THURSDAY
October 24, 2002
volume 13, no. 123

The Germs of G.I.R.M.



Part Fifty-Six: The Mantra of Man's Mania

    "How interesting it is that the very people who keep mistaking noise and motion for the true sense of active participation of the soul in the Mass are unwilling to admit that all of the activity of the past thirty-five to forty years has destroyed reverence and solemnity in the Mass. It has helped to foster the very destruction of the faithful's belief in the Mass as the unbloody representation of Calvary."

Paragraph 127 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "With his hands joined, the priest invites the people to pray, saying, Let us pray. All pray silently with the priest for a while. Then the priest, with hands outstretched, says the opening prayer, at the end of which the people make the acclamation Amen."

Comment and Analysis: Revolutionaries desire to change everything. The French and Bolshevik Revolutionaries attempted to change the dating of time according to the start of their respective revolutions against all existing social order in their countries. The liturgical revolutionaries must change the terminology used to refer to the prayers in the Mass. The Introit is now the Entrance Antiphon (which can be replaced with a "liturgical song"). The Collect is now the Opening Prayer. The Offertory and the Secret have been replaced by the Prayer Over the Gifts, which is recited audibly just before the Preface. The Canon of the Mass is now the Eucharistic Prayer (of which there are many variations, up to nine here in the United States of America). The Communion Prayer, like the Introit, can be replaced by a song, and the Postcommunion is now called the Prayer After Communion. Even the dating of the liturgical year is different: Ordinary Time has replaced the Sundays after the Epiphany and the Sundays after Pentecost. Gone altogether are the Sundays in preparation for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima). The ranking of feasts has been changed, too. Doubles of the First Class, Doubles of the Second Class, Double Majors, Double Minors, Semi-doubles, and Simples have been replaced with Solemnities, Feasts, Memorials, and Optional Memorials. What had been the tradition of the Roman Rite for centuries and centuries was done away with, the past being flushed down the Orwellian memory hole.

   Thus, GIRM specifies that what used to be the Collect is to be conducted in quite a different manner than that of tradition. The priest faces the people as he invites them to pray. In most instances, however, there is little room for real meditation on the part of the faithful. The mania for the theatrics of the production lead the "presider" into the Opening Prayer, the contents of which differ quite dramatically from those found in the Traditional Latin Mass, communicating to the faithful an expression of the faith which is incomplete and defective at times.

Paragraph 128 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "After opening prayer, all sit. The priest may, in a very few words, introduce the faithful to the liturgy of the word. Then the reader goes to the ambo and proclaims the first reading from the lectionary already placed there before Mass; all sit and listen. At the end, the reader makes the acclamation, The Word of the Lord, with all responding, Thanks be to God. Then a brief period of silence may be observed as appropriate, so that all may meditate on what they have heard."

Comment and Analysis: Once again, improvisation is enshrined by GIRM in the Novus Ordo. The priest may act his role as a sort of Alistair Cooke, providing an introduction to the novel part of the Mass called the Liturgy of the Word. This miniature homily has no restraints on it. Who is to say what constitutes "a few words"? Verbosity and narcissism thus are two of the characteristic hallmarks of the new Mass.

   Secondly, GIRM has removed the reading of the Epistle by the priest at the altar to an "ambo" which faces the people. GIRM's preference is to have a lay reader proclaim the reading from the ambo. This is all so Protestant that Martin Luther himself would be bursting at the seams with his larger-than-life pride. Note also that all are to respond to the reader's proclamation of the words "The Word of the Lord" at the end of the reading with "Thanks be to God." No dissent permitted. Active participation in the Novus Ordo means noisy, vocal participation as an end in and of itself.

Paragraph 129 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Then the psalmist or the reader, sings or recites the psalm verse and, as a rule, the congregation makes the response (see n. 36)."

Comment and Analysis: The mantra of "active participation" is repeated so frequently that it is almost as though the authors of GIRM are trying to convince themselves that there has not been enough such participation in the past thirty-five to forty years. The celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has become little more except an exercise in constant, frenetic activity on the part of the faithful in the lion's share of parishes around the world. Constant and frenetic activity, however, is not the same thing as the sense of the interior participation of the faithful as it has been encouraged by the Church traditionally. That interior participation does indeed require a full, conscious and quite active exercise of the will to unite the mind and the heart totally to the Sacrifice offered by an alter Christus to the Father in Spirit and in Truth in the Name of the One Who offered Himself up once on the wood of the Cross. How interesting it is that the very people who keep mistaking noise and motion for the true sense of active participation of the soul in the Mass are unwilling to admit that all of the activity of the past thirty-five to forty years has destroyed reverence and solemnity in the Mass. It has helped to foster the very destruction of the faithful's belief in the Mass as the unbloody representation of Calvary.

   In this particular instance, you see, the Gradual and the Lesser Alleluia (or the Gradual and the Tract, or the Greater Alleluia, depending upon the season in the traditional calendar) have been replaced with the novelty known as the Responsorial Psalm. The priest himself is a responder to the promptings of the reader or the cantor or whatever other title is given to a parish's Mitch Miller. It is the case in the Traditional Latin Mass that the priest reads the Gradual and Lesser Alleluia during both Low Mass and High Mass, sitting for a time during the latter as the schola or the choir sings what he has just prayed at the altar sotto voce. Now, however, the priest is inert, his face buried in the missalette or hymnal. Look at Jerry Falwell's Oldtime Gospel Hour on television and tell me what the difference is between that and the leading of songs in the Novus Ordo.

Paragraph 130 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Then, if there is a second reading before the Gospel, the reader proclaims it from the ambo with all listening and making the acclamation at the end, as above (n. 128). Then, as the occasion allows, a brief period of silence may be observed."

Comment and Analysis: See comment analysis of Paragraph 128, supra. Ugh. (Remember, my late mother, who died twenty years ago this very evening, March 18, 1982, in Corpus Christi, Texas, was the adopted daughter of a vaudevillian Sioux Indian, William Red Fox. If anyone has a right to Ugh, I do! Ugh!)

Paragraph 131-134 of GIRM deal with the singing of the Alleluia by the people (a noveltyin Catholic tradition), the placing of incense into the censer to incense the Gospel in Masses where this is done, the procession of the Book of the Gospels to the "ambo" (which is far different from the moving of the Missale Romanum from the Epistle side to the Gospel side of the altar), the greeting of the priest to the people - and their response - at the beginning of the proclamation of the Gospel, and what the priest and people say at the conclusion of the Gospel.

Comment and Analysis: These pedantic paragraphs just further institutionalize the standard practices during the Novus Ordo. It is the case in the Traditional Mass that the priest reads or sings the Gospel before the Mass itself is stopped temporarily for the proclamation of the Epistle and the Gospel in the vernacular, as I noted earlier when discussing the now-discarded (in the Novus Ordo) maniple. Now, however, the Gospel is no longer read by the priest as he is in conversation with God. No, the Gospel is read by the priest to his fellow concelebrants, the people, marking a very dramatic theological break from the past, one that has great ramifications for the nature of the ordained priesthood as opposed to the common priesthood each Catholic has by means of his baptism.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.


For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives



Oct 24, 2002
volume 13, no. 123
The Germs of G.I.R.M.
www.DailyCatholic.org
Return to Current Issue