QUAERITUR: How do we make the Novus Ordo better?

From a reader:

Fr. Z: I’m a Junior at ___ in the Television Department. I’ve stumbled upon your blog a few times, and I’ve noticed that you celebrate the Latin Mass. (Tridentine?)

I have a question for you. I’ve witnessed a big debate over how whether or not the Novus Ordo Mass is being followed how it was intended upon it’s release post-Vatican II. If it’s one’s opinion that it is NOT, what could be done to follow it more correctly, and why aren’t parishes with priests who support that viewpoint putting those things into practice, rather than using both the "incorrect" Novus Ordo and the "way better" Tridentine?


What the Council Fathers wanted for a reform is definitely NOT what we got.  Nevertheless, what we got wasn’t actually followed correctly in most places.

The key to celebration of any of the Church’s liturgies is simply to…

We should stick to the books, that is, the texts and the rubrics.  Just do what Holy Church asks. 

It’s that simple.

Don’t make it up.  Don’t change it around.  Just do what the Church asks.

The sacred action of the liturgy is very powerful, because the true Actor is really Jesus Christ the High Priest, … provided we get out of the way.

Two things which will help.

First, the new translation we are waiting for.  The language of the Novus Ordo as it stands now is appalling.

Second, priests should learn how to celebrate the older form of Mass!  Learn the TLM!  That will help a priest’s ars celebrandi and give him deep insights into who he is at the altar and what Holy Mass really is.  Learn the older form will affect the way he celebrates the Novus Ordo.

I suppose at this point some people will want to jump in an say "make the Novus Ordo better by getting rid of it".   Since we know that is not going to happen anytime soon… keep it to yourselfI will probably delete your comments and kick you off the blog for a while.  The point here is how to make the Novus Ordo better.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I think that the key to making the OF better has already been stated by Father. I grew up attending the OF, and only recently started EF. Also, one might read the documents that changed the mass, and see what they actually called for in the liturgy, ie ad orientum, Latin, gregorian chant, and so on and so forth.

  2. Bruce says:

    Speaking of the new translations, has anyone heard word of a schedule for their release?

  3. cuaguy says:

    I believe that it is Advent 2012 last I heard

  4. Hanna says:

    Advent 2012?! Why is it taking so long?

  5. Zachariah says:

    1. USE PROPER MUSIC – Gregorian Chant is supposed to have place of pride. That doesn’t mean collecting dust in the Church attic!
    2. Exercise the option NOT to have the public Sign of Peace.
    3. FACE EAST – or at least liturgical East. We need priests with the courage to lead us towards Christ.
    4. Encourage communion on the tongue and kneeling. Set up a movable altar rail if the church you’re in doesn’t already have one.
    5. CATECHIZE. The homily should teach the faithful about their faith. Catechesis is the best reform!
    6. Use Latin, at least for some of the fixed parts of Mass: Agnus Dei, Sanctus, Pater Noster, etc.

    Pax Tecum

  6. RichR says:

    Three things could make the N.O. better:

    priest face liturgical East

    more Latin

    no extraordinary ministers of H.C.

  7. ED says:

    What should be done is to replace completely the Novus Ordo and have the ExtraOrdinary (Gregorian) Rite in both Latin and the vernacular. This brings back liturgical correctness,othodox prayers and lets those who prefer the vernacular language to have that. This is what makes sense so it won’t be done. You can then bring in the Anglican’s who want to return with the Tridentine (Gregorian) Rite in English.

  8. Mitch_WA says:

    ad orientem

    gegorian chant

    altar rail & communion on tounge kneeling

    no/very limited emhc

    all male altar boys

    bring back the dies irae and black vestments(if you want to fix funerals that are mini-cannonizations require the dies irae to atleast be read, if not sung in either english or latin)

  9. Xpihs says:

    Has anyone read the book, “Whither the Roman Rite?” by Rev. John W. Mole O.M.I.? I think it pertains to this discussion.

  10. Dave says:

    Preach only one homily, and do it at the designated time. Minimize or eliminate announcements during Mass. Use the Confiteor and Roman Canon.

  11. Steve says:

    Is there a priest or parish out there that could put out a training DVD that shows the correct (and best) way to perform the Novus Ordo Mass?

    We have many training and instructional tools (books and DVDs) on how to perform the TLM.

    How about one for the Novus Ordo? Or are there so many independent variations going on that not all priests would recognize it as the only correct way to perform it?

  12. dymphna says:

    Rein in the cantors. It’s mass, not a concert.

  13. Antonio says:

    Everything follows that “little” change.

  14. Andrew, UK and sometimes Canada says:

    All well and good, but how do us laity make/convince/bribe/beg our priest to Say the Black; Do the Red?

    It seems that many fashionable OF celebrants are all for lay involvement and liturgical planning and consultation, unless you cautiously, after much sucking up of courage, timidly suggest one teeny tiny return to the rubrics. Then your input doesn’t matter. Or worse, it’s “reactionary”.

  15. GOR says:

    Coming from a time when the rubrics were strictly followed, I have cringed repeatedly when celebrants ‘ad-lib’ with the texts and rubrics. That said, I think the single, most important element to be changed in NO Masses is a return to ad orientem celebration.

    This orients priest and people in the same direction – God. It reminds all – priest and congregation – Who is really important here. It removes the temptation from the celebrant to ‘ad-lib’, ‘relate’ and ‘interact’ with the congregation when it is not appropriate.

    As Pope Benedict has pointed out, the Mass should not be a “self-closed circle” with celebrant and congregation turned towards one another but “facing in the same direction, knowing that together they were in procession towards the Lord.”

  16. Chris says:

    All these are great suggestions. I would also add, though, that to really make the NO Mass better the priests are going to have to relearn the Church’s theology.

    No mater how many great changes you make in, say, a new requiem Mass, when the priest is telling everyone that, in my recent experience, my grandfather and great aunt are in Heaven “so rejoice!” and not pray for the repose of their souls, nothing else is going to help.

    So let’s fight for all these great suggestions and let’s also fight and pray that the traditional theology is re-learned by priests and the Faithful. Both are needed to restore the liturgy.

  17. Switch to the Douay-Reimes?

    That’s probably not going to happen either.

    Maybe Anglican Chant?

    And like the last commentator said, ad orientem.

    We as a concregation are offering the Mass together with the priest. We should act in concert. We the Church, the priest and the faithful, are offering the Mass. It isn’t being offered to the faithful, but to God, to the Orient from on high. And Christ is offering it with us to His Father and ours. We from and for. In the Mass we are to be, as a people, from God, that is from the East. After Mass, and for a brief moment in Mass, we turn to eachother, and are for eachother. But in Mass, we are with eachother, from and for God.

  18. It would also be nice if there were Architectural cannons, like in the East. Maybe we should start by ripping out the pews?

    And say both the Confiteor and the Kyrie. Maybe have father say the confiteor seperately.

  19. Aaron says:

    Isn’t part of the problem with the Novus Ordo that “the Red” leaves too much room for interpretation? If you “do the red” in the Extraordinary Form, that specifies the form right down to how the priest holds his hands. It’s been 20 years since I saw an Ordinary book up close, but my understanding is that a priest can do quite a bit of ad-libbing and inserting variety and still claim to be “doing the red.” Am I mistaken?

  20. Vestments help: nice ones!

    Although it’s in English, things like this help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8TZO9ZZhY

  21. Fr. Anthony says:

    Comment by Aaron — 20 February 2009 @ 11:07 am


    I don’t use the “ordinary” use of the Roman rite myself, but the following principle would be in order. Assuming you know how to celebrate the “extraordinary” use, when you find ambiguous rubrics in the “ordinary” use, do it as in the “extraordinary” use – as long as you don’t actually contradict the rubric. Often nothing is said – and then “You have to incense the altar somehow” – then do it the old way, as you’re not contradicting what’s in the book.

    It’s a bit like us Anglicans back in the days of the “Ritualists” in the 19th century. One has to stick to the 1662 Prayer Book, but everything was in the interpretation and thed “interpolations”. Just read Percy Dearmer’s “The Parson’s Handbook”. It is amazing what human inginuity can do !

    If Anglicans could make something of that ghastly rite (the language is beautiful, that’s all) we had to live with in the Church of England, the “reform of the reform” of the Paul VI rite will be a piece of cake !!!

    Fr. Anthony

  22. Mitchell says:

    Return to the use of the traditional calendar. So both expressions are in better harmony. The A,B,C thing is too burdensome and coming across things once every three years tends to reduce the retentive part. Common more frequent exposure aids in retention. Do as Vat II says and retain Latin and have parish group classes to learn the parts we lay people need to learn. Ditch the hymns and return to Chant. Use incense and better vestments…Model the NO on the UA instead of the opposed to approach. Suppress the optional sign of peace that more often than not invites chaos. It simply is not done correctly in almost every Mass..And Priests, lead us by facing East…I want to follow !

  23. Father Totton says:


    The trouble is that there is so much latitude for the priest to do this or that or some other thing in many places, that the whole thing has been interpreted as up for grabs. The faithful don’t know where the legitimate options are being employed and where the priest is just making it up as he goes along.

    I follow a simple principle in celebrating the Novus Ordo. I choose the options which best accord with the Extraordinary Form. (though I am still working toward ad-orientem). This takes the guesswork out of it (for the lay faithful, the ministers and the priest). People always know the confiteor, they are accustomed to singing the Kyrie, Nobody every asks me “which Eucharistic Prayer are you going to use, Father?” While some have expressed appreciation for the regular routine (consistent from week to week, and consistent, as much as possible, with tradition) nobody has complained.

  24. Fr. Anthony says:

    Just thought of something. No one has thought of mentioning Bishop Peter Eliott’s “The Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite”.

    I don’t like the modern Roman rite, but as Fr. Zuhlsdorf says, it isn’t going away any time soon, and priests who have to use it may as well do it properly and using all the “conservative” options.

    Fr. Anthony

  25. LCB says:

    1. Ad Orientem worship
    2. Roman Canon exclusively or Sunday worship
    3. Altar Rails, with the option of reception kneeling or standing, with Father’s preference for kneeling being made well known.

    After these changes, the other needed changes will naturally take place.

  26. chironomo says:

    The “trick”, if there is such a thing, is to make only what changes are necessary to correct the major problems being considered. IMHO, making changes to the music (if it is typical of music in Catholic Parishes in the US…) is the biggest “bang for your buck” in the area of reform, if the point is to lead to greater reverence. This includes:

    1. The Priest chanting the dialogues with the assembly (The Lord Be With You…opening prayer…invitation to the Gospel…Preface and Eucharistic Prayer…dismissal.)

    2. Making use of a “limited Repertoire” of good solid hymns for those times when you’re going to use hymns rather than the actual antiphons for Mass. 15 solid hymns is preferable to a different “relevant” hymn each week…

    3. Use good Psalm settings (Chabanel Psalms is a good place to start) with plainchant verses rather than the “Psalms for Your Broadway Audition” that are still far too common.

    4. Make use of authentic chant settings for those parts of the Mass where they can be used without a great interruption at first. Consider the Kyrie XVIII and Agnus Dei XVIII to start….a little bit at a time.

    5. Avoid any song, hymn or otherwise that is in 6/8 meter (this is a personal bailywick of mine…).

    6. REIGN IN THE CANTOR….Mine only sing the verses of the Psalm and the Alleluia verse…that’s it.

    7. Complete the communion music early enough to allow a good deal of silence at the end of communion.

    8. Avoid anything that ever elicits applause.

  27. chironomo says:

    One more thing…

    I don’t mean to imply that issues such as “ad orientem” and communion on the tongue are not a priority… these are really important issues. However, what I’ve found is that if a Pastor is getting ready to usher in ‘ad orientem’ worship, he has probably already tackled the issue of disruptive music. If you’re starting at ground zero, I would say that the music is a good place to start.

  28. Maynardus says:

    Many of those who’ve posted (esp. Zachariah, RichR, and Mitch_WA) have cited options which the celebrant can readily adopt – immediately in theory but hopefully only after proper preparation and catechesis. But I’m thinking that time is ripe to revisit the proposal made by Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez during his time at the C.D.W. that the “Tridentine” Offertory prayers be permitted in the Ordinary Form as an option ad libitem. The idea was shot down at the time but really, given the variety of indults granted by the P.C.E.D. for the use of various “new” practices with the 1962 Missal, could not a favorably-disposed bishop request a similar indult from the C.D.W. for this practice? If nothing else it would start quite a conversation – and I think it’s a conversation worth having.

  29. Gedsmk says:

    (a) A choice between the Collect in the Roman Missal (with a decent translation of course!) and an opening prayer based on the scripture of the day
    (b) Good quality music with participatory singing
    (c) Ministers who are trained in the Rites
    (d) A homily which opens up the Word and moves our spirits
    (e) Better behaved children who know to keep quiet during the EP
    (f) Plenty of silence
    (g) Good quality vestments and vessels
    (h) Communion under both kinds at every Mass, and NEVER bring hosts from the tabernacle unless it is an emergency

  30. Maynardus says:

    …and – pace Chironomo – BAN APPLAUSE! Cannot it be declared a mortal sin?

  31. Dr. Eric says:

    Here’s a wish-list:

    1. Ad Orientam
    2. Rood Screen! (I may be the only one who wants one.)
    3. Gregorian Chant
    4. Traditional Vestments (Father wore blue on 8 December.)
    5. No Extraneous Ministers
    6. Trained Choir
    7. No Hymns from before 1920
    8. Churches that don’t look like banks

    Here’s what may actually work in reality:

    1. Roman Canon on Feasts and Sundays
    2. Communion under both kinds by priestly intiction (which I believe is a legitimate option.)
    3. No Hymns from before 1920 (that one is doable anywhere.)
    4. Simple Latin Chant for the common parts
    5. No Eucharistic Ministers
    6. Refurbished Churches that have undone the wreckovation.
    7. No more stand-up-comedian shtick
    9. No more hand-holding during the Our Father

  32. John Penta says:

    Gedsmk: I object to (e) and (f) as presuming an ability to control forces as immovable as time and gravity.

    Children will be children.

    Nature abhors a vacuum, and silence really is a vacuum.

    Beyond that, you want to achieve good liturgy, good preaching, and good singing all at once?

    Stop asking for the moon, you’ll never get it. :)

  33. Hmmmm
    1. Roman Vestments, full set (chalice veil, burse, all that)
    2. Options in conformity with continuity (Confiteor, Kyrie, no sign of peace between the people)
    3. Ad Orientem, proper Ars celebrandi (no ab-libbing texts)
    4. Altar Rails, kneeling for Communion for those who are physically able to do so.
    5. Gregorian chant, get rid of the pathetic might was well be heretical hymns
    6. Gradual Psalm instead of the Responsorial Psalm
    7. Ax EP II and those lame Children’s ones and the one’s for reconciliation, world peace, etc.
    8. St. Micheal prayer after the Ite Missa Est
    9. Altar Boys
    10. Kick the choir/praise band out of the sanctuary and put them where they belong, in the choir loft (and if the Church doesn’t have one, build one)
    11. Organ or a capella please, no guitar, no piano

  34. “Advent 2012?! Why is it taking so long?
    Comment by Hanna — 20 February 2009 @ 10:17 am”

    Not to make excuses, but this involves approval of the entire Roman Missal by all bishops conferences of the English-speaking world, with their amendments/adaptions (if any) ultimately subject to approval by the Holy See. Not just the Order of Mass, but the Propers for Sundays, and for the Seasons and the Saints. What follows is the SHORT explanation.

    During each round of approval, bishops may make suggestions to the text, which are approved or disapproved by a conference committee, then eventually by Rome. Each part of the missal goes through this process. An intervention by the Holy See in the mid-1990s (or thereabouts) over the process of translation, caused a significant delay. Once the entire text is approved, it takes at least a year for publishers to prepare appropriate worship aids and musical texts.

    Under the circumstances, 2012 is the soonest we could see it, in this writer’s opinion. And once that happens, it will be the completion of a process that has taken nearly thirty years!

    And that’s just the Roman Missal. The Roman Ritual, and the occasional services (confirmation, ordination, et cetera) would have to be completed as well.

  35. Dr. Eric, do you mean no hymns after 1920?

  36. Pamela says:

    (New Here). I couldn’t agree more! Would you say the Daily Mass on EWTN is an example of combining the “best of both worlds” from the TLM and the N.O.??

    I wish all parishes did it that way. But I’m a “Neo Trad” so maybe I don’t know what I’m saying.

  37. Paul Madrid says:

    At the very least, no hymns (except for a hymn of praise after communion). The rest of the mass music should be the traditional, scripture-based propers. I personally don’t care if the propers are in Latin and chanted or in the vernacular to some other appropriate musical setting, but the absence of the propers in the modern Mass is ridiculous.

  38. mpm says:

    Some thoughts that might help:

    The NO has little “innate” solemnity: that can be built up, without all the “requirements” necessary to have greater solemnity in the EF. This, I think, is one of the biggest advantages of the NO — to have a relatively solemn Mass, all the ministers, furnishings of the EF are not required, so there are no specified “tipping points” with respect to greater solemnity. (I was born in 1950: the whole time I grew up in the suburbs with the TLM, serving Mass, etc., I never attended anything more solemn that a Missa Cantata, and I’m sure the reason was lack of ministers, time, furnishings, etc.)

    As others have mentioned, where the rubrics are silent, supply the practices of the EF.

    When the Mass is to be mostly in the vernacular, add back a few of the original language portions, especially in the Ordinary parts of the Mass: e.g., the “Kyrie eleison” in Greek, the Gloria and/or Creed in Latin, the Agnus Dei. Let the parishioners absorb the fact that this is the Latin Rite, even grandparents can do it!

    It might be wise for the priest to always read the prayers, never “memorize” them: benefits, a) you will genuflect at the Creed on Christmas and Annunciation, and b) your eyes are guarded and you can probably prayer better.

    Get permission from one’s Ordinary (Bishop) to begin to introduce the new translations of the Ordinary in English (how else can you catechize the parishioners?). I have attended OF Mass on Sunday where a priest has done this, including the EPs, and it is sooooooooo muuuuuuuuuch better!

  39. Cathy says:

    I think that rather than start with introducing more appropriate music, it might be better to start with no music – assuming that some catechesis regarding the liturgy is done first. When the music is changed first and people don’t have a right understanding of active participation, the natural inclination is to focus attention on the music as something to listen to and enjoy instead of as something that enhances participation and that is itself directed towards the action at the altar. I know for my part it helped to assist at a silent TLM low Mass first and focus on learning the parts of the Mass and just getting a sense that we were offering a sacrifice. Silence is very much needed at the NO to help us move our attention to where it is supposed to be.

    I think catechesis of both priests and lay people is necessary. There are some who will never accept the Church’s teachings regarding the liturgy – they think the attention is supposed to be on the priest and the rest of the community. But I think many will simply be glad to understand the liturgy with the mind of the Church.

    I have a great deal of hope. I meet so many people who are excited to know more about the Mass and all of their faith. It is difficult now to help people gain that understanding because what is said and done at the local parish often conflicts with what the Church teaches. I pray that some day there will be more consistency there.

  40. mpm says:

    @Pamela — 20 February 2009 @ 12:15 pm

    I think you could do a lost worse than what they are doing at EWTN! They
    are on the right wavelength (so to speak) :>.

  41. ssoldie says:

    If Pope Benedict XVI ( then Cardinal Ratzenger) called the N.O.M. a fabricated litergy, how then do we make it ‘better’? I want the real liturgy, and so I pray the “Gregorian Rite”, the Traditional Latin Mass. Why should I want anything but the real liturgy?

  42. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    I’m afraid it starts with the priest. His whole attitude has to be one of careful attention to the sacredness of what he is doing. From that, everything else follows. Priests need to get it into their heads that they are not performers. They are not there to entertain; as a professional actor friend of mine says, “You’re not that talented.” They shouldn’t try to compete with stand-up comics (though *one* well-timed anecdote in a homily just *might* help make a point memorable): they’re not that funny. Priests are there to offer the Holy Sacrifice, and should be fully aware of that fact. If the priest celebrates with awe and reverence and gets his own personality out of the way, the other ministers (sacred or lay) will see their own participation in the sacrifice change to match that awe and reverence. But I’m afraid it all starts with the priest.

  43. Dr. Eric says:

    Joe of St. Therese,

    My thoughts are to never sing a hymn that was written after AD 1920. Just to be safe…

  44. Tzard says:

    what about always (or at least sometimes) choosing the “Roman Canon” (EP1) rather than the other Eucharistic Prayers?

    A priest can certainly do that on his own initiative.

  45. I used to — upon invitation like Father Z\’s today — play the game of making lists of how to make Mass better.

    But no longer. It\’s not about lists of abuses to eliminate, of good practices to initiate. It\’s not even about Saying the Black, Doing the Red.

    It\’s about \”believing the Mass\”–for instance, as Trent spelled out the theology of the Mass definitively, once and for all. Actions follow belief — you act like you believe.

    If and when priests and people believe properly, there\’ll be no need for lists of things for them to do or not do.

    Cure the disease and you eliminate the symptoms. On the other hand, can we really cure the spiritual disease by concentrating only on the liturgical symptoms?

    That said, many have noticed that when a priest immerses himself in the traditional Mass and its spirituality, this takes care of his celebration of the new Mass also.

    So, in short, get the spirituality right, and you get the Mass right.

  46. Dr. Eric, cool, I was reading your comment, and it said “7. No Hymns from before 1920”, and I’m thinking, wait, all the good one’s written before then.

  47. Jay says:

    Restrict it to an indult. Only those who are competent in liturgical tradition can qualify. They have to present themselves before the biship to prove themselves competent to use the missal. They can only offer it if explicitly asked by a group that is versed in the rite for active participation. Oh yeah, and it cannot be offered during Holy Week.

  48. canon1753 says:

    Some sort of manual for Priests on how to do the red as written in the GIRM in the sense and style of the EF, written for those who have never seen or rarely been to the EF. To do anything constructive with the OF, it needs to be simple and easy, and not intentionally offend those whose sensibilities were formed by their prior pastors whom they love and respect and who out of obedience or ignorance (or in some cases I suppose malice is accurate) informed their congregations to celebrate in a certain (rupture not continuity oriented) way the Liturgy. The new translations will be a start. Maybe GIRM 4 can get snuck it before 2012 to tighten the rubrics up.

    Just my 2 cents worth

  49. NY Priest says:

    I agree totally with Fr. Z about “say the black, do the red.” And I think we are both in agreement that this might be qualified with learning the extraordinary form. [The maxim is not meant for minimalism.] There is much that the red -in the “sacramentary”- which says “what to do” but not “how to do it.” That is why the extraordinary form requires reference to the ”ritus servandi”. Why should the ordinary form not? Thus, for the priest to “do the red” properly, that is, in line with Tradition, he should refer to the ”ritus servandi” or a good book on celebrating Mass such as Fortesque or OConnell when the ordinary form rubric is not specific about “how” to do something. (Ex. how to hold one’s hands, how to purify the chalice, how to build up the chalice, where to put the free hand when turning the page in the sacramentary, etc.)

  50. Edward says:

    I have no idea what would make the Novus Ordo better. I would prefer that the Novus Ordo not exist. However, given that it does, I guess I can list a few things that might actually get me to consider ever willingly attending a Novus Ordo again:

    1. Do away with Extraordinary Ministers, Lay lectors, and altar girls;
    2. Ad Orientem
    3. Re-install communion rails and do away with receiving in the hand.
    4. No more abuses, including choice in music as well as all of the other ridiculous crap that is well documented.
    5. Bring back the Roman Canon as the only Canon/Eucharistic Prayer.
    6. Do away with the revised calendars.
    7. Bring back the prayers at the foot of the altar, the Leonine prayers, and all of the beautiful old Introits, Collects, Secrets, Communions and Post-Communions
    8. Bring back the old longer Confiteor and the longer Kyrie.

    Etc., etc., etc.

  51. Father,

    you must know this already, but I think this article is the best thing I have ever read regarding the reform of the reform. Not only it doesn’t bashes the current magistery but also takes in accout the “brick by brick” philosophy. It also argues for an union between the two forms.


  52. David says:

    Don’t forget incense. Lots of incense.

  53. Sid says:

    After Fr. Z’s suggestions, Zachariah’s @ 10:17 am covered most of the rest, along with the Confiteor, the Roman Canon, and no hand holding at the Our Father.

    What is really appalling at OF Masses is usually the music. So:

    1. Put the cantor and the choir in the back, not up front as if on a stage for entertainment.

    2. Hymns belong properly in the Office, not Mass. So have the cantor/choir sing the introit, Gradual, Alleluia, and Communion antiphon. Maybe a hymn for a recessional. If Communion takes a while, then the choir/cantor can sing something,preferably written before a.D. 1700. The Common parts should also be sung, and with chant.

    3. Music should be chant or traditional.

  54. thomas tucker says:

    Can anyone tell me where to find and read a good explanantion of why Pope Paul VI
    went forward with the revised rite, given that it was not what the COuncil Fathers
    actually envisioned?

  55. Valerie Means says:

    What’s this about no hymns before 1920? Many of the world’s best hymns are from before 1920. For example all of the “Ambrosian” hymns, Tantum Ergo (even the english translations). Personally I miss hearing the Easter Sequence … for a singable translation the Episcopal Church translation is good. Have you heard “By Flowing Waters”? It might not be truly “great” but it could be used to bring back some good texts into current Liturgy. The “y Flowing Waters” ymnal is a translation of the Simple Gradual into English. It is too bad that the English translation of the Simple Gradual by the Nuns of Ryde Abbey is not commercially available. It is excellent. It was done primarily for their Indian foundation(s?) and shared with a contemplative music pool including some Dominicans, and the English-speaking branches of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters.

  56. Ohio Annie says:

    1. No extraordinary ministers except in Masses with lots of people, (say over 700 or so in a suburban parish), or more than your elderly or handicapped priest can handle by himself.
    2. Communion under one kind only. Kneeling. On the tongue. If not kneeling, then in a line down the center aisle so one priest can handle it.
    3. Silence between readings.
    4. Silence after Communion.
    5. Ordinary chanted by the priest.
    6. One hymn only, for a recessional.
    7. No announcements.
    8. Homilies in accordance with the readings and the teachings of the Church.
    9. No female lectors or altar servers.
    10. Organ only.
    11. Everybody facing the same direction. Especially when there is an old high altar with a tabernacle in the center. Though in that case, could you get rid of the new altar and use the old one?
    12. Priest impervious to criticism by the people who want an entertaining-type Mass. Spending an hour in the presence of God is entertainment enough!

  57. JayneK says:

    I have been reading lately on the differences between that traditional Mass and the Novus Ordo. I was much struck by the way the newer form takes emphasis away from the idea of Mass as Sacrifice. I like most of the suggestions your readers have been making, but I’m wondering what can be done to restore this aspect of the Mass.

  58. GregY says:

    Easy things that can be done at any parish:
    1. Observe periods of prayerful silence.
    2. Sing dignified music or, better yet, cut out the songs and say or chant the antiphons
    3. Use lots of incense, oils, bells, etc. (novel concept)
    4. If the tabernacle has been removed, restore it to the sancutary
    5. Preach homilies that are challenging, edifying, and instructive in the authentic Catholic Faith.
    6. Eliminate as many extraordinary ministers of holy communion as possible (as in “don’t use them,” not kill them!)
    7. Use only male altar servers

    If you want to get a little more “radical”, these are things that are totally permissible and already going on at parishes here and there:
    1. Restore the altar rails and distribute holy communion on the tongue to those kneeling
    2. Use the Benedictine altar arrangement with candles and crucifix, or better yet:
    3. Celebrate Mass ad orientum (facing east or “back to the people”)
    4. Use Latin (at least for the common reponses as is done on EWTN)

    Whatever things that are done, I think the most important for priests offering Mass is this:

  59. GregY says:

    Oh, I almost forgot:
    Use Eucharistic Prayer 1 (the “Roman Canon”)

  60. Andy K. says:

    What can we the LAITY do?

  61. Ed Francis says:

    Ask ourselves, “Why were the changes made?” Not “as practiced” or “run away with,” but in the minds of those who supported modifications as an option in praxis? There was a response to the condition of the pre-Vatican Church, unquestionably.

    I’ve read some thoughts of Romano Guardini, for instance, that make a good argument in favor of Novus Ordo, based on a deep understanding of the Liturgy, and how people pre-Vatican II weren’t getting it. Pope Benedict XVI, as Joseph Ratzinger, makes points about the correctness of properly implemented openness. As he is the one who’s opened the door for our brick by brick renewal of the TLM, I listen when he speaks about the NO with reverence and deep humility.

    A lot of blaming goes on around these topics, a lot of rhetorical “cant.” We should properly go to the sources, the origins, those bishops who felt, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that Vatican II would bring a necessary good to the life of the Church.

    We should explore, more, what they had in mind, rather than obsess over what they didn’t intend. These men are, or were, much more intelligent than I am; I trust them, even if I may not agree with them.

  62. Ed Francis says:

    Apologies for the typo:”There was a response to the condition of the pre-Vatican II Church, unquestionably.”

    May as well mention, Romano Guardini “Meditations Before Mass.” Speaks about both sides, the need for change and the need for tradition and continuity.

  63. Dr. Eric says:

    I meant no hymns written after 1920. I posted the wrong idea twice!! :-o

  64. jack says:

    Things are improving in my neck of the OF woods. I griped a few days back that my pastor had not published the EF schedule. In fact this week he did, in the parish bulletin. Mea culpa!

  65. veritas says:

    For the language don’t bother to invent the wheel, take the advice of Thomas Cranmer. He is heretical on sacramental thology but his language is superb. Reject the heresy and keep the language. The Pastoral Provision Parishes in the Book of Divine Worship have done precisely this. Also they face the east, kneel for communion, and are generally traditionaL.

  66. Elizabeth T. says:

    Eliminating the distracting “warm-fuzzy-hug-fest ” at the sign of peace would be very helpful as well!

  67. MJD says:

    What a great question – and after thinking about it for a while, one that seems to have an almost simplistic answer.

    Pray for our priests.

    By themselves, I don’t think that “rules” will fix the problem. Instead, what is needed is a conversion of heart in (many) priests that will bring them to start making changes such as those listed above with love, compassion, joy – and reverence. There are, I fear, too many priests who would (and do) fight making changes like these – to fix the problem, the first order of business is to get the priests to lead.

    In the right direction.

    Then, the second order of business is catechesis – teaching the people in the pews that a lot of what has been going on is wrong, why it’s wrong, and what is right. Every week – from the pulpit, in the bulletin, on the web site, from the Chancellery. With love and with patience, but without compromise.

    Believe it or not, the Novus Ordo really can be a beautiful, meaningful liturgy – when it’s done with reverence and care. It’s just too bad that this seems to happen so infrequently.

  68. jarhead462 says:

    Ad Orientem
    Prayers at the foot of the Altar
    Male servers
    No readers
    Kneeling for Communion on the tongue
    No EMHCs

    say black…do red

    Semper Fi!

  69. Mitchell NY says:

    I like the idea of the rood screen too..Perhaps updated to partially screen the sanctuary..Maybe on the left and right with a larger opening in the center so as not to obscure totally, thereby pleasing to both preferences.

  70. pelerin says:

    John Penta’s comment surprised me greatly. He objects to silence during the Mass saying that silence is a vacuum. It is so sad that people want permanent noise these days walking round with music in their ears or glued to a phone!

    Having been able to attend an EF Low Mass this evening the long periods of silence help greatly in concentrating our prayer to God whether in praise or petition. This is what the OF lacks so often.

  71. Joanne says:

    *restore the tabernacle to the main altar if necessary (goes without saying)
    *ditto Roman vestments for priests for the Mass, as well as reverence appropriate to the occasion
    *standing crucifix on the altar if Mass is offered versus populum
    *Penitential Rite prayed at every Mass, including daily
    *no Eucharistic Ministers – anyone and everyone should not be handling the Eucharist
    *no lectors
    *no silly presentation of the gifts by people in the pews
    *Eucharistic Prayer I only
    *omit the sign of peace
    *ditto music from the choir loft

  72. Andrew says:

    Although this is insignificant, include things like the prayer to St Michael after Mass. We do this in our parish church.

    Many people (even some who go to the Tridentine Mass) frown on the Leonine Prayers, but there is no doubt many graces came upon the Universal Church, through their recital at every Low Mass in the world, Sunday after Sunday.

    One thing we are most in need of is God’s grace, and it is communicated sometimes in the most unobtrusive ways. Who would deny we don’t need the intercession of Michael, the angel who led Lucifer and his bad angels out of heaven, before the creation of the world, on the current problems of the Universal Church?

    Paul VI abrogated those prayers in 1964, when the older Mass was till in use. A terrible shame.

    Of course a Salve Regina (which was part of these too) to the Blessed Mother can only be helpful too, and it would not be difficult to have the Leonine prayers at the end of Novus Ordo celebrations.

  73. Brian Day says:

    Ad Orientem if possible, otherwise use the “Benedictine arrangement”
    More Latin
    More Chant
    Male servers
    Competent Readers/Lectors (the priest should not read all the readings)
    Roman Canon only on Sundays and Holy Days
    Kneeling for Communion on the tongue
    No EMHCs (hard to do in a BIG parish)
    Cantors in the Sanctuary only for the Responsorial Psalm. Choir loft the rest of the time.
    No choirs in the Sanctuary.
    Eliminate the Sign of Peace.
    Say the Black…Do the Red. (No ad libbing)

  74. Joanne says:

    *short homilies to emphasize that the importance of the Mass does not lie in what comes from the priest himself

  75. Margo says:

    Deacon Nathan Allen points to the way in which the priest celebrates the Mass: specifically, how reverently does he celebrate the Mass; and MJD notes that we should pray for our priests’ conversion, and, secondly, that catechesis is needed, esp. among the laity.

    I agree. I don’t mean to say that the external changes others have noted are not important. We -are- incarnational/sacramental people, and changes in our environment *definitely* affect us. When the transcendent aspects of the Eucharistic Liturgy are de-emphasized or obscured, it is harder to focus on Him (or perhaps, even to see Him) as we should. Having the externals properly arranged -is- of value insofar as those external arrangements help us to lift our minds and hearts to God in surrender and worship.

    But it seems to me that what is more effective in improving any rite or Liturgy is the conversion of our hearts; a greater reverence for and attentiveness to the Lord. Some externals assist that fantastically; others make it very difficult.

    Whatever the externals are, though, I think the most helpful question could be, “Where is my heart? Am I doing my best to gaze on Him, to receive His cultivation of me, and to give myself to Him in worship?” I heard one of the best explanations for what Sunday worship should be from a Pentecostal (a man who, I should explain, had great reverence and love for the Lord.) : “The worship we offer God on Sunday should be the culmination of the sacrifices and service we have been offering Him all the past week.” Amen!

    But I digress :) Main point: to make the N.O. better, I need to spend more time with the Lord, ask Him to help me worship Him, pray for my/all priests, and encourage other Catholics to do the same. I think the suggestions about externals are good (especially the ones about improving the music!), but I think the most powerful changes are the ‘inside jobs.’

  76. Clinton says:

    I think Henry Edwards, Chris, Cathy, and MJD, among others, make a valuable point: that proper catechesis is fundamental.
    We laity must grow to understand what the Mass is, why we do as we do in the Mass, and what the documents of Vatican II
    actually say about the Mass. I think the distortions that have surrounded the NO Mass would be seen for what they are soon
    enough. Steve’s idea concerning a training DVD for the Novus Ordo Mass is excellent — if people were to see what a well
    said NO Mass actually looked like, the toleration of the mediocre would lessen.

    And, as long as I’m making out a wish list:
    — reduce the number of options or the various parts of the Mass.
    — don’t be afraid to use a little more red ink in those Sacramentaries.
    — use the propers. Please.
    — ICEL must not botch the job when it comes to translations.
    It’s frightening how important this is.
    — and finally, could we establish a baseline of training before a person
    can hire themselves out as a liturgist? The current requirement seems
    to be the possession of a polyester pantsuit and not much else.

  77. I like Fr. Z’s advice. I think that we have to let the people see the OF celebrated faithfully – faithful to the words and gestures. To celebrate the OF prayerfully, carefully, lovingly, and not rush through it as if the church were on fire. People have been so accustomed to sloppy, rushed and changed Masses for so long, that to do these few things will have a profound effect.

  78. Maynardus says:

    There’s a difference between older children (and adults!) nattering away during Mass and the (mostly) happy noises of the little ones. Those of us used to attending the TLM with several children are – believe me – the most disturbed people in the church when our kids suddenly act like… normal, healthy, boisterous children! The two things which most people seem to find really objectionable are the failure of parents to remove their kiddies when they cross the line AND (equally) the obnoxious interventions of the self-appointed arbiters of “shush”!

    “pelerin”, I don’t think you’re really obtuse enough to think that Mr. Penta is “objecting” to silence per se, but he’s certainly on-target in calling for realistic expectations and differentiating between “noise” in general and normal children…

  79. Christina says:

    Today at Mass three of us went up, one by one, and presented ourselves to receive the Eucharist on the tongue. Improvement begins in the pews. Brick by brick.

  80. TJ says:

    All of the above are great suggestions. Here are some additions that can and should be done immediately regarding the laity:

    1)Force a sense of sacredness by demanding an appropriate dress code. Not just a small blurb in the bulletin but a prominent sign at the door and frequent reminders by the pastor.

    2)Insisting on silence in the church. Have the Knights or someone lead a rosary before each Mass. That will help mute the social chatter. Besides, public rosaries are good for plenary indulgences.

    3)Turn off the ***** cell phones!

    4)Start hammering home about being in a proper state of grace before receiving Communion. That means the priests must stress frequent – and sincere – confessions, and they must actually preach about the “s word” (sin)!

    5)Reestablish the three-hour fasting rule.

  81. mpm says:

    Comment by Maynardus — 20 February 2009 @ 9:57 pm

    It gives me great interior joy to hear the little ones intermittently at Mass.
    I get a sense that God is still with us, and there is a future!

  82. Charlotte says:

    How about starting with people taking off their coats and jackets and actually staying awhile at mass?

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