We Need Multiple New Masses – Jesuit…

We Need Multiple New Masses – Jesuit…

NewMassSix MinistersThe article below suggesting the setting up of Research & Development Centres to work at producing better Masses, which would then undergo  testing for “market” approval,  is really nothing more than the logical conclusion of creating a new Mass in the first place. 

Why NOT keep working at it until we get the “product” that the people like? Click on photo of the original Research & Development Team, led by Pope Paul VI (above) to reach original article. All emphases below, added.  Note: contact details for the author are given at the end of the article, if anyone feels moved to share their thoughts with him privately.  First, though, share them with us. 

Thomas Reese SJ writes…

With a vacancy at the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Pope Francis has an opportunity to restart liturgical renewal, which was stalled by the papacies of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

 The purpose of liturgical reform is not only to translate old Latin texts into good English, but to revise liturgical practices to allow people to celebrate their Christian faith in ways that better fit contemporary culture.

The former prefect, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, has been appointed archbishop of Valencia in eastern Spain. His conservative liturgical views were more in sync with those of Pope Benedict than of Pope Francis. Canizares, who was appointed prefect in 2008, supported expansion of the Tridentine Mass (aka the Extraordinary Form), and in his most recent letter said that the kiss of peace should be done with greater sobriety.

The good news is that Francis is no fan of the Tridentine Mass. Yes, he did say Mass in Latin in Korea, but that was because he did not know Korean, and they did not know Italian or Spanish. As archbishop of Buenos Aries, Argentina, he forbade the Tridentine Mass in his archdiocese until Pope Benedict mandated that it be available throughout the universal church whether bishops wanted it or not. Francis has never celebrated it (he was ordained in 1969) and never will. He hopes it will fade away.

Nor is he happy with the push for literal translations, including translating pro multis as “for many” rather than “for all.” As a result, the Vatican push for new Italian, German, and other translations has been put on hold.

Francis also prefers a simple liturgical style and has no qualms about breaking liturgical rules for pastoral reasons. For example, as pope and as archbishop of Buenos Aries, he washed the feet of women on Holy Thursday even though the rules say that males (in Latin, viri) are to have their feet washed.

More recently, in Korea while saying Mass, he wore a butterfly pinned to his chasuble in honor of the Korean “comfort women” who were sex slaves to Japanese soldiers during World War II. That is a liturgical no-no.

The bad news is that there is no indication that liturgical renewal is a major priority for Pope Francis. In Argentina, progressive intellectuals criticized him for his support of popular devotions. The poor he so loved in the slums of Buenos Aires were more likely to turn out for a procession or devotion than for the Eucharist. They did not connect with either the old or the renewed Eucharist. Hopefully, this disconnect will lead him to look for a prefect who is more interested in what works pastorally, especially with the poor, than in what either conservative or liberal ideologues want.

The greatest challenge facing the new prefect is to develop a new way of managing liturgical change in the church. Although the changes following the Second Vatican Council were eventually embraced by the priests and people, there was some confusion when the changes were not well explained. Also, the church should have initially been more generous in allowing the old Latin Mass to continue during the transition, especially for the elderly. Conservatives also complained of priests experimenting on their own.

The Vatican response was to stop all change, crack down on experimentation, and force reluctant bishops to provide the Tridentine Mass to anyone who wanted it long after the vernacular language had firmly taken hold. It also pushed through literal translations of liturgical texts that were difficult to understand. This overreaction caused heartburn among liturgical scholars and, more importantly, pastoral problems in parishes.

A more intelligent and pastoral approach to liturgical change would include three things: centers for liturgical research and development, market testing, and enculturation.

Every successful business does research and development on new products. While there are liturgical scholars who do research, they are forbidden to take the next step in developing and trying out new liturgical practices. New liturgical practices require testing to find out what works, but not every priest has the training and skill to do this.

What is needed are centers for liturgical R&D where scholars and artists can collaborate with a willing community in developing new liturgical practices. Seminaries and universities with liturgical scholars are obvious places for this, but some parishes might be willing to be beta sites for new practices, especially if they were allowed to give feedback.

Bishops should be allowed to set up centers for liturgical R&D, operated by creative experts with appropriate supervision and review. Once new liturgical practices are developed and accepted by church officials, they should be market tested in a variety of pastoral settings before being offered to the rest of the church. Only the most arrogant business rolls out a new product everywhere in the world at the same time without market testing it.

Finally, the most difficult challenge is developing liturgy that fits the local culture. This is very difficult in multicultural countries like the United States and India. In the U.S., liturgy has to be sensitive to cultural differences based on race, language, ethnicity, age, education, and social background. What is appropriate at a high school may not be appropriate at a retirement home. In India, liturgical sensitivity to Hindu culture may be offensive to minorities who feel oppressed by the Hindu majority.

Such countries may require multiple liturgical forms to serve multiple cultures. Enculturation is easier to talk about than to do, which is why we need centers for liturgical research and development.

Besides developing a better system for managing liturgical change, I hope the new prefect reviews the latest English translation of the liturgy. Is it working? I don’t think so.

Many priests complain about the difficulty of proclaiming the prayers because the wording is convoluted and sometimes unintelligible. This makes it often impossible for the people in the pews to understand the prayers when they are prayed out loud. The prefect should encourage bishops to be generous in allowing priests to use the old translation if they find the new translation problematic pastorally.

 The prefect should also take another look at the 1998 translation of the Sacramentary done by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy and approved by most English-speaking bishops’ conferences but rejected by the Vatican. This translation is substantially better than both the new and old translations and has wonderful opening prayers that match the readings for each Sunday of the three-year cycle.

And despite Canizares’ circular letter, the new prefect should reopen consideration of moving the kiss of peace. Pope Benedict and former Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments prefect Cardinal Francis Arinze reportedly favored moving the kiss to the end of the Liturgy of the Word, but backed down when a majority of the episcopal conferences said to leave it alone.

Trying out different settings for the kiss is an ideal project for the centers for liturgical research and development, as are the other suggestions I give below.

One of the reasons for moving the kiss of peace is that it would open up space for a more expansive rite at the breaking of the bread prior to Communion. This would require bread that actually looks like bread.

Another project I hope is on the new prefect’s agenda is the drafting of new “Prefaces” and new Eucharistic Prayers besides the 13 already approved for use.

Different Prefaces could be prepared for each Sunday of the three-year cycle, which would pick up on the Scripture readings for that Sunday. More effort is needed to keep themes from the Liturgy of the Word alive in the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This is done on many feast days, and it could be done on ordinary Sundays.

More eucharistic prayers could be written, especially some that follow the “proclamation and response” pattern of the eucharistic prayers for children. I also dream of eucharistic prayers that are based on the language and theology of each Gospel and some of the Pauline letters.

Too many people (and priests) think that the eucharistic prayer is the priest’s prayer. Priests say it quickly in a monotone, and people tune out. We need more eucharistic prayers that actually engage both the priests and the people.

Any work on the Sacramentary should also have as a priority the development of common texts with other churches, a priority that has recently been ignored.

The new prefect also has to look at how is his congregation is run. He needs to replace many of the consultors and staff whose only qualification as liturgist is their support for the Tridentine Mass. It would also make sense to have the chairs of bishops’ conferences’ liturgy committees as members of the congregation rather than cardinals who have no expertise in liturgy.

The congregation should function as a midwife to liturgical renewal and stop playing liturgical cop. This means more consultation and entrusting more liturgical changes directly to episcopal conferences, which was the original intent of Vatican II, rather than micromanaging things from Rome.

 Despite my hope that the new prefect would take up such an agenda, we need to recognize that even if we had perfect liturgical texts and ceremonies in the Sacramentary, liturgy lives or dies at the local parish. What the people want is good music, good preaching, and a sense of belonging, which cannot be prepackaged in Rome. Parishes that are welcoming and have good music and good preaching see their pews filled. We cannot blame Rome for everything that is wrong in the liturgy.

That is my agenda for the new prefect. What is yours? Share them with us in the comments section below.

[Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese is a senior analyst for NCR and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. His email address is treesesj@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @ThomasReeseSJ.]    Source 

Comments (69)

  • Leo

    “Thus then, Venerable Brethren, for the Modernists, both as authors and propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. Nor indeed are they without precursors in their doctrines, for it was of these that Our Predecessor Pius IX wrote: ‘These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts.’ (Encyclical Qui pluribus, November 9, 1846)

    “These men are certainly to be pitied, and of them the Apostle might well say: They became vain in their thoughts. . . professing themselves to be wise they became fools (Rom. i. 21, 22); but, at the same time, they excite just indignation when they accuse the Church of torturing the texts, arranging and confusing them after its own fashion, and for the needs of its cause. In this they are accusing the Church of something for which their own conscience plainly reproaches them.” – Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi

    Can anyone have doubts about the Modernists’ insatiable obsession for novelty? If it didn’t involve such grave offence against God, and endangerment of souls, ignoring the evil work of the wild man liturgists might have some merit, notwithstanding the tragic fact that the vast majority of Catholics are confronted with the Abomination of Desolation, voluntarily or not.

    “Using virtue and the love of God, and the abolition, in the name of virtue, of the indispensable means of formation and conservation, to blackmail the faithful into bending – that’s modernism at its most basic. Modernism controls its victims in the name of obedience, thanks to the suspicion of pride which is cast on any criticism of their reforms, in the name of respect for the Pope, in the name of missionary zeal, of charity, and of unity.”
    (Fr. Roger Calmel, Letter of 8th August, 1973)

    Christian charity forbids silence. As Pope Leo XIII, citing his predecessor Felix III, teaches: “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed.” (Inimica Vis,1892).

    Novus ordoism is self-liquidating. With all the evidence around us, it is very difficult to believe that it is imbecilic, well meaning, but misguided optimism that drives the Modernist vandals onwards in their zealous attack against the true Mass. Again, I think the words of Pope Leo XIII are undoubtedly applicable to the matter of trying to turn back the Invasion of the Modernists:

    “Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defence of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honour of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.” To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamours are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigour on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful.”- Sapientiae Christianae, 1890

    The theological virtue of Charity involves loving what God loves. But it also involves hating what God hates. The words of a true and great Catholic liturgist put us on notice:

    “When the pastor becomes a wolf, it is the flock in the first place, which has the duty to defend itself.” – Dom Prosper Gueranger, L’Annee Liturgique, Feast of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pp. 340-341.

    September 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm
    • Josephine


      I know Editor jokes a lot about the pay-scale but your posts on this thread alone are worth a packet. You should be demanding a pay rise!

      Your remark about “hating what God hates” is profound. Thank you again for putting together all the great quotes you do and for making me think more deeply about the faith.

      September 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm
      • Leo

        Thanks very much, Josephine.

        You’re very kind.

        I wonder will we still be getting paid in sterling in two weeks time.

        September 10, 2014 at 10:13 pm
      • editor


        They can pay me in any currency they like in two weeks time, as long as the beauticians, hairdressers and fashion houses take it!

        September 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm
      • editor


        I sincerely hope this isn’t you making a pitch to be the CT Bloggers Union Rep. I can’t have bloggers going about the place demanding pay rises. 😯

        September 10, 2014 at 11:03 pm
  • Leo

    This is what you call a captive audience.

    It’s the old joke: You can negotiate with a terrorist but not with a liturgist.


    Novus ordoism is truly self-liquidating.

    September 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm
    • Michaela


      Unfortunately, the link to the original article or whatever it was about that Bishop’s Mass is broken so that’s a pity. Love your “captive audience” quip. So true.

      I came here hoping to find an answer to my question to Fidelity Always but typical of the modernist people who come here, there is no reply – yet. Maybe he will reply later. I’ll keep checking.

      September 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm
  • Theresa Rose

    I wonder what response Father Reese could or would make (though I am sure he will not), to this talk given by Thomas Gabriel, a New York detective on: –
    Crime and Punishment: The Devastating Effects of the Novus Ordo Mass on Society

    September 10, 2014 at 11:15 pm
    • Leo

      Theresa Rose

      Thank you very much indeed for posting that absolutely superb talk by Thomas Gabriel. Once I started looking at it, I couldn’t stop. He expressed so many points brilliantly.

      It’s a must watch, and on its own completely destroys the propaganda of the liturgical anarchists. The talk could also be posted on many other threads here.

      September 11, 2014 at 12:59 am
  • fidelityalways

    I have only just seen that my comment was published, and that I am being invited to expound on it. Having taken smelling salts, to recover, I will not do so.

    However, may I first comment on an observation about “inculturation”. One thing is I know that in some parts of the world, for example, white, not black , is the colour of mourning, but other examples abound, and that is why when it comes to liturgy inculturation is important. It is the same logic, that says The Ordinariate can safeguard, and use, their patrimnony.

    With regards the suggestion I am being illogical then may I suggest, that in fact Fr Reese is using the same logic, as my critics here, to make his strange propositions relating to the great Council, which the Church rejects, as do those who seek to uphold everything Pope St Pius X says, when the Church too rejects much of what he said. Both Fr Reece, and those who seek to uphold everything Pius said, contrary to what the Magisterium teaches need to listen to The Bishop of Rome, and the successors of The Apostles.

    With regards, The Holy Mass what I wrote is consistent with what every Pope since The Great Council has said, and what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in “The Spirit of The liturgy”, and this from Pope Benedict: “It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.”

    Editor: the following errors are found above: (this is unlikely to be an exhaustive list – I just don’t have the time…)

    1) It’s not smelling salts you need but a strait-jacket.
    2) Inculturation: baloney. I’ll never forget the lengthy letter I received from a seminarian in Africa explaining the damage done by inculturation. Where I live in Scotland, whisky is the preferred alcoholic beverage. Doesn’t mean the priest has to use whisky for the Consecration. We follow the Church, not the other way round. And don’t get me started on half-baked Anglican “converts”.
    3) Never heard of “the Great Council” – there is no such Council so I take it you mean The Council of Trent.
    4) Pope Pius X – you slur the memory of this, the greatest pontiff of the 20th century without giving a shred of evidence for your allegation. This alone has triggered my decision to block all of your posts from now on. You’re a time waster.
    5) You fail to point out the contradiction in what Pope Benedict says, having falsely accused a great Pope saint like Pius X. One minute Pope Benedict describes the new Mass as a “fabricated on the spot production” and the next he puts it on an equal footing with the Mass of All Time, the Mass that the martyrs gave their life’s blood to defend. And you don’t even notice! You are on Twitter, surely? You must be an official Twit… you have to be (to save you time, remember, I made the rules, I can break them).

    N O T E …

    You are not going to be coming on here again adding to your errors without ever answering questions or criticisms. That’s what you did before. That’s what you are continuing to do, given the very first paragraph of your post above. Therefore, consider this post as an indulgence. I will not release any more of your time-wasting, ignorant comments. That, believe me, is a promise.

    September 11, 2014 at 7:29 am
    • Michaela

      What a load of twaddle from the misnamed Fidelity Always. More like Fidelity Never.

      I notice that those who hate Catholic Tradition absolutely detest Pope Saint Pius X. Has anyone else noticed that, I wonder.

      Editor’s note at the end has demolished the post from “FA” – and I hope she keeps to her word and not lets any more of his rubbish appear on this excellent blog.

      September 11, 2014 at 2:30 pm
      • editor


        I am keeping to my word and not posting any more comments from the (as you rightly say) misnamed FA, but I’ve just found the following comment from him in moderation – which is now trashed. I copied it to quote here because it shows absolutely how illiterate he is in terms of understanding the nature of the Church and the nature of the current crisis in the Church. Ignorance, with bells on…

        He wrote:

        “With regards Saint Pope Pius X, my simple point is that much of his thinking on Modernism, for example, is no longer held by the Church. The famous oath against it was readily done away with by a successor.” END.

        THAT – more than any of the rest of the baloney he’s posted – shows the level of his ignorance. God help him.

        September 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm
  • Christina

    The article below suggesting the setting up of Research & Development Centres to work at producing better Masses, which would then undergo testing for “market” approval,…..

    So the resulting product ranges would be somewhat akin to Tesco’s ‘Finest’, or Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the difference’ Masses then? Presumably they’d be clearly marked with their ‘use by’ dates.

    September 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm
  • Athanasius


    I don’t know about “use by” dates but they should all carry public health warnings saying ‘heresy and sacrilege risk, do not imbibe’.

    September 15, 2014 at 2:37 am
  • editor

    I received an email dated 21 September from Fr Thomas Reese SJ – it came in very late last night, with permission to share with you all. If you recall, I had emailed to let him know that we were discussing his ideas, and invited him to participate if he felt he should stand the heat. He replied as follows:

    Thanks. Just saw this.

    I guess my recommendation would be that you and your readers read “The Mass of the Roman Rite,” by Joseph Jungmann, SJ. From it you will learn that the Mass has changed constantly over time. I too was quite conservative in my liturgical views until I read this book in the 1960’s. By the way, one reason I recommended R&D centers was to protect folks like you from liturgical surprises at your local parish.

    Feel free to share this with your friends.

    September 22, 2014 at 9:55 am
    • Josephine

      What a typical reply. The modernists always say that the Mass has changed constantly over the centuries but that’s a fib. Organic growth is not “constant change”.

      September 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm
      • Margaret Mary

        Cardinal Ratzinger himself said that there had been a complete break when the new Mass was created. He called it a “banal on the spot production” when he addressed the Bishops of Chile a few years ago. So, Fr Reese is wrong on that.

        September 22, 2014 at 5:34 pm
      • editor


        I believe I quoted that gem in my reply to Fr Reese. “A banal on the spot production” says it all, really, truly, sadly.

        September 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

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