Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cardinal Heenan and the Hail Mary

My bishop recently stated that it is abuse to include the Hail Mary in the General Intercessions and he is right of course, it doesn't occur in the Traditional Mass (it happens in the Leonine "devotions" after Low Mass) and it shouldn't really be there in the Mass of Paul VI. The problem is that if it is not recited at Mass this important part of our Tradition will be lost. I have met recently received Catholics and children too, from dioceses, unlike mine, where bishops and priests have been rigorous in banning it from Mass, who don't know it, which presumably means they have no sense of Marian devotion devotion whatsoever! I find that deeply disturbing.

 Apparently, Cardinal Heenan asked Pope Paul VI permission to include it in the Intercessions, here In England and Wales, in Mary's Dowry, apparently the Pope agreed and "models" published for the General Intercessions in England and Wales in the 1970s/80s it was always included. I must say I have never seen any "official" notification of such a permission but in those heady days Paul VI seems to have granted permission for a lot of things that were never put on paper, for example: demanding Mass should be celebrated facing the people!

It is interesting that for the Papal Liturgies during the Pope's visit here those preparing the liturgy had felt, apparently,  confident enough about it to include the Hail Mary in the drafts but the Office of Papal Liturgies had removed it, presumably, because though a custom might be acceptable, even laudable in one particular country or region, if it is not "Roman" it is wrong for it to be celebrated and publicly accepted by the Bishop of Rome especially in a liturgy that will be seen outside of the region by an international audience.

Cardinal Heenan seems to have been quite wise old bird, he managed to ensure that in England and Wales, alone in the entire Church it was possible to celebrate the Traditional Mass licitly in public. He managed to ensure that in his own cathedral at least he managed to preserve something of Catholic Traditional music, and was willing not only to allow but quietly to encourage a rather rigorous and traditional interpretation of the Missal, whilst in those heady days of chaos and confusion after the Council kept liberals onside.
I cannot help thinking his intervention over the Hail Mary which was dressed up in terms of the great devotion of the English for Our Lady, was simply a recognition it was on the wane and if it was removed from public use there no devotion to Our Lady in England.

Recently the Pope stressed the importance of Mary's role at an academic conference on Our Lady in Rome, the conference itself sadly noted the loss of Marian devotion in the last fifty years. It seems what Heenan feared for England has been realised elsewhere in the world.

A loss of Marian devotion is seriously damaging to and diminishes our Christology, therefore our devotion to and worship of Christ, our understanding of the Eucharist, of the Church.

May be a Canon Lawyer can answer this:-

+ Is this a legitimate custom in E&W?
+ Is it a legitimate custom elsewhere?

+ In what sense are the General Intercessions part of the Liturgy, there is no authorised text, only "models". 
+ At what point does deviation from the model actually become an "abuse".


gemoftheocean said...

I don't think you would especially lose devote to our Lady by not having it. I don't see that devotion to Our Lady is any less in the US, where we do not have the custom. That said, I think it's a nice custom, and I think it's over reaction by those trying to stamp out the custom. If Heenan asked for approval of that custom, that's fine in my book.

The prayer of the faithful is supposed to be simply that -- if the faithful want to say it at that point in the Mass it's fine by me, since we are asking for intercession anyway. So I can't see this as a 'breech' at all. The intentions can be quite varied as it is, it's not like they are a 'set piece.'

I'd much rather hear a Hail Mary than some drivel about 'peoples' or 'pray to stop imperialist aggression' or for 'the rain forest' or whatever dog's dinner some committee from hell has conjured.

motuproprio said...

Is there nothing in the Heenan correspondence in the Westminster archives?

Mater mari said...

An elderly curate in my former (Westminster) parish told me many years ago that it was Bishop Gordon Wheeler of Leeds who asked for the permission, but I don't know of any empirical evidence.

Fr Ray Blake said...

My understanding is that Bishop Wheeler had been pressing for its inclusion but the Cardinal asked and at his request permission was given. Probably it was a joint audience, if both pressed the issue, it seems likely Paul VI would concede.

I suspect the Pope was aware of Heenan's lack of wholehearted support for liturgical reforms, Wheeler was of the same mind, as were most of the English Bishops. There compliance would have been worth an Ave.

carl said...

I fail to see how that can be an abuse. Asking our Lady to intercede for us during the intercessions seems only natural. I know one parish in the Denver archdiocese does this, and it's never bothered me.

Fr. Gary V. said...

I ended my General Intercessions with this, "united with the prayer of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we beseech her intercession as we pray, Hail Mary, full of grace...."

Pétrus said...

Maybe the solution is to abandon the Mass of Paul VI and simply celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal in every occasion?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Gary,
THERE are several possible issues here:
+ Is this a legitimate custom in E&W?
+ Is it a legitimate custom elsewhere?

+ In what sense are the General Intercessions part of the Liturgy, there is no authorised text, only "models".
+ At what point does deviation from the model actually become an "abuse".

Sixupman said...

Perhaps someone will admit the reason for the excision of the Leonine Prayers at the end of Mass!

Jacobi said...


Your bishop may well be right in classifying the Hail Mary in the general intercessions as an abuse, but I can think of several much more severe than that in the average Novus Ordo. Such as,

- Routine use of emHCs when the condition of “a great crowd of people were involved or the disability of the celebrant”, does not apply.
- Failure to appoint a deacon or acolyte where such routine practises do apply.
- Self administering of Holy Communion by those who do not receive by mouth, contrary to Dominicae Cenae, “the privilege of the ordained”.
- Failure to bow during the Creed.
- Failure to make any sign of reverence or acknowledgement when receiving Communion.
- Failure to genuflect or bow, at any time.
- The use of non- Lectors to routinely do the readings.

I could go on!

This is not to mention the general chatter before and after Mass, denying any respect or acknowledgement of the Reserved Sacrament in the tabernacle.

I wonder if your bishop has any views on these.

gemoftheocean said...

Jacobi, since when are deacons 'appointed?' A deacon is in actual holy Orders, not some guy taking a turn in rotation because he's a glorified altar boy.

As for instituted readers and acolytes? As rare as hen's teeth outside of seminaries. I'd agree that EMs should not be routinely used if the priest/and or deacon can reasonably handle the Communicants, but I rather suspect you are having a hissy fit about 'wimmin cavorting on the altar' without having the guts to come out and say so.

As to Father's question re:custom -- it would seem on the face of it that the 1917 law (which would have still been in effect in the 60s) said that 40 years would constitute something 'customary' -- as long as it isn't against Divine Law or expressly forbidden.

25. In order that a custom may assume the force of law in the Church, it must receive the consent of
the competent ecclesiastical superior. (Canon 25.)
26. Only those communities (dioceses, Religious Orders, etc.) that are capable of (receiving) laws,
that is to say, governed by laws, can introduce customs that have the force of law. (Canon 26.)
27. No custom can abrogate or modify the Divine law, either positive or natural. In order that a
contrary custom may have the power to change Church laws, it must be (1.) reasonable, and (2.), lawfully
prescribed by a continuous and uninterrupted usage of at least forty years' duration. (In the forme rlaw the
period of time required for usages to obtain the force of law was not definitely specified, wherefore there was
a great diversity of opinion of canonists on this point. The majority of authors conceded that the period of ten
years was sufficient, provided the other conditions were present, to abolish a law by contrary custom. The
new Code demands forty years for any custom either contra or praeter jus to become law.)
Against a law of the Church which contains a clause forbidding contrary customs for the future, only a
reasonable custom that is either immemorial or of a hundred years' standing can obtain the force of law. A
custom which is explicitly disapproved in law is not considered reasonable. (Canon 27.)
28. Customs praeter jus, that is to say, such usages as are not against a law, but outside it, and which
have been knowingly introduced by a community with the intention of binding itself, become law if they are
reasonable and lawfully prescribed by forty continuous and complete years. (Canon 28.)
29. Custom is the best interpreter of laws. (Canon 29.)
30. With the exception laid down in Canon 5, the general principle is that a custom against the law, or
outside the law (praeter jus), is revoked by a contrary custom or a contrary law. A law does not, however,
abrogate centenary or immemorial customs, nor does a general law abolish particular customs, unless the
law specially mentions such customs. (Canon 30.)

[1917 code of canon law -- see section on 'Custom']

Just before the section I quoted are also some points which may have relevance.

The new code from 1983 is at this link -- and 30 years seems to be the new number --

I rather suspect that the 1983 code would give the nod to the 'vox populi' mentioned.

Either way it passes the 30-40 year test, I should think.

Has anyone gone through the archives of the diocesan newspapers? I rather suspect there may be contemporary articles from the time Cardinal Heenan asked about it.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, relieve the souls in Purgatory, especially those most abandoned"...

...original Fatima prayer, given to us by the Holy Mother, Fatima, Portugal, 1917.

In the U.S.A., Traditional Roman Catholics pray the Holy Rosary before each and every Mass.

In the Novus Ordo, they do not.

Where the Traditional Catholics pray the Holy Rosary before Mass, the Faithful, including the children know the tenets of our Faith.

In the Novus Ordo, where no Rosary is prayed, the Faithful are dumber than a sack of rocks.

In the Traditional Parishes, women emulate the example of Our Holy Mother.

In the Novus Ordo, women ape men in all things, including wearing pants, Marine hair cuts, and basing the Catholic Faith on their opinions.

The Virgin Mary is most hated by Satan and his followers.

To not have God's Mommy on your side is spiritual suicide.

The Rosary prayer that was excluded leaves one third of our help out of our spiritual arsenal.

Pray for the souls in Purgatory.


Joshua said...

I have come across this pious practice here and there around Australia, and certainly my own parish priest always includes a Hail Mary at the end of the Prayer o the Faithful, just before the concluding prayer thereof. Quite frankly, how stupid to get upset and stamp one's foot about such a decent and godly addition, when there are far more pressing abuses, liturgical and otherwise, throughout Holy Church, to say nothing of this sinful world...

PCS said...

In the Sarum rite the Hail Mary was said in the prones or biddings at this point.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Old Believer,
Indeed it was a Sarum practice but in the form of "Let us say 3 Aves for the soul of xxxx who gave xxxx".

However it was part of the "notices" rather than the liturgy itself. In the copy of the Sarum Missal I have there is no mention of such "biddings".

Do you know if it happened before the Creed, or as part the preparatory or "intentional" prayers before Mass. This seems to have been the practice parts of France. In other places I understand there was a reading of such intentions with Aves as a litany during the Canon itself, obviously by another clerk or warden.

gemoftheocean said...

Pablo, are you hysterical about 'wimmin' again? Give it a rest. I bet your wife can beat you at chess and it upsets you.

It's people like you who give people pause about trying the Latin Mass. Women are afraid they are going to be met by nut cases chasing them around with Kleenex to put on their heads.

Though if you tried that stunt with me, I'd make you wish you'd never been born, and I'd tell you just where you can put your Kleenex.

Shouldn't you be off writing love letters to that Jew hater Williamson et al?

Martha said...

I really appreciate saying the Hail Mary at the end of the Bidding Prayers. Our Lady is our Mediator, and the emphasis is on Christ, to Whom she is presenting our intercessions. I sincerely hope it can remain as a local custom in our diocese and in this country.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...Pablo, are you hysterical about 'wimmin' again? Give it a rest. I bet your wife can beat you at chess and it upsets you..."

Butched out feminists womyn Catholyks have killed more Priestly vocations that Satan has.

Get lost and join the wymen priests movement where you belong.

You are killing souls, and harming Priests.

Begone, Satan.

I am surprised Padre Blake let your venom slip past him.


Pablo the Mexican said...

"...Though if you tried that stunt with me, I'd make you wish you'd never been born, and I'd tell you just where you can put your Kleenex..."

In America, Fluoride is added to the drinking water.

It has some funny side effects.


Fr Ray Blake said...

Gem, That last comment was just a gratuitous insult.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Another commented deleted-
I will not have racist or anti-Semitic comments here!

Other prejudices, providing they are ridiculous, may be allowed.

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