Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Back into Context

Let me highly recommend, over at Chant Cafe, an article by Jeffrey Tucker: Does the Ordinary Form Have a Voice .

The article stands on its own and should be read and reflected upon by a great cross section of Catholics. Jeffrey's analysis contributes effectively to indicating that which must precede what most experts consider the long term goal of mending the torn garment of our liturgical tradition. We have to move people from where they are now and at their best sometimes, namely in a well-meaning Sunday worship service whose style is a far cry from what it should or could be.

One issue in the article which has recently taken on a new dimension for me is that of "options" (different formulas for the penitential rite, different blessings, even the multiple Eucharistic Prayers and Prefaces). I treasure the options less and less as the years go on and since becoming a bishop I've exclusively used the greeting proper to a bishop (Peace be with you!) and the classic final blessing reserved to the bishop.

Since coming to Ukraine a year ago, I've come to be even less interested in options for two reasons: 1) my exposure to Byzantine Liturgy which is breath-takingly beautiful without any variables other than choir settings; 2) my struggle to prepare to celebrate the Latin Liturgy in public in the vernacular, in Ukrainian. Lots of hours of practice notwithstanding I am just barely able to get through the ordinary parts without stumbling, stammering or misspeaking (freezing up). The proper prayers for each day represent a real challenge.

For a good month now in Ukrainian I've been using the first option of the penitential rite, the Confiteor, and there is something very fine about the limitation (Granted this might be termed making a virtue out of necessity). My own feeling is that for the next edition of the Roman Missal (no rush!) they'll be able to save paper by eliminating sections that are still as good as new in an otherwise worn volume.

Generally my public liturgies here have been in Latin but whether the mother tongue of the congregation is Ukrainian or Hungarian, they are lost. We need to meet them on their territory and improve the vernacular experience for them. As I say, I think Jeffrey is on to something as he urges us to do more by the book or books...

I would be remiss if I didn't urge one and all to make the move toward worship ad Orientem. As I have said before, it is so terribly right and not only for the priest celebrant.


1 comment:

  1. You'll notice that the 'confiteor' (Вірую, Господи, ісповідую) occurs before communion as in the Extraordinary form before 1962. In pre-62 High Mass, the deacon chants it in a beautiful, unusual melody, as opposed to reciting it quietly as in the payers at the foot of the altar (which are the preparatory prayers of the celebrant, in any case). Unfortunately, the second (original) confiteor was removed in 1962 but, fortunately, use was consistently maintained in some places until the present. I believe that it is mandated in EF Pontifcal Masses.


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