The Holy Season of Advent…
I saw the Mass televised live on EWTN and was impressed by the reverence and the “seriousness” of everyone involved. To think that at one time this was the norm for the entire Catholic world for centuries. This was the Mass that our ancestors knew and loved. And it was purposefully destroyed for what! It was so nice to see beautiful vestments and music, and a congregation that believed in the Catholic Faith. And what a change to hear a choir that could actually sing on key. And how nice not to hear the endless drooning on at the beginning of Mass and the stupid ad libs with the bishop welcoming everybody and talking about anything but God or Catholicism. What in God’s name were they thinking of when they destroyed this ancient Rite and replaced it with the the silly irreverent mess we have today. It would be the same as someone who has lived in a beautiful brick mansion their whole life and tearing it down and replacing it with a shack. And the best part was not having to see Msgr Rossi there, and his endless speeches about money and using “the envelopes provided in the pew”. He did that even on Good Friday! Good riddance.
The congregation was truly Catholic, all nationalities, races and ages and no one, no one, complained that their vernacular wasn’t incorporated.
Of course the Pontifical High Mass is not part of most people's parish experience. Even in a metropolis like London, the opening of Westminster Cathedral in 1903 was seen as allowing English and Irish Catholics at last to experience the splendour of cathedral liturgy.Did the pre-Vatican II Liturgical Movement want to do away with all this? I suspect that for the moderates in the Movement this was not the issue, nor was the Solemn Mass. They wanted to find a way to involve the faithful more closely with the liturgy, which for most people was the Low Mass, something that only (and increasingly) became prevalent in the Latin Church during the second millennium.Allowing a bishop to celebrate a Missa Cantata in a parish setting without the requirements of a Pontifical Mass, which most parishes could not provide, was arguably a good measure. Unfortunately by 1964 the Consilium, with the backing of Paul VI, wanted to go much further than this. The Solemn Mass was considerably modified, and by 1967 we had a rite which had more in common with the 1970 Novus Ordo than it did with what prevailed a mere two-and-a-half years before, namely the 1962 Missal. And this is without considering the impact of vernacularization which meant that by mid-1967 it was possible to celebrate Mass with no Latin at all. And the ceremonial of bishops was drastically cut down.In the last ten years there has been a noticeable shift, at least in the USA and England, but also observable elsewhere. Bishops, most of whom were ordained as priests years after Vatican II, are showing an interest in celebrating the traditional Pontifical High Mass, and such celebrations are not only becoming more frequent, but are also showing more competence by all concerned.Also, some of the older customs are being introduced into the Novus Ordo. When the Archbishop of Birmingham celebrates Solemn Mass at the Oxford Oratory he obviously does so in Latin and ad apsidem, as that is the custom; but he is also vested in a pontifical dalmatic and is provided with deacons at the throne, a bugia bearer and an assistant priest.
John Nolan,All positive developments. I still scratch my head at the anti-Latin sentiments found in large swathes of the geriatric generation of bishops and priests. It's almost like hating your Mother.
TJMYou need to remember that whereas in the United States the Catholic Church is just one denomination among many, in England it has had historically to define itself in opposition to the 'Established Church' which is Protestant and is distinguished above all by its English liturgy.That is why there was no general desire for a vernacular Mass, which was imposed between the years 1964-1967 on a people, many of whom were dismayed but who had been conditioned to obey what emanated from Rome.Most of the bishops were similarly conditioned.Dislike of Latin per se has a number of roots. There are those who are attached to a Church whose style of worship and music dates from around 1965; these are the generation who are now on the way out.There is also a guilt felt by a generation who did not learn Latin at school. In 1969 I went up to Durham University to read Modern History, and a qualification in Latin was a requirement. No longer so. Yet despite a plethora of post-nominal letters, modern-day academics, subconsciously or not, regret their lack of knowledge of the classical past.The idea that if only the Tridentine Mass could be in English people would flock to it appears to me bizarre. I would have no inclination to attend it; I would prefer the Novus Ordo in Latin.
There are different levels of ceremonial possible even within the context of the Pontifical Mass. There is this event, which seems to be a relatively full gambit of ceremonial. When we had Bishop Fellay offer the Pontifical Mass at our parish a couple months back, it lasted no longer than our usual Sunday High Mass since the ceremonials were somewhat lessened.
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