Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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The Not-So-Ordinary Ordinary Form

October 6th, 2010, Promulgated by Gen

The problem with “options” at the Mass, or should I say, the problem with poorly-chosen options at the Mass, is that the same liturgical norms that produce this . . .

. . . also produce this . . .


(The top photo was from the Mass for the dedication of a new Newman chapel at the Brompton Oratory in London. The bottom was . . . well . . . not.)

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4 Responses to “The Not-So-Ordinary Ordinary Form”

  1. avatar Marcus says:

    Good grief. “Option” two is positively scary. I think I’ll go listen to some Palestrina now…

  2. avatar Jim R says:

    #2 (aptly identified as such don’t you think!) is a throw-back to the late 60’s early 70’s reaction against the formality of old Mass. How many Masses at the U of R looked just like that in ’70. Was there a point – meaning even – to that? Yes! In its stark contrast to the formality and pomp usually found at Mass it was a reminder that Mass is something bigger, more encompassing and yet more intimate than the rote expression it had become for too many. It was not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But it became bad.

    Unfortunately, too many priests and Bishops mistook the welcome that setting enjoyed as a mandate to replace all pomp, majesty, taste, ritual and transcendence to the point where this sort of banal, tasteless, formless exercise in superficiality replaced the pomp and majesty of the prior Mass and lost all the intimacy that was initially so eye-opening. The Mass became neither a majestic expression of the intersection of the Transcendence of God Almighty with the here-and-now, nor an expression of the quiet, familiar immanence of God With Us.

    There is nothing special in #2. There is no special intimacy – indeed it is a cold, isolated, boring Mass destined to drive away the faithful. Just look at the faces, the seating, the utter indifference. 8 participants with the local Ordinary could be an
    intimate celebration of the salvific mystery of the paschal sacrifice. It’s quite obviously here a chore. Actually, given the number of Catholics at the U of R that only 8 showed up for Mass wit the Bishop testifies to the dreariness of faux intimacy.

    The first picture is wonderful in part because of its counterpoise with the second. There is, I believe, a place for Mass that is small and intimate – and even informal – but when that is the daily fare of the faithful it becomes trite. Just like a consistent diet of formality made many yearn for something simpler and more approachable in the late 60s, so, too, the Bishops blinkers keeps him blind to the damage being done in the name of familiarity to those sitting on either side in this sad portrait.

  3. avatar Dr. K says:

    Was it Masses like #2 which earned Bishop Clark that college ministry award? Sure hope not.

  4. avatar Jim R says:

    Nahhh! It was brown-nosing. He was nominated by an underling.

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