Motu Proprio On the Way?

Lurkers on NLM and other traditionalist Catholic sites will only have heard this rumor about 278 times before–but this one seems more solid than the usual run of the mill.

For those not in this particular loop, motu proprio is a term for a document that the Pope produces of his own accord–not as the result of a meeting or council or something. For a while now, we’ve been hearing rumors that B16 has been preparing just such a document for the liberalization of the Traditional Latin Mass according to the Missal of 1962–an edition within the stream of the Tridentine Rite. Remember, even the mass commonly referred to as the Tridentine very rarely is the authentic “Tridentine”–there were a lot of revisions even to that liturgy through the years. Furthermore the official language of the current mass, the Novus Ordo is, technically speaking, Latin. Yes, any Roman priest in any parish can celebrate a Latin mass at any time he chooses–as long as it’s the Novus Ordo.

As I’ve thought more and more about this eventuality coming to fruition, two questions keep raising themselves in my mind. First, what kalendar and lectionary will it use? Vatican II and the rites promulgated after it made some major changes in both. Will Septuagesima come back? How about octaves? Will it use the three year or one year lectionary? Can a single local worshiping body responsibly use two “official” lectionaries and kalendars at the same time or will it create more problems than it sets out to solve?

Second, the rumors I’ve read have involved the Traditional Latin Mass… And that’s totally in keeping with current Roman piety. But what about the Breviary? Will use of the pre-Vatican II breviary also be liberalized allowing one of them to satisfy a priest’s obligation? And if so–which breviary? As we’ve discussed here recently, there are major differences (not least in psalm allotments) between the “Tridentine” Breviary and that of Pius X.

Not being Roman, the release or non-release of such a document will effect my day to day life not one whit. And yet, as one interested in both ecumenism and liturgy, I’m watching the proceedings with great interest. In considering the various Anglo-Catholic “tribes,” some follow Rome because Rome was the keeper of the tradition and some follow whatever it does because it’s Rome. Many in the second group do a “Novus Ordo” Anglo-Catholic mass (like Smokey Mary’s–case in point being their celebration of Corpus Christi on Sunday rather than today). Many in the first group, however, have never forgiven Rome for Vatican II and are–in many ways–more “Roman” than the Romans. All that is to say, what Rome does does matter to us–despite whether the local Roman parish starts doing a TLM or not…

Any movement in any major church towards a more dignified, more reverent worship of God (which is the point of this move) is a good thing in my book–all the more so if it means cool liturgical and chant books become more easily available!

53 thoughts on “Motu Proprio On the Way?

  1. Lee

    I know zip about Roman liturgy apart from having been to a handful of masses. What are the most salient differences between the pre- and post-VII liturgies (besides the obvious Latin vs. vernacular)? And how do these compare to the typical, say, Episcopal or Lutheran liturgy? I guess I’ve never been able to get that het up about liturgy, but I’m curious to know what all the fuss is about…

  2. bls

    I read somewhere recently – can’t remember exactly where – the opinion that many or most Catholics are decidedly underwhelmed by this possible announcement.

    It’s only in the fevered recesses of the internet that this is churning, burning, hot-off-the-presses news. That sounds about right to me; none of the Catholics I know are waiting with bated breath for a chance to attend the Tridentine mass. Those who want it already have the opportunity, for the most part – and the doors aren’t being beaten down even now.

    “Tradition” moves on, IOW….

  3. The young fogey

    The motu proprio has become an urban legend for the Snopes site or ‘I’d love it but will believe it only when I see it’.

    As I like to say, ‘It’s not about Latin!’ I think emphasising the language is a tactic of the other side to scare ordinary layfolk who as bls alludes to aren’t interested in worshipping in dead languages.

    Good point about the office. Give that a universal indult as well! (Suggestions: St Pius X arrangement of the psalms; 1960 rubrics.)

    …a “Novus Ordo” Anglo-Catholic mass (like Smokey Mary’s…)

    I’ve never been there but understand liturgically they’re ‘Rite II with modifications’ modern, which approximates/is equivalent to the Novus Ordo. Actual NO use among Episcopalians is unheard of; it’s well-known among English Anglo-Catholics (as a badge of orthodoxy! …the Anglo-Papalists do it of course; other ACs use their equivalent of Rite II in Common Worship).

    There are a few reasons for the difference. Roman Missal use in the Episcopal Church always was rarer than in England (and only a minority of Anglicans did it there of course) because American bishops enforced the use of the Prayer Book; English bishops mostly gave up. So American ACs used the American Missal, the 1928 BCP service with some Missal propers added and fitted into the framework of the Tridentine Mass. That and there were fewer American Anglo-Papalists. I think because it’s the state church the Church of England has had more extremes than the Episcopal Church (where if one had extreme churchmanship there was less incentive to stay), both Anglo-Papalists using the Missale Romanum (now they use the NO) and ‘Presbyterians with Prayer Book’ Evangelicals.

    Many in the first group, however, have never forgiven Rome for Vatican II and are – in many ways – more “Roman” than the Romans.


    Celebrated Corpus Christi yesterday with a Missal Mass with silent Canon and music by Mozart, procession and Benediction with a huge monstrance.

    All that is to say, what Rome does does matter to us – despite whether the local Roman parish starts doing a TLM or not…

    If one believes as I was taught that one is part of the larger Catholic church then yes.

    Lee, glad you asked! This is being talked about on the Ship of Fools message board so I’ve added to my Order of Mass page; now you can click a link and compare it to the modern RC service and traditional Episcopal prayers.

    The old Mass, late C19-early C20 Anglican and Lutheran services are all Godward (the first Protestants shared that general worldview with the church) and objective with ‘the eastward position’ of the priest at the Communion service.

    bls, I’ve thought lately that the average churchgoing RC wouldn’t mind if the Mass is Tridentine (except most people don’t want Latin) or conservative like one of the Anglican missals as long as it’s short and doesn’t demand much participation from him. The same people who stand silently through the NO Mass having fake folk songs sung at them will likewise put up with something old-fashioned whether they like it or not. (If you want to understand the RC scene read the books of musicologist Thomas Day – he explained it to me.)

    But there is a slowly percolating restoration movement and many/most people in it are young. That’s right, a 1960s-1970s Broad Churchman’s nightmare… more YFs. :)

  4. The young fogey

    First, what kalendar and lectionary will it use? Vatican II and the rites promulgated after it made some major changes in both. Will Septuagesima come back? How about octaves? Will it use the three-year or one-year lectionary?

    The rules in effect since the first indult in 1984 say there is to be no mixing of part of the 1962 Missal and the NO. So… old kalendar, the one-year lectionary, the ’Gesimas and the octaves as they were in 1962.

    (Regarding three-year schemes a priest has said the laity hear three times as much scripture but know it only a third as well. An argument rather like your defence of a folk office with fixed psalmody.)

    That said there is the question of adding feast days and propers for saints canonised since 1962 including SS. Maximilian Kolbe and Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio). AFAIK that hasn’t been done but in future why not?

  5. lutherpunk

    Strange…I would like to see the MP come out even though I don’t have a dog in this hunt. I guess I hope that since we Lutherans absorbed the worst liturgical tendencies of V2 (especially banality of language and loosey-goosey rubrics), that this could help us in another direction, even if we will never celebrate a pre-conciliar style mass.

  6. Fr Chris

    Lee —

    This page is a good comparison of the texts. Speaking as an old-Mass proponent, I find the language far more beautiful (and this is both an original-text issue and a translation issue, granted).

    Beyond the text, there are a lot of ceremonial differences. AFAIK, the old Mass cannot be celebrated versus populum — so think East-facing worship with a high altar, crucifix, tall candles. This difference, like Latin, birettas, Gregorian chant, etc., is something that is possible with the new Mass but not often practiced — whereas they’re compulsory or at least very commonly practiced with the old Mass.

    I’m personally not a big fan of always having Latin services as I’ve mentioned on my own blog, and another thing I’m not a huge fan of but which comes along with the pre-conciliar Mass is the silent canon — that is, most of the prayers between the Creed and the Communion are said silently by the priest. This Google video will give you an idea of what a Tridentine Mass is really like.

  7. Derek the Ænglican

    In the grand scheme of things, to the untrained eye, there’s isn’t a huge world of difference in the texts of the liturgies. Both the pre- and post-VII liturgies have similar forms and features–and these are forms common to the various Anglican liturgies and some of the longer Lutheran forms. (Some of the options in the Green Book are considered defective by certain Roman/Anglican standards.) There are a host of differences to specialists, though… The key difference for a joe-in-the-pew as far as I’m concerned is the manner in which it is said. In the old way, much of what the priest said was in a low voice (the “mystic” voice if I remember the rubrics right). The whole point was that *nobody* could hear most of what was said during the canon of the mass. In Latin. Add in an east-facing celebration (i.e., towards the wall…), and you can imagine why VII emphasized “participation of the people”…

    Most of this fuss isn’t about liturgy, though. Many traditionalists have a very romantic view of life under the Latin Mass where things were clearer, the liturgy more beautiful, the theology better, the piety stronger, etc. The truth is that there were just as many liturgical abuses then as now–they were just different ones.

    You’re right. Most are underwhelmed by the news. It is a big deal in some American and some French circles. More important is the symbolic nature of it. Watch for lots of inflamed liberal American bishops if this happens…

    Adding saints is one of the tricky issues. If you add in Padre Pio…what do you do with St. Joseph??

  8. The young fogey

    Many traditionalists have a very romantic view of life under the Latin Mass…

    Not this one. BTW Thomas Day explains the problems before the council and how many of them continue today (the old liturgical movement was squashed) – the attitude of the average RC as I described above is just about the same now as then.

  9. Derek the Ænglican

    Whoa—had some comments stuck in moderation (I wonder why they did that…?); Fr. Chris and I cross-posted there.

    For anybody interested in liturgy, especially with an eye towards Rome Thomas Day’s book Why Catholics Can’t Sing that yf mentioned above is absolutely a must-read!

  10. Fr Chris

    I’ll definitely have to check out the Day book.

    Reading over the reviews on Amazon, the comment about syncopated music sticks out. That’s one thing that really bugs me about contemporary Catholic liturgical music — I know Gregorian chant in Latin is not for everyone, but I find the contemporary English stuff very, very hard to sight-read or especially pick up without music. Is there any wonder that Catholics in the pews never sing, while Lutherans make a joyful noise from the cheap seats in every congregation I’ve ever visited? But I guess “full participation” only goes so far for some liturgists, however frequently they appeal to that notion.

  11. The young fogey

    Actually, Fr Chris, in theory you can celebrate the traditional Mass facing the congregation. (Some liberals point to St Peter’s Basilica as an example but that’s a case of the church facing one direction and the high altar another – IIRC the priest is literally facing east but the congo are facing west.) Few did or do.

    Thanks for the link to the comparison page – just added it to my Order of Mass page.

  12. *Christopher

    I am of course interested in this for historical reasons, but agree with Bp. Paul Marshall, that we have to consider the matter in terms of theology as well, that the old “lex orandi, lex credendi” bit needs to be retired once and for all as some kind of justifying norm in matters of liturgy. it’s never been that simple or one-way, and for those of us who love the dogma of the Trinity, we should know that Basil’s changing of the prepositions in the Trinitarian formula was theological though they did not change in the Roman rite as elsewhere.

    Saying the Canon silently for example comes in for concern for me–looks like “hocus pocus”, Luther’s term for real abuses that had arisen and an understanding of the presbyterate arises from this that I cannot accept. And though I love Latin, worshipping in one’s native tongue is a quite early Christian emphasis. When C prays in German, for example, it carries with it an affect that will never be in one of his many second languages, including English.

    I think the romanticization is my largest concern, however. Beautiful though it may be, theologically rich though it is, and of course, a response to Anglicanism as to any other of the traditions of the Reformation (so if you like 1549 as I do for theological reasons, the Tridentine Mass is a rejection of this, though Chesterton called 1549 the last catholic prayerbook) abuses occured in the Tridentine Mass as well, one of which was, rather than participation (in its various modes, including sitting and silence and listening), folks were doing their own private devotions. That we think there was ever some Golden Age of liturgy is troubling as is to think that liturgy never changes or diversity of liturgies are a mistake. It’s reads as ahistorical.

    Swipes at RC’ers in the pews not withstanding, most I’ve known who are practicing do take their faith seriously, left, right, and center. They’re not mere automatons.

    That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t argue for facing East (as this wasn’t about versus or adversus populum to begin with), for example, but nor would I say that facing the congregation is wrong. To do so is to suggest first and second century Christians meeting in homes were defective in their Eucharistic practices. Overtime, rather, different emphases have arisen as to how the Eucharist is understood. The eschatological meal understanding of the first and second century isn’t wrong, just as the dramatizing of salvation understanting of the late 4th century (beginning with T. of Mopsuestia) isn’t wrong. What is troubling is the Scholastic tendency to separate out and discuss the Sacraments apart from liturgy, for example.

    Part of why we can sing well is that we’ve also been singing in English for 500 years, which means we’ve had a lot of time to write good hymnody (there’s a lot of bad hymnody out there from each period as well). Lutherans benefited from this due to the move to the local vernacular over time in the US (this took time though and there’s still a German Gottesdienst at one parish in SF, for example).

  13. Pingback: On being liturgically indifferent « A Thinking Reed

  14. bls

    You’re not a nightmare, YF, even though you may wish to be.

    I agree there are a few young people out there who pant for “traditional” masses as a rebellion against the loathsome 1960s – an era you didn’t live through, and don’t remember, and which actually changed many things for the better. Racial equality is now presumed as a norm to be striven for; women can work to achieve their goals, and TEC and other denoms ordain them; gay people are not electroshocked anymore and will almost certainly in 30 years have completely equal civil rights. Those are unqualified goods in my (and in most people’s) estimation.

    The church is going to lurch into the future along with the rest of us; “traditionalism” for the sake of it is always a waste of everybody’s time. All the “traditions” you long for were created at some point, after all; new traditions will be created, too. The bad old days and their evils (like Christian anti-Semitism and its manifestions) will go; what’s good will be retained and reworked for the next generation.

    I did find this little assertion interesting, though: “The same people who stand silently through the NO Mass having fake folk songs sung at them will likewise put up with something old-fashioned whether they like it or not.” So essentially there’s not much difference between how you see this, and how your “enemies” do.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought.

  15. bls

    You’re right. Most are underwhelmed by the news. It is a big deal in some American and some French circles. More important is the symbolic nature of it. Watch for lots of inflamed liberal American bishops if this happens…

    I’m OK with that, Derek.

    This is a little blip on the screen that most people won’t notice or care about, but that will yank a movement that’s gone too far back a bit to the center. That’s good – but also good is that the bad old days are gone forever. Thank God.

    Round and round and round in the circle game. And who cares what Bishops think, anyway? They’re always the last generation, and the Peter Principle still applies. ;)

  16. *Christopher

    Besides Ratzinger’s excellent works on liturgy, this is the best piece that sums up my sense on these matters: What the church needs now is a complete attitude adjustment and recovery of what it means to worship the One who is the object of our prayer, and the source of our life.

    From Fr. Haller’s piece, People Look East.

  17. bls

    Just wanted to add that I agree with Christopher about something: while I personally prefer “Eastward-facing,” it’s impossible to deny that the “immanent” God in Christ was here among us, and that “Versus Populum” has merit, too. In fact, I’m glad that both are available, because both feel the soul in different ways.

    Both, no doubt, can be abused. What I’m noticing, though, is that the “New Liturgical Movement” is just as shrill and annoying as the old, bad, “hippie-priests of the 60s” ever were. I unsubscribed from that blog, in fact, because of this. Yuk. I can’t listen to it anymore.

    As if there were really One Right Answer (and We’ve Got It Right Here) for anything! I just can’t listen to the ideologically “pure” any longer; give me a real argument between real people anytime.

  18. Derek the Ænglican

    bls is certainly right that what many of the younger traditionalists want is a return to a period they never lived through–and therefore never experienced. A point that I’d like to make is that any Traditional Latin Mass done today is not and never will be the same as a TLM *then*. No matter what you think of VII it did change some things for the foreseeable future–particularly in the realm of participation of the people. To put a finer point on it–I doubt that *anyone* these days goes in late to a TLM, sits in the back doing the rosary, glances up when the bells go off, then heads back out again–which is what I understand was far more the norm back then.

    As Heraclitus said–you never step into the same river twice…

  19. *Christopher

    Yep, I’m with bls. There is an ahistorical tendency in ideologies and movements of this sort to sweep over real people, real parishes, real traditions in their glory and generosity, stink and mess, summing up as good or bad, right or wrong without nuance or investigation of these various events in which God institutes and constitutes his People anew and again. But it is precisely in the glorious stink that God is working, or at least Benedictine approaches would suggest. That the Wholly Other is here present and working. And that by no means means I can’t get on my high or hobby horse, we all do from time to time.

    It seems to me Benedictines have had a variety of ways of doing the Office, for example, sometimes in monasteries right next to one another. Since disputatiousness and my way or the highway is unBenedictine to the core–after all, “if you know a better way, do that instead”…, I doubt these monasteries were constantly throwing stones at one another (though sometimes they did but then they were failing their own Rule).

    It seems to me its an over all sense of awe and reverence and God as Center that is the core. I’ve been in very informal Lutheran liturgies in which I experienced what Underhill describes as the heart of Lutheranism “loving confidence in the divine generosity”, a warmed heart which isn’t simply about emotions but about the movement of our whole being, and I’ve been in High Mass in which I knew God’s glory and Heaven among us in intense beauty. And I’ve been in both types of settings where I was troubled or left cold or irritated–but nonetheless knew God was present in bread and wine, not because of our offering our best or worst or because of my feelings but because God promises to be so.

    It’s not all about us and even our preferences. After all, there are things I would change in the liturgical life of my parish, but it is here with this community of people in all that they are that salvation is being worked out in us, not in some ideal version of the liturgy cut off from the particularity of we being instituted and constituted as Church anew and again Sunday by Sunday.

  20. Fr Chris

    Despite my preferences, I just wanted to put in my agreement with what bls and others have said. I’ve been to many reverently celebrated and Spirit-filled versus populum Masses, and wonderful services along the whole liturgical spectrum.

    The tone on NLM bothered me. I was able to tune a lot of it out until the thread about anti-Semitism in the Russian Orthodox liturgy. As I was pulling out cite after cite to references to Jews as богоубийцы (God-killers) and other horrible things, commenters kept ranting about how it was just a big anti-Orthodox snit on the part of a few libruls, etc. When someone brought it up again and I responded with the quotations I’d found, Shawn Tribe deleted all the comments on the subject. A number of folks seem to want the TLM returned to get rid of girl altar servers and ecumenism and a whole range of other positive fruits of Vatican II more than anything else.

  21. David Bennett

    I personally am ambivalent to the idea of the return of the Tridentine Mass. I think actually insisting on implementing the current Mass correctly would be a good start. I think many people long for “the good old days” because the current Mass is so poorly executed in many areas. We have a new English translation of the mass coming out that is more traditional than the current version. Even this is bound to drive some of the progressives crazy, since it is an “undoing” of the work they did in the 70s and 80s.

    I think this is a good start. It shows that slowly the liturgical 1970s are being undone, at least in the Catholic Church. I don’t necessarily think we need greater use of the old Mass.

    If “Enriching our Worship” is any indication of the future of Episcopal worship, and the greater use of the Tridentine Mass is an indication of the future of Catholic worship, we may be seeing a big liturgical break between the Catholic Church and the mainlines.

  22. bls

    Have you actually read “Enriching Our Worship”? It doesn’t appear so to me, because there are plenty of “traditional” things in there; prayers from the Gelasian Sacramentary, I remember, for one good example. There are numerous others.

    Or does this objection perhaps center around the addition of some references to women, as I suspect it does? All I can say is, the more distance we put between us and the Catholic Church on that topic, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

  23. David Bennett


    Yes, I have read “Enriching our Worship,” and when I was in grad school we frequently used excerpts from it instead of the BCP. I preferred the BCP, but some deemed the BCP too old-fashioned because it didn’t employ as much inclusive language as EOW.

    I understand that the Vatican has accepted inclusive language for humans, but objects to inclusive language for God. I am not sure what you mean by “references to women.” If you mean inclusive language for God, then yes it seems there will be greater liturgical distance between Catholics and mainline Protestants.

  24. Derek the Ænglican

    There are things about EOW I don’t like–I’m not much in favor of how they changed the confession of sin. That being said, not all of it is bad; as I recall the Jumping One used to use a Eucharistic prayer from it that was more Anglo-Catholic than any of the current prayer book options.

  25. bls

    “Inclusive language” is mostly done badly, I will agree. It seems, though, that only modern people are bothered by the use of both Father and Mother for God (who is, after all, neither, by our terms, so whatever pronouns are used are only approximations anyway); Catholic tradition itself is full of that sort of thing. The reasons for this might make an interesting study, actually.

    In any case, I don’t think there will be greater use of the Tridentine mass. As I said before, there doesn’t seem to be a huge demand for it anywhere, except in certain feverish corners of the internet. And I don’t know, anyway, why Anglicans need to slavishly follow Roman Catholic liturgy when we disagree with so many of the Church’s positions and ideas.

    Why anybody would think we’d go Tridentine – or why it would matter that we won’t – is beyond me.

  26. Derek the Ænglican

    And I don’t know, anyway, why Anglicans need to slavishly follow Roman Catholic liturgy when we disagree with so many of the Church’s positions and ideas.

    I’d agree that slavish is not the goal. Rather–as in all things liturgical, we should take a careful look at what is being done and see what of it is edifying and proclaims the Gospel in this time and place. Personally, I’d like to see more east-wall celebrating as was the norm with the Tridentine; I think it sends a profound message about worshiping God in a generation that continually wants the focus to be on me and my entertainment.

    As for following Roman fashions—that’s where we get the current liturgy at Smokey Mary’s from. That is, both St Thomas 5th and Smokey Mary’s follow Rome within Anglican limits—Smokey Mary has chosen to go along with VII type decisions that St Thomas decided not to follow. Keep an eye on what the other folks are doing is not always a bad thing…

  27. bls

    St. Thomas 5th is straight BCP – Rite I, even, and they keep the 1928 in the pews – except, I guess, for some of the “Occasional Services.” Even Smoky Mary’s is straight-ahead Rite II the vast majority of the time. Again, I’m not sure where they get the stuff for certain occasions; could be BOS, I don’t know.

    My parish is High Church Anglophile Rite I/Rite II and faces Eastward. Another parish nearby is Anglo-Catholic BCP Rite I/Rite II and faces Westward for their main services, but East in the chapel. Grace Church in downtown Manhattan has Morning Prayer 3 times a month.

    In most of the world, Anglicanism is Evangelical; as somebody said recently, we belong to the largest Evangelical church on earth. The prayer books have already diverged and everybody acknowledges that the expiration date on the 1662 is just about past by now.

    I just don’t get why it matters that now the few Roman Catholic Tridentine parishes won’t need special permission to celebrate it anymore. The vast majority of Catholics aren’t going back there; it just ain’t gonna happen. The past is gone for good. And the fact that we might add Sarah and Rebecca to some of the prayers just isn’t that big a deal.

  28. bls

    (Well, not everybody, actually. I guess they still use – and still want to use – the 1662 in many places.

    But that’s a still greater divergence from Rome, of course. So I just don’t see what the percentage is in worrying about what Rome does. If our theology is Eucharistic – and it is, apparently – what’s so terrible about divergence from Rome in certain particulars? I want to diverge from Rome in any number of particulars.)

  29. lutherpunk

    I just don’t get why it matters that now the few Roman Catholic Tridentine parishes won’t need special permission to celebrate it anymore.

    I think it matters because there are a number (how large I do not know) that want to celebrate this mass and are being denied access to it by their Bishop. So for those, I think it matters greatly. I think from my perspective as one who leads worship every week and has been unhappy with where our liturgies are heading, I am curious if this will impact the broader community.

    Vatican II ultimately changed things for all of us. Look at Lutheran and Episcopal churches built since VII vs. those built prior. The liturgical assumptions of VII are enshrined in our buildings. Some of the liturgical translations are as well (I think of the response “and also with you” that replaced “and with thy spirit”. Small, but I think theologically it is a subtle anthropocentric shift).

    Now I am not saying that it will impact the rest of us, but it could. As a Lutheran I dislike some of what the MP would do, including taking the mass out of the language of the people and enshrining some theology that I would object to. But when it comes to form (and formality), I think there may be some positive things that Lutherans and Anglicans could look to (east facing celebrations etc).

  30. bls

    Yes, you’re right. It matters for those people; I guess I’m fortunate to live in an area where that sort of denial is not an issue. But really, nobody’s beating down the doors for the Tridentine around here, where it’s available; probably in some places it will be a novelty for awhile, and then people will simply start celebrating the modern mass again. If it results in a more reverent approach in celebrating the modern mass (which is what Derek said above, and what I suspect will be the primary outcome), nobody will be happier than I.

    BTW, I can’t even figure out what “and with thy spirit” means, or why the priest should get that greeting when the rest of us don’t. Why don’t we have a “spirit,” too?

  31. bls

    (Sorry for my snarkiness on this thread, BTW. I’ve been in a mood about the various “movements” around lately, and haven’t been able to contain my ranting.

    Hopefully, it won’t happen again. Soon.)

  32. Michelle

    This may be a bit of a tangent but the evening news just announced that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis will ordain two priests this Friday using the full Latin rite for the first time in 43 years.

    In its last restructuring plan, the St. Louis Archdiocese designated a historic church (that would have been closed) to be a full time parish with the mass in Latin.

  33. Derek the Ænglican

    Yes, St. Louis is a banner diocese for the TLM traditionalists. Some see it as a necessary penance for unleashing the “St. Louis Jesuits” upon the world… ;-)

  34. Michelle

    Afraid the St Louis Jesuits are the only ones I know… of course as an employee at St. Louis University I might know something about Jesuits who annoy their bishop (and are clearly out of his control).

    You mean all Lutherans are like the Missouri Synod ;-)

  35. Michelle

    As for being denied to them, that is how you deal with thick-headed people who shun innovation and just plain wont do it unless they must (speaking primarily of clergy here).

    As for joining Anglo-Catholics, 1)being raised Roman Catholic I can imagine their responses (such as when a great aunt of mine learned I was attending an Episcopalian church, she told me that she was “sorry to hear that I am no longer Christian” – she knew what she was saying and she meant it.) and 2)I belong to one of most Anglo-Catholic diocese in TEC and we don’t do Latin masses. Our bishop has a rather narrow view on what is acceptable liturgy (only that approved by him – we actually had to get a pet blessing order of service approved by him for the feast of st Francis) and there is no Latin version.

  36. Derek the Ænglican

    80 Yes, some Romans still feel that way about us, I suppose.

    I’m surprised to hear about your bishop. I’ve heard far more Latin in Episcopal masses in NYC than in all the Roman churches I’ve visited around the country. The practice there is to have the choir sing the Gloria in Exclesis, the offertory, Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc. in Latin.

  37. Michelle

    I don’t know that he is against Latin per say, but we can only use the BCP…period. We are absolutely denied use of Enriching our Worship, and the Revised Common Lectionary for that matter. Local written services — like the pet blessing — must be personally approved by him.

    I’m not quite sure what some of your terms mean, so I can’t answer all your questions above. We sing nothing routinely in Latin but that could be just our parish.

    If by benediction you mean the proclamation at the end of the service, then yes we have it in English.

    Why do you want the liturgy in a language that 99% of the people can’t understand? When Latin was adopted as the language of the Church, it was the vernacular of Rome / Roman empire, and its value after the empire fell was to be a common language to all. The common language of most people has changed from Latin eventually to English.

    PS: The Archdiocese of St. Louis recently also had masses said in Polish, German, and still do in Spanish.

  38. Derek the Ænglican

    Well–let’s be clear: The American 1979 BCP is the standard and correct use for all public services within the Episcopal Church. I’m certainly not advocating anything different. What I’m referring to are musical portions within the mass. We have texts in the Hymnal for these, but musicians and liturgists have freedom to go outside of these–many A-C inclined ones do, and go back to old Latin-language Mass settings for them. Thus, because of these musical portions, you’ll hear more Latin in an NYC Anglo-Catholic church than you will in a Roman one.
    I personally like Latin in the Mass for three reasons. 1) I understand it–and the texts we use it for are already well-known to the average worshiping Episcopalian; 2) it connects us back to our tradition, reminding us that we stand within a much larger community that transcends time and place; and 3) it’s beautiful and creates a different aesthetic than having the same text sung in English. More to the point–it removes things from the sphere of everyday life not to divorce what goes on in church *from* everyday life but rather to remind us of something broader, deeper and more mysterious that lies in, with, and under our everyday life.
    While your bishop may not like the RCL (I find it problematic on several points) it is what General Convention has authorized to begin this year and only in extremiscases are allowed to hold out until 2010 at the latest.
    “Benediction” capitalized and without the article in A-C circles refers to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, a paraliturgical office that involves adoration of the person of Jesus in the consecrated host. It can be done on its own but more often paired with a Solemn Evensong.

  39. bls

    Is Benediction in the BOS? I rarely get a chance to see that book.

    I know Stations of the Cross is in there.

  40. Derek the Ænglican

    Nope—no Benediction in the BOS…

    As a result, doing it means either asking permission from the bishop or—more often—forgiveness… ;-)

  41. Derek the Ænglican

    My sense is that most bishops turn a blind eye. In some of the diocese I’m familiar with there’s an informal don’t-ask/don’t-tell policy. That is, if the parish isn’t in conflict with its bishop, the bishop doesn’t make it an issue.

  42. Michelle


    I understand why you like it, and the benefits it gives to someone who understands Latin, but I’m not so sure that the average worshipping Episcopalian does know what the Latin means (being around many “average” Episcopalians every single week for several years now).

    One of the topics my Rector Search Committee is going to be dealing with very soon is acessing styles of worship. Many in my parish like to think that we are high church/anglo-catholic, but I’m pretty sure we are much more broad church (perhaps leaning high). So how do you define high church/anglo-catholic?

    Anyway, we have been instructed that we can’t use the Revised Common Lectionary until at least 2010. So I don’t understand what the problem with it is… its already been accepted by (I believe) at least the Roman Catholics and Lutherans, how problematic can it be? What do you object to?

  43. Derek the Ænglican

    Well—my sub-sub-sub-specialty is the history of the lectionary. I have a number of mostly nit-picky issues that I don’t like about the RCL in terms of its construal of the liturgical year, how the lessons relate to each other, and some of the philosophical/theological decisions behind it. It’d take a book to fully work it out—and that may well be my next major academic project after the dissertation…

    As for the definition of an Anglo-Catholic, that’s a very controversial issue. Anglo-Catholicism is fundamentally about theology, not about liturgical tastes. Naturally the theology has a liturgical expression. Part of the current problem with defining it is that some people adopt that liturgical expression without grasping or receiving the theology that drives it. My two main discussions of Anglo-Catholicism on this blog are (read them sequentially…) located here and here. Continuing reflections on the issue of self-labeling appear here.

  44. Pingback: Benediction Question « haligweorc

  45. Shawn

    Actually Fr. Chris, I recall that post, and the original remains.

    But you might consider that sometimes as a moderator of comments, one has to delete the valid, reasonable comments along with the invalid just to quelch people who are going off into irrational tangents that will do no good for anyone.

    As for whether we’re shrill, I’d be interested to hear how we are such as people posting — rather than the comments. Mind you, I only happened across this thread here accidentally, so you’re welcome to engage me in email if you wish.

  46. Shawn

    As a point of note, I haven’t read this whole thread of comments. But I can suggest that one can not absolutize the matter of versus populum/ad orientem and still come out strongly in preference for the traditional posture of ad orientem.

    Versus populum is not inherently wrong, as I’ve noted countless times on the NLM. However, there are pragmatic issues tied to theological issues at stake which can thereby tip the scales in favour of ad orientem.

  47. Derek the Ænglican

    Hi Shawn! Thanks for commenting.
    I don’t find the posters shrill myself. In that vein, I quite appreciated the link the other day to Dr. Kozinski’s piece at the New Oxford Review commending an earnest traditional stance without being shrill or bashing other believers. I thinking the postings on your site try to do that and I appreciate that–even if some of the commenters get a bit shrill.
    I certainly agree about ad orienten; there’s nothing defective about versus populum but ad orientem makes an important theological statement about the purpose of the gathering and the one being worshipped.

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