Saturday, January 5, 2019


Apart from the photo below, which is the photo that Fr. Dwight Longenecker uses for his article, Twelve Things I Like about the Novus Ordo Mass what I like is what also drives me crazy or to say "yes, but" not 12 times, actually but 13 times.

Let's start with number 13 which isn't listed in his article about what he loves about the Ordinary Form of the Mass and that is the photo below. I have always contended and like very much the altar arrangement of the Catholic Cathedral in London (which is used in an Alfred Hitchcock movie as the setting for a murder when a man trying to kill the star of the show by pushing him off of the bell tower, actually plunges to his own death when he misses the star he is charging toward, but I digress, but it was and is a great movie).

The "Benedictine" altar arrangement is behind the free-standing altar but Mass could easily be celebrated facing the liturgical east without doing any rearranging, thus there is continuity between the two forms of the so-called one Roman Rite.

Yes, but, comes next. That crooked candle will drive me crazy during Mass even if my back is toward it rather than toward the congregation!

 But here are Fr. Longenecker's praises of the Ordinary Form of the Mass. Unlike the verbose, Dr. Kwasniewski , I will offer in RED a brief but most astute, "yes, but" to each of the 12 points:

--In keeping with my own view that one should always give the benefit of the doubt and try to find what’s right rather than always find what’s wrong I thought I’d put together this list of what’s GOOD about the Novus Ordo Mass.
  1. It’s accessible. Having the liturgy in the vernacular helps it to be understood by the people. How can that be a bad thing? (Yes, but, when I was in the Second Grade, Sister Angela taught us how to use our St. Joseph Missal for the Mass and we understood the Mass that way!)
  2. It’s flexible. We’re supposed to honor Latin as the language of our church and it is easy enough to integrate a little or a lot of Latin into the Novus Ordo Mass. It is also flexible musically. You don’t have to use Haagan Daz, hootenany and soft rock music. Learn Gregorian chant and polyphony. It fits. (Yes, but the problem is that Haagan Daz, hootenany and shoft rock music, plus Broadway ditties can be use in it and that's the problem, designer Mass (Assembly line) appraoch to the Ordinary Form).
  3. It travels well. As much as we love beautiful architecture, music, vestments and pipe organs, there are times when the Mass is celebrated at camp, in prison, on the battlefield, in a tin hut or on a mission field, a mountaintop or a beach. The simplicity of the Novus Ordo means it can be celebrated more easily in such situations. (Yes, but, the EF Mass was good enough for the field and on the hood of jeeps in World War II and quite flexible for that environment too!)
  4. There is more Scripture read, and it is read in the language people can understand. How can it be a bad thing for there to be a wider range of Sacred Scripture being made available to the people? (Yes, but there is too much Scripture read and the Scripture that is built in for the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons are optional!!!!)
  5. The gospel procession is restored. Moving the book from one side of the altar to the other? That’s not really a procession is it? In the Sarum rite–the ancient English rite–there were a good number of processions–the gospel procession being one. Nice to have that ancient custom restored. (Yes, but, how many OF Masses even have a Gospel Procession?)
  6. The prayers of the faithful. These are often abused, but when they are well composed and fitting they are a great assistance in leading the people in prayer. (Yes, but how many times are they actually well-composed and an assistance in leading people in prayer. I think the silence, if allowed for the intercessions usually at the end for personal formulations of prayers is appreciated, but how many off this????)
  7.  The offertory procession is restored. The offertory procession is an ancient part of the liturgy in which the people of God bring forward the gifts of the altar. That’s a beautiful restoration of an ancient tradition. (Yes, but that is debatable and I have found that more and more people don't want to do it when asked and say no! So now it is usually the same willing ones!)
  8. The offertory prayers. That’s a connection with the Jewish prayers Jesus would have said at the Last Supper. So that’s a bad thing? (Yes, but, is this a criteria for it not being a bad thing????Isn't the Eucharistic Prayer, even the Roman Canon, based upon Jewish prayers anyway???)
  9. It’s adaptable. The adaptability means the abuses have come in, but it also means all sorts of traditional customs can be retained. Pope Benedict wished for the Extraordinary Form to inform the celebration of the Ordinary Form. So it can be celebrated ad orientem, with altar rails, communion administered to the faithful kneeling and on the tongue, well-trained altar servers, good music, vestments, architecture and art. Yes, bland and banal is possible, but so is grand and glorious. (Yes, but "bland and banal is possible" is the problem and what John Nolan says is an assembly line to creating an OF Mass more in continuity with the EF, meaning even then the celebrant or someone else is tinkering with the Mass and its myriad of options!)
  10. Hymns. Yes I know hymns are supposedly a modern “Protestant” innovation…it’s debatable, but simply taking them for what they are, there are some excellent hymns which really do help the people lift their hearts in worship, express their faith and help to catechize. Used to complement the liturgy they can be a good thing. (Yes, but for most Catholics they think the hymns are the only things that need to be sung and get anoyed when the priest chants his parts, or they are to chant the Gloria, Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Amen, Lamb of God. Many dislike chanting the Our Father, but like singing Amazing Grace with its Calvinistic theology, alien to Catholicism and its Mass! Many OF Catholics think you have to add hymns to the Mass and fail to realize the Mass is the Hymn. The same is true of dance, they think dance has to be added to the Mass when in fact a properly choreographed EF Mass is the dance!)
  11. Its accessibility makes it better for evangelization. I know the Mass is not primarily for evangelization, but when potential converts start attending Mass, to be able to understand and follow the words and actions eases their entrance into the church and enables the process to be more welcoming. (Yes, but prior to Vatican II we had scads of converts to Catholicism because of the Latin Mass and its mystical reverence, the awe it inspired often captured in movies of that period and on top of that African American communities when exposed to the Latin Mass through Catholic education converted to Catholicism because of it!)
  12.  It’s simple. The plain words and actions of the Novus Ordo provide for a celebration with noble simplicity.  Just saying the black and doing the red has a down to earth dignity–not overly ornate and fancy nor banal and vulgar. (Yes, but, while the Solemn High Pontifical Mass or other Solemn High Masses with deacon and sub-deacon can be ornate or fussy, the High Mass and certainly the Low Mass are quite noble in their simplicity, down to earth but never banal or vulgar as the OF could be, can be and often bees, so to speak!)


TJM said...

Father Longenecker has drunk the kool-aid. And in terms of the photo, I would really rather not see His Grace's kisser when he should be leading us in prayer towards the Liturgical East.

The Novus Ordo provides all sorts of opportunities for the priest to offend us with his novelties and "options." No thanks. After putting up with this show for 50 years, I have sworn it off and will only go to the NO under duress.

Anonymous said...

Fr.L ran out of suitable topics? Oh well, ex-Anglican, did not quite leave the old sod.

Anonymous said...

Eccles gives seven reasons why he prefers the Novus Ordo


The Egyptian said...

The main thing I don't like about the OF is the constant lines, readers parading in and out of the "sanctuary" (at least it used to be sacred ) the procession or parade into church, the liturgy of the hand sanitizer, all eight distributors, 3 for the host (plus Fr) and one for the host in the loft and four for the cup, the communion conga line escorted out of the pews by the ushers, half to the front half to the back of church please, everybody out keep moving. Then Fr has at least six or seven vessels to clean not really a noble look bent over at the side table, the old ambulations were much more noble and looked sacred, then the evacuation of the sanctuary and glad handing down the aisle to shake everyone's hand as they leave all to the beat of dismal hip music that isn't hip and not catholic really., I finally cannot stand eagles wings any more. And lets not forget Fr's latest gig, applause for the choir before recessing, gag

I have a liking for the Latin low Mass, simple quiet and holy, no distractions, not about Fr Friendly and his groupies, just worship plain and simple, participation of the mind not the mouth and feet, so peaceful

John Nolan said...

Referring to the Westminster Cathedral photograph:

After V2 a temporary forward altar was installed. Until Cardinal Heenan's death in 1975 it was moved aside for the Capitular High Mass at 10.30 daily, which was celebrated at the high altar in Latin with deacon and subdeacon. However, under his successor Basil Hume it became more or less permanent, and the 10.30 Mass, though still in Latin, was no longer sung and was celebrated versus populum.

Various schemes to re-order the sanctuary permanently were stymied by the fact that Bentley's high altar could not be moved for structural reasons. Yet it had always been free-standing, and the cross and candles on a gradine behind it.

When Vincent Nichols was installed in 2009 the Mass was again celebrated at the high altar, although there was not much room behind it for the celebrants and ministers. The answer was to move the wall behind it by a few feet. When Benedict XVI visited in 2010 this had been done. The forward altar and its platform were permanently removed and henceforth Mass was to be celebrated under Bentley's magnificent baldacchino. Guido Marini insisted that an elegant silver crucifix and candlesticks be placed upon the altar, but after the Pope's visit they were removed.

Twice a year the Latin Mass Society has a Solemn Mass (EF) at the cathedral which is of course ad apsidem, and the sightlines are perfect. It would make sense for all solemn Masses to be celebrated this way, but it won't happen for ideological reasons.