Saturday, March 18, 2017
MAYBE IT WAS THE LATIN, THE SILENCE AND WHAT SEEM TO BE OBSCURED THAT LED TO THE WIDESPREAD ACCEPTANCE OF A LESS THAT RICH FORM OF THE MASS?
I was a young teenager when the Mass began to change. First there was the hybrid revision of the EF
Mass with Latin/English. Then the altar was pulled forward for the priest to face the congregation. Then the canon was allowed to be spoken out loud but in Latin. Then English was allowed with three additioal cannons.
I loved each and every change because I didn't need a missal for the translations and I could see the Mass with the priest facing us. For the most part, I did not realize that what was happening was a dumbing down of the richness of the spirituality and devotional quality of the Mass especially when the poor criteria of translating even the dumbed down Mass from Latin to English was instituted for the 1970 Missal.
The only thing I did not like about the Mass facing the congregation was the priest eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ in front of us. It seem like poor etiquette and we were all shocked that the priest chewed his Host since all of us were told not to chew!
I can remember as a young child, well before Vatican II, asking my father why the priest did not face us. My dad felt the same way and mused that maybe mirrors should be hung over the altar for us to be able to see.
But back to my point about the majority of Catholics by 1970 accepting the new order of the Mass with its new dumbed down prayers and poor English translation that was unfaithful to the new Latin texts and why:
1. It was shorter---and for most Catholics who went to the Low EF Mass, shorter was better even in the EF!
2. Most people did not really pay attention to the prayers of the Mass because these were in Latin when prayed out loud and those which were prayed silently were ignored and simply taken for granted.
3. Thus when revisions were made to prayers or prayers like the canon were prayed out loud, one did not make distinctions between beauty and richness of spirituality contained in the older form of the prayer, they were just grateful to hear and understand.
For example, take the two different versions of the Offertory Prayer over the bread. In the EF the richer form of it was prayed silently, so no one noticed that the revised form had no richness, depth of spirituality or reference to the "priestliness" of the sinful priest offering the spotless host!
The newer form was nice to listen to but lacked any spiritual richness, devotion or reality and only focused on what the bread is not what it would become. It is vapid. But in the Ordinary Form these prayers may be prayed silently or out loud, and it sounds nice out loud. No one really paid attention to the dumbing down of the Offertory Prayers in the new Mass because of the Latin and silence of the old Mass!
So take note of the Offertory Prayers over the bread from both the EF and OF Masses that I post below. I now firmly believe that if the Old Mass had been prayed in a quality vernacular and most prayers out loud, that more people rather than an elite group, would have protested the changes in 1970: