latin Mass Explained
Priest Training Workshops
Prayer Shawls - A Sign of Class, Beauty and Courage
Wear Your Mantilla With Pride
Tridentine Mass is ONLY Solution to the SSPX Problem
The Mass Proscribed by Vatican II
The Real Vatican II
Is the Tridentine Mass A Key to Christian Unity?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Eastern Catholic Rite

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I had the privilege of attending an Byzantine Catholic Church last Sunday, where I participated in the Divine Liturgy. I was amazed at how much I already knew, seeing as how the creed, prayers and responses are virtually identical to the Western liturgy (mass). However, the atmosphere of mystery was something that couldn't be beat...

From the Byzantine Catholic Website...
The spiritual heritage of the Byzantine Catholic Church is the same given to us by the Apostles and which matured in the Christian East, during the period of the Byzantine Empire. This heritage includes the doctrines, liturgical practices and underlying theology and spirituality which come to us from the Christian Church of the Byzantine Empire. This heritage is shared among all of the Christian peoples, regardless of ethnicity or nationality, who trace their spiritual roots to the Great Church of Constantinople, and the Byzantine religious culture which grew from that Church. From the First Millennium, Christians of the Byzantine tradition have referred to themselves as "Orthodox Christians". Byzantine Catholics are Orthodox Christians who embrace full communion with the Church of Rome and its primate, Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St. Peter, the first among the Apostles. Sadly, however, the break in communion between the Orthodox East and the Catholic West of 1054 still affects us today, as our communion with Rome means we are not in full communion with our mother Orthodox Church. We pray for the day when the Churches will again be one.