Friday, May 09, 2008

Reform of the Reform

Stephan has provoked some interest in the area of the reform of the reformed liturgy. Apologies to my lack of posting, I’ve been busy with school and the flu. Well I’m going to be blunt and state a few of my opinions on the ordinary form of the Roman rite. Basically as a future diocesan priest I will have to say it. In an personal meeting with a bishop, the question was asked, whether I believe the Novus Ordo is a valid Mass. I responded I do and that I do like it. Although I attend the Extraordinary form more often then I do the ordinary form, the ordinary form, is well the ordinary form of the Roman rite.

I know that the ordinary form is here to stay and has a future. , it is simply inconceivable that the Holy spirit would allow the church to have a substandard liturgy. I’ve served and studied several other rites apart from the Roman and I see where the ordinary from draws it’s certain “alien elements”, ie the multiple penitential rites. The way I see the ordinary form, is that it is far simpler and flexible then the extra ordinary form, but it lacks a lot of the depth the extraordinary form has. It has neither the contemplative nature of the low Mass, nor the glory of the Solemn Mass. It’s the happy medium. I particular find one aspect of the ordinary from to be very beautifully, that is the chanted doxology at the end of the Eucharistic prayer.

Now, God willing one day, I will be a priest and celebrate the Mass. As a diocesan priest, this naturally will be the ordinary form, if I am in a parish. So, how will I say it? The answer would be, the Roman way. My daily Mass, would be of coarse in English, but celebrated, almost like an extra ordinary Low Mass. That is myself as the priest, celebrating ad orientam, remaining at the altar for the whole Mass, saying the introductory rites at the altar on the epistle side. Like Stephan mentioned in a previous post, it has never been apart of the Roman liturgy, for a simple priest to preside, as thought he had the fullness of holy order, as thought he was the ordinary. My solemn liturgy will of coarse be different. I personally say, it’ either all or nothing, so I would sing the whole Mass, if it was a sung liturgy, not just certain bits. Nothing saddens me more then hearing the dialogue chanted, and then the Gospel simply read, very anti climatic. I would also prefer to sit in choir, or act as deacon if I’m not celebrating the Mass. The greatest thing a priest can do each day, is say Mass, so personally I dislike piggybacking on a concelebration as some priests like to do (No disrespect intended) .

The reformed liturgy has a future, but it also has a past. Also, not forgetting that these are my views, this is where I’m coming from, but our own personal tastes must always be tempted by charity.


Terra said...


I'm certainly not suggesting that there NO is invalid. The Holy Spirit certainly guarantees the indefectibility of the sacraments of the Church.

That guarantee though does not mean the Church always makes the best pastoral choices. There have been Popes who have been condemned for failing to teach, and thus allowing heresy to spread. And others who have made judgments that in retrospect simply weren't the right ones. The parts of the liturgy that aren't essential to validty can fall into that category.

So it is legitimate to argue that the NO is not as intrinsically beautiful and good as the TLM (though of course there is room for a diversity of views on this).

I do think the NO said correctly can be reverent experience - visit the Brompton Oratory in London for example. And I do attend the odd NO myself.

I do think that the situation is changing though - if you do become a diocesan priest, in the future it would be important for you to be able to say both forms of the Roman Rite to which you have been ordained.

In fact, there are a lot of indications coming out at the moment that the hope is that both forms would co-exist in most parishes in future (see Fr Z today on an interview with Cardinal Hoyes).

As to the low mass - perhaps it is worth remembering that the sung mass is actually supposed to be the norm, not the low mass. The said mass is a 'modern' (though a few centuries old now) concession.

Stephen said...

I have always had the view that the Ordinary Form Roman liturgy will always have a future. After all it is the liturgy that the Pope celebrates in both simple form in his private chapel (actually exactly how you describe it) or in solemn form.

Like a good wine it will improve with age, and the coarser elements will become more refined (such as the new English translation). There will be less pre-occupation with innovation, and more preoccupation with substance and meaning.

I am virtually a mirror image of Roman in that I mostly serve in the Solemn Ordinary form and when time and circumstances permit assist or serve in the Extraordinary Form.

The OF Roman Mass is the liturgy of which I was born into and grew up with and have many happy memories of spiritual growth through the many encounters with God I have had through it. This I know will continue until the day I will come into Gods presence and experience the pure liturgy of heaven. In the last few years I have discovered the Extraordinary Form and finding heaps of new treasures in it.

Now that we have both forms available to us (and opportunities will only increase in the future) we can finally experience the fullness of the Catholic tradition, instead a one-sided view that has been prevalent for the last 40 years.

Peter said...

I can understand somewhat about the happy medium between the Low Mass and Sung Mass. I like the Carmelite Rite for that reason also, it seems to keep 'moving' nicely.
1. What do you think of a OF Mass in Latin? Would you have an EWTNesque mix?

2. Will you say your private Masses in the EF? If I remember correctly, you don't need permission from the ordinary to do that.

For the time being, I go to majority OF Masses, but when I join the Monastery, everything will be in the Carmelite Rite. One of things I love about the EF is the prayers said by the priest, such as the Lavabo and the one which I can't remember.. Oh the "What can I render to the Lord for He has given me, I will take the Chalice of Salvation and call on the name of the Lord".


Western Peter