How we pray “shapes what we believe”

New ritual (“new mass” since Vatican 2) vs. old:

For Catholics, how we pray shapes what we believe. The old ritual physically aims us toward an altar and tabernacle. In that way it points us to the cross and to heaven as the ultimate horizon of man’s existence. By doing so, it shows that God graciously loves us and redeems us despite our sins. . . .

The new ritual points us toward a bare table, and it consistently posits the unity of humankind as the ultimate horizon of our existence. In the new Mass, God owes man salvation, because of the innate dignity of humanity. Where there was faith, now presumption. Where there was love,now mere affirmation, which is indistinguishable from indifference. It inspires weightless ditties like “Gather Us In.” Let’s sing about us!

Hard words, from Pope Francis Is Tearing the Catholic Church Apart in NY Times . . .

Chicago archdiocese rules change, virus time, June of 2020 — calling in the oldies, no matter the dangers

From a Chicago pastor 14 months ago, after negotiating with downtown about qualifying people to help with parish opening for Mass:

Initially the Archdiocese said that no one could be a greeter, usher or cleaner who was 65 or older or who had any preexisting medical conditions. [Based on careful analyses by various health departments, we assume.]

This has now been changed so that we can now have greeters, ushers and cleaners who are 65 or older, even if they have preexisting medical conditions. [! Good enough reason, forget the careful analyses.]

However, everyone who is 65 or older and/or who has preexisting medical conditions needs to know that if they do volunteer, they face a more serious and greater health risk if they do develop the Covid-19 virus. [Oh! Let each decide if it’s worth it to keep the church open for masses.]

Beautiful. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let those heroic seniors put their lives on the line!

A paragraph of rebuttals of the Pope’s recent attempt at abolishing the Latin mass . . .

. . . showing how the Vatican Council II approved and encouraged what Francis shot at and missed. Sacrosanctum Concilium is the council’s near unanimously accepted final say about liturgy:

. . . Adoremus [a publication here defended by its editor] will continue to assist bishops, priests, and laity as “guardians of tradition.”

We will continue to promote the use of Latin and sacred vernacular, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (36, 54, 101) and the tradition.

We will continue to encourage the use of Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (116) and the tradition.

We will continue to form liturgical ministers to serve and act according to “the traditional practice of the Roman Rite,” as the [official, since 1969] General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) directs (see GIRM, 42).

We will continue to demonstrate the need for beautiful, heavenly sacred art and architecture, as do Sacrosanctum Concilium (122) and our liturgical tradition.

We will continue to teach about legitimate, longstanding liturgical options, such as praying the Eucharistic Prayer ad orientem, as offered by the current Missal (see, for example, Order of Mass, 29, 127, 132)..

Leaving the rest of us wondering what the heck’s going on in Rome these days, and not the first time for that . . .

Worshiping without tears

The main character in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, Evelyn Waugh’s 1957 novel based on his own experience published when he was 54, is a Roman Catholic who just when church leaders were urging worship as a corporate rather than private act, had “burrowed ever deeper into the rock” and when away from his home parish sought the “least frequented mass” and remained “aloof from” church organizations formed to meet the needs of the times. Called “a leading Catholic” by media, he was not conspicuous for his leadership. 

Some find that appalling, I’m sure, but I find it appealing.  Today’s RC worship represents capitulation to a personal, Protestant approach to piety.  Once the emphasis was on God and ceremony, now it’s on the priest.  He has become the main character, as performer.  We like this or that parish because the priest is a performer after our likes.  Once it mattered far less who said the mass.  Differences were muted by sheer force of ritual.  Personal, quirky additions or emendations were unheard of.  Now they are everywhere.  They are what give the priest-performer style.  He may not intend that, and he’s under the gun to perform.  So he does.

That said, the goal can still be there for the mass-sayer or celebrant if you insist.  He can ditch the folksy business, or the pseudo-scholarly or the innovative.  And he can be more matter-of-fact about it.  You wonder sometimes about the emotional stability of some.  They spill their guts and go all compassionate.  They are romantics when you get down to it.  But classicists have feelings too.  They just don’t go all sloppy about it.  Granted, the priest is in competition with a media-frenzied world, especially as on television.  But even there you can find clarity without bathos sometimes.  Even there the message is muted sometimes.  Priests should hit the mute more often, even sometimes shutting up, but at least toning things down.

And for starters, they should not open mass with that “Good morning” bit.  They are not running into us at the supermarket, they are leading worship.  Let them can the informality.

Later, from Reader D.:  I LOVE your suggestion that priests should hit mute. Hey, mute is Biblical: I must decrease so He can increase.  All the chummy baloney at Mass is the Phil Donahue syndrome. That’s when it started, and that’s when this generation of pastors were newbies. They learned to take their mikes down into the audience. Spare me!!!  I decided during the Triduum at the Monastery of the Holy Cross (which I enjoyed) that Gregorian Chant is over-rated. Who the heck hums Chant in their free time besides Brother Peter? It’s mathematics as music. Give me a little melody.  Watching a bit of the Easter vigil on EWTN with Pope Benedict, I discovered Latin is an equalizer. There was no German accent — just Latin.

The Case for Latin: Why Worship Benefits From a Sacred Language – Philip Kosloski

Argues that Mass is a spiritual event that goes beyond hearing Scripture.

While it is true that part of the Mass is meant to be instructive and intelligible, the overall character of the liturgy is meant to be much more. Instead, what is meant to be the focus is that, in the “liturgy, heaven joins earth, the invisible becomes visible, and the symbolic is the real (sign and reality)” (Mystical Body, Mystical Voice: Encountering Christ in the Words of the Mass, 27). This hidden reality should then be expressed in the language that is used at Mass, for “the language that we use during the liturgy is the Mystical Voice of the Mystical Body, a ‘hymn of praise that is sung through all the ages in the heavenly places’” (Ibid, 29).

Rather than being a mere proclamation of scripture, the liturgy is meant to bring others into a mysterious realm where one can peer through a window into Heaven. The use of the Latin language accomplishes this mystical goal of the liturgy just like the iconostasis veils the Divine Mysteries in the Eastern Church. Parish priest, Father Christopher Smith, explains what many have discovered in this way, “In the West, the function of icons and veils is taken in part by [the Latin] language. It emphasizes the mystery and the transcendence of a God who, despite His closeness to us, is still always beyond our reach” (New Liturgical Movement).

more more more here . . .

Who will succeed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect of the Roman Congregation Divine Worship and the Sacraments?

Everything seems to indicate “an attack on ‘Summorum Pontificum’ and the Usus antiquior in general”, said Monika Rheinschmitt from Pro Missa Tridentina at the end of February.

The Heart of John Henry Newman: Beating with the Spirit of the Liturgy

Here on what’s called on for the worshiper:

Newman preached regularly and therefore commented upon much of the Biblical text having to do with ritual and liturgy. The sermon entitled, “Reverence in Worship,” takes up the “forms of worship—such as bowing the knee, taking off shoes, keeping silence, a prescribed dress.” These and the like are “considered as necessary for a due approach to God,” even from the standpoint of natural religion (310).

But:

While reverence is “one of the marks or notes of the Church,” the world teaches man to be “familiar and free with sacred things” (310), entering the Church “carelessly and familiarly” (311). While Newman opposes the approach of the world, rather than simply adopting rote ritual postures “for their own sake,” he challenges the faithful to keep in mind the fact of being in the very presence of God and so to “allow the forms of piety to come into God’s service naturally” (311).

Externals matter:

In his sermon on the “Ceremonies of the Church,” Newman comments upon the “great importance of retaining those religious forms to which we are accustomed” (76). Indeed, there is “no such thing as abstract religion” (78).

He made sense wherever he went with his thinking.

The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma

A prayer that needs no editing:

God our Father, source of life and freedom, through Your Holy Spirit you gave the Carmelite, Titus Brandsma the courage to affirm human dignity even in the midst of suffering and degrading persecution.

Grant us that same spirit so that, in refusing all compromise with error we may always and everywhere give coherent witness to Your abiding presence among us.

We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Clear and to the point. Clean copy.

Act of consecration to St. Joseph re-phrased

O dearest St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to your honor and give myself to you, that you may always be my father, my protector and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me a greater purity of heart and fervent love of the interior life. After your example may I do all my actions for the greater glory of God, in union with the Divine Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. O Blessed St. Joseph, pray for me, that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death. Amen.

becomes:

St. Joseph, I consecrate myself to you. I want you to be my father and protector and guide on the path to salvation. Obtain for me purity of heart and love of the interior life. Help me to do everything for God’s glory, in union with Jesus and Mary. Pray for me, that I may have the peace and joy of a holy death. Amen.

=================

Later: It’s an argument, in part, for church Latin, which is far more articulate, clear, and trustworthy in its genre than today’s (or last centuries’) devotional English — with noteworthy exceptions, as Newman’s “Lead, kindly light,” for instance — in its. Not to mention Southwell’s, Herrick’s and others’ of previous centuries. I offer my sliced and diced trimmed-down translation above as trying to make do more convincingly with the vernacular which we have now.