7 November 2010

The Preparation Before Mass ... again ...

Every morning we say to our Lady: " ... et mihi, misero peccatori, et sacerdotibus omnibus, hic et in tota sancta Ecclesia hodie offerentibus, clementer assistere digneris ...".

I presume the hic takes us back to the happy days of busy altars; when priests queued up to say their Masses; when all around a church was the Missarum sacra murmuratio and the occasional sound of bells. Happily, the current Code of Canon Law made the saying of Mass without the presence of a lay person to answer rather easier; hitherto you needed a gravis causa; now a iusta causa will do, and Bishop Peter Elliott (who did his seminary training at the same place, S Stephen's House, as I did) explains in his Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite, that a priest's desire to maintain the discipline of the daily Mass is a thoroughly iusta causa. Our Holy Father has continually emphasised the importance, in the Latin Church, of this discipline. Yet so few clergy seem to celebrate except when there is a pastoral need for them to do so. How depressing.

O'Connell gives in detail the decrees of the SRC about how you celebrate without a person to serve or answer, in the EF; it's all very common sense. And the Novus Ordo rubrics also provide for this possibility. Is the spirituality and discipline of the daily Mass in the life of a priest properly inculcated in modern seminaries?

4 comments:

Joshua said...

Pressure to concelebrate takes away devotion.

The most recent crop of seminarians and young priests, being more conservative, know about devotion to saying Mass every day; but many in the last few decades haven't this notion at all, let alone, horror of horrors, the idea of saying a private Mass - how Luther would have been pleased!

Then again, I recall the story of a Jesuit in Melbourne who was appointed parish priest of at their church in Hawthorn; he ingenuously remarked how much benefit he had received from saying daily Mass, which he never had done before...

Contrast that with two Dominicans in Melbourne, who had no public Masses to say on Sunday, and just went to a private altar and celebrated one after the other. (Most parish priests in Australia would say three Sunday Masses as a matter of necessity.)

fieldofdreams2010 said...

Thank you for this, Father. It has removed some scruples I have felt about what constitutes a justa causa.

Ager Flandriae said...

At the North American College in Rome, the celebration of private Masses by fifth-year graduate priests is positively discouraged. The rule of life actually states that in spite of the Code of Canon Law permitting private Masses, "the praxis of the house is daily concelebration." Thankfully, a significant number do indeed celebrate privately on a daily basis.

Julio said...

Some with an Eastern persuasion see daily mass as an aberration of the west since the liturgy is supposed to be a communal event. I don't know how true this is.