16 June 2007

The ICRSP Ordinations and the Motu Proprio: Some Observations

Catholics who love the Church's timeless liturgy and timeless teachings wait anxiously, yet hopefully, for the release of the Motu Proprio confirming the rights of Priests and Faithful alike to the Traditional Mass and Sacraments.

Meanwhile, this weekend in St. Louis, there took place an event that highlights what is at stake in this Motu Proprio, and exemplifies the spiritual and practical benefits of the restoration of the traditional Mass to the Catholic Church.

We in St. Louis are extremely blessed to have available to the faithful of the Archdiocese the traditional Mass, Sacraments, devotions, spiritual guidance and a total Catholic community and culture in one place.

These centers of spiritual life were once common, and were called "parishes". What exists at St. Francis de Sales Oratory is simply a good Catholic parish. The fact that the beauty, truth and sanctity found there happens to exist in conjunction with the traditional Sacramental forms is not an accident.

The Catholic who belongs to the Oratory can expect to assist at Masses celebrated according to their prescribed rubrics, with dignity, mystery and with the end of offering fitting worship to God in the propitiatory Sacrifice of Calvary. He can expect to have priests who strive to live the call to holiness-- who are available to him for spiritual direction, absolution of sins, and most importantly to administer the Sacraments, which are the lifeblood of the Church.

The local bishop, in this case His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, is unwavering in his support for the mission of the Oratory. The Oratory is unwaveringly loyal to him. It is as it should be. Souls are saved. The lost are found.

It seems as if the ordinations of Fr. Talarico and Fr. Avis of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest by His Grace yesterday, and the surrounding liturgical and community celebrations at the Oratory, are both the culmination and the genesis of the traditional Catholic "Parish" in the postconciliar or, at least, post-Ecclesia Dei era. You may have read in other places about the events, and have seen the images. Many people have expressed their amazement, their emotion, and most of all their gratitude for this event.

But there is no reason that this Oratory, this "parish", need to be a rarity. This is where the Motu Proprio comes in.

The Institute of Christ the King and many other traditional societies are the vanguard of restoration. But every Catholic has a right to this. Every Catholic has a right to the Truth-- the Truth Who is after all, a Person. They have a right to worship Him fittingly. To give Him their best. They have a right to sound doctrine, sound teaching, and a solid Catholic community in which to raise their children, and to prepare themselves for eternity.

There are those who maintain that no Motu Proprio is needed for these things to occur. What may be true intellectually does not always translate into experience. This Motu Proprio is necessary to achieve practical progress towards the renewal of the Church. The real availability of the traditional Mass will ensure this. The novus ordo as it is experienced by the typical Catholic cannot stand the comparison. It will either be reformed itself, or fall into disuse.

The demographics of the situation are well-known. Where tradition thrives, the Church thrives. Look at the average ages, the average family size, for instance. There are other indicators more subjective, too.

So I for one will celebrate when the Motu Proprio is published, even though it won't change anything for me. As I sat in the Cathedral on Friday, I prayed for all of my fellow Catholics for whom such an occasion is still just a dream. I pray the Motu Proprio will be that proverbial first step to a holy and revitalized Catholic Church.

Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, Miserere Nobis!


Anonymous said...

What exactly is the proper initialism for this order? I've seen ICKSP, ICRSS and ICRSP.

wolftracker said...


You said, "Every Catholic has a right to the Truth-- the Truth Who is after all, a Person. They have a right to worship Him fittingly. To give Him their best. They have a right to sound doctrine, sound teaching, and a solid Catholic community in which to raise their children, and to prepare themselves for eternity."

This and all the rest of what you said is so true. Sometimes I wonder why God, in His goodness, led me (and, thus, my family) to the Oratory in my town. Always, I feel unworthy of the grace that comes from a "parish" that puts Our Lord and Holy Mother Church before the trends of our day.

The best we can do is to share it online for others so that they can glimpse at what we both already know. This post of yours on the motu proprio does that very well.


thetimman said...

Zach, thanks for the link; I'll return the favor. I moved the comment because it had the last name on it.

Don't be a stranger when you're in town. Best of luck in your discernment.

I use the acronym ICRSP, which is the French. The french website of the Institute is www.icrsp.com. ICRSS is Latin, and ICKSP is English, of course. Just in case anyone doesn't know. Although, no one in the Institute that I know ever abbreviates!

Thanks WT again, for all your kindnesses. Old St. Patrick's will be a jewel when finished, and having your own place will complete the experience.

God is good.

Austin Hoang said...

I absolutely love this post! Incredible testimony. We enjoyed the Ordination Mass, and will come again in the future. Please do provide information and keep the Faith with traditions! God bless and Mary keep!

thetimman said...

Thanks, Austin. Very kind. God bless.

Rae said...

"These centers of spiritual life were once common, and were called 'parishes.' What exists at St. Francis de Sales Oratory is simply a good Catholic parish."

I agree that, in some very important ways, we're seeing a restoration of an older "parish" concept--but I also think that you're idealizing the older parishes to some extent. Indeed, I view what we have at ICRSS oratories as an improvement over the older parish model...!

In the first half of the 20th century, the (usually ethnic) neighborhood and the parish community were closely identified, so that social factors often superseded the spiritual. Nowadays our oratory communities are being formed according to liturgical preference, and include people (such as myself) who don't live in the immediate area. And since we no longer completely rely on everyday social relations or ethnicity to re-inforce our concept of "parish," we look for other means of building community--such as blogs, email lists, trips to St. Louis for ICRSS events, and so forth.

As a result, I think that our spiritual unity is GREATER than in our ancestors' parishes, wherein social and ethnic factors had more influence over parish identification and community...! After all, we don't attend the oratory because it's nearby and a part of our inherited social structure; we make a deliberate choice to attend, based on spiritual sympathy and shared moral values. Liturgy and spirituality--not geography or ethnicity--organize our oratory communities! Moreover, we have to make conscious and deliberate efforts to seek each other out and support one another.... We all really WANT to be here--and it shows!

Anonymous said...

Ah, French! I was wondering! Thanks, Timman. Do they use a specific set after their names? Most orders that do, use the Latin form.

Austin Hoang said...

St. Louis is truly "Rome of the West." It is delightful to know and hope that St. Louis will be a center of renewal and restoration to Traditions. I can see people coming from all over the country, if not the world, to see these glorious events celebrated in the most "perfect" manner. If it is possible, I hope that the Institute of Christ the King can come and live in Springfield, MO for our diocese needs to be taught on how to love "traditional Mass, Sacraments, devotions, spiritual guidance and a total Catholic community and culture in one place." We need discipline here in town, and I firmly believe that the Institute can change society, even unto the Protestant sectors... I don't know how to request for the Institute to come before and after the Motu Proprio. Can you please help?

thetimman said...

Rae, you make good points, and the fact that the Oratory draws people from all over because of the traditional sacraments, as opposed to the local parish neighborhood, is well taken. My point in naming it as an ideal "parish" is to focus on the parish leadership and its effect on the beliefs and cohesion of the community.

Good Catholic Bishop supports Good Catholic Pastors support Catholics who desire the faith. Catholics who are fed, support their priests who support their Bishop. This is what is possible in any parish, and if the Motu Proprio has the long term effect we hope it will, then the sacramental forms will be available to all parishes (and here I obviously speak very long term) and thus the location of the parishioners does not have the significance it has now.

You are right that the "parish" feeling is currently best found on blogs, magazines, conferences, radio programs etc. If the Church is to be revitalized, it must also come from the parish itself.

And in the end this is why I call this era the 'post-Ecclesia Dei' era. Combining the good of the pre-v2 parish and the post-v2 virtual parish into the blend of local and universal that is one of the many wonderful qualities of the Church.

Austin, I know that it is tough down in Springfield, due to the low percentage of Catholics vis-a-vis other religions, and the massive geographical size of the diocese. There is an SSPX chapel in Springfield, and that is usually the first step to getting an indult Mass in that area(as SSPX people never tire of pointing out). So, if there is no MP, there is no substitute for petitioning the Bishop. Una Voce is where I would go, they probably have a template petition or letter campaign to use for the local ordinary. Another idea is to call the ICRSP headquarters in Chicago and ask them if they can say a Mass, even once a month, to gauge interest. Just know that they are sought after in many dioceses, and can't take them all. They are about to take over another Latin Mass location in the US, on the east coast. As soon as I can confirm the location, I will post. That's another reason why the ordinations on Friday are an important thing.

Assuming the MP comes out, all you will need is to find one priest who wants to celebrate the TLM and who can do so reverently, or who will get the training necessary. Then, depending of course on the actual contents of the MP, you and 29 of your friends will not need the cooperation of a non-cooperative ordinary.

Austin Hoang said...

I like your response above. I would like to add that in order for the Catholic Church to be one and holy, it must look the same everywhere in Christendom. The sad fact is... it doesn't. We have many pastors who think differently apart from what is truly catholic, even so, from what the Catholic Church teaches. An old priest friend of mine instructed me that I need to trust him on the best thing the Church did was Vatican II and the new Mass. It seems to me like the priests in town are not champions of the old ways. Even if we could have the Latin Mass, we don't high the high altars in place and the communion rails to look respectively similar to pre-v2 churches.
With the new and restored religious orders, I honestly believe we can change the world. Without a Catholic society, our Nation will fall. It is falling as a consequence that we do not have the minds, the eyes, and the hearts to see God like our fathers had and how much more splendid it will be in Heaven, if only we can be ONE now! The Catholic Church must remind us of Heaven, on Earth. We are the Kingdom of God! It's about time to restore!

thetimman said...


You may want to check out the New Liturgical Movement site, linked at right, and do some searching through the archives. He has a series of posts on churches transformed simply and inexpenisively from modern gymnasium monstrosities into fitting places of worship. You'd be pleasantly surprised by some. There is also a great video showing a ten minute transformation of a coffee table altar to a beautiful high altar, done courtesy of the FSSP.

Austin Hoang said...

Wow! I have been to the New Liturgical Movement site before, but never actually went through it all. It is incredible how much religious men inside our Church have considered about these circumstances! I'm so new to this... I have much to learn. I will have to get involve more at my parish. :)Thanks a bunch!

paramedicgirl said...

Nice blog, and very good post! You might have no idea how others suffer through mundane Novus Ordo Masses because that's all we have in our one church towns, and being limited by geography, have very little ability to travel to a Traditional Mass. That's the way it is in rural Canada. Unfortunately. What you have is a great blessing!

thetimman said...

Thanks, paramedicgirl, for the kind words. Where is your closest TLM?