4 January 2011

You won't like this ...

... but, if I were the Commission Ecclesia Dei, I would be working towards a new Editio Typica of the Extraordinary Form in which some very minor changes would indicate that the EF is not fossilised. We are not 1962 fetichists (or are we?). The way ahead for the EF is for the most judicious of minor corrections in the 1962 missal. Nobody should take any notice of fundamentalists who believe that anything which the reformers of the 1960s favoured is automatically beyond the pale; and a reincorporation of elements - Vigils, perhaps, and Octaves - which were unwisely cut out during the early Bugnini tinkerings of the 1950s, is most desireable. Have I got this right?

The main change I would make in the Ordo Missae would be in the Preface. I would punctuate Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus. Because: Domine reproduces in Latin the tetragrammaton YHWH and reminds us that the God we worship (for are we not all, as Pius XI put it, Spiritual Semites?) is the God of our forefathers in Faith, the People of Israel. Sancte Pater is the way in which the Incarnate Word addressed his Father, particularly in the Gospel according to S John, Chapter 17.

Or would you be happier if I simply omitted all the commas, leaving the word-division to the celebrant?

Or will you only be happy if I make no change whatsoever?


We were told in Summorum Pontificum that some of the OF Prefaces would be incorporated in the EF and a recent interview given by Mgr Pozzo implies that this will soon happen. I can't see why it should cause any ill-will do do this, particularly if they are made optional. The SSPX ORDO reveals that in that Society they use Prefaces for the Saints and for Advent ad libitum. And if it is acceptable for the inter-war popes to have added prefaces for the Sacred Heart and Christ the King and ... most most revolutionary of all in view of the large numbers of Requiems that used to be said ... for the Departed, why are Prefaces from fifty years later problematic? (I do, on the other hand, strongly support the caution shown by Mgr Pozzo with regard to allowing the post-conciliar lectionary to be used with the old Mass. The old readings are inextricably bedded down in the old propers.)

My own preference, however, would be that OF Prefaces incorporated in the Traditional Missal should be mainly restricted to those which were recovered for the OF from the early Roman sacramentaries ... not least those identified, by liturgists such as Callewaerts and Capelle, as probably from the pen of S Leo or other early pontiffs ... rather than being Clever Compositions by post-conciliar committees headed by ... er ... And I do not favour the very jejune conclusions which link some of those newer prefaces to the Sanctus.


Anonymous said...

From your lips to God's ear, Father.

The Liturgical Pimpernel said...

Well said Father!

Joseph Shaw said...

There are lots of things which should be changed in the 'EF Missal' if we can call it that. In many ways it is a mess. The incomplete restoration of chant texts, for example, means that the Liber Usualis diverges from the Altar Missal. Many 1961/2 changes were very ill thought out.

I'd suggest there be a thorough examination of all these things by a carefully constituted panel of experts. In about 50 years time.

To do it earlier than that would be to invite tinkering by nincompoops. Remember, this is a big job. Where would you find a team of real experts imbued with the spirit of the traditional liturgy today? You could fit the people currently qualified for this task into a telephone box - and Fr John would be in there too!

Conchúr said...

A restoration of the pre-1955 Holy Week with an updated version of the General Roman Calendar of 1954 to include new saints, etc. The updated "old" calendar to then replace the "new" calendar in the Pauline liturgy, thus ending the absurdity of two liturgical calendars in the same rite. Of course the latter would require an overhaul of the current lectionary too.

Christopher said...

A very judicious suggestion, Father. I agree with you that the Missal needs reforming. But you are right - it should be done with extreme caution, since only a very moderate reform has any realistic chance of fostering the unity our Holy Father desires. Such a reform should reflect current liturgical practice by restoring at least a few elements (e.g. bows to the crucifix) that although officially lost in the pre-conciliar reforms remain very much alive in practice.

Regarding more serious changes (introduction of new prefaces, restoration of pre-1955 Holy Week etc.), I think it would be more productive at this stage for us to discuss the methodology of change than the changes themselves. Rather than simply legislating on these difficult questions, would it not be better for permissions to be given for the use of certain alternatives to the 1962 forms, and then to allow a few decades of praxis to establish which ones merit (re)inclusion in the Missal? This would give the rite a little space in which continued development might occur, and the most difficult issues need not be resolved for 50 years or so, as Joseph wisely suggests.

John F H H said...

A fascinating post, Father, to which I append some random thoughts.

I would punctuate Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus.

which happens to reflect the punctuation adopted by Cranmer in 1549 and retained in the B.C.P. since:
O Lorde, holy Father, almightie everlastyng God.
Thus demonstrating, once more, that the knack of Englysshing Latin liturgical texts is, or should be,very much part of Anglican patrimony!

Nobody should take any notice of fundamentalists who believe that anything which the reformers of the 1960s favoured is automatically beyond the pale;

Very much so: there are those of us who believe that the EF reached the apogee of its development with publication of the Ordo Missæ of 27th January 1965: though I have always believed that in some instances it went to far: e.g. the removal of the genuflection from the Creed.

Similarly, for Holy Week, the Variationes in Ordinem Hebdomadæ Sanctæ of March in the same year retained, for example, the variations in liturgical colours on Palm Sunday.
I've always thought it odd that, just as cheap air-travel made the world a global village, so the the Church dropped her universal language, and just as colour television was introduced more widely, so the Church dropped the variations of colour in Holy Week.

and a reincorporation of elements . . . which were unwisely cut out . . . is most desireable. Have I got this right?

I am sure you have got this right: I would certainly add the genuflections & colours [vide supra], and the possibility, ad libitum?, of a single additional Collect at Mass in commemoration of a lesser feast on days of concurrence, e.g. Apostles falling on "green" Sundays.

And I do not favour the very jejune conclusions which link some of those newer prefaces to the Sanctus.
This sentence reminds me of the unfortunate translation of the final clauses of these conclusions about to be inflicted on us in the new translation of the OF Prefaces. In almost every case, the variety of verba dicendi in the Latin has been reduced to sine fine dicentes translated as "without end we acclaim", a verb which in English is not a verbum dicendi and demands that someone/something be acclaimed as someone/something! I am afraid I believe, once again, Cranmer got it right: evermore praising Thee and saying" or, if one must, singing, declaiming, even proclaiming. [rant mode off!].

My own preference, however, would be that OF Prefaces incorporated in the Traditional Missal should be mainly restricted to those which were recovered for the OF from the early Roman sacramentaries
Would you have any thoughts, Father, on the Ambrosian prefaces?

Kind regards,

John U.K.

Anonymous said...

I have seen Latin Altar Missals with no commas between the words Domine sancte Pater omnipotens aeterne Deus, with the comma after ''sancte'', and with the comma after ''Domine''. I prefer the way you suggest ''Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus'' not only for the reason mentioned by you, but also because 1) this way the well-known ''omnipotens aeterne Deus'' remains intact and 2) the adjectives all go before the nouns, instead of some before, some after. I used to like to think that these three words referred to the Three Divine Persons, ''Domine (2nd), Pater (1st), Deus (3rd)'' as the HolyGhost is called ''Sanctificator, omnipotens aeterne Deus'' in the Offeratory. However the preface is universally held to be addrssed to the Father.
I too think that the Holy See, rather than completely overhauling MR 1962 now, should as soon as possible explicitly allow the pre-1955 Holy Week Rites alongside those in MR 1962. A rubric stating this should be set in the Missal at Palm Sunady. This would be much quicker, and would allow for the breathing space, etc. which others here have mentioned. In a new edition of MR the Passions should be fully restored, a few of the more important vigils and octaves should be restored, an ancient preface for Advent inserted, the bow to the Crucifix at Oremus and at the ending of the Orations, and the Confiteor before the people's Communion restored, St. James and Philip restored to 1 May, and the handful of other Saints (Leo) and Feasts (Inventio S. Crucis) whose days were scrapped should also be restored. I would not see the Seasonal Orations restored, however. ABSOLUTELY no use of the NO lectionary! I would gladly see some of the proper Epistles and Gospels of Saints added to the Commune Sanctorum as alternative readings. The Per Ipsum would be wholly sung. En fin, perhaps, in the future, authorised vernacular tranlsations of the Missal, or parts of it, might be allowed for optinoal use in weekday Masses. This would eventually suplant the Novus Ordo, which could then be abolished..

Anonymous said...

Corrigenda: En fin, perhaps, in the future, authorised vernacular translations of Missale Romanum, or parts of it, might be allowed for optional use in weekday Masses. This would eventually supplant the Novus Ordo, which could then be abolished. As it seems to me that those now attached to the Novus Ordo, are so, principally due to its use of the vernacular, to which they have grown accustomed. The Old Rite partly in the vernacular, as in 1965, would make the scrapping of the NO almost painless to most Catholics, who otherwise deplore as much as wee do, all what is wrong with the NO.

Fr Michael Brown said...

The pattern Domine, Sancte te Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus was mandated in 1962.

Auricularis said...

Yes the 1962 liturgical books are in dire need of reform:

1. Abolition of the 1945 Psalter
2. Restoration of the Holy Week rites before 1956
3. Abolition of 1960 rubrical changes to breviary and missal

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Was it?Well, there you go. I don't have a copy.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Sorry, I don`t know how that `te` got in after Sancte.

GOR said...

While I can subscribe to some of the proposed changes here, I think we need some stability. The Mass should not be a ‘moving target’ subject to the whims, desires, strong feelings etc. of everyone concerned. To a former US President’s remark about the inability to please “all of the people all of the time” I would add: “…and some of people you can never please.”

We have had Mass ad experimentum for 40+ years and it is time to stop experimenting. Our Lord gave us the first edition and commanded that it be re-presented until the end of time. I don’t think He had in mind a “new and improved edition” every few years, centuries or millennia. The first edition was perfect and could not be improved upon. What are we missing?

Figulus said...

While it is difficult to object to an improvement in punctuation, I would do even this with great care. In some cases at least, these commas, colons, question marks, etc. are relics of a much older chant notation. It would be too bad if such relics were cast out for the sake of progress.

As for optional prefaces, I dissent. The OF rite suffers from a surplus of these. On a feria in Ordinary Time, the celebrant gets to pick from one of eleven prefaces. Those of us trying to follow along in the pews have a difficult time finding the right page with so many options. I will concede, however, that a small number of options might be allowable. Still, it seems a step in the wrong direction.

carl said...

Joseph Shaw,

Could you speak more about the "incomplete restoration of chant texts" in 61/2? I'm not familiar with what the situation is there.


How does it help your prayer at Mass to flip through a hand missal to follow along with the priest? I've never been inclined toward this, and prefer to just listen to the prayer the priest is addressing for me to the Father. Following along in a book, when the Mass is said in a language I understand, never made sense to me. I'd love to hear about its benefits, since so many persons do it.

Rubricarius said...

"Have I got this right?"

No, for once I believe you have got it very wrong Fr. H.

If anyone is serious about not fossilising, and I confess to sharing Dr. Shaw's view about nincompoops, then a far better reference point would be the 1920 edition of the Missale Romanum, probably the finest edition of the twentieth century. It of course has a superfluity of double feasts and in terms of the Office (which your post does not address) clearly there are implied problems with the loss of the traditional Roman Psalterium.

Reading the 'blogosphere' it seems there is a general swell of opinion against the obnoxious 1950s messing up of Holy Week - about time says I. However, the intrinsic problem with much of the 1962MR is due to its committee work construction. The Calendar problem, and there was a problem with far too many double feast of saints generally unknown outside of Italy, was addressed by reducing the semi-doubles to simples in 1955. This was highly unfortunate as most of the semi-doubles were older than the doubles. In the 1960 stage of the reform these new simples, formerly the s-ds, got further knocked down to commemoration in the ferial Office and the doubles re-branded III class feasts.

IHMO the better option would be to using the 'starting point' of the 1920 MR, re-abrogate the 1962 edition, but - and again back to Dr. Shaw - now is not the time to do it.

davidforster said...

I'm very sympathetic to the modifications suggested -
1. allow some ancient collects, prefaces, sequences, to be used ad libitum,
2. restore most of the features of the pre-55 version, once again ad lib.,
3. provide provision for the celebration of more recently canonized saints, once again ad lib.

But the idea of the Missal being tinkered with by a committee, even a learned and saintly one, at this time, fills me with dread. The disaster of Vatican 2 and the Novus Ordo is too recent to start changes of this kind, even good ones. The fear is, where would it end?

I remember back in 2000 making a spoof announcement on a Traditionalist mailing list that there was going to be a new "Missale 2000" incorporating many of the changes suggested, and inducing near panic in the good folks of the online-grouposphere (the blogosphere not having yet emerged then). My own experience of Traditionalists is that attempts to mandate changes to the Missal at the moment will only sow dissension, and possibly even provoke disobedience and schism where this could be avoided.

An series of alternatives, allowed ad libitum, would be a good option. It would give users of the old rite a chance to consider them over time. Eventually, they could either be incorporated into the Missal, or ditched, or remain ad lib. Doing things in a hurry, and making them compulsory, has been tried and has failed.

The year 2062 might be a good time for a new version. Once per century is plenty!

Christopher said...


I'll have a go at the question you put to Joseph (although perhaps he would answer it differently).

The 1962 Missale Romanum has just about the same texts for the Proper chants as you would find in previous editions going back a few centuries. The official source for the music of most of these chants is the Graduale Romanum of 1908, which contains the melodies as revised under Pope St Pius X. However, this reform did not only modify the music, but also changed a small number of textual readings to conform them to the preferred early manuscripts. These changes were never incorporated into subsequent editions of the Missale Romanum, so there have since been occasions when the words spoken by the priest at the altar do not coincide with those sung by the choir.

This is not a very urgent change, and fits into the category of almost imperceptible improvements advocated by Fr Hunwick. It would probably only be objectionable to those who would rather use the pre-Solesmes chant editions (which were, depending upon your perspective, the living tradition unsullied by Solesmes' antiquarianism, or its battered remains in the aftermath of the Renaissance musical reforms).

Joseph Shaw said...

Yes, Christopher, that's what I meant. Every now and then you come accross 'Cum' in the Missal and 'Dum' in the chant books, for example. Not hugely urgent but a highly anomolous situation even so.

Another bizarre thing I discovered with chant texts is that in a very small number of cases (eg St Joseph the Worker) the text uses the Pius XII Psalter. Its extremely brief active life has left a mark on the liturgy which should logically be expunged.

Roll on 2062 as David suggests, when all these things can be sensibly addressed without causing heart attacks, schism, bloodshed, heaven knows what else!

John F H H said...

Rubricarius wrote:
Reading the 'blogosphere' it seems there is a general swell of opinion against the obnoxious 1950s messing up of Holy Week - about time says I.

Leaving aside the size of the "general swell of opinion", I am intrigued to know precisely why those in favour of the pre-1955 rites of Holy Week are so dis-enamoured of the reforms of that year.

Holy Saturday had been revised in 1951, and it was on the back of the widespread acceptance of that rite that the rest followed.

It is not clear whether those who clamour for pre-1955 actually mean pre-1951?

To restore the Vigil to its place so that the First Mass of Easter begins about midnight seemed eminently sensible.
So, likewise, the transfer of Maundy Thursday to the early evening, the restoration of the Chrism Mass, and moving the Good Friday Liturgy to the afternoon.

I am not so sure about the abolition of the triple-candle, bearing in mind, as Fortescue [The Holy Week Book 1913] points out, that its original purpose was probably to ensure the flame was not blown out on the way into church from the new fire, coupled with the large size and immoveability of mediæval paschal candles!

Nor am I sure that the changes from the very late sixties to date are an improvement, other than increasing the number of lessons possible at the Vigil, and the rotating synoptic Passions on Palm Sunday. Permission for a "semi-solemn" rite was also a welcome change.

In particular, the moving of blessing the baptismal water to after the Gospel,the abolition of colour changes (as I have mentioned in an earlier comment),
were, inter alia, not, IMHO, "improvements"...rather unnecessary simplfications.

But I digress. To return to my main question. What is it about the pre-1955 rites which maake some so desirous of their restoration?

Kind regards,

John U.K.

Rubricarius said...


The 1951 form of the Easter Vigil was experimental and was celebrated just that year. In 1952 a second form appeared, with some further modifications, including the addition of 'Lauds' at its end. This again was experimental and optional so churches like the Birmingham and Brompton Oratories didn't celebrate it. This form was then extended for a further three years to be replaced by the mandatory form contained in the rite accompanying Maxima Redemptionis.

Strange services at even stranger times IMHO. One wonders what was so wrong with the time, or other attributes, of Palm Sunday to merit its butchery.

Waugh's comments on these changes are well known and I would add nothing to them.

carl said...

Christopher and Joseph,

Thanks for the explanation, but it raises even more questions for me. Please excuse my ignorance.

1) (To make sure I understand your answer) So the discrepancies are minor textual things (like a word here or there), and not entirely different texts?

2) The Graduale Romanum of 1908. Is the Graduale not updated with each new MR? Why would one update the Graduale but not the Missal? Was the 1908 Graduale part of the reform started from the vision of Tra le sollecitudine?

And now marginally related things this is bringing up in my mind:

3) I have the Graduale Triplex for the OF. How different are the texts in here from those for the Graduale Romanum for the EF? Is the only difference between a Graduale Triplex and a Graduale Romanum the funny old-style music notation that's added along with the neumes?

4) I have been trying to translate hymns of the Liturgia Horarum for which I can find no translation into English. If I posted the Latin and my version on my blog, would anyone be inclined to help me improve upon it, so that at my seminary we can start singing proper hymns, and not inane songs from the 70s?

Christopher said...


Interesting that you bring up the Pius XII Psalter in this context. It’s certainly an anomaly, but then again, the Graduale is already full of different textual traditions, so I can’t see what harm yet another one does in principle. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder of the origins of certain chants and feasts in that rather special pre-conciliar period. That said, I wouldn’t mourn its passing, and there may be very good reasons for change in individual cases. But we must tread carefully here, because we just might end up with everything conformed to the Nova Vulgata, a process that has already begun in the 1974 Graduale.

Christopher said...


No problem.

1: Yes.

2: Actually, the Vatican has not issued a new editio typica of the Graduale since 1908 (it remains the official source of chants in the OF, although with additions and rubrical changes as supplied by the Ordo Cantus Missae (2nd ed., 1982)). Of course new chants had to be provided for new feasts - perhaps someone else could explain how these were officially promulgated? None of the editions published by other people (e.g. Solesmes) constituted a new editio typica, although they did incorporate necessary additions to the 1908 repertoire. I can’t tell you why the Missal was never updated after 1908. The 1908 Graduale is connected to the vision of Tra le sollecitudine, but something like it would probably have been created anyway, since the superiority of the Solesmes editions upon which it was based was becoming quite widely accepted by the end of Leo XIII’s papacy.

3: The Graduale Triplex is (apart from the squiggles and a few missing rhythmical signs) identical to the 1974 Graduale Romanum (which is itself the sum of the 1908 Graduale, the Solesmes rhythical signs, and the Ordo Cantus Missae (1st ed.)). So its chants can often be used in the older rite - but it would be foolhardy not to check an older Graduale or a Liber usualis first, since many chants have been added, expunged, or moved to different days, and there are a handful of less obvious changes.

I sincerely hope that doesn’t leave you more confused than before... I'll leave your last question to someone who knows more about such things. My best wishes for your studies - we could do with more priests who understand the Graduale Triplex! I can’t help wondering where the nearest place is where seminarians get ordained after asking questions like these...

carl said...


Thank you, it is a good deal clearer now.

What is the Ordo Cantus Missae? I looked it up, and I understand it as a rough equivalent to the IGMR or IGLH, but for the music at Mass. Is this correct?

And, well, I'm not ordained yet..

vetusta ecclesia said...

As far as I can make it out Bugnini "invented" a new "liturgical principle": no changing of vestments during a single celebration. Hence, where the Asperges survives it is administerd in the chasuble; only one type of mitre is worn in pontifical ceremonies; and, most absurdly, the use of white Mass vestments throughout the Easter Vigil rite depite the fact that it is clearly a vigil (purple cope for a vigil office) followed by a festival Mass (white or c.of g.)

Christopher said...


No, the Ordo Cantus Missae isn't the same kind of document as the IGMR. It contains those chants not found in the 1908 Graduale, and rubrics listing the proper chants for each day. Most of these are reproduced exactly in the 1974 & 1979 Gradualia, but unfortunately the important introductory section cannot be found elsewhere; it contains some handy rubrics that few people know about. The Ordo Cantus Missae supplements the IGMR and in a few places even seems to contradicts it; I'm no canonist, so I won't try to explain how they work together. If perchance your library lacks a copy, it's sold online by Paxbook at a fairly trivial price.

carl said...


I'll look around for it, thanks. Figuring out what music to sing, both at Mass and the Office, (in the OF) makes my head hurt like none other. All the contradictions and lack of translations of proper texts can be infuriating.

David Werling said...

It's entirely unfair to characterize as "fundamentalists" those of us who hold everything put forward by the 20th Century Liturgical Movement as suspect. In my experience, those who throw around the word "fundamentalist" do so because they either have no idea what those they are calling "fundamentalist" actually think, or they themselves can not support their own ideology without demonizing those who hold opposing viewpoints.

I'm assuming that you are the former, rather than the latter. With this in mind, please read this:


Traditionalists do not oppose liturgical change. On the contrary we embrace liturgical change that grows organically from the Church's expression of faith. Dom Guéranger, after all, called for an enrichment of the liturgical rites by restoring the whole psalm for the graduals and by expanding the lectionary, but these are done to enrich.

The 20th Century Liturgical Reform, however, is so couched in Modernism and Liberalism, it is extremely difficult to parse out the deep seated tendency of the movement to denude and strip down the teachings of the Church by denuding and stripping down her rites. You, of all people, know this is what happened, not in 1960 or 1969, but beginning nearly from the beginning of the 20th century. For this reason, traditionalists urge caution, and above all time to allow the authentic faith of the people to express itself organically and naturally in the liturgy. This is how the Church came to have the various prefaces, especially for the Sacred Heart, Christ the King. This is how we came to have the feast of the Holy Family.

But it CAME FROM THE BOTTOM, so to speak, from the DEVOTION OF THE PEOPLE. These prefaces and various feasts were not dictated to the people from above, as is the attitude of the whole 20th Century Liturgical Movement that culminated in the grand top-down measure of the novus ordo Missae.

To call the "EF Missal" a "mess", as Mr. Shaw did, is absolutely ridiculous. While Dom Guéranger recognized certain short comings of the liturgical rites and called for rediscovery of certain things to enrich the liturgy, he deeply respected and understood why things evolved as they did over time. While Guéranger loved the liturgy as it was given to him by the Holy Ghost, others here seem, like vandals of the 20th Century Liturgical Movement, to think they know better than the Holy Ghost.

Mr. Shaw, the Church has already had to experience your "carefully constituted panel of experts". It resulted in the novus ordo Missae. Please keep your experts away from the Traditional Latin Mass.

Allow liturgical change to come from the source it has always come: The Holy Ghost who acts through the faithful.

David Werling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.