Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Liturgical Experiment

There is a very sensible and balanced article in The Catholic Herald by Sean Tribe, entitled: In a year Pope Benedict XVI has reshaped the liturgical landscape, have look.

It is interesting that 10 years ago, 5 even, liurgical experiment generally meant liturgical abuse. There are still bishops or priests using pottery chalices, discarding vestments even making up their own Eucharistic Prayers or sitting around a coffee table but I think these things are rare and becoming rarer, rarer still, thanks to the blogs, maybe, are clown or puppet Masses. Those who carry out these things know they are abuses and younger priests refuse to take part in them. Today everyone knows these things are wrong. They still happen, they distasnce people from the Church, thwart the work of ecumenism with Orthodoxy and frighten dissident traditiomalists.

Liturgical "experiment" nowadays seems to be about the use of silence, not microphoning the Eucharitic Prayer, finding ways of using the General Intercessions so they are not the most tedious part of the Mass.
I was talking to a priest recently who was planning to experiment with a children's Mass, using the Low Mass in EF with hymns and prayers led by a deacon. He was trying to unite what they understand by prayer with praying the Mass.
Other experiments I hear of in the OF are the reintroduction of chant, using an increased amount of Latin, using a quieter voice for prayer, even looking towards the crucifix at the doxologies of collects etc. Here, we have introduced a twice weekly ad orientem Mass.
The good experiments are those which involve an intelligent reading of the rubrics and conformity to them, with a strong reference to tradition and continuity, rather than rupture and doubtful archeology.

I don't want to hear about horror stories but I would be interested to know about good experiments.

8 comments:

bernadette said...

Well, there is a priest in Coventry who has introduced the Pater Noster (sung) into the Sunday Mass. God Bless Him. It`s a start, isn`t it.

I just can`t yet justify the 128 mile round trip for it.

(Can anyone beat £1.21 a litre at the moment ?)

Does anyone know how to use red diesel without getting caught. It`s a serious consideration in these times.

Henry said...

Talking of liturgy for schools, it used to be commonplace for children to learn Gregorian Chant, and there was a two-volume book called Plainsong for Schools.

I have scanned my old copy of the two volumes and cleaned up a few pages. Most of the work has now been done and they have come up quite clean after a little bit more work. The volumes could easily be printed by any publisher who wanted to reissue the book, subject to copyright clearance from whoever owns it, if anyone, probably Desclee of Tournai.

Not only would the books be good for children - they would also make a good parish hymn book.

If anyone is interested, please pass this information on.

Moretben said...

When I lived in Athens twenty years ago, the principal Sunday Mass in the Cathedral was with Latin polyphony, versus populo, but communion on the tongue only. Weekday Masses were ad orientem "Low Masses" (Novus Ordo, of course) at a side chapel. I wonder if any of that has changed in the interim. I'd love to know. I was married to my first wife (RIP) in that cathedral.

Anyway, they managed the "bidding prayers" extremely well - they simply imported the Byzantine litany, same chant and everything. IIRC from Alcuin Read, when it was originally proposed in the 1950's to introduce a prex fidelium into the Roman Rite, the Byzantine Litany was suggested as an example, but rejected because the reformers wanted something ad-hoc and informal. Of course, it doesn't work. A set text, solemnly chanted by the deacon (or server) facing east but standing in the nave and with the people chanting the short response works perfectly. It's solemn, dramatic, liturgically sound and fully in the spirit of "active participation".

ben said...

Experimental Mass in my parish last Friday: Mass of our Lady of Perpetual Succour (patroness of the diocese) in the OF, sung in Latin, Missa Aterna Christi Munera by Palestrina, ad orientem.

Result: lots of happy Catholics at a weekday Mass! including people who go to the English Mass on Sunday, and people who go to the EF on Sunday, so it contributed to the unity of the parish as well. What more could you ask for?!

Adam said...

'Plainsong for Schools' has something to do with the Archdiocese of Liverpool. It might be worth getting in touch with the director of music at the cathedral. In recent years, a lot more plansong has been used at the cathedral, and at the same time, the classical orchestra seems to have been banished from the cathedral liturgies (During the Worlock years grand orchestral masses were the norm at solemn feasts).

lizard said...

I do not know how rare are the 'experiments' (I wonder if there is any objective statistics). However, I still see routine "experiments" with pottery, sitting at a coffee table etc, including incertain places in Brighton.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Latin Propers are being done at my parish, as well as using the Communion Rail for Reception of Communion during the NO

Adam said...

Lizard,
For some reason the Holy Father used pottery vessels at Santa Maria di Leuca only last month.