Monday, July 23, 2012


I've come across this time warp of Ordinary Form Masses, one the first from 1960 highlighting the Dominican Monastic tradition and liturgy of that time.

One is a movie, but I think the producers filmed a Catholic Mass as it was celebrated in 1944. It is fascinating. It is a Solemn High Mass and has the chanted Confiteor prior the the laity's Communion with the additional absolution. This is removed in the 1962 missal.

Then there is a Carmelite experience and finally a Protestant Episcopal Mass for Easter Sunday, which is another take on the Tridentine Mass which is a part of their heritage too. Sad they lost their Holy Orders along the way, although some Episcopal priests have gone to great lengths to be ordained by a validly ordained bishop in the eyes of the Catholic Church, not anyone in full communion, but who is considered to have valid orders which Anglican orders don't have completely, but I think we can say that God supplies what is lacking if intention and dogma is present, I could be wrong, though, but somehow I think God is pleased with this Episcopal Mass.

At any rate, enjoy these Ordinary, Normative Form Masses at the time they were actually celebrated:

Part I:

Part II:

Scene from Christmas Holiday released by Universal Studios, 1944:
The Carmelite Rite as it was/is: And if the Protestant Episcopal Church can do it so well, why can't we as the norm in the Catholic Church?:


Henry Edwards said...

"It is a Solemn High Mass and has the chanted Confiteor prior the the laity's Communion with the additional absolution. This is removed in the 1962 missal."

Although this so-called second Confiteor was removed from the 1962 rubrics, the FSSP Ordo says it may still used "where it is currently established practice". In effect, this is almost everywhere, especially (it seems) in those traditional communities (e.g. FSSP and ICK) that report directly to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei--where I personally have never seen a TLM without it, including even the daily low Mass web cast on by the FSSP. I say "even" here because the higher the ceremony, the more likely seems the inclusion of the second (actually third) Confiteor. Perhaps because it is (I understand) still included in the Ceremoniale for pontifical Masses, and so is always seen in the big pontifical Masses celebrated by prominent bishops and cardinals. Perhaps some take its appearance in these high profile Masses as further authorization.

ytc said...

Yes, the second Confiteor is still used in regular Masses as per geographic tradition.

The second Confiteor is additionally chanted at all sung Pontifical Masses, and this is actually retained in the rubrics themselves.

Carol H. said...

Very interesting, Father (although I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that swinging thurible)!

Pater Ignotus said...

The mysteries being celebrated are timeless. The rite used is entirely a product of its time and culture.

Marc said...

I likewise have never seen a TLM without it (except at St. Joseph): whether it be FSSP, ICK, or SSPX.

I rather like its inclusion, particularly because the "first" Confiteor is typically going on during the chanting of the Introit and so does not involve the congregation (rightly so since it is the Confiteor for those serving at the altar before approaching).

Joseph Johnson said...

Fr. Ignotus,
Would you then not agree that priests should also take special care that the Novus Ordo Missae of Paul VI is celebrated in such a way (in the hermeneutic of continuity with the organically developed rite that immediately preceded it) that it too does not also entirely appear to be a product of its time and culture (the latter half of the 1960's)?

Are we a 2000 year old Church with a liturgical patrimony spanning that entire period or are we a 2000 year old Church that idolizes and emulates only 1960's and 1970's era historical reconstructions of "early Church" liturgical practices which were promulgated in a new version of the rite which must be practiced only according to a post 1960's ethos? What's wrong with incorporating elements from the Church of 600, 1000, 1550, 1750 or 1910? Why must it only be the first century Church applied in the present day through the lense of the 1960's?

Except for the basic premises of the civil rights movement (basic human rights and equality but not affirmative action or political demagoguery in the name of civil rights) I happen to believe that a lot of things (not just in the Church) went "off the rails" during and after the 1960's. I have no love for that period and I certainly don't like having the Church I love for its beliefs and history being permanently hijacked and appropriated by leftovers and latter-day admirers of that period of social breakdown and upheaval.

In the final analyses, the twentieth century may have been "the killing century" but at least, until the 1960's, it had some social norms and we had a less fragmented society (blue collar folks, as a matter of wanting to look respectable, used to more readily emulate the clean-cut middle class look--now they want to look like pirates and motorcycle gang members and only bankers, attorneys, and funeral directors retain that early to mid-20th century norm of outward appearance).

At the top of our secular culture during part of this period, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, despite their political differences, still both adhered to these societal norms. I long for a return to this conformity and I find it grating when I see the Church doing things that exhibit a longing for the very period of history (the 1960's and 1970's) that destroyed that societal conformity (the lack of which is indicative, I believe, of deeper and much more serious problems of a lack of universal societal values than merely the unwillingness to conform to that barbered, suited, starch-collared and hatted appearance that I personally admire).

Pater Ignotus said...

JJ - The mass and the sacraments should be celebrated according to the approved ritual books. The Mass of Paul VI is not a product of the latter half of the 1960's. (Nor is it the product of the infamous and entirely made up "Six Protestant Ministers.")

That you would suggest incorporating elements of the ritual from 600, 1000, 1550, 1750, or 1910 indicates that there must be a willingness to remove those elements that are determined to be "accretions" or unnecessary. This is always a good idea. Removing those elements is not a "hijacking" of the ritual, but a legitimate reform.

Marc said...

The question is how is it determined that particular elements are "'accretions' or unnecessary." I suspect we would have a difficult time coming to agreement on that. Many aspects of the previous Tridentine-style Rite are removed, such as the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Their removal tends to indicate they were seen by liturgical reformers of the 20th Century as unnecessary. I think we could both come up with compelling arguments regarding the necessity (or lack thereof) of those prayers. My argument would, among other things, include citation to the development of those prayers over many centuries, including their original use as private vesting prayers. Your argument would likely include pointing out that they were not part of the original liturgical structure of the Mass, but a later addition rendered duplicative when a group Penitential Act is implemented (as it may have been in the early Church).

I don't mean to debate that issue here, just to point out that we can both present arguments from history about the necessity (or lack thereof) of any particular aspect of the Mass (save the Consecration). So, we would first have to agree on a methodology for analyzing development in the liturgy. I happen to believe the Church has taught pretty clearly a proper understanding of liturgical development - most recently in Mediator Dei. Even so, I again doubt our particular camps could agree that that is a proper framework because I suspect you have a different basis for your understanding of liturgical development.

Henry Edwards said...

Apparently, no one else has looked at the Episcopal solemn high Mass. You don't have watch the whole thing. You can step through it via mouse-clicks on the slider at bottom, so as to quickly check the high points. Basically, an ad orientem Novus Ordo (e.g., EP II) with Anglican textual enhancements, but with Tridentine rubrics (e.g., genuflection before and after each elevation). Sung Elizabethan vernacular, except the Ordinary (Gloria, Sanctus, etc) in Latin (Haydn setting), and concluding with the Regina Coeli (in English) and its Marian collect. Lots and lots of smells and bells, no one swings a thurible like an Anglican thurifer.

Whatever the provenance of the Novus Ordo and the effect it's had on the belief of Catholics, one may well wonder why one does not see in Catholic parishes such a convincing argument in favor of vernacular liturgy as in the typical high Episcopal parish.

John Nolan said...

Last Sunday I was in Trier (Germany) and experienced a normal parish Mass with organ accompaniment. The parish Mass book used throughout Germany is 'Gotteslob' which means there is a certain degree of liturgical uniformity. It does contain Latin chant settings of the ordinary but these are rarely used in practice.

Altars either exhibit the strange continental 'asymmetrical' arrangement - two stubby candles at one end, a vase of flowers at the other - or are of the cuboid type with the candles on the steps. Celebrants tend to be properly vested in 'modern' chasubles which are often of good non-minimalist design.

Instead of the Gloria the congregation sing a metrical hymn to a chorale-like melody which is about praising God but makes no effort to replicate the original text. Odder still, the Credo is treated in the same way. (However, at choral Masses with Latin settings, Credo III is usually sung).

The atmosphere is more formal than happy-clappy unless the celebration is specifically for children or 'yoof'. Music and ambience are more Lutheran than Catholic (in this writers opinion) although there will still be doctrinal differences. By the way, you can always distinguish a Lutheran church from a Catholic one, as the former will have an ad orientem high altar surmounted by a prominent crucifix flanked by tall candles - often six of them!

ytc said...

Excuse me, John Nolan, but the ad orientem altars are contained in Lutheran churches but not Catholic ones?

How long Lord...

John Nolan said...


The first thing you notice on entering a Lutheran church is the large crucifix in the centre of the altar; it is usually realistic rather than stylized. The great Romanesque cathedral of Trier has been horribly wreckovated, its old high altar stripped and rendered unusable since the steps have been removed, and a ghastly blue-and-white cube placed at the crossing. Its dimensions are such that it would be well-nigh impossible to celebrate a TLM at it.

In Baroque churches the high altars are of too great artistic value to be messed around with, so a temporary 'Volksaltar' is placed in the middle of the sanctuary. Such churches could easily be restored to proper liturgy.

Germany has a Church Tax, and churches are well looked after. Side altars are not abandoned as in France or Spain, and in southern Germany you still see the 18th century decorated altar cards in place, although for the time being they are not used.