A priest writes: “let’s hang up the ‘old Mass'”

When bishops, priests pr seminarians write I will always do my best to hide their identity, unless they specifically say it is okay to use their name.

From a priest:

Greetings from ___. I just thought I’d drop a note about my Mass experience on Sunday. I frequently get loaned out when there is a need. Such was the case this past Sunday….

To give some personal context, I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, am nearing my 3rd anniversary of ordination, and am learning to celebrate the Mass according to the 62 Missal. [W]here I am stationed is by no means high church, but pretty "by the book" (we’re working on it). In addition, my confreres have charge of a parish where things are done along fairly traditional lines ….
 
All of this serves as a setup for the following: I realized this weekend that while I have been rediscovering the tradition, I have lost touch with the old Mass. Do not confuse this "old Mass" with the Traditional Latin Mass which for me is an ageless timeless discovery. The "old Mass" to which I refer is the Mass of my youth. It is the Mass of pianos and guitars, the Mass of loquacious commentators and "greet the people around you." It is the Mass of audience participation and interior dullness. It is the Mass of primping cantresses and now-dated pop styled music about us. [nice phrase] It is the Mass of candy jar ciboria and pewter chalices handled by an excessive number of extraneous ministers (who must process in and out of course). [Of course!  that’s "participation", you know, "empowering the laity"!]

It hit me after the first Mass Sunday morning that, as a child born in the 70’s, all of this has become terribly old and tired and compared to the timeless tradition of the Church and is just worn out.

Mark me down in favor of the Mass of the ages and please let’s hang up the "old Mass."

 
Nicely done.

Consider yourself "marked down", with a WDTPRS kudo by your name!

I think you see, Father, why some people have fought so hard to repress the older Mass.  They knew that when a TLM and a messy Novus Ordo Mass were able to be experienced and then compared in concrete ways, then the jig would definitely be on the upswing.

They had theological, doctrinal and ecclesiological, reasons to repress the older Mass. 

And priests like you, Father, are their worst nightmare.

As I have been writing tirelessly, Summorum Pontificum was mainly a gift for priests

The Holy Father’s document did not only for the most part take the decisions about the older form of Mass out of the hands of local bishops.  It also presented a new "hermeneutic" through which priests, especially younger priests, would begin to read Holy Mass and understand themselves at the Lord’s altar. 

What Summorum Pontificum did was opening the possibility of hundreds of humble instances of the "gravitational pull" which the older form of Mass, through these priests, would have both on the way they celebrate the newer form and, subsequently, on the participation of people in Holy Mass.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Mail from priests, SESSIUNCULA, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to A priest writes: “let’s hang up the ‘old Mass'”

  1. Andy K. says:

    Yay!

    Exactly! This priest has it right on the nosy!

    I can only hope and pray that he inspires numerous young men and women to pursue their vocations!!

  2. Diane says:

    I needed a good laugh on my lunch hour. Thank you so much – anonymous priest – and Fr. Z for posting this.

    Along with those slap-back, happy liturgies of the 70’s and 80’s is the butterfly-and-me catechism that usually went with it.

    You got nothing of substance in catechism growing up in those days, and the homilies…..even less.

    And they wonder why the pews are empty, or graying.

  3. A. Nonymouse says:

    Am I getting a hint that this young priest isn’t one of those, like my former pastor, who does tap-dances in front of the altar or tosses off his stole and invites teenagers to deliver the homily?
    What happened to the “spirit of Vatican II” and full participation by the priesthood of the laiety?
    May we soon have a lot more priests like this one? Maybe they would also be willing to learn the TLM, too.

  4. David D. says:

    “extraneous ministers” Now I understand what the the “EM” in EMHC stand for!

  5. PaulJason says:

    Wonderful so very wonderful

  6. RANCHER says:

    Have you no heart? What will become of all the “lay ministers” and altar girls if the inclusive Mass of the 60’s and 70’s goes away? Their piety and sense of self importance appears so intimately tied to their access to the altar. God forbid that they be restricted to the pews like everyone else. Their psyche just won’t be able to handle it. Shame.

  7. inillotempore says:

    Dear anonymous priest,
    Thanks so much for learning the TLM (and for posting on Fr. Z’s blog).

    I felt the same way when I first experienced the Mass of the Ages. we need many more good priests like yourself (and old set-in-their-ways-liberal priests to have conversion experiences).

    We all need to pray for priests; be assured you, Fr. Z, and all priests will be remembered in our nightly family rosary.

  8. David Andrew says:

    “Interior dullness.” What a perfect description. And the progressivist liturgistas are so terrified of the very dullness they’ve perpetuated that they make certain that the dullness is never discovered. They do it by making sure that every nook and cranny of the liturgy is stuffed with cheap chatter, cheap music, cheap sentiment and cheap spirituality.

    I was just thinking to myself yesterday how tragic it is that our parish can’t make any strides toward bringing its liturgies into closer conformity with the mind of the Church, and why we (or should I say those who hold sway on the liturgy committee) continue make decisions based on what people “like” rather than what helps deepen their faith and help restore what makes the universal prayer of the Church truly universal.

  9. Very nice! Great descriptions.

    I’ve mentioned in my own blog posts about my experiences with the TLM that on one hand, it is clear that the TLM’s I have experienced have been more beautiful than all but a handful of NO Masses I have attended. What I can’t discern as of yet is whether I find the TLM intrinsically better than the NO, or whether it’s just the problem of the manner in which the NO has been so viciously abused. I do know that if the Augustinians accept me (hopefully I’ll know by May, as I’ve just begun the application process), I am absolutely learning the TLM. But I would also like to celebrate the NO perfectly according to the rubrics and with the traditional elements that were never supposed to go away. So meaning with the inclusion of chant, and proper Catholic hymns, and incense, etc. I don’t know. It will probably be several more years before my mind is really made up as to which I prefer intrinsically, though there is no doubt that I prefer the TLM in the way it is ordinarily celebrated versus the NO the way it is ordinarily celebrated.

  10. Rabbie Burns says:

    What a hoot!

    I couldn’t agree more, Father. May you go from strength to strength.

    God bless.

  11. chironomo says:

    With all of these events happening, I am constantly called back to then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s comment that the future may see a much smaller but more orthodox Catholic Church carrying on the deposit of the faith. Could it be that there will be some event, proclamation, series of events or whatever that will cause large numbers of CINO’s to flee the church? I have been thinking about this in relation to a number of things in the news lately….

  12. Sid says:

    The “entertainment Mass” is indeed now the “old Mass”. In my parish it is also being marginalized, one offered in the parish hall, the other for teens at Sunday 5pm. I can’t say how well either is attended, or by whom.

    At the other Masses shaking hands with your neighbor at the beginning is gone, and the priests follow the book and offer solid sermons. Still we are afflicted with some insipid music. And from my experience, this in typical in the USA. Part of the “gravitational pull” of the MEF ought be to get rid of hymns altogether. Hymns belong in the Office. In the MOF an introit, gradual, alleluia, and communion antiphon are provided already. Let’s sing them, and sing them with the music of the Church’s tradition, or at least music that doesn’t come from cocktail lounges, dance halls, and the Filmore East.

  13. chironomo says:

    Sid…

    I’m all with you on that effort! All it would take is ANY word of encouragement from our Bishop in that direction and I would be all over it. The problem is, those of us responsible for the music week-to-week are NOT willing to risk our jobs (especially not in these times!)for a cause, no matter how just and right it is! If my Pastor gave me the green-light, I would face down the opposition from choir members, cantors, parishioners and have authentic music in place inside of a year. But the word has got to come from the top….

  14. Maureen says:

    I was delighted to read this. Years ago, when I was visiting another city, I asked at the hotel desk for the location and Mass times of the local RC church. When I got to Mass, I found that it was the old Latin Mass. (It may have been a SPXX Mass. At the time, I wasn\’t even aware that the group existed.)
    Anyway, from beginning to end, I couldn\’t stop my tears from flowing. I felt that I had finally come home. It was more than the sacred mystery that affected me. This was the Mass of my childhood.
    Since then, I have argued that the NO Mass should be an available option, because for the current generation, this is the Mass of their childhood. I didn\’t want my children robbed the way that I had been.
    Reading this makes me believe that it\’s possible that the old Latin Mass will one day be the Mass of my grandchildren\’s childhood.

  15. Jayna says:

    I know exactly where he’s coming from. While he is a little older than me, I experienced the 80s and early 90s folk Masses at the cathedral. My current parish is the same way, though they’re not singing folk so much…gospel revivals, I guess you’d call it. We use wooden vessels, the priests wear completely unadorned vestments, the entire Mass has been stripped down to its bare bones; it just all seems so dated. The TLM is, just as he said, a “timeless tradition,” but the way in which the NO is celebrated by the majority (because it can be done correctly) is a throwback.

  16. Tom in NY says:

    A marvelous aspect of this weblog is describing the TLM’s effects on priests’ mental attitude.

    But Fr. Z’s Greek scholarship “nodded” today – a rare event. “Kudos” is a singular form. The plural is “kudeis (transliterated).”

    Salutationes omnibus.

  17. Steve K. says:

    This post made my day, thank you for sharing it, Father.

  18. Fr. F says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for the hippies to let 60’s spirit die and invite the Holy Spirit back in! We are all so tired of that era – it’s like a bad hair day.

  19. TJM says:

    Thank God for these younger priests – they get it! Tom

  20. Michael Hallman,
    Speaking as one who attends Mass in the Roman Rite every day, in the ordinary form most days, the extraordinary form mostly on Sundays, I’m not sure whether it’s useful to ask whether the “TLM is intrinsically better than the NO”.

    However, don’t you sense that the difference in the ways the two forms are ordinarily celebrated reflects some intrinsic difference between the two forms themselves?

  21. A Random Friar says:

    Fr. Z, from this post onwards, everything’s italicized, at least for me, using Firefox and Vista (both latest).

  22. Tomas says:

    I don’t know which is more eloquent, Father: the priest’s note or your postscript. Thank you for these beautiful ringing words.

  23. Jonathan says:

    The Pastor at my church told me that the EF was not for the likes of me (I am a convert), but for old people that are attached to it from childhood. Fortunately I am well equipped from daily reading of this blog to respond.

    But I was fascinated to observe the other day that the young priest offering mass at the youth mass was using very orthodox liturgical gestures. I have obtained and studied the training DVD from FSSP for Priests and Seminarians on how to say the EF, and I noted that the young priest, as far as possible, seemed to be following it.

    I asked him when I next saw him, and he confirmed that he was trying to be faithful to the tradition, and seemed very pleased that I had noticed and that it had moved me.

    So thank God for the renewed orthodoxy of all these wonderful young priests!

  24. henri says:

    This feeds into my feeling that the Novus Ordo may not be the Ordinary Form at all in 30 years time. The EF could be more widely celebrated and the NO as good as dead

  25. Anne-France says:

    I am so happy: I am going to sing Alleluia the whole week. And yes, also, I\’ll say a few Te Deum for the Holy Father. No drums, I promise.
    VIVA IL PAPA!

  26. Aelric says:

    We are all so tired of that era – it’s like a bad hair day.

    LOL!

    This comment made me think of a ‘WDTPRS’ version of the movie Groundhog Day (where Bill Murray’s obnoxious character experienced the same day over and over until he reforms himself). Only in the ‘WDTPRS’ version, the poor father/seminarian/layman* experiences the same banal Glory & Praise music and liturgy over and again until finally the character gets to an Extraordinary Form; breaks the time loop; and moves onward and upwards.

    Blessings and prayers for the sacerdotal writer in the many spiritual battles that he will, in future, have to face.

    *I refuse to write “layperson.”

  27. Nerina says:

    How wonderful it is to hear every “brick by brick” story. And God bless this priest.

    I read on a few blogs about how the liturgies of the 70s and 80s are fading. If only that were true in our diocese. While there are a few churches that celebrate a very reverent NO, most are stuck in a time warp. I kid you not when I say that felt banners, bongos, banjos, kazoos (and other noisemakers), liturgical dance, and lay preaching are de rigeur as are other liturgical innovations and invitations to self-communicate. I pray that the reform reaches our diocese soon.

  28. Maureen says:

    I’m pleased to learn the Greek plural of ‘kudos’, and will be sure to inflict it on all my nearest and dearest. But the English plural of ‘kudos’ is ‘kudos’ — or rather, ‘kudos’ in English is a collective noun.

    (I’m afraid I give too much of my brain over to this sort of thing, which is why I am pretty much the opposite of a primping cantrix. Lackaday!)

  29. Charles John says:

    Ironic. Nearly 10 years ago, after I had been appointed to a local parish building committee, the hired architects came in with a rounded building design in cement and blah form, calling it a product of the vision of Vatican II. After contacting the pastor about the presentation, and asking him to consider the \”newer\” buildings rather than the \”old\” that had been presented, another meeting was held. At that meeting, I held up pictures of modern timeless art, i.e. tasteful art you will find in old Churches, against the artwork of old 1970s religious arts including statues and pictures. The committee became quickly aware of my point, that the 1970s was old art and architecture and the timeless art was the new artform, conforming to the taste of truly objective beauty. No trendy stuff there. Thereafter, I contacted Steven Schloeder, author the book \”Architecture in Communion,\” who came to our parish, and helped reform the architects\’ ideas and designs, which resulted in a beautifully new, but old, basilica form church. It is timeless. It gave new meaning to the old saying, out with the \”old,\” and in with the \”new.\”

  30. Karinann says:

    Thank you to both fathers for this post. Like the anonymous priest, I too grew up with the “old Mass”. When I made my First Communion in the very early ’70’s we were at least still receiving Communion kneeling at an altar rail on the tongue. The altar rails came down around the time I entered highschool. When I returned to the Church 6 years ago, I found things even worse-out of control sign of peace, altar girls, people with raised hands during the Our Father- to name a few. I have been posting on my own blog of my frustration with the sloppy way the Novos Ordo is often celebrated. I am in search of a TLM in my area. I too have been shedding tears lately, but not because of the beauty, but because of the lack of love and devotion shown our Lord before, during, and after Mass. Jesus certainly deserves better.

  31. dominic1962 says:

    Father sounds a lot like Dom Gueranger discovering the Roman Missal or realizing the liturgical bankruptcy of the local neo-Galican Mass at his ordination. God be praised!

  32. Lee says:

    Is the issue really the “Order”? I can recall going to 12 minute low masses in the 50’s. I can recall going to masses that the priest said the mass so fast the altar boys could not keep up and were a couple responses behind him.

    The 70’s were a time of dissent, and that in my opinion is what we have. The spirit of dissent ritualized within the N.O, and that is why that promulgation is interiorly dead, and why our priesthood is eternally banal. If you serve the spirit of dissent, you necessarily do not serve God. The spirit of dissent demands interior death and banality, or it can’t survive. We have been given manna, but we dissent. We demand meat, and so we have meat. Meat until it is coming out our noses. So much meat until we become dead. That is the fruit of dissent, and it is not a matter of the Order it is a matter of the spirit. Those who said 12 minute low masses were precisely those who became the proponents of turning the N.O. into a mass of dissent. They were already in our midst well before Vat-II. It was not the “young priests” who did this to us. It was not the youth. It was the “God is dead” enlightenment crowd. The ones who got off on controversy and the desire to pervert the humility of faith with the arrogance of “enlightenment”, ultimately expressed as dissent simply for the joy of dissenting. Of course you can cook up rationalization why we “need” to do this, rationalization, like grains of sand is abundant. Recall: “The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.”

    Dissent leads to one thing: interior death, and that is the hallmark of “we be Church”: self aggrandizement. No different than Aaron in the desert worshiping gold at the very instant the covenant was being struck. The “we be Church” crowd from 5000 years ago substituting flashy dross for covenant, the covenant expressed best in Ezekiel 36:

    26 I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.
    27 I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.
    28 You shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
    29 I will save you from all your impurities; I will order the grain to be abundant, and I will not send famine against you.

    All it takes is participation in correct order. The correct order is “I will be your God and you will be my people and live according to my statutes”. Part of the reason Latin mass proponents and attendees find such relief is because those who participate in this Order the way it is presently promulgated are standing against dissent and standing for the above sentiment. They are joining together in a spirit that is not subject to ritualized dissent.

    Worshiping in a place that stands against dissent is like sucking in a big lung full of fresh blessed Catholic air. It is life sustaining. It is not the Order that promotes that, its the mutual stand of God, priest, and communicant standing in sacramental covenant against the perversion. It feels good to stand against the perversion, just like it feels good to breath. You don’t think how good it feels to breath until you cant do it. Go back to the 12 minute low mass and once again and you will feel the life drain right out of you.

  33. Lee: I can recall going to 12 minute low masses in the 50’s.

    I wonder. I was “there” at daily Mass in the 50’s and — though some of the priests were indeed pretty efficient — I never witnessed the 12-minute Mass of current “internet rumor”. Daily low Mass was closer to 25 minutes, and low Mass on Sunday always 40+ minutes, leaving just enough time to clear the parking lot for the next Mass on the hour, in those halcyon days of packed hourly Masses.

    The EF low Masses I attend nowadays are also 40+ minutes long. The only 20-minute Masses I’ve seen in recent decades have all been Novus Ordo.

  34. Ed says:

    “It’s time for the hippies to let 60’s spirit die and invite the Holy Spirit back”

    More like to time to recall, accurately, that Vatican II was implemented by bishops and priests, not hippies.

    Also, the Holy Spirit never left.

    And, Pope Benedict holds that Vatican II was a very good and necessary thing, albeit poorly implemented.

  35. Rick says:

    ‘More like to time to recall, accurately, that Vatican II was implemented by bishops and priests, not hippies.’

    ok…ecclesiastical hippies then…
    the church at Vat.II did nothing more than what the revolutionaries outside in the world were doing at the same time.

  36. I find myself not able to share in the jolly self congratulations here. I attended an FSSP parish for a while. I sincerely appreciate the EF. But I also appreciate the OF, as I suspect the Holy Father does as well.

    I think folks in these EF fan circles tend to be sort of turned in on themselves and assume that everyone experiences the liturgy and encounters God the same way they do. But God is great and meets us all where we are at. For some people, this means the more exterior participation of the OF is more appropriate, meaningful, uplifting, and spiritually beneficial; for others (most here, it seems), the more interior participation seems to resonate more.

    This is not to say that we ignore the real problems and abuses by any means (of either form), but it also means we don’t try to myopically and solipsistically restrict the way God chooses to come to people and bring people to himself.

  37. Matt says:

    Mr. Ambrose,

    everyone experiences the liturgy and encounters God the same way they do

    The liturgy is true worship of God, it is not acceptable to reduce it in order to appeal to the feelings of anyone. Consider that those who are less “comfortable” with interior participation need to work on it more? Especially in this noisy world, the Church needs to be a sanctuary, not an outlet. It is true that the OF can be celebrated properly as Fr. Z and precious few do, and not violate these principles, but that is likely not what you are calling for.

  38. Ed says:

    “Summorum Pontificum was mainly a gift for priests”

    While sharing in the joy that opens this thread, appreciating the priest’s wonder at experiencing the Church’s “timeless tradition,”
    something that I grew up with and then had torn from my life, I find little to recommend so many of the glib comments this joy calls forth, here. What’s up with the snide-ness?

    This “gift for priests,” the workers Christ has sent for us, is for us, not the other way around. Christ sends His priests for us. So, the gift is intended for ALL (per Pope Benedict XVI) of us, not “mainly” for priests.

    More than a “rhetorical” distinction; if the EF encourages us to greater expressions of Christ’s Love for all, that is the “acid test.” It isn’t about inventing mythologies of conspiritorial aging herring/red hippies, or halcyon days. I don’t see how fabrications like that are seen to forward Christ in the world. It’s as simple as noting the many scandals, by priests, that went down in the “halcyon” era.

    When the “old” mass was shelved, something broke in my heart; I felt the betrayal on the part of the clergy. They are the “they” that implemented those changes in my parish and region. Bishops and priests. Period.

    It basically broke my father, who couldn’t abide what he saw as a desecration, a betrayal by the workers sent to us by Christ. My dad never really recovered. This historical aspect, too, is important for the younger priests to become aware of. The human cost of misimplementations of Vatican II. I hear the rage in the snide remarks; better to tell it straight, though.

    That old wound begins to heal these days, an old joy, largely forgotten, begins to reassert itself. This is so for many of us, and a significant portion of the “evidence” I find for this hope is found here at Fr. Z’s blog. There’s no percentage in countenancing misdirection as to causes.

  39. Lee says:

    Most were 20-25 minutes for sure. It was not common but I did attend some. I was young and the experience I clearly remember was actually confusing. It chaffed against what a “normal” mass represented.

  40. Ed says:

    Matt – Ambrose, says “I suspect the Holy Father does as well.”

    This is exactly so. Ask the Pope. I’ll take his vision and experience over pretty much anyone on this blog. We’re blessed to have a pope like Benedict XVI. We need to listen to him.

    Also, what’s your point in using a word like “precious;” like the word “hippie,” it’s a slur, not a move toward Truth.

  41. Banjo Pickin' Girl says:

    Mr. Little, You make a lot of sense. There are many waystations on the path. And some of us are in the thicket, dropping our picnic basket! God reaches out to us all in many different ways.

    Ed, I am sort of glad I didn’t go through the post-VII period. I am old enough but wasn’t raised Catholic. I am glad to be a convert. I read the snide remarks about converts and other topics here though and it’s bad, as you say. We are called upon to be salt and light.

  42. Father Totton says:

    middle aged people are always amazed when I tell them that we have a pretty good mix at our E.F. Sunday Mass. Most of them expect that the congregation would be exclusively older “hangers-on” from their parents’ generation. To be fair, we do have some older folks there, even some middle-aged, but just as many young (and young families) as older.

  43. Ed says:

    Banjo Pickin’ Girl,

    “to BE salt and light,” yes. What a gift, eh?

    Trusting that you really do pick, I’ll share an encouraging word from Jeffrey Tucker, at MusicaSacra. He was enthusiastic about my interest in ear-transcribing Gregorian Chant and Sacred Polyphony for cello. Since you are a musician, you may have an interest in a relevant article:

    http://ceciliaschola.org/pdf/squarenotes.pdf

    I’m not sure how it would work on banjo, but I bet a sweet transcription could be made of, say, Wm. Byrd’s “Non Nomis Domine,” which already has such a positive swing to it.

    Shine on.

  44. musicus says:

    A year ago I responded to a query of Fr. Z’s about what the EF should be called. I said it should be called the OF because after only 40 years, the so-called NO is still the Mass ad experimentum! I feel vindicated by this article.

  45. Hi Matt,

    I think you are definitely representative of the group I was referring to.

    You seem to imply that the OF is a “reduction” because it involves more external participation. I don’t accept that premise. In fact, it smacks of that age-old gnostic tendency: the flesh is evil, the spirit is good. I’m sure you don’t intend that, but I think you might consider where your line of thinking leads in suggesting that interior participation is inherently superior and somehow more.

    One of the things I just think is so totally awesome about the sacraments is precisely that they are *external*. They are concrete, physical avenues of grace. God could surely have bestowed the same graces without these external acts of participation, but no, he knows our nature (he made us, after all). It’s not bad that we are physical and that we innately respond and express ourselves physically; if it were, surely God would not have become flesh. No, our bodily participation in our worship of God is essential because our bodies are essential to being human. Thus this external, bodily participation is in no way inferior–it is complementary.

    The OF encourages greater bodily participation from the laity. I think that’s a Good Thing precisely because of our human nature. Some people are more intellectually and interiorly inclined, so they can more readily appreciate interior things. I think probly most folks reading this are so inclined. That’s the way God made us. Others (most, as far as I can tell) are more externally inclined; this is not inherently worse or bad than being internally inclined. God makes us all, gives us all different gifts, personalities, and callings.

    I agree that the way the OF is practiced by many needs refinement. I agree that we, in our culture, could greatly benefit from a greater experience of reverence and silence. I agree that there is much to be said for ad orientem, and I tend to agree (FWIW as a layman) that stricter rubrics (or maybe just more adherence to them) could help. Lastly, I agree that the incorporation of our Church’s mother tongue can assist us to better appreciate the mystery of the Eucharist and our other liturgy.

    I suppose that’s why I can appreciate the EF. (In fact, I imagine that most folks who gave it a chance could appreciate it for these reasons, if not others.) Yet these things can be incorporated within the OF, even as it stands today, without sacrificing what is good in it.

    On the other hand, the EF is not unqualifiedly superior, either. It is practiced these days in (what I hear from those who experienced in the “old days”) rare form. Similarly, having studied Church history and, in particular, late medieval Christendom, I also know that in the old, old days, things were often even crazier in your average parish. What people complain about the OF would pale in comparison.. The fact that the EF is not abused so much nowadays is a matter of self-selection–only those atypically devout few frequent and celebrate it. The average joes that tend to cause all the anxiety for the devout folks are all in the NO…

    And whether or not my broad generalizations and speculation above is entirely accurate, I agree with the last ecumenical council in that it needed reform and the kind of reform it says was needed (and really, the kind of reform it got for the most part). In short, I am on the side of our Holy Father in believing, hoping, and praying that the broader availability of the EF will restore the praiseworthy elements from the EF that, in practice, have come to be missing; however, that does not imply a return to the EF but rather a maturing and centering of the OF.

    And in any case, I’m not “calling” for anything. I’m merely observing that even someone of a thoughtful, conservative, and even somewhat traditional bent (like me) can be a fan of the OF while simultaneously appreciating the EF. I *am* trying to encourage those who, like you, presume that your preferred form, the EF, is THE way to worship God Eucharistically (and who publicly mock and belittle those who sincerely worship God in the OF), to rethink these things, to be more charitable, more generous, and maybe even a bit more humble. It bothers me when I see uncharitable stuff like what was in this post and many of the comments, so I felt compelled to speak up.

    Pax tecum.

    –Ambrose

  46. Verity says:

    Henry I too wonder. I was also ” there” occasionally at weekday Mass in the 50s in Australia and I followed the Mass with the missal my grandmother gave me. I never had to gallop to keep up with the priest and don’t remember anyone saying the rosary. I also wonder how much of the 12 minute Mass is apocryphal.. Daily low Mass used to last about 30 minutes and low Mass on Sunday was about an hour. My parish didn’t have a parking lot; people parked in the street most used to walk home or catch the bus. The church I used to attend has gone from 5 packed Masses on Sunday to one plus the vigil.

    At the church I attend these days weekday Mass takes about 20 minutes and Sunday Mass takes about 40 minutes with everyone receiving Holy Communion. Two dear old ladies who sit just in front of me say the rosary right through Mass, admittedly English isn’t their first language.

  47. Henry,

    I don’t, actually. Unfortunately all I see is that something happened in terms of attitudes towards the Liturgy post-Vatican II that was not representative of what was actually accomplished at the Council, but rather the terrible job the Church did of implementing that Council. So now we have priests and liturgists who don’t celebrate a Novus Ordo Mass at all. They celebrate some drastically disturbed version of what is supposed to be a Novus Ordo Mass. The horrifying abuses to the Liturgy are not intrinsic to the NO, but rather are sins of the priests and liturgists who celebrate the Mass. That’s what makes it so difficult for people to really evaluate these things. I know I’m often alone in these rooms when I say this, but in those rare times I’ve seen the NO celebrated very well, I find it to be completely beautiful. And were both the NO and the EF celebrated with equal devotion and excellence, I don’t really think I would have a preference – but I would certainly love having the option! And if I do pursue this vocation to the priesthood, which is not yet decided but seems to be moving in that direction, I certainly at this stage see myself as moving back and forth between the two with some frequency. I just really enjoy them both for different reasons, but my enjoyment of the NO is much harder to come by not because of the rite itself, but because of the sins of the priests and liturgists who abuse the Mass.

  48. Cecile says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    May I have your permission to give a copy of this email and your comments to my pastor and associate pastor?
    Cecile

  49. Cecile says:

    Dear Fr. Z,
    May I have your permission to give a copy of this email with your comments to my pastor and associate pastor?
    Cecile