Saturday, February 11, 2006

HOW TO FIX THE LITURGY

From Pontifications:

Some highlights (parenthesized commentary is by yours truly):
"Putting the celebrant on the other side of the altar so he and the congregation could enjoy intimate community together was the single worst idea of the 20th century liturgical movement."
(Yeah, but now many of us know that yes, we CAN say a Novus Ordo Mass ad Orientem)

"I recommend Thomas Day’s Why Catholics Can’t Sing. Don’t let the title fool you. It’s a serious book."
(Note: I once handed the book title to a summer seminarian in 1996 and told him to tell his faculty that it should be required reading - right in front of one of the most progressive pastors to run a parish in my diocese, we're talking someone who thinks guitar is the only instrument that should be allowed in church!)

"Organ and piano probably remain the best instruments to accompany congregational and choral singing."
(Nah, deep six the piano too. The piano often leads to much of the same music led by the guitar, and is often part of the praise band. The organ, on the other hand, is THE best instrument to ensure full support of congregational singing.)

"The solo music leader stands in the front of the church, seeking to direct the congregation in the singing of hymns and responses. Of course, he doesn’t succeed. No one appears to sing, despite all his hand-waving. He just looks silly and out of place up there."
(pretty much in line Thomas Day's depiction of "Mr. Caruso" - three words: Get the book!)

"Good liturgists do not begin the liturgy with “Hello,” “Good morning,” or “Welcome.” "
(yeah, and by all means - avoid that "Please stand and greet our celebrant" crap! Not just when the Introit hymn is "Hail holy Queen enthroned above" or "Salve Regina" either. I mean ANYTIME!)

"Here’s where to begin: Burn every polyester chasuble. Think damask."
(Nah - save them for props for the forthcoming EWTN comedy, "That 70's Mass".)

"We need churches that evoke the sacred and embody the beauty of the Holy Trinity."
(That's right - not roundhouses that evoke the muzak of the Minnesota Trinity! I worked in one of them. It wasn't pretty.)

"Repeat after me: Banality is bad. Banality is bad. Beauty, grace, and poetry are good."
(Banality is bad. Banality is bad. Beauty, grace, and poetry are good. - There, I did it.)

Read the whole thing, and scroll down to Fr. Jay Scott Newman's "Worshipping the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness". Both of these articles are excellent.

This excerpt from Fr. Newman's article:
"Say Mass as though the people were not present. This means that the priest is thinking about, speaking to, and turned towards the Most High God."
(This makes me think of the plaque in the sacristy at Holy Name, where I once worked, and the text from the plaque was once mentioned by Fr. Finelli at Holy Ghost. It said, Priest of God, say this Mass as if it were YOUR FIRST MASS, YOUR LAST MASS, YOUR ONLY MASS. Beautiful inscription!)

+In Christ,
BMP
UPDATED: 2/12/06, 11:15 PM EST

3 comments:

Andrew S. said...

That's an excellent article. Does your parish have announcements at the beginning? I can't stand announcements. Especially when they are like, " Good Morning. Welcome to 'insert parish name here'. Barbeque dinners will be sold after Mass in the gazebo. Please turn off your cell phones and pagers for the duration of the Liturgy. We will be singing 'title of song' in Music Issue '#'. Please rise.

AAAHHHHH!!! *sigh.* Please pray for the end to liturgical wackiness.

Brian Michael Page said...

Unfortunately, I still have to announce hymns, but not for much longer if I have my way. At the beginning, it's just "Please stand and join in singing our introit, number 132 in the back of the missalette", and that's it. None of this "good morning" (do that while walking from your car to the door), or "please turn off your cell phones" (that should be common sense - in fact, I have an article on THAT topic somewhere in this blog), and Father saves any announcements like the pig roast in the parking lot for after the post-Communion prayer, which is the time the GIRM appoints for such things.

We also refrain from "have a nice day". If I wanna hear "have a nice day", I'll go to Walmart, thank you very much (you've seen the spoof on the Walmart chapel, right?).

Peace,
BMP

Brian Michael Page said...

Oh, and if we do use a handout sheet (usually for special liturgies like Holy Week, First Communion, and Confirmation), I go to the pulpit a couple of minutes before Mass starts and say "In order to keep the Liturgy flowing in the way that it should, we will not be making any hymn announcements, and we ask that you please follow the program handed to you. Thank you." Then I waltz back to the console and start.

BMP