Wednesday, June 22, 2016


After 481 years we still look back in awe and wonder at  the heroic and saintly figures of Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester who was beheaded for the Faith on this day 22nd June, 1535, and Saint Thomas More former Lord Chancellor of England who was beheaded for the Faith days later on 6th July, 1535, in the course of the Deformation of the Catholic Church in England by the sex-obsessed, syphilitic plunderer of Monasteries and Churches and big time gambler ,Henry VIII of unhappy memory.

The Lives of the two Saints have filled many books and indeed, Harvard University has published 14,000 pages of Saint Thomas More's Papers. But our humble Blog is not up tp such mighty achievements. Nevertheless, we want you to get some strong flavour of the character and true sanctity of these heroic saints and giants of the Catholic Faith , who remained true to Christ's Church when many either grabbed for money and betrayed the Lord or cowered in fear.


We could recount the incident when, Henry VIII personally confronted the assembled Bishops to receive their written acknowledgement of his headship of the Church in England , the Archbishop of Canterbury having forged the signature of Bishop Fisher to save him from the King's ire. But Fisher would have none of it, and stood up insisting that he had not signed! But, instead, we shall present the text of a letter he wrote to the wretched Thomas Crumwell (later euphemised as Cromwell by the English Establishment) .In 1534 he was attainted of misprision of Treason, as Crumwell sought to silence the holy Bishop and others who would not support the King's desire to dissolve his marriage, in the process Bishop Fisher wrote to Crumwell:

".........After my right humble commendations I most entirely beseech you that I no further be moved to make answer unto your letters. For I see that mine answer must rather grow into a great book , or else be insufficient, so that ye shall still thereby take occasion to be offended and I nothing profit.

But I perceive that everything I writ is ascribed either to craft, or to willfulness, or to affection or to unkindness against my sovereign; so that my writing rather provoketh you to displeasure than it furthereth me to any point concerning your favour which I most effectually covet.

Nothing I read in all your long letters that I take any comfort of but the only subscriptions wherein it pleaseth you to call you my friend;
which undoubtedly was a word of much consolation unto me. And therefore I beseech you so to continue and so to show yourself unto me at this time.

In two points of my writing methought ye were most offended and both concerned the King's Grace. That one was where I excused myself by the displeasure that His Highness took with me when I spake once or twice unto him of like matters. The other was where I touched his great matter.

And as to this first methink it very hard that I might not signify unto you secretly such things as might be most effectual for mine excuse.

And as to the second, my study and purpose was specially to decline, that I should not be straited to offend His Grace in that behalf. For then I must needs declare my conscience; the which (as then I wrote) I would be loth to do any more largely than I have done.

Not that I condemn any other men's conscience. Their conscience may save them; and mine must save me..........."


From a letter written in prison, to his daughter, Margaret, by Saint Thomas More:

"Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness, I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in His merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God's Grace has given the King a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken nothing from me but my liberty. In doing this, His Majesty has done me such good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. Either He shall keep the King in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this cases I shall not deserve, then His grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly.

By the merits of His bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, His bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.

I will not mistrust Him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening, and on the verge of being overcome with fear, I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of Faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and call to Him for help. And then, I trust He shall place His Holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.

And if He permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to The ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in His tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby! Still, if this should happen, afterward I trust that in His goodness He will look on me with pity as He did on Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.

And finally Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault, He will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope, commit myself wholly to Him. And, if He permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for His justice. But, in good faith,Meg, I trust that His tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend His mercy.

And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that is, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.

You confirm the true faith
With the crown of martyrdom.
May the prayers of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More
Give us the courage to proclaim our faith
By the witness of our lives.
Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God for ever and ever. Amen 


Monday, May 30, 2016



In "modern"times , we could say that Africa has been "raped"three times: by Slavery, by colonial mining and trade, and by chequebook!


Here we had a private enterprise Rape. It was a  market price rape. It had several elements : African Traitors to their own people, sometimes Chiefly, who sold their people cruelly and cheaply to the Traders, whose vile , inhuman ships reeking of death and human waste bore the hapless slaves in the most appalling conditions across the oceans for sale , in the Americas mostly for plantation work, or in some cases for domestic service. There was nothing new in this, in some cases. Chiefs in the same areas had been selling people into Mohammedan slavery since around A.D. 700 . The slave traders route from West Africa overland to North Africa was well-defined and well known.

Colonial Trade and Mining

In this phase we had European Kingdoms taking Colonial possessions by force , or sometimes by "offers of protection" and then acquiring cheap raw materials which were exported and sold at a handsome profit. In most cases , the Colonial Power then added insult to injury by exporting back to the Colony goods manufactured from those raw materials at a further handsome profit. The very ships and railway lines and trains and uniforms that served the Colonial Power in the Colony generated jobs and wealth back in the Mother/Father Land.Not to mention the guns , ammunition, cannons etc that kept the whole structure peaceful and secure.


To-day the new Phase is more pacific, one might even say, more Pacific. For the new colonialism is purely financial - at this stage , in any case.
China is VERY active in Africa. Her activity is multi-faceted it is true, and generally "soft". Chinese engineers and contractors are very successful in obtaining contracts for the construction of major civil works in the new African republics, often providing cheap , long term finance  to sweeten their tenders. Occasionally a brightly shining Chinese warship will make a friendly visit of goodwill.

The Chinese are well- informed on the corruption necessary to succeed , since at home China is riddled with corruption as the Communist Party and the Red Army arrange affairs to profit themselves rather than the Chinese people or state.

Meanwhile, the real business is going on behind closed doors. Just as she is attempting to do in Australia, China is buying up Mining properties and agricultural land in Africa by State- owned Corporations Chinese officials have boasted to an Australian Senator, that they are paying more in "facilitation fees"( bribes) in Africa , than they pay for the assets acquired! Once again Africa is being sold out by leading figures for disgraceful greed. This money paid in bribes, properly belongs to the African people themselves. But because it is stolen by their corrupt leaders the people will go without clean water, reliable electricity, industry and proper education and health care.

What is China's game? Strategic planning to acquire assets against a very volatile future with projected massive increases in population requiring vast increases in food and minerals. The food situation in China is said to be set to deteriorate rapidly over the coming years as burgeoning development takes up more and more agricultural land whilst population demands more and more food. Solution : acquire overseas assets as favourably as possible.

The object appears to acquire them not only at a good price, but under the most favourable conditions, if possible free of tax and other administrative controls. In this way, what was formerly done by guns and invasion, is being achieved by the chequebook and official corruption. The project is also advanced by offering apparently "soft" loans in Chinese currency which, in the fine print, require repayment in United States Dollars.  Bearing in mind that China has a currency exchange rate fixed by Government regulation there is only one beneficiary of this rigged game.

It is the new Imperialism.The financial equivalent of war. 

In Africa the corruption of most Governments facilitates the process immensely. In Australia, the process had been gathering pace until a clumsy effort to takeover a Western Australian property by a Chinese State Corporation scared the horses, and a Parliamentary Inquiry was set up. It has found gaping holes in our Tax and Tax avoidance regime, which seem likely to be closed. And more recently a major Chinese "investment" has been refused .

In the meantime the people of Africa are being raped again, their own villains go unpunished, and the new soft, but ruthless Imperialism is setting itself up for the long haul. But at home in China, the corrupt operations of State -owned corporations, which for long have pretended to defy economic rationality, have piled up mountains of debt and bad debts for the Chinese Banks. There are indications that, at a late stage - it seems it may be TOO LATE - the Banks are facing the problems and may need to cut lending and write-off massive bad debts. Cutting lending will lead to declining economic activity and employment  and civil unrest. We can only watch and wonder.China's corruption, seekng to profit from Africa's corruption may yet bring them both down.  

Thursday, May 26, 2016




This text appeared anonymously on my desk in 1992. Given its style and scholarship, I suspect it originated in Rome. One might guess at the Author. If requested I would gladly acknowledge the Author's rights.

(Note: The RSV text is shown to contrast a literal translation using classical English with what has been done in the NRSV.)

1 GEN. 1: 26-27

RSV: Then God said, "Let us make man (Adam) in our image, after our likeness and let them have dominion" So God created man (ha 'adam) in his own image in the image of God he created him (oto); male and female he created them (otam).

NRSV: Then God said," Let us make humankind in our own image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion, So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

COMMENT : Use of the collective term "humankind" for Adam obscures the play between the first man Adam and the human race inherent in the term Adam, the play between the individual and  collectivity ( implying a unity in diversity or a type of corporate personality) , and the fact that each man is created in his image. In addition, the use of "man" is very appropriate in view of the long theological tradition which interprets the image of God in Christ as the man par excellence, both singularly and corporately, because he is the image of God par excellence.

2. PSALM 1:1

RSV: blessed is the man (ish) who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.....

NRSV: Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers......


RSV: He is like a tree planted by streams of water- In all that he does, he prospers.

NRSV: They are like trees planted by streams of water....In all that they do they prosper.

COMMENT. The "General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours" presents the liturgical tradition of the Church's use of the Psalter as her prayer:"The Fathers , and the Liturgy itself, could legitimately hear in the singing of the psalms the voice of Christ crying out to the Father, or the Father conversing with the Son.....a Christological meaning is by no means confined to the recognized Messianic psalms but is given also to many others"(109).Throughout her history, for example, the Church has seen this psalm with which the Psalter begins as reference to Christ at prayer, in whose name, and in imitation of whom she prays continuously. But the NRSV does not allow this traditional liturgical sense of the Church praying the Psalms with Christ when it changes the singular person of the Hebrew original text to the plural, a means of providing an "inclusive" English version.

Eusebius:"The tree is at once the Son of God - and the just man......

Hilarion: "The tree of life is Christ..............

Gregory the Great:" In Holy Scripture the tree symbolises sometimes the cross, sometimes man (just or unjust), and sometimes incarnate Wisdom."

Hippolytus: "In place of the wood (the forbidden tree of Paradise), this wood (the Cross) takes root...."

Psalm 1:3

Origen: "What better beginning for the Psalter than this prophecy and this praise of the Perfect Man in the Saviour!"

Eusebius: Every man desires bliss; that is why this first psalm describes " He who" is truly happy. The first blissful One is the Saviour .This psalm concerns Him Who is the "Bridegroom of His Church."

Augustine: Jesus Christ had not gone off following the way of the wicked one. He refused an earthly kingdom..."

A smaller point: it might be noted that in Verse 1 of the NRSV in addition the contrast between the virtuous man who seems to stand alone and the undefined mass of sinners is lost.

3 DANIEL 7:13

RSV: I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man (bar enash) and was presented before him......

NRSV:  As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven.....

Comment: In the New Testament synoptic gospels, the title "Son of Man" is the most common one used of Jesus; he even uses it of himself. Its use is unexpected and has been the subject of much theological reflection, and it is a factor in our understanding of the development of the Christology of the New Testament. In accord with the classic principle of theological interpretation of the Scripture
(Novum latet in Vetere, Vetus patent in Novo) , Catholic theology necessarily considers how the phrase "Son of Man " is used throughout the Scriptures, and how the New Testament authors may have seen it applied to Jesus in the light of its Old Testament antecedents.

One finds the classic texts for this theological discussion in John 3:13-14 and Mark 13:26. John 3 says:"No one has ascended into heaven bur He who has descended from heaven the Son of Man. and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up - that whoever looks upon Him may have eternal life." Mark 13 says:"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the Earth to the ends of heaven."  The citations are from the RSV, but the NRSV is not different here.

However, note the NRSV translation of Daniel 7:13 (cf. above), the Old Testament text which is commonly understood as the antecedent to which these texts allude. The NRSV inserts an interpretation about what the phrase "son of man" means in the Old Testament Book of Daniel, instead of giving the actual English translation of the phrase. The passage from Daniel is important for a full understanding of the Christological title "Son of Man" as used in the gospels. In the NRSV translation, that full understanding is impeded for English- speaking readers, since Daniel no longer refers to the "son of man".

Finally in the context of a translation which as a rule suppresses the generic use of "man, allowing it to remain only occasionally such as in the time honored title "son of man" could give rise to confusion. For now it would come to mean not son of man (homo) but son of man (vir).

PSALM 8: 2-5

RSV:When I look at thy heavens , the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established; what is man (enosh) that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man (bar adam) that thou dost care for him? Yet thou hast made Him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honour.

NRSV: When I look at your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour.

COMMENT: A loss of correspondence between Old and New Testaments occurs again here. The Letter to the Hebrews which quotes Psalm 8 begins by saying that -

RSV: these last days God has spoken to us by a Son... He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels and the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. For to what angel did God ever say "Thou art My Son?"....

The logic is continued in Chapter 2:5:

RSV: for it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man (anthtsopos) that thou art mindful of him or the son of man (huios anthropou), that thou carest for him? Thou didn't make him for a little while lower than the angels; thou hast crowned him with glory and honour, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Note, however, the NRSV version of Hebrews 2:6ff:

NRSV: But someone has testified somewhere, What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honour, subjecting all things under their feet." Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. as it is we do not yet see everything in subjection to them , but we do see Jesus, who for a little  while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
It would seem clear from this comparison that there are serious implications for a proper doctrinal understanding of Son of Man" Christology.


POPE BENEDICT XVI  When still Cardinal Ratzinger
he identified the NRSV as being seriously defective.


The key battles in the matter of the defective New Revised Standard Version of the Bible have been won, sometimes for the right reason, sometimes for the wrong reason. But as far as what should be done, in Liturgy and Catechetics, and in the matter of the revised Lectionary, the NRSV has been definitively knocked out.

Nevertheless in physical presence, it largely continues to hold the field, thanks to dissident bookshops run by feminist Nuns and "Catholic" Education Offices that are a law unto themselves in most Dioceses, and a certain Liturgical Commission which basks in sub-tropical sunshine and has National influence.

So What is the Problem with the N.R.S.V?

We might begin with the question: Translation or Travesty? For a time, the NRSV was considered as the basis for revising the Lectionary , by the International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary, but the announcement of the fact was heavily qualified that it was "revised  according to the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam. The problem was and is the lack of accuracy in the translation.


The N.R.S.V. Is a revision of the Revised Standard Version published in 1990. It is described as "less literal than the R.S.V." and it is said that it revises in the interest of 'gender inclusiveness.

Literal translation

Translation is both a science and an art, if it is to be done well. Accuracy in translation is the primary goal - to accurately and faithfully convey the meaning of the original. Many older translations: e.g. The Douai-Rheims and the Protestant King James Version - were very literal (often almost word for word) translations, sometimes to the extent that the true meaning was nearly, or wholly, unintelligible. In addition the intervening several hundred years had resulted in the discovery of new copies of many ancient texts which facilitated more accurate translation of the texts. Further, in those intervening centuries, the meaning of some words used in those translations had changed completely. (E.g. the word "stink had then simply meant "smell"!)

The 1952 R.S.V. Edition had its critics especially in the translation of the Old Testament ( e.g. Isaiah 7:14 R.S.V. Translators rendered the Hebrew word "Almah" as  " young woman. But in Hebrew, whether or not it means young woman" or "virgin" depends on the context. Consider the significance:
"Behold a virgin shall conceive a son and shall call his name Immanuel."

In 1996 the R.S.V. Catholic Edition was authorized following the inclusion of the Deuterocanonical Books and a number of New Testament alterations were made, e.g. Luke 1:28 - "full of grace" replaced "favored one."


"Gender" properly refers to the male/female/neuter character of a word, or jocularly to a person's sex (according to the Oxford Dictionary". However, in recent times, the grammatical considerations are scarcely heard of, and all jocularity has disappeared when you hear the word used. The Feminist Commissars now demand that gender should mainly mean a person's sex. This is NOT just a way of avoiding the dreaded word "sex."

The abuse of the word "gender" was born in the sexual politics of the 1970s to suit the purposes of homosexual activists. Since the biology of sexual difference only highlights the unnatural character of homosexuality, sex - male and female had to go - enter "gender". It was imperative for their purposes that fundamental concepts should be re- structured.

Gender, properly speaking, was always to a large extent customary and even arbitrary. This is especially so in French where the gender of a noun seems quite whimsically allocated - a launch is feminine, but a boat is masculine!"Gender" was perfect for manipulating thought and discussion on matters of interest to the activists. They knew that to change our use of language was to have progressive influence in changing our thoughts. Working through the Universities, they progressively killed off the words male and female, the words husband and wife were displaced and we were required to accept instead gender and partner. How well they are succeeding!

The Left-inclined thinkers (activists?) in the Church latched onto the idea by adopting the phrase inclusive language" - warm and fuzzy enough for you? - Why! It is positively lovely how could anybody argue against inclusiveness"?? This meant in general reducing language used, down to a minimalist level at which reality could be denied and differences of sex disappeared. But they briefly encountered an obstacle- the Sacred Liturgy- politics proved more important to these folk and they proceeded to change it at their whim. The Nicene Creed " for us men " - "it's only the Creed" drop "men"! (This particular abuse has only just been corrected in the New Translation).Their actions ignored the significance of reality and the true meaning of words, deferring to Political Correctness rather than Truth and Reality.


In 1990, when the NRSV was being produced, these issues were at a frenzied peak of effort on the part of those perverting the language. Attempts at resistance were overcome by hissing and spitting counterattack by the partisans who had wormed their way into positions of influence in Church bureaucracies and would not be denied.

Preparation of the NRSV involved a large committee of expert translators, working in teams on allocated sections of the Bible. So far, so good. Their work was then reviewed by a smaller Editorial Committee to determine the final form before publication. The Editorial Committee's job was to ensure stylistic consistency and attend to minor "tidying up" pre publication.

But the translators found to their dismay, that the Editorial Committee made thousands of changes, some quite substantive, in pursuit of radical "inclusive" language! So profound were the resultant problems, that in 1992 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ( then Prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) formally declared that the NRSV could not be used for Catechetical purposes , or in the Sacred Liturgy.

It was acknowledged that apart from this feminist language manipulation, some good work had been done in other parts of the translation process.


In March 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments headed by the marvelous Cardinal Medina Estevez
issued the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy) which requires that all translations for Liturgical purposes be strictly accurate and faithful. It blew out of the water the concept of "dynamic equivalence" which old ICEL had used to undermine the Roman Liturgy.

To-day we have seen in recent times the fine and sacral New Translation of the Order of Mass and we await the new translation of the Lectionary which was to be based upon an amended version of the new English Standard Version.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Little did I know how my life would change. In fact , on that fateful day 53 years ago, long before the Internet age, I had no idea that anything had happened. But in far off Rome, the Second Vatican Council was issuing its very first document : the "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" entitled "SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM" on 4th December, 1963 - nearly 53 years ago.

The world was still reeling from the news of the appalling assassination, Of President John F. Kennedy only 13 days earlier and the murder of his believed assassin only 11 days earlier and the solemn , dramatic funeral of the late President only 10 days earlier. Little wonder the document did not have much public impact.

In fact, when the Bishops of the World were asked to make submissions Preparatory to the Council to its Secretariat, the Australian Bishops had no suggestions to make on the reform of the Sacred Liturgy.

Yet SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM was to be the first document issued by the Council, recognising the centrality of the Sacred Liturgy in the life of the Catholic Church. The document itself was very re-assuring, totally unsurprising - everyone reasonably well-read in matters liturgical expected the areas in which it suggested some reform might be required. But, like the Spanish Inquisition ( "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!") nobody expected what followed, except for a few folk strategically placed who had an agenda which was NOT that of the Council Fathers.

Those with the Agenda  - not for reform , but for change had a hand in  drafting SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM and, as a result we find the document replete with phrases which left the door ajar for the " false spirit of the Council" to insinuate itself. 

Even so, the document the Council Fathers approved is remarkably solid and encouraging - the problem came to be that it was played fast and loose with, or simply ignored in significant areas.

It begins with high aspirations as one might expect  and the Introduction ends :

                                Holy Mass before Sacrosanctum Concilium

" Lastly, in faithful obedience to tradition , the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully acknowledged rites to be of equal right and dignity; that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way. The Council also desires that, where necessary, the rites be revised carefully in the light of sound tradition, and that they be given new vigour to meet the circumstances and need of modern times."

This reasonableness and great respect for tradition in which the Liturgy had organically grown permeates the express will of the Council Fathers throughout the document. Chapter 1.1 is a careful analysis of the theological basis for the Liturgy and it speaks at 10 of the Liturgy as " the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows."

Chapter 1.II urges the promotion of Liturgical Instruction and Active Participation.This Instruction is to be especially directed at the Clergy and Seminarians, but also the Laity. In referring to " full conscious and active participation............ by all the people", the document fails to mention exactly what it means by this. There was no problem in the Latin in which the document is primarily written for the word "active" comes to us from the word used  in the phrase " participatio actuosa" in which sense it means " effective or full of life" the reference being understood as meaning completely involved in spirit and mind. However, it came to be used as if the Latin word had been "activa" which refers to physical activity.This would lead in a few years to much clericalizing of the Laity and a tendency to laicise the Clergy.

Chapter I.III  deals with the Council Fathers' ideas about "The Reform of the Sacred Liturgy". Noting that the Liturgy is composed of  
" immutable elements divinely instituted" and of " elements subject to change", they go on to say : " These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the Liturgy or have become unsuited to it." It goes on to establish Norms for the regulation of the Sacred Liturgy. After noting the the right of the Holy See and such delegations as it might make to Bishops to govern the Liturgy, the first thing it asserts is " Therefore no other person, even if he be a Priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the Liturgy on his own authority.

Who could have guessed that this first and fundamental decision was to be perhaps the most abused in the decades that followed.

The document goes on : " Finally, there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them: and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."

Later at 35.1 the document requires that there should be more readings at Mass from sacred Scripture, and that they should be more varied and suitable.

At 36.1 The Council Fathers specify :

" Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.Further at 36.2 Allowance is made to extend the use of the vernacular in the Readings and directives and in some prayers and chants.All of these variations were subject to the ultimate approval of the Holy See.

In 37 et seq. Norms for inculturation are set out.And at 43 et seq. Norms are given for the establishment of Liturgical Commissions, Institutes of Pastoral Liturgy and Commissions for Sacred Music and Sacred Art.

From 47 onward to 58 the document becomes more specific about how the revision of the Liturgy of the Mass is to proceed. Simplicity is extolled, "prayers of the faithful" are to be restored ,a suitable place is to be found for the vernacular " Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those arts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them. The possibility of Communion " under both kinds" is permitted in limited circumstances. Concelebration Of Mass is approved and a new rite for this is to be drawn up.

Chapter III deals with the other sacraments and Sacramentals, Chapter IV with the Divine Office and Chapter V with the Liturgical year. In each certain changes were mandated of varying degrees of significance. Chapter VI deals with Sacred Music and at 116 The Council Fathers decree:

" The Church acknowledges Gregorian Chant as specifically suited to the Roman Liturgy : therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services."

Chapter VII deals with Sacred Art and Sacred Furnishings. An Appendix deals with a possible reform of the Calendar and the possibility of stabilising the date of Easter.

That was the Document and this was the day it was promulgated.

The implementation of the SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM was entrusted to a Consilium headed by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini.But let us not talk about unpleasant things on this 50th Anniversary.

We can simply reflect, that sometimes things are being set in train that will profoundly affect the course of our lives and we don't even guess that it is being done.

No doubt all of us who were alive then were in just that situation.All that had been order and devotion, was about to become disorder, stress,distraction and confusion.And there were rapidly appearing more vacant pews at Mass on Sundays.None of it was the letter of the Council Document, it was all the false "spirit" of the Council.


Monday, May 23, 2016


                                                                                Henry IV Part II
Earlier to-day here: posted an item  on the evolution of matters Liturgical.

It looked back to the Second Vatican Council and its requirements regarding the Liturgy, to the changes implemented by Pope Paul VI and the more recent reforms of succeeding Popes, and the recent introduction of the corrected translation of the Order of Mass in Anglophone countries.So, let us get on with it.

The anguish of Pope Paul VI as he implemented the Novus Ordo is patently obvious in his acknowledgement that the changes made those effecting the changes"almost intruders and desecrators". His Holiness was in great distress for much of the post-Conciliar remainder of his life, on this and other counts. We need only consider his mention of the "smoke of Satan"- (address 29th June, 1972) to see the depth of that distress. The Holy Father  looked with the greatest sorrow upon the mass desertions of Clergy and Religious as the false " spirit of the Council" spread its dark shadow.

There are two aspects under which I would like to consider the present situation : 

. the experience of the worshippers,and

. the Liturgical requirements of the Church                                                                                                                                                                                           

The Experience of Worshippers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Some forty four years on we are mostly now a people brought up on the Novus Ordo.Though there are those of us who still recall the days before the Novus Ordo they are not anything like a majority.And there is as a consequence a dwindling folk memory of "the way we were".And coming on we have generation after generation of youngsters brought up in the Novus Ordo culture, but more significantly and absolutely destructively in a " Catholic " Education environment that is grossly defective and in fact subversive of the Faith. The cumulative effect of these influences should inevitably be a " Faith community" that would blow away in a breeze, let alone in a gale of hostile opposition.

But wait! We are not alone! Throughout the Church, and the very Internet you are using to read this confirms it, we are finding a strong element of young Catholics committed to the fullness of Catholic Doctrine and authentic tradition. Very many of them come through association with the various Extraordinary Form communities, but not all,  and many show a good respect for both the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form.Their existence and activity can only be accounted for by the action of the Holy Spirit.

For the general run of Catholic worshippers,the daily or weekly experience of the Sacred Liturgy seems to be characterised by a moderate reduction in the level of Liturgical abuse, as the more outrageous practices are worn down by the effect of more effective Instructions, better Bishops, younger more orthodox Priests and a better educated laity at work .In general it could be said that the " climate" is less receptive to Liturgical abuse. We are not saying that it no longer exists - far from it - in some places it is entrenched very firmly.

The level of acceptance of the new corrected translation of the Order of Mass has been exceptional and we have evidence of this in several Dioceses around the Country. It does require a more deliberate pronunciation than the preceding translation, but with those Clergy able to appreciate that fact, it  provides a greatly enhanced celebration of the Liturgy, for it cannot be easily speed read .

The Liturgical Requirements of the Church

The formal Liturgical requirements of the Church tend not to change too often. But there are times when they do.One of those times was the 7th July, 2007 ( Yes! 070707) the date of Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio " Summorum Pontificum". This was a landmark event. It completely unshackled the Mass as it had been for almost 500 years before the Novus Ordo and much as it had been for the 1,000 years earlier still. This was a glorious dawn of a new age.

Pope Benedict had very clearly over the years , and most carefully, presented the case for this development. He had made the point compellingly, that it could not be that the Mass as celebrated and experienced by most of the Saints in Heaven was suddenly no longer worthy of celebration. Its shackling to make way for the Novus Ordo had been a serious error of administration. Equally, he expressed the desire to see the co-existence of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms come to work to the benefit of both. For it is equally clear that the Council Fathers saw some limited need for reform of the 1962 Missal and there is no doubt that the Novus Ordo would benefit from Celebrants gaining the experience of the expressed sense of the sacred in the original Rite.

The Motu Proprio has worked well, even if its operation has been hampered in some cases by recalcitrant false " spirit of the Council" Bishops( some of whom in a few countries have been truly appalling).But generally speaking, the availability of the Extraordinary Form has expanded quickly and whereas pre 070707 one might have feared that it would die out as existing trained celebrants went to their reward, it is now clear that no such thing will happen. Indeed, even apart from the religious Orders dedicated to its celebration - The Priestly Fraternity of Saint  Peter(FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest(ICRSP) and those like the Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (C.R.) who are dedicated to both the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms to mention just a few, the number of young Priests newly-ordained who are seeking and obtaining proper training in the Extraordinary Form celebration has expanded massively.

All of this, is having a marked effect on the way Holy Mass is celebrated and the " ars celebrandi" (the art of celebrating) is now a common matter for legitimate discussion - no longer is improvisation thought in any way respectable. So the Motu Proprio has produced ample fruits already and its ripples are still spreading.

Not that the path has been universally smooth. Indeed the recent weeks brought  news that unnerved some.

It transpired the the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate had by a large majority decided to move toward concentrating their celebration of the Sacred Liturgy on the Extraordinary Form . This they were entitled to do and they were proceeding in accordance with their Rule. However a small minority in the Order were vigorously opposed to this course and appealed directly to the Holy See for intervention. Perhaps surprisingly, this was granted and an outside Priest was appointed to assume control of the Order. In due course he secured from the Holy See an Instruction forbidding the Friars from using the Extraordinary Form without the approval of the (unspecified) " competent authority". There is really nothing too unusual about this formulation which is common in Canon Law.But the Order had been proceeding in accordance with its Rule and, in the circumstances of this external intervention, just who the " competent authority" is, leaves many scratching their heads.

Those dedicated to the Extraordinary Form were alarmed that this represents the first time the Holy See has countenanced, indeed mandated, a restriction of any sort on the provisions of Summorum Pontificum. 

In the present state of fevered discussion about the reform of the Curia there is much uncertainty about precisely what is going on, or is intended. Time will tell.


On 30th November, 2010 we posted the following item, please read or re-read it carefully. We will review the evolution of these matters in a following post, and a good grasp of what is covered here will be important.

Ven. Pope Paul VI

Celebrating Holy Mass 
pre Novus Ordo
Pope Paul VI in General Audience in 1969 , concerning the revised liturgy: "We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others............Not Latin, but the spoken ( vernacular)language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice : we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators ( intrusi e profani) in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad,and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price. The Holy Father went on nevertheless, to explain why he believed the change necessary.
Looking back 41years,on the First Sunday of Advent (as last Sunday was also) we come to the introduction of the Novus Ordo ( now the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite). This saw the phasing out of the traditional Latin Mass ( now the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in most situations.

The strongest advocates for the Novus Ordo are usually keen spirit of the Council folk (usually elderly clerics, far less often lay folk). But it will be instructive to read what the Council Fathers themselves actually said:

                          Concelebrated Novus Ordo in St Stephen's Cathedral Brisbane
Note pride of place in the Sanctuary taken by the organ ( a beautiful sound in an unsound location) and the absence of a Crucifix  - replaced by a beardless curly headed figure of a youth 

(a surfer?) apparently nailed by one hand to a railway sleeper, dangling above the Altar.

Second Council of the Vatican-
Sacrosanctum Concilium:
36.1 Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin Rites.
36.2 But since the use of the Mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the Sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
36.3 These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22.2 to decide whether and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is confirmed , by the Apostolic See.And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with the bishops of neighbouring regions which have the same language.
54. In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and the "common prayer", but also as the local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people, according to the norm laid down in Art. 36 of this Constitution.

Nevertheless , steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing those parts of the Ordinary of The Mass which pertain to them.

And wherever a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in Art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.

55,The more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's body from the same sacrifice is strongly commended.

The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact (40) , communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the Laity in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptised in the Mass which follows their baptism.
(Thanks to Rorati Caeli Blog for re-drawing the above to our attention.)

That is what the Holy Spirit moved the assembled Council Fathers to require.

We all know what happened. Those are the Council's clearly expressed requirements, and it is not only in these areas that the Council's requirements were disregarded e.g. its very narrow proposal for limited concelebrations.

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini ( who drove the change process) used a cynically superb technique to demolish the existing order. Apparently reasonable exceptions or limited concessions were envisaged but he set up the situation in which they quickly became the rule.No matter what the letter of the Council's wishes might be, the false "spirit of the Council"was always available to subvert them and frustrate their application.

We lament with Pope Paul VI"( mention of the "smoke of Satan"- address 29th June, 1972),we praise Pope John Paul the Great who set the scene for reform and began it, and rejoice in Pope Benedict XVI and his efforts - steady and inspiring - to implement the Reform of the "Reform"


And now, we can look ahead with hope and joyful anticipation, to the same First Sunday in Advent next year 2011: for then we will see the introduction of the new CORRECTED translation of the Order of the Mass thus bringing an end to the botched Old ICEL( before its reform) translation we have endured for 41 years. Then we shall have an accurate translation , and sacral language to dignify it.

This is a large first step in the reform. We hope in time to see the restoration of celebration "ad orientem", with the Priest leading the congregation in addressing the Lord and not distractedly facing them, the abolition of Holy Communion in the hand and the abolition of routine use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion."Brick by Brick " says Father John Zuhlsdorf the blogging great at WDTPRS.

God Bless Pope Benedict XVI!

Copyright. This is an amended version of an article appearing in the January 2010 issue of FOUNDATION.

The reverence of the pre Novus Ordo liturgy - our aim.