Sunday, August 27, 2017
LET'S FOCUS ON WHAT IS POSSIBLE
So many traditionalists have unrealistic expectations about liturgical renewal or recovery. Often much of it is too "me" oriented, what I want, what I like and what I would do if I were the bishop or pope. It is very, very non Catholic.
The reforms of Vatican II are irreversible because an Ecumenical Council began it with Sacrosanctum Concilium and Pope Paul VI implemented his vision of it with Consilium. It doesn't matter if individual Catholics like it or not because as Catholics we have to like it or lump it.
While I am in favor of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass being expanded in its celebration where this is welcomed by local parishes, I do not see the EF Mass (unless a vernacular edition of it is allowed for at least the changing parts of this Mass) becoming a major force in any diocese. People like the vernacular and they like understanding the prayers and they like the ability to be able to respond and chant in the vernacular as has been promoted in a positive way for the past 50 years. I would say that at least 99% of Catholics who actually attend Mass would find an entirely Latin Mass, EF or OF off-putting.
What then is possible for the correct implementation of the Roman Missal of 1969/70 and its subsequent incarnations leading to the 2011 version?
Let repeat myself:
1. Music has to be improved and more supervision from Rome and local bishops needs to take place--even Pope Francis lamented the state of music in the liturgy not too long ago. Music is the most divisive issue in the Ordinary Form and there is no end in sight if music is a big business in the Catholic Church with publishing companies selling their new stuff, constantly rolling out new hymnals and new music and much of it of dubious quality and unsingable.
2. Chant needs to be recovered, either in Latin or the vernacular and the Propers of the Mass must never be omitted--Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons. All three of these are Scripture and it is absolutely ridiculous that any of Sacred Scripture be replaced by hymns and negates Sacrosanctum Concilium's explicit call for a more lavish use of Scripture in the Mass. In fact, I would suggest that priests could actually preach on any of the propers, especially the official introit of the Mass. I am not saying that hymns or anthems should be suppressed--one could have a rousing hymn for the procession but it ends and the Introit begins as the priest approaches the altar and kisses it as is done at papal Masses at St. Peter's.
3. The restoration of kneeling for Holy Communion at an altar railing or kneeler is not reversing the reform of the Mass one iota. As I have said over and over again, of all of the restorations that one could bring back to the Ordinary Form of the Mass, kneeling for Holy Communion is the single most important, bar none.
4. While I think the options of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the older form of the Offertory Prayers and an enhancement of the rubrics for the Eucharistic Prayers modeled after the EF Mass do not in any way challenge the reforms of the Mass as envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium and should be reinstated at least as an option, I think it is possible for these to return as Pope Francis is the very pope who signed off on these things and a different dialect of English for the Ordinariate's Ordinary Form Roman Missal--Divine Worship.
5. Ad Orientem or a version of it (this is always symbolic even in the pre-Vatican II/EF Mass) should be mandated, meaning the "Benedictine" altar arrangement Pope Benedict recovered and Pope Francis has maintained and not to preclude the priest joining the congregation and being united with them in facing the altar in the same direction. Pope Francis has faced the altar in the same direction and has also lamented the loss of facing East at Baptism and other liturgical celebrations.
Just doing the five things above could end the liturgy wars and be faithful to the Magisterial perspective of Pope Francis.