Thursday, December 22, 2011


The Holy Father, Pope Benedict celebrating the Traditional Catholic Mass, these two happen to be in the Ordinary Form:

I think I agree with Pater Ignotis on this one. The Mass when celebrated according to the mind of the Church and her promulgation of it is traditional. There are many forms of the Mass down through the ages both in the East and in the West. These are all traditional as the Mass re-presents in an unbloody way the One Sacrifice of the Mass as the bread and wine become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus. That is the Tradition with a capital "T". The manner in which this occurs from antiquity to the present and in the East and in the West is celebrated in a variety of traditions with a little "t."

The Ordinary Form of the Mass has only minor changes in both the order and rubrics of the Mass. What has exacerbated its celebration is all the things that liturgical theologians shoved down the throats of bishops and then to priests and congregations. These innovations, such as stripping of altars and churches and even standing for Holy Communion and reception in the hand while considered traditional from the little "t" perspective should have been challenged and not allowed. But that is what happens when the river spills over during any period of reform in the Church. It happened after the Council of Trent too.

The major differences between the OF and EF Mass occur at the "prelude" in terms of the Introductory Rite, the prayers at the foot of the altar which at one time occurred in the sacristy as private prayers for the clergy (and to this day the EF Mass truly begins with the Kyrie) has been replaced in the OF with a shorter Penitential Act. The Kyrie and Gloria are still there.

The offertory rite has been simplified and is more like, from what I understand, is the offertory of the traditional Ambrosian Rite of the Latin Rite Church, thus very traditional a pre-dating the OF Mass as such.

Apart from some other minor tinkering, not much has changed except for the vernacular. If the OF Mass were celebrated Ad Orientem and in Latin with kneeling for Holy Communion, the typical lay person, even one who attends the EF Mass would not see much of a difference.


Templar said...

In addition to the vernacular, lack or proper orientation, and the disrespectful posture for Communion, I would also note the following are missing from the NO.

The Psalm Judica me

Double Confiteor

The prayer Aufer a nobis

The Offertory Prayers:
Suscipe, sante Pater Deus, qui humanae Offerimus tibi, Domine In spiritu humilitatis Veni, sanctificator omnipotens; Suscipe, sancta rinitas.

Secret Prayers much editted in NO

Roman Canon (option in NO)

The Consecration Formula is different in NO, although new translation may have fixed some of this.

The prayer Libera nos modified in NO

Communion under 1 kind

Placeat tibi

Last Gospel

Leonine Prayers

Additions t NO that make it different from TLM include:

Altar Girls


Lay Lectors

Lay Acolytes

So in conclusion, I'm not sure I can agree with you that there isn't much difference betwen a TLM and a Reverently Celebrated NO Mass (not that I have EVER actually seen an NO Mass celebrated as you describe). Wouldn't mind experiencing it if it's ever celebrated within 50 miles of me.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Psalm Judica me is not said in the Requiem Mass and was removed in the 1965 missal which is the Tridentine Mass.
Double Confiteor could be seen as a useless repetition that SC of Vatican II actually asked to be revised. The Aufer a nobis is a private prayer of the priest and nothing stops him from doing it today in the NO (who would know?). The Offertory Prayers where there is an actual offering can be viewed in some rites of the Church in the East as consecratory. In fact there is one Rite that Rome acknowledges as valid where the words of consecration are omitted; only the calling of the Holy Spirit upon the Bread and Wine, the Epiclesis that is actually consecratory. In other words the OF reform makes clear that the Eucharistic Prayer is the "offering" not the preparation of the gifts for the offering.
The Prayer over the Offerings is basically as it always was but is prayed aloud.
The Rite of Holy Communion is expanded. The Last Gospel was dropped in the Tridentine reform of 1965 as were the Leonine Prayers which were to be offered only at the Low Mass and actually dropped in the 1962 missal of which I should drop too at our Low Mass but have kept them for sentimental reasons.

Lay commentators were allowed in the Tridentine Mass and a lay person in Europe could read the Epistle as the priest read in silently at the altar in Latin. The role of the lector was developing with the 1962 missal. Altar boys are laity.

So much of what you don't like could have just as well occurred in the Tridentine Mass and now that it is a living Mass again, it may just well happen and I've heard where EMC's have been employed with the priest was incapacitated.

Anonymous said...

I agree to an extent with the technical things you have mentioned about the similarities between the "forms.". As I mentioned yesterday, they are both valid Masses, but my focus is on the damage done to the faith of the people in the Novus Ordo. Perhaps you could address how you believe it to be superior in building up and showing forth the faith, particularly as regards the Sacrifice of the Mass. The danger of Protestantizing the faith is very real in the Novus Ordo - however, when celebrated properly, I agree it would greatly reduce that danger. I

think we are very close at St. Joseph, but I would love to see ad orientem. What I would really appreciate is just a kneeler as an option PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I really believe you could have a kneeler even at just one communion station without causing too big a fuss and it would present a great opportunity to have a discussion with the people about the nature of the Mass and the Real Presence. (rant ended!)

Good post! This is definitely an interesting topic for us to discuss since we can apparently discuss it everyday, :-)


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As I mentioned, I beleive the culprits are those who siezed what should have been a true renewal of the Church and her liturgy and destroyed that forward moving momentum with something bogus. Even if the 1965 missal had not been replaced by the 1970, I think the same things that we experienced with the Mass in a negative way would have happened to it given the fact that so many thought the Second Vatican Council was a break with Tradition rather than very much in continuity with it. There was confusion in the Church and even the bishops were confused and were receivng mixed signals from Rome and its various congregations.
It's not like that anymore, but the remnant of the spirit of Vatican II still exists but is dying out. I'm not clairvoyant, but maybe I am, but I can see kneeling returning and slight adjustments to the OF Mass but not anything dramatic. But a more traditional reverence with a little "t" will return. As for kneeling, I am still pre-Vatican II when it comes to the Liturgy and the bishop and being in sinc with what is the norm even if I prefer a different norm. So we'll have to wait on a more explicit norm for kneeling in the OF for Holy Communion and also ad orientem.

James Ignatius McAuley said...


If Roman Missal IV comes out, maybe they will put the old gallican offertory back into the OF as an option. It would be nice to see that. Of Course, I would also provide the option of the old libera nos, with nice "ecumenical" touch of St. Andrew that St. Gregory the Great had inserted. The same could be done to allow the option of the old confiteor. Though, I must say the reference to sins of omission and commission is a very good addition by Antonelli.


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

James, I see no difficulty in having the Order of Mass in the Tridentine Rite with the current reformed Missal. It would be so simple to do and all the things that so many appreciate in the Tridentine Mass while not necessary for validity but pleasant from the point of view of taste could return.

Marc said...

Father, I respect your obedience to the bishop for sure and I pray all priests manifest such obedience. How is it disobedient to allow those of us who wish to receive kneeling, in conformity with the universal norm, an option that allows us to not have to make a spectical of ourselves or risk injury or embarrassment by attempting to kneel without a kneeler?

It seems to me, by allowing for the universal norm of kneeling and the local custom of standing, you are being doubly obedient.

Here's my logic: everyone can stand to receive with no special furniture. Many who wish to kneel simply cannot do so without a kneeler. In essence, not having a kneeler is to disallow the universal norm of kneeling. Plus, having a kneeler at just one station does not force people away from the local custom of standing (which I think might verge on disobedience in the eyes of some).

I'm being somewhat hyperbolic and I am definitely not accusing you, Father, of anything nefarious as I recognize that many priests will chastise communicants right there in the Communion line for kneeling to receive. So, I know you are a supporter of kneeling. It's just something to think about, which I am sure you already have. Perhaps you have been privy to conversations with your superiors about which we have no knowledge, so I give you the benefit of the doubt in that regard and, as I said at the beginning, respect your obedience.


Joseph Johnson said...

If only the typical OF Mass experience in our Savannah Diocese (and elsewhere) could be more like the Pope's Masses you have depicted and described (and not like the Papal Masses we have seen from "on the road!").

Yes, things are slowly getting better (the new English Translation, for example) but we still have quite a ways to go to get the typical OF parish Mass back to something which is less distinguishable from the EF (even if we concede the use of vernacular).

The last post regarding church renovations is a part of this process. It illustrates what is probably the single biggest practical obstacle to improved liturgy in parishes which are not blessed with beautiful old pre-Conciliar churches like St. Joseph in Macon. For most parishes, making do with 1970's-1990's era buildings, this renovation part (which can do a lot to really change the whole worship atmosphere)will take a lot of willpower, prayer, and sacrifice on the part of parishioners. It's hard to change the worship atmosphere and attitude with the choir "down front!" If we want to make the OF experience more in continuity with the EF experience we have to foster chant and traditional style hymnody and get the choir back to its traditional location--the choir loft (or at least in the back of the church in smaller churches).

Still, in the overall scheme, a comprehensive liturgical movement (including renovations, rubrics, traditionally styled furnishings and music) in this direction is really not a lot to ask and it would probably pacify a lot of people and end most of the controversy and contention that still continues regarding the merits of the EF versus the OF (which is very evident even on this blog, which has quite a few local followers from our Diocese, including myself).

Mies van der Rohe said...

Mr. J - How would you describe "traditionally styled furnishings" as it applies to church firnishings?

Gene said...

Ignotus Mies van der Rohe (van der Rohe is a modern glass and steel type architect), LOL! Well, let's see, traditional Catholic furniture I would like to see return...a rack, an iron maiden, a stake, and a cauldron. Of course, these could all go in the dungeons beneath the Church so the screams of the heretics would not interrupt the Mass...

Joseph Johnson said...

Dear Mies (Pater Ignotus),

As I've said before, I don't have an art degree--I'm a lawyer. To me, "furnishings" are a form of church art and can include (but are not limited to) candlestands, chalices, vestments, altars, frontals, thuribles, baptismal fonts, etc.

One of our late U.S. Supreme Court justices once said that, when it came to obscenity, "I know it when I see it." I don't consider obscenity to be art by any means but, when it does come to actual art, classifications and judgments can be subjective.

Traditional styles, when it comes to physical things, are styles that have been in use (or were in use) for long periods of time with little or no perceptible change. This often also means that they are made of natural, non-synthetic materials--especially when it comes to fabrics. For example, I'm in the K of C and I own a tuxedo shirt which I would consider more "traditional" than most--it is all cotton and has a separate wing collar (highly starched) and a stiff front bib. This style (which is still available) was around in my great grandfather's day but I like it very much and consider it very "traditional."

I consider the furnishings shown in the depicted Papal Masses to be "traditional" in the popular sense. Some people would use the term "old school," "pre-Conciliar," or even "old timey." All I can say is pre-Space Age in styling and often incorporating graphic depictions of Biblical figures and symbols as a part of the art. The beautiful brocaded, gold galloon-bound Eastern Rite vestments are "traditional" as are the older Roman and Gothic vestments made of similar materials in the Western Church. Textured polyester full Gothic vestments (I call them Cardinal Mahoney style)with little or no recognizable Christian symbols are not traditional!

Templar said...

Father MacDonald, I feel your reply to me cheats a little.

You asked us to compare the EF to a reverently celebrated OF, and even asked we assume the OF was done in Latin, Ad orientum, and with Communion kneeling, your contention being that there is little difference. I did, and still listed quite a number of differences between the two. In your rebuttal to my post you stated a few of my differences were eliminated in the MR65. I think that's unfair. The EF can not be said in accordance with the MR65, as SP specifically states it must be said IAW MR62. The MR65, whatever it was or was not, is not what an EF consists of.

For some of the prayers which were said inaudibly, I do not accept the "who would know" notion. Number 1, God would know, and number 2, the whole silent Canon part of MR62 can not be heard by me during the EF, however I know you are saying it, because I trust your Orthodoxy, and I follow along at my own pace in my Missal. Inaudible doesn't mean the prayers aren't being said.

As for the Double Confiteor, I do not see it as useless repetition, but a clear delineation of Priest and those assisting at Mass, each saying the Confiteor in turn. The OF where we all say it together puts me on a pare with the Priest, which I find to be another example of where the OF "teaches me" that if I can not act like Clergy I am unworthy. In other words, the OF teaches me that what the Laity do on their side of the now missing Altar rail isn't good enough. We have to be Clerical like to be "good enough". It's a notion I reject, and a notion I'm pretty sure you would reject as well, but so much of what the OF teaches us conveys that message.

Finally, let me comment on your conclusion. The truth is that what I most dislike about the OF is that whatever it is, it did not come about in the manner which all other Rites have come about. It didn't grow like a baby to a child to a adult, it was created in a committee like Frankenstein's Monster (forgive the reference). The OF did not grow out of a natural development from MR62 to MR65 to MR69. If the Council intended MR65 to be what was envisioned it did get highjacked. But whatever the Council intended, what happened was that MR69 was created out of whole cloth. It is not in anyway akin to MR62 or MR65, and no honest comparison could reach that conclusion. Never before in the 2000 year history of the Church had Liturgy developed that way. The Church may have looked at various Liturgies that had developed and asked that parts be tweaked, or codified what had developed and give it a stamp of approval, but never did she sit in a room and start with a blank sheet of paper. My readings of the V2 documents don't seem to indicate that she was asking for that in 1965 either.

That is why MR69 and what has come after it represents a break with Tradition and not a continuation of it. I know you can't agree with that, but that's what I see and feel.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Templar, somehow I feel all of the turmoil and yes all of the fracture is a part of Divine Providence that we cannot see from our perspective but will one day. At any rate, I remain a "papist" and thus a Roman Catholic in union with the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him including my own not because I agree with everything or like everything but because that unity is so important. I will accept whatever authoritative decisions are made by either the Holy Father alone or with Him and a Council of the Church including Vatican II and whatever Councils will follow in the future. I will accept these teachings becasue these are a part of Catholic Tradition. I will accept female priests if the Holy Father so declares them and does so in a definitive infallible statement either alone or in Council. I will accept the converse as well and it is almost as clearly infallible as it could be without a papal bull declaring it in the most unambiguous way. I with the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him come thick or thin, come what I like or don't like (and there is plenty that i would do differently if I were pope, but thank God I'm not).

Templar said...

Hehe, we all know that about you Father, and we all respect you for it. I wasn't looking for you change your mind.

But I would like to hear you say that I think I proved there is still a good number of differences between an EF and an OF celebrated under the terms of your post. I will grant that 95% of Laity may not know those differences, but they are there, and isn't it a pity more don't recognize the differences?

Respect Father.

Henry Edwards said...

May I suggest, Fr. McDonald, that in minimizing the differences between the ordinary and ordinary forms of the Roman rite, you risk falling into the same reductive and overly rationalistic trap as the new liturgists you decry.

It may be true, as you say, that there is approximately 95% agreement between the EF and OF missals (assuming the Roman canon is read in the latter). However, the action of the Mass shows forth not primarily in the words as written in the missal, but--particularly considering the EF with its silent offertory and canon, and the silent preparatory and final gospel at high Mass--rather in the ceremonial and ritual that enflesh the EF and are primarily responsible for the sense of mystery and reverence that is typically missing in the OF. Some associated with ad orientem celebration, others, ranging down to the 13 genuflections and 42 signs of the cross the priest makes during the Mass.

In my opinion, the reinsertion of these and other ceremonial and ritual actions into the OF would do more to reinforce a sense of the sacrificial action of Christ in the liturgy than the reinsertion of the verbal excisions such as the offertory and final gospel--though I believe the prayers at the foot of the altar are ritually rather than merely verbally important.

PS. My verification word was "elogropl", presumably a new liturgists' term for the sign of peace. Quite accurately evocative, I must admit.

Anonymous said...

Is "13 genuflections and 42 signs of the cross" an actual count?

Anonymous said...

This is a thread full of great posts by everyone involved! Templar and Father, your last few comments have been really interesting (I tend to side with Templar) and Henry Edwards really hits the nail on the head with his latest post.

I want to address this statement in Father's post: "I will accept female priests if the Holy Father so declares them and does so in a definitive infallible statement either alone or in Council."

This is where we disagree on what obedience means. Our obedience is not to a particular man or Council, but to the Sacred Tradition. If the Holy Father were to declare such a thing, we would know that he was crazy, was not the Holy Father, or that the gates of hell had prevailed. We could not simply go along with it because it goes directly against a Truth that has already been defined.

While your level of obedience is admirable, I strongly disagree with the target of your obedience. What if the Holy Father declared "infallibly" that Rome was not the See of Peter? Would you go along with that?

This might be the problem Templar and I are experiencing in this discussion on what constitutes a Traditional Mass. You and Pater agree that the phrase means the Mass celebrated by the current Holy Father and current bishops, whereas Templar and I believe the phrase means the Mass celebrated by the vast majority of Holy Fathers and bishops for the past 1,400 years.

I think we may have finally gotten to the root of the conversation!


Pater Ignotus said...

I think the root of the conversation is "What constitutes Tradition, not mere ecclesiastical custom, in the celebration of the liturgy?"

Gene said...

Yes, Ignotus, but at some point "custom" becomes tradition. At some point, quantitative and incidental aspects of worship become qualitative changes and purposive actions. When these actions are self-consciously performed for a thousand years, I believe they can safely be called "tradition." You seem to want to conflate custom and tradition. Tradition has the effect of unwritten law, as in OT theology. Custom implies a take-it-or-leave-it context.

Pater Ignotus said...

Pin - Are these ecclesiastical customs which, you claim, have become "tradition" immutable? Or can they be changed by competent authority?