Sunday, February 23, 2014

DENIGRATING A PROPERLY CELEBRATED ORDINARY FORM MASS IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE WELL TO BE AVOIDED


There does seem to be on the more traditionalist oriented blogs A QUITE UNFORTUNATE AND ILL-ADVISED  movement towards seeking to celebrate exclusively the 1962 Missal or what many now call the Extraordinary Form. This is a form of elitism and is not going to assist what should be the goal of making the Ordinary Form of the Mass more in continuity with the ethos, spirituality, reverence and piety of the Extraordinary Form even if no structural changes to the Ordinary Form are made. I think we should lament this move toward wanting the Extraordinary Form exclusively and call it for what it is, elitist.

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!

43 comments:

Gene said...

If the EF Mass was not elitist for the centuries in which it was the Mass, why is it elitist now?

Joseph Johnson said...

The Ordinary Form needs some major revision so that it can ONLY be celebrated in the EF manner that you advocate, Father.

We Catholics in the pews should not be subject to the whims and personal liturgical philosophy of a pastor who is sent to serve us. We have a right to expect consistency and continuity (that is, continuity with the EF).

Father, I know that we will not be going exclusively back to the EF (at least not in my lifetime) but, to set things aright (and to turn things in the direction of continuity with the EF), the OF is in need of serious revision and "tightening up" to make it more consistent from parish to parish and more abuse-proof.

In the meantime, even though I know that most of my fellow parishioners may not understand my inclinations, I will avail myself of the EF (as a respite) whenever and wherever possible (which isn't often, given where I live).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

When Pope Benedict allowed for the more liberal use of the EF Mass, he called it extraordinary, meaning the the "normal" Mass of the Roman Rite. The Ordinary Form is and remains the normal Mass of the Roman Rite. Even with the FSSP group that specializes in the EF Mass and is an outreach to bring the schismatic SSPX back to the full communion of the Church with her pope and bishops, the Holy Father wants them to at least appreciate the OF and be able to celebrate it.
The elitism I speak of goes against the wishes of Pope Benedict and becomes an ideology that Pope Francis will not permit.

Joseph, it is up to every priest with the help of his bishop to celebrate the Ordinary Form properly. If they don't then bear your cross gently until some time when the liturgy is perfect, which will be in heaven for most of us of this generation.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My comment should have read ...meaning the EF Mass is NOT the normal Mass of the Roman Rite, the Ordinary Form is.

Gene said...

I want an answer to my question above.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The elitism I am referring to is the denigration of the Ordinary Form, even when properly celebrated, even when celebrated in Latin, even when using the Roman Canon and even when people are kneeling for Holy Communion and with those codicils for the "reform of the reform" and stating the EF Mass is the one we need to go back to celebrating exclusively. There are only a tiny fraction of Catholics who dispise the Ordinary Form of the Mass, a minute number. There are far more Catholics who love it and what it celebrated properly and are discouraged by priests that don't promote the proper celebration of it which Pope Francis does.

It is elitist to think we are going to assist the Church in moving forward by going back exclusively to the 1962 and it is heretical to not be obedient to the pope and bishops in union with him through the living Magisterium and the special authority of an ecumenical council.

rcg said...

FrAJM, I had the same though as Gene and it's corollary: if the (now) OF was celebrated almost exclusively for forty years then why is it not elitist. My initial thought is that the OF is elitist because of its vertical nature. I trust the Church Her Clergy to give us something that can be celebrated properly, however. My view is that the OF is a field kit of sorts, a Mass form for when you can't do the right one due to circumstances.

Henry said...

I agree with most everything you say, Fr. McDonald--and in particular that the Church as a whole cannot go directly "home" from where it is now--except this:

"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."

Because no such "flip side" exists in contemporary EF communities in union with the Church (e.g, FSSP and diocesan parish TLMs). Anyone with real experience or observation of such TLM communities knows that they exhibit a spirit of warm and joyous Christian community that the typical parish can only envy, but not likely attain.

I say this not as some cloistered separatist, but as one who has been not only a member of, but an active participant in ordinary parishes continuously for fifty years, but in the last two decades has also been associated with TLM communities.

Anonymous said...

Our Lord warned us against false prophets "By their fruits you will know them".

And just what has been the fruits of the Mass of Paul VI? Worldwide apostasy, worldwide liturgical abuse, worldwide dissent in the Church.

I'm speechless at your unfair characterization of the ancient Mass itself and the liturgies of Pope Benedict. Your specious argument for the Mass of Paul VI is that if only we had nice music and the priests did what they were supposed to do, all will be fine. That was the same argument for the new translation. And how has that affected parish. It's done nothing. The churches are still 3/4 empty. The people who do come are still laughing and carrying on as if it were a dinner theater. The priests are still as sloppy and irreverent as ever. The homilies are still lousy. The music is beyond awful. And you would have us believe that the Mass that nourished countless millions of souls throughout history is irrelevant just because a few modernist popes and bishops say so. By their fruits you shall know them. The fruits of all this are rotten. Things aren't getting a better. We have a pope that won't even follow the directives of the Missal.

The Mass of Paul VI is the result of a committee. The ancient Roman Rite of the Mass is the result of the. Church's organic living of the Gospel thought the ages. And Paul just didn't destroy the Mass, he destroyed the rite by doing away with things like sub deacons (which every ancient rite has).

Let's face facts the intent of the Mass of Paul VI is to appeal to Protestants. But instead of bringing Protestants into the Faith the result was the destruction of the everyday Catholics Faith.

Anonymous 99

Gene said...

The denigration of the OF is a separate issue from the EF. Certainly, one cannot despise the OF as it is celebrated at St. Jo's. However, we all know that St. Jo's is a very great exception to actual practice. Of course, this has been shouted on this forum by many but, once again, the very fact that the Mass has come to such a pass and that we are even having this discussion indicates that there is something intrinsically flawed in the OF and in its conception. No such problems existed when the EF
was the Mass.
The denial that I witness among Priests like yourself and Bishops around the globe is a very great problem. Perhaps, for you Fr., denial is the wrong word…maybe it is just a desperate effort on the part of those who, deep down, know how dreadful things are to continue playing while the ship sinks. Indeed, continuing to attempt to "fix" the OF is much like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Am I going to find that my move from protestantism was merely jumping from the Titanic and swimming to the Andrea Doria?

Henry said...

But, Gene, the question that I doubt you or anyone else can answer is this:

Even if the hundreds of millions of Catholics would now loyally follow the Church in such a return to its traditional faith and practice, and even if a generation of priests and laity could reconcile themselves to say what one-time reform of the reform leader Dom Mark Kirby OSB says just today,

http://vultus.stblogs.org/index.php/2014/02/home-from-the-liturgical-thirty-years-war/

How can the Church possibly admit that and explain why it has blithely lead its flock spiritually down a disastrous path for over forty years?

Dan Z said...

Father, how about keeping the OF Missal exactly as it is (including the calendar), just replace Bugnini's order of the mass with the 1965 vernacular revision of the the 1962 order?

The defects are in Bugnini's order of the mass, not the entire missal.

Would that be elitist?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Dan Z that would work or just use the 1962 order applied to the OF, that is a legitimate reform of the reform not elitist.

JBS said...

Fr. McDonald,

Well said. To claim that making the sign of the Cross three times over the Host rather than just once is the difference between a strong Church and a weak one, just sounds silly. There are many other such comparisons one could make between the two Roman forms of Mass.

A few Catholics will prefer the more elaborate rituals of the older form, while the average Latin Rite Catholic will prefer the mostly simpler reformed order of Mass. That's why we have freedom of choice now, with the reformed Mass being the default choice. The O.F. could use some tweaking, but it's sufficient as it is.

One thing everyone needs to remember is that the same priests who do funny things with the reformed rite would also do funny things with the older rite.

Gene said...

Fr. JBS, I tend to disagree. The EF does not lend itself to "funny things" like the OF. Besides, the entire spirit in which the OF was conceived was a "funny thing."

Luke said...

Learning more and more about Paul VI, Bugnini, and the concilium in addition to the tumultuous first year of this papacy has forced me to reconsider the claims of the papacy itself and consider the criticisms of the Orthodox. Should one man have had the power and authority to change so significantly the Church's worship of God? If I can not trust the Church in how to worship God how can I trust the Church in anything else? Should it be so easy to make such sweeping changes? This last year has been one filled with doubts. The apologetics that seem so sound when read in books seem to fall apart when the reality of modern Catholicism is encountered.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Luke, what I fear the pope fears and many, many bishops is that Pope Benedict's liberal allowance for the EF Mass has fueled the fires of those who want this Mass exclusively. And if they don't get what they want, they'll go into schism. That is a mortal sin.

Gene said...

So, why do you think Benedict allowed the EF so liberally? What did he see that perhaps we are not willing to? What do you think he was hoping for? Benedict had true power and vision, plus a depth of theological knowledge found only in serious, life-long students of the discipline. Beside Benedict, this Pope is an amateur. So, what do you suppose Benedict came to realize?

Henry said...

"To claim that making the sign of the Cross three times over the Host rather than just once is the difference between a strong Church and a weak one, just sounds silly. There are many other such comparisons one could make between the two Roman forms of Mass."

Well, I certainly agree that any such comparison not only sounds silly, but is silly. (As I take it you intended it to be.) Not only have I never heard anyone claim this, the real difference between the two forms has little to do with such mechanical things. Although I do think that whether one genuflects or kneels to Our Lord not only reflects belief but affects it.

But your final point, JBS, is well taken. I am old enough to remember avant garde priests injecting some of the same silly things into the traditional Mass as they do today in the OF.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene, it was an olive branch to reconcile the schismatic SSPX and it failed because of the SSPX's arrogance and pride thus humiliating the Holy Father and perhaps one of the contributing factors of his resignation. Many bishops of the world were opposed to the more liberal allowance of the EF under SP although Pope John Paul had another method of allowing it more strictly controlled by local bishops and under that provision Savannah has had the EF Mass since the 1990's.

Henry said...

"Luke, what I fear the pope fears and many, many bishops is that Pope Benedict's liberal allowance for the EF Mass has fueled the fires of those who want this Mass exclusively" and that otherwise they'll go into schism.

If so, this fear is based in ignorance of the type of people who typically want the EF Mass (perhaps exclusively for themselves, but not for forcing it on everyone else).

In fact, a distinguishing characteristic of most EF folks I've known is a much more intense loyalty to Pope and Church than is typical of most ordinary parishes.

I recall the first time a former bishop attended an EF Mass and the social that followed. He later expressed (privately) surprise and even shock at what visibly wholesome and joyous Catholics these TLM folks were, admitting that he'd sort of expected them to be visibly "different".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

In addition, I had hoped that have two forms of the one Latin Rite would not be more divisive for an already divided Church and would bring inner healing, but those who want the EF Mass have become strident in wanting that Mass only. It makes me question the advisability of such a liberal dispensation for it, when in fact I was and still am, but not as enthusiastically as I once was, because of the negative attitudes so many are now developing toward the OF.

Anonymous said...

On the question of whether Preacher Gene should jump ship yet again:
I vote AYE

On the question of whether every question the good preacher asks deserves and must receive an answer:
I vote NAY

Henry said...

"it was an olive branch to reconcile the schismatic SSPX"

Actually, I believe the larger intent was to provide the EF as a model for "mutual enrichment" to save the OF for the preponderant majority of the Church. And it will have precisely that effect as more and more young priests and seminarians are exposed to the EF, and only thereby realize their real identity as OF celebrants.

Gene said...

Anonymous, the question was not whether I should jump ship, rather what I found when I did so.

I certainly do not expect all of my questions to be answered. You and Ignotus and a few others lil eyou on the blog never answer questions anyway.

Anonymous said...

Liberal Catholicism will die and very soon. And so will all their silly nonsense. 50 years, a 100 years is nothing in the life of the Church. Hopefully the Missal of Paul VI, a product of a commission, will be forgotten and the Church's traditional Mass will be restored to it's rightful place and the liberal silly season will be over.

Francis and his modernism does scare me one bit because in the end it means nothing. He will be thrown under the bus when it becomes clear that he CANNOT CHANGE DOCTRINE even if he wants to. He CAN'T permit women into Holy Orders. He CAN'T say that homosexual marriage is permissible. He CAN'T say abortion is allowed in certain circumstances. He CAN'T teach that it is permissible and good for people living in objective mortal sin can receive communion worthily without benefit of confession. And the liberals, and Francis is one to be sure, will hate him for it. And let's not forget when Pius IX was elected he was considered a liberal and he saved the Church. Christ can and does use weak vessels to accomplish His will.

Right now liberals are ecstatic because Francis doesn't wear red shoes, and let's be clear it is liberals who really care about that stuff with a passion, they hate it. Normal faithful. Catholics don't think anything off it.

Popes come and go. Heresies come and go. But the Faith will remain in all it's purity regardless of the NY Times, Obama, the UN, pro abortion nuns, the Kennedy family, the Cuomo family, evil priests, evil nuns, mis guided popes etc. In the end it is Christ's Church and no power on earth or under the earth will destroy her. The war has already been won. But some battles persist.

Anonymous 99

Carol H. said...

Anon at 12:02,

The Church is not a democracy- you don't get a vote.

Wendell said...

I appreciate your website very much, Fr. McDonald. I tend to concur with nearly all of that which you write about.

Regarding the LIturgy, I concur that that the problem is not with the OF but with those who celebrate it in an unworthy manner.

To purloin a well known exchange:

“What’s wrong with the (Liturgy) today?” and Chesterton (likely would have) responded simply,

“Dear Sir,

I am.

Yours, G.K. Chesterton (i.e., any one of us).”

Stanley Kramer said...

Father,

I don't think it's objective or fair to label people who believe the EF is the way out of our mess as "elitists". Many of us have a sincere conviction about this. It's bad enough having to live down all the negative stereotypes thrown at trads, but to hear the name-calling come from you is scary.

JBS said...

I agree with Henry that Pope Benedict was hoping for a mutual enrichment when he freed the older rite of Mass. In fact, he put this goal in writing in his letter to the bishops accompanying his legendary motu proprio.

The old Roman rite of Mass should be treasured by all Catholics, and actively supported by those personally attracted to it. Hopefully, the Church will mine a few of its treasures for use in the reformed rite. That's a modest but realistic goal.

Personally, I find it easier to focus on Calvary when celebrating Mass according to the E.F. than according to the O.F. But I also acknowledge that most laymen and most older priests prefer the O.F. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Joseph Johnson said...

If anything, what Deacon Sandy said on that video sounded elitist (the way he talked about doing things differently at Good Shepherd).

I don't want to be elitist--I just want to be able to go to Mass and concentrate on the Sacrifice of Jesus and not have to deal with any major differences from priest to priest and parish to parish. I don't want to be distracted by some of the more controversial elements which often appear at OF Masses. The flexibility and options contained in the OF are its greatest shortcomings.

Just make the OF more like the EF (get rid of the options, by legislation, and restore it to something very close to the 1965 Latin/vernacular Mass). It's easy enough: Confiteor, Kyrie, Gloria, Nicene Creed, Roman Canon, Communion kneeling and on the tongue (with both species only on special occasions and by intinction only)--get rid of the other options and this gives a consistent framework that is in continuity with the EF. What's so hard about that? Oh, and NO Glory Praise music!!

Ted said...

I have been mostly on the sidelines for quite a while, but I have to comment at this point. If any form of the Roman Rite is elitist it is the OF. This one was fabricated by the elite experts, who knew better than anyone else in the world what was best for Catholicism. Nay they knew what was best for you and me, and they determined that after almost 1962 years they would usher in the glory of the golden age of Catholicism, to conquer the whole world, with their new Mass. Of course, satan had other plans for that kind of human pride, and Paul VI relized too late to what extent the smoke of satan had entered the sanctuaries of the Church.
If anyone is elitist today it is those who think the OF can be salvaged. Lets face it, it cannot be salvaged because it is a Mass that no longer speaks to the world of 2014. We have to go back to the Council and its documents, and form a new Consilium that will follow its guidelines as it should have in the first place instead of exuding the ideology of the post WW2 mentality.

JBS said...

I think we have to be honest here and admit that if the E.F. were made the exclusive Roman form, then we would have the same kind of music as the O.F. has today, there would be the same amount of "flexibility" accorded to its rubrics as is given to the O.F. today, it would be offered mostly versus populum, Communion would be mostly in the hand (remember that this practice was wide-spread before it was allowed), the Eucharistic canon would often be ad libbed or abbreviated (seminaries encouraged this in the Sixties), veiled women would get harsh stares, etc.

Anyone who prefers the E.F. should support its celebration, and then such communities of support will bear fruit in: vocations, works of mercy and virtue. Such fruits are bound to be noticed by the right people at the right time, prompted by the Holy Ghost.

CPT Tom said...

Joseph Johnson

Bingo! Or at least the 1962 order with current translation This should be done soonest by the Pope...it would fix 80-90 percent of what is wrong with the OF. Also turn the priest around, move the tabernacle back to the asp of the Sanctuary, and restore the old calendar, with updates for new saints. Latin for those who prefer it, international masses, or high holy days and vernacular (the new translation) for "ordinary" use. This would reunite the mass with the organic development and it would eliminate the stupid question of which mass. It would be one.

If this had been the result 50 years ago we could have avoided much of the liturgical train wreck, and there would of been no "emergency" and no SSPX. What a wasted mess we have lived through in resources, anguish and loss of souls.

John Nolan said...

There is some rather confused thinking here. SP was not a failed attempt to reconcile the SSPX (this is the view peddled by the usual suspects at PrayTell, and I'm surprised to find Fr MacDonald repeating it). The issue with the Society is a doctrinal one, relating to certain documents of the Second Vatican Council.

The status of the classic Roman Rite has been an issue for fifty years - the Latin Mass Society was founded in England back in 1965. The promulgation of a new Missal by Paul VI in 1969 gave added impetus to the debate, which involved canonists, liturgical scholars and high-ranking ecclesiastics (including Cardinal Ratzinger). Summorum Pontificum was the logical outcome of this debate. It should have happened twenty years before, after a commission of nine cardinals had ruled that the Old Rite had never been abrogated, but there was strident opposition from certain bishops. SP's empowering of clergy and laity was a masterstroke.

"Elitist" is a term of abuse directed at those whose cultural values are different from those of the commonalty, and at high culture generally. Opera is frequently so described, usually by those who object to its receiving public subsidy. Pope Francis's Mass (Latin, chant, classical polyphony) would be considered irredeemably elitist by the "spirit of V2" crowd. It's a term best avoided, unless one wishes to be branded a philistine.

Joseph Johnson said...

Before I retire for the evening:

If simplicity is a desirable goal (which I'm not so sure that it should be), then wouldn't reducing (simplifying) the OF by limiting it to what I suggested above (only the "EF options" with no other options remaining) be in accordance with this goal? Are we concerned more with too many signs of the Cross or are too many options in the Rite for the priest to choose our biggest problem? Of course, ad libbed abuses add even more complications to the mix. . .

John Nolan,
As usual, well said--I couldn't agree more!

Pater Ignotus said...

Ted - The OF was not"fabricated." It contains the elements -all of them - that are given by St Justin in his SECOND century description of / apologia for the Christian Eucharist.

The notion that it was fabricated is simply untrue.

John Nolan said...

PI, we've been through all this before - 'fabricated', 'made up', 'put together', 'assembled' - they all mean the same thing. The problem is that in English certain words and phrases, as a result of colloquial usage, acquire a secondary pejorative meaning, so a 'fabrication' can mean a falsehood, and to 'make something up' can mean to tell a lie. Seizing on the secondary meaning and excluding the primary one can lead to false inferences. Even worse is when through laziness or ignorance a word acquires a pejorative meaning which unless qualified it doesn't have; 'discrimination' is a prime example.

Which is all the more reason for retaining Latin as a liturgical language. English is so widespread and so unregulated that it means different things to different people. In England a rubber is an eraser, not a condom, and when a London girl says 'I'm mad about my flat' she means she is really pleased with her apartment, not that she is annoyed because her tyre (tire) has a puncture.


Henry said...

PI: You seem to assume that the liturgy is a static rather than a living thing and that, in particular, its legitimate development under the influence of the Holy Spirit had ceased from the time of St. Justin until Vatican II.

Cardinal Ratzinger's "fabrication" terminology would seem less accurate if the current OF were more clearly a faithful implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Whereas I attribute more merit to the OF than do some do, I could hardly argue that SC has yet been faithfully implemented.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - Yes, we have been down this road before, and the NO is not "fabricated."

The NO contains all the elements of the mass as it was known to St Justin and the Church 1800 years before SC.

It is as Traditional as any form of the Roman Rite that has ever been promulgated for use by the church.

Pater Ignotus said...

Henry - No, I do not think the mass is static. In this very blog I have often discussed the evolution of the liturgy, the development of the liturgy, the changes in the liturgy. Even a cursory read of my posts makes it plain that I do not think the mass is static.

I cite Justin to help those who have bought into the false understanding that the NO is something made up or invented or fabricated or etc to recognize that, somewhere along the way, they have been misled, either intentionally or mistakenly.

The NO contains all the Traditional elements of the mass as it was known to the Church in the time of Justin. As such, it is not something fabricated or made up, but a true expression of the Tradition of the Church regarding the celebration of the Eucharist.

John Nolan said...

PI, did Fr Vaggagini find Eucharistic Prayer III inscribed on gold plates which had lain buried for two thousand years, like the Book of Mormon? Or was it dictated to him by the angel Gabriel in the manner of the Koran? No, he composed it, or if you like fabricated it (the primary meaning of 'to fabricate' according to Chambers is 'to put together by art and labour'). Drawing on the most recent scholarship, and using textual material that was simply not available at the time of the Council of Trent, he composed an anaphora which avoided the alleged defects of the Roman Canon (although most reputable scholars nowadays believe that these defects were exaggerated).

His aim was not to subvert Tradition but to articulate it more clearly. Whether or not the Pauline Missal, either in itself or more particularly in the way it is used, succeeds in this aim, or if SC was interpreted in the way the Council Fathers intended, has been the subject of debate for nigh on half a century, and the debate is going to continue.

WSquared said...

Your comments in red at the end of your post, Fr. McDonald, is precisely why I make use of the fact that the door swings both ways.

Whenever I encounter someone who despises the EF and pits the OF against it in a way that suggests that Vatican II "called for" all sorts of nonsense at Mass that distracts from its spiritual reality, I gently, but curtly say: "please don't insult the Novus Ordo."

It's bad enough that some traditionalists who lean more to the extreme end of things denigrate a valid form of the Mass. But many of whom "support" the Novus Ordo seem to think that its mere validity gives them a right to trash it completely. In effect, many traditionalists are ceding way too much ground, so I am very grateful that your blog exists, Father.

I am grateful, though, that as unfortunate as the situation is, it nonetheless forces us to explore and clarify what the problems are, and to do so with precision. For example, it's true that High Anglican liturgy is more beautifully celebrated. But it's still not the Mass, that's not a priest, and that's not Jesus. The standard fare at many a suburban parish doesn't even compare. But that's actually Mass, that's actually a priest, and so that's actually Jesus. The issue is what the ontological end of beauty is, and why we should have it. It's not "Just Because." Just as "progress" without direction unto its ultimate end is meaningless, so is "tradition" that exists for its own sake.

It is indeed true that even a sloppily celebrated Novus Ordo Mass, unfortunately the "norm" in many an American suburban parish, is valid-- that's still the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and that's still Jesus, barring anything "improvisational" that would make its validity questionable. It's still a mortal sin to not attend Mass, and the fact that its aesthetics are "off" are but a poor excuse for not being there. After all, many people around the world have no Mass at all, and many people have risked their lives over the centuries to be able to attend Mass.

But it is exactly because that IS Jesus, and that Catholicism is the religion of the Incarnation, and the fact that people have given their lives to attend Mass that nobody has any business trashing it by slotting all kinds of rubbish into it. There is a marked difference in liturgical style between Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. But it's still a heck of a stretch to even suggest that Pope Francis's simpler approach makes bad music at Mass and treating the liturgy casually and carelessly okay.

The fact that people did risk their lives to celebrate and come to Mass should imbue us with some humility.