This was as good as the Novus Ordo Mass can get, but it raises questions. Ever since Pope Benedict announced that the Tridentine form had never been abrogated and that no special permission was required for its celebration, an increasing number of parish priests, though still a small minority, have been using the old rite.At St Mary Magdalen's we have it every Friday evening, and once a month on a Sunday afternoon. These liturgies have attracted a regular following, with a good proportion of young people, and now that we are used to it, comparison with the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin is instructive.From the perspective of someone in the congregation, the first impression is that there is very little difference between the two.The second impression is the amount of time taken for the recitation of the Canon of the Mass in Latin in the newer rite, which would be silent in the older rite, with the singing of the Sanctus taking place at the same time. The effect in the new mass is to prolong it unduly and to no apparent gain. For a lay person not familiar with Latin ie nearly everyone, the Tridentine Mass is actually more accessible.Which makes me wonder if the Novus Ordo has any future in the longer term.
This was particularly noticeable in the Pope's Pentecost Mass two years ago when Haydn's Harmoniemesse was used. The Pontiff had to wait until the Sanctus and Benedictus were sung before starting the Canon. (As a music-lover he didn't mind in the least). Some of the Viennese settings of the Benedictus are so long they would keep the priest hanging about even in the EF. However, Benedict has suggested that the Canon can be silent in the OF and if a non-Gregorian setting is used a neat solution would be to sing the Benedictus as a 'memorial acclamation' while the priest continues the silent Canon as far as the Per Ipsum.Yes, the EF has the edge, and since SP its survival is assured, but I would hate to see Latin and Chant associated solely with the older form. We are stuck with the current Missal for the foreseeable future, and the more it can be made to resemble the Roman Rite, the better.
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