I have been on vacation. I will be until August 1st. When I am away on vacation I attend Mass as a lay person. I know, I know, I am not a lay person, but give me a break when I'm on the road.
I won't say where I was for the Sunday Mass that I describe below. I don't want to offend anyone.
Let me point out first that the problem with the Sunday Mass I attended was not the Mass itself, but the manner in which it was celebrated, a manner that has been endorsed by way too many liturgists, bishops and priests since the 1970 missal became the normative Mass of the Church.
Let me list the problems that became distractions for me!
1. The opening hymn was well sung by all, led by a cantor. However, the official Entrance Chant was omitted. Nevertheless, the momentum of the Mass had begun, in fact the Mass began with the Entrance Hymn, although it substituted for the official Entrance Chant.
2. Despite the fact that the Mass had begun and our prayer and worship had begun with it, after the "Sign of the Cross" and the official Greeting, the priest felt compelled to use a secular greeting and welcome afterward. Then he introduced the visiting priest who would preach the homily, giving a bit of a biography of him and then he made an announcement that the second collection would be for the Church in Africa and that we should be generous. The preacher was an African priest. Then after this lengthy introduction, the celebrant then returned to the text of the Mass but first said, "Now let us begin the Mass with the "penitential act...."
Newsflash for this priest: the Mass began with the Entrance Hymn. He is the one who introduced an "intermission" to the Mass by stepping out of the Mass with his banal secular greeting and welcome and the introduction of the visiting African priest and the purpose of the homily to get people to contribute to the second collection. This intermission was an announcement for the second collection!
3. The priest made up his own rubrics that were extremely distracting to me. At the offertory, he prepared the chalice with the wine and water prior to offering the bread for consecration. This is illicit.
4. Then the priest, presumably because he could not genuflect made profound bows at the appropriate places where bows or genuflections are prescribed. But this is how he did it: he bowed with hands dropped and as though he was touching his toes with his hands. He looked like a table in doing so! It was horrible and I have never seen this kind of profound bow and he extended it in time!
5. I simply cannot stand it when any priest, including this one, prays facing the congregation as though he is proclaiming the prayer to the congregation even looking at us and establishing eye contact with as many of us as possible. His voice did not sound prayerful. It sounded like a priest reading the Gospel to the congregation.
6. He gestured to the congregation at the words of consecration. I had to close my eyes and pretend the priest was facing ad orientem. Why do I have to look at a priest who is playacting? He saw himself as the star of the show. He wanted to be a good actor. He failed because the priestly function at Mass isn't acting or putting on a show for the congregation. If he simply faced the same direction as the rest of us, this would have gone a long way in making this Mass a truly prayerful experience.
So the problem with the 1970 missal and this could be the case with the 1962 Missal as well is that the priest faces the people, thus making him an actor, not a priest, and thus tempts him to play to the congregation. Abusing the rubrics of the Mass, which technically could happen in the 1962 missal too, is the other problem.
The one thing that can't happen in the 1962 Missal but unfortunately happens way, way, way too frequently in the 1970 Missal is the ad libs after the official greeting of the Mass. I see it constantly from priests to bishops. This needs to stop. The Mass begins with the Entrance Chant, not the Penitential Act!
The other problem with the 1970 Missal not present in the 1962 Missal is the omission of the official Entrance Chant (Introit) as well as Offertory and Communion Antiphons. This is simply inexcusable and has led to so much banality in the Mass and clericalism concerning who chooses the substitutions and the reasons for it.
I love the 1970 Missal when it is celebrated properly. It was with every papal Mass I attended with Pope Francis at the Vatican. The propers were always chanted and the laity's parts were chanted in Latin. The Pope did not ad lib anywhere, and celebrated the Mass in an "ad orientem" sort of way even when facing the congregation. His voice was quiet, even subdued, not a proclamation voice, which he did use during the homily. Of course he can't genuflect but his bows were appropriate profound bows and very reverent and not overdone or theatrical.