Monday, December 17, 2012

Memories and Experiences of a Peritus of the Liturgical Commission

The following essay by Cdl. Stickler was published in Austria in 1997 (as "Erinerungen und Erfahrungen eines Konzilsperitus der Liturgiekommission" in Franz Breid, ed., Die heilige Liturgie, 166). The Latin Mass Magazine published this translation by Thomas E. Woods, Jr. the same year:

My position at the Council--pardon me, please, if I begin with some personal background; it is necessary in order to understand what I have to say. I was Professor of Canon Law and Church Legal History at the Salesian University and for eight years, from 1958 until 1966, I was the university's rector. As such I worked as consultant to the Roman Congregation for Seminaries and Universities; and from the preparatory work to the implementation of Council regulations, I was a member of the Conciliar commission directed by that dicastery. In addition, I was named a peritus of the Commission for the Clergy….

Shortly before the beginning of the Council, Cardinal Laarona, whose student I had been at the Lateran, and who had been named chairman of the Conciliar Commission for the Liturgy, called to say he had suggested me as a peritus of that Commission. I objected that I was already committed to two others, above all the one for seminaries and universities, and as a Council peritus. But he insisted that a canon lawyer had to be called upon on account of the significance of canon law in the requirements of the liturgy. Through an obligation I did not seek, then, I experienced Vatican II from the very beginning.

It is generally known that the liturgy had been placed as the first topic of the discussion sequence. I was appointed to a subcommission that had to consider the modi of the first three chapters, and had also to prepare the texts that would be brought to the Council hall for discussion and voting. This subcommission consisted of three bishops-Archbishop Callewaert of Ghent as president; Bishop Enciso Viana of Majorca and, if I am not mistaken, Bishop Pichler of Yugoslavia-as well as three periti: Bishop Marimort, the Spanish Claretian Father Martinez de Antoñana and me. I understood precisely, therefore, the wishes of the Council fathers, as well as the correct sense of the texts that the Council voted on and adopted.

You can understand my astonishment when I found that the final edition of the new Roman Missal in many ways did not correspond to the Conciliar texts that I knew so well, and that it contained much that broadened, changed or even was directly contrary to the Council's provisions. Since I knew precisely the entire proceeding of the Council, from the often very lengthy discussions and the processing of the modi up to the repeated votes leading to the final formulations, as well as the texts that included the precise regulations for the implementation of the desired reform, you can imagine my amazement, my growing displeasure, indeed my indignation, especially regarding specific contradictions and changes that would necessarily have lasting consequences. So I decided to go see Cardinal Gut, who on May 8, 1968 had been named prefect of the Congregation of Rites in place of Cardinal Laarona, who had resigned from the prefecture of the congregation on January 9 of that year. I asked him for an audience at his apartment, which he granted me on November 19, 1969. (Here I would like, incidentally, to note that the date of Cardinal Gut's death is repeatedly given in Archbishop Bugnini's memoirs as one year too early: December 8, 1969 instead of the correct date of 1970.)

He received me very cordially, although he was already visibly quite ill, and I could pour my heart out to him, so to speak. He let me speak without interruption for half an hour, and then said that he shared my concerns completely. He emphasized, however, that the Congregation of Rites bore no blame, for the entire work of reform had been achieved by the Consilium, which was appointed by the Pope specifically for that purpose, and for which Paul VI had chosen Cardinal Lercaro as president and Fr. Bugnini as secretary. This group worked under the direct supervision of the Pope.

Now, Fr. Bugnini had been secretary of the Council's Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy. Because his work had not been satisfactory-it had taken place under the direction of Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani-he was not promoted to secretary of the Conciliar Commission; Fr. Ferdinand Antonelli, OFM (later Cardinal) was named in his place. An organized group of liturgists represented this neglect to Paul VI as an injustice against Fr. Bugnini, and they managed to see that the new Pope, who was very sensitive to such procedures, righted that "injustice" by naming Fr. Bugnini as secretary of the new Consilium responsible for the implementation of the reform.

Both of these appointments-of Cardinal Lercaro and Fr. Bugnini-to key positions on the Consilium made it possible for voices to be heard that could not be heard during the proceedings of the Council, and likewise silenced others. The work of the Consilium was accomplished in working areas that were inaccessible to non-members.

(It must, of course, be left to the future to throw light upon why, despite their great effort in the immense and sensitive work of the Consilium and especially in the heart of the reform, the new Ordo Missae, which had been put together in the shortest time, both men fell visibly out of favor: Cardinal Lercaro had to give up his position as archbishop; and Fr. Bugnini, named Archbishop as well as the new secretary of the Congregation of Rites in 1968, did not receive the red hat to which a position of that kind entitled him but was instead named Nuncio in Teheran, a position he held until he ended his earthly work with his death on July 3, 1982.)

In order to assess the agreement or contradiction between the Council's regulations and the reform as it was actually carried out, let's look briefly at the most important of the Council's instructions for the work of reform.

The general instructions, which concern above all the theological foundations, are contained principally in article 2 of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Here is first stated the earthly-heavenly nature of the Church, her Mystery, as the liturgy should express it: everything human must be ordered to the divine and subordinated to it; the visible to the invisible; the active to the contemplative; the present to the future city of God which we seek. Accordingly, the renewal of the liturgy must also go hand in hand with the development and renewal of the concept of the Church.

Article 21 sets down the precondition for any liturgical reform-that there is in the liturgy an unchanging part, because decreed by God, and parts which can be changed, namely those which in the course of time have intruded in an improper way or have proven less appropriate. Texts and rites must correspond to the order articulated in article 2, and can thereby be better understood by the people and better experienced by them. In article 23 appear mainly practical guidelines that must be followed to bring about the right relationship between tradition and progress. A precise theological, historical and pastoral investigation must be undertaken; in addition one must heed the general laws of the structure and of the sense of the liturgy, and the experiences derived from recent liturgical reforms. It is then laid down as a general norm that innovation may be introduced only if a genuine benefit to the Church demands it. Finally, the new forms must always grow organically out of those already existing.

I would like to point out the practical norms which arise for the work of reform from the didactic and pastoral nature of the liturgy. According to article 33, the liturgy is principally the cult of the majesty of God, in which worshippers come into relation with Him by means of visible signs that the liturgy uses in order to express invisible realities, which have been chosen by Christ Himself or by the Church. Here there is a vibrant echo of what the Council of Trent of the Catholic Church already recommended in order to protect her patrimony from the rationalistic and spiritless emptiness of Protestant worship, a patrimony which the Holy Father in his writings on the Eastern churches has characterized as their special treasure. This "special treasure" also deserves to be a source of nourishment for the Catholic Church. It distinguishes itself by being rich in symbolism, thus providing didactic and pastoral education and enrichment, making it splendidly suited even to the simplest people.

When we consider that the Orthodox churches, despite their separation from the rock of the Church, through the symbolic expression and theological progress that continuously found entrance into their liturgy, have preserved the correct beliefs and the sacraments, every Roman Catholic liturgical reform should rather increase the symbolic richness of its form of worship than (sometimes even drastically) decrease it. As far as the guidelines for the particular parts of the liturgy are concerned-above all for their center, the Sacrifice of the Mass-only a few especially significant points for the reform of the Ordo Missae, on which we are concentrating, should be recorded. Regarding the reform of the Ordo Missae, two Conciliar directives are especially to be emphasized. In article 50, first the general directive is given that in the reform the intrinsic nature of the several parts of the Mass and the connection between them should be more clearly manifested, in order that devout and active participation might be made easier for the faithful.

As a consequence, it is emphasized that the rites should be simplified, while faithfully retaining their substance, and that elements which in the course of centuries had been duplicated or added in a way that was not especially opportune, would again be eliminated; while others, which had been lost with the passage of time, would be restored in harmony with the tradition of the fathers as far as should appear appropriate or necessary.

As far as the active participation of the faithful is concerned, the various elements of external involvement are indicated in article 30, with special emphasis on the necessary silence at the proper moments. The Council comes back to this in greater detail in article 48, with a special note about interior participation, through which alone the divine worship and the attainment of grace jointly with the sacrificing priest and the other participants are made fruitful.

Article 36 speaks about the liturgical language generally, and article 54 of the Mass in particular cases. After a discussion lasting several days, in which arguments for and against were discussed, the Council fathers came to the clear conclusion-wholly in agreement with the Council of Trent-that Latin must be retained as the language of cult in the Latin rite, although exceptional cases were possible and even welcome. We shall return to this point in detail.

Article 116 speaks extensively about Gregorian chant, noting that it has been the classical chant of the Roman Catholic liturgy since the time of Gregory the Great, and as such must be retained. Polyphonic music also deserves attention and cultivation. The other articles of Chapter VI, on sacred music, speak about appropriate music and singing in the Church and the liturgy, and emphasize splendidly the important, indeed the fundamental role of the pipe organ in the Catholic liturgy.

Interestingly, article 107 discusses the reform of the liturgical year, with an emphasis on the affirmation or reintroduction of the traditional elements, retaining their specific character. Particularly emphasized is the importance of feasts of the Lord and in general of the Proprium de tempore in the annual sequence, to which some sacred feasts had to give way in order that the full effectiveness of the celebration of the mysteries of redemption not be impaired.

This account of the liturgical reform in light of the Liturgy Constitution cannot be complete, both as far as the individual subjects are concerned and the way they are treated. I shall select as many and as varied examples as appear necessary in order to reach a convincing conclusion.

The Church and the liturgy grow and develop together, but always in such a way that the earthly is organized around the heavenly. The Mass comes from Christ; it was adopted by the apostles and their successors as well as by the Fathers of the Church; it developed organically, with the conscious retention of its substance. The liturgy developed along with the Faith that is contained within it; thus we can say, with Pope Celestine I, in his writings to the Gallican bishops in the year 422: Legem credendi lex statuit supplicandi: The liturgy contains, and in proper and comprehensible ways, brings the Faith to expression. In this sense the constancy of the liturgy participates in the constancy of the Faith itself; indeed it contributes to its protection. Never has there been, therefore, in any of the Christian-Catholic rites, a break, a radically new creation-with the exception of the post-Conciliar reform. But the Council again and again demanded for the reform a strict adherence to tradition. All reforms, beginning with Gregory I through the Middle Ages, during the entry into the Church of the most disparate peoples with their various customs, have observed this ground rule. This is, incidentally, a characteristic of all religions, including non-revealed ones, which proves that an attachment to tradition is standard in any religious worship, and is therefore natural.

It is not surprising, therefore, that every heretical offshoot from the Catholic Church featured a liturgical revolution, as is most clearly recognized in the case of the Protestants and the Anglicans; while the reforms effected by the popes, and particularly stimulated by the Council of Trent and carried out by Pope Pius V, through those of Pius X, Pius XII and John XXIII, were no revolutions, but merely insignificant corrections, alignments and enrichments. Nothing new should be introduced, the Council expressly says of the reform desired by the fathers, which the genuine good of the Church does not demand. There are several clear examples of what the post-Conciliar reform actually produced, above all in its core, the radically new Ordo Missae. The new introduction to the Mass grants a significant place to many variants and, through further concessions to the imagination of the celebrants with their communities, is leading to a practically unlimited multiplicity. Next comes the Lectionary, to which we will return in another connection. Thereupon follows the Offertory which, in its contents and text, represents a revolution. There is to be no preceding sacrificial act, but only a preparation of the gifts with evidently humanized content, which impresses one as contrived from beginning to end. In Italy it was called the sacrifice of the coltivatori diretti, that is, of the few people who still personally cultivate their small parcels of land, for the most part beyond and after their principal occupation. On account of the great technical means at the disposal of agriculture, which today can be maintained only via industry, very little human labor is necessary for the production of bread. From the plowing to the harvester from which the sacks of grain come, few human hands are needed. The substitution of the offering of the gifts for the coming Sacrifice is rather an unfortunate, outdated kind of symbolism that can scarcely replace the many genuine symbolic elements that were suppressed. A tabula rasa was also made of the gestures highly recommended by the Council of Trent and required by the Second Vatican Council, as well as of many Signs of the Cross, altar kisses and genuflections.

The essential center, the sacrificial action itself, suffered a perceptible shift toward Communion, in that the entire Sacrifice of the Mass was changed into a Eucharistic meal, whereby in the consciousness of believers the integrating component of Communion replaced the essential component of the transforming act of sacrifice. Cardinal Ratzinger has expressly determined also, with reference to the most modern dogmatic and exegetical investigations, that it is theologically false to compare the meal with the Eucharist-which practically always occurs in the new liturgy. With that, the groundwork is laid for another essential change: in place of the sacrifice offered by an anointed priest as alter Christus comes the communal meal of the convened faithful under the presiding priest. The intervention of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci persuaded the Pope to overturn the definition [in the original General Instruction that accompanied the new Missal-Translator's note] that confirmed this change in the Sacrifice of the Mass; it was "pulped down" by order of Paul VI. The correction of the definition resulted, however, in no change to the Ordo Missae itself.

This change of the heart of the Sacrifice of the Mass received confirmation and activation in the celebration versus populum, a practice which had previously been forbidden and which was a reversal of the entire tradition of celebration towards the East, in which the priest was not the counterpart of the people but rather one who acted in persona Christi, under the symbol of the rising sun in the East.

It is germane to point out a quite serious change in the consecration formula of the wine into the Blood of Christ: the words mysterium fidei were removed, and inserted as a later joint acclamation with the people-quite a blow for "actuosa participatio." What does historical research, which had been prescribed by the Council before every change, now say exclusively? That the words go back to the beginning of the traditions of the Roman Church that are known to us, which had been handed on by St. Peter. St. Basil, who through his studies in Athens was certainly familiar with the Western tradition, says regarding the forms of all the sacraments that they had not been written down in the well-known holy writings of the apostles and their successors and pupils because of the discipline of secrecy that then prevailed, on the ground of which the most holy mysteries of the Church should not be betrayed to pagans. He says expressly, as do all Christian witnesses, who reveal the same conviction, that in addition to the written teachings handed down to us we also have ones that in mysteria tradita sunt and that date from the tradition of the apostles; he says both have the same value and no one may contradict either. As an example he expressly cites the words through which the Eucharistic bread and the Chalice of Salvation are confected: which of the saints has handed them down to us in writing?

All subsequent periods of history expressly attest to this historical inheritance in the Eucharistic consecration formula: the Gelasian sacramentary-the oldest Mass book of the Roman Church-has in the Vatican codex in the original text, not as a later addition, the words "mysterium fidei."

People have always wondered about the origin of these words. In 1202, the emeritus Archbishop John of Lyons posed to Pope Innocent III, whose liturgical knowledge was well known, the question of whether one must believe that the words of the Canon of the Mass, which do not come from the gospels, were passed down by Christ and the apostles to their successors. The Pope answered in a long letter in December of that year that these words, which are not from the gospels, are to be believed as if the apostles received them from Christ and their successors received them in turn. The fact that this decretal, included in the collection of decretal letters of Innocent III, which were combined by Raymond von Penafort by order of Pope Gregory IX, was not excluded as were other outdated ones but rather was passed on, proves that prolonged value was given to this statement of the great Pope.

St. Thomas speaks clearly about our subject in the Summa Theologiae III, q. 78, art. 3, which deals with the words of the consecration of the wine. Explaining the necessary arcane discipline of the ancient Church, he says that the words "mysterium fidei" come from divine tradition, which was given to the Church by the apostles, making particular reference to 1 Cor. 10[11]:23 and 1 Tim. 3:9. A commentator refers to DD Gousset in the 1939 Marietti edition: "sarebbe un grandissimo errore sostituire un'altra forma eucharistica a quella del Missale Romano…die sopprimere ad esempio la parola aeterni e quella mysterium fidei che abbiamo dalla tradizione." The Council of Florence also, in the bull of union with the Jacobites, expressly adds the consecration formula of Holy Mass, which the Roman Church has always used on the foundation of the teaching and authority of the apostles Peter and Paul.

One wonders about the supremely cavalier way in which the colleagues of Cardinal Lercaro and Fr. Bugnini disregarded the obligation of undertaking a detailed historical and theological investigation in the case of so fundamental a change. If such a thing took place in this case, how might they have discharged this fundamental obligation before making other changes?

The Eucharist is not only the unique mystery of our faith; it is also an everlasting one, of which we should always remain conscious. Our everyday Eucharistic life requires a medium that fully embraces this mystery-above all in the modern age, in which the autonomy and self-glorification of modern man resist every concept that goes beyond human knowledge, that reminds him of his limitations. Every theological concept becomes a problem for him, and the liturgy especially as a support of the Faith turns into a permanent object of demystification, that is, of humanizing to the point of making it absolutely understandable. For this reason, the banishing of mysterium fidei from the Eucharistic formula becomes a powerful symbol of demythologization, a symbol of the humanizing of the center of divine worship, of holy Mass.

With that, we come to the various false interpretations--and equally false implementations--of a central demand of the reformers: a fervent, active participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass. The main purpose of their participation is what the Council expressly says: the worship of the majesty of God. The heart and soul of the participant must therefore first and foremost be raised to God. (This does not exclude the possibility that participation also becomes activated within the community.) Above all, this actuosa participatio was demanded as a result of the frequently lamented apathy of Mass-goers of the pre-Conciliar period. If it extends itself into an endless talking and doing, which allows all to become active in a kind of hustle and bustle which are intrinsic to every external human assembly, even the most holy moment of the individual's encounter with the Eucharistic God-Man becomes the most talkative and distracted. The contemplative mysticism of the encounter with God and His worship, to say nothing of the reverence which must always accompany it, instantly dies: the human element kills the divine, and fills heart and soul with emptiness and disappointment. Here a further important point must be mentioned, a decree of the Council not only misunderstood but also completely denied: the language of worship. I am very well acquainted with the argument. As an expert on the commission for the seminaries, I was entrusted with the question of the Latin language. It proved to be brief and concise and after lengthy discussion was brought to a form which complied with the wishes of all members and was ready for presentation in the Council hall. Then, in an unexpected solemnity, Pope John XXIII signed the Apostolic Letter Veterum Sapientia on the altar of St. Peter. According to the opinion of the commission, that made superfluous the Council's declaration on Latin in the Church. (In the document not only the relationship of the Latin language to the liturgy, but also all its other functions in the life of the Church, were pronounced upon.)

As the subject of the language of worship was discussed in the Council hall over the course of several days, I followed the process with great attention, as well as later the various wordings of the Liturgy Constitution until the final vote. I still remember very well how after several radical proposals a Sicilian bishop rose and implored the fathers to allow caution and reason to reign on this point, because otherwise there would be the danger that the entire Mass might be held in the language of the people-whereupon the entire hall burst into uproarious laughter.

I could therefore never understand how Archbishop Bugnini could write, regarding the radical and complete transition from the prescribed Latin to the exclusively vulgar language of worship, that the Council had practically said that the vernacular in the entire Mass was a pastoral necessity (op. cit., pp. 108-121; I am quoting from the original Italian edition).

To the contrary, I can attest to the fact that regarding the wording of the Council Constitution on this question, in the general part (art. 36) as well as in the special regulations for the Sacrifice of the Mass (art. 54) the Council fathers maintained a practically unanimous agreement--above all in the final vote: 2152 votes in favor and only four against. In my research for the Council decree about the Latin language, I became aware of the concurring opinion of the entire tradition: up to Pope John XXIII, a clearly unfriendly attitude had been taken toward all preceding efforts to the contrary. Consider in particular the cases of the statement of the Council of Trent, sanctioned by anathema, against Luther and Protestantism; of Pius VI against Bishop Ricci and the Synod of Pistoia; and of Pius XI, who deemed the Church's language of worship as "non vulgaris." Yet this tradition is not at all a question only of ritual, although that is the aspect always emphasized; rather, it is important because the Latin language acts as a reverent curtain against profanation (instead of the iconostasis of the Easterners, behind which the anaphora takes place) and because of the danger that through the vulgar language the whole action of the liturgy might be profaned, which in fact often happens today. The precision of the Latin language, moreover, uniquely does justice to the didactic and dogmatically precise contents of the liturgy, protecting the truth from obfuscation and adulteration. Finally, the universality of Latin both represents and fosters the unity of the whole Church.

Because of its practical importance, I would like especially to go into both of the last-mentioned, with examples. A good friend has the Deutsche Tagespost sent to me regularly. I always read the next-to-last page, on which the editorial staff, very laudably, gives readers the opportunity in letters to the editor to express opposing views. A continuing series of such letters dealt in detail with the "pro multis" of the Latin text of the formula of consecration and with its translation as "for all." Again and again philology was engaged, which often becomes the ruler instead of being merely the handmaid of theology. Monsignor Johannes Wagner says in his Liturgiereformerinnerungen (1993) that the Italians first introduced this translation, although he himself would have been for the literal translation of "many." Unfortunately, I have never found an appeal to an argument of the first order that is at once theologically decisive and extremely important pastorally; it is contained in the Roman Tridentine Catechism. Here the theological distinction is clearly emphasized: The "pro omnibus" indicates the force that the Redemption has "for all." If one takes into consideration, however, the actual fruit that is allocated to men from it, the Blood of Christ is effective not for all, but rather only for "many," namely for those who draw benefits from it. It is therefore correct that here not for "all" is said, since in this passage only the fruits of the suffering of Christ are spoken of, which come only to the chosen. Here application can be found for what the Apostle said in Heb. 9:28, that Christ sacrificed Himself once to take away the sins of "many," and for Christ's own distinction: "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given me, because they are thine." In all these words of consecration many secrets are contained that shepherds should recognize through study and with the help of God.

It is not difficult to see here extraordinarily important pastoral truths contained in these dogmatic contents of the Latin language of worship, which unconsciously (or even consciously) are covered up in an inaccurate translation.

A second, even larger source of pastoral misfortune-again, against the explicit will of the Council-results from giving up the Latin language of worship. Latin plays the role of a universal language that unifies the Church's public worship without offending any vernacular tongue. It holds particular importance today, at a time when the developing concept of the Church highlights the entire People of God of the one Mystical Body of Christ, underlined elsewhere in the reform. By introducing the exclusive use of the vernacular, the reform makes out of the unity of the Church a variety of little churches, separated and isolated. Where is the pastoral possibility for Catholics across the whole world to find their Mass, to overcome racial differences through a common language of worship, or even, in an increasingly small world, simply to be able to pray together, as the Council explicitly calls for? Where is the pastoral practicability now for every priest to exercise the highest priestly act-Holy Mass-everywhere, above all in a world that is short of priests?

In the Conciliar Constitution the introduction of a three-year Lectionary is nowhere spoken of. Through it the reform commission made itself guilty of a crime against nature. A simple calendar year would have been sufficient for all wishes of change. The Consilium could have stuck to a yearly cycle, enriching the readings with as many and as varied a choice of collection as one would want without breaking up the natural yearly course. Instead, the old order of readings was destroyed and a new one introduced, with a great burden and expense of books, in which as many texts as possible could be accommodated, not only from the world of the Church but also-as was widely practiced-from the profane world. Apart from the pastoral difficulties for parishioners' understanding of texts demanding special exegesis, it turned out also as an opportunity-which was seized-to manipulate the retained texts in order to introduce new truths in place of the old. Pastorally unpopular passages-often of fundamental theological and moral significance-were simply eliminated. A classic example is the text from 1 Cor. 11:27-29: here, in the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, the serious concluding exhortation about the grave consequences of unworthy reception has been consistently left out, even on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The pastoral necessity of that text in the face of today's mass reception without confession and without reverence is obvious.

That blunders could be made in the new readings, above all in the choice of their introductory and concluding words, is exemplified by Klaus Gamber's note on the end of the reading on the first Sunday in Lent of the Reading Cycle for Year A, which speaks of the consequences of Original Sin: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked." Whereupon the people, performing their duty of lively and active participation, must answer: "Thanks be to God."

Furthermore, why was the alteration of the sequence of the sacred feasts necessary? If any caution were needed it was here, in pastoral concern and awareness regarding the people's attachment to their local Church feasts, whose temporal disarrangement had to have a very negative influence on popular piety. For these considerations the implementers of the reform appear to have had no great sympathy at all, despite articles 9, 12, 13 and 37 of the Liturgy Constitution.

A brief word must still be said about the realization of the Council regulations regarding liturgical music. Our reformers certainly did not share the great praise for the Gregorian chant that was being regarded more and more highly by secular observers and enthusiasts. The radical abolition (above all through the creation of new choral parts of the Mass) of the Introit, Gradual, Tract, Alleluia, Offertory, Communion (and this especially as a prayer of the community), in favor of others of considerably greater length was a silent death sentence for the wonderful variable Gregorian melodies, with the exception only of the simple melodies for the fixed parts of the Mass, namely the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus/Benedictus and Agnus Dei-and that only for few Masses. The instructions of the Council for the protection and fostering of this ancient Roman liturgical singing met a practically deadly epidemic.

The widely beloved Church instrument of the pipe organ experienced a similar fate through the abundant substitution of instruments, whose enumeration and characterization I can leave to your rich personal experience, with the sole remark that they have prepared the way in not a few cases for the entry of diabolical elements into Church music.

The latitude allowed for innovation represents a last, important subject of this account of the practical elements of the reform. This latitude is present in the original Latin Roman Order of Mass. Among the various national orders, the German Order of Mass stands out through many further concessions of this kind. It practically eliminates the strict, absolute ban of §3, art. 22 of the Conciliar Constitution-namely that no one, not even a priest, may on his own authority add, leave out or alter anything. The violations in the entire course of the Mass that are escalating more and more against this ban of the Council are becoming the cause of resounding disorder, which the old Latin Ordo, with its much-lamented rigidity, so successfully prevented. The new guarantor of order thus contributes to disorder, and one may not, therefore, wonder when again and again he discovers that in every parish a different Ordo seems to be in force.

With that we have arrived at the public, if also limited, negative statements about the reform of the Mass. Archbishop Bugnini himself discusses them with commendable honesty on pages 108-121 of his memoirs of the reform, without being able to contradict them. In his memoir and in Msgr. Wagner's, the insecurity of the Consilium is obvious over the reform they so hastily carried out. There also appears little sensibility towards the prior "theological, historical, pastoral" research ordained by the Council as necessary to any alteration. For example, the expert capacities of Msgr. Gamber, the German historian of the liturgy, were completely ignored. The incomprehensible rush with which the reform was hammered into shape and made obligatory actually caused influential bishops who were anything but attached to tradition to reconsider. A monsignor who had accompanied Cardinal Döpfner as secretary to Salzburg for the passing of a resolution of the German-speaking bishops for the activation of the new Order of Mass in their countries told me that the Cardinal was very reticent on the return journey to Munich. He then briefly expressed his fear that a delicate pastoral matter had been dealt with too hastily.

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to emphasize that I have never cast in doubt the dogmatic or juridical validity of the Novus Ordo Missae-although in the case of the juridical question serious doubts have come to me in view of my intensive work with the medieval canonists. They are of the unanimous opinion that the popes may change anything with the exception of what the Holy Scriptures prescribe or what concerns previously enacted doctrinal decisions of the highest level, and the status ecclesiae. There is no perfect clarity with regard to this concept. This attachment to tradition in the case of fundamental things which have conclusively influenced the Church in the course of time certainly belongs to this fixed, unchanging status, over which even the Pope has no right of disposal. The meaning of the liturgy for the entire concept of the Church and its development, which was also especially emphasized by Vatican II as unchangeable in nature, leads us to believe that it in fact should belong to the status ecclesiae.

It must nevertheless be said that these regrettable misuses, which above all are consequences of the discrepancy between the Conciliar Constitution and the Novus Ordo, do not occur when the new liturgy is reverently celebrated-as is always the case, for example, when the Holy Father offers Mass. It cannot, however, escape experts of the old liturgy what a great distinction exists between the corpus traditionum, which was alive in the old Mass, and the contrived Novus Ordo-to the decided disadvantage of the latter. Shepherds, scholars, and lay faithful have noticed it, of course; and the multitude of opposing voices increased with time. Thus the reigning Holy Father himself, in his Apostolic Letter Dominicae Cenae of February 24, 1980, regarding the mystery and worship of the Eucharist, pointed out that questions concerning the liturgy, above all of the Eucharist, should never be the occasion for dividing Catholics and seeing the unity of the Church sundered; it is, he said, indeed the "sacrament of piety, the symbol of unity, and the bond of charity."

In his Apostolic Letter on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the approval of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on December 4, 1963, which was published on December 4, 1988, after praising the renewal in the line of tradition, the Pope deals with the concrete application of the reform: he points to the difficulties and the positive results, but also in detail to incorrect applications. He also says expressly that it is the duty of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to protect the great principles of the Catholic liturgy, as illustrated and developed in the Liturgy Constitution, and to be mindful of the responsibilities of the bishops' conferences and the bishops.

Cardinal Ratzinger, the protector of the Faith (and of the worship connected with it) closest to the Pope, has repeatedly commented on the post-Conciliar liturgical reform, and with a singular profundity and clarity has subjected its theological and pastoral problems to constructive criticism. I remind you only of the book The Feast of Faith (1981), of the prologue to the French translation of the short, basic book by Klaus Gamber, and finally of the references in his recent books, Salt of the Earth and his autobiography, La mia vita, both published in 1997.

Among the German-speaking bishops the one responsible for the liturgy in the Austrian bishops' conference pointed out in 1995 that the Council had intended no revolution but a reform of the liturgy faithful to tradition. Instead, he said, a worship of spontaneity and improvisation bears a share of the blame for the declining number of people at Mass. Lastly, the Primate of Belgium, Cardinal Daneels, who certainly cannot be called a stick-in-the-mud, has subjected the entire reform to devastating criticism: there has been a 180-degree turn, he says, with the transition from an obedience to rubrics to their free manipulation, through which one himself makes use of the liturgy in order to rearrange the service and worship of God into a creative people's assembly, into a real "happening," into a discourse in which the individual wants to play a role instead of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, in whose house he is a guest. Man's desire to understand the service, Daneels says, should lead not to a subjective human creativity, but to a penetration of the mysteries of God. One would not have to explain the liturgy, but live it as a window to the invisible.

When we climb lower rungs of the ladder of the people of God, we find even among the members of the Consilium a colleague indicated as critical by Archbishop Bugnini: P.L. Boujer, who has not been silent in the meantime.

In Italy the hard-hitting criticism The Torn Tunic (1967), by the high-profile lay writer Tito Casini, with a prologue by Cardinal Bacci, made a sensation. Slowly more and more growing lay groups, to which many intellectuals of high standing belonged, organized themselves into national movements, above all in Europe and North America, and were connected in Europe and beyond in the international organization Una Voce; the problems of the reform were also discussed in journals, among which the German Una Voce Korrespondenz stands out. In a characteristic summary, the Canadian Precious Blood Banner of October 1995 says that it is becoming clearer and clearer that the radicalism of the post-Conciliar reformers did not consist of renewing the Catholic liturgy from its roots, but in tearing it from its traditional soil. It did not rework the Roman rite, which it was asked to do by the Liturgy Constitution of Vatican II, but uprooted it. Shortly before his death, the well-known Prior of Taize, Max Thurian, a Catholic convert who was previously a Calvinist, expounded his view of the reform in a long article entitled "The Liturgy as Contemplation of the Mystery" in L'Osservatore Romano (May 27-28, 1996, p. 9). After an understandable expression of praise for the Council and for the Liturgy Commission, which were supposed to bring forth the most admirable fruits, he says expressly that the entire contemporary celebration often takes place as a dialogue in which there is no place for prayer, contemplation and silence. The constant opposing of the celebrants and the faithful isolates the community within itself. A healthy celebration, on the other hand, which gives the altar a privileged position, conveys the duty of the celebrant, that is, to orient all toward the Lord and the worship of His presence, which is represented in the symbols and realized in the Sacrament. This conveys to the liturgy that contemplative breath without which it becomes an awkward religious discussion, an empty communal activity and a kind of prattle.

Thurian makes a number of personal proposals for authority in the event of a revision of the "Principles and norms for the use of the Missale Romanum" (one sees that he nourishes the hope that it could be possible), which clearly demonstrate dissatisfaction with the present principles. Under the title of "The Priest in the Service of the Liturgy," he gives a series of distinguished criticisms of the present situation, which share practically all the severe reproaches of our account, and which merit individual examination….

I would like briefly to add, as an ecumenical reference, two experiences with the Eastern Churches. During a visit at the end of the Council…representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople said in personal conversations that they did not understand why the Roman Church insisted on changing the liturgy; one should not do such a thing. The Eastern Church, they said, owed its retention of the Faith to its faithfulness to liturgical tradition and to the liturgy's healthy development. I also heard somewhat similar things from members of the Patriarchate of Moscow, who looked after the Vatican Historical Commission during the International Historical Congress in Moscow in 1970.

Two more significant reports from the world of the ordinary and the uneducated, which best express the genuine sensus fidei of the children of God: Two young boy scouts of ten and twelve from the Siena area, who assist at the so-called Tridentine Mass every Saturday, based on the privilege granted by the Archbishop of Siena, answered my provocative question as to which Mass they liked better, that since they attended the old Mass they no longer enjoyed the new.

A simple, elderly farmer, who comes from a poor area of Molise, told me spontaneously that he always goes only to the six o'clock Tridentine Mass because he considers the change to the liturgy to be a change of the Faith that he wanted to retain. Msgr. Klaus Gamber, an outstanding expert I have already mentioned, has published strictly academic accounts, above all his summary The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: Its Problems and Background,* that were more or less silenced by the official specialist literature, but are being rediscovered now for their penetrating clarity and insight. He arrived at the conclusion that today we stand before the ruins of a 2,000-year tradition, and that it is to be feared that as a result of the countless reforms the tradition is now in such a vandalized mess that it may be difficult to revive it. One hardly dares any longer to pose the question whether after this dismantling a reconstruction of the old order may come.

Still, one should not give up hope. Concerning the dismantling, we see how it is reflected in the orders given by the Council. They say: no innovation may be introduced unless the real and certain benefit of the Church demands it, and then only after a precise theological, historical and pastoral investigation. Moreover, any change must be made in such a way that the new forms always arise organically from those already existing. Whether this happened, my recollections can give you only a limited picture. They should show, however, whether the essential theological and ecclesiological requirements were fulfilled in the reform, namely whether the liturgy, above all its heart, Holy Mass, ordered the human to the divine and subordinated the former to the latter, the visible to the invisible, the active to the contemplative, the present to the eternity to come; or whether the reform has, on the contrary, frequently subordinated the divine to the human, the invisible mystery to what is visible, the contemplative to active participation, the eternity to come to the mundane human present. But precisely the ever-clearer recognition of the real situation strengthens the hope for a possible reconstruction, which Cardinal Ratzinger sees in a new liturgical movement that resurrects the true inheritance of the Vatican Council to new life (La mia vita, 1997, p. 113).

Let me close with a comforting prospect: the reigning Holy Father, John Paul II, in his distinctive pastoral sensibility, articulated his concern in a 1980 appeal regarding the problems that the change of the liturgy created in the Catholic Church, but he met with no response from the bishops. That is why he decided, certainly not with a light heart, in 1984 to issue an apostolic indult for all who felt attached to the old liturgy for reasons I have emphasized, above all because of the liturgical innovations which, far from decreasing, are still escalating. Because he had understandably given it to the bishops, but only under narrow conditions and at their good pleasure, it had only very limited pastoral success.

After the unauthorized consecration of bishops by Archbishop Lefebvre, certainly with the intention of avoiding an extensive schism, he issued on July 2, 1988, a new motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei adflicta, in which he not only assured members of the Society of St. Pius X willing to be reconciled in the Fraternity of St. Peter of the possibility of remaining faithful to the ancient liturgical tradition, but he also now gave the bishops a very generous privilege, which was supposed to fulfill the legitimate desires of the faithful. He recommended specially to the bishops to imitate his generosity to the faithful who feel attached to the fixed forms of the old liturgy and discipline, and stated that one must respect all those who feel attached to the ancient liturgical tradition. The text-designed very generously this time for the bishops-gives us justifiable confidence that the Pope, in his efforts to re-establish unity and peace, not only will not relent, but rather will continue to tread the path shown in numbers 5 and 6 of the 1988 motu proprio, in order to bring about the legitimate reconciliation between the indispensable tradition and time-bound development.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fish Eaters Registration

To register to join the discussions at, first read the forum rules here, and decide whether the forum is for you. There is a lot of useful information available on the website without registering. Some of the comments in the discussions can be intemperate, so be prudent.

If you decide to register, send an email to with the username you want to use and the email address you want associated with your account.

A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The conversion of bishop-theologian Bruno Forte

Vatican Diary / The conversion of bishop-theologian Bruno Forte

He was a determined supporter of "for all" in the words of the consecration. But the pope's letter to the German bishops has changed his mind. Now he too wants "for many" to be said. Behind the scenes of the turnaround

by ***

VATICAN CITY, September 10, 2012 – The dispute over the translation of "pro multis" in the formula of Eucharistic consecration has been expanded, in Italy, with an interesting new contribution.

In the Sunday, August 26 edition of the leading Italian newspaper, "Corriere della Sera" a highly prominent figure took the field in this argument, the archbishop of Chieti and Vasto Bruno Forte, a former member of the international theological commission who was consecrated as a bishop by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

> Quell'Ultima Cena con le sedie vuote

In the article, in the wake of the letter addressed last April 14 by Benedict XVI to the German bishops, Forte took a clear position in favor of the translation "per molti," to replace the "per tutti" that entered into use after the Council in Italy and in many other countries.

"Theologically," Forte writes, "the translation 'per molti' seems to me more respectful of everyone's freedom, and in no way excludes the offering of salvation to all made by Jesus on the cross."

"For this reason," he adds in concluding the article, "I prefer the translation 'per molti,' and I maintain that if explained well it can be of help and encouragement to many."

Forte also criticizes the translation that is found in the French missal, "pour la moltitude," recently praised by two Italian scholars, Francesco Pieri and Silvio Barbaglia.

Forte dismisses the version that they propose, "per una moltitudine,"  as one of those "intermediate solutions" that "while admirable" are "inevitably compromisory."


Forte's joining the fray is significant, and in some ways surprising.

It is significant because he is one of the best-known Italian bishops, including at the international level, and enjoys a substantial following among his brother bishops, who in fact appointed him as their representative at the worldwide synod on the new evangelization that will be held in Rome in October. Of the four selections he is the only one without the scarlet, the other three being all cardinals: Angelo Bagnasco, Giuseppe Betori, and Angelo Scola.

It is surprising because Forte has always been considered a theologian of the progressive camp, the camp that most opposes, and not only in Italy, the passage from "for all" to "for many."

At the memorable ecclesial conference in Loreto in 1985, which marked the ascent in the leadership of the Italian Church of then-auxiliary bishop of Reggio Emilia Camillo Ruini, Forte was fighting for the other and the winning side, together with the president of the episcopal conference at the time, Anastasio Ballestrero, and Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini. And it was he who gave the introductory theological presentation.

This is why he has not rarely ended up in the crosshairs of his more conservative theologian colleagues.

For example, in a 2004 article Fr. Nicola Bux, an adviser – both then and now – to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, singled out Forte as one of the "promulgators" of a "weak and derivative theology" concerning the resurrection of Jesus, reduced "to an 'etiological legend,' or an artifice in support of the worship that the Judeo-Christians were conducting on the site of Jesus' burial."

But Forte's taking the field is even more surprising because it marks in him a change of judgment with respect to the past.

During the general assembly of the CEI in November of 2010, when the Italian bishops reiterated with a landslide vote their support of the preservation of the version "per tutti," Forte was among the few who took part in the discussion on the topic in the assembly. And he spoke out in support of the majority.

On that occasion, the Neapolitan theologian – an uncle of the prosecutor John Henry Woodcock, very well known for his judicial investigations with a significant media component, the latest of them against former IOR president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi – indeed affirmed that "the alternative 'per molti/per tutti' contains a theologically founded nuance," but – he added – this is a nuance "too subtle to be explained to the people," and so expressed the opinion of "maintaining the translation currently in use."

In that assembly, the bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of of the maintenance of "per tutti" with 171 votes out of 187 voters (apart from one blank ballot, only 11 expressed themselves in favor of "per molti," and 4 for the version "per le moltitudini"). And this in spite of the circular letter with which in October of 2006 the Vatican congregation for divine worship had given the worldwide episcopates the authoritative indication, at the mandate of the newly elected Benedict XVI, of translating with "for many" the "pro multis" of the Latin "editio typica" of the Roman missal.


Currently, the text of the new translation of the Italian missal is under inspection by the congregation for divine worship, which must give the necessary "recognitio." And in the light of the pope's letter to the German bishops of last April, it is easy to predict that the dicastery will not compromise over the change from "per tutti" to "per molti."

The match could still remain open as far as other sensitive points of translation are concerned. Like the changes proposed by the bishops, with overwhelming votes in support of departing from the original Latin for the "pax hominibus bonae voluntatis" of the Gloria or for the "ne nos inducas in temptationem" of the Our Father, or, with a contrary criterion, the request not to touch the current Italian version of the "Domine non sum dignus," conspicuously – and arbitrarily – different from the original Latin ("Signore, io non sono degno di partecipare alla tua mensa" instead of "Signore, io non sono degno che tu entri sotto il mio tetto" of the Latin missal, taken word for word from Matthew 8:7).

In this context is situated Forte's turnaround in favor of "per molti." A turnaround that the more malicious interpret as his hopping onto the bandwagon of the victor, in a battle that for him is already lost, in view of possible future promotions.

Forte was considered to be in the running for the patriarchate of Venice, and for that position had a public "endorsement" from the former center-left mayor of the city, the philosopher Massimo Cacciari.

Now the grand maneuvers have already begun for two Italian sees of cardinalate tradition – Bologna and Palermo – the pastors of which, Carlo Caffarra and Paolo Romeo respectively, will turn 75 in 2013. But this is another story.


The earlier parts of the dispute on www.chiesa, and "Settimo cielo", with the complete text of the letter of Benedict XVI to the German bishops:

> "For many" or "for all"? The right answer is the first (3.5.2012)

> "Pro Multis." The Pope's Translation Is Gaining Support (26.7.2012)

> Nelle traduzioni del messale la ricreazione è finita (6.8.2012)


The cited article by Nicola Bux critical of the theology of Bruno Forte:

> Il sepolcro vuoto: per Bruno Forte è una "leggenda"


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.

For more news and commentary, see the blog that Sandro Magister maintains, available only in Italian:




Postal address: Sandro Magister, "L'espresso", via C. Colombo 90, 00147 Roma

Site design by Theo Nelki.

At the top of the page, a detail from the mosaics in the basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, fifth century, depicting the heavenly Jerusalem.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bishop David Konstant of Leeds

David Konstant, ex-Bishop of Leeds, remembered for a school sex program so foul it was banned in the Birmingham Archdiocese!

Also famous for delaying the printing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to suck up to feminism’s gender equality agenda.

Pope St Pius X wrote of Modernists, " ...they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt" [Pascendi Dominici Gregis, #3]
Graphic - school sex - 2David Konstant MA was born 16 June 1930.  He was ordained a priest 12 June 1954 by Cardinal Bernard Griffen.  Predictable, in the present climate of episcopal subversion of the faith of the Church, he was raised to the episcopacy by Cardinal Basil Hume, being appointed an auxiliary bishop of Westminster on the 25 April 1977, and then the 8th bishop of Leeds on 23 July 1985.
He is yet another Modernist thoroughbred from the Hume stables.  Many have asked, as the late saintly Father Paul  Crane often did of David Konstant: "How did that man ever become a bishop?"
Before the Second Vatican Council Bishop Konstant, as Father Konstant, worked as a teacher of English in a Catholic boys school. After the Council, when the upheaval in religious instruction started, he was appointed to one of the new posts, Diocesan Catechetical Director for the Archdiocese of Westminster.
Father Konstant had an office in the building which housed the infamous Corpus Christi College of Religious Education, which was later closed down by Cardinal Heenan.  He became close friends with the Principal of Corpus Christi, Father Hubert Richards, and later, when Fr Richards quit the priesthood to marry, with his wife Clare.  Frs Richards and Konstant were also very close to Cardinal Heenan’s secretary, Mgr Worlock, later Archbishop of Liverpool. As the saying goes: birds of a feather. One can also see here the working of the old boys' network, where prime English sees are parceled out amongst ones chums.
He took over from Archbishop Michael Bowen of Southwark as Chairman of the Department for Catholic Education until replaced by Bishop Vincent Nichols in November 1998, in addition, he served as Episcopal representative for the Catholic Media Trust and Episcopal Liaison for the National Conference of Priests.  Bishop Konstant’s record in all three important and very influential posts, like his connection with The Catechism of the Catholic Church, has been, in a word, dire.
A Catholic bishop unable to answer simple questions on the Catholic faith.
It may seem astonishing but Bishop Konstant was unable to give a simple affirmation of Catholic faith when confronted by a series of simple questions posed by the BBC's Today programme in 1998, which included: "Do you believe in the literal fact of the Resurrection of Christ?" "Do you believe there will be a second coming of Christ?" "Do you believe Adam and Eve literally existed?" "Is there a purgatory?" "Are all of the Ten Commandments applicable today?" About such basics of the Catholic faith, the Bishop of Leeds replied: "None of the questions is capable of a one-word answer, which means that, for most people, any answer given.. is not merely inadequate, but simply untrue."!
Bishop responsible for sex-ed program, considered so "foul" that it is banned from the Birmingham Archdiocese!
While in charge of catechetics in Westminster, Father Konstant introduced a very explicit sex education programme which parents did not like.  They eventually persuaded Rome to instruct Cardinal Heenan to withdraw it and to remove his Imprimatur.  Konstant has zealously provided our children with the most explicit material on sex ensuring that although they would grow up totally ignorant of the Faith they would be well informed on sexual matters from an early age. His book, Education in Sexuality, was so bad that in addition to the outcry from angry parents, Archbishop Couve de Murville considered it so foul he banned it from his Archdiocese.  It was later re-issued with some of the offending material removed, and this time Bishop Konstant’s name had been dropped from the front cover, though it was still published by his Catholic Education Service.
Bully Boy Bishop
The Catholic Herald (7/4/00), reported that parishioners of St Michael’s, Knottingley, had ended their three-year campaign to have the tabernacle behind the high altar in their new church. They did so after a personal appeal from their parish priest, who had clashed with Bishop David Konstant over the Bishop’s whim to put the tabernacle, where the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Blessed Lord is kept, somewhere else. Like most mainstream Modernists, bishop Konstant prefers that in the house of God, the presence of God, at least in the manner in which He chose to dwell among men, is not too obvious.
It seems the good parish priest, a Father David Smith, had received a letter from Bishop Konstant "calling for an end to the dispute".  He was ordered to cease his opposition. Our bully boy Bishop had Fr Smith in a head-lock because he had refused to consecrate the church until his will be done.  A parishioner told The Catholic Herald: "Fr David has asked us to put it all behind us and move forward. We’ve agreed to do it mainly because we are concerned for him, for his career and his health. We will just have to comply with the Bishop’s wishes. But we will never agree with it. We are more concerned for Father David".
Welcoming "the end of the dispute," one of Konstant spin doctors followed up with the following sanctimonious garbage: "It is good to see that Fr. Smith and the parishioners of St Michael’s parish have felt able to make this move. Everyone in the diocese is now looking forward to working together to achieve the best for the parish as it sets out on its journey of faith. The fire has left deep marks on the parish. The future must be a time of healing and further growth with the support of all the diocese. The Bishop is looking forward to celebrating the opening of this church with Father Smith and the parish on Pentecost Sunday."  Come back Uriah Heep, all is forgiven!
While you shake your head in disbelief at these events, let me explain that St Michael’s, the church in question, was burnt down by an arsonist in 1997. The parishioners raised one hundred thousand pounds to repair the gutted building, and now the Bishop’s determination that his will be done and the Blessed Sacrament be relegated from the main altar will cost them an extra.....sixty thousand pounds!
Bishop Konstant's "Developing Theology"
An example of the manner in which ‘development of doctrine’ can be abused is found in an article by Fr. D Konstant, when Westminster Catechetical Director, in The Universe, July 10, 1970.  In an article aptly entitled 'Revolution in the R.E. Class', he stated: "Once the religion teacher can accept the notion of a developing theology his biggest hurdle (which is one of attitude rather than knowledge) is crossed."
The then Father Konstant was taken severely to task on this point by Fr Romuald Horn O.P. (The Universe, July 24,1970) who put it this way: "If a lecturer in a teachers’ training college were to say: 'Christ achieved divinity' would Fr. Konstant call that a development?  Perhaps the words of another teacher may be quoted: ‘The greatest care must be taken that the important duty of research does not involve the undermining of the truths of Christian doctrine. If this happens, and we have unfortunately seen it happen in these days, the result is perplexity and confusion in the minds of many of the faithful’ (Pope Paul VI)...what teaching has Fr Konstant in mind: divine revelation to be believed or human science which can be understood?  Who are his "pupils", theological students or schoolchildren? That he is interested in theological development is obvious in his article; there is less evidence of his interest in catechetics, or of his understanding of it."
Fr. Romuald Horn O.P. rebuking the youthful Fr. Konstant way back in July 1970. Thirty years later the rebuked priest had become the bully boy bishop of Leeds still pursuing his "developing theology" and forcing the good parishioners of St Michael’s, Knottingley, to refuse Our Lord His rightful place in the new church.  Some "development"........ some "theology"!
Bishop delays the printing of the Catechism for a year.
Bishop Konstant claims on his CV that he was involved with the preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  This claim reminds me of an amusing custom a friend stumbled upon while teaching in India of job applicants putting the initials "BA (Failed)" after their names.
Bishop Konstant was invited to contribute to the section on morals and took the material he had prepared with his team - Mgr Kevin Nichols and Sister Cecily Boulding O.P. - to Rome.  The general understanding is that it contained the classic subjective morality of the Modernists and Rome was therefore left with no alternative but to reject it.
When the time came for the English Translation to be made, Bishop Konstant and Cardinal Law of Boston made Fr Douglas Clark a convert from Georgia the sole translator, though they supervised his work themselves.  When completed the translation was not approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because it was a revised version of the Catechism not a translation.  Mgr Michael Wrenn of new York, himself an experienced translator, wrote of it, "Hundreds of examples of error in the translation could be cited, some of them do not represent small points.. .they possess doctrinal and theological significance, sometimes major doctrinal significance."
In the meantime Bishop Konstant had assumed approval and already arranged for the printing of his revised Catechism in England, so this flawed translation not only put back the Catechism for English speaking people for a year, it also wasted a significant amount of money.
After he had realized that an accurate translation of the Catechism would be available to English speaking people, he spoke to the dioceses of Southwark, Arundel and Brighton and Portsmouth at Guildford on 6th June 1993 in the presence of a large audience including the then bishop Cormac Murphy O’Connor.  Bishop Konstant’s message was that when the Catechism was ready we should not buy it as it would be too difficult for us to understand.  No-one of course took any notice.  When at last the Catechism was ready it became a best-seller (100,000 copies sold in England in the first two weeks alone).
Bishop embraces feminism cult
In addition to the "Hundreds of examples of error in the translation" bishop Konstant's revised and rejected version of the Catechism had adopted inclusive language throughout.  Inclusive language, or Fem Speak, is a language manufactured by radical secular feminists to advance their agenda, but spoken by no people on the face of the earth.  The same feminist cult also embraces liberal abortion and artificial contraception, is anti-chastity (and therefore anti-celibacy), against the indissolubility of marriage and pro-sodomy.  Not exactly the most obvious bed-fellows for a Catholic bishop, one might be excused for thinking.
Such feminists argue that we should not use words like "man" or "mankind", because these words exclude, so they allege, "women".  Ninety-nine percent of women naturally reject this twaddle out of hand, and even feminists don't actually believe it, not one of them for example would dive into shark infested waters, on the grounds that man-eating sharks excluded women from their diet.
The new catechism was already available in France (one million copies sold) and Spain and Italy (500,000 each).  To say l’homme in the French edition was fine, but "man" in English has become an offense apparently serious enough to warrant suppression.  So even the catechism must undergo torture by the ideologically infected.  If the proposed new language had been accepted by Rome, the Catechism of the Catholic Church would have made some very sad reading indeed. It takes some doing to make the Scriptures seem wooden and pedestrian, but the inclusive language enforcers had managed.
In their proposed translation; the lines from Luke 17:33, for instance, would no longer have been, "He who seeks to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life will save it." The new version would have read, "Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it."  Or take the original from Genesis 9:5-6, which reads: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; For God made man in his own image."  This would have read: "Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind."  Stranger still is what would have happened to the lyric beauty of Matthew 25:40.  It used to read: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me." In bishop Konstant's translation the ideologically cleansed line reads: "What you do to the least of my family members you do to me."
The laity, as usual, had been expected to genuflect compliantly before yet another episcopal fait accompli, but many Catholics were up in arms.  According to Father Joseph Fessio SJ of the Ignatius Press, these changes, "are shocking to people who have heard and prayed these passages their whole lives."  One might of course add that these changes would have been shocking to anyone with a shred of sanity.
Bishop in charge of Catechetics.
During the twenty plus years Bishop Konstant supervised the religious instruction in Catholic schools and parishes in England and Wales, the books used and the Diocesan teams chosen have consistently failed to teach the Catholic faith. He rushed out a Scheme for Senior schools, Weaving the Web and a scheme for Primary schools, Here I Am into the schools before the Catechism was completed.  The National statistics clearly show just how successfully Bishop Konstant’s policy has been at driving young people out of the Church.
Liaison with the National Conference of Priests
(The forum for dissenting priests left over from the sixties and seventies)
While Bishop Konstant has held this position this group have become more and more rebellious and less representative of the majority of Catholic priests in the country.  For example, in 1995 they invited Archbishop Rembert Weakland* to address their Annual General meeting, in 1998 they scolded the Holy Father for writing Ad Tuendam Fidem and in 1999 they demanded frequent General Absolution and Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried.  Bishop Konstant’s encouragement is a matter of public record.
*Archbishop Rembert Weakland has subsequent resigned his office after it was revealed that this disgraceful prelate had paid out of Church funds some $450,000 in hush money to a man he was accused of sexually molesting.  Amazing what these Modernist prelates spend the faithful's money on isn't it?  He apparently had kissed the man erotically on the mouth and pulled his trousers down.  The young man in question had visited him to enquire about the priesthood!   After some Clinton style theatricals before a small congregation of around 400 die-hard liberals in his Cathedral, in which he sank to his knees and begged forgiveness, he quit the scene.  Yet another proof that there is a God - Halleluiah!   Weakland was also notorious for showing seminarians pornographic films. For more information on this corrupt prelate and darling of the liberal establishment, see the Weakland File
Episcopal Representative to the Catholic Media Trust.
Although not Chairman, Bishop Konstant is a very influential voice on this Trust. The sorry state of the Catholic papers in this country bear testimony to his views. Editors who are too Catholic or who allow the shortcomings in R.E. to be exposed do not last long, and it is  understood that he would like the slogan "Follow Peter" removed from the front page of The Catholic Times. The Trust fails consistently to defend the Catholic faith in the media, leaving this to concerned lay people.  His record may seem unbelievably bad, but it is all factual and can be checked.
Christ's body hemorrhages away
During the regime of this hireling every indicator of the health of the body of Christ in his diocese has nose-dived.  Indeed, David Konstant has managed to exceed the national average decline (itself abysmal) on every count, sometimes by a substantial margin: baptism for example down nationally 11%, down 30% in the diocese of Leeds.
Decline between 1984 and 2002
Priests Down 11% Down 12%
*Mass attendance Down 36% Down 42%
Down 11%
Down 30%
Catholic Marriages Down 53% Down 56%
Converts Down 20% Down 28%
One should also note from the above table that while our Modernist bishops bleat on about the shortage of priests that they themselves have engineered, David Konstant has been losing his laity almost three times as fast!  So he now paradoxically has substantially more priests pro-rata then when he took office: approximate one priest for every 251 Mass going Catholics when he took office, against one priests for every 164 Mass going Catholics in 2002!
As if these figures were not awful enough, Konstant, his health now failing, is working on placing his own cronies in influential positions so as to ensure a seamless transition to the next generation of Modernists.  Thus there can be no doubt that the devastation of the vineyard will continues long after the Godfather has left the scene.  Father Andrew Summersgill (Secretary to the Bishops Conference) and Mgr Peter Grant (Private Secretary to the Nuncio) are two examples of Konstant's appointments.
* The figures for Mass attendance were not published in the 1984 directory, so we have had to compute this decline from the 1990 figures, so it is almost certainly an underestimate.

David Konstant's distaste for the Catholic Faith would appear to be an ingrained family trait!

Since publishing the above article, I have received the following email from David Konstants sister-in-law and another from his sister.  Neither of these missives dispute any of the facts related in the above article, so need no comment from me.  Note the suggestion that I should go to confession to a lesbian bishop!  David Konstant's distaste for the Catholic Faith would appear to be an ingrained family trait!
From: Eli Konstant
Cc: Caroline <>,
Date: Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 3:41 PM
Subject: David Konstant
David Konstant happens to be my brother in law, a respected and much loved man.
Whoever is responsible for the article I have read is full of vitriolic jealousy and frustration.  Such deep hatred coming from people who supposedly preach faith, hope and charity, has entirely sickened me.  If this is an example of the Faith, then it is not David Konstant that has depleted the congregations, and subsequently the collection plate, but the attitudes and banal opinions expressed in this diatribe.

To highlight just one extract from your vacuous article would indicate a person terrified of women and their abilities and arrogant enough to believe he speaks for 99% of them!

Inclusive language, or Fem Speak, is a language manufactured by radical secular feminists to advance their agenda, but spoken by no people on the face of the earth  .......  Ninety-nine percent of women naturally reject this twaddle out of hand, and even feminists don't actually believe it,
You are clearly unable to accept, being stuck in your own tiny world and time warp, that there are people out there, including Catholic Bishops, who are not sheep.  Are brave and committed enough to their Faith and the people they guide, to see that in order to progress attitudes need to change.  Which Pope was it that was ‘done away with’ for his forward thinking?  Let not David visit the Vatican lest he too meets the same fate by the hand of you and your ilk.  Are you afraid that with progress, you would be out of a comfortable job?

Whoever you are, you are bitter and sad.  No doubt having not achieved much in your life, and quite devastated by somebody who has.  I think you should lock yourself in the confessional box for quite a long time (perhaps with a Lady Bishop and, shock/horror, she might have Lesbian tendencies !!), with a good and strong string of rosary beads that will withstand the saying of countless Hail Mary’s. Having said those Hail Mary’s, perhaps, just perhaps, the God to whom you pray (or do you just complain?), will forgive you.

To go through life with such hate and misery in your heart ...... you should be ashamed to wear the cloth and even more to preach the Faith.
Eli Konstant (Ms)

2 Republic Street
Alicedale 6135
South Africa
Cell: 0724558184
Landline: 042 2311464

From: Caroline
To: Don McGovern <>
Cc: Rory Johnston <>,Eli Konstant <>
Date: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM
Subject: RE: David Konstant

Dear Mr McGovern

Your correspondence is interesting – here’s more for your blog – please publish it in full.

Kindly do not tarnish my family with your sweeping, negative judgment – you have not the first inkling about us.  Furthermore, what makes you spokesman and judge for the Catholic Church?

Our Lord said: ‘judge not and thou shall not be judged’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.  He was the bringer of kindness and compassion after the harsh, unforgiving God of the Jews.  Jesus was a visionary ahead of His time, He challenged the ‘old’ ways – which is why he was crucified by people with much the same fearful mind-set you seem to have.  Your correspondence is opinionated, patronizing and deeply unkind.  Everything Our Lord is not.

Think humbly, if you can, about the attributes the Catholic Church wishes to represent.  Are those: judgment, ridicule, personality assassination, sarcasm, narrow-mindness, fear, rigidity, coldness, aloofness, harshness, cruelty?  If so, you are the perfect representative of the Church.  If not, think carefully about the way you portray yourself and the way you judge people.

Here’s hoping Our Lord will find a way to fill your heart with His love,

God bless,

Caroline Konstant

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anti-Church RFE

Radio Free Europe honors desecrations of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Decades Before Pussy Riot, U.S. Group Protested Catholic Church -- And Got Results

Protesters gather outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on December 10, 1989.

By Daisy Sindelar
Nearly a quarter-century before Pussy Riot staged its now-notorious protest in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, a similar demonstration was brewing in New York City. 

It was there, on December 10, 1989, that thousands of activists gathered outside St. Patrick's Cathedral, the most powerful Roman Catholic church in the United States.

If Pussy Riot's aim was to creatively call on God to "cast out" a resurgent Vladimir Putin, the New York demonstrators had a different goal in mind: to protest the Catholic Church's stand on AIDS and abortion rights.

Outside St. Patrick's, a carnival atmosphere reigned, with many of the protesters dressed as clowns, Catholic bishops, and even Jesus Christ.

But their message was deadly serious: at a time when more than 40,000 Americans had already died of the disease, the Catholic Church's opposition to condoms and AIDS education was condemning tens of thousands more to the same fate.

Among the protesters was Jim Hubbard, a filmmaker and member of Act Up, an advocacy group of gays, lesbians, and women's rights activists that had organized the demonstration.

"It was an extremely cold day. But there were still 7,000 people outside demonstrating against the church's policies," Hubbard recalls. "So it was an exciting day, and it had this feeling of real importance, that we were trying to change the political response to the AIDS crisis in New York."

Confronting The Church

Act Up had only been formed two years earlier, as panic mounted over government indifference to the AIDS epidemic.

Already, the group had proved effective at unnerving key targets, staging bold, colorful protests against Wall Street, New York hospitals, and the federal drug administration for blocking widespread, affordable access to AIDS treatment.

But the St. Patrick's demonstration was its biggest protest yet, and came at a time when the Catholic Church was seen as wielding massive control over public policy.

Archbishop John Cardinal O'Connor, the most powerful Catholic authority in the United States at the time, had outraged feminists and gay-rights activists by condemning the use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission and attacking legalized abortion.

WATCH: Footage of the St. Patrick's protest in 1989

The protest began as Cardinal O'Connor was holding Sunday-morning Mass. Edward Koch, then the mayor of New York, was among the worshippers, sitting in a front-row pew. Teams of police officers were there as well, having been warned about the demonstration.

Only a few dozen of the Act Up protesters entered the cathedral. But their impact was dramatic. Several stood, chanting a statement of complaint against the Catholic Church. Others lay down in the aisles, chaining themselves to pews.

The parishioners began to recite a prayer of their own, hoping to drown out the protesters. What ensued was chaos.

"You have people from Act Up and the feminist groups standing up trying to read statements of complaint, you have parishioners reciting a prayer, you have other protesters lying down in the aisles, you have assisting priests distributing a written statement [supporting the church], and then you have me, standing up on a pew," says participant Michael Petrelis. "I first started blowing a whistle."

Read Michael Petrelis's full account of the event here

New York police arrest one of several dozen demonstrators who blocked streets by city hall to protest Mayor Ed Koch's AIDS policies on March 28, 1989.
​​A policeman approached Petrelis, asking him politely to sit down. But as soon as he stepped away, Petrelis returned to his perch on the pew near the front of the church and began to shout at the archbishop, repeating the phrase "Stop killing us" over and over.

Video footage from the event shows parishioners looking bewildered and Cardinal O'Connor sitting with a weary expression, a hand to his head.

Police Move In

Police quickly moved in, arresting the Act Up demonstrators and using medical stretchers to carry out the protesters who were lying on the floor. One protester being carried out of the cathedral shouted, "We're fighting for your rights too," before being drowned out by a church organ.

Police arrested a total of 111 demonstrators both inside and outside the church. All faced minor charges and were quickly released without trial and sentenced to community service.

A handful of protesters were eventually tried for refusing their community service, but no jail time was ever served.

Petrelis, the whistle-blower who was among those arrested, said he was disturbed by the fact that the police had been equipped with special gloves to deal with the Act Up protesters, out of a misguided fear that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact. But otherwise, he said, the police behaved professionally.

"For all of the craziness and anger that was coming from the protesters inside the church, the police force was well trained to stay calm, to arrest people, to get them out of the church, get them into the police wagons and into the police station to be processed," Petrelis says. "I believe many of us were charged with trespassing misdemeanor charges. We were all out of jail before the evening was over."

Fine Line Of Protest Vs. Hatred

The protest made international headlines, and was widely condemned by U.S. government officials including then-President George H.W. Bush, as well as newspaper editorialists, and Catholic faithful for its brazen attack on a place of worship.

Even among Act Up's own members, there was discord about whether the group had crossed the line between protest and religious hatred -- particularly after it was revealed that one of the St. Patrick's protesters had crushed a communion wafer in his hands and tossed the crumbs to the floor in front of the archbishop.

Jeff Stone, a gay Catholic who was among the protesters outside the church, says many demonstrators felt uncomfortable about the audacious confrontation with Cardinal O'Connor despite their anger over his stance on AIDS and abortion. O'Connor, he says, remained "very, very disturbed" by the event even years later.

Stone, who now serves as spokesman for the Catholic gay-rights advocacy group Dignity, says his organization had tried quietly for years to persuade the church to soften its stance on homosexuality. But it wasn't until the daring, over-the-top Act Up protest that the Church, and the American public, began to sit up and take notice.

"By the laws of this country, of course, religious services are protected against disruption, and I think everyone agrees that's a good thing," Stone says. "So the question becomes: How do you protest against the action of a church while respecting worshippers and respecting the right of religious leaders to have an opinion on these issues?"

Seminal Moment

Act Up's gamble paid off. By the early 1990s, Americans with HIV and AIDS had been granted federal protection from discrimination, the U.S. government had created an office on AIDS policy, and millions of dollars were being poured into drugs research.

Act Up demonstrators protest in front of city hall in New York in March 1989.
​​Cardinal O'Connor, who died in 2000, remained staunchly opposed to Act Up's agenda. But the powerful archbishop paid personal visits to AIDS patients in New York, and the city's Catholic hospitals have been credited with playing a leading role in providing AIDS care.

Act Up activists now say the St. Patrick's protest changed the way many Americans viewed the Catholic Church. It was no longer untouchable, and its policies -- on everything from condoms and abortion to gay marriage and women priests -- were no longer sacrosanct.

With three members of Pussy Riot facing seven-year sentences on charges of hooliganism and being accused of "open disrespect" of Christianity, the power of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia for now appears undiminished.

But that may not always be the case. Filmmaker Hubbard, who this year released "United in Anger," a documentary that looks at Act Up 25 years after its formation, says he initially had doubts about the provocative decision to enter St. Patrick's.

But now he believes the group made history when it decided to stand up to the church at a time when it seemed beyond reproach.

"I wasn't clear about what going inside the church would add at the time. But now I think that the shock of going inside and confronting the cardinal really worked," Hubbard says. "It helped bring Act Up to mainstream attention. It brought the crisis to a point where the government and the mainstream media really had to start dealing with it."


These are the lyrics of the song. It's a disorganized rant but it's clearly profane in places and that's apart from the antics of the group in the cathedral. It's also clear that Putin isn't the only one who is being targeted.

“Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away” Lyrics (translated from Russian)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners crawl to bow
The phantom of liberty is in heaven
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend His Holiness
Women must give birth and love

Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away.