Tuesday, April 10, 2012
BUT LITURGY IS NOT CEREMONIAL. IT IS PRAYER. AND SO THESE CEREMONIES ARE THE RITUAL EXPRESSION OF A TEXT
When I was in the seminary in the 1970's we were taught that the Mass is communal and that there wasn't any room for the priest's private prayers and piety, the apex of corruption of the Mass being the silent canon that made the Mass the priest's private prayer and took it away from the laity.
So to reverse this horrible corruption that prevented the laity from taking their rightful place during the Liturgy (keep in mind up to Vatican II and slightly afterwards, nearly 90% of Catholics attended Mass each Sunday) the priest's private acts of prayer and piety would become public or eliminated if these occurred through accidents of liturgical history.
So the canon was prayed out loud. It was not eliminated, but the words of consecration were no longer to be seen as the "magic moment" of the Mass but that the entire Eucharistic Prayer consecrated the Eucharist and was most important, so no more genuflections or elevations of the host!
The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, were too priestly and divided the laity from the clergy and so these were truncated.
The priests private prayers on approaching and kissing the altar were eliminated.
The priest reciting to himself the prayer invoking St. Michael and the psalm as the priest incensed the altar at the offertory was eliminated.
The lenghty prayer for washing one's hands reduced to a fanatical economy of words.
There are other such examples.
The Roman Canon was stripped of all the ritual expressions of "blessing God" with the additional signs of the Cross, which of course, ad orientem, no one actually saw but they knew what he was doing. Can we really "bless" God (praise, adore, worship) too much? Do we really have to be minimalistic and that somehow makes it more significant because of its infrequency?
Let's say, you tell you spouse you love them once a year only; let's say on Valentine's Day. Does that making saying "I love you" all the more dramatic and meaningful?
The return of the Tridentine Mass is making many of us who celebrate it realize that the Ordinary Form of the Mass has minimized the Church's ritual expression of prayer and denigrated the private aspects of one's piety whether that be priest of lay person by removing or minimizing these private expressions much to the detriment of ritual, reverence and piety.
Oh, today with all the updates and renewal we've had with the Liturgy, we have less than 25% attending Mass regularly, even though the Mass has been given back to the laity. There's an elephant in the room that someone in charge doesn't see.
Let me make clear the following. I am not advocating the erasing of the post Vatican II Mass. I am advocating a reform of the reform in continuity with the Mass that was supposed to be reformed. The two Mass are meant to celebrate the same saving event, the same sacred mysteries. If that isn't obvious then the reform is not reform but deform.
Let me once again highlight what I would see as the perfect "reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass" but this time with the added longer private prayers of the priest for approaching and kissing the altar, for incensing the altar at the offertory and for the washing of hands. I would also say that the vernacular would be the primary language but in order to preserve some Latin that only the quiet prayers of the priest be in latin and the Roman Canon be the only Eucharistic Prayer and in Latin, with all the rubrics of the EF's Roman Canon, but keeping the Mystery of Faith and the Per Ipsum with the Great Amen.
1. Obligatory Introit with no substitutions.
2. After approaching and kissing altar (with the priests accompanying private prayers) and incensing if incense is used, the priest goes to the foot of the altar for the Penitential Act, which is always the official introductory to it, and the Confiteor followed by absolution.
3. The priest goes to his chair for the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect or may remain at the altar with the Collect at the Epistle Side.
4. The Liturgy of the Word as usual for the OF, but with the option of the Gradual (and tract during Lent).
5. The Credo and Universal Prayer at the Chair or the altar
6. The Liturgy of the Eucharist AD Orientem
7. The Roman Canon exclusively in Latin and in quiet voice which is a symbol of the East's iconostasis. The rubrics for the Roman Canon, as in the Extraordinary Form, but keeping the Mysterium Fidei and the Per Ipsum chanted as in the OF with the Great Amen.
8. The Rite of Holy Communion as in the OF except for kneeling and intinction for Holy Communion.
9. The Post Communion, Blessing and Dismissal at the chair.
10. Salve Regina or Regina Caeli always said or sung prior to the recessional
11. The Recessional could be to a hymn, instrumental music or silence. Additional hymns could be sung at the Offeroty (after the official antiphon) and at Holy Communion after the official Communion chant.