Monday, March 20, 2017
THE DAY AFTER: REFLECTIONS ON THE CATHEDRAL'S EF HIGH MASS ON SUNDAY
I love both forms of the Mass when celebrated well and with chants and anthems that are in continuity with the ethos, spirituality and devotion of the Latin Rite Mass.
I firmly believe that one day, we need to merge the OF Mass back into the EF Mass but properly and with the continuity we need in the Latin Rite in terms of chants, language, spirituality, devotion and liturgical ethos.
Currently, it is only in the OF Mass that a divergence from the Liturgical Tradition of the Latin Rite has experienced a rupture and that is for less than 50 years, a blink of the eye in terms of the 1,900 year liturgical tradition of the Church. For the most part, the breach in this tradition was not and is not official, but one of experimentation which has been a miserable failure when one realizes that in some places up to 90% of Catholics no longer participate in any way in the Mass because they don't attend!
This experimentation which is a breach in our Liturgical Tradition has to do with language, spirituality, devotion and ethos especially with the style of music employed, the direction of prayer, the ad libbing of the priest and crass casualism leading to the dismantling of reverence, tradition and a sense of awe and mystery, the mysticism that is such a necessary part of our nearly 2000 year Liturgical Tradition.
Thus my reflections on a new Roman Missal to return the Church to her liturgical tradition that is more EF than OF but contains elements of the OF Mass that are successful and within continuity with our Liturgical Tradition which is based on the EF High Mass I celebrated on Sunday, March 19 at our Cathedral:
1. The Processional Chant was the official Introit Chant of the Mass chanted in Latin--we must preserve thisTradition in the new Missal and in Latin not only for the Introit but the Offertory and Commmunion chants.
2. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar is a preparation for the priest and ministers only and is accomplished during the time of the Processional Chant--a prelude to the actual Mass done publicly
for the congregation to witness as what the priest and ministers are about to celebrate need this preparation as they are about to enter the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies--there is nothing of clericalism in this but an esssential act of public piety but privately accomplished.
3. The Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei all should be chanted in Latin.
4. The changing parts of the Mass should have the option of being chanted in the vernacular, such as the Collect, the Prayer over the Offering (Secret) which should be chanted out loud and Post Communion Prayer.
5. The Lturgy of the Word should be celebrated as in the OF Mass with the option of the revised Lectionary which itself should be revised to include readings from the EF Lectionary that were omitted. However, the Responsorial Psalm should be suppressed because of the useless repitition of the refrain. The Gradual and Tract need to be recovered as in the EF lectionary and chanted in Latin as a part of the Latin Chant Patrimony which includes the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons.
6. The Communion Rite should be as in the OF Mass eliminating priest's rite first and then the laity's, this especially works well when ad orientem as the priest turns to the Congregation for the "Ecce Agnus Dei" and "Lord I am not worthy" (with the latter done thrice by both priest and laity) then the priest turns back to the altar for his Holy Communion (which completes the Sacrifice) and then distributes Holy Communion first to the minsters and then the congregation.
7. The distinction between Low, Sung and Solemn Sung Masses needs to be recovered with intinction allowed in the Solemn High Mass.
8. Kneeling for Holy Communion and on the tongue must, I emphasize, must be recovered for the sake of preventing sacrilege which is so commmon with Holy Communion in the hand if only a few do it intentionally and the majority unintentionally.