TLM vs. Novus Ordo

Here we go again…

so for starters, I’m not a crazy traditionalistic fanatic and I am not disapraging (I think it should be asperging :stuck_out_tongue: ) or whatever it is the Novus Ordo mass.

However, I just want to know how this all started since I wasn’t around at the time say 30-40 years ago.

Ok, so suddenly in the 1960’s, the priest at your local parish gets two altar servers to put a table in front of the high altar to celebrate mass there facing you? How did everyone react? It’s almost like the holy Mass of all things was treated as an experiment, kind of like “we’ll mess around and see wut we get out of it.”

For starters I find the very idea of putting together a new mass discomforting- the reasons:

the old mass was fine, it was beautiful, so rich and deep, transcendant. This has nothing to do with latin- by all means, use the vernacular but why change the words of the mass?

I know people will say that liturgical abuses also happened in the TLM and that the ones occuring today are not a product of the new mass. I could see that POV but at the same time, I don’t see how facign the people is a good thing. When everyone is facing the Crucifix, statues, and the altar, then everyone is doing the same thing. Too many times I’ve heard it being said that it SEEMS that the priest is a “showman”.

The best Novus Ordo mass there is in my neck of the woods is downtown church of Holy Family and church of St. Vincent de Paul run by the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri. They are Vatican II traditional priests. They celebrate one TLM valid Sung Mass, another sung mass in english with gregorian chants set in english and sacred polyphony. The only thing left is to turn the altar around…

TLM is much less dependent on the personality of the celebrant to be dignified and liturgically correct. I’ve attended NO Masses celebrated by priests who also celebrate the Latin Mass in which there were ad-libs with the approved text.

[quote=arch_angelorum]Here we go again…

so for starters, I’m not a crazy traditionalistic fanatic and I am not disapraging (I think it should be asperging :stuck_out_tongue: ) or whatever it is the Novus Ordo mass.

However, I just want to know how this all started since I wasn’t around at the time say 30-40 years ago.

Ok, so suddenly in the 1960’s, the priest at your local parish gets two altar servers to put a table in front of the high altar to celebrate mass there facing you? How did everyone react? It’s almost like the holy Mass of all things was treated as an experiment, kind of like “we’ll mess around and see wut we get out of it.”

For starters I find the very idea of putting together a new mass discomforting- the reasons:

the old mass was fine, it was beautiful, so rich and deep, transcendant. This has nothing to do with latin- by all means, use the vernacular but why change the words of the mass?

I know people will say that liturgical abuses also happened in the TLM and that the ones occuring today are not a product of the new mass. I could see that POV but at the same time, I don’t see how facign the people is a good thing. When everyone is facing the Crucifix, statues, and the altar, then everyone is doing the same thing. Too many times I’ve heard it being said that it SEEMS that the priest is a “showman”.

The best Novus Ordo mass there is in my neck of the woods is downtown church of Holy Family and church of St. Vincent de Paul run by the Oratory of St. Phillip Neri. They are Vatican II traditional priests. They celebrate one TLM valid Sung Mass, another sung mass in english with gregorian chants set in english and sacred polyphony. The only thing left is to turn the altar around…
[/quote]

Sorry, I had to quote your entire post because it is very complex and I have to continually refer to it. First of all, let me say that I was around 30 or 40 years ago. You are correct in stating that there was a period of time when there was experimentation. It was never official, and a lot of it was never a good idea to say the least, but it was in terms of human failings perhaps in charity understandable.

To understand the enthusiastic acceptance of the change by virtuallly all priests at that time (most priests at least in the US were desperate for something like this and shouted Hallelujah when it happened), you have to understand that the Traditional Mass had been performed in the most perfunctory manner on most occasions for many generations. It was not unheard of for a Mass to be over in 20 minutes because the priest (who only approximately understood the Latin even after years of study) and the altar boys (who didn’t understand it at all and might as well be saying mumbo jumbo) spoke as fast as possible. After all, God can understand even mispronounced Latin spoken by someone who does not understand spoken at the speed of a 45 rpm record played at 78, can’t he? That was the actual reasoning back then, and I am not making this up out of a sense of sarcasm.

It was the need for a church of the people and not an elite (because they always had their solemn Masses) to appear to be something other than a magical means of turning wafers into Jesus that motivated the move to a new order. It was the need to replace the subtle irreverance and yes, abuse, of the Traditional Latin rite that prompted reform. In identifying the older rite with something beautiful and transcendent as opposed to what we have now, you are overlooking the fact that both rites had basically the same problem, but for different reasons. On top of that, in the US if not in Europe, there was little attention paid to aesthetics in the older rite. Anyone with any sense that aesthetics are important in worship because they honor God would have cringed as much in any TLM service of the day as they do today, though perhaps for different reasons. And this would have been true even in many grand churches and cathedrals.

Do I love the Novus Ordo? No, of course. It stinks, to be blunt about it, and for many reasons. It can be tolerated because if it is celebrated without abuses it is both licit and valid, but it is a mess rather than a Mass in so many ways, at least in its current English translation. But has the Church traded one set of problems for another? In my opinion, absolutely.

WOW! Very astute!

[quote=jbuck919]Sorry, I had to quote your entire post because it is very complex and I have to continually refer to it. First of all, let me say that I was around 30 or 40 years ago. You are correct in stating that there was a period of time when there was experimentation. It was never official, and a lot of it was never a good idea to say the least, but it was in terms of human failings perhaps in charity understandable.
[/quote]

I was there too. What’s the phrase, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

To understand the enthusiastic acceptance of the change by virtuallly all priests at that time (most priests at least in the US were desperate for something like this and shouted Hallelujah when it happened), you have to understand that the Traditional Mass had been performed in the most perfunctory manner on most occasions for many generations. It was not unheard of for a Mass to be over in 20 minutes because the priest (who only approximately understood the Latin even after years of study) and the altar boys (who didn’t understand it at all and might as well be saying mumbo jumbo) spoke as fast as possible. After all, God can understand even mispronounced Latin spoken by someone who does not understand spoken at the speed of a 45 rpm record played at 78, can’t he? That was the actual reasoning back then, and I am not making this up out of a sense of sarcasm.

At that time priests had a least 7 years of Latin. As an altar boy at that time I could say the Latin and understood it - translations were readily available. Missals at that time had the Latin on the left page and English on the right. That’s the fact!

“That was the actual reasoning back then” maybe for teenagers who have always been somewhat of a recalcitrant bunch - but never was that a reason by any adult who was serious about his faith.

Did priests sometimes say the Mass very quickly, sure. And that was a concern of Rome. Did the exclusive use of Latin present problems for the illiterate and evangelism in the 3rd world? Sure. That was one big reason for allowing the vernacular - not priestly ignorance of the Mass. But for educated Americans - Latin was not a problem - if they didn’t understand the Latin, the translations were available and used.

It was the need for a church of the people and not an elite (because they always had their solemn Masses) to appear to be something other than a magical means of turning wafers into Jesus that motivated the move to a new order.

That’s simply out of place and wrong. If someone thought it was magical - well, I would think the use of English hasn’t changed that.

It was the need to replace the subtle irreverance and yes, abuse, of the Traditional Latin rite that prompted reform.

emphasis on subtle - I agree

In identifying the older rite with something beautiful and transcendent as opposed to what we have now, you are overlooking the fact that both rites had basically the same problem, but for different reasons.

no - the problems with the TLM were, as you say, subtle - not wholesale impiety, dreck or heresy as has not been infrequent for the last 40 years.

On top of that, in the US if not in Europe, there was little attention paid to aesthetics in the older rite. Anyone with any sense that aesthetics are important in worship because they honor God would have cringed as much in any TLM service of the day as they do today, though perhaps for different reasons. And this would have been true even in many grand churches and cathedrals.

I just disagree vehemently

Do I love the Novus Ordo? No, of course. It stinks, to be blunt about it, and for many reasons. It can be tolerated because if it is celebrated without abuses it is both licit and valid, but it is a mess rather than a Mass in so many ways, at least in its current English translation. But has the Church traded one set of problems for another? In my opinion, absolutely.

Actually I love the NO - it is after all the Mass. The abuses and problems need to be addressed and fixed. I have been to NO Masses that are very beautiful and moving. It’s the innovations that I object to. If the TLM will limit the abuses, then I’m all for that.

[quote=SMHW]WOW! Very astute!
[/quote]

But not true

Again I’m not talking about the vernacular. The Eastern churches (usually) use the vernacular of the people. I say usually because in Russia for example, Old Slavonic is used which is kind of like Shakespearean English/Victorian english to modern english but it is still understood. In the Greek church, Koine greek is used which was understood widely up until the 1950’s so even now the greek church needs to update its texts.

My point is, I don’t understand why the TM was not kept, but said in the vernacular and for the chants to be sung in the vernacular. It is possible to sing “Asperges me” in english as an example. It actually flows nicely. I also don’t understand why nice english Catholic songs like “Hail Holy Queen”, “God of Mercy and Compassion” are not being sung- and instead of them- Amazing Grace, On Eagles Wings- clearly Protestant songs are sung.

[quote=arch_angelorum]Again I’m not talking about the vernacular. The Eastern churches (usually) use the vernacular of the people. I say usually because in Russia for example, Old Slavonic is used which is kind of like Shakespearean English/Victorian english to modern english but it is still understood. In the Greek church, Koine greek is used which was understood widely up until the 1950’s so even now the greek church needs to update its texts.

My point is, I don’t understand why the TM was not kept, but said in the vernacular and for the chants to be sung in the vernacular. It is possible to sing “Asperges me” in english as an example. It actually flows nicely. I also don’t understand why nice english Catholic songs like “Hail Holy Queen”, “God of Mercy and Compassion” are not being sung- and instead of them- Amazing Grace, On Eagles Wings- clearly Protestant songs are sung.
[/quote]

I actually see that as a compromise that might work, though it would set off howls on both the ultra-left and the ultra-right: Simply offer the TLM in the vernacular, word for word. I don’t care if they bring back the altar rails, I don’t care if the priest offeres the Mass ad orientum, I just want to be able to hear and understand the Mass (without following in a book, like there’s a script. I don’t use one for the Pauline Mass). I’d love to see that.

I just want to be able to hear and understand the Mass (without following in a book, like there’s a script. I don’t use one for the Pauline Mass)

Me, too! I like all the spoken parts in English, but I do like singing in Latin. I’d like singing in any language. It just sounds cool. But I do like to understand what’s going on.

:heart:

[quote=arch_angelorum]Again I’m not talking about the vernacular. The Eastern churches (usually) use the vernacular of the people. I say usually because in Russia for example, Old Slavonic is used which is kind of like Shakespearean English/Victorian english to modern english but it is still understood. In the Greek church, Koine greek is used which was understood widely up until the 1950’s so even now the greek church needs to update its texts.

My point is, I don’t understand why the TM was not kept, but said in the vernacular and for the chants to be sung in the vernacular. It is possible to sing “Asperges me” in english as an example. It actually flows nicely. I also don’t understand why nice english Catholic songs like “Hail Holy Queen”, “God of Mercy and Compassion” are not being sung- and instead of them- Amazing Grace, On Eagles Wings- clearly Protestant songs are sung.
[/quote]

In the late 60’s prior to the Pauline Rite that is exactly what we did. The interim Mass was a bit modified from the Traditional, hardly at all, and certain prayers were kept in Latin as was the consecration itself. I actually have a Maryknoll Missal from that time that shows exactly how it was done. It worked fine, few if any problems, and I and just about everyone I knew was happy with it.

The ones unhappy with it were those who wanted change at all costs, the more radical the better. And that is what happened. As to songs like Salve Regina, Ave Maria etc, they are clearly **NOT **proper for ecumenical gatherings and might offend the stray protestant that wanders in. I have stated repeatedly in this forum and will tell anyone who cares to listen,: I don’t have any problem with the Pauline Mass at all…
,
BUT it was clearly designed to minimize certain aspects of Catholicism that were offensive to non-Catholics. Much the same as renovating the churches to better reflect the oneness of the congregation and God, taking priestly duties and assigning them to the laity, heck, moving the Priest away from the altar completely except during the consecration to better reflect that there was no real difference between the Priest and the laity, the removal or re-positioning of statures etc, even the Tabernacle itself, were all clearly bows to the ecumenical spirit so pervasive at the time.

[quote=palmas85]BUT it was clearly designed to minimize certain aspects of Catholicism that were offensive to non-Catholics. Much the same as renovating the churches to better reflect the oneness of the congregation and God, taking priestly duties and assigning them to the laity, heck, moving the Priest away from the altar completely except during the consecration to better reflect that there was no real difference between the Priest and the laity, the removal or re-positioning of statures etc, even the Tabernacle itself, were all clearly bows to the ecumenical spirit so pervasive at the time.
[/quote]

I understand why some feel this way. But if what you say was truly the motivation behind the changes to the Mass, then that doesn’t speak very highly of the hundreds of very holy men who helped to develop and implement those changes. If that was really the motivation then I cannot see how men like Pope John Paull II and Pope Benedict XVI have not mandated sweeping changes that totally reconfigure the liturgy to eliminate this so-called ecumenical influence. Instead these men have reiterated over and over that the Mass should be said the right way, not that the Mass should be changed. If what you say is true, I just can’t understand why so many orthodox cardinals and Popes have supported the Mass.

[quote=goreyfan]TLM is much less dependent on the personality of the celebrant to be dignified and liturgically correct. I’ve attended NO Masses celebrated by priests who also celebrate the Latin Mass in which there were ad-libs with the approved text.
[/quote]

Huh?

The TLM can be abused just as easily as the current Mass. The only difference is that it is possible that some of the priests only know enough Latin to say the Mass so they can not “ad-lib” (as you put it) as easily as they can in the vernacular.

There is nothing that protects one rite of the Mass over the other.

[quote=arch_angelorum] I also don’t understand why nice english Catholic songs like “Hail Holy Queen”, “God of Mercy and Compassion” are not being sung- and instead of them- Amazing Grace, On Eagles Wings- clearly Protestant songs are sung.
[/quote]

When it comes to vernacular hymns (and even some Latin ones), there has for a very long time (certainly before Vatican II) always been intersection of usage. The beloved “O Sacred Head Surrounded” is a Lutheran chorale. (The last time I pointed that out here I was raked over the coals as though I had called the Blessed Virgin something else.) “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” is a German Catholic hymn that finds its ways into most Protestant hymnals. I have been a church musician all my life, and this kind of syncretism has annoyed me (more on the Catholic side, where we never really needed any Protestant borrowings in the first place), but I have learned to live with it.

“On Eagle’s Wings” is a Catholic anthem that has devolved into a mediocre hymn. It was written by a priest, Michael Joncas. And yes, it can be found in some Protestant hymnals.

[quote=ByzCath]Huh?

The TLM can be abused just as easily as the current Mass. The only difference is that it is possible that some of the priests only know enough Latin to say the Mass so they can not “ad-lib” (as you put it) as easily as they can in the vernacular.

There is nothing that protects one rite of the Mass over the other.
[/quote]

Any rite can be abused. But the N.O. is more open to abuse by being tied to the personality of the celebrant because of its mulitude of options, especially “in these or other (suitable) words,” which some take to mean “say whatever you want, no matter its relevance to the current liturgical action or its piety or even orthodoxy.”

[quote=Andreas Hofer]Any rite can be abused. But the N.O. is more open to abuse by being tied to the personality of the celebrant because of its mulitude of options, especially “in these or other (suitable) words,” which some take to mean “say whatever you want, no matter its relevance to the current liturgical action or its piety or even orthodoxy.”
[/quote]

Now when the arguement is stated in this matter I can agree with you.

[quote=ByzCath]Huh?

The TLM can be abused just as easily as the current Mass. The only difference is that it is possible that some of the priests only know enough Latin to say the Mass so they can not “ad-lib” (as you put it) as easily as they can in the vernacular.

There is nothing that protects one rite of the Mass over the other.
[/quote]

But even for someone who speaks Latin fluently it’s still a dead language. It’s no one’s first language and the meanings of the words aren’t subject to change over time, making unapproved changes on the part of a celebrant’s whims highly unlikely. I’ve seen good, orthodox priests celebrate the NO Mass and interpolate the Hail Mary, add and subtract words to the approved prayers (“blessed” rather than happy is he who is called to this supper… if the Church wanted the priest to say blessed that would have been in the approved translation), and invite the congregation to randomly add their own prayers from their pews during the Prayer of the Faithful. Yes, there are liturgical abuses at Latin Masses. No, the vernacular Divine Liturgies I’ve attended at Eastern Catholic Churches did not appear to have any improvising on the part of the priest. But there’s a definite sloppiness that’s crept into the celebration of the NO Mass in most parishes I’ve attended that the use of the vernacular only serves to increase.

[quote=Andreas Hofer]Any rite can be abused. But the N.O. is more open to abuse by being tied to the personality of the celebrant because of its mulitude of options, especially “in these or other (suitable) words,” which some take to mean “say whatever you want, no matter its relevance to the current liturgical action or its piety or even orthodoxy.”
[/quote]

And THAT’S one thing that desperately wants tightening up…fewer options, fewer opportunities to “explore.” Every seminarian should be made to write, 20,000 times over the course of their schooling,“The Mass isn’t mine, I can’t stamp my ego on it.”

[quote=goreyfan]But even for someone who speaks Latin fluently it’s still a dead language. It’s no one’s first language and the meanings of the words aren’t subject to change over time, making unapproved changes on the part of a celebrant’s whims highly unlikely. I’ve seen good, orthodox priests celebrate the NO Mass and interpolate the Hail Mary, add and subtract words to the approved prayers (“blessed” rather than happy is he who is called to this supper… if the Church wanted the priest to say blessed that would have been in the approved translation), and invite the congregation to randomly add their own prayers from their pews during the Prayer of the Faithful. Yes, there are liturgical abuses at Latin Masses. No, the vernacular Divine Liturgies I’ve attended at Eastern Catholic Churches did not appear to have any improvising on the part of the priest. But there’s a definite sloppiness that’s crept into the celebration of the NO Mass in most parishes I’ve attended that the use of the vernacular only serves to increase.
[/quote]

All the more reason to simply translate the TLM, then. I think we would regret loosing the vernacular Mass.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]All the more reason to simply translate the TLM, then. I think we would regret loosing the vernacular Mass.
[/quote]

I don’t know if the TLM would work very well in the vernacular. Latin seems to be its whole point. And people would quickly realize that “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven” has its warts and pimples too, chief among which is the insupportable Last Gospel. Even the 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia does not explain (at least according to my searching) what that is doing there.

I agree with those who have been maintaining that the NO depends too much on the personality of the celebrant and choices that should not be there in anything that properly calls itself a “ritual.” I cannot help the latter, but the former has a historic explanation in the US at least (I have not observed this problem in Germany where the priests go strictly by the book). It has to do with overreaction to freedom from constraint, especially by younger priests, in the time after Vatican II. I remember the young curate of my parish saying to us at CCD (with the implication that he did not like it) that priests at seminary were taught to say the Mass in exactly one way with no deviation, which he thought wrong. As soon as they were allowed to vary things, most young and many not so young US priests were quickly all over the place, to the point where this became the norm and a priest who merely did a Mass “straight” was looked upon as weird.

This open-ended informality was exacerbated by other infuriating customs such as announcing hymns. (“Now we will sing our offertory hymn on page 322, Holy, Holy, Holy.” This came also to be taken for granted when, in the traditional Mass, it was unheard of to interrupt the flow of worship this way. BTW, they also do not do that in Germany, where what is about to be sung is always posted.

[quote=JKirkLVNV]And THAT’S one thing that desperately wants tightening up…fewer options, fewer opportunities to “explore.” Every seminarian should be made to write, 20,000 times over the course of their schooling,“The Mass isn’t mine, I can’t stamp my ego on it.”
[/quote]

Well said, the mass isn’t the priest’s possession, it is the prayer of the Church. One thing that I think would help eliminate priestly showmanship is to go back to the ancient (and in my opinion, Apostolic) tradition of celebrating mass ad orientem. Also, tightening down all the options and retranslating the missal to be in more conformity to the original Latin texts would be helpful.

The fact is that the NO mass retained 80% of the prayers and structure of the TLM mass, but here in the US many parishes have turned the Holy Sacrafice of the mass into a kumbaya community meal. I think why many traditionalists reject the NO mass is because they have only seen a banalized version of the NO and it horrifies them (I know because I tiptoed down the “TLM only” road until I found the NO mass celebrated with all the traditional “smells and bells” of Catholicism)

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.