The Old Mass


#1

[left]Following is a wonderful letter from taken from the July-August 2004 issue of Adoremus:[/left]


The Old Mass

"Stop! Take off the rose-colored glasses and face a reality of 20/20 hindsight. I began serving “the old Mass” in 1939. I am now 73 years old, 45 years a priest, having begun my seminary studies in 1950. As a kid knowing the perfect recitation of all the Latin Mass responses, we dealt with mumbled praying of many priests. In the old days there were parishes that were known as “whiz churches”: Sunday Mass, in and out in 20 minutes.

Young priests were told the motto: “Get them out fast”. In college I was too embarrassed to invite my dormitory roommates to Sunday Mass - the blatant lack of piety was a scandal. Rarely do I look back and remember edifying experiences as being the norm. But, yes, there were some.

In my experience today the gains outshine the losses. Yes, I know where craziness exists and horror stories are a fact. But the gains were tremendous. Yes, we are still growing/becoming what we should be. Change begets excesses – the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other, yet eventually resting in the middle… The recent writings and promulgations of our Holy Father give us hope, e.g., the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (USCCB Website), Sacrosanctum Concilium, and Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

Don’t despair. If there is craziness in your parish, pray for your bishop, write lovingly to the offending priest and copy it to the diocesan liturgical committee. Don’t you be crazy too – document accurately the observation of misdirection.

Having been a pastor for 27 years, in a variety of multicultural parishes, I have witnessed, in these changing times, the evolution of a profoundly rich contemporary Mass that is celebrated within the rules.

Would I go back to pre-Vatican II days? No way. I reverence the past, but live and work in the richness of the present, championing orthodoxy and “working to beat hell!”

Be patient. Treat all with charity, pray unceasingly and know that truth will conquer. As the Adoremus Bulletin tells us: “The Holy Father asks bishops and liturgists to build on the ‘riches’ of the reform while also pruning ‘serious abuses’ with ‘prudent firmness’”. (“The Foundations of Liturgical Reform”, March 2004)

Father Andre J. Meluskey
Senior Priest, St. Patrick Church
Carlisle, Pennsylvania"

It’s so refreshing to see a cleric with such a clear view of things… Ref. adoremus.org/0704ReadersForum.html


#2

Thanks for posting this. As a convert Vatican II is all I know and it gets a little tiresome hearing about how good things were in the old days. If they were so good then why did they change? :thumbsup:


#3

I think that when speaking of the old and new liturgy it is a good idea to compare both *without the abuses. *

One reason for this is that it really does not seem to be a difficult thing with the Old Mass to simply slow it down and voila! one is on the road to experiencing the Old Mass the way it was meant to be experienced. In fact, having grown up after Vatican II, I have yet to experience a Tridentine Mass where it was rushed. And since rushing the Mass is quite easily rectifiable, we can then move on to comparing the old and new liturgy in the changes which are not abuses.

Things such as changing a large percentage of the prayers, adding new Eucharistic prayers, dropping prayers from the Old Mass, etc. One can also compare the relative lack of any significant silence in the new liturgy compared to the old (in particular when the old liturgy is not rushed). Further, the priest facing the people is another addition to the new liturgy which can be examined as to its actual benefit to Catholics.

God bless.


#4

[quote=Brennan Doherty]I think that when speaking of the old and new liturgy it is a good idea to compare both *without the abuses. *

One reason for this is that it really does not seem to be a difficult thing with the Old Mass to simply slow it down and voila! one is on the road to experiencing the Old Mass the way it was meant to be experienced. In fact, having grown up after Vatican II, I have yet to experience a Tridentine Mass where it was rushed. And since rushing the Mass is quite easily rectifiable, we can then move on to comparing the old and new liturgy in the changes which are not abuses.

Things such as changing a large percentage of the prayers, adding new Eucharistic prayers, dropping prayers from the Old Mass, etc. One can also compare the relative lack of any significant silence in the new liturgy compared to the old (in particular when the old liturgy is not rushed). Further, the priest facing the people is another addition to the new liturgy which can be examined as to its actual benefit to Catholics.

God bless.
[/quote]

Actually it’s a matter of returning to the physical orientation of Jesus at the Last Supper, and the orientation of priests celebrating the Mass during the time of the early church – well before creation of the Tridentine Mass.

Additionally I don’t believe there is anything in the rubrics for the Novus Ordo Mass that requires the priestly celebrant to face the congregation…


#5

[quote=Crusader]Actually it’s a matter of returning to the physical orientation of Jesus at the Last Supper, and the orientation of priests celebrating the Mass during the time of the early church – well before creation of the Tridentine Mass.

Additionally I don’t believe there is anything in the rubrics for the Novus Ordo Mass that requires the priestly celebrant to face the congregation…
[/quote]

The Traditional Latin Mass was created by Jesus Christ[and so were all the Traditional Liturgies of East and West] while the New Mass was forced on the people in 1969. Ohh yeah and if the Traditional Latin Mass was created in 1560… Then the NO Mass was created in 1965. The New Mass is not a normal development in Church history.


#6

[quote=Crusader]Actually it’s a matter of returning to the physical orientation of Jesus at the Last Supper, and the orientation of priests celebrating the Mass during the time of the early church – well before creation of the Tridentine Mass.

[/quote]

Ummm…I don’t think that “lying at table” would be considered quite approptiate for Mass, do you? Jesus was at table with his friends. In those days the table was “U” shaped and people lay around the outside and the inside of the “U”. BTW, St. Peter’s in Rome has always had the priest facing the people because of the architecture of the church. Free-standing mensas (altars) were the norm in the early Church as evidenced by archeological finds.

[quote=Catholic Eagle]The Traditional Latin Mass was created by Jesus Christ[and so were all the Traditional Liturgies of East and West] while the New Mass was forced on the people in 1969. Ohh yeah and if the Traditional Latin Mass was created in 1560… Then the NO Mass was created in 1965. The New Mass is not a normal development in Church history.
[/quote]

The first sentence here is quite common, and quite erroneous. The so-called “Traditional Latin Mass” (which, I presume, refers to the Mass of Pius V or the “Tridentine Mass”) is a development that required 1500 years to accomplish, although the anaphora or “Roman Canon” was probably in place by the 3rd or 4th century. The Eastern Liturgies also continued their development for the first five or six centuries and are based upon the Divine Liturgy of St. James (at least as far as the Byzantine and Alexandrian Liturgies are concerned). The Syriac tradition may have started with St. James’ Liturgy, but diverged fairly quickly. The Liturgies of the St. Thomas Christians (found in India and referring specifically to the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Liturgies), show an interesting amalgum of influences.

The Mass of Rome seems to be the model for most other Western Liturgies with the possible exception of the Sarum which appears to derive from a multiplicity of sources. Both the Ambrosian and Mozarabic are very close to the Roman, while the Gallican shows substantial divergence.

Returning to the citation from “Catholic Eagle” – the most significant divergence between the Mass of Pius V and the Mass of Paul VI is that the Mass that came out of Trent was, for the most part, the result of “natural selection”, even in the pruning away that was done by Trent. The Mass that came from Vatican II was, in the best sense, an attempt to derive where the Mass might have gone had Trent not frozen the liturgical revision process which, up until that time, had been fairly active in making small changes.

BTW, the term “Novus Ordo” is normally used in a perjorative fashion, and is as erroneous as the first statment in the citation. That title refers only to the draft of the Mass as it was being worked on. It does not, and cannot, refer to the Mass as promulgated.

Deacon Ed


#7

[quote=Catholic Eagle]The Traditional Latin Mass was created by Jesus Christ…
[/quote]

Jesus spoke Latin?? :rolleyes:


#8

Deacon Ed:

What you said (and said better, and more succinctly, than I would have).

Bless you, and THANK YOU.


#9

Deacon Edward/mund/mond/:

How would the one Roman Canon of the Traditional Latin Mass turn into the Eucharistic Prayer One[a shortened Roman Canon], Eucharistic Prayer number Two,[upposed pre Roman Canon written by a Hippolytus,the first antipope, that was used in the 200’s], and Eucharistic prayer number Four, a West Syrian anaphora. How is it a natural evolution of a Liturgy if one Eucaristic Prayer is turned into four? If the new Eucharistic prayers are a supposedly 3 rd century Roman Canon and a West Syrian anaphora, how could these be a natural progression? How did an antipope’s writings become the basis for an Eucharistic prayer, almost 1800 years after his death, and how did a Syrian anaphora become Roman? No, the NO Mass is a whole new development. There is no other explanation.


#10

[quote=Catholic Eagle]The Traditional Latin Mass was created by Jesus Christ[and so were all the Traditional Liturgies of East and West] while the New Mass was forced on the people in 1969. Ohh yeah and if the Traditional Latin Mass was created in 1560… Then the NO Mass was created in 1965. The New Mass is not a normal development in Church history.
[/quote]

The “Traditional Latin Mass” was first celebrated hundreds of years after the Crucifixion.

In reality, the Novus Ordo Mass is far more similar to the liturgies of the early church than the “Traditional Latin Mass”, for a great many reasons – the orientation of the celebrant being just one.


#11

[quote=Crusader]The “Traditional Latin Mass” was first celebrated hundreds of years after the Crucifixion.

In reality, the Novus Ordo Mass is far more similar to the liturgies of the early church than the “Traditional Latin Mass”, for a great many reasons – the orientation of the celebrant being just one.
[/quote]

Prove it. Actually how do you know how the Mass was celebrated in 150? There is practically no proof of the liturgies before 300. Yet some how, some think that we can prove how the ancient liturgy was ordered. Surely people who advocate the Traditional Latin Mass can’t see the Roman Ordo of 150 yet, opponents of the TLM an see it. Weird??


#12

The originator of this thread captures my feelings exactly, I had to memorize all that Latin for first communion, then they went and changed the whole thing before I got out of grade school. We wuz robbed. Attended some beautiful, reverent awe-inspiring liturgies in the old rite, and many more in the new. Miss the Latin, miss the chant, a lovely African priest with a gorgeous voice visited our parish and launched into the chant Credo in unum Deum, darned if I didn’t remember almost the whole thing, like riding a bike. Deacon Ed, thanks for saving me the trouble of looking up all those references, as usual you are right on.

From now on I am reading NO post on the topic of Latin Mass unless the poster uses the correct terminology (get the pun?)


#13

I second Deacon Ed’s writing concerning the table where Jesus celebrated Passover as being U shaped, and have read where the apostles and Jesus would have been on the same side of this table and thus the orientation would not have been facing each other.

As far as the orientation of the celebrant in the early Church I would like to quote from a very good article by Father Thomas Kocik called, “[Re]Turn to the East?” from the Adoremus bulletin:

[/font]

History of “Liturgical East”**

**"Why the insistence on an Eastward-facing position for both priest and congregation? From early on, Christians adopted the Jewish practice of praying toward Eden, in the East (Gen. 2:8), the direction from which Ezekiel saw come “the glory of the God of Israel” (Ezek 43:2,4), the direction in which Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives and wherefrom He will return (Acts 1:11), and the direction whence the Angel of the Lord will come in the end time (Rev. 7:2). Tertullian informs us that Christian churches are “always” oriented “toward the light”.

Origen asserts that the direction of the rising sun obviously indicates that we ought to pray inclining in that direction, an act which symbolizes the soul looking toward the rising of the true light, the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ.

Saint John Damascene says that, while waiting the coming of the Lord, “we adore Him facing East”, for that is the tradition passed down to us from the Apostles. Other Church Fathers who confirm this usage are Clement of Alexandria, Saint Basil and Saint Augustine. To this day, the ancient Coptic Rite of Egypt retains in its eucharistic liturgy (just before the Sursum corda) the age-old exhortation of the deacon: “Look towards the East!”

In The Reform of the Roman Rite (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.: Una Voce Press; Harrison, N.Y.: Roman Catholic Books, 1993, chaps. XII-XV), the late Monsignor Klaus Gamber, director of the Regensburg Liturgical Institute, demonstrates convincingly that the precedents for freestanding altars with Mass “facing the people” have been highly exaggerated. In agreement with such eminent (and unquestionably orthodox) liturgists as Father Josef A. Jungmann and Father Louis Bouyer, Gamber shows that the practice of celebrating the Eucharist versus populum flourished only in the city of Rome and in parts of North Africa, where the pagan custom of having the façade (rather than the apse) of a temple facing East was continued; but even then, the historical evidence shows that, while the celebrant did in fact face the people, they did not face him, but turned their backs on him during the prayers so that they, too, could face East."

I hope that helps.


#14

The early Christians often celbrated at the tombs of Saints in the catacombs, and they faced the east, towrds the rising Sun, with the priest facing the tomb, leading the parishoners in prayer. This is still the common posture with the Eastren Orthodox and Eastren Catholics, and one must ask is why untill 1965 was this the common posture of all Catholics as well?

As for the Novus Ordo missal itself, if it uses the Confetior, the Gradual and the Roman Canon(Eucharistic Prayer I), it isint all that different from the old Dominican Rite, or the Roman Rite before the Gallacian influences were added, but of course it would have to be celebrated in Lating, facing the altar with the old Tridentine rubrics(St Agnes in St. Paul MN is such an example). Of course conversely in the few years before Vatican II even, liturgists were tinkering with the Tridentine mass in an experimental manner, by turning the altar around and taking down the altar rails, with lay commentators. The Tridentine missal translated by the ICEL, with multiple canons, with the typical rubrics of the Novus Ordo would not be any better than a typical Novus Ordo.


#15

[quote=Catholic Eagle]Deacon Edward/mund/mond/:

How would the one Roman Canon of the Traditional Latin Mass turn into the Eucharistic Prayer One[a shortened Roman Canon], Eucharistic Prayer number Two,[upposed pre Roman Canon written by a Hippolytus,the first antipope, that was used in the 200’s], and Eucharistic prayer number Four, a West Syrian anaphora. How is it a natural evolution of a Liturgy if one Eucaristic Prayer is turned into four? If the new Eucharistic prayers are a supposedly 3 rd century Roman Canon and a West Syrian anaphora, how could these be a natural progression? How did an antipope’s writings become the basis for an Eucharistic prayer, almost 1800 years after his death, and how did a Syrian anaphora become Roman? No, the NO Mass is a whole new development. There is no other explanation.
[/quote]

The history of the development of the Mass is both a fascinating study in nationalism and in cross pollinization. The Liturgy celebrated in Rome borrowed the Kyrie from the Byzantine Liturgy, and then modified it by adding the Christe eleison (the East only has the Kyrie eleison).The Liturgy celebrated in France borrowed heavily from both East and West. The Armenians borrowed from everybody.

This was natural. Within the Latin Church, however, Rome was the driving force – what happened there eventually moved out into the rest of the West. However, Rome was not above borrowing.

It is based upon this “borrowing” that the Church determined that many more occasions for borrowing would have taken place as more liturgical research was being done – especially starting with the Liturgical Renewal movement of the 19th century which found its culmination in the restoration of the Easter liturgies by Pope Pius XII.

BTW, Hippolytus was reconciled to the Church before his death. His anaphora was prior to his departure from the Church and, as a conservative, probably represented very well what had been happening in Rome since the end of the 1st century.

Deacon Ed (not Edward, not Edmund, not Edmond)


#16

Speaking of borrowing, I was browsing this wonderful site (if one loves art) - and came across this picture of the Tridentine Mass

insecula.com/oeuvre/photo_ME0000057992.html

You can click on English in the upper right hand corner -

I sometimes look to art for history but know I should not - we assume they are recorders but being an artist I know I both embellish and eliminate things for balance.

Anyway my point here is to note the hands of a couple of the congregants - they appear to be using the position one would see at a Byzantine Mass rather than a Tridentine Mass (at least of today).

Because there are so many people vested on the altar, one would also assume this is a solemn High Mass - yet there are only two candles on the altar. Maybe that is the way it was in the past.

So if the picture is accurate, it suggests that even the Tridentine Mass changed and that we did borrow hand gestures from the Byzantine rite at one time (this painting is Spanish from about 1661)


#17

deogratias,

It’s also interesting to note that the vestments are more Gothic than the later period of the Tridentine Mass. These vestments, while probably heavier than what we have today, are not too dissimilar! More proof that what was once in style will be in style again.

And, yes, the position of the hands is very Byzantine while the kneeling is very Latin.

Deacon Ed


#18

[quote=jennstall]Jesus spoke Latin?? :rolleyes:
[/quote]

In all likelihood, he probably did have a basic understanding of the language due to the Roman occupation. He also would have known Kione Greek very well from his time in Caparnum (there was an active Greek theater there), and the fact it was in general common use (like how you can find English spoken in most of Europe)

Besides, didn’t you see the Passion of the Christ, Jesus spoke Latin to Pilate :wink:


#19

Hard to imagine that anyone who could raise Lazarus from the dead could not understand and speak any language he chose.


#20

Good Morning Church

Crusader, thank you for printing that wonderful letter. Being a pre- Vatican II Catholic, I have to agree with him, completely. He only mentioned part of some of the problems, there were many.
Ya had to be there! :wink:

Deacon Ed,

Thanks for another good reminder why Catholics should spend extra time studying Church history. It reminds me to keep a close eye on the grandchildren. I hope they try to make intelligent remarks.


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