The spiritual and theological riches of the OF
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    In his writings, pope Benedict XVI alludes to the spiritual and theological riches of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite:
    40. [...] These texts contain riches which have preserved and expressed the faith and experience of the People of God over its two-thousand-year history. (Sacramentum caritatis)

    48. [...] The different Eucharistic Prayers contained in the Missal have been handed down to us by the Church's living Tradition and are noteworthy for their inexhaustible theological and spiritual richness. (Sacramentum caritatis)

    The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal. (Letter to the bishops on the occasion of the publication of Summorum pontificum)

    It made we wonder: what are the ‘spiritual richness and theological depth’ of the Ordinary Form? Do you know of any good, scholarly books or articles that explore the riches proper to the OF? Any suggestions are most welcome!
  • Elmar
    Posts: 237
    What are the ‘spiritual richness and theological depth’ of the Ordinary Form?
    Without any academic background in this field I'd like to suggest the acclamation of the consecration, citing (transformend to the first person plural) 1 Cor. 11,26.
    I've found a homily by pope John Paul II touching on this topic, given on Corpus Christi 2000 during the International Eucharistic Congress in Rome: link in English

    Smvanrode, have you any (verifiable) knowledge on the origin of this acclamation? I've anecdotal evidence that the Latin tekst is actually an almost(!) literal translation of a Dutch original (written by a former priest, still alive, ca.1964) which is still the official tekst of the acclamation in the Dutch translation of the Roman missal, see link in Dutch.
    (BTW will this be adjusted to the Latin wording in the new translation?)
  • Elmar,

    I misunderstood what you had written when I first read it. You don't mean that the consecration is in the plural, but that the acclamation which follows it is in the plural?

    It might be worth exploring the place of the first person plural within the context of the rites of the Church more generally, to understand how this acclamation might be part of the "spiritual richness" or "theological depth" of the Ordinary Form.

    For example, in one translation of the Missal, the Credo began "Credamus", which wasn't richness but poverty, since it was a manifest mistranslation, but the Agnus Dei has had "miserere NOBIS" accurately rendered.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 237
    To clarify (see inside the link):
    "As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes"
    (1 Cor 11: 26) becomes "When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory" in the acclamation (my emphasis).

    Peculiar detail: the Dutch version has the 'we', but the last half sentence remains "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes", without addressing the Lord directly as it is in Latin and English. The Dutch text predates the NO.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 457
    There is a book by Monsenhor Guido Marini, the master of ceremonies of Pope Francis (and I think he already was MC before that?) about the riches of the liturgy. I can't find a reference online, but seem to recall it being titled "Sacred Liturgy" or similar. It was a small book, pamphlet-like, and I can't find it on my shelf either at this moment. But I do recall that when I read it I thought "These are the words of a man who LOVES the Mass." And if only by context he writes about the Ordinary Form.

    I have attached a couple of presentations given by him that I found on my laptop, which seem to cover similar territory about liturgical richness - they are PDF'd from the Vatican website. I suspect further search on that site would turn up more.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    Smvanrode, have you any (verifiable) knowledge on the origin of this acclamation? I've anecdotal evidence that the Latin tekst is actually an almost(!) literal translation of a Dutch original (written by a former priest, still alive, ca.1964) which is still the official tekst of the acclamation in the Dutch translation of the Roman missal, see link in Dutch.
    (BTW will this be adjusted to the Latin wording in the new translation?)


    Elmar, you're probably referring to Huub Oosterhuis (1933), an expelled jesuit and suspended priest, whose troubling hymn texts were once quite popular. I should check your story that the second memorial acclamation – even in the Latin typical text – originates from him. What I know for sure is that at the time the translated Order of Mass was published, the Dutch text was received with some criticism by some, because it didn't adhere to the Latin text (just in the way described: the Lord was not addressed directly in the Dutch text). In the new translation of the Order of the Mass (2014) this text has indeed been much approved: "Telkens als wij dit brood eten en de kelk drinken, verkondigen wij uw dood, o Heer, totdat Gij komt".
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 457
    The Brazilian translations stubbornly remain incorrect, too, in many parts of the Mass. I think most parishioners and even some clergy are totally unaware of it, so it's no longer an act of rebellion but just habit.

    But on the topic, I'd love other recommendations on the original subject.
  • I don't think there are any spiritual and theological riches in the Novus Ordo Missae. It doesn't give grace the way the Traditional Latin Mass of All Time does.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw francis
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,181
    Yes, it gives grace in the same way.

    What it doesn't often do, doesn't do under most parish circumstances, doesn't yet do till the reform of the reform is complete, is easily dispose people to grace through recollection and beauty.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 237
    In the new translation of the Order of the Mass (2014) ... "Telkens als wij dit brood eten en de kelk drinken, verkondigen wij uw dood, o Heer, totdat Gij komt"
    Sounds good! 2014 already ... then we got the new translation of the Lord's Prayer end 2016 as a 'first step' because the new translation of the Mass 'was almost ready but not quite', still waiting for the next step... I disress.

    Oosterhuis published his experimental eucharistic prayer "De onvergetelijke mens" in 1966, which contains the acclamation in question. That was three years(?) before it 'popped up' in the revisions to the Mass proposed by the consilium as the second memorial acclamation.

    Correlation is not causation, but this cannot be mere coincidence; especially as the Dutch text just copied the exact words by Oosterhuis ... of course it was convenient that it was already set to music, and everybody has been singing it like this for eeehm... 54 years now.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    The OF lectionary gives us a much richer understanding of the development of salvation history. And in a language we can understand. The traditional lectionary had very little of the Old Testament, the assertion in the Gospels that Jesus was fulfilling the prophesies is fundamental, but pretty meaningless if you don't hear the prophets.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I don't think there are any spiritual and theological riches in the Novus Ordo Missae. It doesn't give grace the way the Traditional Latin Mass of All Time does.


    It gives grace the same. What it doesn't have is the theater, choreography and elegant costumes of the EF. I will grant there are too many places with priests who do a lousy job of celebrating the OF. That needs to be corrected.

    That "traditional" mass is hardly of all time. It was put together after Trent.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    "elegant costumes" I can still hear clearly the comment of one of our catechumens, a Nigerian lady, as the Archbishop entered in procession at the Rite of Election. 'Ooh! I wish I could afford a material like that to make a dress'.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    From the Diocese of Wenchoster Cathedral Hymn Book:

    Hymns Modern & Ancient

    76: Priests need vestments that are pretty

    (Tune: "Stuttgart" by C. F. Witt. 1660 - 1716)


    ©Pharisaios 2001 Priests need vestments that are pretty,
    So in state they may propel
    Round the altar in procession,
    And the Mass of Rome excel.
    For the Office in the morning,
    Starch-pressed surplice wide in girth,
    Hangs down o'er the full length cassock
    That is just an inch from earth.

    Eastern rites in all their glory
    Make our worship rich and rare,
    Oblivious to all the people,
    Clergy persons make their prayer.

    Sacred host and wine of kingdom,
    Incense getting up your nose;
    Mystic chant of choral anthem
    On a theme by Berlioz.

    Ditching alb for fur-lined cassock,
    Rural clergy bend the knee,
    Trying to keep their butts from freezing
    In the cold Epiphany.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,305
    To get back to the original question:

    Pope Benedict didn't say that the modern Missal contains a lot of added elements of spiritual richness and theological depth that aren't in the older missal. There might be some.

    But I think of that exhortation as running the other way. The modern Missal at least contains many elements of spiritual richness and theological depth that were transmitted unchanged from the old one, and his exhortation to celebrate Mass correctly and beautifully can help priests to convey those goods to the faithful.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    The OF lectionary gives us a much richer understanding of the development of salvation history. And in a language we can understand. The traditional lectionary had very little of the Old Testament, the assertion in the Gospels that Jesus was fulfilling the prophesies is fundamental, but pretty meaningless if you don't hear the prophets.

    The OF and EF lectionary should not really be compared they have different purposes. Other problems include, the E.F. lectionary is part of a bigger picture that includes the rich resources found in the Divine Office. The O.F. lectionary has a problem that the weekday masses not being well attended means the quantity is not a universal experience, so the lack of quality becomes more apparent.

    Far more learned individuals have written about this,
    https://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/2017/07/cardinal-sarah-reconciliation-and.html
    and, most importantly, that has useful tables comparing the texts,
    https://catholiclectionary.blogspot.com
    See the righthand set of links!
    Thanked by 2rich_enough CCooze
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    @CharlesW
    That "traditional" mass is hardly of all time. It was put together after Trent.

    So what Missal were the Canons of Rome using before Trent? It has a striking similarity to the Missal promulgated by Pius V. Including the lack of Sequences!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    After the Charlemagne era influences, Pius V codified many of those influences into his missal. The mass in the days of the western Roman empire was more like mass everywhere else. It was more eastern than what we have come to recognize as the western mass. The mass said by Augustine and St. Patrick was not what is recognized today as the western or Latin Rite mass. You have to remember Rome fell, the civilization completely collapsed and regressed. The mass was affected by that. In the earlier days of the empire, missals were not what we mean by the term. Some like to present the Pius V codifications as being an unbroken line of liturgy back to the earliest days. It didn't quite work that way. In those early times, it becomes less clear how they operated the earlier you go back in time. I will give Pius credit for one thing. He restored order and uniform practices to a church in chaos. Given what has happened since, you can make your own decisions as to whether the church is going forward or backwards.

    I think the biggest problem I have with Trads is that they believe too much of their own hype. Much of what they consider the eternal and time-honored norm such as Benediction - a liturgy, not a devotion - didn't exist before Trent. Likewise for the altar layout and central placement of the tabernacle above the altar. Those who complain about changes after Vatican II really need to look at the aftermath of Trent.
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 794
    To me, the debate between the OF and the EF is like a real estate agent trying to move out of the home I've lived in all my life to a new model, on the grounds that it's new with all the up-to-date accessories, is energy-efficient and easy to maintain, and has a more functional floor plan.

    "Yes," I reply, "but it isn't my home."
    Thanked by 2WGS tomjaw
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 821
    My previous parish priest was quite knowledgeable about Church history. He said that Eucharistic Prayer II goes back to the 200's
  • BHCordova,

    You pastor didn't make the claim that it goes back in unbroken use from the 2nd century to the present, though.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 821
    True, but none of the other Eucharistic Prayers can say the either. He did say it was the oldest known.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    Fr. Hunwicke has written about EP II,
    I would add the briefest and humblest footnote to Mr Sire's admirable demolition of "Eucharistic Prayer II". This prayer is taken from a very ancient Roman prayer by Hippolytus. Except ... current scholarship is convinced that this identification, widely accepted in the 1960s, is completely wrong. The document concerned is less ancient than was thought; did not originate in Rome; and has nothing to do with Hippolytus. Sire's already cogent argument is thus made very much stronger.

    More here,
    https://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/2017/09/hippolytus-or-second-eucharistic-prayer.html
    Also,
    https://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com/search?q=+Eucharistic+Prayer
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    I would not claim that the work on the new lectionary was well done, certainly not irreformably. There are certainly losses, some of them deliberate and contentious omissions. And of course we suffered an impoverished 'interim' translation of the Missal for far too long (and now an unneccessarily clumsy one).
    But what we lost was mainly, and importantly, piety. Largely due to a wholesale failure of celebrants to follow GIRM in its details. [ADDED]And the neglect/suppression of all services and devotions other than Mass.
    BTW I strongly agree with Pope BXVI about the wealth of the Eucharistic Prayers, EPII excepted.
  • On the original question, is it assumed that any theological riches already present in the EF don't count as riches of the OF?
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 457
    I think any commentary I've seen on the riches of the (OF) Mass mostly would apply equally to EF. ie things inherent to the Mass in both forms.

    I do recall one priest I know who celebrated both saying he really liked the silences built into the OF. They aren't frequently used, but one (including the priest) can sit down and be quiet for reflection after the homily and after Communion. He found that a great blessing for his own prayer.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I think those silences are important, too, and have incorporated them whenever possible.
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    I believe that the Second Vatican Council, the General Introduction to the Roman Missal as well as the Magisterium hold that the spiritual and theological richness of the Mass are found in both EF and OF. But I also think that there is a shift in focus, made necessary by the times, culture and a changed Eucharistic experience.

    This weekend, I did some reading and came across a couple of these changes found in the Ordinary Form:
    - more attention to the eschatological dimension of the Eucharist: see the addition of the memorial acclamations (donec venias = 1 Cor 11:26), an addition to the embolism (expectantes beatam spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Iesu Christi = Titus 2:13), an addition to the invitation Ecce Agnus Dei (Beati qui ad cenam Agni vocati sunt = Apoc 19:9), and the daily orations and readings of the first weeks of Advent.
    - a greater emphasis on approaching the Eucharist as a participation in the sacrificium laudis of Christ, next to an adoration of Christ in the realis praesentia.
    - a greater emphasis on the Eucharist giving grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ: see the orations and readings of Lent.

    I also appreciated the observation by a_f_hawkins that the OF lectionary gives us a much richer understanding of the development of salvation history. Eucharistic Prayer IV also comes to mind.

    Again, all these elements are included in both forms, but the Ordinary Form emphasizes different aspects of a shared spirituality and theology.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 153
    - a greater emphasis on approaching the Eucharist as a participation in the sacrificium laudis of Christ, next to an adoration of Christ in the realis praesentia.

    I do like this particularly about the OF. As far as I know, the GIRM was the first to include directives for the posture and actions of the people. Deeper, I think, than the wishy-washy reasoning given for this ("a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the sacred Liturgy,") is that it emphasises the role which the faithful play in the sacrifice. It is "my sacrifice and yours". We are all members of the Royal Priesthood of Christ.
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 178
    @Kathy

    What it doesn't often do, doesn't do under most parish circumstances, doesn't yet do till the reform of the reform is complete, is easily dispose people to grace through recollection and beauty.


    I'm fortunate -or was fortunate before the pandemic- to attend Mass every Sunday (and Wednesdays when I volunteered as an assistant librarian) at a local Benedictine abbey of the Solesmes Congregation, where Mass is in Gregorian chant according to the current Graduale Romanum, and the rest in French plainchant with chanted readings, prayers, responses, Preface + EP. Plus there are reverent silent intervals at the appropriate places. It's very beautiful and releases the full potential of the Ordinary Form Mass. It shows what can be done when the motto isn't read 'em. feed 'em and speed 'em.

    On the other hand sometimes we wax nostalgic about the Tridentine Mass; my spiritual director at the abbey said that when he was a young seminarian serving Mass in the 1950s, abuses were frequent. As server he would chant the responses. The priest zoomed through the Mass so quickly that my SD was just finishing the Sanctus while the priest was already saying the consecration. I'd put our abbey's slow meditative OF to a speed-read EF Mass any day.


    @Tomjaw

    The OF and EF lectionary should not really be compared they have different purposes. Other problems include, the E.F. lectionary is part of a bigger picture that includes the rich resources found in the Divine Office.


    The problem is that the breviary was way out of reach to most laity prior to the Council. The current Liturgy of the Hours encourages lay participation and lay use; I chant it daily (mostly in Latin!). So the ordinary folks in the pews didn't get to see/hear that wider context, except maybe at sung Vespers on Sundays and big feasts in the parish... and that's not where most of the richness of readings would be found (Matins).

    Ora
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    The problem is that the breviary was way out of reach to most laity prior to the Council.

    This really is not true (at least in England), Vespers was celebrated in many churches every Sunday, this was destroyed when Sunday evening Mass was invented. Vespers was a popular service and was followed by Benediction. The small insignificant parish I go to in London, has sets of books covered in dust to sing Vespers (Ratisbonne editions) in a cupboard in the choir loft!

    Terse was usually sung or recited before Sunday Mass in many places, and Lauds is not an unusual thing to see advertised on church bulletins pre 1960. Also pick up one of the hand missals (c.1900-1962) for the laity and you will find Vespers in addition to the Mass Propers. Editions of the 'Day hours in Latin and English' were also popular, Burns and Oates published the edition in my possession in 1914, 1917, 1921, 1928, and 1935.

    The Liturgy of the Hours does not encourage lay use just look at the books. I can follow all the Divine Office day hours in Latin and English for everyday of the year in a book that fits in a pocket, 6" x 3½" x 1½". A similar sized books covers Matins, and is still in print after 100 years!
    My Liber can be used to sing the Little hours, Vespers and Lauds for almost every day of the Year, as well as Mass for almost every day of the year, 7½" x 5" x 2". This book is also still in print and has been in print continuously since around 1900.
    My Antiphonal can be used to sing the complete day hours for the whole year, 8" x 5" x 2". My shelves have large numbers of books publish for the use of the Laity so they could follow the Divine Office, published by a least 6 different commercial publishers! I have missed out the best thing about the Divine Office, I can take my books to France, Germany and Switzerland (and no doubt many other countries and also follow the Office!

    Over 1/3rd of the Catholics I know are following at least part of the Divine Office everyday, most are following the prayers in Latin, some in just English. From surveys of N.O. catholics most do no know the LOTH exists.

    Of course this is in England and we know from research that The Mass and Office were both popular devotions before the Reformation.

    As for comments about badly celebrated E.F. Masses, I can cite the N.O. is badly celebrated in most places!
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen rich_enough
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    It always was "my sacrifice and yours", but they didn't want the plebs to notice that !
    Orate, fratres, et secrete prosequens: ut meum ac vestrum sacrifícium, etc.
    And pray ye, brethren, and then continuing in secret, pray that my sacrifice and yours may be, etc., [evidently Google translate can speak Old Church English]
    Thanked by 2Liam Elmar
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 178
    My Antiphonal can be used to sing the complete day hours for the whole year, 8" x 5" x 2".


    I can do the same with Les Heures Grégoriennes, for the LOTH. I have Latin on one side, and French on the other (I am of francophone origin). The books (3 volumes but you only need one volume at a time) are bigger than 8x5x2, but at least the type is in a size my 62 y.o. eyes can handle. I'm betting that with that smaller book I'd have to get more powerful reading glasses.

    I hang out on Catholic forums and you'd be surprised at the number of laity taking up the LOTH. It's far from zero. Of course as an oblate I've been doing it for quite a while; there are at least 4 of us oblates that actually chant the LOTH in Latin, in fact most of the Catholics I know are oblates so almost all of the Catholics I know pray the Liturgy of the Hours or its monastic equivalent, not 1/3.

    In the old Breviary, Matins is where the longer OT readings would be and the real teaching occurring along with the patristic readings. I doubt very many laity assisted at Matins unless visiting a monastery. I do recite the Office of Readings every day. Moreover the brevity of the new "breviary" has made it possible for me to do the entirety of the Liturgy of the Hours every day. So while the cycle is longer (4 weeks vs 1 week), I get exposure to almost all the psalms with the exception of the unfortunate omissions, and the equally unfortunate designation of some psalms as "seasonal"; but nothing's perfect in life.

    As for comments about badly celebrated E.F. Masses, I can cite the N.O. is badly celebrated in most places!


    Can we assert that the Tridentine Mass was always well-celebrated in all places pre-Council? Was there never bad music (Gregorian chant poorly done is murder on the ears)? Were *all* Masses solemn High Masses, or were most not low Masses, some speed-read in 15 minutes? See my comment from my spiritual director above. Can you say for certain that the disobedient priests of today would suddenly become perfectly obedient if the EF Mass were imposed on them? If you believe that, I have some swampland in Florida for sale. They'd just have more rubrics to break or "innovate" around.

    The problem isn't the OF. The problem is one of discipline, something that imposition of the EF would not magically fix. Not every diocesan priest has the FSSP or ICK priests' devotion to the EF.

    Ora
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 821
    What people tend to forget is that before Amazon.com and the internet, buying liturgical books was very difficult for the laity, especially if you didn't have a Catholic bookstore in your town. Even if you had a Catholic bookstore, it carried bibles, missals, books by Catholic authors, rosaries, religious medals, prayer candles, etc., maybe the Lives of the Saints, and not something as expensive as the Breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Roman Missal, or other liturgical books. Most of the laity had never heard of the Breviary or the Liturgy of the Hours.

    They went to Mass. They prayed the Rosary. Before V II, some even prayed the Rosary at Mass.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    I'm betting that with that smaller book I'd have to get more powerful reading glasses.
    Text height is ⅛" so reasonably readable, I can read it without my glasses and my eyesight is not very good.
    or its monastic equivalent, not 1/3.

    Most people I know are families with very young children so while it is 1/3rd now it will be a lot higher soon. A popular present for the confirmation children is the monastic Diurnal. Gave a copy to my Godson and he was delighted.

    I note that people seem to think with the E.F. in the past most people were having quick Masses, and devotion was poor as an excuse for the N.O. being not a wonderful experience in so many places. All I assert and give evidence that many things worked before the 60's and in many places the Faith was booming, this all came to an end in the 70's, I wonder why?

    As for
    buying liturgical books was very difficult for the laity
    Most churches in England still have their own bookstore, so buying Missals etc. has been easy (for at least 100 years). While these books would have been expensive the sheer number of editions and printings show that people were buying these books, and are still buying these books in reprinted / re typeset versions. It should be remembered that my copy of the "Day hours" would only have been useful for the laity, as a religious bound to say the Office would have to have a copy of the old 4 Vol. Breviary. It would be difficult to avoid Vespers as it would be advertised each week!

    A friend has done some research, and found,
    in 1893 48% of churches in the 'London' part of the Archdiocese of Westminster were singing Vespers on Sundays - quite impressive really.

    https://ordorecitandi.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-happened-to-vespers.html

    I have now looked up my diocese, in 1913 of the 53 Churches (In South London), 18 (34%) had Sunday Vespers, another 9 (17%) had an evening service that possibly included either Vespers or Compline, and another 16 (30%) had evening devotions.
    https://archive.org/details/catholicdirecto1913unse_3/page/392/mode/2up
    I suspect these churches were not empty!
  • smvanroodesmvanroode
    Posts: 766
    It's interesting to have a close reading of Sacrosanctum Concilium to see what problems the Council fathers actually wanted to remedy and which complications made a reform of the liturgy necessary in their view. Fr. Johan te Velde has a great paper on this topic which I encourage everyone to read.

    He identifies six liturgical shortcomings or ‘stagnation factors’ that were on the mind of the Council fathers: reduction of the role of Scripture and preaching, reduced sense of sacramentality and symbolism, legalism and rubricism, reduction of community awareness, clericalization and, finally, weakening of the relationship between liturgy and culture.

    Fr. Te Velde's take on these factors is balanced and nuanced, and certainly did help me to better appreciate (or at least understand) the legitimate reasons for liturgical reform, and distinguish between fruitful reforms and less fortunate innovations. The three spiritual and theological riches of the OF I mentioned earlier all fit within this framework.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    The loss of the devotions & services @tomjaw lists was a grievous blow to piety, but occured before the Council. That is a reflection of the priorities of the clergy in the fifties
    Between being instructed, at 11, in the structure and rubrics of the Mass, and 1963, I participated in about 1500 celebrations, about 600 as server at weekday Low Mass at a side altar in Ealing Abbey. What was very noticeable was the variation among monks. Some rattled through faster than I could speed read, one stood out for his care and deliberation. Years later the obituary of the latter said "for him the Mass was the still point of a turning world", and I thought ¡exactly!
    I never saw anything worse than gabbling, which was of course inaudible to the congregation. However the girl who became my wife related that in central Dublin on a weekday, she had gone to a Mass at which, as the celebrant proceeded to the altar a fellow friar ascended into the pulpit and lead a rapid fire rosary throughout, except for a pause and genuflection at the consecration.
  • Paul F. Ford
    Posts: 806
    Steven, I can’t thank you enough for referring to the essay by Johan te Velde, OSB, in Questions liturgiques.

    I don’t know how I missed it.

    Paul
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    Can we assert that the Tridentine Mass was always well-celebrated in all places pre-Council? Was there never bad music (Gregorian chant poorly done is murder on the ears)? Were *all* Masses solemn High Masses, or were most not low Masses, some speed-read in 15 minutes?


    I remember some priests competing to see who could say the mass fastest. Some of them could really rap it out to the point it could be hard to understand. I also remember priests waiting until one minute after midnight Friday night to go to a popular restaurant for hamburgers. There were always rules and regulations and always priests who were good at getting around them.
    Thanked by 1OraLabora
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    There were two or three monks celebrating at 7:30, there would have been three or four celebrating at 7:00, and the temporary sacristy was small. But I never saw any evidence that the sacristan was pressed for time in tidying away and laying out in the gap between them. In fact I hardly ever saw him then, he had gone for breakfast before I arrived.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 821
    When I was an altar server, we had a couple of priests that competed as to how fast they could get a wedding done. One bragged he had done one in 7 minutes. When they said Mass, it never lasted a full hour.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 457
    I would guess the proportion of people who don't take great care with their duties is the same in many contexts, no? Human nature being what it is.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,816
    To disparage our sacred rites by blaming the erroneous who abused them seems rather like kissing the Christ in the Garden.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CCooze
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 794
    Can we please - please - lay to rest the strawman that anyone thinks every mass was perfect before 1963? Or that anyone thinks an "imposition" of the EF (who's arguing for this?) would "magically" change every priest into a saint?

    And I never understood how priests saying the mass badly back in the day made revising the entire rite wholesale a good idea (by that logic the current rite shouldn't have been scrapped long ago). And if the real problem is discipline, it's hard to see how a less disciplined liturgical regime helped any.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 821
    My understanding is that, in the 1950s, Mass attendance in Europe was on the decline, even though many in the U.S. consider this period the Golden Age of Catholicism. The idea was by using the vernacular it would increase Mass attendance.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,975
    many in the U.S. consider this period the Golden Age of Catholicism
    By their fruits shall ye know them.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    @bhcordova

    Don't know about Mass attendance in Europe but in England we have massive rises in baptisms and ordinations in the 1950's....
    https://lms.org.uk/statistics
    and
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/55776120@N08/sets/72157633478538615
    Now the 1960's onwards well...
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • BHCordova,

    Thank you for that anecdote demonstrating my observation about boredom in another thread. There may not have been any boredom, but the attitude of the cognoscenti was "they're not here, and we want them, so we have to entice them".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,510
    I know that when the sixties hit, the world and the church had become rather chaotic. The younger folks wanted nothing to do with what their parents did. The infamous "pill" came along, which I think undercut church authority and practice far more than any liturgical changes. It tampered with the family, which had been the bedrock of the church. People were restless and I think political unrest, changing roles, and weak of knee leadership added to the chaos. I lived through all of it. Latin masses wouldn't have made much difference, that being another thing many folks were ready to jettison. Add some misguided ecumenism to the mix. Too many of our priests looked at the Protestants down the street with their large salaries, new buildings, flourishing social programs, and large parking lots always full and were simply envious. That didn't work out too well, did it? In the formation and education of the new priests at the time, social work was heavily promoted. Is it any wonder that so many were good social workers but bad priests? This could have been a reason a number of them left the priesthood.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,837
    @CharlesW
    Latin masses wouldn't have made much difference, that being another thing many folks were ready to jettison.

    Once again England and Wales provided an exception, the names on this list should make people think!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie_indult
    Of course Cardinal Heenan said at the time,
    "At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children."

    He has been proved right as our churches have been emptied of men... well apart from those that still celebrate the TLM.

    To go even further off topic I found this rather interesting,
    https://stream.org/atheists-in-praise-of-christianity/