Vatican decree re. Covid-19 and the Triduum
  • GerardH
    Posts: 159
    This new decree coming from the Congregatio de Cultu Divino seems like it warrants some discussion.

    To what extent will these directives affect your own celebrations of the Triduum?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    I don't know yet. The chancery hasn't given an end date to the current restrictions on masses. That being the case, those Holy Week and Easter celebrations may be celebrated without congregations. They will be live streamed, I'm sure, as are the Sunday and daily cathedral masses.
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 180
    They won’t, because there are no public liturgies allowed in Québec by government decree. In fact the local bishops stopped public Mass before the decree was issued, which applies to all public worship regardless of faith.

    I guess the only effect for me will be that I won’t be able to attend any of the Triduum liturgies.

    I will however continue to chant the Liturgy of the Hours as I do every day. It will seem strange chanting Vespers on Holy Thursday and Good Friday!

    Ora
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,193
    So sad.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Salieri
  • GerardH
    Posts: 159
    Some of the directives seem puzzling. I can't see what's wrong with the blessing of water at the Triduum - mass baptisms I can understand restricting, but putting a candle in water isn't going to transmit any viruses
    Thanked by 1CCooze
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    I'm not sure I follow, Gerard; does the document exclude the blessing of water?
  • GerardH
    Posts: 159
    For the "Baptismal Liturgy" the "Renewal of Baptismal Promises" alone is necessary.


    I understood this to include the blessing of the font/water as part of the Baptismal Liturgy. I could be mistaken
  • PLTT
    Posts: 103
    My thought is that some of the restrictions (e.g. on processions, on blessing of water, etc.) are possibly motivated by the number of people present. If you imagine a situation where only 3-6 people are there in the whole building (including cantor).....
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,035
    It doesn't say the blessing of water is excluded/forbidden, it says it is not required.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    I think we have no choice but to follow those directives. This is the local bishop's call, not ours.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,864
    This is the local bishop's call, not ours.


    He may have made his call, but I can make mine, the lock on my wallet when his fundraising campaigns come round.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    Of course. I think we all do that to some degree or another. I think, though, that it may be nice to actually have some prayer and meditation time Sunday rather than be immersed in the chaos and distractions that are normal for a DM/Organist. I hope I don't start to enjoy it too much. ;-)
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CatherineS
  • the chaos and distractions that are normal for a DM/Organist.


    Indeed. Even choir members are subject to this.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 278
    From what I gather, the only people in church will be the priest (& deacon if available) perhaps one acolyte (if deemed necessary) and the organist (& cantor if the organist isn’t doubling). I believe we will be live streaming so I have a feeling I will be there pulling double duty organist/cantor. (I hope so anyway.)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    SS, good luck with that. The cathedral here is doing the live streaming and my parish remains closed. Prayers for all the live streamers.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    Indeed. Even choir members are subject to this.


    Sometimes the choir members are the chaos and distractions.
    Thanked by 3MarkB tomjaw CHGiffen
  • Charles,

    I don't think I've ever agreed with you more completely than the statement you've put in purple.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    For the "Baptismal Liturgy" the "Renewal of Baptismal Promises" alone is necessary.

    I took this to mean that everything in the baptismal liturgy can be omitted except the renewal of baptismal promises. If that's the case, then the priest or bishop celebrating the Mass could choose to include the blessing of water, or not. It may be helpful to find other language versions of the decree and compare.
  • Chonak,

    What does it tell us about the current state of things that an urgently issued directive can appear to say unclear things?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    It says that a lot of care is not put into translations.

    I've found the versions in Spanish and Portuguese, and they both say that in the baptismal liturgy within the Vigil, only the renewal of baptismal promises is to be done:
    [PT:] Para a "Liturgia batismal", apenas se renovam as promessas batismais

    [ES:] En la “Liturgia bautismal” solo se renuevan las promesas bautismales

    so Gerard's reading looks more accurate than mine.

    Omitting the blessing of water is a change from usual practice, since a rubric in the Roman Missal says that "If no one is to be baptized and the font is not to be blessed, the Litany is omitted, and the Blessing of Water (no. 54) takes place at once." (RM, p. 370)

    So these instructions for the Vigil seem to imply that baptisms should not even be done at the ceremony.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    As for point 1 in the document linked above, "Concerning the date of Easter":

    What a pity that it says that the Triduum has to be "preceded by Lent". So it is a missed opportunity that we are in Lent already ... otherwise the entire block could be shifted together. This is definitly possible to be done by the Pope; like in 1582 in the Gregorian calendar reform, which effectively resulted such shift, if only by ten days.

    I have in mind to start a petition to the Pope: to apply in yet another, but completely novel way the old rule 'that Easter be on the Sunday following the first Full Moon in spring'.

    Now, taking into account that Pope Francis comes from Argentina, he should be open tho the idea of considering spring in the southern hemisphere, which starts on September 23rd. The following Full Moon (everywhere on Earth the same) will be on Thursday, October 1st, which gives us, voilà:
    Easter on Sunday, October 4th, 2020!

    This way Pentecost would be on November 22nd, just in time to start Advent on November 29th. (Sorry for Trinity and Christ, King of the Universe, which would have to be stuffed on weekdays in between; including Corpus Christi but that's on Thursday anyway.)
    Luckily the Octave of Pentecost has been abolished in the NO liturgical year, otherwise we would have a problem ... and as for the EF calendar: traditionalists could be dispensed from following this order of Pope Francis, which will be fine with them.

    Remains the problem of Lent ... if it has to precede the Triduum immediately, the only solution is to extend it by 25 weeks. (Is this really much worse than having October 4th be followed by October 15th, 1582?)
    It seems that this would provide a great opportunity to live the current deprivations spiritually as an (extended) fast in Lent, as long as the situation connected to the corona virus lasts!
    (Thanks, Wilko Brouwers, for putting this idea forward - I mean the spiritual connection between the present situation and Lent as such; NOT the extention.)
    Thanked by 2Richard Mix dhalkj
  • In this difficult time, one might note some levity in the typo on the second page: "Eater Sunday"
    Thanked by 2Kathy Elmar
  • davido
    Posts: 275
    Our diocese pointed out that it is not ordered that the blessing of water be omitted, so we have permission to do it if we wish
    Thanked by 1chonak
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    Here's the Italian version, which I assume is the source document:
    Per la "Liturgia battesimale", soltanto si rinnovano le promesse battesimali

    which would be:
    For the "Baptismal liturgy", only the baptismal promises are renewed [my translation]

    One can only guess at this point whether the Blessing of Water was omitted intentionally (for the sake of brevity) or not.

    Another unusual point in the document is the note that the diocesan bishop is to make determinations concerning monasteries and religious houses, whereas these are, in their internal matters, usually subject only to the Holy See.

    [An odometer note: this is my 8000th forum entry. :-) ]
  • PLTT
    Posts: 103
    I think part of the difficulty is whether one reads the document as a set of prescriptions, or permissions. I see it as the latter - at the beginning itself, the document says that these are "general indications along with some suggestions for the diocesan Bishop." The diocesan Bishop should ideally use these as the limiting cases, and then decide what is possible and what is not, according to the situation prevailing in the place.

    I count the following major [possible] omissions:
    (1) Washing of the Feet
    (2) Procession with the Blessed Sacrament
    (3) The Easter fire (including the blessing)
    (4) The procession with the Paschal candle
    (5) The blessing (and presumably sprinkling) of water
    (6) Baptisms/Confirmation

    To categorize them (guessing at reasons):
    Health reasons/restrictions: (1), (6), maybe (5) [considering also the custom of obtaining blessed Easter water in some places]
    Too few people/ministers on hand: (2), (3), (4), probably (5) and (1) according to the circumstances

    Some of the reasons seem rather common-sense if one considers the situation of the Western European countries, etc. Who's going to take care of the fire while the priest goes to the altar? Can the old priests walk with the Paschal candle down long aisles? Who's going to decorate the place of repose? Can you really call it a dignified procession if there is only 1 other person aside from the priest? Is it reasonable to omit the blessing of the water if there are no baptisms, and only the server to sprinkle on?

    On the other hand, if there are 50 people in a giant church, the situation is a bit different.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    C.Organist: I hadn't noticed yet ... "Eater Sunday" ... you made my day!
    (We are still waiting for flour to be back in store in our region)
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    Good luck on the flour. All this becomes moot if we are still sitting at home during Holy Week and Easter, doesn't it?
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    So true, Charles!
    I guess they gave priority to bakers, at least we haven't been short on 'ordinary' bread in the supermarkets any longer than 12 hours. So we are 'fasting' on self-made bread for a while.
    Still I'd definitively prefer more Eucharistic Bread if I had the choice - especially at the Triduum - even if the exchange rate were 1:100,000,000.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    So far today, I have read the Reader's Service and prayed to Mary, Undoer of Knots to end this virus. As I mentioned in another post, this is the first Sunday I haven't played since 2007 and it feels really odd.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CatherineS
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    This morning I watched a life stream of the pontifical mass in our cathedral, and only at the Introit, sung by a single cantor, I realised that this is Sunday 'Laetare', for which our local schola had prepared the propers in a very distant past (i.e. 12 days ago).
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • SponsaChristi
    Posts: 178
    Our bishop cancelled Masses until April 5th, but that was when we were still allowed to have 250 people gathered. Now we can only have 50 people and have to observe “social distancing of two meters (6 ft, for those still on imperial units). Technically, we could still do Triduum with full ceremonies with minimal congregation if the bishop allows it. I’m hoping for a last minute reprieve on places of worship for Holy Week. They’ve started re-opening daycare centres for critical needs workers and so far not one case of covid-19 has been attributed to attending any type of religious gathering. Doctors spread it at a convention for Doctor, ironically enough, and there was a case at a daycare centre.
  • This has been released for the Diocese of Hamilton. In all honesty, I'm actually quite disturbed by it. It seems that our chancellor didn't really read the document, or purposefully misinterpreted it.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 873
    Perhaps I'm lucky to have a less-liberal bishop than others. I will have to remember that, as we pray for him. Here is ours.
  • Casavant Organist,

    I'm sorry that you live in such a place.


    Corinne,

    "Less-liberal". What a case of damning with faint praise.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 873
    CGZ, I don't know how else to describe him.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    Corinne and I are in the same diocese. Things are not perfect - they never are anywhere - but they could be a whole lot worse. However, it looks like this will be the year with no Easter celebrations.

    Christ is risen!
    Let's get back together on that later.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    It's surprising that a bishop would issue specific directives so quickly, inasmuch as the Vatican document (a "mandate" from the Pope!) calls for the bishops conference to come to some agreement about a policy to be followed (or at least a range of policy options).
    Thanked by 2CCooze CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,872
    Christ is... suffering.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 1,864
    Well we know what to put in the envelope next time our bishops appeal for funds!
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Toronto has yet to decree anything of the sort - but I suppose that the Triduum will be celebrated without the Choir School present. A shame indeed. We will try to livestream some of the services at my parish in Oakville (Hamilton Diocese).
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 873
    Tom, yes, the same thing I didn't put in it this year...

    Chonak, I responded the exact same way.
    And I added: he has no authority to tell us where we can or can't be during the Mass he has given dispensation from - and saying the doors to the church must be locked before Mass begins is like kicking us when we're already down - as though we are going to sneak in just to spite him.

    It's ridiculous, really.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,872
    I write warnings on my envelopes.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CatherineS
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    saying the doors to the church must be locked before Mass begins is like kicking us when we're already down

    If some small congregation were actually allowed in (10 people, say), this would make sense: it would be an attempt to stay within legal limits. Or have the local civil authorities gone so far as to prohibit all religious services without exception?
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,333
    "Officer, I'm not here attending a service. I'm just walking by the building on my way to the liquor store: it's OK for me to go there, isn't it? Great, thank you."
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 873
    Have others' elected officials made it to where you can carry alcohol out, too? Or is it just our mayor? Here, you can order alcoholic beverages to go/delivery, as long as you order food with them.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,526
    I'm out every morning working part time at a federal agency that I retired from some years ago. For whatever reason, agency management has decided what I am doing is essential. There are city and county edicts about going out and businesses operating, but they have no authority over federal facilities. I will note that very few of us are there.

    Our local decrees governing restaurants is that they can provide drive through or curb pickup service. If alcohol is part of the customer order, they can pick that up too. The grocery stores are all operating but with fewer hours open. They and even Walmart have early morning hours set aside for senior citizens. Hardware stores are exempt since repair supplies may be needed.

    I think the barber shop is the one I may miss the most. I am going to look like a hippie before they re-open.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 159
    So my hopes of celebrating the Triduum with choir and no congregation are all but dashed. I'm now returning to my parents' home since I have nothing else to do. Perhaps I can convince the local priest to let me celebrate the Triduum with him and one server...
  • Elmar
    Posts: 238
    I'm just walking by the building on my way to the liquor store: it's OK for me to go there, isn't it?
    New regulations in our country stipulate that any shop that is allowed to open (food etc.) has to take measures that the number of people present at any time does not exceed one per 100 square feet (hope that I did my math right for the unit conversion).
    Enforcement by high fines and even definiteve closure.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,193
    Update:

    DECREE

    In time of Covid-19 (II)

    Considering the rapidly evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and taking into account observations which have come from Episcopal Conferences, this Congregation now offers an update to the general indications and suggestions already given to Bishops in the preceding decree of 19 March 2020.

    Given that the date of Easter cannot be transferred, in the countries which have been struck by the disease and where restrictions around the assembly and movement of people have been imposed, Bishops and priests may celebrate the rites of Holy Week without the presence of the people and in a suitable place, avoiding concelebration and omitting the sign of peace.

    The faithful should be informed of the beginning times of the celebrations so that they can prayerfully unite themselves in their homes. Means of live (not recorded) telematic broadcasts can be of help. In any event it remains important to dedicate an adequate time to prayer, giving importance above all to the Liturgia Horarum.

    The Episcopal Conferences and individual dioceses will see to it that resources are provided to support family and personal prayer.

    1 - Palm Sunday. The Commemoration of the Lord’s Entrance into Jerusalem is to be celebrated within sacred buildings; in Cathedral churches the second form given in the Roman Missal is to be adopted; in parish churches and in other places the third form is to be used.

    2 – The Chrism Mass. Evaluating the concrete situation in different countries, the Episcopal Conferences will be able to give indications about a possible transfer to another date.

    3 – Holy Thursday. The washing of feet, which is already optional, is to be omitted. At the end of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper the procession is also omitted and the Blessed Sacrament is to be kept in the tabernacle. On this day the faculty to celebrate Mass in a suitable place, without the presence of the people, is exceptionally granted to all priests.

    4 – Good Friday. In the Universal Prayer, Bishops will arrange to have a special intention prepared for those who find themselves in distress, the sick, the dead, (cf. Missale Romanum). The adoration of the Cross by kissing it shall be limited solely to the celebrant.

    5 – The Easter Vigil: Is to be celebrated only in Cathedral and parish churches. For the “Baptismal Liturgy” only the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises” is maintained (cf. Missale Romanum).

    Seminaries, houses of clergy, monasteries and religious communities shall follow the indications of this decree.

    Expressions of popular piety and processions which enrich the days of Holy Week and the Paschal Triduum can be transferred to other suitable days in the year, for example 14 and 15 September, according to the judgement of the Diocesan Bishop.

    De mandato Summi Pontificis pro hoc tantum anno 2020.

    From the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 25 March 2020, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

    Robert Card. Sarah
    Prefect

    ✠ Arthur Roche
    Archbishop Secretary

    [00409-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,612
    5 – The Easter Vigil: Is to be celebrated only in Cathedral and parish churches. For the “Baptismal Liturgy” only the “Renewal of Baptismal Promises” is maintained (cf. Missale Romanum).

    Seminaries, houses of clergy, monasteries and religious communities shall follow the indications of this decree.


    Maybe I'm stupid and missing something, but does this mean that somehow monastic communities that have always celebrated the full triduum 'in-house' (like St. Peter's, Solesmes) for some inexplicable reason need to forego the Easter Vigil this year because they are not a Cathedral or parish church? Or is it assumed that they will continue as usual, and the 'only in Cathedral and parish churches' clause simply indicates a prohibition against the Vigil being celebrated individually in private/domestic chapels?
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,193
    Yes I had the same question.