Sunday, August 27, 2017

LET'S FOCUS ON WHAT IS POSSIBLE


So many traditionalists have unrealistic expectations about liturgical renewal or recovery. Often much of it is too "me" oriented, what I want, what I like and what I would do if I were the bishop or pope. It is very, very non Catholic.

The reforms of Vatican II are irreversible because an Ecumenical Council began it with Sacrosanctum Concilium and Pope Paul VI implemented his vision of it with Consilium. It doesn't matter if individual Catholics like it or not because as Catholics we have to like it or lump it.

While I am in favor of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass being expanded in its celebration where this is welcomed by local parishes, I do not see the EF Mass (unless a vernacular edition of it is allowed for at least the changing parts of this Mass) becoming a major force in any diocese. People like the vernacular and they like understanding the prayers and they like the ability to be able to respond and chant in the vernacular as has been promoted in a positive way for the past 50 years. I would say that at least 99% of Catholics who actually attend Mass would find an entirely Latin Mass, EF or OF off-putting.

What then is possible for the correct implementation of the Roman Missal of 1969/70 and its subsequent incarnations leading to the 2011 version?

Let repeat myself:

1. Music has to be improved and more supervision from Rome and local bishops needs to take place--even Pope Francis lamented the state of music in the liturgy not too long ago. Music is the most divisive issue in the Ordinary Form and there is no end in sight if music is a big business in the Catholic Church with publishing companies selling their new stuff, constantly rolling out new hymnals and new music and much of it of dubious quality and unsingable.

2. Chant needs to be recovered, either in Latin or the vernacular and the Propers of the Mass must never be omitted--Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. All three of these are Scripture and it is absolutely ridiculous that any of Sacred Scripture be replaced by hymns and negates Sacrosanctum Concilium's explicit call for a more lavish use of Scripture in the Mass. In fact, I would suggest that priests could actually preach on any of the propers, especially the official introit of the Mass. I am not saying that hymns or anthems should be suppressed--one could have a rousing hymn for the procession but it ends and the Introit begins as the priest approaches the altar and kisses it as is done at papal Masses at St. Peter's.

3. The restoration of kneeling for Holy Communion at an altar railing or kneeler is not reversing the reform of the Mass one iota. As I have said over and over again, of all of the restorations that one could bring back to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, kneeling for Holy Communion is the single most important, bar none.

4. While I think the options of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the older form of the Offertory Prayers and an enhancement of the rubrics for the Eucharistic Prayers modeled after the EF Mass do not in any way challenge the reforms of the Mass as envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium and should be reinstated at least as an option, I think it is possible for these to return as Pope Francis is the very pope who signed off on these things and a different dialect of English for the Ordinariate's Ordinary Form Roman Missal--Divine Worship.

5. Ad Orientem or a version of it (this is always symbolic even in the pre-Vatican II/EF Mass) should be mandated, meaning the "Benedictine" altar arrangement Pope Benedict recovered and Pope Francis has maintained and not to preclude the priest joining the congregation and being united with them in facing the altar in the same direction. Pope Francis has faced the altar in the same direction and has also lamented the loss of facing East at Baptism and other liturgical celebrations. 

Just doing the five things above could end the liturgy wars and be faithful to the Magisterial perspective of Pope Francis.

12 comments:

Victor said...

"Often much of it is too "me" oriented, what I want, what I like and what I would do if I were the bishop or pope. It is very, very non Catholic."
That sounds very much like the "experts" of the Consilium. Is the New Mass Catholic?

"...because as Catholics we have to like it or lump it."
Millions upon millions of Catholics have lumped it and continue to do so, making church condos the latest rage.

"I would say that at least 99% of Catholics who actually attend Mass would find an entirely Latin Mass, EF or OF off-putting."
When the FSSP took over a Latin Mass parish 3 years ago, there were about 50 parishioners. Now there are 200. As churches close all around them, with the 99% who find Latin off putting, they have grown 400%. Maybe it is not the Latin that is off putting.

"The reforms of Vatican II are irreversible because an Ecumenical Council began it with Sacrosanctum Concilium and Pope Paul VI implemented his vision of it with Consilium."
The reforms of an Ecumenical Council are reversible when they contradict previous magisterial Church teaching. Also, the Orthodox would disagree that Vatican II was an Ecumenical Council. So much for the ecumenism called for by the Council.

John Nolan said...

Please explain why 99% of Catholics in 1960 had no problems with a Latin liturgy, and 99% of Catholics twenty years later found it so off-putting that they would not attend.

The clue is '99% of Catholics WHO ACTUALLY ATTEND MASS'. Thereby hangs a (long) tail.

By 1980 the only Mass available to the vast majority of Catholics in the English-speaking world would have been entirely in the vernacular, and a dumbed-down and corrupt vernacular at that. They did not have a Latin liturgy to turn their backs on, nor were they ever asked if they liked the anodyne and musically banal fare they were subjected to. I do remember running into people who experienced the Latin Mass at (say) the London Oratory saying in admiration: 'Wow, I never realized this was still allowed!' I was asked by American visitors 'Is this a Tridentine Mass?' It wasn't.

By the way, the 'Benedictine' arrangement of Cross and candlesticks in versus populum celebrations is somewhat flawed. Its function in the Roman basilicas is to screen the celebrant (who faces east) from the nave. Thus in St Peter's candlesticks and cross of architectural proportions were ranged in line across the central line of the altar. In traditional eastward celebration no such screening is necessary.

Henry said...

"I would say that at least 99% of Catholics who actually attend Mass would find an entirely Latin Mass, EF or OF off-putting."

I wonder what percentage of Catholics who actually attend Mass today are merely Catholics in name only--"protestants who go to Mass on Sunday"--folks whose devotion and faith and worship are so minimal as constitute a religion substantially different from that of their Catholic forebears. For instance, they rarely if ever go to confession, have little conscious belief in the Mass as a sacrifice, little conscious involvement with the communion of saints in heaven, earth, and purgatory, little conscious thought of the four last things.

Whereas a very large percentage of those who regularly attend the traditional Latin Mass surely do qualify as believing and practicing Catholics in a significant sense.

In any event, the last few generations of Catholics have been relentlessly purged of any sense of authentic Catholic worship. Is it then any surprise that they are now devoid of any such sense? But does this mean that they should be deprived of the most perfect worship possible, for another half century or more?

The preponderant majority of the people with whom I attended TLM today are much too young to have any pre-Novus Ordo memories. Undoubtedly the first Latin Mass they attended seemed disjoint from their previous experience in worship. But by attending TLM they learned to worship authentically with actual interior participation. I suspect that, if given the opportunity, so would most of those who actually belong in Catholic pews today.

rcg said...

FrAJM, these questions sound remarkably like those you asked before your Liturgy journey began at St Joseph's.

Something to consider: there are probably many, many people at the mega-churches thirsting for something they are not getting.

Something to consider #2: the Church did a great job incorporating many different cultural and musical tastes into regional festivals, processions, and devtions worldwide.

See if you can recruit some folks to research those sorts of things and bring them into parish life. See if you can find some ypung men who are interested in researching and exploring the traditional Liturgy and what it contains. Young families are looking for a rock in these times and they are likely to be your best supporters.

Mark Thomas said...

Pope Venerable Pius XII opened the door to the employment of vernaculars in the liturgy. Vernacularized liturgy was welcomed by countless Catholics.

http://arc.stparchive.com/page_image.php?paper=ARC&year=1956&month=03&day=09&page=2&mode=F&base=ARC03091956p03&title=Arkansas%20Catholic&logo=http://arc.stparchive.com//images/logo/15050461562011.05.30aclogo-2011.gif

None other than Archbishop Lefebvre desired to vernacularize most of the Mass of the Catechumens.

https://angeluspress.org/products/the-mass-of-all-time

"The Mass of All Time," by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre. Angelus Press (SSPX).

The movement to vernacularize the Roman Liturgy was unstoppable...it's irreversible.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

"The reforms of Vatican II are irreversible..."

What "reforms" are you talking about? The various documents of the only purely "pastoral" council in Church history?

Or do you mean the "reforms" foisted upon us by the highly dubious Consilium? If that's what you mean, many of us believe they are quite reversible. If you want to boast of the "success" of these reforms, you might as well boast about what a "success" the public schools are.

"Reforms"? Don't make me laugh.

Anonymous said...

Fr.,

I agree with every item on your list as far as the OF goes, though I would include a small amount of mandatory Latin in every Sunday/Holy Day Mass. Part of me thinks, however, that the ideal might be found in replacing the current OF with a variant of the Divine Worship Missal used in the personal ordinariates. We could start by using the "highest" variant of DW, with the Roman Canon and traditional offertory prayers offered ad orientem, as a base. Next, authorize highly sacral and dignified translations into a variety of vernaculars. For this purpose, the translations which already exist in TLM missals could serve as a guide where the prayers between the two forms are the same. Third, make optional the completely Anglican-based prayers found in the missal outside the ordinates (obviously the ordinariate parishes could continue as normal). Finally, require that at least part of the ordinary be sung in Latin Gregorian chant on Sundays and Holy Days, with an occasional Greek Kyrie thrown in for good measure. Sounds almost perfect to me.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD said, "The reforms of Vatican II are irreversible because an Ecumenical Council began it with Sacrosanctum Concilium and Pope Paul VI implemented his vision of it with Consilium. It doesn't matter if individual Catholics like it or not because as Catholics we have to like it or lump it."

And so here it is. In black and white. Laity, like it or lump it.

Yet I have at times read and heard condemnation of the laity for just rolling over and accepting the changes that happened some 50 years ago, as if our passivity was complicity.

But nobody liked it, as I recall. We ALL lumped it.

Now we get Howdy Doody Masses with priests on the altar acting like some kind of one man show. The sense that the Mass is one prolonged prayer, culminating in a most profound sacred moment whereby Jesus Christ Himself being made present to us through the actions of the priest, and concluding in our partaking of of His body and blood to become a part of Him, and He of us, seems lost on these sorts, and the people attending. You can see why they lose interest and drift away.

It's really hard to lump that.

For now, I attend the Extraordinary Form. If I attend the Ordinary Form I try to find a Mass offered by a priest who cares what he is doing, and who offers Mass with the reverence and attention deserving of this great act of prayer and worship. I pray to God I will always be able to do so.

God bless.
Bee

John Nolan said...

Fr AJM

The 'what I want and what I like' mentality is not normally found among so-called traditionalists, who have a more transcendental view of the liturgy (and usually have a better understanding of its underlying theology).

It pervades the thinking of a lot of 'mainstream' congregations, which is why traditionally-minded priests like yourself have to pussy-foot around and pander to their ignorant prejudices. Remove one hymn from the sandwich and they have a hissy fit. Exclude little Penelope from service at the altar and they switch parishes. Ask them to sing anything in Latin and they complain to the bishop.

And because they can't distinguish between Mass and a pop concert, this is no reason to turn the Mass into a pop concert. If they defect to the local Pentecostalist 'church' then they were never Catholics in the first place, and you are well rid of them.

Anonymous said...

If the reform is irreversible why are we talking about improvements? If it has an irreversible life of its own? With the M/mass confusion that exists today it will never be possible to have something that every one would accept without reservations. The tinkering will continue for ever. Is this not what the modernist theologians predict and advocate? The TLM has the potential to recapture the unity of the Church Catholic. It will be a very small Church but Benedict XVI has said that already.

As has been pointed out before, the last time we had a united, truly Catholic Church with the highest proportion of Catholics attending Mass was just before Vatican II. Since then it has been progressively less Catholic and in some rare cases barely Christian.

The present Church hierarchy is obviously so divided and in the person of the Holy Father so theologically radically inclined that to call it Catholic flies in the face of objective reality. Arguably, Christ's Church may no longer "subsist most fully" in the present RCC because of the irreconcilable differences existing in its Magisterium as Magisterium is now understood to mean the Pope and those Bishops in union with him.

When Pope Francis announced to go out and make a mess what people heard was go and make up your own truths. Is that Catholic? Catholic in the past used to be defined as what the faithful believed always and everywhere. Am I exagerating? If VC-2 redefined the faith with "nuanced and ambiguous words" (introducing the principle of mobilism - as has been acknowledged by many) why should not worship be on unstable grounds also? Is not the way we pray derive from the way we believe?
Cardinal Sarah and others before him have already made the diagnosis. Until their conclusions are given the respect they deserve further deformations can be expected. The reality of the TLM movement is the only hope for a truly fundamental renewal. It will come when the theological foundation under pinning it is finally re-established but not before.

Anon-1



Victor said...

Mr Nolan reminds us that the New Mass is about the "me", what is good for the "me" according to the "experts", and what the "me" want, such as no Latin. But no Latin is what you have to expect after the Mass exodus of Catholics who were content with the Old Mass. The no Latin people are the ones who are left in the Church after the mass exodus. The "me" does not understand the Latin so it is irrelevant to "me". It is about what suits the "me", rather than what is due to God.

That word "vernacular" has appeared in this post.
The word "vernacular" is an Orwellian term when applied to the liturgy because it purposely avoids the issue of Faith, the lex orandi for a lex credendi. The proper term is "vulgar tongues" as distinguished from the "sacred languages", that is to say, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew as made sacred by their use on the Cross of our Saviour. Is the liturgy about the "me" so the use of the vernacular, or about giving God reverence so the use of sacred languages? Until Vatican II, it was about reverence and the use of sacred languages, whether or not understood by the faithful. Indeed, prior to Vat2, the faithful knew that something very sacred was going on at the altar, and that was sufficient for them, as St Thomas Aquinas also pointed out; their personal piety in the pews reflected this. The use of the vulgar tongues, rather, attacks the sacred. The Church with its modernist New Mass has lost its way in seeing that it is either God or Nothing.

Anonymous said...

This might be the most insightful thing I've ever read on this blog:

""So many traditionalists have unrealistic expectations about liturgical renewal or recovery. Often much of it is too "me" oriented, what I want, what I like and what I would do if I were the bishop or pope. It is very, very non Catholic.""