People see some phrase I use quoted and they rush to think the worst. Sometimes people don’t read very carefully.
Here is what I am guessing is Fr. Longenecker’s reference to what I have written. Context: Someone opined that the Extraordinary Form is “objectively reverent”.
Fr. L responds:
Those who would argue that the priest should just “say the black and do the red” have a good point and I agree with it. A priest should certainly not deviate from the words printed and the rubrics given. However, even when the priest does just this it doesn’t make the Mass reverent necessarily. Terrible music can intrude, poorly drilled servers can distract, bad vestments and awful architecture can distract, or the priest might ‘say the black and do the red’ with total faithfulness to the rubrics, but say the words either in hip hop– ‘look at me aren’t I making the Mass meaningful’ kind of way, or say the black and do the red in a casual and bored way and both would affect the perception of reverence. […] What is ‘reverence’ at Mass anyway? Some traditionalists think it can be packaged and performed and if it is all done ‘just so’ then it will be reverent. …
I respond: I agree.
I think that saying the black and doing the red is a necessary component of reverence. But it is not a guarantee of reverence. Myriad elements contribute to reverence.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict wrote in his post-Synodal Exhortation Sacramentum caritatis 38 ff. about the ars celebrandi. The Holy Father writes:
The ars celebrandi is the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness…
Norms are the starting point of a proper liturgical approach. Fidelity to the norms is a sine qua non, but not the only thing necessary.
Benedict goes on to explain something that Fr. L alludes to as well:
The ars celebrandi should foster a sense of the sacred and the use of outward signs which help to cultivate this sense, such as, for example, the harmony of the rite, the liturgical vestments, the furnishings and the sacred space.
Liturgical worship is a whole, more than the sum of its parts. It cannot be reduced to mere observance of the rubrics.
Fr. Longenecker is right and I perceive no shot at me in what he is saying except at those who think that liturgy is theurgy. On the contrary. I think we are on the same page.
That said, I think someone should send some Mystic Monk Coffee to Fr. L for use in his “Say The Black – Do The Red” coffee mug to refresh his spirits as he works!