Action Alert!

Yesterday's news, tomorrow

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 20, 2014

“The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops will meet on 18 and 19 November…” Thus opens an announcement issued by the Vatican Information Service today—which is November 20.

It’s standard operating procedure for Vatican officials to hold a press conference to “introduce” a meeting or conference before it occurs, telling reporters what they should expect. Then during and after the event, there’s no more information for the media. This approach does not inspire confidence. Background briefings are useful, and advance publicity is valuable, but neither constitutes news.

If the meetings are really so predictable that the media can be given the story in advance, why bother holding them? And if something actually might happen at the meetings, why not report it when it happens—rather than trying to predict it beforehand? In short why not report what has been said or done, rather than what (in the opinion of some Vatican functionary) ought to be said or done?

In other news, the committee impaneled by the Holy See to streamline Vatican communications met in Rome next week. That panel faces a formidable task, but let’s hope the members don’t work too long looking for a perfect solution. The need for some immediate fixes—almost any sort of fixes—is urgent.

Think of this as meatball surgery. The patient is bleeding profusely from multiple wounds. Just get him patched up—stat!—and we can worry about cosmetic surgery later.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Feb. 10, 2017 8:52 PM ET USA

    I never in a million years would have credited the Vatican to be so full of what can only be described as self-serving bureaucrats. Ms. Chaouqui has learned her lessons well from certain groups; I doubt she can pull it off as well. Of course, there may be some other ulterior motives at work such as getting back in the good graces of... As to the other point, I really thought that what was meant was Mass celebration could simply be done with both forms neither impacting the other.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Feb. 10, 2017 7:50 PM ET USA

    Here is a suggestion. Take my old pre-VII daily missal, use the English language pages as they were translated then, and leave everything else as it was; rubrics, music, sermons, words of Consectration, etc. That is what most of us thought we were going to get when we heard about "the Holy Mass in English." That would have been so simple and wouldn't have been controversial. What we got was something else entirely. I'm pretty sure God would understand English as He does when I pray!

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - Feb. 10, 2017 5:38 PM ET USA

    Here in Germany, FSSP priests - perhaps under pressure from Bergoglio - have adapted the Extraordinary Form by having the congregation sing one vernacular hymn after another through the Offertory of the mass. These hymns, in the proper context, are quite beautiful, but mixed with the Tridentine Mass and in place of Gregorian Chant, they are, in a word, awful. This is perhaps aimed at "participation," except that the priest proceeds with the usual Latin prayers of the mass, ignoring everyone.

  • Posted by: rghatt6599 - Feb. 09, 2017 1:51 AM ET USA

    The OF is a product of rupture in our liturgical tradition. Improving the EF, an organically developed entirely Catholic liturgy, with elements derived from a product of the progressive 60s that de-emphasized holy sacrifice and veneration, removed difficult bible passages and prioritized bringing the Mass closer to protestant worship forms is rightly viewed with skepticism. The same progressive spirit that made a mess of Catholic worship 50 years ago is now making a mess of faith and morals.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Feb. 08, 2017 10:49 PM ET USA

    Fr. Stravinskas claims that the homily is an essential part of the sacred liturgy. The homily is not essential to the sacred liturgy, at least not in a traditional understanding of the Mass. To fulfill one's Sunday obligation attendance from the Offertory to the priest's communion is vital. Unfortunately, many post-conciliar changes tended to equalize elements of Mass. Today, statistics demonstrate few contemporary Catholics believe in the Sacrifice or Real Presence at Mass. Coincidence?