Monday, April 27, 2015


The New Liturgical Movement has an article today,

Monday, April 27, 2015

on: In Much Wisdom Is Much Vexation


You can read article there by pressing the title above. But basically Peter states that the EF Mass is far superior to the OF Mass.  I think that pitting the two Masses against one another is not pastoral nor helpful. But everyone knows that we can't pretend things are as good with the way the Church is today as compared to the time prior to and immediately following Vatican II. The revised liturgy did not help the crisis that engulfed the Church and was too weak to keep the laity from becoming discontent and alienated from the Church. In fact the loss of reverence in the OF that could be intrinsic to it but exacerbated by the poor way in which it is celebrated in so many places coupled with horrible music that will not survive the test of time, has caused in part the crisis we experience today liturgically and otherwise.

I cannot envision the pope or the bishops of the Catholic Church canning the Ordinary Form of the Mass. But why in the name of God and all that is holy can't the bishops agree along with the pope to make the Ordinary Form more like the Extraordinary Form in the Order of the Mass, the reverence of the Mass and the choreography of the Mass? This is a no-brainer and could truly lead to a new springtime for the Church.

What would this revision accomplish for the Ordinary Form?

First, let's keep the Ordinary Form's Missal. But let's eliminate all the canons but two, the Roman Canon and the Third Eucharistic Prayer. Let's say that the Roman Canon must be used for Sunday's principal Mass when it is a sung Mass. That the third Canon may be used for daily Mass and Low Masses on Sunday.

Let's recover Low, High and Solemn High forms of the Mass but allow for more flexibility for the Chanted Mass in terms of what may or may not be chanted (to allow for the parts of the Mass to be chanted even at a daily Mass, for example).

Let's recover ad orientem and the traditional altar arrangement of candles and crucifix.

Then let's recover the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar which are said by all in a spoken Mass and only by the ministers in a Sung Mass covered by the chanting of the Introit. Let's also say that the traditional Rite of Sprinkling Holy Water can replace the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar when chosen.

Let's say that after the priest ascends the altar for the kissing of it and incensing of it , that  for the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect, the priest may remain at the altar in the traditional EF format for these or go directly to the Chair in a Sung or Solemn Sung Mass.  Let's also say that the Sung Mass with cantor or choir that it is not necessary for the priest to say the parts of the Mass that the choir or cantor are chanting but he and the congregation should join in these unless these are of a elaborate lengthy type.

Let's say that the Liturgy of the Word is at the Ambo as is the norm for the OF Mass currently.

Let's say that after the homily, the Credo and optional Universal Prayers are at the altar as is the norm for the EF Mass.

Let's say that the offertory procession is optional, but may be used in a sung or solemn sung Mass.

Let's say that the traditional offertory prayers return to the Mass and the new preparation prayers are suppressed.

Let's say that the Rite of Holy Communion beginning with the Pater Noster remains as is in the Ordinary Form, but with the restoration of the complete private prayers of the celebrant.

Let's say that Holy Communion is distributed to kneeling communicants and they must receive on the tongue at an altar railing if available and that intinction is an option at any Catholic Mass.

Let's say we maintain the current OF's order for the Rite of Dismissal but to add the Placeat and the blessing done not from the chair but from the altar. And let's say that the Last Gospel is restored.

Wouldn't this go a long way in addressing the issues of the article I cite above?  The Roman Missal of the Ordinary Form is not changed in terms of the vernacular, the collects and prefaces and the variety of Masses, votive and otherwise that are included in the richer revised Roman Missal. And the revised lectionary continues but with the option of a year D for the restoration of the EF's Lectionary.

The Roman Calendar is slightly adjusted in the OF to resemble the current Anglican Ordinariate Calendar and restore Septuagesima, Ember days and the Octave of Pentecost.



JBS said...

This is an elitist thing. The most faithful among ordinary Latin Catholics simply want reverent liturgical celebrations which are open to the future but respectful of the past. The pitting of liturgical forms against each other is not an activity in which they participate. Only elitists do such things, and then other elitists proceed to lament the "rampant" polarization which their own kind create as an entertaining fiction.

Flavius Hesychius said...

The problem Father M, is that, as PI often (smugly) points out, there are just as many people who don't want the OF to look like the EF.

However, it does appear that the age distribution of the two are at opposite different extremes...

JBS said...

Father McDonald,

Are you going to follow this?

Charles G said...

I am completely with you here, Father. I sing at both OF and EF every Sunday and love both. I don't understand the exclusivist tendency on both sides. I wouldn't mind some mutual enrichment, especially of the OF, which I think can be done relatively noncontoversially by adding some more traditional options, as with the Ordinariate Use.

Lefebvrian said...

Anytime there is a radical change, it is necessary to compare the prior form with its predecessor. This isn't the methodology of elitists, it is in accordance with the mind of the Church to make such comparisons. When one considers the relative merits of the differing rites (not forms) of the Mass, it is absolutely necessary to differentiate the two rites and to advocate for that rite that is extrinsically more meritorious.

The future of the Church depends on a return to the older rites of liturgy. This is so because of the relative merits of the rites, as well as the adherence to orthodox doctrinal formulations manifested in the older rites. Adding "smells and bells" to the Novus Ordo is not enough to cure its inherent deficiencies since it is by its nature a rite alien to the Church's tradition.

Again, this understanding is not the exclusive province of elitists -- it doesn't appear that there are elitists at the Masses that I attend (I do not and will not attend the Novus Ordo). Instead, there are faithful Catholics concerned with saving their own souls and the souls of their family members.

Anonymous said...

If the Novus Ordo is fine and dandy why on earth do we constantly hear that the EF can enrich the NO? One cannot duplicate the EF Mass and make it the OF, the EF has rubrics and many actions that go along with it for over 1000 years, the OF is only over 40 years of age. The EF is PERFECTION folks sorry!!!

Lefebvrian said...

The reason "exclusivists" advocate for the complete return to the Mass according to the Missal of St. Pius V (read: Catholics) is simple. It is the same reason saints like St. Margaret Clitherow and St. Nicholas Owen supported and built priest holes and refused to attend the Protestant services created by Cranmer. It is a matter of doctrine and orthodoxy.

It is not a matter of nostalgia, liturgical preference, or aesthetics. Those who advance such ideas are using modernist philosophy, which exalts personal "preference" and "experience" in negation of objectivity.

John said...

The NO has radically different notions about Christology and the nature of the priesthood than the council of Trent. The changes introduce in the name of V-2 represent radical discontinuity with the past. Although the words used to describe the NO assert that it is the same Mass as before we know that it is not.

For me the ultimate question is what do I owe God; for the V 2 Catholic it is seems to be how do I get along with Protestants who starting with Luther could not abide the Mass.

Julian Barkin said...

Well father I am not surprized that the professor would come off being elitist. He writes for the nearly but not self-admitting radically Traditonalist Rorate Caeli. Even a somewhat ignorant Traditional Vatholic knows that it's bad to be affiliated with the guys who wrote "the horror" and slandered Pope Francis at his revelation for the Papacy.

As for your suggestions great! However where I find fault is not with the form but your generation of ordained priests running parishes and elected as bishops. Fathers like yourself are exceptions, but the norm still stands. Most seem to be interested in just keeping collection baskets filled to keep the church open, or are mentally warped with heterodoxy, that liturgy post Benedict XVI is the last thing on their minds. Sadly I agree with Fr Z. The Biological solution must take effect before significant change in the Church in all areas can occur. All we laity can do is leave heterodox parishes and go nuclear with our wallets to fight against insurmountable odds.

Henry said...

As one who appreciates the textual richness of the OF Roman Missal as do pitifully few (I fear) of those who attend OF Mass every Sunday, I wonder:

Were it not for the example of the EF and its possible “mutual enrichment” of the OF, what chance would there be for the ars celebranda of the OF to be pulled out of the ditch in the lifetime of anyone now living? Zero, zilch, nada?

Whatever problems there may be with the OF missal, surely the predominant reason for the sad shape of OF parish liturgy is the inadequate priestly formation of those celebrating it so poorly. I suspect many current priests could somehow manage to celebrate the EF with similar disregard for sanctity and rubrics.

If so, what’s to be gained by repeated discussion of tinkering with the text of the OF missal? When it’s really the priests rather than the missal that require change if Catholic liturgy is to regain its historic role.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Flav - I think I have pointed out that there is no NEED for the OF to "look like" the EF.

Eliminating Canons is not needed. There is no need to require EPI on Sundays/Feasts, there is no need for a distinction between a "low" and a "high" mass.

A versus populum OF can be just as reverent and prayerful as an ad orientem EF.

Worrying about how candles are arranges is as important as worrying about the arrangement of deck chairs on the You-Know-What.

The PATFOTA are not needed - we got along without them for 1000 years.

What's the benefit of Credo and Universal prayers from the altar instead of the chair? (It seems that the attempt is just to make the OF "look like" the EF....?)

The same seems to be true for the restoration of the "private" prayers of the celebrant.

Intinction is, IMHO, the least desirable form of communicating the faithful.

Why restore the "Last Gospel"?
We got along well without it for 1300 years and it came to be recited outloud at the altar as a matter of convenience for the celebrant. Again, this seems to be a matter of show without substance.

And the answer to "What's the benefit?" or "Why is it needed?" can't be "You have to do it to understand."

rcg said...

PI, same can be said for fire, beer, telephones, the wheel, and any other advancement that assists a good person when properly applied. You seem to be progressive with dislikes progress.

Lefebvrian said...

It is contrary to the nature of the Church to receive what is being handed down and question its importance or utilitarian necessity. Our only task is to humbly receive what is handed to us, to preserve it, and to hand it on complete and without change.

Since there has been a lapse in the passing on of the tradition with the last two to three generations, we must go back to the time before the tradition was lost in order to understand it and appropriate it. Thankfully, God has seen fit to ensure this process is taking place during the living memory of those who received the unadulterated tradition and with the assistance of those who continued to maintain the tradition even in the face of persecution from the hierarchy. This, owing to God's mercy, allows the transmission of the tradition to maintain integrity, which was nearly lost through the still continuing machinations of members of the hierarchy and the laity.

JusadBellum said...

Diversity is the given state of humanity since the time of the fall and Babel.

Unity despite diversity is the challenge for both the world and the Church.

Human beings are social creatures - so we will have groups.... but we're also fallen so we will form tribes over the silliest of things.

The key is to acknowledge diversity within a framework of a higher unity.... unity of creed and morals within a diversity of rubrics or rite or ritual or cultural expressions.

In the New Jerusalem, the end game towards which we're all headed.... all the NATIONS (plural) will 'go up' to the one heavenly our diversity will remain to the end of time even as our unity is cemented not in horizontal, 'pelagian' efforts of our own doing but in our common love of God.

JBS said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,

I agree that one need not be superimposed onto the other, as long as there is room in the Church for these legitimate options.

John Nolan said...

To take Fr Kavanaugh's arguments further, we got along without a vernacular liturgy for nearly 2000 years (the shift from hieratic Greek to hieratic Latin in the 4th century was NOT an adoption of any vernacular language). We got along with only one Roman Canon until 1970.

So logically it is the multiplication of Eucharistic Prayers which is 'not needed' and the same can be said for most of the so-called 'reforms'.

JBS said...

John Nolan,

Ha! True enough. But, before the Sixties, few Catholics knew the Faith, went to Mass, or observed Biblical morality. Oh, wait, sorry, that all started in the Sixties. So, why did everything change, and what have been the tangible benefits?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is elitist at all to prefer the Extraordinary Form to the Ordinary Form. It is just a plain fact that there are differences, just as gold is finer than silver. And what the writer says "One comes to see the vast, rich treasures that were squandered; one comes to see the shallow, brittle academic novelties that were set up in their place" is the sad truth.

The downturn in Mass attendance since the introduction of the new Mass tells the story. I cannot understand the blindness of those who cannot see the obvious. It is foolhardy to keep insisting on the Ordinary form of the Mass when it is sinking like the Titanic. The Church everywhere is in a massive decline. People need to seriously wake up.

Instead of hiding behind, "Oh you can't pit one against the other" people need to look at the theological differences and why the traditional Mass is preferred over the new Mass.

Thanks be to God that Benedict the XVI saw the problems and restored the Old Mass that had never been abrogated as we had been told it was. We were lied to by those who forced the new Mass on to many unwilling Catholics.

The differences in the Mass are far more than cosmetic, much more than Latin versus English, much more than beautiful hymns compared to the secular music we have at Mass these days. The difference is the whole protestantisation of the Mass. That is the problem and it is this very protestantisation that has caused many Catholics to no longer believe the truths of the Church or to leave in large numbers: "lex orandi lex credendi".

I heard a comment recently: "They took the Traditional Mass away from us once. This time they will take it away over our dead bodies". That is the depth of feeling engendered by the Traditional Mass. Many martyrs died for the old Mass. I have heard the question: "Who would die for the new Mass?" To me that sums it up - who would die for a banal, on the spot creation as Benedict XVI referred to it?


Flavius Hesychius said...

Whoa, Pater. Calm down. I was agreeing with you. My point was that it is highly unlikely the OF will look like the EF (for the foreseeable future, anyway).

It was just an observation. None of what you wrote is really relevant to me. If I want to go to a Western liturgy, I'll go to Western-Rite parish, totally free of the Vatican's interference.

I will, however, address two points, without saying You have to do it to understand..

1. What's the benefit of Credo and Universal prayers from the altar instead of the chair? (It seems that the attempt is just to make the OF "look like" the EF....?)

What's the benefit of saying them from the chair instead of the altar?

I suspect there is no valid reason supporting the superiority of one position over the other.

2. Why restore the "Last Gospel"?

Why not? I don't think it need be static like the EF. It can be cycled like the other readings. I seriously can't see the harm in one more reading from the Gospel. I mean, out of the many people at St. Jo's who attend Mass on Sunday, how many of them actually read the Gospels, outside of the one Sunday reading?

If the ultimate goal of the Catholic Church is to present salvation to world, it is impossible that an additional public reading from the Gospel would obstruct that goal.

But, I suppose, that assumes the Catholic Church exists to present the way of salvation, which may just be assuming too much.

Lefebvrian said...

Flavius, it is interesting you would suggest that the Last Gospel rotate on occasion. That is exactly what happened in the pre-1962 Missals. There were Proper Last Gospels for certain feasts.

Lefebvrian said...

Browsing through this blog helps to illustrate a point of great importance related to this discussion. The idea that one should exercise one's preference for some liturgical "style" or "option" is an immanentist concept aliens to the tradition of the Church. This idea further separates the doctrine and the practice of the Church by subordinating (or excluding) the doctrinally orthodox to the emotions or experience of the individual.

Take for example, the altar rail--a point of much discussion here, it seems. To have an altar rail is a good thing because it accords with the doctrine of the Church in several ways.

To have an altar rail and not use it properly, though, renders it meaningless except in an immanentist way. That is, it becomes a tool to generate feelings in those who claim to be of a "traditional" bent (it accords with preference). Or it is a merely aesthetic addition devoid of practical purpose, especially when it is used in such a way as the lay women are entering into the sanctuary to distribute Communion, for example.

It is important, then, to understand that preference is not important. Who would die for a mere preference, to borrow from a commenter above? It is easy to see why those who claim the issue is one of preference would see such a discussion as "devisive" since they don't understand what is at stake having applied the modernist ideas to allow for liturgical preference, of which even what they call the EF is a legitimate option. We should reject that idea and think with the mind of the Church.

Vox Cantoris said...

I work in both the OF and EF. It is conflicting to say the least. My preference is the EF, how can it be otherwise?

For what it is worth, in my opinion the new rite (that is what it is despite the legality of "two forms of one rite") is a disaster. It cannot be reformed, I have tried, I have seen priests try. It cannot be done.

It must be seen by a future a pope or council for what it was, an experiment in clericalism gone totally wrong. It must be discarded and abrogated. It cannot bear fruit because it will not be reformed as is there is no will. It will not covert people deeply and the evidence is all around to see.

It must be done away with in God's good time and I pray to live to see it.

That is not to say that there cannot be a modification.
New Missal with:
New saints
Some new prefaces
Permission to use pre '55 Holy Week
Return to 1965 Missal layout for vernacular, no further changes made to it - it becomes the normative vernacular "low" liturgy.

Lectionary/Calendar - develop a council of monks and scholars, theologians and catechists to merge the lectionaries and calendars to form one maintaining the EF one year cycle on Sundays with the addition of an OT Lesson and having a cycle on week days and find a better balance between the temporal and sanctoral not one of the other as it has been.

Fr. Kichael J. Kavanaugh said...

Flav - "I seriously can't see the harm in one more reading from the Gospel" isn't much of a reason for reintroducing the "Last Gospel" into the mass.

When someone says we should reintroduce the
"Last Gospel" because, " many of them actually read the Gospels, outside of the one Sunday reading?" then, aside from being snarky, there's an attempt to use the liturgy for some related by unnecessary purpose. (It's something akin to keeping Confirmation at age 14 or 16 in order to keep the kids in CCD - an ulterior purpose that doesn't really flow from the nature of the Sacrament.)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Accidentally deleted the following, so I copy it here:

Flavius Hesychius has left a new comment on your post "MUST WE BE SO DIVISIVE ABOUT THE TWO FORMS OF THE ...":


I wasn't being 'snarky'. I'll assume you meant 'related but unnecessary purpose', in which case I can't take a 'priest' seriously who says that a single additional Gospel reading is 'unnecessary'.

And, since Chrismation should take place directly after Baptism, you'll get no argument from me regarding when Confirmation should take place.

Henry said...

Vox Cantoris,

All you say is true. But I’m afraid that speculation about missal revision is little more than an indoor sport while bishops whose careers are based on Vatican II and pastors trained in the seminaries of the 70s and 80s are still in the saddle. For the failure of the OF is (I believe) due less to its written text than to its prevalent manner of celebration, which for most put an end to the intense prayerful engagement that characterized the worship of those who carried the faith (perhaps always an “elite” segment of Catholics) prior to Vatican II. As Prof. Kwasniewski puts it:

Is it not true for a large number of the faithful — larger than officialdom would ever admit — that the Ordinary Form as typically celebrated puts a serious, almost fatal cap on our genuine “active participation”? . . . . . How ironic, that a rite so drastically overhauled and reworked with a view to “reaching the people at last” and soliciting their hearty involvement has, in reality, turned off and distanced so many of the faithful over the decades and made distasteful the very concept of active participation

I think this is why the OF is—as you put it—“an experiment in clericalism gone totally wrong. . . . . It cannot bear fruit because it will not be reformed as is there is no will. . . . . It will not convert people deeply and the evidence is all around to see.”

But the OF will certainly not be “discarded and abrogated” while the afore-mentioned bishops and pastors are with us, and their controlling influence is likely to outlive many or most of us. So where does that leave the Church?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Flav - Yes, adding another Gospel is unnecessary, and this priest doesn't care if you put his title in quotes or not. It has no effect on the sacrament I have been given. Take seriously who you want, no skin off my nose.

If adding one Gospel is "necessary" because no one reads the Gospels otherwise, why not add three or eight, or eleven, or....

Yes, adding another Gospel is unnecessary

Joe Potillor said...

The legal genius of SP is that it did NOT address the question of whether the EF or OF are different rites (they are, and theological diversity is okay, could argue the lack of theological diversity was a bad thing from Trent, but that's for another day)

It's not even a fair competition to pit the two against each other anyway....It'd be like placing Bayren Munich FC vs. your local middle school soccer team.

Sometimes the best of intentions, is clouded by the execution of said ideas. Theological diversity is a good things, at the hands of the present generation of Bishops, perhaps not.

rcg said...

Joe, I like your football example. I think of the NO as the 'beginner' version of the Mass.

Flavius Hesychius said...

If adding one Gospel is "necessary" because no one reads the Gospels otherwise, why not add three or eight, or eleven, or....

Oddly enough... I never said it was 'necessary'—did I? I don't think it would hurt anyone. But, you're obviously right, and I'm obviously wrong, so we'll end this here.

So... stop putting words in my mouth.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

I would make one change to the suggested reform of the OF, rather than keep EP3, to instead come up with an abbreviated Roman Canon for daily/low mass, for example reducing the lists of saints and martyrs. That way you keep the continuity with tradition rather than EP3 which was a new invention by the consilium.

Also I agree with Fr. Kavanaugh about the Last Gospel, although to hear it out loud in the vernacular might make it more effective as a key Gospel teaching. maybe make it optional for high masses.

Lefebvrian said...

How is removing the names of saints from the Canon "in keeping with Tradition"?

For what it's worth, in the real world, the Last Gospel is oftentimes said silently by the priest at the altar while the schola sings something (at High Masses) or in silence (at Low Masses). The Last Gospel is not there for a strictly disactic purpose -- which is in line with the historical reasons for its placement in the Holy Mass.

Mitchell said...

Latin for unchanging Prayers and the Consecration.