Sunday, May 08, 2005

ritual notes

I just got a copy of Ritual Notes, around in which I am enjoying looking. I have to say, as much as I would like to implement everything they suggest (I've heard of "ritual notes parishes"), I just don't think its practicable, esp. for someone in my situation, and not least because I'm not in charge. I wonder if there's a middle way. I suppose the best thing to do, in terms of a partial implementation, is to comport oneself as per their recommendations during the liturgy.

I do wish we could all go back to ad orietem or ad apsidem, as the case may be. After thinking about it for a long while (a few years), I think that celebrating versus populum implies a number of theological things that ought not to be implied. Or maybe its more accurate to say that celebrating thus can implicitly give the impression of certain theological things that are incorrect. For example, it de-emphasizes the mass qua sacrifice, and proportionately disctracts from our Lord and his sacrifice.

This has become a rant. I wonder what others think / recommend (esp.viz. implementing Ritual Notes).


Pontificator said...

I fully agree with you on the necessity of restoring versus apsidem.

But as far as Ritual Notes, I'm afraid it simply cannot be implemented. I say this as the former rector of the Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston, where we celebrated Solemn High Mass every Sunday, with celebrant, deacon, subdeacon, incense and bells, facing east. But trying to implement the whole Ritual Notes ball of wax is just not feasible nor desirable. Perhaps it works at St. Clement's in Philadelphia; but they've been doing it for decades.

adam said...

Ritual Notes is the bomb!!! You can't implement every minute detail, but most of it is great. At Grace and St. Peter's Baltimore, I'd say we do pretty much a Ritual Notes High Mass on Sundays and some Holy Days, but not every little detail. For example, our May Crowning of the statue of Our Lady today and Holy Week are somewhat simplified and just a little bit modernized, but not much. As for east-facing celebration, no question that it is far better than versus populum.

Johnny Awesomo said...

Would you please translate those latin phrases for those of us who are fundamentalist/evangelicals like myself and J-Tron?

father wb said...

Right. So "ad orientem" is "toward the east" and therefore refers to Eucharist said facing liturgical east, or away from the people. "Ad apsidem" is the same thing in practice. It means "toward the apse". "Versus populum" means "towards the people" and therefore refers to Eucharistic celebration facing the people -- the standard "Vatican II" method one finds nowadays, and the opposite of "ad orientem" or "ad apsidem".

Paul Goings said...

Perhaps it works at St. Clement's in Philadelphia; but they've been doing it for decades.

Actually it was only revived starting in 1981 after fifteen years of experimenting with the newer liturgies and versus populum.

At this point we're about back to the Roman Mass of 1950 in English (which is where we were in 1950 under Fr Joiner!)

If you're not used to some of the odder bits it can be daunting at first, but in the end it's much easier than wondering "what do we do this week/year?" which was experienece in previous parishes.

fundamentalist/evangelical j-tron said...

WB, thank you for clarifying. My Latin (translation: non-existent).

I personally find it highly jarring when the priest says the Eucharist facing away from the people. This is, I'm sure, linked with having grown up in Vatican II. Certainly I see the theological justification for saying it that way. I also understand the objection to saying it the other way. However, if the problem with saying the Eucharist while facing the people is a potential misunderstanding rather than a theological objection, I would encourage saying the Eucharist facing the people anyway. Having grown up in Vatican II, if I step into a church where the priest says the Eucharistic prayers facing away from the people, I assume he is turning his back to me out of arrogance or secrecy or just plain rudeness. At least, that is what I thought prior to coming to seminary. I would not have stuck around long enough to hear about the theology behind it. When I went to a church that did that, I simply did not return. On the other hand, any false impression I may have taken based on the Eucharist said facing the people could have easilly been cathecized away. And, in fact, that has been the case with me.

One can only learn a proper theological understanding of what goes on in the liturgy once one is in the door. So long as it is not doctrinally forbidden or theologically problematic, I always prefer that the Church err on the side of whatever will be the most evangelistically advantageous. There's something to be said for standing up against silly "innovations" that come along. But there's no sense is throwing down the gauntlet unnecessarilly.