Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Many people say many things about His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI but no one can say that he hasn't created controversy in the Church and the world.

In no other area has there been more foment in the Church since the Second Vatican Council than in the liturgy, thanks to Pope Benedict XVI.

I have to write that I never thought that clergy and laity actually could advocate for Mass ad orientem, Mass in the Tridentine Form, Holy Communion kneeling and Holy Communion on the tongue without being ridiculed and silenced by the hierarchy and the intellegencia of the more progressive liturgical wing of the Church. Pope Benedict has changed the discussion and charged it into a new and higher level.

So, emboldened by the Holy Father himself and the ability to offer suggestions without fear of reprisals, how might a new Roman Missal that is more faithful to the 1962 missal, yet still reformed as the Sacrosanctum Concilium on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council mandated look?

I would like to start with the first revised missal that was not universally prescribed by the Church, but in use in the USA from 1965 to about 1968 or 1969. It is the 1965 Roman Missal.

To many of us, this missal embodies what Sacrosanctum Concilium mandated as it regards the reform of the Order of the Mass (not its lectionary, as the lectionary of the 1965 missal is the 1962's lectionary but in English). What does this Missal change from the 1962 Missal, what is now called the Extraordinary Form?

1. The "Sprinkling Rite" as it is now called, could substitute for the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar."

2. Active participation of the assembly in all of the parts of the Mass, including all those that were formerly reserved to the Altar boys was encourage. Full, conscious and active participation meant that the laity shouldn't be day dreaming during Mass, praying other devotions, the rosary the most popular, but should concentrate on the Mass. This movement started in the early 20th century, but was kicked up a notch in the 1950's with the dialogue Mass which is codified in the 1962 missal by the way and the advent of personal, pew missals to assist the laity in following and understanding the Latin Mass in English.

3. The Sprinkling Rite and the Prayers at the Foot of the altar could be chosen, one or the other or even both--thus a new flexibility in arranging the Mass arrived with the 1965 missal.
4. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were reformed and the version that was used only in Requiem Masses chosen--this version eliminated the recitation of Psalm 42 and thus made the Prayers at the Foot of the altar simpler and briefer.

5. The option of praying the "Introductory Rite" or all the prayers through the Opening Collect, at the presiding Chair (as a bishop does in the Sung Mass of the 1962 Missal) was extended to ordinary priests, but it was their choice. This meant that the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the Kyrie, the Gloria and the Collect could have all been done at the "presidential" chair, as we do in the Ordinary Form of the Mass today. But the option of doing it at the altar as in the 1962 missal was still allowed. It wasn't either/or, but both/and!

6. The option of ad orientem or facing the people was explicit; there were two explicit choices in the 1965 missal.

7. The Liturgy of the Word could be proclaimed from the ambo and only once and in English. A lay lector could read the Epistle and Gradual. The first arrangement for this form was having a smaller podium facing the people slightly to the side but in front of the Epistle side of the altar for the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel read at the ambo on the Gospel side of the Altar.(It was no longer required for the priest to read the Epistle and Gospel first in Latin at the altar sides.)

8. All the altar boy parts which now the laity were mandated to say or sing could be in English or Latin. This included the Prayers at the Foot of the altar or the Asperges responses, the Kyrie, Gloria, Opening Collect, the Sanctus, Agnus Dei and Prayer after Holy Communion and Final dismissal and blessing.

9. The Last Gospel was suppressed, no longer read, so the Mass ended with the final blessing.

10. The parts of the Mass as in the 1962 missal that are prayed silently remained in Latin: the Offertory Prayers, the Roman Canon, and any private prayers of the priest. Thus Latin was preserved in the 1965 missal, but it was clear that all parts of the Mass could be entirely in Latin if so desired.

11. The "Through Him, With Him..." was reformed in the 1965 missal similar to the Ordinary Form of it today, with a "Great Amen" sung by all.

12. The non use of the paten during the Eucharistic prayer and hiding it under the corporal was suppressed as was the little ritual of taking it out after the Our Father, the priest blessing himself with it and kissing it.

So with the 1965 reformed Missal as our base or foundation, which is extremely faithful to what Sacrosanctum Concilium desired for the Mass, what might a new and improved Post Vatican II Order of the Mass look like that amalgamates the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the Ordinary Form of the Mass? By this I mean each form exerting influence on the other. Well these are my humble suggestions:

1. Keep the 1965 Roman Missal as the base.

2. Use the Revised Calendar of the Ordinary Form of the Mass.

3. Use the revised lectionary which in fact incorporates Sacrosanctum Concilium's desire that the more Scripture be used in the Mass and in a lavish way.

4. Use the same form of the Liturgy of the Word as we have in the Ordinary Form today, including lay lectors.

5. Use the soon to be revised English Mass in the Ordinary Form for all the parts of the Mass that the laity are asked to sing or say and for all of the orations (collects, prayer over the gifts (secret) and Prayer after Holy Communion). This would also include all the new and wonderful prefaces there are and additional Masses for saints and various occasions.

So the only thing that would really be different for the Ordinary Form of my future revised version of it is that it follows the Order of Mass of the 1965 missal with all of its rubrics in place, uses only the Roman Canon and silently prayed. Everything else comes from the new English missal that is about to be implemented in Advent of this year.

Finally, kneeling for Holy Communion and receiving on the tongue would once again become the norm. If the laity are allowed the Precious Blood, it would be through intinction.

Not even Pater Ignotus could say that my proposal isn't a reform of the 1962 missal and faithful to Sacrosanctum Concilium.


Henry Edwards said...

Whereas there was no actual editio typica of the Missale Romanuum between those of 1962 and 1970, the so-called "1965 missal" that incorporated the 1965 Ordo Missae in various language editions was thought by many--from laymen and publishers to cardinals and bishops just home from the Council--to fully express the will of Vatican II.

For instance, on page 118 of the 2001 Fontgombault liturgical conference proceedings, we read that in the preface to a German edition of the 1965 missal, "the Cardinal Secretary of State officially declared that this missal was the definitive realisation of the Council's commands".

The frontspiece of my own copy (New Saint Joseph Daily Missal, Catholic Book Pub. Co., NY: 1967-1968)---which is a “1965 missal” incorporating the 1965 Ordo Missae---says:

This New Missal is in complete accord with the Directives and Recommendations of Vatican Council II On the Liturgy.

And on the title page itself:

In accordance with the New Revised Liturgy as directed by Vatican Council II

All of which may explain the shock publicly expressed by Cardinal Heenan (Ab. of Westminster) when the Novus Ordo was unveiled--and decisively rejected by the synod of bishops that previewed it in the Sistine Chapel in 1968--when he asked just who were these people who have been working in secret on this unexpected "new order" of liturgy, whereas (accepting his perception as representative) many in the hierarchy had generally thought the 1965 version was "it".

Frajm said...

Henry, I think too that the secret redesign of the Catholic Mass by an elite group of liturgists was meant to make our Mass appeal to Protestant sensibilities, especially as it concerns the "meal" aspect of their theology which can also be found in our theology. The nature of the Mass as sacrifice would not have appealed to Protestant sensibilities for the most part. The was euphoria in the air following the Council that the Church would be healed of all division and that Vatican II would make the way for this to happen. A simplified liturgy would be the key to this reunited Church. Well, God has confounded us and "spirit" of Vatican II euphorites. Most Protestants have now moved even further away from us as we strive to move closer to them.
Dumbing down the work of God in the Liturgy was not the greatest thing that those liturgists in secrecy did for the Church and opened the Church to all kinds of stupid, creative liturgical practices.

Marc said...

It seems like there is a common thread of doing away with the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar... is there a specific reason for that movement?

Those prayers seem to serve as a nice reminder of the true order of things: our lowly position in relation to God and our unworthiness (both laity and priests) to approach His altar.

Templar said...

Hmmm, first comments on MR65. If I skip a comment it means I have no exceptions and agree with it outright.

1) Dislike the either/or of the Asperges or Foot of the Altar Prayers. I find the later to be a wonderful addition and would love them to be there, with the Asperges used at certain times of the year as it is now in the OF.

3) Same as 1) I believe.

5) I prefer the Altar instead of from the Chair for the same reason I prefer Ad Orientem. It's clear and unambiguous to whom we are saying these prayers.

6) See 5), Ad Orientem now, always and forever and ever (world with out, Amen) :)

10) wish it had not gone so far in making Latin optional, would like some of the unchanging parts (Santus, Angus Dei, Gloria, Pater Noster, for examples) to be always in Latin to reinforce our identity as Latin Rite Catholics.

As you can see, I have a few quibbles the MR65 but freely agree that it was roughly what the Council had in mind.

Now, on to Father's suggestions.

2) One or the other, EF or OF Calendar, but please, PICK ONE!!

4) Lay Lectors as "officially authorized" or as practiced?

5) In theory I have no problem with this, but since I have only conceptually heard and understand the new translation I will reserve comment. I hope and prayer it will be worthy of God, but Man has fallen short in that regard before.

As for Communion in the hand....it bears repeating that it is not now, and never has been, the "norm" in the Catholic Church. Revoke the Indult, we humbly prayer.

Henry Edwards said...

Fr. McDonald, I recall that in the euphoria of the 1960s immediately following Vatican II, expectation that a vernacular liturgy with its sacrificial aspect downplayed would encourage Protestants to return to the One True Church did not seem so naïve and silly then as it does now.

At that time, I was a member of St. Joseph’s in Athens, which we understood to be Ab. Paul Hallinan’s seedbed parish as a member of Bugnini’s consilium, and we got advance notice of the innovations that were in the works. Not everybody was equally enthusiastic, and certainly some were turned off completely, but I doubt that anyone fully understood what a tragic pastoral mistake it would turn out to be --- achieving the opposite of what was ostensibly intended, resulting in less rather than more prayerful participation in the liturgy, and a wholesale loss rather than a deepening of faith.

Anonymous said...

The 1965 Missal should be the form used for the Ordinary Form and the 1962 Missal should continue to be used for the Extraordinary Form. The Novus Ordo Missal has been called fabricated, though valid, by our Holy Father and also been abused to the point of almost no return. Its' inherent flaw is only the abuse that is associated with it and will continue to be. Better to allow the 1965 Missal for the vernacular needs and in keeping with SC while maintaining the Traditional use of the 1962 Missal. Then in about 100 years, which is just a blink of an eye for the Vatican, so it is said, should they think about one Missal for everyone and perhaps, a big perhaps, merge the 2, if for the best in the eyes of God and the Pope. There is just too much to fix, and it will only once again appear fabricated with the NO Missal. That is the sad thing about what the abusers of the Pauline Missal have wrought. It is the perception of that Missal that is what is at fault. We would be better off moving past it, and allowing for the 1965 Missal and moving on to the bigger project in 100 years or so anyways. Why continue the debates generations into the future only to arrive at the 1965 Missal again? The people of God are better than most think and will most likely go with what is better for them in the end if the Pope says so. We're not that stupid if you give us half a chance.

Mackja said...

I was not aware of the 1965 missal, as I have been reading and learning about the liturgy, it seems logical to develop or move the liturgy in the direction of the 1965 missal, it just makes sense. The 1965 missal updates and follows the norms of Vatican II while still retaining the theological elements of proper worship, I still don't have a full grasp on what happened that allowed this rupture and development of the Novus Ordo, how so few held such influence and power. While I can't say with any surety, I can't help but think Pope Paul VI did give support to Bugnini and company, the Pope could have stopped or given direction on the liturgy. He then seemed surprised about what we ended up with, and while I don't think he approved it was to late to reverse course. The closer I look at this part of our history, the more I see the reasons for such division in the Church, there is no doubt the Novus Ordo represented a huge rupture. Hind sight is 20/20!