26 August 2020

The glory of Mary; and the 'binitarian' genius of the Roman Rite (1)

Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace to men of good will. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory:
   O Lord God, heavenly king, God the Father Almighty; 
   O Lord the only begotten Son, Jesu Christ;  
   O Spirit and dear advocate of orphans. 

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, First-born of Mary the Virgin Mother, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us; thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer to the glory of Mary; Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us. 

For thou only art the Holy One, making Mary holy; thou only art the Lord, ruling Mary; thou only, O Jesu Christ, art the Most High, crowning Mary, with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father. Amen..

For your interest, I have laid out the Gloria in excelsis Deo in an adapted-Cranmer translation, as it was appointed to be sung or said on feasts of our Lady in the Rite of Sarum. I have entered in red the additions made therein to the basic text. This sort of text is called 'farced', and was, I believe, mentioned at the Council of Trent as an example of liturgical corruption! Until at least the time of Leo XIII, that is, comparatively recently, the Missal of S Pius V still retained a rubric specifically indicating that the standard text was to be used even on feasts of our Lady! (Does the removal of this rubric mean that the Marian version is now debanned?!) Personally, I find these additions not unattractive, particularly in the last paragraph.

But you will be panting to point out to me that the first interpolation is nothing to do with the Mother of God; it serves instead to import  the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity in a clause perhaps suggested by the Magnificat Antiphon on Ascension Day. It is designed to 'complete' the parallelism with the references to the other two Persons. Indeed, some earlier texts (Codex Alexandinus; Bangor Antiphonary) had also squeezed the Holy Ghost into this part of the canticle. (It has to be admitted that this trinitarianisation of the first part of the Canticle results in imposing upon the whole formula quite a different structure from that of the unfarced text.)

Understandable. People felt they ought to import the Holy Ghost into more or less everything, as soon as the Dogma of His Divinity had been articulated and Defined ...
 ... oops! I misspoke. I'd better withdraw the objectionable and improper implication that the Dogma was a novelty. I do withdraw it unreservedly. But I'll explain in part (2) how I came to make such a mistake. 


Marco da Vinha said...

The Bragan rite also used the farced Marian Gloria and Te Deum pretty much up until the final revision of the rite in the 1920s.

Dale Crakes said...

Maybe it flowed better in Latin but sounded herky-jerky to my American ear.

Rubricarius said...

Could you please give the rubric Fr?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

O Lor' ... such comments from such a distinguished scholar as Rubricarius, make me wonder if I've made some howler ...

The rubric in my 1903 Dessain Missal, approbatum dates February-March 1900, has, after the Gloria, "Sic dicitur Gloria in excelsis. etiam in Missis beatae Mariae, quando dicendum est."

Jungmann comments: "This rubric was still found in the Ordinary of the Mass in the Missal of Leo XIII, but has apparently been dropped since".

So was the dropping of the rubric an early, programmatic, piece of Modernism by Papa Sarto?

Fortescue, published in 1912, writes as if the rubric still existed in his time.

I await ...

Jesse said...

This chant appears on an album by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge: Gregorian Chant (EMI Classics, 2005). I was a choral scholar there when it was recorded, just starting my PhD, and the director, Stephen Cleobury (cuius animae propitietur Deus), asked me to prepare the performing editions from which the choir would sing.

I proposed that we should record two complete services, Mass and Vespers for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, and that we should reconstruct the texts and melodies from early sixteenth-century printed Sarum chant books of the kind that were probably used in King's College Chapel before the Reformation. I also wanted the choral scholars to attempt an approximation of how early sixteenth-century English singers would have pronounced the Latin words. Mr. Cleobury was a bit taken aback. (He had imagined something along the lines of an easy-listening "greatest hits of Gregorian chant" compilation.) But he nevertheless graciously allowed me to go ahead with the idea. I'll always be grateful for his generosity.

Inspired by your post, Father, I've created a YouTube video of the King's recording of Gloria: Spiritus et alme, illustrated with images from a printed Sarum graduale of 1527, and subtitled with a very slightly altered version of the translation you have given above:


You can actually hear my solo voice at the beginning of the video. I sang all the "priest" parts on the album. (Not among by best performances, I'm afraid. I remember feeling vocally exhausted at the time.)

Fr Ray Blake said...

I showed a couple of icons, one of the Dormition the other of the Anastasia to a Freudian analyst years ago, she immediately looked at the pointed mandorla saying, "Christ is stepping out of a womb".

I dismissed it at the time but looking at these icons again in the light of these farces I wonder if this is actually Byzantine painters gently saying that the Dormition, the Resurrection, Salvation comes through the womb of the Mother of God.