Monday, June 4, 2012


As I've posted before I love the vernacular Mass but wonder why some Latin wasn't mandated to be maintained for the revised Ancient Mass (RAM). I like too that there is a clear desire on the part of the Church that the laity participate in the parts of the Mass that belong to them which was symbolically taken by the altar boys in the Unrevised Ancient Mass (UAM).

I like some (not all) idioms of newer music and chants in the vernacular.

I love the RAM's lectionary. I like the UAM's one year Sunday lectionary, but I don't think it is enough--I wish it could be implemented as an additional year such as "d" and we'd here it again every four years.

I have absolutely no problem with well trained altar boys and girls and lay men and women as lectors.

I loved the priest facing the congregation initially, but now see how this has corrupted the nature of prayer and worship when it is perceived that the priest is praying toward the laity rather than praying with them toward God.

I have never liked standing for Holy Communion or receiving in the hand. I have only intellectually appropriated that in my personal life but not emotionally. I clearly remember as a 20 something when our local parish went from kneeling to standing that I simply did not like it as well and seemed to rush the moment of Holy Communion.

As a priest I have seen the abuse of the Holy Eucharist by those who have taken the host from the church, back to the pew or discarded on the floor or shared it with others when they receive in the hand. I have seen children take the host casually, their hands a moving target for the minister and loss of the traditional piety of the Church for the Holy Eucharist.

I don't like the common chalice because of germ concerns. It creates a "yuk" factor for me and I refuse to drink the ablutions of a chalice that has been used by more than 2 people! I have seen many abuses with the chalice from one person consuming the entire contents of the full chalice to chewing gum dropped in the chalice from the mouth of the communicant to self-intinction.

A recovery of the sense of the sacred when it comes to ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion can easily be recovered in the RAM.

I would like to see some revision to the UAM--more vernacular for the parts of the Mass that change, such as the collect, prayer after Holy Communion and the Preface, all the prayers that are out loud, including the Prayers at the Foot of the altar.

In terms of the RAM, and after having celebrated the Rite of Sprinkling throughout the Easter Season, I find the long prayer of blessing the Holy Water tedious and I don't think it needs to be blessed during the Mass. I much prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass's form of the the Rite of Sprinkling Holy Water.

I like the vernacular, I like the revised Ancient Mass and I like the Extraordinary Form but recommend some revisions to both.


rcg said...

FrAJM, let me correct myself: I have no antipahty for any legitimate form of Mass and any sarcastic comments I have made about it should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the casual and irreverent nature of it that is irksome and generates far more than antipathy in me, I confess, when I see the Body and Blood handled like a snack. It is not lost on people, either. Even my teenage daughter commented on the very lazy manner Mass was conducted in the parish she visited this weekend. MEanwhile I finally got She Who Must Be Obeyed to go the Low Mass at the local FSSP parish. She said it was just like when she was a child and pretty much made up her mind on the spot.

We plan a pilgrimage to Macon this year to participate in a Saint Joseph RAM and see for ourselves how the RAM can be done reverently.

By the way, if you conduct the RAM in the alternate is it 'RAM-Alternate LAtin Mass' (RAM-ALaM). And when you ring the bells to call the faithful to Mass do instruct them to ring the RAM-ALaM-A-DING-DONG?

Kitchener Waterloo Traditional Catholic said...

Those strongly attached to the Extraordinary Form/Usus Antiquior need to always be respectful and obedient in regards to the Ordinary Form. Especially when talking with a priest it is crucial to remember that man responded to God's call to offer the newer liturgical form.

Just as we cannot understand the Mass itself, I doubt we'll ever understand why this liturgical revolution occurred. Unless you're a sedevacantist and believe the Holy Spirit abandoned Christ's Church (or whatever their argument) you then have to trust God is still in charge.

Some "Traditionalists" seem to think the Church was paradise on Earth prior to the Second Vatican Council. To them I ask why did our Lady make so many apparitions prior? Read the messages of Akita, Fatima, Lourdes and re-think this position.

Perhaps many Catholics were just going through the motions. Most parishes today have between 10-25% of the baptized fulfilling their Sunday obligation and less than 5% making a monthly Confession. This is a crisis, however, perhaps prior to 1962 the numbers were actually similar. Maybe the Novus Ordo just flushed out the superficial Catholics and now instead of occupying a pew they just stay home.

Those who see the majesty of the Ordinary Form, who feel God's presence through it, understand Church teaching by it, are very blessed indeed. This is the experience of most men called to Holy Orders these past forty years. Unfortunately today most pewsitters don't share that experience.

It's purely anecdotal evidence, but in conversations I have along with my own personal experience, it's common for cradle Catholics who are first exposed to and then come to understand the Usus Antiquior for a true conversion to occur. They leave the cafeteria and embark on a Catholic journey in our tradition and hopefully salvation.

Sometimes these renewed Catholics experience deep frustration and even anger with the hierarchy, local Chancery, and even their parents. It's a response to the realization of loss - denial of our birthright. Several men I know admit had they know the Usus Antiquior they probably would have applied to the seminary. Others would have married better, not used contraception, made the financial sacrifice of a large family in order to live as faithful Catholics and attain graces.

Of course the above is not necessarily the fault of the Novus Ordo. However, as the maxim goes: Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. The new Mass went along with a new theology, one stripped of catechesis and Catholic identity. As a result, we became Protestant-like. The results speak for themselves.

Clearly there was a bottled up need for liturgical renewal prior to the Council. However, could it be that when offered an inch certain forces took a mile? In the documents Latin was to be retained, but sufficient exceptions provided that very easily resulted in a complete vernacular liturgy. Same story with music. Ad orientum Communion in the hand, altar girls, EMHCs were never called for by the Council fathers, yet crept into our liturgy anyway.

Perhaps the proper place for the Ordinary Form/Novus Ordo is the Saturday vigil Mass. As by definition it is a simplified rite designed to appeal to potential returning brethren (Protestants). Or maybe a typical parish could offer the OF at 9am and the EF at 11. The simple followed by the complex.

Anyone disputing that we're in a crisis is either not paying attention or has malicious intentions. We've survived worse and all know that the Founder told us the gates of Hell would never prevail. So let's trust the Lord, understand our place in Church history, work towards salvation with fear and trembling, and aspire to sainthood.

Templar said...

No one can answer your rhetorically posed question except for yourself.

For my part I can only say that I never had the slightest antipathy towards the NO Mass until I discovered the TLM. Since I was raised to believe that the NO was the TLM in English I went into it very open minded and it has only been through self discovery that I have become to feel antipathy towards the NO. the more one examines and studies what was, what we had, and where we have gone it becomes impossible not to feel this towards the NO, unless Mass means nothing to you at all.

Anonymous said...

Father, I have obviously been living on another planet.

I do understand how kneeling, intinction, and ad orientem will help restore a properly reverent attitude for the Mass. What I do not understand is why the loss of reverence that you describe had to occur in the first place.

The misuses regarding the Chalice you mention are simply unfathomable to me, as are those regarding the Host.

And why can’t receiving in the hand, even standing (although I personally might prefer kneeling), be done in a properly reverent manner?

Perplexing, too, is the perception that the priest is praying toward the laity. Aren’t all of us, priest and laity, praying toward the awesome Miracle that is happening on the altar as Christ presences under the Form of Bread and Wine?

Am I missing something?

BTW, if intinction becomes the norm instead of the Chalice, will it be permitted to receive the Host without intinction for those who may need to avoid exposure to alcohol?

William Meyer said...

Father, for the heading: ANTIPATHY (sp).

That said, I see no reason to have any antipathy for the OF when it is well celebrated. By that I mean, the Missal is followed, free from ad libs, and with Kyrie in Greek, and the Agnus in Latin. And hopefully, free from the plague of Haugen and Haas, et al.

Henry said...

I can see how a conscientious priest has to sincerely feel he loves the Mass he is obliged to celebrate predominately (whether or not he would otherwise).

I myself include in my daily worship and devotions both missals in their entirety--all the propers and readings for each day. Since I know personally no one else who does this, obviously my own opinion of the two missals is the best informed one that I know of.

I myself do love the OF propers--introit, orations (collect, etc), and antiphons--and incorporate them into the Latin Liturgy of the Hours--expanding the final prayer for the Office of Readings to include all the day's propers plus the appropriate preface. Incidentally, many of the new OF prefaces, which in the old ICEL translation suffered even more than the collects, are real jewels in Latin, fully worthy of EF use (as Pope Benedict has suggested).

However, I hate the OF lectionary, in so many ways a mile wide and an inch deep, showing nowhere the spiritual depth and liturgical aptness of the EF lectionary. Especially in the 2-year cycle of daily readings, whatever the day's feast or saint, the reading is whatever comes next in the sequence of days, seeming almost always jarringly irrelevant to one accustomed to prayers and readings smoothly fitting together liturgically in the EF, where it is almost always clear how the readings apply to the day's feast. As a recent FIUV position paper put it:

"It is worth noting also that the relatively limited number of liturgical texts in the 1962 Missal is a great advantage to the Faithful assisting at it in Latin. The limited size of the lectionary, the frequent use of a limited number of Commons of the Saints and Votive Masses, the repetition of the Sunday Mass on ferial days, the limited number of Prefaces, and so on, make a thorough familiarity with the Missal a real possibility for ordinary Catholics."

The usual criticism--that the EF missal lacks enough readings, not having a daily cycle for ordinary time--reflects a lack of day in, day out experience with the EF Mass, where almost every such day uses either special readings for the day, or a commons or votive Mass, so there is essentially no need for "ordinary time" daily readings, nor would there be much use for them if they were there. The reason the OF missal needs its cycle of daily readings is its paucity of saints and festival days.

But the real proof is in the results, EF people's familiarity with the scriptures heard on the same day every year, versus OF lack of familiarity because of its scattershot approach. In liturgy as in the classroom, if nothing is tied together, then nothing is absorbed and remembered.

ytc said...


Why isn't decent CITH standing possible? Because it is more difficult to do this in a reverent manner. Because receiving things into our hands and then shoving them into our mouths is the sort of thing we do at the fair and Costco sample stations. We are psychologically conditioned to be in the "eatin' stuff" mode when we are standing and receive something into our hands.

What is wrong with facing the people? While it is true that regardless of our orientation our prayer rises to God, it is very important to symbolize this so that we can see and experience it. Eschatology is the study of the end times, that is, what will happen at the end of the world. The eschatology of most pagan religions, as well as that of Hinduism for example, is cyclical. That is, these religions teach reincarnation. Christian (and Jewish as well) eschatology, on the other hand, is purely linear. We Christians await the Second Coming of Christ. We do not believe in reincarnation.

Since the liturgy is ultimately eschatalogical in nature--that is, it propitiates for our sins so that at the end of time we might be saved--and since Christian eschatology is purely linear, the most powerful symbol of this for us to experience in the liturgy, then, is for the sacred ministers to face in the same direction as the people. It is a symbolic way of reaffirming our own shared human nature, priest, prelate and layman alike; and it symbolizes the priest leading his people (really the entire Church in a spiritual sense) through life and into heaven. I liken this to an officer leading his soldiers into battle. This pairs quite nicely with the notion of Church Militant.

So while it is not wrong in principle to give Communion in the hand and standing, or to face the people at Mass, it usually works out very poorly in practice due to our human nature.

Henry said...

But I should add why I actually do love the OF missal, and treasure my new CTS Latin-English daily missal--despite the deficiencies of its lectionary--as well as the OF Mass, in theory if not in practice.

As one observes the OF Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, or in isolated spots like Brompton Oratory, it is a beautiful and reverent form of the Roman rite, combining a traditional ars celebranda with a certain openness and flexibility, with its missal including many real jewels in the way of new orations and prefaces.

However, I do not live in Rome or London, and can never expect in my lifetime to personally see the OF Mass regularly celebrated in any such manner.

The problem is not in the OF missal, or in the OF Mass defined by it, but in the OF ethos that surrounds it. Celebrated by a generation (or two) of priests lacking the formation and/or the will to celebrate liturgy properly, or even adequately.

Could (or should) we say that the reason the OF Mass looks like a failed experiment--having failed to sustain faith and devotion--is not its missal, but its priests and people who abuse it? Or does the blame rest mainly with the bishops who had the sworn responsibility to preserve the liturgy faithfully, but did not, instead approving one norm after another leading to the disintegration of the liturgy before their eyes?

ytc said...

I maintain that the biggest problem with the Ordinary Form on a systematic level is that it is rubrically corrupt. The rubrics are too vague, too few, and too minimalistic; and the Ordinary Form will not become at least consistent from place to place until much more and very specific rubrics are added.

Between the De Rubricarum, De Defectibus, and the intertextual rubrics of the Canon, the EF Missal proves an exacting and precise manner of celebrating Mass. History proves that Mass was virtually exactly the same in all Roman Rite parishes of the world before Vatican II. History also proves that virtually all Catholics of the Latin Church before Vatican II, save perhaps in mission territories, had a thorough basic understanding of the faith and its many facets. Surely it cannot be legitimately suggested that the liturgy did not support this.

While I can understand a legitimate want of not having a "robot" Mass, I must ask you, Father. What is worse, a Mass that does not teach and reinforce the ancient faith unless it is gussied up with various externals, or a Mass that holds its weight in gold all its own even without exterior pomp, even if it might be a bit robotic?

The liturgy will never be perfect everywhere. I am not suggesting that. However, I am suggesting that there is a "better way" of doing things and a "poorer way" of doing things. The Roman liturgy legitimately developed over the centuries into its pre-Vatican II form. It was then illegitimately bastardized into some deformed product which has now been proven, PROVEN, to be inconsistent with Roman tradition. Ressourcement is a lie. CITH standing an early Church practice? Lie. Freestanding altars with priest facing people an early Church practice? Lie. Dinner-style Mass? Lie.

The whole set of premises that the Ordinary Form rests on have been proven to be false. For God's sake, antiquarianism is practically a heresy per Pius XII! How clearer can it get than that?

The Ordinary Form has too many options and too few rubrics. In practice there are something like 50 possible Orders of Mass what with all the "Penitential Acts" and "Eucharistic Prayers," all of which except one combination go against the perennial tradition of the Roman Rite.

Very strict rubrics MUST be added to the Ordinary Form Missal. The Roman Canon should be the ONLY allowed canon. Can you at least admit that, even if you like the optionitis, in practice it is horrible? The Ordinary Form, while perhaps based on good intentions, is still a failed experiment. That is factual, historical truth. And there will be no great rebound unless the options are eliminated, the pages are refilled with rubrics, and the eliminated parts like the ancient (and non-Jewish) Offertory Prayers are added back.

I don't hate the Ordinary Form. But I see that it does not work in practice on a widespread level. It. Does. Not. Work.

ytc said...

Henry, I do agree that abusive priests are a major source of problems for the OF Mass, but I must say, it is not the only problem.

The lack of RUBRICS is a gargantuan problem as well. I maintain that there are plenty of priests out there, maybe even the majority, who do not abuse the OF Mass but nevertheless celebrate banal and prosaic Masses because of the lack of direction in the Missal.

The OF Missal presupposes a very deep knowledge of EF rubrics, and admits as much in the GIRM. It was stupid to eliminate them. They prevent abusive priests from claiming an "option" and they prevent liturgically inept priests from screwing up too badly. Furthermore, and best of all, they immensely help zealous and liturgically apt priests to celebrate as wonderful a Mass as possible.

For there to be consistency in the OF, strict rubrics must be reintroduced. Otherwise, it will continue to be a very mixed bag at best.

Henry said...

ytc, I believe we are in full agreement. To the extent that I praise the OF missal, I am praising its genuine richness in TEXTS, the new orations and prefaces (though not all its new eucharistic prayers or its omission of a genuine offertory rite, and omission of some orations that should have been retained).

Of course, it is the OF missal's optionitis and loose to non-existent RUBRICS that has permitted--no, encouraged--those generations of deficient priests to make liturgical abuse the norm rather than an exception.

As a consequence, the OF has not achieved the stability of practice--from one time and place to another--that historically has been required for the survival of a rite or form or liturgical usage.

For this, perhaps, we can only be thankful. Perish the thought that the OF in its present chaotic form could permanently plague the people of God. For setting it on a trajectory of reform towards a possibly stable form, we can thank Pope Benedict. At least, those who live long enough to see it; perhaps you will, but not those of my generation.

rcg said...

FrAJM, was discussing this with my wife this morning and had a thought: is it in the future that the OF would have a 'High' and 'Low' Mass as does the EF? The High Mass OF would have all Latin Prayers, chant, singing priest, etc, while the Low Mass OF would have more latitude, as it were, in those areas. It would allow for the segregation of musical tastes, even priestly attire, until the Vatican sees fit, if ever, to give more guidance in those areas.

Does this seem plausible?

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

RCG, what in the Hell are you suggesting?!? If there is anything we do not need it is more latitude in any Mass, and certainly not in the OF. My God man, you have got to cut out those single malt breakfasts...

John Nolan said...

Those who think the 3-year lectionary cycle to be the best thing sinced sliced bread should consider the following points.

1. Since most people nowadays have an attention span of 15 minutes, to expect them to have one of three years is pushing it a bit.

2. The Ordinary of the OF has a much poorer scriptural context than the EF and the Propers of the EF are closely linked to the Office.

3. The first Sunday of Lent is remarkable in the EF for its concentration on Ps 90 (in particular the long Tract which includes most of the psalm) and the account of the temptation of OLJC given in St Matthew's Gospel. This year,(B), because it concentrates on St Mark's Gospel, does not give an account of the temptation (Mark relegates it to one sentence) and Ps 90 is used as a Responsorial Psalm only once in three years (Year C).

4. The Church's liturgy was never intended to be a Bible study class. In my opinion, and that of many others, the lectionary is the worst part of the NO. If you take the option of using the Gradual and Alleluia/Tract from the GR you are at least spared some of it.

ytc said...

I agree with John Nolan, the lectionary is in practice one of the worst elements of the Novus Ordo.

It might work in places like monasteries and convents and seminaries, but for general parish use, it is a very poor way of doing things. There is no Scriptural consistency from year to year. Scriptural consistency is very important to laypeople who generally don't have years of Scriptural study under their belts.

There is really no such thing as the "Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord," or the "Third Sunday in 'Ordinary Time'," or the "Solemnity of All Souls." The cycle of readings ruins any consistency from year to year, which kills the thematic repetition and ultimately ruins the point of having different Masses in the first place.

I frankly think that the whole "expanded use of Scriptures" needs to be ignored. Perhaps to priests, religious, Scriptural specialists, and Vatican II hippies it might be a good thing, but it does nothing for the average layperson except illustrate a lack of consistency over time which ruins the potency of each individual Mass.

rcg said...

Pin, Har.

Actually, I am working a sort of hegemony. The current state of the Mass results from the generally agreed latitude granted by V-II and the adolescent advantages taken with it. It is demonstrated in your parish that a very reverent celebration is possible using exactly the same guidance. Until the example of your, frankly, incredible pastor such a reverent celebration of what we thought was exclusively a hippie mass presented the smae challenge of, say, getting Jerry Garcia to wash for dinner.

My idea is the reverse of what you think, yet I am glad you mistook it. The goal is isolate the objectionable practices into their own satellite parishes filled brimming with the hoary legions of leadership councils that the Pope in his wisdom does not cast out. I think they would jump at the chance. Meanwhile the mainstream parishes can regain their strong and obvious Catholic identity. I truly think this would offer people a chance to migrate through their faith and understanding as far as they are capable.

Henry said...


You compare the EF and OF readings for the first Sunday of Advent. This example of the greater spiritual depth of the EF readings continues throughout the year, and very frequently the disparity is greater than on this first Sunday of the Church calendar.

I know that many quite sincerely tout the "richness" of the OF lectionary. However, I wonder whether anyone could honestly continue to do so if throughout a full year of weekdays and Sundays he daily compared the readings actually used the OF and EF Masses in a typical parish setting. Breadth measured by number of selections is simply no substitute for spiritual depth and liturgical appropriateness, as in the EF missal resulted from careful selection over the centuries, mainly by monks immersed in the scriptures (as opposed to hotel-room committee discussions).

Anonymous said...

This debate is frustrating to read because it presumes the laity to be a lazy, addled, ignorant bunch of quasi-Catholics. Those of us who go to mass every week go because we are called to, and that time at church is sacred to us, and we work hard to teach our children respect for the host (and yes, they are "naughty" sometimes and don't "do it right" sometimes, and we have to deal with that among many things they do "wrong" on a regular basis), and we are in awe at the miracle that happens before us when the priest consecrates the bread and wine. The above debate belittles our "ordinary" mass experience and the prayer and worship we throw ourselves into. Perhaps you can find a way to criticize the church without patronizing the church militant who are in our pews doing our best to do what we are told.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Granted there are some who comment on this blog who would prefer only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. I feel for them that we don't have enough priests to allow this form weekly. It could have happened here if there were at least 150 to 200 people desirieng this Mass weekly. As it stands at our 2:00 PM monthly Mass we have about 40 parishioners--that does not justify turning one of the 4 Sundays Mass we have in the Ordinary Form into an Extraordinary Form Mass. Now we do have another parish in the city that only has one Sunday morning Mass and certainly another Mass in the EF could be held there weekly, but that is out of my hands.
I do not share the antipathy that some here have toward the Ordinary Form Mass. However, that doesn't mean that the Ordinary Form Mass doesn't need to be protected and improved. There are many ways to do this and Pope Benedict is modeling the primary two ways, directing prayer of the priest and congregation toward God, not toward one another and kneeling for Holy Communion. These are minor revisions and about a 1500 year precedence in the Liturgy of the Latin Rite.
Also I do not share the antipathy of those who love the Ordinary Form against the Extraordinary Form Mass, but I do recognize that this Mass needed and needs revision, minor revision, such as more flexibility and more vernacular.