Saturday, January 9, 2016


Over at "The New Liturgical Movement" there is yet another article on the "boutique" nature of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass in many parishes throughout the world and the reasons for it. I think Fr. Ray Blake from the United Kingdom who comments on NLM article makes the most cogent point, especially his last paragraph, which in fact is my position, so it has to be right:

Here in my parish, the elderly attenders of the TLM, those who always came under the Heenan indult, are dying off, or becoming housebound. One of our diocesan Mass centres, which had a monthly TLM, has ceased to offer it. At the last Mass a priest travelled 50 miles to offer it for 8 people.

Here in mt parish, our Sunday Mass rarely attracts more than 40 people but the elderly are slowly being replaced by younger people, proportionately there are more children at the TLM than any other Mass.

What is more significant is the TLM here produces vocations and has an influence on younger clergy, a great number are ordained with some interest in it.

Most importantly it has a leavening effect on the style of the Ordinary Form, on the spirituality, on the music, on the dignity of celebration, on its rootedness in the Western liturgical tradition.

My Comments:

As it concerns vocations to the priesthood, most "intentional" communities produce more vocations than regular parishes today. For example, the charismatic "Alleluia Community" in Augusta has produced a phenomenal number of vocations compared to any "normal" parish in our diocese, bar none. Although each candidate from this community is rooted also in an Ordinary Form parish, so this must be taken into account. But the intentionality of the community, the communal nature of the community as well has the high degree of commitment to God, community, Church, spirituality and good works promotes vocations to be sure. 

I would say that those who seek the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are seeking a greater sense of Church and religious purpose and are self-starters as it concerns knowing the Faith and trying to follow it as they understand it.

I would say that homeschooling families will produce more vocations too even if their exclusive experience of the Mass is a vernacular and banal Ordinary Form Mass.

But what Fr. Blake writes in his last paragraph above is key:

Most importantly it has a leavening effect on the style of the Ordinary Form, on the spirituality, on the music, on the dignity of celebration, on its rootedness in the Western liturgical tradition.

 This is what I believe too. But I am a realist. This will only happen in dioceses where bishops set the example and encourage their priests to do as the bishop models. 

This means that a bishop has to be open to celebrating the EF Mass himself and thus be informed as to how it is to be celebrated. Once he learns it, then he can see how to apply from it the following to the Ordinary Form of the Mass at his cathedral:

1. On the style of the OF Mass, celebrate it ad orientem and precisely as its rubrics expect.

2. On the spirituality of the OF Mass, celebrate it with the same EF spirituality, which is sober and contemplative avoiding completely ad libbing, wordy introductions, silliness and affectivity. It is reverent in other words as reverence is understood and experienced in the EF Mass.

3. The chants of the EF Mass should inform the chants of the OF Mass. It would be quite easy to allow a choir or small schola to chant the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons in Latin providing vernacular translations for the laity. This would not exclude the use of an additional processional hymn of good quality prior to the introit or additional anthems at the Offertory and Communion. Instrumentation should be minimal, none or organ or other classical instruments. Worship and Praise music has no place in our tradition of the Mass nor banal folk music or religious words set to piano bar room sounds or Broadway melodies. This too is about Catholic spirituality that the EF Mass preserves so marvelously but has been lost in most music of the OF Mass. 

4. The dignity of the EF Mass brought to bear on the OF Mass would include the sobriety of the EF Mass, its reverence as it concerns the Real Presence of Christ offered in Sacrifice and receive humbly and reverently, kneeling and on the tongue without the appearances of a chow line or eating on the run!

Thus my continuing mantra is that the Ordinariate's Order of the Mass, how it is laid out in the Missal, and the recovery of EF rubrics and sensibilities concerning the Roman Calendar is the way! 

Thus my continuing mantra is that the Ordinariate's Order of the Mass, how it is laid out in the Missal, and the recovery of EF rubrics and sensibilities concerning the Roman Calendar is the way!



Jan said...

I had a look at the comments on Fr Z's blog in response to Mons Pope saying attendance at the EF Mass is dropping. The comments varied. Some pointed out that he only has the Mass once a month and that the local bishop isn't supportive. Some seem to think that more people are leaving the diocesan Masses to attend the SSPX. I have to say that I would not attend again the diocesan Mass that I went to last Sunday with the priest behaving like priests have at the Novus Ordo Mass over the past 40 years doing his own thing. I made a comment a few months ago that people should not be bypassing diocesan Masses for the SSPX but I have to say if this sort of thing is happening in diocesan Masses I can well understand why.

One person commenting on Fr Z's blog said that they have four Sunday EF Masses with standing room only and are hoping to build a bigger church. Others said that the Mass attendance is growing in Texas.

Many said that if the Mass is not held weekly then the numbers don't build the same.

From my experience in my country, a priest who offered the Mass for over 20 years with a celebrate has built up a congregation of over 300 and had 4 Masses each Sunday - all were full as I attended at various times. In the next door parish there is also another EF Mass offered weekly. I believe that has a good attendance. Also one offered once a month that has about 70 attending and also the SSPX have their own chapel, so that is quite a large number for a diocese which would be miniscule by comparison to any diocese in the States. This elderly priest has unfortunately had to go into a resthome but the parish is limping on waiting for a priest hopefully from one of the traditional orders as some of the vocations produced from that parish are hopefully returning home to us.

The SSPX is also in another diocese with a primary school and a secondary school, an order of nuns - one who with the permission of Pope Benedict left her Benedictine Order to join the SSPX and now has a large group of nuns in Australia as well. They have a good number of parishioners. They have three Sunday Masses in that diocese. There is also an EF Mass in the same diocese where 50-70 attend each week.

We had a priest from Australia visit us - a Jesuit who offered the TLM - he told us that the parish he was in was flourishing with many young families and Australia seems to be building with many EF Masses available and a good number provided by the SSPX. Of course they have had the wonderful Cardinal Pell and so it is not surprising that the Faith is in a lot better shape than in many countries. I think that unless the Faith is strong attendance at the EF Mass won't grow because most who attend the NO Mass are looking for entertainment.

By comparison there is no chance of any growth of the Anglican Ordinariate. I would willingly attend but it simply does not exist in my country. To me the SSPX is certainly on an upswing since Pope Francis election.

Anonymous said...

Father, regarding your proposed reform of the Novus Ordo, would it be a simpler, user-friendly way to describe it as "suppress Buginini's fabricated Ordinary and rubrics, and replace it with the 1965 vernacular Ordinary and rubrics/GIRM into the current Novus Ordo Roman Missal"?

Jan said...

The proposed reform of the Novus Ordo Mass is good for those who attend the Novus Ordo but, as things stand, I doubt that it would ever be acceptable to the majority of those who attend the Novus Ordo Mass. As regards the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, I think that in all honesty it requires a priest from a traditional order who understands the people and is able to provide the sacraments, daily Mass, etc. I find that the priests who offer the Extraordinary Form - good, conservative priests, but really their heart isn't in it because they have their own parishes to run and in many ways it is probably just an additional burden to them because they are happy with a well said Novus Ordo Mass. I think that this is the case with Mons Pope and others who play a numbers game whereas numbers doesn't worry a traditional priest - he is there for the Mass alone. Maybe there is something in what Mons Brunero Gheradini has said that with the new order of ordination the priest is ordained as a presider of the Word and not to offer sacrifice. Whatever the situation, until there is a change back to belief in the real presence by the faithful things will continue to get worse rather than better. You can't evangelise something that is almost dead and buried. The springtime from the Church will come from a new generation of children who are properly catechised and of course the grace of God.

We can wish for all sorts of things but the reality is - barring a miracle - they ain't going to happen in the present climate. When you see a Christmas wreath behind the altar instead of a crucifix and nobody but traditionalists complain about it then you know there is not much hope ...