[Continuing with selected passages found in Chapter Two of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, in this issue Paragraphs 43 is analyzed. This is a prime example of the abnormal becoming normal for no matter the abuse, the Conference of Bishops can alter the interpretation of Rome and promote their own auto-demolition of the Mass and the Church under the guise of insisting the faithful heed "liturgical law" while ignoring the Traditions, Teachings and infallible decrees of past Pontiffs.]
Paragraph 43 of GIRM reads as follows:
"The faithful should stand from the beginning of the opening song or when the priest enters until the end of the opening prayer or collect; for the singing of the Alleluia before the gospel reading; while the Gospel itself is being proclaimed; during the profession of faith and the general intercessions; from the invitatory, Pray that our sacrifice.... before the prayer over the gifts to the end of the Mass, except at the places later in this paragraph.
"They should sit during the readings before the gospel reading and during the responsorial pslam, for the homily and the preparation of the gifts, and, if this seems helpful, during the period of religious silence after communion.
"They should kneel at the consecration, except when prevent by reasons of health, lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason. However, those who do not kneel at the consecration ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration.
"But it is up to the Conference of Bishops to adapt the gestures and posture in the Order of the Mass to the customs and reasonable traditions of the people according to the norm of law. The Conference, however, must make sure that such adaptations correspond to the meaning and character of each part of the celebration. Where it is the custom that the people remain kneeling from the end of the Sanctus until the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, this is laudably retained.
"For the sake of observing a uniformity in gestures and posture during the same celebration, the faithful should obey the directions which the deacon or a lay person or the priest give during the celebration, according to whatever is indicated in the liturgical books."
Comment and Analysis:
Ignore Paragraph 42. A priest does not have to give "greater attention" to what is "laid down in liturgical law" if his national conference of bishops (ours has been retitled the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has been able to prove to the Holy See that an abuse, such as standing during the Consecration, has become an accepted practice in a particular country (or a region of the country).
As I have noted on other occasions, this is how we got Communion in the Hand, Communion under both kinds, and altar girls, among other one-time abuses which later received the stamp of approval from Rome. Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Cardinal Mahony issued his pastoral letter on the liturgy in 1997 to create a groundswell of support among the laity for his desire to introduce gestures and postures that deviate from the ancient traditions of the Roman Rite. He has done so in order to be able to demonstrate to the Holy See that standing for Consecration has become a local custom in the United States-or at least in certain parts of the United States. Do you really think he will be refused his request by the Holy See?
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has already begun the process of requesting indults from the Holy See for them to receive full authority from Rome to continue the implementation of novel practices in the celebration of the Mass. Ignoring altogether the fact that the gestures and postures of the Novus Ordo differ substantially from those of the various Masses celebrated over the centuries (Low Mass, Missa Cantata, High Mass).
The plain fact of the matter is that the gestures and postures associated with the Novus Ordo vary widely from parish to parish, so much so that Paragraph 43's expressed desire that the faithful follow the "directions" given them by a deacon or a priest or a lay person to stand or kneel becomes normative in the minds of the faithful, who cannot be expected to know every jot and tittle of liturgical law. Thus, the Novus Ordo demonstrates once again its inherently dangerous nature with respect to the interior life of the faithful and the destruction of the sense of the universality of the faith that obtained in the Latin Rite prior to 1969.
As can be seen quite plainly from this continuing analysis, GIRM does not solve any problems at all. Indeed, its codification of once exception after another will result in the continuing decay of the Mass along the lines of personal, local, regional, national, and ideological lines. The only antidote, obviously, is to continue to pray for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass as normative in the Latin Rite. Barring a miracle, this is not going to happen in our lifetimes. However, we must understand that the destruction of doctrine within the Church is the direct result of the attack upon the nature of the Mass and the way it is celebrated in the Novus Ordo.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past columns in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives