What music is required and/or appropriate for an EF Low Mass?
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Is there a single document out there that stipulates what music is required, recommended, and optional for a schola and/or choir when they sing a Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form? Come to think of it, is there a comparative matrix that shows the same musical requirements for each of the other EF Mass types?
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    I think that «Psallite sapienter» will answer your questions, if you take the time to read it carefully... You can read it online, download it as a PDF file, or buy the book (printed on real paper, yes).
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    Thank you dvalerio! This pretty much nails it. Being able to view it online makes it clear that it is easily worth the price.
  • I'm going out on a limb here, but I think there is a distinction between the music of the Mass, and music AT the Mass. "PS" is very clear about so much, and is drawn on important sources, but I disagree with absolutely no part of the Mass being set to music during a Low Mass. The point here is: who is participating in the singing, and does it constitute the "singing of the Mass". Clearly, if any part of the Ordinary is sung, it would be sung at its appropriate time, with the Priest intoning it, etc. That would actually make the Mass a High Mass. But, if music at a Low Mass is simply background, and does not interrupt the Priest in any way, and the congregation is not asked to participate, there should be nothing wrong with chanting a Proper or two. Now, common sense must come into play here. The music at a Low Mass must never impede the progress of the Mass being said at the Altar. So, trying to squeeze the Gradual and Alleluia in would not be appropriate. But using the Communion Antiphon as background should be OK. And using the Introit as prelude music should also be OK, especially since the prelude is not within the Mass itself, and therefor not legislated.

    This is what makes no sense. The music AT a Mass must NOT pertain to that Mass? Is this where the "4 hymn sandwich" came from - that ALL music during a Low Mass must be TOTALLY unrelated to that Mass? So what if the organist played the accompaniment to a Proper? What if a Latin Office Hymn from the day were used? Then why not the text, from the Bible, that would be used at a High Mass? It's simply background music. I think there may be other directives out there, or local traditions, to be investigated. The Ordinary and the Proper have two totally different uses during the Mass. To say that they are both the same or equal, and you cannot have one without the other, simply makes no sense.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Steve: Yes, that is my understanding. And now you know why so many look down on the Law Mass.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    Please check Psallite Sapienter again: «During Missa Privata, it is not allowed to sing any portion of the Mass itself.» §188 «...it is not permitted to sing translations of the texts of the Mass itself.» §189

    You may find this absurd, but that is indeed what the Church prescribes for the Extraordinary Form.

    > Is this where the "4 hymn sandwich" came from - that ALL music during a Low Mass must be TOTALLY unrelated to that Mass?

    Yes. When it was allowed for the first time to mix in the same Mass sung parts and said parts, and other suitable songs were allowed to replace some propers (Introit, Offertory, Communion) if needed, the result was that, Low Masses being the prevalent model of Mass celebrated, the un-liturgical music used therein ended up being used in all Masses---and also because vernacular music was sought, and, since you can't set all the translated propers to good music overnight, you had to use what already existed, which was un-liturgical music for Low Mass.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,036
    I think what Steve and dvalerio are saying is the keystone to most of the debates going on now ("reform of the reform", EF, all that). Can you imagine if the people out in the pews (those with an honest Catholic faith, but little formation) really came to believe this? They would feel cheated, as they should...I certainly felt that way after I found out about it. They would be tired of going to Low Mass all this time, especially when the Council (not necessarily the new missal) intended much greater and better things.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Would it be permissible to sing the Introit as a prelude and perhaps the Communion at the Offertory?
  • Technically, any sacred music could be sung as a prelude since it is outside the Mass. The important thing to see, though, is that music sung at the "Offertory" is also outside the Mass when it's a Low Mass. The rubrics prohibit the use of texts from the Mass (at Low Mass) to ensure it's clear that the Mass is being said by the Priest (with some assistance from the server, or congregation in a dialog Mass). On the other hand, at a Sung Mass, the ordinary and proper chants, or polyphonic renditions thereof, are part of the Mass.

    I think the important question to ask is whether music at Low Mass serves a worthwhile liturgical purpose, or does it simply entertain....?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    Regarding the alleged ban on singing a Sanctus at Low Mass, I worry that people might fall into the error of reading Psallite Sapienter as if it were not merely a venerable guide but a piece of legislation. My understanding, and I would be happily corrected (although I will take no one's word for it except Mills's, otherwise give me a pre-1962 citation), is that Psallite's #188 refers back to a brief comment in Fortescue which is not itself sourced back to Roman liturgical law.



    Lawrence Yates, writing for the Latin Mass Society (UK) in 2000, described the matter thusly:

    We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Mass we will sing. This is permitted during a low Mass where the celebrant is in no way involved, and such singing does not disturb the rite of Low Mass. If, however, the celebrant is to sing at all, we are immediately governed by the rubrics pertaining to a solemn Mass. Everything which is sung in a solemn Mass MUST also be sung in a Missa Cantata, including the Proper.




    So according to Yates, while the celebrant is forbidden from singing parts of the Mass at "Low Mass", the choir may sing texts of the parts of the Mass as long as they follow the other rubrics for singing at Low Mass. One important distinction: a choir singing the text of the Sanctus at Low Mass would not actually be singing the parts of the Mass, but merely accompanying the Mass, even if the ancient melodies were used. At High Mass, the choir actually does sing the parts of the Mass, like in the Novus Ordo (although the celebrant also says the Proper and Ordinary quietly by himself in the EF).



    I have heard that there is a widespread custom of strictly avoiding the singing the text of the parts of the Mass by choir at Low Mass. My question is, is it merely custom (perhaps based on misinterpretation), or is it a real law they are following? (Custom should also be followed, of course.) If it is merely custom, was there a good reason for it to develop? If it is law, can someone post it?



    Interestingly, what is commonly called "High Mass" today in the EF, the Missa Cantata with one priest, is a relatively recent "hybrid" development, essentially a Low Mass with the singing (and often the incensations) added from Solemn Mass on top of it. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Cantata was seen as such a hybrid that it used to be customarily indicated by having four altar candles lit, instead of six for Solemn and two for Low. Today I usually see six for an EF Cantata, and the Cantata is now considered a "High" whereas that term was reserved for Solemn Masses only a century ago. But I digress a bit.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    In one sense I can understand the restriction on Propers. Music could otherwise become a smorgasbord of today's Introit, last week's Offertory and a Communio from a few months back. So would that make it a Missa Privata or Missa Cantata? Come to think of it, were the 7 'universal communions' approved under the EF or was that an OF introduction?

    But with all that, it makes sense to me that singing the Ordinary might not be such a bad thing. If the Psallite is advisory only, then there might not be any problem.
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    Actually, everyone seems to agree that you're allowed to use another week's Offertory or Communion (e.g., Ave Maria, Tollite Hostias) without problem. It's today's proper Offertory that gets everyone upset.
  • Rather than searching for the wiggle room to inject chant, and so on, into low mass, why not follow the wise guidance of Psallite Sapienter and pull together what is needed for a missa cantata?
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Arthur, because we're musicians and our opinions of what Mass should be celebrated are somewhere in importance to the pastor behind the janitor's and visiting protestants.
  • If the priest won't sing the Mass, then there can hardly be official rubrics for navigating around his choice. But in an effort to be helpful, I would suggest (if we must have chant), hymns from the office, chants of the Mass that are almost never sung in a parish setting (e.g., "A summo caelo" from Saturday in Ember week of Advent), and maybe critical chants for the schola to learn, such as Holy Week. I would use them as counterpoint to the ordinary and avoid using them as low mass versions of the propers.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    Arthur Connick, if there are no rubrics against it and the celebrant is on board and there is no custom to the contrary then there is nothing to go around.



    Because Solemn Mass is the perfect form of the EF liturgy, and Low Mass merely an adaptation of convenience, it would seem to make sense for the music at Low Mass to mirror, as much as possible, the music at Solemn Mass. Thus it would seem better to sing the text and music of the Propers and Ordinary appropriate for the Mass being said as near as possible to the times they would be sung in Solemn Mass than to sing, for example, random hymns or random Propers, even if these are also allowed and salutary. Ember Saturday has only a few hours left to run, and music at a Low Mass tomorrow would more appropriately echo the petition Rorate caeli, the angelic salutation Ave Maria, and the prophecy Ecce virgo concipiet said by the priest at that Mass than repeat what Holy Mother Church assigned for the penitential/ordination day previous.



    "Chant Low Mass" is a very popular request from priests, BTW. They very much want Gregorian chant, but some are shy singing, some would like a faster Mass, others are under the impression that High Mass requires a full ceremonial or at least the incensations, which means more trained servers who may not be readily available. BTW, the 1962 Rubrics are extremely clear that incensations at a Cantata are only optional: "Incensationes quae in Missa solemni fieri debent, fieri possunt etiam in omnibus Missis cantatis" (#426). And the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) article written by Fortescue says that "the Sacred Congregation of Rites has on several occasions (9 June, 1884; 7 December, 1888) forbidden the use of incense at a Missa Cantata; nevertheless, exceptions have been made for several dioceses, and the custom of using it is generally tolerated (Le Vavasseur, op. cit., I, 514-5)." Incense at a Cantata is tolerated, not mandated. But some people are not easily convinced.



    If I were a priest, I would sing the Mass every day. But I'm not, and so I'm in the position to take orders rather than give them. If the order is invalid, that's one thing. But without a Roman rule, the order seems valid.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    My inquiry is based on the anxiety I've heard from a priest preparing for his first EF Mass. It will be a long time before he feels up to a Missa Cantata or believes he has servers with a level of competence for the same. At the same time, I don't want to have more silent Low Masses with what I think of as a "vernacular club sandwich."

    Gavin - you forgot the opinions of people who haven't been to Mass since their First Holy Communion in 1956. They have lots to share.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    Surely, «Psallite Sapienter» is no piece of legislation; just an authoritative guide. But I remember reading the same thing (outright ban of anything liturgical, either from the ordinary of from the proper, even when translated into the vernacular, during Low Masses) in a Portuguese manual of the Roman Rite from the 1920's I have at home, and in some articles in a Journal on Liturgy from the same epoch (that published the said manual sheet by sheet in octavo during five years). I'll take some time to recheck this at home and will post something later. (If someone posts authoritative material settling the question for good you'll save me the trouble.)

    BTW: the idea of allowing some parts to be sung and the rest to be said when it is not possible to sing everything decently is one of the major points of Musicam Sacram. Allowing some replacements with other suitable songs when not all propers can be decently sung is another. While experience shows that the latter idea can be much abused, the former idea can also be abused if you settle for some sung+said mixture as the normal «Mass formula» without ever trying to go forward to the full Missa in Cantu... So I guess there is something to be said for the ridigidity of pre-Musicam Sacram legislation.
  • priorstf
    Posts: 460
    dvalerio - Your last point seems to identify just the conundrum we face. Considering that the Summorum Pontificum refers to the Roman Rite celebrations of 1962 and 1970, the issuance of Musicam Sacram (MS)in 1967 seems part of the natural organic development of the Mass. While strictly it is not identical with the rubrics in place in 1962, neither has it been abrogated, rescinded, or otherwise done away with.

    Even within MS there are some contradictions, but I think that the clear intention is to ensure a dignified, solemn celebration of the Mass. That we will do.

    So with that in mind, I think I'll sleep well at night working with the EF under the MS §36:

    There is no reason why some of the Proper or Ordinary should not be sung in said Masses. Moreover, some other song can also, on occasions, be sung at the beginning, at the Offertory, at the Communion and at the end of Mass.

    Even the musicians must grow organically! Say the Grey. Do the Rose.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    It's still not the information I promised in my last post, but I believe these comments are pertinent:

    > Music could otherwise become a smorgasbord of today's Introit, last week's Offertory and a Communio from a few months back.

    In the Ordinary Form this can be done, provided that all the propers switched around belong to the same liturgical season. There's a clear rubric saying that in the 1974 Graduale Romanum. Good sense when using this provision is assumed (perhaps too hopefuly).

    > Come to think of it, were the 7 'universal communions' approved under the EF or was that an OF introduction?

    As far as I know, they are an innovation from the 1974 Graduale Romanum.

    > the issuance of Musicam Sacram (MS)in 1967 seems part of the natural organic development of the Mass. While strictly it is not identical with the rubrics in place in 1962, neither has it been abrogated, rescinded, or otherwise done away with.

    Sure: Musicam Sacram applies to the Ordinary Form, is quoted several times in the General Instruction of the Missale Romanum, and it is sad that its contents are not more widely known and followed (especially the list of priorities when singing some parts of the mass and not others). But does it apply to the Extraordinary Form? My uneducated opinion is that, while we may think it might be good that it should apply, it does not.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    the issuance of Musicam Sacram (MS)in 1967 seems part of the natural organic development of the Mass



    No authorization whatsoever exists to apply Musicam Sacram to an EF Mass. The document includes many radical changes (such as vernacular music at Solemn Mass, substitution of Propers with hymns), the effects of which I think need to be revisited.



    However, I read the MS 36 text you quote "There is no reason why..." to be very instructive. This phrase does not exist elsewhere in the document. I believe MS 36 was a clarification, not a change in rules, but a clarification. No rule was found against singing some of the Proper or Ordinary at said Masses, so for the authors to imply that MS was instituting a change would have been dishonest, but because it was believed in many places that such a rule existed, a clarification was necessary to get the desired singing into widespread practice.



    Because nothing from MS is binding on the EF, people are free to argue today that a choir or congregation singing Sanctus at an EF Low Mass is some sort of grave defect or bad or unusual practice. But without providing a rule from Rome they cannot make a convincing claim that such singing is forbidden, strictly or not.



    Say the Grey. Do the Rose. - I'm sorry you draw that as the conclusion of this thread. My purpose in posting my response was to try to get clarification of the law, because two different customs exist and are in conflict. The law is quite clear about many things at the EF, see for example De Musica Sacra (1958). If something is momentarily unclear, that doesn't mean that there is no truth to be found.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    There's a similar discussion going on at Father John Zuhlsdorf's blog «What does the prayer really say?». Check it here.
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    And again on that site, the vast majority believe strongly that you can't have anything but hymns at a Low Mass. But they can only quote Fr. Haynes to support them, who may very well be relying on that same ambiguous unsourced two-liner from Fortescue, like Mr. Mills does.

    Any belief held strongly by many creates a pastoral consideration, especially if you are hoping to serve people at an existing "Ecclesia Dei" community. But if you are reintroducing the Latin Mass into a population without a living custom, then you only need obey the actual rubrics themselves.
  • It's interesting that the Liber usualis makes no mention of musical items in the "said Mass". One would infer that sung parts of the liturgy were not expected. After reading De musica sacra , I was surprised to see no firm comments on singing at Low Mass. Fortescue is even silent on the matter.
  • Pes
    Posts: 623
    Having read these comments and those at Fr. Z's, I've come to the conclusion that this distinction between "High" and "Low" Mass is too crude and consequently does two things: 1) it puts High Mass frequently out of reach, and 2) makes a mess of Low Mass.

    It seems to me that consideration should be given to establishing three forms instead:

    1. Solemnis/Solemn = sung propers, ordinary, motets, etc. (think Graduale + polyphony)
    2. Simplex/Simple = simpler propers, ordinary, hymns (think Simplex + simple polyphony and hymnody)
    3. Recitata/Recited = no music at all, period.

    With a tripartite division, the form and values of Gregorian chant would remain ideal, congregations could sing, and the recited Mass could peacefully remain recited.
  • dvalerio
    Posts: 341
    > 2. Simplex/Simple = simpler propers, ordinary, hymns (think Simplex + simple polyphony and hymnody)

    If the ordinary is sung AND the propers are sung---even if they are sung using a psalm-tone, or even recto tono---you have a Missa Cantata (and hymns must be in Latin, the priest's parts must be sung, etc.).
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Pes: duh. But at that point you're messing with the Tradition straight from the Time of the Apostles (1800s or so) and you're another Martin Luther if you suggest there's something less than liturgical about singing "Jesus My Lord My God My All", "Holy God We Praise Thy Name", Lambillotte's "Panis Angelicus", and "Immaculate Mary" every Mass.
  • Well, we cannot turn to legal documents to support our positions and ignore them when they don't. I would, some others here, to see where singing the Ordinary and Propers for the Low Mass is prohibited. I'm not talking about "discouraged" or not a traditional practice, but outright denied. In our times, if chanting at Low Mass is prohibited, scholas will have few outlets for their talents. I don't want to break any rules, but until we get some priests willing to chant, we need to make use of all licit opportunities.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Gavin forgot "Mother, At Thy Feet is Kneeling." I suggest this for special occasions since it was sung at John Kennedy's wedding and funeral, according to Thomas Day.

    I would be interested to know more about the non-North American application of these norms on music. My sister just attended an EF Mass in Madrid where the organist (female, gasp) sang the propers (repeat gasping) and the congregation sang the Missa de Angelis.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Additionally, the congregation at this Mass in Madrid, held in a chapel the Cardinal Archbishop refurbished at his own expense, was overwhelmingly young and many families. Only one covered female head was sighted and my sister guessed she was an American by her dress and demeanor. Another reason to question the universality of many of our "traditional community" practices. Not to object to them, but to understand that they may be very local in nature.
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    Hear, hear, MJ!!! My new favorite saying is "the plural of anecdote is not data". Too often (and I know I'm guilty) we extrapolate from our own experience.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    I found Fr. Z's blog on this subject very interesting (see above DVALERIO'S entry and click). It states that the Low Mass with
    some propers & ordinaries sung is 'popping up' all around the country. This confusion over preference & 'letter of the law' r/t
    Low Mass will need some urgent attention by the powers that be. I have vowed to never participate in a Low Mass with the
    4-hymn sandwich. That was so very '1962' in 1962. But this is 2008-9. We've already 'been down that road' and look where
    it's gotten us. I like Pes' 'sliding scale' idea but as GREGP says, 'the plural of anecdote is not data'. I can't do it without the
    document to prove it. So I stick to the PS even though, I wish...

    The entry above which quotes Lawrence Yates of the Latin Mass Society ('...We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Mass
    we will sing. THAT IS PERMITTED IN THE LOW MASS WHERE THE CELEBRANT IS IN NO WAY INVOLVED...') Still not sure if this
    is 'ok' to use to justify a change in the 1962 rubric 'limbo' it feels like we are in.
  • Doesn't Jeffrey have a hotline to Ecclesia Dei?
  • gregpgregp
    Posts: 632
    He has a search light on his roof which projects a bowtie against the clouds of the night.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    (Cue Nelson Riddle orchestra:)
    "Chantman..." (8x)
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    I found Fr. Z's blog on this subject very interesting (see above DVALERIO'S entry and click). It states that the Low Mass with
    some propers & ordinaries sung is 'popping up' all around the country. This confusion over preference & 'letter of the law' r/t
    Low Mass will need some urgent attention by the powers that be. I have vowed to never participate in a Low Mass with the
    4-hymn sandwich. That was so very '1962' in 1962. But this is 2008-9. We've already 'been down that road' and look where
    it's gotten us. I like Pes' 'sliding scale' idea but as GREGP says, 'the plural of anecdote is not data'. I can't do it without the
    document to prove it. So I stick to the PS even though, I wish...

    The entry above which quotes Lawrence Yates of the Latin Mass Society ('...We cannot pick and choose which parts of the Mass
    we will sing. THAT IS PERMITTED IN THE LOW MASS WHERE THE CELEBRANT IS IN NO WAY INVOLVED...') Still not sure if this
    is 'ok' to use to justify a change in the 1962 rubric 'limbo' it feels like we are in.
  • Jan
    Posts: 242
    opps...sorry (been in the back room getting the music ready for tomorrow, I forgot I already sent this).
  • Anhaga
    Posts: 55
    This may sound like a dumb question after the long discussion, but I still need advice. My parish has a Missa Cantata on the first Sunday of every month. And we have been using four Latin and English hymns (from 'The Adoramus Hymnal ' and 'The St. Gregory Hymnal') for Sunday EF Low Masses. Personally, I prefer to keep silent and not to sing at all. Otherwise, I think organ solo is enough for Low Masses. But music director and organist want choir to sing because it is a "Sunday" Low Mass. Would you give practical advices what and when we can sing, if we sing, instead of four (Latin/English) hymn sandwiches?
  • Chrism
    Posts: 717
    Sing Latin motets at the Offertory and Communion. If your choir has more bandwidth, increase the difficulty of the motets. Two motets a week should be plenty to keep an average parish choir stressed and sacrificing. (If your choir is mostly single and without dependents, try for a weekly Cantata.)

    You can also add a choral prelude/postlude, perhaps in the vernacular.

    If negotiations break down and your MD is not appeased, the parts of the Mass that are usually added back are, in order:

    a) Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei. If the priest intones the Gloria and Credo, be ready with Gloria VIII and Credo III. The priest may sing some of the responses.
    b) Introit, Offertory & Communion chants
    c) Gradual/Alleluia chants
  • Anhaga
    Posts: 55
    Thank you for the suggestion. I am amazed how musical setting of EF Mass can be so Novus Ordoish (in spite of the fact that the musical setting of four hymn singing in Novus Ordo came out of that of Low Mass). I wish we could have more Missa Cantata and High Masses than Low Masses on Sundays.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    It seems strange to me that the concept of a "low Mass" even exists, to tell you the truth.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,593
    It seems strange to me, too. There's not an equivalent for low mass in the east that I have seen. Maybe somewhere, and I just don't know about it, but the concept of low mass is an aberration that somehow crept into the west. Also, the whole idea of "private masses" seems like a misunderstanding of what liturgy is supposed to be. Let's blame it on either the Scholastics or the Jesuits. ;-)
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I would say the Scholastics. Once you turn the Mass into a set of "formulas" which effect consecration and other extra things that don't, you start to see all those "extra" things diminishing.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Well, rather than speculating based on the biases we bring with us, let's look for historical information.

    As a start: Jungmann's The Mass of the Roman Rite (vol I, p 218) says that as early as the sixth century, private Masses for the dead were common.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    What does "private Mass" mean?

    in the West, it is possible for a priest to say Mass by himself. In the East, he must have at least a reader. so is a private Mass a Mass with only a priest by himself or just one with a very small amount of people present?
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Jungmann's talking about Masses said by a priest alone, even without a server.

    In the index to his book, "Low Mass" refers readers to the topic "Private Mass". Understandably, the practice of celebrating Mass without singing is connected with the practice of priests celebrating Mass without a congregation.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    So, that is a practice that the East expressly forbids, actually.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    The GIRM instructs that Mass should not be said without at least a server or some of the faithful unless there is a good reason, but does allow the priest to celebrate without a server. The rubrics are under the heading "Mass at which only one minister participates" (No. 252-272).

    But this is turning into a digression, as in the modern era, the question of spoken Masses is distinct from the question of Masses offered without a congregation.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    "So, that is a practice that the East expressly forbids"

    So Jam, in East, if the priest is somehow got isolated and there's no one to celebrate the Mass with, he can't celebrate at all?
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    With specific situations like that, I can't really tell you. Orthodox Canon law is like, one thin book (compared to the encyclopedia set of Roman Canon Law). While the Latin Rite tries to account for every exception in its canon law, and can therefore turn very simple questions into intense quote wars, the Orthodox church isn't like that... I'm sure that if a priest were somehow isolated--say, solitary confinement in a prison or something--and he decided to say the Divine Liturgy, God would hear him just the same.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,349
    Orthodox Canon law is like, one thin book (compared to the encyclopedia set of Roman Canon Law). While the Latin Rite tries to account for every exception in its canon law, and can therefore turn very simple questions into intense quote wars, the Orthodox church isn't like that...


    Another correction, Jam. The Code of Canon Law isn't an encyclopedia set: the English version I use (published by Eerdmans & Collins) fits in a single paperback book of 320 pages. It's about 3/4 inch thick.

    In many areas, it's not that detailed. I like to say that it has a "typically Italian" attitude toward law, prescribing what should be done but not treating every exception. Instead the clergy are expected to use common sense. Of course the Code does spell out some exceptions, to deal with real situations that happen from time to time. It has nothing about liturgical how-to issues, leaving those to the liturgy books.

    The flame wars on the net are typically on the subject of liturgy, where the rules are scattered across various disorganized documents, so that the rules are sometimes not clear, and it's hard for well-meaning people to know where to find answers, especially if the people aren't all that knowledgeable.

    Jam, do you realize how many of the disparaging things non-Catholics say about the Church are myths?