“Vatican II has done more good for the Extraordinary Form than the Ordinary Form”

Under another entry, long-time and perspicacious participant Henry Edwards wrote about the Extraordinary Form:

Henry: [T]here is no doubt that the glorious Missa Cantata that is the Sunday EF norm now was not always the majority EF experience. Not for nothing is the quip that Vatican II has done more good for the EF than the OF. So even as a seriously devoted EF advocate, I certainly have no desire to “go back”.

I agree.  This is not about nostalgia, either.

And I have gotten into trouble with some members of trad-nation by suggesting that the intervening years taught us a great deal about how to use the older form of our Catholic liturgical worship.

And another thing, Sacrosanctum Concilium belongs to traditional Catholics, not liberals.

Furthermore… you know.   

Finally, Tabula delenda est.

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39 Responses to “Vatican II has done more good for the Extraordinary Form than the Ordinary Form”

  1. ies0716 says:

    I tend to agree with this. From what I’ve read, a lot of people took the Mass for granted before Vatican II. Too many Masses were Low Masses and too many celebrants raced through the rubrics. I think that being deprived of the TLM for 40 years has had an impact on people and made them realize how precious of a treasure it is. It’s an interesting parallel to the Israelites’ exile in Babylon. In both cases, God’s chosen people were taking him for granted and showing him disrespect, so he took away their most prized possession (for the Israelites, the Temple, for modern Catholics, the TLM). In both cases, the loss of this possession has made people realize its value. Hopefully now that this value has been realized we can move on to reclaiming our prized possession and making it widely available to every Catholic throughout the world.

  2. Much as it is nice to dream of a time when all the music was splendid, when I was a kid in the 1950s to early 60s, our NY parish we had only two Masses with music a year: Christmas Eve and Easter (the Vigil, NOT the day Mass). The only other music was at Benediction after the 11 am. People avoided that Mass because it lasted over 40 minutes.

    I used to dream that it was better in religious houses, but I had a recent conversation with friars of my own province, all ordained before 1955 as to that was typical at the the daily Conventual Solemn Mass in our house of studies. The answer: the Ordinary was sung to the Plainchant melodies, but all the Propers were recto tono. The only exception to this rule was on a few solemnities they sing the Introit (we call it the Officium) and Alleluia in chant, but all the other Propers (Graduals, Tracts, Offertories, Communions) were still in recto tono. The only days all propers were actually sung was Easter and Christmas. I understand that cloistered nuns did a little better than this, but that was it.

    No wonder there was such a push among secular clergy to get permissions to replace the propers with hymns. Some might consider a classic hymn better than a snippet of Latin in recto tono. If a house of regular observance couldn’t manage all the Propers, then forget the usual parish.

  3. TJerome says:

    I was fortunate to have grown up going to Mass at the Basilica on the University of Notre Dame campus where in the 1950s,early 1960s, the Moreau Choir provided hauntingly beautiful Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. Top notch organists as well. So I was exposed to the best of the pre-Conciliar liturgy. I feel bad for those of you who weren’t.

  4. Nordic Breed says:

    Right on! We now have the chance to offer the EF as intended by the Church. No more 18 minute whiz through garbled Latin to get people in and out the door before the next scheduled Mass. No more four hymn Low Masses. Let’s follow the spirit of the liturgy and really prepare ourselves to enter fully into the Holy Sacrifice ahead of time. No more pew-sitting!

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Fr. Augustine: The answer: the Ordinary was sung to the Plainchant melodies, but all the Propers were recto tono.

    This is also my recollection of the regular Sunday high Mass in my home parish (which was preceded by five earlier low Masses sans chant). Even so, this Sunday high Mass was hauntingly beautiful compared with almost all the OF Sunday Masses I’ve experienced in recent decades.

    Whereas, this past Sunday in our small EF community, we heard the propers in the full Gregorian chant of the day. (Something that I don’t recall ever happening in the typical parish of old.) Which is part of what I meant by the “quip” Father Z quoted.

  6. lucy says:

    I agree with IES0716. And even now, after I’ve seen OF Masses celebrated well, I still wouldn’t want to go back to OF. Over the last few years, I’ve grown to fully appreciate the EF so much that I could not leave it unless forced (say for instance, it was no longer available). What a beautiful, rich heritage we have and it should be seen by many.

  7. HighMass says:

    I too was fortunate to be exposed to GREAT LITURGIES prior to VII in the EF. We sang many daily High Masses, inc Requiem High Masses….

    I agree that Sacrosanctum….belongs to Tradional Catholics, problem is when you mention it to the liberals they give you a blank stare…………..

  8. Supertradmum says:

    As to going back, does it not make sense that people are people whether they went to the old EF or the new OF? That is, some in the old days did not respect what was clearly there-the Body and Blood of Christ-with priests saying “train-station” Masses no more than 15 or 20 minutes long. That people sin with regards to the lack of respect and dignity of the Mass is as old a problem in the Church, pre-Vatican II and probably pre-Vatican I, as the age of the Church. St. Paul’s admonitions have always seemed timely.

    However, some of the EF Masses I have attended lately lack life and seem to be legalistic renderings and not from the heart. That is not true of all, and probably depends on many things. And, I am concerned that the talking and lack of dress respect sometimes spills over into the EF, as our culture has changed so much in 50 years. At our EF Mass on Sunday, many women were there is “summer clothes”, pants, no sleeves, and no head gear. Some children were in informal clothes. So my answer to the question above would be two-fold: one, that perhaps Vat II helped the EF, but the cultural changes may be a permanent scar on EF dignity and respect.

  9. Jim of Bowie says:

    In my experience Henry is correct. Growing up (born 1941) High Mass was rare in a suburban parish. But now I attend a Missa Contata at least two Sundays a month.

  10. Mitchell NY says:

    For all the talk about people rushing to their cars before or close to the end of Mass years ago, I find the same today at yur typical NO. The regulars always try to get the same parking spot and people are out before the end of Mass. If it was a problem then, then it is worse now. At least then some of the folk were polite and would not think of doing such a thing. That attitude has almost vanished. Relishing in the fact that in the few places where the EF Mass is said it is said well or better than the preconciliar period just doesn’t seem right. There are still far too many who do not even have this Mass or know about it. Yes it is done better but how many parishes use it? The NO still has a long way to go before many of them come close to a rushed 50′ or 60′s Tridentine. I am not proud of that. Let’s not forget about the many who are stuck with a baneful NO, which exists in 99% of parishes anyways.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    I can’t say that I agree with the theory that SC “belongs” to any particular segment or proclivity in the church. It seems arrogant for EITHER progressives or regressives to assume that they OWN the document, it clearly was a gift to the entire church.

  12. dominic1955 says:

    I think it has been. Some venerable old Cardinal said at the time of the changes that this was all Divine retribution for, among other things, the sloppy way some priests said Mass. The allusion to the OT is very applicable in what happened in the ’60s and how we have been slowly but surely coming to our senses again.

    Super flumina Babylonis illic sedimus et flevimus, cum recordaremur Sion…Filia Babylonis misera! beatus qui retribuet tibi retributionem tuam quam retribuisti nobis. Beatus qui tenebit, et allidet parvulos tuos ad petram.

  13. Random Friar says:

    It seems to me that aside from the initial wonderment at calling a Council (What heresy are we fighting now?), relatively few people seemed to think it was a bad idea, and indeed, there was a great deal of excitement and hope, I think.

    That in many places this was executed about as well as a beginner violinist executes Bach… well, that’s a different matter.

  14. teaguytom says:

    What has happened to the EF is a lack of progressive hippie priests. The priests of old who embraced the liberal liturgical agenda were the ones that said the 20 minute low masses and 2 time a year missa cantatas. The growing group of young priests, and laity are holding to the churches tradition. The hippies long ago went with the Ordinary Form and it has left the EF with a healthy orthodox following.

  15. frjim4321 says:

    teaguytom, those are some pretty gross overgeneralizations.

    What is your idea of “health orthodox following?” 2 or 3 per week in the entire diocese?

  16. teaguytom says:

    FrJim,Healthy orthodox following means a growing number of young people embracing it. Obviously the EF is in the minority, but I would think 2 or 3 per week is pretty darn good compared with none at all or once a month. Here in the diocese of Harrisburg, we have one place offering mass everyday and twice Sundays as well as another parish that has mass every Sunday and a Traditional Carmelite group of Nuns that have mass said at their chapel on Sundays. That is saying much since before the B16, we had one indult mass once a Sunday in the whole diocese. Maybe it came across as exaggerated. Then I apologize.

  17. Re: EF informal–

    It’s entirely possible that those were newbies.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    teaguytom,

    okay

    Fr. Jim

  19. PaterAugustinus says:

    Amen to this. Back when I was leaving Protestantism due to a dawning awareness of Church history, I began to look for another place of worship. I didn’t know which Church I was going to join (I was looking at Catholicism and Orthodoxy at that point), but I knew that I didn’t want to get out of the habit of attending services on Sunday just because I was spiritually confused at the time. My Protestant pastor had just begun a nine week series of sermons on tithing (we had to build our Baptist rec-center and swimming pool!)… followed by yet another “worship service” proving that our Baptist congregation could offer its members the same spiritual consolation experienced by attendees of an Elton John or Celine Dion concert (which, for a classicaly trained ‘cellist, was like hell on earth). So I had decided that I had what amounted to a spiritual obligation to stop attending that church. But, what would I attend in the meantime, while I sorted out my religious questions?

    I decided I would try some of the churches in town with traditional forms of worship. As I’m sure you all can understand, I immediately found that every major Roman Catholic parish in my town had even worse worship than my Baptist “seeker” congregation. Our Baptist congregation’s music was merely saccharine and vapid, but the Roman Catholic parishes had music that was saccharine, vapid and acutely puerile. So, I looked to see if any parish still offered a Latin Mass. I found two. One of them had only a low mass, done almost entirely sub silentio. I remember how I kept waiting for Mass to start – I was a musician and knew the bare bones of a Catholic mass, so I kept expecting the Kyrie and the Gloria, even if only spoken – finally, the priest whirled around with a muttered “Dominus Vobiscum,” and after a second or two… during which the collect was either omitted or read silently… he began the Epistle. The entire congregation clattered away on their rosaries, and I think my friend and I offended them (which I regret) by simply leaving in the midst of the service.

    The other parish used the same (gregorian) setting every week (a very dull one), which they sang very timidly. I met a few of the “traddies” who hung out in such communities, and quickly realized that they didn’t know or care much about Tradition; they only cared about how things were done in 1962, and had a peculiar obsession with quoting canons about very minute (and legitimately changeable) points of practice. I said to myself: “I don’t know how or when Catholicism lost the beauty of its liturgical tradition (I was a musician and Classical music buff, so I knew how great it once was); I don’t know how or why they tolerate the blasphemies common in today’s Novus Ordo; but I do understand what provoked the backlash and Vatican II… if that were my usual experience of the mass, I would also be desperate for liturgical reform… and I would expect the backlash to be all in the direction of greater dynamism and ‘active participation.’”

    In the end, of course, it wasn’t liturgical experience that convinced me to join the Orthodox Church over Catholicism; I understood that the Church may be the True Church while suffering grave abuses and shortcomings amongst Her faithful. In fact, this is definitely what the Church is! In point of fact, I actually wound up attending an Episcopalian High-Church parish in the interim, since it had beautiful chant, vestments, architecture and decor, but I had no desire to be an Episcopalian. It was merely a safe and comfortable environment in which to reach out to God from my confusion. Despite the fact that liturgy didn’t ultimately make up my mind, however, I can tell you this: plenty of other people with less tenacity for digging in historical texts, would easily have been driven away by the worship in both the Novus Ordo AND Tridentine parishes in my town. The Extraordinary form has to be a vital re-connect with liturgical tradition, and not just an engraven rut of “good ol’ days” nostalgia.

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    I tend to disagree. When I was a child, I was a non-Catholic kid put into Catholic school to “straighten me out.” I remember the first Christmas mass I ever saw in a Catholic. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The churches were full of unselfconscious worshipping people. I didn’t know it then, but it was the start of my life as a Catholic, even though I didn’t completely convert until more than 20 years later. I was never able to forget what I had seen in that Catholic school and neighborhood church.

    The church used to be full of people, all ages & kinds of people. They used to sing and it was part of who they were, in the good sense. It wasn’t a political statement and there was nothing defiant about it, really. It was very different than what TLM communities are like now. TLM groups are still small here, and tend to be kind of uptight. There’s almost a defiance about them. And there are male & female uniforms of a sort. IT’s a bit strange. I go to both forms, and I thought I’d be more comfortable in the TLM than I am. I love the latin, that’s not it.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    Sorry, I’m scar tissue, I guess, Supertradmom. I don’t wear “headgear” unless I skydive.

  22. The Cobbler says:

    I just hope that wherever the true ideal lies, old practice and teaching unchanged or correct adjustments made, it grows and spreads and is well defended. I’m niether old enough to know whether there were issues with common practice of the Tridentine Mass before Vatican II, nor qualified to figure out which reforms ought to be applied to it if any. For now I just support the movement to have more of it in general and am tagging along here to see what I can manage to learn anyway.

    Of course, Father, you’re quite the teacher (as are some of your commenters), so as far as that tagging along goes, great thanks for the ride. 8^)

    Speaking of learning and the folk here more educated than myself; I’ve actually been curious about something regarding Sacrosanctum Concilium… On the one hand I’ve seen it pointed out that it supports traditional elements such as ad orientem. On the other, many tend to attribute the corruption of the Novus Ordo particularly to Bugnini. Is it true what I’ve heard that Bugnini was also the primary author of SC, though? And if so, what does that say with regard to these two stances — is SC’s “Conservative” nature damaged by its author, or is the “corruption of the NO” exagerrated, or is there simply a discrepancy between Bugnini’s written work at the council and his overall thrust elsewhere…?

  23. JMSinKY says:

    I’m not at all sure that I would agree that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy belongs to traditional Catholics. We’re stuck with it as a validly enacted and promulgated document of a pastoral council, but it’s clear that the liberals hijacked Vatican II, and Sacrosanctum Concilium was loaded with liturgical time bombs that had their desired effect. My recollection from reading is that Blessed John XXIII had pre-conciliar commissions which developed schemas and that he thought his Council would adopt them in short order, much as his Synod for the Diocese of Rome had been conducted. I have never seen the pre-conciliar schema on the liturgy but would venture to say that it had to have been an infinitely better document than the one which replaced it.

    John Spangler
    Versailles, KY

  24. Gail F says:

    I love PaterAugustinus’s post. Isn’t it sad that so many convert or revert to Catholicism despite the liturgy? And as for Episcopalians — boy can they do a liturgy if they want to! Gorgeous! But that shows that liturgy is not everything, and that liturgy by itself does not make people orthodox (lex orendi, lex credendi notwithstanding). There’s a lot more to it.

    Reform of the liturgy is urgently needed, but I think what’s called for is a continuing reform. Plenty of people I know, as well as posters here, attest to the fact that liturgy was not all fabulous and meaningful before Vatican II. Certainly there were some wonderful masses, but a lot of them were rote, silent, and fast… people wanted them reformed for a reason! As Fr. Robinson says in his excellent book, “The Mass and Modernity,” reform was needed then. We have to keep it up until we get it right.

  25. paulbailes says:

    I think I understand what Fr Z is getting at, but literally “Vatican II has done more good for the EF than the OF” can’t be true – there was no OF before Vatican II, so in a sense the incremental benefit to the OF from Vatican II has been infinite.

    To put it more provocatively: before Vatican II, the Pope *always* said mass according to what is now known (by some) as the EF. Nowadays, in public at least, he always says the OF. Seems like the OF is winning :-(

    Cheers
    Paul

  26. Traductora says:

    This is an excellent point. The problem was that the Catholic mass (now known as the EF, like the “artist formerly known as Prince”) was often terribly executed and it was sometimes hard to know that a mass was even going on. I remember masses in the late 50s where we sat silently until the priest shot out way late, made mysterious hand gestures in total silence while the altarboys tried to keep up with him, and then was gone in less than 15 minutes. People didn’t go to communion as often in those days so it was easy for the priest to wrap it all up in no time at all.

    The new attention to the Old Mass is definitely having a good effect on it and I can’t imagine anything like that happening now.

  27. JMody says:

    So we see the law of unintended consequences again. Try to confound the timeless treasure of the Mass, and it becomes even more dear, more appreciated.

    I personally am waiting for the day that the “abuses” of the old Mass make their way into the NO Mass — just holler the first few words of a paragraph and then mutter/elide the rest, so you can winnow the Mass down to about 25 minutes. Start speaking softer and softer, cuz heck, you have the bio-friendly soy-on-newsprint OCP missalette so you can read along if you want …

    No, I am starting to lend more and more credence to words that are attributed to unnamed Vatican officials, even by Msgr. Fellay of SSPX — after a time, the NO/OF will be the rarity and the EF will be the norm.

    As for your conclusions, my Latin is between terrible and non-existent (as a member of the faithful, who was supposed to foster/preserve the use of Latin, I was never given the opportunity to learn it … hmmm) but should we have a North American Motto as well? Something about fish-wrapper, like Tela Sepulturna Pesci Nationensis or something? … delenda est?

  28. pfreddys says:

    The most natural of all laws (since it has to do with money): Good currency drives out bad currency: once they let even one traditional Latin Mass to be said officially: WE WON!!!! Sorry to put it in those terms but it is none the less true. It may take us 100 years but the day will come when some bishop will beg for an indult to say the Novus Ordo.

  29. Athanasius says:

    Whenever I hear things like this I say well, maybe it did, but did it really require Vatican II for that? The move to restore sacred music to parish life, from humble beginnings in Solesmes had official approbation in St. Pius X and was a move gradually working its way through the life of the Church. There were parishes where nuns taught young children how to sing gregorian chant in the middle of Iowa and Nebraska, Dorthy Day paid money to bring monks from Solesmes to train parish choirs and things of this sort. All over the Church moves to increase the use of Sacred Music at Mass and bring Gregorian chant to parishes were being proliferated, until they were squashed by the liturgical revolution which replaced it with noise that barely qualifies as music.
    So while in the mean, the event of Vatican II has helped increase the value amongst the faithful for a Sung or Solemn Mass, it was not necessary to produce that effect. If anything it delayed it and has even at the present minimized it cutting thousands who could be very well trained chant singers off from the tradition so that it is difficult to find people competent (or willing) to sing Gregorian chant. 33 cheers for Vatican II? No thanks, I’ll save it for the death of the marty haugen genre.

  30. dominic1955 says:

    Vatican II didn’t do anything for the TLM itself, its more a matter of a “we don’t know what we got till its gone” effect.

    As to the abuses of olden days, they are still very much alive in some areas in the NO except they look sloppier. I’ve seen priests bust through Mass by starting off on the fly (like making the sign of the cross and doing the little greet/mini-homily as he’s walking up to the chair), having a layman rattle off the readings, then blow into a 5 min. feel-good story homily. They start saying the offertory prayers while walking over to the altar-its just a mess but some people are all about it. Some folks drive to the “speed Mass” parish from way across town-a ~20 min. drive for a 15 min. Mass!

  31. Nathan says:

    Of course, Henry’s observation is, in many ways, spot on.

    I think it might be the same princple in operation as the famous line “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Both periods of persecution and the recent liturgical struggles would provide an impetus that might strengthen the Church over time, but both, in the short run, are pretty painful for the participants.

    In Christ,

  32. Henry Edwards says:

    The Cobbler: is the “corruption of the NO” exagerrated, or is there simply a discrepancy between Bugnini’s written work at the council and his overall thrust elsewhere…?

    A recent book The Development of the Liturgical Reform by Nicola Giampietro — based on the notes and miniutes taken by Cardinal Ferdinando Antonelli, who was a member of the liturgical preparatory commission for the Council, secretary of the liturgy commission of the Council itself which prepared Sacrosanctum Consilium, and finally a member of the (Bugnini) implementation consilium — makes the answer pretty clear and understandable.

    A very brief summary, so far as Msgr. Bugnini is concerned. First of all, Bugnini played no role in Vatican II itself, though he was in charge of the preparatory commission that wrote the “schema” that was the starting point for the Council’s work on SC. But just before Vatican II, Msgr. Bugnini was (for some reason unknown to me) “banished”, and was not a member of the Council’s commission on the liturgy (appointed by John XXIII).

    Starting with the preparatory schema, this conciliar commission held 50+ formal meetings at which it worked systematically through 662 “interventions” totaling 1200 pages of amendments submitted by bishops at the Council, and submitted about 85 consequent proposals for individual votes by the Council Fathers. The above-mentioned book includes the minutes of all these many meetings. A reading of them suggest to me a very serious and sober consideration of serious liturgical issues, a process quite unlike any suggested to most people by mere mention of the name “Bugnini”.

    Msgr. Antonelli concluded an Observatore Romano article announcing final approval of SC with the words ”When St. Peter’s Basilica resounded with these great words [of Sacrosanctum Concilium], the bones of St. Pius X exulted. The Constitution on the Liturgy is nothing but the precious fruit of a small seed sown by him [in his 1903 instruction with its emphasis on actuosa participation]. It is also the beginning of a new era in the liturgical life of the Church.”

    It is, indeed, possible (I believe) to see continuity from Pius X through Pius XII to Sacrosanctum Concilium. But what the remainder of the book reveals is the almost unbelievable discontinuity that followed. An entirely new Consilium was (by appointed (by Paul VI) to implement the constitution on the liturgy, and who but Bugnini reappeared from nowhere to serve as its General Secretary, with a large and largely new cast of supporting characters.

    The proceedings of this new commission, in contrast with its predecessor, were chaotic, no minutes were kept, no recorded votes were taken, and even members of the commission did not know how the decisions were made that resulted in the Novus Ordo. (All this reflected in the notes of Card. Antonini, who was favorable toward liturgical reform, but seemingly sensible by today’s standards.)

  33. Re: “speed Masses”, they do have a legitimate place and can be done reverently. The airport priests at O’Hare had it down to a science, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have ars celebrandi or deep meaningful homilies. They never seemed hurried. They did it with a tiny sanctuary, no servers or lectors or EMHCs, no need to go to the tabernacle and pull out preconsecrated hosts, a homily boiled down to a few profound sentences and a few moments to think about it, absolute preparedness and system in everything, and steady pacing that never stopped even though it never raced. So it can be done, for serious reasons, like me getting my Sunday obligation between planes. :)

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled outrage. :)

  34. Andy Milam says:

    Speaking honestly, even if the EF was celebrated sloppily or even if the EF was celebrated quickly; there was an understanding of reverence and worship.

    Remember, the action of the Mass is not only for us to outwardly participlate. This is a new idea brought about after Vatican Council II. Participation in the Mass prior to the Council was to assist at Mass internally. To worship. This idea of worship was (and still is) a very subjective view, because what was brought to the Mass to be offered by the individual was as diverse as the stars. The consistency was in the way that those offerings were offered. While I am sure there were abuses before the Council (men are flawed), they were not the same sort of abuses. Remember there are varying degrees of sin, so it stands to reason that a priest who missed or omitted something such as how he made the signs over the species is not nearly as guilty as a priest who today endangers his parish by improvising all but the words of consecration.

    My point. My point is this, the EF poorly sung, but properly celebrated is much better than the OF sung with the expertise of a Roman opera, but improvised. I’ll take recto tono and psalm tones any day over Haugan, Haas, and Joncas. The reason. The reason is that one is allowing for the faithful to worhsip authentically and one is not.

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    But, Andy, both you and I–even as TLM advocates ourselves–would surely have to agree that none of the points you make are intrinsic to any difference between the EF and OF.

    Both forms should be celebrated with beauty and reverence. Both deserve the music of the Church’s patrimony. Whether they Gregorian chanted or in psalm tones, essentially the same propers are prescribed for both in the Graduale Romanum; Haugan and Hass, however commonly heard, are “improper” loophole substitutions for these propers. It was a goal of Vatican II to get rid of the old EF 4-hymn sandwich that still survives in both forms (if more in the OF).

    Seriously, the issues that plague us in the liturgy today are not really OF versus EF issues. They are issues of proper versus improper ars celebranda. Because the OF is the predominant form, sloppy celebration is far more common in it. But if the situation were reversed–for instance, by a new motu proprio making the EF the normative form for the many and requiring an indult to celebrate the OF for the few–then we may be sure that the same generations of ill-formed priests would butcher the EF as they now butcher the OF; the flexibilty to do so is provided gratis in the OF, but they’d have little difficult importing it into the EF, there being for them no concept of adherence to rubrics on pain of mortal sin.

  36. Andy Milam says:

    Hi Henry,

    I do agree that both forms should be celebrated with beauty and reverence. Both do deserve the music of the Church’s patrimony, but the reality is that unless there is a genuine and extraordinary effort put forth, the OF simply isn’t going to get that type of treatment, where as the EF, by default does.

    To my earlier point, I would rather have a rushed Mass in the EF with recto tono and psalm tones, because they are proper to the Mass, moreso than the tripe we get from David Haas and Marty Haugan.

    I agree and disagree at the same time regarding your view of the issues that plague the EF and the OF. On the one hand the issues that plague us in the liturgy today are not an EF issue at all. They are wholly an issue of the OF. They didn’t use puppets before the Council. They didn’t use polka music or clown faces. There was an inherent understanding of how to worship faithfully. On the other hand, these rubircal and liturgical issues are being magnified because there is a correct rigidity in the rubrics and liturgical action of the EF.

    I think that to use the term sloppy with regard to the OF is a very charitable term. I would (and do) use the term abusive. This is calculated and this is intentional. It isn’t because the OF is the predominant form, I would counter that it is sloppy (to use your term) because it is celebrated by uneducated and underinformed priests. Although, I would also argue that some priests are educated and informed and choose to disobey the liturgical law obsitnantly. As has been documented many times (I won’t make any citations, but it is clearly provable) the priests of the post-Conciliar Church simply have a)not been taught how to PROPERLY celebrate the Sacred Mystery, or b) choose not to. And there is no one holding their feet to the fire. I think that that the latter effects the former, precisely because they were not taught (or refused to properly learn) how to say the Mass. Prior to the Council, priests were mostly held accountable to how they offered Mass and they were properly taught (if, as you rightly say, by pain of mortal sin or by pastors who cared about how their charges {curates} offered the Mass in their parishes). Proper teaching on the subject opens the mind and action to proper repetition and if not immediate, eventual devotion to the Sacrament. The priests prior to the Council were more faithful to the Mass, because they understood it and developed a proper devotion to it.

    Henry, I think that essentially we’re on the same page, but what I take issue with is (and it isn’t with you) that we’re willing to give priests a pass, because they are the celebrants. That shouldn’t be. We should (and must) be willing to hold them accountable, for it is our worship they are effecting. It is our offering that they are mediating. The offering is not their’s alone. And if they are unwilling to do so properly, then we should be able, without fear of retribution, to speak to that issue. The problem is that we, the faithful, are taken as fools, by the majority of these types of priests and expected to do what they want simply because it is within their vision, not necessarily the Church’s. These priests have it wrong.

  37. Henry Edwards says:

    Yes, Andy, you’re right in everything you say, including our being on the same page. Except that I might go a bit further regarding those mal-formed priests. I was certainly charitable in calling them merely ill-formed. Though I wonder whether the biggest culprits aren’t the seminary gatekeepers who kept the good men out of the seminaries (or through them out if they got in and were caught perpetrating a genuflection, etc) and the seminary professors who deliberately inculcated them with a disdain for proper liturgy. Surely they rather than the OF itself should get credit for the clown stuff. And as for giving all these clowns a pass, I do sometimes wonder about those problem generations of layfolk who were willing to believe anything their priest said or did, even if plainly he didn’t know from dipswitch.

  38. The Cobbler says:

    Henry Edwards — thanks! That does clear it up.

  39. Andy Milam says:

    Hi Henry,

    I think that the the priests in question and their formators are equally to blame. Although it does bring up an interesting situation and this is why I think that the priests themselves are more to blame, because culpability isn’t forgiven by ignorance…the situation is this…let’s say that Fr. Andy goes through seminary in the early 1970s. He is formed in the “liturgical renewal” of Vatican Council II (sic) and blindly accepts everything that he is told. He doesn’t question the professors, because he wants to be ordained. Along the way, he actually starts to believe what he is taking in. Is he culpable? Yes. Should he have had the where-with-all to study on his own and known something was wrong when what he was taught didn’t line up with what was in the book? Yes. Fast forward to 1978, Fr. Andy is now in the parish. He is “engaging in Liturgy.” He’s got a clown Mass on Saturday, for the kids and a Polka Mass on Sunday at 10am, the Guadate Singers want to try something new. Is he still culpable? Yes. The faithful in the pews see this going on, they know that something is dreadfully wrong, but because Father says it’s ok and just does it, they assume that it is accpetable. Are the faithful culpable? I believe so. Now that they “do Liturgy” in the vernacular, they can read what is going on and know that it doesn’t line up. The faithful however, just let it happen because Father is above approach and reproach. Father Andy has just shared his culpability.

    This, in my opinion, is the greatest sin of the priests. They have allowed for the illicit to become acceptable and they have all but eliminated the word sacrilege. This is greater than the moral issues out there, because the moral issue can be pinpointed to a finite number, the liturgical issues that invade the Church today are on the same level (numbers wise) as the Arian heretics of antiquity…I would venture to say that fully 80% of priests today, if not more subscribe to some form of illictness when it comes to the celebration of the Mass.

    It all falls on the pastors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. And the reason is twofold…obsitnancy and pride.

    Pastors need to stand up and say no more. They need to do what the Council intended and not the Consilium. They need to return to traditional practice and they will find that the faithful will respond. The practices are simple and they are clear.

    1. Ad orientem positioning
    2. Reverence for Holy Communion a) on the tongue b) at the rail, on their knees
    3. Sing the Mass, as it was intended to be sung
    4. USE LATIN

    The rest will follow. If the pastors of the Church would simply stand up and not fear their parishoners, but embrace them, they would respond. We, the faithful, want these things, but we, the faithful, by and large, are afraid to ask.

    Thoughts?