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Divine Worship - Introductory Rites up to the Offeratory

posted Oct 31, 2013, 1:27 PM by Rochester Ordinariate   [ updated Oct 31, 2013, 1:37 PM ]
We will now begin an analysis of detailed changes to the Use. The document mentioned in the previous post gives a list of changes, followed by a "Ratio". I will make clear what the Official instruction is, and where my commentary begins and ends with horizontal lines in the text.  If you are not familiar with the Book of Divine Worship, a pdf may be downloaded and read here.

While it is customary to begin at the beginning, curiously, in this instance, we begin at the end of the document, where we find:

Additional features of Ordinariate Usage

Prayers of Preparation (as may be prayed in the sacristy or at the foot of the altar)

These are the prayer said by the priest and acolytes, beginning with

V: I will go unto the altar of God. R: Even unto the God of my joy and gladness.
Psalm 42/43
Give sentence with me, O God, and defend my cause against the deceitful and wicked man, etc.
Followed by the confession:
CONFESS to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to Blessed John Baptist, to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the saints, and to you, brethren: that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed: (He strikes his breast thrice, saying:) through my fault, through my fault, through my own most grievous fault and I ask Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John Baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Angels and you, brethren, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

The prayers are quite ancient, and are most commonly associated with what we call today the Extraordinary Form, since they were removed in the 1969 reforms of the Roman Rite. I note they also appear in the Sarum Use.  In the St. Alban Fellowship (SAF), we always say them as a before mass devotional at the foot of the altar - now it is good to see they are formally included as Preparatory Prayers. 

I said these prayers as a child before serving mass at Holy Cross church in Dallas.  It has never quite felt right to begin mass without them.  They really help me to get into the proper spiritual disposition.

This is followed by:

Rite of Sprinkling Holy Water: Asperges or Vidi aquam

This is another element used before mass in the Extraordinary Form, but also occasionally seen in the Ordinary Form.  In the SAF, the cantor chants the Asperges in Latin while Fr. Cornelius performs the Rite of Sprinkling.

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor,
Lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.
Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Thou wilt sprinkle me, O Lord, with hyssop and I shall be cleansed
Thou wilt wash me, and I shall be washed whiter than snow.
Pity me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.

This Rite was also quite familiar to me as a child in Anglo-Catholic parishes.  It was imported into Anglican practice from the Roman Rite, although once again, it appears in the Sarum Use under the "Blessing of Salt and Water", where the Rite is instructed to be done every Sunday of the year, except in Eastertide, where the Vidi aquam is used instead.

So far, we are still before mass.  The mass begins and immediately there is a change from the Book of Divine Worship:

Opening acclamation
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

+ Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
+ Alleluia. Christ is risen, (in Eastertide)...
+ Bless the Lord who forgiveth all our sins, (in Lent)...

Ratio: The BDW's opening acclamations are a modern novelty from the 1979 US BCP, which reflects here some quasi-Byzantine appropriations previously unknown in the Anglican tradition. In order to clarify the Western provenance and affiliation of Ordinariate usage, the Mass now begins with the traditional invocation of the Holy Trinity common to the Roman Rite.

Quasi-Byzanine.  What a description!  So, this change of the 1979 US BCP is unmade, and we are back to the traditional Western invocation of the Trinity.  This is how the other forms of the Roman rite begin, as well as how the Sarum Use begins.  Next:

Penitential Rite A (optional)
Let us humbly confess our sins.  Most merciful God...
(Omitted from the new Order in favor of a normative placement of the Penitential Rite after the Prayers of the People.)

Ratio: The placement of the Penitential Rite after the Bidding Prayers is more typical of classic Anglican Eucharistic liturgies. Unlike the modern Roman Rite, where the Penitential Rite leads into the Liturgy of the Word, in Ordinariate usage the Penitential Rite culminates the
Liturgy of the Word and leads into the Offertory: the hearing of the Word and the profession of the Faith prompts us to make our intercessions and offer our repentance so that we might move to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

This is an interesting one.  It is not the Romanization of the BCP - it is the Anglicanization of the 1979 US BCP!  The liturgical commission restores the old BCP usage.  For example, in the 1552 BCP, we have this prayer following the liturgy of the Word:

ALMIGHTIE God, father of our Lorde Jesus Christe, maker of all thyngs, Judge of all men, we knowledge and bewayle oure manyfolde synnes and wyckednes, whiche we from tyme to tyme moste grevously have committed, by thoughte, woord and dede, agaynst thy devine Majestie: provokyng most justely thy wrath and indignacion agaynste us: we doe earnestlye repente, and be hartely sory for these our misdoynges: the remembraunce of them is grievouse unto us, the burthen of them is intollerable: have mercye upon us, have mercye upon us, moste mercifull father, for thy sonne oure Lorde Jesus Chrystes sake: forgeve us all that is past, and graunt that we maye ever here after serve and please thee, in newnesse of lyfe, to the honoure and glory of thy name: Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

which is almost the same as our present penitential prayer.

The Trisagion (as an optional alternative to the Kvrie)
Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us.
(In Ordinariate usage, the Kyrie is normative, without this optional alternative.)

Ratio: The optional use of the Trisagion as an alternative to the Kyrie in the BDW derives from the 1979 US BCP and other modern Anglican liturgies. It was imported from Eastern liturgies but is not native to Anglican or Roman tradition. While the Trisagion figures prominently in
Eastern liturgies, it is not there used as an alternative to the Kyrie.

This is again an instance of cutting out an element of Eastern liturgy introduced in the US 1979 BCP.  As Fr. Cornelius mentioned, this directive is not saying that the Trisagion cannot be used - we could use it as a sequence hymn for example, but simply that it cannot replace the Kyrie at this point in the mass, coming into line with historical Anglican and Catholic liturgies.

Pravers of the People
Forms I-V
(Where the BDW gives 5 forms of the Intercessions, these have been carefully edited and reviewed for conformity to Catholic norms and doctrine and supplemented to yield 7 forms drawn from various Anglican sources and the original BDW.)

Ratio: The different forms of the Prayers of the People have been clarified and enriched to offer greater pastoral flexibility while specifying that Forms I and II are to be said by the Priest alone, as these are more properly "presidential" in character, deriving as they do originally from the intercessions in the Roman Canon.

No comment here - I was never very fond the of the Prayers of the People.  They seem a bit, well, artificial to me.  Especially when some churches begin making up prayers to include addressing whatever topic is in the news that week.  Even if done well, it wants to address the perceived need for "active participation" of the congregation, which I find does not quite click.

Bidding for the Penitential Rite
Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins... make your
humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.

Replaced with:
Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins... make your humble confession to Almighty God, meekly kneeling upon your knees.

Ratio: The concluding phrase "meekly kneeling upon your knees," perhaps strange to American ears, is in fact classic Anglican patrimony and common to all of the classic BCPs except the American editions.  It should be emphasized that the general confession that follows is never a substitute for personal sacramental Confession. The Penitential Rite here is a corporate acknowledgement of sin ("... make your humble confession ..."—second-person plural; "We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins"—first-person plural). As in the modern Roman Rite, the Penitential Act at Mass serves for those with perfect contrition to remit only venial sins, never mortal sins which require individual recourse to the Sacrament of Penance.

Great.  Classic BCP.  Deliberately redundant to stress the point.  It reminds us again of the international nature of the Ordinariate Use to incorporate the practices of UK, Canada, and Australia.

The Comfortable Words
Hear the Word of God to all who truly turn to him ...
Hear what comfortable words our Saviour Christ saith unto all who truly turn to him ...
Hear also what Saint Paul saith ...
Hear also what Saint John saith ...

Ratio: Where the BDW and the 1979 US BCP truncate the so-called "Comfortable Words" (omitting that phrase), Ordinariate usage here restores the full text as featured in all of the traditional Books of Common Prayer.

The full prayers in the 1552 BCP are:

Heare what comfortable woords our savioure Christe sayeth, to al that truly turne to hym.
    Come unto me all that travaile, and be heavye laden, and I shal refreshe you. So god loved the world, that he gave his onely begotten sonne to thend that al that beleve in him, should not perishe, but have life everlasting.
    Heare also what Sainct Paul sayeth.
    This is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be received, that Jesus Christe came into the world to save synners.
    Heare also what Sainct John sayeth.
    If any man sinne, we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propiciacion for our synnes.

which is almost identical to the Ordinariate Use.

The Peace (located before the Offertory)
The peace of the Lord be always with you.

(Ordinariate usage now locates the Peace normatively in the Roman position after the Lord's Prayer.)

Ratio: In the Roman Rite, the Peace flows from the sacramental presence of the risen Christ manifest on the altar in the consecrated Eucharistic Species. The Peace issues from the altar to be offered by the Celebrant in persona Christi to the ministers and people. In contrast, the BDW, following the 1979 US BCP and much modem Anglican liturgical revision, located the Peace in the Byzantine or Eastern position where it proceeds from the reconciled assembly and serves to prepare for the Offertory (cf. Mt. 5:24). After the first BCP (1549), in which the Pax occurred in the Roman position, the Peace completely disappeared from Anglican Eucharistic liturgies until it was added in the 20th century, usually in the Byzantine position. The new Ordinariate usage taps into the rich theology of the Peace in the Roman Rite and restores it to its, historic Western position as reflected in the English Use of Sarum, the first English BCP, and certain other Anglican Eucharistic liturgies such as the 1962 Canadian BCP. 

This is one of the more controversial changes, although a Canadian in the congregation cheered when this was announced!  I liked the peace as the transition between the liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist, even though it is not historical, as argued above.  Part of my hesitation about the change is that in most churches I have visited, the peace tends to get out of control, and this occurrence happening in the middle of the consecration prayers is rather disturbing.  Still, in the FSA, the exchange of the peace is a rather subdued affair, so hopefully the pandemonium will be kept at bay.  As Fr. Cornelius said, and I hope I have made clear, as Catholics we will obey these liturgical directives.

I will stop here and conclude this discussion of the changes from the introductory rites until the beginning of the offertory.  My next post will discuss the changes in the offertory, which in my opinion are the biggest changes in the Use.

To summarize this post, I would characterize the changes as looking back to a variety of liturgical sources in history.  More "ressourcement" than "aggiornamento" in my view, but applied in a creative way that respects the integrity of the English tradition as interpreted by its more Catholic-minded members. Elements of the Sarum and Traditional Latin Mass/Extraordinary are added (Prayers at the foot of the altar, Aspergus me), historical Anglican elements are reintroduced, unmaking many changes in the 1979 US BCP that were grandfathered into the Book of divine Worship.  So far, I mostly like or am neutral about all the changes, not that it matters - I am still uneasy about the new location of the peace - but it is undoubtedly the historical placement in the West, so perhaps it will grow on me as we start to use it.