How The Ordinary Form Can Be Celebrated, or, Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

Fr. Allan McDonald, of “Rats in the Rectory” fame, and of the blog Southern Orders has posted a video of an orchestral Mass celebrated on 19 March.

Here is how he describes it:

This is an Ordinary Form Mass, but using the difficult Schubert’s Mass in G. This is an amateur production, so the sound quality has some annoying background noise, but just ignore it. I want to thank our combined choirs under the direction of Ms. Nelda Chapman our Music Director and our assistant organist, Mr. Harold McManus. Keep in mind this is an Ordinary Form Mass, but done ad orientem with a mix of English and Latin. A week later this same Mass setting was sung for the Extraordinary Form Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There will be a brief commercial at the beginning (and yes I have chastised our deacon for using the ambo as his coffee table as you will note later in the video)….

Go check it out! I’d embed it here, but I hope you’ll go over there and spike his stats a bit and give him some comments.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It was an excellent Mass. The only thing missing was a “Te igitur!”

  2. digdigby says:

    This is the gruesome thought that haunts me and I can’t shake: Reverent, careful NO masses will subtly ‘deconstruct’ the mass of the ages. Once the work is finished – anything and everything can happen….. again. The devil will come back to find the ‘house swept and clean and bring seven more (giant puppets) like him”. I certainly don’t trust my perceptions about any of this and maybe the old and new will ‘fructify’ each other in some marvelous way that…I cannot imagine. I hope so, at least I think I hope so…

  3. Rellis says:

    (Cue smarmy remarks from EF-only comboxers)

  4. Pax--tecum says:

    Wow, if the NOM would always be celebrated with such solemnity there would be no need to reform. This is very similar to the Mass according to the -tridentine- 1965 missal (the makeshift missal between the 1962 and 1969 version).

  5. AnAmericanMother says:

    Splendid!!!! The way it ought to be done everywhere . . . .

    I know that this is wonderful music for a Mass, and three cheers for using it.

    But still, it is kind of a sad commentary on the state of Catholic music that the Schubert Mass in G is considered “difficult”. It used to be a regular standby for high school choral perfomances – and it was written for the limited resources of Schubert’s home parish. It is very straightforward both in the choral parts and the solos, and my daughter the violinist tells me that the orchestral parts aren’t that difficult either.

    But let’s have more of this! and we will work our way towards Byrd and Palestrina and Ockeghem.

  6. Rellis: Perhaps there are fewer of those than you think. Nearly all the Catholics sorted away as “Trads” I know operate by these few principles:

    1. We are not merely liturgically sensitive. More truly, we are liturgically sore, and not without reason.
    2. We do not oppose new things. We oppose bad things. There were good changes when the Novus Ordo was made, but the effect is lost after a honky-tonk “gathering song.”
    3. We loathe being called Trads. Like Bishop Olmstead, we aren’t left or right; we just want to be Catholics. Incidentally, most of the reforms we are in favor of are roughly identical to Bishop Olmstead’s.

    The sum total: When we have kids, we don’t want to waste our time with an abused Ordinary Form. Because we want the best for our kids, we default to the (today) excellently celebrated Extraordinary Form. It’s not a guarantee of holiness, and it’s not a panacea against sin, but it’s reliably reverent.

  7. rcg says:

    Three cheers for Ubiquitous! Well, two. I don’t care either way about being called Trad or what ever. I go to Mass to worship God. I look to the Church to guide me to be worthy and help me in God’s presence. I don’t want clowns or show tunes to make me feel comfortable.

  8. Y2Y says:

    Such “elebrations” seem to be missing something…..

  9. jbas says:

    The Ubiquitous,
    Very well said. This isn’t about aesthetics or even history, really, but about worshiping the Father through the Son’s sacrifice.
    The trouble is that it takes a certain kind of bishop to permit this kind of Mass. A motu proprio granting the celebrant the right to offer the OF Liturgy of the Eucharist ad orientem and in Latin without need of special permission would go a long way towards getting around episcopal fears. But for now, we can all enjoy this fine Southern Orders video!

  10. benedetta says:

    This was beautiful to see!

  11. digdigby says:

    “liturgically sensitive…. no liturgically sore”

  12. This is an example of the what we have been denied since 1965– the reform we should have had then, sorely needed before Vatican II, and still have needed ever since.

  13. Sixupman says:

    Although the question is rhetorical, I will ask once again:

    Why not the Old Mass in the vernacular – that is if it is only a matter of language? But, of course, it is not. The NOM is a watered-down version, with the propiatory element less clear and much more acceptable to Protestants. That is not to mention excessive lay participation and the opportunity for and actual ad libbing and all manner of other diversions.

    In the North of England I have been to NOMs which have been hybridisations of The Old, Ad Orientem, etc., etc.

  14. southern orders says:

    I want to thank Fr. Z for posting my video of my humble little parish church and our attempt at a “reform of the reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass.” As a priest I love celebrating both forms. However, since celebrating the EF Mass now for almost five years, I have come to see that the reform of this Mass did miss the mark in some ways, but not dramatically so. Apart from some of the liberties I took with genuflections, I don’t think we did anything that isn’t allowed today, although I recognize that ad orientem is controversial for many people as is kneeling for Holy Communion and God forbid, intinction. But none of these are a big deal.
    I think having the Penitential Act and using the Confiteor only as, let’s say, “The Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar” as you see in the video is very reminiscent of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in the EF, but certainly simplified.
    I hope to celebrate another Mass like this but using the normal English setting of the Mass that we use at St. Joseph. For Easter we celebrated one of our Easter Sunday Masses as in the video but using the Mass setting Missa Orbis Factor (Mass XI). I prayed the Roman Canon but aloud as it was an OF Mass. The only parts in Latin were the Confiteor and absolution, the collect, prayer over the offering and Post Communion as well as the Preface, everything else in Latin. It was splendid too!

  15. leonugent2005 says:

    This was a beautiful mass. A communion rail with reception of Communion on the tongue and with intinction and a tiny bit more latin would have been perfect. My hope is that one day we will have one mass it it will look like this.

  16. mamajen says:

    I would be very happy with a mass like this one! All Latin is a stumbling block for me, but I can understand a little bit.

  17. I just sent an e-mail to our diocesan director of worship with a CC to the bishop’s office saying simply, “I wish we could have Ordinary Form Masses like this in our diocese. Please watch at least part of this; it will be worth your time,” with the link to the video. If a parish near me had a Mass like this every Sunday, I would be tempted to put aside my “itinerant worshipper” badge.

  18. Well said, reg. Hating the label probably speaks, at least in my case, to a latent pride. Not very saintly, I think.

  19. Liz says:

    I just watched a bit of this. It’s so beautiful! I find it very edifying!

  20. smmclaug says:

    My response to all claims that the NO is redeemed by the fact that it “can” be celebrated with solemnity–or at least that it can be whenever massive investments of time, attention, piety, and energy happen to be available (courtesy of Martin Mosebach):

    “I have described my conviction that it is impossible to retain reverence and worship without their traditional forms. Of course there will always be people who are so filled with grace that they can pray even when the means of prayer have been ripped from their hands. Many people, too, concerned about these issues, will ask, ‘Isn’t it still possible to celebrate the new liturgy of Pope Paul VI worthily and reverently?’ Naturally it is possible, but the very fact that it is possible is the weightiest argument against the new liturgy. It has been said that monarchy’s death knell sounds once it becomes necessary for a monarch to be competent: this is because the monarch, in the old sense, is legitimated by his birth, not his talent. This observation is even truer in the case of the liturgy: liturgy’s death knell is sounded once it requires a holy and good priest to perform it. The faithful must never regard the liturgy as something the priest does by his own efforts. It is not something that happens by good fortune or as the result of a personal charism or merit. While the liturgy is going on, time is suspended: liturgical time is different from the time that elapses outside the church’s walls. It is Golgotha time, the time of the hapax, the unique and sole Sacrifice; it is a time that contains all times and none. How can a man be made to see that he is leaving the present time behind if the space he enters is totally dominated by the presence of one particular individual? How wise the old liturgy was when it prescribed that the congregation should not see the priest’s face – his distractedness or coldness or (even more importantly) his devotion and emotion.”

  21. ContraMundum says:

    You don’t like the OF? Wow, that’s almost as interesting as the fact that I don’t like liver. Would you like a long quote disputing the fact that just because liver can be prepared in a way that it’s not nasty means that it is somehow redeemed? Of course not; you’d just tell me that liver is good for me, whether I like it or not, but that if I want I can find the same nutrients in other foods I might like better.

    So if you don’t like the OF, don’t go. No one misses your absence.

  22. Y2Y says:

    A Ferrari sticker on a Kia.

  23. ivan_the_mad says:

    Wonderful and well done to all those involved. I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work and love that went into this.

  24. dominic1955 says:


    You obviously did not get what Mosebach was getting at, but you are not alone. I do not think most folks that think us “Trads” crazy, sour, mean-spirited, etc. ad naseum because we cannot simply and unabashedly rejoice in heart-fluttering ecstasy every time a priest pulls out a chalice veil and a little Latin at the NO get it. For some reason, they cannot fathom that this is far beyond issues of personal taste and what we “like”.

    In reality, its far beyond externals. The NO is a modern version of the Neo-Gallican Rites (liturgies made up in 18th C. France to push Gallican and Jansenistic agendas) in its inorganic genesis and its rather obvious status as a vehicle to sing a brave new Church into being in a brave new world and no amount of “traditionalizing” it will make it into what it is not and can never be.

    Now, since de jure its the Roman Rite, I do support and applaud all efforts to celebrate the NO as traditionally as possible. Considering the environment in most dioceses, this is probably the best that can be hoped for for now. In the abstract, I simply cannot support this movement as an actual solution to the problem. The crisis in liturgy in the Roman Rite is really not about reverence and traditional trappings, it is about the inorganically imposed and made up rite itself.

    As to the Ferari/Kia comment, it would be a more accurate and direct analogy to say its more like bolting a Mercedes hood ornament to a Trabant. Just saying…

  25. jbas says:

    Dominic 1955,
    “Considering the environment in most dioceses, this is probably the best that can be hoped for for now.” On the contrary, Latin priests are free to offer the EF Mass without permission from the local bishop or religious superior, but are far more restricted in choosing to celebrate the OF in a traditional manner, even one clearly permitted by the rubrics. What Southern Orders has done is permitted only by rare bishops, at least in my experience in the Southern USA, while no bishop can prevent celebrations of the EF Mass.

  26. dominic1955 says:

    A bishop who is seriously disinclined to traditional forms of worship can prevent either equally well if they wish. In either case, they have no legal grounding in reality, but through various subterfuge and pressure from the chancery or presbyterate, they can skirt the legal protections of either.

    I’d say, and this is from experience and guesswork but not meant to sound as if I’m making an absolute statement, that the reason that OF/NO Masses celebrated with lots of the traditional trappings is not because somebody in the chancery is putting the kibosh on them but rather because most who might be inclined to do that with the NO will just do the TLM. If they are a parish priest, they probably have to celebrate NOs in mostly English w/ some degree of contemporary music and whatnot that the average Catholic might expect.

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