The Value of the Mass

The Value of the Mass
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 - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Church Highlight Holy Family Columbus

Holy Family Parish was established for the largely Irish west side of Columbus [Ohio] in 1877. The church was dedicated in 1899. It is the site of the diocese's only indult for the use of the 1962 Roman Missal (and my summer assignement this year whoo hoo!) Fr. Kevin Lutz in the current pastor, and one of the best guys I know. Unfortunately I got these pictures in reverse order, but the discriptions fit.

This first picture is one of the stations of the cross at Holy Family.

This next picture is of the very ornate, and rather large baptistry.

This is just a sample of the stain glass windows at Holy Family. They actually are very simple windows, but beautiful just the same. All of the windows at Holy Family depict saints. This peticular example is of Sts. Simon and Andrew.

Even the front doors at Holy Family remind us of the holiness and history of the Catholic Church and of our mission.

Here is the high altar, still in use, at Holy Family. At the time I took these pictures, all of the statues were covered due to Passiontide (and rightly so).

The pulpit at Holy Family.

This is Mary's side altar at Holy Family, but you can't really tell that from this picture because she's covered up. I wonder if the halo that showed up in the picture is any indication that that's a depection of our Blessed Mother under there.

The outside of Holy Family. For some reason the resolution didn't turn out so great on these pictures.

The choir loft and organ at Holy Family. I wished I had gotten a better picture of the organ, as it is a very nice organ.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Coming Soon: Church Highlights

Lately, I've been told that my blog doesn't have very many "encouraging" things on it and that it can be depressing, so I am going to start a new, uh.... segment (that sounds good enough) on my blog. I'm going to try, at least once a week, to put pictures with histories of parishes I visit that have either been preserved from the distruction of the late 20th century or new parishes that have risen above the hippie standard. I'm hoping to have my first "Church Highlight" on Holy Family Parish on the lower west side of Columbus, OH, by tomorrow evening. Look for it!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Rumors, Rumors, and more Rumors

Ok folks, rumors are hitting the fan again regarding "the motu proprio." Although these rumors have been going on for almost a year now, so I figure I'll comment on them (along with providing some very inspiring pictures.)

Let's assume the rumors are true for now. If they are true, that would be a great sign of hope. However, we have to take into consideration that things will not change overnight, if they change at all. I can say this for two reasons. First is because we have no idea, not even a rumor, as to the content or wording of this document. If it worded too strongly, the bishops will reject it and ostracize any priest who wishes to do a TLM on his own initiative. On the other hand, if it's worded too weakly or obscurely it will have no effect because of loopholes and ways to get around allowing it. For the sake of argument, let's assume that it's worded just perfectly to allow any priest that wishes to do so say a public TLM. Even if this is so, things still won't change overnight. The TLM has been placed under indult for the last 20 years and was suppressed for 20 before that. Granted, priests for the FSSP and the Institute of Christ the King know how to say this Mass well, but bishops who are still hostile to the TLM will keep these orders from entering. That leaves diocesan priests to say the TLM, which takes at least a year to learn to say properly.

Any way you cut it, it will still be a while before we see the TLM in regular usage, and that's only under the most perfect of circumstances. Now, I'm not trying to rain on anybody's parade, but we have to look at the situation realistically.

That being said, I am still excited to see something like this happen. I have been praying for it!! Now is the time we must pray, and pray without ceasing. I implore all my readers to say at the very least, one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Gloria (Glory Be) a day for the restoration of a Mass in continuation with apostolic tradition that displays properly the grace, magnificence, holiness, and solemnity of the Holy Sacrifice.

(Requiem Mass)
O Lord, return to us the Holy Mass of the Saints
(and may all hippie masses RIP)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Story of Hope

Recently, I was reading the book The Heresy of Formlessness by Martin Mosebach. In the third chapter of this book is an incredibly inspiring story that, to me, represents the current state of the liturgy in the Church (and to an extent, the Church as a whole) and where we hope she will go in the future. I believe that the picture above is the church written about here (this is a true story) but I'm not 100% sure that this is the church in question.
Here's the story:
First of all I want to take you to a high mountain, a sheer rock perched above the sea, Monte Tiberio on the island of Capri. On its top was the biggest and most beautiful of Emperor Tiberius' villas, the Villa Jovis; from its terraces one could look down on a massive Temple of Minerva that stood on the mainland - and of which not a stone remains. The Villa Jovis has also been plundered right down to its foundations; some beautiful marble floors from the palace have been relocated in the Capri cathedral. The peasants used to burn marble to obtain lime; the marble statues they did not destroy can be seen in the museum. In former centuries Tiberius was regarded as the same kind of a demon as Nero -unjustly, no doubt- but it is a fact that Tiberius was in residence here the same year that his procurator, Pilate, permitted the execution of Jesus. In those years an earthquake destroyed the lighthouse of the Villa Jovis. Tradition says that there are underground lines linking this lighthouse with Golgotha. So it was not surprising that someone had the idea of building a chapel amid the foundations of the ruined palace on the mountaintop, with a little room adjacent that would house a hermit. Nowadays this chapel is open only once a year, on Sept. 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary; in Naples this is one of the main ecclesiastical feasts, under the title of Madonna di Piedigrotta, and it is the center of a huge extravagant local festival. On this occasion the little chapel is decorated with festive lights like a fairground stall, its high altar submerged in fresh gladioli, making the oil painting of the Madonna seem even blacker and more soot encrusted. For the rest of the year mice run around the deserted building and gnaw their way into the sacristy drawers.
In a period in my life when I spent a lot of time in Cari, I was visited once a year by an English priest who lived in Genoa. He was one of those priests who can be identified by their garb and who are now a rare sight, even in the south of Italy. The Capri clergy were even less impressed by the man in the soutane when thy heard that he seriously intended on celebrating Holy Mass every day, alone; still, they were prepared to accommodate his religious scruples, offering him the opportunity of concelebrating in the cathedral. The English priest was a very practical man; he was no great theologian but had a very clear grasp of what was absolutely necessary and essential. In the end he was given the key to the little chapel in the Villa Jovis- which was remote and did not constitute a threat. He would not upset anyone anyone there. It was late afternoon when we first ascended to that spot, by a long path that rose gently but constantly to the high ground, giving us a wide view of the gulf. The castle on the top simply did not want to be photographed; since last year it had rusted up in the island's high humidity. We were greeted by an air of decay as we opened the door. The tabernacle's metal door stood open. There were a few dusty flower vases on the altar, and a plastic sheet covered the mildewed altar cloth. The candles had burned right down. Chairs were scattered around haphazardly. The sacristy looked as though it had been left in a great hurry. Empty bottles, a tawdry chalice of some kind of copper alloy, mousetraps, electric cables for the annual illuminations, desiccated flowers, a chair with three legs- this was the 'still life' presented to us. The priest opened the drawers. They revealed a damp amalgam of altar linen and albs and a disintegrating Missal covered in mildew. My parents had just given me an old Missal; I had wanted one from the time of the Holy Roman Empire, and the one they gave me was dated 1805- that is, just within the period- and published in Regensburg. This moldering Missal was the same edition, with the same pale, simple and affecting copper engravings. There was nothing romantic about the desolate chapel. It was not Pompeii but a rubbish dump that had not yet turned to compost. Unpleasant odors hung in the air; it was a dead place.
My priestly friend indulged in no such reflections. He had a purpose in mind, and there was no time to lose. He opened the window, and warm air seeped in. He took a straw besom from some corner and started sweeping out the sacristy. He wiped the altar surface clean. He took the vestments from the drawers, spread them out, and examined them. Aha, one of the albs was clean and in one piece. He carefully cleaned the chalice. He discovered a bent crucifix, kissed it, and placed it on the sacristy chest. He arranged the altar and put the flower vases in a corner of the sacristy. The chairs were now in an orderly row. The altar was covered with a new altar cloth. We found two candles and put them in the tall altar candlesticks. There was a 'people's altar' in imitation wood, with a metal vine decoration stuck on to it. 'That'll make a good credence table', the priest said, and in a trice we had put it against the right-hand wall. He found the bell rope, got on the ladder outside, and fastened the rope to the little bell. Now the band was broken, the crust of sadness scattered. The wind blew through the open church door like the breath that brings an instrument to life. The priest put on a bespattered stole of violet satin, took a mineral water battle he had brought with him, emptied its contents into a pink plastic pot, and began to pray; adding salt to the water, he blessed it and poured it into the little marble shells beside the entrance. I thought I could hear the stone breathe a sigh as it came to life again. At this stage a creased chasuble made of gold lurex thread was lying ready in the sacristy. I was pulling on the bell rope. The bell made a thin, clattering sound in the evening air, dispersed to all directions by the wind. People began to approach from the far distance, drawn by the bell. By the time the priest emerged from the sacristy, dressed in the creased gold chasuble, there were about twenty women and children on the rows of chairs. The priest bowed down before the altar and began to speak: 'Introibo ad altare Dei.'"
-Just Awesome!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sean Cardinal O'Mally on St. Patrick

Cardinal O'Mally's blog has changed and thus this post is defunct and has been deleted.

Pious Indignation

It seems that there may be some confusion in regards to what I just posted. I would like to clarify even more so that my point may be better understood.

I never said that we should go back to the 62 Missal. I never said the NO wasn't a Mass. I'm simply highlighting the problems with the Churches current liturgical situation. Think of this for a minute, how many corrections, translations, new rubrics, apostolic exhortations, encyclicals, motu proproio's have been written just to try to give the new mass some sort of footing since 1970? We're continually trying to justify the changes we made and at the same time trying to make them resemble something that has loose connections with the traditional practice of the Church. The only thing that is produced is something that has, quite frankly, a phony feel to it. I think the NO Mass needs to be viewed in highlight of tradition. We must look back to the '62 Mass and ask ourselves "what truly needed changing?" When it comes down to it, not a whole lot. In my view from what I have researched so far, here is what I can come up with that truly needed changing.

1. Vernacular- Now before I go any further, I want to say I am fan of the Latin for two reasons. First off, the Latin language is malleable enough to be formed to any musical genre. Second off is because of the accuracy of the language. Keeping this in mind, it is not necessarily a bad thing to translate parts of the Mass into the vernacular, provided that, and only that, the translations are spot on accurate. IMHO, the shoddy translations, especially the English, are the biggest problem with current church practices regarding the vernacular.

2. The Last Gospel - Here's what I mean by this. IMHO, and from what I have read, the last Gospel should be moved so that it is read before the commission "Ite Missa est." That way it has context inside the Mass itself.

3. The Canon - No, I don't mean change the canon itself. However, I do think that it is appropriate that the canon be read allowed. I am a bit reserved by this, but nonetheless, I don't see it as a problem. However, I would retain this part of the Mass in Latin.

Now, after saying all of this, I'm not trying to pass myself off as some sort of liturgical expert. These are just some pious indignations that I've come to after doing quite a bit of research in the past few weeks. I'm sure my opinions may change after more research. Who knows? However, I think just these few changes would have accomplished what Sacrosanctum Concilium asked for without the severance from the ancient rite.

Complaints Re: Changed the Title if my Blog

OK, recently I have received a lot of complaints concerning the pictures I chose to depict the liturgical problems evident in our church, so here I will do some explaining on what I was trying to get across.

*Note, I'm not using the same pictures because that seems to be the source of the problem, I will use different pictures to get the point across.

Picture #1 The Mass according to the 1962 Missal:

OK, first off this picture may be from an SSPX website (I'm not sure), but regardless it can be used to show my point.

The first thing most people notice about this picture it the adorned altar. Truth be told, this is a relatively simple altar, however the presence of Christ is so strong and so evident at this Mass that the people who prepared for it literally gave their all to Jesus. Notice the finely laced altar cloth, the brass candle sticks, the presence of statues, the brass crucifix. Notice the posture of the priest, as well as the direction he's facing lead the people at the Mass to contemplate the crucifix and thus contemplate the very mystery of the Mass. All is centered on Christ. Notice the altar boy, reverently kneeling before the Lord, preparing to enter the mystery. I won't take the time to go into the actual Order of the Mass because I think the differences are plainly evident and don't need repeated here. Let's just focus on the aesthetics for a moment.

Picture #2 The Mass according to the Missal of 2000:

This picture shows your typical Mass according to the Missal of 2000 (a continuation in the tradition of the Missal of 1970).

So what's the first thing we notice here. OK first off we may notice that it seems to be celebrated somewhere besides a church. Let's ignore that fact for the moment, because its irrelevant to the way the Mass is celebrated. So, let's compare to some of the things we saw in the last picture.

Let's take a look at the adornments of the Altar. First the altar itself. It appears to be a cheap table that just about anybody can pick up at any retail or outlet store. The altar is decorated with two cheap candles left in their plastic tubes and an altar cloth that has the visual appeal of a bed sheet. Granted the flowers present are nice, but seem to throw off the symmetry of what we're looking at.

That brings us to our next point. Exactly what are we looking at? What is the focus here? Our first answer may very well be "Jesus," but we have to ask ourselves is that really true, and if it is true, does this Mass promote that focus. I would say it does not. The overwhelming object of focus here is the priest. To dabble into the Order of the Mass for just a bit, he says the canon allowed. This act alone makes him, and not the sacrifice he is performing, the center of attention. As I said before, though, let's leave the Order of the Mass aside. Focusing just on the aesthetics of the moment, what is there to contemplate? There is no crucifix on the altar. Now, canon law requires one to be near the altar, so I am assuming that one is there. However, because the crucifix is not in the picture, we can easily say that contemplation on the sacrifice of Jesus is, at best, placed to the side.

I want to point out one more thing that corrupts the aesthetics here that many people don't take into consideration. I want to highlight the presence of what appears to be 5 chalices on the altar. Now, I'm not intending to point out any doctrinal error or any violation of canon law. I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge the Mass in this picture is in perfect accordance with Canon law and the Roman Missal of 2000. I do, however, want to focus on the aesthetics here. With the presence of so many sacred vessels, probably because of all the concelebrating priests as well as the fact that they're probably giving communion under both species, it construes the focus of the Mass. I have heard it said by somebody that it seems like traditional Catholics, with our demands that sacred vessels be made of precious metals, worship the vessels more than what is contained therein. With an altar set up like this, it is no wonder somebody could come to such a conclusion. The overwhelming presence of sacred vessels on the altar seems to make them the center of focus, and not Christ, not the Holy Eucharist. It simply leaves the altar cluttered and unfocused.

I also want to put what I just said in context. I'm not saying that communion under both species is a bad thing. In and of itself it is not. I do think, however, we need to rethink how we perform the rite in preparation for such an act. i don't think it was well thought out, but I don't think it's necessarily incompatible with the Roman Liturgy. I will leave it at that.

Picture #3, The Clown Mass:

Because it was brought to my attention that the picture I posted in my previous post wasn't even a Catholic Mass (I would argue that this isn't a Catholic Mass either, but I will leave that aside) here are the facts on this picture.

This picture is of a "Mass" celebrated on Sept. 1 2002 at Christ the King Catholic Church, Pleasant Hill, Ca.

"But Zach, this is a liturgical abuse and not in any way sanctioned by the Church." This is what I imagine many of you are saying right now. I won't argue that this isn't a liturgical abuse. We all know what's wrong with this picture, so I don't even have to go into the aesthetics of it. So why did I post it?

I posted it for two reasons with two scopes. I posted a "Clown Mass" because it is the poster child for major liturgical abuse in the Catholic Church today. It is on the same level as "Barny Mass," "Life Teen Mass," "Charismatic Mass," "Gay Mass," and many other people oriented Masses. We can no longer have "Holy Mass" anymore. It has to be people oriented.

So why did I post a liturgically abusive Mass in the first place? Well, to answer that question, let's look at picture #2 again. What was the focus in picture #2? To make a long story short, we are the focus in picture #2. There is nothing left to focus our minds and hearts and prayer on the sacrifice of Christ. No central crucifix, no highly adorned altar, no reverent posture, nothing remains that focuses our prayer on the transcendent. So what is the logical progression of such a Mass. That logical progression is picture #3. The Mass being said in picture #3 is solely focused on the people. No longer is God even in the picture. We have become our own idols. We now worship us.

I included picture #3 as a warning, a wake up call if you will. It is there to show that that is where we are headed. Sure, it's a liturgical abuse now, but what about tomorrow? We already have certain bishops who not only tolerate such abuse, but promote it!

"But Zach, that's absurd, those are disobedient bishops." Well that may be true, but again, what about tomorrow? Notice the changes in the Missal that we now have. No longer is is assumed (although it was assumed wrongly in the first place after 1965) that the priest will say the Mass "ad orientem" but facing the people. That is not a step in the wright direction, but because of the popular practice in the Church, it passed by most peoples noses unnoticed.

So why did I post these pictures at all? Well, I assure that it was not to depress anybody. I do however want people to see what we have lost, and what we must strive for again. We must stop simply accepting the mediocre. We must again strive to give all that we have to God. We must pray for our clergy to do so. We must also make our minds known that we long not only for holiness, but the manifestation of that very same holiness in our worship. We must again act like we have a purpose to going to Mass aside from our own motivations. We must again make the liturgy what it once was, Heaven come down to Earth.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Please ignore the previous post

I know the previous post doesn't make sense and is a great mystery. I was experementing with something that didn't work. Please ignore it.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

English Translation of Sacramentum Caritatis

Well, it's all over the net on just about every blog, but like every thing else that is translated into English, the translation of Sacramentum Cartitatis is innacurate. *insert sarcasim here ---> I suppose that it's just coincidence that it was translated to make it seem like the Pope wasn't backing traditional elements in the Church.

Now, I'm no Latin scholar by any stretch of the imagination. However, for those of you who haven't read any other blogs (yeah right!) the main point of controversy is in the portion of the document concerning Latin in the liturgy. In the Latin the document reads: exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina. Aequum est means, directly translated, is proper (or right). The English translation reads could be (in other words, Is possible).

Now call me crazy, but I think that means two different things. One says that it is proper that the Mass be celebrated in Latin. The other just says it's a possibility. Hmmm.

Well, this is one of the reasons I decided not to comment on the apostolic exhortation until later, because it seems this kind of stuff always happens. At first I thought the document wasn't stating anything new, now it seems that isn't an accurate critique of the document.

All I know now is that I'm going to wait and see how the American bishops respond to the document (if at all), how long it will take to see any changes. I will also wonder how such a blunder could have made it into such an important document.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis

Well, as most of you have probably seen, today the Holy Father released the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. I read it quickly this morning. I'm going to print it later so I can make some annotations. I'm not entirely sure what to think of it at this moment. My first impression is that its not strong enough, but then again I haven't taken an in depth look at it. I will post my comments on it here in the next couple of days.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Msgr. Schmitz on the Renewal of the Liturgy

I happened across this speech by Msgr. Michael Schmitz ICRSP (Vicar General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest) on the classical Roman Rite and the Mass in general from the Institute of Christ the King website courtesy of the New Liturgical Movement Blog. I thought I would share the link here as well. I think this is one of the best and richest commentaries on the classical Roman Rite I have ever heard and truly worth bookmarking, printing, and adding to your library.

Msgr. Schmitz on the Renewal of the Liturgy

Changed the title of my blog.

Well, today I decided to change the title of my blog. I've done this because of what I studied during my Hermitage last weekend. During the weekend I read the constitution on the liturgy from the Second Vatican Council and by reading that I am convinced that the only way to renew the spirit of the Church and the souls of her members is for an authentic renewal of the liturgy. Unfortunately, due to my situation, I can't expound as to what I mean by this at this time, but I can say that the liturgy in its current form is not truly an organic development of the liturgical tradition of the Church. If you want to know what I mean by this, simply look at the pics.



And for those of you who don't think that's an honest comparison...


still no comparison.

Back From Hermatage

Well, I'm back from my Hermitage at St. Andrews Abbey in Cleveland. I want to thank you all for your prayers during this time, as it turned out to be a great time of reflection, prayer, and study. For any of you who happen to be around the Cleveland area or are passing through, be sure to visit St. Andrew's abbey on the corner of MLK Ave. and Buckeye Rd. There hospitality there is wonderful. Granted their chapel is definitely post Vat. II, but it's definitely a prayerful place to contemplate.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Off to Hermitage

Well, it's mid-term break here at the Josiphinum. I've decided, along with a few other guys, to take a weekend hermitage at a monastery in northern Ohio. I'm hoping to refocus myself as well as to pray about future decisions concerning my vocation. I would like to ask for prayers for anybody who would look at this post. Lastly, may St. John the Baptist, herald of the Lord pray for us.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Probably the Best News Segment on the Latin Mass

I thought I would share this I found on the website for the Institute of Christ the King Soverign Priest. I think it's a fairly good portrayal of traditional catholics and the traditional Mass of 1962. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

For the Love of Music

For those of you who enjoy listening to good liturgical music or just wish to escape from the rantings of "Build a New Church" at your local parish, here is a great website to obtain some great CD's of liturgical music from both the east and the west. I have bought two CD's from them and they are excelent.

Here is the link: Music

Rumors of the Motu Proprio

Within the last year rumors about a Motu Proprio from the Pope granting a general indult for use of the 1962 Roman Missal have been flying like wild fire. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I am a great devotee to the use of the '62 Missal and the old Mass. So what would be our approprate response to these rumors?

Well, like many people, I was extremely excited about the innitial news about the Motu Proprio (MP) last November. I got so excited that when the first release date had come and gone my heart sank like the Titanic. Since then new rumors have come out just about every month as to when the MP would be released.

If you, like me, hope and pray for the MP and a general indult and attatch yourself to such rumors, you're spiritual life will be like a roller coaster. There will be so many let downs you won't know what to do.

Here is my advice to any who are praying for this MP to come out soon. Don't pay attention to the rumors! Rumors come and go and in the end they amount to nothing. No bishop or priest is going to change his stance on the Mass based on a rumor. There's no bishop, sitting in his chancery reading a blog who says to himself "Oh my goodness, I had better open up the indult in my diocese because this rumor says a MP is imminant." It's just not happening. We need to dismiss these rumors as just what they are, rumors. We must keep praying diligantly. Pray for the Holy Father. Pray for faithful bishops and give thanks for them. Pray that the liturgical nonsence soon ends, because in the end prayer is more powerful than rumor.