Friday, 29 May 2009

Extraordinary Form - Novus Order Comparison

It is around this time of year that you come across the transferred feast days of The Ascension and Corpus Christi. Fortunately I live in Birmingham and have the opportunity to attend Solemn High Masses in the Extraordinary Form on the actual day of the feast at the Birmingham Oratory.

I attended my first Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form last year for The Ascension. I was absolutely astonished as what I saw and came away thinking

“Why oh why would anyone want to offer even a Solemn High Mass Novus Order to God when you have the option of the Extraordinary Form.”
I honestly thought it would compare well to being in God’s choir of angles singing to his Glory and the most beautiful thing this side of heaven (and at this point in my journey of faith I was not even familiar with what some famous priests had to say of about this Mass).

Now a year on and again I am attending the same Masses with a better (perhaps only slightly in some areas) understanding of the Mass. However I still can’t help but draw comparisons between the two.

My latest comparison has been bothering me, as the Mass did not seem to flow it was like watching a rock concert video with the volume turned down with classical Music playing loudly on the radio, it just did not work.

I have posed the following question to Fr Tim Finigan but he is away enjoying himself in Lourdes and I also tried to Google it but could not quite find the right phrase to search so I was hoping someone else might be able to answer it for me. I am afraid it is rather to the point so please don’t be upset by the way I phrase things but here goes:

Why can’t the priest just get on with it?

This evening I went to a wonderful Novus Order Mass in Latin to celebrate St Philip’s day. The accompanying choir and music were also fantastic however I did experience some mild frustration waiting for the choir to finish singing the Sanctus so the Mass could continue. Half the congregation did not know whether to stand or kneel so you just end up standing their like a lemon waiting to be allowed to go on. While I realise the prayers between the Sanctus and the Consecration are important I think my time would be better spent in prayer preparing myself to receive Christ in Holy Communion.

Perhaps I just have the wrong attitude; perhaps I could just simply stand there and pray instead of allowing myself get annoyed. Either way, why was it decided we (the laity) need to hear these prayers.

I much prefer the extraordinary way of letting the priest rattle through the prayers, shutting the choir for the Consecration and then continuing.

Acknowledgements to Matthew Doyle for the top photograph.


Dicens said...

"Why can’t the priest just get on with it?"
While the choir is singing the Sanctus we can meditate on the words of this ancient hymn to the glory of the all holy God. We participate also by listening and pondering in our heart the words sung by the choir, following the example of our Blessed Lady "who pondered all these things in her heart".

"I think my time would be better spent in prayer preparing myself to receive Christ in Holy Communion".
We should prepare by uniting ourselves with the prayer of the Church. Already 100 years ago the Church was encouraging people to use their Missal to follow the words of the Mass. Thank you for your honesty and I encourage you to deepen your knowledge of the Liturgy.
Have a look at:

Ottaviani said...

I find that polyphony just does not sit well with the Novus Ordo - large amounts of inactivity makes it look theatrical and more like a concert than a mass. It was probably the intention of the reformers (like Bugnini) to make the mass in such a way that traditional music could not be used.