New Ecumenical Mass Proposed by Bishop at Council

Why shouldn’t the greatest ecumenical council in the Church’s history create a new rite — an ecumenical or world Mass — to which Catholics could invite their Protestant brothers who retain a love for the Eucharist?

This was the question posed to newsmen by a German-born missionary bishop shortly after he had raised it at the council itself.

Bishop William Duschak, S.V.D., Apostolic Vicar of Calapan, the Philippines, suggested that the ecumenical or world Mass should be in the common language of the people wherever it is celebrated. It would be, he said, “simple, grand and monumental” and composed in Rome.

Bishop Duschak said he spoke not as a liturgy expert but as a “practical missionary.” He has spent more than 30 of his 59 years in the Philippines.

The Bishop emphasized that he is not against Latin.

“I love the Latin language. It is and should remain the language of the Church.”

But he said that an unfamiliar language such as Latin or any tongue other than that of the people “deprives the people of their right to participate in the Mass.”

He said his idea for an ecumenical Mass is founded on two premises: that rites are man-made and that the Mass should be based on the first Mass, the Last Supper.

He said Christ’s command at the Last Supper, “Do this in commemoration of me,” has four consequences. These are:

— The priest must face the people. “Nobody who invites guests to a supper turns his back on them.”

— The priest should speak in an audible voice, as a common courtesy.

— The priest, like Christ at the Last Supper, should speak in the language of those present.

— The priest should use the words of Christ Himself as much as possible. Words composed by ordinary men should be used only sparingly.

A priest in the audience objected that Latin is a symbol of unity and that the vernacular would encourage a nationalistic outlook in religion and open the way to schism. This priest also asserted that Christian teaching in the Mass could be distorted by translation into another language.

Bishop Duschak replied: “The ecumenical Mass would be composed chiefly of Christ’s own words taken from Scripture.

“And we have the Scriptures in every language.” There is no real fear of error, he stated.

“How do you think people learn their religion? In Latin? They learn it in their mother tongue. Their faith is enshrined in the mother tongue.”

He said Latin is not a symbol of unity but of disunity. He quoted St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians: “One body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God” (Eph. 4,4).

“St. Paul,” he said, “does not say anything about one language.”

He said that the modern form of the Mass is not a Christian Mass in its historical origins, “but a synagogal Mass,” based on customs of worship in the Jewish temple.

He called tradition, custom and habit the main obstacles to the adoption of a vernacular Mass.

Asked how such a Mass in the mother tongue and making greater use of Christ’s words would fit in with the ecumenical movement, he replied:

“It will be impossible to work for unity in belief. … There can be unity in certain matters of morality. There can be unity in all matters of charity. There can be unity in the sphere of worship.”

He called his idea for the world Mass a “mustard seed.”

“I do not enter into the details, I explain my idea. The experts must do the rest,” he declared.

Patrick Riley
NC Rome correspondent

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27 Responses to New Ecumenical Mass Proposed by Bishop at Council

  1. This is outrageous and belongs in the dustbin of history.

  2. Elizabeth Phalen says:

    PURE HERESY~more dumbing down of the Catholic Faith. It these heretics love the Eucharist so much, they need to come home to the Catholic Church and their infallible teachings! Study the history of Protestantism – read- pray. We also pray – that all be made ONE in Faith. I say, Come home -

  3. Claire says:

    I guess I can see now how utterly wrong this Bishop was. There is SO much disunity. In my parish down the street the hispanics have their own Mass, the Koreans there own Mass and so as it goes they are utterly isolated from the rest of the community and do not participate in Parish events. Also the fact that there is no real fear of error, well that turned out to be patently false since I have witnessed Priests interject their own sayings, as well as lay people. I can’t help but think that they made the Mass focus on us, instead of on Jesus. While there are things I certainly appreciate about the Novus Ordo Mass, there is much that is missed from the tradtion of the Latin Mass. Interesting that you decided to post this today. What was the reasoning?

  4. amrticam says:

    heresy the Pope sjould waste no tome in excommunicating this hertical ”priest’ he needs to be layizied today!!!!

  5. Tony Spence says:

    The purpose of this blog is to recall 50 years ago to the day what was happening at the Second Vatican Council. As you can tell by the date on the prior posting, CNS originated these reports on Nov. 5, 1962. Of course, as we all know, the “ecumenical Mass” proposed by this council father did not come to pass.

  6. Bernardo says:

    A world mass? there is already one, it’s called the Traditional Latin Mass, need i say more???

    • Brian says:

      Bernardo, You’ve said enough already. You don’t get it. We’re speaking of today’s world and not the 16th century.

  7. Brendan Kelleher svd, Japan says:

    It probably got posted because it was one of the more interesting, more challenging of the interventions that day. In some ways, I suspect it was something of a trial balloon. Missionary bishops come out of a situation that few in the USA understood then or understand now. I also doubt if Claire really understands why the BIshop made the proposal. As a fellow SVD, some years his junior, but with close to 40 years working in Japan, It strikes me as an idea that deserved airing and exploring a little further. Might I remind people that in France right up to the time of Vatican I they were using Gallican Missal. By the way, close to 50 years after it was introduced, why do some talk of the Eucharist celebrated according to the current Roman MIssal, the Novus Ordo Mass? As a term it has no liturgical or canonical standing in 2012 so should be quietly put away.

  8. Jim111 says:

    There is also an antiquarian mass based on the last supper, described as a meal, and is said in the vulgar Tough. It has nothing that should trouble the evangelical protestant. Its called the Novus Ordo.

  9. No, this idea is man-centered, not God centered! Mass is about God, GOD- not us!!!

  10. Claire says:

    Brendan, you are right that I do not understand why it was proposed. That is because I was born well after the Second Vatican Council. I do not pretend to know what went on back then, and I know there was wisdom in some of what was said. I am not an all or nothing person. What I will say is this, I grew up in Catholic Schools, and I felt (and still feel) wholly uncatechized. The truths I was taught were taught to me by my parents but were not really reinforced by anyone else. I am working on it, trying to read more each day. Thank you for correcting me on the use of Novus Ordo, I will not use the term anymore. I will tell you that I grew up in the church of nice. There was no talk of sin, we are not really sure if there is a hell, and well, anything goes. I have watched as Catholic Priests advise people to do things that are against Catholic teaching in the name of tolerance and love. After watching my peers be torn apart by sin with no guidance provided them, I began to have a veil lifted from my eyes. My friends physically died because of the sins they were commiting and my heart was broken. I now see the power of confession, I now see the power of the Eucharist, I now see the power of Prayer and the Sign of the Cross, in ways I never did before. For all of the good that I know came out of the Second Vatican Council, I can see just as much bad. We in the US have lost our way and the moral degradation is heartbreaking. I feel that when some of the ways of the Mass changed, we lost some of the holiness. I truly just want to be holy. We are called to love all people, but we are also called to stand up for what is morally right. I think the old should not have been put aside as it was. There is a place for the old and the new.

  11. Danny F says:

    “deprives the people of their right to participate in the Mass.”

    This is an over-used excuse for liturgical abuses. There is absolutely nothing the laity can do either positively or negatively to affect what happens on the altar. No singing, dancing, prancing, pious prayer, deep repentance, texting, chewing gum, or heretical statements can make it any more or less the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord and Savior. So moving emphasis away from the awe-inspiring, mystical act that’s occurring on the altar, to our “right” for participation is an attempt to devalue the Eucharist.

    Besides the fact that everyone has a right to participate in the Latin Mass, it is simply understood that the altar servers respond verbally on behalf of the people. And the only thing preventing participation is ignorance. And is it not one of the spiritual works of mercy to instruct the ignorant, rather than change the mass?

    That being said, I’m an Eastern Rite Catholic, where our tradition is to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the vernacular. Almost everything is chanted, and we have no instruments other than the human voice. English does not detract from the mystery or reverence we have for our Lord in the Eucharist. We have other traditions, and strict rubrics ensuring no variation or deviation in the words spoken during the Liturgy, that help maintain the mystery and sanctity. However, the Roman Rite’s tradition is deeply tied to Latin, and it’s our traditions that help keep us rooted, more aware of the timeless-ness of the sacrifice on Calvary. Abandoning this tradition, in my opinion, came at the expense of belief in the Real Presence. If these last 50 years has shown us anything, it’s that the Novus Ordo did not work as planned, and the last thing the church needs, is to move further in that direction.

  12. Ed of Ct. says:

    Protestants have a flawed and heretical view of the reality of Christ in the Eucharist. The Protestant heresey is directly contradicted byJesus Christ himself in the Bible. He(Jesus) insisted on Transubstantiation as it is said clearly in the Bible. Not suprisingly also in the same verses of the Bible it plainly stated that many of Jesus’s follower Disciplies LEFT his company. Jesus did NOt run after them. Of those wayward discipilies they and their historical bretheran, Luther, Knox, Calvin and Henry 8th and Elizabeth First of England went the way of all misguided heretics. That is why there is only one Catholic Church and ten thousand or so Protestant fueding demoniations who often contradict one another in beliefs and practices. Only the Eastern Orthodox and maybe the Polish National catholic sect could ever share communion with the Roman Catholic-Eastern(Maronite, Chaldean etc.) no matter what Ecumenical sercice could be used.

  13. Brendan Kelleher svd, Japan says:

    Why can’t commenters stay on the point? Bp Duschak, on the basis of his experience put forward some key areas of concern respecting the proposed Liturgical Reform. Also, given that Pope John XXIII wanted Vatican II to have an ecumenical focus, he felt that the reform of the liturgy was one place where an ecumenical outreach might be possible. The Anglican and Lutheran services still maintained enough points of contact with the Roman Rite to hint at possibilities. Indeed, if you examine the current Anglican discipline the influence from the Roman Rite, is even more pronounced – they followed us not the other way round when they started on the path of Liturgical Reform some years after the end of Vatican II. And when you examine the Common Lectionary you see even more pronounced influence from the current Roman Lectionary.
    The comment of Ed of Ct, reflects a rather broadbrush approach to the history of the Reformation. Though Cramer was influenced by some of the debate and changes on the Continent, however during the reign of Henry VIII change was quite minimal. Most scholars would submit that Henry VIII still held an orthodox theology of the Eucharist, and we may need to be similarly more open minded re Elizabeth I. She actually requested a more conservative/orthodox revision of the Book of Common Prayer. The most radical edition didn’t come out until the reign of James I. Please consult a history of the Book of Common Prayer before writing.

    • Ed of Ct. says:

      Elizabeth first of England and others helped kill 200 thousand catholics in Britain and Ireland. St. John Fischer, Oliver Plunkett and sir Thomas More died and were dismembered by the radid anti Catholic English long before Oliver Cromwell.. Except for East Othdx. and possibly Polish Natl. Catholic non catholic do NOT believe in the reality of Christ(Transubstantiation) and they can NEVER recieve communion in the Catholic faith mass Regardless of any ecumenical service.

  14. Tony Spence says:

    Father Kelleher makes a salient point about the experiences that missionary bishops brought as council fathers. If you read through the posts prior to this one, and the one that went up this morning about an Indian archbishop’s intervention about the need for cultural adaptations to the marriage rites of the church, you can learn about their very real problems missionaries had in trying to make the church’s rites relevant to the cultures in which they ministered. This is an old tension in the church. Servant of God Father Matteo Ricci, the great 16th-17th century Jesuit missionary in China, was among the first to urge local cultural adaptations to what were basically European-styled liturgies and rites. Similar attempts were made in India. Both met with great resistance from other missionaries and from the Vatican and greatly impeded missionary work in both lands for many years. Of course, the Council ultimately accommodated a greater variety of cultural expressions in the ordinary form of the Mass and other liturgical rites. Today, the church is flourishing in Asia and Africa.

  15. That Hat Lady says:

    The entire point of the Bugnini mass of 1965 (today’s novus ordo) was to appease Protestants in this same way all over the world. We don’t need more of the same.

  16. tantamergo says:

    I disagree with Tony Spence. In point of fact, almost every single aspect highlighted by Bishop Duschak did wind up in the Novus Ordo Mass. Mass in the vernacular, facing the people, changes to the formula of Consecration, and general changes to the Mass to make it more “scriptural” (but only Scripture friendly to modernist presuppositions) were all included in the 1969/1970 Missal. The only desire of Bishop Duschak not implemented was to admit protestants to Communion – as a law or rubric, that has not occurred, but in practical terms, it goes on all the time as an abuse. A Lutheran minister at First Things wrote a piece to this effect in the past 2 weeks.

    In fact, this excerpt from Duschak’s intervention in the Council encapsulates the, to me, strongly disordered viewpoint of so many who championed “modernizing” the Mass. The New Mass was always intended to be very ecumenical, less offensive to protestants (by the removal of so much of the sacrificial aspect of the former, Traditional Mass), and much more focused on the horizontal, worldly aspect of the Church, minimizing the vertical, or spiritual aspect.

    I’d say, Duschak got just about everything he wanted. I further believe that 45 years of experience with the Novus Ordo reveals it to have been a disastrously bad prudential judgment, with incalculable impact to souls.

    To rebut Tony Spence’s most recent comment, inculturating the Mass in mission lands did not require that the Mass in already Catholic regions be similarly treated. While there may be some benefit to the New Mass in mission lands (but even this, I am very skeptical of), in Europe and the Americas the “benefits” have, in practice, been far outweighed by abuse, error, and even outright heresy. The result – collapses in Mass attendance, acceptance of Catholic Dogma, vocations, donations, etc., etc.

    But really, all this is just a cover for the modernist desire to achieve an “ecumenical” Mass almost devoid of its former sacrificial nature. That was the prime driver for the Novus Ordo, the rest is just window dressing.

  17. Brendan Kelleher svd, Japan says:

    That Hat Lady and tantamergo and people of their ilk are probably best described as “conspiracy theorists”, of who you seem to have your fair share in the USA. Both show either a lack of knowledge of history, or history that is filtered and secondhand. And using such terms as “modernist” shows a reliance on straw men to cover one’s ignorance of history.
    Trent was actually initially prepared to explore some of the avenues initially opened up by Vatican II, including inculturation, but actually held back. Also in the intervening years there were times when permission for celebrations of some of the Sacraments and other liturgies in the vernacular. Further tracing all the changes to Abp Bugnini is equally nonsense, liturgical renewal was being explored, with at least implicit acceptance by the local ordinary in various abbeys across the German speaking world since before World War II.
    By the way, Bp Duschak’s missionary community – the Society of the Divine Word, of which I am also by the grace of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit a member – is the only major male religious community to have lost less than 10% of its membership in the post-Vatican II era. We have not only increased the number of countries in which we work, but between upwards of 120 young men, including many from Africa and Asia, make their final profession as SVD’s each year. We must be doing something right if we are so blessed. And as we move on to newer challenges we give thanks for those like Bp Duschak who have gone before us.

  18. Gerard says:

    Does this bishop even have The Faith?

  19. Brendan Kelleher svd, Japan says:

    Gerard, that is the dumbest question I’ve seen in a long time. His whole life was a witness to his faith, to his commitment to the Word of God. His name is still spoken of with thanks and respect among ordinary people where he ministered as a missionary and bishop, and among those he inspired to become priests and missionaries.
    If he was alive, I’d suggest he sue you for slander.

  20. simmary says:

    Fr Brendan, thank you for your pastoral realism. Many other comments here are extremely disheartening

  21. Dunstan Harding says:

    Given the Pope’s growing encouragement for returning to the staged, all Latin clerical performances from before Vatican II , I shudder to contemplate what penance would await bishop Duschak today for publicly expressing a desire for an “ecumenical Mass” using only the words of Jesus, or, God forbid, perhaps calling for women to be admitted to the priesthood?.

    An appointment as chaplain to a convent of nuns petitioning for the canonization of Vichy leader Pierre Laval, or Spanish civil war veteran Francisco Franco? With the old dears celebrating only the Tridentine floor show liturgies of the16th century?

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