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Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

This Sunday and the whole week should serve as a preparation for the festival of Pentecost, that we may be enabled by good works and pious devotional exercises, to receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost. At the Introit the Church sings:


Hear, O Lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee, allel. My heart bath said to thee: I have sought thy face, thy face, O Lord, I will seek: turn not away thy face from me, allel. allel. The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear? (Ps. XXVI. 7-9.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT  Almighty, everlasting God, grant us ever to have a will devoted to Thee, and to serve Thy majesty with a sincere heart. Through .etc.

EPISTLE (1 Peter IV. 7-11.) Dearly beloved, be prudent, and watch in prayers. But before all things, have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covereth a multitude of sins. Using hospitality one towards another without murmuring: as every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administereth; that in all things God may be honored through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

EXPLANATION The practice of the virtues which St. Peter here prescribes for the faithful, is an excellent preparation for the reception of the Holy Ghost, for nothing renders us more worthy of His visit than true love for our neighbor, the good use of God’s gifts; and the faithful discharge of the duties of our state of life. Strive, therefore, to practise these virtues and thus make yourself less unworthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Say daily during the week the following prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, who bast assembled the people of all tongues in unity of faith, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy divine love.

GOSPEL (John XV. 26-27., to XVI. 1-4.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me: and you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whomsoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things I have told you, that, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you.

Why is the Holy Ghost called the Paraclete?

Through the apostles and disciples whom He made so eloquent and so courageous that they intrepidly professed and preached Christ to be the Son of God, and the true Messiah. This doctrine He confirmed by astounding miracles, and sealed it by their blood which they shed in its defence The Holy Ghost still gives testimony of Christ through the Church, that is, the clergy, through whom He speaks, and who must, therefore, be listened to reverently. We must also give testimony of Christ and profess by our lives, by patience in crosses and afflictions that He is our Teacher, our Lord, and our God; for if we do not thus acknowledge’ Him in this world He will deny us before His Father in heaven. (Matt X. 33.)

Did the Jews sin in persecuting and putting to death the apostles?

Undoubtedly; for although they erroneously believed they were doing God a service, their ignorance and error were very sinful and deserving of punishment, because they could easily have known and been instructed in the truth.

Those Christians who neglect all religious instruction hardly know what is necessary for salvation, and make light of many things which are grievous sins; as also those who are in doubt whether they justly or unjustly possess certain goods, and yet through fear of being compelled to make restitution, neglect to settle the doubts such are in culpable ignorance.

What must every Christian know and believe in order to be saved?

That there is but one God, who has created and governs all things; that God is a just judge, who rewards the good and punishes the wicked; that there are in the Deity three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that the Son of God became man for love of us, taught us, and by His death on the cross redeemed us; that the Holy Ghost sanctifies us by His grace, without which we cannot become virtuous or be saved; that man’s soul is immortal.

PETITION Send us, O Lord Jesus ! the Paraclete, that He may console and strengthen us in all our afflictions. Enlighten us by Thy Holy Spirit that we may learn and live in accordance with the truths of faith. Amen.



These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. (John XVI. 1.)

How is scandal given?

By speaking, doing or omittihg that which will be, to others an occasion, of sin: Scandal is given in different ways, for instance: if you dress improperly, speak improper words, or sing bad songs; by which you can see, that your neighbor will be tempted to think, desire or act wrongly; or what is worse, if you act sinfully, in the presence of, others, or bring bad books., books against good morals, or against the holy faith, among people; if you incite others to anger, cursing, and vengeance, or if you prevent them from attending church, the sermon, or catechetical instruction, etc. In all these things you become guilty of scandal, as well as of all the sins to which it gives rise.

If at the Last judgment we will be unable to, give an account of our own sins, how, then can we answer for the innumerable sins caused by, he scandal we have given? Therefore Christ pronounces a terrible, woe upon those who give scandal. Woe to that man, He says, by whom the scandal cometh! It were better for him, that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matt. XVIII.)

How do parents give scandal?

By giving their children bad example; by excessive anger, cursing and swearing; by avarice, injustice and cheating; by discord and quarrels; by gluttony in eating and drinking; by extravagance and vanity in dress; by sneering at religion, good morals, etc.; by not keeping their children from evil company, but sometimes even bringing them into it; by not punishing and endeavoring to eradicate their children’s vices. How much parents sin, through such scandals, cannot be expressed; at the Day of judgment their children will be their accusers!

How do masters give scandal to their servants and those under their care?

In the same way as parents do to their children; by keeping them away from, or not urging them by their own example or command to attend church on Sundays and holy-days; by giving them meat on fast-days; by commanding them to do sinful things, such as stealing, injuring others, etc.



1). We should withdraw, after the example ef the Blessed Virgin and the apostles, to some solitary place, or at least avoid, intercourse with others, as much as possible; speak but little, and apply ourselves to earnest and persevering prayer; for in solitude God speaks to man.

2). We should purify our conscience by a contrite confession, become reconciled to our neighbor, it we have lived in enmity; for the Holy Ghost, as a spirit of peace and purity, lives only in pure and peaceful souls. (Ps. IXXV. 3.)

3). We should give alms according to our means, for it is said in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts X.) of the Gentile centurion Cornelius, that by prayer and alms-deeds he made himself worthy of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

4). We should fervently desire to receive the Holy Ghost, and should give expression to this longing by frequent aspirations to God, making use of the prayer: “Come, O Holy Ghost, etc.”

May 26, 2017   No Comments

Solemn High Mass of the Ascension of the Lord

Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. at the Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.

May 23, 2017   No Comments

Sacred Music, the Need for Beauty, and the Beatific Vision

By Dr. Peter

A few years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Fr. Jonathan Robinson of the Oratory deliver a lecture on beauty and the ars celebrandi in liturgy, with special reference to sacred music. Not one to spare his audience a pessimistic opening, Fr. Robinson argued that today the whole question of beauty has become increasingly irrelevant for many people. To Our Lord, Pilate cynically replied: “What is truth?”; today’s Christians could as easily say to their Master: “What is beauty?” Instead of being revered as an ancient witness to the awesome mysteries of Christ as well as their perennial adorable presence in our midst, liturgy is treated as a vehicle for acting out and celebrating a particular priest’s or community’s version of Christianity, usually in the form of moralistic therapeutic deism. Sincerity has replaced “making according to a rule” (the classical view of an art or skill). The results are plain for all to see and hear: verbosity, superficiality, sentimentalism, boredom, and randomness.

Art is a skilled performance; ars celebrandi refers to a skilled action done according to a true rule. No amount of distress for the poor, or openness to the world, or sincerity of opinion, can substitute for the lack of a true ars celebrandi, any more than a poet’s good will and winsome personality can substitute for the discipline of learning how to write verse in rhyme and meter. This is what makes a celebrant do his work and do it well, and without it, the liturgy, as a human exercise and experience, becomes something between an embarrassment and a mockery. Because the liturgy is an exercise of the virtue of religion through which we offer fitting worship to God, and because it gives expression to our faith, mere sacramental validity can never make up for defective liturgical rites or for the lack of art in performing them.

If we were looking to capture post-modernity in a single word, we might choose “pluralism.” In the universities, in the fine arts, in religious practice, in every aspect of culture, there is an ever-increasing multiplication of choices, ways of life, identities, now even “genders,” without any axis or center around which they revolve and to which they might be tethered. Pluralism in liturgy, too, is connected with the post-modern view that there is no greater reality outside ourselves to which we must submit, and to which an appropriate response must be made: the response of the creature to the Creator, of the sinner to the Savior, of the child to the Father, of the adorer to the Holy One.

In spite of this inhospitable environment, the beautiful retains certain special qualities of its own. Beauty points beyond itself to something which is not reducible to the “true” or the “good.” When we ask whether something is true, we want to know if it corresponds to reality; when we ask whether something is good, we want to know if it is an object of desire or love. But when we ask whether something is beautiful, we are looking to its immediate captivating quality, its radiance in our eyes, its resounding in our ears. Beauty is disinterested, existing for its own sake, and needs no further justification. We delight in it because it simply is delightful. That which is beautiful exists to be seen or heard, and we rejoice in it just because of its splendor. This is why beauty reflects God, who exists for His own sake, and whom to see is to be blessed. Without beauty, the good loses its very attractiveness. Beauty is like a mask that guards, veils, and presents the face of the true and the good. They cannot stand on their own feet. Whoever banishes beauty will end up no longer being able to pray, nor, finally, to love. The beautiful cannot be banished without drawing into exile, sooner or later, the true and the good.

Do men, generally speaking, fall in love with ugly women? No — unless they find an invisible beauty that calls to the heart in a different way. It is always the beautiful that appeals and attracts, that awakens desire, that causes one to stop thinking of oneself and to be preoccupied with the other. The same is true for “modern man” and the liturgy of the Church. If the liturgy is ugly, it will not attract us, awaken our desire, or cause us to go out of ourselves and be caught up in the divine, so that we may become a Christian who is ready to go out of himself for the sake of others. This is why bad liturgy is, sooner or later, always connected with bad ethics. Bad liturgy is the single greatest cause of the collapse of the Church’s missionary and charitable activities, in the same way that the sinking or rotting or shifting of a building’s foundations compromises the entire structure.

My experience with priests formed in the 1970s is that they consider music in a purely utilitarian way: it is just a means to some further end, usually “active participation” understood in a reductive sense. It has no intrinsic value; it is not a holy thing; it is not “a moving image of eternity.” It is just something you do in order to be doing something religious together. This is why the music does not have to be of a high artistic quality. In fact, music of such quality would tend rather to thwart the end of general involvement than to promote it.[1] The implicit lesson of utility music is that liturgy is a pragmatic service to oneself, rather than a losing of oneself in something higher, greater, stranger, more demanding, and ultimately more wonderful than anything we can invent out of our immediate resources.

On a final exam, a student of mine wrote these words: “Sacred music … does not convey life on earth, it takes us into the afterlife. It makes us focus on the things of God. We meditate on Christ’s Incarnation, his earthly life, and His Passion and Death. We are brought to the angels in heaven and have a brief glimpse of the idea of a beatific vision.” This student has captured a key truth with admirable directness and childlike candor. The beauty of sacred music is a foretaste of the beatific vision in which we will rest in the fullest possible activity of gazing on the unveiled face of God, in whom is all our delight, to whom we will rapturously submit ourselves in a freedom that knows no limits, and whom we will love with all the power of our being because He is all-lovable and all-beautiful. Good liturgy initiates us — step by step, symbol by symbol, veiled glimpse by veiled glimpse — into this fearful and fascinating, stirring and stilling vision.

[1] Sacro-pop music cannot truthfully be said to have achieved that “We Are the World” level of cooperative singing that was its sole justification. Meanwhile, we have had to suffer battery and siege on our eardrums, while the Muses scurried away for cover. We can be consoled at least by the inevitable operation of a divinely revealed law: the fashion of this world is passing away, and all that is conformed to this world will also pass away.

May 23, 2017   No Comments


Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

In thanks for the redemption the Church sings at the Introit:

INTROIT Declare the voice of joy, and let it be heard, allel.: declare it even to the ends of the earth: the Lord hath delivered his people. (Isai. XLVII. 20.) Allel. allel. Shout with joy to God, all the earth: sing ye a psalm to his name, give glory to his praise. (Fs. LXV.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, from whom all good things proceed: grant to Thy suppliants, that by Thy inspiration we may think those things that are right, and by Thy guidance may perform the same. Through etc.

EPISTLE (James I. 22‑27.) Dearly Beloved, Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a than beholding his own countenance in a glass: for he beheld himself and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was. But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless, and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one’s self unspotted from the world.

EXPLANATION True piety, as St. James here says, consists not only in knowing and recognizing the word of God, but in living according to its precepts and teachings; in subduing the tongue, the most dangerous and injurious of all our members; in being charitable to the poor and destitute, and in contemning the world, its false principles, foolish customs and scandalous example, against which we should guard, that we may not become infected and polluted by them. Test thyself, whether thy life be of this kind.

ASPIRATION O Jesus! Director of the soul! Give me the grace of true piety as defined by St. James.

GOSPEL (John XVI. 23-30.) At this time, Jesus saith to his disciples: Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father,anything in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto, you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. In that day, you shall ask in my name: and I say not to you that I will ask the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples say to him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now we know that thou knowest all things, and thou needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou comest forth from God.

Why does God wish us to ask of Him?

That we may know and confess that all good comes from Him; that we may acknowledge our poverty and weakness which in all things need the help of God; that we may thus glorify Him and render ourselves less unworthy of the gifts which He has promised us.

What is meant by asking to the name of Jesus?

By this is meant praying with confidence in the merits of Jesus, “who,” as St. Cyril says, “being God with the Father, gives us all good, and as mediator carries our petitions to His Father.” The Church, therefore concludes all her prayers with the words: “Through our Lord, Jesus Christ.” It means also that we should ask that which is in accordance with the will of Christ, namely, all things necessary for the salvation of our soul; to pray for temporal things merely in order to live happily in this world, is not pleasing to Christ and avails us nothing. “He who prays for what hinders salvation,” says St. Augustine, “does not pray in the name of Jesus.” Thus Jesus said to His disciples: Hitherto you have asked nothing in my name, “because,” as St. Gregory says, “they did not ask for that which conduces to eternal salvation.”

Why is it that God sometimes does not grant our petitions?

Because we often pray for things that are injurious, and like a good father, God denies them to us, in order to give us something better; because He wishes to prove our patience and perseverance in prayer; because we generally do not pray as we ought; to be pleasing to God, prayer should be made when in a state of grace and with confidence in Christ’s merits, for the prayer of a just man availeth much; (James V. 16.) we must pray with humility and submission to the will of God, with attention, fervor, sincerity, and with perseverance.

At what special times should we pray?

We should pray every morning and evening, before and after meals, in time of temptation, when commencing any important undertaking, and particularly in the hour of death. God is mindful of us every moment, and gives us His grace. It is, therefore, but just that we think often of Him during the day, and thank Him for His blessings.

How can we, in accordance with Christ’s teachings, (Luke XVIII. 1.) pray at all times?

By making the good intention when commencing our work, to do all for the love of God, and according to His most holy will; by raising our hearts to God at different times during the day; frequently making acts of faith, hope, love, and humility, and by repeating short ejaculations, such as: O Jesus! grant me grace to love Thee! Thee only do I desire to love! O be merciful to me! Lord hasten to help me.

What is the signification of the different ceremonies that Catholics use at their prayers?

The general signification is that God must be served, honored and adored, not only with the soul but with the body; when we pray aloud we praise God, not only with the mind, but also with our lips; when we pray with bowed and uncovered head, with folded, uplifted, or outstretched hands, on bended knees, with bowed and prostrated body, we show our reverence and subjection to the majesty of God, before whom we, who are but dust and ashes, cannot humble ourselves enough. These different ceremonies during prayer are frequently mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments, and Christ and His apostles have made use of them, as for instance, the bending of the knees, falling on the face, &c.

Which is the best of all prayers?

The Lord’s Prayer which Christ Himself taught us, and commands us to repeat. When said with devotion, it is the most powerful of all prayers. (Matt. VI, 9-13; Luke XI. 2‑4.)


Of what does the Lord’s Prayer consist?

It consists of an address, as an introduction to the prayer, and of seven petitions which contain all that we should ask for the honor of God, and for our own salvation. The address is thus: Our Father who art in heaven:

What does the word “Our” signify?

In the communion of saints we should pray for and with all the children of God; we should be humble and preserve brotherly love towards all men.

Who is it that is here called our “Father”?

Our Father is God who has made us His children and heirs of His kingdom through His Son.

Why do we say “Who art in heaven”, since God is everywhere?

To remind us that our true home is heaven, for which we, should ardently long, because our Father is there, and there He has prepared our inheritance.

For what do we ask to the first petition: “Hallowed be Thy name?”

That we and all men may truly know, love, and serve God.

For what do we pray to the second petition: “Thy kingdom come?”

That the Church of God; the kingdom of Christ, may extend over the whole earth, and the kingdom of sin and the devil be destroyed; that Christ may reign in our hearts and in the hearts of all; and that God will deign to receive us into the kingdom of heaven when our earthly pilgrimage is ended.

For what do we ask to the third petition: “Thy will be done on earth as it is to heaven ?”

We beg that God would enable us, by His grace, to do His will in all things, as the blessed do it in heaven. In these three petitions we seek, as taught by Christ, first the kingdom of God, that all the rest may be added unto us. (Luke XII. 31.)

For what do we ask in the fourth petition: “Give us this day our dally bread?”

We beg for all necessaries for body and soul

Why does it say, “this day?”

The words “this day” signify that we should not be over anxious for the future, but place all our confidence in God who will provide the necessaries of life.

What do we ask for in the fifth petition: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us?”

We beg that God will forgive us our sins, as we forgive others their offenses against us. Those who make this petition, and still bear enmity towards their neighbor, lie in the face of God, and will not receive forgiveness. (Mark XI. 25, 26.)

What is risked for in the sixth petition: Lead us not into temptation?”

We ask God to avert all temptations or at least not to abandon us when we are tempted. We cannot, indeed be entirely free from them in this world, they are even necessary and useful for our salvation: for without temptation there is no combat, without combat no victory and without victory no crown.

What do we ask for in the seventh petition: Deliver us from evil?”

We beg that God would free us from all evil of soul and body.


What are processions?

Processions are solemn religious assemblages of persons marching together, and are instituted by the Catholic Church partly to encourage the piety of the faithful, partly in remembrance of graces received, and in thanksgiving for them. Processions are approved of by the Fathers of the Church from the earliest ages. Those who take part in them in a true spirit will reap wholesome fruit of Christian piety.

Are processions something new?

No, they were the custom in the very earliest centuries of the Church, as testified by the acts of the martyrs, of Saints Cyprian, Lucius, Boniface, and the Fathers of the Church, Saints Basil, Chrysostom, Ambrose, Gregory, and others. They are also founded on Scripture. Thus King David caused the ark of the covenant to be carried in solemn procession to Jerusalem, (II Kings VI.) and Solomon, his son, had it carried in solemn procession into the new temple. (III Kings VIII. 1-6.)

What do processions signify?

Processions are a figure of our pilgrimage on earth; we are strangers and wanderers here below, our journey reaches from this valley of tears to the heavenly Sion, the procession therefore returns into the house of God; our journey leads over the thorny ways of life, the procession therefore takes place in the open air, where the pilgrim is exposed to all kinds of weather; they are a powerful incentive to fervor in prayer for the faithful; when hundreds, even thousands of faithful praise God aloud, or cry to Him for help and mercy, must not even the coldest heart be roused to vivid, fervent devotion, since Christ has promised to be present even where two or three are assembled in His name? Processions are an open acknowledgment that praise, thanks and adoration are due to God alone, while they are a public profession of our faith in Christ, the Crucified; they are a solemn thanksgiving for being permitted to profess Christ, our Lord, before the whole world, as also for all the graces obtained through Him; they are a public testimonial of our faith in the one, holy, Catholic Church, whose members are united by the same bond of faith, and who form under their head, Christ, one family in God. Finally, they are a sign of the triumph of Christian faith over the darkness of heathenism. If processions are solemnized with such intentions, with order and dignity, with fervent devotion, in the light of faith, they are indeed a pleasing sight for angels and men

Why are banners and the cross carried in procession?

The cross signifies that we are assembled as Christians, in the name of Jesus, in whose name we begin and end our prayers, through whose merits we expect all things from the Heavenly Father, and whom we must follow: on our journey to heaven; the red and white banners indicate that we must walk in all innocence under the banner of Christ, and fight unto death against sin, against the world and the devil, and be as ready as were the martyrs to give our life for our faith; the blue banners indicate that we must walk the road of self-denial and mortification, with really humble and penitent feelings for our gins. The banners are also emblematic of Christ’s victory over death and hell, and of the triumph of His religion over the pagans and Jews.

Why do we go around the fields in processions?

To beg God to bless the fields with His fatherly hand, to give and preserve the fruits of the earth, and. as He fills the animals with blessings, and gives them food at the proper time, so may He give to as also our necessary food.

What is the origin of the procession on St. Mark’s day and on Rogation Days?

The procession on St. Mark’s day was instituted even before the time of Pope Gregory the Great (607) who, however, brought it into fervent practice, “in order,” as he says, ‘to obtain, in a measurer forgiveness of our sins.” The same pontiff introduced another, called the Sevenfold Procession, because the faithful of Rome took part in it in seven divisions, from seven different Churches, meeting in the Church of the Blessed Virgin. It was also named the Pest Procession, because it was ordered by St. Gregory to obtain the cessation of a fearful pestilence which was at that time raging in Rome, and throughout all Italy. This pestilence so poisoned the atmosphere that one opening his mouth to sneeze or gape would suddenly fall dead; (hence the custom of saying God bless you,” to one sneezing, and of making the sign of the cross on the mouth of one who gapes). The same holy pope ordered the picture of the Blessed Virgin, which is said to have been painted by St. Luke, to be carried in this procession, and that the intercession of this powerful mother be these supplications and the pestilence asked. God heard ceased. It is said that the processions in Rogation Week owe their origin to St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne in France; in the neighborhood of which city there were, in the year 469, terrible earthquakes which caused great destruction, the fruits perished and various plagues afflicted the people. The saintly bishop assembled the faithful, recommended them to seek refuge in the merciful God, and led them in procession around the fields. Such processions spread over France, and gradually throughout the Christian world; they are held in order to obtain from God the averting of universal evils, such as war, famine, and pestilence, and are, at the same time, a preparation for the Ascension of Christ who is our most powerful mediator with His Father, and whom we should invoke especially during these days.

With what intentions should we take part in a procession?

With the intention of glorifying God, of thanking Him for all. His graces, and of obtaining aid and comfort from Him in all our corporal and spiritual needs; with the view of professing our faith openly before the whole world, and with the sincere resolution of always following Christ, the Crucified, in the path of penance and mortification. He who entertains other intentions and takes part, perhaps, for temporal advantages, or for sinful pleasures, or to avoid labor, &c., sins against God and the Church who weeps over and condemns such abuses.

May 20, 2017   No Comments

The Future of the Roman Liturgy & the Ordinariate Option

From another Traditional Blog
In his 2015 article The Silent Action of the Heart Cardinal Sarah wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that he would welcome a return to normative oriented worship in the fourth edition of the Pauline Roman Missal. “Liturgists” decried the cardinal’s assertion of orthopractic worship and let a more intriguing textual suggest slip by, that is, the desirous return of the Roman offertory prayers. Unlike the Canon Missae, offertory prayers originated in the Middle Ages and never enjoyed a universal text, so why reify such a narrow restoration? The old Roman offertory is now the most commonly used Sunday and festive option in the most recently approval Roman Mass books, the Missals for the various Ordinariate communities whose worship descends from Anglican rites. Has the Ordinariate Missal become a test run for the future of the Latin liturgy? No, but the future itself is less certain than it was just a few years ago.
The Ordinariate Liturgy
“Almighty God, unto Whom all hearts be open” are the first distinctively Anglican words at the Ordinariate Mass to an average Roman Catholic who attends either a Paul VI or pre-Conciliar Mass. In fact this prayer is not Anglican at all. It originated in pre-Reformation England and appears in several editions of the Sarum Missal’s prescribed clerical vesting prayers.
The Ordinariate Missal is not the Sarum Mass or the Tridentine Mass celebrated in English. It is an adaptation of Paul VI’s Mass to a manner of liturgical worship that originated in post-Reformation England and done in accordance to the Book of Common Prayer. Several features of the Prayer Book rites of Eucharist are inserted into the Mass at their appropriate times (the litany, the Comfortable Words, the Prayer of Humble Access) and numerous Anglican formularies appear along Roman greetings (“Christ our Passover is sacrificed”). The Missal renders the texts in an early modern-style English rather than the literal translation now in force for the Roman Missal and the heretical translation previously in force.
Paul VI’s Mass is more than a palimpsest for Prayer Book texts in the Ordinariate rite. The eventual outcome of the Ordinariate liturgy reflects Anglican tradition as much as it reflects the sort of Anglicans who took advantage of Benedict XVI’s generous offerings in Anglicanorum Coetibus. While many who have come over to the Church do so from a “high” American Anglican patrimony of sung Prayer Book Eucharist and Evensong services, a similar number of English extraction converts come from an “Anglo-Catholic” background, wherein some variation of the Tridentine Mass or English Missal was done in fiddleback vestments and Benediction followed Vespers. These celebrants and faithful come to the Ordinariate familiar with the prayers before the altar, the priest offering “a flawless victim” for the benefit “of all Christians living and dead,” the triple Domine non sum dignus, and the Johannine prologue. These prayers are medieval Roman prayers which are as proper to the spirituality of many in the Ordinariate as “Almighty and everliving God….” While they do not belong to the patrimony of William Laud they do belong to the patrimony of the Ordinariate.
Anyone who can attend an Ordinariate Mass, even if infrequently, should do so. The Mass captures the illative part of Catholic worship between reverent words spoken to God and the sweetness needed to move a Christian to devotion without delving into profundity. The parishes tend to exceed the average diocesan church in music; the propers are almost always sung as are motets and hymns. The now-cathedral in Houston even has a Rood Screen, an element of pre-Reformation liturgy if ever there was one. The Divine Worship Missal transposes much of what was good in post-Reformation Anglicanism into the contemporary Roman Mass for most excellent use by Ordinariate parishes.
A True Reform of the Pauline Mass?
Benedict XVI’s 2005 Christmas address to the Roman Curia brought the impossibly post-modern academic phrase “hermeneutic of continuity” into the vocabulary of liturgists and students of ecclesiology. A small collective of critics of the modern Church arose from Benedict’s pontificate. These men tended to have been ordained from the time of Paul VI and John Paul II, too young to remember the days before the Council and too old to be caught up in the post-Summorum traditionalist movement; the outlook on what went wrong always included the liturgy, although agreement on what was never universally agreed upon. The one consensus of their liturgical critiques was that the Mass of Paul VI had been misapplied, that those who brought “Pope Paul’s New Mass” into parishes did so with the “hermeneutic of rupture” rather than continuity. In Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI Anthony Cekada personifies this generation of priests as “Fr. Retreaux,” who believes the reformed liturgy requires an ars celebrandi as buttoned up as an Italian cassock.
During Benedict’s papacy a style of Mass emerged in a handful of parishes in every diocese called “Reform of the Reform.” Just as the hermeneuticists of continuity could not agree with what was defective in modern liturgy, they could not agree on a consistent fix. Several different reformed styles of celebrating the reformed Mass proliferated. They included Latin chants for the ordo Missae, use of the Roman Canon, fiddleback vestments, canonical digits, singing of the propers, male altar boys, birettas, six candles around a central crucifix atop the altar, and, when possible, Mass versus Deum.
These applications of the pre-Conciliar praxis to the new Mass reflect an outlook already held by English Oratorians since the 1970s, although the Oratorians’ independence allowed them to anticipate the Reform of the Reform more thoroughly than most diocesan ordinaries will permit their pastors.
Even before the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, interest in the Reform of the Reform waned. No one declared it dead or read its obituary at a CMAA conference, but there was a subtle realization that “Blessed are You, Lord God of the Universe” is a Seder Meal prayer, whether in Latin or Latvian. Moreover, the assertion that Paul VI meant for the reformed Missal to be celebrated like an Institute of Christ the King Mass has no basis in the historical record. The three trial run demonstrations put on for the 1967 synod of archbishops in the Sistine chapel were a low Mass, a low Mass with hymns, and some sort of “high Mass”, all on a free standing table. Paul VI celebrated a hybrid Mass in Italian and Latin versus populum the first day the law permitted in 1964 following the changes of Inter oecumenici.
The faithful welcomed or sought improved celebrations of the Mass of Paul VI, but by 2013 few were still extolling its inherently ceremonial character. If the election of Francis did not end the Reform of the Reform, time would have. The Oratorian celebration of the Pauline Mass can be an aesthetic apotheosis that few bishops would permit; it was easier to celebrate a 3PM indult Mass for the hundred people who want it than to celebrate an improved new Mass as the primary service of the day in full view of a thousand donating parishioners. With the election of Francis to the Petrine See and the conversion of several Reformers of the Reform (notably Thomas Kocik) to the old Mass the movement to celebrate the new liturgy as if it was the old lost momentum.
No broad movement has been born out of the publication of the finalized Ordinariate Missal, but significant anecdotal discussion has come out of it and what it might imply for the Roman rite said in 99% of parishes throughout the world. A celebratory change in the new Mass could only accomplish so much without becoming awkward and uncharacteristic of its intent. The Ordinariate Missal offered something Benedict’s outlook did not, the possibility of fundamental changes to the text in the post-Conciliar Missal. Few if any are interested in the uniquely English flavor of the translation, ceremonial movements, or the character of those for whom it was ratified, merely how it might prove a useful precedent for improving what people have to sit through one hour a week.
What did attract the attention of post-Benedictine Catholics were the Anglo-Catholic features of the Missal, namely the prayers before the altar with the double Confiteor, the Tridentine offertory, the restriction of Eucharistic prayers with an explicit preference for the Roman Canon, and the Johannine prologue at the end of the Mass. All traditional elements of Roman worship present in a ritus for former Anglicans and all absent in the Missal of Paul VI.
So the question arises, could the Mass of Papa Montini effectively remain as is in its lectionary and sacramentary, but find the eventual additions of certain elements from the old Mass, saved only by the miracle of the Ordinariate? Or, put another way, could the Ordinariate Mass, sans its many Anglican texts imported from the Prayer Book, be a template for how the new Mass might look in twenty or fifty years? Is the Ordinariate a typos of the general Roman Church’s future?
No, it is not, but the future is increasingly difficult to ascertain.
The Road Ahead
There are a few hundred traditionalist Mass centers, regular or irregular, in the United States. There is a similar figure in France, which comprises a significantly higher percentage of practicing Catholics in that country. Currently there are a humble 43 Ordinariate parishes in North America with similarly modest figures in England and Australia. Along the same vein various Oratories of Saint Philip Neri have appeared regularly in the Anglophonic world, always styled after their English counterparts rather than their Continental ancestors.
These groups collectively make up a fraction of a percent of the Roman Church throughout the world, yet discussion about the future of the Roman Church tangibly looks at little else if only because there are few other places to look. Countries which once propagated Catholic culture are now utterly bereft of it. The land of Ferdinand and Isabela championed gay marriage long before most European nations would touch the issue; 17% of Spaniards attend Mass. The Fraternity of St. Pius X has served a few Mass centers in Portugal for nearly five decades and has never had a vocation from that country; 19% of self-identified Catholics hear Mass on Sundays. The most stunning collapse of Christianity has transpired in Ireland, where, in the wake of institutional protection of pederast priests and an economic boom in the years after the birth of the Common Market, Mass attendance has dropped from 90% to below 30%; Maynooth seminary operates at 10% its intended capacity. Hardly any of those who still attend Mass go parishes staffed by Ordinariate priests, traditionalists, hermeneuticists of continuity, or reformers of the reform. Yet this topic must necessarily revolve around those very people.
The shortage of vocations to the priesthood in more troubling that the decay of Mass attendance, if only because it offers fewer opportunities for those weak in faith or who attend Mass for habitual reasons to remain somewhere near the bosom of the Church. Jansenism is for the devout, the Church is for all. While Rorate-Caeli could hardly suppress its Alleluias that every parish in Limerick, save for the Institute of Christ the King, will be without Mass every other Sunday, others understand that this marks the beginning of the end for a highly structural, NGO institutional Church that emerged after the 19th political revolutions and normalization of Catholicism in non-Catholic countries. There are enough faithful to justify a few Sunday Masses, but fewer and fewer priests to celebrate them.
Progressive relics from the ages of Paul VI and John Paul II, who for years yearned that the laity might have greater participation in the “ministries” of the Church, may finally get their hearts’ desire, the priestless parish. Meanwhile, the real battle should be over what emerges among those who do celebrate Mass, barring a drastic change in paradigm such as the normative ordination of married men in the West.
Among priest-filled parishes will emerge destination churches, the kinds of parishes people seek in preference to the nearest convenience. Traditional forms of Catholicism are not merely the fastest growing in vocational numbers, they are the only places where there is growth. These various expressions of traditionalist or conservative parish life invariably favor some brand of liturgical orthopraxy, numerous priests living together under one roof, and offer more programs than the average parish. These parishes appeal to a broad range of faithful, from aesthetes to families with children, the simple and the over-educated. Parishes like this currently struggle in bringing the middle of the Church through their doors, the weekly Mass and little-catechized people in suspect marriages. However, as clergy fade without replacement and the less anchored lamentably lapse, the “remnant” may not have much choice but to embrace these destination churches.
In France there are already less than a hundred priestly ordinations a year, between seventy and eighty when excluding the archdiocese of Paris. Various purveyors of “destination parishes”—FSSPX, FSSP, ICRSS, IBP, Communauté de Saint-Martin, the diocese of Fréjus-Toulon, and traditionalist monasteries—gradually occupy a larger and larger percentage of the declining total. A similar effect might eventually take root in less “integrist” lands where one off communities like Oratories or canonries become thriving focal points of dioceses, even if they do not make up a significant portion of priests. Destination parishes will never make up the majority of the Roman diocesan churches, but then again neither did the Dominicans, Franciscans, Oratorians, or Augustinian Canons. Movements are never effected by majorities, but vocal minorities whose vigor convinces a surplus to throw in with their cause or become amenable to their view.
The surplus in this case is whatever remains of the diocesan priesthood, men who survive seminary formation and who are spread thin like butter over too much bread in a cluster of parishes in France or alone in a rectory built for five in Ireland. Diocesan formation is as mediocre as it has been since the 1970s, save for a few reputable programs. The “JP2 generation”, however, does not share the political views of its antecedents and often not its liturgical views either. Anecdotally, diocesan seminarians are either friendly to traditional liturgy or indifferent on the matter with the former more resolute in its interest than the latter in its disinterest. This hardly constitutes a movement, but it does constitute a group of people who can be moved, especially if they already have something in common with more vibrant destination churches than they do with those where the weak continue to lapse.
The Growing Rift
The failure of the Reform of the Reform or improved celebrations of the Mass of Paul VI to take root originate in two distinct places, the nature of the new liturgy’s introduction and its regulation.
Conventionally, attempts at Tridentinizing, medievalizing, or simply making more reverent the common celebration of the Montinian Mass came from desire to continue a pre-existing liturgical maximalism in an age where the ceremonies and texts did not agree with symphonic Masses or Palestrina’s motets. This was certainly the case with Msgr. Schuler or the Brompton Oratory. The purpose to prolong a certain liturgical style characteristic to a parish did not apply to the majority of churches after 1970. More relevant today is without formation in the old liturgy few clerics feel compelled to sublimate its genius in the context of the new liturgy.
The other impediment to the various essays at “enriching” the new liturgy is that organic development is both unknown and illegal in the modern liturgy. The new Missal is without essential change since its introduction, not unlike the Roman liturgy from the time of Trent until the nineteen regrettable years of Pius XII. Celebrants follow an intuitive combination of what is in the book and what they have watched since childhood. The ritual imitation of the old rite once called Reform of the Reform comes across as stilted, misapplied, and out of place. It is even more difficult to imagine a textual enrichment of the new Mass from the old, or from other sources, in the current milieu. The books of the reformed liturgy are regulated and published by the Congregation for Divine Worship without the input or approval of local priests, who habitually follow its familiar gestures.
While the number of priests continues to contract and the number of more traditional (broadly understood) Masses proliferate, the very barriers to the long desired “mutual enrichment” remain, the barriers of inorganic formation and of the centralization around the new rite. Diocesan clergy who wish for more to their new rite Mass than the odd Latin Agnus Dei at Christmas may find it easier to throw in their lot with the “stable groups” who want an old Mass or with destination parish clergy who have adopted a different outlook altogether.
One might optimistically tend to think this would eventually effect a more traditional version of the new liturgy. It will not. Unlike diocesan clergy, bishops are selected abroad from among men whose dedication to the current causes of national conferences and Rome outweigh their sympathy for the interests of parish liturgy. As long as this remains true the new Missal will remain as is, without any mutual enrichment, Tridentinisms, or new developments of its own accord.
What might this mean in a world of fewer priests and less ecclesiastical structure to watch over those who remain in parishes rather than in the growing fraternal communities? Diocesan clergy who were interested in the old liturgy, in part or whole (a sizeable minority from purely anecdotal experience), but who were not interested in leaving their hometowns for ‘50s-ism or Nerian spirituality, may find themselves free to expand their offering of the old Missal rather than toy with what they know they may not change. As peculiar as it sounded ten years ago, traditionalist communities have expanded modestly, but diocesan Latin Masses have grown by a multiple. Many remain at odd times for small groups, but the growing normality of the [putative] 1962 Missal could well justify a liturgically-minded pastor’s expansion of his Mass schedule to include a Latin Mass at 11AM rather than at 2PM, especially if he is the only priest in a parish.
The danger in this emerging trend of traditionally minded seminarians, priests, and priests of what we have termed destination parishes is that the Roman Church’s internal divisions would become externally manifested by liturgical praxis. If the French trend continues and diocesan interest in the Latin Mass increases, a third of French clergy may be Tridentine Mass-saying integrists who support the National Front while the other two thirds wear golf shirts around town between celebrating one monthly Mass at each parish in their clusters. Bishops, again, almost always strangers to their own flock, will have less and less in common with a growing segment of their own clergy. What are they to do with such priests? Ghettoize them? Leave them be? Promote them to larger parishes on merit?
Reform or Return?
1982 might have been the optimal year to re-instate the pre-Conciliar Latin liturgy as the normative Mass in the Roman Church. John Paul II re-established a nominal orthodoxy regarding sex, the roles of the sexes, and basic doctrines that were ignored during the stagnant post-Conciliar days of Papa Montini. Regardless of his phenomenology the Polish Pope created an externally sound perception to the Church that hid the liturgical abuse so arrant to those inside. Liturgical experiment continued in some circles, but a general mediocrity, born in suburban American parishes, became the international standard. So why would 1982 have been the best year to return to the old Roman ways?
In that same year The Tablet published results of a poll of English Catholics concerning the liturgical reform. Over 40% desired a return to the old Mass; the next largest block were indifferent; only a quarter preferred the new Mass to the old. The new liturgy’s novelty factor had run its course during an age when the former ways were still within living memory of most priests and laity. A return would have been difficult, but far easier than either a return to the old rite or a revitalization of the new rite has proven today.
There also existed the issue of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who, for what good he did, missed a grand opportunity at this juncture. He founded the Seminary of Saint Pius X in 1970 with permission of the diocesan bishop for the formation and ordination of priests. Doctrine concerned the French archbishop as did clerical education. Liturgy ranked lower on his list of priorities. Originally, the Seminary of Saint Pius X, and the associated priestly fraternity that governed it, was intended for the training of clergy who could return to their home dioceses for regular parish work; Cardinal Siri sent men to Econe in the early years and incardinated a few into his diocese, presumably celebrating the “illegal” Latin Mass until Paul VI noticed. If he had qualms about the new rite, then those qualms arose from what the new rite represented more than the integrity of the rites themselves; how could he celebrate the 1962 rite otherwise? After his 1976 suspension by Paul VI the “rebel archbishop” found himself the subject of religion segments in the newspapers and the topic of shorts in international news. During the same period a significant number of clergy in the United States and Europe, some retired and some forced into “independent” ministry, could have reverted to the old rite with the inspiration that a charismatic, orthodox figure could imbue. As a former missionary who baptized thousands of Africans, Msgr. Lefebvre should have been that very figure. The requisite inspiration never came, and the old Mass remained a symbol of opposition to Dignitatis humanae and French democracy. At the peak of his potential influence Lefebvre quietly began to work with the Vatican for a successor bishop and in the process forced the entire non-Francophonic populace of his Fraternity into adopting the 1962 liturgy over the pre-Pius XII book in force; it seems “pre-Vatican II” and “Latin” were more operative in the Fraternity’s liturgical outlook than “tradition.” Lefebvre never lawfully received his successor bishop; the June 30, 1988 consecrations and the following Vatican pseudo-liberation of the 1962 Mass in Ecclesia Dei adflicta all but ensured the old liturgy would stay in the realm of ghettos for those who could not move on.
Spiritual Health
While a wholesale return to the old liturgy remains an elusive dream, the prominent return of older rites in a larger portion of the Church remains more probable than a reform of the Pauline Mass along the lines of the Ordinariate Missal or a better practice of the current Novus Ordo liturgy. On its own, diverse rites cause little trouble; Lebanese Catholics attend rites based on whether they live in a Maronite village or Melkite village. However, liturgical diversity within narrow geographies, when the liturgical boundary is not also a national or cultural boundary, has a checkered history on a larger scale. Melkite Christians lost their original Antiochian liturgy and were compelled to adopt the Byzantine rite. Roman missionaries in Ethiopia attempted to foist the Roman rite on the locals and separate the priests from their wives. In a divided Church liturgy has historically been used as a symbolic weapon against those with a different idea of how to be a Catholic. Given the turbulence of the contemporary Roman Church the Pauline Mass, old Mass, and reformed new Mass—if the latter two gain sufficient “market share”—may provide visible markers of division between contrasting opinions of what constitutes a Catholic.
In a normatively Catholic world justice would demand those who believe themselves in the right to combat those in the wrong at the parish level as Athanasius did against the Arians and Augustine against the Donatists; even the Great Western Schism, which controverted the legitimacy of the rival popes more than any doctrine, was reduced to the local church with rival bishoprics. We do not live in a normatively Catholic society anymore, any further diversity risks creating an Anglican menagerie if the liturgy merely becomes a banner for other causes.
The broad mission of liturgical restoration must make inroads with seminarians and celebrants for diocesan churches in order to be anything other than a sect within a sect. Anything less than meeting Catholics where they are—poorly catechized, in dubious marriages, and agnostic to Latin—will only succeed in creating more minute groups dedicated to long dresses, home schooling, lace albs, and the National Front. The new liturgy has too little history and too much centralization to reform itself organically while the old is too different from the new to be introduced in a broad stroke; with these challenges, champions of reform—or, more accurately, restoration—would be wise to let reverent liturgy inform the culture of a parish rather than force an arbitrary culture on those who seek reverent liturgy.
Benedict Revisited: Felix Culpa?
Four weeks ago more Roman Catholics celebrated the traditional rites of Holy Week than at any other point since 1955. Deacons sanctified the Paschal candle by inserting blessed incense into the torch that burns with the uncreated light. During the blessing the Levite remembered God’s permitting the Fall of Adam: “O felix culpa quae talem et tantem meruit habere redemptorem.” God, wrote Saint Augustine when he coined the term felix culpa, does not create evil, but he does allow it if a greater good might prevail.
Never before have the futures of both the liturgy and the institutional structures of the Church been less certain. Past attempts to focus the reformed liturgy through the lens of tradition belong to extenuating circumstances in an era gone by, while current attempts, exemplified by the Ordinariate liturgy, are bound to be thwarted by the bureaucratic root of the contemporary Mass. Groups desiring more orthopractic liturgical forms have experienced modest growth, but the most startling numbers lay in the growth of vocations in these “destination” communities, which figure to make up a sizable minority of the shrinking institutional Church within a few generations. Those favoring older rites have a clearer path to influence than Reformers of the Reform, although they lack any clear route to the restoration they so desire unless they are willing to engage younger diocesan celebrants who are amenable to tradition and not weighed down by the baggage of post-Vatican II Traditionalism.
In a Church where some purport to speak for the Magisterium, some for God, some for Kasper, and all for Bergoglio, any liturgical revival threatens to become a battlefield for other conflicts that will make visible those divisions which have already insinuated the subterranean structures of Western Catholicism. Yet does not natural justice demand the right thing be done irrespective of circumstance? It does, and targeting strife within the Church is far apart from trying to survive it. Laity, unfortunately, suffer more than clergy amid disputes between Churchmen and their causes, as happened during the Great Western Schism, the Reformation, and the 20th century liturgical revolt.
Benedict XVI’s liberalization of the 1962 liturgy may well have been a felix culpa in clarifying competing factions and the struggle for the Church’s temporal future. More importantly Benedict’s motu proprio led to a dual effort to revive the ’62 rite and improve the new rite using its existing text. The abandonment of the Reform of the Reform and visible trend to pre-Pacellian rites among diocesan Traditionalists can only mean people have looked at the existing Roman liturgy in both “forms” and found it wanting. While the future is less certain than ever the current revival of the old rite and trend towards the un-revised Roman liturgy represent the first genuinely organic, non-committee driven liturgical movement in the Roman Catholic Church since the original Liturgical Movement a century and a half ago. A grassroots transition through an Ordinariate-style Missal would benefit the faithful, but there exists no viable channel for such a transition.

May 15, 2017   No Comments


Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

The Introit of this day’s Mass is a canticle of praise and thanks:

INTROIT Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle alleluia; because the Lord hath done wonderful things, alleluia; he hath revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. His right hand hath wrought for him salvation; and his arm is holy. (Ps. XCII.) Glory etc.

COLLECT O God, who makest the minds of the faithful to be of one will: grant unto Thy people to love what Thou commandest, and to desire what thou dost promise; that amidst the various changes of the world our hearts may there be fixed where true joys abide. Through etc.

EPISTLE (James I. 17‑21.) Dearly beloved, Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creatures. You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to anger: for the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness, and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

INSTRUCTION Of all the gifts that come from God, the most excellent is the gospel and regeneration in baptism, by which He has made us His children and heirs of heaven. How great is this honor, and how earnestly we should endeavor to preserve it! To hear the word of God, when preached to us in sermons, will aid our endeavors. The admonition of the apostle to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, contains true wisdom, for: In the multitude of words there shall not want sin; but he that refraineth his lips is most wise. (Prov. X. 19.)

ASPIRATION Aid me, O Lord, to preserve the dignity received in baptism, grant me a great love for Thy divine word, and strengthen me to subdue my tongue and to use it only for Thy glory.

GOSPEL (John XVI. 5‑14.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: I go to him that sent me: and none of you asketh me: Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled your heart. But I tell you the truth: it is expedient to you that I go; for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believed not in me: and of justice, because I go to the Father, and you shall see me no longer: and of judgment, because the prince of this world is already judged. I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when he, the, Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak, and the things that are to come he shall show you. He shall glorify me, because he shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you.

INSTRUCTION As the disciples, in their grief at Christ’s going to His passion and death, after the accomplishment of which He was to return to His Father, never once asked Him: “Whither goest Thou?” many Christians, because of their attachment to this world and its pleasures, never ask themselves: Whither am I going, whither leads my way? By my sinful life I am perhaps going towards hell, or will my little fervor for the right, my lukewarm prayers take me to heaven? Ark yourself in all earnestness, dear Christian, whither leads the way you are going? Is it the right path? if not, retrace your steps, and follow Jesus who by suffering and death entered heaven.

Why could the Paraclete not come before the Ascension of Christ?

Because the work of Redemption had first to be completed, Christ had to die, reconcile man to God, and enter into His glory, before the Spirit of truth and filial adoption could abide in man in the fulness of grace. From this we may learn that we must purify our hearts, and be reconciled to God, if we wish to receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost.

How will the Holy Ghost convince the world of sin, of justice and of judgment?

He will convince the world, that is, the Jews and Gentiles, of sin, by showing them through the preaching, the sanctity and the miracles of the apostles, as well as by gradual inward enlightenment, the grievous sins which they have committed by their infidelity and their vices; of justice, by unveiling their error, and showing them that Christ whom they unjustly rejected, is the fountain of justice; of judgment, by showing them their condemnation in their prince and head, the devil, whom they served. This prince is now driven from idols and from the bodies of men, and his kingdom is destroyed in the name of Jesus by the apostles.

Why did not Christ tell His apostles all He had to tell them?

Because they could not yet comprehend, and keep it in their memory; because they were still too weak, and too much attached to Jewish customs, and also because they were depressed; He. therefore promised them the Holy Ghost, who would fit them for it by His enlightenment, and would teach them all truth.

How does the Holy Ghost teach all truth?

By guiding the Church, that is, its infallible administration, by His light to the knowledge of the truth necessary for the salvation of souls, preserving it from error; and by advancing those members of the Church who seek His light and place no obstacle in its way, in the necessary knowledge of truth.

What is meant by: He shall not speak of himself, but what things soevey he shall hear, he shall speak?

That the Holy Ghost will teach us only that which He has heard from all eternity from the Father and Son; His teaching will, therefore, perfectly agree with Christ’s teachings, for the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son and is equal God to them, and that which He teaches is also their doctrine, which is expressed in the words: He shall receive of mine.

ASPIRATION Ah, my Lord and my God! direct my feet in the way of Thy commandments and preserve my heart pure from sin, that Thy Holy Spirit may find nothing in me deserving of reproach, that He . may teach me all truth, and lead me to Thee, the eternal Truth, in heaven. Amen.

May 13, 2017   No Comments

Remembering Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci: Guest Article by Aurelio Porfiri

By of New Liturgical Movement

We are extremely grateful to Maestro Aurelio Porfiri for sharing with NLM this beautiful tribute to Domenico Cardinal Bartolucci, one of the leading lights of sacred music in the 20th century, on the centenary of his birth.

The year 2017 has been the occasion of many anniversaries in the Catholic world: the centenary of the apparitions at Fatima, the 90th birthday of Benedict XVI, the 10th anniversary of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the 10th of Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Catholics, among others.

Today I would like to recall the one-hundredth year since the birth of the maestro and cardinal Domenico Bartolucci, significant to me not only because he was my teacher, but because I think he was an absolute genius, the greatest composer in the field of sacred music in the 20th century. Sooner or later, I believe this fact will be realized by specialists in musicology. I am writing a book about him using some unpublished material I have been fortunate to discover in various archives.

His Eminence Domenico Card. Bartolucci conducts the singing of the Creed during a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica by H.E. Walter Card. Brandmüller on May 15, 2011. Photo courtesy of Orbis Catholicus Secundus.

Domenico Bartolucci was born in Borgo San Lorenzo, a tiny village near Florence, on May 7th, 1917. His mother was a farmer and his father was a workman, but also sang in church, though not as a professional. At that time, every village, no matter how small, had an extraordinary musical activity, with choirs, bands, lyrical companies, and of course, the musical activities connected with liturgy in the Catholic Church.

From the days of his youth, Domenico demonstrated a double vocation to music and to priesthood. As a baby he was immersed in the musical world of the Catholic Church, as he recalled in one place:

“When I was a boy I remember that the people used to sing in church. They sang at Vespers (all from memory: the antiphons, psalms and hymns); they sang at devotional functions (Way of the Cross, Marian devotions, etc.); they sang in processions (the Magnificat, Te Deum, Lauda Sion, and other hymns); they sang even at Solemn Mass sometimes. (When I was a boy, each Sunday at my little church there was a Solemn Mass, and on normal Sundays the people sang by themselves.) I used to sing too, either behind the altar with my father, who was the parish cantor, or with the people in the pews whenever there weren’t cantors behind the altar. The people sang: they sang in a loud voice, a song that centuries and centuries had handed down to them, a lusty song, severe and strong, that the children had learned from their elders, not at school desks or examination rooms but by constant habit, in the continuous practice of the Church. How can I recall without a still-living emotion the participation of all of people at the Liturgy of the Dead, and especially in the Obsequies? Everyone, I mean everyone, belted out the Libera me Domine and then the In Paradisum and then the De Profundis…! Everyone! And the music, that gorgeous music, attained an unmatchable power; the last, deep, hearty farewell to the dead as he left the church where countless times he had sung full-throatedly the praises of God! The people sang!”

After elementary school, in which he was permitted to skip several years because of the superior preparation he received at home, he entered the seminary of Florence, where he also dedicated himself to music, singing in the seminary’s boys’ choir. There he began his studies with the maestro of the seminary choir, Francesco Bagnoli. Studying the pianoforte in the seminary was not a simple matter: the young student even resorted to making a keyboard out of cardboard on which he could practice. At twelve years old, he composed a Mass and an Ave Verum for two voices. At sixteen he composed another Mass in a more mature style, and with very original musical themes. This Mass, originally for four mixed voices, would be reworked a few years later, expanded to five mixed voices and enriched by an orchestra. It became one of the most imposing of Domenico Bartolucci’s compositions, the Missa Assumptionis. At seventeen he produced one of his most beautiful and dramatic motets, the Super Flumina Babylonis for six mixed voices. He went on to be named organist and then director of the choir of the Duomo at Florence. Many professors of the Florence conservatory of music went to Mass on Sunday at eleven o’clock to hear the young musician improvise on the organ.

Before finishing his twentieth year, he began composing his most significant symphonic choral works: the Symphony Rustica and the oratorio La Tempesta sul Lago. In 1939, at the age of 22, he received his diploma in composition and orchestral direction with Vito Frazzi at the Florence conservatory. This diploma, too, demonstrated the uncommon gifts of the young maestro. In only two sessions, between July and October, he completed all the principal and complementary subjects to merit the diploma. The normal plan of study foresaw the completion of these subjects in a course of ten years. That same year, he was ordained a priest.

At the end of 1942, he was sent to Rome to perfect his craft and master the tradition of sacred music. There he became Vice-Maestro of the chapel of the Basilica of St John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, but the Second World War would necessitate his return to his native village. In this difficult period were born other important works in the genre of choral symphony, such as the oratorio La Passione (1942) and the concerto for pianoforte and orchestra. Right after the war, he returned to Rome and obtained a diploma in specialized composition and choral direction at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, under the guidance of Ildebrando Pizzetti. He also obtained the diploma in sacred composition at Rome’s Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. In 1947 he became parish priest in a tiny village near Florence, but continued to dedicate himself to composition. The composition of the sacred poem Baptisma, for soloists, female choir and orchestra, dates to this period. In the same year he was recalled to Rome and appointed maestro of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and professor of composition, polyphonic direction and polyphonic music at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, a position he kept until 1997. In 1952 he was named Vice Maestro of the Sistine Pontifical Chapel, in order to assist the principal director, Lorenzo Perosi, who had already been ill for some time.

Maestro Bartolucci with the Schola Puerorum, processing through the cloister of St John in the Lateran early 1960s. (Photo from the website of the Fondazione Domenico Bartolucci)

On the latter’s death in 1956, Pope Pius XII named him Perpetual Maestro Director of the Sistine Chapel, a post he retained until 1997. Domenico Bartolucci dedicated himself to restructuring the Pontifical Chapel, recruiting fresh talent and reorganizing the Schola Puerorum, the boys’ choir of the illustrious institution. This would be a long and laborious work, since he found the Sistine Chapel then in a state of extreme difficulty. Bartolucci obtained for the Chapel, from Pope John XXIII, an economic situation more adequate to sustaining the ancient vocal institution. He brought in treble voices for the high parts, entirely eliminating the falsettos, to the great displeasure of the latter. In the ’60s, the Sistine Chapel passed through a particularly successful period. But the same years would also see the changes introduced in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, changes that were often arbitrary and effectively against the norms of the Council, changes that did not respect a healthy principle of gradualism. It threw out the traditional repertoire to give place for “beat” music, conforming itself to the popular styles that came in vogue. The Maestro would always resist these developments with conviction, always maintaining the guiding role that the great classical repertoires deserved.

In 1965, Bartolucci was named a member of the Academy of Santa Cecilia, where he found himself in the company of the most important international figures in music. Besides regular liturgical services in the Sistine Chapel, the maestro held numerous concerts in Italy and elsewhere. The Sistine Chapel would also conduct two successful coast-to-coast tours of the United States in the ’70s.

After his retirement in 1997, the maestro continued a fervid activity as director and composer. In 2010 Benedict XVI, his great admirer, created him Cardinal Deacon of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and Maria in Via Lata. Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci died on November 11th, 2013.

Cardinal Bartolucci arriving to celebrate Mass at the Fraternity of St Peter’s Roman parish, Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 2010.

His catalogue of compositions is truly outstanding: more than forty books of collections of his compositions, motets, masses, oratorios, organ music, various symphonic choral works and instrumental pieces for the pianoforte, violin and pianoforte and for other instrumental ensembles.

Sacred music at the Chapel was certainly his most outstanding accomplishment, due to his decades of activity as director in the most prestigious Roman cappelle musicali. In his first book of motets, which comprises his Marian antiphons, we find already in evidence all the elements that characterize him as a composer and form the foundation of his poetic work: modal language, masterful handling of the choir, almost constant use of Gregorian themes, the lyricism of every polyphonic part, rejection of extreme dissonance, careful adherence to texts as they are found in the rite, the exaltation of the text in its most profound spiritual meaning, and the abhorrence of forced sentimental effects, which led to truer and more spiritual significance in his music. It would be difficult to comment here on the great many musical gems that fill his books, the fruit of the daily exercise of disciplined knowledge gain over the course of through decades, and which placed itself on the shoulders of the giants who proceeded him.

There are a few important characteristics of his production and activity:

1) A Roman Musician of the Church

Without hesitation we must say that he was a profoundly Christian musician, and one profoundly involved in the liturgical life of the Roman Catholic Church: “Venerable Maestro, you have always labored to strengthen sacred music and make it a vehicle of evangelization. Through the innumerable concerts it performed in Italy and abroad with the universal language of art, the Pontifical Chapel has, under your guidance, cooperated with the mission of the Popes, which is to spread the Christian message to the world” (Benedict XVI, 2006).

2) The Sacred Text

In order to fully understand his music, and for that matter all of Gregorian chant and polyphony, one has to realize the absolute importance that the text has in such music. It is not only something that is set to music, but becomes in a certain sense the very form of the composition. In modern music there are various musical elements that determine the criteria for the use of texts. In the liturgical music we are speaking about, the text is the master of the composition, deciding its points of expansion and rest, establishing the priorities. The text, together with the liturgical context, gives the form, accents, and meter of the composition.

3) Modality

The harmonic language Bartolucci chose ran entirely contrary to the artistic tendencies of the period. He chose to express himself in modal language, which is the language that uses the traditional ecclesiastical scales on which Gregorian chant, and thus renaissance polyphony, is based.

4) Lyricism Bartolucci’s harmonic language does not seek extreme dissonance. Above all it seeks intensity of spiritual emotion through the power of song. This is partly due to the nature of Italian lyricism, which tends to emphasize the expression of the singer as the protagonist, rather than his subordination to the needs of the mass chorus as is more typical in the splendid tradition of the English musical world.

5) Attention to Tradition

The Maestro had a deep reverence for tradition, that complex of usages and practices handed down from the past. But what is Tradition (with a big “T”)? More or less everyone claims the word, but I think few could define it if asked. Tradition is “to hand down”, to transmit. It is a bridge between yesterday and today, a gift the past makes to the future. Tradition is a victory over nothingness, the opposite of the annihilation of things and person in the flow of centuries. His concept of tradition is also tied to his concept of musical training, which is nothing other than that of the great Roman school. Music is learned through experience, by doing. Experience, what we call “practice”, is the most basic element of musical formation. Just as the painters labored in the workshop of a master and learned his secrets by working with him side by side, so musicians learned the secrets of the maestros’ arts in the choir loft, not with purely theoretical notions, but acquiring the art in the very act of doing.

It is precisely this fecundity of Tradition that gives more radiant life to the future.

The long and fertile artistic life of our author deserves to be more deeply studied and appreciated in the light of the historical and cultural context he lived through. Choirs can greatly benefit from singing his pieces, with have such masterful choral writing; every composer can learn fascinating secrets of polyphonic composition; every director has, in Bartolucci’s music, a certain and efficacious means to encourage in their faithful an intense meditation on the spiritual life.

– Aurelio Porfiri is an Italian composer, conductor, writer and educator whose music is published in Italy, France, Germany, the USA and China. He has published 23 books, including “I would like to meet a saint: A Spiritual Diary.” Together with Prof. Peter Kwasniewski he promoted the Declaration on Sacred Music on March 5, 2017. He is the chief editor of ALTARE DEI, a magazine on liturgy, sacred music and Catholic culture.

May 8, 2017   No Comments


Rev. Fr. Leonard Goffine’s
The Church’s Year

The Church continues to rejoice and praise God for the Resurrection of Christ and sings accordingly at the Introit of this day’s Mass:

INTROIT Shout with joy to God all the earth, alleluia: Sing ye a psalm to his name, alleluia. Give glory to his praise, alleluia, allel. allel. (Ps. LXV.) Say unto God: How terrible are thy works, O Lord! In the multitude of thy strength thy enemies shall lie to thee. Glory & c.

COLLECT O God, who showest the light of Thy truth to such as go astray, that they may return to the way of righteousness, grant that all, who profess the Christian name, may forsake what­ever is contrary to that profession, and closely pursue what is agreeable to it. Through etc.

EPISTLE (I Peter II. 11-19.) Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims to refrain yourselves from carnal desires, which war against the soul, having your conversation good among the Gen­tiles: that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may, by the good works which they shall, behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be, ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of the good: for so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honor all men: Love the brotherhood: Fear God: Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thanks‑worthy, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

EXPLANATION St. Peter here urges the Christians to regard themselves as strangers and pilgrims upon this earth, looking upon temporal goods only as borrowed things, to which they should not attach their hearts, for death will soon deprive them of all. He then admonishes them as Christians to live in a Christian manner, to edify and lead to truth the Gentiles who hated and calumniated them. This should especially be taken to heart by those Catholics who live among people of a different religion; for they can edify them by the faithful and diligent practice of their holy religion, and by a pure, moral life lead them to the truth; while by lukewarmness and an immoral life, they will only strengthen them in their error, and thus inure the Church. St. Peter also requires the Christians to obey the lawful authority, and therefore, to pay all duties and. taxes faithfully, because it is the will of God who has in: stituted lawful authority. Christ paid the customary tribute for Himself and Peter, (Matt. XVII. 26.) and St. Paul expressly commands that toll and taxes should be paid to whomsoever they are due. (Rom. XIII, 7.) St. Peter finally advises servants to obey their masters whether these are good or bad, and by so doing be agreeable to God who will one day reward them.

ASPIRATION Grant me the grace, O Jesus! to con­sider myself a pilgrim as long as I live and as such to use the temporal goods. Give me patience in adversities, and so strengthen me, that I may willingly obey the lawful authority, though its laws and regulations should come hard and its tribute press upon me.

GOSPEL (John XVI. 16‑22.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: A little while, and now you shall not see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me: because I go to the Father. Then some of his disciples said one to another: What is this that he saith to us: A little while, and you shall not see me: and again a little while, and you shall see me, and, because I go to the Father? They said therefore: What is this that he saith, A little while? We know not what he speaketh. And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask him, and he said to them: Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see me: and again a little while and you shall see me. Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. So also you now indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice: and your joy no man shall take from you.

What is the meaning of Christ’s words: A little while and you shall not see me; and again a little while and you shall see me?

St. Chrysostom applies these words, which Christ spoke to His apostles a few hours before His passion, to the time between the death of Jesus and His Resurrection; but St. Augustine, to the time between the Resurrection and the Ascension, and then to the Last judgment at the end of the world, and he adds: “This little while seems long to us living, but ended, we feel how short it is.” In affliction we should console ourselves by reflecting, how soon it will terminate, and that it cannot be compared with the future glory, that is awaiting eternally in heaven him who patiently endures.

Why did our Saviour tell His disciples of their future joys and sufferings?

That they might the more easily bear the sufferings that were to come, because we can be prepared for suf­ferings which we know are pending; because He knew that their sufferings would be only slight and momentary in comparison with the everlasting joy which awaited them, like the pains of a woman in giving birth to a child which are great indeed, but short, and soon forgotten by the mother in joy at the birth of the child. “Tell me” says St. Chysostom, “if you were elected king but were obliged to spend the night preceding your entrance into your capital city where you were to be crowned, if you were compelled to pass that night in much discomfort in a stable, would you not joyfully endure it in the expectation of your kingdom? And why should not we, in this valley of tears, willingly live through adversities, in expectation of one day obtaining the kingdom of heaven?”

PETITION Enlighten me, O Holy Spirit! that I may realize that this present life and all its hardships are but slight and momentary, and strengthen me that I may endure patiently the adversities of life in the hope of future heavenly joys.


You shall lament and weep. (John XVI. 20.)

That Christian is, most foolish who fancies that the happiness of this world consists in honors, wealth, and pleasures, while Christ, the eternal Truth, teaches the contrary, promising eternal happiness to the poor and oppressed, and announcing eternal affliction and lamentation to those rich ones who have their comfort in this world. How much, then, are those to be pitied who as Christians believe, and yet live as if these truths were not for them, and who think only how they can spend their days in luxury, hoping at the same time to go to heaven where all the saints, even Christ the Son of God Himself, has entered only by crosses and sufferings.

PRAYER IN TRIBULATION O good Jesus! who hast revealed, that we can enter heaven only by many tribulations, (Acts XIV. 21 .) hast called them blessed who in this world are sad, oppressed, and persecuted, but patiently suffer, and who hast also taught us, that without the will of Thy Heavenly Father, not one hair of our head can perish: (Luke XXI. 18.) I therefore submit entirely to Thy divine will, and beg Thy grace to endure all adversities for Thy sake, that after this life of misery I may enjoy eternal happiness with Thee in heaven.

May 6, 2017   No Comments

Priests learning the Extraordinary Form at St John Cantius

By Charles Cole from New Liturgical Movement


This week priests from across the USA and Canada are with the Canons Regular of St John Cantius learning the ceremonies of the Latin Mass. The priests participated in Solemn High Mass for the feast of Mary, Queen of Poland (May 3rd) at Saint John Cantius Church, Chicago IL.

Since being asked by Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I. in 2007, the Canons Regular have hosted 65 workshops in the Latin Mass in Chicago and locations around the world, helping over 1,000 priests to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

For more information about these workshops click here.

May 5, 2017   No Comments

First Friday & First Saturday Traditional Latin Mass Schedule – May 2017

CHANGE OF VENUE:  Due to continued renovation of the Convent Chapel at St. Albert the Great, the Traditional Latin Mass will be offered on Friday, May 5th and Saturday, March 6th at:
St. Hilary of Poitiers Parish
820 Susquehanna Road
Rydal, PA 19046
St. Hilary’s is 2.7 miles from St. Albert the Great; the drive time is between six and ten minutes, depending on traffic.  Mass will be offered in the main sanctuary.  Confessions will be heard at the rear of the church, and there is ample parking behind the church.  Entering through the school, make a right turn at the main hallway.

First Friday, May 5th:

Priest: Rev. Thomas D. O’Donald (Parochial Vicar, St. Bede The Venerable Parish)
Location: St. Hilary of Poitiers Parish (address above, directions and map below)
Time: 7:00 p.m., preceded by Confessions at 6:30 p.m.

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of St. Pius V (Pope, Confessor) offered in Reparation to The Sacred Heart of Jesus. (White Vestments)

First Saturday, May 6th:

Priest: Rev. Thomas D. O’Donald (Parochial Vicar, St. Bede The Venerable Parish)
Location: St. Hilary of Poitiers Parish (address above, directions and map below)
Time: 9:00 a.m., preceded by Confessions at 8:30 a.m.

This Traditional Latin Mass will be the Mass of the Blessed Virgin in Pascal Time (Salve, sancta Parens) offered in Reparation to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. (White Vestments)

For further information, contact Mark Matthews at (215) 947-6555.


Directions from St. Albert the Great Parish to St. Hilary of Poitiers Parish:
•Turn left out of the parking lot at St. Albert the Great onto Welsh Road (0.7 miles)
•Turn left onto Huntingdon Pike, PA-Rt. 232 South (1.7 miles)
•Turn right onto Susquehanna Road

The church is .3 miles from the corner of Huntington Pike and Susquehanna Road, and will be on your left.


May 4, 2017   No Comments