Friday, February 08, 2013

Priest's Voices

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".


RJ said...

Must admit: my mind tends to wander off during the Canon. Is this an example of the sensus fidelium? :)

Sixupman said...

In 1960 I lived in Redhill (Surrey) the parish priest vehemently expressed concern at the changes then mooted and foresaw the abolition of Latin and much else. Upon the emergence of the Dialogue Mass I then found the same interfered with my concentration and such is applicable, in spades, to the OF. I now encounter hybrid/(compromise)OF Masses: Canon wholly in Latin; Consecration only in Latin; and other. I am sympathetic to the Continental EF practice of the Epistle and Gospel in the vernacular [for the benefit of those new to the Old Rite] even extending that to all the Propers.

Greatly missed, in the OF, are Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, Last Gospel and Leonine Prayers.

I am of the opinion, and am of an age which qualifies me to comment, that had the OF been promulgated with integrity, the Calendar would have been left unaltered, as it was, at a stroke, extant Missals were rendered redundant.

Supertradmum said...

Love the turkey reference--do you mean birds or mirrors?

Matthew Roth said...

I would suggest saying it in a low but audible voice, without a mic, until the CDWDS says it can be said as in the EF.

Fr Ray Blake said...

See here:

Rachel M. Gohlman said...

May I share this with you? It's entirely pertinent.

Physiocrat said...

This is hilarious. They really deserve a facetious reply.

They should ask for a detailed technical specification, covering the decibel level of the prayers at various places in the church, the maximum permissible distortion levels in the installed sound systems, etc. They will also need a list of approved installers and acoustic engineering consultants so that they can ensure that the standards are complied with. Then they will need to know how often the equipment should be checked to ensure that it is operating in accordance with their specifications.

And who is supposed to pay for it all?

Francis said...

I am looking forward to a future revision to the OF which will help to close the gulf between the older and newer forms. A transformation by stealth might take advantage of the heavy optionality in the Novus Ordo.

The asperges and prayers at the foot of the altar could be introduced as options; the first reading and the responsorial psalm could become optional; some of the TLM offertory prayers could be re-introduced as options; Eucharistic Prayers III and IV could be suppressed; the silent recitation of the EP could become another option; and the Last Gospel could be a further option, along with the Leonine prayers.

And since Latin and celebration ad orientem are always legitimate options in the OF, you could end up with an OF Mass with much of the look and feel of the older form for those priests and parishes that wanted to celebrate it in this way. Or at the very least a vernacular OF representing a much greater degree of continuity with the pre-1969 Mass.

Sixupman said...


you merely raise the question: why the need two Rites? Return to the Old Rite, even wholly in vernacular as an alternative, but strictly within the rubrics.

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