Saturday, November 8, 2014
REFORM OF THE REFORM AND STANDING ON OUR HEAD TO GET THE 88% OF CATHOLICS WHO DON'T ATTEND MASS TO RETURN TO MASS
There are many hysterical traditionalists out there who think Pope Benedict's "reform of the reform" is dead. But was is ever really alive? How many parishes in any given diocese actually tried to do what Pope Benedict modeled in his liturgical sensibilities? What about your parish and your diocese?
And just what was the "reform of the reform" anyway? The extremists in this group want just the Extraordinary Form. That ain't goin to happen! Some want the EF available in English--no reason why it couldn't but then Latin wouldn't be preserved. At least Latin is required now for the EF and is a way to preserve it.
But how many parishes in any given diocese have the EF Mass? In Savannah it is only two. The Cathedral has a weekly EF Mass Sunday and my parish a weekly one on Tuesday and a once a month Sunday High Mass with attendance that is only about 60 or 70, but larger than many of our mission parish Masses in the diocese.
What is authentic "reform of the reform?"
1. The Benedictine Altar arrangement in some form with a central crucifix. This has continued so far under Pope Francis. How many parishes in any given diocese have this yet?
2. The chanting of the Propers of the Mass, meaning the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. How many parishes in any given diocese actually do this?
3. Liturgical music more in keeping with our tradition, which means less focus on hymns and anthems and more focus on actually singing the Mass to include the Propers and the priest's parts and accompaniment by organ rather than guitars that only play chords and thus can't really lead congregational singing or piano better suited for a bistro or bar. Organ has place of pride in the Church with or without the "reform of the reform." And choirs that lead from behind rather than try to entertain from the front. How many parishes attempt # 3 in your diocese?
4. Mass celebrated ad orientem or facing the people in an ad orientem way as Pope Francis does. How many parishes in your diocese actually do this?
5. Attention to detail. How many parishes actually have beautiful vestments (and I would say Pope Francis more austere vestments are beautiful nonetheless, clean and crisp). Beautiful and clean and well fitted altar linens, beautiful candlesticks filled with beeswax candles in a metal tube or exposed and lovely well placed accoutrements.
6. Last but not least, in fact, first and foremost--the Mass celebrated according to the Third Edition of the Roman Missal by saying the black and doing the red! How many parishes in your diocese actually do this without improvisation by a priest who epitomizes clericalism by improvisation, changing the glorious words of the new English translation or simply sees himself as an entertainer on the liturgical stage, an actor in a drama in the best case or a comedian and clown in the worst case?
Now onto the getting the 88% who don't attend Mass to return:
1. We can't force them to return, #1! If they don't like the Church and her teachings and have made a decision against the Church with full consent of the will, then we have to let them go; We can't accommodate apostasy in the name of welcoming. Some people are simply hell bent on going to hell. God doesn't stop them; why should we?
2. We cannot use the non-denominational template of welcoming or outreach or style of worship since this is alien to even the worse-celebrated liberal expression of the Mass. We need a recovery all that was good in the devotional and pious life of Catholics before Vatican II brought to the post-Vatican II Mass. If that doesn't get more people, so be it.
3. We don't need Protestant music at Mass or Protestant "worship and praise" music. We need traditional Catholic music with it spirituality and ethos. Giving "praise and worship music" it to teenagers now gives them a taste for it later and they leave the Catholic Church for Protestant denominations that have "praise and worship." Should our faith in the REAL PRESENCE of CHRIST at Mass (in all forms, congregation, priest, word and the penultimate, Holy Eucharist) be the end all and be all for Catholics--not praise and worship music??????.