Some comments by priests from another entry

The recent article in America Magazine has sparked some very good discussion.  After parsing that article, I started a spin-off, about the "lonliness" the priest/writer felt at saying the Roman Canon during his first celebration of the traditional form of Holy Mass, with the 1962 Missale Romanum

That entry brought some comments by priests.  Here are a few excerpts I found revealing:

Father J wrote:

My celebration of the Novus Ordo is now tempered and has been considerably enhanced by what I feel when celebrating the TLM and the “continuity” of the Rite’s seem to make more sense, though I feel I am supplementing from the old when celebrating the new. I know it is wrong to say it, but the Mass feels like The Mass in the extraordinary form and “extraordinary” seems a very fitting way to describe this awe inspiring rite.


Note here that learning the older form of Mass has changed the way this priest says the Novus Ordo.

This is a major reason why Pope Benedict issued Summorum Pontificum, folks.  He knew that as the use of the older Mass would spread, those priests would rethink the way they said Mass.  They would therefore also rethink who they are.

The priest (above) also says that the older form of Mass is now, for him, the truly "extraordinary" Mass in the sense of being "special" or "superior".  The rite inspires "awe", which is really the purpose of liturgy, isn’t it?  Mystery … awe at trascendence.

Fr Francis Coveney wrote:


Just as it is a real challenge for priests trained since Vatican II to learn how to celebrate the TLM, so too it must have been difficult in different ways for priests formed before Vatican II to celebrate Mass facing the people. I have often heard it said that most priests are basically introverts rather than extroverts – and yet each time we celebrate Mass (certainly on a Sunday)were are on public display. I wonder if this is not a factor in the number of priests who at some time suffer nervous breakdowns.


This is a good insight.  This is something that would have been difficult for me to grasp before I began to spend more time in quite isolation at The Sabine Farm.  I was an actor and musician before going into seminary.  I was never nervous in front of people.  Some priests however, very much are introverts.  Overcoming that introversion must be very hard.  It might drive a fellow to do all sort of peculiar things during Mass. 

Fr. John Boyle said:

It is thanks to laity that I now celebrate the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis for those faithful who adhere to it. It has transformed my priesthood and my celebration of the Mass. … Like others, when celebrating the Novus Ordo facing the people, I do so with a crucifix upstanding on the altar. I am now less conscious of any need to ‘interact’ with the faithful, I choose options less frequently and now adopt the Confiteor and Roman Canon as the default options for the celebration of Mass on all days. All subjectivism is removed. … In the fixed older usage, such clerical domination is impossible.

Again, a priest changes how he says the Novus Ordo.  Also, note that one cannot be so "clerical" in the negative sense, because the priest is controlled so closely by the older rubrics.  That drifts over into the way he says the newer Mass.

Note that the lay people are the reason why he uses the old Mass.  If you act like jerks when approaching your priest about this, you might fail.  Remember that.

The great Fr. Finigan wrote:

This gets across something of the burden of responsibility upon the priest at this sacred moment of the Mass. Facing eastward, on his own, with the intense concentration of the people behind him, not in front of him, speaking sotto voce, he experiences the most sacred moment of his priesthood that day.

Might I use this opportunity to remind people that priest need to prepare to say Mass before Mass?  They also might want to remain a little recollected afterwards?  Don’t jump on Father immediately before or after Mass. Give him a little space. 

There are more comments from priests along those lines.  These are merely few.  It is worth going back and reading that entry.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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