Monday, January 2, 2012
REFORM OF THE REFORM AND REQUIEM MASSES, I MEAN, FUNERAL MASSES
Last week I traveled to the American Midwest for the funeral of my aunt. Roughly one year ago, I was in the same region for the death of another aunt, which prompted me to start the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. Why? Because my aunt was "canonized" from the pulpit -- even after I pleaded with the priest in private not to -- and robbed of the prayers she deserved.
But this year would be different. So drastically different than before because of the new-new translation of the Novus Ordo, which has been so hailed by conservative Catholics, that I probably wouldn't even recognize the disastrous Mass of my youth.
If you believe all the hype of the new-new translation, then you must believe that my aunt's Requiem Mass would be very different from the last one. Gone, I was sure, would be all abuses that made me more sad than her death itself.
Gone would be the priest turning his back on Christ and now facing liturgical east; gone would be the tabernacle hidden off to the side; gone would be the "Eucharistic Ministers" and women holding their hands up on stage, I mean, the altar, telling us how to sing; for that matter, gone would be On Eagle's Wings, Here I am Lord and Amazing Grace and back would be the classical settings Requiem Mass, or the graceful silence of a low Mass; gone would be the abomination of Communion in the hand; gone would be women in the sanctuary and girl altar boys; gone would be married deacons sermonizing; gone would be the priest as mere presider and back as an Alter Christus; gone would be talking and laughing in the church before and after Mass; gone would be men in sneakers and jeans and women in miniskirts and uncovered heads; gone would be the long lines for Communion by those same Catholics who do not go to confession; gone would be the heresy of proclaiming the dead in Heaven simply because they died.
Back would be the priest facing the altar of sacrifice and the true Holy Sacrifice on Calvary; back would be Communion on the tongue while kneeling; back would be incense and bells and the Real Presence believed by all; back would be lines for confession before and during Mass; back would be the masculine sanctuary where altar boys are acolytes and vocations in the making; back would be the faithful kneeling during the Sanctus and the Angus Dei; back would be the tabernacle in the middle of the sanctuary because back would be the high altar that was torn out during the dark days when Vatican II was simply "misunderstood"; back would be the priest denying Communion to those at Mass whom he knew for sure to be Protestant; and, thankfully, back would be the priest instructing those at the Mass to pray for my aunt, because back would be the authentic theology believed by all, the teaching on the Four Last Things and the possibility she is in Purgatory.
But, alas, back was the same old Novus Ordo with so little change that I could barely notice a difference from when I was a child well over 30 years ago. Because this new-new translation is so utterly worthless, and because changing a few words here and there do nothing to re-form a poorly formed priest possibly preaching heresy from the pulpit, another member of my family was robbed of her right for prayers to be said upon her death.
We wrote here a while back that the new-new translation of the Novus Ordo was "irrelevant." Now that I've witnessed it in person, and have seen first-hand the rotten fruits that come from it, I'd use another word for it, for deceiving many of our friends into believing things have really changed: dangerous.
My comments: The revised English translation of the Funeral Mass is far superior than the older one. The problem with our current Mass, whether funeral or otherwise is that the propers are optional in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
By propers, I mean, the official Entrance Chant (Introit) and Offertoy and Communion chants. These can be substituted by other hymns and here is the problem the hymns that are chosen can be quite horrid,like Eagle Wings and Be not Afraid and even worse "Old Danny Boy!"
All it would take is for the Holy Father to remove the options and mandate these chants either in Latin or the vernacular.
Now that doesn't mean venerable hymns have to be dumped altogehter but they should not supplant the official chants.
At Saint Joseph Church, we chant the official Introit during the sprinkling of the Body at the Entrance of the Church and as the pall is placed on the casket and then we sing a metrical hymn. The Offertory and communion chants are chanted as well and then additional songs are sung.
This is what we do for Sunday Mass too. The official Entrance antiphon is chanted as the procession begins and then this leads into a metrical hymn. Also the offertory and communion antiphons are always chanted then other music is sung.
Now as far as canonizing the deceased, that really needs proper catechesis and concern from the bishop.