Who "wrote" the Ordinary Form of the Mass?
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I was just thinking about this recently.

    One of the earliest liturgies ever composed is the Liturgy of St. James. There's also the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and the Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist. Orthodox Churches generally use the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, using St. Basil's on Sundays during Lent and during the week using the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which is also attributed to St. Gregory the Dialogist.

    The Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist (or St. Gregory the Great) is also known as the Tridentine Mass.

    All these liturgies were composed by the church fathers; by great, holy men. They've changed a bit over the years, and over the world, but these liturgies have not changed in their essence from how they were celebrated when first composed.

    Who "wrote" the OF?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    St. Gregory. It is (supposedly) a reform of the 1962 Missal.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,003
    I think it was a committee. Archbishop Annibale Bugnini gets a lot of the blame for the OF, but I don't know how much of it he actually wrote. In the case of the OF, it's similar to the old story of a camel being a horse designed by a committee. ;-)
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    The OF was issued by the authority of Pope Paul VI, so it is sometimes called the Mass of Pope Paul VI; similarly, the EF would be the Mass of St. Pius V.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Gavin, you can't attribute all the new Eucharistic prayers, memorial acclamations, offertory prayers, etc., to St. Gregory. And the "prayer of the faithful" part is usually composed by some random parishioner, too; not St. Gregory. I think there is enough in the New Mass to make it actually a new Mass, and not just a reform of the old one.

    I mean, if they wanted to reform the old one, all they needed to do was just translate it into (good) English, say the Mass of the Catechumens out loud, give the confiteor to the people, say the Mass of the Faithful out loud, give the Pater Noster to the people, say the Canon out loud... you know, like that. And what happened to the prayer when the priest gives you communion, the prayers after communion, the last Gospel...? so much is missing or different. It's not the same as just abbreviating litanies of St. John Chrysostom or something.

    How are Catholics supposed to feel about their Liturgy having been composed by a committee? There is no precedence for this! What does that say about the faith, about the church fathers, about antiquity, about all of it?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,003
    Jam, I have a 1965 missal which is the English/Latin Mass revised by Vatican II. The canon is the Roman Canon and is in Latin. All the other parts are in English, and many parts from the EF are still there. I believe it was 1969 or so that the Novus Ordo of Paul VI came out. In my opinion, it was enough of a change to be a new rite, not a revision. I know, you can still have the Roman Canon, but you can also have God knows how many other ones, as well. I suspect many of those are new creations, not translations of any ancient canons.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    How are Catholics supposed to feel about their Liturgy having been composed by a committee?

    I suggest that's a question that charity would compel those of us separate from Catholicism to not ask.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Why? I don't feel like I'm being uncharitable. Certainly this issue is one that would divide East and West (and West and West as well, probably) but I'm not sure that reason alone is reason enough not to discuss it (civilly, of course). I am Orthodox, but I have a very uncharacteristic love and respect for the Catholic church as a Christian, apostolic institution. There are things I do not understand about it, however. So I ask.

    If I am being uncharitable, however, I apologize.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,759
    Writers such as Gamber, Dobszay, and Cdl. Ratzinger have spoken about the somewhat artificial way the revised liturgy was produced on the basis of the older forms, so the issue is not unknown. I think Gamber even used the word "manufactured" to describe how some of the 1950s Holy Week reforms were created.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Well my own opinions on it are very strong. I don't get how traditional Catholicism is supposed to work when the pope, by definition for the past millennium or so, thinks of himself as a master over the liturgy. But it's not my place here to offer a critique of Catholic doctrine, only to work with my colleagues in making the liturgy (as it exists for now...) as beautiful musically as we can. (After all, I'm stuck with the 1979 BCP - not much room to throw stones there!)

    I meant no insinuations of uncharity Jam, as your posts are always thoughtful and intelligent. I just find the issues of WHY Rome does the things it does... well, if you discuss them it doesn't put her in a very kind light!
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    True; yes. It's not my place to critique it, either. Obviously, as an Orthodox person, my stances on many theological issues will differ from the Catholic one. However, I am here to support the reform of Catholic liturgy as well. I cherish my PBC very much and love the Gregorian chant I know--and intend to learn more. I'm very grateful to Gilbert for teaching me how to read chant notation (he's around here sometimes). I attend Latin Masses when I'm able and might even try to join the schola when I'm at Franciscan University in the fall.

    This does have theological implications, I guess, this whole idea of designing liturgy by committee. I wonder if Catholics know about it; if they think about it. What they think about it. That's all.
  • I do think about it, and it makes me nervous, frankly. So I pray, and I trust the Church will resolve this. In the meantime, as a laywoman, I can only honor tradition by working to preserve and foster sacred music, which seems to be a crucial link. And I can have a few more kids, God willing.
  • IanWIanW
    Posts: 749
    Gavin,

    You wrote: I don't get how traditional Catholicism is supposed to work when the pope, by definition for the past millennium or so, thinks of himself as a master over the liturgy. There is a school of thought (see Ratzinger, Reid etc) that suggests this idea is a 20th Century aberration, reflective of ultramontanism, and which argues that the Roman liturgy has an organic life of its own, of which the Popes should be guardian.

    As for design by committee: you're used to its effects, good and bad, in the BCP, the AV and their children.
  • All liturgical texts were composed by SOMEONE. None has come down from heaven. The classic rites, however, evolved through a process in which some new liturgical compositions withstood the test of time and others died on the vine.

    In the Roman rite the sifting process came to a halt in 1570. Then, in the 1960s, Vatican II authorized revision, and this revision was carried out with unprecedented speed.

    The modern Roman rite differs from the classic liturgies in that a very high proportion of its texts were composed by a small group of people within a very short time and then imposed upon the church by authority, with no provision for their being subjected to "sifting."

    There is nothing especially audacious about composing a new liturgical text. Basil the Great is widely believed to have composed both the Alexandrian and the Byzantine versions of the Anaphora of St. Basil. And, while the origins of the Roman Canon are, in Jungmann's words, "shrouded in mystery," we know that Gregory the Great added "dies nostros in tua pace disponas..." to the Hanc igitur, and Alcuin is believed to have added "pro quibus tibi offerimus vel" to the Memento. Cipriano Vagaggini was certainly doing nothing unprecedented when he composed new Eucharistic Prayers for the Roman rite. Whether he did a good job is open to question, of course; but the act of composing new eucharistic prayers was nothing new. In Prayer II he drew upon the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus. In Prayer IV he drew heavily upon the Alexandrian Anaphora of St. Basil. Those who criticize his work, including me, blame him for reworking traditional texts to make them conform to Counter-Reformation theology. (The anamnesis of Prayer IV goes much farther in this direction than any classic Eucharistic prayer, including the Canon Missae).

    In theory the solution to problems with the modern Roman rite would be to loosen the reins and allow the sifting process to resume at a leisurely pace. In the current climate, however, loosening the reins might invite a lot of ill-considered innovation.

    In the Episcopal Church revised rites were authorized for trial use over a decade, and reaction to their trial use helped to shape their final form. I think that the Roman Missal would be better if its revision had proceeded more slowly, and if new formulas had been subjected to trial use before being imposed.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,003
    I totally agree. Trent killed the process of organic development. I suspect many of the most rabid EF fans, have no idea just how much Trent changed the liturgies in place at the time. And you are also correct that now is not a good time to loosen the reins.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I think the solution to the modern Roman Rite would have been best implemented around the Council of Trent--if they had refrained from ossifying the liturgy to begin with. It was based off the idea that the liturgy had reached some kind of ideal perfection, which was merely the spiritual arrogance of a single generation. Vatican II tried to be the rein-loosening authority, but instead of just loosening the reins, they actually composed new things and changed things. I don't think there's anything wrong with new liturgical compositions, but the fact that they haven't withstood the test of time--in fact, a lot of the translations didn't even last fifty years--is what bothers me.

    If Vatican II had just provided approved vernacular translations of the Tridentine Mass, and if the Vatican had ceased being so strict about the liturgy, I think that would have loosened the reins enough. People would have had the choice to change or not, instead of being forced to. When they did change, their changes would have been informed by their current experience of liturgy, rather than some kind of newly composed idea, so they would have (hopefully) taken fewer liberties with it. But, that's all just speculation, anyway.
  • Respectfully, I think there's a lot more to consider vis a vis Trent versus VII. To whit I offer, for your consideration-

    http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6475&Itemid=121&ed=1
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Sorry for asking a naive question. What was the Church's instruction on celebrating Mass in missionary countries before Vatican II? Were the missionaries allowed to do the Mass in the native lagnuage wherever they were, and had a permission to translate the Mass in the native language?
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Well, it depends on what century you're talking about. Cyril and Methodius (800s) translated the liturgy into Slavic, as they were missionaries to the slavs, and actually created the Cyrillic alphabet in the process. The pre-schism church has a long history of translating the Mass into the vernacular. I mean, they translated the original Aramaic/Greek into the Roman vernacular of Latin, didn't they?

    But if you mean more recent times, I don't know.
  • How can one think that the Vatican should have loosened the reins for a greater sifting after VII? Fifty years of loose reins have gotten us a liturgical Reign of Terror! And, whilst we are in sight of some improvement (thanks to the Vatican) we are under the leaden feet of bishops who get bent out of shape over a word such as 'ineffable'. Having said that, one can only affirm the truth of Bruce Ford's observations. Trent was far, far from being a pinnacle in liturgical history. It needed reforming, if not replacement. The Mass of Paul VI. is potentially a great improvement - if only they would omit the rubrics that (seemingly) allow priests to insert their ad libitum remarks and shenanigans.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,003
    I am all for vernacular masses, and believe the western Church should have had them hundreds of years sooner. My interest in Latin is chiefly that we now have all kinds of beautiful music with Latin texts - all of it too beautiful to allow it to become extinct.

    Vatican II did produce a quite acceptable revision to the mass, published in the U.S. as the 1965 missal. The Roman Canon was still in Latin, and the remainder was faithfully translated into English. I suspect one of the main problems with the Novus Ordo of Paul VI is that some of the "revisers" did not have the best of intentions to begin with. It seems to me that some of them were more interested in overturning the old, than in the quality of the new. However, it seems the bishops are finally getting their act together and are closer to a better English translation. Now if they can improve the rubrics a bit. Of course, with many U.S. bishops, it has for years been a case of the old Henny Youngman line, "Take our bishops, please!"
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    Thanks, Jam. I'm sorry I didn't specify. I was thinking of more recent intructions on missionaries, just before Vatican II, like last 200 years and on. The church was so widely spreading out, and I was wondering how the Vatican was handling all. And it might also have some impact on the changes, maybe not on the surface though. Whether people sees as an revolution or organic growth, as our Pope says we have HOPE, because we trust the Church and her protector. The Church suffers and has been suffered, sharing Christ's suffering as His spouse, and the suffering is necessary step for salvation. If that's the case, we can even embrace the sufferings. Like Mother Teresa says, we can be grateful to share His sufferings.
    The Church's door is widely open and accomodating so many different people now, the mature Catholics need to help them to deepen their faith with everything they received from God and help our Church.
    The disciples were scared that the boat was sinking, but He will never let it happen.
    (I'm sure everyone knows a lot more already. I'm just sharing my thoughts here.)