Wednesday, 20 November 2013

New or Old.......what's the difference?

Purely coincidentally, there appears to be a common theme emerging (is that a thread?) among several bloggers in Wales.

One in which I have been drawn into, not by their excellent posts that appeared, more or less at the same time as my rather less illustrious offerings, but by pure providential serendipity (what those in other churches might term 'chance').

The essence of the matter is the well worn case of EF or OF - is there a difference? Is one better than the other?
 Here, I have to say that I have taken the liberty of trying to paraphrase the context of the posts from Ragazzagallese and Lucas Cambrensis and I hope that I have not mis-judged them.

                                          This renders words superfluous

Both writers are young and present interesting views but, Lucas Cambrensis speculated on the fact that, if all Masses today reverted to the old rite, liturgical abuses would still take place.

An interesting point and one that none of us with any degree of certainty, can comment on.

But, he goes on to state that he suspects such abuses were in place prior to the introduction of Mass in the vernacular.

Aha! Here, at last I can claim some degree of expertise because, of course, I was around in those days. Those were the golden days of my youth.

Let me put some perspective on that last statement.
 I was an altar server from the age of five and, from the age of nine, my family home was less than fifty yards from St Michael's and St Martin's Church, Hounslow.

Now Hounslow, for the geographically challenged, lies at the eastern end of London Heathrow Airport's main runway (Are you still with me? Please hang on for a few minutes more).

Priests arrived in Hounslow from all corners of the world, on a weekly basis. We had many fine American priests, French ones, German ones and so on.

And I was in the firing line for the duties of default server.
 Most mornings I would troop into the sacristy never knowing who the celebrant might be or where he was from.

But, in the midst of all this multi-cultural ministry, never once did the words or format of the Mass differ.

Every Mass was the same.


Well, of course, because the language and words were constant.

But, also, the priest was invisible. He had no identity.

Well that's not quite true. He had the identity of Christ ( but I didn't fully appreciate that then).

And, with such an identity he was, of course, truly Christ like, diminishing his own presence to act as the link between us, the great unwashed and Almighty God.

I don't think you get such an aura of priestly invisibility at a new Mass but I am open to correction as I never (or hardly ever) attend a new Mass; I am not experienced in the ways of the new other than by distant memory.

Of course, there are many theological distinctions between the OF and the EF but I like the late Father Hugh Thwaites' summary of them.

The new Mass, he said, is like water, while the old Mass is milk.

That is a very apt way of comparing the two in my book.



  1. .....The new Mass is like water, while the old Mass is MILK.......

    What ever abuses were in the past, there was almost ALWAYS the EYE of Peter watching, discipline, rebuke was part of the teaching Church.

    The fact is that for the last, at least 50 years, confusion, division, liturgical abuses, new theology, to name just few.......has been sown and put into practice, by ALMOST all hierarchy of the holy Church. Very quickly hearts and minds of Catholics became very adoptable to these false reforms. An example, is the constant improving on the Novus Ordo Mass. Confusion, division, scandals became a 'norm' for average, lukewarm Catholics. They became so erroneously lovable, that praying with the Jews, with the Muhammad's, with the Hindu, or what ever stripe of 'sect', has become a 'norm' .......FALSE LOVE is in the air!!!

    The moment the Shepherds stopped pronouncing 'anathemas', the moment they stopped excommunicating the enemies of the holy Church (except ONE)......... Catholics became 'split pea soup', so, the world no longer respects the 'authority' of the Chair of Peter.
    Under such circumstances, yes, the abuses would continue today, because, it will take at least another generation to clean up the 'mess' the 'havoc' that the 'rotten apples' have caused. The so-called 'conciliar church', the 'spirit of new Pentecost;, which Vatican II is called, the 'new Advent church', the 'spring time, new evangelization church' , has become nothing but devastation of God's Vineyard! It has produced Protestant Catholics, they are 'legions'.......they do not complain about the abuses, they are very active in promoting the 'innovations'.......this is THEIR church, the 'Shepherds' are taking a back seat, watching the world passing by, totally in ignorance of the True Presence of Christ on earth!!!

    .......No, no, no, you do not have to become a Catholic........Be a good Baptist!.......old Fr. Groeschel used to say to millions on the radio............Miserere!!!

    When 'error' is allowed to reign........Satan reigns!!!
    How few had the guts to stand head-on against the reign of Satan. False obedience, cowardice, pride, greed for power, gluttony, worldliness, shame of Jesus Christ on the CROSS............. has overtaken the virtue of fearless faith, defending TRUTH! What was sown then, is the 'harvest' of today.

    As the Shepherd goes, the sheep follows.........

    Viva Cristo Rey!

  2. I totally agree with you, Richard. If a priest follows the rubrics faithfully in the EF, you just can't go wrong. But, it seems obvious to me that there MUST have been disobedience prior to VII. I mean, where did those ideas post VII come from otherwise? These things don't happen overnight. I don't say that the abuses were widespread (and certainly nothing like today where it seems like a free for all...), but it doesn't make sense to me that they only emerged post VII.

    If all masses reverted back to the old rite and the *obedience* of the old rite (which is the vital factor which is missing in OF masses today), there would not be liturgical abuses because the EF mass does not allow for it. It's all disobedience, that's what causes all the problems we have in the Church today. Disobedience regarding rubrics, sexual morality, prayer, fasting... If we were only obedient, we would be fine, but it seems as if the OF purposely allows for disobedience. It gives too many options and I think then the idea that there are specific words and that only these words must be used is lost in translation, so to speak.

    Luke and I are polar opposites when it comes to the mass, I'm afraid. Mass facing the people is, I believe, disrespectful to Our Lord. Would you have a conversation with someone with your back to them? It's rude, you would never do it.

  3. FSSP has posted their 25th Anniversary Mass from Rome at

  4. Like you Richard I was an altar server and never encountered any liturgical abuses then or at any time after I had stopped serving. The rubrics of the TLM are quite clear and exact and do not allow for any improvisations. Would abuses occur if the TLM was universally restored? With the existing traditional orders definitely not because they have had the correct training and priestly formation. With priests from a Novus Ordo background there would be a possibility because of the habits they have accquired. It would require stong leadership and the correct retraining to ensure that the TLM remained abuse free.Not impossible as what was destoyed can be rebuilt.
    Is one rite better than the other ? The TLM is unmistakenly catholic in every sense. The novus ordo has been watered down and become protestantised and in some instances a scandal to the faith. So yes one is better than the other. Let us hope and pray that more priests will realise this and learn to love and cherish the TLM.

  5. Rod, you are right. I even know of one priest today who says both forms but injects elements of the OF into the EF. How do you begin to set that straight?
    Thanks Rhoslyn, some good points made. I plan to try and answer your point about disobedience prior to VII (some time).

  6. Replies
    1. I saw my Brother-in-Law's small 1950s missal, which contained a reference to "dialogue" Masses, which met with cautious approbation. I don't have it to hand.

    2. If the congregation join in the responses they would make in a sung Mass, and recite the Kyrie, Gloria etc. the dialogue Mass would be fine. The prayers at the foot of the altar are a different matter. They were never intended to be a dialogue between priest and people and never really worked (imagine a Sunday Low Mass at the high altar of a large church, where those in the front row are still a good twenty feet from the celebrant).

      That is why the Novus Ordo replaced these prayers with a dialogue which ideally should be sung, making it in effect a dialogue Mass, and this is also the reason for forward altars and versus populum.

      "Inter Oecumenici", issued in October 1964 while the Council was still sitting, already describes the priest as "presiding over the assembly"

  7. Water is essential for life...some are allergic to milk.

  8. I think keg beer and real ale would be a more apt comparison. Or test cricket and 20-20.

  9. The types of "abuses" were different. You might see priests rushing things, things done in a rather haphazard manner, but it was kind of tough to flagrantly violate the rubrics. Liturgical dance in the old rite wouldn't make sense, nor would it be architecturally possible.

    Traditionalist orders (such as those in the FSSP) have largely eliminated the types of abuses you were likely to see before, because they actually carried out liturgical reform the way it was meant to be: by reforming our interior view of the liturgy.