Friday, February 08, 2013
I was told that an English religious community wrote to the CDW asking for permission to say the Canon of the Mass silently in the Ordinary Form. The CDW replied with a firm, "No", as one might expect. Pope Benedict suggested the return to the more ancient practice in "Spirit of the Liturgy", it was one of his solutions to what others had described as a "crisis in the Eucharistic Prayer".
Presumably they would have received an affirmative response, if they thought it necessary to ask, to say it quietly. In the Extraordinary Form it is not actually said "silently", if it were it would not be necessary for the deacon or MC to stand aside so they cannot hear the names at the momentoes. The current OF rubrics speak about a "clear and distinct voice" being used for the words of consecration, this presumably indicates a different voice for the rest of the prayer, one that is at least less clear and less distinct, quite what this voice is isn't specified. Nothing is said about its volume and more importantly nothing is said about whether the voice should or for that matter should not be microphoned.
Outside of the Latin rite the voice used for the Canon seems to be that it is audible to the immediate bystanders, in Eastern Rites, to concelebrants.
Now, we realise the "Spirit of Vatican" stuff was pure folly, and indeed contrary to the actual documents, isn't it about time to look again at the rubrics of the Mass. Cardinal Arinze, when Prefect of the CDW famously offered turkeys to those who could tell him where sanctuaries were to be modified, or Latin and chant was to be ditched, or altars were to be turned around, maybe we do need clarity about the various voice levels.
If it is permissable to say the Canon in a low voice, as Cardinal Piacenzo Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy apparently does, is it permissable for any form of communal prayer to be sung by the people to ensure the actively participating whilst this is happening. I always wonder what is supposed to happen in vast cathedrals when the mics fail or are simply not present or switched off.
The of course there is always the issue of "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful" and "mutual enrichment".
Posted by Fr Ray Blake