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Anonymous said in December 10th, 2007 at 3:07 am

Amazing. Thanks for the photos. Fr. Rutler is great and such a beautiful church.

Anonymous said in December 10th, 2007 at 11:21 am

I wish they would just have a low mass. The music was really not worthy of a city parish in NY. If they can’t bat why step up to the plate? A low mass is always edifying and much simpler to learn. Having spent time at an anglican boarding school as a Catholic youngster I am not easily impressed by convert clergymen. Fr. Rutler failed to greet us at the offertory during the mass but he was there right at the door when we got out, high fiving every one . I thought traditional priests made their thanksgivings directly after mass.

Anonymous said in December 10th, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Marvelous photos, and an exquisite church. I must say, St Hugh of Cluny blog is becoming a near daily stop for me. Congrats on your work, particularly on your Statement of Purpose.

Benedict said in December 10th, 2007 at 11:17 pm

2nd Anonymous–

I’m sure contributions of substantial sums to support and expand the music program at Our Saviour will be gratefully received.

I for one am not impressed by anonymous insults directed at the Catholic clergy.

Stuart Chessman said in December 10th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

2nd Anonymous,

The music was fine – the selection of simpler and more familiar pieces is just what is needed when starting out. I don’t know to what other NY parishes you are referring. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is certainly not among them.

One of the promising developments of the the recent revival of the traditional mass has been the focus on the sung forms: the missa cantata and the solemn high mass. One of the problems pre-1964 was the undue preponderence of the low mass in parish life. The solemn high mass is actually the more original form.

I confess I don’t understand some of your commentary directed against Fr. Rutler, but I can hardly imagine him “high fiving” anyone.

xathar said in December 11th, 2007 at 8:57 pm

2nd anonymous,

I would hope that someone who so brazenly and uncharitably criticizes an obviously devout and orthodox priest for not be pious enough would have the insight to realize the irony of their remarks.

Anonymous said in December 11th, 2007 at 10:27 pm

A few words about Low Mass: I have learned from Eastern Catholics, and believe me, Eastern Catholics know beautiful and traditional liturgy, that the Low Mass is not part of authentic Latin Church liturgical traditon.

The early Church did not minimize liturgy. The solemn High Mass is the way that the Latin Mass should be celebrated.

We need to learn from our Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters. Let each Mass be celebrated, if you will, to the hilt.

Anonymous said in December 12th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

The “early church” also had public penitents who spent their lives in sackcloth and ashes. Maybe we should go back to that as well.

Anonymous said in December 12th, 2007 at 7:11 pm

“The “early church” also had public penitents who spent their lives in sackcloth and ashes. Maybe we should go back to that as well.”

That didn’t survive within the Church as Tradition. Therefore, your point is flawed.

Conversely, liturgy celebrated to the hilt, if you will, has survived as the standard Traditonal manner in which the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches worship publicly.

I am speaking (writing) about “ars celebrandi.”

That is, the desire to celebrate Mass in grand fashion (to the hilt).

Sung Mass, beautiful vestments and furnishings, grand symbols…the enhancement of liturgy is the Church’s universal Tradition.

Low Mass, linked to the days when priests in the Western Church celebrated Mass as quickly as possible, is not the ideal.

Rather than minimize liturgy, we should present the High Mass as the normative Sunday Mass.

Stuart Chessman said in December 12th, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Rumor has it we may be seeing much more of Father Rutler. I’m sure that would be much to his detractor’s consternation.


Anonymous said in December 12th, 2007 at 11:30 pm

My point is factual. Your argument is flawed.

Your point of contention is the ONLY legitimate expression of liturgy is that which has existed throughout the history of the Church. I think not. Using your logic, then we shouldn’t sing/say the agnus dei in mass because, hey, it was added by Pope Sergius ONLY in the 7th century. We shouldn’t use the Roman Canon because it didn’t appear until the late 4th century. Finally, the low mass IS a tradition that has survived within the Church for well over 1100 years. Doesn’t that make it legitimate, according to your own premise? Or is it your contention that the only legitimate liturgical expressions are those brought into use between the 4th and 7th centuries?

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 12:32 am

That which is legitimate and that which is ideal (and traditional) are different issues.

A Mass that is not sung is “legitimate.”

But a sung Mass is in keeping with ancient Tradition.

When sung, liturgy rises to a level of nobility that Low Mass is unable to reach.

Liturgy, when celebrated with “smells and bells,” becomes more attractive and mystical.

Our hearts soar more toward Heaven when we encounter liturgy celebrated in such fashion.

Enhanced liturgy, to use that phrase, transports us in greater degree toward the “city” knows as Holy and Heavely Jerusalem.

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 9:26 am

While I would agree that a sung liturgy is beautiful, inspiring, and the origin of the low mass, the mere fact that the low mass was considered by Trent to be the basic form of mass (which could then be made more solemn by the use of smells, bells, etc.) means that it is a legitimate AND ideal liturgical expression, depending upon the circumstances.

Additionally, you maintain that a sung mass is more traditional. Are you saying, then, that the early church sung the Mass, or that Christ himself sung the words of institution? I hardly think there is any evidence to support such a contention. Rather, it is more likely that a spoken mass is more traditional, but that the Church has learned, over time, to enhance the splendor of the Mass through the use of “signs which perceptible to the senses.”

Thus, not only is the low mass probably more in keeping with tradition, but it has been declared by the 1570 Missale Romanum to be the legitimate and foundational form of mass against which the high and solemn high should be judged.

Fr. Rutler was performing a tremendous service by offering a low mass at his Church. While it may not have utilized all of the sensorial aspects of liturgy, it was, in the end, an ideal liturgy simply because it worshipped God in spirit and in truth. To say that a mass is not ideal because it doesn’t appeal to all of OUR senses is indicative of the narcissism of our time which we must all do our best to avoid.

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 11:10 am

The presence of altar girls at Mass is “legitimate.”

However, Father Brian Harrison has written on that subject and demonstrated that altar girls deform the Mass.

The insertion of multiple Eucharistic Prayers into the Roman Mass is “legitimate.”

But as various Churchmen have argued, said practice is a novelty…a break with Holy Tradition and deforms the liturgy.

The reception of Holy Communion in the hand is “legitimate.”

But as Pope Paul VI taught, said practice “carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine.”

The point is that while many aspects related to liturgy may be “legitimate,” said aspects are not necessarily ideal and are trumped by more traditional practices.

Again…for example: The Church teaches that sung Mass is superior to Mass that is devoid of song, even though a Mass devoid of music is “legitimate.”

Bottom line: Solemn Mass is the Western’s Church ideal Mass and represents superior liturgical practice and tradition.


Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 2:46 pm

So, you’re saying the low mass is a “deformity?” Wow. I’m willing to let your ludicrous (and sacrilegious) statement speak for itself.

This is your argument:
1. The High Mass is the ideal form of mass.
2. It is so because it is most traditional.

However, the High Mass sprang up only after 325, when Christians could worship publicly. Prior to that, the mass was necessarily more intimate and silent, much like a low mass. Therefore, your point #2 is not correct. The High Mass is not the most traditional.

Therefore, the High Mass cannot necessarily be the ideal form of mass (according to your premise) because it is not the most traditional.

What you have mistakenly done is taken a small slice of liturgical history and made it the basis by which to judge all other periods. That is not a legitimate practice, as the liturgy, much like the world, is not endlessly recreating some earthly ideal, as the Greeks would have had us believe. Rather, we are being directed towards the end time in a linear fashion. Thus, while we can learn from our liturgical past, we cannot and should not attempt to recreate it or use it as a basis by which to judge all liturgies since that time. Rather, we must trust that the Holy Spirit has been leading us to a truer worship of Jesus Christ which will be realized in the new heavens and new earth.

In short, the low mass is the most ancient and traditional form of mass. It has existed in its present form for about 1200 years. It is NOT at all like altar girls (which is a new practice) or communion in the hand (of which we have early evidence only in the East from Cyril of Jerusalem).

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 4:07 pm

Regarding the Low Mass, let’s look at the words uttered in 1998 by a great Churchmen named Josef Cardinal Ratzinger.

The future Pope Benedict XVI said of the Low Mass that “one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration!

“Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow.

“One was never in contact with the liturgy itself.

“On the other hand, in those places where the Liturgical Movement had created a certain love for the liturgy, where the Movement had anticipated the essential ideas of the Council, such as for example, the prayerful participation of all in the liturgical action, it was those places where there was all the more distress when confronted with a liturgical reform undertaken too hastily and often limited to externals.”

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 4:28 pm

I appreciate that Father Rutler offered the Mass that he did. I have learned from him on EWTN and find him to be an inspiring holy man of God.

The point is that as the years pass, and with the TLM “back” in the Church, we must move beyond Low Mass if we wish to restore the finest liturgy possible to the Western Church.

The point that Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, our future Pontiff, made is 1998 is on the mark.

Low Mass cannot possibly serve as ideal liturgy…as the liturgical model to which we turn.

We must restore the Solemn Traditional Latin Mass to the hilt if we wish to capture the hearts and minds of Catholics.

Popes have taught that Western Catholics have much to learn, particularly in the area of liturgy, from our Eastern Catholic Churches.

Let us strive as Western Catholics to approach and celebrate liturgy with the vigor and mindset that we find among Eastern Catholics.

The idea of “reductionist” (the Pope’s word) Low Mass is foreign to Eastern Catholicism.

Again, let us learn from the excellent approach to liturgy that exists within Eastern Catholicism.

Anonymous said in December 14th, 2007 at 11:51 pm

My remarks regarding the Low Mass reflect that which has been stated by Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (His Holiness) and various orthodox Catholics.

Have you read the highly critical remarks regarding the development of the Novus Ordo Mass offered by Cardinal Ottaviani, Monsignor Klaus Gamber, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and countless Churchmen?

A great many holy Catholics have criticized the development of the Novus Ordo Mass.

You claimed that it is “ludicrous and sacrilegious” to consider the development of the Low Mass a deformity of ancient liturgical Tradition.

Therefore, I’m certain that you regard as “ludicrous and sacrilegious” the extremely critical remarks uttered by various Churchmen against the development of the Novus Ordo.


Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 12:31 am

The idea that the ancient Roman Mass was silent, stark and “much like a low Mass” is incorrect.

Modern liturgical “scholars,” particularly during the 1960s as the Consilium pieced together the Novus Ordo Mass, pretended that the early Roman Mass was devoid of granduer as you believe.

However, such is not the case. The ancient Roman Liturgy was highly stylized and elaborate.

The Roman Mass was highly advanced, even during the First Century, as we know from the Epistle of Pope Saint Clement of Rome.

Benedict said in December 15th, 2007 at 12:33 am

There seems to be some confusion. This was a Missa Cantata, not a Low Mass.

At the beginning, one commentator suggested a Low Mass would have been better, this is where the discussion of Low Masses began.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 8:56 am

I would like to see quotes from the above named sources wherein they refer to a legitimate form of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a deformity.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 9:07 am

My point is that while the High Mass is the preeminent manifestation of the Church’s worship, one cannot say that it is “ideal” for every time and circumstance. Th early morning mass at a side altar in a monastery, the 7:30am parish mass on a Sunday, and the even first mass to implement the TM on a Friday afternoon (as at Our Saviour’s) are all examples wherein the High Mass is probably not the “ideal” form of mass to be celebrating. The low mass is legitimate, and, in many cases, the proper form of mass to be celebrating depending upon the circumstances of time, setting, availability of choir, clergy, etc.

What I find disturbing is the contention voiced on this message board that all TM’s celebrated from now on should be High Masses. That statement is not only impractical — it also rings of the same dictatorial imposition of the post-conciliar liturgists who, in so many cases, hoisted unreasonable liturgical demands upon the People of God (see the RCIA program) simply to satisfy what they had determined was a liturgical “ideal” to the exclusion of the legitimate development of liturgical tradition within the Church.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 10:24 am

Where is there evidenced a High Mass in the 1st Letter of St. Clement to Rome? Please provide a citation. For your reference, here is a link to the text: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/1clement-hoole.html

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 1:24 pm

“There seems to be some confusion. This was a Missa Cantata, not a Low Mass. At the beginning, one commentator suggested a Low Mass would have been better, this is where the discussion of Low Masses began.”


Based upon the original story, Father Rutler offered a very beautiful Missa Cantata.

I have learned from him via EWTN. He comes across as a holy man of God. Deo Gratias that he is a priest. We need him.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Bottom line: As Josef Cardinal Ratzinger (His Holiness) stated about 20 years ago, the Low Mass disappeared following Vatican II and it was not missed by the majority of Catholics.

As then-Cardinal Ratzinger declared, Low Mass is not the ideal Mass and cannot possibly serve as the “model” Mass.

We must move beyond Low Mass, certainly on Sundays, if we wish to gain many “converts” to the TLM.

The Low Mass is “reductionist” (Cardinal Ratzinger’s description)in nature and minimizing liturgy is foreign to the Church’s authentic liturgical tradition.

Again, the Church has invitied Western Catholics to study the manner in which Eastern Catholics approach liturgy.

As Western Catholics, we would eliminate that need if we simply returned to the Latin Church’s liturgical Tradition that existed prior to the creation of the Low Mass.

In the meantime, our Eastern Catholic Churches serve as wonderful liturgical models.

“Low Divine Liturgy” is foreign to Eastern Catholicism.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 7:58 pm

Bottom Line:

The primary purpose of Mass is to worship God, not to “gain converts” to a particular form of worship.

The low mass successfully worships God.

Therefore, the low mass is valid, legitimate, and, in many instances (those noted above), ideal.

I have no doubt that the former Cardinal Ratzinger said many low masses himself prior to the 1970 Missale Romanum. Therefore, if we are going to use the Pope’s words and actions of 20-30 years ago as a measure against which we should judge our current liturgical environment, we would have to conclude that high masses should be said more often than they were prior to the Council, but that the low mass is just fine for many occasions.

Anonymous said in December 15th, 2007 at 8:01 pm

I should also point out that the same Cardinal Ratzinger whom you quote so readily just recently allowed for any priest to say the low mass privately without asking for prior permission. Perhaps you misunderstand his previous statements?

Mary said in September 7th, 2008 at 2:01 am

Detail, detail. When the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated with the reverence of Fr. Rutler, one way or the other is, I am sure, acceptable to Our Lord. Isn’t it that which we should share and not silly bickering?

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