Thursday, June 20, 2013

IS THERE A DIFFERENT THEOLOGY AND SPIRITUALITY BETWEEN THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS AND THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS?

The EF's differing theology and spirituality of the Eucharistic Prayer compared to the Ordinary Form's:


In a nutshell yes, and Cardinal Ratzinger said as much in a speech he gave to traditionalists in 1998. This is an excerpt of what he said:

"On the other hand, it must be admitted that the celebration of the old liturgy had strayed too far into a private individualism, and that communication between priest and people was insufficient. I have great respect for our forefathers who at Low Mass said the “Prayers during Mass” contained in their prayer books, but certainly one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration! Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow. One was never in contact with the liturgy itself. On the other hand, in those places where the Liturgical Movement had created a certain love for the liturgy, where the Movement had anticipated the essential ideas of the Council, such as for example, the prayerful participation of all in the liturgical action, it was those places where there was all the more distress when confronted with a liturgical reform undertaken too hastily and often limited to externals. Where the Liturgical Movement had never existed, the reform initially raised no problems. The problems only appeared in a sporadic fashion, when unchecked creativity caused the sense of the sacred mystery to disappear.

This is why it is very important to observe the essential criteria of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which I quoted above, including when one celebrates according to the old Missal! The moment when this liturgy truly touches the faithful with its beauty and its richness, then it will be loved, then it will no longer be irreconcilably opposed to the new Liturgy, providing that these criteria are indeed applied as the Council wished.

Different spiritual and theological emphases will certainly continue to exist, but there will no longer be two contradictory ways of being a Christian; there will instead be that richness which pertains to the same single Catholic faith. When, some years ago, somebody proposed “a new liturgical movement” in order to avoid the two forms of the liturgy becoming too distanced from each other, and in order to bring about their close convergence, at that time some of the friends of the old liturgy expressed their fear that this would only be a stratagem or a ruse, intended to eliminate the old liturgy finally and completely."

Such anxieties and fears really must end! If the unity of faith and the oneness of the mystery appear clearly within the two forms of celebration, that can only be a reason for everybody to rejoice and to thank the good Lord. Inasmuch as we all believe, live and act with these intentions, we shall also be able to persuade the Bishops that the presence of the old liturgy does not disturb or break the unity of their diocese, but is rather a gift destined to build-up the Body of Christ, of which we are all the servants.

MY COMMENT: I think the liturgies at the CMAA try to do exactly what Cardinal Ratzinger foresaw in 1998. By differing theologies and spiritualities, the EF is more clerical and I don't necessarily mean this in a derogatory way and the theology of the Church does not have the insights of Vatican II in terms of ecclesiology. The Ecclesiology of Vatican II is shows a fuller awareness of the Church but it isn't a doctrinal change it is a theological shift.

The spirituality of the EF Mass is more contemplative, silent and introverted whereas the spirituality of the OF Mass is the opposite although silence and contemplation are also in it but in a different degree and different way.

19 comments:

Marc said...

A versus populum Mass is by design more clerical than ad orientem. In which of these does the personality of the particular priest enter the situation?

Ad orientem, on the other hand, properly demonstrates the special role of the priest during Mass instead of buying into the clerical ideas of recent times where we all have to be priests for our participation to have meaning. Now that I think of it, modern clericalism has a lot in common with modern feminism. It falsely attempts to build up by assuming an inequality (maybe someone smarter than me can develop this thought a bit more).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While what you write is true, it need not be in the versus populum and certainly Pope Benedict and Pope Francis do not foist their personality on us during the Mass.

But by clerical, I meant that only the priest and altar boys dressed like priests or priestly candidates could do anything in the sanctuary and the congregation was reduced to quiet active participation rather than verbal active participation. And often and I can attest to this for I saw it first hand in the pre-Vatican II Church, people prayed the rosary, said novenas and sometimes just looked at the art work while the Mass went on in front of them with just the priest and the altar boys--there was truly a disconnect as Cardinal Ratzinger makes abundantly clear and which he says the principles of Vatican II should be brought to bear on the EF Mass.

Marc said...

True. The personality of the priest may not come thru in the versus populum Mass. But, it cannot come thru in the ad orientem Mass.

I don't see the problem with people praying the Rosary during Mass... I have done that during irreverent Novus Ordo Masses. This "problem" isn't one of the form of the Mass, but one of catechesis on proper participation.

I think if you went to a Traditional Chapel, your opinion on participation in the EF would change drastically. Things aren't like they were in your childhood parish. People sing, people pay attention, people have Missals. In short, the participation is much more active than in any Novus Ordo parish I've ever been to (including St. Joseph).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this post to answer my question Fr!
I guess since I have become Catholic I am always reading how the OF is not as "great" as the EF, so that train of thought gets me wondering.

One thing that always fascinated me about the Catholic Church was Last Rites, which you know we didn't have in protestantism. Is there a difference between the last rites you receive in the OF & EF? Is one more beneficial than the other?

Sorry for asking so many questions, I have tried asking these in other places, but people tend to pounce on you if they feel you are talking bad about one rite or the other.

Henry said...

Once again, when Cardinal Ratzinger refers to "different spiritual and theological emphases", he most emphatically does NOT refer to different underlying theologies. Indeed, later in the same sentence, he refers to "the same single Catholic faith".

There's all the difference in the world between mentioning "different theological emphases" in the typical newer and older ethos, and alleging "different theologies" in the two forms. It's the difference between two elephants and one elephant. Are the two forms two elephants, or are people with different emphases simply looking at two aspects of the same elephant? The latter, obviously.

This is no mere semantic quibble. The Church has a clearly defined theology of the Eucharist, enunciated at Trent and re-emphasized without change by John Paul II in Ecclesia de Eucharistia (using many of the same phrases in quotation marks).

Surely we would not want to fall into the trap of saying that the Novus Ordo has a different theology, and thus must be heretical!

My whole point here is to defend the Novus Ordo (to whose integrity I am obviously devoted) from such charges. I believe that the OF missal itself, if not its celebration by malformed priests, can support the Church's theology of the Eucharist. And that well-formed Catholics can (and should) worship in both forms with the same spirituality.

John said...

Marc is right. My family prays along with the priest at low Mass by reading all of the Mass prayers in English or Latin.

We find that we participate in the Mass much more actively than we would at a NO service. What is more, the preaching is better.

Correct active participation at NO Masses should be much more internal participation, only 1 or 2 people can read. The many make work participation for activity sake makes for a very shallow experience for the doers and those who have to put up with it.

John said...

Marc is right. My family prays along with the priest at low Mass by reading all of the Mass prayers in English or Latin.

We find that we participate in the Mass much more actively than we would at a NO service. What is more, the preaching is better.

Correct active participation at NO Masses should be much more internal participation, only 1 or 2 people can read. The many make work participation for activity sake makes for a very shallow experience for the doers and those who have to put up with it.

Anonymous said...

Marc, not without substance the quip that the EF has benefited much more from Vatican II than has the OF.

I'd bet that in the typical diocese, the bishop would have to visit his TLM community to see the fullest expression of actual true participation in the whole diocese, as actually envisioned by the Council fathers. I've attended hundreds or thousands of OF Masses in the past 40 years, and very very rarely seen the kind of both active and prayerful participation that I see at most EF Masses I attend. (Which I attribute not to the Masses themselves, but to the ethos of the priest celebrating and people attending them.)

Marc said...

Henry, I want to tell you that your post here and your original post along the same lines have really been a revelation to me. I tried to express how so in response on the earlier thread. I hope you'll add to what I've written, if you feel compelled to do so. Thank you. Good posts!

rcg said...

The Old Form may not have been inspiring but I do not think it was the fault of the Liturgy.

FrAJM, I won't refute a thing you say about the Mass before 1970. But I will ask if you think the problem was with the Liturgy or the people who taught it? We have discussed here before that a lot of the problems that are blamed on Vatican II started back in the Nineteenth Century and bloomed in the mid Twentieth. I tend to see Vatican II as the fruit of a problem, not its source. I have no idea when Bugnini was ordained, but I bet his formation was during a time that people our age might consider a more respectful and blessed time. We Traditionalists (I guess I am one) see the problems in the world as stemming largely from our lack of reverence personified by the abuses of the NO. But Bugnini must have seen something completely different in the Tidentine Mass to want to revise it out of existence. I think the clerics wanted to 'own' the Mass and kept people from participating, perhaps out of contempt, rather than bringing them deeper into understanding.

What I have experienced is that wherever the traditional Mass is alive, faith and the Church are alive. Where the new form is alive may or may not have a living connection to the Mother Church in the same way a lively Methodist church is not connected. The difference is, IMHO, entirely due to the focus of the EF on God in His Three Persons while Versus Populem by its form risks confusion and and can becoming misleading.

Gene said...

There is actually very little theological difference between John Calvin and Saint Augustine regarding fundamentals, and many differences between Catholicism and Calvinism could be described as a difference in emphasis. So, a mere difference in emphasis can lead to a vast difference in practical theology and worship.
One might say the differences in the TLM and the NO are simply "quantitative differences," yet the question must be asked, "at what point does a quantitative difference become a qualitative one?" For example, if one continues to emphasize the "meal" aspect of the Eucharist, does it not at some point effect a real practical change in the theology of the Mass? Or, if one continues to emphasize the "Christ is risen in us" mantra to the exclusion of "Jesus of Nazareth is risen from the dead" (as has been done in seminaries and grad schools and many churches for years), does not that effect a real change in theology?
There is a subtle deception in dismissing the differences between the NO and the TLM as a mere difference in "emphasis." The Vat II de-constructionists knew damn well what they were doing, and it was not merely to change an "emphasis."
Two theologies now exist side by side in the Catholic Church...one is the theology of the Creeds and the Sacrifice of the Mass, the other is a humanist/rationalist liberal theology that submerges Christology into anthropology (existentialism) and eschatology into social ethics. The NO is the offspring of the latter. The laity do not understand all this, but Priests should know better. A theological line needs to be drawn in the sand...

Henry said...

Gene: The Vat II de-constructionists knew damn well what they were doing, and it was not merely to change an "emphasis."

This is undoubtedly correct. Bugnini candidly said in his memoir that his goal had indeed been to change the doctrine of the Mass.

Nevertheless, the (OF) Missale Romanum 3/e before us today is what it is. I have studied all, literally all, of its prayers cover to cover in the original Latin, and it seems plain to me that it supports the theology that John Paul II attributed to it--namely, the traditional theology of the Church, the same theology Archbishop Sample laid out in his CMAA colloquium lecture, the same as that supported by the TLM that I attend regularly and have studied still more--and that the ethos and practice of that errant generation of priests is an aberration and distortion in practice of the missal as written. (Though admittedly it is the lack of rigid rubrics that has permitted if not encouraged this aberration.)

Henry said...

Anonymous: Is there a difference between the last rites you receive in the OF & EF? Is one more beneficial than the other?

In typical practice, there is no greater difference in ethos in the two forms than between the OF (funeral) Mass of Resurrection and the EF Requiem Mass, the most quintessentially Catholic of all EF Masses.

The sole purpose of the latter is to offer sacrifice and prayer for the soul of the deceased, and this is clear to those attending. Whereas eulogy plays a big role at most OF funeral Masses, the EF requiem Mass is not interrupted for a sermon (let alone a eulogy). You might be interested in Father Z's account of a requiem Mass he celebrated recently:

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2013/06/wherein-i-write-of-requiem-masses-of-death-and-prudence-and-perennial-wisdom/

Gene said...

Henry, I agree that what we have is a distortion and that, in principle, both the NO and TLM support the same theology. However, the practical effects are tantamount to a different theological orientation.

Marc said...

Father. Can you address our Anonymous's question about the difference between Last Rites in the Novus Ordo and the Tradtional way? I think this excellent question was lost in the fray. They are vastly different and I am interested in hearing a priest's perspective on this.

Pater Ignotus said...

In fact, and according to the Church's doctrine, all the baptized share in the priesthood of Jesus, and it is that priestliness that gives our participation in the eucharist meaning.

There is a qualitative difference between the priesthood of the ordained and the priesthood of the baptized, but both share in that gift. The recognition of our shared priestly calling is one of the blessings of the post-Conciliar age.

There is no difference in the theology of the mass OF or EF. It is the same theology. As then Card Ratzinger noted, it is a matter of emphasis.

Henry - I would suggest that a Requiem Mass never had the "sole purpose" of offering sacrifice and prayer for the soul of the deceased. If it was perceived to be such, then that perception would have been faulty.

The mass was and is for the salvation of the whole person - body and soul - and it was also for the comfort and consolation of the family and friends of the deceased. It is "both/and."

A mass, requiem or otherwise, if not "interrupted" by a homily as the homily is an integral part of the mass. If a preacher cannot make this evident in his homily, drawing first from the Scripture proclaimed at the mass and, then, from the Church's doctrine regarding life, death, and the hope of salvation, he ought not be allowed to preach.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

I don't disagree with what you say, and of course at a Requiem Mass the Church prays for the souls of all the faithful departed. Strictly speaking it is not a Requiem Mass unless it begins with the Introit 'Requiem aeternam' and you often hear the term 'Funeral Mass' used instead.

Anonymous

The term Last Rites is a loose one, encompassing anointing, Confession and Absolution, and Viaticum; prayers over the dying such as the Proficiscere, and prayers over the corpse such as the Subvenite. I remember reading an article by Fr Thomas Crean OP which compared the newer forms with the older; as one might expect the newer form leaves a lot out and the language is watered down - less emphasis on asking pardon for sins, for example.

The newer forms of the sacraments are of course valid, but I can't help thinking that the older forms are more efficacious.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus

I don't disagree with what you say, and of course at a Requiem Mass the Church prays for the souls of all the faithful departed. Strictly speaking it is not a Requiem Mass unless it begins with the Introit 'Requiem aeternam' and you often hear the term 'Funeral Mass' used instead.

Anonymous

The term Last Rites is a loose one, encompassing anointing, Confession and Absolution, and Viaticum; prayers over the dying such as the Proficiscere, and prayers over the corpse such as the Subvenite. I remember reading an article by Fr Thomas Crean OP which compared the newer forms with the older; as one might expect the newer form leaves a lot out and the language is watered down - less emphasis on asking pardon for sins, for example.

The newer forms of the sacraments are of course valid, but I can't help thinking that the older forms are more efficacious.

Vicky said...

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