OST REVEREND Peter F. Christensen recently sent a letter to his priests. (For the record, his letter was later revealed to have been plagiarized.) Bishop Christensen’s letter seems to contradict a Vatican document 1 from 7 July 2007 which explicitly says: “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching.”
How can the Extraordinary Form “enrich” the Ordinary Form?
Before exploring this topic, please watch this short video from a Roman Catholic Church in Nebraska, recorded a few weeks ago:
DO WE TRULY believe the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity becomes present on our altars? Is this how we treat the Sanctissimum? Is this how we adore the Holy Eucharist? Is this how we should act in Church? Is this the respect due to Jesus Christ, Who is present: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Tabernacle?
When I first attended the Traditional Latin Mass, I noticed how the priest and members of the congregation were extremely respectful. The priest always kept his head down. He was not prancing around, as the priest does in that video. He was quite careful in his movements—in other words, reverent and devout.
More than anything else, this is what the Ordinary Form can “learn” from the Extraordinary Form—in my humble opinion.
IMPORTANT CAVEAT: I am not condemning the good intentions of people shown in those videos, and I rebuke anyone who says otherwise. At the same time, I have a right to express my views on how Catholics should act in front of the Sanctissimum.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to bishops, given at Saint Peter’s (7 July 2007): “It is true that there have been exaggerations and at times social aspects unduly linked to the attitude of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition. Your charity and pastoral prudence will be an incentive and guide for improving these. For that matter, the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality which attracts many people to the former usage. The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives. This will bring out the spiritual richness and the theological depth of this Missal.”