Saturday, January 15, 2011

Something We Lost With the New Mass

    Before it was enough to attend. Today it is necessary to participate. Before someone could doze and perhaps chat. Today, no. One must listen and pray.
Words spoken by His Holiness Pope Paul VI in 1965 of the Mass of Paul VI, a.k.a. the Novus Ordo Missae, quoted in The Pope's Journey to The United States.

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Blogger Enbrethiliel said...


Joshua, what does it say about me that my first thought was that this is another disadvantage of the Novus Ordo? =P

Last summer, when I was able to hear Mass every day, I realised that a great deal of the devotion consisted of making the walk to church and getting my butt in the pew. And I daresay that this counted for more than going on to listen and pray--although those are important, too, of course.

11:38 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

My thoughts exactly! I was deliberately ambiguous with the title. I wonder if this is one reason why numbers have dropped in certain areas post-Vatican II.

I remember reading about Catholic Ireland, and about all the men would go to mass without fail, but spend a large protion of it on the church's steps smoking and conversing.

12:07 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

The new mass is a flop.

At the same time, I prefer responsorial masses, and wish they were used here locally at the Motu Proprio and FSSP masses.

In other words, I want what was good in the old in combination with the good intended with the new mass.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Francis Xavier said...

HL Mencken wrote that if the Catholic church ever allowed the laity to understand what was said at mass, it would be the end.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

Yup. I definitely count this change as a loss, not a gain. All part of the idolatry of participation, of being active rather than passive, of doing rather than being, of speaking rather than listening. I am not a fan of the old Mass -- I grew up with the new one -- but the one thing that I prefer about it, the one thing where I think it is almost indescribably better than the Novus Ordo, is that it doesn't partake of the idolatry of participation.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

TWC: Your comment reminds me of a passage from Brian Moore's novel (also a film) "Catholics," where a traditionalist monk comments to an investigating priest from the Vatican about pre- and post VCII Ireland. He relates that men attended the old Mass but stand outside and smoke since the new one came along.

At the old Mass, one of the many things I notice contrasting with the new is the greater number of men attending.

7:31 AM  
Blogger love the girls said...

Mark in Spokane writes : "idolatry of participation"

And here I am wanting a responsorial mass because I like the participation, and it turns out I'm nothing more than some skulking closet idolater.

But I still want it.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Badger said...

Actually, Joshua, this was before the Novus Ordo came into effect. Back in 1965, the liturgical reform had not yet been completed. It was possible to celebrate most of the Mass in English by this point, with the sole exception of the Roman Canon. There were no other Eucharistic Prayers. Apart from some rubrical changes, it was pretty much the so-called Tridentine form of the Mass. Mass facing the people was permissible as well.

There was also no thought of giving communion to everyone in the stadium. Instead, a number of children were selected beforehand to receive communion from the Pope. Everyone else did not.

And it is where I wish that the Concilium had ended their work.

12:11 AM  
Blogger Ed Cole said...

My experience of "active participation" as practiced in the Novus Ordo is that it tries to lock you into the lowest form of prayer, not allowing you to rise up to meditation and contemplation. Fortunately, I am a curmudgeon who doesn't care what the people around me think. I do participate enthusiastically at our dialogue Mass, but I relish the *freedom* to close the book and focus on what's really happening.

9:01 PM  
Blogger The young fogey said...

Reminds me of this page I wrote.

5:16 AM  
Blogger Tiago said...

I won't apologise for preferring the Ordinary Form over the Extraordinary one. Both have their beauty, but frankly, if people should go attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form and then sit in the pew praying the Rosary and ignoring the priest and the deacon, then it is a loss for Tradition, not a gain.

After all, if not understanding is an advantage, then never in the history of the Church have our laypeople been this advantaged, because they understand very little. More catechism is the answer to that, not taking ignorance as a blessing as you're implying.

12:50 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

I am in the fortunate position of having no choice. There's an extraordinary form celebrated four hours away in Seoul once a month; that's it.

I'm quite happy in my ordinary form parish. It was just built, in a very traditional form, with beautiful stained-glass windows, one of which even depicts the Last Judgment and Hell! The Novus Ordo Mass we celebrate uses a traditional Korean setting, inculturating local chanting to good effect.

That said, I think something of the organic nature of the Faith is lost with the new form's emphasis on participation.

1:27 AM  

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