NSANITY has been described as: “doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.” Not long ago, I posted an article which asked: Can Ordinary Form Masses be enriched by the Extraordinary Form? Unfortunately, some readers interpreted my actions as an attempt to ridicule, assault, and embarrass fellow Catholics. I would like another attempt—perhaps I can be coherent and clear.
This video recently showed up in my inbox:
That’s a public video from the Sunday Mass on 21 June 2020 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska. 1
I have something to say about their treatment of the Sanctissimum in order to help me make the point I’m trying to make. I hope you’ll keep reading.
The Subject of Mutual Enrichment
A letter of Pope Benedict XVI to bishops, given at Saint Peter’s (7 July 2007), said:
“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.”
I believe the primary way the Ordinary Form can be “enriched” by the Extraordinary Form would be adopting its ars celebrandi. As children, my mother brought us the the Latin Mass, and we hated it. We found it insufferably boring at first, and—I admit with shame—we even poked fun at how the priest kept saying the word “Dóminus.” But one thing stood out, even at that early stage:
The priest always kept his head down. This made quite an impression on me. He was extremely reverent, and even his hand motions were prescribed by the rubrics. This was a beautiful and powerful ceremony. By contrast, did you see the way those people were acting in front of the Blessed Sacrament? They were having some sort of goofy sword fight (I don’t know why). I’ve attended many Masses in these United States where the atmosphere was similar: goofy, silly, and disrespectful towards the Blessed Sacrament of the Sacred Body and Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, which is the “Testament of God with Man” as Saint Noël Chabanel reminded us. Saint John Mary Vianney was so moved—whenever he was in the presence of the Sanctissimum—that “he could scarcely speak or breathe.” Let’s imitate Father Vianney and Father Chabanel.
I submit to you, dear reader, that the Ordinary Form must adopt as quickly as possible this AURA—“atmosphere” or “mood” or “tone” or “vibe” or whatever you want to call it—from the Extraordinary Form. By the way, a key ingredient of this atmosphere is the music. The music “should not sound like a toothpaste commercial” (as one thoughtful theologian noted).
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 The Archdiocese of Omaha currently has a bishop whose name is exactly the same as the creator of Star Wars: Archbishop George Lucas.