Friday, 28 May 2010

Many Missals

It is suggested that only if there is one Missal for use throughout the Western Church that there will be unity, but this was never the case before the Second Vatican Council.

The Roman Missal

Until 1570, when what was a slightly tidied up version of the Roman Missal - which until then had been of obligation only in the Stational churches of Rome - was imposed on the Western Church, there had not been only one Latin Missal in general use. Even in 1570 there was not only one Missal because the Bull Quo primum tempore which made the Roman Missal of obligation in the West permitted the continue use of those Missals which have been in use for two hundred years previously. The local Missals of Milan, Braga, Lyons and, for for some considerable time, a number of other French Dioceses, continued in use as did the Missals of various orders: The Premonstratensian Canons, yhe Carthusian Monks and the Carmelite and Dominican Friars, among others, retained their distinctive Missals, some of them right up to the reforms of modern times. The missals of Milan, the Mozarabic missal in Spain and the Carthusian Missal - reformed in line with the Ritus Modernus, albeit different from the new Roman Missal - are in use as is the Braga Missal.

English Missals

The various English Missals continued to be used after 1570. They would, perhaps, have been in use still, maybe in a reformed version, if the situation in post-Reformation England had not led to priests being trained in Europe where they learnt to celebrate according to the Roman Missal of 1570. In 1850 when the Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales was restored, the new episcopate was offered the possibility of restoring the use of the Sarum Missal, but the bishops refused the offer preferring to retain the Pius V Missal.

Uniformity of language

Those who say all must use the same Missal are being rather "Tridentine" in taking this attitude, but without Pius V's more relaxed attitude towards previously used Missals. There was almost complete uniformity in the language used for celebrations using an of these Missals; Latin was the language no matter what Missal was being used; there was one exception to that rule, in Southern Italy there was a diocese where the Roman Rite was celebrated in Greek.

The Traditional Roman Missal

If the Middle Ages could manage to get along with many Missals, if after Trent a similar situation could continue, without detriment to the unity of the Church, then why not now? There are those in the Curia who admit this, but seem to consider it sufficient to allow greater use of the 1962 reformed Missal alongside such others Missals as are now in use. Why not also the Traditional Roman Missal which we happily used until the beginning of the reforms of the last three decades?

Before the introduction of the new liturgy, there were in daily use in England the Roman Missal, the Dominican Missal, the Carmelite Missal and the Carthusian Missal. Over the centuries the Premonstratensian Missal had been more and more Romanised until it was eventually replaced by the Roman Missal.

Many Missals in Italy

In Italy as well as the Roman Missal, the missals of the religious orders and the Greek Missal already mentioned, there was another Southern Italian diocese which celebrated the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, the Byzantine Liturgy, in Latin, and Milan and parts of the diocese of Bergamo - the diocese in which Pope John XXIII was born - used the Ambrosian Missal.

The Mozarabic Missal

There was a time when two different Missals were in use in Spain. Often in the same village there were two churches; one for the Roman liturgy, the other where celebrations were according to the Mozarabic Missal (reformed) is now used only in one chapel of Toledo Cathedral.

No disunity

The use of a multiplicity of Missals caused no disunity in the Church. Only the Missals of 1962, 1965 and 1970 can claim this distinction.

An American liturgist, Fr Frederick MacManus, who sat on the Commission which drew up the new rites , wrote: "It is easy to confuse stability and immutability, to canonise uniformity in place of unity.There is a desirable measure of uniformity, especially in a given rite of the Church, such as the Roman Rite, but this principle must be applied in moderation; diversity too can be a proof of beauty and excellence, even when it is not almost a necessity" (my emphasis).

Sauce for the goose

Fr MacManus was, of course, using this argument to support his desire for the introduction of a Ritus Modernus, but what is sauce for the goose... Traditional Catholics are entitled to argue for the principle of uniformity to be applied in moderation and diversity to include our right to use the liturgical books of the Roman Rite as they existed before the start of the unwanted reform.

Priests of the Reformation

The reigns of Henry VIII (regnant:1509-1547), Edward VI (regnant: 1547-1553), Mary I (regnant: 1553-1558) and Elizabeth I (regnant: 1558-1603) were times of great disturbance for the Church in England, and for both her clergy and her laity.

Beati and Heretics

Some of the clergy under Henry VIII, such as Blessed John Larke, stayed eternally faithful to their priesthood, to the Papacy, and to the Church. Some, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer immediately comes to mind, apostatised and remained heretics until the end. Others went with each wind that blew. Between the likes of Thomas Cranmer and Blessed John Larke there were many, perhaps the majority of the clergy, who were ready to be wafted on any breeze. We know of many great and brave priests who gave their lives for the Faith, and we are aware of out-and-out opponents of the Church and her teaching, but what of those between, the trimmers, the priests who found it easier just to follow any trend? How did the average Rector or Vicar take to each new regime? Lots of them, it seems, did not do well from a Catholic point of view.

Defenders of Queen Katherine

Dr Thomas Abel was chaplain to Queen Katherine of Aragon and her tutor in languages and music. Dr Richard Fetherston, the Archdeacon of Brecon, was Latin tutor to Katherine's daughter, Princess Mary, later to be Queen. Dr Edward Powell, a Welshman, was a theologian who had written a book against Martin Luther, he was a fellow of Oriel college, Oxford, headmaster of Eton College, a prebendary of Salisbury and Vicar of St Mary Radcliffe, Bristol. He was one of the four canon lawyers who were appointed as counsel on the Queen's behalf. These three priests were active supporters of the validity of the Queen's marriage. Because of their opposition to Henry VIII's policies on religion the three divines were imprisoned in the Tower of London. After some years of imprisonment, they were condemned by Bill of Attainder in Parliament. They were martyred at Smithfield on 30th July 1540. At the same time, three Protestants, were burned as heretics. A Frenchman who was present remarked: "those who are for the Pope are hanged, and those who are against him are burned". The priest were subsequently beatified.

Thomas Cranmer

Throughout Edwards VI's reign, Cranmer earnestly supported the Reformation. Under his aegis the first Book of Common Prayer was issued. On the 6th July 1553, as Edward was dying, the Duke of Northumberland obtained the King's signature on a document transmitting the Throne to Northumberland's daughter in law, Lady Jane Grey, a descendant of Henry VII. This document was countersigned by Cranmer and Ridley, the Bishop of London. Although Lady Jane was proclaimed Queen by Nothumberland, the Country rallied to Mary, the lawful Queen. Cranmer was at once ordered to appear before the council, and within a month was committed to the Tower of London. In November 1553, he was pronounced guilty of the crime of High Treason, but was pardoned. Ridley incarcerated in the Tower. In 1555, Parliament re-enacted the 1401 statute for the burning of heretics. Cranmer, Ridley and Latimer, together with others, 273 in total, suffered under his statute. Queen Mary declared herself not in favour of "punishing ignorant people who had been mislead", but punishment was exacted none-the-less. It was decided to charge Cranmer with heresy. In 1954, he was sent to Oxford with Latimer and Ridley. He was imprisoned for two years. Two succesive commissions condemned him as a heretic. After the deaths of Latimer and Ridley, he was degraded and deprived. He was burnt at Oxford, opposite Balliol College.

Cardinal Pole

Reginald Pole was related to Henry VIII who had attempted to obtain his support for his divorce from Katherine of Aragon, but pole opposed it. He became a cardinal and took an active part in the organisation of the pilgrimage of Grace and the rising of 1541.

During the Reign of Edward VI he lived in Italy, but on the Accession of Queen Mary, he returned to England as Papal Legate. After the execution of Thomas Cranmer, he became Archbishop of Canterbury. As Legate, he absolved Parliament of it's heresy.

The coming of Elizabeth
On 17th November 1558, both Mary and Pole died and Elizabeth came to the throne. By 2nd January 1559, nine Sees were vacant. Has this not been the case, it is probable that the Act of Uniformity would not have been passed by the House of Lords. The Act was passed by a majority of three votes. The Act of Uniformity enforced penalties for a priest who, after 24th June 1559, celebrated Mass according to the rites of the Catholic Church. For a first offence, the priest was fined one years income from his benefice, for a second, he was imprisoned for a year and deprived of any chance of advancement. For the third offence, he was imprisoned for life.

The Rising in the North
The Elizabethan settlement had made little impact in the North during the 1560's. It was estimated that two thirds of Northern Justices of the Peace were Catholics in 1566. Even among those who outwardly conformed and went to the now Protestant churches, there was considerable conservatism. There were cases of the continued use of images, candles and even holy water, and some priests, contrary to the law, celebrated the new Communion Service for the Dead. In 1969 Catholics in the North rebelled. Various Catholic nobles were amongst those prominent in the rebellion, but among the instigators of the rising was Dr Nicholas Morton, formerly a Canon of Canterbury Cathedral. He has gone into exile on the continent, but had returned to England in 1568, on fire with enthusiastic support for the Counter-Reformation. The Earl of Northumberland reports that Dr Morten "lamented the want of sound Catholic priests to whom he might give authority to reconcile such people as would seek it"

During the rising, a group of priests gained control of the services at Durham Cathedral and celebrated mass for large congregations. one priest, William Holmes, publicly reconciled the congregation. On 4th December 1569, Thomas Plumtree, a priest who had been born in the Diocese of Lincoln and educated at Corpus Christi, Oxford, chaplain to the insurgents, was Celebrant at a Mass in the Cathedral for the Army of the Rising. After the failure of the rebellion, he was offered his life if he would give up the Faith. He refused and was executed at Durham on 4th January 1570. He was beatified in 1929.

The Catholic Bishops
Because of the dead of the Archbishop of Canterbury, it should have fallen to the Archbishop of York, Nicholas Heath, to crown Elizabeth as Queen, but he refused to do so. The other Bishops, excepting only Owen Oglethorpe of Carlisle, followed his example. Oglethorpe agreed in the hope he might prevent an open schism. Having taken the Oath to uphold the Catholic Faith and guard the rights of the Church, Elizabeth, by her actions showed her utter contempt for the Faith. She forbade the Bishop to elevate the Host, but he refused to obey.

The Bishops, with the exception of Kitchin of Llandaff, were not prepared to accept the Act of Supremacy. Those who refused the oath were deprived of their Sees and most were imprisoned, including, Oglethorpe. Despite threats and promises, he refused to take the Oath and was deprived like the rest. He died on the last day of 1559. Thomas Thirlby, who, in the reign of Henry VIII, had been the first and last Bishop of Westminster _ his Cathedral was Westminster Abbey - was Bishop of Ely. He was on France on an embassy when Elizabeth acceded to the throne. When he returned to England, he immediately joined his brother Bishops in rejecting the Act of Supremacy. He was deprived of his See in 1559 and committed to the Tower of London in 1560. In 1563 he was released into the custody of Matthew Parker. Dr Thirlby died at Lambeth in 1570.

The Bishops who had accepted Henry VIII's title of "Head of the Church", did not make the same mistake again; they had seen where error took them. After a plague broke out in London, they were moved away from the City and placed in the custody of the Protestants who had been intruded into their Sees.

Thomas Watson of Lincoln had taken the Oath of Supremacy under Henry VIII, but otherwise remained faithful to Catholicism and because of of preaching in its defense during the reign of Edward VI, for a time he had been imprisoned with Bishop Gardiner of Winchester, whose chaplain he was. Mary made him Bishop of Lincoln. deprived by Elizabeth, he was imprisoned. Because he had been in touch with Douai, he was moved to Wisbech for his final years of confinement. He died on 27th September 1585, the last survivor of the old Hierarchy to die on English soil.

Bishop Thomas Goldwell, escaped to the Continent to become one of the Fathers of the Council of Trent and to sit on the Commission which produced the Missal of 1570. He had been the Chaplain of Reginald Cardinal Pole, in exile, chamberlain to the English Hospice in Rome, which later was to be used by the English College, and became a Theatine. He was appointed Bishop of St Asaph on the accession of Queen Mary. He died on 3rd April 1585, aged 85.

By permission of Pope Pius V's successor, Gregory XIII (pope: 13th May 1572 to 10th April 1585), there was inscribed on a wall of the Venerable English College in Rome "For their Confession of the Roman See and the Catholic Faith eleven Catholic Bishops died, after wasting away by a lazy imprisonment".

The lesser clergy

Had the lesser clergy followed the lead of the Bishops, then the plans of Elizabeth and her Government could well have failed. Although a large number, perhaps as many as half of the Cathedral clergy, archdeacons, and heads of colleges at the two Universities did follow the lead of the Bishops, yet the other half , driven by fear, conviction, or cupidity, consented to abjure their oaths of allegiance to the Holy See.

Vicar of Bray

The Vicar of Bray, is the priest whose title has become synonymous with changing sides. The well known song, written in the twentieth century - the chorus of which is: "but, what so-ever king may reign, still I'll be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!'' - places him in the seventeenth century, but he dates from the reign of Henry VIII and his immediate successors. Although there was a Protestant Vicar of Bray, Simon Symonds, between the reigns of Charles II and Queen Anne, who changed his churchmanship according to whoever was reigning, the sixteenth century Vicar is accepted as being the one who gave his name to preserving his living. His name was also Simon, Simon Aleyn and he had the living from 1540 to 1588.

In his recent book The Voices of Morebath Dr Eamon Duffy follows the life of Christopher Trychay. Like Aleyn, he celebrated Mass according to the Sarum Use, but followed King Henry VIII into schism. Under Edward VI he apostatised, but returned to the Church and the Mass under Mary Tudor. He apostatised again under Mary's sister, Elizabeth I, going back to the Protestant Communion Service: (interestingly, when I spellchecked this article, the computer rejected Trychay and suggested instead "treachery''). Many priests seem to have had no difficulty about preaching one thing one day and its opposite the next; what you might call a turn-cassock.

Henry Siddall

In the parish of St Mary's, Woodford, Essex, Henry Siddall was appointed Rector in 1530. There had been an inexplicable appointment to the parish three years earlier. Although the advowson was in the gift of the Lord of the Manor of Woodford, the Lord Chancellor, St Thomas More, presented Blessed John Larke to the living in 1527, pro hac vice "on this occasion''. No-one knows the reason for, or the legality of, the intervention of St Thomas. Blessed John Larke, who was also Rector of St Ethelburga's, Bishopsgate, London, remained Rector of Woodford until St Thomas presented him to the Rectory of Chelsea in 1530.

Henry Siddall, like Thomas Cranmer, and other priests, took the opportunity given them by the coming to the throne of the Protestant boy, Edward VI, to take themselves "wives''. After the accession of Queen Mary I, Siddall was deprived of his living as a "married'' priest, in 1555 (ten years after the martyrdom of his predecessor, John Larke at Tyburn). Eventually, Siddall was reconciled, presumably after putting away his "wife'', and made Vicar of the neighbouring parish of St Mary's, Walthamstow.

This same sort of situation would have occurred throughout the country during this period.

The decision must have been made by the Papal Legate, that he could not be too zealous with the priests who had gone along with the Protestant Reform, or there would not be sufficient priests available to staff the parishes. They were, no doubt, reconciled in barrelfulls. So long as they had no "wife'', or were prepared to leave her, if they had one, if they were willing to return to the Mass - which, of course, many would have preferred to have retained in the first place - they could stay, perhaps in their parishes. The alternative for Cardinal Pole was parishes denuded of priests.

Elizabethan apostates

After the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, Bishop Kitchin of Llandaff was the only bishop to apostatise. There were priests who did so, including Matthew Parker, the priest whom Elizabeth appointed to fill the See of Canterbury. He had been educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and was Dean of Lincoln under Edward VI, but was deprived of his office on the accession of Queen Mary as a "married'' priest. David Poole, Bishop of Peterborough had refused to consecrate him. Parker was "consecrated'' according to the Edwardine Ordinal. He managed to preserve good relations with Elizabeth, despite her understandable prejudice against "married'' clergy, she detested the idea of priests marrying.

Marian Priests

At the beginning of the Penal period, there were only a relatively small number of priests serving on the English Mission. There were priests who had been ordained in the reign of Elizabeth's sister Mary I. Many of these had conformed to the new religion. Some probably outwardly conformed and conducted the new English Protestant service in their churches, while privately celebrating Mass for those of their parishioners who demanded it. A small number continued, at risk of imprisonment, if not their lives, to provide the Holy Sacrifice in secret, travelling around as seminary priests and Jesuits who were to come to join them did in their turn.

James Bell

James Bell was a Marian priest. A Lancashire man, from Warrington, he was born about 1520. He was educated at Oxford University and ordained during the reign of Mary I. On the accession of Elizabeth, he conformed and acted as a Protestant minister. Maybe his heart was not in it because he refused to accept a benefice with the cure of souls, although many were going begging. He returned to Lancashire in the hope of finding a chaplaincy without the care of the people. A Catholic woman persuaded him to return to the Church and to his priesthood. Having been reconciled, he returned to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice and the Divine Office. For two years he continued to fulfil his office as a priest, but eventually was arrested as a spy. In January 1584, he was sent to Manchester. From there he was taken to Lancaster and indicted at the Lent Assizes. He was tried under the Act of Supremacy. Tried with him were two other priests and a layman, John Finch, a farmer who was charged with harbouring priests. James Bell and John Finch were both hanged, drawn and quartered on 10th April 1560 at Lancaster. The other two priests were imprisoned. Blessed James Bell (he and John Finch were beatified in 1929) was unusual among Marian priests in being martyred. Other Marian priests who were caught exercising their priesthood were imprisoned; they had not committed the crime of going beyond the seas to be ordained as had the seminary priests.

William Watson

Not all priests were the stuff of which martyrs are made. William Watson was a priest ordained during the reign of Queen Mary I. He conformed in Elizabeth's reign. He repented his action and was reconciled. He was imprisoned in the Bridewell a London palace which had been turned into a gaol. Showing that female Papists could be as resourceful (or foolhardy) as their male counterparts, Margaret Ward, a Cheshire woman, resolved to aid his escape with the help of an Irish, Thames waterman called John Roche. She visited the priest over a period of a month carrying a basket of provisions. She was always searched, but, security no doubt becoming slack, eventually she managed to smuggle in a rope. The priest escaped, but injured himself doing so and left the rope dangling from the window. Margaret Ward was his only visitor and so was arrested. She was badly treated in prison, but was happy to admit to aiding the priest's escape. She was promised a pardon if she would attend the Protestant service, but refused and was hanged with her boatman accomplice, who rowed the priest away and changed clothes with him. They were martyred at Tyburn on August 30th 1588. William Watson went free, to bring the Mass to his people.

Jacobean apostacy

Soon after the reputed Gunpowder Plot of 1605, an apostate Jesuit, Christopher Perkins was involved with the Protestant occupant of the See of Canterbury, Richard Bancroft, in writing a new oath of allegiance for Catholics, which was intended to show disloyalty to the Sovereign Pontiff, without entirely severing the allegiance of Catholics. The Archpriest, George Blackwell, the most senior priest in England, took the oath and was, accordingly, deprived of his office.

The glory of the Clergy

After, there were to be many priest martyrs from the Continental seminaries and religious houses, they are the glory of the English clergy.

Monday, 17 May 2010

"Bringing the Mass to the people" : The Reform of the Roman Liturgy

The reform of the Roman Liturgy, which had been substantially unchanged from the time of St Gregory the Great (Pope from September 3rd 590 to March 604), began much earlier than the Second Vatican Council and indeed had nothing to do with that Council.

In an address given at the First International Congress of Pastoral Liturgy held at Assisi and Rome from September 18th to 22nd 1956, Mgr Wagner, Director of the Liturgical Institute at Trier, said: "those who like to pinpoint the historical beginnings of great movements in the history of the Church are unusually fortunate in the case of what, for the sake of convenience is known as the Liturgical Movement". He referred to the Conference which took place at Malines in 1909, at which a young Benedictine monk, Dom Lambert Beaudin, of the Abbey of Mont César made certain proposals which led, with the support of Cardinal Mercier, to the establishment of the Belgian Liturgical Movement. Dom Lambert wrote a book: Liturgy the Life of the Church. This was not primarily concerned with the reform of the ritual. It and the Liturgical Movement were above all concerned with the return of the spirituality of the liturgy to the centre of the life of the Church. The Malines Conference was a defining moment in the history of the Liturgical Movement.

The origins of the Liturgical Movement actually go further back, to the nineteenth century, to another Benedictine, Prosper-Louis-Pascal Guéranguer, who was born in 1805, the year after Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of France. Guéranger was ordained priest in 1827 and became Curé of Solesmes. The monks of the eleven century abbey there had been expelled at the time of the French Revolution. M le Curé Guéranguer bought the abbey buildings and restored a monastic community in them. Pope Gregory XVI (Pope from March 2nd 1831 to June 1st 1846) appointed him its first Abbot.

Dom Guéranger reacted against Gallicanism and campaigned for the abolition of the Gallican liturgy. As Abbot, he set about restoring "authentic" plainsong.

Ironically, when you consider whence a certain traditionalist priestly society takes its name; from the beginning of the twentieth century, we find Pope St Pius X (Pope from August 4th 1903 to August 20th 1914) stating: " a long period of years must pass before the liturgical edifice, which the mystical Spouse of Christ has formed in her zeal and understanding, to proclaim her piety and faith, may again appear splendid with dignity and harmony, as cleansed of the accumulations of age"(1) he had already modified the rubrics of the Missal with Divino inflato of November 1st 1991, and had also reformed the Breviary.

The Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy would have it that: "At the outset of the twentieth century, St Pope Pius X (1903-1914) proposed bringing the Liturgy closer to the people, thereby 'popularizing' it. He maintained that the faithful assimilated the 'true Cristian spirit' by drawing from its primary and indespensable (sic) source, prayer of the Church'. In this way, St Pope Pius X gave authoritative recognition to the objective superiority of the Liturgy over all other forms of piety; dispelled any confusion between Liturgy and popular understanding of the relationship that must obtain between them.

"Thus was born the Liturgical Movement which was destined to exercise a prominent influence on the Church of the twentieth century..."(2)

After the first World War, the Belgian movement, which had a strong pastoral emphasis, merged with the liturgical renewal movement inspired by yet two more Benedictines: Abott Ildefons Herwegen and Dom Odo Casel. This movement was theological and intellectual in character. These movements also became associated with what led by Pius Parsh and the Augustinian Canons of Klosterneuburg in Austria who were concerned with the rediscovery of the Bible. Throughout the twentieth century, we have seen the advance of liturgical reform, or "Restoration" as the reformist clergy like to call it.

In 1930, Pope Pius XI (Pope from February 6th 1922 to February 10th 1939) established an historical section of the Congregation of Sacred Rites and Ceremonies to provide for the historical study required to reform and correct new editions of liturgical books.

It is often said that his successor Pius XI (Pope from March 2nd 1939 to October 9th 1958) did not want reform of liturgy and was simply mislead by others. The Directory of Popular Piety and the Liturgy does not agree, it refers to "Pius XII, in his encyclical Mediator Dei of 21 November 1947, with which he assumed the leadership of the liturgical movement..."(3) That Pontiff's reported words when speaking to a group of European liturgists in the 1950s also suggest otherwise. He said that the liturgists had tried to bring " the People to the Mass", by various means. He mentioned inter alia, dialogue Mass, but that proved unsuccessful. It was now time, he told them, to"bring the Mass to the People by reform and adaption" (my emphasis) and he told them he hope to achieve so much in this field before his death that the advance would be irreversible and would lay down clear principles for future work. He sanctioned a revision of the Holy Week Liturgy, evening Masses, a relaxation of the eucharistic fast and a modification of rubrics of the Missal in 1958. By the time he died, liturgical reform was well advanced. It is he, not Blessed John XXIII (Pope from October 28th 1958 to June 3rd 1963) or Paul VI (Pope June 21st 1963 to August 6th 1978) who is responsible for the present state of the liturgy.


On May 28th 1948, Pius XII established a Pontifical commission for the general "restoration" (ie reform) of the liturgy. During his pontificate, a series of conferences were held with this intention. These were held at the Abbey of Maria Laach in Germany in 1951, Monte-Sainte Odile in France in 1952, Lugano in Switzerland in September 1953, Louvain in Belgium in 1954, and culminated in the First International Congress of Pastoral liturgy at Assisi and Rome. Later there were to come further conferences at Montserrat in Spain in 1958 and Munich in 1960.

The first intimation of the reform was the approval of an experimental Easter Vigil service authorised in 1951. The form of the new Mass had been pretty well decided by 1954; the writer had a complete description of the new Mass in that year. A book published by Burns Oates in 1960, "Bringing the Mass to the People" by Revd. H.A. Reinhold, also gives a full description of the likely form of the new Mass.

In that book Fr Reinhold wrote: "By now it ought to be common knowledge that a thorough reform of the Latin rite of the Catholic Church is being prepared..." Although he was much in favour of this reform, he also said: "It is obvious that reforming zeal finds its limits, unless we are to make a new liturgy and abandon the old". Would that we had seen those limits.

Although the people had shown no desire for change, the reforms came fast and furious during the Fifties and Sixties: the simplification of the rubrics of the Breviary and Missal in 1954, the new 1956 Holy Week, rubrical reforms of 1958; all in the reign of Pius XII. The decree which introduced the so-called 1962 Mass was promulgated in 1960, under John XXIII, but its preparation had been done under his predecessor: its rubrics came into use on January 1st 1961. Thereafter came the reforms to the Mass in 1965 and the Instructio altera of 1967. By then the new Mass was almost complete. The Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum of 1969 brought in the final form of the reform in 1970...except, not the final form of the continuing reform. Another new Missal was published in 2000.


At the congress at Maria Laach, it was proposed to abolish the reading of the Epistle and Gospel by the celebrant at a High Mass - this change was made in 1961 -. Other proposals were: the abolition of the psalm Iudica me in the Preparatory Prayers (abolished in 1965) :renaming the Mass of the Catechumens as the Liturgical of the Word (how many souls have been saved by this momentous change I can not tell) and moving the Liturgy of the Word away from the altar: reducing the number of Collects to one (a change made in 1961): a three (or four) year cycle of readings (the three year cycle was introduced in the Ritus Modernus): less frequent use of the Creed (begun in 1961): the insertion of Bidding Prayers in the Mass: the chalice not to be placed on the altar until the Offertory (1970): more Prefaces (and more, and more, with more to come): the Celebrant to wait until the end of the sung Sanctus before continuing with the Mass, and various Amens to be omitted from the Canon: the Confiteor before Holy Communion to be done away with (1961): no Last Gospel (1965): the Secreta to be renamed Oratio super oblata and its recitation aloud (renamed in the Missal of 1962, and recited aloud from 1970): to sing per ipsum... at the end of the Canon and to omit the signs of the cross over the chalice (both introduced in 1970).

The Congress recommended the regrouping of the prayers and ceremonies after Pater noster... and the finding of a way for the congregation to take part in the Pax ( hand shaking, 1970). It also recommended the development of an interval between Communion and the Postcommunio, suggesting prayers and singing and advised consulting other liturgies (this consultation presumably resulted in the silent sit down of 1970): also recommended was the regulation of the use of Ite missa est and Benedicamus Domino (this - that is to say abolition of Benedicamus Domino - was done in the Maundy Thursday Mass in 1956 and completed in 1961).

The congress at Monte-Sainte Odile the next year suggested that the experimental Easter Vigil liturgy of 1951 be the model for future reforms. Other suggestions emanating from that congress included: the abolition of the signs of the cross over the chalice during per ipsum..., no genuflection and to elevate the sacred species during the doxology (these were introduced in 1970): the omission of Amen at the end of Pater noster, to sing or recite aloud Liberia nos and to do away with the sign of the cross with the paten (all were introduced in 1970). Along with suggestions which were not officially accepted, but now occur, such as the celebrant receiving only half the Host and the other half being used either to communicate the servers or be put into the ciborium to be distributed to the people, came the shortening of the formula for the distribution of Holy Communion (Corpus Christi, introduced 1965): the abolition of Placeat tibi... before the Blessing (1970): the abolition of the Leonine Prayers after Low Masses (1965).

Fr Reinhold, in his book from which I have quoted, says that having finished writing it, he described its contents to a Jewish Rabbi friend. The Rabbi's response, interestingly, was: "We Jewish reformed our rites a hundred years ago; we cut off what was wild growth, as we saw it, and we learned that we made a mistake: we lost the sacredness and the mystery of our rites. Now all is obvious and trite; the beauty has gone" (my emphasis). We have learned the same.

To bring the story of reform almost up-to-date we have the new Missal of 2000. With it, we have the arguments being made up by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which are that what has been done in the twentieth century, was what the Council of Trent would have done if the times had been different.

The 2000 edition of the Roman Missal attempts to relate this Missal to that of 1570. Under the heading Traditio non intermissa declaratur (The Uninterrupted Tradition) (6) it states: " when the Second Vatican Council announced the rules by which the Order of Mass would be revised, it also commanded, among other things that some rites should be restored to the original norm of the holy Fathers, that is, using the same words as St Pius V, written in the Apostolic Constitution Quo primum, by which, in the year 1570, the Tridentine Missal was promulgated. So indeed, on account of this very agreement of wording, it can be noted how both Roman Missals, despite the intervening four centuries, were intended to comprehend one and the same (aequalem et parem) tradition. If, however, the interior elements of this tradition are considered, it is also clear how admirably and successfully the former is completed by the latter.

"Certainly, in different times, when Catholic faith in the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the ministerial priesthood, and the real abiding presence of the Christ in the Eucharist, had been brought into dispute, St Puis V was concerned to preserve the more recent tradition, which had been undeservedly attacked, by implementing only very small changes in the sacred rite. For the truth of the matter is that the Missal of the year 1570 differs very little from the first printed Missal of 1974, which in turn faithfully repeats the Missal of the time Pope Innocent III. Moreover, in that investigation of ancient and authoritative sources, the books of the Vatican Library, although they had enabled some emendations of wording, did not permit the consultation to go beyond the liturgical commentators of the Middle Ages."

It might be thought that we also are "certainly, in difficult times, when Catholic faith in the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the ministerial priesthood, and the real and abiding presence in Christ under the appearances [of bread and wine] in the Eucharist, had [all] been brought into dispute.

"...The liturgical norms of the council of Treat have surely in many places been fulfilled and completed in this way by the norms of the second Vatican Council, which has brought to a conclusion the efforts undertaken to move the faithful more closely to the liturgy during those four centuries but chiefly and most of all in more recent times through the zeal for liturgical matters promoted by St Pius X and his Successors."

We might well wonder if that is, in fact, true in, most places!

1 Motu proprio, October 23rd 1913
2 Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 46, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, CTS 2000.
3 Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 46.
4 Introduced by the decree Maxima Redemptoris, November 16th 1955.
5 General Decree Novum Rubricarum published July 26th 1960, the new rubics came into effect on January 1st 1961 and were incorporated into the 1962 reformed Missal.
6 Missal of 2000, General Instruction.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Liturgical Colours

The wearing of differing colours for vestments according to the season or feast, familiar to us today, is of late origin and does not appear to have begun until the ninth century at the earliest.

At first, vestments were of one colour, white. Black was sometimes worn as a sign of mourning. A tenth or eleventh century writer speaks only of white vestments, except he refers to scarlet stripes (clavi) on the diaconal dalmatic, and says that black vestments were used during the procession on the feast of the Purification.

By the twelfth century, Rome had a canon regulating the use of colours for vestments. Pope Innocent III, who reigned from 1198 to 1216, is the first to mention four colours : white which the Roman Church used on feasts of confessors, virgins and on other joyful days; red used for martyrs, of the Holy Cross, and at Pentecost. Some, it seems also wore red for the feast of All Saints, but there is nothing strange in this as the feast was in origin the anniversary of the dedication, in AD 609, of the church of Our Lady, Queen of All Martyrs (the Pantheon in Rome). However, the Roman Curia wore white on this day. Black was used in penitential seasons and for Masses for the Dead ; green was used on common days because it was "midway between black and white". Pope Innocent regards violet as a variant of black and says the former was used on the feast of the Holy Innocents and Laetare Sunday. Scarlet and saffron yellow (coccineus et croceus) were considered as versions of red and green. Rose coloured vestments, he tells us, were sometimes worn for feasts of martyrs and yellow for confessors.

Until the introduction of chemical dyes in the nineteenth century, it was very difficult to produce a real black. Black was in reality a very dark shade of blue or green or brown. At the Catholic church in Croydon there is (or was some years ago) a set of "black" velvet vestments which date from the earlier years of the nineteenth century when vegetable dyes were still in use. When the priest stands at the altar wearing them the vestments look black, but laid out on the vestment press in the sacristy with the light shining on them from a different angle it is clear they are a very dark navy blue. When I was a boy, many of the old servers' cassocks (the cassocks were old, not the servers) in my parish church had faded very badly and patches of them were seen to be brown or green; they had been dyed with vegetable extracts.

The medieval Rites employed a greater number of colours and, because it was a matter of custom not rubric, there was considerable variation as to what colours were used for different feasts and seasons. Parish churches might have followed something of the colour scheme of the cathedral or some other great church, but much would depend in smaller churches on the number of sets (ore suits, as they are usually called in medieval records) of vestments which the local church owned.

The sacramentary of one great church in the Middle Ages listed as the vestments for use on ferias as "any old vestments the sacrist sets out" while elsewhere "the best vestments" irrespective of colour were specified for great feasts. The Bishop of Salisbury had vestments stitched with plates of gold, which tinkled as he moved. They must have very heavy to wear.
Amongst colours used then, but not in current use, were blue, yellow and unbleached linen. The last was the colour for Lent, sometimes "ash", a greyish colour was used for "Lenten array". In the Lyons Rite in France this was still the Lenten colour until the liturgical upheaval of the last three decades of the twentieth century, and, indeed may, for all I know, still be so in their New Order of Masses.

Blue and yellow were differently used in various places in, for example, the Sarum Use; blue was the colour for Virgins and Widows in some colour schemes with yellow for Confessors, in other places use of the two colours was reversed. Yellow continued until modern times as the colour for Confessors in the Carmelite Rite. That Rite also made use of blue as the colour for feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These two colours are not used in the Roman Rite; although, exceptionally, blue was worn for feasts of Our Lady in the Roman Rite in Spain and, because it was converted from that country, in Spanish America. The usual explanation for this is that the Holy See granted an indult for the use of the colour as a reward to the Spanish for ridding Spain, and hence Europe, of the Mohammedans in 1492. This is, however, unlikely, as there were no compulsory liturgical colours at that time; it was purely a matter of custom.

In Florence in the Middle Ages, red and white striped vestments are known to have been worn on the feast of Corpus Christi : the colours of bread and wine.

In the Gallican Rites of France, red was the usual colour for the Blessed Sacrament. During the French Revolution, bishops and priests escaping from the Terror came to England. Some re-introduced the practice of burning a lamp before the Blessed Sacrament in the then newly established Catholic chapels, hence in many churches today the red sanctuary lamp is in the Eucharistic liturgical colour of the Gallican Rites, not that of the Roman Rite.

Until the introduction of the New Order (I have no idea of the present situation), the Pope wore only vestments of white, red and violet, using red, not black, for Good Friday and Requiem Masses.

It was not until the Missal of Pope St.Pius V, that there were rubrics requiring the uniform scheme of five colours for the Roman Rite.

White (albus) which is worn for the seasons of Christmas and Easter, on feasts of Our Lord and of Our Lady, on feasts of angels, the feast of All Saints and the feasts of saints who are not martyrs.

Red (ruber), which represents fire and blood, is worn on the feasts of the Precious Blood, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Cross, apostles and martyrs.

Green (viridis) vestments, the colour of hope, are used for the Sundays and Ferias after Epiphany and those after Pentecost.

Violet (violaceus) the colour of penitence, is worn in Advent and Lent, and on Rogation and Ember Days (except those of Pentecost when red is worn), the season of Septuagesima and Vigils (except those of the Ascension and Pentecost).

Black (niger), the colour of mourning, is used for Good Friday and for Requiems. Exceptionally, when Masses of the day are being celebrated (away from the High Altar) when the Blessed Sacrament is being exposed for the Forty Hours Devotion, on the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2nd), violet vestments are worn instead of black.

Rose colour (color rosaceus) vestments are prescribed by the Caerimoniale Episcoporum for use in cathedral churches and may be worn elsewhere instead of violet on the third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete) and mid-Lent Sunday (Laetare); on those two Sundays the Pope blessed golden roses for presentation to Catholic queens.

White may be replaced by real cloth of silver and white, red and green, but not violet or black, by real cloth of gold.

The Missal of 1962 (the reforms actually date from 1961) modifies the use of some of the colours prescribed by the Missal of Pope St.Pius V. The Pian Missal specifies violet vestments for the feast of the Holy Innocents (28th December), except when it falls on a Sunday when red replaces violet. The reform changed this to red on the feast on whatever day it fell, even though Pope Innocent III had recorded violet as being their colour even in his day. Red has been worn on the Octave day of the Holy Innocents, but the Octave was abolished in 1961.

Another variation which was "tidied up" was the replacement of violet vestments for the procession of candles on the feast of the Purification (2nd February) with white ones to match those of the Mass which follows. The procession seems, in fact, to be older than the Mass and, until 1961, followed the normal rule of violet vestments for processions of supplication.

The Holy Week reforms of 1956 which (with slight modifications) were incorporated into the 1962 Missal, also changed some of the traditional liturgical colours eg: the colour for the Palm Sunday procession was changed from violet to red and black for the Communion Rite on Good Friday was changed to violet.

As Abbot Cabrol wrote, "colours…have their own symbolism and speak to the eye: black tells of grief and mourning; violet is a sign of penance, red reminds us of the blood of the martyrs; white denotes purity, and green exuberant life. How much more expressive and lively the liturgy becomes when we try to discover the meanings of its formulas and rites."

(Also published on the Latin Mass Society's May 2001 Newsletter.)

The Bible in English

As there are suggestions that there should be only one English translation of the Bible approved for public use in churches it is perhaps an appropriate time to view the history of how we got the Bible in English.

The Earliest Translations

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew (the Old Testament) and koine Greek (the New Testament) which were, of their day, the vernacular. Koine was the form of Greek spoken from the end of the Classical period until Byzantine times. They were translated into Latin (also a vernacular) in the early Church. There may have been one or more Old Latin Versions. St Jerome seems to indicate that there was one single Old Latin Version which was variously amended in different places. The proper chants of the Mass are still in the Old Latin Version. The Scriptures were then retranslated by Saint Jerome in the fourth century. His version is known as the Vulgate (having been translated into the Vulgar tongue - the language of the people).
The translation of the Holy Scriptures into our own tongue is not a new idea. It was being translated into English in Anglo-Saxon England. Both St Bede the Venerable and King Alfred the Great translated the Bible into Early English. On his deathbed, the last act of Saint Bede's life was to dictate, to a boy called, Wilbert a translation into Early English of St John's Gospel. He completed the translation, sang Gloria Patri et Filii et Spirítui Sancti, etc. for the last time and died. His translation is now lost.

During the Middle Ages, there was a translation of the Bible into Middle English, a copy of which is in the British Museum; the so-called Wycliff Bible. Authorship of this has been attributed to John Wycliff (c1330-1384), a Yorkshireman who was the leader of the heretical sect, the Lollards, but Cardinal Gasquet inclined to the view that it was not his work. At the time, translations were allowed on the Continent and Archbishop Arundel of Canterbury (Archbishop 1396-1414) promised that something would be done in England. The Wycliff Bible, whoever translated it, was condemned and forbidden to be used by Archbishop Arundel at Oxford in 1408. The condemnation was not of the Bible in English, approved versions existed before Wycliff. It was condemned because it was a bad translation.

The First Protestant Translations

William Tyndale (c1494-1536) was a native of Gloucestershire who was educated at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He attempted to gain the patronage of the Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of London (1474-1559) for the production of a Bible, but was unsuccessful. He moved to the Continent and by 1526 had published the New Testament in English. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warham (Archbishop 1503-1532) and Bishop Tunstall were active in attempting to suppress it, Tunstall claimed he had found 2,000 errors in Tyndale's work, and Saint Thomas More wrote against it saying to "find errors in Tyndale's book were like trying to find water in the sea". Between 1530 to 1534 Tyndale published parts of the Old Testament. He was burnt as a heretic in Belgium. Tyndale's translation became the basis of the King James' version.
Miles Coverdale (1488-1568), another Yorkshireman, educated at Cambridge, translated the first completed English bible in 1535. His translation of the Psalms was incorporated into the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549, although they were not a very accurate translation of the Hebrew. In fact, his was not really a translation at all as he was not a master of Greek or Hebrew. He put together existing versions putting them into more elegant English.
In 1537, "Matthew's Bible" was published. Thomas Matthew was the pseudonym of a Cambridge Protestant, John Rogers (c1500-1555), a priest who had been traduced by Tyndale. His work much depended on that of Tyndale and Coverdale, using that part of the Bible which had been translated by the former and filling in with Coverdale's work for those parts which Tyndale had not translated. In April 1539 an "official" Bible, "the Great Bible" was published by order of Thomas Cromwell. "The Great Bible" was, in effect, the "Matthew Bible" edited by Coverdale. John Rogers ("Matthew") was the first of the heretics burned under Queen Mary. Coverdale became "Bishop of Exeter" under Queen Elizabeth I.

A Catholic Version

After Coverdale's death, in 1582, there was published, at last, a Catholic edition of the Bible. This is usually called the Douai (or Douay) Bible. It was not translated at Douai, nor was more than a small part of it published there. It is more properly the Douai-Rheims Bible; the title page of my copy of this translation of the scriptures says "the Holy Bible translated from the Latin Vulgate and diligently compared with other languages (Douay AD 1609; Rheims AD 1582) published as revised and annotated by authority". What we now call by that name, the Scriptures with which my generation of Catholics was brought, up has been considerably altered over the centuries. There was no imprimatur or approbation for the Douai-Rheims translation.

The Douai-Rheims Bible pre-dates the publication of the King James' Bible ("the Authorised Version") and influenced it. The idea of a new translation of the English Bible was launched at a general assembly of the Church of Scotland at Burnisland in May 1601. James VI of Scotland attended the assembly. Two years later, he became James I of England. As King of England he had a new translation prepared. The translators met in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey; Lancelot Andrewes, Dean of Westminster, was one of the translators. The James I Version appeared in 1611. The divines who produced the "Authorised Version" had the Douai Version before them, although their translation was far less accurate than the Douai. One Protestant writer estimates that Douai "furnished a large proportion" of the Latin words which the producers of the King James' Bible adopted, and those who produced the Revised Version of 1881-1895 wrote that the "Authorised Version" of 1611 "shews evident traces of a Version not specified in the rules, the Rhemish [Rheims], made from the Latin Vulgate but by scholars conversant with the Greek Original".
The original of the Douai-Rheims Bible was translated from the Vulgate at the English College of Douay, but at the time the College was at Rheims. It had been founded in 1568 at Douai - where Philip II of Spain had established a University - by Dr William Allen, Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and former Canon of York, later Archbishop of Mechlin and a Cardinal. Huguenot riots meant the English College was expelled from Douai and caused it to move to Rheims in 1578. It was there that the work of an English version of the Bible was begun.
The translation of the New Testament was the work of Dr Gregory Martin. Dr Allen, Dr Richard Bristow and John Reynolds, all former Oxford men, revised the work, and Drs Allen and Bristow annotated the text. Dr Martin also translated the Old Testament with notes written by Dr Worthington.
Because of the lack of finance, publication did not take place until 1582 when the New Testament was published at Rheims. In 1609 and 1610 the Old Testament was issued at Douai. Further editions were published; a second edition of the New Testament in 1600 with a few changes being made to the text, and of the Old Testament in 1635. Two more editions of the New Testament were made during the seventeenth century.
The spellings were modernised and a few more alterations made to the text some hundred years later in the edition published in 1738. Another edition was published at Liverpool in 1788.
Two new and independent translations of the New Testament were made during the eighteenth century; by Dr Cornelius Nary, a Dublin priest, in 1718, and by Dr Witham, the President of Douay, in 1730.
Dr Gregory Martin's sixteenth century translation was not very readable. Martin invented many latinate words to enable him to translate real Latin words for which there was not an English equivalent.

Bishop Challenor's Modernisation of Douai

Later in the eighteenth century, the Venerable Richard Challenor revised the Douay-Rheims text and made so many alterations to it that it may be considered a new translation. Bishop Challenor was assisted by Fr Francis Blyth, a Carmelite Friar, the Vicar General of his order in England. Fr Francis was a convert from the Anglican Protestants and so would have been familiar with the King James' Bible.
Dr Challenor's chief object was to make the language intelligible to the ordinary faithful; the sixteenth century original had been written more for scholars.
Bishop Challenor, by then the Coadjutor to Bonadventure Giffard, the Vicar Apostolic of the London District, published the first edition of his New Testament in 1749, and the whole Bible in the following year. Challenor's Bible was published in five small (12mo) volumes for easy reading by the people.
Further editions of the New Testament followed in 1752, 1772 and 1777 with variations and his own notes. In 1763-1764 he published the whole Bible.
A Dublin priest revised Challenor's text afresh and published the New Testament (12mo) in 1783, and the complete Bible (quarto) in 1791. His revision of the whole Bible was undertaken at the request of Archbishop Troy of Dublin and for this reason is usually known as the Troy Version.

Challenor's second edition of 1763 was reprinted in Philadelphia in 1790, being the first Bible printed in the USA for English speaking Catholics.

Modern Versions

The Jesuits attempted to produce a version of the Scriptures to be called the Westminster Bible. All that was completed was part of the New Testament: the four Gospels and an Epistle or two.
Mgr Ronald Knox made a new translation from the Vulgate "in the light of the Hebrew and Greek originals". The New Testament was issued in 1945, the complete Bible in 1955. As Knox was a convert Anglican minister, a lot of Knox's language echoes the King James' version. The copyright is vested in the Archbishop of Westminster.
The Revised Standard Version is a modern English translation published between 1945 to 1957 as a replacement for the Revised Version published in 1881-1895 and based on the King James' Bible. The Revised Standard Version was based on an American Standard Version of 1901. There is a Catholic Edition which is approved for public use in church. The New Revised Standard Version has recently been published with a Catholic Edition.
In America, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine produced a new translation in the 1940s and 1950s. It is one of the approved translations for use in the New Order of Mass in English.
The Jerusalem Bible published in 1966 was an attempt to translate the poor koine Greek of the New Testament into an equally poor vernacular - originally French and then English. The English was translated from the French version, not from the Vulgate. Because of the poor construction of its sentences, it at times says the exact opposite to what it intends to say. It is perhaps an interesting academic exercise, but not the ideal means in which to make the Scriptures known to Christ's Faithful. Unfortunately, it seems to be the most widely used version in New Order Masses. A revised version, the New Jerusalem Bible was published in 1985.

The Book of the Church

There are still Protestants who repeat the canard that Catholics are not permitted to read the Bible. I used to work with a Seventh Day Adventist. He was absolutely convinced that the Pope forbids us to read the Bible.
To the great amusement of a High Anglican, who also worked with us, when I spoke to the Adventist, I peppered my conversation with Biblical quotations. After each of them, I would ask the young man if he recognised the quotation - the Anglican did - but the Adventist did not. Despite his certainty that Catholics, because of Papal prohibition, were unfamiliar with the Bible - to him, the only word of God - he was quite unfamiliar with it. As I would point out to him, Catholics hear the word of God from the book which was written by the Church every time they go to Mass.
Protestants claim an ownership of our book and claim to be responsible for its translation into the tongue of the people, but this is an error, two errors; the Bible is ours, and Catholics were translating it into the language of the people before Wycliff, Tyndale, Coverdale, et al. were born, and were translating it after they had departed this life.
In a recent edition of the television programme "Songs of Praise", the presenter stated that the Reformation was due to Martin Luther translating the Bible into the language of the people for the first time. Well it wasn't! The Bible had been translated into the language of the people long before Luther was born, alone apostatised.
Although we wish to have the Scriptures in the Liturgy sung or read to us in the language of the Church, Latin, we also hear their translation read before the Sermon on Sundays and Holidays, read them in our vernacular translations in our Missals when we go to Mass and read them at home in whatever version or language we prefer. It is our book, the Book of the Church.

(Also published on the Latin Mass Society's November 2001 Newsletter)