Saturday, 14 July 2007

Taking Advantage...

Fr. Tim is not one to let the grass grow under his buckled shoes... following last week's release of Summorum Pontificum de-restricting the celebration of the Classical Rite, he announced that the regular Saturday morning Mass in the Parish would be celebrated in the Extraordinary Form.


So this morning we had Low Mass. Two boys have been busy learning all the responses and actions (they're a little shaky on some of the pronunciation, but hey, so am I) and watching them getting to grips with the moves is pretty amazing. I've said it before, but this really is the original "liturgical dance" with every action laid down precisely in the rubrics. It is awesome...

Now I know that the Mass is the Mass is the Mass... whatever form, however badly celebrated, whatever the state of the priest, Jesus Christ himself deigns to come down to us in the Real Presence. I would never deny that the Novus Ordo is just as valid as the Classical Mass. And, with Fr. Tim as my Parish Priest, I am luckier than many in having less to complain about in the celebration of the Novus Ordo (no chance of getting a cheery "Good morning, folks, and I hope you're all feeling fine and dandy for our celebration today, and now let's tell God...")


...the more I attend the Extraordinary Form of Mass, the more drawn in I get. I begin to understand why the Latin Mass Society calls it the "Mass of Ages" and I feel very strongly connected to all my favourite saints, many of whom died in defence of this very same Mass. The idea that liturgy is not something we do for God, but something that God has done for us goes through my mind. It isn't boring... but even if it was, it wouldn't matter, because I am not there to be entertained, I am there to worship God Almighty, to adore my Creator, to receive my Saviour and Redeemer...

I have to admit that I am likely to thump the next person who states that the priest has his back to the people. Hasn't anyone ever noticed that, unless you are in the front row, there are quite a few members of the congregation who have their backs to you... ?! The priest is facing the same way as everyone else: towards God. And the prayers are addressed to God. In the Novus Ordo it can feel as if we are responding to the priest... not for nothing is it referred to as a "dialogue Mass."

The silence and the lack of continual movement on the part of the congregation are so liberating: I am truly free to participate in whatever way I want (and that won't be the same each week.) I can choose to follow what is happening by reading a Missal which gives a translation of the prayers and readings, or I can follow the words in the Latin closely and pray along with them under my breath, or I can pray the Rosary, or I can use a prayer book to meditate on the different parts of the Mass... or I can just sit and revel in the fact that I am in the Presence of God, and He loves me...

Incidentally, the Missal I have for the Extraordinary Form of Mass was the first indication for me that catechesis since the reforms of Vatican II has been sorely lacking: the wealth of information about what is happening during the Sacrifice of the Mass, and about how to prepare for Mass and for Holy Communion is really mindblowing. By comparison, the Missals available (in English) for the Novus Ordo are seriously dumbed-down.

God bless you, Holy Father, for liberating the Extraordinary Form of Mass.


Benfan said...

Would love to know if other's unfamiliar with the classical mass joined you and what they thought.

Chris W said...

Yes, you're very blessed to be in that parish.

However, I understood that the decree did not come into effect until the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Wasn't your PP a little premature in using these powers today, or was this mornings Mass an Indult one?

Sorry to be a troll, Mac. Perhaps it would have been better not to have mentioned it at all.

P.S There is a good CD that can be obtained (from Angelus Press, I think) which goes through the correct pronunciation of all the responses. The only slight drawback is that the accents are American.

Mac McLernon said...

Chris, Fr. Tim read through the letter at our Parish celebration. The way he translated it, it said that it doesn't become obligatory until September 14th... ie. after that time, the Bishops are obliged to make provision for the Extraordinary Form if the faithful request it and the PP is unwilling/unable to comply.

(and why does that comment make you a troll??)

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm now officially jealous. :|

I am also sincerely happy for all who experience the Holy Father's "gift" being opened. :)

BTW, which Missal do you have for the Extraordinary Rite?

chris w said...

Cate, I have the St Andrew's Daily Missal, and find it to be excellent on many counts. The children mostly have the St Joseph's missal (large print etc). This is a good choice for children up to Confirmation age, I think.

No doubt other missals will also be very good. Southwell books had a chart comparing them all, last time I looked on their website.

Mac McLernon said...

I also have the St Andrew's Daily Missal

Jay said...

St Andrew's Missal is the most religiously informative. Very much help to re-understand Traditional Catholic faith better in after-NO time. Good choice.

Karen H. -- San Diego said...

Mac, I am delighted that the Extraordinary Mass is consonant with your spiritual needs. But please don't forget that just as the NO masses could/can be abused, so too can the Mass in Latin. Not so much on the priest's part. I find it a little distressing to hear you would consider praying the rosary during the Mass.

Don't get me wrong. The rosary is a wonderful prayer, especially before the Blessed Sacrament -- but BEFORE or AFTER Mass. The rosary is NOT a greater prayer than the Mass itself. It's important, of course, to develop a personal relationship to God...but don't forget about all those "other people" around you. Sometimes the protestants fall into the mindset of "It's all about me and Jesus, no intermediaries." They don't get the "communion of Saints" concept, for the most part. For the Catholic it should be "me and God and all these other people and all the saints in heaven, and all those in purgatory."

Worship at Mass takes place in a corporate body for a good reason. Though groups of people (or people singularly saying the rosary) is a wonderful thing...I have to say I'm very alarmed about the clicking of beads going on DURING a Mass. NO or Extraordinary. I like to feel everyone "has their head in the game" [to use a baseball expression] -- and if I look over and see someone praying a rosary, then I know that they are NOT focused on the canon, or whatever other part of the mass is being said -- and that makes us, by definition NOT on the same page.

PRECISELY why an elderly priest I know was glad to see the vernacular come in -- just so the people followed THE MASS ITSELF, rather than go off into their own private devotions.

When I told him of the Motu Proprio his very FIRST comment was a distressed "They didn't know or follow the Latin THEN...." And he confirmed my memory of the armies of people in the pews off in their own worlds doing their rosary.

Apparently, when the vernacular mass was proposed -- it passed OVERWHELMINGLY. It's natural for he devout Catholic to want to see the done with reverence - but be aware there are pitfalls with anything.

Mac McLernon said...

I find it a little distressing to hear you would consider praying the rosary during the Mass

Why? It is meditation on the Mysteries of our salvation, and was prayed during Mass by the laity for centuries. It doesn't matter what exactly I am thinking about, so long as I am turning my heart and mind towards God. Concentrating on different aspects of our Salvation during the different parts of the Mass was the method of hearing Mass recommended by saints throughout the whole history of the Church. And I know from personal experience that, just because I am standing up, sitting down, standing up, and making the responses in the vernacular with everyone else does not automatically mean that I am actually thinking about what I am saying along with everyone else. I am as easily distracted as the next person. And, just because it is in the vernacular does not mean that absolutely everybody understands absolutely every word.

Even if the Mass is the extraordinary form, those present are there for the Sacrifice of the Mass, and that is a coming together of the whole church, even if there is only one person present in the congregation. The Liturgy of the Church is never just one person doing their own thing, no matter what devotions, concerns or thoughts they bring to it.

To my mind, the Classical Rite is far more "inclusive" because it allows each person to participate as fully as he or she is able... the problem with everyone being forced to participate in exactly the same way at the same time is that this is not how the Church was originally formed. We are the Body of Christ, made up of different members, working in many different ways (as St Paul reminds us) as we are not all "the eye" or "the hand." There has to be room for this diversity within the Church

Karen H. -- San Diego said...

Had the rosary existed in St. Peter's day....would he have been right to say it at the Last Supper?
Are we not all made present in that same sacrifice?

At one time the "common folk" spoke latin and could understand mass with no problems of translation. But then over time, only the educated could speak it. The common folk were mostly illiterate. They certainly didn't have missals. It's one thing, especially in a big cathedral where the priest couldn't be heard to say the rosary, rather than chat with each other.

If memory serves, I remember being told that the reason the bells were rung at mass was to call the people's attention to what was happening: sort of a "hey, look up from your beads -- the priest wasn't sacrificing a goat up here, but look, it's the body of Christ -- YES -- over here -- Look up!!"

In the Extraordinary Mass, one still sits, stands, kneels at different times. Human nature is the same over time. Unless diligence is taken we can tend towards drifting much easier if you don't understand what is being said.

If I go see icons in Russia, I still can ponder how beautiful they are...but how much more I will lastingly get out of the visit if I was able to understand the Russian speaking tour guide. He or she can point out details I didn't notice, or bring home a fuller impact to the symbolism.

Mac McLernon said...

Karen, I am not saying that I object to the NO Mass. I enjoy attending the NO when it is celebrated with reverence. However, I am merely pointing out that, for me (and many people I know) there is greater freedom in the Old Rite for prayer in the Mass.

The basic difference between us, as far as I can see, is that you are deploring this freedom, and insist that the NO is the only way forward. I say that there is room for both.

Anonymous said...

Mac, Chris W and Jay - Thank you for the answer / recommendations about which Missal. I went straight away to look for one online this morning. They are out of print and the better known places are all out at the moment. But it is to be reprinted. Still have a few more little shops to check though.

Mac and Karen H - Um, no one asked me, but, I see people praying Rosaries at NO Masses in the US. Knowing the language doesn't seem to keep them from it.

Also, it seems to me, if the Mass is the representation of Christ's sacrifice to the Father (which it is), then we're all at the foot of the Cross. Mary was there. Praying the mysteries at the foot of the Cross doesn't seem off base to me. I would think those mysteries which had occurred up to that point ran through her mind as she stood there...

Just a thought.

Elizabeth said...

I like to say the Rosary (not all of it) during Mass regardless what language or order it is in. It helps me when my mind is being distracted, especially when the hymns that I dislike are sung. You're right Mac, it is a meditation and it is my way of keeping my focus on God.

karen h. - san diego said...

Cate, all I can say is my nearly 79 year old priest confirmed for me that it was wrong for people not to be focused on the prayers of the Mass itself while at Mass back when the Tridentine Mass was said (he did it for 10 years) and it's wrong now.

During the Mass I'm not focused on His death on the cross. But I am focused on standing "outside of time" and being made present at the same Eucharistic sacrifice. I'm concentrating on the transubstantiation at that point.

Every prayer has its place. You don't pray the rosary when you are saying the liturgy of the hours...why say it DURING the Mass?

David said...

Karen, I have also seen people pray the Rosary at the modern rite of Mass. I believe that Leo XIII - the "Pope of the Rosary" - actually encouraged Catholics to pray the Rosary during the Mass, so please don't write off the practice as a mere abuse.

Apparently, when the vernacular mass was proposed -- it passed OVERWHELMINGLY. It's natural for he devout Catholic to want to see the done with reverence - but be aware there are pitfalls with anything.

This is a highly contentious statement as indeed the majority of people baptised Catholic do not go to Mass. In fact, the liturgical reforms as they were carried out caused a great deal of pain and not merely because those who protested were stick-in-the-mud reactionaries but just ordinary Catholics who saw their priests act as if what was once held up as holy was something to be feared and even despised.

Had the rosary existed in St. Peter's day....would he have been right to say it at the Last Supper?
Are we not all made present in that same sacrifice?

I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence. It was not we who are made present but the Body and Blood of Christ which is offered to the Father. Also, you've put your finger on another issue. The Mass is not a reenactment of the Last Supper as such. That point bears re-emphasising. The Last Supper was the first Mass - the sacramental making present of Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary. The only Mass that, of necessity, took place before Christ was crucified. The sacrificial aspect of the Mass is something that is often sverely downplayed in the modern rite in favour of a "spiritual meal". And thus the idea of sacrifice is removed out of the sight of Catholics and in its place is put forward a warm and fuzzy "celebration of ourselves".

Mac, I am so envious of your "liturgical situation". Please pray for us here in Scotland.

karen h. -- san diego said...

Dave, it is very MUCH a sacrifice.
It was also (check your Hebrews) "once and for all." We stand OUTSIDE OF TIME when we are at Mass. The same sacrifice is "re-presented." It isn't symbolic, and I didn't say that. We are made present in that time. That time is made present to us. It's one of those mystery thangs.

Fine, I'm DONE trying to reason with you regarding the prayers of the MAss being more important than some Hail Marys. Whatever the prayers the faithful take a mind to say during the Mass, apparently, deserve just as much importance as paying attention to the Canon of the Mass.

Sure. Fine. No problem. Zone out. Go for it. Whip out the rosary during the Liturgy of the Hours and the Stations of the Cross and Benediction. Why not? Not like those prayers are important either. DO YOUR OWN THING, BABY.

And Dave, check your catechism:

from 1353:
"In the epiclesis, the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit (or the power of his blessing178) on the bread and wine, so that by his power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis).
In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all."

The catechism also says:
"1327 In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking."138"

But if you want to say your rosary then, OF ALL TIMES, go for it. Why pay attention to the canon and other parts of the Mass... It's not "Miller time" by golly, it's "prime time" for ROSARY!!!!

In my one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church the Eucharist is both a sacrifice AND a meal.

"1383 The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. "For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?"212 asks St. Ambrose...."

Hey, but whatever, maybe the deacon will zone out with you during the canon and whip out his own rosary. Why not? ditto the server not charged with ringing the bell at the right time. Sure - the servers can pray their rosary then. Makes sense.

Now personally, I think the priest might take exception to this but I'm only a North American. What do I know? God knows I've never been able to fathom the european mind!

I'm glad that the Tridentine Mass will be able to be celebrated without hassle from the bishops who don't want it. Really, and truly I am. But DON'T WRECK IT for yourselves.

Geez, it's not even back for two weeks, and already the armies have their rosary beads whipped out. Maybe it's time to think back as to WHY there was a change from the Latin to the vernacular. Maybe the Vatican II people had finally had enough of people not paying attention during the Mass.

And frankly, anyone who left the church over a change from latin to the vernacular was an idiot. It tells me they didn't understand what Mass is all about to begin with.


David said...

Ouch, Karen!

And frankly, anyone who left the church over a change from latin to the vernacular was an idiot.

Actualy, it was much more than this. It was a whole life of piety that was abandoned with progressivists tossing out century-old altars, statues, relics into skips (you'd call them a dumpster, I think). Progressivists who scorned the use of the Rosary (at any time) and who told their parishoners that it was impossible to ever commit a mortal sin. It was much more than a mere switching to the vernacular.

And, hey, I don't pray the Rosary at Mass (and it sounds as if Mac only prays the Rosary sometimes at Mass). However, I do believe that we have had enough of self-appointed "experts" telling the faithful that their forms of piety had no part in the "brave new Church" that they were building.

Calm down and remember nobody is going to force you to go to a Mass in the extraordinary form!

David said...

Oh, and Karen: why this need to control how other people pray?

Why not allow people to follow the promptings of the Spirit. As Mac says, sometimes a person may follow the Canon; another time she may say layperson's prayers (as recommended by Dom Prosper Gueranger and St Peter Eymard); another time she may pray the Rosary and unite her prayer with the priest's prayer at the Altar.

Andrew said...

If memory serves, I remember being told that the reason the bells were rung at mass was to call the people's attention to what was happening: sort of a "hey, look up from your beads -- the priest wasn't sacrificing a goat up here, but look, it's the body of Christ -- YES -- over here -- Look up!!"

Actually this is wrong. The elvation was decreed in the synodal statutes of Eudes de Sully, Bishop of Paris (1196-1208), who introduced this practise, to protest against the erroneous opinion that the change of the bread into the Body of Christ was complete only after the Consecration of the chalice.

Geez, it's not even back for two weeks, and already the armies have their rosary beads whipped out. Maybe it's time to think back as to WHY there was a change from the Latin to the vernacular. Maybe the Vatican II people had finally had enough of people not paying attention during the Mass.

You may wish to familiarise yourself with the council's document on the liturgy which states:

"The use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites (article 36)."

"Care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Mass that pertain to them (article 54)."

Does this sound like a complete overhaul of Latin to vernacular? Back to the drawing board for you Karen.

White Stone Name Seeker said...

I just want Mass with NO-none at all-not one- liturgical shenanigan.
Pet hate: the EMHC getting the ciborium in and out of the Tabernacle. I can't stand it. Every time I see it done I think of those two poor blokes who dropped dead when they touched the Ark.
Pet hate 2: EMHC's giving out blessings!

Anyway I've asked father for a TLM and he is willing. So we will see what happens in my poor dieing parish.

Fr Tim Finigan said...

The Rosary is often misunderstood. It is a meditation on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - precisely those mysteries upon which we should be focussed during the Mass. People have always participated at Mass in various ways.

It is not as though everyone understands all the prayers and readings of the Mass in English. Following every word in the book can be a substitute for real participation. I agree with the idea of leaving people a little freer to participate as best suits them.

Sorry to try a "knockdown" here but in fact, Pope John Paul II was observed in later years (when he sometimes had to attend rather than celebrate the Mass) to be praying the Rosary during Mass.

Incidentally Latin was not introduced simply as "the vernacular". Fr Michael Lang has recently written on this, explaining how the language of the prayers of the Mass and the Canon were anything but the ordinary language of the people.

Anonymous said...

Those following this debate might find this summary of a paper given at the CIEL conference last year interesting:

Dr. Sheridan Gilley from Durham University presented a paper on "Roman Liturgy and Popular Piety." Dr. Gilley emphasized that prior to the liturgical revolution, the priest was obliged to celebrate Mass in a certain way, but the faithful were free to participate in the Mass in any way they liked; whereas nowadays the priest is free to choose how he wishes to celebrate, but the faithful are forced to participate in a very particular way.

"The old rite made for a more inclusive Church." According to Dr. Gilley, prior to the 1970 liturgical reforms, there was a book published called 30 Ways to Hear Mass, and there was only one way for the priest to say Mass. Now, there are a myriad number of ways for the priest to say Mass, but the lay faithful are all coerced into one way of hearing it.

Dr. Sheridan's research showed that the popular piety of Catholics, particularly in Ireland in the 1800s, included rosaries, pilgrimages, sodalities, exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, jubilees, triduums, shrines, and retreats, often with organized spiritual direction given by their priests.

Catholicism was in the very fabric of their being, and this use of sacraments and devotions sprang from their rich liturgical life.

This parish-based sacramental system carried the faith and the liturgy into their daily lives. It was part of their very culture.

Elizabeth said...

Thankyou Father Tim for that.

My Mother, God rest her soul, whose English was very weak, used to say the Rosary during the Sermon, sure beats looking around the Church, and when we are abroad I do the same!!!

Marita said...

I find I have no time to look around during the extraordinary form of the Mass. I like to follow every word in my missal (in English)including all the prayers said quietly by the Priest especially during the Offertory. (It is a nuisance trying to contribute to the collection at that point). Also when a Commemoration is being kept I have about three parts of the missal "on the go" at the same time. But, my word, don't I feel that I have been present at the Holy Sacrifice!

Marita said...

The Rosary - What a wonderful prayer to say during the Mass although I think meditation as far is possible is absolutely vital.

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