I received this by e-mail:
I wanted to share with you the words of our Pastor, Father Allan McDonald, Pastor of St. Joseph in Macon, Georgia. You have mentioned him at least once before on your blog a few months ago and thought you might be pleased with his latest, which appeared in the Parish bulletin dated July 13th, 2008.
He says a thing or two you may disagree with (like the implication that only the EF can be said in Latin), but by and large I believe you would approve of what is written and consider it another "brick". I do believe that Father is preparing us for Ad Orientum before the end of the year. He mentions singing certain parts of the OF in Latin as well, and we have done some of it (the Sanctus, Angus Dei and the Greek Kyrie), not with regularity but some frequency. I would love to see the other prayers he lists incorporated in their Latin form into our OF Masses.
I wish that there was more good news from the Diocese of Savannah, but I am at least Blessed to be in the epicenter of what good news there is. I have transcribed the entire article, feel free to edit as you find necessary.
Dear friends in Christ,
I’m writing this letter prior to my departure for vacation. I’ll be back in the office on August 1st. Today we welcome Fr. Jim McGovern with Food for the Poor. He will let us know what his organization does and how we can help.
This past Monday, July 7, was the first anniversary of the papal document Sumorum Pontificum. In it, Pope Benedict authorized the "recovery" of the Latin Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal. This Mass is also known as the "pre-Vatican II Mass" of the "Tridentine Mass." Pope Benedict stated that in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church there is but one Liturgy with two expressions, the Ordinary (normal) Form of the Mass, revised after Vatican II and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass celebrated in Latin. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is sometimes called the "Gregorian Mass." The pope even declared that he hoped that the more frequent celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass would bring more solemnity and dignity to the celebration of the Ordinary Form. He prayed that assemblies throughout the world would together with their priests orient themselves towards Christ, rather than towards each other. In the Extraordinary Form of the Mass the priest and congregation face the Liturgical east together, the symbol of the location of Christ’s return at the end of time. The priest and people do not look at each other in prayer that is directed to God alone.
Now that I am celebrating both forms of the Mass, I have a renewed appreciation for both forms. [This is, in my experience, the universal reaction of priests who learn the older form of Mass.] The active participation of the laity in the Ordinary Form of the Mass is truly a gift from God as is the Vernacular. However, the Second Vatican Council did not mandate the entire removal of Latin, but in fact mandated that Latin be preserved while the vernacular could be allowed. It would be good for congregations to know how to sing the Greek Kyrie, and the Latin Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Mysterium Fidei, Pater Noster and Agnus Dei. We have made strides in that direction.
The solemnity of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with its quiet reverence as well as awe and wonder is important to maintain and strengthen in the Ordinary Form. There is no real reason why the priest and congregation cannot face the same direction, the Liturgical East, even in the Ordinary Form. [Indeed. There is every reason why they should!] To be honest with you, when I am praying to God through Christ, but in your name, looking at you while I pray can be a distraction. The priest is not reading prayers to the congregation. The priest looking at the congregation during prayer could confuse the nature of prayer not only in the mind of the congregation, but also in the mind of the priest. The priest is not talking to the congregation except in greetings, explanations, scripture and homily. In prayer, the priest, who represents the people of God, [and who is also alter Christus] is praying to God.
What does the future hold for the Catholic Mass? It is safe to assume that we have entered the era of the "reform of the reform." While Vatican II has been a gift to the Church, we simply must overcome any and all denial about the deleterious effects of some interpretations of Vatican II that were not at all the mind of Vatican II or the Magisterium. The decline and fall of most orders of nuns is a powerful example of good intentions run amuck. Yet the elderly religious who remain, cling tenaciously to a belief that they actually went through some sort of legitimate renewal and are examples for the rest of the Church! Yikes!
I’m not clairvoyant in predicting the future, but change is and will continue to occur. We need to be ready and willing to follow the Magisterium in the areas of faith and morals. This will be the best way to implement the "reform of the reform." God Bless you.
Father Allan J. McDonald
WDTPRS kudos to Fr. McDonald!