Liturgical abuses in the Ordinary Form
At one level there is nothing new about what he is saying: it is pretty much an apologia for the reform of the reform agenda.
What is unusual, even controversial though, is his acknowledgment of the widespread presence of abuses in the celebration of the OF.
Indeed, as Fr Tim Finigan's entertaining commentary on the talk points out, he is criticising is the Ordinary Form as it is typically celebrated, even at major events like the recent Dublin Eucharistic Congress. Indeed, he provides a detailed list of liturgical abuses that took place in the closing mass of the Congress!
In particular, Mgr Wadsworth calls for the enforcement of the actual General Instructions on the Roman Missal:
"I think we have to ask such questions and indeed to surmise that the influence of former barons of the liturgical establishment has found a new and conspicuous arena of activity in which to model their example of poor liturgy. There can be no talk of the reform of the Roman Rite until the GIRM is enforced as the minimum requirement. If it remains a largely fantasy text at the beginning of our altar missals then 'the rebuilding of the broken down city' will take a very long time."
OF vs EF
Some would argue that the difficulties in conveying a sense of God-centred worship, of transcendence, as opposed to self-worship, are inherent in the Ordinary Form, the result of deliberate attempts to destroy the faith.
That may be so, but we should, in my view, put the motivations of the liturgical revolutionaries to one side: in the God's protection of the Church must protect her liturgy from error, and that protection surely extends beyond the mere validity of the sacrament. Indeed, one only has to attend a well-celebrated OF Mass somewhere like the Brompton Oratory to know that it is possible to celebrate it in a manner in keeping with the tradition of the Church.
Unsurprisingly though, those of a certain generation don't much like even the mildest attempts to make the mass more reverent, as a A Priest Downunder has found.
The abuses of the people
Indeed, one of the curious things about the typical OF Mass is that many of the liturgical abuses are actually effected by the congregation not the priest (albeit typically either actively encouraged or at the very least uncorrected by him).
Last week I started a series on common liturgical abuses, so here is today's list, focusing on one's on the part of the congregation that I encounter pretty regularly...
1. Wrong words for the responses
Yep, there is always someone who insists on continuing to use the old version of the Missal rather than the currently approved one. The odd mistake is one thing; refusal to learn or use the new ones is an abuse.
2. Rushing around the Church at the sign of peace.
Now I admit that the sign of peace is one of my pet hates at the best of time, as it completely disrupts the most solemn part of the Mass. It is optional, and I wish more priests would take the option of not including it, especially at weekday masses!
But what is absolutely an abuse is the meandering around the Church and chatting that so often occurs at this point of the Mass. Redemptionis Sacramentum instructs:
"It is appropriate “that each one give the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner”."
3. Use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
All of the legislation on the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion make it clear that they are only to be used in unusual circumstances. If there are other priests, deacons or instituted acolytes present, they should distribute communion, not EMs. A prolongation of the Mass is not in itself enough to justify their use: only a really long delay.
Yet these days it is hard to find a mass at which there are not several, even at poorly attended weekday masses!
One of the most common reasons for the use of EMs seems to be to provide communion under both kinds. Yet that seems insufficient to justify it: communion under both kinds is supposed to be restricted to Sundays and major feasts according to GIRM, and while bishops can in Australia give permission for a wider use, it is not obvious that the desire to provide communion under both kinds justifies the use of EMs.
Indeed the Instruction Redemptionis Sacrmentum states that:
"Only out of true necessity is there to be recourse to the assistance of extraordinary ministers in the celebration of the Liturgy. Such recourse is not intended for the sake of a fuller participation of the laity but rather, by its very nature, is supplementary and provisional...Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason." (151, 158)
4. Self-intinction and related abuses
Self-intinction is a very serious abuse indeed, such that Sacramentum Redemptionis instructs that if there is any risk of it occurring, communion under both kinds should not be offered at all.
Yet for a while I saw it happening at virtually every mass in my parish. And it was dealt with, not by discontinuing Communion in both kinds, but by inserting an instruction in the parish bulletin on how to receive Holy Communion (together with a quite erroneous assertion as to the virtues of communion in the hand).
5. Disregard of the conditions for reception of Holy Communion
One only assume that most modern congregations are composed entirely of saints given the short duration of confession times at most churches.
6. Use of canned music
This was banned long ago (with only a very limited exception for children's masses), and there is no reason to think that the older legislation on this subject has been overturned. Yet one of the evening masses in my parish has a ministry of the sacred cd button pusher...