Jacobi posts on the post-conciliar liturgy from the point of view of a ‘a bog-standard Catholic in the pews who has watched the liturgy of the Church go to pot over the last 50 years, so that it’s now a barrier to the raising of the heart and mind to God. ‘
‘Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Novus Ordo
Sacrosanctum Concilium is not doctrinal in nature. It authorises (as a sub-form?) limited reforms to the Tridentine Mass, the Mass of St Gregory the Great. There are other Rites in the Church, but these were not specifically dealt with.
Neither the Tridentine, nor any other Rite is abolished by this document. The Church, ensures,
“that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way”.
This means that the Tridentine form continues today as normative in the Western Church, as per Quo Primum and Summorum Pontificum.
Sacrosanctum Concilium is lengthy and imprecise in nature. There is strong evidence, of compromise. Changes are indicative and imprecise. Ambiguity, vagueness, insertion, contradiction and selective archaeologism are all present. One rather curious exception is the re-instatement of the “Prayer of the Faithful”, phased out some fifteen centuries ago. This changes completely the 5th century practise, which was conducted only by the priest, and required the non-baptised, or those under instruction to leave the Mass!
The document states, nevertheless that,
1. The Mass will be in Latin with limited use of the vernacular i.e., readings, presumably Gospel and Epistles and some prayers and chants
2. Plain Chant and the use of the organ continue
3. Lay functionaries will be the Lectors, servers and choir. No others are mentioned
4. Lay participation is encouraged and clearly defined. It involves laity taking part with acclamations, responses, psalmody, songs, gestures and bodily attitude and generally with attention to what is going on, or as the document puts it, “conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration”.
There is no suggestion of any other physical activity or lay function.
5. There will be wider use of scriptural material.
6. The Prayer of the Faithful, which was a period of silent prayer under the direction of a priest, and which was phased out in the fifth century, is re-introduced, but in a new form.
What is not authorised or even mentioned is,
1. The Mass said with the priest facing the congregation
2. Prayer of the Faithful as it is now practised in the Novus Ordo.
3. Routine Communion under both kinds
4. Reception of Communion by hand
5. Handling of the sacred vessels by laity i.e., the chalice and the paten
6. The use of lay distributers of Holy Communion
7. The lay sign of peace, (hand shake)
8. Lay readers and bidders, as opposed to Lectors
These were all introduced later, often unofficially
The end result of this is that the Novus Ordo is a valid Catholic Mass, but is deficient because, it carries an implicit downplaying of the Real Presence, the Ordained Priesthood, and the idea of the Mass as a Sacrifice
The immediate corrections needed to bring the Novus Ordo back into line with Sacrosanctum Concilium are,
1. Substantial re-use of Latin
2. Return to Ad Orientem
3. Reception of Communion, kneeling and by mouth, of the Host only
4. Readings by a priest, deacon or Lector
5. Lay distributers to be used only in exceptional l circumstances, and then only acolytes
In terms of church layout the re-introduction of altar rails to re-establish the sanctuary, and of the central tabernacle, to make our churches once again the House of God, are critical.
Thank you Jacobi