Pseudo-Orthodox Rantings & Ravings- but funny!

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Some in the so called “orthodox” circles of Catholic liturgy… are in a euphoric tizzy with the rumours that B16 is going to reverse the restoration of the liturgy to some of the Tridentine forms or implement parts of the Ambrosian Rite. I’m not sure what is going on, but after surfing some of the more “conservative” websites I notice that part of the agenda is to try and reach out to teh Tridentine crowd which left the Church. Although this is noble, the efforts find people reaching perhaps a little too far towards people who will never accept the foundational aspects of Vatican II. There’s also a consistent mocking of the current practice in the Church as lacking in “spirit”. I find that most offensive. I don’t mind people saying that they prefer this or that. But it’s when it comes down to mocking how the majority of Catholics pray and mocking the liturgy… well to me that borders on blasphemy!

That being said, I must admit that the above graphic is quite funny. I have to give credit to these pseudo-orthodox for great branding and marketing. Well done.

Oh, and why “pseudo”? Heresies exist among left-leaning people and on right-leaning people. But one of the challenges of the right is that some cloak themselves with the mantle of orthodoxy. I’m sorry. The Roman Catholic Church of today is the orthodox way! Vatican II is the orthodox way. Build a bridge and get over it!

PS… the author of this graphic is from I don’t share his thoughts about liturgical issues but there are some very intelligent and well reasoned reflections there. It’s worth taking a look.


  1. Without a doubt, Friar Rick, something profound is happening and I believe it is from the HOLY SPIRIT, how fortunate we are indeed to still have Peter with us in Pope Benedict XVI.

    News today from England that many Anglicans in addition to the Traditional Anglican Communion are petitioning to return to Rome is wonderful news. Just last week the Transalpine Redemptorists (yes about 10) at Papa Stronsy in the Orkney’s and formerly associated with the SSPX have returned. The beauty to see Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholmew together last week and the Vatican’s reaching out to the SSPX; truly the workings of the Holy Spirit to bring unity to the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.”

    Now what does the above have to do with your post, and a very creative graphic, no doubt?

    Because I believe that they are intrinsically linked in what Pope Benedict has been called to do as Peter.

    I don’t think anyone need fear that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, what was known as the Tridentine Mass, the only Mass of the Second Vatican Council will be forced upon people. That is not Benedict’s way, he leads by example. But, it is the Mass in its form since 1570 and essentially since the 6th century in Rome. Indeed, it is the liturgy observed by the Seraphic Father.

    Pope Benedict has said, much to the consternation of Brother you-know-who, that the Ordinary and Extraordinary are “two forms of the same rite.” I don’t think that is always apparent because of liturgical abuses and dissent in the liturgy and excesses and experiments which Pope Benedict himself called “painful” and “deformations.” Further, the invasion of secular music styles (this also happened with operatic styles causing Pope Pius X to issue his motu proprio Tra le Sollecitudini in 1903) into the liturgy and away from sacred music has only accelerated the rupture with our tradition.

    I think what Pope Benedict is doing is going back to the Council document, Sacrosanctam Concilium to re-implement it. We are not going back to the past, but we are going “back to the future.”

    Anyone who seriously studies this document as well as Tra le Sollecitudini, Mediator Dei and Da Musicam Sacram from Pius XII and Redemptionis Sacramentum from the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II as well as the Fifth General Instruction on the Roman Missal (which I understand all priests in Toronto will soon study this Autumn and be required to finally implement) will realise that something in the liturgy has indeed gone awry.

    I suspect that he will reduce the number of options and suppress most of the Eucharistic Prayers other than I, the Roman Canon, and III, rebuild the Offertory to better express the “sacrifice” as opposed to the “seder” which is what is expresses now. In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict expressed discomfort with the “Kiss of Peace” at its current place because it creates noise and distraction at a time when their should be recollection for communion. In fact, Jesus said that if we have a dispute with our brother, we should leave the temple to make peace before returning to give our offering. In the Ambrosian Rite, this is expressed at the beginning of the Offertory and I think this is what the Pope will do, not eliminate it, but place at after the Prayers of the Faithful.

    Soon, thankfully, we will have a new translation of the Mass that is more in keeping with the Latin. Gone will be the redundant “and also with you” which will become, “and with your spirit.” How much more beautiful is “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world, blessed are those who are called to the banquet of the Lamb.” This is what the Latin translates to in the Mass of Paul VI, not the current “This is…happy are those.” It also better expresses the eschatological banquet of the Kingdom of God in Revelation, not the Last Supper seder meal.

    Much good went awry with the implementation of the Council. I have long wondered why the 1970 Missal was even necessary considering that the Council Fathers’ desires were almost fully implemented (the lectionary was still to come) with the 1965 Missal, including the use of the vernacular languages.

    All of us clergy and laity alike need to carefully watch what Pope Benedict is doing with the liturgy. As Saint Pope Pius X, who originally coined the phrase “participatio actuoso” (which is more than just “active” meaning movement or doing something outward but more properly translated as full, complete or true participation inwardly and outwardly) he is a liturgical expert and is desirous of our salvation.

    If he is going to issue, as I believe, a new Roman Missal for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, we must all accept it in humility and obedience. Hopefully, moving forward with both “forms” our Brother you-know-who will come fully home.

    If not, then they will join the rump of “old Catholics” and other schismatics and heretics over the centuries. They will be cut-off from Peter and the promise that the “gates of hell will not prevail.

    Too far right or too far left off the road…either way, you’re in the ditch!

  2. I think Holy Family does The Reform of the Reform well. Reverent, no ad hoc social time with the sign of Peace and a percentage of Latin distributed in the various prayers without being completely in Latin. I do really find Gregorian Chant to be very spiritual and as far as general parishoners picking it up; if my five year old can sing the Kyrie (yes I know it’s Greek) or Gloria so can they.
    I have no problem with Ad Orientum or Communion on the tongue but I do think change has to come slowly.
    I also feel that the polarity between the “trads” and the “liberals” is bad. We are all Catholics together and have to find some middle ground.
    I don’t like liberals giving me a hard time for going to HF and don’t like conservatives being really nasty about aging nuns and priests either. It’s not kind and once you start saying things like that (either side); you’re not in a very good spirit in general.

  3. As a Catholic convert, I had a great time discovering the richness of the Catholic faith. I came to it from the outside, and was unaware of the rather unpleasant attitudes that often go along with the very beautiful Tridentine services itself.

    You could have said that I was on the path to becoming a “Traddie”, but it was the trash-talking traddies who cured me of it, and the fact that I’m the father of two kids.

    Sure it’s all well and good that I, a pretty well educated person can read my Latin missal, and learn to say “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbum, et sanabitur anima mea”. But I looked over at my completely bored and confused 8 year old and 6 year old kids, and realized, I’m going to mass, but they aren’t. And that was a problem.

    The trash-talking traddies handed out radical conservative newspapers after mass, and called the pope, a leader that I dearly dearly loved and still love in fact (JP 2), all kinds of nasty names. Knowing that the lack of love, and lack of fidelity to Mother Church must surely lie with the rad-traddies, I came back to the living center of the Church.

    What makes real Roman Catholicism, as it has existed in 20 centuries, stand out, and makes it truly recognizeable as the real thing as compared to the pseudo-catholicism of radical traditionalists, and the sedevacantist crazies, is a vibrant confident belief in the power of the Holy Spirit, the necessity of real Catholic unity, and the awareness that the Church is always changing, growing, and adapting. She is a living tree, not a petrified stump. Nothing, no matter how baroque and beautiful it may be, substitutes for living, working, relevant faith.

    At the Eucharistic Congress the social dimensions of the Eucharist were highlighted. This is a core element of the Christian faith, going back through the teaching of the Apostles, to the very words of Jesus Christ. If we’re going to do any returning to the sources, I believe that Vatican 2 is calling us to consider afresh our own personal call to live and obey the words of Christ in the Gospel. Which is what it means to be a Franciscan, to me.

    Warren P, SFO

  4. “It is absolutely right that the vernacular should displace the Latin if by doing so, the rituals of Catholic Christianity bring a greater satisfaction to the laity and a deeper comprehension of their religion. There oughtn’t to be any argument on this point, and there certainty isn’t any from me —-though I cherish the bodkin Sir Arnold Lunn so deftly inserted in the soft tissues of that argument: ‘If it is so,’ he said, arguing along with Evelyn Waugh and others for one Latin mass each Sunday in the larger churches, ‘that the Latin Mass is -only for the educated few, surely Mother Church in all her charity can find a little place even for the educated few?'”

  5. William wanna be.

    If you are going to use the late and great conservative’s name to make a point perhaps you should learn first off this man’s position towards the mass in the local vernacular. Its a well know fact that he wasn’t much of a fan. Please come back under a more suitable name like oh say Karl Rahner.

  6. Just to make the point

    Regular confession was a norm, and once we stumbled through a dark church at night so that he might be shriven. Not the Mass in English, but the Mass in miserable English, made the Holy Sacrifice an unholy torture, and he made special efforts to find it in Latin, although his grasp of Cicero and Plautus was from an admiring distance

  7. Yes Friar, but the quote is from the late Mr. Buckley nonetheless.

    Mobius, your point is well-taken!

    “Vouchsafe to grant us an ineffable gibbet upon which we may offer an oblation worthy to bury eternally the banality of ICEL that shall no more defile that which must be verily rendered in humble sacrality and oration.”

    Some are so arrogant to “John and Mary Catholic” that they can’t understand beauty and yet, we’re so much more “educated” than previous generations. Very soon we will elevate our language when exercising the sacred liturgy.

    Notwithstanding the USCCB’s inner political machinations, they will not stop the new Mass translations which “may” be unveiled at World Youth Day. The U.S. Bishops cannot delay the rest of the English speaking world from a worthy translation of the Mass.

    The Pope will act to end this charade.

  8. Ok, I’m on a committee in the Archdiocese of Toronto to prepare a seminar for the priests to promote the new changes to the Sacramentary. Although I had some initial doubts, Bishop Crosby of ICEL has really inspired me about the quality of the language and the imagery used.

    I am firmly a Vatican II baby and this current liturgy, the mainstream of the Church, is what suits me well. But, I also don’t like pedestrian liturgies that neither challenge nor inspire people. I don’t mind having the minor discomfort of learning new prayers… or God forbid, having to prepare and review the texts before presiding!


    Vouchsafe to grant us an ineffable gibbet upon which we may offer an oblation worthy to bury eternally the banality of ICEL that shall no more defile that which must be verily rendered in humble sacrality and oration.


    I know that you’re just making a point. However, just as there should be a difference in language between liturgy and “street” talk. There should be a difference between literary language and liturgical language. The language of the liturgy, while of good quality, should be readily available to the people. It’s their LITURGY!

    P.S. Maybe if the trend continues we can get an indult to continue celebrating from the current Sacramentary for those who have an abiding fondness and desire for it… we could call it.. the Alternative Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite 🙂

  9. Good morning Friar Rick

    I am really glad that you are part of the committee and that you been “inspired” by the “quality of language and imagery used.” That is a good sign.

    I know my little composition was silly but I think one of the great failures of the “new” liturgy has been the translation. The other is the lack of care that many clergy and laity have taken over the years.

    I know that “rad-trads” can be hard to please. I am not one but simply a Catholic who wants the liturgy celebrated according to the rubrics with the appropriate options where designated…nothing added, nothing take away.

    One thing Friar which I find very disturbing, and I have witnessed it in at least five parishes in Toronto (I won’t say where or which Area) is the continual rendering of “His” to “God” even when the “His” might be referring to Our Lord Jesus Christ and not the Father, for example in the Doxology. Through God, with God, in God is simply not the correct prayer. The sacrifice is offered by the Son to the Father through the Holy Spirit. When this happens, I generally get up and walk out.

    Using an excuse which I heard last week, “well we are an ‘inclusive language’ parish” just doesn’t cut it. It is one thing to change “brothers” to “Christians” in a hymn such as Brothers/Christians Let Us Love One Another, (though I hate when this is done to timeless Christmas Carols as in CBWIII) quite another if it is an integral prayer unchanged for 1,500 years or more. This is the “lex orendi, lex credendi” where how we pray affects how we believe.

    If I could urge anything to priests it would be to stop this kind of arbitrary deformation of the liturgy. It is not my liturgy or any priest’s it is the Church’s liturgy and ulitmately it is from God. I have never understood why, in spite of every document on the liturgy saying that no priest (or bishop) has the right to change one word that it continues to happen.

    Do the red, say the black has merit.

    I don’t reject the Ordinary Form or Novus Ordo, I never have. I might question its neccessity given the 1965 English Missal which I believe fulfilled, and in the beautiful Confraternity of Christian Doctrine translation, all the desires of the Fathers of the Council (the new lectionary was still to be added). But we are all poorer spiritually for the liturgical experiments.

    I think we all need to trust our Holy Father Pope Benedict in this matter and not the so-called professional liturgists. He was, after all, a peritus at the Second Vatican Council and a contemporary there of Rahner and Kung. But as early as the late 1960’s he saw that things had gone awry. Something infected the Council and/or its interpretation. I think only now, through his teaching and example, most of us who care are finally coming to realise that.

    It’s really simple, we all need to be more Catholic in our worship and in our practice outside of Mass in either form.

    God bless you Friar Rick and thank you for your ministry to God’s people.

  10. I just hope that with the new liturgy there won’t be any felt banners, even if they are in Latin, and no tamborines or drum sets! Friar Rick – as a Vatican II baby which document says to decorate the church in campy art and bring out campy folk songs?

  11. The Bible! The Bible speaks of dancing and tamborines and all sorts of music before the Lord. As far as felt banners. They’re banned here. Where are you seeing them? Or are you just repeating complaints from the 70s and 80s? Read Environment and Art in Catholic Worship. It speaks of creativity and participation. It also calls for GOOD art. So, sometimes we need to be more selective. But considering the how important the restoration of the liturgy was after Vatican II, it’s understandable that there was a learning curve.

  12. I’ve been to quite a few that still have banners. One in Toronto St. Leo’s. But where I live in Courtland, all the churchs here still have then. Maybe because we’re rural the priests or grey haird ladies keep the kitchy art. Its tough to find a decent liturgy down this way.

  13. Banners may be banned at Bonaventure, but there’s so much at Bonny that speaks of “the hermeneutics of rupture,” (to quote Benedict XVI). Having been to your parish a few times I can say that I just didn’t feel at home there. It seemed a lot like a protestant or baptist denomination.

    I mean no disrespect, but I would sincerely like to know your thoughts on the following… I’ve been listening to your coverage of the Eucharistic Conference in Quebec and it seems that you’re were an strong and clear voice for the Eucharist being the source and summit of Christian Spirituality. My question is why Bonanventure’s tabernacle is allowed to remain such an affront to this idea.? I’m referring to that modernist Star Trek cement “sarcophagus” with the plastic glass chunck medallion with space rays emananting from it. Not only is this a hideous piece of 1970’s kitch, but it’s unrecognizable as a tabernacle and it’s shoved off to the side and blocked from view from 50% of the pews. Even if you could see it, you wouldn’t recognize it. I was about to seat myself in a pew there, and I was so embarrassed that I had to go back and ask one of your ushers where your tabernacle was so I could genuflect.

    I would like to invite you to an opportunity, Friar Rick. If the eucharistic congress truly was an example of the refocussing of the Church on the Eucharist, will you pledge to bring that spirit to your own parish? I am asking for a visible sign of faith and rededication for all Bonaventure parishioners. I ask for this:

    Will you pledge to purchase a new tabernacle which is dignified and beautiful and recognizable as a tabernacle? A tabernacle which anyone can recognize as the place of the Real Presence of Christ?

    Will you bring the new tabernacle back to its rightful honored place on the altar? A place where every Catholic who comes to your Church can see it, can meditate on it and genuflect before it?

    That would be a wonderful gift to all of us and a visible sign to everyone of the Christ-centered focus at Bonny. In fact, if you make this promise here today, I pledge to help defray the costs with a significant financial contribution to it’s purchase. I will also urge others to help with the costs as well.

    What do you say?

  14. Are you kidding me? I love the tabernacle at St. Bonaventure’s. It’s in a brilliant location with it’s own chapel, yet part of the main worship space in the church.

    I guess I like the rich Catholic tradition of balance of focii of the Eucharist… Altar, Word, Presider, Assembly, and Tabernacle.

    Thanks for your offer though. How about helping with the roof?

  15. Now I wonder who’s kidding who. We are talking about St. Bonaventure on Leslie St, right? The tabernacle/receptacle doesn’t have it’s own “chapel.” It sits in the left transept of the church BEHIND the pews. It’s no place of honor and seems deliberately hidden from the majority of parishioners who cannot even see it.

    I can tell you this true story: I have a mother in law who’s so progressive she makes Joan Chittister look like Sister Faustina. I brought her to a St. Boneventure Mass last autumn because I thought she’s feel a lot more at “home” than in my new parish. But when I tried to sit with her in the left transept, even she refused. “I may not follow many traditions in the Church” she said, “but I draw the line at turning my back on the Eucharist.” It upset her as it upset me previously.

    Doesn’t any of this matter Friar Rick? A “balance of focii” is a contradiction of terms. If there’s going to be multiple focal points (Eucharist, Altar, Word, Presider, Assembly, and Tabernacle) I’m sorry, but that is a violent break with Catholic Tradition. Honestly, Fr. Rick, can’t you see it harms the Church, and makes an autistic babble of the clear, beautiful symbolism built up over centuries of the Church?

    Doesn’t Tradition outweigh personal taste? I would think that it would.

  16. This goes to those who don’t like Latin just because they “don’t get it.” Sometimes I don’t get the sermon. Sometimes I may not get the cute little drawings from the Sunday school children, or why we need the CWL report right after the sermon. However I’m not there for that. I’m there for the Eucahrist.
    I’ve heard from a good priest who teaches at the seminary that I shouldn’t go to mass expecting to get something out of it. I shouldn’t think it will change me. He said that I should go simply to worship God. When I do that everything else will fall into place. I’ve found that when the mass is in Latin I do focus and pay more attention. I’m drawn into the mass.

    I would suggest Warren that you not judge a whole tradition of the Church based on the grumblings of Rad Trads. I’m not a fan of them either. But at least at mass they are quiet and reverant. Judge the mass for the grace that it transmits and the focus on the Eucharist. Our attitudes can be shaped and influenced by peoples behavior but we should still keep and open mind, maybe try to understand there point of view. They may express themselves in a negative way but their intentions are good. But please do not allow them to shape your perception of the mass.

  17. Wow,
    that was quite the generous offer by Michael. Not being familiar with St. Bonaventure I’ve used my imagination and related it to other parishes that have the Tabernacle in out of site out of mind locations. If you could provide a picture of the location much appreciated Fr. Rick.

    Now, that said, I think that since the good Friar is just coming off the high’s of the E. Congress in Quebec he should have at least considered the offer.
    I would think that the metal of Fr. Ricks commitment to the centrality of the Eucharist has been tested and we see that the fire was not strong enough to temper it, but is instead lacking.

    I found it a bit disheartening that you dismissed the offer and based most of your reasoning on your personal tastes. Shouldn’t the parish as a community have a say? Fr. Rick you claim to be so liberal. How could you be so closed minded?
    Now you may believe that the mass has four aspects as you point out. But really Fr. do you honestly believe that when the kids are belting out a tune on their guitars they will be so distracted by the tabernacle they won’t notice? Are you so worried that no one will listen to your homilies because there is a tabernacle in the centre of the sancutary?
    Maybe your parish is unique Fr. Most people I know just like to have it in a prominent place simply to help them know where to focus their prayers.
    Do have some humility and give some respectable consideration to such a generous offer.

  18. Rightly so, the people at St. Bonaventure, and the Church itself, know where the focus is during the liturgy… on the Altar of Sacrifice. As far as the location of the Blessed Sacrament; well, if the chapel is good enough for St. Peter’s in Rome, it’s good for us too!

  19. The Chapel at St. Peter’s is gilded bronze designed by Bernini and has statuettes of the twelve Apostles on the cornice and one of Jesus on the miniature dome. It’s encrusted with lapis lazuli and is flanked by two angels in gilded bronze kneeling in reverent prayer. Behind the altar is an oil painting by Pietro da Cortona of the Trinity.

    I’ve prayed in St. Peter’s Chapel. The Tabernacle is instantaneously recognizable to everyone as a tabernacle because it uses accepted Catholic iconogaphy. It also sits in an actual chapel which means that the pews face it directly. The entire design speaks of reverence, respect and focus on the heart of the Church.

    Bonaventure’s tabernacle is a totally different and jarring break with everything the Tabernacle is supposed to be. It’s an unrecognizable, grim, grey coffin-like box with a peculiar New-agey crystal embedded in it. You can say what you like Friar Rick, but any visitor can see this thing has no “chapel” associated with it. The pews face away, and anyone sitting in the transept must turn their back on the Real Presence. I would bet that many visitors do just that because they have no idea there actually is a tabernacle there.

    I find this status quo mystifying. Despite your apparent enthusiasm for the mission of the Eucharistic congress, I read that you’re open to spending a massive premium on a “green, and “carbon-friendly” new roof for Bonaventure, but are totally closed to the idea of spending one cent on re- refocusing the parish on tabernacle and the Real Presence of our Lord. Even if some fancy green roof were installed and it generated 10 megawatts and powered a soup kitchen, it still wouldn’t save a single soul, right? But the experience of Real Presence in a quiet Church, as Catholic history attests, has transformed and converted many thousands. Why not open your mind to this possibility, Friar Rick?

    Anyway, I have another Parish in the west end of the city that is more interested in my proposal and contributions. Perhaps Bonaventure needs more time.

  20. Well it would seem that someone is not being honest here. We have a detailed decription of the tabernacle at St. Bonny’s and St. Peters. From that description I would say that there are no similarities. A picture was requested to help in the debate. None was provided. Fr Rick what type of dialouge do you hope to inspire in the comment section. Mr. Szunyogh is quite knowlegdable about the topics he brings up. The short trite replies to him are lacking of proper respect. I have noticed this throughout your Blog Fr. Rick. You seem to avoid anythig critical and when you do take up the challenge you just wave a stick and run.
    In a previous post I wrote you called me arrogant. Well sir I shall say to you, that is a characteristic you are entirely familiar with as you show it in great abundance. I hope that in the future we may have more intelligent debate with you.

  21. Hey Karl, t’s my blog. If you don’t like it, don’t visit. As far as the tabernacle goes… we’ll it is in its own chapel as the documents call for and is built in a style the corresponds to the culture and time of the community. I can’t argue with people’s ideas of what its “supposed” to look like.
    As far as focusing the community on the “real presence” of the Lord… I repeat what I said earlier and what the church teaches… the assembly is rightly focused on the Altar of Sacrifice during the liturgy. Outside of the Sunday liturgy, the pews in the chapel face the tabernacle where people come throughout the day to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

  22. Hey Karl, t’s my blog. If you don’t like it, don’t visit.

    I remember as a kid in the play ground sandbox hearing, “They’re my toys’ If you don’t like my rules you can’t play with them.” Thank you Friar Rick for clarifing the level of dialouge. I was simply asking you to address in finer detail, points made by two other commentors. Perhaps if they are looking for a more mature dialouge they should visit St. Bazils parish. At least the tabernacle is in the right place.

    Why do you even have a blog if you are not willing to address your commentors with a level of respect and maturity that one would expect from a member of the Catholic clergy? Is it because you really have nothing sensible to say in respone?

  23. Well, most of this argument centers around rumours of this and rumours of that. My question: Assuming that the Holy Father does make some changes- whatever they may be, will we ( you and I) loyal Catholics obey him, as we are meant to do, or not?

    If the rumours are false, will we (you and I) obey him still?

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