To face the people or not to face them (saying Mass) . . .

A priest reports . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

. . . That is the question, given a quite reasonable answer by a priest writing into Fr. Z in 2016:

After my entry into the Catholic Church from Anglicanism and ordination as a Catholic priest, I approached the Archbishop about offering the Mass ad orientem.  

His guidance to me was to “catechize the people” regarding whatever I was going to do.  Since that time, at the 3 successive assignments I have had, I have periodically done just that.

Other priests whom I have served alongside have had varying reactions, some positive and some negative.  In my current assignment, the priest here with me also started occasionally offering the Mass this way a few years ago, and has noticed that his perspective on the priesthood and the Mass has changed.

Something worth pursuing there.

With the arrival of the 1st Sunday of Advent, I took the opportunity…

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More by Jungmann . . .

Ranking Vatican 2 expert on reforms . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

. . . the Jesuit historian, acclaimed as “one of the greatest historians of the liturgy in the 20th century” and described as one whose “researches did much to shape the liturgical renewal ratified and encouraged by Vatican II.”

See: The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, called “his masterpiece, dated in certain respects, but a classic and still full of much useful information.”

Hence the importance of his findings as related to the Mass of today.

He makes a point early on of liturgy’s communal aspect. (Bold face added)

To determine just how broad the field must be which this historical analysis will cover, it is important to discover the precise meaning of the word “liturgy.”

Is it concerned only with the activity of the priest who celebrates, so that the participation of the people and the forms under which he celebrates are

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Historian Joseph Jungmann in 1948 . ..

Road map for reform . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

Historic historian at that, his work on the Mass a classic, here in general terms about change/reform early in his Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development:

The liturgy of the Mass has become quite a complicated structure, wherein some details do not seem to fit very well, like some venerable, thousand-year-old castle whose crooked corridors and narrow stairways, high towers and large halls appear at first sight strange and queer.

How much more comfortable a modern villa! But in the old building there is really something noble. It treasures the heirloom of bygone years; the architectures of many successive generations have been built into its walls. Now these must be recovered by the latest generation.

So, too, in the Mass-liturgy, only a historical consideration of the evolutionary work of the centuries can make possible a proper appreciation.

One of a series of references to this work…

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Reform-minded English Jesuits cleaned house in 1954 and 1971 . . .

Zealous reformers . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

Fr. Humwicke tells about it.

A correspondent . . . asks for more information about my statement that the Jesuits burned the relics in the Reliquary Chapel in Oxford’s Catholic Parish Church, Alyoggers. Information is provided in an excellent, erudite, and readable little book called St Aloysius Parish Oxford The Third English Oratory A Brief History and Guide 1793-2000 New Edition by Fr Jerome Bertram, MA, FSA, of the Oratory.

I will lift some bits from Father’s narrative.

Caught up in the thing, these Jesuits went beyond the call of sacred duty:

“In 1954 the Jesuits decided to ‘modernise’ the church. Nearly all the statues and pictures disappeared, as did several memorial brasses to priests and parishioners, and the whole building was painted battleship grey, obliterating all the brilliant colouring of the internal decorations …

In the 1960s came the major changes in the Catholic Church following the second Vatican…

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Trump wins!


Between the Two Popes There Is “Fracture.” The Silence of Francis Against Benedict – Settimo Cielo – Blog – L’Espresso

Quite a different understanding of this matter is presented when you consider this, from a veteran Italian newsman:

In the week that followed the explosive publication of Joseph Ratzinger�s �notes� on the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, there are at least seven essential elements that have come into the open, which are to be kept in mind in view of future developments.

The first concerns the genesis of the publication of the �notes.� In the introductory paragraphs, Ratzinger says that he wrote them �in the hiatus between the announcement of the meeting of the presidents of the episcopal conferences and its real and proper beginning,� or between September 12 2018, the day of the announcement, and February 21 2019, the opening day of the summit.

But Ratzinger also says that he wrote them to �contribute one or two remarks to assist in this difficult hour.�

From which one deduces that he wrote them in order to offer them, first of all, to the leaders of the Church gathered at the Vatican by Pope Francis to discuss the question.

This was confirmed on April 13 by �Corriere della Sera,� the most widely read secular Italian newspaper, one of the press outlets that two days before had published the full text of the �notes�:

�Benedict sent the eighteen-and-a-half pages on pedophilia �to the gracious attention� of the secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, before the global meeting of the episcopal conferences, to make them known also to Francis.�

What happened however is that none of the participants at the summit received Ratzinger�s text. Francis thought it better to keep it to himself, locked away in a drawer.

And no one would have known anything about it if Ratzinger himself, about forty days later, had not decided to make it public, formally in a little-known Bavarian magazine, �Klerusblatt,� but practically in a dozen major publications, Catholic and not, all over the world and in several languages, after alerting the highest Vatican authorities to this, as he himself has revealed:

�Having contacted the Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the Holy Father himself, it seemed appropriate to publish this text in the Klerusblatt.�

Very strange, even upsetting, behavior in this by Pope Francis. Bishops from all over the world gathered to fix a major problem, and the best known bishop in the world, senior and retired, offers his ideas and is rebuffed by the silence of the supreme bishop of all the world.

Judge: Barr sowing public mistrust with Mueller report handling – POLITICO


Attorney General William Barr has created public distrust about whether the Justice Department is committed to sharing as much as possible about the Russia probe’s findings, a federal judge said on Tuesday.

“The attorney general has created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said during a hearing Tuesday afternoon on a Freedom of Information Act suit demanding access to a report detailing the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller.


Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush, did not elaborate on what actions or statements by the attorney general have generated those perceptions.

We understand, since like Will Rogers, all he knows is (quite possibly, most likely) what he read in the papers. (WaPo, NYT et al. is our guess.)

Kim Foxx under fire: Accusers want to take down an African American reformer | Laura Washington

Politico Illinois reports:

Venom directed at Kim Foxx is about taking down an African American reformer, writes Sun-Times’ columnist Laura Washington: “Foxx’s critics scream about Smollett, but they were silent when Laquan was shot down in the street like a dog. They said nothing while (Anita) Alvarez waited more than a year before finally charging Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke with the crime.”

Equally serious issues, both flagrantly violated, one of them more obviously, i.e. in the Smollett case, when Foxx comported herself so foolishly and publicly, hence more easily proven.

Historic WPA mural featuring only white children removed from Chicago-area school

Thank God for David Sokol:

“There is nothing offensive with the mural; it just shows all white kids playing,” said Sokol, an author and Oak Park resident. “Just because it doesn’t have any black kids, doesn’t make it offensive. It doesn’t display any stereotypes at all. That’s how Oak Park looked back then. You can’t erase history.”

The offending mural:

More to demonstrate presence of sanity in the village:

Barbara Bernstein, a founder of the New Deal Art Registry, said the removal of the mural is a missed opportunity for students to learn about the history around them.

“I think it does a real disservice to remove a piece of historical work,” said Bernstein. “Not everything in your environment is going to be a perfect reflection of you.”

The move makes you wonder what the authorities think school is for anyhow.

Sokol, instead, would’ve rather the school kept the mural on display and used it as a learning experience for the students or counterbalance it by making another mural showing the modern Oak Park.

The school, once named after Nathaniel Hawthorne, was renamed years ago, and there’s a mosaic about that.

The front of the school features a mosaic tribute to the school’s namesake, Percy Julian, an African American scientist and inventor who lived in Oak Park. There is also a large painting in the school showing a black child and white child growing up; at one point they are shown holding hands.

Good heavens, what are they thinking of among school decision-makers?


A little Tin Pan Alley . . .

Dominus Vobiscum: Notes from a massgoer's underground

. . . Warmup before a recent funeral mass which I attended included an organ-played rendition of “All the Things You Are” – lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II – from the loft. Only the music (by Jerome Kern) was played, however.

The words go this way and presumably would have been applicable to Jesus, though that would be a major surprise to both Hammerstein and Kern:

You are the promised kiss of springtime

That makes the lonely winter seem long.

You are the breathless hush of evening

That trembles on the brink of a lovely song.

You are the angel glow – that lights a star.

The dearest things I know – are what you are.

One day my happy arms will hold you

And someday I’ll know that moment divine

When all the things you are are mine.

 Ain’t liturgy grand?

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