16.10.08

Liturgy

Here is something new, I have a guest essayist, Matthew Palardy, who has been kind enough to share his thoughts on Sacred Liturgy.

"The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age." -G.K. Chesterton

Liturgy is a very dear subject to me, as, more so than formal didactic learning and teaching, liturgy creates an atmosphere, an ethos. Always unsaid, but understood as though by osmosis. What sort of ethos are so many contemporary priests trying to create? One no different from the banality we encounter in everyday life, apparently, one that gives no satisfaction to our innate sense of the sacred. If churches today do not relate to this sense, then what is the point? To understand the proper dogma? The proper morality? No! The sacred mysteries are our place of meeting with the Sacred, the Other, God Himself, incarnate as Jesus Christ, that we may comprehend that which is incomprehensible, that we may see that which is invisible, Whose great drama, ritually re-enacted upon the altar, making Him present to us, His mystical body, in body, blood, soul, and divinity, holds a mirror to our human drama—and thus, Christ shows us not only the Godhead, but also our authentic humanity, an authentic humanity He Himself shared.

This in mind, however, while I empathize strongly with the Tridentine Mass traditionalists, I actually find the Mass of Paul VI superior—if carried out properly, with appropriate music, in an architecturally appropriate building, with appropriate vessels and vestments, according to the Roman Missal, the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, and the traditions of the Roman liturgy. (A little Latin, a little chant, maybe, or perhaps polyphony?) The new lectionary is broader, and the readings and proper prayers in the vernacular can serve a profound catechetical purpose. Versus populum is really my only grand complaint. However, the new iconoclasts refuse to celebrate Mass appropriately; thus, the Extraordinary Form must persist until such time as the virtue of obedience is better understood among the rank and file of clergy and laity alike.

I used to hear Mass daily in a small Polish parish, Our Lady of Czestochowa, in Turner’s Falls, MA. The Kyrie was in Greek, the Sanctus, Pater Noster, and Agnus Dei, and Gloria on certain solemnities, were in Latin, the hymnals used were the Adoremus and a Polish hymnal. Even during the week, every Mass included a small choir, an organist, at least ten altar boys, and incense. The gilt reredos was still intact, communion was generally received kneeling on the tongue, and women wore mantillas. Before Mass, the faithful would recite the Rosary while Father would hear confessions. After Mass, Father would return to the sanctuary with his platoon of altar boys to pray the Angelus with the faithful, facing east, and an organ voluntary, then hymns played on the carillon, would see us out into the world. Deo gratias, indeed! At least 75 people would be there for daily Mass, more than one sometimes sees on Sunday Masses in some parishes. The pathos of Holy Week was truly cathartic—the choir singing a capella Mozart’s Dona Nobis Pacem on Holy Thursday, walking on one’s knees to venerate the Cross, kissing all five wounds, on Good Friday, the entire congregation remaining for nearly an hour in the darkened church to pray the Rosary once more. Likewise, an Easter with authentic joy, the bells flying back from Rome during the Latin Gloria on the Vigil, the statue of the Risen Christ being processed through the church on Easter morning, one altar boy walking backwards before the priest with the statue, censing it, two other altar boys flanking the priest, ringing altar bells in turns…


I am in total agreement.

Jhesu+Marie
de Brantigny

1 comment:

Mathieu Palardy said...

Thanks kindly for posting this, Richard.

MP