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NEWS AND VIEWS
La Guerche, Main Street, Monks Kirby, Near Rugby CV23 OQZ England
Winter AD 1997 Christmas
Post partum Virgo inviolate permansisti.
Dei Genetrix, intercede pro nobis.
THE ANTI-TRIDENTINE NEW MASS
PART 2  THE UNCATHOLIC OFFERTORY
To possess doctrinal rectitude, it is necessary that the chief elements in a novus ordo Missae should have the same meanings which they have in other developed rites of Mass, even though, of course, their precise formulas may be different. If, on the contrary, any of the main elements in a purported new rite of Mass has a new doctrinal significance, excluding that found in other developed rites, then such a novus ordo lacks doctrinal rectitude.
That the offertory is a principal element in any rite of Mass will hardly be disputed. What is manifest from an examination of the relevant prayers in the developed rites of Mass is the meaning of the offertory. It is the anticipatory offering of the Body and Blood of Christ as symbolised by the bread and wine.
In spite of defective catechesis in so many texts for children, there is no offering of bread and wine as such at the offertory in the developed rites of Mass. What is being offered - though in symbolic form only - is the Body and Blood of Christ separated in sacrificial death on the Cross.
In the Sarum Mass - the most widely used variant of the Roman rite in England before the Reformation - the oblations were offered together. The Latin text of the principal offertory prayer reads: "Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam ego indignus peccator offero in honoro tuo: beatae Mariae et omnium sanctorum pro peccatis et offensionibus mein, pro salute vivorum et requiae omnium fidelium defunctorum.11
This Sarum offertory prayer may be rendered: "Receive, 0 Holy Trinity, this oblation which I, an unworthy sinner, offer in thine honour, Blessed Mary's, and all thy saints, for my sins and offences; for the salvation of the living and the repose of all the faithful. departed."
That first praver defined the meaning of the Offertory as a whole, as it did the meaning of the other prayers which followed (prayers very similar to those in the familiar Tridentine Mass). All those offertory prayers were omitted by Cranmer from his "The Supper of the Lord and the Holy Communion commonly called the Mass", in his 1549 Book of Common Prayer (as in its subsequent editions).
By contrast, the Tridentine (1570) edition of the Roman Missal was to include separate offertory prayers for the host and the chalice respectively: the familiar "Suscipe, sancte Pater", and "Offerimus tibi, Domine".
They may be rendered: "Receive, 0 holy Father, almighty everlasting God, this spotless host, which I, thine unworthy servant, offer unto thee, my living and true God, for my numberless sins, offences and negligences, and for all who stand around, as also for all faithful Christians both living and departed: that to me and to them it may avail for salvation until life eternal. Amen."
And: "We offer unto thee, O Lord, the chalice of salvation, humbly beseeching thy mercy: that in the sight of thy divine majesty it may ascend as a sweet-smelling savour for our salvation, and for that of the whole world. Amen."
There is no offering of bread and wine there. The spotless host is the Body of Christ - symbolised as yet - and the chalice of salvation is symbolically the Blood of Christ, sufficient for the salvation of the living and departed and the whole world.
In the New Mass of Paul VI, the Catholic offertory is replaced with a ritual of preparation of the gifts. For the two crucial prayers offering the spotless host and the chalice of salvation, there are two prayers offering bread and wine.
"Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi, quia de tua largitate accepimus panem, quern tibi offerimus, fructum terrae et operis manuum hominum, ex quo nobis fiet panis vitae."
"Benedictus es, Domine, Deus universi, quia de tua largitate accepimus vinum, quod tibi offerimus, fructum vitis et operis manuum hominum, ex quo nobis fiet potus spiritalis."
These have been rendered as: "Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life."
"Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink."
In the context of these prayers, which change the whole meaning of the offertory, the retained "Orate, fratres" and its response lose all reference to the offering of the spotless host of Our Saviour's Body and the chalice of salvation of his Blood, and are restricted in their meaning to the sacrificial self-offering of the worshippers represented by their gifts of bread and wine.
The same is true of the also retained "In spiritu humilitatis", whose change of significance is underlined by the omission of the "Veni sanctificator", which immediately follows it in the Tridentine Mass. The latter prayer may be rendered: "Come 0 sanctifier, almighty, eternal God, and bless + this sacrifice prepared for thy holy name."
To complete the elimination of the Catholic offertory, the "Suscipe, sancta Trinitas" before the "Orate, fratres" is also omitted. This may be rendered: "Receive, 0 Holy Trinity, this oblation which we offer thee in memory of the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and in honour of Blessed Mary ever Virgin, of Blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of these, and of all the Saints, that it may avail for their honour, and for our salvation: and may they deign to intercede for us in heaven, whose memory we celebrate on earth. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."
By the change of the Catholic offertory into a preparation of the gifts of bread and wine, the New Mass repudiates the doctrinal significance of the offertory as found in the developed Catholic rites of Mass, and forfeits doctrinal rectitude.
No one would deny that the (Tridentine) Roman Mass offertory prayers express the same meaning of the offertory as that found in the pre-Reformation Sarum Mass. It is also of interest to note the same meaning, but in a slightly different formula, preserved in the traditional Dominican Mass. Here, as in the Sarum rite, the oblations are offered together, though in the Dominican rite the wine is poured into the chalice as the first action of the Mass.
- The priest says: “Calicem salutis accipiam et nomen Domini invocabo.” “I will take the chalice of salvation and will call upon the name of the Lord.”
He then says: “Suscipe sancta Trinitas hanc oblationem, quam tibi offero in memoriam passionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: et praesta, ut in conspectu tuo tibi placens ascendat, et meam et otuaium fidelium salutem operetur aeternam.” This may be rendered: “Receive 0 holy Trinity this oblation which I offer thee in memory of the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ: and grant that it may ascend to thee worthily in thy sight, and may bring about my eternal salvation and that of all the faithful.”
In the very different development of the Byzantine Liturgy, the oblations -prepared before the public rite proper at a special side altar - are solemnly processed at the Great Entrance to the main altar, where they are placed as symbolically the dead Body and Blood of Christ. So doing, the priest says: “Noble Joseph, having taken thy pure Body from the cross, wrapped it in fine linen and spices and laid it in a new sepulcher.”
In the East as in the West, they are no mere gifts of bread and wine that are offered, but rather the Body and Blood of Christ separated in sacrificial death: that Sacrifice which is sacramentally renewed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
It should be emphasised that the Novus Ordo of Paul VI is presented as a reform of the Roman rite of Mass. The significance of its innovations, therefore, is to be determined by what is being changed or replaced. In that context, the fact of the change of meaning of the offertory is incontrovertible. So much is that the case that some priests, who sincerely sought to defend Catholic orthodoxy but also felt bound to accept a Mass-rite which seemed to come with Papal authority, were actually reduced to claiming that the new preparation of the gifts was an improvement on the traditional Roman offertory, because the traditional offertory had “obscured” the alleged fact that it was bread and wine which were being offered!
Our indictment of the “Offertory” of the New Mass as un-Catholic, has been based exclusively upon a comparison of the Latin prayers of the preparation of the gifts with the prayers of the Tridentine offertory and other developed rites of Mass; simply noting the historical fact of the Protestant elimination of the Catholic offertory in their rites. Our conclusion - on the basis of that examination - that the New Mass lacks doctrinal rectitude, is independent of the ecumenical significance of the New Mass, though that is an additional factor which must be taken into account.
Nothing that we have written here is in any way a denial of the possibility or the fact of liturgical development. On the contrary, we recognise, indeed insist upon, the fact that the rites of Mass have developed, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, reflecting and promoting doctrinal development. In the words of Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical on the liturgy, Mediator Dei (1947): “It is a proof that the Immaculate Bride of Jesus Christ is vigorously alive; that in the course of ages there has been immaculate Bride of Jesus Christ is vigorously alive; that in the course of ages there has been development in the language which she uses to express to her divine Bridegroom her own faith and inexhaustible love and that of her people.”
What we deny is the legitimacy of rejecting the very meaning of a major element in any rite of Mass, as manifested by the prayers which the Church has introduced to express her faith and understanding of the nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. That has manifestly been done in the case of the New Mass, with its rejection of the Catholic understanding of the offertory as the anticipatory symbolic offering of the Body and Blood of Christ separated in sacrificial death: the spotless host and the chalice of salvation.
W. J. Morgan  25 XII 97
LORD JESUS CHRIST, GRANT US A TRUE POPE
OUR LADY OF VICTORIES, PRAY FOR US.
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