Thursday, March 15, 2007

Where do we go post Exhortation?

Dan at Holy Whapping has an excellent intro into a discussion of where the Church may (or perhaps should) go from the beginning that has been offered in Sacramentum Caritatis. The part that caught my eye was:

The ultimate goal, I think, perhaps in 50 years or so, would be a new Missal that integrates the best of the 1962 and 1970 Missals, whose options would extend from something like a reverently celebrated Missa Normativa combining Latin and the vernacular, to something looking more like a Tridentine High Mass.

The funny (funny?) thing about it is that I just said the same thing to someone last night, although I don't think it will take all of his suggested 50 years. I believe we will see a move to heavily update the Pauline Missal, to take into account some of the positive aspects of the more "liberal" movements such as the Charismatics - for situations where such is appropriate - but also re-introduce much of the ritual and verticality of the Pian Rite. I estimated we would see three basic types of Mass, akin to the two the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer offers:
  • one which is more free-form, akin to the Charismatic Masses we would find now, but "cleaned up" and following the rubrics as-stated;
  • another which is the more "normal" Novus Ordo Mass but tightened up and with more use of Latin than is generally seen today;
  • finally a Mass akin to a Pontifical High Mass, although perhaps with an influence of the Dialog Mass style.
That's about as "liberal" as I would see it getting. I'd expect the first two options to probably slide closer in form to the third in design before things were settled, however. Perhaps the need for the more free-form Mass will dissipate as people come to appreciate in larger numbers the beauty and simplicity of the structures already offered by the Church.

One of the commenters suggested a great problem with the Mass today is that people simply don't understand it. Utterly true. There needs to be movement both in liturgical reform and catechetical reform - the two hold each other up. Without a beautiful Mass prayerfully said, what impetus does one have to learn about it? And without learning about the Mass, how can one see the fullness of its symbolism and beauty? Save the Liturgy, Save the World as Fr. Z would say.