The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Ordinariate and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite

On September 23, Dr. Daniel Page, the music director & organist at Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore informed friends that:

It's official: the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (aka Traditional Latin Mass, Tridentine Mass, etc.) has been formally banned from the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (North American Anglican Use).1

This notice garnered many comments and related posts on other blogs such as Rorate Caeli2 and Eccentric Bliss3 and Foolishness to the World4 about the topic of the use of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in the Ordinariate that had become a topic of interest in August with the posting of a pair of articles on the topic at the Anglo-Catholic blog back in July of this year,5 which prompted an official reply from the Ordinariate The Liturgy of the Ordinariate and the Latin Mass.6

People who have been involved in blogs and other discussion fora know that the subject of liturgy can be a contentious one. In some ways, the issue of the Ordinariate and the TLM is an extension of "the Liturgy wars." But it is not simply a discussion about liturgy. The issue involves a range of important issues from the relationship between an ordinary and clergy to parish resources to the nature of the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church.

Relationship of the TLM and the Ordinariate Liturgy

The TLM is a codification of the liturgy of the Roman Court, as preserved in Franciscan Missals of the Middle Ages. St. Francis had urged his brothers to follow the example of the Roman Church in its liturgy, and when Pope St. Pius V codified the liturgy which has come to be known as the "Tridentine" Mass, he based it on one of the three extant Franciscan missals then in existence. This version of the Liturgy shows great similarities to other Western rites and uses, although there are differences between it and the other rites such as the Ambrosian, Sarum, Lyonaisse, Braga and Dominican. While there were several changes made to the liturgy of the Roman Church in the late 1940s and 1950s, the 1962 Missal is substantially the same as its predecessors in most respects.

The liturgy of the Ordinariate, on the other hand, has many influences. The Book of Common Prayer was based on the Sarum rite, but was also vastly simplified. The theological arguments of the Reformation played their part in shaping many of the prayers and the arrangement thereof of the Book of Common Prayer. Archbishop Laud and the "Caroline Divines" tried to renew Catholic elements of the liturgy, particularly by way of rubrics, which had been squeezed out by the Puritans. After the English Civil War, the restored Anglican Church retained much of the Caroline restoration of ritual and order.

Following the "Glorious Revolution" and the ouster of King James II of England in 1688, the first "continuing" Anglican church came into being with the Nonjurors,7 who continued in existence until the late 18th century. No longer part of the Established Church, these Nonjurors no longer felt bound to the Prayer Book of that church, and in conjunction with the Scottish Episcopal Church, which had likewise been disestablished, they modified the rites, based on their own studies and the example of the Eastern Church liturgies.

When Samuel Seabury, the first US Episcopalian bishop, sought ordination from the Scottish Episcopalians, it was their liturgy, which had been originally devised by Archbishop Laud and modified through contact with the Nonjurors, that he brought back to Connecticut, and which formed the basis for the US Book of Common Prayer of 1789.

In the 19th century, the Oxford Movement in the Church of England spawned the related ritualist movement which sought to restore even more of Catholic ritual, and later, Catholic texts to the Prayer Book services, resulting ultimately in the Anglican Missal and related missals. The motivation for these changes was in part the growing conviction among the new High Church Anglicans that the Church of England (and by extension, other Anglican churches) was essentially Catholic, and that this Catholicity could be best asserted by a restoration of liturgical worship based on the Latin liturgical tradition. (At the same time that this was happening in the Anglican Communion, there was a growing liturgical renewal movement in the Catholic Church, spearheaded by Dom Propser Gueranger, who restored the priory of Solesmes in France.)

The Anglican Missal and its cousins can only be understood in relationship to the Tridentine Mass which was the most common form of Mass amongst 19th and early 20th century Catholics. The ritual and liturgical framework of the Tridentine Mass became the ritual and liturgical framework of the Missal tradition. In a September 28th post on Foolishness to the World8 that reposts part of article by Zack Candy we have an illustration of this relationship.

The Trolleys note the similarities between their traditional Anglican Use liturgy and the older form of the Roman rite...
"The differences aren't so much the text of the liturgy," said Michael. "In the way that they're celebrated, our Mass has a great deal in common with the Extraordinary Form (the traditional Latin Mass). They're both celebrated facing east, it's usually chanted, with incense. It's quieter in some ways, it's more formal, a greater spirit of reverence."

Mr. Trolley's impression as quoted above simply illustrates the fact that there would be no Anglo-Catholic ritual as currently practiced without the TLM, and without priests from John Mason Neale to Dom Gregory Dix to Fr. Hunwicke in our own day, who, through their knowledge of traditional Western liturgy, brought its influences to bear on the Prayer Book ritual to create the Anglo-Catholic ritual that we think of as typical.

The direct predecessor of the current Ordinariate liturgy, The Book of Divine Worship (BDW) is, of course, the 1979 US Book of Common Prayer. But in many ways that book represented the triumph of Catholic-minded Episcopalian liturgists, in its establishment of the Eucharist as the most important of the church's liturgies, the promotion of weekly, and even more frequent, celebration, and the inclusion of ritual elements that had not been present in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, such as the 9-fold Kyrie, the Benedictus as the conclusion of the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei, all elements that were familiar to many Episcopalians via the Missal tradition. The way the BDW liturgy, particulary Rite 1, has been celebrated in the Pastoral Provision Anglican Use communities up to this day use the ritual of the TLM in large part, as mediated through the American and English Missals. Thus, via the Anglican Missal, the TLM had its influence even on the modern Ordinariate Liturgy.

Current Status of the TLM in the Ordinariate

Fr. Scott Hurd, the Vicar General of the US Ordinariate, confirmed to me that the TLM was not to be celebrated at Ordinariate parishes, and that this was an implementation of Msgr. Steenson's letter in August6, particularly the following:
But as the Extrordinary Form is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities.

That Anglican Patrimony, as regards liturgy, is identified by Msgr. Steenson in the same letter as:
This liturgical identity seeks to balance two historic principles -- that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral. This is what Anglicans understand when they speak of the prayer book tradition.

This understanding is valid, although I would point out that the traditional phrase about "vernacular" worship is more typically referred to as language "understanded of the people", which derives from Article XXIV of the 39 Articles9:
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have public Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people.
Even with that article, and similar provisions in the Prefaces of the various Prayer Books, liturgy in other languages was not historically prohibited amongst Anglicans, as is witnessed by a translation of the 1559 Prayer Book into Latin made in 1560. Latin was regularly used as the language in Prayer Book services at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in England, fluency in Latin being taken for granted (after all, the grammar studied at "grammar schools" until the 20th century was Latin grammar). To this day, the University of Oxford's Church of St. Mary the Virgin begins each term with a Latin Communion service.

As far as I know, only one of the US Ordinariate communities regularly celebrated a TLM; until now that parish has offered a weekday Low Mass according to either the Anglican Use or the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite at 12:10, but on Fridays also offered a TLM at 8:00 am.

Knowing this schedule, and that Mount Calvary, which I was fortuante enough to visit in January when the congregation was received into full communion (see video here), certainly upholds the Anglican Patrimony in its worship, which includes regular Sunday Evensong, I was perplexed as to why this directive was issued. There seemed to be no danger of Mount Calvary failing to promote the Anglican Liturgical patrimony. But since it is rarely beneficial to leap to conclusions, I have been investigating this.

First, it is clear from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum10 that all priests of the Latin Rite (which includes Ordinariate clergy) have a right to celebrate Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite in private (article 2). Additionally, pastors may provide for public celebrations when requested by a stable group of the faithful (article 5). It is also clear from the same Pope's Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus11 that the Ordinariate may celebate liturgy according to the Roman Rite.

These being the facts concerning the rights of Ordinariate priests as to which form of the Roman Rite they may celebrate, how can they be prohibited from celebrating according to the Extraordinary Form? Well, according to Msgr. Steenson's August letter, they are not prohibited from celebrating Mass using the 1962 Missal. In that letter he writes:

Some of our clergy want to learn also how to celebrate according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. They are certainly encouraged to do so, under the provisions of Summorum Pontificum and under the supervision of the local bishop, to assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.

What has been prohibited, then, is the use of the Extraordinary Form, not by Ordinariate clergy, but in Ordinariate property. The former would be a violation of Summorum Pontificum's clear directives, and would be an assumption of authority that is not inherent in the Ordinary's office; if a diocesan bishop may not prohibit his priests from celebrating the TLM, neither may the Ordinary of the Ordinariate, his jurisdiction being "juridically comparable to a diocese." Were such a personal prohibition enacted, it would certainly be something that could be appealed. But there has been no public prohibition of an Ordinariate priest celebrating according the 1962 Missal.

Which then raises the question why prohibit the use of Ordinariate property?

Conjectures and Conclusions

Here I have to pose some additional questions and possible answers, as I don't have the answers to the question above.

I begin by pointing out the obvious: no ritual happens without people! If there is a TLM being offered publicly, then there are people in the congregation. Are these people members of the parish or visitors? If visitors, are the willing to contribute to the upkeep of the parish which is providing them a service?

I have been involved with a couple of Latin scholas as a singer and director. In one parish where we sang several times, I noted that most of the congregation for the TLM were from outside the parish. This Sunday TLM was an addition to the schedule; the young priest who celebrated this weekly was happy to do so as he found it a source of grace and strength. But it is not clear to me that these non-parishioners were contributing to the good of the parish. There was no strife between the TLM worshippers and the parishioners that I was aware of, but there was also little integration.

Other parishes which have celebrated the TLM have noted that at times there has arisen a divide between "traditionalists" and the other worshippers. This has at times caused strife in the parish. Fr. Christopher Phillips, on the occasion of the publication of Summorum Pontificum wrote about his parish's unhappy experience with implementing a regular celebration according to the 1962 Missal years before.12 He concluded by saying:

I hope our experience might be cautionary for those parishes which will be implementing the provisions of the motu proprio. There will be a temptation for some people to erect an "us and them" attitude. There may be a creeping sense of exclusivity ("We attend the real Mass."). There may be the danger that some will see their life in the parish as consisting only of taking part in the traditional Latin Mass with little or no need to be integrated into the totality of the parish.

Of course, Our Lady of the Atonement went on to establish regular Latin-language celebrations of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, on Fridays and Sunday evening. It's people are well-prepared to sing the chants of the ordinary of the Mass whereever they may travel. It is a regular part of the parish life.

Perhaps the motivation for Msgr. Steenson in prohibiting the celebration of the TLM at Ordinariate parishes is to prevent such a devisive "us and them" situation from arising, especially as the Ordinariate parishes are adjusting to life within the Catholic Church and getting themselves firmly established? While safeguarding the right of his priests to celebrate other legitimate uses of the Roman Rite, he can also safeguard the fledgling steps of these new communities.

By allowing his priests to say the TLM if requested, but not in Ordinariate parishes, the new Ordinary may well have acted within his canonical rights. However, should a group of parishioners from an ordinariate parish request that the TLM be celebrated, it is hard to see how they could legitimately be impeded from having that celebration in their own parish. In such a case, an appeal of the situation to the Ecclesia Dei Commision, now part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, might well reverse this decree.

There have been accusations by some on the internet of other motivations for this prohibition. These accusations have been made on the basis of supposition, deduction from private conversations, and observation at a distance of particular events, such as the cancellation of the lease of St. Thomas More, Scranton's school building, which was the event that triggered the past two month's series of blog posts and accusations.

It is a commonplace of moral theology that we should interpret other's actions in the best possible way; this is especially true when we don't have all the information on a given situation. As such, I am not going to repeat any accusations about motives.

Final Thoughts

Of course, even if this best of interpretations is true, there have been missteps by the Ordinariate as a whole in this matter, I think. First and foremost is the failure to get out ahead of the news by better communication. I know that the Ordinariate's Media Contact has many years' experience working as a publicist with the Church; is she not being listened to in her counsel to get more information and news out there?

For example, the story about the school in Scranton should have been made public by the Ordinariate. Yes, Fr. Bergman's congregation in Scranton should have heard it from him, but it involved the Ordinariate as well, and this kind of news, which begged for clarification, should have had it provided immediately.

Secondly, I think there has been a failure to cultivate the still tremendous reserve of good will toward the Ordinariate among the many hundreds (thousands?) who have for years followed the Anglican Use. This good will needs to be cultivated and harnessed, and communication is the key to this. There are bloggers and other journalists who have been kept at arm's length so far. But despite the many other pressing tasks that the Ordinariate's small and part-time staff have before them, reaching out to those who can help foster good will should also be considered important.

Finally, I hope that, should my interpretation of the reasons for the TLM policy be true, that this will be handled going forward in a pastorally sensitive way. Many of the new members of the Oridnariate have emerged from Anglican jurisdictions after years of controversy and contention with bishops. Episcopal persecution of priests and congregations has been a too familiar element of Anglican life, from the jailings and prosecution of "ritualist" priests in 19th century England under the Public Worship Regulation Act to the well-publicized court cases against various priests and parishes by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. This is not an aspect of the Anglican Patrimony anyone wants to see preserved.

References and Links

1. Facebook: It's Official

2. Rorate Caeli: You Report: American Anglican Ordinariate, anti-Tradition zone

3. Eccentric Bliss: The Failure of the Ordinariate

4. Foolishness to the World: The Traditional Latin Mass and the Ordinariate

5. The Anglo-Catholic: Monsignor Steenson Continues to Express Enmity toward the Extraordinary Form (July 29, 2012) and More Ordinariate Disappointment

6. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter: The Liturgy of the Ordinariate and the Latin Mass

7. Anglican Embers: "Catholicity in the Church of England: The Nonjurors: The Repudiation of Erastianism and the Recovery of Sacrifice"

8. Foolishness to the World: Our Thurifer posts his Inaugural Piece in the Catholic Register

9. 1928 US Book of Common Prayer: Articles of Religion

10. EWTN Library: Summorum Pontificum

11. Vatican web site: Anglicanorum coetibus

12. AtonementOnline: Summorum Pontificum


  1. The TLM prohibited at ordinariate properties? He can't do that. It's a decision against the Holy Father wild. All priests can celebrate Tridentine mass in his parishes without ordinary permission. The CDF could say something about that. Sorry by my poor english.

  2. Dahrendorf, it's not clear to me that a prohibition of a TLM celebration at a particular venue is contrary to the law; the right to celebrate a public TLM belongs to pastors and rectors, and privately to all priests of the Latin rite; it is a personal right, in other words. That is one of things I was trying to point out in the section "Conjectures and Conclusions".

  3. Steve, this is your own piece, correct? I find it very thoughtful.

    Most of the Ordinariate groups will not have their own property (at least right away). Can the clergy schedule EF masses in diocesan churches that Ordinariate groups happen to use?

  4. Hi Andrew,

    yes, this is one of my few original pieces. Good question. I think that if an Ordinariate group is being hosted in a diocesan church (similar to how my home pastoral provision congregation of St. Athanasius is, or as several of the Texas groups like St. Peter's are) then the scheduling of an EF Mass is actually under the authority of the pastor of the church. If the ordinariate congregation also attends, or if the ordinariate rector helps out, that would seem to be a different situation than what was addressed. It may well be that the current policy was put in place ahead of many of the ordinariate groups acquiring their own property, to settle the question ahead of time.

  5. " It may well be that the current policy was put in place ahead of many of the ordinariate groups acquiring their own property, to settle the question ahead of time."

    St. Thomas More was about to begin having an Extraordinary Form Mass on a daily basis due to the Gregory the Great Academy. That would seem to have a great deal to do with the timing of the announcement. It would seem that Msgr. Steenson may have simply wanted the Anglican Use have an opportunity to become well established at that location before a different form of community spring up first. I would interpret his motives in the best possible way. I'm not sure if you're trying to suggest that connecting the two events is suggesting some other motive?

    I would have thought that the policy should perhaps be that some certain number of Anglican Use Masses should be reached within a normal schedule prior to scheduling some other form. For instance, Our Lady of the Atonement has three Sunday Masses according to the Anglican Use besides its Latin Mass. If it were a case of having only one Anglican Use Mass on three Sundays per month and then a Latin Mass on the fourth Sunday, that might not be a sufficient ratio. I imagine that groups that are actually a part of the Ordinariate at this point might not have any more than one Mass per Sunday, so it is only common sense that it should be an Anglican Use Mass.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Daniel, you write "I would interpret his motives in the best possible way. I'm not sure if you're trying to suggest that connecting the two events is suggesting some other motive?"

    No, I am not suggesting some other motive, although others have. In the post I wrote about the motives behind the policy the following:

    "It is a commonplace of moral theology that we should interpret other's actions in the best possible way; this is especially true when we don't have all the information on a given situation. As such, I am not going to repeat any accusations about motives."


    "Perhaps the motivation for Msgr. Steenson in prohibiting the celebration of the TLM at Ordinariate parishes is to prevent such a devisive "us and them" situation from arising, especially as the Ordinariate parishes are adjusting to life within the Catholic Church and getting themselves firmly established?"

  8. So... I can celebrate TLM at home, in the street, perhaps in the garden or the public square... but no in my parish. I think it´s a new and imaginative manner to abolish the TLM in the ordinariate. If in a diocese the bishop prohibit the tradicional mass at all their churches, he is in fact abolishing the old rite . The clergy can schedule TLM masses in diocese churches for one reason: Monsignor Steenson have not autorithy to do the same there.

  9. Steve:

    I think we're likely in agreement. I'm just suggesting that the timing was likely due to wanting to nip that situation in the bud in Scranton, even though it was only supposed to be temporary. Temporary arrangements can often wind up being more permanent than first expected, and Msgr. Steenson may have been rightly concerned about the identity of the community. Once they do get firmly established (which might be some years), I would think it could be possible to have other choices as long as the AU remains the principal form.

  10. Part of the tragedy here is the self-inflicted wound done by the Ordinariate. They had reservoirs and reservoirs of good will with the traddie blogosphere. Now, it will take many years to rebuild that alliance. Many will regard the Anglican Use as the Novus Ordo with better externals, rather than a force for good in restoring tradition to liturgy. It didn't need to be that way, but it's the ordinary's fault that it is.

    Remember that Cardinal Wuerl is really the one pulling the strings here. Considering his de facto suppression of S.P. in the Archdiocese of Washington, I can't really say I'm surprised he is likely causing the same rupture in the Ordinariate. A shame.

    1. Ryan, I know that some people's good will evaporated on these stories first coming to light, but I think that a bit more good will toward the actual ordinariate, not just the one we imagined would come to be, is still in order. The "alliance" on the ground will, and should, continue; that point has also been made by people like Deborah Gyapong on her blog.

      Given the enormity of the task of getting the Ordinariate, especially here in the US with multiple Anglican jurisdictions being brought together, up and running, there are bound to be missteps, mistakes, or just things that some of us, looking on from a distance, don't get. The solution is not writing off those who have, in most cases, sacrificed a lot for the sake of unity and communion with the Holy See, but to question and seek answers, and support and pray for that which will be a help to salvation. So it seems to me.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. The Ordinary has the right to decide that the public worship schedule of AO parishes doesn't include Roman-rite Masses (EF or OF or either).

    If this is what the Ordinary's statements relate to, there's nothing untoward about it.

    But it does appear that under SP the pastor ("parish priest") of an Ordinariate church can authorize its use for a private EF Mass; and the faithful may attend it.

    1. With respect, I disagree. Firstly, all Ordinariate clergy are priests of the Latin Rite. Therefore they may celebrate Holy Mass in all forms generally authorised for use by priests of the Latin Rite. In fact the norm would be the NO in the vernacular. There is an "interim" authorisation for Ordinariate Clergy to use certain rites of the Book of Divine Worship (with modifications which have been spelled out in instructions from the Ordinaries). An interdicasterial commission is working on the preparation of definitive ordinariate rites which will then be common to all the ordinariates. That process may take up to 5 years. It may well be that such rites may obtain interim approval earlier than that. If and when that happens, diocesan clergy will probably also be authorised to use the same rites when celebrating for Ordinariate Groups.

      A bishop and therefore by analogy has the right to prescribe what masses out to be said in churches under his jurisdiction at what times and usually these matters are usually co-ordinated at deanery level to ensure that the faithful have as much opportunity as possible to attend Mass.

      Summum Pontificorum regulates how and when the EF may be used and how disputes between ordinaries and those wishing an EF Mass are to be resolved. It seems to me that since the Ordinariates are part of the Latin Rite, the provisions apply exactly as in a diocese.

      It may well be that, given the present numbers of Ordinariate Clergy and the limits on how often each day a priest may celebrate Holy Mass, there is prently a pressing need for concentration on providing a sufficient number of occasions for celebrations in the ordinary forms. That seems reasonable. But at best, Mgr Steenson's statement was unfortunately worded because it should have made reference to Summum Pontificorum. Much controversy could have been avoided if he had set out his reasoning.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Ryan, I've had to delete two comments of yours this morning.

    Please, do not make unsupported accusations. If you want to assert that a person has done something, then you need to support that (and not with a similar unsupported accusation from another blog).

    Please do not call anyone evil, wicked, or the like. None of us are in a position to discuss the moral character of the clergy.

    You are free to discuss actions, policies, etc. and your agreement or disagreement with them, and to support your position. But let's refrain from ad hominems please.

    I do not agree with the policy under discussion, but am seeking to understand it. You would do well to ponder this portion of my article which quoted Fr. Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement, San Antonio:
    "I hope our experience might be cautionary for those parishes which will be implementing the provisions of the motu proprio. There will be a temptation for some people to erect an "us and them" attitude. There may be a creeping sense of exclusivity..."

    Fires don't get doused with gasoline.

    1. OK, I will try to lay this out again. To me, the answer to this is so obvious. But that doesn't relieve me of making the argument for others who might not have had the same experiences living under Cardinal Wuerl, so I will make them. I will avoid invectives.

      1. Cardinal Wuerl has a long history of perceived hostility to the Extraordinary Form. In the Archdiocese of Washington, he issued a post-SP statement requiring all pastors to receive his permission before having a permanent, new EF in a parish. This is on his Wikipedia page:

      2. In addition, I happen to know the organizers of a large EF at the National Shrine (a pontifical high mass, for the second year in a row) encountered massive problems with Cardinal Wuerl's office. Eventually, the Shrine was compelled to drop the plans for another pontifical high Mass. While I have no online citation to this, I can refer anyone interested offline to direct parties.

      3. I now live in the Diocese of Arlington, which borders the ADW and shares many of the same types of Catholics (DC area people). Since SP, the number of regular EFs in the Arlington Diocese is now nearly 20 (up from a few). In DC, there are no new Masses at all. Not one. For a probable explanation for the hesitancy of pastors to do so, see (1). The Catholic populations are very similar.

      4. Cardinal Wuerl is the sort of liaison to the American Anglican Ordinariate, which I think everyone knows. The vicar general of the Ordinariate is a Wuerl appointee. Wuerl has a lot to do with the DC ordinariate activities. I am on the email distribution lists for this area's ordinariate activities, and occasionally participate in their liturgies.

      5. Then, all of a sudden, word comes down from the Ordinariate that the TLM, and only the TLM, is not allowed at ordinariate parishes. This despite the rights given by SP and UE. We know about the other shoes dropping at Fr. Hurd's parish, and the unfortunate events at Mt. Calvary in Baltimore. Everyone wonders what happened.

      I think it's obvious what happened. If you want to squelch this comment, it's your blog. But you raised the question, and the answer is totally-obvious to someone who has seen how this guy operates.

  13. I find it interesting the Msgr. Steenson invoked the principles: This liturgical identity seeks to balance two historic principles -- that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral.

    When I read this, I also thought of the Article you quote in your piece. While this is very good Anglicanism, I am somewhat astonished that vernacular liturgy is so enshrined in the Catholic Church these past 50 years that it now counts as a 'historic principle'! Is this an instance where the Catholic Church has now officially taken a page from the book of Anglicanism?

    1. Andrew, vernacular liturgy was, for the most part, rejected at the time of the Council of Trent because it seemed to be so intimately tied in with the Reformation and its rejection of Catholic dogma and communion. However, there is no necessary tie between them. (Even Martin Luther feared that vernacular liturgy would lead to the balkanizing of the church.)

      Had the Reformation not taken the path of schism and heresy (and proceeded more along the lines envisioned by Catholic reformers such as Erasmus and Cardinal Quiñones) vernacular liturgy might have found wider acceptance in the Catholic Church before Vatican II. The Roman Rite also existed in Slavonic, the so-called Glagolithic Rite, since before the Council of Trent and right up to modern times, which was a real, if not well-known, demonstration that Latin was not the only language acceptable in Catholic worship (as if the witness of the Eastern Catholic Churches wasn't enough!).

      But as a historic principle, within Anglicanism, it can hardly be doubted that vernacular liturgy, or liturgy in the language the people understand, is valid. There's nothing necessarily unCatholic about the principle.

    2. No liturgical language should ever be referred to as the "vernacular" that is too dangerous and incorrect a view. Because the vernacular necessarily changes over time - and because the transition of thousands of liturgical books (especially musical chants) into a new language is an immense task which takes at least half a century or more to complete - it must be a stable language, not a vernacular language.
      This does not mean it must be latin, greek or hebrew, but once you've chosen the language, you can not update it every few decades in the manner of the Oxford dictionary adding to english words to the vocabulary lexicon.

      Every local church needs to have it's own liturgical language but NOT a "vernacular language". It must be a language that is of literary beauty fit for the divine- it must not be - as many after vat II attempted - a language simplified and ment for the easiest understanding possible by the most mentally challenged person there is. In otherwards it MUST be elitist, because God Himself is "Most High".

      liturgical language as "ever changing vernacular" that is a protestant view.
      liturgical language as "sacred (hieratic/unchanging) language" that is an Orthodox Catholic view.

    3. That being said, I strongly support the hieratic english in the form it takes of the Book of Common Prayer (with hope that the occasional errors in such a translation are corrected.) For an example of this see the Miles Coverdale Psalter corrected sold under the name of "A Psalter for Prayer" by David Mitchell James.

      I equally support the use of latin freely in all Churches on equal setting with all other established liturgical languages.

  14. Ryan,

    Thank you for your latest post. I think it is far more helpful in the discussion than the previous ones. I am know that this issue stirs up a lot of emotion in all of us concerned, even those of us at some remove (although I have always considered Washington as a second home after my years of study and living there, along with my son's, so happenings there do feel like they are my concern too).

    While most of what you state above is accurate, I am still not sure that it's obvious about why the Ordinariate policy came about. The "triggering" event seemed to be the situation in Scranton with the school, and given the history in Scranton, there are other reasons why the cancellation of that year's lease of the school may have occurred. Were Mount Calvary in the Washington diocese, it might make sense that Cardinal Wuerl had a hand in crafting the policy. So, while the Cardinal in DC may well have offered his advice on this, in the end, the policy is that of Msgr. Steenson, and there is likely a complex set of reasons for it, more than in his letter of August. Whether it can be justified, and whether it will hold up to canonical scrutiny, I don't know.

    I have reason to believe that a canonical challenge has been submitted, but the judgment of such challenges can take time in coming. However, Rome does not always back ordinaries in their pastoral judgments, as in this story about the reversal of parish closings in Cleveland.

  15. The primary appeal of the traditional Latin Mass to me is not actually the Latin so much as the overall form. There are a lot of silently recited parts, but the appeal is not in understanding, but feeling that you're participating in something that would've been recognizable to, say, Saint Thomas More.

    Of course, he would've recognized the Mass of Sarum even more, and I'm all for restoring that to at least occasional usage. And I'd be happy also with vernacular versions of the TLM like the Anglican Missal or what have you. But since the Anglican Missal is apparently not a legit option right now, and the Sarum Missal, though legitimate, is rather complicated for ordinary parish use, the 1962 Missal is a sensible option.

    Finally, if there's not much demand for the 1962 Missal among the Ordinariate communities, why bother banning it? To ban it implies there's a demand large enough to bother suppressing.

    My blog: Modern Medievalism

  16. Well, there could be demand in Ordinariate parishes or not. A ban could be reactive or proactive. I lean toward the latter interpretation, but that is really only a guess. I have no reason to think that Msgr. Steenson's invocation of the principle of vernacular worship as a guiding factor in determing which rites to use in the parish is not, in fact, the operative principle. After all, while the TLM is being restricted, the Ordinary Form in Latin is not being promoted.

    Those of us who do feel some appeal in the TLM have different attractions. For me it is the chant. Those same chants, of course, can also be used in the Ordinary Form or in the Anglican Use Liturgy, in either English or Latin. Had Vatican Council II's constitution on the liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium been faithfully instituted, we would have a Mass with lessons and chants in English and prayers and canon in Latin. But that is a whole other discussion, best left to The New Liturgical Movement or Fr. Z's blog.

    Sacrosanctum Concilium
    SC, No. 36 §2
    But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.

    SC, No 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.

    1. Thanks for the reply. Sacrosanctum Concilium has always been an interesting document in my estimation. As you probably know, the Ordinary Form Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement is pretty chant-heavy. I sang in the schola there for a long time, and hope to do so again soon.

  17. Thanks for this post. I think that it is interesting. I haven't thought about the problem of TLM attendees not really being part of the parish, that they are often just "helicoptering in" for the mass. I can see that as a real problem. The parish should be a family, as the diocese or ordinariate should be, and as the universal church should be. In a family, you don't get to choose your relatives, whom you sit next to at dinner, but rather must enjoy and endure them as they come.

    I was thinking about that at mass today, with the readings about marriage. As the saying goes, you can pick your friends but you cannot pick your family. Friends are intentional; friends create an intentional, chosen community. Family is not an intentional, chosen community.

    In my experience, Anglicans, and Protestants generally, think of church more as an intentional, chosen community that you can leave behind if you so choose, or you can selectively choose which members of the community to relate to. Catholics think of church as more as a family. Though maybe it is only a difference of a degree. Having a TLM mass where people helicopter in to attend can clash with a family-view of a parish.

    I think of the letter by Msgr. Steetson as an attempt to stay out of the internal family discussion happening within many Latin Bishops' dioceses. The Ordinariate has enough to do without picking fights with local ordinaries and in local ordinariates. Afterall we are an odd thing; we are not accountable to the local ordinary but we are in his community, often in his buildings, and need his help and the help of his flock to survive. There is an internal family squabble in such ordinaries and it is stupid for us to get involved and even to pick sides. Yes, the family argument about the TLM shouldn't exist but it does. It is like many family arguments. They shouldn't exist, but they do and they are about a lot more than just the headline issue, then the TLM in this case. There is a lot of history -- and bad blood -- in a lot of these local ordinariates. The debat about the TLM is not just about the TLM. It would be a mistake for the Anglican Ordinariate to inject ourselves into this internal family squabble at this very tenuous time for the Ordinariate.

    I am confident that over time as the Ordinariate becomes more established and as the Holy Ghost works its way through the universal Church and these issues surrounding the TLM will settle down, that the TLM will take it proper place within the Ordinariate and within local ordinaries.

    And I equally am confident, human nature being what it is, that some other issue will come along to replace the TLM as the family-argument-of-the-moment. Where would families be without some squabbling? It is easy to get along with those people you want to get along with, that you intentionally choose. To get along with those whom you do not choose to be with take much more grace, and maybe that is the point.

    It is important not to let opinions harden. It is important that we forgive our relatives their mistakes and we hope they forgive ours. Msgr. Steetson may have erred, as fathers do, but ultimately He will work things out. In the big scheme of things it is a minor dust-up. Now, what was I angry with my brother about again?

    1. Dear Mr. Hall:

      This is all very interesting but I've always wondered why the presence of the T.L.M. in the Latin Church should cause squabbling. In my experience, the trouble comes entirely from the N.O. people. Perhaps the T.L.M. reminds them of the old Church and her rules, rules, for example, about not contracepting the next generation out of existence or attempting re-marriage invalidly. I can only speculate. But I don't see why the NewMass people should concern themselves about what T.L.M. people do or how we pray at the T.L.M. Nobody is forcing them to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. A great deal of trouble could be avoided if people would just leave others alone, in a spirit of charity. Instead, we have people from the N.O. trying to 'help' us set up for the Latin Mass in my Parish. They help, for instance, by handling the Chalice and putting patens of the wrong colour over the paten. They 'help' by pinning a corporal to the uppermost Altar cloth on a High Altar which they do not use. Why can't they just go away and get lost? On it goes.

      I like to think that the Ordinariate people are more sympathetic to the T.L.M. After all, like Latin traditionalists, they know what persecution feels like. Most trads I know, for all the accusations to the contrary, are good an minding their own business. We don't try to barge in to the New Mass and tell them what to do during it. We ignore it completely.


    2. As an Eastern Orthodox Christian, I am bemused by the apparent furor in the Roman Catholic Church about whether, and under what circumstances, a liturgy that was in daily use from the Council of Trent until the mid-1960s, and for a thousand years before that in its various pre-tridentine versions, may be served. Why not simply take a cue from the Byzantine play book and celebrate the older rite on Christmas and Epiphany and the Sundays of Lent (and perhaps on certain other feasts, such as Corpus Christi), and the ordinary rite (in Latin and/or the vernacular, as the congregation wishes) at all other times? It would lend those feasts a little extra solmenity and reinforce the sense that one belongs to a Church with a 2,000 year history.

      Equally bemusing is the apparent dithering about a married priesthood, considering the dire shortage of priests and its harmful effect on parish life. No wonder there are so many complaints about banal Masses, when the dwindling number of priests have become nothing more than Mass-reciting slaves, who are ashamed to appear in public in clerical garb..

      Those are disciplinary issues of the Western Church, which the Pope could solve with the stroke of a pen. Why he hasn't yet done so is a puzzle. But a more troubling issue, from an EO point of view, is the virtually universal abandonment in the Roman Catholic Church of the 2,000 year old universal Christian tradition of the Eastward position at Mass on the part of the priest. St. Basil the Great says, "It is according to an unwritten tradition that we turn to the East to pray. But little do we know that we all look to the East at our prayers, but few of us know that we are thus seeking our own old country, Paradise, which God planted in Eden in the East".

      David James

  18. Thank you, Bruce. Of your post, I recommend to our readers the words from the Eastern rites:

    "Wisdom! Be attentive!"

  19. There is one thing that is being overlooked here about Article 5 of "Summorum Pontificum". It is frequently thought that it only allows a Parish Priest (or one invited by a Parish Priest) to schedule *public* Traditional Latin Masses if a group requests this. This interpretation is false: the Article does not enact this restriction and you will nowhere find the adverb 'only' in the Latin text (or its official English translation, for that matter). The section says that a group may petition for a public T.L.M. but it does not say that a public T.L.M. may be offered in that Parish *only* if it does so. Does the Parish Priest have a right to act unilaterally, adding a public T.L.M. when no group petitions for one? The answer is affirmative owing to the general permission given in Article 1 of S.P. together with Section 1 of Canon 837: Masses are public as a general rule. Where there is no prohibition, there is permission. In my own T.L.M. community, the Parish Priest did not solicit a petition at all: he said the T.L.M. privately for five months and then simply published a schedule for public Latin Masses. Did he break the law? Not at all. Which law did he break?

    Moreover, under Art. 4 of S.P., an Ordinariate priest could offer the T.L.M. 'sine populo' but with invited guests. Under decisions made by the P.C.E.D. over the years, a Mass sine populo is one which is not published in accordance with a regular schedule--by a temporal rule. For example, an announcement in a bulletin that there will be a T.L.M. every Thursday at 4.00 a.m. is a public Mass, but if the priest were to publish each week in the parish bulletin that there will be a T.L.M. on Thursday at 4.00 a.m., it is a Mass sine populo. The P.C.E.D. has also said that those freely entering through unlocked doors are deemed to be guests.

    Also, if a diocesan bishop cannot generally prevent a Priest from celebrating a T.L.M. on diocesan property, then it follows (unless there be a restriction at law) that a personal Ordinary cannot prohibit one on Ordinariate property. I cannot see how Msgr. Steenson has more authority over his subjects than a local bishop has over his! Of course, this will have little effect anyway, as only seven of the 29 Ordinariate communities in the U.S.A. have property they own or rent. All the rest worship at Latin churches and, in six cases, they do not have every-Sunday Ordinariate Masses in any event. This is what makes me wonder if this is all an act of malice on the part of Msgr. Steenson. It looks so petty. The T.L.M. is now offered every Sunday in 154 of the 176 Latin Rite sees; the Ordinariate Use, in only about 15. The only exception to overlap is the case of the Archdiocese of Mobile, in Alabama; that is, there is an every-Su. Ordinariate Mass there but not an every-Su. T.L.M.

    Regardless of what the Vicar-General has communicated, another interpretation can be put on Msgr. Steenson's words. He may rule that the T.L.M. is not properly offered at Ordinariate Mass sites, but that amounts to a recommendation and advice; it is not a strict prohibition.

    I cannot see how there can be any such restrictions. What S.P. and U.E. do make clear, when read together, is that the proper or local ordinary can reduce the number of T.L.M.s in order to ensure reasonable access to the normative form of Mass. U.E. suggests (but again with no 'only' restriction in the text) that a P.P. may add one Sunday T.L.M. to the schedule in normal circumstances. Everything done should ensure peace among those attending legitimate forms of Mass but absolute bans are not in this spirit at all and are offensive to good faithful who are attached to the T.L.M.

    Lastly, why should Ordinariate priests and faithful have access to the ancient Roman Mass limited? The Traditional Roman Rite, unlike the New Order of Mass, is integral to the Anglican patrimony.