26 July 2011

Change to Mass Schedule at St. Elizabeth's to Include Ordinary Form with Latin

A reader was kind enough to email about the addition of an Ordinary Form Mass at St. Elizabeth of Hungary at 12:30pm on Sundays.  At this Mass, the ordinary parts of the Mass will be prayed in Latin, while the propers will be in English.  Below is the bulletin announcement in its entirety, followed by my comments:

Sunday Mass Schedule

Beginning August 7th, the Sunday Masses to be offered at St. Elizabeth will be at 8:00am, 10:30am, and 12:30pm.  The 12:30pm Mass will be the same Mass of Vatican II with which all will be familiar, except parts will be in Latin and parts in English.  The parts of the Mass which change each week will be in English (the proper prayers, the readings, and the prayers of the faithful), and the parts of the Mass that remain fixed each week will be in Latin (including the Eucharistic prayer and acclamations).  A book will be provided so all may participate in the sung or recited Latin parts. 

The last Sunday in which the 1:30pm 
Extraordinary Form of the Mass will be offered will be Sunday, July 31st.  The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is offered at St. Francis de Sales Church and the Oratory of St. Gregory and St. Augustine at St. Louis Abbey.

The 12:30pm Latin/English Mass is being offered at St. Elizabeth as a pastoral response to those who have inquired about the possibility of a Latin Mass here.  The Mass will be offered for a period of time and will continue if there is sufficient interest and attendance.


1.  There is a lot to say here.  First of all, any time the Ordinary Form is celebrated as close to the rubrics and with as great a solemnity as possible, that is a good thing.  If the OF is celebrated with more Latin, thus opening up the mother tongue of our faith to more Catholics, that is a positive.  If this OF Mass is celebrated ad orientem (the bulletin announcement is completely silent about this), this is even better.  Such an initiative is to be encouraged, and I personally pray that the many Catholics who prefer the Ordinary Form, but who are faced with the types of liturgical abuses which are all too common in many places, and who wish a more reverent liturgy, will assist at this Mass.

So I wish to emphasize before continuing, that I am grateful to the parish and the Archbishop for providing another such Ordinary Form, alongside the OF in Latin, ad orientem, currently regularly offered at St. Mary of Victories Parish.  Thank you.

2.  Now, that being said, the Ordinary Form is not the Extraordinary Form.  Latin is not the key issue.  Latin is used in the Extraordinary Form because that is what is prescribed for that form by the Church.  The language, in and of itself, is not the issue.  Certainly Latin is beautiful, elevated and due to its history and usage by the Church, extremely well-suited for the Mass.  But the faithful who assist at the Extraordinary Form, with very few exceptions, are not motivated by Latin as much as they are with the fact that the EF is superior in its expression of the truth that both forms inherently contain.  The prayers are more theologically precise and unambiguous; the rubrics diminish the personality of the priest and focus the attention on the sacrifice of the altar; there is greater opportunity for contemplation, meditation and reflection; and generally, they believe the reasons why this Form was the rite of Mass handed down over the course of 1,500 years and more as a priceless treasure continue to be just as true and relevant today.

To offer one form of Mass as a substitute for the other just because some Latin is used is to miss the point.

3.  The bulletin announcement, which refers to the Ordinary Form as the "same Mass of Vatican II" is  guilty of some irony, as it is actually historically inaccurate.  The Mass of Vatican II was actually what is now referred to as the Extraordinary Form.  Every Mass said by every priest, prelate and pope during the Council was the Extraordinary Form.  No document of Vatican II called for the kind of Mass that was produced in 1969-- four years after the council ended.  The OF was not mandated by the Council at all.  It was devised later, and not in conformity with any document issued by the Council.

4.  It is good that the bulletin mentions that the EF is offered at other locations.  But the OF in Latin is also offered in at least one other location.  Just because the EF is offered elsewhere, or that the OF is more correctly celebrated elsewhere, doesn't speak to whether the local parish should, can or will offer the particular form.  Of course there may be reasons why it cannot be offered; I am just stating that pointing to another location does not, in itself, satisfy.

5.  In charity, assuming the best of motives by the parish, the final paragraph of the announcement is troubling.  To say that this Mass is a pastoral response to those who have inquired as to the possibility of a "Latin Mass" doesn't quite do it.  First of all, people have no doubt requested that the Extraordinary Form be offered-- not a mere "Latin Mass", though that term is sometimes used as a shorthand reference.  Again, an OF Mass with Latin is a wonderful development, but it isn't the proper pastoral response to a group that requests the EF.  From the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum:

Art. 5. § 1 In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued implementing regulations for the motu proprio in a document called Universae Ecclesiae, which states in relevant part:

15. A coetus fidelium ("group of the faithful") can be said to be stabiliter existens ("existing in a stable manner"), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum", when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus ("group") can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose.

Therefore, the expected pastoral response to a request by a group of the faithful for the Extraordinary Form in a parish is to offer the Extraordinary Form-- not to offer the Ordinary Form in Latin.  Of course it may not be possible for a particular parish to offer the EF right away because of lack of priests who know how to say it, or for some other good reason.  Offering the Ordinary Form in Latin may be the best a particular priest or parish can do in the near term.  But one is hard put to call this the pastoral response.  

6.  Part of the reason why this is so is because in the past, under the pre-Summorum Pontificum era, many places thought to thwart the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei by simply offering the Ordinary Form in Latin, as though this would cure the bug of the deluded old-timers who were still somehow clinging to the past.  In light of that historical reality, the ending sentence of the bulletin announcement that this Mass would be offered "for a time" and as long as there is "sufficient interest and attendance" can appear to be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy:  the EF is asked for, the "Latin Mass" offered is not attended by those persons, and it is discontinued.  Thus, one could say there is "no interest" for the "Latin Mass" at this parish.  I presume this is not the intent of St. Elizabeth's; I presume this Mass is being offered with good intentions and out of concern for parishioners.  And I hope the Mass is packed.  But should it not be, and should the attendance lag, I would contend that no one should think that the rightful request of the stable group of faithful for the Extraordinary Form had been adequately addressed.

These are indeed difficult times in the Church.  People of good will can disagree over the best course of action in lots of situations.  I thought this matter deserved a post, and I beg readers to please, please think carefully about what you may wish to say in the combox, and how you go about saying it.  Many of us seek the greater availability of the Extraordinary Form.  Summorum Pontificum calls for its wide availability to the faithful.  But let us work out the truth in charity as we work for our goals.  God bless.


YoungCatholicSTL said...

Two thoughts:

(1) I think your last sentence of point #5 probably nails it. I suspect the priest does not have training in the EF, which is terribly sad for both the parishioners and the current state of the Church. However, as you have done, the pastor should be praised for at least offering the OF in Latin. While not a perfect solution, hopefully this is a sign that the pastor may be open to learing the EF, especially if parishioners keep requesting the EF.

(2) I've been to the OF in Latin several times at the Cathedral in Peoria. It does make the OF much more reverent, but, and this is a big BUT, it satisfies almost no one. If you are going to have the mass in Latin, why not offer the more beautiful EF? And if you insist on offering an OF mass, why not just say it in English? The true lovers of a Latin mass are very unlikely to attend the OF Latin because it just doesn't compare to the EF. And those who like the OF are generally not going to attend it (except maybe once or twice out of curiosity) because they'd rather just hear the mass in English since the beauty of Latin is lost on them. So ultimately, no one benefits, and the Latin OF dies. With other EF's available not terribly far away, and the OF available at other times on Sunday, I just don't see this mass surviving for long.

Anonymous said...

Timman, there is not much more to add that you haven’t already covered very well. You are very right in pointing out that in all things, charity should prevail though. And though it is no excuse, sometimes the initial sting of a wound brings out more than gritting teeth and a wrenching face. We should expect the same from ourselves as we expect from our leaders I suppose - it’s only right that we do and an obligation due to the offices of them in those positions.

And we should thank the Archbishop for providing the Ordinary Form of the Mass in the manner stated and the Monsignor the willingness and obedience for offering it as well. It sure beats the novelties that Parish has seen through the years. Another way to look at this is that many of the people who may find themselves attending the Ordinary Form of the Mass in Latin may have had little if any exposure to the Latin language, and there is value in that, if for no other reason than to introduce its significance as the universal language of the Church.

But to imply that it is about the Latin (implication being that the Ordinary Form is being offered in Latin), misses the mark - your second point on this post is precisely the point ‘the Extraordinary Form is superior in its expression of the truth that both forms inherently contain.’ Many of us continue to wonder why it was so difficult to continue to provide the Extraordinary Form in a Parish where it had already been established for more than a year, where there was a solid and stable congregation, and where many within this congregation are members of that particular Parish. Is this not clearly supported by Summorum Pontificum? Someone explain it to me ... surely I am as dense as a brick about it all for it still seems to me that there is in reality no desire to have the Extraordinary Form of the Mass integrated, or at the very least available, at the Parish level. If it is a lack of proper vestments, that can be taken care of, if more time is needed to learn the Extraordinary Form, patience is a virtue that will prevail ... the Altar is certainly wide enough now to support the Extraordinary Form and a row of kneelers have doubled as a make-shift Altar rail.

And though it would be very wrong to imply that the Ordinary Form in some way is not a valid Mass (except when it’s not), I would be surprised if the majority of those who historically assisted at the 1:30 pm Mass at St. Elizabeth’s did not choose to assist at the Extraordinary Form elsewhere rather than the Ordinary Form of the Mass in Latin. It’s a concession that isn’t. It is an unfortunate thing really, and a loss certainly.


JBQ said...

I am very interested in seeing this for myself. However. the EF faced to the East and the rising sun had obvious reference to that of the Christ. The OF has morphed into a celebration where the celebrant (In Boston, they call him the "presider", see Boston Catholic Insider)reaches out to the "audience" with the cup and host. It is important to visualize the "sacrifice of the Mass" and not just a "feast of Cana".

Jason said...

Did I just enter a time-warp machine? What year is it? 1988?

Jack said...

Could things get any clearer? Please, people, please, stop the silly commentaries.

Where is our paysan de la garonne?

Anonymous said...

This must be what they mean by "pastoral charity."

Anonymous said...

They treat us this way because they can get away with it. They are bullies, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

'...silly commentaries'.

@23:34 - I think very few on this forum are intellectually comparable to Maritain, if that was your reference. One should perhaps view these commentaries for what they are; as those from the very hearts of the common man, a category most of us fall into anyway I suspect.

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons to be taken into account, but it would be good to reassure the readers that the pastor is a priest who desires to be faithful and was entrusted by both Cdl. Rigali and Cdl. Burke with college-seminary formation, and was instrumental in Cdl. Burke's reformation of the philosophy program with its strong Thomistic focus. Liturgically, he also increased the use of chant and the use of the Mass propers for the college-seminary. For years, he has helped the Carmelites with their annual novena.

Perhaps what must be said is that while there are those priests whose interest in the EF has been (re)awakened by the Holy Father's attention to liturgy, some feel intimidated by it for different reasons: unsure about his sufficiency in Latin; lack of knowledge of the history and theology of the EF; unfamiliarity with the 'mechanics,' etc.

What also needs to be taken into account, is that for too many years, the way that the OF has been explained was in competition to the EF...if not by severely ridiculing the EF...and being taught that the OF is the "true and only" Mass now. With this sort of formation as a child growing up after the Council or as a seminarian, it takes some more time than others to get over these errors...recognizing that they are not being unfaithful by learning or celebrating the EF.

While there may be other reasons, it is absolutely necessary that we practice charity and avoid an immediate judgment of the priest's intentions of why he is not comfortable celebrating the EF. It is not always because he is a heretic or disobedient to the pope.

What particularly shows bishops of the need for the EF is that the community which desires it is steadily growing and shows itself as actively engaged in the life of the local Church. We have done ourselves no favors when we act like a group of eccentric cranks who have allowed the harm which we have suffered through liturgical abuses turn into bitterness and resentment. This just gives legitmacy to those who want to further the post-conciliar rupture.

If anything, please encourage any priest or seminarian who shows a desire to learn the EF, have patience in asking for its greater availability, and above all show the spiritual fruits of this excellent form of the Mass through our charity. We may have to suffer more, but for this beautiful celebration of the Holy Sacrifice, our meager sacrifices are worth it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 09:07,

The notice says nothing about the reasons why the EF has been discontinued or why the NO Latin Mass is being offered as a "pastoral response" to requests for a Latin Mass.

Clearly there was a stable community for the TLM, so the idea of a "trial run" with the Latin NO is just bizzare.

Moreover, you assume that this whole initiative was the pastor's doing. Why? It looks to me like this comes from above.

And it doesn't take an intellect like Maritain's to call a spade a spade: ABC doesn't like the TLM.


JP said...

I would rather have the extraordinary form in English. My reason for being a devotee of the traditional Mass for the last 13 years has little to do with Latin and everything to do with the fruits of the traditional Mass on all levels, liturgical, the number and quality of prayers, the lack of banality, etc. The Ordinary form is deficient by its loss of key prayers, its lack of verticality, its lack of history, its novelties, etc. I really think the language piece winds up throwing a bone to those who like a reverent Mass, but it does not go far enough.

X said...

There's nothing bizarre here. They are simply using this NO Latin Mass as a liturgical methadone to help wean these poor souls from the addictive opiate of the EF. It's called tough love.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @12:17,

In response,I was just trying to offer some general insights from one who is desirous to see a greater prevalence of the EF but recognizes the present situation of a limited number of clergy instructed on its use...and our need to look at this situation with charity rather than suspicion.

Regardless of the intention and/or source of this change, promotion and education on our part is more fruitful than whinging. Acting cross only fuels the bias against the EF and our community.

If we are to move forward, charity, patient perseverance and the necessity of sacrifice are necessary...it doesn't take a mind like Maritain's to see that as well ;-)

Anonymous said...

This decision should be reported to the CDF.

Long-Skirts said...


In the middle of the Church
There’s a very safe spot
Where it’s not very cold
And it’s not very hot.

You can say a little prayer
In a Latin cant one day
On another take the Host
Serve yourself walk away.

It’s the middle of the Church
And a very safe spot
Where it’s not very cold
And it’s not very hot.

There are no schools for minds
Or for little Catholic souls
But at least there are no fights
How to clean the toilet bowls.

For the classrooms they are empty
And the lavatories too
No daily Mass, religion class
For little Don and Sue.

But it’s really very middle
In a very safe spot
Where it’s not very cold
And it’s not very hot.

The new Mass has its many
Approved have many too
But approved must keep their silence
While sitting in their pew.

Approved brings in good money
The new says, “that is great!”
And priests who go between them both
Can really celebrate…

For they’re really in the middle
In a very safe spot
Where it’s not very cold
And it’s not very hot.

Approved can say the old -
Approved can say the new -
For when you’re in the middle
You accommodate the two.

So new, approved and middle
Give all a chance to view
And each will save a spot
For you & you & you…

In the middle of the Church
In a luke warm spot
Where you’ll never fight the cold
And you’ll never fight the hot!

Anonymous said...

First of all, there is certainly no lack of priests capable of offering the EF in St. Louis. At least one of the priests ordained in each of the classes over the last three or four years knows how to say it. And there are plenty of others who can do it. This is just a plain fact. There is no shortage upon which we must look with charity.

Second, it seems to me that there is nothing but an injustice here, and anger, if moderated by reason, is the appropriate response. These actions do not appear to accord with the law or mind of the Church. SP is clear and bishops are bound by it. Perhaps reporting it to the CDF would do a little towards educating those responsible for its implementation.

This is not whining, nor does it stem from suspicion. It is a certain judgment founded upon facts available to anyone who desires to know them. And I have yet to see anything contrary to charity in the combox.

Charity is founded upon a clear apprehension of the truth, which is vastly different from idealized phantasy and naive optimism.

Long-Skirts said...

Anonymous 27 July, 2011 15:43 said...

"This decision should be reported to the CDF."

Oh, please!!
Sorry...I'm on a roll!!


They cock their pens
And write their pappy,
Spill their ink
On trees once sappy.

They do not fight
With soul and might,
They'd rather sit
And letter write,

Oh, these, our lords,
Approved patricians,
Who give their lives
For bloody petitions.

Patrick Kinsale said...

I was blessed with eight years of Latin OF Masses in high school and college. It and six years of instruction helped me love Latin all the more. The Latin OF Mass was a gateway of sorts for me personally so that when the EF Mass was restored more fully I was able to recognize its value.

We need more Latin OF Masses to help build that bridge for parishioners and for those, like our teenage daughter, who love Latim and would appreciate it more if they saw it used regularly.

Anonymous said...

“The last Sunday in which the 1:30pm Extraordinary Form of the Mass will be offered will be Sunday, July 31st. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is offered at St. Francis de Sales Church and the Oratory of St. Gregory and St. Augustine at St. Louis Abbey.”

This mentality creates nothing more than a ghetto.

How in the world will we explain ourselves to the recusant English Martyrs when the time comes?


Anonymous said...

It has been confirmed to me that Carlson ordered the new pastor to stop the EF...so his offering the Latin OF is an attempt to be obedient but sympathetic at the same time...otherwise, he is making the best of a terrible situation. God bless him.

Anonymous said...

How can the archbishop order him to stop? i thought that was the whole pointy of Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae. And How do you know that's been confirmed?

Anonymous said...

Well, one can interpret the regulation implementing the motu proprio in a couple of different ways. As Timman provided above in the part:

"A fidelium ... who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus ("group") can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose."

So, as the EF is already provided in two Oratories within the diocese, one could speculate that this rationale, albeit a weak one, was a reason it was eliminated from the Parish. The bulletin statement basically said as much.

It seems an injustice it was eliminated at the parish level - but who knows. It would be nice to know His Excellency's mind on this. Perhaps a a future column in The Review?

TLMer said...

Today was our last TLM at St. Elizabeth's. My family and I will miss worshiping with our fellow TLMers at St. Elizabeth. These are confusing times we live in, and I hope and pray God will give aid to us and others who will now have to travel extensively to worship in this beautiful and enriching form of the Mass. Come Lord Jesus.

Jim Crow said...

These times are not confusing. Could things be any clearer?

Any priest of the Roman Rite has the right to offer the EF without the Bishop's permission and those faithful who wish to assit may do so, without the Bishop's permission. The days of the indult are over.

Or are they? A right whose exercise is not enforced is, as the liberals like to point out, a right in name only.

Rome, and Rome alone, can remedy the situation. You might as well have laws ensuring the right to vote with no enforcement, or laws aginst assault and battery with no police and no judges.

We are the n-----s of the Church in St. Louis. DON'T YOU GET THAT?

Gnatmo said...

As stated earlier, this holy priest is being obedient due to a direct order by Arch Bishop Carlson. It would be lovely if the TLM were offered at every parish and one would not have to drive 20-45 minutes (or more) to attend a TLM.

Anonymous said...

Jim Crow

Right . . . just like any priest has the right to follow the rubrics of the NO and offer Mass ad orientem.

But of course they don't have the right because the Bishops will not allow it and Rome will do nothing to stop their disobedience by defending the right of priests to do what Rome says they are permitted to do.

In the last 40 years we have witnessed the disappearance of Papal authority and enforcement in the name of collegiality and pastoral charity. In reality it has meant a whole lot of injustice: lawless liberals pouncing on traditionalists.

A good case is being made for a "state of emergency," don't you think?