Thursday, May 31, 2012


This is how to make a liturgical puritan see red!
Please note that us modern liturgists celebrating the true reform of the Mass do not hold the chasuble at the elevation--that is so pre-Vatican II! :)

When the good sisters were asked by a lesser document of Vatican II to update their institutes and when the Vatican itself in the post Vatican II era encouraged much of the change that the Vatican and many others would like to see undone today, the premise was that these institutes should go back to their founder's original intent and original documents and update accordingly. For better or worse, that is supposedly what was done, although I don't know how eliminating the habit altogether and living individually in apartments and just like any other woman except being a bachelor was what these foundresses or founders actually envisioned for the institutes they founded. Maybe these institutes should once again revisit their original founders plan and remain focused on the apostolates they embraced, such as education, nursing and helping the poor and doing that collectively from strong community life and wearing a visible sign of their consecration a habit.

But that is not the intent of this post. The intent of this post is for us to go back and reread Sacrosanctum Concilium without the adrenalin rush of changing everything that the commission that Pope Paul VI set up to "renew" the ancient Mass by recklessly abandoning the liturgical traditions of the Church and opening Pandora's Box for all kinds of silly experimentation and so-called inculturation and a "Protestant look, sound and feel" to our Liturgy to seduce or worse yet, trick Protestants into becoming Catholics by a liturgy that looks like something off of Martin Luther's playbook.

Let's face it, the Sacrosanctum Concilium was a very conservative document that was very liberally interpreted by Pope Paul VI and his commission to revise the Mass. It simply called for some updating, some vernacular and some noble simplicity. My contention is that the noble simplicity did not refer to the ordinary parish's low Mass or Sung High Mass, but to the "Solemn High Mass and the bishop's Pontifical Solemn High Mass and Papal liturgies. These were very complex and have some rather quirky things that are visually questionable, such as a hoard of priests and deacons sitting on the floor in front of the bishop's throne as he sits--that's just down right weird looking and casual looking to the modern eye.

So rather than go back entirely to the 1962 missal, we should celebrate the 2012 missal (2002 in Latin)with 1962 flair and rubrics. And this is what Cardinal Burke recently did at the London Oratory (John Nolan's parish) and what their Ordinary Form Liturgy looks like every Sunday evidently--this is true liturgical Renewal and doesn't turn everything upside down in terms of liturgical progress in the last 45 years.

This is how an Ordinary Form Mass should look, recovering that which is good from our 1962 Missal without going back to it altogether and thus being faithful to Sacrosanctum Concilium!

Press here for more pictures of Cardinal Burke celebrating the Ordinary Form Mass as it can and should be celebrated, recovering much of our glorious liturgical past with it but remaining faithful to Sacrosanctum Concilium!

We need to also recapture ember days and many other elements of the 1962 calendar which would be totally easy to do, not the least of which should be the recovery of the Octave of Pentecost!

Ember Days during Pentecost (From Rorate Caeli)

One of the most curious things concerning the traditional liturgical calendar, at least to this writer, is the placement of the summer Ember Days during the octave of Pentecost. Today is Ember Wednesday, a first class liturgy. But, if one follows the discipline of the Church in place during the 1962 calendar, it is also a day of fasting and partial abstinence (one full meal with meat and two small meatless meals).

The Ember Days this week -- Ember Wednesday, Ember Friday and Ember Saturday -- have a unique feature compared to the other nine Ember Days. All Masses this week are with red vestments. The Alleluia is said/sung. The Pentecost sequence is said/sung. It is still Pentecost. But three Ember Days are within the octave.

An interesting piece of trivia is that there was a time in the Church's history where this curious mix of feast and fast was severed. The Ember Days were observed as Masses during the octave of Pentecost like the 1962 calendar. But their corresponding fast and abstinence disciplines were delayed a few weeks. That ended when Pope Gregory VII in the 11th century treated the summer Ember Days like the other three seasons, with fasts on all three days, partial abstinence on Ember Wednesday and Ember Saturday and, of course, complete abstinence on Ember Friday.

This is all a moot point with the novus ordo, as Paul VI virtually eliminated the Ember Days and almost all fasting and abstinence in the 1960s.

But it remains a very interesting week for those who follow the traditional calendar and voluntarily follow the disciplines in place during the 1962 calendar, including Ember Day fasting and abstinence. A week of festive Pentecost Masses, yet with three days of penance during the octave, the way it was under pain of mortal sin from the late 11th century through the late 20th century.

Having said that, the purpose of the Ember Days outweighs everything else: priests. This week, during the Ember Days, we pray for many more.


ytc said...

Any true restoration of the Roman Mass must and will start with the 1962 Missal. Sacrosanctum Concilium was concerned with that book (and also those of the Eastern Churches admittedly), and its brethren the Pontifical and Ceremonial amongst others, and so we must look to them to see what has to be changed in the Ordinary Form.

Godawful hymns should be murdered on the chopping block as soon as possible and relegated to processional and recessional status where they belong, as well as in devotions, and apparently Vateken Tew thinks so too. :)

The universal norm for receiving Communion should be followed.

Mass should be required to be said ad orientem unless this is architecturally impossible or for some other grave reason (ancient altar or something). Interestingly, if you go down to the catacombs, there are precisely zero freestanding altars... Hm... so much for Jesus Dinner and the archaeologically selective "early Church."

The various vestments that were axed should be restored. Their elimination was inconsistent as far as theme. Buskins and pontifical sandals and tunicles were eliminated but the cappa magna wasn't? That ancient and venerable vestment uninterruptedly going back to the catacombs, the maniple, was eliminated but jeweled mitres and gloves weren't? Red shoes and birettas were eliminated but dazzling pectoral crosses weren't? How stupidly inconsistent and unnecessary. Restore them all.

Latin should, for reasons that have been illustrated ad nauseum, be the main language of the liturgy. The vernacular should be relegated to the readings and Prayers of the Faithful, and to childrens' Masses. The Latin used in the liturgy is beautifully repetitive and the Order of Mass can be taught to children over the course of a semester or less, and there are many examples of Catholic schools which do this. Not to mention this is probably the most staunchly "Catholic thing" that we have. What will happen if one day all our technology is destroyed? If our communications are put in the Middle Ages again? Will we simply continue to use our vernaculars at Mass? And be an amalgamation of CINOs-in-training who have no common means of spreading ideas and texts? Latin, or really any sacral language in principle, is an insurance policy, and ours just happens to be a really cool and beautiful language.

The sacrificial Offertory prayers should be restored and our pseudo-Seder ones should be removed.

The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is not the Mass that was envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium and, as someone put it, the "politically naive" but well-meaning Council Fathers. It is a failed experiment. A failed experiment with some good fruits which can certainly be retained, but a failed experiment that needs to be revised urgently.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Some points about the Cardinal's Mass:

-1 Celebrant (Cardinal), one coped priest assistant, two deacons, two Deacons of Honor or Assistants at the Throne. Many altar men (not boys). There were NO concelebrants! Recently, the Prefect of the CDWDS, Cardinal CaƱizares, said that concelebration is essentially a novelty in the Latin Church and should only be done rarely.

-Cardinal wore buskins and sandals, as well as gloves. You can see the gold sandals from the second picture.

-Setting for Kyrie and Gloria was Theresienmesse by Haydn. Credo was III and Sanctus and Agnus Dei were from some chant Mass from the Graduale.

-This sort of Mass is performed every Sunday at the Oratory, but not a Pontifical variety.

I would also like to point out in this postscript that the Holy Father recently got a makeover of his rolling platform. It is now covered with red velvet (replacing awful beige), it is somewhat taller, and his coat of arms is on the front rather than the sides. More Papal Mass improvements.

Henry said...

According to, the latest Vatican rumor is that the celebrant shown in these photos is under consideration as the next Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine and the Faith--in which he would be ultimately responsible for the PECD which administers the TLM. Please, God, let it be so!

Henry said...

The Mass of Ember Saturday in the Octave of Pentecost is one of the truly great Masses of the EF missal--wonderfully summing up in its texts the whole story of salvation. To wit, see the eloquent and poetic sermon of Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth (ICEL executive director) at an EF Ember Saturday Mass last year:

"If a person were to walk in from the street, and one knowing nothing of the Faith that we hold, if that person were enlightened by the Holy Spirit to understand what they were witnessing at this Mass, just about the whole truth of the Catholic faith is laid before them. Today's great feature is the distinctive sequence of prophecies, alleluias and collects of this Ember Day Mass. Our faith is made so much clearer to us; for we hear of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2,28-32); we hear of the harvest which God expects (Lev 23, 9-11;15-17;21); we hear of the possession of the land (Deut 26,1-11) and the fruitfulness of that land (Lev 26,3-12); and we hear, finally, of the purification by fire, which is the suffering and the trial through which we must all pass (Dan 3, 47-51)."

He goes on to mention the day's Epistle and Gospel, and that morning's Matins homily on the Gospel of he Mass.

I wonder whether the readings of any OF Mass would inspire such a sermon.

Henry said...

"The intent of this post is for us to go back and reread Sacrosanctum Concilium"

The Mass of Vatican II is--despite the fact that Sacrosanctum Concilium does not hint at any substantial change in the Order of Mass (such as the elimination of the offertori rite)--arguably just the OF Mass celebrated as at the Oratories.

Indeed, I recall a blog comment quoting a CDW official allegedly saying that the Novus Ordo is intended to be celebrated as at Brompton.

If so, then a number of priests and bishops must not have gotten the message. Maybe some right there in Georgia, even in Macon?

cemeterypicnic said...

ytc: "Any true restoration of the Roman Mass must and will start with the 1962 Missal."

Why not the pre-1955 Missal, which was the last Missal prior to the beginning of the liturgical innovation brought about by the Modernists?

Seems to me that if we're going to fix the liturgy, we should make sure it's done correctly, which surely includes taking a look at the 1955 and 1962 changes as well...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course I am not clairvoyant, so they protest, but I really, really don't think we're going to go back to either the 1962 or 1955 missal, but rather to Sacrosanctum Concilium and the actual reform envisioned by Pope Paul VI and the commission that revised the ancient Mass. When you view how Cardinal Burke celebrates this missal following its rubrics and GIRM and when you realize that the London Oratory does it this way each Sunday, then you realize that there is not a major schism between it and what preceded it visually or theologically. Sure there can be some minor tweaking, but no major overhaul. It all hinges on the style of the altar, the formality of ritual, ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion and a rediscovery of Latin at least in part as a the official language of the Latin Rite Mass. It is clear, though that the 1962 missal certainly exerts an influence on how the 2002 Latin Missal is celebrated which is a good thing and if we had simply done that in 1969 we probably wouldn't have the turmoil in the Church that we had and are still having in terms of the liturgy wars.

John Nolan said...

Actually, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei from the Haydn Mass were both sung, but not the Benedictus (which should be sung after the Consecration and doesn't fit in with the NO). The custom at the Oratory is to sing the Agnus Dei during the Communion of the faithful. In Haydn's day the faithful would not have communicated and so the Agnus Dei would have lasted from the Fraction to the Postcommunion Prayer. The Oratory option is sometimes called the Regensburg option as it was introduced by Mgr Georg Ratzinger in that cathedral and met with his younger brother's approval!

Your point about privileged octaves and ember days is a valid one. Pius X may have had the best of intentions, but his breviary mortally wounded the ancient Roman Office (Bugnini finished it off) and his meddling with the calendar set a 20th century precedent which has seen even the time-honoured season of Septuagesima unceremoniously kicked into touch.

Yes, it is liturgically pedantic to harp on these matters, but we have to realize that what appeared to be minor tinkering opened up a veritable can of worms. "Untune that string and hark, what discord follows".

rcg said...

Fr, you wrote: "Please note that *us* modern liturgists celebrating the true reform of the Mass do not hold the chasuble at the elevation--that is so pre-Vatican II!" If your mythical proof reader would have noted that you were counting yourself among the 'modern liturgist' and as such were the subject of that sentence. You should have used 'Wii'.

Rather than explore the details of the Liturgy as presented in the 1962 Missal and before, I would like to say that the reverence that is DEMANDED in those Liturgies is what sets them apart. The grinning Hippie sitting cross legged at the Lord's Table calling his Father by His First Name is what is allowed in the the subsequent expressions of the Liturgy. The extensive preparation of the priest to even approach the altar is very sobering. I am a supporter of the Latin as Primary and for its extensive, if not exclusive, use in Mass. I do like the vernacular for the Readings, but even that is only 'nice to have'. the old prayers had 'punch' to them, and I think the homily could be dedicated to prying out the meaning and links in the Latin and explaining why it is more accurate and efficient and how it tightly presents our Faith, like a jewel in a strong setting.

ytc said...


I would like to point out that if he wanted to, Benedict XVI could essentially ignore Vatican II. We ignore plenty of Councils now, because their usefulness has expired. Vienne? First Lyon? Hello? I know we're still in the historical period where saying "ignore Vatican II" is essentially the same as saying "I don't believe in the Trinity," but it will not always be so, and it is already dying quickly.

Now, for the sake of argument I'm going to pretend that people are still going to be paying much attention to Vatican II in 50 years. Therefore, I will restate in a different way what I mean earlier.

I don't understand why you assume anyone said "go back to either the 1962 or 1955 missal." I realize that Vatican II requested some changes. My point is that we HAVE to START with an EF Missal if we are to ever properly restore things to the OF Missal. The Roman Missal promulgated in 1969 and subsequent editions of it is NOT the Missal envisioned by the Council. That is plain as day to see and has the word of the Council, action of the current Pope, and 1969 years of tradition on its side. We cannot just "tweak" it a bit and "hope" that priests will celebrate it "properly," because guess what, no one really knows what a "proper" OF Mass looks like. There are 40000000 different options and the rubrics are so crappy as to tolerate practically any "style" of celebration.

If the OF is to have any hope for correct use in perpetuity, it MUST have extremely strict rubrics and it MUST have guidelines for celebration in the vein of the OF. It MUST say, "Sign of the Cross here," "Strike breast three times," "He removes the pall," "He replaces the pall," "He genuflects if the Sacred Species is exposed," etc., etc., etc. You can try all you want and hope all you want, but unless it is like that, we will continue to have universally disgusting, dullard Masses.

I'm not sure it really matters what Pope Paul VI and his Commission envisioned as the reformed Mass. His Commission put it together and he approved it, which seems to me like their envisage was realized. I'm sure His Holiness was in a lot of emotional distress at the time, and rightly so, but we cannot go back to some dull historical moment (1960s) and base our "ROTR OF" Mass on that; we ALREADY have the Mass of the 1960, the Mass of Paul VI, the Mass of the Consilium! It's terrible!

My main point is that essentially, I think we're just suffering from communication error. We have to base any reformed version of the OF Missal on the EF Missal. What else are we going to base it on? I mean, that's just logical, right? You're talking about these "style" things. If the rubrics are not strict, if the rubrics are not there, then style means nothing. The rubrics "make" the style. There have to be extremely detailed rubrics interspersed in the text of the OF Missal if there is to ever be a consistent product.

The time of Paul VI is over, bless his heart, and Abp. Bugnini died a long time ago, RIP. We are over that. We can't continue to use that as a metric to determine what the future of the OF Mass will be. We have to compare it to the EF Mass and make modifications, major modifications even, where needed.
Let me say, as a young person, Vatican II isn't relevant (there's that word!) to me at all. It has very little meaning to me and I do not get excited and jump for joy when I hear it. From my own perspective I would not care a bit if it was consigned to archival bookshelves. It's more trouble than it's worth from my perspective, at least as yet. I do not really care about it at all. It is what it is, no more, no less, and as far as I'm concerned, it's not gotten us very far.

Henry said...

From a post today at NLM, about OF celebration of the Octave of Pentecost at an English Church, noting that for "mutual enrichment" the OF Masses are using the (far) superior readings of the EF missal:

"In accordance with the Holy Father’s mind expressed in Summorum Pontificum, that the two forms of the Roman Rite should be mutually enriching, the Octave is being celebrated largely in the Ordinary Form, though using significant elements drawn from the Masses of the pre-1970 Octave. The Proper chants of the Masses of the pre 1970 Graduale, and particularly the Alleluia and its Sequence Veni sancte Spiritus are sung in Latin. Each day’s readings are those provided in the old Missal, especially extended on the Ember Days of Wednesday and Saturday. In place of the Graduals, for weekday Masses Responsorial psalms have been provided from the current Lectionary to match the particular character of each day."