One of the things that I have found as I become more familiar with the older form of the Mass is a greater appreciation for the question of reform of the liturgy, which of course figured prominently in the Second Vatican Council. While I've written before about how I think that was in many cases badly realized, that doesn't negate the validity of the question of reform. On the contrary--if what the Council was aiming at hasn't been well realized, the need to get going on that task is all the more urgent.
What are some things that stand out?
> Use of the vernacular. While I've become comfortable offering Holy Mass in Latin, I can't say that I find the readings easy in Latin. And, obviously, lots of folks in the pews prefer to hear the vernacular. I think it's been very beneficial.
> Loud voice v. low voice. Where the newer Mass often has too little silence, I can see where the older, low Mass has too much for some folks.
> Use of the pulpit. If I'm offering Mass privately, doing the readings from the altar makes sense; but where there is a congregation, readings from the pulpit make more sense.
On the other hand, there is something very nice about the symbolism of first reading and psalm being read on one side of the sanctuary, and then the Gospel being proclaimed toward the north. In a solemn, high Mass I attended recently at Old Saint Mary's, instead of this being done on the altar, the deacon stepped down into the sanctuary, and chanted the Gospel about the middle of the sanctuary, yet in Latin.
One of the under-appreciated aspects of the reform after Vatican II was to encourage more singing of the Mass, including the readings. The new Missal does take some steps to facilitate this.
> Prayers of the Faithful. While these are not mandatory in the newer Mass, and when daily Mass has to be brief, it makes sense to omit them; but for Sunday, when they are well composed, they are a powerful inclusion.
> Last Gospel. As venerable as this is, I can't say it upsets me that this was omitted in the reform of the liturgy. Alternately, what if the decision had been made to make it optional, or else to keep it for particular feast days, just as the genuflecting during the Creed was kept for two days a year?
> The calendar. While the rationale for some calendar changes is not clear to me, it does seem to me that the older calendar was rather confusing and I think it needed to be clarified. It would help a lot if a single calendar could be used, both for the older and newer forms of Mass, but I have no idea how that is to be accomplished, given the situation with the Society of Saint Pius X.
What do you think? Feel free to offer comments.