Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2 Great Thoughts on the New Missal

Antidote to Secularism

I just finished the little "Roman Missal Companion" published by MAGNIFICAT. It's great both for the commentary by Prof. Anthony Esolen on the more conspicuous changes in the ordinary of Mass, as well as for the introduction and editorial articles provided.

Personally, two notions impressed me from the editorial section of this booklet.

Firstly, Father Cameron, OP, illustrates the Church's intention to give "her worship a heightened sense of the sacred" by noting an insight from the theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg from 1996 on facing the challenge of secularism:
"If members of a secularist society turn to religion at all, they do so because they are looking for something other than what that culture already provides... What people look for in religion is a plausible alternative, or at least a complement, to life in a secularist society. Religion that is 'more of the same' is not likely to be very interesting..."  (page 9)

Secondly, Father Mulcahey, OP, touches simply but profoundly on the notion of the ars celebrandi:
"For priests and other ministers of the liturgy, the new English Missal is an opportunity to re-learn and then to do what the Roman Rite requires. We all know that after Vatican II the Mass was often celebrated more informally and with more self-expression by the celebrant. Without being overly rigid, we do greatly need this reminder that in the liturgy we are ministers, servants. We have our roles in the Mass in obedience to the Master, and must not obtrude ourselves into everyone's attention. The principal actor at Mass is Christ crucified, and having to pay closer attention to a new Missal can help put us in our places." (page 13)

While not wishing to repeat the thoughts on Liturgy and Reform which I have shared on my previous blog, Island Envoy, I'd love to know what Father Mulcahey thinks about worship ad Orientem also in service of this notion of the priest celebrant as servant and not protagonist at Mass. 

I pray for the successful reception of the New Missal, for all that means in terms of liturgical music, and hope (where the building permits without major financial outlay) that the OF would always be celebrated ad Orientem. All I can say to the hesitant is "Try it, you'll like it!" The showmanship reflexes will quickly fall away and people will find themselves praying: Sursum corda! Habemus ad Dominum! 


  1. Your Excellency, great post, the Pannenberg quote is beautiful. I have enjoyed you on both blogs. God bless your service to Holy Mother Church.

    A brother priest in Sioux Falls Diocese

  2. Your Excellency: Thank you for this post. I have long awaited a new and improved translation of the Mass, and I am a strong proponent of a general return in the Latin Church to 'ad orientem' celebration. While I certainly think that appropriate catechesis is important, I don't think that that would require weeks or months (as some have opined). The few times I've celebrated Mass in the Ordinary Form 'ad orientem', I explained the symbolism to the people before Mass; it took just a few minutes. They 'got it' and no one complained about it. I am convinced that a host of other problems would resolve themselves after a return to properly oriented worship. As the old Nike ad said: Just Do It.

  3. Thanks, Father! Some might accuse me of exaggerating but I contend "ad Orientem" is the key. With the focus back on Christ so much else falls in place and with less of a struggle. Music needs direct attention however.


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