This weekend I straddled two different forms of being Catholic with its foundation built upon the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I celebrated three Ordinary Form Sunday Masses (one its vigil) for the Feast of the Transfiguration and one Extraordinary Form Mass at our Cathedral for the same Feast.
What to say?
I have always loved the Ordinary Form of the Mass when celebrated by the book saying the "black" and doing the "red." Yet as a priest celebrating this form of the Mass when facing the congregation in a confrontational format, I become annoyed by what I sometimes see. People are getting up and going to the bathroom even at the consecration. Some aren't participating as is expected by post- Vatican II liturgists. People are coming in late. And since our new church doesn't have stained glass windows I can see everything going on outside, from cars coming and going to exotic birds flying about not to mention the sun reflecting off of cars and blinding me.
Then I entered the world of our Cathedral to celebrate the EF Mass and the discipline of the congregation was palpable not to mention their reverence and piety.
If anyone went to the bathroom during the Consecration, I would not have noticed it. (I doubt that anyone did, though). I was facing the same direction as the congregation except for the times I turned to them (after kissing the altar) for the "Dominus Vobiscum", "Orate Fratres" and the Ecce Agnus Dei, not to mention the homily and distribution of Holy Communion at the altar railing.
More importantly, praying the Mass ad orientem and the Roman Canon in a very low voice has shown me that this is the ultimate act of my ordained priesthood which is an image of the exclusive High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the ordained priestly aspect of Extraordinary Form of the Mass is on steroids compared to the Ordinary Form which has diluted it. Keep in mind, there is absolutely no priestly people without the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ which the ordained priesthood is a sacramental sign during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
I think even in the Ordinary Form the ordained priesthood on steroids as it is meant to be can be recovered in a vernacular Mass with chant and entirely ad orientem and with a low voice praying of the Roman Canon with all its sign language strict rubrics.
Oh, and the Cathedral's mixed voice schola of young people in their late teens and early 20's who chant without organ accompaniment is absolutely exquisite, stunning. And yes, this form of chant captures Catholic liturgical spirituality in a sung Mass which contemporary music or hymnody absolutely obliterates, sad to say as this obliterates our Catholic identity as well, as we have seen for the past 50 years.
What amazes me is that popes and bishops don't get it!