Mass with Sung Rosary?
SIR,—Dr. Richard Handford's suggestion that the recitation of the Rosary at Mass is to be recommended on the ground that this appeal to Our Lady as Mediatrix of Grace gains for the Faithful a fuller reception of the fruits of the Holy Sacrifice than would otherwise be the case, surely carries with it very strange implications. If it is a valid argument, then should we not always supplement the Mass with Rosary Recitations, and instead of a Sung Mass have Mass with Sung Rosary?
But more, does not Dr. Handford's contention really amount to a denial of the sufficiency of Christ's Sacrifice and its expression through the Liturgy? That which cannot attain its full purpose without appeal to other means is defective.
And what of the Liturgy of the Sacraments? In no single sacramental Rite is Mary directly invoked. In the Baptismal Rite Our Lady's name is mentioned in the Creed, but not otherwise; in Confirmation not at all. Does Dr. Handford maintain that the Sacraments would yield a richer fruit were the Liturgical forms added to by Rosaries or some other form of Marian invocation? If not, what becomes of his argument?
Surely the Roman Litusgical tradition of somc two thousand years is conclusive? " Lex supplicandi est Lex credendi."
ARTHUR JOHN VALENTIN.
The Catholic Rectory, Stevenage, Herts.
Recitation at Home
SIR,—Although the month of October is now nearly over, perhaps you will allow me to make three observations on the subject of the recitation of the Rosary during Mass.
1. In my parents' home the Rosary was recited every day, all the year round. For that purpose the whole family assembled every evening, servants included. This practice still exists in a great number of families in my native Holland, in Belgium and in Germany—most probably elsewhere on the continent also, of which 1 cannot speak with certain knowledge. Although this daily devotion in the family is rarely practised in this country, I have found as a result of some private inquiry, that there are in England a fairly considerable numbcr of Catholics who habitually say the Rosary every day. And among those there was hardly anyone who did not heartily dislike the recitation of their beloved Rosary during Mass. I have seen and heard it stated that those who object to the present practice in our churches do so because they do not love the Rosary. This simply is not true. One can very well love A little while ago, when the discussion was on another subject, that of liturgical music, some doubt was expressed as to the loyalty of our spiritual guides to our Pope and as to their eagerness to follow his counsels and to obey his injunctions. In the present debate on the Rosary question we have seen how anxious our parish priests are to fulfil the Holy Father's desires. May we then perhaps repeat the question which was put forward so urgently in your paper a few months ago—why it is that on the subject of liturgical restoration the Pope's fervent wishes and even his most distinct commands are sometimes disregarded?
FERD. I. VAN PELT. 10, Park Road, West Dulwich, S.E.21.
Our Lady and the Mass
SIR, — If the direct invocation of Our Lady is so necessary it is curious that the Liturgy itself makes no provision. The simple fact, which no amount of sophistry can change, is that the Mass is an Action accompanied by plural prayers and mutual salutations which imply a congregation in close touch with the Celebrant. In recent centuries this union has undoubtedly been obscured by liturgical decay. The liturgical reforms of Pius XI which removed many excrescences from Missal and Breviary did not affect the October directions of Leo XIII as they permitted an alternative quite obvious to those who have the slightest liturgical instinct.
Once, while saying Mass in Malta, I was accompanied by a loud layman who, reciting the Litany of Loreto serundum quid, called upon Our Lady as " Virgo A tnpurissima "! It strikes me forcibly that to surmount such distractions during the lovely silence of the Canon would indeed he an achievement which might entitle one to the intercession of Our Lady as " Consolatrix Afflictorum."
IVOR DANIEL. Pembroke Dock.
The Latin Text
SIR, — May I suggest that the October Devotions would be seen in their proper light, if your captions were changed from " The Rosary during Mass " to " The Mass and the Rosary." Your correspondent, H. A. Young, would see that instead of the October practice spoiling two good things, both Mass and Rosary combine to give greater glory to Our Lady.
To explain. Go back to the encyclical of Leo XIII Supremi Apostolatus officio, September 1, 1883. In that letter Pope Leo decreed that during October " Our Lady of the Rosary " be " honoured with special splendour": " Decernimus itaque et mandamus, ut in orbe catholic° universo hoc item anno solemnia Deiparae a Rosario peculiari religione et rultus splendore celebrentur." How is this "peculiaris religio et cultus splendor" to be given? By having Mass said or the Blessed Sacrament exposed while the Rosary is being recited: "Optamus autem ut ad has preces conveniente populo, eodem tempore vel sacrum ad altare fiat, ye! Sacramento august° ad adorandum proposito, sacrosancta deinceps Hostia pius supplicantium coetus rite lustretur." To see the Devotions then as Leo XIII intended, we should recognise that it is a case, not of the Rosary being said during Mass, but of Mass being offered while the Rosary is being said, thereby surrounding Our Lady of the Rosary with greater honour.
I grant that this coincidence of Mass and Rosary has not appealed to liturgists of one track minds, but they got no satisfaction from the Congregation of Rites; cf. S.R.C. Jan. 16, 1886, ad 5.
Again, your correspondent loves the Rosary as a private devotion. Admirable! But Leo XIII saw its value also as public: "Non solum igitur privatorurn pietati, sed publicis etiam temporibus est tnagnopere consentaneurn." ("Salutaris ille," December 24, 1883).
I apologise for giving the quotations in the original Latin; if your correspondent cannot translate, assistance will easily be found in the parish.
One closing remark on the correspondence: "Sancta sancte tractanda." The avoidance of any provocative expressions will prevent future complaints of " lampooning " or " savaging " or " publicly branding."
JOSEPH MCKENNA, P.P.
St. Wulstan's, Fleetwood.