Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder of Ignatius Press, spoke about the middle way between the traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo Mass on Nov. 2 at Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco.
“On March 25, 1995, I was in Colorado Springs invited to give a talk, and there was another priest there giving a talk, Father Brian Harrison. He gave a talk on the reform of the reform of the Roman liutrgy. I was very impressed by it. The first part of his talk was about the current crisis in Eucharistic faith and practice. There was a great deal of confusion in the Church. Liturgical wars were raging. Father Harrison proposed two ‘inadequate’ solutions. First the proposal that everyone follow the official form approved by Rome. The problem is that there were so many exceptions. The second option was to return to the Latin Mass as it was before Vatican II.
“He considered both of these inadequate. And he proposed the Gamber solution. Klaus Gamber wrote The Reform of the Roman Liturgy.
“There was a liturgical reform movement in the late 19th century beginning at Solesmes restoring the Gregorian chant. Under Pius X, the reform took on the Divine Office, the cycle of feast days. The idea with the Mass was how to keep the sacredness but restore simplicity. Pius was most concerned with sacred music. In 1913 Pius decreed that liturgy was so important there should be 30-year moratorium before changes took place. In 1943 WWII was raging, but Pius XII produced Reform of the Roman Liturgy. There were seven world conferences reflecting on the liturgy. The very first document produced by Vatican II was Sacrasanctum concilium in 1963 on reforming the Roman liturgy. A committee was formed, but this reform was inadequate. Thus reform of the reform.
“Father Harrison, commenting on Gamber’s proposal for reform of the liturgy: ‘Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has described Gamber as “the one scholar who among the army of pseudo-liturgists truly represents liturgical thinking of the center of the Church”…. [Harrison:] I believe we must take up the reform of Gamber and Ratzinger for a new liturgical movement….’
“Father Harrison cites nine paragraphs in the Vatican II document on the liturgy which names the changes to be made:
– greater simplicity in the Mass (we don’t need the double Confiteor; people should recite the responses with altar servers)
– more use of Sacred Scripture
– the homily should be on the readings of the Mass
– restoration of the Prayer of the Faithful
– readings and some prayers in vernacular
– Hosts consecrated at Mass used for Communion
– early arrival for whole Mass
– rite for concelebration”
Father Fessio: “Nothing about facing people or new canons.
“In 1989 I had dinner in Rome at Dodici Apostoli near the Gregoriana in Rome with Father Jacques Servais, who was an assistant to Cardinal Ratzinger in the Congregation of the Faith; with Father Schonborn, a friend and classmate who studied with me under Ratzinger in Regensburg; and Father Marc Ouellet, a Suplician from Canada, a scholar of von Balthasar. The four of us wanted to start a house of discernment in Rome which we gave the name Casa Balthasar. We asked Cardinal Ratzinger if he would be our cardinal-protector. He enthusiastically agreed. From 1990 to 2010 we would have a half day of meetings with Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1990 I asked Cardinal Ratzinger what he was writing. He was writing a book on the liturgy.
“After Fr. Harrison’s talk in 1995, I wrote Ratzinger a letter about the idea of reform of the reform. Ratzinger responded that he read the 33-page proposal I sent by Father Harrison with which he said ‘I unreservedly agree.'”
Ratzinger encouraged Fessio in his idea of a publication on liturgy, but he demurred on the idea of a synod on the liturgy. “‘I made such a suggestion 10 years ago in a synodal discussion, but there was no support for it. From my present knowledge of the situation, I do not think the hour for such a synod has come. Most of the bishops depend far too much on their liturgical commissions and would only repeat their opinions.’
Fessio: “This is the book Ratzinger finished in 1999 and we published in the year 2000, The Spirit of the Liturgy.
– Facing east. Always regarded as essential
– Discovering the essence of the liturgy in its time
– No spontaneous innovation
– Bending the knee is necessary gesture”
Father Fessio on what to do now:
“– What the archbishop [Cordileone] is doing with his Benedict XVI institute
– Convergence of missals
– Ad orientem
– Parts of Mass in Latin
– Chant should be essential in Mass
– Use Roman canon 1”
The above are very abbreviated notes on the presentation. To watch the whole Fessio talk, click here.
What does convergence of missals mean?
We are forbidden to combine the two forms of the rite.
God bless the outstanding work of Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., always!
Don’t know what ‘convergence of missals’ means but the only thing on what Fessio wants to do now that requires the local ordinary’s OK is the ad orientem part. The rest can be implemented next Sunday by whomever wants to and you don’t need a synod on the liturgy for that. In many parts of the country there is a very real desire of laity and clergy for this ‘reform of the reform’ and it’s going quiet well actually…the EWTN televised mass is not an outlier. At my parish recently we had a “Catholic Culture Commitee’ All Saints social and I felt a little out of place being in my 50’s surrounded by young families and kids…Pastors take note…young, on fire Catholics with young children will pass many many parishes to get to yours if you decide to get serious about the liturgy and catholic culture at your parish.
The CDF, in April of 2000, stated that any priest may lawfully offer Mass ad orientem.
Permission by the ordinary isn’t necessary.
I admire Fr. Fessio and have purchased many books from Ignatius Press. However, doesn’t he realize that Francis (a Jesuit) said that there will be no reform of the reform? This was stated in his brethren’s, I.e., Jesuit’s, magazine, America. Specifically it is in an article dated Dec 6 2016 (link attached). We should stop chasing the wind and just go with the Traditional Latin Mass. Leave it for a future saintly pontiff in the mold of Pope St. Pius X to sort everything out.
For the millionth time: Vatican II mandated that the 1962 Missal be reformed and discontinued. The future of the Roman Church’s liturgy is the post-Vatican II liturgy, not the TLM. TLM adherents are celebrating a Mass that, although currently permitted by way of generous and merciful concession to them, is destined to become obsolete as its use is further restricted and eventually eliminated in the Roman Church.
Can you tell me where the Vatican II documents state that?
In Sacrosanctum Concilium?
It calls for restoration, reform and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy, to be certain. But, does it really suppress the 1962 missal? I don’t think so. I don’t see the Mass before 1969, when the Novus Ordo was promulgated, “discontinued” anywhere in the Council documents. How could they have done that when the Council ended in in 1965 and the NO wasn’t out until 1969? I’m old enough to know that we had Masses during those four years, after Vatican II and before the NO. You seem obsessed with the TLM; you with obliterating it as much as others are in insisting it be at every parish every week.
Read this. It explains everything.
Quote: “a return to the Tridentine Mass is liturgically unfortunate and doctrinally unacceptable. As noted in an earlier installment, such a return is contrary to the entire Spirit-anointed liturgical renewal that culminated in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Although the argument is proffered that the Council never rescinded the Tridentine form of the rite, the reason for this lack of an explicit abrogation, as noted previously, is precisely that the Council Fathers saw themselves as revitalizing the Roman rite, and thus they did not anticipate the continued celebration of its unrevised form.”
Still going over the video but I will read with interest your suggestion. I thought the name Weinandy sounded familiar but I had to google it.
In the article you linked to it was said that the Pope asked that the expression “the reform of the reform” not be used about the liturgy.
If you remember the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, the reform of the reform was not about the liturgy at all.
He was Pope during the 40th anniversary of the end of Vatican II and he wanted things that had gone astray or been misinterpreted about the council (the smoke of Satan?) evaluated and reformed.
He did want the Mass to be said properly. That was kind of near the end of what is called the “silly season.”
Father Fessio is a Jesuit also.
This is just ridiculous and tiresome, the choice is clear it’s the TLM or the man made Novus Ordo disaster! The Second Vatican Council was legit however in no way did it call for the destruction of the Mass by eliminating Latin, Gregorian chant, ripping out high altars, statues, communion rails, confessionals, having altar girls, male and female lay lectors, communion in the hand, drums, guitars, hand holding, kiss of peace, giant puppets, women in the sanctuary, improper attire, folk, mariachi, rock and Jazz music, and dinner tables in place of the altar of sacrifice.
So celebrate the Novus Ordo without the abuses. What’s so hard about that?
I hope you advance in faith, hope and charity, RA.
Americans will fight over the most superficial, vain things.
Jesus Christ has bound Himself to come to earth in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity anytime anyone who is ordained says the words of Consecration fully knowing that there would not be high altars and altar rails and that some female might read or bring the bread and wine to the priest and someone might wear shorts or some funky tie and that people would complain about stupid stuff instead of focusing on Him.
Reverence is good. Where you find no reverence, go and be reverent, then Jesus will find reverence there.
Well, Romulus, this is how I look at it. I know just how you might feel. But the liturgy is not in the hands of laymen– even laymen with advanced degrees and great skill in theology, and Church music and liturgy, who might be professors at a seminary. Top clerical leaders always receive good advice from top lay leaders– yet in the end, everyone has to go along with final Church decisions of top clerical prelates, with papal approval. You have to make your peace with that process. If Fr. Fessio, Pope Benedict, and their group come up with excellent liturgical changes that are Vatican-approved and put to actual use– we will all be blessed. And of course– we all may attend the Tridentine Latin Mass– or the Mass of our choice– at any time.
We have been trying the Novus Ordo for 50 years and you still insist on celebrating it without abuses? You know very well that each Novus Ordo service is different in every parish, while the TLM is the same whether you’re in Tulsa Oklahoma or Seoul South Korea!
Please click the link and watch the entire talk by Father Fessio. This was edited for length (I assume) and It is much clearer in the video.
He is giving an historical perspective. Then he talks about how to harmonize the two forms of the rite by using the options that are most like the TLM.
This parish where he gave this talk has both forms of the Roman Rite.