Article by Fr. Longenecker about the reform of the liturgy
  • MarkB
    Posts: 325
    This should get some people here riled up:

    https://www.ncregister.com/blog/longenecker/the-reform-of-the-liturgy

    This is not to say, however, that the liturgy must ignore the needs of the people. One of my criticisms of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as it is often celebrated, is that there is no concern at all for the needs of ‘ordinary’ Catholics. It’s almost as if you have to be an ‘extraordinary Catholic’ to appreciate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It is simply not good enough to impose on ordinary Catholics a form of Mass in which the music is so high falutin’ as to call attention to itself and put people off. Neither is it right to impose Latin on people who are not properly prepared and catechized and open to suddenly hearing Mass in a language they cannot understand after years of hearing Mass in the vernacular.

    I am not opposed to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and I am glad it is being more widely celebrated, but I don’t imagine for a minute that it is going to be the cure-all for the ills of the Catholic Church. Anyone who thinks, “The Latin Mass is so beautiful and reverent, and once ordinary Catholics get a glimpse of it they will all flock to it” is living in la-la land.

    In fact, the experience of an awful lot of ordinary Catholics after experiencing the Latin Mass is that they don’t like it all and couldn’t think of anything worse for their parish. Proper pastoral concern for such people takes time to listen to them, meet them where they are and realize that their concerns and questions are valid. Just dismissing them as ‘Novus Ordo Clown Mass’ Catholics is arrogant and counterproductive.


    I think Fr. Longenecker makes good points in his article. True to form, Peter K. got in with a dismissive reader comment in response at the article's website.
  • I don't read Fr. Longenecker very often (since he publishes at sites I don't visit, not because I have anything against him) but this excerpt shows to a strong degree how far our Catholic culture has collapsed (and even our secular culture, too). Using the music which he decries is, rather, using the music of the treasury of Sacred Music which Popes and Councils have called to be carefully preserved and used.

    Of course the celebration of the Traditional rite is off-putting to people who have never encountered it before. Unfamiliarity often (but not always) breeds a kind of contempt, and in this case allows people to demonstrate how affective (and effective, perhaps) the plan to de-Catholicize the Mass has been. When people say "It's not in my language".... they miss the point, but they demonstrate that Bugnini's goal of making the Mass anthropocentric has been largely achieved. When they say, "Where's the participation", and "Old ladies praying their rosaries at Mass instead of paying attention", they demonstrate how fully the program of externalization has been carried out.

    Fr. Longenecker may have some good points in his article. Thomas Aquinas always proposed the best form of an objection before addressing it, so perhaps that's what Father does here?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,232
    The whole thing seems designed as an attention-seeking plug for his book, and I suppose you can get people riled up with sham arguments.

    He cites supposedly pairs of contrasting complaints, but how real are they? After all, there aren't really many parishes whose servers can be accused of being "too rigid and mechanical" in their movements. Well, maybe he's thinking of the level of discipline he used to see in the Anglican world. Good luck waiting for martial precision among servers in the Catholic world. So Fr. Longenecker gets to deal with that more or less non-existent problem, and thinks the resulting writings are worthy of being printed and sold.

    He urges others to hear and sympathize with the concerns of average Catholics, but portrays tradition-supporting Catholics in terms of exaggerations and rude complaints. Thanks a lot. Where abideth charity and love, Fr. Longenecker isn't there.
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • Incardination
    Posts: 833
    I can certainly agree with Father on several points...
    Anyone who thinks, “The Latin Mass is so beautiful and reverent, and once ordinary Catholics get a glimpse of it they will all flock to it” is living in la-la land.

    I think there is a mixture. Some will certainly "flock to it", others will not. It isn't an all or nothing answer, so I agree with him on that. It isn't realistic to think that everyone will embrace it.

    I'd also agree with:
    ...the experience of an awful lot of ordinary Catholics after experiencing the Latin Mass is that they don’t like it all and couldn’t think of anything worse for their parish.


    That said, I think there are other considerations he is overlooking. Perhaps putting it in a different context, one might say that there are many (whether Catholic or non-Catholic) who are turned off by certain doctrines of the Church... they don't agree with Her position on abortion, on birth control, on premarital or extramarital sex - just to name a few. There are "Catholics" who argue that we must water-down our doctrinal beliefs in order to be more "open" and "welcoming" - "inclusive" if you prefer.

    Putting the conversation in this context might help re-frame and focus the overall discussion. Isn't the Liturgy PRIMARILY for God? Then on some level, no - it doesn't matter what people are turned on or off by. It matters what is most perfect for God.

    We can debate what that "most perfect" form is, but then, at least, the conversation is happening on the right level.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,107
    Blah,blah,blah....Fr. betrays his Anglican roots occasionally and this is one of those instances. I have ignored him for a long while and I will continue to do so happily.
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 515
    Fr. Longenecker is (correctly) called out on his fundamental mistake by Dr. Kwasniewski, who then makes his usual fundamental mistake of equating the NO as it is commonly practiced with the NO as properly envisaged by the Council.

    I've always thought it was false advertising to portray a religion with downright severe Eucharistic theology through the lens of liberal Protestant liturgy.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen tomjaw
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    The really remarkable thing about assisting at Masses in communities where the 'extraordinary form' was preserved (as is the case in the diocese of Campos, for instance, and I've also encountered in some small-town SSPX chapels), rather than reinstated, is that really ordinary, regular people go to Mass. Farmers, dentists, car repair men, grocers, housewives, wriggling kids, adolescent girls trying to see if they can get away with just a gesture of immodesty, altar boys who are just kids from the neighborhood, not all of them very attentive or pious. The ordinariness of it just proved to me that whatever the reformers were trying to fix, it must have been some regional or local problem, or a big city problem, or a European problem?

    Because all I see are just Catholics, except with a kind of lively, saturated religious life that sprawls out into processions and feast days and home life and public life more intensely than I'm used to seeing in 'regular' parishes.

    In Rio, I find the hard-to-get-to EF Masses tend to attract a more 'hardcore' crowd of zealous and politically-active young men (and women, and a few young couples with kids, but lots of young men), and this makes for a very different experience. You need the little old ladies to give you a hug and a grin and show you the bathroom and ask you where you are from! And the older adult men and women to be examples and leaders for the younger set. It's largely a geographic problem here, as the church used for the EF is downtown, which is rather a desolate high-crime area on a Sunday morning, and taxis/Uber are not affordable for everyone.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,633
    Nail on the freaking head, Senora Catherine. It's not just the Mass or Sacraments per se. It's practice has to return to the state of second-nature, something which informs our way of living and thinking without our even realizing it. Unfortunately, it's still passing from 'museum curio' into 'living memory', so we find ourselves at the point where Traditional Catholicism is a 'weird flex' for many.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    I want to just add one story: a friend came to visit. She was a recent convert. I took her to every kind of Mass I could find, to show her the wild and woolly landscape of her new faith. We assisted at feast days and weekdays, with bishops, at convents, at the local parish, at someone else's parish, in multiple cities, at a sanctuary. Some of the Masses were EF. Some were OF. I never said a word about Church politics. Later in the trip she happened to mention that she'd learned that back in the day everything was in Latin and the priest turned his back to the people and no one knew what was going on, etc. I said "But we went to those - remember how in Campos the priest was facing the altar, and we sang in Latin, etc.?" and she looked at me dumbfounded. She hadn't even noticed.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 693
    Translation: most Catholics are too uncouth or stupid to appreciate or understand the extraordinary form, therefore we need the 10-cent knockoff.

    Now that's semi-joking, but it does really appear that Father is saying that the Novus Ordo is not as good, but that's the level that so many Catholics are at, so we have to drop down to it. If he's in favor of attending the EF, why not just tell people to go to it? If he's in favor of the OF, why admit that it's inferior?
    Thanked by 2CCooze tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    The whole subject of EF masses is mixed. I know some EF folks who are very devout and prefer to worship in that form. I also know some who like being in a special "club" and use the EF to get attention in the vein of, "look at me I'm different and better than you."

    I know some EF priests who are also very devout and trying to do the best job they can to save souls. I also know a couple who are essentially "drag queens" who like prancing around in the fancier vestments.

    Music is more clear cut for me, because I don't like much of the so called "contemporary" Catholic music. It is truly awful and I have been known to sit through masses containing it with earplugs in. At the same time, I agree there is more to sacred music than chant and that I can draw on at least 400 year's worth of good music for church use.

    I think you can argue EF versus OF and find good and bad in both. Some reform of the EF was needed but the change from one to the other was too abrupt and disjointed. It seemed the bishops and liturgists tried to do in a short period of time what should have taken some serious thought and planning and perhaps even years to implement.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,737
    Father is "sticking his neck out."

    Wants everyone to run to either save him or chop off his head.

    Go back to your life people... nothing to see here.

    MarkB... "what did you go out into the desert to see?"

    And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? [8] But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings.
    Matthew 11:7-8
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,914
    I think Papa Ratzinger was right recently to blame much of the liturgical mess on the changes in society in the 60s. In continental Europe, students were rejecting the behaviour of their parents in WW2. In Britain, the loss of Empire, and the crimes perpetrated by our leaders in trying to cling to it. I know less of the USA, but there were assasinations, Vietnam, and race riots. Anywhere involved in the WW2 there was a generation who had absent fathers for years of their childhood. In that situation, once the Council had admitted the need for some change, many newly ordained priests, who had been children during the war, were wanting a liturgical revolution. Unfortunately the new liturgy had to be rushed in order, as Paul VI saw it, to prevent schism.
  • How could rushing the liturgical reform prevent schism? (Assume I'm willing to accept something that makes sense.)
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,890
    Fr. betrays his Anglican roots occasionally and this is one of those instances. I have ignored him for a long while and I will continue to do so happily.


    We are (not) on the same page. Turned him off about 3 years ago.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,914
    CGZ - The fear was that in much of the church in Germany and the Low Countries there would be a replay of the Lutheran Reformation. There were, for example, over 40 invalid/illicit Eucharistic Prayers published and in use. And the draconian introduction of the NO led to very little breakaway. I am not claiming it could not have been better handled.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Elmar
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 862
    Unfortunately the new liturgy had to be rushed. . .


    What did dear ol' Nancy say? "We have to pass it to see what's in it..."
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Hawkins,

    The argument (if you can call it that) seems to have been "since they're already behaving like apostates, let's see what we can do to cover that reality"? If there were already 40 fake Canons in place, the Lutheran Revolt was already well in progress, and the policy toward Germany in the last 50 years hasn't slowed the progress of the decomposition.

    Where did you come by this argument? I've never seen it in print before. (I don't doubt that you have seen it advocated, and I'm not questioning your Catholic sense, but it's completely new to me.) Now......given that Bugnini and Montani were in place in 1948... how plausible does it seem to you that this was an effort to prevent further damage?
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    The situation in Germany and The Netherlands was as he indicated. There was even a Dutch catechism that was deemed heretical. I used to have a copy. I don't remember Belgium being any better. It wasn't the people stoking and promoting heresy, it was the clergy.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw Elmar
  • Charles, Hawkins,

    Is this dreadful situation which you describe the result of the liturgical reform or the ostensible cause of it?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    More the cause of it, it seems to me. After Pius X, all the heresies that he condemned went underground. They didn't disappear, and as he indicated, they would come back in a more virulent form which they did. The seminaries were hotbeds, the convents were itching for change, and the culture was so chaotic the timing was perfect. The liberalism at the council that folks today condemn came mostly from Germany and the low countries and those bishops successfully derailed and re-directed the council to their agenda. At the council, John XXIII was terminally ill and he was followed by Montini the Magnificent who was a vacillating liberal. No surprise that things went haywire.
  • Charles,

    It has been many years, but I have read The Rhine Flows into the Tiber. Given that Pope Paul the Problematic clearly steered the Council to its conclusion, and gave Bugnini the reins to enact the "reform" I have trouble thinking of the German bishops as having hijacked the Council.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,494
    The German bishops brought theologians and "experts" with them who manipulated the council machinery. I remember thinking that some of the bishops were a bit clueless.

    Some of the more liberal later cardinals were like Cardinal Danneels who wasn't a cardinal at the time, but he helped to write Sacrosanctum Concilium, a document which initiated the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. I know he wasn't German, but he later admitted to being part of the St. Gallen Mafia which tried to prevent the election of Benedict XVI. He had plenty of friends and helpers among the Dutch and German clergy.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,232
    Fr. Cassian Folsom has written about the multiplication of Eucharistic Prayers, approved and unapproved, after the Council:
    https://adoremus.org/1996/09/15/from-one-eucharistic-prayer-to-many-how-it-happened-and-why/
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 448
    I do think it ironic that after all our squabbling we're now sent to our rooms with no supper, like kids who have gotten on dad's last nerve.
    Thanked by 2Elmar francis
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 814
    Father Longnecker, like Father Z, is writing a blog. In order to keep people interested in his blog, he has to make controversial remarks. Everything you read in any blog should be taken with more than just a grain of salt.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 226
    the Lutheran Revolt was already well in progress, and the policy toward Germany in the last 50 years hasn't slowed the progress of the decomposition
    I grew up embedded in this catholicism ... and mind you, a young pastor Bode leading youth retreats, now a prominent bishop, had an important influence on my remaining active catholic in my late teens. Btw I got to know my later wife on this occasion. Now I am running around happily in this forum, without the slightest feeling of having a 'conversion' on the way.
    The situation in Germany and The Netherlands was as he indicated. There was even a Dutch catechism that was deemed heretical.
    My mother had one and was thrilled by it; she used it in secondary school teaching ... one of my classmates, who was always at the front in the discussions, subsequently became a priest (and still is).
    The German bishops brought theologians and "experts" with them who ...
    ... and one of these experts was the young, brilliant professor Joseph Ratzinger ...
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,890
    My mother had one and was thrilled by it; she used it in secondary school teaching ... one of my classmates, who was always at the front in the discussions, subsequently became a priest (and still is).


    So what?

    I mean no disrespect to your mother or the priest, but frankly, their status (then and now) has nothing to do with determining the orthodoxy of the Dutch Catechism.

    And as you know, Pp. (?) Ratzinger has expressed regrets over the liturgical results of the Council. Maybe other regrets, too, but I don't keep up with that.
    Thanked by 2WGS Elmar
  • had an important influence on my remaining active catholic


    Question: did you remain (or become, or whatever) a believingCatholic who practiced his faith, or did you merely remain active?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,232
    When I became a Catholic in 1980, the RCIA program used the Dutch Catechism, which was published here in America by Seabury, the Episcopal Church publishing house. That publisher coyly downplayed the corrections ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by putting CDF's document away from readers in an appendix, so that readers would continue to read the original version intact, with the formulations that Rome had found doctrinally inadequate or misleading. Fortunately, I had already learned the basics of Catholic teaching from Fr. John Hardon's "The Catholic Catechism" before approaching the RCIA program.

    Oh, dear, this is getting off-topic, isn't it.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Elmar
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,737
    Oh, dear, this is getting off-topic, isn't it.
    chonak, we are so glad you are human!
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,890
    Even gladder that you learned your Hardon!
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,633
    Hardon is one of the GOOD Jesuits - he probably doesn't think Satan is a symbol. ;)
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,232
    Alas, his cause is stalled.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 226
    Question: did you remain (or become, or whatever) a believing Catholic who practiced his faith, or did you merely remain active?
    I do not feel qualified to judge my own believer status ... the more I try to study, the less I can claim to understand that which supposedly is my faith. I grew up in a typical post-VII family where everyone was glad that the 'old times' were over. In hindsight I would agree that a_f_hawkins's statement
    in the church in Germany and the Low Countries there would be a replay of the Lutheran Reformation
    is spot on. My being catholic rather than protestant seemed nothing more than a historical accident, and in our suburb community the main distinction was rather 'practicing Christian vs. merely church member' than catholic-protestant.
    Catholic parish practice became more and more uninspiring for a young adult, most of the active parish youth later became 'merely member' or less.

    Counterfactual statements are always dangerous, so it's hard to tell wether I had gone the same way without the youth camps lead by Fr. Bode.
    At least I got the firm idea that leaving my faith behind, just because parish life is dull and the pastor is uninspiring, would be a very bad idea. With this attitude I got through several stretches of 'I don't feel like going to Mass on Sundays, but I feel even less like stopping doing so just because of that feeling'.

    If someone had told me 25 years (+ one day) ago that I'd come to love the TLM (at the same time I am extremely put off by our local TLM group, but that's another story) and that I would be steering a former 'happy-clappy' youth parish choir into real church music, I would have been convinced he was fooling me.