March 1, 2002
volume 13, no. 35

The Germs of GIRM

Part Forty-one: Madness and mayhem

    Paragraph 90 of GIRM reads as follows:
    "The following are proper to the concluding rite: a) brief announcements as needed; b) the greeting and blessing of the priest, which on certain days is given an amplified expression and, on occasions, is delivered with a prayer over the people or is said with another more solemn formula; c) the dismissal of the people on the part of the deacon or the priest; d) the kissing of the altar by priest and deacon, followed with a profound head bow to the altar by the priest, the deacon and the other ministers."
    Comment and Analysis:

    The Traditional Latin Mass ends quite beautifully. The priest turns to the faithful and says, "Dominus vobiscum." The choir or the server reponds: "Et cum spiritu tuo." He says in most instances, "Ite, Missa est." The response is: "Deo gratias." He then turns to the altar and says: "Placeat tibi sancta Trinitas, obsequium, servitutis mease; et praesta, tuae majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique et omnibus, pro quibus illud obutli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen." ["May the lowly homage of my service be pleasing to Thee, O most holy Trinity; and do Thou grant that the sacrifice which I, all unworthy, have offered up in the sight of Thy majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and, because of Thy loving kindness, may avail to atone to Thee for myself and for all those for whom I have offered it up. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."] This is a perfect expression of the theological nature of the Mass as a propitiatory sacrifice for human sins. The prayer is Trinitarian, not communitarian. After saying the prayer sotto voce, the priest imparts the blessing (except in Masses for the dead), "Bendicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pter, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus."

    What does the Novus Ordo replace this majesty with? Banality. Announcements. Greetings by the priest ("Have a nice day now;" "Thanks for coming to Church"). I was at a church in Winchester, Indiana, on May 10, 1987, which did not end before the leader of the youth choir felt compelled to give the results of local baseball scores of nearby community teams. Everyone cheered as the scores were given, naturally. That is no way to end the ineffable sacrifice of Calvary, is it?

    Furthermore, the Novus Ordo has done away with the Last Gospel from the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John, wherein we depart Mass being reminded of the importance of the Incarnation. Perhaps one of the reasons the Last Gospel was eliminated was that our living liturgical tradition stressed the nature of the Mass as incarnational, not communitarian. Too much stress on the Mass the worship of the most August Trinity and on the Incarnation of the Logos, the Word, in our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb is not the spirit of modern theology, as is intimated in Paragraph 15 of GIRM. Thus, goodbye, Saint John. Goodbye, "Et Verbum caro factum est." Perhaps this is why GIRM assumes that the tabernacle itself is no longer situated in the center of the sanctuary. The stress in the new religion is elsewhere. That is why the priest and deacon are instructed to "bow" before the altar. A reminder of our Lord's incarnational Presence in the tabernacle is a distraction to the community, after all.

    Finally, the Novus Ordo eliminated the prayers after Low Mass instituted by the great Pope Leo XIII. No need to invoke the intercession of the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. No need to pray to Saint Michael to defend us against the Adversary. No need to invoke the mercy of the Sacred Heart. No, we just need to leave the community celebration, having been assured of our essential goodness and worthiness. And there is obviously no need to make a Thanksgiving after Mass or to conduct one's self decorously. To paraphrase Ed Norton, people "just get up out of their seats and go." Or they stand around and talk, frequently right in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

    This is madness, my friends. Madness. There is no putting Humpty Dumpty together (he was never together in the first place). We need to work and to pray for the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass. Holy Father, help us, please!

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

    NOTE: Next week Tom will take a hiatus from his examination of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to bring readers a special three-part feature on how much we've truly lost by replacing the Traditional Latin Mass with the Novus Ordo in Merely a Matter of Preference?

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March 1-3, 2002
volume 13, no. 40
CHRIST or chaos
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