Friday, September 13, 2013
MORE IDEAS ON TRIUMPHALISM AT MASS AND THE CAPPA MAGNAS OF THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS, OF WHICH THERE ARE MANY!
Now that I celebrate both forms of the one Roman Rite, I think I can tell what is triumphalism and what isn't in the modern context. Certainly there are some vestments that are a bit out there in the Extraordinary Form. Uusually these are derided as being pompous, such as the cappa magna which isn't a liturgical vestment at all, but when it is worn into Church eye-brows are raised. It looks out of place in today's t-shirt culture.
But most Catholics throughout the world are not made to suffer at the sight of a cappa magna prior to Mass. They don't see baroque Roman vestments. They don't see the things that princes wear. What they do so is a banal, secular sort of triumphalism. Let me explain.
We all know that the Oridnary Form of the Mass celebrated facing the congregation is a great temptation for priest to become "celebrities" as they celebrate. So they have to look appealing, either look pious or friendly or both. They have to smile and engage with the congregation. There is a sort of triumphalism of the cult of the personality, a sort of cappa mangna and some personalities of priests at Mass have longer trains than any cappa magna. Others have very short or non-exisitent trains.
Then we have the Mass with its completely upbeat music. We are Easter people after all, so let us be happy, joyful and roll out that symbolic cappa magna at Mass, that says to the world just how big and long and red our joy and Easter pleasure is. We are a happy-clappy Easter people enjoying our cappas very much and trying to make it as long as possible!
The instruments that exude a cappa magna style would be guitars and tambourines, bongos and drums. Also brass instruments surely are a long cappa magna and says look and listen to me and my triumphalistic song of joy that drags into the liturgy like a mile long cappa magna.
I watched a part of the rededication of the renovated cathedral in St. Petersburg, Florida. The liturgy is somewhat typical of today's Cathedral liturgies and while no cappa magnas were used, it was quite prevalent in the sounds coming from the very fine choirs. It was triumphalistic music. Surely it is meant for Christ, but given the nature of the Mass it surely pointed too to the triumph of a capital campaign and all those who contributed to its success and the high clergy who came in after the lower clergy with a long pause between both processions to make sure that the high clergy were given their due, their Ordinary Form Cappa Magnas to be sure, and very long ones at that.
On top of that at the homily time, the bishop introduced just about every guest there from the higher clergy to thunderous applause each time. I absolutely despise this kind of cappa magna placed on the roll call of popular celebrities at Mass, but it is so common today.
So, I would say, get rid of the Ordinary Form cappa magnas that have proliferated over the years and disfigure the liturgy making it triumphalistic not in a majestic sort of way, but a banal, secular way, truly a perversion of the Mass to its utter decay.
Use only organ or no instruments while singing Gregorian chant in Latin or vernacular according to its various styles.
Use other instrumentation for the Easter season, especially Easter season, such as tympani and brass. But sober liturgy with a short cappa magna is better than a raucous liturgy with a long cappa magna.
Don't introduce anyone at any time at any liturgy of the Church and don't encourage applause! Applause must be the worst kind of cappa magna that can be worn at any Ordinary Form Mass. It is obscenely narcissistic.
So, if I had a choice between a bishop who wears as long trained cappa magna to the Church and processes in before the Mass starts, to a cappa magna Mass with all the cappa magnas used at Mass from triumphalistic music and instrumentation to the overpowering personality of the priest to the applause meter going off the measuring device, give me an EF Mass with a cappa magna only at the beginning!