21 January 2011

How many 'improvements' can you make here?

The Archbishop of Saragossa is to be congratulated for celebrating an old rite solemn requiem in his diocese this month. Apparently this was a first. "Stone by stone", as they say.

From the photos posted at the NLM there seem to be a few things, er, 'different' in this solemn requiem to those celebrated according to the liturgical books in force in 1962. The Pimpernel doesn't want to nitpick when the event itself is a tremendous step forward, but it would have been even better if some of these 'differences' hadn't happened. It's so impressive when these things are done right. Pity Bishop Provost's team down in Lake Charles didn't lend a hand. They probably got it all exactly right.

How many improvements could you make to these liturgical arrangements according to the 1962 books? Answes in a comment please (let's keep it nice - it is great that these people are doing it at all).


  1. Are reliquaries, lace and bleached candles used at Requiems?

    I would have thought that no reliquaries, no lace and unbleached candles would be more in order.

    Is that right?

  2. First of all, this bishop should be commended for his willingness to celebrate a Mass according to the Usus Antiquior. That having been said, a few observations.

    It is clear that His Excellency desired to celebrate a Solemn High Mass, but did so in the manner of a priest. Apart from the pallium and zucchetto, there is nothing to distinguish that the celebrant is, in fact, a bishop...no pontifical dalmatic and tunicle, presumably no gauntlets. There are no pontifical ensign bearers that one can see--if there were, presumably the bugia would be closer to the Missal. Although, there ought not be a Missal, but a Pontifical Canon, the absence of which is further highlighted by the presence of altar cards.

    I think the primary fault here is the principle of the Novus Ordo which seems to say that all Masses should be the same, no matter who celebrates them (even though those of us who have read the liturgical books know better!). It's almost as if the Hermeneutic of Continuity has gone in reverse...perhaps we could call this "mutual enrichment"--but I certainly hope not. In any event, it is clear that someone missed the memo that bishops are only ever supposed to celebrate Mass as bishops, with all the trappings and tat that comes with the office.

    It's too bad the bishop did not take the opportunity to reintroduce the Traditional Mozarabic Rite to the Iberian Peninsula. That would have been something to blog about! This, however, is a sad example of the effect of the Novus Ordo...it has damaged the liturgical brain of the Church, and this is illustrative of that brain damage...a wonderful sight for the progress of the Usus Antiquior, but a sad sight to know that some people simply don't know better than they ought.

    Nonetheless, congratulations to His Excellency on breaking through the glass ceiling of modernist liturgy!

  3. I would not like to be curmudgeonly - well done to the Bishop for celebrating the EF Mass.
    How many of his English and Welsh confreres would do that?

  4. A photo on the Una Voce Malaga website (NLM source) shows the archbishop carrying a crosier, which should be omitted at requiems, according to the books in force in 1962.

  5. And of course, the archbishop's mitre should have been white linen.

  6. What I like about these photos is how it proves, even with the 1962 Mass rite, there is the "mixing and matching" of liturgical practices. Altar cards for a bishop? Wearing a pallium for a requiem Mass?

    Strange as it may seem to those who have no recollection of what went on before the Council and the launching of the novus ordo liturgies, I can well remember priests and bishops doing "their own thing" in the liturgy; completely disregarding the GIRM and the "Caeremoniale Episcoporum". Just as they continue to do with the rubrics today.

  7. The best "improvement" would have been not to have celebrated this liturgy at all.

  8. About cetrain things, I am uncertain, like Altar charts. It may be that these are unrubrical but needed for a Bishop who has never celebrated 1963.

    The ceremonial of a Pontifical Mass is much reduced for Requiems. Most special vestments are not used including the dalmatic, the gloves and the foot tear. I believe that the pastoral staf is unused. The Sanctissimum should have been removed to a chapel. I am not certain, but I seem to remember that the palmatorium is not used.

    There should be an AP but he does not wear a cope, as I recall. If the Bishop performs the absolution, he does this sitting on the faldstool.

  9. Deep in my memory is the thought that a permission was given to Bishops to celebrate a high Mass rather than a pontifical Mass. Does anybody else recollect such a permission being given?

    Such a permission strikes me as being potentially helpful - were I a Bishop who had celebrated the Novus Ordo since the end of the 1960s, the thought of leaping into a full-blown pontifical Mass would be rather scary, and a high Mass somewhat less so (altar cards would be rather useful as well). This is not to say that I see it as ideal, merely a potentially helpful step from our current position.