The redoubtable Amy Welborn has a really excellent post on what I think is one of the inherent problems with the reformed liturgy. Traditionalists have theological critiques that I basically agree with, but for my money its problems are mostly anthropological. By making the new mass so adaptable, so formless, its creators ensured that it is entirely up to the celebrant (or the music director, or whoever is really in charge) as to how it will be performed. Which is why it seems so different from parish to parish. Almost as if the “experts” who concocted it didn’t understand what ritual is, or how it is supposed to work, or why human beings need rituals in the first place.
Anyway, here’s a snippet, but do read the whole thing:
I’m going to suggest that the core of what drives people crazy (in a bad way) about the celebration of this Mass is the always-present-fear that when you open the door and sit down in that pew, you are never quite sure if what’s about to happen might involve you being subject to surprise attacks and being held hostage by someone’s ego.
You go to Mass with your hopes, joys and fears. You’re there carrying sadness and grief, questions, doubts and gratitude and peace. You’re bringing it all to God in the context of worship, worship that you trust will link you, assuredly to Christ – to Jesus, the Bread of Life, to His redeeming sacrifice. That in this moment, you’ll be joined to the Communion of Saints, you’ll get a taste of the peace that’s promised to the faithful after this strange, frustrating life on earth is over.
And what do you get?
Who knows. From week to week, from place to place, who knows.