Wednesday, January 11, 2017
TWO FORMS OF THE SAME LITURGY IN THE SAME DAY
My life as a priest is always fascinating, liturgically and otherwise. The Liturgy and the sacraments are the source and summit of Catholic life to include the liturgy of the Hours as well as any popular devotions that a particular priest might like. For me my two favorites are Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary.
On Sunday I had Mass here at St. Anne Church in Richmond Hill, of which Savannah is a suburb. Following that Mass I traveled to our suburb, downtown Savannah, and celebrated an EF High Mass for the Feast of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Cathedral has a small female schola which chants this Mass in a splendid way and without accompaniment. It is the pristine form of the EF Mass with splendid Gregorian chant.
Then I return to my parish to celebrate our "Lifeteen Mass" at 5 PM. I do not know what an alien from outer space would make of the two different forms of the one Mass let alone the two different types of music.
Our Lifeteen Mass is very well done and it is basically upbeat in terms of the parts of the Mass which are all sung and then the filler music being of the "Praise and Worship" genre. But the words of the filler songs are doctrinally, liturgically and spiritually sound.
The kids do not gather around the altar but observe all the postures of the OF Mass from their pews.
I am eclectic when it comes to music in the liturgy. I love a spoken Mass but I also love organ and other instrumentation. Worship and Praise is not my favorite but it doesn't turn me off. I find some Gregorian Chant, especially the more complicated versions, to be tedious and too monastic for my tastes especially when it takes a minute or two to chant one word, my stomach starts churning.
But these are all issues of taste. There is no outright liturgical abuse in the music or the form of the Mass. Granted that what is considered abuse has had its boundaries tightened. We all clearly have our preferences in terms of taste and style of Mass and music.
In today's Church we must be tolerant of the legitimate forms of the Mass and any music that is deemed appropriate or no music at all. This includes tolerance for the EF Mass, the OF Mass celebrated like an EF Mass and so on.
Tolerance is the only way to survive in today's Church of diversity. Not every city is going to be as large as London, England where John Nolan lives, with choices galore for more traditional forms of the Mass especially in the Ordinary Form. In the South in the USA, where Catholic parishes are far and few between in some areas, one has to say with Jesus when he was confronted in the Garden of Gethsemane with apostles who could not keep watch with him, but rather fell asleep, that "It will have to do" because there is nothing else done anywhere nearby.