From a reader:
I know this is not the same as an official dubium to the PCED, but your view would be appreciated. (I ask these questions because of the situations at two different parishes in the Archdiocese of ___ which offer the Mass according to the 1962 Missal, but which have some unusual practices with regard to the readings.)
In view of Universae Ecclesiae n. 26 regarding use of the vernacular in the Mass readings, what do you think about:
1. Would it be permissible in a sung Mass (or a low Mass) for the priest to read the epistle in Latin quietly while a layman acting as commentator read it out loud in the vernacular simultaneously? [Reid’s reworking of Fortescue/O’Connell suggested that they could be sung in the vernacular in the Missa Cantata. UE seems to say no. “26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.” So, in the Solemn Mass and the Sung Mass, no singing of readings in the vernacular. Simultaneous in the Low Mass? I don’t think so. UE 26 says “veracula sequente versione”.]
2. Would it be permissible in a solemn Mass for the subdeacon and deacon to sing the epistle and gospel directly in the vernacular, without proclaiming them in Latin? [No.]
3. If the gospel is sung in Latin, then afterwards repeated in the vernacular, should there be the same full liturgical ceremonies (i.e.
“The Lord be with you,” the small signs of the cross, the acolytes holding candles at the lectern where the vernacular reading is done, etc.)? [No.]
Thank you for your consideration of these matters. Your well-informed views could really help to clear up questions about how things should be done.
It is human nature, isn’t it. As soon as people see that there is some leeway or an option, they want to know how far it can be pushed. Options make sense for special circumstances. Otherwise, let’s admit it … they are dangerous for liturgical worship. They rapidly become the norm and drive the real norm into desuetude. Tricky business, in a time when we have had liturgical nutty pretty much everywhere for decades.
I am not picking on you, dear questioner. But I can hear some people now. The gears in their heads are making that whhhhrrrrrr POP whhhhrrrrr sound as they think stuff up.
“But Father! But Father! Our priest is able to do hand stands. Would be it possible for the priest, at a Low Mass, to read right side up when in Latin and upside down in the vernacular? Would it? And how about when he sings? Also, if at the end of Mass you are not supposed the close the book until the final prayer is completed, should the priest – if he can stand on his hands but just for a little while – stay on his hands even though he wobbles or can he get right side up again before the conclusion is complete?”
I think the best solution is just to do everything in Latin, right side up, and read the readings in English from the ambo …. or not, and get on with it.
Keep it simple. Sure some variations are permitted, and for good reason. But while we are in an important time of revival of this treasure, is it wise to tinker?
The Holy Father said that there would be some “mutual enrichment” along the way. Fine. Maybe there will be.
But maybe for now we ought to just use the Extraordinary Form as is for a good long time before exploring all sorts of options. Yes, I think it was the intent of the Council Fathers to have the readings in the vernacular and the rest of the Mass still in Latin. At this point, however, our liturgical worship is pretty screwed up. We need some time to get used to our Extraordinary Form again. Fewer variations might be the better way to go. And Latin is the language of worship in the Latin Church.
I can foresee a situation in which a priest is from some other country than that of the place were he is going to say the TLM, and he doesn’t know the local tongue well enough to read the readings in the vernacular in anything like language. Then there would be some commentator. Say I, for example, went to Hong Kong and said Mass for the Chinese congregation whose English may be pretty dodgy. I don’t have Cantonese at all or Mandarin anywhere near well enough to read or preach. Have the commentator if it is really necessary to have the readings in the vernacular. A little common sense helps solve some of these problems.
Also, in many places people have hand missals or sheets they can read. Is it really necessary to have the readings in the vernacular all the time? It seems to me that by now the cat is out of the bag when it comes to knowing that the Extraordinary Form is in Latin.
Options only sparingly.