Joseph Ratzinger did not criticize the Novus Ordo per se, rather the way in which it is commonly celebrated. 'A fabricated liturgy, a banal on-the-spot product' refers to the tendency of many priests to alter the texts to suit themselves. He spoke of a 'hermeneutic' of rupture rather than an actual rupture.
His 'Spirit of the Liturgy' does question the assumptions of at least some of those who put together the new Mass as well as those who implemented it in practice, so there is an implied criticism here.
Sacrosanctum Concilium was the blueprint for a future reform of the liturgy. It is not an instruction for individual priests or bishops on how Mass should be celebrated. So strictly speaking neither progressives nor conservatives should cite it in their defense.
John Nolan hits the nail on the head. The problem with the OF Mass stems from creativity, not in the Roman Missal itself, but from what priests and liturgy committees did to it through creative planning and improvisation.
In addition to that, liturgists of supposed high ranking and especially in some Benedictine communities desired to destroy the ambiance of the Ordinary Form Mass celebrated in churches built for the Extraordinary Form. This never should have been allowed--the destruction of the churches and high altars and new churches built in a way that shows a clear discontinuity between pre-Vatican 2 churches and post Vatican II churches and then saying there is a new ecclesiology that must be captured in the liturgy and its architecture.
I don't believe that Mass facing the people is entirely to blame for the state of the liturgy in most parishes today. It is sloppiness. In this area there are several areas that need to be addressed in most parishes throughout the world:
1. The dress of "lay ministers" which is quite shocking when they are reading or distributing Holy Communion. We need to vest these people in my most humble opinion in either alb or cassock and surplice.
2. Lack of training and choreography of lay ministers especially altar servers. Most young altar servers are clueless about their true role and how they can contribute to the beauty of the Mass. Most are quite distracting to the Mass especially in most churches where they sit next to the priest and face on to congregation. They are clueless about how they come across and what they wear under their alb or cassock.
3. Placement of choirs or ensembles and miking all singers to amplify their voices as though they are in a rock band entertaining the audience. In addition music chosen that is not meant for the Catholic Mass and is far from its spirituality of sacrifice and worship.
Rorate Caeili has an article by Robert Spaeman. I disagree with him about the greatest liturgical problem is Mass facing the people, although it can be a problem and often is because priests and congregations are misled by it but needlessly so. The central crucifix on the altar could solve this problem, but how many parishes, except for the ones I have been in, have this arrangement and why don't the others? Even Pope Francis has maintained it.
I do agree with Spaeman that the EF Mass should not be considered set in concrete. New prefaces should be added; some vernacular should be allowed, especially for the changing parts of the Mass or those said audibly as in the 1965 version of the 1962 Roman Missal.
I would also say, that it is desirable that Holy Communion be distributed by way of intinction so that the faithful may receive Holy Communion under both forms.
I would take things a bit further and say that it is not necessary to have the double confiteor and absolutions (one for the priest and the other for the servers) for the PATFOTA nor the double communion rite.
For example, as in the OF Mass, who would notice if the priest after the Agnus Dei and his private prayers, turned to the congregation for the Ecce Agnus Dei and its "Lord I am not worthy" said three times, and then the priest turned back to the altar for his Holy Communion, which completes the Sacrifice, and then distributes Holy Communion by way of intinction to the servers and faithful?
These are common sense reforms which I in my most humble opinion, believe that Vatican II actually sought not what post-Vatican II reformers did to the Mass, especially those who corrupted the Mass even after Pope Paul VI's "consilium" rearranged things.
Copied from Rorate Caeili:
Fr. Claude Barthe – You have often echoed the profound dissatisfaction of Catholics who are unhappy with the new forms of worship. You have contributed to a certain number of them rediscovering the traditional liturgical practice in Germany today.
Robert Spaemann – I have noticed that many of those who are unhappy with the situation which they encounter in their parishes experience mixed feelings when given the option of assisting at the traditional Mass. Among them, two categories can be identified: those who assist at this Mass for the first time in their lives, and those who knew it in their childhood. The former have to come back several times in order to get used to the traditional Mass, because at first it seems really strange to them, for instance on account of the Latin, or the canon recited in a low voice, but on persevering, they find they can no longer do without it. Personally, I had the following experience: at first, the new Mass did not particularly shock me; but as the years went on I grew more and more displeased with it. While with the traditional Mass it’s exactly the opposite. But what I find even more striking are the reactions of the older people, who have a sort of nostalgia towards the old Mass. When these people enter a church where the old Mass is being celebrated, they react in two ways. Some are spellbound and weep with joy; while others are very ill at ease and say: “No! This is no longer possible, you can’t do this”. […] Their reaction is to tell themselves: “How is it that these people continue to celebrate the traditional Mass, while we have had to pay such a price? It’s all been for nothing, we could just as well have continued doing as they do.” And they don’t want to accept that. As they have paid this price, they want things to change for everyone.
That said, it must be conceded that in itself, the traditional Mass does not have a definitive form. It is permissible to desire certain changes, for instance, the possibility of occasionally receiving Holy Communion under both Species in the course of one’s life. I find this corresponds with what Our Lord wanted.
What would you suggest as a starting point for modifying the liturgical experience of ordinary parishioners?
I believe that the biggest problem is the celebration versus populum. The Mass facing the people profoundly changes how we live the ceremony. We know, notably through the writings of Msgr. Klaus Gamber, that this form of celebration never existed as such in the Church (1). In ancient times, it had an entirely different significance. With the priest facing the people today, we get the impression that he says the prayers in order to make us pray, but it doesn’t seem that he is praying himself. I’m not saying that he doesn’t pray, and indeed some priests manage to celebrate Mass versus populum while visibly praying. John-Paul II comes to mind: one never got the impression that he was addressing the people during Mass. But it’s very difficult to achieve.
I once assisted at a Corpus Christi procession in the diocese of Feldkirch in Austria, presided over by the bishop, who is a member of Opus Dei. At the station altars, the bishop turned his back on the monstrance while reciting the prayers (2). I said to myself that if a child saw that, he could no longer believe that the Lord is present in the Sacred Host, because the little one knows very well that when you are talking to someone, you don’t turn your back on him. Things like that are very important. There is no point in the child studying his catechism if what he learns is contradicted before his eyes.
So I believe that the first thing to do is to turn the altar around. It seems to me that this is more important than the return to Latin. Personally I have many reasons for valuing Latin, but it is not the most fundamental question. For my part, I would prefer a traditional Mass in German to the new Mass said in Latin.
You said at the beginning that the Tridentine liturgy does not in itself have a definitive form. It could have and can still change.
The changes must be so gradual and so imperceptible that a person nearing the end of his life would have the impression that he is still using the same rite as that of his childhood, even if this rite has in fact changed. I don’t know if you are familiar with the letter in which Cardinal Newman recounts his first trip to Italy. He had entered the cathedral of Milan and had been struck by the number of ceremonies which were taking place simultaneously: a small procession to one side, Masses being said at the side altars, canons reciting the Divine office in the choir. One got the impression that everyone was attending to his own business, but ultimately it was all part of the same thing. Newman was awestruck by this kind of plurality, because the Protestant influence in England was so strong that everyone had to do the same thing at the same time.
Catholic freedom! You are therefore in favour of different methods of participation?
I actually believe in the importance of there being different ways of participating in the Mass. And first of all, it seems to me a scandal that all of the faithful always receive communion at every Mass, because it is impossible to assume that each person can consider himself to be always in the state of grace—having the right dispositions to communicate. When the topic of Protestants practising intercommunion with us is discussed, no one ever speaks about them going to confession. Of course a person can remain in the state of grace throughout his entire life, but it cannot be assumed. Yet this is never discussed. One should be able to assist at Mass without receiving Communion. For this reason, it seems to me personally that persons who consider themselves always disposed to receive Holy Communion should occasionally refrain from receiving, for instance once a month, in order to make this abstention possible for others. And if someone said to me: “I absolutely have to receive Holy Communion”, I would tell them: “Receive It on Mondays.” Those who really need to receive Holy Communion often, assist at Mass during the week. If they don’t go to Mass throughout the week, they cannot say that they absolutely need Communion.
It must be possible to participate to a greater or lesser extent in the Mass. So near the door you have the publican’s place. And this place should be respected, without the person occupying it being obliged to speak or even to listen to what is being said into the microphone. I knew a young girl, a non-Catholic, who was very attracted by the Church. But when she entered a church and saw the microphones on the altar, she no longer wanted to take the plunge. She said: “If there’s a microphone there, that means it’s not serious, because God doesn’t need a microphone to hear me.” It is very important to know that in a church it is God we address.
Yes, there is a lack of freedom in the current liturgy and this, in fact, is one of the characteristics of today’s Church.
(1) Gamber Klaus, Tournés vers le Seigneur! Éditions Sainte-Madeleine, 1993. Msgr Gamber and Joseph Ratzinger were professors at the University of Regensburg at the time of the liturgical reform, a very bad experience for both of them.(2) In the traditional rite, the celebrant does not even turn his back to the monstrance for the “salutations” to the people (Dominus Vobiscum, etc.), but stands to one side.
[Source: Paix Liturgique. / Translation by Maria McDermott]