Saturday, March 25, 2017


As I watched the Children's Mass from Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio which I posted in the previous post, I thought to myself, "Self, why don't bishops of every diocese in the world promote this kind of Mass not only for children but for adults as Atonement does?"

Let me explain what I mean. I think the style in which the children's Mass is celebrated in the video in the previous post (which, btw, is the way Atonement celebrates the Mass with adults and families on Sunday, no difference!) can, could and should be celebrated in every Catholic parish with our very own Ordinary Form Roman Missal, allowing for all the prayer options contained in it.

Thus, I continue to say, that knowledge and celebration of the 1962 Roman Missal even in a "boutique" way, should be the template on how the Ordinary Form is celebrated. The OF can, could and should be celebrated as the Atonement video shows, but priests and pastors need the encouragement if not mandate of the bishop to do so!

So, without changing one iota of the current 2012 Ordinary Form Missal, apart from the direction of the prayer, which in fact is allowed already and certainly in continuity with the more than 1,900 years of praying the Mass in an ad orientem direction, even if symbolically, I would suggest the following:

1. The 2012 Roman Missal does in fact contain in a separate liturgical book for musicians the Proper Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons.  This can, could and should be chanted either in our traditional format in the various degrees of Gregorian Chant in Latin or in the vernacular and the Atonement video shows how marvelous these chants can be in English! --This would eliminate from the Mass the inane hymns and other music choices that do not fit the musical, spiritual and devotional qualities of the Latin Rite Patrimony! I would suggest that since the current OF Roman Missal allows a substitution of the Propers for inane hymns of silly styles incongruous with the Latin Rite's chant patrimony, that liturgical musicians could borrow the chants of the Ordinariate's Missal, Divine Worship with their Elizabethan English and the traditional format of the Introit that mirrors the EF's format for the Introit, which includes the Gloria Patri!

2. All the prayers of the Roman Missal be celebrated at the altar ad orientem as in the Atonement video, except for those parts that are directed to the congregation, such as liturgical greetings. This would allow for the complete use of any option of prayers in the Roman Missal, such as the options for the Penitential Act and Eucharistic Prayers.

3. Kneeling for Holy Communion! This is a no-brainer if we are to recover the mystery and reverence for the Sacramental Real Presence of our Risen Lord transubtantially present in the Consecrated Host with Holy Communion reverently received on the tongue.

4. The recovery of kneeling for the Final Blessing as well as for the Penitential Act--of course this would entail a slight revision of the OF Missal to allow this since it isn't currently a rubric.

What I truly appreciated in the Atonement Video was the recessional. After the priest and ministers departed, all the children knelt to sing a hymn of Thanksgiving. It is in our tradition, although lost in many places today because of all the chit chat that takes place in the nave of the church, for Catholics to make a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass. The Atonement video takes this a step further making it a communal act and sung with a devotional hymn! How marvelous is that?

5. I noticed in the Atonement Video that only the scola chanted the Propers and beautifully. This will certainly raise the ire of modern liturgists who insist the congregation must sing everything along with a choir, cantor or scola/choir! We have to mature beyond this ideology as the Atonement parish has done and realize that active participation can be accomplished through listening and contemplation as so much of our chant and musical patrimony in the Latin Rite requires an expertise that the laity cannot always accomplish! We don't need to dumb things down to a level of triteness to appease modern liturgists' hang up about vocal active participation by the laity in every hymn and chant!

6. Please note too, that the Liturgy of the Word in the Atonement Video is not done at the altar facing it, but at a lectern for the Epistle and on the Epistle side of the sanctuary. The traditional Gradual and Tract is chanted marvelously in English which is noble in its simplicity compared to the responsorial psalm style with the useless repetition of the refrain over and over and over again! The Gradual/Alleuia or Tract is available in the Ordinary Form's musical resources! How many people know this??????? Also, please note that the Roman Missal is transferred to the Gospel side of the altar during the chanting of the Gradual/Tract even though the Gospel is read by the deacon facing the congregation at the center of the sanctuary below the altar.

My Final comments: As I have continuously written, our only hope for a Latin Rite Mass in the Ordinary Form that is in continuity with our Latin Rite Patrimony heritage is the refinement of the 2012 Ordinary Form Missal that makes it more EF in spirituality and ethos! We will never see the entire Latin Rite Church return to the 1962 EF Missal exclusively. That missal should remain but will remain only as a "boutique" experience for an elite group of Catholics who appreciate it.

I do propose though, and I think it could happen one day, that the current OF Roman Missal be more closely aligned to the Ordinariate's Roman Missal, something I have consistently advocated! This means a return to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the reordering of certain aspects of the Mass to be consistent with the EF's Order, the return of the traditional offertory prayers, the elimination of all the useless additional Eucharistic Prayers except the Roman Canon which is normally required in the Divine Worship Missal for Sundays and Eucharistic Prayer II which is allowed for week day Masses--the Divine Missal has only these two canons with strict rubrics to mandate the Roman Canon on Sunday! It also has rubrics for the canons for double genuflections at the consecrations, kissing the altar as in the EF to include kissing it each time the celebrant turns away from the altar toward the congregation.

The revision of the 2012 Missal should also align itself to the Divine Worship Missal in terms of revisions to the Roman Calendar to include the Season of Septuagesima, the Octave of Pentecost and ember and rogation days.



Joseph Johnson said...

This is why I continue to advocate for wider celebration of the EF Mass. In order to get to the point of an OF Mass as you describe, Father McDonald, people have to be brought to the point that they understand the rationale for these changes. They need to at least have the option to experience how the Mass was celebrated for such a long period of church history so that they can see for themselves that the current manner of celebration is not so much in continuity. The availability of the EF is a big part of the preparatory catechesis for what you and I would like to see happen with the OF.

Unfortunately, my pastor, from what I can see, still has a 1970's mentality regarding liturgy and while he concedes that the EF has its place in the larger church, he sees it more as something that is not a big priority and is not really that necessary. He sees it simply as the preservation of something significant from the past for those who are interested (kind of like the antique car hobby) and not as a useful tool which prepares us for the future (as I see it).

While I can agree with you that the EF is not likely to again become the ordinary way that Mass is celebrated, I still strongly believe that it has a critical role to play in forming people in what liturgy should be going forward. It is a priority when you look at it this way. I wish our bishop and more of our priests could be convinced to see it this way. I believe that the current situation in our diocese is this: You and certain of our younger priests might see things as I do or as you do--most of our long-time priests do not (they think more like my pastor in Waycross)--I am not sure how our bishop sees all this.

Victor said...

They sang the Propers to a Sarum psalm tone. On other more solemn occasions they sing the propers to the Gregorian Latin (Graduale Romanum). Perhaps when the critical edition of the Latin Sarum Gradual appears, they will use that.

By the way, I love their Eastern style thurible with its little bells. In the East a thurible, with its 3 outer chains (Trinity) and one inner (God as one), has 12 bells which symbolise the teaching of the Apostles.

Anonymous said...

When Benedict XIV was still reigning so gloriously, there was a report that the Anglican Ordinate missal was a preview of a new Latin edition of the OF Missale Romanum 2001 (English translation 2011) to be issued in 2015, so an English translation might have been expected sometime in the 2020s.

Alas, now likely no new missal in English until maybe the 2030s or 2040s. In the meantime, forget about any top-down liturgical direction from bishops focused on PR, financial and political matters, personal advancement and mobility, etc, the lowest of their priorities being the liturgy.

So the alternative for any liturgical movement would appear to rest with individual priests from the bottom up--as, to my understanding, organic development in the liturgy has most often proceeded in the past.

John Nolan said...

There is no 2012 Missal; the one used for the OF is the Missale Romanum, Editio Typica Tertia, 2002.

Also in use, and with equal esteem, are the books of the Roman Rite as used in 1962. The date is somewhat arbitrary since the Roman Rite developed over at least 1500 years.

Nevertheless, the Roman Rite has more authority than the one that replaced it ('auctoritas' has a specific meaning) and to refer to it as a 'boutique Mass' is both ignorant and insulting. The extent to which it is celebrated in AD 2017 is irrelevant since it exists sui generis and the Church is essentially diachronic. Looked at in this way, it is the normative Mass of the Church.

By all means improve the celebration of the Novus Ordo. But a 'fusion' of the two rites would still be an artificial construct which could not replace the Roman Rite which has developed organically and has not been abrogated, and cannot be abrogated.

Victor said...

Mr Nolan:
I am curious about your understanding of "auctoritas" as giving the Old Rite more authority over the new one. "Auctoritas" is not easily translated into English, and it was an important concept for Catholics of previous generations. Could you elaborate further?

John Nolan said...


I was harking back to a post by Fr Hunwicke on his 'Mutual Enrichment' blog (16 July 2016) where he discusses 'auctoritas' with regard to the liturgy - it's not the same as canonical status. Nor is a rite's inherent 'auctoritas' dependent on the authority of those who enacted it. We are in uncharted territory here, since no pope before Paul VI took it upon himself to promulgate a new and radically different rite of Mass.

A Rite that has developed gradually and organically over nearly two millennia has more authority than one which was hastily cobbled together by people with differing views and agendas, and which has been in existence for less than fifty years.

Validity and liceity are not at issue here.

Anonymous said...

" . . . than one which was hastily cobbled together by people with differing views and agendas"

Or, in the case of EP II, by just two people, in a single evening on a tablecloth, according to Louis Bouyer (one of the happy two) and Fr. Hunwicke's latest reference today:

" . . . where a couple of liturgists, in the mid-1960s, botched together in a pub the bizarre formula officially known as Eucharistic Prayer II"

EP II is (sadly) valid and licit, but perhaps not usable by a well-formed priest. Those I know who use it habitually are "of a certain generation" who bought the bogus claim that it had an ancient provenance. I know personally no young "priest of the restoration" who does so.

John Nolan said...

Perhaps Bouyer and Botte were inspired by the Holy Ghost when they cobbled together EP II in a Trastevere restaurant. Only joking. Bouyer cites the incident as an example of 'the deplorable conditions in which this hasty reform was expedited'.

Paul VI wanted the Season of Septuagesima retained but was talked out of it by Bugnini, no doubt using the dishonest tactics which Bouyer devastatingly exposed in his Memoirs.

The question of octaves and to what extent they should be restored also affects the 1962 Missal. The whole question of the Calendar really needs looking at, but the will to do so appears to be lacking.