Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Problems with the Reform of the Reform, again

Fr Ray Blake's encounter with a green-ink correspondant, about his extremely cautious experiment with saying Mass ad orientem, illustrates the point I made in this post perfectly: it is usually easier for a priest concerned about increasing the sacrality of parish liturgy to introduce a new Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or even to make one of his existing Masses an EF one, than to raise the standard of the existing Masses along 'Reform of the Reform' lines.

Fr Blake has already done the EF bit, so I'm not criticising him. On the contrary,I think he's being heroic; I also think that, ultimately, this is a necessary thing, even in the OF. No Catholic can read the Holy Father's criticism of worship versus populum in his 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' and then just carry on as normal. The relevant chapter is available to read here; here's a short quote:

The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is locked into itself. 

Let us pray for Fr Ray, the parish of St Mary Magdalen, and the anonymous letter-writer.


  1. Fr Ray Blake1:08 pm

    I have introduced an EF Mass every Sunday, I think changing an OF Mass to EF would produce a small riot.
    The problem is people hate change, amongst some Catholic quarters there is also a hatred of anything that might speak of continuity.

  2. Joseph Shaw2:33 pm

    What you have done Fr is clearly the ideal. Where this is impossible some priests have changed an OF into an EF with - perhaps - a small riot, but have lived to tell the tale. Fr Tim for example!