Saturday, August 23, 2008

Archbishop Burke discusses "The Holy Eucharist: A Right or a Gift?"

By Brian Kopp

Catholic Action for Faith and Family has their new website up and running.

There is a good interview with Archbishop Raymond L. Burke by Thomas J. McKenna,

The Holy Eucharist: A Right or a Gift?
Examining the pastoral aspects of Canon 915 and respect for the Holy

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Advocatus Diaboli: The Demand Side

By David L Alexander

[Note: This is the second in a series of articles. A proper understanding of the author's intent presumes a reading of the series as a whole. This would include the prelude, which can be found here.]

For those who experience difficulties in having the Traditional Mass celebrated in their locality -- the inclinations of church authorities notwithstanding -- much of that which they encounter may be strictly practical.

It is no secret that many parts of the country face a shortage of priests. We can safely assume that those available have more than enough to do. A return to Catholic tradition, including collective certainty of Her teachings, may alleviate that eventually, but not immediately. In the meantime, the sentiments of one devoted pastor in rural Ohio are neither insincere nor unusual: "I'm already in charge of three parishes, and they expect me to learn the Latin Mass?" In addition to the realities of supply, there are those of demand. Elsewhere in the Buckeye State is Cincinnati, where I was raised. We will use this jurisdiction as a case in point.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has an estimated 500,000 baptized Catholics. They are spread out over an area in the southwestern portion of Ohio that comprises nineteen counties. The territory is over fifty miles in length running east to west, and over one hundred miles running north to south. Sitting roughly in the middle is the city of Dayton, where a priest of the Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) offers the Traditional Mass every day of the week -- at convenient times, and in one location.

Hold that thought.

Of the half million baptized Catholics, let us suppose (for want of a better method) that ONE percent of them would drive for up to an hour to attend the Traditional Mass. That gives us a total of 5,000. However dedicated, they are nonetheless very small in number relative to the whole. With a central location devoted to them on a daily basis, and a second one in another high-population area for Sundays, one would ask if they are adequately served. Five thousand souls produces more than enough for two good-sized parishes. You would think that the number alone would justify making it available in more locations, wouldn't you?

To answer that question poses another: how is either meeting the demand? Well, this writer did a little homework. The Holy Rosary Latin Mass Community in Dayton has about two hundred attendees on average, and the church building they use is about one-third full. Sacred Heart Church in Cincinnati has about three hundred attendees on average for its Traditional Mass, and it is about half full. That would put the number at about five hundred, or ONE TENTH of one percent of the faithful. Both locations are served by the same priest, and both begin before noon. If the attendance were merely to double or to triple, you might have a good case for expansion, ergo the support of another priest. But for whatever reason, it has not, so...

Our discussion also begs the question, as to whether is it reasonable in the first place, to expect people to drive for up to an hour to attend the Traditional Mass. An answer to that question can be aided with some perspective. For Catholics of the Eastern Rites (who make up roughly TWO percent of the Catholic population in the USA), unless they live in either the northeastern states, specifically in blue-collar cities like Chicago or Detroit, such a weekly trek is not at all unusual. Such was the case at the Byzantine Rite parish I attended for many years, when roughly three hundred families in the parish (compared to the five thousand mentioned above) would travel for up to an hour to attend Divine Liturgy.

We can expect a chilly reception from local church officials, for the return of the Traditional Mass to such a locale. This writer has had occasion to encounter them over the years. They are at times disingenuous, if not altogether dishonest. And yet, in spite of many accounts of institutional connivance which our readers are all too happy to share, attempts to hire goons to physically block the faithful from attending either location for Sunday Mass have yet to be reported. This means that stories of "persecution" may be a bit exaggerated. Especially if no one is drawn and quartered.

In a 1983 interview with The Wanderer, the late Silvio Cardinal Oddi said that the Traditional Mass would be restored when people wanted it badly enough. (He said that. I did not.) Perhaps it will ultimately be when ENOUGH people want it badly enough. (Okay, I said that.) There will also need to be priests to celebrate it. That there may be fewer than are needed, and the reasons why, is the subject of the next essay in this series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Steve Skojec Responds

By Patrick Archbold

Steve Skojec responds to Mark Shea at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Attention Evil Traditionalists!

By Patrick Archbold

Mark Shea has something to say to you!
Mark Shea has an article on in which he takes on "Those Angry Traditionalists." In this article Mark portrays "traditionalists"as unchristian wild-eyed conspiracy nuts who in their enthusiasm for the Latin Mass think that clown masses are the rule and that Novus Ordo is akin to a satanic black mass.

Here is the thing, I am a traditionalist (by my own definition) and a rather run of the mill one at that, I guess. However, I am a pretty happy guy I think.

Read the rest >>>>

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summorum Pontificum First Anniversary articles (con't)

By Brian Kopp

From the Remnant Newspaper:

Summorum Pontificum One Year Later: An Interview with Fr. John Berg, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter


Fr. Berg: I think that the old rite is certainly held up as a standard in that it has fixed norms. It doesn’t have a lot of options, so it is easier to hold it up as a standard in a certain way. I think the new rite could have some of those introduced.

If you go back and read Summorum Pontificum, I don’t think it was the intention of the Holy Father nor was it spelled out as to the meaning of mutual enrichment in either of the rites. I think we also could to some extent be slipping into a “spirit of Summorum Pontificum” similar to “the spirit of Vatican II” by taking liberties and making certain changes with regard to the rubrics in one direction or the other as something that was allowed or was intended or even the “vision” of the Holy Father.

Some liturgical “experts” like to think that this whole thing is ultimately about creating one rite way down the road. But I think that if you understand that one of the primary principles of the liturgy is to be subservient to the liturgy—not that it is something that is your own, but you being obedient to the liturgy and to the prayer of the Church, not your individual prayers, but the prayer of the Church.

What that involves is following the rubrics and the guidelines as they are written. So I think it would be disastrous if anyone were to take it upon himself, as you have already mentioned, to think they are going to take the first steps to move these two forms of the rite together.

Of course the document itself clearly says that the vernacular can be used in the readings, but just because that is allowed does not mean it is required or that there are a host of other things in the document that allow other changes.


B. Mershon: There has been much discussion, both online and elsewhere, on the issue of the so-called second (or third) Confiteor prayed by the altar boys prior to Holy Communion. Some have even gone so far to state that the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei has disallowed its use. How do you respond, and what has been the FSSP’s practice in this regard?

Fr. Berg: While I certainly think that the internet and the blogging world is a good source of information, I think it would be a real mistake to think that the Commission is going to hand down decisions on liturgical practice through blogs X, Y or Z. It is an abnormal world that we live in when we think that Rome is going to speak officially through internet blogmasters.

Those are some very pointed comments. Interesting...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Advocatus Diaboli: Prelude

By David L Alexander

The human condition is cursed with any number of failings; among them, the temptation to want something badly enough, as to become one's own worst enemy while trying to attaining it.

Recently, Father John Zuhlsdorf, author of the weblog WDTPRS (What Does The Prayer Really Say?), had a stern warning for those who use internet discussion forums and chat rooms for "publicly bad mouthing priests who have been celebrating the TLM and denigrating their ministry... They claim these priests [are] not Catholic enough, not fully or really Catholic. Not Catholic like they are..." The good Father is not overstating the problem. Such conduct has been with us from the days of the old bulletin board services and e-mail listservs, virtually dating back to the days of the original 1984 indult. It has been on the upswing since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. All this, thanks to a motley assortment of liturgical dilettantes who are doing considerable harm to their own cause.

There can be no dispute as to the bureaucratic stalling and dilatory measures being undertaken, throughout the Catholic infrastructure, to prevent the unrestricted celebration of the Mass of the Traditional Roman Rite. Despite the very clear wording of the papal decree, and despite the Holy Father's personal explanation accompanying it, the intelligence and the piety of countless souls continue to be insulted, by those for whom said decree does not suit their own plans. Even where celebration of the Traditional Mass is permitted, it is at times done so grudgingly, at inconvenient times and places, accompanied by unreasonable demands, and with very little if any means of financial or other support, either at the parochial or the diocesan level.

It is not the intention here to deny these things when we say that, while those who favor the Traditional Mass have little control over such minions, they must exercise some measure of control over themselves. However arbitrary or unjust certain conditions may be, they are what they are. It is not the hand we are dealt by which we are judged in this life, but how we play that hand. Those who expected immediate results from the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, however justified they may be, need to step back, get a good grip on their emotions, and take a more strategic approach to restoring Catholic tradition.

Such advice may seem inflammatory to those who have suffered from the effects that are described here. One might also consider a homily of Saint John Chrysostom on the Gospel of Matthew. This is not merely an exercise in pious talk. Consider the times in which he lived, when the Arian heresy consumed nearly every bishop, and threatened the resolve even of the man who was Pope at the time (in this case, Pope Liberius, the earliest Successor of Peter to never have been canonized). Consider this and more, when reading what follows:

As long as we are sheep, we overcome and, though surrounded by countless wolves, we emerge victorious; but if we turn into wolves, we are overcome, for we lose the shepherd's help. He, after all, feeds the sheep not wolves, and will abandon you if you do not let him show his power in you.

What he says is this: "Do not be upset that, as I send you out among the wolves, I bid you be as sheep and doves. I could have managed things quite differently and sent you, not to suffer evil nor to yield like sheep to the wolves, but to be fiercer than lions, but the way I have chosen is right. It will bring you greater praise and at the same time manifest my power." That is what he told Paul: My grace is enough for you, for in weakness my power is made perfect. "I intend," he says, "to deal the same way with you." For, when he says, I am sending you out like sheep, he implies: "But do not therefore lose heart, for I know and am certain that no one will be able to overcome you."

The Lord, however, does want them to contribute something, lest everything seem to be the work of grace, and they seem to win their reward without deserving it. Therefore he adds: You must be clever as snakes and innocent as doves. But, they may object, what good is our cleverness amid so many dangers? How can we be clever when tossed about by so many waves? However great the cleverness of the sheep as he stands among the wolves - so may wolves! - what can it accomplish? However great the innocence of the dove, what good does it do him, with so many hawks swooping upon him? To all this I say: Cleverness and innocence admittedly do these irrational creatures no good, but they can help you greatly.

What cleverness is the Lord requiring here? The cleverness of a snake. A snake will surrender everything and will put up no great resistance even if its body is being cut in pieces, provided it can save its head. So you, the Lord is saying, must surrender everything but your faith: money, body, even life itself. For faith is the head and the root; keep that, and though you lose all else, you will get it back in abundance. The Lord therefore counseled the disciples to be not simply clever or innocent; rather he joined the two qualities so that they become a genuine virtue. He insisted on the cleverness of the snake so that deadly wounds might be avoided, and he insisted on the innocence of the dove so that revenge might not be taken on those who injure or lay traps for you. Cleverness is useless without innocence.

Do not believe that this precept is beyond you power. More than anyone else, the Lord knows the true natures of created things; he knows that moderation, not a fierce defense, beats back a fierce attack.

(Hom 33, 1. 2. PG 57, 389-390)

This piece is the first of an occasional series meant to focus on the challenges posed, by those who would revive the Catholic tradition in sacred worship. If what you have read so far has already gotten under your skin, this series is definitely meant for you!

Stay tuned...