This file describes the non-profit
ADOREMUS: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Board of Advisors
MOTHER ANGELICA -- Eternal Word Network FR. KEN BAKER, S.J. --Homiletic & Pastoral Review TERRY BARBER --St. Joseph Communications FR. JOSEPH FESSIO, S.J. --Ignatius Press HELEN HULL HITCHCOCK --Women for Faith and Family JAMES HITCHCOCK --Fellowship of Catholic Scholars JIM HOLMAN --San Diego News Notes PHIL LAWLER --Catholic World Report RALPH McINERNY --Crisis, Catholic Dossier FR. JERRY POKORSKY --CREDO MSGR. RICHARD SCHULER --Sacred Music FR. PETER STRAVINSKAS --The Catholic Answer
Dear Catholic friend,
Has Sunday Mass at your parish become a trial and a distraction rather than a time of recollection and worship? Are you upset by continual changes in liturgy, insipid music, church renovations which remove statues and kneelers and displace the tabernacle, lack of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and the loss of the beauty and splendor of the Church's rich liturgical tradition?
If so you are not alone. The members of the board of advisors that you see at the top of this page have received thousands of phone calls and letters with these and similar complaints.
We believe that the time has come to do something to correct this unhappy situation. For the past several years, many of us have committed our time, our energy, and our resources to the promotion of a genuine liturgical renewal as intended by the Second Vatican Council. And we think that if more of us work together --even though it may take many years-- we can succeed!
If you share our concerns --if you are convinced, as we are, that Christ's Bride, the Church, has suffered greviously at the hands of some misguided liturgists --please take the time to read this letter to its conclusion.
The experience of the last thirty years has convinced us that the liturgical renewal intended by Sacrosanctum Concilium has not been achieved. Despite many pastorally beneficial reforms, too many changes have actually distorted the Church's liturgical tradition. And there have been rampant abuses which have contributed to the weakening and loss of faith of countless Catholics (!!!!!), and seriously harmed the Church's evangelical mission to the world.
Because of this, we are now convinced that some of the proposed solutions to the present problem will "not" lead to the genuine reform desired by the Council Fathers. Two of these are:
a return to the preconciliar Mass. (Although many who seek a liturgy more in harmony with the Church's tradition legitimately make use of permission for celebrating the preconciliar Mass, this does not help to achieve the reforms lawfully mandated by the Council.)
Mere insistence on more careful observance of the changes approved since the Council. (Even approved changes need to be reevaluated in the light of a clearer understanding of the Council.)
We do want to be absolutely clear on the principles we think are essential to a genuine liturgical renewal consistent with authentic Catholic tradition and the Church's living Magisterium:
1. We fully and unreservedly accept the principles of Liturgical Reform enunciated at the Second Vatican Council on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. We accept the Second Vatican Council as an act of the Church's supreme Magisterium, guided by the Holy Spirit. Its documents are an expression of the word of Christ himself for his bride the Church in our time.
2. We believe that the genuine renewal desired by the Church requires:
The interior appropriation of the Church's liturgical tradition on the part of every Catholic. That is, a deeper sense of the sacred, of understanding, love and reverence for the Church's liturgy; and
A complete rethinking and of the reform of the liturgy, using both Sacrosanctum Concilium and an evaluation of the experience of the post-conciliar years to arrive at a renewed liturgy in keeping with the principles of the Second Vatican Council.
3. We believe the guiding principle in this reflection should be that enunciated in Sacrosanctum Concilium #23:
"...there must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them, and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing."
How do we propose to implement these principles?
We have established a non-profit organization, ADOREMUS, for the sole purpose of promoting authentic reforms of the liturgy of the Roman Rite according to the intention of the Second Vatican Council as expressed in its decree on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium . Adoremus, of course, means "Let us adore", and we have chosen the Latin form since the renewal we desire to promote involves the worldwide Catholic Church, and we hope to work together with fellow Catholics of other cultures and languages.
I will describe some of the planned activities of this organization below. But first I believe a major question must be answered: By what authority do we undertake this project of promoting genuine liturgical reform? The answer is theologically simple, but practically complex: only our love for the Church and our prayerful reflection on the Church's liturgical tradition and the present state of the liturgy.
One of the principle efforts of ADOREMUS will, therefore, be the publication of a monthly liturgical information bulletin. Following are some of the things this publication will contain:
The history of elements of the Mass. (Is it a meal or a sacrifice? Did the early Christians stand or kneel? When were candles first introduced and why? How was the altar positioned? What is the meaning of liturgical vestments?)
Answers to liturgical questions that affect you. (What is the proper posture during the Eucharistic prayer? Are extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist supposed to distribute communion when there are priests or deacons present? Is Latin permitted in the new Mass?)
Reports on churches where Mass is habitually celebrated faithfully and beautifully, with descriptions of what has helped genuine worship.
Reviews of liturgical resources (including music) that can improve Mass in the parish and promote interior renewal of worshippers.
Updates on changes being proposed for the worship of the Church.
Action items. What you can do in your parish and beyond.
The main point is to educate Catholics about what Catholic liturgy is and ought to be. We are convinced there is a genuine hunger for traditional, reverent, liturgical worship. As more people see what that has been and what it is meant to be, we believe that will help the bishops and the Holy See move toward the renewal that should have been. And this is why we need your help.
We know that if you are concerned about the state of the liturgy, you will want to have this monthly bulletin; but there are many more --priests and laity alike-- who have only a vague sense that all is not well.
We think many such people will be encouraged and strengthened by receiving such a bulletin, so we would like to send it to them free of charge. I In order to do this, we are asking you to contribute to ADOREMUS with gifts of whatever size you can afford. We will send this bulletin out to the bishops, their staffs, the appropriate Vatican officials, and to as many Catholic laity as your donations will permit. (Of course we will put you on the mailing list for our new bulletin.)
The more generous you are, the more we can do. All the money received will be spent directly for the promotion of genuine liturgical renewal. Our hope is that support will grow so that we can expand this work.
We entirely accept the Catholic teaching that the regulation of the liturgy is the prerogative and responsibility of the college of bishops in union with the successor of Peter.
It is also a sad fact, however, that the liturgy has too long been in the hands of self- appointed experts, many of whom are openly hostile to essential Catholic teaching. Far too many liturgical commissions function as political pressure groups with a self- perpetuauting membership, rather than as agencies genuinely fostering greater understanding and appropriation of --and actual participation in-- the Church's worship. And in the United States (as elsewhere) even conferences of bishops, relying on these liturgical commissions, have permitted liturgical changes which have contributed to an impoverishment rather than an enrichment of the liturgy.
Moreover, it is clear that the Holy See is increasingly concerned about liturgical (and linguistic) changes. This was evident in the Vatican's re-translation of the English edition of Catechism of the Catholic Church. Also, the Holy See rescinded approval of "inclusive language translations of the Bible.
We know that many bishops share our concerns and are looking for assistance in the decisions they are making concerning the liturgy. (Their numbers are growing --Deo gratias!) It is the goal of ADOREMUS to assist the bishops in their sacred task.
One of the activities of ADOREMUS will be to provide support services for the many bishops who are deeply concerned about the Church's worship. We cannot compete with the money and manpower of the many liturgical experts, commissions, conventions, etc., or the multi-million dollar liturgical publishing businesses. But recent history has shown that a few concerned bishops, when supplied with accurate information, can make a big difference.
Another activity of ADOREMUS will be to aid the many parish priests who have told us they lack the materials they need to celebrate Mass properly. We have been asked to provide a better hymnal, better parish bulletin overleafs, a Lectionary with approved Bible translations unaffected by feminist ideology, beautiful and durable books for parish use to replace the throwaway misalettes.
But perhaps the most important activity will be aiding the rediscovery of the beauty, the holiness, the power of the Church's rich liturgical tradition. What is needed now is the appropriation in parish life of the results of the Liturgical Movement. We believe that it is primarily in the parishes that the liturgical life of the faithful will be renewed in the way Vatican II intended.
There are abundant materials already available for this. A very fruitful Liturgical Movement decades before the Second Vatican Council produced a wealth of information on the history and development of the Roman Liturgy. For the most part centers on this Liturgical Movement were in European monasteries, such as Solesmes. Unfortunately the fruit of all this research, which actually provided the groundwork for the Second Vatican Council's liturgical reforms, has been largely ignored.
We wish we could promise you that this will be a short term project. The task of educating ourselves and supplying aid to bishops and the Holy See will probably take years. But the service we will render will be one that will affect generations of Catholics here and elsewhere.
Please pray with us that the Holy Spirit will guide all our efforts that they may truly benefit the Church, and that they may help to bring forth a vigorous new blossoming of the Catholic faith.
Sincerely in Christ,
Joseph D. Fessio, S.J. Editor, Ignatius Press (For the Board of Advisors)
If you would like to help support ADOREMUS please make a donation to:
Mr. Richard R Hough III PO Box 5858 Arlington VA 22205