17 February 2023

Repetition of the Sexagesima Mass

 After my words about the repetition of the Sexagesima Mass on ferial weekdays, wise and intelligent friends have asked the obvious question: "Why don't you just use Votives?".

Respectfully, I disagree with the implications here. Votives are not provided simply to enable presbyters to avoid the old Sunday Masses. It's more that ... Ah; I think Adrian Fortescue has put it better than I can: 

"The liturgical student cannot but regret that we so seldom use the old offices which are the most characteristic, the most Roman in our rite, of which many go back to the Gelasian or even Leonine book. And merely from an aesthetic point of view there can be no doubt that the old propers are more beautiful than modern compositions. It is these old propers that show the austere dignity of our liturgy, that agree in feeling with the Ordinary and Canon, happily still unaltered."

Some of the disiecta membra of some of those ancient Roman propers, Prayers and Readings, survive, scattered around in the Novus Ordo. But it is in the loss of the entire Masses in the Authentic Form of the Roman Rite that I feel the biggest wound inflicted by the liturgical innovations of the 1960s.

In fact, those words supra from Fortescue explain, for me, precisely what is most wrong with the actual texts of the Bugnini Rite. 

Sexagesima, from its Introit onwards, recalls the dying agonies of the Roman Empire: the death of S Gregory's predecessor as Pope from water-born disease after the floods; the incursions of the Lombardic slavers. So, on Sexagesima, the People of Rome went to the Basilica of the Teacher of the Gentiles, one of the three great churches which, like sentinels, guarded the City with the suffrages of its three greatest Saints. The sermons Pope Gregory the Great preached on the three 'Gesima' Sundays, explaining in particular the choice of the Gospel readings, still survive and are still illuminating.

Rather as we also might do in our own time of wars and earthquakes, the Roman Christian called upon the Almighty for mercy in such terrible days. Sexagesima was in the liturgical books which S Augustine probably brought to Canterbury (vide Orchard, HBS Leofric, Vol I page 131) and copies of which were undoubtedy used in England for nearly a millennium. In partial form, indeed, Sexagesima lasted for much more than a millennium: even Thomas Cranmer in 1549 preserved Sexagesima, and the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel remained substantially the same. In 1649, when (in Dix's words), "medieval England came to its final end", Bishop Juxon read the Sexagesima propers when he gave King Charles I his last Holy Communion as the regicides met in their 'Parliament' to abolish the Monarchy and the Church of England. (Did you know that in 1649, in the Julian Calendar, January 30 came within Sexagesima week?)

When, after the Parting of Friends, S John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey walked separately in Birmingham and Oxford, they both still kept Sexagesima. The imprisoned Anglican priests of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England observed Sexagesima, just as the heroic Catholic martyrs had done during the long and bloody penal centuries.

A Papacy which, by the stroke of a pen, thinks it can prohibit the Liturgy of 1,500 and more years, is an expression, not of service to the Church, but of arrogant repudiation of that Church. The persistent lie that the older rite "dates only from 1570" should be shown up for the piece of shameless (if spectacular) mendacity which it truly is.

I can think of nothing more utterly ridiculous than any notion that men like Bergoglio and Roche should consider themselves Lords of the Liturgy (Cfr Ratzinger Spirit pages 165-6), omnicompetent not only to abandon the Roman Rite themselves, but even to pretend to forbid the Holy People of God to use it. 

Such mighty hubris; such gross, overweening pomposity. 



Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. The arrogance of the moderns are a wonder to behold. That is one reason the Papal Oath, with its promises, was jettisoned.

Sure, tradition means passing along what one has received but when one is clearly superior in all ways to one's predecessors such promises are shackles from which they liberated their own wonderful selves.

Fr. Ripperger has written about how that arrogance, with its resultant novelties, are sins against Faith, Home and Charity.

Grant Milburn said...

Do Roche, Bergoglio and the others not get it? They are CARETAKERS of the Liturgy, not LORDS of the Liturgy.

They have no more right to tamper with its sacred forms than the guys who clean the loos at the National Gallery have the right to remove the paintings in the Gallery, and replace them with their own daubings!

Albertus said...

''I can think of nothing more utterly ridiculous than any notion that men like Bergoglio and Roche should consider themselves Lords of the Liturgy... omnicompetent not only to abandon the Roman Rite themselves, but even to pretend to forbid the Holy People of God to use it.'' Noone has ever expressed it better than you here, Father. To me, and to many others, the mindset of any churchman who would forsake and even forbid the handed-down rites which ultimately come to us in unbroken line of development from the Apostles and Our Lord Himself (as Fortescue lays out in his book on the Liturgy), is an unfathonable riddle wrapped in a mystery of enigmatic evil.

E sapelion said...

Of course all the words used by the priest in the 1570 liturgy are older, even the prayers at the Offertory were there for more than 200 years. But the imposition of the rubrics of, in effect, a chantry Mass as the normative form is a novelty. No parish Sunday Mass anywhere (including Rome) would previously have treated all the parts of the Mass except those performed by the priest as merely duplications without sacramental effect.
The Council (of Trent) demanded expounding of at least a portion of the texts as a norm, and also urged that "all present" should partake of the consecrated elements.

coradcorloquitur said...

These arrogant iconoclasts feel entitled to destroy, in this order, the liturgy, the moral teaching and finally the doctrine of the Faith because too many Catholics swallowed the immoral, lethal pill of blind obedience---the master-stroke of Satan. Had more earlier on into the Montinian Revolution done what early fighters for the traditional Faith and Mass---like Michael Davies, Walter Matt, and Archbishop Lefebvre, to name only very few---did, possibly the Maelstrom might have been detained. But it was easy (and stupid) to bask in the deceptive warmth of being "obedient" than doing the hard and unglamorous work of resisting heretics of all ranks at every step and everwhere.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Not a few of us Catholics have opposed changes in the prayers of Our Holy Holocaust/Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for various reasons - ecumenism , hurt feelings of those not Catholic etc - but the vast majority of those same people are jake with the former Pope Benedict and his changing of the Good Friday prayer. despite the advocacy of some members of the Curia , quite some time ago, that it not be changed.

The same valid reasons for not changing it back then had not changed when the deceased Pope changed the prayer;

The Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1928 approved of the proposed reform, i.e., to remove perfidous from the prayer for the conversion of the Jews. The matter was then referred to the Holy Office.

The Theologian of the Papal Court, Marco Sales O.P., responded that the prayer is so old that it should not be changed. He also said that it is a well that has no bottom, i.e., that if you make this change, many other will be demanded by using the same principle.

But Cardinal Merry del Val, whom St. Pius X considered a living saint, who was then Secretary of the Holy Office, responded with yet greater negativity. He said that what the Amici Israel wanted was no longer the conversion of the Jews, but the crossing of the Jews from the kingdom of the Father to the kingdom of the Son. In other words, in such a scheme, it would not be necessary that Jews repudiate Judaism in order to be considered Christians. The Cardinal said that such a position was unacceptable. He said that the prayer for the Jews in the Mass of the Presanctified was venerable for its antiquity, and that it was something that could not be reformed.

The prayers of our sacred liturgy were changed for political reasons and no matter what one thinks or thought of Pope Benedict XVI that was an egregious error by him.

I am trying to chase down the quote (I remember it being attributed to a Pope) that was something to effect that IF the prayer was changed it would be a confession that we had erred in our Sacred Liturgy.

JOSEPH said...

We have a Dogma, The Romam Canon!