I was alerted to this by a reader.
On ZENIT Fr. Edward McNamara often gives useful answers to liturgical questions. Here is tackles the older, Extraordinary Use of the Roman Rite.
Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.
Complications of 2 Forms in 1 Rite
And More on Mass Intentions
ROME, SEPT. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: I am the parish priest for a dual-form parish and some of the complications are currently unavoidable. I have returned the tabernacle to the center and shifted the presider’s chair to the side. The free-standing altar is used for both forms, with the placement of altar cards and candles in the traditional form and the resetting of the altar for the celebration of the ordinary form. I’ve returned the altar rail in two spots and cushions for kneeling at the reception of Communion. Part of the "experiment" of Pope Benedict XVI lies in the "working" of both forms where the fervor and piety authentic to the Roman rite can be regained, nurtured and renewed. It is a pastoral chore to prepare a decent homily with different working ordos. [It is a sacrifice, to be sure… but in the end it will pay off a hundred fold!] It gets very interesting when the feasts don’t match (Baptism of the Lord vs. Holy Family) and when the seasons clash (Septuagesima vs. Ordinary Time); there’s more work for the parish priest. [Something a lot of people really don’t understand.] The rather stilted English of the Douay-Rheims also presents some challenges, yet it is often preferable to the Revised New American Bible. In the midst of the mayhem, there seems to be no guidance as to how a solemn high Mass would be celebrated when the order of subdeacon no longer exists. One might punt and use an instituted acolyte but that presumes training. [Well… any of the roles at Holy Mass presume that. And it isn’t rocket science. It just takes some practice.] The use of the deacon (transitional or permanent) requires even more training. The suggestion to use priests in the functions as was often done presumes a liturgical fluency that simply doesn’t exist at present.[Give it time.] In addition, the celebration of the Easter triduum in the extraordinary form is so ornamented that the presence of a master of ceremonies (archpriest) seems required. [Yes, very useful indeed.] Adding to that conundrum, the present discipline of the Church in celebrating a true vigil presents a clear conflict where two communities celebrate two forms under one parish priest in one parish church. Is there any Roman guidance for local adaptation? — W.S., Pennsylvania
A: [Fr. M responds] When Benedict XVI took the initiative of allowing the universal celebration of John XXIII’s missal he foresaw that some practical problems would arise. For this reason he increased the authority of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" precisely to address these issues. Consultations can be made to the commission at the Vatican. [Actually, I think they had that authority before under their previous faculties. But let us move along…]
This commission, along with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, is working on an instruction which will help clear up some of the difficulties that arise from having two forms of the Roman rite at the same time. [Hmmm…] Such questions constantly arrive at the desk of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, the commission president.
Indeed, in a recent interview the cardinal said that he has more work now than when he was prefect of the Congregation for Clergy.
Closer to home, a priest desiring to celebrate the extraordinary form may also consult with those institutes dedicated to its celebration. They already have long experience in this field. They are also able to provide useful resources for training priests and ministers.
Regarding some of the questions at hand, it is an open question if an instituted acolyte may perform the duties formally reserved to the subdeacon. On the one hand the extraordinary form considers subdeacon as a member of the clergy, whereas the instituted acolyte is certainly a lay ministry. On the other hand many of the liturgical duties of the subdeacon were transferred to the ministry of acolyte. The editor of the new edition of the classic Trimelloni liturgical manual opines that it is possible to use the instituted acolyte for this purpose. [In fact, when Paul VI reduced the order of Acolyte, he said that the roles shifted to the Acolyte and that the Acolyte could even be called "Subdeacon". I think this is the best solution in the absence of a deacon or, in the absence of a deacon, a priest, to take the role.]
The order of subdeacon still exists in those institutes specifically dedicated to the extraordinary form. [Not sure it is really the order of subdeacon in the sense it existed before it was supressed by Paul VI… but go ahead…] It is not impossible to suppose that it could eventually be restored for all seminarians desiring to celebrate both forms of the rite. [Wow! An interesting idea. I would be for that.] Also, I see no particular difficulty in deacons or a priest performing these functions as this possibility is foreseen in the rubrics of the extraordinary form.
Regarding the readings, the Holy Father gave permission for the readings to be in the vernacular, provided that an approved translation was used. I would interpret this as a translation specifically approved for liturgical use and not just with an imprimatur. [The question remains whether the readings of the NO could be used in the vernacular instead of Latin readings from the TLM. The language of the Motu Proprio is a bit vague. I would definitely counsel against doing such a thing either way.]
It is probably permissible to use the translations approved for use before the reform when it was a fairly common practice to proclaim the Gospel first in Latin and then read a vernacular version. [Reasonable] It should also be possible to use the vernacular renditions found in the bilingual missals used by the faithful. [There were approved, after all, and are not contrary to faith and morals.]
This has the added advantage of corresponding exactly to the official text found in the Latin missal as some texts might not be found in the new vernacular lectionary exactly as they were in the Latin. [Right!]
While the full Easter triduum may be celebrated in a parish dedicated exclusively to the extraordinary form, I’d say that in a dual-form parish it is probably better to opt for the ordinary form unless the majority of parishioners prefer the extraordinary form. [I wonder. I have pondered this. It originally struck me that if the parish is usually for the NO, and the TLM is celebrated exceptionally, then it seems there should be only one celebration of the Triduum, in the NO. But Fr. McNamara introduces the desires of the people. I like that approach, though it could be very hard to gauge what the real attitude of most of the people is. If most people want the older form of Mass, however… that should say a great deal.] This is because insofar as possible the celebration of the triduum should gather the whole community together.
Finally, the question of the calendar is perhaps the hardest to resolve and will probably require much study and patience. The calendar has been historically the most flexible part of the missal, and several popes have reformed it over the centuries.
The Holy See might end up publishing a completely new edition of the missal of the extraordinary form, the “Benedict XVI Missal,” perhaps. Such a missal would leave John XXIII’s text fundamentally intact, but would add the celebrations of the new saints classified according to the traditional mode. The rubrics would probably need to be adjusted so as to take into account major feasts that have been transferred so that everybody, for example, celebrates Corpus Christi on the same day. [I think that would be a good solution. It would be sure to freak some people out, but it could be helpful. I would hope, however, that the NO calendar be adjusted back to some ancient observances of seasons and traditional feast days. I digress.]
Also, as the Holy Father suggested in his letter issued "motu propio" (on his own initiative), a few prefaces and Mass formulas (especially those coming from ancient Roman sources) could be added. These changes would help smooth out some of the difficulties in the calendar mentioned by our reader while remaining faithful to the organic development of the traditional rite as carried out by Popes such as St. Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII and John XXIII.
All in all, a pretty good response though he really doesn’t say all that much that will be new to readers here.
At the same time I am impressed with the priest who asked the question!
Whoever you are, WDTPRS to you, Father!