In this session we discussed what was intended when Vatican II called for more active participation of the laity. Some of the questions entertained included - Can we be "actively participating" if we're not singing for example? Does "active participation" necessarily involve visible participation?
Sid Cundiff brought up the excellent point that the Latin phrase is better translated "actual participation".
Following an explanation by Father Reid of St. Anne's in Charlotte who had recently explained the participatory role of laity in the Tridentine mass, we explored how the Blessed Virgin actively participated at the foot of the cross and how our participation in the mass can and should mirror this even if we're not visibly active in the contemporary sense.
The discussion wasn't by any means an afront to any particular rubric in the Novus Ordo and various viewpoints were represented. Towards the end, Thomas Sims, RCIA director for St. Thomas Aquinas parish who is also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and a lector whose two daughters are altar servers, staged a mock debate with Sid Cundiff. Sid argued that the additional provisions (post Vatican II) for laity were not objectively superior in effecting "actual participation" of the laity while Thomas argued in the affirmative.