Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Fr. Z is only now catching up on the fault of pew sitting Christianity. As a clairvoyant thinker, his Traddiness foresaw the problem of pews in examining Low Mass Culture and in reminiscing about Winchester Cathedral.

I notice in the comment section that many observe the great churches of Europe had chairs added, but never pews—no one wanted to drill into those cosmatesque floors! Many commentators are decrying the idea of not having a seat, but none in my quick scan seemed to say anything about the lack of kneelers. Of course before Irish piety was popularized everywhere the people only knelt for the prayers before the altar and the consecration, rising after the elevation of the chalice. I observed that at some old rite Masses in Italy this tradition is still followed. On kneeling days and at Requiem Masses, the people would kneel as far as the opening oration. Would that it return to those ways!


  1. You should see the comments in the original article that was written by the very holy Fr. Rutler. I think many have been unsettled by the raising of this issue.

  2. Thank You, The Rad Trad, for this most worthy contribution to the Pew Question, which Fr Z has unleashed upon Christendom.

    Such is the import, and polarisation of views generated by Fr Z's Post, ( see Fr Z's Blog at ) that I put up a Photo, yesterday, of York Minster without any Pew, Benches, Chairs, etc.

    Once a year, York Minster removes all such seating, to permit cleaning, renovation, repair and refurbishment of the beautiful Mediaeval floor-space. When these seating arrangements are removed, the magnificent floor space is revealed in its Mediaeval splendour, exactly as the Mediaeval Masons intended it to be seen.

    See the Photo, depicting York Minster, totally denuded of all seating facilities, at ZEPHYRINUS at

  3. seeing the comments on that blog, i'm slowly starting to dislike traditionalism...
    it's development when it fits them, but rupture when it doesn't.
    there have been so many ruptures in the history of the Roman Rite i can't even count them all. pews is just one of them.

  4. How are pews a "rupture"? For that matter, many other things in Roman Catholicism, but also in Eastern Christianity, would be "rupture."

    People who think that pews create such a rupture may have a very strange idea of continuity and rupture. Why isn't building churches a rupture? Why aren't communion rails a rupture? Why isn't Gregorian chant a rupture? What about the Low Mass?

    How about the vestments in the Eastern churches? The cutting away of the front of the vestments? the particular designs of their churches? They definitely do not look like the catacombs. What about the development of the epiclesis, not to mention the "doctrine" they have about the epiclesis? How about their use of leavened bread when the Scriptures mention unleavened bread? Etc.

    1. if deem the New Mass as protestant induced invention and therefore to be discarded, or that it produces less graces than the TLM, or that it's less pleasing to God, or whatever opinion you have of it, you should think the same of the pews, since they're a protestant invention. people needed to sit through those long sermons. but since sitting in catholic worship was only occasional, there was no need for pews.

    2. I have come to loathe pews. At the Latin Mass churches I have attended where the seating could not accommodate the people present, it was always the pregnant women and mothers with bad backs who were forced into standing while able-bodied men (and also women) rested their hind-ends in sanctimonious "piety", callously unaware of the less fortunate behind them. So much for traddie "chivalry".

      Down with pews! Down with rows of benches that herd the faithful in like cattle for an orchestrated and restrictive worship! Down with that which prevents the natural worship of God in favor of that which makes it easier for egomaniac priests to ramble for their forty minute sermons on useless topics!

      I say we should have benches on the sides of the church and restrict their use for the elderly, infirm, pregnant, and sickly. Everyone else can bloody stand or kneel in the open church.

      "What about the Low Mass?"
      Don't get me started...

    3. Why put "doctrine" of the epiclesis in quotes? Scholasticism is only one of many doctrinal systems approved by the Church, even if favored by the Popes. It really is only opinion as to when change into the Body and Blood of Christ occurs. The belief in the epiclesis hasn't been condemned! All we know is that after the Canon is said, the Body and Blood of Christ are there on the altar!

    4. No kidding... Most of the earliest known anaphorae have an epiclesis just as most also have the "institution words". It wasn't until legalistic Greeks and Romans came along until people started condemning ancient anaphorae like the Roman Canon or Addai and Mari as "invalid".

      Also,, from what I've read, leavened bread was used at the Last Supper because it was the day BEFORE the Passover. Unleavened bread would not have been eaten until the next day. The Western church also used leavened bread for the better half of the first millenium, so it is a rather non-issue.

    5. That is the reason why I like Mel Gibson's portrayal of the Last Supper, with leavened bread!

    6. The intention behind the creation of the New Mass was very different from the intention of introducing pews. For the record, I do not believe that the Church has ever forced people to sit. So, men who may need to prove that they are men (by not sitting) have the option of always remaining standing at Mass (except for when the Rubrics demand kneeling).

      Ecclesial Vigilante -- your comment about the "sanctimoniously pious" people is a bit judgment. If you agree that they cannot see who is standing in the back, then the whole thing about "chivalry" is a moot point.

      I do not think that pews cause priests to give longer sermons. Before the times of pews, people used to bring their own pillows/cushions to Mass. So, sitting was always a possibility. You do not need a pew in order to sit. And I would imagine that sermons were NOT short in the past either (whether they took place in the context of Mass or not).

      Paul - It is not an opinion anymore. Once the Church officially decided when Transubstantiation takes place, opinions go out of the window. People may disagree and whine about a formal decision/definition, but they won't be able to change that.

      The ones who "forced" the issue (and led the Church to make an official definition on Transubstantiation) were the heresies in the East. The Church never cared about it, until the Eastern churches (Byzantine in particular) began to play around and erroneously condemn any other practice than their own. You blame the Greeks when it comes to this.

    7. Yes, the Greeks forced the issue. They invented legalistic nonsense in Theology, after all. I absolutely blame them for the invention of church bureaucracy and Caesaro-Imperialism. The problem is, if it wasn't for Rome adopting it in their own way (and also the rise of Muscovy), it would have died with the sack of 1453 (and then we could say that the heinous sect of Islam did something good, however unintentional).

      The problem is that the Romans became the masters of legalistic nonsense in the Suarezian neoscholastic era that followed Trent. For every stupid idea in ultra-Byzantium (kept alive by the converto-dox and ultra-dox) there is an equally stupid one from across the Tiber such as the condemning of Addai and Mari, ultramontanism, Pascendi Dominici gregis, or private devotions gone mad.

      It should be of surprise, then, that you find me squarely in Pierre Batiffol's camp when it comes to the Eucharist.

    8. Some people support the idea that the Liturgy of Addai and Mari originally had the words of Institution (as two other of their Liturgies do). There is no other liturgy that lacks the words of Institution. In their case, it is not simply a matter of "when" Transubstantiation takes place, but they lack what all other Liturgies have.

      I would tend to agree with those who claim that they removed the words of Institution.

      In order to avoid heresies, the Church had to be definite. Whether it was desired or not, whether it ended up causing restrictions or not, the point was that when there is no exact delineation heresies are easier to spring up.

    9. The Anaphoras of Dionysius and Sixtus II also lack "the words". I am also unclear as to what motives a Nestorian would have for removing these words, especially if they didn't remove them from the other two.

      To summarize, it makes no sense. It's far more plausible that - just as the Roman Canon lacks the epiclesis that almost all other anaphorae have - Addai and Mari is just so old that it predates people theologically dissecting Eucharistic prayers.

  5. i'm slowly starting to dislike traditionalism
    I suppose it's what happened to most of us. I finally came to realize that most Tradistani groups are just reunins of ignorant people, who often use Tradition only as a mask to disguise political agendas. (There are also true holy people, of course).

    On the pews: If during the whole Middle Ages people did not feel the need of having pews, why should we be so attached to them? Churches are places of worship, not theatres! Getting rid of pews would be a far closer attachment to Tradition (even in an apparently merely formal subject) than multiplying Baroque devotions once again.
    Indeed, the Nicaean Council recommended people to keep standing, not kneeling, during the Liturgy!

    But as His Traddiness pointed out, it is almost all a matter of Low Mass culture; we must first deal with it.

    K. e.

    PS: As for the Low Mass... may it be abolished one day!

    1. I feel the constraints myself, not finding anything more than the SSPX in my area. It's not the priest's fault though, as he is very busy each Sunday and holy-day. Unfortunately, we are still so far away from disestablishing the Low Mass as the norm.Still, if Mass needs to be said every day, something better than the Low Mass ought to be contemplated.

    2. I honestly believe that if three to half a dozen men (emphasis on men) could be trained to chant competently as cantors, most low Mass SSPX chapels could be greatly improved through a sung Mass with responses. It might unsettle some of the female scapular "swag" brigade temporarily (since they now can't stare intently towards the altar while audibly whispering their rosaries), but the overall effect would be a better Mass.

    3. Right now, I have myself and another man singing 2 High Masses a month (with a few women helping out on the Ordinary); anymore and I think our priest would be too exhausted: he always travels to another city after finishing his two Masses on Sunday for about an hour and a half. The low Masses here aren't too bad, although the congregation, by and large, seems to be allergic to singing as well as on the High Mass; I am at a loss as to how to get them to sing; the priest insisted, but very few people still sing. Still, I am grateful to do the Sung Sacred Triduum, although it is unfortunately the 1962 version, with pre-1955 additions Archbishop Lefebvre liked.

    4. Low Mass Culture is a problem which must be addressed; unfortunately I don't know how to deal with it. Sometimes I wonder whether the NO crowd is better suited to reenact traditional forms of worship...

      Paul: which are those "pre-1955 additions" arch. Lefèbvre liked?

    5. As with everything in life, people pick and choose what they like and what they do not like. It is also very common to judge those things we do not favor, and they reject what we think does not live up to your standards (in this case the type of traditionalism you think you have encountered).

      If you hate traditionalism, then what do you want? What will you do/follow next? What churches and what Masses are you going to go to? You think you will not find this in any other group?

    6. Ἰουστινιανός: The pre-1955 additions are those mainly pertaining to Palm Sunday: the stopping at the doors of the Church, some male cantors going inside to sing the Gloria, laus et honor. Then when the chant is finished, the cross-bearer knocks on the doors and the doors are opened.

      latinmass1983: Ἰουστινιανός opposes apparently '62 traditionalism, where the '62 rite is always adhered to, without open to truly restoring legitimate developments or ancient traditions (i.e., more commemorations, celebration of the pre-1955 Holy Week [or even Laszlo's incorporation of the medieval ceremony of the Veneration of the Cross during Good Friday], repudiation of the Office reform of St. Pius X (saint though he is, I oppose this reform, since it overthrew a venerable tradition, etc.). Those who think the 1962 rite was legitimate development all the way through had better truly study the liturgy. I don't deny some development, but more often, there was deformity, in keeping the opinions of "liturgical experts" like Jungmann.

    7. Mr. latinmass1983, I currently attend my NO parish in my town; aside from going to Mass I have no parish life. It is not, of course, the healthiest situation, but what experience has taught me the last years is that traditionalist milieus are not an alternative to the current state of things, just that. For many of them, "Tradition" just means do-everything-as-it-was-done-during-the-1950s and an admiration for the warlike side of the Middle Ages.

      I wanted by no means offend nor attack you, and I'm sorry if I did. But topics like this demonstrate, in my humble opinion, how little suited are many of those milieus to examine some of their own positions. That's my point, and I suppose also that of the other commentators.

      Paul: So just some aesthetic adjustments. It is like the perfidis in the prayer for the Jews: which sense has such a debate on a point like that, when the whole rite has been violently destroyed?

      K. e.

    8. I know it, even if it is only slightly better than the Novus Ordo. I do want to go back to the pre-1955 rites at least. But I sadly see no signs of that in the SSPX, after Archbishop Lefebvre's unfortunate decision to restrict all of the SSPX to the '62 books!

    9. @ Ἰουστινιανός,

      No, I was not offended. I was simply curious because it seems that "traditionalism" when used on this blog (by authors and commenters) tends to cover a wide spectrum in its definition.

      In such case then, the traditionalism that some want and others dislike simple seem to reflect people's own likes and dislikes, regardless (to some extent) of the year of publication and approval of the Missal used (1955, 1962, pre, post, etc.).

      In my experience, most people used the 1962 Missal because that is the most legal and most acceptable by the authorities. However, many of them do as many pre-1962 things as they can get away with.

      As someone mentioned, none of this is the ideal situation, but neither is condemning everything that is available while not really having what is desired available anywhere else, except among the sede-vacantists or those who lean towards such a state of mind and soul.

    10. Ἰουστινιανός,

      "I finally came to realize that most Tradistani groups are just reunins of ignorant people, who often use Tradition only as a mask to disguise political agendas. (There are also true holy people, of course)."

      In my experience - and not just mine - I think this is a palpably unfair characterization of traditional communities (at least outside the SSPX, of which I have no experience) in the main. I really think that for the most part, what you find are people who simply want reverent, theocentric, sacrificial liturgy. And they ware usually willing to undertake considerable sacrifice to get it, and doing the best in rebuilding tradition more or less from scratch in the ruins around them.

      Political types exist. But they exist in the N.O. as well.

      PS: As for the Low Mass... may it be abolished one day!

      It's high time some people started making distinctions between the Low mass, and Low Mass Culture (maybe a clear and fair definition of the latter would help). Yes, the Sung Mass is normative, and should always be the expectation for Sundays and high feasts; but there is no theological demerit per se in a quiet Mass.

      Look, if the Eastern Rites are what you really want, then perhaps that's where you really need to be. I say this with all love and tremendous admiration for these rites.

    11. Hello Paul,

      Those who think the 1962 rite was legitimate development all the way through had better truly study the liturgy.

      One of the things that has struck me - long before I even discovered the Rad Trad's blog - is the growing awareness in traditional circles of just how much was changed in the 1942-62 period (i.e, the pontificates of Pius XII and John XXIII), and how problematic most of those changes were. I honestly think that, at least in the communities I frequent, and probably the presbyterates of most traditional societies, were it up to a vote, 1962 would be ditched immediately and overwhelmingly in favor of some pre-1955 missal. Now, which one, or with what allowances, people might differ...

      Imagine where we might be in ten years.

      As Dobszay says, 1962 is still the Roman Rite, albeit it is a damaged Roman Rite. 1970 is something else. We all know why it ended up becoming the traditional norm.

    12. However, many of them do as many pre-1962 things as they can get away with.

      That's my sense as well.

    13. @Athelstane "In my experience - and not just mine - I think this is a palpably unfair characterization of traditional communities"

      I'd say it's an unfair characterization of MOST Latin Mass communities. In many cases the SSPX and FSSP and their particular brands of cult-niches are entirely interchangeable (with a couple of exceptions). I envy those whose only experience in the Latin Mass is an indult, a well-established Ecclesia Dei group, or the French/German SSPX, free from an Americanist nostalgia for the "glorious" pre-conciliar years.

      I've come to realize in my adulthood that the SSPX I attended as a child was on the far fringe for the society while the FSSP church I attended as a teenager is a "special" one (it's an odd church-lady-run amusement park for people who want to perpetually pretend they live in the 1950's, all the good people there notwithstanding).

      Extreme Latin Mass traditionalism exhausted me, burned me out, and almost compelled me to give up the faith in my young adult years (as it did to a few cousins and friends of mine who are of my age). It is why I insist on being considered a "Traditional Catholic" rather than a "Traditionalist".

    14. I'd say it's an unfair characterization of MOST Latin Mass communities.

      I did say "in the main," and did exclude the SSPX, since I've never been to one of their chapels (i have heard there is some diversity there). There are always to be exceptions...I know one FSSP parish with an unusually energetic contingent of the TFPers, for example.

      As for the church lady the extent that it happened (and there's a bit of it in my regular diocesan TLM that's been under way for 20+ years) I think this was an understandable development, especially for older TLM communities. The people drawn to it and likely to have agitated for it and gotten it off the ground pre-Summorum were likely going to be an older cohort who remembered and loved the TLM, and they would inevitably shape its emergence to reflect what they had been used to. It has its frustrations, but the church basically abandoned and even persecuted these people, and they were left to pick up the pieces however they could manage. This is what can happen when the flock are abandoned by their shepherds.

      But we're reaching a demographic turning point now. Most TLM communities skew young anyway, and those people (like me!) have no memory at all of what it was like, nor any special attachment reliving life in the Age of Ozzie & Harriet. I think in particular of the ICK communities I have been to the Midwest. The Institute has a little more color and willingness to color outside the lines to begin with, and even the SSPX refugee contingent they pick up tend to be those disaffected from their Society experience, often for political reasons.

      I am on the board of a Juventutem chapter. We've recently succeeded in establishing a daily TLM with a supportive local pastor, and we've made a high priority of making at least all of our Sunday Masses be sung, with a regular choir, not least because our misson is to bring new people into the TLM, not just churn the same crowd of trads - and music is a big draw. Our regulars are, obviously on the young side. The only competition are long-standing TLMs that are pretty much always Low Masses.

    15. Thanks for the reply, Athelstane. I do know the Latin Mass center Ecclesial Vigilante talked about, formerly Fr. Schell's and now Msgr. Patrick Perez's, which has stuck to pre-1955, though I still didn't like the Low Mass culture there; I attended their Sunday "sung" Mass and it was still a low Mass, with the 4-hymn sandwich. I do wish that place could do weekly Sunday Masses at least "Missa Cantata." I may check on it again.

      As for the SSPX, it has been getting a bit better, especially with younger priests replacing the older ones in the church Ecclesial Vigilante was in before he left, if I am correct that it is the one in Arcadia (although the mentality is still ingrained that the '62 Mass is fine, with some pre-1955 trimmings for Holy Week). It really was a shame Archbishop Lefebvre imposed the '62 rites on the SSPX unilaterally.

    16. I actually attended both the SSPX chapels in North Texas. Lots of nasty politics there.

    17. Hello EV,

      Lots of nasty politics there.

      Which is one reason, I am told, why Mater Dei has picked up so many SSPXers in recent years. You can get full parish life and something pretty close to the same theological praxis without most of the pathologies. Makes sense.

      Hello Paul,

      There's a good book waiting to be written on the collapse in traditional sacred music praxis in America - it disintegrated long before 1962. Why and how it happened would be fascinating to unpack. One is tempted to blame American (or, more pointedly, Irish-American) philistinism, but I suspect that's too simplistic.

      To me, a traditional community that actually wants to grow and draw in new people rather than churn and churn the same basic circles of trads has to take sacred music seriously, and has to include regular recitation of the Office in that. The success of St. Agnes in Minneapolis under Msgr Schuler (and his disciple Fr. Philips at St John Cantius in Chicago) is a case in point. The TLM can be an alien experience to the uninitiated, but a Sung Mass (I mean chanted propers, a real Missa Cantata, not a 4 Hymn Sandwich Low Mass) can engage them more readily. I quite enjoy a Low Mass, but it's a weekday morning thing.

      We all know why Lefebvre standardized on '62. It is a shame, since it turned out to be for naught anyway as regards improving his odds of regularization. Had he settled on a pre-'55, it's hard to think that wouldn't have been adopted by Rome, too. Now we're left to hope for ad libitum permission to celebrate some aspects of the pre-Pian reforms, at least until the wheel really turns again.

    18. Postscript:

      I've been reflecting on this discussion, and pondering what I find in my neck of the woods - the Baltimore-Washington region.

      Hereabouts trads were able to mobilize pretty early on in the Indult Game, and within a few years of Ecclesia Dei they managed to establish (in the teeth of some ecclesiastical opposition) three regular Indult TLMs - St. Alphonsus in Baltimore, Old St Mary's in Washington, and Old St John's in Silver Spring. The latter two emerged as mostly Low Mass communities, with the occasional sung Mass; St Al's made more of an effort to sing, but only because the pastor had a musical background. All three otherwise remain pretty much fixed as they started a quarter century ago, and they tend to skew a little older, certainly in terms of the "core" membership. Deep down, all three are fairly content to remain Low Mass communities.

      There's been a profusion of TLM's post-Summorum, mostly on the Virginia side, along with the new Ordinariate communities (I mention them because there's some overlap, and their choirs sometimes sing elsewhere), and I am struck by how often music seems to be a higher priority with these second wave communities. I think it is not a coincidence that they skew younger both in their laity and their priests. There's also a number of independent scholas that have emerged, and they skew very young as well. To be sure, there's no place that's really ideal, certainly nothing like the Medieval liturgical life so richly described by the Rad Trad in previous posts, but I have a certain restrained optimism for the future based on what I am seeing.

    19. Athelstane,

      Thanks again for replying. I know about having the Office sung, in addition of having at least a High Mass would draw in more people; thus, my efforts to try to have more High Masses in the SSPX chapel I go to. What is more difficult is having the Office sung; most people think it's just the Mass, ignoring the Office. It's unfortunately that attitude of getting tangible benefits from attend something (Holy Communion), rather than everything for God's sake and glory. There was a SSPX priest in my chapel quite prior to the current one, who loved singing the Office. Whenever we could, I, he, and another man sang Saturday Vespers; it was little, but it was beautiful. He also sang Compline after the First Friday evening Masses. I sure miss that now!

    20. Athelstane,

      Two thumbs up for your balanced view. There are two perspectives that must be avoided.

      1.) 1962 is the best and lets look down on everyone else.
      2.) Hah! Look at those '62ers who think they are so pious. Trads are so phony!

      Both views are equally atrocious and are often loaded with a lack of charity. Honestly, at the end of the day we are all trying to save our souls with what we are given. Most of us are just learning about what has been lost over the last hundred years and so we are working with what we have.

    21. Hello Paul,

      What is more difficult is having the Office sung; most people think it's just the Mass, ignoring the Office.

      Indeed. Why the lack of a regular public recitation of the office?

      1) You were so happy to just get the TLM (probably after waging the Battle of the Somme with the local chancery) at all that you're happy to leave things as they are.
      2) Your trad community was founded and is still dominated by people who came of age before the Council, and you didn't have the Office back then, so why have it now?
      3) Your trad community is a "commuter" community, and people drive from long ways away, making it difficult to get much commitment for anyone to show up for Vespers or Lauds, too.
      4) Your trad community is located in a rough part of town, and parishioners are wary of coming or leaving in the dark for safety reasons.

      Some of these are more worthy reasons than others, obviously. The latter two reasons are, indeed, what I have heard cited in the past by others when I have raises the question, and they are legitimate concerns. It's often for this reason that the TLM parishes that DO offer the Office sometimes have low attendance, and it's understandable. (It's one reason I sometimes envy the Melkites here in town, since the practice is to recite Orthros right before the Divine Liturgy - make one trip and get both). It's yet another marker of just how bizarre and crippled our current liturgical situation really is.

      What's more interesting to me is how the Office has remained a complete dead letter in diocesan parishes where the OF/NO is normative. Vatican II in Sacrosanctum Concilium, after all, made a point of calling upon “Pastors of souls to see to it that the chief hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and the more solemn feasts.” We all know that S.C. has gotten selectively read in more ways than we can count, but we might have to go back centuries to find a conciliar canon that turned out to be so completely futile.

    22. "1) You were so happy to just get the TLM (probably after waging the Battle of the Somme with the local chancery) at all that you're happy to leave things as they are.
      2) Your trad community was founded and is still dominated by people who came of age before the Council, and you didn't have the Office back then, so why have it now?
      3) Your trad community is a "commuter" community, and people drive from long ways away, making it difficult to get much commitment for anyone to show up for Vespers or Lauds, too.
      4) Your trad community is located in a rough part of town, and parishioners are wary of coming or leaving in the dark for safety reasons. "

      Especially when the parish is a combination of all of the above. The Divine Office doesn't stand a chance even if one of the pastors favors the idea.

      Sacrosanctum Concilium was the reason Louis Bouyer initially believed the council was a resounding success. Five years later he would publish 'The Decomposition of Catholicism'.

    23. Since most of the bitterness in the discussion is of my fault, I must offer an explanation for what I said:

      My description of traditionalist groups is based in my personal experience among them, and speaks mainly of their milieus in Spain. I don't know how the work elsewhere; perhaps the worst aspects of them are rather due to particular constraints of Spanish society and history. But, at least here, the worst rural parish is a healthier place than their chapels, or it is just my feeling.

      I do not hate these people; I just remember how insane coud their influence be sometimes. But it is true that I often tend to see things in a rather harsh way, so I surely acted in a blameworthy way writing as I wrote.

      As for Low Mass, I recognize there are some circumstances which may allow the celebration of Low Masses: a priest without other clergy and with a meager congregation will not have other options. But the fact that Low Mass is regarded, even in the liturgical books, as an acceptable alternative to Solemn Liturgy and sometimes even as the standard form of worship, is an actual obstacle to a thorough restoration of a traditional piety (that's my opinion, for sure). So, given the attachment of many trad clergy to it, it should be banned (with some exceptions) in order to prevent its proliferation.

      K. e.

    24. I don't blame your reaction, which is very understandable. Low Masses every day, even when there is ample provision for High Masses for solemn feasts and Sundays, is so dull, among other things! Singing hymns during Low Masses is only marginally better, but not conducive to the spirit of the liturgy. I agree there should be restrictions on Low Masses; the big reason of the clergy shortening the time for Mass for no good reason should definitely be ruled out!

    25. I, myself, need to be guarded with my words sometimes. I know from very personal experience the mess that was the Americanist pre-conciliar situation in US, as I both attended churches where some of the congregation tried to keep it going and was home-schooled partially on Catholic textbooks from the 1940's and 50's (some of those period Catholic texts on US history are laughable). When I read the chapter Pax Americana in Geoffrey Hull's 'The Banished Heart' it mostly confirmed what I already knew.

      I can understand Justinian's.... ill feelings under the circumstances. I had heard such good things about the French traditionalist movement in contrast to the American one that his assessment of the Spanish one was a shock to me.

    26. "My description of traditionalist groups is based in my personal experience among them, and speaks mainly of their milieus in Spain."

      Helpful to know that. I have almost no knowledge of the traditional scene in Spain (for some time, I was unsure if Spain *had* a traditional scene).

      I think you'd have a revolt if you attempted to ban the Low Mass. What might be more viable is for the societies in question to lean harder on the clergy to privilege sung Masses, and to expand chant training in seminary. Diocesan trads will be harder to reach, and a mixed bag anyway...but a stronger shift by Ecclesia Dei societies might have influence.

    27. Spain has to have a traditionalist scene of some sort if one of the SSPX's bishops is from there.

    28. Oh, no doubt. All I could tell at first, back in the day, was that the SSPX and the Ecclesia Dei societies were slow to move into Spain. They're all there now (well, not the FSSP or IBP), albeit not on anything like the scale that is the case in France, or Germany (or the U.S.).

      Clearly it's a unique milieu in more ways than one. But then, the same is true of France in its own way.

  6. It was twenty odd years ago when I became aware of the detrimental effect of pews. When the Christmas crib was put up in front of St. Wilfrid's altar at Brompton Mgr. Gilbey used one of the smaller side altars in the chapel near its entrance. The pews were in the middle of the chapel so some of us simply stood around the altar. It made Low Mass approach something like decent liturgy.

    As for Traddies there was a brilliantly incisive comment on Liturgiae Causa that I wish I could claim was mine but alas not: 'Traddies: zealously conserving the innovations of yesterday.'

    1. Rubricarius - Fr. Adrian Fortescue has a similar (and actually better) way of saying the same thing about the Orthodox. I would bet that the blogger from that site (who has some really weird and crazy, and I would even add heretical ideas) may have taken it from Fr. Adrian Fortescue (he was talking on the effects of schism).

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Let me repost this:

      What that blogger has said about Traddies is true, whatever you think of his other ideas. Geoffrey Hull's "The Banished Heart" has shown how far the Western church has fallen from its appreciation of liturgical worship, which is kept much better in the East. I wonder how much Tradition the '62 community has really kept, to tell the truth.

    4. LM1983, As far as I can see the commenter 'jacopo.saracini' does not have a blog - not one linked to his name anyway but whether he has taken that from Dr. Fortescue or not it still is very apt and so applicable to modern Traddieland. As to the good Dr. Fortescue comments about the Orthodox I suspect he protesteth too much. It is difficult to find a really bad Orthodox liturgy - some are much better than others granted but the lowest standard is still high compared with celebrations of modern Roman liturgies as your own blog exemplifies if I might say so without wanting to be uncharitable. Those vestments with red linings are quite hideous.

      But as some of us are keeping the holy feast of the Mother of God's holy death and departing from this world today - a very happy Old Kalendar feast to you.

    5. latinmass1983, I've always thought Patricius' views were quite sensible.

    6. I was not clear enough. I was referring to the views of the blogger "Patricius." Fr. Adrian Fortescue was not talking about Liturgy when making that comment. As I mentioned, he was referring to schism (at which the Orthodox are really good).

      I have been to few Orthodox Liturgies, but from what I have seen, it is really not very difficult to find "really bad" liturgies. While the fact that they are less structured (fewer Rubrics in th Roman sense) gives them a wider freedom, they tend to be very disorganized, and the fact that they are longer, makes that disorganization longer.

      When it comes to tastes in vestments, some would call the Orthodox vestments hideous no matter what their lining or their colors. What you refer to as "hideous" is simply based on a very biased view based on your personal taste, your preference for Orthodox practices, and very probably, to some sort of antiquarianism that is very difficult to recapture, as the antiquarianism that led to the New Order helps to prove.

      @Patrick Sheridan, your review of Patricius' views speak volumes!

    7. Dude. Patrick Sheridan and Patricius are the same person.

      And the Eastern Liturgies aren't disorganized at all. It's just that we don't know the limits of the proper parts. Every single st. John the Chrysostom Liturgy is the same, except for a few verses before the readings. Everything else is all the same.
      Where the Roman Rite might have 50/50 propers/ordinary, Eastern Liturgies tend to have 20/80 or even 10/90 relation. So they're very very organized.

  7. BTW, it is liberating to have no pews (or in my case, 2 pews) in the choir loft; the pews are off to the side, allowing my choir to have a fuller sound and to listen to each other better. It really is very restrictive and less natural to have pews. We still sit, but not like the average person in the pews downstairs. It really is more dynamic.