On How the “Reform of the Reform” Would Work


Years ago, I remember reading various liturgical-oriented sites, wherein many were giving up hope that the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite would be reformed in such a manner as to bring it in continuity to the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite. This includes not only the reintroduction of Latin, Gregorian Chant and the communion rails, but a wholesale overhaul of the Roman liturgy, which includes the introduction of the traditional Offertory prayers in the Mass, as well as the prayers at the foot of the altar.

Now, I myself am not too concerned with whether the battle regarding the issue has already been lost to those who are much on the side of maintaining the status quo. Indeed, only history will ever decide on whoever shall win. We have the Tagalog cliché,  matirang matibay (rough translation: the toughest, remainest). Only those faithful in the future shall be the answer as to whether our efforts in actually reforming the new rite would come to pass (I myself have personal opinions that I believe are not relevant for this particular article).

What I am discussing in this article concerns the external reform-of-the-reform. That includes Ad Orientem, Latin, Gregorian Chant and the Benedictine altar arrangement, as well as the use of the communion rails, and lastly, the beautiful architecture and the use of the antependia (most likely to mask the debased shape of the altar within it) and lastly  the return of the high altar in place of the modern “table altar.”

A true Reform of the Reform would only work if those that contradict and are against the spirit of authentic reform are removed wholesale from parishes already starting such authentic reform movements. Similarly this would also include getting rid of all unseemly contemporary music, and instead replacing it with Gregorian Chant as well as good traditional hymns that would be exclusively used, if possible, at all Masses in the parish.

 


The Reform of the Reform is “jealous”, for a lack of a better term. It would not sit well with unseemly infestations of the Novus Ordo liturgy. The organ that the “Reform…” encourages would devour the guitar (perhaps the organist will devour the guitarist too, each seeking attention). The “Reform…” would be useless and for naught if they will be mixed with aberrations, such as communion on the hand.

Imagine a scene like this: The priest wore a biretta, a cope of brocade, a maniple and a lace alb as well as a stole (crossed, of course). He then began the Asperges, in the traditional tone (ideally in Latin). Then, you hear a guitar tune of a modern vernacular music of the Asperges, perhaps one of those obscure compositions from 1965. Then, the Mass begins with the priest putting his chasuble on, also of brocade. Then, he censes the altar, of the Benedictine altar arrangement and decorated with a lovely antependia. Then, the music accompanying it is “Gather us in”. Cringing? Absolutely.

Then, the worst part is not yet over, for while the Ordinary of the Mass is Gregorian Chant, the Propers are not sung, and hymns from some publisher of modern church ditties are used. The homily is of political themes, and then turned into a contest, wherein the “winner” is to be applauded for seconds upon seconds.

The Eucharistic prayer would be of Eucharistic prayer II, used to excess until it breaks down, like a car getting overheated. In my vernacular, laspag na. Adding insult to injury is the fact that it has been the favorite time of the priest to practice his tongue-twisting skills, and you survivors of liturgical abuse (SLAP) know what I am saying here. In other words, often hurried down. (Personally, I have witnessed a Novus Ordo Mass wherein the priest rushed too much that he forgot the words of consecrating the wine)

Not just for millenials too…

Then, the Sign of the Peace. Barely peaceful as we see millenials who are forced to tolerate the Mass that they are attending (since they got better things to do, like watching a movie or talking about who they are going to flirt with in the afternoon after the Mass) go down the aisle to greet their friends on the front seat, with the priest having to stop them through the microphone. Of course, they shall pay no attention, and the fun begins at Holy Communion, wherein they receive in the hand, then most would depart after that, like Judas.

What is the use of these external signs of reverence if we are willing to compromise with contemporary elements the way the Novus Ordo is sadly usually celebrated? I am not talking about those who are transitioning slowly, but to those that would assume that this is the new status quo, since the ’70’s feel is so outdated, but they are willing to have the ’70’s Novus Ordo aura replaced with an aura of a semi-contemporary Lutheran service. These modernist elements negate the traditional ones, like a drop of venom poisons a clear glass of drinking water.

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