Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Is it time for a new Missal?

I have always felt the Mass of the Pauline Missal, even when sung in the better French monasteries reflected the style and fashion of its time, a bit like flaired trousers and the Beatles.
One of my parishioners tells of a parish where ancient strummers bashout the Israeli Mass and Kum-by-ya, and another where all the music is accompied by tamboreen - presumable for the young people!

The problem is that marrying fashion -well it never works - it leaves us in a time warp.

Having got rid of the old ICEL translations with its almost "hey Mate" language, we can see more easily the rather impressive construction that Buginini manufactured. Like it or not it is impressive and like it or not it is manufactured. One can debate the wisdom of allowing one man such influence in presenting the theology and spirituality of the Catholic Church and at one particular time and formulating it into the Missal of Paul VI, which has been the very architecture of our Catholic Faith for forty years..

Having done a root and branch reconstruction once, why should we not do it again? The Pauline Missal was supposed to meet the needs of its time, that time was forty years ago. The Synod presented a picture of a Church and world quite different from the Church and world of the Council, our needs are different. Wouldn't it be wise to do it every generation, every forty years?

I am sure that if a group of experts were gathered today their constituency would be different, there might be a few anthropologists amongst them and a few psychologists, and not to mention a greater number of non-Europeans - not to mention a few women, possibly their orientation might be different too, not so much to the now dying Protestant ecclesial communities of Europe but to the liturgical Forms of Orthodoxy and having some regard for the culture of Africa and Asia. I once heard a very left-wing priest Indian priest, much into "inculturation", describe the Missal as "the last throe of western Imperialism", over the top, yes but there is a sense in which I feel forced to agree with him. Cardinal Ranjith has spoken about enculturation.

The new ICEL translations were at pains to uncover something of the reverence of Bugnini's original texts, the old translators, in the "Spirit of the Council" had done their best to obliterate suggestions of obeisance, of the gulf between man and God, and indeed much of theocratic and theocentric language. In fact what they did was merely follow what had happened with the rubrics of the Mass. The removal all those numerous signs of reverence which even in the rather stark traditional Roman Rite expressed visually what the "unveiled" Bugnini texts say. The stripping of the rubrics more than changing the text changed the form of the Mass for most people.

In the 1970s in the wake of the Pauline Missal, the Blessed Sacrament was often relegated to a side chapel, as in the Diocese of Brentwood. There was even talk of the abolition of Exposition and Benediction, Marian devotion was often forbidden, or treated as something for the unsophisticated. These things are making a tremendous comeback and certainly are producing vocations and people who take prayer seriously. I suspect the reason is simply that the Pauline Missal is deficient in this regard and people look outside of the Mass for these things.

Should they?
Even the casual observer of Mass celebrated according to the Missal of the Blessed John XXII will notice the extended silences, which now are an important part of Exposition, something people seem to yearn for. The casual observer to will notice that after the consecration there are the constant reverences which are given to the Sacred Species by the priest which have almost totally been stripped from the Mass in the Pauline Missal, after the Consecration there is no external sign that anything has happened. Indeed there are very few actions in the entire Missal that denote worship.

Could these things which are not alien to the Roman Rite and which people are searching for elsewhere not be restored to the Mass itself?
The Pope's call for "mutual enrichment" would suggest that a the free exchange of elements from either Missal should be the norm, yet time and again we are reminded that the Sacred Liturgy is something "given". and the priest is not free to introduce or to change anything, and yet despite Bugnini's famous diktat that even if the rubrics of the Pauline Missal are unclear one shouldn't assume they are the same as the previous Missal, yet it is precisely to previous Missal and rulings that we must turn in order to understand the Pauline rubrics, for example how to elevate the Sacred Host and Chalice.

There is a vast difference in introducing elements from the previous Missal into the Pauline celebration when the rubrics are ambiguous or debatable than introducing things that lack antiquity and do not belong to the Roman Rite. The Pope himself gives us a clue when as Supreme Legislator he writes to the Bishops of the Latin Rite, "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful".

There are pretty obvious possibilities here. Whereas it would probably be wrong to remove the Penitential Rite to before the Mass starts (the Penitential Rite in the Mass is a Bugnini innovation), would it be wrong to have preparatory prayers in the sanctuary -as most of the ancient Rites do- before Mass itself actually starts?
I have always wondered if it would be a gross violation of the rubrics to turn off the microphones in Westminster Cathedral during the Eucharistic Prayer, and if you did that and the prayer was silent or heard merely by the ministers would be wrong to say part of it whilst the choir was singing? Could you reproduce that effect in parish church and have a silent Canon? Cardinal Piacenza lowers his voice considerably during the Canon.

Would it be wicked to incense according the older rubrics, or genuflect before as well as after the Consecrations? Must I really make a superhuman effort to avoid using the older rubrics for the Roman Canon? I so often find I am making the Signs of the Cross without even thinking about, is it a matter for Confession? Then of course there is genuflecting at other times, other than when at the altar does the  rule apply even if the Blessed Sacrament is reserved on the sanctuary? Obviously one doesn't do it during a procession but is a priest processing when he his merely walking across the sanctuary because he has left his glasses on the other side or just about to begin the Gospel procession?


Anonymous said...

" Obviously one doesn't do it during a procession but is a priest processing when he his merely walking across the sanctuary".

If I pass the Most Blessed Sacrament when crossing to the Gospel I always genuflect....because I am passing in front of my Lord and God. Where is that forbidden?
I cannot "pretend" that the Lord is not there as Opus Dei do in Netherhall where I saw them put a movable screen in front of the Tabernacle when Mass begins.
Seems to me that there may be such a common ailment as "Liturgical Schizophrenia"

Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too"

Having the opportunity to attend a lot of different Catholic Churches for me, was necessary to get a sense of what a 'fullness' in participating in the Mass might be. I read something recently about, at least my generation' hungering and thirsting for God in the Mass, in this beautiful sanctified temple, to recieve the Living Bread (I remember one Saint who had a deacon, I think, follow a careless communicant home with a latern because, if the communicant wasn't aware, the saint was certainly aware of Christ in his being.) A generational 'review' might help us to have our senses sanctified once again.

Matthew Hazell said...

In many respects, it's a tricky one. On the one hand, I would very much appreciate a "new" liturgical reform that is more organically connected to the EF; on the other hand, I also appreciate the argument that what we need right now is stability in the liturgy. Hmmm... as I frequently say to my parish priest, perhaps the 1960s wasn't the best time to call an ecumenical Council!

With the question of preparatory prayers before Mass... well, they're before Mass, so I think that they would be fine. It's not quite the same thing, but there are rubrics for integrating the Divine Office with the OF Mass (cf. GILH 93-99).

And the "silent" canon...? Well, GIRM 32 would seem to put paid to that idea for now: "The nature of the 'presidential' parts requires that they be spoken in a loud voice and that everyone listen to them attentively." There's perhaps a discussion to be had about why their "nature" in the OF requires them to be spoken loudly and clearly, when EP I (Roman Canon) surely has the same nature in the EF yet is said sotto voce? I don't really see what's changed in the "nature" - it seems to be a change in the way in which the Eucharistic Prayer is seen rather than the "nature" of the prayer itself. If that's the case, then there's plenty of scope for the Church to legislate differently in the future.

GOR said...

”I have always wondered if it would be a gross violation of the rubrics to turn off the microphones in Westminster Cathedral during the Eucharistic Prayer…

Years ago there was a greater realization of what was happening at the most solemn moment of the Mass – the Consecration - than there is in the Novus Ordo today. From the ringing of the bell at the Sanctus until after the elevation of the chalice, you could hear a pin drop in church.

Though the priest didn’t face the people, everyone’s attention was focused on the Elevations. You were taught to acknowledge the new reality by silently repeating the words of the Apostle Thomas: “My Lord and My God”.

If you hadn’t adverted to the fact of this period of silence, it was brought home to you in Irish churches back then. Once the second Elevation was over, there would be an outbreak of coughing and clearing of throats throughout the church – as people had ‘held it in’ during this most solemn part of the Mass. If someone had to leave after the Consecration and before Communion, they made a double genuflection upon exiting the pew - just as they would during Exposition.

I see little acknowledgment of this in NO Masses today. Many people are seemingly unaware of what is happening at the altar during the Consecration – despite the fact that it is in full view. People are still distracted, looking around - even talking - while the words of the Consecration are being pronounced. Children still run free, having never been taught the significance of what is taking place

The fruits of thinking of the Mass as just a community meal and not a sacrifice…

Sixupman said...

+Edward Slattery [Tulsa] this very morning has been reported as Celebrating Ad Orientem and opining:

"It [the NOM] was a serious rupture ... it is not a dialogue between priest and congregation [as others have stated it is] ... .".

EFpastor emeritus refers to "Litugical Schizophrenia", how right he is with clergy writing their own menus for the "meal".

The man-in-the-pew, in the 60s was told the change was related to the vernacular - which of course was garbage. Because if that was so, then there was no need for a new missal.

I judge Buginini's true intention was the destruction of the TLM, but to do this he had to render all the existing missals redundant. Such was achieved by the New Lectionary.
What on earth does week "x" of year "y" convey as against Advent, Lent, et al - nothing.

Perhaps the various bishops' conferences were secret investors in church furnishers, architects and printers? If so they would have made a bomb.

Friday evening I am attending an NOM in Latin - a Requiem set to Durufle. But, nonetheless, I consider the use of Latin in the NOM a nonsense.

Anonymous said...

The use of Latin in the NOM is nonsense? In what language do you think it was composed? The present English Language Missal is the approved translation of the Latin.l

Fr Dickson said...

Sorry Father, but a fundamental problem with the Ordinary Form is that it was composed by a committee and did not spring from organic renewal; it was “a banal, on-the-spot product” as Cardinal Ratzinger described it. If we were to take up your suggestion of reforming the Missal every 40 years then Bugnini, the Relativists and the Modernists have won; continual liturgical revolution with no place for organic development.

Sixupman said...

Fr. King

I am well aware of its provenance, let me add, to have two rites is equally nonsensical. Therefore to have one in Latin and one in the vernacular would be more logical.

But you know and I know, it is nothing about the language, but it is all about content and intent.

I note it is the only point you raise in regard to my post.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

My recollection of Mass in pre-Vatican II Ireland is the same as GOR's. The 'communal cough' after the second elevation was a far more powerful expression of the mystery of faith than the rushed 'Christ has died ' ' ', which wasn't even in the original Latin, and which seemed to be the only response that many knew.

An Italian priest friend of mine whose congregation's only mission is to the Deaf never signs the words of consecration. He wants the Deaf to have a sense of the awesomeness of what is happening by creating a 'silence'.

Thanks, Father Ray, for your recent posts on the celebration of Mass and for the links to other articles.

Sixupman, I don't think that years 'A, B and C' etc in any way cut across the liturgical seasons. Though the current lectionary isn't perfect it has opened up the Word of God in a way that the EF doesn't. But the dropping of the Octave of Pentecost, for example, was a real impoverishment. Only a few years after the Council the Irish parliament dropped Whit Monday as a bank holiday and replaced it with the June Holiday on the first Monday of that month, with no connection to Pentecost. As far as I know, nobody objected.

And a few years ago, the Irish bishops without consulting anyone dropped both Ascension Thursday, a Biblical feast, and Corpus Christi, a devotional one, at the same time.

Annie said...

" . . . is a priest processing when he is merely walking across the sanctuary because he has left his glasses on the other side . . .?"

A priest who was merely crossing the sanctuary to get his glasses would still genuflect in the pre-Vatican II days. If he was outside of the sanctuary when he was crossing in front of the Tabernacle he would stop in front of it and tip his biretta a little bit before walking on.

ServusMariaeN said...

Some years ago Father Parsons from Australia had an article in "Oriens" regarding what it would take to bring the Pauline Missal more in sync with the Vetus Ordo. It was quite ingenious I must say. I can't find it online anymore. I made a copy of it when it was still available online. He had suggested using the traditional lectionary as an option always available in place of A, B or C. The "Gesimas" could also be an option. As well as the prayers at the foot of the altar, offertory prayers of the Vetus Ordo and the last gospel. I don't know. Any move toward organic development and tradition would be an improvement. It was always my understanding that the 1965 Ordo Missae was sufficed per the reforms of Sacrosanctum Concilium save the lectionary so I don't understand why it's not an option? Even Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society early on used the 1965 Ordo Missae....

ServusMariaeN said...

The truth of the matter is that the Pauline Missal is a 'sacred cow' it is an untouchable because it embodies 'the Council' and while it certainly is permitted in our day to criticize it, it shall remain the very, very 'ordinary form' of the Mass in the Roman rite. Therefore, it is imperative for the salvation of many, many souls that this rather 'ordinary form' be offered with maximum oratory-style ceremonial and in as close a continuity as possible with the vetus ordo, fortified with very orthodox preaching otherwise we are doomed. DOOMED.

The Saint Bede Studio said...

Perhaps the following posts may be also be of interest to readers:





The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...