QUAERITUR: congregational responses at TLM

This question came via e-mail:

I have seen a number of patterns of spoken congregational response in Masses in the Extraordinary Form.  Occasionally you get something like the old "Dialogue Mass", a low Mass where the congregation joins the server for many of the responses.  But not long ago at a low EF Mass I was admonished by the lady next to me in the pew when I said "et cum spiritu tuo" after the priest’s "Dominus vobiscum" — it was an almost unconscious response on my part.  She tapped me on the shoulder, scowled and hissed "shh".  I hadn’t spoken at all loudly, but clearly she felt it was wrong to respond.  Seems to me that it’s the priest’s role to decide whether the congregation responds, and to signal that somehow to the congregation.

So: when should the congregation respond vocally in a low EF Mass, or a Missa Cantata, or a High Mass?  How can priests provide guidance on this?

 

Ah, yes.  The Hissing Lady.  All too common in some places where the TLM is celebrated I’m afraid.

There is no hard and fast rule about vocal responses.  I think you have to go with the flow.

That said, various Popes before the Council encouraged congregational responses, the so-called "dialogue Mass".

On 3 Sept 1958 (anniversary is coming!) an extremely important document, De musica sacra, was issued by the Sacred Congregation of Rites.  This document established rules for the outward participation of the congregation in three different levels for the Missa cantata and the Missa solemnis

In the first, the people would also sing the liturgical responses.  In the second, they would also sing the Ordinary.  In the third, they would also sing the Proper.

De musica sacra also established rules for Low Mass in four levels of outward participation.  First, answering aloud the short responses.  Second, also saying all the responses the server would say as well as the Domine non sum dignus.  Third, also reciting with the priest celebrant his parts of the Ordinary, the Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, Our Father, etc.  Fourth, also saying the Propers, the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion antiphon.

In my travels, I have seen various levels of participation.  In some places the congregation is pretty silent, leaving everything to the servers or choir.  In others, the Hissing Ladies are vigilant.  In yet others, people speak and sing without censorship.    Much will depend on what the priest wants and promotes. 

But yes, congregational responses are permitted and, in many cases, a good idea.

Personally, I prefer responses from the congregation and have no problem at all with them saying the parts pertaining to the server, and even prayers like the Gloria and Creed. 

What I do not like are the Hissing Ladies of both sexes

But I think you have to go with the flow.

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122 Responses to QUAERITUR: congregational responses at TLM

  1. Kradcliffe says:

    *Ah, yes. The Hissing Lady. All too common in some places where the TLM is celebrated I’m afraid.*

    LOL.

  2. Carolina Geo says:

    I have a follow-up question. I know of one parish that has the traditional Mass where the priest will, at a high Mass, intone the Pater Noster and then the choir and/or the congregation chants the whole thing. At a low Mass the priest and the congregation will pray the entire Pater Noster aloud together. It is my understanding that the congregation only prays the last line (sed libera nos a malo) out loud. Could someone give an authoritative thumbs up or thumbs down on the congregation praying the entire Pater Noster out loud? Thanks!

  3. Carolina Geo says:

    I guess my question above would refer to a high Mass, as the question is answered for a low Mass in Musicam Sacram, as detailed by Fr. Z.

  4. EDG says:

    “The Hissing Lady!” What a great phrase – and what a sad and irritating reality in some traditional churches. In any case, thank you for posting the references to the different types of congregational participation. I lived in New York City, where “dialogue masses” were fairly common by the late 50s and just prior to the Council, and when I got older, I was surprised to find that this was not the case everywhere.

  5. Julie says:

    You are right on the money, Fr Z! Musica Sacram in many ways was the forerunner to Sacrosanctum Concilium’s admontion that the people shouls “say or sing in Latin those parts of theMass that pertain to the
    them. How beautiful!!!

    The best example I’ve ever seen of this is the video on YouTube of the High Mass at the SSPX church of St. Nicholas du Chardonnet. What marvellous participation!!!!

    The experience I’ve had at my parish is that when people are taught to sing the Mass in Latin they love it!!!

  6. Julie says:

    Carolina, Musica Sacram gives permission for the people to say/sing the Pater Noster with the Priest ath the EF!!

  7. Tim Ferguson says:

    The Hissing Lady – Mulier Sibilans

    I’d also like a ruling on the Pater Noster. At one parish (FSSP) I attended regularly, the congregation chanted the Lord’s Prayer with the priest. At my current parish (Dioceasn), there’s a notation in the Mass program informing us that the congregation only responds with the “et libera nos a malo” at the conclusion.

  8. Phil says:

    Another small related question:

    What’s appropriate with regard to the creed? (this can apply to both forms, actually) Is it necessary that the priest starts (and the priest alone)?
    Singing along with the choir is mostly a case of decency (do it or keep shut, depending on the quality of your own voice, the choir, your volume and knowledge of the music), not of rubrics – the choir are laymen/women afterall. But often the priest starts / intones the Gloria, Credo etc. Is this especially reserved for the priest, and under which circumstances?

  9. Cathguy says:

    “The Hissing Lady” That is awesome!

    However, the hissing lady is acting in a way that is blatantly stupid.

    So, we want to encourage the return of the traditional latin mass. So lets abuse the worshipers who show up there. GREAT.

    A one woman wrecking crew.

  10. Ritualist says:

    A small nitpick (sorry): the SCR document entitled Musicam Sacram was in 1967. The 1958 document was De Musica Sacra

  11. Maynardus says:

    “Go with the flow”… good advice, especially when you are a newbie or a visitor. I’ve experienced just about every gradation and variation of congregational “participation” and personally I prefer making the responses – a la the “Dialogue Mass” – at Low Mass and chanting what is familiar (or in the back of my Missal) at a Sung Mass. However, when in Rome…

    I did learn – early-on – to simply keep my mouth shut rather that trying to “participate” vocally in complex or challenging bits. If “to sing well is to pray twice”, what must it be to sing or chant poorly – especially in the presence of a well-trained schola or choir and in the midst of a large congregation?

    It’s also prudent to give the “hissing ladies” the benefit of the doubt – they may have been the ones who doggedly petitioned the bishop (pre-SP) and eventually got the TLM approved, or even the donors whose funds paid for the chapel in which one is worshipping! (Two situations I’ve actually encountered) That doesn’t justify their actions, but it sometimes tends to explain their proprietorial attitudes…

  12. Hissing Ladies of both sexes. Now that’s good!

    Do the various new printings of the Missal of 62 include this kind of information as a forward? Rubricate it? A good pamphlet version should do that, at least.

  13. Maybe this will help:

    For the Our Father, you read in the 1962 Fortescue-O’Connell (p.79), “In a Low Mass also the faithful may recite aloud, with the celebrant and in Latin – all answering Amen at the end – Pater noster. They would stand for the Our Father and the prayers before Communion (cf. p. 80).

  14. chas says:

    I’ve only experienced the hissing ladies once, and I was rather surprised. I thought that it was just standard practise to respond with the servers. The very interesting thing about the older form of mass is the great variety of ways in which one can participate. Not enough “active participation” indeed!

  15. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Yes, the priest defines what kind of Mass is being said: silent, responses or sung. How one finds this out is usually taking hints from actions of the regular folk in attendance who are used to the priest’s habits. I can’t remember how this was typically communicated back in the day… a bulletin announcement? the presence of a choir? servers or no servers? the parish know-it-all in the front pew? or the Hissing Lady… We have so much to re-learn.

    I had no idea that the Our Father could be recited with the priest at OF. I’m coming to realize that there were all sorts of little changes in the Old Mass as we veered towards the Pauline Mass. I’m most familiar with the Dialogue Mass of the late 50s and saying the confiteor right before Communion. Today’s EFs that I’ve attended doesn’t appear to provide that option?

    Perhaps there needs to be a definition of exactly which version of the Old Mass the EF provides us, and what other options there may be. Most of all, our dear priests need to know! :-)

  16. Jordanes says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf said: For the Our Father, you read in the 1962 Fortescue-O’Connell (p.79), “In a Low Mass also the faithful may recite aloud, with the celebrant and in Latin – all answering Amen at the end – Pater noster.

    I have an old St. Pius X Missal from 1961, and it has a notation at the Our Father that says pretty much the same thing.

    Ritualist said: A small nitpick (sorry): the SCR document entitled Musicam Sacram was in 1967. The 1958 document was De Musica Sacra [Thanks! I'll make the correction above. - Fr. Z]

    Is that different from Pius XII’s 1955 encyclical On Sacred Music, “Musica Sacrae Disciplina”?

  17. prayatmass says:

    I’m sorry that you were hissed at. That said, I would not recite badly pronounced Latin(or English) at the top of my lungs and get up and down like a jack-in-the-box at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary, so I don’t like to do it at Mass. After 13 years of attending mostly dialogue TLMs, I still don’t find it conducive to actual participation in the Mass. Those who wish to follow the Missal word for word may do so at a silent Mass but unfortunately at a dialogue Mass the same is not true for those who wish to follow the Mass by prayerfully following the actions of the Mass with their hearts or even, yes, kneeling at the foot of the Cross with Our Lady and praying the Rosary. The insistance on the dialogue Mass on the part of some has created uneccessary divisions among Catholics and presented a barrier to genuine prayer.

  18. Matthew says:

    I have to admit, the one thing I’ll never get used to, as a person whose been attending the TLM for the past 4 and a half years is the congregation singing the Pater Noster. At Old St. Mary’s in Washington, DC, it just isn’t done. However, across the Potomac in the parishes of the Arlington Diocese that have the TLM, it’s often done. The only place that I’ve seen that actively discourages it in that diocese is St. Mary’s in Alexandria, which has a disclaimer on the sheet they prepare that has the propers on it, which discourages people from saying the Pater Noster (no Sung Masses there as of yet).

  19. Craigmaddie says:

    The Hissing Lady – ah, yes. And how about the dapper gentleman who sits up front and turns around to make sure that everyone is kneeling at the Incarnatus?

  20. Jon K says:

    Having a Low Mass in the old way – and no Dialogue Mass – should be a right. 1) The Dialogue Mass is rather a new phenomenon (it started off in French and German youth movements and later spread, in the 50s), and 2) the fix idea which it expresses (external activity) once lead to the Pauline liturgy. Besides, the lack of respect shown to the lady mentioned above surprises me.

    One must remember that the Dialogue Mass is intrusive by its very nature: no one can opt out of it. Whereas a low Mass where only the server answers leaves many options.

  21. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    Re: Hissing Ladies (and Men)

    As one may have to wait for the “conciliar generation” to pass away before a complete restoration may be achieved in the Church, so too may one have to wait for their beleaguered, scarred adversaries among traditionalists to pass also before things can move forward. Just as many on the Right are caught in the 70s/80s time warp as are persons on the Left.

  22. Mark M says:

    My understand was “when in Rome…”, i.e. that it depended on the custom of the place.

    I’ll be honest and say that I do not like it when new congregants come along and try to do a dialogue Mass when it is not custom of the place.

  23. Geoffrey says:

    I just attended my first “old” Mass in a church this Sunday (Mission San Juan Bautista in California… standing room only). It was a Missa cantata. Many of the congregation took part in some of the singing of the ordinary and in the responses. I was glad because that is why I’d actually prefer the “new” Mass in Latin… I like making the responses. It was great to try and sing Credo III, which I have already begun to learn just by watching Papal Masses.

  24. Kradcliffe says:

    *Craigmaddie: The Hissing Lady – ah, yes. And how about the dapper gentleman who sits up front and turns around to make sure that everyone is kneeling at the Incarnatus?*

    (snerk) I had the EXACT SAME THOUGHT. LOL.

    I think the Hissing Lady may be the same one who likes to give mothers of small children the dirty looks.

    Some people really do have issues with maintaining custody of the eyes.

  25. The hissing ladies!They are a phenomenon of our present age.Noone would do that,or dare to do it in the 50s.

  26. Supertradmom says:

    Not true that such things did not happen in the 50s or at other times. Such ladies and gentlemen who correct behavior in Church have been with us, I am sure, from time immemorial. A claim to fame of one of my friend’s sister was being corrected by J.R.R. Tolkien for being rather rambunctious in an Oxford church. she was about three at the time, I think. And, I must admit, that I myself have been critical of Cherrios in plastic baggies next to me on the seat for toddlers to crunch during Mass.

  27. Gloria says:

    At St. Stephen’s (FSSP), a lot of people quietly join in the responses with the servers at Low Mass, including at the Preface,the “sed libera nos a malo” for the Pater Noster, etc. At our sung Masses, we (who are able and want to participate – and there are many)sing the responses throughout the Mass and alternate phrases with the schola and choir for the Asperges or Vidi Aquam, Kyrie, Gloria and Credo III. The organist increases the volume for the congregation’s parts as a cue. Many also alternate during the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. As a personal preference, during the Canon of the Mass, after the sung responses to the Preface, I follow my missal, so as not to miss those important prayers. The choir sings the proper Masses of the season or BVM (Orbis Factor, Cum Jubilo, etc.) Unless it is a really special occasion and the choir sings a totally different, perhaps polyphonic Mass, the people know which Mass is being sung and easily follow. Note: about the Confiteor before Communion – it is always said here and sung beautifully at Solemn High Mass by the Deacon as he and the Subdeacon, on opposite sides of the altar, bow low. I can’t imagine the Mass without that Confiteor, which is meant especially for all of us.

  28. Ken says:

    “the old ‘Dialogue Mass’”

    The 20th century is not “old.”

    I hope we’re not saying the fabulous 50s are the model for liturgy. Liturgy was AWFUL during that decade. How about the 16th century? (Yes, Father, there would be hissing then.)

    This “hissing man” likes it when the choir does the singing, the servers do the responding and the congregation does the praying. If a communicant is unable to keep quiet for a mere hour, then how about he joins the choir or the ranks of servers?

  29. Marie says:

    American people have to know that this way of doing is a very American one, always very surprising for Europeans. I think I can say I never saw anything like this in France or in any European country – except perhaps in very little new chapels where people do not know yet the rules.
    This is probably because of the importance of the SSPX which was quite absolutely alone to celebrate the Latin Mass for years, and whose practice was the very Roman one (do not forget Archbishop Lefebvre was seminarian in the French Seminary in Rome, and all that was Roman was THE rule).
    In our schools also, we always learned exactly like this.
    That you did not have to do in our own way to answer or to be silent, to kneel or not, because a liturgical prayer is a public one, and take part in the Sacrifice. Not at all like in private prayer.
    About the Pater, the rule is to be silent, because it is said by the priest as the Christ-priest prayer. Except on Maundy Thursday (I must confess I do not remember why, but perhaps someone here will be able to remind me of it).

  30. Matthew says:

    “My understand was “when in Rome…”, i.e. that it depended on the custom of the place.”

    “I’ll be honest and say that I do not like it when new congregants come along and try to do a dialogue Mass when it is not custom of the place.”

    AMEN Mark M! I think some don’t know any better, but I think there are probably some who try to “impose” it on other places because it “should” be done that way.

  31. “I know of one parish that has the traditional Mass where the priest will, at a high Mass, intone the Pater Noster and then the choir and/or the congregation chants the whole thing. At a low Mass the priest and the congregation will pray the entire Pater Noster aloud together. It is my understanding that the congregation only prays the last line (sed libera nos a malo) out loud. Could someone give an authoritative thumbs up or thumbs down on the congregation praying the entire Pater Noster out loud? Thanks!”

    Pope Pius XII, in De Musica Sacra # 32, allowed and even encouraged people
    to join in the recitation of the Pater at Low Mass

    As for the singing (by the congregation) of the Pater Noster at a
    Missa Cantata, that was permitted in 1997 by the PCED. Please see the decree
    here:

    http://saintbedestudio.blogspot.com/2007/04/more-decisions-of-ecclesia-dei.html

    People should let other people to do what is allowed
    by the liturgical books in force in 1962. Furthermore, I don’t think Trads
    should condemn those who choose to avail of the options and permissions
    given by the PCED from 1988 to the present. (The congregational singing
    of the Pater Noster, the simplifications of the rubrics of High Mass,
    for instance.) That should be obvious, actually, but there is an unfortunate
    crisis of obedience among certain Trad circles.

    While we may question the prudence or the wisdom of certain
    elements of the 1962 Missal or of the permissions and changes allowed by the
    PCED, we may definitely not question the right of Catholics to follow these
    directives, nor should disobedience to the “new” rubrics (where these
    are prescribed) be permitted.

    What distresses me, as the TLM
    continues to spread, is the tendency among some Trads to condemn legitimate
    practices and customs and even the use of the 1962 rubrics if these seem
    modernist (!) or un-Roman (!).

    For example, some people go absolutely ballistic
    if the Second Confiteor is omitted. Others condemn the Dialogue Mass like
    it’s the Novus Ordo. Others question priests who cense free
    standing altars all the way round, because “that is not how the FSSP
    and SSPX do it.” (I don’t blame the FSSP or even the SSPX for this mentality,
    but I hope they realize that some people think that the FSSP or SSPX
    way of doing things is the only correct way, and that all other ways are to
    be condemned)

  32. Supertradmom says:

    Love the photo, Father Z. And brings back mixed, but mostly happy memories of being corrected by our good nuns now departed.

  33. EJ says:

    I’m glad to see this issue raised, above all how Father respects the variety of practices permitted. I too personally prefer EF Masses were the congregation is able to make at least some of the responses. The concept of legitimate liturgical reform and organic development in the liturgy is not a novelty, and well preceded Vatican II for that matter. My mother’s first communion Mass in 1951 in Latin America was already in the form of a ‘dialogue Mass’, and was very popular according to her, so the practice was not limited to Europe at all. I agree that a newcomer shouldn’t be rude and interrupt the established practice in a community, this is a question of manners and common sense. This raises the question again about whether the Traditional Mass is a fly in amber or not. But I was at a Solemn High TLM a few months ago in the archdiocese of Washington where the pastor expressly discouraged (in the program) the congregation from singing even the most basic responses, which seemed frankly ridiculous. You can’t likewise expect to forbid what has legitimately been permitted, irregardless of personal preference. I am very grateful for the Diocese of Arlington parishes that provide some variety in the celebration of the EF, for those of us that were happy to flee from the robotic rigidity of some other communities.

  34. Mark S. says:

    Regarding the “Dialogue Mass” and the case of somebody being “hissed at”, I was told, a few years ago, an unofficial comment by an associate who grew up in the 1940′s/50′s in England. (NB. I’m writing from England.) I asked why, whenever the EF is celebrated in England, we never see any Dialogue Masses. The story I was told was:

    “The Dialogue Mass started unofficially in the early 1900′s, mainly in academic circles in continental Europe. Although it was legislated for in 1958, it didn’t ‘catch on’ in a lot of places, including England. Responses made by the congregation only became common in England in the late ’60′s, after Vatican II, and because of that, a lot of people make the connection between the congregation making responses, and the post-Vatican II liturgical changes. Besides, for a Dialogue Mass to work properly, the congregation have to make the responses ‘in chorus’, everybody completely synchronised, which is very difficult as you always get somebody who is out of step with everybody else.”

    Perhaps that’s the reason why some people are being “hissed at”, because the person doing this (mistakenly) thinks they are bringing in an OF practice into the EF.

  35. Ken says:

    EJ — do a head count and you will find that many more people attend the traditional Latin Mass in Washington, D.C. than in the dialogue-heavy Archdiocese of Arlington. And they travel from Virginia to do so!

    So much for the singalong 1950s being as popular as some think…

    Still, I love the logic of the Left — there should be liberty to do or not do something unless it’s something with which I disagree.

  36. Ken says:

    …sorry, diocese, not archdiocese of Arlington.

  37. leo says:

    i really dislike the dialogue mass in england its usual to be silent at low mass though et cum spiritu tuo is everywhere . The society of st pius x always follow the french custom of missa recita i believe though i have only heard two masses they were both dialogue no birretta no kissing of the priests yawn.The dialogue mass seems so close to the new mass in latin that it would be easier for the congregation to make the streamlined new responses without the prayers at the foot of the altar and the practice of the oratory fathers would be more approriate

  38. Kradcliffe says:

    Ken, what do you mean “the Left?” Just because somebody points out that dialog Masses have been and still are popular in some places, you think you know their political positions?

    How about every time you say something I don’t like, I call you a Nazi? That would really be good for communication.

  39. Phil says:

    Ken, that attitude will certainly bring many enthousistic people to switch to TLMs! Shut up or go to the NO!

  40. Sid Cundiff says:

    Can someone provide a link to De musica sacra?

    I thank Fr. Z for his reply to a question about which I myself have wondered. “Go with the flow” advises well; “the priest decides” advises better. Perhaps a variety of allowed Low Mass styles advises best, given that tastes and needs do indeed vary.

    While prayatmass and Jon K have good points supra, and a cacophonous Dialogue Mass poorly said would be well replaced by a silent Mass any day, still I would prefer a Dialogue Low Mass, and the Ordinary and Paternoster sung by everyone at a High.

    I would ask, Did the silent Mass originate in Ireland and spread to the whole Anglo-Saxon-Celtic world, and to no place else, at least in the 20th C?

  41. mrs kimball says:

    Thankyou we have a new priest for our tlm and he wants us to say some of the responces with him. What is it ok ???? What do we do ???Thankyou so much …Ave Maria

  42. Perhaps this thread has sputtered along far enough for some one to point out that the traditional Latin Mass had no — as in none, nada, zilch — official rubrics specifying the behavior of the congregation. The rubrics detail instead the behavior of the clergy.

    Though liturgical manuals like Fortescue often expressed the various opinions of their authors, sometimes quite “dogmatically”, and popes and others expressed weightier opinions from time to time, variations like singing or not singing the Pater Noster along with the priest were, as I understand it, matters of local custom. Catholics in German-speaking countries, for instance, apparently sang like crazy at Mass, while in English-speaking ones they generally did not.

    The point may be that these questions about what one “must” do at a TLM are more of a Novus Ordo than a traditional character. For the attempted micro-management of congregational behavior with detailed written and published “norms” spawned by liturgical bureacracies is very much a Novus Ordo thing, previously unseen in the Roman rite. So it’s nicely ironic that the hissing lady who knows the only way it’s permissible to do it undoubtedly thinks she’s more traditional than anyone else within range of her hiss.

  43. EJ says:

    Ken – that’s the first-time anyone has ever branded me as part of the left. Ever. Perhaps there’s a vast left-wing conspiracy infiltrating the cookie-cutter Irish Low Mass image among traditional latin mass communities! To arms all! Should the vast majority of traditionalists in Continental Europe also be considered “lefties” because they also prefer this practice in the EF? This is again about respecting legitimate preferences, preferences legitimized by the Holy See itself. I drive 60mi round trip from Maryland to the Diocese of Arlington TLM that I’m privileged to be able to attend – no need for a head count, numbers are fine, and maybe because we’re able to freely sing and respond to what we sing and respond to. That’s great that St. Mary’s is doing so well, it’s a fine church and a fine parish, hissing ladies excluded ofcourse.

  44. Fr. Lane says:

    After my first TLM Mass I got a letter from a gentleman instructing me to tell the congregation to be quiet and follow along silently in thier missals like they are supposed to. Supposed to? What ever happened to doing what the Church wants with generosity? Just because something was proposed in the 1950′s does not automatically make it a bad thing. I welcome the responses of the faithful and I think it is a good thing. In fact, I had a TLM workshop that was well attended where I taught the degrees of participation and how to use a missal for praying the Mass. Also, I have a pretty sophisticated daily Mass crowd and thier pronoucation and cadence are nearly beyond reproach. It does my priestly heart good to “hear” the Church at prayer. But, at the same time I would respect those who choose to do otherwise. I am sure they have well thought out reasons.

  45. Bernie says:

    Phil, you’re absolutely right. That’s how my attempt to take my wife to a TLM ended: She was not hostile to the TLM, a very orthodox catholic indeed. Like me we were just unaware of all the liturgical (robotics as someone noted) practices. We had been to Latin NO and out of ignorance we did respond out loud at the TLM. We noted we were the only ones and we then stopped. So far so good. After Mass we were approached by some very friendly people and we started a conversation. I then made a question (again not knowing it was an issue) about (not) responding out loud. Big mistake! We were lectured as how Novus-Ordoish that is and how it is the subtle way to destroy the TLM and on and on. To finish the group went on bashing local parishes including ours (which is not a bad one relative to the chaos out there) and that was it for my wife. I kind of understand some of the pain those folks went through but the practical result is that I only go there on weekdays and my wife made it clear that we should look for the best (ie most orthodox, truly catholic) parish in town as long as it is not a TLM. I hope this behaviour is not the rule and I want to see the TLM grow with or without dialogue Masses which I believe (sheer opinion of a lay catholic) do no harm to the beauty and splendor of a well prayed TLM.

  46. TomG says:

    Fr. Lane,

    Please, please, please come to Baltimore with your TLM workshop!

  47. “Just because something was proposed in the 1950’s does not automatically make it a bad thing.”

    The dialogue Mass was initiated before 1940. Pius XI is on record as encouraging it. Annabale Bugnini (the whipping boy of choice in these matters) was a newly ordained parish priest outside of Rome at the time.

    On to other matters. The TLM at St Mary’s in Washington DC is at 9 in the morning, whereas the ones in northern Virginia tend to be later in the morning, or early in the afternoon. The time of day is far more likely to be a factor, than that of congregational responses. That, and a twenty-year head start.

    What is relevant here are the norms of the 1962 Missale Romanum, and the appropriate ceremonials and legislation that accompany it. The approval of the “hissing ladies” (most of whom, in my experience, weren’t even BORN in 1962, the year I received my first Communion by the way), the pontificating of the “more-traditional-than-thou” school of thought, and all the Masonic-Judaic conspiracy theories we can find on the internet — are not relevant.

    We have an objective authority in these matters. It is all well and good to have a preference. But if that is all it is…

  48. Regarding the congregational singing of the Pater Noster, it is true that the PCED allows for it. Personally, I can make a case either way. The case against it is that the chant used is a sacredotal tone, more suited to the priest than to the congregation. That, and the symbolism of Christ in the person of the priest teaching the faithful to pray. The case for it might be for those congregations which had become accustomed to singing it for a Latin “Novus Ordo” before it was switched to the Traditional form. At St John’s in McLean, Virginia, the latter was the main consideration for the congregation to sing it.

  49. prayatmass says:

    Silent Low Masses respect all members of a congregation, including those who wish to usurp the altar server’s role as representative of the people and follow along in their Missals word for word in Latin. On the other hand, dialogue Low Masses ONLY respect those who participate in that narrowly defined way. I think of my poor departed grandmother who was a convert to Catholicism, had to drop out of school in the 5th grade to help out at home when her mother was widowed, and was in an accident that caused a speech impediment. I’m glad she didn’t have to attend a dialogue Mass! I also think of my other grandmother who won’t go to the TLM because she has seen the hybrid Mass on EWTN and says “I can’t understand it.” The dialogue Mass is nothing but an argument for the NO.

  50. “The dialogue Mass is nothing but an argument for the NO.”

    The legislature of the Church deems otherwise. Once again, you are relying on a preference, however noteworthy the intentions.

  51. “Perhaps there needs to be a definition of exactly which version of the Old Mass the EF provides us.”

    There already is, and it is mentioned in the motu proprio: 1962. It’s not exactly a big secret.

  52. Fr. B. Pedersen says:

    As a priest who has celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the past three years it seems to me that there are some limitations concerning the Dialogue Mass. The Short Responses are easy enough for the congregation, but the longer prayers including the responses for Psalm 42, the Confiteor, as well as the Suscipiat need a greater degree of catechesis and practice before they should be employed if at all. One of the most annoying things for a priest celebrating Mass is for someone in the Congregation to respond so loud as to distract both the servers and the celebrant and his fellow congregants. I am thinking of one man in particular who responds at a rate faster than the servers. Two of the priests in the parish, in response to this man, will only whisper the prayers at the foot of the Altar because the distraction is so great. I always say them outloud becuase that is what the rubrics require. I am also nervous about the so-called “Dialogue Mass” because it can institutionalize low Mass as the ideal, when in fact Solemn and Sung Mass should be considered the ideal. In this sense, we ought to approach the prayers at the foot of the Altar for what they are, namely the preparation of the Celebrant and his ministers. These prayers, while edifying for the faithful are not necessarily meant to be their preparation for Mass. When proponents of the dialogue Mass came to see these prayers as necessary also for the laity the demands of the latin language naturally served, in my opinion, to lead the reformers of the consilium to desire to simplify these prayers in the new Mass. Thus the Celebrant lost his prayers of preparation at the foot of the Altar, and the laity got in its place a simple rite of penance, with the simple confiteor as option 1, two short versicles as option 2 which are employed only rarely, and as option 3 a tropic Kyrie with only a response. So much I fear was lost because of the dialogue Mass menality. But when it comes to the dialogue Mass, much depends upon how the priest trains his congregation. We should also remember that In sung Mass it is the Introit that serves as the proper point of meditation and preparation suited to the laity. The same is true of the Kyrie which follows. When it comes to the Dialogue Mass I think we ought to take our cues from Solemn Mass as to what is ideal for the laity to respond to. The instruction of 1958 is quite ambitious indeed. Certainly more should be expected of seminaries, and religious houses, and less of Parish Churches in General. The main reason being, that not every person in the laity is able to speak “latinly” to the same degree. It would be a shame if parts of the Mass such as the Prayers at the foot of the Altar lose their proper focus.

  53. dcs says:

    I think of my poor departed grandmother who was a convert to Catholicism, had to drop out of school in the 5th grade to help out at home when her mother was widowed, and was in an accident that caused a speech impediment. I’m glad she didn’t have to attend a dialogue Mass!

    I’m not sure I understand the problem. I’m not a big fan of dialogue Low Masses myself, but I don’t think the fact that some people are physically unable to participate in them is reason to do away with them. Should we receive Holy Communion standing because some people are unable to kneel?

  54. Tim H says:

    It is my understanding that, pace marie, that this absolute “code of silence” custom of TLM devotees is almost entirely American, and is a residue of Irish Catholicism with its strongly Jansenist undertones. Levels of lay participation in teh style of the “dialog mass” were the norm in Germany according to Msgr. Schmitz of the ICKSP, and even more so among the always vocal Poles according to members of the Canons of St. John Cantius. As for the “difficulty” of the introibo and propers, I have been to Byzantine parishes where the congregation sing lustily from sheets of the propers printed off the church computer, guess IQs in the west really are dropping.

  55. Father Pedersen:

    As a master of ceremonies, I am annoyed by some of the same things, like when people go too fast for the “Suscipiat,” for example. It is possible to gently remind people, either in catechesis or in a parish bulletin, that this is not a race to see who finishes first, but that the faithful are praying together, and they should act accordingly. Regarding the prayers of the “Fore-Mass” (Psalm 42), you would be correct in principle, as they are the private preparation of the priest and his ministers. I can tell you that for the Low Mass at St John’s, the celebrant and servers pray that part silently enough, that the congregation has been discouraged from joining in at that point. It didn’t take a lot of brow-beating, by the way. Or hissing.

  56. Jordanes says:

    MWA said: Musicae Sacrae (1955) http://www.ewtn.com/library/ENCYC/P12MUSIC.HTM
    Musica Sacra (1958) http://www.adoremus.org/1958Intro-sac-mus.html
    Musicam Sacram (1967)http://www.adoremus.org/MusicamSacram.html

    Thanks! That’s kind of funny, though — three confusingly/similarly named documents, all within a few years of each other.

  57. prayatmass says:

    “I’m not sure I understand the problem. I’m not a big fan of dialogue Low Masses myself, but I don’t think the fact that some people are physically unable to participate in them is reason to do away with them. Should we receive Holy Communion standing because some people are unable to kneel?”

    Silent Masses (I’m primarily referring to Low Mass) accommodate ALL of the congregation, including those who wish to follow the Missal word for word (for pretty much the whole of Mass.) Dialogue Masses, like their NO counterparts, accommodate ONLY those who follow the Missal word for word. It prohibits any other way of following the Mass due to the level of distraction it creates (people shouting out responses at the top of their lungs and getting up and down like jack-in-the-boxes.) Some people want to pray at Mass…”Be still and know that I am God.”

  58. David Alexander,

    Does St John’s have Low Mass in the EF during the week? Can you give us a status update on Fr McAfee as I noticed that Fr Paul Scalia is the administrator now.

  59. Please, silence at Low Mass!!!

  60. EJ says:

    Fr. Pedersen has a valid point about the awkwardness of people trying to recite everything, especially the prayers at the foot of the altar. I think most here, however, have expressed their support for a moderate amount of congregational participation – of being free to respond “et cum spiritu tuo” in a dignified manner, or sing the Kyrie or the Creed – essentially to not have the hissing lady tell us to shut up, when for all practical purposes, we don’t have to. For those of us who have experienced the traditional Mass in Continental Europe, I just can’t understand the fuss made by some in insisting that I not be able to say a word, when for decades the authorities of the Church have permitted me to. Some people are so entrenched in their ways that they cannot consider for a moment that the SAME Mass that they hold near and dear is experienced differently by other people all over the world – and that the world isn’t better or worse for it.

  61. Greg:

    Father McAfee (who is an avid WDTPRS reader, by the way) remains pastor at St John’s, while recovering from the effects of a minor stroke a few weeks ago, and spinal surgery in January. Father Scalia, in addition to being appointed parochial vicar, is also appointed by the Bishop as temporary administrator of the parish, handling the day-to-day operations until Father McAfee is fully recovered. The arrangement is expected to last six months to a year. When Father McAfee is well enough, and a medical doctor can verify as such, he can petition the Bishop to reinstate his full authority. All this was explained at every Mass one Sunday, so I’m not giving away anything. It is an unusual arrangement, in that Father Scalia grew up in this parish, and as any priest reading this knows, an assignment to your “home parish” is highly irregular. We are all delighted to have Father Scalia with us. He is dedicated to the celebration of the Traditional Mass (not a small consideration by the bishop in his appointment), and he gets on well with everyone, including the guys who serve him at the altar.

    Father McAfee was the celebrant this past Sunday, as we remembered the Feast of SS Peter and Paul, with a magnificent rendition of Palestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass. We have high hopes that he will be back to dancing an Irish jig before year’s end. (Well, close enough anyway…)

    As to the Low Mass schedule, the summer months have only the First Fridays (cancelled in July due to the holiday). As far as I know, we anticipate a regular Friday evening schedule in the fall, I don’t know exactly when.

  62. David,

    One last question: Why no daily Latin Mass on a year-around basis? Not enough parishoners asking for it?!?

  63. The general unwritten rule, before the Latin Mass started becoming trendy again in the last 5 or so years was that: Low Mass was said between the celebrant and the server and the congregation remained silent, and a High Mass had the congregation singing the responses (and ordinary if there was no musical setting).

    It worked very well until the Dialogue Mass advocates started interfering… Quite frankly, I find it very distracting since most Dialogue Masses I have been to do not have everyone saying the responses at the same time. Singing, however, “covereth [up] a multitude of sins”.

  64. If people want to open their mouths at Low Mass we should bring back the wonderful custom of a Deutsche Singmesse, where the congregation sings hymns while the priest and server make the Mass responses to themselves.

  65. Tina in Ashburn says:

    “Perhaps there needs to be a definition of exactly which version of the Old Mass the EF provides us.”
    David Alexander replies: There already is, and it is mentioned in the motu proprio: 1962. It’s not exactly a big secret.

    Thanks for pointing that out David. My understanding is that the EF applied the Mass of 1962, but you wouldn’t know it judging by all the questions in these posts. I am a little confused because there are places, due to indults or generous bishops, where the Old Mass has been celebrated a long time using older versions. Some practice the versions saying the Confiteor before Communion, some use the version before St Joseph was added to the Canon, today we have ‘newbies’ learning the Old Mass for the first time.

    These ongoing differences contribute to the confusion. A lot of us are used to different versions and these differing experiences are adding to our ideas of what the options are.

    Wondering if anybody saying the Old Mass now MUST now use the 1962 version?

    [Thank goodness it isn't really up to the laity anyway.]

    And judging from all the discussion about silence vs dialogue, joining the Pater Noster or not, it is not clear to everyone what the options are and how these options relate to low Mass, High Mass, ‘in between’ Mass, and dialogue or not.

    Noting Fr Pedersen’s remark about the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar as the prep for the priest and servers to say without the congregation, frankly, isn’t the whole Mass a conversation between the priest and God on our behalf, which the congregation is privileged to hear anyway? [hey, used to say 'hear Mass' back in the day...]

    and FINALLY, thanks for the update on Fr McAfee!!

  66. Matthew says:

    David L. Alexander: “The approval of the “hissing ladies” (most of whom, in my experience, weren’t even BORN in 1962, the year I received my first Communion by the way), the pontificating of the “more-traditional-than-thou” school of thought, and all the Masonic-Judaic conspiracy theories we can find on the internet—are not relevant.”

    What was the point of bringing up “the Masonic-Judaid conspiracy theories”? Are you trying to label those who disagree with you as “kook”?

    Tim H: “As for the “difficulty” of the introibo and propers, I have been to Byzantine parishes where the congregation sing lustily from sheets of the propers printed off the church computer, guess IQs in the west really are dropping.”

    Well, many of the Byzantine parishoners have the advantage of the experience of chanting all of their lives.

  67. “It worked very well until the Dialogue Mass advocates started interfering…”

    You forgot to mention their unmitigated gall in using the documentation of the Church to justify their deeds. For goodness sakes, man! Are there not enough internet chat rooms to set these miscreants on the righteous path???

    Now, on a lighter note…

    Tina in Ashburn: When the Indult was first allowed, I imagine most of the priests who said the Old Mass operated out of previous habit, and the changes that came about in the period of 1960-62 didn’t before the Council and… you know the rest. Most publications and training materials include the “second Confiteor,” often because an earlier edition was used in preparing the reprint. There are many places that use the “second Confiteor,” such as St Mary’s in DC, where I served for years. Rome’s position is basically to tolerate these variations in practice, especially for those congregations which are accustomed to them. At St John’s, we don’t use it, but we tell our servers-in-training to be prepared for it.

    Greg in Arlington: I don’t know anywhere in the DC area that has daily Traditional Mass in union with the Church. I don’t believe there is much demand for it at St John’s right now. In most cases, it would add a daily Mass to the schedule. The care of souls may start with the Holy Mass, but it doesn’t end there.

  68. “What was the point of bringing up ‘the Masonic-Judaic conspiracy theories’? Are you trying to label those who disagree with you as ‘kook’?”

    A thousand pardons, sir. I was only trying to label those who try to act like my Aunt Minnie when I’m trying to pray the way I remember before 1962. They kept me from appreciating my heritage for a few years. Good point about the Byzantines, though. That is my experience with them as well.

    I’ve also had some exposure to Anglo-Catholics. Once I attended their liturgy — what they call “High Mass” — at St Paul’s on K Street in DC. (A beautiful place, by the way.) When they recite from the Psalter, they do so in perfect cadence, in perfect unison. I think we Catholics could learn to do the same with Latin. (FWIW, Mr Ernst-Sandoval, the dissonance you describe, irritates me as well. When I’m assisting the priest with the missal, I’m occasionally tempted to turn around and lead them as would a maestro. I suspect the good Father would take exception.)

  69. Fr. B. Pedersen says:

    David,

    One of the other problems I experience is that even the servers begin the “suscipiat” before I have completed the circle and finished the Orate Fratres – so servers and lurkers be attentive: Begin the “suscipiat” only after the celebrant has completed the circle, as this will ensure he has finished the entire “orate fratres.” Also, respond to the celebrant with the same tempo, tenor, and volume as the celebrant who has spoken the prayers. When you have mastered this, but not before, then you can count yourself among the first rank of servers.

  70. Jon K says:

    “Phil, you’re absolutely right. That’s how my attempt to take my wife to a TLM ended: She was not hostile to the TLM, a very orthodox catholic indeed. Like me we were just unaware of all the liturgical (robotics as someone noted) practices. We had been to Latin NO and out of ignorance we did respond out loud at the TLM. We noted we were the only ones and we then stopped. So far so good. After Mass we were approached by some very friendly people and we started a conversation. I then made a question (again not knowing it was an issue) about (not) responding out loud. Big mistake! We were lectured as how Novus-Ordoish that is and how it is the subtle way to destroy the TLM and on and on. To finish the group went on bashing local parishes including ours (which is not a bad one relative to the chaos out there) and that was it for my wife. I kind of understand some of the pain those folks went through but the practical result is that I only go there on weekdays and my wife made it clear that we should look for the best (ie most orthodox, truly catholic) parish in town as long as it is not a TLM. I hope this behaviour is not the rule and I want to see the TLM grow with or without dialogue Masses which I believe (sheer opinion of a lay catholic) do no harm to the beauty and splendor of a well prayed TLM.”

    Fascinating… Give me the classical rite but let it be in the shape and spirit of the Novus Ordo… Very persuasive…

  71. “One of the other problems I experience is that even the servers begin the ‘suscipiat’ before I have completed the circle and finished the Orate Fratres…”

    I’ve noticed that as well. Usually the faithful hear the first two words as the priest faces them, then he turns toward the altar and says the rest quietly. Sometimes too quietly. Maybe they can’t hear the priest. I checked the rubric, and there’s no indication that the remainder be said quietly. (Someone wanna jump in at this point?)

    “Fascinating. Give me the classical rite but let it be in the shape and spirit of the Novus Ordo. Very persuasive…”

    The encouragement of outward participation by the faithful in the Mass spans the 20th century, long before any “Novus Ordo” was even imagined. It wasn’t an issue then, and it isn’t now.

  72. You forgot to mention their unmitigated gall in using the documentation of the Church to justify their deeds. For goodness sakes, man! Are there not enough internet chat rooms to set these miscreants on the righteous path???

    Until there is clarification on this matter from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, I don’t think anyone can speak with certainty.

  73. Ken says:

    “Perhaps there needs to be a definition of exactly which version of the Old Mass the EF provides us.
    David Alexander replies: There already is, and it is mentioned in the motu proprio: 1962. It’s not exactly a big secret.”

    1962, except when a parish wants to sing the Pater Noter as a congregation (1965) or have a Saturday anticipated Mass for Sunday (1967) or replace the Latin Epistle and Gospel with the vernacular (1965), or have an offertory procession (1960-something) or have this or that or something else invented after 1962…

    But say a 2nd Confiteor and alarm bells sound.

  74. prayatmass says:

    “It wasn’t an issue then, and it isn’t now.”

    If it’s not an issue, why the original question and 76 posts so far?

  75. “If it’s not an issue, why the original question and 76 posts so far?”

    Now that’s one that eludes even me. I’m old enough to remember how to respond properly at Mass, without being lectured by some young whippersnapper who wasn’t a twinkle in his or her mother’s eye at the time. Beats the h#$% outa me.

  76. “But say a 2nd Confiteor and alarm bells sound.”

    Where?

  77. Pope Evaristus, Martyr says:

    Has anyone else observed the fact that, at TLM Masses, half the Congregation is always kneeling and half standing?

  78. Jason Keener says:

    I’ve been to quite a few different Sung Masses, and I always prefer it when the choir handles all of the singing. Unfortunately, whenever I’ve been to a parish where the congregation joins in and sings the Ordinary, the results have been dismal from an aesthetic standpoint. (I wouldn’t even want to think about a congregation trying to sing the Propers too.)

    Gregorian Chant can only work its “sacred magic” when it is sung at the right tempo and with an airy feel, etc., etc. It’s almost impossible for a congregation made up of untrained singers who never practice to accomplish this. (It’s difficult enough for most choirs!)

    I’m certainly not going to hiss at anybody for singing, but I also think aesthetic considerations should play some role in this debate.

    Now, SHH!!! If you want to sing, join the choir. :-) :-)

  79. “If I could only make the faithful sing the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Credo, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei… that would be to me the finest triumph sacred music could have. For it is in really taking part in the liturgy that the faithful will preserve their devotion. I would take the Tantum Ergo, the Te Deum, and the Litanies sung by the people over any piece of polyphony.” — Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto, Letter to Msgr Callegari, 1897

  80. Maureen says:

    This is a very weird thread.

    How on earth does a Dialogue Mass, with the people singing or speaking the responses, prevent individual members of the congregation from praying silently or mentally standing at the foot of the Cross? Unless you have attended some sort of Mafia Dialogue Mass, in which every member of the congregation had somebody standing behind him with a gun pressed to his temple, demanding that he speak up and enunciate clearly? (It’s called Missa Cantarefusa, I believe.)

    I’ve been going to the OF all my life, and all my life I’ve been praying silently sometimes, standing at the foot of the cross sometimes, and sometimes bobbing along on the surface saying the responses and singing the hymns, and sometimes doing all of the above at more or less the same time. Standard operating procedure.

    So are you saying that the OF promotes prayerful participation more than the EF does? :)

    This sort of layered prayer is really not any harder than praying silently or forming images while praying the Rosary out loud. In fact, that’s probably part of how the Rosary trains us to participate more deeply and meditate more fully in the Mass.

  81. “…1962, except when a parish wants to sing the Pater Noter as a congregation (1965) or have a Saturday anticipated Mass for Sunday (1967) or replace the Latin Epistle and Gospel with the vernacular (1965), or have an offertory procession (1960-something) or have this or that or something else invented after 1962…”

    Where any of these practices have been explicitly permitted by the PCED, we have no right to condemn those who avail of the permission. PCED permitted the singing of the Pater in 1997 for celebrations of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, and the recitation or chanting of the Epistle and Gospel in English just this year. As for anticipated Sunday TLM’s: this is not so much a matter of rubrics, as of Canon Law. The CIC of 1983 allows for such Masses and Trads are also subject to it (not to the 1917 CIC)

    Incidentally, the offertory procession was already being done in some places in the 1940′s and 1950′s, and is actually present in the 1474 Ordo Missae which is the exemplar for the 1570 Ordo Missae. So it is not exactly a “modernist” or “Novus Ordo” innovation.

  82. Maureen says:

    Of course, I do realize that everybody has their own neurological setup and hence their own prayer quirks. If prayer involved doing math, I certainly wouldn’t be able to layer prayer the way I tend to layer prayer with the Rosary. So yes, there are probably a lot of people who do find it helpful to pray only one way at a time.

    But just because I’m praying silently, doesn’t mean the rest of the congregation has to do the same. They don’t care whether I am or not; they have no way of knowing whether I am or not. I don’t really care what everybody else is doing with their prayer lives, either, as long as we all know we are at Mass and with Jesus. So what’s the big deal?

    But there is always going to be something distracting going on. If everything is silent, it will start to seem too quiet and lonely; if there’s noise of any kind, we’ll instantly be annoyed by it. So we have to learn to keep praying despite distractions.

  83. Now that’s one that eludes even me. I’m old enough to remember how to respond properly at Mass, without being lectured by some young whippersnapper who wasn’t a twinkle in his or her mother’s eye at the time. Beats the h#$% outa me.

    Just because you remember the way something was done doesn’t mean it was the correct way. I know people who are old enough to remember (and the credentials to know what they speak of) and they point to many abuses and unauthorized practices before the Novus Ordo came into being. Until we have clarification from above, we can only speculate on what is correct for certain issues.

  84. CPKS says:

    Please remember that among those irritating people in the congregation who say the Latin in the wrong place, too loud, too soft, too slow or too fast, there may be one or two who always said it that way when they were young (because in those days everybody did). What is to be said of those poor souls who conduct themselves thus, because that is what they remember of the once-living tradition?

  85. “Just because you remember the way something was done doesn’t mean it was the correct way.”

    No, but in this case it is. For all we have heard of your own opinion of those people who conduct themselves that way, you have yet to prove otherwise.

  86. Why is it that, in certain cultures, there seems to be great difficulty in arranging for the entire congregation to harmoniously say or sing the responses and the Ordinary (e.g. USA, Italy, etc. based on this and so many other discussions I’ve read)?

    On the other hand, in some other cultures (in Catholic Germany, France, my native Philippines, etc.) it is, apparently, most natural for the congregation that regularly attends the Mass to learn how to sing and respond in unison after just a few Sundays.

    Just asking.

  87. “What is to be said of those poor souls who conduct themselves thus, because that is what they remember of the once-living tradition?”

    “What is to be said,” is that that to which they were accustomed was either correct or incorrect, based on some objective criterion.

    I have been fascinated by some of the responses here. People who are adherents to tradition, or who at least claim to be, are resorting to a great extent, to those methods which they attribute to so-called “modernists” — namely, their own personal experience (which even I employed, but upon which I did not rest my case), their own personal preferences, and/or finally, their own contention of a causal relationship (“Post hoc ergo propter hoc.”) between events of the past, and those of the present. Even if one were to have led to another, the implication is that all such innovations before the Council were nothing other than “modernist abuses,” and that if the people who complied at the time did not realize it then, they should realize it now.

    And on what basis are they to be so enlightened. In one case, someone purports to be “irritated” by the sound of it all. One wonders how such a man can pray the rosary with others, without going completely mad.

    The point (and I do have one) is this. In the end, there is a final authority for what is and/or what is not to be done. (In other words, some things have already been subject to “clarification.”) Whether one is to challenge a practice, or to defend it, one who resorts to that authority has the benefit of more than their own personal preference. One who does not, has ONLY their personal preference. There is nothing wrong with having a preference. There is something wrong with assuming without cause, that one’s preference is superior to another, even while appealing to “tradition.” As this forum has shown, what we call “tradition” can vary from one part of the world to another.

    Every man is entitled to his own opinion. He is not entitled to his own facts. If you are going to take exception, by all means do so, but please do so with the facts.

    If you cannot do so with the facts, you cannot do so with authority.

  88. tony says:

    My parish has a hissing man. He does more than hiss though…Someone needs to have a charitable talk with him.

  89. Isn’t it the mindset that discouraged the people to say “their” parts in Latin which played a role in losing us the Latin language in the liturgy?
    If people had memorized and been comfortable with “their” parts in Latin by the 1960′s there probably would have been a greater resistance to both the vernacular and the changes in the liturgy.

    It seems the dialogue Mass is both sanctioned by Rome and desirable.
    Of course, we cannot force people to respond, but they should be encouraged.

    I would appreciate an explanation why some Catholics are so adverse of having the people saying “their” own parts, that is the parts with the server. Is it a nostalgia? Or is there an inherent reason in the Roman Liturgy which precludes the response of the faithful?

  90. To an earlier question:
    Fr. Walter Schmitz in “Learning the Mass” directs that after “Orate, fratres,” the rest of the invitation be said in a low tone.
    Fortescue/Reed direct similarly.

  91. Ken says:

    Maureen wrote: “How on earth does a Dialogue Mass, with the people singing or speaking the responses, prevent individual members of the congregation from praying silently or mentally standing at the foot of the Cross?”

    I went to a Missa Cantata this past Sunday at a notorious dialogue/singalong parish for the first time and have no earthly idea what it is I heard, despite having attended 14 years of the traditional Mass exclusively. It was constant noise from every angle from the congregation. If not for the choir singing a beuatiful polyphonic setting, I would have put in earplugs. It would be the only way I could pray.

    It may be news to some of those who play altar boy and schola cantor from the pews, but it is highly distracting to some trying to pray during Mass to be surrounded by cacophony.

    For the Evelyn Waugh fans, this is exactly what he meant by “a bitter trial.”

  92. “It may be news to some of those who play altar boy and schola cantor from the
    pews, but it is highly distracting to some trying to pray during Mass to be
    surrounded by cacophony.”

    Ken,

    First, they are not playing altar boy and schola cantor from the pews; they
    are merely doing what so many Popes — from St. Pius X to Bl. John XXIII —
    encouraged the congregation to do.

    Second, I’m sorry to sound harsh, but if you can’t pray with some people around, then
    better not attend any liturgy at all! The mind of the Church is clear: wherever
    possible, people are to say or sing the responses. This is true of the Roman Rite,
    whether in its Ordinary or Extraordinary Forms, and it is even truer of the
    Eastern Rites. It is our duty as Catholics to have the spiritual maturity to
    adjust ourselves to the mind of the Church.

    For that matter, are we not supposed to learn how to pray everywhere, even in the
    middle of the most distracting things? Then how much more in church? And are we
    really so narrow-minded as to consider the heartfelt — if slightly out of tune –
    prayer of others, to be mere distractions?

  93. “It may be news to some of those who play altar boy and schola cantor from the pews, but it is highly distracting to some trying to pray during Mass to be surrounded by cacophony.”

    Cacophony: 1. Jarring, discordant sound; dissonance: “heard a cacophony of horns during the traffic jam.” 2. The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition, as for poetic effect.

    It CAN be highly distracting for some, but having been surrounded by others, it was probably not distracting to them. And on what basis do you accuse them of “playing altar boy and schola cantor,” aside from your own prejudices? What is your authority for that claim? (See above.)

    As the empire of Rome was decaying, a stalwart few were faced with a cacophony of their own. Their search for the “still small voice” found by Elijah, compelled them to leave the noise of the city for the desert. There is a place in our spiritual growth for that longing. But like the early desert Fathers, we should be surprised to discover that those around us would be of like mind, let alone at the same point in time.

    What’s more, inasmuch as “one man’s meat is another man’s porridge,” the experience can be quite different for others. When I returned to the Traditional Mass nearly twenty years ago, I would go to a place like St Mary’s in DC for the Low Mass, and kneel amidst nearly a thousand souls, none of whom uttered a word until the Leonine prayers at the end. Personally, a Low Mass that is that “low,” with a crowd that large, gives me the creeps. But I am under no illusions that others feel the same. To know that the way I remember “praying the Mass” as a child was to be suspect, by those who had no right to take exception, was a “bitter trial” of my own. But I make no mistake that is was ONLY my own.

    I cannot claim to be on as intimate of terms with Evelyn Waugh as yourself, but I am familiar with the writings of the Popes in the 20th century, concerning the role of the faithful in the liturgy. I wonder if Mr Waugh claimed to know better during the bulk of his lifetime.

  94. prayatmass says:

    “…better not attend any liturgy at all!”

    It seems you NO and ’62 Missal liturgical Nazis have gotten your wish.

  95. Again, this is why the custom of having a silent congregation at Low Mass, and a vocal one at High Mass works. It satisfies everyone.

    Those who want silence can attend the Low Mass, those who want to sing responses can go to High Mass. These days, it is getting more and more convenient to be able to attend either one regularly.

  96. Mr Ernst-Sandoval:

    Forgive me for putting you in the spotlight here, but you continue to make assertions regarding the expected behavior of others, that are devoid of any authoritative basis. Indeed, there is sufficient reason already given in this forum, that a higher authority would beg to differ with you. Yet you persist in these assertions. Are you clear in your own mind that they are merely your own, however well-intentioned? Do you claim to have a better interpretation of the norms for participation at the Traditional Mass? Are you in a position to elaborate, or are we simply to take your word for it?

  97. When I was an SSPX seminarian in Argentina, I found out very quickly that the Dialogue Mass was the order of the day there. (When I was teaching in an SSPX school here in the States, the only time it would take place was for the Mass that the students attended. Anyway, one day I was serving in seminary the 11:00 a.m. Mass, and it turns out that one of the nuns from the neighboring convent had been sick and was thus allowed to sleep in. She attended this late Mass in order to receive Communion, and so she sat behind the altar rail about sixty feet away from the altar in the choir area. Anyway, she did some serious long distance chirping from half way down the church that at the end of it seemed like someone running her fingernails on the chalkboard. She was having a long distance dialogue Mass of one, and I simply had to offer it up.

    I will also echo the sentiment that the Dialogue Mass warps the idea of participation, since most of the “participation” comes at the prayers at the foot of the altar that the laity really aren’t supposed to hear anyway. I will also say something slightly mean but all but obvious: the Latin of most Americans and Anglo-Saxons is atrocious and grates on the ear. Dialogue Masses that I have been to in this country have been far from edifying experiences, though its not so bad in places where people know how to pronounce the Latin.

  98. “Dialogue Masses that I have been to in this country have been far from edifying experiences, though its not so bad in places where people know how to pronounce the Latin.”

    As a boy in the late 50s and early 60s, I remember spoken responses at a High Mass, and even as a wee lad preparing for First Communion, finding the surrounding voices uttering Latin at different cadences and rates of speed to be rather annoying. Then again, I’ve mentioned earlier hearing Anglo-Catholics recite the Psalter in perfect unison. So it’s possible to do well in English, if not in Latin.

    Perhaps a clarification from Rome as to which level of dialogue is the optimum would be helpful. It’s one thing to respond “Et cum spiritu tuo” or “Domine non sum dignus,” quite another to join the priest and servers for “Judica me.” It would also be helpful if people were simply more aware of their surroundings, of those around them. Our minds are tempted to wander at Mass, and even the devout are occasionally not as fully engaged as they ought. Something in the Sunday bulletin perhaps, I don’t know. But I do know that the ability to police the matter in the pews (or on the internet) is limited, not to mention audacious.

    One more thing, Mr Vasquez. It is not “mean” to suggest that those whose first language is of a gutteral nature would have difficult being fluid with a Romantic tongue. Most priests I know who chant the Latin well, do so with a hint of Italian. Or Spanish, whatever.

  99. Personally, I am a High Mass kind of person. I like singing responses, hymns, etc. at Mass. However, I respect that when attending a Low Mass, there are those who prefer silence. Who am I to intrude on their prefered method of devotion? Having attended Mass in more than a few locales over the years I have had some rather disturbing experiences. In the few places where I have heard the Dialogue Mass said by the whole congregation, things were fine. BUT most parishes, including one here locally, have the custom among the regulars of silence and one day a very loud and vocal person proceeded to turn the service into a very loud Dialogue Mass of one. You could see that she had no regard for the people around her. The emphasis was on HER and her very loud vocal participation rather than on God. Perhaps she was ignorant of the looks she was getting, and charity demands that I assume this without further knowledge, but I see a tendency, in places where the Dialogue Mass is not the custom, for certain individuals to turn the Mass into something that focuses on them, rather than on God. I don’t think this was ever the intention of the Dialogue Mass. Thus, I think it is often best to respect the local custom and perhaps this is something that the priests should decide.

    As well, here’s an item from an interview with Cardinal Castrillón posted on this (Fr. Z’s) blog:

    “The ‘sacred silence’ and contemplation of the ancient rite, the cardinal said, ‘makes present the Lord Jesus in an expression of rich liturgical beauty, as the conqueror of death and sin… this rite brought unity to the faith and became the single expression through which the Church adores God.’”

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/05/pceds-card-castrillon-hoyos-celebrate-tlm-in-parishes-even-when-it-isnt-requested/

  100. As well, not to prod some of the older people, but you must remember that there are younger people who have grown up with the Latin Mass thanks to the FSSP & SSPX. The entirety of my family attends an SSPX Chapel in California and I have 8, 10, and 15 year old cousins who have never seen the Novus Ordo.

  101. Following my experience in recent years, I’d be reluctant to force the “dialogue” issue at a Low Mass myself, especially if I was from out of town. (It does not follow that I agree with that attitude.) But I tend toward the “high” end myself. And I attended the Byzantine Rite for many years, which has influenced my view toward liturgy in general (including the sentiment that we Romans are inclined to make a big to-do out of entirely too much, but that’s another story…) I’m not sure if “talking to God out loud” puts the emphasis on oneself in and of itself, except in the extreme cases you mention. My own experience with the Low Mass has been mixed. I guess it just doesn’t bother me as much. If I attended a Low Mass and wished to “dialogue,” I’d whisper into my missal and sit where no one can get a clear shot at me.

    At St John’s in McLean, we do not discourage the faithful’s responses, except at the Fore-Mass, when the priest and his ministers are too inaudible to follow. There have been no complaints of which I am aware. (Well, maybe one.)

    FWIW, I don’t know that Castrillion Hoyos was speaking of “sacred silence” as the faithful remaining mute, so much as those moments when the rite itself for which silence would be called for in any circumstance. The Canon of the Mass, with the silence of the priest punctuated by the ringing of bells at the elevation of the Sacred Species, to give just one example.

  102. dcs says:

    I’d be interested to know if responses to the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were ever part of the Dialogue Mass. At my parish we have a dialogue Low Mass, and we sing the responses at High Mass; but we never respond during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. The first responses from the congregation are during the Kyrie.

  103. I’m not sure if “talking to God out loud” puts the emphasis on oneself in and of itself, except in the extreme cases you mention. My own experience with the Low Mass has been mixed. I guess it just doesn’t bother me as much. If I attended a Low Mass and wished to “dialogue,” I’d whisper into my missal and sit where no one can get a clear shot at me.

    Sadly, most of the encounters I’ve had with only some of the people making responses (i.e. not places where everyone responds) have been of the kind described above. This has convinced me of the mindset that either everyone should be making the responses (as in the Novus Ordo) or everryone should be silent. Again, the priest should make what he wants clear.

    FWIW, I don’t know that Castrillion Hoyos was speaking of “sacred silence” as the faithful remaining mute, so much as those moments when the rite itself for which silence would be called for in any circumstance.

    Perhaps. But the elevation of the Host and Chalice in the Novus Ordo are also accompanied by silence and the majority of the RR-EU High Mass has very few silent parts, especially with a composed musical setting sung by a choir. Thus my inclination would be that he is refering to Low Mass.

    And I attended the Byzantine Rite for many years, which has influenced my view toward liturgy in general (including the sentiment that we Romans are inclined to make a big to-do out of entirely too much, but that’s another story…)

    Just be careful. The Eastern Catholic Churches have their own liturgical ethos, which is very different from the traditional Western. And they too hav their own disputes like with the SSJK (Society of S. Josaphat Kuntsevich) in the UGCC (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church).

    “Trifles make for sanctity, and sanctity itself is no trifle.”
    –S. Teresa of Jesus

  104. Well, Mr Ernst-Sandoval, this has been interesting. We might have to respectfully disagree on some things though.

    I’m not sure how much authority a priest has to restrict something that a higher authority allows, unless an accompanying decree permits him to do so. Nor am I sure that a priest has an absolute right to determine the use of a form of the Traditional Mass older than 1962, simply by virtue of its being “more traditional.” If that isn’t a “novus ordo mentality,” I don’t know what is.

    I’m more than aware of the controversies within the Eastern Churches, including some you have not mentioned. By comparison to ours, theirs are tucked into a little corner of the world. I’ve also learned of a different mindset about many things. I nearly considered switching rites, but didn’t. My son was baptized and chrismated in that Rite though, as it was the one of his mother. We wanted to spare him the iconoclasm of the West.

  105. In the introduction to one of my hand Missals (St. Pius X Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, New York, 1961) there is a section on the Dialogue Mass:

    “In recent years the Dialogue Mass or Missa Recitata (which combines features of both High and Low Mass) has become quite popular. Its purpose is to join the faithful closer to the priest celebrating at the altar and to each other by the common recitation of certain prayers of the Mass. On September 3, 1958, the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued an Instruction greatly urging [but not mandating] the use of the Dialogue Mass.”

    Of course the document refered to is De musica sacra et sacra liturgia.

    I’m not sure how much authority a priest has to restrict something that a higher authority allows, unless an accompanying decree permits him to do so.

    Again, though, this is a matter that needs clarification from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Are the old rules for the Dialogue Mass (using the 1962, not the 1965 Missal) still in place? If this is the case then the priest does have the right of decide what sort of participation is allowed. The document De musica sacra et sacra liturgia simply says that the faithful may participate in a variety of ways, including:

    “A final method of participation, and the most perfect form, is for the congregation to make the liturgical responses to the prayers of the priest, thus holding a sort of dialogue with him, and reciting aloud the parts which properly belong to them.”

    As well four levels of participation are listed, to be decided by the priest. However, other forms of participation are listed:

    “The first way the faithful can participate in the low Mass is for each one, on his own initiative, to pay devout attention to the more important parts of the Mass (interior participation), or by following the approved customs in various localities (exterior participation).”

    and

    “The faithful can participate another way at the Eucharistic Sacrifice by saying prayers together or by singing hymns. The prayers and hymns must be chosen appropriately for the respective parts of the Mass, and as indicated in paragraph 14c.”

    Thus, while it says that the Dialogue Mass is the best way, it is not the only way for the faithful to participate. A Deutsche Singmesse would seem to be still legal.

    I’m more than aware of the controversies within the Eastern Churches, including some you have not mentioned. By comparison to ours, theirs are tucked into a little corner of the world. I’ve also learned of a different mindset about many things.

    I attend Sluzhba Bozha at the local Byzantine Rite Church twice a month. Sadly many of their problems are due to a spill over of the problems in the Roman half of the Church. You know the saying, “when Rome has a cold, everyone else gets pneumonia.”

  106. “Again, though, this is a matter that needs clarification from the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Are the old rules for the Dialogue Mass (using the 1962, not the 1965 Missal) still in place? If this is the case then the priest does have the right of decide what sort of participation is allowed.”

    I’m not sure about that. I remember reading about this myself years ago, that it was at the bishop’s discretion. The advantage here (it seems to me) is that it avoids the celebrant being the focus of the liturgy, that it is being governed from above — something I always understood to be advantageous about the traditional Mass versus the reformed.

    But I quite agree it is a matter worthy of clarification.

  107. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Reflecting on the posts here about discordant responses in Dialogue Masses, and how some react to noise levels of over-indulgent music at some Masses, some individuals may be accurately depicting cacophony.

    Back in the day when one could visit any monastery and enter the chapel to hear the gentle cadence of prayerful singing, as a child I was frequently reminded by my mother that you could detect trouble in a community’s interpersonal relationships by discord in the choir.

    When responses are badly made by congregants, out of cadence, or not reflecting the same inflections as others around them, poor self-awareness, poor pronunciation, being loud, and all that… It may be less about intention of these individuals and more about how these people fit in to a chaotic community. The chaos in our lives is abundant, and parish life reflects this.

    On the Dialogue Mass and lack of silence: I am one that cannot pray when my “ears are full”. Yea, we are all supposed to be able to pray with distractions. Well, its an effort for me. I love sung Masses, High Masses and all the activity and splendor that this provides. [i sing in a choir] But noise is hard on me too, so I understand what some posters are saying here. Sometimes I just need everybody to shut UP so I can put two thoughts together while I sit in the presence of Jesus. LOL. Contemplative? Active? Mass-goers are different with different prayer needs. I’ll leave it at that.

    Sign me, [oooh what's that?] Easily Distracted by Anything Sparkly or Shiny…

  108. “When responses are badly made by congregants, out of cadence, or not reflecting the same inflections as others around them, poor self-awareness, poor pronunciation, being loud, and all that… It may be less about intention of these individuals and more about how these people fit in to a chaotic community. The chaos in our lives is abundant, and parish life reflects this.”

    I find this to be a very astute observation. The Mass is at the heart of our parish life, but it isn’t the total sum of it. The education of our children in the Faith, our performance of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, our fellowship with others who share our Faith — all these are facilitated by the application of pastoral care at the parish level. But what if they are frustrated instead? The imposition of silence upon the congregation may bring solace to the frustrated, but once the Mass is ended, what if the solace ends with it? Have we solved the problem, or just covered it up to keep the discontent to a minimum?

    Many of us who have longed for the motu proprio, now approaching its first anniversary, are still getting used to it, whether we want to admit it or not. At the risk of glossing over the issues presented here, I don’t think they will be resolved any time soon. Nor would I defend personal taste as the only arbiter of what is to be done. The individual preferences of person or another are as varied as the number of those in the pews.

    There is only one area left to consider. We think we know the mind of the Church in this matter, but ask yourselves how many of us based our opinions on that, as opposed to what we ourselves wanted? More time on the former, and less time on our own fussiness (our grievances in some cases having been well established), would produce a more lasting resolution.

  109. pio says:

    Hissing Lady. Now, is\’nt that an appropriate term. my wife and i love the TLM.
    The reverance, the devotion, the beauty of the Liturgy. it is just heavenly.
    but 2 kids under 4 and one on the way, we find it quite difficult attending a
    TLM. my daughter once made a little noise during Mass. i took her and ran out.
    At the end of the Mass a Lady came and began yelling that we should be going
    somewhere else and not attending that Mass and spoiling her participation and
    blah blah.
    even though the other folks apologized for her behaviour, we were so shocked,
    we stopped attending the TLM and returned to our Novus Ordo parish. it is ironic
    that we did not like my NO parish because they talk in the church. but we
    happily returned feeling comfortable that even if my children cry and i have
    to run out, they are only helpful and sympathetic. hmmmm. Lessons:
    1. wait for children to grow and then attend TLM
    2. never become another hissing lady/laden

    - pio

  110. prayatmass says:

    Pio, I’m sorry to hear about your alleged hissing experience but I’m glad that you’ve found a Mass where people don’t pray interiorily and you and your family don’t have to either.

    Mr. Alexander, I don’t accept your premise that the mind of the church is to mandate that Low Masses be “dialogue”, especially not in parish churches and especially not in locations where there is an established local custom to the contrary.

    Last post on this issue…I promise.

  111. “I don’t accept your premise that the mind of the church is to mandate that Low Masses be ‘dialogue”…”

    My “premise” has been that the degree of outward participation called for in the Mass, is pre-determined by norms associated with the 1962 Missale Romanum. There was some speculation beyond that, but not at the expense of the premise. You don’t have to accept any of it, but I’ve got it in writing. I also conceded that such practices as the “second Confiteor” and the faithful singing the Pater Noster at High Mass were officially tolerated — not forbidden outright, not “mandated.” I’ve got all that in writing too.

  112. I think the moral of the story here is that more places need organize and pull resources in order to have a weekly High Mass. High Mass has always been considered the ideal. Low Mass only arose out of necessity and, while suitable for weekday Masses, we should try for something better on Feast Days and Sundays (which are, of course, weekly feasts of our Lord). We should be striving to give our best to God and not just settle on what’s easily available.

  113. dcs says:

    pio writes:
    my daughter once made a little noise during Mass. i took her and ran out.
    At the end of the Mass a Lady came and began yelling that we should be going
    somewhere else and not attending that Mass and spoiling her participation and
    blah blah

    Pio, you handled it very well. My wife and I used to be scandalized by the disapproving looks and comments from the older crowd but we’ve learned to take it in stride. Hopefully the “hissing ladies” of both sexes have learned something too. And I might add that for every comment we’ve gotten about our children being too noisy (we once got an earful because our son fell asleep and was snoring softly), we’ve gotten a comment about how well-behaved they are during Mass. Go figure.

  114. Deusdonat says:

    I for one have always sung and participated in the TLM. I’ve never been “shushed” either (maybe because I have a strong singing voice). Either way, good post, Father Z.

  115. mike conlon says:

    Dialogue is the culmination of the Liturgical Movement as forseen by Dom Gueranger, and not co-opted by Beauduin, et al. The idea is to have more lay participation in the Mass.
    Having grown up in the NY Archdiocese and sung in both the cathedral and in parishes, contrary to a post above, dialogue was not a common usage. I am told that at Westminster Cathedral before the War, the congregation was capable of chanting 6 Masses from the Liber. Awesome! I have participated in a Missa Cantata in which the congregation sung both the Ordinary & Propers; the latter in plainchant. Very boring artistically.
    I personally hold that the one prayer that should be said by all is the Pater Noster as it is the prayer which Christ gave us. The FSSP does not encourage it; depends on local custom.

  116. mike conlon says:

    Mr. Sandoval – the Missa Solemnis is the normative Mass of the ’62 Missal. Lack of qualified clergy is the limiting factor. Historically, it is like pulling teeth to get men to chant the Mass, women by reason of their gender and papal legislation being incapable to do so.
    Too, there hardly exists today anyone capable of instructing in chant.
    Local custom trumps the “mind of the Church”

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