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

Sunday, March 4, 2007

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.


Alexander said...

Stuff keeps flying in:

Zach said...

Yeah, I've seen all the rumors too. Here's the thing to remember though. Rumors have been flying in since last November and what have we seen so far? Squat! Not even liturgy in the Vatican has changed. One would figure that if the Pope were to make such a monumental move that there would also be rumors of vatican chapels being rearainged. We haven't seen it. I'm not saying that there is no document in the works, but imagine the let down if we find out that there isn't or if the pope dies before the document can be released. It's just a better to not even get on that rollercoaster.

Ed Snyder said...


I like your blog. If you get a chance read the article I am sending you below. It will soon be published on the internet once it is edited:

Feed my sheep

There are several words in the bible which are organically related in Hebrew. Starting with the root verb ra’ah, to feed, which has a secondary meaning ‘to rule’; the word neighbor and friend are the same in Hebrew, rea’. The word ro’eh is Hebrew for shepherd. The consonants in Hebrew (known as the root) for these terms are r’h, r’, and r’h. The translation of these terms in Greek and Latin is not capable of expressing the unity which exists in the Hebrew. Greek comes closer to Latin, in that the word “to feed”, metaphorically means ‘to rule’. What is the importance of this term “to feed”? When our Lord says to Simon Peter, feed my sheep, feed my lambs, he is also telling Simon Peter to rule my sheep, rule my lambs. Additionally, as you will see, the failure to feed the sheep violates the commandment to “love thy neighbor”.

In the model of the papacy currently being practiced, the Pope intervenes in affairs only when a matter of universal importance is at stake; this is in order to preserve ‘collegiality’, a concept borrowed from the Eastern Orthodox model of governing used by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Yet Rome needs a provision concerning collegiality that says that if the sheep are hungry from spiritual starvation, that the Pope can intervene to guarantee that they are fed. While Cardinal Ratzinger was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he did a study of the Conferences of Catholic Bishops, and he proposed they be removed as barriers to the proper communion between the Pope and the individual bishop; a bureaucratic layer if you will. Up to now, Rome has insisted that Traditional Catholics seek their food from the local bishop, regardless of whether they were fed or not. News of an upcoming Motu Proprio (by his own will) document from the Pope freeing up the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass would be the first concrete action in 40 years to restore the papal prerogative of intervening when the welfare of the flock is not being provided for by the local shepherds.

There is a Sunday of the traditional calendar known as Good Shepherd Sunday, which is also called the Second Sunday after Easter, and Low Sunday. In recent times Good Shepherd Sunday has been a day to pray for vocations to the priesthood.

References to the Shepherd and the sheep are abundant, in both the prayers of the Church, and in the bible:

The canon of the Mass contains the phrase "the flock you have chosen".

The Agnus Dei prayer, lamb of God prayer, is naming Jesus as the Lamb of God, since he "takes away the sins of the world".

The canon also mentions "the sacrifice of Abraham", which internally was his son Isaac, but externally was a lamb.

Jesus Christ calls himself the Good Shepherd in the following verse: John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.

1. Our Lord commissioned Peter as the leader of the Apostles not only when he said, “upon this rock I will build my church”, but also when he said “feed my sheep”. As you will soon see, the word ra’ah in Hebrew, which principally means ‘to feed’, also means ‘to rule’. Here are examples of the word feed in the Douay Rheims: Old Testament Hebrew Ra’ah, to pasture, tend, graze, feed; Greek New Testament poimano; and Latin pascere to feed, which is the origin of the English word pasture.

a. Genesis 48:15 And Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph, and said: God, in whose sight my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, God that feedeth me from my youth until this day;

b. John 21:16. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

2. The word ‘neighbor’ and ‘friend’ in Hebrew is derived from the same verbal root ra’ah (to feed). Here are examples of the word neighbor and friend in the Douay Rheims: Old Testament Hebrew noun rea’, neighbor, friend; Greek New Testament plesion; Latin proximum, from where we get the word proximate in English. For friend, we have Greek New Testament philos, Latin amicus, from where we get English amiable.

From the 10 commandments in the Old Testament:

a. Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

b. Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.

The qualification for being considered a neighbor

c. Luke 10:36 Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbor to him that fell among the robbers?

d. Matthew 5:43. You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy.

Just like what Jesus said about the summation of the law i.e., to the question, which are the greatest commandments?

e. Leviticus 19:18. Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself. I am the Lord.

f. Mark 12:31 And the second is like to it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

The importance of caring for your friend’s spiritual needs:

g. Job 42:10 The Lord also was turned at the penance of Job, when he prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

h. Luke 15:6 And coming home, call together his friends and neighbors, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost?

i. Luke 15:9 And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbors, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost.

j. John 15:13. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

k. James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled, saying: Abraham believed God, and it was reputed to him to justice, and he was called the friend of God.

3. Here are examples of the Douay Rheims term “shepherd’: Hebrew Old Testament noun ro’eh, also from the Hebrew root ra’ah, to feed, which is the New Testament Greek poimen, Latin pastor, derived English word pastor

The importance of shepherding the people

a. Numbers 27:17 And may go out and in before them, and may lead them out, or bring them in: lest the people of the Lord be as sheep without a shepherd.

b. 1 Peter 2:25. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.

Bad shepherding:

c. Zechariah 11:17 O shepherd, and idol, that forsaketh the flock: the sword upon his arm and upon his right eye: his arm shall quite wither away, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.

d. Mat 9:36 And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.

e. John 10:12. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep:

Good shepherding:

f. Heb 13:20 And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, in the blood of the everlasting testament,

g. John 10:2. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

h. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.

4. Here are examples of the Douay Rheims ‘rule’. The meaning “rule” is found in the original Hebrew as a secondary meaning of ra’ah (to feed, graze). The Greek poimano has the meaning “rule” as one of its metaphors. Latin pascere does have the meaning to maintain, support, cultivate, but it does not mean “to rule”.

a. Matthew 2:6 And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.

b. Acts 20:28. Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

The analysis of the original Hebrew of these verses and their corresponding Greek, Latin and English equivalents shows that the unity between these concepts is very visible in the linguistic forms in Hebrew, but it is not as clear in the other languages to do other than to explain the unity once it is seen; if there were a need to sum up, it would be with the word duty:

The bishop is the shepherd of the flock; his duty is to feed the sheep, rule and shepherd the sheep, and be the good shepherd, not the bad. Especially in the biblical verses, we see the sharp distinction between the good and bad shepherd. In time, we will see concrete evidence of Pope Benedict XVI’s concern to be the universal shepherd for the Church’s sheep. Advocates of the Tridentine Mass know that one of the benefits it brings to the Western Church will be an increase in vocations. To anyone who feels that the Pope's action in freeing up the Traditional Mass is simply catering to the demands of an insignificant minority, here is what Luke 15:4 says: What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? The Pope’s restoration of the classical form of the Roman Rite, far from creating disunity, will heal the wound in the Church caused by its artificial suppression in the 1970’s. It will reinvigorate the Latin Rite spiritually, and be the true start of an actual reform of the reform. Thus this great papal act will be seen as an act that benefits all Catholics, as abuses to the celebration of Mass become a thing of the past. Let us pray that the Pope succeeds in his endeavor.

Ed Snyder

Zach said...

I'm not exactly sure what the point of that article was. It highlights some important points, but it doesn't explain the objective of the article. Is it trying to say that the pope is a bad shepherd or the bishops? I did notice one problimatic thing about the article:

"as abuses to the celebration of Mass become a thing of the past."

This was said in the last paragraph concerning the return of the Traditional Roman Mass. This is simply unrealisitc. Abuses existed before 1970 as well, however, because much of the Mass was said in a low voice by the priest, the avarage lay person simply didn't notice it.

Ed Snyder said...


The point of the article was to show a relationship existing in Hebrew between the concept of feeding, and that of leading or ruling, that when our Lord gave Peter the command to Feed my Sheep, he was giving him the authority to rule over them as well. Critics of the motu proprio seem to zero in on our small numbers. But a catalyst only has to be present in minute amounts to have a chain reaction.

My experience with priests who had no previous training with the tridentine, and then go on to love celebrating it, is that it improves their celebration of the Novus ordo too. Have you seen a result different from that? Surely this is one of the main reasons the Pope would free up the Tridentine version of the Roman Rite? As to the abuses being celebrated prior to the Council, they were never "sold" as having a stamp of approval.

Zach said...

I agree with you reasoning as to why the pope would want to free the traditional rite, that is to improve upon priests who celebrate the novus ordo. However, I fail to see how the article you gave leads to this conclusion.

Also, regarding abuses, what do you mean as "'sold' as having a stamp of approval?" Granted, the Church hasn't been rushing in like a china shop bull in attempt to quash liturgical abuse in the new rite, but it did not do so in the old rite either. Discovering liturgical abuse in the amount that it has been discussed about in recent decades is something entirely new to the administrative arms of the Church. Also, we have to be aware of what is actually an abuse of the rubrics vs. what is simply an exercise in bad taste and judgement. Is it a liturgical abuse to use a paten that looks like an oversized bowling alley ash tray? No, it isn't. It's just an exercise in bad taste. Is it a liturgical abuse for a priest to use a stole and chasuble that looks like it just came from a tie die party? No, again just an exercise in bad taste. What about children doing the readings at Mass? Again, just another exercise in bad taste.

Given all of that, liturgical abuse is nothing new to the Church. What is new is its widespread discovery. Before the changing of the rite a person could not tell if there was liturgical abuse going on unless he was a) serving and b) new latin fairly fluently. I'm sure liturgical abuse was discovered from time to time, but for the most part it remained undiscovered. Well, that is until the 1960's when priests began to be rebellious and do crazy things like saying the Mass in vernacular and versus populum. How was that problem solved? The vatican simple made those actions sanctioned by giving them a "stamp of approvial." So as you can see, the current liturgical abuse crisis is not something new reletavely speaking but simply a sign of liberal priests wanting to change things for their own purpose. Fortunately, the mentalities of the Church are changing, albeit slowly, and these priests are not getting their way.