Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Our Starting Point Must Be The Extraordinary Form

Fr. Allan McDonald of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in downtown Macon, Georgia offers an insightful reflection on the first EF Solemn High celebrated in this church in more than 45 years. An excerpt:

Last night's Requiem sang what is prescribed for a Requiem. The Introit, offertory verses and Communion antiphon with their words seeking eternal rest for the faithful departed. The Dies Irae Sequence with its apocalyptic anticipation tied the liturgy together as a prayer seeking God's mercy on those who face their particular judgment and anticipate the final judgment.

I could not help but contrast this to the Ordinary Form Funeral Mass where so many options for music and prayers cause it to disintegrate into gross sentimentality and superficial "good feelings." Always the prescribed "entrance antiphon" is omitted in favor of a metrical hymn of dubious merit. Normally "On Eagle Wings" or "Be Not Afraid" are chosen for their dripping, sing songy, saccharine qualities. The choices that are given allow all semblance of personal judgment and apocalyptic anticipation to be eradicated in favor of banal canonization of the deceased.

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