Last week over on Facebook, I happened to mention that I had attended a Tridentine Mass, and that I left with a renewed appreciation for the Novus Ordo.
From every corner, from every persuasion, Catholic friends spoke up in raging defense of one form of liturgy or another.
- Those who regularly attend Tridentine Mass rose up, rosary beads clicking and mantillas still draped over their hair, to insist that the Novus Ordo, the Mass of the Roman Rite which was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 after the close of Vatican II, was the source of great discord and irreverence and all manner of dissent.
- Those who attended—and actually preferred—Mass in the vernacular (the common language) insisted that finally (FINALLY!) they were drawn into the liturgy in a way that had been impossible under the usus antiquior.
To which I say: It’s all good.
Visiting in the Virgin Islands in the late ‘90s, my husband and I were amazed by the devotion of the people—as evidenced by their voices raised in robust praise. Coming from the United States, as we were, we were all too accustomed to liturgies at which people mumbled their responses or lip-synched the hymns. It was refreshing and rejuvenating to join our voices with hundreds of others who were joyful, exuberant worshippers.
Years later, we traveled through Europe—attending Mass in the native Italian or German. Oh, how we longed for a familiar Latin phrase so that we, with all the peoples throughout the world, could join our voices and recite the Pater Noster in unison.
In the movie For Greater Glory, Father Reyes Vega celebrated Mass for the Cristeros atop a mountain, in the open air. That’s what happens in many parts of the world still today: in African villages, on tiny islands, at Wyoming Catholic College, even—stop and think!—at papal liturgies like the recent papal mass in Beirut.
There is not just one way to pray. But to emphasize that point, take a trip down liturgical memory lane to that 1966 meme, the Folk Mass, where Ray Repp sings and strums “Sons of God.”