Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Black Biretta takes on attackers of the EF Mass

Matt Abbott of Renew America interviewed the "venerable" Fr. John Trigilio (right) of the Black Biretta blog on his reactions to a securities broker cum liturgist who lambasted the Traditional Latin Mass and its adherents.

Attention Fr. Chupungco and attendees of the Liturgical Congress!


A rather fatuous commentary titled "Take a pass on the Latin Mass" on the Web site of the leftist U.S. Catholic magazine led me to ask Father John Trigilio Jr., author and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, for his thoughts on said commentary. The following is Father's response (slightly edited):

'How ironic that the same crowd which lambasted and chastised traditional Catholics for their affection for the 'old' Mass (the Traditional Latin Mass, or more accurately, the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite) these past 45 years are now themselves nostalgic for their beloved 'folk' Mass. [Remember Chupungco's talk about those trapped in the past?  Good point here.]

'Yet, it is not nostalgia to reinvent, redefine or rewrite history. Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that the extraordinary form was never invalidated nor abolished. The ordinary form (alias Novus Ordo or Vatican II vernacular Mass) has been normative since 1970 but the Tridentine rite (or Traditional Latin Mass) has been, remains and will always be valid and licit for Catholic worship. The so-called 'folk' Masses, or what the author calls 'alternative, progressive Masses,' were never normative. Many were in fact illicit as they did not conform to the rubrics of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) of the 'new' Mass of 1970. [Many are still illicit! More on this below.  You won't believe this.]

'Liturgical abuses abounded prolifically when every Larry Liturgist decided he knew better than Rome or the USCCB and concocted their own aberrant worship services. [Our parish priest has the liturgical mantra of "We did that in last year's Mass.  What do we do for this year?" Remember our "Deal or no deal" parish priest?  Oh believe me.  I am counting the days remaining before a MASSIVE protest at the Diocesan Chancery erupts to have this nut job booted out of our parish!] It is almost reminiscent of former KGB spies and out of work Russian bureaucrats having nostalgia for the 'good old days' of the now defunct Soviet Union. The 'progressive' Catholics who chanted Kumbaya as often as a faithful Jew would the Shma' Israel, romanticize the pre-John Paul II and Benedict XVI days when liturgical goons ran diocesan worship offices. [Bugnini's posse!]

'Hello, wake up and smell the coffee! There is a reason why the folk Mass crowd is getting older and fewer. Young and middle-aged faithful grew up under the pastoral leadership of Pope John Paul the Great. Latin was no longer a dead or secret language. Reverence is a key component to sacred liturgy. [BINGO!] Pedestrian services cannot compete with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Whether ordinary form or extraordinary, both are equally valid and licit and both serve the spiritual needs of those who attend them. The 'look at your neighbor' theater-in-the-round modern monstrosities posing as churches are nothing more than banal self-serve ego worship. They emphasize the immanent while the authentic churches focus on the transcendent. [Any Manila Catholics remember the sight of the chapel in a famous mall in Makati?]

'I often tell my parishioners that church is the embassy of heaven. When they cross the threshold and enter the House of God, they are on foreign soil. They have passed from the earthly Babylon into the heavenly Jerusalem. This is why stained glass depicting lives of the saints adorns the real churches while clear plain glass allows the alternate worship sites to gawk and glare at the secular world. Gymnasiums are fine for sports but not for divine worship. [I once remember an elderly priest commenting on our new parish church which was completely devoid of any sacred symbol save for the Resurrected Christ figure in the sanctuary.  He said "This place is too ugly to be even called a gymnasium!"  Nobel simplicity?  Our beloved showman parish priest does it on the outside, but boy wait till you see his bank accounts!  And he is a religious priest...with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience!] Sacred liturgy is about God not about man. Religion is required by the cardinal virtue of Justice. We owe God proper adoration and praise. When we pat ourselves on the back, however, it is not religion but entertainment. [Gotta love Fr. Trigilio!]

'It is furthermore presumptuous at best and petty-minded at worse to accuse those who prefer the more traditional forms of Catholic worship as being elitist. They are merely exercising their legitimate option to attend Catholic worship in a form that best meets their spiritual needs. The language, vestments and architecture accentuate and enhance that. But narrow-minded 'progressives' are like the political liberals who when scratched hard enough betray their fascist colors. They wish to impose their 1960s ideal of how Catholics ought to pray. [Same like the Obama maniacs who think that if you are against gay marriage, you are homophobic!  If you are against abortion rights, you are disrespectful of women's rights!]

'Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi. Proper and reverent liturgy done according to the rubrics reinforces the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Magisterium. [Say the Black, Do the Red!]When both word and sacrament coincide, we get a blueprint for how to live a holy life, that is, a way of sanctification to prepare us for the afterlife. Folksy gym services are informal (as opposed to reverent) and only instill an attachment to this world since the worship space is so temporary and so earthly. Real churches, on the other hand, are permanent, transcendent, sacred and other-worldly.

'I love both the ordinary and the extraordinary forms. Both, when done properly, reverently and prayerfully, edify the soul and nourish the Mystical Body of Christ while rendering true and fitting worship to the One True God. Just as both the Western (Latin) and Eastern (Byzantine) churches have their unique traditions, the Novus Ordo and the Traditional Latin Mass are both elegant and exquisite means of teaching and sustaining the Catholic religion. [I agree.  But I still prefer the sacred silence the Traditional Mass has.  The bowing at the mention of the Holy Name.  The kneeling at the mention of the Incarnation...Beautiful!]

'The romper-room liturgies and Woodstock-era ceremonies of the '60s and '70s did nothing but chase away vocations and enlarge Fundamentalist sects. People fled the nonsense when the real thing was denied them. I do not miss 'Glory and Praise' and the other trite meanderings sung as if at a local drinking hole. Bar tunes are not hymns. Sacred art is about saintly people and salvation history. White-washing did nothing more than erase many people's memories of the popular saints their ancestors honored when they built these gorgeous churches. Hiding tabernacles did not promote belief in the Real Presence, but it did expand the social room. [Watch if these priests who hide tabernacles even spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and you won't be surprised to find that they do not.  It's almost saying that they are uncomfortable at the presence of the Lord.]

'Vatican II did not simply tolerate a modicum of Latin and preponderance of the vernacular. It encouraged the common parts be said in the liturgical language of the rite. The council envisioned not just the Creed, Gloria, Agnus Dei and Sanctus but also the Preface and Eucharistic Prayer as well as the Pater Noster. Orienting the direction of worship toward the East by both priest and congregation was never abrogated. [Never ever!  Pope Benedict proved this yet a Filipino bishop prohibited his priest to do this!] The option of facing the people was never given priority by the documents.[Never given priority but became the norm.  This is the "evil spirit" of Vatican 2:  the option became the norm and the norm became taboo.]

'Unfortunately, while the bishops were still en route home from the close of Vatican II, the 'liturgists' got hold of the helm and steered the ship into uncharted waters. Innovation became outright abuse of rubrical norms. Participation was no longer interior but based on geography; hence sanctuaries became more crowded than the pews with all kinds of 'ministers' dancing about as if at a bad ballet. Going up the altar of God is still the cornerstone of Catholic worship, whether English or Latin, ordinary or extraordinary form.

'How you pray and worship influences what you believe and both determine how you live and behave. Praying in a sports arena is going to reinforce the notion that liturgy is about us and not about the Almighty. Funny, I thought that was the sin of Lucifer way back when.' [Excellent!]

Fr. Trigilio posted this on his blog as a commentary to the article (the one I posted above) by Mark Abbott in Renew America:

Fr. Z said it best when he commented on Summorum Pontificum that the gravitational force of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will influence the Ordinary Form. In other words, the great reverence and elegance of the TLM can and ought to be an integral part of the celebration of the Novus Ordo (as originally intended by the Council Fathers). [Which Chupungco and his gangs hate!]

He rightly points out the genius of Pope B16 to allow both the old and the new (extraordinary and ordinary) to mutually enhance each other and together provide for the spiritual needs of the faithful. Rather than being a contest, it is the principle of the Catholic "et ... et" (BOTH ... AND). The secular world embraces the dualistic heresy of the "aut ... aut" (EITHER ... OR). Catholicism has the fullness of grace (all seven sacraments) and the fullness of truth (Divine Revelation as found in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition).


I once attended Mass in our chapel and was curious to look into the sacristy.  I had access since I was once the choir master of our village chapel.  To my great horror and grief, I saw a bottle of a famous table wine in the sacristy.  So I asked the sacristan what it was there for.  I almost fainted after learning from him that it is and was the "Mass wine"!  That means all of our past Masses were invalid!  I almost took out my whip and made a scene there!  In short, I talked to everyone in the chapel including our parish priest who says Mass and reminded him that ONLY grape wine must be used.  The regular Mompo wine was brought and used.  I hope they still do to this day because I don't assist in Mass in our village chapel anymore. 

Two points:  Where the priest not noticing something different in the way the wine tastes?  And most importantly, priests must be liturgically knowledgeable!  I do not blame the sacristan.  He does not know this things.  The priest should do his job!  If I did not peek into the sacristy, then my poor neighbors would still have an invalid Mass!

For cying out loud, look at the blogosphere.  You have more traditional Catholics who know their liturgical heritage well than the Revisionist Liturgical History of Anscar Chupungco.

Be informed so you will not fall into their traps!


  1. The Mass of Paul VI (OF) when said reverently (IMHO, better in Latin) does nourish the faith of Catholics like what the EF does. The fact that even with the liturgical innovations, it still managed to sustain Catholic faith is evidence that it is a channel of God's grace.

    What we need to recover are practices that have been unnecessarily discarded like bowing when the incarnation and the resurrection is said in the Creed. The OF can be said ad orientem and in doing so provides continuity. These practices were preserved in Anglicanism until Anglo-Catholics decided to hop in on the Catholic liturgical innovations. This is now a point of contention as Anglicans come home to the Church.