Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Posts Tagged ‘Latin Mass’

High Mass – Sunday, March 18, at St. Stanislaus

March 16th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

Here is a reminder that this Sunday, “Laetare Sunday,” there will be a Missa Cantata in the Extraordinary Form at St. Stanislaus, with Gregorian Chant propers, a polyphonic ordinary, and a resplendent showing of reverence and devotion. If you’re looking for a mid-Lent “pick-me-up,” be sure to come and pray the Mass! Fr. Bonsignore will be saying the Mass.

Time: 1:30 PM

Place: St. Stanislaus Church, 1124 Hudson Avenue  Rochester, NY 14621

The Extraordinary Form (of Priestly Petulance)

February 27th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

Sometimes I wonder how and why some people loathe the Traditional Latin Mass with such vehemence. And then I read things like this. This priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter might mean well, but his actions and words undoubtedly wound souls and turn countless others away from the beauty of the Extraordinary Form. The fellow actually equates singing at Mass with liturgical abuse! If only we had the luxury of complaining about singing congregants, rather than heretical she-priests and a lack-lustre bishop.

Evidently, this priest, as well-intentioned as he might be, would rather devote time to ostracizing his parishioners than foster a sense of active participation on their part. We mustn’t act like the Council didn’t happen – it said, quite explicitly, that Gregorian Chant is a treasure which must be opened up to and sung by the laity. Sacrosanctum Concillium clearly states in Chapter VI, “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.  Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises, as also during liturgical services, the voices of the faithful may ring out according to the norms and requirements of the rubrics.”

The following presentation of the matter, and its accompanying commentary, come from the Chant Cafe, penned by Jeffrey Tucker. A nod of the miter to him.

I never imagined that I would find a Catholic parish where the pastor actually discourages the people from singing. But here we have it happening at a parish that offer the extraordinary form exclusive. It strikes as almost as a caricature of traditionalism.

While there is no reason anyone cannot joyfully sing along in their pew in a subdued and harmonious fashion the Ordinary parts of the Mass, they must take care [in charity] not to project their voices over the choir [or noticeably above the rest of the congregation] and become a distraction for their pewmates or the ministers in the sanctuary, all trying to authentically pray the living liturgy unfolding before them – Eternity manifest in Time. The Entrance and Recessional Hymns are usually meant for the congregation properly, led by the choir.
Contrast with the Popes, as nicely presented by The Cross Reference:

Special efforts are to be made to restore the use of the Gregorian Chant by the people, so that the faithful may again take a more active part in the ecclesiastical offices, as was the case in ancient times. (Tra le sollecitudini, Pius X, 1903)

In order that the faithful may more actively participate in divine worship, let them be made once more to sing the Gregorian Chant, so far as it belongs to them to take part in it. It is most important that when the faithful assist at the sacred ceremonies, or when pious sodalities take part with the clergy in a procession, they should not be merely detached and silent spectators, but, filled with a deep sense of the beauty of the Liturgy, they should sing alternately with the clergy or the choir, as it is prescribed. If this is done, then it will no longer happen that the people either make no answer at all to the public prayers — whether in the language of the Liturgy or in the vernacular — or at best utter the responses in a low and subdued manner. (Divini Cultus, Pius XI, 1928)

Therefore, they are to be praised who, with the idea of getting the Christian people to take part more easily and more fruitfully in the Mass, strive to make them familiar with the “Roman Missal,” so that the faithful, united with the priest, may pray together in the very words and sentiments of the Church. They also are to be commended who strive to make the liturgy even in an external way a sacred act in which all who are present may share. This can be done […] in high Masses when they answer the prayers of the minister of Jesus Christ and also sing the liturgical chant. (Mediator Dei, Pius XII, 1947)

It is the duty of all those to whom Christ the Lord has entrusted the task of guarding and dispensing the Church’s riches to preserve this precious treasure of Gregorian chant diligently and to impart it generously to the Christian people. […] May it thus come about that the Christian people begin even on this earth to sing that song of praise it will sing forever in heaven. (Musicae Sacrae, Pius XII, 1955)

In solemn Mass there are three degrees of the participation of the faithful: a) First, the congregation can sing the liturgical responses. These are: Amen; Et cum spiritu tuo; Gloria tibi, Domine; Habemus ad Dominum; Dignum et justum est; Sed libera nos a malo; Deo gratias. Every effort must be made that the faithful of the entire world learn to sing these responses. b) Secondly, the congregation can sing the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass: Kyrie, eleison; Gloria in excelsis Deo; Credo; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei. Every effort must be made that the faithful learn to sing these parts, particularly according to the simpler Gregorian melodies. But if they are unable to sing all these parts, there is no reason why they cannot sing the easier ones: Kyrie, eleison; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei; the choir, then, can sing the Gloria, and Credo. In connection with this, the following Gregorian melodies, because of their simplicity, should be learned by the faithful throughout the world: the Kyrie, eleison; Sanctus-Benedictus; Agnus Dei of Mass XVI from the Roman Gradual; the Gloria in excelsis Deo, and Ite, missa est-Deo gratias of Mass XV; and either Credo I or Credo III. In this way it will be possible to achieve that most highly desirable goal of having the Christian faithful throughout the world manifest their common faith by active participation in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and by common and joyful song. c) Thirdly, if those present are well trained in Gregorian chant, they can sing the parts of the Proper of the Mass. This form of participation should be carried out particularly in religious congregations and seminaries. (De Musica Sacra, Sacred Congregation for Rites (during Pius XII), 1958)

Perhaps Fr. Parrinello ought to realize that, as a priest, he has a duty to minister to all of his congregation, and not just the boys’ club that occupies his choir loft.

Some (extraordinary) Food for (ordinary) Thought – Installment III

October 5th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen


Why do liberals love manipulating the Agnus Dei into this hippie litany of environmental activism (Tree of Life, Flower of Love, Vine of Hope, etc. miserere nobis), but “conservative” Catholics are frowned upon for frowned upon when they change out the words “dona nobis pacem” with “dona eis requiem” in a funeral Mass?They’re both unapproved changes in the Ordinary Form, but still, the reaction to one is always more vehement than reaction to the other . . .

Note: In the Extraordinary Form, a Requiem (Funeral) Mass changes the words of the Agnus Dei from “have mercy on us” to “grant him/her eternal rest” (in Latin, of course). This was dropped in the Ordinary Form, where at funeral Masses we have the familiar “grant us peace” without variation.

Advice from Bishop Kearney

September 28th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Many thanks to Francis Mary for sharing this with us back in October. It was very well-received, so I’ve bumped it back to the top now:



“Put that in a safe place. We’ll be using it again someday.”

– Bishop James E. Kearney, watching an assistant switch the 1962 Missale Romanum with the newly-implemented Sacramentary

For those of you who are asking, “A Personal Prela-What?”

September 16th, 2011, Promulgated by JBCatholic

(This is a summary from several sources and was the product of the enlightenment of my own ignorance on the subject.  So please feel free to comment and or correct!  Quotes taken from several sources that will be listed at the bottom of the post)

Found in the document “Presbyterorum ordinis“, a product of the Second Vatican Council, we find the origins of a Personal Prelature (PP).  The PP is comprised of a hierarchy (a prelate, priests, deacons and sometimes lay faithful) and is established to carry out a specific pastoral function for the Church.  The “Personal” refers to the jurisdiction of the SSPX would have.   Unlike a diocese, their jurisdiction is linked to persons as opposed to any particular territory.

The personal prelature is similar to a religious order, in that  “the prelate governs the prelature with ordinary power (that power given to those who hold a valid office and may execute Church law) and is selected according to the statutes of the prelature (can. 295), which could mean election by the members of the prelature or some other method.  Also, the clergy of the prelature are incardinated into the prelature itself as opposed to the local particular church (dioceses).”  For those of us unfamiliar with the term incardinated, it refers to the fact that no priest functions without a head, be that a bishop, superior or in this case a prelate.

Where the PP differs from a religious order is that they don’t take religious vows, they may have a different relationship to the local ordinary (i.e. they may be exempt from the laws and the governance of the particular church where they live and work, which might be good in the DoR), the prelature defines its own relationship with the laity dedicated to its mission and finally the prelate may be a bishop which generally doesn’t happen in religious order.

The personal prelature is also different from an ordinariate that, is technically a diocese of persons rather than being defined by a  geographical location.

An example of a personal prelatures in the Church is Opus Dei

The good news, in my view, is that we may soon be able to apply the above to the SSPX.

Sentire Cum Ecclesia,


Source 1, Source 2, Source 3 (For those academics among us, don’t judge me for using Wikipedia.)


(Edit: Pope Benedict XVI’s provision for the Anglicans is actually a personal ordinariate.)

Personal Prelature of the SSPX

September 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

The top officials of the Society of St. Pius X had a meeting with Vatican officials today, and were presented with a very generous offer: the SSPX, should they accept “fundamental doctrines,” would be able to be established as a personal prelature. This would bring back into the fold a great number of priests and faithful whose good work can now be coupled with the efforts of the entire Church. (The SSPX has a total of about 1,000,000 adherents.)


Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part XX — Courier Between the Lines

September 10th, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris

The following article appeared in this week’s e-Courier, and was also contained in the September Newspaper Catholic Courier, Regional Finger Lakes section.  It is reproduced in its entirety, with comments in red  which relate to our earlier postings and current information,  except for the Courier’s picture of Sister Binsack and the Bishop pouring chrism on the renovated altar,  because that picture  is copyrighted.  In the following reproduction of text, some paragraph separation (but not reordering) was done for the sake of clarity.  Background and summary information is in blue; my remarks on the Courier text are in red, and the Courier text is in white.  An earlier picture of the renovated Sanctuary is included, just for reference (before the Tabernacle was placed on the table shown).

Previously,  we have only alluded to the 25% of parishioners who supported the renovation, but without naming names.   The Courier names names, quoting parties alighned with Fr. Ring regarding the travesty at St. Jan’s.   The view into their thinking  showcases what is wrong with the attitude of the undercatechized toward the church, the Mass, and how “feel good” seems to have replaced responding to the question “How does God want to be worshiped?”  It demonstrates how putting less informed people into leadership positions makes it easy for pastors or diocesan staff to run rough-shod over a parish by claiming it was the will of the people.  Notice particularly in the Courier comments the lack of  words like  “God,” “Jesus,” “Christ,” “pray” and “worship”.  See what you think, especially about the supporters’ priorities.

The surprising name missing from the article is Fr. Robert Ring.  Why would he not even be mentioned on a project he conceived, raised money for, and drove to completion against the wishes of 75% of his parishioners?  Will he later point to this article and say “See, I wasn’t involved.  It was Fr. Wiant?”  We can’t help but wonder!


 September 2011 Diocesan Courier

Renovations complete at Naples church (complete?  what happened to the rest of the money and the rest of the work that was promised in the fund-raising?)

By Jennifer Burke/Catholic Courier

Bishop Matthew H. Clark visited St. Januarius Church in Naples Aug. 14 to rededicate the altar of the church’s newly renovated sanctuary.

The base of the altar is new, but its top was constructed using wood from the previous altar. This new altar is highlighted by a curved wooden reredos, or backdrop, which comes to a point above the altar. A crucifix hangs at the peak of the reredos, and another portion of the reredos stretches out to one side to provide a backdrop for the tabernacle.   Reredos is a pretty fancy word for what we’ve been calling the Ugly Christmas Tree (UTC).  A friend looked up the meaning of reredos on line and tells me it usually applies to a wall of some artistic merit behind the altar.  I hope Bernie will have a comment on whether or not reredos is appropriately applied here. 

St. Januarius Demolished/Renovated Sanctuary July 2011

 The tabernacle itself was moved from its previous place behind the altar to a chapel of the Blessed Sacrament to the left of the sanctuary, just steps from the altar.  The Tabernacle, unsecured, is perched on the table to the left (Tabernacle is not shown in picture as Mass had not yet been said here), close to the exit door.  It strikes us as a Tabernacle on a Table.  How can the word “Chapel” be applied to a table?

Several other elements of the church also were changed during the renovation, including:

*the sanctuary floor, which was lowered to make it more accessible, Former Sanctuary; one step up; 3 to altar.especially for the elderly or those with disabilities.  (wrong; it was already one step from the nave to the sanctuary floor, then it was three steps from the sanctuary floor to the priest’s position behind the altar.  It was the altar which was lowered, not the sanctuary floor.  The Sanctuary floor has actually be raised to 2 steps from 1.  That means that lectors now have to go up and down 2 steps instead of 1, increasing the chance for their tripping, especially with a kind of free form shape to the curve of the steps.)  

Whereas five steps previously led from the nave to the sanctuary, now there are only two (wrong again, count them!  from the floor of the nave there had been one step up to the sanctuary floor, and another 3 to the altar.  One plus three equals FOUR, not five, to where the celebrant stands).  Now there are two steps total, from the nave to the sanctuary floor, and the altar table sits on the sanctuary floor.

A ramp into the sanctuary also was installed at the rear of the area.  There was never a single insurance claim or any known fall on the prior steps.  There was no need for a ramp, a very expensive item and for what purpose?  It is believed that the whole installation of a ramp is to interfere with the Tabernacle at the center, behind the altar and to impair celebration of a Latin Mass at any time in the future.  If a lector really needed to use the ramp, it would involve going up the left side, crossing behind the altar and wheeling to the ambo?  It is hard to believe that people who can’t count up to 5 steps actually were capable of evaluating a survey, keeping track of funds, and voting with any conscience at all.

* the crucifix at the reredos’ peak. The cross is new, but the corpus previously had hung on another cross in the church’s foyer. 

This crucifix is significantly smaller than the previous large crucifix which commanded more imposing sanctuary space. 

Some parishioners have already expressed their disappointment that the original, magnificent crucifix is “missing in action,”   and that the presence of the Crucified Christ has thus been diminiahed.

What happened to the large crucifix?   Where is it?  Who has that blessed object?

Here is a picture of the original large crucifix, just  in case anyone finds it:

Large original crucifix

* the ambo. Wood from St. Januarius’ previous altar was used to fashion a new top for the ambo, as well as part of the new Blessed Sacrament chapel. 

This Courier article is the first time that many St. Jan’s parishioners are learning that their previously consecrated altar has been broken in pieces and spread over at least three places, with other parts unaccounted for.  Since the altar is supposed to be a symbol of Christ, some folks wonder: “how can it just be broken in parts?”  Why do we bow to something that can be willy-nilly chopped into pieces?

* the lighting and electrical systems in the sanctuary and nave, which were upgraded and made more energy efficient.  Time will tell.  At the moment there are some weird shadows cast by the handrails of the ramp, creating a new kind of clutter.  It may be a function of both bad design of the ramp rails and unnatural accents caused by the lighting.

* the church’s Tobey Street entrance, where an automated handicapped-accessible door was added.  We are told that this entry automation is not working properly; but most parishioners agree it would be helpful.  The building itself has had long term issues of poor locking mechanisms, which endanger the security of the Blessed Sacrament in the Daily Mass Chapel and now in the church as well by having an easily movable Tabernacle.

St. Januarius also has become home to two statues from St. Mary Church in Rushville, which held its last regular (it was not “regular” at all; it was a Saturday morning (weekday) Mass, and was 15 months after the last Mass of Sunday obligation was said at St. Mary)  Mass Jan. 1, 2011.  Both churches are part of Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community.  Questions abound on the hijacking of St. Mary’s statues to St. Jan’s.  In separate posts, in a new series, there will be more discussion on St. Mary’s Rushville, victim of DoR pastoral planning machinations.

The rest of the article (more than half) is a plethora of support statements for the disaster of the demolished/renovated Sanctuary at St. Januarius.  Most of the  individuals quoted have varied backgrounds of significant compliance to Fr. Ring’s whims.  Without trying at this point to lay bare individual faults or errors, we will simply say that among the names quoted as authoritative commenters on the joy of the renovated Sanctuary are a person who compiled the secret plans for demolition/renovation that were later found on the OLOL website; one who was the one of only two  in a meeting of 30 people who (with spouse)  voted to get rid of the organ for $3000 (worth $75000-$100,000), someone who hung around the construction site for the duration, one who is a retiree but who is the only “altar boy” in the parish (the children having departed),  a person who wrote a letter to the editor of the Naples Record awarding himself a title in OLOL that doesn’t exist and presuming to speak for the parish and making claims especially regarding data and surveys which were erroneous (more to come in Zeal XIX). one who is an employee of OLOL and likely to get a full time job with Fr. Ring at St. Louis, two who participated on a secret subcommittee  to decide between St. Mary Rushville and St. Theresa Stanley for survival,  (there was no member of the committee from St. Mary’s, which parishioners didn’t even know of the existence of the secret subcommittee), three who were members of the St. Januarius Parish Council who voted to refuse the petition of  dozens of parishioners to have OLOL split rather than amalgamated into a 700+ square mile OLOL parish, two who have brought pressure and insult to bear, demeaning some  who opposed the Sanctuary changes, refusing to speak to them, e.g., another who is a fairly recent graduate of St. Bernards, looking for a job in DoR, one who was previously chair of the parish council,  one of the two members of the pastoral planning team which worked for over 30 months in closed sessions without using parishioner input and supported Fr. Ring in his insistence of amalgamation in spite of OLOL-wide survey results,  a member of Finance Council  yet parishioners have been unable to get finance statements relating to many matters,especially to the renovation, and one person representative of those who are afraid to speak their opinions clearly out of fear of retaliation.   

Fr. George Wiant we mention separately, as he is a public figure as a priest.  Without diminishing Fr. Ring’s responsibility, it is also fair to note that Fr. George’s support for the project significantly undermined the ability of parishioners to present the truth to the steering committee and to make their voices heard.   Although Fr. Ring thrust him to the front, he is in large part responsible for the debacle at St. Jan’s.  The Wegman connection was used for money, illogical liturgical arguments were put forward that were untrue, collaboration on a survey was rejected,.  We note that Fr. George isn’t even using the ramp.  It is sad for a retired priest to now be seen as not able to be trusted due to his role in the demolition/renovation, to the pain of parishioners.

But the above spokespeople who pursued and supported what 75% of the parish opposed are obviously in the way of achieving any real healing between parishioners at St. Jan’s.  Now, at least, everyone knows who they are!

The following is the rest of the Courier article, with the quotes in white, and again in red there is commentary on the quotes, but not on the quoters (as noted above) based on what we understand at this time.  It is noticeable how preoccupied the commenters are with steps and lights, without ever noting the impact on the worship of God, attraction for new parishioners, care for children, or any way in which the Kingdom of God (rather than the Kingdom of the Clergy) will be advanced by what was done.

The Courier continues:  “All of these changes were made for either liturgical or safety reasons, said Jerry Luzum, a parishioner and volunteer at St. Januarius.  “From a liturgical standpoint, the concerns were that the focus in the sanctuary was no longer the altar,” said Luzum, noting that this focus was obscured by wooden railings, organ pipes and other items in the sanctuary. “There were just a lot of other things that had been added, and when you walk into a church, you ought to have a sense of what’s the most important thing there.”   This is mostly mouthpiece for Fr. Ring’s arguments to do what he had determined to do.  Railings at least helped people step up.  There are no railings now, and hopefully no one will get hurt going up 2 steps instead of the one to lector.  Demolition was hardly necessary to mask the organ pipes and if Luzum really had a sense of “the most important thing there” it wouldn’t lead to moving the Blessed Sacrament out of the way. 

“It was just a little crowded up there, busy,” added fellow parishioner Sue Hopper.  It appears that the floor space is much less now, and the priest risks stepping off the ramp.  It seems much more crowded now. 

The height of the sanctuary floor had been a safety concern for some time, said parishioner Andy Beigel, who noted the condition of the stairs leading to the sanctuary was “treacherous at best.”   As noted above, there was only one step up from the main floor to the sanctuary.   Beigel seems to have sanctuary and altar confused.  The three steps from the sanctuary floor to the altar had railings, as shown above. 

“They had weird rises, very narrow tread, and a few of them were kind of shaky,” said Beigel, a member of the steering committee for the renovation and cochair of the cluster’s pastoral council.  The cement that had to be jack-hammered was “shaky?”  It doesn’t take $300,000 to lower the rise or increase the run of steps.

The church had been built with a raised sanctuary to allow people sitting far away to be able to see what was happening at the altar, explained Father George Wiant, a retired priest who regularly assists at St. Januarius. When the church was built in 1966, weekend Masses drew large summer crowds of visitors, so a movable, accordion-style wall allowed overflow crowds to be seated in the gathering space beyond the nave.  This is true.

“To me as celebrant, it made me feel quite distant from the people,” Father Wiant said, noting that this extra space is no longer needed during Mass.  How sad, that attendance has dropped 47% and the overflow room isn’t “needed.”  How sad, also, that it seems to be spun as a positive.  Fr. Wiant doesn’t have to sit in the pews and look around other people’s heads to see what’s going on, something impossible for the children.  But then again, most of the children have been driven away.  “The motive was to lower the altar down where it felt like it was more of a community together.”  Typical of the overemphasis on “It’s all about us” rather than “It’s all about Him Whom we worship!”  This is the same mindset in the church today that leads to emphasis on a communal “meal” rather than liturgical worship, in my opinion.  What is also weird about Fr. Wiant’s comments is that it makes him seem unable to function in a large church where people may well be further back from the altar.  And the pastoral planning drive to close small churches and try to create mega-churches is certainly out of step for the personal need expressed by Fr. Wiant.

With the floor lowered (again, it wasn’t– IT WAS RAISED!  why do you think they are so insistent on constantly repeating what is obviously untrue?)  and the ramp installed, it now will be easier for people with disabilities to serve as lectors or extraordinary ministers of holy Communion, added Cris Wensel, pastoral associate at St. Januarius. (As if there were actually a need, which there has not been, and there is no sign on the horizon that there will be.  And see the notes above, how a lector now has to go up two steps, or else go up the ramp, traverse the altar area and then go to the ambo, and then do it all in reverse!  This seems very distracting!) 

The new lighting makes it easier for parishioners to see, and the new layout of the sanctuary draws one’s eyes to the altar, Beigel said.  One’s eyes were always drawn to the altar.  Now that it is lower AND smaller, and lacking as much floor space surround, and competing with an overbearing Tabernacle wall, one can predict that all eyes will likely be drawn away from the altar, not toward it.  The result of the new design seems to accomplish just the opposite of what Mr. Beigel claims was intended.  Moreover, another impairment of visibility which no one seems to mention is that the organ is tucked into a back corner where the organist  CANNOT see the presider!  Why?  Is it part of getting rid of the organ without getting rid of the organ?

“I think it’s very simplistic. Wonder if she meant “simple?”   However, her word “simplistic” is much closer to the truth: Definition of Simplistic:   adjective:  Treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are:simplistic solutions”.  It’s almost as if when you come in, it wraps its arms around you,” said parishioner Jackie Leysath.  The touchy-feely is a very poor reason for advocating these changes.  Where is arm-wrapping in the GIRM?  In ANY liturgical directive at all?  Or is it a new age prop, inconsistent with Catholic liturgy?

“I find it a serene, very meditative environment. The curvature of the reredos seems to be embracing, like a set of arms pulling you in,” Hopper agreed.  Here we go again.  More of the “It’s all about ME!”  But who knows what St. Bernards has been teaching on this subject?

Yet some parishioners did not share such sentiments about the reredos, or the renovation in general.  Convictions would be a better word than sentiments.  The 75% of parishioners opposed to the demolition/renovation put forth their specific reasons, all unanswered.  The “leaders,” especially Fr. Ring, refused to allow discussion.  So how would the supporters even know what the logical arguments were?  Touchy feely giggles were never seen as a plus by anyone on any survey.   

“The new design looks like a wooden Christmas tree, and you can’t see the organ (anymore),” noted Bill Vierhile, who said he and a number of other parishioners were not in favor of the renovation and liked the church the way it was.  “A lot of people weren’t for it, but I think it came out all right,” he said. “Probably we’ll get used to the new design.  This is just what the perpetrators are hoping.  I think in time it will probably work out OK, but it’s different.”  Is “getting used to” something that is bad or ineffective or just wrong a good thing?  Were the Jews supposed to get “used to” their exile in Babylon?  Or were they to long for return?  So, too, may the many parishioners long for the return of Jesus to the Center of their Worship Space.

Leysath said she loves the sanctuary’s new look, but understands it will take time for some people to get used to such a drastic change. It’s human nature to be afraid of change, said parishioner George Horsch, who was on the steering committee for the renovation.  We wish that George Horsch would also acknowledge that it is sometimes human nature to oppose stupid and wasteful changes, change for the sake of change, while needs such as religious education of children, evangelization and care of those in need goes relatively unaddressed.  When did “change” become a worshippable deity in Catholicism?

“There was a lot of negativism, a lot of critique about what they were doing to the beautiful sanctuary,”  Horsch recalled.  Critique?  Yes, George is right.  But he should also mention that he completely ignored the input.  Negativism?  Well, it is hard to say something good about something bad.  “THEY were doing to the beautiful sanctuary?”  Don’t you mean YOU, George?” 

Wensel acknowledged the mixed feelings about the renovation and said parish leaders didn’t want to make people unhappy. Nonetheless, “You go by what needs to be done,” she said.  And by what Fr. Ring tells her  to do.  One of the key points is that there were only two things that needed to be done:  the divider wall and securing the Tabernacle.  In spite of all the money collected and spent, neither was done.

All aspects of the renovation were meticulously planned (doesn’t quite fit with not being even able to count the steps!)  with the goal of making sure St. Januarius remains a vibrant church community, Beigel added. It would be wonderful if it were true that St. Jan’s is “vibrant” but it  lost 47% of its attendees on Fr. Ring’s watch; that  is hardly vibrant.  There is a 75:25 split among parishioners.  That is hardly vibrant.  It remains to be seen what a new pastor can do.  But if there is improvement it will be because of the return of many who said, when they left, “I’ll be back when Fr. Ring is gone,” (and some who now add: “and when Fr. Wiant is gone”) and it will be because of healing brought by the new pastor, in spite of the Sanctuary changes and not because of them.

“It’s like labor,” Hopper said. “You go through a lot of pains, there was a lot of pain in the community itself, and maybe the baby doesn’t look exactly like Mom or Dad, but it’s beautiful in its own way. The Lord gave it to us.”  — This last paragraph was not in the printed newspaper copy.  But when the Lord is finally mentioned it is to lay the blame at His Feet: “The Lord gave it to us.”  No, He didn’t.  You took it AWAY from the Lord–His position in the elevated center of the altar, the visibility of His Sacrifice in the Mass, the ability to offer Him a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and the inspiring beauty of His House.  And now you say the Lord did it?  At least His Name finally got mentioned, even though dropped in the paper edition.

Selected Comments on Line

by Mary on September 6, 2011, 5:09 PM
I’ve seen various images of the St. Jan renovation on the Internet, and I have to admit that the results are not impressive (at least to me). The removal of the tabernacle from the center of the church over to a secondary position on the left side of the altar diminishes the importance of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ. The sanctuary appears overly-simplistic and uninspiring. At least with the former design the sanctuary was elevated contributing to a sense of the importance of what takes place at the altar during Mass. A dividing wall near the Baptismal font, which was supposedly an important renovation priority, was left unfixed. It is my understanding that this renovation was hotly contested by a sizable number of parishioners which has contributed to many leaving the community. When all is said in done, striping the sanctuary down and moving the tabernacle is not worth the anger this project caused and souls put in danger of those who leave.

All Saints Parish in Corning to Offer Extraordinary Form Mass

July 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

All Saints parish in Corning, NY will offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (aka “Traditional Latin Mass”) on Sunday, August 7th at 1:45 PM. The Mass will take place at St. Mary’s church and be offered by Fr. Johannas Smith. This is exciting news and may very well be the first exposure that most Catholics in Corning will have to the Extraordinary Form considering the long drive involved in attending the diocese’s only EF Mass at St. Stanislaus in the city of Rochester.

While it is certainly encouraging to see a parish open to offering the Extraordinary Form, the commentary on this Mass as produced in the All Saints bulletin by the parish’s pastoral administrator, Deacon Dean Condon, is a little upsetting. I do not believe that Deacon Condon intended to be hostile toward this form of the Mass. Instead, some of his comments demonstrate, perhaps, ignorance about the EF and why some people prefer to worship in this form over the Ordinary Form. Below are excerpts of Deacon Condon’s comments with emphasis and commentary:

“The Council document set out a vision for what the truly universal church should be all about. The Church ought not to be stuck as single-cultural institution, using a dead language of an ancient and irrelevant empire. We now worship in the many languages of all world cultures. While acknowledging our Roman roots, we are now more truly catholic in the way we worship, teach, and practice.” [The use of Latin is not so much clinging to a particular cultural institution as it is a means of producing unity in a Church comprised of people from different nations, languages, and cultures. The use of Latin serves to remind us that we are one people, though many, in Christ united as part of the Roman Catholic Church. Wherever you might travel, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass will be celebrated the same way and in the same language. It is a true unifier.]

“Admittedly for some, having a Latin Mass is like running a Confederate flag up the pole [An inappropriate analogy that would have been best avoided], symbolizing a protest against the accomplishments of Vatican II [It is debatable whether or not much of what has transpired since the Council have been “accomplishments.” I don’t consider the poor state of Mass attendance in this country and Europe to be an accomplishment by any stretch of the imagination. A lot of what we have seen take place in the Ordinary Form of the Mass isn’t even faithful to the Council documents!]. However, this need not be the case. The Church has moved toward being more universal, especially by moving the Mass into the vernacular [In actuality, the use of the vernacular has proved to be more divisive than unifying. For example, take a look at the various petitions that were created in protest of the revised English translation of the Roman Missal. Another issue, and a reason why we are revising the English translation of the Roman Missal in the first place, is that some vernacular translations of the Mass contain several inaccuracies when compared to the official Latin text. Even in our diocese, one can observe divisions from parish to parish  (one parish will use “inclusive” language, another follows the texts faithfully, and still another has inserted made-up rituals into the order of Mass).] Yet, the Latin Mass remains part of our heritage. Now, nearly fifty years after the Council, the understanding is clear that the Church is not reversing back, but is allowing for greater access to the experience of this bygone tradition [Very poor word choice. The definition of bygone is “belonging to an earlier time.” This is not correct. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass belongs this time just as much as the Ordinary Form. We have two forms of the Mass, sitting together side by side, both equally valid]. So, in that respect, the Tridentine Mass can still be celebrated and will be offered at All Saints Parish on Sunday, August 7 at 1:45 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church. Presiding at the Tridentine Mass will be Fr. Johannas MM Smith, FI from Mount St. Francis Monastery in Endicott, NY. Our own Schola Choir will provide Gregorian chant for this special celebration.”

Once again, I believe that the deacon’s comments were made out of ignorance rather than malicious intent. The fact that his parish will be offering the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at all demonstrates that he is at least open to the request of our Holy Father to make this Mass more widely available. If you are in the area, please attend the Mass of Ages in support of our Catholic tradition. Who knows, maybe the Extraordinary Form will become a regular offering in Corning in the near future?

See also here.

Kindergartners Defending Latin in the Liturgy

July 5th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

If only our Diocesan officials and occasional commenter would reach the level of these dear children . . .

Well, I can dream, can’t I?

“Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise, because of thy enemies, that thou mayst destroy the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:3)

Audio of Former Rochester Priest, Fr. Enrique Rueda

June 27th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

UPDATED by Ben on 2011-06-27. Dr. K posted this back in January and I’m simply bringing it back to the front page. I found Fr. Rueda’s words very encouraging and now it seems like a great time to hear them again. If you have a chance, at least listen to the first several minutes of the first audio clip. I love how he says it’s a great time to be alive.

Fr. Enrique Rueda


A little over a year ago, Fr. Enrique Rueda passed on from this life and went on to his eternal reward. Fr. Rueda was a no-nonsense, tell it like it is traditional priest who was suspended by Bishop Clark in the early 1980s over his outspoken criticism of the homosexual and liberal infiltration going on in the Catholic Church. Many have probably forgotten this great priest and the many truths he spoke. So that his words will not be forgotten, I have found two audio clips of Fr. Rueda that I would like to share with all of you.  In these clips, you will hear Fr. Rueda speak the truth about a variety of subjects including false ecumenism, women’s ordination, orthodoxy, the Latin Mass, Hispanic Catholic issues, and the liberal bent of the American hierarchy during the 1980s. There is a lot of very good stuff in these two 30 minute audio clips, so please find the time to listen to them both from start to finish (especially the first one, where he mentions the Diocese of Rochester).

Audio segment 1 – A radio interview with Fr. Rueda while he was still living in Rochester, though after being suspended by Bishop Clark (roughly 1988/9). Keep in mind when listening that this interview took place shortly after the excommunication of then-Archbishop Lefebvre, when the Latin Mass was not available in most places. Fr. Rueda makes a few mentions of the Diocese of Rochester and the liberal loonies here.


Audio segment 2 – A talk given by Fr. Rueda on various topics, mostly Hispanic issues.


Fr. Rueda wrote a number of books exposing the truth about progressives and liberals. Some include:

  • The Homosexual Network: Private Lies and Public Policy
  • The Marxist Character of Liberation Theology
  • Roman Catholicism and American Capitalism: Friends or Foes
  • The Morality of Political Action

Father also penned several articles for The Wanderer.

A Tale of Two Masses – Part II: Good Liturgy Done Poorly

June 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Part I here.

Most of the time, when we discuss liturgy here at Cleansing Fire, it’s in reference to a certain abuse, a particularly tasteless occasion at Mass, or some irreverent incident taking place within the sanctuary, regardless as to whether it’s a part of Mass or not. We have devoted hundreds of posts on these matters, exposing countless acts of sacrilege and profanation alongside abuses that were more akin to one-time mistakes than malevolent and intentional disobedience. However, chronicling these events of the City of Bad Liturgy Done Well is only half (or even less than that) of what we, as Catholics, ought to be doing. And I don’t mean simply as a blog, as a parish, or even as a diocese – I mean universally.

While bad liturgy done well customarily betrays some political agenda (i.e. massive gender-neutral/race-neutral foam puppets at the Call to Action “Mass”), good liturgy done poorly betrays the exact opposite. Rather than the people of the parish having a clear mission, the inhabitants of this second city are complacent, knowing that they’re doing what is asked of them . . . nothing more, nothing less. While the abuses we witness in far too many places thrust the lance ever deeper into Our Lord’s Sacred Heart, those who are apathetic custodians of Truth are like those “disciples” who simply walked away from Calvary thinking to themselves, “Well, that was a wretched end.” It is regrettable that many of those who defend dignified worship simply give up on their mission when they bring about change in one Mass, one parish, or one priest. No, the mission before us to restore the liturgy to something beautiful is something which never wanes, never goes away in its pressing and undying necessity. Good for you, you have your Latin Mass. But does it have life and energy? Wonderful, you’re starting to sing Gregorian chant. Are you actually going to pursue its use at Mass? You should be commended for your piety at Mass, but does your catechesis end when you genuflect and walk out of church?

Good liturgy means absolutely nothing if we do not seek to find God in it, through the ceremony and devotion unfolding before us at Holy Mass. However, when good liturgy is done with the right spirit, not one of arrogance or conceit, but of praise and singular devotion to Our Lord and Our Lady, that is the pinnacle of human achievement. Seeing as how the Mass is the one place where humankind comes into contact in such a physical, undeniable way with God, it is our duty to make it seem that special. This being said, there is one caveat: make it special, yes, but do not make it special in our sight alone, but also in God’s. In a recent post at the Chant Cafe, Fr. Wadsworth says the following:

Another example may serve to illustrate how far we have deviated from the path (of genuine worship): I have deliberately removed any details which will enable you to identify where this Mass took place. Suffice to say, that it could reasonably have been witnessed in just about any large city in the English-speaking world. The occasion was a youth Mass involving a large number of young people of school and college age. The nature of the occasion meant that it would be reasonable to assume that the majority of those present were what could be described as practicing Catholics, at least in relation to the frequency of their liturgical life.

As the entrance procession began, so did the entrance song. It was sung by a male singer who accompanied himself on the guitar and he was joined by a female singer with a very nice voice. I did not know the song (something I have come to expect) but neither, it would seem, did anyone else and despite the text of the song being reproduced in the participation aid, the only ones singing were the two singers I have already described. The song was certainly religious in content without being noticeably liturgical or scriptural in its text. Musically it was entirely secular in character but skillfully sung and played in genuinely affecting manner. As this beginning to the liturgy unfolded, it became more and more obvious that this was a performance and we were cast in the role of the audience. This intimation was further confirmed as the song ended and it was greeted with enthusiastic and prolonged applause, curtailed only by the celebrant beginning the Sign of the Cross.

This experience was repeated at several subsequent moments in the Mass and notably during the Liturgy of the Word, at the Preparation of the Gifts and during the distribution of Holy Communion. Each time, the dynamics were those of performance and the liturgical assembly slid perceptibly into another mode but one clearly familiar to these young Catholics, that of the concert. At each subsequent moment, the pattern was repeated and the performance was recognized by applause. Am I the only person who is profoundly ill at ease with this, or can we identify that style, content and delivery all determine whether our music is truly liturgical or not? Once again, it would be a mistake to identify this difficulty with purely contemporary musical styles, I have witnessed much the same phenomenon with traditional liturgical music in some of our great churches and cathedrals.

This concert-mentality described by Fr. Wadsworth is exactly what we see in the City of Bad Liturgy Done Well. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s stimulating, but it’s not suitable for Mass. To reduce the Mass, the summit of human achievement, to a mere show, wherein the congregation has no life and no awareness of the Sacred Mysteries, is to lose touch with the immensity of the occasion.

And here we see the commonality between these two cities: there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the Holy Mass. On the one hand, the Mass is not some celebration of community – that’s what parades and festivals are for. On the other hand, the Mass is not just having a mastery of liturgical functions. Good Liturgy Done Poorly has lost just as many souls as Bad Liturgy Done Well, because the inhabitants of both cities are forced by their lords to thrive on a diet of gruel. It pains me just as much to see a “traditional” parish act with indifference as it does for me to see a parish act in blatant opposition to the will of the Church and Her Mystical Spouse. A lack of understanding is a lack of understanding, whether it’s trimmed in lace or festooned with rainbow ribbons. What the Church calls for, and what is demanded of us by God, is genuine devotion, as made manifest through dignified liturgy.

However, we ought to consider also the spirit in which these two liturgies are, for lack of a better word, “put on.” Both are unsuitable, for in the one is irreverence, and in the other is lukewarmness. But in the City of Bad Liturgy Done Well, there is a sense of unbridled arrogance. “This is what we want to do, so we’re going to do it.” This is, in my opinion, much more sinister than the mindset of inhabitants of the City of Good Liturgy Done Poorly. “Well, it’s good enough.” Nothing we can do is ever “good enough” for God, and the fact that some people are content simply to do the minimum is shameful indeed. Naturally, sometimes the bare minimum is all that’s possible. Maybe there’s not enough people. Maybe there’s not enough money or patrons. Maybe there’s just not enough “young blood” to get things done. That’s fine, and God knows that these people are doing their absolute best, much like how the woman who gave her last penny in the Gospel is praised by Our Lord, whereas the rich man who withheld his maximum donation was admonished. This can and ought to be applied to the liturgy.

When we have the ability to do great things for the glory of God, in humble obedience to the norms of Holy Mother Church, we are obligated by God and all that is decent and good in His world to render our greatest efforts to His people through dignified, reverent, and majestic liturgy. Apathy and complacency are not virtues, nor are they gifts or fruits of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to see parishes sitting back without any care to excel “for the greater glory of God” is appalling. Is God not worth our every thought? Is He not worthy to receive our attention for all eternity? Can we not give Him His due for just one hour, and to do so in a way pleasing to Him and pleasing to His Church?

(Part III will be coming along shortly.)

In Support of True Diversity

June 1st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Oftentimes, people associate orthodoxy or faithfulness to the teachings of the Church (especially as pertaining to liturgy) with being hostile towards diversity. The claims are made that Jesus would want everyone to have a part at His Eucharistic Table, and that if we care too much about rules and regulations, we lose the spirit of what He intended us to have. Indeed, those who say or profess such things are surely doing so because they are being motivated by a love for the Church, albeit a flawed and underdeveloped love which focuses more on honey-sweet sentiment than lasting spiritual edification. I would like to devote this post to answering their claims that Catholics in support of dignified liturgy are cold, unfeeling, and closed-minded individuals who care only for keeping the status-quo.

Mass in Hong Kong

No one can possibly deny that the Church is truly diverse – just look at Her list of saints! We have some saints murdered in Nazi concentration camps, whereas others are holy nuns who never left their Medieval cloisters. We have missionaries from Vietnam alongside Tudor-era Englishwomen who sheltered young Jesuits from Elizabethan authorities. However, throughout all of these holy lives, there is a  common thread, something tethering each one to the others. That thread, and a golden thread at that, is the Holy Mass. For the greater part of two millenia, the Mass as prayed in Korea was the Mass as prayed in Rome, and the Mass as prayed in the trenches of Flanders in WWI was the Mass as prayed by African missionaries. A 13th Century Dutch cloth merchant could, without any hesitation or confusion, realize what the Mass was even if he were to see a 19th Century Mass offered in some backwater town in America. The Church celebrated its diversity through celebrating its singular unity.

However, since the 1970’s, the notion of celebrating our diversity became confused with celebrating our cultural identity. In the confusion which gripped (and grips) the Church in the post-Conciliar years, every group, every nationality, every ethnicity, every age-group, and every social-body felt the need . . . I’m sorry . . . felt “called by the Spirit” . . . to have their own Mass. The Mass became, not so much a unifying sacrifice of love, but a means to asserting cultural, social, and ethnic identity.

Sacrosanctum Concillium states the following regarding diversity through the Holy Mass:

D) Norms for adapting the Liturgy to the culture and traditions of peoples

37. Even in the liturgy, the Church has no wish to impose a rigid uniformity in matters which do not implicate the faith or the good of the whole community; rather does she respect and foster the genius and talents of the various races and peoples (note: “talents” are not “mediocrities.” Marty Haugen, this means you.). Anything in these peoples’ way of life which is not indissolubly bound up with superstition and error she studies with sympathy and, if possible, preserves intact (The important thing here is that SC recognizes the possibility of error in local liturgical celebrations. It does not say that the error should be tolerated or left in place, but rather, if possible, corrects it. If it is already correct, then, if possible, it may be introduced into or kept in that region’s liturgies.). Sometimes in fact she admits such things into the liturgy itself, so long as they harmonize with its true and authentic spirit. (For the “true and authentic spirit” of the liturgy, click here.)

38. Provisions shall also be made, when revising the liturgical books, for legitimate variations and adaptations to different groups, regions, and peoples, especially in mission lands (Sacred Heart Cathedral probably doesn’t count . . . ), provided that the substantial unity of the Roman rite is preserved; and this should be borne in mind when drawing up the rites and devising rubrics.

39. Within the limits set by the typical editions of the liturgical books, it shall be for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to specify adaptations, especially in the case of the administration of the sacraments, the sacramentals, processions, liturgical language, sacred music, and the arts, but according to the fundamental norms laid down in this Constitution. (Again, this section of SC is dealing with those few and extra-ordinary times when things may be changed with the liturgy. It is in no way stating that the norms it sets forth, i.e. Latin, Gregorian Chant, etc. are to become de facto second choices.)

40. In some places and circumstances, however, an even more radical adaptation of the liturgy is needed, and this entails greater difficulties. Wherefore:

1) The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and culture of individual peoples might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should when be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced.

2) To ensure that adaptations may be made with all the circumspection which they demand, the Apostolic See will grant power to this same territorial ecclesiastical authority to permit and to direct, as the case requires, the necessary preliminary experiments over a determined period of time among certain groups suited for the purpose.

3) Because liturgical laws often involve special difficulties with respect to adaptation, particularly in mission lands, men who are experts in these matters must be employed to formulate them.

(This is not aimed at milk-toast SSJ’s or diversity-minded local ordinaries and their white-albed henchmen/henchwomen/henchpeople. Rather, it is written for those people who have limited understanding  of or access to the Church, such as those Pacific Islanders who until the past few decades were still head-hunters, or those Christians in Muslim-controlled areas whose worship situations are less than ideal.)

While this does leave room for cultural deviations, it does so under the assumption that these cultural deviations will occur organically, i.e. an “African Mass” ought to happen in Africa, not upstate New York. However, there are those who, blinded by zeal for their Church, read these documents and fail to apply the “spirit of the law” to the “letter of the law.” It’s rather amusing to see liturgical liberals will point at many of us and say “you’re too by-the-book” and yet they use this unbending “by-the-book” approach to liturgy to justify their antics at Mass. The spirit of the documents of Vatican II is one of loving acceptance for all the children of God, and recognizes that the Roman Rite has many different forms and manifestations. However, this open-endedness does not permit illicit acts to take the place of approved liturgical actions. A parent may very well hand his or her child the keys to the family car. The parent assumes that the child will drive wherever he wants, but will do his best to stay on the road . . . a noble, lofty goal, to be sure. However, when the son backs up into the lawn of a neighbor and destroys her prize-winning roses, you don’t justify it with any of those phrases some in our midst throw out with nauseating frequency. “I felt called to do it.” “It didn’t hurt anyone, so it’s okay.” “There’s no law saying you can’t do it . . . just that it’s not preferable.”

Latin Mass in Gabon

At Vatican II, the Church gave her children the keys to the family car, often to ruinous effect. While in the little analogy above, the only thing that was lost was a bed of roses, in real life we have lost entire parishes of souls. God does not desire our pursuit of diversity to alienate people – it must unify.

To that end, we should try to figure out what unifies and what segregates us as Catholics. When I go to Mass at Sacred Heart, and I am presented with a “Lamb of God” which incorporates every language known to man (except Latin – dear God, we mustn’t use that language!), I’m somewhat at a loss for words. Are we really going to sing a verse in Tagalog, for the one Philippino fellow in attendance, and who probably knows either Spanish or English already? If I were attending a Mass being offered for the Phillipino community, I would wholly expect to encounter Tagalog . . . but not when 90% of the congregation is well-acquainted with English. We must be sensitive to cultural demands, and to celebrate cultural identities. This doesn’t mean that we need to invent diversity just for the sake of having it. If it exists, wonderful. If it doesn’t, fine. Just recognize it either way and cater your liturgy to those demands.

But what about when you have a multi-cultural gathering, such as the annual Chrism Mass, or maybe a cluster’s only Easter Vigil or Holy Thursday Mass? If only there were one language that the Church used to bring together all of Her children, no matter what language may be their native one . . .

Oh, wait . . . Vatican II covered that bit, too:

36. 1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and “the common prayer,” but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to tho norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.


101. 1. In accordance with the centuries-old tradition of the Latin rite, the Latin language is to be retained by clerics in the divine office. But in individual cases the ordinary has the power of granting the use of a vernacular translation to those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a grave obstacle to their praying the office properly. The vernacular version, however, must be one that is drawn up according to the provision of Art. 36.

Isn’t it funny how the same documents used to strip churches of their altars, statues, tabernacles, chant, ceremony, and Latin are the same documents that instruct the faithful to keep all these same things?


Instruction “Universae Ecclesiae”

May 13th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

Today the Vatican released the long-awaited instruction on Summorum Pontificum entitled Universae Ecclesiae. Here are some highlights:

“6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.”

“14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.”

“16. In the case of a priest who presents himself occasionally in a parish church or an oratory with some faithful, and wishes to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, as foreseen by articles 2 and 4 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the pastor or rector of the church, or the priest responsible, is to permit such a celebration, while respecting the schedule of liturgical celebrations in that same church.”

“21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.”

“26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.”

Deo gratias!

Instruction Coming on Extraordinay Form

May 12th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

The oft-rumored and long-delayed instruction related to issues administering the Holy Father’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificim will be released this Friday. For those unaware, Summorum Pontificum was the Pope’s way of freeing many of the restrictions on the celebration of the Church’s Traditional Latin Mass, so that priests everywhere can celebrate this form of the liturgy without the prior permission of their bishop. We still only have one Extraordinary Form Mass in the Diocese of Rochester, but hopefully as more traditional younger men are ordained to the priesthood in this diocese, the number of available EF Masses will grow.

See here.

Vicar General to Offer Mass “ad Orientem”

April 1st, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

A nod of the miter to devoted reader “Plautus” for sharing this beautiful bit of news:

“On Sunday, April 31st, Rev. Dr. Joseph Hart, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rochester, will be offering Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. As part of a series of lectures and demonstrations on the ‘organic growth’ of the liturgy, Fr. Hart will offer the Mass ad orientem, facing away from the nave of the church and towards the sanctuary proper. ‘We need to realize that when the priest said Mass like this, he wasn’t turning his back on the laity, or any other such thing. No, he was turning with them to God, and doing so on their behalf. That’s the real beauty of this kind of worship,’ said Fr. Hart. (Wow!) Of course, this is a special event, a ‘one-time-only’ sort of thing, due to the tremendous task of replacing the tabernacle back in the sanctuary for this one Mass. The amount of time going into the planning of this is really amazing, seeing as how the staff of the cathedral are going to have to entirely rearrange the sanctuary, even adding a Benedictine altar arrangement for the occasion.”

As wonderful as this is, I should point out that, as far as we know, the liturgy itself will be “business as usual” at Sacred Heart. It is rumored that Thomas Warfield will be making a return visit to Sacred Heart, along with students from Nazareth College, who will be performing what is being billed as “a lively expression of God’s infinite mercy.” Bishop Clark will not be in attendance, seeing as how he will be sitting ‘in choir’ at St. Stanislaus for the 1:30 High Mass. There is a reception planned at Sacred Heart after this Mass. Exact times will be posted as soon as we have more information.

Upcoming Music Events

March 29th, 2011, Promulgated by Nerina

This Spring promises to be a tremendous time for the Diocese of Rochester. Several parishes are going to be hosting events focusing on Gregorian Chant and Renaissance polyphony. Below is a schedule of these upcoming events, as reported by you, the readers.

  • Saturday, April 2, 2011 – 4:30 PM Chant Mass at St. Francis in Geneva.
  • Sunday, April 3, 2011 – 1:30 PM High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Stanislaus.
  • Thursday, April 14, 2011 – 5:00 PM Chant Mass at Mother of Sorrows.
  • Sunday, April 17, 2011 – 1:30 PM Missa Cantata in the EF at St. Stanislaus.
  • Sunday, April 24, 2011 – 1:30 PM Missa Cantata in the EF at St. Stanislaus.
  • Sunday, May 1, 2011 – 1:30 PM High Mass in the EF at St. Stanislaus.
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2011 – 7:30 PM Rosary for Priestly Vocations at St. Anne.
  • Sunday, May 22, 2011 – 5:00 PM Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form at St. Anne.

In the eyes of this humble blogger, it looks as if we’re standing on the edge of a liturgical renaissance in Rochester. Deo gratias!

A Massive Attack

March 15th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

Here’s one of the latest videos from Michael Voris:

Bishop Clark on the Traditional Latin Mass

March 14th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

In 1991, Bishop Clark outlined five reasons why he was not inclined to permit the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in his Diocese. In order, they are as follows:

1) There is a grave concern about offering the Mass according to one ritual while not offering the other sacraments according to that same ritual.

2) I do not see that granting this permission would be a unifying act, but on the contrary I see it as divisive to our Catholic community

3) The necessity of designating a priest (or various priests) to celebrate this Mass only at particular churches at a particular time seems to signal something different or odd about the celebration. it seems that the Holy Father’s permission indicates this should be an exception and not the norm which can cause confusion for the faithful.

4) While at various times I have received request for this Mass, I have never found a large number of people who wish to celebrate it. If there were a large number of people, I would have to question their acceptance of the liturgical changes which have already been authorized.

5) We are still in a period of transition from the Second Vatican Council. People have not yet discovered the richness of the liturgical changes. I fear to grant this permission now would further inhibit the development of the faithful’s experience of this liturgical richness.

Of course, since the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was released by Pope Benedict in 2007, these excuses are officially irrelevant. However, they betray the one-way street that is Bishop Clark’s liberalism as regards the Holy Mass.

In the first point, Bishop Clark says that he is not comfortable with having Latin Mass without all the other sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, etc.) in the same ritual. There is a simple solution – offer the ritual in its entirety. Many dioceses have parishes dedicated solely to the Extraordinary Form of worship, from Mass to Vespers, from Benediction to Marriage. It would take practically no effort to designate a parish in the Diocese as the “Traditional Latin Mass Parish,” which would be staffed by a priest and run as an individual parish, not a “community” reliant on the generosity of a mother parish. God knows there’s a multitude of abandoned churches in our diocese which would serve as suitable homes for such an endeavor. Again we see in this first point the same flawed logic we see in almost every decision which comes from Buffalo Road. Rather than address a problem head-on and in a proactive way, the Diocese takes the route of least resistance, making no effort to save a damaged limb, and instead, just hacking it off “for the good of the whole.”

The second point Bishop Clark makes is that he thinks the Latin Mass serves as a divider, not a unifier. The only reason this point would have any validity is because of the campaign disobedient bishops took in the years after the Council. They read the documents, not with the intention of understanding them, but with the desire to twist and manipulate them into what they wanted. People who were still inclined towards the older forms of prayer were labeled as reactionaries, as angry conservatives, as superstitious morons, and as Catholics standing in the way of progress. After almost thirty years of this brainwashing, Bishop Clark came out with this argument, that the Latin Mass causes discord. No, the Mass does not cause division and scattering of the flock – inept leadership does that. I can guarantee you that more people are angry with the Bishop over closed schools, closed parishes, forced clusterings, and the like, than over the possibility of attending a Latin Mass. A genuinely pastoral bishop looks at the needs of his flock and meets them. He does not dismiss their needs as being detrimental to unity. Does the Bishop not realize that it isn’t the liturgical preferences of “traditional” Catholics that causes division, but the childish and blasphemous tinkering they see with the Mass in almost every single parish, diocese-wide? Can the bishop honestly think that more people will be offended over ad orientem worship than a flamingly gay liturgical dancer parading around the sanctuary of the cathedral? That’s rubbish, and you can bet that Bishop Clark knows this. Each of these points stands, not as a logical opposition to a minority, but a fearful oppression of a movement bigger than any one man, whether or not he is blessed to wear the miter.

The third point continues the pattern of Bishop Clark’s fear-made-policy. “The necessity of designating a priest (or various priests) to celebrate this Mass only at particular churches at a particular time seems to signal something different or odd about the celebration. it seems that the Holy Father’s permission indicates this should be an exception and not the norm which can cause confusion for the faithful.” Is it really that confusing to Joe Layperson if he is given the choice of going to Mass in English or Latin? God forbid someone in the pew actually be confronted with a choice and ability to think for himself! The Bishop is right, though, that the setting aside of a specific priest, time-slot, and worship space could mark something as unique, different, and odd. Let’s recall the African Mass, the Carribbean Mass, the Rainbow Sash Mass(es), the various LifeTeen Masses around the Diocese, the Lithuanian Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes, the Korean Mass at St. Anne, the Vietnamese Mass at St. Helen, the Spanish Masses at city parishes, the Italian Mass(es), and the Latin Mass. Oh, yeah, that last one really stands out, doesn’t it?

The fourth of Bishop Clark’s theses is “While at various times I have received request for this Mass, I have never found a large number of people who wish to celebrate it. If there were a large number of people, I would have to question their acceptance of the liturgical changes which have already been authorized.” As one of the CF staff members mentioned, this is just ludicrous. The Bishop doesn’t recognize the needs of several hundred Catholics wanting traditional liturgy, but if he does recognize that there are, in fact, hundreds, he would have serious doubts about their being non-schismatics. The whole point here is that people are entitled and encouraged to ask for the Traditional Latin Mass, and they were (and are) entitled and encouraged by none other than the late Pope John Paul II and our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI. If a pope allows something, a Catholic who pursues that “something” can in no way be a schismatic or some sort of liturgical reactionary. It’s like saying that if people go to Starbucks and ask for tea instead of coffee, they wouldn’t be served tea until enough people asked for it, and then when enough people asked for it, they’d be ushered out the door because they’re obviously not in-line with the current coffee-drinking regime. Anyone who’s ever gone into Starbucks knows that they serve coffee and tea, and there are no bitter debates between customers as to which is better, which is more stimulating, or which is more edifying. It’s called “mutual enrichment.”

The fifth point is like the other four. “We are still in a period of transition from the Second Vatican Council. People have not yet discovered the richness of the liturgical changes. I fear to grant this permission now would further inhibit the development of the faithful’s experience of this liturgical richness.” Yes, we are in a period of transition. It’s just like the period of transition we saw after Trent, the period of transition after Nicea, after Ephesus, after Constance. Every Council of the Church results in a period of implementation which isn’t sorted out until around 100 years after the close of the particular Council in question. However, we need to realize that the Church does not change quickly. After all, it’s a 2,000 year-old institution, and the only form of governance not to have been changed or toppled since its creation. For 1,500 years, the Mass was in Latin. And then, over the span of less than a decade, we saw changes which completely re-created Catholic liturgical life. Masses were turned around, altars pulled forward, tabernacles put to the side, prayers translated into the vernacular, and so on. That is not organic growth. Nor is it an “experience of liturgical richness” as Bishop Clark calls it. It was a rush to do away with something seen as too archaic to be relevant. Why did it not seem archaic to our ancestors in the 1800’s?

But that’s not the point. Rather, the issue in this fifth point is that Bishop Clark sees the return of the Latin Mass as a step backward, not forward. This mentality is stuck in 1970, whereas the Church has universally kept advancing towards a proper implementation of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict is a champion of this, offering solemn Masses in the Ordinary Form, Masses where reverence is the norm. Bishop Clark’s Masses have innovation as the sole norm, with women in albs replacing priests, with “inclusive language” which includes everyone except God Himself. There is so much one could say about all of this, but in closing, I’ll quote Pope Benedict XVI on the importance of the Traditional Latin Mass. Let’s just compare this with the five reasons Bishop Clark gave for denying the Mass all those years ago.

“In some regions, no small numbers of faithful adhered and continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms.”

“The Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same ‘Lex orandi,’ and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church’s Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church’s ‘Lex credendi’ (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.”

“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.”

“It is known, in fact, that the Latin liturgy of the Church in its various forms, in each century of the Christian era, has been a spur to the spiritual life of many saints, has reinforced many peoples in the virtue of religion and fecundated their piety.”

That’s what a pastor sounds like.

Solemn Vespers – Photos

March 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Mike

Here are some photos to accompany the video posted earlier today.


Solemn Vespers in the Extraordinary Form . . . In Rochester!

March 3rd, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

It’s a great privilege to be able to report something beautiful coming out of the Diocese of Rochester. Word has come to us that this past Sunday saw a sung Vespers service at the Carmelite Monastery. The entire Vespers service was sung in Latin, in the Extraordinary Form  (i.e. Pre-Vatican II form), and was a historic occasion. This is the first time in over 40 years (to our knowledge) that Solemn Vespers have been sung in this manner. There have been many beautiful Vespers services offered since the Council, but none ever implemented the full ceremonial witnessed on Sunday at Carmel.

The particular version of Vespers which was used is from something called “the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin,” an alternative to the full Divine Office which was and is a daily obligation for clerics. The “Little Office” was sung or recited in many monastic communities, and was a very popular devotion in the Church dating all the way back to the 8th Century. Mainland European visitors to England in the 15th Century remarked that almost every layperson in sight either had a copy of the Little Office, knew it partially, or had easy access to its recitation at church. Vespers was actually considered one of the most beautiful ways the laypeople could participate in a church service.

However, after the Second Vatican Council, the Little Office (and several others like it) fell out of use and favor. However, with the 2005 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, the Little Office was resurrected for regular use by priest and layperson alike. And look at the results! To think that within a few short years of the resurgence of the Latin Mass and its accompanying splendors we would see something such as this presented by Rochesterians is miraculous. (I was elated beyond words when I saw this video pop up in my inbox. Talk about partaking in pre-Lenten indulgences . . .)

The translation and order of service for the Office can be found at this link, graciously provided by some of our readers who were fortunate enough to attend the event.

Just a reminder: if you ever hear of an event along these lines, please let us know! We would love to promote things such as this!