Monday, February 28

Respondeo Dicendum, Part II

In keeping with the Novus Ordo mass, this section has been moved relative to the Tridentine mass to preceed the Penitential Rite.

On the Translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo": Whether or not this will continue to be translated idiomatically as "And also with you" or literally as "And with your spirit" in the next English revision of the Novus Ordo is currently up in the air. As such, I am open to both, especially since this proposed order of mass is attempting to cling close to the Tridentine mass.
As I said before, my rationale for these changes is not to necessarily trying to cling close to the Tridentine mass but restore a greater apparent continuity between the present and earlier forms of the Mass. I think, in general, we should expect more from the faithful; the ICEL translation chucked "And with your spirit" because it was supposedly too difficult to understand. It may cause some initial head-scratching, but Catholics will soon see, with a minimum of thought, that they are speaking of the soul. While one should avoid deliberately obscure translations, spiritual things are still always a little mysterious and special and the Mass should convey that. "And with your spirit" forces you to confront spiritual realities.

The other thing is Catholicism is not a bare-bones religion. I know the Squire is not implying it is; but there is a vast body of beliefs and customs which the faithful are initiated into through the Church. If we retain a few of the little niceties here and there like "et cum spiritu tuo," they will want to know more and better understand their Mother the Church. At the very least, it can be explained by one sentence of catechesis and then it will take on a beautiful and deep meaning every time hence when someone hears it.
(Penitential Rite)

This is the point at which everyone admits they are lowly sinners and go begging all and sundry for forgiveness.
Not to be flip, but, well, we are, and we ought. The old rite may have exaggerated the sinfulness of man to the point of scrupulosity, but we've gone too far the other way to "I'm OK, you're OK."
Kneeling as it is done in a pew has too much pious dignity attatched to it - I much prefer the "stand up and admit it" attitude encouraged by the currently indicated posture. This, though, is a matter of my opinion.
I never specified whether the faithful should kneel or stand. I think they should stand, simply as a matter of practicality--though I have seen whole congregations kneel for a Kyrie during Lent, and during a Novus Ordo mass--but since the priest's gesture is more symbolically important than that of the people, he and the server ought to do more than simply stand.
On the Inclusion of Michael the Archangel, et. al.: This is redundant with the subsequent phrase, "and all the angels and saints," as well as the litany of the Saints. The case for the reintroduction of this minor litany needs further justification.
I've mentioned before that we shouldn't be so eager to go hunting for redundancies, given the original intention of that section of Sacrosanctum Concilium. Admitted, they do not always appear in the earliest forms of the Confiteor, but I think the naming of the saints is important. Their naming gives them a permanent place in the Mass. Their absence from the liturgy (save for the Virgin and the occasional treat of the saint of the day) always puzzled me as a child. It was as if the whole company of saints were some later accretion, faintly chimerical, which had gotten tacked on to the primitive purity of early Christianity. This wasn't the intention of the originators of the 1970 Missal, interested more in historical purity, but that was the effect.

Aufer a Nobis and Oramus Te

The first seems redundant to the end of the Penitential Rite, so a case for its inclusion must be made.
The Aufer is one of the oldest prayers of preparation we have. It serves to sum up the entire Penitential Rite before we go up to the altar and also, through its language, links the Mass to the earthly temple of Solomon and the heavenly Jerusalem.
As most modern parishes do not include relics in their altar, and as the Priest's sins have just been forgiven in the Penitential Rite, the Oramus Te is also redundant. Again, explaination needs to be given for its inclusion.
First, I have provided a form for kissing an altar without a relic--and my own parish, built in the sixties, has not one but three relics in the altar, so they are not so rare as one might think. Secondly, the latter part of this comment is a legitimate criticism, I think, but, as I have said before, repetition does not always imply redundancy. While one must not become scrupulous (a rare problem these days), it is a healthy thing to ask forgiveness, especially during the Liturgy. The Oramus could be conceivably omitted, if absolutely necessary.
On the Location of the Priest: Many newer and newly renovated churches make use of a basilica-style floor layout with the altar at the center. Other new, smaller chapels are simply an oval of chairs surrounding the altar, ambo, and presider's chair. While both have distinct areas for each of the three areas, such setups do not have a real "right" or "left." Perhaps this type of micromanaging is best left to the national conferences or to the Ordinaries.
This is not so much of a problem as one might think. The priest stands either before (as in an ad orientem arrangement) or behind (as in a versus populum arrangement) and the side his left-hand is on is the left, and so forth. The main reason I specified this is that the Missal has been traditionally placed on the priest's right during the opening of Mass and one would have to read the Introit and Collect from those Missals. This is also intended to prevent the altar boys from being reduced to mobile book-holders. This rubric was continued even in the 1969 Missal with regard to private masses, so it seems well to preserve it. I suppose one could place it in the center without trouble (as in Pastoral Provision masses, like those celebrated at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio) but given that such motion prevents the opening of Mass from turning into a long monologue and seeming more like a rite, it seems useful to retain this distinction.
The Kyrie Eleison

On the Inclusion of the Kyrie in the Penitential Rite: Just because something is old doesn't make it superior (unless, of course, it was instituted by Christ and practiced by his disciples, but that's a different case). Conversely, just because something is relatively new doesn't make it inferior. Why should innovations such as the Oramus Te be left to stand while the third setting for the Penitential Rite (which involves the Kyrie) is demeaned as "unhistorical"?
Yes and no. Tradition, as Chesterton has remarked, is the democracy of the dead. Something usually survives because it works well, or because it is beautiful. I also agree that novelty does not necessarily make something bad. But that sort of logic could be used to defend the Oramus Te as well as the troped Kyrie which serves as one penitential rite.

The truth is, Penitential Rite C ("You came to heal the contrite, Lord have mercy, etc.) is unhistorical. It is derived, I will admit, in part from the far more elaborate and effervescent troped Kyries of the Middle Ages, but those were not associated with the Confiteor per se. (Also, those tropes were more poetic). The Kyrie has never been exclusively associated with the Penitential Rite; it comes after it and was sometimes sung over it during High Mass, but the present semi-exclusive association between the two (and the Asperges) is an entirely new thing. It always followed the priest's blessing at the Indulgentiam and the Oramus Te which ended the preparatory prayers. Since the Kyrie has a long history as an independent part of the Mass with great dignity (and it may have begun actually as a form of the Prayers of the Faithful rather than as an act of penitence) it ought to be treated as such and not grafted into the Penitential Rite, the Confiteor of which has a far longer history exclusively as an act of penitence.
The Gloria

On Language: "You Who..." is archaic. Even the form of the Gloria found in the current English draft of the missal removes the word "who."
It expresses Qui tollis well; anyway, it is easy enough to understand, archaic or no. It seems ordinary enough to me.
On the Deacon Bowing or Kneeling While Recieving the Priest's Blessing [at the Gospel]: While, for a healthy person, a profound bow (from the waist) is not a problem, I can see where some older Deacons might have difficulties maintaining such a position. For those who cannot make a profound bow, an allowance for kneeling should probably be made. However, those who can make a profound bow probably should.
As someone who has been profoundly bowing during the Creed for a long time, and who considers himself fairly healthy, I find it a very unpleasant exercise if carried out for a long time, especially if one actually does a proper profound bow. All the blood goes to one's head. More importantly, it is a gesture with less meaning in modern culture than kneeling. One kneels when one's about to propose to one's wife, for example. One doesn't profoundly bow unless one is Japanese. Anyway, if the priest is sitting when the deacon bows, the result is essentially the deacon's head is shoved in the priest's face, which looks rather ungracious.
On the Use of the Biretta [during the homily]: Matthew states that the "Biretta is a sign of authority." A sign to whom? To my pious, late grandmother, possibly. To my other grandparents and parents, an outside chance. To myself and most other Catholics of my generation, not at all. I didn't even know that it existed until a couple years ago, and have never seen one in person. Suddenly donning the things again during mass will not have the intended effect; instead, it'll merely look as if the Church is intentionally regressing. What's next, the maniple?
Funny you should say that, since Cardinal Arinze, the current head of the Congregation of Divine Worship, has indicated that the maniple was never formally abolished and can be used by priests during Mass.

If one argues that one particular vestment ceases to be prima faciae symbolic, without recourse to the appropriate explanatory section of the missal to explain it to the faithful, you might as well abolish all of them. Vestments gain their meaning from historic use and accumulated symbolism, which requires a passing-on of information to explain that symbolism. If after that explanation is obtained they still remain opaque, that's a problem, and perhaps those are the things to be dispensed with, but only then. We shouldn't expect the faithful to immediately, instantaneously understand what every symbol means, not abolish all symbols which don't immediately make sense. That lowers the Mass, the most sublime act on earth, which has inspired some of the finest works of art, music and architecture to the lowest common denominator.

Regarding the biretta, headgear connotes authority in general--bishop's mitres, policemen's hats, firefighter's helmets, etc. Anyway, the biretta does not have to be used; it would be optional. It still is permitted for use during Mass.

Birettas, maniples, amices, all that, they're inconvenient. But their inconvenience has important value. Liturgy isn't just something you slip into like sweatpants.

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