imoDIFIcATIoNi IN THE MASS
By Fr. C. C. Martindale,S.J.
ERIODICALLY the Church
seems to experience a wave
of feelings, so to say, which does not affect her doctrine but does modify her methods or change the emphasis in her preaching.
To keep only to our own time, we have found the doctrine of the "Mystical Body" of Christ much emphasised (and duly safeguarded from misunderstandings, by the Holy See): and one consequence has been that St. John and St Paul are being read more than they have been for a very long time.
As a kind of counterpoise in the "practical" direction, we notice that there is a strong feeling that Religious Congregations often cannot do their work efficiently unless, for example, their dress, horarium, methods of prayer. be adapted to new conditions of life.
Naturally in each case there is resistance. Some will say that "mystical" doctrine or reading is "too high" for them: religious will cling tenacioisly to what their foundress laid down or did not use (e.g., telephones, or central heating).
Recently we asked ourselves whether "priest-workers" were to be simply suppressed; we now find that this is not so, and we could hardly believe our eyes when a very important secular paper devoted a leading article, as well as a "news paragraph" to this matter.
Desire for revision
jH AT none can shut eyes or ears V to is the universal desire for some revision of the Church's Prayer, and this, it seems to me, falls into two parts-a desire for the use of the vernacular in worship, and some re-arrangement of the Liturgy or the Mass itself. (We may mention that nothing nearly as drastic is suggested today as what actually took place, speaking quite roughly, about 500 A.D. and again around 800 a.n.) If I may speak personally, I confess that to sacrifice Latin would be, for me, very painful, if only because the genius of English fat any rate) is so totally different from that of Latin, that the Romanae maiestas aurca linguae-the golden majesty of the Roman tongue--is bound to disappear in any translation. But the object aimed at in any change is purely "apostolic": what will best help most people to pray with mind and heart.
As for the use of the vernacular in what is "personal" rather than "collective"-the administration of sacraments, and all sorts of blessings, which, as THE CATHOLIC HERALD pointed out recently, are comprised in the Rituale unanimity seems already all but obtained. Austria, Germany, France, Japan, China and India, are only some of the nations that have the Ritual in their own language; the Hierarchy of the U.S.A. have, we believe, completed its own translation soon to be submitted to the Holy See we are told that a translation is also being made in this country.
AT the risk of repeating what THE CATHOLIC HERALD may already have said, I would like to allude to the third International Conference of Liturgical Studies, held at Lugano last September 14 to 18.
One argument can certainly no more be adduced-that the liturgical **movement" lacks ecclesiastical sympathy. We received a half-hour's telephone message about it, and have
read a brief printed account. though its conclusions are, rightly, not published before being submitted to the Holy See.
Its opening Mass was sung by Cardinal Ottaviani, of the Holy Office; the second day's Mass was sung by Cardinal Frings of Cologne officially representing the whole German Hierarchy (present too were the Bishops of Berlin, St. Poelten, Austria. Mtin ser, Passeu. Basel, and Mainz; of Biella. Rouen, Roermond, Holland, Ghent, Metz and Strasbourg): Bishop Jelmini, Administrator of Lugano, had actually finished and equipped the new Church of St. Nicolao to receive fittingly the delegates: cordial messages were received from Mgr. Montini, ProSecretary of State, and Cardinal Micara, of the Congregation of Rites, and a most encouraging letter, an "autograph" (said to be now very rarely sent), from the Holy Father himself.
And present throughout was Fr. Ferdinand Antonelli, 0.F.M., director of the historical section of the Congregation of Rites where the new "Easter Vigil" was elaborated.
REGRET was expressed that only -8Afive representatives came from the U.S.A. and only one from England.
As for ourselves. we readily agree that there is not much "liturgical instinct" in England or (we are told) in Ireland : still, the U.S.A. had its own very succes3ful liturgical week in September at Grand Rapids, and that arranged for Chartres also in September had actually to be cancelled, so impossible did it prove to house all the applicant clergy. And We recall that our Society of St. Gregory did observe its annual summer school at Southampton last August, to which members came from all parts of England.
rtA S for modifications in the Mass ceremonial. no one wants to he mere archceologists and to reprodnce Mass as it was offered some number of centuries ago.
But we have certainly observed a tendency to wish for the vernacular up to the end of the Gospel (we know by experience how easy it is to teach quite uneducated persons to sing the Credo in Latin. and understand it): and for some simplification (e.g., the reciting of only one Collect); and of a few alterations for the sake of good sense: thus the priest says: "Go away; this is the Dismissal!" hut no one does go (or if they do, as things are, they oughtn't to!): and if "Introit" means (as it does) "He is going in," why say it, when the priest has been there some time already?
The usual answer to that seems to be the omission of what precedes the Introit and what follows the he Missa est. the "before" and "after" being part of the priest's private preparation or thanksgiving.
A boy's lament
ENOUGH to say with Fr. Rafferty .1.-:/of Fleetwood, at Southampton, that the "parish is the Church in miniature"; Mass is a communal act : they are wrong who prefer to isolate themselves and "be allowed to say their own prayers in private": they will have every chance of doing so: but there ought to be one grand social Act in which all take part. vocally as well as mentally: there are still those who ask, as a boy from a poorer parish once asked me: "How do I know what 'es doing at 'tother end of the church?" Yet he had learnt his catechism.