Aug 7, 2007

Wouldn't the pastoral thing be to offer the Tridentine Mass?

Catholic writer Brian Mershon makes a great "Now, why didn't I think of that?" point in a lengthy article of his (click on this post's title) at

He writes that for pastors who worry about Catholics attending SSPX Masses, the pastoral thing to do would be to offer parish Tridentine Mass so the people will stay home in their parishes.

Here is the relevant passage:

"As such, the question needs to be raised: what does the Church officially teach about Catholics who attend SSPX chapels out of spiritual necessity with no desire whatsoever to separate themselves from full communion? In Fr. Newman's July 8, 2007 sermon at St. Mary's, he reportedly repeated that the SSPX is in schism, directly counter to what the Church teaches, as Cardinal Castrillón has repeatedly said in numerous public interviews.

"The immediate question that comes to mind to a faithful Catholic is that if this is truly happening — Catholics being led out of 'full communion,' or in the traditional ecclesiology, 'out of the Church' — then wouldn't it be an act of pastoral solicitude on the part of Fr. Newman to offer his parishioners a 'wide and generous application' of the Traditional Roman rite on a regular basis in order to keep his flock in 'full communion' as Pope John Paul II requested 19 years ago [in his Ecclesia Dei]?"

Pretty obvious, when you think about it.

Reverend pastors in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, you now have a fine way to keep your parishioners from going SSPX: Starting Sept. 14, give them the Mass previously denied them. What say you?


Blogger Ron said...

Brian Mershon is wrong. Fr Newman is right. The SSPX leaders are indeed in schism. According to Ecclesia Dei, a decree by Pope John Paul II Archbishop Lefebvres ordination of bishops constituted a schismatic act incurring excommunication. There are no lay SSPX members as such. But adherence and support of the SSPX can lead to latae sentiae excommunication per the Pope. The desire to attend a Tridentine Rite mass does not justify attending a schismatic mass.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Ron,

The reason I published the quotes from Mr. Mershon's article was to stress his point that pastors could be more pastoral, and keep people in their parishes, by offering the Tridentine Mass.

That is also part of Pope Benedict XVI's argument, isn't it?

The rest of Mr. Mershon's article quotes Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei as making statements that differ from your views.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here we are, 1 month after the issuance of the Motu Proprio, and not a word from Cardinal Mahony. I guess he wants everyone to flock to the SSPX chapels.

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't see why anyone thinks there is any need for Cardinal Mahony to weigh-in on the "Tridentine" Mass. After all, the Holy Father has left it up to parish priests to respond to requests for the 1962 usage, pretty much making diocesan bishops mediators if a pastoral problem arises.

Since Cardinal Mahony hasn't said anything, we can fall back on that old principle of law so dear to St. Thomas More: "Silence connotes consent."

12:15 PM  
Blogger Ron said...


Mershon didn't quote Ecclesia Dei. That's the problem. What Pope John Paul II and Canon Law say is what's relevant.

" In the present circumstances I wish especially to make an appeal both solemn and heartfelt, paternal and fraternal, to all those who until now have been linked in various ways to the movement of Archbishop Lefebvre, that they may fulfill the grave duty of remaining united to the vicar of Christ in the unity of the Catholic Church and of ceasing their support in any way for that movement. Everyone should be aware that formal adherence to the schism is a grave offense against God and carries the penalty of excommunication decreed by the church's law." (Ecclesia Dei)

A pope and Canon Law trumps a journalist, priest or bishop's opinion any day. At least he does if one is a Catholic.


6:50 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Ron,

Again, my point in quoting Mr. Mershon was not about the SSPX. We don't need to talk about the SSPX here and now.

I repeated Mr. Mershon's point that if pastors don't want people to join the SSPX, they should offer them the Tridentine Mass.

That's all I said.

And two Popes have said the same thing: John Paul II in the document you cite, and Benedict XVI in Summorum Pontificum.

Loyalty to these Supreme Pontiffs requires us all to support "wide and generous" availability of the Tridentine Mass.

By the way, no doubt there is a Canon Law definition of "formal adherence to the schism." Is attending Mass "formal adherence to schism?"

Also by the way, what about the quotes from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos and his Ecclesia Dei Commission? Are they ignoring or defying Pope John Paul II and the document they are to implement?

9:09 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 8:05 a.m.,

Yes, you're right. Here we are, a month later. The Tidings has published two pro-Tridentine Mass letters, but that is about all.

Thanks for writing!

9:15 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 12:15 p.m.,

Well, Catholics who are loyal to the Pope like it when their bishop expresses his loyalty to the Pope and his willingness to obey him.

Silence about a bold initiative of the Pope does not connote consent.

If you proposed a project and were met with stony silence, would you believe that was approval?

Recall the reports that Bishop Skylstad told the Pope in advance that the U.S. bishops do not want the Tridentine Mass.

In light of that, isn't it incumbent upon each of our bishops to reassure the Holy Father and all the faithful that they will obey him fully and gladly?

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
Since permission from the bishop will no longer be required, I don't see the need for the bishop to say anything at all (unless of course he wants to). When the directives of the Holy Father become operational next month and, if and when some problem arises, then the Holy Father expects the bishop to intervene. But nothing in Smmorum Pontificum asks bishops to say or do anything lacking such a circumstance.

I think you have some contributors who just like to take swipes at the cardinal.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero:

I am the "anonymous" who first commented on Mahony's silence. It is true I am no fan of our archbishop, and I think the archdiocese would heal much faster if he resigned. I am, however, a realist, and do not expect that to happen. I do believe that it would be a sign of support and a gesture of His Eminence's good will towards traditional catholics if he were to issue a statement which showed his active support for the motu proprio - perhaps a TLM at the cathedral for All Saint's Day or another major feast.

It would help pastors and the faithful to know their bishop was actively supporting the Pope's agenda in the LA archdiocese. I know it is not required by the motu proprio, but it would be helpful.

Still, as I said, I'm a realist, and I don't expect a statement any time soon from the cardinal. He has bigger fish to fry, like trying to decide what to sell and what programs to shut down to pay off the legal settlements.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
I'm the "anonymous" who thinks you have contributors who just like to take swipes at Cardinal Roger Mahony.

I am glad the other "anonymous" is a realist. Far more good would be accomplished if pastors were to work more assiduously implementing "Gather Faithfully Together" but have you noticed that the cardinal has not made an issue out of that either?

5:14 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 5:14 p.m.,

When the Vicar of Christ makes an epochal move such as he has with Summorum Pontificum, a move that many bishops in the USA and around the world dislike, it is totally reasonable for L.A. Catholics to expect their Ordinary to express his willingness to obey the Pope.

The Cardinal has expressed his willingness to disobey in the past -- when he allowed girl altar boys and said, "While we currently do not have permission..."

Now he could signify obedience, if he only would.

Summorum Pontificum is from the Holy Father himself. The document by Cardinal Mahony that you mention, "Gather Faithfully Together," is the product of one bishop and carries less weight.

I have not read it, but here is a commentary from a 1997 Adoremus Bulletin on that document (sorry the link is not clickable here):

9:38 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 11:08 p.m.,

You have hit upon the point: The Cardinal should WANT to express his support for the Pope and his bold new initiative.

Other bishops have felt free to throw cold water on the Pope's document and wishes. Wouldn't you think that would prompt other bishops to publicly support the Pope and his wishes?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 12:01 p.m.,

Yes, the Cardinal could speak out in support of the Pope and he could also extend charity toward those who attend SSPX Masses.

But some people have difficulty with our changing times. Let us pray that His Eminence is not among them and will be generous in supporting the Latin Mass.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
The Pope doesn't ask bishops, per se, to be generous about the "Tridentine" Mass. The decision is up to the pastor and he asks pastors to be as generous as they can be. The Pope clearly puts the bishop in position of mediator in disputes.( I don't anticipate that there will be much need for the "Tridentine" Mass at the cardinal's cathedral church--most TMers seem to hate the cathedral.)

9:04 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 9:04 p.m.,

No one can deny that the Pope's wishes are clear: He wants more priests to be able to celebrate the Latin Mass if they and their parishioners wish it.

Everyone, Cardinals included, should be at least as generous toward these wishes of the Vicar of Christ as the liberals still are in indulging the non-existent "spirit of Vatican II."

7:45 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 9:04 p.m.,

Don't you think Cardinal Mahony should offer Latin Mass at his cathedral in order to reach out to anyone who is disaffected?

Isn't reaching out what a shepherd is supposed to do?

If bishops and priests can celebrate Mass for homosexuals, they can celebrate Mass for Catholics who love the Mass of the Ages that we had for 1,500 years.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't take any special training or language skills for a priest to celebrate Mass for Catholic homosexuals or the divorced or anyone else except the TMers...even the Pope noted that the priest would have to be competent in Latin and familiar with the 1962 Missal and its rubrics. (I remember one older priest saying that he welcomed the Mass of Pope Paul VI because the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, O.P., was more complicaated than a Japanese Tea Ceremony!)

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be argumentative, but there is quite a legitimate Spirit of Vatican II. That abuses and excesses have occurred and then justified as having been "in the Spirit of Vatican" cannot be denied, but this does not negate the reality of the Spirit of Vatican II.

Some examples: Pope John Paul II apologizing to those who have been hurt and offended by members of the Church was in the Spirit of Vatican II; the interfaith Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi was in the Spirit of Vatican II; ecumenical and inter-faith gatherings such as the one held in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on the anniversary of 9/11 are in the spirit of Vatican II; various expressions of the New Evangelization (and evangelization sans proselytism) are in the Spirit of Vatican II.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 5:11 p.m.,

The many, many priests who have introduced their own changes into the New Mass sure could use some retraining, and restraining, so they will obey the Church.

The liberals would be unconvincing if they said they could not offer the Latin Mass because it was too hard for them to learn.

Priests have said that Mass for 1,500 years, after all.

Can't the saying, "Read the black and do the red," help guide priests?

11:18 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 9:14 p.m.,

I was talking about exactly the abuses and excesses you mention, not anything legitimate that resulted from the Council.

It wasn't sheer coincidence that caused millions to flee the Church, the priesthood, the convents and the seminaries after and even during Vatican II; it was the non-existent "spirit of Vatican II," the false spirit of abuses, excesses and lies, the spirit of the world.

11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
I know many priests, secular and regular, and not one of them has answered in the affirmative when I asked him if he would be using the 1962 Missal after September.

I know you can't reason from the particular to the universal, so I wonder what responses others have received when they asked priests this question.

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The L.A. Cathedral is a liturgical abuse in and of itself. It would be a sin for the Tridentine Mass to be said there. There is absolutely no surprise that Rog wouldn't say anything about the Motu Proprio, once you've seen the atrocity thatreplaced the venerable St. Vibiana's.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 12:29 p.m.,

Priests who say they will not celebrate the Latin Mass need to get ahold of Summorum Pontificum and read the part where the Vicar of Christ says they need to if the faithful ask them to.

Not exactly pastoral of priests to deny the wishes of their flock, and not exactly obedient of them to defy the wishes of the Pope.

Some priests are working with their flock for the Latin Mass. That is very pastoral of them.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 12:36 p.m.,

When we read in the secular newspapers of visitors to the Cardinal's cathedral gabbing away and leaning on the altar and not even knowing what it is...

When we read that intentionally there are no right angles in the Cardinal's cathedral, just off-kilter ones...

When we cannot find the Blessed Sacrament anywhere near the altar and in the congregation's view during the Holy Sacrifice...

And when we put those things and more together...we find it hard not to consider the Cardinal's cathedral lacking in many ways.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
Some of your criticisms of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels can be leveled at any one of the major churches of the world that draws tourists on a regular basis.

One cannot gaze on the tabernacle in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, for example, when Mass is celebrated on the Papal Altar or at the Altar of the Chair.

And there are many many people wandering around and talking when you visit St. Peter's or Notre Dame in Paris or any of the other great cathedrals.

One of the things I love about the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is that everything is accessible...the altar, the ambo, the cathedra, the baptismal font, etc. Whereas other churches and cathedrals denote sacred space by ropes and gates and rails, our cathedral says that the entire church is sacred space and that the people are sacred, too.

12:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous:

You love the L.A. Cathedral. That explains a few things about your comments. No one with any sense at all likes the LA Cathedral, and that is the truth. I would be anonymous if I were you too. I will pray that you someday regain a love of beauty.


9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Killian,
Great name! A fanous church in Farmingdale, Long Island, NY, is called St. Killian's. It was renowned for its boy choir when I was a kid and lived in a neighboring parish.

I love many, many churches and cathedrals throughout the world, built in many different architectural styles.

My all-time favorites are the French Gothic churches and cathedrals. To my mind, the most beautiful Gothic church in the world is the abbatial church of St-Ouen in Rouen, France.

I love Gothic revival churches, too, and have a special love for St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. I also like Ste-Clothilde in Paris.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome is another favorite, as is the Brompton Oratory in London.

In the Los Angeles area, I appreciate modern churches such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and St. Basil Church. But I also especially like more traditional churches such as St. Andrew in Pasadena, St. Monica in Santa Monica, St. Paul in South L.A., St. Anthony in Long Beach, St. Charles Borromeo in North Hollywood, etc.

My being anonymous has nothing to do with my tastes in art and architecture. It has to do with privacy.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Aninymous 1, 2, or 3:

I guess you are no all bad.


1:18 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 11:21 a.m.,

Thank you for the "tour" of your favorite churches and cathedrals here in Los Angeles and abroad.

I do think the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels needs quite a bit of remodeling before many Angeleno Catholics, including myself, would ever consider adding it to a list of favorites!

A good way of praying, which probably we all do sometimes, is to recall the tabernacles, altars and sanctuaries of the favorite churches in our lives and to make a mental visit to Jesus there. We can also pray for all the priests we have known as we remember their Masses in those holy places. Amen!

12:08 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Killian,

You sure are named for a great Irish saint! You must know all about him; and for all of us, here is the link to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia entry about him:

Sorry that link is not clickable here.

If you are a baseball fan, you might know that "Twilight Ed" Killian was a great left-handed pitcher for the Detroit Tigers from 1903 to 1910.

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Quintero,
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels already has achieved widespread acceptance and devotion from millions. I personally have taken people there who were predisposed to dislike it and who consequently fell in love with its beauties after having seen them for themselves. And the cathedral will continue to engender awe and appreciation, as all great churches due, long after you and I are dust.

(By the way, the cathedral's website mentions the cathedral's role as a liturgical model for all the churches in a diocese because that's part of the Church's teaching on a cathedral's raison d'etre.)

3:37 AM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 3:37 a.m.,

Thank you for the information. But something can be beautiful and yet convey a wrong or misleading liturgical and theological message.

Also -- thanks to the near-total ban on, and badmouthing of, the Latin Mass in the past 40 years, some Catholics are "predisposed to dislike" the Latin Mass. But if we introduce them to it fairly and fully, we can be sure that many or most of them will "f[a]ll in love with its beauties after having seen them for themselves."

I mean that seriously and with respect for everyone who "sees no need" for the Latin Mass.

If you think people won't like the Latin Mass, give it a fair trial and let the people "vote" on it.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Q,
I'm one who wishes that Pope Paul VI had abrogated the "Tridentine" Mass (and, in fact, believed he had done so until Pope Benedict XVI stated otherwise). I believe that the motu propio is a mistake and that the fears the Holy Father dismissed in his covering letter to the bishops will, in fact, materialize. (We'll have to wait and see what the landscape looks like three years from now when bishops are to report back to the Holy See.)

But since the Pope wants people to have access to the Mass of Pope St. Pius V, O.P., in its 1962 version, I say, "so be it." I think the vast majority of Catholics will come to appreciate the Mass of Pope Paul VI even more when they see how far we have come liturgically, for as the Pope reminds us, the Mass of Pope Paul VI is a development, not a rupture, in the Church's liturgical continuum.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Dear Anonymous 1:52 p.m.,

Some or many bishops here and overseas have indicated they will not give the Latin Mass a fair chance. That is sad indeed.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Andrew Bailey said...

Hello my name is Andrew. I am an acolyte at St. Mary of the Angels in Hollywood. I have a question to ask. Do you believe that the new Mass instituted of Paul VI. With the spirit of the counsel fathers of Vatican II, or any writings of the documents of the counsel intended,mandated,or officialy ordered any change in the rubrics. specifically for the priest to face the people for the entire mass? also for altars to be broken down and replaced with tables. Tabernacles moved out of the center and to the side, and many various other changes and variations of the Mass?

1:56 PM  

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