Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Full and active participation, 1954-style

Every now and then I pick up the shirt-pocket-size My Sunday Missal by Fr. Stedman, ca. 1954, that I grew up with, and re-read some part at random. Here's something that might interest anyone who thinks the pre-Vatican II church expected the faithful just to sit dumbly in their pews. Of even more interest is the way that that contemporary shibboleth, "full and active participation", was thought of back then.

How to "participate actively"

You "will be filled with this [true Christian] spirit only in proportion" as you "actively participate" in the Mass, says Pope Pius X. How do you actively participate? As a lay person you actively participate: first, by offering the Divine Victim to the Eternal Father in union with the priest, your official representative; second, by offering yourself to the Eternal Father in union with the Divine Victim. To be a co-offerer with the priest, you must have a sacrificial will, so as to make this twofold oblation of Christ and yourself. ... the Mass is not the private prayer of the priest at the altar, but the collective prayer of all present both in the pews as well as at the altar.

No tambourine, no bass guitar, no hand-holding, no clapping, no liturgical dance. Just quiet, total interior union with the sacrifice of the Mass.

Good thing we dumped all that claptrap in the sixties, huh?