Damian Thompson flags the remarks of Cardinal Mahony regarding the use of the Tridentine Mass:

Cardinal Roger Mahony, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, has just given an online interview effectively trashing the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, liberated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. Here’s the extract (hat-tip: Opinionated Catholic):

Ann Scolari: What are your thoughts on the Trindentine mass?
Cardinal Mahony: Ann – The Tridentine Mass was meant for those w
ho could not make the transition from Latin to English [or other languages] after the Council. But there is no participation by the people, and I don’t believe that instills the spirit of Christ among us.

The Cardinal’s views are patronising, inaccurate and an insult to the Holy Father. How distressing for orthodox Catholics in LA to have this man as their bishop.

Yes, indeed.   I’ve been attending the Latin Mass for about a year now and frankly, I don’t know what the heck the Cardinal thinks he’s talking about.

RFEC does its best to ensure “participation by the people”.  Of course the celebrant faces the congregation.  The readings of the Old Testament and the Epistle are usually done by kids.  During the Offeratory, the Children’s Chapel group are brought in and plucked down in front of the altar, staying there until it’s time for the congregation to come up for Communion.   While the rector has long argued about the importance of incorporating children into the service, personally I have always found it immensely distracting from worship, which I always thought was the whole point of being there.  (Silly me!)

Now maybe it’s just me, but very often I feel that while the people are participating, their “participation” in the rite is secondary to their participation with each other.  Gossip and chatter are widespread prior to the service and during the Recessional, and seem to be increasing during the service itself.  I have even started to see some coffee cups being smuggled in and sipped on the sly.   What’s the old line about familiarity breading contempt? ‘Strue.

Lest some of my readers think I’m indulging in gratuitous Palie-bating here, I’ll further my point by noting that sometimes I attend the Novus Ordo Mass at my Church because I have to.  And while the congregational distraction isn’t as bad as it is at RFEC, there are distinct parallels.

On the other hand,  every time I walk into the Tridentine Mass, I am so overwhelmed by the sense of the Divine presence that sometimes I can barely lift up my head.

As for participation? Well, apart from Communion itself, we always sing a Processional hymn.  We also chant the Apserges Mei and the Pater Noster and the appropriate responses to the priest’s prayers where called for.  We’re sprinkled and incensed and bow, kneel and/or genuflect where appropriate.  To me, that’s always seemed a critical part of the “process” of the Mass, and the suggestion that the congregation is somehow cut out from what the clergy are up to is, IMHO, absurd.

What the good Cardinal means by “participation by the people” is, I think, some kind of Happy Time bonding experience between them and the clergy across the altar.  What I think of by the term is the manner in which the people and the clergy work together as described above all facing the same way – toward God.

But that’s just me, Mr. Vegas.