Friday, June 27, 2014


Let's say there is an FSSP parish that is willing to celebrate a monthly all Latin Ordinary Form Chanted Mass using their normal schola/choir to do so and the normal parts of the EF Mass chanted in Latin with the chanted Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. And let's say that there are no lay ministers involved except the altar boys, that the Mass is completely ad orientem and at the altar, (the chair is not used) and even the lectionary is read from the altar in the normal fashion of an EF Mass but using the new lectionary (could be in Latin or English) with the Latin Gradual chanted in place of the Responsorial Psalm, what would be lacking, especially if the Roman Canon is chosen and said in a audible but low voice?

From appearances, especially from the ad orientem point of view, the congregation would experience an almost identical Mass to the EF, especially if Holy Communion is distributed at the altar railing.

So the normative Latin Mass in the Ordinary Form celebrated in the manner highlighted above would appear to be almost (although certainly not quite) identical to its source the EF Mass, no?


rob said...

Aside from the ad orientem, you've described one of the weekly Masses that my parish offers. It's a beautiful Mass, very reverent and you really feel that you've had an encounter with the sacred. Everything is in Latin, except the readings, Gospel and the Homily. All of the prayers and responses from the faithful are in Latin.

Get this, my *children* insisted that we attend this Mass instead of any of the other ordinary form Masses in the area.


Gene said...

That would certainly be the proper way to celebrate the OF, but I still think the FSSP should remain what it is for the purpose fopr which it was established.

Actually, looking at our totally degraded pop culture, the OF as it is usually celebrated (or should I say performed) is the ultimate "selfie." Everyone should be able to attend one of Fr. MacDonald's ad orientum OF's. You would never look back...

Marc said...

It would violate their charism of keeping the Mass, sacraments, and piety alive. They would lose parishioners.

Anyway, it's not about aesthetics. There's more to traditional Catholicism than these outward aspects of the Mass. And the two rites aren't as similar as you seem to believe them to be (go to the Sacred Triduum or Ember Day Masses, for example).

Go to a traditional parish a few times, and you'll see what I mean.

This is based on my experience at many parishes (SSPX, FSSP, ICRSS, and Diocesan) in 7 states (GA, TN, MO, VA, NY, ME, AL).

Anonymous said...

The Legionaries of Christ do celebrate the ordinary Mass in Latin, with Gregorian chant, incense, candle bearers, etc.

And in English, and in Spanish, and they used to occasionally do so in Italian just to keep up the practice.

It is reverence, attention to proper decorum and respect that matter IMHO. It's the intrinsic respect for one's ethnic cultural heritage, of one's distant ancestors with whom we stand in doctrinal agreement while we enjoy the identical 'praxis' ritual that has power.

Jettisoning the trappings of the past makes it that much more easy to disrespect those martyrs and saints and the doctrine they suffered to hand on.

But as Latin (and its pronunciation) has changed throughout time, I think it's no so much the language as the how it's said.... so you could very well say the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin with bells, incense, candles, Gregorian choir, etc. and it'd be gorgeous.

John Nolan said...


The option has always been there. In the 1970s I hardly ever attended a Tridentine Mass, (it was allowed under the Heenan indult but was rare and never on a Sunday) but, especially in London, there were many sung Latin NO Masses, with all the Graduale chants but with the Scripture readings in English and facing the people, with lay readers, both male and female. I had no problem with this, and still don't. Nor do I object when EP III is used rather than the Roman Canon. As I have said before, this Prayer is almost the defining feature of the Novus Ordo and is a very fine anaphora which might be a recent composition but which draws on ancient texts.

Nor do I object to the vernacular although I prefer Latin. The old rendition was certainly a problem, but since 2011 we have, for the first time, a more-or-less correct translation. It's all a question of emphasizing continuity over rupture.

It is barely half a century since the liturgy of the Roman Church was subjected to what amounted to a revolution. Some embraced the revolution and span off into the 'creative' liturgical experience which did not die out in the 1980s. Some hitched their wagon to those who insisted on the unadulterated Roman Rite,(FSSP, ICKSP, SSPX, traditional monasteries, etc.).

Most would probably have preferred a form of worship which was recognizably Catholic but were prepared to compromise if necessary. I think that what you do at St Joseph's Macon is an example of what Benedict XVI was talking about. I am thinking of visiting the USA next year (I have an aunt in Pennsylvania and cousins in that part of the world) and my late brother once visited Georgia and was bowled over by it. Using the excellent airline service there should not be problems getting to Macon and I would love to sing with your schola, lock horns with Pater Ignotus and share a single malt with Gene.
Keep up the good work!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John, in my previous assignment before SP, I celebrated regularly an all Latin (except readings) Ordinary Form Mass and even did so ad orientem a few times. This would have been starting around 2000 to 04. For about two years we did a once a month all Latin Mass completely in Gregorian Chant and with the propers.

But after arriving here, I postponed starting this as I needed to lay ground work for it. Then Pope Benedict issued SP and I jumped into the Latin Mass earlier than I planned but now with the EF.

Having the EF Mass doesn't make sense having an all OF Latin Mass, although we have experimented with it. The EF limits things automatically and I can rely on its rubrics for this limitation, but with the OF it would be idiosyncratic.

At any rate, there is a part of me that would really prefer celebrating the OF Mass in Latin with EF sensibilities.

Anonymous said...

This morning I attended an OF requiem funeral Mass that was celebrated pretty much as you describe—Order of Mass said in Latin, ad orientem at the high altar, Ordinary and propers sung in Latin, with all the Graduale Romanum chants (which for the Mass for the Dead are the same in both OF and EF) sung by the choir, including the gradual itself (instead of a responsorial psalm) and the Dies Irae (after communion) and the In Paradisum at the final incensing of the body—but with the readings at the altar in the vernacular, as were the sermon and intercessions. There were no congregational hymns, and no optional congregational handshake of peace—it being clearly inappropriate for a funeral whose sole purpose is sacrifice and prayer for the repose of the soul of the deceased, not for sharing of feelings of camaraderie among the folks.

In other word . . . by the book, Do the Red, Say the Black (even in Latin). But what I thought most notable was the apparent effect of unity it had on the diverse congregation—some non-Catholic family and friends, but the majority probably about evenly split among those who regularly attend the EF and those who likely never do. For instance, I suspect it was a manifestly holy and reverent liturgy (and the fact that no laity other than the altar boys had entered the sanctuary?) that inspired all to kneel at the altar rail for communion on the tongue, even though some probably had never done so before.

A number stayed around outside afterwards. Those not accustomed to such “high iturgy” seemed uniformly impressed by it, and those who ordinarily attend only the EF seemed positive also. I didn’t hear anyone actually say it, but I imagine some present thought it WAS an “old Mass”, despite the fact that the Latin-English booklets and propers sheets identified it as an “ordinary form Mass”.

Actually, I thought the clearest visual signal that it was an ordinary Novus Ordo Mass rather than a TLM was the thurifer incensing the Host and Chalice as they were elevated while kneeling in the center in front of the altar, instead of at the step on the epistle side as he would have at an EF Mass. The principal textual difference between the two forms is in their offertory rites. However, here no difference was either seen or heard, because the celebrant was facing the high altar and the offertory was silent because it was “covered” by the choir singing the lengthy offertory chant of the requiem Mass. And of course the Domine non sum dignus was said only once.

Really, wouldn’t regular celebration in parishes everywhere of “an OF Mass celebrated with EF sensibilities” be exactly what Pope Benedict meant by “mutual enrichment”? This particular Mass brought to mind the fact that the OF does offer some beneficial flexibility—e.g. use of vernacular as seems appropriate for the occasion (which surely is all Vatican II intended)—while allowing for those “EF sensibilities” as well.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

What if a congregation of priests and deacons (heck...lets throw in brothers, sisters, and tertiaries while we're at it!) were formed whose specific "charism" included exclusive, daily celebration of the Ordinary Form in exactly the way you've described (which I remember from my youth in the parish I grew up in)?

As sort of OF version of the Institute of Christ the King or FSSP?

I'd get behind that project in a heartbeat!

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

John Nolan said...

SP has made a difference in that it places the older forms and the more recent ones alongside each other and invites comparison. Leaving the Mass aside, the changes to the Roman Ritual seem to me to be worse, and were I a priest I would have few problems with the new Mass, either in Latin or in the vernacular, but could never bring myself to use the new rite of baptism or the Book of Blessings.

As a layman I do have certain choices, however; despite what PI might say I can follow my conscience as regards aberrations of the liturgy, and when in extremis the priest visiting me will be given the Rituale Romanum which I have on my bookshelf and be required to adhere to it. Catholics have rights, and I'm going to stand by mine.

JBS said...

It is my understanding that FSSP parishes are not territorial, but personal, so that the Parish Pastors there are responsible only for the pastoral care of souls who join the parish precisely to have access exclusively to the older rites.

Joe Potillor said...

Well, most certainly would be a good thing. (I've been to Rob's Mass before, and it was quite beautiful).....Something that I alluded to in another post, but I'll bring up again here, I think there's wisdom in the Scriptures being read Ad Orientem, since the primary purpose is not didactic, but rather for the Adoration due unto Him...Since I am a reader for both the Roman and Byzantine Rites...(In the byzantine rite, Scriptures are read Ad Orientem as well as chanted)...The Scripture lessons should be chanted...either in Latin or Vernacular

Marc said...

Joe, the Gospel is chanted ad orientem in the Byzantine Catholic churches?

And the epistle as well?

John Nolan said...

In the Roman Rite the Epistle is sung facing east and the Gospel facing north. This applies even in the Low Mass - when the server moves the missal to the gospel side he angles it so that the Gospel is said facing the north-east corner. I have no objections to the Scripture readings being said/sung at an ambo facing the people and have seen this done at an EF Solemn Mass.

The OF, with its distinction between the LOTW and LOTE, logically demands that the former be versus populum and the latter ad apsidem.

John Nolan said...

Many of the features of the EF Requiem Mass would be legitimate options in the OF, such as no incense until the Offertory, and only the celebrant to be incensed, no lights at the Gospel, no 'bidding prayers', no 'sign of peace' (in the Solemn Requiem the Kiss of Peace is omitted). There is nothing in the OF rubric as to where the thurifer should kneel at the elevations (in the EF the incensing is done by the subdeacon since the paten is left on the altar)

The Sequence may be sung in its proper place, since the clergy are seated at this point in both forms. The most noticeable difference in the OF is that the Introit and Kyrie are separated by the sung Introductory Rite and Penitential Act, and the lessons may be sung in the vernacular.

Joe Potillor said...

Marc, the Gospel is chanted facing Liturgical West (facing the people), I've never seen it chanted Ad Orientem, or facing Liturgical North in the East

The Epistle is typically chanted facing East, but it's not a universal practice. In the parish where I used to be reader I did the readings facing East (as was practice of the parish)....It's supposed to be chanted Ad Orientem, and is done so at the Cathedral Liturgies.

Marc said...

Thanks for responding, Joe. I was confused by what you wrote. It seems to me that the Divine Liturgy is more didactic than the Tridientine Mass. I'm not sure if this is by design or by circumstance. I heard a podcast recently by an Orthodox priest saying that the didactic elements of the Divine Liturgy were accretions of a relatively recent vintage. Anyway, what do you think?