How I feel about the Liturgy debates

How I feel about the Liturgy debates

If Amy Welborn was any more effective in describing what I think about the great Liturgy Wars, I would suspect her of being in my head. She makes a whole lot of sense (I’m paraphrasing here in my own words—read her post to see what she says):

  • The Tridentine Mass should be given a universal indult because it was never suppressed.
  • I have no real desire to make the Tridentine Mass part of my worship life. I am quite content to attend my Novus Ordo parish where I have to put up with banal music and—from certain priests, but not my pastor—banal homilies and the occasional liturgical wackiness.
  • I would like a whole lot more Latin in the Mass up to and including everything but the readings and homily, especially when non-English speakers and English speakers are praying together. (I would add that I’d also like the Roman Canon to be said more often than not; come on, how much more time does it take really?)
  • I’m sick of liturgists who think innovation and copying the secular culture (or worse, the secular culture of 1972) are signs of a healthy spirituality.
  • The post-Vatican II changes that put the priest and his personality at the center of attention has been disastrous, not the least to the priests themselves.
  • I’d like to replace 90 percent of hymns with simple chant.

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  • I was born in 1970 and have never attended a Tridentine Mass. I have often thought that I would like to, but there are none convenient enough for me to attend. I think I agree with both Amy and Dom, but having never attended anything other than Novus Ordo Masses, I may be missing something.

    Dom, you didn’t mention Ad Orientum. What is your view on that?

  • Melody,

    Most churches simply don’t need Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  If the priest himself were to distribute Holy Communion it would take less than 10 minutes in many cases.  Don’t tell me people can’t wait for 10 minutes (tops!) to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. 

    Now, the difficulty is that this innovation has been foisted on us in an attempt to give the laity something to do—“share minstry” etc. And this is completely and utterly improper.  The vatican has said so over and over.

  • I have to say, the liturgy threads at Open Book have been very good. I hope some bishops have been reading.

    From reading Benedict over the years, before he was Benedict, it’s clear to me that, in his view, liberating the Traditional Latin Mass is not just to offer a parallel usage for those who wish to pray that way, not merely to address the SSPX situation, but it’s the best way to fix what’s happened to the way the Mass is celebrated now.

    Let’s face it: alot of seminarians will want to learn it. They may be required to learn it. And it will impact how they approach liturgy according to the current missal when they become pastors.

    I think this is Benedict’s plan: to reform the Church via the seminarians by exposing them to the liturgical Tradition.

  • Dan:

    Dom, you didn’t mention Ad Orientum. What is your view on that?

    To finally answer your question, my view on the liturgy is pretty much what Pope Benedict’s is, so yeah, ad orientem would be preferable.

  • extraordinary

    very unusual or remarkable : the extraordinary plumage of the male

    [with clause ] it is extraordinary that no consultation took place.

    unusually great : young children need extraordinary amounts of attention.

    [ attrib. ] (of a meeting) specially convened : an extraordinary session of the Congress.

    [ postpositive ] (of an official) additional; specially employed : his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary in London.

    ORIGIN late Middle English : from Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem ‘outside the normal course of events.’

  • Brian – In ALL the N.O. Masses I’ve attended, I’ve only seen someone spill the Most Precious Blood twice—once by a fellow priest and once by a fellow seminarian.  In my experience, EME’s are often more reverent than the ordained . . .

    But I won’t quibble over experiences, as I’m sure yours differ from mine.

    I think I’m pretty much in agreement with Dom and Amy.  I particularly look forward to the day when priest and people can pray ad orientam, toward the coming of The Light of the World.  And over against all my fellow priests who think it will cheapen the experience of worship by the people in the pews, I think it will heighten EVERYONE’s experience of true worship.

    From a purely psychological perspective, the versus populum experiment has proven a huge disaster.  As a priest, I am painfully aware of the large group of people staring at me instead of praying to God—the orientation almost demands it!  And likewise, I’m painfully aware of the struggle to pray to God myself while the people are focussed on me!

    Simply returning the priest to the ad orientam posture during the Eucharistic Prayer would heighten his (the priest’s) sense of worship, which would in turn heighten the understanding of the people that we are engaged in a common act of petition, praise and thanksgiving to the One Who is the center of our lives. 

    While I would personally like to see a return to the use of Latin for the ordinary of the Mass, I think that the use of the vernacular for the readings is most appropriate.  And I’m in full agreement with those who want to overhaul the ICEL-trampled prayers and return to the beauty (and transcendence) of the prayers of the 1962 missal.  As always, lex orandi, lex credendi.

    There have been many reasons postulated for the huge decrease in attendance beginning with the late 1960’s.  I think the one that makes the most sense is the “dumbing-down” of the liturgy and turning it into a stage play rather than a Divine Mystery.  How often have you heard priests or laypeople “slip” and refer to the assembly as “the audience”?  What we need more than anything is a return to true worship, led by a priest who is himself worshipping.

    Sadly, I don’t hold out hope for the enthusiastic cooperation in this by most of the priests ordained from 1965 to 2000.  Until a new generation is trained in Liturgiam authenticam, most parishioners will have to suffer through the banality of the “performance” that they’re getting now.  But I have hope that the faithful will be able to hold out; Christ promised us that Holy Spirit would guard us against even the gates of Hell. 

    Oremus pro invicem.