I was musing this morning, on the way into work, on the implications of Universae Ecclesiae, and especially over these comments from “our man in Rome” (as we ecumenists call Cardinal Kurt Koch):
“However, because a new liturgical reform cannot be decided theoretically, but requires a process of growth and purification, the Pope for the moment is underlining above all that the two forms of the Roman rite [the Ordinary and the Extraordinary] can and should enrich each other,” he said.
It is fairly obvious, thought I, how an increased familiarity with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (aka the Traditional Latin Rite, or the rite according to the Missal of 1962) might positively affect the celebration of the Ordinary Form (aka the Novus Ordo, or the Mass of Paul VI). Not quite so obvious how it might happen the other way around.
Nevertheless, I thought I could identify a couple of points, and that it would be a good topic for a blog post (Nb. apologies for there not being a lot of commentary on this blog the last week or so – a bit busy round the house).
However, Fr Z. got to it before me, and you can read his musings here.
Fr Z’s correspondent writes about how he celebrates the Extraordinarly Form liturgy differently because of his familiarity with the Ordinary Form. Less rigidity and more awareness that this is a “priest and people” activity. Not surprisingly, my point of view is from the other side of the altar rail (yes, there ARE altar rails in the Extraordinary Form).
I wasn’t around in 1962, and wasn’t even Catholic until 2001, so I don’t have any personal memory of this. But I have heard plenty of stories about what the liturgy was like before the Council. It is important to keep in mind that the horror story stories liturgists tell their children around campfires didn’t begin with the reforms. I recently heard about a guitar-toting singing group that would sing “Soul of my Saviour” to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” – during the Sunday Low Mass.
I suspect that – from the lay participant’s point of view – the Extraordinary form as it is now conducted by devotees all over the world has been affected by the Novus Ordo in the following ways:
1) The familiarity that most of us have with the Novus Ordo helps us lay people to gain familiarity with the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. Because the Novus Ordo is fairly simple and “streamlined”, we have developed a fairly good sense of the “shape” of the mass. When we come to the Mass in the Extraordinary Form, therefore, we are not lost in the baroque liturgical forest (as sometimes happens when newcomers attend, for eg., an Eastern Rite liturgy). The clear shape of the Roman Rite in the Ordinary Form acts as a kind of “map” to orientate oneself to the rather more interesting and feature-packed landscape of the Extraordinary Form.
2) Because of this, we lay people come to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass with the expectation that we will be involved. This might mean actively, eg. by joining in the songs that the Choir sings at Mass, such as the Gloria, the Sanctus etc. But I have in mind the prayerful involvement that comes when we are engaged in what is going on. Lay worshippers at the Extraordinary Form these day will be paying attention to the Latin prayers and following attentively the actions of the priest. As in the past, lay participants in the Extraordinary Form will certainly be praying during the liturgical action, but they will either be following the Latin along in their booklets and praying the English in their hearts, or engaging in personal prayer that is appropriately connected with the action and prayer of the priest at the altar.
It isn’t that the characteristics – far less the rubrics and practices – of the Novus Ordo have been imported upon the Extraordinary Form. It is simply that today, as lay people, we come to the Extraordinary Form with expectations arising from our experience of the Ordinary Form. We come, as the Second Vatican Council wanted us to, not just to “attend” Mass, but to participate fully, consciously and actively in the Liturgy.