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Some Thoughts on The FFI and the TLM

I have been giving substantial thought to the whole matter of the the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate being ordered to offer mass using only the Novus Ordo.

I have read and listened to those who say this is a harbinger of things to come and it amounts to no less than the abrogation of Summorum Pontificum.

I have also read and listened to those who say this is merely an internal matter to the FFI meant only to protect those in the order who didn't have the TLM in mind when they signed up.

I have listened and I have pondered.

So what to make of it all? Hang with me for a moment.

Imagine for a second that you are a priest or a religious or even a lay person attending mass. When you joined the order you has no idea whatsoever that the liturgy which you have used all your life would be suddenly changed. This wasn't the mass you had in mind when you signed up.

But your superiors are intent on imposing this alternative liturgy on the whole community. But hey, the mass you were used to had been the standard liturgy for your whole life. It is the only mass you have ever known.

Now, something completely alien is being thrust upon you. You have reasonable concerns about how these changes will affect religious life. You have reasonable concerns about how these sudden changes will impact the faithful that attend mass with you. You have reasonable concerns about the universality of this other mass.

You and a very sizable minority have all these concerns about such a drastic change to your religious lives and the method of worship, but your superiors are intent on the imposition.

Where can you be heard?

So with no other recourse, you turn to the Vatican for a hearing. You turn to the Vatican in hopes that everyone can take a deep breath and not just impose this on everyone whether they want it or not.

Now imagine...imagine...

Now imagine it is 1970.


In 1970 a sizable minority of Catholics had very real and reasonable concerns about the imposition of this new mass upon them. They tried to raise their concerns, but no one would hear them.  They were given no alternatives and no opt outs.

In 2013, we now see a Church so attuned to the needs of the minority, so sensitive to those who are having the mass they were used to changed, that the Church is willing to impose the one form on the whole community even if the majority prefer the other form.

It might seem that the Church has done a 180 in its approach to the sensitivities of those having another form of liturgy thrust upon them. It might seem that way, but the result is the same. The Novus Ordo is imposed on all, whether you like or not.

*subhead*The more things change....*subhead*

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FGA said...

As always, perfectly stated. Thanks so very much.

Aljoz said...

hmm... still, let's recall that in 1569, the Tridentine Mass was imposed on all despite newer developments existing that may have already been perhaps 100-200 years old... for the sake of greater universality in the renewed and developed liturgy.

After the Council, the Novus Ordo was the newest development of the Tridentine Mass. So, for the sake of greater universality in the renewed and developed liturgy, it was imposed upon all.

I'm not seeing any sort of inconsistency here... other than that after Trent the uses older than 200 years stuck around, and after Vatican II, it seemed that all other uses vanished. Those 100-200 year old liturgies were older than the Tridentine Mass, yet the Tridentine Mass took what those liturgies were aiming for and organically developed, renewed, and universalized them in developing the Roman Rite on the whole.

The same was done with the Tridentine Mass after Vatican II. Vatican II is the next development of the Tridentine Mass (as the Mass developed throughout the ages. The only reason the Tridentine Mass is around today is because the Mass after Vatican II was so poorly understood and implemented, and we can't possibly figure out (in today's average parish liturgy) what the development after Vatican II is supposed to look like without finding the continuity and beauty of the Form of the Mass after Trent.

It's always in the name of universality and renewal/organic development.

And, we should have some universality, but at the same time, we shouldn't get so freaked out if there are other *authentic* expressions of the liturgy that do not match up to the universal form. Such as: the Ambrosian Rite, Carmelite Rite, Dominican Rite, Mozarabic Rite (all of these being uses of the Roman Rite), the Carpatho-Ruthenian Byzantine Rite, the Ukrainian Byzantine Rite, the Maronite Rite (all of these being Eastern Rites).

Aljoz said...

Don't you think that there were probably some who tried to cling to the 100-200 year old liturgies that where suppressed?

Wouldn't it seem odd for those who followed the liturgy more like as it was at the time of St. Justin Martyr and then at the time of St. Gregory the Great to refuse the new developments of the Roman Rite into the Rites that lead to the Tridentine Rite? Would the people of St. Gregory's time try to cling to the previous form of the liturgy--more like as it was in the time of Justin Martyr? Wouldn't the people of St. Pius V's time have tried to cling to the liturgy more as it was in the time of St. Gregory?

And yet these forms seemed to vanish... or perhaps, more accurately, be developed into the latter forms.

Why would it be any different after Vatican II... other than that after Vatican II we found a messy, aftermath that needed some correction... and we're slowly beginning to work that out.

Mind you that low Mass and Masses where the people made no responses did not exist earlier on in the Church... study liturgical history and you'll find that the people used to have the Latin Propers memorized, and they chanted it... and the people made responses such as the "Great Amen." These things are apart of our heritage... it's nothing new or inorganic.

Amy Giglio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Aljoz, your history on the TLM is faulty. Please describe the differences between the rites that were supressed and the TLM. How many were there? How many adherents did they have?

I can give you the answers if you like. The "Tridentine" changes were tiny, frequently unnoticeable to most. All the Tridentine reforms did was codify the existing, dominant Gallico-Roman Rite as the official Rite in the Church, while allowing venerable Rites to remain.

There has never, in the history of the Church, been such a sudden, top-down imposition with a wholesale fabrication of a completely different Rite, as we saw with the Novus Ordo. There has never been anything close. Pretending that Trent was close simply won't wash.

With the Novus Ordo, over 80% of the Propers from the TLM were removed, replaced. The entire liturgical calendar was decoupled from the readings. And the changes to the ordinary parts of the Mass were simply enormous. For the first time in the history of the Church, wholly new "Eucharistic Prayers" were fabricated. None of the different Rites extant in 1570, or at any other time, had manipulated the Roman Canon. The best data shows the Canon dates from the 3rd-4th century, and has been essentially unchanged since then. The Tridentine changes, to the extent they occurred, were not even close in scope compared to what occurred with the NO.

And please don't change the subject. This isn't about whether the Novus Ordo represented a radical new departure in organic development of the Liturgy - it did and does. It's about what happened to the FFIs, and the fact that the vast majority, as in 1969, have no desire to see the Mass they love changed. At Trent, there was no resistance, because for the vast, vast majority of people, nothing changed. And for those few who did, the changes were generally not very significant.

Do you win many friends by speaking down to them about "learning liturgical history?"

Anonymous said...

I don't think we need to ponder this very much. Same thing was happening in the FFI that was happening in my home diocese. The only new vocations were serious, reverent young Catholics who were interested in the TLM and refused to clap, sway, or hold hands.

The hierarchy there, as here, decided no vocations were better than traditional ones. Our Bishop says no to traditional worship the same way Pope Francis did in his home diocese, and the same way the vocal minority in the FFI does.

Here, the result is that the serious young Catholics go elsewhere and our diocese has no new vocations. The old queens reach retirement age and the bishop tells them they can't quit because there is no one to replace them. They try to import African or South American or Indian priests to make up the shortfall, but the people revolt when they can't understand their own pastor's homily in their own parish and they cry out "Where are the vocations!?!".

I can tell you. FSSP, ICK, more conservative diocese, and some were starting to go to traditional monastic orders. The old queens have moved quickly to put a stop to that last one.

Some of you think this is an "isolated incident". Heh heh. That's so cute.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Well said.

More Trent, fewer dancing bishops.

Lori said...

CNA has reported this, which may explain a few things (though it is not official and should be taken with a grain of salt).


. . .But the spokesman for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Father Alfonso Bruno, told CNA July 29 that “more than 80 percent of the friars appreciate the intervention of the Church.”

In his estimation, the “problem is not the Holy Mass usus antiquior,” which he described as “only the tip of the iceberg.”

Fr. Bruno pointed to a “small group in power” within the religious congregation that is being influenced by Mother Francesca Perillo, who is “very close” with Lefebvrist groups. He is worried that Mother Perillo, who is in charge of those sisters who live in hermitages, and her followers could fall into “heresy and disobedience.”

If so, the Pope acted wisely. I believe it is the norm in the Church to grant permission for the EF only to those groups not friendly to schismatics.

Anonymous said...

"“very close” with Lefebvrist groups."

So, we should go out and evangelize everyone, get to know them, kiss their Korans, refuse to judge their sodomites, give communion to their divorced, baptize their babies even if they never go to Mass...but never, ever be seen talking to a Lefebvrite.

What a load of horse manure.

As far as I'm concerned, this was a fail when someone decided suppressing the Traditional Latin Mass was a way to *FIX* something. That in itself is perverse, wrong, and un-Catholic.

Hey, this ruse of being "close to Lefebvrites", that's going to work on the FSSP, the ICK, and just about everyone else! I don't know one single traditionalist who doesn't have SSPX acquaintances whom he or she is in dialogue with. I think the Pope has his golden ticket, now.

Lori, you are buying into the lie.

Anonymous said...

"". . .But the spokesman for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Father Alfonso Bruno, told CNA July 29 that “more than 80 percent of the friars appreciate the intervention of the Church.”""


Pravda reported that 80 percent of the prisoners in the Gulag said that comrade Stalin was a wise and noble leader who had the best interests of the Motherland at heart.

I was born at night, but it wasn't last night.

Aljoz said...


The form of the liturgy known to St. Justin Martyr was not the E.F. Mass. To say that would be to say that the E.F. is the O.F.

Many of the Gregorian Propers for the O.F. often match up with the Gregorian Propers of the E.F. The Novus Ordo *restored* many of the old Prefaces (some of which were restored with the 1962 RM). The Novus Ordo *restored* the vernacular (while upholding Latin). It also restored the permanent diaconate. It also restored the homily as a part of the Mass. It re-emphasized that high Mass is the norm (not low Mass). It restored the great Amen. It brought the prayers at the foot of the altar back into the sacristy as a devotion. It also restored the offertory procession.

And, the Roman Canon was not always the universal form of the Eucharist prayer... in earlier ages it did vary... take for example:

"Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, [[according to his ability]], and [[the people]] assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons." -Justin Martyr

"It's about what happened to the FFIs, and the fact that the vast majority, as in 1969, have no desire to see the Mass they love changed."

...the FFI's were never an "E.F." community... they only now have begun to swing more that way.

"Do you win many friends by speaking down to them about "learning liturgical history?"

All I'm saying is that to learn history is to cease to be a Protestant. To learn liturgical history is to cease being a radical traditionalist. Do you also accuse Bl. John Henry Newman of losing Protestants to the faith by "speaking down?"

And, this has everything to do with the topic at hand. I'm giving an answer to this: "The Novus Ordo is imposed on all, whether you like or not." The liturgy is not a matter of democracy, it's always subject to the Church. If the Church developed the liturgy all the way to Trent, who are we to question them for these developments and demand that they reverse them? The same goes with the Novus Ordo.

Lori said...

Harry Seldon, come now. I took it that "close to Lefebvrist groups" meant not just that the leadership core of the FI were acquaintances of someone in the SSPX, but that they accepted their ideas and bought into their complaints against the Church, which is a very different thing. You know what I meant as well as I do. Throwing tantrums about it won't help.

The fact that the Holy See has appointed a Commissioner to head the order points to something just like this -- closeness to schismatics. I am sure that much more of the iceberg below the surface will soon come out.

fr.mateusz said...

In many similar cases, there are details that we simply do not have the privelege of having access to, and to which the Holy Father (and those given responsibility in these matters) does. If I am not mistaken, both sides in this (the Holy See and the FFI) use a media spokesperson, who (naturally) gives a very simple and straightforward response, without having to give any excessive details.

I, personally, have no concrete idea why the Holy Father went so drastically in his response. However, taking into the fact that he called for a visitation - there must be something very drastically not right. And I don't believe it was just a matter of the celebration (or obligation) of the Tridentine Mass.

Perhaps this is an opportunity (given us all by God - myself included) for all of us alike, those who experience deeply and spiritually the Novus Ordo and those who experience deeply and spiritually the Tridentine Mass, to rethink our positions and reactions... and how we publically display them.

God bless - and peace to all.

Catholic Mission said...

Manifest injustice against the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate- Roberto de Mattei

Catholic Mission said...

Until Pope Francis gets new instructions

'New storms are forming on the horizon and these storms are certainly not raised either by the friars, nor by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate', writes Prof. Roberto dei Mattei.'We appeal especially to Pope Francis, to withdraw the measures against the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate and against their legitimate use of the ancient Roman Rite.' (1)

Something new has been added to the Magisterium.It is not the same Magisterium as the past. It is a break with the past.Today morning at the basilica where the body of St.Catherine of Siena lies I was reminded of the problems she had with the popes of her time.

Over the last few years there has been an intense attack against the Traditional Latin Mass in the mainstream leftist media in Italy.So there was possible political pressure on the pope, threatening always the very existence of the Vatican.Some time back the Jewish Left broke dialogue with the Vatican over the Revised Good Friday Prayer for the Conversion of the Jews, which is part of the Traditional Latin Mass.

The ecclesiology (understanding of Church) of the Traditional Latin Mass is outside the church there is no salvation.What the political opponents of this simple and peaceful Holy Mass do not realize ,is that the ecclesiology of Vatican Council II, without a false premise, is also that of the Traditional Latin Mass.

So without the Cushing Error ( the premise of the visible dead on earth) the Novus Ordo Mass and Vatican Council II are as traditional as the Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form.One can be a traditionalist and be hated by the Left and also offer Mass in Italian.

Anonymous said...

""Harry Seldon, come now.""

No. You're doing what Catholics have a tendency to do - give in to the flimsiest explanations proffered by the Vatican for outrageous things. It's a mistaken piety.

You can rationalize this all you want, but Pat (who I'm often critical of, but he nailed this one squarely) is right - the result of this action is that the Ordinary Form of the Mass is applied to everyone as a curative for whatever bad tendencies the Italians think they have.

I wonder how this witch hunt in the FFI went. We have other Franciscans around here who wouldn't stand up to real Roman scrutiny for 5 minutes due to all their improprieties, but that's not the group that was investigated, nope. Rome has to go after the bad, evil, dangerous traditionalists.

Let's say a few FFI are closet Lefebvrists. So F'ing what? In what universe is that a crisis? Consider what we have in the closet elsewhere the Church! In the Curia, for instance.

But, no, what simply cannot stand is traditionalism. The Pope must write with his own hand (so that there is no recourse to a higher court) that the TLM is suppressed in this group because of the high crimes and misdemeanors that it is associated with.

Well, Hell's Bells, why not suppress the Novus Ordo among the Jesuits, then?!?

Mike in CT said...


Mary Kay said...

Well said, Harry Seldon!

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