Monday, April 2, 2012


A Reform of the Reform Ordinary Form Mass at Saint Joseph, yes this is the 2012 Roman Missal in the Vernacular:
This is a reform of the reform Ordinary Form Mass also facing the altar and facing God as it is a Benedictine altar arrangement with the crucifix placed centrally on the altar for the priest to face, symbolically facing East and Christ's coming, but the crucifix the focal for this truth not the apse of the Church. It may not be that noticable, but I am facing a beautiful crucifix here which faces me on the altar:
Who decides which form of the Mass is better, the OF or the EF? Only those who celebrate both and experience both can have an opinion for better or worse. But that is precisely the point of this article. It is opinon and purely subjective for in each case, the EF and OF there are legitimate reasons for the manner of rubrics, order and forms of celebration including the use of chant of various types.

I must tell you that the two married bi-ritual priests I know, Fr.Miguel Grave De Paralta and Fr. Daniel Munn would both say that the Eastern Rite is best, far superior to the EF or the OF or now, the Anglican Catholic Rite. Are they wrong? I'm sure they could put forth a very cogent argument for their position and not based only on personal opinion.

I won't go into the historical studies of the Mass in the early Church upon which the New Order is based or the wisdom of doing a reform based upon the liturgy celebrated in home churches and catacombs before Constantine and the Basilica Form of Liturgy that developed in the Constantinian period.

Suffice it to say and this is my Clairvoyant side speaking, we will in the future, but maybe after I'm dead, have another Roman Missal that is very much like the EF Missal and very much like the OF Missal! There you have it!

This future I predict,though,hinges on one thing and one thing only, the working of the Holy Spirit in the selection and ministry of the only person in the world who can authorize such a reform, the pope, the bishop of Rome, the successor of Saint Peter, the Supreme Pastor of the Church. If the next pope is not on the same page as Pope Benedict is in term of the Liturgy, fasten your seat belts. The first sign of this will be if the new Holy Father insists on the Benedictine Altar arrangement at St. Peter's Basilica and elsewhere and the manner of distributing Holy Communion.

I would caution any Catholic whose faith hinges on liturgical legislation to grow up and accept legitimate authority as exercised in the Church by the Holy Father and bishops in union with him.

Unless, Pope Benedict has any more surprises up his cassock's sleeve, I don't see any more official changes or mandates to the General Instruction of the OF's Missal or its rubrics, even to make law the three things Pope Benedict is now modeling for an organic development of the OF Mass which are obvious to anyone who watches how he insists his papal Masses be celebrated which his master of ceremonies has clearly indicated are models for the entire church and her pastors (meaning here bishops, not priests). The popes style according the Msgr. Marini is to lead by example but not through mandate, although that isn't entirely true, if one takes into account the mandate to allow the EF Mass on a more liberal but controlled basis.

What has he modeled at the Vatican and Worldwide?

1. The Benedictine Altar arrangement which according to the pope as Ratzinger addresses the need to face God "symbolically" by having a central crucifix facing the priest as he celebrates Mass and thus eliminates the need to yank the entire church around again, in terms of the altar, and yet still face "ad orientem" when this symbolic position is now directed not to the apse of the church building, which may be east facing or not, but to the crucifix as the symbolic East point! Brilliant and genius on the part of the Holy Father. Yet he has also faced God by facing in the same direction as the people in various settings, so he models both orientations and both in his mind are facing God, not the people.

2. As it concerns the preservation of Latin in the Latin Rite (how novel!), the pope has certainly celebrated the OF Mass entirely in Latin, while the scriptures have been proclaimed in a variety of vernaculars but the Gospel in Latin. But he has also allowed the Gospel, such as on Palm Sunday, to be in the vernacular, Italian on Sunday. Last year it was chanted by three deacons in Latin. However, the Holy Father both at the Vatican and elsewhere celebrates the OF Mass in the vernacular. When at St. Peters, the entire Mass is in Italian except for what he now does exclusively in Latin which are the following parts:

a. The Preface dialogue, preface, Sanctus, Eucharistic prayer (any of them)mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Pater Noster (although the priestly embolism and laity's doxology are in the vernacular).

3. There has been a very clear teaching and a very clear modeling that Holy Communion be distributed to the faithful as they kneel and receive on the tongue. It's not a mandate by law yet, but having the two juxtaposed, the clearing reasoning for it and the actual modeling of it tells this clairvoyant priest that legislation is going to come in the future for the Latin Rite in the Ordinary Form!

Thus the future missal will be the following:

The current Latin Missal revised in 2002 along with the current lectionary and its manner and place of proclamation with the following mandated rubrics and General Instruction:

1. The Benedictine Altar Arrangement for either facing the congregation or facing the apse but always with new construction on a free standing altar (this is the most ancient form of the altar in the Basilica plan as seen in all the ancient basilicas of Rome)! The altar against the wall is a later "organic development" which the East never adopted as one looks at the altar behind the iconostasis.

2. Latin will be mandated for the Preface, Sanctus, Eucharistic Prayer, Mystery of Faith and Great Amen and maybe the Pater Noster.

3. Kneeling will be the legislative norm with standing only by exception for Holy Communion, thus allow the altar railing to be legitimately returned and thus allowing the sanctuary to be viewed as the Holy of Holies as in the East. This will help emphasize the unique role of the ordained priest at Mass and based upon Old Testament images of sacrifice celebrated by Old Testament priests who after having entered the holy of holies in the temple, having offered the sacrifice and consumed a portion of it on behalf of the people of Israel, and then brings what remains to the "people" who share in the banquet aspect of the sacrifice. It will be also based upon the High Priesthood of Christ in the Letter to the Hebrews."

What will not change:

1. The established order of the Mass, except for, and this is where my clairvoyance is fuzzy, the Penitential Act and the Offertory Prayers. The Introductory Rites, to include the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect will be at the Celebrant's Chair as well as the Credo and Universal Prayer and the Post Communion Prayer and Blessing, which will continue with the blessing and dismissal in that order, not the EF's Order.

2. The simplicity of rubrics will not be changed, although what is not explicit might become more explicit in terms of the use of the pall, and covering the chalice with the veil and burse. I believe multiple options in the rubrics may be refined or eliminated, not clear on that. Flexibility in the OF is here to stay.

3. Lay men and women reading the Scriptures at Mass as currently done now and at any and all papal Masses (at Palm Sunday's Papal Mass a woman read the first reading in English and with head uncovered, so this is here to stay!)

4. Altar girls will continue as a option, but to be decided locally as is currently allowed.

5. The EF Mass will still be an extraordinary option in OF parishes, although exclusively EF parishes will be promoted within the ordinariate of the SSPX which will be fully integrated into the Latin Rite once again in a fashion similar now to the Anglican Ordinariate and thus the Society of Saint Peter will come under the SSPX's bishops!

6. The official Propers of the Mass, Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons will be mandatory. My clairvoyance says that the Penitential Act whatever that is, will be at the Foot of the Altar and after the absolution, the official Introit will be chanted, thus allowing for a different type of "processional hymn" for the priest and ministers to arrive at the altar for the penitential act at the foot of the altar, or no hymn at all--there will be options here.

7. Gregorian Chant even in the vernacular will be the norm and other chant based upon Gregorian chant allowed, such as Polyphony, Anglican Chant and even the Lutheran style of chant which is quite in continuity with Gregorian Chant. However music in the style of secular pop tunes associated today with Broadway and the top 20 will be forbidden!


Anonymous said...

Why is there almost a fetishistic obsession with the "early Church?" I see that phrase thrown around like candy to kindergarteners. I really want to know why "what the early Church did" is automatically and unquestionably better--for absolutely no reason--than later developments. I think this is an ideological principle drilled into many older priests' heads at the seminary, and I mean no disrespect at all in saying that, and please correct me if I'm wrong. I hear "early Church early Church earlyChurchearly CHurch EARLY CHURCH" all the TIME, and it's really almost sickening, because I am always left saying to myself, "So what?!?!!" I think this is an outdated, once-fashionable theological and liturgical trend that never really had any real meaning to begin with other than romanticizations, one rather clearly condemned by Pope Pius XII (albeit never exactly anathematized).

That is the problem I see with many older peoples' (again, no disrespect) views on the Church: they are too idealistic. They try so hard to make things fit their preconceived (and may I even go so far as to say very malformed) notions of "what should be." Why aren't things evaluated on their own merits? Why do things have to "fit" that idea of "going back to the sources?"

Anonymous said...

Anyways... to the theme at hand.

I will continue to say that the flaws with the OF missal itself as it stands are emaciated rubrics and the Order of Mass. The rubrics are embarrassingly lax and really do beg for sloppiness. I say that with no polemical overtones. The EF rubrics presume almost all errors, intentional or accidental, that a priest could make in the celebration of the Mass, and the Missal squashes them at the root. The OF, by contrast, automatically requires "beefing up" on the part of the individual priest if he hopes to celebrate it as error-free as possible. IMO, you can really mess up Mass in the OF even if you DO follow the rubrics! This ties back to Benedict's "ars celebrandi." Many of the errors in the OF can be killed just by having a high level of grace in movement and elegance at the altar. The problem is that this is basically built in to the EF, while in the OF it is not and has to be added by the priest. I don't care how careful a priest is, an OF almost always looks sloppier than an EF. Just the actions at the altar beg for imprecision.

Secondly, the Order of Mass. I believe that asperges needs to be reformed so that it never takes the place of the Penitential Act and so that it occurs before Mass without sentimental prayers and with exorcized salt required. I think some kind of Prayers at the Foot of the Altar need to be added to Mass, even if it be shorter than in the past. I think the Confiteor should be the only Penitential Act, as it is the only one with any Roman patrimony, yet is used almost never. I believe that the Prayer of the Faithful need to be extremely restricted in terms of the specific petitions allowed, although I do think this should be retained. I believe that the EPs need to have very strict and clear rubrics about which is allowed on what days (ie EP I must be used on all Sundays and Solemnities). EP I is almost never used, and for very weak reasons, yet it is the epitome of Roman patrimony. I would also like to see the indulgentiam restored, although this isn't particularly high on my list. I also believe that the entire Order of Mass and the Ordinary parts of Mass should always and everywhere be in Latin/Greek. This is because they never change in the first place, so there is no real reason to have them in the vernacular. The readings, yes; the unchanging parts, no.

My point about the liturgical specifics is this, and if you take nothing else away from my post, at least take this: Before you bulldoze a fence down, ask why it was put up in the first place and think long and hard about the answer you get before you decide to proceed. I truly believe that most of the liturgical changes were due to a fetishistic obsession with change for change's sake and a fetishistic obsession for archaeologism. I truly believe that very few of them were actually made for any real, good and prudent reasons.

Father, I would be very interested if you would please do a post on the whole principle of the fetishistic obsession with change for change's sake and archaeologism. Your experiences in seminary? In the priesthood?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The 1965 missal which is the EF Mass did allow for the Asperges to replace the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, however, the Official Introit still had to be sung followed by the nine fold Kyrie, the kyrie was not eliminated, thus you still have a penitential act prior to the Gloria or Collect. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar have a very interesting history and even in the EF Mass are not technically a part of the Mass but the private sacristy prayers of the Priest and his ministers. In the Sung EF Mass, these prayers are recited quietly by the priest as the choir/congregation sings the Introit and the Introit continues after these private prayers have been recited and the priest ascends the altar to kiss it and incense it if incense is used (you can have a sung EF Mass without incense).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Finally I agree with Father Nick Mansell in Kathleen, Georgia who thinks that the Ordinary Form's premise of going back to the early Church when Mass was celebrated either in home churches or in the catacombs was the studpidist thing to have done, no matter how valid the historical studies of that period and how the Mass was celebrated at that time. You simply cannot have a home style Mass, nor is it desirable today to even have home Masses except in the rarest of occasions, in a large Church building that holds any where between 26 to 2000 people. But home Masses which were quite popular in the 70's and 80's are no longer so today. A home-style celebration of the Mass in Church, though, is still around and that needs to come to an end!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Father. There is simply no reason for that "going back to the sources." It is shoddy thinking to begin with, not to mention imprudent. If they had their way, the wreckvators would probably be having us celebrate some pseudo-Catholic Mass in some slipshod shack under a bridge right now. I say that with the strongest of convictions. I really do believe that.

It just blows my mind, not only what happened in promulgating the Ordinary Form, but the very thinking and premises behind it. Is the "early Church" some golden age to be glorified and epitomized? Well, if we wanna be really historically correct, we might as well have the Roman Emperors come back to persecute us while we're at it! It is I, yes I, Mr. 18 year-old from a few days ago. Even my infantile mind is advanced and informed enough to see this.

I just really cannot fathom the prudence and right-thinking, if any, there is present in the Ordinary Form and the principles behind it. It is just as if the wreckvators just wanted to slash and burn 1700 years of liturgical development for no reason! It is just, just imbecilic. It's like taking a 40 year-old man and wiping 35 years of his memory away because "it was better back then" or something.

Anonymous said...

"When at St. Peters, the entire Mass is in Italian except for what he now does exclusively in Latin which are the following parts:

a. The Preface dialogue, preface, Sanctus, Eucharistic prayer (any of them)mystery of Faith, Great Amen and Pater Noster (although the priestly embolism and laity's doxology are in the vernacular)."

With regard to 'entirely in Latin except ...' the implication here is very misleading. I have watched and/or saved every papal Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict inside St. Peter's Basilica.

In every such Mass, the entire celebration has been entirely in Latin except the readings, sermon, and prayers of the faithful. This includes the introit and communion antiphons (as sung by the choir, the sung Ordinary (Kyrie-Gr, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and Pater Noster), the proper orations (collect, offertory, postcommunion), the preface dialogue and all other dialogues, the Ecce Agnus Dei and people's response, and the final blessing.

In short, a papal Mass within St. Peter's Basilica is essentially the same as an EF Mass regarding Latin--everything in Latin except the readings and sermon (there being no prayers of the faithful in the EF).

Admittedly, there is some flexibility for the use of vulgar Italian in mass scene outdoor Masses in the square, which to mind betokens the fact that such Masses are not really a good idea.

All of this being irrelevant to your central argument (as I interpret it). E.g., that the flexibility for the use of the vernacular is the great merit of the OF. Unlike many hardcore traditional Catholics, I do believe the vernacular is desirable for many if not most Catholics, and will be a great grace for the Church once we get beyond this interim period where it has been an entrance door for so many abuses.

Bill said...

As to the "early Church practices", it has been my understanding that in many cases, these were very selective choices, not simply going back to the earliest know practice, nor to a specific era. If true, that makes for a real patchwork.

Since what was "fixed" was not actually broken, I would think that reaching back before the 1962 Missal would not be necessary.

Anonymous said...

And I would like to say that for Papal Masses at St. Peter's (the indoor ones, which are the only ones worth watching, IMO), the Gospel is in Latin, and each petition in the Prayers of the Faithful goes like:

Topic line in Latin chanted by deacon
Petition read by someone in some sort of vernacular
Invocation in Latin chanted by deacon
Responsory in Latin chanted by people

So like this:

Oremus pro pontefice Benedicto
Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope, that he may be granted the grace to rule and shepherd the Church of God.
Deacon's invocation, chanted in Latin
"Te rogamus, audi nos," chanted by people

I think that is the ideal way to do it, honestly.

I do think that the vernacular does have great merit for use regarding the readings and collects (to include super oblata and prayer after communion). But I see absolutely no point in having the unchanging parts of the Mass in the vernacular. There really is no reason for that.

Anonymous said...

And if I were clairvoyant as you are, I would predict that Pope Benedict will live to be the oldest pope ever--that is, at least 8 more years--and likely until (in 15 years) he becomes the first 100-year old pope.

In any event, I would predict that his successor will be more conservative liturgically than he is, as the first pope of our era with no connection to Vatican II in his background, and thus with a freedom to just "do what's right". That's when papal mandates will return as needed.

Also, by about that time there will be just one form of Roman rite, though it will provide for both Latin--with an all-Latin form essentially the same as the present EF-- and vernacular, with the present OF having evolved into version with essentially the same ritual rubrics but with flexibility regarding music, language, and variable levels of solemnity, but somehow without the plethora of options that have had such disastrous effect so far.

Marc said...

Bill, many suggest going back to the pre-1955 Mass because it is the last Mass that wasn't infected by Anibale Bugnini and his ilk. They began to wreck the Mass with their Liturgical Movement starting in 1955 with the Holy Week changes, then the Missal was changed in 1962 with the addition of St. Joseph to the Canon (not a bad change in itself) and the reduction of the readings for the Easter Vigil, then we all know what happened after that.

Of course, many of the 1955 changes were clearly an organic development or corrections to actual problems that had arisen - the lack of a proper Easter Vigil being cheif among them.

So, the argument is that going back to the earlier books is the point of departure for a true restoration of organic, as opposed to forced, liturgical development.

Anonymous said...

Finally, with regard to liturgical optionitis, the most incisive insight I've seen is that of Martin Mosebach in his book "Heresy of Formlessness". The gist of it:

The weakness of the OF is revealed by the statement that, with sufficient effort, it can be celebrated well. The strength of the EF is revealed by the statement that, with sufficient effort, it can be celebrated poorly.

Bill said...

Marc, I stand corrected.

Henry, that's a terrific quote.

Anonymous said...

In the early Church there were no pews, would all those clamouring for that time period be willing to give them up as well? And returning to the "Early" Church will accomplish what exactly? A static liturgy, that will be frozen in its' earliest period? Isn't that half the reason so many were ready to throw out the previous form of Mass? Because it was essentially frozen after Trent? You can't have the Mass remain as it were in its' earliest period and then have it organically evolve at the same time. Or can some people do the impossible? I myself, not an expert at all, just a lay person would like to see a Mass that looks like the 62 Missal, with the same kind of growth it has always experienced. And growth whose offspring look like, in form and ritual ceremony, that which preceded its' growth. The Pauline Missal does not accomplish that. Being told time and time again that if celebrated with Traditional options, and strictly by the book it CAN look like the previous Form does not cut it. Because it isn't and and Priests won't. Not all, but the majority. And that speaks volumes about the inherent flaw in that Missal. Not in its' wording so much but the attitude with which it was received and has grown into, one of disrespect for whatever may have linked it organically to the former. I don't think that will change in my lifetime and possibly never. My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

I think the need to go back to sources in practice is a rejection of Church authority. It is simply a form of fundamentalism that attempts to equivocate all forms of worship, therefore allowing for all kinds to suit someone's personal desires. It rejects all contributions of the doctors of the Church since about the 3rd century. I have to wonder if most priests even know the EF or the OF well enough to criticise either.

Fr, a question related to this exercise: where do you stand to deliver your homily?


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The general instruction allows the homily either at the chair or ambo. I do both.

Anonymous said...

I thought that only bishops were privileged to give the homily from the throne, and that priests must never give the homily from the chair, but always from the ambo. Giving the homily from the throne has a high level of symbolic value; essentially, it shows that a cleric is pontificating. Only bishops possess the Magisterium, and so only bishops can pontificate. I'm pretty sure that priests cannot deliver the homily from the chair...


Anyways, I just hope that in the future we won't be so encumbered by outdated ideologies like the "early Church" fetish. I'm serious, that's really what it is, a fetish.

Gene said...

First, the term "Early Church" is indefinite. Generally, from an academic viewpoint, it means the period from about 100 AD to maybe five hundred AD. The Early Church was far more organized and consistent in her practices than many realize. We have letters and writings from both Western Churches to each other and from Eastern Churches to Western Churches to prove it. I strongly recommend Whitehead's book, "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic: The Early Church Was the Catholic Church," for a reference. Also, Fortescues's book on the history of the Mass (thanks Marc and Buck) shows how similar was the Mass among the various Churches in the West even at a rather early period.

Next, a desire to recover traditional Catholic identity is not a linear return to a romanticized "Early Church." The Early Church did not celebrate Mass in a "slipshod fashion" under trees or sitting in the sand...unless they had to from fear of being slaughtered at certain historical periods.

The problem with the reasoning here is that the logic of what Anonymous says about the "primitiveness" of Early Church worship will be used by the progressives to argue that a linear move forward from Vat II is an improvement on these "primitive things." Where can we, the Traditionalist Catholics, draw a line? Most of us would want to say somewhere like the 1962 Missal or the pre-Vat II Latin Mass as it was "back in the day." But, unless we insist (and argue convincingly) that there were things in the Early Church (or pre-Vat II Church) that were essential and theologically necessary we are simply making an impressionistic argument. Does that make sense?

I would begin by arguing that the EF and the traditions of the historical Church were more reflective of "right belief" than, say, the OF. Do not ask me how I would argue this...I'm working on it. But, I believe a strong theological argument could be made by someone more familiar with the history of liturgy than I am...Marc, Buck, Fr...

Anonymous said...

Gene, you have really hit the nail on the head.

1. An earlier point in Church history is not automatically better than a later point in Church history, nor purer, nor less sinful, etc. This is antiquarianism at its finest.

2. These "early Church" fetishists really only like to pick and choose which "early Church" practices they like and create some primitive caveman fantasyland that never actually existed historically.

3. A desire to restore many or most EF practices to the OF is often ridiculed some sophomoric insult like "stuck in the Middle Ages" or something. However, it is nothing of the sort. The OF symbolizes an extreme rupture in liturgical development, akin to if the Church just forgot 75% of her liturgical history overnight, whether you like to admit it or not. The attitudes and principles behind the Mass changes are not historically accurate in the first place. They are fetishistic romanticizations. This is objectively true.

4. We have the objective Deposit of Faith as a guideline to try our best to "match" in how we live it out in the liturgy. That is, our beliefs are the Tradition, while the liturgy is the tradition. Capital T Tradition and lowercase t tradition are intimately connected. Lowercase t tradition is how we LIVE OUT and MAKE REAL in our own material lives the capital T Tradition.

5. Any Form of Roman liturgy (or of any rite, for that matter) is subjective. However, there can be said to be a "more correct tradition" and "less correct tradition" when trying to live out and make real the Tradition of the faith. I believe the case can be made, and Gene agrees, that the Extraordinary Form falls proportionately closer to making real and living out the Tradition of the faith than the Ordinary Form does.

6. That is to say, more scientifically, we have orthopraxy and orthodoxy. Orthopraxy represents the Form of the liturgy and is subjective, and orthodoxy represents the Deoposit of Faith/Tradition and is objective. I believe that the orthopraxy of the Extraordinary Form is a closer sensory (visual and auditory) representation of orthodoxy than the orthopraxy of the Ordinary Form is. I mean this not only in practice but in principle as well.

7. For a one liner to sum this up, I quote Gene: "I would begin by arguing that the EF and the traditions [orthopraxy] of the historical Church [that is to say, up until 1969ish] were more reflective of "right belief" [orthodoxy] than, say, the OF."

8. I might write a book on this one day.

Anonymous said...

I recall a holy priest saying that first-century antiquarianism is virtually a sin against the Holy Spirit, since it denies His role in the unfolding of faith and liturgy over the centuries.