Friday, 21 July 2017

Cardinal Sarah on 'liturgical reconciliation': a response

It seems that the most trad-friendly Prelates of the Church actually want the Traditional Mass to disappear. Thus, Cardinal Burke said in 2011:

It seems to me that is what he [Pope Benedict] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seem to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite – the 'reform of the reform,' if we may – all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.

Cardinal Sarah has now said the same thing.

It is a priority that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can examine through prayer and study, how to return to a common reformed rite always with this goal of a reconciliation inside the Church,

Cardinal Sarah's concrete suggestions point to an intermediate state, in which the two 'Forms' have converged somewhat. I have addressed these suggestions in a post on the Catholic Herald blog here. Notably, the Novus Ordo Lectionary cannot be simply be inserted into the Vetus Ordo Missal, because it reflects a liturgical vision which is completely different from that of the ancient Mass: which is why all the other changes were made at the same time. A compromise between these two two understandings of what the liturgy is for and how it should work will not produce a perfect synthesis, but a muddle.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

"Die Teilnahme von Kindern an Meßfeiern in der außerordentlichen Form des Römischen Ritus"

Erstkommunion in Stuttgart, St.Albert
First Holy Communion in Stuttgart, St. Albert Church
"Die Teilnahme von Kindern an Meßfeiern in der außerordentlichen Form des Römischen Ritus" ist ein wichtiges Thema für die traditionellen Gemeinden auf der ganzen Welt.

Lesen Sie hier eine deutsche Übersetzung des im Dezember auf Englisch erschienenen Positionspapiers Nr. 30 THE PARTICIPATION OF CHILDREN AT THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM.

Die deutsche Übersetzung wurde zuerst im Magazin "Dominus vobiscum" (Nr. 14, März 2017) veröffentlicht, das herausgegeben wird von "Pro Missa Tridentina", der Laienvereinigung für den klassischen römischen Ritus in der Katholischen Kirche.

Monday, 26 December 2016


View from the choir loft,
St William of York, Reading,
with the FSSP

Since the Extraordinary Form attracts many young families, celebrations are often characterised by the presence of many children. The EF cannot be adapted to children in the way the Ordinary Form sometimes is, but it has certain advantages in respect to children, notably its use of non-verbal forms of communication, the predictability of the Rites, and the relative informality of the congregation during Mass. The powerful impression made on children by the solemn and expressive ceremonies finds a precedent in the experiences of children in Scripture, when they attended the solemn reading of the Law, were blessed by our Lord, and when they proclaimed His Kingship at the Entry into Jerusalem. These also point to the objective value of the liturgy to children, including the many blessings given to the congregation in the liturgy. Above all, a consistent experience of the liturgy, with adults offering a model of an appropriate engagement with it, is a ‘school of prayer’ for children, as for adults.. . . . . . .

The 30th in the FIUV Position Papers series, called The Participation of Children at the Extraordinary Form is now available in the FIUV Positio section.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Thousands of Catholics from France
and other countries participate in the annual pilgrimage
from Paris to Chartres, attending Holy Mass
in the Extraordinary Form every day.
It has been argued that the Extraordinary Form excludes the laity from liturgical participation by accommodating only a limited number of formal liturgical roles for the laity: thus they can be servers, but not readers or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. This claim is itself linked to accusations of ‘clericalism’. This paper shows that the formal liturgical roles are not intended to promote participation, but rather the worthy celebration of the liturgy, and the danger today, condemned notably by Pope St John Paul II and Pope Francis, is rather a clericalist ‘clericalisation’ of the laity, which seeks, on the basis of a perception that clerics alone in the Church have authority and prestige, to make an elite of the laity an adjunct of the clerical class. The clear demarcation between clerics and laity in the Extraordinary Form facilitates a strong sense of the proper lay role, of conforming the home and the worlds of work and politics to Christ. . . . . . .

The 29th in the FIUV Position Papers series, called The Role of the Laity in the Extraordinary Form is now available in the FIUV Positio section.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Obituary for Helmut Rückriegel by Martin Mosebach

An extraordinary man has left the earth. Standing at the grave of Helmut Rückriegel his friends conceive the whole truth of the discernment that with the death of a man there is a whole world that perishes. What pertains to everyone is most evident for such an overabundant nature as it was with our deceased friend Helmut. He was allowed to live a long life, and, we can say, to live in mindfulness and intensity. He finished the wine of life completely and entirely, including even the very last and then most bitter drops. Furthermore it was granted to him to maintain his entire strength of mind until his last moment; in complete alertness he witnessed his time and all its phenomena until the last moment. His participation in the world was insatiable; he was a pious Christian - the archaic term ‘piety’ in its comprehensive meaning like the antiquity knew it was adequate for him. A life in the presence of the supernatural and a joyful discovering of this supernatural in the inexhaustible statures of the created world - but without suppressing the reality of the mortality of all life on earth, he lived as if there was no death. 

Until his painful last sickbed he was seized with the fascination of languages - recently he started to learn Turkish, a language that is extremely far from all Indo-Germanic familiarity - joyfully entering into a totally different kind of thinking and feeling. I always wondered why he, whose sense of language was infallible, did not write himself. But in return his sentiment for the great German poetry was so profound that the verses of Goethe and the Romantics, of Hölderlin and Stefan George constituted deeply and totally his inner life. He was the reader and reciter that poets desired, drawing from a great pool effortlessly the most remote lyric creations to engender an awakening to melody and life. 

His artist's nature became apparent in the invention of his garden that he created in Niedergründau, the village where he came from, after the end of his working life: he cultivated rambler roses, growing into the old, partly withered apple trees high as a house, to create real snow avalanches of white blossoms; in May and June they were phantasmagorias of surreal, sheer beauty. Here, the gardener who planted hundreds of sumptuous roses, turned into a wizard. ‘Il faut cultiver son jardin.’ are the last words of Candide, Voltaire's wicked satire in which the hero, after having underwent the horrors of a world falling to pieces, is forming the conclusion of his experiences. And it was in this awareness that Helmut created his garden. The experiences of this great connoisseur of the art of living had made him learn, no less clear than Voltaire's Candide, that the earth is not a peaceful place, not a paradise. 

As a pupil and young man during the years of Nazism he thanked his teachers for the discernment that Germany was ruled by criminals; in these years he also experienced the Catholic Church as a place of resistance against the despotism. As a diplomat he travelled widely; but his most important positions for him were in New York and Israel - in the Holy Land, this small spot of earth, where also in his life all spiritual and demonic forces that agitate us as well today, collide; there he found the proximity of the truth of his faith, especially there, where it seemed to be completely unreachable. And very early he discovered for him the obligation to serve the Roman Catholic Church, his mother, for whom he saw himself as a faithful son, in her great crisis in which she had fallen after the Second Vatican Council. Helmut Rückriegel, who loved the oriental Churches, especially the Orthodoxy, the friend of many Jews, who - together with his friend, the great Annemarie Schimmel, admired the Sufism; he was a Catholic, as ‘the tree is green’ to say it with a word of Carl Schmitt. From his universal culture, from his enthusiasm for the masterworks of language, from his detailed knowledge of history and the cultures of the world Helmut Rückriegel was convinced that the Roman Church was - by its cult which has been transmitted from the late antiquity - a melting pot of all beauty and holiness that is possible on earth. In a decades-long friendship with Josef Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI., he helped to ensure that the Church did not completely abandon this treasure that belongs not to her alone, but to the whole mankind. 

Helmut Rückriegel the diplomat must occasionally have been rather undiplomatic - he was full of passion, a battler who did not spare himself and his adversaries. A man made for being happy - but still often enough desperate of the vainness of all struggles of the best, putting up resistance against the spirit of the times. The old Helmut Rückriegel did not become wise of age - a wonderful trait he had and that conjoined him with his younger friends. A consistent one, also in his matrimony that lasted nearly fifty years: after his rich life that she shared for so long with him, Brigitte Rückriegel accompanied him faithfully unto death - for this long companionship and the synergy during the working years in many positions she is, as she told me, profoundly grateful, and Helmut's friends have today to be grateful to her for all that she did for him, especially during the darksome days. 

The cosmopolitan German patriot Helmut Rückriegel embodied the best aspects of Germany; to have known him is for me and certainly for many others an infinite well of encouragement and hope. 

[Translation from the original German provided by Dr. Johann von Behr]

Thursday, 10 March 2016


The apparition of Our Lady to Alphonse Ratisbonne
(1814-1884), a French Jew who then became a Catholic
and dedicated his life to working for the conversion
of his fellow Jews to the Christian faith.
In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI composed a new prayer ‘Pro Conversione Iudæorum’, to be used in celebrations of the Good Friday Liturgy in the Extraordinary Form. The prayer’s petition for the conversion of the Jews should be understood in the eschatological context offered by Pauline and Patristic, as well as more recent, theology, which foresees the corporate conversion of the Jews taking place in the final stage of history. It is in this way that the most recent official documents reconcile the Church’s universal missionary mandate with the circumstances of today, in the shadow of the Shoah, in which a targeted mission to the Jewish people is not envisaged. . . . . . .

The 28th in the FIUV Position Papers series, called The Good Friday Prayer for the Jews in the Extraordinary Form is now available in the FIUV Positio section.