Putting back what’s missing in the new Mass, part II: the entrance rites

The post on the interview with Cardinal Burke has garnered something like a bazillion comments, and I don’t want to stop that discussion, but I did want to have a slightly more focused discussion on one of his specific suggestions: restoring/inserting the “prayers at the foot of the altar.”

Fr. Allan made a concrete suggestion as to how this might be done:

Processional Chant consistent with the theme of the readings, Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar to include the Sign of the Cross, all kneel, ministers bow for the introduction to the Penitential Act which becomes, “I will go unto the altar of God, with its response, and the exclusive use of the Confiteor and absolution. Afterward all stand and the Official Introit is chanted, the altar is kissed (incense if used) and the priest goes to the chair for the Kyrie, Gloria, then the Greeting and Collect (as the EF has the greeting and the Episcopal liturgy).

There are a number of details in this proposal about which questions might be raised: e.g. why the doubling of the entrance chant; would psalm 42 would be included (which seems to be required by the rationale Cardinal Burke gives), would the Confiteor be doubled as in the 1962 Missal, would the versicles after the Confiteor be included, etc. But what interests me is whether prayers that developed in the context of one sort of entrance rite can simply be inserted into what is really a very different sort of entrance rite.

What I mean by this is that the prayers at the foot of the altar developed as the private devotional preparation of the celebrant and ministers, and so they remained at Sung Masses until they were eliminated in the Missal of Paul VI. At Low Mass they were also the private preparation of the priest until the mid-20th century when dialogue Masses began to come into vogue, at which they were (somewhat puzzlingly, given their origin) made part of what the people were to try to say in Latin.

In the Missal of Paul VI one element of those private devotional prayers, a modified Confiteor and Misereatur, was crafted into a very different sort of thing: a communal rite of penitence. This was an innovation in the Roman Rite — one that perhaps developed from the brief experience of the Church with the dialogue Mass and that reflected the general tendency of the new Missal to have priest and people doing things together, rather than having the people do one thing (e.g. singing/listening to the introit), while the priest did another (say devotional prayers). One might argue whether or not such an innovation should have been made, but it was made and now for forty years the Church has celebrated Mass beginning with priest and people joining together in a penitential rite.

So when Cardinal Burke talks about “restoring” the prayers at the foot of the altar, is he talking about requiring once again the particular set of devotions as set out in the 1962 Missal for the priest and ministers during the introit (which would be in fact a restoration), or is he proposing that the public penitential rite currently in place be replaced by the old devotional prayers at the foot of the altar, making them into a new public rite of penitence (which would not be a restoration, but a further innovation)? If the former, would we still want to have a public penitential rite? Why could these prayers not be done in the sacristy before the introit? If the latter, would these prayers also be said aloud at sung Masses? If so, where: before the introit or after? How would this change the shape of the liturgy?

My greatest fear is that in making this proposal, the Cardinal has not even thought of such questions.


  1. There is no doubling of the entrance chant. The procession and entrance to the altar are two different events, which is much clearer in the EF since there is an action (Prayers at the Foot of the Altar) that separates them, but they are two different events in the OF nonetheless. I submit as evidence: it is possible to celebrate the OF Mass without a procession. There is still the entrance to the altar in such a case. Furthermore, many parishes within the context of the OF as is sing a hymn for the processional, and the choir follows with the chanted Introit, even though there is no obvious demarcation between the procession and entrance to the altar.

    1. Cameron,

      Perhaps I am not fully understanding your comment, but it seems to me that the rubrics of both the EF and the OF envision only one entrance chant/introit, whereas Fr. Allan’s proposal envisions two. Is your point that the first would not really be an entrance chant but something else?

      1. To your question, yes.

        The procession is not the “entrance.” Ascending the steps and entering into the sanctuary from the nave or from the sacristy is is the “entrance.” Going from whatever place *to* the sanctuary. The procession is a different act altogether, one that may or may not happen.

        These two acts are visually separated in the EF by the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. They are not separated at all in the OF–that is, they flow together–but they are separate acts nonetheless.

        Fr. Allan’s proposal does not envision two entrance chants/Introits. It envisions a procession with an optional hymn, followed by a sort of Prayers at the Foot of the Altar and the official entrance chant, the Introit.

        Watch a video of an EF High Mass or Solemn Mass on Youtube. In most there will be a procession with a–always optional, never required–hymn or instrumental music, followed by the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar with the–never optional, always required–Introit chanted “over” them.

        What Fr. Allan proposes, as far as music, is done all the time at EF High and Solemn Masses.

      2. About the asperges, Fr. Allan has told here in the past that he would also like to see a revision of the asperges in the OF, something more along the lines of the EF’s asperges in which it is actually a prelude to, and not part of, Mass. It would not take the place of the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar or the Penetential Act.

      3. The procession and entrance Rites of the EF when asperges is used:

        1. Procession accompanied optionally by a [usually] vernacular hymn or instrumental music. This could also be silent.
        2. Priest arrives at altar, kneels at the foot, server fetches already blessed water, priest intones Asperges me or Vidi aquam, choir and people continue with the rest of the chant. Meanwhile, priest starts to sprinkle: altar, himself, altar boys, turns around, walks down the nave and sprinkles those in the pews. Returns to the sanctuary, replaces holy water, sings some things and a collect.
        3. Priest begins Prayers at the Foot of the Altar while choir sings the Introit “over” this action.
        4. Mass continues as normal with Kyrie, Gloria if prescribed, collect(s), readings, etc.

        This is the best example I can find: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Clk6yM8ds4
        Procession is a sort of half-procession and in this case they have chosen to have a simple organ piece instead of a hymn, the beginning of the asperges is clear, and the Introit is begun right after the priest removes his cope.

      4. Cameron, thanks for that video which I watched some time back trying to learn how to celebrate the EF. What is quite interesting is that it is a real parish family friendly Mass and very highly, highly participative contrary to what so many think about this Mass. It is not a museum piece in the least.
        But watch the Liturgy of the Word. The celebrant chants the beginning of the Epistle at the altar, but then reads it silently while a lay lector reads it in French at the same time but from the ambo. That seems like quite a marvelous compromise although certainly I would say that the celebrant wouldn’t need to read it but simply let a lay lector do it even in the EF–mutual enrichment.

      5. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #8:
        It still comes across as a staged performance. Preserving museum pieces is not the focus of the liturgy.
        If you want the Gregorian chant, buy a CD or go to a concert hall.

  2. next stage

    …. Introibo ad altare Dei
    as deum qui laetificat juventutem meum….

    as the Biretta is placed on the altar step by the dutiful server and everyone looks on. O please! Let’s get real.
    Go and read H G Wells The Time Machine if you want to go back fifty years.
    I prefer to recognise where we are and move forward.

    1. But for some liturgical fashionistas of old, the EF gives them the opportunity to dress in full regalia, gloves and all for Jesus!

      1. I suppose, Mike, it was kind and generous to add “for SOME liturgical fashionistas of old.” There were two EF Masses and an EF Vespers at CMAA’s ’12 Colloquium two weeks ago. There was nary a fiddleback, gloves, excessive man lace, or Dorothy’s ruby slippers and the photos can prove that. Sorry if birettas are a bother to some.
        But I’d wonder if Jesus would endorse “mean spiritedness” as a cardinal virtue for use in discourse.

  3. Psalm 43 is utilized, but only for that single line of verse 4a leading to an expression of hopeful joy. Otherwise, the text of 42-43 is a lament. Perhaps some traditionalists would lament the mention of a plucked string instrument in 43b, but that’s another story.

    If we were looking for a text for this moment of the Mass (and I’m not saying we should be) what about Psalm 84? The reference to multiple altars (verse 4) might appeal to some Catholics.

    It wouldn’t surprise me your final musing is correct. Like many innovators, Cardinal Burke is heartfelt in his connections to the liturgy, but lacks the foresight, pastoral experience, and theological grounding to really think this through. Perhaps not unlike many non-liturgists who experimented in 70’s.

    Somehow, I don’t think including invocations from Psalm 43 or 84 into the troped Kyrie would fly in Cardinal Burke’s flock.

  4. While it may not be kosher, at our EF Sung Mass, we normally sing a metrical hymn in English for the liturgical procession to the altar. Once we arrive at the foot of the altar, the hymn ends and we recite the Prayers at the Foot of the altar in Latin and encourage the congregation to respond as the altar servers do. Once this is completed and I approach the altar to incense it, the schola chants the simple version of the EF’s Introit, with only one verse of the psalm and then we go directly into the Kyrie and Gloria.
    It is possible and perhaps more liturgically correct with the EF Procession for the Schola to sing additional verses of the Introit Psalm for the entire procession and for only the priest and altar servers to recite the prayers at the foot of the altar quietly as the Introit is being chanted, but the radical that I am, I feel that that is too clerical and that the laity should participate in this penitential prelude, which is exactly what it is. The Mass technically begins with the Introit.
    My suggested slight tweaking of the Penitential Act in the OF Mass is meant to maintain this as a clergy and laity act, but to couch it into a prelude context. So the Metrical hymn during the Liturgical Procession is optional, but enables the laudable tradition of selecting a congregational hymn at this point, then after the absolution, the official Introit could simply be a choir or schola piece as most of us recognize it is difficult for the congregation to chant a Latin Introit or to do it even in English.
    The other “problem” with our current Introductory rite is that it is visually uninspiring, there is no movement. What I am recommending, while still maintaining the Penitenial act as a prelude at the foot of the altar is that it gives us a bit of movement–and I envision it “ad orientem” until the priest arrives at his chair for the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.
    In addition, I would suggest that the Rite of Sprinkling would replace the Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar, but I really prefer the EF’s version of it using Holy Water blessed at another convenient time. Then after the Asperges is sung or the Vidi Aquam during Easter, the Introit would take place for the ascending to the altar to kiss and incense it. Either way the Kyrie would never be eliminated.

    1. The hymn situation is quite kosher. The practice of waiting until the PatFotA are over to chant the Introit is not, I believe. You do mean the EF in this example, right?

    2. Fr. Allen,

      The more you describe it, the more I am left wondering if it is really the EF that you are doing at your parish and not some hybrid more akin to the 1965 Mass.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      1. If it were the 65 missal there would be no psalm 42. It may be more a matter of custom that the choir in a sung Mass sings the introit over the prayers at the foot of the altar but the priest still does his own thing independent of the sclola and recites the introit after the p at tfota and also the kyrie and Gloria. What we do is sort of 65 missal in that I don’t do a separate mass from the choir but sing with them or listen to the parts in a unity. I think this would be the OF’s influence on the EF what is called mutual enrichment.

      2. There isn’t anything wrong with the 1965 Mass, and I wish more people could experience it somehow. I remember it surprisingly well considering I was ages 5-9 while it was used.

      3. “There isn’t anything wrong with the 1965 Mass, and I wish more people could experience it somehow.”

        I know my comment here may reveal me as some sort of liturgical oddball, but I say if one adds a reformed calendar (restoring a few truly ancient things needlessly lost in the reform), the 1969 lectionary, and the prayer of the faithful, then the 1965 Mass seems to accomplish quite well what the council fathers intended and the Holy Father desired to offer the bishops at their request.

        And then, please God, we would have one form of the Roman Rite, which may be done in Latin, or vernacular, or both.

        And then celebrate Mass with reverence. Reverence is the key to an authentic renewal of the liturgy, at least as I see it.

      4. Michael, that has always been my suggestion except that we use the 2012 Roman Missal and simply have the 1965 Order of the Mass for it. That would be so simple, no major upheaval, have it English or Latin or a combination, keep the lectionary, the liturgy of the word as is, universal prayers, procession with offerings–its a no-brainer and yes we need one form of the Mass for us in the Ordinary Latin Rite and let ordinariates take care of the Anglican Use and the EF use.

    3. Fr. Allan, I was agog at this suggestion of yours:

      The other “problem” with our current Introductory rite is that it is visually uninspiring, there is no movement. What I am recommending, while still maintaining the Penitenial act as a prelude at the foot of the altar is that it gives us a bit of movement

      So the problem here with the Ordinary Form is that the congregation isn’t provided with a show? And I thought I’d remembered you writing that you felt one of the problems with current hymns is that too many are Broadway-like!

      1. Not traditional hymns especially the great treasury of the Episcopal and Methodist traditions. By Broadway sound I mean recent Broadway sounds in modern musicals like Phantom and Les Mis and the like.

      2. He likely means visual actions occurring at sensible places in the text. Like bowing for the confiteor, kneeling, etc. The people kneel for the PatFotA in the EF, as does the server, and the priest and server bow during their recitations of the confiteor. Additionally, if it is a Solemn Mass, the priest moves his torso side to side towards the deacon and subdeacon to acknowledge them at the “fratres” parts and they move their torsos towards the celebrant at the “pater” parts of the confiteor to acknowledge him.

      3. @Cameron Neal – comment #24:
        Additionally, if it is a Solemn Mass, the priest moves his torso side to side towards the deacon and subdeacon to acknowledge them at the “fratres” parts and they move their torsos towards the celebrant at the “pater” parts of the confiteor to acknowledge him.
        All this torso moving as the congregation observes a purely clerical rite which could have been performed in the sacristy as part of the celebrant’s preparation.

      4. Problem with the 1965 prayer at the foot of the altar is it lacks the Psalm 42 which is one of the most beautiful parts of it.
        Retain the maniple and the drop the subdeacon with the humeral veil, and get rid of those silly altar cards propped up against candlesticks.
        No need for relics between candlesticks either. Just another distraction like over-sized tabernacles. Most relics aren’t genuine anyway.

    4. No, it’s not really “kosher” and I’d suggest that the correct celebration of the forms what the Church expects, what the people deserve to have.

      I feel that that is too clerical and that the laity should participate in this penitential prelude, which is exactly what it is.

      It’s not about what we feel. Sacrosanctum Concilium: “3. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

      The Mass technically begins with the Introit.

      No. The rubrics begin quite a bit before the introit and they tell us how to carry out the rite.

      There are licit options for increasing outward participation in the entrance rite, for instance, the people could be provided with texts and music for and taught to sing the psalm verses (which can be extended) at the introit.

      And for anyone who’s wondering, I have these same conversations with traditionalists who want to change things to pre-1962 on their own authority.

      1. re: Samuel J. Howard on July 9, 2012 – 2:36 pm

        Sam: No, it’s [the singing of vernacular hymns before sung Mass is] not really “kosher” and I’d suggest that the correct celebration of the forms what the Church expects, what the people deserve to have. (my addition in brackets)

        Sure, there’s no problem with singing a vernacular hymn before or after sung Mass. Heck, central and eastern Europeans (Austrians, Bavarians, Poles, etc.) have sung vernacular hymns during sung Mass for centuries. The musical distinctions between low, sung, and solemn Mass were blurred well before the eve of the Council.

        Inter oecumenici‘s relaxation of the ministerial and musical distinctions between low, sung, and solemn Mass should be reconsidered for current celebrations of the EF. This reconsideration is especially timely considering the end of minor orders. At the very least, the rules governing the use of vernacular hymnody at the EF Mass should be liberalized to the point where vernacular hymnody might be sung at any EF Mass.

      2. Jordan, your edited version of my comment is not correct. I am referring to the entirety of the method of celebration described, not just the practice of singing a vernacular processional hymn.

        Singing a vernacular processional hymn is largely unproblematic if the procession in question precedes the Asperges. It’s less clear if it precedes the Mass directly, that’s because that is the time for the introit. There’s no rubric forbidding it, but it’s clearly not the mind of those who wrote the pre-1962 legislation on music at Mass. They seek to extend and emphasize the Introit and have it reclaim its place as a processional chant.

        Yes, there were vernacular hymn traditions in central and eastern Europe. You should go read what De musica sacra et sacra liturgia (1958 and still the law for the 1962 Missal) says about them.

        Readoption of Inter oecumenici‘s (slight) relaxation of the ministerial and musical (more relaxed by Musicam Sacram) distinctions between low, sung, and solemn Mass is incredibly untimely. These rules are an important spur in getting the rites celebrated fully and with dignity. Lots of folks will otherwise give in to liturgical minimalism. The way the rules are makes it so people work together to the liturgy right as an organic whole at whatever level they can accomplish, rather than punting various parts of the rite.

      3. re: Samuel J. Howard on July 9, 2012 – 6:30 pm

        My apologies for misquoting and misinterpreting your statement Sam.

        Here’s what the encyclical Musicae sacrae disciplina, which De musica sacra et sacra liturgia directly references, implicitly states with regard to the central and eastern European vernacular hymn traditions:

        “Certainly as the Apostolic See, not at all unmindful of the serious reasons for certain outlined general exceptions which, in this case must be conceded, even though offered and propagated widely without the appropriate dispensation of the Holy See, we will to be broadened to other places. To the contrary, in those places where use of concessions like these are permitted [lit. ubi eiusmodi concessionibus frui licet, ‘it is permitted to enjoy concessions of this kind’], other ordinaries of regions and sacred ministers should carefully provide that the lay faithful at the very least learn from childhood (inde a pueris) more easily the customary Gregorian modes, and also know to use them in holy liturgical rites so that unity in these actions of the Church (hac quoque re Ecclesiae) and universality might shine forth today to a greater extent.” — (AAS 48 (1956) 16 para. 2, my brackets, parentheses, translation)

        The following paragraph outlines more specifically the indult for vernacular hymnody, especially cautioning that an ordinary should not forbid vernacular hymnody if the practice is a long-standing custom of a region.

        Pius XII does not limit the more generous indult for vernacular hymnody at sung Mass to a particular geographical region. In theory, any ordinary may permit vernacular hymnody at sung EF Mass at his discretion. Pius merely exhorts the clergy to ensure that the laity know Gregorian settings. In my experience, EF parishes which celebrate sung Mass often fulfill Pius’s preconditions for the use of vernacular hymnody.

      4. Pius XII does not limit the more generous indult for vernacular hymnody at sung Mass to a particular geographical region. In theory, any ordinary may permit vernacular hymnody at sung EF Mass at his discretion.

        I haven’t looked at the Latin yet, but the Vatican translation says the opposite of how you have translated/read it (my emphasis):

        46. We are not unaware that, for serious reasons, some quite definite exceptions have been conceded by the Apostolic See. We do not want these exceptions extended or propagated more widely, nor do We wish to have them transferred to other places without due permission of the Holy See.

      5. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #29:

        Haud ignoramus sane ab hac ipsa Apostolica Sede ob graves causas quasdam sed omnino definitas exceptiones hac in re concessas esse, quas tamen nequaquam latius proferri vel propagari, nec sine debita eiusdem Sanctae Sedis venia, ad alias regiones transferri volumus.

        nequaquam […] nec sine. Thanks for the correction. I should have given the Latin beforehand so that you and others would have recognized this error.

        You have clarified that Pius did not encourage vernacular chorales at sung Mass save for those countries where the practice had been established despite general law (per the following paragraph).

        As Paul Bradshaw has noted, edicts are often issued not to prevent an activity but rather to admonish against already widespread violations of a particular law. At least one Mass booklet I have seen from the 1950’s proposes that a congregation sing a vernacular Gloria after the priest intones the Latin incipit. I would not be against such an idea, but I now respect that this was never permitted under the law in place during the 1962 missal.

  5. I tend to support the view of Vatican II liturgists preparing the renewed liturgy who felt that there should be no penitential rite. It was not there in ancient times, and there had never been a communal penitential rite, except in some Protestant worship. Their argument was that a penitential rite smacked of Pelagianism – that we can lift ourselves up by our own boot straps. So just in case the Liturgy of the Word does not purify our sinfulness, and in case the Eucharist doesn’t do it either, we will take no chances and begin the liturgy with a penance rite produced by a committee. This leads to another interesting pastoral question: Is it not possible to begin the liturgy without protesting our unworthiness? Are there not enough sentiments of our wretched unworthiness already embedded in the liturgical texts to dispense us from more self-flagellation at the beginning of the rite?

    1. @Jan Larson – comment #33:
      A good point. One would think the wording of Psalm 42 and other penitential psalms customarily recited while the clergy went in procession at Rome and, I believe, was common in the early Gallican liturgy, would suffice as acts “protesting our unworthiness”.

  6. This is one place where, without borrowing word for word, we can learn much from the Byzantine and other Eastern Rites, which regularly begin their service with a part of the Liturgy of the Hours or a service modeled on the LOH, namely combinations of hymns, canticles, psalms, and litanies.

    The historic reason is very simple these were gathering rites that gave the people something to do while they waited for the clergy to begin the Liturgy of the Word. They were mainly attended by religious and other pious people, and were often assisted by a deacon or deacons but not priest or bishop.

    The procession of the clergy began the Liturgy of the Word. So we might say the historic form of the liturgy is tripartite: an LOH type service, the Service of the Word, the Eucharist.

    The ideal would be that when there is a 10:00 am Mass, the Service of the Word begins at 10:00 am but people would know that the LOH type service begins around 9:45 and that they are welcome to enter anytime during the LOH service. This is what often happens in Orthodox services, people are not there much a head of time, but many enter during the first ten minutes of the service. We are heading in their direction because many people have learned to come just in time which means in fact that many are often late.

    The revision would have the advantages of giving the people a taste for LOH type services, get people used to doing LOH type Liturgy without a clerical supervisor, focus people on the community rather than the clergy as a reason to assemble for prayer.

    1. Actually I would allow many different forms and much flexibility for the LOH rite.

      When I have been in charge of Masses for special reasons, e.g. victims of sexual abuse, I have generally added an LOH type devotional service before Mass as a way of contextualizing the entire Mass without doing things like changing the readings, the hymns, etc. It is interesting how much a perspective on the assigned reading of the Sunday can be provided with a fifteen minute service beforehand.

      This might help solve the problem of many people wanting different hymns, etc in the Mass, e.g. if you want a youth Mass, just put most of the drums, dancing etc. in the LOH service. People who don’t want that can arrive just in time for the Liturgy of the Word.

      Same way for the Propers; sing them with their psalms as part of the LOH service. If a lot of people begin arriving very early for the entire service then begin to migrate the Propers to their “proper” places.

      Actually probably most of what I am proposing could be done from the ground up rather that requiring a top down Liturgical revision. We just won’t call it a part of the Mass.

      This is also a convenient time to enable lay ministers to offer perspective on the readings without doing a homily. A women pastoral assistant was doing that very effectively by offering an introduction to the readings before the Liturgy of the Word. It really helped me to pay attention when time came for the readings. I would keep the commentary very short, e.g. like why a certain hymn or psalm was chosen in preparation for the readings.

      Taft said the reason that the East doesn’t have a division between liturgy and popular devotions is that they incorporated popular devotions into their liturgy. So the way to experiment with liturgy is to model devotions on the liturgy which we are encouraged to do.

      Avery Dulles once suggested the reason for our liturgy wars is that we try to put to much into the Mass at once, and that we need to cultivate devotions as an outlet for our creativity.

      1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #36:
        Actually probably most of what I am proposing could be done from the ground up rather that requiring a top down Liturgical revision. We just won’t call it a part of the Mass.
        Jack, I agree with your proposed solution, but I can see the rubrics police and the canonical harpies jumping on this right away. It doesn’t fit in with their one -size- fits all reform of the reform imposed by the unquestioned “magisterium”.

    2. There is a relic of this in the Roman Rite according to the books of 1962, the Pontifical Mass celebrated in the bishop’s own cathedral or designated church. In such a celebration Mass is preceded by Pontifical Terce, and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are omitted.

      1. The rubrics for the LOH allows Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer to be combined with Mass, e.g.

        94. When morning prayer, celebrated in choir or in common, comes immediately before Mass, the whole celebration may begin either with the introductory verse and hymn of morning prayer, especially on weekdays, or with the entrance song, procession, and celebrant’s greeting, especially on Sundays and holydays; one of the introductory rites is thus omitted.

        The psalmody of morning prayer follows as usual, up to, but excluding, the reading. After the psalmody the penitential rite is omitted and, as circumstances suggest, the Kyrie; the Gloria then follows, if required by the rubrics, and the celebrant says the opening prayer of the Mass. The liturgy of the word follows as usual.

        The general intercessions are made in the place and form customary at Mass. But on weekdays, at Mass in the morning, the intercessions of morning prayer may replace the daily form of the general intercessions at Mass.

        After the communion with its communion song the Canticle of Zechariah, Blessed be the Lord, with its antiphon from morning prayer, is sung. Then follow the prayer after communion and the rest as usual.

        Part of the problem in actually using the LOH might be that people would not treat it as a gathering rite that they are able to come whenever they want. Matins often proceeds the Divine Liturgy in the Greek Orthodox Church. What happens is the people slowly come in during the long service, including in one case which I witnessed, the Archbishop who simply walked up the side aisle and took his place in the choir (he was not celebrating the Divine Liturgy that day). Our Western individualism tends to say the Archbishop “missed” part of Matins.

      2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #39:
        The rubrics for the LOH allows Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer to be combined with Mass, e.g.
        One Dominican parish I attended does this very beautifully with the Asperges serving as a breaking point . It follows the last psalm of Lauds. Celebrant changes into chasuable and proceeds with Mass.

      3. There is a relic of this in the Roman Rite according to the books of 1962, the Pontifical Mass celebrated in the bishop’s own cathedral or designated church. In such a celebration Mass is preceded by Pontifical Terce, and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are omitted.

        This is not correct. The omission of the prayers at the foot of the altar following Terce is not part of the 1962 Missal, but a permission granted to some Benedictines. This is not generally done outside of their monasteries.

    3. Everyone sings several Hillel psalms as the clergy enter. One of the psalms at the end is the Proper Entrance psalm of the day. Celebrant incenses altar. Followed by collect, Kyrie, Gloria, or Benedictus from the center of the altar. Then the celebrant repairs to this chair for the readings.

      On Sundays, celebrant greets all from the rear of the church (preferably from the baptistery where the blessing of water and salt as part of a short office of Lauds occurs. In short, this is a mini Easter vigil hallowing of the baptismal font.

      A shortened litany of the saints and/or a psalm maybe one of the seven penitential psalms, especially for Lent, but followed by the entrance psalm as final psalm, but sung by cantor/choir. All of this while the altar is incensed including the entire congregation. (My old pastor(Roman rite) always incensed the entire church at the start of Mass and at the offertory. No perfunctory swings of the thurible by an acolyte at the edge of the sanctuary for him)

      End both the prayers at the foot of the altar as a clerical rite except for a weekday Mass or private Mass. In which case the prayers with one Confiteor and the “Judica me” or another appropriate psalm should be said out loud and by all.

      Time to end the OF practice of greeting and speaking to the people from some chair off to the side. The celebrant intones the collect to be followed by Kyrie/ Trisagion, Gloria/Benedictus from the center of the altar.

      Following the Gloria/Benedictus, the celebrant immediately repairs from altar to the sedilia for the readings.

      No movement to the “epistle” side, or the “gospel” side either. The EF has just too much movement period. Furthermore, abolish all prelatical foppery upon entering the church for pontifical Mass.
      Better the cardinal appear in scarlet tank shirt and jeans. Emblazoned with, “Hi, I’m Ray Burke” with a smiling face on his shirt than to wear that ridiculous cape and train one more time.

  7. As a liturgist, I find these ideas very interesting and worth discussing. But as a pastoral minister in a large suburban parish, I find these ideas for reform irrelevant.

    If we do, or don’t, implement these reforms in an average parish most people would hardly notice or care. Much of what we find supremely interesting as liturgists/specialists is of little or no interest to most Catholics.

    Rather than debating reform-squared or reform-cubed or whatever we’re doing now, I wish Cdl. Burke and others would focus on the quality of liturgical practice in the parishes. So many priests have nothing to say in their homilies, utterly forgettable week after week, and mumble through the presidential prayers. So many musicians have never learned to confidently lead a hymn or a chant or anything else. So many lectors race through the readings just to get them over with. So many people treat the Eucharist as one more item to check off the list. So many more people find Mass irrelevant or boring and quit attending years ago.

    These are the problems that need addressing head-on. Revising and re-revising the rites will have little impact when so many parishes have lackluster celebrations of the liturgy week after week. If MR2 was mumbled through, and now MR3 or someday MR4 are mumbled through, it hardly matters what exact words are being mumbled if no one is listening anyway. I wonder if we liturgists, myself included, are fiddling while Rome burns.

    1. What you describe is the elephant in the room. The art of rhetoric does need to be recovered in the homily as well as a prophetic message delivered with some style, both visual and audio. I still contend that the major problem with singing or chanting in the Catholic Church (not found in Protestant Churches) is the constant throwing out of new things that are basically unsingable for the congregation, to high, to low or a combination in one hymn.
      Hard back hymnals that force congregations to form of tradition of singing and from that hymnal, including only a few settings of the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo (only need one setting) Sanctus, Mystery of Faith, Amen, Our Father and Agnus Dei are quite necessary. We don’t need choirs and cantors facing the congregation but assisting with the singing in a more discreet location like the loft. But a tradition of singing is what I mean and over the long haul.
      But with that said, there is ferment about an official revised Ordinary Form Missal in the future, when, who knows? But we can thank that ferment to the more liberal allowance of the EF Mass that has caused many of us to realize that it needed reform but the reform we got was inadequate and needs to go back to the drawing board. I suspect the reform of the reform Ordinary Form of the reform of the EF Mass will be more like the EF than the OF is currently. But the EF is the template not the current OF, since the Second Vatican Council called for the revision of the EF not not current OF which missed the mark in many ways in terms of what SC asked and what has transpired subsequently. I think it is quite healthy to recognize this and that the Paul VI’s Mass is not the last word in the reform of the EF and that things might have to go back to the original, the EF, and start over–what’s so horrible about that admission from the hierarchy that they missed the mark. Sounds refreshing to me!

      1. Fr. Allen,

        I’ve got to say that I think your final paragraph misses the mark. I don’t think any further liturgical reforms will be a matter of chucking the OF into the bin and going “back to the drawing board” with the EF. The vast majority of Catholics, including the vast majority of priests, have no lived experience of the Ef and, if the evidence of the past five years is an indication, they don’t have much interest in it either. Therefore I think it is highly unlikely that the EF would be made the basis for future liturgical reform.

      2. sometimes I get hyperbolic to make a point–I still contend we keep the current 2012 Missal as I write above, but have the 1965 Order of the Mass. This keeps the lectionary as it is and as it is carried out. It keeps the RCIA liturgies, etc; It keeps the vernacular or Latin. But in terms of the EF I think priests and parishes are impoverished in this reform of the reform if they have phobias or an antipathy about celebrating it. It is needed for today’s Church to know what it was that Vatican II asked to be reformed. Ignorance of this Mass is the elephant in the room too.

      3. Fritz, I’m not sure it could be said that a “vast majority” of Catholics were interested in the new translation either, but we got it. (For the record, I support it.)

        Interest, likes, etc., is not the point.

    2. So many lectors race through the readings just to get them over with.

      I think the lectors tend to race through the readings because they don’t know any other way to present the readings. I’ve heard many priests and deacons race through the Gospels as well. The alternative default is to deliver the reading in a sing-song fashion. It’s a crying shame, because it can be a real revelation when one hears the Word proclaimed!

      I could take your comments point by point and agree with each one of them, but I think I’ll stop here.

    3. Agreed, Scott, on your comments. I will say, though, that if Burke doesn’t opine on these things, no one would: he is one of the few traditionalists interested in real dialogue. Also, since he is not an ordinary anymore, I think he can have this luxury. However, as you say, there shouldn’t be a diocese in the country where we aren’t focusing on the ars celebrandi concerns you bring up.

      1. Bruce – merely an observation. During Burke’s time in STL, he paid no attention to ars celebrandi – in fact, he interfered with ars celebrandi by encouraging ordinands to take away time from needed practicums and so they refocused on Burke’s hobby – TLM or EF.

        This is another reason for why K-G currently does not include EF/TLM as a mandated part of their seminary training.

      2. Bill, there is a not insubstantial body of opinion (starting with the Pope) that an understanding of the EF is helpful or even neccesary to the proper understanding of the NO Mass. You may disagree with this method of learning, but its existence makes it untrue that Burke “paid no attention to the ars celebrandi”.

        We get it. You didn’t like how Cardinal Burke ran things in St. Louis. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t reasons for how he did things.

    4. Human nature being what it is suggests to me that the revisions mentioned by the cardinal are pastorally helpful in part because there will always be poor homilists, membled prayers, rushed readers/lectors, lackluster celebrations and so on…. The benefits gained by a fuller liturgy with clear continuity will bring a richer prayer experience that reaches people on different levels. These gains will take place in parishes, monasteries and in peoples private devotions when they read their missals at home. The prayers at the foot of the altar will also benefit celebrants because it sets the tone, as it were, for the rest of the celebration.

  8. “The other “problem” with our current Introductory rite is that it is visually uninspiring, there is no movement. What I am recommending, while still maintaining the Penitenial act as a prelude at the foot of the altar is that it gives us a bit of movement.”


    The whole point is to make the Liturgy of the Word the vehicle of inspiration. The purpose of the Introductory rites is described in the GIRM. Essentially, we don’t need a show. We need a way to get people from life in the world to a receptivity to the Word.

    The movement should be from Old Testament, to psalm, to epistle, etc.. We don’t need human-made accretions to compete with the Word of God. I wouldn’t mind if we just sang music, had an opening prayer, then all sat down.

    1. I wouldn’t mind if we just sang music, had an opening prayer, then all sat down.

      We were here exactly 40 years ago! Music in Catholic Worship, 1972, para 44, referring to the Introductory Rites:

      Of these parts the entrance song and the opening prayer are primary. All else is secondary.

      1. In our seminary in the 70’s we had a couple of priests who took Catholic Worship of 1972 quite to heart. After the Processional Hymn, they would simply say, without the Sign of the Cross, “The Lord be with you,” with its then response and then Let us Pray and onto the Collect. When questioned about this novelty, the priests would say that the heart of the first part of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Word and it should not be delayed by other accretions. So there are two points here that I would make, that people have been manipulating the Mass of Paul VI for quite some time and quite soon after its promulgation and the EF’s supposed abbrogation and almost every day and also currently. And secondly, there was surely a crass form of iconoclasm operative in official church documents such as this one which pre-Conciliar Catholics who suddenly became post-Conciliar Catholics followed rigidly in a pre-Vatican II sort of way as though this document itself was from Vatican II. This occurred in this period of time with many lesser and greater authoritative documents none of which were dogma or doctrine.

      2. Allan – what does that have to do with Paul’s comment and reference to MCW, 1972.

        All of us could describe and find examples of presiders who have skewed ritual – whether TLM, EF, or OF.

        This really doesn’t prove anything.

        Crass form of iconoclasm – oh please. Hyperbole again. And you are really over reaching on the timeline – VII reforms happened over a long period of time (not suddenly) and were dependent upon the local diocese/bishop. Some diocese were still implementing early 1970 reforms in the 1980s.

        And then, lesser/greater authoritative documents (none of which were dogma or doctrine). When it comes to the order of mass, GIRMs of whatever century, liturgical documents in our long history – are really any of these dogma or doctrine? Again, hyperbole.

        Sorry, JP but his opinions and dismissals of what people say is disrespectful of a dialogue in good faith. He could keep a Fact Checker in full time work every day.

      3. “Crass form of iconoclasm – oh please. Hyperbole again.”

        Indeed. MCW is far from iconoclasm. It was far more likely to find something that looked like minimalism from skinflint pastors who marshalled every spare dime for their own pet projects in a parish.

  9. Paul – agreed and good point. SC principle about ritual – *simple*.

    Deacon – would encourage that we need to step back first to clarify and get some perspective before launching into some type of examination of the current order of mass – respectfully find your foot of the altar post to be the wrong question and issue; much less starting point.

    Would highly recommend reviewing an article by M. Francis Mannion in 1998 from a collection entitled: “Beyond the Prosaic – Renewing the Liturgical Movement” and specifically, his contribution – “The Catholicity of the Liturgy: Shaping a New Agenda”.


    Keep in mind that this is roughly 15 years ago and it appears that Rome/Curia by decisions in 1998-2000 have already realigned and redirected efforts to support one of the five liturgical agendas that Mannion describes:
    – Advancing official VII reform (Consilium – Bugnini’s 1990 Book, Paul VI 1970 missal, original ICEL, enculturation, etc. – page 14 gives highlights of its accomplishments – i.e. internal evolutionary character)
    (Note – this reform has now been modified if not stunted via LA, Vox Clara, reconstituted ICEL, papal decisions to change SC directives on Episcopal conferences developing/authorizing liturgy, etc. Mannion’s next four agendas all react to this *official* reform via criticisms, questionings, etc.
    – Restoring the pre-conciliar (fundamental suspicion of VII & SC and all developments post 1963; sees current mass as not in continuity)
    (Note – Raymond Brown has described this agenda as *non-scholarly conservatism* – that may have changed over the last ten years)
    – Reform of the Reform (follows the work of Gamber, 1993 & Rev. Harrison, 1995 – goal is not to restore the TLM but to articulate the *true intentions* of SC and VII thus revisiting the 1962 order of mass)
    (Note – Ratzinger wrote an intro to Gamber’s book in French but not in English. Appeared to agree with some of Gamber’s points. Adoremus/Fessio as example)
    – Inculturation – affirms VII, SC, ICEL, etc. but believes that past 30 years have established a good foundation and strives to more forward to implement SC’s Articles 37-40
    (Chupungco is the best advocate for this approach)
    – Re-catholicizing the reform (Mannion’s approach – taking the present rites and working to celebrate them in a much more profound, dignified, and spiritually edifying manner. Would require a deepening of a community’s liturgical competence; training the laity to more appropriately assume their rightful roles; and improving the standards of priestly leadership and preaching. It attempts to relook at not just the patristic period but also post Trentan period following Michel and Bouyer)
    Mannion ends with some cautions:
    – Believes that the official reform deserves strong support in its most fundamental features
    – Sees the official reform as a heroic achievement i.e. vernacular, lectionary expansion, opening up roles for laity, reception of eucharist under both kinds and in the hand, expansion of various rites
    (Note – Mannion inserts a *caution* about liturgical experts; roles that diocesan worship departments play, overcentralization of liturgical laws, etc. This is interesting given that the last 15 years has seen Rome reimpose its own centrality as the *expert* in liturgical affairs including the current pope’s impact on the reform of the reform)
    – Mannion does not see the pre-conciliar as desirable because it would intrinsically reject fundamental commitments made by VII that are more than personal taste but are sets of theological and ecclesiological principles and convictions. He sees SP and earlier indults as *temporary* measures that must eventually give way to the renewing vision of VII.
    – Reform of the reform – Mannion states that in its current *high profile expressions* thinks that it is unrealistic to imagine that it will have much short term success. He reasons that the bishops of the world have not and will not muster much enthusiasm for this agenda. (Note – he thinks that the Holy See would not move forward given the likely failure of this agenda – well, the past 10 years may have proved him wrong? He also cites some of Harrison’s items as gamestoppers e.g. no role for women at the eucharist; no gender inclusive language; curtail any new EPs, prayers, rites for sacraments, etc.)
    – Finally, he agrees that there might have been more continuity between 1962 and 1970 but cautions against modifying or marginalizing the current order of mass in order to arrive at some new order from before the council. Stability and authentic popular ownership are values of the highest importance and should not be compromised. The current order of mass may not be perfect but it was achieved at a high and difficult cost; thus merits our respect. Mannion believes that the current order does provide a Catholic expressiveness and ethos that is remarkable if celebrated well (Unfortunately, he states that you do not often find liturgies celebrated well. However, where there are deficiencies they will not be resolved by further structural revisions of the liturgy. This can only happen in a deliberate, careful, and thought out process that includes both experts, the people in the pews, and other Christian communities.

    1. Bill,

      My point was actually not unlike Mannion’s: there is an ethos and logic to the reformed rites that should be respected, and therefore we should not go sticking bits of the 62 missal in and claiming that we are “restoring” something.

      1. Thanks, Deacon. Assumed there was a method to your madness but after a whole series of posts that start to spin more and more afar, I just wanted a little reality check.

        My CTU ars celebrandi courses and prof would always start these type of discussions out with – use foot of the altar prayer as an example:
        – he would loudly interject and stop you by saying in your mid-prayer – who are you praying to? if so, why are you holding your hands that way?
        – what is the purpose of this prayer, action, ritual?
        – what comes before and after this prayer? So, then, what is its purpose? Are you praying for yourself or in the name of the community?

        Taking your intial comments – need to first find out why Bugnini and Consilium dropped the FOTA prayers. Why did they replace with a modified penitential rite (would question if that was even their original intent – see commentor above)? If you question Consilium’s reasons, state why and why you would change? (if you do not use this type of process, it becomes subjective, personal piety, randomn insertions that lack consistency with the total communal eucharist. You can not just insert – it has impact on SC principles, ecclesiology, sacramental theology. Find too many of the above comments to be esoteric with no liturgical principles or explanations attached – rather, it feels good or this is what I remember from 1962.
        Finally, Scott’s comments hit home. He is completely correct and echo Mannion’s concerns and cautions.

  10. #11 Charles Culbreth
    “I suppose, Mike, it was kind and generous to add “for SOME liturgical fashionistas of old.” There were two EF Masses and an EF Vespers at CMAA’s ’12 Colloquium two weeks ago. There was nary a fiddleback, gloves, excessive man lace, or Dorothy’s ruby slippers and the photos can prove that. Sorry if birettas are a bother to some.”

    I was not being mean spirited. I wonder if you have ever witnessed the celebration of EF in Rome? Check it out and then comment.
    But I’d wonder if Jesus would endorse “mean spiritedness” as a cardinal virtue for use in discourse

    1. Mike, okay….you weren’t mean-spirited.
      But whether one is in Rome or in Salt Lake City or in a military tent chapel in Fallujah at an EF, the trappings of the environs and their geographical locations are rather beside the point, are they not?
      That’s, as I understand it, why some posters here and elsewhere have had the temerity to defend the demands, disciplines and accouotrement of what others lable the baroque (truest sense of the word, malformed excessive matter that is nonetheless beautiful) liturgy as an ACT OF HUMILITY. Yeah, sure , it’s a dichotomy if you don’t believe in heaven or are trapped in neurosis about “what does all this pretty $%*# have to do with Jesus and the gospels?”
      It’s a big Church, Mike. Whether you go to Mass in Nationals’ Stadium and sing Moore’s “Taste and See” at Communion, and I choose to go around the corner to the Shrine for the pontifical Mass with Abp. Slattery and his cappa magna and sing “Gustate et videte” at Communion is not the stuff of a deal-breaker for me. So, I won’t label you as the peoples’ champion, and you won’t label me as a man-lace fashionista. That work for you?

  11. Picking up on Jack Rakosky’s good suggestion about preceding Mass with the Liturgy of the Hours: my brother converted to Orthodoxy (Russian) some years ago, and when I am visiting I go to the cathedral where he sings. Sunday seems to be a continuous feast of chant and liturgy; at some point the Office ends and the Divine Liturgy begins, but you could easily miss the transition. People come and go, kissing icons and praying and going outdoors to smoke and coming back in. It helps that there are no pews and that the space is open, with many entrances and exits. It is all a bit chaotic, but they are children in their Father’s house.

    In contrast, our Sunday schedule runs with military precision: Masses at 8 am, 9.30 am (family/children’s, with organ and hymns), 11.00 am (solemn Latin, Novus Ordo, professional choir), 12.30 pm, etc. And these Masses begin on time, to the second, with the sound of a loud bell. The Mass schedule would have to be reworked to allow for the LOH. The whole thing would become a bit looser and less precise.

    I think that might be A Very Good Thing.

    1. I agree, and I think that all the military precision is a northern European cultural thing that is still with us in the US.

      When I was living in Rome, I often went to the Solemn Mass at St. Mary Major. During Mass, people were coming and going (from the side aisles), going to confession, praying at shrines and in chapels. (I even ducked out for a smoke a couple of times.) I found it very attractive, so full of life, so uplifting, after I had adjusted to it, which took a Sunday or two.

  12. I find it surprising that no one has remarked on the correct statement in the Deacon’s comments at he beginning concerning the ‘intrusion’ of the “confiteor etc” which were historically private prayers for the clergy, into the present NO rite.

    I understand that this happened because particularly the German speakers, having become used to this sharing of the clergy private devotions via the ‘dialogue Mass’ and influenced by the Lutheran practice of a ‘general absolution’ before the Eucharistic celebration, demanded that it be left in place as the first choice (A form) in the ‘beginning rites’ — the plain Kyrie (B form) etc or the ‘troped Kyrie’ (C) form are ‘singable normally’ and do not put this ‘hesitation’ of private devotion in the midst of the opening rites: Introit, Kyrie, Gloria etc before the opening prayer and then the Readings and so on. I remember that there was some considerable discussion of just this point of ‘general absolution’ and that there was a ‘statement/document’ from Rome asserting strongly that it was not to be so construed. It does escape me why musicians/liturgists and clergy in general do not understand this and use the A form perhaps during Lent on occasion (but certainly very rarely).

    Attending the Liturgy, or celebrating as priest/presider, I see this ‘private devotion’ hesitation to the general Entrance Ritual (Introit, Kyrie, Gloria, Opening Prayer + Readings) a strange ‘throw back’ to the “Tridentine ideal’ of the ‘private Low Mass’ as somehow the best sort of celebration.

    1. @Philip Sandstrom – comment undefined:
      The Orthodox seem to have a much more human concept of reverence in contrast to our regimented concept.

      Basil Pennington has a delightful story of his visit to Mt. Athos, where a few very elderly monks sat on the porch of the monastery warming themselves during the long pre-dawn offices. They were certainly attentive to the office, and would go back into the church if they thought the monks were interpreting the ‘rubrics” incorrectly.

      I have been impressed how Orthodox who arrive in the middle of an office, usually don’t hesitate to go through their “private” transition to public prayer by going up front, kissing the Icon of the day, and lighting a candle before the Iconostasis just as they would do had they arrived early.

      That suggests that many of these private preparations for Mass, e.g. the Psalm Et Introibo, the Confiteor are best recommended for personal use when people enter the Church (early or late) rather than as a common prayer together.

      1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #60:
        The Copts and Nestorians have the priest come out in his raisson and say private prayers before the iconostasis. Perhaps, the the prayers at the foot of the altar could be arranged in a similar fashion while the altar candles are lit by the acolytes. The people joining with the celebrant and acolytes if they wish,

  13. Regarding the LOH, we simply have Morning Prayer, led by the Mass celebrant, at 7:30 Sunday mornings, preceding the 8:00 a.m. Mass. There’s time in between for vesting and preparation for the Mass.

  14. Yes a good thing. I have frequenlty heard comments here that compare the rich and excessive trappings of a byzantine Liturgy to the Baroque lace, etc of the Roman rite at Rome in the 1700’s- VII( Now again??). I don’t think so. Read Schmemann again. Or just go for a while. Rich, but not fussy and not really as clerical either. Everybody is doing something. The Orthodox do it all, as far as you can in a given situation. But they treat rules differently. A Gulag prisoner used a crust of very inpure bread and raisin-soaked water. Easter in Moscow is glorious, but also not without human touches and even whimsy. It looks similar to a “Trent” High mass in photgraphs, but not in real life.

    1. Mark MIller : I don’t think so. Read Schmemann again. Or just go for a while. … It looks similar to a “Trent” High mass in photgraphs, but not in real life.

      I have gone quite a bit (I sing in the choir for vespers on Saturdays for our local Russian Catholic Church). I’ve been to the ROCOR, MP, and OCA Cathedrals in Manhattan. To St. Vladimir’s in Crestwood and to Holy Cross in Brookline. I’ll stand by there not being a massive contrast in ethos demonstrating that the Tridentine liturgy is somehow excessive and decadent. I’ve heard that there is, but not from people with a decent amount of experience of both the Byzantine rite and the Tridentine rite (there are relatively few of us nowadays, though, I suppose.) One would be Henri Adam de Villiers, master of the Latin Mass choir of Saint-Eugene-Sainte-Cecile in Paris and of the choir at the Russian Catholic Church in Paris.

  15. I’ve just been re-reading the Bugnini memoirs on the creation of the Missa Normativa. It seems that there was never any question about retaining both a sung introit and a Penitential Rite. So what we have is a conflation of the erstwhile High/Sung Mass and the Low Mass. Pope Paul VI was apparently bothered by the sequence of three sung items (introit, Kyrie, Gloria) and suggested replacing the Kyrie by something else when the Gloria is sung (Bugnini, p 346), but later changed his mind (p 378). Fears were expressed that it would result in an over-elaborate Introductory Rite, but conservatism ruled the day.

    The fears about a musically overblown Introductory Rite have too often been realised in practice, especially when choral items are chosen for Kyrie and Gloria (in whatever language). It is for musicians to restrain themselves in the interests of liturgical balance. The Introductory Rites should never be more than an introduction to the proclamation of the Word and celebration of the Eucharist.

    1. “Fears were expressed that it would result in an over-elaborate Introductory Rite, but conservatism ruled the day.”

      I heard that musicians lobbied hard for maintaining the traditional structure of the Mass Ordinary.

  16. Philip and John – thanks, good insights and historical points. Isn’t it interesting that Consilium/Paul VI actually rumenated about intro rites that would be even briefer than today e.g. if Gloria; then, no Kyrie; based upon season or feast, etc.

    Compare that to others who want to insert even more into the rite? The German private priest prayer in terms of FOTA or even Kyrie demonstrates the tension between taking an historical private prayer and making it a community prayer? Why? John, your last paragraph is excellent and it also raises issues aroung the antiphons – do you do a gathering/entrance processional and the antiphon or rather a gathering song (based upon the antiphon/introit) – should it be chant?

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #64:
      Only one processional/entrance/introit song, be it hymn or antiphon. What you do before that by way of preparation is a topic in itself. I would recommend a two-minute silence for recollection: perhaps the sacristy bell could be rung once to commence that silence, twice to get everyone standing for the entrance procession and song.

      Incidentally, the ritually important item is the procession: the song is its accompaniment, hence ‘processional song’.

    2. @Bill deHaas – comment #65:
      You probably remember Dr. Ralph Keifer describing the Introductory Rites as the “cluttered vestibule”. He was referring to the historical remnants that were not cleaned up with the reform. The reform sought to restore the classic shape of the Liturgy as celebrated in the second century and described by Justin Martyr. The classic shape included: readings, preaching, common prayers, kiss of peace, transfer of gifts, prayer over the gifts (anaphora), fraction rite, communion, and dismissal (Robert Taft, SJ).
      Taft talks about the filling in over time of the three soft points in the Liturgy: before the readings, between liturgy of the word and liturgy of the eucharist, and communion and dismissal. In the primitive liturgy there are three moments with no words: entrance into the Church, kiss of peace and transfer of gifts, fraction/communion and dismissal rites.
      These soft points have been filled in over time. He says that the filling in of these soft points were often a result of local or stational traditions of a particular time and place.
      We don’t need any more prayers at the altar in the introductory rites. We need to clean them up: Entrance Chant or song, Greeting, and opening prayer.

  17. I would see nothing wrong with allowing the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as another “Penetential Rite” in addition to the others. Or maybe restore the Confiteor in Rite A to its older, far richer, form.

    However, I think it might also be nice to allow for the Penetential Rite to be dropped alltogether by simply following the practice of what the people would see and hear at an EF High Mass – the beautiful flow of Hymn/Introit-Kyrie-Gloria-Greeting-Collect. The only thing I would add is the Sign of the Cross once the celebrant reaches the altar. The Prayers at the Foot of the Altar could be alltogether optional for the Celebrant (or used seasonally, like in Lent).

    I must admit, though, that I’m now less of the mind that tinkering with the OF is necessarily a good thing. Better to simply endorse the EF as the “traditional” option and let the OF be itself. If having vernacular or looser rubricks with the richer EF prayers is the reason people want to turn the OF into the EF, then why not simply allow the EF to be in the varnacular?

  18. Jack, after all the comments, I think yours is the best. I have hoped that the Vatican would allow at least some vernacular for the EF and simply leave it as it is and leave the OF as it is, although I do think the Introit, Offertory and Communion antiphons should be mandatory but not ruling out other music in addition to these for the OF. The OF has a rich variety of options for the Penitential Act two of which do not necessitate the Confiteor. And one of those two options allows for a variety of possibilities for the chanting of the Kyrie. Or as I have written before simply allow an EF order of the Mass as an option for the 2012 Missal.

  19. I worry when I attend (or concelebrate) at Mass and the presider/Priest goes directly from the greeting into the ‘confiteor’ as though it was the ‘most natural thing to do’. Next after the ‘miseriator’ he perfunctorily says “the Kyrie’. Of course the way the new Missals are organized with the “C” format only in the very back of the book and the ”confiteor’ is right after the greetings, one can understand why.

    I think that the new Missal was ‘organized’ in printing the text and the music in order to encourage a ‘minimal sort of celebration’ because the parts (for example, the ”common prefaces’) are in a different order than all the previous books. It is difficult not to think that this purposefully inconvenient for the priest layout of the book was not intentional. It does add up to a method of repression — not present in the other common languages — as yet. It is not just the ‘texts’ that have been translated awkwardly and oddly — it is even the ‘layout’ of the book itself.

    1. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #73:
      The priest goes directly from the salutaion to the confiteo, and fromthence right into Kyrie and so forth???

      This sounds wonderful to me! Would that it were universal! Are you upset because he is not inserting chatty little oh-so-friendly ‘good morning folks’ remarks into the ritual text.? I should say Thanks Be To God! These are insulting blemishes upon the liturgy and a grievous distraction from a developing train of thought shaped by the liturgy itself.

      Actually, I might choose a different title for this conversation: something like ‘Taking out what was added to the old mass, or nothing’s missing in the new mass’.

      1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #74:
        No, I was not encouraging ‘chatty remarks’ of any sort. What I was pointing out is that the ‘confiteor’ is a ‘private devotion’ (even if recited in common) inserted in a public liturgical event — and one which deforms the ‘original flow’ and intent of that public liturgical event.

      2. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #75:
        There’s nothing preventing the celebrant from reciting his private devotion(s) as he’s processing to the altar. I believe the original place for the confiteor and the recessional as the place for the last gospel.

        Kyrie and Gloria could also be restricted to a pre-entrance rite such as Lauds, or a stational procession. You would have a direct, unencumbered entrance ending in the collect AND a way to preserve the Kyrie and Gloria.

  20. “Are you upset because he is not inserting chatty little oh-so-friendly ‘good morning folks’ remarks … ”

    If only MJO knew how ignorant that comment sounded in context of the person being addressed. Thanks for my morning chuckle.

  21. @Todd Flowerday – comment #53 (July 9, 2012 – 1:01 pm):
    The purpose of the Introductory rites is described in the GIRM.

    And that purpose is “to ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion and dispose themselves properly to listen to the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily.” (GIRM 46)

    So it seems to me that acknowledging our sinfulness at the start of Mass is part of being disposed for the rest of Mass, listening to the Word of God and celebrating the Eucharist worthily. The beginning of the preaching of the Gospel (along with “Do not be afraid”!) is “Repent”.

    @Jan Larson – comment #33:
    There should be no penitential rite. […] A penitential rite smacked of Pelagianism – that we can lift ourselves up by our own boot straps. So just in case the Liturgy of the Word does not purify our sinfulness, and in case the Eucharist doesn’t do it either, we will take no chances and begin the liturgy with a penance rite produced by a committee.

    How is the Penitential Rite Pelagian-esque?

    Does the average Catholic consider the Liturgy of the Word to “purify our sinfulness”?

    Are there not enough sentiments of our wretched unworthiness already embedded in the liturgical texts to dispense us from more self-flagellation at the beginning of the rite?

    But the laying bare of these “sentiments of our wretched unworthiness” has caused some people to question whether these texts need to be part of the Mass as well. So we’d remove the Penitential Act and then these other parts expressing our sinfulness. See, e.g., Bryan Cones’ article in USCatholic from several months ago.

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