The Traditional Latin Mass, also called the Usus Antiquior, the Tridentine or Gregorian Mass, or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is notable for its antiquity. In this podcast, Michael Sauter and Joseph Anthony discuss its two-millenia long history and examine its prayers and spirituality.
The Twelth Sunday after Pentecost: A Case Study in the Unity of the Propers
In Episode 07, we talked about the unity of the texts of the Mass. A reflection I wrote on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, provides a splendid example of a Mass with a unified theme. By the parable of the Good Samaritan, the Church raises before our eyes Christ, the new Moses, who establishes the true and perfect worship that has power to save us from sin and Satan. Jesus: New Moses in the Parable of the Good Samaritan"He went over to him," we read of the Good Samaritan, "and poured oil and wine of the wounds of injured man." What is this oil and wine? Is it not our anointing with the Holy Spirit and our being fed with the body and blood of the Lord? And what is that but our spiritual worship. We, adopted as children of God, and given the seal of salvation, offer with, in, and through Christ the one sacrifice pleasing to God: His own son, under the form of bread and wine. The old law of Moses was not able to save a man. We, injured by the side of the road, could not be saved by the priest of the old law, for whom ritual purity forbade his ministration. The priests of Levites of the Mosaic law of worship could not heal us. Only the true worship instituted by Christ has power to restore what the thieves have taken. In order to show us that this is what the Church puts in front of us by the parable of the Good Samaritan, we are given a Epistle, from Second Corinthians. Paul, claiming to be a minister of the New Covenant, the spiritual Covenant that brings life, contrasts Moses' Covenant, a death-bring Covenant, with that of Christ's, and he proves the superiority of the new. "If the ministry of promulgating a Law written on stone was surrounded by such splendor that the Israelites could not look Moses in the face, will not the ministry by which we propagate the Spirit be far more glorious still?" But, lest we miss what the Church would have us focus on, the Church makes it clear directly in the Offertory: "Moses prayed in the sight of the Lord his God and said: Why, Lord, art thou angry with Thy people? Put thy wrath from thy heart: remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom Thou didst swear to give a land flowing with milk and honey. And the Lord was appeased and refrained from the mischief He said he would do to His people." The Liturgy Applies to UsWe, O Christian, are the one injured and robed by the side of the road. It is not the first Moses, but the second who is our priest. He prays for us, offering the bread and wine of His own body and blood, and the Lord hears Him and is appeased . Pouring wine and oil into our wounds, He heals us. This ministration far surpasses the old ministration that we cry out, in the words of the gradual: "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praises ever on my lips. My heart shall find its glory in the Lord, let the lowly hear and be glad. Lord, God of my salvation, day and night have I cried before Thee. Alleluia!" It is the injured man, cured by the water and wine, who has cried day and night, who has been heard, who has been saved; it is on his lips that the praises of God ever abide. Though once so lowly he lay abandoned at the side of the Lord, the law of old unable to save him, not he is saved. And thus he offers to God, in the words of the secret, "the offerings placed on the altar", the offerings of the New Covenant in His blood, begging "that through [God's] generous forgiveness, they may honor [His] name." That this offering is the very wine Christ had poured into his wounds in the parable of the Good Samaritan is brought out by the Communion verse: "With the fruit of Thy works, Lord, shall the earth by filled, to bring forth food from the soil and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to give him a joyful countenance, and bread to strengthen his heart." It has not been without effect that the Church prayed in the Collect at the beginning of the Mass: "Almighty and merciful
The Unity and Theme of the Mass Propers - LMP007
-- Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast (30m26s): Play in new window | Download NOTE: In another post, we have given the 12th Sunday After Pentecost as a case study in the unity of the Propers. The Unity of the PropersMasses sometimes are called by the first word of the introit. So, for instance, the third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete and the fourth of Lent Laetare, and the Sunday after Easter is often called Quasimodo Sunday. Each one of these are named after the first words of their introit. Usually a proper Mass has its own Introit, Epistle, Gradual, Alleluia (or Tract), Gospel, Offertory, and Communion. Oftentimes there is a theme that runs through and connects all of these together. In some seasons, such as Advent, the theme can be very strong and obvious. At other times, it can require some reflection to discover. In this podcast, we examine two examples of Masses, the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent, with it's clear theme of Christ, the savior of the Gentiles, coming as the anointed of the Lord to bring peace; and the Mass for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, which, at first glance, doesn't seem to have much binding the Mass texts together. Just for the sake of reference, we've included the propers we refer to in the podcast below:The Second Sunday of AdventIntroit Populus Sion, ecce Dóminus véniet ad salvándas gentes: et audítam fáciet Dóminus Glóriam vocis suæ in lætítia cordis vestri. (Ps. 79: 2) Qui regis Israël inténde: qui dedúcis velut ovem, Joseph. v. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Repeat Populus Sion... People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart. (Ps. 79: 2) Give ear, O Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. v. 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. Repeat People of Sion... Collect Let us pray. O Lord, our God, multiply Thy graces upon us, and grant that joy may follow in the holy praise of those whose glorious festival we anticipate Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God. Forever and ever. R.Amen. Epistle Léctio Epistolæ beáti Pauli Apóstoli ad Romanos. Fratres, quæcúmque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrínam scripta sunt: ut per patiéntiam et consolatiónem Scripturárum, spem habeámus. Deus autem patiéntiæ et solátii det vobis idípsum sápere in altérutrum secúndum Jesum Christum: ut unánimes uno ore honorificétis Deum, et patrem Dómini nostri Jesu Christi. Propter quod suscípite invicem, sicut et Christus suscépit vos in honórem Dei. Dico enim Christum Jesum ministrum fuisse circumcisiónis propter veritátem Dei, ad con-firmándas promissiónes patrum. Gentes autem super misericórdia honoráre Deum, sicut Scriptum est: Proptérea confitébor tibi in géntibus Dómine, et nomini tuo cantábo. Et iterum dicit: Lætámini Gentes cum plebe ejus. Et iterum: Laudáte omnes Gentes Dóminum: et magnificáte eum omnes pópuli. Et rursus Isaías ait: Erit radix Jesse et qui exsúrget regere Gentes, in eum Gentes sperábunt. Deus autem spei répleat vos omni gáudio, et pace in credéndo: ut abundétis in spe, et virtute Spíritus Sancti. Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Brethren, What things soever were written, were written for our learning: that, through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: that with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another, as
Different Types of Masses - LMP006
-- Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast (22m03s): Play in new window | Download Sung and Spoken Masses There are two basic forms of the Latin Mass: the Sung Mass and the Spoken Mass. The Sung Mass is also known as the High Mass, because the priest sings in a "high" (loud) voice, and the Spoken Mass is also known as the Low Mass, because the priest speaks in a low (soft) voice. This distinction is the most fundamental, but it is not the only distinction we can make regarding different "types" of Masses. Private vs. Public Masses, the Conventual Mass, the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified, and others reveal the ways in which the Mass can take on different "characters" depending on certain circumstances or needs. The Sung Mass is most ideal, as singing is the most ancient and most fitting way of offering the Divine Sacrifice. Singing the Mass "decorates" it in such a way as to make it reflect the Heavenly liturgy, giving it more depth and beauty. And it is indeed the case that the Sung Mass predates the Spoken Mass, such that we can actually see the liturgy beginning as a complex event happening once a week and, over time, becoming celebrated more frequently with less ceremony and singing. As Masses multiplied per week (beginning perhaps in the third century), it became impractical to have a choir always present, and the priest resorted to speaking the parts of the Mass, including those the choir would have sung. The Multiplication of Masses The multiplication of Masses per week occurred principally in the West, and it was driven by the practice of offering Mass for the dead. The more Masses offered, the more grace was made available to the souls for which they were offered. Thus, though with Pope St. Gregory the Great in the late 6th century we find the practice of offering Mass once every Sunday predominating in Rome, by the beginning of the 9th century, we have the example of Pope Leo III offering perhaps 8 or 9 Masses per day. This practice also encouraged the multiplication of altars in single church, which further discouraged frequent Sung Masses, as priests might often say Mass simultaneously at different altars, for which the Low Mass was especially suited. East and West Churches in the East continue to have only one altar, though eastern practice allows for concelebration (the offering of the Victim by more than one priest together). Churches in the West originally also had only one altar, located at the crux of a cross-shaped church. Over time, altars were added along the walls of the church, though there remained a main altar - the high altar. However, not until after the Second Vatican Council was concelebration generally allowed in the West. Though the Church limited the number of Masses a priest could say in one day by the 14th century, this practice had a great impact on western spirituality. We can see an example of this in the Irish influence on American Catholicism, which is heavily marked by the tradition of the Low Mass that it received from Irish immigrants. However, in the current revival of the use of the Latin Mass, we more often see it celebrated as a Sung Mass, and this is the ideal.
The Structure of the Traditional Latin Mass - LMP005
-- Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast (15m57s): Play in new window | Download The Two "Dismissals"In looking at the broader structure of the Latin Mass, we can see that there are two basic parts that, historically, correspond to a rather practical reality. As we noted in episode 1, the word "Mass" comes from "missa," which essentially means "the dismissal," Originally, one would go "ad missam," or "to the dismissal," that is, "up to" one of two moments in the Mass as a whole at which a part of the people were dimissed: the dismissal of the catechumens (Missa catechumenorum) or the dismissal of the faithful (Missa fidelium). In the early days of the Church, catechumens (those seeking baptism) were not allowed to witness the offering of the Holy Sacrifice, and were sent out of the church right around the time of the Gospel (and probably before). The reason for this was that the Church took very seriously Christ's admonition to "give not what is holy to the dogs," reserving the holiest mystery (sacrament) for those who were already baptized. Only the initiate, or the faithful, stayed to the second dismissal, the end of the Mass as a whole. "Disciplina Arcani" Indeed, in the first five centuries or so of the Church's existence, it was customary to guard the most holy mysteries of the Faith from the uninitiate. Besides dismissing all but the baptized at Mass, the Church also did not typically write down the texts of the liturgy, or teach the highest truths and prayers of the Faith (the Creed, the Our Father, the Holy Trinity, etc.) to catechumens until they had almost reached baptism. Many of these things were passed on orally long before being put to writing. This "silence" with which the early days of the Church is marked has been termed the "disciplina arcani" ("the discipline of the secrets") by historians. It was especially strengthened in times of persecution, when the Church was already forced to be guarded and constantly on the watch. Yet even as the persecutions ended and Constantine converted and issued the Edict of Milan in the early fourth century, this "discipline" continued and was even further enforced as the Church wanted to guard that which was most sacred from a society that was still substantially pagan. It would only die out in the midst of a Christianized society around the 6th century. The Parts of the MassThus we have the following basic structure of the Mass, laid out in its most familiar texts:Mass of the CatechumensIntroitKyrieGloriaCollect (Opening Prayer)Reading GradualAlleluia/Tract(First Dismissal) Mass of the FaithfulGospelCreedOffertory (chant and prayers)Preface dialogue/prayerSanctusCanon (Anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer)Agnus DeiCommunion (chant)Postcommunion Prayer(Second Dismissal) Of course, there is no longer a "first dismissal," and though we still have "The Mass of the Catechumens" and "The Mass of the Faithful," the latter is usually marked as beginning at the Offertory, rather than the Gospel. Another thing to note is that, in the Latin Mass, these texts are sometimes being said simultaneously with others. For example, while the choir sings the Introit, the priest and altar servers are saying the prayers at the foot of the altar. This once again calls to mind the way in which the Mass is a participation in the Body of Christ, with all the parts working in harmony. To someone used to the sequential/one-prayer-at-a-time structure of the Novus Ordo, the Latin Mass can be confusing at first. It is better perhaps for first-timers not to become overly concerned with following all of the texts, but rather to watch and experience the "motion" of the Mass.
Sacred Music Part II-- Antiphonality and the Chants of the Mass LMP004
-- Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast (20m52s): Play in new window | Download Proper and Ordinary Sung Texts There are, in fact, 10 texts in a Sunday Mass that are sung by the people and the choir. Five of these texts change from week to week, and these are called the sung propers or the proper chants, five remain the same, and these are called the ordinary chants. The proper chants are: The IntroitThe GradualThe Alleluia (or tract in Lent)The OffertoryThe Communion The ordinary chants are: The Kyrie (Lord, have mercy)The Gloria (Glory to God in the highest)The Credo (I believe in One God)The Sanctus-Benedictus (Holy, holy, holy)The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God)These are texts of the Mass usually all or in part drawn from the Psalms, the Church's "prayer book." The proper chants are generally comprised of an antiphon and/or verse, and can take on different musical characters. For example, the Gradual tends to be "melismatic" (having many notes for certain syllables in the text; more "ornamented"), whereas the Introit tends to be somewhere in between melismatic and "neumatic" (having approximately one note per syllable). This also holds for the ordinary chants. The larger texts, the Gloria and the Credo, are generally fairly neumatic, while the Kyrie can be quite melismatic. A melismatic chant can give the text an added emotional power. We see this particularly in the Jubilus, which is the "cry of joy" expressed in lingering on the last syllable of "alleluia" in the Alleluia proper chant. The Structure of Chant and Role of the ChoirChant is not a dry recitation of a text, but a music that both serves and embellishes the text so as to bring out its spiritual power. In fact, the very antiphonal structure of chant points to the heavenly liturgy envisioned in Isaiah chapter 6, which depicts the angelic hosts crying out "holy, holy, holy" to each other. This back-and-forth singing is seen at numerous points in the sung Mass, between the priest and people, between the choir and people, or between two choirs. For example, the Gloria and Credo are written to be sung antiphonally, alternating line to line between choirs or between choir and people. Two choirs might also sing the Introit, with one singing the antiphon, each alternating on the verse, and all singing the repeated antiphon. The choir, then, as the angels in the heavenly liturgy, have an integral role to play in the sung liturgy. Pope St. Pius X called it the "Levitical choir" in order to point to its priestly character. Indeed, the choir used to be composed of clerics (priests, deacons, subdeacons, etc.) when they were more numerous. Traditionally, two choirs of clerics faced each other in pews located between the altar and the nave (where the people stood). Thus the image of the Body of Christ was revealed in the placement of the different roles at Mass: Christ the Head at the altar, with the "neck" composed of the facing choirs and the "body" comprised of the people. That Christ's Body is present in the offering of the Mass is further revealed in the way in which the prayers or chants of different roles overlap at times, showing that the Church is a living organism in which each part of the Body has something to contribute to what is ultimately a single action done by a single actor: Christ the Priest offering Himself as an acceptable sacrifice to the Father. The Mass becomes a harmonious whole, then, in the very structure of its chant and the roles of the different parts.
Sacred Music Part I - LMP003
-- Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast (21m07s): Play in new window | Download Sacred MusicPart I: Chant and Instruments Singing the Mass vs. Singing at MassSacred music by its very nature is music that is set apart for the sacred liturgy. It is different from secular (worldly) music. We speak of sacred and profane music. The word profane does not mean wicked, sinful, or evil; rather, it means, literally "outside the temple" (from the Latin fanum, temple). Music that is admitted into the Mass is considered sacred music, in one way or another. When most Latin Catholics go to Mass, they hear lots of hymns: an opening hymn, an offertory hymn, a communion hymn, a recessional hymn. Hymns are poetic texts sung to simple melodies by the whole congregation. Although 20th century magisterial texts encouraged hymns (for instance, Pius XII in Musicae Sacrae) for their ability to inspire devotion among the faithful, hymns are not actually part of the Mass. But there is music that is part of the Mass. In fact, the Mass itself is a song. The most basic sung portion of the Mass are the calls and responses between the priest and the people: "Dominus vobiscum", the Lord be with you; "Et cum spiritu tuo", and with your spirit, and so forth. But other music belongs to the Mass as well. Chants such as the Gloria or the Gradual are examples of music sung by the choir and sometimes the people that are part of the Mass. In its 1958 Instruction on Sacred Music, the Congregation for Rites made a list of Sacred music, that is music admissible to the Mass: Gregorian ChantSacred Polyphony"Modern" Sacred Music (such as Mozart)Sacred instrumental music (mostly organ solos)HymnsIt also speaks of Religious Music, which is music that by its nature isn't appropriate for Mass, but is useful in other circumstances to raise the mind and heart to God. Among these categories, the first three include music for the texts of the Mass, and among those three, Gregory Chant holds a special place. Sacrosanctum Concilium (116), the constitution of Vatican II on the Sacred Liturgy, summarizes this nicely: The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as proper to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it is to be given the first place in liturgical services.The word proper means its own. Gregorian Chant is not separate from the Roman Mass: the two grew up together. It is the Mass's own music. It's not a mere decoration of the Mass: it's part of the Mass. And so, all things being equal, it must be given the first place. But in the Middle Ages, the chant was decorated and sometimes replaced by music with multiple voices and music accompanied by instruments. In the High Middle Ages, vocal music reached such perfection in polyphony, that the Church made polyphony her own for the Roman Mass, particularly in the music of Palestrina. Later on, the music was enriched with orchestral music and other types of music. The Church permitted some of this, but never fully embraced it. Popes attempted to eliminate the operatic and the worldly or profane from this music. Still, it was never entirely forbidden. Instruments at MassThe apostolic Christians did not use instruments. Some of the Church Fathers spoke especially negatively about them. Even at the time of Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor considers them to be banned in the Sacred Liturgy. This ban continues to this day in some Eastern Churches, but in the West, they were gradually allowed, but only insofar as the could sustain, imitate, augment, and decorate the human voice. The organ became the first and only instrument fully embraced by the Church when it had suitably developed so that it had a similar subtlety to the human voice. There are some historical reasons for this, but the principle reasons why the voice is the liturgical instrument par excellence are theological, namely that the Word bec