31 January 2022

Freedom Convoy

Roll on truckers! Make Canada the True North, Strong and Free again! God bless Canada and to hell with Trudope!

From The American Catholic

By Donald R. McClarey, JD






The reaction of the usual suspects the the Freedom Convoy is unsurprising.  The proponents of locking down nations to battle the Black Sniffles have little love for the people they seek to rule like so many cattle.  They are afraid that unruly “cattle” may spoil their vast plans.  Time for a little Kipling:

The Old Issue

“Here is nothing new nor aught unproven,” say the Trumpets,
“Many feet have worn it and the road is old indeed.
“It is the King—the King we schooled aforetime !”
(Trumpets in the marshes—in the eyot at Runnymede!)
“Here is neither haste, nor hate, nor anger,” peal the Trumpets,
“Pardon for his penitence or pity for his fall.
“It is the King!”—inexorable Trumpets—
(Trumpets round the scaffold at the dawning by Whitehall!)

“He hath veiled the Crown and hid the Sceptre,” warn the Trumpets,
“He hath changed the fashion of the lies that cloak his will.
“Hard die the Kings—ah hard—dooms hard!” declare the Trumpets,
Trumpets at the gang-plank where the brawling troop-decks fill!

Ancient and Unteachable, abide—abide the Trumpets!
Once again the Trumpets, for the shuddering ground-swell brings
Clamour over ocean of the harsh, pursuing Trumpets—
Trumpets of the Vanguard that have sworn no truce with Kings!

All we have of freedom, all we use or know—
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

Ancient Right unnoticed as the breath we draw—
Leave to live by no man’s leave, underneath the Law.

Lance and torch and tumult, steel and grey-goose wing
Wrenched it, inch and ell and all, slowly from the King.

Till our fathers ’stablished, after bloody years,
How our King is one with us, first among his peers.

So they bought us freedom—not at little cost
Wherefore must we watch the King, lest our gain be lost,

Over all things certain, this is sure indeed,
Suffer not the old King: for we know the breed.

Give no ear to bondsmen bidding us endure.
Whining “He is weak and far”; crying “Time shall cure.”,

(Time himself is witness, till the battle joins,
Deeper strikes the rottenness in the people’s loins.)

Give no heed to bondsmen masking war with peace.
Suffer not the old King here or overseas.

They that beg us barter—wait his yielding mood—
Pledge the years we hold in trust—pawn our brother’s blood—

Howso’ great their clamour, whatsoe’er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!

Here is naught unproven—here is naught to learn.
It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom’s name.

He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall change our gold for arms—arms we may not bear.

He shall break his judges if they cross his word;
He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
Watchers ’neath our window, lest we mock the King—

Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.

Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
These shall deal our Justice: sell—deny—delay.

We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
For the Land we look to—for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
While his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Laying on a new land evil of the old—

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain—
All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.
Here is naught at venture, random nor untrue—
Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
Step for step and word for word—so the old Kings did!

Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.
Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed—

All the right they promise—all the wrong they bring.
Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King!

Veterum Sapientia (On the Promotion of the Study of Latin)

An Apostolic Constitution of John XXIII, 22 February 1962. 'It has never been revoked. Nor, more sadly, has it ever been obeyed. It has just been constantly and consistently ignored. It is undoubtedly Law; but if a law is universally ignored ...' - Fr J. Hunwicke

It is still on the Vatican website, but, ironically enough, only in Latin. Can't have people knowing it's been ignored, can we?

Veterum Sapientia

The wisdom of the ancient world, enshrined in Greek and Roman literature, and the truly memorable teaching of ancient peoples, served, surely, to herald the dawn of the Gospel which Gods Son, “the judge and teacher of grace and truth, the light and guide of the human race,”1 proclaimed on earth.

Such was the view of the Church Fathers and Doctors. In these outstanding literary monuments of antiquity, they recognized man’s spiritual preparation for the supernatural riches which Jesus Christ communicated to mankind “to give history its fulfillment.”2

Thus the inauguration of Christianity did not mean the obliteration of man’s past achievements. Nothing was lost that was in any way true, just, noble and beautiful.

Venerable languages

The Church has ever held the literary evidences of this wisdom in the highest esteem. She values especially the Greek and Latin languages in which wisdom itself is cloaked, as it were, in a vesture of gold. She has likewise welcomed the use of other venerable languages, which flourished in the East. For these too have had no little influence on the progress of humanity and civilization. By their use in sacred liturgies and in versions of Holy Scripture, they have remained in force in certain regions even to the present day, bearing constant witness to the living voice of antiquity.

A primary place

But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.

And since in God’s special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire — and that for so many centuries — it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See.3 Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.

The nature of Latin

Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.

Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin for mal structure. Its “concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity”4 makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.

Preservation of Latin by the Holy See

For these reasons the Apostolic See has always been at pains to preserve Latin, deeming it worthy of being used in the exercise of her teaching authority “as the splendid vesture of her heavenly doctrine and sacred laws.”5 She further requires her sacred ministers to use it, for by so doing they are the better able, wherever they may be, to acquaint themselves with the mind of the Holy See on any matter, and communicate the more easily with Rome and with one another.

Thus the “knowledge and use of this language,” so intimately bound up with the Church’s life, “is important not so much on cultural or literary grounds, as for religious reasons.”6 These are the words of Our Predecessor Pius XI, who conducted a scientific inquiry into this whole subject, and indicated three qualities of the Latin language which harmonize to a remarkable degree with the Church’s nature. “For the Church, precisely because it embraces all nations and is destined to endure to the end of time … of its very nature requires a language which is universal, immutable, and non-vernacular.”7


Since “every Church must assemble round the Roman Church,”8 and since the Supreme Pontiffs have “true episcopal power, ordinary and immediate, over each and every Church and each and every Pastor, as well as over the faithful”9 of every rite and language, it seems particularly desirable that the instrument of mutual communication be uniform and universal, especially between the Apostolic See and the Churches which use the same Latin rite.

When, therefore, the Roman Pontiffs wish to instruct the Catholic world, or when the Congregations of the Roman Curia handle matters or draw up decrees which concern the whole body of the faithful, they invariably make use of Latin, for this is a maternal voice acceptable to countless nations.


Furthermore, the Church’s language must be not only universal but also immutable. Modern languages are liable to change, and no single one of them is superior to the others in authority. Thus if the truths of the Catholic Church were entrusted to an unspecified number of them, the meaning of these truths, varied as they are, would not be manifested to everyone with sufficient clarity and precision. There would, moreover, be no language which could serve as a common and constant norm by which to gauge the exact meaning of other renderings.

But Latin is indeed such a language. It is set and unchanging. it has long since ceased to be affected by those alterations in the meaning of words which are the normal result of daily, popular use. Certain Latin words, it is true, acquired new meanings as Christian teaching developed and needed to be explained and defended, but these new meanings have long since become accepted and firmly established.


Finally, the Catholic Church has a dignity far surpassing that of every merely human society, for it was founded by Christ the Lord. It is altogether fitting, therefore, that the language it uses should be noble, majestic, and non-vernacular.

In addition, the Latin language “can be called truly catholic.”10 It has been consecrated through constant use by the Apostolic See, the mother and teacher of all Churches, and must be esteemed “a treasure … of incomparable worth.”11. It is a general passport to the proper understanding of the Christian writers of antiquity and the documents of the Church’s teaching.12 It is also a most effective bond, binding the Church of today with that of the past and of the future in wonderful continuity.

Educational value of Latin

There can be no doubt as to the formative and educational value either of the language of the Romans or of great literature generally. It is a most effective training for the pliant minds of youth. It exercises, matures and perfects the principal faculties of mind and spirit. It sharpens the wits and gives keenness of judgment. It helps the young mind to grasp things accurately and develop a true sense of values. It is also a means for teaching highly intelligent thought and speech.

A natural result

It will be quite clear from these considerations why the Roman Pontiffs have so often extolled the excellence and importance of Latin, and why they have prescribed its study and use by the secular and regular clergy, forecasting the dangers that would result from its neglect.

A resolve to uphold Latin

And We also, impelled by the weightiest of reasons — the same as those which prompted Our Predecessors and provincial synods 13 — are fully determined to restore this language to its position of honor, and to do all We can to promote its study and use. The employment of Latin has recently been contested in many quarters, and many are asking what the mind of the Apostolic See is in this matter. We have therefore decided to issue the timely directives contained in this document, so as to ensure that the ancient and uninterrupted use of Latin be maintained and, where necessary, restored.

We believe that We made Our own views on this subject sufficiently clear when We said to a number of eminent Latin scholars:

“It is a matter of regret that so many people, unaccountably dazzled by the marvelous progress of science, are taking it upon themselves to oust or restrict the study of Latin and other kindred subjects…. Yet, in spite of the urgent need for science, Our own view is that the very contrary policy should be followed. The greatest impression is made on the mind by those things which correspond more closely to man’s nature and dignity. And therefore the greatest zeal should be shown in the acquisition of whatever educates and ennobles the mind. Otherwise poor mortal creatures may well become like the machines they build — cold, hard, and devoid of love.”14

Provisions for the Promotion of Latin Studies

With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our Office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following:

Responsibility for enforcement

  1. Bishops and superiors-general of religious orders shall take pains to ensure that in their seminaries and in their schools where adolescents are trained for the priesthood, all shall studiously observe the Apostolic See’s decision in this matter and obey these Our prescriptions most carefully.
  2. In the exercise of their paternal care they shall be on their guard lest anyone under their jurisdiction, eager for revolutionary changes, writes against the use of Latin in the teaching of the higher sacred studies or in the Liturgy, or through prejudice makes light of the Holy See’s will in this regard or interprets it falsely.

Study of Latin as a prerequisite

  1. As is laid down in Canon Law (can. 1364) or commanded by Our Predecessors, before Church students begin their ecclesiastical studies proper they shall be given a sufficiently lengthy course of instruction in Latin by highly competent masters, following a method designed to teach them the language with the utmost accuracy. “And that too for this reason: lest later on, when they begin their major studies . . . they are unable by reason of their ignorance of the language to gain a full understanding of the doctrines or take part in those scholastic disputations which constitute so excellent an intellectual training for young men in the defense of the faith.” 15

We wish the same rule to apply to those whom God calls to the priesthood at a more advanced age, and whose classical studies have either been neglected or conducted too superficially. No one is to be admitted to the study of philosophy or theology except he be thoroughly grounded in this language and capable of using it.

Traditional curriculum to be restored

  1. Wherever the study of Latin has suffered partial eclipse through the assimilation of the academic program to that which obtains in State public schools, with the result that the instruction given is no longer so thorough and well-grounded as formerly, there the traditional method of teaching this language shall be completely restored. Such is Our will, and there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about the necessity of keeping a strict watch over the course of studies followed by Church students; and that not only as regards the number and kinds of subjects they study, but also as regards the length of time devoted to the teaching of these subjects.

Should circumstances of time and place demand the addition of other subjects to the curriculum besides the usual ones, then either the course of studies must be lengthened, or these additional subjects must be condensed or their study relegated to another time.

Sacred sciences to be taught in Latin

  1. In accordance with numerous previous instructions, the major sacred sciences shall be taught in Latin, which, as we know from many centuries of use, “must be considered most suitable for explaining with the utmost facility and clarity the most difficult and profound ideas and concepts.”16 For apart from the fact that it has long since been enriched with a vocabulary of appropriate and unequivocal terms, best calculated to safeguard the integrity of the Catholic faith, it also serves in no slight measure to prune away useless verbiage.

Hence professors of these sciences in universities or seminaries are required to speak Latin and to make use of textbooks written in Latin. If ignorance of Latin makes it difficult for some to obey these instructions, they shall gradually be replaced by professors who are suited to this task. Any difficulties that may be advanced by students or professors must be overcome by the patient insistence of the bishops or religious superiors, and the good will of the professors.

A Latin Academy

  1. Since Latin is the Church’s living language, it must be adequate to daily increasing linguistic requirements. It must be furnished with new words that are apt and suitable for expressing modern things, words that will be uniform and universal in their application. and constructed in conformity with the genius of the ancient Latin tongue. Such was the method followed by the sacred Fathers and the best writers among the scholastics.

To this end, therefore, We commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to set up a Latin Academy staffed by an international body of Latin and Greek professors. The principal aim of this Academy — like the national academies founded to promote their respective languages — will be to superintend the proper development of Latin, augmenting the Latin lexicon where necessary with words which conform to the particular character and color of the language.

It will also conduct schools for the study of Latin of every era, particularly the Christian one. The aim of these schools will be to impart a fuller understanding of Latin and the ability to use it and to write it with proper elegance. They will exist for those who are destined to teach Latin in seminaries and ecclesiastical colleges, or to write decrees and judgments or conduct correspondence in the ministries of the Holy See, diocesan curias, and the offices of religious orders.

The teaching of Greek

  1. Latin is closely allied to Greek both in formal structure and in the importance of its extant writings. Hence — as Our Predecessors have frequently ordained — future ministers of the altar must be instructed in Greek in the lower and middle schools. Thus when they come to study the higher sciences — and especially if they are aiming for a degree in Sacred Scripture or theology — they will be enabled to follow the Greek sources of scholastic philosophy and understand them correctly; and not only these, but also the original texts of Sacred Scripture, the Liturgy, and the sacred Fathers.17

A syllabus for the teaching of Latin

  1. We further commission the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities to prepare a syllabus for the teaching of Latin which all shall faithfully observe. The syllabus will be designed to give those who follow it an adequate understanding of the language and its use. Episcopal boards may indeed rearrange this syllabus if circumstances warrant, but they must never curtail it or alter its nature. Ordinaries may not take it upon themselves to put their own proposals into effect until these have been examined and approved by the Sacred Congregation.

Finally, in virtue of Our apostolic authority, We will and command that all the decisions, decrees, proclamations and recommendations of this Our Constitution remain firmly established and ratified, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, however worthy of special note.

Given at Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on the feast of Saint Peter’s Throne on the 22nd day of February in the year 1962, the fourth of Our pontificate.

1. Tertullian, Apol. 21: Migne, FL 1, 294.
2. Ephesians 1, 10.
3. Epist. S. Cong. Stud. Vehementer sane, ad Ep. universos, July 1, 1908: Ench. Cler., N. 820. Cf. also Epist. Ap. Pius XI, Unigenitus Dei Filius, Mar. 19, 1924: AAS 16 (1924), 141.
4. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, Aug. 1, 1922: AAS 14 (1922), 452-453.
5. Pius XI, Motu proprio Litterarum latinarum, Oct. 20, 1924: AAS 16 (1924), 417.
6. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, Aug. 1, 1922: AAS 14 (1922), 452.
7. Ibid.
8. Saint Iren., Adv. Haer. 3, 3, 2: Migne PG 7, 848.
9. Cf. CIC, can. 218, pars. 2.
10. Cf. Pius XI, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, Aug. 1, 1922: AAS 14 (1922), 453.
11. Pius XII, Al. Magis quam, Nov. 23, 1951: AAS 43 (1951), 737.
12. Leo XIII, Epist. Encycl. Depuis le jour, Sept. 8, 1899: Acta Leonis XIII, 19 (1899), 166.
13. Cf. Collectio Lacensis, espec. vol. III, 1018s. ( Cone. Prov. Westmonasteriense, a (1859); Vol. IV, 29 (Conc. Prov. Parisiense, a 1849); Vol. IV, 149, 153 (Cone. Prov. Rhemense, a 1849); Vol. IV, 359, 861 (Conc. Prov. Avenionense, a 1849); Vol. IV, 394, 396 (Cone. Prov. Burdigalense, a 1850); Vol. V, 61 (Cone. Strigoniense, a 1858); Vol. V. 664 (Conc. Prov. Colocense, a 1863); Vol. VI, 619 (Synod. Vicariatus Suchnensis, a 1803).
14. International Convention for the Promotion of Ciceronian Studies, Sept. 7, 1959, in Discorsi Messaggi Colloqui del Santo Padre Giovanni XXIII, I, pp. 234-235. [English translation in TPS, V, 421.] Cf. also Address to Roman Pilgrims of the Diocese of Piacenza, April 15, 1959, in L’Osservatore Romano April 16, 1959; Epist. Pater misericordiarum, Aug. 22, 1961, in A.4S 53 (1961), 677; Address given on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of the College of the Philippine Islands at Rome, Oct. 7, 1961, in L’Osservatore Romano, Oct. 9-10, 1961; Epist. lucunda laudatio, Dec. 8, 1961: AAS 53 (1961), 812 [English summary in TPS, VII, 367-8.]
15. Pius XII, Epist. Ap. Officiorum omnium, Aug. 1, 1922: AAS 14 (1922), 453.
16. Epist. S. C. Stud., Vehementer sane, July 1, 1908: Ench. Cler., N. 821.
17. Leo XIII. Lit. Encyci. Providentissimus Deus, Nov. 18, 1893: Acta Leonis XIII 13 (1893), 342; Epist. Plane quidem intelligis, May 20, 1885, Acta, 5, 63-64; Pius XII, Alloc. Magis quam, Sept. 23, 1951: AAS 43 (1951), 737.

A Reform-of-the-Reform Paladin Throws in the Towel

I agree with NLM that sharing this does not imply agreement with everything M. Crouan writes, but I think it's interesting that he is giving up in the face of Francis's attacks on Tradition in any form.

From New Liturgical Movement

By Gregory DiPippo

Denis Crouan, the French founder and president (since 1988 or so) of the organization Pro liturgia, which promotes “the Mass as Vatican II truly intended it”, with Latin, chant, ad orientem, etc., has declared such efforts to be a “waste of time”, and thrown in the towel. The following article is his Final Message on the site, although he states that its activities will continue in a different form on another site. NLM is very grateful to an old and dear friend, Mr Jerome Stridon, for providing this translation. Caveat lector: the reproduction of this text does not imply agreement on the part of anyone associated with NLM with everything that is stated herein. Below is a video in French in which Mr Crouan explains in greater detail his decision to end the activities of Pro liturgia.

Asking present-day clergy to respect the liturgy of the Church is a waste of time: with an obstinacy often coupled with a profound lack of culture, those who occupy the places from which they are supposed to teach, go before, and lead the faithful - at all levels in the Church, from the pope to the simple parish priest - seem to want to systematically sabotage divine worship in a way that remains completely incomprehensible.

We must separate ourselves from a clergy that for years has been trying to dream up, with inexplicable perseverance, liturgical celebrations that only bring together the naive, unthinking conformists who place their need for conviviality and sentimentality above any preoccupation with the truths of faith and liturgical sense, to the point of forgetting them, or even denying them, and depriving those who need them.

We must leave behind a clergy and churchgoers who find their attitudes encouraged and shared by bishops who stray into biased readings of magisterial texts (as evidenced by their ways of reading and applying both the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis’ Motu proprio “Traditionis custodes”).

Let those who wish to go on making friendship bracelets, filling in coloring books, and singing inanities at Masses that alternate between kitschiness and faddishness do so with complete freedom: they will not transmit anything to the future generations.
Let those who wish to cling to stiff chasubles or to lace albs, the hallmarks of falsely “traditional” celebrations, do so if they find it to their liking: these days, every way of celebrating the liturgy is to be considered acceptable.

Let our bishops who want to be the heralds of a rootless pastoral ministry that has never produced anything do so, if it gives them the feeling of being up to their mission: the extravagances of which they are capable and which no longer surprise are not yet exhausted.
That Pope Bergoglio is more interested in Luther and Pachamama than in the doctrine and morals of the Church is his choice: a choice that everyone is entitled to consider regrettable and more than risky. (editor’s note: I cannot help but wonder if this statement from a promotor of the post-Conciliar liturgy will lead to calls for yet another motu proprio ordering that said liturgy be suppressed.)

In any case, all of this, this way in which the Church and its liturgy present themselves, is no longer of any interest to the simple faithful who want to escape the betrayals of a clergy that wallows in the management of empty parishes where only “committed laymen” swarm and claim to “animate” liturgies that are, at best, lukewarm soups swallowed out of a spirit of sacrifice, and, at worst, poisons for inner peace and psychological balance.

Granted, there do remain harbors of peace, such as the monasteries that have resisted the winds of modernism and have received and applied Vatican II with faith and intelligence. But a monastery, though it may be an occasional place of refreshment, is not the parish sanctuary that the lay faithful should normally frequent, and where they ought to be sure that they can live out and feed their faith in silence and contemplation.

In order to get away from this ecclesial situation, which has become delirious and toxic to the point of harming inner peace and the Catholic faith, it has been decided to put an end to the “adventure” of Pro Liturgia. The current situation has no future and is kept up by a partly unstable clergy and laity that have accepted to be so disoriented that they no longer question what they are made to do during the Mass. As such, this situation demands such a decision of us.

The watchword of our bishops is that Masses should be entrusted neither to “traditionalists” nor to the faithful who respect the decisions of Vatican II on liturgy, but only to those who abuse divine worship. Therefore, to try to have a conversation with these mitred pastors, with their impenetrable way of thinking, is a waste of time (and sometimes even of faith).

The Mystery of The Holy House

Transported from the Holy Land to Italy by angels, the story of the Holy House.

An exclusive documentary investigation into one of the most fascinating and controversial mysteries of Christianity. How was the Holy House of the Virgin Mary transported from its original location in Nazareth, Palestine, to the town of Loreto on Italy's Adriatic coast?

Backs to the Wall: Can Bishops Ban 'Ad Orientem'?

Not legitimately as the law now stands. Of course, that could be changed at any time on Francis's whim or a Decree from the CDW, approved by him.

From The Pillar

Bishop James Conley (My Bishop!-JW)
offers the Ordinary Form of the Mass 
ad orientem. 
Credit: Southern Nebraska Register.

U.S. dioceses in recent weeks have seen new liturgical policies introduced in response to Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditiones custodes.

But while the pope’s new laws pertain to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, some dioceses have also announced new policies pertaining to the Ordinary Form, and especially to the ad orientem liturgical posture.

The Diocese of Venice, Florida, announced Tuesday that priests are required to obtain permission from the diocesan bishop or vicar general before offering Mass in the ad orientem posture. Late last month, the Archdiocese of Chicago also announced that priests could not offer Mass in the ad orientem posture without permission.

Other bishops have done the same in recent years — Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle announced a prohibition on the ad orientem posture in 2020, as did the bishop of Boise, Idaho.

While these policies will have passed many Catholics unaware, priests and laity interested in liturgical praxis have taken notice — and debate over the subject has arisen in seminaries, sacristies, and on social media.

So to help you know which way is east, The Pillar answers a few questions.

Ok, so what is this ‘ad orientem’ thing?

Since the early days of the Church, Christians have had the custom of facing the east during liturgical prayer — because of Christian anticipation that the Lord will return from the east, and, some scholars say, because it was often Jewish custom to pray facing eastward, in anticipation of a coming Messiah.

While liturgical practices in the early Church varied considerably, it is clear that lay Christians and priests customarily faced eastward during the Eucharistic liturgy of the early Church. There were times when, because of the layout of a church, its apse might be thought of as a kind of symbolic east, even if it was actually facing another direction, and even times when an entire congregation might face away from the priest and altar, with the priest behind them offering Mass, in order that all were facing eastward.

As the rubrics of the Mass in the Latin Catholic Church developed, it became common that priest and people together faced the church’s altar and tabernacle during the prayers of the Mass, looking eastward, or symbolically eastward, with the priest in front of the congregation.

Obviously, there were exceptions, but this posture — the ad orientem posture — became the normative position in which the prayers of the Mass were offered, in most churches in most parts of the world.

And then Vatican II changed that?

No. Or, well, yes. Or, no. It depends on what exactly you mean.

The Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium, does not say a single word about liturgical postures. So in a technical, legal, formal sense, no — Vatican II did not change that.

In a historical sense, though, you could say otherwise. After all, Mass celebrated versus populum — with the priest facing the people — was not especially common before Vatican II. And just a few years after the council’s conclusion, the versus populum posture was the ordinary way in which Mass was offered in most parts of the world. So in a chronological sense, Vatican II does mark an essential turning point on the question.

But the change didn’t happen overnight.

In fact, several decades before the Second Vatican Council, some liturgical theologians had begun to call for Mass to be celebrated versus populum, in the belief that that might foster more active and engaged lay participation in the Mass.

There was concern — usually regarded as legitimate concern — in the years leading up to Vatican II that because of liturgical abuses or laxity, coupled with poor catechesis, many lay people who attended Mass were relatively disengaged from the sacrifice offered at the altar.

Some theologians believed that if the priest faced the people, it might foster more prayerful engagement. Theologians and historians debated the extent of historical precedent for the practice, and whether the rubrics in force before the council allowed for its use.

In a 1959 article, two years before the Second Vatican Council began, a canon law professor at Catholic University of America wrote that the Holy See was already encouraging a “revival” of the versus populum posture — though his evidence has been criticized as flimsy.

Despite the groundwork ahead of Vatican II, Sacrosanctum concilum didn’t mention the debate about liturgical postures.

But a 1964 Vatican instruction on implementing Sacrosanctum concilium did say directly that celebrating Mass versus populum was permitted.

After publication of that document, the practice took off very quickly — in local workshops and guidelines for implementing the council, it was often presented as an essential part of enacting the ethos, or “spirit” of the Council in the liturgy.

Ad orientem didn’t completely go away, but it was almost entirely unseen for several decades, until the 1990s, when some theologians and priests began to suggest its more regular use.

Eventually, some bishops came to support that position, and, in some dioceses, bishops in recent years have begun regularly using the ad orientem posture. One even wrote a pastoral letter about it.

The practice has since enjoyed a mostly quiet revival within the Ordinary Form of the Mass, with periodic support from Vatican officials, including Cardinal Robert Sarah, former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments.

Does the Church say that ‘versus populum’ is preferable to ‘ad orientem’?

The “General Instruction of the Roman Missal” guides the celebration of the Mass in the Latin Catholic Church.

The official translation of that text, in a discussion of the placement of the altar within a church, says in #299 that “the altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible.”

In light of that provision, Bishop Arthur Seratelli, who was then-chairman of the U.S. bishops’ conference liturgy committee, wrote in 2016 to U.S. bishops that while the General Instruction of the Roman Missal “does show a preference for the celebrant’s facing the people ‘whenever possible’ in the placement and orientation of the altar,” the Church “does not prohibit the celebration of the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form ad orientem.”

But some liturgists dispute the notion that the GIRM actually does show a preference for the versus populum position.

Challenging the official translation and its interpretation, some liturgists and classicists have argued that the Latin text is better translated to read: “Wherever possible, the altar should be built separated from the wall, leaving enough space for the priest to walk around it and making it possible to celebrate facing the people.”

That translation would, they argue, better align with the Vatican’s 1964 instruction, which permitted the versus populum posture but did not prioritize it over the ad orientem posture.

In fact, many liturgists argue that the instructions contained within the Missal — namely instructions for priests to face the people at certain points — presume that the priest is ordinarily using the ad orientem posture when offering the Mass.

The Church’s magisterium has not responded directly to those challenges — The official translation has not been changed, nor has Bishop Seratelli’s assertion been amended by the USCCB.

In September 2000, however, the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments did clarify that GIRM #299 does not “constitute a norm” which prohibits the ad orientem posture.

While the congregation said that offering Mass versus populum “is legitimate and often advisable,” it confirmed that the ad orientem posture is not prohibited to priests. The Vatican added that “it appears that the ancient tradition, though not without exception, was that the celebrant and the praying community were turned versus [i.e ad] orientem, the direction from which the light which is Christ comes.”

So can a bishop prohibit the ‘ad orientem’ posture?

Well, that depends on whom you ask. And when.

In his 2016 letter, Bishop Seratelli wrote that a priest’s decision about whether to use the ad orientem posture “should always be made with the supervision and guidance of the local bishop.”

It is not clear precisely what Seratelli’s phrase was intended to convey — whether the bishop was asserting that a priest needs the permission of his bishop to use the ad orientem posture, or only that he should seek guidance and oversight from his bishop.

But in April 2000, when a U.S. bishop did restrict some use of the ad orientem posture in his diocese, the Congregation for Divine Worship reportedly clarified by letter that Mass could be celebrated in either the versus populum or ad orientem position, stating that “both positions are in accord with liturgical law; both are to be considered correct.”

“As both positions enjoy the favor of the law, the legislation may not be invoked to say that one position or the other accords more closely with the mind of the Church,” the congregation added.

Getting down to brass tacks, the congregation clarified that a diocesan bishop “is unable to exclude or mandate the use of a legitimate option,” but is “competent to provide further guidance to priests in their choice of the various options of the Roman Rite.”

While that letter has often been used in support of the argument that priests have the right to choose a liturgical posture, it was not a definitive interpretation of canon law, and could, in theory, be changed according to the intentions of the Congregation for Divine Worship or Pope Francis.

The only way to know for certain whether the Vatican would allow a bishop to prohibit the ad orientem posture is for the liturgy congregation to hear an appeal from a priest who believes his bishop’s policies are unjust. And, as the issue heats up in dioceses across the U.S., such an appeal seems an eventuality — which could soon bring clarity to the state of play for priests wishing to look, and pray, ad orientem — to the east.

Word of the Day: Maestro di Camera

 MAESTRO DI CAMERA. Title of the chief chamberlain of the Vatican. He is in charge of all daily personal services of the Pope, e.g., household affairs, Vatican guards, and petitions for audiences. He makes arrangements for pontifical ceremonies and is custodian of the Fisherman's Ring.

Priests Who Want Holy Water Must Use the ‘Rituale’—Despite Episcopal Prohibition

Dr K emphasises a point often made by Fr Zed on his blog, the 'New Rite' DOES NOT BLESS WATER! It only blesses those who use it, an entirely different thing.

From One Peter Five

By Peter Kwasniewski, PhD

As is well known by now, the Responsa ad Dubia from the Congregation for Divine Worship, published on December 18, 2021, try to make the continued use of the Rituale Romanum contingent on episcopal permission. This is but one of many falsehoods contained in the document, which, in addition, violates the rights of bishops on numerous points of canon law. Bishops who truly care for the good of their presbyterate and people will either simply not disturb the priests who already use the great Rituale Romanum, or will—if they are legalistic in mentality—freely grant them the supposed “permission” required to use it.

However, disturbing reports are already coming in from dioceses where bishops are forbidding, or threatening to forbid, their clergy any use of the Rituale Romanum. This is often accompanied by a decision that a local personal parish, run by the FSSP or the ICKSP, will become the solitary place in the diocese where the Rituale is still allowed to be used. In dioceses where several or even dozens of parish priests have been using the Rituale for years, this creates an absolute pastoral nightmare, especially now that the more educated among the faithful are aware of the vast differences between the old and new rites across the board. How can a single personal parish possibly be expected to handle all of the requests for blessings and sacraments that will now be directed exclusively to them? This consideration alone should prompt a bishop to hesitate before restricting and ghettoizing.

The prohibition of the Rituale to diocesan clergy is problematic on numerous points, but here I wish to focus on one very particular problem: holy water.

The Rituale Romanum authoritatively blesses objects, that is, it calls upon God in the name of Jesus Christ to bless the object itself, to make it holy, and thereby to help sanctify those who make use of it and to forcibly expel evils. With more important blessings, and above all that of water, the priest first exorcises the element in the name of Jesus in order to remove it totally from the domain of the Prince of this world (cf. Jn 12:31, Eph 2:2, 2 Cor 4:4) and to give it a sacred status and use. The Rituale does the same with the baptism of infants and adults: they are duly and properly exorcised prior to their incorporation into Christ as members of His Mystical Body.

The new rite of baptism has no proper exorcism,[1] and the new “blessing” of holy water doesn’t even pretend to do an exorcism because the new theology doesn’t believe that the devil has any power over the world after Christ has come; all things are already fine (the theory of the “anonymous Christian” slots in nicely here), and what we do with our rituals is a form of “salvation theater” to manifest to ourselves what we believe has already happened—not what needs to happen here and now to separate, sacralize, and sanctify fallen reality.[2]

Accordingly, the new “blessing” of holy water doesn’t actually bless the water itself; it simply blesses those who will use the water. As Fr. Zuhlsdorf has persistently pointed out many times over the years at his blog, when you use the Book of Blessings to “bless” holy water, you don’t end up with blessed water; the water’s just the same as it was before, because God was never asked, by His sanctifying power, to give it a new relation to Himself and thus a new objective power to affect other things—especially demons.

Let’s have a look at some excerpts from the two books, just to drive home the point. Here’s what the old prayers of exorcising and blessing water look like:

O water, creature of God, I exorcise you in the name of God the Father + Almighty, and in the name of Jesus + Christ His Son, our Lord, and in the power of the Holy + Spirit. I exorcise you so that you may put to flight all the power of the enemy, and be able to root out and supplant that enemy with his apostate angels, through the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire….

May this, your creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of your mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness… May the wiles of the lurking enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water, so that the health obtained by calling upon your Holy Name, may be made secure against all attack….

Humbly and fearfully do we pray to you, O Lord, and we ask you to look with favor on this salt and water which you created. Shine on it with the light of your kindness. Sanctify it by the dew of your love, so that, through the invocation of your Holy Name, wherever this water and salt is sprinkled, it may turn aside every attack of the unclean spirit, and dispel the terrors of the poisonous serpent.

Now that’s how the Catholic Church used to pray—and still does, where the Faith survives. The language of the old prayers, which is efficacious by the power of Christ and His Church, makes it perfectly clear why St. Teresa of Avila could write in her Autobiography: “From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue.”

In painful and scandalous contrast, the new rite reads like this:

Blessed are you, Lord, all-powerful God, who in Christ, the living water of salvation, blessed and transformed us. Grant that, when we are sprinkled with this water or make use of it, we will be refreshed inwardly by the power of the Holy Spirit… (etc.)

Nowhere is there an actual blessing of the water.[3]

Consequently, most Catholic churches for the past fifty years have welcomed the faithful with the ecclesiastical equivalent of birdbaths. You dip your hand into dihydrogen monoxide with germs. And while there’s nothing wrong with playing in water, as children are wont to do, it doesn’t carry any of the demon-dispelling, passion-quelling, venial-sin-remitting power that the Church attributes to the potent sacramental of holy water. No wonder people raised on such ersatz came up with ideas like putting sand in the stoops for Lent, or leaving them empty during Coronatide.

One of the most remarkable moments of my life as a liturgist was when I sat in the audience at the 2019 Sacred Liturgy Conference in Spokane, Washington, listening to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone deliver a lecture entitled “What Makes Water Holy? Reflections on the Rites for the Blessing of Holy Water.” The text has been removed from the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s website, where it used to be located, but fortunately I downloaded it and now make it available here.[4] The talk is remarkable because His Excellency, unlike most prelates, doesn’t beat around the bush, hemming and hawing: he simply comes right out and says the same thing as van Slyke, Lang, Zuhlsdorf, and others, namely: the new blessing of water doesn’t make water holy, while the old one—the one in the Rituale Romanum—does.

Where does that leave us? The conclusion should be obvious. If a priest wishes to prepare holy water for his own use and for the benefit of his people, as the Church has always done in her implacable warfare against the Evil One until the end of time, he must bless it with the Rituale Romanum. There is no other way.

What, then, of the question of “obedience”? Ah, the virtue the enemies of Christ love to abuse for their own purposes, twisting and defiling it to suit their wicked agendas! Here is where we need the “supernatural common sense” called the sensus fidelium.

Our Lord Jesus Christ could never wish His clergy and faithful to be deprived of the powerful weapon and consolation of holy water. Neither could Holy Mother Church, His immaculate Bride, who wills what He wills. It could only be the devil who would want to see holy water disappear from our churches, rectories, and homes, as it gives him more freedom to prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Therefore, any prohibition on the blessing of holy water can never have its origin from God or the Church, but only from the devil.

Priests have a grave obligation, in conscience, to obey God and the Church and to seek the salvation of souls and their liberation from the Evil One. They will therefore know what to do in such alarming circumstances: if they cannot bless holy water from the Rituale in public, they will do so in private. They will never deprive themselves or their people of this sacramental. And they will avoid altogether the “Book of Blessings”—a wretched, ineffective substitute for the real tools of the trade.

Photo credit: Cathopic.

[1] The Dave Armstrongs of the world will pull out their hair and quote the new rite of baptism’s “exorcism,” as wimpy as it is; but that is because they have not done the heavy lifting required to see that its neo-exorcism reflects a wholly different (in fact, Rahnerian) theology, as Thomas Pink demonstrates in his ground-breaking study “Vatican II and Crisis in the Theology of Baptism,” published in three parts at The Josias, and ranking as one of the ten most important pieces I have ever read on the shift from pre-Vatican II to post-Vatican II theologies.

[2] The denial of a difference between “sacred” and “profane,” a commonplace in contemporary sacramental and liturgical theology, is pertinent here as well. For the various claims in this and surrounding paragraphs, see, in addition to Pink, the authoritative studies by van Slyke and Fr. Lang: Dr. Daniel G. van Slyke, “The Order for Blessing Water: Past and Present,” Antiphon 8:2 (2003), 12–23 (which may also be found in U. Michael Lang, ed., The Fullness of Divine Worship: The Sacred Liturgy and Its Renewal [Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2018], 169–95) and U. Michael Lang, “Theologies of Blessing: Origins and Characteristics of De benedictionibus (1984),” Antiphon 15:1 (2011), 27–46.

[3] For those who wish to do a deep dive, Fr. Z offers a side-by-side comparison of the old and new rites; something similar is done in this article at OnePeterFive. Reading one or the other of these comparisons is so revealing of the dastardly work of the liturgical reformers that it will forever change your way of thinking.

[4] The video of the talk is still available (for now) at YouTube here.