Doing the Novus Ordo Mass so well we wouldn't need a universal indult for the Tridentine Rite

I published this as a comment to the blog below, but thought that I would post it as a main entry for all to see, since it is one of my most dearly held opinions regarding the liturgy.

Tony had stated that

if the Missal of Paul VI is celebrated with care and devotion, showing its continuity with what has gone before, but retaining the much needed reforms it offers, then calls for the Tridentine Mass will die a natural death.

Anonymous had replied that

It is difficult to see how the Novus Ordo, so chopped up that it looks as if a child designed it, could ever be beautiful.

I answered as follows:
I agree with Tony and disagree with Anonymous. One of the things the Holy Father stresses in Sacramentum Caritatis is that there is beauty in the noble simplicity of the rite itself. eg. paragraph 40:

The simplicity of its gestures and the sobriety of its orderly sequence of signs communicate and inspire more than any contrived and inappropriate additions. Attentiveness and fidelity to the specific structure of the rite express both a recognition of the nature of Eucharist as a gift and, on the part of the minister, a docile openness to receiving this ineffable gift.

Certainly the Old Mass is not evil, but it is not the Ordinary Universal Rite of the Catholic Church. For better or for worse, the Rite of Paul VI is what we’ve got.

But there are, as Benedict points out, discrepencies between the way in which this rite is performed today and what was envisaged by the Second Vatican Council. Although he makes the point specifically in relation to large-scale masses, nevertheless his point holds that it would be “in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council” if “with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, [the liturgy] could be celebrated in Latin.”

Thus it is perfectly legitimate (and simply requires papal and episcopal encouragement) to celebrate the Novus Ordo mass:

1) ad orientam
2) in Latin (as suggested above)
3) receiving Communion kneeling
4) with full Gregorian chant

I am not suggesting that this should be done at all or even most masses, but it could be done at some masses.

My guess is that if this were the practice, the demand for the Rite of Pius V would disappear overnight.

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4 Responses to Doing the Novus Ordo Mass so well we wouldn't need a universal indult for the Tridentine Rite

  1. Bruce says:

    I don’t know if it would disappear overnight, but it might encourage those who prefer the old rite to not harp so much about the new one. I attend both, and, on occasion have been greatly ministered to at a Novus Ordo Mass. But usually, I am disappointed, for various reasons.

    There is often a lack of reverence by the priest. This can occur in several ways, from making up things as he goes to wandering all over the church to meet and greet folks attending. Casual comments made throughout often detract from what we are doing there in the first place.

    The laity on the other side, are often just as casual. Casual dress, from being quite immodest, to ragged looking, clothes with quite worldly sayings on them, all manner of things. Not showing reverence at all, by not genuflecting or barely acknowledging it is Jesus in the sacrament. Even talking on cell phones on occasion.

    I realize that a priest, via the Church, can only ask of his congregation what the Church herself requires. We can become modern day pharisees, overly scrupulous. Then our hearts are far away from God.

    The Mass done well and reverently would be a good start though, no matter which rite is used.

  2. Schütz says:

    Hi Bruce, nice to hear from you again.

    There has been quite an argument going on in the comments to my blog “Disappointment with Sacramentum Caritatis” between Tony and “Anonymous” (see here
    ) in which I side with Fr Tony (good Anglican that he is).

    Your own experience helps me to undertstand what this is about. It makes clear to me that what is being compared generally is the Novus Ordo Mass done badly and the Pian Rite (to give it it’s correct title) done well. Anonymous seems to think it is more than that, but I am challenging him to tell me what it is that he thinks makes the Novus Ordo unacceptable–unless he is one of these who thinks that it is an invalid rite, in which case he is no Catholic.

    The Papal liturgies in St Peter’s at Christmas and Easter bear almost no resemblence to what takes place in our local parish, yet it is exactly the same rite that is being followed. Moreover, I would guess that the Paul VI mass done in this fashion is vastly superior and more dignified than anything that local parishes ever experienced pre-Vatican II.

  3. Tony Bartel says:

    “Fr Tony (good Anglican that he is)”

    No. I am actually a very bad Anglican. I am not very good at fudging on difficult issues, My bishop chides me for wanting clarity when I should simply be willing to live with the messiness of life. Unfortunately, it is the messiness of life (and what choice do we have but to live with it) that propels me to seek clarity.

  4. Bruce says:

    Perhaps when the faithful in the U.S. get a good translation, there will be some equality between the two rites. The prayers and even Scripture readings in the old rite (Pian Rite) seem to better express what the Church wants said. Having come from the Reformed tradition to the Catholic Faith, I never experienced a pre-Vatican II Mass. My own parish has a high solemn mass every Sunday, and it is most times done exceedingly well. I recently spent two weeks in Manila, and attended Mass at a local church, built in 1620. It was a five minute walk from my hotel. The reverence during Mass was far better overall than what I usually have observed in the States. This is probably an over simplification and generalization I am sure. And to be quite honest, I don’t go to Mass to see how others behave. My own heart has enough to deal with without beating up on someone else.

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