Sunday, January 25, 2015

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE TRANSCENDENCE OF THE MASS OF THE AGES

Below is a vintage Mass from Christmas Day, 1962. What I notice is how comfortable the priest and deacons are with this Mass. They are not robotic in any way. They flow comfortably in their Liturgical prayer. Please note too the lovely Gothic vestments. I remember this style from youth in Georgia concerning this Mass, not the Roman ones. I prefer the Gothic style.

Please note too, that there is a Latin hymn prior to the Introit for the procession.

What I have not particularly appreciated about the EF High and Solemn High Masses is that there are virtually two Masses going on at one time, one is a concert Mass, the choir's parts and these are independent of the priest's parts which even though sung by the choir, the priest still must recite in a low voice. However, when you watch this video, you note that the choir accompaniment even if not in sync with the priest's prayers adds a sense of mystery and overlay to the actions of the altar.

Please note the reverence shown to the priest by the deacons, the care they take with him. Is this directed to the person of the priest or is it directed to the Eternal High Priest which the human priest represents liturgically and sacramentally? This sense of showing reverence for the priest during the Mass is tied into the reverence due Christ. This is lost in the stripping of this Mass to formulate the Mass that devolved from this.

Now that I celebrate the 1962 Missal it is amazing to me that the prayers and ways of chanting are exactly what I do--a sense of connection to our history! I can chant better though, than this priest celebrant!

Please note too how the congregation is incensed. Looks like a liberty or creativity to me.

The Mass begins at about minute 5:20 and the commentary is excellent:

Another High Mass, the commentator says why only the priest receives Holy Communion at this Mass. Perhaps this is a bit too clerical?:
 


32 comments:

John Nolan said...

Ushaw College was the seminary for the northern dioceses of England and had over 400 students then; it closed two years ago.

Those with sharp eyes will spot the rubrical changes in the 1962 Mass compared with that of 1960. Note that the priest does not bow to the crucifix when invoking the Holy Name at the end of the Collect - this particular change has now thankfully been forgotten.

As for the incensations, the deacon must incense the clergy present in choir before he incenses the subdeacon and is incensed himself. In a college chapel like this he must therefore walk the whole length of the choir. Note also how the ministers bow to the choir.

The 1960 Mass is the Solemn Sunday Mass and the students would already have attended an earlier Mass and received Communion. They could not receive again even if they wanted to, whereas the priest must communicate in order to make the Mass valid. It's not clericalism.



quicumquevult said...

The priest being the only one to receive Communion, considering the explanation given, didn't seem clerical to me. And at the moment, I'm disturbed enough by how Communion was distributed at the Manila mega-Mass that I really don't think "priest-only" Communion is a problem. Incidents like that one show that, sometimes, it's desirable.

Anonymous said...

Father, I was not around in 1962 so I would appreciate some info on the Latin Mass---specifically, what was the role of deacons compared to what we see today in the ordinary form? Also, were the roles of altar boys different back then? And finally, difference between "Gothic" and "Roman" vestments (is it just a matter of ornateness)?"

Years ago, when in graduate school at the University of Virginia, I met an Anglican priest (not affiliated even then with the liberal Episcopal Church) who has a small parish near Charlottesville, and he told me a story of how one time, some ornate vestments in Chicago were about to hit the dump (I guess in the version of simplified liturgy), and they were "rescued" and somehow ended up at his parish hundreds of miles away.

Finally---last vestment question for the day---what was or is the role of the cope in the Roman Church? Seems like it is used a lot more in Anglican churches---seems like for instance when you see any "Royal" events in England, such as a wedding, the bishop is more likely to be wearing a cope than a chasuble.

Henry said...

I did see even a whiff of anything clerical about the matter-of-fact explanation that the people did not receive holy communion because everyone present had already received communion that day--and thus could not do so at this Mass, only one holy communion per day being allowed then. But how would the viewer know this, unless told by the commentator?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The role of the deacon has changed, but there are still hints of the older role. In the EF Mass deacons are only present as the Solemn Sung Mass. They are not used for the simple High Mass (Missa Cantata) or for the low Mass. At the Solemn High Mass, the deacon is paired with a sub-deacon. Sub deacons were suppressed after Vatican II and no longer have a specific role in the OF Mass, although with the advent of SP, they are technically no longer suppressed, which is an odd situation.

The deacon read the Gospel as in the OF, but did not help distiribute Holy Communion. Someone else will have to tell us if a transitional deacon could assist with Holy Communion distributioin, do baptisms and witness marriages. There were no permenant deacons prior to Vatican, these came into place in the early 1970's and a revival of an older tradition.

In the EF Mass a priest may and often did take on the roles of deacon and subdeacon and dressed the part. So I suspect at Mass a priest dressed as a deacon could assist with Holy Communion and perhaps the priest who dressed as a sub deacon, but I am not sure.

There were more norms or rubrics for the deacon in the Solemn Mass also.

The difference between Gothic and Roman vestments is the cut and shape of the vestment. Roman Vestments plain or ornate have a fiddle look to them, what are also called fiddleback. The American version is more skimpy that the authentic Roman Vestment that is a bit fuller, but still fiddle looking.

These Roman vestments were full or skimpy, simple or ornate became despised after Vatican II as did the maniple and were dumped, thrown away, thousands of dollars worth of vestments discarded overnight and yes in dumpsters. Iconoclasm is the word for it and despicable.

The cope was used in the EF Mass by the priest only for the procession and Asperges if it was used (optional except for the principal High Mass in a parish). After the conclusion of the Asperges, the priest changed publicly into the chasable. At a Solemn High Mass a subdeacon would wear a cope for holding the paten until the appropriate time is would be placed on the altar. Other clerics of varioius ranks could wear one also, such as the MC I think. I'm not sure about why more than one sub deacon or lesser cleric would wear copes in the Solemn Form so others will have to chime in.

Vic said...

On Youtube they have other Masses from Ushaw College. I find the Requiem 1990 Mass very disturbing. It is so typical of what happened to the liturgy after the council. With the vernacular, the priest facing the people in a closed circle, the sentimental songs, and so forth, the focus became the horizontal, on the people. I am sure God fit in somewhere, but compare that with the pre-conciliar Mass where the focus was unambiguously on worshiping God, and there was plenty of participation, and in Latin. No wonder the great Catholic seminary closed. It seems they tried to resurrect instruction on the EF Mass about 4 years ago, but by then it was way too late.

John Nolan said...

The chasuble is the Eucharistic vestment for the celebrant; the cope is used for Vespers and processions before and after Mass, the Asperges being classed as such.

The Church of England abolished the Mass in the 16th century and so the chasuble went (it was only after the 19th century Oxford Movement that it made a guarded reappearance). HM the Queen is a rara avis in the CofE in that she is a sincere Protestant (the rest of her 'ecclesial community' are either agnostic or crypto-Papist) and the cope was never completely discarded.

So clerics at Westminster Abbey (a Royal Peculiar) or St Paul's wear chasubles for the Eucharist but would not presume to wear them when HM (their Supreme Governor) is present.

The assistant priest at a Pontifical High Mass is coped, and in the Sarum Use there were coped cantors. The subdeacon holds the paten in a humeral veil over his tunicle, not a cope, and in the Roman Rite the MC wears choir dress (cassock and cotta). This would apply even if the MC were a priest, and priests acting as deacon and subdeacon (which often happens) dress according to their liturgical role.

Gothic-style vestments suit a Gothic revival building, and Roman-style vestments would not be out of place either; there is, however, something incongruous about wearing Gothic vestments (or modern minimalist ones, for that matter) in a Renaissance or Baroque building.

The waters were muddied after V2 and the priest was (from 1967) allowed to retain the chasuble for the Asperges and for ceremonies after Mass (e.g. funeral rites).

By the way, Fr AJM, if you kick the women out of the sanctuary and appoint an MC (who is required in the EF High Mass) I undertake to present him with a copy of Fortescue/O'Connell which will clarify all.

Henry said...

From Fr. Hunwicke today on how this “most beautiful thing this side of heaven”, little changed in over a thousand years, virtually disappeared in the decade of the 1960s:

“how did it all collapse so quickly? Is there an answer? You may have your answer. Here is my take on it: the very power of that liturgical culture was turned against it by the Evil One. It was so wonderful a rite that one accepted without thought the authority which guaranteed such a system. And when that same authority turned brutally against it ... "Forget all that: this is what the Church tells you to do now" ... there seemed no help for it, no defence.

"Throughout Christian history, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the forms of the Liturgy rested on the auctoritas of Tradition; of the centuries which prescribed and graciously sanctified what was being done. That auctoritas was guaranteed, strongly backed up by, the (more transient) human structures of power within the Church, which preserved the Liturgy's integrity and guided its gradual and organic evolution. It was inconceivable that things could be different. Never had it been otherwise. But then, in an evil hour, those same structures did turn against the venerable and stately Roman rite. The inconceivable happened. Tradition, and ecclesiastical authority, seemed, for the very first time in two Catholic millennia, to be set against each other. Bewildered, not knowing where to turn but with great love for the Church and her authority, most of us succumbed, and submitted to one side of this terrible dichotomy."

Anonymous said...

Father M and John, thanks for your explanations of vestments for someone (myself) who grew up in the Vatican 2 era. Disturbing to hear how many of the older vestments were discarded in the 1960s.

I guess the Gothic vestments were the ones like Cardinal Burke wore in some earlier blogs...looks like the Gothic chasuble is shorter than the Roman one, which allows you to see more of the alb and stole. Seems like the Gothic is easier to maneuver in during the consecration.

The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta years ago had a high church bishop, Judson Child (1923-2004), who brought a lot of pomp and ceremony to a traditionally (though no longer) "Low Church" diocese. He would wear the cope for the first part of the Eucharist, then change to a chasuble at the offertory, perhaps to emphasize the two parts of the liturgy, the word and the Eucharist (or "word and table" as some Protestants describe the parts of Communion). There was also a former Anglican church in Columbia SC, incorporated into Rome, where the priest had the chasuble folded on the altar rail for the liturgy of the word (wore alb and stole for first portion and then wore the chasuble for the second half).



Henry said...

It was in Bishop Fulton Sheen’s narration of a classic video of a 1941 video of a solemn high Mass in Chicago, that-- in describing the cope worn by the priest during the Asperges rite—he delivers my nominee for the most savagely ironic single line uttered by a human being during the 20th century:

"The large cape worn by the celebrant is called a cope. …. Its [the cope’s] use today in continued in memory of the ancient tradition. It is a long-established principle of the Church never to completely drop from her public worship any ceremony, object, or prayer which once occupied a place in that worship."

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous at 1:24,
Actually, it is the Roman ("fiddleback," which is actually more fiddle shaped in front with the rear being more of a straight-hanging rounded kind of flap) form of the chasuble that allows more of the alb and stole to show. The Roman style does not hang down over the arms (poncho style) as does the Gothic or the slightly shorter semi-Gothic (which is the more typical pre-Conciliar Gothic form that I prefer to see if the Roman is not used).

Given that the Roman style does not cover the arms, it would seem that it would give more freedom of movement (especially at the Consecration and Elevation) than does the Gothic. It would also seem that the Roman style would be cooler to wear in hot climates if it is not made in too heavy a material.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 124 thanks Jsopeh Johnson for his answer on the chasubles. Think I like the fiddleback ones betrer.

Also to anyone---were there concelebrated Masses back in the days before Vatican 2? If not, interested in the theology behind that. Ditto if any limits on number of Masses in a day---I know in Greek Orthodox circles, a priest may offer only one Divine Liturgy (Mass) on the same altar in a given day, the theory being the sacrifice is a unique event that cannot be repeated in a single day.

Marc said...

There were probably concelebrated liturgies rather early in Church history. In the pre-Vatican II days,* concelebration occurred at ordination Masses. Concelebration probably has roots in gatherings with the bishop, of which ordination would be an example.

In the Orthodox Church, there are many reasons for having only one liturgy per day. The best reason has to do with ecclesiology in that there is one body and so one Eucharist.

Thee proliferation of multiple masses per day in a single parish probably arose in the Middle Ages where masses began to be offered for one intention. In the Orthodox Church, the liturgy is for everyone and is never celebrated for a particular intention. Nor are there ever "private liturgies" in the Orthodox Church.

So, you see, these things are influenced by a different understanding of ecclesiology.

* At some point, the West probably had the same mentality as the Orthodox Church has now. But, usually, "pre-Vatican II" means the period between Trent and Vatican II.

Henry said...

Priests do not concelebrate Mass in the EF, before or after Vatican II. A priest offers sacrifice in persona Christi. Does it really make sense to speak of a group of people standing around acting in THE PERSON of Christ?

Anonymous said...

Really Henry, does one person "standing around acting in THE PERSON of Christ" "make sense"?

There are many, many things that Catholics do and believe that don't "make sense".

JusadBellum said...

I know this is entirely off topic, but is sort of in the 'wheel house' of this blog and the skill sets of the usual suspects to examine the minute details of ritual and rubrics.

So, enjoy: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/01/ask-father-punching-the-archbishop-after-he-punches-you/

Gene said...

Anonymous, please tell us which articles of the Creed do not make sense. Which of there CCC? You have a strange Christology, btw.

George said...

Marc and Anonymous at 6:42 PM

"I know in Greek Orthodox circles, a priest may offer only one Divine Liturgy (Mass) on the same altar in a given day, the theory being the sacrifice is a unique event that cannot be repeated in a single day."

"In the Orthodox Church, there are many reasons for having only one liturgy per day. The best reason has to do with ecclesiology in that there is one body and so one Eucharist."

Interesting. I wasn't aware of that..
Maybe I'm looking at this in the wrong way, but in a city say, which has more than one Orthodox church, is there not a liturgy celebrated in each church?. And the same statewide? That is more than one liturgy per day. I know, I know it's per parish. Why is it wrong for a Catholic parish
to offer more than one Mass per day? Where does this restriction on the part of the Orthodox come from? It seem like this is imposing a Temporal restriction on something which is Eternal.

Anonymous said...

To "make sense" means to be reasonable or comprehensible. I'll decide what part of Catholicism "makes sense" to me. You decide for you.

"Faith" is believing (or trying to believe) things that you don't understand....that don't "make sense"....virgin birth, rising from the dead...creating the universe.....Of course, with all of your higher education, you probably have total comprehension and understanding of all of these things that are "mysteries" to us ignorant peasants..

Anonymous said...

The "fiddleback" is not the traditional Roman vestment, and was condemned by none less than St Charles Borromeo.

"In the 17th and particularly from the 18th century, authorised by no Ecclesiastical authority, the form of the chasuble almost universally used was that pendant-like form which we call the “Roman” chasuble. There were only a few voices raised in objection to setting aside the Tradition of the ample chasuble. And then, although it only occurred by degrees and over a period of time, that pendant form of chasuble, which to S. Charles represented such a break with Tradition, became regarded as THE legitimate Tradition. Pause to reflect on this, when you read expressions such as “Traditional Roman vestments” etc. We have the strange situation where the very dimensions of chasuble that Saint Charles strove to preserve, have been described by many latter-day “Traditionalists” as “un-traditional”!"

Juden said...

Fiddleback shmiddleback.....

Marc said...

George, having one liturgy per day flows from the ecclesiology of the Church. The Church is the Eucharist congregation of the laity surrounding their bishop. Since the bishop cannot be everywhere at once, he has priests as assistants in the various parishes. The Eucharistic community, then, is the local church with their priest. There might be multiple such communities in one town or city, but there is only one community within each parish. And so there is one Eucharist celebrated by the people in each parish.

Flavius Hesychius said...

George—

A priest or bishop may celebrate one Divine Liturgy a day on an altar. The reason a priest may not celebrate multiple Liturgies is that the priest must receive the Eucharist; at the same time, the priest is bound by the same fasting rule as everyone else: he must fast from midnight in order to receive.

Receiving the Eucharist breaks the fast, and therefore makes it impossible for another Liturgy to take place on the same day.

None of this, however, means that the 'one liturgy a day' rule is to be taken literally, as meaning there may be only one Divine Liturgy in a geographical area.

George said...

Marc and Flavius
OK, from a certain perpective I understand the explanation. I also understand there are times when a second celebration of the Divine Liturgy would not be necessary. I can also see though that, depending on what time of the day the Divine Liturgy was celebrated, and some parishioners work schedules, there may be those for whom it would not be possible to attend the one liturgy. I know that can happen in the Catholic church even with more than one Mass scheduled on a day, but it is not as likely to be as much of a problem. I'm thinking particularly of Sunday.
As far as breaking the fast, how is that possible since the priest is not partaking of mere food, but the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ?

quicumquevult said...

No, Anonymous@4:54 PM, Faith is not believing what "does not make sense"—it is believing what reaches beyond the scope of human understanding, yet all the same does not contradict reason or logic. The truths held by faith do not go *against* human reason, but *above* it. If the human mind had the capacity to grasp what it sees as mysteries of faith, it would recognize them as entirely logical. No mental gymnastics would need to be done, no other truths denied or ignored in the process.

Joseph Johnson said...

Anonymous at 5:22,
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe some of St. Charles Borromeo's personal vestments are still extant (I have seen pictures of some of them on "New Liturgical Movement"). While they are not Roman "fiddleback" in style they are also not the typical Gothic style that we see today either. As I recall, they have a distinctive shape, actually somewhat of a modified Gothic which reminds me a bit of a Roman style because of the overall shape. I believe St. Bede Studio (advertised on NLM) will still make you a set in the St. Charles cut.

Gene said...

Anonymous at 4:54, "I'll decide what part of Catholicism makes sense to me, you decide for you." That ain't how it works. That is called "cafeteria Catholicism." The Mysteries of the Faith are equally accessible to the well-educated and to the ignorant. They are not, however, accessible to the cynic, the rationalist, or the positivist. It is not a matter of rational understanding, it is a matter of a will that is humbled enough to be captured by His will. "Faith seeking understanding." That is the beauty of the Mass…all of the Mysteries of the Faith are right there for everyone to experience, from the beggar to the rich man. They are not there to analyze, theologize, or question…only to receive. It is the one place and time in our lives where our wills can be most closely attuned to His. The Faithful long for it and seek it with humble hearts.

Marc said...

George, if people can't make it to the Divinve Liturgy because of work, then they just can't make it. There's no legalistic attendance requirement. Such a one would probably discuss it with his or her priest. Maybe they could make Vespers the night before (as I do on the eve of feasts that fall on weekdays when I have to work).

Flavius, in referring to the fast, was probably talking about how difficult it would be for a priest to offer multiple liturgies without eating or drinking anything. The liturgy at my parish starts at 8:20 am and ends around 11:30 am. It would be difficult to have multiple liturgies, and it would be difficult for the priest to stand at the altar for that long without at least having some water, which is precluded by the Eucharistic Fast (a fast that begins for some the previous evening after Vespers at 5 or 6, but at the least requires taking no food or water before receiving Holy Communion).

Jdj said...

Wow, Marc that is a long DL even for the East. Does that include Orthros before the Liturgy? The one I sometimes attend here begins at 9 and usually ends about 11:30 a.m., but that includes Orthros from 9-10 am.

Jdj said...

And, Marc, I love that you stressed "no legalistic attendance requirement" in the Eastern Rite, what is stressed here is that attendance is a privilege, not an "obligation". Believe me, the parishioners see and respond to that! They only miss Divine Liturgy for illness...even the very elderly with their walkers!

Flavius Hesychius said...

Jdj—

I attend a Greek parish when I'm in Charlotte, NC, (St. Nekatarios). Orthros begins at 8h15, with the Divine Liturgy ending around 11h15-11h30 (beginning around 9h15). Marc (I believe) attends a Greek parish.

On the other hand, at my OCA parish here in Macon, we start with the third and sixth hours at 9h40, with the Liturgy itself starting circa 10, and it ends around 11h30.

In essence, the actual Liturgy is around 1.5 to 2 hours. A lot of variables change this. For example, St. Nektarios is almost completely full on Sunday, and 97% of the congregation receives. With the "Communion formula" (the servant of God X receives... etc.) the times it takes to administer the Eucharist increases.

Another variable (especially in Greek churches) is the bilingual nature of the Liturgy in ethnic parishes. At St.Nektarios the Creed, the readings, the Pater Noster, and the communion prayers are recited in both Greek and English. Naturally, this takes time. Antiochian parishes (I believe) also have this, but with Arabic instead of Greek.

Russian churches don't have this variable. The liturgy is either in Slavonic (ROCOR parishes) or English (OCA parishes). (Well... some parishes—mostly ROCOR—have adopted a Slavonic/English 'feature', but they're not common.)

Marc said...

At my parish, which is Greek, Orthros starts at 8:20 and ends around 9:45. We pray the entire canon, which makes our Orthros a little longer than some other Greek Churches.

There are other variables too: If the bishop or patriarch has written an encyclical, that might be read after the Gospel, and then there's another sermon at the end. Other times, there is just a sermon at the end and not one after the Gospel.