Sunday, February 2, 2014


At the bottom of this post is the first part of a pre-1962 Roman Missal Mass filmed in a television studio in French Canada in 1960. I would have been almost 7 years old at the time. The Mass is toward to the congregation and celebrated by a bishop. It is a Low Mass with the complete Church present in her ecclesiology, that of the Bishop, priests and laity and most importantly the One who gathers them, Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit each doing what is prescribed of them for the celebration of Holy Mass. There is no difference in this "Introductory Rite" with the extended Prayers at the Foot of the Altar with the laity's responses as compared to the Revised Mass and its much briefer introductory Rite.

There are those to the middle of the left who are dogmatic about what Vatican II intended and didn't and this ideological group is the most dogmatic about non infallible instructions on the revision of the Mass that would lead to more communal interaction and participation of the clergy and laity at Mass. These left to the middle Catholics would seem to think in the most wrong-headed way possible that this form of the Mass revised a bit in 1962's Roman Missal was outlawed by Vatican II and confirmed as being abrogated once and for all for all of eternity by Pope Paul VI because he was following the dogmatism of an infallible Council as it concerns the revision of the Mass and a new discovery, that the Mass is to be communal, as though the pre-1962 Roman Missal couldn't be and wasn't because of its intrinsically flawed ecclesiology as though ecclesiology could be defined in the post-Vatican II Church as a completely different doctrine compared to the pre-Vatican II Church. Talk about rupture in continuity in a flawed theology and way of thinking of those left of the center in the Church.

A Benedictine priest at another blog's comment section, who should know better, makes the most dogmatic statement I have ever read about what the Council Father's desired for the Mass and how they denigrated the Mass that was celebrated at Vatican II to do so. I find this statement incredulous but here goes:

"The old rite, no matter how emotionally people are invested in it, no matter how closely they follow it during its celebration, does not express the nature of the Church according to the fathers of Vatican II. Clericalized sacred drama, no matter how prayerfully one prays along with it, is not what the fathers of Vatican II wanted. (There were such liturgies before Vatican II so they would have known about them.) The fathers wanted a liturgy communal in form, not merely in shared emotionality (or, less polemically, shared spirituality). One can debate endlessly whether this or that detail of the reformed rite follows the prescriptions of SC. That is rather beside the point. The main point is that the reformed liturgy is communal in form, – and this, and only this, is what Catholic liturgy is to be after Vatican II. How Summorum pontificum fits into this remains a mystery to me."

I can't believe my eyes when I read such drivel! Is the most important thing about the post-Vatican II Mass its communal nature and ecclesiology or is it God who gathers the community of believers both clergy and laity the most important aspect of the Liturgy, where the Paschal Mystery is made present for the salvation of souls, where the Mystical Body of Christ is made visible in time and place? Of these two things is there any difference in the pre-Vatican II Missals and the post-Vatican II Revised Missals?

Who is trying to kid whom here? Has ecclesiology and the communal nature of the Liturgy become damnable false idols? 

The revision of the Mass can never be considered an infallible act, even if the theology unpinning that revision is of a different theology that preceded it. Theology can't be dogmatic. Only dogmas and doctrines can be dogmatic.


Gabby said...

Interesting video. I attended Mass in many parishes as a child before Vatican II but never did I experience a dialog Mass. In fact, speaking in church was so foreign to our experience that people found it very difficult when the changes were instituted in the mid 60s.

I vividly remember the first Sunday that we were expected to give responses. The good Sister who taught 7th grade had spent many a lunch hour preparing a group of students for this moment and I went in very confident. All I heard were mumbles from the congregation so I attempted to lead the pack. I remember my mother tugging on my sleeve and whispering loudly, "NOT SO LOUD!!"

George said...

The Light of Christ

The light of the sun is necessary to our physical life. The light of the Divine Son is necessary for
spiritual life. Light is used to communicate. The Light of Christ communicates His
Divine Truth to us. Light is without substance,yet we see that it exists. The consecrated bread and
wine have substance and we see by the Light of Faith that it is in fact Christ.

Christ is the Light of the world, the Divine light which exposes to us what is sinful and evil. He is the light which illuminates that which we should avoid, and that light which shows us what path we are to take. His is the light which enkindles in us the fire of Divine Love. He is the light who makes it possible for us to one day partake in the light of the Eternal heaven. He is the light of the dawn which bekons us to the New day of salvation. He is the light of the evening which reminds us of the end of our earthly journey.

Henry said...

I wonder whether those who inveigh so vehemently against either form of the Roman rite don't do so either because of misconceptions about one or the other, or for polemical rather than substantial reasons.

Those who vehemently oppose the OF may not be able may to appreciate it properly because of abuses that are not intrinsic to the OF itself but are due to a malformed generation of priests.

Those who vehemently oppose the EF may either misunderstand it or may not understand the Mass itself in the same way the Church does.

John Nolan said...

Interesting that the congregation is not so much reciting the responses as chanting them recto tono. This keeps everyone in sync but was not usual for the dialogue Mass, which tended to be messy, with the priest speaking briskly and the congregation plodding through the responses printed on laminated card and stumbling over the Latin. As an altar boy who had learned the responses by heart and could match the briskness of the priest, this was a frustrating experience. It's hardly surprising that by 1965 Ps 42 had been dropped, the prayers were in the vernacular, and the PATFOTA were made optional.

The film does highlight one reason for versus populum - it enabled the people to see the priest's liturgical actions. When most of the prayers were "silent" this would enable people to follow the Mass more closely. Few people in 1960 expected radical changes in the Rite. It also meant that the epistle and gospel, which in a Low Mass had to be read at the altar, could be read facing the people.

Ironically, the reintroduction of the ambo from 1964 made the second reason no longer applicable, and the elimination of most of the Tridentine ritual gestures in 1967 did the same for the first.

In the Novus Ordo the altar is not approached until the Offertory (apart from the initial veneration) and the logic of the Rite, and indeed its rubrics suggest that the orientation should change at this point. And even if it doesn't, I prefer the option of not leaving the altar for the concluding rites. The Mass has two parts, LOTW and LOTE, not three.

Another irony is that nowadays the Low Mass is seen less as a "problem" and more of an escape from wordy, over-didactic and sometimes even bombastic liturgies which take FCAP to extremes and are often accompanied by music of toe-curling banality.

Rood Screen said...


I think you've hit the nail on the head. Personally, I do not think I could celebrate the EF Mass worthily more than once a day, and so I'm happy to have the variety.

I would, however, question the tendency to blame poor formation for liturgical abuse. Liturgical formation has certainly been poor, but the rubrics are clearly printed in the OF missal. Good liturgical formation can certainly improve celebration of the Mass, but there is simply no excuse for outright abuse, since the rules are clear enough to prevent it.

Henry said...


In blaming liturgical abuse on malformed priests, I was not referring merely to lack of liturgical instruction in their priestly formation.

I meant that all too many priests of these generations were malformed as priests, or not really formed at all, not knowing what it means to be a priest ordained to offer sacrifice in propitiation for the sins of men, and not understanding the sacrifice of the Mass in such a way as to realize the importance of offering it properly in accordance with the rubrics.

Tony V said...

I too was amused by that comment from the 'Benedictine priest...who should know better'. I found the exchange between Dr Grillo and Dom Alcuin interesting, but what was more interesting was how that other blog picks and chooses what comments to publish. Is it because they want it to look like the vast majority of commenters are firmly behind a rigorous implementation of the Novus Ordo? We can only guess.
But (at the risk of self-promotion) I decided to set up a blog, or meta-blog, where I can comment on the topics raised there without wondering which comments will be deleted and which will be blessed:

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that the 2nd Vatican Council and its Novus Ordo (New Order Mass) is a complete failure. Vatican Council II was all but Catholic; a consequence of this failure gave a very strong rise of The Society of St. Pius V and the priestly fraternity of St. Pius X, both organizations promoters of the true historical and traditional mass against the New Order mass direct translation from Latin Novus Ordo. We Catholics must look to our ancient roots of Orthodoxy our sister Church of the East and NOT to the heretical protestants influence of the second Vatican Council.

Anonymous said...

I was raised in Europe on the Tridentine Mass and am glad that Bishope Le Febvre has

"the Saint Pius V" society. I wasliving near a small town and the small society could

not afford the downpayment. I sent them a checque and the last time I was there it was

a very beutiful Holy Catholic Church. I now live far away and at 9o0 years old I cannot


I hope the Roman church continues to be Cathol Roman and Latin and Holy.

God Bless