Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

February AD 2008
Our Lady of the Rosary
Parish Bulletin

On this page:
Review:  Three Books on the Traditional Roman Rite
Q&A:  Baptism of Infants in the Novus Ordo


Three Books on the Traditional Roman Mass

Dunney, Rev. Joseph A., The Mass, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1924; reprint, Kansas City: Angelus Press, 2007 (new forward by Cooper, Rev. Daniel SSPX), xiii+375 pp. $19.95.

Moorman, Msgr. George J., The Mass: The Eucharistic Service of the Catholic Church, Huntington Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1920; reprint Rockford: TAN, 2007 (revised by Schmitz, Msgr. R. Michael, ICKSP, re-titled, The Latin Mass Explained), xviii+191 pp. $13.50.

Wathen, Rev. James F., OSJ The Great Sacrilege, Rockford, TAN, 1971, 181 pp., $13.50. Online at:
/issue /2002Feb

    The Great Sacrilege was written in 1971, one of the first books in print to recognize that something had gone seriously wrong with the Church’s liturgy for Holy Mass, explaining what had happened and who was responsible. It is not a book for the faint of heart, and ought not be read by anyone who insists that “nothing is wrong because nothing can go wrong.” It was not written as a general description of what the Mass should be-the other two books under review being more helpful in that connection. It is a powerful critique of Modernist changes in the Roman Mass.

    The reprint of Father Dunney’s The Mass, was a gift from Bishop Euler when he was here for Confirmation. The Bishop grew up in Father Dunney’s parish in Albany, New York (adjacent to my Grandparents’ parish) and remembers not receiving a copy of the book, given to the older altar boys who served at Father’s requiem Mass.. He bought several copies when the reprint became available. It is a superior book about the way the Mass should be offered, its history, and the appropriate dispositions of the people who are privileged to attend Holy Mass-and very well illustrated for 1924.

    A new introduction to The Mass was penned by Father Cooper of the Society of Saint Pius X, not as a part of the hoopla surrounding Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio, Summorum pontificum, (allowing the New Order clergy to celebrate our Mass) but as an encouragement for those who already have access to the Mass to realize the importance of giving it first place in our Catholic lives.

    Father Dunney, covers each paragraph of the Mass in Latin and traditional English in parallel columns. But he does much more. He delves briefly into the history of the parts of the Mass, and accoutrements like altars, vestments, chalices, and canopies. He suggests the ways in which the various parts of the Mass ought to nourish spiritual and charitable fruits in those who attend. He urges Catholics to become familiar with the Psalms, Epistles, Gospels, and other scriptural texts read at Mass (always reading them in the light of tradition), so that hearing them will be more profitable. And, in a day when the dialogue Mass was hardly known, suggested that we should, at least, internally vocalize the prayers-making them our own prayers, and not just words on a page. Father comes very close to producing a catechism centering around the Holy Sacrifice. Each chapter closes with questions for review or discussion.

    In his chapters on the Offertory, Canon and Communion, Father is quite clear that the Mass is a propitiatory sacrifice. This concept, virtually eliminated from the Novus Ordo, is at the very heart of the True Mass. Propitiatory sacrifice is more than simple praise for God, and more than giving up something we like during Lent-it is the offering of God the Son to God the Father for the redemption of mankind and the forgiveness of sins. Without propitiatory sacrifice there is no Mass, no priesthood-perhaps no Sacraments at all; and certainly not those that depend on the priesthood and the episcopate.

    In summary one can say of The Mass that it is a marvelous compendium of those things which every Catholic should know and put into practice regarding the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-yet it is certainly within the abilities of anyone with some high school education to master.

    The Latin Mass Explained is a little more problematic. It is a re-titled, revised, and re-typeset version of an earlier work. Even without having the original edition, one must guess that the revisions were intended to make the “Indult” or “Motu Mass” more palatable to traditional Catholics, and are therefore a bit underhanded.

    The new rites for ordination of priests and bishops will be forty years old this year; the Novus Ordo next year. As the resistance to these attempts to change the Catholic Faith grew, Concilair Church authorities felt constrained to allow the appearances of Catholic tradition to return under carefully controlled conditions. The indult/motu groups seek to be Catholics by restoring the externals without the internals, the appearances of Catholic worship without the doctrine and morality.

    The cover of The Latin Mass Explained features such an appearance, with Raymond Burke, the Novus Ordo bishop of Saint Louis, celebrating what appears to be a traditional pontifical Mass under quite sumptuous conditions. One might be made to think that Saint Louis was a stronghold of the traditional Catholic Faith-one would be wrong. Burke may be the only man in history to receive the vows of a nun from a man surgically and psychologically mutilated so as to appear female.[1]  He is also reported to have attempted the take over of the Polish church of Saint Stanislaus, worth some $9,000,000, to help pay off the molestation lawsuits against his diocese.[2]  The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which runs the magnificent church in the picture, has also experienced the usual problems.[3]

    Whatever its faults, The Latin Mass Explained begins with almost forty pages explaining that the Mass is a sacrifice and is one with the Sacrifice of the Cross. This is an absolutely essential issue for those who would attempt to celebrate the Catholic Mass.[4]  More than a generation of clergymen have been born and raised and trained and ordained in rites that were deliberately desacralized immediately after Vatican II-priests became presiders, bishops became governors, altars became tables, Consecration became narration, the Sacrifice of the Altar became a memorial meal of the Community.[5]  These defects in theological training must be remedied (which will take more than a quick read of forty pages), and defects of ordination must be addressed in those who would celebrate Holy Mass.[6]  In any event, Monsignor Moorman’s chapters will be beneficial for people and clergy accustomed to ideas ranging from “Paschal Mystery theology” to those of Martin Luther and John Calvin.[7]

    Several chapters are devoted to describing the practical necessities for the celebration of Mass. He describes the altar and its furnishings, the sacred vessels, the unleavened bread and pure grape wine, the vestments, and the Latin language. Some of these might be unfamiliar to those who the Novus Ordo-altar stones, maniples. tabernacles at the center of altars-so their inclusion is warranted. The descriptions are fine for the laity, but inadequate for someone learning to offer the Holy Sacrifice.

    We are reminded that “If a living language were employed in divine worship, heresies and errors would inevitably creep into the Church.” This alone is worth the price of the book, and should be of mandatory daily repetition for anyone who has been guilty of ever “doing” the Novus Ordo! Yet it is surprising that a book so enthusiastic about Latin and explaining the Latin Mass contains so very little Latin-not enough, even, for an altar boy to serve a private low Mass. The Conciliar Church was as successful as it was in taking the Mass away from Catholics precisely because so many of us had no knowledge of the Latin language-a tragedy that must never be allowed again. The Mass must not be reduced to a spectator event like a concert or an opera where the audience sits in uncomprehending appreciation of a beautiful production-but that may well be the intent of the Indult/Motu crowd-sumptuous appearances without substance.

    The Latin Mass Explained is nonetheless useful, but Father Dunney’s book The Mass is a far better choice for only a few dollars more.

    The 1960s were destructive of virtually every aspect of Christian civilization. Catholics, especially, bore the brunt of this destruction, in a systematic attempt to take away authentic Catholic worship, doctrine, and morality. The sacrificial character of the Mass and the priesthood were early casualties, together with the integrity of the Mass and Sacraments as they were stripped of their proper significance and barbarously translated. Reduced to lowest common denominators the Novus Ordo became acceptable to everyone-with or without Faith. Beauty-in the spoken word, in music, in art and sculpture and metalwork, and in vestments and liturgical hangings-was ruthlessly rooted out. And, not surprisingly, as the laws of worship changed, so did the laws of belief and behavior-crimes formerly punishable by death or lifelong imprisonment became tolerable, or even worthy of praise!

    The appearances of a Latin Mass-no matter how solemn it may appear in Saint Louis-will fix little or none of this. Like a three legged stool, Catholicism cannot function without all of its legs: authentic worship, doctrine, and morality-lacking any of these it is simply not Catholicism.


    Question: The Novus Ordo priest said that it is the Church’s teaching that Catholics should only be baptized as adults. And that they should be fully submerged and come up out of the water gasping for air as a symbol of starting a new life. He said that the Church does recognize a 6 year old as old enough to be baptized, but that the Church does not teach the baptizing of infants. Even he does it, but reluctantly; the Church’s teaching is that only adults are to be baptized., and that the Baptisms should be done on the Easter Vigil, along with Communion and Confirmation. Is that the way it has always been written in Church teachings? Why, then, were so many of us baptized as infants? He Baptizes during Mass, saying it is a community celebration and not a private Sacrament.

    Answer: The doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church do not change. Among those doctrinal teachings is the necessity for Baptism (or the desire for it) in order to enjoy the Beatific Vision of God in heaven. According to Pope Benedict XII (1336):

    In the usual providence of God the souls of ... the faithful who died after receiving the holy baptism of Christ ... and, in the case of those needing it, after the purification ... do see the divine essence with an intuitive and even face to face vision.... The same thing is true of the souls of children who have been reborn with the baptism of Christ and to those to be baptized after they shall have been baptized, when they die before attaining the use of free will.[8]

The Council of Trent (1547) tells us:

A description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.[9]


CANON XIII.-If any one says, that little children, for that they have not actual faith, are not, after having received baptism, to be reckoned amongst the faithful; and that, for this cause, they are to be re-baptized when they have attained to years of discretion; or, that it is better that the baptism of such be omitted, than that, while not believing by their own act, they should be baptized in the faith alone of the Church; let him be anathema.[10]

    The Church has practiced infant Baptism since Its early days. Presumably some of the household of the Centurion Cornelius, baptized by Saint Peter in the tenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, were children. Even the Modernist New Catechism, issued in 1994, says:

    1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have the need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny the child a priceless gift were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.

    The new Code of Canon Law, issued in 1983, says:

Can 867 §1 Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacraments for your child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.

§2. If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.

    If the Novus Ordo pastor is discouraging parents from having their children baptized, he is seriously distorting the teaching of even the modern Church--distortion that might lead to the death of a child without receiving the Sacrament that would bring it to the beatific vision of God in heaven. Someone ought to bring that to the attention of the Bishop, and demand action.

    Both the modern and the traditional Codes of Canon Law provide for Baptism by pouring or immersion. There is no requirement to make anyone “gasp for breath”![11] While immersion is a more dramatically symbolic, it can be terribly impractical, and even dangerous. Due priority must be given to matters of modesty, health, and safety over dramatic flair. The Sacrament is fully conferred by any valid method.

    There is nothing wrong with incorporating Baptism within the Mass. The traditional Mass texts for the Easter and Pentecost Vigils assume that someone will be baptized during those Masses. The traditional Code urges that adults be baptized during one of these Vigils if convenient; the modern Code urges a Sunday or the Vigil of Easter.[12]  Epiphany or its Vigil is a traditional baptismal day in some places as well. Infants are to be baptized “as soon as possible.”[13]

    Nonetheless, Baptism is primarily the means by which sanctifying grace is received, and the new Christian becomes able of receiving the other Sacraments and living the spiritual life with an eye towards eternal salvation. The emphasis on becoming a member of the Community should be secondary, by no means detracting from the primary end.

[More next month]







[6]  Fr Peter Scott, The Angelus Sept. 2007,

[7]  Cf. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), “Theology of the Liturgy,”Fomtgombault, 22-24 Jiuly 2001

[8]  Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus, 29 January 1336.

[9]  Council of Trent, Session VI, decree on Justification, chapter iv.

[10]  Council of Trent, Session VII, canons on Baptism , Canon XIII

[11]  Cf. 1917 Code, canon (o.c.) 758; 1983 Code, canon (n.c.) 854.

[12]  Cf.. o.c. 772; n.c. 856.

[13]  Cf. o.c. 770; n.c. 867 (quoted above in full).



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