Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Yes Virginia, this is an OF Mass:

Dialogue makes a good point with a comment on the post below this one:

I think even the casual visitor to this blog knows that Father McDonald views actual participation as more than congregational recitation and chanting. But the Mass is Christ's gift to the Father, and we are part of that gift. So, since we are not incorporeal beings, laymen should willingly lend their voices to the prayers and acclamations, were appropriate. No stubborn liturgical Platonism, please.  
As for the quality of mental participation, I have no doubt that it is much higher at EF Masses than at OF Masses. Bring on the mutual enrichment!  

I would agree that just because someone is "exteriorly" participating in the Mass with gusto, proper body postures and eyes fixed on where the action of the Mass is, necessarily does not mean that there is an interior, spiritual disposition leading to a profound contemplation of the mysteries being celebrated.

By the same token, someone who is mute during Mass but may look contemplative, might have a mind on Sunday dinner or their date the previous night. 

Actual participation relies solely on the one participating and Holy Mother Church wants both external and internal participation at the Holy Sacrifice--so let's begin with what Holy Mother Church wants and not our own wants, the me, me, me stuff of the 1960's!

With that said, how could a renewal of the Ordinary Form Mass based upon the enrichment of the EF Mass's "mental" participation occur in the Ordinary Form?

Even if nothing else changed in the OF Mass and it remained completely in the vernacular, I believe the OF could be enriched by the EF in these ways:

1. Propers never omitted--Sacrosanctum Concilium asked for more lavish incorporation of Scripture into the Mass and the Propers are Scripture--it is against Vatican II to omit any Scripture from the Mass.

2. Ad Orientem for at least the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

3. A low voice praying of the Canon (I believe this would add the actual silence the Mass needs and would add to the mystery or sense of the sacred that is so lacking in the Ordinary Form).

4. Kneeling for Holy Communion and at the altar railing with the use of the patten to catch particles that might fall.


Carter said...

Low voice as in the 1962 missal or in a voice that is more subdued....prayerful and not like casual conversation bit still audible to most of if not all the congregation? I would argue that the Canons should still audible but prayed in a manner that is prayerful...either in a subdued manner as stated above or chanted.

rcg said...

I am exposed as an offensive lout. To a priest, no less! I did it and must admit that even as I thumbed those words into my phone I knew they were harsh. A little. I will say here for all who read these words to know that I do not and never have thought that Father McDonald was dedicated to form at the expense of content. But sometimes we can not only appear to be different than we intend to be, but actually have an effect opposing what we intend. My offensive comment was aimed only at his method of execution that reenforced the views that the EF is arcane and difficult to follow; a boutique Mass, as it were. That term is offensive because it implies that is something other than universally applicable and beneficial. This would be akin to saying that the NO is the Mass for the ages. Of between ten and fifteen years.

I do think FrAJM's recommendations for the NO make sense but even they will need an explanation for the congregation used to the NO participation cues. There will likley be some complaints about sabotaging Vatican II.

Henry said...

I recall an OF funeral Mass that was celebrated ad orientem, mostly in Latin, black Roman vestments, communion on the tongue kneeling at the communion rail, the Dies Irae chanted, etc. The Roman Canon was in a low voice just barely audible on the front rows. The congregation consisted mostly of Novus Ordo folks who surely had never seen it celebrated with any of these traditional features. I understand there was not a single complaint, but numerous compliments for its reverence.

John Nolan said...

Readers might be interested to know the instructions given for funeral Masses at the Oxford Oratory. These apply to the Novus Ordo; anyone wishing a Requiem in the traditional Rite would of course be accommodated and would not require any imposed conditions. My own comments are in square brackets. The leaflet begins by reiterating the Church's belief that death is a consequence of Original Sin, and that souls must undergo Purgatory.

Remember that in England cremation is permitted, but a Requiem Mass may not be celebrated in the presence of cremated remains - quite rightly; burial comes AFTER the Mass and cremation is a form of burial.

Here goes:

'The texts of the Requiem Mass are laid down in the Roman Missal. There are some choices which you may make: the readings and the hymns (if desired). The wording on the front of the Order of Service should always be "Requiem Mass for the Repose of the Soul of ..." Phrases such as "Celebration of the life of ... " or "Thanksgiving for the life of ..." do not reflect Christian belief and should NOT be used. Our principal purpose at a Requiem is to pray for the deceased person.'

'Only Scriptural readings are permitted.' [Goes without saying.]

'It is better that no extra comments be made during the Mass. However, if the priest permits then ONE person may make a brief statement about the deceased before the Mass begins or at the end of Mass. This should last no more than three or four minutes, and the text must be shown to the priest beforehand.' [So a procession of people coming forward to add their two cents' worth is not allowed.]

'Only sacred music may be used in church and recorded music is never permitted ... any hymns chosen must be in a hymn book used at the Oratory. [The Oratory hymn book contains only traditional hymns.]

'Black Vestments are worn as a symbol of grief. Unbleached candles stand on the altar and may stand around the coffin.' [In other words, laity do not have the right to lecture clergy on vestment colours.]

Yeah, that's the Oratory, innit, and they've always been behind the times, and I can't unnerstand why their priests are so young? Wot ever 'appened to Vee Too?

As a matter of fact, all the above stipulations regarding funerals are referenced to Church regulations currently in force.

Henry said...

On the other hand, I recall a recent EF low Mass celebrated by a substitute priest who is a TLM novice with little experience celebrating it publicly, and is very shy about his Latin pronunciation. It was a silent Mass, inaudible to most of a congregation accustomed to the gloriously chanted high Masses that are the TLM de rigueur in the modern era. There were lots of complaints afterward, some implying they would not be back for a repetition. Such is the effect of "mutual enrichment", with TLM folks now expecting to actually "hear Mass"--as we used to say instead of "attend Mass"--so they can consciously participate by praying the Mass in union with the priest (as Pope Pius X urged).

John Nolan said...


Servers at Low Mass were enjoined to make the responses distinctly and clearly, in such a manner as to be heard by the priest, but not so loud as to distract those celebrating at other altars. I have been to Low Masses (e.g. at Santa Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome) which were more or less inaudible.

In the 1950s priests were encouraged to speak loudly enough for the congregation to hear, and this is my recollection - although it was not in a particularly large church. A Low Mass celebrated at the high altar of a cathedral would not be audible in the nave, which is why the 'dialogue Mass' called for a 'forward' altar and versus populum celebration.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The vocal participation of the faithful was kicked into high gear in the 1950's with its apex with the Dialogue Mass around 1958. Sacrosanctum Concilium is simply a continuing development in actual participation and for a low and sung Mass.

As far as possible in a low or sung Mass the laity should learn to chant with a schola or cantor the Introit, the responses, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnes Dei and any other antiphons.

Henry said...

"As far as possible in a low or sung Mass the laity should learn to chant with a schola or cantor the Introit, the responses, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnes Dei and any other antiphons."

Yes, regarding the Ordinary of the Mass (the Kyrie, Gloris, Credo, Sanctus, Agnes Dei).

I know of no place where it is customary for a TLM congregation to chant the propers (Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion antiphons) along with the schola.

The long-standing tradition in the Church is for the priest to chant the Pater Noster. Although the PCED answered a dubia in the late 1990's permitting the people to chant it along with him, this is frowned on most places and in all the traditional orders I know about.

rcg said...

At our Low Masses the priest speaks in a clear voice and the servers are often audible where I usually sit, about fifty feet away. Of course we have only one Mass at a time.

There are not a great number of responses that the laity must make and I must admit that the extended passages can become a jumbled mess with everyone speaking at different speeds.

John Nolan said...

The situation in 1958 was anomalous. In a Low Mass the people could sing vernacular non-liturgical hymns, but not the Latin ordinary, which was reserved for the Sung Mass. They could recite the Pater Noster (in Latin) with the priest, but could not sing it along with him in a Sung Mass (apart from the Sed libera nos a malo, which, to be fair, has from earliest times had the nature of a response, as is obvious from the chant).

It was even suggested that, in a Low Mass, the people could recite, with the priest, the propers which in a Sung Mass would be sung by the schola. (See 'De Sacra Musica' 1958). I doubt this was taken up widely.

In retrospect this can be seen as a desperate attempt by the liturgical reformers to increase participation in the Low Mass. The same can be said of the so-called Dialogue Mass (which never really worked) and whose logical development was the deployment of the vernacular from 1964 onwards. At least in English-speaking countries we were spared the lay 'commentator' who stood at the edge of the sanctuary and declaimed in the vernacular prayers that the priest was saying in Latin at the altar. It was common practice in 1950s Germany.

The Sung Mass was far less problematic. The aim was to revive the plainchant ordinaries and get people singing them. Ironically it was the reform of the Low Mass (particularly the use of the vernacular) which killed off the Sung Mass in most parishes and ushered in the deadly four-hymn sandwich which still persists today.

rcg said...

I will admit to entertaining the idea of supertitles, the libreto of opera projected in the vernacular over the stage, as a solution. But we keep some nice missalettes next to the door instead. A commentator would have driven me nuts. Or throwing my shoe at him.

The standard responses as well as the lay parts of the Ordinary are pretty easy to master. There are parts of the Mass where the people are encouraged to bring their own petitions, prayers, and rememberances while the priest prays. This seems to make perfect sense and is even more participative than pretending to be a priest imitating prayers and gestures.

John Nolan said...

The 'Missa Dialogata' where the people make the responses with the server was authorized, indeed recommended, in 1922. The 'Missa Recitata' where, in addition to the above, the people say the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei along with the priest was authorized in 1935.

The problem with the former is that the preparatory prayers were never envisaged as a dialogue between celebrant and people. The latter makes more sense.

ByzRC said...

Increasingly, I feel that the mentioned points will be executed tribally meaning one parish in 2 dozen might be a haven for this. At what point do you just conclude the ordinary form will be the ordinary form enriched on the whim of a particular priest or the occasional bishop and energies are better channeled into building out the EF?

TJM said...


The typical Novus Ordo parish is surviving on fumes. The large, institutional Catholic Church in the US from the 1950s will be a faint memory in 10 more years. Parishes are closing in huge numbers, particularly in old time Catholic bastions like Boston, New York, Chicago, etc. I suspect things will be better in the South where people are more traditional and still appear to be more Church going than their brethren in the North. However, from observation, it certainly appears that the true religious vitality, notwithstanding the best efforts of the failed heirarchy formed in the 1960s and 1970s, is with the Latin Mass (both EF and OF) communities. When I attend Mass in those parishes, and see the large, YOUNG families, and where the 9 and 10 year olds are able to beautifully sing the Latin Ordinary (as I did when I was their age before Vatican Disaster II) I see where the future is, even if Santita stubbornly refuses to see.