"A question of what our gods are"

Home | Join/Donate


Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Follow AdoremusSociety on Twitter

Online Edition - Vol. VII, No. 6: September 2001

Bishop's ordination models richness of Novus Ordo

by James Hitchcock

Devotees of the Tridentine Mass often claim that the Mass of the Second Vatican Council is inherently flawed, to the point where it is incapable of conveying a sense of sacredness.

But occasionally there are celebrations of the Novus Ordo that reveal how mistaken that judgment is celebrations that manifest potentialities in the present rite that are merely waiting to be realized in other contexts. One such occasion was the recent episcopal ordination of Bishop Timothy M. Dolan, former rector of the North American College in Rome and now auxiliary bishop of Saint Louis.

Held on the feast of the Assumption, amidst the Byzantine splendors of the Saint Louis Cathedral, the ordination began with a procession of six cardinals, the papal nuncio, more than fifty bishops, hundreds of priests, and numerous lay people. Lay people read the Scripture, comprised the Offertory procession, and provided the music, as dozens of priests and seminarians served as minor ministers of the Mass. A number of priests who are especially close to Bishop Dolan gathered around the altar as concelebrants. Altogether the ceremony was, among other things, a graphic manifestation of the complex hierarchical nature of the Church.

The music, expertly rendered by the Cathedral choir, ranged from Gregorian Chant, through G.F. Handel, Anton Bruckner, and Richard Strauss, to contemporary sacred music of high quality. The homily, by Archbishop Justin Rigali of Saint Louis, was a theologically rich meditation on the office of bishop.

The impressive ancient ceremony of episcopal ordination was carefully observed: as the bishop-elect prostrated himself on the floor as a gesture of unworthiness, the Litany of the Saints was chanted; the bull of appointment was read by the papal nuncio; and all the bishops present imposed hands on his head, thereby bringing him into the unbroken line of apostolic succession. Then the new bishop traversed the aisles of the packed cathedral, imparting his blessing on the congregation.

On at least two other recent occasions in Saint Louis -- the l999 visit of Pope John II and the Eucharistic Congress this past June -- the same powerful sense of the sacred was also manifest at Mass through the Novus Ordo.

Complaints about the current Liturgy usually focus on bad music, inane homilies, unauthorized extemporizations, celebrants intruding their own personalities into the rite, and a contrived atmosphere of folksy informality. Overall these criticisms come down to saying that the Liturgy of the Church has been turned into a mere communal celebration, lacking all sense of transcendence.

But the ordination of Bishop Dolan is not unique in showing that these serious faults are not endemic to the rite itself but constitute its abuse, through either deliberate manipulation or through carelessness. There are existing models for the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy. They are merely waiting to be recognized and followed.

James Hitchcock is professor of history at St. Louis University who writes frequently for the Catholic press. More of his columns can be read on the Women for Faith & Family web site by clicking here.

***

Credit Card Donations

To donate by credit card:

1. Call our office to donate directly: (314) 863-8385, have your name, address and credit card number ready. If you would like automatic donations to Adoremus let us know what date(s) you would like to be billed on.

2. You may also donate by using Network for Good: http://www.networkforgood.org (follow instructions on site)

3. You may donate using PayPal below

US Membership Donation

Foreign Membership Donation


**Adoremus operates solely on your generous donations.**

Adoremus is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Site Copyright © 1999 - Present by Adoremus
All rights reserved.

PERMISSION GUIDELINES
All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without prior written permission from Adoremus, except as specified below:

Personal use
Permission is granted to download and/or print out articles for personal use only.

Quotations
Brief quotations (ca 500 words) may be made from the material on this site, in accordance with the “fair use” provisions of copyright law without prior permission.  For these quotations proper attribution must be made of author and Adoremus + URL (i.e., Adoremus or Adoremus Bulletin – www.adoremus.org.)

Attribution
Generally, all signed articles or graphics must also have the permission of the author. If a text does not have an author byline, Adoremus should be listed as the author.  For example: Adoremus (St Louis: Adoremus, 2005 + URL)

Link to Adoremus web site.
Other web sites are welcome to establish links to www.adoremus.org or to individual pages within our site.


Home | Join/Donate | Adoremus Bulletin | Archive | Index | Church Documents | Architecture | Posture | Music | Translation | What's NEW? | FAQ | Search Site | Site Map