Sep 17, 2004

Preliminary Remarks on the Roman Canon

The difference between the Latin versions of the Roman Canon and Eucharistic Prayer I are minimal. There is the change in the prayer of consecration and an additional response immediately afterwards. The prayer over the bread takes a form that is restorative of various traditions (Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites, as well as the primitive Roman Rite according to St. Hippolytus). The prayer over the chalice has the words ‘mysterium fidei’ removed from within the context of the consecration. These words are said after the consecration, to which the people respond according to one of the various options.

The arguments set forth by detractors can be summarized into these categories: intention, authority and orthodoxy. On the basis of these arguments opponents to the 1970 Missale Romanum intend to establish the invalidity, doubtful validity, or valid but sacrilegious character of this order of the Mass. The prime answer to each of these objections is that of papal primacy. That Pope Paul VI is the principal author of intent for this revision of the Roman Rite is certain. He commissioned the study and subsequent revision of the Mass. He approved the consequent text and promulgated this Ordo Missae into ecclesiastical law. Therefore, all Catholics may be certain of the intent and authority of the promulgation of this text for Church use because the Pope has final juridical power on all matters of discipline for the universal Church, and especially for that of the Roman Church, his patriarchal territory. As to orthodoxy, we may be certain also of this due to the charism of infallibility granted to the See of Peter, at least as regards the sacramental formula, which is the essence of the Mass.

As regards the inaccuracy of the translation and the obfuscation of certain texts, that must be readily admitted. It has been remarked by liturgical historians and various experts that the distinguishing characteristics of the Roman liturgy are its brevity, conciseness, solemnity, etc. With the exceptions of texts that were newly added (i.e. Eucharistic Prayers II-IV, Prefaces and various other texts), there was already a long-standing tradition of translations from the use of Latin-English Missalettes. To be sure these translations varied in many instances from that of Fr. Lassance’s 1945 Daily Missal to that of the 1962 My Sunday Missal. As regards the updating of the language used, there are at least two things to be considered. In every instance where the Catholic Church has commissioned the use of the vernacular for the celebration of the Liturgy, the vernacular has become over time a sacralized language. The principle of conservation is demonstrated in the Greek (which was the first vernacular language of the Church after Hebrew and Aramaic), Latin (which was also a vernacular language introduced after a couple centuries of the Greek liturgy), especially it is demonstrated in the Slavonic liturgies which Church Slavonic now bears little resemblance to modern spoken Slavonic.

To understand this principle, we need only look at how most of us who speak English still pray the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name.” The principle of conservation has kept many of us from modernizing this prayer to its modern day equivalent “Our Father, who is in heaven, holy is Your name.” In the time immediately following Vatican II and especially with the permission to celebrate the Mass entirely in the vernacular, there was a rush to modernize everywhere it was allowed. I only hope for the rediscovery of our many traditions, especially coinciding with a more authentic translation of the Latin Mass into English and a restoration of devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which so many of us as parishioners have obscured in our own hearts.

1 comment:

Keith Kenney said...

Changes to the Roman Missal brought about by Cum Sanctissimum (1604 Clement VIII)

1570 Roman Missal: Rubric directing the celebrant upon entering the church to kneel and recite a verse from Ps. 65: Introibo in domum tuam; in holocaustis reddam tibi vota mea, quae distinxerunt labia mea, before reciting the further antiphon, Ne reminiscaris, and the five psalms in preparation for Mass.

1604 Roman Missal: First antiphon suppressed (omitted).

1570 Roman Missal: The prayer of St. Ambrose, Summe Sacerdos, is not divided into parts.

1604 Roman Missal: The Summe Sacerdos is divided into sections for various days of the week.

1570 Roman Missal: The general rubrics are not numbered. Within the general rubrics there is no mention of ringing a bell, incense or torchbearers.

1604 Roman Missal: The general rubrics are numbered. Ringing a bell, incense and torchbearers are included in the rubrics along with additions such as RG XX describing the preparation required for the altar.

1570 Roman Missal: After the Confiteor the words “all sins” appear in the absolution rite. (Misereatur...omnibus peccatis; Indulgentiam ...omnium peccatorum)

1604 Roman Missal: The words “all sins” do not appear in Clement VIII’s Missal.

1570 Roman Missal: At High Mass the verse Dirigatur Domine ... is to be said by the celebrant while he incenses the altar before saying the Introit and again when the altar is incensed during the Offertory.

1604 Roman Missal: This rubric is suppressed in the Missal of Clement VIII.

1570 Roman Missal: The Kings name is mentioned in the Canon.

1604 Roman Missal: This rubric suppressed.

1570 Roman Missal: The words “As often as you do these things...,” (Haec quotiescumque) are said while the celebrant elevates the chalice.

1604 Roman Missal: The rubrics order the above words to be said after the elevation instead of during.

1570 Roman Missal: At the end of High Mass, the celebrant is directed to impart three blessings not one: one at the epistle corner, one in the center, and one at the gospel corner of the altar. (“In missa solemnia... ter benedicat populo, primo a cornu Epistolae dicens, Pater, secundo ante medium altaris dicens, Et Filius, tertio a cornu Evangelii dicens, Et Spiritus Sanctus...”)

1604 Roman Missal: This rubric suppressed and triple blessings reserved for prelates.

Source: Paul Cavendish, in an article for Altar No. 1, 1994 "The Tridentine Mass". Cites Missale Romanum, Paris, 1572, British Library Catalogue 15; Pontificale Romanum, Venice, 1572, British Library Catalogue C132.h.50.

Also of note is the suppression by the 1570 Roman Missal of a proper Mass entitled the “Immaculate Conception” for December 8th. Most pre-Trent missals have this Mass formula and give the introit Egredimini and the same collect as in the Mass proper Pius IX was to authorize three centuries later. In Pius V’s missal no mention of “immaculate” appears and in most of the early editions of the missal a proper is not even printed on December 8th for Our Lady’s Conception instead a rubric directs the celebrant to use the formulary given for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin on September 8th and change the word “nativity” to “conception” in the collect. (Missale Romanum, Venice, 1481, British Library Catalogue IA19880; Missale Romanum, 1572, loc. cit).

Pope St. Pius V's missal lasted only 34 years in it's entirety before revision. Clement VIII's missal lasted only 30 years after that. There doesn't seem to be substantial differences in Urban's missal, mainly a re-wording of the rubrics for clarity and a change in the calendar. Of course this missal was again modified by Benedict XV, which incorporated the changes of Pius X revision's to the calendar and rubrics (e.g. the color of vestments within octaves, the number of Masses to be sung in Cathedral and Collegiate Churches when a feast and major feria coincided, rules regarding the choice of preface, and the choice of Mass formulary in Lent et al.) The major change brought about by this revision is the familiar green vestments on Sunday. Before this revision when Sunday's and feasts coincided, the Sunday was commemorated in the festal Mass the color of the vestments therefore being red or white.

Pretty much the same development occured with the Breviary. The Bull establishing the Tridentine Breviary Quod a nobis called down the same wrath of the Apostles Peter and Paul upon any who dared to omitt, add, or change the Breviary of Trent in any manner whatsoever. On that score alone, the argument used for the 'perpetuity' of Quo Tempore would cause us to reject the development to the Breviary in the same manner that the some use Quo Tempore to reject the later revisions to the Roman Missal. Clearly we don't reject the Clement VIII, Urban VIII, Pius X/Benedict XV, Pius XII (except some fringe sedevacanist groups) or the John XXIII (again some sedevacanists do) revisions to the Roman Missal. Since we accept the revisions of the Breviary and Missal up to this point, it's simply arbitrary to not accept those revisions brought about by the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul II. Indeed, Quo Tempore simply does not and cannot mean what some claim it to in their protestations of the Vatican II era revisions given their practice of accepting all of the above mentioned reforms.