Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FIUV Position Paper on Silence

A few days late, I've published the latest FIUV Position Paper, on silence during Mass. It considers the question of the silent Canon in the Extraordinary Form, and also the silent priestly prayers (such as the 'Munda cor meum' before the Gospel, and the priest's preparation for Communion). It is available on Rorate Caeli; go over there to read it.

If you want to see and hear and understand everything, then you won't understand the point of silence. It is a bigger obstacle to the kind of word-by-word, blow-by-blow comprehension which seems to be the ideal of some liturgists, even than the use of Latin. The fact that silence is so characteristic of the Traditional Mass, and that it is so appreciated by those who attend it, drives home the point that words are not the only way of getting a message across. The the idea that they are is one of the more obviously silly attitudes associated with the Enlightenment. You really only have to articulate it to see it is absurd.

Pope Benedict XVI, before his election, wrote more than once that it would be beneficial to have the canon in the Novus Ordo said silently. He speaks with great earnestness of the value of the 'filled silence' which descends upon the church during the silent canon in the Traditional Mass, a truly profound period of participation by the faithful.

Making the canon silent in the New Mass would certainly deal with a number of issues at once. The variety of Eucharistic Prayers would become pretty redundant, for one thing, and it would be no less intelligible to the people if it were in Latin. The lunatic-fringe silliness of people wanting to join in the Canon would be avoided as well. This kind of 'reform of the reform' change may happen one day, because whatever liberals might say, in my experience people really like the silence. It speaks more loudly than the most ceaseless verbiage: that's just the point.

Here's an interesting old post of Fr Tim Finigan on the silent Canon.

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