Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The way some Ordinary Form Masses are celebrated makes me want to breathe fire!

I just got this email from one of my new parishioners from this year's RCIA. This is what he wrote (I'll keep him anonymous but he's free to claim authorship!):

I just wanted to write you and say thank you for all that you have done over the past year. Over the past few weekends, I have been in Virginia for various occasions, and got to attend Mass at 5 different parishes. I think reading your blog, and attending most Masses in our Diocese, it was kinda hard to imagine the troubles that you sometimes referred to. I think I have now seen most of the big no-nos and lack of reverence firsthand. Most people seemed that they were just going through the motions, and probably weren't taught anything beyond "Go to Mass every Sunday." One parish in particular was really heartbreaking, and I remember afterwards praying that God would wake them up to realize what they are missing out on. I did get to attend an FSSP parish though, and that was really neat!

So thank you for setting up a great RCIA program, and for constantly catechizing your flock! Keep up the great work, and God Bless!

My comments: I do not have a desire to go back exclusively to the Tridentine Mass also known now as the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I do have a very strong desire that the Ordinary Form of the Mass not be celebrated in a way that makes it look like something altogether different than the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

I do not think the Ordinary Form of the Mass is intrinsically flawed, but the way liturgists told priests and congregations how to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass at the outset and well into the first 50 years of the Ordinary Form is what is intrinsically flawed. We are only slowly but I am not sure if it is surely, making inroads against this travesty.

The greatest enemies of the Ordinary Form of the Mass is casual folksiness, rote participation that is merely external with little or no internal wonder, fear and awe in the presence of God.

Music is the biggest elephant in the room and contributes to this casual blah! When priests and choirs or ensembles present themselves in the entertaining posture, facing the people, and actually trying to entertain them, then the sacred becomes profane and tiresome.

The lack of attention to detail is a big culprit too.


Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

Father, forgive me if I've missed it, but what is your ideal version of the Ordinary Form?

Would it be ad orientum? Latin? Sign of Peace? Who leads the psalms and from where?

Most of the Extraordinary Form critics I'm aware of cite ad orientum and Latin as they two biggest complaints.

Marc said...

Don't forget the other issue of variation within the same "Rite" from parish to parish. That is something that is a huge problem and is amplified by the variation typically being liturgical abused.

The Catholocity of the Church is not dependent on uniformity of Rite (as the Church has always expressed the liturgy in multiple Rites). However, as far as I know, since the codification of the Roman Rite in the 6th Century, there is little history of derivation within the Rite. (I mean "Rite" in a broader sense here).

Roamin' Catholics can have a hard time these days as you just never know what you're going to get! Think of those poor souls who come from those loopy parishes who stumble into St. Joseph's while on vacation!

Nate said...

That e-mail looks familiar...

There was definitely a flashback this past weekend that Gene referred to about a month ago in regards to people receiving Communion. "Oh hey...nice hair...going to soccer practice after Mass?...want to have the Body of Christ...okay now, amen, bye bye!"

The FSSP parish was awesome and very reverent, and the only differences from a low Latin Mass at St. Joseph's was that they had an altar rail! I think I might make that my Virginia parish when I am in town from now on...

Marc, I think those poor fortunate souls who stumble into St. Joseph's are how things will change in other places...they then will realize what is missing...and one match is all that is needed to start a fire!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think ad orientem or celebrating Mass facing the people in an ad orientem way is the way to go and kneeling for Holy Communion.

I'm not opposed to the sign of peace, but perhaps it should be for only the Solemn Sung Mass, with deacon and sub-deacon and that the laity are taught the Roman way of exchanging the sign of peace--but all kidding aside, I think the sign of peace when it is properly catechized is no big deal.
I love the English, especially the new English even with its Latin Syntax and certain warts as it is far better than the old English we had, but I wouldn't mind some Latin, but I think it needs to be clear when and where. Oddly enough the new English Missal does not have a Latin Appendix for the Order of the Mass as the Old English Sacramentary had, but there are two Latin responses in the new missal, the Latin Our Father and Agnus Dei. Maybe these are what will eventually be mandated in a minimalist sense in the future?

I might ask others who have heard me doing it, I've begone to chant the Epiclesis and words of institution at all the Sunday Mass and I do so in a way that I'm clearing not directing what I have chanting and gesturing to the laity, would this not then be an example of facing the people in an ad orientem way and symbolizing the quiet consecration in a chanted sort of way?

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

If the OF was done ad orientum with either all Latin or mostly, then what are we really talking about?

If the EF had one extra reading, prayers of the faithful, and the sign of peace in the congregation, wouldn't that be the ideal OF?

If that were to happen then what would be the point of having two forms?

IMHO going forward the best route is to demand all priests say the OF just as it is but reverently. Teach Latin and the EF in the seminaries. In ten years or so most parishes could offer both forms. Have an OF at 9am and a Missa Cantata at 11.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Waterloo, this goes back to my premise that we could still have the new English Missal, lectionary and calendar but have the 1965 order of Mass and rubrics, make the Latin Roman Canon quietly mandatory and allow for the vernacular for any other parts, but not to exclude Latin as an option. Add the Prayers of the Faithful as an option (technically the Roman Canon as built-in General Intercessions) and allow for an offertory procession of offerings.
Talk about the hermeneutic of continuity!

Anonymous 2 said...

Father McDonald said in response to the first photograph: “The way some Ordinary Form Masses are celebrated makes me want to breathe fire!”

Father, I hate to say it but the jokes are dragin now and you are at risk of becoming a member of the same club to which I have long belonged.

BTW, didn’t the fire-marshal object?

Bill Meyer said...

As to the sign of peace, when people leave their pews to give the sign, it's gone too far. Worship is worship; a party belongs elsewhere.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Fr., How do you face the people in an "ad orientum way?" I love the way you do the NO...if we must have it, then the way you do it is the way to go. I would love to see EMHC's go, as well as the "sign of peace," which has become a bad joke in many parishes.

Templar said...

Gene, when I read that (facing the people in an ad orientem way) I assumed Father was speaking of the Benedictene Altar arrangement.

Personally I don't believe that more than a handful are even aware of the small cross on the Altar and it's purpose there. They still see it as Mass facing "them" and as father praying to "them" and they are their to watch the "show"

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Templar, that makes sense, I just wasn't sure what he meant. I thought he might be using a big mirror or something...LOL!