Cardinal Burke in an interview in December said the following about the Mass:
“The Sacred Liturgy is absolutely the first act of the New Evangelization. Unless we worship God in spirit and in truth, unless we celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with the greatest possible faith in God and faith in the divine action which takes place in Holy Mass, we are not going to have the inspiration and the grace to carry out the New Evangelization. […]
If the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated in an anthropocentric way, in a horizontal way in which it is no longer evident that it is a divine action, it simply becomes a social activity that can be relativized along with everything else — it doesn’t have any lasting impact on one’s life.
I think the celebration of the Extraordinary Form can have a very significant part to play in the New Evangelization because of its emphasis on the transcendence of the Sacred Liturgy. In other words, it emphasizes the reality of the union of Heaven and earth through the Sacred Liturgy. “My Comments: While Cardinal Burke has been sidelined or marginalized recently, one might also think that his theology of the Mass has also been sidelined. I don't think so if one reads the quote above closely. What I read or how I interpret the quote above by Cardinal Burke is the way that we who care about the Liturgy, as Cardinal Burke describes, it must go.
In the quote above, Cardinal Burke is in no way calling for an exclusive return to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass or exclusive use of Latin in the Mass. He merely states that it has a significant role to play in the New Evangelization because of its transcendence, the union of heaven and earth through the Sacred Liturgy.
His Eminence knows as I do that the Ordinary Form of the Mass is the Mass that needs to be modeled more closely to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in terms of TRANSCENDENCE and UNION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH in the Mass. This can be accomplished in an all vernacular Mass as well.
Many advocates of the Extraordinary Form shoot themselves in the foot (and thus the Church in the foot) and the cause of the "reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass" in the foot by becoming reactionaries and demanding things that eventually marginalize them not only in local parishes but in dioceses and ultimately in the eyes of Rome.
We will never return to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass exclusively and it will never be celebrated in every parish in every diocese. That simply isn't going to happen. And neither will Latin return to widespread use in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. It simply isn't going to happen any time soon. And females are not going to be excluded from service at the altar either as lectors or servers in the Ordinary Form of the Mass. It isn't going to happen. These demands make those who are really concerned about the Ordinary Form of the Mass look like fanatics and throw-backs. All of this marginalizes us and makes us look like radical fundamentalists!
While we might have strong, cogent views on lay involvement in the Ordinary Form of the Mass, especially in terms lay people, male and female serving as readers, altar servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion these are here to stay in the Ordinary Form of the Mass and the Ordinary Form of the Mass is here to stay too!
As you know, I have no problem with males or females in any of these ministerial roles or liturgical roles, although I recognize that an exclusive male corps of altar boys could be used as a way to promote vocations to the priesthood. I am quite grateful to have men and women bringing Holy Communion to our home bound and hospitalized as well.
What I have advocated, though, is that the Church universal should direct bishops and dioceses to make sure that lectors and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are well trained theologically and spiritually concerning their role and they are selected properly. There should be strong diocesan programs for these ministries. It should not be a free-for-all for anyone no matter what, just a warm body or simply for the sake of showing the multitudes are now participating in the Mass in these ministries. We shouldn't make those who sit in the pews faithfully Sunday after Sunday and never choose to be lectors, Extraordinary Ministers and the like feel as second class citizens. The laity's primary liturgical role is their participation from the pew!
Given the fact that the Ordinary Form of the Mass's Roman Missal will not be revised in any significant way in the near future (barring the allowances that the Anglican Ordinariate Missal will bring about and very soon) what can be done to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass in a way that shows forth TRANSCENDENCE and UNION OF HEAVEN AND EARTH in the Sacred Liturgy? What is possible and what can we suggest without coming off as shrill, extreme and unrealistic thus marginalizing ourselves or being marginalized from the highest places like Cardinal Burke has been?
1. Seek better music for the Mass and start by recognizing the music of the Mass are the chants of the Mass itself beginning with the Propers, the priest's parts and the laity's parts. If this is well understood by priests and laity, this will go a long way in making the Mass's music better with the right focus.
2. For filler music, emphasize good hymnals with traditional hymns. But hymns are not the music of the Mass, these are fillers and can be used to supplement the Introit at the Procession (not replace) as well as to cover the action of the Offertory and Communion time. A hymn can also be sung as a recessional (there is no requirement for this in the Roman Mass nor a proper for the recessional).
3. Seek to instill in priests and laity a sense of attention to detail and choreography of the Mass with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as the template.
4. Make sure that all "ministers" of the Mass are properly trained, vested properly and carry out their ministry with grace and reverence, be they male or female.
5. Seek a cogent understanding as to why Mass with the priest joining the congregation in facing the same direction takes the emphasis off the priest (and thus clericalism) and his facial features and pious looks and acting ability. It also helps the priest to remain focused on the transcendent without be distracted by stupid things going on in the nave that he sees clearly. But barring this, the traditional altar arrangement modified a bit by Pope Francis at the Vatican compared to Pope Benedict should be used more widespread.
6. Promote kneeling for Holy Communion, on the tongue and by intinction rather than the common unsanitary chalice. This should not be viewed in a negative way whatsoever and is in fact allowed by the Roman Missal's USA adaptations in the General Instruction. It is simply stupid to think that this nearly 1500 year tradition in the Latin Rite should be anathema today or not recovered. This is the single best thing to help restore transcendence and reverence to the Liturgy bar none!
7. Place the tabernacle in the middle of the sanctuary and return to sacred silence before and after Mass.