For those who remember when the EF was the only form

Those of you who are old enough to remember when Latin was the only language permissible for the Latin Church…

Do you think that today’s Extraordinary Form is generally more reverent than Mass was prior to 1964?


Hard to say on a general basis. It is certainly said in a different environment.

As far as I am concerned, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the same Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since forever.

I don’t mean to be rude, but is there a reason for this question? It sounds as if you are asking a leading question.

In any case, the Missal of 1962 is the same Missal that is used in the EF today, so how could the Mass be more or less reverent?

But if you are asking about the attitude of the people, that is difficult to determine and highly subjective, since we can’t read hearts. Any answers you get on this point will be useless.

Not where I attend Mass, a Benedictine monastery where the propers and ordinary are still in Gregorian chant (Latin with a splash of Greek at the Kyrie and on Good Friday) and where the liturgy is still carried out very carefully and reverently.

Reverence has nothing to do with the form of the Mass, everything to do with how it’s done.

What did appear to happen post-Vatican II was a breakdown in discipline that has been hard to recover in many places. I’m not so sure that the form of the Mass is entirely responsible. In fact I rather doubt that it’s the only or even the most important factor.


More crowded due to a lesser availability in most places.

More High Masses and fewer Low Masses.

More dialogue style Masses.

Reverence about the same level.

Fewer Masses said on side altars.

Thats about it.

It would help to know your definition of “reverent”.

Webseter’s defines it in terms of reverence: : honor or respect felt or shown : especially : profound adoring awed respect.[size=2] In this case, there is no form of the Mass tha[size=2]t is not reverent nor is any form more reverent than any other form[size=2].

[size=2]I[size=2]f you are choosing to define “reverent” in [size=2]other terms of your choosing, e.g. “following the rubrics”, “using [size=2]Gregorian Chant”, “no sign o[size=2]f Peace”, [size=2]then your question [size=2]is more asking for our opinion of what form of the Mass w[size=2]e think God think[size=2]s is more the way He wants us to say Mass, is it not?[/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size]

I was not around when the EF was the only form. I came into the Church recently. Originally, my impression was that the Novus ordo was just as reverent. However, I was brought into the Church in a diocese that was very traditional. Now, as I am in a different location and have moved a couple times prior, I see a lack of reverence in your average Novus Ordo Mass. So I have seen it be both reverent and irreverent.

I have also been to an EF Mass and found it to be downright beautiful and divine. Sadly, and I must be honest, I do not get this experience at the average NO parish, but I have had it with the NO Mass. I think it is a problem of attitudes rather than form. The problem is people want to simplify too much, cut out anything that is optional and make the Mass “accessible” which actually dampens its spiritual value. Note: I realize that Jesus is truly present at every valid Mass, however the question is, do we act like it? Does the priest convey this reality by his actions? Does the music we use and our posture reflect God’s presence? I personally think the Church needs to go back to its traditional identity, to bring back traditional vestments, Latin and chant because we have assimilated too much. When we assimilate into the modern culture, we loose ourselves and we have indeed, on average, lost alot.

A more faithful adherence to Vatican II would solve most of the problems. If we followed the document guidelines instead of automatically assuming the Council told us to get rid of Latin or to make the priest face the people (which it actually does not say that. It says Latin is to be preserved and says nothing about the direction of the priest), things would be better. The intention of Vatican II and what actually happened are two different things and it shouldn’t have ever been allowed to be two different things. We can bring back the things that Vatican II NEVER told us to get rid of. A new pope hopefully will give the Church an opportunity to follow it right this time.

If I can add my tuppence to the conversation: I would argue that reverence comes from knowledge/education in the mystery of the mass NOT from the form in which the mass is said.

Like grannymh stated in a previous post: “…] the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the same Holy Sacrifice of the Mass since forever.”

More knowledge = more reverence.

Sadly, I believe the average parishioner today has a very poor knowledge-set to awaken the deep reverence that the OP is speaking commenting about.

Indeed, it can be said that reverence is in the perception of the beholder. That said, according to the Baltimore Catechism, every Mass holds the same value. However, they can differ in solemnity (celebrant with deacon and subdeacon, concelebration, etc.).

No matter which form of the Mass that you go to there will be reverence and irreverence.

Probably the EF today is more reverent than it was 50 years ago because the people who seek out the EF are not your “average Catholic”. These are your people who are really into their faith and wanted something that they feel is deeper and more reverent. In the OF today you have a mixed bag of people. Some approach and OF Mass with the same reverence that those EF people do but others do not. Back in those days when the EF was the only form that mixed bag was probably present in those Masses as well.

You can go to an OF Mass and find people who sing along to every hymn, say every prayer where the laity are called to pray and are really into it. You can find in the same group of people those who never open their mouths for the whole Mass. If you’re lucky they’ll say the Lord’s Prayer. You’ll find people who never receive Communion without confessing their mortal sins and those who always receive regardless. You’ll find people who kneel/bow before the Eucharist and those who don’t. You can find people who are just looking around the church in what seems like that they don’t want to be there and those who are focused on the Mass and nothing else.

As I said, it’s a mixed bag in the OF because it’s the form that most people go to. Whereas the EF has a niche group of people who specifically seek it out. When the EF was only form of the Mass, you would have the same situation.

I’m sure the same could be said for how the priests say the Mass. There are some priests who seem like they’re going through the motions while other priests are really into it. Some priests have a more traditional reverent way of saying the Mass while others don’t. More priests say the OF as it is the “default” Mass. A priest who does the EF specifically has a desire to do it and therefore would be less inclined to do those things.

I suspect many people aren’t actually reading the OP or don’t understand the nature of the question.

This post has nothing whatsoever to do with comparing the EF and OF, so I don’t understand the need for the popcorn eater smileys.

The question is whether the now-known-as “EF” Masses are more reverent than they were before the intra- and post-Conciliar changes began to be promulgated, so about Advent 1964-ish. The question is, I think, very legitimate, because many people say that this form of Mass is now celebrated more reverently than it was when it was the only form of the Roman Rite, because now a priest has to want to celebrate it in order to celebrate it.

I don’t know if this is true or not–I wasn’t there–so we need first-hand experience to corroborate this theory (or not).

I never even looked at it that way. Thanks!

By the way, I am part of that small niche of people that seeks out the EF Mass. I can’t get to one that is less than 2 hours away (which means I never get to go). In my personal opinion, both forms should be readily available.

I still don’t think you will get any kind of really useful answers because many of those who attended the EF pre-1964 and attend the EF now have a highly romanticized view of the Mass pre-1964 and tend to have some tunnel vision about it. I have read posts where people claim the Mass was longer than the OF (unless it was a solemn high Mass it was not), where people never left Mass early (wrong again), where the priests gave better and more meaningful homilies (my recollection is that they talked a lot more about money and spent more time yelling at people), where people never talked in Church, and children were perfectly behaved. Plus they were more attentive to the Mass–wrong again. They said their Rosaries a lot. Or you have those who have a distorted view of how awful it was to go to Mass in Latin, how boring it was, etc.

So I don’t think much can be proved by people’s opinions, even mine :wink:

Please understand, the popcorn was not making any statement, besides the fact that I am not old enough to remember when the EF was the only form, as the title asks.

Since I was not old enough to make any reply, I ate popcorn to see what other people would say.

To be honest, most of what I hear is that Latin Mass was horrible. But usually they gave stupid reasons as to why it was horrible. For instance, they would complain about speaking a language they didn’t understand but then find nothing wrong with Mass in Spanish or French or whatever language the people of the region spoke. Some said it was horrible because the priest “turned their back on you”. I have seldom heard good or meaningful reasons as to why it was horrible but yeah, a priest yelling at you and asking for money, that would be legitimately “horrible” :slight_smile:

However, I don’t think any type of Mass is immune from bad priests. I guess the main reason why I prefer the Latin Mass (even though I never get to go) is because regardless of how much a jerk the priest is, the liturgy is still the same. Nowadays, when I’m traveling, I don’t know what to expect! Even in my own diocese, every liturgy is different. I suppose each form has their pros and cons which brings me to my original point that they should both be equally available.

You may be right. I don’t know any such people in real life. At least that I know of.

I have been pleased by the answers I have gotten from the people who did respond, even if they didn’t quite meet the profile I asked for.

I thing GangGreen probably has the best answer. The demographics at an EF Mass today is a world away from the demographics before Vat. II.

Mind you I was 12 or 13 and I can only talk about what I experienced in one rural parish in Atlantic Canada.

In my own parish men routinely left the church during the sermon to go out on the steps to smoke and chat.

Kids were better behaved. Why? Because most parents didn’t start bringing them to Mass until they were 4 or 5, an age when you can reason with them. An infant in church was a novelty. Not to mention that, in most homes, parents weren’t particularly concerned about their little darlings being able to ‘express themselves’. There was an expectation of good behaviour and the line between good church behaviour and bad church behaviour was pretty thin. My father perfected the art of the Ninja knee squeeze - a form of discipline that left no doubt that he was upset at our behaviour (which could be just fidgeting) but that was unnoticed by other adults around us.

Yes, many spent Mass saying their rosary. We never experienced a dialog Mass so only if you had a Missal could you really follow what was going on. Missals were too expensive for most people to afford so they prayed the rosary. My own parents didn’t have Missals, I followed in my aunt’s when I went with her and the thing I wanted more than any other book was a Missal in the black zippered binding with the little cross zipper pull. By the time I was old enough there were missalettes every Sunday and no need for a big Missal any more.

OTOH, you could hear a pin drop in church even when there was a crowd. I remember how it pained many to have to actually talk in church when the new Mass came into effect and we had to participate in the dialogue and the acclamations. They felt that was so wrong. They were pleased to be able to hear Mass in their mother tongue or at least in their second language, but they didn’t want to do something that for so long they’d considered ‘wrong’.

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