Monday, December 19, 2016
THE REASON WHY THE ORDINARY FORM FAILS IN SO MANY PARISHES ISN'T FROM WHAT IS IN THE ROMAN MISSAL BUT WHAT IS WRONG-HEADEDLY ADDED TO IT BY PRIESTS AND BISHOPS
I watched the first part of Pope Francis' birthday Mass in the Pauline Chapel on Saturday. It had solemnity, Gregorian Chant, the Propers were chanted and it was in Latin. Great, if only parishes around the world could follow this model.
But then came the greatest wrong-headed addition to the OF Roman Missal: after the Sign of the Cross and Greeting, all sat and the head of the College of Cardinals spoke directly to the Holy Father about his monumental milestone of turning 80. At that point I decided not to watch the Mass. This could have happened at a reception following the Mass or even after the Prayer after Holy Communion, but please not at the beginning of Mass!
These ad libs, as well-intentioned as they might be, distract from the flow of prayer in the Holy Sacrifice. Keep in mind that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass begins the moment that the Introit or a substituted Entrance Chant, no matter how traditional or contemporary, begins. The Mass does not, let me repeat, does not begin with the Sign of the Cross. But how many priests/bishops say after the Entrance Chant, "Let us begin, In the Name of the Father...." and then even more destructive to the focus of prayer, after the greeting, the celebrant gives a homily, makes some sort of announcement or has to greet everyone and use the banal "Good morning everyone" greeting to which all respond. None of this is prayer and prayer of the Mass is completed disrupted, until the priest/bishop introduces the "Penitential Act" either using the concise words of the Missal or his own words that are too wordy!
The next serious problem with the OF Mass, which is not built into it, is the lack of attention to detail. The liturgical "ministers" are not properly trained or choreographed and this includes the altar servers, lectors, and extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I know, I know, many of you don't like these additional ministries, but they are allowed and since they are let's focus on training them properly and choreographing them properly as well as making sure they are properly vested for these important ministries. Sloppiness and casualness are the enemy of the Ordinary Form of the Mass and sadly all too common making the laity and some clergy think this is what Vatican II desired not to mention the committee that wildly reformed the EF Mass. No one at the time who had some authority in the revision of the Mass desired sloppiness or casualness. Those who had no authority to cause this to happen are responsible in the clergy and laity.
Just my two cents worth.