Monday, March 3, 2014
THE FOCUS FOR AUTHENTIC LITURGICAL RENEWAL MUST BE ON THE ORDINARY FORM, NOT THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM
I fear that in some places where the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated that there is an ideology being promoted in the most divisive way that it is the "true Mass" and the Ordinary Form is intrinsically corrupt and should not be the Ordinary Form. Along with this liturgical ideology is a very rigid, judgmental form of Catholicism that can be very elitist in its ideology, almost or maybe even fanatical. It can be a very separatist movement if those who celebrate this Mass aren't careful.
Because I am orthodox, I accept Pope Benedict's SP and do so recognizing that the Ordinary Form of the Mass is the normal, everyday Mass of the Church. So did Pope Benedict. As pope he never celebrated a public Extraordinary Form Mass, although he did celebrate it as a cardinal under the previous dispensation.
As I have said before, now that I celebrate the EF Low Mass weekly on Tuesday and once a month on Sunday, it has improved the way I celebrate the OF Mass. I am much more intentional and careful about the manner in which I celebrate it now. But what I love about the OF Mass is that there is flexibility built into it when there is a need for that flexibility. And I know first hand that the OF Mass can have the same ethos, spirituality, piety and devotion of the EF Mass if only it was celebrated by the book with only some minor alterations to its General Instruction to allowed clearly the option for the Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion. Just these two options without any other changes other than more care in the type of music sung and the type of instrumentation along with making mandatory the propers of the Mass from approved chant modes, even in English, would solve the majority of problems we see today with reverence, Catholic spirituality, piety and devotion.
St. Joseph parishioners received a very nice compliment from the spiritual director of Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Fr. John Dietrich. He is giving our Lenten Parish Mission this week and preached all our Masses.
He commented how nice our liturgies are and how well our parishioners particpate in the Mass and how well they sing and most if not all parishioners stay in the Church until the final verse of the closing hymn before they depart.
He said that the manner in which the Mass is celebrated in other places and he's been to many other parishes, is not like it is at St. Joseph and sometimes very poorly celebrated.
I said to him that I could not understand why bishops don't focus on the liturgy more in their dioceses and strive to bring uniformity of quality to their parishes and offer priests direct mandates on how to improve the Mass, not through creativity or anything unusual, but simply by following what the Missal tells us to do and taking care of attention to detail especially style of music, choreography and liturgical formality in terms of beauty in liturgical garb and how the laity dress for Mass.
I have said it before and I'll say it again, the manner in which Pope Francis celebrates Mass at St. Peter's not only in terms of his style but also the care that is taken with the others who participate in a formal way and also the congregation is a model that can be followed by all parishes of the world even if the Mass is completely in the vernacular.
Make Pope Francis' St. Peter's Masses the model and copy it scrupulously and we'd have a much improved art of celebrating the Ordinary Form Mass around the world.