Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What is the difficulty with the OF?

Monday night I went a long to Maiden Lane's 6pm Mass, I sat in the congregation, Fr Tim Finigan was the celebrant, there was a small schola, it was a sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
The church wasn't packed but it was full, the servers were older than ours but the profile of the congregation was much the same as here for the EF. There were a few elderly people but most were under forty, there were like here people who looked Fillipino but maybe a few more black faces than here, though I suspect they were black Londoners rather than Africans.
What impressed me was the prayerfulness of the congregation. The congregation's following of the rubrics were less disciplined than at the OF, people stood during the Sanctus whilst others knelt, some knelt more or less through out or sat or slid between the two. Most joined in the dialogues, a few joined in the Ordinary quietly, a few followed missals, a few had Rosaries in their hands, most just prayed quietly. The celebrant was reverent, but  characteristically matter of fact, the servers were relaxed.
At the moment we are preparing for the Association of Latin Liturgy's Mass and Vespers on Saturday, everything will be in Latin (except, maybe, the homily) and most things will be sung, including the readings. As Mass will be celebrated ad Orientem, the differences, except for those with decent Latin and an eye for rubrics, from the congregation's point of view, will be negligable, except for the absence of the hushed silence during the Canon. That is unless Mgr Burnham does what Cardinal Pacienza does and recite that in a low voice.
For the celebrant things are different but for a member of the congregation the two forms can be almost indistinguishable, except maybe the absence of prayers at the foot of the altar, but then I have seem "preparatory prayers" done in the OF during the entrance hymn, and I have seen an ambo used for readings and heard the sermon end in a series of intercessions in the EF.
Speaking to people after the EF at Maiden Lane who didn't normally attend it, it was the silence that seemed important that is simply absent from much of the OF. Somehow too, it is the sense that silence is integral to the whole; singing, silence, personal prayer and public prayer. I suppose it is that the older Use allows the priest to pray whilst the choir are singing that seems organic, it lacks the neatness of OF, where for example the priest stops praying the Canon whilst the Sanctus is being sung and the people listen as he prays the Eucharistic Prayer.
An awful lot of nonsense and silliness takes place at the OF but that is not integral to the Rite itself, indeed much of it is quite contrary to an accurate interpretation of the rubrics. Latin should be used, it seems as if hymns should not really replace the proper chants, that the orientation should be ad apsidem, the norm -universally- as we know, is communion kneeling and on the tongue; so from the point of view of the laity what is it the difficulty, some have, about the Ordinary Form?


Evagrius said...

I don't think it's a problem with the rite, it's a question of who goes to what. 'Cafeteria Catholics', liberals, those who know nothing about liturgy or don't care about it, and so on don't tend to go to the EF.

Perhaps it's unfair, but I do also wonder how many people who are not, basically, middle class, reasonably educated and comfortably off, and politically centre-right go to the EF.

Whether or not that impression is correct, however, I do think you get more of a mix of people at the OF. Aside from anything else, there are usually many more people in general at the OF. At least in my experience.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Your social profile didn't quite fit my impression of those M. Lane, nor I think of those who attend the EF here.

Pablo the Mexican said...

1 Maccabees Chapter 4.

Judas Maccabeus rebuilds the Temple and places a new altar there.

Previously, the Jews were performing two rituals, the newer ones were not of God and did not please Him.

Same with the Novus Ordo.

Judas went back to tradition and pleased God.

He did not care what the congregation wanted.


Anita Moore said...

My primary problem with the OF is how it's celebrated. In my backwater diocese, it's usually a circus. Replace the circus elements with actual Catholic stuff like chant and Latin and people scream.

But when it comes to the OF versus the EF, my reasons for preferring the latter have more to do with what it is than what the OF isn't. I love the vestments and the structure and the gestures, all of which are so full of meaning, and I love the silent canon. I really love the fact that so many generations of saints were nourished on this form of the Mass. Before I became familiar with the EF Mass, I could not have made sense out of St. Alphonsus Liguori's writings on the Mass, or Dietrich von Hildebrand's Liturgy and Personality.

The EF Mass is a touchstone of continuity. It is a shame that whole generations have lost touch, at least in part, with the meditations of saints on the Liturgy, because they have no experience of the liturgy that the saints were talking about.

Fr Ray Blake said...

St Michael...
But there is one temple

MartinT said...

The beauty of the EF, if I may add another comment, is that it flows. There are no pauses or gaps where we are told to stand or sit or pray aloud or pray in silence. Even when the choir is singing or the servers are moving around, the priest is getting on with the action that is the central part of the Mass.

The paradox is that the OF can take just as long, even if the form is much shorter. After attending the EF, the stop-start of the OF begins to grate. Everyone stops and waits while the choir finishes singing or the collection is gathered up. The EF feels so much less complicated.

Manuel said...

Dear Father,

if it is basically identical to EF, why should it have been introduced to start with ?

I think that while formally valid and legitimate (U.E. 19), like the sacrifice of Cain versus that of Abel, the new Mass is not pleasing God as the old one.

For over 30 years I've known nothing other than the OF. Of course we deserve nothing because of ourselves. But, you fathers, if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead ?

Cor contritum et humiliatum Deus non despicies. Such an attitude is not compatible with the OF.

Natasa said...

The OF just seems so bare, like a skeleton, mass stripped to its basics. The EF has a certain flow and richness in the way it is celebrated.

I was Catholic for 16 years before I discovered the EF and all that time I felt something was just strange with the mass but I couldn't figure out what. Then things finally made sense after I attended my first mass in EF.

Juventutem London said...

Well, intellectually and academically, knowing where it came from and how it got here is a big, BIG deal and cannot be just swept under the carpet, or ignored as a white, educated thing. Either it came here whence and how it did, or it didn't - and either that is a problem or it isn't. Even if university people and armchair theologians are the only ones worried about this sort of thing, it does not follow that it is not a serious issue.

Linked to this:
- Banality of offertory prayers + new canons + the wanton vandalisation of prayers that remain (ie confiteor)
- Banality of proper prayers for the proper of the year
- Swamped with Scripture in the lectionary.
- Optional nature of propers (because they are optional, even if we 'should' not substitute them for hymns)
- Blurred distinction between priest and faithful
- Business

It does get to the point though when honesty is needed. One begins by advocating a sane, rubrical Novus Ordo. Then one begins to advocate a 'reform of the reform', with ad apsidum (lol Fr good one), proper way of receiving Holy Communion, perhaps a bit of Latin... let's get some chant in... tidy up these vestments... use exclusively the Roman Canon... always have the Confiteor... say the offertory prayers silently...

Eventually priests, and lay liturgy-enthusiasts need to actually realise that what they're advocating - without really being conscious of it - is the old Mass. They are advocating the New Mass slowly becoming the old Mass: and the Novus Ordo comes to be graded, basically, by how closely it resembles the old Mass. And all this begs the question.

Why not just have the old Mass and be done with it?

And when you answer that question, you realise that you have become a trad - and you click on this link (

Juventutem London said...

And to Evagrius who - to some extent rightly - talks about the 'middle class, reasonably educated and comfortably off and politcally centre-right' types:

I was speaking with a friend who was saying what type of man she'd like to marry - basically it was narrowed down to a 'catholic builder'. And she asked how many of them were at the old Mass. I later thought about it and asked her, how many are at the New Mass?

It seems the Church has alienated a lot of people. I disagree with your analysis, but it is to some extent true - but this is the case for most Catholicism that is reacting to the crisis in the Church. These days converts seem to convert based on their intellect, seeing the claims of the Church and realising they are true.

I wonder if this is because there is so little beauty in the Church now (and I'm talking liturgically mainly but not exclusively), that there is little for those without a reasonable education to actually see Christ in her.

roydosan said...

Problems with the OF:

1. The lack of silence - this is for me the most powerful aspect of the EF. The supposed silences in the OF are nothing but pauses whilst we wait for the Mass to start again. In the EF the silence is accompanied by action - action so holy that we dare not say/sing anything.

2. The bewildering amount of scripture. Too many readings which only make sense if one attends Mass daily otherwise they lose coherence. The OT readings are often too odd and make no sense without explanation and the Mass is not the time for lengthy exegesis on the OT.

3. Notices read at the end of Mass rather than before the homily. At the end of Mass they disrupt the reverence which follows the end of communion - mixing the holy with the mundane. Far better to have notices before the homily. Is that permitted under the OF rubrics?

Anonymous said...

" from the congregation's point of view, will be negligable, except for the absence of the hushed silence during the Canon. That is unless Mgr Burnham does what Cardinal Pacienza does and recite that in a low voice."

Father, where did you hear that his emminence recites the canon this way?
is it not possible for the priest and servers in the ordinary form at the beginning (while the choir sings the introit) to begin the Mass at the foot of the altar and recite the confiteor there and then go up to the altar for the collect and kyrie? At St Peter's Church in Munich they begin with the asperges in the ordinary form.

Fr Ray Blake said...

H.E. did so, I believe, at a Conference on the Eucharist in Rome this year.
The Confiteor is part of a Penitential Rite in the OF and is part of the Mass but there is no reason why it may not be used outside the Mass and the short Kyriale form be used with in it.

Sussex Catholic said...

Summorum Pontificum pretty much nails this question and it concerns the status of the Roman Rite itself. If, as the rupture brigade would have it, the older form of the Roman Rite was destroyed, annihilated, superceded by a newer form-that there is in effect only one Roman Rite now, the Novus Ordo, then really there is nothing left to argue about. This was why for the best part of a generation the most conservative parishes in the Western World outside the FSSPX tried to make the Novus Ordo look "traditional". But SP states that, as a matter of Church law, the Novus Ordo is not a replacement but another form of the same rite. This is an explosive statement because it basically says that the authentic tradition of the Roman Rite is encapsulated in an older form which, as an organic entity in its own right cannot be abolished. By implication it confers on the OF the status which everyone knows Cardinal Ratzinger (as he then was) always expressed about it, namely that it was something entirely new, invented and represented a fundamental break with the organic development represented by the old. Interestingly it would have been nigh on impossible to make this claim about the interim Missal of 1965 but it makes perfect sense in the context of the Novus Ordo because that is precisely what its authors intended it to be.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Sussex Catholic,
Very good points.
What is so apparent in Sp. of the Lit., is Cdn Ratzinger says the Novus Ordo comes to us "ex nihil". It seems everything he has been trying to do since is to graft roots onto it, to reform it in the light of a hermeneutic of continuity but as you imply it was created in a hermeneutic of rupture.

David Joyce said...

I think the problem is in the rite.

In the Ottaviani Intervention, it says in the covering letter:

"the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent"

This is criticising the NO (or OT, if you must) in Latin without much of the abuses that subsequently followed.

OK, Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci are not laity, as you asked for, but the problem lies in the rite and the spirit it encapsulates, rather than simply how it is celebrated. The abuses have stemmed from this spirit, which formed the rite and many of the problems post Vatican II (and during the Council itself), but it is impossible to completely disassociate the two. One cannot implement a rupture in theology, and think you can carry on as normal.

The break in tradition that the Novus Ordo represents brought on the liturgical disaster than we witness around us. As a member of the laity, rather than pretending that the NO can be celebrating like the traditional Mass, I much rather have the real thing, the Mass our blessed martrys died for.

Matthew said...

Optionitis would appear to be integral to the novus ordo. As Juventutem London says, go seriously down the road of "tradding up" the novus ordo and eventually you are looking for the TLM or deliberately avoiding it (no malice intended, this is just how it appears).

The Offertory is garbage. The readings much less frequently refer to sin, judgment, and hell. The loud canon is novelty. The dichotomy between either the Asperges or a Penitential Rite is misleading. That the Propers are not mandated (regardless of how much they are formally "encouraged") is a rupture whose gravity we are just finally realizing, I think.

And, as Juventutem London mentions, the knowledge that you are assisting at a concocted and ruptured rite, versus assisting at a rite which has existed in substance for a good 1400 years (i.e. since St. Gregory the Great) and which has nourished the saints for generations, matters.

The novus ordo is a Protesting liturgy. It protests silence, richness, splendor, Traditon, and, it would appear sometimes, dogma (I am not saying it is invalid, just that it does not make the dogmas of the faith as apparent as the TLM does). I did not cease being a Protestant in order to protest within the walls of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Also - let no one say there is more Scripture in the novus ordo. That is disingenuous. Propers, Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Last Gospel, the other Scripturally rich prayers axed by Bugnini and co. - the TLM has much more Scripture. And it is better used, to boot.

Patrick Sheridan said...

David Joyce, which saints do you have in mind? Were they familiar with the liturgical books of 1962?

David Joyce said...

which saints do you have in mind? Were they familiar with the liturgical books of 1962?

The martrys of England and Wales for a start. And yes, they were familiar with the liturgical books of 1962 as they had hardly changed at all since the 16th century. If they stepped into your average Catholic parish on a Sunday morning now, what would they think instead? That they had entered a protestant church?

Michael Davies wrote on many occasions how in the centuries leading up to Vatican II, the text of the Mass was hardly changed, even in 1570 by St. Pope Pius V from the liturgy before the Council of Trent.

Here is the index of chapters from his booklet A Short History of the Roman Mass.

AndrewWS said...

Speaking as a recent convert (through the Ordinariate, and therefore not 'normal'), I have to say that I have no problem with the OF provided it is celebrated in a manner that indicates that the priest and everyone else concerned with the liturgy really does believe that it is what it is, that Our Lord really is present on the altar and in the tabernacle, and that the Mass is a sacrifice offered to the Almighty that must therefore be offered in a manner worthy of Him.

I have a problem with, nay, I abominate, priests who add their own commentary and bizarre gestures, servers who have never learned how to stand up straight or walk properly, bad music indifferently performed (and don't get me started on the use of TAPED bad music during communion), laity who evidently coudn't give a stuff and slouch up to communion with their hands in their pockets, parishes where the order and format, the eucharistic prayers etc. change from week to week and day to day with neither rhyme nor reason ... I could go on and on and on to the point at which I foam at the mouth and fall over backwards in time-honoured fashion.

I do, of course, for cultural reasons as much as anything else, want to hear Latin used as much as possible, which is why I have joined the ALL and will be there on Saturday.

TC said...

@David Joyce,

Do you not understand the changes that were made between Pius V and Clement VIII? With all due respect the LMS must have a major problem if other diocesan reps have the same level of liturgical history as yourself.

Juventutem London said...


I know what you're saying and I agree but you are being pedantic. Which is of course why we love you - but nonetheless, you ARE being obtuse lol. You know what he's saying and you know what he means and what's more you know he's (mostly) right, even if not in the particular way that you (rightly) mean.

Richard said...

In the Ordinary Form, standing between the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and the Agnus Dei, with Christ present on the altar, just seems wrong.

Yes, I can hide away at the side and keep kneeling, but standing is actually mandated in the rubrics.

David Joyce said...

Do you not understand the changes that were made between Pius V and Clement VIII? With all due respect the LMS must have a major problem if other diocesan reps have the same level of liturgical history as yourself.

I haven't been an LMS diocesan rep for years, so you can rest assured that those who are will have a much better level of liturgical history that I ever had...

I assume you are referring to Pope Clement's brief Cum Sanctissimum. There is very little else between the time of St. Pius V and Pope Clement VIII, so if there is something I've missed, you will have to illuminate me (that's only a span of 34 years, after all). The only other notable example is Pope Urban VIII's Si Quid Est, but since that came after Pope Clement's time, that can't be what you are referring to.

If you are indeed referring to Pope Clement's brief, his sole intention was to correct the liturgical texts from corruptions introduced via the printing process since the time of St. Pius V.

So the "changes that were made between Pius V and Clement VIII" were understood by Pope Clement as "errors have crept into the missals which have been produced in recent years", and the missals were "so corrupted, be banned and declared null and void and that their use be disallowed in the celebration of the Mass". Effectively, the reform of Pope Clement was the same as St. Pius V, just under different circumstances. They cannot be compared to the liturgical changes post Vatican II.

Patrick Sheridan said...

David Joyce, is Michael Davies the only ''authority'' you can cite to justify your claim that the English Martyrs (who were they exactly? Hugh Latimer? Saintly King Charles I?) were familiar with the liturgical books of 1962? I don't know about anyone else here but I prefer to rely on the expertise of actual scholars of Liturgy, such as Dr John Wickham-Legg, to Michael Davies, who romanticized, simplified and, to a great extent, falsified the history of the Roman Rite to accommodate his Ultramontane view and the Traditionalist agenda of his time.

That there was little or no reform of the Liturgy between 1570 and 1962 is a fond fancy, and one which suited the purposes of Michael Davies, who, among other Traditionalists such as Marcel Lefebvre, sought to create a false dichotomy between a supposed ''old'' rite of 1962 and a ''new'' rite of 1970. Have you not heard of the disastrous Breviary reform of Paul III, upon which Cranmer based the order of Psalmody in the Prayerbook of the Church of England? The standardization of the Roman Breviary in 1568 was radical enough! Before the Council of Trent “Low Mass” existed in no standardized form, with rubrics in many places at the will of the Celebrant. Trent introduced a novelty in the Roman Rite, unknown in any other related or derived rites, namely the dichotomy between ‘high’ and ‘low’ Mass. Why, in the space of 34 years, between 1570 and 1604, there were changes enough to the Liturgy which surpassed the heretofore glacial and organic development, and not just to the Mass. For a start there was the introduction in 1582 of the Gregorian Kalendar, which distorted the Liturgy in a most meaningful and deliberate way. Then there were the changes to the Ordinary and rubrics of the Mass by Clement VIII in 1604 (and changes at local level hitherto, a marvel considering the growing tendency of centralization at the time) which, among other things, rearranged the wording of the Preparatory Prayers, abolished the Dirigatur during the incensation of the Altar before the Introit, did away with a meaningful and sacramental rubric during the Elevation, did away with the “triple blessing” by the priest at the end of Mass, reserving this solely to prelates, etc. Thirty years later, by command of Urban VIII, the Missal was changed again, though more significantly the ancient hymns of the Roman Breviary were entirely re-written to better match the Classical tastes of his day. Ironically these hymns were only (largely) restored after the Second Vatican Council!


Patrick Sheridan said...

Nevertheless the “ethos” of the “Tridentine Rite” remained, in spite of these significant changes (and others, under Pius IX and Leo XIII), until the time of Pius X. Under him the Psalter was, for want of a better word, destroyed, and restructured in a fragmentary manner and distributed “evenly” across the Hours. RC Traditionalists scoff at the Church of England and the ‘book of crooked prayer;’ well at least the BCP contains whole psalms, unlike the fragmented mess of 1911! Pius X instigated the single most radical change to the Roman Rite since Trent. These were not, as the likes of Michael Davies would have us think, minor changes to the rubrics, unnoticed by the laity in the congregation. I would think that a rearrangement of the precedence of Sundays over Feasts, for example, would be noticed by even the most humble of Roman Catholics, even if the only noticeable change was that the Celebrant of Mass came out of the vestry in a green chasuble instead of a white chasuble, or a red. That the number of Psalms at Dominical Mattins went from eighteen to nine because of this reform is of no consequence? That the order of psalmody at Lauds had been disrupted from an ancient order, probably known to the Lord Himself during the years of His Incarnation, and sung rightly for centuries had been changed, by Papal command, overnight somehow escaped the attention of Michael Davies?

The reformed Missal of Pius X came into force in the ‘20s. Benedict XV introduced a new preface for Requiem Masses, and his successor such feasts as ‘Christ the King;’ the ‘Sacred Heart’ was adorned with an Octave in 1928; but they left little mark on the history of the Roman Rite after Trent. Pius XII, however, the last ‘true pope’ according to some mad Traddies, was arguably worse than Pius X.

In 1947 Pius XII reversed the Lex Orandi, that ancient liturgical maxim which decreed that the order of liturgical prayer determined the law of the Church’s doctrine. As a result the Liturgy was placed, as never before, at the mercy of the reigning pope. Pius XII caused the most damage to the Liturgy in the entire history of the Church up to that point. His reformed Holy Week rites, what he did to the festival of Our Lady’s Assumption, the changes he made to Canon Law, prelatial dress, the introduction of evening Mass, the abolition of the Midnight Eucharistic fast, the abolition of all but three Octaves, most Vigils (including the Vigil of Pentecost) etc, are among the worst crimes against the Tradition of the Church perpetrated by anyone. The blessing, distribution and procession of Palms on Palm Sunday (named anew ‘second Sunday of the Passion’) were mutilated beyond recognition; Mass of the Pre-Hallowed Gifts on Good Friday was renamed anew ‘solemn liturgical action,’ and was moved to three o’clock in the afternoon; the Paschal Vigil was drastically reformed, with the ceremonies removed to late in the evening, twelve prophecies (among other important elements) reduced to four, the litany (no longer doubled) interrupted by such novelties as baptismal promises, etc.

As a comment on a ‘blog, this is too great a matter to discuss. I suggest you search the archives of the St Lawrence Press blogspot.
So, if St Margaret Clitherow went to celebrate Holy Week in a church run by the Latin Mass Society, and they told her that what was being ‘celebrated’ was the so-called ‘traditional Latin Mass’, would she believe you? And why did Michael Davies pass over all these drastic reforms in his efforts to shift all the blame from the Papacy to the Second Vatican Council? Was he really an expert, or just someone pushing an agenda?

Methinks that these ''traditionalists'' are by no means traditional in any meaningful sense at all - just Ultramontane Romantic types who seek merely to resurrect Roman Catholicism of the 1950s.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I think we might assume here and in the context, the Martyrs are Catholic, rather than Protestant or Anglican or even apostates.

Can you, if you want anyone to read them, keep your "comments" short.

David Joyce said...


OK, I take it you're not a fan of Michael Davies (although one must realise his audience was not a scholarly one, but the laity), nor an ultramontane approach to the liturgy (and I would agree with you, although given the post-reformation atmosphere in Europe in the 16th century, this is understandable).

I think the point that trads are working to resurrect the Church of the 1950's is misleading. The liturgy in the 1950's was already in deep trouble, especially given that Bugnini had a hand in the Holy Week changes, which you referred to, and that Pope Pius XII felt compelled to issue Mediator Dei in 1947 to confront these problems. Examples of church architecture from that period are usually quite dreadful.

My main point is that you cannot compare the scale of the changes between the reforms after Vatican II and those minor reforms before it. It's like comparing a mountain to a mole hill, and the worst problems you list appear to be those outside of the Mass which is the topic under discussion (i.e. the reforms of St. Pius X with the breviary).

A priest today who celebrates the 1962 missal could use the missal of 1570 without any real problems - the Ordinary of the Mass is almost identical. The Propers do and should change with the insertion of Prefaces, new saints days, etc., and some of these changes are not ideal, as you point out (e.g. the Holy Week changes in the 1950's are a sore point for trads even today). But that doesn't change the point that the rites of Mass between 1570 and 1962 are extremely similar - which is not something you could say post Vatican II.

Patrick Sheridan said...

David Joyce, change begets change. The changes which followed the Second Vatican Council were being planned in the early 1950s at a series of liturgical conferences, and had nothing to do with the Council, but very much to do with the Papacy. Every minute change was at the command and will of the Pope. This seems to be a fact to which RC Traditionalists are yet to admit. Until they admit to this then they can hardly hope to correct the liturgical malaise of the modern RC church, can they?

I'll just leave you to trust in Benedict XVI's program of liturgical reform though. I mean the pope started it, he might as well try and put the Jinn back in its bottle. So far he's working wonders, what with Mass facing the people and a row of candlesticks and a crucifix, an impoverished new translation, and promoting the bastardised rite of 1962.

David Joyce said...


Actually, you might be surprised that some trads take the same opinion regarding Papal rule over the liturgy. I heard one priest, a member of an Ecclesia Dei fraternity, express his dismay that the Pope, with the stroke of his pen, can simply legitimise a liturgy that has in essence stood its own ground for centuries (yes, a positive move, but the way it can be done that way raises concerns). A member of the laity told me that changes post-Vatican II could not have come about without the "spirit" of Vatican I.

I do believe, though, that the Pope needs to do more than simply having the "big six" on the altar, with a crucifix in the centre, and occasionally celebrating Mass "facing east". A good example in the current climate (inside and outside the Church) simply isn't enough. If there truly is a programme of reform in place, then it is not particularly coherent.

TC said...

David Joyce said:

“Effectively, the reform of Pope Clement was the same as St. Pius V, just under different circumstances.”

But David, this is simply not the case. Clement’s bull Cum sanctisum has nothing to do with the issue. Clement appointed members to a commission that was responsible for the 1604 edition of the Roman Missal (and 1602 Breviary).

There are differences between the Pius V and Clement VIII versions. With modern technology you don’t need to go to libraries and can easily establish the facts just using the Internet. Here is a Pius V edition and here is a Clement VIII missal.

Do compare them. To give two examples the Pian Missal has the celebrant recite Dirigatur Domine etc whilst censing the altar before the Introit (page 252 of the scan) and going to the end of the Ordinary there is the triple blessing given in all solemn Masses (on page 277).

If you look at the Clement edition at the censing the celebrant no longer recites Dirigatur and a rubric is inserted to tell him to say nothing (page 204 of the scan) and moving on to the blessing one can see that by 1604 triple blessings have been reserved to prelates (page 244).

There are a whole series of changes in both the Missal and Breviary – relatively minor they may be but they were changes nonetheless. As these differences appear in the editio princeps of the Missal, recently republished by the Vatican Press in a facsimile edition surely it would be bizarre to suggest that errors crept in to the 1570 edition before it was even printed.

David Joyce said...

TC, thank you for your links, but this summary is probably a better read:

Paul Cavendish certainly does not adhere to the "romanticised" version of Michael Davies, as others would have it, and the changes to the Missal by Clement VIII are summarised in his fourth paragraph. It is interesting to note that he describes the missal of St. Pius V having "a very streamline and elegant feel to it", and many of the changes under Clement and later years were to reintroduce feast days, etc., that St. Pius had removed.

Pope Clement certainly believed that errors had introduced, as I quoted above: "errors have crept into the missals which have been produced in recent years" - if this was not the case, he would not have written that. Clearly, his changes go just behind reprinting the 1570 missal, but whether this amounts to the same reform under different circumstances or not, is probably a matter of opinion. The changes in their entirety are so minor, we're really down to the level of arguing over the suppression of the King's name, the timing of the words "Haec quotiescumque", and the number of blessings by non-prelates during High Mass. Towards the changes post Vatican II, this is trivial stuff.

I never stated changes were not made, but I did say the missals had hardly changed, and I stand by that. Organic change is usually for the better - a magnificent oak tree growing over the years exhibits organic growth. St. Pius performed a fair bit of pruning, further minor changes by Popes Clement and Urban (and later in the 20th century for Holy Week, for example) - nobody is denying this. By after Vatican II, we had something else entirely, best summarised by the then Cardinal Ratzinger: "We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries and replaced it — as in a manufacturing process — with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product".

TC said...


Thanks for the link. I had read that article some years ago.

We can clearly identify changes from the 1570 printing but what were the errors in question that Clement addressed? Could you please kindly illustrate and give examples to support your contention.

Indeed you did write 'hardly changed' but as the linked article states that is arguably true until the twentieth century with the ongoing use of what was really Urban VIII's missal and breviary, not that of Pius V, but what then happened from the time of St. Pius X was of a very different order and radical changes were introduced.

As to banal, on-the-spot products does that not equally apply to a committee made Holy Week and even a committee made re-ordering of the psalms and the offices?


David Joyce said...


We can clearly identify changes from the 1570 printing but what were the errors in question that Clement addressed? Could you please kindly illustrate and give examples to support your contention.

Pope Clement's Cum Sanctissimum suports this contention given that it mainly deals with "errors" of missals that had entered into circulation in recent years, followed by procedures and disciplinary measures aimed at those printing the missals. How can I give examples when the Pope himself ordered those missals to be destroyed or at least amended:

"We have ordered in the first place that the above mentioned printed Missals, so corrupted, be banned and declared null and void and that their use be disallowed in the celebration of the Mass, unless they be entirely and in everything emended according to the original text published under Pius V"

what then happened from the time of St. Pius X was of a very different order and radical changes were introduced.

I do not doubt this, but I have tried to stick to the topic of the Mass.

As to banal, on-the-spot products does that not equally apply to a committee made Holy Week and even a committee made re-ordering of the psalms and the offices?

Yes, that is probably fair to say, especially given my comment about Bugnini earlier, although the use of the Holy Week changes, even today, is inconsistent. It is entirely obvious that the reform that followed the Council did not start there, but it certainly was given new legs at that time. Again, this has been already noted above.

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