In this journey on the Barque of Peter, we continue to detail the evolution of the Mass and the Church
from the early Christian times to our present day so that all may better understand
the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and our faith - the One, Holy,
Catholic and Apostolic Church. Today we cover the second half of the Sixth Century, the Century of the growth of monasticism when Saint Benedict would become the father of western monasticism with the establishment of his Order of Benedictines and the time leading up to the Gregorian era which we cover today in chronicling the achievements of Pope Saint Gregory the Great.
We will be using various sources, but the best are four books that are out of print but provide so much
solid material: "My Catholic Faith - A Manual of Religion" (1949) by Bishop Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. from My Mission House ; "The Glories and Triumphs of the Catholic Church" (1907) from Benziger Brothers; "The Catholic Church Alone the One True Church of Christ" (1902) from the Catholic Educational Company; and "Cabinet of Catholic Information" (1904) from Duggan Publishing Co. In addition we will be using material gleaned from "The Oxford Dictionary of Popes" by J.N.D. Kelly; The Papal Princes: A History of the Sacred College of Cardinals" by Glenn D. Kittler; "Pontiffs: Popes who shaped history" by John Jay Hughes; "The Mass of the Roman Rite" by Fr. Josef Jungmann, S.J.; "The Story of the Church" from Tan Books by Fr. George Johnson, PhD; "The Story of the Mass" by Fr. Pierre Loret; "Rubrics of
the Mass" by Fr. Peter M.J. Stravinskas; "The Wonders of the Mass" by Fr.
Paul O'Sullivan, O.P.; and the Code of Canon Law", as well as the
"Catechism of the Catholic Church"; "Baltimore Catechism"; Catholic Encyclopedia (Thomas Nelson Publishers); "Catholic Dictionary" by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.; "Dictionary of Saints" by John J. Delaney; "Butler's Lives of the Saints" from Benziger Brothers; "Saints of the Roman Calendar" by Enzo Lodi and Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP; "1999 Catholic Almanac" from Our Sunday Visitor, and numerous missals and references.
With a better perception of what the Church stands for and what the Mass truly is, we will not
so easily be swayed by new-fangled gimmicks and liturgical abuses being
introduced by individual celebrants and ICEL, the International Committee
for English in the Liturgy. We will discover why the basis for the use of
vestments and sacred vessels, the purpose for the Rubrics of the Mass, the
logic of Church Scholars and Popes through the ages for fending off changes
that would water-down the faith and the Holy Sacrifice and even invalidate the greatest
remembrance Christ gave to His Church.
The Gregorian Plan of the Mass: The Liturgy of the Eucharist - Part Three
The Post Communion
In the last installment we covered the second part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist also known as the Communion. Today we cover the Post Communion, the Concluding Rite and the Ite Missa est.
The Last Ablution wherein the celebrant cleanses the chalice and purifies the paten and ciboriums remains the same as are most of the prayers. The only variance in the Concluding Rite is the elimination of the Last Gospel of John 1: 1-14 which, because it was omitted on certain occasions in the traditional Mass, was dropped in the New Order of the Mass. As the Vatican II directives say "The rites have been simplified, with due care to preserve their substance. Elements which, with the passsage of time, came to be duplicated or were added with but little advantage have been eliminated."
Despite the variances, The Spirit remains with Christ’s True Church. This last statement is true since after Pope Gregory the Great established the Sacramentary and Rubrics, other prayers and sacramentaries cropped up which either varied or elaborated and heaped more prayers and interpretation on the faithful. These were prevalent with various cultures such as in Gaul after Gregory with The Leonine, which was discovered in the 18th century in Verona, Italy. It dates back to the 7th century and included a mixture of prayers for the Mass. Church scholars felt it was a link between pre-Gregory and the primitive manuals and post-Gregory and the proper sacramentaries. Another such work was The Ancient Gelasian, which was not actually from Pope Gelasius (492-486) but just named after him. There were others such as The Recent Gelasian, The Paduense,Tthe Hadrianum, and The Gallican Missals. The latter were a collection of the Gauls’ own equivalent of Roman sacramentaries retaining the culture and flavor of Gaul which included a Gothic missal, an ancient Gallican missal, a Frankish missal, and other ethnic region missals all containing prayers and rituals taken from the Roman Sacramentary.
One has to understand history and the fierce rivalry between Gaul and Rome dating back to early times to understand how and why there was so much divrsity. In short, because of their cultural background, they couldn’t live with one another, yet one couldn’t exist without the other. A “cold war” existed so to speak. In fact, as Father Pierre Loret explains in his book, that these liturgies “had to be adapted before being adopted. The liturgy of Rome, great as it was, was not everyone’s cup of tea. In spite of their great respect for the papal liturgy, the copyists of the sacramentaries did not hesitate to modify it in religious and literary ways. They would transcribe, side by side, liturgical texts that had originated in different periods. And they would modify these texts, adding their own explanations, as if everything came from the same source and was of equal value. They were extremely easygoing in this regard. None of them seems to have felt that any liturgical text, even the Canon, was off limits when it came to making such changes. They simply did not believe that these texts had to remain just as they were throughout the centuries. Modern scholars who study these documents must use all their ingenuity to sort out all the tangled elements, and then to discover their date, source, and exact meaning. This painstaking work is far from useless. Even with our present post-Vatican II missal, it is never useless to know that we are praying with Leo, Gelasius, Gregory, Pius V, or…Paul Vi. The Spirit will not abandon His Church, even to the end of time.”
Father is correct on this and, not surprisingly, the unfortunate procedure for “interpreting and making changes” continues to this day. But there is always the God-given assurance that He is with His Church as Jesus says in Matthew 28:20. "...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even unto the consumation of the world." The more things change, the more they remain the same.
After studying the structure of the Mass we can see that really, very little was changed. The fact that the Holy Sacrifice is said in the vernacular today instead of the traditional Latin, gives us the impression that much has changed, but on further review we can see that very little has really been altered. While there are certain passages and prayers which, when dissected, show some of the essence and/or real meaning has been lost in the translation, it still holds true that the Mass today the Novus Ordo is very much the same as the Traditional Ordinary of the Mass. Unfortunately, too often the celebrants don’t always follow the Rubrics of the Mass and that's when confusion sets in. Another problem is if the pending all-inclusive-language Sacramentary and Lectionary, threatened by modernists and feminists, is foisted upon us then we’e in deep trouble; but for now the present Rubrics are fully in accord with the directives passed down from the Holy See and, because of that, we can be at peace. But we do need to be on our guard that aberrations and false doctrines are not filtered into the Mass upon unsuspecting participants, many of whom are not aware of the insidious way satan works his half truths into the truth until the ture Mass is compromised in such a manner that it ceases to be the Holy Sacrifice and becomes merely a “meal.” This we can not allow to happen for that will be the “abomination of desolation” as Christ foretold in Matthew 24:15.
What’s the Rush?
Sadly, today’s faithful can’t wait to get out of the chuch after Mass. Before Vatican II, part of the liturgy included the Prayers After Mass composed of three Hail Mary’s, the Salve Regina, and the vital Prayer to Saint Michael, whose feast we celebrate in one week. It was Pope Leo XIII who composed this poignant prayer after he was given a vision of satan in the Sanctuary and the powerful role Saint Michael’s intercession would play. Even though Mass is officially concluded with the final blessing, it is proper to remain in the pew until after the priest has left the sanctuary. It is even more proper to kneel and say a few prayers, thanking God for the graces receivved during Mass and for the gift of receiving Him in Holy Communion, and to pray the Prayer to St. Michael for protection from the evil one for he is stronger than ever and getting even more insidious in his war to lure us into the kingdom of the prince of darkness. During this month of September, wouldn’t it be great if everyone would repeat this powerful prayer after Mass either together if the pastor allows, or privately? Our Lady keeps reminding us in every one of her messages to “Pray! Pray! Pray!” As the saying goes “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” but we might alter it a bit and say “Fools rush out while angels adore and pray”
Before we continue on our abridged trek through Church history from the seventh century on, we will delve into the etymology of the rubrics, sacred vessels, vestments and saramentals of the Mass which were authenticated in the Gregorian era in the next installment.
Next Wednesday: Installment Twenty: The Gregorian Plan of the Mass: The Etymology of the Rubrics