Category Archives: Liturgy

A ‘Transitional’ Missal from 1968


Many thanks again to Jaykay for kindly sending me these extracts from a fascinating (and quite beautiful) hand Missal from 1968. Jaykay notes that

This was given to my mother in 1968, although as far as I recall she continued to mostly use her old 1930s one. It’s interesting in that it shows the transitional stage reached by 1968, including the ICEL translation of the Canon which remained in place, with only minor changes, right up until now. I can clearly recall that they introduced the acclamation after the consecration during 1969, which isn’t shown in this version. In those days it was just restricted to “My Lord and my God”. I’m pretty sure the last Gospel had also gone by that stage as well. I also can’t honestly recall whether they used the Douay Reims translations for the Epistle and Gospel, or whether a more modern translation was used but the versions of the Gloria, Creed and Sanctus with the “thees” and “thous” remained in place until 1975, when they went over to the (now happily obsolete!) ICEL versions.

Change in Irish Catholicism: Some Reminiscences


Many thanks to Fr. Seán Coyle for these fascinating reminiscences:

Vatican II and the Church in Ireland:

The Irish bishops seemed to convey a sense of obedience: ‘This is what we’ve been asked to do so we’ll do it’. As I recall, they didn’t keep the people particularly well informed about the Council. Those who did were journalists as Kevin O’Kelly of RTE, Sean Mac Reamoinn [see here - Shane] and Louis McRedmond. All of these were committed Catholics even if the first two might have leaned towards the ‘liberal’ side’. This is not a negative comment. I’m not sure about Louis McRedmond, whether he was ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’. These were journalists of integrity.

My Dad was a daily Massgoer and a man of habit but I never heard him comment on the change. He was also a builder’s foreman and when the EEC, as it then was, introduced metric measures into building he took it in his stride.

In the Archdiocese of Dublin Archbishop McQuaid ordered that one Mass every Sunday be in Irish. Someone said to him ‘You are starting a revolution!’ He replied. ‘No, preventing a rebellion!’ Some criticised having a Mass in Irish. This used to raise my hackles as it was usually from the kind of person who had ‘always gone to the 9 o’clock Mass and I don’t understand this language’ and who would never consider the possibility of going to Mass at 7, 8, 10, 11 or 12! [see also: Liturgical Reform in Ireland - Shane]

The introduction of English Masses in one or two breac-Gaeltacht parishes has caused great controversy on occasion.

Patrician Year (1961): Pontifical High Mass at Croke Park, 25th June

I was on duty that day outside Croke Park as a member of the Congress Volunteer Corps, a group of Fifth and Sixth Year students from Catholic boys’ schools in Dublin. I had just finished my Leaving Cert in nearby O’Connell Schools. You can see members of the CVC in the video. The uniform was simple: dark trousers and white shirt, which we provided ourselves, a beret – yellow for those without any special jobs and other colours for those with specific responsibilities – epaulettes and a stick. The stick wasn’t to beat anyone with but could be helpful in crowd control, indicating a line. One of the members of the CVC was the now Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

One memory I have of that morning is seeing Sean T. O’Kelly, then in retirement, Frank Aiken and one or two other older members of Fianna Fail getting out of a very modest car. They got a big cheer from those nearby. Sean T was a very popular man and gave a wonderfully entertaining talk at the National Stadium during the Congress. He had everyone eating out of his hand. [see also this delightful clip of President O'Kelly going to Mass and the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin on 17th March, 1950 - Shane] May they all rest in peace.

One thing I remember vividly was the 90,000 raising the roof with Credo III. I also felt an outsider, ( I don’t mean because I was outside the stadium) as I had never been taught it in 14 years in Catholic schools. The singing raised the hairs on the back of my neck.

The CVC, organised by the late Monsignor Tom Fehily, was formally disbanded by Taoiseach Sean Lemass outside Dublin Airport after Cardinal Agagianian flew back to Rome. However, it was soon to become the Archbishop’s Volunteer Corps that was to be involved in various projects in the Archdiocese of Dublin. It was later opened to girls. I’ve an idea that the AVC is no more but am not sure.

Some of us went on the Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Beauraing, Belgium, that August, a wonderful experience. We were subsidised by the Archdiocese and paid only £5, which even in those days was a great bargain. We did ceremonial duty in Beauraing. The present Archbishop of Dublin was in the group that travelled.

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Commenting on a previous post, Keiran Fagan also helpfully noted:

I was there too, only I had a red beret, as I was a “minder”, aide de camp Fr Tom Fehilly called it, for Cardinal Paolo Marella. It was a seriously cool gig for a 16-year-old, riding around in the front of a big Austin Princess limo, opening doors for the cardinal and making sure nobody, not even a reverend mother, got to put milk in his inevitable cup of tea. I saw up close John Charles McQuaid and Eamon de Valera who was totally blind by then. John Charles had three great cars, a Citroen Light 15 (Maigret had one) a Hudson Fluid Drive limo with eight cylinders I think, and a beautiful Citroen DS. I even got to sit in the back of Dev’s 1947 or 8 blue Rolls Royce ZJ 5000 while it was parked in the yard in Dublin Castle. Great times, but I don’t recall any religious epiphany moments. Says more about me than anything else I reckon.

Writing in 1974, John Feeney (the late journalist and editor of The Catholic Standard) described the Patrician Year Congress as the summit of Dr. McQuaid’s tenure as Archbishop of Dublin. Feeney was very much a Vatican II Catholic. At UCD he founded the ecumenical Student Christian Movement. He also became chairman of Pax Romana and leader of Grille, a left-wing Christian movement. As a leading Catholic radical, Feeney had reason more than most to resent McQuaid’s conservative views. Nevertheless in a critically sympathetic biography, he gives a largely positive assessment of the archbishop’s legacy and challenges some of the lazy caricatures then being propounded by vituperative critics.

Feeney contrasts the pre-revolutionary tranquility that characterized the Patrician Year celebrations in 1961 with the post-conciliar chaos soon to emerge. He believed that the Irish Catholic laity and hierarchy were deeply attached to the old order and were ‘oblivious to the vast changes in the whole world outlook of Catholics which was to come’: “There was little evidence after the election in 1958 of Pope John that the nature of Catholicism would change greatly…matters were much the same as ever for the majority of Irish Catholics. They had a saintly, loveable Pope who commanded respect but there was little understanding of the new thinking he was initiating…almost three years after the election of Pope John, there seemed to be little change in Dublin…the success and triumphs of the 1950s continued.” The faithful, Feeney asserts, responded enthusiastically to the Congress with “a mixture of nationalism, religious fervour and civic pride” and he quotes the pious report of the Irish Catholic Directory: “A majestic carillon pealed, a silver-voiced fanfare of military trumpets sounded in Royal Salute, ninety thousand lips moved in silent prayer.” For Feeney, the Patrician Year celebrations give “a glittering bejewelled spectacle of Catholic life just before the Council — it was a garden party before the outbreak of war, before the realities of the Church in the world impinged too strongly on Ireland.”

The Liturgical Revolution


The Most Rev. Joseph Walsh, Archbishop of Tuam, concelebrating Mass on the 8th September, 1966, at Ballintubber Abbey, on the occasion of the Abbey’s 750th anniversary. 

Statement of the Standing Committee of the Irish Hierarchy on the Vernacular (1964)


The Standing Committee of the Irish Hierarchy at its meeting at Maynooth today had under consideration the implementation in Ireland of the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, in accordance with the result of the Motu Proprio of His Holiness Pope Paul VI, of January 25, 1964.

A report from the Liturgical Commission appointed by the Irish Hierarchy last December and reports from different dioceses were before the meeting. Several degrees and methods of utilising the vernacular Irish and English, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass were formulated, and these will be submitted for decision to the plenary meeting of the Irish Hierarchy in June. The final approval of these decisions rests with the Holy See.

The Standing Committee also considered the application of the new liturgical laws of the Divine Office and the Ritual for the Administration of the Sacraments and the funeral service. It will be recalled that the Ritual which was introduced in Ireland by the Hierarchy in 1958 with the approval of the Holy See, already anticipated many of the recommendations of the Second Vatican Council with regard to the use of the vernacular.

Given at Maynooth on 7th April, 1964.

Signed on behalf of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland.

Chairman 

+WILLIAM CARDINAL CONWAY,
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

Secretary 

+JAMES FERGUS,
Bishop of Achonry.

1965: Archbishop McQuaid’s Regulations on the Use of English and Irish in the Liturgy


The following regulations, of an initial character, concerning the use of the vernacular in the Sacred Liturgy, shall come into effect throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin, on Sunday, March 7.
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Change in Irish Catholicism: The Furrow Breaks New Ground


Below is the introductory foreword in the inaugural issue of The Furrow from 1950. The author is the editor and founder of The Furrow, Canon J.G. McGarry, then Professor of Sacred Eloquence and Pastoral Theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Accompanying this foreword was an article warmly commending the editor’s programme by the Most Rev. John D’Alton, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, along with a message of fraternal support from The Catholic Standard.

The Furrow is something new. It is new in the ground it opens. Many branches of pastoral work to which our times have given a special importance demand a fuller treatment — preaching, pastoral organisations, the liturgy, the Church, its art and architecture. And it is in such matters especially that theory needs to be confirmed and corrected by practice. The pooling of experiences in varying conditions of work and the exchange of views on new pastoral methods are means hitherto little used, yet they can give valuable help to all who are charged by God to keep His field.

A new opportunity is offered in The Furrow for the sharing of such experience. Moreover, recent years have given evidence of an increasing interest in writing on the part of our younger priests. Life in the priesthood and Christian culture offer to such young writers rich and fertile themes, opening to them a new way of serving the Church, its faith and civilisation. The Furrow will consider it a point of duty to support and encourage such writers.

In pursuing these aims The Furrow will be guided by the mind and spirit of the Church. Obedience to the Vicar of Christ and to His bishops, whom the Holy Ghost has appointed to govern His flock, will be the corner-stone of its policy. But besides this higher allegiance there is place, too, for a special, domestic loyalty. Reverence for the traditions of the Irish Church and pride in its distinctive way of life must be an influence upon the policy of any Irish Catholic review. For us this reverence is more than an influence. Our past is our special glory: Kells and Cashel, Cong and Glendalough are a rich inheritance, challenging their heirs to high endeavour, to call forth new treasures from old.

How frequently Christ speaks of His Kingdom as the field — the field that is sown with good seed and bad, field of the hidden treasure, the field challenging the ploughman’s courage and persistence! Only the tiller of His field does not work alone; the sower needs the weeder’s help, the ploughman is nothing without the reaper. To all who work in that field the call is to come and share with their fellow-workers the labours of the harvest, to be men of His meitheal.

Yet co-operation alone is not enough. “We are God’s workmen; you are His field,” St. Paul writes to his Corinthians. But the workman counted for nothing, neither Paul who sowed, nor Apollo who watered. The harvest was the gift of God alone.

May He who gives the harvest prosper this sowing.

The Eucharist


Archbishop John Charles McQuaid: “No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives”


The following sermon (posted below) was given by the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland, at thanksgiving devotions in the Dublin Pro-Cathedral on the 9th December, 1965. Following the devotions — which had been organized in response to the specific requests of Pope Paul VI — the Archbishop imparted Benediction, at which the Te Deum was sung.

The sentence quoted in the title is often represented by Establishment commenters (whether media, academic, or ecclesiastical) as epitomical of Archbishop McQuaid’s reactionary attitude towards change in the Church.

During the first session of the Second Vatican Council, Archbishop McQuaid distinguished himself as the only member of the Irish hierarchy to make a contribution — and did so from a predictably conservative standpoint. As a lover of Latin language and culture, he viewed proposals for an all-vernacular liturgy as tantamount to vandalism. He also expressed his opposition towards suggestions that competence over the local liturgy be transferred from individual bishops to national episcopal conferences.  Xavier Rynne (the chronicler of the Council) records that “Archbishop McQuaid of Dublin came out once more against any thought of change”. Sensing the progressive trajectory of the Council (as well as the lack of receptivity towards his conservative positions) he remained aloof from the next three sessions.

Archbishop McQuaid took a low view of ‘aggiornamento’ and found it very hard to adapt to the rapidly changing Church of the 1960s. Indeed, he has been demonized ever since as an obscurantist authoritarian. His implementation of the liturgical reforms was very conservative, and frustrated more radical, younger clergy (some of whom would later defend his legacy against lazy liberal caricatures).

For five long years the bishops of the world have been sustained by your constant prayers. In the very laborious session of the Council we have felt the power of your prayers, and if the Council was concluded in a spirit of peace and unanimity we owe that grace to God the Holy Ghost and to the intercessions of Our Blessed Lady.

On Wednesday, 2,300 fathers parted. It was a sad moment, for we shall never again see one another in this life. Drawn from every corner of the world, the Bishops had prayed and worked together for a long time.

Now is our work completed: in union with the Pope, our decrees were drafted, voted on and preached. One could not but feel that God the Holy Ghost had guided our deliberations and gently brought them to a firm conclusion. You may, in the last four years, have been disturbed by reports about the Council. May I, who have assisted at every meeting of the Council, assure you that the Council was a wondrous example of dignity, seriousness and courtesy.

You may have been worried by talk of changes to come. Allow me to reassure you. No change will worry the tranquility of your Christian lives. For, time after time, Pope John XXIII and our present Holy Father have insisted — but the point has been sadly missed — that our deliberations in the Council had only one purpose: to search the deposit of the Faith, to look more deeply into the teaching of the Church.

The Council has one meaning only for us — in all its constitutions and decrees: how can each one of us in his personal and family and social life be faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, as the Church makes known that teaching in the Vatican Council.

As the months will pass, the Holy Father will instruct us gradually how to put into effect the enactments of the Council. With complete loyalty, as children of the one, true Church, we fully accept each and every decree of the Vatican Council.

The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1966


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 21st-22nd June, 1966:

THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAYNOOTH

The Second Vatican Council has called for the development of Catholic University facilities, especially in the sphere of philosophy and theology, in order to show the harmony of Christian teaching with true human culture and scientific development, and to provide all priests, religious and laity with the fullest opportunity of Christian formation.

The Irish bishops at their June meeting have had under consideration how this development could be secured in this country, and propose to develop Maynooth as an open centre of higher studies, and to extend its facilities and courses so as to meet the requirements, not merely of priests, diocesan and regular, but also of brothers, nuns and laity.
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The Revolution Triumphant: Irish Hierarchy’s June Meeting, 1965


The following press release was issued by the Irish hierarchy following their meeting at St. Patrick’s Maynooth on the 22nd-23rd June, 1965:

Among the matters discussed were:

SACRED LITURGY

In addition to proposals for more extensive use of the vernacular, draft texts of the “Prayer of the Faithful” and of the funeral service also were considered, and were referred to the Episcopal Liturgical Commission for revision.

A number of decisions also were taken to ensure the proper formation of the students of Maynooth in the doctrine and principles of the Constitution on the Liturgy. A Professor of Sacred Liturgy has been appointed and will pursue special studies at a liturgical institute before taking up his duties.

Liturgical actions in the college are to be carried out in conformity with the new liturgical norms. One of the oratories in the college is to be remodelled with an altar facing the congregation in order to familiarise the students with the new structure of the ceremonies.
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My Sacrifice: A Layman Thinks


Liturgical Reform in Ireland



Many thanks to Jaykay for recounting his experiences of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms:

The new version came in from the first Sunday in January 1970 – at least in Armagh Archdiocese. That would have been Sunday 4th January. I clearly remember that the church was packed. We kids had got our new books just after Christmas (probably again in Woolworths!) and I recall that it was quite confusing as we hadn’t done any of the preparatory stuff in school before Christmas. Even the priests made loads of “mistakes” (and at that time it was still common for older priests to lapse into Latin if they got distracted e.g. to say “Dominus vobis… erm, eh… The Lord be with you…”). Nobody laughed in those days, of course! We had to learn the new versions of the confiteor and Domine non sum dignus (we were still told to strike the breast at the correct places – something me and some people of my generation still do) but otherwise the Ordinary was unchanged – until 1975.

Cardinal Conway was in charge and was quite conservative, so there was very little, if any, “creativity” on the part of priests.  Most of the older priests were also quite conservative so we still had loads of Latin Benedictions, 40 hours, confraternities etc. It really didn’t change until the 80s. It’s still not too bad in my neck of the woods, but the banality is everywhere  e.g. no incense at the main Mass on Easter Sunday and the usual flat, boring “let’s get it over with” attitude. No wonder the average age is about 50+!

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Holy Week: A Guide to the Ceremonies


Ord an Aifrinn, 1965


click above to read in full (pdf)

Many thanks to commenter jaykay for sending me this. (The English language counterpart can be read here.)

Patrician Year (1961): Missalette for Pontifical High Mass at Croke Park, 25th June


click above to read in full (pdf)

CLICK HERE to watch newsreel of the Mass.

CLICK HERE to listen to William Nelson presenting a silver trowel to His Eminence the Papal Legate. (“…a petition to Mary, the Mother of God, for her continued assistance in our struggle against atheistic communism…”)

The Transitional Ordo Missae (1965)


click above to read in full (pdf)

The texts above were first introduced to Irish parishes on the 7th March, 1965. The Ordinary of the Mass remains essentially the same as the 1962 Missal but with the (partial) introduction of the vernacular and the omission of the Last Gospel and Psalm 42 in the prayers at the foot of the altar.

The 1965 Lenten pastoral letters of Irish bishops were almost wholly dedicated to explaining the reforms, most were very eager to remind the faithful that alterations to the liturgy involved no change of doctrine on the Mass as Sacrifice.

The following is the 1965 Lenten pastoral letter of the Most Rev. John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland (slightly abbreviated):

The Vatican Council has spent several years in preparing the Constitution that regulates the manner of offering the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Fathers have had only one purpose in view: worthily to re-enact the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the Cross.

In that unique sacrifice Jesus Christ as Man acknowledged the absolute dominion of God over all creation. He made full reparation for the insult of the sins of men against the Infinite God. He gave adequate thanks to God for all His benefits to mankind. In the certainty of being heard, He entreated and obtained from God every grace that human-kind can need.

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Irish Hierarchy’s Statement on the Introduction of the Vernacular in the Liturgy


The following press release concerning the implementation of Sacrosanctum Concilium was issued by the Irish hierarchy from the Irish College in Rome on the 8th November, 1964.

The Irish hierarchy is happy to announce that the Holy See has approved, by a decree of 4th November, 1964, the decisions made by the bishops regarding the introduction of the vernacular, Irish and English, into certain parts of the Mass.

In accordance with the wishes of the Holy See the changes will be introduced in several stages in order to achieve as smooth a transition as possible in the ceremonies of this central act of Catholic worship.

The bishops are taking immediate steps to have printed texts of the approved translations available for priests and people, so as to permit the introduction of the first stage, where feasible, on the first Sunday of Lent 1965, when the important changes in the ceremonies of the Mass recently announced by the Holy See will come into effect.
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Architecture and the Liturgy: A Frightening Insight into Post-Conciliar Iconoclasm


Note: This pamphlet was published in 1967 and is posted here for historical reasons only. Readers disposed to high blood pressure are advised to refrain from reading it.

Individual Participation in the Liturgy


The following is an extract from a letter published in The Furrow in February, 1973, by JF Foyle.

“When things were in Latin, we followed the words in the vernacular in our missals, often pausing to reflect even if that meant not being in line with the priest’s words, though we made sure to be in line for the three peaks — offertory, consecration and holy communion. Sometimes we filled in, in between the peaks, with Rosary-reciting, favourite prayers (often from prayer-books or leaflets).

Reading, informal praying and reflecting, in between the peaks, played dominant parts in our Mass participation. We had tremendous scope for using our own individual initiative to fill the in-between spaces. The vernacular changed all that and what was designed to increase our participation in the Mass has, in fact, made it awkward for us to participate to our satisfaction.

We were suddenly left without missals and expected to attend to the priests’ words all the time. This ruled out reflecting, as we were kept going keeping up with the words the whole way through Mass. Also, we had little to reflect on — we are far from expert in catching a series of sentences while they are flying. We were virtually forbidden to switch off the words (to reflect or pray via reading or thinking parallel to the priest). It was uncomfortable deliberately switching off, anyway, since the words, being in English, kept obtruding in snatches, something that didn’t happen with the Latin (except with some students of the language, and then only when words were said specially loudly). We felt obliged to attend to English words, whereas it was optional with the Latin. We felt inferior at being unable to attend, whereas we felt superior when we succeeded with the Latin.

This was, and is, a far from pleasant Mass experience. It also resulted in the three peaks ceasing to be peaks in the Mass — they are just parts of the series of words, almost, often (especially the middle one) passing unnoticed, as our minds wander.

What this suggests is that the liturgists equated the scope for being aware of what was being said with scope for participation. Apart from the Latin allowing for similar awareness (even for illiterates), the equating erred in wrongly estimating the strain going with non-stop listening. It did not allow gaps for reflecting, nor for having another look at the words for that purpose. Nor did it recognize that participation is very much an individual matter, made-up around the priest’s Mass words but not rigidly tied to them. The Latin facilitated such individual participation. The vernacular hinders it.

Liturgists ought to have been aware of such effects of the change-over, since they were predictable from awareness of how those in the pews participated in the Mass. [...] Those in the pew automatically, now, mind-wander most of the time when subjected to amplified voices in churches or halls. Their recall of things said in the liturgy of the word, for example, is nearly nil most of the time, just as their recall of newscasts and radio-television discussions is very fuzzy.

Further, Mass is now attended with very little forethought about the theme of the liturgy and even less afterthought about it. There is little time for thinking about religion, anyway, and seldom is a special attempt made in advance of Mass. Getting there quickly by car lessens the scope for forethought, too. Watch the aftermath — as everybody rushes for cars and papers to provide food for some other kind of thought. The Mass words are part of the pattern of information flow which envelops us daily. They get even less attention than the other words, since so few have them in print for fore and after thought. This has contributed in no small away, I find, to very, very little reading about things spiritual. The taking-away of the missals (or their too slow replacement, which amounts to the same thing, in effect) broke the habit. And it is well and truly broken, now.

[...] Those of my generation who believe in the power of the Mass, and in it being a mortal sin not to participate in Sunday Mass, keep going on that account. It is in spite of the vernacular, not with its aid.

[...] The Rosary beads and the devotional prayers could have a place, again, for individual participation between the peaks. [...] All the amplified talking of the introductory rite, liturgy of the word and the homily is a nuisance, when we could be reading and reflecting quietly. Let the Bible readings be relayed to us, maybe, and let the rest be read silently or, at least, with the amplifiers turned off. That way the homily (unamplified) will have a chance of getting attention, too. Let the rest of the Mass be silent mainly, apart from the three peaks and ‘Our Father’, say, relying on us in the pew to participate in our individual ways, reading and reflecting.”

The Integral Irish Tradition


The Trappist Brother


Anticipating Liturgical Reform in the 1950s


Fr Reynold Hillenbrand celebrating Mass in 1957 at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Hubbard’s Woods, Illinois

The following is an extract from an article on ‘Active Participation in the Mass’ by Rev. John Fennelly, P.P., published in Doctrine and Life, November, 1955.

Discussion on the introduction of the vernacular into the Mass rite itself would be outside the scope of this article. An increasing volume of liturgical opinion favours a limited use of it in the forepart of the Mass. The Mass of Catechumens would therefore resume its former role and primary function of instructing the people. At the International Liturgical Congress in Lugano (1953), a strong recommendation was forwarded to Rome by the delegates assembled, that the Collects, Epistle and Gospel should be heard directly from the sacred minister or ministers in the language of the people. Permission to use the vernacular in the administration of some of the Sacraments has been granted to many countries.

The use of the vernacular by the people is a totally different matter. A notable change has taken place within the past thirty years in Church policy with regard to hymns and prayers for popular use at quasi-liturgical functions like a Holy Hour. The general tendency nowadays is to encourage the people to pray and sing in their own tongue. The Germans are permitted to sing the common of the High Mass in German. It does not seem reasonable to force Latin on the ordinary congregation, if the people can be permitted to ‘pray the Mass’ in a language they understand.

[...] Fr. Pius Parsch, an Austrian, who died in 1954, is credited with the discovery of the best method of popular participation devised in our time. Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J., the well-known writer and apostle of the liturgical movement, thus describes it in an article in the Catholic Herald, of April 30th, 1954. ‘Fr Parsch had many remarkable achievements in the practical sphere. He is likely to be remembered best for a certain form of communal public Mass called the Betsingmesse (“Prayer-hymn-Mass”), which has now spread throughout the whole of Austria and Germany. This is a very practical and logical combination of two forms already in use: the Missa recitata or Dialogue Mass and hymn-singing during Mass.’

[...] Common prayer, seasoned with a little singing, is a reasonable contribution to ask from the faithful towards the splendour, dignity and social character of the Sacred Mysteries. It is the most and the least to expect from the average congregation assembled for Mass in the Parish Church here in Ireland or, perhaps, anywhere.

[...] And though Penal days are long gone by, the people have not regained their voice or attempted to take their rightful place in the Sacred Liturgy [...] Few are prepared to maintain that the Plain Chant revival movement, into which the schools have thrown themselves wholeheartedly, has yielded the results expected of it.

[...] The social and liturgical movements now stirring the Church are closely connected and inter-dependent. One cannot succeed without the other. Both set out to correct excessive Individualism and lead to the formation of the Christian community. Both derive their inspiration from the doctrine of the Mystical Body. Neither movement can be hurried. A whole generation may pass away before the social and liturgical teaching of the Popes becomes an active force influencing the public mind and penetrating into the sanctuary of the Church.

[...] It has been noticed that both these reform movements within the Church make striking progress in areas where the Church is subjected to severe pressure. At the International Liturgical Congress of Lugano, 1953, Bishop Weskham, of Berlin, could testify to the rapid progress of every kind of liturgical endeavour in the part of his diocese under Soviet control.

[...] There is no denying that the Roman Mass rite, as it stands, is ill-adjusted for teaching the populace or training their minds towards active, intelligent, and social participation. Fr. Clifford Howell, S.J., goes into this matter fully in his popular book on the Liturgy The Work of Our Redemption. Not only is there a lack of adjustment between the individualistic-minded laity and the communal-minded Liturgy, there is also an element of aloofness and elusiveness in the liturgy itself. In addition to the barrier of language, there exists a number of features that militate against intimacy. That is particularly noticeable at a low Mass. The priest has his back to the people and even when proclaiming the good tidings of the Gospel, does not face them. The present Mass rite and the rubrics governing its celebration were framed in the sixteenth century, at a time when participation on the part of the people was at its lowest ebb. Little change has been made since the time of St. Pius V. [...] Admission of the vernacular into the Mass rite would, at the time, have been equivalent to sanctioning doctrinal error and opening the door to devotional and liturgical chaos [...] The matter can now be debated on its merits.

[...] Many are unconscious of strong currents of social and liturgical reform moving within the Church, and, therefore, fail to understand a desire for change even when it is proved that the ‘innovation’ is a return to earlier and sounder tradition. They have no sympathy with the Pastor who would like to celebrate Mass facing his people at a small liturgical altar situated well down the Church, or who wishes for a revival of the Offertory Procession, the singing of the people during the distribution of Holy Communion, of the employment of Lectors to read the Collects, Epistle and Gospel of the day in the language of the people. These reforms are pressed for in regions where the Church can no longer control the school, and where religious education of any kind is banned in state schools.

[...] The new Easter Vigil rite incorporates many features that have long been desired by advocates of liturgical reform. It seems to be a portent of what may be expected in time to come. The Holy See will proceed slowly and with due regard for varying national conditions. But it cannot be doubted the liturgy has begun to move out of a feudal or ‘fossilised’ state.

[...] Should Pastors wait until reform measures are completed, or ought they take steps to prepare the minds of the people — especially youth — for impending change using the best means at present available? Mediator Dei leaves no room for doubt as to which course should be followed: ‘Strive earnestly, by methods and means which your prudence judges most effective, to bring about a close union between clergy and laity: that the faithful may take so active a part in the liturgy that it becomes really a sacred action in which both priest — especially the priest in his own parish — and people join in offering to Almighty God the worship which is His due’. Work on the people and with the people may begin under the direction of the Pastor with the approval and sanction of ecclesiastical authority.

American Hierarchy’s Statement on Liturgical Reform


The following statement was issued by the Bishops of the United States in December, 1963, in response to the promulgation of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy promulgated on 4 December is the first achievement of Vatican Council II. It will affect the spiritual life of prayer and worship of all Catholics. It will make the Church more comprehensible to all men.

This is the first great step in the Church’s inner renewal begun by Pope John XXIII and now being carried out by all the bishops in union with the chief bishop, Pope Paul VI.

The bishops of the United States, having taken part fully in the discussion, amendment and acceptance of this document, welcome it wholeheartedly and dedicate themselves to fulfil its purposes.
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The Canon of the Mass


Click above to read in full (pdf)

The Mass: What is it?


TLM Workshop in Co. Donegal


The Latin Mass Society of Ireland are holding a seminar for priests interested in learning to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite or who would like to do a revision course in the basics of liturgical Latin and formation in the rubrics. The seminar will be conducted by Fr Simon Leworthy, FSSP, in Ards Capuchin Friary, Cresslough, Co. Donegal on Wednesday 20th – Friday 22 October 2010.

The cost is €110, which includes full board.

Those interested are requested to contact Pronsias at 074 97 37307.

The Holiness of Married Life


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