About being picky

Did you know that when the United States of America is formally at war, the head of the eagle on Great Seal should be turned to look at the side wherein the eagle clutches arrows in its talon, rather than the olive branch?

On a similar level of minute detail I head some rumor that when the Indians win the World Series (not very often) Chief Wahoo’s eyes look in a different direction.  I hope that’s true!   Think of the sale of franchise stuff?

Did you know that dubia have been proposed to the Holy See about the official text of Summorum Pontificum?

If you are thinking that traditional Catholics are missing opportunities to be similarly picky, disabuse yourself of that silly notion right now.

GS sent me a link to Rubrics and Ritual which is exploring the riveting issue of when a Latin prayer ends with "Per
Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum
" or "Per eumdem
Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum

It seems that someone had received a text printed by the Holy See with an ERROR in it!  As the world was about to crumble into ashes, he wrote to clarify things.  Here is the response.

Enjoy this!

22nd November, 1906.  [1906]

me to answer a question that has occasionally been put to me, Why have
I sanctioned the publication for use in this diocese of a version of
the Prayers after Mass, containing a manifest error

‘ manifest error ‘ in question is the use of the form, ‘ Through Christ
our Lord,’ instead of ‘ Through the same Christ our Lord,’ in the
termination of the prayer beginning, ‘ God, our refuge and our
strength.’ For, in that prayer, as it has more than once been pointed
out to me, our Lord, although not specifically named, is distinctly
referred to and is indeed mentioned in the clause, ‘ through the
intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of

form ‘ Through Christ our Lord,’ as distinct from ‘Through the same
Christ our Lord,’ should no doubt be at once ruled out as inadmissible
if the liturgical rule on the subject is as clearly unqualified as
writers on the liturgy generally assume it to be.
I take, for instance,
the latest edition of De Herdt (Louvain, 1902). There I find the rule
stated thus : ‘ si oratio dirigatur ad Patrem, et . . fiat mentio Filii
in principio aut medio orationis, sub nomine Filii, Salvatoris, . .
Dei, cum addito Genitricis Mariae, . . concluditur . . Per eumdem
Christum Dominum nostrum.’ 

the matter cannot be so easily disposed of.
[You know that had to be the case, I’m sure.] It so happens that it was
through me, during the prolonged illness of the late Primate, Most Rev.
Dr. M’Gettigan, that the order for the recital of the prayers
prescribed to be said after Mass was sent to Ireland by the Holy See. And I have before me, as I write, the official copy that was thus forwarded to me from Rome.
I may add indeed that there were forwarded two such copies,
[Is any of this sounding familiar?] separately
printed, one of them a particularly large one, apparently intended for
use on the occasion of some special ceremonial. Now in both of these
copies the ending of the prayer is printed simply : Per Christum
Dominum nostrum.

this the result of an oversight? To me it would seem very strange
indeed if such a thing could occur by oversight.
Surely a rule of the
liturgy if, upon the point in question, such a rule existed, well-known
and absolutely unqualified, is by no means likely to be overlooked at
the Holy See
, and not merely to be overlooked, but to be openly
, and this in the official publication of a prayer
prescribed for use throughout the Church.

publishers, indeed, apparently taking it for granted that a mistake had
been made, whether by the Roman authorities or by some diocesan
authority, seem to have taken it upon themselves to set matters right,
by boldly printing the termination : Per eumdem Christum Dominum

I mention this point as to the publishers because there is connected with it a fact not without significance in the case.

my last visit ad limina, in the spring of 1905, I happened to say Mass
in a certain parish church, where, at the end of Mass, there was handed
to me a card with the prayers printed in the form I have just now
described. But the word ‘ eumdem ‘ had been carefully and completely
[There it is.   Fr. Guido of Rome took it out and therefore the matter is settled.  On the other hand, in those days no priest would have done that on his own initiative.  Thus, the reasoning is sound.] It was clear, then, that the authorities of the church in
question were not of opinion that the prayer, as issued with the
termination ‘ Per Christum Dominum nostrum,’ without the ‘eumdem’ had
been issued in error.

making some enquiries about the matter I was informed that, towards the
end of the late Pontificate, the point in question had been brought
under the notice of the S. Congregation of Rites, by some one who, from
his knowledge of the definite rule formulated by the rubricists,
[I’ve always thought about forming a new group of priests called the Rubricians…] took
it for granted, as many have done, that there was really no question to
be considered. But what was the result ? The S. Congregation declined
to decide the point formally, and preferred to dispose of it
informally, by intimating to the querist,
[fabulous word] through the Secretary to the
Congregation, that in view of the general structure of the prayer in
question, not, be it observed, in view of the absolute unqualified rule
of the liturgical writers, the form ‘ Per eumdem’ etc., was the correct

as far as it went, was satisfactory. But it could hardly be regarded as
a sufficiently authoritative declaration to warrant the setting aside
of a form of prayer officially issued by the Propaganda for public use
in this country.

I learned that subsequently, during the present Pontificate, another
effort had been made to obtain from the S. Congregation a formal
decision on the subject, but, as in the former instance, without

the following course was taken. The prayer, printed with the ending, ‘
Per eumdem,’ etc., was sent in with the request that the Secretary of
the S. Congregation would officially attach to it a certificate of
[Maybe WDTPRS should print up some of those?] in the recognized form : Concordat cum originali. This was
acceded to, and the printed form, the accuracy of which is thus
formally attested, is now in my possession.

am, therefore, at length in a position to regard the amended form as
sufficiently attested to justify me in setting aside the form of prayer
originally sent to us from the Holy See, and I have accordingly
instructed Messrs. Browne and Nolan to have the prayer, as now amended
in accordance with the certificate of the Secretary of the Congregation
of Rites, printed for use in this diocese.

issuing of the card in its amended form affords a suitable opportunity
of printing, after the prayers already prescribed, the short
ejaculatory prayers, to the recital of which by the priest and the
people, indulgences have been attached by our present Holy Father. As
the card doubtless will come into use in dioceses other than this, it
should be noted that the addition of those ejaculatory prayers,
inasmuch as it is not prescribed by the Holy See, is a matter to be
regulated by each Bishop for his own diocese.

I remain, Very Rev. and Dear Sir,
Faithfully yours,

Archbishop of Dublin.

How wonderful are the ways of rubricists and querists.

BTW… in the Roman Canon as it appears in the pre-Conciliar Missale Romanum certain sections of the prayer end with Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.  But in the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum those endings, which are optional (I am the only know I know who says them regularly) are changed to Per Christum Dominum nostrum.


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  1. Tim Ferguson says:

    Were it not an egregious breach of protocol, I think I would have concluded the letter thusly:

    I remain, Rev. and Dear Sir,
    Faithfully yours in the same Christ our Lord,


  2. Celibatarian says:

    Hmmmmm, Rubrician Priests. Preaching the Word and offering the Mass with such fidelity that that it makes the liberals run in terror and gnash their teeth. I love it. Could orneriness be considered a charism?

  3. Celibitarian: Could orneriness be considered a charism?

    Hmmm… maybe another group… the Jeromites.

  4. Joshua says:

    Some of the priests here always say the “per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen” when saying theNO.

    BTW your anti-spam word has a typo. It says “Buy a Lewis and Shor” without the “t” in Short

  5. Joseph G. Kelley says:

    The Great Seal Story is an Urban Legend. See Snopes http://www.snopes.com/history/american/turnhead.asp

  6. catholiclady says:

    “The Great Seal Story is an Urban Legend.”

    The older I get the more I think that Life on Earth may be an Urban Legend – grin.

  7. Thank goodness nobody raised the question of whether it was permissible to say “eundem” rather than “eumdem”.

  8. idem ejusdem eidem says:

    In the 1962 Missale, it says “In conclusione Orationum hic modus servatur. … Si in principio Orationis fiat mentio Filii, concluditur Per eu?ndem Do?minum nostrum, etc.”
    “Eumdem” is incorrect in classical Latin, since m is always assimilated to n before d, t, g, c. Moreover, “eumdem” sounds rather like archaic than like ecclesiastical Latin.

  9. Mike in NC says:

    On a similar level of minute detail I head some rumor that when the Indians win the World Series (not very often) Chief Wahoo’s eyes look in a different direction. I hope that’s true! Think of the sale of franchise stuff?

    Chief Wahoo with a crown in a circle, his eyes looking up at the crown, the Cleveland Indians Alternate (1953 – 1972) logo.

    Cleveland won the Series in ’48, beating the Boston Braves, and the AL pennant in 1954, but were swept that year by the Giants.

  10. Austin Welsh says:

    James Joyce wrote a satirical poem in 1912, “Gas from a Burner”
    with the memorable couplet:

    “For everyone knows the Pope can’t belch
    Without the consent of Billy Walsh.”

    (Indicating the Irish pronunciation of the Archbishop’s surname.)

    Now I know what Joyce meant, I think.

  11. Greg Smisek says:

    [I’ve always thought about forming a new group of priests called the Rubricians…]

    I can see it now. Their motto would be Semper et ubique nigros dicens atque rubros faciens.

    The group would, of course, be garbed in red and black. But which red? I fear that determining the correct shade of rubrical red could threaten the group’s very stability.

    They could fittingly adopt the red, pink, gray, and black marble voting system to assess the rubrical purity of a given celebration of the sacred liturgy: a red marble means rubrically flawless, pink signals a fading faithfulness, gray a muddled celebration, and black a complete disregard for the red. Alternatively, this (admitted) pomp could be plied to test the authenticity of episcopal norms and guidelines: a red marble for fidelity to his true role as moderator of the sacred liturgy in full obedience to the Supreme Roman Pontiff and a black one for the choking smoke of Satan.

    More seriously, I think an admirable motto for the Rubricians’ coat of arms might be Fidelis in minimo.

  12. Greg Smisek says:

    If you know all the alternative concluding formulae for prayers, such as Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, and when to use each one, you might be a rubrician.

    If you’ve ever spent a perfectly good summer afternoon poring over manuals of ceremonies, you might be a rubrician.

    If you’ve ever lain awake at night wondering why the 1984 Caeremoniale Episcoporum instructs the celebrant to bless the incense at Benediction, you might be a rubrician.

    If you use the word “collect” more often as a noun than as a verb, you might be a rubrician.

    If you speak the name Fortescue in hushed and reverential tones, you might be a rubrician.

    (How do you say “You might be a redneck” in Latin?)

  13. Greg: Perhaps the habit ought to be simply a Roman Cassock edged in red with black birettas similarly trimmed. Black fascia with the tiara and keys at the bottom. They could use a black cappa, with the interior lined with red. Not sure about red socks.

  14. Greg Smisek says:

    Most excellent. And during penitential days and seasons and times mourning, the red trim will be set aside for violaceus, or perhaps all black.

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