Mass-ive improvement in eight easy steps?

Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith offer eight tips for celebrants that he believes will improve Mass.

Some of these strike me as good; none of them strikes me as terrible (though I wonder if 5 and 6 are in conflict with each other). What do others think?

PS

I also note that he mentions at the outset two things that have cropped up in recent posts: the “compendium” (or whatever it is) on celebrating Mass that is forthcoming from the CDWS and the practice of priest (or deacons) going to Mass “disguised” as laymen.

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93 comments

  1. The priest should turn up in good time.

    Corollary from my previous parish: before the entrance procession, the priest prayed with the lector, altar servers, and EMHCs that our celebration of Mass would be particularly fruitful.

    When you preach, it really is not a good idea to go on too long.

    I wonder if we have a problem with the quality of preaching, a problem with our attention span, or a combination of the two. Some of the sermons of the Church Fathers are a bit lengthy. I think I would be able to pay attention to (and retain) a longer homily that was on-point and well delivered.

    Do we need [bidding prayers] in the week? I doubt it.

    I wouldn’t be too sure about that; in fact, I might make the gross generalization and say that people who are coming to daily Mass are more likely to care about those intentions than the Sunday-only Mass-goers.

    Do not leave [mandatory — JXP] bits of the Mass out.

    There, Fritz; fixed that for you. 😉

    When celebrating Mass, look at God, not at the people, especially not at the strangers in Church.

    Look at God where? Ignore the presence of God in the congregation? And there are certainly parts of the Mass where the priest should look at the people, such as when he is speaking to them. What are you going to do, preach a homily to the tabernacle?

    1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #1:

      I wonder if we have a problem with the quality of preaching, a problem with our attention span, or a combination of the two. Some of the sermons of the Church Fathers are a bit lengthy.

      If you’re going to go over 7 minutes – well, maybe 10 at the outside – you had better be very, very good at giving a homily.

      Some of the Church Fathers were, by most accounts, very, very good. I’d listen quite eagerly to Chrysostom for an hour. But I think most priests would be best advised to keep it short and to the point. Especially because – let’s be frank – attentions spans are shorter than they used to be.

      Fr. Jack is dead on, I think: “The length should have everything to do with whether the bishop, priest, or deacon actually has the gift of preaching.”

  2. Looking at God in prayer might mean not establishing eye contact with the congregation as though it is a prayer “proclaimed” to them. If the priest’s chair is to the side, make sure it is angled to the side and not confrontational to the congregation, have a small crucifix on the altar when facing the people and make that the focus of the eyes of the priest or simply pray ad orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist–eye contact for the readings and homily though would be important in my book.

    Other things I would suggest would be a clean and IRONED alb not to mention chasuble and other liturgical linens and clean hands free of yellow stains from smoking cigarettes or cigars and no dark marks on the mouth from chewing snuff! And cigarette odors are more pronounced and offensive today since it is not allowed in public enclosed places as in the past and the smell on people who do smoke is kind of nauseating.

  3. I have some ideas along these lines:

    Provide a catechesis on reverence defined as the many ways we show our love and devotion to God and neighbor while at worship. This should offer the option of bowing or genuflecting. There are people who can’t genuflect because of physical limitations, show them how to bow reverently instead. Inform them that the bow or genuflection may be made towards the altar or the tabernacle. Better to bow well than those ridiculous looking half or quarter genuflections ones sees so often. We may wish to consider instructing the assembly to bow towards the altar when the priest does so on the way out of church.

    As for preaching. The length should have everything to do with whether the bishop, priest, or deacon actually has the gift of preaching. If not, keep it mercifully short. Attention spans have a great deal to to with what people are being asked to pay attention to. My homilies are often as long as 15 minutes. When I notice little kids leaning forward and paying attention, and never notice people nodding off, I figure I’m on the right track. I also preach with an expectation of interaction in terms of nods of the head or smiles. This is not a classroom instruction.
    I love to participate in Mass while on vacation as if I were just another worshipper. It’s a great way to not forget from whence I came.

  4. How about this instead: It’s Not About You.*

    * Nor Is It Just About Them, Nor Is It Just About God. It Is Not An It But A Who.

  5. I love the way the photo at the top of the piece shows a priest “scrubbing out the chalice” at the altar, a disedifying practice which should be the subject of immediate censure. (Cf. GIRM 163, and especially 183 and 279, also Celebrating the Mass 214 (Conference of E&W).

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #5:

      Honest question – Why is that disedifying? My initial impression is that it just reflects a concern for the real presence, but I stand to be corrected.

      Further, the action in the photo would seem to be covered by the “and dries the chalice with a purificator” part of GIRM 163. Though it does seem any “scrubing” proper is supposed to be done on the Credence Table, rather than the Alter.

  6. A “don’t” for the clergy that was missed: No “pre-homily”. Yes, the missal allows for a brief “these and other words” between the sign of the cross and the confiteor. Some priests turn this into a three minute extemp sermon. Better to just say the brief invocation printed in the missal. This brief introduction creates more time for the sermon proper.

  7. Real Improvement in Four Challenging Steps

    1.The 15- 30 Minutes before and after Mass : Catholic Parishes are simply not as good at being communities as Protestant congregations; Catholics want them to be more communal; the research has shown that congregations in which people spend more than thirty minutes before and after the worship service are perceived as being better communities. The half hour before Mass and after Mass should be seen as prime time for a variety of “come early, stay late activities” to meet the needs of the parish and encourage social networking.

    2. Congregational Singing In the ND study of parishes congregational singing was strongly supported but almost half the people did not like the hymns in their parishes. Poor congregational singing is a constant problem in many parishes. There should be cards at each Mass on which those in the congregation who want to sing can express their views on what they liked and what they were able to sing These cards should be regularly tabulated and reviewed at least quarterly at open parish meeting in which those who want to sing in the congregation get to discuss and vote on the music at Mass. These should be attended by the pastor and pastoral council.

    3.Bible Study and Homilies While we have much more scripture at Mass and more and more Catholics have begun to study the readings, we don’t learn that much about the Gospel of Luke during the year of Luke etc. Even good homilies go off on tangents that are not very biblical. The Little Rock Scripture Study is a very fine program that meets in small and large groups that can be led by laity in the parish. The Gospel of Luke can be easily covered in the Fall so that people will have a background for the readings that begin in Advent. Priests, deacons and pastoral staff should become involved in such Fall Bible studies and use them to prepare homilies and liturgies in advance that give us deeper insights into the Gospels of the following liturgical year.

    4. At least one sung Eucharist Prayer and/or Sung Mass per Sunday Catholics still turn out for Christmas and Easter; they arrive early for seats, and they stay there until the Mass is ended (there is not the Mass exodus after communion). We give people high quality liturgies on those days. We should give people the option of at least one very high quality liturgy (like Christmas and Easter) each weekend instead of just “ordinary stuff”.

    What I have proposed is what Vatican II wanted (community, participation, scripture, worthy celebration) and what any evangelization that will bring people back rather than alienating them demands.

    This article is banal self satisfied clericalism whose underlying assumption seems to be that if only his fellow clergy followed his simple easy tips then everything would be fine.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #8:

      Jack: the research has shown that congregations in which people are spend more than thirty minutes before and after the worship service are perceived as being better communities.

      I am not sure if some parishes would appreciate socialization before Mass. I was brought up to kneel or sit quietly and “wait for the bell to ring”. I would not be surprised if not a few other adult Catholics were taught similarly. Socialization before Mass might alienate persons who are accustomed to silence before worship. I strongly agree with you that activities after Mass (such as coffee hour) are an excellent way to build a parish.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #9:

        Ideally Jordan, I would have in the church something like a fifteen minute version of the liturgy of the hours before Mass, I would have the chapel of reservation located elsewhere so that people can come there for private adoration, and I would locate a Marian shrine elsewhere where people could assemble for the rosary before Mass. I would have another room where people might meet a half hour before and or after Mass to discuss the readings. We don’t all have to be doing the same thing at the same time to be a community! A community is a place where a lot of things are going on at the same time.

      2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #10:

        I like your ideas very much. Your ideas are certainly much better than staring blankly or fiddling with change for the offertory. Eastern Christians arrive at any time during Matins. Not much is thought of it so long as the person is reverent and participates. If a person desires silence before Mass, he or she could go to the reservation chapel.

        I would certainly enjoy participating in Sunday Lauds before Mass, for example, but certainly there should be a much shorter Mass as an option. Still, I agree that there should be another activity for those who go to a shorter Mass.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #12:

        Jordan,

        Realize that I am thinking in terms of the range of large parish churches with which I am familiar which range from some of the largest in our diocese to mid range. The reality is that most of the parishes smaller than mid range will disappear over the next two decades, and more and more of the parishes will look like the largest ones that I know.

        I have often shared my experiences at the local Orthodox church which has somewhere between 100-200 adults! Obviously my recommendations are not for them or EF communities.

        Maybe if we have a married clergy in 20 plus years we will begin to migrate toward the Orthodox model of community. They do get everybody involved because they need everyone.

        In the meantime the Protestant mega churches have done much of the ground breaking work that we need to absorb to be vibrant large communities.

    2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #8:
      The best suggestion to appear here is that of Jack Rakosky’s, to the effect that every parish should have at least one completly sung mass every Sunday (and Solemnity). Not only the canon, but everything else, not necessarily excluding the readings. (In other words: EVERYTHING!) Such a mass should include robust and heartfelt hymnody and ordinaries by the congregation, and fine offertory anthems and, ideally, propers, sung by the parish choir (who yet do not flag in their leadership of the congregation’s song). Such a paradigm is without question what was envisioned by the II. Vatican council. The degree to which a parish falls short of this is the degree to which it is NOT ‘Vatican Two’.

      The worst suggestion here is that of Jack Rakosky’s that music and hymnody should be the subject of congregational polls. What hymnody is sung should be carefully chosen by the choirmaster for its thematic appropriateness to the day, and its musical and literary worth. He or she applies similar educated judgment in the choice of the liturgy’s other music. Without question, this is done in consultation with the pastor. The people should be taught from an early age to appreciate their hymnody and other music on the basis of its literary and musical value. Submitting these choices to the ‘what are your favourites’ and ‘what do think we need’ sort of polls is to invite the sort of horrid parish music that is predominant in US Catholicism.

      I might add that there should be no hymnody and other ‘extra ritual’ music at all until the people can sing the the music of the mass itself with confidence. Then may we ornament it with other music.

  8. Paul Inwood got here before me on topic of the attached photo. Fr Allan McDonald however commits a howler with his commending an extra cross/crucifix on the altar as a point of focus – see GIRM 122. Yes, I know Benedict XVI always has one in front of him when he celebrates, along with a wall of candles. I suspect that he would find a soul-mate in Fr Lucie-Smith.
    I read the column as someone trying to fill out his column inches. Little to commend and some items that reflect a questionable understanding of the GIRM, the rubrics in RM3, and the theology of the Eucharist implicit in both.

  9. If we are expected to be attentive and active in our participation, we should expect no less of the priest-presider. He should act as if he has seen the text before and practiced it a few times, limiting his gazing at that book and especially fidgeting through it to find his place. I demand no less of my ministry. It does not become a designated leader to act as a follower.

    Several of our contributors are priest-presiders. In what ways do you prepare for liturgy so that we know you are ready to lead?

    1. @Paul Schlachter – comment #14:
      Paul – one of the best teachers/mentors I had during ars celebrandi training insisted that we memorize 2-4 eucharistic prayers; practice and be able to explain how we held our hands in prayer and any gestures we used; etc. (other ars celebrandi recommendations – never use the altar as a place to rest, lay, or put other objects on e.g. glasses, concelebrant books, song books, etc.- it is for the bread/wine and sacramentary (sorry, missal); don’t wear rings/watches that might distract during gestures; use of bows that are more than head bobs; etc.

      Would also commend Paul Ford’s use of brief comments to intro readings, etc. that connect the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist.

      Thanks, Fr. Brendan.

      Jack – great ideas and not that difficult to implement. Have been lucky enough to have been in some churches where your various groups pre and post could easily meet and process to the central church for eucharist. We always pray before the entrance procession as ministers involved at that eucharist i.e. lectors, EMs, servers, music folks, etc.

  10. To bullet point #1 and a lot of good points above.
    Why is the priest not #1 greeter!!??!? Our priest is standing outside 30 minutes before Mass, greeting parishioners, welcoming visitors, holding open the door for people. (I am shocked by the amount of priests who aren’t greeting parishioners before Mass. What did St. Matthew say? What did St. Benedict say?) This is when people mention births, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, good news/bad news, when they have a possible 10-30 seconds alone with their pastor. Surely they can’t do it when the crowds are leaving after Mass.

    Then the rest of the greeters are inside the lobby, welcoming, passing our envelopes and worship aids. People are visiting and socializing before Mass in the lobby. Those who want to pray go into the church. Sure, they’ll be some friendly waves and quiet conversation, but that’s ok too, as most people can hear the mumble of conversations from the lobby, and they’ll get the hint next week.

    I realize this works in newer churches with large lobbies, gathering spaces, narthexes, etc. So apologies for the generalizations in other configurations.

  11. Another point that would impact the congregation is for the priest to sing with them, to open his hymnal and to participate with the sung responses as best he can. He should model what the congregation should be doing and thus encourage them in this.
    I would have to agree that the best place for socialization for Catholics should be in a large narthex and if one isn’t available in the social hall and that more social activities after Mass be scheduled. Community is best fostered and people get to know one another better in social settings like receptions, parish dinners and the like. Keep the nave quiet for prayer, devotion and contemplation. Apart from a library, I think the Catholic Church building is the last bastion of silence for people who live in a loud and chatty world.

  12. Re the Crucifix, there is no need for further clarification. Benedict XVI and priests like Fr Allan are the ones who have muddied the waters.
    Look to the the relevant sections in the GIRM, particularly the edition found in “A Commentary on the ‘General Instruction of the Roman Missal” edited by Edward Foley OFMcap et alia under the auspices of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy et ali (A Pueblo Book. Liturgical Press, 2007). See also the relevant sections in “Introduction to the Order of the Mass” (USCCB, 2003), “Celebrating the Mass – A Pastoral Introduction” (Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales”, 2005), Paul Turner, “Let Us Pray, A Guide to the Rubrics of Sunday Mass”, (A Pueblo Book, The Liturgical Press, 2012). Fr Turner has been a consultor to the US Bishops on matters liturgical, and worked for ICEL. All make the same point re the Cross/Crucifix, there should only be one and it should be seen clearly by all.
    Fr Allan McDonald’s comments are frequently idiosyncratic, and reflect far more his own personal biases, in some cases I’d call them affectations, and rarely make a positive contribution to the discussion. And given the excellent material already available in the English speaking world, I would make bold to suggest that the composition of a compenduim, particularly under the leadership of the present Prefect of the CDWS is totally unnecessary, and also goes against the letter and the spirit of Vatican II and the numerous documents issued by the CDWS prior to the issue of Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004); it goes without saying that “Liturgicam Authenticam” (2001) is excluded since it also is a document that fails the test of reception, of respecting the principles laid out in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    1. @Brendan Kelleher svd – comment #20:
      Fr. Brendan, we are in a living Church and she is changing and in ways some do not appreciate. There is indeed no mandate to have a crucifix on the altar facing the priest when he is facing the congregation, but many are now doing this and in many places as a result of what Pope Benedict has modeled and suggested when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. But there is no norm for or against it, so that must be made clear. However, it could well become a rubric or part of the GIRM in the future or in this compendium that is being developed, but who knows until we have it.
      But yes, things are changing and most of us are able to deal with it and comply at the same time.

    2. @Brendan Kelleher svd – comment #20:
      Fr. Brendan – thanks and love your balanced description: “Fr Allan McDonald’s comments are frequently idiosyncratic, and reflect far more his own personal biases, in some cases I’d call them affectations, and rarely make a positive contribution to the discussion.” (you need to add McKernan, Goodwright to that list)

      Here is how Allan responded elsewhere:

      “(Just read publications like the National Catholic Reporter and liberal or progressive blogs and those who comment on them and you will see this outright rejection of what is essential to Catholicism. It makes one wonder if they have not left the Church in fact but want to corrupt the Church they left by remaining. Isn’t it time for honesty from these people??? Does an take an act of excommunication to make their reality true, why can’t or won’t they do it for themselves? There is a sinister aspect to all of this and Pope Paul VI hit the nail on the head when he said “the smoke of Satan had entered the sanctuary!”)”

      OR

      “If we follow our Holy Father and his interpretation of Vatican II as “reform in continuity” we will have the correct recipe for regaining the essentials that we lost in our Catholic culture over the last 50 years.

      If we follow our Holy Father as he models the celebration of the Ordinary Form of the Catholic Mass, we will also recover the traditional culture of piety and reverence that marked our Catholic Churches prior to the Council and which the Council never intended to overthrow.

      We can have reverence, humility, and obedience from the majority of Catholics, both lay, clergy and religious, in the Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated as Pope Benedict celebrates it, if only we could have that in every Catholic parish throughout the world.

      Then true renewal would take place and in 50 more years time, the Catholic Church would have recovered so much that has been lost and corrupted these past 50 years.”

      Idiosyncratic – what a nice way of putting it.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #23:
        Deacon Fritz gives me “a slap on the wrist” below. Sorry, but I really do find it hard to take Fr Allan seriously on some occasions. Furher, the main focus of my comment was based on references to official documents and/or respected scholarly works. In comparison other comments fail to cite their grounds or sources, hence the latter half of my comment.
        Paul Inwoods remarks below offer an interesting response and affirm the validity of my central point. And for someone to infer that my sources are out of date, when as far as I am aware neither the US or the UK bishops have issued revised editions of the documents referred to, makes me want to ask for justification using sources of equal canonical status and authority. Until then I reserve the right to stand by my position.

      2. @Brendan Kelleher svd – comment #31:
        Father Brendan, a lot of people are not taken seriously, like our Holy Father and like our Lord during His public ministry. I suspect they both were/are considered idiosyncratic too! I see that as a badge of honor to be considered amongst them. Although I despise priests and others dressed up as clowns at the Sacred Liturgy (i.e. the dreaded “clown masses”), there is a theological meaning behind being a “fool for Christ” and foolish in the eyes of the world which could be described as being idiosyncratic. But to tie into the theme which you despise, I post the following on my blog before Bill does it for me! 🙂
        http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2013/01/facing-liturgical-east-during-mass-and.html

      3. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #36:
        Just because one isn’t taken seriously, doesn’t mean one is a prophet. Persecution does not a martyr make of itself.

        This is something ideologues, cranks and sucker-uppers across the spectrum rationalize away, especially when the have an opportunity to reinforce shibboleths.

      4. Allan, the comment of KLS applies directly to your comment, and you know it. Whether or not an exact word is used is not an effetive strategy of evasion.
        awr

  13. But Fr. Brendan there is need for clarification because, as you indicate with your references, some are discouraging the use of the altar crucifix while the Holy Father and his liturgical office are encouraging the same. The considered example of the pope would seem to indicate that some of the commentaries you refer to either out-of-date or superseded by the practice of the Holy Father who interprets contemporary liturgical law and tradition. The GIRM clearly refers to the use of an altar cross but seems less clear as to which side the corpus faces. The pope’s own example is helpful here as well. In search for further evidence of an appropriate interpretation of the GIRM we can look to the Ceremonial of Bishops which recommends that the processional cross be used as an altar cross for the bishop’s Mass and directs that the processional cross be put away until the end of Mass when an altar cross is already present (#129).
    The Holy Father wrote about this: ” In an exaggerated and misunderstood implementation of ‘celebration toward the people,’ in fact, the crosses at the center of the altars were removed as a general norm – even in the basilica of St. Peter in Rome – so as to not obstruct the view between the celebrant and the people. However, the cross on the altar is not an impediment to sight, but rather a common point of reference” Read further: http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/details/ns_lit_doc_20110126_crocifisso_en.html?vm=r&s=1

    My own perception is that Mass celebrated on a free standing altar facing the people suggests the altar cross whereas Mass celebrated with celebrant and people facing in the same direction with a sanctuary cross located above the altar makes the separate altar cross less necessary.

    Your comments about “reception” and “spirit of V2” reflect your own perception but only seem to underscore the benefits the compendium would bring. I have full confidence that the proposed compendium will adhere to the “letter” of V2.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #22:

      Daniel,

      I think an important point is that Benedict XVI does what he himself prefers, but he does not insist that others do the same. If some choose to imitate him, that is their choice. If others choose not to do so, that is equally their choice. I think he is wise enough to realize that if he imposed his own personal tastes on everyone, it would do more harm than good.

      If the forthcoming compendium attempts to do the imposing for him, I think it will blow up in the CDW’s face. It may distance Benedict from the flak, but the net result will be disunity as well as lack of uniformity as people rebel against or simply ignore its provisions. Both this pontificate and the last one were extremely interested in promoting unity, but alas many of the writings of these two pontificates have done exactly the reverse. The result has been more dissent and discord rather than less. There has to be a lesson there somewhere.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #26:
        Paul,

        I think an important point is that Benedict XVI does what he himself prefers, but he does not insist that others do the same. If some choose to imitate him, that is their choice. If others choose not to do so, that is equally their choice. I think he is wise enough to realize that if he imposed his own personal tastes on everyone, it would do more harm than good.

        And yet by doing it, he shows that it is a legitimate practice. While it may not be prudent to imitate, nobody can say that the practice is “forbidden”.

        Were the CDW to give any of these practices ‘teeth’ by putting them into such a compendium, it would move them a step further: not only are they not forbidden, but then given an express preference (even if they aren’t mandated). That would even make the case that the practice is imprudent a difficult one.

  14. SInce I wrote the original post, I believe the following request is within my purview:

    Could we keep the ad hominem remarks to a minimum? It is fine to say, “X’s comment “Y” strikes me as idiosyncratic for Z reason.” I don’t believe that saying, “X’s comments are frequently idiosyncratic” really advances the discussion, since it is a statement about a person and not really about a comment.

  15. Sorry, Deacon – in that spirit, thought this just published article in America magazine by John O’Malley,SJ gives good background on some of the examples and issues raised by commentors – it especially addresses some of the usual shibboleths that strike me as *idiosyncratic* :

    http://americamagazine.org/issue/article/misdirections

    Tongue in cheek – appears to be another proposed list for some future compendium or GIRM:
    – whatever a pope does, needs to be repeated as a GIRM principle
    – anything you see on TV in terms of papal liturgies – second principle of a future GIRM
    – repeat *reform in continuity* to justify future GIRM revisions (see O’Malley’s misdirection #9)
    – GIRM revisions are intended to correct the last 50 years of *loss & corruption* (see O’Malley’s Misdirection #10)

  16. “Eastern Christians arrive at any time during Matins.”

    In the Byzantine Churches, this is true of Greek usage, but not of the Slavic usages, where Matins is celebrated the night before.

    “Some of the sermons of the Church Fathers are a bit lengthy.”

    What we have preserved are sermons as a literary genre, not transcripts. For instance we know that the sermons of St. Bernard are condensed, combined, expanded and edited by later hands.

  17. From Peter Brown’s new book Through the Eye of the Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West 350-550 AD

    Chapter 21 “Dialogues with the Crowd” The Rich, the People and the City in the Sermons of Augustine

    In late antiquity a bishop …did not have to write books, but he was expected to preach. August preached ceaselessly. In thirty five years he preached over six thousand sermons. In reading sermons of Augustine we can usually be certain that we are not reading carefully reedited texts (as was the case with Ambrose)…We are reading his words as they were first heard. This is because rich members of his congregation would pay skilled experts in shorthand to take down every word as it came from his lips.

    Of this torrent of words only around one tenth have survived. Of these many of the original sermons were cut down by medieval copyists who were only interested in certain parts of them. They wanted to know about the theology of Augustine not the Africa of Augustine.

    Hence the importance of the recent discovery … of a series of sermons by Augustine that had been copied in their entirety. They are complete and full of local details. Some had been star performances. One such sermon took over two hours to preach….we can hear the voice of Augustine almost as if on a tape recording. But we can also catch an echo of the voice of the congregation to which Augustine preached. What we hear is not quite what we expected. Brilliant as a preacher, Augustine faced a populus – a surprisingly vigorous Christian people in front of whom he was not always at his ease.

    For the unbaptized (and we know they were many) the sermon was the last thing they heard before they were invited to leave…

    During the sermon the preacher interacted with his audience in the most face to face manner possible. There was no raised pulpit. There were no confining pews. The congregation stood on the spacious floor of the basilica. They were free to move about. They could surge up to the slightly raised area in front of the apse to listen to the preacher. The preacher would come forward toward them from his seat in the middle of the semicircular bench on which he and the clergy sat with their back to the apse wall. Or he would step down from the apse into the center of the church so as to preach beside the altar that stood in the middle of the basilica set apart by a low railing of wood or carved marble. A mobile lecture of light wood was all the preacher needed to hold a copy of the Bible.

    Augustines sermons have rightly been called “dialogues with the crowd”

    On one occasion when Augustine had gone to preach at the altar, he decided to return to the apse. He was heckled by the people around the altar whom he had left. He sat down in his chair refusing to continue, then the chant went up “On with the Mass” i.e. cut the sermon.

    We forget how important oratory and crowds were even as late as the Lincoln Douglas debates.

  18. In regard to the use of two crucifixes and the GIRM. It would seem that one crucifix on or near the altar is what the GIRM mandates. Of course, this is assuming that mass is celebrated facing the apse – as was the norm when the GIRM was written; For the GIRM also stipulates that all should face this one crucifix. The problem only manifests when priest and people face one another. Then only some are facing the crucifix. The Pope is providing a possible solution to the problem. Otherwise, we could all just turn around and face a common crucifix on or near the altar and be done with it. But, alas, some here would even object to that immemorial practice.

    I welcome this compendium to bring some clarity to what is still “sacred for us too, ” as it was for our forebears. Ideology has been proscribing liturgical practice for way too long; and prohibiting that which is actually permitted by the liturgical norms of the Pauline Missal.

    1. @Fr. Sanchez – comment #33:
      Exactly Fr. Sanchez. The idea of a crucifix on the altar when the priest is facing the congregation is an “olive branch” to the broader church to keep the status quo of the priest facing the congregation, but with the crucifix as the common focus with the Corpus upon it as the focus for both the priest and the congregation. This is offered to keep from yanking altars and people around. If the crucifix is behind the priest, yes the congregation is facing it, but not the priest. One solution for those offended by a crucifix mounted high before the priest as he faces the people is to have a smaller one or one flat on the altar.
      The genius of the Holy Father in modeling liturgical “reform in continuity” is that he is using a style that perplexes so many on both the right and the left since he proposes but does not mandate these things. So the status quo is still operative but slowly giving way to something new that is nonetheless still very traditional.
      Personally (idiosyncratically 🙂 ) I would prefer the so-called “Benedictine altar arrangement” which is actually the altar arrangement in place for the altar for more than 1400 years to be used for ad orientem rather than facing the people, which is gaining momentum in many places, but certainly not every where. There are a lot of things to fear in life, like death and taxes! But ad orientem is not one of them. Be not afraid!

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #35:

        The idea of a crucifix on the altar when the priest is facing the congregation is an “olive branch” to the broader church to keep the status quo of the priest facing the congregation, but with the crucifix as the common focus with the Corpus upon it as the focus for both the priest and the congregation. This is offered to keep from yanking altars and people around. If the crucifix is behind the priest, yes the congregation is facing it, but not the priest. One solution for those offended by a crucifix mounted high before the priest as he faces the people is to have a smaller one or one flat on the altar.

        Actually the crucifix in this discussion is nothing less than a diversion, even a distraction. The common focus should be the altar, the primary symbol of Christ in our midst.

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #49:
        Thanks, Paul. Here is an exegesis from Roger Karban from this week-end’s second reading from Paul. It speaks to this subject and Allan’s whose view is too narrow, not both/and, etc.:

        http://ncronline.org/blogs/spiritual-reflections/real-presence

        Money Quotes:
        – “Many years ago, I was sitting in a doctoral class on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, and I suddenly realized I’d consistently misinterpreted the passage “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment on themselves”
        – “Yet after finally hearing Paul’s words in the context of the Lord’s supper in which he placed them, I suddenly realized that when the apostle spoke about recognizing the body, he wasn’t speaking about Jesus’ body in the bread, he was referring to the body of Christ that comprises all Christians. In other words, those who refuse to recognize the body of the risen Christ present in the others standing around them during the Eucharist are not ready to receive the body of the risen Christ present in the bread.”
        -“Almost always, when the apostle uses the word “Christ,” he’s talking about the risen Jesus, not the historical Jesus. Though knowledge of the Jesus who lived between 6 B.C. and 30 A.D. is the basis for all Christian faith, knowledge of the risen Jesus who is active in our lives right here and now is essential for us to live that faith every day. The Christian community mirrors the risen Jesus, not just the historical Jesus”
        – “Though that may be true, should we not also be concerned that many older Catholics don’t have Paul’s faith in the risen Jesus’ presence in the Christian community? Growing up Catholic, for instance, I only heard the term “other Christ” applied to priests. The majority of Christians didn’t fit the category. Something Paul believed essential for our faith was relegated to the “extra credit” department.”

      3. @Bill deHaas – comment #51:
        Allan’s whose view is too narrow, not both/and

        And yet: “he wasn’t speaking about Jesus’ body in the bread, he was referring to the body of Christ that comprises all Christians.”

        Can’t it be both/and?

        Let them who already eat the Flesh of the Lord and drink His Blood, think what it is they eat and drink, lest, as the Apostle says, “They eat and drink judgment to themselves.” (St. Augustine, Sermon LXXXII, 1)

      4. @Paul Inwood – comment #49:
        The common focus should be the altar, the primary symbol of Christ in our midst.

        Do Catholics generally recognize that the altar is a symbol of Christ? We speak of Christ as the “priest, victim, and altar” of sacrifice, but the altar is really the hardest of all three of those “roles” to associate with Christ (in my opinion).

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #57:
        Of course if you carry Paul’s logic to its conclusion, why do we need even the Most Holy Eucharist on the altar? Is it redundant to have the consecrated Bread and Wine on the altar? Or the Book of the Gospels? or the Roman Missal, altar clothes, corporals and the like? Of course not, and the adornments of the altar are an extension of it and primary would be the candles and crucifix before the bread and wine are there and even the priest before he approaches it. Of course, when the Mass is actually ad orientem, which is preferable, the candles and crucifix do not need to be on the altar-table itself but on a reredos, even a detached reredos. The blah look and minimalist’s approach of the stripped down sanctuary and altar, supposedly to emphasize what is essential, should be laid to rest and evidently it is being laid to rest and we can thank God for that.

      6. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #59:
        “….the adornments of the altar are an extension of it and primary would be the candles and crucifix before the bread and wine are there and even the priest before he approaches it. Of course, when the Mass is actually ad orientem, which is preferable…”
        Really, candles/crucifix are primary?

        What is disturbing is the focus on accidentals and the disconnect from any type of sacramental theology and ecclesiology which is what the *reformed liturgy* was based upon.

        Your inability to either accept or refuse to understand:

        “The blah look and minimalist’s approach of the stripped down sanctuary and altar, supposedly to emphasize what is essential, should be laid to rest”

        Sounds again like you are more hung up on the accidentals (or as Fr. Ruff says…your hobbyhorses) than the council fathers desires to highlight the *essentials*. It is almost as if the essentials (for you) can’t happen without the accidentals – which is more important? Do we find scripture readings about the Benedictine style? Wasn’t that part of what the council fathers were trying to do?

  19. Allan – “… I see that as a badge of honor to be considered amongst them. Although I despise priests and others dressed up as clowns at the Sacred Liturgy (i.e. the dreaded “clown masses”), there is a theological meaning behind being a “fool for Christ” and foolish in the eyes of the world which could be described as being idiosyncratic. But to tie into the theme which you despise, I post the following on my blog:”

    Ah yes, back to the *dreaded clown masses* again. (Allan, wonder if those few guys thought that they were *fools for Christ* just as Jesus was different and thus their actions were a badge of honor? Does eventually get very subjective and almost ridiculous)

    Here is an interesting article about *liturgical dress* that goes way beyond the *idiosyncratic* comments of Allan, Sanchez, Goodwright, et alii: From Notre Dame’s Rev. Thomas O’Meara:

    http://ncronline.org/news/art-media/whats-message-runway-baroque-fashions

    Money quotes: (and this touches on the *legitimacy* if a pope dresses up)
    – “In the years just before the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Dominican Fr. Yves Congar wrote a critique of the church’s display of power and privilege. He had researched the origins of church vestments and insignia in the Roman Empire and in feudalism, concluding that those clothes no longer have any clear meaning for people. He concluded that vestments can have value, although their religious presence must resonate with the people they address.”
    – “Restorationist and reactionary groups tend to have striking clothes just as dictatorships have uniforms. These groups show a preference for special kinds of clerical collars, tall miters, elaborate trains, a metal cross hung around the neck. Programs on EWTN are the runway for Baroque fashions, some authentic, some from the 19th century, most imitations. Great attention is given to gold vestments and gold vessels, odd new habits and distortions of past religious objects. Monastic habits with tunic and hood were originally the ordinary clothes of laborers. As centuries passed, they became unusual when ordinary clothes changed. Still, the habits of the medieval monks and friars were simple, and no sashes and capes or medals are added. The habits of many congregations of men founded after 1830 were colorful and attention-getting, elaborating on the medieval or Baroque but without any connection to the modern world.”
    – “There are no intrinsically religious clothes. Religious clothes are meant to point to some truth of faith or suggest a sacramental presence. The public person of each minister in the church should relate to the humble Jesus and to sacramentality in this church’s life. In the Christian community all clothing — this includes liturgical clothing — expresses the church’s life animated by the Spirit. Capes and cloaks in a Baroque style are neither prophetic nor countercultural. If regal or antiquarian distinction was once a value for church leaders, if pretension to being ecclesiastically or even metaphysically better was presumed, since Vatican II more and more people ignore such displays. Time never stands still. What seemed powerful in the past is today merely curious. Many Catholics are reaching a point where antiquated clothes are not inspiring and sacramental but exist outside human life.”

    O’Meara’s approach could also apply to things such as the Benedictine style with crucifix and six candles.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #42:

      “Restorationist and reactionary groups tend to have striking clothes just as dictatorships have uniforms. These groups show a preference for special kinds of clerical collars, tall miters, elaborate trains, a metal cross hung around the neck. Programs on EWTN are the runway for Baroque fashions, some authentic, some from the 19th century, most imitations.

      One contemporary critique of ecclesiastical clothes was Federico Fellini’s 1972 movie “Roma.” Ecclesiastical fashions are exhibited on a runway where models display chasubles and miters for an audience of nuns and clerics and a presiding cardinal, a pale, sexless creature with crimson robes and ill-suited sunglasses who falls asleep. The style show ends with new designs using electric lights on chasubles.

      “Restorationist” groups compared to dictatorships? Liturgical “fashion” as on a “runway”? Alinsky couldn’t have done better.

      And this ridicule passes as commentary from an “expert” here? And to get its own thread no less…

      A biretta tip to you, Bill and Fr. Anthony… you finally found an article to convince me that PTB has jumped the shark.

      1. Clarence, have you seen the Fellini movie? It is a runway in that scence. It’s not a simile, as on a runway – it’s a simple statement of fact that it is a runway in the movie.

        It is true that restorationists/reactionaries have striking clothing, just as it is true that dictatorships have uniforms. I don’t believe Fr. O’Meara is saying they’re alike in other ways, he’s just comparing one striking aspect.

        I find your use of scare quotes around “expert,” as if you don’t think the renowned Fr. O’Meara is an expert, to be unfounded ridicule.

        awr

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #48:
        It is true that restorationists/reactionaries have striking clothing, just as it is true that dictatorships have uniforms. I don’t believe Fr. O’Meara is saying they’re alike in other ways, he’s just comparing one striking aspect.

        Some schools have uniforms. Sports teams have uniforms. Airline attendants have uniforms. But let’s use dictatorships as the comparison; we’re already talking about (Catholic) “restorationist and reactionary groups” and we want to paint as unflattering a picture of them as possible.

  20. Not all fools for Christ are martyrs or prophets. That is a determination for others to make. But all fools or clowns wear some kind of costume whether that be a habit, modified clerical clothes; elaborate brocade chasable or one that is simple and tie dyed. They have props too Benedictine or otherwise.

  21. I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts (themselves) will be humbled, and the one who humbles (self) will be exalted.”

    The NRSV speaks of the Pharisee “standing by himself, praying thus …” which seems a little better than the sense of speaking a prayer to oneself–praying to oneself? Really?
    God delights in turning expectations upside down. Here, we might in the Pharisee’s place put our favorite hero, and instead of a tax collector, someone we really dislike. And it would fit. The message from God on one level is that things will not be as they seem. The religious and righteous (are they really seeing themselves as god?) will be most unjustified in comparison to the one who is a sinner, and sees it.

    This was from Todd Flowerday’s most recent post at “Catholic Sensibility.”

    Can any of you ordained to preside and confect the Eucharist, gifted with either or both the abilities to intellectually surmise or discern with clairvoyance, how dispiriting it is to witness your quibbling here about attributes attached to the Divine Liturgy? Your ranks have already suffered the loss of “community” in empty rectories, the wholesale disdain because of the scandals and episcopal failures from the faithful not to mention the secularists, and the expected crosses you chose to accept from discernment to vows.
    What does it matter if B16 exemplifies an altar crucifix where he faces and focuses his sacred obligation through that particular lens to YOU? Does it matter to YOU if a Pfleger doesn’t and a Zuhlsdorf does the same. Do YOU really think that amounts to “sucking up?” Do YOU really think that the most ardent progressive congregation, after 100% active singing of “Gather us in” and “Sing a new church into being” would walk out en masse if a celebrant offered Mass with an altar crucifix in like manner.
    I have many times “assisted” as Mass with a herein unknown celebrant, and to me it not only did not offend sensibility, it heightened it. Speaking only for myself and not critical of my lay brethren, dispensed with affectations and idiosyncracies that one “gets used to” with one’s own “known” clerics, good or bad in presentation. As a pew person, I appreciate that. As a professional musician (in both meanings of the word) serving the Church, I beg you again to stop this petty bickering and politics of detraction and subtraction. It’s high time you stood together and voiced what you have in common to share and celebrate. You can still bicker amongst yourselves in your convocations and at your dinners with your various associations, but please stop comparing your battle scars as evidence of your superiority over your brothers.

  22. When I read the bit in the OP about “priests going to Mass ‘disguised’ as laymen” I immediately got in my mind the image of a man sitting in a pew observing the proceedings through peep holes cut out of the Sunday
    Missalette…Then I thought of a priest going to Mass incognito in one of those get-ups with the big, black-framed spectacles with the large nose and mustache attached…

    Good thread, though.

  23. I feel the bidding prayers (“prayer of the faithful” in the USA) in practice have fallen far short of the vision expressed in SC 53. They’re often rushed through, rapid fire, and consequently NOT PARTICULARLY PRAYERFUL—especially when they’re kept “short and sharp,” as Father Lucie-Smith expects. I no sooner get thinking about one subject of prayer than I’ve got to start praying for something else.
    I get the impression that Father Lucie-Smith is somewhat annoyed by the bidding prayers: wanting to get through them quickly, and suggesting dropping them at daily Mass—a move officially tolerated but clearly discouraged (I believe the GIRM reads “Expedit ut huiusmodi oratio de more habeatur”). Liturgists, I hope you won’t cultivate such instincts. (Jeffrey Pinyan has a good point on the subject at #1.)
    The best approach I’ve seen to the bidding prayers was in a Missouri Synod Lutheran church that followed the 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship. The elder-of-the-day (who functioned much like a deacon) led them, and there were about four or five of them. He would say at the beginning that we would be praying for these four or five things, and after a period of silence he would speak a few sentences in his own words (like a collect, but phrased more personally—Vox Clara wouldn’t like them) for the first petition, expressing the need and asking God for the appropriate favor, and concluding with “Lord, in your mercy, . . .” which the congregation would follow with “. . . hear our prayer.” The other petitions followed, with a short silence in between. You had time to think about what you were praying for! I got spoiled.
    In this relatively unregimented part of the Mass, I wish more thought would be given to improving the actual experience of the participants.

    1. @Paul R. Schwankl – comment #47:
      Paul – well said. Share your thoughts and concerns. Have seen a progression over the last 10 years in which the *universal prayer* (VII saw this as a reform and return so that this was one of the prayers of the people of God in the reformed liturgy – if I recall, one of three such in the reformed liturgy) has been regimented, controlled, and limited. (some say as a reaction to *out of control* prayers that were too spontaneous, too open to abuses, etc.).

      Thus, instead of educating about this prayer, we have rules from on high e.g. deacon reads; must be brief, can’t be too personal, can’t name people, can’t be too political, etc.

      Thus, have experienced pastors who unilaterally forbid lists of names for the sick or those who had died (even when it was parish custom for 40+ years); insist that there must always be a prayer for vocations (clerical only); prayers written only by the pastor e.g. always one refers to the local bishop’s campagin/needs of that month/week esp. financial; etc. This new type of STBDTR approach has neutered the VII idea of the *universal prayer*.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #50:

        Bill, look at the rubrics/documents about the intercessions. Most of what you complain about are VII ideas.

        For further information look at the Consilium’s 1966 document, “The Universal Prayer or Prayer of the faithful” (DOL 239).

        There, you will find that, for instance “lists of names for the sick or those who have died” are problematic because, “b. It is a petition to God chiefly for blessings of a universal kind: on behalf of, the whole Church, the world, all those “beset by various needs”. While it is permissible to add particularly local needs of the congregation it has to be ensured that the prayers do not lose their universal character.

        insist that there must always be a prayer for vocations (clerical only);

        And your problem with that is? Apparently they think this is an important universal need. It’s not?

        prayers written only by the pastor e.g. always one refers to the local bishop’s campagin/needs of that month/week esp. financial; etc

        Actually the Concilium document specifically gives the pastor responsibility for writing the prayers if they are not taken from collections approved by the bishops: “It is proper to leave it to the pastor of the Church: a) to choose from among the many approved formularies for intentions those to be announced for each set; b) to add a few others of his own composition, provided he respects the rule on keeping the four classes of intentions indicated in number 9 and writes out the text ahead of time.”

        some say as a reaction to *out of control* prayers that were too spontaneous

        The Consilium’s expectation (see above bit about “writes out the text “) was that the prayers always be not spontaneous, but written out ahead of time.

        we have rules from on high e.g. deacon reads;

        That “rule” is from the Instruction Inter Oecumenici (1964). It places the deacons in charge of announcing the intentions in preference to others per Consilium’s ’66 interpretation.

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #50:
        1. No individual sick people named? In my large parish the names of the sick have to be rotated because there are dozens on the sick list (in the intention, those not named are covered with “and for all those mentioned in the parish bulletin, let us pray . . .”); but leaving them out altogether? Pretty callous, I’d say—though not as callous as not naming the dead. The pastor who imposes such a restriction risks being haunted by the parties he has wronged. Why would someone discourage such a thoroughly Catholic practice as praying for dead individuals? How would he like it if somebody prevented prayers for him on his demise?
        2. I actually like the idea of insisting that the deacon (if present) bid the prayers. I think this act is very diaconal, like singing the Exsultet. The prayers are thus made to seem more important (sorry about that, lectors), and the deacon’s stock rises as well, I believe.

  24. When celebrating Mass, look at God, not at the people, especially not at the strangers in Church (you never know, one of them might be a spy from the Catholic Herald.)
    This must be a joke!? When I am blessed to preside at mass, I find it is in the relationship between the Assembly and the Table of the Word and the Table of the Lord (along with my small role as presider) that the the amazing Presence of God is experienced.
    Does the author suggest that we who preside would profit from “looking up at the ceiling, or look away, or look at the lights in the church building” rather than looking at, and seeing the face of God, in the beautiful face of those in attendance, most especially, those who are considered estranged or marginalized?
    Wow! No wonder we find ourselves saying elitist words in front of so many empty pews…..

    Greg Corrigan is associate pastor at the Parish of the Resurrection in Wilmington, Delaware.

  25. The rather severe simplicity that we see in comment 61 and other places, as opposed to V2’s “noble” simplicity reminds me of the Apostlic Constitution Auctorem fidei 1794 seeking to correct the errors of the Jansenists in part because they promoted a similarly severe simplicity in the liturgy. It is regrettable to see aspects of the tradition specifically required by the post V2 GIRMs and our venerable tradition (e.g. candles & crucifix) as “accidentals”. The council fathers desire to highlight the “essentials” did restrain excessive “venacurlarism” while also promoting Gregorian chant.

    It would be an interesting to reserch the extent Jansenism may find its reflection in the progressive approach to liturgy. Lest we think “Auctorem fidei” to be dated, Paul VI referenced it in his 1965 encyclical Mysterium Fidei.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #62:
      You hit the nail on the head; this severe minimalist attitude to art, architecture and adornments is Puritanical, perhaps more appropriately in Catholic parlance Jansenistic, which could also account for the antipathy toward Catholic episcopal garments, brocade and lace. Yes it goes far beyond VII’s “noble simplicity” to the “severe simplicity” you aptly coin. And yes it goes way beyond the noble austerity of monastic communities such as the Trappists.

    2. @Daniel McKernan – comment #62:

      It’s true that some Jansenists, particularly in France, promoted certain reforms which included Mass and the offices in the vernacular. It’s a logical fallacy, however, to implicitly link vernacularization with heresy or at best heterodoxy. It’s quite likely that the Jansenist reformers intended that their revised liturgies reflect Jansenist theology. However, the Pauline missals are orthodox and created through an orthodox hermeneutic. Certain aspects of liturgy (such as the use of Latin or a modern language for worship) are merely vehicles for more complex questions which concern theology in general and liturgical theology specifically.

      Unigenitus and Auctorem fidei are not only constitutions which delineate the parameters of orthodoxy against Jansenism, but also reflect the reality that Jansenism was not only a theological and liturgical movement but also a political and social movement. The successive bulls which attempted to suppress Jansenism cannot be compared to the constitutions of Paul VI or his successors. The modern papacy no longer must contend with entanglements between theology and divine-right realms.

    3. @Daniel McKernan – comment #62:
      Really – read the notes that led up to the concept of *noble simplicity* – how this was connected theologically so that the essentials could again be focused on. *Severe*…..sorry, that is your opinion and a mis-characterization or, rather, your typical caricaturization (along with your echo chamber, Allan). Post VII GIRM did value candles, crucifixes, etc. but clarified their positioning so that the altar, missal, bread, vessels had center place – they do make distinctions. It is not all or nothing. Go back and read what Paul Inwood said about the altar.
      Noble simplicity has been explained via examples and via the GIRM and Consilium’s published notes and various episcopal conferences. Example – noble simplicity was outlined such that the altar was not to have candles set on it; not to have crosses, etc. Only the bread/wine and the missal are on the altar. (in comparison to the bread/wine as the body/blood of Christ; candles, crosses, etc. are accidental).

      Sorry, again your sentence – “The council fathers desire to highlight the “essentials” did restrain excessive “venacurlarism” while also promoting Gregorian chant”….is documented where? It is an opinionated conclusion based upon your imagination. Excessive vernacular – geez, not sure I have ever seen that expression…and it means what? Is there now a litmus test – mass is better if 50% is in latin or 60% or whatever? You make it up as you go along. Vernacular has no connection to *essentials* as discussed above. Vernacular was raised at Trent and was requested overwhelmingly by episcopal conferences after VII (there were no votes/requests about 40/50/60% latin/vernacular)……again, you are making up statements.

      PTB is about facts; documentation on liturgy; etc…..not opinions based upon imaginary wishful thinking.

      Jansenism – connected to the *progressive approach* to liturgy….really? Jansenism has to do with an undue psychological impulse to see creation as *bad*; human beings as *bad*, excessive lives spent obsessing on these realities. (not unlike some of the reactionary stuff we see today). Jansenism was appropriately condemned by the church. One thinks someone is really stretching to make your suggested link..if anything, progressives are usually taken to task by the Fr. Z’s of this world because they are overly positive about human nature, etc.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #65:
        Bill

        I suspect the connection would be made via the Synod of Pistoia, but there would be much more scholarly debate about the merit of that connection than was the case a century ago.

  26. PTB is about facts; documentation on liturgy; etc…..not opinions based upon imaginary wishful thinking.

    Great! As we recently established with the questions about the General Intercessions (where you agreed that your opinions were in fact not based on documentation and evidence, but your personal emotional reaction), we can look at your factual claims here as well:

    Example – noble simplicity was outlined such that the altar was not to have candles set on it; not to have crosses, etc.

    This is flat out wrong. The 1975 GIRM reads at number 79 in part:

    “On or near the altar there are to be candlesticks with lighted candles, at least two but even four, six, or, if the bishop of the diocese celebrates, seven. There is also to be a cross on or near the altar.”

    i.e. candles and cross on the altar are not forbiden, rather an option is given that allows them to be on the altar or not.

    Adherence to facts, not opinion, is fine, as long as it goes for everyone, not just people who agree with you.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #67:
      Mr.Howard – again, agree with your factual evidence – it underlines my pont which is both/and and it goes much further in terms of explicating the *noble simplicity* Principle……some of us would suggest that the Benedectine style is not noble simplicity (but, to each their own opinions). I did not quote from actual documents but Consilium published notes and various episcopal conferences did publish their *rubrics* or *directives* on implementing GIRM #79.

      If you go back to the comment I was addressing it would place my comments more into context rather than picking and choosing. Yes, on the Universal Prayer….but, then, I stated and named my opinion and said it was my emotional feelings. this is what is missing from some of the other comments that are stated as if they are factual

  27. Jordan-I agree that the Missal of Paul VI is totally orthodox. I regular participate in it myself. Excessive vernacularization, however, would be a heresy per the Council of Trent. V2 restrained inordinate or excessive vernacularization by directing that Latin be retained in our liturgy and that the people be able to sing the ordinaries in Latin (Bill -the document is SC itself). Also, Jordan, my comments were limited to Jansenism’s liturgical impulses as that is the focus of our conversation. Jansenists had quite a bit to say about the liturgy in their Synod of Pistoia and even Paul VI referenced Auctorem fidei.
    Bill, I’m not sure where you were going with your claims about V2, the altar, and candles. As shown above, the post V2 GIRMS are clear about candles and crucifix vis-a-vis the altar and I find it difficult to believe that you did not know this. I cannot imagine why you would state as “fact” that cross/candles cannot be on the altar per GIRM, published notes, & episcopal conference directives when the GIRM stipulates the opposite, the published notes you reference are irrelevant in reference to the GIRM, and episcopal conference directives contrary to the GIRM, if they exist at all, would require an indult to bind even in their own area. Furthermore, unless the Council Fathers voted on SC after reading all those diaries, notes from the consilium, and still unwritten interpretations by Episcopal Conferences I see little relavince there as to the Council’s binding directives.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #69:
      You really do read things with blinders on. Excessive vernacularization at the council of Trent – that is you misreading the actual history. The Trent Council merely stated that Latin is legitimate – nothing more. It is a myth that the vernacular was forbidden by the council.

      You again claim that SC said that ordinaties and people need to be prepared to sing in latin. Where – have asked repeatedly but you are unable to provide a citation or paragraph from SC?

      Please provide citations for post GIRMs that say what you state? GIRMs and various episcopal conferences laid out directives for altar, candles, cross, etc.

      On crosses – http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur127.htm

      “…crucifix should be located on, next to, immediately behind or suspended above the altar. It should be visibly related to the altar as viewed by the people.

      As Monsignor Elliott comments: “The liturgical crucifix is not primarily for the private devotion of the celebrant but is a sign in the midst of the Eucharistic assembly proclaiming that the Mass is the same Sacrifice as Calvary.” For this reason the best solution appears to be either the large crucifix permanently behind or above the altar.”

      On candles: http://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur351.htm

      “Two, four or six candles may be placed near or upon the altar (GIRM, No. 307). Seven may be used if the diocesan bishop celebrates Mass. The candles may be arranged in several ways, but they should not obscure the view of the ritual action on the altar.”

      Again with the mantra that you must take VII documents as is – historical fact is that all the notes, diaries, etc. shed light on why the documents say what they say. And, per SC, episcopal conferences and individual bishops are responsible to write/implement directives – it starts with the bishop and conferences; not the other way around (why – bishop can even promulgate an indult). You choose to see every thing through a lense that over-centralizes to a degree that has never existed in the church and which VII (esp. with liturgy) tried to de-centralize.

      You might want to read this new post:

      http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/02/21/bishops-want-next-pope-to-reform-church-governance/
      “Conservatism has had its day. It doesn’t work. Despite all Benedict’s efforts, the Church is losing its place in society … It’s time to reopen the doors and windows for a new blowing of the Spirit, a freedom…”

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #70:

        The Trent Council merely stated that Latin is legitimate – nothing more. It is a myth that the vernacular was forbidden by the council.

        Daniel didn’t say the vernacular was forbidden, he said that Trent was opposed to “excessive vernacularization”; he goes so far as to say “heresy per the Council of Trent,” which I think is exaggeration.

        But Session XXII, On the Mass, canon 9, says: “If anyone says […] that the mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only […] let him be anathema.” That’s a rather hard-line stance concerning Latin and the vernacular. (I think what is meant there is that a person who says it is not lawful for Mass to be celebrated in Latin is anathema; thus the language of “ought to be celebrated in the vernacular tongue only”.)

        You again claim that SC said that ordinaties and people need to be prepared to sing in latin. Where[?]

        He said that “the people [should] be able to sing the ordinaries in Latin”, based on SC 54.2, “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” We’ve had many discussions about this sentence on PT.

        As for cross and candles ON the altar, the GIRM does permit this:

        “In addition, on or next to the altar are to be placed candlesticks with lighted candles… Also on or close to the altar, there is to be a cross with a figure of Christ crucified.” (GIRM 117)

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #71:
        JP – thanks for your nit-picking….you highlighted exactly what I said.

        McKernan made statements about the council of Trent that were incorrect, exaggerated, and wrong. The quote you use was also in O’Malley’s book, Trent, and he followed it by merely saying – *latin is legitimate*….nothing more; etc. and fairly moderate given the times. (He contrasts that with the later *mythical Trent* which is represented by what McKernan states.

        Sorry – he said more than that folks should be able to sing ordinaries in latin – look at a number of his comments….he copys/pastes so that this both/and approach of SC comes across as only one approach that means latin. As you say, PTB has discussed til the cows came home but McKernan just ignores and repeats inaccuracies to make his ideological points.

        I provided links from EWTN (can you believe it?) on placement of cross and candles – le’ts agree to stipulate that EWTN is conservative in its approach. Again, GIRM provides a both/and approach – not the *one and only* approach of McKernan – again, inaccurate and fits his ideological points.

        What you miss is the cross explanation – it actually indicates that the current Benedectine arrangement is contrary to GIRM. Cross is not there for the presider’s benefit. Would also suggest that Benedictine candle placements come close to violating the GIRM norm that candles not restrict peoples’ sight of body/blood on the altar.

        But, thnx, JP. Pretty sure that Allan missed these follow up clarifications. He is just into his ideology.

      3. @Bill deHaas – comment #73:
        You’ve pointed out the need for facts here, and you call attention to people who overstate things. You’ll always call my remarks to you nit-picking, so be it.

        he said more than that folks should be able to sing ordinaries in latin

        Yes, but I’m not concerned with his continued discussion with you regarding Trent and Latin vs. vernacular. I’m addressing the comment he made about Vatican II and SC and Latin. YOU said to him: “You again claim that SC said that ordinaties and people need to be prepared to sing in latin. Where…?” THAT is the remark of his and the question of yours that I addressed.

  28. Bill, I think that you are mistaken if you believe a bishop can grant himself an indult contrary to the universal norm given in the GIRM and that was the point I made. Everyone here probably knows that the GIRM specifies certain areas that conferences & bishops can adjust in chapter IX but those items were not what you were discussing. Indults running contrary to the universal norms must first go through the conference and then must be approved as was done (and later undone) re. laity & the ablutions. Perhaps it would be good for you to imagine a bishop making particular law for his diocese that the people stand for the consecration. I know that this is almost unthinkable but certainly you would agree that it would require an indult.

    It is instructive to me that the GIRM specifies placing crucifix and candles on the altar as the first choice, next to altar only as the second option. This is interesting because many here have suggested that taking communion from the chalice is preferred because intinction is not mentioned as choice #1 in the GIRM. Bill may be looking at references to an out-of-date version of the GIRM, that is the only explaination I can imagine for his seeming confusion on this issue.

    Jeffrey, maybe you are right, perhaps “heresy” is too strong, I’m really conflicted about that because “anathema” is itself such a strong word but often used in the context of describing heresy. My point is to emphasize the significant continuity between Trent and Vatican II on this subject, a continuity that is obscured in practice when we fail to implement certain norms present in SC. Trent makes it clear that what I call excessive venacularization, a certain distaste for liturgical Latin seen among those who would say “Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular” alone, as opposed to leaving room for Latin per SC, is an error. Taken together, Trent and SC on liturgical Latin, must be an obstacle to those who disapprove of the role that Latin continues to have in our tradition.

    I have come to believe that there is a tendency to discover dicontinuity where we need not find it, even among academics. In other words, if we begin to read the documents of the council and the later liturgical documents within a spirit of continuity we may well see things there that we might have missed before. Please don’t misunderstand me, I know that we will also find things that are new as is the call for an expanded lectionary in SC, but there is so much more that is firmly grounded in continuity.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #74:
      You need to study about Trent.

      The council of Trent as separated from what became the idea of Trent (some of which is mythical). So, liturgically, the council of Trent basically did very little…..it left liturgical norms (e.g. eucharistic cup reception) to the pope and the curia. Thus, 25-50 years later, subsequent popes and curia developed what we now call the *Tridentine* liturgy (in reality, very little (next to nothing) was connected to what the bishops of the council discussed and voted on.

      So, your hypothesis that there is “…significant continuity between Trent and Vatican II on this subject, a continuity that is obscured in practice when we fail to implement certain norms present in SC. Trent makes it clear that what I call excessive venacularization, a certain distaste for liturgical Latin seen among those who would say “Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular” alone, as opposed to leaving room for Latin per SC, is an error.”
      Again, the council of Trent merely stated that *latin is legitimate* and left the door open for bishops to request vernacular. (as history and the times show, no bishops did move forward on vernacular liturgy). But, you over-reach when you then draw a conclusion that the council of Trent called for latin ONLY.
      VII went further in terms of ressourcing the council of Trent and completing or acting on the vernacular that the council of Trent left as an open question and a valid option.
      You again overreach by stating – *must be an obstacle to those who disapprove of the role of latin in our tradition*. Never said that – in fact, support our legacy, history, and enjoy the use of latin in our chants, music, and liturgies. What I don’t support is your hypothesis which is exaggerated and unhistorical.

      You overreach again in your last paragraph – as you repeat the ROTR mantra about *academics who discover discontinuity*…..really? Both councils eventually left liturgical norms, order of mass, translations to papal committees; VII had Consilium and Paul VI; Council of Trent left it to the papacy (multiple popes) and his curia. In terms of the topic of latin in the mass – Consilium and Paul VI had to quickly deal with episcopal conferences that pushed for vernacular translations. (you appear to dismiss and ignore this reality. It actually is a continuity with the council of Trent but no bishops at that time acted on it.)

      Finally, whether you accept it or not – there are both continuities and discontinuities between the council of Trent and VII. Best example is the description of the sacrament of the eucharist. Council of Trent (given its time) focused on defining and reinforcing the sacrificial nature of the eucharist and responding to Lutheran threats that eucharist was not real or around the arguments that the full sacrament is present in bread alone. VII was able to complete this by positing that the eucharist is: sacrifice, real presence, and meal/communion.

    2. @Daniel McKernan – comment #74:
      You open with the indult description.

      Now you have made clarifications that make sense (that is not what you said earlier).

      Examples of local bishops and indults:
      – Phoenix (by pastor), Omaha – restrict servers to being male only (general norm since 1983 is that girls and boys can be servers)

  29. @Bill deHaas – comment #75:
    Bill, read more carefully, I never said Trent called for Latin only. That would have been impossible considering the eastern rites & western Church history. What Trent did say is that those who suggest Mass must be in the vernacular alone without room for a liturgical language are wrong. Trent used the term anathema in regard to that point-of-view. When I read SC together with Trent and the many post conciliar instructions it seems that the ideal OF Mass is one that makes use of Latin ordinaries and the verncacular. It is wonderful that this is what more and more parishes are doing today, Deo gratias.
    Bill, I think you are wrong with the indult examples you provide above, the general norm already grants bishops the authority to keep to the male only servers tradition. No bishop need ask for an indult to do this and even when bishops do implement female servers pastors may choose employ only male servers.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #77:
      The council of Trent only mandated a revision of the missal. This was carried out by the curia/popes – most happened between 1567-1614 – esp. 1570 Missal of Pius V. This curial revision confirmed not a new liturgy but a consistent text that standardized the west rite and form (exceptions for a few rites). The bull announcing this missal ordered full adoption (and abrogation of all other missals with a few exceptions of other rites). This bull in 1570 demanded that there be no further revisions, changes, etc. This is what left the church with the Trent myth and a liturgy that basically remained unchanged for 400 years. Missing from this bull is any mention about vernacular adaptations which is actually contrary to what the council of Trent did. Thus, any remnants of vernacular discussions, etc. disappeared from the church’s landscape for hundreds of years. (it also reinforces that Paul VI abrogation of the 1962 missal was continuity; ROTR and JPII/B16’s invention of two forms of the one rite can more clearly be seen as *rupture* rather than continuity….interesting side note)
      This bull also insisted upon liturgical *uniformity* and created a new department – Congregation of Rites in 1588 – thus, any changes had to go to Rome at this point in time (again, none of this was by design of the council of Trent). The Congregation tightly controlled all liturgy from that point onwards and this is what we usually give the name *Tridentine*. Thus, the papacy/curia redefined its role as the complete and only arbitrer of liturgy rather than bishops or conferences. Prior to 1588, the papacy rarely inserted itself into local liturgical decisions. Coupled with these developments, by 1600 popes began to name nuncios in nations, key cities that oversaw and approved local decisions via requests to Rome (thus, again dismissing/bypassing local bishops and centralizing papal authority).
      To be specific, council documents, chapter 8 – *although the mass is full of instruction for the faithful, council fathers did not think it advantegeous that it should everywhere be celebrated in the vernacular”; the reform canon 9 restated this: “if anyone says that the Mass should be celebrated only in the vernacular, let him be anathema.” O”Malley in his book, Trent, and taking the 16th century legal forms/writing in canons explains that “….this merely says that the council decreed that Latin was legitimate – nothing more. It did NOT condemn vernacular liturgy or rule it out as unfitting. And this was passed without controversy. In fact, there are council records that show a bishop from the Adriatic who spoke – “…in the church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem Masses are celebrated in every language under heaven.”
      But, by 1588, the myth of Trent had prevailed; latin was a badge of catholic identity and it became a non-negotiable issue; allegedly written in stone by the council of Trent.”

      Again, you overreach by your statements. You go on to give an opinion that your reading of documents shows that the *ideal* OF is vernacular with latin ordinaries. Again, that is your opinion and is not substantiated by the documents – it is your *hermeneutic* but others could read the exact same documents and come to a different conclusion. This is where you most adver to your own ideological stance using not a hermeneutic but your opinion to support your way of reading things. If anytiing, SC, Consilium and post VII episcopal conferences did not read those same documents in the way you describe. (note – SC, VII never used the language of OF? it encouraged use of latin, Gregorian chants, etc. but always in a both/and approach – it did not *idealize* any particular method or blending of latin/vernacular.
      Indults – again, stated that I agree with your added clarifications. In fact, the general church norms from 1983 allow for male/female servers. Bishops of Phoenix and Omaha within their episcopal powers have limited and restricted that general norm…they did not need to seek conference or papal approval. In that sense, they have created their own local indult.

  30. Bill you are overstating the reach of the Apostolic Bull Quo Primum which kept to the two-hundred year rule. Also, the Mass of Pius V simply extended to the whole of the Roman Church the liturgy already in use in Rome but within the limitations provided by the two hundred year rule thus keeping the liturgies of the religious orders & other places intact.

    Trent Session 22 canon 9 is pretty clear Bill. I don’t understand why it is difficult for you to see it. It does far more than state that Latin in the Mass remains legitimate because it also anathematizes those who state the Mass should be in the vernacular alone. It did not condemn vernacular liturgy where it already existed (i.e. the east) but it does condemn those who argue for an all vernacular Mass. This is consistent with why Vatican II maintained a prominent place for Latin in the liturgy even if so many have failed to implement this part of the liturgical reform. I guess that is another reason why we need the Reform of the Reform.
    I continue to argue that it is the excessive vernacularists not the RoR crowd who have the burden to show how given Trent, the clearly unambiguous norms in SC (always in continuity with Trent), Iubilate Deo, and RS how any celebration other than those with pride of place for the Latin ordinaries could ever be consistent with the total vision of SC.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #79:
      your opinion – will stick with a respected historian, O’Malley, and his *hermeneutic* – yours merely echoes the tired papal authority and overcentralization mantra that we have struggled with for centuries and, by B16’s own words, appears to have failed at this time.

      The usual unhistorical bias – e.g. *prominent* place for latin (in your opinion only; over-emphasis); council of Trent did not address an all vernacular mass – this was left for later; SC had principles about active, full participation and liturgical decisions left to episcopal conferences which fairly quickly in their decisions/requests shed a different and opposite light on your *failed to implement this part of the liturgical reform* (again, the actual notes of many VII council fathers reveal a clear stance on the vernacular); *exessive vernacularists* – now, there is an *invented* phrase which has no documented support or foundation (again, you paint with sweeping generalizations to fit your ideology.)

      You turn everything upside down in terms of burden of proof on the vernacularists – first, it is clear that most who supported vernacular did so based upon the principles of SC; they also believed that latin and vernacular could exist together (but it is a choice; not a requirement; it is both/and not primary, prominent or some imagined latin ordinaries and others vernacular approach). Your long list only underlines your approach – which is papal hierarchy decides; curia dictates; twists and turns of papal motu proprio’s or letters that can change quickly and contradict each other; etc. – some of which is contrary to SC principles. (epsicopal conferences decide; those are the unambiguouis norms of SC – not sure what you imagine except that your approach makes every section of SC equal – sorry, that is not how the documents were written, approved, or meant by the council fathers – e.g. *pride of place for latin ordinaries* – again, not documented.

  31. Sacrosanctum Concilium 54.2, as he wrote above.

    “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.”

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #85:
      Thanks, Todd – and again, ROTR folks are quick to list a few letters/MPs by JPII or B16 on the EF/TLM (which have no connection to the VII council fathers) as justifying their ideological position but when folks cite that episcopal conferences *demanded quickly* that vernacular music, commons, translations be prepared – they dismiss or ignore that reality (and yet, those conferences were implementing exactly what the council fathers had laid out).

      Again, it is taking one paragraph and blowing it out of proportion to the context; the post-council history, and the actual liturgical implementation across the world.
      It is a literal interpretation that does not take into account the various hierarchical levels of each VII document – starting with an overview; then principles, then norms (sorry, McKernan, not admonitions)

      Admonitions definition:
      1: gentle or friendly reproof ;2: counsel or warning against fault or oversight

      Norm definition: group-held beliefs about how members should behave in a given context

      Then, if you have taken courses on canon law; you get into the European/Mediterrean concept of law/norms and US legal concepts. Even less of the notion of admonition. This is another caution in terms of *literally* reading individual paragraphs out of a document.

      To use another example – the council of Trent did not forbid vernacular; and yet, no bishop acted on vernacular requests, implementations, etc. Does that mean that the council of Trent failed in this liturgical document? Would suggest that VII’s SC laid out directives just like the council of Trent – whether these were acted on or not doesn’t lead to the conclusion that the council’s goals failed – in fact, the use of latin has never disappeared in the Roman Rite; suggest that most parishes use latin regularly (may not reach your ideal but?) unlike vernacular after the end of the council of Trent in which it did disappear. (hummm…..making a mountain out of a molehill? differences in how much to implement, use, keep, etc. in terms of latin, chant, etc.)

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #87:
        counsel or warning against fault or oversight

        Admonition was Daniel’s word, so maybe he wants to explain his decision to use it. But 54.2 seems like a “counsel against oversight” to me: “nevertheless (even though the vernacular is going to be used), the people should know how to say or sing the Ordinary in Latin.”

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #91:
        Expanding on what Todd has stated. Would stipulate that most US parishes know and use latin at various times during the liturgical year esp. key feasts and seasons.

        Thanks for noting that some of my emphasis and response are to Mr. McKernan’s exaggerations and ideological over-emphasis on latin. For example:
        – he inserts the word *preparation* (not me – was repeating his initial use)….again, what does this mean in the overall context of SC; in terms of post VII developments; episcopal conferences’ requests; in light of things such as Musicam Sacram. Todd’s point is a good one and acknowledges my comment about principles first, then norms. The hierarchy is such that full participation comes before latin; that singing the mass vs. praying at mass takes precedence; that singing the commons is higher than hymns, etc.

  32. The phrase Daniel used was “directing … that the people be able to sing the ordinaries in Latin”.

    The phrase Bill used was “people need to be prepared to sing in latin the ordinaries”. I don’t know if Bill means “prepared” as in “the people need to receive preparation for singing in Latin” or “the people had better expect to sing in Latin”.

    Once again SC 54.2 says: “Provideatur tamen ut christifideles etiam lingua latina partes Ordinarii Missae quae ad ipsos spectant possint simul dicere vel cantare.”

    This is rendered in the Abbott/Gallagher translation as: “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” This is the same wording found on the Vatican web site.

    Another translation is: “Nevertheless care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin…”

  33. The perspective on SC 54 is, of course, that the movement to the vernacular had yet to set in. The point is that whatever language or proclamation style (though preferably musical) the people take part in the acclamations. They are not choral pieces.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #88:
      Yes, SC 54 has to be taken as a whole. SC 54.1 makes it clear that the vernacular may be used for “those parts which pertain to the people”. SC 54.2 makes it clear that, even where the vernacular is permitted for the Ordinary, the people should also be able to say or sing the Ordinary in Latin. So, taken together, SC 54 means that the acclamations should be participated in by the people; but the Council Fathers also took the time to mention specifically vernacular participation AND Latin participation.

      @Todd Flowerday – comment #90:

      I know the ordinary in Latin too, with the same exclusion about the Creed. But I don’t know if I could generalize so easily that “Most Catholics are easily familiar with Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei”, nor that “most Catholics participate in the Mass ordinary as presented to them, Latin or vernacular.”

      there is no level importance in each element of the ordinary.

      Right; although Musicam Sacram 29-31 provides “degrees” for the parts of Mass (ordinary and proper), it is in terms of their being sung or not, not the language in which they are sung or said.

  34. I know how to sing or say the ordinary in Latin, save for a memorization of the Credo. Most Catholics are easily familiar with Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei–the most important “movements.” And most Catholics participate in the Mass ordinary as presented to them, Latin or vernacular. Except, perhaps, in some reform2 liturgies where the choir stomps on the principle of active participation as underscored in SC 30.

    But I also have to say that there is no level importance in each element of the ordinary. For a statement/reaffirmation of faith I would say that as a general rule, the Credo should always be in the vernacular, and never be a choral piece.

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