Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This Penitential Act Prelude at the Foot of the Altar has some visual pizazz!

The current Penitential Act with its multiple options is very weak and visually uninspiring. It is sterile.
I've posted before that the Penitential Act should be a prelude before the Mass, like, let me see, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and that we could, let me see, use the "Requiem version" of the 1962 missal which eliminates Psalm 42 and maybe revise the Confiteor to the current one or simply keep the other one with Sts. Peter and Paul in it and add "in what I have failed to do." Then after this, the "Official Introit" would be chanted as the priest, now cleansed of sin, approaches the altar and kisses it. He may also incense it before going to his chair to preside for the singing of the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect and with the greeting "The Lord be with you" immediately prior to the Collect. It seems so traditional to do it this way, no?


P. IN THE NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

V: I will go in unto the Altar of God.
R: To God, Who gives joy to my youth.

A. I confess to Almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the Saints, and to you brothers and sisters, that I have sinned exceedingly, in thought, word and deed, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray to the Lord our God for me.

V.May Almighty God have mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to life everlasting.
R. Amen

V. You will turn, O God, and bring us to life.
R. And your people shall rejoice in Thee.
V. Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
R. And grant us your salvation.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto You.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit

V. Let us pray:

Priest in silent voice prays as he approaches the altar:

Take away from us our iniquities, we entreat Thee, O Lord, that with pure minds we may worthily enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Priest kisses the altar and in silent voice prays:

We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Saints, whose relics are here, and of all the Saints, that Thou wilt deign to pardon me all my sins. Amen

If incense is used, the altar is incensed with its crucifix. Then the priest goes to his chair for the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.


SonofMonica said...

Beautiful. I would love this.

rcg said...

I like the idea of the Confiteor being at the beginning of Mass and the reverential address and approach to the altar. Nice combination of the two forms of the Act, too.

I bet you merge full speed into traffic!!! LOL!

Marc said...

Simply returning to the priest being "tied" to the altar during Mass instead of "presiding" at a chair would make a huge difference, particularly in the Penitential Rite.

Bishops celebrate Mass from the throne because the Mass happens where the Bishop is due to the fullness of Orders. The priest is tied to the altar because he is the bishop's assistant/representative. Perhaps the change here has been a partial cause of some of the, let's say, inventive heads priests have had since the Council...

Pater Ignotus said...

Bishops do not have "thrones" they have cathedras. And bishops do not celebrate mass from the "throne." The mass "happens" where the sacrifice is offered - at the altar.

Priests are not "assistants" to the bishop, just as bishops are not "assistants" to the Bishop of Rome.

Vonny Von said...

now, when did they use this Penitential Rite?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Vonito, this is just my ultra liberal musing about what could be--no one should use this in the Ordinary Form Mass, but why it couldn't be is a good question--but the Holy Father would have to authorize such a change to the Order of Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Marc said...


Bishops do have thrones.

A bishop presides, or officiates, the Mass from the Episcopal Throne until the Offertory, where he then goes to the altar. At a Solemn Pontifical Mass, the action of the Mass happens where the bishop is. For the Liturgy of the Catechumens, that is at the Episcopal Throne (or faldstool, as the case may be). After the Offertory, the action of the Mass occurs at the altar. Priests, on the other hand, do not preside, or officiate, as do bishops; therefore, they remain at the altar for the actions of the Mass (which would not include the times when the priest sits during the chanting of the Gloria and Credo, as the priest has already completed those prayers when he sits to await the completed chanting).

Priests are assistants/representatives of the bishop to the local Church.

I have no idea what the relationship of bishops to the Pope has to do with anything.

John Nolan said...

This gets more interesting by the minute. What you are suggesting looks a bit like the 1965 revision (although that retained the double Confiteor) but before we get too nostalgic about 1965 remember this was always intended as an interim stage, and little after two years later was replaced (see Tres Abhinc Annos) by something close to the NO. Joseph Gelineau SJ was able to boast in that year; "The Roman Rite is no more; it has been destroyed". (1967)

It is true that in some pre-Tridentine uses Ps 42 was not said at the Foot of the Altar (Sarum has the priest reciting it as he leaves the sacristy) but looking at the absence of psalm texts in the Ordinary of the NO compared with the EF it might be advisable to retain it.

The trouble is, that when you start trying to 'improve' the NO you find that at almost every point it is inferior to the Usus Antiquior, and so you end up back in 1962. The same could be said for the Ritual and the Office, although the latter was badly mutilated at the beginning of the 20th century (by St Pius X, no less).

Pater Ignotus said...

Bishops do not have thrones, they have cathedras.

Priests do preside. GIRM #310: "The chair of the Priest Celebrant must signify his PRESIDING over the gathering..." (caps mine). It goes without saying that a priest does not preside "as do bishops" because we aren't bishops. Nonetheless, we do preside as priests.

The actions of the mass include the presider's prayers, which are prayed from the chair.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI and Marc, I think apples and oranges are being discussed here. One needs to make distinctions between the GIRMs of the EF and OF when debating. I suspect Marc is speaking of the EF an PI of the OF and thus both are right?

Marc said...

Yes, I am speaking of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. My original point was that the priest being "tied" to the altar in the Tridentine Rite makes a major difference in the Mass, particularly at the Penitential Rite. I suspect that pulling the priest away from the altar to a "presider's" position has contributed to some of the erroneous leanings in the Mass following the Second Vatican Council.

Frankly, after seeing the Mass celebrated "at the altar", it is a marked difference to see a priest "presiding" from a chair. The effect of this has not really been discussed on this blog. So, I thought I'd mention it in connection with the Penitential Rite being discussed as they are related because the priest begins the Novus Ordo Mass away from the altar - an "unnatural" position for the priest to find himself in in the Roman Rite (historically), but not unnatural for bishops, who have presided from the Throne for a millenia (or longer?).

In both the ordinary and extraordinary forms, the bishop has a throne (also called a cathedra).

I don't know the rubrics for bishops during the Novus Ordo version of the Solemn "Pontifical" Mass - my guess is that it isn't really that different from a regular Novus Ordo Mass with a priest. I'm not qualified to speak about the Novus Ordo rubrics...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Cathedra can have a variety of definitions in English and Bishop's Throne is far from archaic, although priest's throne is in my bathroom in the church...

ca·the·dra (k-thdr)
n. pl. ca·the·drae (-dr)
1. A bishop's official chair or throne.
2. The office or see of a bishop.
3. The official chair of an office or a position, as of a professor.
[Middle English, from Latin, chair, from Greek kathedr : kat-, kata-, cata- + hedr, seat; see sed- in Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
cathedra [kəˈθiːdrə]
1. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) a bishop's throne
2. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) the office or rank of a bishop
3. (Christianity / Roman Catholic Church) See ex cathedra
[from Latin: chair]

John Nolan said...

Where the OF differs from the EF, what parts of the former would one wish to retain in a future reform? Not the penitential rite, we are all agreed on that. Nor the Offertory prayers. Nor Eucharistic Prayers II, III and IV. EP II isn't actually the 'Canon of Hippolytus' and in any case most liturgical scholars now agree that it was never an anaphora. III and IV have their merits but they are a 1960s fabrication and not in the least traditional. Certainly not the Lectionary, an unmitigated disaster. As for the General Intercessions they are either a useless repetition of what occurs later in the Mass or an invitation to assent to someone else's pious platitudes - an unwelcome interlude between the Credo and the Offertory.

One might wish to retain the sung Oratio Super Oblata and Per Ipsum, along with everyone joining in the Pater Noster; and the sung Embolism does musically balance the Sung Preface. And Ite Missa Est after the Blessing. But wait a minute - these changes (along with other less welcome ones) actually predate the Novus Ordo, some by six years.

It seems that Paul VI was keen to sign the NO into existence to provide some stability at a time of headlong experimentation; by 1969 there were no fewer than 200 ad hoc Eucharistic prayers in circulation in France alone. The Mass of 1970 will not endure - it is a house built on sand.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

While I think the Ordinary Form of the Mass will be revised, but not under this papacy, I do think that we should not raise false expectations about this reform. I don't think it will be radically different than what we have and what Pope Benedict is modeling may well be it--so I don't hold out too much hope for the points you make. But and this is a big but, I could see the current revised 2012 missal with an EF Order of Mass in English--that would be very, very simple to do.