Ecumenical elements necessary to attract Protestants to Catholic Church?

The Divine Liturgy of St. James is the earliest form of liturgy that we have today. It is not the earliest form of liturgy in the history of the Church. There were forms that were never formally adopted. They evolved into the forms that we know today. It is commonly accepted that the breaking of the bread that is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles is not the Divine Liturgy of the East or the Tridentine of the West. It was a seder as practiced by the Jews. Our OF looks more like a seder than the EF does.

I’m not trying to be the poster boy for the OF. I truly appreciate the holiness and beauty of both forms, EF and OF. I’m simply making a comparison between the seder and the earliest forms of the mass during the first century Church. That’s what some tried to recover in the OF, at the same time eliminating many of the elements found in the Jewish seder that are not necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist.

One example that comes to mind is the three readings in the OF. The seder has several readings in it. Another example is the simplicity of the altar facing the people. At the seder the people reclined around the table. As I said above, the elements in the seder that do not serve the purpose of a mass were eliminated. They have been eliminated by the Jewish people too, such as reclining. No one reclines at a seder any more.

Another practice that they had during the times of the Apostles which never made it into the current forms of liturgy was the washing of feet before every seder. We kept the washing of hands. We kept the stole that was used by the Rabbis and we added more vestments, especially in the East.

None of the current forms of the mass, in the East or West, are exact replicas of the seder mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Like Cat I, too, grew up Protestant. My family is non-denominational. I will say, though, that I probably would not have converted had it not been for the EF. The OF seemed way too similar the other churches I had been to. Yes, much of the music was music that would have also been in the Protestant churches I had attended.

Let us hope that you and others convert, not for the form of the liturgy, but for Catholic theology. I converted from Judaism to Catholicism over 35-years ago. But what attracted me to Catholicism was not its liturgy, though I found it to be beautiful. My attraction to Catholicism was its theology. It is well researched. It is logical. It is biblical. It is rooted in a seamless growth from the covenant with Abraham, the covenant with Noah, the covenant with Moses, and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. I saw that the sacraments have deep roots in the Torah. The structure of the Church has roots in Judeo-Christian history.

Finally, I saw the formulation of Catholic theology is explained by reason and reason enlightened by the Catholic faith. I saw Catholicism as a logical progression from Judaism and Jesus Christ as preached by the Catholic Church is consistent with the prophecies revealed to Israel.

The essence of the liturgy, the paschal mystery was the point of convergence between the initial point at which God revealed himself to man and today’s man’s search for God. It is on the cross and at the resurrection where the two points come together as one reality. This made sense to me.

The form of the liturgy was part of the package where these beliefs were espoused and expressed. The music and other externals of the liturgy were never really that important to me, as long as the liturgy was consistent with the theology of the Church.

Those are the points that I looked at when examining the Catholic faith.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Of course I converted because of the theology. However, I would not have investigated the theology had I only attended the OF. I would have had no reason to.

Cat gave the perfect example of why the OF should be exclusive to Saturday nights while Dorian summarized so much of what we’ve lost during the age of aquarius. As numbers reflect in both Catholic and Protestant communities, the majority of Christians attend anything but church on Sunday mornings.

Actually, the changes to the Mass in Vatican II did no add Protestant practices. The whole point of the Pauline Mass was to eliminate duplications, make the wording clearer and easier to understand, and to put it in an order that made more sense. The biggist thing it did was to include the people so they can participate with the Sacrifice that Christ called us to participate in.

Pope Pius XII, in Mediator Dei, condemned the notion that we should change the rites of the Mass to reflect more ancient practices.

vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_20111947_mediator-dei_en.html

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council would hardly recognize the past 40 years of reforms as coming from Sacrosanctum Concilium. The Council envisioned a liturgy with the priest facing ad orientem, with communion distributed in the traditional manner, and with latin and Gregorian Chant having pride of place. Thankfully, our current Holy Father is moving the “reform of the reform” in this direction.

And I think it is almost offensive to suggest that for centuries and centuries, the laity haven’t been able to fully participate in the Mass simply because, supposedly, they didn’t have enough stuff to do. The traditional Latin Mass was the liturgy of some of the Church’s greatest saints, mystics, and Doctors and it’s sad that when the 20th century rolled around, some decided that this beautiful liturgy was just too “outdated” and needed to be modernized to keep up with the times.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing objectionable about organic developments within the liturgy. They’ve been apart of the Church’s life since the beginning. But to so drastically and abruptly change the very center of the Church’s public life can only cause harm and, according the Pope Benedict XVI, that’s exactly what happened.

The posting by “Cat” is a wonderful window into what she and her family observed and felt as they attended Mass for the first time and came into the Catholic church. It should act as a sign to those who worry that the changes in the church brought about by Vatican II are problematic.

To me, the current liturgy brings the people closer to God and one another. One thing that I recall from my childhood attending the Latin Mass was that so many people were not following the liturgy but praying the rosary or reading from little books they brought with them. There was a great disconnect. We had to be alerted by bells at the Consecration. Now the people actually participate and offer the sacrifice of the Mass along with the Celebrant. I would think that is more like what the first Christian services were like.

DorianGregorian points out several of the changes, and then comments:

“It is sickening that all of this has been allowed to happen…”

Let’s take a look at a few of those changes and see what is so “sickening” about them.

“The Celebrant faces the congregation” – Did Jesus face away from the people when he preached and taught? Don’t think so. So in this regard we are going back to an earlier “tradition”.

“Elimination of Gregorian Chant” - replaced by music of “man”. So where did Gregorian chant come from, if not man? The great majority of today’s liturgical hymns are drawn directly from scripture. I can’t think of a much better or more meaningful source. I will admit that Gregorian chant is beautiful and should have a place in the Church, but at most Masses our current music is perfectly fine.

“Simplification of Vestments” – An improvement, but I personally think they could go even further. Again, what did Jesus and the early Apostles wear when they preached to the crowds and broke bread with their followers?

“Communion in Hand” – How was it done at the Last Supper, and in the early church? Why is my hand a less worthy receptacle than my tongue?

Greater participation by laity, including “altar girls” – The people are the Church, the Body of Christ. Why shouldn’t we all have a role, including “girls”? Considering that women were the majority of followers at the Cross, and were the first to see the risen Christ, they appear to have an equal claim to serving Him.

“Use of the vernacular” – Let’s see…what one language did the early church use throughout the Christian world? It wasn’t Latin, was it? It seems that in some places it was Aramaic, in others Hebrew, in others Greek, and in others some other local language. So having a liturgy in a language that the people understand is a bad thing? Has this destroyed the “unity of the Church”? I would contend that it does just the opposite. It tells me that the Catholic church is for all people, of all languages, not just for an elite few who understand Latin.

The one change that I personally noticed that seemed to be a concession to Protestants was adding the doxology (“The Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are yours”) to the end of the Lord’s Prayer. But that apparently was not a big issue.

What really amazes me is that some people act like these changes were the result of some sort of conspiracy by “Protestants in disguise” working inside the Vatican. As I recall, Vatican II involved two Popes, Cardinals and the Bishops of the Church. I don’t know if you could get more Catholic than that.

JReducation gave very lucid and thorough explanations of the changes in defense of the Church’s liturgy, and emphasized theology and faith over liturgical forms as a reason to come to and remain in the church. I would concur; “substance” before “form”.

Chauncygardner,

There was no concession to anyone. Thie doxology in the OF canon derives from the Tridentine Mass Canon:
Latin: Per ipsum, et cum ipso, et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti in unitate Spiritus Sancti, omnis honor et gloria. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
English: Through Him, and with Him, and in Him, is unto Thee, God the Father almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
Cat, thank you so very much for taking the time to post your conversion. Kind of cool the way God gifted your kids to be on that skating team that practiced at that time so you could come to Mass. Pretty sly that Jesus…:wink:

Yes, and when the priest preaches, he faces the people. When he prays to the Eternal Father and when he leads us in offering the Holy Sacrifice, he faces the altar of God.

“Elimination of Gregorian Chant” - replaced by music of “man”. So where did Gregorian chant come from, if not man? The great majority of today’s liturgical hymns are drawn directly from scripture. I can’t think of a much better or more meaningful source. I will admit that Gregorian chant is beautiful and should have a place in the Church, but at most Masses our current music is perfectly fine.

Vatican II said that Gregorian Chant should hold pride of place in the liturgy and Pope Pius XII, in Mediator Dei, decried the movement to supress it.

“Simplification of Vestments” – An improvement, but I personally think they could go even further. Again, what did Jesus and the early Apostles wear when they preached to the crowds and broke bread with their followers?

Again, condemned by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei.

The Mass isn’t just a family get-together either. It is the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary made present to us. In fact it is the whole Paschal Mystery made present; Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

And don’t forget that in the Old Testement, God required the priests of the temple to wear fine vestments as was befitting true worship.

“Communion in Hand” – How was it done at the Last Supper, and in the early church? Why is my hand a less worthy receptacle than my tongue?

No, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with communion in the hand. However, given that the lack of reverence towards the most Holy Eucharist has only increased in the last 40 years, it only makes sense that a return to more traditional and reverent practices would be helpful.

Greater participation by laity, including “altar girls” – The people are the Church, the Body of Christ. Why shouldn’t we all have a role, including “girls”? Considering that women were the majority of followers at the Cross, and were the first to see the risen Christ, they appear to have an equal claim to serving Him.

So do you think that women should be ordained to the ministerial priesthood as well? We are indeed all members of this one Body, but we all are called differently and have different functions.

“Use of the vernacular” – Let’s see…what one language did the early church use throughout the Christian world? It wasn’t Latin, was it? It seems that in some places it was Aramaic, in others Hebrew, in others Greek, and in others some other local language. So having a liturgy in a language that the people understand is a bad thing? Has this destroyed the “unity of the Church”? I would contend that it does just the opposite. It tells me that the Catholic church is for all people, of all languages, not just for an elite few who understand Latin.

Again, Pope Pius XII defended the use of the latin language in Mediator Dei. He said it was indeed a sign and symbol of the Church’s unity. And let’s not forget Vatican II, which stated that latin should be retained along with Gregorian Chant.

That shouldn’t be the motivation. The motivation should be to express the truth more richly and fully. However, those of us who believe in ecumenism believe that only by listening to other Christians can we do this.

In other words, ecumenical Catholics, like other ecumenical Christians, are motivated by principle and not just pragmatism. If ecumenism is just a sales gimmick for you, you’re not really ecumenical. If you think that all truth and goodness is found within the Roman Communion, you’re not ecumenical.

Edwin

Where? I thought he said we shouldn’t go back TO the ancient Rites, and shouldn’t implement them indiscriminately, but he clearly noted that changes do, can, and at times should occur in the liturgy (including retrieving ancient practices that were for various reasons "dropped). See para 50. I don’t think that’s condemning changes to the Mass that reflect ancient practices.

Thanks.

Personally I don’t think it’s only or even most importantly the laity not having enough stuff to do. It’s about understanding what they (we) are doing there, and so being able to do it fully and consciously (e.g. in a language we can understand usually helps). See Sacrosanctum Concilium para 11, that’s a “why” that the Council wanted to guide subsequent changes: vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

The Church decided to revise the liturgy. Not a vague “some.”

Your observation makes a fine point, but the question is not necessarily stating that which I feel personally. Sorry for confusion in wording. There have been a great deal of interesting comments, but I cannot re-word the questions at this point to favour all philosophies or to make them feel more comfortable. I do not find it a good practice to do so in real life, let alone here. It can often lead to confusion and a great deal of “but in this instance it does not apply” type commentaries.

Name some examples of “Protestant music” used in Mass other than the song, Amazing Grace. And don’t mention the patriotic songs–these songs are not “Protestant,” they’re National.

And then please list which Protestant hymnals or songbooks you have seen these songs in, or which Protestant rock bands, professional singers, etc. tend to use these songs.

Thank you for clarifying your point.

Interestingly, the one song in the Catholic missallette, other than Amazing Grace, that I sang often in the evangelical Protestant churches was Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Do you think that hymn should be stricken from the Catholic Mass, since Protestants use it often?

Singing patriotic songs in church *is *a theological problem in my opinion. Catholics ought to be upset about that and leave poor old Fr. Newton alone.

(Note: I refer to the Rev. John Newton as “Father” because he was an Anglican presbyter, and that is how I was taught to refer to Anglican presbyters. He would of course be horrified.)

Interestingly, the one song in the Catholic missallette, other than Amazing Grace, that I sang often in the evangelical Protestant churches was Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Do you think that hymn should be stricken from the Catholic Mass, since Protestants use it often?

As you probably know, that’s actually a Catholic hymn (a paraphrase of the Te Deum for starters, but I believe that the German version was by a Catholic).

Personally, I wish Catholics would sing a lot more Protestant hymns. But hey, I’m an evil Protestant myself!

Does your missalette not have “A Mighty Fortress,” or was that not commonly sung in your Protestant churches?

Also, I’ve heard Catholics sing “Faith of Our Fathers”–another Catholic hymn that is often sung by Protestants (though Protestants of course cut out the bit about Mary’s prayers!).

Edwin

Very true. He specifically condemned the idea of returning the altar to the “table form” and doing away with the vestments along with their significant meanings which have developed over the centuries.

Personally I don’t think it’s only or even most importantly the laity not having enough stuff to do. It’s about understanding what they (we) are doing there, and so being able to do it fully and consciously (e.g. in a language we can understand usually helps).

Along with Pope St. Pius X, Pope Pius XII, and all the post Conciliar popes, I praise all the study and work that is done to assure that the faithful have a much better understanding of what we do when we celebrate Holy Mass. But as Pope Pius XII pointed out and as Pope Benedict XVI has said, there are and have always been those with an agenda who have, unfortunately, had negative influences in the liturgical movement.

The only latin I know is what I can read in a missal and I have no problems following the Mass. Most people who become familiar with the Mass don’t have problems either. But I don’t have an issue with the vernacular and personally I think it would be nice to have a liturgy with the ordinary in latin and the propers in the vernacular. To my mind, that would be closer to the intentions of the Council Fathers.

The Church decided to revise the liturgy. Not a vague “some.”

Ever since the Council, the popes have spoken about the crisis the Church is facing. Pope Paul VI refered to it as the “smoke of Satan”, Pope John Paul II called it a “silent apostasy”, and Pope Benedict XVI has decried the effects that banal liturgy has had on the Church because “some” decided the Church’s worship needed to be ripped away from it’s traditional roots and all organic and authentic developement replaced by un-Catholic innovations and novelty.

Yup, and the altar is between the Celebrant and the congregation at that time, so that we ALL face it.

Vatican II said that Gregorian Chant should hold pride of place in the liturgy and Pope Pius XII, in Mediator Dei, decried the movement to supress it.

What is most recent? Mediator Dei or Vatican II? And no one said “eliminate it.”

Simplification of Vestments

Again, condemned by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei.

The Mass isn’t just a family get-together either. It is the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary made present to us. In fact it is the whole Paschal Mystery made present; Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

And don’t forget that in the Old Testement, God required the priests of the temple to wear fine vestments as was befitting true worship.

I think simple vestments would be a sign of humility before God, a good thing. We are New Testament people, not Old.

No, and there is nothing intrinsically wrong with communion in the hand. However, given that the lack of reverence towards the most Holy Eucharist has only increased in the last 40 years, it only makes sense that a return to more traditional and reverent practices would be helpful.

Is the lack of reverence due to communion in the hand, or a change in peoples’ attitudes or approach? Reverting may not cure that problem. Plus, one can still receive on the tongue. I see it every week.

So do you think that women should be ordained to the ministerial priesthood as well? We are indeed all members of this one Body, but we all are called differently and have different functions.

That is another topic entirely, but I still stand on allowing women to serve in ALL the capacities available to the laity.

Again, Pope Pius XII defended the use of the latin language in Mediator Dei. He said it was indeed a sign and symbol of the Church’s unity. And let’s not forget Vatican II, which stated that latin should be retained along with Gregorian Chant.

Retained, yes, but not exclusive.

Little real substance to your counterpoints, other than a reliance on Pius XII.

I find it interesting when a protestant feels they can say what they think a Mass should look like.

That being said…

Cat, your post was very interesting to read. Thank you for that perspective.

As a Catholic who grew up Catholic, and left partially because Mass no longer appeared Catholic, I think we should look Catholic.

I went to a church this past Sunday that had the feeling I was walking into a cave. There were no statues, no stained glass windows. 105 "EMHC"s who were “helping” with communion (Ok, not a 105, more like 12 to 15 of them but still, it was a lot), wicker chairs :eek: and no kneelers. The “altar” was some 3 step oval “stage” in the center of the room. There was a small crucifix at one end next to where the priest would sit. When people came up to read, they bowed to the podium. No tabernacle. The altar? Looked like some boulder that had been cut in half. Very … “organic.”

I nearly walked out.

I want to say, “That was not ‘Catholic.’” But I realize that it IS a Catholic church so I guess it is Catholic to some extent. Dallas is very protestant. There are a lot of Catholic churches here in north Dallas that are plain, theatre in the round type churches. There are Methodist churches that look more church-like around here!

And while I am glad that what ever it is that gets someone to convert to Catholicism, as has been said people should convert because of the theology. If Mass feels foreign, maybe because it IS foreign. If it feels strange to have statues “staring down” it is because they are helping to watch over us and while that might creep some people out, what creeps ME out is walking into a protestant church and seeing nothing but waiting room chairs and a plain wooden cross at the front with a simple podium.

Why is it that people are willing to decorate their houses ornately and beautifully yet, when it comes to a church people are like, “Oh no! You MUST NOT idol worship!” and have plain institutional walls with no decorations for their “house of God.”

No, don’t laugh. Although this is amusing. hehehe… I remember seeing movies like, “The Exorcist” and seeing these ornate Mass scenes, and other movies that depict a Catholic Mass and I would wonder, “What happened to our churches?” I miss the sounds, the incense, the visual cues of who were before us in the church, the rituals that are looking more like ceremony than anything. I miss the ornate structures, the church bells ringing and signalling to all that the sacrifice is about to start.

I’m sorry if I am off in a rant. I really enjoyed what DorianGregorian said in post #8. If protestants don’t think that the Catholic church looks anything like “protestantism” well they don’t really know what it used to be like before. Very ornate. Very beautiful. Very much to the glory of God. Now, not so much. So yes, I do believe that our churches have become more “protestant” so that we could try and “entice” them in and not scare them so much. At least, that’s what it looks like from my observations here.

Wrong doxology. Chauncygardner was speaking about the doxology after the priest’s embolism after the Pater noster.

If the priest stands on the side of the altar closer to us, then we all face in the same direction, towards the altar. That’s been the traditional posture for Christian worship since possibly the very beginning.

Is that what we do, pit the most recent Magisterium against the earlier Magisterium? That’s dangerous and not Catholic.

Anyway, this is what Vatican II said about Latin and Gregorian chant in the Mass: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. … [S]teps 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. … The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited [literally: proper] to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.”

The beauty and nobility and decoration of vestments (and other liturgical items) is meant to be a symbol of the grandeur and awesomeness of God. That’s not to say there is no humility before God in the Mass, but that humility is more often represented by words and actions than by vestments or art.

And what exactly do you mean by “We are New Testament people, not Old” in this context? Jesus is depicted in the book of Revelation (a New Testament book) as dressed in the vestments of a high priest: “I saw … one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast.” And in Heaven, St. John saw “a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads … and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.”

And the Heavenly Jerusalem is described as having a wall with foundations “adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.” Those precious stones refer back to the stones placed in the breastplate of Aaron, the high priest. (cf. Exodus 28:15ff)

It is proper for our liturgical vestments to be representations of the heavenly realities, at least as much as the Old Testament liturgical worship was!

There are some places, sadly, where receiving on the tongue is strongly discouraged if not actually forbidden.

How often does your parish use chant or polyphony? When does the “average Catholic” hear (or sing) Gregorian chant at Mass?

Oh no! Reliance on the Magisterial teachings of a pre-conciliar pope!

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