THE ANCIENT USAGE OF THE MASS IN LATIN
The Second Vatican Council declared that the Mass is the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed, the fountain from which all her power flows. In the words of the Venerable Cardinal Newman, nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming as the Mass. Father Frederick Faber described it as the “most beautiful thing this side of Heaven.”
For Catholics, it’s the Mass that matters…the unbloody re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary. And for two thousand years, Catholics have been obeying Our Lord’s command at the Last Supper “Do this in memory of Me”. The four accounts of the Last Supper, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and 1 Corinthians give us the nucleus of the liturgy in all subsequent Catholic rites.
In the earliest times, the Eucharist was celebrated with – but distinct from – a Christianized synagogue service. Over the centuries, the ceremony developed, with the prayers, formulae and movements crystallizing into set forms.
Eventually the details of Eucharistic services in different parts of the world began to diverge. In the third century, the Church of Africa was the first to use Latin, while Greek continued to be used in Rome for another hundred years. Although there was no idea of a set pattern for the liturgy, the Eucharist gradually adopted a uniformity of outline. In many cases, the same words were used. Long formal prayers recur in the earliest writings.
From the time of Constantine in the fourth century, complete liturgical texts are available of specifically different rites, based initially on the patriarchal cities of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch and on the Gallican usage of northern Europe.
From the four parent rites, others developed and from the eighth century onwards, the Roman rite (as celebrated by the Pope) gradually displaced all other rites in the west – with the exception of the rites of Toledo and Milan.
But, over the years, additions crept in. Bishops allowed local modifications to the liturgy, large cities developed their own variations, many religious orders adopted their own liturgical customs. Then the Protestant reformers, in their opposition to the ideas of the Real Presence and Eucharistic Sacrifice, developed their own communion services.
The Council of Trent, in the mid-sixteenth century, opposed the anarchy of these new services and ordered that Mass should be celebrated uniformly everywhere.
In 1570, St Pius V published the new, restored Missal. But the rite established following the Council of Trent – the so-called Tridentine rite – was not a new form of the Mass. Pope Pius V’s liturgy dates back essentially unchanged to the time of St Gregory in the sixth century…though that liturgy lasted a full three hours! The Bull Quo Primum granted priests the right to use the Tridentine rite forever, without scruple of conscience or fear of penalty.
With the exception of minor modifications, the Tridentine rite was essentially the rite used throughout the western Church until the introduction of the new Missal of Pope Paul VI in 1970 following the Second Vatican Council.
The Council itself had declared its desire to preserve and foster all lawfully acknowledged rites and, even after the introduction of the new Missal, permission was still given for the use of the old rite.
In liturgical matters, the Council said the Church had no wish to impose a rigid uniformity, though it directed that the use of the Latin language was to be preserved in the Latin rites.
Dated July 7, 2007 Summorum Pontificum (English:Of the Supreme Pontiffs) is the Apostolic Letter motu proprio of Pope Benedict XVI, which formulates the canonical rules to be respected in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church for the celebration of Mass according to the “Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962”, sometimes known as the Tridentine Mass, and the administering of most of the sacraments in the form prior to the liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council.
In line with the above document and following the guidelines recommended by the local bishop, the 6 p.m. Sunday Mass at St. Margaret’s has been in response to numerous requests, in particular from parishioners, that the older rite of the Mass be available.
HISTORY of the DIALOGUE MASS in LATIN
(in Latin, Missa dialogata; also Missa recitata).
In November 1922, the Holy See’s Sacred Congregation of the Council (now called the Congregation for Bishops) gave approval to the practice “to instill into the souls of the faithful a truly Christian and collective spirit, and prepare them for active participation.
Further warm approval was granted by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (corresponding to today’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) on 30 November 1935, and on 3 September 1958.
In spite of this official encouragement, the Dialogue Mass never became prevalent in English-speaking countries, even in the United States. The one exception in the English speaking world was Scotland. Always the most European part of the British Isles with strong ties to many countries and especially to France, the Dialogue Mass was introduced into Edinburgh Cathedral in the 1920s and in the years that followed became popular throughout the country and from there into many other European countries. Maybe it is not surprising that our parish patron is St. Margaret of Scotland!
Forms of Dialogue Mass
A minimum form of Dialogue Mass was, as indicated in the 1922 document referred to above, for the people to join with the servers in reciting the responses in the Mass that would typically fall only to the servers.
In addition, the people could be allowed to recite those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that are sung by all at a Missa Cantata: Gloria, Creed, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.
They were also allowed to recite with the priest the triple “Domine non sum dignus” that he said as part of the rite of Communion of the faithful, which, though not in printed in the Roman Missal could be inserted into the celebration of Mass.
Rarely, the people also recited the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons, which were sung by the choir at Solemn or High Mass.
RECENT ADAPTATIONS by the HOLY SEE
to facilitate the “Dialogue Mass” in the parish setting
Decisions of the Pontifical Commission “ECCLESIA DEI”
Concerning Celebrations of the 1962 MISSALE ROMANUM
No. 24/92 Rome, 7th June, 1993
In celebrating the Solemn High Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal it is necessary to follow the rubrics of that Missal. In the past the employment of a person who had received the ministry of acolyte acting as subdeacon was tolerated. In that case, the acolyte acting as subdeacon did not wear the maniple. This usage may continue to be tolerated.
It is permissible for those serving Mass to wear amice, alb and cincture if this is what is ordinarily worn by the servers in the parish where the Mass is celebrated.
With regard to the celebration of the Masses of saints canonized since 1962, the Latin orations published in the Missal of Pope Paul VI and those subsequently published by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments should be used, taking the remaining parts from the Common.
No. 40/97 Rome, 26th March, 1997
This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the celebrant’s reading an approved vernacular translation of the Epistle and Gospel proper to the 1962 Missal while otherwise adhering to the rubrics laid down in the Ritus Servandus.
Concerning the celebration of Solemn Pontifical and Solemn Masses:
- This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the celebrant and ministers joining in the singing of the plainchant Gloria and Credo together with the schola cantorum and the congregation instead of reading them privately as directed by the Ritus Servandus. This usage was already admitted by the Church a relatively short time after the publication of the 1962 Roman Missal. The same holds true, mutatis mutandis for the Missa Cantata.
- Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the entire congregation’s singing of the Pater Noster in all sung Masses
- With regard to all of the above matters, this Pontifical Commission has already made similar provision for the Conventual Masses celebrated in the Benedictine abbeys in France(see below entry) which have been granted the use of the liturgical books in force in 1962. We believe that it may be readily applied to parochial situations as well.
- This Pontifical Commission sees no difficulty in the use of the Prefaces which Your Lordship indicated [i.e. those additional prefaces included in the 50-called “Interim Rite” Missal of1964: editor], since they were once permitted by induits of the Congregation of Rites. Furthermore, the very rich prefaces of the Missal of Pope Paul VI could equally be used for the appropriate Masses in the 1962 Roman Missal. Even though the original lndult Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 3rd October 1984 insisted that “there must be no interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals”, this Pontifical Commission has consistently argued in the light of the “wide and generous application of the directives already issued for the use of the Roman Missal according to the typical edition of 1962” (Ecclesia Dei 6, c) such usage would be fully acceptable.
Provision for the celebration of the Sung Conventual Mass of the Beneditine Communities in France using the 1962 liturgical books.
- Quando Missa conventual is sequitur aliquam partem Divini Officii, incheoetur cum cantu Introitus, ommissis precibus ad initium Missae.
- Liturgia Verbi celebretur ad sedile.
- Lectiones proferentur versus populum, sive lingua latina sive vernacula; eelebrans non repetit nec lectiones nee eantus chori aut populi.
- Proprio loco, id est post “Oremus” ante Offertorium, adhiberi possunt Preees universales juxta formulas in libris liturgicis eontentas, aut aliter rite approbatas.
- Oratio super oblata eantetur.
- Doxologia “Per ipsum” a sacerdote celebrante cantetur, dum ipse ealicem cum hostia super altare elevat, usque ad finem doxologiae, choro respondente “Amen”.
- Pater noster ab omnibus simul cum celebrante cantetur.
Benedictio final is cantetur, post quam omittitur lectio initii Evangelii secundum Joannem
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Learning and Appreciating the Prayers
and Responses for the Dialogue Mass
You can listen, learn and familiarize yourself with the Latin responses by downloading the mp3 recordings for the text of the Mass. In the following text, the mass of Holy Trinity is celebrated in a “Dialogue Mass,” sometimes called a “Community Mass”
In the earliest days, the Mass opened with the Introit as a processional psalm, and the prayers at the foot of the altar were the priest’s own private preparation for Mass. But for more than four centuries, the Mass has begun with the 42nd Psalm as an expression of reverent fear and confidence in God’s mercy. (The psalm is not said during Passiontide or in Masses for the Dead.)
Use the text on the following pages or your own 1962 Missal to listen, learn and follow the dialogue.
C: Celebrant R: Your response.
- PC: Right click any of the audio links and select ‘Save target as…’, or ‘Save link as…’
- Mac: Control-click any of the links below and select ‘Download linked file’, or
‘Save Link Target’
…Then use your media software to play the file.