Monday, June 8, 2015
MORE FROM LITURGICALLY CONFLICTED IN MACON
But let me say this. I think most priests are liturgically conflicted especially those priests who celebrate a myriad of styles of celebrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass which is not the case for me!
In my parish, all our Sunday Ordinary Form Masses are sung and use the same music. There is no difference between Masses except our 9:30 AM Mass has a full choir that adds to the sound and where they might do one or two anthems independently of the congregation. All the other Masses have a cantor from the choir loft to facilitate the congregational singing. The sameness of all our Masses brings a liturgical unity to our parish as though we were to have only one Mass on Sunday for everyone which in fact would be the ideal.
Our congregation sings too. It is very noticeable for the parts of the Mass in particular but for the hymns too. The Our Father is chanted each Sunday and without accompaniment. It is here that I truly notice the volume of the congregation. And on top of that, at the end of Mass almost everyone remains in the Church for the conclusion of the recessional hymn. In fact on the Memorial Day weekend, our music director decided to sing "America" after the four verses of the recessional hymn. I had already gotten outside after the second verse of the first recessional hymn and no one, and I mean one left the church until all the verses of the second recessional hymn were sung, I think 4, of America the Beautiful. Where else in the world does this happen?
But many parishes have a variety of styles of music for their various Masses. Some priests have an Ordinary Form Mass with no music. Then there will be a Spanish Mass with very upbeat music. Then there will be a choir Mass with more traditional types of vernacular music. Then there will be a contemporary sounding Mass or a lifeteen type Mass with music totally alien to our Latin Rite tradition.
I would say that is a conflicted, unintegrated approach to the Ordinary Form.
What is my conflict though, you might ask?
Yesterday I celebrated our 7:45 AM Mass and 5:00 PM Mass, both Ordinary Form although we have different types of Catholics at both, but the singing and music was almost identical. The propers were chanted in a simply way by the cantor and the congregational singing was very good. Everything is chanted or sung by congregation for their parts and the priest for his parts. All is accompanied by organ except for the accapella parts such as the Our Father, although with robust chanting. But it isn't Latin; it is all English which is fine by me. It is Anglo in other words.
But then I had the 2:00 PM High Extraordinary Form Mass. Our men's schola was particularly strong and excellent yesterday. The congregation participated in the parts normally associated with the altar boys (men in our case) and schola. We sang a hymn, I believe, "Alleluia, Sing to Jesus" as the processional, I and the servers began the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar" quietly as this hymn was concluded by the congregation and smoothly transitioned to the Introit chanted in a beautiful way by the schola, well harmonized and covering the rest of the quiet action of the PATFOTA as well as my ascending the altar and incensing it and allowing me time to say the Introit quietly and to move to the middle of the altar in time for the schola to begin the Kyrie to which all participated at the appropriate time. Then all of us, and I mean all, chanted the Gloria.
The Mass proceeded flawlessly. The only fly in the ointment was that the small schola was not prepared to chant the Sequence which I simply read aloud in Latin and my Latin, I must brag, is getting very good although many say I pronounce it with a strong Tuscany Italian accent!
The spirituality and sound of the Latin Chanted Mass (and I think this would be the case even in an Ordinary Form Mass chanted all in Latin) is different than my other Ordinary Form Masses that day.
There are two spiritualities at work and the ethos of the Latin Mass is simply different. It is as different as an Anglican/Episcopal Eucharist verses a Catholic Extraordinary Form Gregorian chanted Mass.
In the Extraordinary Form, there can be different styles too. There is a different spirituality between a Chanted Mass and a Low Mass. And chanted Masses might use "concert" Masses by the great composers that are very different than Gregorian Chant with a different kind of soaring that tweaks the adrenalin of those who hear it, similar to what some contemporary Catholic music does to one's adrenalin.
But this brings me to the "filled" silences of the EF Mass. I have come to appreciate the silent canon which elevates its solemnity, Mystery and sense of wonder and awe for all. It is "filled" silence, actual liturgical prayer is occurring during the grand silence. Many who think in terms of "new and improved" for the Ordinary Form Mass rather than just "different" are appalled by a silent canon. They think it is a proclamation that must be directed to the congregation with eye contact from the priest and gestures toward the congregation. Any hint of the priest's prescribed liturgical piety are snarkily denigrated (just go over and see the silly post and name calling on Praytell concerning the different ways priest consecrate the Host with staged videos to complete the insults!)
The filled silences of the EF Mass are quite different than the contrived "empty" silences of the OF Mass. There is no real comparison and the contrived "empty silences" leads to zoning out.
So the "filled" silences of the EF Mass is conflicting to me in Macon compared to the contrived "empty" silences of the Ordinary Form Mass!
Is it okay to be conflicted in Macon? I ask; you answer!