Why the silence

Dear Friends,

I am very sorry about the lack of blogging from this end lately. Not only have I been very busy (and the business doesn’t seem like letting up) in both my work for the Archdiocese and for Anima, but also I have unwell for most of the last week – some version of the flu that the flu injections didn’t cover.

Being confined to bed has one benefit, I have been able to keep up with reading everyone elses blogs for a change. Of course, this week coming up is a big one, and you might like to follow some of the pilgrims on their way. I highly recommend either Fr Nick at “A priest downunder”.

Can anyone recommend any other blogs belonging to pilgrims on their way to WYD, so we can live the experience throught them?

Only two other things before I go:

1) I was very very sorry to miss the (first of what will be a regular weekly) Extraordinary Form mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday night at 5:30pm. Kudos to all involved, and I look forward to participating in future masses.

2) On Lito’s blog the other day (BTW, I understand Lito is not well, so prayers for him please), I discovered this delightful “partita” by Johann Pachelbel on the Lutheran Chorale “Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan”. Apparently there is a whole stack of these variations on Chorales. If all you know of Pachelbel is his Canon, then here is something different for you. Shows why the organi is the King of Instruments, and why the German chorales should be better known by Catholics.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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35 Responses to Why the silence

  1. Matthias says:

    Glad you sound better Schutz. Yes the Extraordinary Form Mass at St Patrick’s was really beautiful and filled with the Holy Spirit and the Sacred Heart Chapel was packed,so that quite a few of us were worshipping outside Chapel. I was impressed with the spectrum of the age groups. A young couple there with their two young children-in fact there is a photo of the father behind the pram. I was using a St Andrews Daily Missal ,but quite a few of the younger worshippers were using the MISSAL OF BLESSED JOHN XXIII.
    Prayers for Lito for a strong recovery.

  2. adam george says:

    Yes you have been remiss of late, but then sickness and work can put a clog in the wheels. However, as much as I always enjoy reading your blog, from a distance across the planet, you raise here the matter of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Some questions need to be asked on this whole matter:
    1. What is about a latin mass said in a side chapel in the mother cathedral on a weekday evening that would even rate a mention?
    2. How many of Melbourne’s 1 million Catholics were present?
    3. Why are we reverting to such massive publicity and discussion on the Latin Mass pre 1965, since that is what it is ?
    4. Just what is the fascination in certain, mainly European circles, with the maniple and old cardboard-style chasubles and lace albs?
    5. There is a real focus by many on the outward styles and forms of the mass, a la the priestly vestments etc. Just why is this, when it has nothing to do with the very central Gospel message. And by this I mean, did Jesus wear all these vestments? No, did the apostles, no.
    6. In some European and American authored blogs there are very often subtle and downright aggressive and pernicious attacks on many bishops and the present ‘Ordinary’ and proper rite of the Latin Mass. There is often great disloyalty to the Church and Vatican II. The problem is not with the ‘Ordinary’ Form of the latin rite. The problems lie in the fact that for the past 30 years so many priests have obfuscated and minimalised the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist. Self indulgent events and procedures have been brought to the celebration of the Mass, and the very mystery, sacredness and solemnity of the sacrament have gone or been dismissed. Communion in the hand, under both species, abuse of the form of the Mass, abuse of the very sacredness, have all contributed to this malaise in the liturgy. And some bishops have not stepped in ann exerted their authority on this matter.
    7. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have shown example in the celebration of the Mass and this has not been followed. BXVI’s practice on giving communion while kneeling ought be brought in across the globe.
    8. Finally, the example of some leading episcopal members is bewilderning. Cardinal Burke only recently made a cardinal, exalts in wearing the cappa magna,the long red train that disappeared at vatican II under the late and great Paul VI. Why does Burke do this? he has even been wearing the gallero (?) the huge wide brimed red hat that went out with Trent I think. Its these type of things, that focus on dress and robes that is baffling, but which many young seminarians seem to like?
    These are some things that follow from your little mention of a latin mass in a side chapel. In the big wide world, is it really that important or even worth talking about?

    • Schütz says:

      Hi, Adam. Did you get out of bed on the wrong side this morning? You are not normally so argumentative!

      As you say, there is much to clear up on the OF side of things. I have no beef either way: OF or EF, as long as it is done according to the rubrics and with the reverence and joy that befits the solemnity of the mass, I’m happy.

      Why do we make a fuss about this event?

      1) 100 or so at an afterwork mass isn’t too bad. In fact, that’s 5 times the number usually present at the 8am mass in the Cathedral and almost equal to the lunchtime masses – both of which are celebrated at the main altar. But I think the Sacred Heart chapel – while not quite big enough – is better suited to a low mass in the EF for various reasons.

      2) this mass marked the start of a regular mass. It is an addition to the schedule of masses at the Cathedral. The fact that the Cathedral has a regular EF mass sets a precedent for Parishes (as does every thing done at the Cathedral).

      3) the fact that the EF is being celebrated at all is a small sign that things are leaning the right way, liturgically speaking. As Papa Benny wished, the EF and OF have a symbiotic relationship. The more people who can experience the way “mass used to be done”, the more they will realize that we can still do mass that way. So of you want to see kneeling to receive communion on the tongue or ad orientam returned to the OF celebrations, just encourage the EF.

      • adam george says:

        Touche David !
        I think it would have greater credibility and resonance if it were celebrated at the high altar on a Sunday as part of the schedule. Why is it put into a weekday schedule in a side chapel? My point is that there seems to be a ‘catering for the ancient’ here and across other dioceses. All of a sudden, well the last few years, we have some priests and laity demanding a return to pre-1965 as if the Church stopped at that date and all that has happened post vatican II has been wrong, illicit, illegal, heretical and not theologically valid.
        There are huge splits in the Church now. There is the pro-latin Mass group and the vernacular group or groups. This is bad and that was my original point here, that we are now having splinter groups and celebrations.
        Its almost as if it were a catacomb group if I could be as bold to suggest.

        And no, not the wrong side of the bed. Just another day, sunny and blue sky – Thanks. Always provoking on the side of truth I hope.

  3. Matthias says:

    How many of Melbourne’s Catholics present on a cold wet night-approximately 100 give or take a few.
    the latin mass being publicised so much ? perhaps because as a Protestant and I am only speaking from that (disa?) vantage point as I am crossing the Tiber, I have had a enough of the Hillsong influenced music of my current church;’ for me the latin mass is about praise and thanksgiving to God; .
    However I attended Mass at St Francis in the city this morning ,as my daughter was attending a University function,and it was just as worshipful as the EF.

  4. Henrietta says:

    Glad you enjoyed it Matthias….your enthusiasm has prompted me to go along this Wednesday night.

    Hope you get better soon Schutz :)

  5. Jeff Tan says:

    Hey David, get well soon! You’re not alone in having let blogging go on a slump. I am always aware, though, that when I’m not blogging, I’m learning, and that sounds pretty good to me, even when it’s the mundane and domestic things in life that I’m immersed in instead. Including falling ill for a time.

    • Matthias says:

      I go over to your blog Jeff from here so i hope that you are back writing as well. I hope HWAET will soon be back as well

  6. Dan says:

    Are they having Latin Mass every Wednesday night at St Pats? (!)

  7. Jim Ryland says:


    I’m glad that you are up and about and on the mend.

    Thank you for the Pachelbel link. The organist does a fine job. Pachelbel was a very prolific composer and it is a shame that the public usually knows only the Canon. There are cantatas, preludes & fugues, chorale preludes and much more. Among the most charming, inventive, and useful works is a rather large collection of Fugues on the Magnificat. It bears some resemblance to Bach’s Art of the Fugue and is equally inventive. The difference is that the Magnificat fugues are useful liturgical music. I always kept the two volumes at the console and often incorporated some of them into the service music.

  8. Pingback: Regular Extraordinary Form Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne « A secular priest

  9. John Nolan says:

    I fear that Adam has missed the point about the cappa magna (which is not required in the Novus Ordo, but was not abolished by Paul VI and still applies in EF Masses). The bishop enters to “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus” in all his worldly pomp. He is then divested of the cappa (sic transit gloria mundi) and then vested at the throne with the vestments of a subdeacon, deacon and priest. Maniples were made optional by Tres abhinc annos in 1967, but they are still worn in the Eastern Churches and should be worn for the EF since directives issued since 1962 do not apply; any changes to the EF are mandated as such by the Holy See, and there has been one, viz. the permission to read the epistle and gospel in the vernacular without the need to read them first in Latin.

    Vestment styles have evolved and it is a matter of taste as to which style suits the rite and the building. I do not expect the Dominican rite to be celebrated in a fiddle-back chasuble because it pre-dates Trent by three centuries; but if it were so celebrated it would be no less valid.

    A point for David – Lutheran-style chorales are almost ubiquitous in Catholic Churches in Germany and although they do have a place , it should not be at the expense of Gregorian Chant which is not only proper to the Roman Liturgy but is of a far higher musical standard. Which is the real reason for ‘ceteris paribus’ in both SC and the GIRM.

    • adam george says:

      Well that’s an interesting take on the cappa magna.
      I know of no living cardinal in Europe or America (north or south), Africa or Asia who has worn the cm in recent memory. Other than +Burke and on an occasion I think +Pell who have worn it.
      The fact is it is outdated, medieval and totally irrelevant.
      As we know Paul VI abolished the huge feathers that were always carried next to the Holy Father in all ceremonies. And when I was in Rome during the one month pontificate of John Paul I, for the whole 30 days, he stopped using the sedia (the chair raised up by 12 men) and carried high. He just walked into his audiences and also down the main aisle of St Peter’s.
      Can you imagine a cappa magna nowadays in Africa or India or Vietnam.
      It is a throwback to Renaissance Italy and really should still be there.
      We have a world of disbelief and riots. A world in which the Gospel is not heard or preched, yet at the same time people who are more concerned about bringing back maniples and lace albs !!
      Oh and the occasional cappa magna for good measure.
      Pax tibi !

    • adam george says:

      Oh I forgot.
      Paul VI also gave away the triple crown tiara that was used at his inaugural Mass as Pope in St Peter’s. To America.
      And at conclaves that elected John Paul I, II and Benedict CVI, the cappa magna has never been worn by the college of electing cardinals who made their obedience to the new pontiff immediately after election in the Sistine chapel.

      Just a footnote to Catholic sartorial history.
      If you get to see the new tv drama, The Borgias (just airing in Europe), around Alexander VI of ‘revered memory’ you will see some of the sartorial elegance of that time circa 1500. But no cappa magnas. I think they would have had to buy too much material.

  10. John Nolan says:

    The sedia gestatoria was used by Paul VI throughout his reign although he didn’t like it as he suffered from vertigo. JP II didn’t use it as he was a vigorous youngish man on his election and he refused the coronation because in his own words it was ‘wrongly’ associated with the temporal claims of the papacy.

    The first time I saw the cappa magna was at the centenary mass at the London Oratory in 1984 when it was was worn by the then pro-nuncio Bruno Heim who knelt in the sanctuary on a prie-dieu. The last time I saw it worn was by the Bishop of Nottingham, Malcolm MacMahon OP when he celebrated a Pontifical High Mass (EF) on the tenth anniversary of his episcopal consecration in December last year. I don’t give a stuff what happens in Vietnam but I would lay a pound to a penny that the liturgy there is more traditional than that found in your average parish in UK, USA or Oz.

    • adam george says:

      My reference to Vietnam, is that it would be far too hot and unrealistic to even think of a cardinal or bishop wearing such. Your language on that seems a bit over the top. It’s just an irrelevant piec of material.
      It was also John Paul I who made the inaugural move not to use the sedia. Having lived in Rome towards the end of the great Paul VI’s he still used it frequently. The warm and smiling John Paul I never used it.

      It seems though that there are clerical Catholics who are obsessed by the sartorial vestments, lace and maniples, cappas and not to mention birettas, which beats me as to why a biretta is so important or even needed in a sanctuary. I have yet to hear one theological argument in support of a biretta when it is just headgear that has no sacramental meaning. Even bishops removed their skull caps for the eucharistic prayer.

      • John Nolan says:

        I can see where you’re coming from , Adam, and would be in agreement with you that the re-sacralization of the OF is the top piority at the present time. The EF can play a part in this, but it is not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to liturgy – witness the many variations in 19th century France.

        As far as vestments are concerned, it would be as inappropriate to wear Gothic style chasubles in the London Oratory as it would be to wear fiddle-backs at Pluscarden Abbey. Please do not confuse vesture with liturgical orthodoxy, although I must admit that 1970s polyster tat does tend to resonate with a style of celebration which is shortly to be superseded.

        • adam george says:

          Touche. Quite funny actually.
          Footnote: I’m not so sure about the monks at Pluscarden being too worried about any of this. And certainly not at Parkminster or Chartreuse Carthusian monasteries where sanity is the order of the day amidst the silence andprayer. Not a biretta or cappa magna in sight!

          • John Nolan says:

            Yet the monks at Pluscarden design and make vestments so do not regard it as unimportant as you obviously do.

            • adam george says:

              It IS unimportant in the light of the central Christian message and in a world of massive injustice, poverty, child abuse, child deaths, starvation not to mention rampant murders of the unborn across the planet that flies in the face of God. That is why any arguments on vestments, their size, their colour, their texture are really of no critical import at all, which is what I said in my very first comment some time ago.
              I really have said enough on this David, but believe it’s got out of hand now and irrational to some extent. The apostolic Church had more important things to argue about, so should we.
              pax tibi

  11. Christopher Glendenning says:

    Hi all,

    As one of the people who helped organise the weekday EF Mass at St Patrick’s, l just wanted to provide a bit of additional information for those interested in attending.

    So that people can more fully participate, and especially to assist people who are new to the EF, a decision was made to do the readings in English and to make this a dialog Mass, so that the congregation say the various responses throughout Mass. Also, because a number of clergy have expressed an interest in celebrating this Mass, a roster of celebrants is currently being drawn up. Entry to the cathedral is via the Diocesan Centre car park off Lansdowne St, where parking is available after 5pm.

    Please keep the Dean of St Patrick’s, Very Reverend John Salvano, in your prayers, as he has been most generous in making this Mass possible. Also, a big thank you to David for posting the details of this Mass on your blog!

    Chris Glendenning

  12. Matthias says:

    In relation to the EF i am currently reading leonard Cheshire’s story of his wartime and postwartime life including his conversion to the Catholic church the book being THE FACE OF VICTORY. I was touched by the words of the very first person Cheshire helped-Arthur-who had converted to catholicism,had to leave home because of this and had no home for 40 years ,until he joined Cheshire’ first initative the commune-VADE IN PACE. Arthur was dying of cancer and Cheshire took him in ,and in this time Arthur re discovered his faith. When asked by Cheshire what the difference was between the Cof E and the Catholic Church ,Arthur replied ” the Cof E has kept the shell and thrown away the kernel” “What is the kernel?” ‘The Mass ,Ah the peace after hearing Holy Mass”. Cheshire writes “no one who heard the way in which Arthur spoke these words ,could fail to be impressed”

  13. John Nolan says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Leonard Cheshire VC in 1971 when he proposed the motion at the Durham Union that “This house believes that pacifism is a naive creed”. Even the lefties dared not interrupt him and the motion was carried.

  14. John Nolan says:

    Also I am pleased to say that the last VC awarded before the Falklands conflict was to an Australian in the Vietnam war. We poms are eternally grateful for what you did in both world wars, and now we are number one in the only game that matters, we look forward to the next Ashes series and may the best team win!

  15. John Nolan says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Leonard Cheshire VC in 1971 when he proposed the motion at the Durham Union: This house believes that pacifism is a naive creed. The lefties dared not interrupt him and the motion was carried.

  16. John Nolan says:

    Adam, I really must come back to you on this one. The fact that the world is in a bad state does not have any connection to the liturgy as it is celebrated. Are you suggesting that you can’t have beauty because of all the misery in the world that without modern communications you would have no inkling of anyway? Most of the corpus of Gregorian Chant was composed in what we are happy to call the ‘Dark Ages’.

    The liturgy is the summit of our Christian life, the best thing this side of heaven. It is a gift of God which transcends quotidian concerns.

    • Stephen K says:

      John, I really must reply to you on this one. I don’t see anywhere in what Adam has said that he thinks there should be no place for beauty because of all the misery in the world: he is simply saying that in the context of such misery and suffering, arguments about vestments are unimportant. In other words, they give the impression of arguments about the decor in the dining room of the Titanic five minutes after it struck the iceberg.

      Don’t try to confuse, for the sake of the theme here, the merits of well-performed liturgy or the sensual and spiritual source and effect of Gregorian chant on the one hand with the predilection for or fascinations with particular and exotic forms of raiment and vestiture on the other. The latter must surely rank at the least essential end of the ingredients for reverential worship. There is a hierarchy of values in this as in all things I guess, a priority so to say, and Adam’s point is surely that in the overall scheme of things, the succour of the suffering will, all things being equal, trump an insistence on compliance with Fortescue.

      To be sure, if you are preparing to celebrate a liturgy, pay attention to the demands of prescribed symbolism, but for goodness’ sake (literally!) let’s not spend time arguing about one form of fancy dress over another.

      Lest any reader object that I am doing so myself, I simply say I am urging that Adam’s point is more persuasive: compassion for the suffering is more important than passion for rubrics and clothing. It is not an argument of any kind to imply the importance or drama of misery is dependent on the reportage of modern communication: the fact is once we know – and some reflection would surely have raised the possibility in any case – we have an imperative to alter our preoccupations accordingly.

      If liturgy does not have any connection to the human condition, misery and all, then it itself is a “shell” like that of which Cheshire’s friend spoke, and a mere plaything of the comfortable.

      That is certainly the message I get from the gospels.

      • adam george says:

        Thank you Stephen K. You have seen exactly what I have been saying from the first comment. Glad you have been able to point that out. I am not and would never advocate the abolition of all the great beauty in the liturgy, let alone the great cathedrals of Europe and elsewhere. I often attend Mass in Notre Dome and the liturgies there are unique and turn the hearts and minds of all to God. We are so fortunate to have these great cathedrals (to which many are returning) in which to worship, to touch the sacred and Divine. And of course the vetsments are part of that as they are in Rome at St Peter’s. Indeed, I am a ‘fan’ of the Orthodox liturgies with their soaring music and sense of the sacred. But they do not have an obsesssion with vestments as some in out rite seem to have.
        No, I am not in favour of chucking out the gold chalices and bringing in pottery vessels, as too much of that has been done, bringing about often banal celebrations of the Mass.

        To requote you: “compassion for the suffering is more important than passion for rubrics and clothing”.


        • Susan Peterson says:

          But those great cathedrals were built, at great cost, at a time when human suffering was arguably much greater than it is today. I don’t think we ought to be putting grandeur and awe in liturgy in one column and balancing it against taking care of the poor in the other column. Where the Church is strong, there will be both.

          I don’t know about an “obsession” with vestments, but my Eastern Catholic church has a collection of very beautiful, very ornate ones, including a set of black with silver embroidery used on Good Friday. The Orthodox churches I have visited have had similar vestments.

          Have you ever read in Dom Gregory Dix’s “Shape of the Liturgy” the story of the arrest of some Christians in the early centuries, and the confiscation of their church furnishings? They had gold chalices and patens, and other such things. I think Dix referred to it as “a respectable collection of church plate.” It seems that people who are in love with God want to worship Him with as much beauty as they can muster.

          We had such a falling away from the beauties of our tradition that it is not surprising that some people are focused on reviving them. And not everyone in the Church must be equally concerned with all parts of Her work and mission. Some people leave their money for vestments and altar furnishings, and some for the soup kitchen. Both are good.

          Susan Peterson

  17. John Nolan says:

    Sorry, Stephen, but we are talking about about the kernel and not the shell. St Paul tells us : Et nolite conformari huic saeculo, sed reformamini in novitate sensus vestri; ut probetis quae sit voluntas Dei bona, et beneplacens, et perfecta. (Romans 12:2)

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