Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I have out of body experiences at the EF Mass that I have not experienced at the OF Mass. These are things that touch us on an emotional level. Some people have them and relish them. Others could care less, worship is an academic thing for them.

We can say the same thing about those who have "charismatic" experiences. It isn't intellectual but emotional, an experience of exuberance. Those seeking this kind of emotional satisfaction in prayer or worship have created a worldwide movement in the Catholic Church.

Let's speak about the Charismatic Movement in the Catholic Church which is really Catholic syncretism with Protestant Pentecostalism. Why did it occur in the Catholic Church and just who primarily were attracted to it?

I have no scientific studies to support my opinion, just common sense. The Charismatic Movement began around 1968 I believe, just three years after Church officials, like home decorators, started redecorating the Mass and our church buildings. And stripped from our Mass and our churches were the very things that Holy Mother Church had given to the clergy and laity to have experiences of contemplation and mysticism as opposed to crass emotionalism. But it satisfied those who need emotional experiences to strengthen their faith. The mystical experience of euphoria in the pre-Vatican II normative Mass, now the extraordinary normative Mass, was sober but satisfying nonetheless!

When that was removed by the redecorators,  Catholics, both clergy and laity sought it elsewhere and with the novel allowance of ecumenism with Protestantism, they were converted to Protestant ideologies and spiritualities and not those closest to the Catholic Church, of the historic Reformation, but rather Protestant much further away from that reality. Catholics were converted to Pentecostalism and its unbridled, drunken spiritualities that allowed for narcissistic displays of holiness, like Pharisees with long tassels. In other words, there was nothing sober about this form of mysticism, but in reality a superficial emotionalism, satisfying nonetheless.

Who were the first Catholics to join the neo-Protestant Charismatic movement with its Biblical fundamentalism? Was it the progressives dismantling the historic worship of the Church and its beauty along with our church buildings? No! It was previously pre-Vatican II pious Catholics who loved the EF Mass's mysticism who were converted to Protestant Pentecostalism with a veneer of Catholicism and still untied to Rome. They went from Catholic Mysticism of sobriety to Protestant drunkenness in the spirit.

Would the neo-Protestant Pentecostal movement in the Catholic Church have happened in the Church if Vatican II had not made such sweeping changes and overnight? I doubt it. In heaven we'll have to check out parallel time to find out for sure!

But this would be wishful thinking on my part as to how mysticism that is sober and thus Catholic could be recovered in our Ordinary Form normative Mass. I'm not doing this since I have no authority,  so it is just a very modest proposal and no worse than the horrible abuses of the Mass in the Ordinary Form so many experience at the hands of progressive priests each Sunday:

I'm not convinced that the Ordinary Form couldn't capture the mysticism of the EF Mass but there would have to be some rubrical changes.

This is just my opinion, but these are the issues that cause the Ordinary Form of the Mass to become to much like a disjointed experience.

1. The Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as well as the Introductory and Concluding Rites are disjointed from one another. We have the procession, Introductory Rite (often co-opted by unnecessary banal greetings and discussions. Then everyone sits down after the Gloria and Collect. Someone comes up from the congregation and reads the readings, could be two people doing one each and a third chanting or singing the Responsorial Psalm. Then the priest or deacon reads the Gospel. It is done at a separate "table" the ambo, thus in reality there are two altars being used at the same Mass!

2. The propers are eliminated for metrical hymns. I think if the Propers were chanted even in a Gregorian type English it would help, but very few parishes chant the propers even if there is a processional hymn.

3. There needs to be more filled silences and a quiet Canon (no matter which Eucharistic Prayer is selected).

So this is what I think could work well in an Ordinary Form Mass that could capture the mysticism of the EF Sung Mass:

1. Processional hymn, followed by the chanting of the Proper Introit as the priest arrives at the foot of the altar. Then the priest begins with the Sign of the Cross, greeting and Penitential Act preferably the Confiteor (first choice) or the second choice which no one uses except my parish). After the absolution, the priest ascends the steps to the altar as the three fold EF style Kyrie is chanted. He incenses the altar. The Gloria is chanted in whatever language as the priest stands at the center of the altar and then he goes to the epistle side for the Collect, vernacular or Latin.

2. Then from the altar, the trained, commissioned by the bishop officially installed lector chants the first reading at the Epistle side of the altar, ad orientem or pro-popolum, the schola or choir chants the Gradual or Responsorial Psalm (Gradual is still permitted in the OF Mass!) and and the Epistle is chanted by the official lector.

3. Then the priest moves to the center of the altar, the missal is transferred to the Gospel side and the priest chants the Gospel or the deacon would do it as in an EF Solemn Sung Mass. The readings are in the vernacular.

Then after the homily the priest goes to the middle of the altar for the chanting of the Credo and the Intercessions (briefly chanted by a cantor as the priest remains at the altar).

Then the priest begins the Offertory as it is in the Ordinary Form.

4. The Prayer over the Offerings is chanted aloud as is the Preface. However, the Eucharistic Prayer (any of them) are prayed silently as in the EF with the Roman Canon. Of course I think the priest should indicate which Eucharistic Prayer he is using if the congregation wishes to follow it in their missal. I think this would recover the mysticism that many experience with the silent canon in the EF.

5. The rest of the Mass continues as in the Ordinary Form and all kneel at the railing for Holy communion. The ablutions are carried out as in the EF and the Mass is completed at the altar.

Celebrating everything at the altar as in the EF and using the Gospel and Epistles sides as in the EF would truly make the altar central! It has competition now, not from additional side altars or side altar chapels, but from the celebrant's chair and the ambo which make for three "altars" at every Ordinary Form Mass!

I doubt that many EF devotees would notice the difference except for vernacular. The mysticism would be there. Of course we need Gregorian chant or polyphony for the parts of the Mass, not contemporary melodies.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Father, devotees of the EF Mass would indeed notice the difference between the OF Mass you are suggesting and the EF Mass. As soon as they opened their missal it would be obvious because the prayers in the missal would not be the same. You would have to restore all the prayers that have been stripped down. One of the only beautiful vestiges remaining is Eucharistic Prayer 1, which is almost never said.

Those who attend the EF Mass, who don't use a missal may not notice the difference but then they are not really true devotees but only those who enjoy the cosmetic appearance and Gregorian Chant of the EF Mass.

An example of what has changed between the ConfĂ­teor and the Kyrie (often not said anyway):

OF: "P:May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to life everlasting. All: Amen."

Compared that to the EF:
"P: ✝ May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. S: Amen. P: Thou wilt turn again, O God, and quicken us. S: And Thy people will rejoice in Thee. P: Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy. S: And grant us Thy salvation. P: O Lord, hear my prayer. S: And let my cry come unto Thee. P: The Lord be with you. S: And with your spirit. P: Let us pray. P: Take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord; that with pure minds we may be made worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. We pray Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy saints whose relics are here, and of all the saints: that Thou would deign to pardon me all my sins. Amen."

OF: "P: Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel."

EF: "P: Cleanse my heart and my lips, O almighty God, Who cleansed the lips of the prophet Isaiah with a burning coal. In Thy gracious mercy, deign so to purify me, that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy Gospel. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Pray, Lord, a blessing. The Lord be in my heart and on my lips that I may worthily and fittingly proclaim His holy Gospel"

Spot the difference?

No, EF devotees would certainly know the difference


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Jan, of course it is not too far fetched, as Cardinal Sarah has explicitly said, to allow in the Ordinary Form the Extraordinary Form's Prayers at the Foot of the altar, which would then necessitate a change in the Order of the Ordinary Form for the Introductory Rite, placing the Introit being chanted during these prayers which is for the clergy and ministers and then placing the greeting "The Lord be with you" immediately prior to the Collect.

He has also indicated a willingness to recover the EF's Offertory Prayers in the OF, the rubrics for the Roman Canon from the EF's rubrics and the Last Gospel.

Add that into the mix and I doubt that most in the modern age, except the small minority of EF geeks, not intended as an insult but a valid description, would notice the difference between an EF like Ordinary Form Mass and an actual EF Mass

Anonymous said...

"Out of body experiences"? Where did you go? Augusta? The Congo? Maybe Sams Club?

Anonymous said...

I think you will find, Father, what you see as the "small minority of EF geeks" are the vast majority of those who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass - at least that is my experience. Have you been to any Masses offered, say, by any of the traditional orders? You will find there the EF geeks. I am not saying that there might not be a move to make the OF of the Mass more like the EF of the Mass, but the vast majority of those who can get to the OF of the Mass will never attend a hybrid form. It has been stated by a number of EF geeks I know that Pope Benedict's intention was to create a hybrid Latin Mass and they all categorically said they wouldn't attend it, so Pope Benedict's idea of reconciling the SSPX would be lost altogether because if the EF Mass were taken away again that is where the majority would head.

Cardinal Sarah may well allow prayers from the EF Mass into the OF Mass but I am sure there will still be the lay readers, offertory procession, lay readers, altar girls, extraordinary ministers of communion and so OF geeks would certainly be able to differentiate between the two Masses. Also the biggest obstacle of all to a reform of the reform is that the majority of the OF geeks are happy with the OF of the Mass as it is and can't stand Latin. So this hybrid Mass would fall between the cracks of the two sets of geeks.

You have three groups in your parish. You have those who attend the OF in English, those who attend the OF in Latin and those who attend the EF Latin Mass, but the vast majority in your parish are obviously those who attend the OF in English and prefer it. It would be interesting to know how many people who attend the EF of the Mass in your parish would attend the OF in Latin. I am sure it would be easier for those who attend the OF in Latin to move to the EF than the reverse.

To get a true sense of what is happening with the EF of the Mass you need to attend a parish where Mass is offered by one of the traditional orders and you will understand what I'm saying.


John Nolan said...

To see how the Novus Ordo works in a monastic community which has taken on board all the post-V2 liturgical reforms and has opted to retain the use of Latin for Mass and Office, there is a video on YouTube of the Conventual Mass at St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, on Laetare Sunday 2014 which is worth watching in full.

I have attended Sunday Mass here on a number of occasions and find it both exemplary and uplifting. In fact there is something timeless and unhurried about the Benedictine way of doing things which I haven't encountered elsewhere. Last month I attended a Pontifical Solemn EF Mass in Westminster Cathedral which gave every appearance of being under-rehearsed. True, the rubrics for the Pontifical Mass are intricate - perhaps (dare I say it?) rather too fussy - and it's not done that often these days. But the sight of people not quite knowing what they were doing was to me a distraction.

It's not a case of EF good, OF bad. The Oratorians, for example, celebrate both OF and EF, and the former in both Latin and English, but always with meticulous attention to detail. This is possibly off-putting for those used to the informal chumminess of the average parish Mass, but if the size of their congregations is anything to go by, it strikes a chord with a lot of Catholics, younger ones especially.