Friday, April 28, 2017


Press the title for the complete article and below photo is my take and comments:

It’s undoubtedly true that there really is a problem about the liturgy today. But the problem doesn’t have a lot to do with the translations.
Mass celebrated on Palm Sunday in the chapel of Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston (John Stephen Dwyer/Wikipedia)’s undoubtedly true that there really is a problem about the liturgy today. But the problem doesn’t have a lot to do with the translations. Nor does it lie in liturgical aberrations like clown Masses and balloons, which came and went during the days of craziness half a century ago.

The underlying problem instead is the decline of the sacramental sense—the fragile discernment of transcendence amid the limitations of our immanence—which has been going on in Western culture over the last several centuries (and which, one might add, is unlikely to be halted, much less reversed).

My take and comments: I have to agree that we don't need a radical re-tinkering of our new and more glorious English translation of the Mass apart from some reorienting of sentences and elimination of useless repetition, often not even in the Latin. 

What we need to do, meaning the pope and the Congregation for Divine Worship is to do what Russell Shaw states is the problem with the reformed Mass and that is the decline of the sacramental sense. 

The reformed Mass from the get-go of the 1970 version of it until today has bought into a dumbed down version or complete redefinition of what reverence is in the Catholic Mass and our other liturgies to include behavior in the church building The laity complained about this throughout the 1970's until they drifted away in mass numbers leading to the abysmal Mass attendance we have today with only 12% to 25% actually liking the dumbed down Mass. 

Rather than having Catholic reverence defined as hushed silence in the presence of the Almighty, now it is defined as noise and activity and being pleasant, giddy and talkative with one another even in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament!

What the pope and bishops must do is recover our oldest Tradition of reverence which is codified in the 1962 Missal. This means, Latin with some vernacular allowed for the changing parts of the Mass, a silent canon and a return to the Gradual and Tract and one reading before it and the Gospel following. The Responsorial Psalm with refrain is useless repetition.

The only change I would make to the order of the EF Mass, using its rubrics, only the Roman Canon prayed hushed style is the elimination of the double Communion Rite of the priest and then the laity. The reformed Mass got this right, except for the elimination of the three-fold "Lord I am not worthy..." 

Of course the common sense kneeling at the altar railing, receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and ad orientem are taken for granted in any renewal of the reformed Mass in continuity with our Tradition of Mass. 


Henry said...

"the elimination of the double Communion Rite of the priest and then the laity."

But this "elimination" is precisely where the confusion started, obscuring perception of the Mass as primarily a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross. For the communion of the celebrant and the confusion of the laity are liturgically two different rites. One a part of the Sacrifice of the Mass and necessary, the other unnecessary and not part of the sacrifice. The celebrant's communion completes the sacrifice, and without it no sacrifice occurs. The people's communion follows after the sacrifice has been completed, with the people sharing the fruits of the sacrifice. Thus the communion of the priest and the communion of the people are two distinct and entirely different rites, and it made no liturgical sense to combine them into one action.

rcg said...

Fr. McDonald, could it be the lack of sacramental sense (respect and reverence) flows directly from the flawed translation(s)? It seems the problem is, then, prematurely releasing so many drafts for use. There is a perfectly servicable translation on the right page of my Baronius Press missal that has been available for some time before any of the 'translations'. So it is not logical that the translations were for any other intent than to change the meaning of the Mass.

You have previously stated your irritation with the Communion sequence, including the triple repetion. Why do you think it was ever created to begin with?

Marc said...

My understanding is that the Communion of the people formerly (up to the 20th century) took place after the conclusion of the entire Mass. That is why there is an entirely separate communion rite for the faithful that is not included within the Missal.

If anything, that sort of order should be re-instituted in order to regain the sacrificial sense of the Mass. Just as the common chalice was withheld from the people to dash heretical tendencies about the Sacred Species, it is sometimes necessary for the Church to use the rites to make a point about the true nature of those rites.

Based on the Catholics that I know, though, none of this would be acceptable. I work with people who actually leave parishes where altar girls aren't allowed, for example. The vast majority of Catholics have lost any sense of being Catholic and are completely alienated from what the Church teaches or how the Church historically practiced the faith. More than new translations will be needed to rediscover the sense of Catholic belief and practice, if the target audience were to even stick around during such a process, which is unlikely.

Victor said...

"What the pope and bishops must do is recover our oldest Tradition of reverence which is codified in the 1962 Missal"

The oldest Tradition of reverence is not in the 1962 Missal. The detrimental changes to the liturgy began after the Second World War and were extensive by 1962. In my opinion anything that smells of Msgr Bugnini's dabbling should be suspect of corruption and be re-evaluated. That includes the changes to Holy Week: the Paschal Vigil, Good Friday, and Holy Thursday.

rcg said...

Marc has an interesting point. When the Third Translation (R) came out a layman I knew who worked on his parish liturgical council said he would leave the Church if he was denied the Cup.

We have had years of mercy, etc. What about years of confession and preaching about abstaining from profaning the Body of Christ without a good confession (or even just proper fasting)? Many people feel that they are owed the Host. Maybe that's why they won't kneel for communion, it is standing room only in Hell.

Anonymous said...

"Boys Only" as altar servers is not an essential aspect of "being Catholic".

It is not Revelation, it is not taught by the Magisterium.

Marc said...

Wow, way to miss the point there, Anonymous.

ByzRC said...

I think the thing that saddens me so greatly about this topic is that it will be discussed, written about again, discussed, written about again and this cycle will continue with no concrete action towards correction other than commissions formed to spend more time "studying" and wordsmithing vocabulary that most don't find challenging.

An orthodox friend of mine remarked about the Catholic necessity to question everything. Their perception is that Catholics are unable to just accept, maintain and as good stewards pass along the tradition to the next generation. Obviously, this is most amplified within the Latin Church and by virtue of being within the same communion, has effected the other churches as well.

I, personally, don't find the repetitions within the extraordinary form of mass to be unduly burdensome or, taking up of too much time. The Novus Ordo, with its options for the penitential rite, its many stoppages for movement in the sanctuary (i.e. the responsorial psalm) or, the stoppage of the Canon (and prayers 2-4) for the mystery of faith are, in my humble opinion, equally worthy of review and revision.

As a point of comparison, the Byzantine Divine Liturgy possess numerous repetitions, "again and again let us pray to the Lord....Lord have mercy". Some might question the usefulness of this repetition but, I think it is fair to ask if we ever really done supplicating ourselves and as sinners, begging for mercy?

I'm not saying anything particularly original either above or, to close (in fact, I'm parroting Fr. AJM on a few of these points) but, it seems that if leveler heads had prevailed, and instead of a rewrite of the missal and ceremonial, simply using the English translation of the 1962 missal with the universal language of Latin being relied upon for the ordinary parts (with the people responding and, of course, Ad Orientem) would have resulted in significantly less upheaval, loss of faith, plummeting attendance, demystification of the sacraments, vertical theology becoming horizontal etc. Given how poorly change has been introduced, implemented and accepted over the last 50+ years, I would not advocate for changing anything about the 1962 missal for a considerable amount of time until generational turnover moves the church away from this change mentality.

Henry said...

Victor: "The oldest Tradition of reverence is not in the 1962 Missal."

True! The liturgical commission in which Msgr. Bugnini came to prominence as a dominant member was appointed by Pope Pius XII in 1948, and by 1955 with its serious dilution of the Sacred Triduum rites had already set a path towards the Novus Ordo that might well have been followed even if Vatican II had not intervened to greatly accelerate the momentum of change by enabling the pre-Vatican II wolves to gain complete control of the hen house in the chaos following the Council.

In particular, the 1948 commission continued its mischievous work right up to the eve of Vatican, with the particular result that the 1962 missal has Msgr. Bugnini's fingerprints all over it.

For a visual glimpse of the scope of the 1955-1962 departure from tradition that had occurred even before Vatican II, click here for a photo (posted today at NLM) of the Good Friday Mass of the Pre-Sanctified as offered at Mater Ecclesiae Church (Berlin, NJ)--a true Mass in which a pre-concentrated Host is offered in sacrifice. No scene like this (which I also saw on Good Friday this year) would have been seen by anyone attending the literally emasculated--no Mass of the Pre-Sanctified--sacred triduum rite from the 1962 missal.

So, yes indeed, a true return to Catholic tradition would require a return to the pre-1955 liturgical books.

John Nolan said...


The Responsorial Psalm and the so-called Gospel acclamation, along with the third lesson, are part and parcel of the 1970 Lectionary. The first two may of course be substituted by the Gradual and Alleluia/Tract as found in the Graduale Romanum (or even in a simpler setting). This is what usually happens when the Novus Ordo is sung in Latin, although the readings themselves are not affected. Note that from the Saturday before Low Sunday until Pentecost, inclusive, the Gradual is replaced by the 'lesser' Alleluia which is separated from the 'greater' Alleluia by the second lesson (Epistle). Also note that the Alleluia, and even more so the Tract in Lent, do not serve as 'Gospel acclamations' - they are essentially meditative.

Are you advocating a return to only two readings on Sundays? If so, it might make sense to return to the traditional Roman lectionary.

'Translations' may or may not be the issue, but I would suggest that 'translation' is. The advent of the vernacular coincided with the priest facing the people and in effect 'dialoguing' with them. To many priests, schooled in the older ways, this was liberating; for the first time they found themselves 'presiding' over the 'assembly' and the temptation to play the chat-show host was hard to resist. True, a bishop at the faldstool faces the people, but for the crucial parts of the Mass he is turned to the altar.

I have never attended a Latin Novus Ordo that was anything but reverent - no ad-libbing, no tiresome mini-homilies that interrupt the liturgy and merely pad it out, no grandstanding by the celebrant. Now that we have a singable translation one way of restoring reverence to the vernacular Mass would be for everyone to sing their parts. If you must have a vernacular Gloria, there are some very good newly-composed chant settings which are easily learned, and Credo I is easy to sing in English (Credo III less so). Simple English Propers are available to replace the usual non-liturgical hymns.

This is not trying to make the NO look like the TLM (although there's nothing wrong with this). It is taking the new Mass on its merits and celebrating it in a way that its fabricators no doubt intended.