Can an Ordinary Form Mass be termed "Solemn"?
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,308
    We know that an EF Mass can be called Solemn but can a NO mass be called solemn or just "Solemn"?
    What about an NO mas called "Solemn High Mass"?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,593
    I don't think this terminology is used in the current documents, but if the celebration fulfills the old definition -- a fully sung Mass served by the priest, deacon, and subdeacon (or priest and two deacons, etc.) -- then one may as well call it that.
  • I would even be willing to say that a priest assisted by one deacon is solemn, considering that isn't an option in the EF. Or even potentially a concelebration could be solemn.
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  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 823
    I would guess that our 11am on the Feast of Corpus Christi was "solemn". Two deacons, choir, special motets, all sung, including all of the priest's parts (and the gospel); matching vestment set, etc. etc. It was lovely and as solemn as any Christmas or Easter I've ever had.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,772
    Missa cantata cum diacono is, in fact, possible in the E.F., just rarely seen.
  • Ghmus7,

    Once one defines "solemn" in this context, it would be more possible to decide whether the term can accurately (but not rubrically) applied. Chonak is right that there isn't such a designation. In fact, one of the 'triumphs' of the reformers was to abolish such distinctions.
  • madorganist
    Posts: 740
    Missa cantata cum diacono is, in fact, possible in the E.F., just rarely seen.
    It's expressly allowed for, during Holy Week only, in the directives accompanying Maxima Redemptionis. As for the novus ordo, as others have mentioned, the terminology isn't used in official documents, so there's no hard-and-fast distinction. One can only draw parallels with traditional praxis. I can think of two things that are required at a Solemn Mass that are optional at Sung Mass: the use of incense, and the chanting of the epistle. Someone better versed in the ceremonial rubrics could tell us whether torchbearers are strictly required at Solemn Mass. For a novus ordo Mass, it seems reasonable to describe a Mass as solemn if there's a deacon, incense, and chanted prayers and readings, but consider on the other hand how often papal Masses of the most elaborate kind prefer lay readers who read, not chant, in the vernacular. Alas, I think CGZ's analysis is spot-on.
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  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    Certain objective criteria are requited for a solemn high mass in the EF.

    For other masses, there are those who fussily assert the 'all that terminology went out with Vatican II'

    That is a poor and lamentable attitude.

    Taking 'solemn' to mean 'with full ceremonial it is certainly appropriate to refer to an OF mass with all the solemnity appropriate to it a solemn or solemn high mass.

    We in the Ordinariate commonly call our solemn high masses solemn high masses.

    No matter the rite or use, a mass which is celebrated with all possible ceremony should rightly be called a solemn high mass. The EF is another matter

    (I think that some who seem to shudder at such usage are terribly afraid that it is, in their VII vocabulary, anti-revolutionary.)
    Thanked by 1Jehan_Boutte
  • That is a poor and lamentable attitude.
    reality.
  • davido
    Posts: 470
    So few NO masses are solemn, let alone high…
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,154
    Supposedly, there is one mass which can be celebrated with more or less solemnity. The designations solemn and low have been discarded.
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,456
    I believe It’s termed “progressive solemnity”

    A good article on the matter:

    https://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2020/08/progressive-solemnity-traditional.html?m=1#.YNIA5fcpCEc
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • [self-deleted]
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    Glenstal Abbey usually describe their Sunday Mass as Solemn Conventual Mass, seems right to me. I would not describe this as Casual. https://www.churchservices.tv/glenstal/archive/recordings/ozZ3fwy1NOUqYPR
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    Progressive Solemnity is a concept widely advertised, but is not what GIRM in fact calls for, it takes the opposite starting point.
    GIRM 40. Great importance should therefore be attached to the use of singing in the celebration of the Mass, with due consideration for the culture of peoples and abilities of each liturgical assembly. Although it is not always necessary (e.g., in weekday Masses) to sing all the texts that are in principle meant to be sung, every care should be taken that singing by the ministers and the people not be absent in celebrations that occur on Sundays and on Holydays of Obligation.
    Do I recall correctly that it was resolute action by the early US bishops which led to the concession of any singing at what became High Mass, and that SCR previously demanded a full complement of Sacred Ministers and others, "All or Nothing"?
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    Odd, that 'they' refer to 'Progressive solemnity' with some presumed air of authority, but would get hacked off if one referred to a mass as 'solemn'. 'progressive' is a concept made out of whole cloth for people who really don't like solemnity at all so they get around to it piecemeal. A mass is solemn (fully so) or not (absent of any ceremony - there isn't an in between ).

    True, Charles, while the 'designations solemn and low have been discarded' that doesn't prevent us from seeing that given masses are, indeed, 'solemn high' (i.e., with all available solemnities, music, and ceremony;), or low (i.e., with none of the above).
    A 'solemnity' is any joyful and festive occasion that calls all the liturgical festivities that mark a Holy Day or any Sunday's principal mass.. A 'low' occasion is just the opposite. By far, low masses would fall under the latter category, even, I'm told, for the EF.people who would bandy it about that their masses are superior.

    At Walsingham (and throughout the Ordinariate where possible) we offer a solemn high mass every Sunday and Solemnity, at least at the prinicipal mass (which is what should be done everywhere!). With some consistency our other masses are pretty close to solemn.
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    We've started a 'Sodality of John of San Fagondez,'
    Consisting of the five young men who serve High Mass on Sundays;
    And though they simply will not come to weekday Mass at seven,
    They turn out looking wonderful on Sundays at eleven.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,456
    MJO... are these the 'they' you are speaking of?

    The phrase “progressive solemnity” first appeared under the heading “Singing in the Office” in the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours (GILOH). It says there:
    A celebration performed entirely with singing is commendable, provided that it has artistic and spiritual excellence; but it may be useful on occasion to apply the principle of “progressive solemnity.” There are practical reasons for this; there is also the fact that the various elements of liturgical celebration are not then treated indiscriminately, but each of them can be restored to its original meaning and genuine function. (GILOH, #273)

    and then put out by the Bishops:
    Music should be considered a normal and ordinary part of the Church’s liturgical life. However, the use of music in the Liturgy is always governed by the principle of progressive solemnity. (Sing to the Lord, #110)
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 349
    Why does it matter? Is a Solemn Mass really better (or worse!) than an Unsolemn Mass?
  • madorganist
    Posts: 740
    Is a Solemn Mass really better (or worse!) than an Unsolemn Mass?
    Indubitably. See Fr. Ripperger's article, "The Merit of a Mass" (attached). If it's not really better in any sense, then why not just do the bare minimum?
    image
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  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    It makes a lot of difference!
    Of course, 'God doesn't care whether it's a high mass or not' - at least so they say.
    And, of course, since he 'loves us just the same', it doesn't matter what I wear to mass'.
    There are so many insouciant 'it doesn't matters', aren't there?
    Essentially, nothing matters to God, so the least of our efforts are just as good as the most of them.

    However! What we do, how we dress, how we celebrate the mass (and on and on) had very well better matter to US. The church isn't there, solemnities are not observed, I wear something nice and not what I wear in the back yard, because it matters to us. God is pleased with how much He matters to us, how much his worship matters to us, and how the fuss we make over him matters to us. He needs none of these things, but we need to give them as bare tokens of our love of him - and of the effects of his grace

    Is it fitting that we should watch every P and Q in the presence of the president, the governor general, the bishop, or the queen, and make no fuss at all over God? It's not our acts, but the love and care that is behind them that matter.

    When I served my beloved Lutherans I learnt a lot about what was and wasn't adiaphora - things essential and things not so. There are a lot of Catholics nowadays who are quite Lutheran in their attitudes to worship. Adiaphora reveal a lot about what we think of God - and that does matter to him.

    If all one has are rags, they are sufficient.
    Otherwise, rags and scrubby shorts or jeans and bare midriffs are a presumptuous and impudent insult.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    One thing that bothers me, and bothered St Augustine among others, is how do I avoid worship of God with beauty from turning my heart to a worship of beauty. The Devil is adept at subverting our good impulses.
    And when considering the "Merit of the Mass" how do I avoid playing an active role becoming a source of pride. At Matt 23:5 Jesus does not condemn broader phylacteries or longer tassels, but explicitly at Matt. 6:1-5 he warns repeatedly "Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward."
    And also on the "Merit of the Mass", there is no merit for those who have absented themselves. I repeat Heenan's prophetic words :
    At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel (a demonstration of the Normative Mass) we would soon he left with a congregation mostly of women and children. Our people love the Mass but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,456
    @a_f_hawkins

    We must always maintain an attitude of humility and lowliness when participating in the service of the Mass. We are only there because the grace of God has placed us in his august service... no other reason or aspect of worthiness enters. When I gather in choir to sing polyphony and chant, I am simply awestruck that God has put me in this heavenly realm on earth to participate with the angels and saints. To take in the beauty at the same time is to realize that God has created this, he pronounced it 'good', and we are 'in our element' as musicians if we can fully enter into its perfect expression of the worship of the Almighty. There really is no better expression of Truth, Goodness and Beauty this side of heaven that I can see.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    I often share Hawkins's reservations and concerns about dress, grooming, attitude, attempts at reverence that sometimes I don't feel. Yes, this is but a tiny partial list of things that can be a source of the deadly spiritual pride that is our enemy. Screwtape has caught me out many times..

    One can, though, be decently dressed without overdressing - dressed just enough to bespeak that we care and place value on our appearance at mass. Going to mass in white tie and tails is clearly over doing it (unless one has just come from the opera. The same may be said of evening attire for women. But there is a middle way of wearing what would be appropriate at least for an informal occasion. Clearly ragged jeans, shorts that just barely cover anything at all, tacky flip flops and hideous athletic shoes would be just the beginning of attire which is inappropriate attire for anyone who had the slightes importance in our lives.

    If a plumber stops in for mid-day mass somewhere in his mussy work clothes that is a Good Thing. If it's his day off or it's a Sunday when he has time to prepare, those scrubby clothes are not Good Thing.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins CHGiffen
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 823
    So this is somewhat funny, but I was looking for a nice little blurb about sacred music to fill some white space on this week's worship aid and I stumbled across this excerpt from The Sacred Congregation for Rites 1958 document De Musica Sacra et Sacra Liturgia:

    3. There are two kinds of Masses: the sung Mass (“Missa in cantu“), and the read Mass (“Missa lecta“), commonly called low Mass.

    There are two kinds of sung Mass: one called a solemn Mass if it is celebrated with the assistance of other ministers, a deacon and a sub-deacon; the other called a high Mass if there is only the priest celebrant who sings all the parts proper to the sacred ministers.

    4. “Sacred music” includes the following: a) Gregorian chant; b) sacred polyphony; c) modern sacred music; d) sacred organ music; e) hymns; and f) religious music.

    It would seem this might qualify as a "definitive" answer to our questions.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 968
    MJO, when I go to Sunday Mass (or the Saturday Vigil) I wear dress slacks, dress shirt with black tee under it, and a sports jacket. In the winter, I wear a suit and tie, but East Texas in Summer is just no longer tie wearing weather for me. (Although until I was in my early 50s I always wore suit and tie.)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    ServiamScores - It is interesting to note the official terminology
    2. Sacrosanctum Missae sacrificium est actus cultus publici, nomine Christi et Ecclesiae Deo redditi, quovis loco vel modo celebretur. Denominatio proinde « Missae privatae » vitetur.
    3. Missarum species duae sunt : Missa « i n cantu» et Missa « l e c t a » . Missa dicitur in cantu, si sacerdos celebrans partes ab ipso iuxta rubricas cantandas revera cantu profert; secus dicitur lecta.
    Missa « in cantu » porro, si celebratur cum assistentia ministrorum sacrorum, appellatur Missa solemnis; si celebratur absque ministris sacris, vocatur Missa cantata.
    Thanked by 1WGS
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    Mr Cordova -

    It is alright that you shared your mass attire with everyone here - but I would not want anyone to think that I myself would presume to judge what is or isn't in the heart of anyone else, attired appropriately or not. I myself, no matter what I do or do not wear, am least worthy to judge others on any account for better or worse.

    There is that old Protestant spiritual -
    Just as I am without one plea
    Save that thy blood was shed for me,
    And that thou bidd'st me come to thee
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


    Etc.
    - Charlotte Elliott, 1836
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen sdtalley3
  • PaxMelodious
    Posts: 349
    If our mandate is to share the joy of the Gospel, then how is being solemn (or Solemn) a good thing?

    People can be ultra-casually-dressed at a Solemn High Mass as easily as the can at an unsolemn Mass.
  • davido
    Posts: 470
    Pax, that is a very penetrating question. I think it deserves a very serious and studied response.

    I think joy and solemnity can coexist, and that past cultures held this position as well. I think our contemporary, informal culture may suggest that joy and solemnity don't go together, but that our informality is one of our greatest disconnects with all past human cultures.

    I think the function of the mass, of the holy mysteries, is not for evangelizing. I think the old mass is a witness to this, with its division of the service into the mass of the catechumens and the mass of the faithful. Those still being evangelized, those not initiated into the Catholic religion, were denied the vision of the holiest mysteries celebrated at the mass until the gospel had been fully shared with them. Only after they understood the gospel were they allowed to be fully part of the solemn services.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • irishtenoririshtenor
    Posts: 1,215
    Joy and solemnity are not in tension with each other. True elegance, regality, and (yes) solemnity is incredibly moving, leading one to joyful emotions.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    C.S. Lewis :-
    “The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.”


    adjective: solemn
    1. formal and dignified. ...
    2. characterized by deep sincerity.
    The latter meaning is why we speak of a wedding as the 'solemnization' of marriage. This in no way implies a lack of joy.
    And why we celebrate the solemnities of saints on the anniversary of their entry to heaven, when 'all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side' (Bunyan)
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,976
    There seems to be some confusion above -

    Joy, gladness, etc; are not antonyms of solemnity, that are synonyms.

    Certain feasts are called 'solemnities' precisely because great joy and all possible liturgical ceremony is used.

    For some poor reason 'solemn' has come to mean 'morose' or worse. Such are not definitions of solemnity. 'Solemnitas', like 'Festivitas', is an occasion of great importance celebrated with overbounding joy.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 823
    Indeed- solemnity and somberness are not the same thing.

    I’ve scarcely been more joyful than the most recent solemn TLM I attended for the feast of St. Joseph. I was so joyful, in fact, that I cried.
  • Jehan_Boutte
    Posts: 171
    I have always thought the equivalent of a "Missa solemnis" in the OF was a "Missa cum diacono".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,154
    The Novus Ordo can be celebrated as solemnly as any TLM. It just takes a will to do it. Many look at Renaissance foppery and declare it essential for a solemn mass. It isn't.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 823
    Charles, I agree. I once played for a N.O. wedding that had three priests, ad orientem at the high altar, etc. etc. And, as I recently said up the thread, we had an exquisite Corpus Christi with deacons, matching european silk vestment set, chanting, shcola, procession, sung gospel, etc. etc.

    As you said, it simply takes the will to do it, and that's the key.

    Conversely, I once played for an Easter Morning where we weren't even going to have incense were it not for one of the young servers who asked if he could do it. Had it not been for his innocence and excitement, we wouldn't have even had a little bit of incense EASTER MORNING. I knew this priest preferred a simple liturgy, but I was shocked to find out what had transpired in the sacristy after Mass. If the feast of the Resurrection itself doesn't qualify in this priest's mind, I suppose nothing ever will. (Pray for him.)

    So, in my experience, it ultimately boils down to the whims and proclivities of any individual priest.
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 181
    Really, if I had to boil my annoyance with the OF vs love of the EF down to one thing, it would be just that which Serviam mentions above: the whims of the priest. They can take the OF to the loftiest of high church heights, or to the lowest depths of banality. It all hinges on how the celebrant feels on a given day at a given time. Maddening.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,154
    My own observation is that it is not always about how the celebrant feels. Many priests are never taught about appropriate music, how to chant much less sing, and how to project their voices in both speaking and singing. Some are ill prepared for what they are trying to do. Given that, what would you expect from them?
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 181
    Certainly an accurate observation, Charles. It seems almost surreal that the Church has so completely neglected to prepare her priests to celebrate and safeguard the treasure which is the Holy Mass. But I digress. Happy Sunday guys.
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,039
    a_f:

    If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel (a demonstration of the Normative Mass) we would soon he left with a congregation mostly of women and children.


    Not in the two parishes to which I've belonged on the past 10 years or so. At every (NO) Mass, men are proportionately present. Perhaps Cdl. Heenan's prediction came true in other places, of course.
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,108
    Cdl. Heenan would be often found at the back of a church watching... So he could see the working men, dashing from home to get to early Mass in the morning before work, he would see the office workers coming in for a lunchtime Mass. A change from the Low Mass to the modern Low Mass with Hymns and various audience participation would have prevented them from going to Mass in the morning or in their lunch break. As predicted weekday Masses are now populated by old women!
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    dad29 - In England I think there was such an effect quite strongly in the first decade or so of the NO, but it has faded over time. My personal experience over 30 years of living in Metropolitan Cathedral parishes in central London is atypical. The small-town but cosmopolitan place I live in now has a dearth of young adults, they are away studying or gaining work experience, we have an abundance of retirees (like me).
    tomjaw - True, but I think Heenan was more concerned about Sundays.
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  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,108
    a_f_hawkins

    My understanding from Colin Mawby was he was also thinking about the weekday Masses many of which were standing room only in the City. We were lucky to have Colin talk to us about the various events, during his tenure at the Cathedral. It really was a different world then.
    Thanked by 2a_f_hawkins CHGiffen
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 612
    In Rio the before work and especially lunch hour Masses are busy, and designed to be 30 minutes long - very brief or no homily, no music.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,602
    Winding back to the backstory of "progressive solemnity", I note 1954 Liber Brevior
    In the same way, in order to add greater solemnity,
    one or more of the following '' Chants ad libitum " may be employed.
    1908 Graduale Romanum
    ... pro qualitate Missae, aut gradu solemnitatis, aliquis potest assumi ex iis qui subsequuntur. [i.e. the Kyriale Cantus ad libitum]
    Thanked by 2Liam tomjaw
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 1,308
    "If a plumber stops in for mid-day mass somewhere in his mussy work clothes that is a Good Thing. If it's his day off or it's a Sunday when he has time to prepare, those scrubby clothes are not Good Thing."

    MJO you remind me of St. Aloysious parish in Detroit, where I was MD. It was a huge tradition among Detroit Catholics during the week for people to do shopping at the great Hudson department store or whatever in the morning and attend the noon mass. The weekday noon masses were PACKED.
    Can you imagine this today?
    348 x 348 - 40K
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,039
    to do shopping at the great Hudson department store


    Yah, well, Hudson's is gone, as are the great downtown stores everywhere. That pretty much eliminates the shopper-Mass.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,154
    I worked for a government agency that had 4500 of its 50,000 employees across the street from a Catholic church. It was common for a number of us to catch the noonday mass during lunch. It didn't have all the bells and whistles of a "high mass" and realistically couldn't in the time available. Still a good thing and most of us were glad we had the opportunity to attend.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw CHGiffen