Thursday, March 8, 2012


The hoped-for gravitationAL pull of the Anglican Use Mass and altar arrangement and orientation of the clergy on the revision of the Traditional Novus Ordo Mass of the rest of the Latin Rite Church:


Many in the Catholic Church, and this would include me, would say that the problem with the Novus Ordo isn't so much that it is a New Order of the Mass compared with what preceded it, but how liturgical theologians directed rank and file bishops, priests and laity to implement it.

In reality the revised Mass which was first revised in Latin and over the course of a number of years beginning in 1964 through 2011 in the English vernacular is in continuity with the Mass that preceded it. Where the continuity is ruptured is not from official teachings or documentations, but unofficial experimentation and wishful thinking about what Vatican II taught and pushing it forward in a discontinuous way. An exaggerated understanding of "noble simplicity" led not to actual noble simplicity but the dumbing down of altars, vestments, decoration, iconography/images, and the architecture of churches to reflect a wishful thinking about the amalgamation of the laity and clergy with no distinctions whatsoever. In other words, theologians promoted on their own authority the clericalization of the laity and the laicization of the clergy. The liturgy these theologians promoted and continue to promote reflects a hermeneutic of on-going reform that will create a "church" that in no way appears to be the Church that we've had since Constantine.

The Anglican Use Mass may help Catholics who celebrate the tradition Novus Ordo Mass to recover the stateliness of the Mass which Vatican II never intended to discard.

But we in the mainstream of the Latin Rite who celebrate the traditional Novus Ordo Mass need to see how we can revise/reform our traditional novus ordo Mass and make it more like that from which it evolved, the Extraordinary Form while continuing to acknowledge that Sacrosanctum Concilium asked for a revision of the Tridentine Mass.

So here are my brilliant suggestions for a slight revision of our traditional Novus Ordo Mass. In other words I offer no rupture in the tradition of the Novus Ordo Mass:

The Traditional Novus Ordo Mass at the Brompton Oratory, yes it is celebrated ad orientem and legally so!
Let us pray that this will become the Liturgical Norm for the Reception of Holy Communion by the laity:
THE PROCESSIONAL AND PENITENTIAL PRELUDE TO THE HOLY MASS: (We should return to understanding the Penitential Act as a prelude to the Mass and as the communal preparation of the clergy and laity for the actual beginning of the Mass which starts after the penitential absolution with the singing of the Introit. The asperges may replace the Penitential Prelude, but should be modeled after the EF's form of the Asperges to make it clear it is a prelude to the Mass.)

The Prelude Entrance Hymn: Instrumental Music, a metrical hymn or some other anthem may be sung as the Liturgical procession makes its way to the altar.

The Penitential Prelude at the Foot of the Altar: Priest and congregation prepare for Holy Mass through the recitation of penitential prayers

Facing the Altar, at the foot of the altar, The priest begins with the Sign of the Cross and then invites all to recall their sins with a moment of silence.

Then all bowing, together the priest and congregation recites the Confiteor.

The priest offers the "absolution."

The Mass:

The choir, schola or cantor now sings the Introit which actually begins the Mass: As the priest ascends to the altar, kisses it and incenses it. The Introit is sung as in the Tridentine Mass with refrain, verse(s), Gloria Patri, and refrain.

The Priest after incensing the altar goes to his chair to preside.

Afterwards at the choir and congregation sing the Kyrie in its nine-fold form.

Then the Gloria is intoned by the priest and sung by all.

Then the priest greets the congregation with "The Lord be with you" and chants or says the Collect of the day.

The Liturgy of the Word

All sit for the Liturgy of the Word as it is normally proclaimed or sung. The Gradual may substitute the Responsorial Psalm.

After the homily, the priests sits for a moment of silence.

Then he rises and intones the Credo which is then chanted.

Then the priest introduces the Universal Prayer and the deacon or cantor chants these.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist and Communion Rite

The Preparation of the Offerings

The altar is prepared, the collection is taken and the gifts brought to the altar.

The cantor, schola or choir sing the offertory antiphon and any other anthem to cover this action or their might be instrucmental music after the offertory antiphon is sung.

The preparation of the offerings and the ensuing Eucharistic Prayer (any of the options) ensues but prayed "ad orientem."

The Priest turns to the people for the Orate Fratres, but remains facing the altar until "The Peace of the Lord Be With You" and the Sign of Peace which all exchange is a noble, sober way.

During the chanting of the Agnus Dei, the priest "Breaks the Bread" and prepares for His Holy Communion.

Then after the Agnus Dei is sung, the priest genuflects, turns to the congregation for the "Ecce Agnus Dei" and its "Lord, I Am Not Worthy..." recited by priest and congregation.

The priest turns back to the altar and receives his Holy Communion, thus completing the "unbloody" Sacrifice of the Mass. As he does this, the cantor, schola or choir sing the Communion Antiphon with its verses.

During the Communion of the Faithful, other antiphons, hymns or motets may be sung to cover the Communion Procession.

Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful kneeling and by intinction, which is the norm for large congregations. Smaller congregations may receive the Precious Blood directly from the chalice, but kneeling.

After Holy Communion the ablutions are completed.

The Concluding Rite

The priest returns to his chair for a moment of silence (no post-communion hymn is prescribed, only silence)

The priest stands, greets the people saying or singing Let us pray and the Post Communion Prayer is prayed.

Then if there are announcements or acknowledgements these are made.

Then the priest goes to the altar, kisses it, turns to the congregation, greets them, offers the solemn blessing or prayer over the people if prescribed and bless them. The deacon dismisses the people.

A hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary is sung according to the season of the year and the recession then takes place which could include an appropriate hymn.

My Final Comment: This Reform of the Reform but in continuity with the Traditional Novus Ordo Mass would require the full panoply of priest, deacon, sub-deacon (which will be resurrected) acolytes, lector, cantor, schola, choir and congregational active and spiritual participation. It will be stately, the altar will be free standing but in the so-called "Benedictine Style" and the altar railing will be recovered and viewed as an adaptation of the "rood screen" or "iconostasis" and the sanctuary will once again be understood as the Holy of Holies. The altar railing will also be seen as an extension of the "altar-table" where the Faithful kneel for Holy Communion which has a longer tradition in the Latin Rite than standing does.


qwikness said...

Let's get these guys to do a Mass for us at Saint Joseph's.

Marc said...

"Traditional Ordinary Form Novus Ordo Latin Rite Mass" -- That is funny! Father, have you been hanging out with Ignotus again?!?

To the seriousness:

"Where the continuity is ruptured is not from official teachings or documentations, but unofficial experimentation and wishful thinking about what Vatican II taught and pushing it forward in a discontinuous way."

"Many in the Catholic Church, and this would include me, would say that the problem with the Novus Ordo isn't so much that it is a New Order of the Mass compared with what preceded it, but how liturgical theologians directed rank and file bishops, priests and laity to implement it."

The idea that the new Missal is in continuity and not rupture is false. That rupture happened as a result of Vatican II, either directly or indirectly. That doesn't change the fact of rupture. Here are the statistics that show rupture, without even taking into account the Canon of the Mass, the neutered offertory in the new Mass, and the completely new Calendar:

- The traditional Missal contains 1182 orations. About 760 of those were dropped entirely when the Missal of Paul VI was created.

- 422 old orations remained — only 36%. The revisers altered over HALF of them before introducing them into the new Missal.

- Thus, only 17% of the orations from the old Missal made it untouched into Missal of Paul VI.

- Substantial changes were introduced into the doctrinal content of the orations, moreover, regarding "negative theology," hell, the false glory of the world, souls of the departed, heresy's evils, the one true Church, the powers of the Roman Pontiff, the merits of the saints, and miracles.

(NB: These points are provided from a review of the Latin text of the Novus Ordo, so they equalize any regional translation problems and get at the problems inherent in the new Mass. They are courtesy of Fr. Anthony Cekada, who explores this idea in more detail in his book on the Mass of Paul VI, which I have not yet read.)

Gene said...

We do not need to model anything on what Anglicans do...period. We have our own stateliness if we would only draw from it. Anglicanism has always been long on form and short on content. Their theology is decadent, their Christology humanistic, and their morals abominable. In England, there is a move among many of their churches to "modernize" the Ten Commandments.
Every time I see and Anglican/Episcopalian processional, I want to burst out in strains of, "I Love A Parade...."

Hammer of Fascists said...


Sorry, but your reactions have been conditioned by watching the "groovy period" of Anglicanism in the last 50 years, which shares a great deal of the groovyness of the post VII Catholic Church.

Rite I, to which Fr. McD links, in terms of pedigree, is more Catholic than the Tridentine Mass and far more Catholic than the NO, being the Sarum Rite that is older than both. As I noted before, the people who are drawn to the Catholic Church, and who want to bring this rite with them 1) are coming to Rome specifically to get away from the precise sort of Anglican groovyness you (and I) hate, and 2) The liturgy they're bringing with them is inherently--inherently-far more reverent than the NO, if for no other reason than its language, which stresses the difference between everyday conversation and worship.

To repeat what I've said before, show me an Anglican-turned-Catholic, and I'll show you one of the most doctrinally orthodox and liturgically correct and reverent Catholics you'll find anywhere.

Henry Edwards said...

I have great respect for Anglican Use Catholics, both their rock-solid traditional faith and their Tridentine-like liturgy, as surely will any traditional Catholic who looks at an Anglican Use Mass:

Incidentally, I wonder whether the new Anglican ordinate calendar posted at

is a precursor of the rumored combined OF/EF calendar. It combines the OF sanctoral cycle with the EF temporal cycle, bringing back the gesimas, ember and rogation days, octave of Pentecost, etc. Probably the only sensible way to unify the old and new calendars.

Marc said...

Pin, your reservations, while understable, are quite misplaced in this instance. I think Anonymous 5 has covered the reasons why. (I do agree with you, though, that the Roman Church need not take cues from Anglicans, but from her own Roman Patrimony, which has been set aside for 50 years and counting...)

FYI, Anonymous 5, you might be interested to look at the Ordo to be used in the Ordinariate:

It appears to incorporate many things that are lacking in the Novus Ordo calendar - like Septuagessima.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Marc, while the EF Mass is allowed, in no way did Pope Benedict in his capacity as the pope (notwithstanding any thing he might have said or taught prior to being pope)call into question the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass. I do not foresee an abandonment of this Mass even if we return to only one Mass for the Latin Rite, but I do see it becoming more like the EF Mass. This can be accomplished simply by tweaking certain things of the Missal. Of course, I say this as I am clairvoyant.

Marc said...

Father, I never questioned the validity of the Novus Ordo as I don't question whether it is valid or not: the Church says it is valid and it has the proper matter, form, and intention. Therefore, I don't think anyone could seriously question its validity.

What I do question is the idea of continuity as you and the Pope insist upon as it is empirically not true when one takes even a cursory glance at the changes to the ordinary, canon, and orations of the Novus Ordo compared to the Tridentine. That is not making a judgment either way about whether the Novus Ordo is "good" or "bad" (I happen to think the changes were bad) -- it is just a statement of fact and merely stating that continuity exists does not make it true.

Finally, else you say that I am being disobedient by disagreeing with the Holy Father in this regard, his interpretation of the hermeneutic of continuity is not an infallible teaching of the Pope, therefore I respect his opinion on this matter (as I am required to do of papal opinion), but I disagree with it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Now that I think about it, I should be credit for giving new initials to the Novus Ordo Mass. I will from henceforth refer to it as the "Traditional Novus Ordo Mass" or TNO for short! This will compliment the term TLM! :)

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks Marc, I had you pegged wrong, you're not a raging conservative, but a fire breathing progressive liberal when it comes to splitting hairs over the Holy Father and his teachings! :)

Carol H. said...

Please, let us eliminate the sign of peace.

It would also be good if we were more vocal about the fact that community handholding and the imitation of the Priest's gestures by the laity are forbidden.

William Meyer said...

Amen, Carol! I also grow tired of those in the community who dress to match the color of vestments. The mimicking of colors and gestures seems designed to assert that the priest is no one special (only a "presider") and could be replaced by any member of the laity.

Marc said...

Father, I don't see myself as liberal or conservative and I don't really have an agenda to speak of (except to espouse what the Church teaches)!

I simply believe as the Church teaches. I credit you for teaching me to simply believe what the Church teaches - so this is your fault!

So, I don't see it as splitting hairs regarding the Holy Father's teachings. Some things he teaches are infallible, some are not. That was clarified at Vatican I, which I believe. It is just as dangerous to believe that everything the Pope says or does is inspired and infallible as it is to believe that nothing he says or does in inspired and infallible.

The fact of the matter is that there have been awful popes in the history of the Church, both in conduct and in their private theological views. If the people had taken a hardline stance that they needed to be emulated and believed despite their errors, the Church would no longer exist. Thankfully, Catholics do not believe that or else the Pope would live in Avignon and we'd all be Arians by now!


Henry Edwards said...

But surely, Fr. McDonald, you will agree that the TNO you tout is an exceedingly rare flower indeed, to be found in only a handful of exotic world locales, including Vatican City (St. Peter's), London (Brompton), Chicago (St. John Cantiius), and ???

Elsewhere, doesn't the NTNO (non-traditionally celebrated NO), and expecially the VNTNO (very NTNO) reign supreme, from sea to shining sea?