Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reformed Roman Missal- One Year Later

Well, its been a whole year since the new English translation of the Roman Missal has been promulgated.  I can neither say it has been a success nor a failure. The rebellion against the translation the critics on the left were hoping for never happened.  The vast majority accepted the new English words with nary a kick or a scream.  Yet, there hasn't been a fundamental change in the way Mass is celebrated in the typical parish, either.  Despite the new words, there are still the stripped down sanctuaries, with tiny wood altars that look like dining room tables.  There is still the hand holding, the banal Broadway show tune Mass Settings and adult contemporary hymns that celebrate people while ignoring all things mystical and spiritual.  In the typical parish, mine included, Mass is still a liturgical Woodstock wannabe. I don't listen to Broadway show tunes.  Why in the world would I want to go to Church and hear Mass settings in a Broadway style? What I have come to realize is that the problem is in the rubrics, or more accurately the lack of rubrics, in the Ordinary Form (rubrics are the actions that go along with the words, such as kneeling, facing ad orientum, how often the priest makes the sign of the cross, etc... think of it as choreography).  The Ordinary Form, aka Novus Ordo, was fabricated by Annibale Bugnini, and was to be a simplified form.  It has so few rubrics, it allows priests to celebrate, or rather "preside" (as the Novus Ordo rubrics call it) Mass in their own individual styles, and sadly, many adopted a hippie social worker style that seems to be eternally stuck in the early 1970s.

I find myself agreeing with comedian Jimmy Fallon, who expressed his thoughts on the Catholic Mass in this interview with NPR.  On the traditional Mass, he said,
"I just, I loved the church. I loved the idea of it. I loved the smell of the incense. I loved the feeling you get when you left church. I loved like how this priest can make people feel this good. I just thought it was, I loved the whole idea of it. My grandfather was very religious, so I used to go to mass with him at like 6:45 in the morning serve mass and then you made money too if you did weddings and funerals. They'd give you, you'd get like five bucks. And so I go okay, I can make money too. I go this could be a good deal for me. I thought I had the calling. "

But on the way Mass has gone since the Novus Ordo was implemented, he said,
"I don't go to - I tried to go back. When I was out in L.A. and I was like kind of struggling for a bit I went to church for a while, but it's kind of, it's gotten gigantic now for me. It's like too, there's a band. There's a band there now and you got to, you have to hold hands with people through the whole mass now, and I don't like doing that. You know, I mean it used to be the shaking hands piece was the only time you touched each other. Now I'm holding, now I'm lifting people. Like Simba. I'm holding them, ha nah hey nah ho.  I'm doing too much. I don't want - there's Frisbees being thrown, there's beach balls going around, people waving lighters, and I go this is too much for me. I want the old way. I want to hang out with the, you know, with the nuns, you know, that was my favorite type of mass, and the Grotto and just like straight up, just mass-mass."

I find myself having similar thoughts.  My own parish has the casual, Broadway-Woodstock style Mass, that I find increasing difficult to sit through.  I want tradition.  I want to hear chant. I want some Latin. I want to hear bells and smell incense.  I want the priest to be a spiritual leader, leading us in prayer and sermonizing about faith and miracles, not a performer who tries to entertain us, while making social justice his only message.  There is another parish in my neighborhood that has a more traditional Mass, with bells, incense, chant, and even some Latin.  They even have the Extraordinary Form (aka Tridentine Latin Mass) every week.  Can I bring myself to quit my parish and join this other one?  In time, I may not have a choice, if going to Mass at my parish continues to be like a chore or a penance to suffer through.

If I had the Pope's ear, I would humbly suggest to him that the Order of the Mass for the Ordinary Form needs to be reformed.  The 1965 Order should be restored to the Ordinary Form Roman Missal, replacing the Annibale Bugnini fabricated Order.  The 1965 Order of the Mass was, essentially, a vernacular translation of the Tridentine Latin Order, slightly simplified in rubrics, with some repetition removed, thus making it fulfill Vatican II's requirements- - in fact, the 1965 Missal was heralded "The Mass Of Vatican II".

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