Saturday, June 14, 2014
THE TWO FORMS OF THE ONE LATIN RITE MUST EXPERIENCE THE SAME HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL DIMINSIONS IN THE CLASSICAL WAY
Pope Benedict use to lament that the manner in which the revised Mass of 1970 was celebrated had become too horizontal oriented at the expense of the vertical dimension of worshiping God. And yes, the emphasis on the horizontal aspects of the Church was/is based upon a faulty notion that the ecclesiology of the Mass was somehow different between the Mass prior to Vatican II and the Mass after Vatican II and played a huge role in this "horizontalizing" of the Mass, our church architecture and the positioning of the pews and elimination of altar railings.
Somehow it was taught that up until the Second Vatican Council, the Church was not considered the Mystical Body of Christ, the People of God or that Christ was the Bridegroom and the Baptized Souls the Bride of Christ and together God and man comprised the Church. Of course this is ludicrous. These theological and doctrinal concepts of the Church have always been present.
The exaggerated symbolizing of the Church as the "People of God" can be found in how pews are angled around the altar after Vatican II in new churches and renovated older ones. If you have ever sat in one of these monstrosities you know that your natural line of vision is not directed to the sanctuary and its altar and ambo, but rather to a back wall, a side wall, or a person nearby. It is all very distracting and one has to place oneself in an unnatural position to actually view the sanctuary.
Of course the Church as the People of God, the Mystical Body of Christ and the Bridegroom/bride image was and is present in a linear Gothic or Romanesque building with pews straight forward and the sanctuary quite naturally the focal point for one's body and eyes. The Church is the Church when Christ, clergy and laity are present.
But who is the focus of our worship? It is God who is adored through Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Who adores? It is the Church, both on earth, in purgatory and in heaven what is commonly called the Church Militant, the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. All three aspects of the Church, visible and invisible are present during the Church's worship and especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The continuity between the two forms of the one Roman Rite, that of the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form should be viewed from the historic manner in which Church architecture developed before the novelties of the last 50 years.
The linear development of pews and sanctuary with the priest joining the laity, from whom he is called to become a priest, meaning the "ad orientem" position of the priest, can and should be the same for both forms of the Mass. In doing so, it makes clear that while the Ordinary Form Mass has a "nobility" in simplicity, its ethos and direction is the same as the more sumptuous and complicated Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Both Masses should have the same "horizontalness" that is not exaggerated or diminishes in any way the vertical nature of the Mass as public worship of the Supreme Being who is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit by His creatures.