Sunday, March 9, 2014
ONE POSSIBLE SUGGESTION (NOT TO BE DONE OF COURSE) FOR THE REFORM OF THE INTRODUCTORY RITE OF THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS
As I have said before, and it is always worth repeating, over and over and over and over again, is that the Ordinary Form of the Mass needs no major changes in terms of the Missal, its General Instruction or its rubrics.
However, the one area where I think a reform of the order of things would be most helpful is in the Introductory Rite. This reform of the OF Missal with nothing else and leaving in place the "Offertory Prayers" as we have them currently, would go a long way in showing the organic unity of the EF Mass and the OF Mass.
My suggestion, or dream, and again I'm not throwing this out there for anyone to experiment, comes from the practice we've had since the 1970 Missal of having a "Penitential Rite or Act" for the priests and congregation at the beginning of Mass. There is only a vague hint of the previous "clerical" "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar" of the pre-Vatican II Missals.
In the sung Mass, in the 1962 Missal, the PATFOTA, were said silently by the priest and ministers as the choir/schola chanted a long version of the Introit. So technically it wasn't a part of the Mass, but a private devotion prayed publicly for the priest's prayerful and penitential preparation of the Mass.
In 1958 with the advent of the Dialogue Mass for the Low Mass, the congregation was invited to join in saying the parts normally reserved to the other ministers (altar boys) but still it was seen as a penitential prelude to the actual Mass, a private devotion, if you will, recited publicly.
Of course there are duplications and repetitions in these prayers in terms of the priest and then the ministers, especially with the Confiteor and absolutions.
The 1970 Missal until this day with its various editions, eliminated the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and instituted having the Penitential Rite following the "Sign of the Cross"then with the misplacing of the Greeting which in turm led to the introduction of the Penitential Act with formal words in the missal or similar words devised by each priest, spontaneously or written out.
Often times, these words that were the "similar words" became mini-homilies reflecting on the Scriptures and an examination of conscience as well, which was a total abuse of this portion of the Mass and not foreseen as the point of the Penitential Act at all.
Then amongst the too many options allowed, one of which is the truncated Confiteor, it was also allowed for the priest to make up petitions to go with the Lord, Have Mercy, if that option was chosen, again breaking ritual, adding novelty and misconstruing what this Penitential Act is meant to be. It turned it into a kind of Communal Penance Service, with a kind of sacramental absolution but no individual Confessions.
In other words, the revision of the Introductory Rite of the Mass has been somewhat of a disaster given the many options and the possibility of ad libs from the priest at this point in the Mass, completely contrary to Latin Rite Ritual and its repetitiveness.
However, in keeping with allowing the Congregation to participate in the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar in Low Masses beginning in 1958 and the nature of the Penitential Act as a congregational element in the 1970 Missal and its various subsequent editions, my suggestion for the Revision of the Ordinary Form's Introductory Rite takes this congregational participation into account as an organic development that began with the pre-Vatican II Missal and continued with the reform of the Mass especially in the revised Penitential Acts allowed. It also takes into account Vatican II's desire in SC to eliminate "useless repetition" and to enact "noble simplicity."
So, this is my suggestion based upon continuity and organic development, eliminating useless repetition and instituting noble simplicity:
A hymn is selected to accompany the procession to the Foot of the Altar. After the priest has arrived at the foot of the altar and facing the altar, the hymn is concluded and the priest begins:
P: In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
P: I will go unto the Altar of God.
A: To God, who gives joy to my youth.
P & 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, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned greatly in thought, word and deed and in what I have failed to do: (striking breast three times) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michale the Archangel blessed John the Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and you my brothers and sisters to pray to the Lord our God for me.
P: May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins and bring us to everlasting life.
P: You will turn, O God, and bring us to life.
A: And Your people shall rejoice in You.
P: Show us, O Lord, Your mercy.
A: And grant us Your salvation.
P: O Lord, hear my prayer.
A: And let my cry come unto You.
Then, as the priest ascends the altar, the official Introit is chanted as the priest says his quiet devotional prayers ascending the altar and kissing it and incensing it if used.
After reverencing and incensing the altar, the priest go to his chair. The Introit is concluded.
Gloria (when prescribed)
P: The Lord be with you.
A: And with your spirit.
The rest of the Mass in the Ordinary Form is as it is. What do you think of this revision?