Thursday, December 6, 2012
WHERE HAVE ALL THE SILENTLY PRIESTLY PRAYERS GONE AND WHY DID THESE GO?
As you know, I am a great advocate of maintaining the revised Roman Missal but reverting to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass's Order of the Mass, except for the Liturgy of the Word, although I would be extremely happy to see the Word of God proclaimed from the Epistle Side and the Gospel from the Gospel side with the symbolism of facing the Liturgical North--but using the revised Lectionary, although I would like to see a Year D that is the Tridentine Missal's lectionary.
I would also like to see the 1965 Roman Missal's Order of the Mass rather than the 1962 Missal. The reason for this is that I am convinced as a priest and thus a leader of the laity that even with a Pastoral Council, we must respect the spirit and law of the bishops of that particular Council, although we should never make a pastoral Ecumenical Council into a "superdogma" that cannot be changed or modified, but of course by the only ones who can do that, the Holy Father alone, or the Holy Father with the bishops together in an Ecumenical Council.
So, apart from the Mass being Ad Orientem, I would add the following to the Order of the Mass "renewed" after Vatican II, aka, the Ordinary Form, which were removed most of which are priestly quiet prayers of a devotional quality that are important for a priestly liturgical spirituality.
In its revision, euphemistically called "renewal" the Tridentine Mass, aka, the Extraordinary Form Mass or the Traditional Latin Mass, had many private priestly prayers of a devotional spirituality. Why in the name of God and all that is holy, these were removed is beyond comprehension. But we must acknowledge that there was hysteria amongst many bishops and theologians about the priests or the congregation reciting private prayers at Mass because the Mass is communal prayer not a private devotion. What rubbish! It is both, not either or!
The First of these was the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. At a low Mass these were said aloud and the congregation could also speak them in the Dialog Mass. These were totally eliminated in the 1970 Missal, although a "Penitential Act" was maintained for both priest and congregation together, with a form of the Confiteor as optional.
The next quiet devotional priestly prayer that was totally eliminated were the two prayers the priest made as he approached 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 our Lord. Amen.
(Then kissing the altar) 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.
Then the prayer before the Gospel was terribly truncated, eliminating a beautiful Scriptural reference altogether:
Cleanse my heart and my lips, O Almighty God, Who didst cleanse the lips of the prophet Isaias with a burning coal; through Thy gracious mercy so purify me that I may worthily proclaim Thy holy gospel. through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I will not go into why the 1970 missal revised the Offertory Prayers altogether, suffice it to say that it did seem to be a mini-eucharistic prayer. But notice the quality and beauty of the traditional Offertory Prayers. What if they had simply omitted the one that sounded like a canon but kept the rest, for example eliminated what I italicize?
For the bread: Accept, O holy Father, almighty and eternal God, this unspotted host, which I, Thy unworthy servant, offer unto Thee, my living and true God, for my innumerable sins, offenses, and negligences, and for all here present: as also for all faithful Christians, both living and dead, that it may avail both me and them for salvation unto life everlasting. Amen.
Pouring of water: O God, who, in creating human nature, didst wonderfully dignify it, and still more wonderfully restore it, grant that, by the Mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His divine nature, who vouchsafed to be made partaker of our human nature, even Jesus Christ our Lord, Thy Son, who with Thee, liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God: world without end. Amen.
For the wine: We offer unto Thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, beseeching Thy clemency, that it may ascend before Thy divine Majesty, as a sweet savor, for our salvation, and for that of the whole world. Amen.
Come, O almighty and eternal God, the Sanctifier, and bless ☩ this Sacrifice, prepared for the glory of Thy holy Name
Washing of hands: I will wash my hands among the innocent: and I will compass Thine altar, O Lord That I may hear the voice of praise: and tell of all Thy wonderous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O God, with the wicked: nor my life with blood-thirsty men. In whose hands are iniquities, their right hand is filled with gifts. But I have walked in my innocence: redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the direct way, in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Prayer after washing of hands, prior to the Orate Fratres: Receive, O holy Trinity, this oblation which we make to Thee, in memory of the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honor of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, that it may avail unto their honor and our salvation, and may they vouchsafe to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prior to the priest's communion: I will take the Bread of heaven, and will call upon the Name of the Lord.
After receiving the Sacred Host but prior to the chalice: What return shall I make to the Lord for all He has given to me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies.
Prior to the Final Blessing: May the performance of my homage be pleasing to Thee, O holy Trinity: and grant that the Sacrifice which I, though unworthy, have offered up in the sight of Thy Majesty, may be acceptable to Thee, and through Thy mercy, be a propitiation for me, and for all those for whom I have offered it. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
All these beautiful, devotional prayers of the priest were esponged from the "renewed" Mass. What a pity! What in the name of God and all that is holy was the back alley committee formed by the Pope under the direction of Bishop Anabil Bugninni thinking? Oh, they weren't thinking, so they get an "F" grade in this "renewed" Liturgy and a "TU" for totally unsatisfactory!
It wouldn't take much to restore all of these to the current Roman Missal following the Order and rubrics of the 1965 Roman Missal, which by the way, allowed for Universal Prayers after the Credo and an Offertory Procession of Gifts.
As well, the 1965 Order of the Mass could accommodate RCIA liturgies easily enough as well as the current way of celebrating Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders.
So, I'm not against Vatican II's essential and mild proposal for the true "renewal" of the Mass, I am all in favor of actually following it explicitly!
Posted by Fr. Allan J. McDonald at Thursday, December 06, 2012
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I completely agree with your sentiment regarding silent prayers, but I have to disagree with your premise that the 1965 Missal is somehow more advantageous than the 1962.
There are several reasons why I hold this view:
1. This revised liturgy was never intended to be a permanent solution. It was a hurried reform to appease the liberal bishops who "couldn't wait."
2. The removal of the sacred for the profane. When the language changed from the sacred to the profane, the sacrality of the Mass began to suffer and this is what you are bemoaning today, re: silent prayers.
3. The use of the so-called "dialogue" Mass fulfilled the same functions as the Mass of 1965.
4. The Mass of 1965 was simply a means of transition and was theologically and liturgically sloppy. This Mass was/is the definition of the phrase, "change for the sake of change."
If there is one thing which I cannot support it is the 1965 Missal. The only persons I ever hear harkening for the 1965 Missal are those neo-con priests who want some sort of modified traditionalism, but are afraid to just be traditionalist.
It is my conclusion that the Mass should never have been tampered with. It should have been left alone as it existed in 1951. But, the changes that came in the 1950s (except the revision of the Triduum, which is a wholly and completely different discussion) were so unobtrusive to the sacred nature of the Mass.
To answer the questions you pose in the title can be answered in one response, the silent prayers were removed because the silence invoked a sense of the sacred which was unacceptable to those reformers who wanted to Protesantize the Mass. It was the goal of Luther to make the Mass more horizontal and the removal of silence removes the mystery and the removal of the mystery removes the sacrality.
If we return to a quieter church, we will return to a more Catholic mentality with regard to worship, word and deed.
"Noble simplicity" = removing substance. We actually haven't gone far enough in this direction.
I vote for removing ALL nonessential stuff. We should begin with the words of institution and add to them only what is absolutely necessary to constitute a valid Mass, and chuck all of the rest. That's simple. Say the words and perform the actions reverently, and you have nobility.
This would have the added benefits of reducing roles of the laity, thus reverting to a proper understanding of active participation; cutting out many things that make the priest a performer rather than a celebrant (clown Masses might still be possible, but the clown would be on stage for less time); eliminating music (goodbye Marty Haugen and Kumbaya); and giving me more time to improve my golf game.
We should also make the interior of churches simpler. Get rid of the groovy '70's statues and all of those tacky banners. Replace the abstract, weird '70's stained glass with clear glass windows instead. Get rid of the pews. Kneeling/sitting/standing is too complex and we need noble simplicity. We can all sit on the floor until the revised liturgy I'm proposing starts drawing all those fallen-away Catholics back, and then when we need more space we can stand instead.
Of course, since what I'm proposing is valid, it will still be the traditional Mass.
Andy, neither you or I are the pope, but I do insist that we must follow the plan of SC for the revision of the Mass--we'll keep the EF as an extraordinary Expression, but the current OF will be brought closer in union with it and I truly think the 1965 missal is a template. We are not going to have the EF Mass only as the Ordinary Form of the Mass again, you'll have to get use to that fact.
Where does one find a 1965 missal these days?
In almost every single sacristy in Christendom. No lie. For whatever reason, all of the 1962 Missals were thrown out, but the 1965 Missals are left. No lie.
@ Fr. McDonald;
Why do you ask the question then? Is it rhetorical and I'm just buying into the hype of it all, or are you genuinely interested in the views, opinions and thoughts of others? I fully understand that I am not Pope. I don't want to be. I've never wanted to be. But that doesn't mean that I cannot hold a theological opinion. And when you ask for answers to theological questions you pose, you may get answers that you don't like.
I have offered views, mostly supported, but occasionally innovative which are theologically discernable. At no time do I offer a position as absolute. At no time do I offer a position as authoritative. But, I also will not dismiss a position simply because it is poo-pooed. So, if you are really interested in the views of your readership, then you'll not just hold the typical line of "...you're not the pope...just accept it..." and you'll start seeing that the changes and the attitudes you keep in the hypothetical are applicable in the concrete.
If you are simply holding this blog up as a means for rhetorical questions and no discussion of your topics, why keep the comboxes open? Part of a blog like this, is that when you ask questions, people who read it will answer.
As for getting used to "that fact," actually I don't. I can simply assist at a TLM parish 100% of the time, if I so choose and I should have that offering.
Also, it is my opinion that the EF will supercede the OF eventually. it may not be immediately, but I can tell you (as can most traddies) that what we've been banging the drum about since 1970 (me, personally since 1994) is coming to pass. Slowly, but it is coming to pass. The conversations we used to have in hushed tones behind closed doors are now being held in the open.
Oh, one more thing, before I forget....if the 1962 Missal isn't going to be normative, then the 1965 will NEVER return, in any form. That is just a fact.
Perhaps you are young enough and I am old enough to recognize a number of things which that awkward generation between us will have to eventually have to get used to . . .
For instance, that SC looks almost as irrelevant and outdated today as bell bottoms and similar artifacts of the 1960s.
However, you and I must get used to the fact that Church structures are still pretty much controlled by men of that awkward generation, so it will require a subsequent generation for the Magisterium to put SC in perspective.
Including that the fact that its composition and viewpoint reflects what we might now call the PrayTellers of the 1960s.
For the real authors of SC were then as "way out" relative to the Fathers of Vatican II, as the PrayTellers now are relative to the conference of bishops.
Perhaps the one thing that has not changed is that, if you convene enough bishops in one place, they can be induced to vote "placet" on almost anything you put before them.
Sidestepping the question of the 1965 Missal, I think that the most important point that Father made is valid. The private prayers of the priest have been nearly eliminated. This should change. I think it will. I don't think the Missal of 1962 or that of 1965 will ever come back. I expect to see slow, gradual adaptations of the Missal and of the Girm to include more and more what was taken out in the iconoclasm of the 60s. For instance, I expect to see less options. More required antiphones. Perhaps some required Latin. More priestly prayers. Revisions of (and tightening of) rubrics. Etc. I think we have already seen this in the last 20 years. I think we will slowly see more of it.
It was argued that the priest's private prayers were just that, and only found their way into the missal relatively late on. Originally the reformers envisaged an Offertory rite consisting only of a procession with the 'gifts' and the Oratio super Oblata. They were made to restore a couple of traditional prayers, including the Orate Fratres, but not the most important one, the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas. In older rites, such as the 13th century Dominican, which have fewer Offertory prayers, this is the one that is used when the Host and Chalice are offered together.
The Aufer a nobis is a very important prayer, but since the NO has no PATFOTA and the priest does not approach the altar until the Offertory, it has no place. Another vital prayer, so important that it was a prime target for
16th century protestant reformers, is the Placeat. It was dropped in 1967, with a recommendation that the priest recite it as he left the altar (how many do?)
The NO is not a revision of the Roman Rite. It is not a return to earlier, less cluttered forms. It is novel, revolutionary even; any liturgical scholar (as opposed to self-styled 'liturgist') can tell you that. Its main features were agreed even before the Council met, so it isn't even "the Mass of the Council" (a meaningless phrase anyway). And we're stuck with it for the foreseeable future.
John Nolan: Can you please provide us a brief bibliography on the historical development of the Mass? I'd be very interested in doing some reading on the subject.
Michael Davies' "A Short History of the Roman Mass" is on-line at
Although Davies brief treatment is well-respected, more comphrehensive is Alcuin Reid's "The Organic Development of the Liturgy" is probably definitive, and more complete for modern developments; a review by Cardinal Ratzinger appears at
If you would indulge me, I'll give you my bibliography. I am sure that John has a great selection and mine would simply be to supplement.
1. Work of Human Hands -- Anthony Cekada
2. Holy Sacrifice of the Mass V1 and V2: Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Aesthetically Explained -- Nicolas Gihr
3. The Organic Development of the Liturgy -- Alcuin Reid
4. Pope John's Council -- Michael Davies
5. Liturgical Timebombs -- Michael Davies
6. A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975 -- Piero Marini
7. The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform -- Lazlo Dobszay
8. The Development of Liturgical Reform -- Nicola Giampietro
9. A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes -- Evelyn Waugh
10. The Ottaviani Intervention: Short Critical Study of the New Order of Mass
11. Cardinal Reflections: Active Participation And the Liturgy -- Cardinal Francis Arinze
12. Deaconesses: An Historical Study -- Aime Georges Martimort
13. Recovery of the Sacred -- James Hitchcock
Thanks for indulging my partial list. I could go deeper into my library, but this is a cursory look at my liturgical theology section.
Thank you, Father, for posting these prayers for those of us who do not know of them. They are immeasurably beautiful.
How many silent prayers remain?
I have heard very rarely:
"By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity."
...which is also beautiful, by the way, although I suppose it could be different now with the new translation.
and, "Lord wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sins.”
Are these supposed to be silent prayers in the NO? Are there more?
Steven, since the NO was promulgated in 1969 we have seen more options, not fewer, including supplementary Eucharistic Prayers. The rubrics have been relaxed, not tightened, to allow Communion standing and in the hand (1970s), EMHC (1980s) and female servers
(1990s). The only priestly prayer restored was the Quod ore sumpsimus to accompany the Ablutions, and this happened very early on, when the priest actually performed this rite rather than (as usually happens now) delegating it to others.
what emaciated prayers we have now in the NO, our chaplain says out loud...very loudly...so much for "private" prayers said "quietly" cuz every layperson needs to know exactly what the priest is praying ALL the time so they can feeeel included.
To be fair, even though I like all the traditonal things, a priest friend pointed out to me, that the new offertory prayers make clear what the oblation was (bread and wine being offered to be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ)......
According to the GIRM, the following prayers are said quietly:
1. The Munda cor meum before the Gospel.
2. The Per evangelica dicta after the Gospel.
3. ALL the Offertory prayers - Benedictus es Dominus (twice), Per huius aquae, In spiritu humilitatis, Lava me Domine. Only if there is no singing or organ is the priest permitted to say the two blessings aloud, with the people's response Benedictus Deus in saecula. And it's permissive, not mandatory.
4.The Haec commixtio at the Fraction.
5. The preparatory prayer for Communion (Domine Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi - or - Perceptio Corporis et Sanguinis).
6. Corpus Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam.
7. Sanguis Christi custodiat me in vitam aeternam.
8. Quod ore sumpsimus, at the Ablutions.
A total of twelve. In addition, Benedict XVI has suggested that the Eucharistic Prayer may be said quietly, with perhaps a slight raising of the voice at the beginning of each paragraph, and he himself says quietly the traditional prayers at the incensation of the oblations and altar.
Joe Potiller, I think the older Offertory prayers encapsulate a fuller view of exactly what the Eucharistic Sacrifice is for and does. They are abundantly clear to a poetically inclined ear.
Henry Edwards said, "...SC looks almost as irrelevant and outdated today as bell bottoms and similar artifacts of the 1960s."
While SC has some great lines and a few general principals still needing appreciation today, I agree that the document, on the whole, is becoming increasingly dated and decreasingly useful, especially for younger Catholics. The other three constitutions of VCII seem less dated, but are also less controversial and harder to set in opposition to previous Church doctrine and discipline.
What percentage of practicing Catholics today can even provide a reasonable answer to the question, "what was the purpose of VCII?", or "what was the purpose of SC?"? It may well be that the only lasting doctrinal legacy of VCII will be the Catechism of the Catholic Church, rather than the four constitutions.
Also, the "1965 Roman Missal" is really a myth. It was technically the 1962 edition of the Missal with several rubrical abbreviations, rather than a proper "edition" in the strictest sense. Since the general principals of SC easily apply to the 1962 missal as it was celebrated pre-1965, I suppose it could return as the "usual" missal if a majority of Latin-Rite Catholics adopt it. But this would have to be by popular preference, and not by hierarchical mandate.
Correct, ytc. The Trinitarian focus of the Offertory is present in older rites and in a sense it is a pity that the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas in the Tridentine Rite is not used earlier - its relegation to an add-on after the Lavabo is regrettable, and gave the post-V2 reformers an excuse to get rid of it.
Nice list, Andy and could be used in a mystagogia class
Thanks very much for the list and explanation. I appreciate it and will look it up (as I don't know Latin....at least not yet.)
Jenny, the reason I put them in Latin is that my copy of the GIRM dates from 2005 and does not give the corrected translation, and when I referred to my otherwise excellent CTS Sunday missal (Latin and new translation) I found that most of them had not been included, presumably because the people don't hear them. This seems an astonishing omission, since most of these prayers are prayed on behalf of everybody, and are in any case part or the Order of Mass.
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