“Revisiting the Novus Ordo”

On his blog Musings of a Pertinacious Papist, Philip Blosser offers the following interesting commentary.   You should definitely go over there and read the comments that follow, but this is worthy of discussion here. 

My emphases and comments.

Revisiting the Novus Ordo

After more than a year of assisting exclusively at Extraordinary Form Masses on Sundays, a Mass I have come to love, I had two occasions last summer to revisit the Roman Rite in its Ordinary Form in a large suburban Catholic parish — the same parish on both occasions. The following are my observations.

I begin with the positive. The church operates a Catholic school. Together they form a large, sprawling physical plant. The Masses are well attended. When you walk into the church, you are greeted by holy water fonts at the entrance, a prominently displayed crucifix above the altar, candles, an identifiable Tabernacle, baptismal font, and pews with kneelers. [Sadly kneelers are not always found in large suburban parishes, especially of newer construction.] The pews quickly fill as the opening hymn begins. There are families and individuals of all ages, and many children, from toddlers to teens. The choir is large and reasonably well-trained, and lodged in a loft at the rear of the church. [Very good!  Get them the heck away from the sanctuary!] The priest processes in behind a crucifer, two servers, and a lector, kisses the altar and begins Mass straightaway with the Sign of the Cross. There are no clowns. There are no bongos, no electric guitars. There is no dancing in the aisles. The homily is recognizably Christian and notably earnest and sincere in tone; and the people visibly like their priest.  [Sounds pretty good!  I think many people would be delighted to have what has been described.]

I proceed, next, not to the negative, but to the ambiguous. [I like his distinction.] One question that keeps recurring to me is this: What about this religious rite and ritual would be recognizably Catholic to someone who didn’t know what it was beforehand[Excellent!] There is no question about its being Christian. Yet many of these things — the crucifix, the procession, the altar, the candles, the Nicene Creed, the kneeling, the filing up to receive communion — I have seen in Episcopal, Lutheran, and even Presbyterian churches.  [Aha… we are getting at what makes it Catholic.  We are back to asking questions about the connection of Catholic worship and Catholic identity.]

First of all, the acts of genuflecting and overt references to "sacrifice" ("Pray, my brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice …") [the new translation will help make this clearler] would narrow it down to either a Catholic or Episcopal (Anglican) liturgy, since the Episcopalians also genuflect and the Episcopal liturgy also refers obliquely to "sacrifice" ("… a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world"), and there is no way this spartan rite could possibly be Eastern Orthodox.

Second, the only external signs by which this event could be decisively identified as Catholic, apart from the overt references to things Catholic in the homily, it seems to me, are the references to the Pope and local bishop in the Eucharistic Prayers, and the visible presence of the Tabernacle with the reserved Sacrament. These one would not generally find anywhere but in a Catholic church.

I proceed, finally, to the negative. If nothing else identified this place and this event as recognizably Catholic to someone already familiar with contemporary American Catholicism, all doubt would be banished by the withering ugliness of the architecture, the sloppiness of dress, the sheer shabbiness of the half-improvised liturgical form, the hideous banality of hymns, the utter lack of decorum and unmistakable note of tawdry casual chumminess struck throughout the event. For better or worse, this is what the vast majority of contemporary Catholics call home.  [ouch]

During the entrance procession, the priest stops to shake hands and talk with people along the aisle several times en route to the altar, patting a couple of backs[We are getting into the ars celebrandi.  I refer everyone to Pope Benedict’s Sacramentum caritatis.] Crucifer and servers slouch down the aisle in sneakers and jeans, vested in what look like Halloween costume sheets wrapped around them. Some people show up in what looks like beach attire. Several little kids run around the aisles throughout the liturgy. During the hymns, the choir sings the usual hidebound Haugen and Haas offerings, but virtually no one in the congregation sings. Participation seems to mean showing up and sitting back, like a casual spectator[Two points.  First, the common accusation of enemies of the older Mass is that people are reduced to casual spectators.  HA!  Second, sometimes in advising people while I hear confessions I remind that that we should consider our company.  Isn’t it true that when we are in a group of people behaving in a certain way, it becomes far easier for us to do the same?  The flip side is that our behaviour makes it easier for others to behave as we do.   The role of the congregation – individuals in the congregation is very important.  As a matter of fact, the congregation and individuals in the congregation can also affect the priest and his ars celebrandi.]

During the Presentation of the Gifts, those who bring up the gifts join with the priest in saying his prayers over the gifts: "… It will become for us the bread of life. … It will become our spiritual drink," before returning to their pews. The priest seems to have an allergy against using masculine pronouns, even for God. One hears the politicized response: "Let us give God [not ‘Him’] thanks and praise." As he says, "Take this, all of you, and drink from it," the priest lifts the cup (Could this be called a "chalice"?) [It will be, in the new translation.] and gestures with it, holding it out to each side of the congregation expressively, punctuating his words with dramatic pauses and modulating his voice for emphasis. We see him looking out over the congregation. He looks at us. We look at him. The focus is clearly on we who are gathered here and what he is doing for us. If there is any doubt about this, it vanishes in the forest of joined sweaty palms during the Our Father, and cacophony that erupts, recess-like, during the Rite of Peace, the presider himself walking down the aisle, presiding over the shaking of hands all around.  [UGH]

Momentarily, the priest is surrounded by no less than eleven Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, looking for all the world like an out-of-place gentleman in a kitchen full of women. People soon begin shuffling forward (or to the back of the church, depending on where they are seated), to receive Communion. How does one receive here? Of course we have been reminded by Rome that we have the liturgical right to kneel; but where does one kneel here, amidst this confusion of milling people and Eucharistic Ministers? Nobody kneels, and neither do I. What’s the point? Do I want to call attention to myself or make a political statement? I just want to receive Jesus. I already feel compromised by being here. I feel disappointed in myself and by the whole experience[Note my comments, above, on the effect of being in a group!   I wrote them as I read.  O my prophetic soul.]

About one fourth of the congregation leaves for the parking lot right after Communion. [Why not.] Maybe half remain until the last verse of the recessional hymn. The words of Martin Mosebach come to mind: "I go to church to see God and come away like a theater critic." [That is what must happen with the whole point of worship falls away from the real goal: an encounter with that alluring and fearsome Mystery which transforms us.]  Throughout the Mass I find that my focus is constantly diverted. Like Mosebach, I just want to "see God." I want to witness the Sacrifice of Christ, and to receive Him. Yet in countless ways, the elements of the Mass conspire to divert my attention away from Him, and towards incidentals – towards those who walk into their pews without genuflecting, towards those wearing what looks like beach attire, toward the chummy bonhomie of the pastor, toward his unusual gestures and voice modulations, towards the politicized gender-bending of words, toward the Eucharistic Minister who doesn’t seem to know what to do with my mouth open and tongue stuck out at her, toward the unseemly distasteful clutteredness of it all.

Yes, I know, Jesus is here too, just as he was in the stable surrounded by the braying of asses and smelly droppings of cows and goats. Yet I wonder: would it have been harder to find Him and worship Him there than here? Is this the best we can do? For the Lord of Heaven, our Maker and Redeemer?

This is a very good reflection.  I particularly appreciate how he added observations about his own interior struggle.

I have sometimes opined in these electric pages as well as on pulpy newsprint that we we may be at a point where the older form of Mass stands as the form of the Church’s worship for those who are ready for more serious spiritual nourishment.  This is not to say that we cannot be spiritual nourished by the newer forms.   Depending on how they are celebrated, they certainly can be very nourishing.  And of course the Most Holy Eucharist is beyond any sort of judgment in this regard.  Nevertheless we are creatures of body and soul.  The rites truly matter.

I myself note each time I say Holy Mass with he Novus Ordo how very different the experience is from saying the older form.  I conform myself and what I do to the continuity of the Roman Rite, but the newer form remains different in many important respects.

This is a very good topic for thoughtful reflection and conversation among the level-headed.

Thus, if you are going to post, think.  

Don’t simply post a litany of abuses you see in your parish. 

Don’t whine.  That is meaningless for the conversation here.

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125 Responses to “Revisiting the Novus Ordo”

  1. RBrown says:

    “Let us give God [not ‘Him’] thanks and praise.” As he says, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it,” the priest lifts the cup (Could this be called a “chalice”?) [It will be, in the new translation.] and gestures with it, holding it out to each side of the congregation expressively, punctuating his words with dramatic pauses and modulating his voice for emphasis. We see him looking out over the congregation. He looks at us.

    Such gestures and glances follow from the celebrant considering the Eucharist as Meal, a memorial of the Last Supper rather than the Passion & Death.

  2. RBrown says:

    One other comment: I would like to see Rome make the Offertory from the Gregorian Rite an option for the Novus Ordo.

  3. Sal says:

    This might be the place to pose the question that
    wasn’t answered by the priest who lamented those
    who prefer the TLM and refused to attend NO Masses.
    If “validity” is the only concern, then what happens
    to the question of reforming the NO, or the NO in
    general?

    Of course, the NO is valid. But that’s the response
    one often receives when one brings up the TLM or the
    “reform of the reform.” Because the treasures of the
    Church are regarded as adiaphora and easily dispensed
    with. In fact, for many the only concern is the
    “Gospel,” often too-easily equated with a disembodied
    message that can be abstracted from both the liturgy
    and the Church. Hence any form of the Mass is OK
    and the absence of the ecclesiastical tradition is
    OK, too.

    And recently, with the Bishop of Steubenville’s request
    for a voluntary abstention from meat on Friday, many
    have raised a red flag, saying that this amounts to
    a resurgence of a “badge” of Catholic identity, saying
    that this amounts to a sort of “Catholic club,” while
    we should prefer to “put on Christ” (whatever that
    actually means).

    It seems to me that proponents of the “reform of the
    reform” and the TLM have to make the case for a
    retention of ecclesiastical tradition and not simply
    “validity” as the previous post suggested. Because
    otherwise they have lost their case.

  4. Josef says:

    Good read.

  5. Maureen says:

    RBrown —

    Considering that the GIRM thinks you can use whatever piece of music your little heart desires at the Offertory, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from using the Offertory chant, or any setting thereof, from the EF. Indeed, you could use the Offertory chant from
    Christmas during the depths of Ordinary Time, if you felt like it. [I think he is referring to the priest’s prayers at the time of the Offertory, not the music to be sung.]

    Heck, you could do Byzantine chant if you liked. Or sing out in Old Church Slavonic, or Klingon for that matter. Who’s to stop you? It’s all “alius aptus cantus”, if you want to interpret it that way and if you won’t get fired by the time Mass ends.

    Our constraints are not those of regulations, but of what the pastor and the folks in the pews will allow, and what the music program will dare.

  6. LCB says:

    Fr. Z,

    I feel very conflicted by these things.

    How does one dialog with the NO when that form of worship is so frequently conducted in an unreasonable manner? Dialog requires reason. I know we ought not to take on a ‘ghetto’ mindset, but what else is there to be done? [I refer you to this page.]

    I would also like to add, not only would this not be recognized as “American Catholicism”, but it would appear to one somewhat familiar with Catholicism that the situation is NOT Catholic, especially with the changing of the prayers.

  7. I am not Spartacus says:

    I went to Mass twice this past Sunday. The first Mass was the N.O. at St. Raphael Church in Englewoood, Fl. The second Mass was the E F High Mass at Christ the King Chapel in Sarasota.

    It was about as night-and-day an experience as there could be.

    The First Mass featured all the familiar casualness beginning with the “good morning” and including a sermon that featured the comment that “America” magazine was “great,” and, of course, there were the EEMs, the lousy hymns, the shortest Eucharistic Prayer etc etc

    The FSSP Parish, Christ the King Chapel, EF High Mass was excellence experienced. There is a great small Schola, the FFSP Priest, Fr. Nolan, was excellent, the altar boys were in perfect sync, there was The Asperges preceding Mass, the Communion Rail Cloth, etc etc

    To be perfectly frank, I am having an increasingly difficult time even tolerating the typical N.O.Mass. Yeah, I know The Mass is The Mass is the Mass, but when I read the prayers in the N.O. Missal vs the prayers in the Roman Missal I wonder just what was in the minds of the ICEL and those who created the N.O. I have to assume they had good intentions, but, Good Lord.

    The behavior of the folks at each Mass was noticeably different and it was sad to realise that the vast majority of those at the N.O. Mass used to act just like those folks who go to the E F Mass at Christ the King Chapel.

    That striking difference tells me all I need to know about how it is the Mass can either form or deform individuals.

  8. Andrew, medievalist says:

    The descriptions of banality, clutteredness, and sloppiness really struck me. I sometimes wish I had remained liturgically ignorant because then attending the OF would be so much easier, but now that I know what I know, I find it hard to concentrate there. In my heart I don’t believe in some grand conspiracy against or hatred of tradition. I think it’s that much more dangerous trick of the devil…apathy. So easy to fall into and so hard to get out of. This sense of apathy comes through all too clearly in this piece and in the majority of Anglosphere parishes.

    Since it is a matter of apathy, I cannot find it in my heart to blame anyone. It has simply become a generic suffocating blob. We got into bad habits (priests and laity) and now have to break them. For, the liturgical problem (oversimplified and understated) is simply a matter of habit. We need to break out of a habit of not caring, which may, according to some descriptions of Masses pre-1960s, go back before the Council. We need to care again. We need to be Catholic.

  9. leo says:

    the new mass fulfills its function you can see it and you can say it but nothing more , it cant take you out of yourself and it has no universality, i find it worse when presented in a more traditional way as it raises more questions . It seems somehow very different from my own childhood in the 70’s which was free from the adlib links given by the priest which are now conventional .

  10. Mum26 says:

    The question, I believe, is not how do we worship so we can reach as many people as we can, and meeting them where they are at, but rather, how do we best honor GOD.

    Moses, was told to take off his shoes as he stood on holy ground.
    Whenever we learn of account of humans meeting the Divine we are being given a sense of how to conduct ourselves – Tobit and Tobias come to mind when St. Rafael reveals himself; our Blessed Mother is another example; in more recent times St. Padre Pio….

    Divorcing the Eucharistic Celebration into either a meal or a sacrifice is wrong. It is both. It is the most intimate oneness one can ever imagine, and at the same time the most profound act of sacrificial love there is. I personally, as I juggle my 6 children at Mass, need all the help I can get. When my mind cannot pray because a toddler needs my attention, at least my body still can as I kneel on the cold tiled floor during the Consecration out in the community room assisting at Mass via a TV.

    In trying to make sense out of the utter confusion out there, I always arrive back at the same conclusion: Do we really believe in the Presence of Almighty God or not, do we really still believe in the Sacraments or not? And if so, why are we conducting ourselves the way we do?

    Blessings, Mum26

  11. RBrown says:

    Maureen,

    I was not referring to the Offertory antiphon but the entire Offertory prayer.

    in the NO: Blessed are you Lord God of All Creation, through your goodness . . . Blessed be God forever.

    in the Greg Rite: Suscipe Sancte Pater . . . hanc immaculatam hostiam . . . Suscipe Sancta Trinitas hanc oblationem . . .

  12. Jeff Pinyan says:

    From the article: Yes, I know, Jesus is here too, just as he was in the stable surrounded by the braying of asses and smelly droppings of cows and goats. Yet I wonder: would it have been harder to find Him and worship Him there than here? Is this the best we can do? For the Lord of Heaven, our Maker and Redeemer?

    At least the shepherds were told “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” They expected to find the Christ-child amidst beasts of burden. But who expects a church to be a beach-wear fashion show or an hour-long talk show hosted by Mr. Presider (certainly not Fr. Celebrant)?

    I suppose years of experience should tell us to expect such distractions… but I hope that things will be better every time I go to Mass, no matter where I go.

  13. craigk says:

    This weekend my KofC council had a cook-out, our very first, and I overheard a rather interesting comment from a member of the choir of the Parish our Council resides. I am no longer a member of that parish, having moved to our local EF community, and recently I began to disassociate myself from the parish by relinquishing my position as a catechist in the RCIA program, I am relating this because the choir member’s comment sums up nicely why I began my initial exodus.

    She was speaking about the congregation not singing. She said that the choir director had tried to get greater participation by having the choir sing the verses and the congregation sing the chorus, but this did not work. They have apparently tried several different techniques, but no one will sing. This is apparently causing some stress on the Liturgy Committee.

    I decided to make a small suggestion. I simply made a comment about how difficult most of the music in the hymnal (Gather) is for most lay people to sing, and actually, how banal it tended to be on top of difficult. Perhaps they should try singing some simpler songs, or those that have a more direct meaning.

    Apparently I grew a second head and tentacles at that point. I was told how the people had a “right” to “good” music and anyone can sing if they tried. I guess rights are more important than comprehension.

  14. jenny says:

    Excellent article by \”Pertinacious\” and commentary by you, Father! I converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager just prior to Vat-II (from a pretty seriously Methodist family in Pennsylvania). The beautiful Latin Rite is what drew me in initially, and discovering the Real Presence is what \”sealed the deal\”. I fell in love.

    I married and for 35 yrs. have lived in a fairly large metropolitan area in the south, boasting five Roman Catholic churches. Liturgically, they run the gamut of all things N.O., but even the most traditional church (oldest in Georgia) to which my family has belonged for over 30 years, STILL does not offer the E.F.; the closest is a 2-hour drive. And I have to say that now that children are grown and no longer factor in, I just cannot tolerate the N.O. any longer; by this I mean that I can certainly attend, but cannot focus on why I am there, to worship the King properly.

    For a year now, I am worshiping in a tiny Eastern Catholic (Melkite) church (interestingly enough started by a bi-ritual Roman Catholic priest friend-of-the-family, now deceased), and am rediscovering the pure draw of beauty in liturgy. It\’s certainly not my original first love, but at this point I tell myself that my true love abandoned me, and I must move on if I\’m to survive… Fortunately, my husband supports me and we split our tithe down the middle. It\’s a bit sad, I suppose, but seems to be what God is providing me in love. So, I accept the gift.

    Thank you for this forum and Blessings to you!

  15. This observer echoed my own sentiments “spot on”.
    I too am nearing the one year anniversary of going exclusively to the TLM (although have been attending the TLM here-amd-there since the mid 1980’s).

    Great points in the comments above, nothing more to say but let us pray for conversion of hearts to learn to respect God.

  16. John 6:54 says:

    As someone born post Vatican II – I would like to get a sense for this… If things are as bad as people think they are with the state of the Church today, specifically the Church in the US, and its liturgy why are the vast majority of Bishops in the US not addressing the situation? And if the Bishops are at fault why is the Vatican not addressing it? If there isn’t suppose to be alter girls and you have the authority to address the situation why are they allowed? If there aren’t suppose to be guitar Masses and you have the authority to address the situation why are they allowed? If there are suppose to be kneelers and you have the authority to address the situation why does the situation occur? Why do the Bishops and the Vatican not utilize their own authority?

  17. Nathan says:

    Dr. Blosser quite eloquently describes the same set of reactions reaction I’ve had regarding the Novus Ordo for years. He states it better than I ever could.

    However, the evidence around me leads me to think that those of us of that mind are a tiny minority of the laity, especially in the US. If all this is true, and the music, translations, and ars celebrandi are as banal is the typical parish OF Mass, then why on earth are the numbers who come to the TLM so small? Why aren’t millions of Catholics demanding their patrimony?

    I really don’t mean this as a rhetorical question. I know plenty of good, holy, orthodox Catholics (a number in my own family) who are very nice about the TLM, and who openly acknowlege the arguments about the relative spiritual and liturgical benefits of the TLM vis-a-vis the Novus Ordo, but when it comes to actually making a choice between the two forms would seemingly rather get a root canal than actually attend and learn to pray the Extraordinary Form.

    I asked a close friend, using the question “why on earth would you subsist on liturgical bread and water when you can easily partake of a feast?” She answered, “Perhaps we’re just used to bread and water.”

    In Christ,

  18. I think part of the problem may be with us. If you want to find the distractions at the Novus Ordo, you certainly can. But if you go looking for them, then it is your own fault. How often do we who love the TLM, when we go back to the Novus Ordo almost want to be scandalized by various problems? If you want to find bad hymns, poor singing, people leaving early, people poorly dressed, a priest who is too much the center of attention, etc, etc…then you can find it at nearly every parish you attend. So what? Either do something about it or man-up and deal with it.

  19. Momentarily, the priest is surrounded by no less than eleven Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, looking for all the world like an out-of-place gentleman in a kitchen full of women. People soon begin shuffling forward (or to the back of the church, depending on where they are seated), to receive Communion. How does one receive here? Of course we have been reminded by Rome that we have the liturgical right to kneel; but where does one kneel here, amidst this confusion of milling people and Eucharistic Ministers? Nobody kneels, and neither do I. What’s the point? Do I want to call attention to myself or make a political statement? I just want to receive Jesus. I already feel compromised by being here. I feel disappointed in myself and by the whole experience.

    I go through that emotion every Sunday, just leaves me sad at my own weakness.

  20. Cory says:

    After serving at a EF Mass for quite a few months, I attended a NO yesterday for Mother’s day. The congregation’s lack of singing is a widespread phenomenon and my home parish is no different. Then I remembered what Sacrosanctum Concilium said about Gregorian Chant, that it is to hold a place of primacy in the liturgy. My guess is that the Holy Spirit wanted it to be like that because He knows that people would respond to it. With happy-clappy music, I noticed everyone around me just sitting back and there was this sense of impatience hanging in the air.

    Comparing the music at an NO and the chanting at an EF, I noticed how the NO tries to appeal to one’s emotions whereas chant aims at drawing the soul, moving it to see that it is in the presence of the Mystery. In short, the NO music is emotionally charged while chant at an EF seeps into the supernatural. If you want the NO to improve, restore Gregorian Chant to its righful place in the Liturgy and you will notice more reverence and possibly a change in the ars celebrandi of the priest.

  21. Clement says:

    “…are as banal is the typical parish OF Mass, then why on earth are the numbers who come to the TLM so small? Why aren’t millions of Catholics demanding their patrimony?”

    Nathan,
    May I venture a surmise?

    If the parents offer the option of candy, cake and ice cream or nutritious fish and vegetables, to their little children, which offering will most children choose?

  22. Lee says:

    “As a matter of fact, the congregation and individuals in the congregation can also affect the priest and his ars celebrandi.”

    I wish you’d develop this thought.

  23. Brian Mershon says:

    Absolutely excellent, as the Pertinacious Papist usually is.

    I have experienced the same effect myself as I go from an every Sunday Traditional Latin Mass for more than a year, but then back to the weekday Novus Ordo nearly every day of the week–even though the two parishes I attend both offer the Novus Ordo ad orientem.

    I seriously could not stomach attending the Novus Ordo on Sunday at even one of the parshes that do it ad orientem. The congregation, most of the time, is the sole and primary distracting reason.

    The late Michael Davies, and many other Catholic traditionalist writers, have been writing on this same topic for years–and suffered much abuse for doing so–being called schismatic and disobedient and the like.

  24. ssoldie says:

    The Heresy of Formlessness“, I would say this book, should be a read to all who enter here in Fr.Z/s blog. Martin Mosebach, is very devote and very insightful of his Catholic faith.

  25. a catechist says:

    Nathan–I can only speak for myself, but I feel like neither fish nor fowl. I’m not at home with the NO anymore, ‘though I have access to somewhat better liturgies than the one described above. But I’m not at home with the EF, either–not because of the Latin, but because it’s so very different & wrangling small kids in Mass at a very inconvenient time (when the kids would normally be sleeping) seriously interferes with being about to really grow into the EF. If I could attend for a while without the kids, I’d probably find it to be all that folks say, but that’s impossible. And unlike so many posters here, there are hardly any young families at the EF I have access to.

  26. JC says:

    I remember reading a comment from a traditionalist once who said something like, “I have no problem with the rubrics of the Novus Ordo, but when have you ever seen a Novus Ordo celebrated totally by the rubrics?”

    Prior to _Summorum Pontificum_, the comment from some more orthodox bishops–including Cardinal Arinze–was that they did not want to see a so-called “universal indult” because they feared it would hinder “the reform of the reform.”

    In one sense, this piece embodies Pope Benedict’s hope: that exposure to the extraordinary form would motivate people to seek greater reverence in the ordinary form.

    But there is still some validity to the other concern. Prior to _Summorum Pontificum_, one could find parishes that offered “The Vatican II Mass in Latin”–the “EWTN Mass”, or what trads call “The Hybrid Mass”: the Novus Ordo, normally with Eucharistic Prayer I, mostly in Latin, with readings in English, the priest using ad orientem posture, etc.

    This is what I think is envisioned by “The Reform of the Reform”. It’s certainly in keeping with a more literal reading of Vatican II and with what Cardinal Arinze tried to promote (he said it should be done at least once a weekend at every church), [By “it” Card. Arinze meant Holy Mass in Latin, but in the Novus Ordo.] and what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about in some places.

    But, for most people, it’s like a “substitute.” Again, traditionalists call it the “hybrid Mass.” One aspect of the hermeneutic of rupture is that both ends of the liturgical wars see the Paul VI Missal in Latin as being not the fulfillment of Vatican II’s intention but rather a second-best option for traditionalists who can’t get access to the extraordinary form.

  27. ChrisDaCatholic says:

    I have observed things very similar to this story at my own parish, but fortunately not to this degree.

    What I’m about to say might ruffle a few feathers, but please read it with an open mind, I’ll say from the outset that I prefer the TLM and the Novus Ordo in Latin, so don’t think I’m posting this with an agenda. These are just my observations.

    At my home parish, there are no TLM’s offered. Like I stated above, there are numerous little liturgical abuses here and there, but as time has gone on I’ve tried to overlook them, because deep down I was just becoming bitter about it and losing that Christian charity that I so need to personally advance in. What I have noticed, however, is something very strange. The regular NO Masses are celebrated every Sunday and generally a large number of middle aged and elderly people attend, families, etc. A typical Catholic parish…yet from all appearances the congregation is totally out of it, they seldom join in during prayers, no one sings, there seems to be a very great lack of participation. We don’t have kneelers in our parish yet (a new Church is being built currently with them), and very few people if any will kneel during the consecration. I usually leave Mass having gotten little out of it spiritually, usually walking out angry with the whole thing.

    Then there is the dreaded life teen, which I honestly don’t like. But, all things considered, when I attend that Mass, I notice that most everyone is participating. Of course the music is terribly inane, and there are just as many if not more liturgical abuses going on, but it does seem that everyone takes it more seriously. People actually bow their heads during the Creed and everyone kneels at the Consecration regardless of the fact that there are no kneelers. So I really don’t know what to think. I understand that at NO’s, many of you write that you are finding a lack of real participation, but then I attend a Life teen Mass, expecting to find an even worse situation, and surprisingly the reverence level skyrockets.

    Well, that’s just what I’ve experienced. I’d like to hear what you think, because this has really surprised me.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  28. irishgirl says:

    Excellent post by the Pertinacious Papist-and thanks Fr. Z, for the commentary!

  29. Nathan says:

    A Catechist: Thanks, that’s a very useful observation (oh, and I understand about the children–it must be very difficult to learn a new form and worry about toddlers–I was lucky enough to learn at least the bones of the EF prior to my own children).

    Would you summarize the gist of reluctance to go to the TLM as 1) inconvienent times for families (pretty common here in Arlington, VA–12:30’s standard for TLM times) and 2) the learning curve?

    In Christ,

  30. TNCath says:

    I really do believe that a lot of the “chumminess” and informality described in this posting is a direct result of the abandonment of ad orientem worship. Once you turned Father around to face the congregation, his eyes became fixed on his “audience,” and he became a “performer” rather than a “celebrant” who, by virtue of being “on stage” was naturally expected to “entertain” his audience. From this 180 degree turn came Father’s perceived needs to ad lib texts, interact with the people informally, and, at times, deliver running commentary during Mass, thus reducing the Mass to banality. At the same time, those assisting at Mass became comfortable with and even entertained by Father’s “performance,” which often led to Father’s getting a “following”: people who will only go to Father X’s Mass because he “makes it so interesting,” as opposed to Father Y’s Mass, who “says the black and does the red” and is perceived as “boring.”

    During this evolution from formal to casual also came casual music from The Dameans, St. Louis Jesuits, and Marty Haugen; casual dress of both the laity in bermuda shorts and tank tops and priests saying Mass in an alb and stole only, or even just a stole; and a generally casual approach to attending Mass by not genuflecting, chewing gum, disregarding the fast before reception of Holy Communion, etc.

    It would be interesting to see what changes would occur if, for only 6 months, the pastor of the parish in this posting experimented with ad orientem worship.

  31. Ted Krasnicki says:

    Fr Z:
    You have made a remarkable statement:
    “…the older form of Mass stands as the form of the Church’s worship for those who are ready for more serious spiritual nourishment…”

    Not only do I agree with you wholeheartedly, but this gradu-ating to a higher form of seriousness in liturgy compliments the process of divinisation into which each Catholic is summoned.

    Yes, the EF is a higher form in terms of seriousness in using material means to disclose for us the divine realm, but requires preparation. Perhaps we should look at it as the final liturgical step for every Catholic to reach.

  32. Henry Edwards says:

    Greg: If you want to find bad hymns, poor singing, people leaving early, people poorly dressed, a priest who is too much the center of attention, etc, etc…then you can find it at nearly every parish you attend. So what? Either do something about it or man-up and deal with it.

    Perhaps I miss your point. Does “deal with it” mean just accept it as inevitable?

    Usually, someone points out along about here that the Novus Ordo doesn’t have to be this way.

    Indeed, I have recently had occasion to attend several OF Masses — celebrated ad orientem in Roman vestments with enough Latin to whet the appetite, with no banal music, no hand holding or shaking, no EMHCs passing cups back and forth, only an altar boy in cassock and surplice holding a paten for communion, which most received on the tongue — whose reverence and solemnity few old or new Mass types could reasonably criticize.

    However, I have observed in different parishes that it seems almost impossible for a priest to celebrate the newer Mass in such exemplary fashion in a typical parish without inspiring criticism from a vocal minority (I hope) of Catholics usually of a certain older generation, who evidently can tolerate no Mass that is offensive to neither God nor man.

    So the question for me is not whether it can be done, but when if ever we can expect that it generally will be done at your typical nearby parish. I therefore wonder whether only the youngest among us will not need for the rest of their lives to attend a weekly TLM for liturgy that lifts them up to heaven rather than weighing them down to earth.

  33. Girgadis says:

    John 6:54

    I have asked my pastor these very questions and his response was many of the
    bishops are modernists who don’t see a problem with the Mass that was just
    described. His only advice to me was “pray for Pope Benedict because he’s
    trying”. I am fortunate to have gotten to know a few of the seminarians at
    St. Charles as well as some of the priests who are newly ordained.
    They are committed to stopping the abuses that have been described here, most
    notably the use of gender-exclusive language, the inappropriate practices and
    over-use of EM’s, and priests whose every gesture and behavior does not reflect
    the solemnity of the Mass or their position. For practical reasons I can’t
    leave my NO parish so I have a vested interest in helping my pastor effect the
    kind of changes that are necessary while not becoming a pest.
    In the meantime, I take his advice in praying for the Pope.

  34. MargaretMN says:

    I am struck by how often reading here that I end up here feeling more strongly in favor of the NO Mass as a reaction to the criticism, not of how it (often) is, but how it should be. The fake folksy character was introduced in the 60s and 70s and is very reflective of our larger, largely protestant American culture (like the choir up on the altar or near it in some Catholic Churches). But the problem with moving to a more “catholic” mode of worship is that it would be foreign to most Catholics. To worship in another tongue makes no sense to them at all.

    I had a conversation with my Mom (who is 75) on Mother’s Day yesterday. She had years of Latin in school and graduated from a Jesuit university, back when the Jesuits were more orthodox. Yes, there was such a time. She was taught the meaning of the prayers and the parts of the Mass and understood what was going on, at a pretty early age. She cannot believe that many American Catholics today would give up the NO and Mass in their native language because she says that even when she was growing up, an increasing number of people mumbled their Latin and half understood what was going on.

    What we have here is a failure of education. I think part of it was, oddly enough, intentional. Catholic Schools tried to both assimilate new immigrants to the American way of life so that they could be successful and help them retain their Catholic identity once they did. They succeeded in the first task and failed at the second.

    I not only know this, I lived it, being of the age when Benziger Brothers catechisms were replaced with books with pretty photos of flowers, Dan Devine and poems. I am not joking–that was the religious ed book I had for second grade (the year I made my First Communion) in a Catholic School that was FAR from being “progressive” with many nuns teaching in the school and most wearing habits. I wasn’t offered Latin in school until High School and even then it was two years of “pre-med/pre-law” latin. Again in a Catholic School.

    I believe it is possible to salvage the NO and remove the burlap banners, liturgical dancing and bad hymns (although I think there’s a lot of disagreement about what constitutes a bad hymn and some of it has more to do with taste than appropriateness). I know this to be the case because the Church I attend manages to have an NO with none of those things and is run by the book. My spouse and I drive across town to go there and others come from much farther away. (And it’s not even a TLM!)

    The mass itself is a marvelous layering of millenia of christian experience. If it is weighted down with too much of the more recent context then it needs to be rebalanced and corrected. But I can’t wrap my brain around the argument that somebody wants to freeze our worship circa 1962.

  35. Clement says:

    It seems that for a salutary change to occur, in the way the Churches Liturgy is presented in most Catholic Churches, the Holy See must promulgate and enforce the change, or unfortunately the Church will never regain Her Identity.

  36. Peter says:

    Obviously, if the priest at the OF “said the black and did the red” a lot of the silliness described in this post would not be there. My experience of the OF at 3 parishes in the Boston area contained almost none of the silliness or sloppiness described above.

  37. Banjo Pickin' Girl, ionfairymsms 'at' netscape says:

    Margaret, I worship at a faithful Dominican-run NO parish in a big city. Nobody lives in the parish but people come from 50 different zip codes. I really don’t think I would have converted if the 1962 Mass had been all that was available. I have only medical/legal Latin and am a single, very independent by necessity professional woman who would be very turned off by some of the cultural attitudes that seem to (SEEM TO) go with the TLM (according to what I have read here anyway).

    However, I have had to change parishes twice before finding the ONE parish in the diocese that does the NO Mass “right.” It is not ad orientem but has altar boys only, no EMHCs, no female lectors even (though there is one female sacristan), excellent mixture of hymns and chant and even a chanted introit sometimes, Communion kneeling at the rail (though it is still an assembly line when all the priest has to say is “the body of Christ”), either on the tongue or in the hand (but there is an altar boy with a paten in case of mishaps).

    I, too, would not be in favor of getting rid of the NO Mass completely, as some here would like. Truly, as you say, it is possible to have the NO Mass done correctly, we have both seen it done. But people (and priests and bishops) have to care. I do believe some of the old prayers have more depth and that is too bad but I don’t think we can turn the clock back and I suggest it would not be good to try to do so.

    Pax,
    BPG

  38. Tomas says:

    Yesterday our FSSP priest addressed the accusations of “mainstream” Catholics frequently directed at us “traditionalist” Catholics: that we are holier-than-thou. He then proceeded to give a devastating sketch of the Novus Ordo which would fit right in with PP’s above. His parting words were that the Mass should not descend to the chaotic, shabby and casual level of our sinfulness, but raise us up to God through the rigorous and disciplined and solemn celebration of the sacrifice. In response to which I could only think, “Thank you, Father.”

  39. TC Tampa says:

    I had a similar night and day experience, last Sunday and yesterday. Last Sunday, I went to N.O. Mass at Sacred Heart in Tampa. It was nearly identical to the experience that Fr Z quoted, minus the Priest walking down the aisle during the Sign of Peace. I sat and wondered “what have they done to my church”. I was half tempted to get up and leave half way through the mass and then I remembered Father Z’s words about skipping mass and being grateful to have a priest and a mass.

    Yesterday, I drove 30 miles to the EF Mass at the chapel at St Jude’s Cathedral in St Petersburg. It was the first time that I had ever attended a EF Mass. It was great.

  40. Henry,

    I am just saying that a person can let himself be so scandalized by the various problems at the Novus Ordo that he can forget the one thing necessary — the sanctification of his soul. It is a great temptation each time at Mass to critique everything that is wrong from the people who leave early, to the vestments of the priest to the preaching etc. that this type of attitude can ultimately posit an obstacle to the flow of sanctifying grace. I attend what is considered a “conservative” parish in Northern VA and yet I still find the same problems other people do (bad singing, poor hymn selection, sometimes dreadful preaching not to mention the problems with the Novus Ordo in general) that I have finally had to make a choice: either block this out as much as possible or always be in a critical mood at Mass. These difficulties should not be an obstacle to holiness but they can be if we let them.

  41. Clement says:

    “…devastating sketch of the Novus Ordo which would fit right in with PP’s above. His parting words were that the Mass should not descend to the chaotic, shabby and casual level of our sinfulness, but raise us up to God through the rigorous and disciplined and solemn celebration of the sacrifice.”

    Tomas,

    What an amazing coincidence! Yesterday our pastor at the FSSPX parish [Two problems. He is NOT a pastor if he belongs to the SSPX and it is not a “parish” if it is under the aegis of the SSPX. Neither he nor that chapel has any ecclesial standing.] we assist at, said almost the identical words during his sermon!

    Great minds and all.

  42. Michael says:

    I wonder – reading this account which it typical, and comparing it with the TLM – why should we adhere to the misleading terms “Ordinary” and “Extraordinary”. Wouldn’t it better reflect the realities of the two rites if we called the former – Inferior Form, and the latter – Superior Form?

    While, no doubt, the “Ordinary Form” is ordinary in the sense that is more frequent, it is evidently a degeneration of the Holy Liturgy, and in no way complies with the Hermeneutic of Continuity. On the other hand the term “Extraordinary” is unfortunate for two reasons.

    First, it is ambiguous: it can be taken to mean “exceptional”, something rarely to be used, and therefore, tolerable; or it can be taken to denote something of an “extraordinary value”, as it is the case when one speaks of an extraordinary talent, achievement or like.

    Furthermore, the word “extraordinary” is used in the current legislation inconsistently: for ministers of the Holy Communion, who are supposed to be undesirable but used only when there is a real need; and for the Mass which is a treasure to be made available again, which treasure is by definition something beneficial to everybody and used more and more.

  43. maynardus says:

    I saw many of my own experiences and emotions mirrored in this excellent piece by the excellent (if pertinacious) Dr. Blosser. But like Ted Krasnicki (above) my interest was piqued by your comment that “we we may be at a point where the older form of Mass stands as the form of the Church’s worship for those who are ready for more serious spiritual nourishment. This is not to say that we cannot be spiritual[ly] nourished by the newer forms.”

    Perhaps it would also be useful to consider that some people really seem to *need* the richness of the traditional liturgical forms. Personally I became terriby jaded while I was growing up and although I returned to the Faith at the age of 26 it really felt like a duty to attend Mass. I had an intellectual understanding of – and assent to – the Faith but there was absolutely no emotional connection 99% of the time. It wasn’t until I started attending the T.L.M. full-time that I was able to really (if imperfectly) appreciate the awesome nature of the Mass.

    Obviously this isn’t necessary true for everyone – I know many good Catholics – and a few exemplary ones – who can serenely ignore the nonsense that goes on in their parishes and manage to “pray the Mass”; to me it seems that their Faith is stronger than mine. I feel that I literally need every last drop of solemnity in the classical rite to overcome my own nature and provide me with some desperately needed spiritual nourishment.

  44. plisto says:

    We latin catholics should learn from our eastern brothers (and sisters ;-) ) . The liturgy is something different than one’s own prayer alone or in a small group. The liturgy should be our window to heaven. It should reflect that and I doubt anybody thinks heaven is something casual and easy-going “nice” thing.
    In the eastern churches there has never (so far!) been any drive to change the Divine Liturgy -yes, they have vernacular, at least here, but the rite is (almost) unchanged after centuries and centuries. I feel ashamed, if I invite my orthodox friends for OF mass. But in the EF, I and anybody, can be just proud of our heritage.
    Blessings!

  45. Harvey says:

    I believe my own loss of faith was facilitated by prolonged exposure to the Novus Ordo and american Catholic life. I don’t believe most of the doctrines of the faith any more, and the draw of the numinous/ transcendent is absent. That is, until I happened to attend a TLM recently. I had access to a good missal and know enough Latin to follow most of the service. The sense of being in the presence of the holy shook me. I thought I was almost completely secularized. I still don’t see how much of the “meat” of christianity could be true, but there seems to be something there. Just my two cents.

  46. chironomo says:

    Perhaps we should form a new support group – NOAA – the “Novus Ordo Attendees Anonymous”.

  47. Joe says:

    I found the article and the comments, by Fr Z and other posters here, interesting and intelligent. There is a lot to think about.
    I think sometimes it would be more useful to compare apples and apples: the good points of the OF with the good points of the EF, the abuses of the OF with the abuses of the EF. I read a few sites that discuss Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and it is not uncommon to see Catholic abuses compared with Orthodox theory.
    The only serious quibbles I have with the article are these. First, being Catholic is not a matter of being distinctive. If other groups have retained or imitated forms of the Church, good for them. It might lead to more serious matters. Second, language like that describing the priest on the altar, or the people ‘shuffling’ to Communion, undercuts the seriousness of the whole article.

  48. Tomas says:

    Clement: very interesting! Did the first part of your sermon also deal with the mortal sin of hypocrisy? That was how Father’s musings started out here.

  49. “The words of Martin Mosebach come to mind: ‘I go to church to see God and come away like a theater critic.'”

    A priest with whom I work once said in reply: “We come away wondering how we’re being critiqued.”

    But I have to second the experience of Greg Hessel in the Arlington Diocese. You find even here, that the sacred liturgy can be less an action performed, than a series of words and texts to be gotten through (as if Our Lord told His disciples, “Say these words” rather than “Do this”). Even when all the right words are said, all the right gestures are done, the overwhelming need for the celebrant to leave his personal stamp on the moment remains.

    There is mention of a need to “block out as much as possible.” I have become convinced in only the last few years, that most people’s difficulties with the “Novus Ordo,” would be resolved if only one thing were changed; that the priest celebrated at the altar “ad orientem.” That the Mass started and ended at the sedilia is harmless enough, but for the sacrificial act itself, to be facing one entity — that is, actually looking at them — while speaking or otherwise engaging another, simply does not make sense.

    Unfortunately, we are dealing with public perceptions in making such a change, however misguided those perceptions might be. So those who guard the sacred liturgy beg the question upon themselves: are we to do what people WANT, or what they NEED?

  50. Keith Töpfer says:

    Thank you Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    Today’s article has made me, as a new Inquirer into the Catholic Church, appreciate even more fully than I already did, how fortunate I am. When I left the Episcopal Church last Fall, three acquaintances independently directed me to the Dominican parish in which I am now an enrolled parishioner and attending RCIA with the absolutely firm intention of becoming Catholic.

    One of the very first things I noticed, and for which I was most grateful, was a one page flyer in the vestibule that laid out the general and specific practices which were considered appropriate for the laity in this community—both the reverence that was due and when to kneel, to genuflect, etc. On top of it all, the Director of Liturgy and Music is a former Dominican seminarian, he is involved in the New Liturgical Movement, and he is no fan of Haugen or the like.

  51. PS says:

    Nathan –

    Why are the pews so empty? (I know this is the case in Arlington, but DC, with only one TLM church seems to pack them in.)

    My guess is that there are a lot of things going on (I’m going to try and sum them up into a couple of points):

    1) Stigma: the notion that the TLM is an antiquated Mass attened only by rabid conservatives and less rabid octagenarians (sp?) keeps plenty of people away. That it is “hard” or very different from the NO can be intimidating on a _conceptual_ level.

    2) The thing itself: some of the stigma is well-deserved, unfortunatly, and while “hush” cards have, in my meager experiance, hardly become the norm before, during or after a TLM there is a sort of “forbidding” air in the church while the older form of the mass is celebrated (we fans of the TLM consider this “reverential silence” or the like). The mass _is_ (not just conceptually, but spiritually, etc) very different from the NO/OF. For Catholics born and raised in the OF, the actual experience of the EF can be very off-putting (it shouldn’t be, of course). And add on to that it is a sad fact that the accusation (from OF devotees) that the EF is championed only by the ultra (politically, socially, you name it) conservatives in the Church can often seem true. Even worse it is the voice from the pulpit/ambo that reinforces this stereotype: the term “dangerous lefty,” “tree-hugger” and “crazy like a feminist” have all cropped up in homilys at recent TLMs I’ve attended (this has been personally very, very difficult for me. I spend months trying to convince a Catholic friend about the beauty and rich spirituality of the TLM and we wind up going together and hear a homily a few Sundays ago that has as little to do with beauty and spirituality as possible.).

    I think, really, that this is a chicken and egg thing. We need a lot more catechesis for current and imminent Catholics. With proper catechesis, I think every one of us who screams until we are blue in the facce about liturgical abuses will find ourselves quietly vindicated (or at least comforted) as the level of abuses diminishes. With proper catechesis I think we will find that many more people will want to go to the TLM, not out of a love of tradition, but because of a proper understanding of the purpose of mass. After all, so many well-intentioned Catholics have come to conflate Communion with community (which is, of course important, but not like our Lord is important); most Catholics I’ve talked to are very much open to alternatives to their local abuse-laden parish but only after we sit down and talk for a long time about what the mass is for (you would be surprised how many people can’t answer the question as to what Mass is about/for).

    As a final point I would like to suggest that those the frequent the TLM owe it not only to themselves but to their community to attend churches in the area to get a sense of what the OF is like throughout. How off the rails is the most off the rails parish? It’s much easier to talk a Catholic through their TLM ambivalence if you know what sort of Mass and catechesis they are getting.

  52. Muscovite says:

    The question that I have after reading this post, and the one below from a priest who advised that we attend Mass no matter how poorly it’s celebrated, is this: is it possible for a particular Mass to be an occasion of spiritual harm? Is there a point at which the blasphemy one has to witness and condone in order to assist at Mass does more harm to a soul than the good one receives? My husband has decided, after six years as a Catholic and attending Mass without fail, that the truth of the whole of Christianity is in doubt. I’m afraid my own faith will follow a similar trajectory.

  53. Mattk says:

    I often wonder why a reform of the liturgy was thought to be needed by clergy honestly seeking a great renewal. If the vernacular language was such an important allowance, why not have the TLM in the vernacular(the TVM? :))

    In my city we have 3 “liberal” parishes and 3 “conservative” parishes. I now have the option of TLM on Sundays at a local religious order church. It is a struggle to now attend Mass even at “conservative” NO parishes on Sundays(still attend NO during the week) – especially during the Canon. Certainly, the most awkward moment is the priest looking at me during consecration. I will usually keep my head down at elevation because the symbolism of facing me has become so awkward and disturbing.

  54. London Calling says:

    Pertinacious Papist prefers the TLM but has recently assisted at a Novus Ordo Mass where the ars celebrandi was not all that it could be. That is unfortunate. But the title of his post and some of the comments, on this blog and his, imply that sloppiness and theatricality are inherent to the newer rite. [Someone who has read here for a long time will know that I have constantly said that abuses are abuses and that many things frequently associate with the Novus, as it is widely celebrated, having nothing to do with the black and the red of the Novus Ordo. At the same time, there are a few things in the Novus Ordo itself which have lent themselves to the “sloppiness” and “theatricality”. First, the options for the priest to insert his own words opens the rite up to oddities. It does not automatically lead to oddities, but.. well priests are human. Also, the Novus Ordo has less room for silence. These two examples will suffice. Again, abusus non tollit usum. ]

    That is simply not so. My data are mostly limited to the UK, but if you visit London you will find perhaps a dozen solemn Novus Ordo celebrations on a Sunday, done in Latin, some celebrated ad orientem. At the Oratory, at Farm Street, at Westminster Cathedral, at many other churches you will find Latin, incense, bells, well-trained and correctly vested servers, sublime traditional music, silence after the homily and after the people’s communion, seasonal Marian anthems sung by the congregation in Latin. There are prayers said in secret. The congregations – except when they are singing or speaking words from the liturgy – are silent as mice. Many of these celebrations fill large churches. There is a far larger group of churches where the Novus Ordo is celebrated in English, but ‘according to the book’, with proper servers and reverent ritual. Fr Stephen Langridge celebrates in the ‘Benedictine’ manner; a short bicycle ride away from his church Fr Martin Edwards celebrates ad orientem — and he wears a maniple. All Novus Ordo.

    I could make the converse claim: I generally assist at a (Latin) Novus Ordo celebration but occasionally go to a TLM; at one of these, a woman in my pew took it upon herself to act as a self-appointed member of the mutaween (religious police) and hissed at me for saying et cum spiritu tuo. I have seen self-consciously camp behaviour by priests at the TLM. Does theatricality on the part of priests or pharisaical behaviour by a congregant render the TLM inferior? I don’t think so.

    If fine celebrations of the Novus Ordo can be done in many London churches, in a diocese where Cardinal Cormac, the most recent ordinary, is no friend of the TLM, if Pope Benedict can celebrate Mass in the Novus Ordo with dignity and reverence – and I think he has yet to celebrate a TLM in public – then isn’t the issue elsewhere? Perhaps the Papist’s post should be retitled: “revisiting a poorly trained priest and a poorly catechised congregation”.

    Similar comment posted on Pertinacious Papist’s blog.

  55. maynardus says:

    Also – I’d heartily second those who’ve cited or extolled Mosebach’s book – it should be required reading for all priests and seminarians – bishops too!

  56. Laura Lowder says:

    I am still processing my experience with the EF, which received greater clarity to me during Holy Week as I got to participate in three Missa Cantata liturgies. I’m a musician of sorts; of course the music is important to me, and mediocre music permeates my whole experience like a bad smell.

    But more than that is the attitude which leads to the rotten music. When the priest stops short of entering the Sanctuary to pray, including the Confiteor, one gets a stronger sense of something powerful, even perhaps a bit risky, about to occur. After all, to pause, to hesitate, to make serious formal and public preparation before entering the Holy of Holies invites all of us to re-examine our attitudes as we approach the celebration of such Mystery.

    A breeze-through of the penitential rite (often without Confiteor) and the Gloria, while the priest is facing us, already in the Sanctuary and on the opposite side of the altar from us, just doesn’t lead to worship in the same way.

  57. PS says:

    maynardus-

    This is a great post, in my opinion. It wasn’t the TLM that turned me off of the NO. I still like the NO. I think it is perfectly suitable. That said, I have little trouble having really fruitful prayer in a crowded train so I can appreciate the fact that I may be an exception to the rule. I don’t find the NO spiritually unfulfilling, but it’s that so many that attend (and celebrate) the NO seem not only disinterested but often-times flip about the whole thing.

    The only thing I’d like to add is that if Fr. Z were given super powers and, shooting special beams from his eyes, he zapped the NO from having ever existed (we never got rid of the TLM), we would then just have a bunch of people (hopefully less) being disinterested in flip in the TLM. The TLM isn’t a panacea for the spiritual moribundity of so many Catholics; I would think they need to come at the problem from the other end (you know, like actually getting interested in their faith and reading, attending seminars etc on theology and the like).

  58. I think what Phil Blosser conveys is that it’s the overall experience at Mass that is so woefully insufficient rather than anything you can attribute to a list of liturgical abuses. Which makes addressing complaints and concerns so very difficult. In a way, you either get it or you don’t; your bearings are set for something transcendent or for something mundane or vulgar.

  59. Henry Edwards says:

    Margaret: She cannot believe that many American Catholics today would give up the NO and Mass in their native language because she says that even when she was growing up, an increasing number of people mumbled their Latin and half understood what was going on.

    I converted to Catholicism a half-century as a result of exposure to the TLM at a time when I understood not a word of Latin and (initially) little idea what the Mass was about. Even so, my immediate reaction was electric.

    Now I understand Latin pretty well — not only attending the Mass weekly but saying the Office in Latin daily — and probably should admit guilt as a liturgy wonk dwelling on every detail, important or not. Nevertheless, I have no more sense of luminous mystery at the TLM now than then.

    However, I do agree that the new Mass is and will continue to be better for most contemporary Catholics. When celebrated with decent respect for all including God, it can be wonderfully nourishing for most.

    But I believe Father Z’s remark — that the “older form of Mass stands as the form of the Church’s worship for those who are ready for more serious spiritual nourishment” — is one of the more profound that has he’s ever made. The tragedy is that, after 40 years of the newer liturgy often celebrated poorly, so few are “ready”.

  60. maynardus says:

    Re: the comment by “London Calling” – if there are “a dozen solemn Novus Ordo celebrations on a Sunday, done in Latin, some celebrated ad orientem” in all of the United States I’ll eat my 1962 Missal!

    Sadly, what Dr. Blosser recounts is absolutely typical here in New England. Fortunately there aren’t too many parishes weird enough to score 100% on the “Full Bugnini” index of liturgical piracy and pyrotechnics “inculturation” but the general level of mediocrity and congregational demeanor described by Blosser is more the norm than the exception…

  61. Maria says:

    Muscovite, the SSPX take the position you mention, that sometimes attending the Novus Ordo can do harm to the soul because of scandal and the suppression of the Catholic teachings in it. They hold that is because, though valid, the Novus Ordo is inferior and had many Catholic things cut out of it and other things added.

    On tabernacles: I was going to say that when I was in Oxford, England, we had trouble telling Catholic churches from Anglican ones because the Anglicans are so High they DO have tabernacles, with veils, no less. We actually went into an Anglican church thinking we were about to go to Mass, true story.

  62. peregrinator says:

    “Re: the comment by “London Calling” – if there are “a dozen solemn Novus Ordo celebrations on a Sunday, done in Latin, some celebrated ad orientem” in all of the United States I’ll eat my 1962 Missal!”

    Maynardus,

    I can think of 8 Sunday Latin OFs just off the top of my head (3 of which I’ve attended.)

    London Calling speaks for me too.

  63. Richard says:

    The run-of-the-mill Novus Ordo illustrated in this article is so defunct of a sense of mystery – let alone Eucharistic Mystery – that one wonders how hard people who really believe in the Real Presence and in the sacrifice of the Mass have to try to project the realization that such mysteries are present and taking place at such a Mass. Such an exercise takes a lot of faith; and at a point in life when one’s faith is being tested, to muster it at such a Mass would be a miracle.

    How is one supposed to recognize at such an event that something like the re-presentation of Christ’s saving work on Calvary is taking place before them? The fact is is that they’re not recognizing this without firm catechesis and commitment to such faith outside of Mass. So when all people have is such casual Mass to make up the bulk of their practice of faith, all they’re left with is attendance of what very much appears to be a social event, whose basis in faith appears to fluctuate depending on what parish you attend.

    People can attend social events at the Rotary Club or by gathering with friends at a bar. Such social events may actually be more satisfying for people as they may actually know quite well the other people there. When Mass is made to be a social event, people are made to feel as if the people they really don’t know next to them in the pew are their bestest friends in the world for the 50 minutes or so of the duration of the Mass, only to forget about them until next week (assuming they go to Mass every week) when the insincere familiarity is rehearsed all over again. People have the opportuniy to have coffee and donuts after Mass to get to know each other better, but if Mass appears to be a social event, why not just have coffee and donuts and skip Mass? When the overarching purpose of being at Mass is made to be hanging out with other people, then everything else we do at Mass assumes the intent of accomplishing that end. We make the responses because we are doing it together; worshiping God is only secondary. We attend to the priest who is facing us at the ad versus populum altar with the expectation of getting something out of watching and listening to THE PRIEST, not out of uniting our hearts to JESUS in the Eucharistic sacrifice taking place on the altar before him. (One could argue that we also see Jesus in the priest, but that’s not the impression one gets when Mass is made to be a social event, supported by the priest whom you have only met a couple of times and who understandably doesn’t know your name acting like he just couldn’t wait to descend from the altar to come and shake your hand at the sign of peace – the only Jesus sensed there is “Buddy Jesus” affirming me in my okayness.) And that’s how overemphasis on community at the expense of a sense of mystery, reverence, and awe at Mass is so dangerous to the faith. There is no reason people should feel they have to be buddy-buddy with people they don’t even know at what appears to be a mere social event, only to go away wondering what the term “practicing Catholic” means anymore, anyway.

  64. Colleen says:

    I appreciate all of the article, but this struck me in particular: “The words of Martin Mosebach come to mind: ‘I go to church to see God and come away like a theater critic.'” One difference between the NO and the TLM, it seems to me, is that the TLM is consistent, while the NO should be, but isn’t. I never have to worry about anything bizarre or distracting being done in a TLM. In the NO you never know what you’re going to get from one Mass to the next, from one priest to the next. When I go to a NO Mass my attention is often so drawn to the abuses that I can’t focus on the Mass. Indeed, at many NO Masses I spend considerable time not focused on the Mass, but instead focused on trying to fight my feelings of revulsion at the abuses. Rather than worshipping, I end up critiquing (in my mind, of course — not out loud)and getting royally pissed off at some of the nonsense that goes on. So,the NO Mass often ends up seeming to me like an occasion for sin since I end up angry during Mass. Or, it seems like a severe penance. I know I should be spiritually mature enough to overlook some of these things, but it is hard when I know it doesn’t have to be this way. As for why more people don’t attend the TLM — I would suggest, at least where I live, that it is because there are few offered, and most people have to travel a considerable distance to get to a TLM. There are not a lot of priests most places who can say the TLM (there aren’t, for that matter a lot of priests, period), and most of the parish priests I know are so busy as it is that they would be hard pressed to find time to learn it and implement it(or so I’m told), even if they wanted to.

  65. Peggy says:

    In one word: Yes.

    In too many words, I\’ve thought that perhaps the informality I experience here in IL is part of the midwestern culture. Having lived in the Arlington diocese for years, where in general people are more formal and distant, the casualness and irreverence of our NO parish here in IL are jarring to me. Adults are so easily distracted at mass–I am now too. I think I will one day have to go EF only, about 8 miles away, when they build the new round church and get too modern for my sensibilities. Yet, my high energy boys won\’t make it in an EF mass. So, we stay at the NO parish for now.

  66. pelerin says:

    ‘The visible presence of the Tabernacle which one would not generally find anywhere but in a Catholic Church.’

    Last week I attended a NO Funeral Mass of a very dear friend in a modern Catholic church built in the 1960s. On entering I looked around for the Tabernacle in order to know in which direction to genuflect. I failed to locate it so entered my seat as others were doing and sat down. I found it impossible to pray in what seemed like an empty church.

    Later after Mass on turning round to leave I saw a small plain area – no flowers or decoration – and a friend whispered sadly ‘I think that’s the Tabernacle.’ My tears were not only for my old friend on that occasion…
    Earlier that week I attended a Requiem Mass in my parish for the same friend. I entered the familiar church. The tabernacle was in the centre and prayer came naturally. When the priest entered and began the Mass I could feel the power of his prayers. The vestments were black not white. I was able to pray. It was beautiful. It was in the Extraordinary Rite.

  67. Justin says:

    London calling speaks for me. I wish people would stop comparing the OF as done incorrectly, but a mose pertinent discussion would be comparing the OF done by the book (see Westminster Cathedral, the Brompton, Birmingham, and Oxford Oratory, St James Spanish Place, Farm Street, Ely Place, St Mary’s Cadogan St, Blackfriars Hall, St Patrick’s Soho Square, Assumption and St Gregory Warwick St, etc. etc.) and the EF. These places are few and far in between granted. But that’s all the more reason to hold them up as the marker for what liturgy in the OF can and should be like. The EF is not going to become the normative rite of the Roman church again. The OF as celebrated at Westminster Cathedral and the like very well could, and should.

  68. Emily says:

    The posters who mention the feeling of just wanting to receive Jesus, and feeling embarrassed at the NO Mass–that is exactly what I felt this weekend, but I didn’t know how to phrase it! I’ve belonged to my parish since I was 2 years old, but, as I learn more about he liturgy, I feel more and more uncomfortable with “Gather Us In” every week, the sloppiness, the lack of reverence. It totally destroys my focus.
    This article was just what I needed.

  69. That was a very well written article, and thank you for your observations.

    One thing to keep in mind is that every single one of the negatives he pointed out were abuses to the Novus Ordo, and are not intrinsic to the form itself. This is where the gravitational effect of which the Holy Father speaks really needs to occur. [Yes! The “gravitational pull”.] It is unquestionable that the EF suffers very few abuses, whereas the OF is frequently abused and distorted. This needs to change, and hopefully it will. Until it does, it makes it very difficult sometimes to compare the two forms of the Mass of themselves, because at an EF Mass you are given the opportunity to actually evaluate the rite itself, whereas at a typical OF Mass, you are not observing the rite, but rather the illicit improvisation of the rite.

    As for the abuses themselves, sadly they are all too common. I know far too many priests, and many more lay faithful, who have, as the author described, an allergy to the masculine pronoun when referring to God. And while I’ve never seen what he talked about regarding those presenting the gifts joining in prayer, I have heard a priest begin by saying, “Let us all join and pray together….Through him, with him, and in him…” while the faithful join with him. I actually had opportunity to address one of the women who took this practice into every Mass she went to, not knowing any better, and began saying it with the priest every time. She was very gracious when I informed her that it was improper, and she stopped, and the priest has since stopped inviting others to do so.

    Anyway, it’s just so sad to see the Mass abused so much. But it’s important to note that the abuses are just that, abuses, and have nothing to do with the intrinsic value and beauty of the Novus Ordo.

  70. Dino says:

    Our dear departed Irish priest often pointed out that people arriving a little late, he could live with it. People leaving early, sometimes it is necessary. But what bothered him was when they met in the doorways.
    This was priest who, to my recolection never celebrated
    a NO Mass. Yes, it was a problem in the “old days” too.

    When I am able to get to an EF Mass, I notice that there
    is a cross-generational attendance and that the toddlers
    seem to pick up on the reverence and do not cause disturbances.

    Where I live time, distance and traffic all have a bearing o
    attendance at an EF Mass. 7 a.m. or mid-afternoon is the choice.

    I took a young friend from México to an EF Mass. She was born
    in 1971 and had only been to OF Masses in Spanish, but she
    had no difficulty in following, even though the missals proviedd
    were English-Latin. No language barrier.

    Kneelers? In my local OF parish we have them but since it has been decreed that we should either stand or sit most of the time, I have discovered that the kneelers with which I was born serve jsut fine.

    I have noticed a trend, though. We have a couple of young priests, they both wear cassocks and, or the most part, shun the excesses that
    have been so common. I complemented the younger padre, and he
    opened a black book he was holding, then pointed out that it
    isn’t so difficult to “read the black and do the red.”

    Maybe Bob Dylan was right–The times, they are a changin’.

  71. Henry Edwards says:

    As one who attends and loves both forms of the Roman rite, I have my own ideas, but I wonder how others might explain the fact that abuses are extremely rare in the older form, but extremely common in the newer form.

  72. Mark says:

    The writer’s observations are similar to my own. Where he commented about the lack of participation on the part of the congregation, I observed this same ‘detachment’ when I last attended a NO Mass. At the EF Mass I attend, even there is nothing but rapt attention.

    Just a quick point: My Episcopalean father (deceased), stated after the NO was introduced that he saw no point in converting (which he had considered doing). He felt the Catholicity of the Mass has been eliminated in the new rites.

  73. Henry: one of the more profound that has he’s ever made

    Thanks for that.   I believe you know that I have written about this point before.  For example, another post long ago.

    Here is a brief example …

    To grow into serious committed Catholics capable of making an impact on society, we need all that the Church desires to give us.  We adults could, if necessary, get by on baby food alone.  We could, if necessary, survive on milk and some nearly predigested veggies, but we would not thrive.  Would we be able to do our work well?  Could we respond with zeal and vigor to God’s will in our lives, having been fed only on such pabulum?  A new translation is in preparation.  More satisfying nourishment will come, God willing, through our beautiful prayers in a new translation, which will increase our yearning for the perfect food, containing in Itself all delight.

    Or here:

    We need what our prayers really say. They are the bones of our daily lives. Our Mass should give us thick red steak and cabernet, not pureed carrots for baby teeth.

    I want meat, not goop.

    I want you to thrive through our Mass not just survive.

    Mass is succulent, not ordinary.

    The content of our prayers will reach through to us when we have accurate translations of the Latin. Then with the help of preachers we can crack them open with adult teeth, chew their marrow.

    This is one of the reasons why Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum is so very important. 

    In the assembling of the Novus Ordo, with the revision of its prayers, we lost concepts important to our Catholic identity.  That is not the case with this week’s prayer, happily.  Moreover, the revised Novus Ordo prayers often emphasize some positive elements not so present in the older prayers.  However, what we lost, perhaps to be characterized as “negative” concepts, are vital to who we are as Catholics. 



    Summorum Pontificum will help us reclaim as a praying Church much of what has been lost in our worship and therefore provide nourishment for a revitalized Catholic identity.

  74. Sandy says:

    One description above – devoid of mystery – is one of the key OF deficiencies. I’m trying not to be negative, as Father asked :) To make a positive statement, I will say that the good news is that there are more and more people discovering the TLM, as the writer of this article did. The bad news is that it’s happening so slowly, but there is so much to overcome.

  75. Justin says:

    Henry Edwards,

    “As one who attends and loves both forms of the Roman rite, I have my own ideas, but I wonder how others might explain the fact that abuses are extremely rare in the older form, but extremely common in the newer form.”

    Three things off the top of my head.

    There are generally far more OF compared to EF masses. More masses = more opportunity for abuse.

    The attenders and the priest who celebrates the EF do so because they have a love of liturgy. Attending the EF is almost a conscious choice for many Catholics. In many respects, one could argue that it is an opting into a classical tradition, it is also an opting out of your average suburban parish liturgy that borders on the banal. You’re hardly likely to opt out of an abuse only to see that abuse perpetuated.

    The rubrics of the EF are generally far stricter about what can and cannot be done, in contrast to the GIRM which has a measure of ambiguity about some of them. You could have Palestrina’s Missa Papae Marcelli celebrated ad orientem with three sacred ministers, and on the other hand you could have Marty Haugen’s Mass of Creation in polyester sack with 2 other concelebrants in alb and stole only and both would be in conformity to the GIRM. The challenge is for us, who do know what the glories of the OF can and should be like, to convince others to choose the option most in accord with our mission of the glorification of God and the edification of his faithful. This is precisely why instead of arguing about how the OF is bad/pointless/useless/etc. we should be teaching about the merits of the OF and how it can help foster reverent and worthy worship and how it can assist one in understanding what it means to love God and to serve his holy Church, holding up places like the Brompton Oratory and Westminster Cathedral as exemplars of good solid OF liturgy.

  76. Aaron says:

    Nathan’s question about why more people aren’t flocking to the TLM made me think of my family. Over the years, we’ve often talked about goofy and banal Masses, with all the usual complaints. Yet we’ve had the TLM here (daily and twice on Sunday) for several months now, and most of my family hasn’t tried it even once.

    A couple of the reasons have already been mentioned. There’s the stigma that says they’ll be surrounded by dangerously ultra-conservative types. (And it’s true that they might find themselves in the middle of a pro-life conversation, or a discussion of something Pope Benedict wrote recently, which simply wouldn’t happen at their usual parish. I don’t think that makes us “ultra-conservative,” but it might seem like it in comparison.) Also, being “used to bread and water” is part of it. Even if they’re not necessarily thrilled with the way their Masses are done, they don’t know how much better it could be.

    Some have expressed reluctance to take Communion on the tongue. We rural Midwesterners require a lot of personal space, so having a stranger come that close to our mouth can be pretty weird at first. I think that’s kept more of them away than the Latin or other differences.

    Another thing they haven’t said, but that I can infer, is that their daughters (or granddaughters or nieces) get to serve at their parishes, and they wouldn’t get to at our TLM. And they don’t know why, so they’re hardly going to be able to explain it to their teenage daughters.

    They also *like* their fellow parishioners, and generally their pastors, and I don’t think they want to be seen as abandoning them. I think that’s why we had a huge crowd on Good Friday: people could come check it out without anyone noticing they were missing on Sunday.

    So they do like some things about their current churches; they don’t know what they’re missing; they’ve been told it’s sort of regressive and vaguely dangerous in some way; and they aren’t fed up enough with what they’ve got to rock the boat. I don’t try to convert them; I just make sure they know they’re welcome any time they want to come. Sooner or later, a server boy/girl winking at his/her friends in the congregation, or people doing the wave during the Our Father, will convince them to join me some Sunday.

  77. wmeyer says:

    It would be difficult for me to post on abuses in my parish, as I lack the training to be sure of what is correct, and what is not.

    What I can say is that I find there is far too much chatter. Before the Mass, there is no sense among the people of any solemnity, nor of reverence. Few genuflect, and among those who bow, the bow is generally perfunctory. Twice, I have been interrupted at my prayers before Mass by an usher who knows me.

    Applause is a commonplace response. In a church with about 700 in attendance, I question the need for 10-12 EMHCs.

    I do not look with pleasure on the thought of a 70 mile round trip, but as that is the requirement for the ONLY Latin Mass in the Archdiocese, I am increasingly sure I will be making that drive, and soon.

    Where can I find a specification of requirements for a licit Mass, baseline issues, not subject to local custom?

  78. dominic1962 says:

    One of the issues that should be kept in mind is that the matter is not one of mere aesthetics. It is quite irrelevant that the NO can be dressed up to look much more like the TLM. This is nice and is to be applauded, but larger theological issues are at play and this is the real reason people like me who prefer the TLM do so. Of of the main jarring aspects of the NO (at least to me) is that it is an amalgamation of tacked together older texts and things pulled completely out of the air. As such, no ammount of windowdressing can change the fact that the NO is still an innovation even when well celebrated and a complete farce when seen as celebrated in the way it is often seen.

    Seecondly, we should try to get beyond doing what we are used to just because we are used to it. There are many factors that play into this and I can understand why some folks just can’t go to the TLM because of distance factors etc. For me it was an intellectual “conversion” and when the opportunity to take up the TLM regularly, there was no looking back for me. I can still go to the NO as they are pretty decent around my area but I also think that the NO simply cannot compare to the TLM.

  79. David says:

    After visiting this blog for some months, I sense that there are readers who have abandoned their parishes to EF Masses either (1) in a parish so distant from their own neighborhoods that they are realistically unable to participate in the life and works of that parish other than Sundays, or (2) on the grounds of a religious order. It’s as if many of those with the most to offer are moving to the life boats (or islands) so to speak. At the same time, many parishes are desperately looking for catechists and volunteers for the charitable works that they sponsor.

    I would argue that abandoning our parishes may not be the best long term solution. There certainly must be long term benefits in staying with our local parishes, volunteering as catechists and teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While, at the same time, exercising fully the rights that have been confirmed in Summorum Pontificum and other documents.

    I truly believe that the vast majority of Catholics in parishes where liturgical abuses occur do not recognize them as abuses, either because of unfamiliarity or because their formation was so weak that they lack the understanding of (or reverence for) the mystery that would intuitively lead them to question such abuses.

    The Church needs orthodox catechists. She needs male catechists. Please, instead of abandoning your local parish, consider getting more involved in the entire life of your local parish. I suspect that, even if teaching from the Baltimore Catechism might upset some parish DREs, it would be hard to get fired as a catechist if that’s the “worst” thing that you – because you’d be so hard to replace.

  80. Megan says:

    I think this post nails it. My family has been attending an EF Mass semi-regularly for the past year, but we can only get to it about once a month due to distance. Lately we’ve “parish-hopped” quite a bit, different situations either forcing us or at least making it convenient for us to go to parishes other than our own. This past Sunday was the first time I had attended Mass at my own parish since probably January (excluding the Holy Week). It’s absolutely draining. I am increasingly disturbed there but see little way to alleviate the problem. If we could go to the EF every single week, we definitely would.

    This is where the comments made by Maynardus really strike me. I certainly do not feel superior to people who assist at (and prefer to assist at) the OF. I feel *weaker* than they–because I simply cannot calm my mind and focus on “what’s really important” with all the noise and distractions around me. Many very fine people that I know and respect are perfectly content at the OF. They recognize that there are abuses–and they lament them–but they aren’t personally affected by them. I don’t understand why I can’t do that, but I can’t. I don’t try to find problems. In fact, I try *not* to find them. I keep my eyes closed most of the time so that I won’t be tempted to analyze things. It doesn’t help. I’m constantly bombarded by things that rip me right out of the sacred and into the profane. Every single time. I even struggle at the daily masses (which are nowhere near as chaotic as the Sunday ones). The only place that I get any spiritual peace and fortification is at the EF. From there I do come away strengthened for the week’s battle. I’m not sure what the answer is to this, but the importance of the question cannot possibly be overstated.

  81. Ottaviani says:

    London Calling: At the Oratory, at Farm Street, at Westminster Cathedral, at many other churches you will find Latin, incense, bells, well-trained and correctly vested servers, sublime traditional music, silence after the homily and after the people’s communion, seasonal Marian anthems sung by the congregation in Latin. There are prayers said in secret.

    I would add here that the places mentioned above are:

    1. Right in the heart of London and so not necessarily accessible to Catholic living in Greater London, to have to get up early, pay a train fare to get to and fro into the city to attend masses at one of these places. Couple with the fact that some are tied to having to attend their local parish because of time constraints, children, etc.

    2. Majority of Novus Ordo masses are not celebrated in the same way as above and that is the problem. And problem does not solely reside in the external celebrations or not adhering to the rubrics. There are problems with the rite itself and this is something many well-meaning Catholics will just brush under the carpet in the hope it will go away.

    3. Some polyphonic masses can be quite theatrical to the extend that one will find the whole thing more of a concert-like affair than assisting at mass (probably why some Anglo-Catholics like to assist at such celebrations). The long pauses that have to take place in order to allow singing to finish, prolongs the whole setting unduly.

    4. Even the Oratory’s famous “reform of the reform” 11am mass, does not stick to the rubrics of the Novus Ordo e.g. Using the Asperges Me and the traditional Confiteor, when this is not allowed. Another obvious anomaly is having a priest act as “sub-deacon” too. If having to make the Novus Ordo look “more traditional” requires breaking one or two rubrics here and there, what does that say about the rite itself?

  82. Justin says:

    “Even the Oratory’s famous “reform of the reform” 11am mass, does not stick to the rubrics of the Novus Ordo e.g. Using the Asperges Me and the traditional Confiteor, when this is not allowed. Another obvious anomaly is having a priest act as “sub-deacon” too. If having to make the Novus Ordo look “more traditional” requires breaking one or two rubrics here and there, what does that say about the rite itself?”

    At the Oratory, the Asperges takes place before the Introit, in much the same manner as in the EF. The GIRM makes no mention of whether or not the Asperges (or any other private devotion) is allowed before the Mass. In theory, you could have the whole Asperges, Prayers before the foot of the altar, and then start the Mass with the Introit and it would still be in accordance with the letter of the law.

    They do not use the traditional Confiteor. It’s recited in Latin, but the Confiteor that is recited is from the MR 2002.

    Deacons (normally priests who assume the role of deacon) are used at the Mass. Whether people view one as acting as subdeacon and another one as deacon is up to them. In the OF the liturgical subdeacon does not exist, but there is no reason why a deacon cannot fulfil that liturgical role.

  83. Michael says:

    The London Calling and Justin claim that the OF can be celebrated in an admirable way. True, but what they see in some churches in England is an exception rather than rule. The Mass is not the Missal – it has “nothing to do with the black and the red of the Novus Ordo”, as Fr.Z. puts it – but an event each time when it takes place. The New Mass is an average New Mass, not the rare variants that are celebrated with dignity here or there, and are “abuses” from the viewpoint of our liturgical gurus.

    When it comes to real abuses, the rubrics invite them, and the priests are trained to be “creative”, “meaningful”, “relevant” etc. They are expected to establish an “eye contact” with people, and I was present on a few occasions when we were asked to turn to each other “with a smile”. The “richness” of Eucharistic prayers enables a priest to choose between them, and the most popular choice is the Prayer II, because it is short, and in which there is no mention of sacrifice. What can an ordinary person in a pew think, take in, of the essence of the Mass when he/she listens (“understands”) this Prayer, day after day, throughout the year? And the lex orandi is supposed to express as well as to lead to the lex credendi. Blatant abuses as numerous; it might be possible to produce a dictionary. Younger generations do not know anything else. That is what the New Mass is.

  84. mike hurcum says:

    I believe david’s comments on teaching the catechism in your local parish deserves an answer. There is no way I would be allowed to teach the RCIA or any other catechism in the local parish. I am as they say too traditional. That is I am more orthodox than the newly minted (baptized) wome. One who gushingly said the pope should make more women priests and the next pope should be a woman, as she taught. The priest who objected to my questioning him and asking why he had not taught that we shoulds not receive communion if we were not adequately prepared by confession. The parish priest did nothing. The Church is perhaps beyond recall, the faithful, the churchmen I mean. We had at least 30 start the last rcia and we are down to 5 and falling. Liberality and not orthodoxy is the game plan.Makes no one uncomfortable excepy the old greybeard over there. Whisper in the priest ear and he will get rid of him. If that does not work see the gals down at the chancery office they will certainly makesure what we teach is right. Though many of you do not see it, private revelations are the order of the day. Those revelations that many demand are followed by the priest in the offering of the mass. How many times have I seen women and even a priest sticking their finger into the Blood and flicking some speck of dirt onto the floor. How many times have I seen a child obviously not prepared for his first communion because of age given the Host with the extra to the ordinary minister defending her right to give it to whom she pleases. He was so cute I was told. How many times have I found the Host hidden amongst the books on the pew’s hymna; shelf? Should I continue I expect to see a comment saying I should be quiet I am putting people off.

  85. Baronius says:

    “That is simply not so. My data are mostly limited to the UK, but if you visit London you will find perhaps a dozen solemn Novus Ordo celebrations on a Sunday, done in Latin, some celebrated ad orientem. At the Oratory, at Farm Street, at Westminster Cathedral, at many other churches you will find Latin, incense, bells, well-trained and correctly vested servers, sublime traditional music, silence after the homily and after the people’s communion, seasonal Marian anthems sung by the congregation in Latin. There are prayers said in secret. The congregations – except when they are singing or speaking words from the liturgy – are silent as mice. Many of these celebrations fill large churches. There is a far larger group of churches where the Novus Ordo is celebrated in English, but ‘according to the book’, with proper servers and reverent ritual. Fr Stephen Langridge celebrates in the ‘Benedictine’ manner; a short bicycle ride away from his church Fr Martin Edwards celebrates ad orientem—and he wears a maniple. All Novus Ordo.”

    Sounds like slapping a Ferrari sticker on a Dodge.

    You can take a poorly-designed, poorly-built and poorly-maintained vehicle to a body shop for a shiny new paint job, but under the hood it’s still a lemon and always will be.

    More Catholics have had their faith destroyed by the Novus Ordo than any other single cause.

  86. chloesmom says:

    I too agree with Dr. Blosser’s post. There are no EF Masses within convenient distance from my rural parish, and our pastor has told me personally that “whenever something comes from Rome, we close our eyes”. Obviously, there won’t be an EF Mass in our church any time soon. We have all the “trimmings” described, and the lousy music is a source of much distress to my musician’s heart. Recently, the organist at our Saturday Vigil Mass played “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” at Communion… Enough said. We just have to pray, pray, pray that sanity will happen eventually. Much remains to be done.

  87. Henry Edwards says:

    Especially since Martin Mosebach’s The Heresy of Formlessness — which captures both the ethos of the old Mass and the problem of the new Mass better than any other book I know – has been mentioned, let me trot out again my favorite paraphrase of one of his best quotes:

    The fact that with sufficient effort the new Mass can be celebrated well reveals its weakness; the fact that with sufficient effort the old Mass can be celebrated poorly reveals its strength.

  88. Joe says:

    Richard’s comments about ‘Why attend Mass’ as a social event when the Rotary Club or something else offers far better competition on that score hits a nail on the head. Let’s face it; a large part of the irreverence at Mass is generated by the simple fact that what you have is a set of sacramentalized pagans who do not believe and have not been converted. Their faith is more of a Greeting Card sort than a Christianity-sort. And compounding the problem is that many priests don’t seem to be Christians either, if we mean people who believe in Christianity [Richard Neuhuas recounted a Latin American priest at one of JPII’s synods saying this, to silence). Liturgy and Sacraments are real, sure, and vital, but without a faith brought to them by decent teaching, they will not create a reverent body of believers. Perhaps the Lifeteen Mass mentioned above can be explained positively by the fact that Lifeteen does tend to teach a basic gospel, more than can be said of so many parishes. If people find Benedict XVI old-fashioned, with all of his bend-over backwards efforts to seem open and contemporary in his teaching, do we really think there is not a fundamental acceptance of the Spirit of the Age versus the Spirit of Catholicism in far too many places?

  89. Wow, this put into words, my experience at the NO vs. the TLM.

  90. joe b says:

    i’m new to the old form of the mass.but it doesn’t take long to realize there is something special about it.

  91. Dave Wells says:

    I’m so glad to have read this post and the responses. I am not alone in how I feel when I attend Mass, at the Cathedral of our diocese no less. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to attend the EF Mass on a handful of occassions, as well as the Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. While there are obvious and significant differences between the two, both convey an overwhelming – palpable – sense of the Divine that is completely lacking in the typical OF Mass.

    I’m curious if others who are devoted to the EF Mass have attended the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, and how they would compare the two. Does the EF Mass have a greater appeal to you, and if so why?

    Thanks!

  92. Aaron says:

    “I would argue that abandoning our parishes may not be the best long term solution. There certainly must be long term benefits in staying with our local parishes, volunteering as catechists and teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church. While, at the same time, exercising fully the rights that have been confirmed in Summorum Pontificum and other documents.” — David

    In parishes where this is possible, people probably are *not* driving 90 miles to get to a TLM. But how exactly are people to exercise fully those rights if the priest and the bishop say no?

    One of the Catechism teachers at our new TLM was “fired” from teaching at a Novus Ordo parish, because the director said he talked about sin and hell too much and she didn’t believe in those things. Where do you start?

  93. RBrown says:

    Prior to Summorum Pontificum, the comment from some more orthodox bishops—including Cardinal Arinze—was that they did not want to see a so-called “universal indult” because they feared it would hinder “the reform of the reform.”

    They can say whatever they want. I have been a Catholic since 1970, and I’ve seen no change in the liturgy. The only substantial attempt at liturgical reform has been Summorum Pontificum.

    But there is still some validity to the other concern. Prior to Summorum Pontificum, one could find parishes that offered “The Vatican II Mass in Latin”—the “EWTN Mass”, or what trads call “The Hybrid Mass”: the Novus Ordo, normally with Eucharistic Prayer I, mostly in Latin, with readings in English, the priest using ad orientem posture, etc.

    One could find them where?

    In almost 40 years as a Catholic, I can count the Novus Ordo Latin masses I’ve attended (masses in Rome excepted) on one hand. One was in the crypt in the Cathedral in DC, another in Westminster Cathedral. I know of NONE in the KC archdiocese or the KC diocese.

  94. little gal says:

    Here’s my tongue-in-cheek comment for the day…

    If I get to heaven, I will conduct a poll regarding how many of its inhabitants frequented the EF vs. the OF(Latin or otherwise) of the Mass. If it turns out that most attended the OF and still became holy people, I suspect that some traditionalists will say that the Almighty graded on the curve…

  95. MargaretMN says:

    Muscovite, if your spiritual life is withering at the parish you attend, for heaven’s sake go somewhere else, no matter what the problem is. Better still, in addition to changing where you worship make a retreat or a pilgrimage. Do something to break out of your rut. Find a spiritual director and meet with them or join a discussion group. Everybody goes through the spiritual desert but it’s important to be able to know how to find consolation to see you through.

    Henry, sometimes I wonder if the allure for some of the more formal forms of liturgy is a kind of “liturgical wonkery” as you say. There is no harm that but it stands to reason that as some will find complexity and mystery uplifting fand challenging in a positive way, others will find it off-putting and remote.

  96. Eric says:

    I had the displeasure of going to a NO mass last week for the first time in several months.

    I was at the parish early for a function between masses. I had gotten up early and not eaten anything. About an hour before mass I got a chance to grab a bite to eat but noticed the time and decided to wait until after mass. I shouldn’t have worried because about a half an hour later I saw the pastor wolfing down a piece of coffee cake and drinking a cup of coffe until about 10 minutes before mass.

    The attire of the parishoners was nothing short of scandalous. I am very glad I decided against bringing myb 13 year old son because there were several girls about his age that had shirts on that were see through. Their under garments were clearly visable. I’d guesse half of the adult men had shorts (pants) on. I had the only tie and I counted four other men that had shirts with buttons. The adult women (I can’t call them ladies) were equally dress inappropriately.

    I counted 6 people chewing gum during mass. One clearly chewing as he shuffled up in the communion line.

    Three men playing guitar in the sanctuary. The Lector (? I can only guesse as I am not familiar with these things) had an absolutely beautiful voice that was wasted on inane music. She also read the first two readings. She had to cross over the sanctuary to do so. On moving in front of the altar she bowed, I guesse that’s what she was doing because it reminded me of a derogatory gesture I remember from my elementary school days. I thought to myself,”did she just stick her butt out at us?” then I realized what she must have been doing, I hope. Her slip was clearly visable when she did so.

    The pastor during the homily called Jesus eating fish after the resurrection a “literary device.”

    Nobody (except me) including the priest bowed during the creed after “came down from heaven”

    I couldn’t bring myself to go to communion. I knelt and prayed. It was obvious I couldn’t get to where I needed to be to receive from the priest so I passed.

  97. dark_coven says:

    An SSPX priest friend of mine (won’t name him), now agrees with what the Pope views on the liturgy i.e. Reform of the reform. Although he doesn’t see this maybe 100% as with the pope, but he thinks that the so-called Reform of the reform is the slow death or extinction of the present Novus Ordo – as more and more traditional elements and revision are brought back in. The eventual outcome of this would probably be the abrogation of the 1962 Missal in preference for a “Novus” Ordo viz. 96% similar with the former older form of the Roman Rite. The 4% would be a legitimate “organically developed” aspect of the liturgy.

    Maybe this is really the “Marshall Plan” of the Holy Father. It may never be completely happen in our lifetime, but by God’s Providence it would surely occur.

    Instavrare Omnia In Christo

  98. Ottaviani says:

    The GIRM makes no mention of whether or not the Asperges (or any other private devotion) is allowed before the Mass. In theory, you could have the whole Asperges, Prayers before the foot of the altar, and then start the Mass with the Introit and it would still be in accordance with the letter of the law.

    They do not use the traditional Confiteor. It’s recited in Latin, but the Confiteor that is recited is from the MR 2002

    Justin, the use of the Asperges is part of the rite in the Pauline Missal, albeit an optional one. When it is used, it replaces the Confiteor and Kyrie:

    http://athanasiuscm.blogspot.com/2009/04/forget-icel-part-ii-asperges.html

    Like I said before, if making the new rite to look more traditional means having to “forget” a few new rules here and there, what does that say about the reform of the reform?

  99. Kevin V. says:

    Our FSSP priest the other day reminded us that the mass is a “compendium of Catholic theology” and the primary catechetical tool of the Church. Keeping that in mind, have a conversation about the faith with your average NO attendee…. then tell me that mass is NOT seriously defective.

  100. Janet DeMarco says:

    Eric, I feel your pain.

    I recently attended a NO where most of the usual things Catholics complain about were not an issue. However, it was still pretty empty and banal, distracting and interrruptive. All that pulled me away from my REAL participation which, by the wisdom of Holy Mother Church is always so easy, so natural in the Holy Mass of the Tridentine. But this other ritual…this Novus Ordo forces one to be an outsider trying to participate with MUCH clang and gong but by doing so prevents one from actually ENTERING INTO THE DEPTHS of the sacred Mystery of Christ present on the Altar.

    One of the recent things my family has been grateful for since fleeing to the Holy Tridentine Mass is the comfort of near 100% certainty that we do not kneel next to an obama voter. I need no more proof than this to know which Mass has none of the roadblocks, but all gates wide open for when it pleases God to send His grace.

  101. RBrown says:

    I am just saying that a person can let himself be so scandalized by the various problems at the Novus Ordo that he can forget the one thing necessary—the sanctification of his soul. It is a great temptation each time at Mass to critique everything that is wrong from the people who leave early, to the vestments of the priest to the preaching etc. that this type of attitude can ultimately posit an obstacle to the flow of sanctifying grace. I attend what is considered a “conservative” parish in Northern VA and yet I still find the same problems other people do (bad singing, poor hymn selection, sometimes dreadful preaching not to mention the problems with the Novus Ordo in general) that I have finally had to make a choice: either block this out as much as possible or always be in a critical mood at Mass. These difficulties should not be an obstacle to holiness but they can be if we let them.
    Comment by Greg Hessel in Arlington Diocese

    I agree about the importance of not becoming too critical.

    On the other, the Church has made clear the role of liturgy in sanctification. (If you read French, there is an excellent book on this by Mme Cecile Bruyere, first abbess of Ste Cecile de Solesmes.) In fact, that was the basis for the Liturgical movement, which after VatII was hijacked by social justice freaks and the advocates of radical Ecumenism who wanted to Protestantize the Church.

    And so it’s easy to see the dilemma: What is supposed to a principle component in the work of sanctification has been so modified that it often is a hindrance (unless, of course, we’re referring to the role of suffering in sanctification).

    It is easy to say that someone should just ignore the banalities of what is often the common Sunday mass, but those banalities have been so designed to destroy any resistance.

  102. Nathan says:

    Henry, you pose an interesting and cogent question. I’m hesitant to jump in on the Novus Ordo critique, though, just because the issue is so visceral for most of us reading this blog (and because Father asked us not to simply complain way up in the original post).

    However, in my opinion, the more widespread liturgical abuse found in the Ordinary Form comes from two sources: first, the practical implementation of the rite in the 70s and 80s, where the innovators were given, essentially, free rein to abuse; second, the structure of the Ordinary Form itself, where pastors (and, by extension, lay music directors) were given the option to choose, by themselves, intregal texts to the Holy Mass. The plethora of options (I read something years ago that did the math on how many different permutations on the options for the words a priest can say the Novus Ordo completely within the rubrics, and they came up with at literally hundreds of different combinations where one can licitly hear Mass on a given Sunday)IMO mitigates against the idea that the liturgy is passed down instead of made up.

    In Christ,

  103. Tom says:

    At some point, the prudent reaction of a well-formed Catholic conscience has to be, “enough, I’m outta here.” If there are serious liturgical abuses, such as those described here, one should seriously consider whether his presence is not material cooperation in the grave sin of scandal.

    The fact that a valid sacrament may be confected in such circumstances is hardly relevant to the question of whether a Caholic should, in good conscience, sit idly by while such abuses occur.

    This is not, be it noted clearly, to suggest that attendance at a NO is never proper; there are, as some of the comments above have noted, some few places where that rite is performed as reverently as can be.

    But when serious abuses occur (and I would categorize the promiscuous use of EMHC as such an abuse), we are not obliged to sit passively by, shrug our shoulders, and say, “oh well, it is a valid sacrament.

  104. RBrown says:

    Tom,

    I couldn’t disagree more.

    The Sacraments are gifts from God, and so I’ll put up with a lot for them.

  105. Tom says:

    But it’s not about you, with all due respect. It’s “about” making sure we don’t give the appearance by our presence and participation that we condone flat out abuses that render the celebration illicit. It’s about telling our Lord, “I will not be a party to this disservice to Thy Presence.”

    While reasonable souls can differ, and I wouldn’t condemn anyone for making the choice to bear it, it is a perfectly legitimate and worthy decision simply to refuse to be a part of any diminution of the honor due to our Lord in the Mass.

    By the by, despite the conferral of valid sacraments, the Church used to forbid participation in the liturgies of schismativ bodies– because of the occasion of scandal and bad example it would give to have a Roman Catholic participate in a liturgy that while valid, is in a sense not pleasing to our Lord because not celebrated in union with His Church.

  106. Aaron says:

    “The Sacraments are gifts from God, and so I’ll put up with a lot for them.” — RBrown

    So some choose to “put up with” a long car trip. I don’t think anyone here has said we should give up the Sacraments completely to avoid Masses with some abuses. Some find it easier to get (and stay) in the right frame of mind for worship after a long drive than they can at their local Ordinary Form Mass. If that’s the case for them, it seems like a reasonable choice to make.

  107. RBrown says:

    Tom,

    That was going to be my point about you, but I decided proceed more gently. Everything you say is based on your own subjective reaction to what you consider abuse. You seem now to have expanded that subjectivity to include knowledge of schism.

    BTW, you’re not really correct about participating in schismatic Sacraments. It’s not a matter of giving scandal but rather that schism is an act against charity. That means that the schismatic celebration of a Sacrament militates against its very nature.

  108. RBrown says:

    So some choose to “put up with” a long car trip. I don’t think anyone here has said we should give up the Sacraments completely to avoid Masses with some abuses. Some find it easier to get (and stay) in the right frame of mind for worship after a long drive than they can at their local Ordinary Form Mass. If that’s the case for them, it seems like a reasonable choice to make.
    Comment by Aaron

    Totally agree. But there’s a difference between driving an hour for a Latin mass (as I have to do) and not attending.

  109. B Knotts says:

    There are certainly abuses in the way the average OF Mass is celebrated. I especially notice this when I assist at a Mass other than at my home parish, where the abuses are limited.

    I have assisted at EF Masses from time to time, and find it more reverent and spiritually enriching.

    Several people have pointed out that it is difficult to assist regularly at an EF Mass, when you must drive an hour or more (which is true in my case) in order to do so.

    I think there are a few other considerations. Someone mentioned above that we don’t want to have an EF “ghetto.” Also, for some of us, while we may benefit from the EF, we may not be sure that our spouses and/or children are prepared to likewise benefit.

    Then, there is this: while the EF gives us an opportunity to enhance the often-neglected vertical aspect of worship, the horizontal aspect should not be entirely dismissed. Yes, it is overemphasized to a ridiculous degree in most parishes, but let’s not make the same mistake in the opposite direction. We worship corporately, and we live our lives in our communities, so there is an argument that, ideally, we ought to live out our faith in the same community in which we formally worship God.

    I’m not saying it’s wrong to go to an EF Mass outside one’s parish; I’m simply saying that some of us who do so infrequently or not at all may have legitimate reasons.

    That said, I’m ready for the EF at my parish whenever it could be offered. Unfortunately, I’m probably one of a half-dozen parishioners that would welcome it. There is a hostility among some to even the slightest hint of preconcilar liturgical forms. Recently, it was decided (I think by our pastor) that our all-vernacular Mass would be enhanced by singing the Agnus Dei in Latin. I’ve noticed number of people apparently refuse to sing it thusly.

  110. When I began serving as an MC for the Traditional Mass nearly two years ago, it was not out of disgust over liturgical reform. I too have had the experience where the “ars celebrandi” manifested itself for the glory of God. But I found that, even where I was registered as a parishioner, they could follow the instructions of the rubrics to the letter — say all the black and do all the red — and still introduce a sense of novelty. (I don’t mean to “whine” about a particular matter; so much as illustrate a portion of my journey as a whole.) As a lay reader, I was “instructed” to walk up to the altar during the Sign of Peace and shake hands. My cohorts followed this directive; I simply ignored it. I am confident that someone, even when shown the evidence to the contrary in papal documents and all, would find a way to split enough hairs down the middle to justify it. I could give the guy that look that says “You don’t believe any of this, do you?” and I know we’d both understand one another. (They’re really good at that around here.) Thankfully I have been spared such an exercise.

    Eventually the opportunity provided by Summorum Pontificum presented itself, and I was on board. Except for Holy Week, where my adopted parish does the Mass in the reformed liturgy with Latin and English, and the altar “ad orientem,” I have not attended a “Novus Ordo” in nearly two years. Not that I refuse, not that I fear clowns and balloons or whatnot. (Living in northern Virginia grants me that luxury.) What I fear most of all is complacency, the lackadaisical sensation that comes with being comfortable, being careless — dare I say, “lukewarm.”

    I’m not above confronting a priest directly on a matter of abuse. But I do find that the presentation makes a great deal of difference. That, and being part of a solution, as opposed to being seen as a passive complainer.

    That said, there are two things. One, I think the “hostility among some to even the slightest hint of preconcilar liturgical forms” will continue for the foreseeable future.” And two, in the words of a poet, “nothing can withstand the force of an idea whose time has come,” which is to say the trend will continue in spite of the naysayers.

    So it’s coming. The successor to Peter will do his all to ensure it, and the gates of Hell will not prevail.

    HOO-rah.

  111. David says:

    My wife and I moved to a small town about a year ago, which has one very well attended NO church. Prior to this, we had been members of an FSSP mission, which, despite the size of the metro area surrounding it, never has seemed to gain a large following, and still does not have its own church building. Some of the issue could be the odd times they are allowed for mass (6:30am for daily mass and 1:00pm for Sunday), but another factor is certainly the ultraconservative, highly judgemental atmosphere that one finds among the people before and after mass. My wife, for example, cannot stand to go there because she is an English professor, and has been treated poorly by some of the other women because she is not a home-schooling, stay-at-home mom.

    That aside, I always found the mass there to be deeply inspiring, and indeed, it was the decisive thing that brought me back to the Catholic faith after decades of being away from the Church.

    As for the mass in our new parish, the best I can say about it is that it has its reverent points, and is not egregious, aside from a few questionable hymns. But it is utterly dull and uninspiring, and my faith has been steadily weakening. It’s exactly the kind of liturgy that drove me away from the Church in the first place.

    Certainly, not every church is going to have beautiful, awe inspiring liturgy. But the fact is, even the most distractedly celebrated TLM low mass has a power and beauty that sustains the faith. Why is that? Because in the TLM, the personality of the priest, the quality of the choir or schola, how many people are in attendance, or the architecture of the church, are pretty much incidental. Its power is in its form itself: the reenactment of Christ’s eternal sacrifice.

  112. RP Burke says:

    Yet many of these things—the crucifix, the procession, the altar, the candles, the Nicene Creed, the kneeling, the filing up to receive communion—I have seen in Episcopal, Lutheran, and even Presbyterian churches.

    This is some of the fruit of the ecumenical movement coming from the other direction — US Protestants choosing to adopt a few Catholic practices, in the way that the Oxfordians did in England in the 19th century.

    Of course we have been reminded by Rome that we have the liturgical right to kneel;

    Well, it’s a “right” to the extent that Rome, while permitting in the US version of the GIRM that the norm for receiving communion is standing, allowed only “catechesis” as a response to repeated, even obstinate refusal to observe that norm.

  113. michigancatholic says:

    When are we getting the new translation? Sigh.

  114. Milehimama says:

    Fr. Z, would you kindly elaborate on what you mean by “our behavior at Mass” – specifics? I only attended the Latin Mass until the age of 30, and attend NO out of necessity. Some things I know no one else will do but do them anyway (chapel veil, folded hands for Our Father, etc.). Other things, I’m not sure of… for example, I insist that my children do not leave until after the priest has processed out. But… our priest sometimes interrupts his procession to speak with people, etc.

    I’m kind of new to this and don’t really know the “etiquette” of the NO.

    (Although I am quite appalled at the number of men who do not give up their seats for women – even NURSING or PREGNANT WOMEN in the CRY ROOM who are trying to feed/quiet their baby while leaning against the wall!) (Same applies to the elderly, the obviously infirm, etc.)

  115. TerryC says:

    I would say that in many ways most suburban perishes have real problems in effecting “the reform of the reform” even when they have a good orthodox priest. Their physical plants are simply not set up in such a way to allow it. This is no accident. They were deliberately designed that way.
    Take my own parish. There is no choir loft. The building is round, and though we do not have “church in the round” as many parishes do the choir area is a distinct structure just off the sanctuary. The “Eucharistic Chapel” is a section at the back of the church which can be isolated by a movable wall, which is what is done during the week. There is no communion rail, and the sanctuary is built in such a way that it would be almost impossible to install one without basically gutting the structure.
    As I said I suspect the building was designed this way a purpose to prevent any of this from ever being done.
    It is basically patterned on a Protestant church building.
    I would suspect that today there are more churches in the U.S. built on this pattern than on a traditional Catholic pattern.
    We certainly can not afford to build a new church. I know of a very good priest at a nearby parish. His church is a “churhc in the round.” I know it pains him. He says a very reverent NO. No hand holding during the Our Father. No sign of peace. He has kneelers (luckily they are the easiest structural default to fix.) But he cannot do anything about the problems with the building not being set up well.

  116. Terry et al:

    There are physical factors common to contemporary church interiors, which can actually impede celebration of the Traditional Mass. Much of the time, however, they simply make it less than ideal.

    I’ll give you one example that I see quite a bit. If you have a large free-standing altar, which really is an altar, and an “altar of repose” behind it which may resemble an altar, but which really isn’t, you may be tempted to use the latter, but unless you can move the former out of the way, it looks pretty ridiculous. (Keep in mind, that the Basilica of St Peter has had a free-standing altar for centuries, and saying Mass “ad orientem” there has not produced a crisis of faith.)

    Then again, it is necessary to have a certain amount of room in front of the altar, not only for the priest, but for those who attend to him. I am always amazed when people set out to design new churches that purport to revive a traditional style, but which leave practically no room in front of the altar for anything beyond a Low Mass. If you have to celebrate the Solemn Mass with the deacon and/or subdeacon standing on the steps to the sanctuary during orations, this is not a good sign. I don’t care how “traditional” the place looks otherwise. I think this is something which revivalists at the parochial level have to keep in mind.

    A “church-in-the-round” is not necessarily an impediment, albeit perhaps less than ideal. The parish where I work is like that, and there is enough room in front of the altar to function adequately. There is also a distinctive sanctuary with a partial altar rail. We have to compensate for certain other features (the sacristy is some distance away, for example), but the appointments themselves are of the highest quality, and this covers a host of sins.

    So to speak.

  117. Michael J says:

    B Knotts,

    Given that there is a known mis-translation in the words of consecration that has not been corrected, I would submit that there are abuses in *every* OF Mass celebrated in English.

  118. MJ:

    If it is allowed by the Holy See, then by definition, whatever else can be said about it, it is not an abuse.

    Much has been written on the “pro multis” issue, and I’ll pass on the bulk of it here. But inasmuch as the text can be faithful to the intent without being literal, the words themselves are valid. In the end, the decision to revert to “for many” in English, maintains fidelity to the Latin text, thus ensuring the optimum in theological precision. This was a criterion for the revision of all liturgical texts.

  119. MAJ Tony says:

    Color set by using hex value

    If there is any doubt about this, it vanishes in the forest of joined sweaty palms during the Our Father, and cacophony that erupts, recess-like, during the Rite of Peace, the presider himself walking down the aisle, presiding over the shaking of hands all around.

    I found myself rather annoyed–almost “desecrated–during the Rite of Peace at our Centennial Mass w/the Apb on Sat. Everything else was serene and grand. It was like a scene out of a romance movie, imagine two lovers running across a meadow. They run towards each other, with arms outstretched, then…BLAM!! The lovers are struck down mid-embrace by a Groucho Marx figure with a bazooka. (That concept was used by my band director years ago in H.S. to describe how he wanted us to perform a section of music, but it so adequately describes the “Handshake of Peace.”

  120. Michael says:

    “liturgy that while valid, is in a sense not pleasing to our Lord because not celebrated in union with His Church”, says TOM.

    I do not think he is right. If a liturgy (I presume he means the Eucharist as the Presence and Sacrifice) is valid, it is Christ who is its Principal Minister, it is His Presence, and His Self-Sacrifice. I can’t see Him doing things He is not pleased with. He is not a split personality.

    What He might not be pleased with is the separated status of other Christian communities, but that doesn’t mean that all that they do displeases Him. For example, if they articulate the faith in His Divinity, if they do a chartable work, or come together to say Our Lord’s prayer. Sacraments are the preeminent goods, the ways to salvation and I can’t imagine Him not approving of them wherever they are celebrated.

    The schismatic bodies are not schismatic in their sacraments. The latter are not different from the sacraments celebrated in the Catholic Church, and in point of fact constitute an element of union which was never broken. The schism affected mainly the Church government, the sacraments are celebrated separately because of this schism, but they in themselves were not “schismatized”.

    Imagine the Blessed Sacrament, i.e. Christ in his body, soul, humanity and divinity. He is fully in each particle, and in each Christian Church which has valid priesthood. But all these “blessed sacraments” are consitutive of One Loaf of which St. Paul writes in his letters. That One Loaf of which all the “blessed sacraments” are constitutive parts, is the sacrament of Unity of all those Churches in which the individual “blessed sacraments” are present. It one Christ. There is no such thing as the Catholic, Orthodox, Armenian, Assyrian Christ. He is one, Emanuel, with all these Christians “until the end of the world”.

    Yes, these Churches are divided, but not fully so; and the Blessed Sacrament is not an element of division, but on the contrary, the unifying factor.

  121. Jayna says:

    This description makes me wonder if he was at my large, suburban parish on Sunday for Mass. The only difference is that my priest at least waits until his way out to stop and have a chat.

    I have often tried to have this discussion with people in my parish. It is difficult to do so. I am a cradle Catholic, but left the Church for some time and only returned three years ago. I get the sense that they write off my attempts at discussion because I don’t know what I’m talking about – after all, I’ve only been back in the Church for a few years. I also have no formal training, so speaking with the liturgist is impossible (she has an MA in Liturgical Studies from CUA). It is also considered bad form to cite official documents on these matters, to say “look, this is what the Holy Father has said,” etc. My argument actually loses credibility with them when I do that. There is a very narrow and singular emphasis on the heart over the mind, and, for their purposes, never the twain shall meet. And, suffice it to say, anyone who has a heart could never prefer a traditional Mass apart from rare moments of nostalgia.

    What is one to do in this situation? Every Sunday I go to Mass determined to keep my focus and not nitpick and it is a constant battle. Yes, the Mass is valid – but I think the more important question here is this: is it worthy? The answer is an unequivocal no. When girls show up to Mass wearing miniskirts and flip-flops and even the adults look like they just rolled out of bed, something is decidedly amiss. The problem, though, is that these are more than just cosmetic or aesthetic issues. You can dress them up, but the underlying problem of a complete lack of reverence for what they are participating in is still present. Catechesis is the answer, but when your entire Religious Ed department is just left of Call to Action, it makes it very difficult to correct the problem.

    At any rate, Masses like these are valid, but in my mind they cannot be considered worthy of the sacrifice. It is sad that so many of us have to go through this week in and week out, wanting so badly to feel the presence of the divine and confront the mystery of the liturgy and even despite our best intentions we are left feeling empty. I know that in my case, I feel some guilt over this because, as I said, the Mass is valid, so do I really have a right to criticize it as I do? I am at a very basic level getting what I went to Mass for and at times I feel as though I am asking too much to expect any more out of a parish with which I do not share ideology. Does anyone else ever have this reaction?

  122. Jim says:

    Mr. Blosser expresses my own sentiments perfectly. That is why I attend an Eastern Catholic Church in my home town. And I am not alone. The nearest TLM is two hour drive each way.

  123. Jakub says:

    “Masses like these are valid, but in my mind they cannot be considered worthy of the sacrifice. It is sad that so many of us have to go through this week in and week out, wanting so badly to feel the presence of the divine and confront the mystery of the liturgy and even despite our best intentions we are left feeling empty.”

    How sad and so true…

  124. MarkF says:

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to reach people so that they will see all of these things? From my limited experience, most Catholics today are just used to the Novus Ordo. It feels like home to them. And it is easy to attend. You just say your little parts, stand up when they tell you to, sit when they tell you to. For most well meaning Catholics the EF Mass can seem, well, long, quiet, and just different. I’ve been lucky enough to be prepared to have a long inner prayer going all through the EF Mass. I participate a LOT in it, though in silence. What can we all do to make the EF Mass more attractive to those sincere Catholics out there who want it?

  125. gino says:

    Let me say at the out set that I am not a member of the clergy nor a theologen nor anything similar; just an ordinary lay person with an interest in religion, particularly my own – Roman Catholic. I have found this site by accident looking for a site that could provide me with the tratitional catholic hymns. I am preparing my own funeral service. I am not dying but as I only have one child, I want to spare him the added emotional strain when the time does come.

    I have for a long time said that the “happy clappys” have gone feral. I go the NO Mass and sit there like the rest of the congregation. We mouth the words, exchange hadshakes and sit there quietly listrning to the sole singer of hymns that only the performer and organist/piano player know.

    I am old enough to have been familiar with the Old Latin Mass and while I am not a follower of Archbishop Lefebre, I think to a large extent he was right – the new Mass is now more Protestant than Catholic.

    St Pascal was right – Right faith comes from right worship. The way we do things tells people what we believe in. The essence of our Catholic faith is our belief in the real presence of Christ as the host. All things flow from this item. Our Catholic faith and the essential difference between us and the Protestants. The Protestants fell over themselves to erect churches in the style of those of the Cathilics and to have their ministers dress similarly to the catholics so as to make their followers believe that they too were part of the true faith.

    We remove the Tabernacle at and as the centre of our Churches at our peril. The failure to genuflect belies the failure of belief in the real presence as does the removal of the kneelers and the failure of the priest and Bishops to insist on kneeling at the moment of consecration. These are part of our Western catholic tradition. The Orthodox have their own just as valid traditions. Indeed their Mass has not substantially altered since the 900’s. The Coptics have their own Pope.

    What is the answer – I do not know but offer these thoughts
    1. have the priest face the alter with his back to the congregation for the prayers of consecration.
    2. reintroduce the kneelers and have the people kneel at the time of consecration and at the Anges Dei.
    3. Have the priest genuflect immediately after the consecration as a sign of the real presence and then ellevate the host in offering.
    4. reintroduce benediction.
    5. make sure the sanctuary lamp does not point the way to the toilets but is in its proper plce.

    Lastly, don’t think that these are matters which affect only the American church. I live in Australia and New Zealand is worse.