Monday, August 17, 2009

Letters in the Tablet

I do look at the Tablet each week. I particularly make a point of turning to the letters page to see what is going on. This week the first letters are published under the heading `Rites new and old`. The first is from Fr Kevin Pelham who writes:
I am nonplussed, particularly, that the desire of this group to restore to regular use the 1962 edition of the Tridentine Missal has been totally unmatched by any similar desire to restore the 1961 edition of the Tridentine Breviary! Surely a format of the Mass, especially if and when it is imposed by the celebrant against the wishes of at least some of the attending congregation, should be parallelled by a similar format of their individual prayer.
This raises quite a lot of points. The main one is the use of the extraordinary form of the Roman breviary. I completely agree with Fr Pelham that a celebrant with a desire to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Roman missal should also want to celebrate the same version of the breviary. However most of those parish clergy who celebrate the extraordinary form do not do so every day and most of their Masses will be in the ordinary form, so sticking to the ordinary form breviary makes more sense in regard to the calendar and general spirit of the thing.
However regular readers of this blog will recall that I have indeed switched to saying the breviary in the EF. This has been a Very Good Thing. I find it far more prayerful and discover that the psalms become more a part of one`s life when they are said so much more often. Having a weekly cycle of psalms gives a deeper grounding and identification with them than the four week cycle I find. It is easier to remember what psalms occur say on a Monday morning than on the third Monday of a four week cycle.
Since Fr Pelham`s email address was printed under his letter I wrote to him to say that I hope his letter does give food for thought to those clergy who like the EF and that they will indeed adopt the EF breviary. As for it being `totally unmatched` etc this just isn`t true. I know quite a few who say the EF breviary and it was a priest of our diocese who gave me a great incentive to do so when I saw him using it and asked him a few questions about the practicality of doing so. Fr Tim Finigan has an item about it today too. I agree with him over the pared down nature of the 1962 form and wish there were more nocturnes so we could have more patristic input at matins but that may come in the future development of the rite.
The next letter by a James Anderson of London gives heart as he describes himself as `one of a growing number of Catholics in the UK who had until recently experienced only the ordinary form of the Mass, but who has lately come to know and love the extraordinary form.`
He adds:
`The extraordinary form does not yield its fruit easily, requiring preparation, concentration and a certain inner stillness in order for the layperson to participate fully`
Another letter under the heading `Music at Mass` by Kevin Mayhew, the music publisher, is written in defence of the awful `clapping Gloria` and Israeli Mass on the grounds that lots of people like them. This is in reply to John Ainslie, the chairman of the Society of St Gregory, who suggests that when the new translations of the Mass come out only those musical settings which stick to the proper texts will be allowed. I hope Mr Ainslie is right. The practice of substituting other texts for the official ones all adds to the frame of mind of `It doesn`t really matter` which is widespread and I think partly responsible for our decline. I intend to write about this in an another post.


Et Expecto said...

Another point is that (I think I am correct) the older form of the breviary has only recently been republished, after being out of print for many years.

MT said...

With regards the "Clapping Gloria" I support you Father in supporting Mr. Ainslie's suggestions. In fact in this occasion I'll go as far as to applaud (or even clap) them.

Discreet Observer said...

I have not read the letters in the Tablet so perhaps my comments may not be fully informed but there are two items in your blog here that caught my eye.
Fr. Pelham talks about "a format of Mass being imposed by the celebrant against the wishes of at least some of his attending congregation." Why do so many priests, and liturgists, always talk about the older Mass being imposed on (unwilling) congregations but never seem to realise that many variations of the newer form (format) of Mass have been 'imposed' against the wishes of suffering congregations since 1970? The newer form of Mass is perfectly valid in its 'proper' 1970 form but it has been the 'imposition' of mind-numbing 'formats' against the wishes of many attending congregations that has virtually emptied our parish churches and seminaries. It was the introduction of the new format of Mass that has caused all the problems in the Church. The fact that there is now a resurgence of the older form quite clearly indicates that there are many people in the pews that are deeply unhappy with their present Sunday fare.
Apparently Kevin Mayhew defends the use of the clapping Gloria and the Israeli Mass because lots of people like them. This is another statement without supporting evidence. I would say that 'some' people appear to like them but obviously he hasn't stood at a church door on a Sunday morning to witness congregations staggering out of church after having had to suffer the imposition of this form of musical torture. Lots of people like Gregorian chant and the Missa de Angelis but when we ask for this we are dismissed with wanting to impose soemething against the wishes of at least some of the attending congregation. What is sauce for the goose...... (and this is not the title of a hymn)

Anonymous said...

It is not just when the new translations come out that the proper text will have to be adhered to. Liturgiam Authenticam stipulated this 8 years ago. At that point Mayhew should have removed the offending pieces such as the Israeli Mass from his hymn books. His letter seems to me that he is desperately trying to cling on to the 1970s