Say the black (more or less) and do just as you please

In several discussions here on Pray Tell we have debated the maxim “Say the black, do the red.” It has become a rallying cry for the reform-of-the-reform movement. And I believe it is largely meaningless. Those who advocate “Say the black, do the red” seem all too ready to violate it.

What does the slogan purport to mean? Here is a quote from the blog of one of its adherents:

When a priest celebrates the Mass, he is obliged to do as the Church asks. It’s rather simple, really. There’s a book on the altar (called the Roman Missal) that contains all the words he’s supposed to say (without elaboration or embellishment) printed in black, and all the instructions regarding what he’s supposed to do (how to hold his hands, when to make the sign of the cross, what vessels and other holy objects he is to use during the Mass, and how to use them) conveniently printed red. Basically, he can celebrate the Mass very easily by “Saying the Black, and Doing the Red”.

The Faithful in the pews are obliged to do the same thing. There are certain words they are to say, and certain things they are to do at various points in the Mass. This is a part of what provides them with everything necessary to “fully, actively and consciously” participate, just the way Vatican II intended.

The blogger then goes on to critique the laity he sees at Mass:

…during the “Our Father”, I see more and more people recently either holding hands or raising their hands in the same way as the celebrant when the instructions in the rite do not call for it? Why do they then lift their hands (held with others or not) up high at the words, “For thine is the Kingdom”? That’s not in the rite, either. I’ve read a lot of documents, I’ve looked at a lot of different pew resources (hymnals, missalettes). I’ve seen the stuff about striking the breast and bowing, but nothing about holding hands with the person next to you, or in the same way as the priest does.

In brief, we are to do it by the book. Improvisation and embellishment are out.

The problem is that many who trumpet “Say the black, do the red” are themselves willing to improvise and embellish.

First example: the incorporation of Tridentine Mass practices into the normative rite – the maniple, for instance, or the biretta, neither of which is mentioned in the GIRM. Here, some reformers argue that “whatever has not been abrogated is permitted.” Thus in some churches the priest not only wears a maniple but removes it for the homily, apparently to signal that the Mass has been “suspended” at this stage. Some priests wear birettas, popping them on and off throughout the new Mass in accordance with the older rubrics, even though the GIRM and similar documents never mention it.

But what about older practices that are explicitly forbidden in the newer rubrics? What about genuflections before the tabernacle? Let me quote §274 of the GIRM, first in Latin where it is headed De genuflexione et inclinatione:

Genuflexio, quæ fit dextero genu flectendo usque ad terram, adorationem significat; ideoque reservatur Ss.mo Sacramento, et sanctæ Cruci inde a sollemni adoratione in Actione liturgica feriæ VI in Passione Domini usque ad initium Vigiliæ paschalis.

In Missa tres genuflexiones fiunt a sacerdote celebrante, hoc est: post ostensionem hostiæ, post ostensionem calicis et ante Communionem. Peculiari- tates in Missa concelebrata servandæ suis locis notantur (cf. nn. 210-251).

Si vero tabernaculum cum SS.mo Sacramento sit in presbyterio, sacerdos, diaconus et alii ministri genuflectunt, cum ad altare perveniunt et ab eo recedunt, non autem durante ipsa Missæ celebratione.

Secus genuflectunt omnes qui ante Ss.mum Sacramentum transeunt, nisi processionaliter incedant.

Ministri qui crucem processionalem vel cereos deferunt, loco genuflexionis inclinationem capitis faciunt.

In English the section is headed “Genuflections and bows”:

A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.
During Mass, three genuflections are made by the priest celebrant: namely, after the showing of the host, after the showing of the chalice, and before Communion. Certain specific features to be observed in a concelebrated Mass are noted in their proper place (cf. nos. 210-251).

If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.

Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession. Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.

It is not uncommon to see this rule violated in reform-of-the-reform churches. Priests and servers regularly genuflect many times during the Mass, not just when they approach the altar and when they depart. Is this a violation of “say the black, do the red”?

A blog reader put the question to Fr Zuhlsdorf, who not only repeats the maxim constantly on his blog but also sells coffee mugs and water bottles with it, both in English and Latin. Was it wrong for the priest to genuflect so many times? Fr Zuhlsdorf’s response was interesting:

… even though I am a Say The Black and Do The Red sort of guy, I’m all for starting up a contrary custom in accord with canons 25 and 26. After 30 years, we’ll have a legal custom in force.
When I was in my U.S seminary hell-hole, we were instructed on how to establish contra legem custom. We weren’t instructed in this for the sake of detail or mere knowledge. The instruction was for the sake of providing a canonical basisw for abuses (e.g., altar girls – this was before the disastrously bad interpretation of canon 230 of the 1983 Code).

Progressivists consistently broke the law concerning, for example, Communion in the hand and females serving in the sanctuary. They did so long-enough that Rome fecklessly confirmed their abuses. Those were bad years. …

I say genuflect. The Blessed Sacrament is RIGHT THERE! People see that the tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament, with presence lamp and/or veil, is RIGHT THERE.

Second example: the varieties of “Anglican use”. From the New Liturgical Movement blog, reporting on Ordinariate Masses held at St Patrick’s, Soho Square, in London, and St Agatha’s, in Portsmouth. Here, improvisation extended even to the texts of the Mass:

At Soho Square, well-known Anglican hymns replaced the Proper of the Mass, and the setting by John Merbecke was used for the Ordinary of the Mass. In Portsmouth hymns were sung, and English plainchant propers were led by the schola. The Ordinary of the Mass was Missa de Angelis set using the traditional language English texts as published by the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society. As is proper to the Anglican tradition, Holy Communion was distributed under both kinds, kneeling at a Communion Rail. Following the example of the Holy Father, a paten (Communion Plate) was used.

Each celebration represented examples of liturgical traditions within High Church Anglicanism, one which looks towards distinctive English ceremony and vesture, the other toward the Roman liturgical tradition as embodied by the likes of the Society of SS Peter and Paul, and the artist Martin Travers.

Third, the example of Fr Allan McDonald, a frequent commenter here. His blog slogan is, “The Ordinary Form of the Mass celebrated extraordinarily!”, and he encourages the Church to “Celebrate all Ordinary Form Masses with more dignity and in an Extraordinary Form sort of way.” If I read his writing correctly, he hopes for an amalgam of the various forms, based on the 1965 Missal and using a vernacular text.

I offer no critique of Fr McDonald, or of the Anglican Ordinariates, or of the priests who add Tridentine ceremonial to the normative rite, even when the GIRM or other Vatican documents say not to do this. When I serve at Mass, I often find myself genuflecting as I pass the tabernacle, in contradiction to the rubric. It seems natural and appropriate. As Fr Zuhlsdorf says, the blessed sacrament is right there…

All these moves are part of a process through which the Church develops and evolves its liturgical practice. As Mgr Harbert recently noted here on Pray Tell and as John Baldovin and Peter Jeffery have shown, such development has been going on for centuries. It slowed a bit after the Council of Trent, though this may have more to do with the printing press than anything else. But it has continued, even in the “unchangeable” Tridentine Mass. Worshipping communities adapt their practices. It is a good thing that they do.

At best, the slogan “Say the black, do the red” is as meaningless as “hermeneutic of continuity.” At worst it is an invitation to hypocrisy.

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49 comments

  1. Actually, what I hope for, and of course it could be a pipe dream admittedly, is for the current Roman Missal with its current lectionary to have an EF Order to it and with it’s rubrics, but somewhat modified to allow for the additional Eucharistic prayers chanted or prayed aloud. I’d still recommend all the RCIA adaptations and flexibility (and post Vatican II way of celebrating the other sacraments within Mass, to include the Easter Triduum) as well as Universal Litany and procession of gifts. I personally like the vernacular although think it is worthwhile to preserve some Latin, but am quite flexible about it. I think the EF Mass should remain extraordinary. Your link about the priest preoccupied by the congregation and what they are doing really has developed since Vatican II and with us facing them and becoming obsessed with what they are or aren’t doing. Not a healthy development in the least and the EF certainly allows laity a great deal of latitude in this regard which seems to be dismissed by so many today.

  2. For what it’s worth, I recently saw someone make recourse to GIRM 42 as a sort of catch-all for importing EF practices into the OF where no specifics are given in the Missal and the GIRM:

    “Attention must therefore be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and by the traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.”

    Out of context, to be sure, but it was one person’s rationale.

    1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #2:

      It doesn’t provide a good catch-all for importing every EF practice into the OF.

      However, it does provide a good answer of how to go about some of the actions when the rubrics and GIRM are ambiguous. (This is in stark contrast to the opinion of past times, which often seemed to amount to “Do it however you want, just don’t do it how we did it in the old Mass”)

    2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #2:
      Yep. I genuflect before the tabernacle during Mass, as it’s in the sanctuary, when crossing the entire sanctuary, or when re-entering it from the sacristy. I’m surprised my pastor hasn’t said anything…but hey, it’s the right thing to do, and what does the GIRM mean by ‘other ministers’? Is it exclusive to clergy and instituted ministers, or does it apply to lay servers?

  3. I’m not clear what is being said about Ordinariate liturgy. Each of the comments reproduced from the New Liturgical Movement comes under the provisions of the GIRM.

  4. Thanks, Jonathan – well written; good analysis.

    Thus, as Fr. Michael continues to post SC articles and we comment; will again stress that SC and the council fathers began with liturgical PRINCIPLES (not say the black, do the red); it was an effort to recognize that lex orandi; lex credendi places responsibility upon the community. Suggest that STBDTR is a minimalist standard for those who do not understand liturgy or are unable to start with a community and inspire liturgy.

    Note – you say: “The problem is that many who trumpet “Say the black, do the red” are themselves willing to improvise and embellish.”
    To which, Allan, again, responds: “….a pipe dream admittedly, is for the current Roman Missal with its current lectionary to have an EF Order to it and with it’s rubrics, but somewhat modified to allow for the additional Eucharistic prayers chanted or prayed aloud.” and your example from his blog and parish.

    Which leaves us with your last statement: ” At best, the slogan “Say the black, do the red” is as meaningless as “hermeneutic of continuity.” At worst it is an invitation to hypocrisy.”

    You might want to add this just published article from a pastor:

    http://ncronline.org/news/spirituality/attempt-resurrect-pre-vatican-ii-mass-leaves-church-crossroads

    Quotes:
    – “The council’s vision of a priestly people on mission necessitated a liturgy that could prepare disciples ready to take up their responsibilities. The council looked to the church’s distant past to recover ritual elements that were instrumental in preparing the baptized to take active responsibility for Christ’s priestly, prophetic and royal mission.”
    – as different from:
    “The liturgy that came out of the Middle Ages and Trent placed a different emphasis on the eucharistic liturgy. Focus was not on preparing all the baptized for mission but on the power of the ordained to transform bread and wine. The idea of the “unbloody reenactment of the sacrifice of the cross” pushed “thanksgiving for creation and consecrating the world” to the margins of eucharistic theology. The power of the clergy to make Christ present in Eucharist eclipsed the Eucharist’s power to transform the baptized — equipped to make Christ a real presence in the world through their everyday lives.” (difference between starting with principles such as people of God rather than a legalistic, clerical mindset of just STBDTR.

  5. Culpability does not seem equivalent when comparing a celebrant who continues or even introduces traditions long established in Extraordinary Form of our rite to a celebrant who introduces or even maintains practices that are novel or have the origin outside the common Roman liturgical tradition. I seem to recall that the two forms are mutually enriching and things once held sacred in the EF cannot today be entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.

  6. Not to get ahead of Michael Joncas’s article by article commentary on Sacrosanctum concilium, but coming up is #22 which is comprised of three “General Norms” governing the restoration of the liturgy. The third norm states:

    “Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

    G.I.R.M. #24 references this norm.

    My question is: does STBDTR capture the intention of this norm? Are they equivalent?

  7. FWIW, Jonathan Day, if I am not mistaken the biretta is only mentioned at the beginning and the end of the instructions for the ’62 liturgy, and mostly by way of saying that the priest’s head is covered as he processes in and out. All the doffing and so forth is rubrical interpretation. Given that the biretta is part of choir dress, I can see it being used in a procession.

    I think that SOME things (the genuflections before the tabernacle, purifying the vessels in the middle of the altar, different order in Masses with only a server, etc.) may not be EF importation so much as developments or explicit clarifications in the GIRM that older priests are unaware of, and don’t update themselves on. And some things have just never caught on. How many times do we see priests (of all stripes and theological-liturgical persuasions) blessing incense at the altar after the procession, although the IGMR clearly says that it should be blessed before the entrance procession?

    STBDTR also only works upto a point, because the IGMR was not drafted with the rigid conformity to detail mindset that the old Ritus Servandus was. Reading through the old Notitiae responses, one can see this when the CDW interprets one rubric in light of ‘context’ or a ‘general principle’ articulated somewhere else completely. Often when texts are changed, rubrics are not which makes STBDTR somewhat ridiculous in those situations. For example, the final rubric of the newly-translated Order of the Mass following the Latin says:

    “On certain days or occasions, this formula of blessing is preceded, in accordance with the rubrics, by another more solemn formula of blessing or by a prayer over the people “

    However, solemn formulae of blessing and prayers over the people end with a completely different blessing formula. STBDTR leads to the conclusion that either one must repeat the blessing twice, or ignore the printed text.

  8. Thank you Jonathan for your analysis.

    Depending on how one reads Tres Abhinc Annos §25, the Concilium’s second instruction on liturgical reform, maniple use might be permitted in the Ordinary Form.

    25. Manipulus semper omitti potest.

    25. The maniple is always able to be omitted.

    This terse instruction is not as transparent as it appears. The Concilium instructions often use the subjunctive or certain indicatives which imply choice (such as posse) in a way that might suggest that what appears option or conditional is in actuality required. Consider the (in)famous instruction from Inter Oecumenici:

    §91a. Praestat ut altare maius exstruatur a pariete seiunctum, ut facile circumiri et in eo celebratio versus populum peragi possit;

    §91a. It is preferable that the main altar should be constructed separated from a wall as to be easily walked around. Mass [celebratio] should be able to be conducted [peragi] on it facing the people.

    in Inter Oecumenici §91a, the impersonal verb praestat (“it is preferable”) suggests that the use of the subjunctive verbs exstruatur and possit are not suggestions or options, but rather orders of a less direct nature. Although the verb potest (“is able”) in Tres Abhinc Annos §25 is in the indicative and therefore a direct order, the style of the Concilium instructions suggests that any conditionality or subjunctive use is not meant to indicate option, but rather that procedure has been changed.

    I read Tres Abhinc Annos §25 as a lightly-worded prohibition on maniple use. I wish that were not the case, but after considering the style of Consilium writings, I am convinced it is so.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #9:

      I have often seen this quote from TAA used a justification to all the continued use of the maniple. What is seldom quoted it the commentary the accompanied each article of the document in Notitiae.

      25. The maniple can always be omitted.

      The maniple seems to derive from the Roman mappula which was employed for a decorative and practical purpose. Consuls used it to open the circus games. The subdeacon in the Roman Ordo I would take the mappula of the pontiff and advancing to the church would make the sign for the schola to being the chant for the introit. And the deacon would extend the chalice and paten to the celebrant “with the mappula in the middle.”

      In our times the maniple has become a sacred vestment employed by the subdeacon, deacon, priest and bishop only in the celebration of the Mass. Nevertheless, it is of no use either practical or aesthetic, its significance is not perceived; while on the contrary it impedes the carrying out of
      movements of the limbs in sacred action.

    2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #9:
      To be honest Jordan, although I have heard the argument before, I don’t see what Tres Abhinc Annos has to do with anything. I am no canonist, so perhaps someone with better knowledge will correct me, but it seems to be that the promulgation of the new missal supersedes all the prior documents which were concerned with gradual modification of the existing rubrics. If the IGMR wanted to include the maniple as optional, I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that it would be written in. Certainly that was done for the amice. In addition, considering that the maniple was a garment common to subdeacons and above, it is noteworthy that the first editions of IGMR, while the subdiaconate was still in existence, make no mention of it. In some ways, the argument seems (and again, I may be wrong about the standing of the 67 instruction) to me to confirm Jonathan’s point i.e. ‘I want to wear the maniple, the IGMR ays nothing, therefore I use this document from which almost no other point can be applied to the revised liturgy to argue the case.’ (No personal reference to you intended)

      1. @Joshua Vas – comment #19:

        I am inclined to believe you, Joshua. The odd Latin style of the interim Concilium instructions (i.e. use of posse or the subjunctive where it is not needed by grammatical construction) appears to de facto exclude the possibility of wearing a maniple or say Mass ad orientem, for example. The interim instructions communicate that certain usages or actions are conditionally suspended but with a strong de facto order not to continue these practices. In turn, that which is implicitly forbidden in the interim instruction is later formally abrogated in the IMGR by non-inclusion in explicit law. I certainly wonder why the interim documents didn’t use passive periphrastics (i.e. one must …) when strongly advising against certain actions, but these interim documents were experimental and should not be expected to bear the weight of a codified law.

        Jonathan’s analysis of Notitiae 14 confirms my suspicion that what was made “optional” in the interim instructions are later abrogated in their absence in explicit rubrics. I agree with you Joshua that this is the case here.

        A diversion: I truly do not understand why Paul VI suppressed the subdiaconate. After all, if I remember correctly (please correct), the subdiaconate is mentioned in the Apostolic Constitutions. Similarly, the deletion of the maniple strikes me as a radical and unnecessary simplification, though not as startling as the suppression of the subdiaconate. I respect the notion that the threefold major orders should take precedence, but this does not necessarily mean that early church orders did not recognize minor offices. I suspect that over time certain of these practices will be positively reintroduced, as their absence impoverishes liturgy. Despite this, I must be honest and respect the abrogation of these practices.

      2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #21:
        Jonathan’s analysis of Notitiae 14 confirms my suspicion that what was made “optional” in the interim instructions are later abrogated in their absence in explicit rubrics. I agree with you Joshua that this is the case here.

        As has been discussed at length here, Notitiae 14 is well known and must be read narrowly if not to lead to absurd results. As I said there, by the time of the publication of the Ceremonial of Bishops in the ’80’s (see CB 90 & 91, including footnote 75, the Congregation seems to be taking a different view regarding the relationship of the old and the new rubrics.

      3. @Joshua Vas – comment #20:
        I am no canonist, so perhaps someone with better knowledge will correct me, but it seems to be that the promulgation of the new missal supersedes all the prior documents which were concerned with gradual modification of the existing rubrics.

        Leaving aside the issue of the maniple in particular, this is not necessarily the case.

        The principle is that of Canons 20 & 21:

        Can. 20 A later law abrogates, or derogates from, an earlier law if it states so expressly, is directly contrary to it, or completely reorders the entire matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, in no way derogates from a particular or special law unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

        Can. 21 In a case of doubt, the revocation of a pre-existing law is not presumed, but later laws must be related to the earlier ones and, insofar as possible, must be harmonized with them.

        A good example of this is the 1967 Instruction Musicam Sacram, which still has the force of law where subsequent law has not derogated from it.

  9. I can see the difficulty in interpretation.

    Some will be familiar with the statement from the CDWDS (at the time called the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship) that seemed to state a principle [Notitiae 14 (1978), 301–302, n. 2]. Extract in Latin:

    In Missa cum populo modo sollemniore celebranda, adhibentur diversi modi turificandi oblata et altare: alter simplex ac planus, alter idem ac ritus turificandi praescriptus in praecedenti Missali. Quinam usus sequendus est?

    Resp.

    Numquam obliviscendum est Missale Pauli Papae VI, inde ab anno 1970, successisse in locum illius, qui improprie « Missale S. Pii V » nuncupatur, idque ex integro, sive pro textibus, sive pro rubricis. Ubi rubricae Missalis Pauli VI nihil dicunt aut parum dicunt singillatim in nonnullis locis, non ideo inferendum est quod oporteat servare ritum antiquum. Proinde non sunt iterandi gestus multiplices atque implexi turificationis iuxta praescripta Missalis prioris.

    And in English:

    In a Mass with the people celebrated in a more solemn manner, different methods of incensing the offerings and the altar are used: on the one hand a simple and plain method, on the other hand the same method as the rite for incensing prescribed in the preceding Missal. Which practice should be followed?

    Resp.

    It must never be forgotten that the Missal of Pope Paul VI, from the year 1970, has taken the place of that which is improperly called « the Missal of St Pius V » and that it has done this totally, whether with regard to texts or rubrics. Where the rubrics of the Missal of Paul VI say nothing or say little in specifics in some places, it is not therefore to be inferred that the old rite must be followed. Accordingly, the many and complex gestures of incensation according to the prescripts of the earlier Missal are not to be repeated.

    I am aware that such responses have no official character and are only “orientative” (solummodo habet valorem orientativum). Nonetheless the Congregation seems to be stating a general principle in addition to giving advice on incensation.

      1. @Matthew_Roth – comment #31:
        Apparently a comment on “organic development” has been deleted. I don’t see how the CDWDS response is any more a sign of “rupture” than this passage from Quo Primum, in which Pope Pius V promulgated the Tridentine Missal:

        We specifically command each and every patriarch, administrator, and all other persons or whatever ecclesiastical dignity they may be, be they even cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, or possessed of any other rank or pre-eminence, and We order them in virtue of holy obedience to chant or to read the Mass according to the rite and manner and norm herewith laid down by Us and, hereafter, to discontinue and completely discard all other rubrics and rites of other missals, however ancient, which they have customarily followed; and they must not in celebrating Mass presume to introduce any ceremonies or recite any prayers other than those contained in this Missal.

        As you note, Matthew, the EF rubrics for incensation are highly legalistic; they go against the “noble simplicity” of SC. And, with the complex rules for who was incensed when (prelates and canons in chapter before clergy of lower rank, etc.) got how many swings of the thurible, and what kind of swing (ductus simplex or ductus duplex) they reinforced a degree of hierarchy that adds nothing to the Mass.

        So why is the notification from the CDWDS “rupture” and not “organic development”? How do we distinguish the one from the other?

      2. @Jonathan Day – comment #35:

        Jonathan: As you note, Matthew, the EF rubrics for incensation are highly legalistic; they go against the “noble simplicity” of SC.

        The Tridentine rubrics, as collected in 400+ years of commentary, became unruly without pruning. Some might say that the centuries of collected Tridentine rubrics were “legalistic”, as not infrequently reflecting anachronisms such as feudal hierarchical distinctions which are meaningless in postmodern society. Rightly so, the Council bishops desired to prune the tangled bramble of rubric and liturgy. Here two schools emerge: one which contends that the “noble simplicity” of Sacrosanctum Concilium should completely break with the Tridentine past and create a simplified and more transparent liturgical tradition firmly rooted in postmodernism and its social distinctions. Another, more conservative model, interprets SC as a template for reforming the Tridentine liturgy. This school does not desire to completely prune away all of the complex rituals which grew through the older commentaries. Rather these accretions might be refashioned, but not discarded, to reflect new social orders.

        For this reason I disagree with your statement “they [thurible swings] reinforced a degree of hierarchy that adds nothing to the Mass”. [my addition] I agree that the semiotics of the Tridentine incensing ceremony reflects a civil/religious hierarchy which no longer exists. However, liturgical actions always separate space and social distinctions in any phase of society, feudal/early modern or post-modern. A “noble simplicity”, even though it might try to sidestep social distinctions in the name of ecclesial egalitarianism, must cope with the question of distinctions nevertheless.

      3. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #43:
        Jordan, I agree with much of what you’ve written here, though I’m not sure where postmodernism comes into it. And I am well aware that hierarchy is part of the human condition. But the various rubrical sources for the Tridentine Mass (including the Caeremoniale Episcoporum) speak of social hierarchies that simply have no correspondence to the life of the faithful.

        Among the laity, for instance: greater or lesser princes, the emperor, magistrates, barons, nobles, mulieres insignes (apparently queens or high-ranking princesses), viceroys, governors, etc.

        Among the clergy: canons, prelates, greater prelates, patriarchs, archbishops, papal legates (whose rank varies depending on whether they are in their own diocese or territory), abbots (at certain times and places, and depending on the dignity of their monastery), inferior prelates (officials of the papal court), monsignori, protonotaries apostolic (four classes of these), domestic prelates, chamberlains (again, of various classes), vicars general. I am sure that a rubricist amongst us will soon be along to correct errors or overlaps in my list.

        Depending on where you fall in this system, and where you are in the world (a bishop within or outside of his diocese) and other complex factors, you may or may not be allowed to wash your hands in a silver basin, or use a hand-candle, or wear cloth-of-gold. Or any of dozens of other gradations of liturgical precedence and privilege.

        At some level it is easy to be captivated by rank and hierarchy — witness the millions who watch the staff of “Downton Abbey” debate the relative privileges of the first and second footman, or the butler and the under-butler. But the Mass is not a theatrical production.

        I don’t think SC is calling for egalitarianism as much as for distinctions that correspond to genuine experience, as opposed to antiquarian fiction.

      4. @Jonathan Day – comment #46:

        I mentioned postmodernism only because the radical simplification of the rubrics of the reformed missal underscore the idea that the assembly itself creates individual and ephemeral liturgy best suited for the worshipers, the ministers, and even the architecture. Medieval and even early-modern liturgy is heavily encumbered by a series of societal preconditions, such as the ranks of nobility and clerical privilege you have mentioned. Certainly, there are hierarchical aspects to the reformed liturgy. Still, recent studies of the reformed liturgy tend to focus on the way in which bishops participate as fluid co-creators of liturgy with the assembly and not as hierarchs of predetermined importance.

  10. James Bradley : I’m not clear what is being said about Ordinariate liturgy. Each of the comments reproduced from the New Liturgical Movement comes under the provisions of the GIRM.

    James, I don’t know the liturgical rules for Ordinariate communities. Are they free to substitute vernacular Mass texts of their own choosing (in this case, “Missa de Angelis set using the traditional language English texts as published by the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society”)? The “contemporary language” Anglican liturgy has the ordinary of the Mass in a translation very close to our 1973. In that case, are they allowed to use it, or are they required to use the new translation, as most parishes are?

    To me this case looks like “do what you wish, as long as it feels traditional”, but I may be missing something.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #11:
      The normative liturgical rules for Ordinariate liturgy in the US are found in The Book of Divine Worship, which, with some appropriate alterations and omissions, is basically the 1979 BCP. Notable is the fact that we have but one canon, that being the Roman canon in an English translation which matches that of rite one. In practice, ceremonial and ritual are according to ‘traditional’ high Anglican usage. With the formal appearance and multiplication of ordinariates in England, the US, Australia, and, possibly, elsewhere, there is considerable consultation being done towards replacing the BDW with a book common to them all. This would likely be representative of the best of traditional Anglican liturgy with, maybe, some addtional Sarum influence.

  11. Going back to Jonathan’s original voicing of the issue, it is interesting to note that birettas are not mentioned in the EF rubrics either. Such things are governed by custom rather than rubric. The rubrics in either missal need interpretation and in the case of the EF, Fortescue -O’Connell offers one interpretation of the rubrics. Such commentaries are ultimately a personal view. Saying the black and doing the red may legitimately offer more room for interpretation that some would suggest. In the case of the GIRM, I think it is clear that the Church still expects pastors to make judgments based on what is appropriate in particular circumstances within what the liturgical norms envisage or permit.

    1. @Msgr Andrew Wadsworth – comment #12:
      Not to pick at nits, Mgr Wadsworth: at least the old rubrics mention the existence of birettas, as Joshua mentions above, e.g. Ritus Servandus II.2: Cum pervenerit ad altare, stans ante illius infimum gradum, caput detegit, biretum ministro porrigit…. But, as you note, they say almost nothing about when and how it is to be handled, put on, taken off, handed to other ministers, etc. — and Fortescue provides a lot more detail on this.

      In the same vein, the Ritus Servandus only mentions that the maniple is put on; nothing is said about taking it off for the homily and putting it back on afterwards, though again Fortescue mentions this.

      For me this calls into question some of the stronger statements made by adherents of the Tridentine Mass — just picking one at random: “The rituals and gestures are rigidly prescribed, leaving no room for improvisation, unlike the New Mass, where often one wonders what is coming next.” Or this: “Wherever Catholics attend Mass, the Latin Mass is exactly the same. The movements and gestures are clearly prescribed, so there is no “personalization” of the liturgy.”

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #14:

        For me this calls into question some of the stronger statements made by adherents of the Tridentine Mass — just picking one at random: “The rituals and gestures are rigidly prescribed, leaving no room for improvisation, unlike the New Mass, where often one wonders what is coming next.” Or this: “Wherever Catholics attend Mass, the Latin Mass is exactly the same. The movements and gestures are clearly prescribed, so there is no “personalization” of the liturgy.”

        There is a degree of ignorance when some of the EF adherents say this – spoken by people who don’t know or understand what legitimate local custom is. That said, the very strict nature of the rubrics leaves few places for these praeter legem customs to arise and many more where something that “personalizes” the liturgy is actually contra legem.

        Incidentally, these days Fortescue is the generally-accepted resource to supply any gaps in the rubrics.

        (Also, I believe that taking off the maniple to preach was optional by 1962 – which would explain why the Ritus Servandus omits it. The newest edition of Fortescue would probably make mention of this)

      2. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #16:

        I’m not entirely sure if he’s widely used outside of the Anglosphere — but I know of nobody arguing against using him either.

        Additionally, I’m aware of some Italian commentators who are well-regarded, but their names escape me.

      3. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #17:
        As far as I know, Fortescue is not used outside of the Anglosphere.

        The standard Italian work, for instance is Ludivico Trimeloni. I’m told the standard German work is Müller-Frei and there’s another by a Kieffer, but I have not read these books.

        @Clarence Goodwright: Incidentally, these days Fortescue is the generally-accepted resource to supply any gaps in the rubrics.

        While Fortescue is a good book for servers, but it’s a) not the last word and b) not sufficient by itself, especially for celebrants and anyone who’s asked to be a MC or teach people what to do. Part of what makes it important is that Fortescue’s opinions are valuable and should often be considered carefully, though not always followed. J.B. O’Connell’s “The Celebration of Mass: A Study of the Rubrics of the Roman Liturgy” (1962) is still invaluable, making up for celebrants what Fortescue lacks. Fortescue has a good sketch of pontifical ceremonies, but you really need Stehle’s “Manual of Episcopal Ceremonies” as well. Similarly, Schulte’s “Consecranda” for what it covers.

        The Dominican rite and other rites and usages have their own books.

        Folks in my circle also make use of a variety of Latin sources (e.g. Martinucci), other American rubricists, local customaries (e.g. that of St. Joseph’s Seminary Dunwoodie), back issues of American Ecclesiastical Review, the Baltimore Ceremonial, Dale’s translation of Baldeschi, and McManus’s “Handbook of the New Rubrics.” O’Kane’s “Notes on the rubrics of the Roman Ritual” answers questions about the Rituale that I haven’t seen addressed anywhere else in English.

      4. @Matthew_Roth – comment #33:
        Of course Trent stifled organic development. The Tridentine liturgical reform was a modern, rationalist enterprise, very much assisted by the advent of widespread printing technology and the early modern acceleration of centralization. And there was a reactive element to it; consider that it took over 300 years before Pius X implemented frequent communion, something Trent envisioned but its immediate implementers largely shied away from.

      5. @Matthew_Roth – comment #33:

        This is off-topic but maybe some discussion of the point is pertinent. Characterizing the Christian reformation period, which involved both Protestant reformers and Catholic thinkers working both in synchrony and open conflict, as a “Protestant revolt” grossly simplifies a very complex period in the evolution of European religion, culture, and politics. One might easily argue that the Council of Trent was, (and still is for EF adherents) not an ideological battering-ram against Protestantism but rather a reconfiguration and restatement of Catholic doctrine and liturgical orthodoxy in a post-feudal and early-modern reality. A good guys versus bad guys view of the emergence of post-feudal Europe ignores the fine-grained nuances through which Catholicism and Protestantism together shaped the beginnings of the political and religious constructs we live within today.

  12. Those Catholics who visit ordinariate parishes often, but not always, remark that ‘it’s just like it was when I was young’. With all due respect , one must observe that ‘it’ is likely done with far greater care and decorum than what they grew up with, and, more importantly, there is an earth-shattering difference: Our liturgy is in beautiful English and everone, choir and congregation, heartily participates in singing the dialogues and ordinary parts of the mass, plus hymns, plus choir anthems. All this is QUITE different from what these people are ‘remembering’. Some Catholics come to our masses, like them, and make a home with us. Others, oddly, say ‘well, I’m just a Catholic’, which, between the lines, means they really are (sadly) ‘at home’ with ‘good morning folks’ masses and plunky plunky music… and seem to believe that these things define what is ‘really’ Catholic worship. Sad… so sad. The liturgical Robbespierres have done their work well, and we will be two or three generations undoing it.

    1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #20:
      I have to agree that for many Catholics and in way too many Latin Rite parishes, think that Catholic liturgy “means they really are (sadly) ‘at home’ with ‘good morning folks’ masses and plunky plunky music… and seem to believe that these things define what is ‘really’ Catholic worship. Sad… so sad.”
      A Vatican II Liturgy in most parishes today resembles this caricature to a greater or lesser extend. So I would suggest not freaking out about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and rubrical flexibility observed by some in this movement but actually promoting in a flexible sort of way “read the black and do the red” in all Ordinary Form Masses. In other words do it by the Liturgy book no matter which book is used, EF Missal, OF Missal or the Anglican Use Missal or all the other missal of the various rites of the Latin Rite now being recovered. Diversity in continuity is great!

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #23:
        Fr Allen

        Your citation of “most parishes” is conjecture, not fact. An important distinction when asserting a caricature. The overargument doesn’t make your argument more credible, but less.

  13. There is no form of the Novus Ordo that could be described by the term Solemn High Mass. Thus no subdeacon. I was the last candidate for priesthood in my diocese who was ordained a subdeacon. I held that distinction for about one week prior to being ordained a deacon. There never was a stable office of subdeacon, so his function in the SHM was played by a straw (make believe) subdeacon. In most cases, of course, priests played the roles of deacons and subdeacons.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #28:
      Not exactly – as we see in Paul VI’s M.Q. “…The functions heretofore assigned to the subdeacon are entrusted to the reader and the acolyte …. There is, however, no reason why the acolyte cannot be called a subdeacon in some places, at the discretion of the conference of bishops” (1972). Therefore, the functions carried out by the subdeacon are now to be handled by the acolyte (a.k.a. “subdeacon”) and the instituted “reader”. One could argue that with the liturgical reform Masses on Sundays and Holy Days are presumed to be celebrated as Solemn High Masses with the roles distributed more easily among these intalled lay ministers. Incense is permitted at all Sunday celebrations now, sung propers are always permitted. With the reform instituted acolytes and lectors are presumed to be in plentiful supply.

  14. Then there is this argument, direct from Sacrosanctum Concilium:

    Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.

    Leading to a logical argument like this:

    A. No one may add anything in the liturgy on his own authority.
    B. A maniple is an addition to the list of vestments a priest wears.
    C. Therefore, no priest may wear a maniple, as it is an addition to the liturgy.

    When I raised this years ago, no traditionalist, not even the mighty “Father Z”, could come up with a counterargument other than yelling “You’re wrong!” more and more loudly.

    1. @RP Burke – comment #36:
      It seems to me that since Vatican II and with the Ordinary Form Mass, more things have been added or taken away from the Liturgy by priests, liturgy committees and the laity. For example, some priests don’t genuflect, period. Some priest combined the preparation prayers of the bread and wine, some priests eliminate the washing of the hands, some priests don’t wear a chasuble only an alb and stole. Some priests skip the penitential act. Some priests improvise on all the official prayers, add homilies after the greeting, before the Scriptures, after Holy Communion in addition to the normal homily.
      So, if a traditionalist progressive adds a maniple to the Ordinary Form Mass and double genuflections at the consecrations, do you approve and are you simply poking these traditional progressives in the eye and saying welcome to the club of Ordinary Form Mass manipulators? What’s good for the maniple is good for the manipulator?

  15. As Jonathan says above Worshipping communities adapt their practices. It is a good thing that they do.

    What is not good is the manipulation by the say-the-black crowd, as they try to portray themselves as above adaptation while they adapt.

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #38:
      Jim I would partially agree with you, but what the “say the black…” club does is in no way as deleterious to the true dogma of the Mass, in either form, as what the other club does to the OF Mass. It is really about degree of manipulation and the theology behind it, such as elevating a “pastoral theology of the Mass purportedly taught as something new at Vatican II” to a dogma and making it its core in what Fr. Ron Schmit describes in an NCR op ed piece: “The definition of who we are as church comes alive in the liturgy. Vatican II described the church as a priestly people called on a mission…The council’s vision of a priestly people on mission necessitated a liturgy that could prepare disciples ready to take up their responsibilities. The council looked to the church’s distant past to recover ritual elements that were instrumental in preparing the baptized to take active responsibility for Christ’s priestly, prophetic and royal mission.”

      If that is the essence of the Mass supposedly thought by Vatican II and codified by the post Vatican II Mass, I’d say “no thanks!” Give me the EF Mass only and let me then join the Knights of Columbus for my participation in the priestly people of God on a mission! Good grief!

      And ever since Vatican II I thought the Mass was a reenactment in an unbloody way of the One Sacrifice of Christ which is eternal and not bound by time or place but available to all in the temporal order of things and that our Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ is our Communion in the salvation Jesus won for us and our call after Mass to be Catholic according to our vocation in life.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #39:

        What do you see as the difference between what you say (to be Catholic according to our vocation in life) and what you quote from Fr Schmit ( disciples ready to take up their responsibilities)?

        Or are you rejecting something else in what you quote?

        In any event, anything done for hypocritical reasons is deleterious to all that is true, quite apart from intrinsic theology.

      2. @Jim McKay – comment #41:
        I would say that an atheist could find Jesus and his teachings and mission quite appealing as a dead hero whose philosophy and ideology could make for a better world. So one could like being a priestly people with a mission and still not believe either in God or eternal salvation.

      3. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #42:

        I still do not get it. How could one like being a priestly people without believing in God? God certainly seems more central to priesthood and mission than to eternity and salvation; the latter are secondary expressions compared to the orientation to God in the former. I can certainly imagine an atheist desiring eternal salvation more easily then I can imagine one wanting to serve God.

        I just cannot grasp what you are trying to say. Are you rejecting chapter 2 of LG? That seems unbelievable to me, but its title is “the People of God” which seems to be the focus of your objection.

      4. @Jim McKay – comment #41:
        Jim – just love the responses to your points:

        Allan – “…It is really about degree of manipulation and the theology behind it, such as elevating a “pastoral theology of the Mass purportedly taught as something new at Vatican II” to a dogma and making it its core in what Fr. Ron Schmit describes in an NCR op ed piece”

        Catch the *code words* – pastoral and dogma. Translation – pastoral theology and council are *less* than *dogmatic* theology or any other council. It goes to Jonathan’s original post and points – playing with terms and words to *dismiss*; *minimize*; justify a pre-VII mentality. As you suggest – *done for hypocritical reasons*….if you go to his blog, you get this long rambling narrative about civil war re-enactments and, of course, the one, unbloody sacrifice of the Mass (pretty sure that Fr. Schmit would say both/and – horizontal and vertical – pastoral and dogmatic. He sure doesn’t reject that and when did the older eucharistic understanding onlty come to be identified with the EF?)
        He also rambles on about Ron Schmit – thinking he might be a one time Macon parishioner who became an SJ – but, that Ron is Schmidt (with a d) and is active in Hollywood at Blessed Sacrament parish. This writer is Fr. Ron Schmit of Byron, CA, St. Anne’s Parish in the SF archdiocese. If you kick enough dust into the air, it might hide your lack of intrinsic theology (to use your term, Jim); while also trying to surreptiously attack the writer rather than the ideas. You also get, again, just how terrible it was in the *liberal* seminary in those *bad* years of 1976-1980 and how he was a *flaming liberal*. (goes along with Fr. Z and his usual description of his seminary days as *hell* – even tho he is a convert)

      5. @Bill deHaas – comment #44:
        Bill the 1970’s mantra is just too tiresome. I’ve retired it; shouldn’t you and if reading my blog is hazardous to your thinking and blood pressure, shouldn’t you avoid it?

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