I am currently attending a military NO Mass, and after years of attending the TLM am a bit unfamiliar with it. I have a few questions I hope can be answered.
(1) After the Gospel is read, and the congregation recites “Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ” the choir immediately erupts into another Alleluia (the same one they do prior to the Gospel reading). Is this correct/allowed?
(2) The choir, while singing the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) subsitutes words. The first stanza is Lamb of God. However the second is Prince of Peace. For the third, I’m drawing a blank at the moment, lol, but it isn’t Lamb of God. Is this okay?
If these are abuses (though I *do *realize they are minor), could you please provide documentation? Thank you so much.
Although I am not a liturgical expert, I do have some knowledge of the liturgical laws. I believe I can help you on your second question:
According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, this is not acceptable. There is no provision in it or the lectionary for substituting new tropes (“Bread of Life”, “Prince of Peace”, “King of Kings”, etc …) during the Agnus Dei. I cite:
"It is not permitted to substitute other chants for those found in the Order of Mass, such as at the Agnus Dei."
G.I.R.M. Paragraph 366
Since this chant occurs during the fraction (the breaking of bread), and since the fraction may take a little more time, it is permitted to say/sing/chant “Lamb of god, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us” more than the customary twice (the final time, as you know, ends with “grant us peace”). I cite:
The supplication Agnus Dei, is, as a rule, sung by the choir or cantor with the congregation responding; or it is, at least, recited aloud. This invocation accompanies the fraction and, for this reason, may be repeated as many times as necessary until the rite has reached its conclusion, the last time ending with the words dona nobis pacem (grant us peace).
G.I.R.M. Paragraph 83
Now, this came as a surprise to me. I had long been under the impression that the Agnus Dei must start and end with “Lamb of God” but could have other appropriate tropes in between.
A possible reason for this confusion is a publication called Liturgical Music Today, a 1982 set of guidelines compiled by the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy:
"The Lamb of God achieves greater significance at Masses when a larger sized eucharistic bread is broken for distribution and, when communion is given under both kinds, chalices must be filled. The litany is prolonged to accompany this action of breaking and pouring. In this case one should not hesitate to add tropes to the litany so that the prayerfulness of the rite may be enriched." Liturgical Music Today, Paragraph 20
There is, however, no evidence that the U.S. Bishops obtained appropriate approval from Rome for this deviation. Since the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, requires in section 22 that they get such approval, one can only conclude that the practice of adding tropes to the Agnus Dei is improper. I cite:
Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop.
In virtue of power conceded by the law, the regulation of the liturgy within certain defined limits belongs also to various kinds of competent territorial bodies of bishops legitimately established.
Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. Sacrosanctum Concilium, Paragraph 22
And so, in response to your second question, no, it is not permitted to change the wording of the Agnus Dei (or any other prescribed text, for that matter).
Since MT quite correctly, and completely, answered your second question, let me answer the first. The answer is: sort of. There is nothing in the GIRM that permits or prohibits the second response.
However, the clear intent of the GIRM is that the response “Praise to you…” is sufficient and this is to be followed by the homily. Thus, while there is no clear permission to do this, it seems that this should not be done. At the same time, there is nothing that indicates it cannot be done.
But, it is not always done. It is done for high holy feasts (Christmas, Easter, etc), but, not necessarily during Ordinary Time. While there is music to accompany the Book of the Gospels back to the Holy Father so that he can bless the faithful with it, I don’t think that there is much singing involved during Ordinary Time, unless it’s a canonization Mass or some special event. Notice that during Lent, the Gospel Acclamation is not sung after Laus Tibi Christe.
As for #1, it’s illicit. While there is no actual liturgical norm which says “don’t sing alleluia again after the Gospel” it is covered by the prohibition that nothing may be added to the Mass on one’s own authority. Just as there’s no prohibition against the congregation singing “I’m a little teapot” after the Gospel, but we all know that can’t be done, the fact that it is not in the liturgical norms means that it is therefore prohibited.
Some posters here have said on other threads that this might be done when the bishop is presiding. I can neither confirm nor deny that, as I don’'t have a pontifical (the book that describes what is done when the bishop presides). If it’s not the bishop presiding, it’s certainly not allowed.
As for the Lamb of God, the text itself is provided in the Sacramentary and other legitimate sources. Since no variations on this text are found in these sources (other than the permission to repeat as necessary), likewise this is illicit. This one is addressed directly in Redemptionis Sacramentum:
[59.] The reprobated practice by which Priests, Deacons or the faithful here and there alter or vary at will the texts of the Sacred Liturgy that they are charged to pronounce, must cease. For in doing thus, they render the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy unstable, and not infrequently distort the authentic meaning of the Liturgy.
We have to keep the document Liturgical Music Today in perspective. As you said in the post, this document comes from the bishops’ committee on the Liturgy. Important point. It does not come from the conference of bishops. Any changes to the Mass must be proposed by the conference and approved by Rome. The committee does not have any authority to make changes to the Mass on its own, nor even to suggest that others do this. In other words, there is a conflict between what we read in that document and the actual liturgical laws of the Church–unfortunately.
If the conference of bishops had indeed voted on such changes, it would have had to have been submitted to Rome for approval (or rejection.) Since we do know that no such approval has been given, it’s safe to say that no vote was taken either. To make a comparision to our own civil laws, just because a House or Senate committee votes on a new law, that doesn’t mean that the law has been changed. Only when the entire Congress votes on it, and the President signs it does it become a law. The changes to the Lamb of God are no different than a House of Representatives committee passing a resolution, but saying “we know the President will veto this, so we’ll just make it a law without presenting it to both Houses for a vote; that way he won’t have the chance to veto it”