Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Manual on the Mass

It seems as if the principles expressed in Joseph Ratzinger's 'Sprit of the Liturgy' might actually achieve some concrete form. Cardinal Antonio Cañizares announced earlier this week that the CDW are preparing a manual to help priests celebrate Mass properly. It should be published in the summer.

He reiterated the importance Vatican II gave to the liturgy, "whose renewal must be understood in continuity with the Tradition of the Church and not as a break or discontinuity." "God wants to be adored in a concrete way and it's not up to us to change it."

Interestingly he said that the Council did not speak of the priest celebrating Mass facing the people, that it stressed the importance of Christ on the altar, reflected in Benedict XVI's celebration of the Mass in the Sistine Chapel facing the altar. This does not exclude the priest facing the people, in particular during the reading of the word of God. He stressed the need of the notion of mystery, and particulars such as the altar facing East and the fact that the sacrificial sense of the Eucharist must not be lost.

Since the earliest days of this Pontificate there have been rumour upon rumour coming from the CDW about a document that would bring in some conformity in the celebration of the Mass and "outlaw" the worst excesses, and introduce some sense of continuity with the Missal of the Blessed John XXIII, the Mass of the Council.

The problem is there has been so much dithering over the last forty years from the CDW it seems quite unlikely a single document will even be noticed, every priest has "his" own way of celebrating Mass, which presumably reflects "his" own theology, and we have accustomed our people to mawkish sentimentality in the liturgy, that a move away from it will be tough battle. The alternative is that the personal tastes of priest, and of "liturgical directors" alienate the faithful.

I was watching the video below, I am not sure that my own faith would be strong enough to cope with either the music or the "liturgical" action, in fact I think it would have me running from the Church. Bad liturgy costs souls!


Amfortas said...

I once served mass gor Archbishop Kelly as a conference at Keble College, Oxford. He came across as demanding and a stickler for form. But for some reason he allows this sort of pagan show business nonsense to take place in his cathedral.

Matthew said...

Dear Father, When I saw the title of this piece I thought for a moment that Fawlty Towers had invaded your space. Then I started reading and realised it was about what we English call a Handbook (or manuAl).

Physiocrat said...

One of the advantages of the EF is that it guarantees protection against the quirky tastes of priests and musical directors. It is a consistent "product".

The disadvantages are that people are not used to it and that it can engender feelings of superiority amongst those attending. Some priests who celebrate the EF often like to remind their congregations at those Masses that the OF is a perfectly valid and licit liturgy. One can understand why.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The reasons for spellin manual manuel:

I/ the Cardinal is Spanish
2/ (Em)Manuel = God with us
3/ if we can be Relativist about theology why be rigourist about spelling?

Even so I am not adverse to change!

Mick said...

Another good quote from you Father !

"Bad Liturgy costs Souls!" - I May use this myself, with due reference to you Father !

It's up there with Fr. Z's Liturgical strapline.

Surely it's about time SOME things were MANDATED

Gigi said...

Oh dear. I would never profess to know much about liturgy, although I want to know... I do love dance though and have studied various genres... I also appreciate emotive and uplifting music; again, across the genres... All these dotdotdots are here because I really don't know what to make of this. It doesn't feel like worship. It doesn't feel informative, or enlightening. I felt sorry for the poor woman trying to get back to her seat. I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Gigi said...

Erm, my comment was concerning the "Liturgical Dance" at Liverpool Cathedral BTW, not the proposed CDW manual. Just in case I confused anyone further.

Anonymous said...

My wife still retains sympathy for the Protestantism she converted from, but she don't have no truck with bad liturgy and if she saw something like this video, she'd by sobbing in pews at the triviality.

It reminds me of someone who said he once took a Protestant friend to an TLM Mass and the friend was horrified at the reverence given to the Eucharist. Later, he was somehow persuaded to go to your typical modern liturgy. He was no longer horrified: It was obvious no one believed it.

Anonymous said...

Bad Liturgy costs Souls!" - I May use this myself, with due reference to you Father !

Beat you to it. I already posted on my blog and spammed it on the YouTube. May it go viral.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted. The principles of the New Liturgical Movement – or, if you like, the best of the Old*, which our Pope clearly supports (for instance, his splendid ad orientem Pauline Mass for the Baptism of the Lord, or the Benedictine Arrangement - I have a picture somewhere of a vers. pop. Mass from the ‘40s or '50s (I think)** which is magnificent and as good as unrecognisable compared with the typical abuses) need to be formally set out and mandated. The excellent practice, the 'mutual enrichment', to use a delightful phrase of Fr. Hunwicke's, of our Pontiff, if I may, at the Oratories, at SS. Gregory and Augustine (Oxford), at St Birinius Dorchester, with yourself Father, of the Pauline Mass with Tridentine practices is not mandatory; and it ought to be!

I might add that, notwithstanding Bugnini and the rabid liberals, most of the Council Fathers could not have supported the abuses we have seen. Nothing in Sacrosanctum Concilium calls for them (nor indeed for the Pauline Mass - I attend it, according to 'reform of the reform' principles, but much of the splendour and the richness of, for instance, the Tridentine Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Offertory prayers (and a good deal else)is lost). I rather think the goal of the reforms is a new Missal akin to that of 1965***, which more than accomplishes all of the decrees of Sancrosanctum Concilium, the best of the Old Liturgical Movement and is quite splendid - I do not think there would be a 'traditional' movement, much less an SSPX, if this sort of thing were the 'normative' Mass - a goal I can thoroughly support.

Dear me, this is an essay! Fr. Ray, please don’t post this if it’s too long!

* For instance, the splendid Dialogue Mass, with even the SSPX supports, or Fr. Faber’s support of congregational singing.



Jim said...

Amazing Grace as Post Communion? Isn't that specifically forbidden.
The ladies had spent some time rehearsing their running and leaping.

But there's nothing here for men.
How about a drill display from the local TA unit?
Maybe at the Offertory Procession to make it a bit more crisp.

Anonymous said...

NB - The old nota bene - I ought to add to my post I DO NOT advocate the Tridentine Mass being suppressed after any 'reform-of-the-reform' Missal!

John Kearney said...

But surely Liverpool Cathedral was built for show business and here we hae the show biz people making good use of the space. The tragedy is that Liverpool as an Archdiocese has lost more Catholics than any other, and those who do these performances and the priests who encourage them do not seem to care, just as long as they are enjoying themselves.

ServusMariaeN said...

I'm in complete agreement with Patrick Gray. The 1965 Ordo Missae I think fulfilled the requests of Sacrosanctum Concilium save perhaps the lectionary part. Father Parsons from Australia some years ago that advocated a use of the traditional lectionary for "YEAR A" which could be used at anytime and then putting the remainder together into the other cycles.. My problem is that I like most Catholics this Sunday and every Sunday will be faced with a hermeneutic of rupture: Gregorian chant and/or polyphony NOT being given pride of place.......altar girls........a plethora of lay EXTRAORDINARY ministers of holy communion....communion in the ad orientem....a lib liturgies.......heterodox and heretical statements and homilies...

We need a leader who is a reformer rather than an academic. leading by example is fine but unless there are strict measures enforced this reform of reform will go no where.

Uncle Blobb said...

Would you agree, Father, that bad Church architecture also costs souls?

Physiocrat said...

Faith does not depend on the quality of the liturgy, architecture and music. We should always be clear about this.

But... the manner in which the liturgy is conducted, and its architectural setting, are a comment about faith and there is the old saying "Lex orandi lex credendi".

So there whilst there is an urgent need for better quality, we need to hold in mind the underlying truths of faith that are almost buried by bad quality. For some people they will be an obstacle and for that reason it is inexcusable. We also need to be patient. The reform of the reform is not to be rushed.

Anonymous said...

I, as I said, attend a Mass said according to the 'reform of the reform' , hence I find the abuses at Liverpool atrocious. However, I hope it is one of the last of this sort of thing. The New Liturgical Movement is gathering quite rapidly in pace.

Servusmarien - I don't see ad orientem as necessary. Certainly, in churches where there is an intact high altar from prior to the council (where it has not been brought forward) ad orientem should be encouraged, but it has never been, for instance, at certain of the Roman churches and basilicas. I think I may be one of the few traditionalists (in most people's eyes, not traditional at all) who thinks it is not always preferable and that a reverent versus populum is thoroughly to be encouraged, both being permitted in the ’65 Missal and in the Pauline Mass. Vide that picture from the '40s. The ‘steps’ of the altar have been retained (as they ought to have been) so that the altar is elevated quite high - as at St Peter's and at St Caecilia in Trastevere - so that the priest seems to speak for (and with) the congregation not to them, in the best of the Old Liturgical Movement, a sense of splendour befitting the Sacrifice of the One True Church. So does the placing of the choir, the correct placing if the sedilia and throne, the Benedictine arrangement. The vestments, tester, frontal, sedilia and throne are fitting. It is also clearly, in a way I can’t express, a sacrifice. One thinks of the ancient Jews going up to the mountain to sacrifice to the Lord God - introibo ad altare Dei.

If you’d forgive me quoting:

''Here we see the Mass offered ad Deum, even as the altar is turned versus populum. Here we learn that many of the reforms which the Liturgical Movement leaders presented to the Council fathers were intended to be made with a hermeneutic of reform in mind...not in a hermeneutic of discontinuity, as was often the case in actual practice.''

Apart from that, I quite agree with you! The decrees of the Council, or rather, how, until recently, they have been wholesale ignored, on Latin and Gregorian chant is especially galling.

Returning to the blog post, you might find this interesting:
I dare say Fr. Ray has read it, but the great scandal of the liturgical debacle is not the Liturgical Movement, nor the liturgical documents of the Council which show the splendid principles of the Liturgical Movement, that return to the Medieval, to Gregorian Chant, for instance , but rather how they have been misrepresented, overridden and ignored by Bugnini and men of his ilk who love to boast of the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’, which oddly is quite at odds with the texts.

Goodness me I’m going on again. I ought to start a blog for this
Please reject this spiel if you want to Father!

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

" whose renewal must be understood in continuity with the Tradition of the Church and not as a break or discontinuity...God wants to be adored in a concrete way and it's not up to us to change it."

I heard on that there is nothing, nada, zip, about making Mass a little closed circle of self-congratulation post the Holy Sacrifice I.e. priesties and peepies all smilies during munchies and sing-songies - yet interpreters (given authority by..?) managed to make so much of little or nothing and turn the hearts and mind of a generation of bishops towards bowing to peer pressure - Christ did not suffer bullys gladly - when the Church does,something is amiss.

God Bless the 'hardliner' Pope who is upsetting the 'peer pressure' politically correct and soulfully inept politicos.

ServusMariaeN said...

Klaus Gamber states: “We can say and convincingly demonstrate that neither in the Eastern nor the Western Church was there ever a celebration versum populum – rather, there was only the practice of turning towards the East while praying. Martin Luther was the first person to demand that the priest at the altar face the people.”

I don't argue that recollected, reverent versus populum celebrations of Mass are not good. However, the cult of personality almost always makes its way into the celebration. I also find it problematic that most priests celebrate Mass with their back to Jesus in the tabernacle. The continued notion that versus populum is a fruit of Vatican II is also reinforced by its continuation. I just find it very problematic.

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

P.S. 'peer' - one that is of equal standing with another :

when did, in the 'mind' of the Church, Protestantism (JH Newman remarked how these Protestantisms are named after mortal and fallible men, much like the early schools of gnoticism) marxism, comaparitive religion, humanism etc. etc become 'peers', with Christ and the work of the Paraclete?

when sinners seek, knock and ask, they're looking for what Princess Bertha in Augustine's day was seeking, what Chaucer understood as salvation, what Dante understood, what the Makars Henryson and Dunbar understood, and what anyone not cowtowed by the 'pressure' of anti-Christly 'peerages' understands despite recent catchesis.

Anonymous said...

Bad liturgy, bad music, bad architecture all contribute to obscuring or trivializing sacred truths. Take sanctus bells. This is usually one of the first things progressives want to get rid of. At another blog I was reading an account of a conversation with a priest that got rid of them. After being pressed a little, he blurted it out: he didn't want sanctus bells because "nothing special happens at the consecration". Anyone with even a mustard-seed size amount of faith should be pulling their jaws off the floor at such a shocking statement. Remember that the next time you get the "It's no big deal." or, "Our Lord doesn't really care about those things." It's baloney because they are trying to change the theology by monkeying around with the liturgy. Don't fall for it.

gemoftheocean said...

Fr. Ray - please promise us, if you are ever in such a gathering where liturgical dancers show up -- PLEASE pull out a cigarette and light one up. You'd immediately pull focus and the dancers would have apoplectic diva fits.

JARay said...

I turned the video off after two minutes. I just couldn't stand any more of it. I see that the Pope is saying that disunity amongst christians is one of the worst sins. If the C of E ever fully re-unites with us can we sell off that wigwam and use the other Cathedral instead?

Pétrus said...


No matter what sort of liturgical abuse is being conducted our Lord is still present in the tabernacle.

Due reverence should always be observed.

ServusMariaeN said...

Ratzinger on Why the Priest Should Not Face the People During Mass:

"The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is locked into itself. The common turning toward the East was not a "celebration toward the wall"; it did not mean that the priest "had his back to the people": the priest himself was not regarded as so important. For just as the congregation in the synagogue looked together toward Jerusalem, so in the Christian Liturgy the congregation looked together TOWARD THE LORD." (Spirit of Liturgy, ch. 3)

Unknown said...

I wonder at times if part of the problem is a spurious search for beinf 'relevent'. saddly we get caught up in being relevent to us rather than God. this ultimately is secularism. I can not see a place for dance in the sacred liturgy, after all it just puts 'us' at the centre, no we must place Christ at the centre, and recapture a true sense of the mass being the 'Source and Summit'.

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