Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This video is a Spanish Mass in the Ordinary Form, Ad Orientem with some Latin and done in the way I recommend in my post:

This video which is brief, and has the traditional priest who blogs under the title "The Hermeneutic of Continuity" celebrating an Ordinary Form with EF sensibilities. What confuses things is that the EF's altar cards are on the altar. The thing that makes it clear that it is an Ordinary Form Mass is that he has an altar girl serving. Interesting. I prefer the Spanish Mass above as it follows the rubrics and General Instruction of the Roman Missal more closely:

Certainly when a Cardinal in the curia of the Vatican says that he believes that the Ordinary Form of the Mass will be reformed in the future to be more like the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, but that it won't be exactly the Extraordinary Form of the Mass but a combination of both with one Roman Missal once again as the norm for the Latin Rite (not to exclude exceptions for those who desire the 1962 missal by way of indult) I think that this conversation that leads to the raising of the possibility of some future reform will not take place any time soon. And as everyone knows I am clairvoyant but maybe not.

So what can we do in the meantime to make the best of the current Roman Missal in the Ordinary Form which can be celebrated all in Latin or a hybrid of Latin and vernacular or all in the vernacular? What is the common sense solution that needs no revision of the Ordinary Form and embraces the Ordinary Form Missal in its entirety, options and all?

I've written it before and I'll write it again:

1. Say the Black and Do the Red as it concerns the General Instruction and specific rubrics of the Ordinary Form Missal.

2. Make mandatory the chanting of the official "Introit" and "Offertory and Communion Antiphons" but obviously not excluding good and doctrinally correct metrical hymns or anthems or other music associated with the Mass and seen as "filler."

3. After reverencing the altar, the Mass begins at the chair, which preferably is to the side of the altar and angled in such a way as facing the side of the altar, but where the laity can clear see the priest. The entire Introductory rite with the Greeting, Penitential Act in any of its forms, Gloria and Collect are prayed at the chair.

4. The Liturgy of the Word is proclaimed at the ambo with lay readers wearing Sunday best and approaching from their seat in the congregation and returning when competed.

5. The homily is preached either at the ambo or from the chair.

6. The Creed and Universal Prayer are prayed from the Chair.

7. The Liturgy of the Eucharist is celebrated "Ad Orientem" with all the options that are available to the priest-celebrant and at his exclusive discretion.

8. Holy Communion is distributed at kneelers or an altar railing. The norm is to stand, the option is to kneel, the decision until further notice is at the exclusive discretion of the lay person receiving. The chalice is given to the laity by way of "intinction" which means those who receive an "intincted" host are instructed to drink the Precious Blood by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ on the tongue. Those who choose to receive the Host on the hand do so as the rubrics expect and do not receive an "intincted" Host.

9. The Post Communion Prayer, any announcements and Final Blessing and dismissal occur at the chair and then the recessional.

Annonomous 5 makes a good point about returning to the traditional way of the priest facing ad orientem in both the Latin Rite and the Eastern Rites of the Church when he makes a comment on it in reference to Pater Ignotus and Andy Milam's debate about the term "actor." The following is A-5's astute evaluation of Mass with the priest facing the people:


You convinced me in the last long thread that your understanding of the term "acting" is valid, but it isn't exclusively so, and nothing prohibits its overlapping with a simultaneous use in Andy's sense in the Mass, and that is unfortunate.

Given the ubiquity of performance art, especially in its televised and cinematic forms today, versus populum is going to strike a responsive chord in the congregation that is not at all desirable. Most of the congregation will have been socialized and conditioned by big and small screens to see versus populum through the filter of modern visual media that are heavily devoted to programming at odds with Catholic doctrine. It's inescapable, except perhaps for the blind, who are a very small segment of the population.

The very fact of turning the priest to face in the same direction of the population, on the other hand, will serve as an immediate visual cue that the Mass is fundamentally different from cinematic and other such experiences.


Marc said...

"... traditional priest... celebrating an Ordinary Form..."

Does not compute.

Unknown said...

I think that I agree with A-5 regarding the ad orientem position on one hand, but on another, I think that it can be developed a little more.

He says, "The very fact of turning the priest to face in the same direction of the population, on the other hand, will serve as an immediate visual cue that the Mass is fundamentally different from cinematic and other such experiences."

The Mass is fundamentally different from "acting." There is action taking place to be sure, but those in the sanctuary are not acting out a role. That is to over emphasize the idea of participatio activa. Are they merely doing something or are they completing an action?

That's the real question here and one that has been ignored. The answer is that they are doing both, but that does not constitute that they are acting. Because I am writing this post doesn't mean that I'm a writer. It means that I am writing this post. I am completing an action.

However, the more important thing to understand in this is that the Mass shouldn't be seen as something akin either positively or negatively to the cinema, the stage, or television. No. The Mass is an action which is completed not by those playing a role, but rather by those who are genuinely completing an action. They are actually doing something, not just being active. And that is what is being misunderstood.

There is a fundamental difference in posture. The priest is mediator. That is precisely what he does when he acts in persona Christi. He is mediating between God the Father and the faithful worshipping in the pew. Nothing more, nothing less. He isn't presiding, he isn't proclaiming, he isn't acting. He is BEING a mediator. His soul is marked for this and for this primarily. He is not acting, he is being.

When the priest faces the same direction as the people, several things are happening...

1. He is leading the faithful as Moses led the Israelites.

2. He is offering on behalf of the faithful. Speaking to God the Father as one of them, but specially called to do so.

3. He is making an offering which is private. It is not for "all to see." It is the priest's offering on behalf of the faithful. It is not something which is necessarily seen as communal, primarily, but rather it is a time for the priest to gather the intention of the faithful and for him (in persona Christi) to offer the unbloody sacrifice.

The communal aspect comes from the fact that the faithful gather to worship as one while the priest offers the Mass. What happens outside the rail has little to do with the ritual action inside the rail. In other words, if my mother meditates on the Mass and I meditate on the life of Christ and my girlfriend meditates on the PDR and her sister meditates on the Immaculate Heart of Mary...we are all worshipping as a community, but that in no way changes what the priest should be doing on our behalf. It is how we unite to him prayerfully, not how he proclaims to us publicly.

The idea that the Mass must be a communal and cinematic experience is directly in conflict with the purpose of the Mass. The priest and his ministers are not acting. He is BEING and they are assisting. That is why it is most proper that we assist at Holy Mass, from the pew.

Henry Edwards said...

A couple of minor points.

1. I am able to discern whether in the second video those are EF altar cards on the altar, or OF altar cards--which, of course, do indeed exist (if only very rarely seen). Is your vision really that much better than mine?

2. Though I am loathe to admit it, it would be possible (if illicit) to have a girl EF altar server. It's the motions and gestures of the celebrant and (especially) the single deacon that make this stand out like a sore thumb as OF rather than EF. Surely, no real EF devotee could confuse the two.

Henry Edwards said...

I am NOT able to discern .....


I remember thinking this very thought at the very first Catholic Mass I ever attended--on All Saints day in 1956--as a faithful Protestant college student. It struck me profoundly that the priest was ACTUALLY DOING something, not just talking as Protestant ministers do.

Even though I did not yet know WHAT he was doing, the fact that he was actually doing SOMETHING REAL set my course as a Catholic convert, over half a century now.

Hammer of Fascists said...


Actually, I think referring you as the author of the first post in this thread is a pretty common use of the term, even though you are not an author by trade or profession. Identifying you as the writer of the first post, while a little less common, still makes sense.

I think the soundest approach is simply to say that the term actor/writer/author may be used in many ways.

Unknown said...


Certainly it makes sense, but it isn't the most common way of looking at what I am doing in the comboxes.

I am not writing something formally. It would be more proper to say that I am authoring my blog, but even then it is not a proper understanding.

I do realize that my analogy isn't perfect, but I can say that I don't see how it is accurate in a Catholic sense to view the priest, the faithful the Church and Christ, Himself as actors. It just doesn't work.

Pater Ignotus said...

Andy - It works perfectly well. Christ, the Church, the Priest, and the Congregation all "act" in the mass. They are, by definition, actors.

If you maintain that "actor" refers only to stage and screen performances, you are wrong.

John Nolan said...

The second video (Blackfen) is of an evening Mass, in English, no music; one of the options in this parish which offers both the EF and the OF, the principal OF Mass being versus populum. The altar cards are from an EF Mass earlier in the day. When Mass is versus populum the gradines are removed. The presence of a deacon is allowed at all OF Masses regardless of the degree of solemnity. It does, however, render the 'serviette' redundant. Perhaps her function is merely decorative.