The “missal” for the Pope’s visit to UK

I’m not sure why the Vatican is calling this booklet a “missal,” but here is the liturgical gameplan for the Pope’s upcoming visit to UK. I hope the booklets given to the people follow a different plan than this – for example, by giving the people translations of anything sung in Latin, and by omitting rubrics and private celebrant prayers which don’t belong in a congregational booklet.

This thing is an interesting mix of current English translation, upcoming English translation (I guess when you’re Pope you can break the law and use texts which aren’t approved for liturgical use), and Latin. There is probably no ideal manner to handle the back-and-forth between various languages used within one liturgy. What do you think of this manner of doing it?



  1. It’s a mess.

    “I guess when you’re Pope you can break the law and use texts which aren’t approved for liturgical use”

    Such ability to pick and choose your lawbreaking is not confined to the person of the Roman Pontiff. Several bishops, notably the chairman of ICEL, Arthur Roche, have been using the ‘new translation’ (or versions of it) for well over a year now.

    Most hilariously, Archbishop DiNoia was, when back in the USA for his summer vacation just ended, boasting that he was using his red leather-bound Vox Clara Missal (the same as the one given to the Pope at the Vox Clara lunch at the Vatican in June) containing the texts as they existed BEFORE Vox Clara made even more last-minute changes.

    It will be most interesting to see how people like Bishop Roche and Archbishop DiNoia, who themselves have celebrated Mass using unapproved texts (and indeed texts which will NEVER be approved) deal with people who use other unapproved texts (the 1975 or 1998 ones, or others) once the new translations come into use.

    I mean, to use unapproved texts yourself, and then come down heavily on others who use unapproved texts . . . why, that would be hypocrisy, and surely no one involved in the ICEL-Vox Clara saga could EVER be accused of that . . .

    1. Chris, you make an excellent point about who has to follow the law and who doesn’t.
      One point of detail: the 10,000+ changes made by Vox Clara were already in the missal given to the Pope. Since then, some few additional changes have been made to it before it was sent to the national conferences.

      1. so: have I got this right? It’s not that Mgr Moroney or someone has been working through the summer in order to produce a new text; rather, Vox Clara produced this new version which has been in existence since the end of April and which still no-one has deigned (the word seems perversely appropriate in this context) to make public. If that’s right, I’m speechless. Insult is being added to injury.

      2. Philip – that’s it. By starting already last September, Vox Clara was able to ignore (for the most part) the last round of consultation which went into the submissions all the national conferences submitted by December 2009.

    2. +JMJ+

      Please, continue to delight in others’ misfortune.

      And if we’re going to talk about the pontiff’s bending of the rules, why don’t we raise the fact that he’s the only bishop who doesn’t need to submit his retirement paperwork at 75?

  2. The only new English text I noticed in the Missal was the Sanctus. I browsed a little quickly, so I may have missed others.

    The term “Missal for the Apostolic Journey” has also been applied to all the other “liturgical game plans” for apostolic visits which are on the website. While I am unsure, I seem to remember the term antedating Benedict XVI’s Pontificate. I believe the term is applied because it functions as the Altar Missal for the Pope.

    I have never had the privelege to take part in a Papal liturgy, so I don’t know whether the text of an Altar Missal like this would be similar to or the same as the participation aids used by the people. My guess is that the participation aids for the people would be different. This assumption is largely based on the text in this Missal. For instance, rubrics for the Westminster Mass indicate that the choir and assembly sing the Gloria and Credo in Latin, but the only chant notation provided are the opening lines (for the Holy Father).

    1. They’ve been doing this travel missal business for a while — Abp. Piero Marini was a big fan of it. Insofar as it contains all the texts needed for a given liturgy or group of liturgies, it’s a missal (in the medieval, plenary sense). But note it’s a concoction for this visit (as admittedly were those done by more competent liturgists), without accountability of promulgation — it’s not “Missale Romanum ex decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II instauratum, auctoritate Pauli PP. VI promulgatum, Ioannis Pauli PP. II cura recognitum.”

  3. Vast numbers of a special issue of MAGNIFICAT have been distributed to all parishes with material for the papal liturgies and for the days before and after. No charge has been made, though donations have been encouraged. I’ve not checked it in detail–but the volume does include a translation of the Eucharistic Prayers. The only bits of post-1973 English are the acclamations from the Macmillan Mass, for which there are melody lines in the MAGNIFICAT. Apparently the accompaniment and choir parts are under strict embargo–perhaps for commercial reasons, perhaps because of factors connected with permission for the whole package. Just as Mozart transcribed Allegri’s MISERERE from hearing it in the Sistine Chapel, maybe some enterprising music student will start pirating copies …

  4. In more detail, to the extent that the special MAGNIFICAT is correct:

    — the Kyrie will be sung in Greek at all three Masses
    — the Preface and Eucharistic Prayer (canon) will be prayed in Latin at all three Masses
    — the Credo will be sung in Latin at the Sept. 18 and 19 Masses in England (none on Sept. 16)
    — the Pater Noster will be sung in Latin on Sept. 16 and 18, in English on Sept. 19
    — the communion music at each Mass will include a traditional Latin Eucharistic motet
    — the Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei at the Sept. 16 Mass in Scotland and at the beatification Mass on Sept. 19 will the new English translations sung by a choir to the new musical settings by James MacMillan.
    — at the Sept. 18 Mass in Westminster Cathedral, the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei will be sung in Latin polyphony (Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices).

  5. +JMJ+

    “omitting rubrics and private celebrant prayers which don’t belong in a congregational booklet”

    I’m all for including them. Call it accountability or transparency. 😉 It seems like a simple means of catechizing the congregation about the liturgy. Why should the people be left in the dark about the quiet or private prayers of the clergy during the Mass?

    At the same time, I agree with you that the Latin prayers should have a translation provided.

    The Sanctus has surprised me. It’s actually translated accurately; that is, Dominus Deus Sabaoth is in the nominative, not the vocative: “is the Lord God of Hosts.” But “is the” isn’t in the 2010 translation! I’m befuddled.

    And as for integrating multiple languages, I’ll give that some thought.

  6. The amusing thing about the Vatican Missal is that is has the Gloria in the existing translation (while MacMillan’s setting uses the revised text not yet implemented in any country except South Africa). It also has the Sanctus in an earlier version of the revised text that was discarded several years back (Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts….). Once again, MacMillan’s setting does not accord with what’s in the Vatican Missal.

    So much for communications.

  7. With all due respect for the Vatican …. Is it possible that it’s web site might be the less accurate of the two sources?

    Just asking. But the MAGNIFICAT does has a more complete look and feel.

  8. Yes, the choir of Westminster Cathedral will be singing the Sanctus of Byrd’s Five-Part Mass. Superb piece sung by a superb choir but….

    How does Westminster (and other places) get away with this while the rest of us must stick to the rules and ensure the Sanctus is sung by the assembly?

    1. The Roman way is to honor the rule as the rule in all of its abstract beauty…., and indulge/overlook occasional non-conformity that is in keeping with the customs and traditions of the liturgy. (This, btw, does not apply to essential aspects of the liturgy and most especially does not apply to the form and matter of sacraments.)

      Unfortunately for those of us who tend to think of law in the ways of the Anglosphere (or sometimes from a Germanic perspective, too), that does not codify an exception, and the non-conformity does not become a norm or establish even a custom unto itself. The Roman approach to law is different that those of the English-speaking peoples in this regard. If you perceive a circular dynamic at work here, you are coming at this from within the perspective of the Anglosphere. The Romans just see it as a sensible way to keep ideals and reality in right relationship, rather than as contradictory or even a self-serving use of authority; of course it can be both things at the same time.

  9. I noticed:

    At least once, it has the Gospel according to St. X, while twice it has the Gospel according to X.

    THIS IS the word of the Lord. (Which, at least in the US, we no longer use.

    At the end of the protestant Our Father at the Ecumenical Service in Westminster Abbey: NOW and for ever. It should be: for ever and ever.

  10. Isn’t the current pope the one who once made the valid statement that one big problem is that the liturgy now looks like something that is manufactured and that the notion of the liturgy’s “givenness” endangered?

    This is bonkers. I think it’s the E.F. for me tomorrow.

  11. In answer to Nick’s question. The guidance of the Bishops of England and Wales does not accord with Musicam Sacram (hence E&W places sung dialogues between priest and people, Our Father and Creed on a low level of priority as regards singing). MS, on the other hand says (and I’m paraphrasing rather than looking it up) that it’s good for the people to have the opportunity to sing the Sanctus, but not essential if they’ve had the opportunity to participate in other parts of the Mass. Having attended Mass at Westminster a few times I cannot say that I have ever been left feeling a spectator at Mass – there’s always been plenty to sing, even if not always the Sanctus.

    1. The GIRM 79 b. refers to the Sanctus as an “Acclamation: In which the whole congregation, joining with the heavenly powers, sings the Sanctus. This acclamation, which is part of the Eucharistic Prayer itself, is sung or said by all the people with the priest.” As it was written after Musicam Sacram, we can probably take it to have amended Musicam Sacram.

      The practice for Papal Masses in the Vatican has recently eschewed any polyphonic pieces for the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, instead using an appropriate Gregorian Ordinary setting.

      If there has been some clarification about this from the CDWDS, I would be happy to know. I understand that desireability of having all the people sing the Sanctus, and think it should be the norm, but it would be very unfortunate if there were not some allowance for a polyphonic Sanctus, as many of these settings are such a beautiful part of our patrimony

      1. “As it was written after Musicam Sacram, we can probably take it to have amended Musicam Sacram.”

        Definitely. Not to mention the rubrics in the Ordo Missae. Sometimes I wonder how many reform2 musicians ever actually read the Roman Missal. (Who’s that guy always harping on the importance of saying the black and doing the red?)

        And as for performance pieces, there are plenty of times within and outside of Mass where they can be presented.

      2. Jonathan is, quite rightly, referring to the 2005 GIRM which echoes the words of the 1975 GIRM:

        Par 55b: “Joining with the angels, the congregation sings or recites the Sanctus. This acclamation is an intrinsic part of the eucharistic prayer and all the people join with the priest in singing or reciting it.”

        Par 169: “…the Sanctus is sung or recited by all the concelebrants with the congregation and the choir”

        And then there are the prefaces: They all end by inviting us, to join the song of the angels in heaven.

        I’m not sure James is correct when he says is is “not essential” for the assembly to sing the Sanctus “if they’ve had the opportunity to participate in other parts of the Mass”.

        The actual wording is: “It is preferable that the Sanctus, as the concluding acclamation of the Preface, should normally be sung by the whole congregation together with the priest”.

        Does this mean that parishes with a good musical tradition should sing the Sanctus and that those who have let things slide may leave it to the choir?

  12. Was anybody else happy to see that the Ecumenical Meeting was in a form of Evening Prayer? I thought it wasa good recognition of the retention of Vespers in both the Anglican and Catholic traditions. I also thought it was nice to see the traditional language in the Magnificat and psalm.

  13. The bit I had in mind was…
    34. The songs which are called the “Ordinary of the Mass”, if they are sung by musical settings written for several voices may be performed by the choir according to the customary norms, either a capella, or with instrumental accompaniment, as long as the people are not completely excluded from taking part in the singing.

    Isn’t there some complicated canon law argument about the relationship between Musicam Sacram and the GIRM? I confess it’s not one I could articulate myself, but I got the impression that later date alone was not enough for GIRM to ‘trump’ MS. Question rather than statement as I’m heading out of my depth.

    “Does this mean that parishes with a good musical tradition should sing the Sanctus and that those who have let things slide may leave it to the choir?” – I think that’s precisely what the pre-BXVI Ratzinger thought.

    Lest this get personal I would personally opt for a chant Sanctus over a polyphonic one – but there must be room for a polyphonic sanctus on the principal that “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.” I, for one, don’t mind the choir doing the work from time to time so that I can concentrate on the mysteries about to be celebrated.

    1. MS was written before the current Missal was even in anything close to final form, let alone promulgated; while it is not abrogated as such, later specific law does act to modify it in effect. It would be nice if MS were replaced by a document that more clearly engages the Missal that came after it, but so far, Rome has simply relied on later documents to do that work.

      The instructions and rubrics in the OF Missal regarding the Sanctus do represent a development of thought in liturgical, ecclesiological and eschatological terms: it is thought of less as something like the Agnus Dei – merely an acclamation, but as a foretaste in this world of the Heavenly Court where the entire People of God, the Body of Christ, acclaims the Holy God. Hence the shift in emphasis to having all partake exteriorly and interiorly in the Sanctus. This is one of those developments I wish traditionalists would realize actually strengthens many things they would like to see strengthened in the Mass, but they (like we all) tend to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

      Does that mean Rome would hurl a thunderbolt at the occasional choral Sanctus? No. It just means it’s outside the current norms, and that the thinking behind the current norms, as well as the norms themselves, need to be accepted and understood as such, even with occasional variances therefrom.

    2. As I recall, the version of the Sanctus sung at John Paul II’s funeral was a polyphonic piece based upon Sanctus XVIII. At least in the opening, it was fair to say that the people could take part (as it is the easiest and perhaps most well-known setting). This would seem to be in keeping with MS 34.

      This is part of why I asked earlier if there had been a clarification regarding this text and the GIRM. In practice, including Papal practice, we have seen the use of a polyphonic Sanctus (in keeping with the povision of MS), while the GIRM indicates otherwise.

      I recognize that a pope can innovate in (or renovate) the liturgy (John Paul II was blessing people with the Book of the Gospels before that rubric was on the books). I find it best to err on the side of caution until a clarification may come (i.e., follow the GIRM). I repeat that I would like to know if the CDWDS has dealt with this.

      1. Theodore Marier asked Jean Langlais to include congregational lines in parts of the Sanctus for Langlais’ Messe Solennelle: the congregation joins in the two iterations of the Benedictus. That’s how it’s reflected in Hymns Psalms & Spiritual Canticles, and has long been offered at St Paul’s in Cambridge MA.

  14. James, I am sure we all agree that polyphony is glorious. Despite the Council of Trent’s attempts to suppress it, polyphony survived (largely thanks to demonstrations by Palestrina) and not only illuminated our liturgy but had a massive effect on the development of music in the western world.

    There is plenty of space for polyphony in the Mass. The assembly is asked to sing the Gospel Greeting, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation and Amen. That leaves space for six or seven choir-only items – although personally I’d find this overload.

    Karl is right that a choral Sanctus is “outside courrent norms” – or should be. Here in the UK, it is the norm in many cathedrals and some parishes churches. (Although we have some fine examples of choir and people worshipping together: particularly Brentwood, Clifton and Salford cathedrals.)

    A couple of years ago, as part of a Masters dissertation, I researched music in the parishes in my home diocese and in the cathedrals of England & Wales. I wasn’t too surprised to find quite a few institutions which regularly included a choral Sanctus. But what worried me was that so many places had no idea of the musical role of the assembly.

    One sentence from a local parish musician has stayed with me: “Our assembly can really belt out Missa Cum Jubilo when the choir is on holiday”.

  15. I have my “Invited Pilgrim Entry Card” for the Westminster Mass, My Magnificat and the air ticket to get there. Dinner the evening before with the Abbot of Worth (and a former Abbot too).
    So after this morning’s ad lib Mass (the organ was thrown away so as to make space for a few more chairs) at our local church I can forgive a few variations from the “official” text without quibbles.
    Let’s hope that there is no fog and disruption of flights.

    1. Good for you.

      I was at the installation of the new Abbot of Worth yesterday. The outgoing abbot was there (although I suspect not for long) and the abbot before that (who is a good friend). Which ones are you dining with?

  16. Official rubrics aside, I kind of wonder how important it is to have a congregational sanctus at events like these, where the congregation is drawn from multiple parishes/countries that presumably don’t all use the same Mass settings (even if they all speak the same language). I can’t sing something unless I’ve heard it at least a couple times because I don’t read music. I’m usually not bothered that I’m unable to sing along when visiting a strange parish.

    However, if it truly is important for the congregation to always sing certain things, then I think that there should be more effort into having a widely known Latin ordinary amongst roman rite Catholics – like the Jubilate Deo setting. It’s not the most exciting chant Mass, but it isn’t difficult to learn or sing and would probably come in handy when you have large gatherings of Catholics from multiple countries (even if those countries speak the same language).

  17. Answer to Paul Inwood: Fr Kevin and Fr Stephen. Both used to be house masters.
    Fr Christoper’s brother used to go to the same church as me in Paris. It is sometimes a small world.
    Note for Jack Waye and others.
    Think about places like Lourdes. It is good if all can join in together rather than just one at a time. Of course the Italian Hail Mary seems to drown out all others on the torchlight procession….

    1. I think it’s important for everyone to be able to sing together, but I fail to see how that can happen until Catholics have a small repertoire of chant in common. I don’t know how it can work with new pieces of vernacular music.

      Having a small group of chants that all Latin Rite Catholics can sing and claim as their own seems so incredibly *easy* to accomplish, yet it seems to be so widely resisted. What’s sad is that we would have this already had Vatican II actually been heeded.

      1. It was working beautifully in England & Wales – it had taken 40 years to get there but it was happening. Now, alas, that has all been swept away and we must start from scratch.

  18. Jack: “What’s sad is that we would have this already had Vatican II actually been heeded.”

    Or if the letter to the bishops of the world, which accompanied Paul VI’s release of the Jubilate Deo chant booklet, had been heeded:

    “This minimum repertoire of Gregorian chant has been prepared with that purpose in mind: to make it easier for Christians to achieve unity and spiritual harmony with their brothers and with the living traditions of the past. Hence it is that those who are trying to improve the quality of congregational singing cannot refuse to Gregorian chant the place which is due to it. . . . ”
    “In presenting the Holy Father’s gift to you, may I at the same time remind you of the desire which he has often expressed that the Conciliar constitution on the liturgy be increasingly better implemented. Would you therefore, in collaboration with the competent diocesan and national agencies for the liturgy, sacred music and catechetics, decide on the best ways of teaching the faithful the Latin chants of “Jubilate Deo” and of having them sing them, and also of promoting the preservation and execution of Gregorian chant in the communities mentioned above. You will thus be performing a new service for the Church in the domain of liturgical renewal.”

    Well, thanks to Benedict XVI, the liturgical renewal promised by Vatican II, so long delayed–the biblical 40 years in the desert?–appears finally to be underway.

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