Author Topic: Reflections on the (N.O.) Funeral Mass for Bp Morlino  (Read 99 times)

Offline Der Polka-König

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Reflections on the (N.O.) Funeral Mass for Bp Morlino
« on: December 04, 2018, 11:33:44 PM »
This morning I attended the Funeral Mass for Bp Morlino -- undoubtedly one of the more important bishops of this time of crisis. It was, if I recall correctly, only the third Novus Ordo Mass I've attended in the last 6 years. Overall, I found everything quite pleasing (of course I would have preferred had they asked the Tridentine Mass Society to organize everything according to the traditional rites, but let's be realistic...), and, although I noticed a few things that caused my sensus Catholicus to cringe, other things gave me hope for our future even without dear Bp Morlino. I also realized that, although I am often regarded in my local circles as the one to go to with (pre-conciliar) rubrical questions, I still have never understood how the Novus Ordo works, nor why it is how it is -- with regard to the new rites, sciro me nescire, and I am quite content with that.

Visus non mentietur -- This was the episcopal motto of the Most Rev Robert Morlino. When he first arrived in Madison, his vision did not seem to have much to do with liturgy, rather, he was simply focused on defending Natural Law, and on increasing the number of quality vocations. In fact, for the first few years of his reign in Madison, his was the only diocese in Wisconsin to not have any TLMs under the Ecclesia Dei indult -- the SSPX chapel in western Dane County being the only place to assist at the traditional liturgy in those days. Although he knew the TLM -- Father Morlino had ministered to the Latin Mass community during his days as a priest in Michigan -- he had apprehensions during his early episcopal years. In fact, after Summorum Pontificum, Bp Morlino thanked Benedict XVI writing in his column in the diocesan paper, "I am joyful to act in obedience to the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict, and I am grateful to have been freed from the limitation of my own judgement." That December he celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the Throne with the assistance of the Institute of Christ the King, and there has never been a day of precept since without a diocesan-sanctioned TLM offered (usually many).

Over the next few years, Bp Morlino's focus on liturgy and romanitas seemed to grow exponentially. The experience of celebrating the fullness of the Roman Rite -- the traditional Pontifical Mass at the Throne -- seemed to enkindle something within him. The TLM is intrinsically tied to the Natural Law and to vocations; vocations and the Natural Law are both intrinsically tied to the TLM. The pieces of what had been broken over decades of tumult seemed to be gradually fitting back into place. What was intended to be a one-off Pontifical Mass to obediently acknowledge the Motu Proprio and appease the Latin Mass faithful quickly became a couple times per year, and soon they were nearly a monthly occurrence. Each time he celebrated the Pontifical Mass, Bp Morlino looked increasingly joyous and contented. He especially loved seeing more and more of the young priests and deacons he had ordained happily join in as Sacred Ministers, and he told his seminarians that he expected them to know how to celebrate the TLM before he ordained them to the priesthood. He clearly knew there was something powerful, something celestial about the Usus antiquior.

Of all the Pontifical Masses that he celebrated, Bp Morlino always gave special consideration to the annual All Souls' Day Requiem, which he celebrated for the deceased priests and bishops of the diocese. This was the first date to become an automatically assumed Pontifical Mass at the Throne here in Madison, and Bishop would often remark in the sacristy before and/or after Mass, I only hope you continue to do this for me after I have died. (I hope we do, too.) The last time I spoke with Bishop was at his final All Souls Day Pontifical Mass last month, for which I served as an MC. Something seemed off this time. I first grew concerned when, while praying the Dies Irae sequence, Bishop just had a look on his face as though he sensed his own day was rapidly approaching. I really knew something was wrong when he said he didn't want to preach a homily. For a Successor of the Apostles who so loved at every opportunity teaching the Truths of Natural Law, and especially to implore his flock to be always mindful of the Four Last Things and to avoid the errors of the modern world, bypassing the homily to go straight to Absolution at the catafalque was very out of character.

Bp Morlino taught me a lot over the years: through his words, by his example, and simply by providing me the opportunity to assist at so many Pontifical Masses -- which, I cannot stress enough, are really and truly the fullness of the Roman Rite. In the early days, serving these Masses was exceedingly stressful. I would spend hours upon hours drawing charts and writing out notes, carefully choreographing every movement. Over time, however, they have become natural, allowing me to actually pray and ponder the significance of each little action, rather than constantly worrying about who needs to be where and when. I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to contemplate and experience the true beauty of the Roman Rite in the sanctuary in this way. My liturgical sensibility -- and as a result, my understanding of the Faith itself -- has deepened profoundly thanks simply to Bp Morlino providing me ample opportunities to serve such Pontifical Masses.

Deeper understanding of the traditional Roman Rite, however, also means a deeper confoundment when faced with the novelties of the Novus Ordo. I don't think this becomes any more apparent than in the funeral liturgies. And there is probably nothing that disturbs my sensus Catholicus more than seeing white vestments at a Funeral Mass.

Many other, smaller details, however, leave me wondering why, why would they change what was so beautiful and so profoundly meaningful?

Why would a bishop celebrating a Mass of the Dead still use the crosier?
Why would the Kyrie ever be omitted?
Why would there be an Alleluia verse (and no Dies Irae) at a funeral?
Why would the Agnus Dei not be changed to "dona eis requiem"?
Why would the Pax still be given?
Why would the Paschal candle be placed at the head of the casket?
Why would they strip the Absolution rite, removing the Non Intres, the Libera Me, the Kyrie, and Pater Noster?
Does concelebration ever really make sense outside of an ordination?
Finally, (just my opinion) chanting the Roman tones in English sounds very awkward; we should stick with Latin.

Truly there is a great need for liturgical renewal, and especially for liturgical catechesis. We are not Pharisees; we do not engage in outward acts to be seen, or to please ourselves or others. No, the actions of our rites are the way they are because they make sense and are pleasing to God, and it is important we understand, as well as our feeble human brains can, why. They unite us more fully with the choirs of Angels, with the holy Saints, with the great Patriarchs and Prophets, and with the Blessed Virgin. It is time for Catholics to rediscover the meaning of our liturgical actions -- from the smallest gesture to the grandest bells of the Paschal Vigil --, and how they are meant to transform our minds and souls, directing them always towards Christ.

I have been largely reminiscing and griping, yet I said I was mostly pleased with the Funeral Mass this morning. Indeed, while I still find those aspects listed above troubling, there were also many things in which to find hope.

Although white vestments were worn by many of the concelebrating clergy, the Metropolitan Archbishop, deacons, and our Diocesan Administrator who preached the homily all wore violet (yes, black would be preferable, but it's at least a step in the right direction). Abp Listecki even celebrated Mass ad Orientem, which is definitely not something I expected him to do. The deacons (our three current seminarian-transitional deacons) all wore maniples, which is not at all abnormal for them. Some of the younger priests did a great job making the sanctuary look like it could actually be a Catholic church, compared to how that modern, suburban parish normally looks (remember that Madison has been without a cathedral since it was destroyed by arson in 2005). The pall-bearers were the last seven men to have been ordained to the priesthood by Bp Morlino, and among them 3 (or maybe 4?) had TLMs as their First Masses. In the homily, the Diocesan Administrator, our long-time Vicar General, and frequent TLM celebrant specifically stated that, while he had great respect and admiration for the bishop, he would not attempt to canonize Bp Morlino, and implored us to pray fervently for his soul. Looking back at the last two funerals for bishops here (Bp Morlino's predecessor and an Auxiliary Bishop), it is quite amazing how much the pendulum has begun to swing back towards restoration in the past decade.

Bp Morlino came to Madison hoping to defend the Natural Law in a liberal wasteland and to increase vocations. The diocese had 6 seminarians at that time. In his fifteen years, he ordained 40 men and we currently have around two dozen more in seminary, many of whom are eager to wake up early to visit and and sit in choir at the 7:30 AM TLM when they are back in town. The Vicar General and Vocations Director have both found a deep love -- and weapon for teaching seminarians their place as an alter Christus-in-training -- in the Traditional Rite.

The greatest lesson that Bp Morlino taught me, though I'm not sure if it was ever his intention, was that the unadulterated Roman Rite provides everything we need for understanding Natural Law and fostering vocations. It provides each of us with a greater understanding and appreciation of our role and our place in the Church -- whether a Successor of the Apostles, or a simple country parish priest, or a consecrated Religious, or a married man/woman, or a single layman. Yes, even the great Dioecesis Madisonensis has a very long way to go restoring this earthly component of the Church to where she was before the upheaval of the last century, but I am confident that he gradually steered us toward the right track, and if his successor will continue to follow this vision, it will not disappoint.

Requiescat in pace.
"The Modernists pass the same judgment on the most holy Fathers of the Church as they pass on tradition; decreeing, with amazing effrontery that, while personally most worthy of all veneration, they were entirely ignorant of history and criticism, for which they are only excusable on account of the time in which they lived. Finally, the Modernists try in every way to diminish and weaken the authority of the ecclesiastical magisterium itself by sacrilegiously falsifying its origin, character, and rights, and by freely repeating the calumnies of its adversaries."

-- St Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis
 
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Offline Christe Eleison

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Re: Reflections on the (N.O.) Funeral Mass for Bp Morlino
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2018, 07:11:57 AM »
This morning I attended the Funeral Mass for Bp Morlino -- undoubtedly one of the more important bishops of this time of crisis. It was, if I recall correctly, only the third Novus Ordo Mass I've attended in the last 6 years. Overall, I found everything quite pleasing (of course I would have preferred had they asked the Tridentine Mass Society to organize everything according to the traditional rites, but let's be realistic...), and, although I noticed a few things that caused my sensus Catholicus to cringe, other things gave me hope for our future even without dear Bp Morlino. I also realized that, although I am often regarded in my local circles as the one to go to with (pre-conciliar) rubrical questions, I still have never understood how the Novus Ordo works, nor why it is how it is -- with regard to the new rites, sciro me nescire, and I am quite content with that.

Visus non mentietur -- This was the episcopal motto of the Most Rev Robert Morlino. When he first arrived in Madison, his vision did not seem to have much to do with liturgy, rather, he was simply focused on defending Natural Law, and on increasing the number of quality vocations. In fact, for the first few years of his reign in Madison, his was the only diocese in Wisconsin to not have any TLMs under the Ecclesia Dei indult -- the SSPX chapel in western Dane County being the only place to assist at the traditional liturgy in those days. Although he knew the TLM -- Father Morlino had ministered to the Latin Mass community during his days as a priest in Michigan -- he had apprehensions during his early episcopal years. In fact, after Summorum Pontificum, Bp Morlino thanked Benedict XVI writing in his column in the diocesan paper, "I am joyful to act in obedience to the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict, and I am grateful to have been freed from the limitation of my own judgement." That December he celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the Throne with the assistance of the Institute of Christ the King, and there has never been a day of precept since without a diocesan-sanctioned TLM offered (usually many).

Over the next few years, Bp Morlino's focus on liturgy and romanitas seemed to grow exponentially. The experience of celebrating the fullness of the Roman Rite -- the traditional Pontifical Mass at the Throne -- seemed to enkindle something within him. The TLM is intrinsically tied to the Natural Law and to vocations; vocations and the Natural Law are both intrinsically tied to the TLM. The pieces of what had been broken over decades of tumult seemed to be gradually fitting back into place. What was intended to be a one-off Pontifical Mass to obediently acknowledge the Motu Proprio and appease the Latin Mass faithful quickly became a couple times per year, and soon they were nearly a monthly occurrence. Each time he celebrated the Pontifical Mass, Bp Morlino looked increasingly joyous and contented. He especially loved seeing more and more of the young priests and deacons he had ordained happily join in as Sacred Ministers, and he told his seminarians that he expected them to know how to celebrate the TLM before he ordained them to the priesthood. He clearly knew there was something powerful, something celestial about the Usus antiquior.

Of all the Pontifical Masses that he celebrated, Bp Morlino always gave special consideration to the annual All Souls' Day Requiem, which he celebrated for the deceased priests and bishops of the diocese. This was the first date to become an automatically assumed Pontifical Mass at the Throne here in Madison, and Bishop would often remark in the sacristy before and/or after Mass, I only hope you continue to do this for me after I have died. (I hope we do, too.) The last time I spoke with Bishop was at his final All Souls Day Pontifical Mass last month, for which I served as an MC. Something seemed off this time. I first grew concerned when, while praying the Dies Irae sequence, Bishop just had a look on his face as though he sensed his own day was rapidly approaching. I really knew something was wrong when he said he didn't want to preach a homily. For a Successor of the Apostles who so loved at every opportunity teaching the Truths of Natural Law, and especially to implore his flock to be always mindful of the Four Last Things and to avoid the errors of the modern world, bypassing the homily to go straight to Absolution at the catafalque was very out of character.

Bp Morlino taught me a lot over the years: through his words, by his example, and simply by providing me the opportunity to assist at so many Pontifical Masses -- which, I cannot stress enough, are really and truly the fullness of the Roman Rite. In the early days, serving these Masses was exceedingly stressful. I would spend hours upon hours drawing charts and writing out notes, carefully choreographing every movement. Over time, however, they have become natural, allowing me to actually pray and ponder the significance of each little action, rather than constantly worrying about who needs to be where and when. I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to contemplate and experience the true beauty of the Roman Rite in the sanctuary in this way. My liturgical sensibility -- and as a result, my understanding of the Faith itself -- has deepened profoundly thanks simply to Bp Morlino providing me ample opportunities to serve such Pontifical Masses.

Deeper understanding of the traditional Roman Rite, however, also means a deeper confoundment when faced with the novelties of the Novus Ordo. I don't think this becomes any more apparent than in the funeral liturgies. And there is probably nothing that disturbs my sensus Catholicus more than seeing white vestments at a Funeral Mass.

Many other, smaller details, however, leave me wondering why, why would they change what was so beautiful and so profoundly meaningful?

Why would a bishop celebrating a Mass of the Dead still use the crosier?
Why would the Kyrie ever be omitted?
Why would there be an Alleluia verse (and no Dies Irae) at a funeral?
Why would the Agnus Dei not be changed to "dona eis requiem"?
Why would the Pax still be given?
Why would the Paschal candle be placed at the head of the casket?
Why would they strip the Absolution rite, removing the Non Intres, the Libera Me, the Kyrie, and Pater Noster?
Does concelebration ever really make sense outside of an ordination?
Finally, (just my opinion) chanting the Roman tones in English sounds very awkward; we should stick with Latin.

Truly there is a great need for liturgical renewal, and especially for liturgical catechesis. We are not Pharisees; we do not engage in outward acts to be seen, or to please ourselves or others. No, the actions of our rites are the way they are because they make sense and are pleasing to God, and it is important we understand, as well as our feeble human brains can, why. They unite us more fully with the choirs of Angels, with the holy Saints, with the great Patriarchs and Prophets, and with the Blessed Virgin. It is time for Catholics to rediscover the meaning of our liturgical actions -- from the smallest gesture to the grandest bells of the Paschal Vigil --, and how they are meant to transform our minds and souls, directing them always towards Christ.

I have been largely reminiscing and griping, yet I said I was mostly pleased with the Funeral Mass this morning. Indeed, while I still find those aspects listed above troubling, there were also many things in which to find hope.

Although white vestments were worn by many of the concelebrating clergy, the Metropolitan Archbishop, deacons, and our Diocesan Administrator who preached the homily all wore violet (yes, black would be preferable, but it's at least a step in the right direction). Abp Listecki even celebrated Mass ad Orientem, which is definitely not something I expected him to do. The deacons (our three current seminarian-transitional deacons) all wore maniples, which is not at all abnormal for them. Some of the younger priests did a great job making the sanctuary look like it could actually be a Catholic church, compared to how that modern, suburban parish normally looks (remember that Madison has been without a cathedral since it was destroyed by arson in 2005). The pall-bearers were the last seven men to have been ordained to the priesthood by Bp Morlino, and among them 3 (or maybe 4?) had TLMs as their First Masses. In the homily, the Diocesan Administrator, our long-time Vicar General, and frequent TLM celebrant specifically stated that, while he had great respect and admiration for the bishop, he would not attempt to canonize Bp Morlino, and implored us to pray fervently for his soul. Looking back at the last two funerals for bishops here (Bp Morlino's predecessor and an Auxiliary Bishop), it is quite amazing how much the pendulum has begun to swing back towards restoration in the past decade.

Bp Morlino came to Madison hoping to defend the Natural Law in a liberal wasteland and to increase vocations. The diocese had 6 seminarians at that time. In his fifteen years, he ordained 40 men and we currently have around two dozen more in seminary, many of whom are eager to wake up early to visit and and sit in choir at the 7:30 AM TLM when they are back in town. The Vicar General and Vocations Director have both found a deep love -- and weapon for teaching seminarians their place as an alter Christus-in-training -- in the Traditional Rite.

The greatest lesson that Bp Morlino taught me, though I'm not sure if it was ever his intention, was that the unadulterated Roman Rite provides everything we need for understanding Natural Law and fostering vocations. It provides each of us with a greater understanding and appreciation of our role and our place in the Church -- whether a Successor of the Apostles, or a simple country parish priest, or a consecrated Religious, or a married man/woman, or a single layman. Yes, even the great Dioecesis Madisonensis has a very long way to go restoring this earthly component of the Church to where she was before the upheaval of the last century, but I am confident that he gradually steered us toward the right track, and if his successor will continue to follow this vision, it will not disappoint.

Requiescat in pace.


Thank you for this lovely post. I wish I could have been there. May God Bless you.

 Requiescat in pace   :pray1: :pray2: :pray3:
 
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Offline Christe Eleison

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Video of the Funeral Mass on Tues. 12-4-18

https://www.facebook.com/madisondiocese/videos/3336530693042931/


 :pray2: :pray3: