by Father Richard Cipolla
When I recently read about Cardinal Sarah’s expressed hope that the Traditional Offertory Prayers would be included in the next edition of the Roman Missal, I was very happy, because this is exactly what is needed, if what Pope Benedict XVI asked for with respect to the two Forms of the Roman rite, namely that there would be a mutual enrichment of each Form, becomes something real. Because of the prejudicial opposition of the current liturgical establishment, this has not happened. They would argue that it is forbidden to mix rites. One cannot use prayers from the Melkite rite in the Roman rite. And they are correct. But there is nothing that says that one cannot use prayers from the Extraordinary Form in the Ordinary Form. There is no such prohibition to be found anywhere, because our situation is sui generis.
In this light, I am proposing a list of ways that the Ordinary Form of the Mass can be enriched by elements of the Extraordinary Form. While this is addressed mainly to the many young priests who are open to importance of the Extraordinary Form and want to learn it, these suggestions pertain to all priests who love the Mass and want to celebrate the Novus Ordo in continuity with what has come before. The basic premise underlying these suggestions is that what was sacred then is sacred now.
- Say the vesting prayers before Mass. They are a wonderful way to remind the priest what he is about to do: to offer the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary and his own unworthiness to do so.
- Always wear the amice. The amice is optional is the Novus Ordo but is required if whatever the priest is wearing at the neck is exposed. Of course, this is not enforced. The amice is the “helmet of salvation” and should always be worn at Mass.
- Wear the maniple at every Mass. The maniple was never abolished as a vestment. It is just not mentioned. To wear this ancient vestment that is a symbol, among other things, of the servanthood of the priesthood is a wonderful reminder to both priests and laity of what the priesthood is all about.
- If possible celebrate Mass oriented. This is the Traditional way to celebrate Mass. The people and priest face God TOGETHER in prayer. This is indeed difficult, given the current non-thinking acceptance of Mass celebrated versus populum. Read Father Uwe Lang’s definitive book . There are severe obstacles to celebrating Mass with the traditional orientation, and in most circumstances it will be impossible due to the opposition (grounded in ignorance) of one’s superiors. If you are a pastor, before you make this move, you must educate your people in the historical and doctrinal issues that lie at the heart of celebrating Mass ad orientem.