I find Longenecker’s characterization of “Old Order and “New Order” Catholics to be overdrawn. It brings to mind a paraphrase of Robert Benchley’s famous line: There are two kinds of people in the Church, those that divide the Church into two kinds of people and those that don’t. I do think there really are a far greater number of Catholics who hold some combination of the characteristics Longenecker lists.
Anyhow, Longenecker offers a list of list of propositions to help that pollination cross in both directions. Are any of his suggestions promising? Or will these be seen as a bridge too far for those who offer enthusiastic support for one form over the other?
So here are some further suggestions about the liturgy wars from a priest in the trenches.
- To aid participation and understanding, the Scripture readings should all be in the vernacular.
- Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony can be properly augmented with hymns in the vernacular which illuminate the readings of the day.
- New Order Catholics could choose and learn the older hymns that are more rooted in sound theology and Scripture.
- On a regular basis, the Novus Ordo in Latin could be celebrated by Old Order Catholics as a way to help congregations understand and accept the Novus Ordo.
- Likewise, the Novus Ordo in Latin could be celebrated by New Order Catholics as a way to re-vitalize the great tradition and make the Extraordinary Form intelligible and acceptable.
- New Order Catholics could make more effort to understand and integrate historical forms of architecture and art.
- New Order priests can incorporate more time for silence and adoration into their celebration. While they may not celebrate ad orientem – they might face East in silent prayer with their people at appropriate points in the liturgy. (After the Kiss of Peace, during the Agnus Dei and fraction, and after communion.)
- Old Order priests could face the people and interact with them at appropriate points. (At the “Lift up Your Hearts” the invitation to prayer, to confession and prayers at the altar.)
- Both Old Order Catholics and New Order Catholics could focus more on Scripture and invest time and training in improving the quality of preaching.