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Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
« on: April 09, 2019, 09:00:41 PM »
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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #1 on: April 09, 2019, 09:44:10 PM »
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  • PALM SUNDAY

    1. Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae of 1955-1956 (hereinafter: OHS 1956): innovation of using the color red for the procession with palms but violet for the Mass. (15)

    Commentary: In the archives of the Commission we read: "One thing that might perhaps be done ... the color red might be restored as was used in the Middle Ages for this solemn procession. The color red recalls the royal purple." A little further on: "In this way, the procession is distinguished as something sui generis." (16) One does not wish to deny that red might signify the royal purple, although the assertion that this was the medieval practice remains to be proven; but it is a peculiar way to proceed, this search for things that are sui generis [sic], and then the decision that red must have a positively determined symbolism on Palm Sunday, even though red in the Roman rite is the color of Martyrs or of the Holy Spirit. In the Ambrosian rite it is used on this Sunday to symbolize the Blood of the Passion and not royal status. In the Parisian rite, the color black was used for both ceremonies [procession and Mass--transl.]. In some dioceses it was foreseen that one color would be used for the procession and another for the Mass, a practice borrowed perhaps from the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, (17) and one which does not make much sense when applied to Palm Sunday, as Léon Gromier relates. This innovation must be attributed, not to a documented practice, but to an extemperaneous idea of a "professor of Pastoral Theology at a Swiss seminary." (18)

    In the Missale Romanum of 1952 (hereinafter: MR 1952): there is the unvarying use of violet for both the procession and the Mass. (19)

    2. (OHS 1956): Abolition of the folded chasubles and, consequently, the "broad stole" or stola largior. (20)

    Commentary: This touches on one of the oldest customs, one which had survived from earliest antiquity until then and which showed forth the ancient nature of Holy Week, which no one had ever dared alter because of both the veneration with which it was regarded as well as the extraordinary nature of these rites and of the extraordinary sorrow of the Church during the days of Holy Week.

    (MR 1952): Use of folded chasubles and the broad stole during the singing of the Gospel by the deacon. (21)

    3. (OHS 1956): Novelty of blessing the palms while facing the faithful, with back turned to the altar, and in certain cases, turned to the Blessed Sacrament. (22)

    Commentary: For the sake of the participation of the faithful, the idea is introduced of liturgical actions done facing the people, but with the back turned towards God: "Influential [in the reform] was the visibility of particular gestures in the celebration, detached from the altar and performed by the sacred ministers while facing the people." (23) A blessing was invented that was performed over a table which stood between the altar and the altar rail, while the ministers faced the people. A new concept was introduced of liturgical space and of orientation during prayer.

    (MR 1952): The palm branches are blessed on the altar, on the Epistle-side "horn," after a reading, a gradual, a Gospel, and above all a Preface with a "Sanctus" that introduces the prayers of blessing. This is the extremely ancient rite of the so-called "Missa sicca." (24)

    4. (OHS 1956): Suppression of the preface which speaks of Christ's authority over the kingdoms and powers of this world. (25)

    Commentary: It is astonishing to note that the intention to proclaim solemnly Christ's kingship (26) is carried out by suppressing the preface which describe His kingship. This preface is declared superfluous in no uncertain terms and therefore to be eliminated: "Considering the little coherence of these prefaces, their prolixity, and, in certain formulations, their poverty of thought, their loss was of little relevance." (27)

    (MR 1952): The Roman rite often uses, for certain great liturgical moments, e.g. the consecration of the oils or priestly ordination, the singing of a preface, which is a particularly solemn way of calling upon God; likewise for the blessing of the palms a preface was prescribed which spoke of the divine order of creation and its subordination to God the Father, i.e. the subordination of the created order, which is admonished through kings and governments to be duly obedient to Christ: "Tibi enim serviunt creaturae tuae quia te solum auctorem et Deum cognoscunt et omnis factura tua te collaudat, et benedicunt te Sancti tui: quia illud magnum Unigeniti tui nomen coram regibus et potestatibus hujus saeculi libera voce confitentur" ["For thy creatures serve Thee, because they acknowledge Thee alone as their origin and God, and all thy work praises Thee together, and thy Saints bless Thee: for they confess with unfettered voice the great Name of thy Only-begotten before the kings and powers of this world"]. (28) In a few elegant lines, the text of this chant reveals the theological foundation of the duty of temporal governments to be subservient to Christ the King.

    5. (OHS 1956): Suppression of the prayers concerning the meaning and the benefits of sacramentals and the power that these have against the demon. (29)

    Commentary: The reason for this--explains a note from the archives--is that these prayers are "replete ... with all the showy display of erudition typical of the Carolingian era." (30) The reformers agreed on the antiquity of the texts but did not find them to their taste because "the direct relation between the ceremony and daily Christian life was very weak, or rather [between the ceremony and] the pastoral-liturgical significance of the procession as homage to Christ the King." (31) It is apparent to no one how there is lacking a connection to the "daily life" of the faithful or to the homage to Christ the King in its full "pastoral-liturgical significance." Clearly, the plan was one of a kind of rhetoric that today appears dated, but at the time had a certain cachet. Though desiring a "conscious participation in the procession, with relevance to concrete, daily Christian life," (32) they relied on arguments that were neither theological nor liturgical.[/justify]

    The "concrete, daily Christian life" of the faithful is then indirectly disdained a few lines later: "These pious customs [of the blessed palms], although theologically justified, can degenerate (as in fact they have degenerated) into superstition." (33) Apart from the poorly concealed tone of rationalism, one should note that the ancient prayers are deliberately replaced with new compositions, which, according to their authors' own words, are "substantially a new creation." (34) The ancient prayers were not pleasing because they express too clearly the efficacy of sacramentals, and it was decided to come up with new prayers.

    (MR 1952): The ancient prayers recall the role of sacramentals, which have an effective power against the demon ("ex opere operantis Ecclesiae" [“by the action of the Church as acting”). (35)

    6. (OHS 1956): Novelty of unveiling the processional cross, (36) even though the altar cross remains veiled.

    Commentary: We admit that the liturgical significance of this innovation completely escapes us; the change seems to be a liturgical "pastiche" born of the haste of the authors rather than something related to mystical symbolism.

    (MR 1952): The altar cross is veiled as is the processional cross, to which is tied a blessed palm, (37) a sign once again on this day of the glorious Cross and the victorious Passion.

    7. (OHS 1956): Elimination of the cross striking the closed doors of the church. (38)

    Commentary: This rite symbolized the initial resistance of the Jєωιѕн people and the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but also the triumph of Christ's cross, which throws open the doors of heaven just as it is the cause of our resurrection: "hebraeorum pueri resurrectionem vitae pronuntiantes" ["the children of the Hebrews declaring the resurrection unto life"]. (39)

    (It should be noted that despite the absence of this little rite from the post-1955 liturgical books of the Roman Rite, it continues to be inserted into not a few Palm Sunday processions celebrated according to either the 1962 or 1970 Missal. CAP.)

    (MR 1952): The procession returns to the doors of the church, which are shut. A sung dialogue between one choir of cantors outside, alternating with another inside the church, precedes the opening of the church doors, which takes place after the foot of the processional cross strikes against them. (40)

    8. (OHS 1956): Creation of a prayer to be recited at the conclusion of the procession, at the center of the altar, the whole of which is recited facing the people (“versus populum”).

    Commentary: No one can decide where the missal is to be placed or who is to hold it while on the step, because in the haste for reform, no one took note of this lacuna, which required a further rubric—i.e., rubric “22a” or “22-bis”—which is more confusing than the one that precedes it. (42) Its insertion, in effect, “gums up” the preceding ceremonies thanks to its arbitrary nature: “At this point, i.e. to give the procession a precise termination, we decided to propose a particular Oremus [prayer].” (43)

    Father Braga likewise openly admitted, fifty years later, that the creation of this oration was not a happy choice: “The element that is out of place in the new Ordo [of Holy Week] is the concluding oration of the procession, which disrupts the unity of the celebration.” (44) The “experimental” changes, motivated by a desire for innovations, have revealed with time their inadequacy.

    (MR 1952): The procession ends as usual, and then the Mass begins, as always, with the prayers at the foot of the altar.

    9. (OHS 1956): The distinction between the “Passion” and the Gospel is eliminated. Moreover, the last sentence of the Passion is suppressed (most likely due to a publishing error, as other explanations seem implausible). (45)

    Commentary: The Passion had always been marked by a narrative style; it was divided among three voices and was followed by the Gospel, which was marked off by the fact that it was sung by a single deacon on a different tone, and was accompanied by the use of incense (but not torches). The reform confuses these two aspects. Passion and Gospel are melded into a single chant, while meretricious editing crops verses at the beginning and the end [of the passage]. In the end, accordingly, the Mass, as well as the deacon, is deprived of the Gospel properly so-called, which is, in effect, suppressed.

    (MR 1952): The chanting of the Passion is distinct from that of the Gospel, which ends at verse 66 of Matthew, chap. 26. (46)

    10. (OHS 1956): Elimination of the Gospel passage which connects the institution of the Eucharist with the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26: 1-36). (47)

    Commentary: We now come to a pass that to us seems the most disconcerting, above all because it seems, as far as the archives reveal, that the Commission had decided not to change anything in regard to the Passion, since it was of the most ancient origin. (48) Nevertheless, we know neither how nor why the narrative of the Last Supper was expunged. It is hard to believe that for simple motives of saving time thirty verses of the Gospel would be struck out, especially considering the relevance of the passage concerned. Up till then, tradition desired that the narration of the Passion in the Synoptics always include the institution of the Eucharist, which, by virtue of the sacramental separation of the Body and Blood of Christ, is the herald of the Passion. The reform, with a single stroke aimed at a fundamental passage of Sacred Scripture, obscured the vital relation of the Last Supper, the sacrifice of Good Friday, and the Eucharist. The passage on the institution of the Eucharist was eliminated as well from Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday, with the astounding result that it is nowhere to be found in the entire liturgical cycle! This was the result of a climate of hasty change, which disrupted centuries-old traditions yet was incapable of considering the entirety of Scripture read during the year.

    (MR 1952): The Passion is preceded by the reading of the institution of the Eucharist, indicating the intimate, essential, theological connection between the two passages.


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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #3 on: April 14, 2019, 05:57:21 AM »
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  • Timely bump

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #4 on: April 14, 2019, 06:00:29 AM »
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  • Streaming live at SGG soon (not sure what time Mass starts though): http://www.sgg.org/for-newcomers/mass-streaming/


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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #5 on: April 14, 2019, 06:38:31 AM »
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  • Streaming live at SGG soon (not sure what time Mass starts though): http://www.sgg.org/for-newcomers/mass-streaming/
    I don’t see where this website says what time the Palm Sunday Mass stream begins either.
    Any SGG people know?

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 06:40:42 AM »
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  • I don’t see where this website says what time the Palm Sunday Mass stream begins either.
    Any SGG people know?
    They must announce their Mass times there somewhere?

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #7 on: April 14, 2019, 09:34:58 AM »
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  • Streaming live now.

    Pontifical high Mass


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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #8 on: April 14, 2019, 08:22:02 PM »
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  • The Holy Week schedule at SGG is the following (all of the ceremonies below should be on the SGG webcam):

    Monday of Holy Week: 

    School High Mass: 11:25am (Vespers immediately follow)

    Tuesday of Holy Week:

    School High Mass: 11:25am (Vespers immediately follow)

    Wednesday of Holy Week:

    Low Masses: 7am, 8am, and 9am (they might not webcast all of these, but if they don't they will probably webcast at least the 9am) 
    Vespers follows the 9am Mass

    Tenebrae 6:30pm

    Maundy Thursday:

    Pontifical High Mass: 9am
    Ceremony of the Maundy: 12:15pm
    Tenebrae: 6:30pm

    Good Friday:

    Stations of the Cross: 11:25am
    Mass of the Presanctified: 12:15pm
    The SGG webcam will likely be on starting at 11:25am and ending after 3pm
    Tenebrae: 6:30pm

    Holy Saturday:

    Easter Vigil: 8am (SGG webcam will be on the whole time until the conclusion of the Vigil around 12pm or 1pm)

    Easter Sunday:

    Matins and Lauds of Easter: 5:45am
    Low Mass: 7:30am
    Pontifical High Mass: 9am
    Low Mass and Benedication: 11:30am
    Paschal Vespers: 6:00pm


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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #9 on: April 14, 2019, 08:28:32 PM »
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  • I forgot to mention: The Maundy on Maundy Thursday, the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil are all Pontifical as well. 

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #10 on: April 14, 2019, 08:53:07 PM »
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  • Thank you for this!


    Offline Pax Vobis

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #11 on: April 15, 2019, 09:56:14 AM »
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  • This is an abuse of the αnσnymσus forum.

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #12 on: March 25, 2021, 07:15:34 AM »
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  • Bump.

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    Re: Pre-Bugnini Palm Sunday (FSSP)
    « Reply #13 on: March 25, 2021, 07:25:48 AM »
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  • PALM SUNDAY

    1. Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae of 1955-1956 (hereinafter: OHS 1956): innovation of using the color red for the procession with palms but violet for the Mass. (15)

    Commentary: In the archives of the Commission we read: "One thing that might perhaps be done ... the color red might be restored as was used in the Middle Ages for this solemn procession. The color red recalls the royal purple." A little further on: "In this way, the procession is distinguished as something sui generis." (16) One does not wish to deny that red might signify the royal purple, although the assertion that this was the medieval practice remains to be proven; but it is a peculiar way to proceed, this search for things that are sui generis [sic], and then the decision that red must have a positively determined symbolism on Palm Sunday, even though red in the Roman rite is the color of Martyrs or of the Holy Spirit. In the Ambrosian rite it is used on this Sunday to symbolize the Blood of the Passion and not royal status. In the Parisian rite, the color black was used for both ceremonies [procession and Mass--transl.]. In some dioceses it was foreseen that one color would be used for the procession and another for the Mass, a practice borrowed perhaps from the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, (17) and one which does not make much sense when applied to Palm Sunday, as Léon Gromier relates. This innovation must be attributed, not to a documented practice, but to an extemperaneous idea of a "professor of Pastoral Theology at a Swiss seminary." (18)

    In the Missale Romanum of 1952 (hereinafter: MR 1952): there is the unvarying use of violet for both the procession and the Mass. (19)

    2. (OHS 1956): Abolition of the folded chasubles and, consequently, the "broad stole" or stola largior. (20)

    Commentary: This touches on one of the oldest customs, one which had survived from earliest antiquity until then and which showed forth the ancient nature of Holy Week, which no one had ever dared alter because of both the veneration with which it was regarded as well as the extraordinary nature of these rites and of the extraordinary sorrow of the Church during the days of Holy Week.

    (MR 1952): Use of folded chasubles and the broad stole during the singing of the Gospel by the deacon. (21)

    3. (OHS 1956): Novelty of blessing the palms while facing the faithful, with back turned to the altar, and in certain cases, turned to the Blessed Sacrament. (22)

    Commentary: For the sake of the participation of the faithful, the idea is introduced of liturgical actions done facing the people, but with the back turned towards God: "Influential [in the reform] was the visibility of particular gestures in the celebration, detached from the altar and performed by the sacred ministers while facing the people." (23) A blessing was invented that was performed over a table which stood between the altar and the altar rail, while the ministers faced the people. A new concept was introduced of liturgical space and of orientation during prayer.

    (MR 1952): The palm branches are blessed on the altar, on the Epistle-side "horn," after a reading, a gradual, a Gospel, and above all a Preface with a "Sanctus" that introduces the prayers of blessing. This is the extremely ancient rite of the so-called "Missa sicca." (24)

    4. (OHS 1956): Suppression of the preface which speaks of Christ's authority over the kingdoms and powers of this world. (25)

    Commentary: It is astonishing to note that the intention to proclaim solemnly Christ's kingship (26) is carried out by suppressing the preface which describe His kingship. This preface is declared superfluous in no uncertain terms and therefore to be eliminated: "Considering the little coherence of these prefaces, their prolixity, and, in certain formulations, their poverty of thought, their loss was of little relevance." (27)

    (MR 1952): The Roman rite often uses, for certain great liturgical moments, e.g. the consecration of the oils or priestly ordination, the singing of a preface, which is a particularly solemn way of calling upon God; likewise for the blessing of the palms a preface was prescribed which spoke of the divine order of creation and its subordination to God the Father, i.e. the subordination of the created order, which is admonished through kings and governments to be duly obedient to Christ: "Tibi enim serviunt creaturae tuae quia te solum auctorem et Deum cognoscunt et omnis factura tua te collaudat, et benedicunt te Sancti tui: quia illud magnum Unigeniti tui nomen coram regibus et potestatibus hujus saeculi libera voce confitentur" ["For thy creatures serve Thee, because they acknowledge Thee alone as their origin and God, and all thy work praises Thee together, and thy Saints bless Thee: for they confess with unfettered voice the great Name of thy Only-begotten before the kings and powers of this world"]. (28) In a few elegant lines, the text of this chant reveals the theological foundation of the duty of temporal governments to be subservient to Christ the King.

    5. (OHS 1956): Suppression of the prayers concerning the meaning and the benefits of sacramentals and the power that these have against the demon. (29)

    Commentary: The reason for this--explains a note from the archives--is that these prayers are "replete ... with all the showy display of erudition typical of the Carolingian era." (30) The reformers agreed on the antiquity of the texts but did not find them to their taste because "the direct relation between the ceremony and daily Christian life was very weak, or rather [between the ceremony and] the pastoral-liturgical significance of the procession as homage to Christ the King." (31) It is apparent to no one how there is lacking a connection to the "daily life" of the faithful or to the homage to Christ the King in its full "pastoral-liturgical significance." Clearly, the plan was one of a kind of rhetoric that today appears dated, but at the time had a certain cachet. Though desiring a "conscious participation in the procession, with relevance to concrete, daily Christian life," (32) they relied on arguments that were neither theological nor liturgical.[/justify]

    The "concrete, daily Christian life" of the faithful is then indirectly disdained a few lines later: "These pious customs [of the blessed palms], although theologically justified, can degenerate (as in fact they have degenerated) into superstition." (33) Apart from the poorly concealed tone of rationalism, one should note that the ancient prayers are deliberately replaced with new compositions, which, according to their authors' own words, are "substantially a new creation." (34) The ancient prayers were not pleasing because they express too clearly the efficacy of sacramentals, and it was decided to come up with new prayers.

    (MR 1952): The ancient prayers recall the role of sacramentals, which have an effective power against the demon ("ex opere operantis Ecclesiae" [“by the action of the Church as acting”). (35)

    6. (OHS 1956): Novelty of unveiling the processional cross, (36) even though the altar cross remains veiled.

    Commentary: We admit that the liturgical significance of this innovation completely escapes us; the change seems to be a liturgical "pastiche" born of the haste of the authors rather than something related to mystical symbolism.

    (MR 1952): The altar cross is veiled as is the processional cross, to which is tied a blessed palm, (37) a sign once again on this day of the glorious Cross and the victorious Passion.

    7. (OHS 1956): Elimination of the cross striking the closed doors of the church. (38)

    Commentary: This rite symbolized the initial resistance of the Jєωιѕн people and the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, but also the triumph of Christ's cross, which throws open the doors of heaven just as it is the cause of our resurrection: "hebraeorum pueri resurrectionem vitae pronuntiantes" ["the children of the Hebrews declaring the resurrection unto life"]. (39)

    (It should be noted that despite the absence of this little rite from the post-1955 liturgical books of the Roman Rite, it continues to be inserted into not a few Palm Sunday processions celebrated according to either the 1962 or 1970 Missal. CAP.)

    (MR 1952): The procession returns to the doors of the church, which are shut. A sung dialogue between one choir of cantors outside, alternating with another inside the church, precedes the opening of the church doors, which takes place after the foot of the processional cross strikes against them. (40)

    8. (OHS 1956): Creation of a prayer to be recited at the conclusion of the procession, at the center of the altar, the whole of which is recited facing the people (“versus populum”).

    Commentary: No one can decide where the missal is to be placed or who is to hold it while on the step, because in the haste for reform, no one took note of this lacuna, which required a further rubric—i.e., rubric “22a” or “22-bis”—which is more confusing than the one that precedes it. (42) Its insertion, in effect, “gums up” the preceding ceremonies thanks to its arbitrary nature: “At this point, i.e. to give the procession a precise termination, we decided to propose a particular Oremus [prayer].” (43)

    Father Braga likewise openly admitted, fifty years later, that the creation of this oration was not a happy choice: “The element that is out of place in the new Ordo [of Holy Week] is the concluding oration of the procession, which disrupts the unity of the celebration.” (44) The “experimental” changes, motivated by a desire for innovations, have revealed with time their inadequacy.

    (MR 1952): The procession ends as usual, and then the Mass begins, as always, with the prayers at the foot of the altar.

    9. (OHS 1956): The distinction between the “Passion” and the Gospel is eliminated. Moreover, the last sentence of the Passion is suppressed (most likely due to a publishing error, as other explanations seem implausible). (45)

    Commentary: The Passion had always been marked by a narrative style; it was divided among three voices and was followed by the Gospel, which was marked off by the fact that it was sung by a single deacon on a different tone, and was accompanied by the use of incense (but not torches). The reform confuses these two aspects. Passion and Gospel are melded into a single chant, while meretricious editing crops verses at the beginning and the end [of the passage]. In the end, accordingly, the Mass, as well as the deacon, is deprived of the Gospel properly so-called, which is, in effect, suppressed.

    (MR 1952): The chanting of the Passion is distinct from that of the Gospel, which ends at verse 66 of Matthew, chap. 26. (46)

    10. (OHS 1956): Elimination of the Gospel passage which connects the institution of the Eucharist with the Passion of Christ (Matthew 26: 1-36). (47)

    Commentary: We now come to a pass that to us seems the most disconcerting, above all because it seems, as far as the archives reveal, that the Commission had decided not to change anything in regard to the Passion, since it was of the most ancient origin. (48) Nevertheless, we know neither how nor why the narrative of the Last Supper was expunged. It is hard to believe that for simple motives of saving time thirty verses of the Gospel would be struck out, especially considering the relevance of the passage concerned. Up till then, tradition desired that the narration of the Passion in the Synoptics always include the institution of the Eucharist, which, by virtue of the sacramental separation of the Body and Blood of Christ, is the herald of the Passion. The reform, with a single stroke aimed at a fundamental passage of Sacred Scripture, obscured the vital relation of the Last Supper, the sacrifice of Good Friday, and the Eucharist. The passage on the institution of the Eucharist was eliminated as well from Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday, with the astounding result that it is nowhere to be found in the entire liturgical cycle! This was the result of a climate of hasty change, which disrupted centuries-old traditions yet was incapable of considering the entirety of Scripture read during the year.

    (MR 1952): The Passion is preceded by the reading of the institution of the Eucharist, indicating the intimate, essential, theological connection between the two passages.
    Wednesday, April 29, 2020

    GREGORY DIPIPPO


    In 1956, Fathers Annibale Bugnini and Carlo Braga published in the Ephemerides Liturgicae a commentary on the Holy Week reform which Pope Pius XII had promulgated late in the previous year. This commentary makes for an incredibly frustrating read. It is supposed to explain changes which were by far the most significant made to the Tridentine Missal since its first publication in 1570, and the harbinger of greater changes soon to come. And yet for the most part, it concerns itself with fairly minor issues, and gives far less space than one would wish to the more substantive ones.

    A full account of what it says about the changes to Palm Sunday would be tedious, since much of the material is dedicated to historical matters that have little to do with the then-recent reform. Therefore, I will consider it here by order of topic, following the liturgical texts in the Missal of St Pius V.

    The commentary reports that the first example of the blessing of the palms arranged in imitation of the Order of Mass is found in an ancient Roman Ordo also called the “10th century Pontificale Romano-Germanicum,” and notes the presence therein of all of the traditional elements, the Introit, Collect, Epistle etc. Immediately, we are presented with an equivocation: the Collect of the blessing, which is abolished by the 1955 reform, is present on Palm Sunday in the Gelasian Sacramentary, the oldest copy of which (Vat. Reg. 316) is from the beginning of the 8th century. It is true that the Gelasian Sacramentary does not give a rubric to explain its use, and that the blessing of the palms is not mentioned. Nevertheless, in suppressing it, the reformers removed an element that was present in the Roman Rite from as far back as we have records.

    Folio 46r of the Gellone Sacramentary, ca. 780-800, with the prayer “Deus quem diligere”, the Collect for the blessing of Palms in the Missal of St Pius V, at the bottom of the page. (Bibliothèque National de France, Département des Manuscrits, Latin 12048; image cropped.)
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    The commentary also points out that evidence for the blessing of the palms in Rome itself before the adoption of this Pontificale at the very end of the 10th century is scant, and largely conjectural, and that the Mass is focused on the Passion. This is quite true. And yet, in the manuscript cited above, we also find the title “Dominica in Palmas de Passione Domini”, and in the Gellone Sacramentary, from the end of the 8th century, “Dominica in Palmas.” (shown above)

    There follows the Epistle, Exodus 15, 27 – 16, 7; in the first article in this series, I explained in detail what this reading signifies in the context of the blessing of the palms. About it, the commentary has this to say: “The reading taken from the book of Exodus was chosen for this reason only, that at the beginning, it mentions seventy palm trees, while in the remaining verses, it has no relation to the day’s celebration.”

    Here we are confronted with a series of embarrassments. The authors have completely failed to notice that, just as the day itself is occupied with more than one event (the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the Passion), and just as the very form of the blessing alludes to the principal event of another day (the Institution of the Mass on Holy Thursday, which is also read in the Passion Gospel), likewise, the reading is not concerned to speak only about the event celebrated on this day, but also to connect that event to the rest of Holy Week and Easter. And here, I confess my own embarrassment at reporting that the authors have borrowed this “observation” (without citation) from none other than the Blessed Ildephonse Schuster, who says the same thing in his commentary on Palm Sunday in The Sacramentary.

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    In and of itself, this may seem like no more than a peculiar lack of literary sensibilities, (although that it no small flaw in the study of the liturgy, which is, after all, to a large degree the study of various bodies of literature.) I am inclined to think this is the case with Schuster, who says that the reading “does not appear (my emphasis) to be in keeping with today’s mystery”, but nevertheless draws his own connection between it and the Passion, while missing five allusions to the rest of Holy Week.

    The underlying attitude of Bugnini and Braga is something worse, and more damaging. They ask us to believe that in the process of creating a blessing of tremendous solemnity, the opening rite of the most important week of the liturgical year, the medieval Church marred it by adding something for a purely superficial, almost accidental reason. Moreover, this element was accepted almost universally within the Roman Rite, and persisted in use for roughly a millennium. This notion that a rite of such importance could really be no more than a collection of accidents and mistakes, “a wholly artificial composition”, as they call it (again, copying Schuster), begs for an invitation to scour through the rest of the Missal for similar mistakes. Such an invitation would be issued shortly after Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    Likewise, à propos of the two options for the gradual that follows it, they write that “they were certainly chosen only out of the necessity of putting a chant between the two readings.” No space is given to the notion that the rite’s creators might have been men of greater literary skill than themselves, or that their choice might have been made for good and deliberate reasons.

    The same attitude permeates their explanation of the blessing of the palms. The Preface, they tell us, was created for a different purpose, and probably chosen only for this rite because of the words “Thy creatures” and “Thy creation”: another superficial, accidental choice, as if the rite’s creators could not possibly have selected or written a more suitable text. The prayers were originally not intended to be all said, but chosen, depending on the type of branch; then “little by little, they acquired the force of an obligation; either because of a false idea of increasing the strength of the blessing through the multiplication of the prayers by which it is given, or because of a desire to make the rite more solemn by increasing its elements.” It seems not to have occurred to them, even though they were both Italians, that more than one type of branch may have been blessed at the same ceremony, as is still commonly done in Italy to this very day.

    Here again, we are presented with an equivocation. Earlier on, the commentary does give a brief summary (less than 90 words) of the blessing of palms from the Pontificale Romano-Germanicum, the ancestor of the blessing found in the Missal of St Pius V. What it does not say is that this earlier form of the blessing is vastly longer, and the ceremony accompanying the procession is vastly more complex. This brings us to a section of the commentary which makes it difficult to maintain a lively belief in the authors’ honesty, and which will be discussed in the second part of this article.[/font][/font][/size][/color]

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  • Friday, May 01, 2020

    GREGORY DIPIPPO


    The first part of this article summed up several of the observations offered by Frs Annibale Bugnini and Carlo Braga in their commentary on the 1955 Holy Week reform, published the following year in Ephemerides Liturgicae, of which Bugnini was then the director. The conclusion of their treatment of the blessing of the palms and the procession makes it very difficult to believe that this commentary is the work of honest men.

    They tell us that a high degree of importance was given to the blessing, rather than to the procession, firstly because of the “internal elements of the rite which were then held in the greatest honor, such as the immoderate use of symbolism, and the oft-repeated mention of taking the blessed branches home, and putting them in the fields, to obtain protection in adversities by the force of the blessing given to the branches. In these things, the relationship (of the blessing) to the true character of the rite is completely ignored, that is, to render solemn honor to Christ the King through the procession.”

    Honoring Christ the King at the church of Our Lady of the Pillar in Alaminos, Laguna, in the Philippines; from our 2nd Palm Sunday photopost of 2017.
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    Thus, the “true” character of the rite was lost for a millennium amid the excessive multiplication of blessings, even though the blessings in the Missal of St Pius V are far fewer and shorter than those in its ancestor text in the Pontificale Romano-Germanicum, and, as the authors themselves have previously stated, we have no clear evidence of any earlier form of blessing used at Rome. In other words, the “true” character of the rite is not to be found in any actual form of it, whether then in use or used in the past, but only in the creations of the modern reformers.

    They continue: “Nor should we discount the progressive decrease in the outward solemnity of the procession, from the magnificence of the rites of the 11th and 12th century, to the rite which is found in the Roman Missal (i.e., of St Pius V), which is truly a pale memory of the glory of the preceding age.” Having just learned that the original creators of the rite composed the blessing in a manner that obscured its “true” character, we are now told that their work in arranging the procession was glorious, and we are the poorer for doing less than they.

    Nonetheless, there is a very real sense in which this latter observation is perfectly legitimate, and the authors were not the first or the last to make it. For example, in “The Bugnini Liturgy and the Reform of the Reform” (pp. 26-27; Musicae Sacrae Meletemata, vol. 5, 2003), the late László Dobszay made a similar point, that the Tridentine version of Palm Sunday lays rather more emphasis on the blessing than on the procession; and furthermore, that its version of the procession involves far less ceremony than those of other medieval Uses. In a previous article of this series, I gave an outline of the considerably more complex procession done at Sarum; much the same holds for the rite given in the Pontificale Romano-Germanicum, and in medieval Uses of the Roman Rite generally.

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    A statue of Christ riding a donkey, a common feature of Palm Sunday processions in the Middle Ages. There were originally wheels in the four rectangular holes in the board; the hole at the front is for the rope with which it was pulled. (Southern Germany, ca. 1480, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.)
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    Dobszay raises this point in order to argue that the ceremonies of the medieval Palm Sunday processions should be reintroduced. Bugnini and Braga, however, raise it only so they can to paint their usual dreary picture of the state of the liturgy in the post-Tridentine Church. “… little by little, the people were excluded from active participation; for when the procession ended at the church door, they remained in their place in the church as inert spectators. … the Gospel reading, the purpose of which was to give the genuine sense of the celebration, was overwhelmed by so many extraneous elements, and lost its power to guide the (liturgical) action. The procession, having been taken away from the life of the people, became an element that says nothing to them; and therefore, the people had to find (‘invenire’, also ‘invent’) other things that spoke to them. … they found nothing that had any relation to their life other than the blessed branch …”

    Note here the claim that it was the Gospel reading, and, as far as we can tell from what they have written, no otherpart of the rite, which gave “the genuine sense of the celebration.” This claim is made despite the fact that as far back as we have records, the Gospel in this rite was always one among many diverse elements. It brings with it a charge of negligence against the Church, that it allowed that one all-important thing to be “overwhelmed by extraneous elements”, elements which just happen to be arranged in a manner very similar to that of the Catholic Mass. Martin Luther himself could not have put it better.

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    The beginning of the blessing of the Palms in a Pontificale made for the diocese of Płock, Poland, in the last quarter of the 12th century. The prayer “Deus quem diligere” is followed by the incipits of the Epistle, the gradual Collegerunt (labelled as an ‘antiphon’), and the Gospel, then an “exorcism of flowers and branches”, an element which is not included in the Tridentine Missal, and on the right-hand page, the first of five prayers of the blessing. This one prayer is by word-count almost as long as the first, second, third, and fifth prayers for the same blessing in the Missal of St Pius V put together. (Sem. Plock. 29 Mspł.; olim: München, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 28938)
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    As an historical explanation for the evolution of the rite into its Tridentine form, with its greater emphasis on the blessing than on the procession, this is nonsense. As they stand in the Missal of St Pius V, both parts of the rite are the result of an abbreviation, not of a lengthening, and this was done not by the people, but by the clergy of the Papal court, who did not create their missal for use in parishes. However, this is not primarily what raises the suspicion of dishonesty. That suspicion arises, rather, from this: the authors do not mention here that the one ritual in the procession which did survive into the Missal of St Pius V, the knocking on the church door with the processional cross, was suppressed in 1955. [22] This, despite the fact that they also present evidence that the knocking on the door goes back to the rite’s most ancient origins in Jerusalem.

    One last major point remains to be noted.

    The section of the commentary on the reform of Palm Sunday is twenty pages long; of these, the final eight are devoted to the singing of the Passion. An explanation for its division into three parts is given, one which is sadly typical of the reductive mentality of that period; namely, that it was done “so that its length would not burden the listeners”, even though many other rites have much longer readings of the Passion in Holy Week, all of which are sung by a single voice. [23] Much is made of the particular rites associated with it, such as the absence of “Gloria tibi, Domine” after the title. Nearly two pages of text and a full-page table are devoted to what is paraded as one of the reform’s great conquests, the abolition of the celebrant’s “doubling” of the readings.

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    The singing of the Passion on Palm Sunday at San Simon Piccolo, the FSSP parish in Venice; from our second Palm Sunday photopost of last year.
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    In the midst of this, a single sentence, 31 words in the original Latin, is dedicated to the only change to the text of the Palm Sunday Mass. “From these (i.e. from the Passions of Matthew, Mark and Luke, mentioned in the previous sentence) are removed the narration of the supper in the house of Simon, and the Lord’s Last Supper with the Apostles, so that (the reading) has only the narration of the Passion properly so-called, from the entrance into the garden of Gethsemane to the Lord’s burial.” Nothing else whatsoever is said about the matter, but a helpful table is provided which lists and counts the verses removed.

    This abbreviation of the Synoptic Passions removes the Gospel account of the Institution of the Eucharist not just from Holy Week, but from the liturgy, since these passages are read nowhere else in the year. This is not, of course, the only or the worst way in which the 1955 Holy Week reform divorces the Mass from the Passion, and the Last Supper from the Cross; it is a general theme of the reform, which was in many ways undone in the Novus Ordo.

    The commentary does note elsewhere that the reading of the Last Supper together with the Passion on Palm Sunday is a uniquely Roman custom. I wonder whether its failure to say anything else about its abbreviation arose from some embarrassment on the authors’ part at this hideous mistake, since they were later so closely involved with the project which undid it.

    Notes (continuing the numeration from the previous articles): 

    [22] In point of fact, both new versions of the procession, those of 1955 and 1969, involve no particular ceremony whatsoever. Dobszay contends that the post-Conciliar reform fails in this regard because it takes as its starting point the already much-reduced Tridentine form, and reduces it further, where he would argue for a rediscovery of the richness of the medieval forms of the ceremony.

    [23] In the Ambrosian liturgy, the Passions of Ss Mark, Luke and John are all read at a single ceremony, the Matins of Good Friday. On Good Friday in the Byzantine Rite, twelve Gospels are read at Orthros, the first of which is John 13, 31 – 18, 1; Passion Gospels are also read at the four Royal Hours and Vespers, and at Vespers of Holy Thursday, which is joined to the Divine Liturgy of St Basil. In the Mozarabic Rite, the Passion Gospels of the Holy Thursday and Good Friday are centonized from all four Evangelists. Both of these readings are longer than the Passion of St John; taken together, they are longer than the Passion of St Matthew, the longest of the four, by more than half.[/font][/font][/size][/color]


     

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