The Music, And What Is Wrong With The Novus Ordo
A new discussion has erupted regarding the limitations of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal concerning the music when the new missal comes into force. It appears very clear that these changes will be sweeping (no fantasy song at the Entrance and at Communion, say) and will be aimed at recovering some reverence and Catholic dignity to the Mass. I do not doubt that disobedience and pretending not to understand the instructions will be rampant at the beginning, but in time things will slowly adjust.
This is, though, another indication of what has happened in the last years:
1. A wonderful mass was available (the Tridentine);
2. V II and the “Spirit of V II” intervened and ravaged the Mass, protestantising it and reducing it to the travesty of the reverent, theologically sound celebration it was.
3. An attempt to recover the old, reverent way of celebrating Mass is ongoing, but still whilst trying to remain coherent with the principles of the new Mass.
What we continue to see is an attempt to repair a devastated Mass by staying as much as possible faithful to the principles of those who caused the devastation in the first place.
This is illogical. It must be clear now to everyone that what was wrong with the Novus Ordo is the Novus Ordo. It is not that there was a “right reform” which subsequently degenerated in the “wrong reform”. On the contrary, there was a wrong reform and this inevitably led to even worse problems, as logically as the French Revolution led to the Terror and the October Revolution led to the Stalinian purges. To start the “aggiornamento” and to think that it would stop where the initiators (allegedly) hoped it would stop was exactly as intelligent as to throw oneself down a cliff and to hope that one will stop in mid-air. There is no single problem of the Novus Ordo that has not been generated by the very mentality that has originated the Novus Ordo, that is: that the old ways were wrong, and the way of celebrating Mass had to be “updated”. The mentality is always the same, the only difference is the degree of devastation. The “Spirit of V II”-crowd is – liturgically speaking, of course; on the theology there have been no innovations, only a lot of confusion – not the betrayal of V II, but its logical end.
Further proof of this is that the allegedly moderate, “prudent revolutionaries” Conciliar Fathers who have given us the V II reforms were the same people who came back to their dioceses and immediately started to preside over the further work of destruction. This was not an accident, nor was it the result of all these bishops suddenly losing their head. It was the logical development of the ideological premise, that the liturgy needed to be “updated” and adapted to the new world. When you start to think that the Mass must be updated, where will the update stop? When you start to think that it must be adapted to the changed times, how will you stop those who want to, after some time, “adapt” further?
The recent attempts at repairing the Novus Ordo are laudable in themselves, but they are a path leading back to the only inevitable conclusion: the recovery of tradition, and of the Tridentine Mass. To continue to make wrong things less and less wrongly but remaining within the realm of the wrong mentality that caused the problems in the first place is an improvement (less wrong is better than more wrong, for sure), but it will never lead to doing things right.
The only way of doing things right is doing them the way they were done before the wrong mentality crept in.
Give us back the Tridentine Mass as the only Mass. This solves all the liturgical problems.