THURSDAY
October 17, 2002
volume 13, no. 118

The Germs of G.I.R.M.



Part Fifty-Four: Maniple-less and vested in manipulation.

    "Gone altogether is maniple, which is the sign that the priest is actually celebrating Mass. The maniple is taken off when the priest reads the Gospel in Latin during the Traditional Latin Mass. The Mass is suspended at that point for the reading of the epistle and the gospel in the vernacular, as well as for the sermon. The priest puts the maniple back on before he intones or recites the Credo. It is removed during the distribution of Holy Communion, which is not part of the Mass, and after the reading of the Last Gospel during Low Mass (before the prayers after Low Mass, which take place following the conclusion of the Mass itself). The simplification of the priest's vestments is a concession to Protestantism and egalitarianism."

Paragraph 119 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "In the sacristy, the vestments for the priest, the deacon and other ministers are to be prepared to the various forms of celebration: (a) for the priest: the alb, stole and chasuble; (b) for the deacon: the albe, stole and the dalmatic; the dalmatic may be omitted, however, either out of necessity or for less solemnity; (c) for the other ministers: albs or other lawfully approved vestments. All who wear an alb should use a cincture and an amice unless, on account of the type of alb, they are not needed. When there is a procession at the entrance, the following are also prepared: the book of the Gospels; on feast days and Sundays, the censer and boat with grains of incense, if incense is used; the cross to be carried in procession and candlesticks with lighted candles."

Comment and Analysis: Very important changes are signified in this paragraph. Naturally, no reasons are given for the changes, nor can one find review of the history of each article to be worn by a priest or the prayers traditionally said by a priest as he puts on each article before Mass. The cincture and the amice are optional for a priest (and they may be worn by the non-ordained who have some "ministry" to fulfill during the "liturgy"). Gone altogether is maniple, which is the sign that the priest is actually celebrating Mass. The maniple is taken off when the priest reads the Gospel in Latin during the Traditional Latin Mass. The Mass is suspended at that point for the reading of the epistle and the gospel in the vernacular, as well as for the sermon. The priest puts the maniple back on before he intones or recites the Credo. It is removed during the distribution of Holy Communion, which is not part of the Mass, and after the reading of the Last Gospel during Low Mass (before the prayers after Low Mass, which take place following the conclusion of the Mass itself). The simplification of the priest's vestments is a concession to Protestantism and egalitarianism. It is also significant that dalmatic is optional for the deacon, "either out of necessity or for less solemnity." Query: why would anyone want to make the celebration of the Mass less solemn? Good question, wouldn't you say?

   It is important to review what GIRM omits from this paragraph. Consider the descriptions found in The Fulton J. Sheen Sunday Missal and the Father F.X. Lasance The New Roman Missal (none of which are to be found anywhere in GIRM):

    "The Amice: A white linen cloth, square or oblong in shape, which is worn under the Alb, around the neck and covering the shoulders of the priest. Originally, it covered the head and neck, and when a cowl forms part of their habit, Religious still wear the Amice over their heads until they reach the altar. When the priest puts it on, he touches his head, saying, 'Place on my head, Lord, the helmet of salvation in order to repel the assaults of the devil.'" (Sheen)his is too much to ask of modern man, especially modern men who have "updated" their theology. Indeed, most priests today are busy yukking it up with "lay ministers" as they vest hurriedly in their simplified vestments prior to the community's "liturgy."

       Father Lasance included another symbolic meaning of the Amice: "The linen cloth that the soldiers put over Our Lord's head; when thus blindfolded He was mockingly asked who struck Him."

    "The Maniple: A band, of the same color and material as the Chasuble, which is worn on he left arm of the preist. It is styled 'the maniple of weeping and sorrow.' It was originally a handkerchief carried in the left hand." (Sheen)

       Father Lasance included the vesting prayer to be said as the maniple is put on by a priest: "May I deserve, O Lord, to bear the maniple of weeping and sorrow in order that I may joyfully reap the reward of my labors." Its symbolic significance, he noted, was twofold: (a) "The rope whereby Our Lord was led, and the chains which bound His sacred head; (b) an emblem of tears of penance, the fatigue of the priestly office and its joyful reward in Heaven."

    "The Stole: A long band of the same material as the Chasuble, worn around the neck of the priest. It is a mark of the priestly dignity. As the priest puts it on, he prays that 'the robe of immortality' that was lost by original sin may be restored to him on the last day." (Sheen)

       Father Lasance included the full vesting prayer: "Restore to me, O Lord, the state of immortality which I lost through the sin of my first parents and, although unworthy to approach Thy Sacred Mysteries, may I deserve nevertheless eternal joy."

       No sign of such humility in GIRM, huh? Father Lasance described the twofold symbolism of the Stole: "(a) The cords with which Jesus was tied. Worn as it is over the shoulders, it reminds us, too, of the Cross Our Lord carried; (b) A reminder of the Yoke of Christ. The priest's burden is a heavy one, which Christ nevertheless makes sweet and light."

    "The Alb: A wide linen robe reaching to the feet and covering the whole body. The world 'Alb' is derived from the Latin, alba, or white vestment. The vesting prayer is: 'Make me white, O Lord, and cleanse my heart; that being made white in the blood of the Lamb I may deserve an eternal reward.'" (Lasance) Its dual significance: "(a) The garment which which Herod clothed Our Lord; (b) signifies the purity of conscience demanded of God's priest." (Lasance)

       "The cincture [rendered merely optional in the Novus Ordo by GIRM]: The cincture, or girdle, is a cord of linen fastened about the waist to confine the alb. The vesting prayer is: 'Gird me, O Lord, with the cincture of purity, and quench in my heart the fire of concupiscence, that the virtue of continence and chastity may abide in me.'" (Lasance) Symbolic significance: "(a) The cord that bound Our Lord to the pillar when He was being scourged; (b) symbolizes modesty, and also readiness for hard work in God's service." (Lasance)

    "The Chasuble: The chasuble is the outer and chief vestment of the priest. It is essentially the Mass vestment and is now exclusively reserved to the priest. The vestment is familiar to all by reason of the cross usually embroidered on it. The word 'chasuble' is derived from the Latin, casula, a little house. The ancient vestment completely enveloped the priest, and was somewhat like a tent. The vesting prayer is: 'O Lord, who hast said, "My yoke is sweet and my burden light," grant that I may so carry it as to merit Thy grace." (Lasance) Symbolic significance: (a) The purple cloak worn by Our Lord when He stood before Pilate; (b) an emblem of love. When the ordaining bishop gives it to the new priest, he says: 'Receive the priestly garment, for the Lord is powerful to increase in you love and perfection.'" (Lasance)

   The Traditional Roman Rite required a priest to be recollect about what he did even as he was vesting for the celebration of Holy Mass. The new rite, however, omits the history and the meaning of the vestments worn by priests, making optional certain vestments which have a venerable and ancient tradition rich in a sense of humility and unworthiness to approach the altar of God. Revolutionaries desire to wipe away the memory of the past, and this is done quite effectively in GIRM. The traditional rite requires the priest to be serious about the hard work, the laborious effort, if you will, required of its rubrics. The new rite gives rise to the sort of spiritual sloth written about extensively by Father Chad Ripperger recently in The Latin Mass: A Chronicle of Catholic Culture.

Paragraph 120 of GIRM reads as follows:

    "Once the people have gathered, the priest and ministers, clad in their vestments, go to the altar in this order: (a) the thurifer with the lighted censer, if incense or a censer is desired; (b) the ministers who carry lighted candles, and between them an acolyte or other minister with the cross; (c) acolytes and other ministers; (d) a reader, who may carry the Book of the Gospels elevated slightly. The Lectionary is never carried in procession; (e) the priest who is to celebrate the Mass. If incense is used, the priest puts some in the censer before the procession begins and blesses it with the sign of the cross in silence.

Comment and Analysis: Yes, it is the case in the High Mass of the Traditional Roman Rite that there is a thurifer and cross-bearer and altar boys holding lighted candles. However, they are not "ministers." They are not referred to as ministers. There is no reader. There is no Book of the Gospels to carry. And there are not "other ministers," namely, lay people to distribute Holy Communion, to join them in procession. The entrance procession of the Novus Ordo is designed of its nature to include as many lay people as possible, thereby giving all the laity a sense that they are "represented" by their peers in the sanctuary. However, the Mass is not an exercise in representative democracy. It is the offering of the God-Man to the Father at the hands of a man ordained to the priesthood and victimhood of the Chief Priest and Victim of every Mass, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The only sort of "re-presentation" which is supposed to take place in the Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary, not the Masonic notion of constituency representation.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives



Oct 17, 2002
volume 13, no. 118
The Germs of G.I.R.M.
www.DailyCatholic.org
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