Not "participating" in Tridentine?

Hey Guys,

In my Sacred Music History class, my teacher had the following True or False question on the most recent quiz:

“It is valid to say that although the congregation were praying during Mass, for the most part they were not really ‘participating’ in the liturgy”

I answered false.

I got the question wrong.

It seems to me (and I am definately willing to accept correction if I am wrong) that it is theologically unsound to say that the people were not participating.

So, here are my questions:

What exactly constitutes participation?

is it “Valid” to say they were not really participating?

Change classes. Quick.

If the people were indeed praying along with the priest they were participating. This is the same level of participation that I see and take part in every week (I assist at a TLM).

Here is a quote from His Holiness St. Pius X:

The Holy Mass is a prayer itself, even the highest prayer that exists. It is the Sacrifice, dedicated by our Redeemer at the Cross and repeated every day on the Altar. If you wish to hear Mass as it should be heard, you must follow with eye, heart and mouth all that happens at the Altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the Altar. When acting in this way you have prayed Holy Mass.

I think you and His Holiness share the same idea of what “participation” means.

[quote=dljl]Change classes. Quick.
[/quote]

I would, but it’s required.

PioMagnus, how old is your teacher?! I graduated from high school in 1965 so I remember the old Mass well. We certainly did participate. The sisters told us that during Mass we were to “pray with the priest.” We did this by praying the prayers in our hand missals that we all had by the time we were in fifth grade or so (that is when we were confirmed). In my old missal, which has a copywrite date of 1948, the preface says that the Mass is a corporate action, in which all baptized may participate. It recommends that the faithful use a missal so that they can co-offer the Mass with the priest by saying the same prayers as he does. It goes on to say that to say the same prayers, and to associate oneself with the sacred actions is to be actively participating. We didn’t have to be on the altar.
I must add that I was a music major in college, and there was no better preparation for music history class than to be a Catholic! I knew the chants, the parts of the Mass, etc. that the other students struggled with. I also think that using our old missals with Latin on one side and English on the other had the added advantage of helping to prepare us for the SATs! I told my children that in my childhood we were able to worship God, and improve our English vocabulary by association with Latin at the same time. However, this has also had the disadvantage of making me cringe at the translation of the Mass we have now every time that I have gone to Mass for 40 years!

[quote=Dropper]If the people were indeed praying along with the priest they were participating.
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However, if people were privately praying the Rosary without regard to what the priest was doing, I would be hard pressed to call that “participation”.

It’s a terribly worded question. Does it mean “praying their parts of the liturgy” or does it mean “praying privately e.g. the rosary”?

Sounds like a question with a built in bias.

First of all, your teacher needs ot define participation.

As far as saying the parts of the mass, how many (or few) of the responses the people said differed according to region and type of mass (high, low, cantata). At the high end there was the dialog mass where the people said every response, and at the low end there were places where the low mass was offered without any responses. The dialog mass didn’t mean that the people were praying more or the low mass that people were praying less.

Participation with respect to liturgy, I think, means adding your prayers to the prayers of the priest. Partitipation is done through the disposition of the heart, through posture, through interior prayer, and only finally through verbal particpation in the prayers and chants. In fact, I would argue that one praying the rosary devoutly, provided that he intends to unite his prayers with that of the priest, was participating to some degree, and just in conjecture, I would place that degree higher than the degree that many people partipate today who say all the words and sing “go and make a difference” with the choir.

Liturgically speaking participation should mean offering with the priest a sacrifice to the Lord. There can be levels of participation, but I think it mostly is an interior thing. As such it is hard to measure.

[quote=Catholic2003]However, if people were privately praying the Rosary without regard to what the priest was doing, I would be hard pressed to call that “participation”.
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Once again the praying the rosary angle rears its’ ugly head. Can’t you guys just drop it?? I wish I knew how this thing got started. :confused: Well, just so everyone knows at most masses in the old days, there was a rosary said either prior to or after the Mass, so there wasn’t really a reason to say another one during the Mass… Yes, a lot pf people held their rosaries in their hands during Mass. I did then and I still do now, even at Novus Ordo Masses . I didn’t say the rosary during mass then, I don’t now and I don’t think most people did either. . I’m sure that some people did, but not many. The exception could be that when the priest was saying prayers just for him to say, some people may have prayed the Our Father or a few Hail Marys or something else. And if the church was in an area that had illiterate people, yes there were some of them around in those days, some of them may have said the Rosary as a way to participate. But I will bet you dime to a dollar that most people followed the Priest and what he did.

Active participation doesn’t mean that you have to constantly be in motion, or responding or holding hands or anything like that. It means to be involved at some level, thats all.

You Rosary bashers are really something else you know that?

Your professor is incorrect. Participation is the same then as it is now. True participation is uniting your prayer of the mass to the Eucharistic Prayer. Benedict XVI did a good job explaining active participation in his book “Spirit of the Liturgy” published under the name Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It is his position that active participation has nothing to do with actively being a minister in the liturgy nor is it in giving the proper responses but that it is only found when a person enters into the Canon of the Mass. This being true your professor needs to revisit his understanding of participation and correct your grade.

When we are invited to join in the celebration of the Mass, we are, indeed participating—as well we should be.
At the risk of being miscast as a “rosary basher”, I would remind my friend, that the very reason for the translation to vernacular was to encourage and further engage the congregant. Private devotions are just that, and there are the appropriate times for them. Would you say your meditations when someone else is speaking to you or for you?
This can be a touchy issue, but, yes, by vertue of being at the Mass and activly saing our responses, we participate. :gopray2:

I’m sure that your professor defined the word “participation” as it applies to the syllabus of your course, and apparently he meant vocal participation.

Of course, praying during the mass is, strictly speaking, a form of participation. But in regards to the subject of the course , Sacred Music, the faithful didn’t participate in the music, back in the day.

The professor was right.

[quote=palmas85]Once again the praying the rosary angle rears its’ ugly head. Can’t you guys just drop it?? I wish I knew how this thing got started. :confused: Well, just so everyone knows at most masses in the old days, there was a rosary said either prior to or after the Mass, so there wasn’t really a reason to say another one during the Mass… Yes, a lot pf people held their rosaries in their hands during Mass. I did then and I still do now, even at Novus Ordo Masses . I didn’t say the rosary during mass then, I don’t now and I don’t think most people did either. . I’m sure that some people did, but not many. The exception could be that when the priest was saying prayers just for him to say, some people may have prayed the Our Father or a few Hail Marys or something else. And if the church was in an area that had illiterate people, yes there were some of them around in those days, some of them may have said the Rosary as a way to participate. But I will bet you dime to a dollar that most people followed the Priest and what he did.

Active participation doesn’t mean that you have to constantly be in motion, or responding or holding hands or anything like that. It means to be involved at some level, thats all.

You Rosary bashers are really something else you know that?
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You might think that people didn’t say the Rosary during Mass, but the fact remains that many did. You may bet, but it is time to pay up.

Participation, that is, at the minimum, something more than simply showing up and filling the pew, or showing up and engaging in personal devotions while the priest said Mass in latin, varied over time in the TLM, as the TLM went through several changes; hymns being sung by the congregation instead of all music sung by the choir; response in latin to the priest’s prayers by the congregation, instead of just by the altar boys, etc. It has been disputed, but it appears that the missals some from the 50’s and 60’s are familiar with were not allowed until some time in the 1900’s. Prior to that, participation was minimal at best.

So, participation gradually increased over time; not all had a missal, and not all who had a missal used them. As time went on they became more popular, but were something one needed to purchase for oneself. Use also varied by parish, just as we have variations in parishes today.

And none of that has anything to do with Rosary bashing. It is a private devotion, the best known and most widespread devotion in the Church, but it is not a part of the official Liturgy of the Church.

[quote=mosher]Your professor is incorrect. Participation is the same then as it is now. True participation is uniting your prayer of the mass to the Eucharistic Prayer. Benedict XVI did a good job explaining active participation in his book “Spirit of the Liturgy” published under the name Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. It is his position that active participation has nothing to do with actively being a minister in the liturgy nor is it in giving the proper responses but that it is only found when a person enters into the Canon of the Mass. This being true your professor needs to revisit his understanding of participation and correct your grade.
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Sorry, you might want to read the good Cardinal’s book again, and then you might want to talk to a number of individuals who were alive long before the vernacular came about.

The professor was at least partially correct.

[quote=dljl]Sounds like a question with a built in bias.
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Is truth a bias?

actually, it is a question that would require a more sophisticated answer than one might presume. It is not fairly a simple "yes’ or “no” question, because it is not time specific enough, and does not allow for levels of sophisitication.

Once again the praying the rosary angle rears its’ ugly head. Can’t you guys just drop it?? I wish I knew how this thing got started. :confused: Well, just so everyone knows at most masses in the old days, there was a rosary said either prior to or after the Mass, so there wasn’t really a reason to say another one during the Mass

I remember the days of the Latin mass, lots of folks prayed the rosary or engaged themselves in other devotions during the Mass.

It was considered, back in the day, a pious way of hearing mass.

Remember a few facts, the act of assisting at mass was traditionally called hearing mass, not necessarily listening. Two different verbs.

Further, the purpose of the servers ringing the bells, was to alert the people as to how the mass was progressing. If the people were already expected to be paying rapt attention , it wouldn’t have been necessary.

Did most folks pray the rosary during mass? I don’t know if most did, but a lot did, and that was undoubtably considered as one of the factors in liturgical reforms from the introduction of the missals for the laity in the 19th century, to the dialogue mass beginning in about the 1930s, and to the present day vernacular masses.

[quote=palmas85]Once again the praying the rosary angle rears its’ ugly head. Can’t you guys just drop it?? I wish I knew how this thing got started. :confused: You Rosary bashers are really something else you know that?
[/quote]

It starts because our parents tell us about it. About the mass where Grandma prayed the rosary. Until I joined this site, I thought that is what they were told to do. Ok, maybe they weren’t. But that is what many a grandparent did.

And I love the Rosary. I just don’t think it is something that should be said during mass.

When offering the traditional Mass for those who may be assisting for the first time, Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ distributes a short text which explains what the old rite expects of the laity. The text is a powerful meditation on the redemptive work of Our Lord and Our Lady and is fitting reading for all who wish to unite themselves with ‘the Passion of the Christ’.

For some of you, this may be the first time you have come to a Mass in the old Latin rite, and you may be feeling some frustration.

You may be wondering what you are meant to do. You may be wishing you could at least come up to the sanctuary with the offertory procession, if not give one of the readings or even help with Holy Communion. But you are not going to be allowed to do anything. You have just got to sit there. Or maybe kneel or stand. But you cannot do anything.

However, I will try to show you that there is indeed something you can do, something indeed you are meant to do, something that will relieve your frustration and make you very like Our Lady on Calvary.

On Calvary she also must have felt frustrated. She would have given anything to have been allowed to brush the flies from her Son’s face. Or moisten his lips with a damp sponge. Or even kiss his feet.

But the soldiers were there on crowd control duty. Their job was to keep people away from the men on the crosses.

And so our Blessed Lady could only stand there in silence. And she prayed.

She and her Divine Son were the only ones who knew what was actually happening.

She knew that He was the world’s Redeemer. She knew that He was offering a Sacrifice, the Sacrifice. He was offering the Sacrifice that would once more open to us the gates of Heaven. Being God as well as Man, the price He was paying for our salvation was of infinite worth. Though our sins are great and innumerable, they must always be quite outweighed by this ransom of infinite worth.

So she joined with Him in offering this sacrifice to the Father. And loving Him as she did, she united her own suffering heart to His divine Heart.

She offered herself in union with Him, immolating her heart on the altar of her love.

So in this Mass, try to be like Our Lady on Calvary. Our Lord told us that we have all to be like little children if we wish to have the right approach to salvation. And little children look to their mother to learn what to do.

In this Mass, look at Our Lady, and try to do what she did on Calvary. Offer Jesus to the Father, as she is doing. And offer yourself in union with Him.

Words are not needed. You do not need to do anything, outwardly. But inwardly you need to do much. You need to be “actively engaged”, as Vatican II says, trying to be like Mary on Calvary, your heart filled with love, offering the Divine Victim on the altar to the Father, and offering yourself to God in union with Him.

[Taken from the Latin Mass Society’s May 2004 Newsletter.]

[quote=palmas85]Once again the praying the rosary angle rears its’ ugly head. Can’t you guys just drop it?? I wish I knew how this thing got started. :confused: Well, just so everyone knows at most masses in the old days, there was a rosary said either prior to or after the Mass, so there wasn’t really a reason to say another one during the Mass… Yes, a lot pf people held their rosaries in their hands during Mass. I did then and I still do now, even at Novus Ordo Masses . I didn’t say the rosary during mass then, I don’t now and I don’t think most people did either. . I’m sure that some people did, but not many. The exception could be that when the priest was saying prayers just for him to say, some people may have prayed the Our Father or a few Hail Marys or something else. And if the church was in an area that had illiterate people, yes there were some of them around in those days, some of them may have said the Rosary as a way to participate. But I will bet you dime to a dollar that most people followed the Priest and what he did.

Active participation doesn’t mean that you have to constantly be in motion, or responding or holding hands or anything like that. It means to be involved at some level, thats all.

You Rosary bashers are really something else you know that?
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Yes, it’s hard to believe I’m still replying to this same argument, but here goes;
I have mentioned the ‘usual’ criticisms of the way the TLM was celebrated prior to VII and will refrain from doing so again.
That being said, “that devout and active participation by the faithful may be more easily achieved” was one of the reasons for the simplification of the Liturgy of the Mass as stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium.
This implies that this same level of participation was less easily achieved with Tridentine Latin Masses.

  1. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.

Once again, the implication of the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium is that the faithful were not as easily able to achieve fully conscious and active participation in the TLM as they are supposed to be able in the NO.
How well the NO has been able to achieve the desired results is another matter, but it seems clear that the Holy See found problems with the participation of the faithful under the TLM or they would not have felt the need to make the change.
Furthermore, it is unfair of you, Palmas85, to call others “Rosary bashers” simply because they object to private devotions during Mass. It is simply labelling people with whom you disagree with an attribute to which I doubt they would agree.

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