Sunday, April 14, 2013

Choosing A Side in the Liturgical Wars

I saw that phrase when I googled something else. There are a lot of volumes of things written on this subject.  And no, I did not go and read any of them.  I am fascinated by the term, the whole term of that phrase:

Choosing a side in the Liturgical Wars.

The word choosing denotes the concept that their is more than one option from which to choose: And there is and there isn't more than one option from which to choose:  Their is the One Rite but two forms,  SO ostensibly the choice is between these two:  Do I choose the Ordinary Form ( that is the form at which most everyone assists) or the Extraordinary ( the one, by deduction, at which less than "most everyone" assist)

So it seems that their are only two sides: EFor OF, OF or EF, but anyone who has even cursorily done any limited reading on the liturgy will tell you.  That isn't the only choice, one must make in this "war"

Let's go down and see the choices associated with each form of the Mass

If one chooses the the OF. 
Now one must decide which of the various options for celebrating Mass is your favourite. Keeping in mind that unless you a Priest your choice carries no weight other than whether you will approve of the mass at which you just assisted. The First Choice actually takes us into the purview of the Music Ministry.  This person, duly appointed in this ministry has the right and the duty to choose the music for the mass at which you will be assisting. For example: Does one take the Entrance Antiphon from the Graduale Romanum, the Gregorian Missal, the Graduale SImplex or simply use another "appropriate" hymn.  Choosing any of the first three committs you to gregorian chant by extension.  But the last option: Well that leads to absolutely more and more choices.  Does one choose, strictly the traditional hymns ( older that 1950s) or the traditional Hymns of Haugan, Haas, Schutte and the rest of the lapsed Jesuits) But unhappily the choice is not ours, it is his, and yet some of us may find it necessary to strongarm the Music Director with OUR hymns, after all we are the only people assisting at this mass properly so the music should be proper for us.

Now within the Mass itself there are often options and choices that the Celebrant has to make:  The most obvious and important is the Eucharistic Prayer:

The Celebrant must choose one of 4 main Eucharistic Prayers: The Canon, the Second: colloquially known as the Deuce, the little known third or the fourth.  Keeping in mind that some of them have limits as to when they can be used, and the church does state which ones are best for which particular day of the week.  Eg.  The Canon is suggested for Sundays and when the days have a Proper Communicantes or Hang igitur.  etc etc.  These are most especially the decisions in the Celebrant's purview but as good and Loyal Catholics it would appear he have a right to determine which Prayer the Priest should use to confect the Body and Blood of of Lord Jesus Christ.  It isn't enough that all 4 are approved and accepted formulae (recipes if you want to be less reverential) but of course we must choose our preferred ONe: Roman Canon.  And then we must be visibly upset when the Celerant uses hi8s duly bestowed right to choose to choose the Deuce.  Oh how horrible we feel.  It isn't the One: It is the Deuce.  O woe is me. And then if the celebrant should choose instead the thr Trei or the Fourth- we go absolutely apoplectic.

And then there is the choice you must make.  Receive communion under both forms, recieve, on the tongue, or make a throne with your hands and bring both hands to your mouth, even surreptiously licking your palm to take all the crumbs of the species into your mouth, or do you pick the host up with your thumb and forefinger and place it in your mouth making sure to shake the crubs off your hands.

O BTW, will you be kneeling to receive or not.  And for some, it isn't even your choice, because to even attempt to kneel migh tget you arrested.  - But no I won't get into that.  If you wish to kneel you must choose what your reason for kneeling is: Are you trying to send a message to the rest of the congregation or what?

After communion do you sit and kneel to pray and if so at what point do you sit up.  Right after your prayers,  As soon as you get back pryaing, if you do, sitting, or at some other point say, when the Tabernacle dooe is closed again.

NOw If you choose the EF: You might think that the choices are nonexistent.  There you would be wrong>  There may be fewer choice, or rather fewer places where choices can be made, but there are choices to be made.

Firstly:  Is the whole mass to be sottovoce or will the celebrant speak aloud.  This is in the Celebrant's purview, and is completely out of our hands.  But if he speaks that might irritate you because you strongly believe that the whole mass should be secret.  Or if he chooses sottovoce it might make it extremely difficult to follow along with just the bells for guidance. So the priest's ostensibly first choice will upset someone.

Now the music. You would think that the music is most definitely proscribed.  But even 70 years ago congregations wer choosing other hymns instead of the chants for the Introit, Offertory, Communion. - But hey, that isn't your choice anyway, that is the Music Ministers job, but what he chooses could make your break YOUR mass.

As for the Ordinary of the Mass and the melody chosen to sing them, the Music minister can choose from several. Most are listed as being best for particular time or season.  But there are no such directions for the Credo and there are other Kyrie or Glorias.  So here in the EF there is alot of choice.

There are too many choices to make.  I will make One:  I will attend the OF and I will leave all other choices to those duly ordained or appointed to make those choices, from the duly approved list of choices.  And if by chance they choose something I really don't like, I am going to keep my mouth shut. 

If Christ is accepting this so will I, but I know that He doesn't approve of infighting.

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Scripture to keep in mind

Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth: [17] Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, [18] A heart that deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief, [19]A deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren. [20] My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. ***Cf:Douay-Rheims Proverbs 6: 16-20

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