Latin Mass “power of silence” raises UK Catholic decibels

June 16, 2008

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, 25 Dec 2005/Alessandro BianchiCardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was at Westminster Cathedral in London over the weekend to lead one of the highest profile celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church’s old Latin Mass here since the 1960s. The Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales has been lukewarm about the prospect of the old rite being celebrated alongside Mass in English, so the cardinal’s presence was a clear reminder of what the Vatican wants.

Before the Mass on Saturday, Castrillon Hoyos met four journalists (myself included) to explain why Pope Benedict decided last year to promote wider use of the old Latin Mass. He praised the traditional Tridentine rite for its “power of silence,” an element of contemplation he said had disappeared from worship since the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. If his pre-Mass briefing is anything to go by, however, the Latin Mass also has a power to raise the decibel level among Catholics in Britain.

The Colombian-born cardinal, who is head of the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei for relations with traditionalists, said the new form of the Mass had led to “abuses” that had prompted many to abandon the Church. So, he said, the pope wanted the older form to be offered again in all parishes (not only where a group of parishioners requested it, as originally said).

“The experience of these 40 years has not always been so good. Many people abandoned the sense of adoration (of God)…There is (now) an atmosphere that makes it possible for these abuses and that atmosphere must be changed,” he said in English. “It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue — fraternal dialogue — making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and the old rites.”

The cardinal added that Pope Benedict would soon clarify his motu proprio — the decree allowing wider use of the old Mass — to clear up confusion over issues ranging from the differences between liturgical calendars of the old and new rites, the use of vestments, ordinations to the sub-diaconate and the Eucharistic fast.

The TabletHow polarising this issue can be within the Church was apparent even in that small group during the 45-minute interview.

Elena Curti, deputy editor of the Catholic magazine The Tablet, said many Catholics like herself were confused at the new emphasis on the old rite. It seemed to diminish the role of the laity, she said, and she asked the cardinal if this was a regression from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965. The cardinal said no: “The Holy Father is not returning to the past but taking from the past a treasure to make it present today along side the richness of the new rite.”

Curti’s comments sparked a declaration from Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph religion reporter and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, that he “deplored” her comments.

“I’d like to very strongly distance myself from what Elena has said and to say that there is tremendous enthusiasm among younger Catholics for the motu proprio, that many Catholics are deeply grateful to the Holy Father for making the change and many younger Catholics regard this as an extremely exciting development,” Thompson said to the cardinal.

Damian ThompsonJohn Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society that organised the Mass and the briefing, felt obliged to intervene and ask for “charity around the table.” Thompson (pictured at left) kept up the same tone in his two reports on the meeting — “Latin Mass to return to England and Wales” and “Victory against the sandalistas” — and on his blog Holy Smoke (with partial transcript of the briefing). Since The Tablet is a weekly, we’ll have to wait until Friday to see what Curti writes.

The revival of the Old Latin Mass has been compared to a cultural revolution within the Catholic Church. It looks like it’s off to a rousing start.


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[…] report from another one of the reporters – Sebastian Tong of Reuters – at the briefing with Cardinal […]

Posted by Tong’s Report of Castrillon’s Briefing at Cornell Society for a Good Time | Report as abusive

Are we to understand, Mr. Tong, that you disagree with the “tone” of Mr. Thompson? For myself, I’m extremely glad that he was present in this interview so that he might give voice what thousands of young people around the world do in fact feel, who are passionate about the “Gregorian Rite” – this demographic is the future of the Catholic Church. As for Elena Curti and her ilk – their days are numbered. Why? They have no children and they don’t enter the priesthood or religious life.

Posted by Iosephus | Report as abusive

My opinions on the matter are irrelevant in this instance although I will say I enjoy Mr Thompson’s work immensely. But suffice to say that it is highly unusual for reporters at a press briefing to ‘deplore’ each other’s comments in front of the newsmaker.

Posted by Sebastian Tong | Report as abusive

It is unusual, true, but I was there as a blogger rather than as a reporter (though I did file a report to the Telegraph after a big story unexpectedly materialised). I was appalled by the querulous tone of Ms Curti, whose questions betrayed deep hostility to the Cardinal’s message.

Posted by Damian Thompson | Report as abusive

I see no reason for Mr Thompson to apologise for, or explain,his actions.Does anyone believe Ms Curti was anything other than an advocate for a particular point of view?

Posted by tertullian | Report as abusive

I think it’s excellent that this is coming back; what Ms Curti and others don’t understand is that people don’t need a job to do at Mass, it’s outside of Mass where people should be active in the field of evangelization, alongside the Church… Full and active participation can be achieved through prayer, sacrifice and living a life faithful to the Church.

Posted by John Paul Ritchie | Report as abusive

Perhaps now it’s okay to ask what happened to…

Sacred Tradition
Mass Cards
Sanctifying Grace
Act of Contrition
Four Marks of the Church
The “Glory Be”
Joyful/Sorrowful/Glorious Mysteries
Corporal Works of Mercy Apostolic Succession
Four Last Things
Perpetual Adoration
Spiritual Works of Mercy
Communion of Saints
Papal Infallibility
Mortal and Venial Sin
Immaculate Conception
And then there’s St. Christopher, St Philomena etc…

Great columns Damien. Gratias.

Posted by Anne | Report as abusive

Kia ora from New Zealand Sebastian,
Thanks to you and Damien for the honest reporting.
I have a very modest radio programme in NZ and will be discussing your reports July 4th.
I am unashamedly a devotee of the ‘Gregorian Mass” and delighted to read of its celebration in Westminster Cathedral – what inspiration for us in the antipodes.
Let’s hope you make the NZ Catholic newspaper!

God bless
Diane Taylor (Sec. EDSNZ, Rep. FIUV).

Posted by Diane Taylor | Report as abusive

Oh heaven forbid that the Cardinal be questioned! Goodness what was Elena Curti thinking? As lay person, woman and not aligned with the interests of the current reactionary clerical elite she should have no voice at all.

Such boutique cheering, as damien’s piece expresses,for the return of the Tridentine Rite merely reveals adherence to a ghetto culture rather than with the actual engagement and evangelization of the world.

Such obscurantists have little to do with the Gospel but everything to do with irrelevance and privilege.

Posted by mark | Report as abusive


Posted by VINCENT MWANGAGHEE JUMWA | Report as abusive

Elena Curti certainly asked the right question. For forty years we have had Mass in English, laypeople reading the first and second reading, distributing Communion as Extra-ordinary Eucharistic Ministers. More recently we have seen girls as altar-servers. The Gregorian Rite, to borrow Card Castrillon’s term allows none of these changes. Communion is only received under one species – The Body of Christ – and all are required to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.

How can Mr Thompson deplore the confusion that Elena Curti describes? The stark differences between the New Rite and the Old Mass demonstrate that the Church has developed a different way of involving the Laity in the Sacred Mysteries of the Mass.

Mr Thompson’s ad hominem about the numbers of young people flocking to the Gregorian Rite ( the Old Rite ) does not help the confusion of those who see the encouragement to priests to offer the Gregorian Rite as a sign that the New Rite has been abused and led to a loss of Faith.

We need honesty in the debate here, not partisan arguments.

Bryan Dunne
Harrow UK

Posted by Bryan Dunne | Report as abusive

Why, I am a young Chinese catholic who got baptized a few years ago.

I support the Gregorian rites with my whole heart, although I attend also the new rites.

But it should be a crime to intend to give up the Old Gregorian Rites totally. And it is really a pity that many priests don’t like Latin. As a woman, I don’t have any problem with the Gregorian Rites, why should anyone speak in my name (young, female, not-European) that the Gregorian Rites are not suitable for the modern world. He who wants to make such argument should ask me first as a real represent of this population.

The Holy Father has just done the right thing.

If some people don’t like Latin or the solemn beauty of the Gregorian rites, it shows only that they are not very sensible to beauty and culture. It says nothing against the Old rites themselves.

Posted by a Chinese catholic | Report as abusive

I fully understand Mr. Thompson’s reaction.
We, catholics under the age of 40, since birth are accostumed to hear the same things again and again: the new rite is a progress, a step forward, the old one was sclerotic, nobody understood it, gregorian music is for nostalgics, etc. Mrs Curti is like a broken disk, repeating always the same old-fashioned tune.
Now please stop. The old rite is not mandatory: is an option for those who like it. But people like Curti, or the majority of bishops, simply fear this right of choice and the fact that many lay people do work to get it.
It’s quite ironic as it come from people always speaking about pluralism, inculturation, promoting the role of the layty…

Posted by enrico | Report as abusive

Rubbish in latin is still rubbish

Posted by Steve Bowen | Report as abusive

I am a priest in the USA, and have canvassed as many priests as I could to find out how many of them have had parishioners request the old rite. Having questioned over one hundred pastors, only one priest had anyone even make an inquiry about the rite. There seems to be a lot less interest on the part of the majority of the laity here than was expected from the volume of interest expressed online by those in favor of the new rite. Do with that information what you will.

Posted by Fr. Patrick Mullen | Report as abusive

Thank you for that reality check, Fr. Mullen. That jibes with my own unscientific survey back in March linked to the new Latin version of the Good Friday prayer. The details are at  /03/21/how-many-catholics-will-hear-dis puted-good-friday-prayer/

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

Ah God bless you Fr Mullen – by your posting and informal polling you have inadvertently vindicated Damian Thompson’s main point of contention with the Recalcitrantly modernising Clergy and professional ‘Laitista\'[who have no qualms in being overtly hostile to any limitations of their shanghaiing the sanctuary and liturgies into sacrilegious vaudevillian debacles and narcissistic ego-trips].

How many of your hundred priests [and their respective ordinaries] actually informed their parishes/dioceses of the Motu Proprio – and the oportunity for them to request the extraordinary form ? How many of them actually contravened summorum pontificum by both suppressing it and preventing its promulgation within the Church ?
It’s a far from subtle ploy and a thoroughly specious argument : It’s known as a fallacy of non-causation – a nil cum hoc ergo non propter hoc fallacy .
e.g. A shopkeeper keeping a product behind the counter so nobody knows of it , nobody buys it – therefore nobody wants it !!!
If few ask it’s potentially because hardly anyone knew their was an opportunity to ask.
It’s so easy to conclude that there is no interest when nobody is allowed to be interested !
Was not the main thrust of the cardinal’s interview informing and instructing the faithful in order to make the [deliberately ?] uninformed aware of its existence , and available if desired ?

Bryan Dunne – you raise an important issue but unfortunately you’re allocating blame upon the innocent party – far from Damian Thompson being the one initiating ad hominem assaults ; he is one of the few people in this country who has taken a stand defending His Holiness and the Motu Proprio – and taken reactionary defensive measures in the onslaught – usually through informing others of both the nature and character of the Pope’s deliberations and the hostility invoked amongst those antagonistic to it and their reprehensible countermeasures to deprive the faithful of the opportunity to attend a Gregorian Rite mass .
It has been the Tabletista denouncing the Motu Proprio as well as His Holiness, it has been the Church Hierarchy of England and Wales [with only a few notable exceptions] who have launched a systemic assault upon summorum pontificum – subverting, silencing, thwarting, distorting, deceiving, obfuscating ; their mendacity and duplicity has been shameful to witness. Should you be unaware of the half-truths, mistruths and untruths issued from Bishops’ palaces in this regard I suggest you refer to Mr Thompson’s excellent blog “Holy Smoke”.

Did one single westminster bishop attend last saturday’s mass ? Did one of them extend the same courtesy they gave to his [now defunct] Grace, the sultan of sacrilege Marini only a few months ago ?
His Eminence’s absence from a pontifical mass screamed volumes.
The tide is turning – and long-dusty cages are being rattled – and the headless chickens run aimlessly and chaotically until all their fruitless disenfranchising and utterly un-Catholic machinations expire with them – Thank The Lord and his servant Benedict.

Posted by Paul Priest | Report as abusive

I find it amusing that some people are so easily ‘confused’ by a different liturgy. One must suppose that, should a taxi company change the colors of the cabs, such a person would stand and stare, slack-jawed, at the different appearance, paralyzed by indecision. Also amusing is the impotent ‘fist shaking’ at the “reactionary elite” clergy by angry people who appear to have both the temperament and the love of diversity of a spoiled three year old.
yes, indeed, we have had 40 years of novelty, change, progress and so on, and the only visible results are empty pews, empty homilies and empty-headed Catholics who know nothing about their Faith. Some progress!
It is hard to see how the traditional Mass could do any worse – even though it might indeed upset those who fancy themselves as ‘para-clergy’ and priestly wannabees.
But enough wrangling – let’s all join hands with our liturgical dancers now, and twirl about to the glory of God as we picture Him or Her, whilst our priestess presider sings a delightful version of Kum-Ba-Yah.

Posted by julian | Report as abusive

How typical of Damian Thompson to weasel his way out of an accusation of unprofessional conduct by saying he was there as a blogger, not as a journalist. I look in on his blog from time to time and it’s populated by the biggest crowd of fanatics and dissemblers you can imagine. Going there is like going on the fishing trip from ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, and Damian encourages them. Damian himself uses the words ‘Tabletistas’ ‘Bitter Pill’ ‘Sandalistas’ ‘Ma Peppinster’ and endless snide remarks about the Catholic hierarchy. Contributors ape this and add insults like Mzzzzz Curti. Women and Muslims are particular targets of their abuse, and they seem to get into mad rages at the push of a button. Time really for the Telegraph to close it down.

Posted by george | Report as abusive

For anyone’s information: it isn’t correct to name the Tridentine Mass the “Gregorian Rite”; it is the “Roman [or Latin] Rite” which properly uses Gregorian Chant in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office. The point might be made, too, that anyone who wanted the Latin Mass had already left their arid parishes for greener pastures, so to speak, leaving a lot of brainwashed and starving lost sheep behind who didn’t know there was anything else except the thought that the Novus Ordo revolved around them. Guess what? The Church’s doctrine and Mass didn’t begin with Vatican II, and there were hundreds of popes before John Paul II.

Posted by patricia | Report as abusive

The new mass nearly made me lose my faith; the old mass has restored it. It’s beauty and spirituality speaks for itself.

Posted by luke | Report as abusive

I grew up in the 40s and 50s and was in the seminary for 2 1/2 yrs. The celebration of the Latin Mass, with the priest facing away from the congregation, allowed me to meditate and contemplate without distraction on this sacred ceremony. The changes of the Vatican COuncil in the early 60s changed all of that. Mass became a major distraction. I could no longer contemplate or pray the way I had been raised. With the changes came new songs and a different liturgy. What happened to “Tantum Ergo” and “Holy God We Praise Thy Name”? These songs were rooted in tradition from the Old Country. In later years, when I became a religion teacher to 10th grade students, the ‘laity’ balked at my reference to the teaching of traditions and sacred rites.

My wife grew up in Germany in the 50s and 60s which strictly adhered to catholic litury, ceremony, and songs. It became in our family a tradition that tied us to our faith.

A wonderful reference for you is the dispensation by the Bishop in Minneapolis shortly after the end of the Vatican Councils of that time. CEOs from major corporations such as NW Airlines etc., petitioned the bishop to allow a special dispensation for a church in St. Paul to continue the Latin Mass. It was granted.

We are excited about the return of the Latin Mass.

God Bless the Holy Father!

Submitted with sincerity and gratitude.

Posted by Philip | Report as abusive

I have to agree with Julian about losing the faith. I lived for many year close to a Church that had Latin Mass every Sunday at 11am. It was not the Tridentine rite but was in Latin and As Julian said the spirituality and reverence was there to see. I then moved to another part of the city and could no longer attend my usual church I went to the local church a few times but then stopped.

Last New Year I made a resolution that I would once again go to Mass every Sunday and have so far been able to do so but it is slowly but surely eating into my faith instead of sustaining it.

It is not one big thing but lots of little things and most of the time I believe it is my fault as everyone else seems to be ok.

There is constant chatter, ther attitude shown to the Blesssed Sacrament is almost indifference, looking like a queue at Sainsburys. The muic is geared to the lowest common denominator and theologically deviod of any meaning apart from some sort of “feel good” buddy music.

Maybe it is just me maybe I need more from my Church

Posted by Seán | Report as abusive

I strongly support George’s comments. Damian Thompson should give up his claim to be a journalist and settle for polemicist or rabble rouser. His blog is increasingly filled up with contributors posting anti-muslim diatribes on the lines of “send them back to muslim countries” and “we must take up the sword against Islam”. He sets out the bait for this stuff with his own regular attacks on Islam. George is also correct in describing the childish abuse and name calling which characterises the postings of Damian Thompson and his supporters. I am very unsurprised to read of his conduct at the interview – he shares with his sympathisers an inability to discuss certain topics without engaging in abusive rants.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

I am the same Chinese catholic who spoke above.

I only want to tell the Reverend Mr. Mullen that I told my fellow Catholics in China about the Motu proprio of the Holy Father, and everybody is happy about it. They want, like me, more offers of Mass in the Old rites.

In China more people know about the Old Rites which were still common until the 80s.

In Europe most young people know scarcely anything about it. So I want to thank Mr. Mullen for his advice: I, or, we, will work hard to tell more and more catholics about the beauty of the Old Rites, and one day, Mr. Mullen himself will be asked to celebrate according to the Old Rites.

Posted by a Chinese catholic | Report as abusive

In response to Mr Paul Priest’s post above I deny that I was accusing Mr Thompson of “initiating ad hominem assaults”. What I said was it was unelpful to use ad hominem agruments about the numbers of young people attending the Gregorian Rite. This is not polemical nor was it intended to be. Simply put I do not think that an appeal to large numbers of young people, without giving any evidence at all, is an answer to Elena Curti’s question. It’s a bit like the 10,000 Frenchmen style of backing up an argument.

I am not surprised that few Catholics have asked their Parish Priests for the Gregorian Rite since the issue of the Motu Proprio. Many Catholics are unaware of the Motu Proprio; they neither read the Catholic Press or the “Daily Telegraph” nor are members of the Latin Mass Society. They are what the Americans call Joe Catholic coming to Mass at their Parish Church week in and week out.

There is indeed a lot of work to be done by those who prefer the Gregorian Rite to increase knowledge of the Motu Proprio and interest in the Gregorian Rite. I suggest that those who wish to see more Catholics requesting the Gregorian Rite from their Parish Priests do some of the following:

1. Invite their Catholic friends to a Gregorian Rite Mass
2. Let their Catholic friends know how happy they are with the Motu Proprio and explain what it means
3. Ensure that whenever they see new faces at the Gregorian Rite Masses they speak with these new-comers afterwards and encourage them in a freindly way to attend the Gregorian Rite.
4. Encourage those who organise Gregorian Rite Masses to ensure there are simple Latin-English Orders of Mass available for those who do not have Missals.

We who prefer the Gregorian Rite have now got to stop complaining and behaving as if we are in a bunker hidding from the wickedness of all that goes on outside. We do not have to apologise for assisting at the Gregorian Rite: Sum Pont. makes it clear the Mass of St Pius V was never ob/ab/ubrogated.

Introibo….Deum qui laetificat juventutum meam.

In caritate Xp.,

Bryan Dunne
Harrow UK

Posted by Bryan Dunne | Report as abusive

Thank you Bryan!

Yes, we will work hard to support the Old rite.

It’s high time to do what you advice.

For him who is interested, here is also a link for photos taken during a Requiem Mass for a perished Jesuit in Shanghai. It was held last year and according to the Old Rite:  /127349621/

Posted by a Chinese catholic | Report as abusive

Bryan , I apologise if I misunderstood your posting and responded somewhat belligerently ; but please be aware that the confusion would not have arisen had you not used the term ‘ad hominem’ in an awkward and dubious way; when you really meant Damian was throwing ‘consensus gentium\'[s] around. One could accuse him of a suspect bandwagon fallacy
but the truly guilty person in this regard was Ms Curti.

Hating to blow my own trumpet, Ms Curti was also guilty of a sub-clause of the ‘last man standing’ fallacy – I have no idea if anyone else has designated it a nomenclature elsewhere , but I originally called it the ‘Solitaire’s the only game in town’ fallacy then the
“Calling it Peace” fallacy [from Tacitus’ Ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. Where they create a desert, they call it peace (They create desolation and call it peace). ]

As I’ve posted previously – and you also stated – it cannot be inferred that the ordinary form is the most desired when it is the only form available to the many – and the only one of which they’re aware.

Ms Curti et al declare vindication through their victory over the suppression of the Gregorian rite.
They’re calling this peace !

Now I have to counter your ‘stop complaining’ challenge and accusations of ‘siege mentality’ as if it was neither factual nor beneficial ; exactly what position do you think we’re in ?

Yes I’ll concur that ‘people power’ works ; but are you not being somewhat remiss in not addressing the fact that the hostile administrative professional laity and recalcitrant clerical hierarchy are wilfully suppressing the directives of the Motu Proprio ?

Our Ordinaries have been directed to inform us of the character, nature and potential availability of the Gregorian rite – should not our main thrust be to demand that our clerics , for once in the past forty years , actually do as they’re told !!??

If you honestly think this is going to be like a modern day version of Robin Hood or a re-enactment of a dodgy episode of Star Trek where the slaves/peasants revolt against their despotic overlords and justice once again rules the land – you’re very mistaken !

I’m sorry but we have to face facts :
priests over the past forty years have normatively been ideologically brainwashed into a programme of self-annihilation – they’ve been trained under the premise that in the future when we have a progressive conciliar oecumenically minded lay empowered church they will become defunct and surplus to requirement .
So they were trained to conform to the ideology of moral and doctrinal pragmatic indifference and pastoral/liturgical acedia.

It’s very hard to admit that the priest of today spends more times in committees and watching countdown/hollyoaks than he ever spends in performing liturgies or interacting with the parish – but it’s regrettably not a stereotype we can easily dismiss.
The visiting priest has gone the way of the twice daily mass , the devotions and benedixions, parish missions etc.
Priests didn’t suddenly lose religious fervour and become indifferent and downright lazy – they had to be trained long and hard to become this way – many hours of modernist laitista indoctrination were required – the old stereotype of the tyrannical tin-pot [ irish ] dictator who knew everyone and everything and controlled everyone’s lives accordingly – was deemed utterly anathema – and everything contrary to this idea of priesthood was exemplified as ‘pastoral ministry’ – co-operation,lay participation, group dynamics, pastoral hubs rather than priest visitation…
Ultimately the priests suffering from a cross between schizophrenia and an identity crisis – wanting to be a priest while being forced not to be by the agenda.

why do you think virtually every catholic blog across the land has a special devotion to prayers for priests ? because we are fully aware of the terrible position they have been pushed into.

So along comes the Gregorian rite – how are our clergy going to react ? Well, how have they been trained or socio-culturally indoctrinated into reacting ? They’ll run a bloody mile !

Will they deny its existence and pretend those who want it are still a bunch of over-zealous , opus dei , Pius X loving psycho hyper-traditionalists who think the cold is God’s way of telling them to burn more protestants,homosexuals,liturgical dancers and female altar servers ?

Will they [and this is a worse scenario] feel alienated and disenfranchised even more than they did previously ? terrified that they have no idea what the rite entails let alone how to speak the language ; and what’s worse the gregorian rite so brings to the fore so many authentic aspects of the ordinary form of the rite that the priest may be confronted with his abject ignorance of his liturgical knowledge – even in regards to the ordinary form mass he celebrates ??? Could this lead to his confronting other aspects of his understanding of both faith and morals ? could this potentially make him realise that when it comes to the crunch he was so badly trained for the priesthood that he has no basic knowledge of anything the role pertains ?

Or will the priest either play dead and remain oblivious to the changes , or will he walk away ?

I’ve always been reticent to agree with Fr Zuhlsdorf and his mantra ‘save the liturgy, save the world’ but I have a feeling that the only way anything is going to be saved from the imminent liturgical confrontations is through evangelisation and education – and that doesn’t only mean our laity – it means most crucially and imperatively an adequate training and retraining of our clergy – and this Motu Proprio might be an appropriate justification to get the ball rolling.

Now in defence of Damian:
Damian was there in an unavoidably dual-role ; and he has nothing to defend if he states in certain aspects and instances he was wearing his ‘blogger’s hat’ – we are fully aware that on occasions as Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Herald he has to ‘bite the bullet’ to ensure the publication’s impartiality ; as a blogger he is free to opine as he wishes.

Now with regard to Elena Curti [who WAS there solely as a journalist ; one seriously doubts that wild horses could drag her to Westminster last saturday unless she was being paid handsomely]. She is the deputy editor of The Tablet ; consequently any question she asks must be decrypted and discerned accordingly.
However ostensibly innocent the question seemed , anyone’s who’s had any dealings with these individuals knows the shorthand, the innuendo, the manipulatively distorting epithet ; the enthymemic hidden agenda.

Now we’ve already stated repeatedly on here the doctrinal position regarding Lumen Gentium.
Ruffian intimated that Ms Curti’s interpretation of said doctrine is theological : I contend it’s ideological and is antagonistic to the very core of the term ‘Catholic’.

I find it amazing that some of you can separate both parts of her first question without realising that the second is supposed to be a justification for the first – and this reasoning is something akin to :

This anointing as priest bestows on the laity [and more especially women] certain rights and opportunities to perform all the duties of an ordained priest

[remember that the Tablet has previously stated the defunct, almost obsolete and unnecessary nature of the private sacrament of penance ; and promoted general absolution with the quasi-theological notion that the collective people of God absolve each other of their sins as commanded by Christ in the Lord’s prayer – each member is exercising their priestly role to their neighbour ; not only that it is only a few months ago that The Tablet handed over their soapbox to a Dutch Dominican who opined that the Priest is fungible with any chosen member of the laity to perform a Consecration !!! ]

In other words the Tablet is on the record proselytising the idea that the unique ontological identity of the ordained ministerial priesthood has been superseded and subsumed into the Laity within the post-vatican II church.

Ms Curti uses the terms ‘women on the sanctuary’ and eucharistic ministers.
Now taking the latter first, surely she must be aware that she meant extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion ?
The priest is the extraordinary eucharic minister ; the bishop being the ordinary minister.
Does she accept extraordinary to mean [in her own words] ‘exceptional…not something we [have] every Sunday ‘ ? I think not .
Now what is the underlying argot behind this ‘women on the sanctuary’ term ?
surely she means in the sanctuary ?
Oh no , wait , what sanctuaries ?
Go into practically any church built in the past forty years and you’ll find a raised platform with a canonically illegal wooden table-altar [often sans reliquary] – frequently the free standing wooden lectern is not even on this platform but the floor ; and the priest addresses the people from a microphone stand. Where the tabernacle resides invariably results from how vociferously opposed the parishioners are to having it consigned to the broom closet to make room for ‘the band’ !

So what exactly did Ms Curti mean ?
She meant women exacting their role as ‘priests – as is so far possible under the anachronistic patriarchical hegemony of a ratzingerite vatican’
This was the progress – the road to either women priests or the aboliton of the ordained ministry ; or possibly everyone being afforded the ministerial role ?

The Tablet is very enthused by the notion of house-churches in the community – how soon before the Hyacinth Buckets that now grace the professional laity are bestowing upon us invitations to their personal eucharists with tea and light refreshments ?
Young Jocasta made the unleavened bread herself, Dorian has set up the wi-fi for Inwood mass downloads to play at the appropriate times; and little Imogen photoshopped the doves and glued them onto a purple pashmina for mummy’s stole. They can have the social justice charism of a neighbourhood watch meeting afterwards and the sky plus box is already set to play ‘Godspell on ice’ for this week’s RCIA. Julian the significant other and co-celebrant might have to pop-out for a few minutes mid-service to check on the biscotti…

But no – the Gregorian rite ‘denies’ [her terminology] this ‘progress’…
God created all equal – which means in new-church that not only can anyone do as they wish [the joys of situationist ethics] they can now be who they wish to be irrespective of irrelevant exigences like ordination – they fulfill their vocation according to their perceptions of the way the spirit is leading them. {hopefully the Holy Spirit actually leads them away from buying patchouli and flyflots and making tofu casseroles – but we are a sinful nation and must endure such acts of purgation]

Ms Curti very clearly meant exactly what she implied ; and she knew the terminology to use.
‘My inner ring is incandescent with rage at this sequestration of our rights as professional laity to run the church , bully the priest into subjugation and tyrannise all the little people’ – becomes :

‘I think many Catholics are rather confused…’
‘This new emphasis to many of us seems to deny that.’
‘Should we go back ?’

The Many ?
The many who have been systemically disenfranchised, ‘dumbed-down’ , left out of the decision-making processes…

[incredible isn’t it ? whereas the pre-vatican II church condemned a few clerics making all the diocesan or parish decisions, these laitista seems erfectly happy to have all the power and authority exerted by even fewer professional laity !!!]

the many who are compelled to endure liturgical travesty.

the many whose parents scrimped and saved to help build churches and schools ; the many who now face their children being deprived of a local church and a catholic education because the diocesan religious committee has sold the schools and churches off to pay for new programmes and initiatives to draw people back to church and for catechesis !!!!????

the many who are sick of being told ‘oh this is the new way now’
communion in the hand is the new way now,
standing for communion is the way now
standing during the consecration is the new way now
Saturday afternoon is Sunday – it’s the new way now
Ascension Thursday is now Sunday – it’s the new way now
no you have to sit in front of the priest to confess, not kneel behind a grille – it’s the new way now
oh and what to confess ? well realy you can do it yearly at a general absolution – haven’t you heard ? it’s the new way now – but anyway, masturbation, the pill, divorce, gay sex, pre-marital sex, euthanasing the elderly and the handicapped aren’t sins anymore -it’s the new way now !!!

We – the many – contrary to Ms Curti’s assurances…

….are sick to the back bloody teeth of the NEW WAY NOW!!!!!

…and THAT was exactly what Damian was referring to when he rebutted that the Young [and we who were young enough at the time all those years ago to have it usurped from us] who are aware of the Gregorian rite – Want the opportunity for it – and do not want the few professional laitista and ‘professional’ administrative clerics and journalists/academics with their own personal agenda – depriving us yet again; as they have spent the past forty years desecrating, despoiling and disenfranchising all of us ; to the benefit of none except their popularity, their autocracy and their bank balances !!!

Damian thankyou !!
Thankyou for telling His Eminence that we might wish to be informed, and then asked what we thought before our professional laity and clergy tell everybody what we think.

Posted by Paul Priest | Report as abusive

This is the first time on this blog that I’ve seen such animosity between these two sides on the question of the old Latin Mass. I’m sure that non-Catholics who make the effort to read through all these comments must wonder whether this division is as wide as the Sunni-Shi’ite rift in Islam. Are we just hearing the extremes here? Is there a broad middle ground that might be happy with a Novus Ordo Mass with some Latin (like the Pater Noster or Agnus Dei?).

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive

Tom it’s not the Novus Ordo that’s the problem.
The Novus Ordo was never the disease : It was merely the rash that the Church came out in….

Posted by Paul Priest | Report as abusive

Is there a broad middle ground that might be happy with a Novus Ordo Mass with some Latin (like the Pater Noster or Agnus Dei?).
In the catholic Bavaria, Germany, there are Latin Masses hold in the Novus Ordo every week.

And in the cathedrals there it is common to use the Latin “Credo” after the homily.

And the chorus sings every Sunday the Introitus, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus und Agnus Dei according to the Missale Romanum in the Novus Ordo.

I know Italians and Spaniards who know the Latin Pater noster, Credo by heart.

Posted by teresia | Report as abusive

You can find a link to Cardinal Castrillon’s sermon at Westminster Cathedral on the Latin Mass Society website

“….As Pope Benedict has written in his letter to the Bishops, which accompanied the Motu Proprio: “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching” and I sincerely hope that your love for the classical form of the Roman Rite will never be translated into polemics against the ordinary form of the same rite and will be open to any subsequent directions of the Holy See for its celebration…..”

An extract from the said Semon given on 16th June 2008 at Westminster Cathedral by Cardinal Castrillon.

Time to stop the polemics perhaps?

In caritate Xp.,

Bryan Dunne

Posted by Bryan Dunne | Report as abusive

Paul Priest – Bravo!

Wonderful post that really crushes the head of the progessive-liberal argument here.

Thank you!


Quote: “How many of your hundred priests [and their respective ordinaries] actually informed their parishes/dioceses of the Motu Proprio – and the oportunity for them to request the extraordinary form ? How many of them actually contravened summorum pontificum by both suppressing it and preventing its promulgation within the Church ?
It’s a far from subtle ploy and a thoroughly specious argument : It’s known as a fallacy of non-causation – a nil cum hoc ergo non propter hoc fallacy .
e.g. A shopkeeper keeping a product behind the counter so nobody knows of it , nobody buys it – therefore nobody wants it !!!
If few ask it’s potentially because hardly anyone knew their was an opportunity to ask.”

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive


O tried and true, O Latin Mass, I will always be beside You.

O Christmas Tree, O Christ’s Mass, I never take away my eyes from you.

My Latin Mass, My Latin True, O how Very Extraordinary art You!

O Latin Mass, O Latin Mass, make me happy any day Low or High too.

From More’s Bridge, to Campion’s Tower – to Iona and up to Crocanaffrin. O Latin MASS, Yes Latin Mass, how Gregorian art you.

I am never nervous near you, no novus disorder turns me round,

For O Latin Mass, O Latin Mass, it’s because I trust your Tridentine Smile.

And so now I promise you, O Latin Mass, O My Sweetest Latin Mass, I will always be faithful.

Learn Thy Mass!

Posted by Gregorian | Report as abusive

I can’t wait for the return of the old Latin Mass, my faith was sorely shaken,with the knowledge that it was only by permission a priest could offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the old form. I never knew why they changed it, my feeling was if it wasn’t broken why fix it.

If the Mass was Holy and Sacred as I was taught by the church and believed, why was it being withheld,and a new order being push on us allowing everything except the Trinedine Mass.

When I went to a class on why Catholic and I saw the Tabernacle that at one time had held the Body of Christ,
sitting in a back room I went home and cried.

So Father when you say you have only heard of one person asking for the Old Rite, maybe they gave up asking I know I asked a priest about it and he got angry.

Posted by Colleen | Report as abusive

Thank goodness for Damien Thompson – he seems to be the only Catholic journalist who realizes that the RC bishops in the UK have all turned protestant.

Posted by DandJ | Report as abusive

In reference to the comments above from Father Mullen…I have to say something. How easy is it to request something or have interest in something that Our Church, Our Bishops, Our Priests, Our Pope (previous)have told us we have no right to ask for. How could we be interested in something we know nothing about. I stumbled across the TLM 2 years ago and Thank God every day I did. The way someone presents the question can have alot to do with the response. I am used to going to Key Food but if someone asked me would I go to Path Mark I would probably say no. I don;t know anything about it, where it is, or what it offers..Does it mean Key Food is better??? I believe that these type of surveys are not reflective of the truth, only ignorance, instilled by the very institution that is asking the question…Have it in every Parish as an option for 5 or 10 years and then ask the same question. I think you will have a different response. After all was it the laity that asked for the changes?? Had you taken the same survey in 1970 I think most would have said they were Ok with the way things were albeit some changes..Not complete rupture..

Posted by Mitch | Report as abusive

The Latin mass is the only Mass!. I went to the new mass for years thinking it was the Latin mass translated. When I looked into it more there was a more sinister side. The truth being the new mass is the devils invention with a lot of evidence to back that up. I solemnly believe that the latin Mass needs to be brought back into every Catholic Church.

Posted by james d | Report as abusive