Wednesday, October 12, 2011
What is the difficulty with the OF?
The church wasn't packed but it was full, the servers were older than ours but the profile of the congregation was much the same as here for the EF. There were a few elderly people but most were under forty, there were like here people who looked Fillipino but maybe a few more black faces than here, though I suspect they were black Londoners rather than Africans.
What impressed me was the prayerfulness of the congregation. The congregation's following of the rubrics were less disciplined than at the OF, people stood during the Sanctus whilst others knelt, some knelt more or less through out or sat or slid between the two. Most joined in the dialogues, a few joined in the Ordinary quietly, a few followed missals, a few had Rosaries in their hands, most just prayed quietly. The celebrant was reverent, but characteristically matter of fact, the servers were relaxed.
At the moment we are preparing for the Association of Latin Liturgy's Mass and Vespers on Saturday, everything will be in Latin (except, maybe, the homily) and most things will be sung, including the readings. As Mass will be celebrated ad Orientem, the differences, except for those with decent Latin and an eye for rubrics, from the congregation's point of view, will be negligable, except for the absence of the hushed silence during the Canon. That is unless Mgr Burnham does what Cardinal Pacienza does and recite that in a low voice.
For the celebrant things are different but for a member of the congregation the two forms can be almost indistinguishable, except maybe the absence of prayers at the foot of the altar, but then I have seem "preparatory prayers" done in the OF during the entrance hymn, and I have seen an ambo used for readings and heard the sermon end in a series of intercessions in the EF.
Speaking to people after the EF at Maiden Lane who didn't normally attend it, it was the silence that seemed important that is simply absent from much of the OF. Somehow too, it is the sense that silence is integral to the whole; singing, silence, personal prayer and public prayer. I suppose it is that the older Use allows the priest to pray whilst the choir are singing that seems organic, it lacks the neatness of OF, where for example the priest stops praying the Canon whilst the Sanctus is being sung and the people listen as he prays the Eucharistic Prayer.
An awful lot of nonsense and silliness takes place at the OF but that is not integral to the Rite itself, indeed much of it is quite contrary to an accurate interpretation of the rubrics. Latin should be used, it seems as if hymns should not really replace the proper chants, that the orientation should be ad apsidem, the norm -universally- as we know, is communion kneeling and on the tongue; so from the point of view of the laity what is it the difficulty, some have, about the Ordinary Form?
Posted by Fr Ray Blake