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THE NEWLY-REVISED MISSAE
BY REV. J. B. O'CONNELL
THE most recent revision of the Liturgical Books was begun in 1911, when the Bull, Divino afflatu, of Pius X inaugurated the reform of the Divine Office, and effected, in consequence, an extensive revision of the Roman Breviary. In 1913 came the revision of the Roman Martyrology and the Roman Ritual, and just at present the Holy See, in the pages of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, announces the publication at the end of this year of the newly-revised Roman Missal.
The first part of this Missal to be issued to the public is the typical edition of the Mass book for exsequial functions entitled Missae Defunctorum ex Missali Romano Desumptae, accedit Ritus absolutionis pro defunctis, which has just been published by the Vatican Press.
In no part of practical, as contrasted with historical, liturgy was the rubricist confronted with more difficulties and insoluble problems than in the part de Exsequiis. The rules for dead Masses and the burial services were found scattered up and down through the pages of the Roman Missal, the Breviary, Caeremoniale Episcoporum, and Ritual. In no one place were they fully or clearly set forth. The rubric in one place was either supplementary or, apparently, in contradiction to that in another. Adding to the confusion came decisions at intervals from the Congregation of Sacred Rites, the effect of which was that with no one book could the full exsequial services be carried out, but only with the combined aid of the Missal and Ritual-one supplying one part of the function, the second the other, the decrees of the Congregation giving some light for the interpretation of both.
The new typical edition of the Roman Ritual, issued in 1913, gave little or no assistance in solving the many
FIFTH SERIBS, VOL. XIV-NOVEMBER, 1919
problems that beset liturgists in connexion with this part of the Sacred Liturgy. It left the old difficulties practically untouched.
Not so the part of the new Missal which has just been issued. It faces the problems which centuries of liturgical practice have created, and goes a long way towards furnishing a solution of them.
A careful study of the many changes embodied in the new Missae Defunctorum shows (a) a greater liberality in the extension of privileges (e.g., the 'privileged days' for anniversary Masses); (6) the desire, on the one hand, to make the rubrics more explicit, and to determine satisfactorily practical points that were doubtful in them ; on the other, to render them less involved, less complicated in detail. Greater simplicity is the most marked feature of the new rubrics.
The new Dead Mass book opens with the Apostolic Constitution, Incruentum Altaris Sacrificium, of August 10, 1915, by which Benedict XV granted the great privilege of celebrating three Masses on All Souls' Day.
This is followed by two pages of general rubrics divided into three sections : (1) Eč Rubricis generalibus Missalis. (11) Ex additionibus et variationibus in rubricis Missalis ad normam bullae 'Divino afflatu.' (111) De Ritu Servando
· in celebratione Missae pro defunctis.
The first section embodies five rubrics concerning dead Masses, taken-unchanged-from the general rubrics at the beginning of the old Roman Missal; the third, the rules for the celebration of Masses for the Dead, found in the last chapter (xiii) of Ritus celebrandi Missam at the beginning of the Roman Missal. Here, too, no change has been made.
The second section sets forth the general laws governing the celebration of dead Masses (the days on which they are permitted, etc.), and embodies a number of important changes-all making for greater simplicity and freedom. A detailed examination of the more important new features of this section will be useful :
§ 1 embodies the privilege of celebrating three Masses on November 2.
$8 2 and 3 deal with the substitution of a Mass for the dead for the Conventual Mass on certain days, and with the prayer Fidelium for the dead. On the first day of the month (outside Advent, Lent and Paschal time), on which a ferial office is said, in all private Masses
(which are not for the dead) the prayer Fidelium is to be added, in the last place but one, among all prayers and collects. This latter part is an innovation, as the former rule was that this prayer was to be added in the last place but one among the prayers prescribed by the rubrics, not taking account of orationes imperatae nor of prayers added at the option of the celebrant.
§ 4 deals with the exsequial Mass on the day of death or burial. No change has been made regarding the days on which this Mass is prohibited, but the changes previously made by the Bull Divino afflatu and subsequent legislation are, of course, embodied in the present rubric. Two new additions, however, appear in the second part of this paragraph: (i) Whenever the exsequial Mass for the day of death or burial is impeded by the rubrics, it may be transferred to the nearest day not similarly impeded. (ii) Provision is made for the occurrence of a funeral on November 2. In this case the first of the three Masses assigned for All Souls' Day is to be said, adding to the prayer of the Mass, under one conclusion, the prayer for the deceased person in die obitus. If, however, the first Mass on November 2 be solemnly celebrated, the second or third Mass is to be said, with the prayer for the deceased added to that of the Mass under one conclusion.
§ 5 concerns private Requiem Masses in die aut pro die obitus, and, apparently, introduces two changes : (a) in churches and public oratories, such private requiem Masses are allowed only on the day of the funeral (and not during the whole period that the body is present); (b) while, formerly, these Masses were prohibited on Sundays and holidays of obligation, doubles of the first and second classes, and days excluding doubles of the first class, they are now prohibited in addition on all privileged vigils, ferias and octaves (and not merely on those excluding doubles of the first class).'
$$ 5, 6 and Ý dealing with the days, other than those of death or burial, which are privileged in regard to Mass for the dead, introduce important changes, by extending the privilege both in regard to the quality of the Mass and to the days on which departure from the Mass of the day is allowed. According to the new rubrics one Mass, either a solemn or low Mass, is allowed on the 3rd, 7th, 30th and anniversary days (reckoned from the day of death or burial), and on the first day after the receipt of the news of the death, and one solemn (only) Mass is allowed on anniversaries in the wide sense (i.e., days, outside the real anniversary day, on which a foundation Mass is fixed; or the day, on which the anniversary of the dead of any corporate body is observed), and within the octave of All Souls' Day, provided a Sunday or holiday of obligation, November 2, à double of the first or second class, or a privileged vigil, feria, or octave does not occur. Accordingly, while, formerly, the privilege attached to these special days was more extensive for some than for others, it is equally extensive for all 'privileged' days now.
§ 8 treats of Masses in the chapels of cemeteries, and embodies decisions given in Decrees 3,944 and 4,096 of the Congregation of Rites.
Missae quotidianae defunctorum are dealt with in $ 9, and two notable additions have been made to the days on which these Masses were, hitherto, prohibited. They are not allowed any longer on the ferias of the Greater Antiphons (December 17-23), nor on simple octave days (e.g., octave day of St. Stephen, January 2).
$$ 10 and 11, concerning the prayers and the Sequence in dead Masses, do not embody any fresh changes.
The last paragraph (§ 12) of this section of the preliminary rubrics co-ordinates a number of scattered decisions of the Congregation of Sacred Rites regarding certain accidental events (e.g., occurrence of solemn Exposition of Blessed Sacrament--Missa pro populo) or circumstances (e.g., blessing of ashes in a church where there is only one Mass) which prevent Requiem Masses being celebrated. Two points which are new are to be noted, i.e., that dead Masses (even the exsequial Mass on the day of burial) are prohibited on February 2 and Palm Sunday in a church in which the blessing of candles or palms takes place and there is only one Mass.
Following the preliminary general rubrics comes the Ordo Missae embodying fully the special points proper to Masses of the dead. The new Preface for dead Masses (with its music) is, of course, given in this part. Up to the beginning of the Canon there is no change (excepting a slight difference in the mere wording of a rubric or two) in the rubrics of the Ordo Missae, but the Canonespecially the part after the Consecration-contains quite a number of small changes. The character of these changes is not to introduce anything really new, but to make more
explicit and clear the former rubrics ; and this is done, in almost every case, by expanding the existing rubric by the addition of words taken from the corresponding rubric in the Ritus Celebrandi Missam at the beginning of the Missal.
The rubric for the Te igitur has been slightly modified, and this modification is of much interest to rubricists. Hitherto one of the difficulties of the rubrics of the Mass was the apparent (probably, real) discrepancy between the rubric of the Ritus and that of the Ordo, concerning the movement of the hands at the beginning of the Gloria in excelsis, Credo and Te igitur. The rule given by liturgists was that, in case of discrepancy between the rubric of the Ritus and that of the Ordo, the former, being the more detailed and explicit, was to be followed. The new rubric for the Te igitur conforms to that of the Ordo, rather than to that of the Ritus (though in this case there never was as much discrepancy between the two as in the case of the Gloria and Credo), and it will be interesting to see, when the complete new Missal appears, whether this direction for the movement of the hands before the Te igitur will be adopted for the Gloria and Credo, thus terminating all discrepancy between the different cases, and that between the rubrics of the Ritus and Ordo in each case.
One of the minor changes in the rubrics of the Canon which is most frequent is the more explicit determination of the tone of voice in which any particular part is said. Thus, e.g., intelligibili voce has been added to the rubric concerning the per omnia saecula immediately preceding the Pater Noster and that before Pax Domini, to the rubric concerning the Agnus Dei, etc.; secrete has been inserted in the rubric dealing with the Libera, the prayers following the Agnus Dei, the Placeat, etc.
One point in the rubrics which, apparently, has not been more explicitly determined than it had hitherto been, is the question of reverences (whether profound, moderate or simple, of the body or of the head).
Thé rubric regarding the last Gospel is more explicit than even that found in the Ritus.
Following the Ordo Missae come the six Masses of the dead—the three for All Souls' Day, the one on the day of death and burial, the anniversary Mass, and the daily Mass of the dead.