Friday, December 04, 2009

Reflections on the 40th anniversary of the "Novus Ordo" Mass

On the 40th anniversary of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Mass there have been a few comments around the blogosphere. fr Z at WDTPRS has done a set of 3 podcasts which are well worth listening to.

Aftyer listening to these podcasts there are a number of things which come up in my mind. The first and which is more stark is that Paul VI did not seem to be confident about the reforms. This comes through in the addresses. It seems that he shares the annoyance and sadness of the changes with his audience, but is willing to accept the sacrifice as this was the will of the church as guided by the Holy Spirit through the Second Vatican Council.

The second aspect is the acceptance that the changes appear to be irreversable. This is an experiment to deepen the spiritual life of the church but there is no going back. There seems to be an acceptance that the older forms of the Roman Rite have gone forever (whihc of course they havent). He knows that he is moving into high risk territory here but is confident that the Holy Spirit will work things out.

Some of the comments are interesting in the light of 40 years. He suggests in his general audience speech that maybe people lost their appreciation of the Mass, and changes would break them out of their lethargy. In hindsight this was true - people got a new appreciation of aspects of the Mass, but also led to aspects which led to some extreme views on both sides of the debate. However, the great gift is that without these changes we would never have had the discussion and research into both forms of the Mass now that the 1962 Missal has been liberated by Benedict XVI.

There has been also discussions on the motivations for Bugnini et al with the changes. From what I read was that there were some positions held in the Consilium which were protestant in origin but that the Pope actaully reined in the Consilium so that the end product was at least catholic, and had moved from its earlier draft (which apparently wanted to remove the Kyrie and Gloria and the Orate fratres). Like everything done by a committee whihc then gets signed off by the CEO, there are a lot of changes along the way. This is something that hard-core traditionalists and conspiracy theorists dont get.

So in the light of the last 40 years truly the spirit moves in mysterious ways. People just want it to move in the way that they want - immediately.

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