S1R,1 ant afraid English people would get a wrong idea about German Masses when they read the letter of Mrs. Elinore D. Rhodes.
Although I am a German and with my Sisters have a wide experience ot practised Liturgy, have never yet seen a priest during the Mass conduct congregational singing from the pulpit. If your correspondent has such an experience I suggest it is rare enough to be almost unique.
Her letter reveals that she does not know the new life in the Liturgy of the Church. If she did, she would know that it is quite correct to sing a hymn at the time the priest bows to say the Conliteor. Originally the Confiteor was said in the sacristy by the priest and the servers as their preparation for the Mass. When they came into the Church a psalm was sung by the people followed by a litany. The Introit and the Kyrie eleison is a reminder of this. The present practice, therefore, is not an innovation hut a reversion.
I am sorry to make the suggestion hut it would seem that Mrs. Rhodes' German friends, who describe a " participating Mass" as a " gymnastic Mass " (to me the phrase is blasphemous), are extremely inert. Apparently, they have not even made the effort to know why they ought to move.
In the Liturgy specific external gestures (Haliongen) reflect the inward act. Psychologists regard this as a very wise and right thing.
When we respond to the priest's "Let us lift up our hearts," it is the most natural thing in the
world to do so by standing up. Equally when we stand during the Gloria. Credo, Gospel and Our Father, we are in line with ancient Liturgy and anyone criticising this should take care to know why. There are many explanatory books in German.
In the Good Friday Service which contains one of the oldest and most original Liturgies the congregation must kneel and rise frequently. Would your correspondent describe this as a " gymnastic " service ?
In any case there are few German practising Catholics who do not love " participating Masses" with all their hearts.
I sometimes feel that people who dislike "participating Masses" prefer to concentrate on their own comparatively trivial intercessions. For this purpose the churches are open during the day, or if so desired such prayers can be offered before or after Mass.
However, during the Mass. primarily we should strive to share Christ's sacrifice and our private petitions should fall behind this. the Mass is the Church's supreme Service to God through Christ. Therefore, ought we not to make some physical effort to reflect our inward participation ?
Sr. Marla Regis Broghammer, S.Ch. R.
Kingsley Hall, Powis Road. E.3.