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."

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

17 thoughts on “Indult Masses

  1. Tom Smith

    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.

  2. Cheap Grace

    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

  3. Funky Dung

    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.

  4. Stuff

    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….

  5. Funky Dung

    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.

  6. Tom Smith

    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.

  7. Jerry Nora

    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.

  8. Rob

    “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….

  9. Tom Smith

    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.

  10. Cheap Grace

    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.

  11. Steven Kesslar

    “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.

  12. Jerry Nora

    “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.

  13. Pingback: Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Deficiencies in the Novus Ordo Missae

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