Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Some (extraordinary) Food for (ordinary) Thought – Installment II

September 6th, 2011, Promulgated by Gen

One of the strangest trends I have noticed in folks who demean the Extraordinary Form is that they say it’s too hierarchical, too close to priest-worship, too much “me/them” mentality on the part of the sacred ministers.

If I were to look at the Ordinary Form through these same politically-tinted goggles, I could just as easily say that the OF fosters these things more than the EF. After all, when the priest is at the altar in the OF, he’s standing (customarily) behind it. It’s a barrier between him and the “people who are Church.” I would rather be united in prayer with my priest rather than separated from him by an altar. After all, didn’t our mothers teach us that it’s bad manners to yell over the meal table?

Another strange oversight on the part of the anti-EF camp is that in the EF, the people go up to the altar rail (which is an extension of the altar table), and wait to be “served” by the priest, who comes to them as a servant, descending from where Heaven and Earth meet atop the steps of the altar. However, in the OF, we are oppressed by a hierarchical system, wherein we have to get out of our comfortable seats and walk to the priest (or EMHC) who is relaxing in front of the sanctuary, just “chillaxin'” till we come up to him. In the EF, the priest moves down the line, doing all the hard work, but in the OF, we are forced to come to a stationary priest whose only real effort is standing up straight.

(If you can’t detect the sarcasm, turn on your sense of humor on and re-read.)

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3 Responses to “Some (extraordinary) Food for (ordinary) Thought – Installment II”

  1. Bernie says:

    Spot on!

    The criticisms leveled at the “old Mass” over the past 40 or so years are 100 times rather more valid as citicisms of the “new Mass”. The priest and his personality (or priest-wanna-be’s) overwhelming dominant the Liturgy now compared to when we ALL faced the Lord as one body.

    Your ‘priest-as-servant’ analogy is one I had not thought of before, and is a very good observation.

  2. Abaccio says:

    Good observations! I think so often about how little people understand liturgy nowadays. Take for instance the criticism of the Cappa magna, and the failure to understand it’s significance and symbolism: stripped of worldly power and prestige and humbly approaching the altar of God. Recall too part of the pope’s title: Servant of the Servants of God. Papa Benny is such a beautifully humble soul…a true servant. How disappointing it is that so many priests fail to follow his example in imitating Christ!

  3. snowshoes says:


    Excellent and enjoyable, how to “turn the tables”, as they say! Now, over at one of your featured blogs, I learned something: first, the terms, OF and EF are relatively new, and they indicate a startling thing: that the two “forms” of the Roman Rite are to, albeit gradually, become one form, “by mutual enrichment”.

    You smart folks prolly knew this already, but I like to fell off my chair! The fine young priest, lately diplomed from the seminary in Rome, also said that there are “people in the Vatican” working on the elision of the two liturgical calendars! He opined that the elision of the lectionaries would be a bit more complicated. So, just as us old farts can’t get too comfortable because we’re going to be kicking the bucket pretty soon, we also shouldn’t try to get comfortable with, or defensive of our “form”… Our good priestly commentator mentioned a hundred years, so don’t get all worried, we’ll be dead, prolly. God bless.

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