Friday, January 28, 2022



On another post by Fr. MJK, he writes the following: “The problem isn’t the Novus Ordo.” I would agree with that statement. The problem is with the priests and communities who manipulate it and the video in the Diocese of Venice which I posted, is a case in point and unfortunately not an exception. It’s this type of manipulation of the Missal and avoiding saying the black and doing the red which leads to many who just want a normative Mass without surprises realizing that depending on the parish or a particular priest in a parish, the Novus Ordo is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get.

Priests who celebrate the EF Mass today do so well, un-rushed and with fidelity to the black and red. It is this consistency from Mass to Mass and celebrant to celebrant which attracts those who want to know and experience the Mass in a consistent way.

But, built into the Novous Ordo is the possility of ad libbing at various points and that is in the red. The other problem with the NO is it’s flimsy rubrics which allows for a lot of interpretation and usually what liturgists suggest takes more importance than what the red says to do.

One problem, though, with the vernacular Mass compared to the Latin Mass even in the Ordinary Form, is ad libbing the language by priests admitting to doing it and thinking their wording is better than what is prescribed. That can’t happen in Latin unless the priest actually uses Latin as his vernacular, which no priest does.

I personally love the Modern Mass and the relatively new and glorious English translation of it. Although I celebrate the EF Mass and feel privileged to do so, a little Latin goes a long way for me. 

Music in the NO can have too much latitude and when choirs or ensembles sing up front, it comes off as entertainment. The affectivity of those in the Mass in Venice, Florida by the choir, commentator and priest is intolerable for me and I would have to leave a Mass like that as staying would be an occasion of mortal sin for me. 

Except for our chapel where daily Mass is ad orientem in the Ordinary Form, all the Ordinary Form Masses in the main church are facing the people. We have both genders as readers and altar servers and as Communion Ministers. 

Those things are not of concern to me unless there is no proper training of altar servers and sloppiness reigns even with the simplified duties they have in the NO. 

I do think that the bishop should be aware that the NO is celebrated ad orientem and that it isn’t imposed on people without proper explanation and Mass facing the people is the norm, meaning a Sunday or daily Mass ad orientem is the exception. 

I do think the dress of lay ministers is a problem and a distraction to many especially causal clothes or less than modest attire. 

There are things that can improve the Ordinary Form directed by the local bishop. Expecting the priest to read the black and do the red is a beginning point. Attention to detail is another help with specifics about those details and the proper dress of lay servers. I think albs for lectors and Communion Ministers isn’t to much to suggest and it would solve so much in the area of dress. 


TJM said...

Ad orientem should be the rule and versus populum should be the exception. You should have to ask permission for versus populum

John Nolan said...

Regarding lay readers (please don't call them lectors unless they are instituted as such) I thought that the idea was that they are seen to be part of the congregation. Dressing them in albs and sticking them in the sanctuary militates against this and suggests that they are are somehow special.

Also, regarding the Novus Ordo, what is 'normative' varies from parish to parish, and even from priest to priest. There is no objective standard.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, John, the reason for "lay clothing" is precisely what you stated. Now that lector and acolyte are opened to the laity, male and female, perhaps only official ones in the installed ministry should be used and the vesture for them established as the alb.

I have tried heroically over the years to ask lay ministers to wear Sunday best, meaning coat and tie for men and dress shoes and socks. With women's attire we need to be a little more specific, like no plunging necklines, dresses not too short, especially when they bow and no secrets are left to the imagination!

Yes, people come dressed in all kinds of ways and often those scheduled don't show up and someone ad hoc, not expecting to serve, is called upon to do so.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And yes, with the Ordinary Form, it is way too fluid not only from parish to parish in the same city but from priest to priest in the same parish! Yet, no crackdown from Rome and in the most specific ways possible! It just doesn't make sense.

John Nolan said...

'Crackdowns from Rome' are surely the last things we want at the moment!