Wednesday, 18 May 2011

I know we are Holy, Catholic and Apostolic but are we one?

I am of course, talking about the Ordinary Form of Mass and the Extraordinary Form of Mass. Some people have commented to say that they do not like labels and that a Catholic is a Catholic is a Catholic.

I disagree. And here is the point where I state that I have nothing against those who adhere to the OF Mass or, indeed, those who have no choice in the matter as no EF Mass is available. Both forms of Mass are valid and my only grouch is that there appears to be a wholesale prejudice against the EF one. But, I do believe that OF and EF Catholics are two different animals; to say we are one is like saying that a plum is the same as a pineapple. Both are fruit but one is much larger and more sustaining than the other  very different from the other.

Are you perhaps a plum?

Or are you a more sustaining
and substantial type of fruit?

Here are a few of the distinctions between us.....this may appear trite, it is not exactly a theological argument but I believe that it holds true....

Followers of the OF Mass :-

1. Talk loudly both before and after Mass (and sometimes during)
2. Generally regard the Mass as the fulfilment of their weekly duties
3. Are not interested in debating religious issues after Mass
4. Claim loyalty to the Holy Father but then decry doctrinal issues such  
    as Purgatory, Sin and the evils of abortion, euthanasia 
    and homosexuality
5. Accept female altar servers, Extraordinary Ministers, reception by hand
    and standing, folk Masses, priests in funny vestments, liturgical
6. Often do not genuflect when entering or leaving their pew
7. Like to call their priest 'Jim' or 'Craig'
8. Cannot stand Latin
9. Have no dress code for Mass
10. Do not regard wilful missing of Sunday and Holiday obligations as
      being  a mortal sin

And what about us Traditionalists or, as I prefer to say, Extraordinary Catholics.......what do we stand for? Of course, it would be glib to say the opposite of the above, although, in truth, that is really it; so I have compiled a top ten list that defines the EF Mass follower:-

 1. Hold to reverence and modesty in Church
2. Like Plainchant and other good sacred music
3. Believe that Benediction is an essential part of liturgical practice
4. Holy Communion is only received from a priest, kneeling and by mouth
5. Priests are treasured and referred to as 'Father' or 'Father Michael'
6. Loyalty to the Magisterium is paramount
7. Have a good knowledge of the faith
8. Abstain from meat on Fridays (don't we all now?)
9. Do not like the dialogue form of the Latin Mass
10. Attend the Tridentine Latin (EF) Mass whenever possible

Now some of you will say that you do both; fine, but remember this is a generalisation and it is also my own personal standpoint. I am ambivalent towards liberal Catholics, I do not attack them verbally and I do not write letters to the Bishop about them (not as yet, anyway).
I am quite happy to leave them to plough their furrow of salvation while I plough mine.

But I do get a little upset when I am subjected to constant attack and detraction on their part. They cannot be sanguine with regard to the Latin Mass and its followers; they must whisper and whinge at all things traditional.
An elderly Monsignor who once regularly celebrated a Sunday afternoon EF Mass in his parish used to cheerfully bemoan the fact that he had to write a different sermon for the traditionalists; "They want something deeper and more theological than my morning parishioners" He used to say.
And that perhaps encapsulates it neatly, we followers of the Extraordinary Form seek a deeper link with the time of Christ that comes only from the Roman Rite of the Latin (EF) Mass and the hermeneutic of continuity.

If you see nothing wrong with this picture
you are definitely a plum!


  1. Dear Richard as you say its your point of view and your blog but,have you considered praising your kind of mass and just not commentating at all on that which you personally dislike,even if your Bishop and the Hierarchy permit it?
    As Thumper's Mum put it "If you cant say something nice, don't say anything!"

  2. You said it in your last sentence Diddleymaz!

  3. LoL, does that mean you might be more charitable in future?

  4. Diddleymaz - ha, ha! It's charitable to point out the errors of people's ways :) Pax!

  5. Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ordinary Form of the Mass. I doubt that many of those points that you associate with followers of the Ordinary Form apply to him!
    The big danger of labelling different sorts of Catholics is of going the way of at least 90% of the heretics who have ever existed - where the like-minded are viewed as "the elect" or "the perfect" or "the saved" and all others are regarded as inferior, second rate, or, even, damned . The Gnostics, the Manicheans and the Calvinists all had this characteristic. One of the problems with some of the "new movements" in the Church is precisely this tendency.

    That much good may be attributed to many of the people attached to the Extraordinary Form should not be used as an excuse for rubbishing all other Catholics.

  6. Patricius, yes, you are correct, the Holy Father does celebrate the OF Mass, I have stated that both forms are valid. But, please tell me where, in England and Wales (other than Westminster Cathedral), may I attend an OF Mass where folk do not run about like headless chickens offering each other the sign of peace to the accompaniment of guitar music - all in direct conflict with what Pope Benedict has asked for.
    I am not rubbishing other Catholics, merely stating that they have a totally different mindset from those of the orthodox persuasion.

  7. I was at Mass in Sheffield on Sunday morning, an OF Mass and there was a woman playing the piano and another younger lady one playing a violin! Not a guitar in sight. Not that I mind guitars.

  8. Come to our Church
    St Marys Bridgend, we have an organ and sometimes a small orchestra for 10am Sundays but everything is very dignified and very well done, 2 MC's of impeccable manners and no hugging.
    Oh wait we do have a couple of female Altar servers, but then, so very ,often does the Pope.

  9. Diddleymaz, tempting invitation, thank you. I do not think that the Holy Father has female altar servers in Rome...they are often foisted on him when he travels.

  10. Sorry, Richard. You appear to be suggesting that those of us not attached to the Extraordinary Form are not orthodox, lacking in reverence, dismissive of the teaching of the magisterium and much besides. I challenge that because, although I cannot claim to speak for everyone, there are many of us of whom it is NOT true.
    Additionally I must mention that in the past twelve months I have attended masses in the dioceses of Westminster, Birmingham, Clifton, Liverpool, Wrexham and Lancaster -all in the Ordinary Form and all of which were reverently and decently celebrated and without guitars. There were, occasionally, some features which were less than desirable but they were far from the caricature suggested in your picture. What has been most encouraging has been the sense I have felt of Pope Benedict's growing influence ranging from the return of a crucifix to the centre of the altar through the use of Latin plainsong to a priest giving very clear instructions to the congregation on the correct manner of receiving Holy Communion.

  11. I think it's tough to generalize. At my own parish, when it was announced we would have a weekly Missa Cantata, I ASSUMED which members of the parish would be overjoyed by this. I could not have been more wrong. The woman who never stopped wearing a chapel veil? Won't be caught dead going to the TLM. The extremely reverent, modest and faithful single gentlemen in his 60's who never misses Mass? Won't be caught dead at the TLM. Then there is me, who had not a clue what the TLM was ( I mistakenly thought the Novus Ordo in Latin was essentially the same thing - boy was I in for a surprise.) Every time I have to miss the TLM (usually because I need to go to an earlier Mass) I'm depressed.

    I will say this - it is my observation that the priests who most reverently celebrate the Ordinary Form are drawn to the Extraordinary Form, and the priests who invent an abuse a day abhor the Extraordinary Form.

  12. Patricius, I stand corrected. All I can say is come to Wales. You will be hard pressed to find any of your points there (except in Bridgend) :)

  13. On the basis of your fruit analogy, taking into account both size and nutritional value, maybe the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom could be compared to a cantaloupe or a papaya?

  14. when its a cut and prepared you have a delicious bowl of fruit salad :)

  15. Mark - that sort of fruit is much too exotic for me.

  16. They're too exotic for me as fruit (I'm not even sure I've ever had either). But I must admit that, if I had the option (which I don't), I would probably attend a Byzantine Catholic liturgy in preference even to the EF, and certainly ahead of the OF.

  17. A sad piece indeed.
    I hate labels. I am a Catholic and I love the Mass. I do not consider myself to be a liberal but I imagine that is what I would be labelled on this blog. Not all followers of OF Masses are as Richard insultingly describes in his list above.
    Yes, there are things that may annoy me at times during Mass, but we have to practice charity and tolerance.
    I go to Mass to meet Our Lord. I can't sit and scrutinise the people around me, checking off a mental list of abuses, liturgical and otherwise.
    I leave that to The Lord.
    I don't think it is very kind or charitable to discriminate against people like myself who are not drawn to the EF. I don't know what part of Wales you live in Richard but I have attended some very fine spiritual masses up here in the North.
    No, nothing is ever going to be perfect, but then neither are we.
    Our faith has to be lived as a whole. It goes far beyond the Liberal/Traditional argument, good to step outside the box once in a while.