December 17-23, 2001
volume 12, no. 161

The Germs of GIRM

Part Thirty-four: Awash in Ambiguity

    Paragraph 74 of GIRM reads as follows:
    "The procession bringing the gifts is accompanied by the liturgical song for the preparation of the gifts, which continues at least until at least the gifts have been placed on the altar. The rules for this liturgical song are the same as for singing the entrance antiphon (see n. 48). The liturgical song may always be associated with the offertory rites."
    Comment and Analysis:

    What's this? The word "offertory" is actually used? Just another example of the schizophrenia noted above. One can positivistically refer to the beginning of the "Liturgy of the Eucharist" as the Preparation of the Gifts or as the Offertory. There is one little problem with this, however: the traditional Offertory, as noted earlier, communicated the nature of what was being offered: a propitiatory sacrifice of the Son to the Father in Spirit and in Truth. The sense of the sacred is lessened, not enhanced, in most instances in the Novus Ordo given the fact that most of the music composed for it is anthropocentric and profane, not Christocentric and sacred.

    Paragraph 75 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "The bread and wine are placed on the altar by the priest who accompanies the gestures with the approved formula; the priest may incense the gifts placed upon the altar, and then he may incense the cross and the altar itself. The incensation is a symbol of the Church's offering and prayer going up like incense, in the sight of God. Next, the priest, on account of his sacred ministry, and the people because of their baptismal dignity, may be incensed by the deacon or by another minister."
    Comment and Analysis:

    All well and good, except for the fact that the "approved formula" has been, as demonstrated earlier, simplified dramatically. A common abuse in the Novus Ordo, which probably originated in some liturgical workshop (and is actually taught in some seminaries), involves the offering of the bread and wine together, omitting even the few prayers composed by the members of the Consilium. GIRM does not specifically mandate that the two elements be "presented" separately, giving the revolutionaries the Pharisaical opening they will use to justify their continued alteration of even the formulae found in the "simplified" Novus Ordo.

    Paragraph 76 of GIRM reads as follows: "The priest then washes his hands at the side of the altar, as an expression of his desire to be cleansed internally."     Comment and Analysis:

    Even the Lavabo, the washing of the priest's fingers, has been sanitized, pun intended. Consider the prayer the priest utters during the Lavabo in the Traditional Latin Mass with the prayer contained in the Novus Ordo:

    "I will wash my hands among the innocent: and will compass Thine altar, O Lord. That I may hear the voice of praise: and tell of all Thy wondrous works. I have loved, O Lord, the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwelleth. Take not away my soul, O Lord, with the wicked: nor my life with men of blood. In whose hands are iniquities: their right hand is filled with gifts. But as for me, I have walked in my innocence; redeem me, and have mercy on me. My foot hath stood in the right way; in the churches I will bless Thee, O Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen."
    As anyone with a modicum of honesty can plainly see, God, Who is deserving of that which is beautiful and transcendent, is more fittingly honored in the prayers and gestures of the Traditional Latin Mass. The Mass of the first three centuries was necessarily simpler as the Church was essentially underground. It was not long after she emerged from the catacombs following the Edict of Milan that the Mass began to grow in its beauty and ornateness, as the faithful desired to give God the sort of honor and glory which could not be given when they were looking over their shoulders for the Roman authorities. To return to the simpler rites, as Pope Pius XII noted in Mediator Dei in 1947 is to deny glory to God and grace to His Church, results which, sadly, are palpable in the wake of nearly forty years of liturgical revolution and improvisation.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

Monday, December 31: Part Thirty-six: The Secret is Out!

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December 17-23, 2001
volume 12, no. 161
CHRIST or chaos
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