Wednesday, June 3, 2015

LITURGIPHILES MAY NOT APPRECIATE IT; BUT WHAT ABOUT RANK AND FILE CATHOLICS WHO AREN'T

How did the Church go from loving this:
To loving this? And are the two views of the one Latin Rite even the same thing, theologically, spiritually and doctrinally?
Many who comment here have a disdain for the Ordinary Form of the Mass, which, by the way, I don't. I love it especially when it is celebrated properly although I recognize it needs a bit of reform to bring it into continuity with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

But of the 11% to 22% of Catholics who still attend Mass regularly, and lets say of that, 1% are the Extraordinary Form lovers, what is their impression of the Mass? Do they love it? Do they like contemporary music? Do they like a priest whose personality and ad libs overrun the Mass?

I fear they love all the aspects of the Mass they experience that are wrong. That is a problem.

They love a priest who banters with them, who uses banal greetings after the religious ones and makes them feel welcome and warm and like they are at a cocktail bar enjoying friends.

They love music that entertains them and gets their adrenalin going with musicians in front acting like a amateur act.

They love a quick Mass, short homily and casual atmosphere.

They love a Mass that is like watching the Price is Right in their living room as they eat their lunch from a tray table.

To be honest with you, I don't know how to fix this. It is overwhelming. 


25 comments:

Vox Cantoris said...

I chant both Forms in two different parishes. Saturday's anticipated Mass in the Ordinary Form and Sunday Missa Cantata. For the OF, we select four relevant, solid hymns, a good sung Mass setting, the RM Chant Mass is the core and I sing the Communion Antiphon and Psalm from Simple English Propers. That is about the most that I can do. The priest is solid, no jokes, has the faith, solid homilist and follows the rubrics. Taking it to the next level is the problem. It is a problem because in this Archdiocese there is no leadership to take it to the next level. Whenever I suggest that we need a "liturgical commission" priests look at me in horror because they know what ilk will run it.

Yesterday, we see that the otherwise solid Archbishop of Philadelphia has been in a not so private fight with the Director of Music for the Cathedral. Clearly, the layman knows more about liturgy than the Archbishop.

How is it ever going to change?

I think the Reform of the Reform is dead until and unless a Pope comes along, like someone at the current conference in New York City, who issues a new Missal and compels it by abrogating the old.

We have to admit it, the Missal of Paul VI was a mistake on his part. It was not called for by the Council, the 1965 Missal, except for the Lectionary, met the objectives (more so even). It is not heresy to state that the Novus Ordo Missae, whilst valid under the usual...is not the best form of worship to God or as edifying to the people.

The problem with the people is that they don't know what they don't know.

And whose fault is that?

rcg said...

FrAJM, I think I would love a NO Mass as you appear to offer it. even then, it still strikes me as weaker in many ways, sort of diluted. People attend Mass out of longing for the Word. That is the good news. The bad news is that they make no effort to change themselves to enter the presence of the Lord, but adapt the Mass to make it more "meaningful" to them. I believe this actually takes them farther from their goal, not closer.

People love preaching like that done in the Bishop Fulton Sheen videos, but can still love the Mass and gain its value. Like the music, they need to be willing to open more of their lives, meaning time, to it. I think the entertaining Mass that you dread is a sort of efficiency that gives them credit for Mass in a handy cherry flavored pocket size.

jolly jansenist said...

The laity's tastes should be formed, not consulted...

Julian Barkin said...

The only solution I can forsee is to let them sin or become apathetic to themselves and let them leave the Church. Catechesis can only do so much but when people don't WANT to attend those sessions and find out what the Mass is truly about, nor to read about it in their spare time, then let them prove who their true master is: Themselves/Mammon/the devil, etc.

Let's face it Father, even in the Pre-Vatican II times, though I was born much after that, society and the Church in it's Mass of St. John XXIII, worked in tandem in ways. Society somewhat encouraged Sunday worship, regular decorum, etc. though it was always a force of temptation. However, society's influence is now against that, and clearly, much of those self-gratifying elements have seeped into the Catholic laity, teachers, priests, etc. So is it no surprise that Catholics are leaving their religion and Mass behind in droves now?

The Novus Ordo itself is NOT as bad as those Radical Catholic Reactionaries (intellectual property of Dave Armstrong, Catholic apologist), make it out to be (e.g. calling the Novus Ordo an abomination or evil as RCRs and the SSPX call it, respectively,) if you understand the Mass and TRULY believe in the Teachings of the Catholic Church. It's what is applied from the world on the Novus Ordo that is AGAINST the Church, such as grandstanding during Mass, possibly praise and worship songs, "dumbing down the liturgy," FALSE ecumenism, etc. Sadly, that's what the world pushes onto the laity of the Church and has, for three generations, going on 4, with regular joe Catholics. The influence is great, and also when church leadership (e.g. clergy) are doing it, few will resist such temptation and influence. THEY LEAD.

Let's also face it, that most people don't have the greatest reasoning, intellectual, theological, etc. ability like "priviledged" "Trads" SUPPOSEDLY have or even Novus Ordo apologists and evangelists have (e.g. Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Jimmy Akin, Patrick Madrid, Dave Armstrong ...). Most people also are just trying to make their way through the world on its terms, and do NOT have an innate spiritual resistance factor of sorts, or are of average societal and biological makeup (no innate traits for spiritual resistance). When the world is against religion, holiness, decorum, etc. most people will be tempted by it. Even if, theoretically speaking, the Latin Mass was the only Catholic Mass, STILL, as Fr. AJM has theorized in past postings, it would NOT be able to stem the outflux of believers from the Church. It is a mighty liturgy, but liturgy alone cannot be the sole weapon against the world, flesh and devil. Not to mention, as proven so, man can change the liturgy's physical components and actions, not it's innate value, so it's not foolproof.

So yes, While long winded, I totally agree with Father on this one, and no people, going back to the TLM will NOT save the world completely.

Lefebvrian said...

I was chatting with a friend of mine who at this past Easter reverted to the Church (in a purely Novus Ordo parish) after some decades away. While he loves the Mass, he is already discussing what we would call the "banalities" of the NO -- the lack of anything particularly Catholic, for example incense (it seems incense is not used at any Church in this deanery except on Christmas and Easter).

His thought was that the Church should boldly profess the singular Truth of the Catholic faith both in word and practice. It was this sort of thing that brought him back home, and he feels like it would bring many more of the lost people today who are looking for the "black and white" truth.

Anonymous said...

I have no real problem with the revised Order of Mass per se. I just wish the priests would celebrate it with some piety, reverance and dignity.

On the whole the ordinary experience of Mass in a modern everyday Catholic parish is sloppiness. I am not saying we must have brocade vestments and linen altar cloths although thre is nothing wrong with having the best for the celebration of Mass. But we could at least have things that are clean, ironed and relatively beautiful to look at.

The ideal would be to have Mass begin and end at the altar, leave the importance of the "chair" for bishops and high mass. But for everyday Mass the chalice should be prepared and covered by a veil sitting on a corporal in the center if the altar. The missal should be to the left side of this arragnment on a stand or an altar pillow, because for centuries that is how it has always been done. It's not only the loss of big things like Latin that have caused problems, but the loss of the little things. It use to be that an altar was set up exactly the same way from Rome to Zanzibar. Nowadays it depends on a priests mood or the "creativity" of said priest.

It shouldn't be a question that the priest will wear the prescribed vestments at Mass but it is. That's a problem that shows a deeper problem. I would go so far to say it shows that a priest has a real problem with being and acting like a Catholic priest. Because Catjolic priests have always used the prescribed vestments and missals etc. i think it shows a real clericalism on the part of any priest who thinks he knows better than the Church. No matter how small the matter may be.

One improvement would be to have better trained musical people at Mass. I don't think that people who can't sing should be leading the singing. It's terrible. Everybody has a part to play but maybe a person who can't play the organ should think about being a lector or just attending Mass in a reverent way and put his heart and aoul into singing/patricipating from the pew. I'm not asking for Gregorian Chant every Sunday but my god can we please stop sining Table of Plenty and All are Welcome. Call me crazy but I don't think it's appropriate to sing Table of Plenty, which we sing every single Sunday on dys like Holy Thursday. I mean put a little effort into things and we would be amazed at what would happen.

The new Mass should be celebrated with the same Catholicity as the old. Why is there no reverence any more. I am no fan of Pope Francis but I admire his sobriety when he enters to say Mass, and his reverence when he elevates the consecrated host amd chalice. It truly is an example every priest should follow. I think the reversal of th disaster the Church finds herself in is to have clergy and laity really live a Catholic life. Instead of some kind of pseudo protestant invention.

Just my thoughts on the subject.


John Nolan said...

I usually agree with Vox Cantoris, but popes issuing new Missals and compelling them by abrogating existing rites brings back memories of 1969 (although Paul VI did the first, but not the second and Pius V in 1570 had to contend with sundry heretical deformations of the liturgy as a result of the Reformation).

It has to be accepted that the rationale behind the liturgical reform (if one can be discerned - there were a number of people pushing different agendas) and indeed the General Instruction which accompanied the new Missal admits of most of the things that commentators here find objectionable - including dumbed-down and inaccurate translations, tin-pan-alley style music and excessive creativity and informality.

'Bugnini gave us a wonderful new Mass but look what these awful people have done to it' is not a cogent argument.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

So many of the changes after Vatican II were taken to extremes. There could have been updating and making life a bit more modern without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

There is an integration of a theology of rupture that has not served us well:

The Mass did not need a reorganization, but some vernacular for the changing parts of the Mass would have been good, a bit more Scripture and Catholics loving and studying the Bible, good, but why a wholesale renovation that hasn't produced what was hoped for?

The same with priesthood and religious life--a complete loss of identity occurred after the Council and we are only now regaining some what was lost.

What was wrong with community life, modified habits and a bit more creature comforts and treating religious as adults but under obedience?

Things went off rail to re-imagine the Church and in the process we lost way too much.

JusadBellum said...

Father, where are you getting your numbers for Mass attendance?
CARA suggests about 25% of registered households go to Mass on Sunday. In the South the numbers are a bit higher, perhaps upper 30%.

Besides numbers, I think the psychological profile of those in the pews reflect that of American society in general: a refugee, survivor mentality. Divorce, extended family breakdown, anonymity of modern life, the decay and moral collapse of 'institutions' (politics, military, arts, big business, etc.)... people are becoming cynical of each other and long term promises. How many people don't believe Social Security will "be there" when they retire? How many don't trust government or 'big business' (or big church')? Being bombarded with dispiriting, and disenfranchising propaganda has a real effect: some become energized and fight back. But the vast majority lose heart and slide into ennui, nihilism, fantasies (exiting reality to enjoy freedom and hope in irreality).

If reality looks like it's doomed then you will either live in the moment (sexually, in frivolity, in drugs, in spontaneity without a care for long term anything) or you will look for exits.... or you will seek compromises with the powers that be so long as they don't hurt you and your loved ones. It's the rare bird who challenges the status quo, the PR spin, and pushes back.

Thus most people see the Church as less and less an essential part of their day to day lives except as a potential source of embarrassment. There is no vociferous hierarchical/priest/religious caste led effort against abortion, contraception, or the sexual revolution. So if you are disposed to dispute the truth claims of the Sex revolutionaries, you are left to your own devices as a lay person. Most prefer not to fight against such odds so go to ground.

If the Church has less and less to say "officially" on such core moral controversies of our time, of what consequence to us laity would a variety of liturgy have for us? How does the Latin help me face the spirit of this age?

That's where I'd love to see proponents of the Latin spend some mental energy.... how does this proposed return to Latin etc. help us in the 'real world' face the real flesh and blood powerful people who are disposed to pick fights with us in order to remove us from positions of influence and power in our culture? How does this rite and ritual help me win the culture war?

Because ultimately everything goes back to one's culture and God. Every political, social, and moral controversy of our species is based on a conception of what and who God is and what and who human beings are in relation to this god or God. What helps vindicate the true and good about God and man is an asset. What hinders it is a dead weight.

Our contemporaries believe that life is for 'sex, drugs, and rock n roll'... that all of commerce, finance, education, politics, zoning, etc. is 'for the individual consumption of as much sex as the individual may desire.... thus we honor porn stars and make movies glorifying prostitutes. That's the idol of the past 50 years.

Now, how does a lay man show that sex is not a god, it cannot save our souls, and this idol which promises happiness cannot deliver the goods for long and certainly doesn't lead to joy and eternal bliss?

In the face of the mob howling demands for sex on demand, what have we got to say to them? We preach that sex is but a creature not the creator.... that God is Jesus and chastity, not lust is a way to prepare the soul to 'see' this invisible God....

It's a hard sell. Pearls before swine. But we need to make the case. Certainly a beautiful liturgy helps. But it's not sufficient.

The world went mad in 1914 despite the Latin Rite celebrating Mass in Latin on all its altars.... beauty and proper liturgy alone is never enough. You need more than that. Our Lord commanded disciples to be made.... they're fed at Mass....but how are they made?

WSquared said...

They love a priest who banters with them, who uses banal greetings after the religious ones and makes them feel welcome and warm and like they are at a cocktail bar enjoying friends.

I do like a priest who banters.

But only at a donut-and-coffee hour AFTER MASS.

jolly jansenist said...

As usual, JusadBellum nails it.

Anonymous said...

I hope the priest in the bottom "modern" picture at least wore a chasuble for the liturgy of the Eucharist (as opposed to Liturgy of the Word). Otherwise looks like an Anglican/Episcopal "Low Church' priest. Never know what you get at an Episcopal Eucharist--I've seen ones where the priest dressed like a Roman one (alb, stole and chasuble), ones where just the alb and stole were worn, and even one where just a cassock, surplice and stole were worn (as if dressed for a penance service). In some instance, the Episcopal priest might just wear an alb and stole for the first part of Mass, then put on the chasuble for the second part---guess it symbolizes the different parts of the Mass, word and eucharist.

George said...


JusadBellum:

"The world went mad in 1914 despite the Latin Rite celebrating Mass in Latin on all its altars."
Bessed Jacinto Marto related that Our Lady of Fatima said "there are many wars and discords in the world, Wars are nothing but punishments for the sins of the world." Wars and strife are a consequence of man's sinful behavior which fall on the just and the unjust alike. Some look at Christianity as being a failure. They do not look at the good it has done or embrace the hope of that is its promise. St. Augustine addressed this conflict with the world in "City of God".
An alternative way to look at this is to ponder whether things would be worse without the continuous world-wide Sacrifice of the Mass.

"It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass."

- Padre Pio

Lefebvrian said...

JusadBellum, I agree with the sentiment of your comment. With regard to your discussion about the relevance of the use of Latin as a concrete means in helping us to fight the spirit of the age, I would suggest the following viewpoint. It seems like that sentiment is a strawman used by those who support either the continued press of the liturgical revolution or the stagnation of the so-called Reform of the Reform. It is a strawman because the reintroduction of Latin as the common liturgical language is no an end in itself -- just as the reintroduction of the Tridentine Mass is not an end in itself.

The reimplementation of Latin (and the Traditional Mass in general) is precisely the answer to combatting the spirit of the age. This is not so because the forms are superior as forms. It is the case because the forms are superior at conveying the realities of the doctrine. And it is that return to the doctrine that is the remedy for combatting the current diabolical spirit.

It is evident, as you say, that liturgy is not enough. That is why I so vigorously disagree with this blog's author and others who seem focused on the aesthetics of the liturgy, whether it be new or old. These things are not ends in themselves as they serve the truth that they are meant to convey.

So, when you ask the question of how are the people being fed, it is clear that people should be fed with a beautiful and proper liturgy. But, more importantly, they should be fed with the Truth, which leads them to offer back to God a beautiful and proper liturgy -- always maintaining the focus on what we are offering instead of what we are receiving. After all, the spirit of the age is mostly one of selfishness, a turning in on the self and immanentizing our innate pious suppositions.

As Catholics, we should focus on our God, the ultimate other, transcendent and glorious. As such, we must remember that the Liturgy only serves us insofar as it is the means by which we are able to get close to meeting our duty to offer fitting worship.

In the end, then, I would suggest that those who are advocating for Latin or the Traditional Mass are not advocating for a meaningless return to an older form. When properly motivated, they are advocating for the very means to cure the diseased spirit of our age.

Robert Kumpel said...

On Saturday, May 23, I took my daughters to a baccalaureate Mass for the graduates of Seton Homeschool in Front Royal Virginia, at the town's only Catholic parish church, St. John the Baptist. While it helped that the Church was beautiful inside and had never been wreckovated, a few things struck me about the Mass itself:

1) It was a Novus Ordo Mass, but it was celebrated with great solemnity and reverence.

2) Several responses were sung in Latin.

3) The priests stayed behind the gate at the Communion rail, giving communicants the option of KNEELING when they came for Communion! This was particularly encouraging.

It was easy to see by the the furnishings and decor of the church, and more importantly, by the deportment and decorum of the priests that the lucky Catholics of Front Royal have not had a chance to grow immune to reverence and awe for God. I suspect there are other corners of the nation where the rot has not yet set in--I just wish I knew where they were.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The NO is the Traditional mass in particular and in general. It is the mass the Church, with full authority has given to the People of God.

There is no "Traditional" EF mass over and against a "Non-Trsditional" NO mass, as if one were the mass and the other is not.

DJR said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...
The NO is the Traditional mass in particular and in general. It is the mass the Church, with full authority has given to the People of God.


And when the Novus Ordo Missae came into vogue, the majority of that same "People of God" said, "No, thanks," and left.

DJR

jolly jansenist said...

The NO is not the Traditional Mass…it is the "accepted fable" of a Mass created by protestant wannabes.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Former PI is wrong about the Traditional Latin Mass descriptive. It does refer to the older use Mass, the traditional Mass of the Roman Rite.

However, I do not see calling the Modern Mass, modern as a negative thing. What is important, unless one becomes an idolater who worships the form of the Mass rather than the true God, is what both Masses accomplish. When properly celebrated according to the books and when those in attendance are properly disposed to the graces that flow from the Mass, what is accomplish identically in both forms, be it traditional or modern is the salvation of souls through the Real Presence of Christ on the altar offered in an unbloody way for our salvation. We are dismissed from both forms of the Mass to bring Christ to the world by the manner in which we live our lives, thus emphasizing that salvation is an unmerited gift from God that demands that we respond with the gifts of faith and good works.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father - You are wrong. Every mass is the Traditional mass. Whether it is celebrated according to the NO, the EF, the Alexandrian, the Sarum, the Liturgy of John Chrysostom, the Liturgy of St. Basil, Ambrosian, of Mozarabic rite/form, it is the Traditional Mass.

Every mass is also the "Mass of the Ages" or the "Mass of Immemorial Memory."

Those who argue that they have the "Traditional" mass and the rest of us do not are rejecting Catholic teaching and theology. Latin, maniples, or facing "east" do not make the mass Traditional or Catholic. Wearing a sticharion, epitrachelion or a zone does not make the mass Traditional or Catholic. An altar made of wood, granite, of the hood of a jeep doesn't make the mass Traditional or Catholic.

Whether you wear your Nero jacket, your Meow jacket, or your Gabby Baldy jacket with your clerical attire doen't make you more or less a priest.

Lefebvrian said...

"Tradition" means that which is delivered or handed down. The Mass according to the Missal of St. Pius V has been handed down since the earliest times of the Church, itself tracing lineage to the time before St. Gregory the Great. The other rites that developed also traced their lineage back to the most ancient usages. The commonality, as St. Pius V set out, is the fact that the various retained uses were of ancient origin, having undergone thereby an incremental organic development over many centuries.

The Novus Ordo service, on the other hand, while retaining some elements or phrases from the Traditional Mass usages, is an "on the spot" creation of a group of liturgical "experts" who met in the 1960s.

It is by definition, then, that the Novus Ordo service is not "traditional." It is not handed down or delivered (unless one wanted to argue the ridiculous idea that it has been delivered to us from our 1970s predecessors).

While it is true that the use of the proper vestments and gestures serve to make the Traditional Mass "traditional" by virtue of their being part of the delivered liturgical tradition, it is not any one of these elements that meets that criteria. Instead, it is the sum total of the liturgical tradition operating in concert that makes the Traditional Mass the "Traditional Mass."

In the same way, the other Rites are "traditional" because they are offered in accordance with the liturgical tradition that has culminated in that particular Rite. If one were to gather a committee to re-write the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, for example, the new product would not be the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. It would be something new. It might bear some similarities to the Divine Liturgy, but it would not be traditional simply because it has those similarities. The Divine Liturgy is traditional because of the handing down of the entirety of the liturgical tradition surrounding the Rite, not the individual elements.

To say that the Novus Ordo is "traditional" because whatever the liturgy happens to be is by definition "traditional" is an Orwellian use of language that ignores the actual definition of the word.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The Novus Ordo is not, in many respects, traditional. But in every respect, it is Traditional.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

For PI, your statements continue to defy logic especially when you use the term Novus Order. In what way can a new order be traditional; its new and the Church herself calls it that? You can do better than that by dropping your ideological perspective.

Lefebvrian said...

Fr. McDonald, I may disagree with you on some things, but your comment at 2:49 is excellent! Bravo!

Fr. Kavanaugh, I absolutely agree with you that the Novus Ordo is not, in many respects, traditional.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Good Father: "New" doesn't mean non-Traditional. Tantum Ergo was written in the middle 1200's and was "new" at that time. But, as you seem to have forgotten, the hymn recapitulates well the Traditional belief in the Eucharist, but does so in a new, even novel, way.