No liturgical changes in store? Hmmm…

From this article in Cathnews:

“At the moment, there are no institutional proposals for a modification of the liturgical books currently in use,” said the Assistant Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Ciro Benedettini, according to Catholic News Service.

It is read, by Cathnews, as a denial that there is any “Reform of the Reform” in mind in the Vatican.

Ah, but!

There really doesn’t have to be any “modification of the liturgical books currently in use” for a whole raft of changes to be made to the way in which we are currently celebrating the liturgy. There is nothing, for eg., in the rubrics or canos saying that “ad orientem” celebrations of the liturgy should not be the norm. There is nothing forbidding the use of an altar rail and kneeling at communion and reception of the host on the tongue. There is nothing saying that the entire liturgy (or a good deal of it) could not be said in Latin, or sung with accompanying Gregorian chants.

None of this would require any “modification of the liturgical books currently in use” (note, that this means, as far as the Vatican is concerned, the official Roman books – not the local adaptions and modifications currently in use throughout the world). And yet all of this would be interpeted by some people as a “return to Pre-Vatican II”, as a “roll back” of the Reform.

And example, after all, is everything. Just note the way that the altar crosses are making their way back onto our altars – even on “versus populum” altars. All he did was set an example.

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7 responses to “No liturgical changes in store? Hmmm…

  1. Johno

    All he did was set an example. And all we need to do is ask our priests to follow it. That’s our responsibility.

  2. There is nothing, for eg., in the rubrics or canos saying that “ad orientem” celebrations of the liturgy should not be the norm.

    Presumably b/c there was nothing that said “versus populum” (is that right?) should be the norm.

  3. The rubrics still assume that the priest must turn to the people at certain points… so the norm presumed by the rubrics is Mass ad orientem.

  4. 1. Once the altar is readied, the priest goes there to begin the offertory (preparation of the gifts)…

    After washing his hands at the side of the altar (latus altare)…

    Stans postea in medio altaris, versus ad populum, extendens et jungens manus, dicit: Orate, fratres…

    [Standing at the centre of the altar, facing the people, he extends and joins his hands, saying: Pray, brethren…]

    (NB At the consecration, he shows first the Host and then the chalice to the people, but there is no instruction to turn here – the trad. way is to lift them up above head-height… at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, he lifts up both Host and chalice, but there is no instruction to show them to the people, so an elevation chest-high is called for.)

    2. After the Lord’s Prayer &c.:

    Sacerdos, ad populum conversus, extendens et jungens manus, subdit: Pax Domini…

    [The priest, facing the people, extending and joining his hands, adds: The peace…]

    3. After the Agnus Dei &c.:

    Sacerdos genuflectit, accipit hostiam, eamque aliquantulum elevatam super patenam [VEL chalicem] tenens, ad populum versus, clara voce dicit: Ecce Agnus Dei…

    [The priest genuflects, takes the Host, and holding It raised slightly above the paten {or the Chalice – new option}, facing the people, in a clear voice says: Behold the Lamb of God…]

    Directly after this and the “Lord, I am not worthy”, the rubric reads “Et sacerdos, ad altare versus, secreto dicit” [And the priest, facing the altar, says quietly] – which implies him turning back again…

    4. For the prayer after communion:

    Deinde, stans ad sedem vel ad altare, sacerdos dicit…

    [Then standing at the chair or at the altar, the priest says…]

    5. For the blessing and dismissal:

    Sacerdos, versus ad populum, extendens manus, dicit…

    (manibus super populum extendens)

    Deinde diaconus, vel ipse sacerdos, manibus junctis, ad populum versus dicit: Ite…

    [The priest, facing the people, extending his hands, says…

    {And if there is a solemn blessing} extending his hands over the people…

    Then the deacon, or the priest himself, with joined hands, facing the people, says: Go…]

  5. This is all in continuity with the older Form: in the Trad. Mass, the priest turns to the people (from the Offertory onward) at the following points:

    – at the start of the Offertory (Dominus vobiscum) [a great pity this greeting was dropped, as it served to emphasis the new stage in the Mass]

    – at the Orate fratres

    then not until Communion time (even the Pax Domini was said facing the altar; but special blessings were rarely said at that point or close to it, facing the people):

    – at the Ecce Agnus Dei

    – at the Dominus vobiscum before the Postcommunion prayer

    – again after it, saying Dominus vobiscum and Ite missa est

    – once more, to give the Blessing.

    The continuity is evident.