Putting back what’s missing in the new Mass, part III: the offertory prayers

Among the suggestions for “mutual enrichment” of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms  is the suggestion that the Offertory prayers of the 1962 Missal either replace or be allowed as an alternative to the prayers at the Preparation of the Gifts in the Ordinary Form.

Of course the discrepancy between the terms “Offertory” and “Preparation of the Gifts” immediately points up a difficulty. In the post-conciliar revision of the Mass a very deliberate decision was made to move away from a sacrificial understanding of what takes place with the bread and wine prior to the Eucharistic Prayer. This was in part a result of several centuries of intense reflection on the nature of the Mass as a sacrifice that came in the wake of 16th-century Protestant criticisms of that teaching.

One of the result of that reflection was a consensus position within the Catholic Church that the primary sense in which the Eucharist is a sacrifice is that it is the anamnesis or ritual re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ, in which Christ himself is the principle agent. Moreover, this ritual re-presentation was understood as taking place in the Canon itself, not in the prayers prior to the Canon (i.e. the “Offertory” prayers). Appearances sometimes to the contrary (e.g. the request in the Suscipe sancta Trinitas that God “accept. . . this offering which we make make to you in memory of the passion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ,” which certainly sounds like an anamnesis), these prayers were explained as proleptic of the actual offering, which took place in the Canon. I would stress that this clarification of the nature Eucharistic sacrifice was not some bit of “progressive” theology, but can be found in such impeccably orthodox works as Anscar Vonier’s A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist.

Thus the decision was made that, rather than trying to revise these prayers to reflect the theological clarifications that had taken place since the 16th century, new prayers would be composed, based on the Jewish berekah form, that would make clear that what was taking place was a preparation for the sacrifice, not an anticipation of it.

So, in light of all this, here are some questions that arise for me, both with regard to the post-conciliar revision and with regard to the suggestion that the Extraordinary Form  prayers be used with the Ordinary Form:

  • Was it wise for the Consilium to create new prayers out of whole cloth? If it was thought desirable to have a simpler rite of preparing the gifts prior to the Canon, would it not have been better to use forms found in one of the other historic rites of the Church, such as the extremely simple offertory rite of the Carthusian Missal?
  • If the Extraordinary Form prayers are inserted into the Ordinary Form, does this change the fundamental nature of what is going on, making it an offertory rather than a preparation? If such a change were made, would it be allowable to say the prayers aloud, as with the current Ordinary Form prayers? If not, should we care all that much about what prayers get said?
  • On a more strictly theological note: some have suggested that while the Canon/Eucharistic Prayer is the proper locus for the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ, the Eucharistic sacrifice also involves a distinct “sacrifice of the Church” — i.e. the offering of our life and labors to God — that is embodied in the offertory. If this is a theologically worthy idea (and I am not convinced it is), do either the Extraordinary or Ordinary Form prayers adequately express it?

60 comments

  1. Certainly I was taught and wholeheartedly accepted the reasons why the offertory prayers were revised and became “Preparatory Prayers.” The whole point was that the “offering” occurred during the Canon. In fact I witnessed Masses at the seminary and later where the preparation of the gifts was further diluted by holding up both paten of bread and “cup” of wine and saying one set of prayers for both and the elimination of the drop of water and washing of hands thus bringing this part of the Mass closer to the Episcopal and Lutheran model, I guess it was a push for a more “ecumenical liturgy.” But Bishop Schneider gave a lecture on the “reform of the reform and wounds to the liturgy” and said about the Offertory Prayers that, “They are an entirely new creation and had never been used in the Church. They do less to express the mystery of the sacrifice of the Cross than that of a banquet; thus they recall the prayers of the Jewish Sabbath meal. In the more than thousand-year tradition of the Church in both East and West, the Offertory prayers have always been expressly oriented to the mystery of the sacrifice of the Cross (see e.g. Paul Tirot, Histoire des prières d’offertoire dans la liturgie romaine du VIIème au XVIème siècle [Rome, 1985]). There is no doubt that such an absolutely new creation contradicts the clear formulation of Vatican II that states: “Innovationes ne fiant . . . novae formae ex formis iam exstantibus organice crescant” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 23).” He further goes on and writes, “As concerns the new Offertory prayers, it would be desirable for the Holy See to replace them with the corresponding prayers of the extraordinary form, or at least to allow for the use of the latter ad libitum. In this way the rupture between the two forms would be avoided not only externally but also internally. Rupture in the liturgy is precisely what the Council Fathers did not what. The Council’s minutes attest to this, because throughout the two thousand years of the liturgy’s history, there has never been a liturgical rupture and, therefore, there never can be. On the other hand there must be continuity, just as it is fitting for the Magisterium to be in continuity.”
    The question that should be asked is what harm does it do to the Mass and the faith of the clergy and laity to return to the traditional “Offertory Prayers” or to keep the status quo and does the older set promote the sacrificial aspect more and the newer the “meal” aspect more to the detriment of the sacrificial. I don’t think so if one properly understands the Eucharistic Prayer.

    1. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #1:
      Fr. Allan, re:Bp. Schneider – IMHO this is one area where even if one can say that the prayers should have been taken from a traditional corpus or something like that, one can’t argue that the re-insertion of the EF prayers is according to the mind of the Council. The Council Fathers had a big-picture explanation of the proposed changes in front of them when voting, which clearly says “…orationes quae oblationem comitantur ita recognoscantur ut magis respondeant sensui oblationis donorum postea consecrandorum…”. I don’t see how some of the EF prayers fit the description.

  2. Fritz, regarding your last query, I think of the narrative motto, “Show, don’t tell.”

    The procession with the gifts: bread and wine, plus material donations for the poor says so much more about the “sacrifice of the faithful” in both the concrete and as a symbol of the spirit. I can’t imagine words, even well-crafted poetic ones, being able to convey as well a community that takes this ritual seriously.

    Rather than harp about enriching the current Roman Missal, I’d rather ask why traditional Catholics have rejected a more symbolic gesture from the assembly of the faithful. Perhaps their rite is the one that is impoverished and needs enrichment.

    1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #2:
      I agree. It is my understanding that up to Pope Gregory the Great’s time there were NO prayers of any sort at the offertory to be said publicly or privately. The paten and chalice were elevated and that was all.

      1. @Dunstan Harding – comment #47:
        But there was a “Prayer over the Offerings”, said quietly, according to the Ordo Romanus Primus:

        “And then is said the Prayer over the Offerings in an undertone: Receive, O Lord, we beseech thee, the prayers of thy people with the offerings of sacrifices; that they, having been consecrated by the Easter mysteries, may contribute to our eternal healing by thy working in us : through our Lord Jesus Christ who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth one God…

        “At the end of this prayer the pontiff says in a loud voice: For ever and ever.”

  3. I think the idea that the OF doesn’t have an offertory, but rather a preparation of the gifts and the theological contrast made and conclusions drawn thereby is generally greatly overstated.

    The prayer with the bread, for example, says “quem tibi offerimus.”

    Also relevant is John Paul II’s encyclical Dominicae Cenae at number 9.

    Given that the “gifts” at the “Preparation of the gifts” are still spoken of us as offerings, both in the prayers themselves and in commentary on those prayers, such as that of John Paul II referenced above, this moment of the Mass is still intensely linked to the Mass as sacrifice… the use of the term “offerings” is inextricably linked with the idea of sacrifice.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #3:
      I agree that the prayers in the OF express the theme of sacrifice; what they do not do, it seems to me, is in any way imply that what is taking place at that moment is the re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ (and I tend to think that is a good thing).

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #4:
        But I don’t really see how the old prayers did that in a way that the new prayers do not. If we read the new prayers a) as being about offering and b) not being about a cereal offering they are anticipatory of the presentation of the sacrifice of Christ in roughly the same way. In many ways, it comes across to me as the same idea, just less of the same idea.

        The OF removes for instance, the prayer “Veni, Sanctificator omnipotens aeterne Deus. et bene dic hoc sacrificum tuo sancto nomini praeparatum.” before the incensation, with its blessing… but the rite retains the incensation itself, which also “reads” in our rites as a form of blessing (for instance in the blessing of an organ at Book of Blessings 1338.) Meanwhile the removal of the words from the blessing of incense in the OF shows us that words are not neceesary for blessing.

        So all in all, it’s hard for me to see how we’ve changed the fundamental meaing of the rite.

      2. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #6:
        I guess I would say that you can plausibly interpret the EF prayers as proleptic/anticipatory, but that this requires a layer of interpretation that is not needed in the OF.

        On the “Veni, Sanctificator. . .” I suspect that with the inclusion of an explicit epiclesis of the Spirit in the new EP this was seen as redundant.

      3. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #4:
        Until I read this post, I had never read an English translation of the Suscipe sancta Trinitas prayer. Ob memoriam certainly cannot mean “in remembrance of” as I have found it translated three times on the web. In the Canon, the wording is “in mei memoriam”, which actually does mean, “in/for the purpose of remembrance of me.” Rather, ob means, “on account of, because of.” I’ve always read that prayer to say that Christ’s passion, resurrection, and ascension induce us to make the offering. We don’t make the offering on our own initiative. Rather, it is a response to Christ’s work and our recollection of it. In any case, I can’t see how it is more problematic than the wording of the following prayer of the E.F., which was retained. That prayer can be misread as well.

      4. @John Anderson – comment #28:
        That’s a fair point. But the common (mis)translation does, perhaps, show the propensity that the prayer has for being misread. Still,my own tentative view is that usng the offertory prayers of the EF with the OF, at least as an option, makes more sense than the previous suggestion we looked at — restoring the prayers at the foot of the altar. The EF offertory prayers, properly interpreted, can at least plausibly be seen as doing what the reformed rite intends at this point: to prepare the offering. I am not convinced the the prayers at the foot of the altar can be said to do what the OF intends in the entrance rite, which is to form the assembly into a worshipping community.

  4. Todd Flowerday: Rather than harp about enriching the current Roman Missal, I’d rather ask why traditional Catholics have rejected a more symbolic gesture from the assembly of the faithful. Perhaps their rite is the one that is impoverished and needs enrichment.

    This kind of cantankerousness is not the kind of dialogue that will persuade “traditional Catholics.”

    “Traditional Catholics” rarely have one opinion. Here’s Carlos Antonio Palad (a writer for Rorate Caeli, hardly someone whose “traditionalism” can be in doubt) writing favorably or at least neutrally about the “offertory procession.”

    But two things should be distinguished. 1) Many traditionalists would have no problem at all with the offertory procession as a theoretical idea, but 2) putting it into practice has the potential to be problematic in two ways. 1) The continued instability of the rite is not helpful liturgically or pastorally as we try and unite different parts of the traditional movement within the Church and bring back those in impaired communion. 2) it’s not clear that we are in a place where Church leaders can intelligently and knowledgably make changes in the rite and know how they will affect its integrity. How would it work, etc.

  5. Oh dear, can’t we all just get along. Due to circumstances, I celebrate privately during the week and have, ad experimentum, begun to use the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as a kind of preparatio Missae as well as employ the former Offertory prayers, and even as a kind of thanksgiving after Mass say the Placeat and the Last Gospel. I also mentally insert the little private prayers before receiving Communion and at the ablutions. Mind you, I would not due this at any public Mass with a congregation. My motive is to see what difference any of this would make to the OF even by way of “enrichment.” Overall, there is little I can note, except perhaps a bit more of that elusive “sense of the sacred” and being a bit more conscious of long-standing tradition. I do wish that such things would become options and let the theologians write their commentaries and engage in their often unedifying diatribes.

  6. “This kind of cantankerousness …”

    What? The truth is that difficult to swallow?

    ” … is not the kind of dialogue that will persuade “traditional Catholics.””

    I’m not attempting to persuade traditional Catholics. The 1962 Rite was deficient in form and theology. Aside from a sense of ars celebrandi (which was, by no means universal, and something that we don’t need to rely on the 1962 as an exclusive provider) there is nothing we need we haven’t already inherited from the earlier form of the liturgy.

    What will be far more enriching is the recovery and development of spiritual practices such as lectio divina, and also a deeper sense of the artistry of ritual, of having liturgical actions mean what they signify, and not only on a sacramental level. Or just simple mindfulness, taking our time. And some preaching and music workshops wouldn’t hurt.

    In a way, the insistence on the old offertory prayers may show a deficiency in faith. Let Christ’s words be remembered in the Eucharistic Prayer, and let the preparation rites suffice for what they are. If anything, this over-emphasis on text betrays the real poverty of the 2002 Missal: a lack of attention to mindfulness, to taking time, and to acting with reverence (orthopraxis), and too much focus on orthodoxy.

    The Roman Missal has suffered enough tinkering already. Give me deeds, deeds, deeds, above words, words, words any day.

  7. Why is a prayer “based on the Jewish berekah form” described as created “out of whole cloth”? There is a precedent even if it is not a precedent from the Roman liturgical tradition.

    I see the preparation of the gifts as a needed step. God created the fruits of the earth and we transformed them into bread and wine. What we offer is not entirely ours, but comes from God and will be offered to God by a new transformation in Christ and into Christ. In that context, I see the use of prechristian Jewish prayer as appropriate; we were all created by God.

    I do not know the EF offertory well enough to comment on whether it accomplishes this, or even tries.

    But I will disagree with Todd with whom I normally agree. Words are deeds

  8. Well said, Todd – to quote from St. Francis of Assisi:

    “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

    There appears to be a number of common or linked areas on a few of the recently posted blogs:

    From Paul Ford: “Yes, Adam, the EF and OF are equally valid; but that is not the question. The EF, quite naturally, that is, it is preconciliar (!), has an ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and pneumatology that needed to be reconnected to the sources. ‘Equal’ is not to be found in Summorum Pontificum or the accompanying letter of the Holy Father. Article I establishes the Ordinary Form as ‘ordinary’ and ‘normal’ and the Extraordinary form as ‘extraordinary.’”

    In response, we have:

    “SP says that both forms express “eiusdem ‘Legis orandi’ Ecclesiae“. This after earlier noting that “the Church’s law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith” and emphasizing the importance of maintaining that connection. To argue that the EF is then somehow difficient in “ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and pneumatology” seems difficult to reconcile with the motu proprio.”

    We again reach that same old dividing line.

    Have real concerns when we launch into adding, reflecting on, and positing “mutual enrichment” to the current order of Mass. IMO, the issue with SP is that it is a “temporary indult”; it *allows* the use of the pre-conciliar Mass order but it seems to ignore the solid theological, sacramental and thus liturgical development by Vatican II and its documents. In some ways, it is an example what VII tried to reform – many mass accoutrements, add ons, private prayers, pieties, etc. that had accumulated over centuries and, in some ways, obscured the primary action of the communal eucharist.

    So, using an indult, we add things back in – for what reasons?
    What I see above are “ad hoc” suggestions that fall into some of the exact categories VII looked at – piety, private priest prayers, etc. (so, any presider can do those private prayers in…

  9. Jim McKay : Why is a prayer “based on the Jewish berekah form” described as created “out of whole cloth”? There is a precedent even if it is not a precedent from the Roman liturgical tradition.

    As far as I know, there is nothing like these prayers in the history of the Christian Eucharist, with the possible exception of the Didache, and there the berekah-like prayers appear to have been Eucharistic prayers, not offertory/preparation prayers. In fact, I don’t think the berekah ever has the theme of offering that these prayers contain, and certainly not the theme of transformation (i.e. “they will become for us. . . “).

    I think they are pretty good prayers and reflect well the current theological consensus as to what is going on at that part of the Mass, but they don’t have much connection to the tradition.

  10. Samuel J. Howard : The prayer with the bread, for example, says “quem tibi offerimus.”

    But it shouldn’t. Both this and the prayer with the wine were sent to the Pope without the “quem tibi offerimus” and “quod tibi offerimus”.

    What unfortunately happened is that the typescript was intercepted on the way to the Pope (as happens all too frequently) by a Vatican minion with no liturgical theology. He looked at the Berakah prayers and in his ignorance thought to himself “Aha! This is the Offertory, so why no mention of offering?” and inserted the phrases himself.

    The typescript then found its way to the Pope’s desk and he, not realizing that the text had been interfered with, signed off on it.

    The Church was then faced with a problem which the ICEL 1970 translators solved brilliantly. “Through your goodness we have this bread/wine to offer“, ingeniously using the English language to imply that we would indeed be offering these elements in a few minutes’ time, but not yet. Such a shame that the literalist 2010 translation now reverts to the “minion’s insertions”.

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #13:

      Where does the minion story come from? I thought Bugnini in his book either mentioned or provided fairly detailed observation from Paul VI about the insertions.

  11. For reference, the brachah for bread is the following (in translation):

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

    And for wine:

    Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

  12. Re: proleptic language – I find it somewhat mystifying that while Rome has steadily removed the proleptic language from the Ordinary after the Council, it has been assiduous in blocking attempts to do so in the liturgy of other Churches. I’m thinking here particularly of attempts by a section of the Syro-Malabar Church to do the same thing in their preparation rites, which were met with accusations that they were engaging in “pedantic literalism” that “manifest[ed] incomprehension of the nature of Christian liturgical language”.

    About your questions, Deacon: I think one needs to really read into/interpret the EF prayers to see a sacrifice of the Church there, as at face level, it seems to be a proleptic offering. I think that the current preparation prayers, on the other hand, do have the remnants of the popular “offer your little sacrifices with the host” theology that used to be popular thanks to the mention of human labour that Paul VI pushed for. The first proposed prayers (1) certainly had nothing to say one way or the other about any kind of offering . On the other hand, the alternative Ambrosian-inspired prayers (2) proposed in ’68 certainly show the tendency of trying to include some mention of “offering”. But even our current prayers in their early versions avoided the idea of “offering” the bread and the wine – we only have it now thanks (again) to Paul VI, though many languages have toned it down to “present”.

  13. The real reason I suspect there is such a clamor for the reinstatement of the old Offertory prayers is the perceived deficiency in overt sacrificial references in the Ordinary, especially when EP II is used. If EP I or III (or IV with its somewhat late East Syrian offering language) were mandated, and the old Placeat tibi added at the end for the priest to pray at the altar, or during the recessional or something, I wonder whether there would be as many calls for the reinstatement of the ‘Offertory prayers’.
    —–
    (1) “Sicut hic panis erat disperses et collectus factus est unus, ita colligatur ecclesia tua in regnum tuum. Glory tibi, Deus, in saecula” and “Sapientia aedificavit sibi domum, miscuit vinum et posuit mensam. Gloria tibi, Deus, in saecula.”
    (2) “Suscipe, Sancte Pater, hunc panem, quem de opera manuum nostrarum offerimus ut fiat Unigeniti tui Corpus.” and “Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem, vinum aqua mixtum, ut Sanguis fiat Domini nostril Iesu Christi”

  14. Paul Inwood :

    Samuel J. Howard : The prayer with the bread, for example, says “quem tibi offerimus.”

    ### But it shouldn’t. Both this and the prayer with the wine were sent to the Pope without the “quem tibi offerimus” and “quod tibi offerimus”. What unfortunately happened is that the typescript was intercepted on the way to the Pope (as happens all too frequently) by a Vatican minion with no liturgical theology. He looked at the Berakah prayers and in his ignorance thought to himself “Aha! This is the Offertory, so why no mention of offering?” and inserted the phrases himself. >

    Really? What was his name? (Note, I don’t doubt that there was a draft without it, it’s the “with no liturgical” theology that I’m not willing to take on faith.)

    The typescript then found its way to the Pope’s desk and he, not realizing that the text had been interfered with, signed off on it.

    The liturgy is what the Church promulgates, not what they thought about promulgating and didn’t. And, by the time we get to Pope John Paul II, we can see quite clearly in Dominicae Cenae, 9 that he approves the use of “offertory” language specifically.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #17:
      Another example of liturgy by mistake? These “minions” seem to be in charge of the place. As we have evidence of their handiwork from the 10,000 or so insertions and deletions to the final MR3.

      One has to wonder Just who is in charge in the CDW?

      1. @Dunstan Harding – comment #20:
        Dunstan, I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean. The insertion of the offertory langauge was made in the 1969 Missal, not in the third edition or the new translation. The head of the CDW at the time was Antonio Cardinal Samorè. But, so far, no one has suggested this change was an accident.

    2. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #17:
      Alas I’m now on the road for ten days with no access to reference books and sources. I don’t think anyone knows who the minion was in this particular case; but the emendations were not in Paul VI’s handwriting and were not part of the text the Consilium sent to the Pope.

      As far as the Church promulgating is concerned, there are many instances where the Church has accidentally promulgated what ignorant minions produced, not what the relevant dicasteries actually intended. I wouldn’t agree that one can legitimately talk about the Church promulgating in such cases.

  15. @ Samuel Howard — comment 20

    In 1969 Cardinal Benno Gut, OSB, was prefect of the newly-named Congregation for Divine Worship (formerly the Congregation of Rites). Cardinal Samore’ was prefect in 1969 of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments. Worship and Sacraments were later joined as a single congregation, then separated, then joined again. A bit of money was spent on the needed changes in stationery in the 1970s/80s.

  16. Same old dividing line:

    From one commentor:

    “The liturgy is what the Church promulgates, not what they thought about promulgating and didn’t. And, by the time we get to Pope John Paul II, we can see quite clearly in Dominicae Cenae, 9 that he approves the use of “offertory” language specifically.”

    Yet, another responds:

    “May I be as bold as to suggest that the moto proprio reflects a failure to receive Vatican II and its implementation, where the among the reasons put forth for the the reform of the liturgy was that the texts of the Ordinary of the EF, as we now call it, were ecclesiologically, sacramentally and pneumatologically deemed deficient. The contribution of Robert J Daly on ‘Robert Bellarmine and Post-Tridentine Eucharistic Theology’ in Bulman and Parralla (ed) “From Trent to Vatican II” (Oxford UP, 2006) should be required reading for all who advocate the EF. Actually, I’d recommend the whole book as background reading for why Vatican II was necessary.
    One further point, it has been demonstrated in a significant number of academic studies that in the post Vatican II era, both John Paul II, and even more the Roman Curia, have produced documents that raise questions regarding their correct reception of the teaching of the Council. Just because a Curial document offers a particular interpretation of Vatican II doesn’t guarantee that interpretation reflects an adequate or correct reception of the Council’s teaching.”

    Can’t help contrasting a council of the church and implementation by Consilium + Paul VI and a much later motu propio that altered the usual church practice of abrogating prior missals, order of mass, etc. and that a motu proprio in these circumstances was limited in scope and time.”

    How can one decide to reconsider and rewrite VII liturgical theology 50 years later based upon:
    – meme that Consilium was a “rupture” and not continuity (one person’s rupture is another’s organic development)
    – meme that Consilium *fabricated* the ’69 liturgy
    – justifying this by starting with *tired* rationales such as dredging up some personal experience from 30 years ago (i.e. memory of some priests shortening the preparation rite – falls into the same argument category as justifying all of this mutual enrichment on *clown masses*)
    – quoting from an auxiliary bishop who has no claim to expertise in liturgy and a decided ideology (http://www.sanctepater.com/2012/03/bishop-schneider-and-liturgy-milestones.html) who quotes from one published book by an author who has what qualifications?

    Again, what purpose to add, etc, when to achieve this you have to go through contortions to disconnect pre-conciliar liturgy from VII eccelsiology and sacramental theology? If you don’t start with an agreed upon theological/liturgical foundation, it would appear that you are repeating what VII/SC tried to reform – embellishments, accountrments, add ons over the centuries that obscured the core communal eucharistic action?

  17. I don’t see why permitting the prayers at the foot of the altar or the old offertory while also allowing the current OF liturgical prayers would be logistically problematic. The prayers at the foot of the altar could be placed in a shaded text box per the practice in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. ELW prints liturgical options side-by-side, one option shaded and the other not shaded, with an OR in-between the columns to indicate that a minister has a choice at that point in a liturgy. The “old” and “new” offertories could be printed in separate sections such as the EPs are commonly printed today. Clearer rubrical solutions do not resolve ideological battles. Even so, the liturgical books of other Christian traditions have demonstrated that different liturgical sensibilities can be accommodated fairly within one service-book.

    —–

    I once remember reading that Pope Paul VI had a particular dislike for the “old” offertory. From what I understand, Pope Paul insisted that the EF offertory be completely reworked. Is this true? If so, what were Pope Paul’s specific issues with the older offertory?

  18. Jordan Zarembo :I once remember reading that Pope Paul VI had a particular dislike for the “old” offertory. From what I understand, Pope Paul insisted that the EF offertory be completely reworked. Is this true? If so, what were Pope Paul’s specific issues with the older offertory?

    If he did have a problem, I suspect it had to do with some of the theological considerations I outlined in the post — i.e. wanting to clearly distinguish the preparation of the sacrifice from its actual offering.

  19. The best description that I have heard about what happens between the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist Prayer is:
    1. We profess out common faith
    2. We pray for everyone’s needs
    3. We share our goods with one another.
    4. We reconcile with one another (i.e. some traditions give sign of peace as this point)

    This all sounds to me like the ideal result from listening to the Liturgy of the Word, and the ideal preparation for the Eucharistic Prayer.

    I don’t see much of a need for “offering prayers” or even much preparation of the “gifts.” Let just simplify things

    1. We sing the Creed.
    2. We have prayers for everyone’s need with sung responses.
    3. During this time the people bring the bread and wine and other wise prepare the altar
    4. At the conclusion of the prayers, the presider invites everyone to exchange a sign of peace to an accompaniment of a chant (generic word) by the choir (people should be encouraged to move about the church with the ministers as models)
    5. When the choir ends the chant and the people settle in their places, the presider takes his place before the altar and begins the Preface Dialog.

    The collection could be taken up during the prayers for needs, but I suspect this is going to go electronic and we may have electronic signs that X amount was given this past week to the Y collection, etc. and people with cash or checks will just give them to ushers before Mass to enter into the electronic recording system.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #27:
      Our parish has a sturdy, secure, permanent wooden structure at the entrance to the worship area so people can deposit their offerings on the way into Mass. This eliminates the need to make the collection during prayers or to interrupt prayers for the collection.

    2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #27:
      Why not make an allowance for everyone to put offerings (money, food, clothing etc.) into a basket/plate). As I saw done in Paris once, at the offertory representatives of the congregation join the procession of deacons with the baskets, add incense to a thurible held by the celebrant, and/or place a lighted taper in a candle stand. The representatives then place a donation for the incense/tapers in a bos.

      The celebrant raises the hosts and the chalice in silence with no prescribed prayers. The altar is incensed using the contributed grains of incense. The ritual of everyone contributing to the offering couldn’t be more clear.
      It eliminates the unnecessary distraction or interruption by men and women with baskets on poles .The husband and wife team carrying the ciborium and water and wine cruets can be dispensed with too.

      1. @Dunstan Harding – comment #53:

        An interesting suggestion along these lines is found in Anthony T. Massimini’s blog
        A 21st Century American Catholic
        http://www.the21stcenturyamericancatholic.blogspot.com/

        Massimi was ordained for Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Rome, 1959 , and attended first session of Vatican II, 1962, was dispensed by Pope Paul VI in 1971, married in 1972 and became a psychotherapist.

        From his post on A Peoples Mass :

        1. At the beginning, the celebrant announces, “Today we will celebrate our public school teachers as the expressions of Christ that they are.” Then the teachers present will rise and receive a round of applause.

        2. After the homily, a teacher will come to the pulpit and speak for about five minutes, outlining how she/he incorporates her/his faith in the classroom, e.g., the spiritual disciplines, the principles of social justice, without imposing our religion on anyone. A printed version of her/his presentation will be included in that week’s parish bulletin.

        3. At the Offertory, along with the bread and wine, and the collection (presently the expression of who we are) a few teachers will bring up objects that pertain to teaching, e.g., a plan book, a marker, a text book, etc.
        Then a few selected people from other expressions of our society can also bring up objects, These offerings will be placed at the foot of the altar, or on a covered bench in front of the altar.

        4. Before the final blessing, the people will come to the altar and pick up their objects. At the blessing, they will hold the objects up. At the Dismissal, the celebrant will tell the people at the altar, and all the people in church, to go and bring Christ to the everyday world in the form of themselves and their work.

        5. Then the people with the objects will process out of the church with their objects held high

        http://www.the21stcenturyamericancatholic.blogspot.com/2012/07/peoples-mass.html.

      2. @Dunstan Harding – comment #53:
        The husband and wife team carrying the ciborium and water and wine cruets can be dispensed with too.

        Why is the procession of bread and wine by members of the congregation something that needs to be dispensed with?

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #56:
        I’d simply incorporate the ciborium and cruet routine into a larger offering rite with the deacons and servers gathering tapers and incense, etc. More often than not, the team with the ciborium and cruets comes up while the collection is taken and the people in the pews are rummaging through their wallets or purses looking for their donation. The sign value is either lost entirely or severely minimized.

      4. @Dunstan Harding – comment #57:
        The procession with the bread and wine should never happen during the collection. It should take place once the collection is completed, and the contributions should be brought up with the bread and wine. In that way, the correlation between monetary contributions and the gifts of bread and wine can be made clear.

        Unfortunately, as you say, some parishes sever this connection. My current parish does this, much to my chagrin. The bread and wine are brought up before the collection even starts. (And sometimes the collection is still going on when the priest begins the Orate fratres!) A serious defect.

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #58:
        You are absolutely right. Only liturgical barbarians would not include the monetary offerings in the procession. Parishes that do that are either hopeless dualists or are too anxious to shove the money off to a safe or counters.

  20. Is this story documented? I had read that Pope Paul was the one who put these prayers into the rite to the point of composing part of them himself. The consilium had originally wanted no offertory prayers whatsoever.

    Paul Inwood :

    Samuel J. Howard : The prayer with the bread, for example, says “quem tibi offerimus.”

    ### But it shouldn’t. Both this and the prayer with the wine were sent to the Pope without the “quem tibi offerimus” and “quod tibi offerimus”. What unfortunately happened is that the typescript was intercepted on the way to the Pope (as happens all too frequently) by a Vatican minion with no liturgical theology. He looked at the Berakah prayers and in his ignorance thought to himself “Aha! This is the Offertory, so why no mention of offering?” and inserted the phrases himself. The typescript then found its way to the Pope’s desk and he, not realizing that the text had been interfered with, signed off on it. The Church was then faced with a problem which the ICEL 1970 translators solved brilliantly. “Through your goodness we have this bread/wine to offer“, ingeniously using the English language to imply that we would indeed be offering these elements in a few minutes’ time, but not yet. Such a shame that the literalist 2010 translation now reverts to the “minion’s insertions”.

  21. The other thing that is interesting about the EF’s offertory prayers is the final prayer after the washing of the hands, the “Suscipe sancta Trinitas” which not only completes the Offertory Prayers but allows the two servers that assisted with the washing of the hands to return to the credence table then process to the center of the altar, genuflect and go to their respective places just in time for the “Orate Fratres.” It all fits together in word and choreography or action. If one celebrates the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the Ordinary Form ad orientem and one has the same choreography as the EF for the servers, the servers would be moving toward the altar as the priest turns to the congregation for the Orate Fratres–they are in the way and become a distraction. The few times that I have celebrated the OF ad orientem not having the Suscipe sancta Trinitas seems odd or something is missing, but not so when facing the people–for what it’s worth.

  22. Aside from the textual questions involving the ‘offertory prayers’ the gestures called for by the rubrics show very different attitudes if done correctly: The EF instructs the priest to ‘hold/offer up the paten and then the chalice’ above the altar in an ‘offering gesture’ — whereas the gesture called for in the NF is that of ‘showing the gifts’ to the assembly indicating ‘this is what is prepared for our celebration’ here and now. The attitude of this latter gesture is one of ‘solemnly setting the table’ with the gifts. Most of the Eastern Churches (and for example the old form for the OP’s) where the gifts are prepared at the ‘side/deacon’s’ table do approximately the same thing when placing the gifts on the altar before the Eucharistic Prayer. This latter gesture is more consonant with the understanding of sacrifice — unsullied with Western theological ‘developments’ — and a good use of Anton Baumstark’s Comparative Liturgy.

  23. Philip Sandstrom : whereas the gesture called for in the NF is that of ‘showing the gifts’ to the assembly indicating ‘this is what is prepared for our celebration’ here and now.

    I don’t see the gesture described this way in either the order of Mass or the GIRM.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #33:
      This is around §100 in the England and Wales edition of the GIRM; in the Latin, it’s at §140ff.

      Expedit ut participatio fidelium manifestetur per oblationem sive panis et vini ad Eucharistiae celebrationem … Sacerdos, ad altare, accipit patenam cum pane, eamque ambabus manibus aliquantulum elevatam super altare tenet … acceptum calicem ambabus manibus parum elevatum tenet.
      … sacerdos, stans versus populum, extendens et iungens manus, populum ad orandum invitat, dicens: Orate, fratres. Populus surgit et responsionem dat: Suscípiat Dominus. Deinde sacerdos, manibus extensis, dicit orationem super oblata. In fine populus acclamat: Amen.

      It is fitting that the participation of the faithful be expressed by their offering the bread and wine for the celebration of the eucharist … At the altar the priest receives the paten with the bread from the minister. He holds it slightly raised above the altar … he raises the chalice a little with both hands … standing at the middle of the altar and facing the people, the priest extends and joins his hands while he invites the people to pray: Pray, brethren. After the people’s answer, the priest says the prayer over the gifts with hands extended. At the end the people respond: Amen.

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #35:

        This is really nit-picky, but I presume that when a priest turns to say orate fratres in an ad orientem celebration of the OF, he should say the entire prayer while facing the people and wait for the assembly to answer with its prayer before turning back to the altar. I have never been to a celebration of the OF ad orientem where this has not been the case. In the EF however it’s customary for the priest to say just the phrase orate fratres aloud facing the people and then say the conclusion of the prayer quietly and facing the altar while the ministers or servers simultaneously recite the suscipiat. I’ve never understood the significance of this EF practice. The 1962 missal rubrics state:

        postea osculatur altare et, versus ad populum, extendens et iungens manus, voce paululum elevata, dicitorate fratres […]”

        “Meanwhile [the priest] kisses the altar and, facing the people, extends and joins the hands, [and] with a voice somewhat raised, says ‘Pray, brothers and sisters […]'” (my addition in brackets. This and all subsequent ellipses in brackets are mine).

        At the conclusion of the priest’s prayer, the rubrics state

        Minister, seu circumstantes respondent: alioquin ipsemet sacerdos:suscipiat Dominus […]”

        “A minister, or those standing nearby, answer; otherwise a priest himself: ‘May the Lord accept’ […]”

        I would contend that the rubrics implicitly instruct that a priest should say the entire orate fratres prayer, and not just the incipit, “with a voice somewhat raised” (able to be heard by the assembly?) and facing the people. Why then has the custom of the priest greeting the assembly with only an audible orate fratres developed in the EF, even though this practice appears to contradict the rubrics? Fortunately, this peculiar development in the EF has been clarified in the OF.

      2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #38:
        Jordan, this is kind of frustrating.

        Why then has the custom of the priest greeting the assembly with only an audible orate fratres developed in the EF, even though this practice appears to contradict the rubrics?

        There are quite a few different sources for the rubrics in the EF and you have to read all of them together. Those printed intermittently in the ordinary are useful memory aids to the priest, but not complete instructions. The Ritus Servandus is clear (my emphasis):

        Qua dicta, manibus hinc inde extensis et super Altare positis, osculatur illud in medio; tum, junctis manibus ante pectus, demissisque oculis ad terram, a sinistra manu ad dexteram vertit se ad populum, et versus eum extendens et jungens manus, dicit voce aliquantulum elata: Orate, fratres, et secreto prosequens: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium, etc. perficit circulum, revertens, junctis manibus ante pectus, a manu dextera ad medium Altaris. Et responso a ministro, vel a circumstantibus: Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, etc. (alioquin per seipsum, dicens: Sacrificium de manibus meis), ipse Celebrans submissa voce dicit: Amen.

      3. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #39:

        With apologies. In the future I will ask where to look for more complete EF rubrical information. Is the Ritus Servandus available online in Latin (perhaps a version in public domain)?

        However, my gaffe points out an advantage of the ordinary form: the OF’s rubrics are arguably clearer and better arranged than in the EF. Even a proper rubrical understanding of EF low Mass requires the consultation of more than just the rubrics printed in the ordo missae. If the “old” offertory were to return to the ordinary form as an option, complete and explicit instructions for the entire liturgical action would need to be provided. A mere translation of the instructions contained in the 1962 ordo missae would not suffice. As you have noted, these are mere shorthand reminders for the celebrant.

      4. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #42:

        Jordan, I don’t think it is necessarily true that the rubrics of the post-70 missals are any clearer. Often you do have to resort to the IGMR just as one would have to resort to the Ritus Servandus for the 1962 missal. Admittedly, one does not really need rubrical guides informing one of decisions of Congregation of Rites anymore since the fixation on rubrical correctness has passed. However, I don’t think that the rubrics of the Ordo Missae in the modern liturgical books are written any better than those in the older books, or that the revised liturgy has an advantage over the traditional in this matter. If anything, in some situations they are less detailed requiring one to put together references from several different places in the IGMR.

      5. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #38:

        I suspect that the 1961 rubrics instructing only the two words to be said aloud is based on the fact that the Orate, fratres is a later elaboration of “Oremus” – thus the priest says only the corresponding words aloud and continues the rest silently.

    2. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #33:
      I am on vacation and do not have a ‘1962 Missal’ to hand but my memory of the EP rubric is instruction for the priest to hold the host and paten and then the mixed chalice ‘up at least to eye level & look toward heaven’ while reciting the prayers; there is no attention paid to anything but the ‘gifts being pre-offered’. The present rubric tells the priest to ‘hold the hosts and then the mixed chalice slightly above the altar and to place the gifts down on the altar while reciting the beracha prayer’; the priest is showing/designating the gifts to be consecrated to the assembled congregation. This I think is a fair description of what is supposed to take place. The description of the bringing of the gifts to the altar (the offertory procession in more or less solemn form) where all that is brought up other than the hosts, wine and water is directed to be set aside and then the priest is to ‘place the hosts and then the prepared chalice on the altar’ (a sort of solemn ‘setting of the table’ for the sacrifice/Eucharistic Prayer and its consummation after the Our Father etc.) also makes clear the differentiation between the gestures and intent built into the 1962 rubrics and those introduced post Vatican II. The rubrical instructions are not so subtly differentiated in the two forms; the intent seems clear for those ‘who have eyes to see and ears to hear’.

      1. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #36:
        I didn’t dispute the 1962 part… the Ritus Servandus explicitly says the priest “offers” the chalice. It’s the contrast with and description of the Novus Ordo version.

        There’s nothing in rubrics about the showing of the bread and wine to the people in the offertory. The bread and wine are elevated, but only slightly, and the text at that elevation is addressed to God (just as in the EF) and not to the people and the word “offer” is used.

        Note that the Missal doesn’t tell the priest to turn around at this point, so in ad orientem celebration of the NO, not only will the priest not be showing the gifts to the people, they won’t even be able to see them at the time when the priest “holds it slightly raised above the altar”. At the consecration, when the priest is to show the host to the people it says that explicitly, “He shows the consecrated host to the people…”

      2. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #37:
        Is not that evidence that the NO was meant to be seen by the gathered assembly? To assert ‘ad orientem’ in the context of the present NO Roman Liturgy is basically a ‘fetish and ad hominem’ argument against the NO. It was this realization that moved Romano Guardini and Pius Parsch to take advantage of the possibilities in the EO (the standard ritual in their day) for ‘Mass facing the gathered assembly’ — for them it made good sense sociologically, psychologically, ecclesiologically — it is that too which drove and drives the desire and attraction of frequent communion and ‘early first communion’ (the expressed wish of Pope St. Pius X) — seeing the Eucharist as a nourishing gift from God so that one can be taken up in the Life of the Holy Trinity — no more and certainly no less. This is the Catholic and Orthodox theology of ‘theosis/divinization’ which has come forward as part of the ‘ecumenical standing-under the Holy Eucharist’ in the Church. It is part also of the working out of the meaning of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the Church.

      3. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #40:

        Fr. Sandstrom, I don’t understand what relationship your latest comment is supposed to have to mine.

        Is not that evidence that the NO was meant to be seen by the gathered assembly?

        Is not what evidence?

        To assert ‘ad orientem’ in the context of the present NO Roman Liturgy is basically a ‘fetish and ad hominem’ argument against the NO.

        I’m not attacking the NO, in fact, in this post I’ve consistently argued that the NO preparation of the gifts/offertory rite should be considered closely related to the EF offertory rite, despite some differences in prayers and simplifications of gestures and that the meanings of the rites are more closely aligned than is commonly stated. This hardly constitutes an argument against the NO, let alone a “fetish and ad hominem” one, unless, I guess if one considers the EF offertory rite bad, which I certainly do not.

        I don’t really understand the rest of your comment and don’t see how it bears on the factual disagreement about whether at the preparation of the gifts “the gesture called for in the NF is that of ‘showing the gifts’ to the assembly”.

      4. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #40:
        But there is plenty of evidence that the Novus Ordo / Ordinary Form Roman Missal was written to support both Mass versus populum and ad orientem. Such evidence includes the rubrics which state that the priest does such-and-such “facing the people” or “facing the altar”.

        Requiring the Preparation of the Gifts / Offertory to be done facing the people in an otherwise ad orientem liturgy would also look a bit silly (to me), since that would mean he prepares the bread and wine on one side of the altar and then goes to the other side (presumably having placed the bread and wine within reach) for the Eucharistic Prayer. I can understand walking around the whole altar while censing it, but this would look plain goofy.

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #44:
        As I have said above, I agree that in an ‘ad orientem’ celebration the gestures in question would be ‘hidden’ — and that is the point of the question I asked.

        By the way the rubrics in the pre-Vatican II printed Missals did also provide for the possibility of ‘versus populum’ celebration — and when done that way, many of the gestures become inexplicable. Amalarius’ “Mass as an acting out of the Pascal Mystery” ceases to work in any intelligible fashion: it only ‘works’ dramatically and catechetically if the celebrant is ‘ad orientem’.

        An additional by the way, the celebrant is ‘facing the altar’ whichever side he stands on while celebrating the Liturgy; and it is noted in the Ritual for the Consecration of Altars that it is at the altar we meet the Risen Lord.

        Sometimes when pondering this sort of question I think that for many people (thanks to piety from the Counter-Reformation onward at least) “facing God” is confused with “facing the Tabernacle” — with all the possibilities for confusion that implies — consider the various Papal documents from at least Pope Gregory XIV onwards saying that Communion should be given from the Mass the people are attending since it is Divine Norishment specifically from that Mass, and not taken (routinely, as is still done, alas!) from the Tabernacle. But that may be a completely different topic to discuss.

      6. @Philip Sandstrom – comment #46:
        Yes, any catecheses or allegorical interpretations of the Mass that rely on ad orientem falter if the Mass is not actually celebrated that way. But that isn’t an example of inexplicable gestures; could you give a couple of those?

        The celebrant is only “facing the altar” when he’s actually facing the altar. A priest can be on the “far” side of the altar (that is, the opposite side as the congregation) and still not be facing it. He could be facing a credence table, for example, or facing away from the altar (and people). The priest is instructed to consume Communion “facing the altar”, because he has just been “facing the people” in the Ecce Agnus Dei. He faces the people because he is addressing them and showing them the Lamb of God once more; in Mass celebrated ad orientem, he then turns around to face the altar, because his consumption of the Eucharist is not something done for the people to see.

      7. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #48: Also Samuel Howard comment #43:
        First: an altar has four sides each one of whom can be faced — and that is my point; not some distraction by some other furniture in the sanctuary. The ‘ad orientem’ position does hide &/or obscure a number of the gestures of the priest during for example the Eucharistic Prayer — to wit, in the EO the numerous ‘crosses’ made by the priest which started out as ‘polite pointing gestures’; another example, the elevations at the consecration which were inserted in the 12/13 century in response to the ‘argumentations about when the real presence became real’ — in the NO regardless of which side of the altar the priest is standing, the rubrics insist that the ‘correct and proper elevation’ is that during the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, and not during the Narrative of the Institution itself. There are four ‘similar gestures’ where the gifts are to be shown to the gathered assembly: 1) at the Preparation of the gifts; 2) at the Narrative of the Institution; 3) at the Doxology; 4) at the Ecce Agnus Dei in preparation for Communion. Each of these events are differentiated and given ‘a proper sense’ by a close reading of the relevant rubrics. And it should be added they can only be meaningfully carried out when the priest is facing the people accross the altar. An ‘ad orientem’ style celebration hides the sense of the different but similar gestures, and favors the rubrics of the EO and the Amalarius style ‘drama’ reading of the Mass.

  24. Philip Sandstrom : @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #44: By the way the rubrics in the pre-Vatican II printed Missals did also provide for the possibility of ‘versus populum’ celebration — and when done that way, many of the gestures become inexplicable. Amalarius’ “Mass as an acting out of the Pascal Mystery” ceases to work in any intelligible fashion: it only ‘works’ dramatically and catechetically if the celebrant is ‘ad orientem’.

    I’m curious as to what gestures you see as becoming inexplicable. I always thought that for most gestures, it was explanation after the fact and not the other way around.

    In any case, I don’t exactly see why even Amalarius-style explanations fail with versus populum except on the 1 or 2 occasions when the “turning” is the focus. Even in ad populum celebrations, there are all the crossings and bowings and to-and-fro-ings that provide the material for those explanations.

  25. No one seems to mention the fact that at most Sunday NO Masses, no one even hears the offertory prayers as they are usually said silently or under the cover of a hymn, the offertory antiphon, or something sung by a choir.

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