USCCB notes about the Mass
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,723
    And, as for the mass 'being suspended': this, in itself, betrays a gross failure to understand that the mass is a thriving, living, unfolding continuum from the first to the last ritual words.


    Umnnhhhh.....fastidious practitioners of the EF place their birettas ON during the sermon, and remove them again afterwards. Further, since the sermon (or homily) is not 'ritual'--in the sense that its topics and text are not fixed--it's a stretch to refer to it as such.

    As to yappaflappa during Mass: the less, the better, and zero is best.
  • Ben,

    That's about right. A thing may be legally allowable and still a really bad idea. In this case, the law allows (by one reading, it encourages) chit-chat, and showboating , which are antithetical to liturgy.

    Since Dad29 beat me to the punch, I will address his point, too.

    Note that the biretta is off for announcements and at the name of Jesus, but on for the formal teaching section: the sermon.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,499
    Umnnhhhh.....fastidious practitioners of the EF place their birettas ON during the sermon,


    and take the maniple off and leave it on the Missale, also some priests will take off the chasuble when preaching. EF of course!
  • V. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
    R. Amen,
    V. Good morning, folks.
    R. Good morning, father.
    V. Etc.


    (Plus whatever else the priest is moved to say by way of interrupting liturgical flow and keeping God, who has been called forth, waiting by shifting the focus onto us. Already we have become inured to the disruption of focus, as if it were just too much to keep that focus where it belongs.)

    It occurs to me that the liturgy itself provides precious little by way of address to the people -

    'The Lord be with you'

    The homily

    'Lift up your hearts'

    'Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God'

    'The peace of the Lord be always with you'

    'The blessing of God....

    'Go in peace...'

    'Let us bend the knee'
    'Arise'

    (Did I overlook any?)

    It will be crystal clear that when there are ritual words addressed to the people they are quite specific and uniform in intensifying the awareness of 'the Lord's' presence with each and all, or inciting the people to greater devotion. They never are 'about' the people, about 'us', nor have any folksy dimension. For some this doesn't seem to be adequate, so they presume.

    These addressments to us are to amplify the ritual action and intensify our devotion in a profoundly ritual manner. The Liturgy consistently focuses on the God-Human intercourse that is effected in the mass. We do not need, nor should we have imposed upon us explanations of what is happening, as if we didn't know, or as if we were interested in the priests commentary, which inevitably distracts from the continuum of devotion and action that constitutes the mass.

    With genuine respect to Olivier and his sentiments, the time for any sort of catechesis is just about anywhere except during the mass.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,034
    With respect to Olivier and his sentiments, the time for any sort of catechesis is just about anywhere except during the mass.


    Catechesis makes the mass longer. Heresy.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • But the directive of Trent to priests to
    explain frequently during the celebration of the mass some of the things read during the mass
    does apply to the EF. On the other hand what the Fathers of Trent may have meant is that a sermon/homily should frequently be included at mass, as far as I remember in the 1950's only one of our five Sunday masses included a sermon.
    Personally, I detest anything other than a homily and perhaps a mention at the beginning of the feast, and the intention of the mass. I also approve our priest's practice at funerals of explaining the use of incense and holy water, while he is engaged in charging the censer, since often more than half the congregation is non-Catholic.
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • In the OF rite there are places where the commentary is scripted. I'm thinking of the Fratres, agnoscamus peccata nostra, which explains the penitential rite, or Fratres carissimi at the start of the vigil on Holy Saturday.

    For that matter, isn't the Praeceptis salutaribus moniti really a priestly "commentary" preceding the ritual recitation of the Paternoster? That's in the oldest layer...
    Thanked by 1Paul F. Ford
  • We wouldn't want to view the (original, yet!) Mona Lisa or any other great painting upon which an art scholar had scribbled things such as 'and here notice how da Vinci has drawn attention to the lady's smile through the use of subtle shading', or 'here, through masterful contrast of light and shadow, Carravagio has created a three dimensional effect', or 'Michaelangelo, by the technique of fore shortening has given this sybil the appearance of life-like grace', or 'please stand and join in observing the tiny points of colour in Seurat's work, especially the lady's umbrella', and so on. We would want to tar and feather any scholar who disfigured any masterpiece with such 'commentary' scribbled on the very canvass itself. That is how I feel about priests (and bishops, and deacons, and announcers of this and that, and would-be cantors who call attention to themselves - indeed, they can pirouette far better than they can sing!) who pepper the mass with their far from erudite commentaries and chatty remarks and instructions to the people. We want to 'see' the mass, to follow its inviolable path to the divine - we do not need folksy interjections onto the 'canvass' that are as out of place as a bottle of ketchup on a five-star restaurant's immaculately set table.
  • And, (I stand to be corrected) I can't imagine this sort of grotesquerie happening amongst our Eastern rite brothers, nor our Orthodox cousins. I have been to a number of celebrations of the liturgy of St John Chrysostum at which any such behaviour would have been undreamed of, literally inconceivable. Yet everyone responds as he or she should throughout. Everyone just knows what's happening and what his or her role is. How do they do it? It's bred into them from infancy. In the case of converts, they are taught it in catechetical classes and learn it by osmosis from 'veterans'.

    Of course, the orthodox have their own set of questionable matters concerning 'participation', viz., one will find various ones of them wandering about doing veneration to this or that icon, or engaged in some form of private devotion, etc. (Perhaps Charles can comment on this.) Still and all, one yet senses that there is a far greater appreciation and apprehension of the holy than too many Catholics ever think of.

    Catholics have this intolerably widespread (but not universal) problem because they aren't taught it by their parents from infancy, nor in parochial school, nor anywhere else, and certainly not from osmosis. They do, of course, receive 'religious instruction', but this doesn't seem to translate into an highly literate and spontaneous participation in the mass as it unfolds its treasures.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,034

    Of course, the orthodox have their own set of questionable matters concerning 'participation', viz., one will find various ones of them wandering about doing veneration to this or that icon, or engaged in some form of private devotion, etc. (Perhaps Charles can comment on this.)


    That was fairly normal behavior in Latin churches before the Council, too - anyone remember rosaries during mass? It is interesting that after multi-tasking became popular, the western church abandoned it. ;-)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 268
    the priests and other clergy perform the sacrifice in the sanctuary independent of the congregation.


    Just so I'm clear about this: your claim is that when the priest says during the Canon quae tibi offerimus (Te Igitur) and pro quibus tibi offerimus (Momento, Domine) and (offerimus praeclarae maiestati tuae de tuis donis (Unde et Memores) the "we" of which he speaks are the ordained clergy who happen to be present? Even though, in the last example, the subject is explicitly nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta? Really?
  • Orate, fratres, ac meum et vestrum sacrificium ...
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Yes, the whole mystical Body of Christ, head and members, is associated with the sacrifice.
  • Just so I'm clear about this: your claim is that when the priest says during the Canon quae tibi offerimus (Te Igitur) and pro quibus tibi offerimus (Momento, Domine) and (offerimus praeclarae maiestati tuae de tuis donis (Unde et Memores) the "we" of which he speaks are the ordained clergy who happen to be present? Even though, in the last example, the subject is explicitly nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta? Really?


    This statement is a red herring. No, the "we" is the whole Church, living and dead, past, present, and future: not just the congregation that happens to have arrived on a Sunday morning. As I said before, the presence of the congregation is not required in order to have Mass. The congregation cannot consecrate the Eucharist. They cannot make Jesus Christ truly present on the altar. Only the priest can do this.

    Even though, in the last example, the subject is explicitly nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta? Really?


    Please don't treat me like I'm stupid. This statement is condescending, and has no place in a reasonable discussion of the topic.
  • Clerget,

    Give the good deacon the benefit of the doubt: his provocative tone gave others the chance to expound proper Christian doctrine, not immanentist nonsense.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • No, the "we" is the whole Church, living and dead, past, present, and future: not just the congregation that happens to have arrived on a Sunday morning.
    Yes, I believe this. And also that the missal my father had 90 years ago in junior seminary accurately represents the Orate fratres when it translates it to
    Turning to the people, and somewhat raising his voice he asks their prayers:
    Brethren, pray that this Sacrifice, which is mine and yours, may be well-pleasing to God the Father Almighty.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • I see nothing at all 'provocative' in Deacon Fritz' tone.
    (Nor am I remiss in not seeing it. It isn't there to be seen.
    I, for one, consistently find his offerings aedifying - very often penetrating.)

    Clerget does make an unassailable point in that only the priest can effect (though not of his own personal ability, but of God working through him who has been granted holy orders) the presence, the objective presence, of our Lord in the sacrament. This is nothing new to any of us. His uniqueness, though, is a rather qualified one, nor is what he does done without the assent of others, viz., the people:

    He, however, does not do this only for himself, nor only of himself. What he does is shared in by all those present, who are ('my sacrifice and yours') active participants and offerers in the sacrifice. Indeed (and, I stand to be corrected), the presence of at least one or two other persons is required at mass for the priest to exercise this precious act. Further, as quoted by Mr Hawkins just above, it is clear as day that the sacrifice is not solely the priest's but that of all present: 'my sacrifice and yours...'. This is made even more apparent in that in the Novus Ordo we have a restoration (not invention, as some sorts would have it, but restoration!) of the offertory procession.

    Much as I respect Clerget's scholarship I must say that it is rather difficult to see this as a red herring. The people do not come to mass to be in awe of the priest as the sole enactor. Their presence, their unshackled voice, their prayers and praise, become one with those of the priest (and! his with theirs!), in a sacrifice that is theirs as well as the priest's. In fact, one might go so far as to suggest that it is the people who confirm all that the priest does and says. Their resounding 'amens' ('so be it!') at various points of the mass, and, particularly at the end of the canon, are powerful (as in potent and effectual) whole-hearted confirmations which, one might say, put the seal on what the priest has said or done.

    (One would never know how important these 'amens' are by the half mumbled and rather tepid utterances that the Lord hears from most Catholic congregations. Every 'amen' should shake the rafters with its zeal and fervence. - 'Amen' is not just a word that we say in a rather pro-forma fashion. It implies an unreserved and whole hearted assent, a commitment, the application of a seal of approval, fervent belief, and even a legitimising confirmation of that which it concludes. One could argue that 'amen' is one of the most important words uttered in the entire mass!)
    Thanked by 3Liam a_f_hawkins chonak
  • From the current code of canon law
    Can. 906 A priest may not celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.
    The previous 1917 law was
    Can. 813. § 1. Sacerdos Missam ne celebret sine ministro qui eidem inserviat et respondeat.
    § 2. Minister Missae inserviens ne sit mulier, nisi, deficiente viro, iusta de causa, eaque lege ut mulier ex longinquo respondeat nec ullo pacto ad altare accedat.
    Effectively stronger, with no "good and reasonable" get out, but while a woman may voice the responses, she must not approach the altar.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • How wide a loophole is "unless there is a good and reasonable cause"? I don't mean "how wide could it be?" but "according to the dicastery for the interpretation of legislative texts, what counts as good and reasonable cause?"

    Surely the fact that that law exists demonstrates that while it is possible for a priest to celebrate Mass alone, this should be a rare occurrence.
    Thanked by 1Ben Yanke
  • What (and I'm not being snide!), precisely, would be a 'good and reasonable cause' for saying mass without another person in attendance?

    And unfortunately, Chris. loopholes are like beauty is said to be (but isn't) - their limits are in the eye of the beholder.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    A priest may wish to celebrate Mass on a given day out of devotion, or out of obligation (for example, if he has accepted a stipend for the Mass).
  • The most logical "good and reasonable cause" that I think would be the most common scenario for celebrating Mass without at least a server would be if a priest was completely alone, and had not fulfilled his obligation to say Mass on any given day. Also, and this sometimes happens around here, a priest is preparing for a particular Mass time, and there is inclement weather, and nobody shows up for Mass. This can be a problem, especially in smaller parishes where servers are hard to come by. In that case, the priest may very well find himself alone, prepared to say Mass, but completely alone, and not having said Mass yet that day. In that case, he would have to say Mass alone.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Well, priests aren't obliged to say Mass daily under current law, if they don't have an assignment on a given day.
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 268
    Please don't treat me like I'm stupid. This statement is condescending, and has no place in a reasonable discussion of the topic.

    I must admit that I am rather flummoxed by this response. How is pointing out that something in the text of the Canon seems to be contrary to a claim you made condescending? I certainly meant no offense.
  • Even though, in the last example, the subject is explicitly nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta? Really?


    Do you really want to get into that with me? Really?

    How is pointing out that something in the text of the Canon seems to be contrary to a claim you made condescending?


    Because that's not all you did. The "really?" at the end seemed to suggest to me and could have to anyone else reading that I was stupid for not seeing your point, and that you are confused as to how I could possibly see any differently. The message I got was: "really? how stupid can you be?" That being said, I accept your apology and ask for forgiveness for any way I've offended you in this discourse, as I certainly do not mean any offense or disrespect, either.

    I did refute your point above when I explained that the "we" is the whole Church, not just the clergy in the sanctuary, and not just the congregation that happened to be there: it's everybody, living and dead, past, present, and future.
  • Clerget, good friend - as one who respects highly your scholarship and contributions here, I think that you have reacted incorrectly to Deacon Fritz' remark. I think that the 'really' simply is/was a querry as to affirm or not affirm what you seemed to be saying, which, itself, was not altogether beyond dispute. Why not say, simply, 'yes, really! That is exactly what I mean', or 'not exactly that but this...'. Deacon Fritz, I think, is not the sort who would insult you or any of us. He seems to me to be a most respectable and honest interlocutor.

    He did not treat you like you were stupid, but as a man who had taken a position which seemed to him to deserve clarification. I, for one, think that we ought to hear more from Deacon Fritz. His contributions always betray admirable scholarship, integrity and perception - and, sometimes, are even a deserved corrective.
    Thanked by 2Liam MarkThompson
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    Clerget, parts of your position really do seem to be outrageous -- or, if not that, then idiosyncratic interpretations -- and the reactions to it have been surprisingly restrained. If Deacon Fritz or anyone raised an eyebrow in response, I don't think it was out of place.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • ADDENDUM: In thinking further on what the deacon had mentioned from the Canon, even in the EF, the priest turns towards the congregation to chant "Dominus Vobiscum" and then back to the altar, except in the Low Mass, when it is only said to the server, which could be because it is actually a Missa Privata.

    How, then, do we reconcile this:

    Well, I'm not entirely sure what his question mean, since I'm not entirely sure what it means for something to be a "theological principle" in a particular liturgical form. But certainly what the GIRM points to in using the phrase "communion between the priest and people"--namely the dialogues and acclamations--are present in the UA (presuming that means the Extraordinary Form of the Mass). Of course the UA doesn't have included within it anything that really matches the GIRM's elucidation of theological principles, so I suppose it is perfectly possible for someone to say that the UA knows nothing of the Mass dialogues serving to unite celebrant and assembly in the common worship of God. I think it is pretty difficult to make this case, however, because it is difficult to see what else might be going on when the celebrant sings/says Dominus vobiscum and the people respond Et cum spiritu tuo. What other "theological principle" might underly such a liturgical form. So the answer is "yes, it is a principle in the UA."


    with Dr. Byrne's article on participation in the Mass that explicitly contradicts it?
  • Um, could leave out the 'outrageous' and make do with 'idiosyncratic'?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,796
    There's not much difference. It is 'outrageous' in the sense: 'highly unusual or unconventional; extravagant; remarkable'.

    If Clerget's position is not idiosyncratic or unconventional, perhaps he can find some expert expressing that view. (Ian cites Dr. Carol Byrne, but I can only wonder what field she studied -- apparently at Durham. She gives no footnotes on the issue at dispute. As far as I can tell, she may be giving mere opinions and speculations.)
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • dad29
    Posts: 1,723
    I don't do theology. But I'm comfortable with the idea that the 'communion' between priest and PIPs is just that. Seems clear from the call/response dialogues. It's like the Communion of Saints, I suppose.
  • (Ian cites Dr. Carol Byrne, but I can only wonder what field she studied -- apparently at Durham. She gives no footnotes on the issue at dispute. As far as I can tell, she may be giving mere opinions and speculations.)


    I'd like to point out that nobody has refuted Dr. Byrne's points, only attacking her credibility as a source in an attempt to discredit her entire article.

    But perhaps this digression is a result of a higher misunderstanding. There are several meanings of the word "communion" according to dictionary.com:

    1. (often initial capital letter). Also called Holy Communion. Ecclesiastical.
    the act of receiving the Eucharistic elements.
    the elements of the Eucharist.
    the celebration of the Eucharist.
    the antiphon sung at a Eucharistic service.

    2.a group of persons having a common religious faith; a religious denomination:
    Anglican communion.

    3.association; fellowship.

    4.interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication:
    communion with nature.

    5.the act of sharing, or holding in common; participation.

    6.the state of things so held.


    In the first definition, referring to Holy Communion, it is reasonable, and I think venerable to reserve that only to the Lord. Holy Communion, as received in the Eucharist at Mass is only between the individual faithful who receives and the Lord Himself.

    The second definition could refer to the Catholic Church.

    The third definition would not be an appropriate use for what occurs at Mass, simply because the association or fellowship could be quite loose, and I think that bonds formed through Christ are deeper than that.

    The fourth definition seems to be what has been referred to on this discussion so far: the interchange of prayers and thoughts between the priest and people. This definition I would agree with: the priest and people DO exchange thoughts, prayers, and sometimes even emotions during the celebration of the Mass.

    The fifth definition would work as well for "communion between priest and people" as there is a sharing of common faith (refers also to definition 2) and of ideas (refers also to definition 4), and also of holding in common the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    The sixth definition doesn't seem to fit with our discussion.

    I think that this take on things is more reasonable than my previous commentary. Care must be taken, however, to not equate the congregation with the priest, which is the danger (slippery slope argument) of being ambiguous with the term "communion," and discussing their share in the sacrifice: they don't share in the consecration, which makes the sacrifice possible. This particular point was not made by anyone in particular, nor was it suggested, however, I wanted to make certain that this was said for the good of the order.

    I have other frustrations from which some of my previous commentary may be coming, but that is for another discussion.