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

Friday, January 25, 2008

From Trent to Today


Recently I just purchased a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent (CCT). I found the work so profound and clear that I felt I had to share it and, of course, comment on its application today. Lets begin with the pinnacle of our faith, the Holy Eucharist.


Pt. II Chapter IV Question I:



"Why the Mysteries of the Eucharist ought to be treated and received with the deepest reverence."



"As of all the sacred mysteries bequeathed to us by our Lord and Saviour as most unfailing instruments of divine grace, there is none comparable to the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist; so, also, for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God, than for the unholy or irreligious use by the faithful of that which is full of all holiness, or rather which contains the author himself and source of holiness. This the Apostle wisely saw, and of it he has openly admonished us; for when he had declared the enormity of their guilt, 'who discerned not the body of the lord', he immediately subjoined: 'Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep.' That the faithful people, therefore, aware that to this heavenly sacrament are due divine honours, may derive therefrom abundant fruit of grace, and escape the most just anger of God, pastors will explain, with the greatest diligence, all those things which may seem calculated more fully to display its majesty."

The article begins immediately by emphasizing the absolute Holiness of the Eucharist. It draws the equation between belief and action. The Eucharist is God Almighty and thus should be feared as such. It explains that "for no crime is there a heavier punishment to be feared from God." This passage instantly draws to mind the acts of sacrilege in the Church today. When parishes and clergy treat the Eucharist as a joke (clown masses, barney masses, etc.) or as if what happens at the altar as nothing, they are in fact giving such treatment to God.



One of the things that struck me is how this catechism admonishes pastors of souls. Question I states that "pastors will explain, with the GREATEST diligence, all those things which may seem calculated more fully to display its [the Eucharistic mystery] majesty."



Do we see this today? With modern church designs and contemporary liturgy? Is this great mystery properly presented to the faithful? Is the majesty of God properly displayed when the Mass is said on a bare table in a room with whitewashed walls? Is the solemnity of the moment of God coming amongst us once again on the altar really displayed by a pastor having everybody act like yahoos? I think not. Perhaps all of this comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of God, creating the image of a "buddy Jesus." I think this may be partly to blame and thus most of the responsibility falls on the bishops to make sure that their priests are properly formed.

Even though the brunt of responsibility does fall on the bishop, some also falls on priests and seminarians. They must realise that intellectual assent in not enough, according to the CCT. Beyond mere intellectual realization, they must properly display such majesty and glory to their parishioners in their churches, sermons, and liturgical practices.

There is some weight to be given to pastoral implementation of some things. Although immediate implementation of proper pious practices into a previously impious parish would be like thrusting Judas into the arms of Christ after betraying him thus causing him to flee, one should still not make changes slowly. After all, we're talking about peoples souls. I think it is inevitable that some people leave because of proper changes to the building, liturgy, or sermon content, but doing so, they reject the notion that proper majesty is due to God.

Many may be asking by now in this post "If people are going to church in such a bad parish, why ruffle feathers? At least they are going to Mass." Well, as the Catechism says "That the faithful people, therefore, aware that to this heavenly sacrament are due divine honours, may derive therefrom abundant fruit of grace, and escape the most just anger of God." We see here that this is not just about aesthetic tastes. If people are not brought to realize the majesty in the reality of Christ being present transubstantially in the Eucharist they are deprived from the grace of God. Not only that, but they risk committing sacrilege and angering God.

Of course, I think it goes without saying that in my opinion the traditional liturgy (of any rite) solves such dilemmas.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the Novus Ordo Mass.

Anonymous said...

I love Pope Paul VI.

Peter II said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lutheran Seminarian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Nolo Sine Cruce Crucifixium.

See what the Novus Ordo does to everyone...

Scared Seminarian said...

Even though the brunt of responsibility does fall on the bishop, some also falls on priests and seminarians. They must realise that intellectual assent in not enough, according to the CCT. Beyond mere intellectual realization, they must properly display such majesty and glory to their parishioners in their churches, sermons, and liturgical practices.

Well that doesn't work if your kicked out in the process...

Zach said...

Peter II, watch your language or you won't be commenting on my blog anymore.

Scared Seminarian, I know exactly what you mean ;-)

"See what the Novus Ordo does to everyone..."

Well, I agree with you for the most part but I would say that the Novus Ordo is the symptom of the problem In the late 20th century people, especially clerics it seems, forgot this very principle from the council of Trent. This was mainly done through the influence of modernism. Because of that, true piety fell by the wayside to give way to novelty, resulting (I think) in the creation of the Novus Ordo Mass. Of course, this started a domino effect and the NO Mass, because it doesn't necessarily support pious practices, keeps producing more novelty. But, again, that's just my opinion.

Zach said...

Lutheran Seminarian, feel free to post your opinions (even if they are ignorant) but watch the language.

just another seminarian said...

While I personally think that the Ancient Form of the Mass (which some call "Tridentine") is a beautiful representation of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, is there not some validity in the Novus Ordo mass by the fact that the Magisterium has defined it as the "ordinary" form of the Mass? Perhaps some people place too much emphasis on the Ancient Form of the Mass... The Novus Ordo CAN and SHOULD be celebrated with due reverence and attention to the norms...just a thought..

Peter II said...

Sorry for the language. I get so frustrated about the current situation, namely the heresy of the 'modern church'

Frankly, I personally think the Church has been taken over by French/German liberals who have nothing better to do then ruin souls and create their own liturgy.

Peter II said...

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, ora pro nobis!

Zach said...

just another seminarian,

I never said that the Novus Ordo can't be celebrated in such a way that reverence for the Holy Eucharist is made clear. The problem that I have is that the Novus Ordo can be licitly celebrated where no reverence is shown to the blessed Eucharist. Take, for example, life teen Masses. As long as there are no liturgical dancers at such Masses they are licit yet they show absolutely no reverence to the Eucharist nor does the Mass display the magesty of the mystery before them. Is this a bad Mass? Of course. Can this Mass be changed to be more reverent according to the rubrics? Of course. Do those kind of Masses have to be changed (as of the current situation in the Church) to be more reverent? No, they don't. Why? Because the rubrics allow for it. It is a problem inherent to the Novus Ordo.

In contrast, the traditional Roman Mass (I hate the word tridintine) can't be celebrated licitly in such a way. Reverence is built into the very structure of the ancient Mass and if such reverence is lacking then the Mass is being said illicitly. In other words, the priest is probably breaking a rubric if the ancient Mass appears to be irrevrent. You have to remember that the ancient Mass was formed with the mentality that I highlighted in my post from the CCT. Unfortunately that mentality has lapsed in the Church although, thankfully, this mentality seems to be returning.

Take note also that I didn't necessarily criticize the Novus Ordo Mass in my post. I just simply said that the idea presented in that specific passage of the CCT is always found in the traditional Roman Mass but not always in the Novus Ordo.

Lastly, many of you are missing the point that this passage of the CCT is not only talking about the Mass but also about the way the Holy Sacrifice is presented as a whole, with church design and decoration as well as the conduct of the priests mainly through their catechesis and preaching.

John Barry Bentz said...

Just Another Seminarian,

"The Novus Ordo CAN and SHOULD be celebrated with due reverence and attention to the norms"

This statement highlights the greater, overlying problem that I think Zach is trying to point out. It's not that it CAN and SHOULD be that way, but it's the fact that it's not DEMANDED by pain of excommunication. Since VII, the Magisterium has always strongly encouraged all that is due to the Holy Eucharist but it's not DEMANDED by Rome or the vast majority of the episcopacy. If you strongly encourage one hundred first graders to clean their rooms only fifteen will. If you spank or ground them when they don't then the vast majority will. Unfortunately thats just how it works and I think that much of the criticism towards the Ordinary Form of the Mass would disappear if the clergy would just do their jobs correctly but every child needs a Father(bishop) to keep them in line.

peter ii said...

I totally agree, Vatican II was total heresy, and quite frankly, I think that the Glorious Council of Trent was the last valid council.

Zach said...

Well Peter, I can't say I agree with you there. What about Vatican I? And even Vatican II, for what it's worth, said that it taught nothing new. If that's the case then it's perfectly valid, just kind of pointless.

Also, as to your earlier comment, if Paul VI wasn't a valid pope (or any of the popes for that matter) than Christ was a lier and an idiot because the gates of Hell prevailed against his Church through the hands of a bunch of moronic Rhineland bishops.

Peter II said...

So, you're admitting the Novus Ordo is okay?

p.s. Barry Bentz? I think I went to seminary with a man by that name.

Zach said...

It depends on what you mean by ok. Does it mean that I think it's valid? Yes. Does it mean that I think one can derive grace from it. Yes. Does it mean that I think it's good for the Church and edifying for the faithful? No. I do think it's problimatic in that aspect.

BTW, I know who the Berry Bentz guy is. He's just using that for a screen name. It's not really Berry Bentz. Where and when did you go to seminary BTW?

peter ii said...

40 years ago, I went to Mt. St. Mary's of the West.

Sancte Pius Decimus, Ora Pro Nobis!

J.A.S said...

..and what of the fact that the Magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church, in can you forgot) deemed the "Ancient Form" of the Latin rite as the EXTRAORDINARY form of the Mass? You seem to have bypassed that the last time you commented. Also, your previous statement seems to insinuate that because outward reverence is in the Norms, that EVERY priest celebrated EVERY mass with due reverence as "DEMANDED by pain of excommunication" as Mr. Bentz so gladfully proclaims.
I am not arguing against the Ancient form of the Mass, I am merely pointing out that it is the EXTRAORDINARY form of the Mass. Oh and Peter II, you are as bad as the crazy libs for saying that Vatican II was heresy! What grounds are taking that from???!!!

Lutheran Seminarian said...

From the sounds of this... discussion... I am not really seeing the point. How is any of this helping us love Jesus? In the Lutheran Church we have two forms of our Liturgy and we get along fine.

Lutheran Seminarian said...

I was looking at your profile description, and I noticed you said you were kicked out. How did that happen? I have never heard of seminarians being booted, none of my sister and brother seminaries have been.

Jeffrey Smith said...

I'm afraid I can guess why, and I think it's a shame. You could be a very good priest. But obedience to the Church, and that means full acceptance of the ordinary form of the Mass. Pray about it and think about it. The Church knows more than any individual.

Peter II said...

Ordinary as in nothing special.

Lutheran Seminarian said...

What is all this talk of "Extraordinary"?? I thought that all forms of Catholicism was wrong!

Zach said...

Ok, I'm going to make a quick response to this tonight and make a more educated response tomorrow, so bare with me.

As to the Extraordinary distinction, it's more or less no distinction at all. If it's so extraordinary and to be used with such rarity, why would the pope give permission for it like he did? The situation was already set to make the traditional Mass rare and for very specific situations. If any of you would actually do any reading of the popes comments on the liturgy you would see that he thinks that it's very far from "extraordinary" but EXTRAORDINARY!

As to your comments, Jeffery, you don't know why or the situation as to why I was dismissed from seminary, so don't make presumptions. I'd like to know what you mean by "full acceptance of the ordinary form of the Mass." I've never denied the validity of the Novus Ordo. I've never claimed that people should not go to it. I have only made the claim that I don't prefer it. I think it's very lax when it comes to the presentation of the truths contained in the Mass. One only has to compare the offertory prayers between the Novus Ordo and ANY ancient liturgy. The evidence is that the Novus Ordo is quite lacking.

If you're asserting that "full acceptance of the ordinary form" is that I must want to go to it or desire to go to it, then you're asserting that all eastern priests as well as priests in the FSSP, ICRSS, and many other orders are not obedient to the Church, so perhaps you need to pray and think about it.

lutheran seminarian said...

That seems so full of venom! I don't understand it, but I really think you're wrong, the Jeffery guys seems to really know what he is talking about.


p.s. From what I have read about the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, aren't they accepted as a "Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Ponifical Right"? --Wikipedia does marvelous things.


Oh and about this whole debate, in the very next paragraph it says "This so-called Tridentine Mass (promulgated by Pope St. Pius V and Pope John XXIII) is now collectively known as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, by decree of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum" Isn't that what you guys are talking about??

Zach said...

I don't see how that's full of venom. If it seemed like an attack, it wasn't. Although, personally, you may think I'm wrong and that Jeffery knows what he's talking about but a few comments ago you asserted that all forms of Catholicism were wrong, so you'll forgive me if I don't put a lot of weight into your opinion.

As to the FSSP, you're right. They are exactly what you said.

And finally, yes we are talking about the Roman Mass as it existed from approx. the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great (and quite probably before him) to how it existed directly before 1965 - 1970. On Sept. 14 the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI released an apostolic letter of his own initiative, a Motu Proprio, that took effect on July 7, 2007 that stated that any priest of the Roman Rite has the ability and privilege to say the ancient form of the Mass without special permission and that said Mass was never abrogated by the Church.

de Corneto said...

you know who I blame for the spread of the Liberality of the "New Church"?? The Jesuits! Back in '20's, the Jesuits conspired with those commies in the USSR to bring down the Church in order to progress the atheistic ideas of the commies!

Zach said...

Well, I don't agree with these conspiracy theories. You know who I blame for the trouble we're having in the Church today? Satin! It is through the influence of the Devil and loss of prayer life that has created the chaos we're in. If you separate yourself from God then you plunge yourself into darkness.

de corneto said...

..and commies=devil, right?

Peter II said...

Here here Zachary! Satin!

Lutheran Seminarian said...

Zach and Peter II, do you mean Satan?

By that same token, that is why we have no problem in not being directly connected with the Catholic Church, if it was really the Church Christ started then how was Satan able to destroy all of this tradition? Zach we are always looking for people in the Lutheran Church to serve. If Liturgy is your thing, check out the older form of our book of worship, it is very "traditional."

Apparently more so then the pictures you put up of this newer Mass.

Zach said...

Ok, I think we need to draw a distinction here. First off, the tradition that I am talking about it that tradition that does not belong to the deposit of faith, even if it flows from it and is applied to it. That being said, the fact that the devil has made us forget those traditions doesn't mean that he has triumphed over God's Church. I should also note that since the traditional liturgy was never abrogated, Satan (thanks for correcting my spelling error. My spelling sucks.) never suceeded in destroying it. I should also note that the traditions of the Church in the east were never destroyed.

Lastly, I wouldn't join the cult of that Augustinian heretic for all of the tea in China. The reason your earlear services "look traditional" is because Luther was a liar and deceiver in that he didn't want to change the Mass much or else he feared that people wouldn't follow him, and thus lied to the people he converted.

de corneto said...

Perhaps I should have clarified my post earlier. The Jesuits, (the Society of Jesus) have long been the puppeteers behind the world's most prolific events..JFK, RFK, a failed attempt on JPII, a successful attempt on JPI, and most obviously of all, Vatican II. In fact, the Jesuits have even gone so far as to create a "New World Order" with some sort of global federation that controls every politician's rise and fall in the world. Want proof? Two words, "Hilary 2008".

Lutheran Seminarian said...

If it is changeable and is not necessary then what is the problem? I fail to see the problem with this "new mass" in light of your clarification.

As for lying, may we talk of those Pontiff followers who lied to the poor villagers and told them they could buy their way into heaven?

Luther did not want to leave the Catholic Church, but it came to the point that many were not following Christ. If you feel the same way as this then why not join another denomination besides Roman Catholicism?

As for the invitation, it is still there.

Lutheran Seminarian said...

De Corneto, what are you talking about? What proof do you have of any of that?

Zach said...

de corneto, you're nuts. You don't have proof and your theories are absolutely crazy. I'm no great fans of Jesuits, but you're just crazy.

Lutheran,

The debate comes when we ask ourselves if it was prudent to change these traditions that flow from the deposit of faith. The fact that we can change these things doesn't mean that we should. The Holy Catholic Faith is better manifested in the practices of the ancients (the saints) in so much as it was molded by centuries of christian belief and development.

As for Popes lying about indulgences, they didn't start the Church, Christ did. Christ was no lier. I'd like to know the poor villigers you're referring to. You need to study more. I preferr to belong to the Church founded by Christ and not a heretic, and I'm leaving it at that. This isn't an apologetic blog and I don't intend it to turn into one. You can feel free to email me if you wish to ask more questions.

de corneto said...

that Lutheran seminarian's got me hooked!

BrotherJoseph said...

Ya know what? How about ya'll stop questioning SeminarianZach!! He's got a right to his opinion, and btw...he's right!! So ya'll just lay off him!

Lutheran Seminarian said...

Brother Joseph, why do the comments exist if I can not ask questions?

Ex-Seminarian Zach,

While I appreciate your enthusiasm, why would you ever make the assumption I am the one who "needs to study more." From what I gather your the one with barely over a year of post-High school education.

As for your situation, it seems that you are blatantly going against the direction of your church, why is it so wrong I follow someone who does the same? Sure you may agree on doctrine, but you are also disagreeing with the practice of the vast majority of the Catholic church (from what I know of it).

Zach said...

Because you're not following someone who "does the same." It's not the same thing. I have no disagrement with the doctrine of the Church. If I did, I would be a heretic. Luther rejected doctrines, I am rejecting nothing. I may be questioning some practices and placing them in the light of history but nothing more.

I would also argue that I'm not disagreeing with the vast majority of the Church. The vast majority of the Church have passed from this life and practiced the same rites that I'm advocating and that's precisely the reason I'm advocating them.

As for the quip about my education, the dumbest man I have ever met had 4 doctorates and one of the smartest men I have ever met hadn't even graduated from High School. A degree is just a piece of paper with your name on it.

It seems to me that these comments are getting way off track from the original post. I'm closing them down.