Director of Liturgy of Diocese of Winona on newer and older forms of Mass

There is again something of interest from the Diocese of Winona on the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.  You might remember the statement of His Excellency Most Reverend Bernard Harrington which you can review here.  I had also posted here a memo sent by that diocese’s liturgy office to the parish liturgists.  That memo, filled with errors, was not a little contrary to the public statement of the bishop.  The Director of Communications for the Diocese of Winona then wrote to me asking that I remove that memo from the liturgy office because it wasn’t intended to be public!  A remarkable thing that. 

The bishop made a public statement and, in the background, a memo is circulated which undermines the public statement.

I think I might need to return that memo to public view.

In any event, now we read this piece in The Courier, the newspaper of the Diocese of Winona, from that same Diocesan Director of Liturgy who produced that "private" memo. 

Take note in particular of her key insight: the two forms of Mass seem to be English and Latin.

My emphases and comments

   One Rite, Two Forms: The Mass, English and Latin

        By Peggy Lovrien,

    Diocesan Director of Liturgy

    Pope Benedict recently issued an apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, giving a parish priest permission [Not quite.  By stating that there is one Rite in two expressions, that will mean that any priest with faculties to say Mass at all has two forms to choose from, ordinary and extraordinary.  It is not really giving a separate permission.  It is more like expanding existing faculties.  The distinction is a fine one, I know.] to celebrate Mass in Latin. [WRONG!  you would think a Diocesan Director of Liturgy would no that the normal, the ordinary language of the Novus Ordo is Latin.  No priest needs permission to celebrate Mass in Latin.  Until 14 Sept. they need permission to use the older form of Mass.] Previously, a priest had to seek permission from the local bishop to celebrate Mass in Latin [again]  because the ordinary or normal [WRONG] way to celebrate Mass was in the language of the people. [The normal way to say Mass, any Mass, in the Roman Rite is in Latin. The vernacular is actually the exception to this rule.] Pope Benedict reinforced this idea referring to Mass in the vernacular [WRONG AGAIN.  He spoke about the Novus Ordo] as the ordinary form and Mass in Latin as the "other-than-ordinary" form or extra-ordinary form. The two forms are to be understood as two expressions of one rite.

    Last October, Times Online predicted the pope’s statement permitting the celebration of the Tridentine Mass saying that it might help bring followers of excommunicated Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre of France back to the Roman Catholic Church. It "would permit any priest to introduce the Tridentine Mass to his church, anywhere in the world, unless his bishop has explicitly forbidden it in writing, Use of the Tridentine Mass, was restricted by most bishops after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65)" (Times Online, 10-11, 2006 by Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent).

    We might ask what the difference is between the Tridentine Mass [an inaccurate, but useful term] and the present day Mass. [Ehem… remember.  The older form of Mass is also "the present Mass", or rather "a present Mass".  Right?]  The Tridentine Mass, written in 1570 [Oh for pit’s sake!]  after the council held in Trent, Italy, is now referred to as the Mass of the "1962 Missal" We call the Mass we celebrate daily in English the "New Mass" or the Novus Ordo. Pope Paul VI published it in 1969 after the second Vatican Council. Its goal, above all else, was the full, conscious, and active participation of the people in the liturgy. [I can hardly wait to see what this author says about active participation.] Pope John Paul II republished it in 1975 [which was really a good trick for him, seeing that he wasn’t elected Pope until 1978!] and in 2000 produced a new edition of the New Mass.

    The church writes the first text of the Mass in Latin. Then the New Mass (the present day Mass) a translation of the Latin text into the vernacular language, that is, the language of the people.  [Noooo… the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum is in Latin and there are translations of it into the vernacular.  This is so sloppy.]

    Prior to Pope Benedict’s statement, a priest could decide to celebrate the present day Mass in Latin (Novus Ordo) at any time [Okay!  This is good!]  but was restricted from using the Mass texts from the Tridentine Mass formulae. He would have to get permission from the local bishop to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. Pope Benedict has removed the requirement to get permission from the local bishop.  [Right.]

    The vernacular text evolved as the result of careful research and scholarly work by church clergy prior to the Second Vatican Council.  [WHAT!?  How could dozens of vernacular translations evolve before the Latin text existed?  What a mess.] The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (CSL), the first document of the council, articulated the result of their scholarly work and called for the use of the people’s language in the liturgy. [Noooo…. the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium did not call for the vernacular.  It called for Latin to be preserved as the language of the liturgy while opening the possibility that the vernacular could be used for some parts of the Mass in some occasions.]  Use of the people’s language was a value because it allowed people to knowledgeably participate in the liturgy through full, conscious, and active participation. [This is very narrow.  It suggests that people cannot participate at Mass if the Mass is not in the vernacular.]  The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy laid the groundwork for the New Mass of 1969 (Novus Ordo).


    Since the vernacular language allowed people to understand what the Mass prayers, the Eucharistic prayers, Scripture, and music texts were saying, people internalized the sacred texts of the Mass. [sigh… whaddy gonna do?] The liturgy transformed the people into the presence of Christ [What on earth?  As if it didn’t before?] – hence, the personal need [??] to be at the liturgy every Sunday to experience this transformation. As agents of the presence of Christ in the world (mission) to non-believers, Catholics become living disciples reaching out to those in need of love, faith, compassion, and dignity.  [Correct me if I get this wrong, but is she suggesting that before there was a vernacular liturgy, the missionary mandate of the Church was not being fulfilled?]


    These past 38 years, the people of God have been reading the Bible in the celebration of the New Mass (Novus Ordo).  [I don’t know about that.  I think they read and listen to Scripture pericopes.  I also think that there were Scripture readings before the Council.] After the council, cardinals, bishops, and priests [?] organized the Bible into a three year reading cycle of Scriptural readings that included the Old Testament, the pastoral letters of St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles, and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke called the synoptic gospels. The gospel of John appeared at key points during Christmas and Easter seasons. They also composed a collection of a two-year cycle of readings for weekdays. These books, called the Lectionary, gave the people the opportunity to become familiar with a bigger portion of the Bible through systematic liturgical reading. The old Mass, on the other hand, had a one-year cycle of Scripture readings.


    In the introductory part of the New Mass, the Church Fathers [Ehem….] placed a penitential rite within the Mass, which became a dialogue of prayer between the priest and all the people. This replaced the old penitential "prayers at the foot of the altar," recited only by the priest and servers before Mass.

    In the Novus Ordo Mass of today, we speak of two parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist often referred to as the twin tables:

    "The Mass is made up, as it were, of two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. These, however, are so closely interconnected that they form but one single act of worship. For in the Mass the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s Body is prepared, from which the faithful may be instructed and refreshed." (CSL, 56 and GIRM, 28)

    The Tridentine Mass called the Liturgy of the Word the Mass of the Catechumens because the catechumens could participate only in the first part of the Mass (a practice revived today through the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults or RCIA). It included a reading of one of the New Testament letters (epistles) of St. Paul and one of the four Gospels. It labeled the Liturgy of the Eucharist the Mass of the Faithful because the catechumens were not allowed in this part of the Mass until they became one of "the faithful" through baptism. The Church also revised the old offertory prayers of the Tridentine liturgy to avoid a duplication of texts with the Eucharistic prayer texts.

    The Tridentine Mass used only one Eucharistic prayer (Eucharistic prayer I). In the New Mass, however, there are nine Eucharistic prayers: four for Sunday and weekday use, two for Masses focusing on reconciliation and three for Masses with children. Eucharistic prayer II comes from one of the early Church Fathers, Hippolytus, who wrote some of the fIrst descriptions of the liturgy in the Apostolic Traditions of 215 AD. His writings gave scholars insight into the way the early Church celebrated the Mass only 160 years after Christ.

    Today, communicants receive the Eucharist under the forms of both bread and wine, the Body and Blood of Christ. In the old Mass, due to medieval plagues and lack of public health practices, communicants could receive only the Body of Christ.  [WHAT???]


    The priest and people celebrated the Tridentine Mass with everyone facing the same direction; as a result, the priest had his back to the people. Some say that was because they all faced east (toward the rising sun, indicative of the Resurrection); yet, Catholics did not always build churches on an east-west floor plan.  [Simplistic.]

    In the New Mass, the priest normally faces the people setting up a physical dialogue to engage them in the prayerful dialogue of the liturgy [gag] by its prayer texts, songs, gestures, and processions. Likewise, the cantor and choir do the same in order to secure this prayerful dialogue in liturgical music. Together, the musicians, the priest, and the people pray and sing the liturgy. 


    Catholics gather for the liturgy willing to be transformed into Christ. The Liturgy of the Word articulates the values and sense of justice, love, and compassion of God as taught by Christ. The Liturgy of the Eucharist transforms the people into people of thanksgiving (the Greek word, "Eucharistia" means thanksgiving) for the sacrifice of suffering, dying, and rising Christ made for us (salvation). Catholics then ingest the presence of Christ’s Body and Blood to, as St. Augustine tells us, "become what you eat." As temples of the presence of Christ in the world, the people are a different kind of people because they are the presence of Christ in the world. This holy presence draws others to Christ through these "agents" of Christ’s presence.

    The celebration of the liturgy, and in particular, the Mass, sanctifies the faithful to be Christ in the world. Let us always remember who we are, whether we celebrate in English or in Latin for:

    "Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit. Therefore, pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work…" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14)

Folks… I just gave up at a certain point.

I have read better essays from highschool students.

The people of God deserve better explanations than this.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.