Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Yesterday I celebrated the Extraordinary Form Low Mass for Tuesday in the Octave of Pentecost. The Mass had its own propers and prayers and the Preface of the Holy Spirit was used. The EF Lectionary had it own readings and the Pentecost Sequence followed the Gradual. Since is was a Low Mass, the readings were in English including the Sequence. (I have a 1965 English Lectionary which has been most helpful with these Masses.)

What a pity that the reforms of 1970 did not maintain the Octave of Pentecost. It could easily be reinstated and I would hope that this is on the table for discussion in the Congregation for Divine Worship. The Octave of Pentecost would conclude marvelously with the Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity this coming Sunday. Pentecost needs to be extended and celebrated with an Octave! It is a no brainer.

But let's talk about something that I do like about the 1970's reforms and there are many aspects of that reform that are worthy. The most worthy is the 1970's classification of liturgical days. Even after almost 7 years of celebrating the EF Mass I am still baffled by the various designations of various classes for the Masses celebrated. The OF's designations are wonderful and simple.

There are four designations for daily Masses. The highest is the "Solemnity." Solemnities have the Gloria and the Credo and usually the full array of readings as in the Sunday's OF lectionary. During the week for Solemnities I use the legitimate option of the Apostles' Creed rather than the Nicene Creed.

The next highest is the "Feast." The Gloria is mandated but not the Creed. The lectionary readings omit one reading as is done for daily Mass.

Then comes the capital "M" Memorial. It is obligatory to be used, but the Gloria and Credo are omitted.

Finally is the little "m" memorial. It is optional. I'm not sure why it is optional and why this decision is left to the discretion of the  priest to make.

When there is no special designation for a daily Mass, the "ordo" makes recommendations as to which daily Mass the priest may use. Usually these designations are based upon the on-going daily readings of the lectionary. Again, the determination is made by the priest who celebrates that Mass. He may choose not to follow the ordo's recommendation.  There are many votive Masses the priest can use as well, all based upon his preferences.

As I've written before and I'll write it again, I love the revised English Roman Missal in terms of everything that is included in it and the various options available. I would not in any way recommend doing away with this Missal and going exclusively to the 1962 Missal even if it were allowed in the new and glorious English translation of the Ordinary Form Roman Missal.

However, with the Ordinary Form Missal and to make it more like the Extraordinary Form Mass, I would love to see the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar" mandated once again even if it is privately done by the priest and servers at a Sung Mass, while the Introit is chanted. And these prayers prayed at the Foot of the Altar ad orientem could still accompany a Mass which otherwise is prayed facing the congregation.

As well the older Offertory Prayers and the Last Gospel could easily be reinstated without much fuss. However I prefer the Ordinary Form's Final Blessing prior to the Dismissal. And I would recommend if the Last Gospel is reinstated, that the "Go in Peace" follow it. It just makes logical sense. 

I would pray that the Propers would once again be mandated and not just one of four options as it is currently in the Ordinary Form Missal's GIRM. I still would suggest that a processional hymn could still be sung for the procession and the Introit begun after the priest arrives at the Foot of the altar. And certainly filler chants could be used at the Offertory and Communion in addition to the official propers. 


John said...

I like the your suggestions Father. Are they seriously being considered by the Congregation for worship?

JBS said...

Hmmm. As for the calendar, for the most part it has little effect in the lives of laymen. With the Roman Rite now having two calendars, we both observe and omit the Pentecost Octave and similar features, but these occurrences affect only the clergy, religious and a handful of daily communicants. I'd suggest that we let the two calendars stand side by side for now, and perhaps the Holy Ghost will eventually prompt a merger in the future.

As for the order of Mass, it just seems silly to me when some folks maintain that the long-standing order codified by Trent could be disposed of simply and quickly, but that the committee-generated order fashioned in the late Sixties cannot now be modified. Surely we can look back to 1970 and see that perhaps the reformers cut out a bit too much here and there, and added unnecessarily with this and that. Therefore, I think a new, simpler missal, more reflective of the Roman liturgical tradition, is called for. Place Fr. McDonald and Pater Ignotus on the committee!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

John I think everything is up in the air as to how liturgical renewal will progress. But with that said, we know that the revised Anglican Use Mass with revisions that allow for the options in the appendix of this Roman Missal for the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the older offertory prayers and the Last Gospel, were studied and confirmed by both the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Divine Worship and ultimately approved by Pope Francis, although much of the deliberation on this would have been under Pope Benedict who had a keen interest in the beauty of the Liturgy and the "reform of the reform." The "reform of the reform" philosophy seems to be set aside currently, but I think there will be a revival of it as we come to appreciate Pope Benedict's Magisterium more and more, especially his academic keenness and liturgical acumen.

Anonymous said...

Fr. McDonald, the EF and OF are absolutely identical in their categories for the liturgical classification of days. They have the same four classes of feastdays, expressing exactly the same order of precedence in both forms forms:

Class 1 - Solemnity
Class 2 - Feast
Class 3 - Memorial
Class 4 - Feria

Since a ferial day has no liturgy of its own to take precedence over anything else, any saint whose calendar day it is (in the Martyrology) can be optionally memorialized (which you correctly take as the meaning of the small "m" memorial). But since a feria does not preclude any other admissible option, the priest can also celebrate a votive Mass, or the Mass of the preceding Sunday, etc.

So really there is no confusion or ambiguity in any of this, particularly since in 1962 the EF calendar was "Bugnini-ized" by the reduction of the preceding more complicated scheme to the four liturgical classifications 1 through 4, in preparation for the solemnity / feast / memorial / feria designations already then in the works. (Indeed, I and other EF folks tend to use occasionally these same terms in reference to EF feasts).

Desiree said...

I was sick yesterday and unable to go to Latin Mass. I was so upset! Summer makes it much easier to make it at 5 from Robins. I'm looking forward to next Tuesday.
Meanwhile, I'm observing the Ember Days by fasting and praying.

Do you do marriage blessings in Latin? As converts, Dan and I would like to get that done!

John Nolan said...

The Novus Ordo could have conformed to the classification of feasts as revised by 1962; instead the reformers embarked on a whole scale revision of the calendar. The abolition of privileged octaves and the season of Septuagesima (very ancient and still observed in the Eastern Churches, not to mention the post-Reformation Anglican Church) plus the seemingly arbitrary changes in saints' days, was done for a simple reason - to make it as impracticable as possible to celebrate the older Rite. They wanted a rupture and thanks to Paul VI they got it.

Anonymous said...

Of course, most of the venerable old octaves--all except Christmas, Easter. and Pentecost--were already abolished ("Bugnini-ized") in the 1962 calendar which was promulgated under John XXIII but developed by the liturgy revision committee (on which Bugnini was a central figure) previously appointed by Pius XII, all of whose revisions, including the 1955 revision of the Holy Week rites, were precursors to the Novus Ordo.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

I've heard it said many times that there once were a total of THIRTY-SIX holy days of obligation, yet I cannot seem to find any reference list naming them all.

Anyone out there have the old "list"?

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

Desiree said...

Do you do marriage blessings I'm Latin? Please let me know. Thank you!

Desiree said...

Ugh. IN Latin.

Gene said...

Desiree, That's funny…you look Irish. LOL!

Desiree said...

Haha! Stupid auto correct!

I'm a pure mutt though. I have a chunk of Czech in the mix. Lol

When will it get an answer? :/