Thursday, 15 May 2008

What has failed, what has succeeded in the Novus Ordo?

My previous post highlighted the Archbishop's letter, which has now been picked up by NLM and Fr Z. I thought maybe it would be interesting to think about an updated 'what has failed/what has worked' list. I'm assuming most traddies in fact do attend the odd NO mass, for reasons of convenience as much as anything else.

The challenge of course is to think of the positives, not just the negatives! But let me give it a start and see if anyone would care to add to the lists.

What has succeeded

  • Wider variety of mass texts for saints. I don't like the calendar revisions and lectionary as a general thing, but the EF's range of readings for feastdays is very restricted indeed, particularly noticeable when you get a run of female saints (there are days when I really don't want to hear about the wise and foolish virgins yet again)

  • Intercessory prayers (although they can be subverted by vagueness, wishy-washyness and political correctness)

What has failed

  • Sign of peace (see my previous post!);

  • Sung/said response to the 'mysterium fidei';

  • Lectionary - at least with the EF the congregation gets to know the parts of Scripture that are used (especially the Gospel of St John) well;

  • multiple Eucharistic prayers, said aloud.

This is just a starting point obviously, so do add your two cents worth....

PS I should make clear that I'm not advocating that any of the 'successes' be incorporated into the TLM - my personal view is we need some stability at this point, so that it influences the NO positively. And I have a list of things stripped out in 1962 or a little earlier that I'd put back into the TLM (like a few more Octaves for example) if I had my way!


Joshua said...

One notable improvement in the NO is the supply of a full set of Advent weekday Masses, with many prayers that are beautiful and doctrinally rich (in the Latin original at least). The same I suppose could be said of the provision of proper weekday Masses for the whole of Eastertide. However, in both cases I don't know if I like the lectio continua, which is fine at Office but not so much at Mass.

In relation to the TLM, I think Michael Sternbeck, following the PCED, is correct in including a greater number of Prefaces.

For instance, at the Pro. in Perth we used the traditional Advent Preface that was included in some of the last pre-Reform Missals, and which dates at least from the Paris Missal of 1738.

I think it would indeed be wise to have a greater selection of passages for the Commons of Saints, and - as medieval missals had - readings for some ferial weekdays: the ancient usage was to supply ones for Wednesdays and Fridays, so that, if there were no saint's day, the Sunday readings didn't have to be repeated. (Once last year I heard several ferial Masses during the week, and was almost driven mad by hearing the same long lessons again and again!)

Terra said...

The point about the greater richness of commons available from medieval missals is a good one. Certainly if you get a run of confessors or female saints, the readings do seem to become very repetitious. But as far as I can see the NO does have a fair selection of readings to choose from for each category of saint.

I'm not so sure about Advent and Eastertide in the TLM - the repetition of the Sunday readings during the week when there isn't a particular saint to be celebrated has something to be said for it in my opinion (although much better if they are sung!).

And I'm certainly not convinced about prefaces - it assumes we all slavishly follow what is in our missal for one thing, which I personally don't believe is a good way of hearing mass.

One of the biggest problems in the NO from my perspective is just that there are too many options, so that working out which one is being employing becomes an issue. I certainly don't think we want to import that problem into the TLM.

Joshua said...

I wasn't suggesting inserting the Advent Masses in the EF, I was saying that they are a notably good feature of the OF.

But, seeing the Preface in the EF is always sung or said aloud, don't you listen to it and understand it and delight in it and have your heart lifted up?

I would have thought that if you read the Breviary your Latin would be more than adequate; and surely long familiarity with the Prefaces would make them known to you anyway: I certainly know at least the Common Preface by heart.

The extra Prefaces I mean are these:

(a) those permitted in 1964, which had been used in various places much earlier, which the PCED fully allows for the TLM, which are so to speak 'traditional' (dating at least from the eighteenth century), and which 'fill the gaps' -
Advent Preface
Holy Thursday Preface
Corpus Christi Preface
All Saints Preface
Dedication of a Church Preface

These I think cover just about all bases.

Remember that the Roman Rite has only had Prefaces of St Joseph, of Christ the King, of the Sacred Heart and of the Dead since 1919 or later, so a case can be made that adding a few Prefaces is thoroughly in line with the true liturgical renewal of the 20th C.

(b) The PCED also allows the very large number of Prefaces from the modern Missal to be used; I worry about this, particularly as most have a nonstandard eschatocol (the ending referring to the angels), which makes them stick out like a sore thumb in the TLM.

However, individual Prefaces, like that for the Transfiguration, say, would certainly be a real enrichment and not in any way 'pollute' the old Mass.

Terra said...

Some good points Joshua, and I take your point on Advent, I had misunderstood what you were saying.

I wasn't necessarily thinking of myself in terms of understanding the Prefaces (though I'd note it depends a little on how clearly your priest pronounces the Latin, and whether you are concentrating on the words, or what is happening!) but for the congregation in general. Already I see a lot of scrabbling around when we get to the Preface.

The 1964 list I have to admit sounds fairly plausible, but I think my issue is the general pace of liturgical renewal, organic or otherwise - for several centuries we had virtually none, then from the mid 50s onwards lots.

My personal view is that most of the earlier twentieth century renewal - particularly of the Roman Breviary at the turn of the century, of Holy Week (except for shifting the Vigil back to the evening) - wasn't particuarly well thought out. And some of the chants composed for the newer feasts are really pretty horrendous!

There is an obvious and urgent need to do the 'reform of the reform'. But I'm inclined to think we should let that happen and then let things settle down again for a while (say a couple of decades!) before any more changes are made to the EF.

But I can see the case for allowing some diversity of practice I guess. And in the end, I'm not the one making the decisions and the PCED seems inclined to allow a considerable degree of flexibility!