13/14 October £978.95
My dear friends,
The Mass - The Tridentine Rite
Last week we saw that in 1570 A.D. Pope Pius V, based on the deliberations and decisions of the Council of Trent, published the Roman Missal, and established the Tridentine Mass it was celebrated entirely in Ecclesiastical Latin but there were localised exceptions for Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. A common misconception is that this Council forbade Mass being celebrated in the vernacular. It actually stated that Mass need not be celebrated in the vernacular. A subtle but significant difference! (Session XXII, Canon 9).
Tridentine Mass followed roughly the same format as had been used for Mass in Rome (hence Roman Rite). The Prayers and actions of the Priest and other Ministers were now standardised. The actual format of Mass depended on how the Mass was being celebrated and came in several forms.
Pontifical High Mass, a Bishop or other Prelate would be the principal celebrant with many assisting Ministers, Solemn or High Mass (Missa Solemnis) which required Priest(s), Deacon and Subdeacon plus Thurifer and Acolytes. Sung Mass (Missa Cantata) celebrated by a Priest without Deacon or Subdeacon but with Servers. The Priest would sing some parts with a Choir singing other parts. The Missa Cantata was a more elaborate form of Low Mass (Missa Privata) so called because the Priest did not sing any of the Mass. Towards the end of the nineteenth century concelebration as required for Solemn or High Mass slowly ceased to be the norm and Mass became either High or Low. Interestingly the descriptions “High” or “Low” persist even to this day. Tridentine Mass began with the Principal Celebrant and Ministers processing to the Sanctuary for prayers at the foot of the Altar. As in times gone by a Chasuble (Latin for “little house”) would be worn by the Priest and Dalmatics by the Deacons. That and their Stoles (round the neck for a Priest and crossed over the chest for a Deacon) distinguished them. A Bishop would start Mass wearing a “Cappa Magna” (great Cape) and then vest for Mass during the Psalms.
The Confiteor as said in Rome became the norm and the Kyrie was reset to a triple repetition. The Gloria was restored to that sung/said in the sixth century without the many additions which had accrued. The Collect or opening prayer was reduced to one. The readings were as from the seventh century onwards. The Gospel was usually read by the Deacon. Trent commanded that it be followed by a Sermon on all Sundays and Feast Days. The Prayer of the Faithful had been dropped around 500 A.D and the Offertory procession had disappeared since about 900 A.D; neither was restored until 1969.