Sunday, October 28, 2007

Commentary on an article from WDTPRS

I, like many, many others, frequent the blog of Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, What Does the Prayer Really Say? From time to time, though, I find stuff to which I with Fr. Z would reply with a bit more consternation.

For example, the following excerpt from a recent post on the blog:
Treacy Gibbens switched from attending Sunday Mass at St. Williams Parish in Naples to the Latin liturgy this summer. “There are fewer distractions,” he says. “You can really pray. I love it.”

And what, pray tell, does Mr. Gibbens regard as a distraction? The reading aloud of prayers in which he is to take part himself? How is it a distraction to do this?

Later in the same missive:
“It’s not somewhere where they can play around,” says Jared Kuebler.

“There’s things here that remind you this is something special, outside of your daily life,” he adds. “They notice the difference. They sit quietly and they play quietly.”

And what, exactly, is it about the Ordinary Form that encourages “playing around”?

I am all for having the TLM around - but its advocacy must NOT be for the reasons listed above. If it is so, then the problem is that these people haven’t raised enough of a ruckus about the celebration of the Mass in the Ordinary Form.

How about trying the following:

  1. Sing everything except the homily. Yes, the readings, too.

  2. Vest every liturgical minister (lay or priest) in an alb or “greater”.

  3. Succinct homilies that eschew “theatricality” and, in general, restrain themselves to expounding on the texts of the Mass. (THE HOMILY IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT PART OF THE LITURGY OF THE WORD!)

  4. Use of incense - or at least, something that looks like it (but that won’t bother people’s throats).

  5. No attempts at humor. I love to laugh, but the Mass doesn’t seem the best place for that to happen.


I think these are the easiest things to change in the Mass that will address some of the issues that these advocates of the TLM are raising.

Maybe people should only be granted a TLM if they can describe what it is specifically about the TLM that cannot be done in the Ordinary Form. The Mass I describe above would be difficult to regard as “play time”, and fewer parts of it would likely be regarded as “distractions”.

There is a part of me that wonders if Summorum Pontificum isn’t destined to be a short-lived document: it may come to pass that a solemnly sung Ordinary Form Mass is universally regarded as just hunkey dorey. (sp?) Miss the prayers of the TLM? Fine - there’s no reason those can’t be added, at least as options, to the Ordinary Form. Don’t like the Sign of Peace? First, consider why it was added/restored, and then look into educating people so they don’t turn it into a hug-fest. (And please, let’s consider moving it to before the offertory - the Anglican Use has this right, I think.) Don’t like the general intercessions? They could be made optional - in the meantime, it’s not the worst thing to have them there.

20 Comments:

At Sunday, October 28, 2007 9:10:00 PM, Blogger Alice said...

Cantor, what do you consider to be a good reason for advocating for the extraordinary form?

Maybe people should only be granted a TLM if they can describe what it is specifically about the TLM that cannot be done in the Ordinary Form.

Why? Both the late pope and the reigning one felt that love for the older form of the Mass is the only thing required. Sometimes a feeling transcends description. Sometimes attachments are suprarational.

The five points that you describe would be nice; however, it is very hard to find such a Mass and it would still lack the signs of the cross, the genuflections, the axed prayers, the ad orientem posture (which is forbidden for the ordinary form in my diocese), the silent Canon, and a host of other things. As far as adding these as options, we have too many options already. When was the last time you heard the Roman Canon? Probably not recently, because it's not the easiest option available.

The Prayers of the Faithful were, according to some accounts that I have read, part of the readings/sermon section of the Mass in some places before the Council. BTW, this part of the Mass is deemphasized in the extraordinary form by requiring the priest to remove the maniple and leave the altar.

Since you seem so attached to it, can you describe what it is specifically about the Ordinary form that cannot be done in the TLM? (Aside from the fact that it has been the Ordinary form for the past 40 years.)

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 9:31:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Alice,

My point is that many who profess an attachment to the TLM could not tell the difference between in and a traditionally-minded celebration of the Ordinary Form. Such people, in my opinion, have no place requesting a TLM. If people love the TLM but can’t tell it from the OF, why bother with their request?

The genuflections and other signs that you mention can be added to the Ordinary Form - they aren’t forbidden; they just aren’t prescribed. But, granted, a priest who adds them is probably looking at the EF/TLM and stretching the OF in its direction rather than merely implementing a faithful OF.

Prayers of the Faithful do not exist in the TLM, per se - at least, I have never seen them in a pre-V2 missal. (But then, neither are homilies.)

The onus is not on me to justify use of the Ordinary Form, since it is the status quo. The onus is on those who want the change.

For those with an attachment to silent Canons and the specific texts of the TLM (e.g. the Good Friday prayer for Jews), I am all for its use. Really. But when people say they want/like the TLM because it doesn’t suggest to their kids that the Mass is play-time, then the problem is not the form of the rite but the execution of the OF.

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 10:00:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

I should point out that all five of the things I listed are good and valid things to have in both forms of the Roman Rite.

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:15:00 PM, Blogger Alice said...

I know that all five things that you mention are good and valid for the Roman Liturgy. I also know that the Prayers of the Faithful are not a part of the extraordinary form. I am fairly certain that the genuflections, signs of the cross, etc. are not something that should be added at the whim of a priest. Maybe the bishop has the authority to authorize such things for his diocese, but I am fairly certain that priests do not.

How do you know from the article that these people (who got a few sentences each) don't know the difference between the ordinary form and the extraordinary? When I was in college, a professor told us that we were going to translate the extraordinary form as an exercise. I only had to look at a few prayers to see that it was the ordinary form. Anyone who has compared an extraordinary form Mass book and an ordinary form Mass book could do the same.

From a practical standpoint, Masses in the extraordinary form are few in far between, but Masses in the ordinary form that could pass for the extraordinary form are fewer and farther between. At least in my experience, it's easier to request a Mass in the extraordinary form than to try to get a Latin Mass in the ordinary form. It can be extremely frustrating.

 
At Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:46:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Alice,

At least in my experience, it's easier to request a Mass in the extraordinary form than to try to get a Latin Mass in the ordinary form.

Interesting - that is not my experience, which is that one can find a *few* more NOMs with Latin than TLMs. Now, trying to convince the average parish priest to celebrate in Latin - you might as well ask the Pope to declare the Bible anathema. :)

As to the signs/genuflections/etc. - that is a good point, but I wonder how restrictively one should read the rubrics with regard to bodily movements.

Another good point regarding the people whose few words I quoted. But, the principle still applies - if you don’t know the TLM and the NOM well enough to know what specifically it is about the TLM that addresses your perceived spiritual good, then what place do you have expecting a priest to honor the request? A responsible clergyman who receives requests for the TLM because people want Latin should maybe give them a NOM with Latin instead. One thing that does come through from Summorum Pontificum, I think, is that the NOM is indeed still the “default” form of the rite.

And, which diocese are you in where the Ordinary actually prohibits celebration of the Mass with the priest facing with the people??? I don’t think he can do that....

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 9:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cantor,

You summed up my thoughts on the extraordinary form nicely. But that also demonstrates a large failing of Summorum Pontificum that many people have noted. If you want the EF, you go to your priest and he has to give you one. If you want the OF in Latin, ad orientem, or even with a minimum of screwing around, you're out of luck.

And perhaps it would be better if EF groups went to their local OF priest and said "we want an EF Mass because of ____". THEN the priest has two options: arrange for an EF Mass, or simply do what they like in the EF, so long as it isn't the Good Friday prayers. I think just like you everytime I read those sappy articles: the OF is "Playtime"? You don't pray at it? Well all that is news to me that the OF is so inherently flawed!

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 9:38:00 AM, Anonymous Klaus der Große said...

Cantor,

You misread Alice; she was indicated that ad orientem, i.e., away from the people, is forbidden under all circumstances with the 1970 Missal.

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 9:48:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

Klaus,

Hopefully Alice promptly referred that person to this letter from the CDW.

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Dad29 said...

Umnnnhhh....

I think you are asking the un-answerable question when you state that 'Old Rite adherents should give reasons for their preference.'

Do you ask your congregants why they prefer Bruckner to Chant, or the vice-versa?

At the same time, you have figured out what B-16 is going for.

Your thought--that perhaps some genuflections and/or prayers could be added to the NO (or that some could be stricken from the Old Rite) is precisely what B-16 is asking for.

But no, a priest may not add, nor subtract, from the rubrics and readings found in the Ordo. No Bishop, on his own, may make "exceptions," either.

Referring back to my first couple of paragraphs: The Liturgy is supposed to be a 'whole,' with all the parts contributing to that 'whole.' Thus, since the NO and the Old Rite are different in kind (but not in substance,) it is impossible for one to say "why" one prefers one or the other.

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 5:21:00 PM, Anonymous pdt said...

Cantor –

Part of the issue comes from a change in the meaning of the Mass that seemed to erupt from Vatican II. Prior to that time it was a remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ in His death on the cross; afterwards it was a reenactment of the fellowship of Christ and His fraternity at the Last Supper. Which is the proper interpretation of “Do this in memory of Me”? I can only offer that my preference is the former.

It’s not a question of what can be done in the TLM that cannot be done in the NO. It’s a question of what has become of the NO since its inception.

My recollection of the TLM was a quiet, solemn, sober time. My parents shoehorned me into formal clothes including a tie. Women wore hats or head coverings. Men wore suits. In fact the term “Sunday best” came from that. There wasn’t talking in church; socializing was in the adjacent hall afterwards.

A fine pipe organ and a pretty fine choir provided the music. There was chant. There were bells. There was incense. There was beeswax. There were fresh flowers. There was statuary and stained glass. There was a sense of order and purpose. There was awe. We were there to meet the Divine King, the Redeemer, our God.

In our modern form, we learned that we were in a “casual Sunday” world where our appearance and our deportment were less important than our cooperative experience. Budweiser t-shirt and Bermuda shorts? Come on in! Care to be a Eucharistic Minister? We were now an assembly and should make use of our time together in very human forms of interaction. Pianos, guitars, banjos and the didjeridoo were our fine music. “Rules” were no longer hard and fast. Meat on Fridays was okay. Abortion is officially wrong but use your conscience as a guide. You don’t like the answers from Fr. A? Check Frs. B, C, and D for 3 more interpretations and choose the one you like.

Now your response to people who seek a return to a regal standard is ‘more options for the Mass’? I think you’re missing the real fundamental issue. There are people in the Church who feel that much of our problem is too much choice. The goal is a single standard Mass that embodies the spirit and richness that makes up our own Latin-rooted cultural heritage.

Let’s give it 40 years before we pronounce it dead.

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 9:09:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

dad29 wrote:
Do you ask your congregants why they prefer Bruckner to Chant, or the vice-versa?

My point is that many who request the TLM could not tell a TLM from a properly done NOM. Such people are feeling a need for solemnity and awe, not for the particular prayers and such of the TLM.

Your thought--that perhaps some genuflections and/or prayers could be added to the NO (or that some could be stricken from the Old Rite) is precisely what B-16 is asking for.

It’s something he probably has envisioned, yes.

But no, a priest may not add, nor subtract, from the rubrics and readings found in the Ordo. No Bishop, on his own, may make "exceptions," either.

The rubrics don’t tell the priest to look at the congregation when giving the homily, either. Things that don’t run contrary to the liturgy or its norms don’t seem problematic, IMO.

Referring back to my first couple of paragraphs: The Liturgy is supposed to be a 'whole,' with all the parts contributing to that 'whole.' Thus, since the NO and the Old Rite are different in kind (but not in substance,) it is impossible for one to say "why" one prefers one or the other.

A quibble: they are the same rite, just two forms thereof.

Strictly speaking, preference should have absolutely zero to do with one’s experience of the liturgy. Liturgy should be executed with the sanctification of the Church in mind, not catering to how one person or group (even be they an overwhelming majority) thinks things ought to be.

 
At Monday, October 29, 2007 9:15:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Dear pdt,

A fine pipe organ and a pretty fine choir provided the music. There was chant. There were bells. There was incense. There was beeswax. There were fresh flowers. There was statuary and stained glass. There was a sense of order and purpose. There was awe. We were there to meet the Divine King, the Redeemer, our God.

These are supposed to be there in the Ordinary Form. And, I think they are coming. The direction in which we are moving is pretty clearly toward a greater sense of solemnity and away from clown Masses etc.

There are people in the Church who feel that much of our problem is too much choice. The goal is a single standard Mass that embodies the spirit and richness that makes up our own Latin-rooted cultural heritage.

If there is one thing Summorum Pontificum has done, it is to give us more choice!

Look at the options in the Ordinary Form that are rarely used - how often have you heard Eucharistic Prayer IV? Or form B of the Penitential Rite? Or the seasonal responses for proper responsorial psalm verses? These, IMO, are likely candidates for “deprecation” eventually.

So, let’s integrate some of the old prayers into the Ordinary Form. Let’s let things go where they will, then after 100 years+ (long after any of us has any say about things!), the Church can look at which things to “support” and which to jettison.

Now, the problem, I grant, with this reasoning is that away would go the chant graduals and alleluias....possibly. These at least have enough tradition and the protection of being “Gregorian” chant.

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:12:00 AM, Anonymous Sam Schmitt said...

"Strictly speaking, preference should have absolutely zero to do with one’s experience of the liturgy."

This may be true in an absolute sense, but the Church has, as a matter of fact, given us choices. (In fact, there are more things left to the preference of the celebrant in the 1970 missal than ever before.) Also, I wouldn't discount the sometimes vital importance of so-called "preferences" to the worship experience of some people. I have heard more than once of people (and I know one personally) weakening in their faith in a serious way on account of bad liturgy, music, preaching and abuses, which were alleviated by attending the EF mass. If these things were actually (as opposed to theoretically) present in the OF masses that they attended, perhaps there would be no need for them to go to the EF. But that's not the reality on the ground.

"But, the principle still applies - if you don’t know the TLM and the NOM well enough to know what specifically it is about the TLM that addresses your perceived spiritual good, then what place do you have expecting a priest to honor the request? A responsible clergyman who receives requests for the TLM because people want Latin should maybe give them a NOM with Latin instead."

SP does not given or even suggest that there is any criteria which the pastor can impose on those who request the EF, so I don't think we should either. True, he may not be able to honor their request for some reason, but it shouldn't be because he thinks that the people requesting it are doing so for the "wrong" reasons, or that they are unable to articulate the acceptable ones.

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 7:30:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

Sam wrote:
I have heard more than once of people (and I know one personally) weakening in their faith in a serious way on account of bad liturgy, music, preaching and abuses, which were alleviated by attending the EF mass. If these things were actually (as opposed to theoretically) present in the OF masses that they attended, perhaps there would be no need for them to go to the EF. But that's not the reality on the ground.

As I see it, this isn’t a matter of preferences, but of plain liturgical integrity.

A “preference” would be liking to see/hear a Gregorian introit from the Graduale Romanum besides “Requiem æternam” on All Souls. Bad liturgy, bad music, badpreaching, and liturgical abuses are all things to be avoided unilaterally, not things one rightfully prefers or doesn’t prefer.

SP does not given or even suggest that there is any criteria which the pastor can impose on those who request the EF, so I don't think we should either. True, he may not be able to honor their request for some reason, but it shouldn't be because he thinks that the people requesting it are doing so for the "wrong" reasons, or that they are unable to articulate the acceptable ones.

This is a reasonable observation; from a practical standpoint, though, the work required for maintaining the separate liturgy would, I would think, compel a pastor to ascertain if what people say they want is, in fact, what is in their best interest.

Maybe a better case in point is that recent interview (which, just now, I can’t find) where a priest from St. John Cantius in Chicago talks about the young man who told the priest after Mass how amazing he thought the TLM was .... and the priest didn’t have the heart to tell him he had just attended a NOM.

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"These are supposed to be there in the Ordinary Form. And, I think they are coming. The direction in which we are moving is pretty clearly toward a greater sense of solemnity and away from clown Masses etc."

Yes, but there is no clear-cut apparatus for such a request, no "of the moment" document affirming our rightful aspirations to "fine organ and choir [and] chant [and] bells [and] incense [and] beeswax [and] a sense of order and purpose."

We have no clearly articulated right to ask our pastor not to make joking ad libs during the Mass, or to request that he celebrate ad orientem, or to ban lay readers until he can guarantee that none of them will high five each other* on the sanctuary steps on their way to and from the ambo.
But we do have the right to request the EF.

You're not seriously maintaining that there are not, in practice, distractions during many celebrations of the OF that are eliminated in the EF, are you?

"And what, exactly, is it about the Ordinary Form that encourages 'playing around'?"

Again, in practice: the almost endless permutations, leading many, many priests to believe that they have options for ad libbing where they do not truly exist; the emphasis on visible, physical lay participation that leads to a plethora of made up rites and rituals inserted into the Mass; the lack of sobriety during the pax that has spilled over into the rest of the Mass; the constant movement of groups of people from nave to sanctuary; the permitting of of musical styles and instrumentation that are reminiscent of the rowdiest sort of secular activity; the de facto banning (in this country, IIRC,) of a posture of extreme humility at the moment of receiving the Body of Christ that can serve to recall even small children to sobriety.

None of these are inherent in the OF, or necessary to it, but there are lots of little camels' noses allowed in the theory that encourage the whole beast in practice.

You are right that the OF can be celebrated without these.

If the Pauline Missal had been implemented better, it is likely that many of the changes would have passed under the radar and bothered very few people.
But human beings are creatures of excess, and more than a little greedy. Given inches they take miles.

As for your suggestions, you seem not to notice that most of the people with whom you are taking issue with are LAY.
They have no control over the vestments, the homily, the use of incense, etc...

Two unintended consequences of the reforms seem to be an increased clericalism, (a presider can do pretty much what he want, from his position center-stage, where he never has to upstage himself,) and an increased parochialism ("well, THIS is the way we do it here at St X's.")

Save the Liturgy (ALL forms,) Save the World

(*that's my latest, never-saw-THAT-before sources of wonderment at Mass.)

 
At Tuesday, October 30, 2007 1:47:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

How clear can I make this?

The priest MAY NOT add, nor subtract, from the rubrics (or texts) given.

No matter what YOU think is "in the spirit of..." Neither YOU, nor the celebrant, is the author of the liturgy.

(Since you're the one who says "...strictly speaking,..." then let's play it that way.)

Further, you presume ignorance from 'people who will not know the difference' between nicely-celebrated NO and OR.

How about the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar? The lack of "bidding prayers"?

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 2:35:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

Geri,

You're not seriously maintaining that there are not, in practice, distractions during many celebrations of the OF that are eliminated in the EF, are you?

I would quibble with your term “distractions”, but in general I agree with the point that I think you mean to make.

You are right that the OF can be celebrated without these.

My point is that the OF should, not just “can”, be celebrated without the jokes etc.

We have no clearly articulated right to ask our pastor not to make joking ad libs during the Mass, or to request that he celebrate ad orientem, or to ban lay readers until he can guarantee that none of them will high five each other* on the sanctuary steps on their way to and from the ambo.
But we do have the right to request the EF.


Hmm...I’d say we do have the right to request all of the above....and, the pastor does have the right to refuse them, even the EF. IIRC, pastors are strongly encouraged to offer the EF when requested, but not “required” - they couldn’t be, since so few clergy (of which there are so few at all) would be competent to celebrate it.

Redemptionis Sacramentum establishes the rights of the faithful to be basically “liturgy police” and to report abused to the local authority - even to Rome if they continue unanswered.

As for your suggestions, you seem not to notice that most of the people with whom you are taking issue with are LAY.
They have no control over the vestments, the homily, the use of incense, etc...


Oh, believe me - I notice. It is my own cross to bear in my liturgical music ministry.

Still, if we don’t make noise about this, who will?

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 2:50:00 AM, Blogger Cantor said...

dad29,

Every liturgy adds things not in the rubrics. What about wireless microphones? What about stained glass or statues? What about the number of steps the priest takes from the chair to the ambo? None of these is spelled out in the documents.

Have you ever seen a priest gesture out to the congregation when saying “The Lord be with you”? That’s not in any rubric. In fact, no rubric tells the priest to look people in the eyes when greeting them - only to “face” them.

There are things that the liturgical books do spell out completely - for example, the texts of the readings and orations. These can, technicalities like “what precisely constitutes execution a word/letter/phoneme” notwithstanding, be followed to the letter.

Gestures and movements, however, are not in that category - clearly the priest must move more than the documents say he does.

I’ll grant you that there is probably a liturgical reason why the gestures were omitted from the post-V2 Missal.

The GIRM does say that: “attention should be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and the traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.”

Further, you presume ignorance from 'people who will not know the difference' between nicely-celebrated NO and OR. How about the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar? The lack of "bidding prayers"?

I think many would not notice these. Really. To you and me, they are big differences (“hey, here the introit doesn’t start until the priest is done at the altar, but there it starts as he processes down”), but to Joe Catholic, not so much.

Let’s all not forget that everyone here is probably much friendlier to the TLM than are most who work in liturgical ministry.

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 2:19:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...

You are thinking precisely like the Liturgeists: "It's not forbidden, so it must be OK."

That little line about '...traditional practice....' is supposed to bring about a spirit of humble obedience, not 'creative pastoring.' That's what separates authentic liturgy from Fr. Clown.

Yes, I realize that you're amicable toward the Old Rite. But that's hardly all that's involved in the discussion.

And by the way, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar take a full 3 minutes. Even a stone in your congregation would notice that.

Incidentally, the SUNG Introit begins when the priest enters the church (or sanctuary.) The READ Introit occurs in the Old Rite quite a bit later than the sung one.

In the New Rite, very few priests bother with it at all--and NO choirs use it, at least in the Milwaukee area.

 
At Wednesday, October 31, 2007 9:00:00 PM, Blogger Cantor said...

Dad29,

You are thinking precisely like the Liturgeists...

This line is, I think, coming out differently across the “digital divide” than I think you intend.

That little line about '...traditional practice....' is supposed to bring about a spirit of humble obedience, not 'creative pastoring.' That's what separates authentic liturgy from Fr. Clown.

There is nothing “creative” about doing something in the NOM as it is done in the TLM.

And by the way, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar take a full 3 minutes. Even a stone in your congregation would notice that.

Apparently not; many people really do not notice a difference between a well-done NOM and a TLM.

From the latest Sacred Music, p18: “I can recall one young man born long after the council who showed up to the 11:00am Mass, which is the Latin normative Mass from the missal of 1970. He was swept up in the beauty, and thought it was Heaven. Excitedly, he told one fo the brothers after Mass: “I will never go to another Novus Ordo Mass!”

Thank you for the clarification about the introits.

 

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