Friday, July 17, 2015
THE LITURGY IS THE LITURGY: THE ONE SACRIFICE OF CHRIST AND THE SACRIFICIAL BANQUET
The liturgies were held at the Basilica of the Assumption in downtown Baltimore, the country's oldest cathedral. It is stunningly beautiful and well maintained having gone through a major renovation/restoration several years back. I liked everything about the renovation except for the colonial aspects of the cathedral which I find "Protestant." But overall the renovation is stunning.
The liturgies for the program were simple, Ordinary Form and chanted. However, I suspect what we experienced for daily Masses was far superior from what most Catholics are subjected to every Sunday.
The official Introit was chanted by cantor in English. As I forgot to bring my alb, I did not concelebrate but participated as a lay person would with the postures of the lay person during the liturgy. I was not offended in the least by the fact that I did not sing the words of the Introit, but it was printed in the program and I prayed it as it was sung, the same for the Communion Antiphon. Actual participation, no matter how you cut it.
Some Masses were in English entirely others in a hybrid of English and Latin. No problem with this either and the parts chosen for either the English or Latin were easily chanted by all an robustly.
The only hymn I recall that we sung during the Liturgy was actually outside the Mass and this was the recessional hymn. Only the parts of the Mass were sung, the Mass itself, as it should be.
I would not have been offended by an Extraordinary Form Mass having been chosen or the Ordinary Form entirely in Latin and ad orientem. Both accomplish the worship of the Church, the Sacrifice of Christ in an unbloodly way and the Sacrificial Banquet. Who could complain about this except ideologues?
It is time for us to understand that the worship of the Church in its two primary forms, the traditional Latin Mass also known as the Extraordinary Form or the Antique Use and the revised or reformed Mass now known as the New Order (non-traditional or non-Antique) or Ordinary Form Mass is our participation in the event that brings about our salvation and gives us the grace to put our Faith into good works (also known as love or charity). There must be a connection between liturgy and our earthly pilgrimage to heaven where worship and life are connected intimately, no matter the form of the Liturgy.
The Traditional Latin Mass has more ritual or ritualism. It has more sign language too, especially in the quiet Roman Canon. It has more choreography and can rightly be called a liturgical dance in this regard.
The non-Traditional Mass has what is called "noble" simplicity and has what is necessary for the validity of the Sacrifice. Unfortunately it is subjected to more abuse in terms the clericalism of priests who impose their personality on the non-Antique Use of the Mass.
It can be rather banal, cut and dry. However, in its sung form, its music can be anything but Latin Rite or Roman Rite. The variety of music and styles, the clericalism of the priest and the care or sloppiness of the liturgy makes the Ordinary Form Mass different from other Ordinary Form Masses from priest to priest, parish to parish, diocese to diocese.
Music in the Ordinary Form is the elephant in the room which needs to be ruthlessly reformed.
But when the Ordinary Form is celebrated well, by the books, and chanted in the Latin Rite's tradition of chanting, it can be just as inspirational as the Extraordinary Form. Add some EF elements, such as ad orientem and more choreography and yes, even the transfer of the Roman Missal from the Epistle Side of the altar to the Gospel Side of the altar as minor as this little "t" tradition is, will add to the sublime liturgical dance that the authentic liturgy of the Church is. Sacred Dance, the liturgy itself, not dance routines imposed on the liturgy.