So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mouldy Bread

What makes the celebration of the Usus Antiquior or TLM and the Ordinariate liturgies of the Roman Rite superior to the celebration of the Ordinary Form?

How much time do you have?

The short answer is... a lot. The slightly longer answer is the Usus Antiquior and the Ordinariate Mass both require the celebrant and servers, and lectors in the case of the Ordinariate Mass, to strive to make the earthly liturgy as beautiful, true and good as the heavenly liturgy. The Ordinary Form, by contrast, has become the plaything of ideologues bent on making it as much a tool for some political or social movement.

Notice we are primarily challenging the mode of celebration, not merely the content, of a given liturgy.

Those who routinely attend the UA/TLM or the Ordinariate Divine Worship know well enough that rubrics matter. The grammar of beauty matters! The poetry of the Extraordinary Form (TLM) Mass remains poetry even on the lips of a drunkard or a fool, which is not to say all priests are drunkards and fools. However, even on the lips of a sober man, the poetry of the Ordinary Form tends to get hidden or watered down by cheap songs, and a lack of preparation of and carelessness with the Sacraments.
Can the Ordinary Form be celebrated with elegance? Sure. But to those who know the richness of the other "uses" of the Mass, the Ordinary Form resembles a sliced up copy of the Roman Missal with all the beautiful blossoms chopped off and a whole bunch of stuff stuck into it because, apparently, more is better. The Ordinary Form Sunday liturgy typically has four Scripture texts. Unless some bishop's conference removed the psalms from the Canon of Holy Scripture, they remain Scripture. Unless the homilist references a reading, can you actually recall the biblical book from which the First Reading was taken? Can you even remember the First Reading by the time the Gospel is completed? Is more Scripture a better thing?

The Ordinary Form of the Mass suffers most egregiously from distortions of its proper mode of celebration (loss of reverence; loss of chant) as well as from unnecessary deletions (loss of the older Offertory prayers; loss of the prayers at the foot of the altar) and a plethora of unnecessary options. Until priests become more confident about celebrating the Ordinary Form with dignity, aware of its sublime character instead of allowing it to be turned into a circus or a social club, the Ordinary Form will draw continued criticism and fail to invite people into the heavenly Liturgy from which the earthly liturgy should receive its proper shape.


The TLM and Ordinariate liturgies are ad orientem liturgies. The rubrics of the Ordinariate Mass do permit versus populum worship, but ad orientem is normative for the Ordinariate. It is simply unimaginable that the TLM would be celebrated versus populum, except in those rare and few places where the altar faces East and the people face the altar. Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, for example.

Fanatics who hold to the versus populum ideology by exalting the exceptions to create a new rule are really not concerned about worshipping God as much as they are worshipping their god. The mere mention of ad orientem worship causes an almost allergic reaction in the Spirit of Vatican II fanatic. He identifies ad orientem worship as a throwback to his confused childhood, a time when the Church was the bogeyman for authority fearing individuals who bought into the "Question Authority" doctrine of the Timothy Leary narco-anarchists.

Well folks, here's news for you. Anyone 50 years and older who may have been infected by a fear of authority should know that your fears are not shared by a younger generation of Catholics. A younger generation of Catholics only fear losing the Catholic story, the Apostolic story. A younger generation of Catholics ignores the rebellion of the 1970s and 1960s and the folk Masses and praise and worship music.

Those who are accustomed to safe worship of a safe god are hindered by their own practiced ignorance from appreciating authentic liturgy. As far as their tastes in music, art and architecture go, they are morbidly obese. They do not want to leave their comfortable armchair perched in front of their comfortable liturgy.

Comfortable religion feels good for a time, but after awhile motivation begins to dry up and the familiarity turns into contempt. An entire generation of suburban Catholics became rebels, not in a good sense, but rebels who refuse the wisdom of Christ and the Magisterium of the Church which, for any Catholic, are inseparable.

The fading generation is no longer yeast for the world. Point of fact, they were never yeast for the world. Their bread never rose; they have become mouldy bread and toxic. Conversely, an emerging generation, not burdened by their rebellious elder's rejection of authority, is becoming the leaven of the new evangelization. If you want to know what that leaven looks like in action, look for people demonstrating the following:
  • a love of Jesus Christ and His Church
  • a love of Tradition
  • a love of obedience to the Magisterium of the Church
  • a love of authentic liturgy, of liturgy not diminished by the arrogant and/or narcissistic behaviour of priests and lay people
  • a love of truly sacred music, the chant and polyphony drawn from the Church's vast treasury of authentic liturgical music
  • a love of truth about and justice for the unborn
This emerging generation needs the bread of authentic liturgy as yeast to help them rise even higher in the service of God.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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