Saturday, June 14, 2014


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.  


John Nolan said...

The problem is that the idea of two forms of the same Roman Rite is a legal fiction devised by Benedict XVI to justify the emancipation of the Roman Rite which exists sui generis and was never abrogated in that no pope has the authority to do so.

Those who dislike the classic Roman Rite (like many of the contributors at PrayTell) don't have to attend it. In fact it is those who are attached to it who have to go out of their way to do so. So why do the Paul Inwoods and Todd Flowerdays criticize SP? Because it stands as a challenge and a threat to their 1970s mindset - it is interesting that both men fancy themselves as liturgists but are in reality nothing of the sort.

When I look at the young people who are increasingly drawn to the genuine lex orandi I am more optimistic now than I have been in forty years. Babies who cry during the silent Canon don't irritate me at all - they represent the next generation of Catholics who will be bought up in the 'faith of our fathers'.

The sands are running out of the V2 revolution. It was built on sand anyway. Its advocates are superannuated intellectuals who are now sounding increasingly desperate, or intellectual lightweights like Beattie, Ferrone and the two egregious pontificators I have already mentioned who are uncomfortably aware that they have hitched their wagon to the wrong train.

I don't feel sorry for them, any more than I feel sorry for Sidney and Beatrice Webb who visited Stalin's USSR in the midst of the worst man-made famine in history and came back extolling the Soviet system. The Left has a capacity for self-delusion which is truly awesome.

John said...

Pope Francis has stated that there is no room for ideology in Catholic faith practices. However, the reforms in the Mass and especially in its manner of implementation (down to the present day) is certainly ideological.

Benedict XVI understood this and tried to mitigate the discontinuity with tradition incorporated in the NO. You, Father, also are doing your best in this regard I know.

Romano Guardini and others point out that the the Mass is a community prayer that we have no right to change, personalize, in any form. Yet, today, individual clerics and members of congregations feel free to indulge with abandon in all manner of idiosyncratic behavior at NO Masses.

Furthermore, if some petition to have the EF Mass from time to time in his parish the request almost without exception is greeted with a resounding NO! The repressive NO cannot be based on reason. It is simply an arbitrary exercise of power driven by ideology.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more, John. I have started attending the extraordinary form due to frustration from the abuses of N.O.-- from extraordinary ministers giving communion attired in shorts and plunging necklines, dancers in leotards, lack of reverence, etc. One wonders if grace still flows out of these N.O. Masses. The suppression of the Latin Mass is phenomenal, it blows my mind why people are so threatened by it. If there are really 2 forms of the Roman rite, why is the Extraordinary form not being taught in seminaries?
I have been reading the books written by Malachi Martin, 2 of which are "The Windswept House" and The Jesuits. These books explain what has happened to our beloved Catholic Church. I used to attend Mass everyday.
I have now resorted to attending FSSP Masses during the week online, streaming live from Sarasota Florida. I am fortunate to be able to attend Latin Mass every Sunday albeit I would have to drive some distance. The smoke of Satan has completely engulfed our church. Those who recognize it are led by the HOly Spirit to search and find God's will. The obviously not ordained by God. It is an aberration. Also, Quo Primum states that whoever changes the liturgy is anathema. Our bishops, cardinals, and priests are totally blinded by modernists.