Monday, March 30, 2009

Sacrament of Matrimony in the Extraordinary Form: Feast of St. Joseph

Photos by Ms. Claire Navarro

On the Feast of St. Joseph last March 19, 2009, Ms. Maria Rosita Bumanglag and Mr. Vincent Dinoso exchanged their vows in the Sacrament of Matrimony according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the Antipolo Cathedral. The wedding ceremonies used the customs inherited by the Philippine Church from Spain. The Traditional Latin Nuptial Mass was celebrated by Father Michell Joe Zerrudo and assisted by the servers of the Ecclesia Dei Society of St. Joseph. Congratulations and best wishes to Ochie and Vince!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A New Diocese in the Philippines

The Holy Father has created a new diocese of Libmanan in the province of Camarines Sur and appointed Bishop José Rojas, 52, as its head.

Read complete story from Zenit.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Announcement: TLM at Sta Teresita del Nino Parish

A TLM will be offered at the Sta Teresita del Nino Parish in Mayon St. Quezon City at 6:00 PM tomorrow, March 25, 2009, Feast of the Announciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The celebrant is Father Michell Joe Zerrudo.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bishop Bernard Fellay's Response to the Holy Father

From Rorate Caeli.

of the Superior General
of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X [FSSPX / SSPX]

Pope Benedict XVI addressed a letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church, dated March 10 2009, in which he made them aware of the intentions which guided him in this important step which is the Decree of January 21, 2009.

After "an avalanche of protests was unleashed" recently, we greatly thank the Holy Father for having placed the debate at the level on which it should take place, that of the faith. We fully share his utmost concern for preaching to "our age, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel".

The Church lives, in fact, through a major crisis which cannot be solved other than by an integral return to the purity of the faith. With Saint Athanasius, we profess that "Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the Catholic faith: whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally." (Quicumque Creed)

Far from wanting to stop Tradition in 1962, we wish to consider the Second Vatican Council and the post-Conciliar magisterium in the light of this Tradition which Saint Vincent of Lérins defined as that "which has been believed everywhere, always, by all" (Commonitorium), without rupture and in a perfectly homogenous development. It is thus that we will be able to contribute efficaciously to the evangelization asked for by the Savior (cf. Matthew, 28,19-20).

The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X assures Benedict XVI of its will to address the doctrinal discussions considered "necessary" by the Decree of January 21, with the desire of serving the revealed Truth which is the first charity to be shown towards all men, Christian or not. It assures him of its prayers so that his faith may not fail and that he may confirm all his brethren (cf. Luke 22 32).

We place these doctrinal discussions under the protection of Our Lady of All Trust, with the assurance that she will obtain for us the grace of faithfully delivering that which we received, "tradidi quod et accepi" (I Cor. 15,3).

Menzingen, March 12 2009

+ Bernard Fellay

Pope Benedict's Letter to the Bishops



concerning the remission of the excommunication

of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre

Dear Brothers in the Episcopal Ministry!

The remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated in 1988 by Archbishop Lefebvre without a mandate of the Holy See has for many reasons caused, both within and beyond the Catholic Church, a discussion more heated than any we have seen for a long time. Many Bishops felt perplexed by an event which came about unexpectedly and was difficult to view positively in the light of the issues and tasks facing the Church today. Even though many Bishops and members of the faithful were disposed in principle to take a positive view of the Pope’s concern for reconciliation, the question remained whether such a gesture was fitting in view of the genuinely urgent demands of the life of faith in our time. Some groups, on the other hand, openly accused the Pope of wanting to turn back the clock to before the Council: as a result, an avalanche of protests was unleashed, whose bitterness laid bare wounds deeper than those of the present moment. I therefore feel obliged to offer you, dear Brothers, a word of clarification, which ought to help you understand the concerns which led me and the competent offices of the Holy See to take this step. In this way I hope to contribute to peace in the Church.

An unforeseen mishap for me was the fact that the Williamson case came on top of the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards four Bishops ordained validly but not legitimately suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and thus as the reversal of what the Council had laid down in this regard to guide the Church’s path. A gesture of reconciliation with an ecclesial group engaged in a process of separation thus turned into its very antithesis: an apparent step backwards with regard to all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews taken since the Council – steps which my own work as a theologian had sought from the beginning to take part in and support. That this overlapping of two opposed processes took place and momentarily upset peace between Christians and Jews, as well as peace within the Church, is something which I can only deeply deplore. I have been told that consulting the information available on the internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news. I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility. Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which – as in the days of Pope John Paul II – has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.

Another mistake, which I deeply regret, is the fact that the extent and limits of the provision of 21 January 2009 were not clearly and adequately explained at the moment of its publication. The excommunication affects individuals, not institutions. An episcopal ordination lacking a pontifical mandate raises the danger of a schism, since it jeopardizes the unity of the College of Bishops with the Pope. Consequently the Church must react by employing her most severe punishment – excommunication – with the aim of calling those thus punished to repent and to return to unity. Twenty years after the ordinations, this goal has sadly not yet been attained. The remission of the excommunication has the same aim as that of the punishment: namely, to invite the four Bishops once more to return. This gesture was possible once the interested parties had expressed their recognition in principle of the Pope and his authority as Pastor, albeit with some reservations in the area of obedience to his doctrinal authority and to the authority of the Council. Here I return to the distinction between individuals and institutions. The remission of the excommunication was a measure taken in the field of ecclesiastical discipline: the individuals were freed from the burden of conscience constituted by the most serious of ecclesiastical penalties. This disciplinary level needs to be distinguished from the doctrinal level. The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church. There needs to be a distinction, then, between the disciplinary level, which deals with individuals as such, and the doctrinal level, at which ministry and institution are involved. In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.

In light of this situation, it is my intention henceforth to join the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" – the body which has been competent since 1988 for those communities and persons who, coming from the Society of Saint Pius X or from similar groups, wish to return to full communion with the Pope – to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes. The collegial bodies with which the Congregation studies questions which arise (especially the ordinary Wednesday meeting of Cardinals and the annual or biennial Plenary Session) ensure the involvement of the Prefects of the different Roman Congregations and representatives from the world’s Bishops in the process of decision-making. The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.

I hope, dear Brothers, that this serves to clarify the positive significance and also the limits of the provision of 21 January 2009. But the question still remains: Was this measure needed? Was it really a priority? Aren’t other things perhaps more important? Of course there are more important and urgent matters. I believe that I set forth clearly the priorities of my pontificate in the addresses which I gave at its beginning. Everything that I said then continues unchanged as my plan of action. The first priority for the Successor of Peter was laid down by the Lord in the Upper Room in the clearest of terms: "You… strengthen your brothers" (Lk 22:32). Peter himself formulated this priority anew in his first Letter: "Always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet 3:15). In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses "to the end" (cf. Jn 13:1) – in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.

Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time. A logical consequence of this is that we must have at heart the unity of all believers. Their disunity, their disagreement among themselves, calls into question the credibility of their talk of God. Hence the effort to promote a common witness by Christians to their faith – ecumenism – is part of the supreme priority. Added to this is the need for all those who believe in God to join in seeking peace, to attempt to draw closer to one another, and to journey together, even with their differing images of God, towards the source of Light – this is interreligious dialogue. Whoever proclaims that God is Love "to the end" has to bear witness to love: in loving devotion to the suffering, in the rejection of hatred and enmity – this is the social dimension of the Christian faith, of which I spoke in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est.

So if the arduous task of working for faith, hope and love in the world is presently (and, in various ways, always) the Church’s real priority, then part of this is also made up of acts of reconciliation, small and not so small. That the quiet gesture of extending a hand gave rise to a huge uproar, and thus became exactly the opposite of a gesture of reconciliation, is a fact which we must accept. But I ask now: Was it, and is it, truly wrong in this case to meet half-way the brother who "has something against you" (cf. Mt 5:23ff.) and to seek reconciliation? Should not civil society also try to forestall forms of extremism and to incorporate their eventual adherents – to the extent possible – in the great currents shaping social life, and thus avoid their being segregated, with all its consequences? Can it be completely mistaken to work to break down obstinacy and narrowness, and to make space for what is positive and retrievable for the whole? I myself saw, in the years after 1988, how the return of communities which had been separated from Rome changed their interior attitudes; I saw how returning to the bigger and broader Church enabled them to move beyond one-sided positions and broke down rigidity so that positive energies could emerge for the whole. Can we be totally indifferent about a community which has 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 6 seminaries, 88 schools, 2 university-level institutes, 117 religious brothers, 164 religious sisters and thousands of lay faithful? Should we casually let them drift farther from the Church? I think for example of the 491 priests. We cannot know how mixed their motives may be. All the same, I do not think that they would have chosen the priesthood if, alongside various distorted and unhealthy elements, they did not have a love for Christ and a desire to proclaim him and, with him, the living God. Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity? What would then become of them?

Certainly, for some time now, and once again on this specific occasion, we have heard from some representatives of that community many unpleasant things – arrogance and presumptuousness, an obsession with one-sided positions, etc. Yet to tell the truth, I must add that I have also received a number of touching testimonials of gratitude which clearly showed an openness of heart. But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.

Dear Brothers, during the days when I first had the idea of writing this letter, by chance, during a visit to the Roman Seminary, I had to interpret and comment on Galatians 5:13-15. I was surprised at the directness with which that passage speaks to us about the present moment: "Do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed by one another." I am always tempted to see these words as another of the rhetorical excesses which we occasionally find in Saint Paul. To some extent that may also be the case. But sad to say, this "biting and devouring" also exists in the Church today, as expression of a poorly understood freedom. Should we be surprised that we too are no better than the Galatians? That at the very least we are threatened by the same temptations? That we must always learn anew the proper use of freedom? And that we must always learn anew the supreme priority, which is love? The day I spoke about this at the Major Seminary, the feast of Our Lady of Trust was being celebrated in Rome. And so it is: Mary teaches us trust. She leads us to her Son, in whom all of us can put our trust. He will be our guide – even in turbulent times. And so I would like to offer heartfelt thanks to all the many Bishops who have lately offered me touching tokens of trust and affection, and above all assured me of their prayers. My thanks also go to all the faithful who in these days have given me testimony of their constant fidelity to the Successor of Saint Peter. May the Lord protect all of us and guide our steps along the way of peace. This is the prayer that rises up instinctively from my heart at the beginning of this Lent, a liturgical season particularly suited to interior purification, one which invites all of us to look with renewed hope to the light which awaits us at Easter.

With a special Apostolic Blessing, I remain

Yours in the Lord,


From the Vatican, 10 March 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Requiem Mass for Msgr. Andrade

This is the requiem Mass for the late Msgr. Moises Andrade, Jr. with Father Michell Joe Zerrudo, his former student, celebrating. The requiem mass was scheduled to be according to the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, the form so loved by the late monsignor but denied by the acting parish priest and bishop of Malolos so it was celebrating using the ordinary form in the vernacular but used the Roman Canon in Latin. The absolution however used the older form.

The good monsignor, who was responsible for the tagalog translation of the sacramentary and local reforms after Vatican II, continued to love the form that opened his vocation, the TLM. He continued celebrating the extraordinary form in the 90's through the celebret and indult given by the Archdiocese of Manila and he was one of the first clergy to implement it the parish level after Summorum Pontificum took effect. He never failed to promote the TLM to canon lawyers, fellow diocesan chancelors and fellow liturgists.

In the introduction of Msgr. Moises Andrade to the televised Christmas Midnight Mass last December, he captured clearly the mind of Pope Benedict XVI for issuing Summorum Pontificum that the Missal of 1962 be once more the guiding principle of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice that is why he quoted the opening passages of the Roman Missals: “Up to our own times it has been the constant concern of the supreme pontiffs to ensure the Church of Christ offer a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, to the praise and glory of His Name and to the benefit of all His Holy Church."

Sadly it seems that many among the clergy have no idea what the mind of the Holy Father is for issuing Summorum Pontificum or they are just clearly opposed to it.

(I apologize that the name of the concelebrant has escaped my mind. I will post the name as soon as get his info).

A foreword by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith on the book "True Development of the Liturgy"

This is a must read for all Ministers of Liturgy, liturgical Master of Ceremonies, Worship Coordinators and Liturgical "Animators" and all those who are interested with liturgy. This is the foreword to the book "True Development of the Liturgy by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli and the "Liturgical Reform from 1948 to 1970" by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro. This foreword was written by Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Originally posted in the New Liturgical Movement. Emphasis mine.

Foreword to the book "True Development of the Liturgy: Cardinal Ferdinado Antonelli and the Liturgical Reform from 1948 to 1970" by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro

by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship

To be published by Roman Catholic Books in the Autumn of 2009

"How much of the post–Conciliar liturgical reform truly reflects “Sacrosanctum Concilium”, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy is a question that has often been debated in ecclesial circles ever since the Concilium ad Exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia finished its work. It has been debated with even greater intensity in the last couple of decades. And while some have argued that what was done by the Concilium was indeed in line with that great document, others have totally disagreed.

"In the search for an answer to this question we ought to take into account the turbulent mood of the years that immediately followed the Council. In his decision to convoke the Council, Pope John XXIII had wished the Church to be prepared for the new world that was emerging in the aftermath of the disastrous events of the Second World War. He would have prophetically foreseen the emergence of a strong current of materialism and secularism from the core orientations of the preceding era which had been marked by the spirit of the enlightenment and in which the traditional values of the old world view had already begun to be shaken. The Industrial Revolution along with its strongly anthropocentric and subjectivist philosophical trends, especially those resulting from the influences of Kant, Hume and Hegel, led to the emergence also of Marxism and Positivism. It also let to the ascendance of Biblical Criticism relativising, to a certain extent, the veracity of the Holy Scriptures, which in turn had its negative influences on theology, generating a questioning attitude vis-à-vis the objectivity of established Truth and of the usefulness of defending ecclesial traditions and Institutions. Some schools of theology were bold enough even to question basic doctrines of the Church. In fact, Modernism had earlier been seen as a source of danger for the faith. It is in this background that Pope John XXIII had felt that more convincing answers needed to be found.

"The call for aggiornamento by the Pope thus assumed the character of a search for a fortification of the faith in order to render the Mission of the Church more effective and able to respond to these challenges convincingly. It was certainly not a call to go along with the spirit of the times, a sort of drifting passively along, nor was it a call to effect a new start to the Church as much as to render the message of the Gospel even more responsive to the difficult questions mankind would face in the post-modern era. The Pope explained the ethos behind his decision when he stated, “today the Church is witnessing a crisis under way within society. While humanity is on the edge of a new era, tasks of immense gravity and amplitude await the Church, as in the most tragic periods of its history. It is a question in fact of bringing the modern world into contact with the vivifying and perennial energies of the Gospel ………. in the face of this twofold spectacle – a world which reveals a grave state of spiritual poverty and the Church of Christ, which is still so vibrant with vitality – we …. have felt immediately the urgency of the duty to call our sons together to give the Church the possibility to contribute more efficaciously to the solution of the problems of the modern age” [Apostolic Constitution Humanae Salutis of 25th Dec. 1961]. The Pope went on, “the forthcoming Council will meet therefore at a moment in which the Church finds very alive the desire to fortify its faith, and to contemplate itself in its own awe-inspiring unity. In the same way, it feels urgent the duty to give greater efficiency to its sound vitality and to promote the sanctification of its members, the diffusion of revealed truth, the consolidation of its agencies” [ibid].

Thus the Council was basically a call for a fortification of the Church from within in order to make it better prepared for its mission amidst the realities of the modern world. Underlying these words was also the sense of appreciation the Pope felt towards what the Church indeed already was. The words, “vibrant with vitality” used by the Pope to define the status of the Church at that moment, surely do not betray any sense of pessimism, as though the Pope looked down upon the past or what the Church had achieved up until then. Hence one cannot justifiably think that with the Council the Pope called for a new beginning. Neither was it a call to the Church to “de-classify” itself, changing or giving up totally its age old traditions getting itself, so to say, absorbed into the reality of the world around. In no way was change to be made for the sake of change but only in order to make the Church stronger and better prepared to face new challenges. In short, the Council was never to be an aimless adventure. It was intended to be a truly Pentecostal experience.

"Yet, however much the Popes who guided this event insisted upon the need for a true spirit of reform, faithful to the essential nature of the Church, and even if the Council itself had produced such beautiful theological and pastoral reflections as Lumen Gentium, Dei Verbum, Gaudium et Spes and Sacrosanctum Concilium, what happened outside the Council − especially both within the society at large and within the circle of its philosophical and cultural leadership − began to influence it negatively, creating tendencies that were harmful to its life and mission. These tendencies, which at times were even more virulently represented by certain circles within the Church, were not necessarily connected to the orientations or recommendations of the documents of Vatican II. Yet they were able to shake the foundations of ecclesial teaching and faith to a surprising extent. Society’s fascination with an exaggerated sense of individual freedom and its penchant for the rejection of anything permanent, absolute or other worldly had its influence on the Church and often was justified in the name of the Council. This view also relativised Tradition, veracity of evolved doctrine, and tended to idolize anything new. It contained within itself strong tendencies favourable to relativism and religious syncretism. For them the Council had to be a sort of a new beginning for the Church. The past had overrun its course. Basic concepts and themes like Sacrifice and Redemption, Mission, Proclamation and Conversion, Adoration as an integral element of Communion, and the need of the Church for salvation -- all were sidelined, while Dialogue, Inculturation, Ecumenism, Eucharist − as − Banquet, Evangelisation − as − Witness, etc., became more important. Absolute values were disdained.

"Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had this to say on this ever increasing spirit of relativism – for him, the true Council “already during its sessions and then increasingly in the subsequent period, was opposed by a self-styled ‘Spirit of the Council’, which in reality is a true ‘anti-spirit’ of the Council. According to this pernicious anti-spirit [Konzils–Ungeist in German], everything that is ‘new’ ……. is always and in every case better than what has been or what is. It is the anti-spirit according to which the history of the Church would first begin with Vatican II, viewed as a kind of point zero” [The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 1985 pp. 34 - 35]. The Cardinal discounted this view as untrue for “Vatican II surely did not want ‘to change’ the faith but to represent it in a more effective way” [ibid]. Actually, the Cardinal affirmed that in fact “the Council did not take the turn that John XXIII had expected”. He further stated “It must also be admitted that, in respect to the whole Church, the prayer of Pope John that the Council signify a new leap forward for the Church, to renewed life and unity, has not – at least not yet – been granted” [ibid. p 42]. These are hard words indeed yet I would say very true, for, that spirit of exaggerated theological freedom indeed hijacked, so to say, the very Council itself away from its declared goals.

"The Concilium ad Exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia too was not exempt from being influenced by this overwhelming tidal wave of a so called desire for “change” and ”openness”. Possibly some of the above mentioned relativising tendencies influenced the Liturgy too, undermining the centrality, the sacredness, sense of mystery as well as the value of what the continuous action of the Holy Spirit in the bi-millennial history of the Church had helped ecclesial liturgical life to grow into. An exaggerated sense of antiquarianism, anthropologism, confusion of roles between the ordained and the non-ordained, a limitless provision of space for experimentation − and, indeed, the tendency to look down upon some aspects of the development of the Liturgy in the second millennium − were increasingly visible among certain liturgical schools. Liturgists had also tended to pick and choose sections of Sacrosanctum Concilium which seemed to be more accommodating to change or novelty while ignoring others. Besides, there was a great sense of hurry to effect and legalize changes. Much space tended to be provided for a rather horizontalist way of looking at the Liturgy. Norms of the Council that tended to restrict such creativity or were favourable to ‘the traditional way’ seemed to be ignored. Worse still, some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass “versus populum”, Holy Communion on the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favour of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of “active participation” (actuosa participatio).

"All of that had its effect on the work of the Concilium. Those who guided the process of change both within the Concilium and later in the Sacred Congregation of Rites were certainly being influenced by all these novel tendencies. Not everything they introduced was negative. Much of the work done was praiseworthy. But much room was also left for experimentation and arbitrary interpretation. These ”freedoms” were exploited to their fullest extent by some liturgical ”experts” leading to too much confusion. Cardinal Ratzinger explains how “one shudders at the lackluster face of the post-conciliar liturgy as it has become, or one is bored with its banality and its lack of artistic standards ….” [The Feast of Faith, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 1986, p. 100]. This is not to lay the responsibility for what happened solely on the members of the Concilium. But some of their approaches were ‘weak’. There indeed was a general spirit of uncritical ‘giving in’ on certain matters to the rabble rousing spirit of the era, even within the Church, most visibly in some sectors and geographic regions. Some of those in authority at the level of the Sacred Congregation of Rites too did show signs of weakness in this matter. Too many indults had been given on certain requirements of the norms.

"Naturally the ‘spirit of freedom’ which some of these powerful sectors within the Church unleashed in the name of the Council, even leading the important decision makers to vacillate, led to much disorder and confusion, something which the Council never intended, nor did the Popes who guided it. The sad comment made by Pope Paul VI during the troubled seventies that “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church,” [Homily on 29th June 1972, Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul] or his comment on the excuses made by some to impede evangelization “on the basis of such and such a teaching of the Council” [Evangelii Nuntiandi 80], show how this anti-spirit of the Council render his labours most painful.

"In the light of all of this and of some of their troublesome consequences for the Church today, it is necessary to find out how the post-Conciliar liturgical reform did emerge and which figures or attitudes caused the present situation. It is a need which, in the name of truth, we cannot abandon. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger analyzed the situation thus: “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the Liturgy …. when the community of faith, the worldwide unity of the Church and her history and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the Liturgy, where else, then is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence? Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless” [Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 1998 pp. 148 - 149]. As we saw above, certain weaknesses of those responsible and the stormy atmosphere of theological relativism, coupled with that sense of fascination with novelty, change, man-centeredness, accent on subjectivity and moral relativism, as well as on individual freedom which characterized the society at large, undermined the fixed values of the faith and caused this slide into liturgical anarchy about which the Cardinal spoke above.

"The penned notes of Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli take on new significance. One of the most eminent and closely involved members of the Concilium which supervised the reform process, Cardinal Antonelli can help us to understand the inner polarizations that influenced the different decisions of the Reform and help us to be courageous in improving or changing that which was erroneously introduced and which appears to be incompatible with the true dignity of the Liturgy. Actually, Father Antonelli was already a member of the Pontifical Commission for Liturgical Reform appointed by Pope Pius XII on 28th May 1948. It was this commission that worked on the reform of the Liturgy of Holy Week and of the Easter Vigil, which reforms were handled with much care by the same. That very commission was then re-constituted by Pope John XXIII in May 1960 and, later on, Father Antonelli was also part of the inner group that worked on the redaction of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Conciliar Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Thus he indeed was very closely involved in the work of the reform from its very inception.

"Yet, his role in the reform movement seems to have been largely unknown until the author of this book, “Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli and the developments of the Liturgical reform from 1948 to 1970”, Mgr Nicola Giampietro, had come across his personal agenda notes and decided to present them in a study. This study, which was also the doctoral dissertation of Mgr Giampietro at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of St. Anselm in Rome, helps us to understand the complex inner workings of the liturgical reform prior to and immediately following the Council. Cardinal Antonelli’s notes reveal a great man of faith and of the Church struggling to come to terms with some of the inner currents which influenced the work involving the Concilium ad Exsequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia. What he wrote in these diaries reveal quite candidly his feelings of joy as well as of sorrow and at times of fear at the way things were being made to move along, the attitudes of some of the key players and the sense of adventurism which had characterized some of the changes that had been introduced. The book is well done. Indeed, it has also been quoted by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself in an article he wrote in the well-known liturgical review “La Maison-Dieu”, entitled “Réponse du Cardinal Ratzinger au Père Gy” (La Maison-Dieu, 230, 2002/2, p. 116). Above all it is a timely study which would help us to see another side of the otherwise over euphoric presentations of the Conciliar Reform by other contemporary authors.

"The publication in English language of this interesting study would, I am sure contribute greatly to the ongoing debate on the post-Conciliar liturgical reforms. What is most clear to any reader of this study is that as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger stated, “the true time of Vatican II has not yet come” [The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, San Francisco 1985 p. 40]. The reform has to go on. The immediate need seems to be that of a reform of the reformed Missal of 1969, for, quite a number of changes originating within the Post-Conciliar reform seem to have been introduced somewhat hastily and unreflectively, as Cardinal Antonelli himself repeatedly stated. One needs to correct the direction so that changes are indeed made to fall in line with Sacrosanctum Concilium itself and it must indeed go even further, keeping along with the spirit of our own times. And what urges such changes is not merely a desire to correct past mistakes but much more the need to be true to what Liturgy in fact is and means to us and what the Council itself defined it to be. For, indeed, as Cardinal Ratzinger stated: “the question of liturgy is not peripheral: the Council itself reminded us that we are dealing here with the very core of Christian faith” [ibid. p. 120]. What we need today is to not only engage ourselves in an honest appraisal of what happened but also to take bold and courageous decisions in moving the process along. We need to identify and correct the erroneous orientations and decisions made, appreciate the liturgical tradition of the past courageously, and ensure that the Church is made to re-discover the true roots of its spiritual wealth and grandeur even if that means reforming the reform itself, thereby ensuring that Liturgy truly becomes the “sublime expression of God’s glory and, in a certain sense, a glimpse of heaven on Earth” [Benedict XVI, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of 22nd February 2007, 35]."

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith
8th December 2008
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cardinal Mahony on the Tridentine Mass

Ann Scolari: What are your thoughts on the Trindentine mass?

CardinalMahony: Ann: The Tridentine Mass was meant for those who could not make the transition from Latin to English [or other languages] after the Council. But there is no participation by the people, and I don’t believe that instills the spirit of Christ among us.

For them Mary was NOT an active participant in the Sacrifice of our Lord.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Msgr. Guido Marini speaking again about Liturgy

Msgr. Guido Marini, Papal Master of Ceremonies, speaks about the liturgy, proper orientation, proper postures (in receiving communion), proper art and architecture, proper music in consonance with the hermeneutic of continuity.

Translation from the New Liturgical Movement.


Without words before the greatness and beauty of the mystery of God

by Maddalena della Somaglia

The Holy Father seems to have the liturgy as one of the basic themes of his pontificate. You, who follow him so closely, can you confirm this impression?

I would say yes. It is noteworthy that the first volume of the "opera omnia" of the Holy Father, soon to be published in Italian, is that devoted to those writings which have as their object the liturgy. In the preface to that volume, the same Joseph Ratzinger emphasizes this fact, noting that the precedence given to the liturgical writings is not accidental, but desired: in the same way as Vatican II, which first promulgated the Constitution dedicated to the Sacred Liturgy, followed by the great Constitution on the Church. [Lumen Gentium] It is in the liturgy, in fact, where the mystery of the Church is made manifest. It is understandable, then, the reason why the liturgy should be one of the basic themes of the papacy of Benedict XVI: it is in the liturgy that the renewal and reform of the Church begins.

Is there a relationship between the sacred liturgy and art and architecture? Should the call of the Pope to continuity in the liturgy be extended to art and sacred architecture?

There is certainly a vital relationship between the liturgy, sacred art and architecture. In part because sacred art and architecture, as such, must be suitable to the liturgy and its content, which finds expression in its celebration. Sacred art in its many manifestations, lives in connection with the infinite beauty of God and toward God, and should be oriented to His praise and His glory. Between liturgy, art and architecture there cannot be then, contradiction or dialectic. As a consequence, if it is necessary for a theological and historical continuity in the liturgy, this continuity should therefore also be a visible and coherent expression in sacred art and architecture.

Pope Benedict XVI recently said in an address that "society speaks with the clothes that it wears." Do you think this could apply to the liturgy?

In effect, we all speak by the clothes that we wear. Dress is a language, as is every form of external expression. The liturgy also speaks with the clothes it wears, and with all its expressive forms, which are many and rich, ever ancient and ever new. In this sense, "liturgical dress", to stay with the terminology you have used, must always be true, that is, in full harmony with the truth of the mystery celebrated. The external signs have to be in harmonious relation with the mystery of salvation in place in the rite. And, it should never be forgotten that the actual clothing of the liturgy is a clothing of sanctity: it finds expression, in fact, in the holiness of God. We are called to face this holiness, we are called to put on that holiness, realizing the fullness of participation.

In an interview with L'Osservatore Romano, you have highlighted the key changes since taking the post of Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations. Could you recall and explain what these mean?

I was just saying that the changes to which you refer are to be understood as a sign of a development in continuity with the recent past, and I remember one in particular: the location of the cross at the centre of the altar. This positioning has the ability to express, also by external sign, proper orientation at the time of the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, that the celebrant and the assembly do not look upon each other but together turn toward the Lord. Also, the unity of the altar and cross together can better show forth, together with the "banquet" aspect, the sacrificial dimension of the Mass, whose significance is always essential, I would say it springs from it, and therefore, always needs to find a visible expression in the rite.

We have noticed that the Holy Father, for some time now, always gives Holy Communion upon the tongue and kneeling. Does he want this to serve as an example for the whole Church, and an encouragement for the faithful to receive our Lord with greater devotion?

As we know the distribution of Holy Communion in the hand remains still, from a legal point of view, an exception [indult] to the universal law, granted by the Holy See to the bishops conferences who so request it. Every believer, even in the presence of an exception [indult], has the right to choose the way in which they will receive Communion. Benedict XVI, began to distribute Communion on the tongue and kneeling on the occasion of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi last year, in full consonance with the provisions of the current liturgical law, perhaps intending to emphasize a preference for this method. One can imagine the reason for this preference: it shines more light on the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist, it helps the devotion of the faithful, and it indicates more easily the sense of mystery.

The Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" is presented as the most important activity in the papacy of Benedict XVI. What is your opinion?

I do not know whether it is the most important but it certainly is an important document. It is not only so because it is a very significant step towards a reconciliation within the Church, not only because it expresses the desire to arrive at a mutual enrichment between the two forms of the Roman Rite, the ordinary and extraordinary, but also because it is the precise indication, in law and liturgy, of that theological continuity which the Holy Father has presented as the only correct hermeneutic for reading and understanding of the life of the Church and, especially, of Vatican II.

What in his view the importance of silence in the liturgy and the life of the Church?

It is of fundamental importance. Silence is necessary for the life of man, because man lives in both words and silences. Silence is all the more necessary to the life of the believer who finds there a unique moment of their experience of the mystery of God. The life of the Church and the Church's liturgy cannot be exempt from this need. Here the silence speaks of listening carefully to the Lord, to His presence and His word, and, together these express the attitude of adoration. Adoration, a necessary dimension of the liturgical action, expresses the human inability to speak words, being "speechless" before the greatness of God's mystery and beauty of His love.

The celebration of the liturgy is made up of texts, singing, music, gestures and also of silence and silences. If these were lacking or were not sufficiently emphasized, the liturgy would not be complete and would be deprived of an irreplaceable dimension of its nature.

Nowadays you hear, during the liturgical celebrations, very diverse music. What music do you think is most suitable to accompany the liturgy?

As the Holy Father Benedict XVI reminds us, and along with him the recent and past tradition of the Church, the liturgy has its own music and that is Gregorian chant, and as such, it constitutes the permanent criterion for liturgical music. As well, a permanent criterion is also the great polyphony of Catholic renaissance, which finds its highest expression in Palestrina.

Beside these irreplaceable forms of liturgical music we find many manifestations of popular song, which are very important and necessary: so long as they adhere to that permanent criterion by which song and music have a right of citizenship within the liturgy, to the extent that they spring from prayer and lead to prayer, thus allowing genuine participation in the mystery celebrated.