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The Beauty of a Requiem

While the wicked are confounded, Doomed to flames of woe unbounded, Call me, with Thy saints surrounded.

– from the Dies Iraesequence of the Requiem Mass

One of the most profound moments of religious experience in my life was the first time I attended a Requiem Mass. For those unfamiliar with the term, the Requiem is the Mass offered, according to the traditional liturgical norms of the Latin Rite, for the dead. They are utilized on several occasions, but most particularly as funeral Masses for the departed.

The occasion was the death of my great uncle “Lewy”. A paratrooper and decorated combat veteran of the Second World War who received a Purple Heart for wounds received at the Battle of the Bulge, Uncle Lewy was something of a mystery. He was my maternal grandfather’s oldest brother, and as I search the recesses of my earliest childhood memories, I find that I recall his kind and distinctive voice and the limp brought on by his war injuries more than I can see his face. A scholar and a recluse who never married, when I was very young, Uncle Lewy disappeared, leaving no forwarding information for the family. I vaguely remember going with my grandparents to the home he left behind one bright, sunny day, religious books and other items stacked along the floor, the remains of a violin left in a milk crate. Many years later, he was eventually identified in a nursing home, the experimental hip replacement he had received in the field after receiving enemy fire finally having decayed to the point of causing an infection, which had led to someone bringing him to receive medical attention. By then, he was already suffering from dementia and associated memory loss. I never saw him again alive.

Uncle Lewy was a deeply pious and devoted Catholic of the old school. His nephew, a Catholic priest who had by then discovered the beauty of the traditional liturgy, offered his funeral Mass — a Requiem. I remember reading the beautiful prayers of that liturgy — truly a work of devout supplication — through tears, thinking to myself, “When I die, this is the Mass I want. Even if I have to put it in my will to make it happen.” Having been to my share of modern Catholic funerals, I was absolutely struck by the profundity of the Requiem’s eschatology — not at all like the hagiographic approach taken today — such as that found in the Offertory:

O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of Hell and from the deep pit: deliver them from the mouth of the lion, that Hell may not swallow them up, and they may not fall into darkness; but may the holy standard-bearer Michael introduce them to the holy light: * Which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his posterity.

V. We offer Thee, O Lord a sacrifice of praise and prayers; do Thou receive them in behalf of those souls whom we commemorate this day: grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to life. Which Thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his posterity.

Of course, the Dies Irae alone is worth whatever sacrifices one must make to ensure the benefit of a Requiem on the occasion of their death. A more fitting sendoff — both somber and hopeful — one could not hope to find. (You can read the rest of the text of the Requiem Mass here.)

Now, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter has collaborated with Demontfort Music on the recording of an album of music for the Requiem Mass. From the Fraternity website:

For this recording, we have chosen the ancient Gregorian chant repertoire for the Mass and Burial of the Dead, commonly known as the Requiem. The reality of death is so vivid to human experience, and the Requiem reflects that reality. While eliciting sentiments of sadness that naturally come with mourning, it all the more inspires hope. The calmness of the chant reveals a spirit of rest or repose, which is what the very word requiem means. It is often said that music is meant to ‘clothe the texts.’

An accompanying video about the making of the album has also been released, and it is as beautiful as it is informative:

The album will be released on May 12, but pre-orders are available now. If you order a CD directly (at a slightly higher cost) from the Fraternity of St. Peter, a portion of the funds will go to supporting their apostolates.

This is a profound and moving liturgy, and while various Requiem Mass compositions by the greatest musical geniuses in history are treasures of the Church, to my mind, nothing compares to the simple and sacred beauty of the Gregorian Chant setting. I’ve already ordered my copy. (I am not associated in any way with this project and get no commission from sales of the album; I just wanted to promote the richness and beauty of the Church’s liturgical tradition for your edification and enjoyment.)

122 thoughts on “The Beauty of a Requiem”

  1. When I die, this is the Mass I want. Even if I have to put it in my will to make it happen.

    My sentiments exactly. I do not want my funeral to be offered with the priest in white vestments jabbering on about how wonderful a man I was in life (when in reality I know myself to be such an unworthy sinner), practically canonizing me from the pulpit, to the accompaniment of such banal music as “And I will RAAAAIIIIIISE you UUUUUUPPPP on the LAAAAAASTTTT DAAAAAAAAAYYYY!”, all while leaving no instruction for my family and those in the congregation to pray for my soul’s release from Purgatory.

    As for the music discussed in the article, I simply cannot wait for this release. Based on the trailer, I fully expect this disc to be the definitive recording of the Gregorian chants of the Requiem Mass, which in my opinion are some of the most beautiful chants in the entire chant repertoire.

    On a related note, two of my absolute favorite pieces of sacred classical music are Requeims. The first is an obvious one: the Mozart/Sussmayr setting, which features, to my ears, the single greatest setting of the “Dies Irae” sequence ever composed. (I recommend the St. John Cantius recording, recently re-released by De Montfort Music/Sony Classical; it is the closest recording I have ever heard to just how the piece would have been performed in an actual liturgical setting, as it utilizes an orchestra and chorus small enough to actually fit in a choir loft, rather than some other recordings which feature a romantic-size string section and doubling of the wind parts.) If only Mozart could have lived to complete it. . . . I also cannot recommend highly enough the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, quite possibly the most beautiful piece of music ever written. It is an unappreciated gem that deserves to be more widely known, especially in the version for full orchestra and chorus. The Introit alone is enough to reduce grown men to tears . . .

    • Thank you so much, LB236. Not only was the music hauntingly beautiful (such a favourite of mine!) but it was clearly a record. Young people will never know how their subtle noises remain etched in the very marrow of our bones. As much as I love the clear, crisp music of the internet age, this piece was especially nostalgic for all that belied a needle threading its way around a piece of vinyl spinning at approximately 33 revolutions per minute.

  2. For several years now, our parish has sponsored a monthly solemn requiem (TLM) for the benefit of the faithful departed. Our servers and musicians have served on scores of occasions, so that by now I’m sure they must have as much experience as anyone around. It’s encouraging to know that when my time comes there will be many, lay men and priests, who’ll have the skills in their toolbox and know just what to do.

  3. I could’t agree more Steve. The Requiem is absolutely beautiful. I think I read something once that said somebody was converted by hearing the Dies Irae. I truly believe that the Requiem Mass would bring about the conversion of many. Especially since funerals are some of the only times people actually go to Mass. Most of the shenanigans that go on at NO funeral Masses are unbearable. Especially the music (if it can be called music). When my mother died two years ago around this time, I made sure that the typical NO funeral nonsense was mitigated as much as possible. (Traditional Mass is nowhere to be found in these parts) I got to pick most of the music myself. I didn’t want to push things too far for fear of a backlash but I managed to get In Paradisum, Ave Maris Stella, and Panis Angelicus. The lady who was doing the singing surprised me by doing much of the Psalm in Latin (De Profundis) and even O Filii et Filliae (it was around Easter time and, well, NO shenanigans and all…) One thing though that I found was that many people mentioned to me how beautiful the music was. One of my Aunts said she was glad that there was not any of the “regular stuff” (I shudder to think of the “regular stuff”). I a few Latin Hymns can get that kind of reaction, imagine what a full out Requiem would do.

    • The music you chose is what I have selected for my funeral. However, because I want it sung in Latin, I expect I will have some problems. When I discussed these hymns with our priest he asked me “What’s the In Paradisum?” I felt sorrow for him. Since he has been transferred, I will need to discuss my desires with our new pastor. Pray for me that I will be successful.

  4. The Great Stalin earned his first-ever pay, a five-pound note from a tearful mourner, for having served at a Requiem Mass at the age of five. Bungay, Suffolk, circa 1968. Don’t know who we buried that day, but God rest his or her soul.

    Serious religion expresses itself seriously. Listen to Mozart’s Requiem or Tomas Victoria’s Missa pro Defunctis and contrast it with the white vestments and saccharine sentiments of today – “Jimmy lived a long life, liked a tipple and no doubt is at the heavenly bar with St. Peter right now ho ho ho” (Jimmy was in fact an alcoholic who beat up his wife and whose children learned from him early in their lives the art of burglary).

    • Ugh. I have had to sit through several such “homilies” as the con-celebrant. Joe didn’t go to Mass, but he had faith. Joe is golfing/sailing/fishing/drinking with [name of previously-deceased relative].

    • £5.00?!? Wow.

      I’ll bet your parents told you to put at least £1.00 in the collection basket. When I was little, my parents gave the three of us each 25 cents to put in the collection basket every Sunday. As we got older and earned our allowances, they would encourage us to donate more of our allowances to church.

    • You were very fortunate, in the fifties the average was two bob or half a crown although at one funeral I remember getting a pound. We also got the morning off school.
      I have left instruction that I want no eulogy or panegyric at my funeral. The thought of me roasting down below whilst everybody is being told what a great fellow I am is too much for me.

      • Faith, hope and charity. We all tend to forget the middle one. My past life means I’m going to get a serious steel-tipped toe-cap up the arse at the very, very least. Remember the parable of the vineyard and the latecomers getting paid the same.

        As for the Mass “stipend”, that’s inflation I guess!

  5. I think there should be a Live Solemn Requiem Mass in Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (November 2), featuring… these! ?

  6. I would be willing to have a simple graveside service when I am called by Our Lord and then to have a requiem Mass offered either at the seminary in Nebraska or Clear Creek monastery. I would hope for a solemn high Mass, but I doubt that will happen. In any case I pray that Our Lord will have mercy upon my soul and that Our Lady will intercede for such a miserable sinner.

    • THANK YOU VERY MUCH for posting this!!! It’s Panakhyda.


      Only chaste and immaculate Virgin, who gave birth to God without seed, intercede before Him for the salvation of his soul.

      I’ll post the rest of Panakhyda when I get home (on lunch at work now).

      Sorry for the delay. As promised, here’s the rest of Panakhyda:

      Priest: Have mercy on us, O God, in the greatness of Your compassion, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

      Response: Lord, have mercy. (3) = Hospodi, pomiluy. (3)

      Priest: We also pray for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, Protopresbyter Nicholas, who has fallen asleep, and the forgiveness of all his offenses, voluntary and involuntary.

      Response: Lord, have mercy. (3) = Hospodi, pomiluy. (3)

      Priest: That the Lord our God may place his soul where all the just repose.

      Response: Lord, have mercy. (3) = Hospodi, pomiluy. (3)

      Priest: Let us ask Christ our immortal King and our God, for the mercy of God, for the kingdom of heaven, and for the forgiveness of his sins.

      Response: Grant this, O Lord.

      Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

      Response: Lord, have mercy.

      Priest: O God of spirits and of all flesh, You trampled death, You made the devil powerless, and You gave life to Your world. Now, O Lord, to the soul of Your servant, Protopresbyter Nicholas, who has fallen asleep, grant rest in a place of light, a place of verdure, and a place of tranquility, from which pain, sorrow and mourning have fled. As the good and loving God, forgive every sin of thought, word or deed he has committed. There is no one who will live and will not sin, for You alone are sinless, Your justice is everlasting justice and Your word is truth.


      For You, O Christ our God, are the resurrection, the life and the repose of Your servant, the Protopresbyter Nicholas, who has fallen asleep; and we give glory to You, together with Your eternal Father and Your most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and ever.

      Response: Amen.

      Deacon (Priest): Wisdom!

      All: More honorable than the cherubim and by far more glorious than the seraphim; ever a virgin, you gave birth to God the Word, O true Mother or God, we magnify you.

      Priest: Glory be to You, O Christ our God, our hope, glory be to You.

      All: +Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever. Amen.

      Lord, have mercy. (3)

      (Master,) Give the blessing.

      Priest: Christ our true God, Who has power over the living and the dead, through the prayers of His immaculate Mother; of the holy, glorious and all-praiseworthy apostles; of our venerable and godly fathers; and of all the saints, will place the soul of His servant, the Protopresbyter Nicholas, which has departed from us, in the abides of the just, and will give him rest in the bosom of Abraham, and number him among the just, and will have mercy on us, +for He is good and loves mankind.

      All: Amen.

      Priest: In blessed sleep grant eternal rest, O Lord, to the soul of Your servant, the Protopresbyter Nicholas and make his memory everlasting.

      All: Vichnaya pamyat. (In the video, they sang it 6 times.)

      With the saints, give him rest, O Christ,

      Vichnaya pamyat.

      Source: Divine Liturgy: Anthology for Worship. Galadza, Rev. Peter, editor-in-chief; Roll, Joseph, associate editor; Thompson, J. Michael, associate editor. Copyright © 2004, 2005 2nd printing. Ottawa, Canada: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, pages 1039-1053. 1150 pages. Imprimatur.


      Vichnaya pamyat has 2 translations:

      Eternal memory. (Byzantine Catholic usage)

      Everlasting memory. (Ukrainian Greek Catholic usage)

      Personally, I prefer singing Vichnaya pamyat.

      Btw, what Eparchy are you in?

      Sending you a big hug. ?

  7. The LMS in the UK have produced some useful guidance for anyone seeking to ensure they receive a traditional requiem. It links to English law to some extent (ie what you need to do to ensure your wishes are respected) but perhaps someone in the US might be able to produce something similar for all those who rightly fear the prospect of the banal white robed jabbering farce (following LB236’s very apt description).


  8. Sorry if this comment seems off-topic, but since I know many SSPX members and SSPX sympathizers read 1P5, I would like to ask of them their opinion the following topic:

    Do Catholics have a right to the traditional sacraments of the Church?

    That is all, and please reply yes or no, perhaps with some explanation of your reasoning. Thanks.

    • Let me turn that around for you, Dom’nic:

      Do the pontiffs have the right (not the authority, but the moral right) to deprive the faithful of the sacraments as handed down from their fathers, and their fathers, and their fathers before them stretching back centuries, when doing will cause irreparable harm to the faithful and the Church as a whole?

      • Hi LB236 – Is there anything which could cause a higher degree of irreparable harm to the faithful and the Church as a whole than to support blaspheme of the Holy Spirit?

          • Hi LB236 – That you deny there is a connection between the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments and the authority of the Pontiffs to affirm what is morally right, which is a confirmation of the mission of the Holy Spirit in the Church is quite telling. Do you trust the Holy Spirit, or those who blaspheme and undermine His Role in the Sacramental Church? You will know the tree by it’s fruits, agreed?

          • So the traditional sacraments are morally right, until a pope says they are not, even if in changing the form of the sacraments many of the faithful are so scandalized as to despair and cease to practice the Faith? Is that your position? (Note again I am not speaking of a pontiff’s authority as chief legislator to change discipline; rather, I am speaking of his moral duty to preserve what has been passed on to him by his predecessors and to shepherd the faithful.)

            If the post-Conciliar Church was booming with vocations and parishes were overflowing, with reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament being seen universally, confessionals overflowing, and all other signs of reverence and piety were on display after the implementation of the Novus Ordo, then I suppose you would have a point. But going by your “by the fruits” quote, just what are the fruits of the Novus Ordo? Shuttered parishes, Masses with all manner of liturgical abuse and banal music, confessionals emptier than ever, a crisis in vocations?

            As Benedict XVI wrote in his letter explaining Summorum, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

          • Hi LB236 – Are you saying the Holy Spirit no longer guides the Holy Roman Catholic Church? That the Church guided by the Holy Sprit is under attack, does not justify abandoning the Church. The remnant will be found in what remains, not in what leaves. How similar your arguments are to those made among the sects which claim to be ever the more holier splinterings of the Protestant Tree. The fruits of the Novus Ordo are being measured by the opposition to Francis from within the Church of the Novus Ordo.

          • You, sir, are the only one speaking of “abandoning the Church”. I have said nothing of the sort. So please stop projecting your hyperbole onto me.

            Frankly, it is long past time for honest Catholics to stop pretending that the sudden, draconian implementation of the post-Conciliar liturgical and disciplinary “reforms” had nothing to do with the crisis the Church currently faces. Far too many painful stories can be found amongst families who lived through the implementation of the Novus Ordo and in countless online sources, tales of people who watched in horror as their sanctuaries were destroyed, their beautiful altars shattered in favor of simple tables, et cetera, et cetera.

            Based on your arguments, I presume that if some future pontiff was to outlaw the celebration of the Novus Ordo and instead mandated that the traditional Rite be implemented everywhere without exception, you would have no objection at all, even if in doing so people with an attachment to the Novus Ordo felt betrayed and confused.

          • Hi LB236 – I long for the day when the Mass is celebrated in one language, with one universal rite, by all the Faithful, and facing east. But until then I trust the Holy Spirit is providing what is needed now. One thing the Novus Ordo has done is to expose all who have abused it with sacrileges, and who have refused to conform to it as intended to be celebrated. And that seems to be an important function – the function of exposing those who do not trust the Holy Spirit on both ends of the spectrum. By the way when one makes the distinction between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-Conciliar Church as though one was legitimate and one is not so, one calls into question whether the Holy Spirit has abandoned the Church. That would clearly be blaspheme of the Holy Spirit. He has not, and will not abandon His Mission, and that should be the perspective from which you assess any changes within the Church. Men betray the Church, the Holy Spirit will never do so.

          • The burden is on you to explain your concept of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and just what He will prevent and what He will allow.

            The implementation of the Novus Ordo was an error. We have overwhelming evidence of this. As were the changes to the forms of the other sacraments. The only fruits they have borne is the large scale abandonment of Catholic belief.

            Is it possible for someone to remain faithful and even grow in virtue within the post-conciliar paradigm? Again, evidence exists that this is so. But this appears to be more of a case of “ecclesia supplet” than any natural outpouring of grace or the harvesting of pedagogical fruit.

            The Holy Spirit has allowed great calamity to befall the Church — and not a few of her shepherds — over the past 2000 years. His guarantee is that the Church will never succumb, not that she will never struggle.

          • Surely you are joking. And if (or when) the Society is fully regularized—quite possibly in May according to the rumors leaking from Rome—will you still maintain they are “part of the calamity”? You do realize we wouldn’t even have indult Masses, or the FSSP, or the ICKSP, et cetera, without the SSPX, don’t you?

          • Hi LB236 – I make this further claim – any collaboration with Francis is a sure sign that you are part of the calamity. Why doesn’t the SSPX unite itself to the FSSP?

          • You’re not making any sense at all. First, you accuse the Society of having been “part of the calamity” by the very nature of their existence. Then, when the Society is finally, at long last, on the verge of full resolution of their canonical status, you accuse them of continuing to be “part of the calamity” by collaborating with Francis. Then, you suggest they unite themselves to the FSSP, which, by your definition thanks to their recognition by this pontiff, already collaborate with Francis!

            Good God, man! I cannot keep up with the twists and turns of pseudo-logic you employ in trying to defend your position.

          • Hi LB236 – Fully consistent. Francis promotes an evil agenda, to collaborate with him is to share his agenda, and in the case of the SSPX, to be used by him to justify all others whom he will also make the offer to fully union with the Church while remaining as they are. The time for the SSPX to join the Church and unite to the FSSP has passed. That was a practical option under the previous pope, but he was concerned with the souls of those trapped in the SSPX, Francis has no such concern. It is actually very clear, that the SSPX, deserves exactly what it will get for waiting too long, and now being coerced into negotiations with Francis. I can’t think of a more a more Just result.

          • Okay. You despise the SSPX. Thanks for finally putting your cards on the table. You still don’t seem to grasp that the FSSP wouldn’t even exist were it not for the SSPX; your revisionist history apparently knows no bounds (the Society is not outside the Church, by the way).

          • Hi LB236 – I do not persecute the SSPX, and I do not despise those who have been drawn into it. I do understand that the SSPX is not the FSSP, and that shows me that claims of paternity are less than persuasive. When was the last time you were inside a Roman Catholic Church?

          • When was the last time you were inside a Roman Catholic Church?

            This past Sunday, thank you very much.

            I do understand that the SSPX is not the FSSP, and that shows me that claims of paternity are less than persuasive.

            No, it shows that you are completely unfamiliar with the history of both orders. And, for the record, I have never assisted at an SSPX Mass. But I am not stupid enough to deny that without the Society the classical rite would have faded into disuse. As I said before, the only reason we have indult Masses, the FSSP and other traditional orders, and Summorum is because of the SSPX. JPII would not have lifted a finger to issue the 1988 Ecclesia Dei indult were it not for Archbishop Lefebvre.

          • Hi LB236 – As I have said before, JPII and Benedict were concerned with saving the souls of those lost in the SSPX delusion that they are the Church, when in fact the are clearly souls outside the Church. and thus subject to the inescapable eternal reality that all rebellious souls face – There is no Salvation Outside the Church. When they face Jesus they will claim to have loved Him, but with final and irrevocable crystal clarity they will find how wrong they were in rejecting the Sacramental Church guided by the Holy Spirit.

          • So, now you are capable of predicting the eternal destiny of others with absolute certainty. Good for you. Kasper, Marx, and their ilk are still ostensibly “within the Church”. So they will be saved without repentance from their heresies while members of the SSPX will not? If that is your argument, then “full communion” means nothing.

          • Hi LB236 – Kasper and Marx are definitely outside the Church. They will not be saved unless they repent publicly and reform their lives. All heretics, apostates and schismatics will face damnation unless they reject their heresy, apostasy or schism. Partial Communion with the Church and Her teachings will not support the weight of the souls of those who find them selves in that condition on Judgment day. Academic debates, and the arguments they generate will have little value when facing the Truth on that day.

          • Kasper and Marx are definitely outside the Church.

            According to who? You? As far as the Holy See is concerned, they retain “full communion”, whether you personally like it or not.

          • The irony of fniper saying this on his own authority but accusing those who believe the novus ordo is damaging of blaspheming the Holy Spririt is too precious for words.

            Fniper, I think it’s safe to say you’ve long since ceased being part of a productive discussion here. As I’ve said before, every time you make an appearance, you create needless tangents and pointless arguments, and your condescending tone only irritates others.

            I think it’s time for you to move on.

          • Are you saying that the NO is invalid?

            This is what a very Holy priest told me when people said the NO was invalid.

            I am presently celebrate both the Novus Ordo and the Latin Mass. People who deny the validity of the Novus Ordo generally are schismatics, and are not really traditional Catholics. Yes, there are many abuses which can take place in the NO, but the question of validity, from the sacramental theological point of view, it is very simple. A validly ordained priest, who uses correct matter, form, and intention, in other words, bread and wine, the correct words of consecration, and the intention of the priest to do what Christ wants and the church intends in the offering of holy mass. The correct intention is assumed when the priest uses the correct matter and form. Lastly, because the church is indefectible ,the holy ghost prevents Her from approving a sacramental rite, which is essential for our salvation, from being invalid.

          • I would counter your priest’s argument with this: the Novus Ordo itself is an abuse. Anyone who has studied the provenance of the NO knows this. It is an intentional distortion of the theology and anthropology of Catholic worship as experienced consistently across the entire spectrum of rites and the history of the Church. It is an intentional diminution of the theology of sacrifice. It is an intentional diminution of the disposition of supplication. It is ecumenical and interfaith-positive and humanistic.

            That it is valid only makes all these other aspects more damaging, because they can’t simply be discarded. The Novus Ordo is a glass of tepid water in a scorching desert, tainted with poison. It is the ideological Trojan Horse which makes of the Eucharist something utilitarian, turning Our Lord’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity into a means to an end – the unmaking of a deeply rooted an authentic Catholic faith in the hearts, minds, and souls of the faithful.

            My friend Ann Barnhardt and I have parted ways on many things, but I can think of no more perfect and succinct explanation of origins of the Novus Ordo than hers: “It was conceived in malice.”

          • Steve your comments come very close to saying that it is invalid. After what you said ,you make it sound like we shouldn’t go to it like it’s bad. The NO was not to be done in the way the Spirit of Vatican produced it. My priest is a holy priest of 65 years old and does the Latin Mass and is aware of the abuses. He does a holy and reverent NO amass. All I know is that it is Valid the way he explains it to me and the Holy Ghosts wouldn’t allow us to lose our salvation to go to an unholy mass. Obviously the Latin is more reverent , but Jesus is in the house in both masses. Not everyone can get to a TLM.

          • I do think it’s bad. I do think it’s damaging. Validity doesn’t change that — other than it makes it worse. I believe it undermines and distracts from the sacred mysteries it nevertheless makes present. I avoid it as much as humanly possible. I don’t believe my faith would have survived it — it almost didn’t — for much longer than it did.

            It’s not about the Latin, though that’s not insignificant. It is about the prayers. The focus. The physical and spiritual orientation. The specificity of the rubrics. The fact that it is a stumbling block for Protestants, not something they can use in their own churches.

            If you want to read a short and well documented book on the topic, read Michael Davies’ “Liturgical Timebombs in Vatican II.” The Ottaviani Intervention is even shorter, and arguably more powerful — and available for free online:


          • I go to daily mass and they don’t have TLM and go to visit my former priests that do Latin mass when I can. I am a revert 9 years and my faith is very strong and I didn’t go to TLM. I do thinks it’s better, but it you can find a holy priest for the NO then you can become just as holy. A lot weren’t taught Latin and it wasn’t even offered for some. My priests 2 I am very close are not in favor of the Pope, so they are not modernist. I just think you should beware there are a lot of different situations people are in and going to receive Jesus back in the apostles day wasn’t the same as far as the way they do mass today in the TLM and it was still beautiful. Our faith to me is in the Eucharist. I will get him no matter what. And that the most important thing. He is really present to me at both masses. And I am a member here and really respect Father RP opinions and his teachings and he doesn’t do the Latin mass and he is a faithful priest. God bless.

          • Steve this is a little late coming , I didn’t see his email.

            This is his response to you , he thought you were a priest. As I said before Father RP on this site does only the NO and is a faithful priest.

            First of all, the poster of this comment is recognizing the Novus Ordo Missae as valid , but heretical, and therefore, it is an abomination before God. Only a heretic or a schismatic would hold such anti catholic beliefs.

            Shortly, after the implementation of the Novus Ordo, Pope Paul VI issued a Roman document call “credo” in which he stated that the purpose of the liturgical reforms was not to change the dogma and doctrine of the eucharistic Sacrifice , but to return the Liturgy to an earlier simpler form. There were many good reasons for doing this change. Principally, in my opinion, one good reason was to restore a proper balance between the sacrificial/ eucharistic banquet elements of the Mass. The pope reaffirmed Catholic teaching concerning the efficacy of the Mass as a true sacrifice offered both for the living and the dead. He reaffirmed the doctrine of transubstantiation in which the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ etc.

            Needless to say, there were many abuses which crept in to the Novus Ordo which subsequent popes tried to eliminate. Unfortunately, without too much success. Unfortunately, this heretic condemns the Novus Ordo Missae in itself as an abuse. Much more could be said from a theological, historical, and liturgical perspective, but I don’t have the time nor the patience to deal with it.

          • When I was in grade school many years ago, we all said “The Lord’s Prayer” before classes. We Catholics stopped at ‘…deliver us from evil, Amen.’ The Protestants continued with, ‘…for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory.’ That is in the NO and I refuse to say it. I say a ‘Glory Be’ instead, which is where it came from.

            The NO also says, of the wine in the chalice, ‘…it will become our spiritual drink.’ Sorry. Gatoraide is a drink. Grape juice is a drink. I say. ‘It will become for us the Blood of Christ.’

            The NO is pure poison. A valid Mass, but pure poison.

          • One thing the Novus Ordo has done is to expose all who have abused it with sacrileges, and who have refused to conform to it as intended to be celebrated. And that seems to be an important function – the function of exposing those who do not trust the Holy Spirit on both ends of the spectrum.

            So we burned down the Church, metaphorically speaking, in order to save it. Seriously?

          • LB236 – No one burned down the Church who remained faithful to Her teachings and open to her Sacraments. The ones playing with the matches were those who undermine those Sacraments by claiming they are illegitimate, or those who labored to pervert them. The same spirit inspires both parties. The Novus Ordo, is under attack by all who fail to trust in the Holy Spirit on either end of the spectrum. That the Holy Spirit exposes those who undermine the Sacraments in all cases is evident.

          • Hi Steve – Sorry to hear that. We can’t all be saints like Mother Theresa, JPII and Jose Marie Escriva. Not to mention Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, Pope Benedict, etc.

          • fniper, let’s stop playing games. The Novus Ordo never should have existed. Full stop.

            There. I said it. Think of me what you will; I couldn’t possibly care less. I simply find your constant defense of the indefensible intellectually dishonest.

          • Hi LB236 – I haven’t been playing a game. The Novus Ordo does exist, and to reject it is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

          • If it is blasphemy, then prove it. Quote Denzinger, margin number and document. Show exactly where it states that to argue against a prudential judgment of a pontiff (Paul VI) is tantamount to blasphemy.

            And I am simply making the same point as Steve in his responses to you on this same matter, albeit more bluntly.

          • Hi LB236 – I have no problem with bluntness, so there is no need to make your argument in any way other than the one you choose. To claim that the Novus Ordo is an illegitimate form of the mass, is to claim that the Penitential Act is illegitimate, the Consecration is illegitimate, and the reception of the Eucharist is a sacrilege. To believe this is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. To claim that He is not present in the Mass which is the official rite of the Church He guides and legitimizes is Blasphemy.

          • Again, you keep making a caricature of my statements. I have never said the Novus Ordo was not valid, so your entire response on this point is moot. That’s not what we are discussing. We are discussing whether it ever should have been implemented in the first place. Steve and I are both, independently, taking the position that the Novus Ordo has directly contributed to the destruction of Catholicism over the past 40-plus years.

            Whether you realize it or not, you keep trying to insist that the Novus Ordo was a work directly inspired by the Holy Ghost Himself, when you have provided absolutely no evidence to support such an argument, and, in fact, its very creation defies the very arguments against novelty St. Pius X set forth in Pascendi some 50 years before the advent of the Council.

          • Hi LB236 – I am a Roman Catholic. The Novus Ordo is the official form of the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. That the official form of the Mass is under attack by diabolical forces, is to be expected. It is that attack that has led persons away from the Mass, not the Form of the Mass. Those who find the Novus Ordo Mass in some way repulsive, will answer for that error. I do not find the Norvus Ordo to be unholy, and have never found it to be anything but holy when properly celebrated by a holy priest. Abuses have occurred, but those abuses have been dealt with, and thanks to JPII and Benedict eliminated.

          • You’re simply stating your own opinion, without any references, citations, analysis from liturgists, et cetera, to support it.

            And, again, you are incorrect with regard to your terminology. The Novus Ordo is a form of Mass in the Roman Rite of the Church, not the official Mass of the Roman Church. The classical Rite is also an “official” form of the Mass in the Roman Rite. As is the traditional Dominican. As is the Ambrosian.

          • Hi LB236 – It is the mass that was celebrated throughout my life in the many places I have lived. In other words it is the mass of my Parrish, Diocese, Country and on every Continent inhabited by Roman Catholics.

          • In what world have the liturgical abuses been eliminated? Maybe you should come to the parish I was forced to assist at a few days ago on Easter Sunday, where the priest, clearly a relic of the ’70s, refused to use the term “Gospel” but instead called it the “Good News” in his reading of the Gospel (a liturgical violation). The same priest also improvised his own greeting, eliminated the penitential rite completely, read the Gospel as if he was an actor performing for a book on tape, added his own “flair” to the renewal of baptismal promises (complete with “I can’t hear you!”), paraphrased parts of the Eucharistic Prayer, and skipped the final blessing entirely. And he was far from an outlier in my part of the country.

            But yes, silly me, you’re right. There are no liturgical abuses any longer. Right . . .

          • Hi LB236 – You can find a good parish. “Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Don’t make it about the priest, make it about the sacrament,

          • You said liturgical abuses had been ended by JPII and Benedict. You’ve just contradicted yourself by pivoting and telling me to “make it about the sacrament” when I cannot find a reverently offered Novus Ordo.

            So just to recap: In the span of a single day on this thread, you’ve gone from trying to argue that the Novus Ordo was an inspired work of the Holy Ghost, to saying that liturgical abuses were eliminated completely by the last two pontiffs, to begrudgingly admitting that priests—in celebrating Mass according to this supposed “inspired by the Holy Ghost” rite—still commit liturgical abuse after liturgical abuse.

            And yet you’re still trying to defend your position? Really? I suggest you actually read what you’ve written here today in order to see just how much you have moved the goalposts and backpedaled in order to keep yourself from having to admit that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong in the Church since the implementation of the Novus Ordo.

          • Hi LB236 – You are you. I am me. You come with a bias against the Novus Ordo, I do not. Just because something horrible has happened in the Church since the implementation does not mean that the Novus Ordo is to blame for those disasters. Using your logic, once people started saying the rosary terrible things began to happen, and therefore the rosary is responsible for those terrible things happening. Satan attacks the weapons used against him, that is the reality the Church must face, not that the weapons are ineffective. If they were ineffective satan would not labor so hard to undermine and distrust those weapons. You make his job much easier when you blame the Novus Ordo for the ills of the Church.

          • I very much doubt you would employ the post hoc, ergo propter hoc argument had the Church gone into a period of true renewal, with booming vocations and the Faith spreading every which way after the introduction of the Novus Ordo; rather, I suspect you would be arguing that correlation implied causation.

            You make his job much easier when you blame the Novus Ordo for the ills of the Church.

            Don’t even go there. You have no idea how much I and my family have suffered in banal, idiotic Novus Ordo parish after Novus Ordo parish. I still have absolutely no physical access to the Latin Mass, so I drag myself and my family begrudgingly to the most “conservative” Novus Ordo parish in the area—where musically it is still 1978, where everyone receives Communion yet hardly anyone ever goes to confession, where we have so many “ministers” that the priest hardly has to do anything, where silent prayer is impossible due to the profound air of disrespect for the Blessed Sacrament—just so we can say we fulfilled our Sunday obligation. The only peace I can find is by streaming the classical rite from the FSSP’s online apostolate. That’s it.

            It should not have to be this way, fniper. Reverent liturgy, beautiful churches, a true atmosphere of the Catholic Faith should be the birthright of every Catholic, not isolated to a few locations like St. John Cantius in Chicago, where both the classical rite and the Novus Ordo are said reverently and beautifully.

            The fundamental problem with the Novus Ordo, and I can say this as I have studied and studied its rubrics more than most priests, I suspect, is that there is no definitive form. There is simply option and option after option, so much so that a parish that celebrates Mass with guitars, blue jeans, and Father “How-Y’all-Doin?” can legitimately claim to be following the rubrics just as well as the canons of St. John Cantius. We no longer have a “rite” in its truest sense, that is, of a fixed, universal ritual. Instead, we have Babel.

          • Hi LB236 – Have you read the Book of Job? What are we promised if not persecution, and the hatred of the world? If we are on the threshold of the times described in the Book of Revelation, any sense of normalcy is no more than a well crafted illusion. In the end, the Sacraments might not be so easy to access, and when that occurs you might realize the cup perceived to be half full, will be far better than the cup now empty. I am familiar with the Rubrics as well, and if the priests followed those rubrics, we would have greater consistency and less innovation. By the way I consider those rubrics to be both beautiful and holy, and so must those who distort them in pursuit of the ugliness and the unholiness that you perceive in your parish. The enemy is the devil, and those who abuse the Rite, not the Novus Ordo. Don’t become their victory.

          • What abuse? According to you, there isn’t any.

            And stop pivoting and claiming that those who disagree with you do the devil’s work. You have yet to refute with actual documentation or references the points I, Steve, tallorder, and Jafin have made. Instead, you constantly change the subject, introduce non sequiturs, obfuscate, and contradict your own premises when they hurt your argument. You have yet to actually defend and explain your concept of the Holy Ghost’s role in the Church, as Steve asked you to do, nor have you responded to any point that any of us have made that questions your premise. When pressed, you simply bring up some unrelated point or appeal to emotion instead of reason.

            By the way, if you accuse me of doing the devil’s work one more time while sanctimoniously going on about how much better you are than those of us who genuinely suffer when forced to assist at irreverent Novus Ordo after irreverent Novus Ordo Mass just because you are able to “make it about the sacrament”, I will block you from my personal Disqus feed.

          • LB236, it’s interesting that you mention the liturgical music of 1978. I was very devout as a child. I loved Mass and the traditional practices of Catholicism. I’d left the Church in 1972 for reasons other than the Vatican II changes, but I had been attending Mass at a steadfastly orthodox Polish parish in Buffalo, NY. (Things were slow to change in some places after Vatican II. The high school “folk Masses” I attended through June 1971 in Buffalo were barely recognizable as sacred liturgy.)

            In the midst of an extended personal crisis, in June 1978, it occurred to me that my Faith might offer me some hope. I lived down the street from a suburban parish and went to Mass there, seeking solace. I was *shocked*. Turned out that this had become a very “with-it” parish. It was still packed to the rafters for 10 am Sunday Mass, but I recoiled at the strangeness. It was like a punch in the stomach. “This is not Mass as I remember it. Perhaps I was wrong to come here. There’s nothing for me here anymore.” I walked out of the church feeling sad and hopeless. It was more than 20 years before I tried again.

            In my case, it was *precisely* the Novus Ordo Missae that doomed my attempt to return to the Church that day in 1978. Mine could not have been a unique experience.

            Thanks be to God for the inspiration I discovered in the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. And, I happened to catch a radio program during which Father John Corapi offered his conversion story that spoke to my by-then ripened-revert heart: “I AM” remains at the heart of Catholicism despite the infiltration of the smoke of Satan in Holy Mother Church!

            I still cringe in the face of the obvious signs of protestantization of the NO Mass but I’ve learned to seek and find reverence there. I participate in and help offer programs of adult formation (RCIA, Catholic Scripture Study), calling others to the ancient Tradition. I am reasurred by the recognition of difficult issues by my fellow Catholics, and the guarantee of the Holy Spirit’s Presence, that our Church will emerge — still one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

          • I can show you video and photos from 2 different events in the last month that prove that the abuses still exist.

          • You make no sense… the photo and videos exist to send to the diocese to be dealt with. I don’t expect results, but it’s proof for the proper authorities to deal with. That really seems like a devilish thing, doesn’t it? *sigh*

          • If you are a “Roman Catholic” and believe that the N.O. is the official Mass of the Church, that’s not what Quo Primum says. Because of Quo Primum i’ve never gone to a N.O. (with exception for a handful of weddings and funerals) for 7 yrs. For this reason on hospital patient forms when they ask your religion I write “Traditionalist Catholic” so they would try to find a priest who will administer Extreme Unction and not “Anointing of the Sick.” Since Rome is not traditional anymore I would advise this. If you just say you’re “Catholic” they will call in the N.O. hospital chaplain.

          • Proves the point that there’s little good coming from the Novus Ordo. There’s almost no resistance. 5 dubia that have been out for 6 months which are simply questions? Anything else? I’m not seeing it. I’m seeing wide confusion from the faithful about what the Church really teaches. Atheists, abortionists, sexual deviants, and population controllers praising Francis. Yeah, the Novus Ordo is really doing a great job of resisting that error.

          • Hi Jafin – I must have missed the Norvus Ordo being referenced in the Dubia. Perhaps you could submit your own Dubia in this regard to Cardinal Burke.

          • … really? I’m talking about the resistance to Francis from what you called the “Church of the Novus Ordo.” What’s above is the resistance. That’s all. Almost nothing.

          • You’re insufferable.
            Trent, session 7, canon 13


            You don’t alter the Sacraments or make new ones.

            Let them combat novelties of words remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII. (Instruct. S.C. NN. EE. EE., 27 Jan., 1902): It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications of a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilisation.
            Pascendi Dominci Gregis,
            St. Pius X

            This includes: new evangelization, new mass, new rites of sacraments, new orientation toward the world.

          • Hi tallorder – Has the form of baptism changed from the time Philip baptized the Eunuch? (Acts8:26-40)

          • This is inconsequential concerning the novus ordo rite of sacraments and the traditional rites of sacraments.

            The point is, the rites Were changed and Were made into new ones. Stop trying to deflect and change the subject matter.

          • Hi tallorder – Interesting you find it inconsequential regarding if the form of Baptism has changed since Philip baptized the Eunuch. What was your point again? How was the Rite of Baptism changed, by Vatican II, to such a degree that it is no longer legitimate?

          • Don’t put words in my mouth. You used the word illegitimate. I merely cited Trent where it forbids altering the rites of sacraments.

          • The N.O. gave us new rites of sacraments.
            Things removed from new rite:
            Exsufflation outside of church
            Imposition of hands
            Imposition of salt
            First exorcism before admission into church building
            Second imposition of sign of cross
            Second imposition of hands
            Formal admission into church building
            Recital of creed
            Second and solemn exorcism
            First anointing prior to profession of faith and baptism

            All of this is easy to find. Let me introduce you to Google:

          • Hi tallorder – So all of those things are necessary for Baptism to occur? Do you think Philip did all those things when he baptized the eunuch?

          • What are you talking about “necessary”? We aren’t discussing validity, invalidity, legitimacy, illegitimacy, licit, illicit.
            The rite was changed after Trent in opposition to the canon of Trent.
            That’s the end of the discussion.

          • Yep, when you kept bringing up non sequiturs to gloss over the fact that the making of the rites into new rites was anathematized long ago.

            “Is exorcism of baby necessary” … whew.

          • fniper – Stop trying to act so wise and all-knowing and being so darned condescending! That’s insulting. You add a lot of good to many discussions here, but the moment the SSPX comes up you turn into some sort of neo-catholic absurd dumbnut. You clearly either haven’t looked into or have decided to deny everything that you’ve seen as regards the problems of the Novus Ordo. Every point you’ve brought up to defend your point has been refuted. Every single one. A truly wise person would look at the evidence and then start evaluating. You constantly deflect.

            The Novus Ordo is extremely problematic. The very form of the liturgy clericalizes the laity and desacralizes the priest. I’ve seen the Novus Ordo celebrated reverently. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. And then I assisted at the Extraordinary Form and suddenly the scales fell away from my eyes. It wasn’t celebrated as supremely (with full choir, orchestra, AND schola), there was only 1 priest and no other sacred ministers, but I finally saw the liturgy as it was meant to be celebrated. Now, I honestly cannot stand the Novus Ordo. You know what the NO has brought? Widespread disbelief in the Blessed Sacrament and extreme loss of sense of sin, resulting in less frequent confessions. I live very close (5 minute drive) to a good “conservative” NO parish, with very good priests, truly, but the sacrament of Penance is frequented by roughly 20% of the parishioners. So many in the summer go to Mass in shorts, wearing football jerseys, or other unacceptable attire. Why? Because they don’t really believe that Jesus is truly present. That it seems simply common. The Mass being a sacrifice is not obvious in the rubrics. It’s referred to as a meal obsessively. Look up the Ottavianni intervention and read it. If you haven’t, you’ll change your mind. If you have read it, you’ve willingly blinded yourself and there’s nothing else to be said.

            Also, don’t question another parishioner’s Catholicity on here again, which you did with LB earlier, or you’re gone.

            When was the last time you were inside a Roman Catholic Church?

          • Hi Jafin – Adoration on Saturday Morning for the last 17 years, daily mass as often as possible, Sunday Mornings, 8AM. Anything else would probably be viewed as somewhat creepy. As to the Fickle Finger of Fate being waved at me. do what you feel you must.

          • There’s no fickle finger of fate. There are rules here. Which you can find right here:
            The applicable rules to reference are here:

            1. Refrain from personal attacks and insults; focus your response on the argument, not the individual. Do not insult 1P5 staff or writers.

            8. Trolling/arguing/being a sophist in the comment box without contributing in a meaningful way to the discussion will not be tolerated.

            I’m not sure why you decided to wave your “look how holy I am!” credentials around. You’re on about as thin of ice as you can get. You’ve been warned. Now YOU do with it what you will.

          • I already booted him. Violations of Rule #8 were an every day thing for him, and I’ve warned him in the past.

            Guys, if you’re lurking, it’s simple: I want this to be a friendly place where people are comfortable talking about all that’s going on in the Church without the worry that they’re going to be browbeaten or nagged to death for sharing their thoughts.

            My patience with nuisance commenters — even if they are relatively polite — is growing thin. Endlessly aggravating and arguing with everyone else is just abrasive. If you’re considering doing it, just…don’t. Go visit Mark Shea or something.

          • All these up to the 2nd exorcism are done with a purple stole on. The real purpose of infant baptism is to expel the devil, not an initiation and showing off your newborn to your fellow parishioners. Hence, baptisms were always done immediately as soon as the baby left the hospital; often times the mother could not be present due to recovery from childbirth. (There is a Churching of Women ceremony)

      • They have free will, don’t they? Of course they can make that moral decision.

        The problem is that the Church leaders do have the authority to suppress the traditional sacraments, and by the very fact of their God-given authority, it is sinful to disobey them.

        Of course, in cases of blatantly sinful commands, I think that one should not obey them. But I am talking about those sins layed out crystal clearly in the Ten Commandments, etc.

        On other matters, it is not so obvious whether something is a sin or not, and discerning such things is a matter of prudence. And this is where SSPX people really mess up.

        You see, Church leaders have the *authority* to come to prudential decisions, and we, the faithful laymen, must accept their decisions *with obedience* in situations where obedience does not constitute 100% positivity of committing a sin.

        So if a bishop tells a priest to only say the NO Mass, before Summum Pontificorum, did the priest have a right to disobey? Because even though the NO is certainly less Catholic than the TLM, the NO surely doesn’t constitute a positively sinful action, does it?

        No, and we must default to the prudential (even if it seems imprudent to us personally) decision of that God-given authority, because the individual does not have the moral prerogative to act as his own personal bishop (ahem, Protestantism) and circumvent a prudential judgement of a bishop.

        I think it is intellectual pride that causes one to be so certain that the NO Mass is intrinsically evil such that he disobeys orders to say only the NO Mass.

        Do I believe that the motivations of the men that created the NO were ultimately evil? Yes, but the NO itself is watered-down Catholicism, not overt Satanism.

        • Except Benedict XVI in Summorum made it clear that the classical rite had never been suppressed, and that no bishop could forbid a priest from saying it in private, nor could the bishop prevent a priest from saying it publicly if the faithful requested it. In essence, Benedict stated that any bishop who from 1970 to 2007 had forbidden his priests from saying the classical rite were themselves wrong.

          In light of how Benedict made it clear that the classical rite had never been legally suppressed or forbidden, then in your scenario, any priest who celebrated the classical rite before Summorum was not disobeying his bishop, because his bishop had no authority to forbid him from saying that Mass in the first place.

          • In reference to private Masses: while Requiem Masses are generally said in public (e.g. the church building), they are considered private “family” events. If you they don’t publish your obituary no stranger would be able to come!

      • Well what I mean is whether or not Catholics have the right to the traditional sacraments by whatever steps one deems necessary, even if it involves disobedience to Catholic leaders?

        For example, in the days before Summum Pontificorum, if a bishop had forbade a priest in his diocese to say the Tridentine Mass and that priest did it anyway, is that a morally acceptable thing to do?

  9. Unfortunately, I didn’t go, but I believe Joe Sobran’s funeral was a TLM Requiem. A friend was there, and not a Traditional Catholic but orthodox and devout, who said it was the most beautiful funeral he’s ever attended.

  10. My husband just passed away on March 31 of this year–and fortunately, we’ve been going to a much more “traditional” parish of late. So I was thrilled to see the priests wearing black vestments, to see the dark-toned pall, and not to have to endure a “Mass of Resurrection.” Long ago, my daughter and I were talking about my “good old days” as a Catholic prior to the nutso “reforms” of the 1970s, and she mentioned how hypocritical she thought the “Resurrection” Masses were for many people. When I told her about the good old-fashioned Requiems of my childhood and youth, she said, “Yes. That’s the way to go.”

    God bless these priests, they did so. Music was a mixture of chant and a couple of solid hymns (not an “Eagle’s Wings” among ’em), and I requested that the homily should focus on God, not on my husband…because that’s where he would want the focus to be. It was uplifting, solemn, and beautiful. Thank heaven there are parishes where this is coming back!


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