Friday, December 29, 2017

Recalling the liturgical changes of the 1960s

The changes in the liturgy began in the 1950s, with the revision of Holy Week and the first simplification of the rubrics in 1955. A further simplification occurred in 1961, leading to the publication of the 1962 Missal. Those changes set the stage for what was to follow, especially after Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The imprudence with Sacrosanctum Concilium which called for “noble simplicity” and for the rites to be “simplified”, without specifying what exactly that should entail, in my opinion, ensured that chaos was to follow. The transitional period before the implementation of the so-called Missa Normativa, which became the Novus Ordo Missae, had in fact many revisions.

Mass around 1965.
The 1962 Missal, still in use to this day by traditional Catholics, started being changed almost immediately. In 1963, changes eliminated the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, and eliminated the Last Gospel.

Massive changes occurred on Advent Sunday of 1965 in several places around the globe, including:
  • portable altars were put up in front of high altars.
  • Introits, collects, the entire ordinary, and the Lord’s Prayer switched to the vernacular. From the Preface through the Canon, things remained in Latin.
  • the Offertory Procession was inserted into the Mass.
  • the Prayers of the Faithful were also.
  • Sacred music started being supplanted.
In 1967, the Canon, that most untranslatable prayer, which was expected to be retained in Latin was put in the vernacular.

Concurrent with the changes in liturgy came a lessening in discipline. Many priests in many churches told people not to worry if they missed Mass, supposedly because the Spirit of the Vatican Council II was throwing off the past rigidity.

The changes continued as more came into the liturgy. Communion in the hand, standing for Communion and the demolition of sanctuaries followed, along with anticipatory Masses on Saturday. A new set of variations to the order of Mass was issued in May 1967, following those implemented in March 1965. 

Although Sacrosanctum Concilium insisted to “let the use of the Latin language be preserved... Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy ... should be given pride of place in liturgical services” was now de facto almost entirely thrown off.
Pro Tridentina (Malta), on the eve of 2018, will anxiously be waiting for the changes aimed at the 1962 Roman Missal, which this Blog had exclusively brought to the attention of the traditional Catholics worldwide some months ago.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Another Augustinian blunder...

Following what was an apparent liturgical abuse by the Augustinians in Valletta (although this Blog received a clarification from the parish priest) we thought that - perhaps - the Augustinians in Malta were traditional when compared to other orders.

Alas, we were wrong. A reader sent us this blasphemous video which shows models dressed as "colourful nuns" dancing and messing inside a church and a convent.

It transpires that this video was shot in the Augustinian Church and convent in Rabat, Malta. The musical group itself thanked  "The Augustinan Cloister" (sic. - whoever they may be).

It seems therefore that the Church in Malta is indulging more and more in a consumeristic way of life, as we outlined earlier this year.
Pseudo-dancing nuns used in a Maltese musical video by the band The Travellers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Church in Malta's tacit approval of post Amoris Laetitia society

According to the Times of Malta of last Friday, former Maltese priest Vanni Xuereb stated that:
"I had mixed feelings when Archbishop Charles Scicluna asked me to form part of a national delegation that would be taking part in the (Re)Thinking Europe dialogue organised at the Vatican by the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the EU (COMECE) and the Holy See to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome which established the European Economic Community."
Further on, he said:
"Undoubtedly, the highlight of the dialogue was the address by Pope Francis who, after his speech, greeted all participants individually. It was my first-ever close personal encounter with him. I have also had the privilege to meet both his immediate predecessors, however, on a personal note, this was the most meaningful since it is thanks to Pope Francis that I can still somehow identify with the Catholic Church.
At a moment in time when I felt I was drifting away because of what I was perceiving as an increasing irrelevance of the Church, this Pope has shown that there is a different way of being Church – one that is inclusive rather than exclusive."
According to slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the former Fr Vanni Xuereb now lives with another person who has a son. This would explain his comment concerning Pope Francis but also his perceived distaste of Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II.
One hopes that the Catholic Church in Malta is not going to step any further in the post-Amoris Laetitia world. Already enough damage is being done by the easy granting of Catholic 'divorces' nowadays. So why would a former priest be considered as the best person that the Catholic Church in Malta could choose to represent it? No doubt that Xuereb is very knowledgeable about the EU but such a choice still seems inappropriate in our point of view.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A sustained attack in Malta on those in favour of the Tridentine Mass - 4

Original Sunday Times of Malta

Poor translations of the liturgy

The essence of the liturgy is the meeting of God’s People with God without barriers, to communicate with Him… and not through a dead language, or tortuous or anachronistic translations of it.
The essence of the liturgy is the meeting of God’s People with God without barriers, to communicate with Him… and not through a dead language, or tortuous or anachronistic translations of it.
On March 28, 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the fifth instruction “for the right implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council” on the use of vernacular languages in the publication of the books of the Roman liturgy.
The document was given the awesome title of Liturgiam Authenticam, that is, authentic liturgy.
While the title is awesome, the rest is very disappointing; it smells of an ideology rather the “odour of the sheep”. Rather than spelling out what should be done in the liturgy so that the People of God could fully participate – in mind, heart and soul – in the highest act of adoration, Liturgiam Authenticam gave directives on how liturgical texts should be translated (or transliterated) from the Latin to local languages.
‘Mind your language’ would have been a more apt title for the document! In my view, LA has sidelined the express word of Vatican II, that “since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters”. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 36).
And this is what happened in the Church in the early decades after Vatican II: the usage of local languages was extended. The anti-pastoral results of the directives given by LA can be clearly seen in the Congregation’s imposition of the English translation of the Mass.
Six years had been spent by US bishops to revise the Lectionary, the Scripture readings used in Mass, but a Vatican-appointed committee intervened to short-circuit those efforts.
Pope Francis’s correction of Cardinal Sarah shows that Vatican II is his ‘sure compass’.
Isn’t it mind-boggling that years before Vatican II, bishops had the authority to approve a translation of the Bible – the inspired Word of God – but did not have the final authority in approving the translation of the liturgical text, which, apart from the quotations from the Scriptures, cannot be called inspired books.
In an interview, Pope Francis openly articulated his misgivings about liturgical traditionalists: “I always try to understand what’s behind the people who are too young to have lived the pre-conciliar liturgy but who want it.
Sometimes I’ve found myself in front of people who are too strict, who have a rigid attitude. And I wonder: How come such rigidity? Dig, dig, this rigidity always hides something: insecurity, sometimes even more... Rigidity is defensive. True love is not rigid.”
The essence of the liturgy is the meeting of God’s People with God without barriers, to communicate with Him “through Him, and with Him, and in Him… in the unity of the Holy Spirit”, and not through a dead (even if classical and perhaps ecclesiastical) language, or tortuous or anachronistic translations of it.
In 2014, Georgetown University’s Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate released a study that found 75 per cent of leaders at American churches said that the new translation is “awkward and distracting”, 50 per cent said it “urgently needs to be revised” and the clergy widely rejected the new translations.
In keeping with the medieval axiom Sacramenta sunt propter hominess (‘Sacraments are for the people’), logically one ought to stress the supremacy of people over rites, rituals and languages. This is why Pope Francis recently issued the motu proprio Magnum Principium (‘The Great Principle’) giving more control to national bishops’ conferences over the translation of liturgical texts, thus bringing a realignment with Vatican II’s intent.
The importance of Magnum Principium can be evidenced by the unprecedented letter by Pope Francis which publicly corrects an article by Cardinal Robert Sarah about the changes the Magnum Principium introduced as to how the Catholic Church’s liturgies are to be translated from the original Latin into local languages.
The Pope had, in fact, revised some of the translation norms established by LA. Pope Francis’s correction of Cardinal Sarah shows that Vatican II is his ‘sure compass’. So should it be for all bishops, clergy and faithful.
Fr Joe Inguanez, a sociologist, is executive director of Discern.

Friday, October 20, 2017

How the ordinary form of the Mass can “enrich” the extraordinary form

Following our scoop on liturgical changes expected in 2018, the post was given a wide publicity, most of which agreed that the possibility exits. Others, in particular Rorate Caeli (see here and here) and Fr Z tried to mock this Blog.


We do not recall any outcry to this article that is being reproduced hereunder. This shows that 'preparation' has been already in the pipeline for some months, at least. We all know the way things are done ... first an innocuous article appears and afterwards, provided there are no reactions the reform starts taking place...


How the ordinary form of the Mass can “enrich” the extraordinary form

In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict hoped the celebration of the extraordinary and ordinary forms of the Mass would be “mutually enriching.” So what healthier elements of the ordinary form might benefit the extraordinary?

In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI issued his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (SP), in which he gave broader scope to the earlier permissions of Pope John Paul II regarding the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962. In the Pope’s accompanying letter to the bishops of the Catholic world, he expressed the conviction that the availability of the older rite (now to be called the “extraordinary form”) would be “mutually enriching” for the extraordinary form and for the “ordinary” form of the Mass. It would appear that the Pontiff was looking toward an organic process, whereby a “new and improved” form of the Roman Mass would result. Many priests and liturgists have identified various elements of the extraordinary form (EF) which would be helpful in shoring up the “sacrality” of the ordinary form (OF). When the conversation turns to how the OF could provide a positive influence on the EF, it is not uncommon to hear serious doubts raised that this could be the case. That response puts me in mind of the famous rhetorical (and probably sarcastic) question of Tertullian when pressed to consider the value of philosophy to theology: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
Since the promulgation of SP, when I celebrate according to the EF, thoughts about useful adaptations surface. I suspect that many of these thoughts of mine were likewise in the minds of the Fathers of Vatican II, whose very first document was their Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC). That document provided a theological framework for liturgical renewal, born of the liturgical movement spanning almost a century in the lead-up to Vatican II. In addition to the theological basis, the bishops also identified areas where modification and development were needed; it should be noted that SC obtained near-unanimous approval (including that of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre). To be sure, much of what emerged in 1970 (and beyond) was not in the least envisioned by the Council Fathers.
With all that said, how might the EF benefit from some of the healthier aspects of the OF?
Adoption of the revised lectionary
Many people do not realize that prior to Vatican II, not only did we have only a one-year Sunday cycle of readings, but we did not have any lectionary for weekdays at all! As a result, either the Sunday readings were repeated or those from the “commons” of the saints were employed. Hence, SC clearly calls for an expansion of the lectionary, putting it in the context of providing the People of God with a greater exposure to the Word of God.
The proclamation of most of the New Testament and vast segments of the Old Testament in the current lectionary is one of the most positive achievements of the post-conciliar liturgical reform—so much so that most mainline Protestant denominations have adopted our lectionary.
Incorporation of additional Mass formularies
The Missal of 1970 (and subsequent editions) contains a rich collection of euchological texts, culled from the vast liturgical storehouse of the Church. Many of the orations have pedigrees dating to the fourth century. Pope Benedict in SP actually suggested the possibility of integrating those prayers into the 1962 Missal, highlighting in particular the array of beautiful prefaces that comprise the OF Missal (in contrast to the very limited number in the EF Missal).
Expand possibilities for solemnity
The EF has clearly defined categories for the celebration of Mass: Low Mass, Missa Cantata, Solemn Mass. The normative form is the Solemn Mass, wherein a full complement of ministers functions, along with incense and chant. The Low Mass (which, in the United States, unfortunately, was the most familiar and common liturgical experience) had none of those components. The Missa Cantata is an attempt to have at least some of the solemnity, even without all the desired ministers.
The OF does not have such mutually exclusive categories, thus allowing for as much solemnity to be incorporated as possible. And so, even at a daily Mass with a single priest-celebrant, one can chant any and all the prayers and use incense. Regrettably, that opening is not taken advantage of very often—even on Sundays. However, it would be a good element to add to the liturgical menu of the EF.
Elimination of duplicate recitations
In sung Masses of the EF, the celebrant is required to recite quietly texts which are chanted by the choir and/or congregation (e.g., Introit, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus). In the celebration of Holy Mass, the priest moves in and out of various modes: at times, he prays as one of the faithful; at other times, he prays in persona Christi Capitis (“in the person of Christ the Head”). When he operates in the former mode, there is no theological reason for him not to pray the text in union with the whole assembly. Those who attend the EF will know the awkwardness of the current rubrical practice, especially when a text calls for a gesture on the part of the priest (e.g., the Sign of the Cross to end the Gloria or the genuflection during the Credo) which is not “in sync” with what is being sung because the schola/congregation have not gotten there yet.
Restoration of Offertory Procession and Prayer of the Faithful
Both of these rituals were specifically identified by SC as elements to be restored. The emphasis here is on “restored”; unlike some other rites introduced into the post-Vatican II liturgy, these two have a venerable tradition to them. Indeed, the intercessory prayers of the Good Friday liturgy are a witness to the antiquity of the Prayer of the Faithful. Justin Martyr is an even more ancient witness to the offertory procession.
Re-order the dismissal rite
The EF dismissal rite is anti-climactic, inasmuch as the priest dismisses the congregation and then bestows the blessing, followed by the Last Gospel. The OF has a more logical conclusion, in that the “Ite, missa est” is truly the last word. Perhaps the Last Gospel could be retained as an optional text, given its historical value.
Move the “fractio”
In the OF, the “breaking of the bread” occurs during the Agnus Dei, which is the quintessential hymn to the “Lamb who was slain.” The action and the text for this rite in the EF do not correspond to each other as well.
Make clear that the homily is a true part of the Sacred Liturgy
Removing the maniple and donning the biretta during the homily (along with the opening and closing Sign of the Cross) declare that the homily does not form part of the Mass; indeed, that is an “interrupter.” On the contrary, the homily is an essential part of the Sacred Liturgy. Furthermore, if it is not such, then any baptized Christian should be able to deliver it!
Maintain the integrity of the Sanctus
When polyphonic Masses are sung, it is not unusual for the Benedictus to be separated from the rest of the Sanctus, being sung after the Consecration. This is an obvious accommodation to the problem of a musical offering that so overshadows the liturgy itself that it cannot be performed without creating an undue delay in the celebration. If a musical composition would have that effect, it certainly comes under the condemnation of Pope Pius X’s Tra le Sollecitudini. Beyond that, if it is being used as a “filler” for the silence after the Consecration, it flies in the face of the whole rationale for an inaudible Canon, evoking a deeper sense of mystery.
Adopt the rubrics of the OF for the Communion Rite
If the Pater Noster is the prayer of the family of the Church to her heavenly Father, why should not the entire congregation pray it together? Of course, Pope Benedict’s norms in SP already allow for that, however, I have rarely seen the option taken. It would also make sense to have the other prayers of the Communion Rite recited audibly or chanted aloud (as in the OF), with the priest’s private preparation prayers done sotto voce (again, as in the OF).
Face the people when addressing the people; face God when addressing God.
We have used this formula to justify celebrating Mass ad orientem in the OF, that is, to face liturgical east from the Liturgy of the Eucharist forward. The converse is also true: when proclaiming the Scripture readings, face those to whom those texts are addressed. Whatever the historical origins of facing east for the Epistle and facing north for the Gospel at Solemn Mass, they are not truly communicative of the significance of the rite being celebrated.
Unite the calendars of the OF and EF
For the EF to be unable to commemorate the saints canonized since 1962 is an impoverishment—a point also raised by Pope Benedict in SP. Certain calendar changes were good (e.g., making the Solemnity of Christ the King the last Sunday of the liturgical year), while others were destructive of long-standing traditions (e.g., Epiphany, Ascension). Regardless of what one thinks of either calendar (and no calendar will ever be perfect), operating with a dual-calendar system bespeaks division, the very antithesis of what good liturgy should be.
Modify the rubrics
SC calls for the modification of signs and symbols that are duplicative or arcane. One thinks immediately of the multiple Signs of the Cross during the Canon. Just as the OF admits of a certain laxity, the EF can lean toward an unhealthy rigidity or rubricism. In medio stat virtus! (“Virtue stands in the middle”).
Rename the two principal parts of the Mass
To continue to call the first part of the Mass the “Mass of the Catechumens” is a form of the antiquarianism pilloried by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei. We have not been dismissing catechumens (or penitents) for centuries (except in silly parishes where baptized Christians preparing for reception into full communion are “dismissed”). The post-conciliar nomenclature is quite accurate: Liturgy of the Word/Liturgy of the Eucharist.
These are my recommendations for “mutual enrichment” as gifts of the ordinary form to the extraordinary form. I hope this helps answer the contemporary liturgical version of Tertullian’s question.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mind your language Fr. Z!!

Image result for Father Zuhlsdorf

A reader informed us about a so-called Fr. Z (photo above) who used nice language as a way of convincing people (piffle = ****). So it seems that this Blog is causing interest, which is not our raison d’être. Our aim remains that of ensuring the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Malta and Gozo.  Having just one Tridentine Mass every Sunday evening in a small chapel in a town - Birkirkara - prone to flooding in winter is not enough. There is a huge demand but the supply is not made available. Maltese Catholics deserve better.

Turning to "Fr. Z" (and why use a stage-name?), we reproduce his message below.

I have had some questions about a rumor going around that dramatic changes are going to be imposed on the older, traditional Form of Roman Rite.  Someone thinks that the new Lectionary and calendar will be imposed on the 1962 Missale sometime in 2018.
I respond: Piffle.   Even, bull piffle!
No.  Won’t happen.
In addition, I checked with my various peeps.  No.  Won’t happen.  Can’t happen.
So, you can relax and stop sending me mail about this.
The moderation queue is ON."
This is the same character who posted this very Catholic teaching some years ago. We leave to our readers any further comments.
Fr Z’s 2014 New Year Resolutions
1) Do even more to support the advancement of Summorum Pontificum.
2) Drink (sell) even more Mystic Monk Coffee.
3) Post even more on my blog.
4) Practice even more at the shooting range.
5) Offer even more of my services as a preacher and lecturer.
6) Read even more good books.
7) Travel even more to the UK and Rome.
8) Exercise even more.
9) Pray even more for my benefactors.
10) Cause even more “chaos” … as Pope Francis asked me to. ¡Vaya Lío!
As a corollary to #4 I am going to build an AR-15 from scratch.
(“Fr Z’s 2014 New Year’s Resolutions”Fr. Z’s Blog, Jan. 3, 2014)

Rorate - Who is insulting who?

Image result for rorate caeli

The latest Tweet from Rorate states:

"Now, being insulted because we try to prevent Fake News from being spread. Fine. Those followers who like Fake News: just don't follow us."

For ease of reference, we are reproducing the previous post from this Blog. We leave to the readers to decide who is insulting who.


One of the best sources on the internet for traditional Catholic news has debunked our previous post. They tweeted:
"We don't believe in this, period. Let all who know sources in Rome check it with them, but it seems fishy to us: "

Later on, they re-tweeted:

"Ok, checked with our main Roman sources, and our suspicions were founded -- the best called it "hogwash" and "not true at all"."
Our sources are reliable and Rorate Caeli should know better before trying to denigrate what is after all true.  The funny thing is that one of their "main sources" contacted us this morning, telling us that he was surprised by Rorate's message and his paternalistic tone. Apparently this person from Rorate is a British national.

But, on one thing we agree with Rorate, check your sources in Rome and you will get confirmation, sooner or later. It would be better if traditional Catholics co-operate together, rather than trying to denigrate other websites, just because sometimes news are published before they obtain them.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Rorate Caeli - Time will prove us right!

Image result for rorate caeli

One of the best sources on the internet for traditional Catholic news has debunked our previous post. They tweeted:
"We don't believe in this, period. Let all who know sources in Rome check it with them, but it seems fishy to us: "

Later on, they re-tweeted:

"Ok, checked with our main Roman sources, and our suspicions were founded -- the best called it "hogwash" and "not true at all"."
Our sources are reliable and Rorate Caeli should know better before trying to denigrate what is after all true.  The funny thing is that one of their "main sources" contacted us this morning, telling us that he was surprised by Rorate's message and his paternalistic tone. Apparently this person from Rorate is a British national.

But, on one thing we agree with Rorate, check your sources in Rome and you will get confirmation, sooner or later. It would be better if traditional Catholics co-operate together, rather than trying to denigrate other websites, just because sometimes news are published before they obtain them.
And all that our friends at Rorate had to do was contact this Blog.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Breaking News: Massive liturgical changes expected in 2018!

Image result for "roman missal 1962"
Reliable sources close to the Holy See have indicated that sometime in the second half of 2018, the Novus Ordo Lectionary and Calendar are to be imposed upon the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Mass. 

The new Roman Missal will become available on the First Sunday of Advent 2018 but the Vatican will allow a two-year period to phase it in. These changes are expected to be much more drastic than what was envisaged in Universae Ecclesiae that states:
25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently. (emphasis ours)
The Vatican approved societies and institutes, such as the Fraternity of Saint Peter and the Institute of Christ the King, will likely apply for exemptions, but all requests are expected to be turned down. The only exception seems to be the SSPX, which might be granted a temporary exemption, to ensure that an agreement is reached between the SSPX and Rome.  However, if the exemption granted will be of a temporary nature, more SSPX priests are expected to join the so-called Resistance (formerly known as SSPX-SO) under Bishop Richard Williamson and more will go independent.This would make the traditional Catholic movement more fragmented than ever before.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What went wrong in the traditional Catholic movement in Malta (Part 5)

Immediately after Pro Tridentina (Malta) was founded, its archivist Anthony Mangion, nearly secured the possibility to have the Oratory of the Congregation of the Onorati in Valletta available to the organisation for the regular celebration of the Tridentine Mass. At this stage, it is useful to give some information about this place.
The Oratory annexed to the Church of the Jesuits belongs to the Congregation of the Onorati founded in 1600 by the Knights of St John. The chapel is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the relics of St. Onorata are kept under the Main Altar. This present oratory was built at the expense of the Congregation in 1658 and replaces a previous one.
The Servant of God Fr. Giuseppe De Piro (1877 - 1933), founder of the once traditional Catholic M.S.S.P. (to see how much it has deviated, refer to this and this article) was once a member of the Congregazione degli Onorati.
Back to present times, there was opposition to this idea from the local church authorities, although it never became clear whether the then Archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, was himself against this initiative.

Unfortunately, nowadays the oratory is being used most of the year as a warehouse, as can be seen in the photos above. The first test for the Catholic Church in Malta to show its filial obedience to Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum failed miserably.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Leo Darroch's FIUV History: Una Voce

Image result for leo darroch

Note: The author is a great friend of Malta and he assisted Pro Tridentina (Malta) a lot during his FIUV Presidency.

Here is a unique contribution to modern Catholic literature. Leo Darroch presents in chronological order a factual history, fully referenced, of the work of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, a movement of lay people formed after the sudden and insensitive enforcement of Novus Ordo Missae. It is the first fully documented account of the decades-long struggle for the preservation of the traditional rite of the Mass in the face of unrelenting opposition from the bishops of the Church.
The Right Honourable Lord Gill (Patron of the Latin Mass Society)

With his masterly present work, Leo Darroch, the former President of the FIUV, has given to the present and the future generations of Catholics a valuable documentation of the glorious history of the noble battle of intrepid lay faithful, who were committed to the restoration of the perennial liturgical sense of the Church. It was the battle of good sons and daughters for the honour and beauty of their mother, the Church. May the present book receive a wide diffusion and contribute in its readers a deeper appreciation of the perennial liturgical treasure of the Church, which is the classical Roman Rite.

Rt Rev. Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana

A renaissance will come: asceticism and adoration as the mainspring of direct total dedication to Christ will return. Confraternities of priests, vowed to celibacy and to an intense life of prayer and meditation will be formed. Religious will regroup themselves into houses of ‘strict observance’. A new form of ‘Liturgical Movement’ will come into being, led by young priests and attracting mainly young people… It is vitally important that these new priests and religious, these new young people
with ardent hearts, should find—if only in a corner of the rambling mansion of the Church—the treasure of a truly sacred liturgy still glowing softly in the night.

Dr Eric de Saventhem, Founding President of the International Federation Una Voce, speaking in New York in June 1970 at the first General Assembly of Una Voce in the United States.

Leo Darroch joined the Latin Mass Society in the 1970s, was elected to the Committee in 1986 and served for more than 25 years. He was deputy Chairman to Chris Inman for a few years in the 1990s, during which time he converted the old style LMS bulletins - which were A4 typed sheets - into the magazine format we now have and was the Editor until November 2000.

He was elected to the Council of the FIUV in 1999. He was appointed FIUV Secretary in 2001 under the presidency of Michael Davies, and served as President from 2007–2013. The book can be bought here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

New FIUV Council 2017 - 2019

Image result for vatican
Last week, in Rome, the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce (FIUV) elected (or re-elects) the Council. Here is the full list of Officers and Council members of the FIUV for the next two years.

President: Felipe Alanís Suárez  (Una Voce México)

President d'Honneur: Jacques Dhaussy (Una Voce France)

Vice Presidents: Patrick Banken (Una Voce France) and Jack Oostveen (Ecclesia Dei Delft, The Netherlands)

Secretary: Joseph Shaw (Latin Mass Society, England and Wales)
Treasurer: Monika Rheinschmitt (Pro Missa Tridentina, Germany)

Oleg-Michael Martynov (Una Voce Russia)
Jarosław Syrkiewicz (Una Voce Polonia)
Derik Castillo (Una Voce México)
Andris Amolins (Una Voce Latvija)
Eduardo Colón (Una Voce Puerto Rico)
Fabio Marino (Una Voce Italia)
Egons Morales Piña (Una Voce Casablanca, Chile)
Once again, Pro Tridentina (Malta) was not in a position to attend or nominate a candidate for the Council. Unfortunately, the current situation in the organisation does not help. There was one Maltese FIUV Councillor, former Pro Tridentina (Malta) President Godwin Xuereb, who served between November 2009 - January 2012 and December 2012 - October 2015. In 2013 the same Councillor was also Assistant Treasurer of the FIUV.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Latin Mass fans celebrate 10-year anniversary without pope

Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, left, and Robert Saraha ttend a conference on the Latin Mass at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, left, and Robert Sarah attend a conference on the Latin Mass in Rome.
VATICAN CITY — Sep 14, 2017, 12:27 PM ET
Fans of the old Latin Mass descended on Rome on Thursday for their annual pilgrimage, facing indifference to their cause, if not outright resistance, from none other than Pope Francis.
Ten years after Pope Benedict XVI passed a law allowing greater use of the Latin Mass, Francis seems to be doing everything possible to roll it back or simply pretend it never happened.
In recent weeks, he has affirmed with "magisterial authority" that the reforms of the 1960s allowing for Mass to be celebrated in the vernacular rather than Latin were "irreversible." Last week he gave local bishops conferences authority to oversee those translations, rather than the Vatican.
The moves underscored that the age-old liturgy wars in the Catholic Church are very much alive and provide a microcosm view of the battle lines that have been drawn between conservative, traditionalist Catholics and Francis ever since he declined to wear the traditional, ermine-trimmed red mozzetta cape for his first public appearance as pontiff in 2013.
The indifference seems reciprocal.
At a conference Thursday marking the 10th anniversary of Benedict's decree liberalizing use of the Latin Mass, the meeting organizer, the Rev. Vincenzo Nuara, didn't even mention Francis in his opening remarks. The current pope was mentioned in passing by the second speaker, and ignored entirely by the third.
The front-row participants honoring retired pope Benedict and his 2007 decree were also telling: Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading critic of the current pope whom Francis removed as the Vatican's supreme court judge in 2014; Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, recently axed by Francis as the Vatican's doctrine chief, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, appointed by Francis as head of the Vatican's liturgy office but effectively sidelined by his deputy.
In fact, it was Sarah's deputy, Archbishop Arthur Roche, who signed the explanatory note to Francis' new law allowing bishops conferences, rather than Sarah's office, to have final say on Mass translations.
Francis' new law is a "pretty clear course correction from Pope Benedict's line," said the Rev. Anthony Ruff, associate professor of theology at St. John's University in Minnesota and moderator of the progressive liturgical blog, Pray Tell.
Despite the sense of belonging to a previous era, the conference was nevertheless upbeat about the future of the Latin Mass even under a pope who has openly questioned why any young person would seek out the old rite and disparaged traditionalists as rigid and insecure navel-gazers.
Monsignor Guido Pozzo, in charge of negotiations with breakaway traditionalist groups, said more Latin Masses are celebrated each Sunday in some countries: France has seen a doubling in the number of weekly Latin Masses, to 221 from 104, in the past 10 years. The U.S. has seen a similar increase over the same period, from 230 in 2007 to 480 today.
"The old liturgy must not be interpreted as a threat to the unity of church, but rather a gift," he said. He called for it to continue to be spread "without ideological interference from any part."
The program for the 10-year anniversary pilgrimage began with chanted hymn at the start of the conference and ended with vespers Thursday evening celebrated by Benedict's longtime secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein. Also on tap were a religious procession through the streets of Rome and multiple Masses. Conspicuously absent from the four-day program was an audience with Francis.
The current pope, though, let his thoughts known during a recent speech to an Italian liturgical society. He said there was no need to rethink the decisions that led to the liturgy reforms from the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the Catholic Church.
"We can affirm with security and magisterial authority that the liturgical reforms are irreversible," he said in one of his longest and most articulate speeches to date on the liturgy. It made no mention, in either the text or the footnotes, of Benedict's liturgical decree on the Latin Mass.
Nuara, the conference organizer, denied sensing any resistance to traditionalists from Francis, saying in an interview that the current pope "is a respectful man, so he recognizes all the good that the old liturgy has given the church."
"We are also absolutely respectful of Pope Francis," he added.
Timothy O'Malley, director of the University of Notre Dame's Center for Liturgy, said Francis' main beef with Latin Mass afficionados is with those "who see that this form of the liturgy must win at the expense of" the Mass in the vernacular.
But he said he saw no indication that Francis would do away with Benedict's decree liberalizing use of the old rite, known by its Latin name Summorum Pontificum.
"He'll continue to rail against those who think the (vernacular) Mass is invalid, but I don't see him taking away Summorum Pontificum," he said.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The rupture has occurred - Francis vs Benedict XVI (and St. John Paul II)

Image result for st peter's square winter
Just a few weeks after Pope Francis announced that the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council was “irreversible", he made a widespread change to the ways, and words, in which Roman Catholics worship by amending Vatican law to give national bishop conferences greater authority in translating liturgical language.
By his action, Francis goes much further than the reforms of the Second Vatican Council had ever envisaged and erased some of the actions of his predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II. With the motu proprio Magnum Principium, Pope Francis has altered a key 2001 instruction by Saint John Paul II (Liturgiam Authenticam), instructing that translations from Latin needed to be “in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content.” 
That same year, the Vatican established Vox Clara, a committee to scrutinize English-language translations of the texts and prayers included in the Roman Missal. The committee advocated a close fidelity to the Latin. All this goes against the “reform of the reform” movement, which ultimately had advocates at the top of  the Catholic Church during John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
The amendment is a significant development in a liturgical schism that has split Catholics across the world and was evident at the highest echelons of the church, especially in recent times. In our opinion, this is an attempt to undermine Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, practically when we are supposed to celebrate its tenth anniversary.
Pope Francis, in fact, has recalled that the Second Vatican Council entrusted bishops with the “weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy.” He added that “in order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue, it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”
Unfortunately, under this pontificate, we have seen the undermining of Cardinal Sarah. Last year, Cardinal Sarah called for priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem, but Francis promptly issued an unusual public rebuke. And in April of this year, Cardinal Sarah sent a letter honouring Benedict XVI’s support of the Latin Mass, asserting that “modern liturgy” had caused devastation and schism. Benedict XVI wrote that “the liturgy is in good hands,” in an afterward to a book the cardinal wrote this year.
Alas, Francis argued that “vernacular languages themselves, often only in a progressive manner, would be able to become liturgical languages, standing out in a not dissimilar way to liturgical Latin for their elegance of style and the profundity of their concepts with the aim of nourishing the faith.”

Monday, September 11, 2017

A sustained attack in Malta on those in favour of the Tridentine Mass - 3

Another contribution from the Sunday Times of Malta dated 3 September 2017.      

The eleventh hour

Liturgical worship is not a rite to carry out but a source of life and of light for our journey of faith.
Liturgical worship is not a rite to carry out but a source of life and of light for our journey of faith.
The Holy Father’s address at the Italian National Liturgical Week not only gives us food for thought but also food for action. He made it plain that this was not a period of doom for the Liturgy during which superficial events have happened, but an essential period of time. He stressed that just as it will not be possible to forget Vatican Council II, so will the liturgical reform that resulted from it be remembered. I am sure that these words were less than beautiful to some ears around the world, not excluding Malta and Gozo. How pertinent were his words that “when a need is noticed, even if the solution isn’t immediate, there is the need to start to move”.

When I was an altar boy, Canon Delia used to speak to us about the encyclical Mediator Dei; so did our teachers in secondary school. And they were right. My seminary years were concomitant with Vatican II. So was our enthusiasm for its teaching, which included the constitution Sacro Sanctum Concilium. There are those who do not even hold Vatican II as sanctum, much less its constitution. Other Vatican II documents are criticised either because many did not read them from front to back, or cannot internalise them because they go against their instinct or values.

The reform of the Liturgy responded to the real needs and hope of a renewal in the Church, the need of vibrant Liturgy. As St John XXIII said at the inaugural speech of Vatican II, the Church is not a museum. In my view, rather than museum it is a workshop, were a craftsman learns old skills and adapts them to his or her contemporary needs.
Can we reinvent the wheel or say it is useless? Of course not. But the use we make of the wheel today is vastly greater and very different from the way its inventor used it. Do we use the same language? Is the Latin of Cicero the same Latin of later periods? Is the koine the Greek language that Herodotus or Aristophanes used?

Pope Francis said that what Vatican II wanted from the liturgical reform was a living Liturgy expressing in a renewed way, the perennial vitality of the Church at prayer, being eager “so that the faithful do not assist as strangers and silent spectators to this mystery of faith, but, understanding well through rites and prayers, participate in the sacred action knowingly, piously, actively” (SC, 48).

He also quoted Blessed Paul VI in explaining the announced reform: “It’s good to warn how it is proper for the authority of the Church to desire, to promote, to arouse this new way of praying, thus giving greater increment to her spiritual mission […]; and we must not hesitate to make ourselves first of all disciples and then supporters of the school of prayer, which is about to begin.”[8]

Vatican II was a reform according to the principle of respect of the healthy tradition and of legitimate progress. Paul VI insisted that the practical application, guided by the episcopal conferences, in the respective countries, still prevail, because it is not enough to reform the liturgical books to renew the mentality. The Pope had made it clear: “The moment has now come to let go of the tendencies towards division, equally pernicious in one way or another, and to implement integrally in their just, inspiring criteria, the reform approved by us, in the implementation of the Council’s votes.”

Pope Francis said that “the Liturgy is life, not an idea to understand. In fact, it leads to living an initiating experience, which is transformative in the way of thinking and behaving, not to enrich one’s baggage of ideas on God”. He added that liturgical worship “is not, first of all, a doctrine to understand or a rite to carry out; it is also this, of course, but in another way it is essentially different: it is a source of life and of light for our journey of faith”.

Even if it is the 11th hour, let us wake up to theology and contemporary living!

Fr Joe Inguanez, a sociologist, is executive director of Discern.

Friday, September 8, 2017

What went wrong in the traditional Catholic movement in Malta (Part 4)

Image result for "tridentine massAs soon as Pro Tridentina (Malta) was officially launched, problems started to appear. The original founders had decided to assist any person, or group of persons, who were attracted to the Tridentine Mass. Unfortunately, this meant that some persons, of extremist ideas, attended the Tridentine Masses that were either organised by Pro Tridentina (Malta) itself or were given publicity by the same organisation.

What type of extremist ideas are we talking about? They can be grouped into three:

Sedevacantism: the theological position of those traditional Catholics who most certainly believe in the papacy, papal infallibility and the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, and yet do not recognize the post-Vatican II popes as legitimate successors of Peter in the primacy. In other words, they do not recognize him as a true pope. The word sedevacantism is a compound of two Latin words which together mean “the Chair is vacant.”  The sedevacantist position is founded on the Catholic doctrines of the infallibility and the indefectibility of the Church and on the theological opinion of the great Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine. A main exponent of this position distributed literature during some Tridentine Masses and also said that Benedict XVI was a satanist.

Conclavism: the claim to election as pope by a group acting or purporting to act in the stead of (i.e., under an assumption of the authority ordinarily vested in) the established College of Cardinals. This claim is usually associated with sedevacantism, that the present holder of the title of pope is a heretic and therefore not truly pope, as a result of which the faithful remnant of the Catholic Church has the right to elect a true pope. At least two people are known to be supporters of one of these 'popes', based in the United States of America. One of them was an altar server.

Devotio Moderna: among those who think themselves traditional Catholic, a tendency to replace the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and certainly the Divine Office, by "private devotions," such as an excessive attachment to Fatima or Medjugorje, Borġ in-Nadur or other apparitions. These misguided people talk far more about side issues  than about the centrality of God in the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, after Who our very religion takes its name. It has brought about in some Catholics the heretical notion that privately reciting the Rosary is more important than assisting at the Holy Mass or at the Hours of the Divine Office. 

Notwithstanding that none of the founders or committee members of Pro Tridentina (Malta), belonged to any of the above positions, having people associated with the organisation has damaged the same organisation. 

Unfortunately, these people are still known to gather regularly wherever Tridentine Masses in Malta are held. The Apostolate of Saint Paul Malta (ASPM) which is a Catholic community in Malta that is doing sterling service in Birkirkara, has lately attracted these extremists. One hopes that, this time round, history will not repeat itself.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Church of the Poor?

Elderly people eating at the Parish Church of Mġarr, Malta dedicated to Saint Mary. Source: Facebook

This month a
 photo was circulated on Facebook, in which a large amount of older people are seen eating and drinking in the Church.

Mġarr Parish Priest Monsignor Kalcidon Vassallo, defends this abuse by saying that each year a Mass for the sick and the elderly takes place and the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is also administered.

After Mass, this abomination takes place. Quoting Pope Francis, the parish priest said:

"Our C
hurch of the poor and the priests have the smell of the sheep."

Church of the Poor? Nope, alas, Poor Church is more emblematic in this case.