Thursday, August 14, 2014

RECOVERING THE SENSE OF THE SACRED IN THE POST-VATICAN II REVISION OF THE 1962 MISSAL


According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11) But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven.
"Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us".
- See more at: http://www.adoremus.org/0505Olmsted_Kneeling.html#sthash.xJw8PfJ2.dpuf
According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11) But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven.
"Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us".
- See more at: http://www.adoremus.org/0505Olmsted_Kneeling.html#sthash.xJw8PfJ2.dpuf
According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11) But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven.
"Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us".
- See more at: http://www.adoremus.org/0505Olmsted_Kneeling.html#sthash.xJw8PfJ2.dpuf

According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11) But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven.
"Come, let us bow down and worship. Let us kneel before the Lord who made us".
- See more at: http://www.adoremus.org/0505Olmsted_Kneeling.html#sthash.xJw8PfJ2.dpuf
Henry Edwards of good old Tennessee (the south is where the Church really is you know, forget the silly progressives in the northeast and midwest who are dying on the vine) sent me an article from the National Catholic Register, the true NCR by posted there on Monday, August 11, 2014.

When I look these over, I wonder if Pat hasn't been reading my blog and I advocate so many of these things. Where I differ is that I acknowledge that 99% of the parishes in any given diocese will not do any of these things or will do them partially. So I am more flexible. The following are Pat Archbold's recommendations, but my editorializing exceptions to his rule are printed in RED.

Ad Orientem. The mass being said ad orientem means that the priest and the faithful face the same direction, (liturgical) east. Many people think that Vatican II or the Novus Ordo requires the priest to face the people. This is simply not true. In fact, the rubrics of the new mass anticipates that the mass be said ad orientem and instructs the priest when he should face the people.

I can think of no one single thing that could do more to properly orient the minds and hearts of the faithful (not to mention the priest) than restoring ad orientem worship. I commend to you the letter that Fr. Richard Heilman wrote to a priest about the fruits of this change one year after its implementation. No permission or indult is required to make this change as it is just as the mass was originally intended. All that is needed is a willing priest and time to properly educate the faithful. (While I concur, it simply isn't going to happen any time soon. What bishops should mandate is the Benedictine altar arrangement that His Holiness, Pope Francis continues to use albeit slightly modified. This would be a great first step!)

Restore chant and polyphony. Ditch the lame hymnal and its happy-clappy anthropocentrism and bring back chant and polyphony. Again, this is exactly for what Vatican II called, "The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30." Moreover, the priest should chant the mass with the faithful providing chanted responses. A priest could even chant the propers. All this can take time and a concerted effort at education, the payoff could be immense.

Latin, yes Latin!! Again, Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites." What Vatican II envisioned was the use of the vernacular for the variable parts of the mass, "This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants." But the parts of the mass that are the same every week could be in Latin, the people could be educated on this, education, translation cheat sheets, and time could restore that which was always to be preserved. At the very least, prayers like the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei should be in Latin and the Kyrie in Greek as many people are already familiar with them. (The glorious new English translation of the Mass is fine  but a bit of Latin would help, especially in multi-lingual parishes to unite parishes rather than make them into mini sub-parishes!)

Proper Reception of Communion, Kneeling and On The Tongue. In his article at New Liturgical Movement, Fr. Richard Heilman does all the heavy lifting on this topic.
Why Kneel?

Pope Benedict XVI, has noted that kneeling is "an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God." He reminds us that "the word proskynein alone occurs fifty-nine times in the New Testament, twenty-four of which are in the Apocalypse, the book of the heavenly liturgy, which is presented to the Church as the standard for her own liturgy."

In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict speaks of a "story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frightening thin limbs, but, most strikingly, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical."

Why Receive on the tongue?

Despite the widespread practice of Communion in the hand, the universal discipline of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue has not changed. A bishop, for example, may forbid the practice of Communion in the hand but not the practice of Communion on the tongue. The Church strongly encourages the latter but not the former. With respect to Communion in the hand, the Church speaks only in a cautionary tone because of the many abuses that often accompany this practice.
Kneeling and receiving the Eucharist on the tongue encourages you to really think about what it is you are doing while at the same time showing proper respect for the Eucharist.  Adding or using a communion rail is the best way to encourage proper reception.

Speaking of respect for the Eucharist

No More Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  The use of of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion is supposed to be just that, extraordinary.  The use of EMHC's for the regular distribution of communion at ordinary masses is an abuse, pure and simple.
§ 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon.[96] Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.[97] 
§ 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at Eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.[99] They may also exercise this function at Eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion.
The ordinary ministers are Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.  When every Tom, Dick, and Jane runs up to the sanctuary and hands out communion, the sacredness of the Eucharist is diminished. (I am not opposed to Extraordinary Ministers when truly needed. I would like to see them installed as official acolytes with a diocesan certification program that emphasizes the pastoral skill involved in this ministry, especially that of taking Holy Communion to the sick and home bound. At Mass they should be vested in alb.)

Appropriate Attire.  This is all about education, education, and more education.  Priests and pastors should repeatedly preach and educate the faithful about proper attire for mass.  Nobody would dress in flip flops and tank top to a job interview,  or to meet the President or the Pope, but meeting our Lord and Savior in the Eucharist?  Other things Priest can do is ditch the altar server's potato sack robes and replace them with cassocks and surplices.  Priest's could teach about the sacredness of women and encourage use of the veil.  Everybody knows that what we wear changes how we behave and how we behave changes how we think.

General Reverence and Sacredness.  This is all about eliminating disruption and restoring a sense of the sacred.  Some things to consider here are:
 
  • Eliminating the Sign of Peace by the Faithful.  It is only an option and not mandatory and often very disruptive. (It should be re-imagined, not eliminated and more in line with the passing of Christ's peace from the altar to the congregation, not an exchange!)
  • More Incense.
  • Great attention to reverence and precision by the Priests and servers.
  • Priestly ad libs banished!
  • The priest avoid wandering around during the homily.
Read more: at the ncregister!

18 comments:

Gene said...

So, Fr., why don't you implement all of these at St. Jo's? Lead from the front.

Unknown said...

"The priest avoid wandering around during the homily." This is one I do not suffer well. I prefer a priest to a buddy amongst us giving the homily.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Because Gene, unlike Protestantism for the most part, Catholicism in dioceses is not congregational or into congregationalism--we are united to the chief shepherd and liturgist of the diocese who is united to the pope--we don't need "spirit of Vatican II false ecumenism" applied to Catholicism as it concerns congregationalism.

qwikness said...

Why do we stand during the Liturgy of the Eucharist? For the Lord's Prayer and sign of peace? I wish we could kneel all the way through, say the Lord's Prayer while kneeling. Do the sign of peace when the gifts are brought up. I also wish we could have the prayer before and after Mass, and the last gospel, in the missalette.

Joseph Johnson said...

So, until we are fortunate enough to have a Bishop who thinks like Sample, Slattery, Morlino or Cordileone (or until we have another Pope Pius V issuing universal liturgical mandates) nothing will change in the Diocese of Savannah . . .

JBS said...

If the celebrant is focused on Christ, rather than on himself, I think that goes a long way, even without these suggested improvements. But these suggestions still have value because they help the priest keep this proper focus, and they help obscure the personality of a distracted priest.

Practically speaking, however, the problem with implementing these suggestions is twofold: few bishops would tolerate them, and few parishioners would support them.

Marc said...

quikness, Among other reasons, kneeling is relatively late accretion into the liturgy as an acceptable posture. In fact, the First Ecumenical Council banned kneeling during liturgies on Sundays.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, eh? Are you proposing that standing is a more ancient posture for the liturgy and receiving Holy Communion a la Eastern Orthodox? Or is this a different Marc?

Marc said...

Standing is definitively the more ancient practice for receiving Communion and for the liturgy in general.

Same Marc.

qwikness said...

I can't remember but in the tridentine mass do we stand during the Liturgy of the Eucharist part or during the Lord's Prayer? It seems like it really breaks up my concentration and prayerful moment of the mass. I have to stand up pray that, shake hands, then kneel down and try to get back where I was in thought and prayer. Let's just stay in one position.

Anonymous said...

All will be well with the Church and the world when we issue rust colored jump suits to the men (only men) who are in the "State of Grace" and who will be the only ones allowed to receive communion.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

If the men are all in rust colored suits as in the photo above from a Mass in a Prison chapel, I suspect all us men would be in prison which for some might make the world a delightful place.

Gene said...

Fr, I am not sure what you mean. What is "congregational" or "falsely ecumenical" about a Priest implementing things that are allowed? How could this possibly be congregational when, most likely, a large part of the congregation would grumble and whine…but, they would learn to like it and probably appreciate it.

Gene said...

Anonymous, your statements are merely juvenile and idiotic and make no sense.

Cameron said...

JBS, yes, I do think the attitude and aura of the priest really do go a long way in determining the actions and attitudes of the faithful.

For example, while I wish he could genuflect and sing well, Pope Francis's sobriety during Mass is a great quality.

Joe Potillor said...

While agreeing with Marc, the standing posture is more ancient...as theology developed in Rome kneeling came associated with adoration. (prostrations in the East during penitential seasons) and he's right that kneeling was banned on Sundays...it's my understanding that penitential kneeling was banned on Sundays (as such Rome would not be in violation of the 1st Ecumenical council)

That said, the theology of the Mass in Rome, with the emphasis being on sacrifice and not the resurrection (a la the Eastern Churches) Standing doesn't really fit for the canon of the Mass. Now if Rome started using leavened bread (leaven being a symbol of the resurrection) we can start talking standing during the canon for the Roman Rite....

quikness, standing during the Our Father is correct Liturgically, and also during the Tridentine High Mass this is done. (It should be done during Low Mass too, but I digress)

Henry said...

It is arguable that Archbold’s suggested steps for a return to reverence in the Mass are simply directed to a return to the intentions of the Fathers of Vatican II. Indeed, if the directives of the Vatican II constitution on the sacred liturgy had not been so massively rejected in the decades immediately following the Council, then none of these suggestions would be necessary.

For then the Mass would today already be celebrated ad orientem (versus populum never having mentioned in the conciliar deliberations), communion would still be universally received on the tongue while kneeling (no alternative ever having been envisioned at the council), the fixed parts of the Mass would everywhere be in Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony would be flowering everywhere, hymns would nowhere be replacing the proper chants of the Mass, and so forth.

In any event, none of the common practices and aberrations his suggestions would correct has anything to do with differences between the OF and the EF. Because none of them are directed by the OF Roman Missal. Nor are his suggestions mandated by the EF Roman missal. They merely reflect the interior disposition for reverence in the liturgy that the fathers of the council would have taken for granted in any liturgical development they could envision at that time (before the post-conciliar chaos and rejection of the council broke out).

JBS said...

Henry,

You're right.