I seriously object to the dopey notion that liturgy has to made “understandable”. First, liturgical worship involves mysteries, such as that one about Christ turning the substances of bread and wine into His Body and Blood. How is that easy? Indeed, Mass ought to be hard!
But no… let’s dumb everything down. How insulting to congregations that attitude is.
A long-time reader and benefactor of this blog (thanks!) sent me this quote about the changes (Bugnini) made to Holy Week from Evelyn Waugh: A Biography by Christopher Sykes (US HERE – UK HERE) with added emphases:
“(in the mid-1950s) ….the new service retained much of the beauty of the old, and the overwhelmingly impressive Maundy Thursday Mass, the ‘Altar of Repose’, the night offices of Tenebrae, and the liturgical masterpiece, the Good Friday ‘Mass of the Presanctified’, remained intact. Not for long. The belief grew that the celebration of Holy Week would be more valuable, would compel a greater corporate sense in the Church, if it was expressed in ceremonies which did not involve a keen appreciation of symbolism, if they were more easily understood by ordinary people and invited more ‘mass participation’ in the form of community singing; if they appealed less to the sense of awe, they avoided the accusation of meretricious aestheticism, above all of excessive indulgence of the sense of the past. Nowhere did the notion of a ‘Century of the Common Man’ exert more fascination than on Roman Catholic clergy. The entire edifice of the Holy Week Liturgy was swept away as being over-elaborate, and it was substituted by services of a more everyday kind. This was the beginning of a movement which was to reduce all Roman Catholic ceremonial to commonplace and to abolish the traditional order of the Mass in favour of a prayer-meeting in which only essential vestiges of the traditional celebration were retained.“