Indult Masses

[I revised this post on 11/20 to remove some uncharitable statements. I apologize if they offended anyone. – Funky]

This made me chuckle:

"Some people are making a lot of noise about how disruptive [changes to the English Mass] will be. Perhaps. But what I think we’re seeing is mainly the nostalgic response of older people, for whom the current translations have become ‘traditional’ — even if that tradition goes no further back than a few decades. Maybe they can petition Rome for a special Indult by virtue of which Mass can be said (oh, maybe, in one church in each Province) according to the current translation, for the sake of those who are nostalgic for ‘And also with you.’ Perhaps Rome might even promote Bishop Trautman, and bring him to Rome to oversee the ‘And also with you’ Indult?" – Fr. Jim Tucker

Wouldn’t that be poetic justice? 😉

Wuerl lets Pittsburgh have an indult mass – barely. I think he’s afraid that greater availability would spur greater demand. Perhaps if the rumors of his excellency moving to Rome are true his replacement wouldn’t be so stingy with indults. I can hope. 😉

If Latin masses were more widely available, I’d consider going regularly. It’s not that I have anything against mass in vernacular languages or that the Pittsburgh Oratorians abuse the liturgy. Actually, the Novus Ordo masses that I attend at the Newman Center are solemn and respectful. However, there’s only so much you can do with the raw material. All the fine accoutrements in the world, e.g. bells, incense, and chant, won’t make up for the inadequacies of the current missal. Even the best production values and performances won’t turn an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical into a Puccini opera.

OK, perhaps that’s bit harsh, but the Pauline mass is neither an organic growth from the Tridentine, nor a faithful realization of the conciliar recommendations. In a lot of ways, it’s downright Protestant. I say pitch the Pauline missal and start from the Tridentine again. This time, let’s ONLY make the changes that the council actually called for. Once the liturgy is completed in Latin, keep it very far away from ICEL (I Create Exotic Liturgies) and other "innovative" translation groups.

The "reform of the reform" is a noble idea and I support it. In fact, I participate in it by singing in a schola. However, I see this movement as only a stop-gap. Even if the current mass were translated and celebrated properly, it’d still be sub-standard. The Novus Ordo is not the mass of the Second Vatican Council and to say so is an insult to the participants.

On a related note, at some time in the near future, Edey will publish a post detailing Vatican II’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosantum Concilium, the changes to the missal from 1962 to 1965 and from 1965 to 1970, and why the 1970 (Novus Ordo) missal is defficient.

Addendum: A recent post at Pontifications sums up how I feel pretty well.

"Do not mistake me. I am not romanticizing pre-Vatican II liturgy, nor am I pleading for a return to the Latin Mass. But looking at American Catholic liturgy as it has developed over the past forty years, one simply has to wonder, What in the world were people thinking?! How could anyone think that colloquial liturgical language is to be preferred to a formal, hieratic language? How could anyone think that drastic reduction of ritual gestures would strengthen the mystery of the Mass? How could anyone think that the adoption of sentimental pop-music would not destroy the sense of holiness and awe that is proper to the Eucharist? How could anyone think that the radical mutilation of the rite would not undermine the conviction that the Church has received a holy tradition and is not free to make it all up as she goes along? How could anyone think that by turning the celebrant around to face the people the Mass would be magically transformed into an intimate experience of community? How could anyone think that buildings constructed in the functional architectural style of the twentieth century could ever be appropriate to house the Holy Mysteries? Hindsight, of course, is twenty-twenty; but the liturgical delusion that took hold of the Church in the 60s and 70s is truly breathtaking."

Comments 15

  1. Tom Smith wrote:

    I saw the name of this post, and thought that I’d have the opportunity to hear the sound of my voice in the comment section (or see my name on the screen. . . whatever).

    However, you’ve left me with absolutely nothing to say.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 10:27 am
  2. Cheap Grace wrote:

    Amen to most comments but——Ouch——— the turd comment was indeed harsh.

    I’m all for no more “I myself, am the bread of life”, but Christ is present at the Novus Ordo mass, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, so in that way it is heaven.

    Reform, Reform, let’s have it! As in all great inspirations———thinking of St. Francis as opposed to Luther——– let’s get down to what is really taught as opposed to doing it the way WE think it should have been taught!

    In Peace,
    Cheap Grace

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 12:18 pm
  3. Funky Dung wrote:

    Yes, Jesus is present, but then again Yahweh was present in the Holies of Holies even when the priests were cutting corners and generally profaning the temple. The Novus Ordo gives insuffient glory to God and insufficient catechesis to those attending. Like I said, I support the reform of the reform. However, even if it is spectacularly successful, it will still be a failure because of what’s being reformed.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 1:00 pm
  4. Stuff wrote:

    I also say “Amen” to most of the comments about the Novus Ordo, but would add that much of the problem is not so much the form as the “extras” – like that one “hymn” (if you can call it that) called “We Come to Your Feast” that sounds more like poorly written advertisement for cotton (…”the fabric of our lives”) than a hymn of worship to the Creator of the Universe present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

    I do agree that the reform should come straight from the Tridentine Mass itself, but I do emphasize that while absolutely beautiful and sacred, the Tridentine Mass was not without its problems. My own mother, raised pre V-II, struggled with whether to leave the Church when the Tridentine Mass she knew and loved was basically trashed and replaced with practices that many would argue are more appropriate for a campfire than a liturgy. But, putting her faith in Peter’s successor, she stuck with Roman Catholicism and has since come to realize the many flaws that really were driving many faithful away from the Church and/or keeping them from a personal relationship with Christ and his spouse.

    It’s like there’s this pendulum in the Church that went from one far extreme all the way to the other, and now we just need to find that spot in the middle….

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 7:06 pm
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    I see a new missal as the “middle way” that you allude to. I agree that the Tridentine mass is not without its flaws, which is why I support the nine recommendations of the Council. However, I think the raw material of the TM is far superior to that of the NO.

    BTW, I’ve decided that my turd analogy is too harsh and will be refining the post when I’m next in front of my own computer.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 7:53 pm
  6. Tom Smith wrote:

    The thing is, I don’t really see how the problems of the New Mass could be called anything but essential — aesthetic beauty, or a lack thereof, is external, and not what wins graces and saves souls. The prayers of the New Mass simply don’t ask God for things the way that the Old Mass does, and the simple rule of “you don’t get what you don’t ask for” applies.

    I also take issue with the pendulum analogy for a few reasons. Liturgical abuses in the old days were things like the priest failing to enunciate his Latin, rushing, or saying aloud what should’ve been silent. Liturgical abuses these days are things like people inventing their owne Eucharistic prayer, conducting themed Masses (the Clown Mass and the Wizard of Oz Mass being the two that come to mind), hands around the altar. . . The old abuses simply pail in comparison. What was unimaginable only forty years ago is now commonplace. Perhaps the pendulum was off-center back in the day. But there’s no way that it was as far off as it is currently.

    The proper fix for the problems inherent to the Old Mass isn’t to throw it away. That’s like taking your most prized possession, say, a beautiful Cadillac, selling it for scrap because it has a scratch, and buying a Beetle to replace it. For example, if you don’t like the fact that the laypeople don’t make the servers’ responses, teach them the responses. They aren’t hard. Go to the T-Mass four times and you have them memorized. You don’t like the rubricism? Loosen a few here and there. Just don’t throw it all away because there’s a relatively small difficulty here or there.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 8:22 pm
  7. Jerry Nora wrote:

    Ouch. Maybe I’m just not sufficiently cool, but at least with the Oratory, the much-hated translation of the Liturgy doesn’t bother me. Calling something a turd that is given for the glory of God, however imperfectly, and which was promulgated by Rome, again, however imperfectly, strikes me as being a bit too Rad-trad/semi-Protestant for my taste.

    In many ways, I’m glad that I have a tin ear to some of the bad aspects of the translation (though I should note that I do look forward to the new translation). With all the other things that upset and aggravate me during the week, if I let myself get infuriated by the Liturgy even at the Oratory, I would be in a sorry state.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 9:13 pm
  8. Funky Dung wrote:

    Jerry, it’s not just a translation issue. Even in Latin the Novus Ordo is substandard.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 9:37 pm
  9. Funky Dung wrote:

    For the record, I’m not going all rad-trad on you folks. I do not regard the N.O. as illegitimate, just flawed.

    Posted 20 Nov 2005 at 9:39 pm
  10. Rob wrote:

    “How could anyone think that buildings constructed in the functional architectural style of the twentieth century could ever be appropriate to house the Holy Mysteries?”

    Buildings are irrelevant. God is not housed in buildings, but in human hearts. I’ve felt God’s presence in a building damaged by floodwaters, as Christians worked together to help and heal their neighbors. In my time, I’ve worshipped in a cemetery, a laundry, a dorm room, and even a car.

    I worship regularly on Sundays in a gym. It’s the people worshiping and God being where two or three are gathered that make a place of worship.

    And there is no liturgy. Just the Spirit….

    Posted 21 Nov 2005 at 1:39 am
  11. Tom Smith wrote:

    I think the basic thing that people don’t understand is that the language in which the Mass is offered, the “highness” of speech, the direction the priest faces, the musical selections, the vestment quality — these are all a bunch of accidental features. It really doesn’t matter what pleases us when it all comes down to it. I think some things are superior than others, granted, and I’m sure you do too. For example, I like high liturgy, myself, but you can have smells and bells and Latin and big mitres and ad Orientem in the New Mass, but it’s still simply inferior to the whispered private Mass of a retired parish priest in the Old Rite. The problem isn’t one of liturgical accoutrements; it’s one of the very substance of the liturgy itself: the prayers. For instance, the Offertory of the Old Mass had six ancient prayers, each asking very specifically for things from God, whereas the single Offertory prayer of the New Mass is vague, and, believe it or not, based on a Talmudic table blessing.

    Posted 21 Nov 2005 at 2:41 am
  12. Cheap Grace wrote:

    As God would have it——– at mass yesterday the Gloria was like a piano bar song.

    During the Great Amen we scoured the congregation for Billy Joel.

    I looked for a brandy snifter on top of the piano so I could pop some one’s into it on the way out the door.

    Then——— right before the 2nd prayer of the consecration, the priest added an addendum to his homily.

    I knew it wasn’t just me when my 12 and 14 year old children looked at me and shrugged their shoulders.

    On the upside———I took it much better than when we witnessed the liturgical dance on Palm Sunday.

    We teach our children that we are going to be in the presence of Christ. We should dress and behave in the manner that shows we know that we are witness and participant to the Sacrifice of Christ and the Glorious Ressurection.

    I often hear from teen-age students, “What I wear to church doesn’t matter, at least I am there.”
    It they were poor and only had one outfit——- I would agree—— but they have the mindset that by showing up they are doing God a great favor.

    When they present the mass in the manner we have become accustomed to, how can a pastor wonder why people dress as if they are going to a picnic?

    It will take prudent Bishops with intestinal fortitude to reform and enforce the focus of the mass. It will take dedicated and charitable laity to live the mass changes, and reform as directed. It will take “good teachers” that are “good witnesses” to help the congregations see that we come to God at mass to show that we know “He is God and we are not.”

    Lord save us from ourselves.

    Posted 21 Nov 2005 at 11:10 am
  13. Steven Kesslar wrote:

    “In many ways, I’m glad that I have a tin ear to some of the bad aspects of the translation.”

    While I am solidly in the traditional camp, its better to hate the translation because it’s not “contemporary” enough than to have a “tin ear”. If you like the translation, that’s one thing, but lack of conviction is one of the worst things in religion. I’m not picking on you, Jerry. A lot of people feel that way. The problem is that we must have a fervent love for God and all things with reference to Him. Not caring about the translation means we have not put that part of our lives close enough to God for Him to affect our opinions.

    I would like to know what problems people have with the old Missal itself (not just the priest mumbling). I always wonder what causes people to prefer the NO.

    Posted 22 Nov 2005 at 1:27 am
  14. Funky Dung wrote:

    I’m guessing it’s the vernacular. Average Joe doesn’t know a new missal wasn’t needed to achieve that. Others like folk music and hate organs.

    Posted 22 Nov 2005 at 2:17 am
  15. Jerry Nora wrote:

    “If you like the translation, that’s one thing, but lack of conviction is one of the worst things in religion. “

    Few have accused me of such a thing, Steve, and I am traditionally inclined, liturgically speaking, which is why I am at either the 12 PM Mass at the Oratory, or at a Ukrainian Catholic liturgy elsewhere. I do think there can be improvements, and generally find that I do more to help people come closer to God when I am in a good mood than when I am in a foul one, which Funky Dung can attest is not pretty.

    It is not a matter of zeal, or of ignorance, really, just a matter of choosing which fish I should fry first.

    Posted 28 Nov 2005 at 2:32 am

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 2

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Deficiencies in the Novus Ordo Missae on 13 Feb 2006 at 6:13 pm

    […] Finally, as was mentioned in a comment on a previous post, "you don’t get what you don’t ask for". In the Missal of 1962, we ask for the Lord’s mercy, humility, contrition; we ask for the intercession of the Saints; the Sacrifice is emphasized. In the Missal of 1970, none of these things are asked for to the extent they are in the Missal of 1962. I contend they are all good things; how can we expect the Missal of 1970 to be as efficacious as the Missal of 1962? Yes, it is a valid Mass, but why eat roast beef when you can have steak? Sure, roast beef still provides the nutrients and still satisfies, but not the same way. (The irony of the analogy.) […]

  2. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Bsp. Wuerl Goes to Washington on 16 May 2006 at 10:46 am

    […] I wonder who’ll replace him. Will an auxilliary bishop be elevated? Will someone be transferred from another diocese? Will the replacement desire more indult masses? In a perfect world, Father Bryan Summers would be elevated, but this is not a perfect world. […]

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