Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fr Tattersall's visit

Last Sunday I had the awesome privilege of meeting Fr Tattersall, a Priest who many have told me that I must meet! and I wasn't disapointed, he is clearly a holy priest.Father delivered an uplifting homily on free will and God's grace.
Father's deep voice was great at such a church, you could hear his voice just resonating after he spoke.
Here are photos of the Latin mass community after mass.

Father Jordan told everyone that "we have a good problem, of having too many people to be in one photo". Apparently the parish priest of Zillmere said that he has not met a single young person interested in the extra ordinary form, well here's a truckload!

I hope to see Father Tattersall latter in the year when I head down to Melbourne for the solemn pontifical high mass at the throne, celebrated by Archbishop Hart.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Help Of Christians

Time for one of my musical posts. A have decided to dedicate a whole post to my favorite hymn.

Help of Christians guard this land,
from assault or inward stain;
Let it be what Christ has planned,
his new Eden where you reign.

Teach us that in Christ your Son,
lies the wisdom to be free;
For the Cross, which we would shun,
is man's tree of liberty.

Should the powers of hell arise,
and our peace be trampled down,
In that night of blood and lies,
show us still your twelve-starred crown.

Take from us the coward heart,
Fleeting will divided mind,
Give us sight to play our part,
Through the world around is blind.

Image of the risen life,
Shinning in eternity,
Glimmer through our earthly strife,
Draw us to your victory.

As i said my favorite hymn, when ever i hear it it lifts my spirit
and awakes in me a sense of pride in being a Catholic in Australia.
If anyone has a recording of it being sung, please do e-mail me
and for those that do not know, my e-mail address is on my profile.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Ordinary Form and the Extra Ordinary form

My co-bloggers have unleashed a shower of posts of a very high caliber, now hopefully i can express my take on the Forms of the Roman rite.
When I was in Canberra, my friends caught me saying what they believed to be intelligent and insisted i put it on the blog, so here goes.

My theory is that Before Vatican 2, the Church liturgically got it's self in a rut, the average parish Sunday mass was a low mass. I think this is because there just was a lot of laziness or lack of resources (no choir, or other clergy). Cardinal Ratzinger says in one of his books that the low mass became your standard parish mass. By use of simple reason we see that the Extra Ordinary form is very rigid when it comes to solemnity, but the ordinary form isn't, ie you can have incense at any mass or have a sung mass with out incense. So we see that the ordinary form appears to have been designed so you could have the most solemnity that you could, unfortunately the so called "low Mass" mentality was still at large after the implementation of the ordinary form and not only that but an "abusive" mentality flared up in the church, because of the Ordinary form's flexibility .

I myself like both forms, they both holy, but I prefer the extra ordinary form when done solemnly. The ordinary form has only it's flexibility going for it, compared with devotional qualities of the Extra ordinary form.

It will be very interesting to see this new development form maybe 500years in the future, will both forms still co-exist or will one become more dominant?

One of my current reading books is "how Christ celebrated the first mass" and apparently the first mass ever written is the divine liturgy of St James and the book goes on that the Roman rite was written by St Peter, quite interesting. I hope Elizabeth Harrington, will find out that there are more rites in the church, especially that the first mass celebrated by Christ himself was not a free for all, all encompassing and gender neutral affair, it was the Sacred passover a liturgy that was in the making ever since the Jews left Egypt!

I hope that the words of a young FSSP seminarian come true,
" I long for the days that the only argument in the church is, Lace yes or no"
Finally like my co-blogger has pointed out, that the CDF used this latest development for the more so called "controversial" document that they released regarding Vatican 2"

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reactions to the Motu Proprio (4)

As promised, I said that I would do a further analysis of local reactions to the MP. I have followed the tradition set by Fr Z in www.wdtprs.com/blog/ commenting line by line on this week's column by our local "liturgist" Elizabeth Harrington. My comments are italics.

What are the implications for the average Catholic parish of the recent statement from Pope Benedict XVI about celebrating Mass according to the 1962 Missal? (good start)

There will not be many Catholic parishes which meet the requirements set out in the document. The first requirement is ‘a stable group of the faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition’. (of course we need to say up front that no-one will be interested and it is all too difficult)

This does not mean a group in a diocese that goes around to different parishes telling them that they need to introduce a Tridentine Mass, or a few young people who suddenly discover the ‘wonders’ of Mass in Latin – until the novelty wears off! It means a sizable group located within the parish boundaries who have demonstrated a long-term commitment and devotion for the earlier form. (This is new - a band of marauding traditionalists going around and belting up other parishes! And what is worse some young people on speed are going to turn up and celebrate Tridentine Masses until they come down from their"trip". No - you have to do the time and show a long term commitment and self appointed people will then make sure that it is still difficult)

According to Canon Law, the bishop may allow priests to celebrate Mass twice a day or even three times on a Sunday if there is a scarcity of priests (Canon #905). Very many priests are already celebrating the maximum number of Masses allowable on Sunday and would be unable to add another Mass to the existing parish schedule. (True that is why we must pray for new priests who are knowledgeable and experienced in the extraordinary form)

Two other requirements listed in the pope’s document are ‘a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language’. There would not be many priests who would fulfil these requirements and be capable of celebrating Mass according to the 1962 Missal with dignity and grace. (See the previous para)

Suppose a parish has a sufficiently large, stable group of parishioners ‘who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition’, that the parish priest is not already committed to three Masses on a Sunday and is familiar with the old rite and had some knowledge of Latin. Even then, there are several practical problems to overcome, including the layout of the church (in the pre-Vatican II rite the priest and the assembly face the altar), which lectionary, calendar and vestments to use and the availability of people’s missals. (Oops Houston - we still have a problem! The post Vatican II liturgists have really made it hard now - the churches are wrecked! Actually many churches built before 1960 still have much of their Tridentine fittings, and many modern churches could accommodate a Tridentine Mass)

One aspect of the motu proprio that concerns me greatly is the suggestion that marriages, baptisms and funerals might be celebrated according to the older ritual. These rites are attended by people who are not regular members of the worshipping community. Celebrating them in a form and language which is totally foreign will mean that wonderful outreach opportunities for the Church are lost. (Yes we heard this last week - comments already provided in my previous blog)

As I wrote a couple of months ago, the gap between the Tridentine Mass and the current Order of Mass is not so much one of language as of theology. Since liturgy is an expression of the Church’s belief, my greatest concern is that having two quite distinct Orders of Mass in use suggests that there is division within Catholicism about the nature and purpose of the Church. (Obviously she doesnt know of the various Eastern rites in the church. Anyway my observation is that there is a great division in the local Archdiocese already about the nature and purpose of the Church. Its called the hermeneutic of rupture versus continuity. I think I know which one is winning right now)

I’ll leave the last word to an older lady who wrote to me recently to express her concern at the prospect of a return to Masses in Latin: “Having tried to pray for many years in Latin, I rejoiced when it was no longer necessary. Yes, I had a missal with Latin on one side and English on the other, but it always left me feeling like the lady in the song: ‘One eye in the pot and the other up the chimney’!”
(What is this all about? Incidently I was at a corporate strategy seminar today which said that you cannot hang a whole view of the world on single statistic. This sound like she talked to one of her little old ladies in the parish and presents this as market research! Obviously this says that everyone is an idiot and will not take the time to learn the liturgy. As I have said earlier, the discussion on the MP locally has been so infantile that I have not participated).

Overall the article was a pointless bit of drivel. It makes no mention of the potential for chaplaincies, whole parishes and religious communities to serve the needs of people who are attracted to the extradordinary form. It has no idea of the fact that people do move around in the Archdiocese and go to liturgies that suit them rather than their parish, and of course that the use of the internet has mobilised a lot of people. Frankly again, I think it is aimed at the liturgical elites in the parishes, to comfort them that their way of doing things is ok, and will not be disturbed.

I think that this is it in terms of comments on the MP reactions. My next postings will reflect on both the ordinary and extraordinary forms in the light of Sacrosanctum Consilium. In the meantime, I will find time to pray more and know Christ and myself better.


The Retreat was awesome, what else do i need to say?
Father Bing again, provided great talks on a holy life

The retreat was focused on making a good general confession, a far cry from my year 11 leadership retreat, which was good on a lower level.
Here is the hall that the Brothers converted into a chapel. as you can see it looks better then most parish churches! Daily mass, exposition and the rosary really give that spiritual charge, which is quite welcome once a year. My only regret was that I was unable to join the brothers for morning prayers (Basilian chant liturgy of the Hours) , I slept in.
On the final day of the retreat, none other then Bishop Jarret from Lismore celebrated Holy Mass for us. The Bishop is one of the most outstanding of Australia's Bishops and some might argue that he is the best.
A Bishop, at his throne is a powerful image, especially when shrouded by priests and clergy.
His lordship preached a wonderful homily, very inspiring. The Shepard, teaching the flock.
The Altar is prepared by one of the con-celebrating priests. The Mass was the ordinary form, but in Latin and ad orientam. The elevation of the chalice.
Having the retreat out in the middle of nowhere, has certain draw backs, such as a lack of servers, we were under maned. Ideally we would have had a crucifer and proper chaplains for the bishop with vimpae, but God didn't allow it, this time.
All in all the retreat was great! and provided me with a rare opportunity of serving for a bishop!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Our Lady of Mt Carmel at Marian valley

Well I'm back from the two retreats, Just to give you a bite size liturgical snack , here are photos from the Italian Pilgrimage to Marian Valley.Exposition before mass, as usual.

Finally the final blessing, if you look carefully, Fr Prior is wearing choir dress!!!! A thing rarely seen on priests! Stay tuned, I'll be posting photos from the Retreat tomorrow.

Divine Liturgy of St James, Indian Usage

The syro-Malabar Catholic rite, I was invited by one of my good friends to serve the liturgy when it was held here in Brisbane. Needless to say, for the first time i have actually served an eastern rite mass, in a completely different language and culture, too some getting used to but it was amazing.

As you might notice, unfortunately we did not have access to the vestments proper to the rite, so we had to make do with roman vestments.
In this rite, incense is well, abused, and I love it. Through the whole mass the thurifer stands in the sanctuary and basically acts like a smoke machine. The thurifer also incenses the altar! and ambo!

A roman church with a high altar and crammer table are perfect for this rite! unfortunately Holy spirit new farm, had the high altar removed. In this rite, the liturgy of the word is celebrated at a lower altar, facing the people , while the liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated at the higher altar ad orientam. We involuntarily had to make do with versus populum the whole time.
The elevationThe incense is blessed again!It was awesome to serve for another one of the holy church's rites. The church is so much richer then people think!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Reactions to the Motu Proprio (3)

Earlier this week, I promised to do a further analysis of the Catholic weekly newspapers to gauge the range of reactions to the MP.

The Catholic Leader's headline "POPE REAFFIRMS LATIN...but its not for the masses" pretty much sums up the rest of the article. Much of the article is sourced from the National Liturgical Office executive officer Fr Peter Williams who stresses (my comments in italics):

  • since 1969 Catholics had used the Missal of Pope Paul VI (well -dah)
  • the Mass used at the time of the Council was never legally abrogated
  • The Holy Father stresses that above all the unity and cohesion of parish communities should be the primary outcome of the celebration of any form of the liturgy (got to make sure that we keep that emphasis on community above God)
  • it is not expected that there will be any considerable change to the pattern of worship established in most Catholic parishes in Australia (got to give comfort to the communities and liturgical elites that things will remain the same no matter how badly the liturgy is celebrated)

The reaction of the Liturgical Commission education officer Elizabeth Harrington was actually quite well balanced, but then goes into a lot of barriers that would prevent the older rite being used. That is true, but there is enough of the pre-Conciliar church around that could put these things back into use again. Considering the the Liturgical Commission has tried its best like 20th century William Dowsings to wipe out all this heritage. I note her concern that "...marriages, baptisms and funerals might be celbrated according to older ritual. They are a wonderful outreach opportuity for the Church that could be lost" mmmmm - most weddings and baptisms that I have been to in the modern rite were not particularly good advertisement for the church either (ie. all the emphasis was about looking good in church rather than any reference to God).

The sentiments of Fr Peter Williams was reported in the Catholic Weekly of last Sunday as well. However in this newspapaer Fr Williams was given a small article on page 6. Both articles were sourced from the Austrlain Bishops Conference website http://www.acbc.catholic.org.au/bc/liturgy/20070707507.htm.

A much better and informative article was given by Fr Tim Deeter Director of the Liturgy Office of the Archdiocese of Sydney. This article is in the form of 8 FAQs, and appears not to betray any biases, and is quite supportive.

Elizabeth Harrington has a further article on the matter in this weeks Liturgy Lines published in the Catholic Leader. First the article's actual title is incorrect "The Pope's Statement on the Use of the Tridentine Rite" Of course we all know that there is no such thing as a "Tridentine Rite". After brushing over the tradition stuff (no we wouldnt be interested in any of that would we), she makes this strange statement:

As in the terms extra-ordinary and ordinary ministers of communion, ‘ordinary’ here means usual or normal, while ‘extraordinary’ means outside the usual or normal.

Now in her previous articles on ministers of Communion (the latest being 14 March 2004) the tack was quite different.

They are call extra-ordinary or special because the ordinary ministers of communion are bishops, priests and deacons, that is, those who have been admitted to holy orders. At most celebrations of Mass there is only one priest and no deacon. Now that most people receive communion every time they come to Mass and communion is usually under both kinds, special ministers are needed so that the time taken for communion is not disproportionately long in comparison with other elements of the liturgy. Special ministers are not used for the sake of speed or efficiency, however, but to ensure that sharing communion is a genuine experience of eating and drinking together.

The statement is very clear that extra-ordinary means "special", but does not refer to the frequency of use. This must be why extra-ordinary ministers have developed into the norm, and Masses celebrated without them are considered unusual. However when it comes to the Missal of bl John XXIII she is clear that this meaning of extra-ordinary is quite different; that it means, not special, but that it is outside the normal.

So already within two weeks we are being given local interpretations of Summorum Pontificum. depending how some people in unique positions are trying to sway the public. Most of these interpretations appear to be damage control exersizes, with the role of the Motu Proprio being downplayed, as it is clearly at odds with the way the more liberal liturgy commissions want to see liturgy.

My hope is that the extra-ordinary form of the Roman Rite is interpreted the same as the ministers of Communion ie. that it does become regular, and a "special" experience for all who attend.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


just posting to inform my reads that i will be away from posting as of tomorrow until Wednesday and then again from Friday until Sunday. I have just hit two retreats, first the school retreat and then i have the annual alliance of the holy family international retreat. I hope my co-bloggers will meet your blogging fix.

Reactions to the Motu Proprio (2)

As promised, I will share reactions to the MP following these Sunday Masses.

It has not been discussed - at all.

The local catholic press have given it very little airplay, but at least it did get on the front page of the Catholic Leader. However the journalistic flavour is a dead give away:

POPE REAFFIRMS LATIN.....but its not for the masses.

The article then gave the viewpoint of the National Liturgical Office executive director Fr Peter Williams (whom I do not know at all) which gave the usual guff about how it is just reaffirming that the previous edition of the Missal was never legally abrogated, and it is already allowed in many places. It then gives the viewpoint of Mrs Elizabeth Harrington of the Brisbane Liturgy Commission who I must admit gave a pretty fair assessment about it and the hope that it will bring the liturgy wars (some of which she started) to an end. However, I felt that the article was very fuzzy and not particularly positive. The emphasis seems to be on damage control, and giving the liturgical elites comfort that nothing is going to change. At face value, the headline, gives the view that yeah there is an MP but access to the 1962 Missal is going to be pretty limited and we are making sure that this happens no matter what the Pope might say.

The writeup in the Catholic Weekly was far more positive. The cover feature was the arrival of the WYD Cross and Icon in Sydney. However in the main part of the Weekly, the headlines trumpeted the return of the Tridentine Mass. Apart from the main news story there was also a one and a half page FAQs on the Missal of John XXIII and how it could be used in a pastoral sense. The coverage was far more comprehensive and balanced than the Catholic Leader.

This assessment was made after a quick look over the papers in the cathedral after Mass. Tomorrow I will get the papers and have a better look (didnt have any change on me today).

If the Catholic Leader claims to be the mouthpiece of the Brisbane Archdiocese, I am very disappointed at the attitude.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

ACSA Day 3 , the Night

As promised here a photos from the war memorial. The war memorial looks more fitting for a cathedral rather then a memorial for the dead, I notice that the memorial had awesome acoustics, so a few of us decided to road test it.
You know nothing fancy, just a kyrie and a salva regina, we drew a few curious on looker, some hung around waiting for an encore. One of our group recorded our out of tune chanting so hopefully we will have a video to post soon of it.
You can see so many interesting people have gone to war, including this priest.
As I said more fitting for a Cathedral, but it is an outstanding work of architecture. Apparently I was intended to be place across from parliament, so the politicians would be reminded of the horrors of war every time they stepped out of parliament.
Next we moved back to our accommodation for some pizza and more partying , Catholic style.

Later that Night I was kindly invited by Jackub Doig to spend the 4hr or so night at his house, needless to say we didn't sleep at all. First thing I notice about the apartment, is how polish it look, coincidently Jackub is in love with Poland, so he treated me as some hero. But the really fun part for me was the book case full of good books and the biretta. Then I found out that he rents the apartment from a priest, who is in a mission in Africa, wow.
A nice photo of Jackub's study desk, simple, yet holy. Now back to that awesome book case, even a fortesque from 1920! A few missals, a liber and a libers, awesome and to top it all off the roman ritual in English and Latin!
And here is Jackub, great Man , very polish, he's not of decent, or of birth, but what the hey, he's more polish then a lot of the polish youth at any polish schools I've been to.

Sorry about the brief write up, but I'm stressed for time, one more post to come and it's the trip home! I see my co-bloggers have satisfied all your intellectual needs.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ACSA congress- day 3

Alright time for photos from day 3 , the final day.2 young Capucins, It's was great to see so many young religious at the conference, especially the order that the cappuccino is named after!
A Ninja turtle! complete with throwing star!
Catholic students are really funny people!
The Mass at John XXIII college.
The calling down of the holy spirit
The worst part of the congress was the good byes, that and being locked out of your room at 3am!
Imagine this 15 or so catholic students and two priest filleing into a red rooster to have some tucker!, something really grand!
Later the Brisbane convoy contingent traveled to the war memorial, which by the way will have it's own post! so stay tuned!

Br. Thomas Azzi OP

Te Deum Laudamus, a New Dominican.
One of my friends was clothed with the Dominican habit quite recently.
Know that there is a quite a bit of Dominican interest in this blog i thought of posting this wonderful news. Br. Thomas Azzi OP, he's a great guy, you could just feel the holiness around him, please prayer for him, in this age of the church, we once again need the Dominicans.

For a while I had thoughts about joining the Dominicans and i still do, God has not really defined my path yet, so keep praying! I just recently brought a book about the life of st Dominic and I know that it will inspire me, from what i've read so far , st Dominic is an amazing saint!

Motu Proprio - the future

After having a bit of a rant regarding how the MP has been received locally to date, I thought that I would have a go at future forecasting. To be safe this discussion is not saying that the "world would be like this" but pose some ideas to get some discussions going.

I think that the role of the Extraordinary form of the Mass in the future church in Queensland will be determined by a number of sociological factors happening in the church and wider society. Some of my forecasts and comments on the future church are as follows:

  1. the Catholic Church will continue to be the only voice of Christianity in the future as the large protestant denominations continue to decline and small growing churches (eg. the pentecostals) reach their ceiling for potential members. The reason I say this on the latter point is that the "fundamentalist" nature of these churches do repel most Australians. They only satisfy some people in certain circumstances.
  2. In terms of numbers attending Mass on Sunday will plummet when the pre-Vatican II generation, who were conditioned to compulsory attendance at Mass, die off. This includes the "silent" generation and the early baby-boomers. As the temporal activities of the Church expand (ie. schools and hospitals and other social services), the sacramental nature of the Church will continue to decline
  3. This will be exacerbated by the collapse in the priesthood which on current trends will start to happen after 2011, when the priests from the big seminary days (the Vatican II generation) retire. (It needs to be mentioned that the Brisbane seminary is the smallest of the seminaries in Australia and the only one not growing when the Nigerian seminarians are taken out of the picture).
  4. The ethnic mix of the active church will change as the Irish-Australian component declines out of the church and migrants from Asia, Eastern Europe and South America, restructure the ethnic mix. The new migrants are committed and orthodox compared to the Irish-Australians. Liberalism will be in decline.

The trend is that the future church in Queensland will be smaller, but will move to a more orthodox and evangelical makeup, due to the ethnic mix and as it comes up against more competition in ideas from the secular world.

All of this makes for what I think will be a positive and fertile ground for the use of the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite as the future "market" becomes more receptive to its use and find it "useful" for their spirituality.

The biggest challenge is the number of priests. Today in the local church there are hardly any priests who can celebrate the Extraordinary form (and many struggle to celebrate the Ordinary form properly), or who are interested. New priests will need to be found. Given a future where the local seminary may produce an Ordinary form priest once every two years, the reliance on the religious orders and Classical rite communities will be even greater. Again the balance will change with older tired priests being tied to the ordinary form (both in practice and ideology)and younger more enthusiastic priests celebrating in either form or both.

The other question is how the Extraordinary form may exist in a pastoral sense. Personally I feel that other archdioceses have shown the way on this. First, the extraordinary form gets celebrated temporarily in a "borrowed" parish church on an occassional basis. Then as the numbers build up and permanent priests appear, a permanent parish gets established celebrating all the sacraments in the extraordinary form exclusively (eg. St Aloysius or Maternal Heart). The impact post MP, might be that there may be 2 or 3 such parishes in one diocese with these parishes outreaching to other parts of the Diocese. I cannot see a majority of parishes wanting to do both the ordinary and the extraordinary form in one weekend, people will just like to stick with the ordinary form in most cases.

For another example the extraordinary form may exist within the Roman Church similar to Anglo-Catholicism existing within the Anglican Communion. Some parishes in a Diocese may consider themselves as Anglo-Catholic but exist beside more mainstream anglicanism or even evangelicals.

My dream is that Brisbane gets permanent parishes for the Extraordinary form to be celebrated exclusively, not only in the inner city but also the Gold and Sunshine coasts, with priests (both trained by the Archdiocese and by others) roaming to celebrate in the extraordinary form, in more outlying regions wherever communities ask for it. However, it must be kept in mind that it will always be a small proportion of the churchgoing population who want to attend on a regular basis. This said, the numbers of Catholics who want to dip in and try it out is underestimated by the hierarchy. The fact is that it is now an active part of the life of the Church.

Any comments about these scenarios?

Local Reactions to the Motu Proprio

Roman and I had a conversation last night as to the reaction generally around the Brisbane archdiocese about the Motu Proprio. To date the only reactions I have personally found is from older parishioners (ie. 60yo and above which is probably the majority of the practicing Catholic population), saying things like that "the Pope wants us to go back to the old Mass that we grew up with" - of course incorrect.

The small amount of "official" correspondence contains no surprises, given the ideological backgrounds of the self appointed people managing liturgical issues. Fr Tom Elich in the December 2006 edition of Liturgy News came out with a number of judgements on the issue that have turned out to be totally wrong. He also sides with the French bishops who protested against the Motu Proprio (mmmm - neo "Protestants"??). Elizabeth Harrington of the Brisbane Liturgy Commission goes further in her article of 13 May and by quoting Fr Reggie Foster implies that the Pope is "stupid" for issuing such a document. The biggest criticism is that:

The Tridentine Mass has fewer readings from scripture than the current Mass, there is no Prayer of the Faithful, the Eucharistic Prayer is said in silence and the liturgy is celebrated with the priest’s back to the people.

Particularly irksome, is the same story repeated in many articles is the notion that the priest celebrating "with his back to the people" is somehow anti-social. If the liturgy is only seen as a convivial gathering of a community group (as many "authorities" on liturgy seem to imply), I suppose that is anti-social. However, that is not the reason why the liturgy exists.

Overall it is difficult to maintain any decent discussion on the liturgy with many people as much of the outlook is so infantile (particularly from older people brought up in the pre-conciliar church). Thankfully I can discuss this properly with my fellow bloggers, on this and other sites.

The next blog is about the future.

CDF commentary

As I said in my last post I will be posting sections from the commentary the CDF released on its document on the Church. I found the commentary an enlightening read. Let me quote some sections for you that I particularly enjoyed. I've may add the occasional comment in parenthesis to make things clearer and use bold emphasis.

"This publication (referring to the document), based on the conciliar and postconciliar texts which it cites, reflects the concern of the Congregation to safeguard the unity and unicity of the Church, which would be compromised by the proposal that the Church founded by Christ could have more than one subsistence. If this were the case we would be forced, as the Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae puts it, to imagine "the Church of Christ as the sum total of the Churches or the ecclesial Communities – which are simultaneously differentiated and yet united", or "to think that the Church of Christ no longer exists today concretely and therefore can only be the object of research for the Churches and the communities."[4] If this were the case, the Church of Christ would not any longer exist in history, or would exist only in some ideal form emerging either through some future convergence or through the reunification of the diverse sister Churches, to be hoped for and achieved through dialogue."

Reference is made here to the document Mysterium Ecclesiae. This was issued by the CDF back in the early seventies for the same reason the current document has been issued and for the same reason Dominus Jesus was issued. It is a relatively short document, only taking up a few pages in my copy of Flannery's postconcilar documents. If readers have the time and resources I recommend becoming familiar with it.

"The Notification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning a book of Leonardo Boff is even more explicit. In response to Boff's assertion that the one Church of Christ "is able to subsist in other Christian Churches", the Notification states that "the Council chose the word "subsistit" specifically to clarify that the true Church has only one "subsistence", while outside her visible boundaries there are only "elementa Ecclesiae" which – being elements of the same Church – tend and lead to the Catholic Church."[5] "

Here we see another reference to "visible boundaries." When attention is focused solely on the visible boundaries it becomes quite correct to say as Pius XII did in Humani Generis that "the .. Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are one and the same thing." Here Pius was reaffirming his teaching in Mystici Corporis Christi.

"In reality, all the Council Fathers simply intended to do was to recognise the presence of ecclesial elements proper to the Church of Christ in the non-Catholic Christian communities. It does not follow that the identification of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church no longer holds, nor that outside the Catholic Church there is a complete absence of ecclesial elements, a 'churchless void'. "

It gets better:

"In fact, precisely because the Church willed by Christ actually continues to exist (subsistit in) in the Catholic Church, this continuity of subsistence implies an essential identity between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. The Council wished to teach that we encounter the Church of Jesus Christ as a concrete historical subject in the Catholic Church. The idea, therefore, that subsistence can somehow be multiplied does not express what was intended by the choice of the term "subsistit". In choosing the word "subsistit" the Council intended to express the singularity and non "multipliability" of the Church of Christ: the Church exists as a unique historical reality."

And the last section I want to quote:

"Contrary to many unfounded interpretations, therefore, the change from "est" to "subsistit" does not signify that the Catholic Church has ceased to regard herself as the one true Church of Christ. Rather it simply signifies a greater openness to the ecumenical desire to recognise truly ecclesial characteristics and dimensions in the Christian communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the "plura elementa sanctificationis et veritatis" present in them. Consequently, although there is only one Church which "subsists" in one unique historical subject there are true ecclesial realities which exist beyond its visible boundaries. "

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Motu Proprio- in English


Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church.'

Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.' (1)

Among the pontiffs who showed that requisite concern, particularly outstanding is the name of St. Gregory the Great, who made every effort to ensure that the new peoples of Europe received both the Catholic faith and the treasures of worship and culture that had been accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He commanded that the form of the sacred liturgy as celebrated in Rome (concerning both the Sacrifice of Mass and the Divine Office) be conserved. He took great concern to ensure the dissemination of monks and nuns who, following the Rule of St. Benedict, together with the announcement of the Gospel illustrated with their lives the wise provision of their Rule that 'nothing should be placed before the work of God.' In this way the sacred liturgy, celebrated according to the Roman use, enriched not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.

Many other Roman pontiffs, in the course of the centuries, showed particular solicitude in ensuring that the sacred liturgy accomplished this task more effectively. Outstanding among them is St. Pius V who, sustained by great pastoral zeal and following the exhortations of the Council of Trent, renewed the entire liturgy of the Church, oversaw the publication of liturgical books amended and 'renewed in accordance with the norms of the Fathers,' and provided them for the use of the Latin Church.

One of the liturgical books of the Roman rite is the Roman Missal, which developed in the city of Rome and, with the passing of the centuries, little by little took forms very similar to that it has had in recent times.

'It was towards this same goal that succeeding Roman Pontiffs directed their energies during the subsequent centuries in order to ensure that the rites and liturgical books were brought up to date and when necessary clarified. From the beginning of this century they undertook a more general reform.' (2) Thus our predecessors Clement VIII, Urban VIII, St. Pius X (3), Benedict XV, Pius XII and Blessed John XXIII all played a part.

In more recent times, Vatican Council II expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman pontiffs have operated to ensure that 'this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony.' (4)

But in some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms. These had so deeply marked their culture and their spirit that in 1984 the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, moved by a concern for the pastoral care of these faithful, with the special indult 'Quattuor abhinc anno," issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted permission to use the Roman Missal published by Blessed John XXIII in the year 1962. Later, in the year 1988, John Paul II with the Apostolic Letter given as Motu Proprio, 'Ecclesia Dei,' exhorted bishops to make generous use of this power in favor of all the faithful who so desired.

Following the insistent prayers of these faithful, long deliberated upon by our predecessor John Paul II, and after having listened to the views of the Cardinal Fathers of the Consistory of 22 March 2006, having reflected deeply upon all aspects of the question, invoked the Holy Spirit and trusting in the help of God, with these Apostolic Letters we establish the following:

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows:

Art. 2. In Masses celebrated without the people, each Catholic priest of the Latin rite, whether secular or regular, may use the Roman Missal published by Bl. Pope John XXIII in 1962, or the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and may do so on any day with the exception of the Easter Triduum. For such celebrations, with either one Missal or the other, the priest has no need for permission from the Apostolic See or from his Ordinary.

Art. 3. Communities of Institutes of consecrated life and of Societies of apostolic life, of either pontifical or diocesan right, wishing to celebrate Mass in accordance with the edition of the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962, for conventual or "community" celebration in their oratories, may do so. If an individual community or an entire Institute or Society wishes to undertake such celebrations often, habitually or permanently, the decision must be taken by the Superiors Major, in accordance with the law and following their own specific decrees and statues.

Art. 4. Celebrations of Mass as mentioned above in art. 2 may - observing all the norms of law - also be attended by faithful who, of their own free will, ask to be admitted.

Art. 5. õ 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church. õ 2 Celebration in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII may take place on working days; while on Sundays and feast days one such celebration may also be held. õ 3 For faithful and priests who request it, the pastor should also allow celebrations in this extraordinary form for special circumstances such as marriages, funerals or occasional celebrations, e.g. pilgrimages. õ 4 Priests who use the Missal of Bl. John XXIII must be qualified to do so and not juridically impeded. õ 5 In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.

Art. 6. In Masses celebrated in the presence of the people in accordance with the Missal of Bl. John XXIII, the readings may be given in the vernacular, using editions recognised by the Apostolic See.

Art. 7. If a group of lay faithful, as mentioned in art. 5 õ 1, has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

Art. 8. A bishop who, desirous of satisfying such requests, but who for various reasons is unable to do so, may refer the problem to the Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to obtain counsel and assistance.

Art. 9. õ 1 The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance, and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it. õ 2 Ordinaries are given the right to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation using the earlier Roman Pontifical, if the good of souls would seem to require it. õ 2 Clerics ordained "in sacris constitutis" may use the Roman Breviary promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962.

Art. 10. The ordinary of a particular place, if he feels it appropriate, may erect a personal parish in accordance with can. 518 for celebrations following the ancient form of the Roman rite, or appoint a chaplain, while observing all the norms of law.

Art. 11. The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", erected by John Paul II in 1988 (5), continues to exercise its function. Said Commission will have the form, duties and norms that the Roman Pontiff wishes to assign it.

Art. 12. This Commission, apart from the powers it enjoys, will exercise the authority of the Holy See, supervising the observance and application of these dispositions.

We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as "established and decreed", and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, whatever there may be to the contrary.

From Rome, at St. Peter's, 7 July 2007, third year of Our Pontificate.

" (1) General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 3rd ed., 2002, no. 397. (2) John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," 4 December 1988, 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899.

(3) Ibid. (4) St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter Motu propio data, "Abhinc duos annos," 23 October 1913: AAS 5 (1913), 449-450; cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter "Vicesimus quintus annus," no. 3: AAS 81 (1989), 899. (5) Cf John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Motu proprio data "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 1498.

ACSA - the ball

Wow my first formal ball, I still haven't even had my semi formal at school. Needless to say, I actually like formal dress, it's quite fancy. I had an excellent time getting there, I was quite entertained by two lay Dominicans arguing over which version of the bible they should read!Catholics sure do know how to have fun!
uick drinks and socializing before the ball, did i mention it was at parliament house?
Several seminarians, priests and even bishops were there, all in cassocks and simitrs, but i still wanted biretta's and capes.
Several outstanding members of the Church were present, I'll leave it up to the readers to point out who they know!
Here is my table, staffed with Cardinal's choice wine and olive oil.

Bishop fisher gave a great address on Australia in the year 2028, so great that we stood and clapped for about 3mintues! I'm very interested in the charismatic Latin mass group! unfortunatly he left out the future Gregory Cardinal Jordan SJ!The ball was great, I meet a lot of great Catholics. Stay tuned for more posts.

ACSA Congress, Mass procession

CDF issues document on the Church

With the great fanfare created by the release of the Motu Proprio on the July 7th (and due to take effect as of the 14th September) another document, this time from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, may not receive it's due. Of course that won't be the case on this blog as I'm dedicating this post to the document, its commentary and the issues discussed in it.

For those not in the know, two days ago the Congregation (hereafter referred to by CDF) released the document entitled: "RESPONSES TO SOME QUESTIONS REGARDING CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE DOCTRINE ON THE CHURCH."

The first thing to note is that this document is very short. Not including footnotes the actual text would probably take up no more than one and half A4 pages. So there is no excuse not to read it!

The second thing to note is the presentation used is that of the question and answer format with five questions in total. This creates simple bite sized bits for everyone to chew on (although if you are a fuzzy wuzzy you may find the swallowing part hard but let Summa Theologica warn you that anyone who spits it out does so to their own detriment).

The last thing to keep in mind is the last section of the document:

"The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication."

Before I go on, the first thing to do if you haven't already done so is READ the document.

The main questions that I want to focus in on are two and three. Both these questions concern the expression used by Lumen Gentium "subsists in."
While these words have a very precise meaning they have caused no little confusion since the conclusion of the Council. Let me quote from the document:

"In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth."

This last section repeats what was explained to the Council Fathers in the relatio (here the relator is explaining to the Fathers the reason for the usage of subsists):

"Now, the intention is to show that the Church, whose deep and hidden nature is described and which is perpetually united with Christ and His work, is concretely found here on earth in the Catholic Church." as cited by O'Conner in The Church of Christ and the Catholic Church, Homiletic and Pastoral Review January 1984.

To say that something subsists means that it exists in itself and not in something else. It is the manner of the existence of a substance. This is the opposite of accidents which do not exist in themselves but need a substance in which to inhere (as explained in an earlier post, one miracle involved in the Mass is that the accidents continue to exist despite the fact their substance - bread, wine - is no longer present for them to exist in).

To say that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church is to answer the question "where can Christ's Church be found?" As a complete concrete subject, it is found in the Catholic Church. They are not therefore two separate things distinct from each other.

This brings us to the other part of the equation. The "elements" that exist (not subsist) outside the Church.

Christ entrusted to his Church certain gifts that are capable of operating outside the bounds of his visible Catholic Church. This is commonly referred to as the "soul of the Church". For example the Pius X catechism says:

22 Q: In what does the Soul of the Church consist?

A: The Soul of the Church consists in her internal and spiritual endowments, that is, faith, hope, charity, the gifts of grace and of the Holy Ghost, together with all the heavenly treasures which are hers through the merits of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and of the Saints.

Now it is the Church's clear teaching that grace is to be found outside the Catholic Church (if this were not so no unbeliever could be converted because an act of faith requires the action of grace).

For instance the Dogmatic Constitution Unigenitus of Clement XI issued September 8 1713 we find the condemned proposition:

"Outside the Church no grace is granted."

Few people have any problem with this. But there can be a problem in trying to put all these truths together. Given that all these things which belong to the Christ's Church and are just as much a part of her can be found in many places, where is that Church found as a fully existing reality? This is what subsists solves.

When answering the question why "is" was not used the documents says (my emphasis):

The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity"

Now an objection is occasionally raised by some concerning a passage in Mystici Corporis Christi of Pius XII in which he used the verb "est" (is). Just as "subsists" is taken from it's context I believe something similar is happening here. The sentence in question is the entirety of paragraph 13 of that document but let's back up a little starting in paragraph 12 (my emphasis and added comment):

"As He hung upon the Cross, Christ Jesus not only appeased the justice of the Eternal Father which had been violated, but He also won for us, His brethren, an ineffable flow of graces. It was possible for Him of Himself to impart these graces to mankind directly; but He willed to do so only through a visible Church made up of men, so that through her all might cooperate with Him in dispensing the graces of Redemption. As the Word of God willed to make use of our nature, when in excruciating agony He would redeem mankind, so in the same way throughout the centuries He makes use of the Church that the work begun might endure. [11]
13. If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ [note: "this...Church" is thus refering to the "visible Church" mentioned above] - which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church [12] - we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression "the Mystical Body of Christ" - an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers."

Because the encyclical is discussing the Mystical Body, and hence the visible existence of the Church the word "is" has been used. This visible Church is the Mystical Body is the Catholic Church. It isn't until later in the encyclical that Pius XII begins to discuss the soul of the Church.

What I personally found to be an even better read than the document itself was the commentary on the document issued by the same Congregation (in truth the commentary is about three times as long!) I'll let readers digest this post before posting some particularly clear and enlightening sections from the commentary.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

ACSA day 2

Well now on to the second post about the congress. After a late night (3am) I managed to sleep till 8:15, unfortunately i missed morning benediction. But I had a delightful breakfast with a young seminarian from wagga wagga seminary.
After many interesting talks, we moved off on to buses and headed to St Christopher's Cathedral Canberra.
St Christoper's is a very beautiful cathedral.
The Mass was served by the seminarian's that had come for the congress, thus giving hard working servers like me and JP to have a well earned break. The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Phillip Wilson , bishop Anthoney Fisher, Archbishop Chaput and host of con-celebrating priests.
I personally don't like the New Roman Style of surplice, looks too much like a rochet.
Here are the Bishops after mass, talking to Aaron Russel, or as we know him indolentserver.
Notice the Pontifical MC's purple cassock. I myself am disappointed due to a lack of assistant deacons or even deacons for such a solemn mass.

Stay tuned , more posts are in the works and for the first time an actual video.