Friday, March 23, 2012
IN SOME FUTURE REFORM OF THE REFORM OF THE ORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS, IS THERE A CASE TO BE MADE OF RESTORING THE INTROIT (ENTRANCE CHANT) TO ITS TRADITIONAL LOCATION?
I'm not able to provide a historical overview of how the Prayers at the Foot of the altar developed, although I seem to recollect that these were private prayers of the priest and his ministers as they prepared for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Thus these are recited as their preparation for Mass. In the EF's Low Mass these are audible and the 1962 Missal allows for congregational participation. In the Sung Mass, it is permissible for the priest and his ministers to say these quietly as the Introit is sung over them.
Therefore, the Mass technically begins with the singing of the official Entrance Chant which is not optional in the EF Mass and it occurs in the Low Mass (spoken) after the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, but prior to the nine-fold Kyrie. The situation of the Kyrie after the Introit or Entrance Chant tells us that the Kyrie is integral to the Mass and not optional.
However, therein lies the rub with the revised Ordinary Form's Order of the Mass. The Penitential Act is omitted altogether, including the Kyrie, when another rite is used in place of the Penitential Act. Thus the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water replaces the Penitential Act including the Kyrie.
Another odd rubric in the Ordinary Form is for the Nuptial Mass. Although there currently isn't anything to replace the Penitential Act, the rubric states that after the greeting of the Mass, the Penitential Act is omitted and the Gloria sung. (I presume a reform of the Nuptials is being developed where the questions prior to the consent will be asked prior to the Gloria, with the actual vows after the homily, but I'm not clairvoyant, or am I?)
The penitential Act, including the Kyrie, is also omitted in the Requiem Mass when the Body is received at the entrance, sprinkled with Holy Water and covered with the Pall. I find it truly odd that at a Requiem Mass calling for God's mercy on the deceased that the Kyrie is omitted altogether. This is an aberration to say the least.
So, I am proposing for the Reform of the Reform of the Ordinary Form of the Mass the following:
The Penitential Act to become: "Preparation for Holy Mass: Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar"
Once the priest and ministers arrive at the altar (a congregational hymn may accompany this movement) the priest facing the altar, begins with the Sign of the Cross, turns and greets the congregation, turns back to the altar and says or chants the introduction to the Penitential Act which includes the following after a brief silence:
(This would be the standard prayers, all other forms of the Penitential Act would be suppressed:)
A) All: "I Confess..."
B) The absolution: May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
C) The conclusion sentences: Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord. Response: For we have sinned.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy. Response: And grant us your Salvation.
After this, the priest ascends and kisses the altar, the Official Introit (Entrance Chant) is chanted by all or by the schola or cantor alone. The altar may be incensed during the chanting of the Introit.
Immediately following the Introit, the Kyrie and Gloria are chanted with the Collect to follow. The priest may preside from his chair for the Kyrie, Gloria and Collect.
What the restored order of things in my suggestion above accomplishes is two things:
1) There is a legitimate option for a non-Liturgical Hymn to accompany the movement of the priest from the sacristy to the sanctuary, even down the main aisle. It is purely optional and non mandatory.
2) The Preparatory Prayers at the Foot of the Altar although greatly simplified are still prayed as preparation for the Mass. The Introit takes on a purely liturgical role and is always the official chant and the Kyrie is returned to its proper place, never omitted even in a Nuptial or Requiem Mass when the Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar would be omitted.
My contention remains, that we could implement all of this "tomorrow" without printing a brand new Roman Missal immediately, just having a supplement for the "revised order of the Mass" printed immediately. Subsequent printings of the Roman Missal would be revised as needed.
Also, I'm not suggesting any other revisions to the Mass, other than making explicit that ad orientem is preferred but toward the people may be an option for some occasions, such as Requiems or Nuptial Masses when so many non-Catholics are present.
I would go so far as to mandate the singing of the Introit in Latin to preserve our Latin, Gregorian Chant heritage as Vatican II explicitly mandated! It would be very easy to provide the congregation with an English translation of it.
Apart from that, I would revised the following rubrics:
1. The Penitential Act at the Foot of the Altar is said by the priest bowing and the congregation kneeling.
2. Rubrics for the use of the pall for the chalice made explicit and more in line with the EF Mass, that after the Precious Blood is consecrated, any time the pall is removed there is a genuflection.
3. The double genuflections for the consecration and the format of ringing the bells is restored. i.e. after the host is consecrated, the priest immediately genuflects, the bell rung once, then he stands and elevates the host with the bell rung three times and then genuflects again with the bell rung once. This is repeated for the consecration of the Precious Blood.
4. The priest genuflects after the "Per Ipsum..." and singing of the Great Amen.
My clairvoyance tells me this will happen in the near future, but I could be wrong!