Friday, June 29, 2012


It is remarkable that the Anglicans are singing this and quite remarkably, which isn't remarkable!

Many criticize the Sistine Chapel Choir for not being as good as they should be. Well, Westminster Abbey Choir (Church of England!) sang the Mass this morning for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, singing Latin chant and some Anglican style music putting to rest the notion that the Sistine choir is almost as good. It isn't!

There is no reason on God's good earth that the Vatican cannot have a top rated choir, it is improving and for them to hear the Westminster Abbey choir sing along with them and separately will certainly inspire excellence in style for the Sistine Choir. Ecumenism is good!

The Pallium was imposed on the new Metropolitans as a prelude to the Mass. As soon as the Pallium ceremony concluded, the Mass began with the Sign of the Cross, greeting, penitential act and Kyrie and the Gloria by the Westminster Abbey Choir. The pope should have worn cope for this prelude and changed into chasuble for the Mass, oh well.

As is the custom in Rome for concelebrated Masses which should become the norm in the USA, the concelebrants do not receive the Sacred Host during the Agnus Dei as is the custom here, but rather they approach the altar as others are receiving Holy Communion, take the host from a ciborium and intinct (dip)the Most Sacred Host into a chalice of the Most Precious Blood. It is very sanitary to say the least and quite acceptable!

At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father greeted the choir directors of the Westminster Abbey Choir which sang directly behind the altar, then the Holy Father knelt at the "confessio" of Saint Peter and the choir sang marvelously "Tu Es Petrus!" It doesn't get any more ecumenical than that!


Pater Ignotus said...

There's nothing "unsanitary" about using the common cup for communion.
You have a greater chance of catching a deadly disease from shaking hands with your conjgregation before/after mass.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, good PI, when one shakes hands and places hands in or around the lips and mouth, one catches germs. The same is true of the chalice that is placed on multiple mouths. The bishops didn't ban the chalice during the swine flu epidemic because there was no chance of contracting that flu from the common chalice. And if that flu can be contracted so can cold sores, pink eye and a whole host of other maladies.
Thus, the good Italians who operate from the simple logic of common sense do not temp nature and thus all the bishops who concelebrated in Rome today, intincted their host which they took from the ciborium on the altar next to the chalice. Common sense and not tempting nature are very wise and a lesson stupid American should learn.

Henry said...

I suspect that it was less a matter of precaution than one of propriety--that solemnity is enhanced when only the (principal) celebrant picks up the Precious Chalice and drinks from it. Perhaps this is what's worst about phalanxes of EHMC's with chalices--the plain if not offensive impropriety of the sight.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father, No one ever said there was "no chance." You set up a straw man.

"Simple logic" doesn't cut the mustard in epidemiology. It was "simple logic" for centuries that many deadly diseasesd were spread by "bad air," hence the name "malaria. It was "simple logic" that kept African Americans out of Catholic seminaries for centuries. All that "simple logic" was, of course, balderdash.

Shaking hands is a more effective vector for the spread of bacteria and/or viruses.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The straw man is this hands bit. It is mouth contact with a surface that has germs. Yes hand to mouth after touching stuff, including shaking hands and then touch your mouth is inadvisable just as putting you mouth on something that someone else's mouth has been on and multiple times and probably after they have touched someone else's hands and then put their hand to their mouth! Common sense dictates not putting you mouth in close proximity of germ surfaces, period. No straw man here!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of anyone getting sick by simply touching a surface infected with germs. It's the act of transferring those germs from your hand to either your mouth, nose, eyes, or ears that causes sickness. That being said, Fr. A is completely correct...if you are going to directly place your mouth on a surface, the likelihood of contracting a virus is much higher than if you were simply shaking hands with someone. If viruses/bacteria are spread easier by shaking hands, I propose dropping the sign of peace.

ytc said...

Wow PI, thanks for ruining the party.

And yes I think it would be a good thing if the Pope would have processed in cope or choir dress.

But this was a good Mass nevertheless. It truly was something hearing the Anglicans singing "Tu Es Petrus."

Henry Edwards said...

"I propose dropping the sign of peace.

Another good idea, since an exchange of human good will has no tradition or place in the liturgy.

On the other hand, an appropriate sign of Christ's peace, passed first from priest on the altar, thence from him to the sacred ministers, then from them down the line from one person to the next, is proper and traditional. But any hale-hearty "and with you" exchange is a perversion in both intent and practice.

Goodness, how far we have fallen, that things ridiculous in liturgical context seem perfectly normal to most ordinary folks.

Anonymous said...

What about parents wanting to protect their children from contracting Herpes Simplex II virus (i.e. fever blisters)for example?
Which as you all know is non-curable, and can be spread to other parts of one's body.
Although not life threatening, HSII is not a pleasant virus to have by any means. Google some images and you'll see what I mean.

We tell our children not to share drinks with their friends, but then are faced with everyone receiving from a common chalice.
It does put us parents in quite a pickle!
And it doesn't make the Church look to good in the eyes of our kids regarding this topic.

"Mommy, you tell me not to drink from other peple's glasses, but everyone drinks from the same cup at Mass."

I want my child to have the opportunity to receive the Precious Blood if everyone else does, yet the chance of catching a virus is indeed real. So what is a parent to do?
It isn't right that the Church puts parents in this my opinion.

Intinction levels the playing field for all, regardless of one's personal level of germophobia.

This is one issue Holy Mother Church should address as a sign of her concern for her children (of all ages) my opinion.

~ Dr. SL

Anonymous said...

Shaking hands is indeed a great way to spread tons of germs also.
At least hand sanitizer is now an option.

They need to invent a lip sanitizer.

John Nolan said...

During the swine 'flu scare a local church emptied the holy water stoups and didn't offer the Chalice. The bishops insisted that Communion be in the hand only, which might be considered to have been ultra vires, or as the Scots would say 'outwith their competence'. Everyone still glad-handed everyone within reach before receiving ... in the hand. Needless to say the collection plate was passed from hand to hand!

My tip for avoiding the 'holy handshake' without appearing discourteous: as soon as the 'Offerte vobis pacem' is announced, turn to your neighbour on either side, and with your hands joined, bow and say 'pax tecum'. If someone in front turns round, do likewise. Don't turn round yourself.

In the sanctuary the correct liturgical form of the Pax must be used. I have seen bishop, deacon, concelebrating priests and servers milling around greeting each other as if they were at a race meeting. It was not an edifying spectacle.

ytc said...

And as soon as that dreaded "offerte vobis pacem" is said, let the Agnus Dei begin.

Henry Edwards said...

If a comment on topic is not too incongruous here, I might ask if anyone else noticed--not merely that, after intoning the initial 4 words of each, Pope Benedict and the congregation immediately sat down for the rest of the polyphonic Gloria and Credo--but that he and they stood and bowed at the Et incarnatus est in the Credo, then sat down again after the Et homo factus est. To me, this seemed as impressive as kneeling at the Et incarnatus est in the EF.

ytc said...

Henry, yes.

I've always thought that standing through the Credo and just bowing for the Et incarnatus est was a bit of a rubrical error on the part of the scissors-and-pastepots of the Consilium. Genuflecting is more of a "positive action" in the sense that it requires a certain action for it to be registered as a genuflection. That is, you either genuflect or you don't; there really isn't much grey area.

Whereas with bowing it is more difficult to ensure that the action is done since there is much more grey area. Simple bow, moderate bow, profound bow? And what is even meant by each of these? A genuflection is either done or it isn't. With bows there is considerable latitude in the action.

I should say that I am not against bowing in principle of course, but I question its effectiveness as an action at this part of the Mass. So many times when I attend the Novus Ordo--at different parishes mind you--I never see anyone bow, even the celebrant.

Another thing is that for the priest, the Credo in the Novus Ordo is said from his chair, while in the EF it is said at the altar. When the priest is off to the side, the people might be less likely to look at him for visual cues. If he is at the center of the altar it is easy to see him, especially since the altar is raised up.

This is one thing I would like to see changed. That is, to go from a bow to a genuflection in the Credo.

Henry Edwards said...

ytc, I couldn't agree more on the need to genuflect rather than merely bow at the Incarnatus est in the Creed. That is, when standing and reciting or chanting the Creed in common.

My point was that it's different when everyone's sitting and listening to a polyphonic Credo sung by the choir. In this case, everyone standing and bowing deeply, then sitting again after the Homo factus est, may be just as meaningful (and visible) a change of posture as genuflecting from a standing position.

So I though this was one of the more significant recent "innovations" in papal liturgies.