Monday, 17 June 2013

Which Mass does Jesus Christ want?

I mean, it has got to come down to this, surely?

There are two basic types of Mass in the Roman Church, the Ordinary (OF) and the Extraordinary (EF).

Please do not say at this stage: "But all Masses are the same". They are evidently not.

One is in the vernacular and is missing many of the key elements that Quo Primum stated quite clearly, should be preserved and the other is a reasonable representation of the Mass that gradually evolved over the four or five hundred years after the death of Our Lord - in Latin.

The OF Altar

Some may say that both Masses are the same because the outcome, in the manner of the renewal of the sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody fashion, and the subsequent changing of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ are identical at both forms of Mass.

But that still leaves the question hanging in mid air; the two are different in format - so which one does Jesus Christ want?

Many would claim that He wants both kinds but that does not wash; let me change the question to: 'Which Mass does Our Lord prefer?' Which one does He believe will benefit us the most?
Which Mass attracts the most grace?

                     The EF Altar                     (Civitas Dei)

My conclusion, which, of course,  I believe to be perfectly logical, is that Our Lord prefers the Mass that is closest to the one that His Church first created; the one that was so greatly influenced by the Apostles who loved and served the Lord.
 The Mass that is the more comprehensive of the two, more demanding of the celebrant (and of the server) and requiring a greater demonstration of reverence and piety from those attending.

The Mass that is not divisive in areas where a variety of tongues are spoken, a Mass that is, as the Faith itself, universal.

A Mass that is basically unchanged since early times and ratified by The Council of Trent in 1535.

A Mass that does not allow for personal liturgical expression by the priest or the laity; a Mass that is easy to follow (if you have a missal) and easy to meditate at if you haven't.

So why is this Extraordinary Form of Mass so ignored by the priests?

I can understand the episcophobic issue, the Bishop might well come down heavily on any priest wishing to introduce the EF Mass.

I can understand, also, the fear of upsetting the liberal parishioners who, quite frankly, have no concept of the matter other than an irrational dislike of the Latin.

But some priests also come up with the corny line: "I just don't speak Latin"

That is a copout. They quite merrily take their holidays overseas and indulge in café French or Italian as the case may be. To learn to read and pronounce Latin is not hard.

As a child, all altar servers in our parish had to be able to give the Mass responses in Latin by the age of seven. Hard at that age but far from impossible.

So, we come back to the question as to which Mass Our Lord wishes us to take part in.

The answer seems plainly clear to me.


  1. Such a stark contrast when the altars are juxtaposed like this. I mean, it is like two different religions we're talking about. The OF altar features what looks like a combination of the crucified and resurrected Christ, along with some sort of table. The EF altar is of great beauty, with Our Lord as the focal point of worship. The OF altar sadly represents the 'spirit' of Vatican II: stripped down altars, churches, liturgy and heterodox teaching. The EF is of timeless beauty and reverence. May the Tridentine Mass be restored as the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite, and may the Lord's Holy Catholic Church be rescued from the clutches of modernists, heretics and apostates. +JMJ+

  2. Although, slightly sobering could I suggest to your readers that they get fully behind supporting Juventutem.

    The reality is that whilst in 30 years time many of the old liberal 'brigade' will have passed on, so too will many of those who have always supported the EF Mass.

    I am not a Juventutem member (I'm slightly over the age limit), but I genuinely believe that the older generation must firmly support them in whatever way people feel they can. It will be the members of Juventutem who will carry the flame forward, and we need more of them.

  3. Clinton - amen to all you have said.
    OPN, I completely agree but how does a male slightly over the age limit for membership of Juventutem, get behind them? I would dearly love to lend my support but my zimmer frame will not allow.
    Any suggestions you may have would be most welcome. and, while I'm at it, well done to you and all concerned at St Mary's for the progress made.

  4. A very timely post. Here is what the late Fr Hugh Thwaites said about the issue:

  5. How do the venerable Eastern Catholic Rites fit into your "Which Mass does Jesus want?" analysis?

  6. I used to be of the mind that Jesus prefers the EF Mass. After a few years I came around to the conclusion that I cannot and should not say which He prefers, I believe it is pompous to do so. Of course, as far as any Mass goes, I imagine that Jesus prefers one done correctly.

  7. Anon @ 5:57pm - I am only writing about the Roman Rite.
    Katharine B - Why should it be pompous, surely it is just a process of rational thought? If having a Mass 'done correctly' is your benchmark I would suggest that one celebrated in the fashion most demanding and reverent and true to His teachings might be preferred.

  8. Servismariaen, grateful thanks, I am a fan of Fr Thwaites but had not read these discourses before. They are truly excellent.

    1. I too have been a big fan of Fr Thwaites. I am happy that you found them edifying.

  9. Our Lord must change his mind a lot. Mass was in Greek until the majority of those attending in Rome spoke Latin and the example of Africa changed the Mass into the vernacular. It took hundreds of years for the idea of daily Mass to take hold. Low Mass or Missa Cantata celebrated by a single priest has traditionally been unnormative. St Pius X cut the immemorial link with the psalms chanted in the Temple in Jerusalem to make life easier for priests. Pope Pius XII changed the Holy Week liturgy in sympathy with those who would later produce the NO. So either every change is a change for the better until 1967 (or 1962 or whenever) or at some earlier point the changes went wrong. I hold no brief at all for the NO but an appeal to WWJD isn't good enough.

  10. Ttony, I did make reference to the evolution of the Mass over many hundreds of years. The simple point that I am making is, which Mass gives the greater glory to God? The one largely based on Protestant influences, a simple, non challenging Mass or one that has the full essence of the hermeneutic of continuity?
    Surely Our Lord must prefer us to pray and worship in a certain fashion? I think so.

  11. Slightly tongue-in-cheek: What is the view of The Lord regarding SSPX Masses, not to mention their Confessions? After all the E&W Bishops' Conference issued a document which stated one could fulfil one's Sunday/Holyday Duty by attendance at your local CofE, or even Free Church, in the event of living distant from your parish church.

  12. Sixupman, a very good point. I'm sure Our Lord is highly pleased with SSPX Masses and the issue you raise about fulfilling Sunday obligations by attending an Anglican service was, I think, from memory, covered in Canon Law 844. It provided us with the authority to actually attend SSPX Masses back in 1989!

  13. Richard it is a good question regarding supporting Juventutem.

    I am not an expert on this, but how we are doing it at Louth is providing a minibus to transport the Nottingham Chapter to here. The LMS has said that it is perfectly acceptable to have a collection at the end of the EF Mass that will cover the cost of a minibus for Juventutem (and that this is something that will be strongly supported by Latin Mass attendees anyway). This has a double effect, because not only do they get more experience of the Mass as a group, but some of the servers will be provided from the Chapter at the same time, hence giving the servers more experience (which is generally limited). As you know finding trained servers is a nightmare so Juventutem Chapters provide a good solution to this. We have even found a fully trained MC for the Louth Mass in the Nottingham Chapter.

    They also need supporting financially (I believe your nearest Chapter is Bristol) because when they personally organise a Missa Cantata or High Solemn Mass they give quite generous donations to the church and choir (many of which as you know will be experts in their field). One of the people at the London Chapter said the following:

    1. The main expense is music. We received a generous benefaction at the start of the (academic) year, which has allowed us to have polyphony sung by professionals (Catholics wherever possible) for about 50% of the year's Masses. We have been thrifty and have set up our own home-grown schola as well, who are not paid, but the administrative stuff for that isn't cheap either, seeing as we have a professional in charge of that. This has been really effective, and it's important to keep that up to give God the best we can afford.

    2. Stipends. We have a Celebrant, Deacon and Subdeacon to give stipends to.

    3. Donation to the parish. Fr (name removed) has very graciously allowed us to use his parish and function room - it would be rude for us not to give him something for it.
    4. Food costs.
    It's really the music that is the most expensive.

    I can't vouch for the other chapters being as advanced, but you get the gist.

    I have to be honest though that I was absolutely adamant at Louth that the Chapter needed to be there because the TLM is virtually non-existent in Lincolnshire and I think that it is absolutely imperative to demonstrate to local people that these days the Latin Mass is also attended by younger Catholics.

    Beyond this there are ways of volunteering for Chartres etc, but the details are on the website.

    Hope this answers your query.

  14. Thanks Michael, yes, our nearest branch is at Bristol, some 100 plus miles distant. Might be worth a punt for a pilgrimage though. Your comment is most helpful but we do face a very different situation here in Menevia.
    Our congregation of c. 25 all travel long distances from all points of the compass. For example, our nearest fellow 'parishioners' are one hour distant from us. I guess most of the 'parishioners' are that far apart.

  15. As a child in the 50's and early 60's, I was told that the Mass would never change and that the point of the use of Latin was that it was the universal language of a universal Church. Ironically they changed to the vernacular just when foreign travel and migration began to be much more common. There would be no need for Polish or Phillipine Masses if we all used Latin. Let's get back to it, it's beautiful.