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Thursday, September 29, 2022

WHY THE WAY THE MASS WAS CELEBRATED PRIOR TO VATICAN II NEEDED TO BE REFORMED, A REFORM WELL ON THE WAY EVEN PRIOR TO VATICAN II WITH THE LITURGICAL MOVEMENT OF THE 20TH CENTURY


 We must admit that the way the pre-Vatican II Mass was celebrated during the pre-Vatican II period needed some adjustment, attitude adjustment. Vatican II's document on the liturgy was a great continuation of addressing some of the problems with the Mass that was occurring prior to Vatican II.

With that said, I do not want to negate how horribly the Post Vatican II Roman Missal is celebrated today and needs a New Liturgical Movement and the highest authority of the Church to reform it to make sure it is cleansed of its problems. We need an attitude adjustment with it too more so than with the Mass as it was celebrated prior to Vatican II. 

One of the things that struck me when I started celebrating the 1962 Roman Missal in 2007 was that there was no "Rite of Holy Communion" for the laity. Nothing in the Missal about the Holy Communion of the laity. THAT WAS AND IS A BIG PROBLEM, TO SAY THE LEAST AND IS QUITE TELLING ABOUT THE ORDAINED PRIESTLY MENTALITY ABOUT THE LAITY AND THEIR ROLE AND RIGHTS DURING THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE MASS AND DURING THE BANQUET OF HOLY COMMUNION!

This is a great article on a number of issues concerning how the Pre-Vatican II Mass was celebrated during the pre-Vatican II period. I have some money bytes below the title which you can push for the entire article:

English Hymns at the Latin Mass: Traditional? Permissible? Desired? 

 

Holy Communion was seldom distributed to the faithful during Mass (roughly speaking) before the 1950s. Before your head explodes, remember: The truth is stranger than fiction. Sometimes elderly people—attempting to disparage the Missale Vetustum—declare: “I remember Low Masses so rushed they lasted 25 minutes…” But when Low Mass had no sermon and no distribution of Communion to the faithful, this is hardly the ‘death blow’ they think it is! I could provide extensive proof—but it might cause readers to fall asleep from boredom! Therefore, I’ll keep things brief. Father Fortescue wrote in 1917: “On Maundy Thursday there is a distribution of Holy Communion at High Mass. This does not often occur on other days; but any Catholic has normally a right to present himself for Communion at any Mass, on condition that he is in a state of grace and fasting from midnight.”[1] So when exactly did Catholics receive Communion, if doing so along with the Celebrant was rare? They frequently received outside of Mass—very early in the morning—since Catholics in the olden days had to observe the “midnight fast.” For example, a 1943 parish bulletin shows that Saint Agatha’s Church (St. Louis, MO) had the distribution of Communion at 6:15am on Holy Thursday (22 April 1943) followed by a High Mass at 8:30am. The earliness of Mass times would shock many alive today—e.g. at Saint Agatha’s in 1943 the Solemn High Mass on Easter Sunday started at 5:30am! On the other hand, modern practices such as Saturday afternoon “anticipated” Masses which fulfill one’s Sunday obligation would be unthinkable to our grandparent.

 In addition to Communion being distributed outside of Mass, the American Ecclesiastical Review,[2] describes yet another practice—common then, but astonishing to us in the year 2022—in which an assistant priest would begin distribution of Communion immediately after the Consecration. Speaking of practices which might strike us as ‘bonkers,’ we should remember that during Low Mass, the congregation often sang English hymns the entire time (even while the Celebrant was quietly reading the Gospel, Creed, Canon, and Last Gospel). This is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by old Catholic hymnals: “Mass Hymns” (Fr. Thomas Seed, 1906); “Book of Catholic Hymns” (Fr. Gregory Ould, 1910); “Holy Cross Hymnal” (Cardinal O’Connell, 1915); the 1958 “New Saint Basil Hymnal” (cf. numbers 203-210); and so forth.

16 comments:

TJM said...

Fortunately, I experienced none of that in my parish prior to Vatica II. Our normative Mass on Sunday was the Missa Cantata. We were already doing what Sacrosanctum Concilium called for in terms of participation. I recall a minority of folks went up to receive Holy Communion, because in those days, one believed that you had to be worthy to receive the Eucharist and there weree the fasting rules. Most of us would go to Confession prior to receiving Holy Communion. In recent times at my old parish I routinely saw people go to receive Holy Communion who rarely showed up for Mass (I know because they were my neighbors). The sense of being worthy flew out the window with Vatican II.

William said...

After some eight decades of cradle Catholicism, I can assure you that the Church was healthier, happier, and holier before the Council. Vatican II has done great violence to the Mystical Body of Christ and it should be repudiated, strongly.

mark said...

Father Joseph Ratzinger, during the early 1960s, issued bleak assessments of the overall state of Latin Church liturgy. He insisted that throughout the Latin Church, the laity were not in touch with the Mass.

Father Joseph Ratzinger insisted that during Mass, Latin Church laymen had been reduced to "silent spectator" status.

The use of Latin, he claimed, had helped to render the Mass incomprehensible to the laity.

Father Ratzinger insisted that Latin had to give way to liturgical vernacularization.

He declared that "The wall of Latinity had to be breached if the liturgy were again to function either as proclamation or as invitation to prayer."

Even Archbishop Lefebvre had joined the overwhelming amount of Churchmen who insisted upon the need to vernacularize the Mass — most certainly, the Mass of the Catechumens.

Father Ratzinger also blamed the state of dreadful Latin Church Liturgy upon the Council of Trent. He insisted that the Council of Trent has fossilized the Roman Liturgy.

In 1998 A.D, then-Cardinal Ratzinger reiterated his bleak assessment of the state of pre-Vatican II Latin Church Liturgy. He noted the role that the Low Mass had played in having promoted the "reductionist" notion of liturgy that had plagued the Latin Church.

In regard to the Low Mass, then-Cardinal Ratzinger declared that "one cannot consider that as the ideal of liturgical celebration! Perhaps these reductionist forms of celebration are the real reason that the disappearance of the old liturgical books was of no importance in many countries and caused no sorrow."

"One was never in contact with the liturgy itself."

It is undeniable that just prior to Vatican II, in large part due to Pope Venerable Pius XII's determination to reform the Roman Liturgy — he empowered Monsignor Bugnini to help with that —

...and with the support of such Churchmen as Joseph Ratzinger, who helped to carry that determination into the early 1960s...

...the TLM was on its last legs.

More than 2,000 bishops at Vatican II, one after another appointed by Popes Pius XI, as well as Venerable Pius XII, and assisted by such Churchmen as Father Joseph Ratzinger, had helped to move the (Latin) Church beyond the TLM.

Pax.

Mark Thomas


Then-Cardinal Ratzinger, 1986 A.D:

"Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me add that as far as its content is concerned (apart from a few criticisms), I am very grateful for the new Missal, for the way it has enriched the treasury of prayers and prefaces, for the new Eucharistic prayers and the increased number of texts for use on weekdays, etc., quite apart from the availability of the vernacular."

rcg said...

I respectfully reject Fr McDonald’s characterization of the state of the Mass before Vatican II. What he is describing is the state of catechesis and education of the laity by a lazy and disillusioned clergy. The western languages share strong roots in both Latin and Greek so understanding the meaning is not only rather easy but illuminating under a caring tutor. Secondly, outside of the United Staes of America learning other languages for at least simple comprehension is common, expected, and free of hysterics. The method and frequency of Communion was often as not a local custom, a fact flying in the face of accusations of excess rigidity.

Whatever the criticisms or praise of any cardinal or pope of a particular version of the Mass is not necessarily a judgement of that Mass form but of the people, clergy and laity, executing it. It is obvious that the Novus Ordo can be executed in a very reverent way but it still a NO when it is executed in a manner barely recognizable as Catholic. Whereas the old form is clearly not only not the Old Form but perhaps illicit or not even valid without the proper structure. Such is the state of our beloved Church, that we are
unsure of her state for lack of orientation to her own history.

There is a saying among aviators that our regulations are written in blood. I tell my people that the reason for rigourous processes is that without them we can have a thousand people making a thousand mistakes. With standard processes we have a thousand people making the same mistake a thousand times. By acknowledging that one error and correcting it we have eliminated a thousand mistakes with a single stroke and saved many lives. There was and is enough flexibility in the Old Way to allow for highlighting instruction when needed. Whatever benefits can be attributed to the MO could be easily obtained with the VO. If the NO had never existed no one would notice.

DJR said...

Tom said: "It is undeniable that just prior to Vatican II...the TLM was on its last legs."

That statement is perfectly deniable, and there is no truth to it. Not only was the old Roman Mass not on its last legs back then, it isn't now.

The SSPX is in the process of building an enormous, beautiful church right in the middle of the U.S. that seats over 1500. Their seminaries, along with the FSSP seminaries, are full of seminarians.

As of November 2008, the SSPX stats were these:

1 General House, 6 seminaries, 14 districts, 3 autonomous houses, 159 priories, 725 Mass centers, 2 universities, 88 schools, 7 retirement homes, 491 priests, 215 seminarians, 41 pre-seminarians, 117 brothers, 164 sisters, 80 oblates, 5 carmelite convents. The Fraternity was present in 31 countries and visited 32 other countries, totalling 63 countries in which it carried out its apostolate. Members and affiliates of the SSPX: 1118.

That was 14 years ago. The numbers have done nothing but grow since then.

The number of Catholics attending the SSPX Masses is presently listed as over 600,000 annually.

The 2005 Annuario Pontifico reported the following information for the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint Jean-Marie Vianney as of 2003:
28,325 Catholics
28 priests
9 seminarians
75 religious sisters
24 schools

The local diocese reported:
854,000 Catholics
48 diocesan and 17 religious priests
30 seminarians
19 religious brothers
67 religious sisters
5 schools

(Annuario Pontificio 2005).

In other words, the local diocese had slightly over twice as many priests than the apostolic administration (65 versus 28), for a population that was 30 times greater.

The corresponding figures seven years later were, for the personal apostolic administration:
30,733 Catholics
32 priests
7 seminarians
38 religious sisters
24 schools

Diocese of Campos:

940,000 Catholics
69 diocesan and 16 religious priests
27 seminarians
18 religious brothers and 81 religious sisters
18 schools

Add to those figures the number of Catholics who attend the old Mass in other places, and there are well over a million people involved.

I'm not a Roman Rite Catholic (I'm the same as Byz), but these numbers dwarf our church by a factor many times over. If that is an example of something that is "on its last legs," I'd hate to see how our church would be described.

mark said...

DJR SAID..."That statement is perfectly deniable, and there is no truth to it. Not only was the old Roman Mass not on its last legs back then, it isn't now."

The TLM was on its last legs. That is undeniable. The movement to reform the Roman Liturgy in serious fashion was unstoppable.

Pope Venerable Pius XII had made that clear. He empowered Monsignor Bugnini to help accomplish that task.

Pope Venerable Pius XII insisted that the Holy Ghost had inspired the unstoppable movement to reform the Roman Liturgy.

In 1956 A.D., Pope Venerable Pius XII declared that the movement to reform the Roman Liturgy has developed reforms that, as compared to the previous 30 years, were "unthought of at that time."

He also had made it clear that the reform of the Roman Liturgy was in its infancy.

Pope Venerable Pius XII insisted that "it belongs to the Popes to examine current forms of worship, to introduce new ones and to regulate the arranging of worship..."

Throughout Pope Venerable Pius XII's reign, everything from the ancient midnight Eucharistic Fast, to Latin's unrelenting grip upon the Roman Liturgy, had begun to loosen/fade.

With Monsignor Bugnini having led (with Pope Venerable Pius XII's authorization) the pre-Vatican II charge to alter the Roman Liturgy...

...and with such young, influential Churchmen as Father Joseph Ratzinger in support of the movement to reform in serious fashion the Roman Liturgy...

...the TLM was on its undeniable last legs.

It was clear that TLM's days as the Latin Church's primary Mass were numbered.

Undeniable.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Those who like the traditional Mass often describe the modern Mass but using the aberrations of clown Masses, Masses with dance and ad libbing priests as the models. However, there are many beautifully celebrated modern Masses and by the book using all the options of tradition possible for it.

Nonetheless, there are problems with the modern Mass, not only in the aberrations, but in the Missal itself, in terms of the order of Mass, the manner of distribution of Holy Communion and the orientation of the priest as well as rubrical issues and directions on the proper set up of the altar. In this regard the pre-Vatican II Missal is far superior.

We need a third Missal with the best of both worlds. I insist that the vernacular is the best inculturation but we need to require Greek and Latin for certain parts of the Mass.

We need more of the solemnity and ritual of the older missal too. But we need lay participation and added ministries for both men and women.

As far as how the pre-Vatican II Mass was celebrated in pre-Vatican II times, there were aberrations but obviously not everywhere.

But the flaw of that Missal was and is that there is no rite of Holy Communion for the laity, what was and is done comes from custom and is an exception since it isn’t written in the Missal itself, which is odd, especially for the 1962 Roman Missal which should have corrected that in 1962.

DJR said...

Tom said: "The TLM was on its last legs. That is undeniable."

I deny that false statement. The TLM is still going strong.

Tom said: "It was clear that TLM's days as the Latin Church's primary Mass were numbered. Undeniable."

That wasn't part of the initial point being made; you have just pivoted by adding the bolded clause. This statement is undeniable but has nothing to do with the TLM being "on its last legs."

If it were "on its last legs" back in the 1960s, it would not exist today. Yet, hundreds of thousands of people attend the TLM.

The TLM is going strong.

There are hundreds of thousands more people who go to the TLM than go to the liturgy of my sui generis church, yet we are not "on our last legs." Neither is the TLM.

The initial statement, "the TLM was on its last legs," is false.

John said...

The spiritual and material losses of the Catholic Church following V-2 have been extremely serious. Not all failures are due to V-2 but the gradual loss of Catholic identity, first among the clergy and female religious orders but now everywhere in the Church, is the most critical outcome directly due to activities of the Council. Once, the idea of the Catholic Church made even atheists think of the Mass, Gregorian chant, or the Saints. Today, if asked, the first thing they would associate with us is the clergy sexual abuse.

The Church is a hierarchical institution. The hierarchy needs to reform itself first before meaningful reform can ever to take place. Synodality is a provable failure, a cover-up initiative or worse. On the other hand, the Church will survive at its spiritual perimeters even without meaningful clerical reform because those clerics attached to the TLM will make sure it does. As the Emeritus Pope has predicted the future Church will be much smaller and much poorer. It may have to go underground to survive. We are almost there now.

Thomas Garrett said...

"We must admit that the way the pre-Vatican II Mass was celebrated during the pre-Vatican II period needed some adjustment, attitude adjustment."

Oh, really? MUST we?

TJM said...

DJR,

I happened to speak to my young pastor this morning, he is 32 and celebrates the EF weekly.

I told him about Mark Thomas' ridiculous remarks about the TLM and he countered that about 80% of American Catholics attended Mass prior to the Council while maybe about 15% do now, so he thinks it might be more accurate to say the Novus Ordo is on its last legs.

He also told me that our parish had 7 Sunday Masses prior to Vatican II compared to only 2 Sunday Masses now, although, the parish is growing again under his leadership.

But facts are irrelevant to people like Mark Thomas. He is growing tiresome.

My pastor also believes that the people who attend the TLM may be the last Catholics standing in another 20 years. He sees enthusiasm and devotion to the Faith with this group, not so much with the Vatican II worshipper crowd.

Jerome Merwick said...

TJM,

Between Captain Sanctimony and the Clueless Cleric, why do you even waste your time dignifying their ridiculous posts?

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

"Not all failures are due to V-2 but the gradual loss of Catholic identity, first among the clergy and female religious orders but now everywhere in the Church, is the most critical outcome directly due to activities of the Council."

How is a loss of Catholic identity directly due to the activities of the Council?

As for what the "idea of the Catholic Church" makes people think of, the Mass, Gregorian Chant, and the Saints may have been thought of simply because they were "foreign" to those doing the thinking, not because they were understood by the thinkers to be constitutive of the Church or something to be desired or sought. In that, they were like fine paintings on a museum wall - very lovely to look at, but not something to be taken to heart.


Fr. David Evans said...

Methinks, by judging what was usual then by what is usual now, certain important matters have been lost. The older rite does say that if there are those wishing to receive Holy Communion, then they are to be given Holy Communion during Holy Mass. but they would not have presumed an entitlement to receive without penance, fasting and preparation. But above all, they would have been mindful of what they were to receive. It is worth contrasting the attitude then and now.

TJM said...

Jerome Merwick,

I just like to counter lies and delusions. Clueless Cleric will NEVER respond to why only about 30% of those who even bother to attend the Novus Ordo believe in the Real Presence. He's invested in the liturgical failure. It is easy and comfortable for him. That's what it's all about. Captain Sanctimony lives in an alternate universe of reality.

Father Evans,

Spot on! Similar to the point I was making.

mark said...

Tom said: "It was clear that TLM's days as the Latin Church's primary Mass were numbered. Undeniable."

DJR said..."That wasn't part of the initial point being made; you have just pivoted by adding the bolded clause."

Nah...I did not pivot. Not one bit.

My initial post noted clearly that prior to Vatican II, as well as into the 1960s, there was an unstoppable movement within the Church to move us beyond the TLM.

===================================================================================

"It is undeniable that just prior to Vatican II, in large part due to Pope Venerable Pius XII's determination to reform the Roman Liturgy — he empowered Monsignor Bugnini to help with that —

...and with the support of such Churchmen as Joseph Ratzinger, who helped to carry that determination into the early 1960s...

...the TLM was on its last legs.

More than 2,000 bishops at Vatican II, one after another appointed by Popes Pius XI, as well as Venerable Pius XII, and assisted by such Churchmen as Father Joseph Ratzinger, had helped to move the (Latin) Church beyond the TLM.

=====================================================================================

Therefore, the TLM was on its last legs. As we moved beyond the TLM, then that could only have meant that the TLM was finished as the Latin Church's primary Mass.

You failed to have gleaned that from my very clear comments? Oh, well.

Bottom line: The unstoppable pre-Vatican II Liturgical Movement had made it clear that the TLM was on its last legs.

Such brilliant, influential Churchmen as Father Joseph Ratzinger helped to have ushered the TLM out of its role as the Latin Church's primary Mass.

Pax.

Mark Thomas