Thursday, August 9, 2012

FASCINATING TIME CAPSULE AND UFO SIGHTING! WATCH THIS TRIDENTINE SOLEMN SUNG MASS FACING THE CONGREGATION. I FIND NOTHING OFFENSIVE ABOUT FACING THE CONGREGATION AS IT IS DONE HERE AND WITH THE PARTICULAR "BENEDICTINE ALTAR ARRANGEMENT" THAT IS INCLUDED. THIS MASS IS MARVELOUS, ABSOLUTELY MARVELOUS! BUT MORE MARVELOUS IS THE CATECHESIS OF THE BENEDICTINE MONK ON THE THEOLOGY OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS--WORTH A MILLION DOLLARS!

This entire video is great, but the actual Mass begins at about minute 18! The Mass is the Tridentine Mass of 1962. This film was made in 1964. This is a Benedictine Priory outside of St. Louis. The Benedictines were known as liturgical progressives and were some of the first to make the altar central and to face the congregation for Mass even in the Tridentine period of the 1950's and 60's.

This Priory church is hideous but what the late '50's and 1960's brought about. But please note all the extra altars around the perimeter of the building for private Masses of the monks.

The celebrant is the President of Fordham University. He can't sing, but he does chant. Every priest had to be able to do at least what he is doing. This has become a lost art in the Ordinary Form.

This is a Solemn Sung Mass with deacon and sub-deacon. It is completely in the Tridentine Rite of 1962 and has the dual action of the choir doing its thing and the priest his. Unfortunately, this film has been edited so there are some things that are cut from it.

The only thing that is "Ordinary Form" looking is the design of the pre-Vatican II Church and the fact that this Mass is facing the people.

But please note that the "Benedictine Altar" arrangement is what we should have today, but that the candles do not overpower the altar when facing the people acting as "jail bars" in perception. Please note too, the placement of the tabernacle. Keep in mind this is all pre-Vatican II!

Finally, the commentary by the monk on the Mass as is progresses is worth a million dollars. LISTEN TO THE USE OF THE WORD "OUR ABASEMENT" FOR THE CONFITEOR TO DESCRIBE OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD AS SINFUL CREATURES. SOME THINK THIS IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY DELETERIOUS FOR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY PEOPLE HORRIBLY ABUSED BY OTHERS. HOW ABSURD! SOME PEOPLE WANT TO ELIMINATE THE SENSE OF PERSONAL SIN THAT THIS MASS EMPHASIZES SO WELL, WHY IN WORLD WOULD WE NEED THIS SACRIFICE IF NOT FOR OUR DAMNN SINS! MODERN CATHOLICS, ESPECIALLY PRIESTS HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT THIS HOLY SACRIFICE AND OUR TOTAL NEED FOR IT AS WELL AS OUR NEED TO OVERCOME OUR DENIAL OF OUR PERSONAL SINFULNESS AND UNWORTHINESS BEFORE THE AWESOME PRESENCE OF GOD! THIS IS OUR WAY OF STRIPPING OURSELVES OF OUR FANCY OUTER CLOTHES AND TAKING OFF OUR SHOES AND WALKING BAREFOOT BEFORE GOD IN HUMBLE SUBMISSION! THIS IS A POWERFUL METAPHOR OF HOW NAKED WE ARE BEFORE GOD WITH OUR SHAME AND OUR NEED TO BE CLOTHED IN CHRIST'S BLOOD, HIS WHITE BAPTISMAL GARMENT OF SALVATION! There is no doubt that this Mass is a sacrifice. What is truly worth hearing is the offertory commentary. He speaks of the procession of gifts and the antiphon that is sung which is now lost in the Mass except for the antiphon. Of course this monk knew that the offertory procession which was to be recovered in this Mass's reform would more than likely be re-established. But listen to the sacrificial description of this Mass. It is wonderful!

Please watch the praying of the Roman Canon. It is not offensive in the least that this prayer is prayed in quiet voice even with the choir's overlay of the Sanctus prior to the consecration and the Benedictus following. The quiet canon acts as the "rood screen" or the "iconostasis in the Eastern Rite" and makes the canon a sacred, intimate moment between the ordain priest (representing the laity and others present at this Mass as he alone enters the Holy of Holies even as he faces the congregation which in my observation of this video given the rubrics of this Mass is not at all out of place! You still have a sense of the sacred even while the priest is facing the congregation becasue of the way the canon is prayed!) This is not clericalism, this is sacrifice! Listen to the monk's description of the canon as it is prayed. What a catechesis!

We've gained some things with the Ordinary Form but lost so much too! The Ordinary Form is so verbose and a constant barrage of words and so banal. The sense of the sacred is dripping in this Mass but dried up in the Ordinary Form! We are recovering some of the lost now but soon I hope we will recover the sense of the sacred that is stripped from the Ordinary Form, especially the sacrificial aspect. Watch Holy Communion! What in the name of God and all that is holy was that damn committee thinking which reformed this Mass. All we needed was more vernacular, especially for the Liturgy of the Word, brief universal prayers and the offertory procession. The canon could have remained in Latin and the Pater Noster too and the sung parts. It should have been made clear in the reform that the vernacular sung parts of the Mass for the laity, should have been modeled on Gregorian Chant and the use of no instruments WAS preferable or if needed the organ only! Perhaps the Rite of Holy Communion as we have it today is fine as a reform. I'd leave everything else as is in the Tridentine Rite. Just think how the renewal would have gone if only minor adaptations were made to this glorious Mass. The theology of this Mass was absolutely hijacked and destroyed out of a FALSE SENSE OF IT'S CLERICALISM WHICH IN FACT IS A HIGH THEOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT UNDERSTANDING OF PRIESTHOOD AND SACRIFICE. THIS FORM OF THE MASS AT ITS HIGH THEOLOGY OF THE ORDAINED PRIESTHOOD AND ITS EXCLUSIVE FUNCTION DURING THE LITURGY ACCOUNTS IN LARGE PART FOR THE FABULOUS NUMBER OF VOCATIONS IN THE CHURCH THAT EVAPORATED AFTER THE MASS WAS STRIPPED OF THIS MOST IMPORTANT THEOLOGY BY THEOLOGIANS THAT WANTED TO CLERICALIZE THE LAITY ESPECIALLY DURING MASS.


PLEASE LISTEN TO FATHER'S DESCRIPTION OF THE USE OF THE ALTAR RAILING AND WATCH THE REALLY IMPORTANT PROCESSION OF HOLY COMMUNION, THE PRIEST'S PROCESSION TO EACH INDIVIDUAL COMMUNICANT. BUT LISTEN TO THE PRIEST'S DESCRIPTION OF THE PEOPLE'S PROCESSION TO THE ALTAR RAILING! THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

16 comments:

Andy Milam said...

The question becomes this...is the priest facing the congregation or is the priest facing literal and liturgical East?

If the answer is the latter, then it isn't that he is facing the congregation and that he is celebrating Mass and people happen to be sitting where part of the congregation is looking upon his face.

A couple of other things...

1. Father and the other ministers don't "engage" the faithful with their eyes. So while the congregation faces the people, the priest doesn't. He faces the crucifix in front of him.

2. The architecture is just awful. I know that is a matter of taste, but I've been in that church and it really is bad, regardless of what the commentary prior might say.

Also, the idea of "church-in-the-round" is not authentically Catholic. While Mass can be said facing literal East and facing the people, a'la the Roman Basilicas, it is not part of the Catholic tradition at large. The vast majority of Catholic churches are designed to face East, literal and liturgical...so the fact that this one Mass was facing part of the congregation means nothing of any consequence.

Mass is Mass. Fr. Bunn, celebrating Holy Mass has the right idea and we should learn by his example...not by just seeing that he is "facing the people." That is obviously not how he saw it, but we live in a reformed world where that is a big, big issue.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Andy, this precisely what I was trying to get across in my comments that precede this time capsule. First of all, the archetecture is time constrained and of the period; secondly the Benedictines were visionaries and progressives in the liturgical renewal of the 1950's which means that the liturgical renewal preceded the Council and much of SC reflects this development. Thirdly you can have a Mass that appears to be facing the people without it becoming what has transpired in the Ordinary Form.

This last point is what Pope Benedict has brilliantly accomplished by his returning of the "Benedictine Altar Arrangement" for all of his Masses that face the people. And if you watch the Holy Father during the Liturgy of the Eucharist and during the canon, he reads the canon in a natural voice, it is not a proclamation voice and his eyes are in no way focused on the congregation, very similar to what we see in this video.

Pope Benedict offers a compromise on the "versus populum" but does so in an "ad orientem way" making sure the celebrant see the crucifix dead center on the altar.

I don't mean to completely denigrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass for if it were chanted as in this Mass on the video, celebrated with the same style as this and Holy communion as in the video, there would be very little difference to complain about even though it remains a Ordinary Form Mass with the s implication of the Penitential Act and Rite of Holy Communion, not to mention the prayers at the preparation of the bread and wine.

In other words, it is wrong to completely denigrate either the EF Mass or the OF Mass but to see where common ground can be attained by remaining faithful to a high Christology, an Old Testament high view of priesthood and the sacrifice in the Temple and the role of the priest as he celebrates Mass vis a vi the Old Testament antecedent of sacrificial offerings of the high priest.

Andy Milam said...

Because you think the Benedictines in St. Louis to be visionaries doesn't make it so.

The liturgical renewal that you speak of wasn't really a renewal at all, but rather it was a liturgical reformation. Call it what you will, but there was nothing renewed through Sacrosanctum Concilium. To that point, let me ask you a question...how exactly is the reformed liturgy of the Roman Rite a renewal of pre-Tridentine liturgy? That must be what you mean by renewal. The truth of the matter is that the reformation was a wholly new and contrived liturgy created by Bugnini and his Consilium. This is the problem.

"...in all the Masses that face the people."

You mean 99.9999999% of all Masses in the world today. The idea of the Benedictine arrangement shouldn't be an end, but rather a means to an end by which returns the Catholic's view to that which Mass should be not facing the people, but should be oriented toward God. Mass was never envisioned to be celebrated facing the people, except by Bugnini and the reformers.

I do watch the Holy Father during the Mass, but again, this is comparing apples to oranges in a sense, because the Papal altar is in no way a contrived architectural novelty, which the Abbey was in 1964. Also, if the Holy Father's voice isn't a concern, take the mic away. I say the same thing to any priest who celebrates the Mass. What is the need for the mic? Certainly it is to be heard, which speaks directly against your point. If one sings the Mass with proper pitch, tambor, and projection, there really is no need for the mic, unless it is to be heard, which is not the point, at least according to you, right?

I know, Father, that you don't mean to denigrate the Novus Ordo. But then again, the reformers did that long before this post. The Novus Ordo is banal and on the spot. Seriously, the changes in the prayers of the Mass between the Novus Ordo and the TLM change the theological meaning. Does it invalidate the Novus Ordo? No. But there certainly is more to the Mass than just validity, if it is truly the source and summit of our Catholic faith.

Don't worry, I'll not denigrate the TLM and there is no need for me to denigrate the Novus Ordo...Bugnini and his cohorts did that from the get go. I don't need to pile on.

dominic1955 said...

It is ironic that today the Benedictine's in St. Louis are on the "traddy" side as Benedictine Abbey's go in the States. They staff one of the TLM parishes in town and they chant the old Brevarium Monasticum on occasion (I forget exactly when, but its regular).

There are actually a couple videos of TLMs "facing the people" done in the '60s-and most of them were teaching tools. There is even one of a Solemn High Pontifical Mass out there somewhere. Their value is primarily a teaching tool even today, you can see a lot more in them then at the usual TLM in which not very many people will ever be in the sanctuary.

Those in the old Liturgical Movement who were of impeccable good will thought of Mass "facing the people" primarily in that sense-a once in a while thing that will let the people see what is going on from a different angle, one that they would never get otherwise. Of course, hindsight being 20/20 we saw that this didacticism went crazy and all sense of prudence soon got chucked out the window.

One must also remember that, of course "reform" started before the Council! That is an obvious point to anyone who has read into the events surrounding the Liturgical Movement, the post-VII reforms, etc. etc. Some of what would become par for the course in many Catholic churches in the post-Vatican II era was already being foisted upon the French by the neo-Gallican Jansenists and the Italians by the Pistoian Jansenists of the 17th and 18th Century. Some of the other innovations that hadn't been tried by the French and Italian Jansenists was taken up by their German speaking counterparts with Josephism and the Aufklarung Catholicism of the later 18th and early 19th Century. The pedigree of the "reform" is pretty ignoble.

Marc said...

Mass facing the people where the priest has his back to our Lord reserved in the Tabernacle is an abomination and has no basis in Catholic liturgical Tradition either historically or theologically.

Templar said...

The Benedictine Altar arrangement is a red herring. Only Clergy and us few Laity who are Liturgy Wonks will ever get the idea that we are all facing Christ. For the vast majority of pew sitters, they still understand it to be that the Priest faces them.

Mass versus populum and Communion in the Hand, the dreaded 1-2 punch of destruction to the Latin Rite, the reversal of which are mandatory before any other recovery can be considered.

Marc said...

Yes, Templar, and the "Benedictine" Arrangment does not solve the problem of the priest showing our Lord his posterior several times during the Mass...

If you really believe in the Real Presence, how can you stomach this - it seems so clear to me.

William Meyer said...

Marc, I recently found myself wondering, when the altar is set for versus populum, and the priest (before Mass) passes between the altar and the tabernacle, is there not some sense of conflict over which way to genuflect?

rcg said...

Templar nails it. the direction the priest faces can distract or 'mislead' the congregation. I can't count the number of people who say they want the priest to face them.

A break through for me was coming to the realisation that the people who were using the Old Missals were not all that well grounded and that many wanted the changes based on their lack of grounding, the social upheaval of the time, etc. There was a lot of crazy stuff being said even then. Actually, if you pull the thread on this stuff it goes back to the Nineteenth Century and really caught traction as the Progressive Movement grew. These people want to be the centre of the universe, or at least live there.

I can conceive of a situation where the priest could face the congregation, but, again, we take the exception and want to make it the rule.

Henry Edwards said...

"when the altar is set for versus populum, and the priest (before Mass) passes between the altar and the tabernacle, is there not some sense of conflict over which way to genuflect?"

No, one genuflects in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. To genuflect to the altar--an inanimate object-would be sacrilegious, would it not?

As is, objectively, genuflection before entering the pew in a church where the Tabernacle is not visible?

William Meyer said...

Henry, your answer raises more questions, as I have seen deacons and priests genuflect to the altar when the tabernacle is present.

Joe Potillor said...

One genuflects in the direction of the Tabernacle in which is Our Lord. I do not genuflect if the Tabernacle isn't in visible range. Bow to the altar of Sacrifice.

Andy Milam said...

@ Joe;

Except during the sacrifice of the Mass. During the sacrifice of the Mass, the altar is genuflected to, regardless of tabernacle, because it is the place of sacrifice at that moment.

That is why during Mass a priest and his server will genuflect, even at a side altar.

Joseph Johnson said...

I think the prayers at the foot of the altar set the tone for the Mass. The priest begins these prayers with his gaze directed upward (emphasizing that the focus is on God, to Whom our prayers are directed). He does not, as in the OF, address the people first by saying, "Let us call to mind our sins," etc.--no, he simply goes to his place before the altar and begins the prayers straight away with his eyes gazing upward.

The kneeling posture of the deacons (or servers) and the bowing and striking of the breast by the priest during his Confiteor (and the deacons and servers doing likewise during their Confiteors) emphasize with actions, postures, and outward attitudes the penitence that should be a part of that prayer--not merely standing and repeating the words. They even turn towards each other when saying "and you, Father," and "and you, my brothers." This is true active participation.

The making of the Sign of the Cross in careful unison by the priest and deacons (and the striking of the breast in unison by the deacons) show are careful, thoughtful (not sloppy, individualized and casual) way of participating in the Mass.

In my humble opinion all of this (and more) should be restored to the OF if it is truly and seriously to be viewed as a reform of the EF which immediately preceded it.

Anonymous 2 said...

To use Father McDonald’s adjective, the Gregorian chant and the pace of this Mass are “marvelous.”

As, of course, is the beautifully enunciated commentary by the monk from across the Pond. Not that I’m biased or anything =).

Henry Edwards said...

The narration here reminded me of Bishop Fulton Sheen's narration of a 1941 Easter Mass in Chicago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6AOvStZS64

At the 4:10 minute mark--while describing the Asperges--the good bishop delivers my nominee for the most memorable (and downright comical) single line uttered by a human being during the 20th century:

"It is a long-established principle of the Church never to completely drop from her public worship any ceremony, object, or prayer which once occupied a place in that worship."

ROFLOL?