FOLLOW UP: Nuptial Mass in the older form: Holy Communion

A few days ago I posted a message from a person looking for resources for nuptial (marriage) Masses with the TLM. 

Today I received an interesting e-mail which I post for your opportune knowledge.

A few days ago I posted on a thread on your blog about the Nuptial Mass, to recount my experience at my own (older-form) nuptial mass, when a Fraternity priest communicated me and my spouse immediately after his own communion and before the Ecce Agnus Dei. Another poster has indicated that this was incorrect and implied that the practice must have crept in because of a Novus Ordo mentality; this of course really surprised me given that it was a Fraternity priest, who probably has little-to-no experience of the newer form of mass, at least in his priestly life.

So I searched around a little bit and came across a site that reproduces the 1895 Roman Pontifical, where indeed the following rubric is found in the Rite of Matrimony, after the Nuptial Blessing:

Tum Pontifex reversus ad medium altaris dicat:  Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine,  et reliqua more solito; et postquam sumpserit sanguinem, communicet Sponsos, et prosequatur Missam. [The Bishop, having turned back to the middle of the altar, says: Libera nos, quaesumus, Domine, and the rest in the usual way; and after he will have consumed the Blood, he gives Communion to the spouses, and he procedes with the Mass.]

Much the same rubric is reproduced in the 1964 Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonii Sacramentum, which appears from my relatively brief googling to be the currently normative document on older-form nuptial masses.

Just wanted to point this out for the sake of the person who is looking forward to his own wedding in the older form and asked the original question that led to your post.

It also brings up an interesting liturgical/theological point. When this happened at my nuptial mass I was quite moved and found it to be an amazing privilege to be, in a sense, admitted more intimately to the sacred action than I would otherwise ever be. It seems that spouses can only experience this privilege in an older-form mass, because of the strong distinction in the older form between the celebrant’s communion and that of the faithful. Seems like there’s more fruit to be gathered there, on the question of whether the old form is really more "clerical" than the new form, as some might allege. Don’t have the leisure to do the gathering at the moment, though.



Remember, some bishops think they are going to quiz their priests before "allowing" them to make use of their proper rights as explained in Summorum Pontificum.   It might be interesting for the priest being examined to reply to his interrogator with his own questions.  HAR!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Charles A. says:

    This rubric might have existed because it was normally assumed that no-one but the priest receives communion. “Ecce Agnus Dei” etc. does not even appear
    in the Ordo Missae. The only rubric that mentions any one’s communion
    (other than the priest) reads “then, if there are any to receive
    communion, he communicates them, and afterward (performs the) ablutions.
    (Don’t have the Latin handy…)

  2. Michael Garner says:

    The Catholic Encyclopedia states under Nuptial Mass, “He gives them Communion at the usual time.”

    Also I cannot find anything in any ceremonial about such a practice.

    I believe this is in the Pontifical Rite of Matrimony to show that the Bishop himself should communicate them and is not giving an exact step by step, as there is no mention of ommitting the Ecce Agnus Dei. Also at this point in time, if I am not mistaken, quite a few people would not receive communion at each Mass they went to, so the rubric is stating that the ones who contracted Marriage should receive communion.

  3. Joshua says:

    O’Connell in the Celebration of the Mass says that the servers all receive before anyone else, except those of higher rank either by order (subdeacons, deacons, priests, clergy, etc)or by function (such as a nun making her vows, or the spouses at a nuptial Mass)

    From this would it not be presumed that the Ecce Agnus Dei be said first, and merely have the spouses receive then the servers, then the congregation?

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