Saturday, November 8, 2014


There are many hysterical traditionalists out there who think Pope Benedict's "reform of the reform" is dead. But was is ever really alive? How many parishes in any given diocese actually tried to do what Pope Benedict modeled in his liturgical sensibilities? What about your parish and your diocese?

And just what was the "reform of the reform" anyway?  The extremists in this group want just the Extraordinary Form. That ain't goin to happen! Some want the EF available in English--no reason why it couldn't but then Latin wouldn't be preserved. At least Latin is required now for the EF and is a way to preserve it.

But how many parishes in any given diocese have the EF Mass? In Savannah it is only two. The Cathedral has a weekly EF Mass Sunday and my parish a weekly one on Tuesday and a once a month Sunday High Mass with attendance that is only about 60 or 70, but larger than many of our mission parish Masses in the diocese.

What is authentic "reform of the reform?"

1. The Benedictine Altar arrangement in some form with a central crucifix. This has continued so far under Pope Francis. How many parishes in any given diocese have this yet?

2. The chanting of the Propers of the Mass, meaning the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. How many parishes in any given diocese actually do this?

3. Liturgical music more in keeping with our tradition, which means less focus on hymns and anthems and more focus on actually singing the Mass to include the Propers and the priest's parts and accompaniment by organ rather than guitars that only play chords and thus can't really lead congregational singing or piano better suited for a bistro or bar. Organ has place of pride in the Church with or without the "reform of the reform." And choirs that lead from behind rather than try to entertain from the front. How many parishes attempt # 3 in your diocese?

4. Mass celebrated ad orientem or facing the people in an ad orientem way as Pope Francis does. How many parishes in your diocese actually do this?

5. Attention to detail. How many parishes actually have beautiful vestments (and I would say Pope Francis more austere vestments are beautiful nonetheless, clean and crisp). Beautiful and clean and well fitted altar linens, beautiful candlesticks filled with beeswax candles in a metal tube or exposed and lovely well placed accoutrements.

6. Last but not least, in fact, first and foremost--the Mass celebrated according to the Third Edition of the Roman Missal by saying the black and doing the red! How many parishes in your diocese actually do this without improvisation by a priest who epitomizes clericalism by improvisation, changing the glorious words of the new English translation  or simply sees himself as an entertainer on the liturgical stage, an actor in a drama in the best case or a comedian and clown in the worst case?

Now onto the getting the 88% who don't attend Mass to return:

1. We can't force them to return, #1! If they don't like the Church and her teachings and have made a decision against the Church with full consent of the will, then we have to let them go; We can't accommodate apostasy in the name of welcoming. Some people are simply hell bent on going to hell. God doesn't stop them; why should we?

2. We cannot use the non-denominational template of welcoming or outreach or style of worship since this is alien to even the worse-celebrated liberal expression of the Mass. We need a recovery all that was good in the devotional and pious life of Catholics before Vatican II brought to the post-Vatican II Mass. If that doesn't get more people, so be it.

3. We don't need Protestant music at Mass or Protestant "worship and praise" music. We need traditional Catholic music with it spirituality and ethos. Giving "praise and worship music" it to teenagers now gives them a taste for it later and they leave the Catholic Church for Protestant denominations that have "praise and worship." Should our faith in the REAL PRESENCE of CHRIST at Mass (in all forms, congregation, priest, word and the penultimate, Holy Eucharist) be the end all and be all for Catholics--not praise and worship music??????.


Vox Cantoris said...

Father, all of those items you mention for a "Reform of the Reform" really are not, though for some parishes they clearly may be. They are in fact ALL in the GIRM and Graduale Romanum.

There need be no reform, except one in heart for Latin, Gregorian chant, ad orientem, incense, communion kneeling and on the tongue, these are all in the GIRM now.

No, the Reform of the Reform as far as fixing the structure of the OF and limiting its options, is dead. At least until we have a different pope.

Frankly, the OF needs to be altered so much one might as well suppress it.

My view?

Restore the 65 Missal with the Propers to be said or sung as mandatory. Make the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the Last Gospel, optional. Integrate the new lectionary with Year A being the current Tridentine Readings with an added "Lesson" before the Graduale followed by the Epistle, Alleluia. Restore the traditional Octaves of Epiphany and Pentecost. The language is the vernacular except from the Epiclesis to the end of the Consecration and put the Mysterium fidei back in the Consecration. The post 55 Holy Week is for the vernacular with the Pre 55 as "optional" for the Latin.

EPIII can be an alternate for during the week but EPI is mandatory on Sundays and Solemnities. Restructure slightly the opening so that the Confiteor is said by all and Bob's your uncle.

The Latin version remains along side.

We are both old enough to remember the 65 and that we were told it was the "New Mass."

The 69 Bugnini fabrication was unnecessary, unwise and has done tremendous harm to the faith.

My comments above meet the wishes of SC.

But as for a wholesale fixing of the Novus Ordo, that is dead. It died in March 2013, we've just forgotten to bury it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I don't see the current OF being suppressed. I don't see the 1965 Missal returning except maybe as an vernacular option for the EF even with its slight modifications or simplification.

I do see, and this is where hope springs eternal, the Anglican Ordinariate's options for their new missal, which is in the process of being printed from what I understand, being extended to the Ordinary Latin Rite Mass--meaning a somewhat similar EF Order of Mass with similar EF Rubrics. That would be a tremendous option and certainly "reform of the reform" no?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I may not be clear in what I wrote above, the Anglican Ordinariate's options in their new missal haven't been extended to the normal Latin Rite Missal, but I could see this happening, especially once this revised Missal is printed (hasn't be released yet).

And the Anglican Ordinariate Missal with its EF options was approved by Pope Francis, although early in his papacy and certainly something he inherited, but approved nonetheless.

And apart from the EF Order of things as an option in its appendix, it also explicitly allows for ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion.

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. McDonald,
"Getting down to the low gravy," as my father used to say, the MAIN reason that we don't have a lot of these things in the majority of parishes in the Diocese of Savannah is because of the prevailing attitudes and tastes of the majority of our clergy.

I would begin the process and fight tooth and toenail to get the EF into my parish on some kind of regular basis but, with one exception (in 2008 and 2009), we have not had a pastor who is willing to offer the EF Mass. They either plead ignorance (which is no excuse and can be remedied with training) or they are simply unwilling. To my knowledge, there are no priests within a reasonable distance of my parish who could come in and offer the EF. Our not having the EF (even occasionally) has to do with priests--not a lack of a stable group of interested people.

As to some of the other things you mention which would improve the OF in my parish, once again--so much depends on what the priest will allow or what he chooses to do. We can try to influence him or make friendly suggestions (which I frequently do) but, bottom line, if he isn't interested, we are stuck with what he wants to do.

I truly believe that some of our youngest clergy will be more open to the things you have outlined but they will first need to be released from being under the tutelage of priests your age and older who still are stuck in the Bugnini/Piero Marini mode

If only our bishop would make some of these things a priority then, maybe, our clergy would be nudged along to better liturgy. Frankly, I fear that we won't see much improvement until we get a bishop born after 1960 or so (like bishops Sample, Cordileone or Schneider) and these younger priests become pastors.

Fletcher beeswax said...

"...beautiful candlesticks filled with beeswax candles IN A METAL TUBE..."

I echo Anonymous' BUSTED!

Bwaaa Haaaaaa!

Anonymous said...

I second Vox Cantoris' comment, especially his point that most of the stuff that REALLY needs reforming is already present in the GIRM. What we really need, and what would be more realistic, I think, is a tightening of certain ambiguous passages (such as it "being desirable wherever possible" that either Mass be facing the people, or the the altar be separated from the wall—it isn't clear what that clause is referring to). The rules concerning EMsHC and Holy Communion under both species similarly need to be altered, or at least tightened, because as they stand, they make the common situation of EMsHC every Mass and Communion directly from the chalice seem entirely desirable.

Anonymous said...

Also, my parish needs prayers. Our young parochial vicar has started having every other Tuesday Mass ad orientem (which I've been praying for for months and am surprised is happening), but I feel like with one complaint, he'll be told by the pastor to stop.

Anonymous said...

As long as I can have a EF Latin Mass to go to they can have as many reforms of the reform as they wish to. The sad fact, though, is how long will there be people to attend the Novus Ordo Mass and priests to say it? The real problem for me with the Novus Ordo Mass is the involvement of the laity. To me that is the most obvious reform that has not taken place. While lay people are traipsing around the church and into the sanctuary during Mass then it is always going to be a theatrical display - like sitting at the theatre. The Mass is broken into bits rather than flowing as it does in the Traditional Latin Mass and we're left sitting there filling in the pauses by perhaps noticing what our next door neighbour is wearing or not wearing ... and when you get a comment such as I heard today:

"At Mass this morning, announcements were made (at the end) which resulted in certain members of the congregation to clap loudly and emit "ye-haws" and even loud whistles."

I can't see any improvement of a Mass that has reached such a low standard and even worse in Germany from your recent videos. The Novus Ordo will be there for as long as people attend it and there are priests to say it but it's end is nigh ... many of us attend under sufferance.


Joseph Johnson said...

In which diocese are you located?

Anonymous said...

Richmond, VA