Thursday, 19 September 2013

The exclusive Ordinary Form

Belgian Catholics get together before Mass
 in the spirit of universality

I hope that I will be forgiven for taking a peek at a blog that I normally steer clear of (avoiding the occasion of sin).

I was somewhat amused to read that the blogger had posted how, on a visit to Poland, she had attended Mass (in Polish, would you believe) and that she found it an uplifting experience that emphasized the universality of the Church.

Well, this lady has backed the wrong horse on this occasion.

I would be most interested to learn from her, the content of the bidding prayers or, even, precisely what formed the subject matter of the sermon (yes, I know it's not part of the Mass but let's not get picky here).

The fact is, that with all the liturgical variances in the NO Mass, you don't stand a snowball's chance of comprehending just what is being said unless you are reasonably fluent in the language.
I may be wrong but I do not think that missals in Serbo-Croat with an English translation alongside, are readily available.

Now, stand by for the nostalgic pre Vat II bit; I remember, quite well, the fights that broke out in Belgian churches (especially) when the French speaking Belgians fell out with the Dutch speaking ones.

People clutched each other's throats in an early form of the kiss of peace and rolled around the aisles in a wonderful display of universality.

This went on for some months until, in a spirit of sensible inclusivity, the various groups (one mustn't forget the Walloons, the Flemish or the Luxembourgish speakers) all went their separate ways and adjusted their Sunday obligation to a church where a Mass in their tongue was celebrated.

Thus was a form of spiritual ethnic cleansing created.

I believe that this was replicated globally as, many years later, whilst sipping indecently large gin and tonics in Madras, my young friend Theresa, (who was Catholic as it transpires) told me that there was no longer a Mass in Latin that all could attend.

Instead, she said, there was a Mass for the Tamils, one for the Hindi speakers and several more for speakers of other dialects.

Sadly, these divisions reflected very closely, the  caste system of India.

The one occasion where all castes would combine together, the Tridentine Latin Mass, had gone and in its place were services that rigidly enforced  separation and division. Catholic apartheid.

Closer to home we now have a marvellously diverse selection of Masses to attend, ranging from Tagalog to Mandarin (pity about the Cantonese speakers) and Polish to Syro Malabar - but nothing much in Latin.

Close to where I live, in Wales the Welsh speakers (all two of them), attend the Mass in Welsh, a few Indians attend the Syro Malabar Mass and the rest, with greatly reduced options to fulfil their Sunday obligation, attend a Mass celebrated in broken English.

So universal! So uplifting! So.......(I must stop it there for the sake of Christian charity.

It would be unfair of me to reveal the name of this blogging lady but I do hope that she will stick to cooking in future.

And I shall stick to my inclusive Extraordinary Form.

H/T to my A & B friend for flagging this up


  1. Actually the sermon (homily) is part of the Mass in the Ordinary Form. It is, however, like so many other parts of the OF optional (but "highly recommended"), except on Sundays when it is obligatory.

    Best wishes

  2. Chris, in the EF Mass, the priest removes his maniple before making the sermon, a move designed to demonstrate a break in the Mass. Interesting that the OF does not recognise that. God bless.

  3. Your comment”Catholic apartheid” is so apposite.

    The vernacular was suggested in Sacrosanctum Consilium for mission lands (37), otherwise Latin was to be retained (36). It was not intended for settled Catholic countries.

    Besides it was quite unnecessary. After all when Catholicism came to my part of the world, we were painted blue, running around with spears, but did not need the vernacular, whatever it was, to convert.

    The vernacular will cause decay into a series of national or language group sects with ever increasing local pagan influence and doctrinal diversity. I was told recently by an Indian Catholic of the growing Hindu influence on the Church there.

    Somewhere in all this, the Mystical Body of Christ will continue to exist, but it will be a much smaller Church for a while, as Benedict said, for 2-3 centuries or so?.

  4. ...and of course in the EF there are no age-segregations either, as in Family Mass, Folk Mass, Young Adults' Mass, Children's Liturgy etc etc etc with every variation you can think of. There is only THE Mass for all - families, teenagers, babies, young, middle and old adults - all sinners alike in need of mercy and grace.

  5. The EF is so beautiful. It's truly Heaven on Earth.

    You know, I thank God it's loved among young people. More young people are attracted to it, me being one of them. And why now? We've had ridiculous 'young Masses' shoved down out throats for so long. We want the real Faith, not some rock and all that nonsense which doesn't even look Catholic. We're fed up with being spoon-fed poison. We're taking our heritage back!

    Thus ends my fighting rant. :)

    God bless.


  6. Richard - don't be a spoilsport! I have tried googling key words (Poland, Mass, uplifting) without success, and want to read this lady's blog myself.

    Its name? Please!

  7. Chris, gentleman never disclose their was Auntie Joanna.

  8. Hannah, your comments always inspire me. Thank you.

    Jacobi, thank you.

  9. Just a couple of points, Richard..
    'you don't stand a snowball's chance of comprehending just what is being said unless you are reasonably fluent in the language..' well, that's Latin for most of us! If the Latin Mass was so universally adored, why was it changed?
    It's been a LONG time since I attended a Latin Mass as a young child (EF) but even then, I don't recall bidding prayers being in Latin.

  10. Sue, we never had bidding prayers, they were brought in from the Protestant faith in the 1970s.
    And they have never been a part of the EF Mass.
    If you look at a Roman Missal you will see a neat little English translation alongside the Latin text.
    Medieval peasants managed it, I'm sure we can.