Promoting the Traditional Latin Mass in Central Iowa

Category: Homily & Reflection Page 1 of 3

Quo Primum

Promulgating the Tridentine Liturgy

Pope Pius V – 1570

APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION

From the very first, upon Our elevation to the chief Apostleship, We gladly turned our mind and energies and directed all our thoughts to those matters which concerned the preservation of a pure liturgy, and We strove with God’s help, by every means in our power, to accomplish this purpose. For, besides other decrees of the sacred Council of Trent, there were stipulations for Us to revise and re-edit the sacred books: the Catechism, the Missal and the Breviary. With the Catechism published for the instruction of the faithful, by God’s help, and the Breviary thoroughly revised for the worthy praise of God, in order that the Missal and Breviary may be in perfect harmony, as fitting and proper – for its most becoming that there be in the Church only one appropriate manner of reciting the Psalms and only one rite for the celebration of Mass – We deemed it necessary to give our immediate attention to what still remained to be done, viz, the re-editing of the Missal as soon as possible.

Hence, We decided to entrust this work to learned men of our selection. They very carefully collated all their work with the ancient codices in Our Vatican Library and with reliable, preserved or emended codices from elsewhere. Besides this, these men consulted the works of ancient and approved authors concerning the same sacred rites; and thus they have restored the Missal itself to the original form and rite of the holy Fathers. When this work has been gone over numerous times and further emended, after serious study and reflection, We commanded that the finished product be printed and published as soon as possible, so that all might enjoy the fruits of this labor; and thus, priests would know which prayers to use and which rites and ceremonies they were required to observe from now on in the celebration of Masses.

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women – even of military orders – and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whether by Apostolic indult, custom, or privilege, or even if by oath or official confirmation of the Holy See, or have their rights and faculties guaranteed to them by any other manner whatsoever.

This new rite alone is to be used unless approval of the practice of saying Mass differently was given at the very time of the institution and confirmation of the church by Apostolic See at least 200 years ago, or unless there has prevailed a custom of a similar kind which has been continuously followed for a period of not less than 200 years, in which most cases We in no wise rescind their above-mentioned prerogative or custom. However, if this Missal, which we have seen fit to publish, be more agreeable to these latter, We grant them permission to celebrate Mass according to its rite, provided they have the consent of their bishop or prelate or of their whole Chapter, everything else to the contrary notwithstanding.

All other of the churches referred to above, however, are hereby denied the use of other missals, which are to be discontinued entirely and absolutely; whereas, by this present Constitution, which will be valid henceforth, now, and forever, We order and enjoin that nothing must be added to Our recently published Missal, nothing omitted from it, nor anything whatsoever be changed within it under the penalty of Our displeasure.

We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.

Furthermore, by these presents [this law], in virtue of Our Apostolic authority, We grant and concede in perpetuity that, for the chanting or reading of the Mass in any church whatsoever, this Missal is hereafter to be followed absolutely, without any scruple of conscience or fear of incurring any penalty, judgment, or censure, and may freely and lawfully be used. Nor are superiors, administrators, canons, chaplains, and other secular priests, or religious, of whatever title designated, obliged to celebrate the Mass otherwise than as enjoined by Us. We likewise declare and ordain that no one whosoever is forced or coerced to alter this Missal, and that this present document cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force notwithstanding the previous constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, as well as any general or special constitutions or edicts of provincial or synodal councils, and notwithstanding the practice and custom of the aforesaid churches, established by long and immemorial prescription – except, however, if more than two hundred years’ standing.

It is Our will, therefore, and by the same authority, We decree that, after We publish this constitution and the edition of the Missal, the priests of the Roman Curia are, after thirty days, obliged to chant or read the Mass according to it; all others south of the Alps, after three months; and those beyond the Alps either within six months or whenever the Missal is available for sale. Wherefore, in order that the Missal be preserved incorrupt throughout the whole world and kept free of flaws and errors, the penalty for nonobservance for printers, whether mediately or immediately subject to Our dominion, and that of the Holy Roman Church, will be the forfeiting of their books and a fine of one hundred gold ducats, payable ipso facto to the Apostolic Treasury. Further, as for those located in other parts of the world, the penalty is excommunication latae sententiae, and such other penalties as may in Our judgment be imposed; and We decree by this law that they must not dare or presume either to print or to publish or to sell, or in any way to accept books of this nature without Our approval and consent, or without the express consent of the Apostolic Commissaries of those places, who will be appointed by Us. Said printer must receive a standard Missal and agree faithfully with it and in no wise vary from the Roman Missal of the large type (secundum magnum impressionem).

Accordingly, since it would be difficult for this present pronouncement to be sent to all parts of the Christian world and simultaneously come to light everywhere, We direct that it be, as usual, posted and published at the doors of the Basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, also at the Apostolic Chancery, and on the street at Campo Flora; furthermore, We direct that printed copies of this same edict signed by a notary public and made official by an ecclesiastical dignitary possess the same indubitable validity everywhere and in every nation, as if Our manuscript were shown there. Therefore, no one whosoever is permitted to alter this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree, and prohibition. Would anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Given at St. Peter’s in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation, 1570, on the 14th of July of the Fifth year of Our Pontificate.

Taken from: https://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius05/p5quopri.htm

Full Latin text: http://www.intratext.com/IXT/LAT0816/_P1.HTM

Meditation for a Time of Pestilence

One of our favorite places is Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. Abbot Philip sent this reflection, which is so apropos during this time of crisis, and we wanted to share it with you. The article can be found on their website here: https://clearcreekmonks.org/meditation-for-a-time-of-pestilence/

It would be the understatement of the millennium to suggest that, perhaps, something is awry in the world at present and that a global health crisis has sadly impacted the way we live as Catholic Christians. Not only are we witnesses to the spectacle of so many people growing ill and even dying, but the very Bread of Life entrusted to us from Heaven has been locked up in such a manner that the great number of the faithful is unable to receive this vital spiritual nourishment. I blame no one in particular.

Pandemic need not become Pandæmonium. After all, the Holy Trinity is still supreme in Heaven; the choirs of Angels still hold together in perfect order; the stars continue to follow their perpetual track; the birds are already busy building nests; and, as has been famously said, the “snail’s on the thorn”. We still have (quite intact) the faith along with all the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The grace of God is operating now as ever. While some may not be able to assist in person at the Holy Sacrifice of Mass and receive Our Lord in Communion, we are free to visit in spirit all the tabernacles of the world, where the real presence reigns in humble and silent majesty. All may still receive Holy Communion in a spiritual manner. What did the Lord tell us? “But thou when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret will repay thee” (Mt. 6:6). Who cannot do this even now? We must all become contemplatives for a time.

While I well appreciate that the phenomenon of live streaming enables many faithful to participate in some manner in the celebration of Mass, I worry that some will be under the impression that their television or computer screen has become their only hope, the only contact with God that is left to them. What folly! In various times and places throughout the centuries Christians have found themselves unable for a time to receive the sacraments. Some of the first holy hermits lived so far away in the desert as never to be able to receive the Holy Eucharist. As Our Blessed Father Saint Benedict teaches us, “Let [the monk] consider that he is always beheld from heaven by God, and that his actions are everywhere seen by the eye of the Divine Majesty, and are every hour reported to Him by His angels” (Rule, Chapter 7). Each one can be creative in living the faith in this dramatic circumstance.

Who is responsible for the novel corona virus outbreak? You and I. In a time when thousands upon thousands of the unborn are legally deprived of life across the globe and when the sacred institution of marriage has been flouted and ridiculed in so many places, there should be no surprise that God would allow a microbe to bring mankind to its knees. So, what must be done? The entire world is wondering.

The Governor of Texas, it seems, has signed an executive order prohibiting counties and cities in his State from banning religious services during the coronavirus crisis. Such services will be considered essential in Texas. Now there is an Abbott after my heart: he may not be a Benedictine, but he is one courageous Abbott! Would that his wise and very practical advice be widely appreciated and taken into consideration.

We monks, the sons of Our Lady, will celebrate this year, possibly as never before, the great liturgical ceremonies of the Sacred Triduum. We will do this with you and for you (although attendance at public masses remains suspended), wherever you may be. “But the hour cometh,” said Christ to the Samaritan woman, “and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him” (Jn. 4:23). Above all, with you and for you, we will live in the joy of belonging to God of Whom no virus can deprive us. Soon the Son of God will triumph over the darkness of death. Soon the global health crisis will subside and disappear, even if more patience be needed. May our hearts be found faithful and full of that hope and love that give the supernatural measure of the great endeavor we are engaged in as Christians. “And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity” (I Cor. 13:13).

Abbot Philip Anderson, O.S.B.

A Mass Reflection

To many of the faithful, Holy Week without mass is such a foreign concept, Easter Sunday has been taken for granted. Even many who do not regularly attend mass (or even the nonbelieving) still always find themselves sitting down in a pew on Easter Sunday. This year millions of Catholics around the world will instead find themselves at home (hopefully) watching a livestream of mass instead.

What makes mass so special? Other than receiving the Body of Christ, mass in itself is a reminder of the suffering Jesus himself went through for our sake. This week, let’s all reflect on what we cannot attend in person.

First-Hand Account: Traditional Baptism

Baptism. 

It is my favorite sacrament, as it is the basis of Christian life, opening the door to the other sacraments, especially the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.  

As the father of a large family, a member of an even larger family, and a member of very close-knit parish communities everywhere we’ve lived, I have participated in many baptisms as a father, a godfather, or as a witness. 

With joy, I cry at every one of them, knowing that the catechumen is being born into Christ’s Church a new person, cleansed in preparation for eventually entering into the Kingdom of God.

Together with my wife, we have 11 children, 9 on this earth.  We have celebrated each of children’s baptisms with the same joy and anticipation. 

But something different occurred with this most recent celebration.  Eight of our children were baptized in the Ordinary Form (OF), and having participated in so many baptisms, it has become a very familiar rite. 

Recently we have been attending a Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form (EF) of the Roman Rite, and we have fallen deeply in love with this liturgy.  After our ninth child was born, we asked if our daughter could be baptized according to that traditional baptismal ritual. 

Once again, we have fallen in love.  In a special way, the Traditional Baptism highlights what the sacrament is, and – just as importantly – the significance of the godparents. 

The use of the prayers of exorcism remind us that Baptism indeed serves as an exorcism, and highlights the reality of evil in this world.

The use of the exorcised salt brings an imagination of how the Saints of our Church celebrated this sacrament.  This occurs prior to entering into the main part of the church.  The seriousness of the sacrament is also highlighted by the changing of stoles, with violet being used at the beginning, and changing once we moved into the church to prepare for the anointing with the Oil of Catechumens.

But what really stood out to us was the role of the godparents, or the sponsors, and how the questions are addressed.  The sponsors, not the parents, are asked what it is they are asking of the Church.  And the answer of faith is given by them directly. 

Then, the questions become directed to the catechumen, and being an infant, the sponsors again have the responsibility of answering on her behalf.  And, instead of the parents, the godparents were brought into the Sanctuary. My brother and sister-in-law were just as impressed as we were at how the Traditional Baptism highlights the seriousness of their role as godparents. 

A final observation that impressed me is how friendly the EF is regarding Baptism to those who are not familiar with it.  The Priest gently guided us through everything, and the flow was very natural.

Darren Manthei resides just outside of Des Moines with his wife and children.

Inject Some New Life into your Faith in the New Year

Inject Some New Life into your Faith in the New Year
by Andy Milam

(Most of the content of this article was taken from here.)

Since the allowance of the vernacular in the Mass following Vatican II, the idea of people having their own Roman Missal or hand missal has fallen into relative obscurity. The erroneous thinking that the Roman Missal was simply there to help one follow the Latin has, sadly, resulted in a temporal and eternal disconnect with the liturgical and spiritual heartbeat of the Church. The liturgical year of the Catholic Church is far more than an arbitrary collection of feasts and seasons. It is a profound and soul-altering spiritual rhythm that provides a veracity as real as cosmic time. The hand missal provides us with a vital navigational tool for the spiritual reality of our Catholic faith.

Praying the Mass

“The Mass is the most perfect form of prayer.” – Pope Bl. Paul VI

When most Catholics call to mind a Roman Missal, we think of the Order of the Mass (ordo), which presents the basic liturgical structures and rhythm of worship. The ordo grants us the foundation for understanding the Holy Sacrifice of Christ and the timeless participation in His death and resurrection. When the Catholic assists at Holy Mass, he is entering into a moment where time and eternity meet. Reception of the Eucharist is a real and complete participation in Christ’s historic Sacrifice, and that deeply intimate experience with Christ in the Eucharist orients the faithful toward the glory of His eternal kingdom. It is past, present and future all coming together in the Eucharistic Banquet, which is then wrapped in prayers, Scriptures and the solemnity proper to it. In this understanding, the hand missal aids the Catholic in engaging heart and soul in the most perfect prayer more perfectly.

A Treasury of Catholic Prayers

Beyond Sunday, the Roman Missal is a wealth of wisdom that offers the individual Catholic a myriad of sacred prayers. Life is turbulent — at times a challenging path where feelings of being lost or overwhelmed are all too common. Other times, life is a resounding joy and a blessed event filled with miracles, daily needs, friends, family and the charity of Christ. For all of these circumstances, our forefathers of the faith have composed prayers to help Catholics communicate with God and express their hearts in wondrous lucidity. The Roman Missal is a tome of these wise expressions and should be an at-hand resource for any Catholic and their family.

Daily Structuring

Hopefully, most Catholics are well aware that their Catholicism cannot be isolated to one day a week — that the faith must be a habitual and daily event that colors the very expression of our lives. However, the daily discipline necessary and the proper actions to accomplish this spiritual necessity can be very difficult. The Roman Missal (hand missal) presents the structure of the liturgical year for every day of the week, offering the readings and prayers to help the individual Catholic participate in the daily expression of the divine reality of his own faith.

 The Missal and the Home Altar

Home altars are important focal points for any Catholic family striving for holiness. Often set aside in bedrooms or even closets, home altars are domestic sanctuaries that provide Catholics with a quiet place of prayer and meditation. Among the crucifix, the icons and the candles, the Roman Missal is a vital part of the home altar, as it brings into a place of family prayer the liturgical guide gifted to all Catholics by the Church.

A Personal Bond

Catholics dedicated to praying the Rosary can witness to the intimate bonds they develop with their own rosaries. Each bead in each mystery is a witness to God’s faithfulness, whether it is an answered prayer or a comfort in mourning. Each decade of the Rosary comes to be a memorial for the divine events in Christian lives. The Roman Missal is no different. Holding it in one’s hand each week at Mass, turning to its prayers in times of need, and having it serve as a spiritual guide is likewise a divine bonding experience. In time, as with the rosary, the pages and prayers begin to call to mind the divine actions the Christian has witnessed, and grant him the endurance and joy to live the good life.

Proper of Saints

The People of God in this age are not the first — or last — ones to strive after a life of holiness. The hand missal can be a constant source of spiritual direction, and the proper of the saints serves to reinforce that reality through brief accounts of their lives and enriching prayers related to each. The study of Catholic forefathers, the celebration of their fidelity, and the acceptance of their present reality and intercession all serve to bind together the family of God. As the Church militant, the faithful must look back to the lives of the Church triumphant and look forward to receiving the eternal prize they now embrace.

Ritual, Votive and Requiem Masses

The Roman Missal also includes special Masses and rituals for various occasions. Votive Masses and Masses for the dead are unique circumstances in the Catholic life, circumstances that can be difficult for many families. Again, like the rosary, having in one’s hand the Roman Missal that has consistently been a source of guidance and comfort is invaluable in the most arduous of times.

A Question

Are you looking to draw closer to the heartbeat of the Church? The Roman Missal or hand missal will provide you with blessings for decades to come. If you have never owned one, the new year provides a great opportunity to make a purchase. And if you have an old one, it’s a perfect time to update. Which one?  The first, I own, which is from Angelus Press.  The second is a very faithful expression from Baronius Press.

Regardless of what you choose, the ownership of a hand missal is a wonderful way to grow closer to the Sacrifice of Calvary re-presented at the altar.  Practically, once you make the decision and get used to praying along with the priest, you will always have a way to follow the ordinaries and the propers of the Mass, regardless of whether a church has permanent hymnals or uses missalettes.

The Importance of Listening as Participatio Actuosa

The Importance of Listening as Participatio Actuosa
by Andy Milam

In continuing my exploration of participatio actuosa (see parts one and two), there is an importance placed upon listening and understanding the internal action of the human person as it relates to worship at Holy Mass.  In my first blog in the series, I made the following observation:

The most demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total constructive effort.  It is possible to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. However, one cannot truly listen without attention to that which he is hearing. Especially in our day of media attention, whether it be radio, television or social media, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full, conscious and active human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation, demanding full effort and attention.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The cannon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone but all are to hear it. Listening is the most important form of active participation.  This is why it is often referred to as “hearing Mass.”

The concept of active listening has been promoted for centuries within the Church, however, since the time of Vatican Council II, it has taken a new distinction.  One which seems to be overlooked in favor of doing.  So much so that some of the leaders in the Church today have coined a new phrase, “doing the Liturgy.”  Not only is it a clunky expression of the English language, it is also very vague.  If the faithful and those leaders would take to heart what some of the Popes of recent memory have suggested, as opposed to imposing their own version, there may be a more intimate relationship between the worshipper and the worship at Holy Mass.  In turn, this could stop the lamenting of those same leaders that there is a “flight” away from the Church.

Pope Francis has said:

A synodal church is a listening church, knowing that listening “is more than feeling.” It is a mutual listening in which everyone has something to learn. Faithful people, the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Rome: we are one in listening to others; and all are listening to the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth” (Jn 14:17), to know what the Spirit “is saying to the Churches” (Rev 2:7).

The Holy Father was speaking to the Synod of Bishops, but it applies equally to all Catholics.  There has to be mutual listening.  This active listening, which is how Catholics commune with the Holy Spirit, is how they worship.  The faithful shouldn’t look to find their completion in ministering, for that is not their role.  Their role is to worship God the Father.  To minister is a specific calling within the Church.  It is not something the Catholic person should seek out or expect.  It isn’t a right, it is a need.  That is why those actions are extraordinary.  Those actions, while good in and of themselves, are a distraction to the active listening which the Holy Spirit is calling all men to do.  That is why a vocation to minister is rare, but necessary.  It is also the reason why a priest gives up a family, so that he can devote himself to the actions which would otherwise divide his time, unfairly.  It is a unique and special calling to devote one’s life to the harmony of participatio activa and participatio actuosa.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI taught us this:

We should be clearly aware that external actions are quite secondary here. Do­ing really must stop when we come to the heart of the matter: the oratio. It must be plainly evident that the oratio is the heart of the matter, but that it is important precisely because it provides a space for the actio of God. Anyone who grasps this will easily see that it is not now a mat­ter of looking at or toward the priest, but of looking
to­gether toward the Lord and going out to meet him. The almost theatrical entrance of different players into the lit­urgy, which is so common today, especially during the Preparation of the Gifts, quite simply misses the point. If the various external actions (as a matter of fact, there are not very many of them, though they are being
arti­ficially multiplied) become the essential in the liturgy, if the

liturgy degenerates into general activity, then we have radically misunderstood the “theo-drama” of the liturgy and lapsed almost into parody.  (The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 170)

Benedict XVI goes on to say:

I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: in that it is a matter of indifference whether or not God exists and whether or not He speaks to us and hears us. But when the community of faith, the world-wide unity of the Church and her history, and the mystery of the living Christ are no longer visible in the liturgy, where else, then, is the Church to become visible in her spiritual essence? Then the community is celebrating only itself, an activity that is utterly fruitless. And, because the ecclesial community cannot have its origin from itself but emerges as a unity only from the Lord, through faith, such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration into sectarian parties of all kinds – partisan opposition within a Church tearing herself apart. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council. (Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (SF, CA: Ignatius), p. 149.)

This concept of the finding the real heritage of Vatican Council II and the New Liturgical Movement is paramount.  It is, quite simply, the most important work of our time.  The purpose of this article will be to challenge the reader to look at the Mass and at Catholicism in a different light.  Not as a “doer,” but as a worshipper.  Catholics are called heroic virtue, but not heroism when it comes to actions.

Full, conscious and active participation in the Liturgy isn’t heroic because the Catholic ministers; but rather because he worships God the Father, through God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit.

The Importance of Baptism in our Active Participation

The Importance of Baptism in our Active Participation
by Andy Milam

In my most recent article, I posited the following:

The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labeled actuosa rests in the characteristics of baptism.  It is this very sacramental seal that grants one the right to participate. Without the baptismal mark, any action we conduct at Mass, singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed “active,” but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only through the sacrament of baptism can any action be truly participatory.

The early Church saw baptism as a real participation in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.  This translates directly into the liturgical action of the Mass, as it is the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary. In the Apostolic Constitutions (late AD 4th century), we find a prayer for the blessing of water so that the baptized person may be crucified with Christ:

Sanctify this water so that those who are baptized may be crucified with Christ, die with him, be buried with him, and rise again for adoption.

St. Gregory Nazianzen expresses something similar:

We are buried with Christ in baptism so we may rise again with him.

St. Cyril sees the three immersions as a symbol of the three days of the Paschal Triduum and therefore, through his immersion, the Catholic is plunged into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. In responding to those who hold that baptism only forgives sin and procures divine adoption, but is not a participation in the sufferings of Christ, St. Cyril maintains:

We well know that not merely does [baptism] cleanse sin and bestow on us the gift of the Holy Spirit, it is also the sign of Christ’s suffering…. So in order that we may realize that Christ endured all his sufferings for us and our salvation actually, and not in make believe, and that we share in his pains.

It is understanding the link between the early Fathers, Sts. Gregory and Cryil which bring us to understand the sheer importance that the sacrament of baptism plays in the Catholic’s life.  He is bound to the Church in a way which is wholly and completely unique. He is literally changed.  The sharing in the passion, death, and resurrection allow for the Catholic Christian to actually participate in what Pope Pius XI called the source and summit of our faith.  The liturgical action extends beyond the Mass insofar as it imbibes the faithful.  It is a way for Catholics to commune with God the Father in a way that is so intimate, is so open, is so awesome that it is very hard to compare.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ’s Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ. (CCC #1275)

One cannot completely share in the Eucharistic banquet unless he is baptized.  And it is through baptism and with the Eucharist that we come to fully, consciously, and actively participate in the liturgical action.

In closing, Benedict XVI said in 2010:

With Baptism, [new Christians] become sharers in Christ’s death and Resurrection, they begin with him the joyful and exulting adventure of his disciples. The Liturgy presents it as an experience of light. In fact, in giving to each one the candle lit from the Easter candle, the Church says: “Receive the light of Christ!”

NLM Interview His Excellency, +Bishop Sample

We try to post wonderful content promoting the beauty and richness of the Traditional Latin Mass, and I have personal ties to both Peter and Julian Kwasniewski, so this article is fitting for our Una Voce DSM group.

It was taken from the NLM blog back in early October.

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NLM is pleased to present the following transcription of an interview conducted by Julian Kwasniewski with the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland, in connection with the Sacred Liturgy Conference in Salem, Oregon, June 27–30, 2018. Much of what his Excellency says is highly pertinent to the Youth Synod taking place at the Vatican this month. This interview is published here for the first time.

Julian Kwasniewski: First off, I just have to say thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Archbishop Sample: I want to encourage you young people, and especially young people who are serious about their faith and about the sacred liturgy. I want to do everything I can to encourage you.

JK: The first question I want to start with is very simple. What is a priest?

AS: It is a simple question and it might strike someone as kind of an odd question — we all “know” what a priest is because we see them. But do we really understand who the priest is?

I think over time, perhaps particularly since the Council, there has been a reduction, if you will, in people’s understanding of the nature of the priesthood and its place within the Church. A lot of people have come to see the priest as what he does. The focus is what the priest does. Even that has changed a lot, but I think the average person might say the priest celebrates Mass, he hears confessions, he supervises the parish, he administers things. They see his functions; they don’t see his identity. That is key: his priestly identity. Who is he? It’s not so much what he does; it’s who he is, because everything he does flows from who he is.

So who is he? He is a man chosen by God, called to this order and through the sacrament of Holy Orders, through the laying on of hands and the prayer of the church; he is sacramentally configured to Christ the High Priest. There is that an ontological change that takes place in him, change on the very level of his being. He becomes something new, since his soul is forever marked with the character of the priesthood, so that he can minister in the Church in the person of Christ the head, in persona Christi capitis. So there is a close identification between the ordained priest and the High Priest, Jesus Christ; he is called to be an alter Christus, another Christ. All Christians are by our baptism called to be other Christs, but the priest in a particular way represents Christ in the Catholic Church.

He participates in the tria munera, the threefold office of Jesus Christ, as Priest, Prophet, and King. The priest is ordained to teach, to sanctify, and to rule or govern God’s people in the name and person of Christ. He is to teach the doctrine of the Church, always according to the mind of the Church and in harmony with the magisterium. He is a sanctifier; he is the one who sanctifies God’s people, especially through the sacraments, and most especially through the celebration of Holy Mass and the hearing of Confession. He is a shepherd, the guide of the community, he points the way to eternal life.

If we understand who the priest is in this sense — the sense in which the Church understands who the priest is — then we see that all the functions that he does and all the things he does flow from this essential identity.

To finish reading the interview, click here.

Participatio Activa & Participatio Actuosa

Participatio Activa & Participatio Actuosa
by Andy Milam

In 1987, my mentor Monsignor Richard Schuler wrote regarding full, conscious and active participation.  This was one of the very first principles that he would teach when speaking catechetically about the liturgical action and how man relates to it.  This was the very first principle that he taught me.  Over time, I will be expanding this principle; writing  about how we can enhance our participation in the liturgical action and how this can be applied to everyday assistance at Holy Mass.

The following are the words of Monsignor Richard J. Schuler:

With the constitution on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, everyone became very conscious of personal participation in the sacred liturgy, particularly in the Mass.

But active participation in in the liturgy was not a concept created by the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, even the very words actuosa participatio can be found in the writings of the popes for the past one hundred years. Pope Pius X called for it in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini, published in 1903, when he said that “the faithful assemble to draw that spirit from its primary and indispensable source, that is, from active participation in the sacred mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church.”

[…]

The Mass of its nature requires that all those present participate in it, in the fashion proper to each.

This participation must primarily be interior (i.e., union with Christ the Priest; offering with and through Him).

  1. b) But the participation of those present becomes fuller (plenior) if to internal attention is joined external participation, expressed, that is to say, by external actions such as the position of the body (genuflecting, standing, sitting), ceremonial gestures, or, in particular, the responses, prayers and singing . . .

It is this harmonious form of participation that is referred to in pontifical documents when they speak of active participation (participatio actuosa), the principal example of which is found in the celebrating priest and his ministers who, with due interior devotion and exact observance of the rubrics and ceremonies, minister at the altar.

[…]

It is made clear that it is baptismal character that forms the foundation of active participation.

Vatican II introduced no radical alteration in the concept of participatio actuosa as fostered by the popes for the past decades. The general principle is contained in Article 14 of the constitution on the sacred liturgy:

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.

Such participation by the Christian people as a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (I Pet. 2:9; 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true spirit of Christ . . .

[…]

A true grasp of the meaning of participation in the liturgy demands a clear understanding of the nature of the Church and above all of Christ Himself. At the basis of so much of today’s problems in liturgy lies a false notion of Christology and ecclesiology. Christ, the incarnate Word of God, true God and true Man, lives on in this world now. “I will be with you all days until the end of the world.” Even though He has arisen and ascended into heaven, He lives with us. The Church is His mystical Body, indeed His mystical Person. We are the members of that Body. Its activity, the activity of the Church, is the activity of Christ, its Head. The hierarchical priesthood functions in the very person of Christ, doing His work of teaching, ruling and sanctifying. Thus the Mass and the sacraments are Christ’s actions bringing to all the members of His Body, the Church, the very life that is in its Head. Participation in that life demands that every member of the Body take part in that action, which is primarily the liturgical activity of the Church. The liturgy is the primary source of that divine life, and thus all must be joined to it in an active way. Baptism is the key that opens the door and permits one to become part of the living Body of Christ. The baptized Christian has not only a right to participation in the Church’s life but a duty as well. It is only the baptized person who can participate.

The difference between participation in the liturgy that can be called activa and participation that can be labeled actuosa rests in the characteristics of baptism.  It is this very sacramental seal that grants one the right to participate. Without the baptismal mark, any action we conduct at Mass, singing, walking, kneeling or anything else can be termed “active,” but they do not constitute participatio actuosa. Only through the sacrament of baptism can any action be truly participatory. Let’s say that a pious Jew attends Mass, takes part in the singing and even walks in a procession with great piety. In the same church is also a Catholic who is blind, deaf, dumb, and isn’t able to leave his chair; he can neither sing nor hear the readings nor walk in the procession. Which one has truly and actually participated, the one who is very active, or the one who has confined himself solely to his thoughts of adoration? Obviously, it is the baptized Catholic who has exercised participatio actuosa despite his lack of external, physical movement. The Jew even with his many actions has not been capable of it, since he lacks the baptismal characteristic which is the topic of discussion.

Through the necessity of baptism, it still is imperative for the Catholic Christian to take part in the liturgy actively by a variety of interior and exterior actions. This means that the internal actuosa participatio, which the indelible mark of baptism empowers, must be aided by those external actions of which he is capable. He should do those things that the Church sets out for him according to his role in the liturgy and the various conditions that age, social position and cultural background dictate. He must join participatio activa to his participatio actuosa which he exercises as a baptized Catholic.  In other words, his outward actions should first and foremost be illumined by his internal action.

What are those actions that make for true active and actual participation in the liturgy? They must be both internal and external in quality and quantity, since man is a rational creature with body and soul.  The Church proposes many bodily positions: kneeling, standing, walking, sitting, etc. She likewise proposes many human actions: singing, speaking, listening and above all else, the reception of the Holy Eucharist, when properly disposed. They demand internal attention as well as external execution.  The first thought should not be as a formal or extraordinary minister, but rather as one who joins in worship to God, the Father.  It is our first right, above all other to assist at Holy Mass and give all glory and honor to God.

The most demanding of human actions is that of listening. It requires strict attention and summons up in a person his total constructive effort.  It is possible to sing, especially a very familiar tune, and not be conscious of actually singing. However, one cannot truly listen without attention to that which he is hearing. Especially in our day of media attention, whether it be radio, television or social media, we are able to tune out almost every sound we wish. To listen attentively demands full, conscious and active human concentration. Listening can be the most active form of participation, demanding full effort and attention.

The Church does not have the entire congregation proclaim the gospel text, but rather the deacon or the priest does it. It is the duty of all to listen. The canon of the Mass is not to be recited by everyone, but all are to hear it. Listening is the most important form of active participation.  This is why it is often referred to as “hearing Mass.”

There is a variety of roles to be observed in the public celebration of the liturgy. There is the role of the bishop, priest, deacon (and sub-deacon), acolyte, lay reader, cantor, choir/schola, and congregation, among others; because each office has its own purpose and its own manner of acting we have the basic reason for a distinction of roles. If the lay reader or the cantor is to read and/or sing, certainly the role of the others is to listen. If the choir is to sing, someone must listen and in so-doing participate actively in the liturgy, even if during the period of listening he is relatively inactive in a physical way.

During each period of history, since Christ founded His Church, mankind has participated in the liturgy through baptism, all as members of the Church and part of the mystical body of Christ. Every Catholic Christian has shared in the right and duty of actuosa participatio. If, as Pius X insists, the liturgy is the primary source of the Christian life, then everyone must take part in it to attain salvation. Active participation is not an innovation of our day; the Church in her wisdom has consistently shared the life of Christ with her members in the Mass and the sacraments, the very actions of Christ Himself working through His Church and His priesthood.  It cannot be said that because the medieval period developed a chant that was largely the possession of monastic choirs, the congregations who listened were not actively participating. Perhaps not according to post-Vatican II standards, but one must carefully avoid the error of judging the past by the present and applying to former times criteria that seem valuable in our own times.  The truths of the Church are timeless.  Just as Palestrina’s polyphonic Masses require the singing of trained choirs, can one assume that non-choir members in the renaissance period were deprived of an active participation in the liturgy? No, of course not. The sixteenth-century baptized Catholic did participate through listening along with other activites, as no doubt an eighteenth-century Catholic did when he heard a Mozart Mass performed by a choir and orchestra.  The twenty-first century Catholic participates in the same way.  Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus said:

We are realizing more and more clearly that silence is part of the liturgy. We respond, by singing and praying, to the God who addresses us, but the greater mystery, surpassing all words, summons us to silence. It must, of course, be a silence with content, not just the absence of speech and action. We should expect the liturgy to give us a positive stillness that will restore us. […] One of man’s deepest needs is making its presence felt, a need that is manifestly not being met in our present form of the liturgy. For silence to be fruitful, as we have already said, it must not be just a pause in the action of the liturgy. No, it must be an integral part of the liturgical event. [The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA: Ignatius, 2000), p. 209]

 

A very important aspect of the liturgy is the elevation of the spirit of the faithful who worships. At the end of the day, liturgy is the public prayer of the Church, the most visible act of adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and reparation.  It is offered to God the Father, through God the Son (as an unbloody memorial of that self same bloody sacrifice on Calvary once and for all), by the power of the Holy Spirit; and as such, produces true actuosa participatio. Thus beauty, whether it appeals to the sight, the ear, the imagination or any of the senses, is an important element in achieving participation. The grand and beautiful splendor of a great church or the sound of awe inspiring music, or the solemnity of the ceremonial movement by ministers clothed in precious vestments, or the beauty of the proclaimed Word and words of the Mass, all can effect a true and salutary participation in one who himself has not sung a note or taken a step. But he is not a mere spectator as some would say, in the post-Vatican Council II era; he is actively participating because of his baptismal character and the grace stirred up in him by what he is seeing and hearing, thinking and praying.

We can conclude with this definition of participatio actuosa:

(It is) that form of devout involvement in the liturgical action which, in the present conditions of the Church, best promotes the exercise of the common priesthood of the baptized: that is, their power to offer the sacrifice of the Mass with Christ and to receive the sacraments. It is clear that, concretely, this requires that the faithful understand the liturgical ceremonial; that they take part in it by bodily movements, standing, kneeling or sitting as the occasion may demand; that they join vocally in the parts which are intended for them. It also requires that they listen to, and understand, the Liturgy of the Word. It requires, too, that there be moments of silence when the import of the whole ceremonial may be absorbed and deeply personalized. (Colman E. O’Neill, “The Theological Meaning of Actuosa Participatio in the Liturgy,” in Sacred Music and Liturgy Reform after Vatican II. Consociatio Internationalis Musicae Sacrae, Rome, 1969. p. 105.)

 

Link between the Traditional Mass & Vocations?

In a recent article over at “The Liturgy Guy”, he posted a beautiful reflection from a priest of Norwalk, CT.  While he contrasts the number of vocations from young men attending Traditional liturgies with those attending the Novus Ordo, the reason we post this here is to emphasize the trajectory of Traditional Vocations, and the role the Traditional Mass has in those vocations in general.

He says he’s been doing some research on vocations, and it would be neat to see those results.

Below is the article, which is taken from here.

The following guest post was written by frequent contributor Fr. Donald Kloster, parochial vicar at St. Mary’s in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

I’ve been mulling over many questions lately that pertain to the families of those who enter a Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) vocation to the Priesthood and/or Religious life. A related query is how well the Traditional Latin Mass retains those children now being brought up within the Traditional Latin Mass since their early childhood or at least from the time of their earliest memories.

My experience with those raised in the Latin Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council tells me that the knowledge and retention of the faith is promoted by the Vetus Ordo.  My Novus Ordo observations tell me that it leaks faithful like a faulty gasket of an engine leaks oil.

The Novus Ordo culture has produced a plethora of faithful who know very little about their faith despite a myriad of “new” catechetical gimmicks. The Rite of the Mass cannot but help to nourish the soul in the degrees of fidelity to the Apostolic praxis.  We are the result of the Mass we pray. In the Novus Ordo, the engine still runs, but it runs at a diminished capacity because of a minimalist design.

My priest friends who don’t say the TLM are almost single minded in their rebuttal of my conclusion. They insist that it’s all about the families in which people are raised.  Wrong.  On both sides of the argument, either one can point to families that were fairly exemplary but their children don’t practice the faith once they leave home.  Or, as I’ve come across, many others whose parents did not practice the Faith regularly and now their children have chosen to do so as adults on their own.

I’ve lived in 11 different US Dioceses and lived on three continents. Perhaps that speaks less in my favor as it pertains to my being bounced around as I was!  Anecdotes can only be dismissed if the sample size of the given observation is small and fairly isolated. My sample size is quite large.  Sometimes anecdotal occurrences are repeated so often that the conclusion should not be dismissed; that is as it pertains to reasonable thinking.

I’ve been involved in TLM circles for 28 years and have said the Traditional Mass for 20 years. I am, however, a product of the Novus Ordo. I never even saw a TLM until I was 24 years old. I went to the Seminary and was ordained as a Novus Ordo priest. My first TLM was as a 3 year ordained priest in 1998. I have no dog in this fight.  Really, when I began to say the TLM I thought it was just for the good of my priestly spirituality. I never thought the TLM would catch on again in any wider scope; ever.

This past year, I have been doing a National Study on the TLM only parishes in the USA. Currently, there are around 70 of these but they are exploding in numbers with each passing year because the TLM priestly vocations are outpacing Novus Ordo priestly vocations by more than 7 to 1. My preliminary numbers are exceeding my initial expectations.

There is a huge wave transforming the Catholic landscape and it is largely being ignored by the Catholic leadership.  I can now say what I suspected last year. The Novus Ordo is dying and it will be replaced by the Vetus Ordo sooner than anyone had foreseen, but certainly by 2050 the TLM will be the dominant liturgical practice once again.

My instincts tell me that 30-50% of the current vocations coming from the Traditional Latin Mass were not raised in it. Next year, I’ll try to test that feeling with the aforementioned study. A great number of the young men and women entering the TLM orders discovered it themselves; it wasn’t their family upbringing. My belief is that the Ancient Mass is the vocations catalyst and not the family per se.

One can certainly find a vocation as a Novus Ordo attendee, but all of the evidence suggests that many, many more are found as a TLM attendee. One huge proof is the precipitous vocations drop off after the Council and the abandoning of the 1962 Missal. The other proof is that vocations continue to rocket up in 2018 in the TLM and have leveled off at a very much lower level in the Novus Ordo seminaries and convents using the 1970 Missal. The Novus Ordo closed convents and seminaries will never reach their previous levels because there is no upward trend; not even in the same ballpark.  Remember, all Catholics live in the same society and we all have similar temptations and spiritual obstacles to overcome.  “By their fruit ye shall know them” (Mt. 7:16).

Finally, let’s be clear. This article is not intended to disparage anyone. Not one of us should cling to anything that is passing away. There is no reason to put your faith in something in order to win an argument or simply because at one time you thought things would improve with the Novus Ordo. Instead, things got much worse.

At the dawn of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo, we bled a big majority of Mass attending Catholics. No one asked them what they preferred. No one gave them any options. If they had been asked and/or allowed to attend the Mass of the Ages, the Novus Ordo would not have supplanted the formative Mass of every canonized saint to date.

Now bishops often repeat the stale quoted refrain, “almost no one wants the TLM.” Why do they suddenly care what the proverbial “people” want? They didn’t care back in 1970 when almost none of the faithful wanted a vernacular Mass. It’s true the Church is not a democracy.  She is a theocracy and God will have His way! Everything is coming back full circle and I have a lot of buried relatives and friends who, if living today, would be overjoyed.

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