Thursday, July 26, 2012


I have to confess that I like the Ordinary Form Mass when celebrated with EF sensibilities. I first started experiementing with making the Ordinary Form Mass more like the Extraordinary Form Mass in the early 2000's when Dr. Janet Hunt, FAGO became the Church of the Most Holy Trinity's Music Director and Organist.

We did a couple of "concert Masses" around 2000 (can't now remember which ones) which we celebrated as a Mass but at a special time on Sunday (I believe it was 4:00 PM). The Church was packed. I celebrated the Liturgy of the Eucharist Ad Orientem. The Mass except for the choir parts was in English as at that time I had no comfort level in celebrating the Mass in Latin.

I had many people tell me after these Masses that they loved the return of the Old Mass. They actually thought it was the Tridentine Mass. It was far from it.

Later, I got the nerve with the encouragement of Dr.Hunt to start a monthly Sunday anticipated Mass at our Saturday Vigil. This Mass was led by our men's schola and totally in Latin, except for the Liturgy of the Word. The official solemn form of the Intriot was chanted as processional as were the Offertory and Communion antiphons. It was an OF Mass entirely facing the people. I didn't want to tempt fate and have our bishop crack down on me for being too retro. Celebrating the Ordinary Form entirely in Latin and all in Gregorian chant was considered even in 2002 as so pre-Vatican II by a significant number of clergy in our diocese and a goodly number of laity.

Our Vigil Latin Mass was always fuller than our English Vigil. However, a goodly number of older regulars despised the Latin and would go on Sunday when we had the monthly Latin Mass, but a goodly number of Catholics from all over metro Augusta came to the Latin Mass. It told me that there were many out there longing for a better form of the Mass and in fact would love the Tridentine Mass if only it was allowed.

Even since the 1980's I knew there was just something that wasn't kosher about the Ordinary Form Mass. I always thought that the template for actually implementing Sacrosanctum Concilium was the Tridentine Mass and that somehow someone hijacked what the Second Vatican Council actually desired in SC.

Who would have thought that Cardinal Ratzinger who eventually would become pope would be thinking the same thing. When he allowed the restoration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass he knew that people would see what was missing in the Ordinary Form and would want to bring what was missing back to the Ordinary form Mass.

Those who think that the discipline of Vatican II is immutable and above question and change will not like what I am about to write.

We need to recover the distinct nature of the cultic role of the Catholic priest as a divine call from God through the bishop from the Church in the miniature, the lay Catholic family.

There has been a blurring of the roles of the laity and clergy over the last 50 years and the hyperbolic expression of that is the LCWR thinking they can act as the bishops in promoting their form of skewed reform in the Church as though they are equal to the bishops in that regard. This is spirit of Vatican II hogwash. But there are many aging clergy and laity and some not so old who think like the LCWR. They are on the wrong side of history.

So, how do we remain faithful to SC in its call for inculturation, some vernacular, more scriptures, noble simplicity and eliminating "useless repetition."

--At sung Masses, a congregational hymn can be sung to accompany the procession to the foot of the altar.

--The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar need to be recovered. The "useless" repetition of the double confiteors could be eliminated and the congregation is included in responding to all the prayers, not just the altar servers.

--At the parish's principle Mass, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar may be substituted by the tradition Extraordinary Form's Rite of Sprinkling Holy Water.

--After the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar or the Rite of Sprinkling, what should be seen as the Penitential Prelude or Preludal Rite of Purification the Introit is chanted, either solemn or simple tone in the vernacular or Latin.

--The private prayers of the priest are restored as he approaches the altar to kiss it and incense it, if used. The priest privately prayers the Psalm accompanying the incensation. The priest is then incensed.

--The Kyrie, Gloria and Collect is prayed at the altar, ad orientem for Low Masses but at the Chair for Sung Masses.

--The Liturgy of the Word is revised but celebrated as is customary for the Ordinary Form.The option of the Gradual or the Responsorial Psalm is a local decision. Lay lectors are the ordinary ministers for the reading, except for the Gospel which belongs to the deacon or in his absence the priest. The role of the deacon is as in the Ordinary Form no matter which form of the Mass, sung or spoken.

--The Credo is chanted or spoken depending on low or sung Mass followed by the Universal Prayer which will be fixed and include the following:

A. We beseech you O God to protect, unify and guard your Holy Church, we pray to the Lord.

B. We beseech you O God, to guide world leaders in the ways of peace and respect for all people including the innocent unborn, we pray..

C. We beseech you O God to heal all who are sick or dying and all in need, we pray..

D. We beseech you O God to grant eternal rest and perpetual light to all the faithful departed and comfort to grieiving

E. We beseech you O God to hear the intentions of this Mass for ( ) we pray...

--The offertory procession is retained.

The Offertory prayers of the Extraordinary Form are restored. The offertory antiphon --is spoken in the Low Mass and chanted in the sung Mass and any other motet according to local custom.

--Eucharistic Prayer I is the only canon for the sung Mass allowed, the others can be used in Low Masses only, and in the sung Mass the Roman Canon is spoken aloud but in a soft voice or it may be chanted. The Extraordinary Form rubrics for the Roman Canon are recovered.

--The Rite of Holy Communion remains as in the Ordinary Form with the following exception:

A. The "Lord I am not worthy" returns to its triplet form as in the Agnus Dei with the strike of the breast for everyone each time except for the celebrant.

B. Holy Communion is kneeling at the altar railing with intinction as the norm if Holy Communion is given under both forms according to local custom.

C. The official Communion antiphon is chanted with additional psalm verses and the laity are encouraged to join in the antiphon as in the Responsorial Psalm. Other hymns or motets can be sung to cover the action of receiving Holy Communion. All singing so come to a conclusion after Holy Communion for a period of silent contemplation and thanksgiving.

--The Concluding Rite is as in the Ordinary Form with the following change and addition:

A. The priest if at the chair prays the Prayer after Holy Communion and offers any announcements.

B. Then he processes to the altar ad orientem, bows and prays the "Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas", he kisses the altar, turns to the laity and blesses them and then the priest or deacon dismisses according to the current options in the OF Mass.

--The recessional begins accompanied by singing according to local custom.

1 comment:

John Nolan said...

Good luck with it, Father! Using the main weakness of the NO (to whit, its imprecise rubrics and plethora of options) in order to undermine it and restore the Roman Rite is a stroke of genius!

Because of his many writings it is quite clear what Benedict XVI expects the liturgy to be. Working towards this goal is the most praiseworthy thing a priest can do.