Friday, February 19, 2010

Comments on a CNS Comparison of the New Mass with the Traditional Mass

A few comments in response to this article from the Valley Catholic, quoted from Catholic News Service, which seems a bit biased against the Tridentine Mass:

Full participation

Many people who attend the Tridentine Mass feel they are more-fully participating in the Mass in the Extraordinary Form by following the prayers of the Mass in the Missal in a reverent way. Full participation does not require everyone to be a minister, but that everyone prays the Mass along with the priest with hearts lifted up to God.

Latin

The Vatican II document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, did not get rid of Latin. On the contrary it stated that the vernacular should be "allowed" for readings (Epistle and Gospel) with the expectation that Latin would continue to be used for the rest of the Mass. Before the wholesale change to the vernacular, which was not a requirement of Vatican II, everyone followed the Mass with the Missals that were provided in the pews. And anywhere you went in the world, you could always participate fully in the Mass, which was offered in the universal language of the Church. Every religion has a sacred language that is set apart. Why should Catholics abandon their sacred language?

Penitential Prayers

About the implication that the congregation does not participate in the penitential prayers because they do not recite them out loud, I want to point out that the congregation reads the penitential prayers from the Missal. And the "Kyrie Eleison" is/should be said by the congregation.

Ad Orientem Vs. Ad Populum

About the priest praying with his "back to the congregation" [ad orientem], the current Pope and many others cite this ancient practice as praiseworthy, since the priest and the people are facing the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the East, and ultimately God, and not each other. With the priest facing the congregation, there is a well-known tendency to turn the Mass into a performance by the individual priest instead, and the people rather than God become the focus of worship in the round.

Give Us Our Propers

Another change between the old and the new form is the removal from the Mass of many ancient prayers that were intrinsic to the Mass, and that are sung in Gregorian chant in an EF High Mass: the Introit, the Gradual, the Alleluia and verse, the Communion, and the Offertory, and much is taken away when they are omitted.

Gregorian Chant

Sacrosanctum Concilium referred to Gregorian chant as one of the inestimable treasures of the Church.
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