Saturday, November 29, 2014
FROM DYNAMIC MOVEMENT TO PASSIVE BLAH: THE LOOK OF THINGS THROUGH A 12 YEAR OLD'S EYES
As a 12 year old I loved the English. I loved the priest facing the people and I loved the fact that the Mass was being simplified and made shorter. I loved the being made shorter part the best!
The first thing that was shortened was the Prayers at the Foot of the altar, which we were encouraged to participate. It became the one that is normally used for Requiems and during Passion week. It was basically the same except Psalm 42 was eliminated. Less Scripture in the Mass, how cool was that if it made the Mass shorter!
Eventually the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were eliminated altogether and became part, but now named the Penitential Rite, of the Introductory Rite. Introductory Rite sounded secular to me then and certainly now compared to PATFOTA. Blah sounding, no?
Then it moved from the Foot of the Altar to the priest's chair situated centrally in the church where the tabernacle once had a pride of place. But I digress.
The Order of the Introductory Rite, I mean, the PATFOTA was changed. It began now with the Sign of the Cross; the Greeting, the invitation to acknowledge one's sins, the Confiteor, absolution, Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.
Apart from the new order, the thing that I noticed the most was the lack of movement and choreography. There was no visual beauty to the reform of the Introductory Rite. It became blah and in your face blah!
As we who celebrate the EF know, the PATFOTA begins at the foot of the altar. There is bowing and movement, then the priest gracefully ascend to the altar, kisses it and moves to the Epistle Side for the Introit and Kyrie and back to the center for the Gloria and then turns to greet the Assembly and returns to the Epistle Side of the altar for the collect. It is prayer with one's body with graceful movement, ascending choreography.
Not so with the revised "Introductory Rite" with its "penitential act." The priest reverences the altar and goes to his chair. There he remains like a plaster statue. From the Sign of the Cross to the Collect one has visual blah! There is no ascending movement or choreography whatsoever, simply blah. One might as well keep one's eyes closed and visualize the older visual beauty of the EF Mass.
Short of recovering the PATFOTA, which could be possible even for the Ordinary Form, what about a compromise?
Restore the Order of the Introductory Rite to that of the EF but maintain the OF's wording, so to speak.
At the sung Mass, the following could take place:
1. A processional hymn or instrumental processional which ends when the celebrant gets to the Foot of the Altar.
2. At the foot of the altar, ad orientem, the priest begins with the Sign of the Cross, but no greeting, and launches into the call to acknowledge one's sins. After some silence, all recite the Confiteor together. After the absolution, the celebrant ascends to the altar to reverence it and incense it as the Introit is chanted.
3. Then the celebrant goes to his chair for the chanting of the Kyrie and Gloria followed by the Greeting and Collect.
Wouldn't this restore the Order of the Mass to that of the EF, while maintaining the revised shorter Penitential Act, but always using the Confietor or second choice that follows it in the revised Missal? And wouldn't it give some visual, liturgical beauty to the Introductory Rite?