As I look at my blog and the tendency for bloggers to leave no thought unblogged, I've noticed that I have not always been fair and balanced evaluating the Ordinary Form of the Mass with the Extraordinary Form. Is the Extraordinary Form perfect? Some would say yes and others would wonder.
Despite anything I have written, I do love the Ordinary Form of the Mass. I especially appreciate the new lectionary that has allowed Catholics to hear more of the Bible. I do think the biggest problem with the OF Mass has been the style of hymns that have been foisted on it and super creativity imposed upon it by priests and liturgy committees. Let's be clear, even in the OF Mass, there is a prescribed Introit now called the Entrance Antiphon. Almost no parishes anywhere actually sing it. Rather a Hymn is substituted. The hymns that substitute the official antiphons of the Missal are the problem. With the EF Mass, you must say or sing the official Introit, Offertory Antiphon (which is eliminated unfortunately in the OF Missal) and Communion Antiphon. Some even in Pre-Vatican II times, felt adding additional music to the EF Mass, like a processional hymn, offertory hymn, communion hymn and recessional hymn was a liturgical abuse but these were common and the vernacular was allowed for these hymns so they were popular.
When I was in Augusta, on the first Saturday of each month we sang a pure Gregorian Chanted Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form and facing the people. All the official chants were sung and there was no vernacular hymns. It was very monastic and spiritually powerful. It was beautiful. It was the purest form of the revised Mass I have ever celebrated. It touched the soul and not the hormones.
My critique of the EF Mass is that it can be too priest oriented. I am dismayed when I hear absolutely nothing coming from the congregation in terms of spoken and sung responses. The 1962 Mass allows for verbal and sung active participation while not ever negating interior participation that is silent. The two are not mutually exclusive. It is not either or, but both and.
I do love the Latin, but why the phobia of the vernacular for the EF. Just as there seems to be a phobia for Latin in the OF,why the phobia in the EF for the vernacular? With good vernacular translations, I would joyfully embrace the vernacular for all changing parts of the Mass, like the collects and prefaces. I would have no problem with the parts of the Mass in the vernacular. To maintain the tradition of Latin, I see no difficulty with the priest's and congregation parts that never change remaining in Latin. The laity could memorize these by heart in their own language thus not being befuddled by the language or glued to a missal. In other words, in Latin or in the vernacular, the congregation needs to be heard in all of the parts that the altar boys say and they should sing when possible, especially simple Latin Gregorian chanted parts of the Mass.
Keep in mind that Pope Benedict and Ecclesia Dei have confirmed that new lectionary can be used in the EF Mass with the readings in the vernacular and facing the people. This makes a tremendous amount of sense to me. In future revisions of the EF Mass, it would be a good idea to allow the option of adopting the Ordinary calendar of the Church for the EF Mass, which would simply mean doing the collects and preface and antiphons from the OF Mass for that particular Sunday or weekday in Latin with the English new lectionary readings. That would truly be a reform of the reform in an awesome way.