Monday, May 28, 2012
A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM MASS
Since I'm so good at making modest proposals for the reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, (proposals that in some ways could be implemented now if a priest didn't mind getting on the bad side of his bishop by doing these reforms independent of the rest of the diocese or without endorsement, which having the bishop's endorsement is always nice to have), I thought that I would make a modest proposal for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass which I think is in continuity with the hermeneutic that Pope Benedict is suggesting for the gravitational pull on both forms by having both forms of the Mass celebrated today by priests and congregations.
It has to do with the Liturgy of the Word, or The Mass of Catechumens. I had this brainstorm yesterday in fact. Currently at St. Joseph, we read the Scriptures in English and I have one of the adult servers read the Epistle on the Epistle side of the altar, but below the steps and facing the congregation.
I would see no difficulty and would find it totally acceptable for the Epistle to be read from the ambo. At St. Joseph, the ambo is on the Gospel side of the Church. I would have no difficultly reading the Gospel from the ambo also. I find it totally unnecessary for the priest to have to read both of these in Latin first at the altar and then again in English and I find it even more absurd to read it in English at the altar facing away from the Congregation. The readings are for the laity and priest to hear, these are not prayers directed to God.
If there is ever a return to a unified Roman Missal for the Latin Rite, meaning that we only have one form of the Mass rather than two as we currently have, I think for the most part the revised missal will look and feel more the like the 1962 Missal in many ways but the Liturgy of the Word will look and sound like the reformed missal. I am not clairvoyant but some think that I am. Who knows but God?
I might add that our little men's schola led us in Gregorian chant marvelously for our EF Pentecost Mass. And yes, there is a very different traditional spiritual feel that I get from a Gregorian Sung Mass and it is called the Catholic Feel! I don't get that with more contemporary sounding music we have in the OF Mass. There is definitely something different about Gregorian Chant. And the Pentecost Sequence was out of this world.
The difference in Gregorian Chant versus the contemporary styles of music we have is that it enables contemplation of heavenly mysteries without the cheap narcotic-like stimulus of the contemporary sounds!