QUAERITUR: mixing elements of the old with the new and saying “for many”

I get lots of questions via e-mail and I am considering how to revive the old ASK FATHER Question Box.  In any event, here is something I got recently (edited):

QUAERITUR:

Recently a visiting priest said some of the Masses at our
church. He was quite young and of very traditional disposition. I know that he
often offers Mass in the Extraordinary Form at his own parish. His
masses were very reverent but I did notice that, though he was offering the
Novus Ordo in English,
he used many of the rubrics of the Extraordinary Form,
especially the many signs of the cross, placing the host on the corporeal
before later placing it on the paten, signing himself with the empty paten, and
the crossings of the consecrated host over the chalice, etc. Was he free to do
so or was this a co-mingling of rites and therefore not allowed?

More seriously, he very clearly and distinctly said
"for many", at the consecration of the Precious Blood. Was this
a step too far? Did he have the freedom to make the change himself, before it
has officially been done, and did it in any way make his Mass
invalid?

First, his saying "for many" did not make that Mass invalid.  How could it?  It is what "pro multis" means?  And we know that the vicar of Christ has confirmed that.  I think he would do well to stick to the approved texts, however.

Second, it is very good that this priest is
interested in the older ways.  That is to
be applauded.  However, at this point I would suggest he not be quite so obvious in what he is
doing, viz. using elements of the older form in the newer.  He should stick more closely to the Novus
Ordo when using that book.   There are times when I say the Novus Ordo that, because I use the older form most of the time, some elements slip in from habit.  You have to really concentrate to keep things straight.   Those  genuflections before the elevation, for example… well.. what can I say?  Sometimes they just happen.  Still, it is best to stick closely to the book.  

Over time the gravitational forces of liturgy will exert their inescapable influences.

Thank you, dear querist, for the questions.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ASK FATHER Question Box, SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to QUAERITUR: mixing elements of the old with the new and saying “for many”

  1. Isaac says:

    Dear Fr Z,

    I am confused. Why does substituting the words, especially for the consecration not make the mass invalid. I thought the whole frustrating part about the New Mass in English is precisely that by virtue of obedience we have to say it as it is ‘translated’ because that is the ‘only’ approved form..and when the Church says that the text(translation) re-presents the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, then even if it be in error linguistically, we are bound to believe in it. We all know that pro multis means for many, but if that were really alright then what is stopping every priest from saying what they think the Latin says at every mass.

    For example, is it an abuse when a priest says (from the third canon) From the rising of the sun to its setting you gather a people… as opposed to what the official translation (albeit being frankly quite pathetic), From East to West…. Now, when the ‘revised’ version is more correct comes out and is approved, then the words do become the words of consecration…but since it has not (yet) why should I believe that non approved texts in a Eucharistic Prayer make a mass valid?

    Which brings us to the point that the mass in English is a mass because it does what the Church says it does when followed correctly even if the translations are erroneous. Get my drift? How will I know the mass is invalid in English? Could you produce me some erroneous translations that would nullify consecration if said?

    Somehow I am really perplexed by this. This is why I never reply in English in the Novus Ordo Missae in English. If what I am saying is going to be revised over the next few years, what’s stopping them from revising it again in 10,15,20 years. The Latin formulas however will not change anytime soon..(I hope)

    Isaac.

  2. danphunter1 says:

    Father, this is a bit off the above situation but I have a question about the laity responding at the Tridentine Mass.
    At a Tridentine Mass that I assisted at recently the priest, before the mass, instructed the faithful that they could make all the responses with the altar boy.
    All of them. He also permitted us to recite the Pater Noster with him.
    Is this permitted in the Missal of 1962?
    Thank you and God bless you.

  3. Federico says:

    Isaac,

    There is a difference between liceity and validity.

    I’m a lawyer and canonist, not a sacramental theologian, but validity merely requires proper minister, matter, form, and intent. The minister of the Eucharist is a sacerdos (man ordained to the presbyterate or episcopate). The matter is bread of wheat and wine of grapes. The form are the words of institution: “This is my Body”/”This is my blod”. Intent is the intent to do what the Church wants.

    Liceity requires obedience to the all norms and rubrics.

    Thus, the Mass in question appears illicit, but not invalid.

    Does this help?

  4. EJ says:

    danphunter – That practice refers to the “Dialogue Mass” – it was first allowed by Pius IX and since the 1920’s has been a widespread practice in continental Europe, especially in France and Belgium – for Masses in the usus antiquior – I didn’t know that the Pater Noster could also be recited by the congregation, however. I thougt that this was reserved for the priest alone in the usus antiquior.

  5. Scott Smith says:

    Since now the older form and the newer form are one rite but two uses, the prohibition against mingling different rites would seem to not apply. After all it seems to be what Benedict XVI would want if they are to influence one another. But since the Older form must be celebrated according to the books of 1962, then only the Newer form can be affected. :) Besides, unless a novus ordo rubric specifically abrogates a former rubric, a priest very well could do things differently than is exactly proscribed, so long his actions are supported by the former tradition.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Dan and EJ: I didn’t know that the Pater Noster could also be recited by the congregation, however.

    From De Musica Sacra (promulgated under Pius XII on the Feast of St. Pius, 1958):

    “32. Since the Pater Noster is a fitting, and ancient prayer of preparation for Communion, the entire congregation may recite this prayer in unison with the priest in low Masses; the Amen at the end is to be said by all. This is to be done only in Latin, never in the vernacular.”

  7. anon says:

    Fr. Z,

    What about the priest keeping his fingers together after the consecration in the new rite? Is this kosher and why or why not? Thanks.

  8. Henry Edwards says:

    And with regard to sung Masses, from a March 26, 1997 letter to an Australian bishop — No. 40/97 on PECD stationary and signed by Angelo Card. Felici, President and Msgr. Camille Perl, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei commission:

    Your Lordship,
    This Pontifical Comission has received your letter of 17 February 1997 in which you raise a number of matters regarding the use of the Missale Romanum of 1962. ……

    [ snip ]

    2.b.) This Pontifical Commision sees no difficulty in the entire congregation’s singing of the Pater Noster in all sung Masses.

    [ snip ]

    Hmm … Can we hope that this sets a precedent for the Commission responding in these turbulent times to crucial dubia in a little over a month?

  9. Mark says:

    Father,

    I have a similar question: I know a Priest who keeps his index finger and thumb together when celebrating Mass according to the 1970 Missal. Is there any problem with that? (Personally, I found it quite touching, for want of another word.)

  10. Gleb says:

    The priest in question could easily avoid this issue by simply pronouncing the formula of consecration in Latin every time. I have heard of priests who have continued to do this, in spite of the rest of Mass still being offered in English.

  11. danphunter1 says:

    Mark,
    The priest, by keeping his thumbs and forefinger’s together, protects against the unfortunate loss of parts of Christs Body following the Consecration.
    This essential practice should always be kept, and it is beyond me that you rarely see this holy precaution taken at a novus ordo mass.
    It is a whole lot more than touching, though it is quite literally also that, it is similiar,in the protection of the loss of Gods Body, to the essential practice of the altar boy using the paten at the Communion Railing.
    God bless you.

  12. EJ says:

    Henry Edwards – thank you for the tips, I will pass them on to a priest friend of mine interested in beginning an EF Mass here in suburban Maryland.

    anon and Mark – Although your questions were addressed to Fr. Z – You might find it interesting that then-Monsignor (now Auxiliary Bishop) Peter Elliott wrote an interesting footnote in his work “Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite,” in which he notes that Paul VI always observed this practice even when celebrating the Novus Ordo. Then-Monsignor Elliott evidently saw no issue with it for the Novus Ordo. I also have a picture of John Paul II elevating the chalice at his Mass of Installation in 1978, clearly showing his fingers conjoined – although he discontinued this practice later on in his pontificate.

  13. berenike says:

    I think I’ve posted this already, but hey, it amuses me. We had a traddily-inclined priest lecturer/de facto chaplain at this place I studied. The altar boys or someone pointed out that perhaps saying the old rite offertory prayers in the new rite was maybe not on. “I’m just doing what my bishop tells me! He tells me to express myself freely! He even says to make it up!”
    (probably true, given his diocese)

  14. Fr. DD says:

    Paragraph 42 of the 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal adds a little time bomb for the restoration. Attendendum igitur erit ad ea quae a lege liturgica et tradita praxi Ritus Romani definiuntur, et quae ad commune bonum spirituale populi Dei conferant, potius quam ad suam propensionem aut arbitrium.
    [Therefore, one must attend to what is determined by liturgical law and by the traditional practice of the Roman Rite, and also what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.]
    I would think that if the Novus Ordo does not specify what to do, one should adopt traditional gestures rather than arbitrarily make one up. Therefore, although there is not law demanding the fingers be held together after consecration, the immemorial tradition of the Roman rite is that it be done. Also, as he approaches the altar and a hymn is being sung, why not privately say the Aufer a nobis and the Oramus te rather than singing the hymn? At the end of Mass, after the blessing, the Placeat Tibi could be prayed. At Communion I see no reason why both priestly preparation prayers cannot be said, even though the obligation is to only say one. Even St. Alphonsus Liguori (speaking on the Communicantes in the Canon) points out that “vel” is sometimes conjunctive rather than disjunctive.
    All in all, this paragraph would seem to me to be in line with pope Benedict’s teaching on conciliar continuity and would allow what is not strictly forbidden or superseded (e.g. the traditional gestures in the dialogue before the preface).

    That said, although sympathetic, I don’t think

  15. Mark Jepperson, KHS says:

    Henry Edwards: From De Musica Sacra …

    This change was incorporated into some of the Missals published in the early 1960’s – The Saint Joseph Daily Missal (1963). See pages XII-XIII, “Dialogue Mass”. This makes for a nice transition for those parishes that are familiar with a sung Latin NO.

  16. Papabile says:

    I think we need CDW to revise this dubia:

    51.
    QUERY: In Mass with a congregation celebrated more solemnly, different ways of incensation are being used: one plain and simple; the other, the same as the rite for incensation prescribed in the former Roman Missal. Which usage should be followed?

    REPLY: It must never be forgotten that the Missal of Pope Paul VI has, since 1970, supplanted the one called improperly “the Missal of St. Pius V,” and completely so, in both texts and rubrics. When the rubrics of the Missal of Paul VI say nothing or say little on particulars in some places, it is not to be inferred that the former rite should be observed. Therefore, the multiple and complex gestures for incensation as prescribed in the former Missal (see , Vatican Polyglot Press, 1962: VIII and pp. LXXXLXXXIII) are not to be resumed.

    In incensation the celebrant (GIRM nos. 51 and 105) proceeds as follows: a. toward the gifts: he incenses with three swings, as the deacon does toward the Book of the Gospels; b. toward the cross: he incenses with three swings when he comes in front of it; c. toward the altar: he incenses continuously from the side as he passes around the altar, making no distinction between the altar table and the base: Not 14 (1978) 301-302, no. 2.

  17. Isaac says:

    Thanks Federico,

    You said:

    The form are the words of institution: “This is my Body”/”This is my blood”. Intent is the intent to do what the Church wants.
    Liceity requires obedience to the all norms and rubrics.

    Now I understand this a bit more. What this means is that by having the right minister, right form and right intent the bread and wine get Eucharisted and this happens only when the minister says This is my Body….This is my Blood. Technically, while clearly morally grave, as long as those 3 words are said (with the right form and intent), even if there should be some non-approved texts used for the rest of the institution narrative, our Lord is made present under both species.

    All I wanted to get at was (assuming that the minister is properly disposed, with the right form and intent) that the Church’s authority is what makes the bread and wine Eucharisted because Holy Mother Church says so. The words in itself do not make Christ present. If it were not so, even with the right intention, priests of the old rite (before Vatican II) could in the past simply say the words of consecration in English at that time and the bread and wine would have become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously, we cannot hold this possibility to be efficacious because the Church had not extended the formula (translated into English) for use at the consecration, no?

    Thus if a priest merely said,

    Take this all of you and eat it, This is my Body (and elevated the host, without continuing the prescribed text)

    and said

    Take this and drink from it. This is my Blood (and elevated the chalice, without continuing the prescribed text).

    Can I with no doubt assume that when I receive communion at this mass, the species contain the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ?

    Regards,
    Isaac.

    Just how far can a priest depart from the institution narrative, before a mass becomes invalid?

  18. Fr DD said: “Paragraph 42 of the 2000 General Instruction of the Roman Missal adds a little time bomb for the restoration. Attendendum igitur erit ad ea quae a lege liturgica et tradita praxi Ritus Romani definiuntur, et quae ad commune bonum spirituale populi Dei conferant, potius quam ad suam propensionem aut arbitrium.
    [Therefore, one must attend to what is determined by liturgical law and by the traditional practice of the Roman Rite, and also what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.]”

    Just to note, the 2000 GIRM was never officially promulgated. While the paragraph you mentioned does contain the same thing in paragraph 42 of the 2002 GIRM, there are some differences between the 2000 and 2002 GIRMs (the position of the Gospel Sequence would be one). The 2002 is the current GIRM of the Novus Ordo Mass.

  19. Since now the older form and the newer form are one rite but two uses, the prohibition against mingling different rites would seem to not apply. After all it seems to be what Benedict XVI would want if they are to influence one another. But since the Older form must be celebrated according to the books of 1962, then only the Newer form can be affected. :) Besides, unless a novus ordo rubric specifically abrogates a former rubric, a priest very well could do things differently than is exactly proscribed, so long his actions are supported by the former tradition.

    No, you can’t mingle rites, but you can’t mingle the uses either. You have to follow the liturgical norms for whichever Mass you are saying. Current Canon Law is pretty clear about it: “846 §1. In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority.” If you say the old Mass you have to say the Mass according to the form of the 1962 Roman Missal. If you are saying the new Mass you have to say the Mass according to the form of the 2002 Roman Missal. They are disinct uses (remember one is ordinary and one is extra-ordinary, there’s no mention of a hybridized Mass in the motu proprio). Even the Pope says you have to follow the books. First you say they influence each other, but then you say it can only go one way. The problem is if you say you can bring things from the 1962 into the 2002, then you have to say you could also take things from the 2002 and bring it into the 1962.

    If nothing is said either way, then you might be able to use a more traditional way, but for the most part, the 2002 GIRM is specific enough about what is to be done during the Mass. I think the biggest influence of the old Mass on the New is that it is said said according to the books. The new Mass also should be said according to the books. The pope says so himself: “The most sure guarantee that the Missal of Paul VI can unite parish communities and be loved by them consists in its being celebrated with great reverence in harmony with the liturgical directives.” The whole point of the motu proprio was because people aren’t saying the new Mass according to the prescriptions of the new Mass. Just read the pope’s accompanying letter to “Summorum Pontificum” with that in mind.

    It reminds me of Archbp. Ranjith’s talk in the Netherlands, where he keeps talking about how obedience will bring about conversion and holiness. Making changes to the Mass just distorts or deforms the Mass, no matter how sincere the motive. And just because the majority of priests add their own things to the Mass, doesn’t mean that that is OK. At that point I am reminded of “if everyone jumped off a bridge would you do it too?”

  20. Federico says:

    Isaac asked: Thus if a priest merely said, “Take this all of you and eat it, This is my Body” (and elevated the host, without continuing the prescribed text) and said “Take this and drink from it. This is my Blood” (and elevated the chalice, without continuing the prescribed text). Can I with no doubt assume that when I receive communion at this mass, the species contain the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ?

    I would have serious questions about the intent of a priest willing to stray far from the approved text. But yes, assuming proper intent you could be sure that transubstantiation occurred and you were in the presence of Jesus, full humanity and full divinity.

    Validity only requires very little. Liceity requires the whole. Does a priest who’s willing to celebrate a wildly illicit Mass (absent an emergency which could excuse it) have the properly formed intent? I don’t know. That’s the question.

    Also remember that celebration of the Eucharist is not an act of jurisdiction, therefore the minister only needs to have the requisite sacramental character. This cannot be suspended and does not require authorization for validity. Again, liceity is another matter.

    Interestingly, this is why even the majority of sedevacantists recognize that the NO Mass is valid. It contains the essential elements for validity. Sedevacantists, of course, question the intent of priests celebrating the NO and the validity of episcopal ordination, but that’s way outside this discussion.

    If you want to send me a private question, you can get my email address from my blog website, here. I dare not put my email in this reply since I live in relative spam happiness that I’m not interested in compromising.

    Federico.