15 June 2015

ORDINARIATE FESTIVAL (4): More on our Rite

Another repeat of an old post, in honour of Cardinal Sarah's liturgical hopes.
 Quite apart from its sacral and hieratic style of English, the Ordinariate Order of Mass speaks very precisely to the problems of Liturgy in the modern Latin Church at this exact moment.

As you will remember, Pope Benedict XVI established that the 'Tridentine Rite' had, in fact, contrary to popular belief, never been canonically abolished. He clarified, authoritatively, that every single priest of the Latin Church had a right to use it without needing the permission either of the Holy See or any other ecclesiastical authority. So that there are two 'Forms' of the Roman Rite both lawfully in use.

But it is well-known that this great Pontiff looked ahead to a day when the two Forms would converge and eventually become again one single form of the Roman Rite. However, this is going to be a long job. There is so much irrational prejudice on both sides. Among some whose personal preference is for the Ordinary Form, the Extraordinary Form is seen as some sort of return to the Dark Ages of a pre-Conciliar, rigid, sin-obsessed, clericalist Catholicism which makes them wake up in the middle of the night in a feverish sweat. Among some whose own choice is the Extraordinary Form, their narrative of decades of ruthless persecution has made them resistant to the slightest change (in itself, an 'untraditional' attitude since Liturgy has always evolved, gradually and organically).

But the Ordinariate Rite constitutes a stage in that convergence for which Pope Benedict longed, and is thus of very profound significance not simply to members of the Ordinariate but to the whole of the Western Church. In many ways its basic structure is that of the Novus Ordo. But it includes ceremonial from the Vetus Ordo, perhaps most noticeably the double genuflexions at each Consecration. It includes optionally the Praeparatio at the foot of the altar, and the Last Gospel. Of doctrinal importance is its preference for the 'Tridentine' Offertory Prayers said by the priest, full as they are of the language of Sacrifice and Propitiation, and its restoration of the normativeness of the Roman Canon, the First Eucharistic Prayer, as a movement towards the longed-for and essential phasing-out of the alternative Eucharistic Prayers which Vatican II never envisaged and, indeed, by implication excluded.

These are all factors which contribute powerfully to the resacralisation of the Roman Rite, surely one of the most pressing needs of our time ... and I do not mean just liturgically.

11 comments:

Jonathan Dandridge said...

For non-Ordinariate parishes, it seems that a lot could be done even within the current rubrics of the Ordinary Form. I think the key items would be (1) use of Eucharistic Prayer I at least for all Sunday and Holy Day Masses (2) communion kneeling and on the tongue and (3) Ad Orientem.

Christopher said...

Ad Orientem alone would be a huge step in the right direction. I'm inclined to think it would be the single most efficacious means of "enriching" the Mass. Of course, the caterwauling that would ensue about how rude it is to "turn your back on the people" would be almost unbearable.

ansgerus said...

I was very disappointed when I noticed that in the new English translation of the Novus Ordo you say "and with your spirit" instead of the traditional "and with thy spirit". Eventhough English is a foreign language for me, I have the impression that there are worlds between these two expressions of the same sense, and here it is clearly not a matter of understanding. It is a matter of style, and for me the integrity of a certain style is very important in order not to disturb the liturgy. A mixture of styles will never have the beauty of the original, traditional versions. In German, for instance, you can destroy much of the effect of the Holy Gospel of Christmas Eve already by exchange of one single word, or if you change the order of the words. In this Gospel, every single word in its position as used since more then 400 years is somehow sanctifying, and any change is simply annoying. Interesting, that a newspaper two or three years ago when printing the entire text on page one of the Christmas issue did not use the current official version of the text, but the traditional Lutheran version.

Matthew Rose said...

Oh Father, come on now - "Eucharistic Prayer 1" is NOT the Roman Canon - not when nearly all the Saints may be omitted, not when it has Saint Joseph, not without the Mysterium Fidei, and not with the New Order narrative recitation of the Last Supper substituted for the Consecration - the punctuation and formatting of the text in the new Missal have to do with what it means and accomplishes, too.

Eques said...

In the ling run, It seems to me increasinly evident that any attempt to base our future uppn the Novus Ordo is going to fail. At best it may provide some useful enrichments for the Classic Roman Rite, but itself it is not only too severe a break from the Tradition to be useful, but also bears the indelible marks of an existentialist-pantheist theology that is radically different from and incompatible with Christian orthodoxy.

Mike Hurcum said...

Christopher, well written I think personally as a once young altar boy I was taught how to turn upon the altar and turn my back upon Christ. Today at the bedlam that the sign of peace brings so many turn their back to Christ to bless those behind them. One conversation I had I received a correction of my attitude as the sin of peace was an equivalent to forgiving sins as the bible said so. What a drastic interpretation of scripture.

GOR said...

I agree that ‘ad orientem’ is central to the proper celebration of Mass. The use of EMHCs is another grating abuse.

Last weekend I attended the vigil Mass at a nearby parish (full disclosure: I wanted to watch the Ryder Cup uninterrupted on Sunday morning. I know…my bad!). There were about 100 people in the congregation. At communion time ten – ten! – EMHCs converged on the sanctuary.

Some of the reasons advanced for the use of EMHCs were: to relieve an ailing priest, to deal with large crowds, or to ‘speed up’ reception. None applied in this case. The pastor is hale and hearty - a man in his 40s - and the congregation was small. With all the ‘foostering’ (as my old Irish PP would have put it) going on in the sanctuary, the celebrant could have distributed to all in the same or less time.

What was intended as an exception, has become the rule – which is true of much that happens at Novus Ordo Masses – rubrics be damned!

Christopher said...

GOR, I agree entirely, and getting that horse back into the barn would cause just as much of an uproar. It's now seen as a way to get people "involved" in the Mass, which the current generation in charge treats like a kind of kindergarten for grown-ups. If people aren't "involved" then they'll get bored, so they have to be given things to do. How dare anyone take away their chance to feel like they're part of the game too?

ansgerus said...

Even the Japanese Prostestants enjoyed a very elaborated sacred language for more then 100 years, the classical BUNGO style, used for the translation of the Holy Scripture as well as in hymn etc until the mid of the 1980s. Then, following the modern catholic church which after V-II had introduced a colloquial Japanese, the classical language was given up, and today the sacred idiom has almost completely disappeared in liturgy. Instead, boring everyday language everywhere.

Michael Leahy said...

Mention of the sign of peace reminds me that Our Lord was betrayed by a kiss. It all smacks of Pelagianism somewhat. Who needs Christ's Sacrifice, when we nice people can all save one another (like hell)?

Charlesdawson said...

I agree with Christopher and GOR, the use of EMHCs has got totally out of hand. I recently attended a Mass where there were nowhere near 100 people in the congregation, and two priests on the altar. And yet there was still an EMHC! I can only suppose the person concerned would have thrown a wobbly if deprived of office. Sadly, in this particular church, which thank the Lord is not in my own parish, I gather that an EMHC is the norm even at weekday Masses where maybe only three or four people attend. Now that is ridiculous.