Do you believe that that it is possible for the Novus Ordo Missae to be reconciled with pre-Vatican II documents on the Liturgy, such as Pius X’s Inter Sollicitudines, or did the NO make these documents void and invalid in regards to their influence on the Liturgy altougather?
I’m speaking from perhaps a somewhat narrow angle here (I’m a musician and will address sacred music in particular), but yes, I do believe it to be possible–but not without a great struggle. It is not the fault of the rite itself that things have gotten so bad, but rather the fault of the ignorant and perhaps even diabolical architects of the so-called “Spirit” of Vatican II.
None of the conciliar or post-conciliar documents regarding music in the liturgy subtracted one iota of what has been written by Pope St. Pius, Pius XII, and John XXIII. In 2003, Pope John Paul II examined and quoted Pope St. Pius’ document at great length and (this might come as a shock to some people here) reiterated the Pontiff’s demand that Gregorian Chant assume the role as the primary music of the Roman Rite.
But not even John Paul II’s chirograph really matters to most of the music directors out there. For some reason, the notion of being obedient to Holy Mother Church and her wisdom was just not instilled in their heads. The idea that the Liturgy is not a personal pet project is still foreign to a lot of the music directors that I’ve met. Priests received poor liturgical formation (dare I say it, even before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo in 1969), got swept up in all of the “innovations” introduced in our seminaries, and now are just clueless about how to celebrate the Mass. It is these problems which must–and which ARE– being addressed before any true reform of contemporary Roman liturgy can begin. Some priests and lay people in our country need to learn the Mass all over again. They need to learn that we do not sing at Mass, we sing the Mass.
One of the reasons why people seem to be so misinformed about sacred music is that their information about the Liturgy comes to them through a filter: the publications of GIA, OCP, and the NPM, mostly. Most figure that since the bishops approve of the work of these organizations that their pontification on all things liturgical must be a gospel truth.
This is starting to change, however, under the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. He addresses the liturgy in very direct, understsandable language which clearly supplants the tripe put out by the “Catholic” publishing houses. Music directors who are sincere about doing the will of the Church are finally being exposed to the REAL documents on the Sacred Liturgy. It’s only a matter of time before the true directives of Vatican II are put into practice. And when that day comes, we will be in a position to fairly compare both rites and make an honest judgement.
I recall reading somewhere that from the beginning that the Prayers of the Mass as well as the readings were sung for at least the first six or eight hundred years. Is that correct? Gregorian Chant came in a fair ways into the first milliniam.
Still is correct in regards to the Tridentine Mass (High Mass anyways) and some Novus Ordo Masses. The priest chants/sings the prayers and the readings (or in a Solemn Mass, the Subdeacon chants the Epistle while the Deacon chants the Gospel). In regards to some of the prayers, the priest will read them sotto voce while the choir chants them.
Perhaps God had a purpose for the NO after all, that of serving as a bad example maybe? And what’s 40 years or even 100 years out of two centuries full of traditional and other hand-me-down values of Catholicism? As I see it, only the Polish and Spanish NOs will survive but they will be the indults.
Someone will no doubt chime in, “But we’ve got Latin in our Novus Ordo. It’s the most reverent Novus Ordo possible.”
The fact that one must qualify “Novus Ordo” with the adjective “reverent” tells us everything we need to know.
Unfortunately, as long as the top dogs keep propping up a failed “reform” and insisting it has been a stunning success, nothing will ever be accomplished. Most of us will continue to wander through a liturgical wasteland. Except for indulterers and the fortunate souls involved with the SSPX. And those reverent Novus Ordos. Which are even more rare than a TLM nowadays. But the fact that they exist is proof to some people that the liturgical renewal is right on track.
I have no doubts that the Novus Ordo is part of God’s great design for His Church. After all, has He not used the Arian heresy, the Protestant Reformation, clerical corruption, inummerable persecutions, schisms, revolutions, even problematic Popes (such as those who ruled from Avignion, under the thumb of the French monarchy) in His plan for the Church? All things serve a divine purpose, even if we cannot understand that purpose.
Would so many people today have such an appreciation for the traditions of the Church had those traditions not been taken from us? Is it not true that we realize our need for something only when we no longer have it?
Im sure there are plenty of people who would probably disagree with me.
But from what I see, the liturgy is just getting worse. Despite a few isolated ‘orthodox’ parishes.
I’m sure it really just depends on where you live. In my diocese, there is a real “reform of the reform” going on in my diocese. It’s not an isolated parish. There’s more confession time around, more adoration, that Masses that were really bad are getting soooooooooooooooo much better, etc. We still have our liberal holdouts that are basically waiting until the bishop corrects them on every little issue but they are doing it. Believe me, I didn’t that was remotely possible.
No, it’s actually from Father Richard John Neuhaus’ book *Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth. *He uses it to describe all of the “silly” excesses and innovations that took place with the liturgy.
If you watched EWTN’s coverage of the old Holy Father’s funeral, it was Fr. Neuhaus who offered commentary with Raymond Arroyo. He appears quite often on EWTN. However, he is what some radical traditionalists like to dismiss as a “neo-con” or a “neo-Catholic.” They get a little upset when he (and Pope Benedict) refer to Pope John Paul II as “the Great.”
Is thorough reconciliation necessary? Any church document is as subject to magesterial interpretation as are the Old & New Testaments (even more so).
Divine Providence has allowed an inferior liturgy in the NO. Why?
A shorter liturgy allows worshippers in nations that persecute Catholics, forcing them “underground”, to gather for a shorter time and disperse quickly afterwards so they’re less likely to be caught together as a group.
The beauty of Eastern rites is highlighted (by comparison with the NO) in an age when the reunion of The Catholic and Orthodox churches appears a growing possibility. Many traditional-minded Roman rite Catholics are experiencing the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Eastern rite Catholic parishes.
The resulting desire within many Catholics for a sense of continuity with the pre-Vatican II church, reaching back to the apostles themselves, has challenged them to read on their own from historic church documents, church fathers, and doctors.
It is easier now to distinguish the serious-minded orthodox and devout Catholics from merely “cultural Catholics” or who are less devout.
But, I still admit, I do not understand how the NO is a “reform” of the liturgy if, by “reform”, we mean an overall improvement!
Those who believe it’s time to circle the wagons because the Church is completely corrupted and can only be saved by changing the liturgy because the current liturgy is getting increasingly abused.
Those who believe that the Mass, when said correctly, is the Mass of the Latin Church and that the reverence and quality of the liturgy is increasing.
I belong to group number two. It seems, in my experience, that liturgically across the US things are becoming more orthodox and not less orthodox.
I believe it is obvious that there are more orthodox bishops in place now than in the last 40 years. Take a look at the profiles and backgrounds of the bishops appointed over the last 2 or 3 years. These are some powerful orthodox men.
There are now a large number of good young priests coming out of the seminary. As the older priests move on, parishes will change.
Anyway, this is what I see in my diocese and at the bishops level across the country.
Unfortunately, for those who belong to group number 1, the current Mass won’t be going away. Your best hope is probably for a wider use of the indult, but even with that you will only see a few parishes per diocese offering the old Mass. People desire orthodoxy and reverence and as more and more parishes fulfill that need the demand for the old Mass will be less and less.
All the silly excesses and innovations that take place during the liturgy are actually liturgical abuses, aren’t they? To call them the “silly season” seems to be dumbing it down to make it appear less offensive and less serious than it actually is.
I have to agree with Ham here, and I definitely agree with Kirk that the opinion of the NO Mass being “inferior” is entirely subjective.
The “superior” Mass for any individual–whether it be NO, TLM, Divine Liturgy, or some other form–is the one through which God best communicates to the individual.
For those to whom God “sings” in Latin through the TLM, you are blessed indeed. But equally blessed are those who have no interest or calling to that liturgy and hear God powerfully proclaimed in the NO.
As I’ve said often before, the Divine Fisherman has many lures in His tackle box, and knows just the right one for each one of us, much as a good fly fisherman knows exactly the right fly for the stream and the time of year he is fishing.