Monday, January 2, 2012


Today at the Rorate Caeli blog there is a lament about the slowness of the reform of the reform on the parish level. The author has many good points. Where I disagree with him is that progress isn't being made. This is what he had to say and I'll make some comments at the end:

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.


Bill Meyer said...

It has been my impression that the GIRM has in the past been the path through which some rather broad latitudes have been taken in interpreting what may be practiced in the liturgy. My study of such things has not been extensive, and I may certainly be in error. I would be most appreciative if someone could provide enlightenment.

Bill Meyer said...

Does the title of the article mean that the laity are no more able to understand the word requiem than the word ineffable? ;)

Robert Kumpel said...

Since (even though eulogies are not a part of a Catholic funeral Mass) it has become the norm for the priest to canonize the deceased at Mass, I have instructed my wife to do the following in the event of my death: She is to go up after Mass to "say a few words" on behalf of the family (as has become the norm). What she is instructed to say is this:

"My husband, Robert, knew he was a sinful man. He does not want your fond memories or your praise. He wants and needs your prayers right now. As Catholics, we know there is a Purgatory and Robert wanted all of you to know that if he was fortunate enough to be saved that he desperately needs your prayers because of the suffering he is now undergoing in Purgatory. Please do not forget him in your prayers or any of your other deceased loved ones."

That probably will exclude me from getting a funeral Mass in the Diocese of Savannah, but I don't plan on being buried here anyway.

Templar said...

I find myself in complete agreement with the author of the Rorate post.

Okay, we changed some words, that's good, very good.

But what about the rest of the abuses that exist in the NO? When will they be corrected?

I like one of the comments on the Rorate Blog which says roughly, if we fix everything the author complains about being wrong with the NO we'd be left with the NO Mass that Cardinal Ottaviani declared was unorthodox in 1969.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

another iPhone deletion, where's my blackberry?

Marc has left a new comment on your post "REFORM OF THE REFORM AND REQUIEM MASSES, I MEAN, F...":

Templar, I think you and the writer of the Rorate Caeli article make the same excellent, worthwhile point: We must not fall into complacency based on this new translation as if it actually fixes the deep theological and historical problems with the Novus Ordo Mass. Those who are much smarter than I am (like Cardinal Ottaviani, whom you mentioned) have determined there are significant problems with the Novus Ordo based on a review of the Latin text and not the English translation.

Is the new translation a step in the right direction? Possibly. But, for example, the same old options remain for the priests celebrating the Mass and the priests can still do a little "improv", as I discovered at an anticipated Mass Saturday night in the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi.

Quite frankly, until priests relearn obedience, the privilege of saying Mass in their own language needs be taken away. If a priest knows enough Latin to ad lib during the Tridentine Mass, at least it shows that he knows the language of the Church!

(Sorry for the rant... it still annoys and baffles me every time I have to experience this ad libbing... it's really my fault for bothering to learn so much about the liturgy. Sometimes I wish I could just do a brain dump on all this research and be a clean slate like most of the others in the pews. I really do not want to be the "Temple Police"...)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

another iPhone deletion:

Joseph Johnson has left a new comment on your post "REFORM OF THE REFORM AND REQUIEM MASSES, I MEAN, F...":

Good for you! For some time now, my will has had the request that my Requiem Mass be said in the EF. If, for some reason, that isn't possible, my second choice is a Latin Novus Ordo with black vestments and the Roman Canon (as close as the OF Funeral Mass gets to the EF Requiem). Perhaps I should consider a similar instruction to my wife as well as a request for the Propers to be chanted (maybe in English because the choir wouldn't be up to the Latin) with no "On Eagle's Wings" under any circumstances!

servusmariaen said...

I found the link below for a funeral mass in the ordinary form at St Etheldreda Church in London. I was unaware that one could have such a traditional style requiem in the ordinary form. I should like such a funeral.