st. hippolytus

In [the works of St. Hippolytus] there are numerous allusions and references to the Blessed Virgin, which are strictly tied to a christological context. Hippolytus is aware that the heresies that change right doctrine about Jesus Christ inevitably affect his Mother as well. She has an essential role in the mystery of the Incarnation, so that, if the nature of her relationship with the Son of God become man is not exactly defined, the purity of faith in the mystery of the incarnate Word is endangered.
—  Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought (Ignatius, 1999), p.86.

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever
~ St. Hippolytus (AD 190-236)

Traditional Catholic Mass..

There are so many urban legends that circulate in the Catholic blogosphere, and I don’t have the time to write the book it would take to rebut them. But concerning Vatican Council II and the “New Mass” (Ordinary Form), let me just make a few historical notes for the benefit of the Catholic Tumblr community. These are taken from conversations I had with my seminary liturgy professor. 

My professor was actually at Vatican II. These are some things he pointed out.

–The Catholic bishops met between 1962 and 1965.

–They did not meet every day for the whole year. Each session of Vatican II took place at St. Peter’s in Rome, in the months of October, November, and the beginning of December.

–Before flying to Rome, and after leaving Rome in December, each bishop received packages in the mail with huge stacks of documents to be studied and discussed later at the council.

–The bishops gathered in St. Peter’s basilica, which had an excellent sound system set up with microphones so that bishops could make interventions and comments during the council presentations and talks.

–The seating was like a stadium, with sections. There was a section for Protestant observers. They had no microphones and were not allowed to speak, at all, to the gathered bishops–only listen.

–Bishops could visit with, an interact with, the Protestants, before or after the working day of speeches and presentations. But during Vatican II, no Protestant ever spoke, even once, to the Catholic bishops, or voted, even once, on anything published at Vatican II.

–Besides the Protestant “auditores” (observers) there was another section for the Catholic nuns who were invited to be “auditrices” (female observers). These were women from the major religious orders.

–It never occurred to the Catholic bishops to ever allow the Sisters to speak or give input. Like the Protestants, they had no microphones.

–We find it bizarre, but in those days people took it for granted that a Church Council was for Catholic bishops to give input at, and everyone else was to be quiet, to be seen and not heard, even Catholic Sisters who did at least 50% or more of all the Catholic apostleship.

–My professor knew impeccable Latin and French. So, as the council bishops spoke in Latin, he would be facing the Protestant observers, who had earphones on their heads and would have everything translated to them in French. He had help from other translators who worked during Vatican II.

–A few Catholic bishops were stubborn and refused to speak in Latin, but spoke in French instead, which was considered something of an international language at the time.

–There were lots of nice dinners and parties throughout Rome during the Council. The bishops liked to have nice social dinners LOL. Many of the bishops interacted with the Protestant observers, who were all scholars and very educated theologians in their own churches.

–Fr. Hans Kung was making a lot of money from his liberal books and articles. He bought an expensive sports car and drove around Rome showing it off, along with his flashy new suits. So much for liberal priests always being into poverty and social justice.

–Concerning the Mass, my professor said it was only the Tridentine Mass recently edited by St. John XXIII in 1962.

–My professor would laugh when people would speak of the “liberal Mass of Vatican II” since they did not realize that the only Mass at Vatican II was the Latin, Tridentine Mass. 

–Everything at Vatican II, prayers, ceremonies, speeches, were conducted in Latin, except for the few times a bishop would insist on speaking in French. One bishop who spoke only in French was Armenian Cardinal, Greg Agagianian.

–After the 1962 session, the bishops called for a “thorough reform” of the rites. All of these bishops had grown up only with Latin and the rituals from the Council of Trent. But they believed that the Mass and sacraments needed an updating by 1962.

–A “Consilium” was set up during Vatican II. It was a liturgical commission for studying the Mass and Sacraments with a view to reforming them.

Now, this is where it gets tricky. In the traditionalist Catholic blogosphere, people speak of Protestants observing, and then giving input. That’s where you get that famous black and white photo of Pope Paul VI allegedly meeting with Protestants who “helped put together the Novus Ordo.”

What is lost is this. First of all, the “Novus Ordo” is not from Vatican II. The Novus Ordo did not go into effect until November of 1969, four years after Vatican II had already disbanded.

We must make a distinction between the COUNCIL, and the CONSILIUM. Yes, there were Protestants at the Vatican Council. NO, there were no Protestants on the Consilium.

The Consilium, or commission for drafting new liturgical texts, was composed of bishops and priest scholars who had been writing about the liturgy for decades. It only met a few times a year in Rome. 

The members all had full time jobs and did not have time to be in Rome having meetings all the time. Mostly, each guy worked from his home location. They were all priests. No lay people. No nuns. And absolutely NO PROTESTANTS.

Again, Vatican II had Protestant “observers.” The Consilium’s members were only Catholic bishops and priests. Clear? Capisce?

The rest of the year, documents circulated among members and were then sent with revisions to Rome, where priests working in the Vatican began writing or putting together new rituals based on the Consilium suggestions and the suggestions of bishops/Cardinals who were not on the Consilium, but were still consultors.

The Consilium members had all studied the Missals and Sacramentaries of the Ancient Church and early Medieval Catholicism. While keeping many of the Tridentine prayers from the Traditional Latin Mass, they also incorporated texts from the Ambrosian, Gelasian, Leonine, and other ancient texts of the liturgy.

So, it is not historically true that the Novus Ordo was made up, on the spot, and out of thin air. Even the rumors that some prayers were made up in the cafes of Rome would not be accurate, because the Consilium carefully documented the sources for the prayers of the Missal. 

For instance, Eucharistic Prayer III which was supposedly invented out of thin air was composed by Fr. Cipriano Vagaggini in the 1940′s, and was circulated and discussed by bishops even before Vatican II. Eucharistic Prayer II which was supposedly composed at a cafe in Rome can easily be seen as originating from the prayers of St. Hippolytus in the 2nd and 3rd century of Rome. Let us repeat again that in the Ordinary Form, there are still many, many prayers lifted out of the Missal of Pius V.

Besides the debates between scholars regarding the Ordinary Form, we have a record of numerous cardinals and bishops who wrote in after they received the huge draft copies in the mail. The bishop of my diocese, Aloysius Willinger, used to speak of comments and input he gave back in the mid-60′s when he would get draft copies from the Consilium.

The canard about the Roman Missal of Paul VI being used by Protestants is simply laughable and preposterous. There was not one, single Protestant denomination that adopted the New Mass. The language of “offertory” and the Latin “offerimus” found throughout the Novus Ordo in Latin was found to be extremely objectionable. 

For all the talk that the Novus Ordo has “no sense of sacrifice” the Protestant theologian Max Thurian made very clear that in Protestantism, nothing is “offered” to God. That, he said, is Catholic theology of the Mass as propitiatory sacrificed “offered to God.”

Protestant theology insists that the only offering given to God was given by Jesus at the Cross. Therefore, even the supposedly watered down language of the Novus Ordo presupposes with “offering” that we are making a sacrifice to God.

Such language contradicts clearly the teaching of the Protestant Reformers, who said that at worship we can praise God, thank Him through Jesus, and repent of sin. But in no way can Protestant liturgy accept the idea that at worship, we “offer” anything for we are nothing and Christ is alone the One who offers sacrifice to His Father.

Hopefully, this gives the Tumblr Catholic community a sense of how to see the traditionalist accusations of Paul VI. I hate to say it, but it is now a given that anything quoted from Paul VI or Consilium head, Annibale Bugnini, has to be taken with a grain of salt and vetted to see if there is any accuracy to the quote. Quite a few juicy traditionalists quotes are practically made up out of thin air, if not a complete distortion of the words of Paul VI and Bugnini.

He is risen!

Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead,
the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever

St. Hippolytus of Rome

[W]hen you have been deified, God has promised you a share in every one of his own attributes. The saying “know yourself” means therefore that we should recognize and acknowledge in ourselves the God who made us in his own image, for if we do this, we in turn will be recognised and acknowledged by our Maker.
—  The treatise of St Hippolytus On the Refutation of All Heresies, second reading from the office of readings today