MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28

The Germs of G.I.R.M.

Part Seventy-four: The Treason of the Text

    "The novelty of weekday readings for every single Mass of the year is to take precedence over traditional readings that have been associated with saints and martyrs. A truly remarkable exercise of arrogance, as is the change of plan for Sunday Mass, which still consists in the Traditional rite of a lesson from the Old Testament or the New Testament and the Gospel. The "restored" liturgy has actually stolen the past from Catholics, bewildering them and making it more difficult for there to be cohesion of preaching during the liturgical year."

Paragraph 354 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "On Sundays, on weekdays during the Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, on feasts, and on obligatory memorials: (1) if Mass is celebrated with a congregation, the priest should follow the calendar of the Church where he is celebrating; (2) if Mass is celebrated without a congregation, the priest may choose either the calendar of the Church or his own calendar."

Comment and Analysis: "Or his own calendar"? Might this mean, in a left-handed sort of way, that a priest is being given permission in GIRM to follow the calendar of tradition? Probably not, but the phraseology is quite interesting. Yes, of course, a priest should follow the calendar of the Church. Go tell that, however, to the legions of priests who do not follow even the new calendar and who live to tell the tale, so to speak, because their bishops never reprimand or discipline them at all."

   Here are the rules for Sunday Masses for the Traditional Latin Mass: "(I) Privileged of Major Sundays of the first class, which never yield precedence to any feast, viz., the first Sunday of Advent, all the Sundays of Lent, Easter, Low Sunday, and Pentecost; (II) Privileged or Major Sundays of the second class, which yield only to double feasts of the first class, are Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, besides the second, third, and fourth Sundays of Advent; (III) Common or Minor Sundays (the remaining Sundays of the year) which yield only to a double feast of the first or second class. When a festival Mass (of a double of the first or second class) is celebrated on A Sunday, a commemoration of the Sunday is made; i.e., the Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion of the Sunday Mass are added to the Mass of the feast and the last Gospel is that of the Sunday." This gave the Catholic who went to Mass only on Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation an opportunity to celebrate at least some of the major feast days of the Church that usually fall on a weekday. Oh, how we have abandoned the wisdom of the past in favor of the specious novelty of the revolutionaries.

Paragraph 355 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "On optional memorials: (a) On the weekdays of Advent from 17 December to 24 December, during the octave of Christmas, and on the weekdays of Lent, except Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week, the priest celebrates the Mass of the day; but the opening prayer may be taken from a memorial listed in the General Calendar for that day, except on Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week; (b) On the weekdays of the Advent season before December 17, the weekdays of the season of Christmas from 2 January, and the weekdays of the season of Easter, the priest may choose either the weekday Mass, or the Mass of a saint, or the Mass of one of the Saints whose memorial is observed or the Mass of a saint listed in the martyrology for that day; (c) On the weekdays in Ordinary Time, the priest may choose either a weekday Mass, or the Mass of an optional memorial of the day, the Mass of a saint listed in the martyrology fo that day, or a Mass for various needs and occasions, or a votive Mass. If he celebrates with a congregation, the priest will take care not to omit too frequently and without sufficient reason the readings assigned for each day in the weekday lectionary. Above all, the Church desires that a richer portion at the table of God's word be provided for the people. For the same reason he should use Masses for the dead sparingly. Every Mass is offered for both the living and the dead, and there is a remembrance of the dead in every Eucharistic prayer. Where the faithful are attached to the optional memory of Mary or the saints, their legitimate devotion should be satisfied. When an option is given between a memorial in the General Calendar and one in a diocesan or religious calendar, the preference should be given, all things being equal and depending on tradition, to the memorial in the particular calendar."

Comment and Analysis: Well, if a priest is aware of the martyrology of the Church (which lists the traditional feast days of saints no longer included in the General Calendar), then he can celebrate that feast in the context of the Novus Ordo. (Although the irony here is quite delicious: as most of those Masses have been untouched even by the Latin editio typica of the Novus Ordo, a priest has to rely upon the Mass propers for those saints no longer included in the General Calendar as they are found in the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V. As we know, though, most priests have difficulty navigating their way through twists and turns of the new calendar, no less actually know the dates of the saints listed on the old calendar).

   GIRM demonstrates its bias in favor of its concoction of a Mass propers for every weekday of the year against what are now called optional memorials, even going so far as to denigrate feasts in honor of Our Lady, saying that these should be celebrated, in essence, only to satisfy the "desire" of the faithful who are attached to them. (That having been noted, I should point out that Pope John Paul II issued in 1980s a Missal with Masses in honor of the various titles of Our Lady, a Missal that is rarely used by diocesan or religious priests who have the obligation to celebrate the Novus Ordo. One priest who has used it, though, says it's typical of what we find in the postconiliar era: "The new Masses in honor of Our Lady! I don't even use them. Their translations are abominable.")

   GIRM also cautions against celebrating Masses for the dead too frequently. Although this is the subject of a later section in GIRM, suffice it to say at this juncture that GIRM's bias against Masses for the dead, when coupled with its bias against black vestments, is a manifestation of the sentiments it expresses in Paragraph 15, where it states that there was a need to change the phraseology of prayers in light of "new insights" about the nature of man. Translation: modern man doesn't want to hear about Death, Judgment, and the possibility of going to Hell for all eternity. Thus, the Mass should be used as a vehicle to talk about those things too much.

Paragraph 356-357 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:

    356: "In the choice of texts for the several parts of the Mass, the following rules are to be observed. They apply to Masses of the season and of the saints."

    357: "Sundays and solemnities have three readings, that is, from the prophet, the apostle, and the gospel. Thus the Christian people are brought to the continuity of the work of salvation according to a wonderful divine plan. These readings are to be adhered to strictly. In the Easter season, according to the tradition of the Church, season, a reading from the Acts of the Apostles is read ni place of the Old Testament. However, two lessons are assigned to feasts. Nevertheless, if a feast is elevated to the rank of a solemnity according to the norms, a third reading is to be added, taken from the Commons. For the memorials of the Saints, unless they have their own propers, readings assigned to the weekday are customarily used. In certain cases, specific readings are provided which throw light on a particular aspect of the spiritual life or activity of the Saint. The use of these readings is not to be insisted upon, unless a pastoral reason might truly suggest it."

Comment and Analysis: The novelty of weekday readings for every single Mass of the year is to take precedence over traditional readings that have been associated with saints and martyrs. A truly remarkable exercise of arrogance, as is the change of plan for Sunday Mass, which still consists in the Traditional rite of a lesson from the Old Testament or the New Testament and the Gospel. The "restored" liturgy has actually stolen the past from Catholics, bewildering them and making it more difficult for there to be cohesion of preaching during the liturgical year.

Paragraphs 358-359 of G.I.R.M. read as follows:

    358: "In the Lectionary for weekdays, readings are provided for every day of every week throughout the year; therefore, these readings are for the most part to be used on the days to which they are assigned, unless a solemnity, feast or memorial occurs having its own New Testament readings, in which there is mention of the Saint celebrated. On occasion the continuous reading during the week is interrupted by the occurrence of a solemnity, or a feast or a particular celebration. In this case the priest, taking into consideration the entire week's plan of readings, is allowed either to combine omitted parts with other readings or to decide which readings are to be preferred. In Masses with special groups, the priest may choose texts more suited to the particular celebration, provided they are taken from the texts of an approved lectionary."

    359: "The Lectionary has a special selection of texts from Scripture for ritual Masses that incorporate certain sacraments or sacramentals, or for Masses that are celebrated by reason of special needs. These selections of readings have been assigned so that by hearing a more pertinent passage from God's word the faithful may be led to a better understanding of the mystery they are taking part in and may be led to a more ardent love for God's word. Therefore the texts for proclamation in the celebration are to be chosen on the basis of their pastoral relevance and the choices allowed in this matter."

Comment and Analysis: This is a clear admonition from the revolutionaries that their novel and radical reconstruction of the readings proclaimed in Holy Mass is to prevail unless there is some reason of "pastoral relevance" to use texts outside of the "weekday plan." Although, as I have noted earlier, a priest celebrating the Mass of tradition does have options on a ferial day, he cannot "mix and match" Masses. The instructions are quite specific as to what he can do. In the Novus Ordo, however, that which is not a fixed rite to begin with demonstrates its instability by relying inordinately on the judgment of the priest or liturgy committee to determine how to "mix and match" various readings. This is not conducive to the well being of the Church Militant on earth.

Paragraph 360 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "Sometimes a longer form and a shorter form of the same text is given. Pastoral criteria must be kept in view wen choosing between these two forms. Moreover, it is important to take into account the capacity of the faithful to listen with benefit to a reading in the longer or shorter form and also their capacity for hearing a more complete text that would then be explained in the homily."

Comment and Analysis: Query, as the late Raymond Burr frequently said while portraying the fictional Chief Robert T. Ironside. Query: if it is necessary to shorten a long reading (and some of the readings included in Daily Mass in the Novus Ordo are extraordinarily long), then why have the long readings to begin with? The Missal of Pope Saint Pius V showed it had a great understand for the aptitude of the people. It was entirely responsive to pastoral needs. However, GIRM demonstrates a characteristic common to many revolutionaries: a claim to understand "the needs of the people" when in fact they are projecting onto the people their ideological designs.

Paragraph 361 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "However, when the option is given for selecting a text, or even for a free choice between one or another texts that are laid down or merely suggested, attention should be paid to what is best for those participating. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a text which is easier or more appropriate for a congregation, or repeating or setting aside a text more properly assigned to a particular celebration when the pastoral good of the people so suggests. In fact, it may happen that the same text is repeated on days close to one another, e.g., on a Sunday and then on one of the weekdays which follow, or when there is concern that a certain text may raise some difficulties in a given group of the Christian faithful. Nevertheless, caution must be observed lest parts of the Sacred Scripture are permanently excluded as a result in the selection of texts."

Comment and Analysis: There are two salient points to be made here. The first concerns the fact that the Church has taught traditionally that repetition of texts is a good thing, which is why the Sunday Mass is repeated on a ferial day outside of Lent. We need to be hit on the heads with a two-by-four over and over and over again. Now, however, this is considered to be some major flaw. For all of their professed "understanding" of the pastoral needs of the people, the authors of GIRM don't understand that many daily communicants, some of whom are hard of hearing, don't pay the slightest attention to the readings in Mass. They do not remember the readings. They have more of a chance to pay attention when the readings are repeated (and when they are following in their hand Missal, as most traditional Catholics do who attend the Mass of our fathers on a daily basis).

   Secondly, when GIRM alleges that certain passages from Scripture may "raise some difficulties in a given group of the Christian faithful," it has to be pointed out that no one who loves God as He has revealed Himself through His true Church can be offended by the Word of God, unless, that is, he is an ideologue who has not been properly catechized, especially in the context of the Mass. Let's be brutally frank: GIRM is referring to feminists, who don't like Saint Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians and homosexuals. Here are the two passages which GIRM does not specify but are the ones likely to "raise difficulties" with Catholics unwilling to submit to the Church as Our Lord submitted to the authority of His foster-father, Saint Joseph.

    "Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord: Because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. He is the savior of his body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it." (Eph. 5:22-25).

   No, we can't have any of that in Catholic parishes these days, now can we?

   Here is the other passage, one that riles the homosexuals no end (and is not included in the Novus Ordo's lectionary whatsoever):

    "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. And as they liked not have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers. Detractors, hateful to God, contumeloius, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them" (Rom. 1:18-32).

   A new religion can't remind people of eternal realities, can it? As a priest who has reviewed this analysis writes, "Yeah, right. 'Wives be submissive to your husbands' does become a problem to those who it distasteful to obey God. St. Augustine said to St. Jerome (when Jerome had a qualm of conscience about how a word should be translated): 'Translate what it says, not what you want it to say.'"

Paragraph 362 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "In addition to the permissions just given to choose more suitable texts, as mentioned above, the Conference of Bishops, has faculties in special circumstances to make further adaptations of readings, but on condition that the texts are taken from an approved Lectionary."

Comment and Analysis: Once again, the national episcopal conferences have great authority to make adaptations. The American bishops have done so with respect to the passage in Ephesians listed above. Need I say any more?

Paragraph 363 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "In any Mass the prayers proper to that Mass are used, unless otherwise noted. On the memorials of Saints, the opening prayer or collect is the one proper to the Mass, or in the absence one taken from the Common. The prayer over the gifts and Prayer after Communion, unless they are proper, may be taken from the common or, if it is lacking, from the corresponding Commons. On the weekdays in Ordinary Time, the prayers may be taken from the preceding Sunday, from another Sunday in Ordinary Time, or from the prayers for various needs and occasions listed in the Missal. It is always permissible, however, to use only the opening prayer from these Masses. This provides a richer collection of texts, by which the prayer life of the faithful is more abundantly nourished. During the more important seasons of the year, however, the proper seasonal prayers appointed for each day in the Missal already make this adaptation."

Comment and Analysis: This is pretty much self-explanatory, and it has some relationship to traditional practice, except that there are set Masses for the different category of saints in the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V (with adaptations for particular saints provided in the Missal, not at the option of the priest). However, it should be noted here, as I have noted throughout this analysis, that even the prayers found in the edito typica of the Latin Novus Ordo are less full in their expression of the faith than those found in the Missale Romanum, something that even Pope John Paul II alluded to in September of 2001. As my dear wife notes, "The Traditional Mass beautifully expresses the Faith. Why would anyone want to change a thing in it?"

   A priest who has reviewed this analysis writes, "A priest in a high office [probably the bishop of a major southern diocese, author's note] proudly announced at Mass one day that he never celebrates optional memorials unless the saint was of Italian descent!"

Paragraph 364 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The many prefaces that enrich the Roman Missal are intended to develop more fully the theme of thanksgiving in the Eucharistic prayer and bring out more clearly the different facets of the mystery of salvation."

Comment and Analysis: And are there many prefaces in the new Missal! A comparison of the multiplicity of prefaces in the new Mass (not including those for the Marian Masses mentioned before) with the fifteen found in the Missale Romanum of Pope Saint Pius V will reveal that the faith is more beautifully and fully expressed in those prefaces. Furthermore, there is not a choice of a preface for a priest in the Mass of tradition. Each Mass is celebrated with a certain preface. Now, however, the choice falls mostly, although not entirely, to the priest.

Paragraph 365 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:

    "The choice of the Eucharistic prayer, which is found in the Order of Mass, is suitably guided by the following norms: (a) Eucharistic Prayer I, the Roman Canon, which may be used on any day, is particularly aptly proclaimed on days when there is a special text for the prayer We pray in communion with the whole Church or in Masses which have a special form of the prayer, Lord, accept this offering. It is also appropriate for the celebrations of the Apostles and of the Saints mentioned in it and on Sundays, unless for pastoral considerations another Eucharistic prayer is preferred; (b) Eucharistic Prayer II has features that make it particularly suitable for weekdays and special circumstances. Although it has its own preface, it may also be used with other prefaces, especially those that summarize the history of salvation, such as the Sunday prefaces or the common prefaces. When Mass is celebrated for a dead person, the special formula may be inserted in the place indicated, namely, before the intercession Remember our brothers and sisters; (c) Eucharistic Prayer III may be said with any preface. Its use is particularly suited to Sundays and major feasts. If, however, this Eucharistic Prayer is used in Masses for the dead, the special formula for the dead may be adopted at the proper point, namely, after the prayer Merciful Father, hear the prayers; (d) Eucharistic Prayer IV has an unchangeable preface and gives a fuller summary of the history of salvation. It may be used when a Mass has no preface of its own and on Sundays throughout the year. Because of the structure of this prayer no special formula for the dead may be inserted."

Comment and Analysis: I have offered extensive analysis on the Eucharistic Prayers earlier in this analysis. The Roman Canon, now called Eucharistic Prayer I, was used by every priest in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church for the better part of 1,500 years. It is now merely a matter of preference. As I noted in my piece, "A Mere Matter of Preference?", the Roman Canon is a beautiful summary of the four ends of the Mass. There is no need to "insert" in it anything (apart from the special Communicantes for Christmas and its octave, the Feast Day of the Epiphany, Easter and its Octave, Ascension Day and its Octave, Whitsunday and its Octave). There are commemorations of both the living and the dead. A cynic might conclude that one of the reasons for including extraordinarily long Scripture readings for Daily Mass is to make it very difficult, for pastoral reasons, you understand, for a priest to choose Eucharistic Prayer I, the Roman Canon.

   It is interesting to note that GIRM recognizes, albeit implicitly, the deficient nature of Eucharistic Prayer II, recommending that prefaces be chosen that "summarize the history of salvation," something not done in the text of the prayer. It is interesting that many priests choose this prayer after a long-winded sermon following very long Scripture readings in Mass, making it appear as though the central part of the Mass is the "Liturgy of the Word," not the Consecration of bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the God-Man. As Eucharistic Prayer IV is pretty much out of favor with gender inclusivists because of its use of the word "man" throughout its text, the only two Eucharistic Prayers that are used on a regular basis in most places around he world are Numbers II and III, both of which pale in comparison to the Roman Canon.

Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.

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

MAY 2003
volume 14, no. 28
The Germs of G.I.R.M.

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