Licaity of an odd Good Friday request
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 192
    I was asked (rather in passing) by my pastor/employer yesterday to chant his invocations today for "behold the wood of the cross" (OF context). I told him I was fairly certain that was not a permissible practice, to which he responded something along the lines of "it's okay, I give you permission."

    I am correct in saying that it would be illicit for a lay cantor to intone "behold the wood" during veneration of the cross today, correct? I have never heard of this being done before. I do not plan to sing it, and will probably just encourage him to sing it recto tono if he's overwhelmed or even speak it if need be. And yes, I'm as surprised as you are that this is being discussed so last minute.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    That I think is tolerable. Maybe on the edge, but on the right side! Roman Missal p329 -
    First form
    The Priest, standing before the altar and facing the people, receives the Cross, uncovers a little of its upper part and elevates it while beginning the Ecce lignum Crucis (Behold the wood of the Cross). He is assisted in singing by the Deacon or, if need be, by the choir. All respond, Come, let us adore. At the end of the singing, all kneel and for a brief moment adore in silence, while the Priest stands and holds the Cross raised.
    Second Form
    16. T he Priest or the Deacon accompanied by ministers, or another suitable minister, goes to the door of the church, where he receives the unveiled Cross, and the ministers take ligh tedcandles; then the procession sets off through the church to the sanctuary. Near the door, in the middle of the church and before the entrance of the sanctuary, the one who carries the Cross elevates it, singing, Behold the wood of the Cross, to which all respond, Come, let us adore.
    After each response all kneel and for a brief moment adore in silence, as above.
    Thanked by 3MarkB CHGiffen Elmar
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    It is a rather unfortunate practice. Cf. "The Theology of the Novus Ordo Good Friday Liturgy."

    The Cross may be brought into the church from the sacristy, as in 1955, and unveiled in three stages, as in both 1955 and 1570. A second option is also provided, that it be carried in from the door, and raised at the words “Behold the wood of the Cross…” at three stations, the door, the middle of the nave, and before the sanctuary. In this latter case, the Cross is not veiled and uncovered in three stages, an entirely pointless innovation. In either case, the rite may be also be done by the deacon or “another suitable minister”; the “suitability” of the latter is not defined, and no specific circumstances given when this may be done. It is therefore always licit (but never required) for the Cross to be presented to the faithful by someone other than the celebrant of Mass, diminishing the priestly nature of the rite.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 804
    However, it is written:
    Whosoever during Holy Week shall ask a music director anything, let him be anathema.

  • "How may I help to make your life less stressful?" Let this person be anathema?
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn Elmar
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,689
    Unless the priest cannot sing due to illness, he needs to start practicing now and get used to singing his parts. It would be better for him to sing it with two notes (tonus in directum) than not st all.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 926
    There's not a soul who cannot at least sing recto tono. Even tone deaf people can usually manage it (or something close to it).
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,382
    If the minister is ill, then he should recite the words, or at least move his lips along with the singer, and then someone sings for him. It's a tad theatrical, but it's better than replacing the priest "just because it's licit."
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    ServiamScores - I knew a priest (later a bishop) who would try if people insisted, but it was always tonus prolapsus. Fortunately intoning the Gloria like that at Westminster Cathedral does not throw the choir out.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 192
    I was asked yesterday to sing the "Lumen Christi" dialogue during the procession. I insisted that was illicit, and he sang it just fine. It is startling how commonplace it seems to be for clergy not to prepare or rehearse for liturgy at all. I started rehearsing for Holy Week in January.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    trentonjconn - I agree that clergy should be prepared to sing their part, GIRM places the highest priority on celebrant and congregation being in sung dialogue. But in this case, who was carrying the candle? GIRM envisages it as a diaconal function.
    Thanked by 1Liam
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,542
    It is startling how commonplace it seems to be for clergy not to prepare or rehearse for liturgy at all.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 192
    Francis, I guess not really. You know what I mean though. Hawkins, the priest celebrant was carrying the candle. We are a small country parish, and we have no deacon.
    Thanked by 1a_f_hawkins
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,692
    trentonjconn - that is what we do in our small parish. But it is clearly not what the rubrics indicate. Congratulations though on getting your priest to sing, our priest completely refuses.
    15. When the candle has been lit, one of the ministers takes burning coals from the fire and places them in the thurible, and the Priest puts incense into it in the usual way. The Deacon or, if there is no Deacon, another suitable minister, takes the paschal candle and a procession forms. The thurifer with the smoking thurible precedes the Deacon or other minister who carries the paschal candle. After them follows the Priest with the ministers and the people, all holding in their hands unlit candles. At the door of the church the Deacon, standing and raising up the candle, sings:
    The Priest lights his candle from the flame of the paschal candle.
    16. Then the Deacon moves forward to the middle of the church ...
    Carrying the candle is not assigned to the celebrant. The symbolism of the celebrant lighting his candle before the rest of us is, I think, important. He should carry his candle in the procession and for part of it be the sole person doing so.
    So what I am saying is that when lack of resources makes fulfillment of the rubrics diffficult or impossible we should adapt to the best fit, there is a hierarchy in rubrics and musical rubrics come low down. Even when they lack the explicit flexibility 'if neccessary to support ...'.
    Thanked by 1trentonjconn