the conscious active tense

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 13, 2006

"This would make it much more difficult for people to engage in full conscious and active participation, which was the goal of the Council," says Rev. James Martin, an editor at the Jesuit magazine America.

He's talking to Time magazine, in a story about the rumored papal indult allowing broader use of the Tridentine rite. But it's not entirely clear what worried Fr. Martin.

Even if we grant his major premise, for the sake of the argument, it's still not easy to see how my attendance at a Latin Mass would prevent your "conscious and active participation" at the LifeTeen liturgy.

Wait. I think I'm getting the picture. The notion that someone, just two or three towns over, was kneeling quietly and listening to prayers in Latin-- that realization would be so grievously troubling to you that you'd be distracted, and unable to dance to the beat of the Offertory macarena?

Or could it be an even more frightening nightmare? Might you be imagining that next Sunday, some of those nervous-looking middle-aged couples might not be at the LifeTeen Mass? That they might actually choose the bad old Latin Mass?

Because that cannot be allowed. Everyone must participate consciously and actively. Do you hear me? Smile, everyone; we're having fun! OK, now, all together, everybody sing!

I can't hear you!

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 24, 2006 3:44 PM ET USA

    After Vatican II and the the initial shock of the "changes," what I observed was a change from a church filled each Sunday from some standing room only masses to dwindling attendance and participation by the laity. Why ? Some will offer glib explanations of why people they do not even know dropped out. Speculation is not a fact. Attendance did fall. That is a fact. I welcome the return to a Latin liturgy, if for nothing else to find out if there will be a return to the old attendance.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 17, 2006 1:16 PM ET USA

    Cupertino - I'd like to have access to a Tridentine High Mass with Gregorian Chant. I have access to an "indult" Mass a hundred miles away that is raced through by a well-meaning Monsignor who admits he says it too fast, but does it anyway. Neither nostalgia nor subjective feelings inspire me to travel so far ... it is the prayers themselves and the undeniable emphasis on the worship of God rather than the fellowship of men that inspires me. The Novus Ordo can never provide this.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2006 9:58 PM ET USA

    Sterling says: "You don't have to go to the Tridentine mass. Continue to go to the Novus Ordo if it is better suited to you. What is the problem?" 1) Not everyone has the luxury of choosing between several Mass times. 2) Not everyone has other parishes nearby, or the means to get to them. 3) Bifurcation, for whatever reasons, tends to produce polarization. I'm not criticizing the rumored indult. I'm just saying the logistics are not as simple as Sterling suggests.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 15, 2006 7:20 PM ET USA

    America proves once again how utterly irrelevant they are. We can always expect something inane out of "The Pope's shock troops." Come to think of it; they continually shock in a most idiotic way!

  • Posted by: Brennan - Oct. 15, 2006 2:13 AM ET USA

    Even if it is a low Tridentine Mass that is mumbled by the Priest there is still the silence. There are still the sublime prayers which instil a sense of the awesomeness of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  • Posted by: florentine - Oct. 14, 2006 6:02 PM ET USA

    I had preferred the Tridentine Mass over Novus Ordo until EWTN perfected and synthesized the two... so beautiful, inspiring awe, a genuine sense of the Sacred; reverent, mystical, prayerful... some in English, like Scriptures and the superb, instructive homilies; most of the rest in Latin including Pater Noster, prayed outloud together... exquisite music and vestments. You know Christ is truly present in the Eucharist... Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity...and that the Catholic Church is His own.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2006 4:56 PM ET USA

    "participatio actuosa" - Sacrosanctum concilium, does not equal 'participatio activa'. Some clerics need to study Latin to read the Council documents before they concern themselves with the need for liturgical Latin.

  • Posted by: Cupertino - Oct. 14, 2006 3:19 PM ET USA

    Attended and served many Tridentine Masses during the first half of my life. Many were simply mumbled through and the Latin not pronounced at all. This is a sad fact of Catholic life and we should not pretend otherwise. I notice that my friends who are so enthusiastic for the return of the Tridentine Mass really want a solem high Mass with the sumptuous music that goes with it. A concert with the Mass in the background it appears to me.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2006 12:55 PM ET USA

    Amen to Joshu: I was an altar person through my senior year of college @ the Jebbie chapel. I was often cut off in my responses by the priest being in a hurray. I have a CD of the Vatican Choir circa Pius X: the music made the St. Louis Jesuits sound heavenly. [Biggest problem with the Haas "folk music" is that only a castrati can sing it.] I love the Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, & Verdi Masses, but to worship Yahweh, I sing with the Gospel Choir & our mission church prays twice. AMDG

  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 14, 2006 12:08 PM ET USA

    Seumas, yes, there have been clown masses at the Tridentine rite. Okay, okay, I'm only kidding.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2006 7:12 AM ET USA

    If you tailor Masses to teens, why can't you let us older folk, and maybe some not so old, worship in a way that nourishes our souls. How come all those priests not in parishes have all the answers for us who hear the cries of the common folk.

  • Posted by: ColmCille - Oct. 14, 2006 12:07 AM ET USA

    4) Vatican II called for a reform of the rite--not a whole new "manufactured" rite--to address these issues, along with catechesis. Would have worked splendidly. 5) If we call into question the Tridentine rite, as if it is somehow inferior, even harmful, we call into question ourselves as Catholics and our history. Think about it. 6) The worst Tridentine horror story is nothing compared to the ones you hear now. Remember any clown masses according to the old missal? I didn't think so.

  • Posted by: ColmCille - Oct. 13, 2006 11:52 PM ET USA

    Jashu: 1) you're experience doesn't represent all millions of Western Catholics, including most of the saints we pray to, who experienced the old rite(s) in some form in the previous 1500+ years, nor Eastern Catholics, whose rites are closer to the '62 Latin missal than the '70. 2) that people weren't engaged is not the rite's fault. It's the people's fault, and sloppy (or no) catechesis. 3) the vast majority of '62 masses today have 100% participation and 0 rosaries during mass.

  • Posted by: Gene Church - Oct. 13, 2006 11:46 PM ET USA

    jashu, the great thing about the possibility of an indult is that the Novus Ordo misses nothing. I suspect that an indult would bring more participation, not less, in Masses. However, all of us who are Catholics already recognize that the Magisterium may make these decisions.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 9:17 PM ET USA

    Trent-on is correct in some ways: "low" Mass is preferable to a Novus Ordo or even a Solemn High Mass done badly. Music sung poorly is worse than no music at all. Homilies preached poorly are worse than no homilies at all. I hope clergy listen because it is they who must answer for souls lost through clerical ambivilance.

  • Posted by: Sterling - Oct. 13, 2006 8:39 PM ET USA

    Yes, but Jashu, you don't have to go to the Tridentine mass. Continue to go to the Novus Ordo if it is better suited to you. What is the problem?

  • Posted by: Brennan - Oct. 13, 2006 8:24 PM ET USA

    From what I understand, one of (if not the) first time particpatio actuosa was mentioned was by Pope St. Pius X where he said the laity should be singing the parts proper to them in the Mass. To me this is truly active participation (and I've experienced it), as opposed to moving a lot and reciting prayers as if we are cattle. But then again, I never expect liberals to have a particularly good undersanding of the sacred, or even what's truly good for their fellow Catholics.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 8:22 PM ET USA

    The only grief that I have suffered with the New Mass, is the lack of adherence to the rubrics, free reign with banal songs and absolute disregard for any semblance of reverence. I do not need to attend the full Latin Mass, with incoherence of the scriptures being read and other obstacles, in order to worship. The Mass offered on EWTN is beautiful in every regard, especially in the way the congregation 'participates'. I have attended Indult Latin Masses, and would not want to return.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 5:13 PM ET USA

    Been there, did that, and I remember how many people came early to get a good, back seat and say their rosary during the Mass. Real participation, especially during the readings in Latin, followed by a repeat in English. The "good old days" were not so good after all. Jashu

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 3:59 PM ET USA

    This story illustrates, perfectly, how the Church was Protestanized after Vatican II. It is the Protestants that preach active participation in their services. They need to do that because they do not have the Mass, the Holy Sacrifice, in their religion. So... perhaps this is an admission by this New Order cleric that something important is missing from that liturgy.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 2:15 PM ET USA

    "This would make it much more difficult for people to engage in full conscious and active participation." The unspoken assumption here is that closely following the priest in a hand missal is not conscious or active participation. Bunk. It is both, and it suits admirally a liturgical life in which the Sacrament creates the Community, not vice versa.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 13, 2006 1:50 PM ET USA

    That's a lie! I remember attending the Latin Mass as a child under 10 years old following along with my latin-english Missal and understanding everything. I was not a gifted child homeschooled in latin, my father was a humble working man who could not read very well and my mother a highschool grad who took a few semesters at the university. What would have happen if Mass was still in Latin? With modern educational methods and media tools I suppose we could have almost universal Latin literacy

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 12:17 PM ET USA

    How does my kneeling prevent your "...full conscious and active participation"? Look for the Tridentine Mass to be given the er..."standing" treatment reserved for traditional Catholic worship.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 12:07 PM ET USA

    I feel very fortunate to live in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. We have had the Tridentine Rite here for almost 10 years now, every day of the week at Holy Rosary Church in downtown Indy. We are also blessed to have our priests for this Rite coming to us from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. (FSSP). The Tridentine Rite liturgy is what brought me to the Church, and I will adore it all my life. We do on ocassion attend the Novus Ordo when we can not get to Mass at Holy Rosary.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 11:26 AM ET USA

    There are elements of the Novus Ordo Rite that I do like. One thing in particular is the readings that are encountered through the three year cycle. It would be good, in my opinion, to include the readings (all three + psalm) in the Tridentine Rite so that the entire Church is in unity of Body, Blood and Word. Perhaps that is done today?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 10:53 AM ET USA

    Every Sunday I cringe! Our choir director faces the congregation with hands in the air bouncing from side to side imploring us to sing lustily.Our bishop/priest may tell us we're here to "hear" the word of God with no mention of the Holy Eucharist.We are not present at the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass anymore, we're at a concert! I trust our priests will take us seriously when we ask for the Latin Mass.We wait patiently. Anyone heard of

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 10:03 AM ET USA

    The poor unfortunate priest has been brainwashed into thinking (as so many do) that to consciously and actively take part in the Mass we must be doing something, such as dancing, singing, reading - anything except attentively listening and raising our hearts to the Lord! Poor man! He needs many prayers.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 9:58 AM ET USA

    [...many current priests would have to learn the old Mass (and more Latin, if they wanted to understand it). ] Really? They're going to be forced now? What a ridiculous statement. And, priests that have celebrated the Mass for years will suddenly not understand it? And,.. the aritcle begins and ends with Mel, who continues to exemplify contrition. The TIME article's foolishness was fully expected.

  • Posted by: Gertrude - Oct. 13, 2006 9:58 AM ET USA

    The sad thing is a majority of people will believe this person "in authority" (a priest and editor) that they cannot truely participate in worshiping Almighty God if they attend a Mass of the Tridentine rite. Therefore they won't even try to attend and will miss the beauty and awe the rite inspires in the average Catholic in the pew. Thank God for CWN and Off the Record!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2006 9:23 AM ET USA

    Well, if active and conscious participation includes what two-thirdsof any typical Sunday congregation are doing at a Paul VI rite Mass( remembering that that's only about one-third of the Catholics out there - two-thirds are actively participating in bed at home), then the silence of the congregation at a Tridentine LOW Mass beats the participation in the new Mass any Sunday.