Thursday, 18 March 2010

Justfying my quote--Part II

As Schola Master and Choir Director for the former Toronto Apostolate of the FSSP, I have been quoted in The current edition of The Catholic Register. A friend from Rome has written asking that I justify and clarify me comments:

“The Extraordinary Form is the fullest form of Catholic worship to God,” wrote David Domet, 53. “It is how the Mass was celebrated in Rome for over 1,500 years: it was only codified… at (the 16th-century Council of) Trent to promote uniformity in the rite. The roots of this (liturgy) are (in) the Temple in Jerusalem… The said or sung propers, the psalms of the Mass, connect us with the roots of our faith… When I sing the Gregorian chant and chant the psalms, it is the closest thing we know to the manner in which our Lord Himself would have heard and sung the psalms.”
Part the Second: The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is how the Mass was celebrated at Rome for over 1,500 years, it was only codified at the Council of Trent

How many scholars have already addressed this question and yet I find myself needing to defend my statement. Father Adrian Fortescue, Monsignor Klaus Gamber, Dom Guéranger, Reverend Dr. Alcuin Reid, Father Jonathan Robinson, layman Michael Davies all experts in the questions of liturgy. Who am I to even think of writing an essay on these matters when such great work exists from these?

But I made a statement and I shall justify it myself and then refer you to writers much more knowledgeable and scholarly than I could ever hope to be.

As discussed in Part the First, the Mass grew out of the Temple worship in Jerusalem. Following the issuance of the motu proprio SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM many opposed to the spread of the usus antiquior and most, if not all in the media, referred to the "Latin Mass" (which is incorrect because the Ordinary Form is always able to be celebrated in Latin) as dating from the Council of Trent in 1570. If this is true, then what existed prior to Trent?

As discussed in Part the First, the Mass as we have it today is from apostolic times; though clearly the liturgy developed. The Roman Canon of the Mass (the First Eucharistic Prayer in the Ordinary Form) dates from the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great d.604 and remains unchanged from the Te igitur to the Amen.

The fact is, it is not true that the so-called Tridentine Mass was written at Trent. It was codified or made the standard at the Council of Trent for the Latin Rite--the western Church except for a few minor exceptions.

It was in 1440, 130 years before Trent that Johannes Gutenburg
invented the printing press. Up to that time, the Holy Bible and the liturgical books of the Church were compiled by hand; laboured on for years by monks through the monasteries of Europe. There value in today's terms would be in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In many cases, a monk may have made additions or deletions to certain liturgical books some by accident, some by intent but not necessarily maliciously. There were different religious orders that had their own specific liturgies. In England the Mass was celebrated as it was at Salisbury Cathedral and was known as the Sarum Rite. In northern Italy, primarily around Milan, their is still to this day the Milanese or Ambrosian Rite and in southern Spain the Mozarabic Rite from the Christian Arabs there at the time of the Moors. Other rites and modifications existed throughout Europe. How long did a papal order take to get from Rome to Scandinavia or Ireland to say nothing of the New World?

One of the decrees arising from the Council of Trent was the imposition of the Mass as it was celebrated at Rome and in fact, the Curia Mass itself; hence the Roman Missal. The Tropes at the Kyrie (to return in the penitential rite in the Ordinary Form) were eliminated as were the multiplicity of Sequence options reduced to five (now three in the OF) and inconsistently used across Europe. Incorporated was the preparatory prayer said by the Priest and his Server on their way to the Altar to the beginning for all, the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Other small changes occurred and this order was to be said by all priests in the Latin Rite. Mass was celebrate differently almost everywhere. Unless the Rite existed for over 200 years, as in the case of the Ambrosian and Mozarabic, the Carmelite and Domincan Rites and probably the Sarum Rite had England not gone into heresy and schism by Henry VIII all had to conform to this ancient Mass as it was celebrate in Rome since at least the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great. While the Roman Mass as we have it today dates from this time, the Canon of the Mass dates at least from the fourth century and is referred to by St. Ambrose of Milan substantially the same as that of the Roman Canon or First Eucharistic Prayer in the Ordinary Form and the only Canon in the Extraordinary Form.
The promulgation of a consistent and unified liturgy in what became the Roman Missal was necessary for missionary work, church unity and to rise to the challenge of the protestants. Discipline, education, consistency and holiness were necessary and the printing press together with the creation of seminaries helped bring this about.

Those who have taken the position that the Mass was composed at Trent usually tend to be Protestant or Evangelical Christians. It is something expected from Jack Chick that the Mass is nothing more than a renaissance Roman creation. Those who embraced the so-called "spirit of Vatican II" took up this same position, that the Mass dated from Trent. Why would these reformers betray the truth and scholarly evidence to unite themselves to a position taken by enemies of the Church for centuries? For Catholics to take such a position is simple ignorance at best and a betrayal at worst.

Read the Documents of the Second Vatican Council. Read the writings of those quoted above or the link on the Canon to the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

You don't need to take my word for it.

Part III:d


Anonymous said...

I am a new reader, who recently stumbled across your blog (I think by way of Father Z). I must say that because of your playlist, I have now fallen in love with the Tallis Scholars. I recently bought one of their albums. If you have any further recommendations, please let me know! Thank you again for writing.

Vox Cantoris said...

Hello Agnes of Rome,

Thank you for writing and for your own blog which I found through your message; and welcome home to the true Church of Christ-Universal!

Ah, The Tallis Scholars. I saw them a few years ago here in concert in Toronto but I've been a fan for decades. Have you heard their presentation of the 40 voice motet by Tallis which is also on the playlist?

I recommend anything by the composer Palestrina particular those sung by the Westminster Cathedral Choir.

Given this is Holy Week don't forget Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Jesu Membra Nostri by Dietrich Buxtehude.

Then of course their is Sicut Cervus by Palestrina, O Magnum Mysterium by Victoria, the Three, Four and Five Voice Masses by William Byrd and of course his Ave Verum Corpus, Ne Irascaris Domine and Civitas Sancti Tui...then there is...

Well, you get the picture!