Friday, March 20, 2015


Last night we had our High Mass in the Extraordinary Form for our patron, Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We also made this Mass for the intentions of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

There were several young people there. I asked a visiting 10th grader from another parish not far from Macon if he had ever been to an Extraordinary Form Mass. He said no. I asked him what he thought about it? He said, "IT WAS AWESOME!" I'm trying to talk my parents into attending here (they live about 20 miles away!).

It is clear to everyone who attends the EF Mass that the reverence that it has which is prescribed for it has been lost for the most part in the Ordinary Form. Most people who attend the OF Mass appreciate the English, perhaps a bit of the Latin but would not mind and would deeply appreciate a return to the prescribed reverence of the EF Mass. It is possible to do so without changing the OF Missal in any real radical way or doing away with it altogether. The elimination of the OF Missal simply isn't going to happen, but improving it along the lines of the EF Mass will happen, mark my word!

Cardinal Sarah said yesterday on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, "Guarding the sacred liturgy," Cardinal Sarah wrote, “does not mean remaining closed in the past,” but “maintaining sound tradition” and being open to “a legitimate progress.”

Might I be so boldly humble to suggest to the good Cardinal my recommendations for maintaining sound tradition for the Ordinary Form of the Mass that has legitimate progress?

1. The Mass is ad orientem from the start to the end and restore the choreography of the EF Mass for priests and servers. Return to the Prayers at the Foot of the altar but as a clerical preparation for Mass as the Official Introit is chanted (in Latin or English and by the congregation). I would be open to the Asperges replacing the PATFOTA, but the EF's version of the Asperges or Vidi Aquam. 

2. Return the removed private prays of the priest when ascending the altar and kissing it and incensing it as well as at other times. To remove these was just down right stupid!

3. the chanting of the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect in English or Greek/Latin. 

4. The Liturgy of the Word as is usual for the Ordinary Form and using the existing revised lectionary and with lay readers. 

5. The transfer of the Roman Missal from the Epistle Side to the Gospel side as the priest or deacon goes to the middle of the altar to prepare to proclaim the Gospel, although the Gospel is read at the ambo.

6. No change to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, although mandating that the Offertory and Communion Antiphons be chanted and only then any filler anthems or hymns. 

7. Holy Communion kneeling (preferably at the altar railing) and receiving on the tongue with the option of Holy Communion under both kinds by way of intinction only as is allowed now in the American adaptation of the Roman Missal's GIRM.


JusadBellum said...

Western Man in general and Americans in particular have experienced incredible, unprecedented traumas in the past century.

In the US, our culture is always so future oriented that the idea of following any tradition older than 100 years is reserved for only the most superficial of things - recipes of jelly or beer or some sport. But even there, today's version resembles the original prototype in color or name only.

But the effect is to be without roots and thus on one psychological level, to be vulnerable and feel this vulnerability: angst, depression, nervousness... fear of the unknown.

Americans are anonymous in our suburbs. Children raised without parents, immediate relatives near by, into other cultural inheritances (different music, different shows, different styles, etc.) each age cohort adopting some foreign vs. organic custom.

We see this lack of roots and security in the general dystopian futurescapes - zombies, end of the world scenarios, aliens invading... we have little of the early 1960's "can do" spirit. Little of the "the sky's the limit" feeling of potential. Instead, Millennials are facing a grim future in every category except sexuality and technological advances.

Is it any wonder then that ad hoc, 'new' faddish liturgy doesn't scratch the itch for a sense of rootedness, of belonging, of stepping into a long train of human experience, going back for millennia and connecting us to distant relatives and distant peoples in a common effort?

Dancing girls might "work" but they connect us to no saint, martyr, or mystic. No council, no great evangelizing effort of past centuries. It echoes nothing in our European heritage and thus is improper 'inculturation'. Foreign and fake. It's contrived paganism for our Latino-Americans and Asian members too who didn't come from a Christian heritage of liturgical dance or ad hoc liturgy either.

Rood Screen said...

I'd suggest that ad orientem for the Eucharist Prayer would get us most of the way to that goal.

Anonymous said...

In a recent Washington, DC presentation, the great Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave a list of

10 Elements of Renewal in the Liturgy

that prescribe mainly changes in ars celebranda or the praxis of celebrating Mass, rather than changes in the Mass or missal itself.

While I have been as interested in “the reform of the reform” as most anyone else, I’ve just about come to the conclusion that talk about changing the Mass is ineffectual, when instead it is the priests celebrating the Mass that must be changed before mystery and reverence and even faith itself can be restored among Catholics generally.

That is, among the 2% of Catholics who are remain as fully faithful and believing, when you consider that (according to some plausible statistics) only 20% of identified Catholics attend Mass weekly, and only 10% of these weekly attenders actually believe fully all that Church and Catechism teach.

The hard fact is that too many of the priests who attended seminaries in the 70s and 80s gained no sense of proper liturgy or of the priesthood itself while there, nor since then. Perhaps a very few priests from these troubled generations can gain by learning the EF a sense of what it means to be a priest offering sacrifice in propitiation for the sins of men. However, I fear that most of these unformed priests are closed to constructive change.

For the Church as a whole, I wonder whether there is any solution other than the demographic one. For the individual Catholic, the only evident solution is to find a parish where a (usually young) faithful and liturgically sensitive priest celebrates Holy Mass.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, when you wrote the following it describe me to a tee! thank you:)

"For the individual Catholic, the only evident solution is to find a parish where a (usually young) faithful and liturgically sensitive priest celebrates Holy Mass."

Anonymous said...

It seems clear that many of you no longer believe or accept the four marks of the Catholic church...that it is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC.

One needs to pick out a particular church with a pastor who thinks like you think and does like you do. Hmmmm....

Anonymous said...

I agree with Henry: I don't know that the problem ever was with the rubrics of the Mass, even when it changed. It's about the attitude and reverence for the Mass by the priest. His tone, his demeanor, his prayerfulness, his seriousness, all reflect a solemn and, dare I say, holy approach toward the great prayer of our Church. I have for the most part over the years found the Novo Ordo Mass very satisfactory when celebrated, even with prior rubrics, reverently and prayerfully by a priest who seems to actually believe in the Resurrection and the Real Presence. The problem is, I sense, many priests just don't believe anymore. And it shows.

Anonymous said...

The only way I can see a restoration of reverence into the Ordinary Form of the Mass is to revert to having the Epistle and Gospel read by the priest or deacon and to dispense with the offertory procession, the sign of peace and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. That, together with the Mass being offered ad orientam and the other suggestions made by Fr McDonald would help a lot to restore the lost reverence.

As far as I am aware, you do not have the intrusion of the laity into the Mass in the Orthodox churches and their liturgy is reverent and solemn.

Prior to their introduction of lay people into the Ordinary Form of the Mass it was only Protestant churches that promoted the laity into roles formerly reserved to the priest. That is why the Ordinary Form of the Mass has lost the dignity and reverence that can only now be found in the Extraoridinary Form Latin Mass. The involvement of laity in the Mass is a major stunbling block in my opinion.



Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But Jan, in the EF Mass there is great care with the laity that are involved and they are the altar boys/men. In my parish we have several laymen who serve this Mass, they are laity.

They are trained well, they are vested and carry out their ministry with dignity.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

To be honest with you, the number one thing that needs to be recovered is kneeling for Holy Communion at the altar railing. This one thing alone will do so much to increase reverence and prevent the profanation of the Sacred Host by it being taken to the pew or outside of the Church.

The next thing is to address the banal hymns and musical instruments used in Mass and to make the Organ the primary instrument or no accompaniment at all.

the next thing is to remove the choir from the sanctuary where they are poised to sing in an entertainment fashion and to get rid of anyone who attempts to lead the congregation in singing by using the now antiquated and silly looking arm gestures taught to cantors and song leaders more than a generation ago.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonald, my observation in many parishes during the past four decades is that the fewest members of the congregation join in singing hymns when there is a cantor up front trying to lead, and the most join in when "led from behind" by a choir heard but unseen in the loft at the back.

rcg said...

You are correct, of course, Father in your prescription for recovery. But I thought those arm movements were part of the Byrd Mass.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Father, but you wouldn't have lay men reading at the EF Mass, would you? And there are no Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at the EF, are there? There would be no offertory procession either at the EF of the Mass, would there?

I imagine the answer to all of my questions is no.

To me that is one of the major differences between the two Masses and what separates the Ordinary form of the Mass from the Extraordinary form and from the Orthodox form.

Lay people moving from the body of the church into the sanctury for readings, processions etc may not be as noticeable to the priest but it disrupts the flow of the Mass and it disrupts the flow of prayer of the congregation.

Of course Communion on the tongue kneeling and sacred music would make a big difference but, even if that occurs, the presence of the laity moving around the Church will always be disruptive.

Also the involvement of the lay people in the Mass has also created a form of hierarachy among the laity too and has led to disputes. Thankfully you don't get that in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass where the priest is in charge.


Anonymous said...

An article posted today at mentions that:

"Neither the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy nor the Novus Ordo Missae as promulgated by Pope Paul VI mandated or even so much as mentioned:

-- the priest facing the people;
-- the use of laity to distribute the sacred species;
-- the reception of holy communion on the hand and in a standing posture;
-- the involvement of women and girls in the sanctuary as substitutes for acolytes;
-- the virtual abolition of the Latin language;
-- the substitution of pop-style songs for the chanted Ordinary of the Mass and of vernacular hymns for the chanted Propers of the Mass.

All of these practices are post-conciliar innovations or novelties that fly in the face of Catholic tradition. They are notorious embodiments of what Pope Benedict XVI has called the “hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity” whereby Catholic doctrine, life, and worship have been divorced from longstanding (in some cases, even apostolic) Catholic tradition."

Mitch Miller Time or Let me hear a melody.... said...

Those cantors up front directing with the silly arm movements always remind me of my youth when I watched the Sing Along with Mitch television show. They're okay when one is leading a quartet, chorus, or a glee club, but downright distracting at Holy Mass.

John Nolan said...

Long after the new Missal was imposed, many priests out of habit continued to recite the 'private' prayers of the older Rite. They actually began as the celebrant's own devotional prayers and were only inserted into the Missal in the course of the second millennium. If you compare the Tridentine Rite with other Uses you see they are not standardized (unlike the Roman Canon which more or less defines the Roman Rite).

In the Novus Ordo what is to stop the priest saying to himself the Aufer a nobis and Oramus te as he approaches and venerates the altar? Or saying quietly the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas between the Lavabo and the Orate Fratres? Or saying the Placeat before the Blessing?

And before someone says 'Ah, but mixing of rites is forbidden' remember that technically there are but two 'forms' of a single Roman Rite. Yes, we all know that this is a legal fiction but why not take advantage of it?

Too many people ignore the elephant in the room; what has effectively destroyed the unity and catholicity of worship is the introduction of the vernacular which in most places had completely ousted Latin by 1967. This was entirely novel. In the fourth century the liturgy moved from a hieratic Greek to a hieratic Latin which was hardly the vernacular language of the people, even in Italy. Much later, and only in certain areas, Rome allowed Mass to be celebrated in Old Church Slavonic - again, not a vernacular.

Every liturgical abuse, from excessive 'creativity' to trite and inappropriate music is a direct result of this rushed and to my mind misguided policy. To allow the epistle and gospel to chanted or read in the vernacular could be argued for. But putting even the sung Propers into the vernacular fatally undermines Gregorian Chant which, we are assured is uniquely proper to the Roman liturgy.

The observation by an anonymous commentator above concerning the four 'marks' of the Church couldn't be more wrong-headed. People are looking for a liturgy that reflects the unity, sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity of the Church, not for a pastor who thinks and acts like they themselves do. Subjectivity, which infects most of current Catholic worship like a virulent bacillus which is resistant to antibiotics, has no place here.

Ted said...

What you are calling for in the Mass is a return to former usage. A lot of valuable things were discarded for reasons that the experts thought were necessary
The problem is those experts who were so far removed from the lives of ordinary Catholics, and insensitive to their needs. It was all theory that was not grounded in basic human psychology. They were under the direction of a reform extremist, Msgr Bugnini, whose sole goal was to destroy long held liturgical tradition, and who must have had quite a bullying personality to have been allowed to inflict such damage.

The extremism goes beyond the Mass. For curiosity, I wondered what Holy Week was like before Bugnini choreographed a new one. The Church had understood the Eucharist to be so sacred that one had to fast from the night before to be able to receive it the following morning. So all Masses were in the mornings, before noon. Once the Eucharist was seen as not that sacred, the rules of fasting were relaxed and Masses could be said at other times during the day. In the case of Holy Thursday and the Paschal Vigil, these could now be held in the evenings. It is one thing to suggest time changes to the Mass, but when ideologues convince people of one thing, they try to sneak in others, many others. Why bring in the foot washing into the Mass when no one wears sandals or is bearfoot anymore, and causing the theological dilemma that only men can now have their feet washed because as part of the Mass, it is related to the priesthood. There was no valid reason to destroy the beauty of the old Pascahl Vigil with its Trinitarian mystery as people etered the church with the triple candles (like used in the East), and the watering down of the Exultet to a mere fancy solo chant when it was during its singing, for countless centuries, that the Paschal candle was lit, and the grains of incense set in. And the post-Vatican changes: the dumb changes to the Mass, and the partial destruction of the Divine Office. Why is it taking the Church so long to revisit these bad changes?

Rood Screen said...

As a liberal Catholic, I think pastors should give the faithful full freedom of access to the whole of the Roman liturgical tradition. The Holy Ghost will take care of the rest.

Anonymous said...

JBS: "..full freedom of access to the whole of the Roman liturgical tradition. The Holy Ghost will take care of the rest."
To me, the Holy Ghost IS taking care of "the rest." He is fanning the flames of a nearly extinguished love of God and a return to true worship of God, after the satan inspired many faithless priests and religious to abuse the liturgies of the Church, and teach lay people to do so also.
I think we can safely say, given the emptiness of the pews and the statistics that perhaps only 30% of self identifying Catholics actually attend Mass on Sunday, that experiment of giving the "faithful" (who???, you liberals, who often disagree with and disobey the Magisterium on matters of faith and morals, are the "faithful?") "full access to the whole of the Roman liturgical tradition" has already been tried, and failed.
I guess it wasn't destroyed, which was the intent, so you want another shot at it? God forbid!!!

Rood Screen said...


I'm afraid I don't understand what you're talking about.

John Nolan said...

Ted, in deploring the 1955 Ordo of Holy Week you are in good company - Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Heenan and Evelyn Waugh, to name but three.

Anonymous said...

JBS: Feigned ignorance? How disingenuous. No matter.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Ted - What valuable things were discarded? And why were they valuable?

Also, are there any things from the old liturgy that you think it was appropriate to discard?

Rood Screen said...


I neglected to re-read what I had written earlier. I am using the term "liberal" with a bit of "rhetorical flare" here, in order to make the point that providing the faithful access to the EF Mass, and to a traditional celebration of the OF, is the truly liberal thing to do, in so far as it grants a liberty to the faithful.

Anonymous said...


I suspect you misunderstood JBS. He is traditionally minded as any priest you're likely to see these days. By liberal access to "the whole of Roman liturgical tradition", I think he meant things like ad orientem celebration, genuflecting before the tabernacle, and kneeling for communion on the tongue. Things that betray reverence that illiberal modern liturgists apparently don't feel themselves, and therefore don't want anyone else to show.

John Nolan said...

Fr Kavanaugh

'What valuable things were discarded? And why were they valuable?'

Once we are in the realm of value judgements, there can be no clear answers. The 1570 Missal only included five Sequences, yet other Uses (e.g. the Dominican) retained more, presumably because they were considered to be of value. In the interests of brevity the troped Kyries so characteristic of medieval liturgies were discarded; although some may say they had not inconsiderable value.

In recent years the melismatic verses which were part of the Offertory responsory have been restored (they are to be found in the Offertoriale Triplex) as has the custom of adding extra psalm verses to Introit and Communion antiphons. Why? Because they were deemed to add value, despite the fact that they appeared to have been discarded centuries ago.

Since the Church regards all legitimate and authorized rites to be of equal value it can be argued that she does not really discard anything. Some things that were in the older rite are not included in the newer, and vice-versa; but since both rites have parity of esteem (not to mention non-Roman rites) this is not in the long run a major issue.

Ted said...

Fr. Kavanaugh:
You ask 2 good questions, whose answers would a fit good sized tome.
A number of years ago, the NLM had a series on the 1955 Holy Week Ordo, comparing it the old Ordo:

The author points out many of the loses. Generally, there was no sound reason for these changes. They happened in order to break the connection of Catholicism with its immediate past, and pave the way for the introduction of Protestantism into the liturgy which reached its apex in the consilium. The hatred of the Church of post-antiquity by these reformers is daunting. The Church was forever growing for 2000 years without the need of a liturgical movement, a movement that turned into a modernist ideology between the world wars.

John Nolan said...


I have no doubt that the pre-1955 Ordo for Holy Week will be used more regularly in the future; we have moved a long way from the days when Rome imposed liturgical changes willy-nilly on the entire Latin Church (a 20th century phenomenon which Pius X inaugurated, Pius XII continued and Paul VI brought to its apogee). In retrospect not just an anomaly but a grave miscalculation.

'All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well' (Julian of Norwich).