It isn't a celebration of life! It isn't the Mass of Christian Burial. It isn't the Mass of the Resurrection! It is the Requiem Mass or the Mass of the Dead. Call it what the Vatican's Vatican News calls it in the headline below:
Cardinal Tauran commended to God in Requiem Mass at St Peter's
I had the honor to hear Cardinal Tauran speak at the Catholic University of America in May 2015 as part of a symposium sponsored by the University for the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate. Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal Koch were also part of the program, with each Catholic presenter was followed by a "respondent" from the Muslim or Jewish community.
I knew then of Cardinal Tauran's illness - Parkinson's disease. He struggled to move around, relying on the steady arm of his secretary at times. It was not easy for him to talk, but I had the sense of a man with great personal courage and faith.
Carrying out his work as president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue also took a great deal of courage and strength.
May the angels lead him into paradise.
Yes, all those other names for the Mass for the Dead have done nothing to remind us to pray for them.
Yes, and let's add back the Dies Irae Sequence, at least as an option, as part of our precious liturgical heritage!
And black vestments.
All the traditional Propers for the Requiem Mass can be used in the Novus Ordo. They can be found in the 1974 Graduale and the Solesmes Gregorian Missal (1990).
There are, however, a large number of options, even for a Latin Mass (an additional six for the Introit alone).
The Sequence can and frequently is sung (this also applies to All Souls).
The Oxford Oratory does not offer a choice of vestment colour - it has to be black. I assume the other English Oratories have the same policy. Black is not a papal colour, which explains why red is used in the Vatican.
Fr Bouyer mentions the 'scuttling' of the liturgy of the dead which was opposed almost unanimously in the Consilium, but which Bugnini claimed (falsely) was the will of the Pope (Memoirs p.224). However, the sheer number of options in the Novus Ordo, while regrettable, can be used in the service of tradition.
So it's not a question of 'bringing things back', but simply using the legitimate options available. And, of course, everyone has a right to the pre-Conciliar liturgy of the dead (Placebo, Dirige and Requiem).
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