Saturday, March 25, 2017
CELEBRATING THE ORDINARY FORM MISSAL IN THE VERNACULAR AS IS BUT IN AN EXTRAORDINARY FORM WAY
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.