QUAERITUR: Hymns at Low Mass (Extraordinary Form)

I am focused on a myriad of things at the moment, and so I will open this to the readership to obtain sound and documented answers to this priest’s questions about the Extraordinary Form.

Note that there are two issues.

First, it is permitted.  Next, is it a good idea?  While the first can be resolved with relative ease, the second will involve some thought and discussion.  Of course the circumstances of the individual parish of the priest questioner cannot be considered, because I have anonymized this.  Still, some discussion could be helpful.

Is it tolerable to have hymns at Low Mass (namely, at offertory and after Holy Communion).

If singing is tolerated at Low Mass, why not encourage the singing of some of the antiphons in Psalm tones?

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34 Responses to QUAERITUR: Hymns at Low Mass (Extraordinary Form)

  1. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Well, I think an answer might be to sing the relevant antiphons from the Parish Book of Chant as “hymns”. It’s a good book, Propers in English set to simple chant tones. And not syrupy like the typical music accompanying the “Responsorial Psalm” found in your floppy missalette.

    A solution in the *true* spirit of Vatican II and the authentic Liturgical Movement.

    —Alternatively, of course, you could enlist a small group of qualified people to belt out the Latin antiphons. Nothing wrong with that at all :-)

  2. Nathan says:

    If Father is confient enough in his choir to have them sing the Propers (assuming that’s what he meant by the Antiphons) in psalm tone (Rossini is the classic book for this, available from Neumann Press), why not have a Missa Cantata? One doesn’t have to have the additional servers for incense (although that is permitted in the 1962 rubrics), and it focuses the music where it should be–on the texts of the Mass.

    When I went to the FSSP Mass in Stuttgart, Germany, a number of years ago, they had little booklets of the Kyrale, and the congregation knew a number of the Mass Ordinaries by heart. That seems pretty doable as well.

    I really like having musicians focus on the actual texts of the Holy Mass (in either form) and prioritizing hymn singing lower. At Low Mass, though, a hymn for the procession and recessional are treasured by a number of people.

    In Christ,

  3. I think culture is an important issue. Hymns were common at Mass in some parts of the world for centuries, and in other countries…less so. The English-speaking world was part of …less so. As Thomas Day has argued (rather well) it is hard to impose singing on congregations which have not done so – and this lasts for decades. Which is why the local Methodist Church has robust hymn-singing, and the Catholic parish does not, even after decades of trying.

    It is also important to remember hymn singing often took place “during Mass” not as a “part of Mass” – the people sang, while the priest did his thing at the altar. Most people who attend Latin Mass in the present dispensation are much more likely to be intently involved with the actions at the altar than Hungarian peasants in the 18th century (not saying the peasants didn’t like Mass, just saying they were happy to let Father do his business while they sang hymns to mark the event).

    It the Mass is a small group of people, all of whom want to sing hymns, then go ahead. If the congregation grows, it grows a congregation that sings hymns. But if it is a medium-to-large congregation, and “some” members want to sing hymns, I would tread carefully.

  4. jasoncpetty says:

    The first question is one of taste, and you can do whatever you like. But I answer unequivocally, let Low Mass be Low Mass. If we aren’t singing THE Mass (i.e., its proper chants), we are just singing AT Mass. Let us not intrude into the liturgy. This ties into the second question, the answer to which is not up to us.

    The second question is the subject of legislation. You can’t sing the all of the propers or even some of the propers (I think this is what’s meant by “antiphons”), or any other part of the Mass, at a Low Mass. Someone else can provide the citatation to Musica Sacra.

    My opinion is that the spirit of a Low Mass is one of silence (musically, at least–not hatin’ on the dialogue), and that the Church wants to encourage us–if we want music and singing–to celebrate a High Mass. Don’t try to dress up a Low Mass as something else.

  5. William of the Old says:
  6. ocsousn says:

    As I understand it, it is not permitted to sing the actual propers or ordinary of the Mass (in Latin or the Vernacular) at Low Mass. However, there is nothing to prevent the singing of appropriate vernacular psalms. At the same time, when one starts mimicking the actual liturgical chants it would probably be better to have a Missa Cantata. Low Mass with vernacular hymns, antiphonal psalms or motets throughout was never considered an ideal except among those who were pushing for a vernacular liturgy. This was the origin of the now forgotten but once wildly popular Gelineau Psalm Tones.

    As an interesting side note, here in Germany we have a strange holder over from that phase of the Liturgical Movement. Even though the Mass is entirely in German and has been for 40 years they continue to sing short vernacular paraphrases of the Gloria, Creed , Sanctus and Agnus Dei that were written to be sung at Low Mass while the priest recited the full texts in Latin. These compositions are in the official and Post Vatican II diocesan hymnals. At what is billed as High Mass not a single text of either the proper or the ordinary is sung in its integral form. Indeed at some liturgies I have attended not even the proper responsorial psalm is sung but replace by an organ interlude. While the music is invariably well sung by both choir and congregation and the organ music is splendid it really is a very curious variant on the Roman Rite.
    With apologies for opening a Rabbit Hole,
    Fr. Aidan Logan, OCSO
    Ramstein Air Base, Germany

  7. notadesperatehousewife says:

    At a Chesterton Academy book sale, I found a book on “The Ordinary of the Mass” printed in 1906. I love it because it explains so much from the Tridentine Mass I attend. They have a full chapter on hymns. So, in response to this topic, they describe hymns as, “the highest form of worship” that we may offer to God.

    I grew up in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. I converted to Catholicism about 20 years ago. I now attend a Benedictine-based old German church. I cried when I realized they were singing the same old traditional German hymns I grew up with.

    P.S. Prayers to you, Fr. Z, from myself and friend, Louise (of your school days) who lead me to your blog.

  8. Mike Morrow says:

    A typical low Mass is seldom longer than 35 minutes. It was that way 50 years ago…it is that way today. So just when is there time for hymns or other music at all, if there is to be any *real* attention given to the Mass itself?

    Music is a distraction from the very time-compressed liturgical actions taking place at low Mass. It is simple entertainment for the performers and the listeners while the Mass proceeds without the involvement of those parties.

    I’m not in favor. I don’t know what value it is supposed to bring.

  9. jlmorrell says:

    I tend to agree with Jason Petty – let Low Mass be Low Mass – if you want to sing the Mass, then have a High Mass.

    However, let me provide the the situation for the Diocese of Beaumont, Texas, where the TLM will begin this Sunday, July 10th – I’d imagine things are similar in other places where the TLM is unknown.

    We are planning to have a Low Mass with four hymns/chants (procession, offertory, communion, recession) each Sunday. Please note that he hymns/chants will be traditional with no vernacular hymns permitted within the Mass. We are doing this knowing that it is NOT ideal. However, we have to start somewhere and the diocesan priest was uncomfortable having a Low Mass with absolutely no singing for an extended period of time. I suppose you could say this is a bit of a compromise on our part until we can get to the High Mass in the future.

    The Diocesan priest who has learned the Mass received his formation in the dark days of the Church (ordained in 1980) and has made astounding progress just to be able to say Low Mass. I am confident that if we persevere we will eventually achieve the ideal of having High Mass and can ditch the 4 hymn sandwich.

  10. Dear jlmorrell,

    Congratulations on the work you are doing to enhance your worship. The following is merely a question, not a challenge.

    I understand the desire to move gradually from Low to Sung Mass. But why are you starting with hymns, which are themselves not part of the Mass? Wouldn’t it be easier, if you are not going to sing all the Propers to start with the Ordinary? Many people already know the Ferial Mass, the Mass of the Angels, and Credo III. If you are going to have to teach people Latin hymns (as you seem to intend to do), learning the Ordinary will require no more work than you plan anyway.

    I am very curious about the logic of beginning with hymns rather than the Ordinary. Can you explain?

  11. Jason Petty is 100% correct. No, make that 1,000% correct.

    Let Low Mass be Low Mass. It has a true beauty all it’s own. Just ascend into the the very SILENCE of it. Don’t ruin that with hymns – please don’t.

    If ever there was an example of “gilding the lily”, that would be it. Want to turn the EF into a quasi wannabe Novus Ordo four-hymn-sandwich disaster, just add some hymns.

    And for heavens sake come to grips with the fact that some people DO NOT WANT to sing!
    And in case anyone is curious, I LOVE singing, do it pretty well, and I love (good) hymns, but a low mass is not the place for it.

  12. I wonder whether the governing legislation regarding the 1962 Mass is still the 1958 Instruction on Sacred Music and Sacred Liturgy,

    De musica sacra et sacra liturgia
    http://www.adoremus.org/1958Intro-sac-mus.html

    3. There are two kinds of Masses: the sung Mass (“Missa in cantu“), and the read Mass (“Missa lecta“), commonly called low Mass.

    When we read the separate instructions for sung Mass–commonly called high Mass in the U.S.–and low Mass, it appears that

    –all the audible parts of a high Mass are sung; none are merely recited or said;
    –all the audible parts of a low Mass are recited or said; none are sung.

    (Hymns not being “parts” of the Mass, but additions to it.) Provisions are made for congregational hymns during low Mass but–if I understand it correctly–the singing of the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) is excluded in a low Mass.

    Even so, I wonder if it could be argued that the emergency of a couple of generations without experience with the TLM has passed this condition by–knowing of communities where

    –on the one hand, the priest felt it necessary to start with a low Mass, while
    –it was felt that for contemporary Catholics a silent low Mass on Sunday would not be acceptible, but
    –the dreary four-hymn sandwich of recent Novus Ordo experience was to be avoided, so
    –it seemed best to start with the hybrid of a low Mass recited by the priest, except with the Ordinary sung by the congregation along with the priest.

    My own community was one that began (back in indult days before SP) with this very temporary expedient–singing traditional hymns as processional and recessional, but no hymns within the Mass itself. We felt sufficiently uncomfortable with this that we progressed very rapidly to a high Mass every Sunday with the propers and ordinary chanted by a choir-schola, the congregation joining on ordinary parts when simple like Credo III or De Angelis. (We have now moved on the point that on recent solemnities from Pentecost to Sacred Heart we have had sacred polyphony, including that most inspiring instance of sacred music, the split Sanctus ending before the consecration and the Benedictus beginning immediately afterward.)

  13. Joe Magarac says:

    I think it is worth noting that a Low Mass, by definition, is a Mass with no singing. As I understand the history, in ancient times all Masses: a) were sung; b) involved a priest, deacon, and subdeacon; and c) took place only once a day. In the middle ages, it became customary to have each priest say his own Mass for a special intention, and the Low Mass was developed for this purpose: the goal was simplicity and speed, so there was no singing, and there were no sub-ministers. So what had been just “the Mass” now became “Low Mass” or “High Mass,” with “High Mass” being what had been just “the Mass.” A “High Mass” without sub-ministers is called a “Missa Cantata.”

    The point of all this? Simply that a Low Mass with singing ceases to be a Low Mass. I agree with Fr. Augustine above that if you are going to have a Missa Cantata (i.e., singing and just the one minister), you should start with sung propers (e.g., Kyrie, Agnus Dei) and then move on to other singing (e.g., the hymn sandwich, or better yet the antiphons).

  14. Andy Milam says:

    The first question is one of taste, and you can do whatever you like. But I answer unequivocally, let Low Mass be Low Mass. If we aren’t singing THE Mass (i.e., its proper chants), we are just singing AT Mass. Let us not intrude into the liturgy. This ties into the second question, the answer to which is not up to us.

    The second question is the subject of legislation. You can’t sing the all of the propers or even some of the propers (I think this is what’s meant by “antiphons”), or any other part of the Mass, at a Low Mass. Someone else can provide the citatation to Musica Sacra.

    My opinion is that the spirit of a Low Mass is one of silence (musically, at least–not hatin’ on the dialogue), and that the Church wants to encourage us–if we want music and singing–to celebrate a High Mass. Don’t try to dress up a Low Mass as something else.

    This.

  15. ppb says:

    A low Mass with hymns is entirely acceptable in the EF. It can serve as a bridge to eventually having High Masses, as others have said. But the 1958 instruction makes clear distinctions between High Mass and Low Mass and what role music plays in each. At Low Mass there can be hymns or organ music at certain points during the Mass (specified clearly in the instruction), but the actual texts of the Mass are all spoken, not sung. At High Mass, on the other hand, the celebrant and choir/congregation sing all the appointed Mass texts. There is no suggestion that you can mix elements of High Mass and Low Mass, although you could also argue that it isn’t expressly forbidden either.

  16. moon1234 says:

    @Mike Morrow
    Low Mass only takes 35 minutes? Where do you go to Church? It is never less than 50 minutes at our parish.

  17. moon1234 says:

    I can only advise what our Bishop requests when he comes to our parish. He says LOW Masses with Music. He is uncomfortable, at least at this point, with the extra solemnity and learning required when a Bishop says a High Mass.

    The only parts of the Mass excluded for the Choir at low Mass are the propers and the ordinary. Hymns may be sung as Preludes, Processional, Offertory, Communion, Recessional and postludes.

    Society of St. John Cantius has an excellent tutorial online:
    http://www.musicasacra.com/pdf/lowmass.pdf

    I would not look at Low Mass as the ideal, silent Mass not to be disturbed with Music. I would look at it as the painful compromise we must put up with until the Priest and Choir can routinely have a High Mass.

    What you find at many traditional parishes are choirs who will NOT sing unless they have practiced until they are blue in the face and think the have the music nailed and perfect. This has always been a frustration of mine. I would prefer to have a High Mass every Sunday and just use the Mass of the Angles or another simple Mass that most could learn. The simple propers and some simple hymns.

    I am met with much pushback about this though. The common feeling is that unless there are several practices ahead of time, this is just not possible. Maybe we need more of a push from our Priests in requesting that the choirs sing. Bad singing is better than no singing is it not? God is not offended if we sound like a crow as a long as we are doing it to please him, right?

  18. jlmorrell says:

    Fr. Thompson,

    Thank you for your question. I suppose there are two main reasons for starting with Low Mass with 4 hymns. Firstly, it was my understanding that the Ordinary could not be sung within the Low Mass. My understanding was pretty much what Henry Edwards expressed above at 2:07pm. Please correct me if I’m wrong as I certainly do not pretend to be an expert on these things. Secondly, our schola has only recently been formed and, though I’m very thankful to have them, there is still a good deal of progress to be made before being able to sing the Ordinary worthily.

    Of course, I’m always open to suggestions on how to make the TLM more edifying when just starting out with limited (liturgical) resources.

  19. kat says:

    On Sundays when our parish has a low Mass instead of a Missa Cantata, we sing a processional and recessional (normally in English), and a hymn at Offertory, and hymns at Communion.

    At our school Masses, whether low or Missa Cantata, we sing processional and recessional, and at Offertory. Communions don’t last that long so we don’t sing then at low Mass. At high Mass they normally do.

  20. MJ says:

    Our parish has two low masses and one high mass every Sunday. Both low masses are silent (no responses from the people, even) and the high mass is complete with propers, sung ordinaries, hymns, motets, responses from the people, etc. I generally prefer it this way…

    Hymns at low mass – except perhaps at communion time, when the lines can get rather long – seem to be sort of a distraction…especially when the mass is very quick (like one above commenter said – 35 minutes…I think some of the daily low masses at my parish are about that long…).

  21. Dear jlmorrell ,

    Thanks for the explanation. As to “rules” about how non-musical a “Low Mass” must be (frankly I would think that “Low Mass” mean no music), I don’t know. I do know that odd combinations of sung parts, hymns, recited parts, etc., were already common (if “illegal”) by the late 1950s.

    I have on any number of occasions supplied at EF Masses (saying the Dominican Rite since I don’t know the Roman). In all those cases there was a mixture of non-liturgical hymns, parts of the Ordinary, etc. I am not sure whether they were “Low Mass” but they were not Missae Cantatae. I don’t fight with locals; I adapt. I sing what I can in such cases, unless I know that there will be no one who can sing the response.

    I am still inclined to say that it is better to sing the Ordinary, recto tone the Propers, and get the priest to sing (or even recto tone) his parts, rather than create the mixture of music and chatter that typifies the usual parish N.O. Sunday Mass. If it takes time to get everything down, I am not going to be a rule-monger.

    In any case, application of the “absolutely nothing but hymns can be sung at Low Mass” absolutism, probably means that no one will learn the responses and the Ordinary. So, in the end, there will never be a true Missa Cantata. That, for me, is the worst of all choices: No Low Mass; no High Mass, just “In-between Mass.”

  22. patrick_f says:

    I get trying to leave a low mass a low mass – But, where did we get low mass? I am asking an honest question, its something I never thought much of. Without sounding too ridiculous..I really dont mean to , which came first? Were their Low Masses? Or High Masses after Trent? Music has been a part of liturgy for a while – Why wouldnt one atleast have basic chants in the mass?

    Also.. the worse said OF mass without music, took longer then 35 minutes… so I too am curious as to a 35 minute low mass (which personally I havent been to one less then about 1:10)

  23. patrick_f says:

    Also something else that caught my eye – If a choir is honestly making an effort, would that not be worthy in God’s eyes? I come from a strong musical back ground…and some of the shoddiest music I have heard was absolutely beautiful, because the Choirs heart and soul was united with the Altar and the Liturgy – Then I have been in “worthy” groups that I wanted to take a shower when I was done, because it was so arrogant and anthro centric – My two cents

  24. Forgive me for not understanding how one version of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is less “edifying” than another. I Love them all, I truly do, but the presence or absence of singing is immaterial to the essential point of the whole Mass. I find the implication that God himself being made present on the altar is somehow “lacking” because no one is singing anything somewhat offensive.

    I know that the High Mass is the ideal, but why does that make a Low Mass somehow inadequate?

  25. moconnor says:

    Let me jump in to defend the choir who insists on practices before singing a sung or high Mass. The chants of the Propers can be extraordinarily difficult, even for accomplished singers. Good singers, especially, will not risk their reputations by singing poorly in public. That is quite understandable since they have to make a living singing. I must refute the claim that “bad singing is better than no singing.” I don’t countenance this in the OF and certainly not in the TLM.

    If the choir is a regular one, there are means of providing music every Sunday, but I don’t know if this is their mandate. The Rossini Propers, although many disparage them, are quite useful for “getting through” a week while practicing for the next. It really depends on the mission of this group. I hope that all congregants understand how much work is involved in preparing a sung Mass. The Propers chants are not for beginners. They are much more difficult than Credo III.

    Regarding congregational singing of the ordinary, the danger arises that they will only be able to sing one (Mass VIII, usually). This removes the wonderful beauty of the seasonal Masses (Lux et origo for Easter or Mass II for big feasts). Frankly, I don’t mind a Latin hymn for Communion or and English one for recession. If the priests process from a distant location, even a processional hymn is good. Low Mass should probably be music-free, but High Mass should include something for the folks to sing.

  26. moon1234 says:

    @moconnor
    I think you have partially made my point. The Rossini Propers, which is all we do (the gregorian DO require lots of practice), really require almost no practice. Hymns such as Immaculate Mary, Salve regina, Ave Maria, Ecce Panis Angelorum, etc. are all very simple hymns that are RARELY sung at a high Mass in my experience.

    Usually at a High Mass that has been practiced for the hymns chosen are polyphonic, unique to the season so the people don’t know them, etc. This makes it harder for the people to join in. They usually don’t have music and when the choir is singing polyphony that pretty much excludes all by other choir memebers in the pews.

    The Mass ordinary at a practiced High Mass will also usually not be Mass VIII or another “simple” Mass that the people may know. It will be a Mass for the season or one by palestrina, William Byrd, etc. All of the later are NOT simple and usually way out of the realm of possibility for the people in the pews to join in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eJAMZ2WSV8 starting around 2:30 mark and then again at 4:45 mark.

    I think this is what we should strive for. Granted this is SSPX, but the people sing the responses and they join in the Hymns. I would love to be able to do this at Mass when in the pews, but it is rare that others join in or that they even can.

  27. C. says:

    Contrary to some misinformation above, the legal distinction in the 1962 rubrics between a Low Mass (read Mass) and a High Mass (sung Mass) is whether the priest sings his parts. The rubrics seem to imply that the priest should either sing or read, but not both, yet there is no formal ban on singing a little, and many of the older priests I know will sing a little at a Low Mass if they have a choir behind them.

    No document from Rome has ever stated that singing the Proper or Ordinary at Low Mass is forbidden. As regards De Musica Sacra (1958), people want to read “distinctions” into it because that is how our brains work, not because that is what the text really says, nor because the organization of the document could implicitly lead to that bona fide interpretation. De Musica Sacra regulates the type of music that can be sung at Mass and at Sung Mass, requiring fidelity to the text and chant melodies of the Roman Gradual. For Low Mass in particular, the legislation is permissive regarding sung music; it allows the singing of vernacular popular hymnody, it does not forbid the singing of Latin motets and chants.

    Nor is any such restriction to be found in older documents. To the contrary, the Church has always held that music at Low Mass was mostly unregulated. Gabriel Fauré (d. 1924) composed a Messe Basse with Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei. A rubrical guide to the Ceremonies of Low Mass (1846) suggests that the priest should bow with the choir “while Gloria Patri, or anything similar, is being sung”. In 1907, the Irish Ecclesiastical Record answered the question for us thusly:

    CHARACTER OF MUSIC AT A LOW MASS
    REV. DEAR SIR,–An answer to the following questions will greatly oblige:–1. (a) At a Low Mass may a choir sing the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei? If so, how are they to manage about the first words of the Gloria and Credo? (b) May a choir sing the Proprium Missae (of the day itself, or any appropriate piece from another feast) during a Low Mass? …
    1. There is no general law of the Church that regulates the character of the music, or singing, that may be rendered during a Low Mass. As far as the Liturgy is concerned the functions of a choir in these circumstances do not seem to be contemplated at all. In the absence, therefore, of general legislation on the subject the Bishop is the person who is to decide what kind of music may be sung at a Low Mass. Should he permit it, there can be no objection, as far as we can see, to the pieces suggested by our correspondent. If the Gloria and Credo be selected the initial words of each–that are intoned by the Celebrant in a Missa Solemnis or Cantata–must be sung by the choir. It would be very irregular and meaningless to pass over the beginnings of these sacred chants.
    Subject to the same reservations our answer to the second part of this question is in the affirmative.

  28. wolfeken says:

    I oppose hymns at Low Mass for the simple reason that it often becomes the final product for a parish starting the traditional Latin Mass. Just learn High Mass the right way, even if it takes a while.

    Hymns in general are a very Protestant innovation. In the Catholic sense, a “hymn” is a certain piece of Gregorian chant (called a hymn) taken from the Divine Office. Think “Veni Creator Spiritus” on Pentecost. The sappy, tear-jerking, often-Marian “hymns” known throughout the Fabulous Fifties should be put back in their Art Deco boxes, please.

    If music must be performed at a Low Mass, then perhaps the organist can step things up a bit. During the Baroque period, there were several beatiful “French Organ Masses” that were played during Low Masses. Much more dignified than belting out “Daily Daily Sing to Mary” in the middle of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  29. “Regarding congregational singing of the ordinary, the danger arises that they will only be able to sing one (Mass VIII, usually).”

    Well, that’s still better than no sung Ordinary ever. I don’t happen to like Mass VIII, except for the Sanctus and, perhaps, the Agnus. But if that is what people know and can sing, so be it. With time one can substitute a better Kyrie and/or Gloria. In the Dominican Kyriale, there are really only 4 settings of the Ordinary.

    That of Lesser Sundays and that of Class III feasts are very nice and easy to sing. If the congregation and choir don’t know any Ordinary, which is probably the case if they in the four-hymn rut, then choose one of the easier (and more authentically Gregorian) Ordinaries and have them learn it. The mania for infinite variety in the Ordinary simply turns it into a schola performance. The choir should focus on the Propers, not have to worry about the Ordinary.

  30. uptoncp says:

    patrick_f enquires about the development of the Mass. High Mass, with celebrant, ministers, and choir all taking their proper parts, is the older form. It was, IIRC, somewhere around the turn of the first millennium that the idea of every priest saying a daily Mass gained popularity. Clearly, in places where there were many priests, it was impractical for them all to sing a High Mass, so the Low form developed, with the priest reading the parts properly belonging to the absent deacon, subdeacon and choir, and a single server supplying the responses to the dialogues. (Why he did not also join the recitation of the Gloria &c. I do not know.) By the reformation era, I think, Low Mass had become the accepted norm, with High Mass only found where the resources were available.

    In contrast, the Eastern churches have not developed a Low Mass equivalent, and the Liturgy can, afaik, only be celebrated with the assistance of a schola and a bare minimum of ministers and servers.

  31. John Nolan says:

    The great cathedrals were monastic institutions, and there would have been only one Mass a day, the Capitular High Mass after Terce. The rest of the day, including Sundays, would be taken up with the Office. A traditional Anglican told me that he deplored the modern tendency of two or three Eucharists every Sunday and the disappearance of Matins and Evensong. I think he had a point.

  32. ocsousn says:

    The response from the 1907 Irish Ecclesiastical Record is very interesting but one wonders about their authority in these matters. This was certainly done, but was it an abuse? I came across the following from a source known to be reliable. It echoes exactly what I have read on numerous occasions. Unfortunately Fr. Haynes does not cite chapter and verse.

    “Guidelines for Liturgical Services according to the 1962 Missale Romanum: Music for Low Mass” Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C., Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, Chicago. Question: Is there any music, which is not allowed at the Low Mass? Answer: It is not permitted to sing any of the prayers or responses (i.e. “Et cum spiritu tuo,” “Amen,” etc.), nor any of the Proper (i.e. “Introit,” “Gradual,,” etc.), nor any of the Ordinary (i.e. “Kyrie,” “Gloria,” etc.), whether in Latin or in the vernacular. http://www.musicasacra.com/pdf/lowmass.pdf

    On another note regarding C’s remarks about his bishop: There is no such a thing as a Pontifical Missa Cantata in the EF. A bishop celebrates either a Low Mass (with or wothout music) or a Solemn Mass (at the throne or faldstool, as appropriate).

    Fr. Aidan Logan, O.C.s.o.

  33. C. says:

    Fr. Haynes does not seem to be here at the moment, but my recollection is that Fr. Haynes based his statement on an unfootnoted line from Fortescue to the effect that “at Low Mass, the Ordinary and Propers are not sung.” Fortescue is an authority on ritual, and as far as ritual is concerned, his description is absolutely correct; to quote the IER, “As far as the Liturgy is concerned the functions of a choir in these circumstances do not seem to be contemplated at all.” This does not mean that there is a strict ban on choirs, or on singing the text of the Ordinary and Propers; simply that their singing does not form part of the rite of Low Mass.

    If you are looking for an authority on music legislation, the best available is Hayburn.

    The Irish Ecclesiastical Record was published with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. As far as their authority, or anyone else’s, nobody can authentically interpret the rules for Mass except the Apostolic See.

    And lastly, I’m not sure what Pontifical Masses have to do with my comment, and I don’t recall making remarks about my bishop on this thread.

  34. ocsousn says:

    Appologies to C. The remark about Pontifical Mass was in responce to moon1234: “I can only advise what our Bishop requests when he comes to our parish. He says LOW Masses with Music. He is uncomfortable, at least at this point, with the extra solemnity and learning required when a Bishop says a High Mass.”