28 June 2022

The Gallican Rite

Most people with such interests know Dom Gregory Dix's 'purple passages' by heart. But there are other gems, evocative of times and places, little known ...

Dix cites a Gallican Preface about S Saturninus of Toulouse:

"It is very meet and right ... especially are we bound at this time to exalt with due honour the blessed Saturninus, the conclamantissimus witness of thine awful name: whom the mob of the heathen when they thrust him from the temple thrust also into heaven. Never the less thine high-priest sent forth from Eastern regions to the city of the Tolosatians, in this Rome of the Garonne as Vicar of Thy Peter fulfilled both his episcopate and martyrdom ..."

Dix comments:

"'This Rome of the Garonne'! There is all the Frenchman's deep and tender feeling for his pays natal behind the deliciously absurd phrase. And how little French provincial catholicism has changed in its spirit and taste in all the fourteen centuries or so since this was written! The pretentious language in such homely Latin of many of these Gallican prayers is the equivalent of the heavy white marble statues, the gilt wire stands of ferns and the innumerable overwrought candlesticks and devotional bric-a-brac that express the real pride and affection of les paroissiens for the parish churches of the smaller country towns of France to this day."

And, commenting on the old Gallican Rites, Dix writes that they "plainly indicate that the end was not very far off when Charlemagne so abruptly hastened it. The barbarous boisterous Merovingian Latin in which they were composed would never have suited the clerks of the Carolingian renaissance, no Ciceros in reality but very proud of their culture, and certainly incomparably better educated than their predecessors only fifty years before. These clumsy old prayers have indeed a moving kind of poetry of their own, rather like that of the surviving fragments of the Frankish epics. But quite apart from their barbarisms of syntax and accidence, they bear very plainly written in their substance the marks of their own times, and could never have served another. ..."

Shape pp 581sqq will give you more!

As Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out, rites can die out if they fall out of use; if those who used them cease to exist.. I urge sound Catholics never to use the new Eucharistic Prayers invented in the 1960s.

Even if their promulgation was juridically valid, our disuse can consign them unde negant redire quemquam. 


Joshua said...

To be honest, I quite like Eucharistic Prayer III, which is transparently the final revision of Canon B, compiled by Don Cipriano Vagaggini (1909-1999) and published in his “The Canon of the Mass and Liturgical Reform” (English ed. 1967).

There is an illuminating side by side comparison of Canon B and E.P. III kindly made available online as a pdf at this link:


Matthew F Kluk said...

I'm always irritated at any Mass when the priest will preach in circles for 12 or 15 minutes, and then use Eucharistic Prayer II. To my mind they're saying "Whatever I have to say is more important than the words surrounding the Consecration."

IanW said...

Hear him (Matthew, not the Priest)!

John F H H said...

Thank you, Joshua, for the link to EPIII

Prayerful said...

I quite like the neo-Gallican uses. I've a missal of Toulouse (approbation of the French Crown and the ill-fated +Lomonie de Brienne and a hand missal (4 vols) of the Use of Paris. The Sunday lectionary seems the same and there are some interesting local Saints. There's no crudity of Latin there nor 'Jansenism' (whatever that term then even meant barring annoying Louis XVI and his Jesuit confessors) which was alleged of them.

Dom Dix was so right in a way. A lively, fiercely meant crudeness of expression can be a better thing than flat, correct style.

If the old about EP1 only for Sunday could be enforced with the NOM (years ago an ailing PP who wore fine lace rochets, Hermenuetic of Continuity avant la lettre managed it without issue), but that's about as likely as dear Pope Francis expressing himself in an orthodox manner. EP3 certainly isn't bad as Joshua has said above.

JOSEPH said...

Permission for the Roman Canon to be said in the vernacular was given in 1967,

but even before that point, there were various individuals and groups who were calling for either a revision of the Canon in light of its numerous ‘defects’,
Iam confused?? was there still only the roman canon an no other Eucharistic Prayers?, and is the roman canon we use now the original? still trying to learn,Joseph.