Paragraphs 366-367 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "It is not permitted to substitute for the chants found in the Order of Mass, e.g., at the Agnus Dei."
367: "The norms laid down in their proper places are to observed for the choice of chants between the readings and the opening song, the song for the preparation of the gifts, and for the communion song."
Comment and Analysis: This is yet another effort (Inaestimabile Donum was just one of many) to put a stop to the use of songs with lyrics that derived from the texts of the propers of the Mass but do not correspond too closely to those texts. This is a particularly egregious problem in many places during the singing of what is now called the Responsorial Psalm as well as the Agnus Dei. Naturally, while the musical settings for the Introit and the Gradual and Lesser Alleluia and other parts of the Solemn High Mass are selected by a priest and a musician, for example, the texts always adhere to those found in the Mass propers. Once again, novelty begets novel problems.
Paragraphs 366-367 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "It is not permitted to substitute for the chants found in the Order of Mass, e.g., at the Agnus Dei."
367: "The norms laid down in their proper places are to be observed for the choice of chants between the readings and the opening song, the song for the preparation of the gifts, and the communion song."
Comment and Analysis: After years of innovation and improvisation, this is an effort on the part of the revised GIRM to keep to the actual texts of the parts of the Mass rather than to replace them with songs that are derived from those texts but do not keep to the actual words. It remains to be seen whether the flood waters can be pushed back into the polluted rivers from which they came. The norm, though, is in many places for the Responsorial Psalm and Agnus Dei to have little real relationship to the actual psalm to be read and the words of the Agnus Dei, respectively.
Paragraphs 368-370 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "For well-disposed members of the faithful the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals causes almost every event in life to be made holy by divine grace that flows from the paschal mystery. The eucharist, in turn, is the sacrament of sacraments. Accordingly, the Missal provides formularies for Masses and prayers that may be used in the various circumstances of Christian life, for the needs of the whole world, and for the needs of the Church, both universal and local."
369: "In view of the broad options for choosing the reading and the prayers, the Masses for various circumstances should be used sparingly, that is, when the occasion requires."
370: "In all the Masses for various circumstances, unless otherwise expressly indicated, the weekday readings and the chants between they may be used, if they are suited to the celebration."
Comment and Analysis: Paragraph 368 actually communicates some basic truths of Catholicism, although the phraseology is a little different than found in the pronouncements of the Council of Trent. And it is true, as expressed in Paragraph 369, that Masses for various circumstances should be used sparingly. However, there is, once more, GIRM's insistence that the concocted schema of readings for weekday Masses be maintained in these special Masses, as though something necessary for the salvation of souls would be lost if other readings were used. Additionally, the names of the Masses have been changed rather dramatically. Consider the following Masses found in the Missal of Pope Saint Pius V for various circumstances: Mass for the Propagation of the Faith, Mass Against the Heathen, Mass for the Healing of Schism (which could be used in many parishes and dioceses today), Mass in Time of War, Mass to Beg for Peace, Mass in Time of Pestilence, Mass to Obtain the Help of the Holy Ghost, Mass for the Remission of Sins, Mass for Pilgrims and Travelers, Mass for the Sick, Mass to Beg for a Happy Death, Mass of Thanksgiving. In addition, a priest may add a Collect, Secret, and Postcommunion for the following intentions (as long as there is not a feast of the double rite: To Implore the Intercession of the Saints, To Beg for Rain, To Beg for Fine Weather, For the Forgiveness of Sins, For Our Friends and those Dear to Us, For Our Enemies. What a magnificent treasury, lost to the lion's share of Catholics today.
Paragraphs 371-374 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "In Masses of this kind are included ritual Masses, Masses for various needs and those for diverse circumstances."
372: "Ritual Masses are connected with the celebration of certain sacraments or sacramentals. They are prohibited on Sundays during the seasons of Advent, Lent and Easter, on solemnities, on days within the octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), on Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week. In addition, the norms found in the ritual books or the Masses themselves also apply."
373: "Masses for various needs are used for certain circumstances, either on occasion or as they regularly occur. It is from these that the competent authority may select Masses for special days of prayer which are established in the course of the year by the Conference of Bishops."
374: "In cases of serious need or pastoral advantage, at the direction of the local Ordinary or with his permission, an appropriate Mass may be celebrated on any day except solemnities, the Sundays during the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, days within the octave of Easter, on the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls), Ash Wednesday, and during Holy Week."
Comment and Analysis: Although the language is different because the Church's calendar has changed, this is all more or less a continuation of the rules followed by those who celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. The rules for Votive Masses and Masses for some special intention are quite simple in the traditional rite. "It is permissible to say a Votive Mass only on a Simple or on a Semi-Double." They are prohibited during Lent and on all Vigils of feasts.
As an example of special Masses mandated by bishops, the bishops of the United States mandated a special Mass shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in this nation, and they mandated a Mass of Reparation for the sins of the clergy in June of 2002.
Paragraphs 375-376 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "Votive Masses of the mysteries of the Lord or in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary or of the angels or of a particular saint or of all the saints, may be said for the sake of the faithful's devotion on weekdays throughout the year, even if an optional memorial occurs that day. Masses which relate to the mysteries in the life of the Lord or of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the exception of the Mass of the Immaculate Conception, may not be celebrated as votive Masses, since their celebration is an integral part of the unfolding of the liturgical year."
376: "On obligatory memorials, on the weekdays of Advent after 16 December, of the season of Christmas after 2 January, and of the season of Easter after the octave of Easter, Masses for Various Needs and Occasions and Votive Masses are per se forbidden. But if some real need or pastoral advantage requires, at the discretion of the rector of the church or the priest celebrant himself, the Mass corresponding to such a need or advantage may be used in a celebration with the congregation."
Comment and Analysis: Well, there are some significant changes found in these two paragraphs. First of all, Masses of Our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Blessed Virgin Mary may be repeated in the Mass of tradition (for the example the Mass of Corpus Christi as the Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament; the Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart the Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus as the Votive Mass of the Precious Blood) . Here is a sampling of the Votive Masses in the traditional calendar: Monday, The Blessed Trinity. Tuesday, The Holy Angels. Wednesday, St. Joseph, or the Apostles. Thursday, the Holy Ghost or the Blessed Sacrament. Friday, the Holy Cross or the Passion. Saturday, Our Blessed Mother (and there are specific Masses for different times of the year). Additionally, there are the following: Votive Mas of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Most High and Eternal Priest, Votive Mass of Apostles Peter and Paul, Votive Mass of the Holy Trinity, Votive Mass of All the Holy Apostles, Votive Mass of the Passion of Our Lord, Votive Mass for the Election of a Pope, Votive Mass on the Day of Election and Coronation of the Pope and on the Anniversaries, Mass on the Anniversary of the Election and Consecration of a Bishop. This is a marvelous selection of Votive Mass. However, Votive Masses are not prohibited on the weekdays in the Easter Season in the traditional calendar. The reason there is such a prohibition in the new calendar is that the authors of GIRM do not want the continuous reading of the Acts of Apostles on weekdays to be interrupted more than it is as a result of various feasts (St. Mark, Sts. Philip and James). Thou shalt not interfere with the synthetic liturgy!
Paragraphs 377-378 of G.I.R.M. read as follows: "On weekdays in Ordinary Time when there is an optional memorial or the office is of the weekday, any Mass or prayer for various circumstances is permitted, but prayers from the Ritual Masses are excluded when the Ritual Mass is not being celebrated."
378: "The Saturday commemoration of the Blessed Virgin is especially commended, because veneration is made in the Church's liturgy to the Mother of the Redeemer before all the Saints."
Comment and Analysis: This is indeed GIRM Warfare against the past. Commemorations may be made of the Ritual Masses in the Mass of Tradition. The liturgical revolutionaries, however, have abolished all notion of the traditional commemoration (with the exception of Advent from December 17 to 23 and the weekdays of Lent). More is better insofar as the number and length of passages from the Bible. Less is better, though, insofar as prayers are concerned. And it would be nice if GIRM explained why the Mother of God is venerated in the Church's liturgy before all the other saints: she is the one who made possible our salvation by her fiat to the Father at the Annunciation.
Paragraph 379 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"The Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ's passover for the dead so that on the basis of the communion existing among all Christ's members, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some members may bring others comforting hope."
Comment and Analysis: This is quite a reformulation of traditional Catholic doctrine. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered for the dead to help them make satisfaction for the debt owed their forgiven mortal sins and their unforgiven venial sins so that their suffering in Purgatory, if indeed they have died in a state of sanctifying grace, will be shortened. Masses for the dead are not offered principally to bring "comfort" to the survivors. Masses for the dead are offered for the repose of the souls of those have died, and to remind the survivors that they have the need to continue to have Masses said (and to say their own prayers for the dead) for as long as they live. As Saint Padre Pio was noted to tell those who asked him about their relatives, "We never presume the state of any soul until the Church proclaims that soul is in Heaven. We just continue to pray and pray and pray." And to have Masses offered. This paragraph of GIRM doesn't say anything that is overtly wrong. However, like so much else associated with the Novus Ordo, what is doesn't say is frequently more important than what it does say.
Paragraph 380 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"The funeral Mass has first place among the Masses for the dead and may be celebrated on any day except solemnities that are days of obligation, Holy Thursday, the Easter Triduum, and the Sundays during the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, with due regard also for all the other requirements of the law."
Comment and Analysis: The solemn requiem Mass of the Traditional rite is somber and sobering. It includes the Dies Irae, which is no longer an official part of the new rite (one may request that it be sung during a "Mass of Christian Burial," but it is not part of the new rite). Additionally, among the Masses for the Dead found in the traditional rite are Masses for the third, seventh and thirtieth days after death. There is also a Mass for the Anniversary Day of the Death of One or More of the Faithful. And there are more prohibitions in the traditional rite than in the Novus Ordo (Epiphany, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, the Annunciation, the Assumption, and the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, the feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, All Saints' Day, and the anniversary of the title and dedication of the church in which the Mass is to be celebrated.)
Consider the fullness of Catholic theology found in the Collect for the Mass and Absolution on the Day of the Death or on the Day of the Burial of One of the Faithful: "Deus, qui proprium est misereri semper et parcere, te supplices exoramus pro anima famuli tui (Nomine) quam hodie de hoc saeculo migrare jussisti: ut non tradas eam in manus inimici, neque obliviscaris in finem, sed jubeas eam a sanctis Angelis suscipi, et ad patriam paradisi perduci; ut, quia in te speravit et credidit, non poenas inferni sustineat, sed gaudia aeterna possideat. Per Dominum nostrum." (O God, whose propery is ever to have mercy and to spare, we humbly supplicate Thee for the soul of Thy servant (name), which Thou hast this day called out of this world, Thou deliver it not to the hands of the enemy, nor forget it forever, but command it to be received by the holy angels and taken to Paradise, its home, so that, since it hath hope and believed in Thee, it may not bear the pains of hell, but possess everlasting joys."
Yes, Hell was actually mentioned, something you never see mentioned in any prayer in the Novus Ordo. A different religion requires different rites from baptism through burial.
Paragraph 381 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"On the occasion of receiving the news of a death, the final burial, or the first anniversary, the Mass for the dead may be celebrated, even on days within the Christmas octave, on obligatory memorials, and on weekdays, except on Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week. Other Masses for the dead, that is daily Masses, may be celebrated on weekdays in Ordinary Time when there is an optional memorial or when the office is of the weekday, provided such Masses are actually offered for the dead."
Comment and Analysis: There are more prohibitions found in the Traditional Latin Mass, which expresses, though, a greater receptivity to offering Masses for the Dead than found in GIRM.
Paragraph 382 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"At the funeral Mass there should as a rule be a short homily, but never a eulogy of any kind. The homily is also recommended at other Masses for the dead celebrated with a congregation."
Comment and Analysis: Well, this is very good if it is enforced. The actual practice of things in the new religion these days is that endless eulogies are given by an endless processing of sobbing relatives, most of whom engage in incoherent, tear-filled testimonies of how their beloved was such a saint. This was especially the case following the September 11 terrorist attacks. However, it is the case most of the time in most places. I have given my wife Sharon explicit instructions: no one is to say a word about me at my Requiem Mass. The priest is to preach about death as a punishment for Original Sin, the need to pray for the dead, and the hope provided us by Our Lord's Resurrection.
Paragraph 383 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"The faithful, and especially the family of the deceased, should be urged to share in the Eucharistic sacrifice offered for the deceased person especially by receiving communion."
Comment and Analysis: Oh, yeah? How many Catholics attending funeral Masses these days are practicing Catholics in a state of grace and therefore ready to receive Holy Communion? Not many. Why doesn't GIRM mention anything about the pastoral necessity of preparing the family for the funeral Mass by offering them the Sacrament of Penance either at the funeral home while the body is being waked or in the church itself prior to the funeral Mass? Funeral Masses have become occasions for grave sacrilege against the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the God-Man, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. GIRM's failure to recognize the pastoral reality of our situation today is quite telling. A priest who has reviewed this analysis writes, "I have had to communicate myself and then return the ciborium to the tabernacle as a great majority of the congregation was unknown to me or non-Catholic."
Paragraph 384 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"If the funeral Mass is directly joined to the burial rite, once the Prayer after Communion has been said and omitting the concluding rite, the rite of final commendation or farewell takes place. This rite is celebrated only if the body is present."
Comment and Analysis: Well, apart from the re-named Postcommunion Prayer, this is actually a continuation of tradition.
Paragraph 385 of G.I.R.M. reads as follows:
"In the planning and choosing of the variable parts of the Mass for the dead, especially the funeral Mass (for example, prayers, readings, general intercessions), pastoral considerations bearing upon the deceased, the family, and those attending should rightly be foremost. Pastors should, moreover, take into special account those who are present at a liturgical celebration or who hear the gospel only on the occasion of a funeral. These may be non-Catholics or Catholics who never or rarely share in the eucharist or who have apparently lost th faith. Priests are, after all, ministers of Christ's gospel for all people."
Comment and Analysis: This makes exactly the opposite I made in my comments concerning Paragraph 383. This paragraph seems to say that a priest should not do anything to offend the sensibilities of non-Catholics or lapsed Catholics attending a funeral Mass. Incredible. A funeral Mass is exactly the place to provide a wonderful exhortation about the faith, especially to invite those who have fallen away back into the fold and to invite those outside of it to enter. Alas, this is not the agenda of the new religion.
Furthermore, even though there are different Masses for the dead that can be offered during the course of the year, those Masses are chosen by a priest. Each contains its own propers. A requiem Mass is what it is. There is nothing to plan (as I had to do in the case of my parents' deaths, in 1982 for my mother and in 1992 for my father). Joseph Stalin would be proud of GIRM's emphasis on planning.
Well, we have turned the corner. We turn now the concluding part of GIRM, which more or less vitiates any regulation that appears to be binding in its text.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives