Tuesday, June 19, 2012


As you watch this brief video below at a Solemn Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Ireland's recent Eucharistic Congress, please note one of the so-called "problems" of the EF Mass when sung according to the 1962 missal and not its minor 1965 revision and it is this:

There are two Masses going on simultaneously, one sacramental and the other faux. The Sacramental one is only partially sung by the priest but what is sung by the choir, the priest recites to himself and it is his recitation that is important, not the choir/congregation's sung parts, the faux parts.

For example in the brief video below, the choir has sung before this video clip the official Introit as the priest and servers recite the prayers at the foot of the altar, then the priest approaches the altar kisses it, incenses it as the choir/congregation move onto the Kyrie, but the priest lags behind the faux Mass. After incensing the altar, he goes and reads the Official Introit (Keep in mind this is a sung Mass!) Then he recites the Kyrie at the Epistle side of the altar and remains there until the Faux Mass Kyrie is completed, which takes longer than his recitation of the Kyrie, the true Mass.

Of course we do not hear the faux Gloria sung, but rest assured that after the priest introduces it in a chant fashion, the choir picks it up and he recites it while the faux Mass is sung. Of course the recitation of the true Gloria will be shorter than the faux Gloria, so the priest and his ministers will sit down to wait it out. Then he will stand, return to the altar and actually chant the Collect.

The 1965 reform of the Tridentine Mass, while remaining the Tridentine Mass, did away with the Faux Mass and made it a part of the Sacramental Mass in that the priest is directed by the rubrics not the recite any part of the Mass that the Choir sings, but to join in the singing of that part with them, thus unifying the Sacramental Mass and Faux Mass into one Mass. Yes, Virginia, this is a liturgical abuse in this 1962 missal's sung Mass and it is out in the open in the video below, but not viewed as an abuse because the abuse is beautiful, but non-liturgical, created a faux Mass and a Sacramental Mass, while not a clown Mass, is nonetheless a Mass that needs revision.

Yes, the EF Mass, the 1962 one, needed and needs reform.


Henry Edwards said...

You do a pretty good job of illustrating why the 1965 Mass is utterly unacceptable to traditional Catholics--as I understand Michael Davies convinced Cardinal Ratzinger when at some point he was thinking some 1965ish ideas.

The multiple threading and layering of the TLM is not a problem but a glory that allows it richness and texture that forced linearity deprives the OF of.

ytc said...

The layered aspect of the TLM is one of the things I like most about it. It is so aesthetically pleasing to have multiple "layers" of Mass going on at one time. One of the biggest aesthetic flaws of the OF Mass is its insistence on boring lateral celebration.

The layered aspect of the EF reflects the layered aspect of our Church quite beautifully, I think.

John Nolan said...

There are very good reasons why SP specifically opted for the 1962 Missal and not the half-baked revision of 1965 which was only in force for two years - the Tridentine Mass being given the coup de grace by Tres Abhinc Annos in 1967. 1965 was a strange hybrid; the vernacular was used for the familiar parts of the Ordinary and most parishes abandoned the traditional plainsong settings overnight in favour of new compositions of dubious worth. In England there were no official translations for the Proper preces (which might have benefited from the vernacular) and so they remained in Latin. The infamous four-hymn sandwich - alas still with us, although well past its sell-by date - made its appearance and in most parishes the sung mass disappeared. Versus populum and lay readers came in; rubrical details which long pre-dated Trent were discarded.

Had it merely been a question of not requiring the priest to recite the Gloria and Credo while it was being sung by the choir (although he could have hardly joined in the singing if it were a polyphonic setting) then a case could be made; by 1962 he was no longer required to read the epistle and gospel at a Solemn Mass. But 1965 went much further than this, and was never intended to be anything other than a transitional phase while Bugnini's Consilium beavered away at dismantling the Roman Liturgy (with the approval, it must be said, of Paul VI).