Sunday, February 23, 2014
DENIGRATING A PROPERLY CELEBRATED ORDINARY FORM MASS IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE WELL TO BE AVOIDED
I disagree with those who say that the problem with the Ordinary Form is structural and can only be resolved by leaving it in the dust. The major reason I disagree is that it simply will not happen that there will be a return to the 1962 Missal exclusively. It won't happen. It is divisive to Holy Mother Church to think that it will happen and to try to make it happen.
The problem with the Ordinary Form Missal lies in those who celebrate it and make a mess of it with their creativity, sloppiness and banality. This was inherited from the 1960's and 70's and the 2013 video of the Wisconsin video's "pastor" is a prime example of a theology gone bad that has so negatively influenced the way the OF Mass is celebrated and how so many Catholics approach the Mass, the horizontal gone bizerk. But the flip side with the Extraordinary Form is that the human quality of the congregation and the priest can become too mechanical, robotic, cold and inhumane.
Today's (Sunday, February 23) Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis gives world parishes a model that is easy to implement in the Ordinary Form. Reverence is demanded in these liturgies with an announcement prior that there is to be no applause. There is no applause for the pope's entrance or exit and this is quite the contrast to Pope Benedict's raucous liturgies there before and after Mass and sometimes during!
At this Mass, the vestments for the pope and concelebrants are simple but elegant and are a model of what most parishes could aquire. Even the pope's miter today is quite tasteful and doesn't hurt the eyes quite like the brown piping one.
The music for the congregation is Latin Chant. It is the Missa Orbis Factor which every parish in the world could learn along with the Jubilatio Deo version. We use the Orbis Factor for our EF Mass.
The lay readers are handsomely dressed. Proper dress should be required at each and every Mass for anyone doing anything including the laity sitting in the pews.
The Mass is choreographed which means there are rehearsals for the servers, lectors, deacons and other assistants.
The Holy Father continues to celebrate Mass in a way that any priest in the world could copy, especially those who can't sing or chant. I prefer the sung Mass with Pope Benedict chanting his parts, but most priests wouldn't even try to do that, but they can do what Pope Francis models. He is sober, solemn, by the book and prays in an "ad orientem" sort of way. There are not wild, big gestures and his praying voice is heard but not dramatic or in an acting-like way, not in a "proclaiming" way and he never directs his eyes towards the congregation when praying as though he's praying to them!
The organ is primary in the liturgy. Other instruments are used at times like brass and strings, but the Organ is the prince of instruments for the liturgy and should be for all liturgies. Pianos, guitars and tambourines are best avoided for the Mass.
When you look at Pope Francis' liturgy today at the Basilica, what would have been different if he had celebrated this Mass as a simple EF Mass in 2014?
The only thing different is that there would have been prayers done quitely by him and the ministers at the foot of the altar thus leading to the congregation's participation in the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect, which technically could have the Holy Father at the chair in front of the altar after he kissed and incensed the altar after the PATFOTA.
The Liturgy of the Word would have had one less reading and the Gradual would have been chanted. There is no reason why the Holy Father couldn't adapt the rubrics of the EF Mass to have the First Reading chanted by an installed Lector at the ambo. And the Gospel could be chanted there too by the deacon.
Apart from using the Roman Canon with its elaborate rubrics and the separate communion rites for the celebrant and the laity, everything else would flow in the normal manner.
In other words, today's Ordinary Form Latin Mass at the Basilica was a Mass with the spirituality, reverence, piety and devotion of the Extraordinary Form. They are very similar although nothing was changed in this Ordinary Form's Mass that is in the Modern Roman Missal.
I think what the Ordinary Form Roman Missal could recapture and should are the private prayers of the priest. There needs to be a recovery of the theology of these prayers exclusive to the priest and good apologetic given for the use of them as clerical prayers. That would be easy. This would allow for the return of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as a clerical prayer, as well as the other private, quiet devotional prayers of the EF Mass. That would be very simple to recover.
FOLKS, WE AIN'T GOING BACK EXCLUSIVELY TO THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN! WE DO A DISSERVICE TO HOLY MOTHER CHURCH BY DENIGRATING THE ORDINARY FORM MASS WHEN IT CAN BE CELEBRATED BEAUTIFULLY AS IT WAS TODAY WITH POPE FRANCIS AND IN A WAY THAT EVERY PARISH IN THE WORLD COULD IF THEY WOULD ONLY TRY!