7 November 2009

The Roman Rite of 1965

In 1965 two liturgical texts appeared and were imposed by authority. It was ordered that they be incorporated in the Roman Missal and faithfully observed "ab omnibus".

The first was an Ordo Missae. It was a very lightly revised Order, which nobody could criticise as belonging to a hermeneutic of rupture. Its 'organic' changes were, mainly, the elimination of the psalm Judica (which was not invariably said in the earlier rite) and of the Last Gospel (which also already had its rubrical elements of instability). The Doxology of the Canon and the Libera nos were to be said or sung aloud. Corpus Christ became the form at the administration of Holy Communion to the people - a rite which now became integral to the Order of Mass instead of an occasional appendage. Optionally, the Liturgy of the Word could be done at the sedilia.

I have it on authority which I regard as first-hand and reliable that Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre himself contentedly used this revised Order of Mass for some years, and only reverted to the books of 1962 when it became clear that the rite of 1965 was itself to be superseded by a rite which exemplified rupture rather than continuity. In view of the Decree accompanying this Order of 1965, it seems to me at least arguable that this was the legally correct form of the Old Rite until Benedict XVI in his motu proprio imposed the books of 1962.

A few weeks later, Rome issued an Order for Concelebration to go with the revised Order of Mass. At this point in this post, my post of October 16 0n Sacrosanctum Concilium is deemed to be an essential footnote. That rite of Concelebration presupposed the substantially unspoiled Old Rite of Mass. The concelebrants were to wear all their vestments - including the maniple. They were recommended to hold a paten under the Host after receiving it. But I find most interesting the features of this rite which were forgotten when the Bugnini Mass, and its associated rite of Concelebration, were authorised. The 1965 rubrics were very concerned about the numbers of concelebrants (Bad Marini's book gives background to this particular worry). The bishop was ordered to keep an eye on this. The controlling principle was to be that all the concelebrants be able to stand around the altar, even though each one might not be able directly to touch it. This would exclude some of the monster concelebrations which have become fashionable, not only among RCs but Anglican Catholics (one recalls the great Millennium Mass, and the SSC celebrations a few years ago).

The rite also repeated the Conciliar provision that every priest retains an almost absolute right to say his own separate Mass.

It has, I know, been suggested that this Rite of Concelebration is still legally available to accompany the Traditional Mass.

It seems to me that we traditionalists ought to be open to proper 'organic' development of the Liturgy. At the moment, in the RC Church, traditionalists are naturally so wounded by the traumata of the last 40 years that they need the stability of the 1962 rite in its unmuckedaboutwith state. That is natural. Indeed, in S Thomas's I celebrate it uncorrupted and in accordance with a Calendar even earlier than that of 1962. But in principle, Traditionalism is damaged by being turned into Fundamentalism. Liturgy has always - organically - developed, and, paradoxically, this mutability is part of Tradition. Ultimately, we must free ourselves from unnecessary hangups and a fetich for the rite of some particular year. The standing of the traditional Mass can only be enhanced if its gentle and organic evolution does not automatically and fanatically exclude elements of the Bugnini Mass.

And Concelebration in the circumstances mandated by the Council - see my October 16 post - is one such element.

3 comments:

Nebuly said...

'The controlling principle was to be that all the concelebrants be able to stand around the altar'

To observe this precept would also, I suggest, make Western concelebration usage closer to that of the East.

Rubricarius said...

"In view of the Decree accompanying this Order of 1965, it seems to me at least arguable that this was the legally correct form of the Old Rite until Benedict XVI in his motu proprio imposed the books of 1962."

Why (from a legal point of view)? What was technically wrong with the promulgation of the '1967 rite'? Surely that was what was 'legally correct' until the promulgation of the 1970 Missal? Indeed the 1967 rite was what the infamous 'Heenan indult' to the bishops of England and Wales specified in 1971.

David said...

Part of what turns people against concelebration is surely the fact that it became (in practice) the rather unsatisfactory substitute for the Missa Solemnis Missa Pontificalis with e.g. three priests concelebrating instead of Priest, Deacon and Subdeacon.

The rubrics for Pontifical Mass eliminated the Assistant Priest in cope. The option was provided (and everywhere taken up) of having concelebrants act as honorary deacons leaving only the deacon and subdeacon and the subdeacon went soon after.

Thus Solemn Mass disappeared while Pontifical Mass became Concelebrated Sung Mass with a mitre and, maybe, A deacon, except it was no longer sung.

Sorry Father! Once bitten twice shy.