So I came across this article the other day in regards to an audience that Pope Paul VI gave on March 17th 1965 where he attempts to go through some observations about the liturgy’s reform. I would remind the listener here that the audience does not specifically concern the 1970 missal commonly referred to today as the Ordinary Form of the Mass, but rather it is concerned with the 1965 Roman Missal that first followed S.C. in taking advantage of proposals contained within, as well as non-conciliar proposals that found their way in. This commentary is the first of two examining the audience from my stance, but it is only an opinion as the second will be.
Before I go any deeper I want to make it clear this video is not about bashing Paul VI or the newer versions of the mass after the 1962 missal of Blessed John XXIII. Instead this video is to point out that indeed some of the things that are commonly thought to be mostly abuses on the part of liturgical “reformers” in fact did have the highest support for what its worth, for better or for worse. I hope that this video will help those of you out there think critically about some of the points made, but the commentary is entirely my own opinion and open to criticism from all.
So with that let’s begin. I have posted the original article I found this on below as well as the Vatican website full text in Italian. Use Google translate to translate the document for your own studies.
The title of the audience is labeled:
The participation of the faithful at Mass
Our family conversation in a hearing like this, it cannot return to the topic of the day: the implementation of the liturgical reform in the celebration of Holy Mass. Our desire would be to ask you, if the public nature of this meeting not prevented, as we do in other meetings of a private nature, what are your impressions about this great news. It deserves that everyone will pay attention. Well, we think that your answer to our question would not be dissimilar to those that we reach these days.
[Notice the wording used in this audience it’s not about magersarial church teaching specifically, but more-so a father family conversation, and fairly informal at that. After all a conversation doesn’t necessarily suppose a conclusion. When Pope Paul asks for impressions about the news of the revised missal (1965 RM), he is, at least in my mind’s eye, rather jubilant at what is about to be discussed. Whenever my family sits down at the dinner table and my Dad says something jovial to this effect something big is underway, as those attending the audience would later learn was in fact about to occur. I also want to note how he asks for their impressions of the great news. I would remind the viewer here of what happened after the revised missal came out last Advent when the people on both sides of the theological aisle where proclaiming it an objective failure to reach what was really needed for the Church. I would also quickly remind the viewer that there is nothing wrong with having the conversation in the first place, but using such democratic terms when speaking of something so protected as the sacred liturgy over the years should concern even the average Ordinary Form goer that has some clue as to the importance of the liturgy and what it is.]
The liturgical reform? Can be reduced to two categories those answers. The first category is that of the responses noted some confusion, and therefore a nuisance: first, say these observers, it was easy, everyone could pray as she wanted, everything was known about the performance of the rite, and now everything is new, surprise , change, even the sound of the bell at the Sanctus was abolished, and then those prayers that you do not know where to go and find, that communion received standing, and the end of the Mass that ends in the trunk with the blessing, all of which meet Many moving, rituals and readings recited aloud. . ., In short, there is no peace and we understand less than before, and so on.
[I don’t know whether or not this whole issue can be reduced to two categories but I will hit that hopefully later. It first notes that the first category is based on responses noting confusion, therefore a nuisance. Confusion doesn't outright guarantee a nuisance by any standard. Of course the translation could be off, but a nuisance is had when something is left unchecked to which I think part of this audience (although not seen by most of the faithful as today's are, sought to clarify the matter before the confusion developed into a nuisance. He then delves into the concerns about the new form of the liturgy. He mentions that the people protesting the change complain that prayer was freer, that actions in the worship were known. In itself this is a caricature of why people were up in arms about the change, but I want to quickly hit this as spoken. That people were freer to pray then they are now is a fascinating response. Considering that I frequent the TLM usually about two days a week and the ordinary form about three to four days I do notice the difference that is being talked about. When you at the Extraordinary form you can in fact (and most do) follow the missal which containing both the spoken Latin and vernacular translation and thus keep yourself focused directly on the actions visibly occurring in the sanctuary. So too, and I do this less often, one can take the time while at the Holy Sacrifice to offer up prayers of any sort including the rosary which is so often maligned by people thinking that saying the rosary at mass is inappropriate because it disallows real focus to be had on that is actually occurring at that time. I disagree with this thought because one can be praying at any mass in either form and not be directly focused on the very word, and also action proceeding from the one acting in persona Christi. Just think of how many times when you hear a reading from scripture or a Eucharistic prayer your mind wanders and you miss the point of either. Yet you hopefully were in a state of prayer when your find wandered. See even with the vernacular we become familiar with what is said and not to say be dismiss it but it loses some of the luster that it is always to perpetuate. Having the chance to focus your attention toward something like a set prayer like the rosary will enable the person to keep their mind always centered toward God. What I am trying to say is that focus if centered toward the Lord is what we are expected of firstly at the Mass. One of the things that was forgotten by ridding the liturgy of the bells is the quick response call to focus on what is about to happen concerning the very moment we are transported to Golgotha to take part in the Death of Christ. I also wanted to make note of the non-scilant way that he brings up reception of the Blessed Sacrament standing. Perhaps it’s the informal way the address was given but the way in which he receives us is very important. Everything that occurs at the liturgy including our postures and our mindset speak to who God is and his expectations of his children. I also wanted to speak to the last part of this paragraph which states: In short, there is no peace and we understand less than before, and so on. I can actually agree to this statement of those questioning the change because there is an utter lack of silence in the mass and people are constantly called on to do something during every aspect of the mass whether sing or hold hands or motion with your hands one way or the other. I came across a good article the other day on how silence is fundamental to the lived experience of the mass. http://www.ignitumtoday.com/2013/02/21/tlm-praying-in-silence/
There is a question also as to whether we understand less than before, specifically as to whether some of the prayers now offered by the priest and faithful are somewhat ambiguous thus can lead people to misunderstand their true meaning.]
We will make no criticism of these observations, why should we show how they reveal poor penetration of the meaning of religious rites, and a glimpse not have a true devotion and a real sense of the meaning and value of the Holy Mass, but rather a certain spiritual indolence, who does not want to spend a few personal effort of intelligence and participation to better understand and better fulfill the most sacred of religious acts, to which we are invited, indeed obliged to associate. Repeat what these days by all the priests and pastors from all good teachers of religion has been saying: first, that occurs at the beginning some confusion and some discomfort is inevitable, it is in the nature of a practical reform, as well as spiritual, religious habits ingrained and widely observed, producing a little 'upheaval, not always pleasant at all, but, second, some explanation, some preparation, some will assist you soon remove uncertainty and damage the sense and the taste of a new order. Why, third, we must not believe that after some time you will return quiet and devout or lazy, as before, no, the new order will be different, and will have to stop and shake the liability of the faithful present at Mass, before enough help, now we must part, before the presence enough, now you need your attention and action, and before anyone could nap and maybe chat, not now, to listen and to pray. Hopefully soon celebrants and faithful will have new liturgical books and that these also reflect the new form, both literal and typography, the dignity of the previous ones. The assembly becomes alive and active; intervene means let the soul come into activity, attention, conversation, singing, action. The harmony of a Community act, performed not only with outward gesture, but with the inward movement of the feeling of faith and piety, the ritual gives strength and beauty special: it becomes a choir concert becomes, rhythm becomes d ' a huge flying wing to the heights of the mystery and joy of God.
[Ok so like the source I found this audience in I too find this statement to be incredibly frustrating to be nice. First he says he is not going to offer criticism, then he attacks. This seems to be the double mindedness that confuses so many in the church leading to perpetual nescience as he addressed before. He then says “producing a little 'upheaval, not always pleasant at all, but, second, some explanation, some preparation, some will assist you soon remove uncertainty and damage the sense and the taste of a new order. “ Is there anyone else out there that immediately hears the Joker talking to Harvey Dent in the Hospital. Maybe it’s just me. I think the viewer can see the hatchet job that is about to be explained away for the sake of obtaining the sense and taste of a new order. He then goes on and says: “after some time you will return quiet and devout or lazy, as before, no, the new order will be different, and will have to stop and shake the liability of the faithful present at Mass”. It’s like he is speaking to children here, which many of us are liturgically speaking, but he also hits those who have a great love for the liturgy as said throughout the centuries. I realize that maybe some people if not most people are lazy by nature but that in itself is not the fault of the liturgy but of the person. It’s like the people that say ban guns because they kill people, and then ignore the person and why they chose to kill in the first place regardless of the means. You see the gun like the mass ceases to be a means to salvation (death) and becomes the ends which would be our own personal disposition. Having seen the results of the new mass since I was young I can boldly say that the innovations to shake the faithful has created a new clerical class of the laity confusing the importance of the priest, thereby calling into question his very purpose in the first place. So too what is the deal with being quiet and devout during the liturgy. If one’s mind is focused toward the sacrifice whether offering prayers or in song what does it mind them. The focus should not turn inward with people so concerned that they are active that they forget the mass is said for them not because they are there. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes you hear people say the church needs to change because if it does not they will look very foolish all by themselves. To which I usually respond that the initial sacrifice was only attended to by those silent and devout among us (namely Mary and John and a small group of others). He then says the following: “now we must part, before the presence enough, now you need your attention and action, and before anyone could nap and maybe chat, not now, to listen and to pray.” If there is anything that I can’t stand its people napping and chatting and quite frankly I see none of this at the TLM and I am sure at faithful parishes with the ordinary form you don’t see this. But the blanket statement that the new mass will somehow solve the problem is utterly frustrating. People that nap or chat can do so whether people are supposedly expected to sing, dance or whatever, in fact try to talk at a low TLM and see the reaction of the other parishioners about. One is either disposed toward God or he is not. Those people were able to listen and pray before in the silence but the hyper active new liturgical movement he speaks of does lend itself to constant shifting, therefore constant confusion because people are expected to follow every aspect and if they are off they will be noticed for not being in sync. I would note that if someone attends the TLM and is afraid of the awkwardness don’t worry most people as long as you’re not doing crazy things are calm, plus you can sit in the back. Oh and do where something above casual because this won’t help the standing out thing if that’s your concern initially. He then states that “The assembly becomes alive and active; intervene means let the soul come into activity, attention, conversation, singing, action.” I want to note the obvious that action is not a merely physical aspect of ones disposition. He specifically makes physical action the sole purpose of the liturgy. I don’t want judge his mindset here but I do wish to call into question why he felt urged to make the statement in the first place…oh wait it was to eliminate confusion which becomes a nescience…I seem to see an opposite day pattern emerging. “He then states: The harmony of a Community act, performed not only with outward gesture, but with the inward movement of the feeling of faith and piety, the ritual gives strength and beauty special: it becomes a choir concert becomes, rhythm becomes d ' a huge flying wing to the heights of the mystery and joy of God.” So my initial concern just brought but is calmed since he says it’s not just an outward gesture, so we can put the rifles down. Problem solved as they say.]
Part 1 done... hope it was helpful, please dont use this as a bash piece just an honest thinking through the issues we now are dealing with. Show your love for Peter, and his Brother Bishops with the Charity Holy Mother Church asks of us.