Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Questions About High Mass

After attending a High Mass together, a friend recently asked me some questions about what we witnessed and why traditional High Mass, as usually done, can feel so disjointed and incoherent. I try to explain:

"At a High Mass, what is the purpose of the choir?"


The choir (originally/ideally a true choir of clerics) sings the Propers and leads the congregation in the Ordinary chants.

"Why do they sing over the priest and servers' parts?"

Bad taste. In my opinion, at least. And an attitude of rushing and laziness.

"Is it necessary and why was this originally done? What are the possible historical alternatives?"

It's not necessary in the sense of required rubrically, I don't think, though most places seem to do it.

Historically, there are two factors to be considered.

The first thing to realize is that many parts of the traditional Mass (especially the parts that trads love so much, but which were removed in the Novus Ordo) like the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, the long and multiple Offertory prayers, the priest's prayers before communion, etc...started out as merely private devotions of the priest. While the choir and congregation were singing their Agnus Dei or whatever, priests started to add these private devotional prayers to pass the time for himself. They were later codified as an official part of Mass, but they were originally just private devotions of the priest. These are the things most often (and most legitimately) "sung over," since they are potentially silent anyway.

The second is a sort of laziness or sloppiness and a desire to rush Mass. For example, the ideal proper place for the Introit, as I understand it, would really be during the entrance procession. But...since they stopped having a procession longer than just a few steps from the sacristy door (or, when they do have a procession, started liking to have vernacular hymns)...they sang the Introit over the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar (originally private-devotional in character anyway, mind you). When there is an Asperges, the priest could possibly return to the sacristy to change from cope into chasuble (rather than doing it at the chair, which always seems rather awkward to me) and then have the real entrance procession, but I don't think you'll ever see this in practice.

Likewise, there used to be an Offertory Procession. Now, since there's not, they just sing the Offertory verse before the offertory prayers. But since the priest isn't required to sing along, he usually just begins those prayers while they're still singing. Same thing (most egregiously) with the Canon and the Sanctus. The priest isn't required to sing along or wait for the choir to finish (he just reads the Sanctus quickly to himself, an imposition from Low Mass) and so he starts the Canon, often, while they're still singing.


This is likewise why the priest will often sit down during the Gloria and Credo (which, thank God, he is at least required to intone). This is a practice which causes much confusion in terms of when the laity is supposed to genuflect and when we're supposed to sit down. Do we do it when the priest genuflects? or when the choir sings that part? Do we sit down with the priest? or after genuflecting with the choir? I'm sure there is some official etiquette, and more precise priests will wait standing until the choir gets to the genuflection, do their "I'm going to sit down" genuflection at the same time the congregation is doing our "et homo factus est" genuflection, and then we all sit down together (which still doesn't really answer the question of whether or not we genuflect with the priest at his "et homo factus est" genuflection.)

Still, all these things are what I would consider bad liturgical praxis (heck, at one place I know they even sing the Gradual and Alleluia over the Epistle at High Mass. It's insane! The Alleluia, I think, was meant for the former Gospel Procession.) They are very common, almost universal, Baroque practices from the post-Tridentine era. In the Medieval ideal, I believe, the priest would have stayed standing and sing the Gloria and Creed (and all the Propers) with the choir and congregation rather than reading them quickly and moving on with his other prayers, or at least wait for them to finish.

The "modern" practice basically turns the High Mass into just a Low Mass of the priest with the choir layering a "soundtrack" over it, and this is, I think, a very sad development. This is what leaves the whole thing feeling rather disjointed, hard-to-follow, confusing, and like there is a "priest's mass" and then a separate "choir's mass" going on. It is also, I think, one of the major reasons why the traditional Mass does not catch on more (besides the language barrier question). Even for trads like me...the traditional Mass often seems to look better "on paper" than it does in practice for these reasons, to the point that I often end up feeling like I prefer (gasp!) Low Mass, since at least it doesn't have two parallel things going on.


I've only actually seen the "good way" done at one place. Even they'll do the later practices sometimes, but I've at least a couple times seen that priest stand and sing along with the Gloria and Credo rather than reading them through to himself and then sitting down while the choir is still going. He also waits for the Sanctus and Agnus Dei to finish before moving on to his parts, thank goodness (but then, that's easier to do when you use the chant settings from the Graduale rather than elaborate drawn-out polyphonies...) The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and Offertory are still usually sung over by the Introit and Offertory verse, but eliminating those other practices made it all feel much more coherent and satisfying liturgically.

Other priests, though...well, they're in a rush apparently, so they move onto other prayers (or sit down; because they are apparently delicate men who can't stay on their feet for very long...) while the choir is still singing. To me it makes no sense and is just an example of institutionalized liturgical laziness. Why would we stand for half a Gloria or Credo??? It's bad practice, plain and simple, and causes the "genuflection confusion" to happen every time.

Still, some of this "singing over" is more egregious than others, in my mind. Singing over the Epistle (like at that one place) seems a downright abuse. Singing the Sanctus over the Canon (often split into two parts; before and after the consecration with an absurd "pause" for it) is awful. On the other hand, when there is no entrance procession or offertory procession...singing the Introit or Offertory over those originally private-devotional prayers doesn't bother me as much (nor, for example, the priest praying his private Gospel preparatory prayer while the alleluia is finishing, etc) since those parts are originally private devotional in character and potentially quiet anyway.

Still, it would be nice if the original Processions were restored to Mass or if the priest would sing along with the choir, or at least stand and wait for the choir to finish before moving on!
Of course, that would be made more necessary if they made the priest's quiet prayers (except the Canon) audible (which I generally support) rather than silent.

"Is it always necessary to have a hand missal to fully participate in the Mass?"

Oh goodness no. Some of the most fruitful Masses I had were when I was serving rather than trying to read along.

Hand missals can be a major distraction, and obviously people didn't have them for most of history. Once you become familiar with the Ordinary, at least generally, there is no need to follow along for most of it (though I still do occasionally just to make sure I keep my memory of it fresh).

At that point you could just, say, read through the translation of the Propers when they comes along (or even just before Mass), and otherwise focus on being prayerful. And even the Propers...I'm not sure I particularly remember all that much after reading them. They are prayed first and foremost as worship to God more than for their content, after all (though the content can certainly be edifying).

It would be nice if, even if they keep the Ordinary in Latin, the Propers could be in a nice "Anglican English" "thees and thous" translation. If that were done, I'm not sure I'd ever use a hand missal again. It is distracting and can lead the obsessively inclined to have our noses buried in a book for most of Mass rather than focusing on the aesthetics of the experience and watching the choreography of what's actually going on in the sanctuary, at the altar.

"If the choir is singing (or server and priest praying), then wouldn't the single most important thing to have simply be a tranlsation of the main parts or a lectionary? I know my grandfather just had a lectionary but no a missal."

They usually read the Epistle and Gospel in English at the homily anyway, but some little prayer books for the laity I've seen from that era do include just the Ordinary and then the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays of the year.

Of course, Summorum Pontificum approves (for better or worse) actually using a vernacular for the Readings even during the Old Mass...but I'm not going to open that can of worms.


"Does the laity have to follow the priest word for word, or could they have separate private devotions in preparation for Holy Communion (such as the ones in the Missal itself)?"

They definitely could. The liturgy itself is the best source of prayer, but what's most important is uniting ourselves interiorily with the mystery that's happening at Mass rather than following every external word.

Of course, the words are salutary too, and there is some argument for the actual liturgical prayer being objectively the "best" we can use...but that's not necessarily, subjectively, what everyone is going to find most helpful. I've seen little collections of prayers from the good (or bad) old days that provide a private devotional prayer for the laity corresponding to every part of Mass (if anyone wants a copy of these, just email me).

"Is it necessary to know the meaning of the Latin, or simply have a general understanding of the Mass by Catechesis and spirituality?"

Correct, a general understanding definitely suffices. Until the 19th or 20th century, after all...most Catholics did not have hand missals, were not even literate, and certainly not in Latin.

Like I said, the introduction (as the Eastern churches do) of some nice hieratic vernacular could help make a better balance in this regard...but "active participation" or positive literal understanding of the words in themselves certainly is not necessary.

27 comments:

Who Am I said...

"Like I said, the introduction (as the Eastern churches do) of some nice hieratic vernacular could help make a better balance in this regard...but "active participation" or positive literal understanding of the words in themselves certainly is not necessary."

I sincerely believe that "active participation" in The West was meant to mirror the Byzantine and Eastern sense of LITURGY. Namely as the term Liturgy itself states, "work of the people". Compare an Eastern and Byzantine Liturgy with a TRM (or any other Traditional Liturgy of The Latin West) and you'll see a HUGE difference regarding The Laity. At TRMs, it appears that people just sit back, follow in their Missals all in a passive manner, with minor activity (ie. being cued when to kneel etc.). Reinfusing that Eastern and Byzantine sense of Liturgy in The West was bound to go haywire when most peopl had no understanding of what is truly meant by "the work of the people" in Eastern and Byzantine Liturgies.

Bryan said...

There is an excellent article on the Kyrie in the Cath. Enc 1913:

"In the Middle Ages the Kyrie was constantly farced with other words to fill up the long neums. The names of the various Kyries in the Vatican Gradual (for instance, Kyrie Cunctipotens genitor Deus of the tenth century, Kyrie magnæ Deus potentiæ of the thirteenth century, etc.) are still traces of this.

As an example of these innumerable and often very long farcings, this comparatively short one from the Sarum Missal may serve:

Kyrie, rex genitor ingenite, vera essentia, eleyson.
Kyrie, luminis fons rerumque conditor, eleyson.
Kyrie, qui nos tuæ imaginis signasti specie, eleyson."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08714a.htm

Bryan said...

Another interesting comment in the Cath. Enc. 1913 about the Introit which it says was cut down to one verse (sometimes repeated) by the time of Durandus:

"The celebrant, having finished the preparatory prayers at the altar-steps, goes up to the altar and kisses it (saying meanwhile the two short prayers, A ufer a nobis and Oramus te); then, going to the left (Epistle) side, he reads from the Missal the Introit, just as it is sung. This is one of the continual reactions of low Mass on high Mass. When the custom of low Mass began (in the early Middle Ages) the celebrant had to supply all the parts of deacon, subdeacon, and choir himself. Then, as he became used to saying these parts, he said them even at high Mass, too; they were, besides, chanted by others. So the rule has obtained that everything is said by the celebrant."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08081a.htm

Now if this is correct then the Priest in reading the Introit in a low voice is doing the "Choir's part".

Since in the TLM the Canon is said in a low voice (the Silent Canon) the Choir are able to sing the Sanctus whilst the priest says the Canon. The pause for the Elevation of the Sacred Species before the Choir re-starts at the Benedictus is respectful and fits well. In the Novus Ordo the choir has to have finished before the priest can start the Eucharistic Prayer - now that wait at the altar does look strange.

At the Gloria and the Creed when the priest sits down so do the people to listen to the choir - the priest has his part and the choir theirs - and there is nothing really strange about this sitting down.

I agree with you that singing over the Epistle does sound wrong and I have never seen that happen.

Thanks for this interesting topic.

BTW there is a good guide to the rubrics of the Missa Cantata here by Arthur Crumley here:

http://arthurcrumly.blogspot.com/2010/12/notes-for-mc-at-missa-cantata.html

I am going to try to encourage him to write something about the role of the choir in a future post!

A Sinner said...

"In the Novus Ordo the choir has to have finished before the priest can start the Eucharistic Prayer - now that wait at the altar does look strange."

I disagree. Especially if the priest is facing ad orientem, whether he has started the canon or not is only apparently by the hand motions anyway. Singing the Sanctus along WITH everyone else before starting the Canon makes just as much sense.

The Canon didn't used to be silent, anyway. And though I agree it should remain (out of everything) in the quiet voice due to its sacredness...the fact that it used to be aloud meant the priest would have always had to wait for the choir to finish the Sanctus anyway. The mere fact that it went silent later shouldn't be used as an excuse for the priest to start early.

"At the Gloria and the Creed when the priest sits down so do the people to listen to the choir - the priest has his part and the choir theirs - and there is nothing really strange about this sitting down."

But we don't sit down "to listen to the choir," nor is the Ordinary "the choir's part." Mass is not a concert for the choir.

The chants of the Ordinary are proper to the whole congregation and should be sung by all of us (including the priest). And singing is done standing!

It was only the introduction of complex polyphonies that no one but the choir (and not even a real choir of clerics, usually, but lay choirs) could sing that this "listening to the choir" happened.

The "choir's part" that is specifically proper to them are the Minor Propers, the antiphons and potentially psalm verses that constitute those and used to accompany the various processions during Mass (entrance, Gospel, offertory, communion).

The Gloria and Credo, on the other hand, are part of the Ordinary settings and really everyone should sing along (standing) with those. It makes no sense to sing half standing and then half sitting.

These are some things I am grateful the Novus Ordo DID correct.

Bryan said...

Peccator!

"Especially if the priest is facing ad orientem, whether he has started the canon or not is only apparently by the hand motions anyway."

Sorry perhaps I did not express myself clearly the situation I was thinking about was where the Choir are singing a Polyphonic Mass (or even Mass VII which has a long Sanctus) in an ad orientem Latin Novus Ordo Mass the priest stands at the altar waiting for the choir to finish before he can start to say the Eucharistic Prayer.

Again the article in the Cath. Enc. is interesting as it suggests the silent Canon developed from the priest starting the Canon before the choir has finished the Sanctus. When did the Canon fall silent? Is that Cath. Enc article near the truth I wonder?

A Sinner said...

"the priest stands at the altar waiting for the choir to finish before he can start to say the Eucharistic Prayer."

All the more argument against polyphonic Ordinaries, lol...

"Again the article in the Cath. Enc. is interesting as it suggests the silent Canon developed from the priest starting the Canon before the choir has finished the Sanctus."

If this is true, it's just an example of how clerical laziness or rushing things has always had an effect on the liturgy (even if I think, in this case, the effect was good enough in itself; ie, a silent Canon).

"When did the Canon fall silent?"

The Cath.Enc. article on the Secret says that "The silent recital of the Canon (which is sometimes called "Secreta", as by Durandus, "Rat. div. off.", IV, xxxv), did not begin earlier than the sixth or seventh century, Cardinal Bona thinks not till the tenth (Rer. liturg., II, 13, §1)."

So there is disagreement here, apparently. Sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries!

Andrew said...

Singing should be done by "all of us" if "all of us" can do it worth a damn. This is, however, usually not the case. Our musical patrimony should not be truncated because your average tone deaf parishioner cannot do 99% of it-chant or polyphony. Even the modern nonsense we have now cannot be pulled off.

Also I do think a High or Solemn Mass is "smoother" than the NO style stop n' go. At first I didn't know what was going on with the overlapping, but once you see whats happening, I cannot stand the later.

Also, your average mortal is just not going to tolerate a Mass that goes over an hour/hour and a half. Neither is your average parish logistics. I for one am all for hour upon hour of Pontifical Highs and the like, but aside from special occasions it just isn't feasible.

sortacatholic said...

I'm Jansenist, so I don't consider polyphonic choirs an important part of the Mass. Penitential preparation and silent internal meditation is more important than an bombastic orchestral production. If I were a priest I would only Low Masses or a missa cantata with one or two chant voices. Solemn Mass startles and confuses me. "Why the need for the glitz?" I think. I'd never want to look like an obese mobile doily.

I'm fully aware that the EF movement is trying to move away from the Low Mass centric parish life of the 50's. Still, it's important to impress on those new to the EF that not every Mass is a huge floor show (in a non-derogatory way, of course). Certainly there is plenty of beauty in a slowly and devoutly said Low Mass.

-- Sortacatholic (your resident crypto-Calvinist undercover)

A Sinner said...

Our musical patrimony is the chants of the Graduale. Polyphony was a decadent aberration! I'm only half-serious, but still...most places should stay away from it and let the congregation take up the Ordinary. They'd become familiar with the various settings soon enough if they heard them regularly.

Who Am I said...

"Also, your average mortal is just not going to tolerate a Mass that goes over an hour/hour and a half. Neither is your average parish logistics. I for one am all for hour upon hour of Pontifical Highs and the like, but aside from special occasions it just isn't feasible."

Speak for yourself. Give me a 3 1/2 hour long Divine Liturgy after the order of St.James, Brother of Our Lord and Bishop of Jerusalem.

Seriously, the whole High vs. Low Mass divide on Sundays needs to stop. In emergencies I get a Low Mass being celebrated on Sundays, but under ordinary circumstance a High Mass SHOULD be the normative.

Andrew said...

@sortacatholic-

If you're a Jansenist (and if I were a heretic, that's what I would be too) you should look into the Neo-Gallican liturgies. Now, there is quite a range of expressions within that category, but plenty of them have Solemn Masses stuffed with as many tunicles and copes as the sanctuary can stand. Maybe I lean French and you lean Irish?

@A Sinner
Polyphony and the whole range of chants in the Liber et al. are part of our patrimony. Sure, most parishes will not be doing polyphony anyway but even the chants would be a stretch for them without a proper schola. I'm all for encouraging the parishioners to sing the ordinary parts, but I'm also for having it sound good.

@Who Am I

I did speak for myself, if you read the paragraph you quoted. However, if you speak with most parishioners, they are not up for hours and hours of liturgy. As to the Low Mass vs. High Mass thing on Sundays, it just simply is not practical at all. You are not going to be able to pull off even more than one proper Missa Cantata per Sunday unless your parish is especially blessed with musical talent and has plenty of altar boys.

Ideals are nice to talk about, but I am weary of actually trying to universalize them. Yes, it is true that more could probably be done in having more ritual in the Mass and Office but in the real world the result will be that they get half-assed. I've gone to plenty of "understaffed" Divine Liturgies and wondered why they do not have an equivalent to a "Low Mass". I much prefer the old Latin idea of doing it right (i.e. w/ the proper sacred ministers, servers, schola/choir, etc.) or not doing it at all.

Anonymous said...

Hey J-Dawg (Sortacatholic),

See you got over your 'sortacatholicnomore' phase. Good one.

You're not a Jansenist. You're just fed up with the sanctuary being cluttered with lace and altar babies. I think a High Mass done according to the true noble simplicity (and the necessary reforms and improvements to the rubrics) of the Roman Rite would not confuse you, but combine the best of both worlds: the austerity of Low Mass (which I might SOMETIMES gravitate towards against better judgment!), with the glories of Solemn High.

More lace does not mean more grace. But low mass has not helped the liturgical trends of today. In fact, it may have triggered them.

tony

Who Am I said...

I know you were speaking from your perspective, however "speak for yourself" is a turn of phrase with a particular lexical meaning as you well know (ie that may be your take on it, but that's not necessarily true for everyone).

"However, if you speak with most parishioners, they are not up for hours and hours of liturgy. As to the Low Mass vs. High Mass thing on Sundays, it just simply is not practical at all. You are not going to be able to pull off even more than one proper Missa Cantata per Sunday unless your parish is especially blessed with musical talent and has plenty of altar boys.

Ideals are nice to talk about, but I am weary of actually trying to universalize them. Yes, it is true that more could probably be done in having more ritual in the Mass and Office but in the real world the result will be that they get half-assed. I've gone to plenty of "understaffed" Divine Liturgies and wondered why they do not have an equivalent to a "Low Mass". I much prefer the old Latin idea of doing it right (i.e. w/ the proper sacred ministers, servers, schola/choir, etc.) or not doing it at all."

Prove it. Who are most of these parishioners ? Because you're making a statement according to a presumed macro study of a given population. Nevertheless conducting the same study on both a macro and micro scale would in all likelihood prove both our positions inconclusive (well that's not taking into account other variables that may influence said positions). Still, what if you found people willing to sit through a 3 1/2 hour - 4 hour Liturgy, what then ? See what happens when you assume. True, I spoke on my behalf and even then I made an exception (ie emergencies), but it does present a flaw in your argument of "most" people wanting it a certain way.

Who Am I said...

Hint, I'm one of those people who would want a High Mass on a Sunday with Low Masses for regular weekdays. If Eastern and Byzantine Ritual Churches that DO indeed celebrate daily Liturgies throughout the week can pull off an entire DL without the whole Low vs High binary, then perhaps it's not that it can't be done as you propose/assume, but rather that people aren't motivated to do so. It's not a matter here of "ideals", it's a matter of ordering what's NECESSARY and cutting out fluff. I PERSONALLY am opposed to having Altar Boys and Sacristans assume duties which are proper to a Deacon. They DO NOT belong anywhere IN or NEAR The Altar area. Why do you think everyone now feels entitled to just march into The Altar area and do as they please ? Well because those who are supposed to have a LIMITED presence at The Altar (they're SUPPOSED to remain at the side unless of an emergency) have taken on roles that were not originally intended for them. Maybe I'm too Eastern in my approach here, but if The Roman/Latin Rite is going to decry "Boy Deacons" as are present in The Ethiopian Ritual (Oh wait, I'm not sure Ethiopian Catholic Churches were allowed to keep that T/tradition, :( ), but then allow for Altar Boys to pretty much do the same thing, then there's some inconsistency there.

http://melkite.org/PRIMER.htm#Women

"It is true that women are forbidden from entering the Holy Place, but the restriction is NOT based on gender. In fact, no lay person of either sex is permitted to enter the Holy Place. Only ordained clergy may enter through the iconostasis and only to perform the sacred duties of their office.

There are two exceptions: in parishes where there are no ordained subdeacons, lay men and boys are appointed by the pastor to serve as subdeacons. These are the men we call "altar servers." And the vestments they wear - called sticharion - is one of the vestments worn by subdeacons, deacons, priests, and bishops."

See, under CERTAIN circumstances are altar boys and laymen allowed to enter said area. Given that TRMs aren't the norm and are limited to a few communities here and there, if they can get a Priest for it, then they SURELY can get a deacon or subdeacon for it as well. Somewhat off topic, but related in a way as well.

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Interesting entry. Liturgy and its development is a subject that interests me greatly. What are your sources on the development of the Latin Rite?

Andrew said...

@Who am I,

Yes, I very well know what that phrase means. I was not making an strict empirical claim but going by my own observations and just the way people are in general, it is really doubtful that people would tolerate Mass that lasts much longer than an hour outside of special occasions. They whine and complain if it goes for a full hour.

As to Easterners doing DLs during the week (or even on Sundays), it is not that they pull off a "full" one-they just cut out chunks they cannot do. Thus, I think (though I'm not Eastern, so I wouldn't presume to tell them what they can or cannot do) the Latin practice is more organized and consistent. The deacon and subdeacon (at least used to) have a defined role but now at a NO, they often end up as vested altar boys. Are all the sacred ministers present at most Eastern parishes to do all the parts called for by a deacon and subdeacon and so forth? I've never seen it or heard of it, but I admit that I have not gone to tons of Eastern parishes to check. It would seem better to just have a more set schemata in place to deal with what happens when you have/do not have certain sacred ministers. In the West, we don't do a Solemn High if there is no deacon (or another priest to take the spot) we do a Missa Cantata. If there are no sacred ministers, we go to Low Mass. We do not try to pull it off with one of them missing.

Yes, your approach is too Eastern if we are speaking of the Latin Rite. That's nice what the Melkites do, but Melkites aren't Latins. In the West, we use altar boys (especially since we do not have the Minor Orders in any substantial way) and they do not just stand off to the side to be there in case of an emergency. They also do not do the roles of a deacon. I've never heard of altar boys chanting the Gospel or doing anything else that is strictly the domain of the deacon.

Lastly, no, just because you can line up a priest doesn't mean you can get a deacon and subdeacon as well. If you happen to be fortunate enough to be close to a source of clerics (i.e. OLGS here in Nebraska) you can pull that sort of thing off more regularly. However, you have to take into account that most TLM parishes are no where near there, nor are there necessarily other non-FSSP or ICRSS, etc. clerics who can do the TLM deacon and subdeacon roles. Also, even if one's parish is close to some source of clerics, they are not necessarily available every Sunday nor are the set up to do such things (i.e. Clear Creek Abbey). That is why most TLM parishes have Missa Cantatas on Sundays instead of Solemn High Masses.

Who Am I said...

"Yes, I very well know what that phrase means. I was not making an strict empirical claim but going by my own observations and just the way people are in general, it is really doubtful that people would tolerate Mass that lasts much longer than an hour outside of special occasions. They whine and complain if it goes for a full hour."

Hence my statement, ;)

"They also do not do the roles of a deacon. I've never heard of altar boys chanting the Gospel or doing anything else that is strictly the domain of the deacon. "

If you're EVER in Brooklyn, I've seen the Eastern approach adapted in a TRM with a Sacristan (I'm going to assume the individual is a Sacristan, because from ALL of my time there, he has NEVER worn The Vestments proper to a Deacon)chanting The Epistle at Mass. I've seen the same with an Altar Server (I refuse to call the person a boy, when they're no longer a child/adolescent, but rather an adult.) who has likewise on occasion had to assume said responsibility. It happens out there more than you think, ;D.

Who Am I said...

"Yes, your approach is too Eastern if we are speaking of the Latin Rite. That's nice what the Melkites do, but Melkites aren't Latins. ... . Are all the sacred ministers present at most Eastern parishes to do all the parts called for by a deacon and subdeacon and so forth?"

Please stop calling it The Latin Rite. Unless you're referring to the collective practice of ALL Latin Ritual Churches (which I assume, though I am in no way certain, differ in practice), it would make more sense to say that a given practice is pertinent to a given Ritual. In this case the Ritual in question being The Roman/Tridentine Ritual. But now that we're talking about that, why isn't cross pollination stemming from The East to The West okay ? It's "okay" (which it isn't) for Latinization/Romanization to occur, but not Byzantinification/Orientalization of certain practices in The West ? What's up with THAT ?

I remember having to do the readings at a DL once, when The Deacons and the like weren't there. Liturgy was followed as it normally would on a Sunday. The difference is that Liturgy wasn't celebrated in the standard Church, but rather a smaller chapel, meh I guess that was a Latinization. Still the layout of the chapel was structured as would the typical Byzantine Altar area. The Priest chanted, I did the readings and responses etc. .

"Lastly, no, just because you can line up a priest doesn't mean you can get a deacon and subdeacon as well. If you happen to be fortunate enough to be close to a source of clerics (i.e. OLGS here in Nebraska) you can pull that sort of thing off more regularly. However, you have to take into account that most TLM parishes are no where near there, nor are there necessarily other non-FSSP or ICRSS, etc. clerics who can do the TLM deacon and subdeacon roles. Also, even if one's parish is close to some source of clerics, they are not necessarily available every Sunday nor are the set up to do such things (i.e. Clear Creek Abbey). That is why most TLM parishes have Missa Cantatas on Sundays instead of Solemn High Masses."

We have a steady flow of clerics that for one reason or another alternate. We have Jesuits who come in from Fordham to celebrate Liturgy. Given that it's the only parish in Brooklyn, NY that offers The TRM, I don't see why there would be much of a problem in that regard.To my knowledge,they're not the same Priests celebrating The TRM throughout NYC (except under special circumstances). Likewise, why aren't they engaging the "in house" clergy (Priests, Deacons, etc.) of the parishes they serve at to learn and aid in the celebration of The TRM ? Sure they might not want to, but I doubt that a Priest would be likely to outright REFUSE (in some cases) to serve with The Priest. I've seen it done in other places, what's the excuse there ? The dialogue between the two Liturgical forms has to begin somewhere. Why not there ? ;D

Mark of the Vineyard said...

@Who Am I:

"But now that we're talking about that, why isn't cross pollination stemming from The East to The West okay ? It's "okay" (which it isn't) for Latinization/Romanization to occur, but not Byzantinification/Orientalization of certain practices in The West ? What's up with THAT ?"

Even a curosory look at the history of the traditional Roman Rite (and no nitpicking about the term I just used; let's leave off Humpty Dumptyisms for now, shall we?) will show you that its history has been one of Eastern polinization and pruning of those polinizations. Why the pruning? I don't know; perhaps to keep more with the sober spirit of the Roman rite. But my point is, it has always been happening, albeit over large periods. Take the Kyrie, for example: it is all we have left of a litany that is of Eastern influence; it was in the place of the Byzantine "prayers of suplication" (or of the faithful; forgive me, but I don't know the exact term; all I know is that they're near the begining of the DL). The Gloria is another example of Eastern influence: though not in the Divine Liturgy as in ours, it entered Roman liturgy via St. Hilary of Poitiers. Also of Eastern influence are all the elements which the traditional Roman rite picked up from the Gallican rite, which is over Eastern origin. Please keep this in mind.
--------

I agree that the singing over in certain parts, along with the priest sitting, is "irritating". Perhaps we could fix the confusion with sitting/standing by getting rid of pews :-P

Could anyone point me to good reading material as to the origin and logic behind Low Masses. I know the concept of Low Mass is unknown in the Eastern traditions; I would like very much to learn how they developed. I would also like to know why it is permissible for a Latin priest to offer Mass privately; as far as I know that doesn't fly with Easterners.

Who Am I said...

"Take the Kyrie, for example: it is all we have left of a litany that is of Eastern influence;"

All Liturgies were in Greek Marco :P. Not to mention EVERY Liturgy draws its genesis from The MOTHER of ALL Liturgies (The Liturgy of St.James, Bishop of Jerusalem). :P

I'm not exactly referring to that form of pollinization. However since you did indeed bring it up, I think this brings up an EXCELLENT question. If most of the advances in The Roman Liturgy were imported and adapted from The East, wouldn't it be counterproductive to reintroduce those same practices, just Romanized ? This is horrible metaphor, but it's like the milk man selling a cow milk.

But I digress :P. I'm referring more to this sentiment:

" That's nice what the Melkites do, but Melkites aren't Latins."

Translation: That's nice for those Easterners, but we Westerners will not stand for it.

Perhaps I'm stretching the translation a bit, but I'm doing so to prove a point. In the case of the pollinization you mentioned, it was grafted passively. The West saw something in The East that it thought it should incorporate into it's own Liturgies and did so. That's fine. HOWEVER, Latinization/Romanization is a POLICY of FORCING a foreign practice onto a non Roman/Latin Ritual. You'll hear SOME Roman/Latin Catholics get all giddy when Easterners adapt Roman/Latin practices (Ethiopian CATHOLICS dropping their TRADITIONAL practice of Boy Deacons), but the idea that Byzantinification/Orientalization were to be a POLICY and FORCED upon Roman/Latin Catholics, would have Latins/Romans up in arms. THAT is what I'm talking about. The AGGRESSIVE form of pollinization.

Obrigado Marco :P XD

"I would also like to know why it is permissible for a Latin priest to offer Mass privately; as far as I know that doesn't fly with Easterners."

Liturgy = Work of The People, there is a different Theology regard The Laity in this regard.

sortacatholic said...

In Latin theology, a priest can (but should avoid) say Mass alone because of the efficacy of the "alter Christus". In other words, the sacrifice of the Son to the Father requires only three elements: valid sacerdos (an ordained man, vir, priest or bishop), valid eucharistic species, and the consecratory formula. The sacrament is fully ex opere operato.

At least one cleric or layperson should be present to recite the responses. However, in exceptional circumstances the greetings may be omitted. The preface dialogue must be said, however. I believe that the turns from the altar are unnecessary when celebrating alone but necessary when at least one other cleric or layperson is participating (could be wrong).

Seriously, serving private Mass (me and a priest alone) is _extremely awesome_. The silence resonates with a sound than any full tilt Solemn High polyphonic Mass. Reading a priest's lips as he whispers the Canon in absolute silence is an profound experience. I would gladly take a daily requiem at a side altar for an archepiscopal Pontifical any day. Guess I'm the only one who thinks this way :-(((

Andrew said...

"'That's nice what the Melkites do, but Melkites aren't Latins.'

Translation: That's nice for those Easterners, but we Westerners will not stand for it."

Translation: the rubrical practices of another Rite have no bearing on the Roman Rite (and vice versa)-which we had been talking about.

"Perhaps I'm stretching the translation a bit, but I'm doing so to prove a point. In the case of the pollinization you mentioned, it was grafted passively. The West saw something in The East that it thought it should incorporate into it's own Liturgies and did so. That's fine. HOWEVER, Latinization/Romanization is a POLICY of FORCING a foreign practice onto a non Roman/Latin Ritual. You'll hear SOME Roman/Latin Catholics get all giddy when Easterners adapt Roman/Latin practices (Ethiopian CATHOLICS dropping their TRADITIONAL practice of Boy Deacons), but the idea that Byzantinification/Orientalization were to be a POLICY and FORCED upon Roman/Latin Catholics, would have Latins/Romans up in arms. THAT is what I'm talking about. The AGGRESSIVE form of pollinization."

Who's doing the "forcing"? It isn't (and hasn't been) Rome. If individual priests and bishops were doing that, then they were at variance with what Rome had laid down. The only time Rome does anything with Eastern books is to bring those of former schismatics into proper Catholic belief. If you are talking about the treatment of Eastern Catholics by people like Bishop Ireland in this country in the last century, then that is an example of some people overstepping their bounds and being out of step with Rome.

"Liturgy = Work of The People"

From the original Greek it means in the sense of a patron (who is, of course, one of the people) doing a work for the city state/country/whatever. The laity do no do anything essential at the Mass such that their presence (other than for primarily their own good and secondarily for the good of others through their prayers) is irrelevant to the validity and efficacy of the Mass itself.

Mark of the Vineyard said...

@Who Am I

Go read the Cath.Ency. entry on the Kyrie: the litany introduced to Rome was NOT in Greek.

there has been an atempt to introduce some Byzantine practices prior to VC2, namely blessing of the waters and the blessing of icons. Though it hasn't picked up, there are places where you hear about it. Google and you'll find them.


Also, please refrain from using my real name. If I use a nick, it is for a reason.

Who Am I said...

"Translation: the rubrical practices of another Rite have no bearing on the Roman Rite (and vice versa)-which we had been talking about."

"
Who's doing the "forcing"? It isn't (and hasn't been) Rome."

"The only time Rome does anything with Eastern books is to bring those of former schismatics into proper Catholic belief."

Yes, yes, because we must sweep those HISTORICAL cases where ROME has INDEED enforced Latinization/Romanization upon Eastern Ritual Churches. Let's see we have The Maronites (Who have pretty much become Liturgically Latin/Roman with SLIGHT veneers of Eastern Christendom) and The St.Thomas Christians of India (Yes, yes, let's just ignore The Schism that occurred within those particular Ritual Churches resulting in a Catholic and Orthodox Church being created.). I hate to break it to you, but neither of those Ritual Churches had EVER broken with Rome. They were Catholic through and through. Before you make the accusation of Rome bringing The Schismatics to sound Catholic teaching, PLEASE refer to those historical cases of Churches that had not EVER broken with Rome. It was merely a matter of politics in those cases. If as we believe today that Patristic Theology and Scholastic Theology are complementary, then the same would have applied back then. What of the Syriac liturgies of these particular Churches was not sound ? It was merely a matter of, "How can they be Catholics like us Romans, when they don't worship the way we do ?" That's ALL that happened. Enforcing the use of foreign vestments, removing ancient prayers, getting rid of ancient traditions of a particular Ritual Church, etc. is not problematic to you ?

Before my use of ROME is construed as an anti Latin/Roman sentiment, please realize that by Rome, I am referring to those Orders that engaged in these practices. The orders being of The Western Church.

"From the original Greek it means in the sense of a patron (who is, of course, one of the people) doing a work for the city state/country/whatever. The laity do no do anything essential at the Mass such that their presence (other than for primarily their own good and secondarily for the good of others through their prayers) is irrelevant to the validity and efficacy of the Mass itself."

Again, that's how it works for LATINS (ROMANS), but the theology in The East is different in this regard. That's what I was highlighting. If Eastern and Byzantine Ritual Churches wish to adopt The Latin stance in this form, okay, BUT if they wish to preserve their TRADITION in this regard, that's fine as well. BOTH expressions are complementary, right ? Sole lived ecclesiology didn't take root in The East for a reason. Think about that.

sortacatholic said...

@Who Am I

The notion that there is a ur-Eastern Christianity that the Latins raped is a myth. Look to the Slavic hinterlands, for example. Yes, it is true that often Polish lords forced the Roman liturgy on many Ukrainians. In some cases iconostases were torn down and reredoes put up. In gentler cases, the Roman Mass was merely celebrated in front of the holy doors. Still, churches have swapped back and forth in the border between Latin (Polish) Christianity and Byzantine (Ukrainian) Christianity, and not always by force. Remember also that Polish liturgy contains Renaissance, Baroque, and Byzantine iconographic influences. The Poles have been very faithful to the Latin liturgical tradition, but they also absorbed many Byzantine elements.

Also, is it so bad that some Eastern Catholics wish to pray quintessentially Latin devotions? Some Slavic Byzantine Catholics willingly adopted the Sacred Heart, for example, even though this devotion was created to combat a heresy that never existed among the Easterners. My parents have an icon of the Theotokos with Gold Hands in their house. I sing the Salve Regina in front of it. Is singing a Latin hymn in front of a Byzantine icon an abuse? I am sure that Our Lady intercedes for those who venerate her image and praise her regardless of the blend of liturgical traditions people use.

Who Am I said...

"Go read the Cath.Ency. entry on the Kyrie: the litany introduced to Rome was NOT in Greek.

there has been an atempt to introduce some Byzantine practices prior to VC2, namely blessing of the waters and the blessing of icons. Though it hasn't picked up, there are places where you hear about it. Google and you'll find them."

I take it you're referring to this portion:

"Its introduction into the Roman Mass has been much discussed. It is certain that the liturgy at the Rome was at one time said in Greek (to the end of the second century apparently). It is tempting to look upon our Kyrie Eleison as a surviving fragment from that time. Such, however, does not seem to be the case. Rather the form was borrowed from the East and introduced into the Latin Mass later. "

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08714a.htm

I don't believe it definitively rules out that early on our Liturgies in The West MAY have had the practice, but it says that it was adapted from The Liturgies of Jerusalem. I likewise don't believe much scholarship has been given to precisely and accurately reconstruct what The Early Liturgy of Rome looked like. We have certain texts available at our disposal, but sometimes certain things don't make it into print. It's possible that it MAY have been part of A Roman Liturgy early on, but later died out and was introduced via The East. I have yet to see a copy of The Early Liturgies of Rome.

Mark isn't exactly a nickname in this regard, but I shall honour your request. My apologies Mark of The Vineyard. However, if you wish you can call me by my name. Whom Am I comes up, because that was my name via my blog in honour of St.Moses, The Lawgiver. XD

Who Am I said...

@sortacatholic

"The notion that there is a ur-Eastern Christianity that the Latins raped is a myth."

You do realize that I cited SPECIFIC cases, right ? So your argument right there falls apart. I never mentioned that there wasn't cross pollination historically. What I however did cite in my previous statements was that there were ACTIVE/AGGRESSIVE POLICIES in place which had the aim of Latinization (or as some describe it, "Making the schismatics conform to sound teaching.", yet no on bothers to address what these problems were exactly for Ritual Churches that NEVER broke away from Rome.) It wasn't a matter of the group willingly adopting these practices, it was a matter (at least in the cases I cited) of one group burning the religious texts of the other and forcing them to conform in manner and form to the imposed practice. There was PLENTY of politicking going on back then.

"Also, is it so bad that some Eastern Catholics wish to pray quintessentially Latin devotions?"

Straw man. I NEVER made the argument that cross pollination was bad between Churches, the difference here is one of ENFORCING said policies as was and still is the case amongst The Maronites and The St.Thomas Christians. The latter case being a PERFECT example of what I am trying to illustrate. Those who sought to PRESERVE their Traditions were maligned for wanting to do so. They didn't have a problem that some of their adherents wished to adopt some Latin devotions and the like, they however had a problem when politicking resulted in dividing their Ritual church and downgrading their native practices. Those who wished to be faithful to The Eastern Syriac Traditions were maligned as not being faithful to Rome etc. whereas those who were eager to drop their Traditions were praised as being faithful. What do you say to that ? The Church is NOT an institution that engages in hegemony, so why all the nuance all of a sudden regarding those particular Ritual Churches ? This isn't about painting Rome to be the big bad wolf, this is about facing up to the fact that people did abuse their authority and caused major rifts in Ritual Churches and Traditions. For those Maronites who know wish to observe their Eastern Syriac Traditions, what do they have to draw from now ? They don't have an Orthodox counterpart Church. What do you say to them ?, tough cookies, cest la vie ? Wouldn't that equally apply to Roman Ritual Traditionalism ? Think about it. Taking myopic views of one's own brand of Traditionalism and engaging in exceptionalism regarding the relationship of ones's Ritual Church in relation to another isn't playing fair.