28 February 2021

Who actually wants the New Rite? Or the current Bishop of Rome?


 The church of S Nicolas of Tolentino in the Diocese of Clifton hit the news with its LBGT mass a few weeks ago (see blog October 15). Watching the video, I had a resurgence of a feeling I have expressed before. Who actually wants the "Ordinary Form" of the Roman Rite?

In things big and small, the Tolentino Liturgy exemplified the disturbing fact that ... nobody wants it. The celebrant wore no chasuble, but a curiously drab stole with a tassle at the back. He didn't ever genuflect. OK; perhaps he is too old and weak to genuflect. Perhaps his church is too impoverished to afford a chasuble. But he also inserted a Creed on a weekday; a Creed, moreover, bearing no resemblance to any Creed the Church has ever authorised. The celebrant apparently performed the Fraction during the Institution Narrative, as if that Narrative were some sort of enactment of the Last Supper. 

And I didn't actually watch the entire rite; I just flicked quickly through. But I saw enough to make clear that ... endless 'creativity' was the order of the day.

Earlier in the story of our Ordinariate, a distinguished lecturer told us that 'disobedience' was a part of the 'Anglican Patrimony' we needn't bring with us. The point (with its implied rebuke) was a fair one. But it fitted ill with the experiences which many formerly Anglican clergy were having at just that point.

As the newly 'resprayed' Anglican clergy spread out into Catholic parish life in the 'mainstream' Catholic Church, there was genuine amazement at the degree of liturgical disorder and rank disobedience which so widely prevailed among 'mainstream' clergy. Particularly, the incessant rewording of 'authorised' texts. So one continually got (even on Sundays) the pseudo-Hippolytan Eucharistic Prayer ... bad enough in itself ...  in a form 'made more relevant' by Father. Clericalism galore! And there was the dreadful and heterodox music ... about which the bishops of the US have recently written a very telling and intelligent Letter.

There are indeed some churches where these condemnations of the Novus Ordo would be unfair; but they are largely churches where the clergy would prefer to be saying the Old Mass but for 'pastoral' reasons are unable to do so; they therefore say the new rite with greater or lesser amounts of the spirit and spirituality of the old.

As far as the Calendar is concerned, I wrote recently about a Scottish bishop for whom what is really exciting seems to be a succession of secular celebrations which, if they are not syncretistic, at least gesture more towards a didactic syncretism than towards the Truth that is in Christ alone.

Any re-appraisal of the liturgical situation in the Latin Church should begin with an honest acceptance that nobody ... almost absolutely nobody ... whether Traddy or Trendy ... actually wants the Novus Ordo ... either its Order or its Calendar.

On both sides, it is disliked, or regarded as of little relevance, and, very widely, largely set aside. 


Much the same seems to be true of the current Roman Pontiff.

Bobby Mickens recently wrote: " ... it's not clear what Francis actually does want. And not just on his birthday, but on many things. ... Oh, he's written and said a lot. An awful lot. But that doesn't mean he always reveals what he's really thinking. And, at times, he says things that are hard to square with things he has said and done at oher times. In a word, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is somewhat of an enigma. He rails against clericalism, yet he can also be as clerical as anyone."


Unknown said...

It's not what we want.
It's what pleases God.
And i can not believe that novus ordo, any of them, pleases our Lord at all.
Much less amazon ordo, which is the next step in those things which we can call an irreverent charades.

Richard said...

It was striking how in Advent 2019 the Church, universally and locally, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Novus Ordo. In silence.
With the improved NO translation, and the changes to the holy days, our bishops have shown they can reverse bad decisions. The big one awaits: something like a five-year plan to restore the Mass of Ages.

Patricius said...

Mickens..."Not an enemy in the world...and even his friends don't like him"!

Unknown said...

Father, justhank you so much for saying these things, which are so difficult to say, so hard to hear- and yet so true.
Keith Robinson

Robert H. Holden said...

Is PF "enigmatic" or just in over his head?

Peter said...

Let's start with ad Orientem.

mike said...

I was bought up in St Nicholas of Tolentine. Baptized there and I can assure you they used to have beautiful vestments, Thew benedictine robes were of gold thread. It was a working class parish with most were railway workers, D or at Dolman longs, at Brecknells,at Thrisell engineering. We would have never tolerated that nonsense. The men would have been outraged. There was a main core all closely related The Hurcums, the Withers, the Wrights. We went to the sames schools, St Brendans, La Retraite and of course the parochial school. It is a shame that it has been made such a disgrace. Is their story any different in the Catholic Church in the UK?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

No. Peter, I disagree. We should start with the exclusive use of the Roman Canon.

John F. Kennedy said...

Let's start with the Council of Trent 1563, please.

E sapelion said...

I find spiritual value in hearing the full range of Eucharistic Prayers, except perhaps EPII which is little more than the headings under which prayers should be said. Let us be grateful that they did not simply follow the source text which says the celebrant prays according to his ability.

Simple Simon said...

I suspect that Pope Francis will abrogate the Latin Mass. The scene has been set. The departure of Cardinal Sarah. Francis and his Bishops bad mouthing all things traditional as they await impatiently for the death of Benedict XV1. To abrogate the Latin Mass whilst Benedict is alive, might provoke an almighty outcry. In the meantime, the Roman Catholic Papapachamama Rocky Horror Liturgical Roadshow is coming to a parish near you, anytime soon.
Lord have mercy on us.

rick allen said...

Who actually wants the New Rite?

I suppose we can guess by looking at areas where more than one rite is available and see which one has the highest attendance.

Or the current Bishop of Rome?

Apparently the College of Cardinals did, which should be sufficient.

Nancy said...

Thank you for this. I think some people do like the Novus Ordo, they just don't know they like it as such. I mean, they love the boppy, happy music and they love any expression of any good intentions or any enthusiasm whatever -- to them, that's "the Holy Spirit," whether it might be in liturgical dancing or the saxophone at Mass or the teens' Passion Play on Palm Sunday (where little girls in eyeglasses play the part of Disciples and centurions -- or rather they used to, Covid having put a stop to that too). These are people of a certain generation (age 70+), their children (40+), and their grandchildren (10+). Not to sound uncharitable, but these are also the good souls who tend to react to the timidly proffered phrase "the Latin Mass" with the automatic reply "oh that's where the priest turns his back to the people isn't it." One nice lady said to me grimly when I mentioned it, "oh yes, ... so austere." It's the opposite of austere but I wasn't fast enough on my feet to say so.

What is the Latin Mass? It's the Mass where you have time to gaze at the Crucifix above the altar, while the cantor chants after the Epistle, and begin to understand. That is Christ, God, suffering on the Cross. It makes sense. What else must God do, but suffer for our sins all day every day? What would he do, if he came to earth, but heal people all day and then see most of them go away with hardly a thank you? At the Latin Mass it all begins to make sense.

Thank you again, wonderful blog.

StMichael said...

I am on record as someone who prefers the OF: https://www.hprweb.com/2020/04/the-form-of-the-liturgy/

I agree that there are weaknesses, but think that these can be corrected over time.

While I've done no survey, I suspect many other people would likely be in a similar position, even if unable to articulate it. It is certainly true there is often a lot of silliness in how the OF is ordinarily done and in some of the allowed options. However, many people I've met at university campus ministries that are quite traditional, and had ample access to the EF, preferred a vernacular liturgy, Roman Canon, ad orientem, with chant. They would have been quite happy with a moderate revision of the OF, more like the Ordinariate liturgy.

John Patrick said...

I agree with our gracious host that the first change should be to make the Roman Canon required, at least on Sundays, and start phasing out the "dewfall" prayer.

Some changes could be added gradually, such as making the traditional offertory prayers optional, the people would hardly notice this.

To me the worst part of the NO is the need to constantly react to something and having to respond, for example at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer with that dreaded mystery of faith acclamation where you are suddenly ripped from contemplating the Lord's Presence and having to listen to figure out, which one is it this time? Oh, "we proclaim your death O Lord ...". Then there is the mindless repetition of the psalm antiphon, to prevent you from actually listening to the psalm. I could go on and on.

Titus said...

I do believe I have met many people who prefer the Novus Ordo. Or, really, perhaps what they would really prefer is the Ordinariate use if it were available to them. These are people who have access to and have mostly been exposed to the usus antiquior, but who find, e.g., the complete absence of the vernacular offputting. Others might be perfectly happy with the usus antiquior if it were in general use, but dislike the idea of being Roman without using the calendar and readings common to the majority of the rite's members.

I have seen the phenomenon play out in a parish that was a "traditional" N.O. parish (Latin sung propers and ordinary chants, communion rail, no burlap vestments, etc.) but that changed its principal Mass to the usus antiquior. Many people left the parish. They seemed to want the Novus Ordo.

vetusta ecclesia said...

For the duration we have ( mirabile dictu) no sign of peace. But at the church I attend, despite the lack of invitation to exchange after the priest has invoked peace on us, the vast majority of the congregation start looking about and waving to each other. In my observation the sign of peace is the high point of the NO for many and certainly the point at which they seem most animated.

Banshee said...

Holy crud. At a parish named after St. Nicholas of Tolentino?? I mean, geez, that's a hardcore miracleworking saint. I'd be worried about getting smote.

John Patrick said...

vetusta ecclesia, our pastor (who I suspect was never a big fan of the SOP to begin with) solves that by immediately launching into the Agnus Dei before anyone has a chance to even think about a wave. One of the small benefits of the China Virus, along with banishing the cantor and the organist to the loft where they belong instead of the sanctuary.

Todd said...

Father beware of putting the torch to the OF; the Ordinariate Liturgy will also catch fire. At least per many of the "Restorationists" in the Trad world that I come across.

Todd said...

One more thing, in any grassroots reform of the OF, I agree with Father that it starts with the exclusive use of the Roman Canon.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Past participle of smite = smitten.


Unknown said...

Out of interest, these comments exemplify the difficulties I experienced with Rome some years ago. Eventually, after 60 years an RC, including a period in cloisters, I moved to Orthodoxy where there are no arguments of this type, and liturgies are very ancient.
It's not for me to join your discussion per se, but perhaps you should recall that there are a great many who have left you over the years.
May God guide you and bless you.